The Racial Double Standard

Coleman Hughes, a black student at Columbia, goes there. His essay begins like this:

In the fall of 2016, I was hired to play in Rihanna’s back-up band at the MTV Video Music Awards. To my pleasant surprise, several of my friends had also gotten the call. We felt that this would be the gig of a lifetime: beautiful music, primetime TV, plus, if we were lucky, a chance to schmooze with celebrities backstage.

But as the date approached, I learned that one of my friends had been fired and replaced. The reason? He was a white Hispanic, and Rihanna’s artistic team had decided to go for an all-black aesthetic—aside from Rihanna’s steady guitarist, there would be no non-blacks on stage. Though I was disappointed on my friend’s behalf, I didn’t consider his firing as unjust at the time—and maybe it wasn’t. Is it unethical for an artist to curate the racial composition of a racially-themed performance? Perhaps; perhaps not. My personal bias leads me to favor artistic freedom, but as a society, we have yet to answer this question definitively.

One thing, however, is clear. If the races were reversed—if a black musician had been fired in order to achieve an all-white aesthetic—it would have made front page headlines. It would have been seen as an unambiguous moral infraction. The usual suspects would be outraged, calling for this event to be viewed in the context of the long history of slavery and Jim Crow in this country, and their reaction would widely be seen as justified. Public-shaming would be in order and heartfelt apologies would be made. MTV might even enact anti-bias trainings as a corrective.

Though the question seems naïve to some, it is in fact perfectly valid to ask why black people can get away with behavior that white people can’t. The progressive response to this question invariably contains some reference to history: blacks were taken from their homeland in chains, forced to work as chattel for 250 years, and then subjected to redlining, segregation, and lynchings for another century. In the face of such a brutal past, many would argue, it is simply ignorant to complain about what modern-day blacks can get away with.

Yet there we were—young black men born decades after anything that could rightly be called ‘oppression’ had ended—benefitting from a social license bequeathed to us by a history that we have only experienced through textbooks and folklore. And my white Hispanic friend (who could have had a tougher life than all of us, for all I know) paid the price. The underlying logic of using the past to justify racial double-standards in the present is rarely interrogated. What do slavery and Jim Crow have to do with modern-day blacks, who experienced neither? Do all black people have P.T.S.D from racism, as the Grammy and Emmy award-winning artist Donald Glover recently claimed? Is ancestral suffering actually transmitted to descendants? If so, how? What exactly are historical ‘ties’ made of?

Hughes goes on to lament the double standard the public applies to famous black writers. For example:

The celebrated journalist Ta-Nehisi Coates provides another example of the lower ethical standard to which black writers are held. In his #1 New York Times bestseller, Between the World and Me, Coates explained that the policemen and firemen who died on 9/11 “were not human to me,” but “menaces of nature.”1 This, it turned out, was because a friend of Coates had been killed by a black cop a few months earlier. In his recent essay collection, he doubled down on this pitiless sentiment: “When 9/11 happened, I wanted nothing to do with any kind of patriotism, with the broad national ceremony of mourning. I had no sympathy for the firefighters, and something bordering on hatred for the police officers who had died.”2 Meanwhile, New York Times columnist Bari Weiss—a young Jewish woman—was recently raked over the coals for tweeting, “Immigrants: They get the job done,” in praise of the Olympic ice-skater Mirai Nagasu, a second-generation Japanese-American. Accused of ‘othering’ an American citizen, Weiss came under so much fire that The Atlantic ran twoseparate pieces defending her. That The Atlantic saw it necessary to vigorously defend Weiss, but hasn’t had to lift a finger to defend Coates, whom they employ, evidences the racial double-standard at play. From a white writer, an innocuous tweet provokes histrionic invective. From a black writer, repeated expressions of unapologetic contempt for public servants who died trying to save the lives of others on September 11 are met with fawningpraise from leftwing periodicals, plus a National Book Award and a MacArthur ‘Genius’ Grant.

Hughes says this double standard is common in society:

But we make an exception for blacks. Indeed, what George Orwell wrote in 1945seems more apt today: “Almost any English intellectual would be scandalised by the claim that the white races are superior to the coloured, whereas the opposite claim would seem to him unexceptionable even if he disagreed with it.” Only a black intellectual, for instance, could write an op-ed arguing that black children should not befriend white children because “[h]istory has provided little reason for people of color to trust white people,” and get it published in the New York Times in 2017. An identical piece with the races reversed would rightly be relegated to fringe white supremacist forums. In defense of such racist drivel, it won’t suffice to repeat the platitude that ‘black people can’t be racist,’ as if redefining a word changes the ethical status of the thing that the word signifies. Progressives ought not dodge the question: Why are blacks the only ethnic group routinely and openly encouraged to nurse stale grievances back to life?

Read the whole thing. It’s very, very brave. Hughes is a black undergraduate at an Ivy League university, yet he has no been afraid to say what has been unsayable. That man has guts.

By the way, his essay is not merely an exercise in whataboutism. He addresses real philosophical and moral concerns in it. He focuses on blacks, but as a general matter, if you read the mainstream press, you’ll find there’s a tendency to treat gays and other minority groups favored by liberals with kid gloves — as if they were symbols, not real people, with the same virtues and vices that everybody else has. For example, in a previous job, I observed that some liberals in the newsroom viewed local Muslims through the lens of the culture war between liberals and conservatives, and did not want to hold them to the same standard with regard to extremist rhetoric, apparently because doing so might encourage conservatives in their own biases.

Another personal example: last year, I wrote several posts about Tommy Curry, a radical black nationalist who teaches philosophy at Texas A&M (see here and here). In his written work and spoken advocacy, Curry advocates what can only be described as anti-white hatred. Don’t take my word for it; go read the blogs I wrote, which quote generously from, and link to, Curry’s own work. A white man who spoke the same way about any racial minority would never have been hired by a university — A&M hired him knowing exactly what they were getting, because he had published — and would never be retained by one after his racism became known. I linked in one of the blogs to a podcast (subtitled, “White People Are The Problem”) on which Curry was a regular guest; on that particular episode, this philosophy professor argued that white people cannot be reasonable, because they are white.

Imagine being a white student in that man’s class.

But there is a different standard for bigots from the left. The Chronicle of Higher Education wrote a long piece about the fallout from my blogs, and positioned it as Curry having suffered because he wanted to “force a conversation about race and violence” — a conversation that people didn’t want to hear. The writer — no doubt reflecting the biases of his own professional class — could not seem to grasp why people would be really offended by the unapologetic racism of Tommy Curry’s writing and speaking. This is precisely the double standard that Coleman Hughes decries. It is lucrative for radicals like Curry, Coates, and others, but a just society should hold us all to the same standard of discourse and morality. This is one aspect of the Enlightenment that I am eager to defend. It’s not only morally right, but practically, observing it it is the only way we will be able to keep the peace in a pluralistic country.

I found Hughes’s essay via Prufrock, a free daily digest that comes to you in e-mail, to which you can and should subscribe by clicking here. 

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Starbucks Highlights Police Brutality in ‘Anti-Bias’ Training

Starbucks’ much hyped employee “anti-bias” training in the aftermath of the arrest of two black men for loitering at a Philadelphia store without buying anything was heavy on police brutality and left some employees disappointed that the coffee store giant didn’t do more to address the issue at hand. Philadelphia Magazine’s Fabiola Cineas reported on […]

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California Wins Battle in Ongoing War Against ‘Assault Weapons’

Law-abiding Californians’ right to buy and sell AR-15s and other popular semi-automatic rifles shrank this week after a judge upheld state rules targeting “assault weapons.”

The National Rifle Association’s state affiliate had challenged rules, set to take effect on July 1, that expand the existing definition of “assault weapon” to include centerfire rifles with “bullet buttons,” plus a slew of handguns and shotguns. Those rules, the group’s lawsuit argued, extend far beyond what a 2016 state law authorized.

“The legislature has found and declared that the proliferation and use of assault weapons poses a threat to the health, safety, and security of the citizenry of California,” Superior Court Judge Mark Snauffer, a Democratic appointee in Fresno, wrote in an little-noticed opinion published Wednesday. “The challenged regulations appear to carry out the intention of the legislature.”

Snauffer’s decision underscores how hostile to gun owners the California judiciary has become. Just as the state is trying to nullify federal marijuana and immigration laws, it’s also trying to effectively nullify the federal Second Amendment. And unless the U.S. Supreme Court steps in, California’s anti-gun politicians and bureaucrats might get away with it.

“We’re disappointed but not surprised,” says Sean Brady, an attorney at Michel & Associates who represents the California Rifle and Pistol Association in the case, known as Villanueva v. Becerra. “These complex technical cases are usually challenging, particularly when you’re up against the state.”

The technical question arises from a fairly straightforward law. In 2016, the California legislature expanded the definition of so-called assault weapons to sweep in ones outfitted with a bullet button. A bullet button is a quick release system that allows magazines to be swapped in and out by using a bullet tip as a tool. The goal of the law was to restrict removable magazines.

But the state Department of Justice seems to be targeting more firearms—and requiring their registration by July 1 upon pain of criminal penalties—than the law actually authorizes. The plaintiffs argue, convincingly, that the department “has promulgated and is currently enforcing a whole host of regulations that go far beyond the registration process without adhering to the [Administrative Procedure Act’s] requirements.”

For instance, the regulations reclassify certain shotguns as assault weapons (assault shotguns?), move up the deadline for obtaining a serial number for 3D-printed or homemade firearms, and limit the definition of “family member” for joint registrations of affected firearms.

Under California law, probably the most Draconian in the country, so-called assault weapons are heavily restricted. They cannot be rented at gun ranges. They cannot be inherited. They cannot be sold to another California resident. They cannot be imported. And owning one is a crime unless it’s registered with the government. Officials appear to hope that the number of Californians with fully functional AR-15s or equivalents will keep shrinking and eventually, with time, drop to zero.

In addition to this administrative challenge to the 2016 Assault Weapons Control Act, the California Rifle and Pistol Association filed a constitutional challenge invoking the Second Amendment. It had no more success. U.S. District Judge Josephine Staton, an Obama appointee, sided with the state a few weeks ago, saying: “Even an outright ban on certain types of semiautomatic weapons does not substantially burden the Second Amendment right.”

A third lawsuit challenging the Assault Weapons Control Act on both constitutional and administrative grounds has been on hold since it was filed in November. Plaintiffs in this case, Holt v. Becerra, include the Firearms Policy Coalition, the Firearms Policy Foundation, the Calguns Foundation, and the Second Amendment Foundation.

“We’re very disappointed in what I think is a very wrong ruling by the court in Fresno,” says Brandon Combs, president of the Firearms Policy Coalition. “We’re reviewing it and reviewing options. We’ll do the best we can to give gun owners a fighting chance.”

Given the political leanings of much of the California judiciary, that’s unlikely to happen anytime soon. Instead, this week’s decision will embolden government officials working diligently to turn the Golden State into a Second Amendment–free zone.

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He Heard Strange Noises In The Wall. Moments Later, He Was Screaming At The Top Of His Lungs

If your house starts making noises, you usually think your house is just “settling.” But that isn’t always the case. Imagine finding a snake in your wall… and not just any little old garden variety snake, but a 15-foot long python. This story definitely isn’t for anyone with a fear of things that slither, as a homeowner discovered the creature in his living room wall after hearing a clunking sound from behind the plasterboard.

What could it be? A rodent? Oh, how he probably wished it was just a tiny mouse taking up residence in the wall.

Instead, Somchai Subdang, of Bangkok, Thailand, discovered a huge snake. First, he put his ear to the wall to listen more closely, hearing a hissing noise from inside, and he “jumped with fright,” according to a report from the Daily Mail.

Subdang called rescuers to come and assess the situation. They arrived with a hammer to smash open the wall and get a better look, finding the python coiled up inside. Subdang noted: “I’m not afraid of the snake when it’s stuck in the wall, but it could have been scary if it got into the ceiling then dropped down onto me while I was sleeping.”

He added: “I’m disappointed that I’ll have to fix the house now. But that’s better than having a snake hiding in the house.”

One of the rescue workers noted: “This was an unusual place to find the snake. We think it got inside though a gap in the wall to shelter from the rain.” Time to button up all the gaps in your home!

He added: “I gave my young son my phone to start recording daddy catch snake. He enjoyed seeing it. The snake was about 4.5m long. It was returned back to nature.” They contained the snake inside a sack and gave it to wildlife workers who released it back into the wild.

Snakes of this nature are common in Thailand and often found in pipes, drains, trees and bushes. Many have found them inside of their homes, as Daily Mail reports that in 2017, the city’s Fire and Rescue Department had more than 31,000 calls to remove snakes from people’s homes. 
The python that was retrieved from the man’s wall will likely grow up to 30 feet long and weigh over 200 pounds. 

Many who weighed in with comments on the story were feeling uneasy, with comments such as: “One of the reasons I would never live in a tropical country. Ewww,” “I would be finding that gap in the house so I don’t have to worry about that again,” and “I would be worried about how many more are in the walls and ceiling.”

Another commenter had a bit more of a drastic measure in mind if they made this discovery, noting: “I’d burn my house down if that happened to me.”

One person, however, wasn’t so disturbed, noting: “Why is it always ‘horrifying’ when a creature as beautiful as this is found. Get a grip folks.” Another person responded: “Beautiful until it strangles one of your kids in their sleep.”

Others shared their own creepy personal experiences, with one commenter writing on social media: “UGH!!! I hate snakes. I grew up with them in Indonesia, and we had one (python) in my parents bedroom. It still gives me nightmares thinking about it.”

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Starbucks Closes for Racial Bias Training Today

This afternoon, thousands of Starbucks coffee shops will be closed as the company delivers ‘racial bias’ training to their staff.

The move comes after an incident a few weeks ago where two black men were removed from a Starbucks in Philadelphia after staffers called the police on the men who refused to vacate the premises when asked to do so.

Starbucks, which was headed by Howard “violence against white people is justified” Schultz until just recently, is trying to get back into the good graces of the lefties who frequent the company by accusing every one of their employees of being racist enough to require training.

As posted on social media two hours ago:

“For several hours this afternoon, we will close stores and offices to discuss how to make Starbucks a place where all people feel welcome.

Thank you for your patience and support as we renew our promise to make Starbucks an inclusive gathering place for all.

See you tomorrow.”

In a “preview” of the training to be given to 175,000 employees this afternoon,

“Each store will receive a tool kit which will allow for partners to learn together in small self-guided groups. This first training will focus on understanding racial bias and the history of public accommodations in the United States, with future trainings addressing all aspects of bias and experiences.”

The Incident

According to Richard Ross, the African-American local Police Commissioner, the two police involved in the situation picking up the loitering men did “absolutely nothing wrong,” and Ross defended the arrests.

Ross explained that the staffers at the store called up 911 and reported both trespassing as well as a disturbance.

The officers arrived, and the staff informed them that there were two men who had repeatedly refused to leave after being denied the use of the employee bathroom when employees asked them several times to vacate.

When the officers asked the men to leave and they refuse, that’s when it turned into a handcuff situation.

At this point, I suggest taking a look over at our friends with the Black Rifle Coffee Company, which is run by six veterans who combined two of their loves into a great business:

I created Black Rifle Coffee Company for people like myself, coffee-loving veterans and those who are committed to supporting the 2nd Amendment. I wanted to create a company that roasted the finest, freshest coffee on the planet that also supported the things ‘we’ believe in.

Starbucks’ Response

Two days after the incident, Starbucks response by saying that they would be reviewing their policies and working to “engage with the community” as well as with local police to prevent the same bad press from coming their way again.

We apologize to the two individuals and our customers and are disappointed this led to an arrest. We take these matters seriously and clearly have more work to do when it comes to how we handle incidents in our stores.”

To their eternal credit, the two men refused to be given a settlement.

Racial Bias Training

Racial bias training, or implicit bias training is the fancy way of saying that even if you think you’re not racist, you’re actually even more racist for not admitting that you — like an alcoholic at an AA meeting — have no control over your relationship with people of different backgrounds and you will never stop being racist.

According to The Atlantic,

“The idea of implicit bias is that our human minds are, through repeated cultural exposure, conditioned to associate specific traits, characteristics, and behaviors with certain groups of people. When we encounter an individual from one of these groups, those associations arise spontaneously.”

So, you’re a white barista and you see a black female customer enter. If your first thought jumps to something racist, even if you catch yourself and say Wow, That Was Racist of Me! you’re still demonstrating implicit bias and you’ll probably unconsciously spit in her latte.

Racial Bias Training at Joe For America

We here at Joe for America have undergone our own form of racial bias training. The process was long and intensive and it covered all the major topics.

  1. Don’t be a jerk

It was a difficult 6-week course but I managed to pass with flying colors.

 

Sources: CNN, The Atlantic, Starbucks News

The post Starbucks Closes for Racial Bias Training Today appeared first on Joe For America.

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Feds: More student borrowers default on federal student loans

“We are disappointed to see increases in the cohort default rates for our students, as well as students in other sectors of higher education,” said Brian Moran, interim president and CEO of APSCU, the Association of Private Sector Colleges and Universities …

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How Will They End ‘The Americans’?

Margo Martindale as KGB handler Claudia, in one of the best scenes from this season of ‘The Americans’

Next Wednesday will be the series finale of The Americans, the great FX drama about a married couple living undercover as KGB spies in 1980s Washington. Boy, am I ever going to miss that show and its characters. If you’ve never seen it, I encourage you to give it a try — though of course you’re going to have to start at the beginning. It’s violent, and sexually explicit at times, but the show — created by a former CIA agent, Joe Weisberg — is not only excellent drama, but morally penetrating too in the way it forces you to confront what it means to be loyal, and what you would do for your country.

Because I don’t want to ruin the show for those who haven’t seen it, I’m going to put my answers to these questions below the jump. If you think you will ever watch the show, don’t read my answers or the comments thread. As for my fellow Americans fans, I’d like you to answer the following:

  1. How would you like the series to end?
  2. How do you think they will end the series?

My answers below. If for some reason the coding doesn’t work, and you can see what follows, STOP READING RIGHT NOW TO AVOID SPOILERS!

How would I like the series to end?

With Philip and Elizabeth caught. If they escape back to Russia, I will be really disappointed. There has to be justice.

Really, that’s all that matters: that they’re caught. I want to see the scene where Stan confronts them, and they’re made to see in his trusting face the full cost of their betrayal. I want to see the look in Paige and Henry’s faces when they understand what their parents did.

I want Burov to go back safely to his wife and children in Moscow.

How do I think it’s going to end? 

For years I’d figured that Philip was going to end up going over to the US, not only because he had come to love our country, but because he wanted a better life for Paige and Henry. I thought that their marriage would ultimately fall apart irretrievably, and that would be the impetus for him to betray Elizabeth for the sake of their children and his own future.

Clearly that’s not going to happen. So what will? This thing could end so many ways, but I think that having introduced the cyanide pill in an earlier episode, Elizabeth is somehow going to choose to take it. This week’s episode ended with Elizabeth having received a signal from Philip, who is on the run, that she should clear out. The word “topsy-turvy” must have been the “abandon ship” code. She now knows that she’s running for her life, and no doubt headed to meet Philip at a safe house. They will be arrested at that safe house. The final act will be how they negotiate their futures.

Whatever happens in that coming exchange between the FBI and Elizabeth, it will end with her taking the cyanide pill. She really does love her country, and I think that having lost her children (Paige has turned on her, and Henry hasn’t loved her in a long time), she will find herself in a situation where she fears betraying under interrogation the only thing she has ever really loved: Mother Russia.

What will Philip do?  will strike a deal to go into witness protection in exchange for secrets. The possibility of living as a normal American would be the thing he wants more than anything.  More than that, he wants to cleanse his tormented conscience.

Burov will be sent home. About Paige and Henry? Dunno. It doesn’t really matter, does it? They’re Americans; they can’t be sent to Russia. Hard to see the government punishing Paige. Their parents were spies, yes, but now they get to be normal Americans.

I am sorry that we’re probably not going to get to say goodbye to Martha. Poor Martha is the reason above many others that I do not want Philip and Elizabeth to escape. I don’t see how the showrunners can allow them to.

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Spike in Baton Rouge Killings Renews Concern About Outpacing 2017’s Historic Homicide Rate

After three separate killings in about seven hours during a bloody Sunday in Baton Rouge, residents and law enforcement leaders are hoping to reverse the current trend and avoid another year like 2017 — when East Baton Rouge Parish saw a historic spike in homicides at a rate outpacing Chicago’s.

“I’m surprised and disappointed at this year’s numbers so far,” said Baton Rouge Police Chief Murphy Paul. “{snip} We need help from the community to stop this culture of violence in Baton Rouge.”

The parish has seen 35 intentional and unjustified killings since the start of 2018, according to records maintained by The Advocate. That number is nine more than at this time last year when the total stood at 26.

{snip}

The three fatal shootings this weekend brought this month’s homicide tally to 10 — the highest number in one month since December. The Advocate tracks unjustified and intentional killings across East Baton Rouge Parish, but the current numbers could change in the future since some cases are still under investigation and could later be ruled justified or unintentional.

{snip}

“One of the things that stands out to me is that the community is sick and tired of these murders, and because of that they’re providing information to law enforcement,” [Paul] said. “There’s still some fear, but people are cooperating with law enforcement and we’re thankful for that.”

Chief Murphy Paul

{snip}

Paul also said he plans to reallocate department resources, adding homicide detectives and sending patrols into neighborhoods that see the most violent crime. He asked for public input on where and when that presence is most needed.

{snip}

The first killing occurred around 3 p.m. when Arvion Finley, 20, was fatally shot on Gus Young Avenue  — not far from an elementary school and across the street from a community center where dozens of people had gathered to celebrate a child’s birthday. He was pronounced dead on the scene, his body lying near the parking lot of a car wash as detectives canvassed the area and neighbors looked on.

Police arrested Robert Harrell, 40, in Finley’s death. He was booked Sunday night into Parish Prison on counts of second-degree murder, possession of a firearm by a convicted felon and illegal use of weapons.

Harrell had texted Finley earlier Sunday and asked him to come by the shop to get some money, according to an affidavit of probable cause filed by Baton Rouge police. And Finley wasn’t the only one: Harrell also texted other shop employees to meet him at the location with “hammers,” which police believe to be slang for a firearm.

Harrell, of 1554 North 47th St., later told police that Finley had been threatening him and showed up at the shop with a gun, according to the affidavit. The man said he was wrestling the gun away from Finley when the weapon went off. That report is “inconsistent” with recordings of the shooting as well as several suspected gunshot wounds in Finley’s back, police wrote.

A witness who called 911 told police he was with Finley all day and did not see him with a firearm.

Robert Harrell

Just hours after Finley’s death, Baton Rouge police again responded to another fatal shooting, this time at the intersection of Main Street and North 17th Street.

Kelvin Howard, 41, was pronounced dead on the scene and another man was taken to the hospital with injuries. Both were shot outside an old bank building in a section of Mid City caught halfway between blight and redevelopment.

Police arrested Deandre Hollins on Monday after he turned himself in. Hollins was booked on counts of second-degree murder, attempted second-degree murder, illegal use of a weapon and aggravated assault.

According to Hollins’ arrest report, he was laughing and joking with the two victims but then became angry. He went to a van, armed himself with a gun and began shooting, police said in an affidavit for arrest warrant. Hollins then fled the scene in the van.

{snip}

DeAndre Hollins

The post Spike in Baton Rouge Killings Renews Concern About Outpacing 2017’s Historic Homicide Rate appeared first on American Renaissance.

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Zuckerberg again ducks UK parliament’s direct call to testify

Facebook has once again eschewed a direct request from the UK parliament for its CEO, Mark Zuckerberg, to testify to a committee investigating online disinformation – without rustling up so much as a fig-leaf-sized excuse to explain why the founder of one of the world’s most used technology platforms can’t squeeze a video call into his busy schedule and spare UK politicians’ blushes. Which tells you pretty much all you need to know about where the balance of power lies in the global game of (essentially unregulated) U.S. tech platforms giants vs (essentially powerless) foreign political jurisdictions. At the end of an 18-page letter sent to the DCMS committee yesterday – in which Facebook’s UK head of public policy, Rebecca Stimson, provides a point-by-point response to the almost 40 questions the committee said had not been adequately addressed by CTO Mike Schroepfer in a prior hearing last month – Facebook professes itself disappointed that the CTO’s grilling was not deemed sufficient by the committee.

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