The Whatever Digest, 9/27/18
Posted on September 27, 2018 Posted by John Scalzi 41 Comments
Let’s start with a cat picture, shall we?
There. Whatever else happens with the day, you’ve still had a cat picture. And that’s something!
No, I won’t be watching the Kavanaugh/Ford thing today. I have a very nice television and I don’t want to break it by throwing a shoe at it. Also, my home Internet is still down (the technician is coming today, presumably; presumably they should be here by now, so you can tell everything is going swimmingly there), so watching it there is probably iffy. I could get the live feedback from Twitter, but that’s going to be nothing but rage, even if justifiably so. My plan is to catch the transcript after. Reading will be quicker and probably slightly less infuriating.
I’m still flummoxed — but I suppose I’m not, really — at the GOP’s utter persistence with keeping Kavanaugh as their pick for the court. Court nominees have been derailed for much less than this, Kavanaugh is deeply unpopular, and he is causing the GOP to hemorrhage support from women. Again, the optics of the GOP pushing hard to seat on the court a man credibly accused by three women in sworn affidavits of sexually harassing behavior, to be the key vote in overturning Roe v. Wade (or simply whittling it down to nothing while still technically keeping it on the books) is the perfect example of a pyrrhic victory. But then today’s GOP is not much for thinking ahead; it’s how it got Trump.
I’m also less than sympathetic to the GOP and its supporters being outraged that Kavanaugh is somehow being held to the same standard that the GOP expects everyone but them to be held to. The mewling about they’re destroying an innocent man! when they would literally leap over their hobbled, inform grandmothers to do the same to anyone else in a similar circumstance (and have) is instructive. Also, it’s pretty clear that whatever Kavanaugh is, “innocent” almost certainly isn’t it; we have more than enough testimony to strongly suggest that in high school and in college, he was an arrogant, harassing piece of shit, surrounded by other arrogant, harassing pieces of shit.
Now, you may or may not think that it’s fair that he’s being judged today on being a harassing piece of shit in high school and college, but remember that not all that long ago, we had at least one candidate for the Supreme Court withdrawn because he smoked pot in college and immediately afterward. If we’re going to disqualify someone for toking up, I think we can take seriously some college-age sexual assault. Kavanaugh should have been dumped some time ago; if these were normal times, he would have been dumped some time ago. These are not normal times.
Oh, but hey, Cosby’s in prison now! So that’s something.
My local newspaper wrote up a story about me meeting up with JK Rowling, based on our mutual tweets about the meet-up; I didn’t speak to the paper about it and had no knowledge the (brief) story was being written up, so I was surprised and amused when I saw it. I’m not entirely sure our hanging out rises to the level of actual news, but then again, this is a classic “local man leaves town, does a thing” sort of story, isn’t it. I’m glad they were excited. I wonder what they would do if I told them I had dinner with George RR Martin last month.
The story wondered if Rowling and I were intending to do a project together, and the answer to that is: Outside of possibly meeting up again when I’m London next year, no. Not everything is about business. Sometimes you hang out with people just because you want to hang out with people.
There, we’re all caught up. Let’s get on with the day.
Don’t be surprised if Republicans are doing this in order to skip the next (equally bad) candidate through.
I think Vann Newkirk nailed it this morning: https://www.theatlantic.com/politics/archive/2018/09/trump-kavanaugh-and-limits-male-power/571495/
I liked the tail end of the story on dayton.com: “Could the two superstar authors have been talking up some magical collaboration?” So, superstar, any news?
I often find the reactions of our opposition a reliable barometer. The right fought Obamacare tooth and nail because they knew (limited as it is) it was a game-changer that wouldn’t go away. Now they sense, if not the death, at least the marginalization of one of the biggest manifestations of misogyny: bro culture. Although this whole circus is painful to witness – and a million times more painful for the brave women at the center of it – it’s a good thing.
I do think Kavanaugh is cooked – the big Mormon women’s group came out against him yesterday and several committee members are Mormon. But even if he’s disastrously put on the court, the culture is clearly getting less sexist.
” I wonder what they would do if I told them I had dinner with George RR Martin last month.”
Did you ask him when winds of Winter is coming out?
this is also very good: https://slate.com/news-and-politics/2018/09/brett-kavanaugh-allegations-yearbook-male-bonding.html
What really strikes me about Kavanaugh is not merely given a list of ideologically pure judges, Trump instinctively went for the obnoxious frat bro. That is not in the least bit surprising. Rather, this whole thing could have been made to go away had it been handled with a modicum of sense at the start. Play the “I did some really stupid things in my teens. Then I grew up” card. Expand on this as necessary. But instead he went the “stupid and obvious lie” route (removing any lingering question as to why Trump sees a kindred spirit in him) with the risible virgin choir boy shtick. This line simply compels reactions from everyone who knew him and is unwilling to lie about how he acted back in the day. The Republicans have devolved to the point where all they know is to lie for the benefit of their base, who are the only ones willing to pretend to believe them.
I guess this means that I will have to wait on “Albus Dumbledore: CDF Recruit”
re: why kavanaugh, I think (?) it was also part of the deal with kennedy. So kennedy agrees to retire on the condition that his replacement is acceptable to him. and kavanaugh was the only occupant of the venn diagram that was conservative enough and clerked for/had a relationship with kennedy. Not a clue what this means for kavanaugh washing out. I assume retiring from the supreme court is a no backsies thing.
They are insistent on Kavanaugh because there probably isn’t time to push through another nominee before January. After that, the Democrats may have a majority in the Senate and Trump’s ability to get the nominee he wants will be seriously limited. If I were the Dems in that position I would refuse to give a hearing to any nominee other than Merrick Garland, the man who should already be on the court right now.
Perhaps the journalist at your local paper, like most of the rest of us, are searching for any good, innocuous, good news that can be passed without raising the feathers of the other tribes. Harry Potter in Old Man’s War sounds like a needed diversion, like cat pix.
I. regretfully, am drawn like a moth to the Kavanaugh thing. I can not understand why not getting to be a Supreme Court Justice would ruin someone’s life. I can understand that a predator can destroy many lives on the quest for the top.
Kavanaugh is a predator, that is clear. I have rarely seen as brave a face as Ms. Ford is showing.
You mean ‘Old Man’s Wizard’ is not going to be a thing? Or ‘Hogearts: The Burrito Wars’?
rrhersh, “I did some stupid things, but I grew up” works for drinking and drugs, not so well for sexual assault.
It’s shocking to me that he was even nominated, given the secrecy, the debt patterns, and the obvious lack of competent vetting.
That’s the look of a cat on a Mission. Local rodents, beware!
Darn it. I was looking forward to OLD MAN’S NARGLES.
Kavanaugh is a sleezebag.
It seems pretty clear the only reason republicans are backing him is because (1) its better to have a republican sleezebag scotus than anything a dem-controlled senate might approve. (2) Trump is incapable of admitting a mistake. (3) the gop has become a party of its extremist base because polls have shown moderate republicans will tend to stay home and not vote at all rather than vote for a democrat. So an energized base can make up for moderates who decide not to vote at all. (4) trump is using kavanaugh as the horn of helm hammerhand to try and activate the old boys network, cause he is going to need it to avoid impeachment.
John wrote: “These are not normal times.”
Hate it when I get the grand pattern all figured out, then some radical politician with a twitter account comes along and t-bones the whole thing.
The “we empathise with her pain, but she is mistaken when she thinks he was the one who caused it” strategy was very smart, considering the lack of material evidence and the unreliability of human memory, and it could still work. The “I was a sheltered and innocent choir boy” was very stupid. (… Maybe we can “empathise” that his denial reflect sincerely the facts as he remembers them, on the ground that his brain would erase the traumatic recollection of such a shameful behavior so at odds with how he sees himself…?)
Quite likely, selection process will go ahead, a message to women to refrain from “destroying” bright boys’ reputation.
In an interview yesterday, the “wordsalad-in-chief” said, somewhere in the logorrhea, that he could change his mind and go for “number 2”. Either he did this to placate the journalists, or he is preparing the ground for a change of heart…
Writers, misanthropist and cats!
I think if the local paper printed the dinner with Martin news, it would have instantly combusted.
Is that Sugar or Spice in the picture? I always get the two confused.
Kavanaugh says he “prays for the woman.” What, saying Ford’s name will cause Kavanaugh to instantly melt away? Which one of the three women he allegedly assaulted is he referring to? And is his prayer from the same prayer book Republicans go to when they do jack shit about preventing future mass shootings?
… One would think, https://www.tor.com/2018/09/26/excerpts-john-scalzi-the-consuming-fire-chapter-two/ is worth being part of the digest, right?
Thank God for that! I’ve been watching the Senate proceedings; he’s ranting, completely out of control. If he’s like that now God only knows what he was like as a teenager.
Secondly, Admittedly I was mistaken for JK Rowling last year so, but nothing to bother me….
Good god, this guy is a whackadoodle.
I see why trump likes him so much.
I am loving this. The repuks are destroying themselves. Blue wave? More like Blue tsunami. This is the last gasp of the gop, they are done, finished, over. Impeachment proceedings should start about April of next year, it’s going to be long, we can enjoy every minute of it.
Lindsey Graham accused Democrats of wanting to hold the seat open in hopes of winning in 2020. The audacity! The very notion!
Dude, go talk to Mitch McConnell and make sure he’s okay with you pursuing that line of attack.
“when they would literally leap over their hobbled, inform grandmothers to do the same”
Senator Graham is the Republican equivalent of a weather vane. Judging from his performance this afternoon, looks like the Senate Republicans have achieved ramming speed.
Hogwarts: The Collapsing Academy would be wonderful. The currents of magic are changing, and soon everything the wizards know will be obsolete.
Trump wants Kavanaugh because he’s the only one on the list from the Federalists who is on record as being against indicting a sitting President. The Republicans in the Senate are afraid of Trump supporters wrath, and they’re afraid that they could lose the Senate and end up not being able to fill the approve a Trump Federalist nominee. Even if they lose the Senate, there’s still the lame duck session between the election and the swearing in of the new Senators next year.
Alright people, who doxxed the Senate Republicans yesterday?
Trump’s view (on earlier accusations ) is “You’ve got to deny, deny, deny and push back on these women .. If you admit anything and any culpability, then you’re dead.”
The Republican party seems to feel that since it’s held its nose and supported Trump it should get some payback, in particular control over the Supreme Court; and withdrawing Kavanaugh’s nomination would mean that a history of sexual assault might disqualify someone from public positions, which leads back to Trump.
And the timing is critical – #MeToo is gaining influence, and more and more women are coming forward as Democratic candidates, and more and more women voters are leaving the Republican party. The Republicans may see Kavanaugh as their last chance.
1) If Kavanaugh’s nomination and approval are a pyrrhic victory, it might still be worth it – it’s unlikely Kavanaugh would be impeached, and he can influence law and defend Trump (or whatever other bad humans the Republicans decide to choose) for thirty years or so. People win and lose elections, but the inability for them to actually make laws is significant.
2) I’ve not been sure what the Republicans are thinking (other than answering “What would Cththulu do?”, repeatedly), but I’m not sure why saying that attempting to rape someone is simply “youthful highjinks” is better than saying that Ford is lying. In the former case, you’re saying that it shouldn’t be a crime (despite repeated evidence that it does a lot of harm), while in the latter, you’re saying that this instance might not be. Both aren’t helpful, but one seems less helpful. (Women are tired of not having their claims believed for crimes that do not appear to have a greater false accusation rate than most other crimes (for which people’s claims are believed until evidence shows they can’t be)(see http://eprints.uwe.ac.uk/25256/1/False%20allegation%20paper%202%20October%202017.pdf), and that it looks bad when you always say that the people accusing people you like of bad things are always wrong and liars, but even so…)
3) It seems…interesting that most of the Twitter people defending Kavanaugh are proclaiming Ford inconsistent or lying, while Kavanaugh’s friends and supporters seem to be relying on the “youthful hijinks” defense. That doesn’t seem complimentary to Kavanaugh, and looks even worse on the defenders. It also asks questions that his defenders and friends don’t want to answer (from Kavanaugh, “Are you guys my friends?”, and from other people, “Is this the standard you walk by?”).
Don’t count your Pyrrhic victories before they happen.
The American Bar Association gave a unanimous “well qualified” endorsement of Kavanaugh when he was nominated. Yesterday, after Ford testified, they said there should be a full fbi investigation into the accusations before any confirmation vote happens.
Merrick Garland waited 238 days as republicans dragged their feet until a new president could ge th in and nominate someone else.
Kavanaugh was nominated less than 90 days ago and now republicans say the proper time to vote is now.
To be a republican today is to be a flaming hypocrite.
It looks like it’ll be pretty Pyrrhic, but I thought there wouldn’t be a victory two years ago, either, so my crystal ball might be smudged (not in a good way).
I’m not sure what principles the Republican party has. Limited government and fiscal probity long went away, and the personal and moral qualities that they have proclaimed and used to live up to seem to have been delegated to only those they dislike. They rejected the racial equality that gave the government and their economic system moral power. Hypocrisy implies that you care about being held to external principles. At this point, the operative principle seems to be “Just win.” For all of how bad it looks, it’s working. No one’s told them in a way they can’t ignore that they should stop.
Someone should do a video montage of every single douchebag republican senator and blowhard who said during Garlands confirmation that we need to wait, that the supreme court is too important to rush, and just jam them together in a Jon Oliver-style slam. Beat them over the head with their own words.
Greg, we get it that you hate Republicans, but do any Republicans actually visit Whatever?
I thought some did sometimes. I didn’t read when Scorpius was here.
Oh no, someone is pointing out blatant republican hypocricy. Quick, someone complain about all the “hate”. Maybe shed a tear. Oh, hi pedro.
Greg, don’t do that.