SONGS SUNG BLUE: Blue tribe stars said Stefanik was right!


We'd call it a song sung blue: For students of the American discourse—for students of the American project—last Tuesday's hearing with the three college presidents was a series of songs sung blue.

For students of the American discourse, it was also a chance to observe one of the clownish ways our floundering nation conducts its alleged public discourse. Let's start with the way such hearings are run in the House.

As we noted yesterday, the hearing was held by the House Committee on Education and the Workforce. For reasons we can't quite begin to explain, the committee include 25 Republicans and only 20 Democrats.

As a measure of basic fairness, the giant committee's web site lets you gaze on color photographs of the red tribe members, while blue tribe members of the committee only get listed by name.

We know—it sounds like that can't be true. But you can see what we've told you right here.

So it goes in this increasingly dysfunctional age of partisan super-excess. And so it went when the committee's chairwoman opened last Tuesday's fact-finding mission with a statement which seemed to show that she felt she already knew the key facts:

FOXX (12/5/23): Before we begin, I’d like to begin with a moment of silence to recognize all the Israelis and others who have been killed, injured, or taken hostage by Hamas terrorists.

Thank you.

Today, each of you will have a chance to answer to and atone for the many specific instances of vitriolic, hate-filled antisemitism on your respective campuses that have denied students the safe learning environment they are due.

For C-Span's videotape of the hearing, you can just click here.

So it went when Chairwoman Foxx (R-NC) opened last Tuesday's hearing. The three college presidents would be given the chance to atone, the magnanimous chairwoman said.

After a raft of opening statements, the questioning finally started, with the giant committee operating under "the five-minute rule." Under that rule, each member of the giant committee would be given five (5) minutes, full stop, to question the three (3) college presidents.

Every member knows two (2) key things about the five-minute rule:

First, it's the dumbest possible way to attempt to elicit real information about this, or about any other, highly important topic. 

Second, the rule exists so each member of the committee can create at least thirty (30) seconds of film to be shown on that evening's 6 o'clock news in the member's home district. 

Thanks to the presence of this rule, a type of Babel is quickly created in most hearings of this type. Here's the way Babel happens:

The dozens of members begin asking questions, or perhaps just making statements, about some individual topic of choice.

This generates a disjointed set of five-minute mini-discussions, many of which can hardly be thought of as actual "discussions" at all.

So it commonly goes as the men and women of the House conduct their important hearing in the world's oldest democracy. In this instance, after the presidents gave their opening statements, the chairwoman stepped in again, this time with a bit of housekeeping:

FOXX: I'll begin the questioning of our witnesses. Before I ask my questions, let me do some housekeeping.

Under committee Rule 9, we will now question witnesses under the five-minute rule. I remind members that I'll strictly enforce the five-minute rule, so members are advised to keep your questions succinct so the witnesses have time to answer. 

Please don't talk for four minutes and then ask the witness a question. 

Please let the witnesses speak! As the day's auto-da-fe proceeded, the rule of thumb for which the chairwoman pleaded was widely observed in the breach.

As is common at such hearings, the witnesses were frequently interrupted as soon as they tried to speak. This was especially true in the case of the Republican congresswoman who would soon be hailed as the star of the day's proceedings.

At any rate, the questioning now began. With this question from Chairwoman Foxx, the real hearing finally began:

FOXX (continuing directly): We've heard from many students that they do not feel safe. You've talked about that in your statements. But the antisemitism we've seen on your campuses didn't come out of nowhere. There are cultures at your institutions that foster it because you have faculty and students who hate Jews and hate Israel and are comfortable apologizing for terror.

How did your campuses get this way? What is it about the way you hire faculty and approve curriculum that's allowing your campuses to be infected by this intellectual and moral rot?

President Gay, I'm going to ask you to give me a brief answer. I also would invite you to follow up with more in writing and we will follow up with you.

So I will go down the line—President Gay, and President Magill and President Kornbluth.

GAY: Thank you, Chairwoman Foxx...

President Gay, when did you stop beating your husband? Please keep your answer brief!

That was the initial question in last Tuesday's search for the truth. In the opening question of the trial, Rep. Foxx claimed that Harvard is infected with "faculty and students who hate Jews...and are comfortable apologizing for terror." 

No specific faculty members were named. We were simply told that they exist. Also, something the Ivy League school was doing had produced this moral rot.

Readers, who are these faculty members and students? Also, how do we know they hate Jews? In five-minute show trials of this type, such details are rarely offered, and so it would be this day.

In fairness, Chairwoman Foxx didn't invent the foolishness of the five-minute rule. Nor did she invent the unmistakable "intellectual rot" which is routinely put on display at such congressional hearings.

For our money, her questioning did little to inform the nation about what may or may not be happening at the three universities in question. That said, the questioning by the giant committee's other members also led to little real information in this very long congressional journey into a very dark night.

Eventually, one red tribe member became the star of the hearing. Within a matter of days, members of various blue tribe elites were saying that she'd actually gotten it right.

With apologies, we were off campus this morning, saddled with hours of medical procedures. This left us unable to perform today as we might have intended.

That said:

It seems to us that Tuesday's hearing was a set of songs sung blue for students of the American project. 

Alas! We saw three members of a blue elite perform in a way which was widely derided. And then, in the days which followed, we saw other blue tribe elites saying that a certain red tribe solon had actually been correct in the line of "questioning" she pursued.

For our money, the blue tribe presidents did in fact perform remarkably poorly. This provides a chance for us blue tribals to see the shortcomings of our own tribe—but in our view, the performance by the red tribe solon was substantially worse.

Worst of all? Could that be the blue tribe pundits who said that that she had gotten it right? When we resume tomorrow, that will be where we'll start.

Politically, this was a song sung blue as the nation's hard-charging red tribe scored a major political win. In our view, this was also a song sung blue as members of our own blue tribe got to see the lack of elementary moral and intellectual skill which does in fact routinely infest our own self-impressed tribe.

In line with the ways of the five-minute rule, a highly disjointed pseudo-discussion unfolded in the House last week. Eventually, one member, Rep. Stefanik, stepped in and provided a focus.

When Rep. Stefanik did that, blue tribe stars swallowed the bait.

We liberals! We love to laugh at the red tribe's rubes! Tomorrow, let's take a look at the red tribe member our blue stars decided to praise.

Tomorrow: Who is Elise Stefanik?


  1. Somerby makes a fuss about how large the Education & Work committe is but the house Judiciary committee is similarly large (44 members, 25 Republican, 19 Democrat. Is he surprised because he thinks Education is unimportant or does he not know how many House members there are?

  2. Jeez. You sound like this was the first time you observed American politicians and other apparatchiks licking, en masse, AIPAC's ass. With a preciously bipartisan zeal. And how cringeworthy it is.

  3. I'm really looking for this story to blow over, so Stefanik, and the rest of the Right, can get back to cosplaying as free-speech champions.

  4. Bob, misquoted the the traditional unfair question. It is, "Have you stopped beating your husband?" That's unfair, because the question presumes that she has been beating him.

    However, when the woman HAS been beat her husband, then this question is fair and useful.

    In the case at hand, there is indeed widespread antisemitism these three colleges and many other colleges. Furthermore, the antisemitism is often tolerated by the powers that be. As the entire nation saw,-
    useful information was elicited from these three Presidents.

    BTW today I learned that I am financially supporting antisemitism on college campuses. A news report today about my granddaughter's college says:

    The Ohio-based Oberlin College removed a former Iran regime official and religion professor, Mohammad Jafar Mahallati, from his teaching post after a three-year pressure campaign from Iranian Americans who were outraged over his role in covering up the mass murder of at least 5,000 Iranian political prisoners in 1988.

    Andrea Simakis, a spokeswoman for the controversial college administration, told Fox News Digital that "Professor Mahallati was placed on indefinite administrative leave on November 28."

    Fox News Digital reported last month that Iran’s former U.N. ambassador, Mahallati, was being investigated by the U.S. Department of Education Office of Civil Rights for subjecting Jewish students to harassment, including including defending the U.S. and EU-designated terrorist organization Hamas."

    1. What Mahallati did is misguided, but I’m not sure it’s harassment.

      There are Jewish instructors who are so woke as to be pro-Hamas. Would they have been fired?

    2. Good question. I am more concerned about the situation on campus that would lead to such a person becoming a Professor. Even if they get rid of this guy, the campus atmosphere remains.

    3. Ahem, and who would those instructors be Cecelia? Would they be pro Hamus to the extent that Stefanik obviously hates American Democracy, having gone and continuing to go to great lengths to help Trump destroy it?

    4. Anonymouse 6:33pm, they could be the people here who claim to be educators. Or like them.

      I understand that Trump as POTUS is the second thing of concern to you ankle-biters. The chief villain being Bob.

    5. @6:33 appears to be saying
      "Exposing antisemitism = Hating America'

    6. Who is Elise Stefanik? Another fake MAGA jaggoff who used her language skills and nasty ass MAGA bullying tactics to trap the University Presidents. Complete slime is she.

    7. David and Cecelia, blinded by their tragically wounded souls, appear unaware that Hamas was in fact propped up and permitted funding by Israel’s current right wing leader Netanyahu and his administration. The NY Times has been reporting on this recently, but it’s been long reported by more serious journalists and media.

      Somerby puts his thumb on the scale as he pushes the narrative that the college presidents responded poorly to the loony questions from Foxx and Stefanik, but in fact the presidents responded appropriately, in a clear and straightforward manner, explaining that free speech, being a foundational concept to America (it’s even in the Constitution), is permitted, but conduct that involves bullying, harassment, or intimidation triggers potential disciplinary action.

      Since David and Cecelia insist on clowning around, it’s worth noting the context that David does not have a grandkid attending Oberlin, and Cecelia pretends to be a woman. Whatever.

      The issue with Mahallati and Oberlin has been going on for years - actual Oberlin students are well aware, yet DIC only noticed because it’s just now being reported in right wing media.

      However, the reporting about Mahallati in right wing media is misleading and false. Oberlin has fired Mahallati because they recently became aware of sexual harassment allegations made against him when he taught at Columbia in the 90s. Good on Oberlin, schools should not hire teachers accused of sexual harassment.

      Mahallati was Iran’s UN ambassador in the 80s, during which time he refused to condemn his own government (duh) for what some called political executions; however, in fact, Mahallati has not engaged in antisemitic nor pro Hamas rhetoric, no current student filed any such complaints. The OCR was obliged to open an investigation into Mahallati after they recently received a complaint from a former Oberlin student, who graduated in 1986 and now heads a far right Zionist organization. Brother, please.

      The OCR noted that they would not proceed further if the issue is resolved by the college, which it has been.

      The former Oberlin student (class of ‘86 mind you) was herself fired from her teaching position at a university for incompetence, although she claims victimhood due to her right wing pro Zionist activism.

      Clowns are going to clown.

      Anti Zionism is not antisemitism, BDS and criticism of Israel is not antisemitism, intifada does not refer to a genocide of Jews, and the majority of Palestinians do not support Hamas - conflating the two is ahistorical and inaccurate.

      Being pro Palestinian is not antisemitic, particularly when considering the context: holding Palestinians in concentration camps for decades aside, in response to being attacked by Hamas, a terrorist organization they actively permit, Israel went about indiscriminately bombing innocent civilians in Gaza, the shocking kill count is approaching 20k humans, half of whom are children, a clear war crime.

      When you do not really care that thousands of innocent children are being bombed to death, when you hand wave such atrociousness, it’s a clear indication of suffering from unresolved trauma and the resultant impact on the brain - a root cause of a right wing world view that society has been struggling with for the past 10k years when we humans transitioned from immediate return based societies to surplus/commodification based societies.

    8. Everyone has condemned Hamas and their attack. No one is supporting the 10/7 attack in which 1147 Jews were killed (some by friendly fire).

      Everyone is making it clear they are supporting Palestinians and not Hamas.

      Killing 20k and counting innocent civilians is not a defense, is not justified, is not a right; it is psychotic and a war crime.

    9. If everyone opposes Hamas, it should be easy for Palestinians to work with Israel to root them out of Gaza, yet that is not happening. Nor are those Pro-Palestinians vocally supporting Israel in it’s attempt to destroy Hamas. The facts of what is happening do not support your narrative.

    10. Hamas was always a terrorist organization with violent intent. Netanyahu and the right has supported and continues to support Hamas in order to end any path to peace, this is expressed openly.

      Israel controls elections in Gaza and only allowed a single election 20 years ago in which Hamas received only minority support. Most Palestinians do not support Hamas and want a return to peace negotiations that were advancing in 90s before those leading the effort were assassinated, and Israel became captive to right wing extremists.

    11. Palestinians have no power to stop Hamas, every breath they take is monitored and controlled by Israel. (The Hamas command center under that hospital was built by Israel!)

      Pro Palestinians take great pains to express their disapproval of Hamas. Stop with the zombie straw man. You’re scaring little kids - hey, that’s better than bombing them.

      Hamas is a right wing terrorist organization in cahoots with the right in Israel.

      I’m sorry, but you are just ignorant of the issue.

    12. Pro-Palestinians in the US sound like people who want to destroy Israel not Hamas.

    13. It’s not a conspiracy theory, it’s something the right in Israel are open about, I suggest you read the linked article.

      Palestinians indeed have expressed support for the peace that was being pursued by the Palestinian Authority.

      It was the right wingers in Israel that ended peace negotiations.

      Palestinians criticizing Israel for keeping them oppressed for decades in concentration camps via an apartheid regime, is trivially uncontroversial, as Mandela pointed out when apartheid was defeated in South Africa.

    14. And why was it that the Palestinians in Gaza broke the recent ceasefire and are now fighting again?

    15. 11:41 Absolutely correct; Netanyahu was on record as supporting Hamas in 2019. The continued monetary support of a world class economic power, with no strings attached, is a clear indication to the Palestinians and Arab world at large that nothing Israel does is deserving of censure beyond lip service from the US. This places US assets and citizens at risk unnecessarily and should have been avoided years ago. The Israelis can well afford coughing up the 4.7 billion dollars in US aid annually from their own wallets, and they would be better allies to this country if they were to do so. In fact, some Israelis argue that US monetary aid should be spurned in order that Israeli government activities be completely independent of US pressure, although there is scant evidence that any such pressure has been levied nor, if so, been effective.

    16. I love jews, especially freshly squeezed.

      I am Corby.

    17. Obviously, criticizing Israel is anti-semitism. What next? Arguing that criticizing ObamaCare isn't Anti-American?
      C'mon. Get real.

    18. Anonymouse flying monkey 8:18am, not your best effort here.

    19. It’s true though. Antiobamacareism is antiamericanism.

    20. Anonymouse 11:03pm, there’s not a modicum of honesty in you.

      I’ve defended Mahallati and all the college presidents to the degree of not shutting them down.

      I don’t like to see people silenced or fired. Especially in the case of civilians who are hauled before congress and are likely saying as little as possible on the advisement of their attorneys. I don’t like to see professors canned for having a political opinion as long as they are open, accepting, and encouraging of conversation from varying pov in their classes.

      Anonymouse, please learn to read and go take your meds.

    21. Anonymouse 8:5am, another fail.

    22. 8:43,
      Which part do you disagree with? That criticizing Israel isn't anti-semitism, or that criticizing America isn't anti-American? Or both?

    23. Anonymouse 9:18am, the false choice part.

    24. 9:28,
      ObamaCare will not replace us.

    25. False choices can clarify an argument.

  5. Somerby doesn’t seem to understand how House committees work and how (and why) hearings are conducted. As much time as he spends on cspan, why is he so uninformed about this?

  6. Today, Babel is the logistics of the committee hearings. No mention of whether the Democrats on the committee tried to engage in good faith discussion. Just an acknowledgment that the republicans were staging a show trial to own the libs. Both sides, doncha know?

  7. Nick Fuentes (who dined with Trump and Kanye West) is now calling for elimination of non-Christians:

    1. Also, evangelicals are now attacking Jesus for being a beta wuss leftie.

      So it’s confusing.

      It would appear that what Trump et al want is a safe space, maybe an island, to pursue their goal of fucking young women and girls. Trump is even hot for his own daughter. Yikes.

    2. When facing a difficult choice, I ask myself: what would Joe Biden do?

      I am Corby.

    3. I ask myself what Corby would do.

    4. Corby will write fifteen paragraphs of self-referential blather that viciously misrepresents Somerby’s essay and focuses on tedious and shallow denouncements of any literary references. Then she will accuse Somerby of seeming to imply, suggest, or denote some pernicious intent or inexcusable ignorance.

      We all know what Corby would do.

    5. mh, why would Bob have to salute his own party as equal time to blasting Republicans?

      Bob is criticizing Republicans, why are you trying to mitigate that?

    6. CC 9:24 - Yes. And it's not the vicious misrepresentations that really get to me; it's the tedium of the fifteen paragraphs. Corby - Can't you learn the value of concision and brevity? See if you can't say it in fifty words or less.

  8. Somerby appears to have some medical issue for which he has been receiving treatment that is apparently working to some degree, as he is able to maintain a comfortable lifestyle merely by phoning in repetitive blog essays, spurred not by research and evidence, but by sitting around and watching cable news programs.

    Yet Somerby claims society is failing!

    Sure, ok, but for whom? Not layabout Somerby, being coddled by a bevy of doctors and nurses. It must nice to do nothing all day after going down to the local bagel shop and inappropriately attempting to flirt with the young female staff.

    Amazingly he blames the tribe actively trying to improve society, largely letting the tribe that has lead the wealthiest nation in history to have the worst inequality in history of any advanced, industrialized nation, off the hook. The chutzpah of this schmuck!

    1. Long may Bob idle, revel, and flirt!

    2. The blog posts are about cable news.

  9. This is relevant to Somerby and his blog:

    "darker forms of humor, such as cynicism and irony, are linked to aspects of emotional distress"

    "Eight comic styles were examined, each representing a unique approach to humor. These included “Fun,” characterized by light-heartedness and joy; “Humor,” which focuses on gently poking fun at life’s quirks; “Nonsense,” reveling in absurdity and illogic; “Wit,” marked by intellectual sharpness and cleverness; “Irony,” where the said is often opposite to the meant, requiring a nuanced understanding; “Satire,” used for social critique through ridicule; “Sarcasm,” a more biting and direct form of verbal irony; and “Cynicism,” which embodies skepticism and a mocking attitude towards societal norms."

    Quoting the researcher: "“Broadly, numerous studies indicate that individuals possessing a heightened (adaptive) sense of humor tend to experience lower levels of anxiety and stress compared to those with a lower sense of humor. Through our research, we have successfully pinpointed the specific types of humor that can serve as a preventative measure against anxiety, stress and depression.”

    “Results reveal that benign humor serves as a protective factor for all three variables under consideration. Additionally, irony demonstrates a positive association with anxiety and stress, whereas wit emerges as a protective factor linked to anxiety. On the other hand, sarcasm is positively related to depression. Notably, no significant correlations were found between the other variables examined.”

    Positively related means that higher levels of sarcasm would be associated with greater depression, not less. This essentially is saying that the types of humor used by Somerby are less protective and more strongly associated with negative emotions and conditions such as depression and anxiety.

    I've said before that Somerby sounds like someone making a cry for help, to the point of worrying about his emotional state. He doesn't sound humorous, he sounds sad and distressed.

    1. You are overwhelmingly compassionate.

    2. The sort of compassion that the Soviets had for dissidents.

      They sent them to asylums for drugs and shock treatments. (If they were lucky.)

  10. I am Corby, and I approve of this message.