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The Dishcast with Andrew Sullivan
Emily Yoffe On Due Process And Campus Rape

Emily Yoffe On Due Process And Campus Rape

The veteran journalist brings us up to date on the delicate subject.

Emily has been the most fearless reporter on the fraught subject of sexual assault and due process on college campuses, first for Slate and then The Atlantic. She also wrote a hilarious book about a beagle, What the Dog Did.

You can listen to the episode right away in the audio player embedded above, or just below it you can click “Listen in podcast app” — which will connect you to the Dishcast feed. To listen to three excerpts from my conversation with Emily — on the Democrats’ selective defense of due process; on a culture of fear on the left; and on the need for journalists to be misfits and malcontents — head over to our YouTube page.

A reader looks back to last week’s Dishcast:

Loved the episode with Tim Shipman — not least because of the effortless switching of your attentions back and forth across the Pond. But only an hour?? I could have listened all afternoon ... 

Same for this reader:

As someone whose grandparents emigrated to the US from Ireland, and one who has no interest in Brexit or Boris Johnson, I was surprised how much I enjoyed your podcast with Tim Shipman and in fact was disappointed it was shorter than your other podcasts. I would have liked to hear more from him, particularly his thoughts on Trump, wokeness, and the future of the US media.

What was most refreshing was to hear a man whose success and competency as a newsman is based on his knowledge and experience rather than his intersectionality and his related “story”. I can’t imagine anyone having a political discussion like you two had with Maggie Haberman or Jim Acosta — or anyone in the US White House press corp. And Shipman’s gravitas and dignity stand in stark contrast to our young woke writers. Comparing Shipman’s thoughtfulness to Olivia Nuzzi’s profane snarky tone makes clear how young people in the media today — brought up on Twitter — have a long way to go to develop the type of world-view that will allow them to do the type of quality reporting Shipman does. 

The most important thing I got out of your discussion was how different Trump and Johnson are. Whatever else Johnson may be, he is obviously a bright, well-educated man — something you cannot say about Trump. You can see how Johnson survives to fight another day and Trump is banished to Mar-a-Lago. It also makes clear that if Trump was just a little smarter and less thin-skinned, we would be in his second term right now.

A reader in Ireland found the episode wanting:

Great piece with Tim, but I’m really surprised neither of you talked about the Irish Border. This became the thorniest issue in Brexit (because of the hard Brexiteers) and exposed Johnson not just as a liar (ask the DUP — no border in the Irish sea), but also as reckless when dealing with the Good Friday Agreement, the most successful piece of conflict resolution arguably anywhere in many years. I live one mile from the Border with Northern Ireland, so the issue was very real for me and many others on this island. Johnson is devoid of real principle, although he has buckets of charm, which makes him wholly untrustworthy and also, ironically, a real danger to the UK union, having left the European one.

Anyway, very few British people “get” Ireland (North or South). But aren’t you, Andrew, Irish?

Sorry for that omission. Yes, Boris lied. It’s what he does. And I don’t think he ever really thought through the Irish dimension of Brexit.

Another reader remarks, “I really loved this episode, and I hope we get to learn more about non-American politics and personalities.” Always open to suggestions: Many readers have been recommending Bryan Caplan:

After reading your latest column on immigration (which was excellent as usual), I’m wondering if you’ve had a chance to read Caplan’s book Open Borders. It’s a fun and easy read, so I would recommend doing so if you haven’t. I think he makes a strong case for open borders and while I would not go as far as to endorse the position, he definitely nudged me in his direction.

This reader recognizes Mickey’s total aversion to bullshit:

I was gratified to see Mickey Kaus on the podcast. You two were the first bloggers I followed way back when. Oddly, I was about to send a recommendation that you invite him when he magically appeared. Substack has fulfilled my subliminal wish. MK is one of the clearest social welfare policy thinkers around and is incapable of political posturing.

I agree. And hilarious. Another reader digs deep into the issues he and I explored:

I enjoyed listening to the podcast with Mickey Kaus. You were both so rational and fair that you didn’t piss me off as much as thought you might because I have strong feelings about “welfare”.

For the past 25 years, I have worked as a mental health counselor for a community agency in the Cleveland area. All of my clients, most of them women (white, black, and Latino) are low income (or to use Mickey’s term, “on the dole”). I don’t know how many hundreds of people I have worked with over the years, but I have never met a Welfare Queen. Nobody “on the dole” lives comfortably, unless they are lucky enough to have extended family to add to their support, or are also involved in some illegal activity — but that’s not comfortable. If they don’t work, it is not because the government is giving them so much money that they don’t have to.

Poverty is a trap that is very difficult, nearly impossible, to escape these days. Only “the fittest survive” and somehow work their way up to a living wage. Mickey and others say that statistics prove that Clinton’s Welfare Reform was a success, but I guess I just saw the people who didn’t succeed. I wonder how many former welfare recipients under Clinton earned a LIVING WAGE.

From my perspective on the ground, the “doles” available to those who qualify are: food stamps, Ohio Medicaid (pays my salary!), Section 8 or public housing, reduced rates for utilities, and day care subsidies. You have to work. You can get an earned income tax credit once a year. Your income must be very low to qualify for any of these “benefits”, and it’s as time consuming and stressful as working a full-time job to maneuver the bureaucratic nightmare to quality. 

In the Cleveland area, the waiting lists to get housing assistance is about five years, and then you have to win in the housing lottery. The average low-rent apartment is $700 to $900 a month, which is very difficult to manage if you have a minimum wage job and are only earning about $1000 a month. If you get behind in rent, you get evicted, and this makes it so much harder to get another apartment unless you can find an unscrupulous landlord who will forgo the credit check, but will never make repairs.

Food stamps are rarely enough, so you supplement at food banks. It takes months to get a day care voucher and you have to have a job before you can get one, so you better have child care while you are waiting for the voucher so you can keep the job that you need to get the voucher. 

Then there’s the problem of getting to work if you have a job. Public transportation in the greater Cleveland area is anything but convenient. I have clients who take several buses and over an hour to get to my office, even if they live only a few miles away. Most try to get cheap cars (usually with their tax refund), but they always have to pay many times what the car is worth because their credit is poor. When the cars die, which they inevitably do, they have to miss work and are likely to lose their job. Often, the car is repossessed before it dies because they can’t afford the ridiculous payments.

If you lose your job, you have to start all over again. But your work record looks bad because you can’t keep a job very long. So it is harder to find a job. If you are a single mom with a couple of kids (and it is a rare single mom who has more than two kids, unlike the stereotype that they are having lots of kids so they can get more money “on the dole”), it is very unlikely you are getting any child support because the fathers aren’t faring any better. The men often have children with different mothers and there is no incentive for them to work because their income goes to these women “who are screwing them over.”      

So the men work under the table if they can. Many of them have criminal records for minor crimes (drug offenses), which also makes getting employment more difficult. The good factory jobs with union wages for unskilled middle-class men that were plentiful during the ‘50s, ‘60s, and ‘70s began to go away in the ‘80s, and Cleveland became part of the Rust Belt. Now, as the Trump base knows well, “all the jobs went to China.”

So now Biden’s Recovery Act is going to give families $350 or $250 a month per child with no strings attached. (For a year, anyway.) You may think that these people don’t deserve the help and we can’t afford it (unlike the “job creators” who “needed” tax cuts that were supposed to provide my clients with such great jobs that THEY wouldn’t need government assistance). Or you may think that the money will discourage them from working.  

But I see it differently. With that money, maybe they CAN work and be more productive. Maybe they can use it to pay their rent so they don’t end up with their kids in a homeless shelter if they don’t have a supportive family. Maybe they will use it to make payments on a GOOD car that won’t die a month after they buy it. Maybe they will be able to keep a job if they have reliable transportation. Maybe they will use it for child care, or if they are lucky enough to live with a partner who has a “working class” (low paying usually) job, they won’t have to go to work, also, and can care for their young children themselves and give them a good start in life. 

Yes, some of my clients will blow the money on some immediate gratification luxury. But if you can meet your basic needs month after month, because you can add this child subsidy money to the inadequate amount that you have been able to earn through working your low-paying job, you can begin to understand how to use money more carefully. If you never have enough money and you are always robbing Peter to pay Paul, you can’t learn to spend it wisely.

My impressions are “anecdotal,” a compilation of the same stories that I have heard over and over again for 25 years. Poverty keeps my clients and their children depressed, anxious, traumatized, more susceptible to substance abuse, violence, etc. Money would be far more useful than therapy in most cases. It’s about time we started valuing children more than corporations and the wealthy. I’m for any plan that will raise families out of poverty. We need to reform welfare reform. 

My work has taught me that nothing is black and white, people are extremely complicated. I am not a left-wing socialist, or a bleeding heart “privileged elite” white person trying to assuage my guilt. I have to be a realist. And I applaud Biden’s agenda that is helping the poor and middle class and I think they are doing it the right way. 

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