Plainly, Aristotle was wrong!

FRIDAY, JUNE 16, 2017

Us behaving like Them:
Do women get interrupted more than men in various corporate settings?

Apparently that's what the research says. Or so says the New York Times.

Yesterday, Susan Chira reported this topic for the Times, in the featured front-page report of the Business Day section. She pegged her report to the public outrage over the way Kamala Harris was interrupted while questioning Jeff Sessions this week.

In all honesty, Harris interrupted Sessions a fair amount during the course of her questioning. At one point, John McCain piped up. Here's the transcript of what happened:
MCCAIN (6/13/17): Mr. Chairman, the witness should be allowed to answer the question.

CHAIRMAN BURR: Senators will allow the chair to control the hearing.

Senator Harris, let him answer.

HARRIS (to Sessions): Pleased to. Thank you.
It seems to us that this sort of thing happens in congressional hearings quite often. Under the circumstances, it produced lots of pushback this week.

This brings us to Chira's report. Plainly, Aristotle was wrong, or so this would seem to suggest:
CHIRA (6/15/17): Senator Harris, a former prosecutor, assertively questioned Attorney General Jeff Sessions during his testimony before the Senate Intelligence Committee. Senator John McCain, Republican of Arizona, interrupted and chided her to let Mr. Sessions answer her questions. Soon after that, Senator Richard Burr, Republican of North Carolina and the committee chairman, cut her off, saying her time had elapsed.
Chairman Burr "cut her off, saying her time had elapsed?" As people at the Times should know, there are ways to check such facts.

The PBS videotape of the hearing is here. Harris' questioning of Sessions starts at 2:06:48.

Burr tells Harris her time has elapsed at 2:13:31. At the time when Burr "cut her off," her allotted five minutes of questioning time had run almost seven minutes.

That said, Harris asked very good questions. The ridiculous question came from Ron Wyden, who somewhat excitedly asked Sessions this:
WYDEN: Last Thursday, I asked former Director Comey about the FBI's interactions with you, General Sessions, prior to your stepping aside from the Russian investigation.

Mr. Comey said that your continued engagement with the Russian investigation was, quote, "problematic," and he, Mr. Comey, could not discuss it in public.
Mr. Comey also said that FBI personnel had been calling for you to step aside from the investigation at least two weeks before you finally did so.

Now, in your prepared statement, you stated you received only, quote, "limited information necessary to inform your recusal decision." But, given Director Comey's statement, we need to know what that was.

Were you aware of any concerns at the FBI, or elsewhere in government, about your contacts with the Russians or any other matters relevant to whether you should step aside from the Russian investigation?


WYDEN: General Sessions, respectfully, you're not answering the question.

SESSIONS: Well, what is the question?

WYDEN: The question is, Mr. Comey said that there were matters with respect to the recusal that were problematic and he couldn't talk about them. What are they?
For the record, Comey did not say "that FBI personnel had been calling for [Sessions] to step aside from the investigation at least two weeks before [he] finally did." At any rate, Wyden wanted Sessions to explain whatever it was that Comey had refused to discuss.

How was Sessions supposed to do that? Wyden's semi-hysterical questioning made little apparent sense.

Sessions was right when he went on to say that Comey had been engaging in innuendo. The problem is, under rules of the game, you aren't allowed to say such things about Comey the God, who seems to be rather slippery.

The Comey/Sessions hearings have been analyzed very poorly. When a chase of this intensity takes place, all logic goes out the window. Consider one last example of what can occur when a great chase is on:

We refer you to Virginia Heffernan's unique confession at Slate. Our eyes were drawn to the headline on her podcast. The headline in question said this:
"The Testimony of Jefferson Beauregard Sessions III"
Interesting! We wondered how honest Heffernan would be about her region/race-baiting.

For better or worse, we'll give her credit for being extremely honest! In a classic case of Us behaving like Them, her discussion started like this:
HEFFERNAN (6/15/17): Today, we're talking about Jefferson Beauregard Sessions III. I want to hit that middle name the way my co-host Jamelle Bouie does because "Beauregard" is kind of the answer to "Hussein," and to those who used to hit Barack Obama's middle name hard, with the same kind of innuendo.
For the record, she did hit that middle name hard.

We give Heffernan credit for honesty. She admitted that she was toying with innuendo, the same way The Others have done.

Heffernan is certainly right about the past focus on Obama's middle name. She now admitted that she wanted to play the same game, in which a person's name is used to mark him as alien, as The Other. When people like Heffernan pimp Sessions' name, they are telling us that he's the racial/regional Other.

It was a classic example of Us behaving like Them. People like Heffernan fail in these ways when a major chase is on and we're trying to lock them all up.

Your lizard will swear that Heffernan's conduct was right, even right on. As always, your lizard is wrong.

Aristotle was all wet too. He called us "the rational animal!"


  1. reading your article about Plainly, Aristotle was wrong!its interesting and informative for all children for more click here JAN CARTOON

  2. Somersby staring off into the distance, talking about everything but what happened. McCain has no authority to interrupt another Senator. That he did so and did not lose his place at that hearing was outrageous. No amount of rambling on about Ron Wyden changes that.
    Bob Gardner
    Randolph, MA

    1. Thank you for noting this.

      The reason why a Senator interrupts the person testifying is because those testifying have a strategy of burning up the Senator's allotted time by discussing non-pertinent things that are not responsive to the question asked. This strategy is explicit and is used with Democrats. Sessions was doing this to Harris and she tried to prevent it by interrupting him to refocus him on the topic at hand, the question that was asked, when he demonstrably wandered off topic.

      Funny Somerby didn't mention that.

      And yes, women do get interrupted more often than men do. Within the male sex, high status men interrupt those with lower status more often. Men and women talk about the same amount of time -- it is a myth that women talk more than men.

      I experienced this first hand during my first week at IBM Research Division. I was at a meeting in which people were brainstorming ideas, facilitated by a moderator. I spoke several times and contributed a couple of ideas. Later, the moderator summed up by writing the ideas on the white board. None of the things I had said were listed. He then asked if he had left anything out. I raised my hand and said that all of my contributions had been left out. He asked what they were and I summarized them, at which point he wrote them. But I had to appear like Ms. B*tch in order to be included and it was made very clear that he not only didn't value what I had said, but didn't remember any of it. That is what women experience on a daily basis in the workplace. And if you correct the record or push back or complain, you are considered "difficult" and are marginalized. So you are damned if you speak up and damned if you don't.

      So, Mr. Somerby, this is more than a rhetorical device to 50% of the population, including Senator Harris. That Somerby couldn't even figure out what the interruptions consisted of is very telling.

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  4. Why were Bernie and Rand Paul the only two senators to vote against sanctions on Russia? Why won't Bernie release his taxes?

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