The Whatever Digest, 9/21/18
Posted on September 21, 2018 Posted by John Scalzi 39 Comments
I’m at the airport with two and a half hours before my flight boards. Enough time for a digest!
So apparently the big attempt to defect from Kavanaugh’s allegedly sexually assaulting past was for a key Republican operative to launch a conspiracy theory Twitter thread saying it was actually someone else who attacked Ford, and she got confused because all jock-y white male teens look alike? Two things here:
1. Kathleen Parker’s “maybe there was a doppelganger” column in the Washington Post yesterday now looks even more embarrassing, because clearly she was drafting off this particular juggernaut of idiocy, and perhaps the Pulitzer committee might want to think about rescinding her award;
2. This truly is the stupidest timeline possible. I mean, I wasn’t really doubting that, given the preponderance of evidence, but it’s depressing to be reminded with such frequency.
What’s particularly horrifying is that Ed Whelan, the mastermind behind this particular wodge of bullshit, actually named someone else as the potential sexual assaulter, a dude named [deleted because on second thought it doesn’t do any good to spread his name around], who currently teaches at a middle school and who is the very definition of a private citizen. This is essentially an open-and-shut defamation case, and I expect [defamed person] is neck-deep in lawyers wanting to represent him, because this is some easy money right here. Ford has flatly said that it wasn’t [defamed person] who attacked her, so this one conspiracy theory which has fallen with a splat.
Over at Talking Points Memo, Josh Marshall makes the point that it’s unlikely that Whelan moved forward without at least some sort of coordination with the Kavanaugh camp, which if it’s true is yet one more reason Kavanaugh shouldn’t be allowed anywhere near the Supreme Court. Someone who would countenance throwing an innocent person under a bus in a (mixed metaphor here) Hail Mary pass attempt to clear his own name is not a moral person, or a good person. In fact, if it’s true, he’s complete shit.
Also, at this point, after last’s night hugely embarrassing Twitter fracas, one has to wonder how there is still any support for Kavanaugh among Senate Republicans, other than sheer myopic cussedness. He’s an astounding liability, someone credibly accused of sexual assault nominated to the bench primarily to overturn Roe v. Wade, and if you don’t think women aren’t already pissed off, just you wait. They would be better off at this point simply telling Kavanaugh to pack it in and then picking someone who could actually stand up to vetting (if they can, who knows with this clown car of an administration). Nearly anyone else would be better at this point. Any one of my cats would be better.
But of course they won’t, because we have stupid people in charge, and a president who can’t ever back down from anything because he’s weak and a bully. So here we are.
Why am I at the airport? I’m off to NYC to do a little business and to see some friends, basically. Also it’s a nice time of year to be in New York. Before anyone asks, I’m not doing any public events, sorry. Just work stuff and a little personal time. Also maybe to go in for a slice, say “You call this pizza?!?!?” and pull out a Chicago deep dish from my backpack and eat it in the shop, never breaking eye contact with the horrified pizza shop employees. Okay, maybe not that last one. I don’t actually have a death wish.
Congratulations to the Cleveland Browns, who last night not only didn’t lose, but actually managed to win a game, their first since Christmas Eve in 2016. The fact that much of Ohio went a little nuts about that one win says a lot about the state of Browns football, and maybe a little about Ohio. Meanwhile the Bengals, 2-0, wonder what the big deal is. Stay cool, Bengals. Stay cool.
That’s it for the Digest this week. It’ll be back on Monday. To get you through until then, here’s Smudge on my luggage this morning. Have a great weekend, the last of summer and the first of fall.
Pizza. I lived in Connecticut for 26 years, and my brother has lived in Chicago for about 30 years, so I’m familiar with both Chicago and New Haven pizza traditions. What the rest of the country calls a NY style pizza originated in New Haven. As for Chicago, there are two main types of local pizza there: the deep dish everybody knows about, and another really great thin crust style that’s baked in large flat sheets and cut into square pieces. For both styles, one of the keys is a little bit of cornmeal in the crust to give it a special texture.
You forget that the president folds frequently, but is very good at putting the blame elsewhere.
I guess I should do my morning calls to my senators…
The other response seen is “ah, it was just a teen sexual assault, no biggie“, which is quite revealing as to these people’s state of mind.
Smudge has a goatee: a hipster cat.
Come now. Mr. Kavanaugh is fully as qualified to sit on the SC as Donald Trump is to sit in the Oval Office. No more, though.
Love your analysis. Thank you.
Aww, Smudge looks like he’s saying “take me with you”.
The GOP is stuck with Kavanaugh. He gives their evangelical base what it desperately wants—a vote to overturn Roe v. Wade. If Kavanaugh is sacked now it would be extraordinarily difficult to get another nominee through the process before the election, and if the GOP loses the Senate it seems unlikely that Trump will get *any* of his SCOTUS nominees through for the remainder of his term. So it’s not myopic cussedness (though they clearly have that) making them hang onto this guy, it’s just realpolitik. The fact is that they have painted themselves into a corner—whether they get Kavanaugh through or not, the outrage at his nomination will likely only fuel a blue wave come Election Day. If they are screwed either way, they might as well stick with the guy. If nothing else, regardless of what happens in the election, getting Kavanaugh on the court would move SCOTUS further to the right, probably for at least a generation. A Pyrrhic victory, but still a victory of sorts.
Interestingly, there’s a Chris Garrett (also middle school teacher) amongst the Georgetown Prep alumni that signed the letter of support for Kavanaugh’s Supreme Court nomination:
Matthew is absolutely correct about the various Chicago styles (we often call that second one “pub pizza”).
And someone noted that this 1-1-1 start for the Browns is their best start since 2-1 in 2011. That’s…sad.
I’ve been catching up on these posts and am writing with thanks for them. I’m especially glad to know that it’s fun for you to write Whatever, to have got the clarification on your political stance, and as always, more cat and sunset photos. Have a safe and enjoyable trip. I now take photos from my hotel room too. Thank you.
Let’s start a campaign – Sugar for Supreme Court!
If you go for pizza, bring your own knife and fork. They may not have them. Also, you know, single-use plastics.
“Death wish”? Nah, a Chicago pizza might be heavy, but it won’t kill you.
(But the “pull out a pizza from my backpack” reminds me of one of SeananMcGuire’s recent tweets, about getting on an airplane with her friends and announcing that she had backpack pizza for them, distributing it like a god of snack foods and chaos.)
(My take on Chicago pizza is that it’s a perfectly nice tomato casserole, and is good food in spite of not actually being pizza.)
A Montgomery County Soap Opera that writes itself.
I’m disappointed to see that you named Kavanaugh’s “doppelganger”. That’s a rare ethical lapse for you. Perhaps you could remove his name?
Was Kavanaugh involved at all in prepping Whelan’s story? If so, he should be toast, and he should lose his appeals court seat as well.
I would enjoy cell phone video of the Crocodile Dundee Pizza Incident.
Theophylact said, “Was Kavanaugh involved at all in prepping Whelan’s story? If so, he should be toast, and he should lose his appeals court seat as well.”
The Dems will get the chance to ask Judge Kavanaugh that very question on Monday, when he testifies before the Senate Judiciary Committee. Under oath.
Wild, Wild Horses . . .
Perhaps it dawned on someone that the “boys will be boys” argument undermined Kavanaugh’s claim of innocence. The mistaken identity argument being floated looks like an attempt to allow Kavanaugh’s defenders to say “he is innocent” and “I believe her” and “boys will be boys” (just not our boy!).
The more horrible he gets, the more he upsets liberals. The more he upsets liberals, the sweeter it will be for conservatives when his confirmation is rammed through on a party-line vote. So I think they’re not going to back down.
Smudge is no dummy. He already knows that those bags mean his furniture is going away for a while and he’ll do what he can to stop it.
Matthew, In. Your. Dreams.
ALL later pizza places, in New York, New Haven, etc. stemmed from Lombardi’s. I like Frank Pepe, but look up when they opened.
Frank Pepe – 1925.
Lombardi’s – 1905.
Yeah, now that you mention it, it doesn’t serve much purpose to keep his name in there. I took it out. Thanks.
Steve M. at No More Mister Nice Blog makes a good case that the Kavanaugh nomination is all about pwning the Libs. Therefore pulling him and replacing him with an equally reactionary but untainted and confirmable substitute would be seen by Trumpistas as an EPIC FAIL.
“Someone who would countenance throwing an innocent person under a bus in a (mixed metaphor here) Hail Mary pass…”
I dunno, I think it works. Just imagine said football player getting flattened by a bus trying to catch the ball.
With regards to a potential defamation suit against Whelan, I know you read Popehat, John, and his opinion is that it’s far from open and shut. A suit might get pretty far (i.e., survive an anti-SLAPP motion), and would cost Whelan tens or hundreds of thousands in legal fees, but is still a very long shot.
That is quite possibly the most photogenic cat ever. :)
I am totally favor of Smudge for Supreme Court. Then we use his appointment as a springboard to get Sugar and Spice into the White House. We just have to decide who will be president and who will be vice-president.
Howard’s comment at 10:01 am also gives the “doppelganger’s” name.
Waiting for the picture of Smudge sitting inside one of the Scalzi travel bags and poking his head out as if this is perfectly normal.
Something worth noting: Whelan apparently used a conservative PR firm to help churn up interest in the story, CRC Public Relations. The firm was involved in the Swift Boat smear campaign and is currently employed by the Federalist Society and the Judicial Crisis Network, two heavy backers of Kavanaugh.
[Name deleted] wasn’t merely thrown off the bus. He was accused of attempted rape. Also note that “boys will be boys” didn’t apply to the (innocent) Central Park Five, ages 14-16, who Trump said should be executed. He said that even after they were found innocent.
Kavanaugh is a two-fer. He can overturn Roe and his opinion that a sitting president can’t be indicted. Win-win for the Repubs and Trump.
I still want to know who paid off K’s debts.
My wife is from New York. She’s taken me to several places for real New York Pizza. Every pizza I’ve ever had in New York has been uniformly dreadful. New York loves shitty pizza. That’s all I can figure.
One of the many theories of the writing of Shakespeare’s plays is that they weren’t written by Shakespeare, but by someone else of the same name. Possibly we have a similar confusion here?
Or possibly not …
“Also, at this point, after last’s night hugely embarrassing Twitter fracas, one has to wonder how there is still any support for Kavanaugh among Senate Republicans, other than sheer myopic cussedness.”
The accusation is a plus. :See feminists, you have no power. A man can do what he wants to a woman and we will still promote him, protect his career and see he doesn’t suffer consequences.”
The, connections here are creepy. The White House gets Dr Ford’s name from the Post before they run their storyand gives it to whom? Also before the story runs, Whelan is snooping around Ford’s LinkedIn page. Whelan gets CRC’s help to float his story, and Sen Hatch says Ford’s “just mixed up”. Turns out CRC also lent Sen Grassley an aide to manage the Kav process, and he’s just resigned because of – guess what? – sexual harassment accusations at a previous job.
These people. They’re all dirty.