All entries by this author

Blame the university presses

Sep 20th, 2018 5:52 pm | By

More on Ian Buruma’s departure from the NYRB, in the National Post:

A former editor at the New York Review of Books says he stands by his decision to publish a controversial essay written by disgraced former radio host Jian Ghomeshi.

Ian Buruma has told Vrij Nederland, a Dutch magazine, that it is ironic that he has lost his job after publishing a theme issue about #MeToo offenders who had been convicted on social media, but not in court.

Well, you could also say it is ironic that a man decided to run a story about a man who, several women claimed, got a good deal too rough during sex. You can say anything is ironic. I for one … Read the rest

He is risen

Sep 20th, 2018 5:32 pm | By

John Lundin on Facebook:

There’s something sick about ‘campaigning’ for a Supreme Court nomination to begin with, then this…

“When you rent a bus that seats 80 but only 6 women show up”

That’s just weird. A bus? With his face plastered on the side along with WOMEN FOR KAVANAUGH? Weird weird weird. But then it’s “Concerned Women for America” – concerned about all this scary talk of equal rights and abortion and stuff. More bible, less feminism, please.


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Poverty in America

Sep 20th, 2018 1:25 pm | By

Matthew Desmond on the vast number of the working poor in the US:

These days, we’re told that the American economy is strong. Unemployment is down, the Dow Jones industrial average is north of 25,000 and millions of jobs are going unfilled. But for people like Vanessa, the question is not, Can I land a job? (The answer is almost certainly, Yes, you can.) Instead the question is, What kinds of jobs are available to people without much education? By and large, the answer is: jobs that do not pay enough to live on.

In recent decades, the nation’s tremendous economic growth has not led to broad social uplift. Economists call it the “productivity-pay gap” — the fact that

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Normal and expected

Sep 20th, 2018 12:20 pm | By

George Felis shared this post on Facebook and was inspired by comments to take a more extended look at the “why do people shrug off bullying when it’s only girls?” question. I got his permission to quote what he said.

Evidence that Kavanaugh was a high school bully would be generally taken to be a plausible indicator of his character, and even those who disagreed — those who rejected the idea that such youthful bad behavior could serve as a significant indication of the kind of person he is to this day — wouldn’t simply fail to understand why or how someone might think otherwise. But much of the conversation around the evidence that Kavanaugh committed sexual assault on a

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Not an accident

Sep 20th, 2018 11:31 am | By

Oh ffs – of course. Kavanaugh likes his women to look like models, and “his women” include his female law clerks.

A top professor at Yale Law School who strongly endorsed supreme court nominee Brett Kavanaugh as a “mentor to women” privately told a group of law students last year that it was “not an accident” that Kavanaugh’s female law clerks all “looked like models” and would provide advice to students about their physical appearance if they wanted to work for him, the Guardian has learned.

Amy Chua, a Yale professor who wrote a bestselling book on parenting called Battle Hymn of the Tiger Mother, was known for instructing female law students who were preparing for interviews with Kavanaugh

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Having fun yet?

Sep 20th, 2018 5:46 am | By

Trump pretended to do the empathy thing in North Carolina yesterday. It went about as well as it usually does.

Trump visited North Carolina on Wednesday, as the death toll from Hurricane Florence climbed to at least 37. During a morning briefing on the damage, Trump asked a state official, “How is Lake Norman doing?”

When the official said it was doing fine, Trump replied, “I love that area. I can’t tell you why, but I love that area.” (It’s probably because there is a Trump National Golf Club in the area.)

That “I can’t tell you why” is not a dreamy expression of ineffable negative capability je ne sais quoi mystery, but a moronically coy allusion to … Read the rest

“This woman, whoever she is, is mixed up.”

Sep 20th, 2018 5:06 am | By

Dick Polman at the Atlantic collects some of the ways Republicans are displaying their settled, instinctive indifference (or outright hostility) to women:

After Christine Blasey Ford, a clinical-psychology professor, put her name to the accusation, announcing publicly that she’d passed a polygraph and had shared her story in a 2012 therapy session, Senator Orrin Hatch, a longtime member of the Senate Judiciary Committee’s all-male Republican contingent, told the cameras: “This woman, whoever she is, is mixed up.” He also said that even if the assault accusation were true, the past wouldn’t matter so much: “It would be hard for senators not to consider who he is today.”

His Republican colleague Bob Corker voiced sympathy for Kavanaugh, but none for

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It’s as if men and women have different pain scales

Sep 19th, 2018 4:12 pm | By

Lili Loofbourow has a scorching analysis of the whole “never mind the women what about the poor men” phenomenon at Slate. I saw it via about 14 people at Facebook and they nearly all quoted a different passage, which shows how good it is.

The “locker room” once invoked to normalize Trump’s language (every man talks this way behind closed doors!) has expanded into a locked American bedroom with a woman trapped inside. It’s all in good fun, defenders declare. Horseplay.

Kids having fun!

This group has opted instead to defend male impunity for sexual assault and frame a woman’s story of coping with years of trauma as a true crisis … for men. A White

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Amid an uproar

Sep 19th, 2018 11:34 am | By

Ian Buruma has left the NYRB. It’s not currently clear if he was pushed or not.

Ian Buruma, the editor of The New York Review of Books, left his position on Wednesday amid an uproar over the magazine’s publication of an essay by a disgraced Canadian radio broadcaster who had been accused of sexually assaulting and battering women.

“Amid” – thus not ascribing causation. Careful.

After rumors about [the piece] began appearing on social media, it was published online last Friday, causing immediate furor, with some criticizing what they saw as a self-pitying tone, and soft pedaling of the accusations against him, which included slapping and choking, and had ultimately been brought by more than 20 women, rather than

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“Justice Kavanaugh has been treated very, very tough.”

Sep 19th, 2018 11:21 am | By

Trump again sides with the man. In other news, flies swarm rotting meat.

President Trump said on Wednesday that he found a sexual assault allegation against Judge Brett M. Kavanaugh, his Supreme Court nominee, difficult to believe and described the furor surrounding it as “very unfair” to the judge.

He somehow managed to refrain from trashing the woman directly, but…

But he expressed sympathy for his nominee.

“Really, they’re hurting somebody’s life,” he said of the senators considering Judge Kavanaugh’s nomination. “Justice Kavanaugh has been treated very, very tough, and his family. I think it’s a very unfair thing what’s going on.”

Him. Him him him. Never mind her, she doesn’t count. Yes if it’s true then he was … Read the rest

He guesses he studies history

Sep 19th, 2018 8:37 am | By

Trump’s project for this morning: trash Jeff Sessions some more. Sessions richly deserves trashing, but not for the reasons Trump is doing it.

“I don’t have an attorney general. It’s very sad,” Trump said in an interview with Hill.TV, in which he also said the former senator from Alabama came off as “mixed up and confused” when he appeared before the Senate Judiciary Committee in January 2017.

Not as mixed up and confused as Trump comes off every time he opens his mouth.

Trump doubled down on his criticism of Sessions as he left the White House on Wednesday morning for North Carolina to survey hurricane damage.

“I’m disappointed in the attorney general for many reasons, and you understand

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Guest post: The law uses a standard that corresponds to the stakes

Sep 18th, 2018 5:20 pm | By

Originally a comment by Screechy Monkey on Prosecutors look for corroborating evidence.

I haven’t seen the apologists trot this one out yet, but based on discussions about Shermer, Krauss, et al, I’m sure it’s coming: “you can’t vote no on his nomination based on this unless there is evidence beyond a reasonable doubt of his guilt!”

Bullshit. “Guilt beyond a reasonable doubt” is the legal standard used in criminal trials. There’s no good reason to apply that standard here.

First, there’s no need to “borrow” any particular legal standard at all. A Senate confirmation isn’t a legal trial at all, let alone a criminal one. Kavanaugh doesn’t have any real legal rights here whatsoever. He’s not entitled to due … Read the rest

And it certainly is not good

Sep 18th, 2018 5:15 pm | By

“One of the wettest we’ve ever seen from the standpoint of water.”

“There’s been a loss of life and” – sticking flap-hands out to the side – “MAY GOD BE WITH THEM. AND THEIR FAMILIES.” When he remembers a formula his voice gets louder, because he’s not diverting energy to thinking of Correct Words To Say.

“It’s a tough one…tough to understand…but this has been a difficult period of time for a lot of people – FEMA!” – the hands shoot up into the air – “the job you’ve done, the military…uh, the Coast Guard – what you’ve done in saving so many lives has been…really something special.”

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Prosecutors look for corroborating evidence

Sep 18th, 2018 2:57 pm | By

Five prosecutors point out that prosecutors deal with conflicting claims all the time.

While some argue that the truth about this incident will come down to a “he said, she said” situation, that’s not how it looks to us. Prosecutors and investigators are confronted with these scenarios frequently and don’t just throw up their hands and say, “We can’t decide.” Instead, prosecutors look for corroborating evidence — and there are strong indications already that Ford is telling the truth about her attack. Here are some of those indicators:

First, there is corroboration. Ford’s therapist’s notes in 2012, provided to The Washington Post, generally record her account of the attack. To believe that this is a made-up tale to prevent

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Chuckle chuckle wink nudge

Sep 18th, 2018 2:36 pm | By

Oh really.

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His beautiful young daughters

Sep 18th, 2018 12:47 pm | By

Trump thinks it’s a terrible terrible sad thing…for Kavanaugh.

“I feel so badly for him that he’s going through this,” Trump said at a White House press conference with Polish President Andrzej Duda. “This is not a man that deserves this.”

Well of course President You Can Grab Them by the Pussy thinks that.

Trump on Tuesday chose to focus on the wrong he felt had been done to Kavanaugh, however. “I feel terribly for him, for his wife who is an incredible lovely woman and his beautiful young daughters,” said the president.

They’re hot, see. His wife is hot, and his daughters are hot. Obviously they wouldn’t matter if they weren’t, but they are, so Trump feels “terribly” … Read the rest

Big stuff!

Sep 18th, 2018 12:21 pm | By

Jennifer Rubin on Trump’s latest move to obstruct justice:

The move is unprecedented. Never have we seen a president declassify documents in contravention of clear warnings from the intelligence community that doing so would harm national security. That this occurs in yet another effort to derail an investigation into his own wrongdoing, and to smear law enforcement officials, only underscores the degree to which Trump now puts his own political survival above the security of the American people.

I would omit that “now” – he’s done that all along.

“At best, a disgraceful distraction from the [Supreme Court nominee Brett M.] Kavanaugh matter; at worst, an abuse of power tantamount to obstruction of, and tampering with, the Russian investigation,”

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Protecting the boss

Sep 18th, 2018 12:10 pm | By

Greg Sargent at the Post:

President Trump and his Republican allies in Congress are running a systematic campaign of harassment and disruption directed at legitimate law enforcement activity being conducted on behalf of the American people — with the active goal of protecting Trump and his cronies from accountability and denying the public the full truth about a hostile foreign power’s effort to corrupt our democracy.

They call it “transparency” – which is idiotic, because “transparency” about ongoing investigations is not a thing. Sargent says this move will probably blow up in Trump’s face. I sure hope so.

Beyond this, the release is a remarkably brazen abuse of power. As national security expert David Kris notes, Trump

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What about the deeper ethical question here?

Sep 18th, 2018 11:15 am | By

Ah the riches of the Intellectual Dark Web. Bari Weiss goes on tv to repeat the “who among us has not assaulted someone at 17, and should that really disqualify someone for a seat on the Supreme Court?” mantra.

WEISS: What about the deeper, moral, cultural, like, the ethical question here? Let’s say he did this exactly as she said. Should the fact that a 17 year old, presumably very drunk kid, did this, should this be disqualifying? That’s the question at the end of the day, isn’t it?

RUHLE: Wait, hold on. We’re not talking about should he be disqualified to be a dog catcher. We’re talking about to be a Supreme Court justice.

WEISS: I’m aware.

Cool, she’s … Read the rest

Every man certainly should be worried

Sep 18th, 2018 10:48 am | By

Alexandra Petri wrote this scorching parody yesterday, and I regret not reading it until just now. (A whole day lost!)

“If somebody can be brought down by accusations like this, then you, me, every man certainly should be worried.”
— A lawyer close to the White House, speaking to Politico

Look, who among us?

If, apparently, a single alleged assault at a single party decades ago is to be frowned upon, then no man is safe, right?

What’s next? You can’t harass a colleague and serve on the Supreme Court? You can’t pick up high schoolers outside custody hearings and serve in the Senate? You can’t have a meat locker full of female femurs and expect to breeze through your

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