Picture Vs Policy: Virginia Governor Ralph Northam Does the picture represent the man?


Image result for RALPH NOrtham BARACK OBAMA

So quick we are to judge. Who needs facts or details? One blip ,one bump and your career in over.   When my children were growing up, I would tell them its not what your say, its what you do.

Virginia Governor Ralph Northam was young when he took a picture in Blackface standing next to someone in a Ku Klux Klan costume.   Both pictures are offensive to this blackman.     As difficult as its seems, there are people who are  racially tone deaf, even in 2019.   Usually individuals who live in mono,environments ( Megan Kelly comes to mind )  because these individuals have limited contact with people outside their communities, they are often shocked when they are called insensitive or racist, because they work with people of color.

There is a difference between working and socializing and this is where I struggle with the Governor, who graduated from a predominately black high school.   He reportedly has strong personal ties with blacks in Virginia.  So the picture is not only a shock to the black citizens of the state, but a surprise to his black friends.

As a flawed human being I try not to rush to judgement.  Throughout my life as a flawed human being, I have made some poor decisions in my youth and as an adult.  When he took the picture nearly 35 years ago, he wasn’t thinking about the impact that picture might have on his personal and professional career.

The Picture ,was published February 1, 2019 on the website  Big League Politics   . Big League Politics was founded by former Breitbart News Employees and is considered a far right wing conservative website.

Is the picture a representation of who is Governor Northam is? 

In Virginia’s 2017 Gubernatorial election, Ralph Northam received an estimated 87% of the black vote, 67% of the Latino Vote and 61% of the women’s vote.  He was supported by many groups notably  the Latino Victory Fund and Planned Parenthood and support by many black political organizations,  most are now asking the Governor to resign.

His Positions:

The Governor supports a $15.00 minimum wage and is against a state constitutional amendment enshrining right to work legislation. That would allow employees in unionized workplaces are banned from negotiating contracts which require all members who benefit from the union contract to contribute to the costs of union representation. 

Northam “has called for phasing out the grocery tax on low-income people and ending business taxes in struggling rural areas.

The Governor as a record of supporting Abortion rights, ( Planned Parenthood supported him in his election campaign)  He is against a bill called the Repeal Act that would allow third trimester abortions to be performed if a single physician determines that there is any physical or mental health risk to the mother. Currently, Virginia law only allows third-trimester abortions to be performed in the state if three physicians determine that continued pregnancy would be “substantially and irremediably” harmful to a woman’s health.  This bill is supported by many Republicans and may be a topic in the 2020 Presidential Campaign.  

Northam has proposed making it free for students to pursue a community college education or apprenticeship in a high-demand field (such as cyber security and early childhood education under the condition that they commit to a year of paid public service. He opposes public funding for private schools. (wiki)

In February 2017, Northam cast a tie-breaking vote in the state Senate against a bill to ban sanctuary cities in Virginia

In Washington Post, Article Titled  “Anger and sadness as African Americans in Virginia consider Northam’s fate”

In conversations at churches, salons and coffee shops, African Americans disagreed about whether Northam must resign, but all voiced a sense of betrayal. In public office, Northam worked to expand Medicaid, the health program that serves the poor, and he helped to restore voting rights for felons, a policy that helps many black men. Many in the black community saw him as an ally, and as one of the good guys.

It’s a real slap in the face. You pretend to be my friend, and you’re really not,” said Thomas Parham Jr., as he arrived for worship Sunday at the historic Alfred Street Baptist Church in Old Town Alexandria. It’s one thing, he said, to encounter a racist public official. It’s almost worse when it’s someone perceived to be an ally. “I’d rather know where you stand.”

The Democratic Party Image

What is disconcerting about this controversy. is the Democratic tidal wave against this Governor.  Not based on his record, or actions or public statements but a silly misguided picture taken when he was in medical school.

Governor Northam is no Steve King the Congressman from Iowa. Who, for more than thirteen years has on record said:

 “Mixing culture will not lead to higher quality of life but a lower one.

 He wanted to make English the official language of Iowa.

He sued Iowa for posting voting information on an official website in Spanish, Laotian, Bosnian and Vietnamese.

King suggested shocking (via electricity) immigrants who climbed the wall.its successful in containing livestock

One the house floor, he said Profiling was an important component of law enforcement.

Suggested paying for the border wall with federal dollars coming from welfare, food stamps and Planned Parenthood

January 2019:  Steve King was stripped from all committee assignments after bipartisan condemnation of his remarks on white supremacy (A theme of his for the last 10 years)

From my chair in the balcony, the Democrats want to demonstrate they unlike ,the GOP they walk the talk.   I am reminded of Minnesota Senator Al Frankel who admitted and apologized to sexual misconduct when he was a citizen in 2006, his apology was accepted.  However when other anonymous woman came forward. he denied the accusations.  Members of his party demanded he resign without a full hearing.

In his resignation speech he made comparisons to Republican politicians, saying he was “aware of the irony” that President Trump remained in office despite the comments Trump made in the Access Hollywood tape released a month before his election, and that the Republican Party supported Roy Moore‘s Senate campaign despite the many allegations of harassment and molestation against Moore (wiki)

 

Self Inflected Wound

Governor Northam may have been flying solo (without council) when the news broke Friday Afternoon.  A good publicist would have advised and prepared him before appearing on camera.  However, as bad as Friday was, Saturday was a tsunami of bad press.

On Friday, he was almost there.  He apologized for the pictures and went on to say  “I recognize that it will take time and serious effort to heal the damage this conduct has caused. I am ready to do that important work”.  Someone, from his office might have spoken to the press, touting his record, his reputation with the black community and the suspicious timing of the picture,

Over night, they may have linked release of the picture to the date of his comment regarding his position on the Repeal Act  and reminded the press of his reputation. 

But that didn’t happen!  Flying solo, taking a page out of Donald Trumps playbook.  He said, that may not be me?  and like the 45th President of the United States, he was unable to stop himself.  He admitted, “Blackfacing” in the past AS Michael Jackson.  A talent contest that he WON, after practicing the moon walk!

The “State” of Virginia 

Should the Governor resign, the Democratic Lieutenant Governor, Justin Fairfax would become the Governor.

Sunday, February 3,   Patrick Howley of the conservative website  Big League Politics . reported Vanessa Tyson, a professor of politics at Scripps College, said she was sexually assaulted in 2004 by a campaign staffer who was now up for a “VERY BIG promotion” in Democratic politics. Howley, who was also the first to obtain the Northam yearbook photo, noted that Fairfax was a campaign staffer for presidential candidate John Kerry in 2004 and that he was now poised to become governor of Virginia. 

It is reported, she brought her 2004 story to the Washington Post and another media outlet.  Both outlets investigated the story and found no corroboration and did not publish the story.

In the State of Virginia, if the Lieutenant Governor is ineligible, it would fall to the Attorney General, Mark Herring a Democrat. If he for any reason can’t serve,it would fall   to the Speaker of the House of Delegates would be next in line to take the role. The Virginia House is currently controlled by Republicans and Speaker Kirk Cox would be the interim governor.

Slow Down The Train……

The Democratic Party and the citizens on Virginia, should slow the train down. Dont solely judge the Governor on this picture.   Judge is life from there forward. What has he said?  What has he done?   Then look hard at the coincident via Big League Politics before rushing to judgement.

Wouldn’t you want someone to judge you on your complete body of work rather than one picture or a single incident.?

CityFella

 

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Donald Trump is TERRIFIED!


Image result for donald trump

By: Lucian K. Truscott IV\Salon.com

We’ve been dealing with Trump’s lies all wrong. We’ve been totaling them up — 6,420 over 649 days, according to the Washington Post! We’ve been parsing and categorizing them — Trump’s statements are regularly found “false,” or “misleading,” or it “needs context,” or it “lacks evidence,” or it’s “exaggerated,” or a claim “contradicts earlier statements.” We’ve been comparing his firehose of lies to the scant misstatements by past presidents — remember how Republicans reacted when during the fight over healthcare, Obama said “you can keep your doctor”? We caught him in a lie! Yipee!

We’ve been fretting about what to call them — The New York Times famously made news with the first time they used the word “lie” in September, 2016 to describe Trump’s “birther” claims about President Obama, and since then has been sparing in the use of the word. The rest of the media has followed the Times

Whole treatises have been written about why Trump lies, profiling him psychologically, looking back at his habit of lying as a businessman when he called reporters and pretended to be a PR man representing himself. Speculation abounds: he does it because he can; it’s all part of a grand strategy; he’s clever; he’s foolish; he can’t tell the difference between truth and lies; he quite literally can’t help himself.

But what we haven’t done is look at what Donald Trump’s lies have done to him. They’re backfiring, and he’s showing signs that he knows they’re beginning to hurt him.

His lie that the Mueller investigation is a “witch hunt” is working only for his base. An October poll by CNN found that about 60 percent of the public supports the Mueller investigation, while about a third if the public “consider it an effort to discredit Trump’s presidency.

But keeping the base energized has a big downside. He has thrown everything he could think of at the wall, and the problem is, it stuck, and now he’s stuck. He can’t fire Mueller because he has made such a big deal about Mueller’s investigation being a “witch hunt” that if he fired him now, it would be an admission of guilt. Trump’s near constant barrage of attacks on Robert Mueller have only served to make him look like he’s got something to hide. He succeeded in backing himself into a corner he can’t get out of, and he did it the same way he does everything else: with lies and an outsized ego.

Trump has the same problem with his appointment of Matthew Whitaker as attorney general. He spent so much time yelling about Jeff Sessions recusing himself from the Russia investigation that firing Sessions isn’t just suspect, it’s yet another admission of guilt. Trump has hobbled Whitaker fatally when it comes to handling Mueller. Anything he touches will be suspect. All because Trump has lied and lied about Russia, and lied and lied about Mueller.

Whitaker is sitting over there at the Department of Justice in his big office, and he’s surrounded by people who worked with and for Mueller when he was director of the FBI. He was FBI director from September 2001 to September 2013. That’s 12 years. You make a lot of friends in 12 years. You engender a lot of loyalty. All of those years of service to the country as director of the FBI aren’t going to evaporate because some hack who used to own nursing homes and sat on the board of a scam company in the patent business moved his office two doors down.

Trump has painted himself into the same corner with his continual lying about his willingness to be interviewed by Mueller and his investigators. In a scene from Bob Woodward’s “Fear”  John Dowd, Trump’s lawyer, put the president through a mock interview on January 27 of this year. Trump lashed out after only a few minutes being peppered with the type of questions Special Counsel Robert Mueller would ask, calling the whole investigation “a goddamn hoax.” Trump then told Dowd he didn’t want to testify. By March, Trump had changed his mind and told Dowd he would be “a real good witness” in an interview with Mueller. “I’m afraid I just can’t help you,” Dowd replied to Trump, according to Woodward. He resigned the next day.

Now comes news that Trump spent three days last week in “intense” meetings with his lawyers as they crafted responses to written questions from Mueller’s investigators. Trump told reporters at the White House last Friday that he was crafting the responses to Mueller’s questions himself. “My lawyers are not working on that. I write answers. My lawyers don’t write answers. I answered the questions very easily. Very easily,” Trump said in answer to a shouted question after a bill signing. Then on Sunday, he told Fox News host Chris Wallace that he “probably” won’t answer questions from Mueller in person.

Yes he will. No he won’t. Yes he will, probably. No he won’t, maybe. The man who said repeatedly he wasn’t afraid to answer Mueller’s questions turns out to be a man with a lot to hide.

The trap Trump has put himself in with Mueller mirrors the trap he found himself in right after he was elected. If as many believe Trump made a deal with the Russians to lift sanctions in return for their help in his election campaign in 2016, that deal died with his election. As the number of contacts between the Trump campaign and prominent Russians like Ambassador Sergey Kislyak became known, the chances of Trump making good on lifting the sanctions approached and then became zero. When it was learned that Trump campaign adviser Michael Flynn promised Kislyak that Trump would lift sanctions as soon as he took office, the deal was off. The minute Trump killed the sanctions, he would confirm his guilt in accepting help from the Russians in his election. It was another trap of his own making.

And now Trump finds himself trapped not only by his own lies, but by those of Vladimir Putin and Mohammed bin Salman. Trump is stuck with Putin’s denials that he ordered the poisoning of two Russian dissidents in Great Britain last March just as he’s stuck with his denials that Russia interfered in our elections in 2016. And he’s stuck with Mohammed bin Salman’s denials about the killing of Washington Post contributor Jamal Khashoggi. First the Saudis said he was still alive, then they said he died in an accident, then they claimed he was killed by “rogue agents,” and now they’re left with denying that the murder was ordered by Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman.

Trump has been with them all the way. He never accepted his own intelligence agencies’ assessment that the Russians interfered with our elections, and now he won’t accept the CIA’s report that bin Salman ordered Khashoggi’s death.

Why? Putin and bin Salman both probably have something on Trump, but that’s not it. He is trapped by the lies of others just as much as he is by his own lies because to admit anything at this point is deadly. Donald Trump has good reason to be terrified. The sky really is falling.

LUCIAN K. TRUSCOTT IV

Lucian K. Truscott IV, a graduate of West Point, has had a 50-year career as a journalist, novelist and screenwriter. He has covered stories such as Watergate, the Stonewall riots and wars in Lebanon, Iraq and Afghanistan. He is also the author of five bestselling novels and several unsuccessful motion pictures. He has three children, lives on the East End of Long Island and spends his time Worrying About the State of Our Nation and madly scribbling in a so-far fruitless attempt to Make Things Better. He can be followed on Facebook at The Rabbit Hole and on Twitter @LucianKTruscott.                               

Fake News? Fox News Blast Donald Trump! There is always Russian Televison


Every now and then I get a little crazy

That’s not the way it’s supposed to be

Sometimes my vision is a little hazy. 

I can’t tell who I should trust or just who I let trust me. 

People try to say I act a little funny. 

But that’s just a figure of speech to me.

  They tell me I changed because I got money. 

But if you were there before then you’ve still down with me.

What about your friends

Will they stand their ground

Will they let you down again

What about your friends 

Are they gonna be low down

Will they ever be around

Or will they turn their backs on you 

_________________________________

The President has recently been on a tear against retail mega giant Amazon.  Who happens to own The Washington Post.   Yesterday he told reporters at the White House the U.S. Postal Service was losing Billions  because Amazon  was delivering packages at low cost.   That’s not fair to the United States, and it’s not fair to out taxpayers, and Amazon has the money to pay the fair rate at the Post Office. 

After taking swings at CNN and the Washington Post and media in general for publishing what he lovingly calls ” Fake News” .  The President favorite News Organization took a swing at him yesterday.

Image result for shepard smith

 

 Fox News host Shepard Smith fact-checked President Trumps claims.

“The Postal Service’s own numbers show it makes money by delivering packages for Amazon and other companies. As for taxpayers, the post office’s own website points out, and I quote, ‘the Postal Service receives no tax dollars for operating expenses.’ None,” Smith said. ”

“There is a great deal of confusion or something here regarding Amazon and the Post Office because none of that, none of that was true,” Smith told Fox News White House correspondent John Roberts.

“What about your friends”

Fox News calling out the Prez?  Perhaps he will find love this morning on  Fox and Friends if not there is always Russian Television (RT) they think The Prez is the second coming.

Image result for amazon BOX

 

The value of Amazon, has fallen 7%, nearly 60 Billion Dollars after President Trump starting taking swipes at the company. 

CityFella

 

(What about your friends?  Written by Lisa (Left Eye) Lopes and Dallas Austin)

Portrait of a Hypocrite: An Outspoken Supporter of the #MeToo Movement failed to Protect her female aid from her male Chief of Staff


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“For too long, the culture in Washington has accepted entirely unacceptable behavior,” . “That needs to change — period.” (Novemeber 2017) Elizabeth Esty

 

“You better fucking  reply to me or I will fucking kill you,” Tony Baker (Esty Chief of Staff) said in the May 5, 2016, recording left for Anna Kain, a former Esty aide Baker had once dated.

According to e-mail optained by the Washington Post, the Congresswomen found out about the episode within a week.  She also spoke to Kain on May 11, emails show; Kain said she provided detailed allegations that Baker had punched, berated and sexually harassed her in Esty’s Capitol Hill office throughout 2014, while she worked as Esty’s senior adviser.

Kain and Baker met in Esty’s office following her 2012 election. They dated casually in 2013 before being promoted to senior adviser and chief of staff, respectively, in early 2014.

Baker did not leave for three months. By his last day on Aug. 12, according to documents Esty provided to The Post, he and Esty had co-written a positive recommendation letter he could use in a job search and signed a legal document preventing her from disparaging him or discussing why he left. Baker went on to work for Sandy Hook Promise, the gun-control group created after the 2012 shooting in Esty’s district. He was dismissed from the group this week after The Post contacted him.

Tony Baker received five thousand dollars in severance pay.

According to Kain’s petition for a restraining order, Baker punched her in the back and “repeatedly screamed” at her in Esty’s office while threatening to retaliate professionally if she reported his behavior. She did not tell Esty or the House Ethics Committee out of fear for her safety, her petition stated.

Kain told The Post that she was so anxious about imperiling her boss’s chance of reelection that she removed her cellphone from the House’s WiFi network so that she could privately look up how to report misconduct to the Ethics Committee.

“I was 24 and doing a job that I believed in for an institution I was proud to be a part of,” Kain said Thursday in an interview. “But I was being severely abused and had nowhere to turn. Nobody talked about things like this. I was suffering and thought it was weakness.”

On May 5, 2016, Baker called Kain approximately 50 times and said he would “find her” and “kill her,” she alleged in the petition.

Ricci disputed that Baker punched Kain but did not challenge her other allegations. He said that Baker was too intoxicated at the time to remember leaving the message and that he offered to resign after Esty learned what had happened. The congresswoman said Baker never offered his resignation.

Baker was barred from working out of Esty’s Capitol Hill office starting on July 24, 2016, according to the separation agreement, which required Esty to serve as a reference in his job search outside of Washington. A draft letter of recommendation from Esty that was attached to the agreement praised his “considerable skills.”

Baker accompanied the congresswoman to the Democratic National Convention in Philadelphia from July 25 to 28 before sending a departing email to colleagues on Aug. 12.

A spokeswoman for Sandy Hook Promise declined to comment on Baker’s departure this week.

In retrospect, Esty said she dealt with the situation poorly. She said she plans to reimburse the U.S. Treasury for what she described as the roughly $5,000 Baker received in severance. She also plans to improve how she runs her office.

“What I did was not good enough and it didn’t protect [my staff] enough,” Esty said Monday in an interview at her home in Cheshire, Conn. “ . . . I’m hopeful now with this conversation and this coming out that I’ll be able to be much more direct and help other people in Congress understand the risks they are placing their staff at when they don’t think they are.”

Esty said she plans to advocate for greater accountability in how congressional offices are managed.

 

Anti-Beyonce Protest That Never Was


Photo: Glenn Schuck

Former New York Mayor Rudy Giuliani was outraged! He accused her of using the platform to attack Police officers.  Others said her SuperBowl performance that paid tribute to the Black Panthers was race-bating.

An unnamed group using Eventbrite  a website where anyone with a working email address can create a meetup encouraged people who where offended by her performance to gather outside  the National Football League headquarters on Park Ave in New York at  8am Tuesday.

The New York Post said:  Roughly five anti-Beyonce protesters arrived in total, including Ariel Kohane — whose sign was destroyed in the rain because he forgot to laminated it.

“Beyonce is racist and is fueling hate. She is promoting violence against police,” he said of the singer’s nod to the Black Lives Matter movement during the performance.

Roughly 30 other people were there to support Beyonce

The Power of Social Media?

Perhaps it was due her celebrity. How did an unnamed organizer generate so much national press?

From the Daily Breast :

The Guardian called the original organizer “the group behind an ‘Anti-Beyoncé Protest Rally.’” The Washington Post called the page’s creator “an unidentified group… planning to protest against the pop superstar.”

There is no proof, however, that the “group” behind the protest exists.

If this is an organization—and not a single person who filled out a free, online form—it’s not a very organized one. The protest’s Eventbrite creator didn’t have a name, Facebook page, or Twitter account until a day after national news coverage came pouring in. The unnamed organizer eventually renamed the group “Proud of the Blues” on Thursday, two days after the event was supposed to happen, with an accompanying Twitter account and Facebook page that had collected just 19 likes 24 hours after The New York Daily Newsposted the first national news story about the event.

 

Over the weekend, Proud of the Blues created a WordPress page that lived under the domain name POTB.cf. The .cf suffix is a domain extension assigned to the Central African Republic, where domains can be registered for free. No working email address, credit card information, or other real-life identifiers are required to sign up for a .cf extension.

Repeated requests for comment sent to Proud of the Blues’ Twitter account, Facebook account, and Eventbrite account have gone unanswered since Friday. (There is no direct contact information available for any of the accounts.)

 

The protest has certainly taken on a life of its own since the Daily News wrote its initial story on Wednesday morning. Two separate Eventbrite counter-protest events have been created since the event’s existence created a firestorm. One, dubbed Pro-Beyoncé Protest Rally, is linked to by the Proud of the Blues protest.

 

Even if Proud the Blues isn’t an actual organization, it seems to have spawned a very real response.

 

The Daily Beast spoke with Black Girl Rising, the group behind the anti-anti-Beyoncé protest rally that was not linked to by Proud of the Blues. On their Eventbrite page they encouraged attendees to “dress in your ‘Formation’ video/Super Bowl performance-inspired gear and make this a moment a joyous one!” The group wrote that this was not just a response to an attack on Beyoncé and the Black Panther movement, but also an “excuse to celebrate a very awesome song and #BlackGirlMagic moment.”

 

 

 

 

Mela Machinko, one of Black Girl Rising’s co-creators, explained that the group is a “collective” that formed after they’d read the slew of articles that popped up five days ago detailing Proud of the Blues’ Eventbrite announcement. Though they’ve been thrilled by the positive response they’ve gotten on social media and in the press, they declined to say how many people they expected would be attending tomorrow to dodge the spies allegedly working under the direction of Proud of the Blues.

 

“They have infiltrated our communications,” Mary Pryor, another co-creator, said. “They’re watching us on social media. So, unfortunately, we’re paying attention to what they’re doing just like they are with us. We’re keeping certain things privatized until they happen. We’re not even releasing additional details on our location and it might change tomorrow. That’s how we have to operate.”

Pryor said they had received anonymous and cloaked emails with names like “bluesoldier@ymail” and “hereforthepolice@anyomous.com” which suggested some attempt at subterfuge or at least a dedicated, organized effort to suss out their planned actions.

 

When presented with the idea that the original protest was set up by a single troll, Machinko said that regardless, tomorrow’s counter-protest represents “a great opportunity for a peaceful, joyful affirmation of Beyonce’s message. Even if he doesn’t show up, we’ll just become a ‘Formation’ celebration.”

 

The Facebook and Twitter accounts for Proud of the Blues have taken a notably pro-Donald Trump stance in recent days. At 6:32 a.m. New York time on Monday, the userposted “Take back our country! USA #MakeAmericaGreatAgain #Trump2016 #Trump #AllLivesMatter #BlueLivesMatter #BoycottBeyonce” to the @ProudOfTheBlues Twitter account.

Proud of the Blues is advertising a new rally called “Anti-Refugees Protest Rally.” It’s set to take place on March 1 in Los Angeles, almost 3,000 miles from Tuesday’s protest in Manhattan.

Conspiracy theories swirl around the death of Antonin Scalia


Official Scalia sized

 

By:Lena H. Sun and Sari Horwitz/Washington Post

Two days after Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia died suddenly in remote West Texas, a former D.C. homicide commander is raising questions about how the death was handled by local and federal authorities.

“As a former homicide commander, I am stunned that no autopsy was ordered for Justice Scalia,” William O. Ritchie, former head of criminal investigations for D.C. police, wrote in a post on Facebook on Sunday.

Scalia was found dead in his room at a luxury hunting resort in the state’s Big Bend region by the resort’s owner. It took hours for authorities to find a justice of the peace. When they did, Presidio County Judge Cinderela Guevara pronounced Scalia dead of natural causes without seeing the body — which is permissible under Texas law — and without ordering an autopsy.

On Sunday, the U.S. Marshals Service, which provides security for Supreme Court justices, said that Scalia had declined a security detail while at the ranch, so marshals were not present when he died. When the marshals were notified, deputy marshals from the Western District of Texas went to the scene, the service said in a statement.

Guevara said she declared Scalia dead based on information from law enforcement officials on the scene, who assured her that “there were no signs of foul play.” She also spoke to Scalia’s doctor, who told her that the justice had been to see him Wednesday and Thursday last week for a shoulder injury and that he had ordered an MRI for Scalia, according to WFAA-TV in Dallas. The 79-year-old justice also suffered from several chronic conditions, Guevara said. She said she was awaiting a statement from the physician to complete Scalia’s death certificate.

The manager of the El Paso funeral home that handled Scalia’s body said Scalia’s family insisted on not having an autopsy done. But the decision has spawned a host of conspiracy theories online, as well as skeptical questions from law enforcement experts such as Ritchie.

“You have a Supreme Court Justice who died, not in attendance of a physician,” he wrote. “You have a non-homicide trained US Marshal tell the justice of peace that no foul play was observed. You have a justice of the peace pronounce death while not being on the scene and without any medical training opining that the justice died of a heart attack. What medical proof exists of a myocardial Infarction? Why not a cerebral hemorrhage?”

In an interview with The Washington Post, Guevara has said she rebutted a report by a Dallas TV station that Scalia had died of “myocardial infarction.” She said she meant only that his heart had stopped.

Ritchie also raised questions about the marshals’ actions:

“How can the Marshal say, without a thorough post mortem, that he was not injected with an illegal substance that would simulate a heart attack…”

“Did the US Marshal check for petechial hemorrhage in his eyes or under his lips that would have suggested suffocation? Did the US Marshal smell his breath for any unusual odor that might suggest poisoning? My gut tells me there is something fishy going on in Texas.”

A spokesman for the marshals service said Monday that the marshals did not make a formal determination of death. He directed questions to the county judge who made the call.

Scalia’s physician, Brian Monahan, is a U.S. Navy rear admiral and the attending physician for the U.S. Congress and Supreme Court. He declined to comment on Scalia’s health when reached by telephone Monday at his home in Maryland.

“Patient confidentiality forbids me to make any comment on the subject,” he said.

When asked whether he planned to make public the statement he’s preparing for Guevara, Monahan repeated the same statement and hung up on a reporter.

Why do people on the other side seem so unreasonable?


By: Andrew Gelman/Monkey Cage Washington Post

George W. Bush famously described himself as “a uniter, not a divider.” A few years into his presidency there was a survey that reported that 49 percent of Americans thought he was a “uniter” and 49 percent thought him a “divider” — a poignant reminder that Americans are so polarized, they’re even polarized about polarization.

And of course the same goes for Obama who, like Bush, spent two terms as president trying, but failing, to be a bipartisan figure.

A characteristic feature of polarization seems to be the impression that one’s own side is reasonable and that all the polarizing comes from the other side of the political aisle.

I came across an amusing example of this today, ironically from a political scientist, Gerard Alexander, who, in an op-ed entitled, “Jon Stewart, Patron Saint of Liberal Smugness,” writes

Many liberals, but not conservatives, believe there is an important asymmetry in American politics. These liberals believe that people on opposite sides of the ideological spectrum are fundamentally different.

This is just too perfect. It’s a beautiful paradox. If Alexander is right, then there is an important asymmetry in American politics, which is the thing that he’s saying conservatives don’t believe! If he’s wrong, then there is no asymmetry, which is what he’s saying conservatives believe in the first place. It’s like something out of Lewis Carroll.

I’m reminded of economist Emily Oster’s quote that economists are different from almost everyone else in society in that they assume everybody is fundamentally alike.

I also think it’s a bit odd for Alexander to describe liberals as “fixated” on Sarah Palin: it’s not liberals who nominated Palin for vice-president, or who put her on TV. Unless you want to describe William Kristol and Roger Ailes as liberals.

Also this, from Alexander:

My strongest memory of Mr. Stewart, like that of many other conservatives, is probably going to be his 2010 interview with the Berkeley law professor John Yoo. Mr. Yoo had served in Mr. Bush’s Justice Department and had drafted memos laying out what techniques could and couldn’t be used to interrogate Al Qaeda detainees. Mr. Stewart seemed to go into the interview expecting a menacing Clint Eastwood type, who was fully prepared to zap the genitals of some terrorist if that’s what it took to protect America’s women and children.

Mr. Stewart was caught unaware by the quiet, reasonable Mr. Yoo, who explained that he had been asked to determine what legally constituted torture so the government could safely stay on this side of the line. The issue, in other words, wasn’t whether torture was justified but what constituted it and what didn’t.

First off, let me say that this is a horrible thing to say about Clint Eastwood, who was never involved in this:

On December 1, 2005, Yoo appeared in a debate in Chicago with Doug Cassel, a law professor from the University of Notre Dame. During the debate, Cassel asked Yoo,

‘If the President deems that he’s got to torture somebody, including by crushing the testicles of the person’s child, there is no law that can stop him?’, to which Yoo replied ‘No treaty.’ Cassel followed up with ‘Also no law by Congress — that is what you wrote in the August 2002 memo’, to which Yoo replied ‘I think it depends on why the President thinks he needs to do that.’

It’s interesting to see what Alexander did there. First, he changed the question from “crushing the testicles of the person’s child” (which Yoo refused to say the government couldn’t do) “zap[ping] the genitals of some terrorist” (which is, presumably, also a treaty violation but doesn’t sound so bad). Second, Alexander didn’t even say “suspected terrorist,” he said “terrorist.” But of course one of the concerns with torture is that it’s not only done on terrorists, it’s also done on people who get picked up on suspicion of terrorism, or just people who somebody thinks might have some information. Alexander gets to characterize Yoo as “reasonable” only by shifting the ground of the debate. He also describes Yoo as “quiet,” which seems pretty irrelevant to me. Personally, I’d prefer someone who yells but opposes torture to someone who is soft-spoken and supports it. Then again, I don’t personally know anyone who’s been killed by a terrorist; maybe if I did, I’d feel differently.

Anyway, the point is that Alexander demonstrates political polarization in his column, in the very way that he is castigating liberals for unreasonable for seeing themselves as more reasonable than conservatives. And, if you’d like, you could characterize this post as even more polarization, in that of all the things I could write about today, I’ve chosen this.

My point, though, as a political scientist, is that along with our very reasonable concerns about difficulties of communication between the left and the right — an often disturbing lack of national unity — comes a corresponding split in perceptions. Alexander is correct to see a tendency among many liberals to think of themselves as more reasonable than conservatives. But his column, ironically, demonstrates the symmetric tendency of many conservatives to see themselves as the reasonable ones. So, instead of mere disagreements on policy, we get disputes about the legitimacy of each side’s concerns, as well as ahistorical views such as an attribution to liberals of Sarah Palin’s fame.

None of this is new, but it has been getting worse in the past generation, and this particular column reminded me of it.

Finally, it’s data time. This is the Monkey Cage, after all. Here are some graphs from my book Red State Blue State on partisan polarization during the Korean, Vietnam and Iraq wars.

Andrew Gelman is a professor of statistics and political science at Columbia University. His books include Bayesian Data Analysis; Teaching Statistics: A Bag of Tricks; and Red State, Blue State, Rich State, Poor State: Why Americans Vote the Way They Do.