Rep. Ocasio-Cortez responds to ‘hateful’ video at Fresno Grizzlies baseball game

“Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez responded Tuesday to a Memorial Day tribute video shown by the Fresno Grizzlies that equated her with Kim Jong-un and Fidel Castro – a video that team representatives say was shown by mistake,” as the Fresno Bee is reporting.

Ocasio-Cortez, the high-profile and self-described progressive, responded on Twitter to the video and similar attacks, saying such messages pose a threat to her safety.

“What people don’t (maybe do) realize is when orgs air these hateful messages, my life changes bc of the flood of death threats they inspire,” Ocasio-Cortez tweeted.

“I‘ve had mornings where I wake up & the 1st thing I do w/ my coffee is review photos of the men (it’s always men) who want to kill me.”

The 3 1/2 minute video was shown by the Grizzlies on the video scoreboard between games of Monday’s Memorial Day baseball doubleheader at Chukchansi Park. [Go to 3:06 in the video to see the images of Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, Kim Jong-un and Fidel Castro.]

“Called a ‘Memorial Day Tribute – We Are Americans,’ the video is mostly filled with patriotic-themed images playing behind excerpts from the first inaugural speech by President Ronald Reagan.

“But at about three minutes, the video shows a photo montage starting with an Antifa member, followed by the North Korean leader Kim and then Ocasio-Cortez, whose image is followed by a photo of Castro, the late Cuban leader. The images appear during the part of Reagan’s speech when he says, “As for the enemies of freedom, those who are potential adversaries …”

Northwestern’s Medill journalism school appoints new dean

As a graduate of and donor to Northwestern’s Medill School of Journalism, I received this email:

Good morning, please see the below message from Provost Holloway, which is confidential until 9:30 a.m., when the announcement will be publicly released.

Dear Medill alumni,

I am delighted to write today to tell you I have appointed Charles Whitaker to be the dean of the Medill School of Journalism, Media, Integrated Marketing Communications. Below is the news release that will be going out at 9:30 a.m. announcing this news publicly.

While we were pleased to attract a great deal of talent in our national search, ultimately it was clear that Charles is the right person to guide Medill into its next chapter. I have tremendous confidence in his ability to lead, educate and advocate for all members of the Medill community. He has done exemplary work as the interim dean.

I would like to take this opportunity to thank Medill search committee chair Edward Malthouse for his leadership in guiding this faculty-led search, as well as members of the committee for all their excellent work.

Charles is the first Medill alumnus to be chosen as dean, and he is deeply committed to the school’s twin missions of journalism and integrated marketing communications. It’s hard to think of a time when those missions were as critical as they are today.

Alexander Rossi misses winning his second Indy 500 by only 0.2086 of a second

“Simon Pagenaud completed his perfect May at Indianapolis Motor Speedway, winning the 103rd Indianapolis 500 by edging Alexander Rossi in a closing shootout by 0.2086 of a second,” as the Indianapolis Star is reporting.

“Pagenaud won the IndyCar Grand Prix earlier this month and became the 21st pole-sitter to win the race. The most recent pole-sitter to win was Helio Castroneves in 2009.

“After leading 116 laps, he stopped his Chevrolet on the Yard of Bricks, exited his car and thanked fans from atop his car,”

Rossi was a contender throughout the race, which included some high drama. “Alexander Rossi is raging and driving one-handed in the Indy 500, and people love it,” as the Star reported earlier.

“I think we had the superior car but just didn’t have enough there at the end,” Rossi said after the race.

As KCRA reported earlier in the week: “Nevada City residents cheer on hometown hero in Indy 500.” Rossi was born in Auburn, California and raised in Nevada City.  He graduated from Auburn’s Forest Lake Christian High School.

Rossi, 27, won the Indy 500 in 2016 as a rookie, driving for the Andretti Autosport racing team.  He appeared as a special guest in Nevada City’s Constitution Day parade (see photo by Kial James).


British and Irish politics: “What’s up is down, and what’s down is up”

In Britain, The Guardian newspaper is reporting: “The morning after both Donald Trump’s victory and the Brexit referendum, when a mood of paralyzing shock and grief overcame progressives and liberals on both sides of the Atlantic, the two most common refrains I heard were: ‘I don’t recognize my country anymore,’  and ‘I feel like I’ve woken up in a different country.’

“Theresa May’s imminent downfall could hand the premiership to Boris Johnson; Trump’s re-election in 2020 is a distinct possibility …

Johnson “has made discriminatory comments against Muslims,” “he has historically used racist language,” and “he implied Barack Obama had an “ancestral dislike of the British Empire,” as the Independent sums up. Argh!

Meanwhile, Ireland — long dominated by the Catholic Church — is undergoing its own social shifts  …

“Ireland has voted overwhelmingly to ease restrictions on divorce, taking another step toward liberalizing a Constitution that was once dominated by the teachings of the Roman Catholic Church,” as the New York Times is reporting.

“Official figures released this weekend showed that 82 percent of voters in referendum on Friday approved the change, with all areas of the country voting strongly in favor.

“The results of come on the heels of other major social shifts in the country: a 2015 vote to legalize same-sex marriage — the word’s first popular vote on marriage equality — and a referendum last year that repealed Ireland’s ban on abortion in almost all circumstances, including rape and incest. In October, the nation voted overwhelmingly to remove a ban on blasphemy from the Constitution.” Ha!

College scholarship applicants show the glass is “half full” with our millennials

Sather Gate at UC Berkeley (Photo: Cal Alumni Association)

Along with others, I just finished reading and scoring 12 undergraduate scholarship applications for incoming UC Berkeley students. It’s known as the Leadership Award merit scholarship of the Cal Alumni Association, a prestigious award that has been offered since the 1930s.

This year was another impressive group of applicants: academic “high achievers,” but also students who demonstrated leadership and compassion. Some had launched interesting new programs in their schools, showing ingenuity (and in some cases real courage), while others had led established groups.

This was not a self-centered group. Topics I read centered on tolerance (political, social, gender and religious); academic passions in science and technology, and the arts; imaginative community service projects; and challenges that were overcome (from breaking through language barriers — sometimes even in their own families — to “helping others.”) The examples the students cited were real and the progress was measurable.

These students — incoming freshman and some transfer students — also showed a top-of-mind awareness for the “news,” including our nation’s political divisiveness, economic problems, school shootings, scientific breakthroughs and environmental challenges. The nuances of these issues were captured in their writings too.

The “iGeneration” gets some bad press; sometimes it is self-inflicted, as it is for all of our generations. But digging deeper, I’ve found this group is determined to “make the world a better place.” We need that attitude.

Here’s the background for this merit-based scholarship: “Established in 1934, The Leadership Award is a one-year, scholarship that recognizes undergraduate students at UC Berkeley who demonstrate innovative, initiative-driven leadership impacting their academic, work, or community environments. Students compete for the scholarship every year, ensuring a diverse and dynamic annual cohort of leaders whose work is relevant and newly inspiring.”