Category Archives: Uncategorized

Color Blindness

I remember the first time Kick directly identified someone’s race. It wasn’t long ago. I’d waved to a neighbor through the window while we were having breakfast and she asked who I was waving at.

“Mr. M-, honey. He’s out in his yard.”

She turned, waved to him, and asked, “He’s a black man, right?”

“Right,” I said, trying to within three seconds identify if her intonation implied she thought this was a negative, something to be afraid of, something to mock, that would need to be corrected. It sounded neutral, a descriptive, the way she’d say the baby next door was a boy or Grandma has brown hair.

She’s been around families of any number of races and ethnic backgrounds since she was born, and while she’d noticed differences — that man is tall, that woman has curly hair — she’d never before asked if someone was black or Hispanic or Asian. We’ve read books about Rosa Parks and Ella Fitzgerald and Maya Angelou, about Frida Kahlo, and most recent children’s books include depictions of children of color, though fewer of them as protagonists than they should.

It’s not enough that she has a diverse environment and lives and learns with students of all races, when in our house we’re all so Caucasian as to be nearly transparent. There are still conversations to be had, about why Rosa Parks couldn’t sit at the front of the bus, or why people were mean to Maya Angelou, or what we are protesting next Saturday, or what someone down the street said to someone else.

White parents don’t get to be lazy about marking and honoring the differences between people, not when so many people use those differences to divide. Not when kids notice EVERYTHING, all the time, including how we talk about people of other races when we think they aren’t listening.

That morning, Kick was attacking her toaster waffle with gusto and I’m not sure was paying much attention to my subsequent explanation that Mr. M- has a skin color people call black even though it’s more of a dark brown, and we have a skin color people call white even though it’s more pink. By the time I got to the part about how skin color can be passed down in families sometimes but not always, she was off playing with My Little Ponies and I was basically lecturing to the cats. Race Conscious has good advice but it doesn’t always track with a 4-year-old’s attention span.

What talks do you remember having with your parents about race, and what did they tell you?

A.

Basing Your Party on Misogny Has Consequences

It’s almost like three years of telling your voters that women should be in the kitchen making sammiches instead of running the country is … bad, or something: 

McMorris Rodgers is campaigning like she has a contest and a competitive one at that.

In addition to the strong fundraising numbers, she has held multiple town halls: four alone during the last Congressional recess, for a total of 38 since August 2013, according to her campaign.

The Congressional Leadership Fund, a powerful GOP super PAC supported by Ryan, has opened an office in the district to aide McMorris Rodgers.

The non-partisan Cook Report recently changed the rating of the race from a solid Republican seat to a lean Republican seat. It may sound like a small change but it sent waves through the political community given the district’s previous deep red ranking.

“They’re either very prepared or very scared or both,” Ridout said of McMorris Rodgers’ campaign.

Aww, poor baby.

A.

Sunday Morning Video: Harry Anderson’s Hello Sucker

Here’s the late Harry Anderson in a 1986 Showtime special:

Tenure: Thanks for fucking it up for everybody else

I’ve written before here about the fundamental misunderstanding most people have about tenure, including why it matters, how it works and what it’s supposed to provide. The simplest explanation is that tenure guarantees educators and scholars at institutions of higher education the right to fearlessly challenge convention within a field, seek scholarship in areas that might not jibe with social norms and conduct research in ways their expertise dictates is necessary and valuable.

It’s not meant to protect you when you act like a dick.

Unfortunately, the public seems to think that tenure does this, which is why they’re constantly looking for ways to eliminate it. The term “life time employment” is bandied about whenever tenure is discussed, as is the idea of ivory towers, elitism and generally haughty assholes.

And, again, when people like Randa Jarrar and John McAdams are in the news, it’s easy to see why the public thinks this way.

Jarrar, a creative-writing professor at Fresno State, took to Twitter in the wake of Barbara Bush’s death to call her “racist” and accuse her of having raised “a war criminal.” (I’m assuming she meant Millie, but I could be wrong.)

barbara

She then followed up with this gem:

In another tweet, the professor wrote: “I’m happy the witch is dead. can’t wait for the rest of her family to fall to their demise the way 1.5 million iraqis have. byyyeeeeeee.”

Of course, everything is subtle and nuanced on Twitter, so she completely solved the problem of a grieving nation in less than 280 characters…

Or, a large group of angry Twitter users started spreading this dung pile like Nutella all over the place, allowing CAPS LOCK NATION to come flailing at this educator.

And of course, because Twitter is a place of reason, logic and decency, Jarrar said she understood their point, she did not wish to continue the argument and she quietly let the issue die…

OR, she decided to fuck with each and every one of them over and over again, including posting what was supposedly her private phone number, but actually turned out to be a suicide prevention hotline in Arizona. This led to CAPS LOCK NATION flooding the center with threatening calls and preventing actual work from getting done, so that was helpful…

Still, of all the stupid shit that came out of this, the one that really had me considering a CAPS LOCK NATION MEMBERSHIP CARD was her mention that she had tenure and then this:

“I will never be fired.”

Fresno State says it’s “looking into the matter” which means that six people are now in a room going, “So… that happened…” Still, it’s better than what Marquette University is dealing with this week, thanks to an angry tenured professor on the other end of the political spectrum.

John McAdams is the poli sci prof and “everybody’s asshole grandpa in every bad comedy film” who used his blog as a cudgel against colleagues and foes alike. The university had a stack of paper on this guy dating back to the Clinton administration, all of which basically demonstrating he’s the exact reason people think tenure is a “Designated Asshole Pass.”

The U apparently found the straw that broke the camel’s back in McAdams’ post about a grad student teaching a class, in which a conservative student voiced an opinion the instructor found to be homophobic. McAdams posted about her by name and apparently encouraged people to “let your voice be heard,” which is a great code phrase for “break out the caps lock and call her a whore.” He apparently also was hostile to her, to the point where she dropped out of her program and finished elsewhere.

MU suspended McAdams and he’s now at the state’s Supreme Court, suing to get his job back. His argument is that tenure protects him and that his “free speech” on the blog should not allow for retaliation. (Point of order: Marquette is a private school, so this gets even weirder, as the court is clearly figuring out…)

So, to recap, two people who have diametrically opposing belief systems and who teach in two fields that just scream to John Q. Public “If my kid majors in this, he’s never getting a fucking job,” are espousing their rights to be assholes. They also are arguing their dickish behavior is protected by tenure so, “neener, neener, neeeeennnerrr…”

And academics wonder why people hate us…

Tenure is supposed to be a shield against the encroachment of external forces as we use our expertise to find out greater truths and research complex problems that may go against the societal grain. Running your mouth on social media and then hiding behind your “big friend” isn’t what anyone had in mind for this thing. Even more, all it does is really fuck over the rest of us who are actually doing those things and understand there is a concept called objective reality, something you bypassed long ago.

We’re like the people who are in a fraternity who have good GPAs, do good philanthropy work and then have to explain, “No, we’re not those idiots from Syracuse.” No matter what we say, people are still giving us the stink eye.

So, on behalf of the actual working scholars, academics and people who teach without managing to say shit like “y’know what’s wrong with the Coloreds these days,” I’d like to thank professors Jarrar and McAdams and others who think tenure is a lifetime “get out of fuckups free card,” thank you for fucking this up for the rest of us.

 

There Are So Many Stories We Don’t Know

It’s not too late to tell them: 

In her will, Lewis identified herself as a “Spinster and Sculptor.” She asked for a dark walnut coffin, and that a notice of her death be printed in the Tablet, a British Roman Catholic publication. The resulting announcement — a curt sentence fragment — made no mention of her myriad accomplishments, and did not reach those who sought her across the sea. Until, over a century later, it found Richardson.

Richardson sees her research as part and parcel with the efforts of other black women scholars: after all, she noted, Alice Walker found Zora Neale Hurston’s grave, “out in the long grass.” “So I’ve become a cemetery sleuth,” she told me.

Until recently, the grave was unmarked: a slab of stone flush with the earth, overgrown with moss, one among many in the stone forest of St. Mary’s. Last year, however, the town where Lewis was born chose to reclaim its native daughter.

A.

Every Day’s Just A Little Worse

No. Just no.

This is the point in that stupid story about the boiling water and the frog where the fucking smoke alarm goes off. Just in case you were confused.

It’s time, guys. It’s time to quit. It’s time to refuse to be a part of this anymore.

Forget fighting from the inside to change stuff. Forget whatever else you’ve been telling yourself about the kind of job you want to do versus the public perception of it. It’s time. Quit.

Yes, I realize what I’m saying. Yes, I’m sure you have kids to feed and a mortgage to pay. Yes, I know you got into this business to do the blah blah blah and you can still do that except for these six seconds. Yes, I know, another armchair revolutionary telling somebody else to go be broken and fight the power. I usually hate that shit.

But honest to God, you want to know who you’d have been in the war? You’d have been this: A person so afraid for their job that they’d read propaganda on-air. I can’t believe any of these people got into this business to read propaganda on-air, to read syndicated editorials bashing themselves.

Like forget your pride in any kind of truth-telling. Your boss tells you to go out there and say, “Fuck me, fuck me right in my fucking face the way I deserve to be fucked” and you do it with a smile? I thought I knew how far down this went, the depths of your abnegation, but apparently I was sounding the kiddie pool and you all were in the Mariana Trench.

Do I have far more contempt for the ownership of Sinclair Broadcasting than I do for these reporters? Of course. We should always have more contempt for the sellers of bullshit than for anyone else involved in the bullshit’s life cycle, but at this point if you work at a Sinclair-owned station you can no longer pretend you’re not at least a bullshit PROCESSOR.

We’re in fascist territory now and that means everyone who didn’t fight back is complicit. Even you, the nice traffic reporter in Kansas or whatever, just reading what he had to read to stay employed. This isn’t worth doing local profiles on the Senior of the Month and reporting on which cable company scammed some nice family out of $50. This isn’t worth getting to cover the Paris peace talks, for that matter.

To anybody who hasn’t read this crap yet? Quit. Fuck being employed if this is what it means. Burn some shit down on your way out. Ron Burgundy this shit. Put on your “what will I tell my kids someday” clothes and go to town.

I’m not just mouthing at you; I will personally run a fundraiser on this very blog for anyone who blows their pop stand up with prejudice. There are people who can’t speak up, but if you’re one of the ones who can — and chances are if you’re headlining a newscast with your hair all done, you can — and you don’t? Then you’re a part of it. It’s your face. It’s your name. The minute you speak those words you own it.

Maybe you want to. Fine. But don’t come to us later and say you wish you could have stopped it. We’ll have you on tape.

A.

Not Everything Sucks: Writing Edition

People are good and kind: 

“I just found my happy writing place in a Tires Tires Tires waiting room and decided to tell people about it,” Amy said. “With all the sad stories in the news, the thousands of things that get us down in life, sometimes, you just need to open up Facebook and have a laugh at a weird author appreciating the little things in life.”

A.

Sunday Morning Video: Van Morrison & The Chieftains Live

I can’t seem to let go of Saint Patrick’s Day. Here’s a 1988 set at the Ulster Hall in Belfast.

Tillerson Out

Classy:

Most of the time I can’t get too het up about the ins and outs here, because wow, a burning dumpster is full of garbage that is burning all the time, but THIS MAN THOUGHT HE COULD SIT IN JOHN KERRY’S CHAIR AND I WILL NEVER FORGIVE THAT.

A.

Choose Your Own Adventure

I used to stick my fingers in all the pages, trying to game the system, find the path that would get me home free.

I used to read Choose Your Own Adventure books, too: 

Yet you never quite escape completely. The lasting influence of Choose Your Own Adventure might be how it made us subtly reflect on traditional story-telling. It may be hyperbole to claim that books for kids planted a seed of doubt about our credulity in later life. And yet there is something of the alienation effect to a form of literature that continually suggested other paths, other possibilities. The senses of contingency and simultaneity that Choose Your Own Adventure suggested to attentive readers might have made three and five-act structures with their stock heroes and villains and tidy resolutions that much harder to fall for.

A.

Good night, Jack Hamilton

(Posting a bit early because of a sad bit of news. Hope it’s acceptable. – Doc.)

Of all the baubles and trinkets I’ve collected over the years that adorn my office, one of my favorite ones is a baseball signed by Jack Hamilton, who died earlier today.

Hamilton

The reason I got it was that I taught one of his grandchildren during one of my many stops in journalism education. I still remember her approaching me during our introductory reporting course to ask for special dispensation when it came to her profile.

“I know you said that we can’t do this on family members, but…” she began.

I had heard all sorts of excuses over the years: “I don’t have time to find anyone else,” or “My mom is my hero” or “I don’t know who else I’d do.”

I kind of did that “Justify your existence” thing and said, “Who and why?”

The answer was “My grandfather and he used to pitch in the major leagues.”

I decided it would be OK. After all, I let some kid do a piece on her grandmother because she was Jerry “Beaver Cleaver” Mathers’ mom, so why not a pitcher? Besides, I liked baseball. It was only after she turned in the piece that I realized who this man was.

Jack Hamilton had a relatively pedestrian career record of 32-40 during the heart of the 1960s. He bottomed out with Cleveland and the White Sox in 1969, going 0-5 before retiring. At 6-foot and 200 pounds, he wasn’t a giant, but a solid man who could mix his pitches well. His best season ended up being his most memorable one for all the wrong reasons.

In 1967, he started 2-0 for the New York Mets, who sent him to the Angels for Nick Willhite, who would retire from the game following a 0-1 campaign for New York that season. He was 8-2 and on the way to his only double-digit winning season on Aug. 18 when he threw the pitch that would define his career.

“It was a fastball that just got away.” I remember reading that line in my student’s profile. It stuck with me all these years and it hung with me today. I never heard the man’s voice, but I can hear it over and over in my head.

The one that “got away” smashed into the head of Boston’s Tony Conigliaro, a promising slugger who had already hit 100 home runs faster than any man in the game. The pitch fractured Tony C’s cheekbone, dislocated his jaw and damaged his retina. He sat out all of 1968 and would never really become the player everyone thought he would be.

Hamilton finished the season with an 11-6 record, but he too would never be the same.

“I had trouble pitching inside,” he told his grand-daughter. I didn’t blame him.

I remember reading that profile my student wrote, almost in awe and yet almost in shame. I felt like I was leering in on this man’s most difficult moment. I was thinking, Good God, man… you let this student ask her grandfather about all this? The hell is wrong with you? Still, I had to grade the thing so I kept on reading and I was glad I did.

He left baseball and settled in Branson, Missouri, where opened up several restaurants and raised a family. People liked him for who he was then, not because he was “a former baseball player.” He was just a great guy.

A year or two later, the student was working in the newsroom near Thanksgiving when we started chatting about something or other and she mentioned she was going home for the break.

“Are you seeing your grandpa?” I asked. “If so, tell him I loved reading about him.”

She said she was and that he’d be glad to hear that someone liked reading his story. I laughed a bit and tossed in a line: “Tell him I’d love to have his autograph.”

When she returned from Thanksgiving, she handed me a baseball. She had explained our exchange to her grandfather and my ask, he got this great big smile on his face and asked, “Really?” He then went out and actually bought a baseball so he could sign it for me. (I would have taken a turkey-stained napkin, for Pete’s sake.) His hand writing was a tad jittery, but right across the sweet spot, he inked his autograph for me.

I bought a plastic container to display it and subsequently found a 1968 copy of his baseball card. It was amazing but I could really see the family resemblance between that man on the card and his grand daughter in my class. I found it to be a nice reminder of a wonderful moment.

He also served as a reminder to me about how life can mix things up on you from time to time, but in the end, if you know who you are and you value the right things, everything will turn out OK. When I finished reading the profile on him, I felt I knew him and how he had become comfortable in his own skin.

He was just the kind of person you’d want as a grandpa.

So, good night, Mr. Hamilton. I hope you are at peace knowing you really were an incredible man.

‘a reprieve’

What the fuck is wrong with you? 

But a gun massacre at a Florida high school last Wednesday, which left 17 dead, seemed to shift the media glare away from the Trump scandals and gave embattled aides an opportunity to refocus on handling a rare crisis not of their own making. While the White House mourned the loss of life in Parkland, Fla., some aides privately acknowledged that the tragedy offered a breather from the political storm.

A breather. A breather. A fucking breather. What kind of solipsistic asshole … you know, this is paragraph two of this story and I’m already longing for the better part of a bottle of scotch.

Press staffers cited the tragedy as a reason to cancel on-camera briefings for the remainder of the week, allowing them to avoid questions about the swirling controversies. The White House could hold its next briefing on Tuesday, a full week since press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders last faced reporters.

THANK GOD FOR THOSE DEAD KIDS, THEY GOT US A BREAK FROM THE WIFE-BEATING.

“For everyone, it was a distraction or a reprieve,” said one White House official, speaking anonymously to reflect internal conversations. “A lot of people here felt like it was a reprieve from seven or eight days of just getting pummeled.”

No one who says something so demonstrably horrifying gets to remain anonymous. The American people need to know who this is so that when they see him or her on the street they can throw rotten fruit. We should bring back the public stocks for people like this. You have got to be kidding me.

The official likened the brief political calm to the aftermath of the October 2017 gun massacre in Las Vegas that left 58 dead and hundreds more injured. That tragedy united White House aides and the country in their shared mourning for the victims and their families.

“But as we all know, sadly, when the coverage dies down a little bit, we’ll be back through the chaos,” the official said.

I’m sorry, would you like America to arrange a few more mass killings so that you can keep your focus off the pussy-grabber’s porn star problems? I just … how is this person still alive after saying this to another human being? Sometimes I cannot fathom covering this White House and not punting everyone in to the sun.

Now, I am Super Savvy and therefore know that of course the writers of this story aren’t endorsing the view these anonymous White House anuses are espousing. Of course they don’t agree, present the administration’s view, both sides, etc. But the tone of this thing is just … yes, that’s what Republicans are about now, hoping school massacres distract us from the treason.

“The national tragedy in Florida has really, for now, turned the page on some of these crises,” said Ron Bonjean, a Republican strategist close to the White House. “They’re going to come back, but what it does do is give the White House a chance to collect itself and, if they can, organize a communications strategy and get their ducks in a row.”

By conveying this viewpoint so dispassionately the story sends a message that this is just one outlook among many, rather than THE TEXTBOOK DIAGNOSIS OF A MOTHERFUCKING SOCIOPATH. These people should be straitjacketed, not quoted like they’re humans.

There are a thousand ways to approach this story that don’t wind up sounding like hey, a bunch of children died bloody but there’s a silver lining here folks! There are a thousand ways to turn this around, including but not limited to talking to people who think these officials are horror shows and should not only be shitcanned but sectioned.

I’m sure lots of people who don’t believe I’m Super Savvy and Serious will explain to me now that the paper can’t just be 72-point headlines that say EVERYTHING IS FUCKED AND ON FIRE, but that’s really the problem here. Adhering to the conventions of ordinary Washington coverage — while Democracy Dies in Darkness, natch — leads to opining that sure, a bunch of parents are planning funerals instead of graduations but at least Joe and I got to take a coffee break for once.

A.

Today on Tommy T’s Obsession with the Freeperati – two steps forward, one step back edition

Greetings, all – still recovering from the herniated disc thing, and every time I think it’s gone away, it comes back. In the immortal words of Joan Hackett in “Support your local Sheriff” :

“I’m sick and tired of all these stupid things that keep happening to me, and somebody’d better do something about it soon!

So  – a short “Obsession” today.

I won’t even go near the latest mowing down of schoolchildren, because the Freeperati response is exactly the same as the last 20 times it happened.

It did generate one interesting thread, though –  good for the Russian mafia!

Are you allowed guns in Russia?
16 Feb 18 | hapnHal

Posted on 2/17/2018, 10:52:12 PM by hapnHal

Are you allowed guns in Russia? Found this information.

Individuals are not allowed to carry guns acquired for self-defense; a license only serves as a carrying permit for hunting and sport firearms when these guns need to be transported. Russian citizens may not own guns that shoot in bursts or have magazines with more than a ten-cartridge capacity.

1 posted on 2/17/2018, 10:52:12 PM by hapnHal
I see a Cognitive Dissonance alert coming, as their new BFF Russia dare not be criticized!
To: billakay
As I understand it, the law was amended a couple of years ago to allow anyone who had a permit to own a weapon to carry it for self defense. 

Got to wonder how much the growth of the Russian mafia contributed to that.

Regardless, good for them!

7 posted on 2/17/2018, 11:09:20 PM by doorgunner69 (Give me the liberty to take care of my own security……….)

TrumpCogDis

To: hapnHal

 

Just as I thought, the Democrats are trying as hard as insanely possible to turn America into Russia.

13 posted on 2/17/2018, 11:52:06 PM by American in Israel (A wise man’s heart directs him to the right, but the foolish mans heart directs him toward the left.)

So – Russia = bad?
To: American in Israel

 

“Just as I thought, the Democrats are trying as hard as insanely possible to turn America into Russia.”

Not in all ways. Russia today protects their kids against gay recruitment.

14 posted on 2/17/2018, 11:57:58 PM by BobL (I shop at Walmart and eat at McDonald’s…I just don’t tell anyone)

So – Russia = good?
To: hapnHal

 

Tell the liberals that, now that they hate Russia! Remember how they loved Russia when she was full commie?

15 posted on 2/18/2018, 12:09:25 AM by JimRed ( TERM LIMITS, NOW! Build the Wall Faster! TRUTH is the new HATE SPEECH.)

I’ll tell you what I remember:
McCarthyList
One Freeper dares to go there:
To: billakay

 

What are your thoughts on….

“Russian citizens may not own guns that shoot in bursts or have magazines with more than a ten-cartridge capacity.”

Maybe the Russians are on the right track. Do we need these type of guns and if so, for WHAT PURPOSE ?

12 posted on 2/17/2018, 11:49:58 PM by hapnHal (B)

And is promptly reminded of how a fat fuck with an AR15 is going to hold off a drone strike:
To: hapnHal
Do we need these type of guns and if so, for WHAT PURPOSE ? 

To fight back against government forces that will be sent to take them away the next time we get an Obama or a Hillary.

18 posted on 2/18/2018, 12:11:41 AM by JimRed ( TERM LIMITS, NOW! Build the Wall Faster! TRUTH is the new HATE SPEECH.)
MilitiaDefense
.
One more bit of stupid after the moron labe
.

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Today on Tommy T’s Obsession with the Freeperati – Back In Blecch edition

OK – back in the saddle. I’m going to TRY to ease back into this, but I have a horrendous backlog of bookmarks to plough through.

First up – SOROS’s FAULT!!

Holocaust Denier Likely to Represent GOP on Illinois Congressional Ballot KSBW ^ | 2/5 Posted on 2/5/2018, 4:48:13 PM by nickcarraway

A long-shot candidate with a history of anti-Semitic statements and Holocaust denial is primed to represent the Republican Party in a congressional race in Illinois.

The candidate, Arthur Jones, is running unopposed in the GOP primary for Illinois’ 3rd Congressional District,

SNIP

His website contains sections such as “Holocaust?” which features a statement that says “there is no proof such a so-called ‘Holocaust’ ever took place anywhere in Europe, against the Jews.”

SNIP

“I’m sorry I voted for the son of a b****, I really am,” Jones told the Guardian.

SNIP

1 posted on 2/5/2018, 4:48:13 PM by nickcarraway
I’m sure this will provoke some deep soul-searching among the Freeperati as to why Nazis feel so at home in the GOP.
To: nickcarraway

 

This guy is so bad I wouldn’t be surprised to find he’s a Soros plant.

2 posted on 2/5/2018, 4:50:54 PM by rfp1234 (I have already previewed this composition.)

Just kidding. You need to have a soul to do any soul-searching.
To: rfp1234
This guy is so bad I wouldn’t be surprised to find he’s a Soros plant. 

This guy has run for the Republican nomination seven times since the 1990’s. You think Soros plans that far ahead?

5 posted on 2/5/2018, 5:03:29 PM by DoodleDawg
Commie.
.
“LurkingLibertarian” tries to Freepsplain this one away :
To: Joe Dallas
The GOP dropped the ball on this one. 

More likely, no serious candidate from the GOP wanted to run in this district; it has voted Dem in 24 of the last 25 congressional elections and all four of the last four presidential elections. Bernie Sanders won the district by 8 points in the 2016 primary.

6 posted on 2/5/2018, 5:04:09 PM by Lurking Libertarian (Non sub homine, sed sub Deo et lege)

“Joe Dallas” ain’t buying it :
To: Lurking Libertarian

 

Then find a somewhat serious candidate that is not a Nazi.

8 posted on 2/5/2018, 5:05:37 PM by Joe Dallas

BanHimHitlerAngry
To: Joe Dallas 

Then find a somewhat serious candidate that is not a Nazi.

Well, you’d have to find one in the district.

Hard to find Republicans in a ghetto, even harder to find one that has the time and money to even run to lose.

11 posted on 2/5/2018, 5:15:45 PM by piasa (Attitude adjustments offered here free of charge)

Um – about that “ghetto”…
To: piasa
Hard to find Republicans in a ghetto, 

The district is 74% white.

18 posted on 2/5/2018, 5:54:48 PM by Lurking Libertarian (Non sub homine, sed sub Deo et lege)
Of course, we all know who’s REALLY to blame, don’t we?
To: nickcarraway

 

This is classic media horseshiTe….badmouth a gop guy (who deserves it) and make it the headline.

22 posted on 2/5/2018, 6:49:41 PM by irish guard

TrumpWinning
One more short bit after the jumparoonie …

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Parsing the Medill #MeToo Debacle

Yes, even at the Jesus H. Christ School of Journalism Gods, people can be total dipshits:

Ten women released an open letter on Wednesday accusing Northwestern University Professor Alec Klein of persistent sexual harassment and bullying since he has been at the helm of the school’s “crown jewel” investigative journalism program.

Calling it the storied journalism school’s “#MeToo Moment,” the eight former students and two former staffers of the Medill Justice Project wrote that Klein’s “controlling, discriminatory, emotionally and verbally abusive behavior has to end.”

Klein, who has been at Northwestern for a decade and in charge of the Justice Project since 2011, has taken a leave of absence while the university sorts out all the allegations brought forth in the letter. This is likely to take some time, as a) digging into charges that range back five or more years isn’t easy and b) the women who signed the letter set up an email address for others to use if they want to add their stories regarding Klein and his behavior toward them.

Klein’s lawyer, Andrew T. Miltenberg, issued a statement that really does a nice job of making him look guilty as hell:

“While Mr. Klein denies the allegations that are being made, he intends to respect the confidentiality and privacy of Northwestern University and its internal process,” Miltenberg wrote. “It is unfortunate that these allegations are being made in a rush to judgment, denying Mr. Klein of due process. We are confident that upon review, the allegations will be determined to have been unfounded.”

If you are playing “clearly guilty bingo jargon,” you probably got the cover-all here: “denies allegations,” “respect the confidentiality” “respect the… process,” “rush to judgment,” “due process” and unfounded allegations.

Klein, for his part, issued a letter that blamed all of this on a “disgruntled employee” and then pivoted to how great his teaching evaluations have been.

The university conducted an extensive investigation, interviewing current and former employees, former students and others, and reviewing emails, expenses and other records. The complaint was determined to be completely unfounded. I was cleared of any wrongdoing and the claim was dismissed. The university determined the complainant was not credible and documented, through records and her own words, several falsehoods in her charges.

Klein, a journalist, needs to be a little more accurate here. According to media reports, the claim was not “completely unfounded,” but rather it was a situation where the U declined to roll the dice on pursuing it because it didn’t think it had enough to get the goods on him. It’s like that line from “And the Band Played On,” about what do we think, what do we know and what can we prove? In this case, you couldn’t prove the situation was rotten but it did have some serious stank on it. The school paid Olivia Pera off and as part of the payoff, the rule was that she couldn’t reapply for a job, not that she would want to:

 

“I went through absolute hell,” Pera said. “My family saw me go through such personality changes. My son saw me crying every day. That’s not something your kid should see. I have nothing but bad memories of Northwestern.”

The allegations regarding Klein are problematic, and there is nothing I would like more than to jump up and down on this guy. I have frequently come out against professors who treat students like sexual canapes, the arrogance of the elitism that comes with places like the Med-Dildo land that is that journalism school and people who are generally sleazy fucksticks. That said, there are really two sets of allegations here and they need to be separated before hanging this guy from a yardarm.

First set: He’s a sexually sleazy, lecherous fuck:

And let’s be clear: Some of us have also experienced sexual harassment and sexual misconduct.

  • He attempted to kiss a prospective employee, prior to hiring her. On the same occasion, he asked if she smoked marijuana and asked to smoke with her and ordered her several cocktails.

  • He asked a female employee to come to his hotel room “for drinks” on a business trip.

  • He gave unwanted neck massages while a female employee was trying to work.

  • He asked for a hug in return for giving an employee a requested day off.

  • He made other unwarranted physical contact, such as grabbing a student’s hand during conversations

  • He made sexually graphic remarks at work

  • He talked about his sex life and pressed for explicit details about others’

  • He frequently commented on employees’ physical attractiveness, appearances, attire and bodies

  • He told female students they would be good fits for broadcast journalism because they were “good-looking.

  • He asked if an employee was having another baby when she mentioned that her stomach hurt

  • He asked an employee if she was a stripper

  • He sent texts “intended for his wife” to a female

 

I’ll give him a pass on the text issue, as my Twitter followers have often been subjected to the, “So do we still need milk?” Tweets when I fucked up and hit the wrong button. Other than that… What the fuck? Your students are not a smorgasbord of pussy, so knock it off. And as for the asking the woman back to your hotel room thing, could you be any more sleazy while still being cliche? If you’re not with your wife and you suddenly have that pent up dick rage you seem to possess, there is nothing dumber than what you attempted to do. Here’s some advice: Go back to your room, find that little bottle next to the conditioner and go fly a solo mission.

Second set of allegations: He’s a fucking miserable human being:

Let’s start breaking these into “zones of danger.”

  • He repeatedly accused students of insubordination and reprimanded them to the point of tears over minor or perceived offenses, such as pushing back on an editorial misjudgment or offering an alternative method to pursue an investigation, or agreeing with a peer’s suggestion instead of what Alec Klein proposed. Several of us were summoned into his office individually, made to sit on a short cushion in a corner as he hurled accusatory vitriol about our mistakes and then refused to accept any apology. He sometimes retaliated by lowering students’ final term grades even though these disagreements had nothing to do with academics.

  • He retaliated against an employee by giving her a poor performance review after she defended herself against his verbal abuse.

  • He has yelled at employees and students and accused them of “ignoring him” for not immediately answering his phone calls or emails — at times, outside of working hours, or when one employee was on vacation, despite her returning his call within a few minutes.

  • He continued to show retaliatory behavior after discovering that students went to senior staff at Medill to voice their concerns about him.

  • He was openly dismissive in class to a student who struggled with English and made it apparent that he did not like her Middle Eastern accent. According to this student, he “killed” her confidence and made her feel like “nothing,” and he screamed at and hung up on her friend whom she had put on the phone with him for help.

The concept of retaliation, reprimand and dismissiveness are often in the eye of the beholder, especially in student-faculty relationships. Not saying these things didn’t happen, but on occasion students aren’t as amazing as they think they are and any attempt to demonstrate that is likely to lead to “melting snowflakes.” It also pains me to say this, but I have found that students at some of the best (as in most prestigious, highest ranked etc.) institutions are the ones that are the least able to deal with hearing that they don’t quite measure up. If I had a nickel for every time a kid blamed a bad grade on me or cried over not being told he or she was perfect in every way, I wouldn’t need a job any more. This group needs more cooking before it becomes soup.

Chunk two:

  • He has said: “You aren’t as smart as you think you are ”

  • He has said: “You will never be a journalist.”

  • He told one of us, after learning her mother is a professional writer: “Your mother is a writer, I’d expect you to be a better writer.”

  • He told one of us she needed an A- to earn his recommendation. He later promised a male student in the same class a recommendation in exchange for a B+.

  • He scolded employees for “taking too much credit” for their work and in one instance denied any credit until proof was provided.

When I hear back from students years later, I find out that a lot of shit came rolling out of my mouth that I can’t believe actually did. Part of it is working in a newsroom environment. Part of it is finding the need to buzz a kid with a fastball to back him or her off the plate a bit. Part of it was that I fucked up and learned that I needed to smooth off some of the rough edges. Part of it is that I’m just a dick sometimes, despite my best efforts.

I’ve said the first one, I’m sure. The second one was actually said to me when I was in high school, by a female teacher. She told me that not only would I never be a journalist, but that I’d never be ANYTHING and that I needed to go to a trade school if I wanted to be able to support a family. The third one is weird. The fourth one is something that I could easily see happening. I can’t remember what I ate for lunch yesterday as opposed to who I promised what to whom. The last one, again, some kids need to get backed off the plate or forced to prove stuff. Even students I’ve had dead to rights on plagiarism or other such things would deny it and threaten and bluster until I literally had to say, “You bring your proof and I’ll bring mine and we’ll see what the U has to say.” Then, they fucking crumbled. If these items alone were the basis for a complaint, I could see how the admin would wave this off and call it a day.

CHUNK 3:

  • He often required excessive and unnecessary closed-door meetings during which he pressed several of us to divulge deeply personal details about our lives, only to later use this information against us as a tool of manipulation.

  • He questioned whether an employee had actually attended her grandfather’s funeral after she had requested and taken the day off.

  • He has said about and to female students that they are “too emotional” and “immature.”

This is really problematic stuff in that a) it shows a gender bias and b) it infuses him into the private lives of his students and employees. The gender thing is already discussed above. The other one is something that is an issue because we have to draw lines as faculty and prevent ourselves from crossing them. I have always told newsroom students that I don’t care who you’re sleeping with or what you’re drinking or where you threw up last night. That’s none of my business. However, if I can’t get photos for the front page because my design editor was sleeping with the photo editor, but now they broke up and they’re not talking… OK, NOW I have to care.

I think logically that a lot of this stuff in chunks one and two wouldn’t be as horribly problematic if it weren’t for the first set of allegations (stuff on the harassment) and the last chunk of section two (getting involved in their business). Yes, this isn’t nice workplace behavior in those other two subsections, but I found out something once about stuff like this: There’s no law that prevents people from being an asshole at work.

I had a long discussion with HR and with a harassment specialty lawyer when I was getting knocked around by a particularly shitty colleague in ways like those listed in the two  (non-sex stuff) chunks. I was told, “Look, this isn’t good and he shouldn’t be able to do this, but there is no law against him being a dick.” I wasn’t pleased with that answer, but I got it.

However, there ARE laws about getting your business into my private business. There ARE laws about keeping your fucking hands to yourself and not treating everyone like they’re a fuckdoll with a personality, installed at work for your amusement.

And those laws need to be enforced everywhere, including this situation.

Nobody’s Coming But Us

Lookit this.

Ain’t nobody saving journalism but journalism. Certainly not the corporate disaster artists who’ve gutted and skullfucked newspaper companies for the last 30 years while complaining about the Internet and blaming “market forces” for them not being able to get a paper on a porch before 7 a.m.

Ain’t nobody coming, and it’s long past time we stopped waiting and feeling shitty about the way things are going, and picked up our axes instead. There’s enough money there, if you’re not wasting it on flying your executives around and paying your board and worrying about shareholders’ quarterly returns.

I’ve always heard a lot of sarcastic cracks about journalists being unable to manage money, and God damn, journalists aren’t the ones who’ve upfucked this business. They’re usually the ones screaming about having to go without raises for five years while the higher-ups throw a fancy party. They’re usually the ones noting that the last CEO’s buyout would have paid them all three times over. They’re usually the ones on the phone listening to people bitch that the paper used to cover their neighborhood and doesn’t anymore.

So it’s about time they get to handle all of it, control their own destiny, and at least then if there’s no money they’ll know where they stand.

I backed it. You should too.

A.

The law and justice in the life of a parent in the Larry Nassar case

On occasion, the law doesn’t do what we want it to do. It’s a byproduct of our attempt to remain civilized in the face of uncivilized behavior. It’s a byproduct of being “the more powerful force” or “the better person” when we are forced to confront something truly horrific. Without this level of decorum and rule of law, we would be no better than animals and tyrants, we are told.

And all of those things are right. All of those things are true. We can’t just attack people for what we perceive to be inappropriate or illegal actions that wrong us or others. The law is what protects the weakest and the most disenfranchised among us. Without the law, all of the positive strides made by people of color, women, LGBTQ individuals and immigrants would be cast aside and only the white, rich and powerful would thrive.

I get it. I really, really get it.

And yet, sometimes… sometimes, polite society isn’t going to get us where we want to go. Sometimes, there isn’t enough years on a sentence or enough words to reveal our anger. Sometimes, we just can’t with the whole idea of “being a better person” or “knowing there is a special place in Hell for people like this.”

As pitcher Gene Brabender once noted in “Ball Four” about certain situations, “Where I’m from we talk for a while and then we start hitting.”

To say I condone the actions of Randall Margraves today would be difficult. I’m supposed to be more calm and rational than the monster that is Larry Nassar. I’m supposed to be more dignified than the scourge of anger or the fury of rage. I’m supposed to be better than this.

Unfortunately, I’m not. I totally get it.

My kid was in gymnastics for a short while and every day, I thought about the issues that are often associated with that sport. It carries a huge risk of injury, body dysmorphia, social awkwardness, biological alteration and more. It carries with it a huge commitment, both financial and physical. It draws on some of the worst instincts of parents and competitors (trust me, I sat in that observation deck and had to put on headphones to avoid the horrible things parents said about other kids and their own). I let it ride until she was about 7 when we decided to make her choose gymnastics or karate and we kind of nudged her toward karate.

I never once thought, “Hey, if she gets hurt I wonder if there’s a child-molesting asshole there ready to pop a couple fingers into the inner recesses of her body for his own sick pleasure.”

I never once thought, “I bet if there is a guy like that, he’ll be protected, covered for and overall allowed to do it to the point where CNN needs a goddamned scoreboard to keep track of the accusers.”

I didn’t think these things and that makes me terrified and it makes me understand guys like Randall Margraves. He knew all the “real” risks associated with this sport his kids loved. He understood the issues that come with this and how hard it is for people like his daughters to compete at the highest level. He accepted them and trusted the sport, the team and the support staff.

To be hit with something like a Larry Nassar is to be blindsided in a way that makes you question everything you are as a parent. To have to sit there and listen to lawyers parse the “degree” to which something happened or how the number of potential victims is really “not believable” has got to be more than even the most decent human being can withstand.

In a vacuum or in theory, we should condemn someone like Randall Margraves for his actions because, well, it’s just not what we do.

In practice, I’m surprised nobody tried this sooner.

Thome, my homie

Jim Thome made the Hall of Fame this week in the same way he began his career: As an afterthought.

Baseball pundits flocked to Larry “Chipper” Jones, writing stories about him “headlining” this class of inductees. Or, as one writer noted about him, he “feels” like a Hall of Famer. Vladimir Guerrero had more votes, so he deserved more attention. Edgar Martinez didn’t get ENOUGH votes, so people were talking about him as well. Oh, and let’s not forget talking about the steroid guys who we are somehow either too soft or too hard on.

Thome? Mmph. OK.

For all the bitching people do about how we don’t have any heroes left or how we are constantly a people distracted by scandal, it seems that we don’t pay enough attention to those things we pine for. Things like work-ethic, playing by the rules and remaining inside yourself are all deified but never recognized when they present themselves, which is one of many reasons why Jim Thome never really got his due until now.

Thome grew up in Peoria, Illinois where is father worked for the Caterpillar and his brother worked construction. Before Thome, Peoria’s most famous citizen was Richard Pryor, who used the city’s crime and brothel culture to evolve his comedy. Thome grew up a few blocks from that part of town, so while he may have grown up to be country strong, he wasn’t a country boy.

The Indians drafted Thome in the 13th round in 1989 and signed him for a bonus similar to what I paid for my first shitty car. Only one other player from that round even made the majors (Mike Oquist, a righthanded pitcher with a 25-31 career record). In his first minor league season, he didn’t hit a single home run.

It was Charlie Manuel, who would later be his hitting coach with the Indians and his manager with the Phillies, who found the power in the lefty’s swing. Manuel used Robert Redford’s habit from “The Natural” of pointing the bat at the pitcher before each delivery to help Thome calm down and focus. He added hip movement to the arm strength the young man possessed. The actual country bumpkin from Northfork, West Virginia and the perceived country bumpkin from Peoria bonded over the art of the swing.

Still, Thome wasn’t a lock for anything. He was up and down in his first few years. When he finally stuck with the Indians in 1994, he didn’t even make the Opening Day line up, sitting out in favor of the immortal Mark Lewis. The next year, Thome would hit 25 home runs as the Tribe captured its first AL pennant since the Eisenhower administration. He batted sixth in a line up just flat-out crushed teams. In a 144-game strike-shortened season, the Indians won 100 games but lost the World Series to the Atlanta Braves.

The problem for Thome was that he was always overshadowed by something. In that 1995 season, his teammate Albert Belle hit 50 homers to lead the league. The next season, Thome hit 38 dingers, only to be outdone by what seemed to be half the league. He barely cracked the top 20 in the MLB and guys like Brady Anderson, Jay Buhner and Vinny Castilla all out homered him.

The numbers for Thome never seemed to be big enough. In 1998, he crushed 30 homers, but that was the year in which Mark McGwire hit 70 and Sammy Sosa hit 66. Only once in his career did he lead the league in home runs: 2003 when he hit 47 for Philadelphia and tied with Alex Rodriguez at the top of the MLB. And the mentioning of those three guys brings to light some of the “why” when it comes to Thome’s relative obscurity in those years: Steroids.

MVPs, home run kings and even pedestrian players trying to make an extra buck found the Fountain of Youth at the end of a needle during Thome’s prime. McGwire, Sosa, Rodriguez, Barry Bonds, Ken Caminiti, Mo Vaughn and more… Powerhouse sluggers who rewrote the record books, gave pitchers nightmares and profited greatly back then will now have about the same chance of making the Hall of Fame as Thome did of making it out of Peoria. Thome’s name never once came up in the list of users of “the cream” or “the clear” or whatever shark piss people shot up their nose to get six more inches on a home run in those days.

Thome’s homers had the lack of majesty that McGwire’s had. His swing lacked the poetry that Ken Griffey Jr.’s had. And yet to watch him at the plate was something to behold.  I remember him pole-axing a grand slam that looked like it should have shattered the foul pole off some Red Sox pitcher in a playoff game. When he dropped the head of that bat on a too-slow fastball or a non-curving curve, it was like watching Paul Bunyan take out a giant redwood with a single swing of an axe.

Thome wasn’t perfect and his career didn’t end in the best of ways. I remember him leaving Cleveland to take more money in Philly, which broke my heart. I remember him coming back to Cleveland for a “farewell and thank you” tip of the cap to the fans. I forgot he played for the Dodgers for about 12 minutes or that he finished his career in Baltimore Orioles orange.

The biggest thing I remember was that this guy was always exactly who he was. He never took the easy way, didn’t make the game about him and he just kept doing his job.

Just like a blue-collar kid from Peoria would do.