Patterico's Pontifications


O’Reilly Out at Fox News

Filed under: General — Patterico @ 8:09 pm

Who cares? I don’t watch Fox News any more and haven’t for years. I watched Bill O’Reilly enough to figure out I don’t like him. Good riddance.

[Cross-posted at The Jury Talks Back.]

Trump Claim About Aircraft Carrier Was False

Filed under: General — Patterico @ 7:34 am

Remember when Trump said an aircraft carrier was headed towards North Korea? Yeah, it wasn’t.

Just over a week ago, the White House declared that ordering an American aircraft carrier into the Sea of Japan would send a powerful deterrent signal to North Korea and give President Trump more options in responding to the North’s provocative behavior. “We’re sending an armada,” Mr. Trump said to Fox News last Tuesday afternoon.

The problem was that the carrier, the Carl Vinson, and the three other warships in its strike force were that very moment sailing in the opposite direction, to take part in joint exercises with the Australian Navy in the Indian Ocean, 3,500 miles southwest of the Korean Peninsula.

White House officials said Tuesday that they had been relying on guidance from the Defense Department. Officials there described a glitch-ridden sequence of events, from an ill-timed announcement of the deployment by the military’s Pacific Command to a partially erroneous explanation by the defense secretary, Jim Mattis — all of which perpetuated the false narrative that a flotilla was racing toward the waters off North Korea.

There’s finger-pointing going on regarding why this happened, but the inevitable Trumper defense that Trump is just keeping people off guard does not wash.

In South Korea, Hong Joon-pyo, the presidential candidate from former​ leader Park Geun-hye’s ruling party, said it was inappropriate to judge before receiving final confirmation of the Carl Vinson’s whereabouts. But, in an interview, he said: “What Mr. Trump said was very important for the national security of South Korea. If that was a lie, then during Trump’s term, South Korea will not trust whatever Trump says.”​

​He also said that, in light of Mr. Trump’s recent military strikes on Syria and ​Afghanistan, “it seems to me that Trump is a person who takes responsibility and action based on what he says.”

. . . .

In Japan, Prof. Narushige Michishita of the National Graduate Institute for Policy Studies said regardless of whether the U.S. intended to deceive or the narrative was a miscommunication, it looked bad for the White House.

“At a time of emergency, disinformation could be used as a tactic, but if the U.S. president spreads disinformation in peacetime like now, it would hurt the credibility of the U.S.,” he said.

Either Trump was behaving very erratically or he didn’t know where his aircraft carrier was and where it was headed. Neither possibility inspires confidence.

[Cross-posted at The Jury Talks Back.]


AP Ignores Its Own Stylebook Rules When Claiming Fresno Shooter Shouted, “God Is Great”

Filed under: General — Dana @ 5:46 pm

[guest post by Dana]

There was a horrible shooting today in Fresno, California which left three people dead. According to reports, Kori Ali Muhammad fired 16 rounds in one minute, and was arrested right after the shooting.


Fresno Police Chief Jerry Dyer says the suspect in a shooting that killed three people in downtown Fresno shouted “God is great” in Arabic and had posted on social media that he dislikes white people.

All three victims in Tuesday’s killings were white. The police chief says they were shot minutes apart in close proximity in areas around downtown.

Thirty-nine-year-old Kori Ali Muhammad was arrested shortly afterward. He was already wanted for a separate killing from last week, in which a Motel 6 security guard in Fresno was gunned down.

Dyer says police have called the FBI to assist in the investigation. He says the suspect made other statements to police but did not disclose what they were.

According to the AP Stylebook, quotation marks encase the exact words of the writer or speaker in the story. According to witnesses, Kori Ali Muhammad shouted “Allahu Akbar,” not “God is great”.

Given this inaccuracy, and given the AP’s proud boast that “For 170 years, we have been breaking news and covering the world’s biggest stories, always committed to the highest standards of objective, accurate journalism,” it might be time to re-think their claims. I’m beginning to suspect that these official fact checkers might not be too reliable.

(Cross-posted at The Jury Talks Back.)


My Incorrect Outrage Is More Interesting Than Your Boring Correction

Filed under: General — Patterico @ 7:28 am

Trump signs hat for kid, throws it over kid’s head to random person in crowd.

Outrage: 15,873 retweets.


Here’s the video:

Turns out Trump did nothing of the sort, but instead executed a rather neat toss back to the person who gave him the hat to sign.

Correction: 334 retweets.


Here’s the video:

The numbers have changed since I took the above screenshots, of course — but they were taken at the same time . . . and the principle remains the same. The outrage is interesting. The fact that it’s not really an outrage is boring.

[Cross-posted at The Jury Talks Back.]


Don’t Look Now But. . .

Filed under: General — JVW @ 8:57 pm

[guest post by JVW]

Our old friend Andrew Sullivan seems to be trying on his conservative hat once again. In a column at New York magazine titled “Why Do Democrats Feel Sorry for Hillary Clinton” (a sensible essay, if fairly predictable), he includes an interesting criticism of people who have apparently been trying to spin the whole United Airlines kerfuffle as a battle in the social justice wars:

Do you know the real reason Dr. Dao was so brutally tackled and thrown off that United flight? It was all about white supremacy. I mean, what isn’t these days? That idea is from the New Republic. Yes, the cops “seemed” to be African-American, as the author concedes, so the white-versus-minority paradigm is a little off. Yes, this has happened before to many people with no discernible racial or gender pattern. Yes, there is an obvious alternative explanation: The seats from which passengers were forcibly removed were randomly assigned. New York published a similar piece, which argued that the incident was just another example of Trump’s border-and-immigration-enforcement policies toward suspected illegal immigrants of color. That no federal cops were involved and there is no actual evidence at all of police harassment of Asian-Americans is irrelevant — it’s all racism, all the time, everywhere in everything.

It’s easy to mock this reductionism, I know, but it reflects something a little deeper. Asian-Americans, like Jews, are indeed a problem for the “social-justice” brigade. I mean, how on earth have both ethnic groups done so well in such a profoundly racist society? How have bigoted white people allowed these minorities to do so well — even to the point of earning more, on average, than whites? Asian-Americans, for example, have been subject to some of the most brutal oppression, racial hatred, and open discrimination over the years. In the late 19th century, as most worked in hard labor, they were subject to lynchings and violence across the American West and laws that prohibited their employment. They were banned from immigrating to the U.S. in 1924. Japanese-American citizens were forced into internment camps during the Second World War, and subjected to hideous, racist propaganda after Pearl Harbor. Yet, today, Asian-Americans are among the most prosperous, well-educated, and successful ethnic groups in America. What gives? It couldn’t possibly be that they maintained solid two-parent family structures, had social networks that looked after one another, placed enormous emphasis on education and hard work, and thereby turned false, negative stereotypes into true, positive ones, could it? It couldn’t be that all whites are not racists or that the American dream still lives?

No doubt that Sullivan will find plenty of reasons in the future to gratuitously attack conservatives, but for the time being let’s welcome him back to the sensible side, especially inasmuch as he he dares to write about the importance of the two-parent family structure, which no doubt sends the crybully left into paroxysms of rage.

Happy Easter, friends.

[Cross-posted at the Jury Talks Back.]


Happy Easter

Filed under: General — Dana @ 1:46 pm

[guest post by Dana]

Happy Easter to you and yours. Easter, the day we celebrate the resurrection of Christ and the Hope we have in Him. Because who wants to go through this life, with its inevitable trials and tribulations, heartaches and sorrows, without some sort of solid Hope to hold onto? My feeling is, if one’s hope is in the goodness of man, then this life is doubly-bound to be one rough and disappointing ride. And to what end?

With that, Ross Douthat has an interesting column today about saving the mainline churches, and why he believes it is essential that liberals, particularly, attend these traditional house of worship:

For the sake of their country, their culture, and their very selves, liberal post-Protestants should find a mainline congregation and start attending every week.

Do it for your political philosophy: More religion would make liberalism more intellectually coherent (the “created” in “created equal” is there for a reason), more politically effective, more rooted in its own history, less of a congerie of suspicious “allies” and more of an actual fraternity.

Do it for your friends and neighbors, towns and cities: Thriving congregations have spillover effects that even anti-Trump marches can’t match.

Do it for your family: Church is good for health and happiness, it’s a better place to meet a mate than Tinder, and even its most modernized form is still an ark of memory, a link between the living and the dead.

Douthat also has an exhortation for atheists as well:

Finally, a brief word to the really hardened atheists: Oh, come on. Sure, all of that beauty and ecstasy and astonishing mathematical order is because we’re part of a multiverse or a simulation or something; that’s the ticket. Sure, consciousness and free will are illusions, but human rights and gender identities are totally real. Sure, your flying spaghetti monster jokes make you a lot smarter than Aquinas, Karl Barth, Martin Luther King. Sure.

Just go to church, guys. The mainline churches’ doors are open. They need you. America still needs them.

(Note: this post did not get published late on Easter Sunday because the author was at church. It was because of pancakes. Blueberry, to be specific. Although a believer (but not a liberal), I have happily not attended church for many years, in spite of Douthat’s encouragements.)

(Cross-posted at The Jury Talks Back.)


Female Doctor In Michigan Arrested For Female Genital Mutilation

Filed under: General — Dana @ 1:29 pm

[guest post by Dana]

This week it was reported that a female emergency room doctor was arrested for mutilating the genitals of two little girls:

A Detroit emergency room physician has been charged with allegedly performing female genital mutilation on young girls, the Department of Justice announced Thursday.

In a news release, the DOJ said Jumana Nagarwala, of Northville, Michigan, allegedly performed the procedures out of a medical office in Livonia, Michigan, on girls who were 6 to 8 years old.

According to the *complaint filed, two of the parents confirmed to investigators were aware that Nagarwala did the procedure, but others denied knowledge of the procedure or said it didn’t happen.

The news release said this is believed to be the first case under law 18 U.S.C. 116, which criminalizes female genital mutilation.

“According to the complaint, despite her oath to care for her patients, Dr. Nagarwala is alleged to have performed horrifying acts of brutality on the most vulnerable victims,” acting Assistant Attorney General Kenneth A. Blanco of the Justice Department’s Criminal Division said. “The Department of Justice is committed to stopping female genital mutilation in this country, and will use the full power of the law to ensure that no girls suffer such physical and emotional abuse.”

The vicious brutality as told by the little girls involved in this case:

The children were told it was a “‘special’ girls trip,” according to court documents. The first victim told federal agents that she underwent a procedure “to get the germs out” of her, and she identified Nagarwala in a photograph as the doctor who performed the operation. A medical examination performed under a search warrant found that her “labia minora has been altered or removed, and her clitoral hood is also abnormal in appearance.”

The second victim who described her ordeal in the complaint said she screamed as Nagarwala gave her a “shot” that “hurt really badly.” The girl said she could “barely walk” after the procedure, and that her parents “told her that the procedure is a secret and that she is not supposed to talk about it.”

The FBI investigation is focusing on Jumana Nagarwala’s butchery of other little girls as well:

…[A]uthorities say they believe she has subjected numerous more girls to the procedure, including children in the metro Detroit area. Authorities would not comment on whether more charges are coming, but the case appears to be the tip of the iceberg if the FBI’s words are any indication.

“This investigation has identified other children who may have been victimized by Nagarwala,” FBI agent Kevin Swanson wrote in an affidavit that was unsealed Thursday. “(Investigators) interviewed several minor girls in Michigan about FGM (female genital mutilation). In these interviews, multiple minor girls informed child protective services and forensic interviewers that procedures had been performed on their genitals by Nagarwala.”

Nagarwala denies having committed these atrocities, and said that, “she had no knowledge of the procedure being performed on anyone in her cultural community.”

Most of the reports I read avoided naming any particular religion or culture that is mostly associated with the practice of FGM. The Washington Post, whose masthead smugly reminds readers that democracy dies in darkness, put it this way:

According to the complaint against Nagarwala, members of a particular religious and cultural community are known to use the procedure — which some see as a way to curb sexuality in girls. The complaint did not identify the community but said Nagarwala was a part of it.

*Complaint uploaded by Katie Pavlich here. It’s a grim read.

When one considers the increasing occurrences of FGM in the United States, it is shocking to read about a study released last year by two U.S. doctors who obscenely suggested that the way to limit the practice of FGM in the U.S. is to appease cultural demands by permitting the practice of “nicking”:

A controversial new study published in the Journal of Medical Ethics says “nicking” the genitals of young girls is an acceptable compromise for the practice of female genital mutilation (FGM) in the West.

Arguing that criminalizing FGM in Western countries such as the U.S. and U.K. has pushed the practice underground, the authors suggest a “compromise solution” that would legally permit a minimal form of genital mutilation “in recognition of its cultural and religious obligations.” Despite being perceived as a practice linked to Islam, FGM is a cultural practice that has no basis in religion. No religious texts prescribe FGM, according to the World Health Organization (WHO), while Human Rights Watch says the practice is “erroneously linked” to religion and “is not particular to any religious faith.”

In the study, published on Monday, U.S.-based authors Dr. Kavita Shah Arora, director of quality, obstetrics and gynecology at the MetroHealth Medical Center in Cleveland and Dr. Allan Jacobs, professor of reproductive medicine at Stony Brook University, write that “in order to better protect female children from the serious and long-term harms of some types of non-therapeutic [FGM], we must adopt a more nuanced position that acknowledges a wide spectrum of procedures that alter female genitalia.”

The authors define the de minimis, or minor, versions of FGM that should be permitted as “removal of the clitoral hood or a ritual nick on the external female genitalia” and do not believe they “reach the threshold of a human rights violation.” Nicking the vulva and removing the clitoral hood shouldn’t be considered child abuse, according to the authors. They go on to argue that by undergoing these acceptable procedures in the U.S., girls can avoid the risk of being sent abroad for more extensive and harmful procedures—a practice known as “vacation cutting.”

“If a girl, by undergoing a small vulvar nick in infancy, forestalls subsequent vulvar infibulation done under dangerous conditions, we would consider this a worthwhile trade-off,” the study says. The authors add that all procedures should be performed with “adequate analgesia.”

In other words, let’s practice another form of mutilation. There’s just something rich about two doctors determining what constitutes a human rights violation on little girls and deciding that another form of mutilation is okay. What the hell? How about protecting little girls from this heinous practice by aggressively pursuing any and all who commit these crimes in the U.S. where it is illegal and hold parents and doctors accountable for the severe damage they do to these little girls. Little girls who will forever carry the scars of this barbaric practice, both in their hearts and on their bodies for the rest of their lives.

(Cross-posted at The Jury Talks Back.)



Wellesley Editors: Conform to Our Politically Correct Beliefs or Be Cast Out

Filed under: General — Patterico @ 9:00 am

Nothing makes me angrier these days than the thought of paying tens of thousands of dollars per year to a university full of entitled leftists looking to brainwash my children with politically correct claptrap about “hate speech.” Nowhere is this sort of attitude more blatantly on display than in this editorial at The Wellesley News:

Many members of our community, including students, alumnae and faculty, have criticized the Wellesley community for becoming an environment where free speech is not allowed or is a violated right. Many outside sources have painted us as a bunch of hot house flowers who cannot exist in the real world. However, we fundamentally disagree with that characterization, and we disagree with the idea that free speech is infringed upon at Wellesley. Rather, our Wellesley community will not stand for hate speech, and will call it out when possible.

Wellesley students are generally correct in their attempts to differentiate what is viable discourse from what is just hate speech. Wellesley is certainly not a place for racism, sexism, homophobia, Islamophobia, transphobia or any other type of discriminatory speech. Shutting down rhetoric that undermines the existence and rights of others is not a violation of free speech; it is hate speech. The founding fathers put free speech in the Constitution as a way to protect the disenfranchised and to protect individual citizens from the power of the government. The spirit of free speech is to protect the suppressed, not to protect a free-for-all where anything is acceptable, no matter how hateful and damaging.

This being said, the tone surrounding the current discourse is becoming increasingly hostile. Wellesley College is an institution whose aim is to educate. Students who come to Wellesley hail from a variety of diverse backgrounds. With this diversity comes previously-held biases that are in part the products of home environments. Wellesley forces us to both recognize and grow from these beliefs, as is the mark of a good college education. However, as students, it is important to recognize that this process does not occur without bumps along the way. It is inevitable that there will be moments in this growth process where mistakes will happen and controversial statements will be said. However, we argue that these questionable claims should be mitigated by education as opposed to personal attacks.

We have all said problematic claims, the origins of which were ingrained in us by our discriminatory and biased society. Luckily, most of us have been taught by our peers and mentors at Wellesley in a productive way. It is vital that we encourage people to correct and learn from their mistakes rather than berate them for a lack of education they could not control. While it is expected that these lessons will be difficult and often personal, holding difficult conversations for the sake of educating is very different from shaming on the basis of ignorance.

First of all, this piece rates about a C minus on the basis of its writing alone. “We have all said problematic claims” is a phrase that would get a strikethrough from my red pen. I’d tell the authors to reword that sentence so it doesn’t sound like a slow seventh-grader wrote it. And I don’t think the authors understand what they are saying when they write: “Shutting down rhetoric that undermines the existence and rights of others is not a violation of free speech; it is hate speech.” Do they mean to say that shutting down speech is hate speech? I think they meant to say: “Rhetoric that undermines the existence and rights of others is not free speech; it is hate speech.” That would still be a nonsensical statement, but at least it would convey the message the authors intended to convey — even if that message is a vapid parroting of leftist cant.

Also — and now I’m getting really picky, but I can’t help myself — it’s “hothouse flowers” and not “hot house flowers.” A “hot house” is a house that is hot. A “hothouse” is a greenhouse — which is not the same thing as a green house, which is a house that is green. Another stroke of the red pen! Or take this monstrosity of a sentence: “The emotional labor required to educate people is immense and is additional weight that is put on those who are already forced to defend their human rights.” Bleccch! How does someone who writes this badly get into college, much less become a college newspaper editor?!

I could go on, but you get the point. Everyone expects students to emerge from these institutions as brainwashed P.C. robots. Is it too much to ask that they at least learn some basic writing skills?

But I would award an F to the authors of this diatribe on the basis of content. The founding generation did not intend to prohibit speech that is “hateful and damaging” when it ratified the Bill of Rights. In addition to writing instruction, these students need some remedial civics and history classes.

But the rhetoric isn’t just wrongheaded — it is, at times, positively menacing:

This being said, if people are given the resources to learn and either continue to speak hate speech or refuse to adapt their beliefs, then hostility may be warranted. If people continue to support racist politicians or pay for speakers that prop up speech that will lead to the harm of others, then it is critical to take the appropriate measures to hold them accountable for their actions.

Conform or be cast out.

It’s not enough to respond to speech with speech, you see. You must “adapt” your “beliefs” or “hostility may be warranted.” If you bring speakers to campus whom we don’t like, we will have to “hold you accountable” — whatever that means (and it sure sounds like punishment of some sort, doesn’t it?).

Gee, this editorial is starting to sound “hateful and damaging,” isn’t it? And in a very real way, with the violence we have seen at Berkeley and Middlebury College, the sort of attitudes on display in this ignorant editorial are more “problematic” (to use the editors’ laughable and repeatedly used term) than anything Charles Murray ever said. Sentiments like this tend to lead to the throwing of Molotov cocktails. They result in professors wearing neck braces.

Why, viewed in the correct light, the sentiments expressed in this editorial are positively hateful!

Maybe The Wellesley News needs to be shuttered, and its editors brought up on vague disciplinary charges for their hate speech. In the name of free speech.

It’s what the founding fathers would have wanted, don’t you think?

[Cross-posted at RedState and The Jury Talks Back.]


Thursday Night Music: Beethoven’s Tenth Symphony

Filed under: General — Patterico @ 8:45 pm

He didn’t actually write one, of course — but he did write sketches, and Beethoven scholar used them to flesh out a conception of what the first movement would have sounded like:

I have always enjoyed this, just as I enjoy the attempts to realize the fourth movement of Bruckner’s Ninth Symphony.

This is not Beethoven, exactly — but if you have never heard it, you might be surprised. It’s neat.

[Cross-posted at The Jury Talks Back.]

Open Thread Musings

Filed under: General — Patterico @ 7:30 am

Yeah, I don’t have anything. After a week of vacation my “blog about whatever is going on even if it seems stupid” muscles are atrophied.

Looks like we killed some allies in Syria. Trump just learned that North Korea is not a simple issue from a ten-minute talk with the leader of China. I hope you weren’t too wedded to his positions on China as a currency manipulator, or replacing Janet Yellin, or the Ex-Im bank, or the importance of NATO, because he just flip-flopped on all that in one day (yesterday).

None of this really inspires me. There’s an erratic clown in the Oval Office, but you either already knew that or already refused to accept it, and in either case there’s nothing I can do about it.

What else? I had a nice trip last week. My parents’ second date was seeing “La Traviata” at the Metropolitan Opera. (I used to think it was their first date but then learned that after they had agreed to go as their first date, they went to dinner once beforehand.) Last week my family saw the same opera with my mom in New York, so that was neat. We looked at schools for our daughter, who says she wants to move away from California for school.

We visited Cornell, and while touring the music building we ran into the man who, when I sang in the Sage Chapel Choir, had been the associate conductor. He told me that the choir disbanded 12 years ago. Nobody was coming to services any more. I denounced the godless campus to my family.

Colleges renovate everything — with all the money they are swimming in, from robbing hardworking parents of their savings (don’t talk to me about paying for college; it makes me angry) — meaning nothing looks like it did when you attended.

Also it was cold.

Anyway, talk about whatever. If anyone was on spring break last week with kids or whatever, tell us what you did. Tell us a lawyer joke, or any joke. You can talk about politics of course, but today it bores me.

[Cross-posted at The Jury Talks Back.]

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