Harry Truman famously said that “If you want a friend in Washington, get a dog.” Trump campaign counsel Don McGahn appears to have given the same advice to international businessman Carter Page, who is at the center of the Russian influence scandal. While Page was referenced as an adviser during the campaign, McGahn sent him a letter telling him to stop calling himself “an advisor” — current or former. In other words, he was now not just a non-adviser. Page was now a non-entity for the purposes of the Trump team. As continued denials this week of any role of Page confirm, he has now joined a rather lamentable group in Washington: political orphans who wander the Beltway without a home or a friend. They are our untouchable class; people who move from high-profile existences to utter non-entities in the space of a news cycle. Continue reading
This week it was revealed that a New York Times editor has decided that the newspaper should not use the term “female genital mutilation” as “culturally loaded” and might insult “people who follow the rite.” It is the culmination of a trend across the country where students are being trained to spot and avoid any form of cultural bias, a push that can be highly beneficial or highly damaging in how one defines bias. At the risk of total social isolation, it may be time to speak in favor of cultural bias, at least when it comes to founding principles of human rights.
If you are one of those people who long to look dirty but not feel dirty, Nordstrom has the answer for you. The chain is selling a pair of $425 jeans that are designed to look covered in dirt to show that “you’re not afraid to get down and dirty.” They are called the “Barracuda Straight Leg Jeans” and they may be the single dumbest idea I have encountered this year.
President Barack Obama was at my alma mater yesterday and used his first public statements to decry how “special interests dominate the debates in Washington.” Then will now be setting off for his first speech . . . to Wall Street special interests at Cantor Fitzgerald, which will pay him $400,000. This is the same politician who called such banks “fat cats” who exercise undue influence over our leaders.
Below is my column in the Hill Newspaper on the investigation of former Rep. Aaron Schock (R-Ill), who attracted notoriety for his use of a Downton Abbey motif for the decoration of his office. Obviously a preference for haughty interiors should not be enough to generate a massive criminal investigation. However, the prosecutor in this case has pursued Schock with utter abandon, including trampling over long-established protections accorded to Congress. Regardless of the merits of the fraud allegations against Schock, the investigation raises troubling questions of constitutional law and Congress should hold hearings into the violation of Article I.
Drexel University Professor George Ciccariello-Maher is an unabashed lightning rod for controversy. Last Christmas, he wrote how he longed for “white genocide”. Then recently he wrote how he wanted to “vomit” when an airline passenger gave up his first class seat to a soldier. It is chilling and obnoxious rhetoric, but he made these comments on his private social media sites. The investigation by Drexel appears to be the direct result of donors threatening to withdraw support for the university. As such, it is a highly troubling intrusion into the right of free speech of faculty.
It appears that being shy could now be part of the ever-widening and ill-defined ranger of “micro aggressions.” Oxford’s Equality and Diversity Unit has issued a statement to student that avoiding eye contact or “not speaking directly to people” could be deemed a “racial microaggression.” Such a failure to maintain eye contact is cited as a possible cause for “mental ill-health”.