On a relatively lighter note, we welcome national baseball writer for the New York Times, Tyler Kepner, to talk about issues in the sports world in general but more specifically about his latest book “The Grandest Stage: A History Of The World Series.” Also joining the conversation will be friend of the program, Ken Reed, policy director of League of Fans, whose book “How to Save Sports: A Game Plan” has been updated. Plus, Ralph pays tribute to the late activist and entertainer, Harry Belafonte and has some choice words for Bernie Sanders’ early endorsement of Joe Biden’s 2024 presidential campaign.
Tyler Kepner is national baseball writer for the New York Times, where he has covered every World Series Game of the last two decades. He's not just a sports reporter, he's a sports historian. He is the author of K: A History Of Baseball In Ten Pitches, and The Grandest Stage: A History Of The World Series.
Certainly, it’s the apex of the season— the thing that every fan ultimately looks forward to. The World Series as an event has had some challenges—certainly the Super Bowl has overtaken it in terms of eyeballs. But that’s just one game. The World Series is a weeklong event. It’s always fascinating to me the history behind it, the way it’s managed within the games, the way certain players respond to that spotlight, the way momentum can turn so quickly.
Tyler Kepner, author of "The Grandest Stage: A History of the World Series"
Dr. Ken Reed is Sports Policy Director for the League of Fans and the author of How We Can Save Sports: A Game Plan, Ego vs. Soul in Sports: Essays on Sport at Its Best and Worst, and The Sports Reformers: Working to Make the World of Sports a Better Place. Ken's writing has been highly praised by legendary sports writers Robert Lipsyte and Frank Deford, and he is a long-time sports marketing consultant, sports studies instructor, sports issues analyst, columnist, and author.
Some people ask me “Why do you hate sports?” or “Why are you so angry about sports?” Ironically, I'm probably one of the most passionate people there are about sports. But I think if you love sports, you have to be angry at some of these issues that we’ve talked about. I always go back to a RFK quote that I love— “The sharpest criticism often goes hand in hand with the deepest idealism and love of country.” And I think that applies to me with sports, and that’s why we do what we do at League of Fans.
Ken Reed policy director "League of Fans"
Harry Belafonte was a great entertainer and a great social activist for justice, civil rights, and African Americans. He grew up in the Caribbean, and he never faltered. He never was co-opted. He never put ambition before his candid statements, again and again, on the violations on the civil rights of people who were powerless.
I think it was a strategic mistake. [Bernie Sanders] endorsed [Joe Biden] without any conditions. He didn’t get any commitments from Joe Biden for his endorsement. And because of his leadership role among progressive politicians, he’s undermined progressive legislators from holding out and pulling Biden and the corporate Democrats more into progressive territory. I was shocked.
In Case You Haven’t Heard with Francesco DeSantis
1. Who is behind the recent campaign to deregulate child labor? A new Washington Post report finds that a Florida based right-wing think tank called the Foundation for Government Accountability, and its lobbying arm the Opportunity Solutions Project, have been the prime movers behind the laws passed in Arkansas and Iowa, as well as efforts to do the same in Minnesota, Ohio, and Georgia. This campaign goes beyond the pale even for some traditional conservative groups. Randy Zook, president of the Arkansas State Chamber of Commerce, said in an interview that his state’s law was “a solution looking for a problem.”
2. From the Intercept: The war in Yemen appears to be winding down, as Saudi Arabia and the Iranian-backed Houthi rebels have agreed to a long-term ceasefire brokered by China. Trita Parsi, executive vice president of the Quincy Institute for Responsible Statecraft, weighed in, saying “Biden promised to end the war in Yemen. Two years into his presidency, China may have delivered on that promise.” This breakthrough comes amid a broader Saudi-Iranian rapprochement – also driven by China – which has taken on the role of peacemaker both in the Middle East and in Ukraine in the absence of strong peace leadership from the US. Rep. Ro Khanna tweeted “It’s past time for Saudis to end their brutal eight-year war and blockade on Yemen, as I've advocated for years. This will create the opportunity for the Yemeni people to decide their own political future.”
3. Arizona activist Kai Newkirk reports that “By an overwhelming vote, the Arizona Democratic Party...passed a resolution calling on Democrats nationwide — from grassroots activists to party leaders — to pledge to support the winner of the Democratic primary to replace Kyrsten Sinema.” Moreover, Jezebel reports that a new Public Policy Polling survey shows that Ruben Gallego would pull 42 percent of the vote, in a three-way race, with election-denying Republican Kari Lake drawing 35 percent, and Sinema just 14 percent. Sinema also lags behind Gallego in terms of fundraising, bringing in just $2.1 million in the first quarter compared to Gallego’s $3.7 million, with just 0.3 percent of her donations were from small dollar donors, per NBC News.
4. From Reuters: Reinvigorated with new funding from the Inflation Reduction Act, the IRS was able to provide live support to 87% of customer calls this tax season, up from just 15% last year. The average time on hold decreased from 27 minutes to just four.
5. A new article in the American Prospect covers the insidious new ways corporations are surveilling and targeting low-income consumers enrolled in the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, better known as SNAP. Since the pandemic, the Department of Agriculture has allowed SNAP recipients to order groceries online, but have not erected sufficient data privacy protections. The Center for Digital Democracy, which has monitored the program, finds that the lack of oversight results in this data being exploited by predatory advertisers hawking junk food and even financial products like payday loans.
6. Socialist Seattle City Councilor Kshama Sawant announced via Twitter that Seattle has passed her bill to cap late rent fees at $10 per month. The national standard late rent fee is between 5 and 10 percent, meaning this could save renters a considerable chunk of change.
7. From Rolling Stone: The film How to Blow Up a Pipeline, adapted from the book of the same name, is causing quite a stir among law enforcement. At least 23 separate federal and sate entities, including the FBI, have sent out at least 35 warnings about the film, which is a work of fiction. The film also holds a 95 percent fresh rating on Rotten Tomatoes.
8. The Lever reports that on Monday, Former Speaker Nancy Pelosi received an award from the American Hospital Association or AHA, for “her incredible efforts in advancing health care.” The Lever alleges that she received this award for “blocking consideration of Medicare for All or any other major reforms to the insurance-based health care system.” The AHA, a top lobbying group for hospitals, raised $129 million in 2021 and represents large hospital chains like CommonSpirit Health, Ascension, and Tenet Healthcare.
9. The Louisville Courier-Journal reports that Myles Cosgrove, the police officer who killed Breonna Taylor by mistake in a no-knock search, has been rehired by the Carroll County Sheriff's Department, about one hour northeast of Louisville. Cosgrove was fired by the Louisville Metro Police Department in January 2021.
10.The Pentagon has requested an additional $36 million to fund research and treatment for “Havana Syndrome,” per the Intercept. Many doubt the very existence of Havana Syndrome, especially since a US Intelligence assessment in March found that the symptoms were “not caused by [an] energy weapon or foreign adversary,” as had long been alleged.
11. According to the Washington Post, The brand-new Smithsonian American Women’s History Museum announced last month that Nancy Yao will serve as its founding director. Yao currently runs the New York City-based Museum of Chinese in America and has been sued multiple times for wrongful termination, retaliation against whistleblowers, and protecting sexual harassers.
12. Greenpeace USA announced that they have won the Strategic Lawsuits Against Public Participation, or SLAPP case, that they’ve been embroiled in. The suit was brought against Greenpeace by a Canadian logging company, who sued for $100 million dollars Canadian, in an attempt to “silence and bankrupt” the organization. Greenpeace added that they are “now able to turn our attention to what lays ahead in this continued fight: We can’t allow corporate polluters to stand in the way of climate justice by manipulating our legal system and our democracy.”