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Op-Ed: Mixing politics with baseball is un-American | National



“There is no place in baseball for politics and no place in politics for baseball.”

– Branch Rickey

Considered America’s National Pastime, baseball has helped to reshape this nation. From the Civil War to civil rights and beyond, the game of baseball has always reflected the positive aspects of American life. It has set national trends, influenced our culture and improved our economies. It has inspired movements, instilled pride and united us during wars. It has healed our social wounds and built American cities. Most importantly, it broke the color barrier for integrating professional sports.

In 1942, former baseball player Branch Rickey became president of the Brooklyn Dodgers. Rickey was only an average player, but he was the greatest asset to the game he loved. He devoted his life to protecting and improving America’s pastime. He did more than anyone to preserve the ethics and principles of an institution that made America a unique and insightful nation. In the baseball world, he set the bar for all future executives for promoting good will within the baseball community.

Rickey was a man of character with deeply religious convictions. He sewed the seeds of baseball much the same as Johnny Appleseed introduced apple trees to large parts of America.

He was all American and often attacked communism and socialism. He was fearlessly intelligent, well read, and thoughtful. His favorite book was the Bible, which he often quoted chapter and verse.

“Baseball is slow to change and accept new ideas. Sometimes it takes years.”

– Branch Rickey

Rickey, who had fought in the trenches during World War I with Black Americans, was eager to get them into Major League Baseball. In 1945, he founded a league for Black players to scout ballplayers. He was determined to find the best Black ballplayer to convince owners to desegregate baseball. He said, ”I may not be able to end racism in every sport, but I can do it here in baseball.”

In October 1945, he signed Jackie Robinson, a fellow GI and graduate of UCLA. After a stint with the Dodgers’ minor league team in Montreal, Robinson made his debut in Major League Baseball in 1947. This bold move broke the league’s color barrier. Robinson and Rickey formed a lasting bond. They worked the rest of their careers on improving the lives of all Black Americans.

Rickey’s determination to desegregate Major League Baseball was born out of a combination of his religious beliefs and patriotism. He felt segregation violated the Christian faith and the GIs that had fought for America and world freedom should never be treated like second class citizens. Branch Rickey not only ended segregation in baseball, but he opened the door to end it in all major sports.

“I needed to win, so I promoted Jackie Robinson for his skills, just not his race.”

– Branch Rickey

Rickey was Mr. Baseball, but he did more for professional sports than just open the door for Black Americans in the major leagues. Shortly after Jackie Robinson stole his first base, fellow UCLA grad Kenny Washington became the first Black player to sign with an NFL franchise in 1947.

Baseball ended segregation in professional sports, yet Commissioner Rob Manfred moved the All-Star game this year from Atlanta to Colorado because of Georgia’s new voting laws. This was a slap in the face of all those who worked to desegregate professional sports. Politics and baseball don’t mix! Manfred had no right to bow to progressives and let leftist politics influence an American tradition.

President Joe Biden claims Georgia’s election reform bill is “Jim Crow in a suit and tie.” He falsely claims it prohibits family members from dropping off absentee ballots, restricts early voting, and limits voting hours. And the media and corporate America are helping to perpetrate this hoax. Yet every change in Georgia’s election law was made simply to prevent more problems like there were last election.

“This election bill is nothing more than a dog whistle to disenfranchise minority voters.”

– Joe Biden

Matthew Weil, of the Bipartisan Policy Center, claims this helps voters. It allows voters to obtain ballots without an excuse. Voters can also vote on Sunday. Counties must have drop boxes. It extended early voting three additional days. Voters can request a ballot 11 weeks in advance. The only change, which most Americans support, is you must show “any form of ID”, even a utility bill, to vote.

Richard Hasen, an election law expert at the University of California, said that many of the things this bill does is in line with what other states already do. It is confusing why the reworking of voting rights laws for the right reason is illegal, particularly when it is not as strict as many other states. He added, “There is little data that shows increasing ID requirements affects participation at all.”

Manfred claims he made the decision to move the All-Star game from Atlanta to Colorado under pressure from the Black Players Alliance, an organization of black players formed after the death of George Floyd. They also pressured Coke, Delta Airlines and American Express to support them.

The All-Star Game would have been a huge opportunity for Georgia’s large minority-owned small business community. They’re now left paying the price for leftist politics. These identity groups hurt the people this would have helped by perpetrating a false narrative with the help of the media.

“It takes considerable knowledge just to realize the extent of your own ignorance.”

– Thomas Sowell

Plato told us in 400 BC, “Don’t confuse me with facts.” Apparently, facts are not a strong suit for progressive politicians, baseball identity groups, and corporate America. If the left does not like a policy, they rally everyone in their camp to go into attack mode and cancel out any group, policy or individual they disagree with. This is dangerous and antithetical to the values of our great republic.

Not so long ago, American baseball was a great equalizer. It provided a place for political activists of all stripes and colors, professionals, blue color workers, the wealthy and the poor to forget their differences, and enjoy a game together. They’d “catch” a bag of peanuts from a wandering vendor and share them. They only fought each other over who could catch and retrieve a prized foul ball.

You can’t escape woke politics today, especially in America’s once great pastime, baseball. The baseball stadium was once our “national neutral zone.” Now it’s been violated by woke partisan politics. It is shameful that America’s Pastime is not only being influenced by identity groups and progressives but it is perpetrating false political narratives supported by American companies.

Rickey was recognized by the NAACP and numerous Civil Rights groups as the man who desegregated professional sports. Rickey and Jackie Robinson worked together for years to end segregation in major leagues and amateur sports. It is a shame that the very sport and the very two men that spent their lives fighting segregation are disgraced by progressive politicians and identity groups at an event honoring them and America’s Pastime.

“Some day I’m going to have to stand before God, and if He asks me why, I didn’t let that [Jackie] Robinson fellow play ball, I don’t think saying ‘because of the color of his skin’ would be a good enough answer.”

– Branch Rickey

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The Latest: Pakistan receives 1st vaccines through COVAX | Govt-and-politics




Alf Johansson, head of the exercise’s communications, told the Swedish news agency TT that the affected unit had 200 soldiers and 8 positive coronavirus cases have been confirmed so far. He defended arranging the drill in the middle of the pandemic by saying that the military hasn’t burdened civilian health care.

“This is a very important exercise for the army to train together so that we can maintain our ability to defend Sweden,” Johansson told TT.

Sweden, a nation of 10 million, has recorded just over 1 million coronavirus cases, with 14,173 deaths by Friday.

HARTFORD, Conn. — Of the more than 1.4 million Connecticut residents who are now fully vaccinated, 242 later became infected with COVID-19, according to data released Friday from the state Department of Public Health.

Among the 242 so-called “vaccine breakthrough cases,” 109 people had no symptoms of the disease. DPH reported three deaths among vaccinated individuals who were confirmed to have had underlying medical conditions. They were between the ages of 55-64, 65-74, and 75 years and older.

Nationally, there have been 132 vaccine breakthrough deaths, DPH said.

“The main takeaway is that COVID-19 vaccines are highly effective and cases of infection after a person is fully vaccinated are very rare,” Dr. Deidre Gifford, the state’s acting public health commissioner, said in a statement. Cases of COVID-19 in fully vaccinated individuals in Connecticut is less than 0.1%, according to the DPH data.

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Montana to vaccinate Alberta truckers | 406 Politics




About 2,000 Albertan truckers will be eligible for vaccinations this side of the border starting Monday, the governor’s office announced Friday.

The deal was paved by a memorandum of understanding signed between Montana and Alberta in hopes of maintaining trade routes across the border, according to Friday’s press release. The Albertan truckers have been allocated vaccine doses from the U.S. to be administered at a truck stop in Conrad, along Interstate 15.

Gov. Greg Gianforte

Gov. Greg Gianforte speaks on the step of the Montana state Capitol.

“The pandemic has had devastating consequences, including a severe impact on our economies,” Gov. Greg Gianforte said in a press release. “By working together and taking this critical action, we keep our trade channels open between Montana and Alberta.”

Last month, the Blackfeet tribe had provided about 1,000 surplus vaccines to Albertans who crossed the border for a shot. Canada has been slow to rollout its vaccination because of a lack of domestic manufacturing, the Associated Press reported earlier this week. The U.S. only recently began exporting its doses, requiring Montana’s neighbors to the north to turn to overseas countries in search or surplus doses. 

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Race, politics, partisanship: Bend school board race sees unusual division | Local&State




Typically, school board races in Central Oregon are a quieter affair than City Council or state Legislature campaigns.

The elections are in May, not November, and during odd-numbered years. Turnout is lower, as most people don’t get as fired up about who’s going to be on the school board as much as they do about who’s going to represent them in Salem. And the race is nominally nonpartisan — no Republican or Democrat identifiers on the ballot.

But not in this year’s race for the Bend-La Pine School Board.

The campaign has become politically charged, and three candidates on a conservative slate have repeatedly criticized schools for how they teach issues of race. They’ve said local schools make white students feel guilty, and claim so-called “wokeness” — slang for an alertness to racial or social discrimination and injustice — is ruining local schools.

The conservative-learning candidates — Maria Lopez-Dauenhauer, Jon Haffner, Gregg Henton and Wendy Imel — did not participate in Central Oregon’s largest nonpartisan political forum and have barely spoken with local media. Instead, they tout themselves as “parents, not politicians,” while at the same time chatting with conservative pundits from outside Central Oregon, like Fox News commentator Laura Ingraham and Portland radio personality Lars Larson.

John Rexford, who spent 29 years as a local school administrator before retiring in 2018, said he had never seen a school board race this politically charged.

“This is the ultimate fallout from the severe partisanship we’ve experienced over the past few years on a national level,” Rexford said. “This is really — and I hate to say it — unprecedented.”

Partisan discussion of race

On “The Lars Larson Show,” Henton said local schools were making white students feel guilty.

“What they’re going to be doing is pushing a — I hate to say it — but a guilt trip on our children, especially our white children,” he said. “’Billy won’t play with me because I’m white.’ This is where this is going.”

Henton did not list his race on his campaign filing information.

Henton’s opponent for the school board seat, Shirley Olson, said Henton’s assumptions about race in local schools was off-base. Teachers do bring it up, but it’s more nuanced than simply making white students feel guilty, she said.

“He’s making some huge assumptions,” said Olson, who also did not list her race on her campaign filing information. “I don’t have any idea where he’s getting his information — he’s certainly not getting it from the school district.”

Fellow board candidate Marcus LeGrand added that the point of anti-racist practices in teaching is to make students aware of systemic barriers that harm students of color, not make white kids feel bad.

“An honest look at history may lead students to feel empathy and a greater understanding of the lived experiences of their marginalized peers, but guilt is not the goal,” LeGrand, who is Black, wrote in an email.

Phrases like “Wokeness” and “white guilt” are intended to shut down dialog rather than address underlying issues of racism, he said.

Ingraham described the candidates as running “on a platform of breaking the woke monopoly that’s brainwashing their kids,” and both Lopez-Dauenhauer and Imel made brief statements decrying what was being taught in schools regarding race and the United States.

Lopez-Dauenhauer complained about critical race theory — a practice of acknowledging how America’s racist past still has systemic impacts today. Critical race theory has recently become a hot topic among conservatives, according to The Atlantic.

“We’re finding they’re talking about critical race theory (in schools),” Lopez-Dauenhauer, who identifies as Mexican-American, said on Fox News. “We believe politics have no place in the classrooms.”

Henton has also been accused, both on Twitter and on Reddit, of making racist and Islamophobic tweets. These tweets come from multiple accounts — @HentonGregg and @gregghsunriver — that could not be independently verified as belonging to Henton.

One of the accounts, @gregghsunriver, was deleted after The Bulletin asked Henton and his running mates for comment.

Archived tweets from that account, from 2017, said that Muslims were “the western hating-murder-them-all kind” of people, and that the prophet Muhammad committed genocide against those who didn’t convert to Islam.

“I know of no historian who has written that Muhammad said ‘convert or perish’ or that he committed genocide,” David Hollenberg, associate professor of Arabic & Islamic Studies at the University of Oregon, wrote in an email to The Bulletin.

Henton did not respond to email and phone call requests for comment about the tweets. When asked about the tweets outside his Sunriver home Thursday, Henton refused to comment.

“I know who you are, and I’m not going to talk with you,” Henton said. “I don’t appreciate you coming to my house. Please leave.”

Local media mostly shut out

Henton has not responded to The Bulletin’s repeated requests for comment. Fellow candidate Jon Haffner — the only one of the board candidates who has not directly talked about race, but did mention a need to ”de-politicize our schools” on his campaign website — has also not spoken with The Bulletin.

Lopez-Dauenhauer has only responded to The Bulletin through email. Imel has briefly spoken on the phone with The Bulletin, but has also conducted all interviews through email.

All four candidates also did not participate in the League of Women Voters of Deschutes County and City Club of Central Oregon’s nonpartisan candidate forum — something that shocked the leaders of those organizations.

The four Democrat-endorsed school board candidates — Carrie McPherson Douglass, Marcus LeGrand, Janet Sarai Llerandi and Shirley Olson — participated in the nonpartisan forum and conducted phone interviews with The Bulletin.

Current board member Shimiko Montgomery said she was concerned about the conservative slate’s comparative reluctance to speak with local media or participate in nonpartisan forums.

“What I am surprised about is the lack of transparency and willingness to engage with the public by four of the candidates,” Montgomery wrote in an email.

Phil Henderson, chair of the Deschutes County Republicans, said neither he nor the party told the four candidates — all endorsed by the Republicans — to avoid speaking with local media. He declined to comment on the topic beyond that.

“They are running their own campaign,” Henderson said.

Jason Burge, chair of the Deschutes County Democrats, said he thought the candidates’ lack of participation in the forum, or unwillingness to do phone interviews with The Bulletin, was a red flag.

“The desire to only respond with written statements makes me wonder, who’s responding, and who we’re actually hearing from,” he said. “How much of the content is really from the candidates … and how much is scripted from somebody else?”

Evan Crawford, an assistant professor of political science at the University of San Diego who specializes in local and school board politics, told The Bulletin the slate’s communications behavior is likely an intentional campaign strategy.

In low-turnout elections in more liberal areas like Bend, it’s a common move for right-leaning candidates, he said.

“If you’re a conservative slate of candidates running in what’s perceived to be a majority Democratic district, you’re not incentivized to show your very Republican perspectives,” Crawford said. “I’m not surprised they wouldn’t participate in the League of Women Voters forum.”

Crawford added that appearances on conservative media like Fox News and “The Lars Larson Show” are a way to draw out the local conservative vote in a nonpartisan election, while keeping others unaware of their political views.

In a written statement sent to The Bulletin, Llerandi said she believes this school board election is being used as a test by outside special interests who “want to push an alt-right agenda on our schools.”

“These are nonpartisan races, so they think they can make inroads,” she wrote in an email. “So you see them lying to rank and file voters about who they really are and what they’re about, and then giving a wink to their base with implicit bigotry.”

Claims of ‘doxxing’

On Wednesday, Lopez-Dauenhauer filed a formal complaint with Bend-La Pine Schools, stating that McPherson Douglass — the only incumbent running for school board — had “doxxed” her by posting Lopez-Dauenhauer’s home address, the value of her large house, and a Google Maps screen shot of her home on Facebook. That Facebook post has since been deleted, but Lopez-Dauenhauer included a screen shot.

When asked to comment, Lopez-Dauenhauer did not respond.

Henderson said he did not approve of McPherson Douglass’ post — which also pointed out Lopez-Dauenhauer’s wealth — even if the information was publicly available.

“Where somebody lives doesn’t mean they’d be a bad candidate,” Henderson said. “It seems like a low blow.”

McPherson Douglass said the purpose of posting this information, and emphasizing Lopez-Dauenhauer’s wealth, was not to say that wealthy people can’t run for school board. But rather, that Lopez-Dauenhauer was trying to buy her way onto the board.

“Her decision to shirk voters, while using her money to fund attack ads … is trying to buy an election without engaging with voters,” McPherson Douglass said.

A person named Dennis Dauenhauer — who is listed as “candidate and immediate family” and as having the same address as Lopez-Dauenhauer — gave Lopez-Dauenhauer’s campaign more than $27,600 of in-kind contributions, according to the Oregon Secretary of State’s office. All other contributions combined to her campaign, as of Friday, total slightly less than $8,250.

Dennis Dauenhauer also contributed $1,000 each to Haffner and Imel’s campaigns, although he was not the largest donor for either. He did not contribute to Henton’s campaign.

In total, McPherson Douglass has raised about $36,290 in cash and in-kind contributions — mainly comprised of many smaller donations — compared to a $35,850 contribution total for Lopez-Dauenhauer, as of Friday.

Montgomery, who was elected to the school board in 2019, told The Bulletin that the numerous instances of slander and demeaning rhetoric should not be a part of an election meant to focus on children.

“My heart is just very heavy as I watch these races unfold,” she wrote in an email. “Our children deserve leaders who embody kindness, empathy, and decency toward others.”

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