Patterico's Pontifications

1/27/2016

Amherst Crybullies Scalp Lord Jeffery

Filed under: General — JVW @ 1:59 pm

[guest post by JVW]

In another update of the never-ending annals of lunacy, Amherst College announced yesterday that it will immediately cease using the Lord Jeffery mascot that has represented the school for roughly a century. The announcement came via a tediously long missive issued by the Board of Trustees, who cast the final vote to condemn Lord Jeff, and signed by the board’s chairman. Let me try to provide some snippets, starting with the statement’s first paragraphs:

During the past several months President Biddy Martin and the members of the board of trustees have had scores (all right, hundreds) of communications from alumni, students, and others about the matter of Lord Jeffery Amherst. The communications reflect and embody many points of view. A lot of them begin with something like the following: “I know there are far more important issues facing the College, but….”

And I agree—with the first part of the sentence and also with the “but.” The controversy over the mascot may seem small in itself and yet in many minds it’s symbolic of larger issues. The controversy is bound up with feelings about matters as specific and recent as the protests at the College last fall and as broad and old as the College’s mission and values. It’s bound up with personal memories and personal experience. [. . .]”

From there it lapses into a disquisition on the history of the college, its vision of itself as a special place (which colleges, pray tell, think of themselves as merely ordinary?), and the inevitably of conflicts among a large and diverse group of students and alumni before finally coming around to the hosannas to diversity that are de rigueur in the modern higher education complex:

The history of Amherst has a clear direction: it is toward ever-greater range and inclusion—regardless of any student’s means—and toward making that range and inclusion work as an educational and social reality. We started out as an institution to prepare indigent youths for the ministry, then broadened out into a liberal-arts institution that prepared students for every walk of life. We were a local institution that became a regional institution and then a national and global one. We were all male and then became coeducational. We were predominantly white and now have a student body in which four students out of ten identify themselves as persons of color. [. . .]

Now we are at 2016. Amherst is one of a handful of institutions at the forefront of an enterprise that is both urgent and overdue: making the finest liberal-arts education available to the kind of diverse population this country actually has, and doing so in a residential setting that functions as a true community.[ . . .] But the task is not easy, nor should we expect it to be.

And then we come to the issue of the mascot, Lord Jeffery, named for Jeffery Amherst, First Baron of Montreal, who in 1760 defeated the French in Quebec and drove them from Canada, who almost replaced General William Howe as commander of British forces in America during the Revolutionary War, and who was called upon to put down the Gordon Riots when British Catholics were targeted by anti-papists in 1780. The bucolic college town of Amherst, Massachusetts was named for Lord Amherst in 1759, one year before he became Governor-General of Canada, though the college (chartered in 1821) was named for the town itself.

Amherst, who had fought against the Six Nations tribes in the Great Lakes region, had at one point in the 1760s suggested delivering smallpox-infected blankets to the tribes as a way of spreading the disease among the tribes, and a few historians have presented evidence that the plan may have been carried out to some effect. From the relatively security of a quarter-millineum later, we are now free to excoriate Amherst and declare him persona non grata. From the letter:

Lord Jeff was adopted unofficially by students as a mascot roughly a century ago. The College itself has never officially adopted Lord Jeff as a mascot—or adopted anyone or anything else as a mascot, for that matter. [. . .] Thinking about [the smallpox blanket suggestion] leads immediately into gnarly debates about how we understand history, about the very nature of war, about the weight we give to words and actions, and about who has standing to render moral judgments.

If you’re guessing that they will decide that today’s Social Justice Warriors have standing to render these moral judgements, you would be correct.

. . . What is beyond dispute is that the symbolic figure of Lord Jeff has become a source of division among us today. In part the division reflects the impressively broad constituency that is the College and the alumni body. Almost all students (85 percent) and faculty, and more than half of the 6,000 alumni who voted in a recent ballot (52 percent), have an unfavorable view of Lord Jeff as a College symbol. About 38 percent of voting alumni have a favorable view.

That a majority of the voting alumni have an unfavorable view is telling, though earlier in the letter the total living alumni of the college are pegged at 23,000, so there are 17,000 of them who presumably aren’t bothered enough by the mascot to make the effort to cast a vote against it. They do not say how many total undergraduates bothered to vote, but is it so hard to believe that the voting would skew heavily towards those who want to see the mascot go? At this point, the board’s letter actually brings up the most salient argument for making the change:

So Amherst College finds itself in a position where a mascot—which, when you think about it, has only one real job, which is to unify—is driving people apart because of what it symbolizes to many in our community.

And so, Lord Jeff is consigned to the ash heap of history, though the board makes it clear that they have no interest in trying to police continued informal use of the mascot by students and alumni (at least for the time being, that is):

Lord Jeff as a mascot may be unofficial, but the College, when its own resources are involved, can decide not to employ this reference in its official communications, its messaging, and its symbolism (including in the name of the [Lord Jeffery] Inn, the only place on the campus where the Lord Jeffery name officially appears). The Board of Trustees supports such an approach, and it will be College policy. The Inn’s new name will reflect its deep connections with Amherst College and the town of Amherst. Beyond that, people will do as they will: the College has no business interfering with free expression, whether spoken or written or, for that matter, sung. Period. We hope and anticipate that understanding and respect will run in all directions.

On the face of it, this doesn’t seem like a horrible decision. The mascot was never officially adopted by the college, so this is probably not on the order of the bitterness felt by some Dartmouth alums when the college dropped their Indians mascot, nor is it too similar to the issue faced by the University of North Dakota when the NCAA bullied them into changing from the Fighting Sioux to the Fighting Hawks. But the problem, as we continually have seen, is that today’s crybullies refuse to take “yes” for an answer. The left is very good at playing the long game; what they don’t get today they simply come back for tomorrow. How long before the very name of the town of Amherst and the college named for it are called into question? Just as today’s obsession with microaggressions and safe spaces began with yesterday’s demands for punitive speech codes, what is going to happen when we start insisting upon judging historical figures from the Eighteenth Century by the standards of the Twenty-first? If you don’t think this is likely, note that the crybully left has been agitating for the University of Massachusetts to change its mascot from the Minutemen for nearly 20 years now. One of these days some foolish chancellor is going to enlist in the crusade.

– JVW

Debate Preview from Ted Cruz

Filed under: General — Patterico @ 7:55 am

I think any candidate for President owes it to the voters to go and stand in front of them, to answer the hard questions. I mean, it’s a matter of basic respect to the men and women of Iowa. . . . This is a job interview. And if you want a job interview, the first thing you should do to get the job is show up at the interview. And I think it’s really remarkable that Donald Trump thinks so little of the men and women of Iowa that he is willing to skip the debate altogether. He doesn’t think he should have any questions on his record. And it’s really quite astonishing that Donald is apparently so afraid of Megyn Kelly. Look, you know, journalists ask tough questions. You know, I promise you, anyone who’s going to be President of the United States — if you’re afraid of Megyn Kelly, then you’re going to be afraid of Hillary Clinton. And if you’re afraid of Vladimir Putin, if you’re afraid to have anyone ask questions, that does not bode well for what kind of Commander in Chief you make.

Just brutal. And it goes on like that. And that’s how it will be at the debate.

Pundits are so used to Trump doing crazy things and not having it hurt him, that they are blind to how badly all this will hurt him. It won’t change anyone’s mind who already decided with all their heart and soul to support Trump. But those undecided between Trump and Cruz are going to flock to Cruz now.

I still think he gets back in. It’s such a stupid move to skip the debate, and Trump, while a moron on policy, is not generally stupid on matters like this. But maybe his personal pique is so great that it overshadows his usual judgment on such issues.

Man Shot and Killed by Feds in Connection with Oregon Standoff

Filed under: General — Patterico @ 7:42 am

OregonLive.com:

Oregon standoff spokesman Robert “LaVoy” Finicum was killed and other leaders of the Malheur National Wildlife Refuge occupation were arrested Tuesday after the FBI and state police stopped vehicles about 20 miles north of Burns.

Authorities did not release the name of the person who died at the highway stop, but Finicum’s daughter confirmed it was Finicum, 55, of Cane Beds, Arizona, one of the cowboy-hat wearing faces of the takeover.

Another of the arrestees, Ryan Bundy, received a minor gunshot wound. Ammon Bundy claims Finicum was cooperating:

Also arrested during the stop were his brother, Ammon Bundy, 40, of Emmett, Idaho, Ryan W. Payne, 32, of Anaconda, Mont., Brian Cavalier, 44, of Bunkerville, Nevada, and Shawna J. Cox, 59, of Kanab, Utah. They were charged with conspiracy to impede federal officers, a felony.

Nevada Assemblywoman Michele Fiore said that Ammon Bundy called his wife, Lisa Bundy, from the back of a police car on Tuesday night.

Fiore, a vocal supporter of the Bundy family, said that Ammon Bundy told his wife that Finicum was cooperating with police when he was shot.

But sources told The Oregonian/OregonLive that Finicum and Ryan Bundy disobeyed orders to surrender and resisted arrest. No other details were available.

As articulated, that’s a rather thin justification for shooting someone. Was he armed? Did he point a gun? Did he appear to be reaching for a gun? Were there any body cameras?

I assume we’ll be hearing more about this. Law enforcement knew they were dealing with a group of people that had members who declared they were armed and prepared for a shootout if necessary. Still (unless only #BlackLivesMatter), mere disobedience of orders and resisting arrest is generally thought to be insufficient, without more, to justify shooting and killing someone.

1/26/2016

Donald Trump 2012: These Republican Candidates Are Cowards for Skipping This Debate!

Filed under: General — Patterico @ 11:03 pm

Contradictions like this change nobody’s mind, but they’re too delightful to ignore:

“We’re not seeing a lot of courage here, are we? Not lots of courage!” said Donald Trump to Megyn Kelly in 2012. He was talking about candidates like Mitt Romney who didn’t want to show up to a debate moderated by Donald Trump. “You know, these Republicans are supposed to be brave.”

Bwahahahahahahaha.

It gets better: he tells Megyn Kelly that she is a great debate moderator, and that he could never do a better job at moderating a debate than her. (Skip ahead to 2:29.)

MEGYN KELLY: [with a mock air of taking offense]: Do you really think you’re a better moderator than I am?

TRUMP: No, I could never beat you. That wouldn’t even be close. That would be no contest. You have done a great job, by the way. And I mean it.

MEGYN KELLY: Thank you. I’m glad we cleared that up.

And he means it.

Hilarious.

(H/t: the Internet. This is everywhere tonight.)

UPDATE:

Donald Trump: I’m Skipping Thursday Night’s Debate

Filed under: General — Patterico @ 6:26 pm

Alternate title: “Trump loses Iowa.”

Here’s Trump earlier, when he was still on the fence but leaning against backing out. He whines about Megyn Kelly, he whines about a press release, he whines about Roger Ailes . . . but all the public is going to hear is the whining.

Screen Shot 2016-01-26 at 6.19.40 PM
Above: Donald Trump

He must really have been scared of Ted Cruz to turn tail and run like this. And Cruz is exploiting it to the hilt:

This is so stupid, part of me thinks Trump is going to manufacture some way to get back in. But even if he does, it damages him badly.

I always figured this guy was likely to flame out at some point. I wasn’t sure it would be before Iowa, though. Thank God.

UPDATE: Dana and I cross-posted. I will leave up both posts, because I like this one and I like hers. But comment on hers.

Fox News To Donald Trump: You’re Fired!

Filed under: General — Dana @ 6:13 pm

[guest post by Dana]

Donald Trump will not be attending the Fox News primary debate this Thursday. As you know, he has been threatening to boycott it because his nemesis, that diabolical blonde, Megyn Kelly, is scheduled to be the moderator. I guess he thought he had more clout than Kelly and that Fox News would give him a lollipop and replace her, but Roger Ailes made the smart decision to call his bluff and stand by Kelly:

Republican presidential front-runner Donald Trump said on Tuesday night that he is backing out of Thursday’s primary debate in Des Moines, Iowa, which will be broadcast by Fox News Channel. The decision comes with just days until the Iowa caucuses[.]

“Megyn Kelly is an excellent journalist, and the entire network stands behind her,” Ailes said in a statement. “She will absolutely be on the debate stage on Thursday night.”

What’s funny is the man who wants to hold the most powerful position in the world was seemingly unable to make the decision of whether or not to appear at the debate, and ended up seeking counsel from his closest advisors: the Twittersphere.

If Megyn Kelly’s presence was truly the real problem with the Fox News debate, then there is no reason for Trump to not enthusiastically accept Ted Cruz’s personal invitation to him:

Untitled-1

I’m looking forward to it!

–Dana

Pro-Life Journalist Charged With Purchase And Sale Of Human Organs

Filed under: General — Dana @ 6:27 am

[guest post by Dana]

Planned Parenthood baby killers clap their hands in glee as a pro-life activist working to save the lives of both the unborn and born-alive is indicted.

Unbelievable:

Months after the release of undercover videos detailing Planned Parenthood’s scheme to traffic aborted baby body parts, a grand jury has finally brought brought criminal charges. Not against Planned Parenthood, but against David Daleiden, the pro-life activist behind the undercover sting videos.

A grand jury in Harris County, Texas, returned two charges on Monday afternoon against Daleiden, the activist who planned and organized the undercover sting videos. Although the grand jury allegedly investigated Planned Parenthood, no charges were brought against the nation’s largest abortion provider, whose executives were shown in multiple videos attempting to sell trafficked organs and other body parts harvested from aborted babies. One Planned Parenthood executive, while haggling over the prices of aborted baby organs, noted that she needed to get the right price because, “I want to buy a Lamborghini.”

Here are the charges:

Daleiden was charged with the purchase and sale of human organs, a misdemeanor, and with tampering with a governmental record, a felony. Sandra Merritt, one of Daleiden’s associates, was also charged with tampering with a governmental record.

Is the lesson here that it’s okay to sell baby body parts, but it’s not okay to act like you’re going to buy them?? Because that’s what I’m getting from this.

And then there is this:

Lauren Reeder, one of the prosecutors in the Harris County district attorney’s office, revealed last August that she was a member of the board of directors for the Planned Parenthood affiliate that was targeted by Daleiden.

Reeder’s LinkedIn page indicates that she has been a Planned Parenthood board member since 2013 and a fundraiser for the abortion provider since 2009

–Dana

1/25/2016

Mizzou Professor Charged with Assault

Filed under: General — JVW @ 4:25 pm

[guest post by JVW]

The interminable saga of University of Missouri Assistant Professor of Communication Melissa Click reached a new milestone today when the Columbia, Missouri City Prosecutor formally charged her with third-degree assault for swatting at a student journalist who was photographing a Black Lives Matter gathering on campus this past November. Recall that Click was also caught on video asking for “some muscle” to come and forcibly eject the photographer. She faces up to 15 days imprisonment if found guilty.

Meanwhile, the university is either taking due diligence or dragging their feet (depending upon one’s disposition to Click’s actions) in reaching a decision about Melissa Click’s continuing status on the faculty. This was the year that Click was to come up for tenure review, and according to the local ABC News affiliate she remains under consideration:

Interim Chancellor Hank Foley announced Monday afternoon that Click will keep her job while a task force determines whether she will receive tenure.

Foley said she is currently working from home and will continue to do so the rest of the week.

Foley said a task force made up of scholars, MUPD, administrators, and students will sort through everything that happened on November 9.

“When we deviate from our processes, we tend to make mistakes. We have our ways of doing things that are not hasty,” said Foley in regard to the task force process.

“People are held accountable for their actions at the University. This is not being looked over.”

Foley said “Dr. Click is frankly aggrieved by this. I doubt she would do anything like this again.” [emphasis added]

Is it just me, or does Foley sound like he would absolutely love to find a way to forgive and forget and grant Click tenure? I guess Mizzou simply can’t do without her ground-breaking research into the Fifty Shades of Grey novels and “Thomas the Tank” television series.

Anyone have any bright ideas for Chancellor Foley as to how he and his colleagues can grant Professor Click tenure without being the laughingstocks of academia?

– JVW

Ted Cruz Cheats at Golf?

Filed under: General — Patterico @ 7:43 am

Matt Labash has a long profile of Ted Cruz, with a startling revelation: Ted Cruz cheats at golf.

Americans are a forgiving people. They’ll forgive a guy who cheats in business or on his wife. (Cruz has been accused of both.) But will they forgive a man who cheats at golf? According to the Washington Post’s Ben Terris, Cruz is in trouble if they don’t.

Despite Cruz’s allegedly having a 4 handicap, he plays about as straight as a corkscrew. When Alice Cooper was asked who is the worst celebrity golf cheat he’s ever played with, he responded, “I played with Ted Cruz one time. That’s all I’m going to say.”

Sportswriter Rick Reilly, who played golf with Cruz for his book Who’s Your Caddy?, gave Cruz an 11 on a 10-point cheating scale, telling the Post that Cruz fabricated scores on his scorecard, called gimmes on chip shots, and conceded putts to himself by raking his ball into the hole rather than actually putt-ing. “He rakes like my gardener!” Reilly said.

When Mark Mulvoy, then-managing editor of Sports Illustrated, played golf with Cruz in the mid-’90s, the two were forced to take cover when a storm rolled in. After the rain subsided, Mulvoy returned to the green to see a ball that he didn’t remember 10 feet away from the pin. When he asked whose ball it was, Cruz replied, “That’s me.”

“Give me a f—ing break,” Mulvoy told Cruz. “You’ve been hacking away in the .  .  . weeds all day. You do not lie there.” According to Mulvoy’s recollection to the Post, Cruz responded: “Ahh, the guys I play with cheat all the time. I have to cheat just to keep up with them.”

Cruz, for his part, denied knowing who Mulvoy is, claimed never to have played with Alice Cooper, and of Reilly, he said, “I always thought he was a terrible writer. I absolutely killed him, and he wrote very inaccurately.”

Of course, you have probably figured out by now that this story isn’t about Ted Cruz at all. It’s about Donald Trump. I just changed the name in the passage from Trump to Cruz — to make a point.

If a story like the one above actually came out about Cruz, people would be very confused. Ted Cruz cheats at golf? That certainly comes as a surprise. And what is all this about him cheating at business? And on his wife? It would really throw people for a loop.

But a story like this about Donald Trump? Well, that’s different. Cruz supporters will sigh and say: yeah, that’s the type of guy I already knew Trump was. And Trump supporters can get busy rationalizing it away. Everybody cheats at golf. Why, it’s a good thing that Trump cheats at golf. It shows he wins! In fact, I’m not angry at Donald Trump for cheating at golf. I’m angry at Patterico for repeating a story about how Donald Trump cheats at golf!

OK, you don’t like stories about golf? Then how about suing people? Labash has that covered too:

A (very) incomplete list of people or entities Cruz or Cruz minions have either sued or threatened to sue includes: NBC, ABC, the BBC, the Daily Beast, the Washington Post, the Wall Street Journal for suggesting he had cash-flow problems, his biographer, a rapper who name-checked him, the Palm Beach airport for making too much noise, the Club for Growth, Jeb Bush’s super-PAC, John Kasich’s super-PAC, Rosie O’Donnell (she called him a “snake-oil salesman,” he called her “a fat pig”), Bill Maher (for not ponying up on a $5 million “bet” that Cruz could not prove he’s not the “spawn of his mother having sex with an orangutan”), a Twitter user who duped him into retweeting a tribute to serial killers, a Scottish offshore wind farm that would infringe on the view at one of his golf courses, his first wife for publishing a novel that resembled their marriage, his second wife’s bodyguard, a financial analyst for predicting his casino would fail (it basically did), and the Onion for publishing a satirical piece, under Cruz’s fake byline, titled “When You’re Feeling Low, Just Remember I’ll Be Dead in About 15 or 20 Years.”

Oh, dear: there I go inserting Ted Cruz’s name there again, just to show how incongruous it would appear for Ted Cruz to be acting like such a thug.

Even though threatening frivolous lawsuits is not even arguably innocent activity, like cheating at golf could be argued to be, this kind of thing will also be waved away. He uses the legal system! What’s wrong with that?! Anyway, well, um . . .

. . . I don’t like these posts. PATTERICO, YOU ARE SUFFERING FROM TRUMP DERANGEMENT SYNDROME!

Here’s the point. There is a guy running for President right now who, if elected, would turn Washington upside down. His name is Ted Cruz. Nobody thinks he cheats at business. Nobody thinks he cheats on his wife. Nobody thinks he would sue the Onion for writing a satirical piece about him. He would laugh it off, because he has a even-keeled temperament.

Yet there appears to be a real danger that he will be knocked out of the race by someone Big Media keeps pumping up. Why does Big Media seem to eager to pump Trump and lower the status of Cruz? Here’s a hint:

Screen Shot 2016-01-25 at 7.32.50 AM

As the polls stand now, Cruz would beat Hillary Clinton in a general election. Trump would not.

And Ted Cruz is the only person who seems to have a realistic shot of defeating Trump in the primary.

This is a critical time for our nation, and this post gives you some facts to evaluate one of the two major candidates: Trump’s penchant for lawsuit thuggery, his dishonest personality, and the fact that he would lose to Hillary Clinton. Obviously I have done a bad thing here, and am suffering from TDS. Please commence killing the messenger. Thank you.

1/24/2016

More Fun from The Neo-Nazi That Donald Trump Retweeted

Filed under: General — Patterico @ 1:44 am

You guys remember when Donald Trump retweeted the Photoshop of Jeb Bush:

Notice the Twitter handle of the guy who created the Photoshop: @WhiteGenocideTM. It’s OK, because as long as you praise Trump, you can be as evil as you like in other respects: starving your countrymen, murdering your journalists and dissidents, and the like.

Anyway, here’s another fun Photoshop from the White Genocide account:

Screen Shot 2016-01-24 at 1.36.27 AM

It’s funny (to @WhiteGenocideTM, at least) because Bernie Sanders is Jewish, you see.

Get it?

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