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.
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.
If you like your misogyny with a heavy serving of irony, you could do no better than the United Nations this week after Saudi Arabia was elected to a 2018-2022 term on the Commission on the Status of Women, the U.N. agency that, according to its website, is “exclusively dedicated to the promotion of gender equality and the empowerment of women.” As with Iran being put on the Commission, the irony would be humorous if there were not millions of victims over decades of abuse by these countries. Previously, Saudi Arabia taking over the top spot on the Human Rights Commission was viewed as unbelievable, but the entry on the Commission on the Status of Women sets a level of irony that may be unsurpassable.
There is an interesting finding from a Washington Post poll that is rather buried in the story: “The new survey finds 46 percent saying they voted for Clinton and 43 percent for Trump, similar to her two-point national vote margin. Asked how they would vote if the election were held today, 43 say they would support Trump and 40 percent say Clinton.” Given Trump’s dismal popularity (perhaps the least popular president in the first 100 days in office since the start of modern polling), it was a surprising result. It comes at a time when Clinton has been listing a number of reasons for her historic defeat . . . except for herself. This includes her explanation (and her supporters) that it was not Clinton but self-hating, misogynistic women who could not vote for any woman for President.
Western Kentucky University’s Student Government Association has passed a resolution that declares standardized scores as a tool for “white supremacy.” They also demanded reparations for African-American students by guaranteeing free tuition.
We have previously discussed how some schools are abandoning the use of traditional pronouns to reflect a growing list of possible genders for students. Brown University has pushed these changes even further in its acceptance letters this year by using “they” as the “gender-inclusive” pronoun. Thus the letter refers to “their” achievements when referring to the singular admitted student. For many, the use of such plural pronouns for a single individual is confusing and ungrammatical. However, the Associated Press recently adopted the use of “they” as a preferred pronoun in recognition of transexual and other individuals who may not be comfortable with traditional genders.