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The rioting we are seeing now in Minneapolis – a city I’ve loved ever since the Flapper and my two brothers adopted it as their own – isn’t just about a policeman’s knee on the throat of George Floyd. Breaking his neck, cutting off his airway, murdering him on the street in broad daylight just a few days ago. It’s about Philando Castile shot by police at a traffic stop. It’s about Amadou Diallo and Sean Bell and Eric Garner in New York. It’s about Michael Brown in Missouri.

I’m not surprised the state police arrested a Black CNN reporter. Are you? I am surprised Amy Klobuchar declined to prosecute police accused of racial brutality. She used to be my gal, not anymore even though I’m sorry her husband caught Covid.

Americans seem surprised whenever bigotry rears its ugly head. Like somehow the KKK only exists in the deep South; we fought a Civil War and now everything’s supposed to be good, real good. That is until two people named Cooper, one Black and one White, met up in NY’s Central Park this month. Luckily, the bird-watching Black Cooper began filming the White dog walker’s tirade, and her threats to call the police. She lost her dog, that she appeared to be strangling, and she lost her job.

And we wonder, if there were no film in the woods that day, would he have lost his life? Intelligent people say #alllivesmatter, but do they really believe it?

It was almost 30 years ago when my family witnessed, in real time, the police in LA beating up Rodney King. For 15 minutes, a bystander filmed the brutal attack that left King with broken bones and brain damage. The Bride was around 9 or 10 and the Rocker 5; I’m pretty sure that TV footage burned itself into their memory banks.

But it wasn’t until the 4 police officers charged with “excessive use of force” were acquitted that the riots began. Everyone was incredulous at the verdict.

“One of the most astounding things about the 1992 Los Angeles riots was the response of the LAPD, which is to say no response at all,” says author Joe Domanick, who has studied and written about the riots, in an interview with Grigsby Bates.

That night, Gates went to speak at a fundraiser in West Los Angeles and reportedly ordered cops to retreat. Police did not respond to incidents of looting and violence around the city until almost three hours after the original rioting broke out.” https://www.npr.org/2017/04/26/524744989/when-la-erupted-in-anger-a-look-back-at-the-rodney-king-riots

It lasted for 5 days and fifty people died, including 10 who were murdered by the LAPD. King himself made a plea on TV, “…can we all get along?”

After 9/11 we all DID get along. Firefighters drove from the heartland to help fight the smoldering remains at Ground Zero, a fire that burned for more than 100 days. Women knit booties for rescue dogs. We were united against a common enemy – farmers and hedge fund brokers could be friends. But we are now more divided than ever, with a president who says – by Tweet – that Democrats belong in coffins and our police officers should start shooting when rioting begins.

What do most police shootings/killings/lynchings of unarmed Black men have in common? The officers are exonerated, and there’s the problem that eats at social justice from the inside out. This is our apartheid moment, and we need to fix it. https://www.cnn.com/2015/04/05/us/controversial-police-encounters-fast-facts/index.html

Racism is systemic in our country. It doesn’t need to carry tiki torches or guns or wear Hawaiian shirts. It’s not endemic to one part of our country, or even to one party. It starts with where you are born and educated, and ends with where and how you die. Only now, in this climate, it can be filmed and viewed by millions almost instantly. Ca Suffit.

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Football on the Brain

Bet you thought I was going to write about the Pope? Nope. Don’t get me wrong or anything, but once a lapsed Catholic, always a bit of a doubter. Humility was driven into us in Catholic school, and you know who you are my fellow Sacred Heart peeps. It’s nice to see a Pope who practices the Catechism we were taught in the 1950s.

Anyway, today is the highest and holiest day of the Jewish Year, Yom Kippur. It’s a day to ask our family and friends for forgiveness, and to cover all bases, we ask God to forgive even those things we may have forgotten to ask him/her about! It’s also a fast day – meaning Jews everywhere are starving! It’s the one day in the year a Jewish mother won’t ask you, “Did you eat?” This must be where Lent came from, and even Ramadan – give up something good to eat and all your sins will be forgiven.

I’ve been cooking up a storm since returning home. Bob lost a few pounds while recovering from his Cervical Spine surgery in NY, so I feel it’s my God-given right to make dessert these days. Dressed in a Darth Vader neck brace/collar, Bob has spent a few hours watching football lately, both college and professional, and of course I’ve come along for the ride – cause I’m a ride or die girl!

And even though watching football makes me feel like I’m back at the Roman Coliseum watching, “Gladiators (who) were generally slaves, condemned criminals or prisoners of war,” I could appreciate the choreography of a good first down. Nurses would walk into Bob’s room and offer up some banter about the team on the screen – football was that equal opportunity conversation starter. “Did you see Brady walk on?” Or “I’m from Pittsburgh you know,” one nurse told me after I said I was a New England Patriots fan. Whoops.

Still every time I’d hear that distinct sound of helmet meeting helmet, I’d cringe. We’ve known what repeated tackles can do to the brain for years now, research and science has finally won out over owners and NFL managers. One guy got booted off the field for head-butting an opponent. Repetitive Head Trauma, so many concussions over the years, and still we watch these giant men crash into each other. Is it really good sport, or are we kidding ourselves?

When the Rocker and Ms Cait flew out on the red eye from LA to visit Bob during his hospitalization, we learned that our son had worked on the sound design for Will Smith’s new movie trailer, Concussion. http://www.latimes.com/entertainment/movies/la-et-mn-concussion-movie-nfl-20150903-story.html

NFL games are the only programs that regularly deliver the kind of big ratings that were once taken for granted by broadcast television. Nearly all of those viewers watch the games and their commercials live in an age when delayed playback of shows is common. As a result, the NFL was able to demand $5 billion a year in rights fees from its television partners in the pact that runs through 2021.

God forgive us for watching so much football. And please point our new baby grandson toward soccer!    IMG_3227

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