Ariel Castro unable to withstand even two months of captivity.
I wonder who Fred Hiatt is going to commission to write a piece about how what Castro did wasn’t really all that terrible. Personally I blame it on a culture coarsened by Miley Cyrus’s evil hips.
Speaking of awful WaPo rape apologias, I see that in his haste to to ensure that a child rapist was given as little jail time as possible, G. Todd Baugh failed to notice that the sentence he gave out was a year and 11 months short of the mandatory minimum. I wonder if he’s ever “forgotten” about the statutory minimum in a drug case?
The Worse Things Get, The Harder I Fight, The Harder I Fight, The More I Love You, the album I’ve perhaps been anticipating most this year, is finally out. And it’s really fantastic, but you don’t need to take my word for it, since NPR is streaming it for free this week along with an excellent interview. In while you’re there, the profiles of Jason Isbell (whose new album I like a lot more than Rob does) and Kathleen Hanna (also a new album this week) are worth your time as well.
Monica Potts’s new piece is very strongly recommended. The chilling premise:
Everything about Crystal’s life was ordinary, except for her death. She is one of a demographic—white women who don’t graduate from high school—whose life expectancy has declined dramatically over the past 18 years. These women can now expect to die five years earlier than the generation before them. It is an unheard-of drop for a wealthy country in the age of modern medicine. Throughout history, technological and scientific innovation have put death off longer and longer, but the benefits of those advances have not been shared equally, especially across the race and class divides that characterize 21st–century America. Lack of access to education, medical care, good wages, and healthy food isn’t just leaving the worst-off Americans behind. It’s killing them.
But read the whole etc.
Senator Angry Grampy and Senator Huckleberry, the presiding geopolitical thinkers in the World’s Greatest Deliberative Body, over today to discuss Syria, and to give them the opportunity to stand on the White House lawn afterwards and call him a dithering dilettante whom they will support if he stops his dithering and his dilettanting and give them the Great Big Boom Boom in Syria that they want. You could tell it was serious because Angry Grampy said that, if Syria didn’t matter now, then “Czechoslovakia” didn’t matter in the 1930s, nor did “Abyssynia,” also in the 1930s, and he was not immediately set upon by hordes of angry historians.
World War II began 74 years ago Sunday when German troops invaded Poland. The invasion conclusively discredited the concept of “appeasement” as a foreign policy for, well, the next 74 years. But if the U.S. Congress opposes authorization of the military mission to Syria that President Obama has now handed off to it, and if Obama uses that as an excuse to back further away from enforcement of his “red line,” the “A” word will likely come to dominate the international debate once again.
And Barack Obama, who in his first term was known as the vanquisher of Osama bin Laden, could come out of his second looking more like Neville Chamberlain.
And worst of all, the Secretary of State:
Secretary of State John Kerry told House Democrats that the United States faced a “Munich moment” in deciding whether to respond to the alleged use of chemical weapons by the Syrian government.
In a 70-minute conference call on Monday afternoon, Kerry derided Syrian President Bashar Assad as a “two-bit dictator” who will “continue to act with impunity,” and he urged lawmakers to back President Barack Obama’s plan for “limited, narrow” strikes against the Assad regime, Democratic sources on the call said.
Here’s the thing: for this to be a “Munich moment,” Assad would have to, you know, have both the desire and capacity to conquer most of the region. Since in fact it’s far from obvious that Assad will even be able to maintain power in his own country — let alone have the ability to overrun the Middle East — Assad isn’t a new Hitler and whatever he does Obama won’t be Chamberlain. And in this particular case the analogy goes beyond stupidity to being self-refuting — if Assad poses a threat comparable to Hitler in 1938, why only “limited” “surgical” airstrikes? Really, let’s leave these dumb analogies to fourth-tier winger bloggers, please.
I conclude by noting that I happen to have Winston Churchill right here and he thinks it’s dumb to think of Munich as the guide to all future foreign policy questions involving dictators.
Shorter Richard Cohen: “Young women get raped because
Elvis once got shown from the waist down Mick Jagger sang “Let’s spend some yarrrgh together” on Sullivan Miley Cyrus danced suggestively. And, no, I really have no understanding of the concept of consent. Anyway, she’s a twerk. See, I am a funny guy!”
Bonus classic Cohen: he acknowledges that the Kitty Genovese story is an urban legend, but he’s so lazy he uses it anyway.
Shorter Glenn Reynolds: Ah, doesn’t everybody long for the days when George W. Bush assembled a Potemkin coalition to lie the country into an insanely wasteful, destructive, and irrational war against a country that posed no threat to the United States?
Ol’ “More Rubble Less Trouble” might be at least be showing a little more skepticism about stupid (albeit on a much smaller scale) military adventurism with a Democrat in the White House, but not everything has changed; a brief perusal of recent posts confirms that at least he’s one of the creepiest, most self-satisfied misogynists on the known Internets. He has a “hot or not” immigration proposal, nyuk nyuk nyuk. No “tattooed hipster chicks” or — ew — Lena Dunhams, please. And, remember, if women don’t want to be assaulted they have the responsibility not to provoke men by acting in unspecified slutty ways. Like…Sanda Fluke. (How testifying before Congress that the health insurance you’re forced to pay for should cover stuff relevant to your health care makes Fluke immodest is…not obvious, but if you hate the idea of sexually autonomous women as much as Reynolds does I’m sure it all makes sense. Cf. also Howie Kurtz.)
On the settlement of the concussion lawsuit, I pretty much agree with Daniel Engber. I certainly don’t blame the families for taking the money rather than proceeding through protracted litigation with uncertain results, but the fact that the NFL will continue to conceal the extent of what it knew is unfortunate. (What we do know is bad enough.)
Oddly, NFL organizations don’t seem to be as convinced as much of the media that JUST WINNING FOOTBALL GAMES by doing stuff like willing opposing running backs to run out bounds is a repeatable skill. And it’s also puzzling that Bill Belichick seems to be letting such details as “there isn’t the slightest reason to believe that Tim Tebow is an NFL caliber running back or tight end” prevent him from trying to convert him into a running back or tight end.
Well, one day perhaps in NFL front office will discover sophisticated analytical techniques like averaging together Tebow’s one season as a horrible regular with two seasons where he was used as either a red-zone gimmick or barely at all. Until then, I here the Washington Post is looking for editorial material and they’re willing to drop their standards well below Marc Thiessen…
Of all of the ideas out there that are potentially worth discussing, the Washington Post thinks that this is one of them:
As protesters decry the leniency of Rambold’s sentence — he will spend 30 days in prison after pleading guilty to raping 14-year-old Cherice Morales, who committed suicide at age 16 — I find myself troubled for the opposite reason. I don’t believe that all sexual conduct between underage students and teachers should necessarily be classified as rape, and I believe that absent extenuating circumstances, consensual sexual activity between teachers and students should not be criminalized. While I am not defending Judge G. Todd Baugh’s comments about Morales being “as much in control of the situation” — for which he has appropriately apologized — tarring and feathering him for attempting to articulate the context that informed his sentence will not advance this much-needed dialogue.
Karasik goes on to argue that the statutory rape of students by teachers should be treated the same way as sexual relations between teachers and students who are both adults — i.e. as a firable offense but not a criminal one. The argument gets more and more bizarre from there:
The point is that there is a vast and extremely nuanced continuum of sexual interactions involving teachers and students, ranging from flirtation to mutual lust to harassment to predatory behavior. Painting all of these behaviors with the same brush sends a damaging message to students and sets the stage for hypocrisy and distortion of the truth.
There is indeed a continuum of objectionable sexual behavior between adults and adolescents. And as far as I can tell there’s no state where “flirtation” or inappropriate fantasies are treated as a criminal offense comparable to sexual assault so I have no idea what “broad brush” she’s talking about.
If religious leaders and heads of state can’t keep their pants on, with all they have to lose, why does society expect that members of other professions can be coerced into meeting this standard?
This is so incoherent I don’t even know what exactly she’s trying to argue. Is she saying that child molestation by religious leaders should also not be criminalized because in some cases the law was flouted? What does the fact that some heads of state have consensual affairs with other adults have to do with 50-year-olds having sex with children who are too young to meaningfully consent? To the extent that it means anything this would seem to be the pedophilia-apologia equivalent of the old “torture is no different than fraternity hi-jinx” routine.
I can’t really say much more about this argument — which is essentially an even more deeply weird version of Baugh’s argument — than Lithwick and McCombs already have. So please read them. The only thing I’ll add is that it’s particularly senseless to give a particular exemption to teachers who have sex with underage students. Since they’re exploiting another power relationship in addition to age, if anything teachers (like religious leaders) who are statutory rapists are guilty of worse offenses.
I guess in the divorce with Slate the Post got custody of the terrible contrarian arguments? Only “repeal statutory rape laws” is a substantial degeneration from “Creed is an awesome band.”
My favorite is From The Frontier Of Writing:
The tightness and the nilness round that space
when the car stops in the road, the troops inspect
its make and number and, as one bends his face
towards your window, you catch sight of more
on a hill beyond, eyeing with intent
down cradled guns that hold you under cover
and everything is pure interrogation
until a rifle motions and you move
with guarded unconcerned acceleration—
a little emptier, a little spent
as always by that quiver in the self,
subjugated, yes, and obedient.
So you drive on to the frontier of writing
where it happens again. The guns on tripods;
the sergeant with his on-off mike repeating
data about you, waiting for the squawk
of clearance; the marksman training down
out of the sun upon you like a hawk.
And suddenly you’re through, arraigned yet freed,
as if you’d passed from behind a waterfall
on the black current of a tarmac road
past armor-plated vehicles, out between
the posted soldiers flowing and receding
like tree shadows into the polished windscreen.
Some thoughts on the depressing fact that one of the areas where strong congressional oversight is most needed is one area in which the president has the freest hand:
Whatever one thinks of the constitutional issues, Congress’s abdication of responsibility is a bad thing. The current institutional equilibrium has led to a perverse place where it’s enormously difficult for the president to appoint people to fill minor executive branch positions but he can bomb anything he likes with almost no prospect of congressional pushback. This is the wrong way around. Even if Congress thinks it’s washed its hands of responsibility through inaction, the legislative body shares the blame if there’s an attack on Syria that goes badly.
Particularly striking is the contrast with Great Britain, where the normally deferential Commons learned its lesson from Blair’s behavior on Iraq and decided not to take Cameron’s word for it. An attack on Syria would also be nearly unilateral in terms of allies, making it an even worse idea than it is already. And while I understand the logic of the executive needed a much freer hand in military affairs given the inefficiency of congressional procedures and the potential need to reply in the case of emergencies or immediate threats, this obviously has nothing to do with Syria.
This point from the Matt Duss piece I link to is also crucial:
The first case is fairly easy to dismiss. Supporters of military intervention tend to place a great deal of weight on “credibility,” which is almost exclusively defined as “a willingness to bomb something.” As this argument goes, the United States needs to use deadly force to maintain its table image, to use a poker term. If we get caught bluffing, other players will be more likely to call or raise us in the future. But there’s just not a lot of real-world evidence that one’s table image is so easily lost or maintained. As political scientist Jonathan Mercer, author of Reputation and International Politics, wrote in Foreign Affairs in May, it’s impossible to know what conclusions America’s adversaries will draw from specific action or inaction. “They might think that Obama has no credibility, that he is, in fact, resolute, or that he is driven by other U.S. interests. Whatever conclusion they come to will be driven by their own beliefs and interests.”