I can’t do it justice, but this post is worth your attention. A lot of people at my alma mater have been involved in a smear campaign against a conservative pro-free market professor — and Bill Jacobson is fighting back. I’ve seen this kind of thing happen to people I know and it heartens me to see pushback. Any support you can give this guy would be appreciated, I’m quite sure.
[guest post by Dana]
Just a few news items on a Friday morning:
He misses driving, feels as if he is in a cocoon, and is surprised how hard his new job is.
President Donald Trump on Thursday reflected on his first 100 days in office with a wistful look at his life before the White House.
“I loved my previous life. I had so many things going,” Trump told Reuters in an interview. “This is more work than in my previous life. I thought it would be easier.”
More than seven months after a Dignity Health hospital refused a hysterectomy to a Sacramento-area transgender patient, the American Civil Liberties Union filed a lawsuit Wednesday on his behalf.
The lawsuit, filed in San Francisco Superior Court, alleges that Dignity discriminated against Evan Michael Minton, 35, a former state Capitol legislative aide, when he sought a hysterectomy as part of his transition from female to male.
Last summer, Mercy San Juan Medical Center in Carmichael, part of the Dignity Health chain, abruptly canceled Minton’s surgery the day before it was scheduled to take place. His doctor eventually performed the procedure at another Sacramento-area hospital, but the initial denial still causes frustration and disappointment, Minton said. After months of reflection, he decided to take legal action against the San Francisco-based hospital chain.
“It devastated me, and I don’t want it to affect my transgender brothers and sisters the way it affected me,” Minton said Tuesday. “No one should have to go through that.”
I despise Ann Coulter. But, with everything I hold dear as an American, I also believe in what Oliver Wendell Holmes Jr. wrote: “[T]he ultimate good desired is better reached by free trade in ideas — that the best test of truth is the power of the thought to get itself accepted in the competition of the market, and that truth is the only ground upon which their wishes safely can be carried out. That at any rate is the theory of our Constitution.”
Berkeley should be the epicenter of the marketplace of ideas. Unfortunately, it has become the most intolerant place in America. I would feel more comfortable preaching for Sharia law in rural Mississippi than I would feel challenging the wage gap theory or speaking out against anti-Asian discrimination in admissions at Berkeley. In Mississippi, I would likely be ignored. Jeered at worst. In Berkeley, if you do not adhere to the Leftist orthodoxy, your speech is branded “hate speech,” and out come the shock troops to physically attack you or anyone who wants to listen to you.
Thus far, UC Berkeley has shown that it will use the cover of violence to suppress speech.
The Berkeley government has purposely and deliberately refused to protect right-wing protesters from attack.
Former President Barack Obama, less than 100 days out of office, has agreed to speak at a Wall Street conference run by Cantor Fitzgerald LP, senior people at the firm confirm to FOX Business. His speaking fee will be $400,000, which is nearly twice as much as Hillary Clinton, his secretary of state, and the 2016 Democratic Party candidate, charged private businesses for such events.
It’s also likely to be a source of criticism against the former president given Obama’s record of attacks against Wall Street bankers for making huge salaries while average Americans were suffering from the ravages of the 2008 financial crisis. Obama, a progressive Democrat, spoke frequently about Wall Street greed during his eight years as president, and now he’s accepting a speaking fee from the industry he singled out as the main culprit of the banking collapse.
Elizabeth Warren and Bernie Sanders are clucking about this “unfortunate” decision by the former president.
This post has two videos that are just difficult to watch. You were warned.
The first is “Bill Nye The Science Guy” promoting a laughable grade-school quality rap about the wonders of transgenderism. “Versatile love may have some butt stuff” is among the lines you will hear in this wonderful little piece titled “My Sex Junk” — which The Science Guy introduces with this warm praise: “So you guys, this next thing, I feel, is very special.”
Watch the video, if you dare, to see the bow-tied self-declared Science Guy GETTIN’ DOWN to lyrics like “Who enjoys a Fleshlight in the cold moonlight?” Nye gushes at the end: “That’s exactly the right message, Rachel. Nice job.”
(I hope everyone gave it up for DJ Seahorse!)
I hope The Science Guy weighs in on a related critical topic of our times: whether it’s transphobic for a man to be attracted to a woman with lady parts:
Is it cissexist, or anti-trans, to say that you wouldn’t date a woman who has a penis? The answer is more complicated than you might think.
Fortunately for you, the complex aspects of this discussion are laid out by Riley J. Dennis, who explains to you why your natural biological urges are cruel and bigoted:
O brave new world, that has such people in ‘t!
[guest post by Dana]
In an unusual move, all 100 senators were invited to attend a classified meeting later Wednesday at the White House to discuss the North Korea and its growing bellicosity.
Congressional aides told Reuters that the meeting was originally scheduled to take place at a secured room at the Capitol, but President Trump asked to move the meeting to the White House.
Salon reported that the meeting will occur in the Eisenhower Executive Office Building auditorium. It will reportedly be made into a “sensitive compartmented information facility”—which means top secret information can be shared. The briefing will take place at 3 p.m. ET.
Some aides on the Hill have expressed confusion about the circumstances of the meeting. Salon wrote, “this could be a preparation for war—or just a forced attempt at a pre-100 days photo op.”
The meeting will be attended by some of Trump’s top cabinet members, including Secretary of State Rex Tillerson—who will chair the meeting– and Secretary of Defense Jim Mattis.
While President Trump spoke forcefully about North Korea yesterday, saying that, “The status quo in North Korea is also unacceptable[.] The council must be prepared to impose additional and stronger sanctions on North Korean nuclear and ballistic missile programs,” and has both embraced and dismissed any sort of 100-day marker, we also know that this particular president knows a great photo-op when he sees it, or arranges it.
[guest post by Dana]
Heh. A notorious drug lord paying for President Trump’s big, beautiful wall? Makes perfect sense says Sen. Ted Cruz. Just call it EL CHAPO: Ensuring Lawful Collection of Hidden Assets to Provide Order:
“The U.S. Government is currently seeking the criminal forfeiture of more than $14 billion in drug proceeds and illicit profits from El Chapo, the former leader of the Sinaloa drug cartel who was recently extradited to the U.S. to face criminal prosecution for numerous alleged drug-related crimes, including conspiracy to commit murder and money laundering,” Cruz stated.
“Fourteen billion dollars will go a long way toward building a wall that will keep Americans safe and hinder the illegal flow of drugs, weapons, and individuals across our southern border.”
Democrats have made it clear they will not vote to fund a border wall. So Republicans, who need the Democrats’ votes to prevent a looming shutdown, presented a new spending plan today with no money going toward the construction of any border wall:
In exchange for backing off the border funding request, Republicans insisted on increases in border security and defense spending, including an unspecified amount to repair existing fencing and new surveillance technology to patrol the nearly 2,000-mile border, according to multiple House and Senate aides familiar with the ongoing talks. Democrats have indicated that they would support such a plan so long as no money goes toward an actual wall.
[guest post by JVW]
Last week (or was it two weeks ago?) I blogged on excerpts from the newly-published book about the Hillary Clinton campaign fiasco, Shattered by Jonathan Allen and Amie Parnes. Now some of you failed to share my enthusiasm for this amazing read, a wounding barb that I tried not to take too personally. As of this writing I am 140 pages into this surprisingly long 400-page book (I’m reading about two chapters per evening, but I didn’t get any reading done on Friday or Saturday nights), but some of the nuggets contained within are just so good that I have to share them now, anticipating that it will take me probably through this coming weekend to finish the book.
As for general observations, my suspicions about the authors are mostly true. They appear for all purposes to be progressive Democrats who came into this project with a genuine admiration for Her Clintonic Majesty, the Once, Current, and Future Inevitable Next President of the United States, Hillary Rodham Clinton, firstname.lastname@example.org — jeeze, where was I? oh yeah — having covered her previously and written the book HRC on her political “rebirth” while serving as Secretary of State. They also thus far don’t make much of an attempt to hide their disdain for the current White House occupant. That said, the first third of the book makes it clear that Allen and Parnes came to question many of the assumptions they previously had made about Hillary’s competence, likability, and honesty.
Like any “behind the scenes” look, much of the juicy material in Shattered is based upon off-the-record conversations, though some key characters do go on the record to air grievances and settle scores. One general assumption that can be made about these books are that the characters who are most cooperative with the authors — and by cooperative I mean willing to really dish the dirt — are the ones who come in for the most gentle treatment. So with that in mind, here are some fun tidbits as told by Allen and Parnes:
1) A former Howard Dean follower who worked on Clinton’s 2008 campaign, Robby Mook became Hillary’s campaign manager for 2016. He comes across, at least in the first 140 pages, as the most disliked character of all. In the campaign’s first moments, Mook immediately gets into a territorial war with Hillary’s communications director Jennifer Palmieri, who was part of the Clinton inner-circle through her connection with John Podesta. Mook was also apparently distrusted by Bill Clinton, who chafed at Mook’s heavy reliance upon data when the Big Sleaze wanted more gut-level decision making. The Clinton insiders also criticized Mook for being parsimonious with funds, which is an astonishing thing to hear regarding a progressive. Clearly the John Podesta crowd ganged up on Mook when talking to the authors.
2) Virtually everyone in the Clinton Crime Family, from Palmieri to Podesta to Neera Tanden (who succeeded Podesta as president of the Center for American Progress) to unnamed major campaign donors to Bill Clinton himself, pretty much begged Hillary to come clean about her use of a private email server and to give a forthright and sincere apology for having used it. It was Hillary’s own arrogance and persecution complex that compelled her to hold out for months before finally issuing her rather dismissive apology which managed to be both incomplete and insincere at the same time. By the time the apology had come, the Hillary crew had been lying about the particulars of the imbroglio for months, and the impressive approval ratings she enjoyed when she left the State Department were irrevocably gone. Diehard Clinton loyalists still believe that an early sincere apology would have put the issue to rest immediately.
3) Joe Biden comes off looking dignified and classy in this telling. Allen and Parnes portray him as really not having the desire needed to run for President, but they relate the oft-told story of how Biden’s late son Beau implored his father from his deathbed to make one last attempt. In one of the most interesting anecdotes, the authors discuss a meeting of Biden’s very small campaign staff (Hillary had already locked up most of the establishment Democrat campaign operatives) in which a promotional video produced by Biden allies was screened. The film centered around the other great tragedy in the Vice-President’s life, the 1972 car crash that took the life of his first wife and his daughter, and used it as a backdrop to tout Biden’s resiliency and his dedication to public service (cough, cough). A number of Biden’s political allies from his generation — Bill Clinton, Al Gore, and John Kerry to name but a few — would have loved the ad; Biden was appropriately horrified by it, and made it clear that this sort of melodrama would not be placed front and center of his potential campaign. Three cheers to him.
4) Unsurprisingly, the popularity of Bernard Sanders flummoxed the Clinton folks, especially the First Lady/Senator/Secretary. She had wanted to position her candidacy as a continuation of the Obama agenda, but with a very subtle promise that she would be even more progressive than he had turned out to be. Sanders blew up those plans with his “democratic socialism for all” schtick. Hillary quickly realized that no matter what she promised — free college, an increased minimum wage, the public execution of bankers — Sanders would simply promise even more. According to the authors, Hillary came to hold a great deal of disdain for her rival, believing that he was was a big-time grandstander who had absolutely no chance of implementing his bold agenda in a closely-divided Congress. I look forward to reading more about the two of them as the primary season drags on.
5) The cloyingly earnest progressive Martin O’Malley is such a nonentity that he rates only five mentions in the book’s index pages (in a 400-page book). The mismatched Jim Webb and the hapless Lincoln Chaffee rate only one, both on the same page. By contrast, Jimmy Buffett is cited twice (I know he’s a lefty, but is there any more unlikely Parrothead than Hillary Rodham Clinton?).
6) And one final observation to leave you with as I go back and read more of the book. I think I like this anecdote best of all. It’s so good, in fact, that I’ll let Allen and Parnes relay it in their own words (bolded emphasis added by me):
Because Hillary’s opponent was targeting the party’s progressive base, Bill had to suppress his instinct to hit back to avoid sparking a pro-Bernie backlash among ultra-sensitive modern Democrats. It was frustrating.
He was also learning that the laws of political thermodynamics had changed since he’d last campaigned for Hillary. Maybe it was an anomalous year, or maybe he just hadn’t kept up with the times, but Bill has surprised to hear how little voters wanted to hear a politicians’s response to attack lines. In the old days, he’d get a chance to make his case. He understood that millennials blamed his 1994 crime bill for the mass incarceration that Hillary said she would put an end to, but he struggled to accept younger voters’ reluctance to learn about the history of the law. . . .
We feel your pain, Bubba. We feel your pain.
Part II of this review will come down the road.
Mozart, Piano Concerto No. 25 in C major, K. 503.
As I continue a weekend filled with work, I am listening to this, and thought you should too.
P.S. The state of being preoccupied by work is expected to last several weeks. I am not abandoning the blog, but though the rest of this month and all of May I expect to leave it primarily in the capable hands of JVW and Dana. Please join me in extending heartfelt thanks to them for all they do.
[guest post by Dana]
Mother’s Day is just around the corner and Dove’s new campaign ad, #RealMoms, wants you to know that motherhood is being redefined:
We are both his biological parents. You get people that are like, ‘What do you mean? You’re the mom?’ We’re like, ‘Yep. We’re both gonna be moms.’
There’s no one right way to do it all.
Curious that there isn’t any outcry over biological males usurping the unique role of women as mothers. Maybe men can do it better, eh? Also curious is the acceptance of the mansplaining of motherhood by the new “real mom” in the ad while the actual biological mom is reduced to submissive, silent onlooker.
Amusingly, the March for Science is taking place today in hundreds of major cities across the world. Because science:
(Cross-posted at The Jury Talks Back.)
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.
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.
[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.
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.
Trump signs hat for kid, throws it over kid’s head to random person in crowd.
Outrage: 15,873 retweets.
Here’s the video:
A kid asks Trump to sign his hat at the White House Easter Egg Roll. The president signs … and then tosses the hat into the crowd. pic.twitter.com/7ExdhpO97H
— POLITICO (@politico) April 17, 2017
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:
— Micah Grimes (@MicahGrimes) April 17, 2017
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.