"Upon further review . . ."

Former sports editor and referee Ira Lacher‘s take on one of the most talked-about events of the past week. -promoted by Laura Belin

We interrupt this nascent but already red-hot political season for a far more important matter — so important that The New York Times made it a front-page story in its print edition of Tuesday, January 22:

“Fans Can See Every Angle, but N.F.L. Officials Can’t. Why?” (Upon further review, editors changed the headline on the website to: “When the Whole Country Reviews a Play, Referees Can’t Always Join.”)

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Open-mic night

I get sports. I watch sports. I’m a fan. Many of us are. When we see men and women do amazing things while wearing shirts with the names of the communities we belong to, it makes us feel good.

There are all kinds of psychological studies, like this one, that try to explain why we are so invested in contests that in few ways affect how we live our lives. But the bottom line is, when our teams win, we feel better. We win, a little. And when they lose, we don’t feel as good.

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Iowa sports announcer: "As Trump would say, go back where they came from"

A northern Iowa radio station has fired two employees for making “insensitive, thoughtless and degrading” comments about high school basketball players with Latino-sounding names. In a statement published this morning, KIOW-FM Radio in Forest City (Winnebago County) condemned the “deplorable” remarks by announcer Orin Harris and an unidentified woman before a recent boys basketball game between Forest City and Eagle Grove (Wright County). UPDATE: KIMT reported that the woman was board operator Holly Jane Kusserow-Smidt.

Eagle Grove resident Betty Jo Willard posted what she rightly called the “absolutely appalling!!” clip on Facebook on December 3. The banter illustrates how President Donald Trump has emboldened bigots across the country to express racist views.

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Weekend open thread: Making history

I’m a third-generation Tigers fan–my mother saw Hank Greenberg play at the old Tiger Stadium in Detroit–but most of Iowa is Cubs country. Congratulations to everyone who “Flew the W” Saturday night, watching the Chicago Cubs win the National League pennant for the first time in seven decades. Seeing any long-suffering sports team win a championship makes me happy, so I am glad the next World Series champions will be either the Cubs or the Cleveland Indians. Any thoughts on the potential impact of a Cubs or Indians victory on the election results in Iowa or Ohio?

I shouldn’t tempt fate with November 8 two and a half weeks away, but FiveThirtyEight.com now gives Hillary Clinton an 86 percent chance of winning the presidency. The latest simulation by Reuters/Ipsos sees her winning in 95 percent of scenarios. Recent polls of Iowa voters show no clear favorite in the presidential race. I expect a close result here; the latest absentee ballot numbers give both Democrats and Republicans reason to be optimistic. No matter who wins Iowa’s six electoral votes, Clinton appears very likely to be the next president.

Until a few years ago, I didn’t think a woman would be elected president in my lifetime. Despite all the misogyny and Hillary hate this campaign has brought to the surface, my children’s generation will grow up without the baggage of thinking this country would never elect a woman, just like they would never think an African-American can’t become president. That’s inspiring and empowering.

Any thoughts on which Iowans might get high-profile jobs in a Clinton administration? What place will she find for Tom Vilsack? Politico came up with a short list of five possible candidates to replace Vilsack as secretary of agriculture. (None are from Iowa.)

I’ve reached out to many Iowa Republicans who have kept their distance from Donald Trump or are rumored not to be voting for him. Most have not responded to my queries. I get that it’s a tough political calculation to oppose your party’s nominee, especially when the whole Iowa GOP establishment enthusiastically supports him. But I am convinced many of these closeted #NeverTrumpers will regret lacking the courage to take a stand before November 8. Trump is not some less-than-ideal candidate. He is playing to the ugliest strains in American politics. His demagoguery and blood libel encouraged white nationalists to come out from under their rocks, some explicitly playing the race card for votes while others relentlessly harass Trump’s critics.

Five former heads of the Republican National Committee, dozens of current and former GOP members of Congress, and four former GOP presidential nominees have said they will not vote for Trump. Fifty former senior national security officials in Republican administrations and a former nuclear missile launch officer have said it would be dangerous to give him the nuclear codes. His narcissism is comical, until you remember this man with no impulse control could become president. Meanwhile, Senator Joni Ernst told the whole country Trump would keep us safer. Ernst pretends to care about sexual assault but will vote for a man who threatened to sue all the women who have accused him of assaulting them. This Iraq War veteran hosted Trump at her biggest fundraiser of the year soon after he insulted a Gold Star family.

In contrast to Ernst, Governor Terry Branstad, or state party chair Jeff Kaufmann, some Iowa Republicans have avoided Trump’s rallies or events where they might be seen with the nominee. To them I say: speak up now, or expect your complicity to be a permanent stain on your political career. These people better not claim after Trump’s landslide loss that they secretly didn’t like him and didn’t vote for him.

Hardin County Auditor Jessica Lara told the Wall Street Journal’s Reid Epstein this week that she’s voting for Hillary Clinton. To my knowledge, she is the only current elected Republican official in Iowa to come out publicly for Clinton. Bleeding Heartland was first to report in May that Lara was #NeverTrump.

This is an open thread: all topics welcome. History buffs may appreciate Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty’s phenomenal interactive site showing pictures of street scenes in Budapest during the 1956 Hungarian uprising and in the present day.

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Steve King doesn't get it: Equating protest with terrorism is un-American

Blogger’s dilemma: which of Representative Steve King’s latest embarrassing, bigoted comments on national television should I focus on today?

Arguing that the government should guarantee parental leave only for the so-called “natural family” (which in King’s mind does not include gay or lesbian parents) was reprehensible. Why does he keep looking so hard for ways the state can treat LGBT people like second-class citizens? A parent’s sexual orientation should have no bearing on whether a baby deserves more time to bond with the primary caregiver. CNN’s Chris Cuomo already did a good job challenging King, pointing out research shows babies in LGBT households “are doing just as well if not better” than children being raised by a man and a woman.

I’ll take door number 2: King telling a friendly interviewer that professional football player Colin Kaepernick engaged in “activism that’s sympathetic to ISIS” and should be forced to “take a knee and beg forgiveness from the American people.”

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