Saturday, May 12, 2007

Michael Yaki, you suck

Another clown to throw on the pile.

In an earlier version of an AP story on a briefing held by the U.S. Commission on Civil Rights, D.C.-based sports reporter Joseph White included this passage:
Jessica Gavora, vice president of policy for the College Sports Council, favors [a] new survey [to judge women's interest in sports] because schools have been cutting men's teams in an effort to comply with Title IX through other means. Gavora pounded the table in frustration when commissioner Michael Yaki mocked the cries of people who might say, "Oh my God, they cut the boys' pingpong club.''

"Where does the law force the university's hands when it has to cut back?'' Gavora said. "It forces it on the men's' teams.''
So Commissioner Yaki wants to dismiss the cutting of collegiate athletic programs with a sarcastic remark, huh?

Well, let's see what Mr. Yaki's all about.

We'll run a Google search on him and see what happens. Ah, yes, the first page that comes up: His bio page from a law firm in San Francisco. about this gem (bold added by me)?
Michael utilizes his experience representing the government in negotiations on many of northern California's most recent large-scale development projects, including Mission Bay, SBC Park, and the conversions of the Presidio Army Base, Treasure Island Naval Station, and the Hunters' Point Naval Shipyard.
Well, Mr. Yaki, the Giants surely get some of their players - maybe even some of their major leaguers - from college. What if their baseball program is cut? Hell, we can do away with collegiate baseball altogether. The park's already built and paid for, right?

Further down the page (again, bold by me):

Professional Accomplishments
-- Elected member of the San Francisco City and County Board of Supervisors, 1996-2001. Served on the board of directors of the San Francisco Transportation Authority, Golden Gate Bridge and Highway District, Association of Bay Area Government, Bay Area Air Quality Management District, and the California State Association of Counties

-- Chief of Staff to Congresswoman Nancy Pelosi, 1989-96

(Let the record show that when I tried to right-click to copy, it told me, "Function Disabled!" However, Ctrl-C worked just fine.) OK, so we've also established this guy is a Democrat (plus he lives in San Francisco and graduated from Cal-Berkeley. Do you need anymore evidence?).

That's kind of funny, because the Democrats' Web site tells us - in the very first sentence on this particular page - they are "committed to keeping our nation safe and expanding opportunity for every American." By opting to go for a cheap (and decidedly unfunny) one-liner, Commissioner Yaki doesn't seems he's more interested in limiting opportunity for a certain segment of Americans.

Wait, let me read that again.

Yes, it does say "every American." Just wanted to make sure.

And whaddya know, Pelosi nominated him for the USCCR.

Just for shits and giggles, let's Google his name with athletics, just to see what happens.

Well, we got this trite op-ed piece penned by Commissioner Yaki (before he was Commissioner Yaki) in the San Francisco Chronicle. Seems a morning-show host friend of his got him a small role in some movie that no one's ever heard of. Listen, I'm all about politicians protecting their image, but if you can stomach enough of him to make it to the end of the interminable second graf, you'll see this:
The next day, my politician's instincts for self-preservation kicked in. What if this "psychological thriller'' contained scenes of debauchery? Dismemberment? Other forms of gratuitous political incorrectness? What if my character played a serial murderer? I frantically called Darian. She assured me that, no, there were no such scenes in the film, that she knew the producers, that they were excited that I accepted and that she would "kick their a--'' if I wasn't treated right.

At the time, Commissioner Yaki, you were on the San Francisco Board of Supervisors, not the Chairman of the Board at the Christian Broadcasting Network. Give me a damn break.

Well, we managed to find out he's an avid bowler. Beyond that, he wrote an op-ed piece for the New York Times ahead of Toyota's NASCAR debut, which throws around the r-word and confuses the intensity of Mr. I've Spent My Life With Ford, car owner Jack Roush, with ethnic bias. Apparently Mr. Yaki, a proclaimed NASCAR fan, doesn't remember not Talladega of a few weeks ago but Talladega of a few years ago, when American Jeff Gordon won in a Chevy and was pelted with beer.

After five pages of searching "Michael Yaki" paired with "athletics" then "sports," we found no indication that Commissioner Yaki has ever had any personal involvement in any sort of organized sports. Can we really expect him, then, to understand what it's like to pour your heart into a team and a program, season after season, only to learn that your school is taking away the sport you've been playing since you were 8 years old? Of course not.

We did find another gem from him, however, back in January.
Number one, politics is not for the faint of heart. Number two, politics is a free hedge clipping service. Every time you poke your head up, someone's there to chop it off. Number three, if you're going to throw a punch, you got to take a punch.

The old masters like Mike Royko excelled at using words to deftly slice those that deserved it.

I'm not that talented. Consider these words a punch to the gut.


ME said...

We miss ya man!

How are the new flights treating you?

Anonymous said...

You know, I've been seeing this for a year, and normally I don't respond to ad hominem attacks, but finally, in this year of change, I thought I'd set the record straight.

1. I was the starting guard for my JV high school basketball team.
2. I was a starting member of the tennis team for 2 years in high school.
3. I regularly played intramural sports through college and law school.
4. I taught tennis at the Special Olympics when I attended Cal.
5. I hosted the Tiger Woods Foundation Golf Clinic at Harding Park in San Francisco in 1999.
6. I play golf whenever I can, having taken up the sport in 1997 after watching Tiger Woods win the Masters. Something about "role model" and "opportunity" made me want to compete in a sport I had heretofore not identified with minorities.

If you bothered to read the entire transcript, you would understand the issues involved. If women are not provided a chance to engage in intercollegiate athletics, what does that say about our country? Everyone uses the old saw that "football, baseball, basketball" will be cut. The evidence hardly exists to support that conclusion, except perhaps in those rare instances in schools where the programs were marginal to begin with. The fact of the matter is, college athletics is more robust, and college campuses are richer, and our nation is stronger because of the passage and enforcement of Title IX.

Yes, sometimes choices have to be made. But the fact is, they have always been made in college sports. Prior to Title IX, campuses determined what mens' sports teams to support and which ones would be self-sufficient. Blaming Title IX for the demise of some mens' programs is an easy blame-shifter, rather than focusing on the fact that we are creating the same opportunity for camaraderie, teamwork, and excellence for young girls and women. I say that's a positive.

It certainly doesn't suck.

Michael Yaki
U.S. Commission on Civil Rights

San Francisco said...

Yaki doesn't play sports. Look how big he is.

Anonymous said...

You know, is really unfair to pick on the fat kid. Like everyone else, Mr. Yaki plays quid pro quo politics. We need to celebrate and embrace his obesity. Many other americans are struggling with their weight. Not to get off topic here, but Mr. Yaki has a point about fat rights for everyone. Remember, never trust a skinny cook.

Brian said...

Enough with the jokes already (and I cast a WIDE net with the term 'jokes'). If you're going to be unfunny, at least have the sack to put your name by it.