Patterico's Pontifications

5/10/2016

Nicholas Kristof: Of Course Progressives Believe In Diversity, Well, Except For “Conservative” Diversity…

Filed under: General — Dana @ 7:43 pm



[guest post by Dana]

Nicholas Kristof has an eye-opening piece at the New York Times titled A Confession of Liberal Intolerance. In his op-ed, he both admits to and laments an undeniable sort of discrimination at our institutions of higher learning. You’re sort of late to the party, Nicholas, but welcome anyway:

We progressives believe in diversity, and we want women, blacks, gays, Latinos, and Muslims at the table – er, so long as they’re not conservatives.

Universities are the bedrock of progressive values, but one kind of diversity that universities disregard is ideological and religious. We’re fine with people who don’t look like us, as long as they think like us.

Thus Kristof begins his confession. Given the recent outing of Facebook for its calculated political bias, Kristof informs us that that’s exactly where he’s been mulling this over. On Facebook. How ironic.

I’ve been thinking about this because on Facebook recently I wondered aloud whether universities stigmatize conservatives and undermine intellectual diversity. The scornful reaction from my fellow liberals proved the point.

“Much of the ‘conservative’ worldview consists of ideas that are known empirically to be false,” said Carmi.

“The truth has a liberal slant,” wrote Michelle.

“Why stop there?” asked Steven. “How about we make faculties more diverse by hiring idiots?”

To his credit, Kristof zeroes in on the root of the problem: liberal arrogance. (I think liberal ignorance would have worked equally as well.)

He also offers findings from four different studies that demonstrate that Republican professors in the humanities and social sciences are indeed “endangered species,” and the stark contrast a black sociologist provides reveals the narrow-minded bigotry of supposed “progressives” (a term used to describe a group of people who are anything but…):

“Outside of academia I faced more problems as a black,” he told me. “But inside academia I face more problems as a Christian, and it is not even close,”

If it’s tough being a conservative in academia, it’s even tougher if one is also an evangelical:

According to Yancey’s study, 59 percent of anthropologists and 53 percent of English professors would be less likely to hire someone they found out was an evangelical.

“Of course there are biases against evangelicals on campuses,” notes Jonathan L. Walton, the Plummer Professor of Christian Morals at Harvard. Walton, a black evangelical, adds that the condescension toward evangelicals echoes the patronizing attitude toward racial minorities: “The same arguments I hear people make about evangelicals sound so familiar to the ways people often describe folk of color, i.e. politically unsophisticated, lacking education, angry, bitter, emotional, poor.”

Kristof, who earns his bread and butter in the belly of the self-admitted liberally-biased beast, nonetheless reminds readers of all political persuasions why this particular kind of discrimination is so dangerous:

To me, the conversation illuminated primarily liberal arrogance — the implication that conservatives don’t have anything significant to add to the discussion. **My Facebook followers have incredible compassion for war victims in South Sudan, for kids who have been trafficked, even for abused chickens, but no obvious empathy for conservative scholars facing discrimination.

The stakes involve not just fairness to conservatives or evangelical Christians, not just whether progressives will be true to their own values, not just the benefits that come from diversity (and diversity of thought is arguably among the most important kinds), but also the quality of education itself. When perspectives are unrepresented in discussions, when some kinds of thinkers aren’t at the table, classrooms become echo chambers rather than sounding boards — and we all lose.

**Clearly, narrow-minded bigots are limited in their capacity to feel anything but disdain for those who dare to think differently. The very definition of progressive.

–Dana

12/2/2009

Kristof Busted by Malkin

Filed under: General — Patterico @ 9:48 pm



She appears to have Kristof dead to rights here.

11/9/2005

Maguire Makes Kristof Squirm

Filed under: Media Bias — Patterico @ 5:08 pm



This is a very entertaining post by Tom Maguire, about Nick Kristof’s airbrushing errors and making implausible excuses for Lyin’ Joe Wilson. Read it and chuckle.

2/18/2022

Weekend Open Thread

Filed under: General — Dana @ 10:20 am



[guest post by Dana]

Getting this up early as I won’t have time later… Also, as a reminder, I post what interests me, and hope might interest you. But if these news items don’t, feel free to post the news items that interest you in the comments. Make sure to include links. Now, let’s go!

First news item

Kevin McCarthy endorses Cheney’s primary opponent:

House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy has endorsed Harriet Hageman, the Trump-backed opponent of incumbent Rep. Liz Cheney of Wyoming – a rare endorsement from leadership in a divisive GOP primary, and one that marks the culmination of a simmering feud between the two powerful Republicans battling over the future of their party.

The gulf between Cheney and McCarthy, summed up by Cheney:

The leaders of the Republican Party have made themselves willing hostages to a man who admits he tried to overturn a presidential election and suggests he would pardon Jan. 6 defendants, some of whom have been charged with seditious conspiracy.

Second news item

Shameful:

With the Texas primary looming in less than two weeks, the Houston Chronicle…asked every Republican candidate running for Congress whether or not they believed the 2020 election was stolen or fraudulent.

Here’s what they found:

“Of the 86 with discernible stances, at least 42 have said outright that the 2020 election was stolen, called the results illegitimate or said they would have voted not to certify. Another 11 candidates have said there was enough fraud or irregularities to cast doubt on the results of the election. Just 13 said the results were legitimate.”

…Just 9% of Republicans running for Congress this year are willing to publicly state the fact that the 2020 election was free and fair. NINE percent!

And, that’s not an isolated finding. In CNN’s latest national poll, released earlier this month, 70% of Republicans said President Joe Biden’s victory was not legitimate. Another 45% of Republicans said that there was “solid evidence” to prove that fact.

Third news item

Squad goals “huge problem” to Democrats:

The hard-left politics of Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-N.Y.) and the so-called “Squad,” once a dominant theme for vast numbers of elected Democrats, is backfiring big-time on the party in power, top Democrats tell us.

…The push to defund the police, rename schools and tear down statues has created a significant obstacle to Democrats keeping control of the House, the Senate and the party’s overall image.

“It’s what we’ve been screaming about for a year,” said Matt Bennett, c0-founder of center-left Third Way, which launched Shield PAC to defend moderate Democrats.

“It’s a huge problem.”

The latest sign of the backlash was the landslide (70%+) recall this week of three San Francisco school board members…

Rep. Josh Gottheimer (D-N.J.), co-chair of the bipartisan Problem Solvers Caucus, told Axios: “What I’m hearing at home — and what I’m focused on — are commonsense, bipartisan solutions — from tackling grocery and gas prices, to cutting taxes and fixing our infrastructure, to investing in law enforcement and fighting crime.”

Fourth news item:

Trying to allay Democrat fears:

White House chief of staff Ron Klain promised Senate Democrats that President Biden will deliver an uplifting and inspiring State of the Union address…

Klain’s goal in addressing the Senate Democratic Caucus in person on Capitol Hill appeared to be to give lawmakers something positive to focus on instead of the president’s sagging poll numbers.

In fact, senators said there was no discussion of Biden’s weak public approval rating in battleground states that will decide in this year’s midterm elections which party will control the Senate in 2023.

Klain told senators that Biden’s speech to a joint session of Congress next month will tout the president’s accomplishments from last year, which many Democrats believe are being undersold, and set a clear agenda for the rest of the year.

But the conversation, while very positive, was also very general and seemed designed not to make any big news before Biden’s moment in the national spotlight on March 1.

Some concerned centrists wanted Klain to talk about Biden’s weak poll numbers in key states, such as Pennsylvania, where an October Franklin & Marshall poll found that only 32 percent of registered voters their rated his performance as “excellent” or “good.”

…Klain didn’t touch on Biden’s poll numbers and instead tried to pump up Democrats about what he predicted would be a glowing and powerful report on the State of the Union…according to several senators who attended the meeting.

Related: Quinnipiac Poll:

Biden receives negative scores when Americans were asked about his handling of six issues…
• the Supreme Court: 40 percent approve, while 45 percent disapprove;
• the response to the coronavirus: 43 percent approve, while 53 percent disapprove;
• foreign policy: 35 percent approve, while 54 percent disapprove;
• tensions between Russia and Ukraine: 34 percent approve, while 54 percent disapprove;
• the economy: 33 percent approve, while 61 percent disapprove;
• gun violence: 24 percent approve, while 62 percent disapprove.
When it comes to the way Americans feel about Joe Biden:
• 34 percent like Joe Biden as a person and also like most of his policies;
• 21 percent like Joe Biden as a person but don’t like most of his policies;
• 4 percent don’t like Joe Biden as a person but do like most of his policies;
• 37 percent don’t like Joe Biden as a person and also don’t like most of his policies

Fifth news item

Ted Cruz’s mentor, former federal Judge J. Michael Luttig, blasts “utter madness” of Republicans’ embrace of Trump:

“For the past six years, I have watched and listened in disgust that not one single leader of ours with the moral authority, the courage and the will to stand up and say, ‘No, this is not who we are, this is not what America is and it’s not what we want to be,’ has done so.”

The final straws for Luttig were the Republican National Committee’s recent resolution that censured Republican Reps. Liz Cheney and Adam Kinzinger for participating on the Jan. 6 committee and called the insurrection “legitimate political discourse,” and Trump’s attacks on Senate Republican leader Mitch McConnell for criticizing the RNC and of Pence for publicly stating “Trump is wrong” to say Pence could overturn the election.

Luttig elaborated by email: “This feels like a seminal moment in America when all of what the country has witnessed and endured for these years seems to be building to volcanic crescendo…. We are in political war to the death — with each other,” and “American democracy hangs in the balance.”

That more Republicans aren’t standing up to “this nonsense, this utter madness,” he said, is “the definition of failed leadership.”

Sixth news item

Before making a run for governor, maybe learn ballot requirements beforehand:

Oregon’s Democratic primary race for governor narrowed significantly Thursday, with the state Supreme Court ruling that former New York Times columnist Nick Kristof can’t run because he does not meet the state’s three-year residency requirement.

The high court upheld a January decision by Secretary of State Shemia Fagan that Kristof did not meet Oregon’s requirement that he have lived in the state since November 2019.

Seventh news item

JVW’s prediction comes true as Jeffrey Zucker’s paramour makes her exit from CNN:

[Allison] Gollust released a comment addressing her exit Tuesday night.

“WarnerMedia’s statement tonight is an attempt to retaliate against me and change the media narrative in the wake of their disastrous handling of the last two weeks,” she said. “It is deeply disappointing that after spending the past nine years defending and upholding CNN’s highest standards of journalistic integrity, I would be treated this way as I leave. But I do so with my head held high, knowing that I gave my heart and soul to working with the finest journalists in the world.”

As JVW told quipped to me: Sounds like she doesn’t plan to take this lying down, which is ironic since it would seem that she attained this position precisely through her willingness to lie down. What disgraceful people; what a disgraceful network.

Eighth news item

Bad news for BLM:

The beleaguered Black Lives Matter Global Network Foundation has been kicked off Amazon’s charity platform for its failure to disclose where tens of millions of dollars in donations it received nearly two years ago have ended up.

AmazonSmile, which gives a portion of eligible purchases on the online shopping site to charities, said it “had to temporarily suspend” the group today, an Amazon spokesperson told The Post.

“States have rules for nonprofits, and organizations participating in AmazonSmile need to meet those rules,” the spokesperson said. “Unfortunately this organization fell out of compliance with the rules in several states, so we’ve had to temporarily suspend them from the program until they come into compliance.”

Ninth news item

Paging President Biden:

I will witness the Games through my unique perspective as an Uyghur-American, but also as the daughter of Dr. Gulshan Abbas, a Uyghur retired doctor and peaceful public servant who spent decades caring for the members of her community until she suddenly disappeared from her home in Urumqi in 2018.

Since the day she vanished, my mother has been detained by the Chinese government in one of what it calls its “re-education camps.” But the world has come to recognize them as 21st century concentration camps.

We have not heard my mother’s voice since 2018, and despite my family’s pleas for even a simple update on her situation, we have received little to no information from the Chinese government. We do not even have proof that she is still alive. It is only hope and my fervent wishes that she will one day meet her three-year-old granddaughter that keeps me moving forward with the fight to see her freed.

My mother is not in prison because she is a criminal. She is in prison for one simple fact: The Chinese Communist Party can’t see past her ethnicity. She is in prison for the crime of being Uyghur.

The Chinese government may dismiss the accusation that it is carrying out genocide against my people and disregard international calls to close the camps and free all those detained Uyghurs and other ethnic minorities. But when we know the names and stories of unjustly imprisoned individuals, the perpetrators should at the very least face intense pressure from the U.S. to release those individuals, especially the family members of the American citizens.

It’s a relatively small act for the leader of the free world to say the name Gulshan Abbas. It could change the course of my mother’s life.

Tenth news item

COVID-19 cautionary tale for US:

At the beginning of February, Denmark became the first major country to lift the last of its COVID-19 restrictions and effectively declare its part in the pandemic over.

Around the world, and especially in the United States, Denmark’s “liberation” from indoor mask mandates, vaccine passports and nightclub closures was heralded as a watershed moment — the shape of things to come. Democratic governors across the U.S. started rescinding their own mask rules a few days later.

“This marks the transition to a new era for all of us, because Denmark will once again be an open society, completely open,” said Prime Minister Mette Frederiksen. “We dare to believe that we are now through the critical phase.”

Since then, however, Denmark has continued to record more COVID-19 cases per capita than nearly anywhere else in the world, and both COVID hospitalizations and deaths have shot up by about a third.

“Not looking good in Denmark,” Dr. Eric Topol, founder and director of the Scripps Translational Institute, tweeted Sunday, sharing several charts that terminated in near-vertical upward lines. “Deaths are now 67% of peak, with a steep ascent.”

MISCELLANEOUS

No comment but definitely a smirk at these GOP candidates:

One more:

Texas GOP candidate Bianca Gracia pledged to be a “mini Marjorie Taylor Greene’ if elected to office.

Gracia, who currently serves as the president of the organization Latinos for Trump, made the comparison to the controversial Republican Georgia representative during an appearance on The McFiles podcast on Wednesday. She praised Greene as “the only one right now that’s really fighting back.”

“They don’t like her. So I might be a little mini Marjorie Taylor Greene,” she said. “I don’t know. They’re going to call me BRG.”

Have a great weekend!

–Dana

1/6/2022

NYT Columnist’s Incredibly Shortsighted Decision

Filed under: General — JVW @ 7:06 pm



[guest post by JVW]

We’ve been kind of hard on New York Times columnist Nicholas Kristof over the years, calling him out for his namby-pambysm and his gullibility in service of the progressive narrative, among other sins. At times, however, we have shown him at least some modicum of love when he’s been willing to deviate away from his newspaper’s incessant editorial direction and to challenge the wisdom of some deeply-held leftist beliefs. All in all, I think that Nick Kristof is less of an outright blowhard than his colleague Thomas Friedman, less of a spittle-flecked partisan than his colleague Paul Krugman, less of a smug and sanctimonious scold than his colleague Charles Blow, yet, alas, a little bit (though thankfully just a little) of all three.

But one thing that I did want to salute Mr. Kristof for is his recent decision to follow Teddy Roosevelt’s exhortation not to be the critic but instead be the man in the arena, by announcing his candidacy for governor of his native state of Oregon. At long last, one of the elite opinion makers from big media would descend from his lofty perch at the Indispensable Newspaper in the Greatest City on Planet Earth and deign to lead the citizenry in a far-flung state, albeit one that is achingly progressive. To set aside the snark for a moment, Mr. Kristof, who grew up on his family’s farm, has pledged that a main focus of his would be to bridge the ideological chasm between rural, conservative Eastern Oregon and the western part of the Beaver State which is dominated by the Portland-Salem-Corvallis-Eugene stretch of Interstate 5. Given that the Kristof family farm is located in suburban Portland, it’s not a stretch to imagine the candidate envisions cajoling the rubes in Pendleton and Baker City to adopt big government and woke agenda items, in return for the city sophisticates not making fun of them and maybe agreeing not to kill the timber and mining industries through environmental legislation right away.

Unfortunately for the campaign, Mr. Kristof and his political team appear to have made a big miscalculation:

Shemia Fagan, Oregon’s secretary of state, notified longtime New York Times writer Nicholas Kristof Thursday morning that he was ineligible to become Oregon’s next governor.

Fagan’s office issued a press release after informing Kristof of her decision to reject his filing, citing the fact that “Article V, § 2 of the  Oregon Constitution  requires a candidate for governor to have been a  ‘resident within this state’ for three years before the election. ”

“The rules are the rules and they apply equally to all candidates for office in Oregon,” said Fagan.

Whoopsie. You would think that a guy who was chock-full of policy advice for Presidents, Premiers, Prime Ministers, Popes, Puppets, Paupers, Pirate, Poets, Pawns and Kings (sorry — really got carried away there for a moment) might have ensured that he was indeed eligible to run in the election before resigning from his enviable gig, but I guess the smartest people in the room are forever assuming that they can outmaneuver the local yokels in something as basic as state constitutional law. Mr. Kristof argues that because he has owned property in Oregon for several years and because he visits his place now and again, why, that ought to satisfy any of your provincial old residency requirements. His campaign may yet win out in court, and even if they lose it’s pretty likely that Times Square will accept him back in their good graces, so let’s not worry for a moment that Mr. Kristof will end up in the bread lines any time soon. But if the Kristof Team can’t handle the most basic of rudimentary campaign tasks, what would make anybody think he has what it takes to be chief executive of the state?

– JVW

6/4/2021

Weekend Open Thread

Filed under: General — Dana @ 8:46 pm



[guest post by Dana]

Friday, and I’m breathing a sigh of relief. Here are a few news items to talk about. Please feel free to share anything that you think might interest readers, and make sure to give a link.

First news item

What?? On the anniversary of the Tianamen Square massacre:

On the anniversary of the Tiananmen Square massacre, Microsoft blocked users of its search engine from seeing the photograph of “tank man,” the infamous protester pictured standing alone before a line of government tanks during the 1989 military crackdown. Searching for images of “tank man” on Bing temporarily returned only the message: “There are no results for tank man.” By contrast, Google brings up dozens of sites with the well-known image. After researchers and journalists in the U.S. and United Kingdom noted the difference, Microsoft said in a statement, “This is due to an accidental human error and we are actively working to resolve this.”

Here is “tank man” in 1989:

More on the 30th anniversay of Tiananmen:

Hong Kong freedom fighter pays a steep price:

Pro-democracy activist Chow Hang Tung has been arrested by Hong Kong police on the 32nd anniversary of the 1989 Tiananmen Square crackdown.

Ms Chow is vice chairwoman of the Hong Kong Alliance which organises annual vigils for victims of Beijing’s deadly crackdown on democracy protesters.

She has been arrested for promoting unauthorised assembly.

It comes as Hong Kong has banned the vigil for the second year running, citing coronavirus restrictions.

Police have closed off Victoria Park, where citizens usually gather each year to mark the anniversary. Thousands of officers have been placed on standby to stop any attempt to hold the event.

Hong Kong and Macau are the only places in Chinese territory where people can commemorate the deadly 1989 crackdown on pro-democracy protesters.

Ms Chow was arrested early in the morning outside her office by officers in plain clothes, according to reports.

She was placed in a black saloon car and driven away, the AFP news agency said.

Speaking to the BBC ahead of her arrest, Ms Chow, who is also a lawyer and a human rights activist, said she was prepared for the inevitable.

“I am prepared to be arrested. This is how Hong Kong is now. If you fight for democracy under an authoritarian regime, being arrested is unavoidable. Let it come. I am willing to pay the price for fighting for democracy,” she said.

Second news item

Facebook says “not so fast” to Trump:

Facebook on Friday announced that it may allow former President Donald Trump’s Facebook and Instagram accounts to be reinstated in January 2023.

At that time, the social media company will reevaluate whether the risk to public safety of allowing Trump back onto its services has receded.

“We will evaluate external factors, including instances of violence, restrictions on peaceful assembly and other markers of civil unrest,” the company said in a blog post. “If we determine that there is still a serious risk to public safety, we will extend the restriction for a set period of time and continue to re-evaluate until that risk has receded.”

Trump, of course, didn’t take the news well:

“Facebook’s ruling is an insult to the record-setting 75M people, plus many others, who voted for us in the 2020 Rigged Presidential Election. They shouldn’t be allowed to get away with this censoring and silencing, and ultimately, we will win.”

Good thing he’s not the president. He might try to use the power of government to shut down Facebook…

Third news item

Warnings given:

The sheriff’s department in Orange county, California, advised its officers earlier this year not to affiliate with far-right extremist groups and warned them against engaging with white supremacist websites, according to internal documents reviewed by the Guardian.

The Orange county sheriff’s department’s “extremism awareness” training document from February instructed officers not to share disinformation and to avoid associating with militias, QAnon, rightwing platforms like Gab and 4chan, as well as second-amendment groups or law enforcement “clubs” that could be “avenues for exploitation”.

The 66-page PowerPoint presentation for staff also included a lengthy section on “the extreme left”, warning officers about “Karl Marx’s influence”; the history of the Black Panther party; anti-fascist groups’ vandalism and “improvised weapons”; and animal rights and anti-war protesters.

The training is notable, experts said, because it suggests that sheriff’s officials were acknowledging that their own officers could be drawn to far-right groups and were concerned about the risks of them posting racist or extremist content.

Experts said it was unusual to see this kind of training from local police. But they also criticized the training for falsely presenting the far right and the “extreme left” as equivalent threats, when data shows that white supremacists perpetuated the large majority of recent domestic terror attacks.

Fourth news item

Putin’s special brand of um, reasoning:

Putin on the storming of US Capitol & Belarus: ‘When the protesters went into the Capitol… whether it’s good or bad… probably nothing good but these are not looters or thieves, these people came with political requests. Isn’t that true? It is. But they detained 450 people’

“Look at Belarus – they have a lot of internal problems and we actually want to have a neutral position here… But what’s going on there is being viewed in one light, and what’s happening in the US – in a different light. We need to get rid of double standards.”

Fifth news item

Texas GOP chair retires:

Texas GOP Chair Allen West announced his resignation Friday morning and said he is considering running for another office, potentially one that is statewide.

During a news conference here, West said a statewide run is “one of the things that I have to go to the Lord in prayer.” He said it would be “very disingenuous with so many people that have asked me to consider something” to not explore a run.

“Many men from Georgia, many men from Tennessee, came here to serve the great state of Texas, and so we’re gonna consider it,” said West, who grew up in Georgia. He added that he was announcing his resignation, effective next month, so that there is no conflict of interest as he weighs his next political move.

West, who has been most frequently discussed as a potential challenger to Gov. Greg Abbott, declined to say whether he was eyeing any particular statewide office, though he told a radio host earlier Friday morning that the host was “safe” to assume West was mulling a gubernatorial run. At the news conference, West also did not say when he would announce a decision on his next step, telling a reporter with characteristic combativeness that his “timeline is in my head and not in yours yet.”

Sixth news item

Don’t tell me you won’t grab a flashlight and check out your pupils in the bathroom mirror:

Our pupils respond to more than just the light. They indicate arousal, interest or mental exhaustion. Pupil dilation is even used by the FBI to detect deception. Now work conducted in our laboratory at the Georgia Institute of Technology suggests that baseline pupil size is closely related to individual differences in intelligence. The larger the pupils, the higher the intelligence, as measured by tests of reasoning, attention and memory. In fact, across three studies, we found that the difference in baseline pupil size between people who scored the highest on the cognitive tests and those who scored the lowest was large enough to be detected by the unaided eye.

We found that a larger baseline pupil size was correlated with greater fluid intelligence, attention control and, to a lesser degree, working memory capacity—indicating a fascinating relationship between the brain and eye. Interestingly, pupil size was negatively correlated with age: older participants tended to have smaller, more constricted, pupils. Once standardized for age, however, the relationship between pupil size and cognitive ability remained.

Seventh news item

What a shame that something with a seemingly good original intention was misused in this way:

The NFL on Wednesday pledged to halt the use of “race-norming” — which assumed Black players started out with lower cognitive function — in the $1 billion settlement of brain injury claims and review past scores for any potential race bias.

The practice made it harder for Black retirees to show a deficit and qualify for an award. The standards were created in the 1990s in hopes of offering more appropriate treatment to dementia patients, but critics faulted the way they were used to determine payouts in the NFL concussion case.

Eighth news item

Oh, California, you crazy state:

Workers in California will have to keep their masks on unless every employee in the room is fully vaccinated against the coronavirus.

That’s the mandate under revised rules approved Thursday night by a sharply divided California Occupational Safety and Health Standards Board. The guidelines are expected to go into effect by June 15 — the same day that the state more broadly loosens masking and other requirements in social settings in keeping with recent federal health recommendations.

In the run-up to the board’s vote, business groups had harshly criticized the new rules. Board members made it clear the regulations are temporary while they consider further easing pandemic rules in coming weeks or months.

Opponents of the mask requirement for workplaces had already suggested that Gov. Gavin Newsom could use his executive powers to override its decision amid criticism that the revised regulations contrast with his promise to lift most pandemic restrictions on June 15.

Newsom spokeswoman Erin Mellon didn’t mention that option in a brief statement after the vote. She said the panel is independent but that the governor is “hopeful the board will further revise its guidance to reflect the latest science while continuing to protect workers and balancing realistic and enforceable requirements for employers.”

Meanwhile, the smoothest showman of all got busy:

Gov. Gavin Newsom stood on a set designed to look like a game show on Friday and drew winners of the first cash prizes in California’s COVID-19 vaccine lottery, part of an effort to boost immunizations that also gives the governor a chance to give away $116.5 million to potential voters before the recall election.

“Over the course of the last few weeks, as we saw that decline in those first doses, we realized we need to do a little bit more than just our traditional outreach efforts,” Newsom said, acknowledging that some may question the use of cash giveaways to incentivize what he described as doing the right thing. “But we are where we are, and incentives have long worked, and incentives are indeed what we are advancing here today.”

Positioned before crimson and gold curtains on a carefully crafted stage, Newsom plucked numbers from a lottery ball machine in the latest in a series of feel-good announcements from a governor in the middle of a battle to save his political career as he faces a recall election.

His political opponents called Friday’s production another example of the governor using taxpayer dollars in attempt to win over voters. Others viewed the display as smart political strategy from an incumbent looking to distance himself from the recall and deliver an upbeat message to Californians.

Ninth news item

But we were told it was just a group of tourists at the Capitol that day:

A US Capitol Police officer knocked unconscious on January 6 has condemned Capitol rioters for injuring police and robbing her of the ability to do her job.

“When will I be free … of my brain injury? When will I be free and full again?” the officer said in a written statement read by prosecutors at a federal court hearing Friday.

The unnamed police officer’s statement adds to a growing chorus of law enforcement victims and their families calling for recognition of the severity of the attack by Trump supporters.

“On January 6, you and a group of others purposefully set out to break our police line,” the officer said in the statement. “When you do that, when you set out with purpose in mind to hurt someone, it’s not only an assault but a theft.”

She added: “You stole months of me working alongside this country’s most dedicated police officers. … You’ve stolen my ability to be present.”

Miscellaneous

Jake Tapper’s The Devil May Dance is a fun, Rat Pack-meets-the-mob-meets-the-Kennedys caper involving the underbelly of Hollywood, politicians, and everyone in between. The delightful Charlie and Margaret Marder find themselves once again in the middle of unexpected intrigue and danger as they fervently work to solve, well, the mystery. Good fun. Hope to see another in the series. This is summer reading.

News of the World is a fine film with a fine performance by the ever-reliable Tom Hanks. In the post-Civil War, a world-weary itinerant “reader of the news” finds himself putting in the miles to return a young white girl raised by the Indians back to her family. Things don’t go as planned, they face harsh conditions, violent threats, and attacks, but love still wins the day if not in an unexpected way.

Have a good weekend.

–Dana

1/11/2018

Trump’s Tweet Reversal on FISA, and What It Says About His Presidency (With Bonus North Korea Discussion)

Filed under: General — Patterico @ 9:30 am



President Donald J. Trump woke up this morning and issued a tweet about FISA that seemed to contradict his administration’s position on an upcoming FISA vote:

What’s going on? Today the House votes on reauthorizing “Section 702 of the FISA Amendments Act, that permits the government to collect without a warrant from American firms, like Google and AT&T, the emails and other communications of foreigners abroad — even when they are talking to Americans.” Section 702 will certainly be reauthorized, but libertarian-minded lawmakers like Justin Amash are trying to impose a warrant requirement for such searches. The White House has consistently opposed any such amendment, with Sarah Sanders saying as recently as last night that the amendment would “would re-establish the walls between intelligence and law enforcement that our country knocked down following the attacks of 9/11.” Sanders said, in no uncertain terms: “The Administration urges the House to reject this amendment.”

And then Trump stepped into the breach with his tweet, emboldening the supporters of the amendment and undermining the clarity of his administration’s position.

Apparently somebody spoke to him, because one hour and 41 minutes later, Trump tweeted this:

That is a big Emily Litella-style climbdown. And it was obviously motivated by the intervention of someone who, unlike Trump, understood his administration’s position.

If the notion of Trump farting out an off-message policy statement and having to be walked back sounds familiar, cast your memory back to two days ago, when Trump seemed to tell Sen. Dianne Feinstein that he was for a “clean” DACA bill — a statement that Kevin McCarthy had to help Trump walk back. Trump is like a kid who might suddenly dart into traffic at any moment. You have to hold that tiny little hand tight, to keep him safe.

You don’t need Michael Wolff to tell you that Trump is a woefully uninformed man-child who stumbles around saying random things. This aspect of Trump’s character is on public display, day after day.

So what does this say about the nature of Trump’s presidency? Until we get to foreign policy, not much. It appears that, for the most part, the people around him manage to get the right thing done most of the time, despite Trump. And he obviously listens, at least sometimes. Although the FISA tweet and Feinstein DACA examples show that Trump has no grasp of what his position is supposed to be, they also show that when the correct position is explained to him (which we know happened with Feinstein and which I assume happened with FISA today), he is willing to back down from his incorrect pronouncements. True, an informed president could do more with the bully pulpit to push legislation like ObamaCare repeal. But he mostly does OK on the domestic front.

Ah, but then there’s foreign policy. There, Trump both interacts directly with other world leaders, and also makes public pronouncements on his own (“fire and fury,” anyone?). I think a lot of people assume that, hey, everything will be OK because we have folks like Mattis or McMaster around to rein Trump in. But if you believe the story in Wolff’s book (and here’s an example of a story I believe), Trump has contempt for McMaster, whom he finds “boring” because of his penchant for PowerPoints that make Trump feel like he is being lectured to by a professor. In any event, let’s assume for the sake of argument that Mattis & Co. support comments like “fire and fury” as exemplifying Nixon’s crazy man strategy. It’s still concerning that a guy whose ad libs are often this uninformed and off-message is the Voice of America.

I’m sure my concerns about all this will be met with arguments that South Korea is crediting Trump with bringing North Korea to the table for talks. Settle down, Sparky. The situation is hardly resolved yet. That’s not Trump’s fault, of course; presidents since Clinton have devoted a lot of energy to addressing North Korea, and every effort has ended in failure. It’s a problem that has no easy solution. But when I look at Trump’s aggressive pronouncements about nuclear war, a rhetorical question keeps coming to mind: when did mindless and prideful escalation ever lead to unnecessary violence?

I realize it seems we have detoured far from our original discussion about FISA, section 702, and Trump’s contradictory tweets. But in the headline I promised an analysis about the larger meaning for Trump’s presidency of having a man in the Oval Office with a grade-school-level grasp of policy details. And foreign policy in general — and North Korea in particular — are a YUUUUUGE part of that discussion.

Exit suggestion: if you’ve never seen Nick Kristof’s video from November about North Korea’s preparation for war, set aside some time to watch it. Kristof visited North Korea and interviewed government officials and people on the street — and at the end there is an interesting reveal about the way in which the officials guided the expression of opinions from the “normal citizens.” I disagree with Kristof about a lot of things — just yesterday, I was dismissing Kristof’s worry about Trump’s authoritarianism, noting that while Trump certainly talks like an authoritarian, he doesn’t really act like one. But it’s hard to watch a video like this and not be acutely aware that North Korea at least wants to send the message that it considers war with America virtually inevitable. As we cheer the slight reduction in regulations under Donald Trump, let’s give a little thought to the at least equally important issue of whether we are about to go to nuclear war with a country led by a madman.

[Cross-posted at RedState and The Jury Talks Back.]

12/30/2017

Daughter of Communist Refugees Wonders Why Ivy League Communism Is Now Hip and Chic

Filed under: General — JVW @ 7:32 pm



[guest post by JVW]

Credit where it’s due: I came across this thanks to a tweet from the often insufferable Nicholas Kristof of the New York Times. This remarkable piece ran in The Harvard Crimson last month and was written by a sophomore majoring in applied mathematics (note: not some grievance-mongering studies discipline).

In 1988, my twenty-six-year-old father jumped off a train in the middle of Hungary with nothing but the clothes on his back. For the next two years, he fled an oppressive Romanian Communist regime that would kill him if they ever laid hands on him again.

My father ran from a government that beat, tortured, and brainwashed its citizens. His childhood friend disappeared after scrawling an insult about the dictator on the school bathroom wall. His neighbors starved to death from food rations designed to combat “obesity.” As the population dwindled, women were sent to the hospital every month to make sure they were getting pregnant.

My father’s escape journey eventually led him to the United States. He moved to the Midwest and married a Romanian woman who had left for America the minute the regime collapsed. Today, my parents are doctors in quiet, suburban Kansas. Both of their daughters go to Harvard. They are the lucky ones.

Those of us of a certain age are likely to forget that today’s college student, likely born sometime between 1995 and 2000, has no direct experience with large-scale communism of the sort practiced in the Soviet Union and Eastern Bloc countries in the latter half of the past century. Their view of communism is skewed by countries like China and Vietnam who have blended some capitalist practices with authoritarian central government to create a system where the government picks and chooses who gets rich and how much they can keep (ironically enough, this is the same system that seems to hold a great deal of appeal to the Barack Obamas and Hillary Clintons of the world). Or else they view communism through the prism of Cuba, a small and poor island nation with catchy rhumba and mambo music and cool classic cars prowling the streets. But the author, Laura Nicolae, is here to set her schoolmates straight:

Roughly 100 million people died at the hands of the ideology my parents escaped. They cannot tell their story. We owe it to them to recognize that this ideology is not a fad, and their deaths are not a joke.

[. . .]

Walk around campus, and you’re likely to spot Ché Guevara on a few shirts and button pins. A sophomore jokes that he’s declared a secondary in “communist ideology and implementation.” The new Leftist Club on campus seeks “a modern perspective” on Marx and Lenin to “alleviate the stigma around the concept of Leftism.” An author laments in these pages that it’s too difficult to meet communists here. For many students, casually endorsing communism is a cool, edgy way to gripe about the world.

After spending four years on a campus saturated with Marxist memes and jokes about communist revolutions, my classmates will graduate with the impression that communism represents a light-hearted critique of the status quo, rather than an empirically violent philosophy that destroyed millions of lives.

I was in college in the very waning days of Soviet communism (the Berlin Wall came down the summer after my freshman year). Back then the campus radicals were circumspect enough not to climb aboard the broken-down Marxist-Leninist bandwagon (well, except for Van Jones who is a whole separate category of nutjob), and most of them gravitated more towards anarchism, which after all, they liked to say, was what Trotsky understood was the real future all along. But today’s college kids, not even old enough to recall very clearly the first stirrings of Islamofascism, now find old Uncle Joe Stalin to be a benign figure, just as clueless fellow travelers did a century earlier. The estimable Ms. Nicolae is having none of it:

Many in my generation have blurred the reality of communism with the illusion of utopia. I never had that luxury. Growing up, my understanding of communism was personalized; I could see its lasting impact in the faces of my family members telling stories of their past. My perspective toward the ideology is radically different because I know the people who survived it; my relatives continue to wonder about their friends who did not.

The stories of survivors paint a more vivid picture of communism than the textbooks my classmates have read. While we may never fully understand all of the atrocities that occurred under communist regimes, we can desperately try to ensure the world never repeats their mistakes. To that end, we must tell the accounts of survivors and fight the trivialization of communism’s bloody past.

There’s more, so do read the whole thing, but it does my grumpy and worried heart a world of good to know that Harvard has at least some sensible students like Laura Nicolae to counter the baneful effects of the Bernie Sanders-worshipping modern campus Marxist.

– JVW

12/8/2016

Fake News Complaints by Big Media Are Fake

Filed under: General — Patterico @ 9:00 am



Your must-read for the day, if you have not read it already, is a piece by Nathan J. Robinson in Current Affairs titled The Necessity of Credibility. It thoroughly exposes many examples of “fake news” by Big Media — including their claims that conservatives are routinely engaged in spreading “fake news.”

The piece opens with a discussion of a topic that irritated me quite a bit recently: the pack of bleating media sheep who claimed that Trump was blatantly lying when he said that millions of people voted illegally. (The claim has not been proved, but is far from outlandish.) As Robinson explains, the Washington Post “fact-checkers” pounced, with Glenn Kessler calling Trump’s claim “bogus” and decrying Trump’s “wild allegations.”

But when people wondered where Trump got the idea that a significant percentage of people had voted illegally, the Trump transition team cited . . . a piece from the Washington Post. Whoops!

Then it got even more farcical. Now the “fact-checkers” gave four Pinocchios to the Trump camps’s claim that the piece had been in the Washington Post. How could that be, when it actually had been in the Washington Post? Because, the fact-checkers claimed, it had been in a blog hosted by the Washington Post. Never mind that the URL begins: “www.washingtonpost.com.” Never mind that, as Robinson points out, the blog’s name appears “in tiny letters beneath the ordinary full-sized Washington Post logo.”

Who are you going to believe, the fact-checkers or your lying eyes?

The Washington Post itself was the source for the Trump claim that the Washington Post claimed was bogus and alarming. Fake! And then the Washington Post tried to deny they were the source, when they had been!

Fake fake fakety fake!

The voter fraud story is indicative of a much wider problem with U.S. political media: its attempts to point out Trump’s falsehoods are consistently undermined by the media’s own lack of credibility on matters of fact. Especially with the rise of “fact-checking” websites, whose analysis is frequently shoddy and dubious, the political media contribute to the exact kind of “post-truth” atmosphere that journalists criticize Trump for furthering.

An interesting and illuminating example of this can be found in the controversy over so-called “fake news.” A few weeks after the election, a series of critics lamented the role of “fake” stories during the election cycle. A study by BuzzFeed reported that “the top-performing fake election news stories on Facebook generated more engagement than the top stories from major news outlets.” A number of commentators saw this as a bad sign for the future democratic governance. Andrew Smith of The Guardian suggested that the proliferation of false stories on social media was eroding the very foundations of reality. In the New York Times, Nicholas Kristof solemnly concluded that “fake news is gaining ground, empowering nuts and undermining our democracy.”

But, as Robinson notes, many of the examples of “fake news” offered up by Big Media are themselves fake.

Particularly pernicious is the rise of “fact-checking” websites, which are ostensibly dedicated to promoting objective truth over eye-of-the-beholder lies, but which often simply serve as mouthpieces for centrist orthodoxies, thereby further delegitimizing the entire notion of “fact” itself. As Current Affairs has previously argued at length, websites like PolitiFact frequently disguise opinion and/or bullshit as neutral, data-based inquiry.

This happens in a couple of ways. First, such websites frequently produce meaningless statistics, such as trying to measure the percentage of a candidate’s statements that are false. PolitiFact constantly spreads its statistics about how X percent of Trump or Clinton’s statements are rated false, declining to mention the fact that this statistic is empty of any content, since the statements that are evaluated haven’t been randomly selected. The centrist biases of fact-checkers also affect their decisionmaking. Fact-checkers have, for example, insisted that it was wrong to say Hillary Clinton wanted to get rid of the 2nd Amendment. But this isn’t a “factual” dispute at all. It depends on one’s interpretation of the 2nd Amendment’s essential meaning, something that varies based on one’s personal political values.

Robinson gives several specific examples of instances in which fact-checkers called something “false” that was literally true because of a political argument about the interpretation of the true fact. This is something I have railed about many times before. As one example among many, take Carly Fiorina’s claim that she went from secretary to CEO: admitted by the fact-checkers to be true, but deemed false by the fact-checkers because of its implications. There are an appalling number of similar “fact-checks” by these propagandists masquerading as neutral arbiters of truth.

The piece is long and chock-full of interesting anecdotes, facts, and quotes. It’s worth your time and gets the coveted read the whole thing recommendation. I’ll end the post with this quote:

Those who say Donald Trump dwells in a “post-truth” realm are not wrong. He lies a hell of a lot, and misrepresents a hell of a lot more. But in order for the “post-truth” charge to be taken seriously, one must be careful and reliable in calling out “lies.”

Amen.

[Cross-posted at RedState.]

5/5/2014

‘Bring Back Our Girls’

Filed under: General — Dana @ 6:14 am



[guest post by Dana]

Untitled-1
#BringBackOurGirls

There is evil in this world and when it makes its insidious appearance, one offers quiet humble prayers of hope for those in need. It seems small and simple and in the big picture, likely is. But this is how it is. This is what we do, those of us who know and recognize the gift of peace we dwell in each and every day. Ours is indeed a privilege.

In mid-April, 276 school girls were abducted from the Government Girls Secondary School in Chibok, Nigeria, as they slept in their dormitories. Their attackers lit the school on fire, herded the girls onto waiting trucks, and disappeared into the darkness of night.

The kidnapped girls ranged in age from 15 and 18 years old and haven’t been heard from since April 14. However, of the 276 kidnapped, 53 were able to escape.

Their kidnappers are an extremist Muslim group called Boko Haram, whose name in the Hausa language means “Western education is a sin.”

The NYT has more,

These girls, ages 15 to 18 and Christians and Muslims alike, knew the risks of seeking an education, and schools in the area had closed in March for fear of terror attacks. But this school had reopened so that the girls — the stars of their families and villages — could take their final exams. They were expected to move on to become teachers, doctors, lawyers.

Instead, they reportedly are being auctioned off for $12 each to become “wives” of militants.

“We are now asking for world power countries to intervene,” the desperate father of a missing 18-year-old girl, Ayesha, told me by phone. He said that the parents had given up on Nigerian government officials — “they are just saying lies” — and pleaded for international pressure on Nigeria to rescue the girls.

Clearly, as each week passes without a word from the girls, the chances of finding them, and finding them unharmed, decreases.

The fate of the rest remains a mystery. Each passing day makes it more likely that the girls have been raped, and possibly killed, in captivity. Given Boko Haram’s name, which means “Western education forbidden,” and their agenda to wipe out secular society in mostly Muslim Northern Nigeria, it’s hardly a surprise that the group locks students inside schools and sets them on fire. This, to date, is their largest mass abduction. The girls were taken into the jungle to serve as sex slaves. Yet the abduction of these girls is about much more than finding “cooks and wives.” For Boko Haram, it is about dismantling the fragile existing society by attacking its essential institutions: schools.

This video was made by Louis King, a young Nigerian Director. His hope is to bring world attention to the ongoing situation. The voice you hear is the father of one of the kidnapped girls.

It must be said: When one compares the “Ban Bossy” campaign with the “Bring Back Our Girls” campaign, well, there really isn’t any comparison that can be made. In fact, one seems all the more ridiculous and pathetically self-indulgent.

–Dana

UPDATE: Fox News has updated the situation after viewing a video from Abubakar Shekau, leader of Boko Haran.

[T]he students “will remain slaves with us.” That appears a reference to the ancient jihadi custom of enslaving women captured in a holy war, who then can be used as sex slaves.

“They are slaves and I will sell them because I have the market to sell them,” he said, speaking in the Hausa language of northern Nigeria.

Shekau brushed off warnings that the abductions could be an international crime, saying in English, as if to reach his accusers in the international community: “What do you know about human rights? You’re just claiming human rights (abuses), but you don’t know what it is.”

An intermediary who has said Boko Haram is ready to negotiate ransoms for the girls also said two of the girls have died of snakebite and about 20 are ill. He said Christians among the girls have been forced to convert to Islam.

First lady Patience Jonathan fueled frustration Monday when a leader of a protest march said she ordered the arrests of two protest leaders, expressed doubts there was any kidnapping and accused the protest leaders of belonging to Boko Haram.

The first lady is also being accused of turning on protesting Nigerian women.

Mrs. Jonathan said the women “had no right to protest,” especially Nyadar, whom she identified as the deputy director of the National Directorate of Employment.

In a report on the meeting, Daily Trust newspaper quoted Mrs. Jonathan as ordering all Nigerian women to stop protesting, and threatening “should anything happen to them during protests, they should blame themselves.”

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