Patterico's Pontifications


Tuberville Beats Sessions in Alabama [Updated]

Filed under: General — JVW @ 7:58 pm

[guest post by JVW]

Former Auburn Tigers head football coach Tommy Tuberville defeated former U.S. Senator and Attorney General Jeff Sessions in tonight’s GOP primary runoff election in Alabama. Coach Tuberville now moves on to face Democrat incumbent Senator Doug Jones in this November’s match-up.

A few thoughts here: I kind of feel sorry for Jeff Sessions, and I kind of don’t. You may recall that he was the first U.S. Senator to endorse Donald Trump’s campaign four years ago, and for that loyalty he was rewarded with the attorney general job after having his reputation savaged by phonies such as Cory Booker and Elizabeth Warren during the nomination process. He then earned the enmity of his boss when he recused himself from the Russia investigation and agreed to the appointment of Robert Mueller as independent counsel. After resigning in November of 2018, he has spent the past two years being reviled by Trumpworld, and he was subjected to the indignity of his former boss endorsing and campaigning for his opponent.

On the other hand, Mr. Sessions served for twenty years in the Senate and is 73 years old. These offices are not supposed to be lifetime sinecures for select politicians (looking at you Dianne Feinstein!) and it’s high time that there was some new blood in Washington.

UPDATE: Some wag has adjusted the 2004 Auburn Football Wikipedia page. Note the bottom entry in the season summary. Pretty clever.

Auburn 2004


Central Park Birder Explains Why He Won’t Voluntarily Help In Prosecution Of Amy Cooper

Filed under: General — Dana @ 2:31 pm

[guest post by Dana]

If you recall, Amy Cooper was charged with filing a false report, a misdemeanor punishable by up to a year in jail after a confrontation with a birder in the Brambles at Central Park. Today Christian Cooper explains why he will not be helping with the investigation into Ms. Cooper. His deciding factors:

…I believe in punishments that are commensurate with the wrongdoing. Considering that Amy Cooper has already lost her job and her reputation, it’s hard to see what is to be gained by a criminal charge, aside from the upholding of principle. If her current setbacks aren’t deterrent enough to others seeking to weaponize race, it’s unlikely the threat of legal action would change that. Meanwhile, for offenders who don’t suffer consequences like Cooper’s, the law is still there to exact a price.

Would I consider it fair and just if Cooper were found guilty and sentenced to anti-bias training and some form of community service? Yes. But black people know all too well that the criminal justice system often doesn’t work that way — that an ambitious DA with an election next year, in the current social climate, might seek and achieve a sentence of a year behind bars. All for an offense from which I suffered no harm, physical or mental. That wouldn’t be a commensurate punishment.

Raising the specter of what harm might have come to me as a result of Cooper’s false report carries no weight with me; I don’t find speculation useful in this situation, because it’s equally possible that, had the police arrived on the scene while I was still there, they would have done their jobs professionally. And if the fear is that the police would have done me harm as a result of Cooper’s call, then the solution is to fix policing.

So while acknowledging the principle at stake, I must err on the side of compassion and choose not to be involved in this prosecution. Let the DA do his job. He has already decided to pursue charges; if he feels my involvement is essential to the case, he can subpoena me. If subpoenaed, I will testify, truthfully and accurately. Otherwise, the case is the DA’s, not mine.

I know that some people may disagree with my reasoning, and that this decision comes as a disappointment to many who share in the struggle for social justice, and I’m sorry for that. But under the circumstances, it’s the only course I can pursue in good conscience.


But Of Course They Do: White House Attacks Dr. Fauci

Filed under: General — Dana @ 10:11 am

[guest post by Dana]

So, in the midst of a raging pandemic, the government’s top infectious disease specialist, who has labored tirelessly to help stem the spread of Covid-19, and worked equally as hard, I’m guessing, to resist publicly mocking a president for his outlandish comments and unqualified criticisms of a medical professional who has spent decades at his post, now finds himself a target of the White House because his increasing concerns about a disease running amok is distracting Americans from the president’s re-election strategy:

Fauci’s advice has often run contrary to President Trump’s views, and the attacks on Fauci have begun to look like a traditional negative political campaign against an opponent. Yet this time, the opponent is a public health expert and career civil servant working within the administration.

Dan Scavino, deputy chief of staff for communications, shared a cartoon on his Facebook page late Sunday that depicted Fauci as a faucet flushing the U.S. economy down the drain with overzealous health guidance to slow the spread of the pandemic.

The cartoon, which shows Fauci declaring schools should remain closed and calling for “indefinite lockdowns,” did not accurately portray what Fauci has advised in public.


Adm. Brett Giroir, the administration’s testing czar offered this opinion of Fauci:

“I respect Dr. Fauci a lot, but Dr. Fauci is not 100 percent right and he also doesn’t necessarily, and he admits that, have the whole national interest in mind,” Giroir told “Meet the Press” on Sunday. “He looks at it from a very narrow public health point of view.”

Of course neither Fauci nor Giroir nor any health care professional is right 100 percent of the time. None of them walk on water, but giving Fauci the benefit of the doubt for having the nation’s best interest at heart isn’t difficult. Understanding that experts can be wrong at times should be a given. But seeing health experts change course when new data demands actually signals that they are willing to be corrected and are willing to adapt their practice as new information is provided.

As posted yesterday, infection rates are spiking in a number of states, with some governors re-introducing soft lockdowns because of increased transmission. Meanwhile, Trump, who is desperate to get the economy humming so that an economic rebound happens before November’s election, continues to downplay virus concerns. There is no question that Americans need to work. There is no question that businesses need to be up and running. There is no question that there is an increased risk of transmission when people congregate in close proximity to one other. And there is no question that there is an even greater risk of transmission when those people congregating in close proximity to one other do not observe social distancing measures, including wearing a mask. All of these things can be true at the same time. It’s not an either-or proposition. The question, for the thousandth time, is how best to balance public health and the economy. Clearly Trump’s strategy has been to downplay any risk, blame increased testing for increased numbers, suggest that the disease will just “disappear,” and as recently as last weekend, echo claims that everyone is lying:

Untitled (Recovered)

Because government health care experts found themselves put in an awkward position by Trump’s careless retweet, Giroir was compelled to publicly deny that he or his colleagues lie to the public .

Fauci commented about his lack of communication with the president these days:

Fauci, who has not appeared at recent White House task force briefings and has been largely absent from television, told the Financial Times last week that he last saw Trump in person at the White House on June 2 and hadn’t briefed him in at least two months.

He blamed the fact that he has refused to toe the administration’s line for its refusal to approve many of his media requests.

“I have a reputation, as you probably have figured out, of speaking the truth at all times and not sugar-coating things. And that may be one of the reasons why I haven’t been on television very much lately,” Fauci said.

And interestingly:

Fauci’s public contradictions of Trump have been viewed by the president as a personal affront and have caused some in the West Wing to sour on the doctor, officials say. Some say that, while he is critical of the president in media interviews, he is largely deferential behind closed doors. And they complain about those outside the administration, including some in the media, who have elevated Fauci at the expense of other officials.

The White House, however, views things a bit differently:

“I have a very good relationship with Dr. Fauci,” Trump told reporters Monday, calling him “a very nice person.” But the president added, “I don’t always agree with him.”

That supportive message was not echoed by Peter Navarro, a top White House trade adviser who has been working on the coronavirus effort.

In an email, Navarro continued to criticize Fauci to The Associated Press on Monday, saying the doctor has “a good bedside manner with the public but he has been wrong about everything I have ever interacted with him on.” That includes, he said, downplaying the early risk of the virus and expressing skepticism over the use of hydroxychloroquine, which Navarro has aggressively championed despite contradictory evidence on its efficacy and safety.

And now, unsurprisingly, just as fast as you can say “bad public relations,” Fauci is back at the White House:

A day after President Trump’s press office tried to undermine the reputation of the nation’s top infectious disease expert with an anonymously attributed list of what it said were his misjudgments in the early days of the coronavirus, Dr. Anthony S. Fauci returned to the White House on Monday.

Dr. Fauci — who has not had direct contact with the president in more than five weeks even as the number of Americans with Covid-19, the disease caused by the coronavirus, has risen sharply in the Southwest — slipped back into the West Wing to meet with Mark Meadows, the White House chief of staff, while his allies denounced what they called a meanspirited and misguided effort by the White House to smear him.

White House officials declined to comment on what was discussed in the conversation between Mr. Meadows, who has long expressed skepticism about the conclusions of the nation’s public health experts, and Dr. Fauci, though one official called it a good conversation and said they continued to have a positive relationship.

Note: The cartoon that Scavino shared on Facebook was drawn by none other than Ben Garrison, whose anti-Semitic cartoon got him barred from the White House in 2019.


Bari Weiss Leaving The New York Times

Filed under: General — Patterico @ 8:29 am

The story is at Vice:

Bari Weiss, a writer and editor for the embattled New York Times Opinion section, is leaving the paper.

When reached by phone, Weiss did not want to offer any further comment beyond confirming that she was out. According to an internal source, she was removed from the staff directory sometime in the past week.

Bari Weiss is a heterodox figure, associated with a group of independent public intellectuals known (somewhat tongue in cheek) as the “Intellectual Dark Web” or IDW. She’s not a great fit for a paper with an oppressive climate of hyper-wokeness — yet many of us were reassured by her continued presence there, keeping an eye on the insanity for those of us who are normal.

No word yet on whether this is voluntary. We’ll stay on top of it.

UPDATE: Should have checked Twitter first. Here is her resignation letter. Sounds like a mix between resignation (which is what it technically was) and termination:

Twitter is not on the masthead of The New York Times. But Twitter has become its ultimate editor. As the ethics and mores of that platform have become those of the paper, the paper itself has increasingly become a kind of performance space. Stories are chosen and told in a way to satisfy the narrowest of audiences, rather than to allow a curious public to read about the world and then draw their own conclusions. I was always taught that journalists were charged with writing the first rough draft of history. Now, history itself is one more ephemeral thing molded to fit the needs of a predetermined narrative.

My own forays into Wrongthink have made me the subject of constant bullying by colleagues who disagree with my views. They have called me a Nazi and a racist; I have learned to brush off comments about how I’m “writing about the Jews again.” Several colleagues perceived to be friendly with me were badgered by coworkers. My work and my character are openly demeaned on company-wide Slack channels where masthead editors regularly weigh in. There, some coworkers insist I need to be rooted out if this company is to be a truly “inclusive” one, while others post ax emojis next to my name. Still other New York Times employees publicly smear me as a liar and a bigot on Twitter with no fear that harassing me will be met with appropriate action. They never are.

There are terms for all of this: unlawful discrimination, hostile work environment, and constructive discharge. I’m no legal expert. But I know that this is wrong.

I do not understand how you have allowed this kind of behavior to go on inside your company in full view of the paper’s entire staff and the public. And I certainly can’t square how you and other Times leaders have stood by while simultaneously praising me in private for my courage. Showing up for work as a centrist at an American newspaper should not require bravery.

Read it all.

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