(Permanent Musical Accompaniment To The Last Post Of The Week From The Blog's Favorite Living Canadian)
Well, it seems that the Republicans on the Senate Judiciary Committee will continue to play stupid games with Dr. Christine Blasey Ford, and with the possibility of her appearing before them next week, when all their kangaroo suits will come back from the cleaners. She wants to appear on Thursday. They now have offered Wednesday, after insisting for several days on a hearing on Monday next. From Politico:
The GOP is offering to hold the hearing on Wednesday after Ford sought Thursday and is meeting some of her requests but not others, the senator said. The senator added that Republicans are not inclined to agree with Ford’s lawyers that she should only be questioned by lawmakers – not an outside counsel.“We’ll do it on Wednesday, we expect the accuser before the accused, and we do intend to have the counsel do the questioning,” the senator said, summing up the Republicans’ stance.
I don't know who The Senator is with whom Politico spoke. (I have what I think is a good guess, though.) In any event, he or she is bidding strong behind a busted straight. Haven't these people learned yet that they can't make Dr. Ford do anything she doesn't want to do? Haven't they figured out yet that they really don't have decent options? They extended their deadline for Dr. Ford to respond on Friday, and they've already backed off a Monday hearing. They are negotiating very badly, as will often be the case when you have no good negotiating position at all. So, they're scrambling while Kavanaugh's polling numbers sink into the Potomac.
Not only that, but Dr. Ford's team knows very well how to press an advantage.
The GOP has been told that Ford does not want to fly from her California home to Washington, according to the Republican senator, which means she may need to drive across the country to make the hearing. Ford has reportedly told friends she is uncomfortable in confined spaces, indicating a physical difficulty in making the trip by plane.
I wonder why she might be uncomfortable in confined spaces.
Oh, Lord, not this thing again.
Nancy French-wife of David French, and a staunch wingnut in her own right-had a piece in The Washington Post on Friday about the Brett Kavanaugh situation and, in it, she slow-dances with one of the unkillable zombie lies of my career. To wit:
These arguments aren’t new, but they’ve always been flawed. In 2003, Boston Globe Magazine writer Charles P. Pierce wrote a profile of Sen. Ted Kennedy (D-Mass.). The article addressed Mary Jo Kopechne, who was the passenger in Kennedy’s car in 1969 and was killed after he veered off the road into the waters off Chappaquiddick Island. After explaining how her death had haunted Kennedy’s political aspirations, Pierce ended with two sentences that show the utter inadequacy and impotence of Prager’s “moral bank account” concept: “If she had lived, Mary Jo Kopechne would be 62 years old. Through his tireless work as a legislator, Edward Kennedy would have brought comfort to her in her old age.” Prager, a Republican, almost certainly wouldn’t accept Pierce’s absolution of Kennedy.
(It is here where a snarky person would add that French's op-ed offal already had occasioned one correction: she had the Boston Globe story running in 2009 when it ran in 2003. Nice googling.)
Christ, I'm tired of explaining this. Instead, I will quote the relevant passages so you can make up your own minds.
If his name were Edward Moore . . .
His brothers might be alive. His life might have been easier, not having mattered much to anyone beyond its own boundaries. His first marriage might have survived, and, if it had not, Joan Kennedy's problems would have been her own, and not grist for the public gossips. It might not have mattered to anyone, the fistfight outside the Manhattan saloon, the foozling with waitresses in Washington restaurants, the image of him in his nightshirt, during Holy Week (Jesus God!), going out for a couple of pops with the younger set in Palm Beach and winding up testifying in the middle of a rape trial. His second marriage simply would have been a second marriage, and Vicki Kennedy would not have found herself dragooned into the role of The Good Fairy in yet another Kennedy epiphany narrative.
All of this would not have mattered, if his name were Edward Moore.
And what of the dead woman? On July 18, 1969, on the weekend that man first walked on the moon, a 28-year-old named Mary Jo Kopechne drowned in his automobile. Plutocrats' justice and an implausible (but effective) coverup ensued. And, ever since, she's always been there: during Watergate, when Barry Goldwater told Kennedy that even Richard Nixon didn't need lectures from him; in 1980, when his presidential campaign was shot down virtually at its launch; during the hearings into the confirmation of Clarence Thomas, when Kennedy's transgressions gagged him and made him the butt of all the jokes.
She's always there. Even if she doesn't fit in the narrative line, she is so much of the dark energy behind it. She denies to him forever the moral credibility that lay behind not merely all those rhetorical thunderclaps that came so easily in the New Frontier but also Robert Kennedy's anguished appeals to the country's better angels. He was forced from the rhetoric of moral outrage and into the incremental nitty-gritty of social justice. He learned to plod, because soaring made him look ridiculous. "It's really 3 yards and a cloud of dust with him," says his son Patrick. And if his name were Edward Moore, he would have done time...
...And that's the key. That's how you survive what he's survived. That's how you move forward, one step after another, even though your name is Edward Moore Kennedy. You work, always, as though your name were Edward Moore. If she had lived, Mary Jo Kopechne would be 62 years old. Through his tireless work as a legislator, Edward Kennedy would have brought comfort to her in her old age.
It was plain to me, to fair-minded readers, and, I assure you, to almost all of the Kennedy inner circle, that I was taking a hard, clean shot at EMK, and certainly an unprecedented one at the Globe. (The late Adam Clymer, who just passed away, and had written a laudatory biography of Kennedy, wrote me a note asking how I "knew" the senator would have done time, had he not been The Senator. I mean, please) It was clear to media critic Dan Kennedy, twice. It was even clear to James Taranto at National Review, who called it "a paragraph of pure poison."
Even at the time, however, as Dan Kennedy recalls, there were the deliberately obtuse, including Bush cousin John Ellis and professional Canadian blight Mark Steyn. (To be fair, Ellis later admitted he'd read the thing all wrong.) But things didn't really go to the zoo until the Media Research Center got involved. They took the idiot line and gave me their Quote of the Year Award, and that's how this canard has been floating around inside the wingnut bubble ever since.
None of them apparently read very well; Ann Coulter attributed the line to "that New York Times guy," which had me considering legal action. Jonah Goldberg went off the diving board-but, later, admitted that Taranto had maybe, sort of, turned him around. But, as this HuffPost piece makes clear, it was the MRC that persisted in being as stupid as it apparently believes its readers to be. What's worse, as I once wrote in The American Prospect, they didn't even invite me to their awards dinner to pick up my trophy. They had Sam Donaldson accept on my behalf. I may never get over that.
Anyway, it's fairly clear to me that Nancy French did a bit of googling, found either the MRC, or one of the people who was quoting the MRC's deliberate clown act, and then tossed it into her op-ed without a moment's thought. Hey, Marty Baron. I wrote that Kennedy piece for your newspaper! Give a brother a break.
Inexcusably, our tour of the Laboratories of Democracy left out the usual and vital contribution of Blog Official Prairie Dog Translator Friedman of the Plains, who brought us the sad tale of the town of Stilwell, which has been known as the Strawberry Capital of the World, but which, alas, has achieved another distinction. From The Washington Post:
This week, Stilwell earned a more discouraging distinction: It has the lowest life expectancy in the country - just 56.3 years, according to the most detailed local health data ever released by the National Center for Health Statistics. That means folks there are expected to die 22.5 years - an entire generation - earlier than the comparable national average of 78.8 years.
People living in several wealthier neighborhoods, often in urban areas and suburbs, enjoy life expectancy into their 90s, an illustration of how growing inequality determines fundamental aspects of Americans’ lives and well-being. “People who live blocks apart can have very different expectations in how long they’ll live because of the conditions in which people are living,” said Donald Schwarz, a senior vice president at the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation. “That represents uneven opportunity for people, particularly children, to have long lives.”
This is the kind of class-based reporting of which we need volumes more. That there was a little hook on which to attach it was merely the, well, strawberry on top.
This week's best story was the fact that astronomers found an exoplanet orbiting 40 Eridani A, which happens to be the star around which, according to the Star Trek canon, the planet Vulcan orbits. From NBC News:
The newfound exoplanet is 16 light-years from Earth in the Constellation Eridanus. It orbits its host star - a sunlike star with the formal designation of HD 26965 - just inside the habitable zone, where water could exist in liquid form and where life as we know it could be possible. "It came as a total surprise to us," Jian Ge, a professor of astronomy at the University of Florida and co-author of a new paper about the discovery, told NBC News MACH in an email. "We did not have an intention to look for Vulcan orbiting HD 26965."
And yes, it is...fascinating.
Weekly WWOZ Pick To Click: "Save The Bones" (New Orleans Jazz Vipers): Yeah, I pretty much still love New Orleans.
Weekly Visit To The Pathe Archives: Here are some modern Druids at Stonehenge from 1931. I have some doubts about the authenticity of the facial hair on display here. And, yes, children, I haven't forgotten. History is so cool.
Official Blog Music Archivist The Great And Powerful Oz from KC checks in with a couple of recommendations. First, the latest from Amy Helm, Levon's daughter. Then, as we wait for Volume 14 of The Master's Bootleg Series, this one concentrating on the making of Blood on the Tracks, here, via NPR, is an early version of "If You See Her, Say Hello." Enjoy.
Is it a good day for dinosaur news, Eyewitness News? It's always a good day for dinosaur news!
The exact species is unknown, but scientists say bones of a Sauropod, a type of dinosaur, have been found in the small town of Sterkspruit. Professor Jonah Choiniere says they've been searching in the area, which is a fossil-rich site, for about six years looking for dinosaur species. He says a team of scientists from five top universities including Johannesburg and Oxford were at the site this week. “Just spent the last 10 days picking up a portion of these fossils and what we found is actually amazing. One of them is a dinosaur lying on its side, as it would’ve been when it died, and it’s quite a large animal, maybe six or seven metres long and weighing up to a ton.”
I don't mean to harsh many mellows but my entirely amateur observation is that I don't know how "fossil-rich" this site could have been when it took folks six years to find a seven-meter sauropod lying on its side. Nevertheless, that dinosaur, too, lived then to make us happy now.
The Committee was amazed by how many Top Commenters had bad memories of the DKE fraternity-to which Brett Kavanaugh belonged when he was at Yale-and how many of them were willing to serve them up. Top Commenter Kathleen Schultz takes home the Beckhams for telling a story that is not funny at all.
He was a DKE? When I was in college (back in the dark ages) DKEs were known for their drunken parties and inviting non-sorority girls, because we were considered lesser beings. I fought off one of them, lucky for me he was too drunk to get back up up after I shoved him.
No, not funny at all.
I'm off to Washington next week to cover whatever the next act under the big top is. Be well and play nice, ya bastids. Stay above the snake-line, and watch out for sauropods in the backyard.
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