Musings on Events in U.S. Immigration Court, Immigration Law, Sports, and Other Random Topics by Retired United States Immigration Judge (Arlington, Virginia) and former Chairman of the Board of Immigration Appeals Paul Wickham Schmidt. To see my complete professional bio, just click on the link below.
Great game! Lots of offense. Not much “D” until Eagles got a “strip” on Brady late to help seal the victory. But, the great TB still had one last shot as “Hail Mary” fell incomplete in end zone as time expired.
Former Wisconsin Badger star running back Corey Clement played a key role with several big plays including a huge second half TD catch upheld on review. Gutsy call on 4th and goal from the one at the end of the first half by Eagles Coach Doug Pederson involving a center snap to Clement, pitch-back, and pass from an end to QB Nick Foles for a key TD and Superbowl first (TD pass caught by a QB). Foles was, quite deservedly, the MVP of the Superbowl! A guy who lost his starting job, bounced around, almost quit football, but did what a backup QB is supposed to do — play like the starter and win games in the clutch!
Another former Badger star running back, James White, one of the heroes of the Patriots’ comeback win in last year’s Super Bowl, scored New England’s first touchdown on a 26 yard run in the second quarter.
Special congratulations to my good friend and colleague retired Judge Wayne Iskra, a lifelong (and long suffering) Eagles fan!
In his 11th time as a finalist, the former Green Bay Packers guard was voted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame on Saturday.
Kramer needed 80 percent of the vote from the 47 voters who were in attendance, which meant that no more than nine could vote against him. The Hall doesn’t reveal the vote totals, but Kramer hit the requisite 80 percent.
According to Hall protocol, after the vote was completed Saturday afternoon, David Baker, the president of the Hall of Fame, visited the hotel where the nominees were staying and notified each individually whether he was in.
“I said that (knock on the door) is it,” Kramer said. “And the most beautiful man I’ve ever seen (Baker), the big hunk down here at the end was standing there with the cameras and stuff behind him. I was over the top. It was something I was afraid to believe in, I was afraid to hope for. So I kept trying to keep those emotions out there somewhere. But hey, I’m here and I’m part of the group. Thank you very much.”
The other members of the 2018 class were fellow senior finalist Robert Brazile, and contributors candidate Bobby Beathard, as well as five modern-era candidates: Ray Lewis, Brian Urlacher, Brian Dawkins, Randy Moss and Terrell Owens.
Kramer, 82, becomes the 13th member of the Packers’ dynasty in the 1960s that won five NFL championships in seven years to be voted into the Hall. The others are coach Vince Lombardi, fullback Jim Taylor, tackle Forrest Gregg, quarterback Bart Starr, linebacker Ray Nitschke, cornerback Herb Adderley, defensive end Willie Davis, center Jim Ringo, running back Paul Hornung, safety Willie Wood, defensive tackle Henry Jordan and linebacker Dave Robinson.
Kramer said he had dinner with Robinson on Friday night, just as they had dinner the night before Robinson was voted into the Hall of Fame in 2013. And Taylor was with him Saturday.
“I miss ’em,” Kramer said of his other Hall of Fame teammates. “But I wish they were here, I wish we had an opportunity to be here together. Bart has been sensational in writing letters and doing all sorts of things, and Hornung has been sticking up for me for 20 years. So many of the guys, Willie D (Davis) is a great pal, and Robbie (i.e., Robinson) and Wood and Adderley and so many of the guys in, and (Nitschke) was such a great pal, Forrest Gregg … we’ve had a lot of guys, 10, 12 guys in the Hall. Jimmy is here and that’s about it, Jimmy Taylor. But I miss those guys. I’ve shared so much with them over the years and it would be nice to share this with them.”
Kramer also is the 25th Hall inductee who spent most of his career with the Packers. That’s second most in league history, behind the Chicago Bears’ 27.
It has been a long road for Kramer to get to the Hall. He was a modern-era finalist (i.e., among the final 15 candidates) nine times in the 14-year period from 1974 through ’87 but never was voted in. Modern-era players and coaches have been retired anywhere from five to 25 years.
Then in 1997, he was the seniors committee nominee (for players who have been retired for more than 25 years) but failed to reach the 80 percent threshold among the selection committee for Hall induction.
But at long last, he’s in.
“I don’t think it can get sweeter,” Kramer said. “It’s the ultimate honor in the game, in our game. It’s the top of the heap. It’s the crown of the trail of this whole process, it’s here. If you make it here you’ve made it in professional football. So whenever you’ve made it here it’s a wonderful moment and a wonderful time and a wonderful event. … I told Mr. Baker that this is it, it doesn’t get any better than this. He goes, ‘Jerry, this is just the beginning.’ So I can’t wait to see how it turns out.”
Kramer is tied for fourth on the list of most times being a finalist before induction. Lynn Swann was a finalist 14 times before he was voted in, followed by Carl Eller (13) and Hornung (12).
Kramer joined the Packers as a fourth-round draft pick out of Idaho in 1958, the year before Lombardi took over as coach. He started all 12 games as a rookie and then when Lombardi took over became a key player as a pulling guard in the coach’s famed sweep.
Kramer achieved his greatest fame for his block on the Dallas Cowboys’ Jethro Pugh that helped open the way for Starr’s game-winning touchdown on a quarterback sneak in the Ice Bowl for the 1967 NFL championship. It’s perhaps the most famous block in NFL history.
Former Green Bay Packers guard Jerry Kramer shares memories from the Ice Bowl, which was played 50 years ago on Dec. 31, 1967. USA TODAY NETWORK-Wisconsin
Kramer played all of his 11 seasons with the Packers. Along with being named to the league’s 50th anniversary team, he also was on the NFL’s all-decade team for the ‘60s. He was named first-team all-pro five times (1960, ’62, ’63, ’66 and ’67) and went to three Pro Bowls (’62, ’63 and ’67).
Besides playing right guard, Kramer doubled as the Packers’ kicker for parts or all of the 1962, ’63 and ’69 seasons.
In ’62 he made 81.8 percent of his field-goal attempts (9-for-11) and finished fourth in the league in scoring (91 points). Then in the Packers’ 16-7 win over the New York Giants in the NFL championship game that season, he scored 10 points (three field goals and an extra point).
This was almost surely the last time Kramer would get a shot at the Hall. Because he has been retired from the NFL for more than 25 years, he could become a nominee only through the seniors committee, and this year was his second time making it through as the senior candidate.
He was only the fourth nominee to twice come through the committee, and with many deserving seniors candidates in wait, there was no chance he’d get a third shot. So this essentially was his last opportunity to receive pro football’s highest individual honor.
Kramer and the rest of the Class of 2018 will be inducted Aug. 4 in Canton, Ohio.
Aaron Nagler of USA TODAY NETWORK-Wisconsin contributed.”
Man, I remember the “Icebowl” as if it were yesterday! I was home from college, following the first semester of my Sophomore year at Lawrence University in Appleton, WI. I was preparing to leave right after the New Year for a “Semester Abroad” program at the Lawrence Campus in Bonnigheim, Germany! A rather big deal since I had never before flown in an airplane, anywhere!
Our whole family was crowded around the 13″ GE color TV in our living-room on Revere Avenue in Wauwatosa, WI. Since there were only a few seconds left in the game, and the Pack had no timeouts left, I thought they would probably kick a field goal to send the game into overtime, or throw a short pass that if incomplete would have stopped the clock for a last second field goal (or course, a “sack” by the Cowboys would have ended the game.) I’ve watched lots of Packer games, but the Icebowl was probably the best victory ever!
Later in January, we listened on Armed Forces Radio in our dorm in Germany as the Packers beat the Raiders in the”Superbowl II.” Sort of anti-climactic after the “Icebowl!”
As noted in the article, Kramer is the 13th player from the “Lombardi Era” Packers to enter the Hall of Fame, and the 25th Packer overall!
Although, sadly, the Pack aren’t in this year’s Superbowl, there are still some Packer connections. Of course the “Lombardi Trophy,” awarded to the winner is named for legendary Green Bay Coach Vince Lombardi.
And, the Philadelphia Eagles’ Coach Doug Pederson, played a number of seasons as backup QB to recent Packer Hall of Fame QB Brett Farve. Of course, the backup job to Farve didn’t involve much “real game action,” since Farve was in the midst of a NFL record 297 consecutive starts as QB. However, Pederson appears to have been a “good learner” from a coaching and strategy standpoint. Apparently, those years of “holding the clipboard” behind Farve paid off. Big time!
Forget “S___gate,” the Budget, North Korea, and all that other stuff. Even forget the Pack’s post-season reorganization of their coaching staff and front office following a disappointing 7-9 season, The front page news from Green Bay is that the Superstar QB Aaron (“AR”) Rodgers is dating recently retired race driver Danica Patrick.
Here’s what the Green Bay Press Gazette had to say about it in an article that forced most other news to the second page!
“Buckle up, Packers fans: Aaron Rodgers and Danica Patrick’s relationship just hit the fast lane.
“Yes, Aaron and I are dating,” the race car driver confirmed Monday to the Associated Press.
Speculation that Rodgers, 34, had moved on from actress Olivia Munn with Patrick, 35, surfaced earlier this month when sports gossip blogger Terez Owens reported the two had been spotted at Chives Restaurant in Suamico after Christmas and “couldn’t seem to keep their hands off each other.”
Neither Rodgers nor Patrick had commented publicly about the report, but it didn’t stop Maxim from quickly declaring them “the sports world’s newest super couple.”
Patrick told the AP the two first met at the 2012 ESPY Awards. There is, however, a wrinkle: Patrick, who was born in Beloit and grew up in Illinois, is a Chicago Bears fan.
“I told him (Rodgers) a long time ago I’d always root for him as a player,” Patrick told the AP. “Now I am probably going to cheer for the whole team. Take out the word ‘probably.’ Now I’m going to cheer for the whole team.”
Rodgers split from actress Olivia Munn in 2017 after three years together. In December, a spokesperson for Patrick announced she and fellow NASCAR driver Ricky Stenhouse Jr. were no longer a couple after nearly five years.
TMZ posted a photo over the weekend of Rodgers and Patrick dining with other guests on Saturday night at a Mexican restaurant in Scottsdale, Arizona. Patrick lives in Arizona.
In November, Patrick announced her retirement from full-time racing and said she plans to make the Daytona 500 and Indianapolis 500 her final two races.
She has recently been promoting her fitness book, “Pretty Intense: The 90-Day Mind, Body and Food Plan That Will Absolutely Change Your Life,” which came out Dec. 26.”
Wow! Dinner in Suamico! Can’t get much more romantic than that! We were actually in Green Bay right after Christmas. But, we mostly ate (vegan) Mexican and carry out! Actually, a fantastic and very authentic Mexican restaurant is right in Wick’s neighborhood. I was impressed with how well they had meshed the Mexican and Packer themes. A bunch of big screen TVs tuned to football and low-priced generous Margaritas didn’t hurt either. I highly recommend El Serape (two locations) the next time your travels take you to Packer city.
No speculation yet on how this will affect AR’s play next season. I suspect that the performance of new Defensive Coordinator Mike Pettine and how the Pack does in the draft and in free agent signings will have more to do with AR’s stats and the Packer’s success next fall than Danica!
And, yeah, even though as a lifelong Packer fan I don’t normally have much of a warm spot for the Minnesota Vikings, I was very happy for them and their fans after the “miracle catch” by Stefon Diggs for the winning TD. Good luck to them in the NFC Championship game v. the Philadelphia Eagles on Sunday! Congrats to Arlington ICE Deputy Chief Counsel David Kelly, a native Minnesotan and die-hard Vikes fan! I just wish my daughter-in-law Anastasia’s mother Susan Rathman had lived long enough to see her beloved Vikes a game away from the Super Bowl!
First, we can all thank Senator Elect Doug Jones and the voters of Alabama for saving America from the horrible spectacle and damage that would have been caused by the election of the heinous bigot, liar, slanderer, racist, homophobe, xenophobe, theocrat of a false religion, coward, scofflaw, and apparent sexual predator Roy Moore. Jones’s election is a striking rebuke to that other sleazy, corrupt, dishonest, bigoted unrepentant sexual predator in America, Trump. And, by narrowing the GOP advantage in the Senate to a razor-thin 51-49, it raises the possibility that the Democrats with the help of just two responsible Republicans could block substantial parts of Trump’s and the GOP’s insane “War on America” and protect us from some of Trump’s worst excesses.
How ironic that White Nationalist and “Jim Crow relic” Attorney General Jeff “Gonzo Apocalyopto” Sessions is being replaced by a by a competent and decent person who believes in American democracy and governing for the “common good” rather than as an out of touch ideologue with a strong anti-American, anti-Diversity, hate promoting agenda.
It’s also ironic that Jones has done the GOP a favor by relieving them of the lengthy circus of both expelling him from their party and ultimately removing him from the Senate. Anything short of that would have been a continuing embarrassment for the party. Quite contrary to Trump’s outrageous statements in support of the Ayatollah, any vote that a party wins because of support of a total scumbag like Moore damages that party as well as our country. (It does, however, raise in my mind the question of when they are going to expel the anti-American, racist, bigot Steve King from their party. There is no room in any major party for the likes of King.)
Hats off to the African-American community in Alabama who were not deterred by the Sessions/GOP voter suppression anti-Civil Rights initiatives and showed up in the numbers required to make a difference in the election. After being shut out of their fair share of political power in Alabama for over 300 years, African-Americans are finally in a position to make their voices and feelings heard in the U.S. Senate.
Also, hats off to GOP Southern Senators Richard Shelby of Alabama and Tim Scott of South Carolina for standing up and “Just Saying No” to the Moore nonsense. As pointed out by Shelby, Alabama could do better than Ayatollah Roy (not a very high hurdle), and they now have in the person of Doug Jones.
Hopefully, Jones will over time find a way to “win over” most of those misguided souls who voted for Ayatollah Roy notwithstanding the very credible evidence of sexual misconduct with minors in his past, his arrogant “not credible” defense, the clear lies that he told in attempting to smear those who came forward, and his scofflaw, anti-American views. What a jerk!
Here’s the Washington Post’s editorial on Jones’s stunning upset:
In Tuesday’s special election, the state by a narrow margin chose to spare the nation the indignity of seating an accused child molester in the U.S. Senate. Though the stain of electing Republican Roy Moore would have sullied Alabama, seemingly confirming every negative stereotype about the Deep South state, the shame would have been national. Instead, Alabama voters chose Democrat Doug Jones to represent them until 2021.
Mr. Jones is not in perfect sync with many Alabama voters on some issues, most notably abortion. But he is an honorable man with an admirable record of public service who ran a respectful campaign. His behavior suggests he will serve with decency and care in the Senate. He should make his state proud. None of these fine things could have been said of Mr. Moore. It is beyond heartening that Alabamians refused to overlook or forgive Mr. Moore’s misshapen character.
Mr. Jones’s victory shows that, while partisanship might be extreme, it still has limits. Even in deep-red Alabama, enough voters refused to succumb to lies about how negative stories on Mr. Moore were merely fake news cooked up by a hostile media.
Americans do not send senators to Washington merely to vote mechanically on a few hot-button issues, but to exercise judgment when cameras are not rolling, on issues that are important but not headline-grabbing. Good lawmakers also protect the nation’s democratic institutions, preserve the independence of their branch of government and work with people with whom they disagree. It takes character to fulfill these responsibilities. Mr. Jones seems ready to do such work. Mr. Moore did not.
Mr. Jones’s victory also suggests that the nation’s recent awakening on sexual harassment and assault is spreading across the country. Enough Alabamians believed the women.
If Americans should feel grateful to Alabama voters, so should the Republican Party, much of which debased itself by following President Trump into the gutter of support for Mr. Moore. Its majority in the Senate will be slightly narrower, but the dignity of the Senate GOP caucus will be at least partially salvaged. Alabama voters spared the Senate Ethics Committee the dilemma of how to handle a senator who was clearly unfit but who nevertheless won a popular election. Instead of inviting controversy and chaos, they elected Mr. Jones, a man who deserves the honor.
Thanks to Alabama, Americans can wake up Wednesday morning feeling hopeful about the decency and dignity of their democracy.”
On to the other big story, Aaron Rodgers (“AR”). AR’s recovery from a broken collarbone which required surgery, two plates, and 13 screws is about as amazing as Jones’s victory.
AR is a smart player, tough guy, and great competitor. It’s certainly possible that he will be able to lead the Pack (currently 7-6 and “on the outside looking in” for a playoff spot) to a sweep of the final three games and a possible playoff birth. But, certainly no “slam dunk!”
The O line will have to do a perfect job of protecting AR. He will have to suppress his tendency to run with the football when nobody is open and the Pack needs a first down.
If the Pack should lose to the Panthers on Sunday, they will have to make a decision on whether to play AR in the final two games. A defeat would pretty much end any realistic hope of the playoffs this year. So, it might make sense to let backup Brett Hundley (3-4 as a starter in AR’s absence) start the last two games. On the other hand, being the competitor that he is, AR will want to play.
Congrats to AR on his return, good luck, and stay tuned.
Here’s a report from the Green Bay Press Gazette on AR’s return:
“The news catapults the Packers’ playoff chances from a pipe dream to a legitimate possibility with three games remaining. Conventional wisdom says the Packers must win all three — at Carolina, vs. Minnesota and at Detroit — to have a chance at a wild card in the top-heavy NFC. Accomplishing that feat with Brett Hundley at quarterback was unlikely after he won just three games in seven starts; but with Rodgers the odds shift dramatically.
Beginning Wednesday, Rodgers will have three days of practice to prepare for his first game since Oct. 15, when a hit from Minnesota Vikings linebacker Anthony Barr resulted in a broken right collarbone. Rodgers underwent surgery in California to stabilize the fracture, and the Packers ultimately placed him on injured reserve. He returned to practice on a limited basis Dec. 2 and spent the last two weeks running the scout team, dazzling his teammates each day.
His initial return meant nothing, though, if Rodgers could not be medically cleared. He underwent a series of scans Monday to reveal the progress of his collarbone, and the interpretations of those scans by team physician Patrick McKenzie, several outside specialists and general manager Ted Thompson would determine whether the risk of further injury would be worth the reward of having Rodgers for a potential playoff run.
For a while it appeared bleak. Monday came and went with nothing but party-line comments by coach Mike McCarthy, who reiterated during a news conference that any decision on Rodgers’ future would be made by medical professionals. That Rodgers spun the football during pregame at Heinz Field or zinged passes in the Don Hutson Center was irrelevant, just as his assistant coaching efforts in Cleveland did nothing but reinforce his passion.
With Tuesday morning came additional silence, and social media wondered if the lengthy delay lessened Rodgers’ chances of returning. But the results of his scans were sent to specialists around the country, in multiple time zones, and the coordination of gathering various opinions certainly influenced the timeline. It’s quite possible that Rodgers’ surgeon in California, who at this point is unidentified, had a large say in the discussion.
If nothing else, the painstaking deliberation surrounding Rodgers’ health captures the importance of franchise quarterbacks, and in particular elite franchise quarterbacks. In breadth alone the discussion might have stretched to a dozen people: McKenzie, Thompson, McCarthy, the doctor who performed surgery, several outside experts and, of course, Rodgers himself. The crew needed 36 hours to probe the conundrum from various angles.
Everything started, of course, with the fairly black-and-white question of whether Rodgers’ collarbone had calcified since two plates and 13 screws were inserted to stabilize the fracture eight weeks ago. Enough time had passed for the bone to heal significantly, though perhaps not entirely, and therein lies the gray area for whoever reviewed the scans. How sturdy must his collarbone be to withstand the punishment of 300-pound defensive linemen or hard-charging linebackers?
There were also football questions that clouded the equation. At 7-6, the Packers must win out to have a realistic shot at the playoffs — and even then, they could fall short. Why risk Rodgers’ throwing shoulder when the Packers don’t control their postseason destiny? Surely that question irked the conscience of Thompson, whose conservative disposition is well-documented in Green Bay.
One has to wonder if the two-day uncertainty weighed on Hundley as well. With Sunday’s win over the Browns came the cleansing exhale of accomplishing his primary job: keeping the Packers in playoff contention until Rodgers was eligible to return. He achieved that feat with consecutive overtime victories that cast light on his moxie.
But narrow escapes against the Browns and Buccaneers bear little resemblance to the challenge of the next three weeks. To beat the Panthers (9-4), Vikings (10-3) and Lions (7-6) — two of which are on the road — the Packers will need reinforcements.
As it turns out, that’s just what the doctor ordered.”
Not often these days that we get to wake up to good news. Go Doug, go AR, go Pack, go America!
The 2017-’18 NFL season is objectively worse right now than it was on Sunday morning. Green Bay quarterback Aaron Rodgers broke his collarbone, and, for the foreseeable future, the league’s best player will be spending his Sundays watching games rather than playing in them.
The injury occurred in the the first quarter of Green Bay’s game against Minnesota. Vikings linebacker Anthony Barr tackled Rodgers to the turf, and the quarterback crumpled awkwardly on his arm and shoulder. (It’s a bit of frustrating irony that Rodgers’ offensive line on Sunday was in the best shapeit’s been in all year.)
After Rodgers was carted to the locker room for tests, Brett Hundley replaced him under center. Hundley is a promising young player, but, unfortunately for the Packers, he is one of the roughly 7 billion people on earth who is not Aaron Rodgers, meaning he will represent a downgrade at the quarterback position. With Rodgers, the Packers are a consistent threat to challenge for the Super Bowl. Without him … well, we’re about to find out.
Rodgers had been enjoying a terrific season, leading the Packers to a 4-1 record atop the NFC North. Just last weekend he performed his customary late-game vivisection of the Dallas Cowboys, which was exhilarating at the time but rather irritating in retrospect as it perfectly encapulates what fans will be missing due to his broken collarbone.
In 2013, Rodgers suffered a similar injury when he fractured his left clavicle in week nine. However, he was able to recover in time for the last game of that season, an affair in which he threw a last-gasp, game-winning touchdown to win the NFC North for the Packers and usher them into the playoffs. It was a miraculous performance that Green Bay fans will be careful not to label “once-in-a-lifetime” just yet.
Football carries more potential energy per play than any other sport. You never know when a routine tackle will result in something devastating, but the possibility is always there. While these high stakes may make the sport exciting, they can also conspire to result in the exact opposite outcome. Aaron Rodgers’ broken collarbone is an example of this, and the league will suffer as a result.
Vice President Mike Pence walked out of Sunday’s NFL game between the Indianapolis Colts and the San Francisco 49ers as several 49ers players knelt in protest during a rendition of the national anthem.
“While everyone is entitled to their own opinions, I don’t think it’s too much to ask NFL players to respect our Flag and our National Anthem,” Pence wrote on Twitter minutes after leaving the game in Indianapolis, Indiana.
Following the example of former San Francisco 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick, NFL players around the country have knelt during renditions of the national anthem in order to protest against police brutality and racial injustice directed towards black Americans.
More than a hundred NFL players from several football teams kneeled or held arms in solidarity earlier this month after President Donald Trump called NFL players who kneel during the anthem “sons of bitches.” He later insisted his criticism of the NFL had “nothing” to do with race.
Trump said on Sunday that he asked Pence to leave the stadium in Indianapolis if any players knelt during the national anthem, an extremely likely event given the number of players on the 49ers team who kneel during the anthem before every game.
The president’s revelation suggested the White House orchestrated the walk out on purpose, raising questions about the cost of Pence’s brief trip to Indianapolis. The vice president flew there from Las Vegas, where he visited the victims and families of last week’s horrific shooting. He is now flying back West for a stop in California.
“Wait. This was orchestrated to make a point? That’s not an inexpensive thing to do,” tweeted Sen. Brian Schatz (D-Hawaii) on Sunday.
Many people have commented that Pence’s action came off as publicity stunt, including San Francisco 49ers’ Eric Reid, who was one of the first players to kneel alongside Kaepernick in 2016. Reid told reporters that the three-year-old photo of Pence at a Colts game in 2014 was the last he had heard of the vice president attending a game.
“So this looks like a PR stunt to me,” Reid told a pool of reporters on Sunday. “He knew our team has had the most players protest. He knew that we were probably going to do it again. This is what systemic oppression looks like. A man with power comes to the game, tweets a couple of things out and leaves the game with an attempt to thwart our efforts. Based on the information I have, that’s the assumption I’ve made.”
This is what systemic oppression looks like. A man with power comes to the game, tweets a couple of things out and leaves the game with an attempt to thwart our efforts.Eric Reid, San Franciscos 49ers
Prior to walking out of the game, Pence met with former Colts quarterback Peyton Manning. The retired football star, who also played for the University of Tennessee and has donated to prominent GOP figures, has been floated as a potential candidate to replace Sen. Bob Corker (R-Tenn.). Corker is retiring next year, but Manning has said he has no plans to run for the seat.”
Obviously, Trump orchestrated this event to show America that if they ditch him they would be trading a bully for an idiot.
NOTE: Although Pence undoubtedly was carrying out a “staged” role assigned to him by Trump, and the quote is certainly sufficiently obsequious to have come from Pence, the actual quote in the headline section is “fake news.” However, the rest of the story about Pence’s idiotic behavior is, unfortunately, true — just another day in Trumpland.
NOW, ON TO MORE SIGNIFICANT NEWS:
After spotting the home-standing Dallas Cowboys a 21-6 lead (including missing two missed extra points) the Pack rallied for an exciting 35-31 victory over the ‘Pokes. The incomparable Aaron Rodgers (“AR”) led the last second comeback with a key third down scramble setting up the winning TD pass to Devonte Adams with 11 seconds remaining. Adams came back to catch two TD passes in an inspiring performance following a scary near-decapitation on a cheap shot by Bears’ LB Danny Trevathan during the Pack’s victory on Thursday, September 28.
“In a statement issued Tuesday evening, Green Bay Packers players invited fans attending their game Thursday against the Chicago Bears to join them in locking arms together during the national anthem at Lambeau Field.
Here is the complete statement:
“The NFL family is one of the most diverse communities in the world. Just look around! The eclectic group of players that you root for, the coaches you admire, the people you sit next to in the stands, those high-fiving on military bases, fans at the sports bar or during tailgate parties—we all come from different walks of life and have unique backgrounds and stories.
“The game of football brings people together. As NFL players, we are a living testimony that individuals from different backgrounds and with different life experiences can work together toward a common goal.
RELATED: Aaron Rodgers asks fans to lock arms in unity during anthem
“This Thursday during the national anthem at Lambeau Field, Packers players, coaches and staff will join together with arms intertwined—connected like the threads on your favorite jersey. When we take this action, what you will see will be so much more than just a bunch of football players locking arms. The image you will see on September 28th will be one of unity. It will represent a coming together of players who want the same things that all of us do—freedom, equality, tolerance, understanding, and justice for those who have been unjustly treated, discriminated against or otherwise treated unfairly. You will see the sons of police officers, kids who grew up in military families, people who have themselves experienced injustice and discrimination firsthand, and an array of others all linking together in a display of unity.
“Those of us joining arms on Thursday will be different in so many ways, but one thing that binds us together is that we are all individuals who want to help make our society, our country and our world a better place. We believe that in diversity there can be UNI-versity. Intertwined, we represent the many people who helped build this country, and we are joining together to show that we are ready to continue to build.
“Let’s work together to build a society that is more fair and just.
“Join us this Thursday by locking arms with whoever you’re with, stranger or loved one, wherever you are—intertwined and included—in this moment of unification.”
The Washington Post reports about today’s first NFL game in London:
“Less than three hours after President Trump called on NFL owners to suspend or fire players who protest during the national anthem, the Baltimore Ravens and Jacksonville Jaguars — the first teams to play on Sunday — linked arms or took a knee during the playing of “The Star-Spangled Banner” before the teams 9:30 a.m. EDT kickoff in London’s Wembley Stadium.
Ravens Coach John Harbaugh joined his players, linking arms, and Ravens Hall of Famer Ray Lewis took a knee. Jaguars owner Shahid Khan, who had contributed $1 million to the Trump inauguration, locked arms with his players in what is believed to be the first visible participation in relation to anthem protests by a league owner.”
Read the full report on the link.
Our President is a racist. Decent folks should band together and stand up against him. The entire state of Alabama should be hanging its head in shame as should the GOP which enabled and continues to enable this type of destructive conduct by an unqualified President.
And our racist, homophobic Attorney General Jeff Sessions and his White Nationalist agenda are a key part of dividing our country, whipping up bogus racial paranoia, and making a mockery of our justice system. Liz was right!
Meanwhile, star NFL QBs Tom Brady (Patriots) and Aaron Rodgers (Packers) posted their own messages of “unity” with their teammates.
“On one level, this is classic Trump. He feels as though he is being disrespected — whether by NFL players not standing for the national anthem or by Curry saying if it was up to him, the Golden State Warriors would not visit the White House. (The Warriors, in a statement Saturday afternoon, said they would come to Washington and do events to promote diversity and inclusiveness rather than meet with Trump.)
They hit him, so he hit back.
But, there’s something far more pernicious here. Both the NFL and the NBA are sports in which the vast majority of the players are black and the vast majority of owners are white. In the NFL, there are 0 black owners of the 32 teams. In the NBA, Michael Jordan is the lone black owner of a team.
Consider that in the context of what Trump said both Friday night and Saturday.
In Alabama, Trump called the players who refuse to stand for the anthem “sons of bitches” and insisted that any owner worth his or her salt should fire them immediately.
That got a lot of attention — and rightly so. But it’s what Trump said next that’s really telling. “Total disrespect of our heritage, a total disrespect of everything that we stand for,” he said — adding for emphasis: “Everything that we stand for.”
Notice the use of “our heritage” and “we” in those two sentences above.
But wait, there’s more. In both his Curry tweet and his two NFL tweets, Trump expressed frustration that these lucky athletes felt the need to be ungrateful.
Trump noted the “great honor” of going to the White House and the “privilege of making millions of dollars in the NFL.” You should just be thankful for what you have and not be making any trouble, Trump is telling these players.
Here’s the thing: Even if we lived in a color-blind society, that would be a dangerous sentiment. After all, freedom of expression is right there in the First Amendment. And our brave soldiers didn’t fight and die so that everyone stood during the national anthem. They fought so people could have the right to make a choice about whether or not they wanted to stand. That’s the whole damn point of the First Amendment.
The thing is: We don’t live in a color-blind society. Slavery sits at the founding roots of America. The goal of racial equality remains a goal, not an achievement. To pretend otherwise is to willfully blind yourself to hundreds years of history.
Even more context darkens the picture for Trump. He played at racially coded language throughout his presidential campaign. He also displayed a stunningly simplistic view of the black community.
“You’re living in poverty, your schools are no good, you have no jobs, 58% of your youth is unemployed — what the hell do you have to lose?” Trump said of African-Americans in a speech to a largely white audience in Michigan during the campaign. When NBA star Dwyane Wade’s cousin was shot in Chicago, Trump tweeted: “Dwayne Wade’s cousin was just shot and killed walking her baby in Chicago. Just what I have been saying. African-Americans will VOTE TRUMP!”” He took an inordinate amount of time to condemn former Ku Klux Klan leader David Duke. And so on.
As President, Trump has done little too ease concerns about his racial views — and, in fact, has heightened them. His handling of the Charlottesville, Virginia, protests — in which white supremacists and neo-Nazis marched in protest of the removal of a statue of Robert E. Lee — was particularly alarming.
Even as the protests turned violent — one woman was killed — Trump claimed that there were violent factions “on many sides” to be blamed. Days later, he doubled down on that false premise; “I watched those very closely, much more closely than you people watched it,” Trump said. “And you have — you had a group on one side that was bad, and you had a group on the other side that was also very violent, and nobody wants to say that, but I’ll say it right now.”
Although his administration tried desperately to move on from his remarks, it was made clear recently that Trump meant exactly what he said. The day after meeting at the White House with South Carolina Sen. Tim Scott — the lone black Republican in the Senate — Trump was quick to note that he had been right in his initial comments after Charlottesville.
“I think especially in light of the advent of Antifa, if you look at what’s going on there, you have some pretty bad dudes on the other side also, and essentially that’s what I said,” Trump told reporters.
And now, this.
I’ve long believed that Trump is simply saying whatever comes to mind, that there is no broader strategy to his comments. But it’s impossible to conclude that after Charlottesville, Trump is totally ignorant of the racial context in which his remarks on the NFL and NBA land. No one is that oblivious.
When, given all the water under the bridge — both in terms of our country’s history and the more narrow history of Trump’s campaign — you make comments about how the athletes in predominantly black pro sports leagues should just be happy with what they have and not complain, you aren’t doing it by accident. You really believe it.
Play football or basketball so we can be entertained, Trump seems to be telling these athletes. No one wants to hear your lack of gratitude for what you’ve been given.
There’s so many things wrong with that view.
First of all, no one gave these players anything. They worked for it.
Second, just because you are a professional athlete doesn’t mean you don’t get to be a citizen, too. We don’t tell accountants, for example, that they can’t express their opinions on politics and the culture more broadly, right? So why should we be in the business of telling professional athletes? And would Trump feel the same way if the majority of those protesting the anthem were white?
Trump defenders will note that Trump didn’t name names — other than Curry — when he blasted professional athletes. That “we” are adding color to it, not him.
But that doesn’t fly. As I noted above, both the NFL and NBA are majority black. And those refusing to stand during the national anthem are, with one exception, also all black.
Trump knows this. He is an avid consumer of TV and culture. Which means that he is purposely playing at and with racial animus here. That is a dark thing to do as the leader of the United States. And something he deserves to be condemned for.”
As reported in the Green Bay Press Gazette, Packer President/CEO Mark Murphy issued the following statement:
The full statement from Murphy:
“It’s unfortunate that the President decided to use his immense platform to make divisive and offensive statements about our players and the NFL. We strongly believe that players are leaders in our communities and positive influences. They have achieved their positions through tremendous work and dedication and should be celebrated for their success and positive impact.
“We believe it is important to support any of our players who choose to peacefully express themselves with the hope of change for good. As Americans, we are fortunate to be able to speak openly and freely.”
Trump’s racism and his condescending attitude toward minorities should come as no surprise given his campaign, his base, the GOP’s racially divisive agenda, and the folks surrounding him. It also should come as no surprise that Trump’s remarks came in Alabama, a state unable to advance beyond its disgusting racist history (except on the football field in Tuscolusa in the Fall) and move into the present.
It will be interesting to see what happens tomorrow at NFL stadiums. It will also be interesting to see whether African-American athletes put their money, time, and prestige behind encouraging others to vote so that Trump will never happen again and that the GOP stranglehold on our Government and our country will be broken.
Finally, why do we sing the National Anthem at sporting events in the first place? These athletic contests are entertsinment, not expressions of patriotism. We don’t sing it before concerts, movies, plays, and other performances. It doesn’t belong at sporting events either.
It is a bizarre and sad state of affairs when the President of the Green Bay Packers has to “school” the President of the United States on the meaning of our Constitution and an appropriate tone for race relations in our country!
On Tuesday July 18, 2107, I gave a luncheon address to interns and staff at the Catholic Legal Immigration Network (“CLINIC”) in Silver Spring, MD. My speech entitled “My Life & Times” is at this link:
On Wednesday, July 19, 2017, I delivered the a luncheon address that was part of the Frankel Lecture Series at Human Rights First in Washington, D.C. & New York, NY (by televideo). My speech entitled “Join The ‘New Due Process Army’ — Fight For Due Process In The United States Immigration Courts” is at this link:
“WASHINGTON (AP) — Young immigrants brought to the U.S. as children and now here illegally can “rest easy,” President Donald Trump said Friday, telling the “dreamers” they will not be targets for deportation under his immigration policies.
Trump, in a wide-ranging interview with The Associated Press, said his administration is “not after the dreamers, we are after the criminals.”
The president, who took a hard line on immigration as a candidate, vowed anew to fulfill his promise to construct a wall along the U.S.-Mexico border. But he stopped short of demanding that funding for the project be included in a spending bill Congress must pass by the end of next week in order to keep the government running.
. . . .
As a candidate, Trump strongly criticized President Barack Obama for “illegal executive amnesties,” including actions to spare from deportation young people who were brought to the country as children and now are here illegally. But after the election, Trump started speaking more favorably about these immigrants, popularly dubbed “dreamers.”
On Friday, he said that when it comes to them, “This is a case of heart.”
This week, attorneys for Juan Manuel Montes said the 23-year-old was recently deported to Mexico despite having qualified for deferred deportation. Trump said Montes’ case is “a little different than the dreamer case,” though he did not specify why.
The Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program was launched in 2012 as a stopgap to protect some young immigrants from deportation while the administration continued to push for a broader immigration overhaul in Congress.
Obama’s administrative program offered a reprieve from deportation to those immigrants in the country illegally who could prove they arrived before they were 16, had been in the United States for several years and had not committed a crime since being here. It mimicked versions of the so-called DREAM Act, which would have provided legal status for young immigrants but was never passed by Congress.
DACA also provides work permits for the immigrants and is renewable every two years. As of December, about 770,000 young immigrants had been approved for the program.”
Meanwhile, back at the ranch, “Fear Monger in Chief” Jeff Sessions had a somewhat less reassuring message for young people and their families:
As reported by Ted Hesson in Politico:
“Attorney General Jeff Sessions could not promise that so-called Dreamers, or participants in the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program, will not be deported, when he was interviewed Wednesday morning on Fox News.
Sessions fielded questions from host Jenna Lee about an undocumented immigrant who claims he was deported to Mexico despite his enrollment in the program, which was created through administrative action during the Obama administration.
The program allows undocumented immigrants brought to the U.S. at a young age to apply for deportation relief and work permits. In a federal lawsuit filed Tuesday, Juan Manuel Montes, a 23-year-old enrollee in the program, claimed he was sent to Mexico in February despite active DACA status.
“DACA enrollees are not being targeted,” Sessions said on Fox. “I don’t know why this individual was picked up.” But when pressed, Sessions said, “The policy is that if people are here unlawfully, they’re subject to being deported.”
“We can’t promise people who are here unlawfully that they’re not going to be deported,” Sessions added.”
Neither Trump nor Sessions, or for that matter anyone else in the Trump Administration, has much credibility on anything, particularly immigration policy. In reality, however, it appears that very few, if any, “Dreamers” have actually been removed.
The facts of the “Montes case” are still rather murky. He appears to have reentered the U.S. illegally, which generally would subject even a green card holder to removal. Montes reportedly is asserting an earlier “illegal removal” to Mexico. But, even if proved, that wouldn’t necessarily justify an illegal return. We’ll have to see how this case “plays out” in Federal Court, before the same judge who had the “Trump University” case.
But, the situation seems unusual enough that I would not draw any conclusion that it represents a policy change. Indeed, most “Dreamers” of whom I am aware do not actually have “final orders of removal.”
If they had pending U.S. Immigration Court cases, such cases were “administratively closed” and removed from the docket. Removal of such a “former Dreamer” would require the DHS to submit a “motion to re-calendar” to the U.S. Immigration Judge.
Once re-calendared, the case would proceed in the “normal manner,” whatever that might mean in the zany world of today’s U.S. Immigration Court. Generally, however, if the “former Dreamer” were not detained, he or she would go to the “end” of the 542,000 pending cases.
In most Immigration Courts, that would mean an “Individual Hearing” date after 2020, the end of Trump’s first term. And, as I have pointed out before, absent some “smart reforms” of the Immigration Court by Congress or the Administration to restore sanity and an emphasis on due process, the 125 new U.S. Immigration Judges proposed by Sessions will not eliminate the docket backlog at any time in the near future.http://wp.me/p8eeJm-Jf
However, notwithstanding what sometimes is called “Docket TPS,” former Dreamers could face another major obstacle: lack of “employment authorization” which was included in the DACA program. Without such authorization, continuing employment could cause major legal problems for both former Dreamers and their U.S. employers.
One possible solution would be for the “former Dreamer” to file an application for immigration benefits that carries with it the opportunity to qualify for a new employment authorization. The most likely application is probably asylum, although some who have never previously been in Removal Proceedings might also qualify to file for “cancellation of removal” or other forms of regularization of status.
Indeed, many of the dreamers who were on my docket when DACA was granted by USCIS had asylum applications pending, either on their own or as a dependent on a parent’s or spouse’s application, at the time the case was “administratively closed” and removed from my docket. The complexity of individual situations makes the prospect of mass removal of Dreamers even more unlikely.
Kendra Meinert reports in the Green Bay Press Gazette:
“Aaron Rodgers and Olivia Munn have decided to punt.
The Green Bay Packers quarterback and his Hollywood actress girlfriend have ended their nearly three-year relationship, according to People. The magazine cites “a source close to the situation” in the exclusive report.
The couple “remains close friends and wish nothing but the best for each other moving forward,” according to the source.
Rodgers, 33, and Munn, 36, became a power couple, showing up together at such high-profile events as the ESPYs, Academy Awards and Costume Institute Gala Benefit at The Metropolitan Museum of Art. In 2014, they presented together at the Academy of Country Music Awards in Las Vegas. Closer to home, the couple caused a major stir in the fall of 2014 when they were spotted walking together in downtown Appleton, where Rodgers was filming a commercial outside the Fox Cities Performing Arts Center.
Neither Rodgers or Munn has commented on the news on their individual Twitter accounts.”
Too bad. They were a nice couple. And, it’s not every day that you get Hollywood actresses like OM walking down the streets of Green Bay or hanging out in downtown Appleton (home of my alma master, Lawrence University).
But, life goes on. Hopefully, AR will have his head in the right place in time for the season opener next September.
Atlanta — The Pack’s up, down, up, down season ended with a thud as the Atlanta Falcons, led by presumptive MVP Matt Ryan, dominated in every phase of the game en route to a 44-21 rout in the NFC Championship game in Atlanta. It was the last game to be played at the Georgia Dome with a new stadium slated to be ready for next year.
Ryan threw 27-38 for 392 yards and four TDs, with no interceptions, and added 23 yards rushing and a 14-yard rushing TD to put an emphatic exclamation point on his probable MVP season. He also cemented his place among the NFL’s elite QBs while earning his first Super Bowl berth. He could be the league’s most “under-recognized superstar.” That’s likely to end, however, particularly if he can lead his team to a Super Bowl victory.
Meanwhile, AR was 27-45-287 with 3 TDs and one interception. Don’t be fooled, though; all the TD’s and a big chunk of the yards were in “garbage time” after the Falcons had effectively put this one out of reach by jumping to a 31-0 lead before the Pack scored in the third quarter.
The game was not even as close as the lopsided score indicated. From the outset, the Pack was plagued by offensive mistakes, missed opportunities, and a complete inability of the depleted defense to put up any real resistance to Ryan and his star receiver, Julio Jones. Meanwhile, the much-maligned Atlanta defense had little problem keeping AR and the Pack in offense in check until the game was effectively over.
Next stop for the high-flying Falcons: the Super Bowl in Houston in two weeks v. the winner of the Patriots v. Steelers game.
For the Pack, it was a disappointing ending after a string of eight straight victories, led by some incredible play from AR, which took them within a game of the Super Bowl after a 4-6 start. The Pack finished the season at 12-7 and an NFC North Championship. With AR and a hopefully healthy team, the Pack should be positioned to make another Super Bowl run next fall.
Good luck to Matt Ryan and the Falcons in two weeks!
“The forecast for offense in Sunday’s NFC Championship Game is nothing short of unprecedented. The expected total of more than 60 points is the highest in NFL postseason history, and for good reasons. The Falcons have one of the highest-scoring offenses ever, Green Bay’s Aaron Rodgers is on an all-time roll, and both defenses tend to underwhelm.
This game is such a unicorn that the coaches may have to employ an unthinkable strategy: forget about the kicking game. Punting the ball near midfield may be nonsensical when the other team is likely to score no matter where they start the drive. And the team that converts a field goal may find itself three points closer to losing.”
Remember when you were a kid playing touch football all in the back yard? Your quarterback takes a twig and sketches out the play — “you go short, you go medium, and you stop then run like hell for the garage and I’ll hit you!” Well, that’s just about how the incomparable Aaron Rodgers reportedly did it on the key completion of the game — a 36-yard dart to Jared Cook on third and twenty from his own 32, a play that started with just 12 seconds left in the game and set up the game-winning field goal kick by Mason Crosby to lift the Pack to a 34-31 victory over the Dallas Cowboys yesterday.
Packer wideout Randall Cobb later told a reporter: “the final play was essentially written up in the dirt by Rodgers before the snap, with the quarterback telling each receiver where to go.”
AR and the Pack will match up with the Atlanta Falcons and their red-hot QB Matt Ryan in Atlanta this coming Sunday with a trip to the Super Bowl on the line. Expect the air to be filled with footballs in a high-scoring contest.