2:00PM Water Cooler 12/5/14

By Lambert Strether of Corrente


Prosecutor promised to release Garner grand jury evidence, then goes for “limited public disclosure” of mostly reported information [Bloomberg]. Odd.

Caskets to lead Garner march across Brooklyn Bridge [akacharleswade]. “Honoring the Dead,” #43 – #46 of Gene Sharp’s Non-Violent Methods.

Die-ins held on Brown and Garner (in no particular order) at Temple University, Philadelphia, PA; Clemson University, Clemson, SC; Detroit, MI; Pittsburgh, PA; Buffalo, NY; The College William & Mary, Williamsburg, VA; Columbia University, New York, NY; University of Deleware, Newark, DE; Philadelphia, PA; Emory University, Atlanta GA; Hamilton College, Utica, NY; Indiana University, Bloomington, IN; the White House, Washington, DC; Memphis, TN; University of South Alabama, Mobile, AL; Harvest Collegiate High School, NY, NY; Baylor University, Waco, TX; Lebanon Valley College, Lebanon, NH; Webster University, Webster Grove, MO; University of Southern California, Los Angeles, CA; Penn State, State College, PA; University of Chicago, Chicago, IL (Hi, Milt! [waves]).

The die-in, to Sharp, is a form of “Physical Intervention” (#162 – #173), like #162 (Sit-in), and #167 (Pray-in), although “Die In” is not mentioned specifically. The die-in takes the image of Brown’s body, lying in the street, eyes open, uncovered, for hours, in the summer sun, and amplifies it.

Again, the list above isn’t even a random sampling; it’s just a quick aggregation, with no structural analysis to separate out college from non-college, for example. What is clear is that the answer to “How many die-ins are there?” is “A lot,” and when you ask “Who’s behind it all?” the answer is not, at least, Reverend Al or any of the Black misleadership class. I bet (no time now) if I searched for freeway blockages over the last few weeks, I’d find numbers that are similarly surprisingly large (though not as large, because they’re harder to organize and riskier). I provide the aggregation to make the continuing point that the Fergusonians (I’ll call them that, for lack of a better word) are working out, on the fly, methods of protest that scale continentally. It’s impressive.

Meet the BART-stopping woman behind “Black Lives Matter” [Grist]. BART, like the freeways, being a transportation nexus. Continental scaling once again.

Garner video-er says the Grand Jury was rigged [Daily News]. On the video: “We’ve tried before to defend cops. … But there’s simply no defending this” [NT2NY].

Now you can find what the Feds gave your cops, in the way of “tactical military equipment” like armored vehicles, rifles, night vision goggles, and so forth [Muck Rock].

Witness #40: A handwritten “diary,” started on the day of Brown’s shooting, that matches Wilson’s story in every detail. Extraordinary [Esquire]. Missed this grand jury exhibit, which must be read to be believed.

Dash cams show the future of body cams [The Atlantic].’

DOJ appoints monitor to oversee “chaotic and dangerous” Cleveland police [Guardian]. Cleveland like Ferguson, IIRC, was severely hit by the foreclosure crisis, caused by banks. One hand grasps, the other manipulates…


Democrats to hold wake post mortem autopsy taskforce on 2014 midterms debacle [HuffPo]. Get a load of the membership:

The post-mortem will feature a cross-section of party loyalists and activists, including Beshear, who was first elected in 2007 in GOP-leaning Kentucky; Schmidt, Google’s former CEO and an informal adviser to Obama’s team; Donna Brazile, the DNC’s vice chair and a veteran of presidential campaigns; Colorado party chairman Rick Palacio and Lee Saunders, the president of the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees union.

Wowsers. That’s some “cross section.” Maybe somebody could ask Saunders why he’s still there when, uniquely among all depressions hitherto, government employment actually went down on Obama’s watch, due to the stimuless. And is wage-fixer Eric Schmidt the new Soros?

Although you’d never know it from the way Obots jammed Schumer’s speech into the “he hates ObamaCare” box, the speech, though supremely tactical, is still the first serious look by a Democratic player on how the Democrats went off the rails in 2009 — I know, I know, but today is my day to be kind — and what they could do going forward, as we say [Ryan Cooper, The Week]. Incidentally — confirmation bias alert — this is the first Beltway-style, non-fringe article I’ve seen to point out the absence of filibuster reform in 2009 [NC, 2012] as a key fumble (again, I’m being kind). After all, if Reid did it for a few judges in 2013, why not do it for policy in 2009?

When Landrieu loses, “an end to the era of the Southern Democrats” [New York Times]. Maybe if they have to rebuild from the ground up, they won’t try to be Republicans this time. A man can dream.

A famous anecdote from the trail in Louisiana [Bloomberg]:

“As you travel around, you meet these people who are very dependent on Medicaid, on Social Security,” says former Senator John Breaux, who retired in 2004 and saw his seat won by Republican David Vitter. “These people could not make it without that. Those are basically Democratic programs, and those same people say, ‘I don’t want the government to interfere.’ I remember when I chaired the Medicaid committee, I had a woman come up to me and say, ‘Whatever y’all do make sure the federal government doesn’t take over my Medicare.’”

Schumer’s point exactly. The bitter fruit of not defending the proper role of government in serving public purpose for a generation.

Landrieu whines to the bitter end [Salon]. Don’t cry for me, British Petroleum!

Hillary Clinton “pleased” that DOJ is investigating Brown and Garner shootings [Reuters]. “I personally hope these tragedies give us an opportunity to come together to find balance again.” Again? Who’s the “us” here?

Warren Buffet bets big on Clinton [Bloomberg].

Democratic committee clears Christie of involvement in Bridgegate [The Record]. Everybody’s gonna get to go to DC!!!!

Why did Christie delete 12 Bridgegate text messages? [WNYC]. We may never know!

America the Petrostate

Denton, TX (!) sues to uphold local fracking ban [Ecowatch].

Stats Watch

Employment situation: Unemployment steady at 5.8%, long-term unemployed unchanged at 2.8 million over 27 weeks. Discouraged workers 698,000 for little change year-on-year. 321,000 jobs created, “significantly stronger than expected.” Payroll beats expectations, too [Bloomberg]. Weisenthal: “OMG OMG OMG OMG 321K” (!). “The jump in payrolls ‘is the kind of number you get in a booming economy'” [Bloomberg]. Handy chart shows dominance of oil and gas jobs in employment growth by sector [WaPo]. And the household survey: “[T]he proportion of the population in the labor force and the proportion of the population with a job both unchanged” [New York Times]. Modified rapture.


The infrarrealista revolution in Mexico; a from-the-ground explainer [The New Yorker] Infrarealist manifesto (translated): “Let’s get us headlong into all human barriers, so that things start to move within oneself, a hallucinatory vision of man.”

Hong Kong

Hong Kong students consider tactical changes [Reuters]. From the armchair, I still say massive voter registration drive.

News of the Wired

  • World Soil Day 2014 [FAO].
  • Serendipity, virality, and Cosby’s fall [Billy Penn].
  • Neuromancer thirty years on [Guardian]. “The sky above the port was the color of television, tuned to a dead channel.”
  • John Scalzi’s rules for twitter engagement [Whatever].
  • “World Leaders Gather To Discuss How F*cking Amazing Running A Country Is” [The Onion].
  • UK public spending is projected to fall to its lowest level as a proportion of GDP since the 1930s [Guardian]. And the Tories could never have done it without the Lib-Dems, so take a bow, Vince Cable!
  • Five developments in online advertisting [Forbes].
  • For local papers, public interest focus beats commoditization [journo.biz].
  • The case against dividing Iraq [Foreign Affairs].
  • So long, New Republic! “[T]hanks for Marty Peretz, Andrew Sullivan, The Bell Curve, Betsy McCaughey, Mickey Kaus, the Iraq War, etc…etc…” [Eschaton]. Meanwhile, the staff just resigned en masse — so long, Robert Kagan! — leaving the Silicon Valley CEO (Yahoo, wouldn’t you know) with just the brand. Maybe implosion was the goal all along. After all, the brand is really the only asset to strip. To be fair, I’ll miss Helen Vendler, rather like I have a soft spot for Nooners, but she, like the rest of the masthead, will do fine, just fine.
  • There is no language instinct [Aeon]. In other words, Chomsky was as wrong as its possible to be.

* * *

Readers, feel free to contact me with (a) links, and even better (b) sources I should curate regularly, and (c) to find out how to send me images of plants. Vegetables are fine! Fungi are deemed to be honorary plants! See the previous Water Cooler (with plant) here. And here’s today’s plant (PQS):

Winter feeder

Seattle’s peninsula. Still needing more wintry plants, even if from the tropics! And I’m not sure about feeders. Don’t they make birds dependent and change their social structures?

Talk amongst yourselves!

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About Lambert Strether

Readers, I have had a correspondent characterize my views as realistic cynical. Let me briefly explain them. I believe in universal programs that provide concrete material benefits, especially to the working class. Medicare for All is the prime example, but tuition-free college and a Post Office Bank also fall under this heading. So do a Jobs Guarantee and a Debt Jubilee. Clearly, neither liberal Democrats nor conservative Republicans can deliver on such programs, because the two are different flavors of neoliberalism (“Because markets”). I don’t much care about the “ism” that delivers the benefits, although whichever one does have to put common humanity first, as opposed to markets. Could be a second FDR saving capitalism, democratic socialism leashing and collaring it, or communism razing it. I don’t much care, as long as the benefits are delivered. To me, the key issue — and this is why Medicare for All is always first with me — is the tens of thousands of excess “deaths from despair,” as described by the Case-Deaton study, and other recent studies. That enormous body count makes Medicare for All, at the very least, a moral and strategic imperative. And that level of suffering and organic damage makes the concerns of identity politics — even the worthy fight to help the refugees Bush, Obama, and Clinton’s wars created — bright shiny objects by comparison. Hence my frustration with the news flow — currently in my view the swirling intersection of two, separate Shock Doctrine campaigns, one by the Administration, and the other by out-of-power liberals and their allies in the State and in the press — a news flow that constantly forces me to focus on matters that I regard as of secondary importance to the excess deaths. What kind of political economy is it that halts or even reverses the increases in life expectancy that civilized societies have achieved? I am also very hopeful that the continuing destruction of both party establishments will open the space for voices supporting programs similar to those I have listed; let’s call such voices “the left.” Volatility creates opportunity, especially if the Democrat establishment, which puts markets first and opposes all such programs, isn’t allowed to get back into the saddle. Eyes on the prize! I love the tactical level, and secretly love even the horse race, since I’ve been blogging about it daily for fourteen years, but everything I write has this perspective at the back of it.


  1. McMike

    If you plan to cannibalize the brand, then getting all that troublesome and expensive top-level baggage to quit – without having to pay severance or deal with lawsuits – is a stroke of genius.

    The new target demo won’t know or care what TNR used to be.

    Nothing incremental about it. Just scorched earth. Watch for this to be the new crapification model.

  2. Clive

    Agree about feeders not being an unqualified Good Thing. When I moved a little over four years ago I started to put out feeders as I always did, after waiting about a year to gauge the “typical” wild birds’ activities and numbers. Then noted the same after starting to put out feeders. Within a six month period — probably less than that — the balance had changed completely. A greater preponderance of small song birds to the detriment of slightly larger ones. Overall numbers were up considerably, but at the expense of diversity.

    Wish I had access to a good range of studies, but some do back up this anecdotal. A seemingly quite academic assessment is generally negative on the merits of feeding garden birds supplementary food sources: http://www.bto.org/sites/default/files/u196/downloads/rr027.pdf

    … but I still feel an absolute heel for not doing so :-( just out of force of habit.

    1. McMike

      The old rule of thumb on feeders was the every little bit helps, and doesn’t hurt, particularly in an era of declining habitat and natural feed sources. This was probably made up on the spot by someone fifty years ago and became fact.

      I note that the feeding tends to cycle with natural availability, and they will ignore my feeder when natural food is peaking. Then come back later in the season, and when there is snow on the ground in particular.

      Interesting question about diversity, at least at the feeder. There does tend to be a preponderance of finches and SBBs. With the more interesting larger birds only occasional visitors. hmm..

      Frankly, I quit feeding this year. The obnoxious squawking euro pigeons have taken over the neighborhood. They knock all the seed to the ground and immediately go through as much as I’ll put out. Have not found any redeeming qualities in them yet.

    2. OIFVet

      I am not sure that I agree with Lambert, could be that the argument against feeders is just too similar to the conservative argument against the social safety net. I haven’t noticed any decrease in diversity at my feeders – the sparrows dominate in numbers but I do get plenty of cardinals, robins, starlings, even red winged blackbirds. The polar vortex last year even brought a lot of juncos, which are hardly ever seen in Chicago. In my experiences different species prefer to come in different times of the day, cardinals for example are most plentiful in early morning before 9, starlings seem to come at mid day. I guess diferent people will have different experiences as populations vary year over year. I finally saw a dove, something I hadn’t seen in many years locally. In any case, I enjoy the company that gathers by my plants and feeders too much to give them up.

      1. OIFVet

        I should have mentioned that I live close to a bird sanctuary so that may affect my personal observations compared to Clive’s.

      2. sleepy

        “Don’t they make birds dependent and change their social structures?”

        You know those sparrows, give em a handout and soon they’ll take over, lol.

        I live in northern Iowa and get nuthatches, sparrows, hairy woodpeckers, downy woodpeckers, red-bellied woodpeckers, and blue jays and cardinals during the summer.

          1. OIFVet

            My neighbor proposed a few years ago that we convert the wooden fence separating our properties into a hedgerow, and it has developed quite nicely. Thick, dense, with a lot of cover and berry bushes. Robins and sparrows love it year round, as do two or three rabbits and god knows how many squirrels. The juniper bushes in the front also attract a lot of birds, though they are not nearly as useful otherwise as a good hedgerow. Its always good to have a neighbor who would propose such a brilliant and life-enriching idea.

              1. OIFVet

                Zone 6a, if this map is to be believed. My neighbor believes that this is changing quite rapidly toward 6b and beyond. He is a walking encyclopedia so I tend to listen and try not to ask a dumb question. Still, far cry from the village where my grandparents live in BG, amazing microclimate for the gardener. Can’t wait to move back there eventually, especially since my grandparents have already laid quite the permaculture foundation over the years.

          2. sleepy

            Oh, I agree and was just ribbing you with my comment about “handouts.”

            A couple years ago I planted my front yard in prairie flowers and grasses–gets 5-6 ft tall. Every fall I cut it back to a foot or so (the experts say to burn it off–not cool in a city) and throw the cuttings around my feeder in the back yard as cover for birds, rabbits, and other critters. By spring all that debris has decayed and just sort of melted into the ground like leaves do.

    3. PQS

      I can’t imagine the garden without a bird feeder. ..although to be honest they were here when we moved in. We live on the Olympic Peninsula outside of Seattle in a rural area so we aren’t bugged by starlings or pigeons – mostly we are visited by juncos, chickadees, and other small songbirds. ..sometimes goldfinches in the autumn. Lots of robins. We don’t feed them in the summer but it seems kind to make sure they don’t go without when the grasses and fruits are gone.
      The hummers we feed alll year as they are permanent residents.

      1. steviefinn

        We tend to only feed birds when the weather gets extremely cold – They seem to appreciate water kept free of ice.

  3. Working Class Nero

    Craazyman vindicated:


    After a week of back pedalling — after a flood of critics pointed out the glaringly obvious flaws in the story, Rolling Stone is now backing off their UVa Gang Rape Crisis hoax story. When it first came out I got through a page or two of the story but my bullshit detector was wailing so loudly that I couldn’t continue. But it is very important to me that my BS detector be regularly fine-tuned so I kept a close watch as the story fairly quickly joined the junk-yard of FAKE along side that supposed video of a young boy in Syria getting shot and then saving a little girl that was featured in the NY Post as a real video.

    I came late to the party but I felt it was unjust the way Craazyman was mobbed for pointing out flaws anyone with an active BS detector would see. Gang raped on shards of shattered glass for three hours and then didn’t go to the hospital? Friends doing a social risk / benefit analysis just after a woman has been brutally gang raped instead of screaming, “let’s burn this bitch down (the frat house, not the victim)? WVa is “overwhelmingly blonde” (this is a HUGE “tell” — the author has some serious issues). The cheap rip-offs from Silence of the Lambs? (“hold ITS legs, attack in total darkness, I’m sure earlier versions of the script had the rapists using night-vision goggles).

    Later it became clear that the fraternity in question does not even have rushes in the fall nor did they have an event the evening in question. Tellingly there have been several college gang rapes in Virginia recently but the alleged student athlete perps were anything but “overwhelmingly blonde” and so elite media took a pass. And worst of all was over-the-top use of shattered glass as a plot device. (The author went to college with Stephen Glass and actually reviewed the movie, Shattered Glass, about his fake stories)

    I loved this story because it was a rare instance of an elite-on-elite attack. Our wealthy betters were openly fighting in front of the children. Just as divide and rule attacks from the elites onto the masses are bad; it is very much in the interests of the masses to try to exacerbate any elite-on-elite tiffs into full out internecine elite war. An elite urban ethnic Ivy-league woman with an agenda went south to take on the sons of the conservative Southern aristocracy. The problem is that the story was so ridiculous that it ultimately has no legs and so there will only be a limited window of the masses “Fergusoning” this story to further pit the two elite camps against each other.

    1. EmilianoZ

      Most of the story might still be true. The inconsistencies seem to be about small details. She seems to have named the wrong fraternity. Maybe she can’t recognize Greek letters. She said somebody told her that was the phi kappa (or whatever) house. That person could have lied or been mistaken. I dont see the big deal.

      1. Working Class Nero

        No, the story is completely false. She finally named someone and it turned out he was totally innocent. Critical thinking skills need to be applied extra strongly in cases that appeal to your preconceived biases. The “victim” Jackie has serious issues but she was doing no one any harm until the big city journalist with an agenda rolled into town. The major media was totally invested in this story and they tried everything to save it. They would not have backed down one inch unless forced to.

        Privileged southern women have been claiming rape for centuries. Close to a thousand black and poor whites were lynched due to privileged white women claiming rape from the safety of their pedestals, No doubt some of the cases were true but many were blatant lies, to for example revenge rejections from black guys or to cover up consensual affairs.

        Or maybe I am just getting old, because my generation grew up reading To Kill a Mockingbird and we identified with the hero who bucked the tides of social pressure and stood tall by debunking a false rape claim.

        1. cwaltz

          Uh there is a HUGE difference between some of the details don’t match up and the entire story is made up. I dare you to give me details on something from a year ago and have the details from each individual match up.

          And for the record, “Southern women” have been raped for centuries, as well as northern women, eastern women and western women. You might want to actually LOOK at some rape stats instead of pretending a very real problem is a pretend one.

          1. Code Name D

            Doesn’t mater, the unreliable nation of memory means its unreliable – not that we give her the benefit of the doubt. It’s true that she may be imprecisely recalling a real event – or she is making it up from whole cloth. The point is that we have no way of knowing either way.

            Skeptics move on evidence,

            1. cwaltz

              I’m going to repeat what I told craazyman when you make ignorant statements like that you are retraumatizing rape victims and discouraging young women who have been victimized to stay quiet.


              From the article for you and crazzyman-“The reasons victims don’t report include fear of shame and stigma, and fear that no one will believe them. Survivors have said they felt re-victimized by the suggestion that they are lying about the traumatic events they experienced. And many survivors — including several of the women who have accused Bill Cosby of rape — only feel safe or comfortable speaking out many years after the fact, when pursuing criminal charges or finding “solid” evidence is nearly impossible.”

              I think I won’t be believe is the most common reason cited for why women don’t report. Furthermore, false rape charges account for 3% of charges while 88% of rape cases on campuses are never formally reported. So which is the greater problem again? Seems to me the prevailing problem isn’t that poor fellows are being accused of rape left and right but that young women are being victimized and the people who victimize them are getting away with it.

              As far as skepticism goes, I am not a law enforcement officer or on a jury I have absolutely no responsibility to be a skeptic. My responsibility as a women is to support other women and let them know that when or if they are victims that I’ll not revictimize them. My responsibility is to let them know that some people are worthy of trust. That’s how they can begin to heal.

              So essentially your position is that this girl is one of 3% rather than one of the 88%.

              1. Code Name D

                “The reasons victims don’t report include fear of shame and stigma, and fear that no one will believe them. Survivors have said they felt re-victimized by the suggestion that they are lying about the traumatic events they experienced.”

                This is a red haring. At issue here isn’t about being “believed” or not, it’s about the presence of evidence to support the claims being made. That which is asserted without evidence is automatically dismissed. If the rape happened, then there should be some degree of evidence to support the story.

                This is why the Rolling Stone article fell apart; there was no attempt to verify her story. Others eventually went back and examined the details and the holes began to form. It doesn’t mean she is lying. It’s been a year and memory can become faulty; holes in her story are to be expected. But the fact remains that no evidence has been produced to support her story.

                “As far as skepticism goes, I am not a law enforcement officer or on a jury I have absolutely no responsibility to be a skeptic. My responsibility as a women is to support other women and let them know that when or if they are victims that I’ll not revictimize them.”

                In other words, you will believe her without question, simply because she is a woman. Seems to me that the Rolling Stone Reporter already made that mistake. You then attempt to conceal your bias under the guise of not wanting to “revictimize” rape victims.

                “So essentially your position is that this girl is one of 3% rather than one of the 88%.”

                Nice straw man. No. My argument is that skepticism is warranted of any claim until evidence is provided in its support. I will politely ask you to not attempt such deception again.

        2. quixote

          Working Class Nero, you do realize that this: “She finally named someone and it turned out he was totally innocent” was based on a reporter who asked that man whether he was involved. He said no, he wasn’t even there, didn’t even know her. I’m sure rapists are always honest about their activities, so I’m also sure that his statement is all we need.


          You may want to spend a bit more time on this part of your comment: “Critical thinking skills need to be applied extra strongly in cases that appeal to your preconceived biases.”

          1. Lambert Strether Post author

            Apparently, the story that the assailant was a lifeguard was denied by the fraternity (at least in the Times coverage I saw) but there was no independent check by the reporter, and I would think the incentives for the fraternity are clear. The “Not exactly covering themselves with glory here” continues….

          2. Working Class Nero

            No, I would not take very seriously a denial of rape. But it seems the reporters never even got to that question. For you see, Jackie was very clear about the public nature of her relationship with Drew:

            In the weeks prior to that alleged encounter, Erdely told Smerconish, the “two of them [Drew and Jackie] had spent weeks getting to know each other,” including as lifeguards at the U-Va. pool. “She could never really understand why he, this handsome junior, was paying so much attention to her, this very naive freshman,” while the other lifeguards on her shift were “these model-gorgeous blonds,” said Erdely. “Why would he have chosen me?” said Erdely, summing up Jackie’s thinking. ” ‘He was paying so much attention to me, showing so much interest in everything I had to say.’ And all she could think is that [Drew] was probably grooming her for something like this, and testing her for something like this.”

            And so the first step is to see how Drew answers the questions about whether he even knew Jackie. And his answer is:

            The friends said that details of the attack have changed over time and that they have not been able to verify key points in recent days. For example, an alleged attacker that Jackie identified to them for the first time this week — a junior in 2012 who worked with her as a university lifeguard — was actually the name of a student who belongs to a different fraternity, and no one by that name has been a member of Phi Kappa Psi.

            Reached by phone, that man, a U-Va. graduate, said Friday that he worked at the Aquatic and Fitness Center and was familiar with Jackie’s name. But he added that he never met Jackie in person and never took her out on a date. He also said he was not a member of Phi Kappa Psi.

            Putting aside the fraternity membership mix-up, which is not important; unlike a disavowal of rape, which is next to worthless, this denial of having never met Jackie is easily falsified, especially given the youth today and their use of social media.

            So given the presumption of innocence, plus the fact the lifeguard provided an easily falsified denial, I’m keeping this guy in the category of “completely innocent” until someone shows he and Jackie did know each other. And if what Jackie says is true, that this high-status hot dude was spending time with someone who was, to say the least, not a “model-gorgeous blond” that would have struck the real model-gorgeous blonds (if they even existed) as incongruent and they would have noticed and perhaps commented on these going-ons. And so a couple years later it is likely, after being shown photographs, they could contradict this guy’s denial. And that hasn’t happened yet.

      2. cwaltz

        The event took place over a year ago, yes it was a traumatic event, but it is beyond absurd for anyone to expect her to be able to recount details at this stage. As it is, her brain, out of self defense, probably has done it’s best to make her forget everything on that night.

        It doesn’t change the reality which is that an awful lot of men have been taught that it is acceptable to disrespect young women.

        I stand by everything I said to craazyman.

    2. OIFVet

      This is a terrible setback for women on campuses everywhere. I was a frat boy myself, at an University that the DOE listed as a Title IX violator earlier this year, and I can attest that sex crimes are a pervasive problem in frats and on campuses in general. What “Jackie” did is simply the very worst thing she could have done for the cause. However, let us not allow ourselves to become sidetracked by this scandal, it is not about pitting “elites against one another because I very much doubt that sex criminals on campus pick their victims based on their social status. Elites, non-elites, etc, they all can be and do become victims.

      1. Lambert Strether Post author

        It’s telling that the administration and much of the campus believed her. I’ve seen the horrible effects of party culture, and so the story was credible to me, no doubt for the same reasons it was to them.

        Here’s the Rolling Stone “Note to Our Readers”. Here’s the USA Today story, that lists discrepancies.

        I don’t read any of this as “completely false,” simply because when the beer pong kicks in, details blur, including names. I mean, that’s the point. But the poor sourcing should have kicked off my spidey sense.

        UPDATE The Jezebel reaction:

        This is really, really bad. It means, of course, that when I dismissed Richard Bradley and Robby Soave’s doubts about the story and called them “idiots” for picking apart Jackie’s account, I was dead fucking wrong, and for that I sincerely apologize. It means that my conviction that Sabrina Rubin Erdely had fact-checked her story in ways that were not visible to the public was also wrong. It’s bad, bad, bad all around. (And, frankly, it could have been avoided, had Erdely been clearer in her disclosures about what she’d done to reach Jackie’s alleged attackers and what her agreement with the girl had been. This announcement wouldn’t be producing nearly the same shockwaves if those things had been clearly outlined.)

        This is really, really bad. It means, of course, that when I dismissed Richard Bradley and Robby Soave’s doubts about the story and called them “idiots” for picking apart Jackie’s account, I was dead fucking wrong, and for that I sincerely apologize. It means that my conviction that Sabrina Rubin Erdely had fact-checked her story in ways that were not visible to the public was also wrong. It’s bad, bad, bad all around. (And, frankly, it could have been avoided, had Erdely been clearer in her disclosures about what she’d done to reach Jackie’s alleged attackers and what her agreement with the girl had been. This announcement wouldn’t be producing nearly the same shockwaves if those things had been clearly outlined.)

        UPDATE WaPo:

        I would not have made the agreement with Jackie that Erdely and her editors struck. But having done so, Rolling Stone ought to have been clear about their agreement with Jackie in the initial article, and explained in a clear and forthright way the efforts they made to speak with the fraternity.

        True. But the iffy sourcing was evident on first read.

        1. NotTimothyGeithner

          I went to UVA. There were rapists there; although, my spider sense was bothered by the frat in question. I believe the events from the story occurred in one of two nearby fraternities. The problem with phikappapsi is its the most public fraternity. It sits alone behind a field. The other fraternities are in rows, mixed in residential areas, or behind buildings on grounds. Everyone knows it. My guess is half the students at UVA found their way there during the first month. If I was writing a story, it’s the frat I would choose. This isn’t true. I would choose one a guy from my first year dorm belonged to because he use to spray paint his own parking space on the road behind phikappapsi, so he always had a parking spot.

  4. DJG

    Coffins are good. Now I know that may sound odd. But leaving Brown’s body in the sun reminds me over and over of Emmet Till. Then I am reminded of the fearless Mamie Till, who insisted on an open coffin as a testament to what had happened to him.

    Now the next step: Tying the murder of black men to our ruthless economic system, which has never allowed black lives to matter because black people were brought here as property. How can we change that original sin? Genuflecting to free markets isn’t the answer. (Sorry, Friedman Becker Institute & Seminary.)

    1. Lambert Strether Post author

      “How is it that we hear the loudest yelps for liberty among the drivers of negroes?” — Dr. Samuel Johnson

      Because buying humans was one advantage of “freedom.” That’s why.

  5. Paul Tioxon

    The extent of the Garner protests, right after the Ferguson solidarity protests, and the not at all forgotten Treyvon Martin protests shows that the ongoing persistence of the African-American community, not just radicalized screamers or your derisive Rev Al paper tiger protest leaders, but organized ongoing stalwarts with spontaneous joining in with marchers and some rather recently awakened sense of outrage and urge to do something public in order to heard, broadly based, heartfelt and hopeful.

    It is to be noted that much significant broadly based activism, meaning, joining with public displays of dissent, happen, not during the worst most bleak periods of pressurized injustice, but come most forcefully during times of a general sense of the well being of the nation being on the move towards progress. Economic progress in general. The sense of improving conditions around you with more people finding work, better opportunities for pay increases, better benefits, yes OBAMACARE AND MEDICAID EXPANSION, the overall sense that things are getting better broadly contribute to the sense that political activism has something to protect and something more can be gained along with the new job and prospects for a better life. You can’t really enjoy your paycheck if cops are hassling you over BS and knocking you into the hospital where you get to try out your new health care insurance. As the quality of life improves on an everyday basis, lower gas prices, more hiring, more cities and counties passing higher minimum wage laws, such as in Chicago or executive actions of mayors and Obama to increase minimum wages for government contracts, and a growing, sustained movement for fast food $15/hr job actions, legalization and decriminalization of marijuana around the nation, etc. all of this is creating a sense of movement and progress. A tipping point may or may have not been reached, but all of the activity in so many varied issues indicates a social feedback that can be seen every day in the news, on social media, even if it is not centrally planned by the Dems, the Revs or whoever else, so much is going on that you can feel the difference in the way the world is today from the way it was just 3 or 4 years ago.

    On a local note, U of Penn Law students, 60 of them, did a die in. Today, Philly Public HS students had die ins at 3 locations and leaders were interviewed. Multi-racial Ivy League elites, HS kids, disruption of traffic, transit and Holiday events such a Christmas tree lighting, university students from all over. The amount and variety of local protests in and around the city is highly unusual. The last major public protest, for Treyvon had the city’s DA in a hoodie protesting as well. Something is moving, in the right direction for my money, and it well over due. Here at least, a voice is being given to dissent and protest with little violence, in repeated solidarity against the kind of problem that all too easily could have happened here and sometimes does. There are many other reported newsclips of protests or actions on the daily news. Compound this with reports from around the nation and it certainly seems that the X factor that can not be planned or predicted seems to be growing and feeding on itself in a virtuous cycle of taking action, public voicing your dissatisfaction and demand meaning improvements to resolve this out of control police behavior as much and as quickly as possible.

    People have to stop dying for the color of their skin, people have to stop being arrested for pot and cocaine and treated like enemy combatants in the war against the people who use drugs. If the cops starting raiding massage parlors and “spas” and freeing women from sexual slavery and accidentally had to shoot all of the “managers” they would be heroes. But when 5 cops beat down an unarmed guy and choke him to death they just look like a bunch of thugs. The cops need to learn the difference where they will be given all of the slack in the world on judgement calls, and cases like Garner where they have no place to hide except the FOP with its blind loyalty.

    1. Jackrabbit

      Making this about skin color is wrong-headed.

      People of color may be more affected, but IMO the fundamental problems are NOT racial bias. Making it into a racial problem only helps to divide people. The fundamental (and intertwined) problems are really:

      economic apartheid

      Both the wealthy and the poor are increasingly separated from everyone else. Inequality has been exacerbated by an uncaring neolib government via austerity and a faux recovery of part-time jobs that has pummeled the poor while QE boosts the on-paper wealth of the upper classes.

      Crime in poor areas . . .

      police state

      . . . along with the threat of terr0rism is used to justify more police and higher police budgets.

      Neocon overseas ‘adventures’ have made us less safe and resulted in a dangerous expansion of the national security state. Neolib cronys that hope to keep their ill-gotten gains are all-too-happy to see more security to tamp down any discord.

      I’m not saying there isn’t racism. But “feel good” solidarity marches that distract from fundamental problems are likely to be ineffective because as long as these fundamental problems exist, there will only be cosmetic changes. What is really needed is an inclusive movement that targets fundamental problems.

      Indeed, Occupy was mostly white and at all the recent protests we see a significant number of whites marching as well as people of color. But ‘black leaders’ – who have FAILED the black community as they railed around our SECOND faux-black President (Bill Clinton claimed to be the first)race (pun intended!) to get in front of the parade. This is a ‘gift’ to GOP leaders who will play on white angst.

      H O P

      1. Lambert Strether Post author

        “Wrong-headed.” Well, yes and no. If Al Sharpon and the black misleadership class, or career “progressives” are saying that, then yeah. If organic voices are, there’s really no point saying “You’re wrong!” And they’re the ones doing the work.

        The “progressive” dogma of identity politics is: “It’s always OK to talk about race and gender. It’s never OK to talk about class.”* You rightly disparage that. But the talk has to happen in its own time. No, I’m not sure how. I mean, it’s not helpful when the RCP shows up in Ferguson for a day with, as a local pointed out at the time, their own URL at the bottom of their printed posters. That’s assholery of a black bloc scale. Stoller wrote a wise piece on Occupy when it was starting, back in 2011 (so long ago?!):

        I don’t think anyone knows where and how this ends, or if it does. I’ve been part of movements full of meaning just like this, movements that utterly failed based on structural weaknesses and the power of the status quo. They seemed full of life, zest, and ended up as yet another set of bloodless bureaucratic failed institutions. These protests may yet be another false start. I’m told, though, by those who were in successful civic uprisings around the world that they all had many, many false starts. But perhaps success and failure isn’t the right way to think about what’s going on in downtown New York, any more than thinking about a church as successful or failed based on its political objectives is the right way to think about how those in the pews satisfy their thirst for spiritual vigor. What these people have found in themselves, and created for each other, is meaning.

        I believe that the Fergusonians organize Sunday dinners on site. It’s too bad the needed discussion can’t be had in a convivial setting.

        UPDATE * Current zeitgeist, with Ferguson and UVa, does seem to reinforce this, doesn’t it?

        1. Jackrabbit

          There are the organic grass roots that are disrupting traffic. These people are from all races and walks of life (good to see that). They are rightly pissed off and seem to be independent of political process. A major mantra seems to be “Black Lives Matter”. That is a fine sentiment – but that dog won’t hunt. I think their main goal is to get the Feds on the case(s). But the Feds have limited power – mostly to review for Federal anti-discrimination charges. Its UNLIKELY that the Feds do anything or that any charges they bring will stick.

          Why? Because these officers were doing their duty in a culture in which the poor are guilty until proven innocent (only the wealthy with good lawyers are innocent until proven guilty). What underlies this attitude is the issues I wrote of above: inequality and foreign (mis-)adventures.

          Sharpton is having a March on Washington. For what lofty purpose does call on Americans to participate? To reform the Grand Jury system! That is little more than channeling the anger.
          Except that as the Democratic Party asserts its role as protector of minorities, they also STRENGTHEN the duopoly that fully supports the policies (inequality and foreign mis-adventures) that are the root cause!!!! So, one step forward, two steps back.

          Seems to me that people need a more keen awareness of what the issues (really) are. Maybe they will come to that themselves but it was my impression that a bunch of NC readers already understand these issues.

          1. Jackrabbit

            “good to see that”
            Meant to add: the protestors should build on that inclusiveness and not allow their anger to be channeled into identity politics. There are more fundamental issues that we ALL face.

          2. Lambert Strether Post author

            There’s a “political process,” alright, just not an electoral one. Of course, Sharpton, at Obama’s behest, is trying to get out in front of that process and divert it into a ditch. We’ll see how that goes; I think the grassroots (hate that term, because I’ve abolished my lawn) have a keen awareness of both issues and process, but whether their ideas scale continentally as well as their tactics has yet to be seen.

            Personally, I think #BlackLivesMatter is brilliant. How does one argue with it? And if/since they do, what then?

    2. Jackrabbit

      I’m not sure that you should hang your hat on ‘economic progress’ either. Much of that progress seems illusory.

      For example, while you tout OBAMACARE, many people are actually unhappy with what they pay now and the price increases for next year. Also, many attribute the drop in the price of oil to transitory factors (which may persist but are likely to reverse at some point), and the job gains you allude to are predominately in low-paid or part-time work.

      It seems MUCH more likely that people are protesting because the are simply fed up, rather than trying to build on ‘economic progress’.

      1. JTFaraday

        Yeah, I don’t think people are protesting because things seem less bleak on the economic front. We just came out of a summer with a whole series of reasonably well publicized police slayings (no other word for it) of marginally misbehaving people. There’s a new outrage in the news somewhere or other, every day.

        People pay attention to different things.

        1. NotTimothyGeithner

          The economy sacked in the summer too. We are in a depression. If the economy was good, people would be shopping.

          1. Paul Tioxon

            You know, you might want to watch more television. This week, you may have noticed a lot of people shopping like mad at malls and strip centers. And yeah, Walmart and Target were snaking with lines for cheap TVs. People are shopping, not standing in breadlines or waiting for soup kitchens to open. I mean, of all of the weeks to claim we are in a depression and the counter argument would be shopping. I think it’s time to distinguish policy from reality and admit the bust part of capitalism has ended and boom part has started. And the terminal crisis of capitalism, not quite here yet. But NC stalwarts, hope springs eternal for doom, despair and total destruction. But keep watching, the big bang will come like a thief in the night. Maybe college debt, maybe bad fracking plays, maybe more fraud that can’t be absorbed by Wall ST.

            1. Lambert Strether Post author

              Surely it’s not unusual for the teebee to show images of people shopping during the shopping season? You could be right, and a boom is coming; I’m bearish by temperament and from bitter experience, and for those reasons alone, market timing is not my forte. So readers may apply the appropriate discount.

              That said, I’d argue that (1) the current “recovery” is awfully long in the tooth for a boom to be starting now, and (2) I was stunned by the triumphalism over a jobs report where both unemployment and labor force numbers were unchanged. “Another victory like this and we are undone.” So that skepticism bleeds over into all claims of a boom.

      1. Ulysses

        It will be interesting to see how long that people continue in this hopeful vein, protesting because they still think that they can move the consciences of the greedy kleptocrats who rule us, and push them into more humane behavior. If protestors gain nothing concrete from their efforts, eventually they will come to believe that the system is indeed completely unresponsive to them, which will mark the beginning of the end of this system. Why? Machiavelli said it best nearly five centuries ago:
        “Non fu mai savio partito fare disperare gli uomini, perché chi non spera il bene non teme il male.”
        (Istorie Fiorentine, II, XIV)

        It has indeed never been wise to drive people to desperation, because, as Machiavelli rightly points out– those who expect nothing good for themselves lose all fear of danger.

        1. JTFaraday

          Yeah. I felt ill at ease all summer, and the more I look into it, the more I see it really was a terrible summer. I don’t think I fully realized it at the time.

  6. Light a Candle

    Wow, that hand-written “journal” is sooooo bad, such an obvious fake. To have that admitted as “evidence” is a big flag to the extent of corruption in Ferguson’s “judicial system”.

  7. Boris & Natasha

    Who’s behind it? Everybody. This is a universally-recognized collapse of state authority. On the other hand, it’s clear who is positioned to help. The vanguard of civil society is getting less parochial and more internationalist, with human rights and the culture of peace baked in. The police state will be avid to seize on any sign of foreign subversion but it’s simpler than that. When the state pancakes, the reconstruction scaffolding remains.

  8. Patricia

    From MuckRock story, military equipment brought into the Detroit Metro area, (under 5k left out):

    Allen Park Police: 65,070.00
    Clawson Police: 8,483.00
    Dearborn Heights Police: 741,982.00
    Dearborn Police: 159,036.00
    Detroit Police: 6,095.68
    Detroit Police, SRT: 452,606.00
    Detroit Police, TEMS team: 43,470.89
    Detroit Public Schools Police: 192,405.00
    Eastern Wayne County Reg Resp Team: 733,000.00
    Eastepointe Police: 67,342.00
    Farmington Public Safety Dept: 21,775.10
    Garden City Police: 57,361.00
    Grosse Pointe Farms Public Safety: 15,956.97
    Grosse Pointe Woods Police Dept: 60,173.26
    Hamtramck Police: 793,637.26
    Highland Park Police Dept: 496,935.00
    Inkster Police Dept: 346,799.00
    Livonia Police Dept: 14,193.00
    Macomb County Sheriff Dept: 355,470.00
    Madison Heights Police Dept: 65,070.00
    Novi Police Dept: 46,983.00
    Redford Township Police: 7,485.00
    St Clair County Sheriff: 1,256,372.09
    St Clair Shores Police: 65,070.00
    Troy Police: 65,197.00
    US DHS ICE Detroit: 659,516.88
    US FBI Detroit: 1,103,148.88
    US Probation Dept – Detroit: 88,622.00
    Warren Police: 100,735.00
    Wayne County Sheriff: 672,638.71
    West Bloomfield Township Police: 908,290.74
    Westland Police Dept: 105,368.70

    1. Patricia

      To correct, that is the amount of money spent on military equipment, not pieces lol

      But if I am understanding it correctly, the money is mostly for delivery, as the pieces are free.

  9. Jess

    Never followed TNR much except for the occasional story that was linked someplace else. However, in looking at Ryan Lizza’s list of those who resigned, this seems like a lot of editors to put out a magazine which seemingly did not require vast field reporting resources. Maybe it was in financial trouble because of bloated overhead? Info to the contrary welcomed.

  10. craazyman

    Holy KKK Rally! Looks like the U.Va. “rape” case is unraveling faster than a coiled gazoo blown on New Year’s Eve! Get a load of those Wash Post stories today.

    Well well. Too late tor the frat boys. All you peanut gallery heroes strung em up by their necks with the rope of your supposed virtue and hung em from trees until they dead, Their mommas crying and sisters wailen but nobody paid no mind. Now their bodies layin dead on the ground and you all lookin the other way Lost as you all was inside the jail of yer soul shadow prison.

    Lambert you have some explaining to do! Jumpin that train with yer eyes beaming a holier than thou supercilious demonic gleam through two holes in a white sheet. What’s the difference between you peanut gallery lynch mob bozo clowns and a pack of Klansmen in Alabama in 1955? The location, that’s the difference. That’ the only difference.

    I saw this one coming a mile a way. A fukkin mile away. and a bunch of not to be named ‘commenters” piled on and pounded me like a railroad spike. hahahahah. No worries tthats what the gallery is for, opinionation. Bit The soul don’t have a sex or a skin color or a cosstume or a nationality. You attack it and you attack the Lord Himself. In all his costumes. He put those on to test you, and you failed. Holy Cow. This was not NC’s finest hour.. At least Yves, to her credit, didin’t pile on. I hope it was’t only cause she had better thigs to do. I hope it was a self arrestment by good sense and integrity. If a man or woman lose the integrity to their roaring fire of innner hate they got nothiing, nothing. “What profit a man to gain the whole world if he lose his soul.” -JC Himself. It in the Gospels. If you need something to go by, they’re pretty reliable. Vengeance is mine, sayeth the Lord. It’s hard as a cement floor but it’s the way of jusitice and grace.

    1. skippy

      The Dark Power of Fraternities

      A yearlong investigation of Greek houses reveals their endemic, lurid, and sometimes tragic problems—and a sophisticated system for shifting the blame.

      Far from being freakish and unpredictable events, fatal and near-fatal falls from fraternity-house roofs, balconies, windows, and sleeping porches are fairly regular occurrences across the country.



      This document discusses alcohol and other drug use by college fraternity and sorority members.

      Abstract: The consequences of drinking on campus each year are 1,400 deaths from alcohol-related causes; 500,000 unintentional injuries; 600,000 assaults; and 70,000 cases of sexual assault and acquaintance rape. Fraternities and sororities are among the key groups that foster this culture of drinking on campus. Their members drink far greater amounts of alcohol, and do so more frequently than other members, setting a norm for heavy drinking. A national study on college drinking found that fraternity members were much more likely to engage in heavy drinking than their non-fraternity peers. Among women, 62.4 percent of sorority members engaged in heavy drinking, compared with 40.9 percent of other female students. Residency in a fraternity or sorority house was associated with even higher rates of heavy drinking. Fraternity and sorority-affiliated athletes are especially heavy drinkers. The largest on-campus venue for drinking is the fraternity or sorority house. Approximately 50 percent of students living in a fraternity or sorority house performed poorly on a test or project, versus about 25 percent of all students. The leaders of fraternities and sororities suffer even greater consequences than other members. One study found that 26.9 percent of fraternity leaders and 18.6 percent of sorority leaders had suffered an alcohol-related injury. Eighty-three percent of residents in a fraternity or sorority house experienced negative consequences due to other students’ drinking, such as a serious argument, assault, property damage, having to take care of a drunken student, interrupted sleep or study, an unwanted sexual advance, or sexual assault or acquaintance rape. Twenty to 25 percent of college women are victims of an attempted or completed rape during their college careers. Both the social environment of fraternities and sororities and the fact that new students that are already heavy drinkers are more likely to want to join these societies contribute to high rates of alcohol consumption. College and university prevention efforts should target these social societies by promoting alcohol- and drug-free social options; creating an environment that promotes healthy social norms; and limiting alcohol availability and access. 14 references


      Skippy…. yep validated…. and we can all now sigh with relief….

    2. Lambert Strether Post author

      Seeing similar events in my own college town? Could that be it?

      Go take it up with Kathleen Sullivan. She welcomed the opportunity to clean up UVa. I, at least, am glad she did.

      NOTE Don’t you think that given, er, recent events, “KKK” is just a little over the top? Burnt bodies hanging from trees, and so forth?

      1. craazyman

        yeah, it’s over the top — certainly in degree, but not so much in kind. It’s only a metaphor! Not a allegation.

        that’s just how my mind works, flamboyantly cinematic images surging like solar flares.

        all I can do is watch them and sometimes i write them down. hahah

        1. Lambert Strether Post author

          Yeah, normally I love it but some flamboyant* images are a little close to the bone; I had just watched a straight 10:03 of Brown’s body lying in the street, rather like Warhol’s Empire, on a different topic, it ended up being not so very cinematic after awhile.

          * Origin French for flaming, blazing….

    3. gessooz

      lucifer bless you… for your ‘satanic’ missives… love this place and the comment section .. hope everyone can get along after a few (more) golden calves get thrown in the furnace!

    1. Benedict@Large

      The right wing lives in a hierarchical world. Nothing there happens without a central point, and that central point is always at the top. Hence there must be a central planner behind the protests.

      Of course, this very reasoning probably goes along way into explaining why the right never seems to “get” what the left is protesting about. It also explains why they were so frustrated with Occupy, which made a point (constantly) of saying there was no central point. This was probably why Occupy lasted as long as it did, but was also why the elites had to take it down, instead of just letting it die from boredom.

  11. Howard Beale IV

    Minnesota BCA agreed to FBI terms on secret cellphone tracking: Star Tribune:

    The revelation comes after a lengthy attempt to obtain contracts and nondisclosure agreements for the FBI’s cellphone tracking devices, known as StingRay II and KingFish. The state Bureau of Criminal Apprehension (BCA) has long resisted disclosure requests from the public, news media and even the Minnesota Legislature, saying that doing so would violate trade secrets and expose investigative techniques that could be exploited by criminals. The most recent documents were released to the Star Tribune only after the Information Policy Analysis Division, which interprets the state’s open records law, determined they could not be withheld in their entirety.

  12. jrs

    How red tweeters and blue tweeters ignore each other on ferguson:

    So its twitter which isn’t the best place for debate. But really I don’t think it’s resolvable. This country has no common culture and probably would be better split up. Of course that would kill the parasite in our brains, uh I mean the Empire, which is definitely a parasite on the citizenry and continues to leech on us all regardless of red or blue.

    1. skippy


      The foundational common culture is consumerism with scatter grotto’s of traditional – ethnic beliefs.

  13. steviefinn

    Am enjoying the desperate attempts by Clegg & Cable to distance themselves from those who allowed them access to their trough. It is all to no avail though as they will be toast come election time, unless they become a very much smaller part of a coalition.

    One of the small satisfactions left to me politically is to total sell-out parties being decimated after one term. The prize for ‘ say anything to get elected ‘ must go to the Irish Labour party – they even had me convinced in terms of their anger aimed at bankers & how the poor were being fecked over etc etc, but once the election was over – well you know the rest. There are some very good independent candidates out there who may one day hopefully make a difference, but as Ireland’s economy & population are roughly the equivalent of the city of Birmingham in the UK – it will most likely be events in the much larger outside world that will bring change there for either good or ill.

  14. Furzy Mouse

    Feeding the birds does change “the environment”….we put a nice feeder out in our NY country home, and soon enough, the foxes and raptors started circling, as well as the squirrels. I suppose the more birds we kept fed, the more foxes and raptors?

    Also had a salt lick for the deer….many came to rest in our backyard, which was fairly sheltered…not sure how much “change” that brought.

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