Bye, 2016

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The SEVEN

by Mack Williams
31 December 2016

I. Really, @realdonaldtrump?

If Donald Trump really believes he could have defeated President Obama…well, you would think he doesn’t actually believe it because if he did he would have run four years ago when Obama was up for reelection.

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But if he really does think he could have done so, he’s obviously not as smart a guy as he thinks he is. Since he’s not, he needs to take the daily briefings he says he doesn’t need.

II. Kickball

Good for Duke’s Coach K in suspending Grayson Allen for his latest installment of kickball. Like Jesus Shuttlesworth, he got game and has no business doing stuff like that. Plus, there can be consequences…just ask Draymond Green and the Warriors.

III. Good To Be The King

What a play by LeBron James during their fourth quarter comeback against the Warriors on Christmas Day, leading to the deja vu-like game winning shot by Kyrie Irving. LeBron cut down the lane, received a pass, and flew in for a rim-rattling dunk which sent the home crowd into a frenzy, during which time LeBron hung on the rim, pulled up, hung some more, and almost remained there until it became December 26th…and received no technical foul, which might have played a part in the ultimate outcome of the game.

Were Lance Stephenson or Boogie Cousins or Draymond Green to hang on a rim for that long, they’d probably get as many technicals as their uniform numbers. It’s definitely good to be the King.

IV. Kugichagulia

As we are in the midst of Kwanzaa and on the verge of Lord knows what come January 20th, I felt it worthwhile to bring up one of the seven principles of Kwanzaa, that of Kugichagulia, which means self-determination. At first my thought was about the importance of self-determination on any number of levels during the next four years, given that expectations for good coming out of Washington are next to nonexistent.

But once again, in a grasp for a sliver of hope, I remind myself of the history of the presidency, and the fact that the office seemed to take a number of twentieth century presidents to a level beyond where their previous experiences would indicate they would reach.img_2211

John F. Kennedy, admittedly not well-versed on the struggle for civil rights, became someone that Dr. King said he would have endorsed had Kennedy lived.

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Lyndon Johnson, an old school Texas politician, pushed through the Voting Rights Act. Richard Nixon, fierce anti-communist, opened relations with China.

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So there may be hope for the President-Elect. Maybe.

V. Are You Ready For Some Football?

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Football must be REALLY good at Popeye’s. Maybe I’ll watch the Super Bowl there.

VI. Fences

Just saw Fences, and as a result I know how the Oscars telecast can be made to run a few minutes shorter this time around. Simply mail the Best Actor and Best Actress awards to Denzel Washington and Viola Davis now, and you won’t have to worry about them on that night.

VII. In A Few Hours

I wish you a very Happy and Prosperous New Year of 2017. See you on the other side!

Transition to What?

The SEVEN
by Mack Williams
17 December 2016

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I. Broken Cabinet

Dr. Ben Carson is a surgeon, a great one at that. Presidential candidate, not so much – at least in a Republican Party devoid of people like Nelson Rockefeller, Clifford Case, and Edward Brooke, statesmen and leaders of the party in years past. But a surgeon he is. So why wouldn’t President-Elect Trump nominate him for Surgeon General?

Part of the rationale given for his nomination to be Secretary of HUD is that he lived in public housing. That’s like saying I can manage a Major League Baseball team because I’ve attended games at about 25% of the MLB stadiums. Actually, cancel that analogy; I could manage a Major League Baseball team…and very well, at that…still waiting for that call!

It’s really like Royal Caribbean appointing me to be the captain of a cruise ship because I took the Staten Island Ferry.
II. Busted Cabinet

Texas Gov. Rick Perry has been nominated to be Energy Secretary. Okay, let’s go on and give him a pass on the noise he made about Texas seceding from the United States…but isn’t he the guy, while running for president in 2012, called for the elimination of the Department of Energy? Meanwhile, Betsy DeVos – a big proponent of school vouchers – has been nominated to head the Department of Education. These appointments are like putting the fox in charge of the hen house.
III. Small Business Administration Counted Out

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A skeptic might ask if one of former WWE CEO Linda McMahon’s qualifications to head the Small Business Administration is the fact that the McMahon family has made huge donations to Trump’s foundation and campaign. It certainly cannot be her track record; WWE has been famous for using clout to put small wrestling companies OUT of business.

But let me not be skeptical; maybe the President-Elect is on to something. To that end, here are a few more Cabinet post suggestions:

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Health & Human Services: The Undertaker
If your health is failing to the utmost, The Undertaker can assist with final services.

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Secretary of State – Dwayne Johnson
His movies are all over the world, so diplomacy should be a snap. If not, he can lay the smackdown on his foreign counterparts.

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Energy – Rey Mysterio
The 619 guy definitely displays much energy as he flies around the ring.

Surgeon General – Stone Cold Steve Austin

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Stone Cold can warn against drinking outside of moderation.

Transportation – Ric Flair

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Who better to head this department than the stylin’, profilin’, limousine ridin’, jet flying, kiss stealing, wheelin’ and dealing son of a gun?
IV. Still an Apprentice

Despite having a few other responsibilities, Mr. Trump will remain an executive producer of Celebrity Apprentice. Does he really want to be president for two terms? Does he really want to sit behind a desk for one, when he could be grabbing women, firing people and keeping company with celebrities like Kanye West?

By the way, was the Kanye visit to Trump Tower filmed for Keeping Up With The Kardashians?

V. Sportsman of the Year

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LeBron James is a much deserving recipient of Sports Illustrated’s Sportsman of the Year award – and from my perspective, for more than leading the Cavs back from a seemingly insurmountable 3-1 deficit to defeat the mighty pre-Durant Golden State Warriors. We all know he’s a great player, but an additional great thing is that he and his Superfriends Dwyane Wade, Chris Paul and Carmelo Anthony recognize that with greatness comes a platform should you choose to use it.

Meanwhile, as I think about this young season’s Player of the Year,
I am led to wonder what the first coach I worked under – a total basketball traditionalist – is thinking about Russell Westbrook. This is a coach who specifically praised Bill, our starting point guard, for his outstanding play and leadership in a game in which he scored zero. If Russell – whose games have become must-see TV for me – scored zero, he must have sprained his ankle in the first quarter.

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But in reality, Russell Westbrook does some of the same type of things that Bill did: handle the ball, set up the offense, break down his defender and find an open man – Steven Adams should be taking him to dinner weekly – as the defense converges. So I think Coach should like Russell for doing the things he preached…and then some (since Bill didn’t fly down the lane to slam on the opposing centers).

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VI. #SagerStrong

How fitting it was that Craig Sager got to work the sidelines at the NBA Finals for the first time this past June, something that had not been available to him because Turner Sports never airs the Finals. Someone had to have a sense it should be made available to him sooner rather than later. He will be missed.
VII. Last Second Present

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If you are looking for a last second present for a young person in your life, please check out my book!
Jackie Robinson and the Negro Leagues – Facebook.com/jackienegroleagues.

What The Heck?

The SEVEN
by Mack Williams
3 December 2016

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I. Can I Borrow A Quarter?

If someone wearing a Make America Great Again cap approaches you to ask to borrow a quarter…of a hundred million dollars…it may be the President-Elect, seeking to cover his settlement amount for the Trump University fraud case. Now if all the women he allegedly assaulted and all the vendors he allegedly stiffed all sue, he might be broke by the time he takes the oath of office. Might have to take the presidential salary after all.

Of course, salary refusal does not create an exemption from releasing tax returns.

II. Jill Stein’s Recounts

I’m okay with Jill Stein raising money for recounts in Wisconsin, Michigan and Pennsylvania, but am I the only person that thinks it ironic that the person funding recounts is the reason – or at least one of the reasons – why a recount is needed?

III. Spoiled

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After reading Mr. Trump’s tweet advocating jail time or loss of citizenship for flag burning, I thought about how spoiled we have been while having a constitutional law professor and scholar in the White House these last eight years. Meanwhile let’s be clear – more damage would be done by gutting the Affordable Care Act than the burning of any piece of cloth.

IV. A Cespedes For The Rest Of Us

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If you have been a fan of the New York Mets for many years, you have seen several occasions where it seemed as if they were trying to fool the fan base by bringing in a star who was, unfortunately, past his prime. Then there were several other occasions where they let stars in their prime walk out the door. Another such occasion was on the horizon…but for a change, they bowed to reality and signed their star free agent, Yoenis Cespedes. Perhaps they’re coming to the realization that contention is not promised to anyone; while you’re realistically in a position to contend, you’ve got to go for it.

V. Blake’s Dunks

I’m loving the forthcoming reboot of Space Jam with Blake Griffin in the co-lead role with Bugs Bunny, but I wonder if anyone has noticed that most of the time he does those posterizing dunks over people, he really should be called for an offensive foul as a result of his push-off with his left hand and/or arm.

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VI. Russell Westbrook

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What was the name of that tall high scoring guy that was on OKC with Russell the last few years?

VII. Rise To Another Level

I thought that when he insulted Mexicans and continued to talk about some silly and madly expensive wall people would see him as unfit for the presidency. I thought that when he advocated a total ban on Muslims people would think that somewhat un-American.

Then when he mocked a disabled reporter and lied about having done so – despite the videotape – I figured that was the end. When he retweeted racist and anti-Semitic posts from bigots, and insulted Sen. Elizabeth Warren and her Native American heritage, I knew he was done. When we found out that he stiffed numerous vendors at his casinos, took a tax write off enabling him to not pay federal incomes taxes for two decades, and then refused to release his tax returns like all other candidates, I was thinking landslide due to the crash of his “populist” image. When newspapers ran long articles on all of the lies that came from his mouth, I knew the electorate could not back him.

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Finally, when the Access Hollywood tape came out, demonstrating his feelings about women and how he can behave with them, I absolutely knew it was over. I was even more certain than ever that Republican women would go behind the curtain and vote Hillary. Could she pull the Senate and House along?

I was wrong… along with most everybody.

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And as a result, on January 20th, Donald J. Trump will assume the office of President of the United States. But unlike some House and Senate Republicans eight years before, who met that evening to plan their attempts to sabotage any efforts of the incoming Obama administration, I won’t be wishing the worst for him. In fact, I will be hoping that he does a good job. If, as the President of the United States, Donald Trump fails, we are all failing.

So I hope he succeeds. Unfortunately his past – see above – doesn’t seem to indicate that as a possibility.