How did Christine Blasey Ford make it back and forth to Hawaii?

One of the obstacles to Dr. Christine Blasey Ford testifying before the Senate yesterday was an inability to suffer the “confinement” of being in an airliner (see “Why won’t Claire McCaskill pick up Christine Blasey Ford in her Pilatus PC-12?”). She needed a few extra days to make the trip from California by car.

“Kavanaugh accuser Christine Blasey Ford moved 3,000 miles to reinvent her life. It wasn’t far enough.” (Washington Post):

To many, Kavanaugh was a respected jurist. To her, he was the teenager who had attacked her when they were in high school.

Ford had already moved 3,000 miles away from the affluent Maryland suburbs where she says Kavanaugh sexually assaulted her at a house party — a charge he would emphatically deny. Suddenly, living in California didn’t seem far enough. Maybe another hemisphere would be. She went online to research other democracies where her family might settle, including New Zealand.

“She was like, ‘I can’t deal with this. If he becomes the nominee, then I’m moving to another country. I cannot live in this country if he’s in the Supreme Court,’ ” her husband said. “She wanted out.”

To avoid 4.5-hours of confinement from SFO to IAD, she had planned to spend five days in a car, which was why she wouldn’t be available to testify on Monday, but she was planning on the transpacific flight to New Zealand? And then to fly for far longer than 4.5 hours any time she needed to go somewhere from NZ?

How about when the University of Southern California student who could not handle commercial airline travel was looking for a place to get some practical training?

When she moved to Hawaii for a one-year internship to complete her PhD — taking a cheap studio apartment within board-carrying distance of Sans Souci Beach — the conversion seemed complete.

She rejected all of the programs within the 49 states to which she could travel by land and selected one on the most isolated population center on Planet Earth? Could it be that she traveled back and forth to Hawaii as a passenger on a freighter? Came back for Thanksgiving with the parents in Maryland via the Panama Canal?

[Separately, though I find it interesting that so many Americans think that they can know the “truth” about a 36-year-old event that occurred in private (maybe with some help from the same FBI team who investigated (and cleared) Tamerlan Tsarnaev), I was never a supporter of Judge Kavanaugh for any job. His August 15, 1998 letter filled with moral indignation about Bill Clinton “having sex with a 22-year-old intern” was a deal-killer for me right from the start. I never thought that investigating the sexual opportunities that were available to a president was a good use of taxpayer funds (it wouldn’t have made sense even as a political ploy; success in getting Bill Clinton impeached would have ensured a victory for Al Gore, running as an incumbent, in 2000). And moral indignation seems like hypocrisy to me when it comes from people who didn’t have those opportunities. I periodically see posts on Facebook from a guy who used his position as a professor to obtain sex from a variety of comely undergraduates. Now he is outraged about Trump. But if you’d given this guy a personal Boeing 757, billions in cash, and a vast Manhattan apartment, it is quite possible that he would have tapped into a much larger array of women than Donald Trump ever did. Anyone other than a movie star or sports hero who criticizes Bill Clinton is pretty much in the same category as this Facebook blowhard. Of the people who were mentioned as possible nominess, Amy Coney Barrett is my personal favorite (see “Amy Coney Barrett nomination would stop working parents from demanding more help?“), though, since I’m not a senator, I haven’t educated myself on her record as a judge.]

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22 thoughts on “How did Christine Blasey Ford make it back and forth to Hawaii?

  1. She also said in a letter that she was vacationing in the “mid Atlantic” on July 7th, and would be back in California on the 10th. Depending on the meaning of mid-Atlantic that would necessitate flying – or a fair amount of driving in a short time.

    I can’t figure out your last paragraph at all. *That* was the tipping point for not liking Kavanaugh? And you’re saying that moral outrage is reserved for the rich and famous?

  2. TimB: Interesting choice of vacation destination for a Californian who hates to fly and/or simply cannot tolerate commercial airlines. Thanks for that.

    Regarding the last paragraph, I’m not saying that nobody should support Kavanaugh’s nomination. I’m only explaining why I personally did not support it and do not support his confirmation now, regardless of what happens with the “investigation” into these various alleged parties 35ish years ago.

  3. The best account of the Clinton impeachment and trial is Judge’s Posner’s An Affair of State. I doubt most readers will come away from that account thinking that chasing Clinton was frivolous or that Ken Starr was a prude and voyeur. I don’t know Kavanaugh’s precise role in that inquiry (I doubt Phil does either) but he does not appear in the index to the Posner book so Posner obviously didn’t think he was particularly important when he wrote the book right after the trial ended in the President’s acquittal in 1999. One might also conclude that if Ken Starr behaved honorably in the Clinton impeachment, and Posner is convincing that he did, a fortiori Kavanaugh did as well. Judge Barrett would likely be fine but she would likely face an even tougher confirmation battle than Kavanaugh as she barely made it through the Senate as an appellate judge. She is probably also not his equal as a lawyer and jurist but that seems besides the point these days.

  4. Jack: I linked to the letter that Kavanaugh wrote in the original post. Peter provides a second link to the same letter. In your opinion, what in there is stuff that taxpayers or voters needed to know?

  5. Claustrophobia is mostly genetic, and it’s a trait that becomes more heritable the older you get (like IQ, for instance). At age 35 I was only mildly claustrophobic, and could sleep in a tight mummy bag when camping. At 55 I can’t even stand having my feet constrained by a mostly unzipped sleeping bag. My mother went through the same progression and cannot use an airline toilet with the door closed. It’s common enough that flight attendants didn’t blink an eye when she asked them to stand guard while she peed.

    As for cars, even that is borderline, and I need distraction, such as being the driver or reading … or sleeping.

  6. Show of hands — who thinks this Ford woman is actually going to show up tomorrow?

    There doesn’t seem to be single piece of credible evidence to support her claim. I’m going to say she’s a no show.

  7. Mike: claustrophobia does sound rough. Would a California resident with claustrophobia likely elect to fly to the “mid Atlantic” in July 2018 for vacation, but then, due to two additional months of age, have more severe claustrophobia in September 2018 that precluded a weekend SFO-IAD flight to testify last Monday?

    Johnny: I think she’ll show up! She has gone from obscurity to holding the national stage. Her name is more likely to appear in the headlines than Donald Trump’s. Throughout human history people have been willing to go to extreme lengths, even risking or suffering death, in order to be famous (see the Iliad, for example, for an explicit discussion of this). To earn everlasting https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kleos , Dr. Christine Blasey Ford needs to show up and be on television.

  8. My guess is that she is not claustrophobic, nor does she have far of flying, but rather, after speaking to an attorney, she realized she needed to stall for legal advice and witness prep.

  9. @Mike Pojiko, philg
    My guess is that the fear of being accused of perjury will keep Ford from testifying ever. Hitherto, the crime of lying to government officials has typically only been used to blackmail conservatives, associates of criminals and a few high profile targets like Marha Stewart, but this may come to an end.

    Given that the SCOTUS candidate’s reputation is already harmed, why take the risk, even if telling the truth?

  10. It turns out that the “I don’t fly” claim was probably bogus:

    “Ford Traveled to Maryland in August Despite Allegedly Fear of Flying”
    https://dailycaller.com/2018/09/26/ford-polygraph-maryland-fear-of-flying/

    Also, apparently she stayed at an airport hotel, and the dates she is thought to be on the east and west coasts only make sense if she pulled Cannonball Run times:

    “Disappointment: Blasey Ford Probably Just Yanking Our Chains About Her Not Flying”
    https://www.unz.com/isteve/disappointment-blasey-ford-probably-just-yanking-our-chains-about-her-not-flying/

    “Tucker Carlson: Is Christine Ford Claiming a Fear of Flying Just to Delay Senate Hearing?”
    https://www.mediaite.com/online/tucker-carlson-is-christine-ford-claiming-a-fear-of-flying-just-to-delay-senate-hearing/

    All the sources for this stuff are conservative websites, or Tucker Carlson, so there is a chance that there is another explanation, but the mainstream media is silent on the issue, so these reports are all we have to go on.

    Is there any way of searching FAA passenger manifests for private jets?

  11. According to the records Ford released, she managed to get back to Maryland on August 7 to take a polygraph at a hotel. Was that done by another car trip?

  12. Mike: There are no “FAA passenger manifests” for any domestic flights, as far as I know, in the sense of something that would be filed with the Federales. The dreaded eAPIS system collects such manifests for flights that cross the border (outbound AND inbound and also for little four-seat family airplanes since 9/11 made bureaucracy and regulatory compliance the national religion). One can often track a particular plane by tail number, but not an individual Gulfstream passenger.

    RegularGuy55: It would be funny if she turns out to be a United Airlines Premier 1K member (though presumably she has graduated to join Hillary in the Gulfstream club now). Alternatively, she could make some serious $$ doing car commercials. Imagine the boost to Chevrolet Corvette sales from a TV ad showing Dr. Ford behind the wheel beating the 28:50:30 time set in 2013 (see https://jalopnik.com/meet-the-guy-who-drove-across-the-u-s-in-a-record-28-h-1454092837 ).

    It worked for Nike with Colin Kaepernick! (see http://www.espn.com/nfl/story/_/id/24796806/nike-colin-kaepernick-ad-results-record-engagement-says-ceo-mark-parker )

  13. Well, Rachel Mitchell’s questioning at the hearings took care of this.

    Ford flies all the time, including to the South Pacific. Mitchell comes off as a friendly but persistent soccer mom. She didn’t stop after the first few “I took a plane” answers, but continued until every possible trip was accounted for.

    So Blasey is mildly anxious on planes, as is half the population.

  14. Some of us older folks may remember an unofficial cross country car race called the ‘Cannonball Baker Sea-to-Shining-Sea Trophy Dash’. It was begun by the former Car & Driver editor Brock Yates. The rules were simple. The cars all left from a spot in mid-town Manhattan, and the first car to Los Angeles won.

    I can see Ford reviving that race,but in the opposite direction.

  15. Dr Ford, if she is any kind of Dr or statistician has the grammar of a bad high school student. And without looking at a map there are zero islands with which to vacation in the mid atlantic. Perhaps she was scuba diving sunken pirate ships at 20,000 leagues under the sea? If she meant the mid atlantic states she’s the only person to ever refer to the east coast area as that, which she didn’t.. I truly believe she thinks Hawaii is in the Atlantic, like the teacher who claimed Australia wasn’t a country a few months ago.

  16. “And moral indignation seems like hypocrisy to me when it comes from people who didn’t have those opportunities.”

    Would you similarly claim that somebody who has never had access to a gun shouldn’t have opinions on whether or not it’s okay to shoot somebody?

  17. Alex: Shooting another person is a crime. Therefore even people with guns are subject to restrictions regarding whom they can shoot. We would judge and imprison an 18-year-old who shot 10 people in one day. Sex with another adult, however, is unregulated either legally or morally in our society. If an 18-year-old has sex in an assortment of ways with an assortment of adult partners identifying with an assortment of genders, possibly all at the same time, it would be considered inappropriate to judge that person for a “lifestyle choice.” We would neither judge nor imprison an 18-year-old who engaged in 10 sexual acts in one day.

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