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Brooke Henderson Feels her Game is Really Close



RANCHO MIRAGE, Calif. — It seems like Brooke Henderson can’t win.

That’s in the figurative sense because the 19-year-old from Smiths Falls has proven she is one of the world’s best. She’s won three times on the LPGA Tour. She beat world No. 1 Lydia Ko in a playoff with one of the best pressure shots in Canadian golf history to win her first major last season, the KPMG Women’s PGA Championship.

But despite her success last year in a demanding schedule that included the Olympics — her 31 events last season and 121 rounds were the most on Tour — critics said she was playing too much and was going to burn herself out.

For sure, it was a demanding year. After her win at the KPMG and a successful defence of her title at the Cambia Portland Classic, Henderson was one of the favourites going into the Olympics. One only had to spend a little time around her to see how many demands on her time there were heading into Rio.

She was always there to do another interview or sign another autograph or take a selfie with a young fan, so it probably shouldn’t come as a surprise that, after pushing so hard in 2016, her results to start 2017 haven’t been up to Henderson’s or her fans’ expectations.

Now the narrative is, “What’s up with Brooke Henderson?”

Probably nothing other than the ebbs and flows of golf, and easing into a fresh season after an incredibly demanding 2016. She’s 18th on the money list in 2017 and her best finish is a T4 earlier this month in Singapore. Her world ranking has gone from a high of second to the depths of 13th.

She’s pushed her official career earnings to $1.9 million and is one of the hottest commodities in the sports marketing world.

What a disaster.

When she missed the cut last week at the Kia Classic (as did Ko), commentator Judy Rankin said Henderson needed “to go back to being the bubbly Brooke on the course we saw last year.”

I haven’t seen Henderson play as much golf as some, but more than most, and I’ve seen her steaming on the course at times in the past. Bubbly? Like Dion Phaneuf is bubbly in front of the net. She’s as competitive as anybody. I would argue it’s tough to be bubbly when you’re grinding to try to avoid slamming your trunk on Friday.

She has no regrets about pushing as hard as she did last year and she’s not accepting the idea it’s human nature to have a bit of a letdown after such consistently strong performances last year.

“That wasn’t my plan (to ease into 2017), but last year was a really busy year and I met all of my goals,” said Henderson. “It was kind of like the perfect year, 17 top 10s, winning two events including a major, representing Canada in the Olympics. It was kind of a highlight year.

“This far into the 2017, I haven’t necessarily performed or gotten the results I want, but I feel like my game is really close. Hopefully I can just tune up a little bit mentally and get focused on what I have to do,” she said.

As has been the case for as long as she has been playing golf, her dad, Dave, is her coach (Canadian national women’s team coach Tristan Mullally was part of the Henderson camp heading into the Olympics last year, but that arrangement ended with the conclusion of the Olympics), and he likes what he’s seen lately.

“Brooke’s game is right there,” said Dave, brushing off the missed cut last week. “We got on the wrong side of the draw and it was cold, wet and raining in San Diego, and we least expected that. The course played very tough the first eight, nine holes and Brooke went one-under after the first five holes (in which she was four-over). Her game was right there. The second day (she shot 74), you can’t even look at that because now we’re pressing, now we’re doing things to try and get it back.”

As she heads into the ANA Inspiration, the first major of the golf season, and as the LPGA Tour starts to hit prime time, Henderson is optimistic.

“I think my game is right there that I can win a few more times and I think that starts this week,” she said. “Having played the golf course the last few days, I think it suits my game really well, so if I can get my mental attitude the way it should be, I think I’ll be right there on Sunday.”

And maybe she’ll even be bubbly.

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Top US admiral bristles at criticism of ‘woke’ military: ‘We are not weak’



Adm. Michael Gilday, chief of Naval Operations, rebuffed pointed interrogations by GOP lawmakers who grilled him over his decision to recommend sailors read a book deemed by some conservatives as anti-American.

The U.S. Navy’s top admiral also defended moves to address and root out racism and extremism in the forces as well as its efforts to bolster inclusion and diversity, which have prompted criticism from some conservatives and Republican lawmakers.

“Do you personally consider advocating for the destruction of American capitalism to be extremist?” Rep. Jim Banks, R-Ind., asked Gilday during a House Armed Services Committee hearing Tuesday, referring to a passage from Ibram X. Kendi’s book “How to Be an Antiracist,” which argues capitalism and racism are interlinked.

Banks continued to interrogate the admiral over specific quotes from Kendi’s book, which was a No. 1 New York Times best seller in 2020, and statements he had made elsewhere in the past.

Visibly distraught, Gilday fired back:

“I am not going to sit here and defend cherry-picked quotes from somebody’s book,” he said. “This is a bigger issue than Kendi’s book. What this is really about is trying to paint the United States military, and the United States Navy, as weak, as woke.”

He added that sailors had spent 341 days at sea last year with minimal port visits — the longest deployments the Navy has done, he said.

“We are not weak. We are strong,” Gilday said.

Rep. Doug Lamborn, R-Colo., also challenged the admiral by citing specific quotes from the book and asked him how those ideas laid out by Kendi would further advance or improve the Navy’s power.

Gilday responded by arguing the importance of transparency and open dialogue about racism.

“There is racism in the Navy just as there is racism in our country, and the way we are going to get out of it is by being honest and not to sweep it under the rug,” he expounded, adding that he does not agree with everything the author says in the book.

The key point however, he said, is for sailors “to be able to think critically.”

The exchange was the latest in vociferous complaints from some conservative leaders and lawmakers who suggest the armed forces are becoming a pawn for the country’s culture wars and “wokeness” ideology, as the military takes steps to address issues of racial inclusion, extremism, racism and white supremacy.

And only last week, Sen. Tom Cotton, R-Ark., accosted Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin about Kendi’s book, which Cotton said promoted “critical race theories” at a different Senate Armed Services Committee hearing where Austin was testifying.

Days earlier, Cotton and Rep. Dan Crenshaw, R-Texas — two combat veterans — launched a “whistleblowers” online platform to report examples of “woke ideology” in the military.

“Enough is enough. We won’t let our military fall to woke ideology,” Crenshaw, a former Navy SEAL, said in a tweet.

Also in February, Austin instructed a one-day stand-down across the Defense Department pausing regular activities to address extremism and white nationalism in the ranks — an issue Austin declared as a priority after a number of rioters at the U.S. Capitol in January were found to have military backgrounds.

The stand down completed in April was an effort to better understand the scope of the problem of extremism in the ranks, Pentagon press secretary John F. Kirby said in a briefing then.

Earlier, Austin had revoked a ban on diversity training for the military.

More recently, in May, a U.S. Army animated ad focused on soldier diversity — featuring the real story of a soldier who enlisted after being raised by two mothers in California — drew criticism and political backlash from some conservative lawmakers.

“Holy crap,” Sen. Ted Cruz, R-Texas, said in a tweet. “Perhaps a woke, emasculated military is not the best idea. . . .”

Cruz was referring to a TikTok video that compared the U.S. Army ad with a Russia campaign that showed buff soldiers doing push-ups and leaping out of airplanes, adding that the contrast made the American soldiers “into pansies.”

The confrontation Tuesday is also the latest in reproaches by Rep. Banks, who is a Naval Reserve officer, and other GOP members over Gilday’s recommendation to include Kendi’s book in the Chief of Naval Operations Professional Reading Program.

In February, Banks sent a letter to Gilday arguing that the views promoted in the book are “explicitly anti-American” and demanded Gilday explain the Navy’s decision to include it on the reading list or remove it.

Gilday responded to Banks in a letter obtained by Fox News saying that the book was included on the list because “it evokes the author’s own personal journey in understanding barriers to true inclusion, the deep nuances of racism and racial inequalities.”

Lamborn and Rep. Vicky Hartzler, D-Mo., also wrote a letter to the admiral to convey their concern about the inclusion of Kendi’s book as well as Michelle Alexander’s “The New Jim Crow” and Jason Pierceson’s “Sexual Minorities and Politics.”

The GOP lawmakers argued the books “reinforce a view that America is a confederation of identity categories of the oppressed and their oppressors rather than a common homeland of individual citizens who are united by common purposes,“ Lamborn and Hartzler wrote, according to Fox News.

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Looking back on the 1991 reforms in 2021



Our understanding of events refines with time. New developments reframe the issues, and prompt reassessment of the solutions applied, their design and outcomes. What does looking back on the 1991 reforms in 2021 tell us?

For three decades, India celebrated and criticised the 1991 reforms. The reformers of 1991 say that the idea wasn’t only to tide over a Balance of Payments (BOP) crisis; the changes they brought in went beyond the International Monetary Fund’s (IMF) conditionalities for the bailout. The reforms, they insist, were ‘home-grown’. In the years leading up to 1991, technocrats in government had been thinking and writing about how India’s economic policies had been blocking the country’s rise to potential and the structural changes needed. If the broad range of reforms—including tearing down the industrial license permit raj, an exchange rate correction, and liberalising foreign direct investment and trade policies—could be launched within a matter of days of a new government joining office, they argue, it is because the blueprints were ready, waiting for the go-ahead from the political leadership.

The reformers of 1991 say that the idea wasn’t only to tide over a Balance of Payments (BOP) crisis; the changes they brought in went beyond the International Monetary Fund’s (IMF) conditionalities for the bailout.

At least two well-regarded technocrats that were important in the 1991 reforms disagree—publicly and in off-the-record conversations. In a media interview last month, one of them, the economic adviser in the reforms team, Dr Ashok Desai, suggested that if there were any reformers in government before the IMF “forced” India to liberalise in 1991, “they hid themselves very well”. According to him, after the BOP crisis was resolved, finance minister Dr Manmohan Singh turned “dead against reforms”.

The multiple versions of the reforms story make it difficult to separate fact from romance. It cannot be disputed, though, that the 1991 BOP crisis was a turning point for the economy. India had tided over BOP crises earlier with loans from the IMF, repaid them prematurely, and avoided going through with the bailout’s conditionalities. 1991 was singularly different because India was on the brink of default, which is likely to have forced politicians to set politics aside and listen to technocrats. Any default on external obligations would have meant hurting India’s credibility grievously and an inescapable sense of national shame. The government probably took the view that there was no choice other than to take corrective steps. Prime Minister PV Narasimha Rao named Dr Manmohan Singh, who had been a technocrat in government and was well regarded in global policy circles, as his finance minister. Dr Singh clearly had the Prime Minister’s, his party’s and the IMF’s trust. Records irrefutably show that the Congress party’s acceptance of the reversals in the interventionist economic policies of the first four post-Independence decades was not secured by the Prime Minister. He had delegated the task of tackling doubts and resistance within the party to his ministers, in particular, the finance minister and the commerce minister, and an aide in his office. The finance minister defended the reforms on the floor of the house in Parliament.

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Taxpayer-funded NPR mocks ‘CaPitAliSm,’ prompting calls to ‘defund’ media outlet



National Public Radio (NPR) ignited a social media firestorm Thursday night over a tweet that appears to mock capitalism, despite taxpayer dollars accounting for much of the organization’s annual budget.

The outlet posted a story titled “And Now, Crocs With Stiletto Heels” that explores a curious new collaboration between luxury fashion brand Balenciaga and Crocs, the rubber slipper company responsible for fashion faux pas among the millions of comfort-clinging owners nationwide.

The caption accompanying the article, which was written in both uppercase and lowercase letters, appears to mock the collaboration: “CaPitAliSm bReEds InNovAtiOn,” it reads. 

The tweet’s language sparked outrage on social media, with figures like conservative Tim Young calling out the irony in NPR’s three-word post.

“You wouldn’t exist without capitalism, clown who is tweeting on behalf of NPR,” he wrote.

“Job at public news station wouldn’t exist wo capitalism,” another user echoed. “Are you guys ok?”

“Our tax money shouldn’t pay for this,” one person expressed.

“It’s still a hell of a lot better than communism at breeding innovation, even if some of the products are silly,” one woman fired back.

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