I just returned from a terrific event at Christopher Newport University on Constitution Day — a debate with Professor John Yoo. While we were delighted by the large number of students who appeared to listen to the debate, we discussed the recent poll on the lack of knowledge of citizens. A recent poll by the Annenberg Public Policy Center (APPC) found that, in a survey of over 1,000 citizens, only a quarter were able to name all three branches of the federal government. We just discussed the poll showing that four out of ten Americans cannot name a single right under the first amendment. Once again, these polls leave us with the troubling prospect of a woefully uneducated public on their own government.
Rep. Maxine Waters (D-Calif.) has become an icon for the left in her unrelenting calls for impeachment of President Donald Trump and tapping into the blind rage across the country. That appeal to the base however took a worrisome turn this week as Waters rallied supporters around the assurance that impeachment is anything they want to say it is. As I stated recently to the Rolling Stones, this view was made popular by Gerald Ford and has been uniformly condemned by constitutional experts. Waters is dismissing the constitutional obligation to find “high crimes and misdemeanors” in assuring supporters that they can simply get rid of Trump on a muscle vote. Political convenience has long been the enemy of constitutional principle, but this effort is highly dangerous for our country as a whole. We are living in an age of rage and Waters’ approach would create an channel to direct that lethal rage into the heart of our political system.
The United States Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit has reinstated the defamation lawsuit against Rolling Stone by the Phi Kappa Psi fraternity. The decision by Judge Katherine Forrest is an interesting application of the rarely successful “group defamation” claim. The decision comes as the Rolling Stone magazine itself has been put up for sale. As I have previously written, the editors failed on almost every level in the scandal, including failing to fire author Sabrina Erdely for the article alleging the gang rape of a freshman identified as “Jackie” at the University of Virginia. The panel in Elias v. Rolling Stone, 16-2465-cv, consisted of U.S. Circuit Judges José Alberto Cabranes and Raymond Lohier Jr., with U.S. District Judge Katherine Forrest of the Southern District of New York sitting by designation. The vote was 2-1.
On college campuses, faculty and students are facing new microaggression rules of ill-defined terms or images that, while not expressly racist, still constitute offensive speech. This week the President of Lipscomb University, Randy Lowry, apologized for hosting African American students at his house with a display containing cotton. Likewise, in Killeen, Texas. Hobby Lobby has been criticized on Facebook by Daniell Rider for selling cotton decor products because it raised painful memories of slavery. The Cotton Industry (which advertises “Cotton: The Fabric Of Our Lives”) has not been heard from on the latest claim of cotton as a fiber microaggression.
Below is a column that I wrote for the Hill Newspaper in response to a “fact checker” column by the Washington Post. I have written for the Washington Post and have great respect for the publication. Indeed, I have objected to the attacks by President Donald Trump on the Post and the New York Times which remain two of our premiere journalistic organizations. However, I was frankly floored by the column by Glenn Kessler in criticizing White House Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders. I have discussed previously how there has been a palpable bias in reporting on the Trump Administration. It is often that case that some journalists are not simply satisfied with disagreeing with the Administration. They sometimes take judgment calls or opinions and declare the Trump side to be simply factually incorrect. This relieves the need for readers to address the opposing view of controversies like the alleged misconduct of former FBI director James Comey. Those views are simply dismissed as untrue. This is a prime example.
Here is the column:
If the Eagles running game was not what it was hoping for, they might want to draft the network camera crew. In the video below, a camerman literally runs over a cheerleader. To the cheerleader’s credit, she jumps up and continues to perform despite being plowed under the cameraman. The video would seem to confirm negligence, though the cameraman could argue comparative negligence when the cheerleader moved forward in the dance number. Fortunately, the cheerleader reportedly is doing fine.