The Elena Kagan Myth

…versus the reality:

Kagan, according to these critics, engaged in regular “verbal abuse” of staff people, including the liberal use of profanity. On one occasion, I was told, she kicked a door while berating a staff member. “She has a terrible attitude toward what she considers underlings,” one faculty member told me. Apparently Kagan fired at least five members of the school’s administrative staff (none were willing to comment on the matter). Kagan’s alleged poor treatment of subordinates was apparently extended to some faculty members. “A lot of the faculty have been yelled at,” I was told. Another professor told me that “a cloud of fear” descended on the faculty during Kagan’s tenure, and that she was “at heart a mean person.” According to her critics Kagan was markedly hostile to disagreement and robust debate — a trait which was most evident in her management style, which was described to me as “authoritarian.” One dissident claimed Kagan had bulldozed appointment offers through hiring committees hand-picked by her to be reliably pliant, then made extravagant financial deals with many of the prospective hires — deals which had left the school in “disastrous financial shape.” Specifically, according to this person, the school’s new building project is badly undercapitalized, to the point where the interim dean looked into the possibility of suspending it, and major cutbacks have been made in areas such as hiring visiting professors, in order to deal with the consequences of Kagan’s alleged impecunious management of the school’s finances.

“She’s very much like her mentor Larry Summers,” I was told. “She buys people, in every sense of the word.”

A common complaint about Kagan among the faculty members I spoke with was that she had been credited with ending the high level of faculty conflict at the school. “That is simply nonsense,” one senior professor told me. “The real story is the precise opposite of what is being portrayed in the media. Bob Clark (the previous dean) should have gotten all the praise now going to Kagan. The dysfunctional faculty that Kagan is supposed to have fixed is the one he actually inherited. He ended the faculty wars. In fact Kagan changed the faculty atmosphere for the worse, with her authoritarian style and failure to involve the faculty in decision making.”

This is sort of good news, if true. If her style is really that non-collegial, she’ll have problems bringing others around to her fascist viewpoints.

What I Learned

from Shirley Sharrod:

The word racist is losing its sting. Racism used to be such a horrible thing to call someone, but since Obama became President it has been over-used by the left to describe anybody who disagrees with Progressive politics. It doesn’t seem as evil a word as it used to be, that is very sad.

…Damn, those lefty “reporters” really hate Andrew Breitbart. They couldn’t wait to pounce on him for this story despite the fact that they couldn’t have read his post that well. Do they hate him for his politics or because he does their job much better than they do? I pick both.

I did a radio interview on a Fargo station a couple hours ago (yes at 5:10 AM PDT) on my PJM piece, and have another one scheduled on the Martha Zoller show at 8:20 this morning (11:20 Eastern, in Gainesville, GA). We do seem to need a new word to describe the concept of thinking that someone else is inferior because they have a different hue to their skin, because the leftists have removed all useful meaning from the word “racism.”

[Update a few minutes later]

This week in racism.

[Update a while later]

What Sharrod’s speech wasn’t about — racial transcendence:

Pardon me, but I think I’ll stay off the Canonize Shirley bandwagon. To me, it seems like she’s still got plenty of racial baggage. What we’re seeing is not transcendence but transference. That’s why the NAACP crowd reacted so enthusiastically throughout her speech.

Yes, there does seem to be overshoot the other way. She’s certainly no saint, particularly given her slander of Fox News.

The “Non-Official Campaign”

The Daily Caller has more revelations from the JournoList — the coordinated attack on Sarah Palin. Most hilariously stupid email:

“John McCain picked someone to help him politically, Barack Obama picked someone to help him govern,” Yglesias wrote.

Right. Joe Biden was going to help him govern. The pick had nothing to do with a stupid attempt to burnish his non-existent foreign-policy credentials with idiots who didn’t know that Joe Biden was an idiot.

Well, maybe it makes sense. Given how horrible he is at governing himself, even Joe Biden might be an improvement.

[Update a few minutes later]

“I’m a liberal. I hate violence. But sometimes…”

[Update late morning]

Thoughts from Fred “Racist” Barnes:

Until JournoList came along, liberal journalists were rarely part of a team. Neither are conservative journalists today, so far as I know. If there’s a team, no one has asked me to join. As a conservative, I normally write more favorably about Republicans than Democrats and I routinely treat conservative ideas as superior to liberal ones. But I’ve never been part of a discussion with conservative writers about how we could most help the Republican or the conservative team.

My experience with other conservative journalists is that they are loners. One of the most famous conservative columnists of the past half-century, the late Robert Novak, is a good example. I knew him well for 35 years. He didn’t tell me what stories he was working on nor ask what I was planning to write. He never mentioned how we might promote Republicans or aid the conservative cause, nor did I.

What was particularly pathetic about the scheme to smear Mr. Obama’s critics was labeling them as racists. The accusation has been made so frequently in recent years, without evidence to back it up, that it has little effect. It’s now the last refuge of liberal scoundrels.

The first call I got after the Daily Caller unearthed the emails involving me was from Karl Rove. He said he wanted to talk to his “fellow racist.” We laughed about this. But the whole episode was also sad. I didn’t sputter at the thought of being called a racist. But it was sad to see what journalism, or at least a segment of it, had come to.

Actually, I don’t think it’s the last refuge. For many, it seems to be the first one.

The Name Changes

…but the game remains the same:

Back in the gloriously unregulated 1950s, when your average red blooded American kid could still buy cherry bombs and M-80s without a bunch of nanny-state do-gooders getting their knickers in a twist, and my favorite toy was a home lead smelter for making toy soldiers, the kids in my family used to play Blind Man’s Bluff in the rec room down in the basement. The person who was ‘it’ put a pillowcase over their head and tried to catch the other kids; the only rule was that the kids trying not to be caught couldn’t touch the floor. You had to jump on the furniture — from chair to chest to couch and, if you were good, to the magazine stand.

It was an excellent game; unfortunately the combination of giggles and loud bangs and crashes as we bumped into each other and knocked over the various lamps and vases that somehow kept getting in the way soon attracted my mother’s attention. She’d open the door to the basement, peer down into the noisy darkness and shout “What are you kids doing down there?”

“We’re just playing Blind Man’s Bluff,” we said with that innocent little voice kids use.

“Well stop it,” she said, unsympathetically.

That was the end of our fun for a while, until my brother Chris had a brilliant idea: we’d change the name of the game. We wouldn’t play Blind Man’s Bluff anymore; we’d just play Pillowcase Risk. We tried to keep the noise down for a while, but that didn’t last. Soon the basement was as noisy as ever, and once more my mother came to the door.

“Are you kids playing Blind Man’s Bluff?”

“Oh, no, Mommy,” we said in tones absolutely oozing with sincerity.

“Well keep it quiet down there.”

This worked for a while, but my mother is a cynical and suspicious person. After a couple more trips to the door to stop the riots downstairs, she shouted “If you aren’t playing Blind Man’s Bluff, what are you doing down there?”

“We’re just playing Pillowcase Risk.”

“I don’t care what you call it,” she said. “You aren’t making that kind of racket in my house.”

This is pretty much what is going on in the Congress. “What are you kids doing down there,” ask the voters, who’ve noticed some banging and crashing in the basement. “Are you kids writing a Carbon Tax?”

The greens check quickly with the focus groups and pollsters before shouting back up, “No, Mommy, of course not. We aren’t playing Carbon Tax. We’re playing Cap and Trade.”

Let’s just cut to the chase and call modern environmentalism what it has become — another form of socialism.

Biting Commentary about Infinity…and Beyond!