Prologue—What Hillary Clinton says happened:
Long ago and far away, we decided that school lives matter. We reached this award-winning judgment based on years of direct observation.

It matters what happens to children in school. It matters if they children are able to feel good about themselves, perhaps because they've had the experience of learning things that make them feel excited and valued.

It matters if children cry because they're being asked to do things they simply can't do. It matters if they dutifully take Algebra 1 seven times, they get denied a high school diploma because they couldn't pass.

It matters what happens to children in school! This week, in an award-winning back-to-school report, we'll discuss some recent events in the nation's schools.

On Friday, we'll even tell you about the most recent scores in the National Assessment of Educational Progress. Those scores were released in late October 2015. From that day right up to this, you've never seen them discussed.

You haven't seen those scores discussed on MSNBC—not by Rachel, not by Lawrence, not by Chris or Chris. You haven;t seen those scores discussed by your favorite liberal websites.

Those test scores haven't been discussed because, in truth, absolutely nobody cares about the children who produced them.
Nobody cares about low-income children's school lives, least of all our most famous self-approving fiery liberal.

Nobody thinks that school lives matter? As a case in point, we take you to Hillary Clinton's recent book, the ironically-titled What Happened.

We haven't finished reading the book. We've had different reactions to various things we have read.

That said, we have read the book's eighth chapter, Turning Mourning into a Movement. In that chapter, Clinton discusses "a traveling sisterhood: the Mothers of the Movement," a group of women who supported her 2016 campaign.

We expect to discuss this chapter in more detail at some future point. For today, we'll only discuss Clinton's account of the death of Trayvon Martin, a 17-year-old high school student who was shot and killed in Sanford, Florida in xx 2012.

As she starts her book's eighth chapter, Clinton gives a rather fuzzy account of the way she came to be aligned with the women in question. She gives a completely fuzzy account of the "movement" to which she refers.

Nothing which follows is meant as a criticism of the mothers in question. But as she starts her book's eighth chapter, Clinton gives a rather slippery account of the way she came to be aligned with the women in question.

On the second page of the chapter, she offers her initial account of Trayvon Martin's death.

The following passage strikes us as little short of astounding. To our ear, it also stands as an indictment of the authenticity—the honesty—of our modern upper-end meritocratic liberal elites:
CLINTON (page 174): The Mothers' stories, and the stories of others who lost children to gun violence, deserve to be told and heard. We've got to keep saying their names. In that first meeting in Chicago, there was no press and no audience—just us. I was accompanied by my senior policy adviser Maya Harris and Director of African American Outreach LaDavia Drane.

Sybrina Fulton, whose unarmed seventeen-year-old son Trayvon Martin was shot and killed outside a convenience store near Orlando, Florida, in 2012, kicked things off. "We're just regular moms," she said. "We don't want to be community activists, we don;t want to be the mothers of senseless gun violence, we don;t want to be in this position—we were forced into this position. None of us signed up for this."
We don't, in any way, offer what follows as a criticism of Sybrina Fulton, or of the other mothers in the room that day, or of the aides Clinton names. We'll simply ask a question:

Aside from Hillary Clinton herself, is there anyone in America who thinks Trayvon Martin was shot and killed "outside a convenience store near Orlando, Florida?" Is there even one such person?

Clinton says these stories deserve to be told. Is there a single person other than Clinton who's so unclear on the facts?

To our ear, the reference to Orlando sounds a tiny bit odd. Sanford, Florida, the place of Martin's death, is roughly 22 miles from Orlando.

To us, that reference seems a bit odd. But here's our basic question:

Is there anyone in the United States—anyone other than Hillary Clinton—who thinks Martin was shot and killed that night "outside a convenience store?"

Presumably, everyone knows that statement is incorrect. Why doesn't Hillary Clinton?

In fact, Martin was shot and killed inside a gated community in Sanford, Florida. He and his father were guests of one of its residents on the weekend in question.

Do you have the any idea why Hillary Clinton doesn't seem to know this? As her account continues, so does her peculiar account of the facts:
CLINTON (continuing directly): Trayvon was killed while wearing a hooded sweatshirt and taking a walk to buy some Skittles candy at the corner store.
Plainly, Clinton knows her novel. Does she know her facts?

Five years later, are we liberals able to drop our novelized account of this event? Let's review some basics:

The fact that Martin had purchased a bag of Skittles that night had nothing to with what later happened. We keep injecting this irrelevant fact into our story because its tilts the novel our way.

Nor did anyone ever show that Martin's hooded sweatshirt played a role in the evening's events. That too is a part of the novel our team instantly constructed about the evening's events.

Clinton has learned these parts of the novel. But has she ever bothered to learn even the most basic facts about the death of this high school student?

Rather plainly, Clinton's account makes it sound like Martin was on his way to the convenience store when he was shot and killed. Surely, everyone on the planet but but Hillary Clinton knows that isn't what happened.

(That may not be what Clinton meant to say. A person could argue that her account is technically accurate when she says that Trayvon " was killed while...taking a walk to buy some the corner store." But rather plainly, she makes it sound like Martin was on his way to the store when he was shot and killed. It makes no difference either way, but surely everyone else would know that her presentation sounds chronologically wrong.)

There's another part of Clinton's account which we think is worth citing. A bit later, Clinton is describing the death of Jordan Davis, who was shot and killed by a man who thought he and his friends were playing music too loud on a car radio.

There's no excuse for what Davis's assailant did that night. Along the way, Clinton writes this:
CLINTON (page 173): Jordan's mother, Lucia McBath, remembers comforting her son after they heard about Trayvon's murder on the news. Jordan didn't know Trayvon. They lived in different parts of Florida. But the news hit him hard. "Mom, how did this happen to Trayvon? He wasn't doing anything wrong," he asked. Lucia didn't have a good answer. Nine months later, Jordan was dead as well.
In a slightly different world, it would be little short of astonishing to see Clinton describe Trayvon Martin's death as a "murder." In fact, the person who shot and killed Martin was acquitted of all such charges in a unanimous decision by a duly constituted jury in the nation Clinton hoped to lead.

A bit more slippery is Clinton's implied claim that Martin "did nothing wrong" that night. To appearances, she isn't willing to say it herself. Instead, she seems to hide behind the quoted statement of a 16-year-old child.

Having made these remarks, let's return to the basic question with which this began. Here's our basic question:

Does Hillary Clinton have any idea what actually happened on the night Trayvon Martin died? She says his story deserves to be told. Has she ever taken the time to get clear on that story?

As everyone on the planet knows, Martin wasn't shot and killed "outside a convenience store!" And we aren't quoting an offhand comment, a slip of the tongue, by this deeply devoted former candidate. We're quoting what she wrote in an extremely high-profile book—a book which was surely proofread by others along the way.

Do they know what happened to Martin that night? It doesn't seem clear that they do!

Having said that, let us pose our basic question for the final time. Does anyone other than Hillary Clinton think this is what happened that night, when a high school student was shot and killed?
Trayvon Martin was shot and killed outside a convenience store.
That's what Clinton wrote in an extremely high-profile book. Again, we ask our basic question:

Does anyone other than Clinton, and her aides, actually think that's what happened? What would we say if Donald J. Trump made such a blatant misstatement?

Perhaps this was just a slip of the pen. Perhaps a succession of copy editors fell asleep while reading this part of Clinton's book, which strikes us, perhaps unfairly, as slippery and disingenuous throughout.

But do the lives of American children and teenagers actually matter? We've been telling you, for years, that our liberal and mainstream elites don't care about the lives of low-income kids.

All week, we'll show you the latest examples. Having said that, let us also say this:

Aside from their political utility, your elites don't seem to care about the lives of low-income kids. Simply put, they don't seem to think that their school lives matter.

"Killed outside a convenience store!" How much clearer can these people make it?

Tomorrow—part 1: Inside a New York City school, a killing you won't hear discussed

Coming Friday: The latest Naep scores, the unsettling scores you've never once heard discussed


  1. Hillary Clinton would never have appointed Betsy De Vos as Education Secretary. She, alone among presidential candidates, actually worked on a personal level to improve education for disabled children (who were being kept home because of a lack of accommodations). She has devoted her entire career to helping mothers and children.

    It astonishes me that Somerby would find it important to write an entire post about a trivial choice of words, utterly ignoring the track record of the candidate who won the popular vote in the last election and should be our president now.

    How DARE he! This is a man as bankrupt of soul as the president who currently sits in office.

    So what if Hillary, or more likely an editor, glossed a detail in a single case among many that Clinton occasionally discussed during the election. How can that possibly negate who she is and what she has done for children, especially African American children?

    Somerby is truly an ass.

    1. She's not that great.

    2. There were more than two Democratic candidates, first. Second, there are more than two American political parties who run candidates for president. Both Bernie Sanders and Jill Stein are far better than Hillary Clinton.

    3. What's wrong with school choice? My children mostly went to public schools. But, when the school situation wasn't working for one child, we moved her temporarily to a different school. Fortunately we could afford private school tuition.

      IMHO poor parents should also be able to move their child out of a bad school situation. DeVos is working to make this idea a reality.

    4. Bernie had no education proposals beyond affordable preschool & college, and changing NCLB in nonspecific ways.

    5. Jill Stein a good candidate for president of the US??? Are you kidding me?

  2. I figure: she knew no one is going to read this crap anyway, so why waste money on expensive ghost writers and editors? And it was a good call, btw.

  3. It is ridiculous to think this kind of gloss equates to slipperiness of character, no matter who said it. It relates more to age and having a lot of details to keep in mind. But this in no way suggests she doesn't care about kids.

  4. Evidently Hillary AND her ghost-writers AND her publisher all have a wrong idea of how Trayvon Martin came to be shot. In particular, evidence at Zimmerman's trial made it pretty clear that Martin DID do something wrong. He physically attacked Zimmerman.

    IMHO this widespread ignorance is a refection on our media. It comes from the many inaccurate biased media reports.

    1. Why does Somerby think it is OK to ignore context. Hillary was talking about the mothers of these slain young men. Those mothers, who Somerby refuses to criticize, held very different views of what happened than any news report. Hillary is engaging fully with these women and representing their concerns. Those concerns do not rest with the details Somerby considers so important. They rest on the prevalence of guns and gun violence in our society, without which these young men might be alive, regardless of how their individual actions may have contributed to what happened to them.

      But Somerby has about as much empathy as Donald Trump (which may be why the empathy of Malala and MLK fascinates him), his small thimble full of human understanding isn't taking him far enough to understand why Hillary is an admirable person, despite mistakenly referring to some convenience store.

      I don't know how much more of Somerby's garbage I can stand.

  5. Instead of using the Trayvon Martin killing as a stick to bash Hillary Clinton, perhaps Somerby ought to consider why Martin was in FL. He was reportedly suspended from school in Chicago. David, that is AKA school choice for black kids. How did the Chicago schools shortchange this kid, causing him to become fascinated with buying a gun, fighting, robbery and behaving like a tough guy when approached by the Neighborhood Watch? Should a school be more than a math and reading curriculum? Is there a way to reach such kids beyond their NAEP scores?

    Somebody talks briefly about kids who fail algebra 7 times, but is there any evidence Trayvon acted as he did because of school failure?

    Why is Somerby focusing on trivial comments by Clinton instead of on the very real problems that exist for African American boys who grow up in Chicago neighborhoods?

    As near as I can tell, Clinton is the only candidate who genuinely cared about what happens to kids. Bernie ignored school issues beyond promising pie-in-the-sky to college kids. College is a joke to kids like Trayvon who are suspended in high school. I couldn't see any evidence Bernie understood that or cared. Chicago has different problems than Vermont, I guess. Trayvon's family didn't seem to be poor. No one mentioned any academic difficulties. What then was responsible for his school problems?

    1. Knowing this is a pile of crap but, no doubt because of boredom issues, @3:31 PM writes:

      [QUOTE] Instead of using the Trayvon Martin killing as a stick to bash Hillary Clinton, perhaps Somerby ought to consider why Martin was in FL. He was reportedly suspended from school in Chicago. David, that is AKA school choice for black kids. How did the Chicago schools shortchange this kid, causing him to become fascinated with buying a gun, fighting, robbery and behaving like a tough guy when approached by the Neighborhood Watch? Should a school be more than a math and reading curriculum? [END QUOTE]

      Wikipedia says LINK:

      [QUOTE] [Trayvon] Martin was born in Miami, Florida, and attended both Norland Middle School and Highland Oaks Middle School, in north Miami-Dade County, Florida. He attended Miami Carol City High School in Miami Gardens for his freshman and sophomore years. At the time of the shooting, Martin was a junior at Dr. Michael M. Krop High School in north Miami-Dade. [END QUOTE]

    2. His parents had separated and at the time of the shooting he was visiting his father and his father's girlfriend after living with his mother in Miami-Dade (not Chicago where the rallies were held) where he was recently suspended from school. I misremembered the city but Martin was suspended from school twice in his latest school year, once for burglary and then for bringing marijuana to school.

  6. Why on earth would Somerby choose to write about this today, after the mass killing in Las Vegas? What is wrong with him these days?

    1. Why would you elevate the importance of the mass killing in Las Vegas to that of Climate Change. That's what you should be commenting on.

  7. If Trayvon Martin wasn't shot inside a convenience store, seems kind of obvious he must have been shot outside a convenience store.

  8. Somerby's contribution to the "American discourse " consists of criticizing and mocking others' contributions, without taking actual stances on any issue. Why should the media stars stick their necks out, if Somerby isn't willing to?
    His meager grab bag of outrages is wearing painfully thin.

  9. Here is what Hillary Clinton said today:

    "Las Vegas, we are grieving with you—the victims, those who lost loved ones, the responders, & all affected by this cold-blooded massacre,"
    "The crowd fled at the sound of gunshots.
    Imagine the deaths if the shooter had a silencer, which the NRA wants to make easier to get. Our grief isn't enough. We can and must put politics aside, stand up to the NRA, and work together to try to stop this from happening again."

    But Somerby thinks Hillary is slippery because she said Trayvon was shot outside a convenience store.

    1. IMHO this particular remark of Hillary's was kind of silly. First of all, I don't even know if they make silencers for machine guns. But, even if the gun were silenced, people area being hit would immediately know that a machine gun was firing at them. Also, as I understand it, not everyone was able to flee. There were potential targets available the whole time, until the shooter was killed.

    2. The WaPo fact checker busted Hillary's "silencers" comment. Glenn Kessler tweeted:

      Actually, even with "a silencer," it's pretty loud. An AR-15 rifle would have a noise equivalent to a jack hammer.

    3. My favorite excuse for maniacs having automatic weapons is they never know when they might have to go to war with the government.

    4. If only all those concertgoers had each had a weapon (the more powerful the better), they would all have been so much safer, amirite gun-lovers? But please, let's split hairs about what Hillary said about silencers. Lock her up...

    5. Wait a minute, Comrade DinC. You're taking her words literally. We are so far beyond that. We're in a new world we you can be a lying sack of shit and fuckheads like you will excuse it every single time. Let me translate for you what Secretary Clinton was actually saying. She is saying that you vote for the party that sucks NRA balls and will march to their orders no matter how fucking sick they are and how much the majority of the country disagrees. That is you.

      By the way, glad you dropped by. I remember now how you said we can't take what tRump the pussygrabber ever says literally. So I would like your help decoding these words.

      "This is an island surrounded by water, big water, ocean water."

      I gave it a shot. Here's what I think he's saying.

      "I am a fucking dumbass and fuck those brown people down there."

      How did I do, Comrade DinC? I really tried hard.

    6. @6:33 How does someone on the ground locate and hit someone firing from a window on the 32 floor of a hotel across the street from them?

      Owning a gun doesn't nullify the laws of physics.

    7. Reports of people at the scene suggest they didn't know what was going on. They thought the shooting was fireworks or firecrackers. Then when they realized people were being shot, they had no idea where it was coming from or where to go to be safe.

      Silencers are for different situations, obviously. But what is a scenario where a silencer would be justifiable? Ear protectors are better. Shooting people via stealth is not something we need to enable criminals to do, once a legitimately purchased gun falls into the wrong hands, as too many do.

    8. Let's did a little further into the source of Comrade DinC's happy horseshit:

      Fox News uses Las Vegas gun massacre to obsess over Hillary Clinton

      Fox seemed angrier at Clinton for speaking out in support of gun safety than they did at the man who murdered dozens of people.

      And Dana Loesch, who narrates hysterical NRA videos for a living, tried to minimize the importance of the pending silencer bill:

      Via twitter:

      Dana Loesch
      ✔ ‎@DLoesch

      Suppressors only reduce by a few decibels, still same decibel level as a jackhammer. …

      10:38 AM - Oct 2, 2017

      Question Comrade: If the silencers don't work why are the NRA pushing the GOP so feverishly to loosen the regulations. Happy horseshit rides again.

    9. According to WaPo, silencers don't work on a Machine Gun. I don't know how they work on a pistol.

      I haven't been involved in the silencer debate. Perhaps one argument is that we live in a free country. We should be able to manufacture and sell a product without the government's specific endorsement that the product is useful

    10. In the last 15 months, three of the NRA's cherished myths have been exposed so badly as the 100% bullshit they've always been, anyone still repeating them should be dismissed as a moron or propagandist.

      Myth 1: The 2nd Amendment provides you the ability to fight the tyranny of the government.
      Exposed, when Micah Johnson, a black man,exercised his 2nd Amendment right to do exactly that by shooting police officers. No one believes this myth anymore.

      Myth 2: Your 2nd Amendment rights protect your other rights.
      Exposed, just last month in St. Louis, when no one could show how 2nd Amendment rights protected the 1st Amendment rights of protesters.

      Myth 3: Armed citizens will stop or limit the number of victims in mass shootings.
      Exposed as wishful thinking last night in Las Vegas.

      Anyone else get the impression the NRA might only be the marketing arm of the gun industry?

    11. "Perhaps one argument is that we live in a free country. We should be able to manufacture and sell a product without the government's specific endorsement that the product is useful."

      So all Kim Jong Un has to do is create his nukes within American borders?

  10. Clinton insists the story deserves to be told, then doesn't get the facts straight. Makes her look like an insincere hack.

    1. Somerby is the insincere hack here. He doesn't care at all about children being shot -- he only cares that Clinton didn't summarize a case the way he would have. The kid is still dead because there are too many guns out there.

  11. "But do the lives of American children and teenagers actually matter? We've been telling you, for years, that our liberal and mainstream elites don't care about the lives of low-income kids."

    That's the American Way, Bob. The poor must have done something wrong. The Christians would say they have sinned, so God cursed them. Anyone who is not rich must be evil and anyone who is rich must be good and godly. After all, we live under a just God, right Bob?

  12. Then there’s the secular version espoused by mediocrities like David Brooks who get paid millions of dollars a year to comfort the callous by writing the same column every week. The idea here is the meritocratic ideal where the world is divided between elite super achievers like Brooks and the mass of subhumans who clean his office, or prepare his food, or ring up his purchases. They count for nothing to Brooks, when in fact the do necessary work whereas, year after year, Brooks types useless pseudo intellectual excrement.

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