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Racists, local Music legends and LeBron…again: News for week of May 31, 2018

This week harnesses all the uncertainty of negotiations with North Korea and a stock market tanking over the threat of new sanctions, but we’re pretty clear on a few things: racists, basketball, Puerto Rico and righteous love for Tower of Power.

Racists and the “in” crowd

Far be it for me to call the president a racist, but his support for racists has been a hot topic since his really, really big inauguration. In an administration that considers Nazis “very fine people” and refuses to condemn celebrities who compare people of color to “apes”, it shouldn’t be surprising that pardons are being handed out for people who have publicly and blatantly expressed racist views.

Illustration courtesy of Medium

In August, the president cleaned the slate for former Arizona sheriff Joe Arpaio, a man notorious for his unconstitutional mistreatment of undocumented immigrants. And now Thursday, NBC News reported that Trump will also pardon “conservative provocateur Dinesh D’Souza”. D’Souza is swell guy who towed the line for the birther movement, accused the Obama administration of “gangsterizing” American politics and recently mocked Parkland shooting victims. So, there’s that.

Dinesh D’Souza with pal, Steve Bannon. Photo courtesy of The Hill

With the power of the presidency behind them, it’s no wonder we have at least eight white nationalists running for office, as MSNBC highlighted in a series of interviews that quotes one man calling Jewish people “monsters”, and that’s just the tip of the bigot iceberg.

It sure seems that if you’re a racist, this is your year to shine.

Local music legends get big local love

Today is officially Tower of Power Day in Oakland, according to KTVU Fox 2. The 50-year-old band will celebrate their longevity at the Fox Theater this weekend, but they’ll first be celebrated in front of City Hall Thursday afternoon. As members told KTVU, they lived, partied, wrote and performed music in the East Bay beginning in 1968, but unfortunately can’t afford to live in the city that’s dedicated a whole day in their honor.

Tower of Power once upon a time. Photo courtesy of Past Daily

The band was known for playing house parties in Berkeley and Oakland and found fame on a national stage, playing and recording with the likes of Santana and Elton John. We suggest you throw on a little “Oakland Stroke” and celebrate Tower of Power Day properly.

Puerto Rico and a cloud of shame

Hurricane Maria pummeled Puerto Rico just about eight months ago, devastating the U.S. territory with ongoing and debilitating power outages. The storm left residents with shortages of food, water and proper medical care, but somehow the official death toll had only climbed to 64 people. That number seemed too good to be true, and that’s because it was.

CNN reports that a recently published medical journal analysis puts that number at 4,645 people, a tragic but much more realistic estimation given the damage done to the island and the lack of efficient support they’ve received from the mainland (not to say that the infamous paper towel toss didn’t help).

It’s impossible to say exactly how many people died as a result of the hurricane or exactly how they died, but the recent report cites an inadequate response by the U.S. government and lack of proper services as a factor in the many deaths since last September. Specifically, the study found one-third of the death toll to be “caused by delayed or prevented access to medical care.”As of today, there are still thousands of Puerto Ricans living without power.

The president was pretty proud of his administration with the toll at 64, but this new report throws shame on the U.S. response under his watch.

NBA déjà vu

If you somehow missed last year’s NBA finals, it was a matchup between the Golden State Warriors and the Cleveland Cavaliers. The same two teams faced off in 2016 and 2015. And if you missed all three years, no fear, you’ll get the chance to catch the same damn thing this year. Thursday night kicks off Game 1 between the rivals after each team went a full seven games to clinch their conference titles, knocking out the Houston Rockets and Boston Celtics along the way. Having seen this show before, we can guarantee a fair share of three-pointers and traveling calls, with a technical or two thrown in for good measure.

Warriors versus Cavaliers, again. Photo illustration courtesy of Best Online Sports Book

Although it seems like Steph Curry and LeBron James are forever fated to fight it out for the title, Warriors General Manager Bob Myers swears there will be an end to the repeat in an interview with NBA.com:

“I don’t need any reminders. I know a lot of people in the Bay Area think this is going to go on forever. On the record, it won’t. It can’t. Nothing does.”

We shall see Bob, we shall see. In the meanwhile, go Dubs!!!

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Nik Wojcik - East Bay Editor

Nik Wojcik - East Bay Editor

Journalist, editor, student, single mom to a pack of wolves, foodie, music lover, resident smart ass, and champion of vulgarity and human kindness.