RealClearInvestigations' Picks of the Week
RealClearInvestigations' Picks of the Week
Jan. 27 to Feb. 2
Roland G. Fryer Jr. was the youngest African-American to achieve tenure at Harvard. He received a MacArthur “genius” grant and won the most prestigious award for a young American economist. Then his career was suddenly sidetracked when he was accused of fostering a work environment hostile to women, one filled with sexual talk and bullying.
In an article for RealClearInvestigations, Stuart Taylor Jr., raises questions about Harvard’s investigation of those claims – and a 2,600-word New York Times article about the case – that “have made a near-pariah of” Fryer, “a man born into poverty who is still much admired among many former female and male subordinates and other people who know him well – and who see the attacks on him as tinged with racism and '#MeToo' overreaction.”
Complicating matters is Fryer's past sin against political correctness: He published research that found no racial bias in officer-involved shootings, even though he found strong bias in “lower-level uses of force”.
The [Harvard] report seems subtly and skillfully biased against a man whom [the Office for Dispute Resolution] branded a sexual harasser for (among other things) the kind of off-color jokes and teasing of both male and female subordinates that more risk-averse bosses avoid. But at least it made clear that Fryer, 41, has never been accused of making a pass at a subordinate or asking for sex. … The entire Times article was a harsh and one-sided portrayal of a man who is by all accounts a tough and demanding boss – for male and female subordinates alike – but who makes a good case that he was unaware that four of the many women who have worked for him were offended by his off-color humor.
Taylor also suggests this case may be part of an insidious pattern on many American campuses, in which such cases “tend to go against accused males, especially black males. The ‘believe the woman' rallying cry drowns out facts, evidence, and due process.”
The Trump Investigations: Top Articles
Trump Jr.'s Mysterious Calls Weren't With His Father, CNN
Analysis: Roger Stone Case Is Clown Show, Not Conspiracy, National Review
Officials Rejected Kushner Clearance but Were Overruled, NBC News
Did FBI Ignore Tip Chinese Penetrated Clinton's Email?, Epoch Times
Nellie Ohr Researched Trump's Kids for Fusion GPS, Daily Caller
Adelsons Give $500,000 for Defense Costs vs. Mueller, Politico
Other Noteworthy Articles and Series
South Carolina: How Cops Profit Seizing Blacks' Property
The Greenville News calls it the first “comprehensive forfeiture investigation" of a U.S. state. It found that South Carolina police are "systematically seizing cash and property – many times from people who aren’t guilty of a crime – netting millions of dollars each year." Black men are overwhelmingly the targets; although they are 13 percent of the state’s population, they represent 65 percent of all citizens targeted for civil forfeiture.
The paper adds:
Officers gather in places like Spartanburg County for contests with trophies to see who can make the largest or most seizures during highway blitzes. They earn hats, mementos and free dinners, and agencies that participate take home a cut of the forfeiture proceeds. … That money adds up. Over three years, law enforcement agencies seized more than $17 million, our investigation shows.”
One Lawyer, 194 Felony Cases and No Time
New York Times
It's estimated that Jack Talaska, a lawyer for the poor in Lafayette, Louisiana, would have to do the work of five full-time attorneys to adequately represent his clients. On April 17, 2017, he had 194 felony cases on his plate, including a few where his clients were facing life without parole. What’s more, at least two dozen lawyers in Louisiana had even bigger case loads, including one handling 413 cases. The numbers alone might seem to violate the Constitution. Poor defendants in the United States have the right to a competent lawyer. But there has never been any guarantee that their lawyers would have enough time to handle their cases.
Ex-U.S. Spies: We Hacked for Arab Emirates
More than a dozen former U.S. national security analysts were part of a clandestine team called Project Raven that helped the United Arab Emirates engage in surveillance of other governments, militants and human rights advocates critical of the monarchy. Their targets also included American citizens. This story “reveals how former U.S. government hackers have employed state-of-the-art cyber-espionage tools on behalf of a foreign intelligence service.”
Calif. Utility Gear Sparked 2,000+ Fires in Three and a Half Years
Los Angeles Times
Equipment owned by California’s three largest utilities ignited more than 2,000 fires in three and a half years — a period in which state regulators cited and fined the companies nine times for electrical safety violations. How the state regulates utilities is under growing scrutiny after unprecedented wildfires suspected to have been caused by power lines and other utility equipment -- blazes that have destroyed thousands of homes and killed dozens of people.
Colleges Snoop on Applicants' Clicks in Weighing Admissions
Wall Street Journal
Some colleges, in an effort to sort through a growing number of applications, are quietly tracking prospective students’ online interaction with the schools in deciding whom to admit. Enrollment officers at some schools know down to the second when prospective students opened an email from the school, how long they spent reading it and whether they clicked through to any links. Gregory Eichhorn, vice president for admissions at Quinnipiac College in Hamden, Conn., said the technological sophistication of the analysis has ramped up considerably. “If we ask someone for an interview, we look at how they respond, how quickly they respond or if they don’t respond at all,” said Mr. Eichhorn. “It helps us make a decision.”
Trump Posts Altered Pics That Make Him Look Thinner
In recent months, President Trump’s official Facebook and Instagram accounts have published photos of him manipulated to make him look thinner. If this happened only once you might be able to chalk it up as an accident. But Gizmodo has discovered at least three different retouched photos on President Trump’s social media pages that have been published since October 2018.
Selfie Dysmorphia Is Driving People to Seek Surgery
Snapchat and other social media apps include filters that allow users to improve the way they look in pictures. This is a boon for plastic surgeons as people request procedures that will help them resemble their digital image. The medical journal JAMA Facial Plastic Surgery suggested that filtered images’ “blurring the line of reality and fantasy” could be triggering body dysmorphic disorder, a mental health condition where people become fixated on imagined defects in their appearance. This comes on the heels of a 2017 study into “selfitis,” which is the obsessive taking of selfies. It found a range of motivations for the phenomenon, from seeking social status to shaking off depressive thoughts to just capturing a memorable moment.
This Is Your Brain Off Facebook
New York Times
What would happen if you quit Facebook? Researchers at Stanford and New York University think they have the answer -- detailed in a paper that has not yet been peer-reviewed. Subjects who left the platform experienced more in-person time with friends and family. They had less political knowledge, but also less partisan fever. They enjoyed a small bump in their daily moods and life satisfaction and, for the average Facebook user, an extra hour a day of downtime. Worth a post?