Skip to Content

raceAhead: On Brett Kavanaugh’s Judicial Temperament

Your (exhausting) week in review, in haiku:

 

1.

America’s Dad:

No pound cake in his hand, no

saggy pants to blame.

 

2.

Her voice a gentle

tremble, his an angry yelp.

Pointlessly supreme.

 

3.

This week in Googling:

“Boofing” “devil’s triangle”

“trauma and the brain”

 

4.

We’re always working

to keep your account and your

information safe.

 

5.

Happy National

Drink Beer Day! Know anyone

Who likes to drink beer?

 

Take good care this weekend.

On Point

Does Brett Kavanaugh have the temperament for the Supreme Court?This is one of the many questions swirling around the nominee that can, in fact, be answered with available evidence, argues Fortune’s Clifton Leaf. There is data to back him up. Judicial temperament is clearly defined. Leaf cites Professor Jeffrey Rosen, one of the most important scholars of the Supreme Court. “The most important predictors of success on the Supreme Court, are not academic brilliance, philosophical consistency, or methodological ambition,” says Rosen. Successful justices are open to compromise, set aside ideology and get along well with their colleagues. “The Judge Kavanaugh whom the nation witnessed yesterday, however, seemed far from this paradigm,” says Leaf.Fortune

Santa Clara County official quits amid a racist text scandal
The former head of the Santa Clara County Deputies union is leaving the Sheriff’s Office entirely after a year of drama involving numerous racist texts between the county jail deputies he then supervised. Don Morrissey had already been through a series of demotions and appeals, and though he has defended himself publicly, the scandal has taken on political overtones. While he did not appear to generate the texts – images of swastikas, klan members and the like – he did seem to engage in ill-advised banter, for example with deputies who joked about trading sexual favors with inmates for food items.
Mercury News

Yale is under investigation from the Department of Justice for discrimination
The Asian American Coalition for Education first filed a complaint against Yale, Brown University, and Dartmouth College two years ago, alleging a broad scheme to limit the admittance of Asian and Asian American students. The coalition was notified of the new investigation, jointly handled by the Department of Justice and the Department of Education, on Wednesday. In a letter to the university, Yale President Peter Salovey stated, “Yale does not discriminate in admissions against Asian Americans or any other racial or ethnic group.”
Fortune

Why is it so hard to get ahead in a non-profit career?
An unwillingness to take risks, an aversion to innovation, flat hierarchies, and limited training budgets are all mentioned in this piece, but perhaps the most insidious element is the founders themselves. When a passionate founder has been in place for the life of a philanthropic effort, they’ve stacked the leadership deck with cronies who fail to hold the organization accountable. If founder chief executives try to manage their trustees, says one expert, “that makes it quite difficult for staff to rise through the ranks, because the charity’s run like their fiefdom”.
The Guardian

 

The Woke Leader

The way it was then
Dr. Christine Blasey Ford graduated from Holton-Arms, one of a set of elite schools in the D.C. area. While she has garnered a lot of hashtag support, she has some real world allies, all fellow alums of Holton-Arms or a similar school who recognize the world she described, even if they didn’t always travel in her circle. The entire community was a case study in upscale neglect. “It was a highly professional culture of parents, many of whom self-selected those schools to be a big babysitter . . . a lot of them just parked the kids and left,” said one Landon alum. Pools, big yards, home movie theaters and lots and lots of alcohol. And many were not alone in being assaulted. Warning: Stories of rape, humiliation, assault and hidden video cameras lie ahead.
Vanity Fair

Hoisted by his own words
He operated in a world fully prepared to overlook the allegations of violent abuse, a secret hiding in plain sight. But it was Bill Cosby’s 2004 “Pound Cake” speech to the NAACP that finally did him in, an acid-tongued conservative scold of poor black people, riddled with stereotypes and factual errors. His style of moralizing became a retrograde refrain in the evolving conversation about black empowerment. Suddenly, the levee broke. “Bill Cosby has the fuckin’ smuggest old black man persona that I hate,” comedian Hannibal Buress said in a October 2014 comedy show. “He gets on TV, ‘Pull your pants up black people, I was on TV in the ’80s! I can talk down to you because I had a successful sitcom!’ Yeah, but you rape women, Bill Cosby, so turn the crazy down a couple notches.” His joke got traction. That said, I would totally watch a Cosby Show reboot where Dr. Huxtable is in jail and the kids end up fighting over that brownstone.
The Atlantic

Rod Serling was a really serious guy
With Jordan Peele set to revive The Twilight Zone, it’s worth remembering just how interesting Rod Serling was. Serling was the host and creative force behind the show and a busy television scriptwriter. But he was also a civil rights supporter, a staunch anti-war activist, and a World War II combat veteran who never fully recovered from the horrors of service. Here is a fascinating 1959 interview with Serling and a fast-talking Mike Wallace where they addressed, among many things, how advertisers were censoring and diluting the treatment of vital topics–like racism. At the time, Serling had already won three Emmys and was about to launch The Twilight Zone. It’s all fascinating, but around the 5-minute mark, he launches into a story about a coordinated postcard campaign with identical handwriting complaining that an episode of Lassie in which the beloved collie had puppies was “a sex show.” The episode was pulled. Serling said, “it is this wild lunatic fringe of letter writers that greatly affect what the sponsor has in mind,” he said. Then, he came for the Nazi apologists. Enjoy the chain-smoking.
AAIHS

Quote

All the Dachaus must remain standing. The Dachaus, the Belsens, the Buchenwalds, the Auschwitzes—all of them. They must remain standing because they are a monument to a moment in time when some men decided to turn the earth into a graveyard, into it they shoveled all of their reason, their logic, their knowledge, but worst of all their conscience. And the moment we forget this, the moment we cease to be haunted by its remembrance—then we become the gravediggers.
Rod Serling, Deaths-Head Revisited, The Twilight Zone