The UVA Gang Rape that Wasn’t :Rolling Stone Should be Held Accountable for its False Accusations Against UVA’s Phi Kappa Psi Chapter. By Jonah Goldberg

Dear Reader,

When I wrote the “news”letter below, the news had not broken yet that Rolling Stone — and really the Washington Post — had confirmed what I believed all along: This story was bogus. My only regret is that I didn’t write the column a week earlier like I wanted. My immediate reaction to the story was “this is bull****.” But I didn’t want to write that without at least making some phone calls. Anyway, congrats to Richard Bradley and Robert Soave for beating me to the punch. And congratulations to Phi Kappa Psi; usually it takes a little longer to be vindicated, when it happens at all. I very much hope you sue Rolling Stone the way the Mongol Hordes attacked their enemies.

You see, I’m not a huge fan of fraternities, but I have the quaint view that when a major national publication falsely accuses an institution of being an organized criminal organization that specializes in ritual gang rape, they should be held accountable. It isn’t like Rolling Stone criticized a statistical hockey stick — if you know what I’m saying — they reported (and defended their reporting) to the whole world that this fraternity is an institutional rape gang.

Anyway, I was going to revise this G-File to reflect the news. But frankly I think it holds up just fine as it is, so long as you keep in mind that I wrote before my very deeply held suspicion was confirmed. Meanwhile, my immediate response to the news is here. I’ll save further thoughts for later.

***Dear Reader (Unless you find the “Dear” part offensive. Feel free to insert “Yo”),

Let’s skip the introductory jocularity and jump right into it. I promise there will be inappropriate jocularity at the end.

So I am having a hard time getting my head around something. All week people have been calling me a “rape apologist” and “pro-rape.” I’m being constantly informed that I don’t understand “rape culture.” These often hysterical accusations tend to come from people who seem to understand rape culture the same way some people understand the geopolitics of Westeros or Middle Earth: They’ve studied it, they know every detail about it, they just seem to have forgotten it doesn’t exist.

Now, hold on. I certainly believe rape happens. And I definitely believe we have cultural problems that lead to date rape and other drunken barbarisms and sober atrocities. But the term “rape culture” suggests that there is a large and obvious belief system that condones and enables rape as an end in itself in America. This simply strikes me as an elaborate political lie intended to strengthen the hand of activists. There’s definitely lots that is wrong with our culture, particularly youth culture and specifically campus culture. Sybaritic, crapulent, hedonistic, decadent, bacchanalian: choose your adjectives.


Rolling Stone magazine has now acknowledged “discrepancies” in an article it published last month about an alleged premeditated gang rape at a University of Virginia fraternity. Reporter Sabrina Rubin Erdely made sensational allegations based solely on the testimony of the alleged victim. Ms. Erdely also made no attempt to get a comment from the alleged assailants, a failing that bloggers and columnists first pointed out.

All publications make mistakes, including us, but this one is worth some meditation for what it says about our larger media and political culture. All the more so given the amount of laudatory national attention the story received, and the trauma it caused at UVA.

Part of the reason may be a natural human reluctance to investigate the credibility of an alleged rape victim. But that should not have stopped Ms. Erdely from doing some basic due diligence. The rape allegedly took place at a loud “date function” at the Phi Kappa Psi fraternity house on September 28, 2012. On Thursday the fraternity released a statement that it “did not have a date function or a social event during the weekend of September 28th, 2012.”

The larger problem, however, is that Ms. Erderly was, by her own admission, looking for a story to fit a pre-existing narrative—in this case, the supposed epidemic of sexual assault at elite universities, along with the presumed indifference of those schools to the problem. As the Washington Post noted in an admiring profile of Ms. Erdely, she interviewed students at several elite universities before alighting on UVA, “a public school, Southern and genteel.”

In other words, Ms. Erdely did not construct a story based on facts, but went looking for facts to fit her theory. She appears to have been looking for a story to fit the current popular liberal belief that sexual assault is pervasive and pervasively covered-up.

Now that the story has begun to fall apart, it’s worth considering the damage. Though it may never get as far as the bogus 2006 rape charges against the students of the Duke lacrosse team, members of the UVA chapter of Phi Kappa Psi will have to live with undeservedly tainted personal reputations, especially since the charges may never be decisively refuted. UVA has also taken an unfair blow to its reputation. Nor can the story do any good for the broader interest of preventing future campus sexual assaults.

Professor Laurence Tribe of Harvard Law School on Obama -The Liberal Lion Blasts the EPA’s Climate Rule as an Illegal Power Grab.****

Professor Tribe Takes Obama to School

In his Harvard days, Barack Obama studied under law professor Laurence Tribe. Perhaps the future President spent too much time at the law review and missed the part about limited powers. We say that because Professor Tribe delivered a constitutional rebuke this week to the Obama Administration that is remarkable coming from a titan of the liberal professoriate.

Mr. Tribe joined with the world’s largest private coal company, Peabody Energy , to criticize the “executive overreach” of the Environmental Protection Agency’s proposed rule to regulate carbon emissions from existing power plants. In joint comments filed with the EPA, the professor accuses the agency of abusing statutory law, violating the Constitution’s Article I, Article II, the separation of powers, the Tenth and Fifth Amendments, and in general displaying contempt for the law.

The Clean Air Act doesn’t give the Administration the authority the EPA claims to impose its climate crackdown on existing power plants by effectively eradicating coal power. The EPA instead uses—in Mr. Tribe’s words—“a hitherto obscure provision” of the Clean Air Act, known as Section 111, to justify its actions. Such legal scavenging is a characteristic of this Administration, and rarely has it been so thoroughly dismantled.

“The Proposed rule rests on a fatally flawed interpretation of Section 111. According to EPA . . . Congress effectively created two different versions of Section 111, and the agency should be allowed to pick and choose which version it wishes to enforce,” writes Mr. Tribe. “According to EPA, since 1990 the U.S. Code has reflected the wrong version of Section 111, and EPA has discovered a mistake [made by Congress]. According to EPA, both the D.C. Circuit and the U.S. Supreme Court have previously misinterpreted Section 111. According to EPA, the two different versions of Section 111 have created ‘ambiguity’ triggering deference to the agency’s [interpretation]. Every part of this narrative is flawed.”

We quote Mr. Tribe at length because the Administration likes to dismiss concerns about its extralegal exertions as partisan or political. But Mr. Tribe shows that there are genuine issues about the law and democratic process at stake.

He writes that even if EPA’s theory of two versions of Section 111 were correct, the agency’s “claim that it is entitled to pick and choose which version it prefers represents an attempt to seize lawmaking power that belongs to Congress. Under Article I, Article II, and the separation of powers, EPA lacks the ability to make law.” Mr. Tribe adds, icily, that a “presidential speech” is insufficient to claim such authority.

The Return of Africa’s Strongmen By Drew Hinshaw and Patrick McGroarty

Despite two decades of elections and growth, democracy has stalled, militaries are resurgent, and autocrats are in control.

On the same November morning when Boko Haram seized yet another village in Nigeria’s north, police in riot gear surrounded the country’s House of Representatives in the capital city of Abuja. But they weren’t guarding the country’s parliament against an assault by the notorious Islamist insurgency; they were there to block a politician from casting his vote.

Nigeria’s Speaker of the House, Aminu Tambuwal, had recently defected to the opposition—a risky move in a government dominated by one party. A court had ruled that he could keep his speaker’s chair, but police at the barricades outside said that he couldn’t. They stopped his car at the gate.

Nigerian lawmakers were scheduled to vote on whether to renew a bill that allows soldiers to detain suspects without cause in areas threatened by Boko Haram’s gunmen. Mr. Tambuwal expected to lead the legislative bloc opposed to this grant of sweeping state powers. Instead, the police fired tear gas and effectively shut down the Nigerian parliament.

Nigeria’s political drama is just one example of a disquieting trend across the continent. Two decades of elections and economic progress in Africa haven’t erased the vast power that militaries have long wielded in many countries, large and small. In much of Africa, in fact, the armed forces have gained influence in recent years as battling Islamist terrorists has become a priority.

“There are signs of the predatory nature of military rule” returning to Africa, said Larry Diamond, director of Stanford University’s Center on Democracy, Development and the Rule of Law. “This is a calamity for a number of these countries.”

To friends of democratic development, Africa’s 54 countries pose perhaps the world’s most important test of whether representative institutions can flourish amid low living standards and rapidly changing economies. Leaders from the U.S., Europe and Latin America have visited the continent to promote open, politically accountable government. They know that China, Africa’s biggest trading partner, is offering a rival model in the form of market-powered autocracy.

For now, the advance of democracy in Africa appears to have stalled. In 1990, just three of Africa’s 48 countries were electoral democracies, according to Freedom House, a Washington-based pro-democracy advocacy group. By 1994, that number had leapt to 18. Two decades later, only 19 qualify.

Turkish Hospitality For Arab Terrorism by Burak Bekdil

Erdogan deliberately overlooked a significant difference between Hamas and Turkey’s Islamist parties: Hamas specifically advocates violence, while Turkish parties operate within democratic politics.

Hamas is coordinating its efforts in the West Bank with logistical support from a command center in Istanbul.

In 2004, Turkish President (then Prime Minister) Recep Tayyip Erdogan labelled Israel “a terrorist state.” Two years later, he hosted Khaled Mashaal, Hamas’s leader. Alluding to Turkey’s experience with Islamist parties, including his own, coming to power through elections, Erdogan said: “The choice of the people (at the ballot box) should be respected.” Erdogan, citing Hamas’s election victory in Gaza, apparently wanted to legitimize Hamas and terrorism.

However, he deliberately overlooked a significant difference between Hamas and Turkey’s Islamist parties: Hamas specifically advocates violence, while Turkish parties operate within democratic politics.

Eight years after Mashaal’s visit to Turkey, Hamas is coordinating its efforts in the West Bank with logistical support from a command center in Istanbul — a fact that apparently annoys even the Palestinian Authority [PA], Hamas’s “governing partner” in the Palestinian territories.

Turkey is also host to Salah al-Aruri, a Hamas commander whom the PA accuses of planning multiple attacks against Israeli targets.

According to the Israeli media, the Shin Bet has evidence that the deadly attacks against Israelis were planned at the Hamas headquarters in Istanbul. Turkish diplomats deny the claims, unconvincingly. Israel has reportedly requested NATO and the American government to take steps against Turkey’s support for a terrorist organization.

The Oilman to Thank at Your Next Fill-Up : Joseph Rago

““If you want to point to a success of private enterprise, and how the capitalist system works for the benefit of the total U.S. economy,” he says, “I can’t come up with a more glowing example.”

The ‘accidental CEO’ Mark Papa says even he underestimated the shale revolution, which will continue despite lower prices.

On Wednesday, an OnCue Express in Oklahoma City became the first U.S. filling station since 2010 to sell regular gasoline for under $2 a gallon. The national average—hovering around $2.74 this week, also the lowest since 2010—is down 51 cents in a year and continues to fall, which Goldman Sachs pegs as equivalent to a $75 billion tax cut over the past six months. Consumers can thank Mark Papa, the oilman whose role in creating this income windfall remains, for the most part, unsung. The same goes for the many other benefits of the modern American energy boom.

Mr. Papa retired last July as CEO of EOG Resources, the drilling company that he made into the largest crude-oil producer in the lower 48 over his decade and a half as chief. “They were among the pioneers of the unconventional oil and gas revolution,” says the peerless energy historian Daniel Yergin —a company that advanced new frontiers in hydraulic fracturing and horizontal drilling, allowing producers to tap dense, hard-to-extract shale.

“I can’t think of any other single event that has caused such a positive economic benefit to the nation as a whole as shale oil and shale gas,” Mr. Papa says on a visit to New York this week from his home near Houston. “The fact that oil prices have collapsed as much as they have is directly attributable to the shale revolution.”

As Mr. Papa reads the global market, the price slump is the result of “a bit more production” that has made all the difference—an additional million or so barrels of new oil daily amid world-wide demand of about 92 million barrels a day. Some of that is “unanticipated supply coming out of places such as Libya,” he says, but the major driver is U.S. shale oil.

In 2012, Mr. Papa explains, the year-over-year growth of domestic shale oil was about a million barrels daily, and last year growth slowed to 800,000. “The general feeling was that we’ve had flush production and the easy stuff had been had, and as you got into the third year, it was becoming a little more difficult to achieve this tremendous boost in production.” About 700,000 barrels for 2014 was the consensus.


In his State of the Union speech in 2002 President Bush, citing Iran, Iraq and North Korea, for building chemical, biological and nuclear weapons and building terrorist training camps:

“States like these, and their terrorist allies, constitute an axis of evil, arming to threaten the peace of the world”. I guess Carter was not fully convinced….rsk
K-School Professor Confronts Iran Pres. Carter says Ahmadinejad only interested in “the sound of his own voice”

President Bush avoided a face-to-face confrontation with Iranian leader Mahmoud Ahmadinejad at the United Nations last week, but elsewhere on Manhattan, Kennedy School of Government professor Ashton B. Carter confronted the controversial Tehran chief head-on.

The encounter left some observers hopeful that the U.S. could strike up a dialogue with leader of a regime that admits it is pursuing a nuclear program. But for others, Ahmadinejad’s obstinance reinforced their impression that Iran isn’t willing to budge an inch on issues such as weapons of mass destruction, terrorism, and human rights.

Ahmadinejad addressed two dozen members of the Council on Foreign Relations at a Manhattan hotel, according to the New York Times. Only four journalists—all of whom were members of the council—were let in.

Carter, a former assistant defense secretary under the Clinton administration and a member of the council, told The Crimson that the meeting addressed several issues, including “Ahmadinejad’s skepticism of the reality of the Holocaust, Iran’s nuclear programs, Lebanon and Iran’s support for Hezbollah, Iraq, and human rights.”

“It was my impression that Ahmadinejad was not very interested in hearing anything but the sound of his own voice,” Carter said. “He gave responses that to me seemed practiced and non-convincing, and in the case of the Holocaust, particularly disturbing.”

While Ahmadinejad spoke to the council for the bulk of the meeting, at one point Carter broke in.


Marcus Weldon, the current president of one of the most celebrated technology centers in the world, has high hopes for his local team

Over the years, Bell Labs has won eight Nobel Prizes – more than any other tech lab – and Marcus Weldon, the current president of Bell Labs, fully expects the organization to win a ninth, based on the work that will be done by its new Israel location.

Bell Labs on Monday night inaugurated its Israeli branch – the group’s first out-of-the-US location – at the Kfar Saba offices of Alcatel-Lucent, the multinational communications firm that now owns the organization. The Israel lab actually began work several months ago, but got its official kick-off when Weldon, along with other top Bell Labs officials and alumni, gave the Israel site their official stamp of approval.

Often called “America’s Idea Factory,” Bell Labs has a long and storied history of innovation and invention. Originally the engineering department of “the phone company” — American Telephone & Telegraph (AT&T) — Bell Labs researchers developed many of the building blocks of modern electronics and computers. In 1927, a Bell team transmitted the first television images; in 1937, it transmitted the first stereo signals via radio; a Bell scientist invented the photovoltaic cell in the early 1940; and in 1947, Bell scientists created the transistor, an invention that made modern computing possible. Later inventions included TDMA and CDMA digital cellular telephone technology, the compiled C programming language, the UNIX operating system, the first single-chip 32-bit microprocessor, and much more.

Bell Labs remained a part of AT&T until 1996, when the company spun it off into a new company named Lucent Technologies, which in 2006 merged with communications company Alcatel, and created Alcatel-Lucent. Worldwide, the company has over 70,000 employees, about 50,000 of them in research and development, and the company operates Bell Labs facilities in about a dozen countries.

Between its invention of the transistor, the microprocessor, and UNIX, it’s fair to say that Bell Labs was responsible for the computer revolution, said Weldon – and the company was gearing up for the next revolution, the one in communications, he added. “We won those past Nobels by working to meet ‘grand challenges,’ developing technology to solve problems in important projects, and using that technology to change the world.”

House Passes Bill to end Benefits for Nazis ????!!!!By Cristina Marcos

38The House on Tuesday passed legislation to terminate Social Security benefits for suspected Nazi war criminals.

Passed 420-0, the bill was approved after an October Associated Press report found that dozens of suspected Nazi war criminals forced to leave the U.S. collected millions of dollars in federal benefits.

Rep. Sam Johnson (R-Texas), the measure’s sponsor, said it would close a loophole that allowed Nazis who skipped the lengthy deportation process to still receive Social Security benefits.
“Social Security is an earned benefit hardworking Americans pay as a portion of their wages for promises of future benefits,” Johnson said. “It’s a benefit that was never intended for those who participated in horrific acts of the Holocaust.”

The Justice Department pressured Nazi war crime suspects to leave the U.S. voluntarily to speed up their departures, according to the AP. However, avoiding the deportation process resulted in the individuals still being eligible for federal payments.


It may not seem as if Ferguson, Missouri has much to do with Israel, but some of the activists protesting the events in that Missouri city seem to also have Israel on their mind. What happened in Ferguson and why does Israel factor into the picture?

Ferguson was a case of a white policeman shooting and killing a black civilian. There are between 300 and 400 cases of police killings in the United States each year (there are a smaller number of police killed in the line of duty). A majority of the victims of police shootings are not African-American. Some of the African-American victims (10-20 percent each year) are killed by African-American police. There are maybe 100 or so cases a year of white policemen killing blacks, and the great majority of these cases are non-controversial. The half dozen or so that are controversial are now becoming the biggest news stories of the day and the year.

In an average year, about 16,000 Americans are murdered, so police killings are maybe two percent of that number. Over half of all murder victims are African-Americans, and almost all of them are killed by other African-Americans. Overall, African-Americans commit murder in the United States at a rate seven times their share of the population. While 16,000 is a big number, the U.S. murder rate has sharply declined the last 20 years, by about 40 percent. In New York City, the scene of the latest race-related controversy over a police killing (in this case from a chokehold,) the murder rate has dropped 85 percent.

One might think that the far larger murder toll that does not involve police would be a much bigger story than the few controversial cases of white cops killing black civilians. That this is not the case reflects the role of today’s media, which feeds off of the white cops killing black civilian stories almost as much as they love hurricanes and tornadoes and airplane disasters. Stories that enable the 24- hour cable news networks to fill their time reporting updates for days and weeks is the news that is fit to broadcast. America is an extremely polarized nation at this point on issues involving race, but also on broader political questions, like immigration, and Obamacare chief among them, and conflict is good for news departments. And this, unfortunately is where Israel has begun to filter into the frame.