Patterico's Pontifications

5/7/2021

Weekend Open Thread

Filed under: General — Dana @ 11:21 pm



[guest post by Dana]

Hello! Here are a few news items for you to chew on. Please feel free to post anything that you think might interest readers. Make sure you include links.

First news item

Staggering, but sadly unsurprising:

Over the first few months of 2021, threats to members of Congress have more than doubled year-over-year and are only expected to go up from here, according to a release issued Friday by the U.S. Capitol Police (USCP). “This year alone, there has been a 107% increase in threats against Members compared to 2020,” says the document, which is a response to a set of security recommendations made by the USCP inspector general (IG). “Provided the unique threat environment we currently live in, the Department is confident the number of cases will continue to increase.”

Second news item

Expect to see more of this:

The owner of a Northern California bar was arrested on suspicion of selling fake COVID-19 vaccination cards to several undercover state agents for $20 each.

After receiving a tip, undercover agents with the California Department of Alcoholic Beverage Control went to Old Corner Saloon in the city of Clements several times in April and bought fake laminated vaccination cards, officials said.

Third news item

Hundreds of bodies being kept in cold storage in NY:

The city still has the bodies of about 750 New Yorkers who died during the pandemic in refrigerated trucks at Brooklyn’s 39th Street Pier, with no timetable for when their remains will be moved to Hart Island or elsewhere, officials disclosed this week.

The city will try to reduce the number of bodies being held on the Sunset Park pier “in the near future” and let families know about the transfers, Dina Maniotis, a deputy commissioner with the Office of Chief Medical Examiner, told a City Council committee Wednesday.

Hundreds of bodies have been stored in trucks since April 2020, fluctuating between 500 and nearly 800, according to various medical examiner estimates compiled over the past 13 months…

Most of the families of those in cold storage have told the city they would prefer to have their loved ones moved to Hart Island, the city’s potter’s field — or they have stopped “engaging” with officials entirely…

Fourth news item

Liz Cheney would like to have a word with you, Elise:

Rep. Elise Stefanik is on the verge of ascending to the House GOP’s No. 3 spot thanks in part to a personal mission: boosting other Republican women.

Stefanik’s efforts to promote GOP women have not only added to her star power, but also made her particularly appealing to fellow House Republicans as they move closer to replacing embattled Rep. Liz Cheney (R-Wyo.) in leadership.

*Getting on my soapbox. Buckle up.*

This is absolute bullshit. Stefanik is on the verge of ascending to the No. 3 spot because she is willing to stab an honorable woman in the back to advance her own political career. Don’t tell me she is on a mission to boost other Republican women because at this very moment Stefanik is busily working to boost a Republican woman from her position because she wants her job. This is not how women lift up other women – Republican or otherwise.

Fifth news item

Still?? What is wrong with you people?!:

President Biden took office more than three months ago, but Republicans are not any closer to accepting his victory now than they were then. The latest CNN/SSRS survey, released on April 30, found that 70 percent of Republicans believed the false allegation that Biden did not legitimately defeat former President Trump; just 23 percent said Biden legitimately won. Meanwhile, Democrats (97-3 percent) and independents (69-27 percent) said Biden had won fairly. These numbers are very similar to what CNN/SSRS found in mid-January, just before Biden’s inauguration. And this lack of movement is really the story, as polling over the past few months has consistently shown that a solid majority of Republicans do not think Biden won fairly, despite the lack of evidence suggesting otherwise.

Sixth news item

Ah:

Seventh news item

Oh:

The Trump Justice Department secretly obtained Washington Post journalists’ phone records and tried to obtain their email records over reporting they did in the early months of the Trump administration on Russia’s role in the 2016 election, according to government letters and officials.

In three separate letters dated May 3 and addressed to Post reporters…the Justice Department wrote they were “hereby notified that pursuant to legal process the United States Department of Justice received toll records associated with the following telephone numbers for the period from April 15, 2017 to July 31, 2017.” The letters listed work, home or cellphone numbers covering that three-and-a-half-month period.

Cameron Barr, The Post’s acting executive editor, said: “We are deeply troubled by this use of government power to seek access to the communications of journalists. The Department of Justice should immediately make clear its reasons for this intrusion into the activities of reporters doing their jobs, an activity protected under the First Amendment.”

…William Barr, who served as Trump’s attorney general for nearly all of that year, before departing Dec. 23, declined to comment.

The Justice Department defended its decision…”While rare, the Department follows the established procedures within its media guidelines policy when seeking legal process to obtain telephone toll records and non-content email records from media members as part of a criminal investigation into unauthorized disclosure of classified information,” said Marc Raimondi, a spokesman for the Justice Department. “The targets of these investigations are not the news media recipients but rather those with access to the national defense information who provided it to the media and thus failed to protect it as lawfully required.”.

Eighth news item

Golden state blues:

California’s population dropped in 2020 for the first time in the state’s recorded history.

The Golden State lost 182,083 people in 2020, according to data from the state Department of Finance. State officials attributed the decline to a combination of COVID-19 deaths, a decreasing birth rate, and a reduction in immigration while announcing the figure on Friday

Last week, the U.S. Census Bureau announced California would lose a congressional seat because of the unprecedented low growth rate.

The high tax burden, regulation, cost of living, housing prices, and homelessness have been cited as the problems motivating many to flee the state. Until now, California’s population outflow was offset by immigration and births…The top tax rate for California’s highest earners sits at 13.3 percent, the highest state rate in the country.

Miscellaneous

Happy 90th, Willie Mays!

“Maybe I was born to play ball. Maybe I truly was.”

Have a great weekend.

–Dana

Update on the Argumentative Professor and Her Defenders

Filed under: General — JVW @ 2:14 pm



[guest post by JVW]

As a follow-up to last Friday’s Weekend Open Thread, Kevin M. updates us with news that the adjunct professor who demonstrated that she was incapable of calm, dispassioned debate regarding the police has been dismissed from the faculty, triggering outrage among United Faculty of Cypress College.

I note with amusement that Christie Diep, professor of English and the Cypress College faculty union president who is the one quoted as lamenting the adjunct’s firing, is widely considered to be an easy (and perhaps lazy) professor on RateMyProfessor.com. Her reviews include the following gems [note: quotes are verbatim (verscribim?) including the lack of apostrophes in the contractions]:

“Ive taken Diep before, and to me she seems like a very easy English professor. Shes nothing special tbh, but I know when I take her, Ill get an A.”

“The professor is so lazy she doesnt even grade the HW and gives you an A+.”

“She does not lecture or provide any original thoughts of her own – she assigns readings in the textbook, and has you answer the questions at the end of the stories. If you do what she tells you to do on the syllabus, you will get an A.”

“There’s a reason for why 40% of students dropped. The WORST online experience.”

“She would cancel class very often even if there were assignments due that class. She lectured on subjects that she didn’t know that well like other people’s cultures.”

Let me reiterate here for clarity’s sake that Prof. Diep is not the adjunct professor who was let go for her boorish behavior in class, she’s the professor who heads up the faculty union. Granted, there are those students who report a positive experience in her class, but more often than not it’s because they acknowledge the course is an “easy A.” And while it is indeed true that RateMyProfessor tends to draw comments largely from people who either love or hate the professor which leads to extremes in the reviews, I note that both Prof. Diep’s admirers and her detractors mostly agree that her classes aren’t particularly taxing. Isn’t it so appropriate that this is the type of person who rises to the head of a public employee union and finds herself vigorously defending the intellectual banality of a colleague?

– JVW

Republicans Can’t Move Forward As Viable Entity Without An Accounting For “The Big Lie” and The Big Liar

Filed under: General — Dana @ 9:01 am



[guest post by Dana]

As the Republican Party is embroiled in a battle for its soul, the issue continues to be whether the Party needs Trump and his corruption (because it’s a package deal) to move forward or whether the Party needs to make a clean break from him. The first option includes sacrificing integrity and embracing Trump’s big, fat election lie. The latter includes doing a Cheney and rejecting his ongoing lies about the election. To recognize and acknowledge these realities is not simply relitigating the past, as many Trump-supporting leaders would have us believe. If the Party wants to collectively move forward as any sort of united entity that values loyalty to the Constitution, these events cannot be dismissed or glossed over. Moving forward toward viability requires a full accounting of past sins. Restoration cannot and will not happen without taking that vital step. And yet, while Trump is firmly rooted in pushing a reprehensible and destructive lie about the election, his strategy could easily backfire and result in unexpected and unwanted outcomes for the Republican Party. Members who face re-election and have pledged their loyalty to the Party’s kingpin might want to take note:

Veteran GOP pollster Frank Luntz warned that former President Trump’s repeated assertions that the 2020 presidential election was rigged against him could hurt Republican efforts to take back the House in 2022.

Luntz noted in an interview on the New York Times podcast “Sway” released Thursday that “more than two-thirds of Republicans believe that the election was stolen,” warning that a widespread and unproven belief that there was rampant fraud last November could turn Republicans off from voting in the midterm elections.

What Donald Trump is saying is actually telling people it’s not worth it to vote. Donald Trump single-handedly may cause people not to vote. And he may be the greatest tool in the Democrats’ arsenal to keep control of the House and Senate in 2022,” Luntz said.

It occurs to me that (another) across-the-board defeat precisely because of Trump’s involvement may be what it takes to bring the Republican Party to its knees. Maybe then there would be a collective acknowledgment that getting into bed with a bad actor and sacrificing principles to do so was a very bad decision.

There can be no doubt that for a shocking number of Republicans in Congress who are laser-focused on their own political futures, currying favor with Trump supersedes all else. He is the Party’s kingpin and they have made a shrewd political calculation. There are also a shocking number of true believers within the ranks. Moreover, as we can see by Trump’s recent attacks on Rep. Liz Cheney, and the push by fellow-members to oust her for speaking the truth, in today’s Republican Party there is no political reward for holding onto your ethics and honoring your sworn loyalty to the Constitution. This needs to change if the Party wants to regain its stature and value as a political party.

Here is Sen. Linsdsey Graham clearly spelling out the essential nub of the battle:

Can we move forward without President Trump? The answer is no. I’ve always liked Liz Cheney but she’s made a determination that the Republican Party can’t grow with President Trump. I’ve determined we can’t grow without him.

Yet more reassurance that leaving the Republican Party was a necessary and healthy decision for me to make.

–Dana


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