Patterico's Pontifications


BREAKING: Trump Tests Positive for COVID-19

Filed under: General — Patterico @ 10:20 pm



UPDATE x3: It is what it is.


UPDATE x5: Quite a list.

California Seeks to Undermine Education Department’s Title IX Rules

Filed under: General — JVW @ 2:45 pm

[guest post by JVW]

Just this past spring we were congratulating Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos for finally bringing to heel the Obama Administration’s notorious “Dear Colleague” letter which had helped set in motion a campus sexual assault hysteria resulting in controversial sanctions and expulsions, mostly of young men. I suppose we should have realized that this would not be allowed to stand in hyper-woke California, and yesterday Governor Gavin Newsom signed a bill authored by state Senator Hannah-Beth Jackson of Santa Barbara which reimposed on state universities much of the kangaroo court nonsense that Secretary DeVos had hoped to quell.

The overview and the summary of the bill appear on face value to be fairly innocuous, covering just requirements that state colleges have a point person for harassment claims, that they have established rules for a disciplinary process, that various administrators receive training, etc., but buried within Section 3 of the law are a few nuggets making it clear that California should return to the Obama-Era regulations:

Section 3, article IV, subsection 3, item C, part i
Regardless of whether or not a complaint has been filed under the institution’s grievance procedures, if the institution knows, or reasonably should know, about possible sexual harassment involving individuals subject to the institution’s policies at the time, the institution shall promptly investigate to determine whether the alleged conduct more likely than not occurred, or otherwise respond if the institution determines that an investigation is not required. If the institution determines that the alleged conduct more likely than not occurred, it shall immediately take reasonable steps to end the harassment, address the hostile environment, if one has been created, prevent its recurrence, and address its effects. [. . .]

In other words, as in the case of the USC football player and his girlfriend, a campus should investigate and punish an accuser on their own volition, even if the “victim” denies she has been harassed or assaulted.

Section 3, article IV, subsection 3, item C, part ii
The institution shall consider and respond to requests for accommodations relating to prior incidents of sexual harassment that could contribute to a hostile educational environment or otherwise interfere with a student’s access to education where both individuals are, at the time of the request, subject to the institution’s policies.

If I am not mistaken, this could mean that Mary sees John at freshman orientation, reports to the administration that he got fresh with her at a high school party back when they were both 15, and the university would be required to investigate and perhaps adjudicate if Mary asserts that John’s presence on campus interferes with her ability to receive an education. Never mind that this happened in the past and away from campus; under this rule it is germane if one party claims a present impact.

Section 3, article IV, subsection 3, item d, part i
If a complainant requests confidentiality, which could preclude a meaningful investigation or potential discipline of the potential respondent, or that no investigation or disciplinary action be pursued to address alleged sexual harassment, the institution shall take the request seriously, while at the same time considering its responsibility to provide a safe and nondiscriminatory environment for all students, including for the complainant. The institution shall generally grant the request. [. . .]

The law then tries to outline how confidentiality requests would be granted, and to what degree that would impact the rights of the accused. But the reality of the situation is that they are creating a scenario in which the accused would have to respond to generic complaints without knowing any details which might divulge the identity of the complainant: “At any time during a party in the past three months did you place your hand on a female in a manner which she might have found harassing?” This is even worse for faculty or staff, or anyone else who is considered to enjoy a “power imbalance” over the complainant (campus advocacy groups have defined a power imbalance in such as broad fashion as to include a senior in a relationship with a freshman). And the new law states that the school can still judge a respondent guilty and subject to sanctions while maintaining complainant confidentiality, provided the institution can “conduct a thorough investigation and obtain relevant evidence.” While that seems to be a common-sense protection, past experience suggests that a broad definition of “thorough” and “relevant evidence” will allow the institution to make a great deal of mischief in pursuit of social justice.

And what would a California law these days be without a whole lot of stupid wishful thinking?

Section 3, article IV, subsection 4, item A, part i
[The published grievance procedures] shall state that the investigation and adjudication of alleged misconduct under this section is not an adversarial process between the complainant, the respondent, and the witnesses, but rather a process for postsecondary institutions to comply with their obligations under existing law. The complainant does not have the burden to prove, nor does the respondent have the burden to disprove, the underlying allegation or allegations of misconduct.

I’m sure it will mean a great deal to the 19-year-old kid facing expulsion and being sent back home to Buttscratch where he’ll spend the rest of his life working on the road crew to know that the process isn’t meant to be adversarial. This section then goes on to inform the parties that although there shall be a process of investigation which consists of collecting evidence and/or witnesses, if some evidence and/or witnesses emerge after the hearing begins they may not necessarily be considered. But don’t worry: this law establishes that “the persons or entities responsible for conducting investigations, finding facts, and making disciplinary decisions are neutral.” Because I guess if there is one thing that college administrators and faculty are known for in 2020 it is being scrupulously neutral.

And how about the ability of the accused to cross-examine the accuser? Forget about it, unless you think that this bare fig-leaf is adequate [bolded emphasis added by me]:

Student parties shall have the opportunity to submit written questions to the hearing officer in advance of the hearing. At the hearing, the other party shall have an opportunity to note an objection to the questions posed. The institution may limit such objections to written form, and neither the hearing officer nor the institution are obligated to respond, other than to include any objection in the record. The hearing officer shall have the authority and obligation to discard or rephrase any question that the hearing officer deems to be repetitive, irrelevant, or harassing. In making these determinations, the hearing officer is not bound by, but may take guidance from, the formal rules of evidence.

To hell with those pesky “formal rules of evidence” if they make it easier for the accused to slip the noose, I suppose. And this naturally leads us back to the “preponderance of evidence” standard the Obama Administration imposed, meaning that the accused can be found guilty if the tribunal determines that it is slightly more likely than unlikely that he is guilty, discarding the Trump Administration’s “clear and convincing evidence” standard. In a very close case with lots of ambiguity, how many times do you think that college administrators are going to find the accused 51% likely of a Title IX violation as opposed to 49% likely?

If you doubt that this legislation isn’t simply a clear attempt to rally the social justice left against Secretary DeVos and the Trump Administration, check out the press release that Sen. Jackson’s office coughed up after Governor Newsom signed the bill. Never mind educational institutions’ heavily checkered record in handling such matters; never mind the atmosphere of hostility that surrounds young men (who are after all the minority: 53% of UC students and 57% of Cal State students are female) on campuses these days thanks to the ugly monoculture that has been allowed to infest higher education. There are scores to be settled, and nothing is going to stop the crybullies from pursuing their agenda.


Trump Makes It Official: “I Won The Debate”

Filed under: General — Dana @ 10:17 am

[guest post by Dana]

This morning Trump made it official (in his own eyes):

Of course, he didn’t provide any post-debate polling data that validated the claim. No matter, he said it, so let it be so. That’s how it works in Trump’s world. This in spite of polls indicating otherwise.

This declaration isn’t surprising given that he tweeted soon after the debate that the cable television ratings for the event were the most bigly ever:

Fox News did announce that it was the highest-rated presidential debate in cable news history:

Fox News was the top network, drawing 17.8 million, followed by ABC with 12.6 million, NBC with 9.7 million and CNN with 8.3 million. Among viewers in the 25-54 news demographic, Fox News was on top with 5.3 million, followed by ABC with 4.9 million, NBC with 4.1 million and CNN with 3.5 million.

Fox News said it was the highest-rated presidential debate in cable news history. A record 24 million viewers watched a Fox News primary debate between Trump and other GOP contenders in 2015.

Except. The Presidential debate ratings actually fell from 2016, when he made his debut debate appearance. Apparently, the novelty of a reality television star in a presidential debate was more of a draw than the known-quantity of Trump debating four years later. Or perhaps Hillary Clinton was the real draw back then and Trump was just the sideshow:

An estimated 73.1 million people watched the first presidential debate of 2020, a huge audience but still short of the blockbuster audience for the initial matchup four years ago.

The numbers are from Nielsen and include 16 networks.

In 2016, the first debate between Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton drew 84 million.

The total viewers for the debate might not have matched the last cycle, but they still were impressive. Only two other debates in the past 45 years have drawn more viewers: In 2016 and in 1980, when Ronald Reagan and Jimmy Carter met for their only matchup. That debate drew 80.6 million viewers.

Do you remember the debate between Reagan and Carter?

Watching the 1980 debate is like entering a time capsule. Quaint, gentlemanly…civil. What a stark contrast to Tuesday night’s obnoxious verbal slap fest.

It included this gem: We don’t’ have inflation because the people are living too well. We have inflation because the government is living too well. You already know which candidates said this…

Anyway, at last night’s rally, Trump bragged to Minnesotans that, not only did the debate bring in the highest ratings of any cable show but that he won even though he had to debate two people! What a man, what a mighty fine man:

The verdict is in and they say that we, we, all of us, won big last night. I don’t know. Did you hear about this? In the history of cable television, it had the highest ratings of any show in the history of cable television. It had the second highest ratings of overall television in the history of television. Does anybody know what was first? Like M*A*S*H or something? I guess M*A*S*H, they had the final episode of M*A*S*H, and I don’t know what was first. Does anybody know? But we were second in the history of all of television, but the biggest ratings in the history of cable television. It’s an honor…I was debating two people last night. Joe Biden is too weak to lead this country. You know Biden lost badly when his supporters are saying he should cancel the rest of the debates. Now, I understand he’s canceling the debates. Let’s see what happens. I think that’s not going to be a good move. I don’t think that’s going to be a good move. Television, with those ratings, they’re never going to let them cancel. You don’t know television like that. What are they going to do? Someday, we’re not going to be doing this anymore. What are they going to do without Trump? What are they going to do?

It’s all about quantity, not quality. It’s about having the most of well, everything. That’s the mark of a real winner in Trump’s book. Substance never really comes into play. That’s just a timewaster and distraction from the show that is Trump. He has no understanding that his performative bullshit is just that. A mile wide, one-sixteenth of an inch deep. So of course he is happy to revel in his self-proclaimed victory, because in spite of having to unfairly debate both Joe Biden and Chris Wallace, he was the winner. Just ask him.


Great News: Republicans to Resume Their Insufferable Whining About Social Media

Filed under: General — Patterico @ 8:27 am

Capital idea, guys:

Senate Republicans are undertaking renewed efforts to probe social media companies over claims of bias against conservatives ahead of the November election at the behest of the White House, according to a new report.

Politico reported that the Trump administration had urged Senate Republicans on key committees to hold public hearings on the law that shields internet companies — including social media platforms such as Facebook and Twitter — from lawsuits over content posted by third party users.

Senate Judiciary Chair Lindsey Graham (R., S.C.) is holding a markup of new legislation on Thursday that would address allegations of anti-conservative bias on social media, while Senate Commerce Chair Roger Wicker (R., Miss.) will hold a vote that same day on whether to issue subpoenas to the CEOs of Facebook, Twitter and Google.

You either believe government needs to stay out of speech issues or you don’t. This is another reason I cannot support the Republican party today. During the Net Neutrality fight, the party seemed to understand the importance of keeping government away from speech, but no longer.

If you’re happy with Donald Trump making rules about what you get to say, wait until those rules are made by Joe Biden, or Kamala Harris, or Bernie Sanders, or AOC, or pick your leftist demon.

On a related note, I will not be voting for Ted Lieu for Congress because he stabbed Jackie Lacey in the back, endorsing her and then taking it back. I looked into his opponent and of course that guy is a typical Republican clown and I can’t vote for him. How this entire party degenerated this badly in five short years is one for the history books.

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