— Breaking News —
It has just been reported that Justice Kavanaugh had an alibi for the time of Christine Ford’s purported sexual assault!
Multiple credible witnesses confirm that Kavanaugh was not even in the state at the time of the alleged event. (1)
Since the word “credible” was the most oft used word to describe Ms Ford during the JCC (Judicial Confirmation Circus) and its usage didn’t seem to match my understanding I launched an investigation into the credibility of the word “credible”.
I felt that credibility had something to do with trustworthiness. Dictionary,com in fact confirms that to be the case.
I spent most of my career in banking was heavily involved with credit including subjective credit standards, credit scoring (data analytic) standards and artificial intelligence (cognitive science) standards. While the latter two seek to remove human bias from subjective standards, all three involve establishing standards for trustworthiness of prospective borrowers.
As a result, my understanding of credibility involved logical analysis of pertinent facts to determine the level of risk (trustworthiness). Risk in the credit industry is much the same as risk in insurance, or risk in running a gambling casino. There is no such thing as a sure thing, just degrees of risk. Even those with exceptionally high credit scores sometimes don’t pay their bills. The best drivers sometimes have accidents. Even people who are really bad at math, sometimes win the lottery*. The “House” makes money playing the odds. P.S. The house always wins.
*The lottery is a tax on people who are bad at math.
(Yes. Somebody has to win, but odds are, not you.)
I assumed that for someone to be considered “credible” they presented salient facts analyzed with impeccable logic to support their position.
I could not be more wrong.
My first mistake was in thinking we were having (or at least attempting to have) an intelligent discussion. We were in fact having a rhetorical display and I was in effect taking a vegetable peeler to a gun fight.
Rhetoric is the study of the effective use of language
particularly with the undue use of exaggeration or bombast.
Aristotle’s rhetorical appeals are known as ethos, pathos and logos.
Ethos (sometimes referred to as an appeal to ethics), then is used as a means of convincing an audience via the authority or credibility of the persuader, be it a notable or experienced figure in the field or even a popular celebrity.
Pathos (appeal to emotion) is a way of convincing an audience of an argument by creating an emotional response to an impassioned plea or a convincing story.
Logos (appeal to logic) is a way of persuading an audience with reason, using facts and figures.
“Appeals to logic are the foundation of all good arguments.” Apparently, for many, no foundation is necessary for an argument and much less a sound argument. Sheldon Cooper and I are shocked to learn that with enough Ethos and Pathos, Logos might as well be Legos.
I was going to go through the nine pages of misstatements, contradictions and logic gaps in Rachel Mitchell’s report but for those willing to believe a sob story, that would be a waste of time.
As for Ethos, Ford wasn’t the first choice. But Jennifer Lawrence was too young and Meryl Streep was busy with “Mama Mia Three”. Technically, for Ethos to work, the rhetoric needs to be on the part of an expert in the field or a celebrity. (I am just the messenger on that. Don’t ask me to explain the logic of using a non-expert celebrity.)
Ford did well on the Ethos front. She has an advanced degree and impressive job, but I am not sure that makes her an expert on teenage sexual assault. I don’t know if a teenage boy without the advance technical knowledge that girls buttons are on the other side, rubbing his fully-clothed crotch against a fully-clothed teenage girl rises to the level of sexual assault or not. However, I have decided to withdraw my name from consideration for the next Supreme Court opening.
As for celebrity? Her 15 minutes may have expired.
Here are thoughts about a fifteen year old girl out on her own for a night of underage drinking. If it follows that what a boy did as a teenager should disqualify him for a job, in the spirit of Equal Opportunity, shouldn’t Ford’s childhood behavior disqualify her from a job teaching children?
Everybody who would like to have an instant replay of their childhood run back at their job interviews, raise your hand.
(I’ll wait while the count is tallied.)
That leaves us Pathos. It is pathetic commentary that an emotional response to an impassioned plea somehow justifies the media’s gang rape of Justice Kavanaugh in front of his wife and children. Oh, yeah. I am the insensitive one.
To make up for my lack of sensitivity, I have decided to solve or at least mitigate the problem for the next time around.
I can’t fix the Supreme Court, Congress or the President, but this is an impassioned bi-partisan, ethical approach to avoid the next debacle in the judicial selection process.
What the Supreme Court needs is a bullpen – like in baseball. (I know that sounds sexist, but I can’t imagine even the most devout feminist happy with being called up from the “cowpen”.) The “bullpen” is where baseball pitchers warm up and wait to go into the game when the starting pitcher retires…or I guess, dies.
Start the process now and pick some number of “relief” justices…maybe five. They sit on cases with the Justices, write opinions, etc. – everything but vote on the outcome. Actually, let them vote. Track them but don’t count them in the decisions. That way, we don’t have to play this guessing game of “what will they do”. They will have already done.
The President nominates two and the leader of the opposing party nominates two. The fifth is chosen by a national television poll on “America’s Got Justice”. All are investigated and go through the confirmation process. Once confirmed, they are put in a pecking order and know who will be the next Justice maybe years in advance – like the Mardi Gras King. When it comes time, the next Relief Justice in the order moves up without debate.
A couple of thoughts on the process: The investigation ought to be a finite term or these idiots will just procrastinate investigating forever. I think a year would be more than enough. Investigators from the Justice Department and private investigators hired by both parties should be able to find out everything worth finding about a person in a year. If not, they can just look it up on Facebook.
Witnesses need to be investigated before they testify. None of this coming-out-of-the-woods-and- ambushing-at-the-last-minute malarkey. This isn’t Perry Mason reruns.
These committee hearings are debacles largely because they are made for TV events. The public may have a need to know, but they don’t have a need to know right now…or for sensationalization. I am not sure what the answer is here, but maybe the confirmation hearings could be held in private with the results of successful candidates publicized. Then at least, unsuccessful candidates don’t have the rest of their lives ruined because they did it in the gym after their first prom. Also, maybe we could subsidize the treasury with some kind of Pay-Per-View.
- The New York Times, CNN, et al, are demanding to see my proof that Kavanaugh has an air-tight alibi for the time of the alleged assault. My sources were incredibly thorough. In fact with the help of time lapse photography, they investigated every day of Kavanaugh’s life. As soon as we receive the date, time and location of the alleged assault, we will gleefully provide the corresponding alibi. Seriously. What is good for the goose, etc.
In follow up news, the FBI conducted a nationwide manhunt for everyone who may have humped Ford’s leg and didn’t call the next day.
It turns out that it wasn’t a seventeen year old boy at all, but a seventeen month old Cocker (pun intended) Spaniel named Kliff Klavaghn after the Cheers barfly.
Both had only one beer.
- Some have suggested that my comments marginalize women and trivialize rape. First, there was no rape, even in Ford’s mind. Sexual assault is serious. Nothing here trivializes that. Secondly, those who caused Ford to testify on national TV with nine pages of discrepancies marginalized her, not me. Thirdly, the “she said, he said” nature of sexual assault is tough enough without having Ford singing in the background in every future case, “…but who knows where or when.” I didn’t trivialize sexual assault, she did.
- I know there are many who won’t agree with the opinions expressed here. In order to enhance my credibility, I am working on a video version of this entire post. My part will be played by Morgan Freeman.