Alarming News: I like Morgan Freeberg. A lot.
Anti-Idiotarian Rottweiler: We were following a trackback and thinking "hmmm... this is a bloody excellent post!", and then we realized that it was just part III of, well, three...Damn. I wish I'd written those.
Anti-Idiotarian Rottweiler: ...I just remembered that I found a new blog a short while ago, House of Eratosthenes, that I really like. I like his common sense approach and his curiosity when it comes to why people believe what they believe rather than just what they believe.
Brutally Honest: Morgan Freeberg is an intriguing guy...[he] asks great questions and answers others with style, flair, reason and wit. On the blogroll he goes. Make him a part of your regular blogospheric reading. I certainly will.
Brutally Honest: Morgan Freeberg is brilliant.
Common Sense Junction: Misha @ Anti-Idiotarian never ceases to amaze me. He keeps finding other good blogs. I went over to A.I. this morning for my daily Misha fix and he had found this guy named Morgan Freeberg in Fair Oaks, California, that has a blog, House of Eratosthenes. Freeberg says its "The Blog That Nobody Reads" but it may now become the blog that everybody reads.
Jaded Haven: Good God, Morgan, you cover a topic from front to back with a screwy thoroughness I find mind boggling. I'm in awe of your thought proccesses, my friend, you're an exceptional talent. You start by throwing in the kitchen sink, tie in someone's syphilitic uncle, bend around a rip tide of brilliance and bring it all home in a neat, diamond dripping package of an exceptionally readable moment of damn fine wordsmithing. I love reading you.
Mein Blogovault: Make "the Blog that No One Reads" one of your daily reads.
Philmon: When Morgan meanders, stick with him - he's got a point and it'll be worth it in the end. He's not a hit-and-run snarky quip kind of guy. The pieces all fall into place like tumblers in a lock and bang! He's opened a cognative door for you.
Rightlinx: Morgan at House of Eratosthenes is one of the best writers out there. I read him nearly every day because he manages to provide an interesting perspective, even though I don't always agree.
Poetic Justice: Cletus! Ah gots a laiv one fer yew...
I remember when the Clarence Thomas confirmations hearings were on the radio and I made a point of listening to them. Well a lot of other folks were paying attention too, and some of them decided to run for Congress. The result is yet another situation where two people can look at exactly the same thing and come away with wildly different interpretations of what happened.
Let’s start with the most popular interpretation: A routine confirmation hearing was unexpectedly plunged into the issues surrounding sexual harrassment, and the nation woke up to the sudden realization that women were under-represented in the Senate. Thus we had the “Year of the Woman,” 1992, in which a zillion women were elected and most of those women are still serving today.
What’s wrong with that? Well, more than just a few things. The notion that a male representative is completely and automatically bereft of any ability to represent or service his lady constituents in the chamber where he serves, brings it’s own mess of logical wrinkles. If cross-gender representation has a possibility of working, but is cumulatively ineffective, us California gentlemen must really be laboring under a senatorial slight that is building up over the passage of time. No serious challenge has been made to either one of our oh-so-trendy liberal female senators since that Womanly Year…for sake of consistency, wouldn’t one have to concede that we’re struggling without our due representation?
Also, the number of women in the Senate remains well below fifty. If women are being handed some kind of a raw deal because there aren’t “enough” women in the Senate, one would have to conclude this primitive and oppressive state of affairs continues to this very day. Which would reduce the “Year of the Woman” to a blip on the radar, just the first swipe of the cleaning pad against the wall of a sower stall caked thick with mold and mildew. It’s reduced to something of a non-event, by anyone simply taking the premise seriously.
And then there is the performance of the ladies after the event, during their subsequent service. I slid into California just as it was taking place, and have lived here ever since, while the two chickies have stayed in the whole time. Nobody’s stopped by to ask me if I can feel the energy cackling through the air now that the people are finally being heard in the nation’s upper chamber. They shouldn’t ask. They shouldn’t even ask a California citizen whose personal leanings are more compatible with the lady senators’ politics; that citizen’s take on things, if they’re fair, would agree with mine. The senate-ladies are a couple of party hacks, and have never pretended to be anything but.
It’s become something of a circus, kind of a predictable lap on a merry-go-round. A contentious issue comes up, and I write to Boxer or Feinstein to let them know of my concerns. Back comes a computer-generated printout thanking me for inquiring of the Senator’s position on the matter…which isn’t what I did at all…and courteously letting me know what it is. Huh. Guess the decision was made already, before I wrote in. Feinstein adds an adorable little variation to this theme by going on-the-record in the days before the vote is conducted, to state that she hasn’t yet made up her mind. If you take this seriously, it logically excludes the “Morgan just wrote too late” theory because DiFi is really takikng her sweet time on this thing to make the right decision. But I don’t take it seriously. She’s a puppet. She represents by clique. She’s got a short list of folks she needs to consult in making decisions, and us voters aren’t on that list. She tells us what to do, not the other way ’round.
Boxer’s no more connected to The People than Feinstein is, nor do I gather are Murray or Cantwell. As an epochal event by which a disenfranchised portion of the electorate finally found representation, the “Year of the Woman” is a joke.
Which brings us to my interpretation of the event…
Politicians found a new angle. It is that simple, no more complicated than that. It was a sales gimmick, to be piled high upon other sales gimmicks, as if the product being sold was a defective used car. We were having our biannual electioneering, and some hucksters found a new way to sell a pig-in-a-poke. Which worked great, as it turns out.
What was their angle? They were able to address anyone who bothered to tune in to the Thomas hearings, which included myself, and say — change is needed. Just look at this circus going on here. That is what we saw and what we heard…a circus. But the system was broken then, and is broken now, you see. The politicians who made the Thomas hearings into a circus, had a lot in common with the politicians who won election into that chamber, on the strength that we needed them so badly because the Thomas hearings were a circus. In short, we tuned in, saw a bunch of crooks and liars, and were convinced to vote for more crooks and liars.
This is where American politics break down. It’s got to do with the money angle. Like any business proposition, running for elective office takes on appeal for the person considering it, when it is detected there is little to no potential resistance. And that’s what “Year of the Woman” really did — it ensured that if you were female, and you were running for office in 1992 to avenge poor Anita, why, anyone who’d dare breathe a word of opposition or challenge to you would be some kind of cad. And so nobody, or very few, so opposed. That’s the natural incentive, even today — you look for statements to make that won’t be opposed. That means less money is spent “getting the message out.” It’s a business enterprise, just like any other; the successful opportunist will find ways to reduce expenses.
And so the system is structured to sell us messages that we receive naturally. Messages that involve minimal communication. Cheap messages. Threadbare messages. Messages possessing only tangential connection with truth.
The message that female senators will more effectively represent female constituents, has turned out to be completely severed from truth. Our “new” senators don’t represent women; they represent democrats.
As for the “truth” that energized the Year of the Woman in the first place, Thomas Sowell has some interesting points to offer in defense of his friend, Associate Justice Clarence Thomas. The hearings have often been characterized, during as well as in hindsight, as a case of “He Said, She Said”; you just have to make up your mind which side to believe, and go with it. Liberals like that a lot — they’re big fans of making up your own mind about what’s true, giving special weight to evidence arriving subsequently that lends strength to their opinion, ignoring evidence that does not. But as Dr. Sowell points out, this was not a he-said-she-said case.
There were ways in which different versions of events by Hill and Thomas were quite capable of being checked — but were not checked.
That failure to check the facts was very strange in a situation where so much depended on the credibility of the two people. Here are the two versions.
According to Clarence Thomas, he hired Anita Hill at the urging of a friend because an official of the law firm at which she worked had advised her to leave.
According to Ms. Hill — both then and now — she was not “asked to leave” the law firm but was “in good standing” at the time.
This too was not just a question of “he said” and “she said.” An affidavit sworn by a former partner in that law firm supported Clarence Thomas’s version. That was ignored by most of the media.
Since the Senate has the power of subpoena, it was suggested that they issue a subpoena to get the law firm’s records, since that could provide a clue as to the credibility of the two people.
Senators opposed to the nomination of Judge Thomas voted down that request for the issuance of a subpoena.
After Anita Hill’s accusations, a group of female members of Congress staged a melodramatic march up the Capitol steps, with the TV cameras rolling, demanding that the Senate “get to the bottom of this.”
But “getting to the bottom of this” apparently did not include issuing a subpoena that could have shown conclusively who was truthful and who was not.
In another instance, there was already hard evidence but it too was ignored. Clarence Thomas said that Anita Hill had initiated a number of phone calls to him, over the years, after she had left the agency where they both worked. She said otherwise. But a phone log from the agency showed that he was right.
The really fatal fact about Anita Hill’s accusations was that they were first made to the Senate Judiciary Committee in confidence, and she asked that her name not be mentioned when the accusations were presented to Judge Thomas by those trying to pressure him to withdraw his nomination to the Supreme Court.
Think about it: The accusations referred to things that were supposed to have happened when only two people were present.
If the accusations were true, Clarence Thomas would automatically know who originated them. Anita Hill’s request for anonymity made sense only if the charges were false.
Hey, as constituents we’re not perfect. We’ll continue to try to keep an eye on the shenanigans our elected representatives try to pull on us, and sometimes we’ll catch them in the act, sometimes we won’t. Sometimes we’ll go ahead and gobble up the crap they sell us, and demand seconds.
In the history of The People keeping tabs on the Congress crooks, holding them accountable, the Year of the Woman is a low ebb. It is bedrock. We’ve been had.
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