The Whatever Digest, 9/18/18

Let’s see what the world has for us today, shall we?

***

To begin on a high note, congratulations to my dear friend Mary Robinette Kowal, who has just announced a three-book, six-figure deal with Tor Books. The deal covers two more books in her “Lady Astronaut” series plus a standalone novel. The Verge has all the details, plus a short interview with MRK on the matter.

I’m thrilled about this. Aside from MRK being one of my favorite people on the planet, I’m a very big fan of the two current Lady Astronaut books, The Calculating Stars (which I think is a top contender for Hugo and Nebula Best Novel nods) and The Fated Sky. More in this universe makes me very happy. I’m also pleased Tor recognizes her value with the size of the deal. This is good news for everyone, but especially for MRK. I like it when my friends get good news.

***

Oh, let’s talk more about that Kavanaugh mess, I suppose.

Brett Kavanaugh, it should be noted, has doubled down on his categorical denial, regarding Christine Blasey Ford’s accusation that he sexually assaulted her back when they were teenagers. Both Kavanaugh and Ford are going to testify about it in front of the Senate on Monday, and one would hope under oath. And won’t that be interesting if it is under oath? Because then, if they both stick to their stories, one or the other of them is, flatly, lying.

Alternately, if one wishes to be extraordinarily generous about it, it’s possible that Kavanaugh isn’t lying, precisely, he simply has no memory of the incident. Ford did describe him as being stumble-down drunk at the time. But the thing about that is, he didn’t say “I have no memory of such an incident ever occurring.” He said it never happened. So we’re back to it being an actual lie, in my book.

And here’s the thing for me: Removing all the political aspects of the incident and focusing on the individuals and the incident itself, who are you more likely to believe has a better memory of the incident: The person who was stumble-down drunk when the incident occurred, or the person who was not, and had the event seared into her brain so significantly that it still came up in therapy, three decades later? I’d put my money on the latter, personally.

(The other, exculpatory-for-Kavanaugh explanation is that Ford isn’t lying but has misremembered the identity of her assaulter, which is possible, but given what we know of things, seems unlikely.)

But the timing of this shows it’s all political! Meh. Again, Ford expressed her concerns about Kavanaugh to her elected reps well in advance of his actual nomination for the court, and asked for confidentiality, which she was given. By all indications Senator Feinstein didn’t send the letter to the FBI until someone else leaked it. On Ford’s part, this doesn’t seem like the actions of someone desperately hungry to throw a spanner into the political works. The fact that some people want to blame her for the current mess is more than a little gross. Once the letter was a known thing, she came forward and was willing to testify. But she wasn’t responsible for the events that led to her letter becoming a political hot potato.

***

Someone in email accused me of smearing an innocent person (Kavanaugh, to be clear) and leading a mob against him. Well, Kavanaugh may well be innocent! But it seems unlikely to me, given what we know, and since I’m not a court of law or Kavanaugh’s lawyer, I’m not obliged to pretend I think he is. It seems likely to me that as a teenager he sexually assaulted Ford; it also seems likely to me that as an adult, he’s lying about it. Merely stating that opinion is not riling up a mob, I’m not stating “Kavanaugh is lying, go set fire to his house!” (Please do not set fire to his house.) Nor is the Whatever audience much of a mob (sorry).

Nor, bluntly, is Kavanaugh in much danger of having any major repercussions for his (probable in my opinion) teenage sexual assault. The worst case scenario for Kavanaugh is that he goes back to his job on the DC Court of Appeals — just like Merrick Garland! — and keeps doing what he’s already been doing. I mean, technically, if he lied in front of Congress he could be penalized for that, but he’s already arguably lied in front of Congress, and Congress seems to be willing to give him a pass for that. Kavanaugh’s real world penalty, if the Senate chooses not to confirm because, among other things, more of its members than not believed he pinned down a fifteen-year-old girl, put his hand over her mouth to muffle her screams, ground himself into her and tried to take off her clothes, is… he keeps the immensely privileged life he already has. Oh, my God. How horrible for him.

But his reputation! Again, meh. It seems unlikely to me that any of Kavanaugh’s pals on the right will penalize him for it; he will still be admired and respected in the circles he already runs in. These are the same circles who elected as president a man who indisputably sexually assaulted women as an adult. There’s not much evidence at the moment that the right thinks sexual assault should count against a person’s reputation unless that person is on the left. Let’s not pretend that if the exact same accusations were made against a Supreme Court nominee picked by a Democratic president, the right would be calling for that nominee’s withdrawal (at least). But I guess it’s different when you’re on the right and you have a nominee that you know will overturn Roe v. Wade the first chance he gets.

So, yeah. Don’t cry for Kavanaugh. He’s going to be fine, whether he’s innocent or not.

***

People in Washington seem to be worried about an emerging “Kavanaugh Standard,” i.e., what you did at seventeen will now be held against you in senatorial confirmation hearings. A few thoughts here:

1. Can we stop pretending that sexual assault is just average teenage hijinx? I went to high school in the same era as Kavanaugh, you know. Even in the benighted 80s, we fucking well knew that sexual assault was not within the scope of acceptable activities. I was there! I know this to be true!

2. If you can’t or won’t agree that sexual assault is not your average teenage hijinx, one, what the fuck were you up to in high school, pal, and two, in fact, what you were doing in high school might be relevant to your senatorial confirmation, especially if you evince no actual moral growth from that point forward.

3. Otherwise, I think most people are probably in the clear regarding their high school stupidity.

4. But might it not also be wise to tell teens that all their lives will be affected by the choices they make as teenagers, including the choices they’re not aware they’re making? Is it not worth it to inculcate in their still-forming brains the idea that far-reaching consequences exist, even if they can’t yet fully understand these consequences may arise at a point that is a multiple of the years that they have currently been alive? And that their actions will have consequences for others, all through their lives as well?

5. Also, you know what? I would be fine culling out of governmental service everyone who sexually assaulted someone else as a teenager. Or as an adult! Why not both! And if it turns out there is a noticeable dearth of available men for such service, well, I guess them’s the breaks, and the good news is that there are almost certainly a large number of women available to come on board to take care of things, whilst the men fix their cultural shit. I’m fine with that. If this is indeed the new “Kavanaugh Standard,” there would be far worse things, I have to say.

***

And to end on a high note: Look! The Captain Marvel trailer! Looks like fun.

55 thoughts on “The Whatever Digest, 9/18/18

  1. What is going to be knock-down drag-out funny (and sad) will be the future politicians, the ones who are 15-25 right now, when they finally realize the truth of the old maxim ‘The Internet Never Forgets’. No matter who you might hire to scrub your online presence prior to, say, a Senate bid …. there’s Stuff out there. Forever.

  2. The fact of the matter is that Kavanagh is going to be the next Supreme Court Justice. All the hand-wringing in the world won’t change it. Folks like Susan Collins have turned this into performative doubting, but at the end of the day, she still votes with her party. Flake and his ilk are no better. Words don’t equate with a voting record. I would be glad to be proven wrong, but I don’t envision this as happening.

    The Captain Marvel trailer makes me happy for the many nods to the comics (especially the brief glimpse of Carol in her helmet) and the appearance of one of Marvel’s classic villains. It also makes me happy to see the manbabies in the comments rending their shirts about how the wimmens are coming for their beloved comics. Their bitter tears are like nectar to me.

  3. I can’t even with the line of bull*&^% about “17 year olds shouldn’t face the consequences of their actions.” God, how many times was I told in high school that premarital sex would ruin my life w/ STDs and pregnancy. Oh right….consequences are for women.

  4. Thing is, the ‘Kavanaugh Standard’ does exist. It’s just that it’s being applied to mostly poor, disproportionately non-white 17 year-olds who commit a crime they’re prosecuted for — as adults. And sentenced accordingly. When they eventually get out of adult prisons, they find themselves “disqualified” from a lot more than a lifetime appointment to the Supreme Court of the United States for the rest of their lives.

    But, of course, the usual suspects on the right like this just fine.

    Let’s not pretend that if the exact same accusations were made against a Supreme Court nominee picked by a Democratic president, the right would be calling for that nominee’s withdrawal (at least).

    Indeed – or a while range of other things where “character’ would suddenly matter a great deal with no time limit.. Imagine we’re in a Mirror Universe where Hillary Clinton won the election, and a liberal jurist called Brett Kavanaugh is her nominee to join Merrick Garland on the Supreme Court. A woman comes forward alleging he had drunken but consensual sex with her when she was fifteen and he was seventeen. She got pregnant, and he paid for her abortion.

    Do you think for one-nanosecond the GOP and right-wing media would shrug their shoulder and say “Eh, teenage hijinks and ancient history! Move along.” My arse, they would.

  5. Wow! That is great GREAT news for MRK! I loved both Lady Astronaut books so much, and I’m excited to hear that TOR is valuing her work. I can’t wait for more books in this universe.

  6. To be perfectly fair, Liz, consequences are for anybody who isn’t the Right Sort of person. Women make up a large part of that group, but there are plenty more members. In this case (high school), though, I agree – I think it’s mainly a female:male divide. Plenty of us were raised to think that The Old Ways were the best ways. It’s changing the way we always change – slowly, by fits and starts, and with lots of pain and struggle. But it is changing.

  7. Way back in 1989, I had returned to college as an adult. One of my fellow students, a youngster in her early 20s, told me something to the effect that she didn’t do drugs and she didn’t do stupid things because she was a poly-sci major and intended a career in public service, and she didn’t want anything in her past that might prevent that. At the time, I was skeptical. Now I consider her brilliantly prescient. There was no internet at the time, yet she was forward-thinking enough to keep her nose clean in order to accomplish her goals. Imagine, a politician who understands delayed gratification.

    I don’t recall her name, or I’d track her down and see if she was successful in her quest. I bet she was/is.

  8. Somebody online pointed out that Ginsburg didn’t get approved because he’d once smoked weed, so we got the much older Kennedy instead, who Kavanaugh is being nominated to replace. Wonder if Ginsburg’s still available.

  9. This morning Senator Grassley told a radio interviewer that Christine Blasey Ford has IGNORED repeated efforts by his staff to make contact with her “in the last 36 hours.” Grassley suggested that the hearing could be cancelled if she doesn’t confirm her willingness to participate in Monday’s hearing.

  10. “1. Can we stop pretending that sexual assault is just average teenage hijinx? I went to high school in the same era as Kavanaugh, you know. Even in the benighted 80s, we fucking well knew that sexual assault was not within the scope of acceptable activities. I was there! I know this to be true!

    2. If you can’t or won’t agree that sexual assault is not your average teenage hijinx, one, what the fuck were you up to in high school, pal, and two, in fact, what you were doing in high school might be relevant to your senatorial confirmation, especially if you evince no actual moral growth from that point forward.”

    THIS. Whenever I hear this kind of argument (which means in pretty much every such discussion), my first thought is to wonder how many women that dude has raped. I mean, I understand how it’s uncomfortable to admit that something you always thought of as “getting laid” was actually a felony that might come back to haunt you — but do they even realize that they’re outing themselves?

  11. In another episode of “Republicans are flaming hypocrites”….

    Bill clinton draft dodger: wail!
    Trump draft dodger: so?
    Bill Clinton womanizer: wail!
    Trump womanizer: meh
    Obama smoked pot when young: wail!
    Kavanaugh tried raping a woman when young: meh

    Republicans have all the moral fortitude of a
    three year old caught with their hand in the cookie jar.

    “Captain Marvel” in March
    “Infinity War: The Conclusioning” in May.

    Whats the summer blockbuster then?

  12. “Captain Marvel” in March
    “Infinity War: The Conclusioning” in May.

    Whats the summer blockbuster then?
    Infinity War IS the summer blockbuster. These days the Summer Onslaught starts in the spring, specifically April. Both Shazam and the Robert Downey Jr. Dr. Doolite remake are both late April. The first Infinity War movie came out in April. August remains something of a deadzone, so they moved the start out instead of the end.

  13. 1. Great news about MRK. I loved the Lady Astronaut novella and just got the first of the books.

    2. I’m a LOT older than Kavanaugh (and John) and I knew back in the “Swingin’ 60s” that actions had consequences. My brother went briefly to a SUNY college and there was a (supposedly) consensual (um, how shall I put this?) incident of many guys having sex with one young women.

    All were expelled (but no, not arrested).

  14. To pile on to the hypocrisy listing:

    Under no circumstances should using your larger physical size to force yourself on a smaller, younger person at age 17 have any negative repercussions like forcing you to just stay in your high paying judge job and not take the super-duper-tippy-top judge job.

    But also: Age 18 is a totally reasonable time to expect someone to make a decision on shouldering a debt load that will likely be 10x their expected annual salary in the future, so let’s make it non-dischargeable in bankruptcy and remove any options for modification ever.

  15. I don’t know why more men aren’t completely offended by the whole “boys will be boys” thing. It basically assumes that men are animals who can’t control their impulses and shouldn’t be forced to. Same goes for any sexual-assault prevention strategy that puts the onus on women to protect themselves from a plague of ravenous phallus-bearing predators.

    Most of my friends are women, and somehow I manage to get through my day without raping, groping, or even catcalling any of them. Apparently I’ve been blessed with superhuman levels of libido control. But maybe, just maybe, these skills can be learned. How about, instead of teaching women how not to get raped, we start teaching men not to rape?

  16. First thought: Captain Marvel! Second thought: There are kids old enough to go see this movie who have never seen a Blockbuster store!
    Next thought: Having been a foster parent, you learn really quickly that the whole “innocent until proven guilty” thing is absolutely true. If you are white and rich. Otherwise, it is so much bull scheisse. Just once I’d like to see true equal treatment under the law regardless of race or economic clout.

  17. As a point of reference, Maryland law mandates that anyone 16 or older accused of attempted rape must be tried as an adult.

    So, are those “boys will be boys” conservatives willing to take action to revise the state’s legal code?

  18. I haven’t read MRK’s book(s) yet, but I can’t wait to do so! I have a feeling that next year’s Hugos are going to be a HELL of a slate. My early favorite is Catherynne Valente’s SPACE OPERA, but from what I’m hearing about MRK’s novels…wow!

  19. Kavanaugh will be confirmed anyway. As Wizardru pointed out above, we’ll have the normal performative handwringing from Collins, Flake et al and they’ll faithfully fall in line to vote to confirm him. Their problem with Trump is he uses the outside voice when being racist, sexist, and viciously cruel, not the inside voice like the rest of the Republicans.

    I think the allegations should remove him from consideration, but McConnell won’t be able to jam another candidate through before the mid-terms, even though the Dems won’t take the Senate, so he’ll be nodded onto the Supreme Court. McConnell isn’t going to take that risk and wants to get the Roe vs Wade removing vote on the SC.

    Tragically, Feinstein is still a better candidate for my senator than De Leon. Ug.

  20. We keep seeing evidence that Kavanaugh believes in protecting the powerful from the rest of us. This accusation just supports the personality which we don’t want in the Supreme Court.

  21. I am happy to see that the conservatives I respect agree that committing sexual assault as a minor is a disqualification for SCOTUS membership, good for them. I am sorry to see so many willing to condemn a man who has performed honorably over a single he said/she said with no additional evidence. People do make false assertions and mistaken assertions. Assumption of innocence with the lack of evidence is the moral position.

  22. Brett Kavanaughs HS yearbook page reads pretty bad – at least concerning his partying and drinking habits…

  23. I can completely understand why a 15 year old girl in the 1980s did not report what she said happened. I can understand why a college graduate who eventually obtains a doctorate would not report something she alleges happened over 10 years ago (then) since the statute of limitations had probably run and if not she is presumably an intelligent person who would have known that without any corroborating witnesses or forensic evidence a conviction would have been impossible. What I cannot understand is why she kept her silence during the three years(!) his nomination to the DC Circuit Court of Appeals was considered by the Senate between 2003 and 2006. If he did what she alleges she would have said something then, when there still was a filibuster for judicial nominations, that the Democratic Senators were using against some GWB nominees, including Judge Kavanaugh. I do not believe her now. Maybe the hearing will change my mind but I doubt it since it still comes down to her word against his and her failure to speak out until now has damaged her credibility.

  24. A very well deserved congrats for MRK, bravo.

    The nature of the denial from Kavanaugh screams of less than innocence. The “I was there” says the exact opposite. That is because no party or location had been mentioned by Ms. Ford.

    I have seen this kind of thing before, mainly by people with addiction problems that have lost some time, and a part of themselves. I doubt it will make a difference, he is a prince among Federalists.

  25. C Oppenheimer: As someone with a similar life experience to the woman in question–though I’m a bit older, and minus the attempted rape–I don’t pay and never have paid a whole lot of attention to confirmation hearings for the DC Circuit Court of Appeals. In fact, I’m not even sure I would have known WHAT the DC Circuit Court of Appeals was, at certain points of my life. I assume it was major political news that Kavanaugh’s confirmation hearings for the DC Circuit Court of Appeals took three years; I had no idea it was happening, at the time. The Supreme Court? I tend to pay attention to that one, and could probably name several of the failed (or controversially delayed) nominations over time, but not for any of the lesser courts.

    I doubt I’d even have noticed if someone I knew in high school–even someone who mattered to me at the time, who I remembered–was up for such a position, either, for that matter. This all may very well say something negative about me and my political awareness, but I really don’t think I’m all that unusual; a lot of people really don’t think that the Federal courts below the Supreme Court are all that important (though we of course should). So if that’s your only reason for not believing Ford, you might want to consider the possibility that she simply didn’t realize he was up for confirmation at that time, or even really didn’t care about his career until the Supreme Court came into play.

  26. “I do not believe her now. Maybe the hearing will change my mind but I doubt it since it still comes down to her word against his and her failure to speak out until now has damaged her credibility.“
    Obviously, the very real and plausible fear of being terminally silenced for making such accusations couldn’t have weighed on her mind. I mean, American politics is always based purely on mature consideration of the well corroborated facts, isn’t it?

  27. Honestly, having been in high school during the Anita Hill hearings, I can totally get why she wasn’t even comfortable coming forward now, and probably wouldn’t have without all the pressure on her. I’d like to think I’d have been brave enough to report something like this and be willing to deal with the harassment it entails, even knowing it might not prevent his nomination. But I don’t know since I’ve not been in her shoes, and it’s obviously not an easy decision.

  28. If Collins votes to confirm, I’m pretty sure Stephen King will make it his life’s work to end her. She should think very carefully. He’s a lot richer and a lot smarter than she is.

  29. Dear John,

    This will teach me not to read ahead, since the comment I just posted to yesterday’s “digest” is mostly reflected in your column today. Could’ve saved myself some trouble…

    But on a couple of points of yours today:

    A “Kavanaugh Standard”: Errr, for my entire adult life (20 years longer than yours) that’s been the operating standard in politics. For a long time it was about pot (everybody remember the infamous “… but I didn’t inhale?”). Or about serving in the military. That one is still current, except nowadays everybody who managed to legally avoid the draft or game the system gets called a draft dodger (which is about as accurate as saying everyone who exploits a loophole in the tax code is engaging in “evasion” — that is, not at all). Once all us Boomers age out and the draft is no longer germane, folks will come up with yet some new measure of juvenile “character” by which to attack their opponents.

    So, yeah, this Standard is the norm. And if it turns out that the new litmus-test-du-jour is sexual assault, I’m really good with that. At least we are castigating people for something SERIOUS.

    And

    It’s “political:” I am shocked, I tell you shocked. There are allegations of gambling going on in this establishment! Because Supreme Court nomination hearings are never, ever political.

    Really, kiddies, that’s usually the name of the game. It’s definitely been the name of the game the past several years. These particular hearings started out with purely political maneuverings by the Republicans to fast-track the hearings. Nothing illegal, to be sure, but definitely not following the established vetting practices and norms. For no good reason except that they wanted to ram this through fast. So, even if Feinstein timed the release of this information to slow down the hearings as much as possible — not proven — who the effin’ eff CARES?! If the Republicans get to try to speed up the clock, then it’s okay if the Democrats try to slow it down.

    Well, okay, there will be people who will object, people who think it’s fine to play political games when it’s working for their side but not for the other. But really… Them and the horses they rode in on.

    – pax / Ctein \ Ctein
    [ Please excuse any word-salad. Dragon Dictate in training! ]
    ======================================
    — Ctein’s Online Gallery. http://ctein.com 
    — Digital Restorations. http://photo-repair.com 
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  30. “If Collins votes to confirm, I’m pretty sure Stephen King will make it his life’s work to end her (I hope you intended to add to word ‘career’ or ‘tenure in the legislature’ here- I don’t think Stephen King is a murderer). She should think very carefully. He’s a lot richer and a lot smarter than she is.

  31. On the high side: good writing always matters. Recognition is even better. Kudos for this blog for its consistent showing off of talent in the field.

    On the other claw: politics. I’ve learned that truth and politics don’t usually mix. Right now I see tons of spin and wide reporting of an unproven allegation. Serious accusations for certain, but we live in a country founded on the principals that crimes must be proven before someone is held accountable. Public opinion does not count.

    We do have a man whose legal expertise and general qualifications are at the top of the field, something I want to see in any candidate for such an august position. Maybe this isn’t my blog, but I usually wait until I see actual proof instead of highly partizan hearsay to condemn a person. To do otherwise is to engage in the same witch hunt so rightly condemned from the Red Scare days.

  32. I’m not so sure he’s at the top of his field. There was an enormous outcry from the faculty and almuni of the Yale Law School when they endorsed him.

    Also, this is not a courtroom proceeding. There is no ‘reasonable doubt’ get out of jail free card. But of course, this is the sort of card played on any woman who accuses a man of sexual assault. ‘Where’s you proof, you lying liar?”

    I’m sure this professional woman wanted to throw her entire life away on this partisan whim.

  33. I don’t know what was in Ford’s mind when Kavanaugh was being confirmed to the DC circuit court, but I can say what was different then than now. Then, #metoo hadn’t happened yet. Bill Cosby was still a father figure (grandfather figure), known for his gentle humor. What happened with Anita Hill was still fairly fresh. Even more of the Senators who presided over Clarence Thomas’ confirmation we’re still ensconced in that committee. Bill Clinton got impeached, but didn’t get convicted in the Senate. OJ Simpson was found not guilty by a court of law. Why would she think she could make a difference?

    Also the circuit courts are important, but not very high profile. I can name two sitting circuit court judges, and one of them is Kavanaugh. The other is that guy Obama nominated who wasn’t given a chance. Can’t pull his name up from memory, so I guess I can only name one. On the other hand, I can name all nine, sorry, eight, of the current Supreme Court Justices. Their names come up regularly in the news and newsish media I frequent. Even this one. If she was aware of Kavanaugh’s nomination to the DC circuit, she may have felt that such an appointment wouldn’t affect her very much.

  34. We do have a man whose legal expertise and general qualifications are at the top of the field,

    Hehheh heh heh heh.

    How amusing.

  35. SUPER excited to learn that there are more Lady Astronaut books to look forward to! I liked Space Opera, but I loved-loved-LOVED The Calculating Stars and The Fated Sky. Can’t wait to see where the next volumes will take us!

  36. I think that there is something to think about here in the abstract beyond just this case. I think it would be good to know objectively what the burden of proof in these types of situations is. it has been stated that “beyond a reasonable doubt” is too high. If so, what is enough?

    – Anonymous statement?
    – Signed statement?
    – Signed statement with proof that you had proximity to the accused (Lived in same general area)?
    – Signed statement, proximity to accused, and description, date, and location of assault?
    – Signed statement, proximity to accused, date/description, and some sort of personal documentation regarding assault prior to statement?
    – Witnesses? Either during event or seeing victim in aftermath?
    – Medical records?
    – Police report?
    – Trial, no conviction?
    – Trial, conviction?
    – Confession by accused?

    I personally would be willing to kill his nomination if she can either present a witness who saw her leave the house in a distressed state or can produce medical records that show signs of an assault or altercation. Where do others draw the line?

  37. Dear JT,

    Oh, in a situation of this type, that’s not even a difficult question. He is not at any risk of loss. All he does is not get a job promotion. So, unless you’ve got a particular bit of “objective” evidence for considering his testimony more credible than hers, you go with the statistics. Which, as is been demonstrated by study after study (there aren’t any to contradict them that I know of), says that the preponderance of sexual assault reports are true. No matter when they are reported.

    Unless you have specific evidence that goes to this case, the odds say that he’s lying and she isn’t. So you go with the odds.

    If this was actually a punishment that was taking away something he already had, there might be reason to look for a higher standard. Or not. But in this case, no-brainer.

    – pax / Ctein \ Ctein
    [ Please excuse any word-salad. Dragon Dictate in training! ]
    ======================================
    — Ctein’s Online Gallery. http://ctein.com 
    — Digital Restorations. http://photo-repair.com 
    ======================================

  38. Kavanaugh: Ugh. Let’s hope somehow that he can be disposed of, and quickly.

    More Lady Astronaut books: Yay! They combine a social conscience that no doubt drives the Puppies, or perhaps Puppy-remnants, mad (always a good idea) with good old SF adventure!

  39. I’m still not convinced there’s going to be a hearing once the Republican senators figure out that this is a no win scenario for them. If they confirm the guy after this hearing, then they’re going to lose even more women voters. If they lose the vote, then the administration looks weak and the defectors get to take alot of heat they don’t need.

    The question is whether they try and hold a vote after claiming the woman “backed out” (true or not), and also whether that vote causes them extra pain with women voters. There’s plenty of other people who can do the job, so the only thing they really want to avoid is a long delay followed by no nominee before the election.

  40. JT said, ” I think it would be good to know objectively what the burden of proof in these types of situations is.”

    JT, in the court of public opinion, the burden of proof is whatever the individual juror says it is.

    In other words, you get to decide. And it sounds like you just did: “I personally would be willing to kill his nomination if she can either present a witness who saw her leave the house in a distressed state or can produce medical records that show signs of an assault or altercation.”

    Kudos for offering a clear evidential standard. After all, She who asserts must prove.

  41. JT: “. I think it would be good to know objectively what the burden of proof in these types of situations is. it has been stated that “beyond a reasonable doubt” is too high. If so, what is enough?”

    This is silly.

    When someone gets kicked off twitter for being an ass, their allies scream “this violates their first ammendment rights!” and “censorship!”.

    Thats silly too, for exactly the same reason. The right to free speech and the right to be protected from criminal conviction with anything less than beyond a reasonable doubt is a right protecting people from the government.

    THOSE RIGHTS DO NOT PROTECT THEM FROM OTHER PEOPLE.

    Private civilians can mute you on twitter. Twitter can kick you off their private platform. And they dont need reasonable doubt to do it, because they are not a criminal court of law. And when they do that sort of thing, it doesnt violate the first ammendment, because the first ammendment explicitly states “Congress shall make no law … abridging the freedom of speech”

    Criminal charges need to be proven by the state to a jury of the accused peers, beyond a reasonable doubt. That doesnt mean 100% certain, but that any doubts you have about their innocense are unreasonable and unrealistic doubts.

    Civil trials between two litigants must be proven by the litigant to the jury by a prepondersnce of evidence. In other words, the jury need only believe 51% that one side us telling the truth over the other side.

    That is the ONLY way in which “standards of proof” have any legal meaning.

    You want to believe the moon is made of cheese? You dont need any proof whatsoever to believe that to be true. You want to believe kavanaugh tried to rape ford? You, as a private civilian, dont need any evidence to hold that belief.

    Now, it IS true that stating as fact that someone did something can open you to a civil lawsuit for libel/defamation. And like any civil case, the person suing you only need to sway the jury to believe them 51% versus believing you.

    Saying “I believe ford” isnt neccessarily libel though, it is an expression of a belief or opinion, rather than a statement of fact. You might still get sued depending on who you are and who you are saying opinions about. But in general, there is ZERO legal requirement for any burden of proof for opinions or beliefs.

    So, please for the love of GOD can people stop pretending that a governments requirement to prove criminal charges to a jury beyond a reasonable doubt, has any bearing on civilians expressing beliefs and opinions?

    Nor does “beyond a reasonanle doubt” have any bearing on whether or not someone gets a job or not. Kavanaugh was nominated for a job. Nothing legally demands he get that job unless someone proves beyond a readonanble doubt that he did something bad.

    It is an important position, even a 50% belief that he tried to rape her is enough to NOT GIVE HIM THE JOB.

    note: i said “not give him the job”. I didnt say “have the government convict him of criminal charges”.

    So, you wanted to know OBJECTIVELY what the burden of proof is in this situation. And OBJECTIVELY speaking, there is none.

    Now, it might be true that when someone expresses a belief with zero evidence (forex: Obama was born in kenya) that they are being a world class douchenozzle. And you can express that belief that they are being a douchenozzle with no evidence too. (As long as everyone avoids libel/defamation that is).

    But objectively, that is the limit of any burden of proof.

    Now, if you want to explore, SUBJECTIVELY, what we can know and how we come to know it, there is a whole field of study of philosophy called epistomology that people have been subjectively struggling with for say ten thousand years. And it might be good to understand how we, subjectively, and philosophically, we come to know something.

    But casting doubt on accusations you dont like, simply because you dont like them, probably isnt it.

  42. Pedro: “After all, She who asserts must prove.”

    Funny. The word “he” is usually used as the default for the gender neutral pronoun. Sometimes “they”.

    The fact that you specifically said “she” would indicate you are singling out women as having to prove their accusations, implying that men do not.

    Which seems to -precisely- describe Republican rules for burden of proof.

  43. When you are discussing a lifetime appointment to be 11% of one of the branches of the U.S. government, I think the burden of proof is on the nominee to show he’s worthy. And there is no problem with the public or the mob, if you prefer, to be risk averse over the question of whom we place in unparalleled power over ourselves.

    Even if he is innocent, he is not entitled to any benefit of the doubt given the amount of power he wishes to claim over myself and so many other people. Homer once imagined a world without Krusty the Clown: “What’s on TV? Nutzo the Clown.” Judge Krusty can be replaced with Judge Nutzo who hopefully be worthy of a smidgeon more trust than the first nominee.

    Frankly Kavanaugh was always a sub-optimal candidate because he participated in too many overtly partisan activities. Usually they pick a jurist with a looser association with the day to day grit of political operations.

  44. @Ioan That seems like it would be a real stretch. The circumstances in that case were pretty peculiar, seeing as how her defense essentially turned the notion of the town being a ‘company town’.

  45. I’m super psyched for more Lady Astronaut! I just finished The Fated Sky and kept thinking there needs to be more to this!

  46. Ioan: “Marsh vs Alabama c̶a̶n̶ has been suggested by some blocked by twitter as a precedent against Twitter blocking you.”

    Fixed that for you

  47. Why do doubters always start off by saying theres no corroberating evidence?

    https://www.npr.org/2018/09/17/648803684/who-is-christine-blasey-ford-the-woman-accusing-brett-kavanaugh-of-sexual-assaul

    Therapist notes from 2012 couples counseling with ford and her husband describe the incident. Notes dont state kavanaughs name. Husband says she mentioned kavanaughs name. So the incident of attempted rape was documented years ago.

    https://www.cnn.com/2018/09/17/politics/mark-judge-brett-kavanaugh-high-school/index.html

    The guy Ford says was in the room? He wrote about the wild, alcohal swimming, parties they had in that school. And about someone named OKavanaugh throwing up in someones car.

    https://www.washingtonpost.com/politics/kavanaugh-accuser-willing-to-testify-her-lawyer-says/2018/09/17/21db2860-ba6c-11e8-9812-a389be6690af_story.html

    Kavanaugh had told that he was not present at the party in question — which prompted some to wonder how Kavanaugh could make such a claim given that Ford had never specified the exact date or location of the gathering.

    This isnt he said/she said.
    This is she said with corroberating evidence to back it up/he said he wasnt at that specific party when Ford never said specifically where/when the party took place.

    She has evidence that backs up certain details if her accusation. He denied being at a party that was never specified.

  48. There being more Lady Astronaut books on the way makes me squeal like the little girl I once was. I unreasonably adore those books!

  49. “4. But might it not also be wise to tell teens that all their lives will be affected by the choices they make as teenagers, including the choices they’re not aware they’re making? Is it not worth it to inculcate in their still-forming brains the idea that far-reaching consequences exist, even if they can’t yet fully understand these consequences may arise at a point that is a multiple of the years that they have currently been alive? And that their actions will have consequences for others, all through their lives as well?”

    You mean you’ll put it on their permanent record?

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