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February 10, 20178:49 AM ET
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GUY RAZ, HOST:
So sometimes getting better results in medicine isn’t just about developing new technology or drugs. Sometimes getting better results is about looking at patients in a different way.
DOROTHY ROBERTS: Yes, exactly.
RAZ: This is Dorothy Roberts.
ROBERTS: Professor of Africana studies and law and sociology at the University of Pennsylvania.
RAZ: About 15 years ago, Dorothy had an experience when she was pregnant with her fourth child.
ROBERTS: I was 44 years old when I had him, and I was considered to be a high-risk, high-maternal age.
RAZ: So her doctor had her sign up for a clinical trial.
ROBERTS: That involved a genetic test.
RAZ: And one of the first questions she was asked was about her race.
ROBERTS: They just asked me to check the box. And my question is, why use race?
RAZ: In other words, why use race when it doesn’t tell us anything about our genes? Here’s Dorothy Roberts on the TED stage.

ROBERTS: Well, doctors tell me they’re using race as a shortcut. It’s a crude but convenient proxy for more important factors, like muscle mass, enzyme level, genetic traits, they just don’t have time to look for. But race is a bad proxy. In many cases, race adds no relevant information at all. It’s just a distraction. Race medicine also leaves patients of color especially vulnerable to harmful biases and stereotypes. And if you find race-specific medicine surprising, wait till you learn that many doctors in the United States still use an updated version of a diagnostic tool that was developed by a physician during the slavery era, a diagnostic tool that is tightly linked to justifications for slavery.
Dr. Samuel Cartwright practiced in the Deep South before the Civil War. And he was a well-known expert on what was then called negro medicine. He promoted the racial concept of disease, that people of different races suffer from different diseases and experience common diseases differently. Cartwright argued in the 1850s that slavery was beneficial for black people for medical reasons. He claimed that because black people have lower lung capacity than whites, forced labor was good for them. He wrote in a medical journal it is the red vital blood sent to the brain that liberates their minds when under the white man’s control, and it is the want of sufficiency of red vital blood that chains their minds to ignorance and barbarism when in freedom.
To support this theory, Cartwright helped to perfect a medical device for measuring breathing called the spirometer to show the presumed deficiency in black people’s lungs. Today, doctors still uphold Cartwright’s claim that black people as a race have lower lung capacity than white people. Some even use a modern-day spirometer that actually has a button labeled race so the machine adjusts the measurement for each patient according to his or her race. It’s a well-known function called correcting for race.
RAZ: Wow, that’s crazy. So this tool, this spirometer, which they used during the time of slavery, a version of it is still being used by some doctors today.
ROBERTS: Absolutely. And in fact, part of the argument now for paying attention to race is because of this long legacy of discriminating against black patients. There’s this racial concept of disease that comes out of slavery that people of different races have peculiar diseases that sort of belong to that race.
RAZ: OK. So where has this led us? I mean, like, what are some of the modern consequences of making assumptions and, you know, making a diagnosis using race?
ROBERTS: Well, one example that comes out of the medical literature is the true case of a little African-American girl who had persistent respiratory problems. And you can look at her file and see 2-year-old African-American girl, you know, back in emergency room for respiratory problems; 4-year-old African-American girl with another pneumonia. And then when she was 8 years old, a radiologist looked at the X-ray of her chest without knowing her race and said, who’s the kid with cystic fibrosis? Now, if she had been white, the doctors would have diagnosed her right away, you know, as a baby as having cystic fibrosis and treat it accordingly.
RAZ: And is that because statistically speaking white people are much more likely to have cystic fibrosis?
ROBERTS: Yes, that’s true. So because she was black, they assumed she couldn’t have cystic fibrosis even though she had the symptoms of cystic fibrosis.
RAZ: You know, I wonder about certain examples that we hear of like Tay-Sachs – right? – happens to affect people of European Jewish ancestry or that sickle cell anemia affects people, you know, from North Africa or the Mediterranean. So, I mean, what would be a better way to start to think about those things?
ROBERTS: Well, for one thing, just in the way you asked the question, you slipped from a relatively small group that was not a racial group – you mentioned Ashkenazi Jews – and then you also put together North Africa and the Mediterranean, which is not a racial group. So one better way would be to do away with these large social groupings and consider people’s actual ancestry and how ancestry is related to disease.
RAZ: I mean, things like geography or lifestyle, those would be more relevant.
ROBERTS: Well, that’s the basic reason why we find that certain races have a higher propensity to a particular disease because the disease very often is some consequence of a genetic mutation that was advantageous in that particular part of the world. And so linking the disease to race is a very crude way of thinking about how certain populations evolve to be predisposed to certain diseases or resistant to certain diseases.
(SOUNDBITE OF TED TALK)
ROBERTS: The problem with race medicine extends far beyond misdiagnosing patients. Its focus on innate racial differences in disease diverts attention and resources from the social determinants that cause appalling racial gaps in health – lack of access to high-quality medical care, food deserts in poor neighborhoods, exposure to environmental toxins, high rates of incarceration and experiencing the stress of racial discrimination. You see, race is not a biological category that naturally produces these health disparities because of genetic difference. Race is a social category that has staggering biological consequences but because of the impact of social inequality on people’s health.
RAZ: So does race ever help a doctor in diagnosing a condition?
ROBERTS: I don’t think it does. I think that race is always standing in for something else, and it would always be better for the doctor to learn that something else. So, you know, instead of using race as a proxy for diet, ask the patient what the patient’s diet is. Instead of using race as a proxy for genetic difference, either do a genetic test or ask about the patient’s family history.
RAZ: So why isn’t this happening? Why is race still being used?
ROBERTS: Well, I think doctors – most anyway – go into the profession to help to heal people, you know. But I think that race is such a powerful construct. It’s a kind of delusion that’s reinforced by so many aspects of our society. And so they really have to think about patients outside of the biological concept of race. The fact that it is constructed means we can construct something else, and I believe human beings are capable of that.
RAZ: That’s Dorothy Roberts, a professor at the University of Pennsylvania. You can hear her entire talk at ted.com.
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Jay Busbee,Yahoo Sports 17 hours ago .

Colin Kaepernick is one of eight notable Americans being honored by Harvard University for contributions to black history and culture. The Hutchins Center for African and African American Research at Harvard will present Kaepernick, comedian Dave Chappelle and others with the W.E.B. Du Bois award on Oct. 11.

Kaepernick’s story
Kaepernick, a former quarterback for the San Francisco 49ers, began kneeling during the national anthem during the 2016 preseason as a way of protesting police brutality and racial injustice. The move set off a national debate, with critics of Kaepernick’s move fixating on whether it was unpatriotic while supporters in the NFL have begun building bridges between police and the communities they serve.
Kaepernick remains unsigned by any NFL team despite possessing quarterback skills that are certainly the equal of many of the league’s signal-callers, and it’s impossible to say that Kaepernick’s strident public statements didn’t have a role in that.
After a year of virtual silence, a period in which critics up to the president of the United States attacked the act of Kaepernick’s protest without addressing its purpose, Kaepernick has begun returning to public life. Most recently, he became the centerpiece of a new Nike ad campaign that, predictably, divided Americans along political lines.
Kaepernick’s honors
The W.E.B. Du Bois awards recognize ”significant contributions to African and African American history and culture” and ”individuals who advocate for intercultural understanding and human rights.” Kaepernick has arranged for $1 million in donations to a range of charitable causes. His jersey and other mementos have been added to a “Black Lives Matter” collection at the Smithsonian’s National Museum of African-American History.
As Kaepernick’s days as an NFL quarterback appear over and continue to recede into the past, it’s apparent he will be moving into a more activist role going forward.

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TOTUS has packed his cabinet and staff with the “best people” who have proceeded to pull the country deeper into division and debt under the auspices of a neer do well Congress. Now TOTUS wants to put another Justice on the high court whose values do not reflect the values of the American people as a whole. The current nominee has some accusations similar to Justice Thomas’s so do we want another Justice to serve under a cloud that could predict his judgement on future and existing law? Could it be that “best people” are people whose morality is on a par with TOTUS? The time is now to express our dissatisfaction for this administrations lack of leadership on many fronts. It is well to remember that our Congress is as much at fault as TOTUS as they are moving their one-sided agenda under the cover of TOTUS. There are no redeeming characteristics for most of the Congress and the staff of the White House so it is our job as the “Bosses” of the Administration and Congress we need to be sure we are getting the best people in office. The way we accomplish this is to understand how any laws, executive orders and ALL legislation affects us now and later. High court decisions have huge impact on all of us. Having an unbalanced court is why we have the unending flow of billions of dollars in campaigns from private and corporate donors. These donors want people elected that will benefit them not us (the American People).  The special interest groups have control of our country through the Congress and the minimally informed TOTUS. Forget party and vote as informed Americans.

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Hiring ‘the best people’ shouldn’t be this difficult
05/12/16 10:40 AM—Updated 05/12/16 10:49 AM

By Steve Benen
Donald Trump likes to boast about his ability to hire extraordinary employees. The Washington Post’s Jennifer Rubin joked a couple of months ago, “Donald Trump brags that as president he will hire the best people, the greatest people. They’ll be so great, you’ll be sick of great people.”

If only Trump’s claims were in any way true. In the private sector, the New York Republican struggled to hire the best people, but as a presidential candidate, he’s surrounded himself with a rather woeful team.

And the problem is arguably getting worse. Politico reported yesterday:
Donald Trump’s campaign has enlisted influential conservative economists to revise his tax package and make it more politically palatable by slashing the $10 trillion sticker price. […]

[T]he campaign last month contacted at least two prominent conservative economists – Larry Kudlow, the CNBC television host, and Stephen Moore of the Heritage Foundation and a longtime Wall Street Journal writer – to spearhead an effort to update the package.
I realize that Kudlow and Moore probably aren’t household names, but if these are the folks Team Trump is turning to, it’s a reminder as to just how bad the campaign is at choosing “the best people” for key tasks.

Under a “Send in the Clowns” headline, the New York Times’ Paul Krugman seemed gobsmacked yesterday by the campaign’s selection.

Granted that Trump is deeply ignorant about policy; still, you might have thought that he would try to signal his independence from the establishment by, say, turning to some business economist. Instead, he turned to the usual suspects from the right-wing noise machine. And what a choice!

I mean, Kudlow is to economics what William Kristol is to political strategy: if he says something, you know it’s wrong. When he ridiculed “bubbleheads” who thought overvalued real estate could bring down the economy, you should have rushed for the bomb shelters; when he proclaimed Bush a huge success, because a rising stock market is the ultimate verdict on a presidency (unless the president is a Democrat), you should have known that the Bush era would end with epochal collapse.

And then there’s Moore, who has a similarly awesome forecasting record, and adds to it an impressive lack of even minimal technical competence.
All things considered, Krugman may be understating matters when it comes to Moore’s qualifications for writing a presidential candidate’s tax plan.

Maybe they’ll surprise everyone and produce a credible blueprint for Team Trump? It’s certainly possible, but according to the Politico report, Kudlow has already started tweaking the candidate’s original plan, and he now believes Trump’s policy will only add $3.8 trillion to the deficit over the next decade.

This, evidently, is supposed to be seen as a major step in the right direction since Trump’s original plan added $10 trillion to the deficit.

I can’t wait to see what else “the best people” come up with.


Hiring ‘the best people’ shouldn’t be this difficult
05/12/16 10:40 AM—Updated 05/12/16 10:49 AM

By Steve Benen
Donald Trump likes to boast about his ability to hire extraordinary employees. The Washington Post’s Jennifer Rubin joked a couple of months ago, “Donald Trump brags that as president he will hire the best people, the greatest people. They’ll be so great, you’ll be sick of great people.”

If only Trump’s claims were in any way true. In the private sector, the New York Republican struggled to hire the best people, but as a presidential candidate, he’s surrounded himself with a rather woeful team.

And the problem is arguably getting worse. Politico reported yesterday:
Donald Trump’s campaign has enlisted influential conservative economists to revise his tax package and make it more politically palatable by slashing the $10 trillion sticker price. […]

[T]he campaign last month contacted at least two prominent conservative economists – Larry Kudlow, the CNBC television host, and Stephen Moore of the Heritage Foundation and a longtime Wall Street Journal writer – to spearhead an effort to update the package.
I realize that Kudlow and Moore probably aren’t household names, but if these are the folks Team Trump is turning to, it’s a reminder as to just how bad the campaign is at choosing “the best people” for key tasks.

Under a “Send in the Clowns” headline, the New York Times’ Paul Krugman seemed gobsmacked yesterday by the campaign’s selection.

Granted that Trump is deeply ignorant about policy; still, you might have thought that he would try to signal his independence from the establishment by, say, turning to some business economist. Instead, he turned to the usual suspects from the right-wing noise machine. And what a choice!

I mean, Kudlow is to economics what William Kristol is to political strategy: if he says something, you know it’s wrong. When he ridiculed “bubbleheads” who thought overvalued real estate could bring down the economy, you should have rushed for the bomb shelters; when he proclaimed Bush a huge success, because a rising stock market is the ultimate verdict on a presidency (unless the president is a Democrat), you should have known that the Bush era would end with epochal collapse.

And then there’s Moore, who has a similarly awesome forecasting record, and adds to it an impressive lack of even minimal technical competence.
All things considered, Krugman may be understating matters when it comes to Moore’s qualifications for writing a presidential candidate’s tax plan.

Maybe they’ll surprise everyone and produce a credible blueprint for Team Trump? It’s certainly possible, but according to the Politico report, Kudlow has already started tweaking the candidate’s original plan, and he now believes Trump’s policy will only add $3.8 trillion to the deficit over the next decade.

This, evidently, is supposed to be seen as a major step in the right direction since Trump’s original plan added $10 trillion to the deficit.

I can’t wait to see what else “the best people” come up with.

 

 


Kuttner on TAP
A Dose of McConnell’s Own Medicine. We don’t know how the Brett Kavanaugh nomination will play out, of course. This depends partly on whether Christine Blasey Ford either testifies or succeeds in getting an FBI investigation.
But it does appear that just enough Republican senators are queasy about these accusations and about Kavanaugh’s other dissembling before the Judiciary Committee that his nomination is in serious jeopardy. The way these things usually play out is that the White House pulls the plug, the nominee solemnly declares that the controversy “has become a distraction,” and he’s gone.
If that were to occur, what then?
The White House would race to get another nominee vetted and jammed through the Senate Judiciary Committee, but this would make some Republicans very nervous so close to an election. In addition, two Republicans who loathe Trump and who are not running for re-election, Senators Jeff Flake of Arizona and Bob Corker of Tennessee, seem to be finding a bit of spine. Both called for the Kavanaugh nomination to be delayed and may not wish to help Trump rush through a substitute.
This would get even more awkward for Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell if he tries to get a nominee confirmed in the post-election lame-duck session. McConnell blocked consideration of President Obama’s nominee, Merrick Garland, on grounds that Obama was a lame-duck president, even though his term had ten months to run when he named Garland to the high court in March 2016.
The lame-duck session of Congress runs for less than two months. It will be even more lame if Democrats take back the Senate.
Beyond that, the more potentially impeachable evidence that keeps coming out against Trump, the stronger is the case that he has no business making a Supreme Court nomination. Even more satisfying than blocking this nomination would be seeing McConnell hoist with his own petard. ~ ROBERT KUTTNER

It is worth noting that our Congress appears to have the attitude of “when I want your opinion, I’ll give it to you” and we seem to accept it with little fanfare.MA

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The best intentions of the founders were based on the issues of the times but had undertones of some of the same issues we face now, primarily Racism, elitism and protectionism. To wit we have made some progress but not as it was imagined nearly 250 years ago. What we currently have is political parties at constant war and lying to us all rather than doing the jobs they were elected to do. Under their auspices the religious right has imposed or attempted to impose a religious onus on us all. This is still America but now with a wake up call from a demigod who is now in the White House, all Americans need to wake up and step up, stop voting on the basis of party lines and the continuous media furor over things that we have been told are good for us with no background facts to examine.MA

Kuttner on TAP
Trump’s Bastard Children. Political scientists use the word legitimacy to mean a government that is broadly seen as having the right to govern. Consent of the governed was also a prime concern of America’s Founders.
For most of America’s history, our government enjoyed broad legitimacy. It look a long time, of course, for the national government to regain legitimacy in Dixie. And if you scratch below the surface, many Southern whites still question its legitimacy. But for most of the post-World War II era, our government was seen as broadly legitimate.
Alas, it has not been legitimate since 2000, when George W. Bush, with the complicity of five Supreme Court justices, stole the election. That means citizens might rightly question the legitimacy of policies enacted by Republican presidents and their Supreme Court appointees ever since.
Under President Obama, Democrats soldiered on and sought to find common ground. But Republicans spat in their eye, and doubled down on their own claims that Obama’s entire presidency was illegitimate. Had Hillary Clinton been elected, the Republican game plan was to question her legitimacy as well.
Now, we already have one Supreme Court justice, Neil Gorsuch, who is the bastard child of Republicans’ successful efforts to block the appointment of a perfectly legitimate Obama nominee, Merrick Garland. Republicans are hoping to jam onto the Court yet another nominee of dubious legitimacy, Brett Kavanaugh. A president who has already committed several impeachable offenses has no legitimate business filling a high court seat.
Here’s the larger problem. A republic of lost legitimacy has a great deal of difficulty functioning. Failed republics, however, do get legitimacy back. France did it on several occasions, and Germany after 1945.
But we might as well stop pretending that in exceptional America there is an unbroken line of legitimacy winding back from Trump to the Founders. There isn’t. Legitimacy is something that we will have to earn back. ~ ROBERT KUTTNER

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It has become evident that TOTUS holds grudges for perceived and real wrongs done to him. Many of these wrongs were the fruit of his own ineptitude and his dishonest ways. Looking at his past business deals, he has always been the winner (?) while his partners took the losses. He has stiffed many of his business associates from the workers to the owners. His foray into the now defunct USFL is a perfect example of DJT’s attempt to compete. It is unfortunate that many voters did not vote at all and many voted against their own interests because they were and are still are unhappy with their current representatives in Congress. The facts often overlooked are that we have become complacent and willing dupes for the political elites who have some how convinced some of us that they are working on our behalf. The real facts are that they are no more than scammers who say what ever it takes to get and stay in office. If these neer do wells were really working for us then we would not have any extreme candidates for the high court where we really need impartial members so that all issues are decided fairly for the good of us all. The party system has become a weight on the neck of the voters along with the several sub sects of special interests that benefit the elected elites. We are now experiencing the emergence of the poisons of the past.

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Jay Busbee, Yahoo Sports 11 hours ago

Donald Trump and Herschel Walker during the brief glory days of the USFL. (Getty Images)
Jeff Pearlman’s “Football For A Buck: The Crazy Rise and Crazier Demise of the USFL,” is a wonderful, thorough, insightful look at a deeply weird moment in American football history. And it’s also a primer of sorts for this current deeply weird moment in American political history. Which means that there are two stories: one about a spring football league that had dreams of challenging the NFL, and one about the team owner who sent the entire league pinwheeling into oblivion … and then went on to become president of the United States.
For anyone born after, oh, 1978 or so, the USFL is an abstraction, a two-line toss-off in the Wikipedia entries of Steve Young, Jim Kelly, Herschel Walker, Reggie White, Doug Flutie and other 1980s football heroes. But for anyone who remembers its brief, odd existence, it was so, so much more. Its premise was simple: pro football, but in the spring. Pearlman nails the league’s entire story, from on-field absurdity to boardroom misfires, and shows just how much damage one idea, pushed relentlessly, can do to an entire enterprise.
In its three seasons of existence, the USFL attracted a cavalcade of castoffs, has-beens, and never-wases before going all in on big names like Young and Walker. A rocket held together with duct tape, it flared brightly and then vanished. And the strangest thing of all is, were it not for Donald Trump – and the team owners who went along with him, many against their better instincts – it might well have worked.
The strange story of a little league that almost could
The USFL’s story didn’t begin with Trump, but it certainly ended with him. Begun in 1982 with a dozen teams and a strange array of owners – some who were wealthy, some who were charlatans, and some who were flat-out insane – the league found a foothold as sort of an anti-NFL, a league that encouraged recklessness and fun while the NFL remained mired in stodgy solemnity. The two-point conversion and the coach’s challenge came from the USFL, and so did the ability of players to jump from college to the professional ranks before graduation.
Drawing on more than 400 interviews, Pearlman recounts in substantial and hysterical detail how coaches cobbled together teams of journeymen and lunatics, players who would shoot up, smoke up, or, uh, consort with female fans within minutes of game time. The USFL didn’t offer first-class accommodations – players were often forced to play on ragged fields and before crowds in the low four figures – but what it did offer was a chance to play more football, and for many willing players, that chance was enough.
The USFL trundled through its first season, 1983, with only modest on-field success, but with a seismic blast: the arrival of Herschel Walker, the tanklike running back who jumped from the University of Georgia to the USFL a year before the NFL could grab him. The crew of misfits that the NFL initially wrote off as “Useless” was a legitimate football power player. And when the league later snapped up two more Heisman winners in Mike Rozier and Doug Flutie, suddenly nobody in the NFL was laughing at all.

Jim Kelly began his pro football career in the USFL. (Getty)
Donald Trump takes control
But by this time, Trump had entered the picture. And Pearlman doesn’t need to point out the parallels between Trump’s time in the USFL and our current era; they’re all right there in black and white.
As the USFL formed, Trump was a hot New York City real estate developer in his mid-30s whose reputation hadn’t yet crossed the Hudson River. He jumped on the USFL, taking ownership of the New Jersey Generals, when the train was already rolling, and immediately set about savaging the entire USFL operation. He railed at the incompetence of the USFL’s commissioner and the small-minded thinking of his fellow owners, and he threw around big numbers and talked big dreams. Trump tried to sign Lawrence Taylor away from the Giants, and succeeded in signing Flutie, albeit with a pay-for-that-wall-style request of his fellow owners: kick in on Flutie’s salary “for the good of the league.”
The other owners laughed off that request. But they weren’t laughing at everything Trump did. All along, he had in mind an ulterior motive.
“Beginning shortly after he purchased the Generals,” Pearlman writes, “Trump made it his objective to force the USFL’s hand and convince his peers — often against their own best interests — to switch directions and switch seasons.”
Yes, switch seasons. Move the USFL from the calm waters of the spring – where no football competition existed – into the raging hellstorm of the fall, where it would compete with the NFL, college football, and Friday night lights. Not only that, with Trump’s cajoling, the USFL actually sued the NFL for antitrust violations, claiming the league held an unlawful monopoly on professional football.
From an organizational perspective, it was insane. But from Trump’s perspective, it was an audacious, big-thinking gamble. Trump wanted into the NFL in the worst way, even given – or perhaps because of – the fact that the league’s owners rejected him time and time again on both competency and financial-solvency grounds. And with the USFL, his plan was this: move the league to the fall, move the Generals into a planned Trump Stadium in Manhattan, and then leap into the NFL through an AFL-like merger. If the other owners could join him, good for them. If not, well … too bad, so sad.
“[NFL] ownership is the most elusive club in the world,” Pearlman told Yahoo Sports. “It’s not even about football for him. Never was. It’s the eternal, sort of sad need to be what he can’t possibly be. A Mara. A Rooney. Big and dignified and elite. He doesn’t merely crave wealth. He craves the status, the esteem that comes with being something on a pedestal. NFL ownership was that very thing.” (The roots of Trump’s current war with the NFL stretch back to long before Colin Kaepernick was even born.)
Trump, through sheer force of will, hectored the USFL’s other owners into agreeing to move to the fall after the 1985 season – instantly vaporizing four teams who had been sharing stadiums and fans with their larger, more established NFL counterparts. (This is important to note: Trump didn’t do this all himself. He had help from other owners, who rolled over and went along, assuming that Trump had their best interests at heart … or, at the very least, that they’d get rich.) Other teams, facing huge losses thanks to overexpansion, soon faltered and faded away. Trump, aided by Cold War-era attorney Roy Cohn, pressed on with his courtroom attack against the NFL. But when the USFL finally “won” its antitrust lawsuit – receiving only the nominal sum of $1, hence the book’s title – the league, which had been banking on a huge settlement to underwrite its move to the fall, vanished into history.
Pearlman’s book is an outstanding achievement. You can read it, if you wish, as a precursor to Trump’s presidency; certainly there are enough parallels – like making others crumble under the weight of constant barrages of withering, fact-challenged criticism – to keep D.C. political writers thumbing through this book for material for a year.
But the book isn’t just about Trump. It’s about a truly strange league – a league where a player once punched his coach after being cut, a league where a player once slammed his own penis in a car trunk – and the kind of maverick oddity that doesn’t exist in American sports any longer. Read “Football for a Buck,” and then see if you’re not scouring the web to find some vintage Memphis Showboats or Tampa Bay Bandits gear.

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MARK OSBORNE,
Good Morning America 2 hours 58 minutes ago

John Kerry slams Trump for Iran accusations: ‘You should be more worried about Paul Manafort’ originally appeared on ABC news.go.com
Former Secretary of State John Kerry fired back against attacks by President Donald Trump and current Secretary of State Mike Pompeo on Friday, saying the president “should be more worried about Paul Manafort meeting with Robert Mueller than me meeting with Iran’s PM.”
Trump originally attacked Kerry on Thursday evening, saying on Twitter that Kerry had “illegal meetings with the very hostile Iranian Regime.” The tweet was an apparent reference to Kerry admitting on Hugh Hewitt’s radio show on Wednesday to meeting with Iranian officials, specifically Foreign Minister Javad Zarif, “three or four times” at gatherings of world leaders, such as the World Economic Forum.
Kerry said he did not try to “coach” Iran through the Trump administration’s rejection of the JCPOA, a nuclear deal with Iran implemented under Kerry’s watch. The meetings came while Rex Tillerson was secretary of state and before Trump’s withdrawal from the JCPOA in May.

(MORE: Book excerpt: John Kerry’s ‘Every Day Is Extra’)
“No, that’s not my job, and my coaching him would not, you know, that’s not how it works,” Kerry told Hewitt. “What I have done is tried to elicit from him what Iran might be willing to do in order to change the dynamic in the Middle East for the better.”
Kerry took delight in ripping the president on Friday afternoon. He chided him over former campaign chairman Paul Manafort’s guilty plea and even former White House staffer Omarosa Manigault Newman’s leaked recordings.
“Mr. President, you should be more worried about Paul Manafort meeting with Robert Mueller than me meeting with Iran’s FM,” he tweeted. “But if you want to learn something about the nuclear agreement that made the world safer, buy my new book, Every Day Is Extra.”

He followed that tweet with the line, “PS – I recorded the audio version, not Omarosa.”
But the attacks from the Trump administration continued on Friday afternoon.
Pompeo, the current secretary of state, followed up on Trump’s criticism at a briefing, calling the meetings “unseemly,” “unprecedented” and “beyond inappropriate.”
“What Secretary Kerry has done is unseemly, and unprecedented,” Pompeo said passionately at the top of a press briefing Friday afternoon. “You can’t find precedent for this in U.S. history. And secretary ought not to, Secretary Kerry ought not to engage in that kind of behavior. It’s inconsistent with what the foreign policy of the United States is as directed by this president. And it is beyond inappropriate for him to be engaged.”
A spokesperson for Kerry responded Friday evening, “Let’s cut through the distractions and talk about real facts, not alternative facts. Secretary Kerry stays in touch with his former counterparts around the world just like every previous Secretary of State, and in a long phone conversation with Secretary Pompeo earlier this year he went into great detail about what he had learned about the Iranian’s view. No secrets were kept from this administration.”

The spokesperson cited Henry Kissinger, who served as secretary of state under Richard Nixon and Gerald Ford, as having met “for decades with Russia and China.”
“There’s nothing unusual, let alone unseemly or inappropriate, about former diplomats meeting with foreign counterparts,” Kerry’s spokesperson said.
Former Undersecretary of State Wendy Sherman, who was also singled out by Pompeo, tweeted the current secretary of state “tried to distract from Manafort and gain points with president by attacking me today.”

(MORE: Anonymous op-ed shows ‘we don’t really have a president,’ Kerry tells Colbert)
Ned Price, former CIA analyst and adviser to Barack Obama on his National Security Council, was even more direct.
“Pompeo was speaking to an audience of one,” Price said in a statement, referring to the president. “This was nothing more than an attempt to parrot and please his boss. We know that because Pompeo’s State Department was briefed on these discussions, which are commonplace among former diplomats, both before and after the fact.”
Kerry is in the midst of a promotional tour for his new book, “Every Day is Extra,” including stops in Los Angeles and Portland, Oregon, over the weekend.
ABC News’ Conor Finnegan and Sarah Kolinovsky contributed to this report.

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