Reading an account of a New Yorker reporter sidling along side the junior senator from California, one can learn a plethora of minutia that is irrelevant to most Americans.
A reporter with the galant news magazine, Dana Goodyear, spent some time with her recently, gleaning some quite important information, like the fact that tapped the glass of a bakery case in the Blue Bottle coffee shop in Beverly Hills. Amazing. Even more amazing was the fact that no one noticed. It's in the July 22 issue of The New Yorker.
Harris, the polished professional, grabs an afternoon coffee, anonymous, cookie in place, a caramel chocolate chip. She breaks off small pieces and pops them in her mouth.
Let’s rummage through the details of Harris’ life, according to the New Yorker, shall we.
A former prosecutor, Harris deploys an interrogation style that is impatient and knowing, almost amused. Is she amused or are others amused by her interrogation style? The eyebrows go up, a faint smirk plays around the lips. Someone likened her to the mom that knows exactly what’s going on and you’re in trouble.
Pinned by her gaze, the representatives of the Trump administration are almost pitiable.
“My shot,” from the musical “Hamilton,” plays at her events.
Harris has a billboard smile and brown eyes that soften easily but just as readily turn skeptical.
At an intimate fund-raiser in West Los Angeles, (the reporter) listened to (Harris) ramble on when asked a straightforward question about immigration reform, causing consternation in an otherwise friendly room.
During her senate campaign, Harris’ penchant for high end travel made her staff cringe. These days she carries a small Goyard tote, and sits in coach.
In April, on a flight to Cedar Rapids, Iowa, connecting through Chicago, Harris found herself in the middle of the plane and sat in the exit row. As it happened, the Rev. Jesse Jackson had a seat nearby and he switched seats to sit next to her.
She ate a piece of takeout salmon with a fork, not a comb. In transit, people stopped her at exit gates, in corridors, outside the ladies room. She always had a minute to hear from them, nodding thoughtfully, head slightly cocked, while her body woman collected her email address for follow up.
At a coffee shop near Drake University, Harris pets a piebald English bulldog, gamely crouching on the floor, scratching his belly, until the handler excused him, saying, “he smells food.”
Glad the reporter recognized the important detail that the dog was a he, not a she. That’s an important detail not to be missed.
Trouble with pot and her father
Harris quotes her father, Donald Harris, with his Ph.D., a professor emeritus from Stanford, tells his children, as his relatives told him, to “memba whe yu cum from.” It’s spelled like that.
Only, when it comes to smoking pot and having Jamaican heritage, she didn’t remember where she came from.
Harris admitted to smoking a joint in college, andone of the hosts asked her if she supported legalizing marijuana.
“Half my family’s from Jamaica - are you kidding me?” she replied, laughing.
Her comment did not reflect her record. She opposed recreational pot when she was D.A. of San Francisco, then apparently adopted her view as the public consensus shifted.
But her father was not amused: “My deceased parents must be turning in their grave right now to see their family’s name, reputation and proud Jamaican identity being connected, in any way, jokingly or or with the fraudulent stereotype of a pot-smoking joy seeker and in the pursuit of identity politics. Speaking for myself and my immediate family, we wish to categorically disassociate ourselves from this travesty.”
As to her father’s heritage, his paternal grandmother was a descendant of Hamilton Brown, a plantation owner and slave owner.
Harris impresses the liberal women of Pacific Heights
Harris established her headquarters at Bayview-Hunters Point, a forlorn part of San Francisco that was once a naval shipyard. It was the hood, full of crime.
Harris knew what stirs a rich liberal from Pacific Heights. The Pacific Heights ladies came to Bayview - Hunters Point, and they left feeling deepened by the experience.
Sun-Reporter Ashley-Ward broke with her support for the Halliman family to endorse Harris.
At the Barnes & Noble in Los Angeles, (white) parents pushing dehydrated-vegetable puffs into toddlers’ mouths; school age children sat on adult shoulders, wearing superhero cpes.
Harris read from her new book, “Superheros Are Everywhere,” a stiff effort to link the figure sof her life - the uncle who taught her chess, the aunt who worked with computers - to the C.V -style list of her achievements in the end-papers.
A girl says she was learning about (Supreme Court Justice) Sandra Day O’Connor - a pathbreaking Republican.
She has to edge the girl out: “She’s very cool. And R. B.G., she’s very cool.” Of course Ruth Bader Ginsburg, the liberal, former ACLU justice.
More minutia: Doug Emhoff, Harris’ husband, held her purse, wore whitewall sneakers, jeans and a blazer. Harris remains unflaggingly engaged.
Harris got tough on truancy and crime; not so much now
Harris about kids at the store: “Kids pay attention to everything. They remember it. That was an element in my school truancy initiative.”
The initiative, which threatened jail time for the parents of chronically absent students, is a signature program of Harris’ tenure as district attorney.
Why would she do something about that? A civil grand jury reported that nearly a third of high-school students in the San Francisco United School District were absent at least one day a week.
A study her office commissioned found that ninety-four percent of the city’s murder victims under the age of twenty-five were high-school dropouts, and the statistics were similar for the perpetrators.
Harris established a Truancy Court, and by 2009 had prosecuted 20 parents; the truancy rate eventually dropped to 32 percent.
At one event promoting the program, half the principals and administrators rejected her approach. The other half cheered, she claims.
Under a state law that Harris sponsored in 2010, truancy became a criminal misdemeanor.
In “Smart on Crime,” she boasts of tripling the number of offenders sent to state prison and substantially increasing conviction rates for drug dealers.
She and Sen. Rand Paul want to reform the cash-bail system, something that some say criminalizes poverty. But one civil rights lawyers says for years, she crushed people with money-bail amounts that were five times the national average.
She advocated for high bail amounts around guns, drugs, around everything, frankly, but misdemeanors.
Her campaign materials have changed. In April, after a number of news tories about the truancy law, including profiles of parents who had been prosecuted, Harris apologized for the unintended consequences.
The problem is that her get tough on the problem sent too many single black women to jail.
Now her campaign manager, Maya, befriended Michelle Alexander’s book, “The New Jim Crow: Mass Incarceration in the Age of Colorblindness.”
She also attended an event held by the South Carolina NAACP. The event was held at a Baptist church, in West Columbia.
Getting Tough on Trump
The reporter asks Harris what Trump’s greatest vulnerabilities were:
“His policies are weak. He has not come up with meaningful policy on much of anything, from infrastructure to climate change. Look at his perspective on climate change - he’s talking about clean coal. Literally, there is a case to be made a prosecuted on this administration’s policies.”
She had gone after sexual predators and predatory lenders and perpetrators of fraud. Who better to take on than Donald Trump? “He claims to be the best president we’ve seen in a generation. Well, I say, ‘Let’s call Barack Obama, ‘cause that’s identity fraud.”
Trouble is, this article was written at about the same time Jerry Epstein was rearrested and change with additional crimes, including rape. He was initially given a light sentence and even released in Palm Beach County. Afterwards, in 2010, a party was thrown for Epstein after he got out of jail for sexually abusing girls as young as 14. Who was there with him? Prince Andrew, Katie Couric, Charlie Rose and George Stephanopoulos.
On July 8, Federal prosecutors unsealed a federal sex crimes case against Epstein, accusing him of running a sex-trafficking operation involving underage girls.
Bill Clinton, who is also alleged to have raped a women, Juanita Broderick, traveled extensively with Epstein, on his jet and spent time on his island in the Caribbean.
Epstein donated more than $145,000 to Democratic PACs and other federal Democratic candidates from the early 1990s up until 2004. Bill Clinton was one of the recipients. Compared to Epstein and Democrats, Trump is an angel.
As for policies, Trump will win W. Virginia because of his clean coal policy. Ignoring the Paris Climate agreement was a great move for business, because it did not force Americans to live up to emissions standards that would be ignored by China and India, the world’s worst polluters, as well as other countries. As for infrastructure spending, it was actually his idea.
Remember Pres. Obama and his shovel ready jobs? What about the slush fund that did nothing for the economy, jobs, and the unemployment rate? If Harris wants to beat Trump, she has her work cut out for her. Less minutia and more substance will win the day.
© 2019 Larry Ingram
Based in St Louis,
Larry Ingram writes about the news media, movies and culture, as well as topics like race, privilege, Christianity, religious expression and tolerance.
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