May 14, 2012

"One of enduring mysteries is how and why a well-regarded genealogical society would rely on an obviously flimsy family newsletter to opine on a hot political topic."

"And, with that, how did they find this obscure family newsletter in the first place, was it from the Warren campaign which also found an obscure Native American cookbook partially authored by a relative of [Elizabeth] Warren?"

61 comments:

Bob Ellison said...

The obvious conclusion is that Elizabeth Warren might be a lousy professor. Most commenters on this thing have not gone there, preferring instead to simply question her integrity.

Joe Biden is proud to proclaim his IQ and educational achievements! Can't we see more of Elizabeth Warren's?

Bob said...

> "And, with that, how did they find this obscure family newsletter in the first place

Good grief, the NEHGS library in Boston is the largest collection of obscure family newsletter in the world. They specialize in obscure family newsletters. The place is a collection of nerds who spend their whole lives browsing through obscure family newsletters.

I have a very high regard for Prof. Jacobson, but he needs to take a break from this one -- go out on the patio and have a glass of wine and look up at the stars. Don't attack the library nerds because they aren't hip to your five minute twitter news cycle.

Or if you want to have fun, go look at the family tree of Joe Biden:

http://www.wargs.com/political/biden.html

America's Politico said...

Warren will defeat Brown, most easily. She will be the first future woman VP. You can expect Obama to win MA because of Warren.

This 2012 will be the Year-of-the-Hell for the GOP.

somefeller said...

I took a class from Elizabeth Warren while I was in law school. A decent professor, but not one of the best I've ever had. I had some doubts when I heard she was running for Senate, though this issue didn't come to mind (I certainly wasn't aware of it). Looks like my doubts weren't unwarranted.

Tom Spaulding said...

Warren will defeat Brown, most easily. 2012 will be the Year-of-the-Hell for the GOP.

I'll buy you a $25 gift card at Ho-Chunk if you are correct.

For the Indian kids, of course.

If you are wrong, you send me $25 gift card for Pizza Pit/Rocky's. 'Cause that's some good 'za.

FTR, "most easily" = +10%

megthered said...

I have been doing genealogy for years and would never consider stating something as facutal without proof, ideally 2 separate sources. I have lots of family stories taht I document as "family legends" because I cannot prove them. They are part of family lore but not part of family history. Just interesting stories past down throught the generations. There might be some truth to the stories, but we have no way of knowing for sure.
It reflects poorly on Harvard that they did no checking on Warren's claims. She must have known that they wouldn't check, just being desperate for a minority faculty member. She rolled the dice and won.

rehajm said...

The risk to reputation never crossed their mind. Why? Because they all had good reason to believe 'we' were all on the same side on this. 'We' being the genealogical society, Harvard, the MSM. Report a falsehood, then walk it back. Allow the media to repeat the lie often enough that it becomes true. All pretty standard stuff.

samanthasmom said...

Obama will take MA, but not by as much as he did last time no matter who wins the senate seat. If Warren survives the September primary, the race between her and Brown will be close. But there's a chance the rug will get pulled out from under Warren before she gets to the starting gate. She isn't the only Democrat on the ballot, and there's still some time left to file nomination papers. You have to wonder if her humiliation is part of the plan, though.

Big Mike said...

What I find stunning is the number of organizations that in 2009 through 2012 have sacrificed their integrity and public credibility on the alter of the Democrats. NEGHS is merely the most recent.

Big Mike said...

Make that "altar" with two of the letter 'a' and none of the letter 'e'.

My bad.

Ann Althouse said...

"The obvious conclusion is that Elizabeth Warren might be a lousy professor. Most commenters on this thing have not gone there, preferring instead to simply question her integrity."

There's no basis for saying that. Obvious? That seems completely ridiculous.

I'm sure she's fine as a lawprof, there's just a question whether she exploited the affirmative action policy and whether she did so dishonestly.

Patrick said...

I don't see it as a mystery at all. Whoever made that decision had a political interest in having Warren presented in a good light. That person determined that having a little bit of Cherokee history was good, and determined that the odds of being discovered were low. This sort of thing (I can only assume) has been going on for decades, and is now coming to light because information is so much freer than it has ever been.

Chip Ahoy said...

Enjoyable to observe. Saw her today fighting back she has picked a different battle.

This does dovetail nicely with the tactics listed in RfR 4) live by own rules, 5) ridicule most potent weapon 6) enjoyable 7) doesn't drag on ? eh 8) keep pressure on 10) same as 8 and 13) the freeze thing.

But an image keeps intruding that I haven't heard mentioned. Similar to the stuff earlier about people and races and identity and particular experiences fitting into America, and not fitting in. One side the cowboys is well documented, the other side indians less so. Have you seen their documents? Paintings on bison hide. It's pathetic. I'm exaggerating again the point is one side is doing the rounded up and documenting it and the other side is trying not to be rounded up, some are trying to hide, to escape, and some are trying to fit in. Must she prove she was a rounded up indian?

They said the laudable goal is to create diversity within universities where it does not occur naturally.


We are at the point of irony, real irony, the intergenerational tragic reversal kind. That word is flung around a lot where it does not belong, for coincidences, for all unexpected consequences, for little surprises, for 'hey,wut?' type things but it belongs right here. The indian lady that is made to hide and melt in and does so successfully and makes herself American did that by making herself hard to find and leaving little trace, meanwhile the entire political relationship developed between tribe and hegemonic government so that benefits accrue to the parties that were harmed. Through the generations it is seen that even more benefits are need to straighten things out by the numbers but it is genetic ancestry and not hardship ancestry that is the deciding factor, genetic not being the scientific kind of genetic, because what you want, a DNA test? It's almost ironic that a demand is placed to produce something that generation earlier demands required destroyed. Existentially demanded, it wasn't all fun and games and benefits. I think the irony that O'Hara would appreciate is it took generations and overarching outside forces that rotate both parties bound together and clocked oppositely together like gears and finally at the level of a senate run both parties unexpectedly burned. And the thing is we are looking at all that and going, "But is it so unexpected?"

Patrick said...

I doubt she's a bad professor, I have no idea. I have no real doubt that she tried to use her family history to her advantage, and would think that it may have helped her get an interview somewhere along the line, possibly elbowing out other equally qualified candidates. That is only speculation, but I'd be surprised if that is the case.

It would be interesting to see others who were vying for the same spot, and how they match up to her as far as credentials, experience and quality. Who knows, she could surprise us all, and be head and shoulders ahead of the rest. But, that's going to be pretty subjective anyway.

Bob Ellison said...

I'm sure she's fine as a lawprof, there's just a question whether she exploited the affirmative action policy and whether she did so dishonestly.

See, this is the problem with AA. "I'm sure she's fine as a lawprof". I'm not. I suspect that she's a buffoon. I have evidence that she's a buffoon. It's online for everyone to see. That clown can be an HLS professor?

Bill, Republic of Texas said...

I could be very wrong about this, but wasn't Warren responsible for some very bad partisan research into medical costs and bankruptcy? Off to google

Yes she was. So know we have two incidences of dishonesty. I wonder if Brown's campaign will raise the issue?

edutcher said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
edutcher said...

Bottom line is that Lizzie wanted to be one of the In Crowd (and, if it could help her in her career, so much the better), but she never thought she'd be called on it (that sort of thing only happens to Republicans, Conservatives, and Libertarians).

She's learning times have changed.

Jason (the commenter) said...

Warren should have fessed up early on about her error (I'm giving her the benefit of the doubt.). It's clear she hoped it would all go away, but she was wrong. Now she's in a whirlpool of craziness.

Is that what voters want? Just wait until she makes a mistake in office!

Patrick said...

Also, I do have some sympathy for her apparent belief that she has indian ancestors. My own family lore has it that one of the signers of the Declaration of Independence. It wasn't until law school that I quit presenting it as fact as opposed to lore. It never occurred to me that it was wrong, or that I really didn't know it for a fact. Few people were as impressed by it as me anyway.

How she handled it once it became a question in the campaign is a different matter.

I'll shut up now.

Bill, Republic of Texas said...

Big Mike said...
What I find stunning is the number of organizations that in 2009 through 2012 have sacrificed their integrity and public credibility on the alter of the Democrats. NEGHS is merely the most recent.

5/14/12 8:02 PM

That is an excellent point. I've had that feeling for awhile now but I never consciencly thought about it.

traditionalguy said...

A mitachrondial DNA test would tell more than the legendary legends tell.

So why doesn't Warren get Skip Gates (another well known Harvard Professor ...the one arrested for breaking into his own house) to fire up his PBS Genealogy Program tests for her?

Last night he was surprised to report to one famous black lady that she was indeed descended from a Cherokee grandmother....he said the family stories of most african americans claim that, but she was the first one he had ever found was true after doing mitachrondial DNA tests.

Shanna said...

I know everybody is having a little fun at Ms. Warren's expense, but the whole 'family lore' thing I can relate too because that's how it is in my family (right down to the story about cheekbones, believe it or not). My great grandfather was supposedly native american (somewhat) and we're convinced my great grandmother may have been just from the pictures, but at the end of the day, there is no proof and none of us have bothered doing any research. I have no idea what we would find it we did.

Of course, I didn't use my status as a (maybe a teensy bit big question mark) 'native american' to try to get special points in college apps/job search because I apparently naively believed you had to actually have proof to get that kind of thing, at least where native american claims are concerned.

The thing that made me think she was lying the most is that she said she was 'Cherokee'. There are a whole lot of other tribes out there. I would beleived her more if she had said she didn't know or that she was something more obscure, like chocktaw. That and the fact that all of her excuses about just wanting to be invited to dinner parties are kind of hilarious.

edutcher said...

Patrick said...

Also, I do have some sympathy for her apparent belief that she has indian ancestors. My own family lore has it that one of the signers of the Declaration of Independence. It wasn't until law school that I quit presenting it as fact as opposed to lore.

My mother used to joke her side of the family was related to Edmond Burke.

When we'd ask her how she knew, she'd laugh and say, "Well, it's the same last name".

Shanna said...

Chip's point is well taken that there was a time when it was seen as good to hide one's ancestry if it didn't fit, and over time people lost bits of their heritage.

In addition, records were not well kept in the past so much so that the family bible is acceptable as serious documentation of one's lineage to groups like the DAR.

john said...

I have never tried to exploit my family relationship to Kevin Bacon.

Craig said...

She was born in Oklahoma. If any one of her grandparents was born in Oklahoma I would doubt her if she claimed she was NOT part Native American.

gutless said...

Blogger john said...

I have never tried to exploit my family relationship to Kevin Bacon.

5/14/12 9:09 PM

John, so good to meet you. I myself am only separated from Kevin by seven degrees. Wow! Small world. Are you coming to the reunion this summer?

roesch/voltaire said...

This is so much more important than the stance Elizabeth Warren took on the need for banking reforms; the kind that might have prevented the two billion dollar loss at JP Morgan. If only she were the kind of law professor that blogged rather then running for public office, we would not have to go through these genealogical twists.

John Cunningham said...

A commenter stated,
What I find stunning is the number of organizations that in 2009 through 2012 have sacrificed their integrity and public credibility on the alter of the Democrats. NEGHS is merely the most recent.
nothing stunning about it, Just the Party applying its rule, "who, whom?" to solve any tactical question. a good postmodernist knows that there is no such thing as truth, so such things as facts, only what serves the Party.

MadisonMan said...

The coverup is always worse than the crime. Or in this case, "crime".

Pogo said...

No mystery.

It's all bullshit.
It's been all bullshit for decades.
BS Indians, BS businesses, BS colleges, BS government.

Bullshit is the coin of the realm.
No mystery at all.

Rialby said...

megthered said...
2 sources.

Absolutely. I've done a bunch of genealogy myself and most of the time, with one source, it's just a lead.

Chip S. said...

@R/V--Please elaborate on your theory that Elizabeth Warren's fetish for single-page lending contracts will help JPMorgan's quants construct better hedges in the future.

Or perhaps you're referring to her insistence that "fair" lending means preventing banks from charging mortgage interest rates that vary with borrowers' credit scores. I'd love to hear how that regulation would prevent future mortgage crises.

Rialby said...

"In addition, records were not well kept in the past so much so that the family bible is acceptable as serious documentation of one's lineage to groups like the DAR."

But this newsletter was put together by someone in present day based on her own shitty research not by someone in the past documenting what they knew for sure.

"She was born in Oklahoma. If any one of her grandparents was born in Oklahoma I would doubt her if she claimed she was NOT part Native American."

She is not claiming that someone from Oklahoma was a Cherokee. She's claiming someone born in North Carolina was a Cherokee. I'm sure, as she started waving the Indian flag, she thought the way you just did - "I'm from Oklahoma, of course I'm an Indian"!

Carnifex said...

I'd just like to announce formally, that I am related to George Clooney, AND Tom Cruise. I have family stories to back me up. The fact that I look nothing like either is just happenstance. But as further proof, I offer that both did live in Kentucky at sometime in their lives, and where do I live? That's right! Uh huh...Yeah!...Get some.

Also in my geneology, but it only matters to the men of the family, Secretariat, and War Admiral. I can prove this claim too, but my uncle, when he was proving it to a school girl at the playground,got arrested for it, so I won't.

Ralph L said...

There's no basis for saying that
I would call her untrustworthy.

george said...

Teaching at Harvard seems to be more of a liability than a qualification these days. You can't help but notice the extremely low quality of their hires. It is almost as if they are using some criteria other than excellence.

William said...

Biden was a plagiarist and not just of written words but of someone's life experience. It didn't ruin his career. Blumenthal lied about his military service and still won election. I wonder if this somewhat lesser scandal will ruin Ms. Warren's career. Will this indicate that voters are harder on the transgressions of female candidates than on male candidates?......Someone should pubish a Dummy's Guide to Surviving Scandals. Some politicians commit the most horrendous offense, and yet they continue to flourish in public life. I think the first and best rule of surviving a political scandal is this: Be A Democrat. Extra points if you're a member of a minority group. Perhaps penalty points if you're a woman.....I recommend that she leave her husband and come out as a lesbian. Blame the whole thing on homophobia.

EDH said...

Big Mike said...
What I find stunning is the number of organizations that in 2009 through 2012 have sacrificed their integrity and public credibility on the alter of the Democrats. NEGHS is merely the most recent.

I'd narrow that to the alter of Obama. What other national Democrat is left? Pelosi? Reed? Schumer?

Which reminds me, the Democrats really don't seem to have a deep bench.

bagoh20 said...

Lets say a university that highly values "diversity" gets themselves a great diversity hire. Let's say a twofer like a woman who is also a Native American. How bad could they be, and still remain in good standing? Could they be mediocre, could they be bad? How would you know if they were any good or not? I'm not say Warren is a bad Professor, I'm just wondering how anyone can know?

bagoh20 said...

What source would people here consider to be neutral politically - trustworthy no matter what your point of view?

David said...

"the kind that might have prevented the two billion dollar loss at JP Morgan."

What kind of law is that going to be. A law prohibiting mistakes?

JP Morgan made a big mistake. The stockholders are taking a bath (at least for now.) Some senior execs are out of work.

This was not close to a "systemic" issue. No taxpayer money will be required to fix anything. The bank's reputation has lost its glow, but this will have no impact on its credit ratings, solvency or credit worthiness.

You know what is really striking about this? The CEO admitted the mistake, acknowledged the problem and took steps to fix it (which included firing some higher ups.)

When was the last time you saw a politician or bureaucrat take responsibility for a $2 billion mistake. Who in government has said "my bad" over Solyndra, for example?

The first rule for a business or military leader is that he or she must take responsibility for errors that occur on their watch. The first rule for the political class is to deflect responsibility. Blame someone, anyone, other than yourself.

Christy said...

I did family research back before the internet was a real tool, spending Saturdays at the National Archives and the Library of Congress. Thought I'd hit paydirt when I found a part of my family history lodged with the LoC decades earlier. When I used it as a starting point to get documentation, it fell apart.

I'm not impressed with the standards of documentation of the average genealogist. Mostly they tell people what they want to hear. Just my experience.

New England may have good records, but I have people from the hills of eastern Kentucky where it took a couple or three days to get to the county seat to register births and deaths and everything in between. Frequently it never happened.

Also, it is a given that many early settlers through the Cumberland Gap were escaping the Law and didn't want to make it into official records. Also, note that many were illegally settling in Cherokee Territory.

Many records just don't exist for early frontier families.

poplicola said...

"Lets say a university that highly values "diversity" gets themselves a great diversity hire. Let's say a twofer like a woman who is also a Native American."

What good does it do to hire Warren because of her Indian heritage for "diversity?"

What unique perspective could she bring, knowing absolutely nothing of the culture? There's no contribution she could possibly make. This whole "diversity" business is fraud.

Even if she did have Indian ancestry and was hired for it, all this would do is create a weird, weak hereditary aristocracy, not even based on some ancient service rendered.

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Craig said...

She is not claiming that someone from Oklahoma was a Cherokee. She's claiming someone born in North Carolina was a Cherokee. I'm sure, as she started waving the Indian flag, she thought the way you just did - "I'm from Oklahoma, of course I'm an Indian"!

Oklahoma belonged to the Cherokee and the Choctaw for sixty years, the period during which they were rounded up and marched involuntarily from the Carolinas, Georgia, Mississippi and Alabama to what was known as the Indian Territory. Many of them died enroute on what was called the Trail of Tears. Warren's grandparents would have been born after the removal and around the time of the Land Rush, when white settlers were first legally allowed to claim land. White settlers who claimed land in Oklahoma before the Land Rush were known as Sooners. Anybody there before the Land Rush who could not prove Native American ancestry was there in violation of both federal and tribal law. Statehood involved designating certain portions of the land as off the reservation. Hence the Land Rush.
Native Americans who made it to Oklahoma between 1830 and 1890 were survivors of a genocide.

Madeline Albright didn't learn she was Jewish until after she'd become Secretary of State. The reason she didn't know is probably the reason she survived.

Census records aren't sacred or infallible. The 1930 federal census lists my mother as a boy and the misspelling of my father's surname in the 1930 census was probably quite deliberate.

MayBee said...

What unique perspective could she bring, knowing absolutely nothing of the culture? There's no contribution she could possibly make. This whole "diversity" business is fraud.

Great point.

damikesc said...

I'm sure she's fine as a lawprof, there's just a question whether she exploited the affirmative action policy and whether she did so dishonestly.

Is it really a question at this point? If evidence existed, we'd have it by now. The law school she graduataed from was far below the standards of Harvard. If not for alleged Native American ancestry, she'd have been the whitest cracker known to man from a middle-tier (at best) law school.

Would Harvard, HONESTLY, have given her even a cursory glance if Prof Pocahontas didn't claim to be something she is not?

frank said...

edutcher said...
Bottom line is that Lizzie wanted... . Really? Is that for 'Lezzie' or for Borden? You know--taking 40 whacks at the family tree?

Rusty said...

Christy.
Any relationship to the name; Bean? Spelled alternately, Beene and Beane. From Kentucky?

MadisonMan said...

Lets say a university that highly values "diversity" gets themselves a great diversity hire.

Dad, who was a Dept head, always said he was looking for a physically challenged female with Native American blood. If they were a Veteran, that was even better. (He was joking when he said this)

Still, they would have to fit into the fabric of the Department, or they wouldn't get tenure because who wants to work with someone who frays?

X said...

This is so much more important than the stance Elizabeth Warren took on the need for banking reforms; the kind that might have prevented the two billion dollar loss at JP Morgan.

Apparently Dodd Frank failed.
Apparently the CFPB failed.
Apparently Lizzie Warren failed.
Apparently more regulation will fix it.

tim in vermont said...

What is outrageous is that anybody would find, stipulating 3% aboriginal blood, that her actions were in any way justified!

The whole genealogy thing is beside the point.

I had family lore of an Indian ancestor, my sister did some research and found nothing except a couple of g something grand dads who participated in the Sullivan campaign during the Revolution to drive the Iroquois out of Upstate NY, for which they were rewarded with farms of the Indian's best land. Land the Iroquois were already farming because the journals mention the magnificent corn they were able to grow.

Jay said...

sch/voltaire said...
This is so much more important than the stance Elizabeth Warren took on the need for banking reforms; the kind that might have prevented the two billion dollar loss at JP Morgan


Hysterical.

Obama said on TV yesterday that JP Morgan is "one of the best run banks there is"

Are you calling him a liar?

PS, since 2001 we've had:
-Sarbanes/Oxley
-Dodd/Frank
- a new federal consumer agency
-Increase in spending for SEC, DOJ, and other oversight agencies
-Tens of thousands of pages of new regulations.

Your idiotic response is to call for more regulations. It is almost as if you're a complete moron or something.

X said...

of course RV doesn't mind that higher ed financial aid (predatory institutional non arms length 3rd party lending) is basically unregulated, and staffed by unlicensed individuals.

Dopey said...

Other folks have noted that Warren's direct ancestors were from White County, Tennessee and served during the late 1830's with a Tennessee militia unit that was charged with removing the displaced Indians from North Georgia towards the Indian Territory.

Assuming that the next generation remained in the same place, it might well be that they performed some service for the Confederate States of America.

Would one-eighth or one sixteenth Confederate count as a diversity hire at Harvard?

Christy said...

Rusty, No relation. Although the family lived briefly in Bean Station, Tenn, settled by Beans on the Great Cherokee War Path down from Kentucky.

Christy said...

Dopey, in White County Warren's forbears are just as likely to have been Union as Confederate.

Rusty said...

Christy said...
Rusty, No relation. Although the family lived briefly in Bean Station, Tenn, settled by Beans on the Great Cherokee War Path down from Kentucky.

My ancestors on my mothers side. Well, one of them anyway. Creator of the Beane Kentucky long rifle and supposed ancestor of Judge Roy Bean.
Later to marry a Bradley,..........or a Stephen I don't remember which.

Skookum John said...

Democrats condemn JPMorgan for losing money just as eagerly as they do for making money. They are completely ignorant of economics and only tolerate Wall Street for one purpose: Fat election-year donations to Obama and the DNC.