May 28, 2015

Save the Children! Won’t you please Save the Children!!! [Darleen Click

Posted by Darleen @ 1:21pm
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May 28, 2015

Of course, Alice Goffman could just be making it all up [Darleen Click]

Steven Lubet does an old-fashioned journalistic review of sociology’s newest heart-throb, Alice Goffman and her book, ON THE RUN: Fugitive Life in an American City, revealing a confirmation bias that never even thought to vet the specifics.

On the Run is the story of the six years Goffman spent conducting an ethnographic study in a poor black community in West Philadelphia. Beginning in her sophomore year at the University of Pennsylvania and continuing through her graduate work at Princeton, she observed a group of young men in a neighborhood she pseudonymously called 6th Street. Goffman eventually moved into an apartment in the neighborhood, sometimes taking in two of them as roommates, while she chronicled their lives, challenges and, most notably, their almost endless interactions with the law on matters ranging from trivial to homicidal. […]

The praise overwhelmed the nays, and soon there was talk of a possible film or television adaptation. The New York Times selected On the Run as one of fifty notable works of non-fiction for 2014; it was the only university press book on the list. Picador won a bidding war for the paperback rights, and issued a widely promoted trade edition in April 2015.

One of the previously unremarked upon problems is Goffman’s credulity toward her sources, which leads her to repeat dubious stories as though they are unquestionably true. Consider the case of the brothers Chuck and Tim (all names in On the Run are pseudonyms), which Goffman also tells in her public appearances. In Goffman’s account, eighteen year old Chuck and eleven year old Tim were out for a drive, when they were pulled over by the police. It turned out that the car had been stolen, and Chuck was arrested, notwithstanding his protest that he had only borrowed it from his girlfriend’s uncle. Young Tim was also arrested, according to Goffman, and later placed on three years of juvenile probation on the charge of “accessory” to receiving stolen property. (p. 12).

This story is not incidental to the book, as Goffman uses Tim’s ordeal to demonstrate how difficult it is for her subjects to avoid acquiring significant criminal records at an early age. Although I do not doubt her general point about the snares of the judicial system, these particular events almost certainly could not have happened as she retells them in her book and lectures.

I spoke with a former Philadelphia public defender and a current Philadelphia prosecutor, both of whom have personal knowledge of juvenile court proceedings during the period of Goffman’s study. Neither one could imagine that an eleven year old would be arrested and charged merely for riding in a stolen car. The only reason he would be taken into custody, said the prosecutor, “would be to get him home safely.” Even adult passengers, he told me, are not charged for riding in stolen cars, because that is not a crime in Pennsylvania. There is nothing to prosecute, he said, because it isn’t against the law.

The former public defender was still more skeptical of the alleged juvenile court charge and probation for accessory to receiving stolen property. That would never happen to an eleven year old simply for riding in the car, he explained. There would have to have been proof of something more – “like maybe if the kid had popped the ignition with a screwdriver.” And in any event, a three year “probation sentence” would have been impossible, because Pennsylvania does not have fixed terms of probation for juveniles. Moreover, there are several outcomes less severe than probation that are virtually always given to first-time juvenile offenders for non-violent crimes. If the length of a short “consent decree” had been extended to a three years, it would have been for continuing behavior far more serious than merely sitting in a stolen car. Finally, there is no such offense as accessory to receiving stolen property in the Pennsylvania Crime Code. “Accessory” is a term you might hear on television, said the prosecutor, “but not from a juvenile court judge.”

I do not know what actually happened to Chuck and Tim that day, but neither does Goffman. Chuck’s story about his girlfriend’s uncle would be immediately familiar to anyone who has ever represented a car thief, but we can leave that aside for now. I am not naïve about neighborhoods like 6th Street. I spent two years in a legal services office on the West Side of Chicago, and another decade as a defense lawyer in the Cook County juvenile and criminal courts. The idea that an eleven year old received such a heavy sentence for such innocent behavior is so implausible as to raise red flags, as is Goffman’s uncritical reliance of the story.

Lubet even cites the story in Goffman’s book that she participated in driving around her homeboys while they were actively trying to find someone to murder; an action that constitutes a felony in just about every jurisdiction in the country.

Lubet asks

I do not know if Goffman’s editors and dissertation committee held her to a journalist’s standard of fact checking.

Perhaps because the story was too good, too in line with how her peers in academia view those people along with their contempt of the America they can blame for the social conditions as laid forth in the book. Even Lubet, who has done the job her editors should have, can’t help but fall in with the politically correct

I did not set out to censure Goffman, and it gives me no pleasure to make these observations about such an accomplished young scholar. There is much of value in On the Run, especially as it reveals the terrible consequences of brutal- and over-policing in minority neighborhoods.

Alice Goffman wouldn’t be the first sociologist to embellish her stories and romanticize the “exotic” people she is studying. She is to sociology what Timothy Treadwell was to zoology; Alice just didn’t end up being eaten by her subjects.

Or she could just be making the whole thing up.

Posted by Darleen @ 8:17am
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May 26, 2015

BREAKING: Rockets fired into Israel from Gaza [Darleen Click]

… and Hamas claims they have no idea who is doing it…

GAZA CITY, Gaza Strip — A Hamas official says unknown militants in the Gaza Strip fired a rocket at Israel. Israeli officials say there was no damage or casualties.

The official says at least one rocket was fired Tuesday night and that it wasn’t clear who fired it. The official spoke on condition of anonymity as he wasn’t authorized to brief journalists about the fired rocket.

Cue “Blame the Jews” in 3…2…1…

Posted by Darleen @ 12:55pm
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May 26, 2015

Control the language … [Darleen Click]

The Left in America abuses language on a daily basis — “ban bossy”, racialize the term “thug”, the myriad of microagressions, even slapping the “cultural appropriation” label on the movie title Aloha

Some Native Hawaiians disapprove of the name of a movie filmed and set in Hawaii, saying that titling it “Aloha” is a disrespectful misappropriation of culture and simplifies a word that’s rich with meaning. […]

“If you have a romantic comedy about the military in Hawaii … but a title that says ‘Aloha,’ I can only guess that they’ll bastardize the word,” said Walter Ritte, a Native Hawaiian activist on the island of Molokai. “They’re taking our sacred word … and they’re going to make a lot of money off of it.” […]

The trailer is an example of “typical Hollywood,” where “Hawaii is the verdant background for white fantasies,” said Ty Kawika Tengan, chair of the ethnic studies department at the University of Hawaii’s Manoa campus.

“It’s been so appropriated in so many different ways — made into a commodity, made into a slogan,” he said of the word aloha. “It gets so divorced from important indigenous Hawaiian context. … It’s romanticized, literally, into a romantic comedy.”

During filming in 2013, the movie was untitled. State Film Commissioner Donne Dawson said if she had known the title, she would have advised against it.

All governments or ideologies that trend towards authoritarianism and totalitarianism work to control language as part of controlling the population. When certain subjects are, basically, off-limits or restricted to only special classes, even engaging in private thought or private acts is forbidden and punishable.

The Left’s studied silence on Islamism isn’t so much they agree with Islam’s tenets as having their controlling strategies, and move to total control, in common.

In Malaysia, one of 11 nations President Obama is seeking to bring into his “Trans-Pacific Partnership” free-trade zone with the United States, the government has prohibited a Catholic newspaper from using the word “Allah,” says the U.S. State Department.

“Allah,” the Arabic word for God, was adopted by the Malay language.

In Malaysia, as the New York Times explained in an article last November, the government has gone so far as to restrict its use in the Bible. […]

This January, the Federal Court, Malaysia’s highest tribunal, rejected the Catholic Church’s appeal and upheld the ban on using “Allah” in the Malay-language Catholic newspaper.

Father Lawrence Andrew, the editor of the newspaper, was quoted by Agence France Presse as saying he believed this was just the start of what the Malaysian government would do.

“This is only the beginning,” said Father Andrew. “I wouldn’t be surprised if they come along and say ‘don’t use it (Allah) in your services.'”

In 2013, according to the State Department report, Malaysian authorities also targeted an Evangelical Christian organization for using the word “Allah” on their Facebook page. […]

“In January the Pahang mufti, appointed by the State Islamic Authority, declared that non-Muslims were prohibited from using the word ‘Allah’ and 34 other words associated with Islam,” said the State Department. “He told reporters that non-Muslims were barred from using the words in statements, speeches, publications, or in any broadcast as it could ‘mislead’ and affect the faith of Muslims. He said that doing so would violate the law, which, with a conviction, carries a fine up to RM 5,000 ($1,526) and/or imprisonment up to two years.”

Is it surprising that a majority of Democrats would criminalize so-called “hate speech”?

“If liberty means anything at all, it means the right to tell people what they do not want to hear.”
~~ George Orwell

Posted by Darleen @ 12:38pm
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May 24, 2015

Project Vigil: Omaha Beach [Darleen Click]

This is from 2014, but the young boy plans on returning this year, too. Have lots of tissue handy.

Posted by Darleen @ 3:08pm
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May 24, 2015

2015 Parsimony Award nominee — Principal Joan Monroe [Darleen Click]

For excluding 100 poor kids from the school carnival

PS 120 in Flushing held a carnival for its students on Thursday, but kids whose parents did not pay $10 were forced to sit in the auditorium while their classmates had a blast.

Close to 900 kids went to the Queens schoolyard affair, with pre-K-to-fifth-grade classes taking turns, each spending 45 minutes outside. The kids enjoyed inflatable slides, a bouncing room and a twirly teacup ride. They devoured popcorn and flavored ices. DJs blasted party tunes.

But more than 100 disappointed kids were herded into the darkened auditorium to just sit or watch an old Disney movie while aides supervised — the music, shouts and laughter outside still audible. […]

“Are we being punished?” one child asked an aide in the auditorium as kids sat there with no movie playing, a staffer said.

Principal Joan Monroe tacked up a list of the number of students per class: “How many attending, Paid,” and “How many not attending, Not paid.” […]

Another teacher was sickened by the inequity.

“If you are doing a carnival during school hours, it should be free,” she said. “It doesn’t matter if it’s one kid or 200 sitting in the auditorium. They all should have been out there.”

Frank Chow, president of the parents association that sponsored the carnival, said Monroe insisted that kids whose parents didn’t pay could not partake.

“She was saying it’s not fair to the parents who paid,” Chow said. “You can’t argue much, I guess. The school is under her.”

Hopefully, not for long.

Posted by Darleen @ 1:11pm
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May 24, 2015

“Poverty in America” [Darleen Click]

That awkward moment when mom steps on your “we were so poor” narrative in front of your friends …

h/t David Thompson

Posted by Darleen @ 11:57am
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May 23, 2015

“Not just another 3 day weekend” [Darleen Click]

Watch this amazing video about the "Common Soldier"

Posted by ForAmerica on Saturday, May 23, 2015

Posted by Darleen @ 10:17am
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May 22, 2015

Friday Fiction: 100 Word Challenge [Darleen Click] UPDATED

The inspiration:


A story:

Shadow always got his older brother’s hand-me-downs. He was second in being served dinner. Brother, summer baby, got the lavish birthday parties while Shadow, born 12/26, got combo gifts. Brother got a new car at 16, which he took to University, while Shadow drove mom’s gasping Rambler to junior college.

Then Brother swept away and married the girl Shadow had been dating.

The years of seething secondhood flooded through his clenched teeth at a pale and trembling Brother on the other side of Shadow’s revolver.

“Now, at least, I’ll be first at something!” Shadow shouted and pulled the trigger.



Now, your turn.


Some excellent stories in the comments plus Smitty, Jimmy and Gator.

Posted by Darleen @ 12:30am
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May 21, 2015

It is SHUT UP all the way down — business people not even allowed to personally disagree with same-sex marriage [Darleen Click]

That a jeweler politely served a lesbian couple, making custom engagement rights for them wasn’t enough. Once they found out he was a Christian (gasp!) who personally believed in the real definition of marriage (horrors!), then let the hate and death threats begin …

The couple now believes the rings they ordered will have been tainted by having been fashioned by jeweler Esau Jardon’s hands, given what impure thoughts he holds in his mind. More:

Jardon said he won’t apologize for his beliefs.

“I feel really bad that [White] feels that we would in any way try to hurt or discriminate against her, but we will not retract from what we believe. I cannot say, ‘Well because you feel bad, I will stop believing what I believe,’” he said.

“When I walk on Church Street in Toronto, where I am right now, and I see [LGBT rainbow flags], and I see a lot of signs and a lot of things on public property, I don’t have a problem with them. I accept it. I chose to come to Canada… and we accept the whole package… I don’t discriminate against that, nor do I come and tell them to take them down. For the same reason, I ask to have the same respect in return, especially when it’s in my own business.”

But, after dealing with online bullying and threats, Jardon decided this week to refund the deposit to the couple:

“One of the reasons my family chose to move to Canada was the rights that it offered, the freedom of religion and freedom of speech, both of which at the time seemed to be very limited in Mexico,” he said.

“However, due to posting our religious beliefs, many people in Newfoundland want us to shut down business — that’s what they’ve been telling us.”

He said some threats came with names and others were anonymous.

“One of them states that ‘you better give them the money back or you will be very, very sorry,’” he said.

Let’s understand what happened here. This Christian jeweler agreed to custom-make engagement rings for a lesbian couple, knowing that they were a couple, and treated them politely. But when they found out what he really believed about same-sex marriage, even though the man gave them polite service, and agreed to sell them what they asked for, the lesbian couple balked, and demanded their money back — and the mob threatened the business if they didn’t yield.

thanks to John Bradley

Posted by Darleen @ 9:28pm
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