CHRISTIAN / NEWSOM UPDATE: Lemaricus Davidson gets death for his role in the torture-rape-murder.
ARE DATE-RAPE DRUGS an urban myth?
OBAMA WINS NOBEL PEACE PRIZE? “For what?”
Plus, Mickey Kaus: Turn It Down. “Say he’s honored but he hasn’t had the time yet to accomplish what he wants to accomplish.”
ANOTHER UPDATE: Doug Mataconis on Facebook: “Teddy Roosevelt wins Peace Prize for stopping a war. Carter wins Peace Prize for a lifetime of work. Obama wins Peace prize for breathing.”
I say, not bad for a guy who’s been acting like Bambi caught in the headlights of history.
STILL MORE: London Times: Absurd decision on Obama makes a mockery of the Nobel peace prize. Oh, it was already a mockery.
Meanwhile, Mataconis is on a roll on Facebook: “How can Obama win the Nobel Peace Prize on the same day that he’s becoming the first POTUS to bomb the Moon?”
It’s Frank J. Fleming’s world. The rest of us just live in it.
MORE STILL: Various reader comments:
“It’s a peace prize, not a peace peace prize.”
“How do you say ‘jumped the shark’ in Norwegian?”
“Today the Nobel Committee announced a posthumous Peace Prize for Neville Chamberlain.”
“Why not the Cy Young Award, too?”
“Let’s be fair . . . he did pull off the Beer Summit.”
Plus, Jacob T. Levy on Facebook: “The US border agent in Toronto– the armed representative of the state who was holding my passport– asked me what I thought of the Nobel, got angry when I was anything less than celebratory, and didn’t want to give my passport back– wanted to keep arguing.”
Salena Zito: “Well, this makes his meeting with his war team today awkward.”
In a stunning announcement, Millard Fillmore Senior High School chose Shawn Rabinowitz, an incoming junior, as next year’s valedictorian. The award was made, the valedictorian committee announced from Norway of all places, on the basis of “Mr. Rabinowitz’s intention to ace every course and graduate number one in class.” In a prepared statement, young Shawn called the unprecedented award, “f—ing awesome.”
At the same time, and amazingly enough, the Pulitzer Prize for Literature went to Sarah Palin for her stated intention “to read a book someday.” The former Alaska governor was described as “floored” by the award, announced in Stockholm by nude Swedes beating themselves with birch branches, and insisted that while she was very busy right now, someday she would make good on her vow to read a book. “You’ll see,” she said from her winter home in San Diego.
And again in a stunning coincidence, the Motion Picture Academy of Arts and Sciences announced the Oscar for best picture will be given this year to the Vince Vaughn vehicle “Guys Weekend to Burp,” which is being story-boarded at the moment but looks very good indeed. Mr. Vaughn, speaking through his publicist, said was “touched and moved” by the award and would do everything in his power to see that the picture lives up to expectation and opens big sometime next March.
DON DRAPER: Most influential guy of 2009? And he’s fictional. That must mean something . . . .
RESVERATROL UPDATE: “Resveratrol, a molecule found in red grapes, has been shown to improve diabetes when delivered orally to rodents. Until now, however, little has been known about how these beneficial changes are mediated in the body. A new study accepted for publication in Endocrinology, a journal of The Endocrine Society, shows that the brain plays a key role in mediating resveratrol’s anti-diabetic actions, potentially paving the way for future orally-delivered diabetes medications that target the brain.” Of course, the usual cautions about mice vs. people apply . . . .
NOT “RAPE-RAPE” OF A “NOT KID-KID”: Tom Shales: I’m Shocked To Be Told I Minimized Roman Polanski’s Crime. Here, Let Me Do It Again! “In Hollywood I am not sure a 13-year-old is really a 13-year-old.”
UPDATE: Shales defends Letterman, too: Let’s Remember That Letterman’s a Clown, Not a Cleric or Congressman. And a Democrat, not a Republican . . . .
MARK STEYN on Hollywood’s Moral Compass.
WHOOPI GOLDBERG, Child Advocate.
Well, not an advocate advocate. . . .
YOU DON’T SAY: “Whoopi Goldberg is facing a fierce backlash after saying that film director Roman Polanski didn’t commit ‘rape-rape’ when he had unlawful sex with a 13-year-old girl.”
NOTING THE HUFFINGTON POST’S DIFFERING TREATMENT of Roman Polanski and Mark Foley. “But unlike Foley, Polanski is not a Republican. He’s simply wanted in L.A. on a child rape charge.”
Related: Applebaum blames the victim for the rape. Plus, an interesting development: “The vast majority of French people feel the same way about Polanski as the vast majority of Americans. In both countries, sympathy for a child rapist seems isolated to the entertainment elite and the media sycophants who love them.” And the tax-and-financial advisors at ACORN, I suppose . . . .
UPDATE: Related thoughts here.
ANOTHER UPDATE: From Ann Althouse, a shred of sympathy for dumb celebrities:
I think these people are not really very politically savvy, though they want to look engaged and good. They’re surrounded by people who tell them what views to reflect and they got a clear message that made them think this was another easy one. And now, the backlash comes. Oh, poor celebrities! They just tried to say what their all-encompassing environment made them was good to say. Have a little compassion. It’s not like they raped a kid.
Nope, just excused it. Which tells us a lot about that “all-encompassing environment.”
JIM LINDGREN: Good artists are not necessarily good people and bad people are not necessarily bad artists. “When Orwell says that even a reborn Shakespeare couldn’t get away with ‘raping little girls,’ he was either reflecting the mores of the times (1944) — or he forgot about Hollywood.”
MORE ON THE Anne Applebaum / Roman Polanski conflict. You can tell a lot about a governing class from who it’s willing to cover for.
UPDATE: Col. Douglas Mortimer writes:
Well, let’s remember that in the book “Less than Zero,” the children of the Hollywood elite watch a 12 year old girl be bound, raped, and murdered at a party. That little nugget of joy didn’t make the movie, but the author obviously knew these people.
ANOTHER UPDATE: HOWARD KURTZ:
If Polanski was an ordinary Roman, and not an award-winning film director, we wouldn’t be having this debate. There is sympathy for him because he’s considered a great artiste. The Hollywood elite wouldn’t give Polanski the plumber the time of day if he had sexually assaulted an underage girl. And that suggests to me a stunning double standard.
MEGAN MCARDLE ON ROMAN POLANSKI: “You would think we’d busted him for unpaid parking tickets. The guy drugged a thirteen year old girl in order to rape her. Perhaps the French have some sophisticated, European point of view on these things that I, with my puritan ancestry, simply cannot rise to.”
Or they could just be miserable shitheels. Related item here: “Let’s keep in mind that Roman Polanski gave a 13-year-old girl a Quaalude and champagne, then raped her.” Just remember: If he weren’t a member of the politico-artistic elite, he’d have done hard time already.
But, since he is, we get this: Hollywood Unites To Defend Polanski. “If his unspeakable deed doesn’t meet the standard, what exactly would Roman Polanski have to do in order to become a pariah in this town … I mean, besides vote for Sarah Palin?”
UPDATE: Reader Michael McElwee smells a rat:
Isn’t it obvious this arrest – out of nowhere – is a political move by Obama’s minders?
What better to keep Greta and America distracted for a week or so?
Don’t be silly. That would suggest that the justice system was entirely politicized.
I THOUGHT THAT OBAMA’S ELECTION WOULD MEAN THEY WOULDN’T HATE US ANYMORE: FBI arrests Jordanian citizen for attempting to bomb skyscraper in downtown Dallas. (Via JWF).
ANN ALTHOUSE AND EMILY BAZELON: Lessons from the Hofstra Gang Rape Hoax.
UPDATE: Had the wrong link before. Fixed now. Sorry!
“A SMALL — IF FAIRLY MEANINGLESS — SHRED OF COMPASSION.” Emily Bazelon responds to me on the Hofstra fake-rape case.
UPDATE: Sort-of-related: One in 20 UK women has never had sex while sober. “Almost half of those questioned said they preferred sex while under the influence of alcohol because it helped them to lose their inhibitions and be more adventurous. Researchers, who surveyed 3,000 women aged between 18 and 50, found the average woman has slept with eight men, but was drunk with at least five of them. On two of these occasions they couldn’t even remember the man’s name the next day.”
EMILY BAZELON: The lesson we’re not learning from the Hofstra date rape that wasn’t. “The weird lesson for men who have group sex in bathrooms: Film it on your cell phone.” And a question: why doesn’t she publish the accuser’s name, now that the rape is admittedly fake? You’re not protecting a victim now, Emily, you’re protecting a perpetrator. Her name is Danmell Ndonye.
How many innocent men are in jail because of similar false accusations? We’re told that such situations are rare, but nobody really knows. And in your piece, Emily, you’re still making excuses for her. I’ll note that — as in this case — many of those innocent men in jail are probably black, and they’re there in part because white feminists have made even the notion of skepticism unacceptable in the discussion of rape allegations.
Ann Althouse adds: “I think, on the whole, women would be better off if they stepped up to the adult work of taking responsibility for themselves. The men in this incident were awful too, but ladies, say no to awful men. Don’t let men define what good sex is. And certainly don’t let them act out their idea of good sex and then decide that you wanted something nicer.” Though apparently what triggered this false charge wasn’t so much regret for an insufficiently nice sexual experience as a desire to keep people from thinking she was a “slut.”
“As I was about to leave, she comes up and she has no shoes on, she is holding them in her hands. She looked like she just finished hot sex,” he said. “I said, ‘Where were you? What were you doing?’ She told me, ‘Nothing.’ I said, ‘What do you mean, nothing?’ ”
Ndonye then dropped a bombshell.
“I said, ‘Don’t lie to me, what’s going on?’ And she said, ‘Oh, I just got raped,’ ” he said.
“It didn’t seem real to me. She was calm,” he continued. “Then she started crying and saying, ‘I was raped.’ She lied to me. I think she was embarrassed. I said to her, ‘You have to call public safety.’ She hesitated. It seemed like she didn’t want to.”
She then tried to backpedal.
“Oh, you know, no, it’s OK,” she told him, but he was incredulous.
“How could it be OK that you just got raped?” the boyfriend said.
So she relented — and a four-day nightmare began for four innocent men. . . . “She probably felt like, ‘They’ll think I’m a slut,’ ” her boyfriend, who asked not to be identified, told The Post.
Nothing wrong with being a slut — it’s one of those personal sexual choices we’re supposed to celebrate, right? — but there’s a lot wrong with making false rape charges.
And shouldn’t Hofstra apologize for suspending these guys and banning them from campus on the strength of an unsubstantiated allegation? It seems to me that there are a lot of lessons to be learned here.
UPDATE: A reader says that false rape allegations are not rare.
AT HOFSTRA, bogus rape charges.
DAVID CORN: How 9/11 Conspiracy Poison Did In Van Jones: “As far as I can tell, the only thing the so-called 9/11 Truth movement has accomplished is this: it’s caused the Obama administration to lose its most prominent expert on green jobs. So well done, Truthers. . . . The 9/11 conspiracy–of which I have not written about in years–was always a load of bunk. You don’t have to be an expert on skyscraper engineering or top-secret government communications to know that the two variants of the theory–the Bush White House orchestrated 9/11 so it could subsequently exploit the tragedy or the Bush White House knew the attack was coming and allowed it to occur so it could exploit the tragedy–make no sense.”
ADMINISTRATORS AT DUKE DEMONSTRATE THAT THEY’RE not smart enough to learn from experience.
Three Duke University students were the victims of the highest-profile fraudulent rape claim in modern American history. That fact alone should make the University particularly sensitive to the dangers of false rape allegations, and the need for a firm commitment to due process in handling any allegation of sexual misconduct.
But Duke administrators seem to worry not about violating the due process of rights of their students but instead about running afoul of politically correct campus ideologues. So, starting this semester, the University has adopted a new “sexual misconduct” policy—a policy that even some Duke administrators fear will lead to an increase in false rape claims against Duke students.
Why would anyone pay a fortune to send their kid to a place that has demonstrated this degree of incompetence — and sheer meanness?
ALTHOUSE ON CLIFT ON why women continued to support Ted Kennedy despite Chappaquiddick, the Palm Beach rape case, etc. “Face it. Liberal politics always came first for the so-called women’s groups, which is why they are not really women’s groups at all.” I think it’s abortion. Abortion gets you a pass as long as you’re useful if you’re a Republican (see., e.g., Robert Packwood), and as long as you live if you’re a Democrat. But maybe we’re saying the same thing here.
SEXISM IN OUR TIME: “‘People see a naked woman and they smile,’ he said. ‘They see a penis and they freak out.’”
UPDATE: Sigh. “This isn’t really a difficult question, is it? After decades of demonization of male sexuality by the feminist movement, a penis is considered practically an assault weapon. It’s a rape waiting to happen.”
THINGS YOU MIGHT HAVE MISSED THIS WEEKEND, if you were out, you know, having a life:
My piece on the hidden cost of national healthcare. With some personal perspective.
Rex Murphy on Where we are.
Only twenty percent? Where do we sign up?
The Card-Check ad they don’t want you to see.
Virginia Postrel on fixing kidney donations. A must-read.
Is it a war against the producers?
Keith Hennessey critiques the Obama op-ed.
And a final goodbye to Billy Mays.
REX MURPHY ON THE OBAMA PRESIDENCY: “We’ve seen him in action for a bit more than six months. What we can say with confidence, now that we have the evidence of his actions, is that had he run on (a) transforming the U.S. economy by massive federal government intervention, (b) taking an owner’s stake in the automobile industry, (c) transforming the rules of America’s energy economy, (d) instituting a national health-care system – all of these simultaneously and in the centre of a financial meltdown – Barack Obama wouldn’t merely have lost the election, he wouldn’t have got as many votes as gnarly old Ross Perot did in an election long past. . . . Mr. Obama has taken the real crisis of the U.S. (and world) economy and used it as the screen and lever for a massive agenda of transformation, a transformation that calls for expenditures on a scale never before seen in the history of government on this planet.”
DO NOT GO GENTLE INTO THAT GOOD NIGHT: Remembering The Rape of Nanking. “I was struck by the similarity between the reaction of the Chinese civilians and soldiers to their fate and that of many Jews during the Holocaust. Despite plenty of obvious evidence to the contrary, they clung to a belief that they would be okay right up until the very end. The Japanese troops carrying out the killings were often outnumbered ten and even a hundred to one by their prisoners yet there were very few instances of any resistance even though the Chinese likely would have been able to overwhelm their captors had they acted together. It’s probably part of human nature at some level to refuse to accept that a horrible fate awaits and to rationalize your way into inaction. I don’t know if there are any lessons that one can take from this (and hopefully they would never need to be applied), but one seems to be that if armed men come to take you away you should assume the worst. Resistance at that point, even if futile, is probably preferable to the alternative. It reminds me of how people are usually advised that if you are getting car jacked or kidnapped, the best chance of escape is in the initial moments of the attack.”
L.A. TIMES: Aging man, 62, jokes about girl, 14.
MASS-MURDER PREVENTED: College Student Shoots, Kills Home Invader:
A group of college students said they are lucky to be alive and they’re thanking the quick-thinking of one of their own. Police said a fellow student shot and killed one of two masked me who burst into an apartment. . . . Bailey said he thought it was the end of his life and the lives of the 10 people inside his apartment for a birthday party after two masked men with guns burst in through a patio door.
“They just came in and separated the men from the women and said, ‘Give me your wallets and cell phones,’” said George Williams of the College Park Police Department.
Bailey said the gunmen started counting bullets. “The other guy asked how many (bullets) he had. He said he had enough,” said Bailey.
That’s when one student grabbed a gun out of a backpack and shot at the invader who was watching the men. The gunman ran out of the apartment.
The student then ran to the room where the second gunman, identified by police as 23-year-old Calvin Lavant, was holding the women.
“Apparently the guy was getting ready to rape his girlfriend. So he told the girls to get down and he started shooting. The guy jumped out of the window,” said Bailey.
If more home invaders had this experience, there would be fewer home invasions. Clayton Cramer comments: “If you have any doubt as to whether keeping colleges gun-free zones makes sense, I think this answers the question. This student didn’t draw a gun and start shooting when it looked like a robbery. When the bad guys made it clear that they were going to kill them all, he drew and fired–and probably saved ten lives.”
Many universities ban firearms, but some research I’ve been doing reveals that some universities ban firearms and stun guns and chemical defensive sprays, either in dorm rooms or in the university as a whole. This basically leaves students entirely without any defensive weapons, and also has the effect of disarming dorm residents when they go off campus property, since they have no place to store the defensive weapons when they’re back on campus.
This strikes me as quite shocking, especially with regard to women students who are in the age range where the danger of rape is at its highest. The university basically leaves them as sitting ducks, unless they’re willing to violate the university policy. Even if the university tries to compensate by offering a good deal of on-campus policing (some do and some don’t), it surely can’t protect the students when they leave campus.
Seems like grounds for a lawsuit. But perhaps the universities think the indoctrination in defenselessness is worth the risk.
WHO NEEDS A GUN — THE GOVERNMENT WILL PROTECT YOU:
A Queens judge ruled yesterday that subway employees do not have to do anything but pick up their phones if they see a crime — as he threw out a suit against the MTA and two workers who did nothing more to stop a rape.
A conductor saw the rape from the window on his train, and a station agent in the booth witnessed a screaming woman being dragged down a staircase inside the desolate 21st Street station of the G line. But neither one left the safety of their assigned posts to help her.
In a previous day, in a different culture, such men would have been afraid of being called cowards for failing to help a woman under such circumstances. Nowadays, they’re probably proud of acting “sensibly.” (For the record, the story says their names are Harmodio Cruz and John Koort.) And in a different world, Judge Kevin Kerrigan would have been ashamed to describe picking up a phone as “prompt and decisive action.” But he probably thinks it is.
Eric Holder talked about a “nation of cowards.” This is the real thing.
UPDATE: Reader Pierre Honeyman writes:
I agree with you, in principle, about cowardly men not acting to help people who need it, but allowing lawsuits to succeed in cases such as the one cited is a slippery slope. Having a legal principle that requires action, rather than the “Good Samaritan” laws which prevent punishing it, seems to me to be a rather slippery slope. As a law professor you surely know more about what kinds of legal precedents would be set by successful lawsuits of this nature, and I could very well be wrong, but it just seems wrong, somehow, to be able to sue someone who didn’t help you. I don’t think I’m comfortable with forcing people to consider legal hazard over physical hazard. I use that to argue for self-defense, including concealed carry, and the same argument applies here.
Well, actually I believe that traditionally common carriers — which I think the subway system would be — were required to protect against the foreseeable criminal acts of third parties, and I’d say a rape in a subway station is foreseeable. But standards tend to slip when it’s the government, for some reason. My point, however, was not about litigation, but about culture.
AZIZ POONAWALLA IS CRITICAL OF OBAMA over the Afghan “rape bill:”
Let’s not mince words. It’s doubtful that President Obama’s administration was unaware of the rape bill. It’s more likely that they are intent on sticking by Karzai and supportive of whatever he needs to do to get re-elected, Secretary Clinton’s rhetoric about elevating women’s rights in foreign policy during her confirmation hearing aside. This kind of ends-justify-the-means foreign policy is essentially realpolitik revisited – the exact kind of short-term “great game” thinking that created the Taliban itself. It’s a disgrace and an embarassment to Obama’s entire Afghanistan policy, and the domestic economic crisis is no excuse for such a craven failure to stand up for the values we purport to uphold.
Well, the Obama pledge was to replace those idealistic neocons with realists. This is what that looks like.
A DOUBLE STANDARD on teen “rape.”
SHE SENT HIM TO JAIL FOR RAPE: Now they’re friends. But he spent 11 years in prison before DNA evidence cleared him.
WHY THE 21ST CENTURY IS COOL: I’m a Moby Grape fan, and years ago I found the Grape Jam EP in a used record store and thought it was a great find; it was a promotional thing released in relatively small numbers. Now my brother emails that it’s downloadable on Amazon.
UPDATE: Doug Levene writes:
Thanks very much for the tip about the Moby Grape EP. You’ve brought back great memories.
I saw them twice. First time was late 1966 or early 1967 at the East Village Theatre in NYC (which later became the Fillmore East); my brother, sister and I somehow convinced my parents (we were too young) to drive us in during a visit to my grandparents in Scarsdale. We were probably the only living creatures there who weren’t smoking pot. It was a great concert. The second time was my first date, in late 1967 – I had my driver’s license by then and took her to see the Grape at a tiny club in Boston, I can’t remember the name. I do remember the classic light show.
I still listen to the first album (now on my pod) a lot. My son says that it is similar in some respects to the Beatles’ Rubber Soul album (Dr. Roberts) and I think he has a point.
I discovered The Grape in the ’80s by prowling used record stores, but yeah, an underappreciated gem.
ANOTHER UPDATE: More from Welch: “There was much to dislike about this speech, most notably (for me anyway) the effortless way in which the new president talked out of both sides of his mouth. We will not govern in anger! No more drapes for you, fatcats! Etc.”
POLITICAL GRAPEVINE: Are the Democrats Having a Hard Time Doing Business By The Book?
“THERAPEUTIC VENTING” on the state of drug research.
VICTOR DAVIS HANSON: “How does one explain how California is broke, tens of billions of dollars in aggregate debt, despite having among the highest sales and income taxes in the nation?”
GET THE SEX YOU DESERVE. From the comments: “If you’re going to blame it for increasing the general standard of living and wealth to the point that somebody can earn money writing this drivel about sex instead of laboring in the heat (or cold) to scrape up enough food to stay on the topside of the dirt for another 24 hours, Capitalism will take the rap.”
WELL, GOOD: “More than three-quarters of laboratory leukemia cells exposed to an extract from grape seeds died within 24 hours, effectively killing themselves while leaving other cells unharmed, a new study shows. University of Kentucky researchers say they found that the extract activates JNK, a protein that regulates the cell-signaling pathway the leads to cell death, or apoptosis.”
EUGENE VOLOKH on Ann Althouse, Kate Winslet, and Statutory Rape.
UPDATE: Meanwhile, something of a double standard on the subject? “Murray made a similar point in closing arguments in the sentencing phase, telling jurors that if a man impregnated his 13-year-old foster daughter, probation would not be discussed.” (Via Robert Franklin, who notes that statutory rape doesn’t get much serious thought.)
WELL, RELIGION OR NOT, THIS JUST MAKES GOOD SENSE: “7 straight days of sex. That was the challenge Pastor Ed Young issued to all of the married couples at his Grapevine church. . . . ‘Everybody’s whining about the economy and about the world….let’s move from whining to whoopee!’” All I can say is, amen, brother. And hey, it’s something that Congress probably can’t manage to tax. Probably. . . .
SORRY FOR THAT WHOLE RUINING-YOUR-CAREER THING: Student-sex charges dropped against Halls High teacher.
Prosecutors today dropped charges against a Halls High School teacher accused of having sex with a student.
Corey DeHart, who had been suspended from his post as a math teacher after a student filed a complaint against him in September 2007, had faced six counts of multiple sex acts ranging from statutory rape to sexual battery by an authority figure.
However, those charges were dropped at a brief hearing this morning before Knox County Criminal Court Judge Richard Baumgartner. “Basically our case evaporated,” said John Gill, special counsel to Knox County District Attorney General Randy Nichols.
Unpaid leave for over a year before an Emily Litella “never mind” in court. No wonder people — especially men, who have more reason to worry about unfounded charges — are increasingly reluctant to go into teaching.
KATIE GRANJU: “I have been very struck by the obvious efforts President Bush is making to set a tone of civility and optimism with regard to his successor’s imminent arrival in The White House. There has been an explicit demonstration on his part of respect for President-elect Obama, and for the change in administration. No hint of sour grapes, or even misgivings on his part are evident. . . . At a time when the nation is so bitterly divided by partisanship, Bush’s leadership in this area is more than just for looks. He is demonstrating to the world how responsible, civil democratic transition should look. It’s pretty inspiring, and makes me proud to be an American.”
DO YOU HAVE A LICENSE to move that chair? “In 22 states, including Arkansas, it is illegal to call yourself an interior designer without going through an arduous and expensive certification process. In Nevada, it’s illegal to do interior design without a license. That’s right, advising someone about drapes could land you in the hoosegow.”
HMM: Google’s growth makes privacy advocates wary. “Perhaps the biggest threat to Google Inc.’s increasing dominance of Internet search and advertising is the rising fear, justified or not, that Google’s broadening reach is giving it unchecked power. . . A bigger long-term concern for Google could be criticisms over something less tangible — privacy. Increasingly, as Google burrows deeper into everyday computing, its product announcements are prompting questions about its ability to gather more potentially sensitive personal information from users.”
UPDATE: Toren Smith writes: “I recommend Scroogle. It ‘scrapes’ Google, allowing you to use Google’s capabilities without giving them any of your personal information. You lose out on a few of Google’s features (most notably cached pages) but it provides a lot more privacy.”
UPDATE: You really want to follow the link above, which goes to Scroogle.org. If you just type in Scroogle.com you get something very different, and not at all safe for work.
A LOOK AT THE health benefits of grapes.
SINCE THE CHANNON CHRISTIAN / CHRISTOPHER NEWSOM TORTURE-MURDER CASE got a lot of blogospheric attention a while back, here’s a followup:
A house where a Knox County couple was tortured and slain was razed today. “It was an evil place,” said Gary Christian, whose 21-year-old daughter was killed inside the 2316 Chipman St. house. “I’m glad it’s gone.”
Waste Connections Inc., which is located next door to the house, bought it with the intent of tearing it down and putting in its place a memorial honoring Channon Christian and 23-year-old Christopher Newsom. Authorities allege they were kidnapped and taken to the house on Chipman Street where they both were raped and tortured. Newsom was shot, his body set on fire and left along railroad tracks on Cherry Street, according to police.
There’s been one conviction so far, in a plea bargain. As for the rest: “Letalvis Cobbins, 25, is the first of the four to face trial in Knox County Criminal Court, scheduled for Jan. 26. His girlfriend, Vanessa Coleman, 20. will be tried in April. His brother, Lemaricus Davidson, 27, faces a July trial, while pal George Thomas, 25, will stand trial in August.”
WHY DEMOCRATS REMAIN split over Obama.
NOW IT’S SUSIE BRIGHT repeating the rape kit smear. Plus, fantasies about kidnapping Sarah Palin for sex.
BOOTED IN BOSTON: “A Boston shelter for homeless women has dropped controversial comedian Sandra Bernhard as the marquee speaker at its annual fund-raising event because of her ‘gang rape’ joke about Sarah Palin.”
IN THE TANK? OR DRIVING THE TANK? Michael Graham notes that the Boston Globe continues to peddle the Sarah Palin rape-kit myth, despite the fact that it’s been debunked and re-debunked. Graham comments:
The story is old news in the new media. Left-leaning Slate.com called it â€œa nasty and untrue rumor.â€ National Reviewâ€™s Jim Geraghty, who has written exhaustively on the story calls it â€œunsupported by the facts.â€ But at the Obama-Uber-Alles Boston Globe, they call it â€œnews.â€
We have come to the point in the mediaâ€™s treatment of Gov. Sarah Palin where even the fig leaf of pretense is gone. The press has openly chosen sides and has stopped apologizing for it.
Yes. My thoughts on what to do are here.
ANOTHER UPDATE: Kay Hymowitz emails:
Thought you might be interested to hear that Jon Stewart repeated the rape kit story last night on The Daily Show. It’s pretty bad when the Boston Globe spreads untruths, but remember no one trusts them – or reads them – anyway. But when the Daily Show repeats the story, that’s another matter. Now the country’s entire population of under 30 year olds KNOWS it’s true.
Well, yeah. And Stewart should apologize for repeating an obvious falsehood. But how embarrassing is it for the Globe that it’s being outranked by Jon Stewart?
UPDATE: Fred Thompson casts his vote. “Governor Palinâ€™s every comment was scrutinized by the media and judged against what Jefferson or Lincoln might have said. Never mind that her counterpart, the 30-year-Washington-veteran Joe Biden, apparently is unaware that America relies upon coal for a lot of its electricity or that he recently referred to a top level U.S. officialâ€™s visit to Iran that never happened. Thatâ€™s just Joe being Joe â€“ protected by the sheer number of his gaffes and the fact that he is Barack Obamaâ€™s running mate.”
ANOTHER UPDATE: Re-debunking the rape kit smear.
Heck, even Slate has shot that down.
MORE: Reader Peter Sterne emails:
Democrats are questioning whether Sarah Palin is qualified to be Vice President while Nancy Pelosi, the Speaker-In-Tongues-of-the-House is two heartbeats (and one with issues) away from the Presidency. Nancy Pelosi is proving herself completely unqualified to lead anything. I wouldnâ€™t trust her to lead a troop of Girl Scouts. At a time when she should have been, umm, actually, leading the House (BTW, that means the entire House â€¦ both aisles), she morphed into House Majority Leader Pelosi, made a vicious partisan attack on Republicans, and derailed the $700B bail out.
Iâ€™ll leave the parsing of her motivations to more connected observers, but I suspect it was based on partisan calculus, since the only leadership Pelosi has ever shown is in her capacity to attack the opposition.
SLATE: “It looks like the Sarah Palin rape-kit myth is still alive and flourishing. . . . But the fact remains that this is a nasty and untrue rumor about Sarah Palin that’s been circulating for weeks. If you’re an Obama supporter who gets frustrated that people still believe he’s Muslim or won’t put his hand on his heart for the Pledge of Allegiance, you should understand the frustration that Palin supporters feel when this slime is taken at face value.”
IS SAYING “IF YOU DON’T HAVE SEX WITH ME, I’LL LEAVE YOU” tantamount to rape? Only if you’re an idiot. Which means, for some people, the answer is “yes.”
IS GRAPE JUICE as good for you as red wine? Possibly.
DAVID HARSANYI ARGUES the libertarian case for Palin:
By now, you’ve probably seen picture or two of Palin sporting a rifle. Apparently, she’s left carcasses strewn across the Alaskan wilderness. In some places — areas where the nation is growing — owning a gun is not yet a sin. And unlike Obama, Palin seems to believe that the Second Amendment means the exact same thing in rural Alaska as it does in the streets of Chicago.
Yes, Palin is without argument a staunch social conservative. She is fervently opposed to abortion – even in cases of rape and incest, which will raise eyebrows, but is certainly more philosophically consistent than the namby pambyism of your average politician. The choice issue, after all, is complicated, even for many libertarians. And, as I was recently reminded, Ron Paul, the Libertarian champion of the 21st century, also opposes abortion.
Even when advocating for “moral” issues, Palin’s approach is a soft sell. Palin does not support gay marriage (neither does Obama, it should be noted). Yet, in 2006, Palin’s first veto as Governor was a bill that sought to block state employee benefits and health insurance for same-sex couples.
Read the whole thing. One can, of course, be a social conservative in philosophy and still support a libertarian approach to government and regulation.
GRAPES THAT SELL for $26 each? No thanks. I like grapes, but I also like dollars.
SAW AN EXCELLENT PANEL THIS EVENING ON THE DUKE LACROSSE RAPE HOAX, featuring K.C. Johnson (author of Until Proven Innocent, with Stuart Taylor), James Coleman, Mike Gerhardt, Lyrissa Lidsky, and Angela Davis (no, not that Angela Davis), author of Arbitrary Justice: The Power of the American Prosecutor, which I bought on Kenneth Anderson’s recommendation and which is excellent, especially as a companion to K.C.’s book. The discussion was excellent and very fair. Lots of talk about what Nifong got wrong, plus the important point that the kind of misconduct for which Nifong was disbarred and punished is committed regularly by prosecutors who almost always get off scot-free even when it’s exposed. We really need a better mechanism for policing prosecutorial misconduct, and it’s not clear what that should be — independent audits of cases by a sort of inspector general? I’m not sure.
I disagree, though, with the idea that replacing elected prosecutors with appointed prosecutors would fix the problem. As with elected vs. appointed judges, it doesn’t get rid of the politics, just make it less transparent. And I suspect that situations like that obtaining in Britain, where burglars face little risk of prosecution while homeowners who defend their homes against burglars are targeted by authorities, couldn’t possibly prevail in a system of elected prosecutors.
DON KATES: Gun rights for felons?
UPDATE: Okay, this bit is worth breaking out, and has ramifications going far beyond the gun context:
In sum, the constitutional right to arms simply does not extend to people convicted of serious criminal offenses. By “serious,” I refer to the early common law – under which felonies were real wrongs like rape, robbery and murder.
Unfortunately, modern legislatures have added a host of trivial felonies. For instance, in California an 18-year-old girl who has oral sex with her 17-year-old boyfriend has committed a felony. The courts should rule that conviction of such a trivial felony can’t deprive such a “felon” of her right to arms.
I’ve written about this subject — the promiscuous creation of trivial felonies — in the past. I also would argue, though, that you shouldn’t restore felons’ right to vote unless you’re willing to restore all their rights, including the right to possess arms. Citizenship should be a package deal.
ANOTHER UPDATE: I see that others have made a similar point.
SCOTUSBLOG: “The state of Louisiana on Monday asked the Supreme Court to reconsider its ruling a month ago striking down the death penalty for the crime of child rape. The rehearing petition, citing an omission in the Courtâ€™s opinion of any mention of a federal law on that issue, was filed late Monday afternoon.” Some background here.
PINK GUNS as rape prevention devices.
DO WE HAVE A CONSERVATIVE SUPREME COURT? “Sure, conservatives are cheering the Heller decision, but how ‘conservative’ is a Court that invalidates the death penalty for child rape and declares that non-citizen detainees held outside U.S. sovereign territory by the military have a constitutional right to bring habeas actions in federal court, despite federal legislation to the contrary? Viewed as a whole, this term saw a Court that often defied easy ideological characterization.”
JIM LINDGREN ON THE DEATH PENALTY AND CHILD RAPE:
Yet the Court shouldnâ€™t talk about following a â€œnational consensusâ€ on an issue on which in 1997 only 31% of the American public agreed with the Court and 65% of the public opposed the Courtâ€™s view. The justices should admit that they follow ELITE opinion, not the views and morality of the ordinary public. If they can’t go that far, they should at least stop preaching to us about a â€œnational consensusâ€ that is little more than a fig leaf for their own (often quite reasonable) policy preferences.
Indeed. Or we should go whole-hog and just start electing Supreme Court Justices. Then they’d actually have the democratic legitimacy they’re claiming with talk of consensus.
HANDLING FALSE CHARGES OF RAPE.
USING NANOTECHNOLOGY TO BUILD ARTIFICIAL VIRUSES, for therapeutic use.
DUKE RAPE HOAX UPDATE: A look at prosecutor Mike Nifong’s bankruptcy petition.
DUKE PROFESSORS ARE FEELING THE HEAT FOR THEIR PROMOTION OF THE DUKE RAPE HOAX. K.C. Johnson responds to their efforts at self-justification, and Jim Lindgren observes: “Why do these Duke professors bother to write about the Duke lacrosse hoax if they are not going to deal with their own actions honestly? If they can’t simply face the truth, they should put down their shovels and stop digging.”
DUDE, WHERE’S MY RECESSION (CONT’D): Heck, this time it’s Where’s My Depression? “Whatever happened to the Great Depression? Not the real one from 70 years ago, the lost decade of unimagined misery and Steinbeckian angst, the worst period in the history of modern capitalism. I mean the replay we were promised this year. . . . Well, itâ€™s early days, to be fair, but so far the Great Depression 2008 is shaping up to be a Great Disappointment. Not so much The Grapes of Wrath as Raisins of Mild Inconvenience.”
WOULD YOU RATHER HAVE 10% of a watermelon, or 90% of a grape? Depends in part on which you like, and which you’re allergic to . . .
I’D BE SHOCKED, but by now this really isn’t shocking:
The UN has covered up claims that its troops in Democratic Republic of Congo gave arms to militias and smuggled gold and ivory, the BBC has learned. . . . These are not the only allegations to have been brought against peacekeepers in DR Congo.
In December 2006, former UN Secretary General Kofi Annan said Moroccan troops had been involved in widespread sexual abuse.
“There have been crimes such as rape, paedophilia and human trafficking,” he said, shortly before leaving office.
But since there’s no anti-American angle, it won’t be much of a story.
So now, Duke University wants to keep certain people from saying certain things about the disproven rape allegations against the school’s lacrosse players.
Now that lawsuits accuse Duke of having helped inflame campus sentiment against the team, this is a good time to be quiet about the whole thing, it seems.
Well, that is a turn of events.
This is the same school where faculty and students loudly demanded jailing — and worse — for the young men; where administrators canceled the team’s season and fired the coach to try to quell the mob. That same school is now trying to punish players’ lawyers for inviting the news media to write about what the school allegedly did wrong.
In response to a suit filed by 38 current and former lacrosse players at Duke, lawyers for the university accuse the players’ attorneys of ethics violations in speaking publicly about their case.
Merely insuring, of course, that we’re all reminded of how badly Duke behaved. Hey, it’s good for Stuart Taylor and K.C. Johnson.
EZRA KLEIN ON PRISON RAPE. “Prison rape occupies a fairly odd space in our culture. It is, all at once, a cherished source of humor, a tacitly accepted form of punishment and a broadly understood human rights abuse. . . . Although it would be unthinkable for the government today to institute corporal punishment in prisons, there is little or no outrage when the government interns prisoners in institutions where their fellow inmates will brutally violate them. We won’t touch you, but we can’t be held accountable for the behavior of Spike, now can we?”
UPDATE: Related thoughts from Ed Morrissey.
ED CONE: Bring back Glass-Steagall. Kind of a horse/barn-door thing, but read it.
UPDATE: Dave Price emails:
I know a few other CPAs who shake their heads when the subject is brought up.
Repealing Glass-Steagal may someday be viewed as the most catastrophic mistake of our generation.
Conflict of interest is not why, however. Most everyone has forgotten the primary reason why Glass-Steagal was so important: it separated banks, insurers, and businesses so that a failure in one area could not cascade into a Panic and collapse the entire economy.
After most of a century, people are once again assuming a systemic collapse is impossible, even as they remove the mechanisms that prevented it for so long.
It’s an unnecessary gamble. Pray we never pay the price.
That’s usually how things work. “Who needs these fireproof drapes? — We never have fires!” We see this in all sorts of areas.
ANOTHER UPDATE: Reader John Rippey emails:
You and a bunch of other high-minded thinkers are leaning toward the view that the repeal of the Glass-Steagall Act was a mistake. Your thinking is based on . . . well, gee, I don’t know. The idea is just plain dumb.
The Thursday report of the President’s Working Group on Financial Markets (PWG), available on Treasury’s web site, lists the causes and proposes cures for what has been happening in the financial markets since last summer. Nowhere is it suggested by the regulators that the existence of Glass-Steagall would have ameliorated present market woes, nor does the report suggest that its reenactment would provide relief.
Note that JPMorgan-Chase has been Bear-Stearns banker, in other words JPM-C this month is doing exactly what commercial banks have been doing for decades, i.e., providing short-term credit for investment banks (otherwise known as commercial loans)–an activity always permissible under Glass-Steagall. (Albeit this time, the Fed has stepped in to guarantee the transactions for 28 days.)
If there is a culprit in commercial banking, it is, per usual, lax supervision of national banks (e.g., Citi) by the Comptroller of the Currency (think Franklin National Bank), coupled with counter-productive capital requirements cooked up in Basel.
Are large state member banks experiencing life-threatening problems? No. Significantly, the Comptroller was left off the working group, but the Fed was not. Please, professor, before latching on to platitudes, examine the facts.
Bottom line: I’m wrong. Well, that’s hardly a man-bites-dog event. One of my hedge-fund readers agrees, albeit a bit more politely:
The Bear Stearns crisis du jour is not at all related to the Glass-Steagall separation of commercial from investment banking. Bear has always been an investment bank, and its current fragility is entirely a consequence of bad decisions made in the running of its standard, core businesses.
If one wants to point a finger at regulations for the present mess, look at the green eyeshade boys who decided on mark-to-market asset pricing for items lacking a market, and international capital rules that drive institutions to move stuff off balance sheet while demanding paper be rated AAA whether merited or not.
Stay tuned, as we’ll probably be hearing more about this.
SHADES OF BILL LOCKYER: Having fun with prison rape.
TREATING CANCER WITH NANOTECHNOLOGY:
Researchers are increasingly turning to new, innovative therapies, based on particles measuring less than 200 nanometers. At that scale, particles passively target weaker-walled cancer cells and help localize treatment, increasing its effectiveness while minimizing damage to healthy tissue. . . .
Developments in this field have accelerated since then, according to Piotr Grodzinski, Director of the NCI’s Alliance. “If you look at where we were five years ago, there was nothing mature enough that the FDA would even consider [it]. Today, there are 20 to 30 small companies in both diagnostics and therapeutics. A handful of those are in clinical trials, and we expect another three or four will file applications this year.”
Bring it on! (Via Nanodot).
INVESTMENT LESSONS FROM WORLD WAR II VICTORS AND VANQUISHED: These apparently go well beyond the usual: “Insure yourself against war and disaster by buying a remote farm or ranch and stocking it with ‘seed, fertilizer, canned food, wine, medicine, clothes, etc.’” I guess that’s part of the “mainstreaming of survivalism” I’ve discussed before.
STUART TAYLOR: The University has no clothes:
When a mentally deluded stripper accused three Duke University lacrosse players of a brutal gang rape at a March 2006 off-campus team party during spring break, dozens of activist Duke professors were not content merely to give great credence to the rape charge, even as evidence of its probable fraudulence poured into the public record. They also treated the lacrosse players as pariahs for having hired strippers at all. So, too, did Duke President Richard Brodhead, Board Chairman Robert Steel, other campus administrators, many in the media, and others. . . .
So, some might be surprised to learn that on this year’s Super Bowl Sunday, Duke University played host to a group of strippers, prostitutes, phone-sex operators, and others in a “Sex Workers Art Show” to display their “creativity and genius.” The university spent $3,500 from student fees and various programs to pay the performers and cover expenses. . . .
“The performers did not just take their clothes off — and the actual nudity part of the show was rather tame. But mere nudity could hardly compare with a show that began with the Art Show’s founder and director, Annie Oakley, imploring the audience to stand up and shout ‘I take it up the butt!’…
I’ll just note that to Tennessee fans, there’s nothing in this story about Duke that is surprising . . . .
OVER AT DAILYPUNDIT’S WEEKEND COOKING THREAD, the topic is favorite foodie mags, books, and TV Shows. At the moment, as it happens, I’m watching Giada de Laurentis tour the Greek islands in a variety of skimpy outfits, in HD. While I believe the Insta-mom is lukewarm on her cookbook, the TV show does not disappoint.
UPDATE: Now she’s drinking Raki, a grape-based jetfuel they distill on Crete. My brother used to bring it back when he worked there. When you get the good Raki, it’s really good. When you get the bad Raki, it tastes like carbueretor cleaner. And pretty much is. If you’ve got a really dirty carbueretor . . . .
RACE, CLASS AND GENDER on the campaign trail.
BOB OWENS HAS THOUGHTS on today’s female suicide bombings in Baghdad:
Both bombs appear to have been remote detonated. These women probably did not know they were carrying explosives at all, and it would probably be fair to include them among the victims. . . . This tells us several things.
First, it tells us that al Qaeda in Iraq recognizes that attempts to use male suicide bombers and vehicle-borne improvised explosive devices (VBIEDs), their preferred method of suicide attacks for those seeking martyrdom, are no longer effective. These attacks fail because the combination of coalition military forces, Iraqi security forces, and neighborhood militias, known as “concerned local citizens” (CLCs) creating a security system that increasingly works, and makes it very unlikely that these preferred attacks will succeed. There is also some speculation that the influx of would-be foreign suicide bombers into Iraq is drying up.
Today’s attacks also tell us that al Qaeda in Iraq is getting very desperate in seeking the high-casualty attacks that they so value. They were forced to scrape the bottom of the proverbial barrel, and use not only women (which they’d prefer to subjugate), but mentally disabled women at that, suggesting that finding willing volunteers is becoming ever more difficult.
Good suicide-bombers are hard to find, and retention is even tougher. Meanwhile, Michael Yon emails from Iraq:
All well in South Baghdad, but sounds like the suicide bombings were pretty bad. I did not hear them detonate so must have been far away. It’s the al Qaeda mode, though. Sounds like the women were mentally disabled.
And Austin Bay emails that this may be the start of the “Terrorist Tet” he’s been predicting. As Bob Owens notes, some people here at home are all-too-eager to help. Just like last time.
YOU COULD SEE THIS COMING: “Michael Nifong, the former North Carolina district attorney who unsuccessfully prosecuted Duke University lacrosse players for rape, sought bankruptcy protection from creditors including the athletes.”
FOR CERTAIN VALUES OF THE WORD EXTRAORDINARY: “Now a grape KitchenAid mixer is truly extraordinary.” Not that mixers aren’t cool.
REMEMBER, IT’S THE OTHER ROGER SIMON: More Doubts Raised About The Politico’s Thompson Article. An interview with the fire chief, plus an editor who says “no comment.”
UPDATE: The more I think about it, the more I like the idea of going out and interviewing people mentioned in questionable media accounts. And the less I think some “journalists” will be pleased with the results.
ANOTHER UPDATE: A reader says that The Politico missed the real story — Thompson’s refusal to pander:
AKD: What will you do for the farmers of Bremer County?
AKD: You knew this was coming, right?
FT: I would continue to enjoy the fruits of their labor. Iâ€™ve been looking all over Iowa for a bad steak and I canâ€™t find it. Been trying my best. Itâ€™s not a matter of what I would do for the farmers. Farmers are not looking for a president to hand them something. Farmers want fair treatment and a chance to prosper in a free economy and thatâ€™s what I would help ensure. Thereâ€™s a lot of programs weâ€™ve got out there, some of which are good programs, some of which are not. And I think that we need to work our way through that and make sure weâ€™re doing whatâ€™s good for the country, not just the farmers, not just the people of Iowa, not just the people of Tennessee. But good for the country. A sound policy that makes sense. I think thereâ€™s a lot more that we could do for the working farmer in terms of ecological programs and environmental programs – land conservation, soil conservation – that would be fair and it would be beneficial to the nation and to Iowa and to our country. Weâ€™re going to have to phase out the corporate welfare system weâ€™ve got, however. There are extremely rich people living in skyscrapers in Manhattan that are receiving subsidy payments. I think thatâ€™s wrong. Iâ€™d put a stop to that if it was within my power. That still continues in this latest Farm Bill and itâ€™s not right. There ought to be a cutoff at some level and itâ€™s not right ot have millionaires receiving farm subsidies.
Non-pandering in Iowa? There’s a man-bites dog story. This seems like it should have been bigger news.
THE JAMIE LYNN SPEARS STORY occasions a look at statutory rape law. I agree that the laws in that area offer great potential for injustice.
NOT QUITE BRINKS SECURITY: “A female homeowner who shot a male intruder in her back yard in October 2006 spoke to KNBC’s Laurel Erickson on Wednesday, one day after a jury found the man guilty of all charges. Nadine Teter shot Michael Lugo twice in the stomach and once in the leg after he broke into her Canyon Country home. Lugo broke the lock on Teter’s door and barged in. She fled to the back yard with her gun, according to police. . . . Teter said she thinks that every woman should carry a gun. . . . ‘I was not going to get raped. I was not going to get murdered. There was no way — and I didn’t,’ Teter said.”
TEDDY BEARS, PARKED CARS, AND MORAL EQUIVALENCE: “As though Christians, Hindus, Buddhists or Jews were imprisoning people over teddy bears’ names, or flogging women for the ‘crime’ of being raped!”
OUR FRIENDS, THE SAUDIS: “In Saudi Arabia, a 19-year-old woman is sentenced to 200 lashes. Her crime? She had been sitting alone in a car with a man who was not her husband when the two were abducted and raped by a gang of seven men. Had she not been raped, her “crime” would not have been prosecuted. Were that not obscene enough, now it seems her attorney will lose his law license for handling her defense too aggressively.” Remember this, whenever the Saudis pretend to be part of the civilized world.
SUSANNAH BRESLIN on the Congo rape epidemic, and what you can do to help.
ARE SCIENTISTS PLAYING GOD? It depends on your religion. â€œTherapeutic cloning in particular jibes well with the Buddhist and Hindu ideas of reincarnation.â€
Plus, anti-science religious fervor:
â€œMany Europeans, as well as leftists in America,â€ Dr. Silver says, â€œhave rejected the traditional Christian God and replaced it with a post-Christian goddess of Mother Nature and a modified Christian eschatology. It isnâ€™t a coherent belief system. It might or might not incorporate New Age thinking. But deep down, thereâ€™s a view that humans shouldnâ€™t be tampering with the natural world.â€
Hence the opposition to genetically modified food.
I say, tell the theocrats to shut up and let science remain free. Luckily, the stem-cell debate, at least, may turn out to be obsolete.
AT LEAST this bogus rape report won’t lead to the kind of problems that we saw at Duke.