Ineducable is as ineducable does!

FRIDAY, APRIL 30, 2021

And no, we don't mean the kids: Ineducable is as ineducable does—and no, we don't mean the students.

Some kids are better students than others. Just as a simple matter of fact, some kids are much better students.

Also, some kids are "behind" in school. But none of these kids would be so dumb, or so defiantly performative, as to keep flunking this annual test:

SHAPIRO (4/30/21): The city’s new chancellor, Meisha Porter, called on the state to eliminate the exam in a statement Thursday. “I know from my 21 years as an educator that far more students could thrive in our specialized high schools, if only given the chance,” she said. “Instead, the continued use of the Specialized High School Admissions Test will produce the same unacceptable results over and over again.”

The city in question is New York City. This annual report in the New York Times concerns the relatively low number of black and Hispanic eighth-graders who have been offered admission to Gotham's high-powered "specialized high schools" for nest year's freshman class.

Admission to these high-powered schools is determined by means of a test. In the passage we've posted, the school system's chancellor, Meisha Porter, is saying that plenty of kids who failed to gain admission would be able to cut the mustard at these high-powered schools.

We have no idea if that's true, but let's suppose it is. This is the way the New York Times' Eliza Shapiro has managed to flunk this annual test again:

At no point does Shapiro raise the world's most obvious possibility. If plenty of additional kids could handle the challenging courses of study taught at these high-powered schools, why doesn't the system simply double the number of seats at these schools and the number of kids who get admitted?

Stuyvesant could take over some pre-existing school, creating a Stuyvesant II. So too with the Bronx High School of Science. Twice as many kids could gain the benefit of being challenged in the way these legendary high schools are said to do.

Given the premise the Times accepts, this would be a obvious course of action—but so what? Every year, Eliza Shapiro writes this report and no one makes this suggestion (or some similar suggestion). Instead, people like Shapiro, and her bosses, pursuer an ugly path:

They suggest that the number of seats stay the same, but that higher-performing Asian-American kids should get booted out of these schools so that other kids can attend.

There have been times in the recent past when representatives from the Times have pursued this approach in truly unpleasant ways. No one ever seems to be bright enough to suggest that the number of seats in these schools should simply be expanded.

There is, of course, a dirty little secret standing in the way of such plans. Asian-American kids score so high on tests of this type that, even if you expanded the number of seats, the large bulk of those additional seats would simply go, under current arrangements, to additional Asian-American kids.

The large "achievement gaps" in question exist all over the country. This situation isn't unique to Gotham, or to Gotham's schools.

Indeed, the problem here starts somewhere else, including way back in our history. That said, the gaps in question are very large, and the New York Times has plainly decided that we must never—repeat, never—report or discuss the apparent size of these gaps.

At the Times, reporters and editors are too lazy, and are much too uncaring, to take part in any such discussion. Instead, they write this same report every year. Every year, they flunk this test!

They refuse to have a real discussion about the real interests of actual kids. More than fifty years after Death at an Early Age, they still refuse, on their way to the Hamptons, to create a real discussion of how we got into this situation, and about what needs to be done.

(Not that they would have any idea how to conduct that discussion.)

The Times has flunked this test again. It happens every spring.

More than fifty years after Kozol's book, this annual displays remains purely performative. The term "segregation" is tossed all around to prove the Times' vast moral worth.

TRUTH AND TOWN: The standard parts of "Storyline porn"...

FRIDAY, APRIL 30, 2021 the case of one recent death: This morning found the Washington Post's Paul Butler—a good, decent person—walking through the streets of Our Town with a rope in his hands.

Butler's a good, decent person. We'll discuss his new column at some later point.

For now, we prefer to discuss a recent shooting death—and the way the facts of that shooting death were parceled out to us the Townies. At issue is a basic question:

Are we able to handle the truth here in the streets of Our Town? Major experts consistently say that the answer is surely no.

Our brains aren't wired for that, despondent scholars routinely  insist. They point to the ways we "novelize news"—the ways we create pleasing, reconfigured stories which drive preferred tribal narrative.

(In truth, the word "preferred" is ours. These experts tend to say "mandated.")

It's hard to believe that these experts are right, but their credentials speak for themselves. At their suggestion, we'll discuss one of the recent shooting deaths which was deemed appropriate for public consumption here within Our Town.

On April 20, Ma'Khia Bryant, age 16, was shot and killed in Columbus, Ohio.

Did we mention the fact that she was only sixteen? Based on videotape of the incident, she was involved in a violent dispute at the time she was shot and killed.

This violent dispute was taking place outside the home where Bryant and one of her sisters were living in foster care. On April 21, the New York Times and the Washington Post offered initial reports about the basic facts of what had occurred.

We were struck by some of the ways this incident was reported. First, though, we note the fact that the Post's David Von Drehle broke every rule in the book.

On April 24, Von Drehle wrote a searching opinion column about this fatal incident. He considered various aspects of what had occurred. 

In a break from current practice, Von Drehle displayed the ability to wonder about Ma'Khia Bryant's life. He also wondered about the many children of Columbus, Ohio, but also of that whole state.

Who was this teen-aged girl—this teen-aged girl who was shot and killed during a violent fight? As one part of a wider column, Von Drehle offered this:

VON DREHLE (4/24/21): Of Ma’Khia, we have this shard that feels important, though we don’t know exactly how or where it fits. She was in foster care. Relatives describe her as an affectionate and loving person with hopes of being restored to her mother’s custody. Even so, any path to foster care is traumatic.

It is to the credit of Ohio Gov. Mike DeWine (R) and the state legislature that improving Ohio’s foster care system has been a priority in recent years. But it has been a priority because foster care in Ohio—like foster care virtually everywhere—falls far short of the needs of its clients.

And while we don’t know the specific needs of this particular child, we know that in 2018, in Franklin County, where Columbus is the seat, nearly 14,000 reports of children in crisis were received. Of those, some 6,000 involved reported physical abuse, more than 2,700 involved neglect, 1,349 involved reported sexual abuse and 1,500 involved multiple offenses. The numbers were rising, according to social workers, as a result of the epidemic of opioid addiction among parents.

Nearly 14,000 reports of "children in crisis" in Franklin County alone! 

Von Drehle had the decency to wonder about those children's lives. But of one thing you can be sure—you'll never hear about this topic as Rachel Maddow chuckles and clowns her way through another prime time hour.

Maddow has been on one of her roller-coaster "highs" of late. The chuckling and the "open mike night" performance style have been endless and obnoxious—disrespectful of the (failing) world in which we all live.

You won't be hearing about foster care on Our Town's favorite TV shows. Or perhaps in the New York Times, though this morning's Washington Post offers a front-page news report about foster care in Ohio.

We haven't read that news report yet, although we certainly will. It may start to answer some of the questions we've had since this recent death occurred.

We've had questions about Ma'Khia Bryant—about who this young person was, about how she ended up in the situation in which she would lose her life. In the first paragraph we've posted, Von Drehle was also wondering about those questions, even as he offered that statistic about the 14,000 "children in crisis" in Franklin County alone.

Fourteen thousand! In one county alone!

In that same first paragraph, Von Drehle also referred to the now-standard assessments from the now-standard family members—the standard reports about what a great kid this young decedent was.  

As he did, Von Drehle linked to a thoroughly standard overview report in his own Washington Post. 

The report to which Von Drehle linked opens in a thoroughly standard way. Credentialed experts describe this mandated journalistic style as uncaring, novelistic, repulsive:

LUDLOW ET AL (4/23/21): Ma’Khia Bryant beams at her mother in a TikTok clip, then throws her arms around her neck. As Beyoncé’s “Dance for You” plays in the background, the teen lip-syncs the lyrics: “I’ma take this time to show you how much you mean to me, ‘cause you are all I need.”

It’s an intimate moment between mother and daughter, who were working hard to reunite after Bryant was placed in foster care, family members said.

“They had a close bond,” said Don Bryant, a cousin of Ma’Khia’s mother. “Ma’Khia was just an all-around good person.”

This ugly report goes on and on, then on and on, with an array of family members describing what a great kid this youngster was. Also, with such "Storyline porn" as this:

LUDLOW ET AL: On Thursday, family members struggled to make sense of the killing, at least the third fatal shooting by Columbus police this year.

Don Bryant said he had a hard time recognizing the teen seen in the police video lunging at others. He does not “condone any violence,” he said, but he called the officer’s decision to open fire disproportionate.

“There are other disengagement techniques that police could have used here,” said Bryant, who has served on the Mansfield, Ohio, city council. “I’m a supporter of police, as former city councilor. I understood their moves, their tactics, what they do. I just don’t understand what happened here.”

Ma’Khia Bryant was loving and affectionate with family, Don Bryant said. When he ran in a recent election for mayor of Mansfield, she texted periodically to see how his campaign was going, he said.


“She laughed a lot,” said Ila Bryant, Ma’Khia’s great-grandmother, adding that the teen did well in school. “Intellectually, she was very intelligent,” she said.

“But she didn’t even have a chance to live her life or make decisions,” Ila Bryant said. “Justice was not done.”

We're sure that Don Bryant is a good, decent person. So of course are the four journalists whose names appeared in the byline to this standardized "report."

The journalists were too polite to ask a slightly awkward question. If this deserving kid was so affectionate and so all-around great, why hadn't she been living with him, or with one of the other relatives who had offered the journalistically mandated standard accounts? 

LUDLOW ET AL: Ma’Khia Bryant’s grandmother Jeanene Hammonds said she raced about 10 minutes to the Columbus foster home after receiving a call from her upset granddaughter late Tuesday afternoon. She said Bryant told her that an adult woman who used to live in the home had returned for a visit and an argument had ensued over the house being messy.

Both Bryant and the woman were holding knives, Hammonds told The Washington Post in an interview. Investigators have not commented on whether anyone on the scene other than Bryant had a weapon or was threatening anyone.

Hammonds said she was devastated by the shooting of her granddaughter. “This was a 16-year-old child,” she said, “a sweet, loving person.”

Officials identified the officer who fired shots as Nicholas Reardon and said he has been taken off street duty while the investigation proceeds.

According to various ranking experts, the various "narrative chunks" were all neatly in place in this standardized overview piece. The decedent was a lovely kid. Ther officer had overreacted.

News reporting by the New York Times exhibited similar narrative elements. Neighbors and family members who had no particular way to know what they were talking about expounded about the injustice the police officer had wrought.

In Our Town, this has become standard practice. But only in the case of the shooting deaths Our Town is told about.

Why had Ma-Khia Bryant,  age 16, been in that foster home? On the evening of April 22, CNN's increasingly gruesome Chris Cuomo seemed to say that he would find out.

He had arranged to stage the standard interview with Ma'Khia Bryant's mother. Midway through his show, he offered this truly ridiculous tease for the upcoming segment:

CUOMO (4/22/21): Look, here's what we know. We're going to talk more about the Ma'Khia Bryant story. Why?

It is not a great case to show police not doing the right thing. But because of that, confusion for people. "I don't get why are—why are people upset about this?" 

Well, one, you lost the kid. Two, because it seems like there's never a good ending, it never goes any other way. And when you lose a kid, a family loses everything, OK?

Ma'Khia Bryant had a mother. She's here tonight. Who was her kid? Why was she in that house? What does her loss mean? Next!

"Next!" he barked, in the trademark manner designed to rope us in.

Meanwhile, hopeless! "It isn't a great case to show police not doing the right thing," Cuomo absurdly said. Weirdly, this fading star seemed to be saying the quiet part out loud. 

In fairness, Cuomo also seemed to say that he'd be getting some answers:

"Why was she in that house?" Cuomo seemed to say that he was going to ask!

After a commercial break, the interview proceeded. To our eye, it seemed that Bryant's mother may be intellectually or emotionally challenged. Needless to say, Cuomo never asked the question he'd teased.

He did the standard interview. But then, the structure of these interviews is wholly mandated by now.

Cuomo even ended with this. He'd like to be a social worker, but the pay isn't quite as  good:

CUOMO: And I am very sorry for your loss.

BRYANT: Thank you.

CUOMO: All right. You know how to get us. If there's any way that we can help, we're a phone call away. God bless going forward.

This is the way Storyline is now performed in Our Town. In fairness, we've come to wonder if Cuomo was damaged by his episode of Covid. To our eye, he doesn't even look like himself at this point.

We were surprised when experts referred to these constructions as a form of "Storyline porn." As for Maddow, she proceeded in her normal way last night:

She staged a version of open mike night for maybe the first twenty minutes. The last twelve minutes of her hour broke down like this:

Four minutes of ads at 9:48, followed by four minutes on Navalny. After that,  four more minutes of ads. 

Experts say the repeated Navalny takes are a version of "sincerity branding" designed to smooth off the clowning. We find these claims hard to believe.

On the TV shows most loved in Our Town, you won't be hearing about all those kids who are living in foster care or worse. You won't be challenged that way on TV—at least, not over here in Our Town.

The death in the road not traveled: According to this news report, another teenager was recently shot and killed. According to that report, he was shot and killed on April 13 while he lay on the ground, already having been shot.

Reading between the lines a bit, it sounds like this teen—he too was 16—may have been having some sort of mental health breakdown.

Was something wrong with that policeman's behavior? We can't answer that question. But we can tell you this: You haven't heard a word about that teen shooting death, and you never will. 

Our Town is pure Storyline now. Our Town is Storyline all the way down, top major experts keep saying. 

We might be able to handle the truth, but there's little chance that we'll be asked to. Our brains are wired for this other game, major top experts have said.

Could you hear it when we busted her arm?


Back to those fourteen minutes: Maybe it's the weather today. Or maybe it's the several hours we lost this morning.

Whatever it is, we're beginning to feel like the Harrison Ford character in Witness. 

A bit like the early Plato of the Seventh Letter, the Ford character—his name is John Book—goes into a type of internal exile due to the despair he feels concerning his human surroundings. 

(On the other hand, Kelly McGillis is present.)

Witness was a Best Picture nominee at the 1986 Oscars. We've often wondered why it isn't one of our top favorite films. (Notorious, Casablanca, My Brilliant Career. We still remember the way one audience gasped when Judy turned Sam down.)

Concerning Witness, we think we have a rough idea, but we aren't totally sure. In the way it ends, it's a bit too much like a Mannix episode. You shouldn't let the venal figures enter the sacred world of the moral and spiritual retreat.

Regarding Best Picture nominees, we continue to be amazed by the way the mainstream pundit world reacts to this year's Promising Young Woman. We can't say we've ever seen such a systemwide ability to miss the point. But then again, why bother?

Now for today's true shot at erudition:

We recommend this Washington Post news report live and direct from Loveland, Colorado. Especially, though, we recommend the 14 minutes of videotape to which that news report links. 

We're not sure we've ever seen such instructive videotape. There's no way to feel good about the instruction offered there, but we're not sure we've ever seen such instructive tape.

Did you hear it pop when her arm came out? If you want to wonder about our human world, we recommend watching that deeply surprising tape.

It hasn't been mentioned on cable news. There may be instruction there too.

TRUTH AND TOWN: What happened when Andrew Brown was killed?


Our Town's exposure to truth: What actually happened when Andrew Brown was shot and killed last week?

At present, we can't answer your question. 

There's bodycam video of what occurred. So far, though, none of that bodycam video has been released to the public.

(Full disclosure: Bodycam video won't always show what happened in some given case.) 

A relatively short chunk of videotape was shown to family members on Monday, and to one of the family's lawyers. But what can be seen on that short chunk of tape?

Very frankly, we don't know.

We can't answer your sensible question for perfectly sensible reasons. For starters, "if history has taught us anything," it has taught us this:

You can't necessarily assume the accuracy of statements made by a family's lawyers in situations like this. We know that because of an episode we revisited a few weeks back. 

In an extremely high-profile case, family lawyers were allowed to hear some audiotape in the case of a fatal shooting. One of their lawyers then described what she said she had plainly heard. 

Her description turned out to be flatly false—but not before the New York Times had bruited her claim all around. A few days later,  the local paper of record (the Orlando Sentinel) said that false report by the Times had created a national sense of outrage.

Lawyers' claims can be wrong! But before we remember that disappeared case, let's zero in on this:

Yesterday, a North Carolina judge ruled that the bodycam videotape in the Brown case won't be released to the public at this time. In the course of that hearing, a new set of claims were voiced about what is seen on that tape.

Yesterday afternoon, Jake Tapper interviewed the North Carolina attorney general about the judge's ruling. At one point, Tapper noted the fact that an apparent contradiction had now arisen concerning what happened when Brown was shot.

Tapper described the contradiction. He also made an extremely wise disclaimer:

TAPPER (4/28/21): So I don't know what happened, right? I haven't seen it. I didn't see the video.

But the family described Brown's final moments as an "execution." One of the family lawyers said Brown was not moving in a menacing way. There's an independent autopsy that says he was shot in the back of the head.

But the North Carolina D.A. today said that the family and the family lawyer's versions are false, and that Brown was backing up his car into police officers. I mean, the video would clear up what actually happened one would think.

Tapper reported the contradiction which had surfaced during the hearing. In truth, the D.A.'s rejection of what the family lawyer had said was a bit more aggressive than that.

On Monday, the family's lawyer, and several family members, described what happened as an "execution." They based this claim on what had been seen on the tape.

Yesterday, the D.A. who is investigating the case rather aggressively contradicted what the family lawyer had said. To his credit, Tapper made a very important statement:

"I don't know what happened," Tapper wisely said.

That's a very important journalistic statement. However much a journalist may love the novel or Storyline of the moment, journalists should always be clear on what they don't actually know.

Tapper made an extremely wise statement. Moments earlier, Attorney General Josh Stein had said the same darn thing:

TAPPER: So the judge ruled that family members will be allowed to see the remaining videos, but that the officers' faces and names will be protected. Do you agree with that decision?

STEIN: Well, I haven't seen the video so I can't speak to exactly what happened or what they represent, so I can't speak to the wisdom. I do think it's imperative that the family be able to see it as quickly as possible so that they can process this tragedy, so I do—I do support that.

Stein doesn't know what happened either! As with Tapper, so too here. Stein was showing very good judgment when he made this fact clear.

That said, an apparent contradiction has now appeared. The D.A. who is investigating the case has flatly contradicted some of the things the family's lawyer has said.

None of this tells us whether the deputies should have fired on Brown that day. None of this tells us what actually happened. (For ourselves, we would prefer that police officers never fire their weapons at all, except when it's absolutely necessary.) 

At any rate, a contradiction has surfaced. Unless you're one of the lucky duckies reading today's New York Times online!

Earlier in the week, the family had made extremely dramatic claims about what happened that day. What happened was "an execution," the family and its lawyers had said. 

On at least one basic point, the family lawyers had sometimes seemed to contradict each other as to what he video showed. But the lawyers had made a dramatic claim, and this claim had been given very wide exposure, especially on CNN. 

On CNN, prime time hosts had often performed like clowns as they discussed and reported this claim. In fairness:

On CNN, IQ levels seem to drop as a long day's afternoon turns into early evening. On Monday and Tuesday evenings, primetime hosts had seemed to treat the lawyers' various claims as if they were sacred writ.

Internal contradictions passed without notice. Inflammatory claims went unquestioned, unchallenged. 

Most importantly, primetime hosts failed to tell viewers that you can't assume the accuracy of claims made by family lawyers. For an example of what we mean, recall the way the New York Times introduced the shooting death of Trayvon Martin to the American public.

Back in early 2012, Benjamin Crump was the Martin family's lawyer. He had assembled a legal team to handle the case.

(For our previous reporting of this matter, you can just start here.)

Early in the case, the family and the legal team were allowed to hear audiotape of what had happened that night. At least one of the lawyers then went out and made a blatantly false factual claim about what the audiotape had revealed.

The claim was flatly false. But the New York Times seemed to assume that it had to be true, and so the Times made the bogus claim too. 

Over the next few days, the Times backed away from its own false claim on this highly inflammatory factual point—but the famous newspaper did so without ever making an explicit correction.

To this day, no correction of this error has been appended to the Times' erroneous report.  A few days after the Times report appeared, the Orlando Sentinel credited that false report with stirring national outrage about what was (inaccurately) said to have occurred.

Early this week, another legal team under Crump made another inflammatory claim. On CNN, IQ-deprived primetime hosts behaved like they were dealing with holy writ handed to them by Moses.

Amazingly, this is the way Our Town's big orgs conduct their "imitations of life." It's hard to believe that they function this way, but this is the way they roll.

Can this really be the way Our Town gets its ideas of the truth? Consider what doesn't appear in today's New York Times, depending on where you read it:

This past Monday, the family's lawyer made her claim. "An execution" had occurred.

In Tuesday morning's print editions, a stand-alone news report reported this claim. In Wednesday morning's print editions, a second stand-alone report repeated the lawyer's claim.

Yesterday morning, the D.A. who is probing the case contradicted the lawyer's claim. But in this morning's New York Times, there's no report of that fact, depending on where you look!

In our own hard-copy Times, there is a report of that fact. You can read that news report here

That report does appear in our hard-copy Times. But to make an extremely long story short, let's just say this:

If you read the Times online, as we initially did today, that news report doesn't exist! You can't even find that news report by using the Times' search engine! 

Let's assume that this was just some sort of mistake. That said, it's a mistake which will keep Times readers uninformed. Even worse, it burned a good chunk of our morning! 

(Except for all the time we lost, we would have given you more detailed adventures from CNN. Or something—we aren't sure. We regret the lost opportunity.)

What happened when Andrew Brown was shot and killed? We can't tell you that.

But day after day, again and again, Our Town's elite news orgs function rather poorly. At CNN, IQ scores drop as day turns to night—and the Times just keep stumbling along.

This portrait of life in Our Town can be quite hard to believe. It flies in the face of everything we Townies are told about the brilliance which obtains in Our Town.

Tomorrow, we'll show you the way the Times reported the fatal shooting of Ma'Khia Bryant. We'll also flesh out what you can see on the videotape offered as part of this Washington Post news report.

(For fourteen minutes of videotape, you can just click here. We find that tape, but also its absence from cable news, to be sadly but also extremely instructive.)

Long ago and far away, Hannah Arendt described "the banality of evil." 

As of today, creeping banality seems to have spread rather widely. According to experts, that banality has possibly taken full hold as Our Town slides toward the sea.

Tomorrow: The banality of banality 

Unskilled at finding ways to win!


Carville discusses Our Town: Is James Carville right about every point?

There's a good chance he isn't! That said, his interview with Sean Illing at Vox is crowded with food for thought.

In reviewing that interview, we'd start with a basic point. Our Town has a  hard time grasping the following point. Here's what Carville said:

CARVILLE (4/27/21): We won the White House against a world-historical buffoon. And we came within 42,000 votes of losing. We lost congressional seats. We didn’t pick up state legislatures.

Those are painful observations, but they're extremely right on. They're tied to other observations Carville made about our political system. 

The observations which follow are blindingly obvious. But, despite the  brilliance we tend to attribute to ourselves, we sometimes have a very hard time getting clear on what they mean:

CARVILLE: If Democrats want power, they have to win in a country where 18 percent of the population controls 52 percent of the Senate seats. That’s a fact. That’s not changing. That’s what this whole damn thing is about.


Here’s the deal: No matter how you look at the map, the only way Democrats can hold power is to build on their coalition, and that will have to include more rural white voters from across the country. Democrats are never going to win a majority of these voters. That’s the reality. But the difference between getting beat 80 to 20 and [getting beat] 72 to 28 is all the difference in the world.

So they just have to lose by less—that's all.

At present, fundamental structures of our political system tilt the playing field against liberal voters and against liberal coalitions. 

That includes the system of "Senate math" to which Carville refers. It also includes the current arrangement in which Democrats produce massive amounts of "wasted votes" in such states as California and New York. 

Because of the "wasted vote" phenomenon, Biden won the national popular vote by more than 7 million votes, but came within those 42,000 votes of losing the electoral college to Trump. These are the basic realities of the situation we face. 

Here in Our Town, we have a hard time getting clear on the meaning of these facts. According to Carville, those unfortunate facts mean that Democrats have to seek votes among rural whites.

As we all know, rural whites are lesser beings. But we have to seek votes among them.

In those parts of the interview, Carville sketches out the basic facts of our political dilemma. In other parts of the interview, he describes the ways he thinks we fail to win elections in the face of those facts.

Carville goes hard on our alleged problems with "wokeness" and "faculty lounge politics." We actually think he misses one key point about the latter phenomenon:

ILLING: What do you make of Biden’s first 100 days?

CARVILLE: Honestly, if we’re just talking about Biden, it’s very difficult to find something to complain about. And to me his biggest attribute is that he’s not into “faculty lounge” politics.

ILLING: “Faculty lounge” politics?

CARVILLE: You ever get the sense that people in faculty lounges in fancy colleges use a different language than ordinary people? They come up with a word like “Latinx” that no one else uses. Or they use a phrase like “communities of color.” I don’t know anyone who speaks like that. I don’t know anyone who lives in a “community of color.” I know lots of white and Black and brown people and they all live in ... neighborhoods.

There’s nothing inherently wrong with these phrases. But this is not how people talk. This is not how voters talk. And doing it anyway is a signal that you’re talking one language and the people you want to vote for you are speaking another language. This stuff is harmless in one sense, but in another sense it’s not.

Different people will have different ideas about different phrases. For ourselves, we hate the "faculty lounge" formulation in which our elites now refer to "black bodies" as opposed to "black people."

The preciosity of the locution pretty much speaks for itself. It seems especially odd to speak that way, given the fact that it was long part of "the world the slaveholders made" to claim that this particular group of people weren't really people at all.

Why would anyone talk that way? Here's what Carville may have missed:

The adoption of such private language is done to signal membership in elites. If you speak that way, you're in the club. As Carville notes, you're also alienating other people who don't talk like that.

Other people don't talk like that in their various "spaces." They may think you're weird when you do.

Concerning the alleged problem of "wokeness," Carville offers this:

CARVILLE: Look at Florida. You now have Democrats saying Florida is a lost cause. Really? In 2018 in Florida, giving felons the right to vote got 64 percent. In 2020, a $15 minimum wage, which we have no chance of passing [federally], got 67 percent. Has anyone in the Democratic Party said maybe there’s nothing wrong with the state of Florida? Maybe the problem is the kind of campaigns we’re running?

If you gave me an environment in which the majority of voters wanted to expand the franchise to felons and raise the minimum wage, I should be able to win that. It’s certainly not a political environment I’m destined to lose in. But in Miami-Dade, all they talked about was "defunding the police" and Kamala Harris being the most liberal senator in the U.S. Senate. And if you look all across the Rio Grande Valley, we lost all kinds of solidly blue voters. And the faculty lounge bullshit is a big part of it.

As comment sections make clear, Our Town is full of people who can't understand why "defund the police" was such a tone-deaf slogan. There's really nothing you can do to help a person like that, and Our Town is full of such tone-deaf, self-assured persons.

One final point. Carville also offered these potentially dueling claims:

CARVILLE: Wokeness is a problem and everyone knows it. It’s hard to talk to anybody today—and I talk to lots of people in the Democratic Party—who doesn’t say this. But they don’t want to say it out loud.


People always say to me, “Why don’t Democrats just lie like Republicans?” Because if they did, our voters wouldn’t stand for it.

Are there really lots of people who "don't want to say it out loud?" We're going to guess that there are.

Way back when, Keith Olbermann was gleefully misogynizing, on a regular basis, with his smutty pal, Michael Musto. We wrote about it for years, marveling at the fact that other liberals weren't saying a word about it.

Then the transcripts of that private JournoList site were leaked. It turned out that our brave progressives were discussing Olbermann's "misogyny." They just wouldn't do so in public.

We'll guess that Our Town is crawling with people like that, and that there are all sorts of things these careerists aren't saying out loud. Meanwhile, "our voters wouldn't stand for lying?" Did Carville actually say that?

Our voters often don't know when they're being deceived or misled. In that way, our voters are much like theirs.

At present, our voters are being misled about race in various ways. But they don't know that they're being misled, and they seem fairly happy with it.

They're being misled by the stars of Our Town. We tend to adore the big stars of Our Town, just as they do Over There.

TRUTH AND TOWN: Are we being asked to handle the truth?


Three ways to be misled: Is it possible? Is it possible that Our Town is facing a "coming liberal crackup?"

Yesterday, Bret Stephens predicted that very thing in his New York Times column. This morning, a news report from Portland, Oregon suggests the possibility that at least one of Our Towns is in peril.

Is this a case of Goodbye, Portland? Could Portland be cracking up?

BAKER (4/28/21): After the protests have concluded, sometimes in the early morning hours, Margaret Carter finds herself climbing into her gray Toyota Camry and cruising the streets of Portland so she can see the latest damage for herself.

Ms. Carter, 85, has been downtown to the Oregon Historical Society, where demonstrators have twice smashed out the windows, recently scrawling “No More History” on the side of the building. She has driven past the local headquarters of the Democratic Party, where windows have also been shattered. Last week, she found herself at the Boys & Girls Club in her own neighborhood, nearing tears at the scene of costly window destruction at a place she has worked so hard to support.

“Portland was a beautiful city,” said Ms. Carter, who was the first Black woman elected to the Oregon Legislative Assembly and is now retired. “Now you walk around and see all the graffiti, buildings being boarded up. I get sick to my stomach. And I get angry.”

After almost a year of near-continuous protests since the police killing of George Floyd in Minneapolis, Portland’s city leaders are signaling that it may be time for a more aggressive crackdown on the most strident street actions.

The report continues from there. Meanwhile, this second report in Today's New York Times describes the ways Iowa was lost. 

Is Portland, Oregon cracking up? Could Oregon one day be lost?

We can't answer your sensible question. We can tell you this:

Last year, during the Portland protests, we got the strong impression that major news orgs in Our Town were perhaps withholding news of the ongoing damage being down by the "Defund the policc" crowd. 

Rather, by the element in Our Town who were simply unable to hear how dumb that slogan was as a political watchword.

The AP did a report on the ongoing damage, and the ongoing violence, during the Portland protests. As we noted at the time, it seemed to us that newspapers like the New York Times might be glossing, or perhaps disappearing, some of the relevant facts.

Today, the Times seems to be saying that Portland could be in trouble. So, we'll suggest, is Our Town as a whole.

This relates to some of the ways we haven't been able to handle the truth.  Consider three ways we've been shielded from the truth about certain events in Our Town.

Start with this puzzling front-page report in the April 18 New York Times. It was a Sunday front-page report. Online, the report appears beneath this pleasing headline:

Throughout Trial Over George Floyd’s Death, Killings by Police Mount

Even during the Chauvin trial, killings by police officers had continued to "mount!"

"Mount" is a somewhat slippery term, but as Storyline, that was pleasing!  That said, the front-page report soon offered this nugget—but does this make any real sense?

ELIGON AND HUBLER (4/18/21): The [Chauvin] trial has forced a traumatized country to relive the gruesome death of Mr. Floyd beneath Mr. Chauvin’s knee. But even as Americans continue to process that case—and anxiously wait for a verdict—new cases of people killed by the police mount unabated.

Since testimony began on March 29, at least 64 people have died at the hands of law enforcement nationwide, with Black and Latino people representing more than half of the dead. As of Saturday, the average was more than three killings a day.

The deaths, culled by The New York Times from gun violence databases, news media accounts and law enforcement releases, offer a snapshot of policing in America in this moment...

Forgive us if we lack total confidence in the way the New York Times managed to "cull" those deaths. We especially refer to the assessment concerning the race and ethnicity of the decedents. 

In the short term, it's often hard to make such assessments from the types of sources cited in that passage. But the strangest part of that passage is this:

The reporters seemed to be surprised by a thoroughly unsurprising fact. The reporters seemed to be surprised by the fact that the average number of deaths at the hands of police officers had been "more than three per day" over the prior several weeks, as the Chauvin trial proceeded.

Why would that have been surprising? Over the previous six-plus years, almost three people per day had lost their lives in fatal shooting encounters with police officers.

The Times was now counting all deaths, not just deaths by gunshot. And yet, the reporters seemed surprised to think that number could be as high as "more than three a day."

Almost surely, that front-page report gave some readers the impression that the rate of killings by police were actually increasing at the present time. 

Technically, that claim was never made. On a purely technical basis, it's never even implied. 

But starting with the slippery term "mount," that impression might have been conveyed, especially since the reporters seemed surprised by a fact which wasn't even slightly surprising.

Can we handle the truth in Our Town? We probably could if asked.

That said, this news report may have helped us gain a false but pleasing impression. That impression would be pleasing because it fits current Storyline, in which Our Town is now deeply involved in a certain portrait of police.

In fact, there have been almost three fatal shooting by police officers on a daily basis dating back through 2015! That would be fatal shooting deaths, not total deaths at the hands of police. But the basic facts about those deaths are fairly easy to recite:

According to the Washington Post's Fatal Force site, there have been almost three such deaths per day over the past six-plus years. Also this:

Among the deaths for which the race or ethnicity of the decedent could be determined, 45.1% of those decedents were black or Hispanic. Just over 50% were white.

Those facts are easy to state. Instead of presenting some such established data, the Times went with its own uncheckable survey of (all) recent deaths. 

Its reporters seemed surprised that the number could be (slightly) more than three per day.  They may have given the impression that the number of killings was increasing, thus tickling preferred Storyline.

Can we handle the truth in Our Town? Over the course of the past six years, we have rarely been asked to. The Times hasn't spent much time on such basic facts as these.

That is one of the ways we're kept from being exposed to the truth! Another way appeared in this news report about the fatal shooting of Daunte Wright, in which Our Town was told this:

BOGEL-BURROUGHS (4/23/21): Mr. Wright was killed during a traffic stop for an expired registration, during which a police officer also noted the air freshener hanging from his rearview mirror as an additional violation. His death, during the Chauvin trial, set off a wave of protests in Brooklyn Center that lasted for more than a week.

“You thought he was just some kid with an air freshener,” Mr. Sharpton said. “He was a prince, and all of Minneapolis has stopped today to honor the prince of Brooklyn Center.”

We're sorry, but no. The late Daunte Wright wasn't being arrested for an expired registration or for some misplaced fresheners. 

He also wasn't being arrested on a marijuana charge, as Our Town was told by Yamiche Alcindor as Brian Williams sardonically slept on.

The New York Times is shocked to see the police killings "mount." Also, and astoundingly, the New York Times isn't going to tell you why Wright was being arrested. 

This is all part of the way we aren't being asked to handle the truth. Additionally, there's this:

Three people get shot and killed per day. It's easy enough to say that. Also, it's easy enough to report the "racial" / ethnic breakdown of the decedents, as it seems to exist.

It's easy enough to do those things, but the big news orgs in Our Town don't seem to be so inclined. As a general matter, they discuss only one kind of shooting death at the hands of police. 

In this way, they convey the impression that only one type of person gets killed. They then play tape of a woman in Columbus who's literally saying, No one gets killed but us.

(That was CNN.)

This is astoundingly bad journalism, but at present, it's great Storyline. And it generates corporate profits! Huge salaries must get paid!

Can Our Town handle the truth? We the rubes almost surely could, but will our news orgs ever permit it?

Also this: 

Could we possibly face a liberal crackup as these modes of deception roll on? With Iowa apparently gone, could Oregon ever be next?

Tomorrow: The Times "reports" a death

Ongoing chronicles of illness, despair!


Also, strict rules for the Times: In the past week or so, we've been spending more time than usual at the Washington Post's Fatal Force site.

Technically, the site is designed as a digest of fatal shootings by police officers. From another standpoint, the site is a chronicle of mental illness, violent crime and personal despair.

It isn't an up-to-the minute digest. At present, its three most recent fatal shootings occurred on Saturday, April 24. According to Fatal Force, these shootings occurred that day:

Richard Solitro: "Richard Solitro, a 34-year-old White man, was shot on April 24, 2021, on a street in Los Angeles." 

So says Fatal Force. In December 2018, Solitro was also shot by a police officer in North Providence, Rhode Island. He survived that shooting, died last week in L.A.

Marvin Veiga: "An unidentified person, a man armed with a knife, was shot on April 24, 2021, on a street in Nashville, Tennessee."

So says Fatal Force. By now, the man has been identified as Marvin Veiga, age 32. 

According to the Tennessean, he was wanted in Brockton, Mass. on a criminal homicide charge. He'd been added to the Massachusetts "most wanted" list in March.

Benjamin Ridley: "Benjamin Ridley, a 29-year-old White man armed with a gun, was shot on April 24, 2021, in Webbers Falls, Okla."

So says Fatal Force. According to this news report, police say they were trying to arrest him on outstanding warrants.

These fatal shootings are all under investigation. You aren't going to hear about them, nor are we saying you should.

That said, here's the previous fatal shooting in the current listings. Police say they think they know who this person is, but no announcement has been made, pending autopsy results:

An unidentified person: "An unidentified person, a man armed with a gun, was shot on April 23, 2021, in a house in Billings, Montana."

So says Fatal Force. Identification is expected soon. 

This person seems to have killed another person along the way last weekend. The body of Dennis Gresham, of Sheridan, Wyoming, was found in the van this man was driving, according to police. 

The van had belonged to Gresham. For his wife's account, click here.

We'll guess that this unidentified person will turn out to have been "white." Based on our knowledge of Massachusetts, we'll guess that Veira's race / ethnicity might be somewhat harder to define, given the standard buckets with which we work.

These events go on and on, roughly three per day, back through all the years. You hear about a selected few, concerning which we'll only say this:

As with everything else they do, the giants of our upper-end press corps are displaying very poor judgment in the way they're reporting this new topic of interest. They simply aren't especially sharp, and they're extremely susceptible to Storyline and script.

Their judgment is unfailingly poor. We think again of all the IQ points Kevin Drum's work on leaded gasoline seems to say that we all lost before unleaded came along.  At any rate, experts routinely tell us this:

The upper-end press corps' current work is pretty much the best they can do.

In an unrelated matter, strict rules for the New York Times appeared today in this perfectly sensible piece.  Given the logic we brought you this morning, we had to chuckle a bit.

Readers, also this: There but for fortune, some have said. We heard this when we were young. 

Mental illness, and despair, could have been ours, or yours...

TRUTH AND TOWN: Why did Anthony Hopkins win?


The logic of the Yale grads: Frankly, we've been open and honest about our recent sourcing.

Over the past several years, we've worked from an award-winning premise: "It's all anthropology now." 

Putting that another way, nothing is going  to halt our failing nation's slide toward the sea. It's all over now but the explaining. What makes us behave in these ways?

To achieve that act of explaining, we've turned to the insights of an array of major anthropologists.  In late-night seminars, they've discussed the wiring of our (badly-flawed) human brain, discussing the way that badly-flawed wiring helps explain our species' recent self-defeating behavior.

Are we humans "able to handle the truth?" According to these experts, that pretty much isn't the way we human beings are made.

Over the past dozen years, the inability to handle the truth has become amazingly apparent Over There, in the various towns where The Others live. 

They were told—and they believed—that Obama was born in Kenya. They've been told—and they believe—that Biden is in the White House thanks to a giant scam.

This morning, the Washington Post finally takes the advice we've offered for almost twenty years. It does so in Ashley Parker's news report about the latest manufactured false belief—the silly claim that President Biden is planning to rip the double-burgers right out of citizens' mouths.

(In the New York Times, the topic is cited in Paul Krugman's new column. We've said, for years, that it should be treated as front-page news when major figures mislead or misinform millions of people in the manner described.)

Parker's report isn't on the front page, but it's a darn good start. That said, here's the question we promised to raise this week:

Is it possible that the inability to handle the truth has now come for us here in Our Town? In large part because of our public thought leaders, are we now showing a similar inability to handle the truth?

It seems to us that the answer is yes, especially in matters involving gender and race. Here in Our Town, we're no longer handling the truth especially well—nor are we being asked to try.

Many facts are disappeared; other facts are invented. 

Irrelevant facts are heavily stressed.  Did we mention the fact that many facts are banished, sent away—disappeared?

In the face of these behaviors, we're left with Storyline and novelization—Storyline all the way down. In this morning's New York Times, Bret Stephens predicts that this behavior is going to produce a "coming liberal crack-up."

We can't say that Stephens is wrong. For today, though, let's keep it simple. Let's consider what the Yale grads have said.

The Yale grads to whom we refer are A.O. Scott and Wesley Morris, "chief film critic" and "critic at large" for the New York Times. In this morning's print editions, the gentleman discuss Sunday night's Oscar awards and the attendant telecast.

The ability to handle the truth does involve issues of fact—but it also involves issues of basic logic. 

Here in Our Town, are we able to handle logic? As this morning's colloquy starts, Scott is offering these remarks about the way the telecast ended, with Anthony Hopkins receiving this year's Best Actor award:

SCOTT (4/27/21): I’m trying to remember how I felt during most of the show, which was like a long, awkward but not entirely unenjoyable dinner party that I wasn’t sure I’d actually been invited to. But we have to start at the end. The only explanation is that Steven Soderbergh and the other producers of the telecast were, like many of us, confident that [the late] Chadwick Boseman would take best actor, and envisioned a concluding tableau of pride and pathos, combining grief and celebration. Even Joaquin Phoenix’s terse introductions of the best-actor nominees, after Renée Zellweger’s prose paeans to the best-actress contenders, seemed to set up a somber, sublime moment.

What happened was more than just anticlimactic. Hopkins’s award and the best-actress Oscar for Frances McDormand (“Nomadland”), while both entirely defensible on the merits, also sent a message. The academy is only willing to go so far in the direction of the new. And apart from the “Nomadland” triumph for best picture (which we’ll get to), this seemed like a pretty standard Oscars, notwithstanding the weird format. The “edgy” movie (“Promising Young Woman”) gets a screenplay consolation prize, actors of color (Daniel Kaluuya, Yuh-Jung Youn) get supporting wins, but for the most part I’m reminded of the lyric to a song that Billie Holiday used to sing. “Them that’s got shall have. Them that’s not shall lose.” I guess that still is news.

Were you able to follow the Yale grad's encounter logic? His encounter went like this:

On the one hand, he says that Hopkins' selection as Best Actor was "entirely defensible on the merits." On the other hand, he says the selection "sent a message"—namely, "the academy is only willing to go so far in the direction of the new."

Everyone knows what he meant. Scott is saying that the academy is only willing to go so far in terms of giving awards to black actors.

"Them's that got shall have," he says, citing Billie Holliday, as he ends his mournful rumination. That's the message he's taken from a selection which, according to his own assessment,  was "entirely defensible on the merits."

Does that make any sense? Five actors were nominated for Best Actor. Is it possible that a narrow plurality of Academy voters simply thought that Hopkins' performance was somewhat better than Boseman's?

Apparently, no, it can't mean that—and this is precisely the mandated thinking that  Stephens critques in his column. Meanwhile, the other Yale grad chimes in instantly, offering this:

MORRIS (continuing directly): Strangely, sadly, yes. And yet of those five actors, it makes all the sense in world for Anthony Hopkins to have won. He’s titanic in “The Father.” His work there is like a fever dream of disorientation that was also probably in the average voter’s geriatric wheelhouse. Meanwhile, Chadwick Boseman—all of that unbridled zeal in “Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom” came down to a promise that the academy couldn’t keep. And like Adele and Billie Eilish at the Grammys, Anthony Hopkins is left to atone for sins not of his making.

That, of course, becomes the problem with these presumed coronations, whether they’re aimed at Lauren Bacall, Glenn Close or the legacy of Chadwick Boseman. Oscars gonna Oscar. And when it comes to the academy’s enduring award practices, especially with respect to Black people and best acting, I’m not sure anybody can count on enough of 9,000 people to do even the cosmetic reparative work.

"Strangely, sadly, yes," Morris says, affirming a rumination which doesn't quite seem to make sense. 

Oddly, he then goes even further in praise of Hopkins' "titanic" performance. Or then again, maybe he doesn't, seeming to say that Hopkins nay have won because of the "geriatric" profile of the Academy's voters.

(In 2012, the median age of the Academy was said to be 62. Almost surely, the median age is lower today, given the Academy's substantial enlistment drives aimed at enrolling younger, more diverse members.)

Morris also seems to say that the voters should have done some "reparative work." Does that mean they should have voted for Boseman even if they thought that Hopkins' titanic performance was better?

Speaking very frankly, there's only one brand of logic on display in that colloquy between the Yale grads. We refer to the logic of fealty to preapproved Storyline. 

Everyone knows what the current Storyline is. The boys seem prepared to advance it, even as they seem to say that Hopkins actually deserved this (utterly pointless) prize.

Or something! It's quite hard to tell.

Her in Our Town, we're now constantly challenged by presentation like that. A basic question is involved:

Are we able to handle the truth? Are we prepared to stop and take note of the apparent absence of logic?

On a journalistic basis, the rationale underlying that exchange seems fairly clear:

Nothing we say has to make any sense, and no one is going to notice.

Rather, that's the rationale behind the exchange if we assume that anyone at the New York Times is able to direct himself to basic matters of logic or fact. International experts insist that this may not be the case.

Are we able to handle the truth in Our Town? Or is it nothing but Storyline now, even over here in Our Town?

Go ahead—review that exchange. To us, it makes little real sense.

Each participant came out of Yale, but disconsolate experts are telling us this:

Their brains are wired for Storyline! For that, and for little else!

Tomorrow: The Times discovers the shootings 

You won't have to hear about Bijan Ghaisar!

MONDAY, APRIL 26, 2021

You won't have to hear from his parents: Are we able to handle the truth here in the streets of Our Town?

If we were asked to handle the truth, we almost surely could! But at present, there's a significant range of major events we're shielded from hearing about.

Just like in the good old days, when the Klan was running the South!

Consider the news report which appeared in Saturday's Washington Post. It involved one of those fatal shooting events—one of the many fatal events we aren't asked to think about. 

Back in November 2017, Bijan Ghaisar, age 25,  was shot and killed by two U.S. Park Police officers. 

The incident happened a few miles outside Washington. Since that time, the incident has been heavily covered, as a local event, by the Washington Post.

The Post has published many news reports about the incident and about the legal aftermath. The paper has published many editorials. 

The Post has heavily covered this incident. For reasons which are amazing but  are blindingly obvious, this coverage has produced zero interest within the national press.

Well over three years later, this somewhat peculiar fatal incident is still being batted around in the courts. On Saturday, the Post reported the latest court hearing. Along the way, reporter Tom Jackman quoted Ghaisar's parents:

JACKMAN (4/24/21): The family of Bijan Ghaisar, who was shot to death by two U.S. Park Police officers in 2017, watched in amazement as the prosecution of a former police officer, Minneapolis's Derek Chauvin, moved from charging to trial to conviction in 11 months for the murder of George Floyd.

“I hope that would be an example of how these cases should be handled,” Ghaisar’s mother, Kelly Ghaisar, said Friday.


“Here we are, 3 ½ years later,” Kelly Ghaisar said, “and all we have is a hearing to see if [the Park Police officers] have immunity. The judicial system, everything, has failed Bijan.”


The Ghaisars sat directly behind the officers. “My chest was so heavy, it was about to burst,” Kelly Ghaisar said. James Ghaisar, Bijan Ghaisar’s father, said, “I believe if the officers were local, with all the support we’ve received from Congress and local officials, we would have had much, much faster results. But because they’re federal officers, it’s been 1,253 days since they killed my son. This is so sad, how unbelievable this bureaucracy is.”

We don't report this to prejudge the conduct of the two officers, or to judge the conduct of the courts. We report this to tell you this:

Chris Cuomo won't be boo-hooing on TV as he listens to Bijan Ghaisar's parents discuss the glacial pace at which this case has moved. He won't be speaking with the Ghaisars at all, for reasons which seem astounding but obvious.

He won't interview the Ghaisars; he won't ever mention this case. The Ghaisars are dead to the horrible Cuomo. For Cuomo, they don't exist.

Under what circumstances was Bijan Ghaisar, a young accountant, shot and killed? Jackman has been reporting this case for years. Here's his latest capsule account of what happened:

JACKMAN (continuing directly): After Ghaisar’s Jeep Grand Cherokee was rear-ended by a Toyota Corolla on the George Washington Memorial Parkway on the evening of Nov. 17, 2017, [Officers] Vinyard and Amaya pursued him with lights and siren on down the parkway in Fairfax County. Twice Ghaisar stopped, then drove off as the officers ran at his Jeep with guns drawn, a video recorded by a Fairfax County police in-car camera shows. A Fairfax lieutenant had joined the pursuit. The Park Police do not have in-car or body-worn cameras.

At a third stop, after Ghaisar had pulled off the parkway and into the Fort Hunt neighborhood of Fairfax, the officers again emerged with guns drawn and Ghaisar again started to slowly drive off. Both officers fired five times, an FBI investigation found, and Ghaisar, 25, was killed. He was unarmed.

We don't know why he was shot and killed. Again, though, that isn't our point. Our point concerns the way the horrendous Cuomo decides who to bring on TV. Consider:

A few weeks ago, a different report in the Washington Post quoted a different set of parents.

Their son, Peyton Ham, age 16, had been shot and killed by a Maryland state trooper. He hadn't been trying to stab anyone, but it sounded like he was having a type of "mental health" event.  

As a result, he was shot and killed. Print edition headline included, Katie Mettler's news report started like this:

METTLER (4/15/21): Family ‘shattered’ after police shooting of teen

A day after their son was shot and killed by a Maryland state trooper, the parents of 16-year-old Peyton Alexander Ham said in a statement that their family is “absolutely heartbroken and shattered over this sudden, unexpected loss of life of a talented young man, filled with promise.”

Ham’s parents said the teen was “smart, gifted” and “sweet” with an “ ‘Alex P. Keaton’ type personality.”

“His love of conservative politics [was] always taking center stage to his lively debates at the family dinner table,” his family said.

A cynic would say that you definitely won't see Cuomo pretending to care about those "heartbroken" parents. As Professor Henning seemed to make clear (see below), you won't even be asked to hear this incident mentioned!

Again, we aren't saying the trooper did something wrong in this case. We're talking about the bizarre behavior of Cuomo, and of CNN in general.

Also, we're talking about something else. We're talking about the amount of truth we're asked to handle here in Our Town.

On average, just under three people per day are shot and killed by police. Mental illness is often involved. So is crazy behavior. 

Sometimes, there may be police misconduct. Other times, there isn't.

The public interest might be served if basic police procedures changed. But absent a wider discussion, wwe aren't discussing police procedures. We're discussing CNN's.

For ourselves, we tend to be slow to judge police officers. It's much easier to judge the conduct of people like Cuomo. Here's how it seems to break down:

Cuomo will speak to some grieving parents. Others need not apply!

As people like Como behave this way, Our Town isn't asked to handle the full sweep of the truth. That includes this obvious truth:

Judged by their apparent behavior, malfunctioning people like Cuomo should be frog-marched away from their current locations. It's hard to believe that anyone would behave the way they currently do, but the facts of the matter seem plain.

Judged by their apparent behavior, people like Cuomo should be kept from appearing on the TV sets of Our Town. They're determined to disappear large chunks of the truth, for reasons they need to explain.

Paul Farhi needs to ask about this. So do Margaret Sullivan and Ben Smith.

We'll believe it when we see it! For now, Cuomo speaks with and about only certain parents. In an astounding manifestation, others need not apply!

This is one of the ways the game is currently being played. For all those many brutal years, this is also the way the truth was parceled down South!

Three children disappeared: Hard to believe, but apparently true! Georgetown Law professor Kristin Henning seems to know the basic rules of this remarkable game.

Which three children got disappeared? You can just click here.

Starting tomorrow: TRUTH AND TOWN!

MONDAY, APRIL 26, 2021

"You can't handle the truth:" We've been struck by two major thoughts in the past week or two.

Our first thought would be this: 

Dr. King is over.

Our second thought would be this:

Across the board, at times like these, our species can't handle the truth.

Starting tomorrow, we'll be focusing on the second of those ideas. For today, as a bit of a preview, let's quickly breeze through both.

Dr. King is over

When we say that Dr. King is over, we're thinking of the viewpoints and values he expressed in his first book, Stride Toward Freedom: The Montgomery Story. 

The book was published in 1958. It was Dr. King's account of the Montgomery bus boycott—of events which occurred when Dr. King was 26 and 27 years old.

In our view, the book is surprising, sometimes startling, right from its first page on. Consider Dr. King's reaction to the firebombing of his house in January 1956. 

Dr. King had just turned 27. The event occurred in the dark of night. Coretta Scott King was inside the house with the couple's infant daughter. 

Dr. King was rushed to the scene from a community meeting. By the time he arrived at his home, community members had gathered outside. Some of them were armed. 

"By this time the crowd outside was getting out of hand," Dr. King writes in Stride Toward Freedom. As he describes what he did and said, Dr. King gives voice to the values and the beliefs which would disqualify him from serious consideration today:

KING (page 137): In this atmosphere I walked out to the porch and asked the crowd to come to order. In less than a moment there was complete silence. Quietly I told them that I was all right and that my wife and baby were all right. “Now let’s not become panicky,” I continued. “If you have weapons, take them home. We cannot solve this problem through retaliatory violence. Remember the words of Jesus: ‘He who lives by the sword will perish by the sword.’ ” I then urged them to leave peacefully. “We must love our white brothers,” I said, “no matter what they do to us. We must make them know that we love them. Jesus still cries out in words that echo through the centuries: ‘Love your enemies; bless them that curse you; pray for them that despitefully use you.’ This is what we must live by. We must meet hate with love. Remember,” I ended, “if I am stopped, this movement will not stop, because God is with the movement. Go home with this glowing faith and this radiant assurance.”

Embarrassing but true.

Throughout the book, Dr. King describes and affirms an outlook he refers to as "the love ethic of Jesus." As he continues his account of that night, he even expresses something resembling pity for the city officials who, as he directly says, had helped establish the atmosphere which produced that violent act:

KING (page 138): I could not go to sleep. While I lay in that quiet front bedroom, with a distant street lamp throwing a reassuring glow through the curtained window, I began to think of the viciousness of people who would bomb my home. I could feel the anger rising when I realized that my wife and baby could have been killed. I thought about the city commissioners and all the statements that they had made about me and the Negro generally. I was once more on the verge of corroding anger. And once more I caught myself and said: “You must not allow yourself to become bitter.”

I tried to put myself in the place of the police commissioners. I said to myself these are not bad men. They are misguided. They have fine reputations in the community. In their dealings with white people they are respectful and gentlemanly. They probably think they are right in their methods of dealing with Negroes. They say the things they say about us and treat us as they do because they have been taught these things. From the cradle to the grave, it is instilled in them that the Negro is inferior. Their parents probably taught them that; the schools they attended taught them that; the books they read, even their churches and ministers, often taught them that; and above all the very concept of segregation teaches them that. The whole cultural traditional under which they have grown—a tradition blighted with more than 250 years of slavery and more than 90 years of segregation—teaches them that Negroes do not deserve certain things. So these men are merely the children of their culture. When they seek to preserve segregation they are seeking to preserve only what their local folkways have taught them was right.

Dr. King was the son of a minister. Thinking of the city commissioners, he marveled at, in effect, their lack of "good home training." 

We're most struck by this observation:

Even their churches and their ministers had taught them to think in the way they did! So said this son of a minster, as he again expressed the need to avoid the feelings he described as "corroding anger."

Dr. King came close to expressing pity for those badly misled people. Today, those values and views are over. You could never get on CNN expressing such values today.

Today, the prevailing values in Our Town are derived from "an eye for an eye," not from Dr. King's preferred "love ethic." That doesn't mean that our values are "wrong." But having said that, consider:

In 2015, some families in Charleston reacted to the massacre there by expressing this "love ethic," Our Town's assistant and associate professors reacted by telling us to pay no attention to these embarrassing  country cousins. of theirs.

In the current climate, Dr. King's preferred love ethic would mainly serve to make him seem like someone's dotty grandfather. Our instincts are different today:

We want to lock up the 19-year veteran police officer—but also the rookie cops who were in their first week on the job. 

In the case of the fatal shooting at Wendy's, we want to lock up the police officer who shot and killed the late Rayshard Brooks (as Brooks fired a stolen Taser at him). But we also want to lock up the second officer—the one who got sucker-punched by Brooks and had his Taser stolen, but never fired his gun.

When that second indictment was handed down by an apparently corrupt D.A. who was desperately running for re-election, we couldn't be told about his apparent corruption, or about the possible way it may have affected his charging decision.

(In the end, he was defeated by Fani Willis, the current D.A., in a massive landslide with Willis winning 73% of the vote.)

Manslaughter charges no longer suffice. We seek ways to charge people with murder. Cable stars hold out hope that it can be done.

Examples like these go on and on. They're related to our second recent thought, the one about handling the truth.

"You can't handle the truth"

Full disclosure! We've tried to watch A Few Good Men, but we've never been able to get through it. In large part, we've tried to watch it because we have friends who love the film, but also because it features a widely-quoted line:

"You can't handle the truth."

In 2005, the American Film Institute listed the hundred "Top Quotes" from every American film ever made. In roughly one hundred years of American films, that quotation from A Few Good Men ranked #29.

As best we can tell, A Few Good Men is designed to assure us the people that we can handle the truth. The angry, dissembling Jack Nicholson character is the one who goes down in the end. The characters who stood up for the truth are the ones who prevail.

We actually can handle the truth! In a rational world, that viewpoint about Our Town would also be over. Consider:

In recent years, one extremely surprising fact has become quite clear. First in the conservative world, then within the Trumpist world, many people have been  having a hard time handling the truth. 

We'd start with the astonishing number of people who were willing to say that Barack Obama was born outside the U.S. We'd move on to the astonishing number of people who have been convinced that some sort of major scam sent Joe Biden to the White House.

It has become surprisingly clear—in many ways, members of the conservative and Trumpist worlds can't currently handle the truth. In the past few weeks, though, we'd have to say this:

The inability to handle the truth has also come for Our Town. In our view, this fact has been clear for years.

Is Our Town able to handle the truth? We'll be asking that question all week. 

It will be extremely hard to find time to discuss all the relevant failures. In our view, that's how clear it has become that Our Town, at the present time, also can't handle the truth.

Once again, we'll be honest enough to state a key disclaimer:

These analyses are coming to us from major anthropologists. These scholars say that, at times of tribal division and stress, our highly fallible human brains aren't wired to handle the truth. 

It's tribal Storyline all the way down! Or so these top scholars insist.

It isn't just the Trumpists, these despondent experts now say. According to these leading savants, the inability to handle the truth now rules the streets of Our Town!

We'll admit that this claim seems absurd on its face. But could this claim really be true?

Tomorrow: Two trips to the New York Times

BREAKING! The Crazy has finally come for us!


Our Town expiates its guilt: Nicholas Bogel-Burroughs of the New York Times is basically just a kid—a cub reporter. 

He's completing his second year out of college (Cornell, class of 2019). He may not know any better.

He may not even have written the copy we're going to show you. Who knows? It may have come from some editor. 

At any rate, Bogel-Burroughs was listed as the writer of a major report in print editions of yesterday's New York Times. The youngster is the reporter of record. As such, the striking deception found in this copy tracks to his name alone:

BOGEL-BURROUGHS (4/23/21): On Thursday, the Rev. Al Sharpton delivered the eulogy for Mr. Wright to a grieving family and city. He said he was told that Minneapolis had not seen a funeral procession so large since Prince, the musician who was born and raised in Minneapolis, had died in 2016.

“Well, we came to bury the prince of Brooklyn Center,” Mr. Sharpton said, standing before a white coffin that was covered in red roses. “We come from all over the country because you hurt one of our princes.”“You thought he was just some kid with an air freshener,” Mr. Sharpton said. “He was a prince, and all of Minneapolis has stopped today to honor the prince of Brooklyn Center.”

Mr. Wright was killed during a traffic stop for an expired registration, during which a police officer also noted the air freshener hanging from his rearview mirror as an additional violation. His death, during the Chauvin trial, set off a wave of protests in Brooklyn Center that lasted for more than a week.

“You thought he was just some kid with an air freshener,” Mr. Sharpton said. “He was a prince, and all of Minneapolis has stopped today to honor the prince of Brooklyn Center.”

We've long been fans of Sharpton. He's smarter than the average bear. Beyond that, he has a superlative sense of humor. We've seen him use it, for many years and in various settings, in humane and helpful ways.

That said, Sharpton also seems to be conning us rubes in the current circumstance. Consider:

The underlined passages in Bogel-Burroughs' copy constitute a serious act of deception. This deception plays an obvious role in the rapidly disintegrating world which pervades the streets of Our Town.

The late Daunte Wright was still very young—and young people make lots of mistakes. The same excuse from youth can be extended to Bogel-Burroughs, but his editors, assuming that any such people exist,  seem to have made a choice:

In what way is that copy deceptive? Townie, please!

On the day he was shot and killed, Daunte Wright wasn't being arrested for an expired registration and misplaced air fresheners. He was being arrested on the basis of an outstanding warrant for serious alleged criminal conduct. 

The warrant had been issued because Wright had failed to appear for a scheduled court date. Young people makes lots of mistakes, but the back-story isn't attractive.

Real news orgs have reported these elementary facts, if perhaps a bit apologetically. We'll offer some links below. 

The New York Times still refuses to tell you what happened that day, and before. This refusal should be shocking, but let's be honest—it isn't.. 

In a rational world, it would be shocking to see an institution like the Times behave in such an egregious way. But that would be in a rational world. 

In our world, the New York Times has long behaved as what it is—a very dumb upper-class newspaper which lost its way long ago.

You really can't believe the things you read in the New York Times. We plan to discuss these matters next week, though the overall breakdown is so vast within the news org of Our Town that it will be hard to do the current topic justice.

The current topic would be this:

Our Town's "elites" have almost completely lost their way as they seek to expiate their guilt concerning matters of race. 

For the record, their guilt is extremely well earned. To help you understand that fact, we direct you to a recent report in the pages of New York magazine.

The recent non-report report concerns, or rather fails to concern, the current state of the New York City Public Schools. The report was written by Clare Malone, who seems bereft of any knowledge about any such low-income schools.

A sensible person won't blame Malone for the things she doesn't know. Someone assigned her to write this report about the New York City Public Schools—more specifically, about Richard Carranza, the school system's outgoing superintendent.

Almost surely, the person who gave Malone that assignment  also doesn't know squadoosh about low-income schools. Simply put, our elites don't care about low-income schools, or about the millions of good, decent kids who attend them every day.

Our "elites" don't care—and it shows.

Malone is older than Bogel-Burroughs. She's eleven years out of college (Georgetown, class of 2009). 

That said, she's only been at New York magazine for a matter of months.  We see nothing in her previous work—most recently, at 538; before that, at The American Prospect—to suggest that she has ever written about low-income schools, or about public schools at all.

She has no background in the area. In her recent report, it shows. 

If you care about black kids, you'll find that fact annoying. That said, there's a very good chance that you don't.

In her report, Malone repeats the standard claim that the New York City Public Schools  "is among the country’s most segregated educational systems."

As evidence, she links to a prior report in New York magazine in which that (familiar) claim is never made. 

In fairness to Malone, she's read that pleasing claim a thousand times in the New York Times. She doesn't know what a hall of mirrors she'll be heading down if she clicks on that newspaper's links, trying to learn what that claim even means or whether the claim is accurate.

Malone is churning standard copy when she makes that familiar claim. We'resorry, but it's the kind of claim the Times likes to make to hide the fact that they don't actually care.

That said, the truly egregious passage in Malone's report is the passage shown below. Dulce et decorum est, as the horrified poet once said:

MALONE (4/13/21): Carranza, charming and idealistic, was hired with the explicit agenda to make the schools more integrated and to fix the racial achievement gap. His supporters hailed him as an “equity warrior.” He grew up speaking Spanish in a working-class Mexican American household in Tucson and understood that schools could reproduce inequality as easily as they could provide opportunity...

Carranza was hired "to fix the racial achievement gap?" It isn't Malone's fault that she was assigned to write about this topic. But it's hard to imagine that any writer could ever create a statement that's dumber than that.

Malone knows nothing about the size of those achievement gaps. She knows nothing about this important matter because, at the New York Times, they've long agreed that Our Town must never be asked to think about so unpleasant a topic.

The New York Times refuses to discuss the size of those gaps. That too is one of the ways the Times attempts to expiate or assuage its well-earned guilt. 

But this is ugly, evil work, in which children are sent, through this massive act of group silence, to the region below the bus. On the other hand, it's just a bunch of "black" kids, so who really cares about them?

More than fifty years ago Jonathan Kozol wrote this at the start of a high-profile book:

KOZOL (page 1): Stephen is eight years old. A picture of him standing in front of the bulletin board on Arab bedouins shows a little light-brown person staring with unusual concentration at a chosen spot upon the floor. Stephen is tiny, desperate, unwell. Sometimes he talks to himself. He moves his mouth as if he were talking. At other times he laughs out loud in class for no apparent reason. He is also an indescribably mild and unmalicious child. He cannot do any of his school work very well. His math and reading are poor. In Third Grade he was in a class that had substitute teachers much of the year. Most of the year before that, he had a row of substitute teachers too. He is in the Fourth Grade now but his work is barely at the level of the Second. Nobody has complained about the things that have happened to Stephen because he does not have any mother or father.

So Kozol began. Stephen, who was eight years old, was already two years behind. More than fifty years later, it's still clear that no one among the elites in Our Town actually seems to care.

That includes our "civil rights leaders," but it surely includes the New York Times, which seeks to expiate its guilt 1) by refusing to tell you why Daunte Wright was being arrested; 2) by refusing to discuss the size and the meaning of those racial achievement gaps; and 3) by offering amazingly mindless reports like this recent confessional groaner (headline included):

HARTOCOLLIS (4/18/21): After a Year of Turmoil, Elite Universities Welcome More Diverse Freshman Classes


Whether college admissions have changed for the long haul remains unclear. But early data suggests that many elite universities have admitted a higher proportion of traditionally underrepresented students this year—Black, Hispanic and those who were from lower-income communities or were the first generation in their families to go to college, or some combination—than ever before.

The gains seem to reflect a moment of national racial and social awareness not seen since the late 1960s that motivated universities to put a premium on diversity and that prodded students to expand their horizons on possible college experiences.

Yay yay yay yay yay yay yay! Based on (extremely) early data, it looks like more black kids will be going to Harvard and Yale! 

(How exciting is the early apparent progress? "At N.Y.U., this year’s admitted class is about 29 percent Black or Hispanic students, up from 27 percent last year." So it says in the Times!)

As for the 99% of urban low-income kids who won't be going to Harvard or Yale, those kids don't get discussed in the Times. Their needs and their interests get thrown directly under the bus. 

We've told you this a million times. The New York Times only cares about low-income kids who may be joining the one percent. We've told you this a million times, and the Times keep churning it out.

When Malone (and her editor) read the Times, they may not realize that they aren't being told about the vast majority of kids in the New York City Public Schools—about all the kids in Gotham's schools who won't be going to Stuyvesant High, then moving on to Yale.

Malone may not realize that she isn't being told about the size of those achievement gaps. And no! No superintendent is going to arrive on the scene armed with some way to "fix them."

Malone was writing from groaning ignorance, an ignorance she surely share with the editor who assigned her to write that report and then reviewed her copy.  But the truth behind this is very important:

Our Town's journalistic elites don't care about the nation's black kids and they never have. To expiate the well-earned guilt they creeps in on their way to the Hamptons, they refuse to tell us the truth about the attempted arrest of Wright, and they try to throw a bunch of Others in jail.

In our view, that passage in Bogel-Burroughs' report points to a remarkable fact. In matters concerning Our Town's racial guilt, The Crazy has finally found us:

Our journalistic elites have now reached Trumpian proportions in their willingness to deny basic facts and basic reality. 

It's amazing to see how crazy The Others have become in recent years. But in that remarkable passage by Bogel-Burroughs, a truly remarkable fact has emerged:

The Crazy has finally come for us! More on this topic next week.

Concerning that warrant: Various news orgs have reported the nature of that warrant. The New York Times remains a refusenik.

For a report by ABC News, you can just click here. For a report by USA Today, you can just click this.

The Times is sticking with the fresheners. Along with the attempt to claim that no black kid has ever made a mistake, this helps create a cartoonized portrait of the class of people the Times wants to send to jail. 

Georgetown professor culls the herd!

FRIDAY, APRIL 23, 2021

Anthropological learnings: For starters, we'll tell you this—Kristin Henning isn't some crazy kid.

Henning is The Blume Professor of Law at Georgetown Law School. She's also Special Advisor to the Dean on Community and Justice and Director of the Juvenile Justice Clinic and Initiative.

She got her undergraduate degree at Duke. She received her law degree from Yale in 1995.  If only on the basis of age, she isn't some crazy kid.

It's also true that Henning has written an essay at Slate. Her article appears today beneath these dual headlines:

Police Have Killed at Least Five Children in the Past Month Alone
When will it stop?

Professor Henning probably didn't write those headlines. That said, her essay starts like this:

HENNING (4/23/21): Minutes before the jury delivered their verdict convicting a former Minneapolis police officer for the murder of George Floyd, another police officer in Columbus, Ohio shot and killed 16-year-old Ma’Khia Bryant. Ma’Kahia joins Adam Toledo (13), Anthony Thompson (17), Iremamber Sykap (16), and Anthony Bernal Cano (17) on the list of children who have been killed by the police since the new year began, which includes at least five in the past month alone. Add to that the dozens of children who have been killed by police in the last decade and we have reason to be concerned about the sanctity of American childhood.

"We have reason to be concerned about the sanctity of American childhood?" We'd be inclined to call that the understatement of the year.

Adam Toledo, age 13, was on the streets with an apparent gang member at 3 A.M. when he was shot and killed. 

To appearances, Ma’Khia Bryant was about to stab someone with whom she was in a dispute. 

Anthony Thompson was shot and killed inside a Knoxville high school which has experienced an ungodly wave of gun violence in the past year, even before police were called to the scene on the day he was shot and killed.

Meanwhile, the Washington Post has spilled with headlines of late about the 12-year-old boy who was arrested for shooting the 13-year-old boy, but also about the pair of girls, 13 and 15, who were arrested and charged with felony murder in the death of a man whose car they carjacked through use of a stun gun.

These are all horrible stories about kids who seem to have been swallowed up by the ugly violence of the culture which surrounded them and which suffuses our repulsive "entertainment" industry. In these and in many other cases, we'd say the sanctity of childhood was under assault long before the police showed up.

Henning's subsequent comments about the shooting of Ma’Khia Bryant strike us as amazingly silly, but that has been the reliable norm in the past few days. We write today to call attention to the list of children she has compiled:

In short, here we go with the culling again! 

Henning lists five children who have been shot and killed by police officers this year. She seems to be defining "childhood" as age 17 or below. All five of the names she cites appear at the Washington Post's Fatal Force web site in the "Under 18" age group.

She claims to be upset about this. And yet, she omits these other names which appear in the Fatal Force listing:

Names the professor culled from the herd:
Peyton Ham, 16
Judson Albahm, 17
Farrah Rauch, 17

Peyton Ham was shot and killed just last week, just 50 miles from D.C.!

What explains the culling of those names? We'll offer a very strong guess:

According to the Fatal Force site, eight people under age 18 have been shot and killed by police officers so far this year.

The three children Henning omits are the three children who are "white." The five children whose names she lists are, according to the Post, two "black" kids, two Hispanic kids, and one kid "of Asian heritage."

She names the names of those five kids; the "white" kids had to go. It's hard to believe that anyone would ever behave in this truly remarkable way, but at present almost everyone is!

According to this Georgetown scholar, we have reason to be concerned about "the sanctity of American childhood." How about the sanctity of basic human values? How about the sanctity of everything people like the professor have always said they believe?

Why would Slate post an essay like this? We can't answer that question.

Does Georgetown know that its professors perform such acts of cleansing when they fashion their lists? We can't answer that either.

Regarding the gruesome strangeness of the culling this scholar performed, anthropologists tell us us this:

This is the way our brains are wired. Also, they always have been!

One small tiny point: The police officer chasing Adam Toledo that night would have had no apparent way to know how old he was.