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Clarence Thomas’s Wife Seeks Apology From Anita Hill

Making headlines this evening is the news that Virginia Thomas, the wife of Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas, contacted Anita Hill recently and asked her to apologize for the 19 year old accusations that nearly ruined Thomas’s Supreme Court bid:

WASHINGTON – Virginia Thomas, the wife of Supreme Court Associate Justice Clarence Thomas, left a message last weekend on the voicemail of Anita Hill, who accused her husband of sexual harassment during his confirmation hearings, a spokeswoman for Ms. Thomas confirmed on Tuesday.

In a message left at the office of Ms. Hill, who is now a professor at Brandeis University, Ms. Thomas apparently brought up Ms. Hill’s accusations against her husband during the 1991 hearings.

In response to questions about the call relayed through a publicist, Ms. Thomas confirmed that she had left a message on Ms. Hill’s voicemail.

“I did place a call to Ms. Hill at her office extending an olive branch to her after all these years, in hopes that we could ultimately get passed what happened so long ago,” Ms. Thomas said in a statement provided to The New York Times.

“That offer still stands,” her statement went on. “I would be very happy to meet and talk with her if she would be willing to do the same. Certainly no offense was ever intended.”

Ms. Thomas did not explain why she had reached out to Ms. Hill at this time

ABC News quoted from the voicemail.

“Good morning, Anita Hill, it’s Ginny Thomas,” she said, according to ABC News. “I just wanted to reach across the airwaves and the years and ask you to consider something. I would love you to consider an apology sometime and some full explanation of why you did what you did with my husband. So give it some thought and certainly pray about this and come to understand why you did what you did. Okay have a good day.”

It is a rather odd development. It’s been nineteen years since those hearings took place, and given what Thomas himself had to say at the time his autobiography came out, I would’ve thought that the idea of any further contact with Antia Hill would have been considered absurd in the Thomas household:

“When you thing about Anita Hill…was she a pawn, was she a liar?”

Justice Thomas: “I really don’t care enough—let me be honest with you. I went through that during the hearing. I thought about it. I really don’t care. What I care about is that the responsible people didn’t put an end to this nonsense.

Virginia Thomas’s response at the time was markedly different, and may explain what happened last week:

“I think there’s a lot of theories, but I hope she once day calls up and apologizes and I look forward to forgiving her.” …I’m sure she got swept up into something bigger than she may have understood at the beginning of whatever she was doing, but I think she owes us an apology and I look forward to receiving that phone call or that visit one day. “

So perhaps Virginia Thomas thought that calling up Anita Hill would prompt some kind of regret on her part. It was a naive thought, obviously, especially considering the fact that leaving a voicemail meant that it was inevitable that this would reach the media, and lead to silliness like this:

While Ms. Thomas described the call as an attempt to reach out, the university appeared to be taking the matter more seriously.

Andrew Gully, senior vice president of the Brandeis University Communications office, confirmed that Ms. Hill had received the message, that she had turned it over to the campus Department of Public Safety yesterday. They, in turn, passed it on to the FBI.

“I though it was certainly inappropriate,” Ms. Hill said in an interview. “It came in at 7:30 a.m. on my office phone from somebody I didn’t know, and she is asking for an apology. It was not invited. There was no background for it.”

Getting the FBI involved is just the height of silliness. Though it may have been a dumb thing to do, there’s nothing in that voicemail that objectively constitutes a threat. However, by doing so, Hill and her colleagues at Brandeis have found another way to embarrass Clarence Thomas, and that’s something that Anita Hill has a history of doing.

Update: John Cole takes me to task for that last paragraph:

So a couple decades ago, you believe you were sexually harassed. You testify honestly and truthfully, and are smeared and attacked for coming forward. You let things go, and twenty years later there is a voice message on your office phone. The message claims to be from Ginny Thomas, and if that wasn’t odd enough, she’s asking YOU for an apology? After her husband sexually harassed YOU! After they tried to destroy YOU for simply telling the truth. Thinking no one is that stupid, you decide it must be a prank, and pass it off to Campus Security.

Of course, not everyone believed Anita Hill then, and not everyone believes her now. I suppose for even bringing that up I’ll be called a right-wing nut job or something (which is fine because I think yesterday was the day I was scheduled to be called an Obama-loving socialist)  but it’s the truth. And if you don’t believe Anita Hill, or at least don’t believe that her motives for testifying in 1991 were pure and honest, then it’s perfectly logical to think that her motives now are shaded as well. Like I said, she could’ve just deleted the voicemail and left it at that.

In any case, though, I’d like to thank Virginia Thomas for making the bizarre decision to place this phone call at 7:30 on a Saturday morning, thus allowing us all to relive October 1991 all over again. And by “thank” I mean ask her what the hell she was thinking.

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About Doug Mataconis
Doug holds a B.A. in Political Science from Rutgers University and J.D. from George Mason University School of Law. He joined the staff of OTB in May, 2010 and also writes at Below The Beltway. Follow Doug on Twitter | Facebook

Comments

  1. wr says:

    “Extending an olive branch” doesn’t start with demanding an apology.

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  2. Davebo says:

    “However, by doing so, Hill and her colleagues at Brandeis have found another way to embarrass Clarence Thomas, and that’s something that Anita Hill has a history of doing.”

    If one were a lawyer and followed the Supreme Court it wouldn’t be hard to find instances when Thomas embarrassed himself. Which might explain why he doesn’t make much noise on the court.

    Doug however has no such inhibitions it seems.

    The height of silliness indeed.

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  3. tom p says:

    “Hill and her colleagues at Brandeis have found another way to embarrass Clarence Thomas”

    I have to say, that aint hard to do, all I have to do is quote him. (more difficult than it might at first appear)

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  4. largebill says:

    Actually, the only one who got embarrassed in this case is Hill and her college. She called security because someone left a simple message on her voice mail. Not sure why Mrs. Thomas thought Hill would have had a change of heart and be willing to admit she lied years back. Unless something happened in Hill’s life to make her realize what she did was wrong she is unlikely to apologize. If she was lying, she would need to initiate the expression of remorse. Thomas or his wife asking for an apology isn’t going to get anywhere.

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  5. Franklin says:

    Not sure why Ms. Hill made it public or called security. And not sure why Mrs. Thomas tried to demand an apology, even in a sorta friendly way (there’s no friendly way to demand an apology).

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  6. Mithras says:

    So odd. I wonder if there was booze involved on Ms. Thomas’s part. I can’t think of a more likely explanation for leaving a voicemail, whether it was a genuine “olive branch” or just the first step of another right-wing smear job, like the ACORN tape. Either way, Prof. Hill had no way of knowing whether it was genuine without trying to contact Ms. Thomas, and obviously she couldn’t do that. So she turned it over to someone who had jurisdiction if it in fact was a hoax.

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  7. ponce says:

    “Though it may have been a dumb thing to do, there’s nothing in that voicemail that objectively constitutes a threat. ”

    Really?

    The crazy wife of a possibly corrupt supreme court justice calls you with a demand?

    How is that not a threat?

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  8. schooner says:

    “However, by doing so, Hill and her colleagues at Brandeis have found another way to embarrass Clarence Thomas, and that’s something that Anita Hill has a history of doing.”

    That’s just a sad comment Doug.

    Thomas calls her and she’s out to get them?

    Sad.

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  9. schooner,

    Hill did not need to go to the media. She could’ve just hit delete on her voicemail and left it at that.

    It was her choice

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  10. Ponce,

    Virginia Thomas is not crazy and Clarence Thomas is not corrupt. But of course you’re part of the same smear machine that was active in 1991 so I doubt the truth matters

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  11. schooner says:

    Sorry Doug, but don’t you think it a tad bizarre that the call was even made?

    What was the point of it after all these years?

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  12. schooner,

    Read my post and you’ll see that is exactly what i say. I just don’t think there’s any evidence of nefarious motives here

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  13. schooner says:

    You may disagree but based on your last column on Virginia Thomas I think you have a real blind spot here.

    She is out of order on this and Hill shouldn’t receive any blame. That call was a big mistake.

    And as to the previous post, the fact she has a job isn’t a problem at all, but her group is taking in cash anonymously and as the spouse of a Supreme Court Justice I find that appalling.

    I have to sign off now.

    Good night and though I can’t agree with you I appreciate the response.

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  14. Tano says:

    There are some objective facts here.

    There is no evidence whatsoever that Anita Hill was lying during the hearings.
    The rightwing propagandists went into overdrive trying to smear her at the time.
    The leader of that movement has recanted all of his allegations against her.
    The Wall St. Journal, of all places, had a reporter investigate, and she ended up co-writing a book on the incident that thoroughly exonerated Ms. Hill.
    http://www.amazon.com/Strange-Justice-Selling-Clarence-Thomas/dp/0452274990/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1287542996&sr=1-1

    Virginia Thomas is a very extreme, very aggressive political operative.

    The very fact that she claims to be extending an olive branch in a manner that makes it clear she is calling Hill a liar and demanding an apology is all the evidence you need to know that this is a political stunt, and that Thomas is disingenuous, at the least.

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  15. ponce says:

    “But of course you’re part of the same smear machine that was active in 1991 ”

    I was a rabid Republican back in 1991, but I wanted Bork.

    Thomas was an embarrassment to the Right even back then.

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  16. wr says:

    It’s possible that Thomas isn’t corrupt and his wife isn’t crazy. It’s much less possible that his wife isn’t corrupt.

    Of course, since Thomas helped decide the decision that allowed corrupt Virginia to raise and spend unlimited corporate cash to enforce the “conservative” — that is, corporatist — agenda on the country, I guess he is corrupt, too.

    I’ll leave the crazy part up to the pros.

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  17. M. Bouffant says:

    I’m not sure if you’re the type to skree “Liberal Bible!” if something comes from The New York Times, but this might have at least a hint of corruption.

    But to some people who study judicial ethics, Mrs. Thomas’s activism is raising knotty questions, in particular about her acceptance of large, unidentified contributions for Liberty Central. She began the group in late 2009 with two gifts of $500,000 and $50,000, and because it is a 501(c)(4) nonprofit group, named for the applicable section of the federal tax code, she does not have to publicly disclose any contributors. Such tax-exempt groups are supposed to make sure that less than half of their activities are political.

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  18. ratufa says:

    There’s an election in a few weeks. Mrs. Thomas is the head of a conservative advocacy group. Media coverage of an apology by Hill would consume a news cycle and help conservative candidates in this election. Anita Hill knows that. Mrs. Thomas knows that. So, of course Anita Hill is going to be suspicious of Thomas’s motives. In that context, going public doesn’t seem outlandish.

    If that seems a bit paranoid to you, consider that Anita Hill may believe that she told the truth at her confirmation hearing testimony, and that the result was a smear campaign and a book written about her which the author later disavowed as full of falsehoods. Sometimes, they really are out to get you.

    Or, maybe she’s just “a bit nutty and a bit slutty” and welcomed another opportunity to, yet again, unjustifiably embarrass Clarence Thomas.

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  19. DavidL says:

    It appears that Clarence Thomas and Todd Palin have something in common, strong willed wives.

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  20. rodney dill says:

    “Extending an olive branch” doesn’t start with demanding an apology.

    I didn’t quite catch that… at what point was there a demand made?

    How is that not a threat?

    The “crazy” and “corrupt” part are your own projection, no basis in fact. The “corrupt” assumption on your part involves someone not even involved in the phone call. There obviously was no threat..

    What was the point of it after all these years?

    It certainly puts Virginia on record, again, on where she stands on the whole incident. This could help diffuse any media hype if she is planning on becoming more visible in politics in the near future. In the end we will see if just ignoring the whole thing wouldn’t have been better.

    It appears that Clarence Thomas and Todd Palin have something in common, strong willed wives.

    Not that there’s anything wrong with that.

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  21. Don L says:

    Let’s see now: She didn’t do this without her husband’s approval. It’s a couple of weeks before the election where Obama is calling upon the “black folks” to be their usual robotic leftist voting selves. Doesn’t it occur to anyone that this was done to teach those who weren’t there that the reality for “black folks” is that it’s not about color at all, but about leftist Marxism prevailing and Blacks are merely being used in that cause or destroyed if they don’t join the leftist plantation?

    I personally enjoyed the silliness of the “sex anyhow, any where, anytime, is good” crowd, trying to destroy a man by pretending he’s like them.

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  22. Bob B. says:

    It is my understanding that Ms. Hill did not know for sure that is was the real Ms. Thomas leaving the message, and thought perhaps it was someone else. That might put the decision to contact the university’s security office in a different light.

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  23. Observer says:

    So…. what exactly is Anita Hill supposed to apologize for? Should she be sorry that Clarence Thomas sexually harrassed her? Should she be sorry that she tried to blow the whistle on sexual abuse by a man in power towards someone they supervise?

    I guess I don’t get it.

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  24. rodney dill says:

    So…. what exactly is Anita Hill supposed to apologize for?

    From Anita’s view she has nothing the apologize for as in her view she told the truth.
    from Virginia’s view Anita should apologize for falsely accusing her husband of sexual harassment.

    There are two obvious opposite positions here. Try to keep up, if you intentionally blind yourself to one sides view of the other your comments won’t make much sense.

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  25. [...] Here’s an interesting take on the phone call from Ginny Thomas to Anita Hill: [...]

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  26. Mnemosyne says:

    I didn’t quite catch that… at what point was there a demand made?

    Right here:

    I would love you to consider an apology sometime and some full explanation of why you did what you did with my husband. So give it some thought and certainly pray about this and come to understand why you did what you did.

    That’s not a polite request, especially since it’s a call out of the blue about something that happened 20 years ago. That’s a demand.

    I also find Mrs. Thomas’ word choice interesting. She wants a full explanation of what Hill supposedly “did with” her husband? Sounds like she’s suspected all these years that Hill had an affair with her husband.

    But of course Anita Hill is the one who’s wrong to be freaked out when someone calls her 20 years after the fact to accuse her of having an affair with her husband. I guess she just forced poor Ginny Thomas to pick up that phone against her will because Hill is just that powerful.

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  27. Hill did not need to go to the media. She could’ve just hit delete on her voicemail and left it at that.

    Yeah, I suppose you would have liked it if she never spoke up twenty years ago too.

    How sad for this poor woman to spend twenty years now being told by the ignorant that she doesn’t have the right to speak up about being bullied.

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  28. mantis says:

    Let’s see now: She didn’t do this without her husband’s approval. It’s a couple of weeks before the election where Obama is calling upon the “black folks” to be their usual robotic leftist voting selves. Doesn’t it occur to anyone that this was done to teach those who weren’t there that the reality for “black folks” is that it’s not about color at all, but about leftist Marxism prevailing and Blacks are merely being used in that cause or destroyed if they don’t join the leftist plantation?

    Translation: Black people are too stupid to think for themselves, so they have all been duped by evil Marxists. If black people weren’t so damned stupid, they would vote for Republicans, who think black people are all stupid and are thoughtful enough to tell them that often.

    I personally enjoyed the silliness of the “sex anyhow, any where, anytime, is good” crowd, trying to destroy a man by pretending he’s like them.

    Translation: All you leftist perverts should know that Clarence Thomas is a celibate eunuch, so he couldn’t have harassed that stupid black woman who is stupid and black. Did I mention black people are stupid robots? They are.

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  29. Mnemosyne says:

    And if you don’t believe Anita Hill, or at least don’t believe that her motives for testifying in 1991 were pure and honest, then it’s perfectly logical to think that her motives now are shaded as well. Like I said, she could’ve just deleted the voicemail and left it at that.

    Let’s do a quick hypothetical, Doug, and I’ll even spot you an assumption that Hill did something wrong:

    Let’s say you had an affair with a friend’s wife 20 years ago, which obviously broke up the friendship. You walk into your office this morning and find a voicemail from that friend saying that he expects you to apologize for that long-ago affair and you should call him.

    You’re saying you would just laugh that off and delete that voicemail rather than starting to worry that if the guy is still holding a grudge after 20 years, he may have gone around the bend and decided to stalk you? Not even a glimmer of thinking maybe you should let security know to watch out for some guy hanging around the parking lot?

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  30. BugMeNot says:

    ["Hill did not need to go to the media. She could’ve just hit delete on her voicemail and left it at that."]

    Except that, as she pointed out quite clearly, she thought it was some bizarre prank so she forwarded it to campus security. It leaked out from there.

    And really, when the press came around and asked her about it, why shouldn’t she talk? She has nothing to hide, and she certainly has no reason to protect Thomas or her husband. Besides, it is Thomas’ fault that she did something so ridiculous and embarrassing.

    Seriously, now, how long are people like you going to blame Hill for the sexual harassment she endured? How long are you going to smear her for having the guts to stand up and talk about it? This shouldn’t be a partisan issue, but you’ve turned it into one and refuse to let go. You should be ashamed of yourselves.

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  31. Rick Almeida says:

    I read the NYT story this morning, and I didn’t see anything that said Hill released the voicemail to any news outlet. Hill forwarded the message to campus security, who in turn forwarded it to the FBI.

    Doug, if you believe Hill should not have gotten campus security involved, can you explain why?

    Thanks.

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  32. Mnemosyne,

    Your question assumes facts not in evidence. All we know is that Hill made an allegation for which no independent evidence was provided. Thomas denied it. Who you believed 20 years ago depends as much as your individual opinion about the credibility of the two witnesses as anything else.

    I really don’t care to rehash this story again, I did it plenty of times in 1991.

    Virginia Thomas was stupid for making the phone call. Anita Hill was stupid for talking to the media about it

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  33. BugMeNot,

    As I said to Mnemosyne, your question assumes facts not in evidence.

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  34. Jules says:

    If it was me I would assume that the dude who harassed me 20 years ago was just doing so again though his obsessively loyal wife .

    Yeah, a call to the police was in order.

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  35. JustMe says:

    When, as a regular target of right-wing nutjobs (or any nutjobs, or harrassers in the workplace, etc.), someone leaves you a bizarre voicemail, you hand it off to security. You don’t reply to it. You DEFINITELY don’t ignore it, because you want to make sure there’s a paper trail. This is simple stuff, people.

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  36. Rick,

    Because based on the content of the voice mail as reported I don’t think there was any need to get law enforcement involved, that’s why

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  37. Nick says:

    A woman accuses a powerful man of sexual harassment. Four people testify that she made contemporaneous private complaints about the harassment. Another fellow employee confirmed allegations similar to those which comprised the harassment. Yet another potential witness with further corroborating testimony was threatened with character assassination if she didn’t keep quiet.

    Now, 20 years later, the woman receives a strange phone message purporting to be from the wife of the man who harassed her. This is in a poisonous political environment where varieties of violence or harassment are all too common. She reports the message, reasonably thinking it might be some right winger harassing her.

    But the husband of the woman who initiated the contact is being victimized by the woman who allegedly was harassed? John Cole has it correct–Republicans, always the victims.

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  38. largebill says:

    August (and others),

    Your view on this situation is influenced by a belief that Hill was being honest. My view is likewise influenced by my opinion of her honesty. Neither of us know with certainty whether she was honest or not. Many of us believe she was used willingly by the left in an attempt to derail Thomas’ nomination. I was once told by a black female friend that she didn’t believe Hill and thought she was lying out of anger over his marrying a white woman.

    If Mrs. Thomas was a friend I would have recommended against the call unless she had some reason (word from a mutual friend) to believe Ms. Hill was feeling some remorse. Likewise, if I was advising Hill I’d have said delete the voicemail.

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  39. LargeBill,

    Thank you. That is exactly what I’m thinking.

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  40. JustMe says:

    if I was advising Hill I’d have said delete the voicemail.

    The thing is, this is not a good idea if you are actually a victim of harassment (of any kind). Hill’s actions were consistent with someone who knows she needs to protect herself with documentation and a paper trail.

    What if, for some reason, Hill said, “Virginia Thomas regularly left me voice mails asking that I apologize?” People would think Hill was crazy or paranoid unless she had a paper tail documenting these calls. Hill was acting as any professional seeking to protect herself from harassment would do.

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  41. Mike Toreno says:

    Jules and Justme, in addition to what you say, Professor Hill didn’t know it was Ginni Thomas at the time she turned the call over to the police. Part of turning the call over to the police was to get help finding out if it was real. And, of course, a fake call like that can be dangerous; it can be some local person with some sort of obsession (instead of, as it turned out, a non-local person with an obsession).

    Doug knows all this; commenter#16 on the Balloon Juice thread has him pegged. Doug is a lying piece of ****. He is seeking to promote an orthodoxy, rather than to state the truth. His orthodoxy is that Thomas was wronged; the truth (clear from the fact that Thomas’s defenders present not facts, but personal attacks against Professor Hill) is that everything went down just like Professor Hill says it went down.

    Thus, Doug presents another personal attack, based on Professor Hill’s violation of a “rule” that he just made up right this second – that it is somehow unseemly to report a harassing phone call. Doug says he doesn’t think there was any need to get law enforcement involved. Obviously, the proper viewpoint is that the victim and law enforcement can work out what needs to happen, without consulting dishonest right-wing partisans.

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  42. Nick says:

    Jules and Justme at 11:31 and 11:32 nailed it. Hill made the proper response by notifying campus security.

    I’m a former Military Policeman, an attorney, and a guy who can take care of himself in all sorts of conflicts, but I’d have notified campus security too.

    Remember, if it’s just a kook that called Hill, it’s a kook whose mental process is aligned with those who think that a woman who reports seeming harassment is ‘silly’.

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  43. Mike Toreno says:

    largebill:

    “I was once told by a black female friend that she didn’t believe Hill and thought she was lying out of anger over his marrying a white woman.”

    That’s ridiculous. That’s just making up imaginary motivations on the part of Professor Hill and using them to impugn her credibility. It tells us nothing about what went on, or about what Professor Hill thought; it tells us what your “black female friend” (if real) thought, or said she thought.

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  44. I can see exactly where this is headed.

    The people who hate Clarence Thomas have rallied around Anita Hill and are convinced that Virginia Thomas was either stalking or threatening Hill. Based on the content of the voicemail as reported, that just strikes me as absurd.

    If you think of Anita Hill as a “victim” that probably makes sense. But, not all of us think of her in that manner for the reasons that largebill states in his comment.

    The people who love Clarence Thomas are rallying around Virginia Thomas.

    I’m somewhere in the middle.

    There was no rational reason for Virginia Thomas to call Anita Hill at 7:30 on a Saturday morning 19 years after the hearings ended.. That’s just odd, as I said in the post.

    At the same time, I’m in the same camp as largebill both in my general opinion about Hill and her allegations in 1991 and in the belief that I would’ve told her to just delete the voice mail and ignore it. And whoever decided to get the FBI involved over-reacted in the extreme.

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  45. Mike,

    Just so we’re clear, you are the one trying to promote an orthodoxy. The orthodoxy that condemns Clarence Thomas and believes Anita Hill without question. Not all of us ascribe to that orthodoxy

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  46. JustMe says:

    If you think of Anita Hill as a “victim” that probably makes sense. But, not all of us think of her in that manner for the reasons that largebill states in his comment.

    The people who love Clarence Thomas are rallying around Virginia Thomas.

    I’m somewhere in the middle.

    Ironically, this is a very inside-the-beltway attitude of the sort I would expect to see in a Roger Cohen or David Broder Op-Ed.

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  47. BugMeNot says:

    ["As I said to Mnemosyne, your question assumes facts not in evidence."]

    Oh, am I? Well, let’s recap. Here are the first two paragraphs of what I wrote:


    Except that, as she pointed out quite clearly, she thought it was some bizarre prank so she forwarded it to campus security. It leaked out from there.

    And really, when the press came around and asked her about it, why shouldn’t she talk? She has nothing to hide, and she certainly has no reason to protect Thomas or her husband. Besides, it is Thomas’ fault that she did something so ridiculous and embarrassing.

    Now, tell me Doug. What am I assuming that isn’t in evidence? That she thought it was a prank? Unless you are so pathologically unable to understand how other people think and feel, there is absolutely no reason for you to argue against that. That she has no reason to protect the Thomases? You can twist that right into the narrative you’re inventing, that Hill is being a victimizer, so you’ve also no reason to argue against that.

    In fact, it seems to me that you ignored my entire post to focus on how I chided you over your refusal to understand, and attempt to politicize, sexual harassment. And we could argue about that as well, but now I can’t trust you to actually argue in good faith and really address the subject.

    And as for your response to Mnemosyne, I notice that you conspicuously ignored the issue he brought up as well. Why shouldn’t Hill be worried enough to pass the call on to campus security? You didn’t answer that.

    Even putting aside your basic ignorance about the hows and whys of sexual harassment, and the fact that there is no rational reason to doubt Hill’s honesty, you are being quite unreasonable about this subject and can’t be trusted to actually engage in a good-faith debate.

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  48. you are being quite unreasonable about this subject and can’t be trusted to actually engage in a good-faith debate.

    Funny, I could say the same thing about a mentality that hears the name “Clarence Thomas” and automatically assumes something nefarious is afoot

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  49. mantis says:

    All we know is that Hill made an allegation for which no independent evidence was provided.

    Apparently the testimony of four co-workers are not considered evidence to lawyers like Doug. Remind me not to retain your services.

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  50. Sarcastro says:

    If Hill’s position was the orthodox one, then why the hell is Thomas on the bench?

    Not all of you ascribe to reality is the problem.

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  51. mantis says:

    Funny, I could say the same thing about a mentality that hears the name “Clarence Thomas” and automatically assumes something nefarious is afoot

    Actually, that’s what I think when I hear the name Virginia Thomas, or anyone who has worked for Dick Armey, the Chamber of Commerce, or the Heritage Foundation (or in Thomas’s case, all three!). Mostly because those groups don’t really do anything that isn’t nefarious.

    Clarence? Whatever.

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  52. fasteddie9318 says:

    Read my post and you’ll see that is exactly what i say. I just don’t think there’s any evidence of nefarious motives here

    You mean “any evidence of nefarious motives here” on the part of Clarence and Ginny Thomas, right? Because you’re clearly attributing nefarious motives to Anita Hill, who, I guess, has been waiting for 20 years for Ginny Thomas to call, demanding an apology, so that she could spring this cunning trap on the poor Thomases. That’s one cunning person.

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  53. Crusty Dem says:

    Doug, for you to accuse Hill of wrongdoing for contacting security about a prank call is absurd. Maybe you wouldn’t have done that, but I’m you also aren’t a very public figure with a public office phone number, viewed with great contempt by a portion of the population. I imagine you’ve received few, if any, prank calls over the past few years. Do you believe the same is true for Anita Hill?

    Or, for a different take, imagine a world wear you and largebill are right and Anita Hill is a complete liar and fraud (note: this is a thought exercise, not a fact); if she is still receiving regular prank calls, is she wrong to forward them to campus security? You assume she knew the call was really from Ginny Thomas, despite her statement that she thought the call was a prank..

    At this point, you’re blaming her for speaking to the press in response to a call that Ginny Thomas made to her voice mail that has been confirmed by Ginny Thomas. At this point, why should she not speak up?

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  54. Davebo says:

    “As I said to Mnemosyne, your question assumes facts not in evidence.”

    Well, the facts in evidence are that once again Doug makes a fool of himself and tries to deflect criticism.

    That fact is indeed in evidence. And you don’t have to be a disjointed lawyer to see it.

    “Even putting aside your basic ignorance about the hows and whys of sexual harassment, and the fact that there is no rational reason to doubt Hill’s honesty, you are being quite unreasonable about this subject and can’t be trusted to actually engage in a good-faith debate.”

    A good faith debate is the last thing Doug wants. But if I put “good faith” within quotation marks as he is known to do does that make me as shallow as he is?

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  55. I wouldn’t call Hill’s motives nefarious at all. I would say it was a bit paranoid on here part

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  56. Skeezix says:

    “Hill and her colleagues at Brandeis have found another way to embarrass Clarence Thomas”

    That seems a bit credulous to me – if Clarence Thomas didn’t want to be so embarrassed, perhaps he should speak to his wife!

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  57. Mike Toreno says:

    Doug, I came to my conclusion from examining the evidence. Professor Hill made concrete factual statements, corroborated by others to whom she reported Thomas’s behavior to them at the time. Professor Hill’s detractors have claims about Professor Hill’s state of mind that they just made up. For example, largebill’s secondhand claim about Professor Hill’s anger at Thomas for marrying a white woman. The statements from Professor Hill’s detractors don’t tell us anything about Professor Hill; they tell us how the detractors feel about Professor Hill.

    For example, your insistence that Professor Hill shouldn’t have reported a crank call tells us nothing about Professor Hill; it tells us about you. Your claimed disapproval of her action does nothing but demonstrate your lack of integrity. You attack her for violating a “rule” that you made up on the spot, and for the purpose of attacking her.

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  58. Mike,

    And I came to a different conclusion while watching the exact same hearings.

    It’s been 20 years, nobody is going to change anyone’s mind about this.

    As for this story, I’ve already said I think Virginia Thomas’s call was a bit nutty. But I also think Hill over-reacted by turning this over to law enforcement.

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  59. Nick says:

    It is ‘silly’, for a woman who is regarded with contempt as an ungrateful liar who tried to take down her boss; an immoral, willing and foolish tool (graduate of Yale Law) of evil liberal interests, who was smeared as being a vile, immoral liar in the media, to call to report a prank call.

    Alternatively, it is ‘silly’ for one such described, to report a phone message from the wife of a man who allegedly harassed her, and then called her a liar when she reported it.

    As others noted, it’s called making a record. Under the circumstances, there is nothing ‘silly’ about it.

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  60. fasteddie9318 says:

    I wouldn’t call Hill’s motives nefarious at all.

    Say what?

    However, by doing so, Hill and her colleagues at Brandeis have found another way to embarrass Clarence Thomas, and that’s something that Anita Hill has a history of doing.

    Wednesday at 12:15′s Doug Mataconis should have a talk with Tuesday’s Doug Mataconis.

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  61. 400metres says:

    “There was no rational reason for Virginia Thomas to call Anita Hill at 7:30 on a Saturday morning 19 years after the hearings ended.. That’s just odd, as I said in the post.”

    I’d propose a rational reason: to further victimize Anita Hill.

    And no, that doesn’t mean I view Hill as a “victim”. I think Hill is a strong, intelligent, and independent woman who had the courage to stand up to the most powerful forces in this country to tell a story that no one wanted to hear.

    To act as if this was a simple he-said/she-said debate is laughable. There is significant independent verification of Hill’s claims. Study the issue and the evidence before dismissing the claims of an extremely credible woman.

    In the end, this post and your follow-up comments evince an unabashed “blaming the victim” mindset. Somehow it must be Hill’s fault that the Ginny Thomas chose to harass again after all this time. It seems to me very ironic that here we are again debating whether it was Anita Hill’s fault for reporting being harassed (again) by the Thomas’.

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  62. Crusty Dem says:

    Also, Doug, calling someone after 20 years to request an apology is not a “naive thought”. It’s not even a “bizarre decision”. It’s completely indefensible batshit insanity.

    You and some commenters want to go back to the he said/she said. That’s not necessary (or helpful). No matter what happened in that office 20+ years ago, making this phone call is completely insane and indefensible. Your attempt to parse any blame for this phone call, or the publicity it has created, onto Anita Hill is only slightly less insane.. To go to, “well, some of this is Anita Hill’s fault because I don’t believe her” is irrelevant and demonstrates a lack of basic reasoning.

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  63. Crusty,

    What part of the phrase “not rational” didn’t you understand?

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  64. Mike Toreno says:

    Doug, it’s got nothing to do with conclusions. I’m telling you what really happened. It is just a fact that Professor Hill made concrete statements about what happened, and it is just a fact that the defense of Thomas consisted primarily of attacks on Professor Hill’s motivations based on made-up claims about her state of mind. It is just a fact that largebill’s claim about Professor Hill’s “anger” at Thomas’s marrying a white woman is a made-up claim about Professor Hill’s state of mind.

    You may, in order to defend your support of Justice Thomas, have chosen to believe the attacks on Professor Hill, but that doesn’t alter the fact that the attacks were not factual refutations of the truth of her claims.

    And again, your claim that Professor Hill overreacted doesn’t tell us anything about Professor Hill, it only tells us about you.

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  65. dawnbreaker says:

    Rangers win!

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  66. Mike,

    Given the nature of Hill’s allegations what one believed at the time came down, ultimately, to whether one found her or then-Judge Thomas more credible. So, yes, it is entirely a matter of personal opinion.

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  67. Crusty Dem says:

    What part of the phrase “not rational” didn’t you understand

    Uh, that it’s completely insufficient to describe Thomas’ behavior? Not contributing full matching funds to your 401k is not rational. Calling someone you have issues with for their behavior 20 years ago is .

    And stop trying to beat the drum that is Anita Hill. Stop trying to defend your absurd accusation by saying you don’t believe her, don’t trust her motives, etc. It’s a side issue that doesn’t bear on this in any way. Dredging up your “feelings” from 20 years ago doesn’t mean that her behavior in this instance is in any way unreasonable. Nobody cares what you “feel”, don’t be afraid to apply some reasoning skills, if they exist..

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  68. Nikki says:

    “But I also think Hill over-reacted by turning this over to law enforcement.”

    That’s because you’re thinking like a man and not thinking like a woman. Why should she have assumed the call was benign? Hill has probably received many prank calls over the years. She’s a public figure who was involved in a partisan scandal about which, 20 years later, people still have strong feelings. As a woman, she would have been a fool to ignore/delete the call.

    If I got a call purported to be from one of the wives of the many married men I’ve slept with, I, too, would turn it over to security.

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  69. Nikki,

    Now you’re just making things up. “Probably received many prank calls over the years” ? Where is your evidence for that ?

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  70. Crusty,

    I would submit that the passionate reactions on all sides to what is really a non-story about a phone call is motivated by what happened twenty years ago

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  71. Mike Toreno says:

    Doug, it depended on whether one believed concrete, factual statements, corroborated by others, or attacks on Professor Hill’s motivations based on made-up claims about her state of mind.

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  72. Nikki says:

    ““Probably received many prank calls over the years” ? Where is your evidence for that ?”

    None. It was an assumption on my part. Doesn’t change the fact that, 20 years after a national scandal, Hill gets a call from a woman claiming to be Justice Thomas’ wife and demanding an apology (Thomas didn’t say “please” anywhere). Why should she have assumed the call was benign?

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  73. kindness says:

    Dear Doug,

    I found Anita Hill believable 19 years ago. I didn’t think her charges were such that it disqualified Judge Thomas from serving, but it did bring his character into focus.

    Now Judge Thomas’ wife does something that many of us would call ‘ill considered’, and it’s reported to authorities. And you blame the judgment of Anita Hill, not the judgment of Judge Thomas’ wife……

    I question your judgment.

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  74. Nikki says:

    “I would submit that the passionate reactions on all sides to what is really a non-story about a phone call is motivated by what happened twenty years ago”

    And this is a silly statement. If not for the events of 20 years ago, it would be a non-story. It became a story because the wife of a Supreme Court Justice decided to call his accuser and demand an apology. I really think you need to retract your statement about Hill embarrassing Thomas. The only one causing Thomas any embarrassment is his wife.

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  75. Drew says:

    Heh. He said, she said. Its terrible.

    A President diddles the intern pool and its all OK. Consensual, you see. Heh.

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  76. bandit says:

    Why would she ask for an apology if she wasn’t going to receive one? Ms. Hill isn’t giving up the lie her life is built on.

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  77. Mnemosyne says:

    Your question assumes facts not in evidence. All we know is that Hill made an allegation for which no independent evidence was provided.

    We have the independent evidence: the voice mail. We have the admission from Virginia Thomas that, yes, she did make the call. There’s no question about the facts here: Virginia Thomas called Anita Hill and demanded that she apologize for her accusations of 20 years ago.

    Oh, no, wait, those aren’t the facts you’re trying to dispute, are they? You were trying to imply that if Hill lied 20 years ago, there’s no reason to believe her now even though it’s extremely clear that she is not lying since she has the voicemail and Mrs. Thomas’ admission that she made the call.

    It’s fascinating that you think that what happened 20 years ago somehow means that this call never happened, or that Hill shouldn’t report prank phone calls to the campus police because it might embarrass the Thomases.

    I’m not surprised that you’re upset Hill didn’t delete the evidence, because it’s making it awfully hard for you to claim that Virginia Thomas is the real victim here, isn’t it?

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  78. mantis says:

    Now you’re just making things up. “Probably received many prank calls over the years” ? Where is your evidence for that ?

    I would say it’s quite probable given the nutty dispositions of wingnuts, and the fact that Hill’s contact info is readily available on the university website. Given their propensity to stalk and harass anyone they see as a political enemy (whether it’s a young car crash victim, a little girl who asked the president a question at a town hall forum, or a blogger on vacation) and their willingness to hold grudges over political defeats for decades (Bork!), I would be very surprised if Hill hasn’t gotten quite a few calls over the years.

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  79. Mnemosyne,

    We’re obviously talking about two different things. Of course I’m not denying that the phone call didn’t take place

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  80. Mnemosyne says:

    Why would she ask for an apology if she wasn’t going to receive one?

    You’re going to have to ask Virginia Thomas that question, because she fully admits that she made the phone call.

    To be clear, since it looks like some people are already trying to muddy the waters: there is absolutely no question that the call was made and that Virginia Thomas made the call. None whatsoever.

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  81. Bukkake bot says:

    You look like a cancer patient.

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  82. Mnemosyne says:

    We’re obviously talking about two different things. Of course I’m not denying that the phone call didn’t take place.

    No? You keep saying that Anita Hill was a liar 20 years ago, as though that should have some relevance to the fact that Virginia Thomas called her. Why would you keep focusing on what happened 20 years ago if you weren’t trying to imply that Hill is lying now even though it’s very clear that she is not?

    How does Hill’s veracity or lack thereof 20 years ago apply to this situation in any way at all?

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  83. Will says:

    “Anita Hill was stupid for talking to the media about it”.

    She didn’t talk to the media about it. You have that completely wrong. She spoke to campus security about it. She’s been the victim of harassment and threats for 20 years. With that history, this was not a stupid course of action to take.

    Also, your whole original argument that Hill has “found another way to embarass Clarence Thomas” ENTIRELY neglects the fact that Anita Hill was subpoenaed before Congress after declining to testify voluntarily.

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  84. Mnemosyne

    It’s relevant because you asked me a hypothetical that was based on the assumption that Anita Hill was telling the truth in 1991

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  85. Mnemosyne says:

    It’s relevant because you asked me a hypothetical that was based on the assumption that Anita Hill was telling the truth in 1991

    Actually, I didn’t. If you re-read what I posted, I asked you to assume that you really did have an affair with your friend’s wife; i.e. assume that Hill really did lie.

    Even if Hill lied, why does that make it wrong for her to report a harassing phone call to the campus police 20 years later?

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  86. Joshua says:

    I think Virginia Thomas’ phonecall makes sense against the backdrop of many seeing her side as ascendant. Their political fortunes are on the rise, they’re flush with money, their rhetoric and narratives dominate the airwaves and they feel on the verge of a major victory. Virginia operates at the vanguard of the Right’s resurgence. The Right is giddy, feeling anything is possible, including perhaps revisiting old scandals and retcon’ing them into something more favorable to their side.

    Also, has there been evidence put forward that it was Campus Security or the FBI that first reported this story to the media? Seeing as Virginia is a powerful and well connected political operative, I’d actually be somewhat surprised if this story wasn’t tipped off to the media through one, or a number of, her connections.

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  87. lawyerinthemaking says:

    Doug keeps implying that if you see Professor Hill as a victim it clouds your judgment on the matter. That may very well be true for some, BUT, when you boil down the *facts* it doesn’t matter one iota. Even if every single word that Prof Hill said in her testimony was pure fiction, it is *STILL* inappropriate and a little creepy for Ginny Thomas to call her 20 years later and demand an apology.

    It shouldn’t matter what you think of Prof. Hill, as a *rational* person, you should understand that this voicemail could have only been one of two things: 1) a hoax where the person callling may be imbalanced (ie, harassment, which is what AH thought) or 2) ACTUALLY Ginny Thomas, who *must* be out of her motherlovin mind if she made this phone call. Either way it’s harrasment and it makes perfect sense to forward this to security if for no other reason than to properly document the harassment, possibly by a crazy person. Forwarding this to security was 100% the right decision and I don’t understand how any rational person could think otherwise.

    Whether or not you think Prof Hill was 100% truthful or completely made everything up is irrelevant. It doesn’t change the fact that calling up one of your most public “enemies” and demanding that she apologize 20 years after your rather nasty public feud is just plain old-fashioned crazy. Stewing for 20 years over a battle that you WON makes you abnormal and quite possibly imbalanced. I just don’t see how Prof. Hill’s wanting to have this bizarre voicemail checked out is wrong in any way.

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  88. rapido says:

    what if Hill WAS just trying to embarrass Thomas after Thomas had the gall to high-handedly demand an apology out of the blue with no context for what is far from an obvious conclusion of Hill’s mendacity? what’s so wrong about that?

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  89. Nikki says:

    Apparently, Thomas has been trying to get Hill to apologize for some time. From the NY Times:

    Ms. Hill said she had a previous but indirect interaction with Ms. Thomas. After Justice Thomas’s book was published, she said, Ms. Thomas told an interviewer that Ms. Hill should apologize. In response, Ms. Hill gave an interview reiterating that she had nothing to apologize for.

    “I thought that was enough then to end it, but apparently it was not,” Ms. Hill said.

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  90. mantis says:

    Doug, I just saw this incredibly stupid thing you wrote over at BJ, before you ran away:

    If you don’t understand the difference between saying someone lied and saying that you don’t believe them, well then I don’t know what to say.

    If you don’t believe them, doesn’t that mean you think they’re lying?

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  91. Seitz says:

    Of course, not everyone believed Anita Hill then, and not everyone believes her now.

    Which is completely irrelevant to why Hill reported the call to campus police. Cole is absolutely correct in his assessment. So long Hill believes she was telling the truth, getting a phone call to her office at 7:30 am on a Saturday asking her to admit to something she believes she didn’t do (whether it’s objectively true or not is again irrelevant) certainly raises the suspicion of harassment, and reporting it was a perfectly reasonable thing to do. Suggesting she do otherwise is, unfortunately, not unexpected from the likes of you, Doug. Especially seeing how you ridiculously imply that Hill got the FBI involved when there is absolutely no evidence of such. And if you didn’t mean to imply that, than you’re a very sloppy writer.

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  92. mantis,

    Since the Hill-Thomas allegations are, at their heart a he said-she said matter what you believe ultimately comes down to who you find more credible.

    I don’t find Anita Hill credible in 1991, if you want to say that means I think she didn’t tell the truth then, fine, you win that little rhetorical game.

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  93. Should’ve said “didn’t find Anita Hill credible in 1991″ obviously.

    And as for “running away” from BJ. I really don’t see any point in arguing the same point over and over again with people who are just going to insult me personally.

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  94. kc says:

    I recall Professor Hill being thoroughly trashed and smeared by the right wing at the time of the hearings. I wouldn’t be a bit surprised if she has gotten threats over the years.

    So, if I were her, and I came into my office to find, out of the blue, a really peculiar voice mail from someone purporting to be Ginny Thomas, I’d do exactly what Professor Hill did.

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  95. singfoom says:

    They only insulted you personally because you won’t take the time to think this through. Whatever happened 20 years ago is immaterial. The facts in this case of the bad phone call are pretty clear. Anita Hill did a completely reasonable thing by reporting the call to security.

    She didn’t release the call to the media. If she was the one with the axe to grind, she would have made the call.

    Seriously, you act as if everyone can’t understand because they can’t see that Anita Hill lied 19 years ago. Except that has nothing to do with this because nothing in this specific case of the stupid phone call is in question.

    But hey, Anita Hill TOTALLY gamed Mrs. Thomas by getting her to leave that creepy voicemail….

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  96. TooManyJens says:

    You give no reason why you didn’t find her credible, and you claim that not thinking she was credible doesn’t mean you think she was lying, and we’re supposed to place this muddled nonsense on an equal par with concrete accusations and corroborating testimony. Why? Because it’s “another point of view?” It’s not a point of view, it’s a mess.

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  97. They only insulted you personally because you won’t take the time to think this through.

    Because we live in a world where anyone who disagrees with you must, of course, be stupid.

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  98. I am not going to rehash a 20 year old argument.

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  99. TooManyJens says:

    Not when you get called on having a completely incoherent position, you’re not.

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  100. I did not find Anita Hill credible

    I did not find her “corroborating witnesses” to be any more credible than she was.

    You obviously disagree, which is of course shocking since this is something people have been disagreeing about for twenty years.

    Which is why I think Virginia Thomas was stupid for making this phone call, which she had to know Hill would make public, and reopening this wound

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  101. singfoom says:

    No, we don’t live in a world where anyone who disagrees with you must, of course, be stupid. However, there are those rare cases where someone seems to be either willfully obtuse or completely ignorant.

    Things like repeating, I dunno, “I am not going to rehash a 20 year old argument” or “I don’t care, I think Hill lied 19 years ago and you can’t change my mind” when we’re talking about something that happened NOW, in this year.

    Those indicate willful obtuseness or ignorance. If you could, you know, maybe construct a cogent argument as to why in this instance (NOT 20 years ago) where the facts seem very clear, that there’s something wrong with Anita Hill reporting this creepy voicemail to security.

    You can’t do that, because you’ve got nothing. You’ll just fall back on one of the tropes you’ve already used. EVEN THOUGH THE HEARINGS MEAN NOTHING HERE.

    A woman left a creepy voicemail demanding something she didn’t deserve and this reasonable woman reported it, thinking it might be a problem. OH NOES, SHES EMBARASSING CLARENCE THOMAS!

    THe only ones who should be embarassed here are Ginny Thomas and yourself.

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  102. TooManyJens says:

    Again, you give no reason why you don’t find all these people credible. Whatever, this is a brick wall.

    “which she had to know Hill would make public”

    Ginni Thomas had to know something would happen that didn’t actually happen?

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  103. toby says:

    Which is why I think Virginia Thomas was stupid for making this phone call, which she had to know Hill would make public, and reopening this wound

    How did Hill make it public? You are kidding, yes?

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  104. toby,

    Again, she got the campus police involved. She did not have to do that.

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  105. TooManyJens says:

    Does it always offend you when women document weird, potentially disturbing phone calls, or just this woman?

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  106. TooManyJens,

    First people tell me that the hearings have nothing to do with this, now you want me to give you the exact reasons why, twenty years ago, I came to the conclusions I did.

    Which is it ?

    I told you what conclusions I reached. I have neither the time nor the ability to go back in time 19 years and provide you with exact concrete examples of a something that, until today, I had thankfully mostly forgotten about

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  107. TooManyJens says:

    You act like I’m being inconsistent for disagreeing with other people who said the hearings had nothing to do with this. I think the hearings have everything to do with why you’re so pissed off that a woman reported a creepy phone call.

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  108. Edward, the mad shirt grinder says:

    Mr Mataconis, you’ve several times accused Ms. Hill of making it public. I haven’t seen any evidence that she did. When called on that, you fall back on “she got the campus police involved.” But you haven’t tried to refute the argument that it was reasonable for her to report this to police, and you certainly haven’t claimed that reporting it to police is the same as making public. So either make those arguments in a coherent way, or have the decency to back down and admit you were wrong.

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  109. The conclusion that it was a “creepy phone call” worthy of being reported to the police is a subjective opinion that I disagree with.

    Let’s just leave it at that, because this is going nowhere

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  110. Seitz says:

    Again, she got the campus police involved. She did not have to do that.

    Just like she didn’t have level accusations of harassment against a Supreme Court nominee 20 years ago. Why won’t these hysterical women stop making such a big deal about being harassed by high profile conservatives!

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  111. toby says:

    Again, she got the campus police involved. She did not have to do that.

    So ‘getting the campus police involved’ is the same as ‘making it public’?

    Then according to your earlier statement Thomas ‘had to know’ that Hill would ‘get the campus police involved.’ If so, why did she make the call?

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  112. TooManyJens says:

    Every time you make a statement you can’t or won’t defend, you say “let’s leave it at that.”

    I agree that this is going nowhere. Not least because you can’t see why anyone else might consider it a creepy phone call. You don’t, and that settles it!

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  113. TooManyJens,

    All of you seem to think that telling me I’m wrong about Anita Hill is going to get me to change my mind.

    As anyone who’s had more than a five minute conversation about this story in the last 19 years could tel you, there’s no changing minds on this one on either side.

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  114. Seitz says:

    Let’s just leave it at that, because this is going nowhere

    So the takeaways are:

    1) Anita Hill lied 20 years ago, and

    2) There’s absolutely nothing creepy about getting a voicemail on your office phone at 7:30 on a Saturday morning asking/demanding that you apologize for something you didn’t do 20 years ago. Sure, happens all the time.

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  115. TooManyJens says:

    Oh, I absolutely don’t think you’ll change your mind. I do hope that other people reading the thread will notice that you give no basis for your opinions, though — whether it’s your opinion about what happened in 1991, or about what happened this month.

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  116. And I wish someone would go back and read what I said about Virginia Thomas’s phone call. Not once have I defended it.

    But, you know, that’s just a minor detail/

    Cheers

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  117. Seitz says:

    And I wish someone would go back and read what I said about Virginia Thomas’s phone call. Not once have I defended it.

    No, you’ve just used it as an opportunity to dredge up an animosity towards Anita Hill that you’ve apparently hung onto for 20 years. Completely reasonable reaction.

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  118. TooManyJens says:

    ::headdesk::

    It’s not about whether you defended Virginia Thomas, it’s about your bizarre insinuation that of course there was nothing strange about the phone call that might warrant bringing it to the attention of campus security, so Anita Hill must just have been trying to embarrass the Thomases.

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  119. singfoom says:

    Getting the FBI involved is just the height of silliness. Though it may have been a dumb thing to do, there’s nothing in that voicemail that objectively constitutes a threat. However, by doing so, Hill and her colleagues at Brandeis have found another way to embarrass Clarence Thomas, and that’s something that Anita Hill has a history of doing.

    You ascribe motives to Anita Hill that you cannot know. Her reporting it to security was reasonable. You disagree, fine, but admit the fact that you see her in a negative light and that colors your perceptions about her actions now.

    No one is saying you defended the phone call, but YOUR words above make it sound like this is all Anita Hill’s fault for getting the voicemail

    All the embarassment here belongs with Mrs. Thomas, and you won’t admit it. And that, sir, is embarassing.

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  120. Seitz,

    And your camp has used to to dredge up the eternal hatred of Clarence Thomas.

    So, you know, we’re even

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  121. Edward, the mad shirt grinder says:

    Not once have I defended it

    No, you just adopt the typical “I think both sides are wrong, therefore that proves I’m neutral and independent-minded” trope that far too many use in place of actual critical analysis of the facts and circumstances. And although many have pointed it out, you still haven’t acknowledged your error in claiming that Ms. Hill “made it public.”

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  122. singofom/TooManyJens:

    Again, I repeat one last time what i said before. Hill did not have to go to the police with this. She could’ve just deleted the damn voice mail.

    That’s my opinion, and that’s really all I have to say on the subject.

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  123. TooManyJens says:

    “That’s my opinion, and that’s really all I have to say on the subject.”

    That much is obvious.

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  124. Yes TooManyJens, we have different opinions.

    That happens in the world.

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  125. toby says:

    I have to say this is a pathetic display. Doug, your argument seems to boil down to:

    1. Hill should have assumed a ridiculously weird and irrational phone message was in fact from Thomas (why? Is Thomas known to be that weird and irrational? Or is it just the Tea Party association?)

    2. Having assumed that a ridiculously weird and irrational call was in fact from Thomas, Hill should have just decided it was no big deal and deleted it. (Why? If Thomas is that weird and irrational, isn’t it better to have a record in case further weirdness occurs?)

    3. Somehow the fact that the campus police took this seriously enough to involve the FBI is wrong (why?) and is Hill’s fault (um, what!?)

    4. Somehow someone leaking this to the press is ALSO Hill’s fault (wtf !!?)

    I mean this is just pathetic. Seriously, don’t (or do!) quit your day job.

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  126. TooManyJens says:

    And some of us can defend our opinions better than others.

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  127. Seitz says:

    My Camp? Hatred? Please read through my posts and point out to me where I’ve shown a hatred for either of the Thomases. One need neither be in “my camp” nor hate the Thomases to understand what a fool your making of yourself.

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  128. smedley says:

    “All of you seem to think that telling me I’m wrong about Anita Hill is going to get me to change my mind.

    As anyone who’s had more than a five minute conversation about this story in the last 19 years could tel you, there’s no changing minds on this one on either side”

    Of course you are not going to change your mind, even when presented with new evidence about the truthfulness of Hill and the obsessiveness of Thomas. We expect nothing less from conservatives like you and the late, great Senator Hruska of Nebraska: “My minds made up; don’t confuse me with the facts.”

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  129. Mike Toreno says:

    Doug, the issue with respect to Professor Hill’s testimony in 1991 relating to the sexual harassment Thomas committed against her is the reason you disbelieve Professor Hill. You disbelieve Professor Hill because you lack integrity. You disbelieve Professor Hill because you want to disbelieve her, and for no other reason. Professor Hill’s testimony was more credible than the claims in support of Thomas and attacking Professor Hill. Professor Hill made factual statements, and these statements were corroborated by witnesses. The statements in support of Thomas didn’t refute the factual statements Professor Hill made; they were instead simply personal attacks on Professor Hill based on made-up claims about her state of mind. Thomas’s defense consisted of a bunch of irrelevant claims. There’s a reason people respond to factual statements with irrelevant claims; it’s because the factual statements are true.

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  130. toby says:

    There’s a reason people respond to factual statements with irrelevant claims; it’s because the factual statements are true.

    Bingo. As the old saying goes: “If you have the facts on your side, pound the facts. If you have the law on your side, pound the law. If you have neither on your side, pound the table.”

    Doug’s table has surely taken a beating today.

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  131. Crusty Dem says:

    toby, I think that’s the most generous conceivable summary of Doug’s thought process here (though I may be guilty of assuming facts not in evidence). Now shut up, sit down, and stop asking questions, because he “feels” that he’s right. So does my 6 year old, but doesn’t mean he gets chocolate cake for breakfast…

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  132. Nick says:

    “Doug Mataconis says:
    Wednesday, October 20, 2010 at 14:28
    ….
    Because we live in a world where anyone who disagrees with you must, of course, be stupid.”
    —————————

    Or, “silly”.

    As in:

    “silliness like this:”

    “I though it was certainly inappropriate,” Ms. Hill said in an interview. “It came in at 7:30 a.m. on my office phone from somebody I didn’t know, and she is asking for an apology. It was not invited. There was no background for it.”

    It’s hypocritical for you to condemn people who disagree with you and thus call you ‘stupid’, but then you turn around and call someone whose behavior you disagree with as being ‘silly’.

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  133. Mike Toreno says:

    “So does my 6 year old, but doesn’t mean he gets chocolate cake for breakfast.”

    What are you talking about? Eggs are in chocolate cake. And milk. And wheat. That’s nutrition!

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sRmN4KnfPxQ

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  134. Gus diZerega says:

    Looks like you may have shot your mouth off prematurely.

    http://www.americablog.com/2010/10/woman-who-dated-clarence-thomas-says.html

    Carrying water for Clarence Thomas is a thankless job, as it should be. The facts keep getting in the way.

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  135. TooManyJens says:

    Mike Toreno:

    LOL! I actually did have chocolate cake for breakfast the other day (I was traveling, I had leftovers to kill off before going home!) and I was thinking about that sketch as I was eating it.

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  136. Sirkowski says:

    More douche than nutjob.

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  137. shortstop says:

    “I have neither the time nor the ability to go back in time 19 years and provide you with exact concrete examples…”

    The many hours you’ve spent here and at BJ verbosely failing to defend your own statements demonstrate that time is something you’ve got way too much of.

    Ability? Not so much.

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  138. Crusty Dem says:

    Mike Toreno:
    TooManyJens:

    Exactly what I was thinking of (and I’ve had chocolate cake for breakfast, but the kids must eat something healthier, you know, like Pop Tarts), but I thought it apt, if only as a useful comparison for Doug’s reasoning ability on this issue (=6 year old). I can’t help but wonder if the problem is just the demonization of Anita Hill vs the inability of conservatives/libertarians to actually be able to contemplate the reasonable motivations of others (ie, the general empathy required to understand the motivation of someone else). How many could pass the Voight-Kampff?

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  139. TooManyJens says:

    Gus: I rather suspect that Doug will not find Lillian McEwan credible. And will ask us to leave it at that.

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  140. I don’t care about Lillian McEwen TooManyJens, and I have to wonder what is compelling The Washington Post to reopen this story after 19 years.

    After all, it has nothing to do with the phone call right ?

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  141. Crusty Dem says:

    http://www.time.com/time/magazine/article/0,9171,1101941114-163252,00.html

    I’d assume Doug also doesn’t care about Angela Wright, Rose Jourdain, or any of the other witnesses who came to DC to echo Anita Hill’s complaints. Because no matter how many come forward with personal testimony of Clarence Thomas’ harassment, Doug feels that Anita Hill is a liar.

    And it actually doesn’t have anything to do with the phone call or your ridiculous insinuation about Hill’s “motivation”, just your failed judgment.

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  142. shortstop says:

    A walking subject for Kruger and Dunning.

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  143. sam says:

    @Doug

    “There was no rational reason for Virginia Thomas to call Anita Hill at 7:30 on a Saturday morning 19 years after the hearings ended.”

    But Doug isn’t that exactly it? Hill gets, what must have appeared to her, as a voicemail from some irrational person, out of the blue. How was she to know that this wasn’t just the beginning of a train of harassment? Can she really be faulted for acting in a way to protect herself?

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  144. Mrs. Polly says:

    Mr. Mataconis is no doubt tired of having the same arguments thrust in his face, no matter how many times he fails to counter them. He is even now fanning himself with his autographed copy of the Real Anita Hill, which should not be discounted just because its author went loony, recanted it, and declared he’d been part of a shameful smear campaign!

    So Anita Hill never came forward of her own accord at the time but had to be subpoenaed and then gave spectacularly detailed, not generalized, testimony under oath. I will not let that sway me; I dare not change my mind after all this time has passed, I don’t feel like examining the evidence anew, I won’t!

    The weird and harassing behavior of Thomas’s wife against a woman at home minding her own business does not cast new light on just how awful the Thomases might be as a couple! Surely Hill knew that was Ginny Thomas on the phone–living alone and having a woman call you out of the blue sounding like a RW Squeaky Fromme isn’t so disconcerting!

    I didn’t get where I am by being open to reasoned arguments–so long, and have fun, kids!

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  145. Mnemosyne says:

    I think I’ve figured this out: Doug thinks that Virginia Thomas was completely right to call Hill after 20 years and demand an apology. Oh, sure, he pays a little lip service to maybe it was a weird thing to do and maybe not the best idea, but as far as he’s concerned, Hill should apologize to Thomas, so there was nothing wrong in Thomas making the call.

    That’s what’s really going on here — like Mrs. Thomas, Doug is unable to let go of the resentments of 20 years ago and is re-living them like they were yesterday, and he doesn’t understand why we think it’s bizarre that he’s still so angry about the events of 20 years ago that he thinks Anita Hill needs to apologize for them.

    Once you get that, then you understand why he thinks Hill should have just deleted the voicemail — after all, Hill is in the wrong here, having lied 20 years ago, so she shouldn’t have drawn attention to herself.

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  146. Gex says:

    “Again, she got the campus police involved. She did not have to do that.”

    Got that women? If you receive random voicemails from people who you have reason to believe are hostile towards you or are from a stalker/harasser, you do not have to call the authorities.

    And then when you *reluctantly* under subpoena testify to things you did not want to reveal, the lack of hard evidence will let the good old boys dither on the difference between saying you don’t believe someone and calling them a liar.

    May all your offspring be girls, DM.

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  147. TooManyJens says:

    Oh, gex, I wouldn’t wish for that. For the girls’ sake.

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  148. xian says:

    Like I said, you could’ve just deleted your blog post and left it at that.

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  149. Gus diZerega says:

    A great many who for some reason call themselves ‘conservatives’ never forget, never forgive, never look at all the evidence and never play fair. Many people besides myself linked to evidence independent of Hill that she told the truth, and they are ignored, all who supported her are accused of bad motives.

    This slurring of Hill fits a pattern. A few years back I was at a conservative/classical liberal meeting where the lunch table talk was abut Rachel Carson being guilty of genocide because they (falsely) claimed she advocated getting rid of DDT in fighting malaria.

    It’s a pattern, a feature, not flaw, in what calls itself the American right.

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  150. Citizen Alan says:

    Mnemosyne nailed it (and Mnemosyne and I rarely agree on anything:)) — In his blackened little heart, Dougie wants Anita Hill to apologize to Clarence Thomas for the sin of coming closer than anyone else to derailing his appointment to the Supreme Court. This is because, while a majority of the Court is conservative, only Thomas actually proposes to turn this country into Libertarian Utopia. Only Thomas is openly in favor of reversing 80 years of Commerce Clause jurisprudence to abolish the minimum wage, Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid, OSHA, the FLSA, the EPA, the EEOC and every other bugaboo of the Libertarian Party. Like all members of his insane deathcult, Dougie wants to burn America to the ground so that he can ascend to Libertarian Valhalla along with the burning embers, and Clarence Thomas is they guy he expects to light the gasoline.

    Clarence Thomas REQUIRES his clerks to watch the film version of “The Fountainhead.” That’s all you need to know to understand why Dougie venerates him and why he hates Anita Hill for her seditious libel against the high priest of judicially imposed libertarianism.

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  151. TooManyJens says:

    xian FTW!

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  152. Greenjeans says:

    What reason do you have to doubt Anita Hill?

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  153. Bird33 says:

    How is receiving a at best “awkward\weird” voice mail out of the blue from someone’s wife you claimed harassed you 20 years ago not cause for concern? Do you have any sisters or daughters? Even if Hill’s story of harassment by Clarence Thomas is crap in your mind we’re talking 20 years later. I find it hard to believe anyone with women in their life would just say forget about it and delete it like there was nothing worrisome about it. Reading these comments Doug looks to have let his opinion of the Hill\Thomas case 20 years ago color his judgment of what is obviously a strange and borderline scary circumstance caused solely by Ginny Thomas. If it was my sister there’s no way in hell you tell her to delete the voice mail. Come on man!

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  154. Steve Verdon says:

    153 comments…holy mother of god….about something so banal too.

    Let me look, yeah still around 13 trillion in debt, glad we are really focusing on the serious stuff.

    Wait, did you guys see, Palin autographed an American flag!!!! Quick guys, get her! Go go go go!!

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  155. Tano says:

    Well now it is 154 Steve, and I think you win the prize for the least interesting comment in the thread.

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  156. binz says:

    Doug you are an idiot.

    I’d use my real name but I worry that in 20 years you’d call me out of the blue and leave a bizarre disturbing voice message demanding an apology. And then bitch about how you’re the victim if I call the police.

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  157. BugMeNot says:

    So, since watching Mr. Mataconis’ blog post be ripped to shreds is the most fun I’ve had in weeks, I’ll close the evening out with a brief recount of his “defense” of his point.

    1) He doesn’t trust Anita Hill’s motives.

    2) He thinks she wasn’t telling the truth 20 years ago.

    3) 1 and 2 notwithstanding, he doesn’t think she was lying 20 years ago.

    4) 1, 2, and 3 notwithstanding, dredging up the confirmation hearing from 20 years ago is stupid and boring.

    5) 4 notwithstanding, the confirmation hearing 20 years ago is his primary, if not only, reason to distrust Anita Hill’s actions now.

    6) Even though Anita Hill received a bizarre and threatening phone call, she should have simply erased the voice mail message instead of forward it to the campus cops.

    7) Even though it is absolutely confirmed that Virginia Thomas made the phone call and that Anita Hill didn’t go public with it, this is still a case of Hill trying to publicly embarrass the Thomases.

    8) Anyone who points out how absurd this all is just irrationally hates Clarence Thomas.

    Some of this comes from the Balloon Juice coment thread, in case anyone is curious.

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  158. Nerem says:

    Oh boy. It must sting to get your ass kicked on your own blog column.

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  159. Steve Verdon says:

    Well now it is 154 Steve, and I think you win the prize for the least interesting comment in the thread.

    I think this one win’s Tano.

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  160. billee says:

    The question of Ms. Hill’s believability now or 20-odd years ago does not pertain to the question that Doug raised of whether the way she handled an odd and potentially threatening phone call was appropriate or not: http://www.wikihow.com/Deal-With-Abusive-Phone-Calls

    Please note point #3 – INFORM THE AUTHORITIES.

    And then, please see the following recommendation from Montana State University:

    “These calls do not usually constitute a threat to your personal safety; however, you should contact the Telephone Services Manager or the University Police Department any time you receive a telephone call of questionable intent or origin.”

    I expect such recommendations are common across universities, including Brandeis. So, no, Ms. Hill should NOT have just deleted the voice message and, yes, she did exactly the right thing according to basic safety recommendations and procedures.

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  161. Gus diZerega says:

    Must be a bummer being a conservative trying to argue in the realm of logic and evidence.

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  162. b.g. says:

    “I personally enjoyed the silliness of the ‘sex anyhow, any where, anytime, is good’ crowd, trying to destroy a man by pretending he’s like them.”

    The difference is *consent*, Don, but of course wingnuts don’t understand that. If Tab A goes into Slot B, who cares whether Slot B is willing or not, right? It’s not like she’s a real person, like Tab A is…..

    Mantis already addressed your racist nonsense.

    Largebill: “I have a black friend! And she doesn’t believe Anita Hill!” Because one black woman speaks for all black women, obviously… something that you never see done with the opinions of white men. I know plenty of liberal white men; that must mean your opinions are invalid.

    Nice touch, too, with using “female” as a noun. That’s usually the sign of a douche.

    As for Doug, typical GOP victim-blaming nonsense. If Hill had deleted the voicemail, then brought it up at any later date, you could claim she had no proof. But by establishing a paper trail, she “over-reacted.” Y’know, the way women “overreact” to sexual harassment, according to good ol’ boys whom the ebyl feminazis are depriving of their gawd-given right to pinch their “girls”” butts behind the photocopier.

    Of course, the only *proper* thing for her to do would be to suck it up, right? Because if you’re not a Good Murkin(tm) by right-wing standards, your role in life is to be abused by the Righteous.

    And I can easily imagine that Hill has received any number of vile crank calls and emails over the years from dittoheads, Faux Nooz watchers, and the like. You, never having been a woman, can’t even imagine it, and, being a wingnut, you lack the empathy to even want to try.

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  163. mantis says:

    Well, what do you know? Thomas’s old girlfriend from the time Hill worked for him has finally broken her silence, adding <a href="http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2010/10/21/AR2010102106645.html&quot;?quite a bit of support to Hill's accusations.

    “He was obsessed with porn,” she said of Thomas, who is now 63. “He would talk about what he had seen in magazines and films, if there was something worth noting.”

    McEwen added that she had no problem with Thomas’s interests, although she found pornography to be “boring.”

    According to McEwen, Thomas would also tell her about women he encountered at work. He was partial to women with large breasts, she said. In an instance at work, Thomas was so impressed that he asked one woman her bra size, McEwen recalled him telling her.

    Presented with some of McEwen’s assertions, Supreme Court spokeswoman Kathy Arberg said Thomas was unavailable for comment.

    However bizarre they may seem, McEwen’s recollections resemble accounts shared by other women that swirled around the Thomas confirmation.

    Obsessed with porn, prone to inappropriate sexual comments, and always looking to score with the women he worked with and who worked for him. Hmm.

    Tell us all again how it’s logical to assume HIll was and is lying, Doug. Oh right, you don’t want to re-hash something that happened 19 years ago. You just want to condemn the woman and move on.

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  164. [...] Justice Clarence Thomas’s wife had, bizarrely and without any seemingly rational explanation, called Anita Hill demanding that she consider apologizing for the charges she leveled twenty years a… The Washington Post is out with a report about a woman who dated Thomas in the  90s and claims [...]

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  165. [...] Justice Clarence Thomas’s wife had, bizarrely and without any seemingly rational explanation, called Anita Hill demanding that she consider apologizing for the charges she leveled twenty years a… The Washington Post is out with a report about a woman who dated Thomas in the 90s and claims that [...]

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  166. Dr Scott R Smith says:

    YOU are a BOOB. Ms. Hill did not notify the FBI–the police did, because they interpreted Ms. Thomas’ voicemail as a threat. It is TOO FABULOUS to finally have Clarence’s perjury exposed to the public! He is unfit to be even an ordinary judge. Have you read his opinions? He has a simple-minded intellect and his profile has remained strangely invisible. He totally misinterprets the Constitution, and he is known only for being an extreme “tenther” and attendee at Koch brothers secret meetings.

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