Patterico's Pontifications


Weekend Open Thread

Filed under: General — Dana @ 9:24 pm

[guest post by Dana]

Here are a few news items to talk about. Please feel free to share any items that you think might interest readers. Make sure to include links.

First news item

Self-canceling is a thing:

Winston Marshall, the banjoist of Mumford & Sons, is “taking time away” from the band after he was criticized for supporting a book written by controversial right-wing writer Andy Ngo.

“Over the past few days, I have come to better understand the pain caused by the book I endorsed,” Marshall said in a statement Wednesday. “I have offended not only a lot of people I don’t know but also those closest to me, including my bandmates and for that, I am truly sorry.”

“As a result of my actions I am taking time away from the band to examine my blindspots. For now, please know that I realize how my endorsements have the potential to be viewed as approvals of hateful, divisive behavior. I apologize, as this was not at all my intention,” he added.


The Catalan translator for the poem that American writer Amanda Gorman read at US president Joe Biden’s inauguration has said he has been removed from the job because he had the wrong “profile”.

It was the second such case in Europe after Dutch writer Marieke Lucas Rijneveld resigned from the job of translating Gorman’s work following criticism that a black writer was not chosen.

‘“They told me that I am not suitable to translate it,” Catalan translator Victor Obiols told AFP on Wednesday. “They did not question my abilities, but they were looking for a different profile, which had to be a woman, young, activist and preferably black.”

“But if I cannot translate a poet because she is a woman, young, black, an American of the 21st century, neither can I translate Homer because I am not a Greek of the eighth century BC. Or could not have translated Shakespeare because I am not a 16th-century Englishman.”

Also related:

The acclaimed author Marieke Lucas Rijneveld has pulled out of translating Amanda Gorman’s poetry into Dutch, after their publisher was criticised for picking a writer for the role who was not also Black.

Dutch publisher Meulenhoff had announced Rijneveld, winner of the International Booker prize, as the translator of the Joe Biden inaugural poet’s forthcoming collection, The Hill We Climb, last week. But the move quickly drew opprobrium. Journalist and activist Janice Deul led critics with a piece in Volkskrant asking why Meulenhoff had not chosen a translator who was, like Gorman, a “spoken-word artist, young, female and unapologetically Black”.


Meulenhoff said it was Rijneveld’s decision to resign, and that Gorman, who is 22, had selected the 29-year-old herself, as a fellow young writer who had also come to fame early.

The writer specifically selected said translator! She intentionally wanted Rijneveld to translate her work.

You hired the person that *you* believed to be the best person to translate *your* work. Shut out the noise. Stand tall. Don’t cave in. And be okay with the consequences. People of substance will stand by you. People who want to control you or use you will excoriate you. It’s a jagged edge upon which to find oneself, especially one so young. And the more prominent the individual, the more is at stake. But if you don’t take a stand now, you’ll soon drown in the dark, murky sea of wokeness.

Second news item

“Cuomo never let me forget I was a woman”:

Andrew Cuomo’s hands had been on my body — on my arms, my shoulders, the small of my back, my waist — often enough by late 2014 that I didn’t want to go to the holiday party he was hosting for the Albany press corps at the executive mansion.

He took my hand, as if to shake it, then refused to let go. He put his other arm around my back, his hand on my waist, and held me firmly in place while indicating to a photographer he wanted us to pose for a picture…I was wrong to believe this experience would last for just a moment. Keeping his grip on me as I practically squirmed to get away from him, the governor turned my body to face a different direction for yet another picture. He never let go of my hand.

Then he turned to me with a mischievous smile on his face, in front of all of my colleagues, and said: “I’m sorry. Am I making you uncomfortable? I thought we were going steady.”

I stood there in stunned silence, shocked and humiliated. But, of course, that was the point.

I never thought the governor wanted to have sex with me. It wasn’t about sex. It was about power. He wanted me to know that I was powerless, that I was small and weak, that I did not deserve what relative power I had: a platform to hold him accountable for his words and actions. He wanted me to know that he could take my dignity away at any moment with an inappropriate comment or a hand on my waist.

Wolves look for easy prey. And young, inexperienced women are most easily devoured.

Cuomo today:

“I’m not going to resign,” Cuomo said in an afternoon conference call with reporters. He instead tried to cast doubt on the women who have accused him of harassment.

“I did not do what has been alleged, period,” he said. “I won’t speculate about people’s possible motives, but I can tell you as a former attorney general who has gone through this situation many times, there are often many motivations for making an allegation, and that is why you need to know the facts before you make a decision.”

Cuomo, though, was defiant on Friday, at times beyond reasonable belief. In the Friday call, he compared to the calls for him to resign to “cancel culture.” He suggested he was not “part of the political club,” only minutes before acknowledging he’s been in politics since he was 23 years old and working for his father.

“I never harassed anyone, I never abused anyone, I never assaulted anyone, and I never would,” Cuomo said. “Now, it is possible that I’ve taken a picture with a person who after the fact says they were uncomfortable with the pose in the picture? Yes. And that’s what you’re hearing about.”

Cancel his ass and kick him to the curb. Between the nursing home deaths and groping women, he deserves it. As of now, there has been public testimony from five accusers. New York Attorney General Letitia James is proceeding with an inquiry into the allegations against Cuomo.

Jake Tapper reminds us that “there are 19 House Democrats from New York, and sixteen of them have called on Gov. Cuomo to resign. As have the two Senators, one of whom just so happens to be Senate Majority Leader Schumer.”

Third news item

Cancel this idiot too and kick him to the curb:

Sen. Ron Johnson (R-WI) said in an interview aired Friday that he never felt threatened during the Jan. 6 Capitol riot because the mob was made up of “people that loved this country” instead of Black Lives Matter protesters. Speaking on the Joe Pags Show on AM radio, Johnson said, “I knew those were people that loved this country, that truly respect law enforcement, would never do anything to break the law, so I wasn’t concerned. Had the tables been turned, and President Trump won the election and those were tens of thousands of Black Lives Matters and antifa protesters, I might have been a little concerned.”

The Republican Party needs to strongly condemn Johnson for this. But that’s not going to happen, is it?

Reminder: it was reported that nearly 140 police officers were injured in the violent siege at the Capitol. Three police officers died after the rioting (two committed suicide, there is an ongoing investigation into the third officer’s death).

Fourth news item

Maybe actually serve before you mock those who do:

The president noted that some work would be done to retain female recruits, including “designing body armor that fits women properly, tailoring combat uniforms for women, creating maternity flight suits [and] updating requirements for their hairstyles.”

[Tucker] Carlson ridiculed the remarks on his Tuesday night program.

“So, we’ve got new hairstyles and maternity flight suits. Pregnant women are going to fight our wars. It’s a mockery of the U.S. military,” he said. The longtime television journalist also made a comparison between the American military and Chinese military.

“China’s military becomes more masculine … our military needs to become, as Joe Biden says, more feminine.”

A former Navy SEAL would like a word:

Fifth news item

Asians living in fear:

An assault on an Asian woman in San Jose is being investigated as a possible hate crime. The victim of the attack at San Jose’s Diridon train station Wednesday morning is sharing her story on the alleged hate crime and assault.

The victim named Tiffany, a 26-year-old medical worker from San Jose, said she was tossed around and dragged as the suspect shouted expletives calling her out for being Asian.

At 6:30 a.m., Tiffany was her way to work in Palo Alto and poised to board a train. She said she was inside the tunnel when a man approached her from behind, grabbed her neck, pulled her hair and started cursing.

“He was saying f-u, f-u Asian, this is completely bull,” said Tiffany. “All while he was keeping me on the ground with his grip on my hair.

“He made his way to the back of my head and just pulled me back and tossing me from front to back and side to side,” said Tiffany.


A disturbing trend of violence against Asian Americans continued after a grandmother from Westchester was attacked while walking on a sidewalk Tuesday night.

Nancy Toh says her assailant came up to her — nose-to-nose, then cocked his head back and spit in her face.

Toh closed her eyes, and that’s when he punched her right in her nose.

She fell to the ground, hit the back of her head and was knocked unconscious.

Eventually a good Samaritan saw her lying there and came to her aid.

When she opened her eyes, she was covered in her own blood and drenched in her pain.

“Bleeding lots from the brain. Looks like pumping out,” Toh said.

New York City has seen a recent spike in hate crimes against Asian Americans, but Toh’s daughter says she didn’t think it was so close to home.


An Asian woman who was holding a baby in Fresh Meadows Tuesday was allegedly spat at by a man who also shouted out a racist remark, police said.

The hateful act, in what appears to be the latest anti-Asian incident to take place in the city, has been condemned by U.S. Congresswoman Grace Meng.

The 25-year-old woman was approached by the racist in the vicinity of 186th Street and Peck Avenue at around 10.30 a.m. before he allegedly spat in her direction and yelled “Chinese virus.”

The woman was spat at three times but the saliva did not make contact with her, police said.

It’s quite possible that the bigoted followers from which a former president galvanized support by using terms like “Kung-flu” and “Wuhan virus” are acting out on their worst impulses.

Sixth news items

Covid vaccine no-go:

An NPR/PBS/Marist poll released Thursday shows a potentially big problem in getting the country back to normal, with large members of these groups saying they will refuse any vaccine (ranked from highest to lowest percentage).

Republican men: 49%.

Trump supporters: 47%.

Republicans: 41%.

White men without a college degree: 40%.

White evangelicals: 38%.

Nearly 35 million. That’s how many Trump voters wouldn’t get the vaccine if the polling turns out to be correct, representing almost 17% of the adult population.

Former President Donald Trump released a statement this week urging Americans to get the vaccine give him the glory for the vaccine:

“I hope everyone remembers when they’re getting the COVID-19 (often referred to as the China Virus) Vaccine, that if I wasn’t President, you wouldn’t be getting that beautiful ‘shot’ for 5 years, at best, and probably wouldn’t be getting it at all. I hope everyone remembers!”

Meanwhile, the Biden administration is unwilling to do the easiest thing in the world to help persuade Trump supporters to get the vaccine. For godsake, bite the bullet and just say it, Jan. You won’t die if you say it, but others might if you don’t:

Seventh news item

The word the Biden administration can’t bring themselves to say is “crisis”:

Biden administration officials said Friday they do not have the ability to quickly add thousands of shelter beds to care for the record numbers of migrant teens and children stuck in crowded Border Patrol stations, as the new administration struggles to care for the soaring number of families and unaccompanied minors crossing from Mexico each day.

On Thursday night, US Immigration and Customs Enforcement sent an urgent email to senior staff asking for volunteers quickly to deploy to US border stations and tent sites where holding cells are crammed beyond capacity.

“This situation mandates immediate action to protect the life and safety of federal personnel and the aliens in custody,” wrote Michael Meade, ICE’s acting assistant director for field operations, in an email obtained by The Washington Post.

“Start and end dates are TBD, but could begin as soon as this weekend at locations along the SWB, most likely Texas,” Meade wrote, referring to the southwest border. He also told staff the emergency conditions could persist, adding, “It is anticipated that the enforcement actions will continue to grow over the coming months.”


So cool:

To Be In Love by Gwendolyn Brooks:

To be in love
Is to touch with a lighter hand.
In yourself you stretch, you are well.
You look at things
Through his eyes.
A cardinal is red.
A sky is blue.
Suddenly you know he knows too.
He is not there but
You know you are tasting together
The winter, or a light spring weather.
His hand to take your hand is overmuch.
Too much to bear.
You cannot look in his eyes
Because your pulse must not say
What must not be said.
When he
Shuts a door-
Is not there_
Your arms are water.
And you are free
With a ghastly freedom.
You are the beautiful half
Of a golden hurt.
You remember and covet his mouth
To touch, to whisper on.
Oh when to declare
Is certain Death!
Oh when to apprize
Is to mesmerize,
To see fall down, the Column of Gold,
Into the commonest ash.

Have a great weekend.


New Yorker: Inside the Cyrus Vance Investigation Into Trump

Filed under: General — Patterico @ 8:29 am

Interesting article about the Manhattan D.A.’s Trump investigation in The New Yorker. Onlookers can’t help noticing that things have picked up quite a bit in the office. They have Trump’s financial records, they have hired an experienced former federal prosecutor who knows fraud, and they have been repeatedly interviewing Michael Cohen (at least seven times so far!) — hopefully not as a star witness, exactly, but as someone who might be able to give them a behind the scenes look at how the manipulations happened.

I can’t give you much of a prediction of whether charges will be filed, and anyone who claims they can is blowing smoke. We learn in the article that Vance is not running for re-election, and will be out of office after December, so he’s not doing this to keep himself in power.

However, I would like to quote a couple of passages that illustrate what is at stake; namely, the very notion of applying the rule of law to everyone.

Vance’s investigation, which appears to be focussed largely on business practices that Trump engaged in before taking office, may seem picayune in comparison with the outrageous offenses to democratic norms that Trump committed as President. But the New York University historian Ruth Ben-Ghiat, whose recent book “Strongmen” examines the characteristics of antidemocratic rulers, told me, “If you don’t prosecute Trump, it sends the message that all that he did was acceptable.” She pointed out that strongmen typically “inhabit a gray zone between illegal and legal for years”; corrupt acts of political power are just an extension of their shady business practices. “Trumpism isn’t just about him,” Ben-Ghiat went on. “It’s a whole way of being in the world. It’s about secrecy, domination, trickery, and fraud.” She said, of Vance’s probe, “It’s symbolic for the public, and very important to give the public a sense of accountability.”


[T]he contest between Vance and Trump is about much more than a financial investigation. It’s a stress test of the American justice system. George Conway, a lawyer and a Trump critic, who is married to the former President’s adviser Kellyanne Conway, said, “Trump is a man who has gotten away with everything his entire life. He’s an affront to the rule of law, and to all law-abiding citizens.” In office, Trump often treated the law as a political weapon, using the Justice Department as a tool for targeting enemies. Now he is pitted against a D.A. who regards the law as the politically blind foundation of democracy. As Conway put it, “For Trump, the law is a cudgel. For Vance, it’s what holds us together as a civilization. And that’s why people who thumb their noses at it have to be prosecuted. If they aren’t, you’re taking a big step toward a world where that is acceptable.”

I hear all the time that prosecuting former political officials is banana republic stuff, and my response is always the same: it depends on whether they’re guilty. If they are, not prosecuting them is banana republic stuff. Whether it’s Israel, Italy, France, or other countries I could name, modern countries don’t fall apart simply because former (or current!) officials are indicted or jailed. Do you think Russia is a better example of the rule of law because we know it would never allow a prosecution of Putin or a high government official close to Putin? If that’s your position, you live in a different world from the rest of us.

So let’s see if Trump is guilty. If he’s not, let’s move on dot org. If he is, I hope Vance nails him to the wall.

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