Patterico's Pontifications


About Those Photos In Virginia Governor’s College Yearbook… (Update Added)

Filed under: General — Dana @ 3:02 pm

[guest post by Dana]

Because the media has seen fit to pounce on Americans who have been fierce in their opposition to infanticide this week, I’m going to post about the latest in a not so good week for Gov. Northam of Virginia:


From the Virginian-Pilot:

A photo from Gov. Ralph Northam’s medical school yearbook shows two men, one in blackface and one in a Ku Klux Klan robe and hood, on the same page as the governor.

The photo, which The Virginian-Pilot obtained a copy of Friday from the Eastern Virginia Medical School library, comes from the 1984 yearbook, the year Northam graduated.

On the half-page set aside for Northam, there is a headshot of him in a jacket and tie, a photo of him in a cowboy hat and boots and a third of him sitting casually on the ground, leaning against a convertible.

The fourth photo on the half-page has two people, one wearing white Ku Klux Klan robes and a hood, the other with his face painted black. The person with the black face is also wearing a white hat, black jacket, white shirt with a bow tie and plaid pants. Both are holding canned drinks.

It’s unclear who the people in costume are.

The governor’s office did not immediately respond to requests for comment Friday afternoon.

Or as Allahpundit puts it:

Go figure that a guy with a Klan photo in his yearbook would have a strong stomach for killing innocents.

In fairness to him, a lot of dumb kids did offensive things back when they were [checks notes] 25 years old. In medical school.

This is his medical school yearbook.

Now we wait for the follow-up story: Is Northam the guy in the hood, or the one in blackface? And which is worse?

I can imagine the headline already. “Conservatives pounce on photo of state governor in regional attire.”

So, does Northam apologize or retire? Do the Democrats resuscitate him, or just leave him to die quietly on the table? Or does he deflect by pointing out his ongoing battle against systemic racism:


It’s going to be interesting to see what happens. And although it’s just a yearbook, we need to remember how important yearbooks are:


Oh. Wait. We’re now being told that what happened 30 years ago, doesn’t matter. Not sure when the rules changed, but apparently they have:

A Northam ally, Senate Minority Leader Richard L. Saslaw (D-Fairfax) defended the governor.

“His whole life has been about exactly the opposite and that’s what you need to examine, not something that occurred 30 years ago,” said Senate Minority Leader Richard L. Saslaw (D-Fairfax). “While it’s in very poor taste, I would think no one in the General Assembly who would like their college conduct examined. I would hate to have to go back and examine my two years in the Army. Trust me. I was 18 years old and I was a handful, OK? His life since then has been anything but. It’s been a life of helping people, and many times for free.”

P.S. Tweets via Jerry Dunleavy

UPDATE: Gov. Northam apologizes and confirms that he is one of the individuals in costume:

“Earlier today, a website published a photograph of me from my 1984 medical school yearbook in a costume that is clearly racist and offensive,”

“I am deeply sorry for the decision I made to appear as I did in this photo and for the hurt that decision caused then and now.

“This behavior is not in keeping with who I am today and the values I have fought for throughout my career in the military, in medicine, and in public service. But I want to be clear, I understand how this decision shakes Virginians’ faith in that commitment.

“I recognize that it will take time and serious effort to heal the damage this conduct has caused. I am ready to do that important work. The first step is to offer my sincerest apology and to state my absolute commitment to living up to the expectations Virginians set for me when they elected me to be their Governor.”

UPDATE 2: Gov. Northam also released a video late today which makes it clear that for now, he does not plan on resigning. Not yet, anyway:

UPDATE x3 BY PATTERICO: Now Northam has given an insane press conference in which he says he isn’t in the picture, didn’t authorize it to be included in the yearbook, never saw the picture before yesterday … and, um, dressed in blackface as Michael Jackson in 1984.

OK then.

(Cross-posted at The Jury Talks Back.)


Fallout From Democrat Effort To Change Virginia Abortion Law

Filed under: General — Dana @ 11:51 am

[guest post by Dana]

The fallout from the Virginia abortion bill introduced by delegate Kathy Tran, and commented on by Gov. Northam, continues.

On Monday, Tran admitted that she was indeed changing the standards with her abortion bill.

On Thursday, Tran said otherwise:

David French, who read the actual text of the bill, noted how the bill’s passage would have changed current law:


The bill reduces the number of doctors required to certify the alleged medical need for an abortion from three to one, and — critically — eliminates any required showing of severity before the doctor and mother can determine that the birth would impair her physical or mental health. Under the bill’s actual text, virtually any claim of impairment would suffice to meet the act’s requirements. Anxiety? Depression? The conventional physical challenges of post-partum recovery? Any of those things could justify taking the life of a fully formed, completely viable, living infant.

Yesterday Tran said that she “misspoke” when said her bill would allow third-trimester abortions for mental health reasons up to the point of birth:

“I wish that I was quicker on my feet and I wish that I was able to be more agile in that moment,” Tran, 41, a first-term Democrat from Fairfax County, said in an interview. “And I misspoke, and I really regret that.”

(In re-watching the original exchange between Tran and Todd Gilbert, Tran appears to me as being thoughtful, careful, and very deliberate when answering his questions…)

And in a “tightly-controlled” 10 minuted press conference, Gov. Northam also pushed back at critics of his comments addressing what would happen in the event of a post-birth abortion:

“I regret that those comments have been mischaracterized,” Northam said. “The personal insults toward me I really find disgusting.”

Oh, and something funny happened when Henry Rodgers, a reporter on Capitol Hill, approached 10 Democratic senators for reaction to the governor’s comments. What are the odds that every single one of them denied knowing anything about a huge news story taking place in a battleground state? Apparently, because they all live under a rock, the odds are much better than one would think. I’m going to publish the whole thread because it’s worth reading:

I just spoke with over 10 Democratic Senators in the past 2 hours. Not one of them would acknowledge @GovernorVA’s comments on late-term abortion. Everyone of them denied ever hearing them.

Sen. Widen on @GovernorVA’s late-term abortion comments:

“I haven’t haven’t seen them.”

Me: “It was about late-term abortion.”

He walked away…
Sen. Manchin on @GovernorVA’s late-term abortion comments:

“I haven’t seen anything. I’ve been in retreats. Obviously I just got out of a meeting.”

Kept walking…
Sen. Markey on @GovernorVA’s late-term abortion comments:

“I don’t know what he said. I don’t know what he said.”

Walked away.
Sen. Leahy on @GovernorVA’s late-term abortion comments:

“I have no idea what he said. I have no idea what happened there. I do follow the Governor of Vermont though, all the time.”
Sen. Reed on @GovernorVA’s late-term abortion comments:

“I know what it is about. I have not listened.”

Me: So no comment?

No response…
Sen. Menendez on @GovernorVA’s late-term abortion comments:

Claims he has not heard them.

“No,” he said in response to my question.

Capitol subway door then closed.
Sen. Coons on @GovernorVA’s late-term abortion comments:

“I’m literally mid sentence talking to staff about the vote I have to take right now. Happy to talk to you soon.”

Me: So you haven’t heard them?

Coons: “I’ve been in a caucus retreat for two days.”
Sen. Bernie Sanders on @GovernorVA’s late-term abortion comments:

Staffer: “He doesn’t have time for this right now.”

Me: We have plenty of time on this escalator right now.

Sanders & his staffer walk into elevator…
Sen. Chris Murphy on @GovernorVA’s late-term abortion comments:

Denied hearing comments.

“I mean I’m pro-choice. I support Connecticut’s laws regarding choice. Connecticut is not talking about changing it’s laws.”

Wouldn’t say if he supported abortion up till the 9th month.
Sen. Van Hollen on @GovernorVA’s late-term abortion comments:

“I have not heard them actually. I have not.”

Me: Ok. You can’t say if you support late-term abortion or not?

Van Hollen: “I support Roe v. Wade. Ok. That’s the holding that I support.”

Finally, though, something good has come out of this dark two week period where U.S. politicians openly supported and cheered on the removal of protections for unborn babies to the point of birth: Senator Ben Sasse (R., Neb.) announced he is fast-tracking his Born-Alive Abortion Survivors Protection Act:

Sasse announced on Thursday that he is beginning the Rule 14 process, which would bring the bill directly to the Senate floor and bypass the normal committee consideration of a piece of legislation. He said that he hopes his bill will be passed by a unanimous voice vote.

“On Monday evening, I’m going to be asking unanimous consent–for senators to come to the floor,” he said. “I’m going to ask all 100 senators to come to the floor and be against infanticide. This shouldn’t be complicated.”

“Let’s really be clear about what we’re talking about here. We’re talking about fourth-trimester abortion, or what anyone in the normal world calls ‘infanticide,’” said Sasse, in reference to Northam’s comments.

“This should be so far beyond any political consideration,” he said. “We’re talking about a tiny life that has done nothing wrong to warrant being left to die, cold and alone on a table.”

Sasse stressed that all of his colleagues should be able to say that killing a newborn baby is wrong, and that “this doesn’t take any political courage.”

“But if there is a member of this body that can’t say that, there may be lots of work that you can do in the world, but you shouldn’t be here. You should get the heck out of any calling in public life where you pretend to care about the most vulnerable among us.

More on the Born-Alive Abortion Survivors Protection Act:

The Born-Alive Abortion Survivors Act would penalize doctors and medical professionals who do not provide medical care to infants who survive abortions. The bill is co-sponsored by more than three dozen Republican senators.

The House version of the bill was introduced by Rep. Marsha Blackburn (R-TN), and has 131 co-sponsors, including one Democrat, Rep. Dan Lipinski (D-IL).

Although Sasse emphasized that a voice vote should not be complicated, there is a significant chance the bill will run into opposition. When the House of Representatives voted on their version of the bill in January 2018, all but five Democrats voted against it.

(Cross-posted at The Jury Talks Back.)


The Effects of the RedState Firings Are Still Being Felt

Filed under: General — Patterico @ 7:59 am

Three great writers resigned from RedState yesterday. Kimberly Ross and Andrea Ruth explain why:

Unfortunately, though we continue to appreciate the hard work of our writing colleagues and hold great respect for most of them, we are no longer proud to write under the banner of RedState, or its parent group, Townhall Media, which is an affiliate of the Salem Media Group.

In April 2018, Salem management determined there had been enough front-page criticism of Trump and decided to take action. A number of long-time writers and editors, who happened to be unapologetic Trump critics, were dismissed from the site without warning. Among those let go was Managing Editor Caleb Howe, who was fired while traveling to a Salem work event. Management locked out access to the CMS, leaving writers unable to log in and wondering what was wrong. It wasn’t until hours later that Townhall VP & General Manager Jonathan Garthwaite sent emails informing those writers that contracts had been terminated.

In an attempt to save face, management insisted the decision was financial and not ideological, as a handful of Trump-critical writers remained. However, those with longer tenures, higher public profiles and biggest traffic draws were all let go. The financial excuse holds little water considering those let go were revenue-drivers.

The message was clear: Tread lightly when it comes to criticizing Trump.

. . . .

Afterward, despite holding on to some Trump critics, the tenor of the site shifted. The leftover Trump critics wrote fewer entries and the hostility toward those who still did was palpable.

We learned personally that writers who dare to examine President Trump or the MAGA mentality are purposely suppressed in private or even publicly criticized.

When I left, I still liked many of the people who remained, and I still do. I associate myself with the remarks of Dan McLaughlin:

But when the purge happened, I noted that it sent an obvious chilling message. Some of the people who remained did their best to ignore the chill, but the chill was there. It still is. You don’t fire a large group of productive and successful writers because of their point of view, and expect that to have no effect.

Best of luck to the good writers who still remain there.

[Cross-posted at The Jury Talks Back.]

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