A mediocre quarterback had a lot more to lose by speaking out.

Colin Kaepernick in the Super Bowl (Wikimedia /By Au Kirk — https://www.flickr.com/photos/aukirk/8469923776/in/photostream / https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=24742192)

As sports leagues go, the National Football League takes particular care in crafting its public image.

Just look at how they construct their season. NFL football is a weekly, extended television show: Six hours of Sunday afternoon game action gets bracketed by pregame shows, postgame shows, and the chaser of featured Sunday night and Monday night games. On Monday and Tuesday mornings, sports talk radio, newspapers, and team-centric blogs recap the week’s contest; the rest of the week they talk about the next game and muse on trends, injuries, and personnel decisions. …

The forces that created the Capitol riot aren’t going away on January 20.

Storm clouds would have been a little too much. (Martin Falbisoner, CC BY-SA 3.0 via Wikimedia Commons)

The widely accepted narrative about the 2016 election and the Trump administration goes something like this: Donald Trump, a pop culture figure riding the crest of his reality television fame, used an outsider message to draw support from people politicians typically ignored (particularly older, white, working-class people) and vanquish Hillary Clinton, the embodiment of the Washington, D.C. political class. The more optimistic versions say that he spoke to disaffected voters hostile toward an establishment that had embraced globalism; the more pessimistic say he trafficked in hatred and division to poke at the smoldering coals of racial division left over from…

Political polls tell us a story — if we understand how to read them.

UNIVAC tried to warn us about how unreliable poll coverage can be. (Photo by Daderot via Wikimedia Commons, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=8894394)

The numbers didn’t match expectations.

It was Election Night in America. Programmers had carefully loaded their formulas and algorithms into a computer to analyze early election returns, comparing the evening’s fresh data to data from past elections to predict the outcome. The problem: The program predicted an outcome that seemed unrealistic. So programmers went back and tweaked their models until the computer gave the answer everyone expected.

Students of computers, polling, or both may recognize this scenario that unfolded in November 1952. CBS News tried to spice up one of the first televised election nights by allowing a UNIVAC computer…

The former President gave the Class of 2020 valuable words of wisdom. Take them at face value.

The former President just dropped a lighthearted reference to Tiger King. (YouTube/Obama Foundation)

This spring’s canceled high school graduation ceremonies have become one of those difficult casualties of life in the COVID-19 era. In most years, these events would largely be forgotten within months; in 2020, their absence creates another reminder that everyday life is temporarily full of regular sacrifice.

If you’re one of this year’s seniors, you’re not just missing a high school graduation, you’re missing your graduation — your only high school graduation. High school commencement ceremonies may be overblown and trite; in a perfect world, graduates should have the chance to learn that for themselves.

A consortium of media companies…

America’s racial history makes people uncomfortable. It should.

(Wikimedia Commons)

As a shoe and sporting goods company, Nike is used to setting trends. In the past week, it became a mere part of one with its decision to pull a new sneaker design because of its depiction of a Revolutionary-era American Flag. The Wall Street Journal reported the decision was driven by former professional football player Colin Kaepernick, who pointed out that the flag flew during a time when slavery was legal in America.

Setting aside the debate of what that flag stands for, the decision makes Nike became just the latest entity to fumble with an important question: What…

Taking a week off from Trump sketches gave Saturday Night Live the chance to talk about something even more important.

Adam Sandler eulogizes Chris Farley (www.nbc.com/saturday-night-live))

When Adam Sandler came back home to host Saturday Night Live last weekend, observers noted that the show largely avoided politics.

There was no cold open featuring Alec Baldwin’s face scrunched into his mouth-breathing caricature of President Donald Trump. Despite ongoing friction between Congressional Democrats and the White House over the special counsel’s report on Russian interference in the 2016 election, Robert Meuller impersonator Robert DeNiro was absent from Studio 8H. There was no Aidy Bryant cross-dressing as Attorney General Bob Barr. Outside of Weekend Update’s short news riffs, the show seemed to leave Washington alone.

That’s not a welcome…

An Easter Week fire and hope for redemption

Reuters (Philippe Wojazer)

The Church burned, and the world watched.

The Church burned as the faithful and non-faithful looked on together, feeling horror, disbelief, hope, and sorrow, sometimes all at the same time. We watched, most of us feeling helpless to do anything to stop the fire that looked as if would reduce the Church to ash. The massive monument to faith and western civilization looked as if it would end the day as a heap of common rubble.

The Church burned as the wooden structures that had held it up for generations proved just as weak, just as vulnerable to flame as…

“You’re thinking of the OTHER time I was in blackface.”

The 21-year-old-scandal about sex and perjury gave a survival roadmap to Virginia’s executive officers.

Mariano Rivera earned a historic honor by doing more than throwing a baseball

Wikimedia Commons

The impossible has happened: New York Yankee Mariano Rivera was unanimously elected to the National Baseball Hall of Fame this week.

And if you want to know why Rivera’s selection was the first unanimous decision if Hall of Fame History, part of the answer is: Enrique Wilson.

Let’s take in just how historic this accomplishment is first, though.

Babe Ruth and Ty Cobb dominated baseball in the early 20th century. Ruth changed not only his own game but the concept of professional sports. Cobb retired with a career stolen base record that held for almost fifty years and a career…

If you think the Rankin-Bass special is “problematic,” you’re missing an important point.

It can project light through the storm but Hermey’s finger is fine. Now, THAT’S problematic.

As it has for 55 Christmas seasons starting in 1964, Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer aired this week. And wow, did it ever bother some people.

You know the plot from the song: Rudolph had a shiny nose. All of the other reindeer used to laugh and call him names. Then, one foggy Christmas Eve, Santa Claus exploited Rudolph’s shiny nose to find his way through the storm. The special famously expands on the song with a variety of other “misfits” trying to find their way in North…

Jim Eltringham

Grassroots messaging and mobilization consultant

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