Suddenly I find speculation on Melania’s disappearance less amusing

In the category of stories Hersh did not report at the time is a disturbing account from a few weeks after Nixon resigned in 1974 and returned to California. Hersh writes that he had received a tip that Nixon had beaten his wife Pat so badly that she had to be treated at a local emergency room. Then John Ehrlichman, who’d been one of Nixon’s top aides, told Hersh that he knew of other incidents when Nixon had abused her. But Hersh did not report it, or even mention it to his editors, because he believed it would only qualify as news if he could demonstrate that Nixon’s behavior had affected government policy. Hersh later spoke about the story in public in 1998. Women in the audience, he writes, immediately informed him of just how illegitimate and dangerous this standard was.


Why am I sharing this? Oh, no special reason. *stares vaguely westward towards the midsection of the country*

Pyrrhic Victory

This is a note for and about Vlad and Burstyn. No, those aren’t their real names. I’ll provide that much of a fig leaf of anonymity for them, although anyone who knows me well enough will know exactly who I’m talking about.

You win. I foolishly thought after DJT was elected that if I could provide an injection of non-Fox-approved news and commentary, that you might begin to see at least some of the problems with the current administration and the Republican Party more generally. I thought, “Surely, Vlad and Burstyn are not like those other people who vote blindly for whoever is on the GOP ticket and buy into all the misinformation and vileness that comes from conservative media.” I was wrong. It is now clear to me that you are part and parcel of that same movement.

Tell them what they’ve won, Bob!

Hang on a minute, I’m not done with the background yet. Posting this in a public place could be considered a dick move, and I want to address why I’m doing that. First, I am pretty confident they are both blocking my emails. I don’t get bounce back messages, but have confirmation from multiple channels that pretty much everything I send now goes to the bit bucket. That’s true even when I send something that’s completely non-political. In fact, here’s a fun story— Chandra (that is her real name) & I send out a holiday letter every year, and for the 2017 edition I made a special edition just for Vlad and Burstyn that just read “I am Groot” over and over again. Funny, right? Neither one of them has ever said a word about it. I can only conclude that I have angered them to the point where I am persona non grata in both of their households, and neither has any interest in initiating or accepting communication from me. So…fine. I’ll post something on my blog and they can find it here when they’re ready.

So what have they won?

Well…now that I know neither Vlad nor Burstyn is a persuadable conservative, they now get to be the personification of all the worst stereotypes of Trump supporters. Yay! Closed minded? Yes. Tribal? Yes. Party before country? Yuppers. Authoritarian? One would assume. Racist? I hope not, but I frankly have no evidence to the contrary. Only willing to engage with people they agree with? Well, that’s kind of the point of this whole thing, isn’t it?

A final footnote. Recognizing that the subjects of this post might object to it being out for the world to see, I’m sending a copy of the text to them by email before it’s published. If you’re reading it on my blog, you’ll know they had a chance to respond and didn’t.


Almost buried in today’s avalanche of today’s news (Huh, Sean Hannity? I did not see that coming.), was the following:

This seems like a random bit of information, and it’s hardly surprising that someone convicted for shooting up a mosque would be checking some of those accounts. Here’s the thing, though. There’s a non-zero amount of overlap between those twitter accounts and the list of accounts I know people in my family follow. I find that beyond disturbing. Granted, the overlap is with the milder end of the list, but I’m not sure how comforting I find that. Everyone on that list is on the spectrum (so to speak), and everyone on it is contributing to the current climate in negative ways. It frustrates me to no end that people in general can’t see that, especially when they’re my own flesh and blood.

No tolerance for intolerance

Prompted by “Sweet Jesus, Will the NYT’s Conservatives Ever Write About Anything but the “Intolerant Left” Ever Again?” There are links in that article to several articles covering basically the same topic, the idea that lefties are somehow shutting down free speech or otherwise exhibiting signs of what is broadly termed “intolerance.” So…I have thoughts.

First, this notion of a broadly “intolerant” left is bullshit, especially on college campuses. If anything, liberal colleges are tolerant to a fault. You may find heated arguments and vehement disagreement, but that’s a far cry from “intolerance.” In fact, I would argue that what we’re seeing now are the limits of tolerance. When you have a Republican president literally declaring that white supremacists and Nazis are “fine people,” you’re going to get some pushback. When that racism appears to be the animating principle behind conservatism, that pushback is going to be broad.

An aside— it’s worth checking out the Wikipedia article on “Paradox of tolerance.” The ideas there are highly relevant to this.

I’m willing to give a pass on the quantity of these articles, though. Editorial writers are paid to crank out words, and they write about what concerns or affects them. The sudden vehemence that Things Are Not Right and Conservatives Are Bad has to be a shock to the system, so I’m not surprised they’re spending ink on it. I’m sure there are similar articles ad nauseam about Trump’s incompetence, sexism, corruption, authoritarianism *deep breath*, nepotism, bigotry, and lies— don’t forget the lies as well. 

Let me make this a little more personal. Since Trump became president, I have been much more aggressive in sharing articles with family members that I have ever been before. That’s a testament to the moment we’re in, where the Republican Party has gone seriously off the rails, and along with Trump appear to be willing to take the rest of the country off a cliff. Now, of the people I typically share things with, 40% are Republican voters. They watch Fox News and consume conservative media, I suspect almost exclusively. It didn’t take them long to ask me to leave them off the discussion, and I’m sure if they were to read any of the articles linked above, they would peg me as one of the “intolerant left”, for having the temerity to suggest that the candidates they support might be bigots. Granted, the implicit question about whether they are also bigots isn’t far away, but that’s been left unstated so far. Anyway, I have not respected their request. As a result, I’m pretty sure they’re blocking any emails from me, and I was explicitly told to no longer send Christmas or birthday gifts. So, who’s the intolerant one again?