1. A friend of mine grew up in Jamaica Estates, Queens, right behind the Trump house. They were mostly nice people, my friend said, but when a ball went over their fence one young Trump would grab it and say, nyah-nyah, you can’t have it back and scurry into the house. My friend says Donald Trump was always a nasty little kid.
2. When John McCain came back from Hanoi with broken arms and unbroken spirit, he and some other vets organized a pipeline for sending goods to the poor people of Vietnam. My wife sat next to one of McCain’s guys on a flight out east; he said the senator did not like publicity about the operation. I once interviewed him in his office (about Olympic business) and asked him about the pipeline and he shrugged, eloquently, as if to say, it’s the right thing to do. I sometimes scream at the tube at the loopy things he says, but I really like him and have not the slightest doubt that he is an American hero.
3. Make no mistake about it, the Republicans have made this an easier world for Donald Trump to spread his foolishness. For over six years they have run a campaign of ignorance and malice and, yes, prejudice about the twice-elected President. McConnell and Boehner and Graham have questioned Obama's motives, his actions, and, with their silence, even his birthplace in Hawaii. I think it is because they cannot handle having a moral and educated man of African and American descent, as the smartest man in their room. Their behavior has created a monster. Donald Trump is their golem.
Welcome to World Cup 2022, the most absurd thing that the routinely absurd world of sports has ever produced.
Those extreme descriptions were what virtually the entire world, save for those who had walked off with bags of cash from Qatar, called the awarding of soccer’s greatest event to the incredibly tiny, incredibly wealthy country back in 2010.
Twelve years ago, many were convinced this event couldn’t possibly happen: staging the world’s biggest sporting event in a country the size of Connecticut, one with zero soccer culture and even less soccer infrastructure? The tournament couldn’t possibly take place in 120-degree heat, and FIFA, the governing body of soccer, most certainly wouldn’t upend football leagues around the world to change the traditional summer schedule, could it?
And, for God’s sake, what about the beer?
Those were just the logistical concerns. The moral concerns are far more distressing. FIFA, so busy paying lip service to equality, couldn’t possibly expect the world to embrace a country where you could go to prison for being gay, where women’s rights are severely curtailed and female victims of sexual assault could go to prison, charged with engaging in extramarital sex. And all those questions came before the global realization that the World Cup was being built on the backs of migrant labor: modern-day slaves held in Qatar with virtually no rights, low wages and no ability to leave. Migrants make up 90% of Qatar’s stated population of 3 million. The country’s native-born equal about 300,000, or roughly the size of Anaheim.
---Ann Killion, columnist for The San Francisco Chronicle.