My Quick Take on the Ford/Kavanaugh Hearings

I watched every bit of the Senate Judiciary Hearings and testimony of Professor Ford and Judge Kavanaugh today with great interest. (I was supposed to be working on a book deadline!)

I thought Professor Ford was very compelling in telling her story. She was poised, gracious, polite, careful and articulate. Anyone can tell this has weighed on her tremendously.

I can say the same for Judge Kavanaugh. He was very compelling as well.

So what happens from here?

Well, we need to remember what this hearing was and was not about. It was not a criminal proceeding. As was mentioned by the Committee today, there is no Statute of Limitations for what Professor Ford claims was done to her in Maryland. She can pursue criminal justice there.

What this was about today was simply letting two different people present their story around a particular incident to the Senate Judiciary Committee, and thus, the whole Senate. They are they ones who  will be voting on whether Judge Kavanaugh should be confirmed to the Supreme Court. Each Senator can now make up their minds about what they think given the two testimonies today. Is it a complete investigation? Of course not. It is not intended to be. It is not a court of law.

But the Committee investigated (which the Democrats on the Committee did not participate in) and each side had a lengthy and fair hearing and any member of the committee could ask any question of either Judge Kavanaugh or Professor Ford and do so before the world.

Professor Ford was accommodated in every way that she and her lawyers requested, save for her requested for confidentiality was violated when the media discovered who she was.  At that point, only Diane Feinstein’s office knew of her allegation.

It must be noted that Professor Ford presented no evidence. Only her accusation and her own recollection of the events. The people she said could corroborate her story – the names that she herself gave, one being a life-long friend – not only did not corroborate, but said the party described did not happen. Not just that they not recall it, they state it did not happen.

On top of this, Judge Kavanaugh was able to produce very detailed calendars/journals from that year showing that he was not in town but two times over the weekends of those years. (He picked up the habit of keeping a very detailed, daily calendar of what he did from his father, he told the committee.) He gave copies of that calendar/diary to the members of the Committee. No one – Republican or Democrat – questioned the reliability of the calendar for making conclusions relative to Professor Ford’s accusation.

So Kavanaugh had two pieces of evidence that were not challenged by anyone on the Committee.

After Kavanaugh finished his testimony, many Democrats on the Committee asked him many questions about his High school years that did not pertain to his interaction with Ford. The topics addressed where his heavy drinking, vomiting, passing out and jokes made about farts. Do any of those Senators truly believe that questions like these from one’s teen years are relevant here. Allegations of sexual abuse? Of course. But not these silly things. One Senator even asked him if he believed Anita Hill. Goodness.

It was not one of the Senate’s finest days. It was a low day for our national politics. Not that the hearing happened. That was important. It was a shameful day on the behavior of many members of the Senate Judiciary Committee.


This was not an exercise on whether victims of abuse should be believed or not, or how they should be treated.  That is a very important discussion, but for another time. Today was not about that. It has nothing to do with this whole proceeding actually.

Today was not a test or demonstration of how brave or noble Professor Ford is, (or Judge Kavanaugh for that matter.) It was not a contest. (BTW, I have not talked to one of my more conservative friends today who doesn’t think she handled herself with dignity.)

Today’s hearing was all about, and only about, letting those members of the Senate voting on Judge Kavanaugh be able to hear from both parties, through the best means available to them, and make up their own minds as to how they would vote.

That is what today is about. It’s not a time to demonize anyone, especially the two people whose lives and their family’s lives will never be the same because of this spectacle.

That should bring delight to no one and the process itself, sadness to everyone.

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CNN: Ford’s Life-Long Friend Has No Recollection of Attack

I’ve been following the Kavanaugh story very closely over the last couple of weeks. (What sports are to some folks, politics is to me.)

Some news broke last night by CNN that is very interesting and extremely important just as Professor Ford is still trying to negotiate her testimony by her terms only. CNN reports that the third witness Ford offered as a corroborator, who admits she’s been a life-long friend of Ford’s, says she has no recollection of the event Ford is alleging. This means not one of the three people she offered as witnesses have supported her story.

I have not found an article that lists out in one place many very key turns in this whole story. So I wanted to write something up myself that lists them out so we can see the larger picture. If you believe I have gotten anything wrong here, please let me know.

With that, here are some extremely critical central points that one would have do some digging through news reports to find explained so directly:

1) Senator Grassely, the Judiciary Chair in charge of the hearings, has granted Professor Ford 7 concessions in their negotiations of the terms of her testimony, including the offer for her to testify behind closed doors and be interviewed by a woman.

2) Ford has rejected each of these, save for Grassely’s concession this morning that she could testify this Thursday because of her claim that she has a fear of flying.

3) Thus, the charge by Ford’s lawyer and Sen. Feinstein that Grassely is trying to rush this testimony with no consideration to Ford’s well-being is ridiculous by any reasonable measure. No one can name one turn at which she has been forced to do anything.

4) Professor Ford said she cannot recall the time or place the alleged attack happened. That is not inconceivable.

5) But this also makes it difficult for any witness to say, “Yes, this did or did not happen on this night at that” They best they can say is that they do or do not remember such an incident or even if they were at the location it happened.

6) Ford gave investigators the names of three students who she remembers being there. These are Mark Judge. Patrick J. Smyth, and Leland Ingham Keyser. Government officials have questioned each.

7) Judge and Smyth say they have no recollection of such a party, evening or any troubling behavior on Kavanaugh’s part. Both report that the behavior Ford alleges would have been totally against Kavanaugh’s character. Mark Judge however, said he doesn’t remember much from those years due to of his fondness for intoxicating beverages.

8) The third person Ford gave investigators as a corroborator, Leland Ingham Keyser, has been a “life-long friend of Ford’s” according to CNN.

9) CNN reported last night (Saturday, Sept 22) that Keyser, through her lawyer, responded to investigating officials with the following simple statement:

“Simply put, Ms. Keyser does not know Mr. Kavanaugh and she has no recollection of ever being at a party or gathering where he was present, with, or without, Dr. Ford.”

10) Each of the witnesses Ford provided to officials as being able to confirm what happened that night have said they have no recollection of such a party, much less the alleged attack itself.

11) Ford, as Charles Cooke  explains,  is the only one of the five named attendees at the party that evening (Kavanaugh and Ford being the final two) that has not made an official statement about that evening under the force of oath and thus severely punishable under law if false. Until today – assuming she really does intend to testify on Thursday – she has made every effort to avoid doing so.

12) Ford has made the stunning request that Kavanaugh testify first before the Judiciary Committee, and she will follow him. Seriously, have the accused defend himself before the official accusations have been presented? This raises serious questions about Ford and her attorney’s clarity of mind.

13) Even Senator Feinstein didn’t take Ford’s charges seriously when she received them months ago. They were obviously not convincing enough to compel her to bring them up to officials when she received them, nor during the Committee’s official questioning of Kavanaugh.


14) Earlier this month, 65 women came forward, officially attesting through a letter addressed to both Senators Grassely and Feinstein, that they knew Kavanaugh in his high school years and that such an accusation was diametrically at odds with the young man they knew then and today.  These 65 women state:

“Many of us have remained close friends with [Kavanaugh] and his family over the years. Through the more than 35 years we have known him, Brett has stood out for his friendship, character, and integrity. In particular, he has always treated women with decency and respect. That was true when he was in high school, and it has remained true to this day. The signers of this letter hold a broad range of political views.”

This letter has been put into the official record of these Senate Judiciary proceedings.

Charges of sexual abuse of any kind are tremendously serious and consequential, obviously for the accuser, but also for the accused. We should all remember that any accused is presumed innocent until people are questioned and facts are gathered that establish the accused’s guiltiness beyond a shadow of a doubt.

Ms. Ford should receive a hearing and Judge Kavanaugh the opportunity to defend himself. But it must be treasured as a fundamental part of our law, that as an accused, Kavanaugh is presently innocent. And very few of the developments in the time-line and the testimony of others thus far seem to either support or speak positively of Ford’s charges.

I can’t help but think that if Ford were making the same charges with the same evidence against a Democratic president’s appointee, we would all know, in great detail, repeated ad nausea through the non-stop, 24-hour cable news cycle, how flimsy this accusation is and how questionable an accuser Ford is.

No honest person familiar with today’s political reporting can disagree with a straight face. That should be concerning to all of us as a non-partisan press is essential to a vibrant democracy and an informed citizenry. For as the Washington Post tagline heroically claims, “Democracy Dies in Darkness.”

The media should just not be so selective about where they shine that light.


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Regardless of What NYTs Says, VP Pence is Not Crazy Because He’s a Christian


Bruni. Not a Mug Shot

Some weeks ago, NYTs columnist Frank Bruni wrote a very nasty piece saying the Number 1 reason for NOT kicking Trump out of office is what would come next.  Seriously, for the all the freak-out on how evil Trump is in every way, there is something worse? And merely because the VP is a Christian who takes his faith with sincerity. That is precisely what Bruni charges.

I write about his piece here.


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Ignored my Blog, But Still Alive

Probably to most your great delights, I have not posted anything here for months. I’m still alive and not in a witness protection program. I will start being a better blogger and get busier here.

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Is the Bible Cool with Same-Sex Marriage?

A few weeks ago, a church in SoCal hosted a very thoughtful, cordial and substantive discussion between Matthew Vines and Sean McDowell on whether the Bible allows for same-sex relationships and marriage. I consider both of these men to be friends and I think this is singularly good exchange on the topic. Of course, coming from where I come from, I think Sean did a masterful job of addressing the primary issues.

I would recommend skipping to 33:29 and pick up Matthew’s opening talk. (Sean handles the bulk of what he said in the Q&A with deft.) If pressed for time, go straight to the Q&A (at 56:45) as that is the most substantive part of the conversation and largely what is handled in opening comments is considered there with rich substance.

Enjoy and share with friends regardless of where you stand on the issue.

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Toxic Masculinity? There’s No Such Thing

“Toxic masculinity” has been cited as the cause of everything from the #MeToo sexual assault crisis to mass shootings.

But the phrase “toxic masculinity” is an oxymoron, like jumbo shrimp. One thing refutes the other

Masculinity cannot be toxic. Maleness can be and unfortunately often is. Masculinity is a social virtue. Maleness just means being a male. Men who rescue those in distress, like we saw on 9/11, in the Houston floods this summer and those who ran toward the bullets in Las Vegas are masculine. Mass shooters, rapists, abusers, gang-bangers and sexual predators are not masculine. There is a world of difference between the two.

In fact, any male who shrinks in the face of serious challenge or danger of others cannot be called masculine. Nor can any man who uses his powers to hurt other people or enrich himself. They are merely males.

How is masculinity a character quality distinct from being macho or boyish? What does it mean to be a masculine man?

I explain these important questions in a new piece I have over at the Federalist. I hope it’s interesting and helpful to you.

Posted in commentary, cultural analysis, culture, feminism, gender; masculinity, manhood, manhood; masculinity, masculinity, politics, Sexuality, Uncategorized | Tagged , | 2 Comments

Marriage as #1 Driver of Social Justice

A foundational value in our nation is the opportunity for all its citizens to be able to compete for a fair and meaningful shot at the American dream. This begins with access to citizenship, educational opportunity, and securing meaningful work that leads to greater life opportunities via commitment, diligence, and self-sacrifice. But an important contributor to putting and keeping men, women, and children on the escalator toward the American dream is little-known and widely ignored.

Just 70 years ago, social mobility and protection from poverty were largely a factor of employment. Those who had full-time work of any kind were seldom poor. Fifty years ago, education marked the gulf separating the haves from the have-nots. For the last 20 years or more, though, marital status has increasingly become the central factor in whether our neighbors and their children rise above, remain, or descend into poverty. The research is astounding.

Continue reading here.

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