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Rolling Stone magazine needs a squeegee to wipe all the egg off its face after running a blockbuster story about gang rape at a University of Virginia fraternity party that they now admit appears to be a hoax. The author is being accused of “rape shopping.” That is, turning down reliable accounts of rapes at colleges until she found one that was horrifically shocking, even though the woman making the accusations wasn’t exactly credible. For instance, the frat didn’t even have a party anywhere near the date she claimed. But on campuses these days, it’s fashionable to declare people guilty until proven innocent. So the President of the University shut down the entire fraternity system, blaming everyone for a crime that turned out to be a false accusation.

Even as the story fell apart, the magazine and its defenders continued to stand behind it, accusing anyone who questioned it of being “rape deniers” or “rape apologists.” Which is one of the biggest canards of the current debate over so-called “rape culture”: that men don’t take rape seriously. I can’t even tell you on the radio what most conservative men I know think should be done to rapists. We all agree, rape is a terrible crime that demands a terrible punishment. But that’s also why it’s such a terrible thing to falsely accuse someone of rape. Now, Rolling Stone has been forced to admit that in its zeal to push its preferred narrative, it failed to do even the most rudimentary fact-checking of a story by a reporter with an obvious agenda to promote. Rolling Stone’s journalistic reputation is now in tatters. At least the editors can take solace in knowing there wasn’t much of one left to destroy anyway.

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Eric Garner

Dec 05 2014

Protests over a grand jury’s decision not to indict a white cop in the death of a black suspect. And no, this show is not a rerun… With the anger over Ferguson still simmering, a Staten Island grand jury Wednesday declined to indict Officer Daniel Pantaleo. He was caught on video holding Eric Garner, who was illegally selling loose cigarettes, as Garner pleaded that he couldn’t breathe and died minutes later. Garner did resist arrest, but not violently; he just argued that he hadn’t done anything. Chokeholds are banned by the NYPD. But the grand jury found that the cop actually used a submission hold, which is allowed. Garner’s own severe obesity contributed to his death. And a conviction required proving that the cop either intended to kill Garner or acted with gross disregard for his safety. Simply being careless isn’t a crime. So that’s the rational explanation for why there was no indictment. As for why a man is dead because he violated a cigarette law…well, there is no rational explanation for that.

This likely isn’t the last word. The Justice Department has launched a federal civil rights investigation. As in Missouri, the grand jury decision sparked protests throughout New York City. Unlike the Ferguson protests, they were mostly peaceful. Most of the protesters seemed to have learned the lesson that destroying your own neighborhood accomplishes nothing except to make the public less sympathetic to your grievances. There were some who tried to disrupt the Rockefeller Center Christmas tree lighting ceremony, but the NYPD was better prepared than their brethren in Missouri and held them back.

This case seems more likely to result in changes to police procedures than the Ferguson case, for the simple reason that Garner was not the suspect in a violent crime and wasn’t attacking the police when deadly force was used on him. If nothing else, maybe this will make New York officials rethink some of their nanny state laws that have now turned the selling of untaxed cigarettes into a death penalty offense.

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Thanks IRS!

Dec 04 2014

Transparency International has released its annual Corruption Perceptions Index, a list of 175 nations, ranked by their levels of government corruption. The least corrupt of all was Denmark, followed by New Zealand, Finland and Sweden. The US came in 17th – thanks, IRS! Tied for most corrupt governments in the world were Somalia and North Korea. I’ll bet North Korea really came in last, and just bribed the judges to bump them up to a tie.

At least, here in America, when our government practices corruption, they do it right out in the open, where everyone can see it. For example, fewer than 59 percent of our ambassadors to foreign nations are actual diplomats. This week, the age-old custom of awarding cushy ambassadorships to big donors came under scrutiny, when Obama’s nominee for our new ambassador to Hungary was confirmed without a single Republican vote. Colleen Bell is a top Obama campaign bundler and a producer of the soap opera, “The Bold and the Beautiful.” But one thing she definitely is NOT is an expert on Hungary. In her Senate hearing, John McCain pointed out that Hungary is a strategic NATO partner that’s in danger of being taken over by a neo-fascist dictator who’ll get in bed with Vladimir Putin. But Ms. Bell didn’t seem to know the first thing about Hungary.

Later, ABC reporter Jonathan Karl pressed Obama spokesman Josh Earnest to name a single qualification that Ms Bell had for being ambassador to Hungary. Earnest couldn’t name one, but he insisted that the President is confident she will do an excellent job. Which I assume is Washington-speak for “the check cleared.” Personally, I have nothing against Ms. Bell. But is sending her to Hungary really the best use of her talents? If she’s that good at managing a never-ending soap opera, then they need to keep her at the White House.