Martin Preib versus the Innocence Industry

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An amazing article by Martin Preib, a Chicago cop who exposes the dark underbelly of the “innocence” industry, in which scores of law and journalism students and their professors resort to deception in their desire to play Atticus Finch to criminals who aren’t really wrongful convicted:

Wrongful conviction settlements are big business, but they are not always sensible. Chicago settles millions of dollars in cases where convicted offenders claim they were wrongfully convicted.

For a number of law firms, suing the city over wrongful convictions has become a kind of cottage industry. Inmates claim they were tortured and coerced into confessing. The offenders are freed from prison. Attorneys quickly initiate civil lawsuits against the city. Many people assume that a settlement signifies the police were culpable and had something to hide.

But this is not the truth in several key wrongful conviction cases, none more so than the Anthony Porter case, a double murder in 1982 in Washington Park on the South Side.

Preib shows how students and professors at Northwestern University and post-conviction lawyers didn’t even bother to interview the detectives involved in the conviction of Anthony Porter when they tried to exonerate Porter years later:

One common theme permeates the entire wrongful conviction movement: the police are crooked, willing to coerce confessions from the wrong man, willing to frame the wrong man, torture him, even. Police are often accused of racism in wrongful conviction cases, that they don’t care about African-American suspects or their communities. Many of these accusations were lobbed against the detectives in the Porter case, one of the most crucial wrongful conviction cases in the state’s history.

That Martin Preib could singlehandedly, with no resources, uncover more evidence than armies of well-connected, well-funded professors, students, and lawyers speaks volumes about the dynamics of post-conviction criminal justice activism.

The media repeats the claims of the Innocence Industry uncritically and dumbly parrots their nonsensical “statistics” about so-called “causes of wrongful conviction” — statistics and causes that are a pure fabrication.  If the Innocence Project were actually trying to create real wrongful conviction statistics, they would have to do several things they don’t do now — first and foremost contextualize their cases within the numerical universe of rightful convictions.

They would also have to stop inventing “causes of wrongful conviction” that highlight only one aspect of a case, often something minor or irrelevant to the conviction but that serves their ideological interests.

They would have to acknowledge that the most common “cause” of wrongful conviction is being a criminal and running with other criminals.  Lying for a criminal friend, being a non-DNA depositing co-conspirator in a murder that leaves no witness, dealing in stolen items from the crime, and letting your own brother go to prison in your place are all causes of wrongful conviction that you won’t find anywhere in the Innocence Project’s highly touted “statistics.”

Several of the Innocence Project’s most high-profile clients are serial rapists popped for the wrong crime BECAUSE they were committing similar crimes in the area or had done so elsewhere.  The media avoids mentioning this part of the story because they want to act out their own Atticus Finch drama.  Fabulist journalists go looking only for the story they want to hear, as Prieb demonstrates:

One wonders when journalism professors started teaching students to get only one side of a story. It turned out that, during the Innocence Project  investigation, the detectives say that neither Protess [head of the Innocence Project at Northwestern] nor his journalism students ever attempted to sit down with the detectives and listen to their account.

Finally, many Innocence Project clients were not actually innocent at all.

See here and here for examples of the misbehavior of activists wanting to spring guilty men to gratify their own self-regard.

I have repeatedly urged Innocence Project activists to use some of their vast resources and manpower to try to identify offenders who got away with murder and rape.  Merely saying this is a great way to get laughed at — or accused of racism, the movement’s eternal fallback pose.

The Martin Preibs of this world toil on their own in the shadows to correct grotesque injustices, as the defense bar and their media lackeys labor to spring anyone and everyone from prison, regardless of their crimes.

Imagine if someone made that into a movie.

Crossing Lines: What’s Wrong with the Wrongful Conviction Movement by Martin Preib

Martin Preib’s Amazon Page

 

 

The Daryle Edward Jones Case Grows Worse

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Yesterday, I posted about yet another heinous sex crime committed by yet another felon who should have been in prison but was granted leniency and was free on the streets.

The information I had yesterday was limited to what I could find in public incarceration records, but today the Athens (Georgia) newspaper has more details about Jones’ criminal history.

And they are damning, not only because he got out early for a murder he committed in 1994, but even after he got out early and immediately committed another crime, the state essentially passed on an opportunity to put him behind bars for that crime for a substantial period of time.

Here’s the story:

Jones was paroled in 2010 [for the 1994 murder], but he was quickly back in prison.

In August 2011 he was arrested on stalking and terroristic threat charges for having threatened to murder a woman, according to records. The arrest sent him back to prison for a parole violation but he was paroled again in October 2013.

Two months later, on Dec. 23, Jones was convicted for the 2011 stalking and terroristic threats charges and sentenced to 200 days of incarceration with six years of probation. He was given credit for time already served.

Jones has been treated to serial leniency, which is the default choice of our justice system nearly all the time.  In 1994, he was allowed to plead (presumably down from murder) to voluntary manslaughter, which put him back on the streets.  Then he was given a mere 200 days (with credit for time served, no days, actually) for stalking and terroristic threats committed in 2011.

These aren’t “nothing” sentences.  But they do reflect the normalization of reduced sentencing throughout the criminal justice system.  Academicians, the media, and leftists relentlessly accuse our justice system of being too harsh on offenders.  But exactly the opposite its true.  It would not have been too harsh to sentence Jones to life without parole for murder in 1994, but he got 20 years instead, and then he got released four years early, originally serving only 16 years for taking a life.   And while we don’t know all the details of the 2011 case, I doubt it would have been “harsh” at all to sentence him to something more than time served for stalking and threatening to kill a woman.

Serial leniency has now resulted in a 14-year old girl being kidnapped, raped and tortured:

 [L]ast Wednesday, Athens-Clarke County police said that Jones lured a 14-year-old girl into a vehicle then locked the doors so she could not escape.

He allegedly drove the girl to an isolated location where he pulled a gun and sexually assaulted her, police said.

Jones, of Oak Hill Drive, was arrested two days later on charges of rape, kidnapping, aggravated assault, aggravated child molestation and aggravated sodomy.

Chalk up another rape to the anti-incarceration activists who shill the fantasy that our prisons are stuffed with victims of harsh, unjustly long sentencing — “victims” who must be petted, celebrated, sympathized with, released early, and “re-entered” into society on our dime.  That little girl’s horrific ordeal is more blood on your hands.

 

Let Out Early for Voluntary Manslaughter, Now Accused of Kidnapping and Rape

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Here’s another one.

Another what?

Another offender who should have been in prison but was let out early, and some innocent child paid the price.

The Atlanta Journal-Constitution is reporting that Daryle Edward Jones kidnapped and raped a young girl in Athens, Georgia:

Jones, 41, has been charged with rape, aggravated assault, aggravated child molestation, aggravated sodomy and kidnapping in the case. He remained in the county jail Saturday afternoon.

Here’s what they did not report: Daryle Edward Jones was supposed to be in prison until April.  Or at least that is how long he would have served, had he served his entire previous sentence.  Which, of course, nobody ever does, but isn’t it nice to imagine that somebody, somewhere, even once, would serve all their damn time?

In April of 1994, Jones committed voluntary manslaughter.  It’s hard to know from the online records what he really did, but suffice to say that getting 20 years in 1994 was the maximum for that crime and serving nearly all of it was unusual, so I suspect at least one of two things:

  • The crime was particularly heinous and the voluntary manslaughter was offered only with an agreement to serve a long sentence.
  • Jones, who was 21 at the time, must have had a terrible juvenile record, likely sealed.

So Darlye Jones went to prison for voluntary manslaughter in April, 1995 (he’d probably had a year in jail before that) and got out June, 2010, fifteen years later.  Then he was back in prison from January, 2012 to October, 2013, possibly for a parole violation because no other crime is listed.  Four months after finally being released, he has committed a heinous kidnapping/rape.

What is there to learn from this?

Under-prosecution may be the problem.

My guess — and it’s just a guess — is that Jones had a prolific and violent criminal career before being put away at the age of 21.  Yet he was only charged with one crime, which is entirely typical, even today.  Contrary to what all liberals and all those Right on Crime Grover Norquist types and Reason libertarians believe, our criminal justice system is wildly lenient towards nearly all criminals and expends the resources to put away only a tiny fraction of people who commit even serious crimes.

And given his current crime and the severity of his previous sentence, he may have been a sex offender but the sex offense was not kept on the table for some reason.  He’s not in the sex offender registry, as far as I can tell.

There is troubling talk across the Right today about prosecutorial over-reach.  I consider such talk to be almost entirely anecdotal and wildly out of touch with reality in our criminal courts — and motivated in large part by Alex Jones and his ilk, who have it out for police in an utterly personal and unhinged way.

Yes, the Department of Justice in Washington and Eric Holder in particular are troubling, and Holder is openly contemptuous of the rule of law and treats victims of crime with contempt — except those who fit certain categories of so-called hate crime that he invented in 1999.  Holder is pro-criminal, anti-victim and almost entirely lawless, but Eric Holder does not represent law enforcement in the states.

The sort of leniency that lets a killer walk free to rape a child is what too often represents criminal justice in the states.  We need longer sentences and more law enforcement, not less of both.  How many times do we have to see stories like this?  Let’s talk about what the feds are up to, certainly.  But don’t conflate that with state courts where, especially in urban areas, crimes like burglary aren’t even being investigated, let alone prosecuted anymore, and prolific criminals still have most of their charges dropped against them every day.

Here is a terrific response by “David” to yet another anecdotal complaint about “over-prosecution” from the Right.  It is in response to this (uncharacteristically) lazy screed in what is usually an excellent source on crime policy, City Journal:

Before every reader of this article jumps on the “let’s bash prosecutors” bandwagon, the good professor’s thoughts warrant a bit of careful consideration. Professor Bhide is, after all, a PROFESSOR of law, not a practitioner. And his online list of accomplishments shows that he has never practiced criminal law at any time in his illustrious career. Indeed, his expertise lies more in the realm of business and, perhaps, economics. Having said this, Professor Bhede is correct to be outraged by Ms. Khobraghade’s arrest and the humiliating and inexcusable way she was treated while incarcerated. Professor Bhede is also correct when he expresses concern about the proliferation of federal criminal laws. And perhaps Professor Bhede is also on to something when he quotes the following from the ABA (though this organization is not particularly well-known for either its objectivity or its lack of bias): “‘Individual citizen behavior now potentially subject to federal criminal control has increased in astonishing proportions.’”

But the key words in the quote Professor Bhede uses from the ABA are “potentially subject”. For even though there are too many federal criminal laws, it has been my actual experience that the feds prosecute only a tiny fraction of the cases they could file. Additionally, the feds file ONLY when they are assured of victory (not the standard for filing a criminal charge, contrary to Eric Holder’s excuses to the contrary) and potential good press. Professor Bhede lists a number of activities that Congress has criminalized since our Constitution’s ratification. But the impetus for the “busybody Congresses” that pass these laws usually takes the form of busybody groups and individuals who believe this or that activity should be criminalized. Prohibition readily comes to mind. …

So for those who are ready to jump up and say, “Professor Bhide is absolutely correct! Federal prosecutors need to be reigned in!”, I would respond that too often these very same prosecutors do too little with regard to crimes that directly impact the safety and welfare of our society. And I say this because I spent almost 20 years as a state prosecutor, in a major metropolitan area, where I concentrated primarily on handling felony narcotics dealing and firearms offenses. (To those who would protest and say that I was part of the problem because I was part of the “War on Drugs”, I would respond as follows: Please go tell this to the little 75 or 80 year old woman who is afraid to go out on her front porch because a group of punks–usually armed–are slinging crack, coke, or meth in her neighborhood. This person lives in fear for her life every day. Tell her that the street in front of her house is not a war zone. She’ll say you’re wrong.) Very little assistance was provided prosecuting these crimes by any of the U.S. Attorneys and their staffs in the city where I worked. I don’t know what, exactly, were the priorities of our resident U.S. Attorneys (several of them came and went during my time as a deputy prosecutor), but I do know that they couldn’t be bothered to help make our city’s streets and outlying areas safer. With the laws available to them, U.S. Attorneys can do a lot to put really bad people out of commission for very long periods of time. But if a certain crime (or group of crimes) aren’t on some important politician’s radar, well, such crimes won’t be prosecuted by a U.S. Attorney. …

Too many laws? Perhaps. Not enough use of many of the laws already in existence? Yes. …

 . . . read the whole thing here 

 

I Will Be on Cliff Kincaid’s Roku Show Wednesday Night Talking About Immigration . . .

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. . . the plight of American workers, and why Republicans and Libertarians don’t seem to care.

Who’s with us

Who’s against us

Who’s hiding behind trees pretending they have “no position at all”

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Tune in to the show on the America’s Survival website at 9:00 or on Roku at the America’s Survival channel.  Writes Cliff:

. . . watch it live on our homepage on Wednesday night at 9:pm Eastern www.usasurvival.org by clicking on the Roku image on the right side. 

 

On Adria Sauceda’s Murder

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Thanks to a commenter for saying what needs to be said about Adria’s murder:

“I’m Mexican, I live in Mexico and I don’t understand why the inmates’ families want mercy when they didn’t show any with their victims. They took away their lives, they took away all their dreams and hopes. They should be grateful they are going to die via lethal injection, not in a bizarre way their victims did.”

Heartbreaking photos of the child:

And the young woman, before she died:

And her parent’s hands, holding her:

 

Common Core: It Will Take A Village to Fight Their Village

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Recently, anti-Common Core activists in Florida and Georgia (and other states) were treated to the nugatory charms of the “listening tour.”  State education officials carefully concealed the piles of crumpled twenties that Bill Gates shoved in their knickers and turned out to quote listen to the public unquote.

 

In other words, they pretended to give opponents of Common Core little snippets of time to speak on a vast, all-encompassing education reform that they, the elected officials in charge of education policy, have been laundering like illicit meth profits behind closed doors for years.  And so of course the activists sounded outraged and often emotional: how on earth do you address a sweeping, transformative, mostly-concealed program that touches every aspect of the education system and have been foisted on the public through backdoor methods we still only barely understand — all in three minutes or less?

The real objective of the listening tour, of course, was to shut up opposition to Common Core by claiming they have listened to us and heard what we had to say so they can get back to doing politics without any more interference from the little people.  I’m not saying that all the officials sitting on the dais acted that way.  If you know your elected official, then you can gauge the spirit in which he or she participated.  And frankly, the only way to even register our opposition to Common Core is to turn out for such events.

That’s why it is so important to get to know your elected official and give them a chance to prove themselves to you.

Bad politics exist everywhere, but good politics are usually local politics.

The lesson of the listening tour is that we will need to work together better in the future if we are going to be effective against a highly-coordinated coalition made up of wealthy foundations, professional poverty activists, elected officials, education bureaucrats, ed school professors, PBS, Chamber of Commerce boosters, and teacher’s unions.

We have taken on a very large task: we are demonstrating the audacity of asking an entire bureaucracy to behave as if it actually works for the people.  So as they’re wiping the tears of mirth from their eyes, we need to be ready with a well-coordinated offense.  For this fight, we need parents, taxpayers, our own education professors, home-schoolers, retired teachers, researchers, lobbyists, organizers, and, most importantly, effective foot soldiers in every corner of every state.

It will take a village to take our villages back.  For some reason this makes me think of the fight scene in Anchorman (the first one, not the highly disappointing sequel).  Remember, PBS were the bad guys in that, too.

Listening tours are dog-and-pony shows that always entail a certain measure of showmanship and deception.  How could we have done better, with just three minutes each to speak?  If we had coalitions in place, it would have been easier to meet beforehand to coordinate a series of responses — small pieces adding up to a larger response.  A coalition also commands more media attention, and with that we could issue press releases in response to the listening tour format itself.  The education bureaucracy does not want to be put in the position of having to fight on an even playing field — this is why they have been resistant to agreeing to public debates while presenting the “listening tour” they control as their solution for public input.

Like the fight scene in Anchorman, the Common Core fight is a fight among interested parties — the public is largely sitting this one out.  Maybe they’re traumatized by childhood memories of WholeLanguage learning or just too busy working that second job to pay for somebody else’s healthcare — I don’t know.  But the Common Core advocates have made this a difficult fight by making the Common Core materials themselves difficult, if not impossible to access, and there are only so many hours in the day.  That’s another reason to put some energy into working together more efficiently.

Despite being a veteran of many public hearings, I came away from the Common Core listening tour surprised by the degree of contempt some (not all) elected officials involved felt comfortable heaping on their audiences . . . also known as their constituents . . . also known as their employers.  We are facing a situation the ancient Greeks referred to as catching your elected official with his hand stuck in the cookie jar, so feelings are understandably running high.  But that is no excuse for some of the behavior I witnessed.

In Dawsonville, Georgia, State Representative Brooks Coleman (R – 97), Chairman of the House Education Committee, set a particularly dismissive, hectoring tone.

And that was before he began grabbing people by the arms and berating them.

At a meeting that started in the evening after most attendees had clocked a day of work, Coleman played every time-wasting, status-asserting game in the book.  He delayed the meeting to indulge in obsequious, long-winded praise for the public college officials who gave him use of a school auditorium (in other words, state employees who work for us opened up a room that belongs to us, for our use).  To their credit, the officials looked embarrassed at Coleman’s faux fervent gratitude.  Then, he could barely contain his ire throughout the event.  Afterwards, as he worked the crowd, he actually grabbed my arm and shook it while hissing that I was wrong about Georgia accepting Gates funding to implement Common Core.

Of course, I was right and he was wrong.  What’s more interesting is that we both knew it, yet he hung onto my arm and stuck with the lie, too.

Prove it, he said.

I just did.  Again.

Moments like these can tell you everything you need to know about a political fight.  Here are some of the things I observed:

  • They know the gig is up, and sunlight is pouring in.  Both Brooks Coleman and I knew that we were standing in an auditorium built with my tax dollars, at an event subsidized by my tax dollars, and that he, an elected official paid with my tax dollars, was lying to me about money the state Department of Education had received from an unelected, unaccountable third party: Bill Gates.
  •  At that moment, Coleman felt indebted to Bill Gates in ways that he does not feel indebted to the actual citizens and taxpayers of Georgia — the people he is legally sworn to represent and is being paid to represent.  Coleman felt indebted enough to Gates to lie to hide the fact that Gates and his cohort are calling the shots within our education system.
  • Coleman keeps saying — and his counterparts in Florida say the same — that opponents of Common Core don’t know what the real curriculum looks like.  This is true — because they are doing everything in their power to keep the public from perusing it.  So we should follow his lead: the first thing we should do is demand access to all curricular materials.  Then we can have the debate about what is being taught in the schools that should have preceded the adoption of Common Core in the first place.  Thanks, Brooks.  Great idea.
  • Elsewhere, Coleman fibbed to the incurious mouthpieces who pretend to be political reporters at the Atlanta Journal Constitution.  To the mouthpieces, he said that the public at the speaking tours had delivered the following message to him: “Stick with the national set of academic standards called Common Core, superintendents, teachers and parents have told them.”  Of course this is not true.  The superintendents and teachers  may have said so, but during them time set aside for the public to comment, the attendees were overwhelmingly anti-Common Core.

    Coleman also told the story that Common Core was actually the invention of southern governors — and he was in on it — and so, he scolded, we don’t know what we’re talking about when we oppose it and talk about involvement by the federal government.  ”Bet’cha didn’t know that” he challenged.  Since Mr. Coleman did not listen to my response that night, let me offer it again here:  Yes, I do know about the educational standards envisioned by the southern governors.  I also know about E.D. Hirsh’s admirable efforts to introduce dense, traditional content in K – 12 classrooms in New York City, efforts which are similarly cited as inspiring Common Core.

    But there’s a catch.  Neither the southern governors’ nor E.D. Hirsch’s vision are much in evidence in Common Core today.  They may have had a good idea at one time, but that good idea is not the thing that plops into your child’s hands from the pricey, jargon-laden textbook program firing up on Bill Gates’ donated tablets.

    The southern governors invented the idea that became Common Core.  That doesn’t make the current boondoggle more palatable: it just makes them more culpable for it.  Culpable for the Boondoggle is my idea for a slogan for this movement, by the way, but I’m flexible about that.

    So the listening tours were a colossal waste of time.  That was a feature, not a bug: they wasted your time and put you down and wore you out, and when you didn’t fall in line anyway, they simply lied to the media about what you said, and the media broadcast their lies for them.  Oh, and they made certain everyone saw the armed security guards at the entrances so they could make it seem as if we were a dangerous bunch.  That’s a strategy too.

    You still have to go back if there is another listening tour.  Just know what they’re going to pull this time, and be ready.

    The really exciting thing about the Common Core listening tours was that people showed up who don’t even participate in the anti-Common Core movement, and they had interesting arguments against Common Core.  There were professors of education and parents and retired teachers and principals.  No matter how hard the media works to make the movement seem like a fringe group, they are failing because that is a lie, too.  They will keep trying, and they will keep failing.

    Now is the time for us to assess who is with us and what we have to offer to each other.  In Florida, the Florida Stop Common Core Coalition is holding a coalition-building meeting on January 11.  If a representative from your group wants to attend — FSCCC is a coalition of groups, not individuals — contact Chrissy Blevio at their website, or contact this blog, tinatrent2@yahoo.com.  I will be running the training.

    Even if you aren’t in Florida, read Dr. Karen Effram’s essential analyses of Common Core legislation.  If you are in Georgia, the good ladies at the Educational Freedom Coalition are doing amazing work (order their bookmarks), as is Jane Robbins from the American Principles Project; Mary Grabar at Dissident Prof, and researcher extraordinaire Robin Eubanks at Invisible Serfs Collar – buy her book, Credentialed to Destroy:

    The Heritage Foundation, Eagle Forum, and Concerned Women for America are on board, along with hundreds of Tea Party and 9/12 groups around the country.

    Mary Grabar has a book review for Terrence Moore's The Story Killers out in the Selous Foundation magazine.  She writes:

    Every concerned parent, grandparent, and citizen should read this, for Moore cuts through the obfuscation to reveal Common Core as “a complete consolidation and nationalization of a public education in America.” It’s the final step in a 50-year process of the progressive takeover of education.

    I concur: it’s an amazing book.  Read Mary’s review, and check out the Selous Foundation’s other education reports.

    They’ve had fifty years to break education: we’ve had just a few months to begin to figure this thing out.  We’re at the beginning of a long fight to bring back proven, traditional education.  They’re at the end of the time during which they thought they could get away with anything quietly.  The first public confrontation — the “listening” tours — gave us a lot of ammunition.  We know their excuses and we know what they think of us . . . and of themselves.  Read The Story Killers, get with a group, and get ready for the session.  This fight has just begun.

     

Why Build Permanent Coalitions to Fight the Common Core? Because This Fight is Going to be a Long One.

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The fight against Common Core is not going to end with the defeat of Common Core.

Too much damage has been done to education.  The damage emanates from the education schools, which were taken over by radicals back in the 1960′s and then became the stomping grounds for the most intellectually dim and narcissistic domestic terrorists of that era — people like Bill Ayers.    It was clever of the bomb-throwers to pack up their dynamite and turn to their daddies’ rolodexes to score jobs training future teachers, but they alone did not radicalize teacher education, of course.  It was the work of many hands.

I was at a Tea Party meeting in Manatee County and a retired teacher (you meet many retired teachers in the Tea Party) told me an interesting story: when she started in education, the college students who were training to become teachers were among the most conservative students on campuses. A few years later, they had become the most radical.  What happened?   For one thing, the end of the war in Vietnam coincided with the demise of the two-parent household among the poor — so, as activists flocked to education schools looking for new causes, K – 12 classrooms were becoming more chaotic and unstable because of broken homes.  It was a perfect storm.

That was more than forty years ago.

It is hard to quantify the harm that has been done to the discipline of teaching teachers in just a few generations.  Like everything else in higher education, radicalism protected by tenure grows exponentially, blotting out other possibilities for students and teachers, and many teaching schools are now largely irredeemable.  Today, a professor of education who so much as deigns to correct the grammar of his graduate students can face violent shaming and forced re-education at their hands, with full cooperation by the administration.  Few education professors remain who disapprove of such behavior, and fewer still are courageous enough to oppose it out loud.

Radicalism has been rendered so normative in higher education that the Maoist theories of Paulo Friere rank among the most-assigned readings for aspiring teachers throughout the United States.  To get a sense of the crisis in teaching teachers, read this 2009 essay about Paolo Friere and teacher’s colleges, by Sol Stern:

Since the publication of the English edition in 1970, Pedagogy of the Oppressed has achieved near-iconic status in America’s teacher-training programs. In 2003, David Steiner and Susan Rozen published a study examining the curricula of 16 schools of education—14 of them among the top-ranked institutions in the country, according to U.S. News and World Report—and found that Pedagogy of the Oppressed was one of the most frequently assigned texts in their philosophy of education courses. These course assignments are undoubtedly part of the reason that, according to the publisher, almost 1 million copies have sold, a remarkable number for a book in the education field.

The odd thing is that Freire’s magnum opus isn’t, in the end, abouteducation—certainly not the education of children. Pedagogy of the Oppressed mentions none of the issues that troubled education reformers throughout the twentieth century: testing, standards, curriculum, the role of parents, how to organize schools, what subjects should be taught in various grades, how best to train teachers, the most effective way of teaching disadvantaged students. This ed-school bestseller is, instead, a utopian political tract calling for the overthrow of capitalist hegemony and the creation of classless societies. Teachers who adopt its pernicious ideas risk harming their students—and ironically, their most disadvantaged students will suffer the most.

Also ironic?  Sol Stern himself, who with E.D. Hirsh was a strong advocate for returning to the teaching of traditional texts in classrooms, has come out as a staunch defender of Common Core, which he claims will achieve that goal.  Stern is technically right that Common Core standards were first conceived as a way to introduce more traditional content in classrooms that had long ago ceased to teach anything resembling traditional content.  But it is a measure of the damage that has been done to schools of education that Stern’s good intentions gave rise to the Common Core boondoggle we’re dealing with today.  It is also a shame that Stern himself is not able to see this — likely because he was given some latitude under Bloomberg to shape the development of Common Core standards for New York City, so he could develop materials that remain somewhat true to his original vision.

In the rest of the nation, we are not so lucky.  The lesson for the rest of us is that any reform filtered through the highly radical waters of the teaching schools will emerge highly radicalized.  And any reform that concentrates power in the hands of the Department of Education and the teacher-training establishment will only amp up the influence of their Frierian-Marxist, anti-western claptrap.  Common Core is nothing new under the sun: it is merely a non-optional centralized delivery system for all the bad ideas that were planted before it.

The anti-Common Core activists are coming to this fight in the 11th hour.  There is a great deal we must learn about the depth of the crisis in education schools and the maze-like education bureaucracy.

The only solution to the crisis in teaching schools is to create alternative institutions.  Conservative colleges like Hillsdale and Patrick Henry need to start franchising schools of education.  The only solution for the crisis in K – 12 education is to fight against Common Core, defeat it, then keep fighting.  We need to create permanent partnerships to start taking back K – 12 education, piece by piece.  No matter what you think of Sol Stern’s current stance on the Common Core, read his article about Paolo Friere and the education establishment: these are the stakes of the long-term battle to come.

An Academic Friend, See Thru Edu, and a Great Book on Great Books and the Common Core

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The subtitle for this blog is:   Academia.  Crime.  Politics.

It has been pointed out to me on several occasions that the slogan is redundant.  I agree.

But there are still a few people in academia who stand up to the gaseous tyrants who make up ever-larger portions of the tenured class.  Bob Paquette of Hamilton College is one of them.  Dr. Paquette is a much-respected historian of slavery, with decades of accolades for his work.  But when he spoke out in defense of teaching Western Civilization and against the unhinged radicalization of academic programs at his college, he found himself on the receiving end of the usual, intellectually incoherent backlash.

How unhinged and intellectually incoherent?  The details are the stuff of vaudevillian humor:

So a Weather Underground terrorist, Ward Churchill, and a Raelian sex cult cloning scientist walk into a faculty lounge in upstate New York . . .

Read the rest here.

Paquette blogs at the website See Thru Edu, which is an essential resource on higher education for conservatives.  He takes the Tea Party movement seriously (like few in academia).  I want to point readers to two recent blog posts he wrote, one about the treatment of Sarah Palin, and this essay, which I encourage you to read and share with anyone who has or will have children attending college:

How Our Universities Breed Intolerance

[T]he Tea Party … have elicited a torrent of denunciation on elite college campuses and have spurred restless nights for the barons of both the Republican and Democratic parties. [They] have an independent, populist, and anti-elitist bent.  No matter who is manning the presidential helm, they have concluded, the country they love remains tossing and turning in waters ever more dangerous to them and to their traditional values, which they once thought were mainstream.  They see themselves being squeezed in a vise in which the turning device, attached to the upper clamp, manufactures the energy for the lower clamp to screw from below. In their search for a moral social order, they feel increasingly betrayed by many of the country’s most important institutions:  government, churches, unions, and schools.

… [Tea Partiers] represent legions far more diverse than your typical university faculty. They wear blue collars as well as white collars, populate northern and southern climes, and collectively groan under growing burdens of taxes and statist regulation.

The essay offers advice to parents of college-bound students, with more to come in future work:

Take this advice.  The brand of elite colleges is overrated and has more to do with the screening process of able admissions officers than the value-added during four years of matriculation.  Many of the chaired professors at elite universities have little intensive contact with undergraduates. Few bear the onerous tasks of intensively grading exams and papers. Outstanding teachers exist at every major institution of higher education in the country.  The trick is locating them. For that you need an insider. A professor whom you can trust to direct your son or daughter to the best, that is the most knowledgeable, demanding, and nurturing professors in their fields, those willing to spend time with serious students, is worth his weight in Ivy-League tuition dollars.

With its focus on higher education, See Thru Edu does not often discuss Common Core.  But Mary Grabar of Dissident Prof has posted there, and she recently introduced me an amazing new book: Terrence Moore’s The Story-Killers.  I’m only one chapter into it, but I can’t recommend it highly enough, as both a great read about the importance of literature instruction and a devastating, substantive critique of contemporary education reforms.

Moore is a teacher (and former Marine) — if you’re going to read one book about Common Core, this is it.

And if you’re in Atlanta area, Terrence Moore is coming to Gainesville on January 13 to speak with Jane Robbins of the American Principles Project and State Senator William Ligon in an event sponsored by the Georgia Concerned Women for America.

The fight has only just begun.

Political Science’s Hateful Pseudoscience: Harvard’s Theda Skocpol Wants The Tea Party to Stop Participating in Politics

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Unlike literature professors, whose impenetrable secret twin languages and embarrassing fixation on their own genitals tend to keep them off the editorial pages, political scientists are always with us, especially during elections, when they slap on their wizard hats to make predictions that range from the pseudo-wise (I predict there will be . . . an election on November 7) to the pseudo-scholarly (Obama is magic!).

Political science just keeps getting worse as the last holdouts from a generation that at least feigned objectivity die off and get replaced by ideologues who are so far removed from objectivity that they’re feigning scholarship instead.

Nowhere is this tendency more obvious than in the growing field of Tea Party Studies.  No, they don’t call it that, but they might just have to invent a name to tell the paramedics.  Tenured political scientist types contemplating this citizen participation movement become so unhinged that their normally pseudo-scientific discourse spins off into something that virtually needs to be translated back into English from banshee.  All the shrieking is surely tough on those last five unreconstructed poly-sci professors cowering at the end of the hall, longing for the days when they could quietly feed voter lists into the Harwell Dekatron.

I’ve been trying to read the growing crop of academic Tea Party books alongside the growing crop of academic Occupy books, but it’s like watching a coven try to stab their mothers to death while using a Ouija Board to wake up the chicken they had for dinner last week.  One would think, based solely on evidence from the library shelf, that the many, many millions of highly constructive participants in the Occupy movement managed to cure cancer using only the consensus model of decision-making while the two dozen or so Tea Partiers were busy out back burning tires and forcing the womenfolk to mend their pointy hoods for them.  And I realize that last bit is not funny, but it is a not-inaccurate description of what academicians think about the Tea Party: they think (to use the word loosely) that Tea Partiers are murderous, calculating-yet-stupid racists who need to proactively be wiped from the earth, or at least the voter rolls, if ever American politics can be made to emanate goodness and light again.

Take, for example, this essay by the Victor S. Thomas Professor of Government and Sociology at Harvard University, Theda Skocpol.  There’s a lot to laugh at, from Ms. Skopol’s breathless Cosmo style of describing her own scholarship (she deploys a “full panoply of research”) to her bizarre euphemism for virtue: “active government.”  Then there’s her evidence for proving that the Tea Party is stupid: Tea Party members, she tells us breathlessly, sometimes vote for different people during primaries:

During the last election cycle, no far-right candidate ever consolidated sustained grassroots Tea Party support, as those voters hopped from Rick Perry to Herman Cain to Newt Gingrich to Rick Santorum.

For those of you unschooled in the full panoply of the academic method, what Skocpol is saying here is that Tea Partiers are so stupid that they actually hold differences of opinion, unlike Democrats, who are demonstrating only intellectual prowess when they, say, dump Hillary Clinton in the 11th hour because Barack Obama’s handlers managed to paint a big R on her forehead while his aides snapped photos of themselves drunkenly fake-raping a cardboard cutout of the former First Lady.

Once you get the hang of the theoretical framework (Democrats good: Conservatives eeevil; Tea Party rrracist), the rest of Skopol’s work isn’t hard to grasp — because there isn’t any of it.  It also can’t be very hard to write, which at least makes her efficient at playing faux populist while carrying water for the insider trading billionaires, hedge fund owners, real estate developers, trust fund babies and other secretive Democracy Alliance types who pay her and her fellow intellectuals to criticize the Tea Party . . . by accusing them of being dupes for secretive billionaires, hedge fund owners, real estate developers, and trust fund babies.

Out here in the non-academic air, such behavior is called psychological projection, or just dishonesty, but in academia it goes by the name of civic engagement, and Ms. Skopol is one of the most civic engagers around, being director of the Scholars Strategy Network, which describes itself as “a federated membership association for civically engaged scholars at colleges and universities across the United States.”  It is really a multi-campus-based propaganda tool for the Democratic Party.

The practice of political science was bad enough when its confidence men merely combined the calculated dishonesty of political operatives with the logorrhea of the intellectual class.  But now that academia has tipped to full-throttle leftism, it has grown both more shrill and less intelligent, even at its own invented games.  Ms. Skocpol actually presents, as evidence of Tea Party malfeasance, the fact that Tea Parties sometimes produce voter’s guides.  The voter’s guide is an entirely ordinary political tool used, of course, by all political parties, but in the hands of the Tea Party it becomes, to Skocpol, a de facto weapon of malevolence:

[V]arious right-wing tracking organizations … keep close count of where each legislator stands on “key votes”—including even votes on amendments and the tiniest details of parliamentary procedure, the kind of votes that legislative leaders used to orchestrate in the dark.

Horrors.  The Tea Party is so actually civically engaged that its members want to know how congressional voting works and to share that knowledge with others.  How dare they question the totemic rituals performed by our Capitol Hill Overlords.  This sort of thing would be funny if it were not disturbing that an endowed Chair at Harvard would argue that citizens should not look too closely at politics — and that she does so in the name of civic engagement.

But the kicker is this: Skocpol doesn’t just think the Tea Party is full of stupid people.  She wrote the editorial in question in order to dumb down her “research” to make it accessible to the little people on her own side, the ones who agree with her politics.  That is the mission of the Scholars Strategy Network, though of course they put it differently on their homepage.  It is a measure of how little she thinks of the little people of the Left that she doesn’t admit to them that Scholars Strategy Network itself promotes political report cards as she denounces the Tea Party for using political report cards.

And so Theda Skocpol efficiently conflates all the magical beliefs driving political science today: if the Right does something like voting, it’s bad; if the Left does anything, it’s noble — and — if political scientists are doing it, it’s obviously above reproach.

 

Case Update: Frederick Lee Gude’s three murders

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Recently, William Steele wrote to this blog asking about the latest murder conviction involving Frederick Gude, who killed Mr. Steele’s father in southeast Atlanta (my old neighborhood) in 1969.  Gude received a life sentence for that crime but walked out of prison a mere eight years later — eight years for taking a life.  He was sent up again in 1983, got out again, then killed a second time.  For that “voluntary manslaughter,” Gude was sentenced to five years.  He  walked out of prison for a third time in September 2003, then four months later he stabbed his girlfriend to death with an ice pick.  Along the way, he accumulated the usual, heinous, un-prosecuted and under-prosecuted acts of domestic violence, and other serious crimes.  Earlier this year, AJC reporter Steve Visser interviewed Gude’s adult daughter, a Marine Lieutenant Colonel who said this of her father:

“There are some people who shouldn’t walk amongst us” [she said] … “This is his third killing. This is the third one that we know of” … [S]he knew her father as a child – when he wasn’t in prison – but her mother quickly left him behind after he was released from prison the first time. He used to beat her mother and he stabbed at least one relative. Violence, she said, was her father’s defining characteristic.  “Some people kill in the heat of moment,” the Marine said. “For him, every moment is the heat of the moment, if you say something he doesn’t like.”

Frederick Gude: Three-Time Killer

Run-of-the-mill criminals don’t attract elite legal help, but once you’ve accumulated a body count like Mr. Gude’s, and capital punishment is on the table, the suits show up.  For his latest murder defense, Gude secured Atlanta defense attorney Thomas West (on the taxpayer’s dime, undoubtedly).

Thomas West: Not Atticus Finch

Mr. West is one of those defense attorneys who market themselves as civil rights heroes with the assistance of corrupted civil rights groups like the once-storied Southern Christian Leadership Council(SCLC), which long ago stopped doing anything but stealing their donations, accusing each other of stealing, and giving “Drum Major” awards to defense attorneys like West who specialize in returning brute killers back to the communities they victimized before and will victimize again.

For their part, Mr. West and his defense bar peers may fancy themselves modern-day Atticus Finches, but they sure don’t bill in croker-sacks of turnip greens, as the fictional Finch did while helping poor white and black sharecroppers avoid entailment, malnutrition, and lynching.

Today’s defense attorneys deploy sleazy technicalities to help serial predators escape consequences while bleeding taxpayers dry.  Or, as West puts it on his website:

Again and again, the law firm is complimented for the intense attention it pays to each detail of a client’s case, and its willingness to explore every legal angle in order to come up with the best possible outcome for each client.

In client Gude’s case, Thomas West obstructed justice for nine years, at a cost of many hundreds of thousands of dollars to taxpayers (and into his pocket).  Of course, it takes a village to really obstruct justice, and West had help from many quarters, including Superior Court Judge Thelma Wyatt Cummings Moore, who simply didn’t bother to set a trial date as witnesses died and victims hung in limbo.  See here for my previous post on West’s manipulations of the justice system on behalf of Frederick Gude.  That was nearly five years ago, and the case just resolved in 2013.

By holding the justice system hostage with a blizzard of pretrial motions on behalf of Frederick Gude, Thomas West finally succeeded in getting Fulton County District Attorney Paul Howard to take capital punishment off the table, as Steve Visser reported last February:

District Attorney Paul Howard, who said Gude’s age persuaded him to drop the death penalty request after Gude turned 69 in July, contended that the lengthy wait not only undermined the case, but also cheated the victim’s family and taxpayers. Two key eye witnesses died while awaiting the trial. By the calculation used by the sheriff’s office, housing Gude cost more than a quarter of a million dollars.

“They have a legitimate question to ask Fulton County about why are you taking so long to dispense justice,” Howard said. “This will make the third person he has killed in our county and he is allowed to sit in jail for nine years. It is unconscionable.”

Also unconscionable?  Thomas West’s vicious remarks belittling the victim of Gude’s latest crime.  West urged the court to go easy on his client, explaining that Gude had done nothing “heinous” because he just stabbed a woman to death with an icepick. Gude’s crime wasn’t a hate crime, you see, because he picked a woman to chop away at forty times (and left her 94-year old aunt locked in a bathroom near the body, where the elderly woman nearly froze to death, but hey, who’s counting?).

Here is West’s explanation for not considering icepick murder + attempted murder heinous:

“We contended it was cruel and unusual to seek the death penalty in a case where you are just accused of killing your girlfriend and not something more heinous. … In the past, the district attorney has not sought the death penalty in these circumstances.”

“Just killing your girlfriend.”  ”Not something more heinous.”  Some people’s lives are just more valuable than other people’s lives.  A murder with the right mix of victim and offender will bring out the activists and the mayor marching around all puffed up with candles in little paper cups.  But Gude killed politically insignificant humans using non-heinous icepick torture, so, no heartfelt politician parades for his victims.

Yet despite West’s claim that the murder wasn’t heinous, he acknowledged that the crime scene photos of Gude’s last victim presented some “visual issues” that might have convinced even Fulton County jurors to vote for death.

Visual Issues.  Is there any limit to the degradation this man heaps on innocent victims of crime?

Thomas West was enabled in his serial lies about Frederick Gude’s murders by a criminal justice system that has spent sixty years institutionalizing such lies.  Words like heinous and hate have been warped beyond recognition in the criminal courts.  Unlike criminal investigations and trials in other western nations, our courts have become mechanisms for excluding facts, instead of seeking and weighing them.  Criminal justice is treated like a game, instead of the fullest pursuit of truth.  And so people like Frederick Gude and Thomas West game the system over and over again, with nary a peep from the tens of thousands of law professors and judges who are supposed to address such travesties.

When the justice system is in such institutionalized disarray that a murder trial can be delayed for nine years while attorneys file motions quarreling about how many thrusts of the icepick count as heinous, or a child rape trial can be delayed for more than a decade while Bob Barr and his peers argue about whether a professional fantasy role-player’s pretend illnesses can get him cut loose from the ankle-bracelet that is keeping him from raping more little boys, it’s time to start talking about whether the problem is something other than over-incarceration.

The worst part, besides the denial of justice, is that we actually pay these jerks to make such arguments.

Appallingly, Mr. West now uses his defense of Frederick Lee Gude as an advertising tool, featuring Gude’s case prominently on his website.  Gude will probably start appealing to be released early due to his advanced age any day now, which likely means more money in Thomas West’s pockets.  Nice little justice system we’ve got here.
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If anyone has information about Frederick Gude’s trial or his other crimes, please contact this blog.  Identities must be confirmed but will be kept anonymous.