THE WAY WE ARE: A ball of confusion!


Part 2—“Clarity,” as seen by the Times:
It’s a bit like what they used to say about New England weather:

If you don’t like the weather, wait a while.

So it was with Richard Perez-Pena’s New York Times news report. The report appeared atop the front page of last Tuesday’s National section.

For part 1 in this series, click here.

In his opening paragraph, Perez-Pena delivered an unpleasant statistic: “among undergraduates who replied to a survey, at least 17 percent of women [at MIT] said they had been sexually assaulted” during their time on campus.

If you didn’t like that statistic, you just had to wait a while. In paragraph 11, Perez-Pena delivered a different number: “when asked if they had been raped or sexually assaulted, only 11 percent of female...undergraduates said yes.”

Whatever! If you read Perez-Pena’s report, you can tease a possible explanation for the dueling statistics, each of which seems quite troubling to us. That said, the confusion starts with MIT itself, which composed a bewildering, less-than-coherent survey, then produced a report on its findings which defies cogent analysis.

How confusing is MIT’s report—a report produced by one of the world’s leading educational institutions? The report is very confusing. In Table 2.3, to cite one example, two consecutive lines of data seem to report contradictory findings:
Table 2.3
Total number of respondents experiencing sexual harassment, rape, sexual assault, and other unwanted sexual behaviors while at MIT:


Been sexually assaulted or raped, combined from Table 2.1: 11 percent
Sexual Assault: Experience of unwanted sexual behaviors while at MIT, involving use of force, physical threat, or incapacitation from Table 2.2: 17 percent
Those may be the dueling statistics with which Perez-Pena was wrestling in his report. They appear in consecutive lines of data in MIT’s brilliantly confusing Table 2.3.

Can we settle this apparent contradiction from looking at Tables 2.1 and 2.2? We’d have to say we cannot. In Table 2.2, we seem to be told that 17 percent of undergraduate women said they had experienced one or more of a set of “unwanted sexual behaviors while at MIT, involving use of force, physical threat, or incapacitation.”

That too is a troubling statistic. But in MIT’s introduction to Table 2.2, we seem to be told something different:

We seem to be told that something like half the complaining respondents said those factors were involved in the unwanted sexual acts in question. Simply put, confusion is MIT’s trademark all through its bewildering work.

Whatever the state of affairs on campus, MIT’s work is quite unclear all through its survey and its report. But so what? Inside the bubble of the elite, Perez-Pena quickly praised the institution for the unusual “clarity” of its work!

MIT’s work is a ball of confusion. The Times found it brilliantly clear.

Given the current state of elite culture, are we able to conduct coherent discussions of serious issues at all? Again and again, we’d say the answer seems to be no. With that in mind, let’s get clear on one more aspect of MIT’s puzzling work.

To his credit, Perez-Pena warns his readers, two separate times, about a limitation built into the MIT survey. We highlight the dual warnings:
PEREZ-PENA (10/28/14): M.I.T. asked all of its nearly 11,000 graduate and undergraduate students to take the survey, and about 35 percent did so. Dr. Barnhart cautioned that it was not possible to say how different the results would have been if everyone had taken part.

John D. Foubert, a professor of higher education at Oklahoma State University who studies campus sexual assault, praised the M.I.T. study, noting that “very few schools have publicly released any data.” But he expressed concern that different surveys have not asked the same questions, or have worded them differently, making comparisons harder. He added that a survey of a random sampling of students, with a high response rate, might carry greater weight than M.I.T.’s self-selected sample.
Only 35 percent of MIT students responded to the survey. (Among undergraduate women, the response rate was 47 percent.)

And not only that—this sample was “self-selected.” It wasn’t a random sample.

Students who have been assaulted might be more likely to respond to a survey of this type, as compared to other students who haven’t been assaulted. Barnhart and Foubert offered sensible words of warning, which Perez-Pena didn’t clearly explain.

That said, at least one other aspect of this survey should have been explained in the Times. It suggests that the numbers generated by this survey may be misleading low.

Duh. In line with the general state of confusion surrounding the MIT report, the institution doesn’t seem to have said when it conducted its survey. It may have been conducted last spring, at the end of the academic year. It may have been conducted this fall, at the start of the new school year.

Presumably, that would make a substantial difference. First, though, understand this:

This wasn’t a survey of MIT seniors as they approached graduation. Presumably, those numbers for undergraduate women also involve responses from quite a few women in their freshman and sophomore years.

If the survey was conducted this fall, the first-year women had been on campus for only a couple of weeks. No one had been on campus for anything like four years.

Presumably, this aspect of the survey would tend to drive numbers way down. Presumably, the percentage of students reporting misconduct would be substantially higher if you surveyed undergraduate women at the end of their senior years.

In the MIT report, there is no sign that Chancellor Barnhart, or anyone else, gave this matter any thought:

MIT didn’t say when its survey was conducted. Invariably, high-end reporters like Perez-Pena simply fudged this point in their “news reports.”

MIT also didn’t report how many freshmen and sophomores are included in the overall numbers for “undergraduate women.” It didn’t occur to Perez-Pena that he should clarify so basic a point about the survey he was praising.

Is anyone here even trying to play this game? MIT’s survey and report concerns a very important subject. But the institution’s work is an unholy mess. And at the New York Times, the reaction was obvious:

At the Times, MIT was quickly praised for the “clarity” of its performance!

When our highest elites function this way, we are learning something basic about the state of our culture. We’re learning something that has been fairly obvious for a fairly long time.

We’re learning that our highest elites don’t have the focus, or the smarts, to conduct real discussions of serious topics. Are our nation’s public discussions really “storyline” all the way down?

Come back tomorrow to see what we find as our discussion continues.

Tomorrow: Professor Foubert knows best


  1. MIT's confusion relates to their gender-bias toward females. They don't want the foray into the possibility she changed her mind. Take Julian Assange. In Sweden a man can be prosecuted for rape if the condom breaks, but a woman can't be prosecuted for lying about taking birth control. This is the trend in the West.

    1. I see. The MIT study is fatally flawed because a guy in Sweden can be prosecuted for rape if the condom breaks.

      (Walks slowly and carefully away from crazy person).

    2. Be careful when you walk. Myopia makes you accident prone.

    3. Take Julian Assange with you.

    4. Your second objection reveals your motive.

    5. It was my first stated objection @ 11:13. More than one commenter finds you to be foolish.

    6. TWO myopic trolls. BONANZA !!!

    7. Do you even know what myopia means?

    8. Tunnel-vision.....

    9. We trolls do tend to focus in on abject stupidity standing in front of us rather than cluck that all people are dumb.

    10. "We trolls do tend....."

      No need to complete the sentence.

    11. No. No objection considering the sources. More of a compliment, actually.

    12. Uh, no. Myopia is not tunnel vision.

    13. Bob; Better trolls please. It's like shooting phish in a barrel.

    14. Shooting phish in a barrel or picking up chicks from MIT with a broken condom on your head.

  2. OMB (Word to the OTB from Clowns in Comment Box)

    "MIT didn’t say when its survey was conducted." Double Down BOB

    "At some (alas) undisclosed point in time, MIT conducted a survey among its students about sexual assault on its campus." BOB yesterday.

    Commenter from yesterday quoting directly from MIT report:

    "In Spring 2014, President Reif charged Chancellor Barnhart with exploring and understanding how sexual assault affects the MIT community. Chancellor Barnhart gathered information through a variety of formats, including a survey administered to all MIT graduate and undergraduate students."

    After a few BOBfans persisted in believing and defending their Lord and Master, the OTB, a second Commenter added this, also a direct quote from MIT with a link:

    "In late Spring 2014, MIT's Chancellor sponsored a survey to understand how sexual assault affects the MIT community. The survey was sent to all current MIT students and a sample of recent alumni."

    But BOB, who persistently tells us the public, and liberals in particular, are dumb, decided to double down today anyway and lead his readers off on a false rabbit trail. At least he is consistent in his contempt for your intelligence, BOBfans.

    Outer Space to BOB....CAN WE TALK? Better yet, can you read?

    1. And notice the not-so-clever Somerby trick.

      Yesterday, it was the NYT who failed to report this critical time frame. Today, it becomes MIT, although the time frame is clearly in the report.

      But fret not. Deadrat will soon be here to chide the "trolls" for making such a big deal out of the time frame.

      That's easier than admitting Somerby is the one who glommed onto this, and he is lying once again.

    2. The time frame is one among several criticisms. The problem with different wording of two questions that yielded different percentages is a larger problem. The reporter apparently grappled with none of these.

    3. Sorry, but if you knew the first thing about how comprehensive surveys are conducted, you'd know that it's required to ask the same question different ways to see how much the responses vary and to get a clearer picture.

      It is confusing only to the ignorant and the willfully ignorant, not to professionals.

    4. The reporter who tried to explain the results should not be numbered among the ignorant or the willfully ignorant. He or she should have the training to independently read the survey and not just repeat what others said about it.

      When the reporter is confused and glosses over important points that will be a source of confusion to readers (who are not required to expert), he or she is not doing the job. That reporter needs to ask questions until everything is clear, then write the article -- not use fuzzy language to gloss over whatever he or she doesn't understand.

    5. The reporter did not gloss over important points. Bob Somerby told you he did. Bob Somerby has already demonstrated an inability to understand the words "In Spring, 2014."

      The difference in the questions is designed to demonstrate the difference in what is defined as sexual assault and what people perceive to be a sexual assault. The reporter explained it well enough for anyone but a bozo to understand. So does the report. I assume you are not a bozo because you haven't read either.

    6. Exactly. The only people here feigning "confusion" are Bob and his loyal fan club.

      You know, if you had the least bit of curiosity about this survey and found the New York Times story to be wanting, wouldn't you try to look up how other media covered it? Just to see if different reporters emphasized different parts of it?

      Bobfans won't do that. Bob has already told them that the survey itself is "murkey" and confusing and full of all sorts of contradictions making it next to worthless, if not entirely worthless.

      They've got their take on it, that's all they care to know, and all they will ever know.

  3. "It’s a bit like what they used to say about New England weather: If you don’t like the weather, wait a while."

    Interesting that Somerby should use a weather joke to begin his second assault on an MIT report about rape. We can't do anything about Somerby's jokes. Like the weather, as someone said, they are inevitable. Relax and enjoy them.

    1. Clayton Williams thought it was when he was running for Governor of Texas in 1990.

      "Mr. Williams made the remark on Saturday while preparing for a cattle roundup at his West Texas ranch. He compared the cold, foggy weather spoiling the event to a rape, telling ranch hands, campaign workers and reporters around a campfire, ''If it's inevitable, just relax and enjoy it.''

      Later on Saturday, Mr. Williams said it was merely a joke and apologized ''if anyone's offended.''

      ''That's not a Republican women's club that we were having this morning,'' he said. ''It's a working cow camp, a tough world where you can get kicked in the testicles if you're not careful.''

      Asked if some people might be offended, Mr. Williams said: ''I'm not going to give you a serious answer. It wasn't a serious deal. It wasn't a serious statement.''

      But today his campaign issued a statement in which Mr. Williams said: ''I feel just terrible about this. I had no intention in my heart to hurt anyone, especially those women who have been traumatized by rape.

      ''Looking back, I realize it was insensitive and had no place at the campfire or in any setting.''"

      NY Times

  4. Once again, Somerby takes a professional report written for professionals in the field, and proclaims it worthless because he lacks the training and expertise to understand it.

    Cheap and lazy.

    1. No need to counter a study on the rape-culture of campuses with a slut-culture study.

    2. To paraphrase Bob, what's wrong with the term slut-culture?

    3. Mansplanations are not necessary or convenient in our culture.

    4. Mansplanations are beyond convenient. They are crucial to our understanding of daddy issues plaguing our Presidents.

  5. Please Mr. Somerby. Stick to education data. You are better at it. This effort is painfully reminiscent of your earlier effort to attack Maddow for covering the George Washington Bridge investigation.

    1. And he's really not that good at education data. Like any cheap propagandist, he picks one tiny part of one test that fits the weak point he is trying to sell, and proclaims that to be the "gold standard."

      But you do make a point with the GWB investigation. Even after making a laughingstock of himself, long after the infamous "traffic problems in Ft. Lee" e-mail became public, Somerby continued to double-down on his "legitimate traffic study" theory.

      His immense ego will never allow him to admit he is ever wrong.

    2. Time for Bobfans to start whining, "Oh yeah? Oh yeah? Oh yeah? Then why are you here! (sniffle, cry)."

    3. My apologies @ 12:00. My murky comment may have left the impresssion that because I said Somerby was better at education data he was good at it. My bad.

    4. No problem. Way back in January, when Bob was getting ridiculed in blogs before he got ignored completely, a common remark was, "Somerby is still good on education, but he has turned into a complete dingbat of a cranky old goat disassociated from reality on everything else."

    5. Nobody has been saying this stuff except a bunch of trolls (or a handful of trolls repeating themselves).

    6. I am sure there are no more than a handfull of trolls on this blog. I am also sure there are no more than a handfull of Bobfans with incredibly insightful posts such as yours.

      That makes two handfulls of people left reading this blog that pretends to be national in scope.

  6. "Whatever!"

    Every time Bob Somerby begins a paragraph with that immature word presented as a sentence I am reminded of his critiques of other writers whose work is remarkably similar to his. Writers like Katie McDonough. Or something.

  7. I wholeheartedly agree with Somerby. A random sample of senior women at MIT would have gotten us higher numbers.

    Now, how many women would have to be selected and have responded for a margin of error + or - 4% at the 95% confidence level, Bob?

    And how many senior women are there at MIT in a given semester?

    1. 1/8 of the student body, roughly speaking. Go to their webpage and find the figure for total enrollment, then do the math.

    2. Remember also that MIT did not limit this survey to women. They were also interested in the number of male students who experienced sexual assault in any form.

    3. If you average these together across male and female responders, you will get an underestimate of sexual assault for women and an overestimate for men, unless such sexual abuse is wildly underreported for men in most surveys. It would be nice to see universities address hazing that takes the form of sexual abuse of male students. Disaggregating the numbers seems like a better way to report the findings.

    4. Making a comment without knowing how MIT aggregated or disaggregated the numbers seems like a typical way to comment in Bobworld.

    5. So correct the misinformation.

    6. I got an even better idea, Be honest, industrious and intelligent enough not to pass along "misinformation" and no one will have to correct it.

      Or do you really think that MIT really threw all the responses in the same stewpot and underestimated the cases against women while overestimating the number of cases against men.

    7. The reporting doesn't exclude that possibility.

  8. Of course, the $64,000 Question is what now? If MIT is serious about its intention for a comprehensive program aimed at reducing, if not eliminating, sexual assaults on campus, does this survey help them in designing such programs, now and in the future?

    That's a question Somerby will never pose because he'd rather pick nits and poke holes in yet another issue that not only has "progressive values" but human values as well.

    It's like the re-segregation of Tuscaloosa schools. Somerby would rather stick his head in the sand and proclaim the problem beyond human solution.

    Besides, if only mothers would have talked to their MIT-bound daughters more when they were babies . . .

    1. Once again, hostility toward Somerby thinly disguised as blog criticism.

    2. Hostility is quite warranted when someone uses such an important subject as nothing more than a club against the New York Times and female academics who "cluck."

  9. Nobody has mentioned another glaring problem with this study. Was there any attempt to compare the survey results with the actual number of reported complaints of sexual assault made to police during the same time frame?

    Its very easy to check a box on an anonymous survey saying one experienced sexual assault. On the other hand, choosing to report an alleged incident of same to authorities requires one to put one's money where one's mouth is, so to speak, i.e., providing the name of the alleged perp, dates, submitting to interviews and detailed evidence gathering, and officially going on record as having made such an allegation.

    I would be frankly shocked if the number of official reports approached even 10% of the number suggested by anonymous survey participants.

    1. There was a very important question on the survey as reported by the Boston Globe (obviously not considered mainstream media enough by Somerby) that asked positive respondents (victims) whether they blamed themselves, at least in part, for the assault that happened to them. 44 percent of the respondents said that they do.

      This might give a thinking, compassionate person pause to consider why such crimes are so dramatically under-reported, rather than speculating that the people answering the survey are obviously liars because they didn't "put their money where their mouth is." So to speak.

    2. Exploring majneb's stupidity.

      "Nobody has mentioned another glaring problem with this study. Was there any attempt to compare the survey results with the actual number of reported complaints of sexual assault made to police during the same time frame?"

      A glaring problem with majneb's intelligence is he makes comments without knowing what he is talking about. In this case what the study did or did not include.

    3. "A glaring problem with majneb's intelligence is he makes comments without knowing what he is talking about. In this case what the study did or did not include."

      Actually majneb was asking a question about the study.

      Also, its nice to realize that noone has any substantive criticisms.

    4. Yet another example of dandified city liberals thumbing their noses at rural white voters who own guns and teach their children how not to use them.

    5. Not quite. You asked a completely dumb question, then came up with and even dumber reason why you considered your question important.

      So let me ask you this, following your "logic".

      Suppose 760 people (20 percent of 3,800 respondents to round it up for simplicity) reported on the survey that they had been sexually assaulted.

      But campus police have only a fraction of that reporting the crime to them.

      Why, that can only mean one thing! All those people who didn't report it to the cops are obviously both liars and cowards who don't put their money where their mouth is. So to speak.

      Do I understand that correctly?

  10. <sigh>
    So many trolls, so little time.

    Deadrat will soon be here to chide the "trolls" for making such a big deal out of the time frame.
    TDH's complaint yesterday was that the NYT reporting didn't make it clear when the survey was taken. That may or may not be a big deal, but it's a fair cop. Today TDH blames MIT, but the postings on state that the deadline for replies to the survey was late May. TDH is wrong about MIT.

    Myopia isn't tunnel vision; it's nearsightedness.

    A man cannot be charged with rape in Sweden because a condom breaks during consensual sexual intercourse. This is not to be confused with sensual intercourse.

    Independent of anything TDH wrote, Maddow's reporting on the GWB scandal was an embarrassment. TDH did not own or promote a theory of a "legitimate traffic study." He said this was a claim that could well turn out to be a ruse or a hoax (his words). He said we don't know the reasons or excuses for the lane closures, and we still don't.

    It is not TDH who has declared the NAEP tests "the gold standard." The google finds 326K hits for "NAEP gold standard"; about 100 of those are from this blog.

    TDH did not say that the re-segregation of Tuscaloosa schools is a problem "beyond human solution." He said that it's a problem that cannot be solved with the judicial tools that were available the first time around. HIs claim is that it would be better to focus on improving education at those school instead of mounting losing legal fights. Feel free to dispute that point without mischaracterizing his position.

    Time for Bobfans to start whining, "Oh yeah? Oh yeah? Oh yeah? Then why are you here!
    I can only speak for myself, but I don't ask why trolls are here because their criticisms of the blog entries are ignorant and irrelevant. I ask only when a troll's sole contribution is to declare that this blog is boring and pointless. That's as may be, but I still don't understand why anyone would voluntarily spend time on something pointless that's bores him. Time for trolls to start whining, "Oh yeah? None of your goddam business."

    Thank goodness KZ's spellcasting comments can still get by the captcha.

  11. The Amazing Mind of Mr. deadrat

    Part 1

    "TDH's complaint yesterday was that the NYT reporting didn't make it clear when the survey was taken. That may or may not be a big deal, but it's a fair cop." deadrat

    "At some (alas) undisclosed point in time, MIT conducted a survey among its students about sexual assault on its campus." TDH 11/3

    "Despite the clarity of MIT’s work, we’d already received two different numbers about what undergraduate women said in the survey, which may have been conducted last spring or maybe in the fall of this academic year.

    (Yes, this would make an actual difference, if we actually want to know how often such conduct occurs.)" TDH 11/3

    It's a fair cop to say deadrat's steeltrap mind works like Somerby's. Both are able to see things that aren't there! In this case it is the complaint about NYT regarding the date.

    1. And remember, yesterday's NYT didn't report the date has today become "MIT didn’t say when its survey was conducted."

      Tell a little lie yesterday and plant the seed. That allows you to tell a bigger lie today.

    2. The Amazing Mind of Mr. deadrat

      Part 2

      "Today TDH blames MIT, but ...TDH is wrong about MIT." deadrat

      deadrat's mind is able to grasp Nexis and Google and other search enginey things better than Somerby. After two commenters commented yesterday that MIT was reporting (with links) the survey was done last Spring, deadrat weighed in. Early in the wee hours this morning he reported the same thing. All appeared in Somerby's comment box, but today, for some unexplained reason, Somerby shifted the blame from his non-existent complaint against the NY Times to MIT. And deadrat, when challenged, fessed up to Bob S.'s mistake.

      Unfortunately for deadrat, even though he is an old TDH hand, and has been on many a round up with Cap'n Bob, he is wrong.

      "In line with the general state of confusion surrounding the MIT report, the institution doesn’t seem to have said when it conducted its survey."

      Somerby didn't blame MIT. He simply indicated what they didn't seem to have said. That is like attacking FOX without mentioning the ? at the end of a ludicrous chyron, isn't it? In my view it is. Yours may differ.

    3. You mean a chryon like, "Obama: Spawn of Satan?"

      Yes, indeed. A mere question on everybody's mind. Nothing more than that, and nothing implied or inferred, isn't it?

      In other words, they don't even "seem" to say that Obama is the Spawn of Satan.

      Just some good, hard, old-fashioned journalism like Uncles Walter and David used to give us.

      Now let us return to watching MSNBC, the truly evil network.

  12. The Amazing Mind of Mr. deadrat


    Having poor vision is not as great a handicap for the rat as it is for a human. Rats live in a rich world of sound and smell and touch that enables then to navigate effectively in their world.

    Normally pigmented rats have panoramic, blurry vision with faint greens, blues and ultraviolets. These colors may or may not be meaningful to the rats. deadrat has never told us what color he was when living, nor what that color meant to him.

    Rats navigate extensively by whisker touch.

  13. The Amazing Mind of Mr. deadrat

    Part 3

    "So many trolls, so little time. ....Myopia isn't tunnel vision; it's nearsightedness." deadrat

    deadrat is on top of his definitions. Unfortunately, he is wasting his "little time" for trolls on one of the self professed troll-fighters. It may be the blurry vision of rats which caused this error in identification.

    To see the interlude in this series where this is discussed. scroll up.
    To a rat all trolls may look alike. Or all commenters look like trolls.
    This may or may not be meaningful.

    1. OK, I waded through all three parts. And, boy, was it worth it. See, I'm a rat with whiskers and blurry vision because my nym has the word "rat" in it. Hilarious.

      I'm jonesing for a spell caster comment, so indulge me.

    2. The Amazing Mind of Mr. deadrat

      Part 4

      In the past readers relied on Somerby for his expertise in Scandanavian test scores. Now, deadrat demonstrates his knowledge of Swedish criminal law.
      Given his past agility with Ann Coulter jokes, I knew we could count on dr to add levity to a review of rape and rape law, always a chuckle provking topic.

    3. KZ is writing these parts.

    4. So I thought Ann Coulter was a woman. It's easy to be fooled. We've all been there.

      Haven't we?

      @10:57A thinks that in Sweden, a broken condom during sexual intercourse means the man can be charged with rape. This apparently has some currency in cyberspace. It isn't true. How does noting that add "levity" to a discussion of rape law?

      C'mon, cast us a spell.

    5. @10:18P, Ya think?

  14. The Amazing Mind of Mr. deadrat

    Part 5

    deadrat Jersey style

    "Independent of anything TDH wrote, Maddow's reporting on the GWB scandal was an embarrassment." deadrat

    A wiser person once wrote: "The story is about political hacks, possibly with the connivance of their boss, punishing commuters from a city because the mayor of said city didn't endorse the boss. This isn't a story about traffic congestion as much as it's a story about the misuse of political power." That may sound like Rachel, or even KZ, but those are the words of deadrat.

    KZ on the other hand, agreeed with Somerby about Maddow, sounding very much like today's deadrat: "We'll skip Maddow the Clown coverage. We tend to share his view of some of her flaws which were blatantly on display this week."

    "TDH did not own or promote a theory of a "legitimate traffic study"", deadrat says today.

    In the fast breaking world of the alleged piddle that was the GWB scandal, Somerby took a shifting position daily. The only thing consistent was his insistence that the press cover the possibility that there was a legitimate traffic study because such a thing had not been "journalistically disproven." He called Wildstein a high school friend of the Governor, then attacked people for doing it later. He called Wildstein an important, effective power player in the PA bureaucracy then disavowed him as "unreliable. He even offered the theory that Wildstein was crazy or on drugs at one point.

    The sharp mind of deadrat knows that, as far as the GWB story went, you can assert any position you want for Somerby to have taken and find evidence to support it.

    However, whether Maddow was a clown in her coverage, or Bob Somerby tilted toward one theory more than another, TDH coverage was consistently wrong about Maddow hyping a nothingburger of a story.

    1. Those canisters were breaking news.

    2. When she uses them as cocktail shakers they will be.

    3. And let us not forget the other simultaneous "nothingburger" -- Gov. Ultrasound who in Bob's view, really didn't do anything all that wrong.

      Somerby's Maddow Derangement Syndrome has long gone past the point where Maddow could say the sun rises in the east, and he'd take the opposite position.

    4. He didn't, comparatively speaking. Perspective was what Somerby was pushing, not innocence. Maddow's glee was disproportionate. I buy Somerby's argument that her coverage had personal motives.

    5. True. Gov. Ultra was only guilty of not realizing his devotion to public service was creating a neglectful
      void in the family he had once carefully nurtured, causing his once devoted wife to become infatuated
      with a con artist whom she loved so much she shook the crook down for shopping sprees for herself, wedding finances, a shiny wristwatch for her once loving hubby and a fast car for him to take a spin in.

      Oh, those six figure loans? Gov. Ultra, realizing a triangle was brewing, was testing to see if the con man was truly angling for the once apple of his eye, or just trying to buy favors from the family because they lived in the Governor's mansion.

    6. What a "wiser person once wrote." Thank you. I don't know whether it sounds like Rachel because I don't watch her show. It sounds nothing like you, er, sorry, like KZ. That's because it's coherent.

      I think TDH underestimated the GWB scandal. In that, you have a legitimate criticism of TDH's political judgment. But the least you can do is to be honest about TDH's coverage. It was consistent Howlerage, criticizing the press for sloppy reporting. For some reason, you think "journalistically disproven" is a telling jibe that you can throw at TDH. It's not. Reporters shouldn't be declaring or implying as fact things for which have no such basis from their reporting.

      On December 13, in a summary of the scandal, TDH did call Wildstein a high school friend of Christie. So what? That's what was being reported. It turns out that wasn't true, and TDH stopped saying it. Everybody writing about the story should have stopped.

      Wildstein apparently was an important player in the PA. Why do you think that makes him reliable, especially regarding descriptions of his own behavior? Important and unreliable aren't mutually exclusive.

      On 1/25/14, TDH discusses the possibility that the GWB was a planned fiasco related to a real estate development deal in Fort Lee:

      Is that what happened in Fort Lee? We have no idea. Even that makes little sense, given the the giant risk involved in the chaos Wildstein created. But good grief! Even when Patrick Foye ordered the lane closings stopped, The Wildstein Group raged against his conduct in their emails.

      They wanted to continue the closings! How long did these lunatics think this ridiculous thing could go on?

      None of these scenarios seem to make much sense. For that reason, we crack the door for another possibility—the possibility that Wildstein is simply crazy, or deeply stupid, or maybe just on drugs.

      You think that's a "theory"? It kinds sounds like a description of you. Except that maybe you're off drugs you should be on.

      "As far as the GWB story went" you certainly can attribute any position to TDH. It's just that you can't find evidence to support any attribution. For instance, you can't find evidence that TDH has taken a position about the reason for the lane closures. He's always said no one knows for sure, and to this day, we still don't.

      I say today that TDH didn't own or promote the theory of a "legitimate traffic study," and I've been saying it since trolls like you have claimed otherwise. TDH wants to wait to hear what the perps thought they were doing. If they're crazy or stupid or on drugs, maybe they thought they were demonstrating something useful about traffic. If they make such a claim, TDH points out that this could be a ruse or a hoax. As my quote above shows, TDH does not claim that innocent but clueless parties were trying and failing to find out about traffic patterns.

      Maddow hyped nothingburgers on Bridgegate for weeks. My favorite was the breathless claim that it was retribution against the Democratic state senator whose district includes Fort Lee.

    7. Anonymous @11:27A,

      Did you ever wonder how Mrs. Gov. Ultrasound got convicted of conspiracy to deprive her state of honest services? After all, she's not an elected official and owes no services at all to the public. The answer is that the law is that expansive and elastic. And it's all pretty funny when bad things happen to stupid people. It's not so funny when corrupt officials used the same law to railroad Don Siegelman down in Alabama.

      Gov Ultrasound's unconvincing story of his wife's estrangement from him and her infatuation with a con artist was an attempt to get her off the hook. If the jury bought his story that her dalliances and importunings were unrelated to him, then they wouldn't have convicted her. Too bad for her that the jury didn't buy it. The Gov was always going down; he just tried not to take his wife with him.

    8. "Perspective was what Somerby was pushing, not innocence."

      Found guilty of how many felonies? Yep, "perspective." Nothing "heinous" here. Move along.

    9. Gov. Ultrasound was convicted of 11 of the 13 counts on which he was indicted; Mrs. Gov, on 8 of 9.

      Excellent use of scare quotes. Hard to deny their greed and venalty, but here's how "heinous" their crimes were: they did just about nothing in return for their loot, and that just about nothing wasn't a crime in Virginia. That fact alone would have prevented their trial in another Circuit Court district. Here's the kind of desperadoes the feds thought they were dealing with: last year the two were offered a plea deal in which the Gov would have pleaded to one felony count of lying to a bank and Mrs. Gov wouldn't have been indicted at all.

      Both master criminals are over sixty and facing maybe half a dozen years in prison. TDH thinks unseemly the gloating over their predicament, even it was one of their own making.

      Move along indeed.

  15. Where were you when deadrat wanted you?

  16. Better late than never.

  17. don't get your whiskers in a twist