Loose Ends (133)

There’s a whole lot of short items of note piling up. Let’s dive in.

Here’s a head scratcher, from today’s Chronicle of Higher Education daily briefing item about Mills College, the “struggling women’s college” that is merging with Northeastern University in a desperate bid to survive. The item reports that “Mills was also, in 2014, the first to allow students to choose a gender, as long as they chose female.” (Emphasis added.) Well that doesn’t sound very diverse or inclusive.

Turns out what it means in practice is that if you have a penis but call yourself a woman, you can go to Mills. If you have a vagina, but call yourself a man, you can’t. Makes perfect sense.

And people wonder why Mills College and other expensive places like it are struggling.

Meanwhile, in other higher education news, Cal State University Los Angeles has hired a dean for their new Ethnic Studies program, and I thought the name sounded familiar: it is Julianne Malveaux, who used to appear on PBS and other “news” shows. It was on one of these appearances back in 1994 where Malveaux said Justice Clarence Thomas: “I hope his wife feeds him lots of eggs and butter and he dies early, like many black men do, of heart disease.” She’s also a supporter of Louis Farrakhan. (More here.)

But remember: Republicans are the party of hate.

From The Daily Beast:

Federal investigators seized an unusual piece of evidence from a Pennsylvania man indicted last month for his role in the Capitol riot—a Lego replica of the building he allegedly stormed. Robert Morss, 27, is accused of leading fellow rioters in what prosecutors say was “one of the most intense and prolonged clashes” with officers on Jan. 6. According to court documents obtained by Smoking Gun, FBI investigators seized an array of firearms from his home—as well as what the court filings described as a “fully constructed U.S. Capitol Lego set.” The prosecutors didn’t say whether Morss used his toy to help plan the Capitol insurrection.

Forget gun control. The government clearly needs to get on top of the whole Lego situation. Who knows what state secrets are contained in the Lego Pentagon kit. (Great roundup of Twitter mockery here.)

Confirmed: Al Gore is just as weird as you always thought. A new political memoir by a Democratic operative who vetted Gore to be Bill Clinton’s running mate in 1992 has an interesting passage about how Gore didn’t have any friends:

[Harry] McPherson and I met at his Connecticut Avenue law office. He wanted a briefing to understand the essence of Al Gore. He asked me a number of questions I was ready for, then one that I wasn’t: “Does Al Gore have any friends?” I hesitated before I said anything, slightly stumped. “It’s a simple question,” McPherson repeated. “Does Al Gore have any friends, because it’s not clear to me he does, and if that’s the case, I’d be concerned.” . . .

A week later, Gore met with us for the final interview at his parents’ apartment in a building across from the Capitol. After some brief pleasantries, Harry began.

“Senator, who are your friends?” he asked.

Gore shot McPherson a look of surprise, with a hint of anger that I knew all too well from the 1988 campaign.

“Harry, what are you asking?” Gore said.

“Senator, who are your friends . . . the people you most like, relax with, travel with, drink with. Your friends.”

A few seconds of silence ensued. Gore leaned forward in his armchair.

He looked straight at McPherson and spoke in an assured, senatorial voice.

“Norm Dicks and Tom Downey,” he said.

Both men were then members of the House of Representatives, and they had served with Gore during his eight years as a congressman. Harry expected to hear these names, but he wanted more.

“Who besides men you’ve served with would you describe as close friends? Any friends from Carthage? From Harvard? From Nashville?

From DC outside of Capitol Hill?”

“Well . . . my brother-in-law, Frank Hunger.”

McPherson was also expecting that name. “Anyone outside your family?”

Another uncomfortable silence followed. Finally, Gore repeated the same three names. . .

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