Is it satire or fake news? Only you can decide

Jeff “Podunk” Pelline, never known for his sense of humor, got off a good one this morning when he described Reinette Senum as a “citizen journalist” before running her “report” on last night’s forum on fake news featuring Snopes and NC Scooper.

Senum has a legitimate gripe against NC Scooper because it ran a story last year that exaggerated Senum’s criticism of police in general and the Dallas Police Department in particular. But she is not a dispassionate observer, the minimum qualification required of a real reporter.

“I attempted to sit through (the presentation),” she reported to the ex-big time journalist. “Walked out. What a joke.” Senum decided the program was nothing more than an attempt to “…legitimize NC Scooper with Snopes ‘blessing’ of NOT being fake, but ‘satirical.'”

I wonder what Snopes thinks of the conspiracy theories Senum likes to promote on her Facebook page and blog? LOL, as they say.

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Posted in Jeff Pelline, Reinette Senum, Uncategorized | 8 Comments

Only the naive and gullible will buy Podunk’s argument

Jeffie “Podunk” Pelline wasted a lot of time Sunday night criticizing a column I never wrote. Maybe the thin air at his mountain retreat is getting to his brain.

Moderate? Really?

Jeffie’s criticism of my column in today’s edition of The Union is another part of his campaign to convince the local yokels that Assemblyman Brian Dahle is a moderate in a conservative’s clothing. Regardless of what Dahle does or doesn’t do, Jeffie will never admit he’s wrong about Dahle or anything else.

Podunk concedes that Dahle votes like a conservative and talks like a conservative, then offers the following to suggest that looks can be deceiving:

–Dahle does what every other elected official does, respond to his constituents concerns and attend various forums in his district;

–Special interest advocates like Peter Zan Vant and Izzy Martin work both sides of the political aisle;

–Dahle backs legislation that will create jobs in his district, like AB 590 promoting biomass plants.

Only the naive and gullible would take this as evidence that Dahle is a moderate Republican. But there is one piece of evidence Jeffie can’t get around: The hard-line conservatives in the Assembly Republican caucus didn’t pick Dahle to lead them because they think he’s a moderate.

Heck, Podunk even screwed up the headline: He should have said I was out in “right field,” not “left field.” You know: right, conservative; left, liberal. Maybe you can explain it to the man who knows everything.

Posted in Assemblyman Brian Dahle, Jeff Pelline, Uncategorized | 4 Comments

So much for the sportsmanship aspect of prep football

The Nevada Union and Bear River football teams got different results in their season openers last week, but the Miners may be getting a much-needed break from officials for this week’s game.

Nevada Union continued a downward spiral that’s now in its fifth season, getting hammered by Antelope 41-15. Running back Dawson Fay, who scored both of the Miners’ touchdowns, was ejected from the game in the second half after getting into a scuffle with Titan players.

A definite no-no at all levels

Under the rules governing California high school football, any played ejected from a game can’t play in the next one. But we’ve learned that officials are reviewing the decision and Fay may get to play in the team’s home opener against Placer Friday night.

But Bear River quarterback Luke Baggett will definitely be on the sideline when the Bruins travel to Union Mine Friday night. He was ejected three minutes into the home opener against Orland for targeting another player while playing safety on defense. It turned out the Bruins didn’t need him as they ran the ball effectively in a 49-7 win.

It’s not unusual for players to taunt each other during games, and to take cheap shots when they think they can get away with them. Coaches caution players to keep their cool, but it takes just a split-second flare-up to start a fight. Several players from each school were involved in the NU-Antelope scrum, but Fay was the only player ejected. It’s hard to believe he was the only one at fault.

In the interest of player safety, a major emphasis has been placed on eliminating targeting–basically, using your head as a battering ram against a player who can’t defend himself–at all levels of the game. Whether it’s the NFL, college or high school, you will be ejected if you’re caught spearing. Maybe the Bear River coaches need to spend more time on this aspect of the game.

Union Mine opened its season with a 7-3  win over Amador. Backup quarterback Calder Kunde, who threw only five passes last week, should have a lot more plays to run for the Bruins. His task will be easier if the defense continues its stout play.

Antelope was ranked 14th going into the game against Nevada Union, and the Miners showed no improvement from last year’s dismal performance. The passing game barely registered a pulse–69 yards in 17 attempts–and last year’s worst defense in the Sierra Foothill League showed no improvement against the Titans. NU will face a Placer team that moved up one spot in the rankings to No. 18 with a 49-30 win over Pleasant Grove.

HOT STUFF: Temperatures are expected to top 100 degrees Friday and Saturday, which can make for dangerous playing conditions for games that start before the sun sets. Don’t be surprised if start times are delayed for Friday’s games.

Posted in Bear River football, Nevada Union football, Uncategorized | 4 Comments

Grass Valley’s probably isn’t going to promote this honor

Grass Valley, which considers itself a top contender for quaint foothill tourist destination honors, has been proclaimed one of the “10 Most White Trash Cities in California” by an online outfit called Roadsnacks.net.

Nevada City has at least one

While Roadsnacks was quick to label the list “infotainment” and urged people not to freak out, that didn’t stop local partisans from freaking out on Facebook and other outlets.

The numbers crunchers came up with the list by looking for towns with a high percentage of white people, and then negative social indicators like poverty, high school drop-outs, single mothers, and drug use. Grass Valley finished 5th on the list, behind the likes of Mendota, Red Bluff, Arvin and Madera.

I’m skeptical of the researchers’ conclusion. There aren’t that many dilapidated trailers or abandoned cars in Grass Valley and I’ve never heard anybody mention Honey Boo Boo, but I do know a guy in Nevada City who has a “hillbilly hot tub”–an old bath tub out by the garage he fills with hot water with a hose attached to his kitchen faucet. Charming.

But I did notice that all 10 towns on the list are represented by Republican members of Congress, suggesting these burghs are a source of Donald Trump’s core constituency. (It’s also worth noting that 40 percent of the towns are within the boundaries of the proposed State of Jefferson.)

Those towns would be Red Bluff, Grass Valley, Corning and Anderson, which are all represented by our very own Rep. Doug LaMalfa. That ties LaMalfa for first place with House majority leader Kevin McCarthy, whose district includes nominees Arvin, Taft, McFarland and Shafter.

The two other towns on the list are Madera (represented by Rep. Tom McClintock) and Mendota (Rep. David Valadao). Draw your own conclusions.

Posted in City of Grass Valley, Donald Trump, Nevada City, Rep. Doug LaMalfa, Rep. Tom McClintock, Republican Party, State of Jefferson, Uncategorized | 3 Comments

The Assembly GOP’s new official whiner-in-chief

Best Buds? Dahle and Rendon embrace

Our very own Assemblyman Brian Dahle has been elected to lead the Republican caucus in the state Assembly, not that it means much in the general scheme of things.

Since the Republicans control barely 31 percent of the seats in the state Assembly and continue to lose registered voters, the Democrats rarely need the GOP to get anything passed.

Dahle’s chief responsibility will consist of either complaining that the Republicans are being left out of the decision-making, or that the Democrats continue to promote job-killer legislation. The whiner-in-chief, if you will.

Dahle replaces Assemblyman Chad Mayes, who incurred the wrath of conservatives for negotiating a deal to renew California’s cap-and-trade program. But Dahle suggested the GOP may have to make a greater effort to work with Democrats if the party is to remain relevant. “We need to be at the table when these big policy decisions are going to be made,” he told The Sacramento Bee.

He might be able to throw a couple of goodies our way if he plays nice with Assembly Speaker Anthony Rendon; he certainly hasn’t done us much good to-date. But he better be careful–more pictures like the one above in The Bee will cause he fellow Republicans to think he’s a RINO.

Posted in Assemblyman Brian Dahle, California Republican Party, Politics, Uncategorized | Leave a comment

What would the great A.J. Liebling think?

A.J. Liebling, one the great journalists of the 20th century, was a big boxing fan. He fought some as a youth and continued to spar into his late 30s, when he was punched by an elderly former fighter named Jack O’Brien. That caused him to write the following:

A.J. Liebling

“It is through Jack O’Brien…that I trace my rapport with the historic past through the laying-on of hands. He hit me, for pedagogical example, and had been hit by the great Bob Fitzsimmons, from whom he won the light-heavyweight title in 1906. Jack had a scar to show for it.

“Fitzsimmon had been hit by Corbett, Corbett by John L. Sullivan, he by Paddy Ryan, with the bare knuckles, and Ryan by Joe Goss, his predecessor, who as a young man had felt the fist of the great Jem Mace. It is a great thrill to feel that all that separates you from the early Victorians is a series of punches on the nose…The Sweet Science is joined onto the past like a man’s arm to his shoulder.”

Liebling covered the sport for The New Yorker magazine when he wasn’t writing about a dozen other topics, and several of those pieces were compiled into a book, “The Sweet Science,” that is considered by many to be one of the best sports books ever.

Liebling wrote about Joe Louis, Archie Moore, Sugar Ray Robinson, and other great boxers when they were in their prime, and the manly art of self-defense was still a major sport in America. I can just image the contempt the great journalist, who died in 1963, would show for the clown show being staged in Las Vegas Saturday between Floyd “Money” Mayweather and UFC champion Connor McGregor.

You can tell they don’t like each other

Nobody gives McGregor a chance to win the fight–in most sports books, you have to risk $550 on Mayweather to win $100–mainly because McGregor has never fought in a boxing match before and he is facing one of the most skilled practitioners in the last 30 years. McGregor was watched punching a heavy bag during a recent work-out, and most observers concluded the bag won.

McGregor’s strength is in something called mixed martial arts, which resembles what my brother and I used to do in the backyard when he was 9 and I was 10. Unfortunately for McGregor, kicking, gouging, headlocks, drop kicks and similar WWE maneuvers won’t be allowed in Saturday’s “bout.”

The Nevada State Athletic Commission, which has actually blessed this fight, decided to allow the fighters to wear 8-ounce gloves instead of 10-ounce gloves normally used for the 154-pound weight class. This is said to work to McGregor’s advantage since he’s used to fighting with 4-ounce gloves, but the reality is it will just give Mayweather’s blows greater impact when he hits his foe.

Since this spectacle is being held in (where else?) Las Vegas, the hype machine is going full blast. Both fighters have made a series of threats to each other, and since Mayweather is black and McGregor is white, the race card has been dealt just to see if the promoters can stoke animosity, and more ticket and pay-per-view sales. If McGregor is the next Great White Hope, the white race is hopeless.

Regardless of the outcome, both participants should do well financially. It has been said that Mayweather agreed to come out of retirement because he owes the IRS a bundle, and this figures to be the biggest payday in McGregor’s life.

As for the fans? Well, they figure to get fleeced by the “fight” before the casinos get a shot at them later in the evening. If there’s one thing we’ve learned in the last 30 years, it’s that boxing fans never learn.

Posted in Sports, Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Where have all of the high school football players gone?

Better times for the Miners?

You can forgive the fans if they don’t notice the Nevada Union and Bear River football teams running onto the field Friday night to start the 2017 season.

Between the cheerleaders, pom-pom girls, band members, and general hangers-on you can usually find on a field before the game starts, it may be difficult to spot the incredibly shrinking teams that represent the schools.

The Bruins start the season with a squad of 31 players–barely enough to hold practice–while the Miners will field a team of 42, the second smallest team in the hyper-competitive Sierra Foothill League–and that’s before injuries take their inevitable toll.

There are a lot of reasons why more and more jerseys are going unused every year: Declining enrollment in the high school district, year-round competition in sports that discourages kids from playing multiple sports, and the increased competition for kids’ time after school.

A big reason athletic directors and coaches don’t like to talk about is the increased understanding of the damage–particularly brain damage–that football can do to players. I wrote about the subject recently in my Union column, and received a long email from an assistant coach at NU suggesting I was being unduly alarmist. Let’s just say we agreed to disagree.

Shortly after the column appeared, a study was released that concluded California is the second worst state in the nation when it comes to implementing key safety guidelines to protect student athletes from life-threatening conditions.

The response of the California Interscholastic Federation, the governing body for high school sports in California? Schools are resource challenged! That ought to reassure parents.

But as the saying goes, you have to play the hand you are dealt. Coaches of both teams are expressing optimist at this point–after all, everybody’s undefeated now–and have indicated they plan to show up for all 10 games on the schedule.

Nevada Union has a particularly daunting task; five of the other six teams in the SFL are among the best in the area, according to the pre-season rankings of The Sacramento Bee. They are Folsom (ranked No. 1), Granite Bay (3), Oak Ridge (4), Del Oro (5) and Rocklin (9). The other school in the league, Woodcreek, is considered a bubble team that could become ranked as the season progresses.

NU’s non-league schedule isn’t much easier: The Miners open the season against Antelope (14) and Placer (19) before facing the two easiest schools on the schedule: Lincoln and Napa. If NU can finish that schedule at 5-5, it should be declared the Team of the Year.

But head coach Dennis Houlihan, who has compiled a 4-36 record in 4 years at NU, is counting on his seniors to turn things around. “If you look at our games (from last season) and look at the progress we made in them, we were in every one of them up until about the third quarter,” he told The Union.

“Our kids as juniors were making those plays. This year as seniors I do believe they are going to make the difference. They will make those plays that will give us the opportunity to be in it at the end and win the game.”

“We very easily could have been 6-4, 7-3 last year,” he added, “where we were up at half and couldn’t hang on to it…I think you’re going to see the change.”

The reason the Miners couldn’t hang on last season was that injuries decimated the team’s small roster, and football is a 4-quarter game. The team’s style of play–run the ball down your throat–becomes a game of attrition as the season wears on and they don’t have the numbers to stay competitive.

NU has the second smallest roster in the SFL with every other school except Rocklin claiming at least 50 players, according to MaxPrep Sports. Houlihan better pray for perfect health.

Every high school coach banks on the hope his players get better as they get older and the payoff comes when they are seniors, and it’s clear that Houlihan is hoping that’s the case at NU. But the seniors at every other school NU plays are getting better too, and nobody on the Miners has ever won a league game at the varsity level.

One more thing: NU has managed to concoct a schedule in which they have no bi-weeks to rest and regroup.

As long as we’re on the subject of schedules, it should be pointed out that Bear River has just four home games this season and will hit the road for four consecutive weeks. The Bruins are going to have to be road warriors if they are going to rebound from their first losing season in almost 30 years.

While small in numbers, BR plays just one ranked school (Placer) and is considered a bubble team in The Bee’s rankings, along with opponents Marysville, El Dorado and Colfax. On the other hand, eight of their opponents had winning records and made the playoffs last season. The school was 0-4 on the road last year and plays 3 of its 5 league games away from home.

Like Houlihan, Bruins co-head coach Terry Logue is counting on his seniors to make the season a success. At least they have tasted success, making the playoffs two of the last three seasons.

And like every other coach who ever existed, Logue sees no easy teams on the schedule. “Our league is brutal this year,” he told The Union. “Our league schedule is really tough. Preseason we don’t have any pattycakes on there either.”

Let the games begin.

VERY PREDICTABLE: We will once again offer our predictions on the outcome of league games for Bear River and Nevada Union. The predictions are based on a fairly basic power rating system that takes into account a team’s performance and the strength of its schedule. In the two seasons we’re predicted games, we’ve gone 48-14, a 77 percent win rate. Too bad you can’t bet these games.

Posted in Bear River football, Nevada Union football, Uncategorized | Leave a comment