Criminal Justice

The Ghetto Archipelago

Life in an inner-city police state

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On the Run: Fugitive Life in an American City, by Alice Goffman, University of Chicago Press, 288 pages, $25

For six years, starting as a University of Pennsylvania sophomore, the sociologist Alice Goffman lived in a black Philadelphia neighborhood that she calls 6th Street. (The place name is a pseudonym, as are the names of the people Goffman describes.) There she immersed herself in the family lives and legal woes of people whose experiences were far removed from her own. In On the Run, her book about the experience, Goffman concludes that the neighborhood is molded by its young men's relationship with the criminal justice system and that such places constitute an archipelago of racially tense police states within a larger liberal democracy.

The police presence in 6th Street is pervasive. Residents, young black men in particular, can expect to be frequently stopped, questioned, and searched. Many initial arrests are for drugs, often possession of marijuana. After that, as Goffman records, the system takes on a horrible logic of its own. Criminal records make employment hard to find, and recurring court dates devour time that might be devoted to work, job searches, or family responsibilities. Without regular income, court fees add up and may prove unpayable. Many of the people Goffman writes about are essentially constant low-level fugitives, hunted by police for missed appointments. Some end up committing additional crimes to pay their accumulating debts to the courts.

People living on the wrong side of the law are both dependent on and vulnerable to those around them. Goffman documents how chronic legal problems prevent young men from attending the births of their children or the funerals of their friends, since the authorities often monitor those occasions looking to make arrests. Those legal problems also provide opportunities for angry girlfriends and other acquaintances to avenge perceived wrongs with a simple phone call to the cops.

Neighborhoods heavily populated by young men on the run (usually in the most figurative sense, since their lives become circumscribed by familiar people and streets) also create business opportunities for those willing to serve their idiosyncratic needs. One memorable character in On the Run is Jevon, whose memory and ability at mimicry allow him to earn money impersonating men to their parole officers for curfew-checking phone calls. Another, Rakim, augments income from his passport photo business selling clean urine to men facing drug tests. Many local businesses-such as rental car lots and motels-have two price sheets, one for mainstream customers and one for those who have no credit cards or ID.

Identification itself is a commodity, with employees inside the Pennsylvania Department of Transportation selling drivers licenses-basically, new identities-for a substantial fee. (Other public employees, from court clerks to prison guards, also find it lucrative to sell favors and services.) "The level of social control that tough-on-crime policy envisions-particularly in a liberal state-is so extreme and difficult to implement," Goffman writes, "that it has led to a flourishing black market to ease the pains of supervision."

Not everybody profits from assisting these fugitives. Indeed, the depth and quality of intimate relationships are often judged by the degree to which people are willing to put themselves on the line to shield those sought by the police. That puts otherwise legally unsullied people at risk, as authorities pressure them for information using an arsenal that includes repeated raids and vindictively strict enforcement of a spider web of laws, including building codes, traffic rules, and business licensing requirements.

Through it all, policies intended to battle crime wind up creating a more criminal world. Barriers to legitimate employment multiply, so that many find it easier to stay outside the law than to work within it. This community is subject to excruciatingly close scrutiny; transgressions that might go unnoticed elsewhere result in serious consequences-and in more criminals to be policed.

Goffman's book has won both praise and pushback. Some of the questions its critics have posed are almost inevitable for a work at the intersection of sociology and advocacy journalism. Is the author just recording observations or is she trying to reveal a larger truth? And what about her very palpable presence in the lives of the people under scrutiny-eating alongside them, helping them out of jams, even professing unlikely ignorance under police questioning? How does that influence the final result?

One prominent critic is Dwayne Betts, a Yale Law School student who comes from a background comparable to that of Goffman's subjects. Writing in Slate, Betts objects that the author's "unrelenting focus on criminality is just as likely to encourage more arrests and surveillance than to convince people that mass incarceration should end." The book, he writes, is essentially a titillating peek into an alien society, one less likely to enlighten the reader than to give him license to marvel and shudder.

But Betts seems to suggest it's better to ignore the cycle of criminality and police reaction that make up a large part of life in many troubled neighborhoods. (Betts himself spent eight years in prison for carjacking before moving on to a very different life.) The book's unflattering portrait of the cops and courts hardly encourages calls for a heavier police presence.

Sara Mayeux of the University of Pennsylvania Law School has criticized Goffman for not adequately supporting some of her claims, such as her assertion that police peruse hospital visitor logs for people with open warrants. On Mayeux's blog, she argues that Goffman's "book is unevenly footnoted," requiring reader faith in the accuracy of portrayed conversations and experiences.

As a method, ethnography deliberately engages subjects in ways that escape the mile-high social-science approach; the tradeoff for such intimate and compelling access is that you're going to have a hard time documenting everything in a traditional scholarly way. And yes, it's true that Goffman's subjective approach and the advocacy built into it are open to challenge by those with different experiences and agendas. But Goffman does acknowledge the many neighborhood residents who work legitimate jobs and enjoy minimal legal entanglements, often as the result of a great personal effort to resist the pressures of the surrounding culture and the ever-present scrutiny of the police.

Goffman does have an ax to grind. She sympathizes with her subjects even as they venture into lives of criminality that are not always victimless. (She has an understandable soft spot for Tim, whose first arrest came at the age of 11 while traveling in a car he didn't know was stolen.) Yet despite that sympathy, Goffman is capable of criticizing the people of 6th Street. She notes, for example, that while encounters with the legal system make seeking work and getting ahead difficult, "being wanted also serves as a way to save face and to explain personal inadequacies." Constant conflict with the law not only raises hurdles to success but becomes a convenient excuse for failures that have little to do with courts or cops.

The world Goffman captures is not one amenable to easy solutions-though backing off the heavy-handed law enforcement would be a good start. A culture damaged and defined by decades under what Goffman describes as "one of the last repressive regimes of the age" is not one that's going to heal overnight.

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    1. Oh my Goddess, you just don’t get it, do you? Being pro-choice has nothing to do with offering people choices.

    2. Oh good Lord. I’ve never seen anything written by Jessica Valenti which gave me a higher opinion of her than I had before I read it.

    3. The classlessness is second only to the stupidity of booing at something that can’t hear you.

  1. Nothing
    Left
    To
    Cut

  2. Police are ,in many ways like the Cpips and Bloods.They lie as a course of their daily life{reports,dui boiler plate},they are apt to use violence on those close to them{ high rates of domestic and sexual violence with police} and they almost never ‘snitch’ on others in the gang. Add in theft{asset forfeiture } you have a criminal gang,the Blues

  3. Crips,need a beer and a football game

  4. Damn it,the Bengals are on here instead of the Browns,crap

    1. Look on the bright side, the Bengals won’t let you down.

      1. Have you seen the Bengals record in the playoffs? Besides,been a Browns fan since the 1960″s, I’m used to it,WOOF

      2. As I write, they’re down 10 to Tampon Bay early in the second quarter.

  5. Without regular income, court fees add up and may prove unpayable.

    It’s not debt bondage when government does it.

    More generally, one of the usual suspects will be around shortly to tell us that we need government intervention to solve the problems caused directly and predictably from government intervention.

    1. Keep’em down on the Progressive Plantation. It’s an evil thing to oppress generations of black people with dependency. These low income blacks SHOULD be super pissed at the Prog/Dems their true oppressors.

      1. But as long as Conservative/Republican types keep pounding their chests with “Tough on Crime!!!” it’s a case of “better the devil you know.”

  6. Nice. Black law professor from Harvard talks about the Oppression of the Black Man.

    Meet the Press strikes again.

    1. Black law professor from Harvard talks about the Oppression of the Black Man.

      I assume you’re talking about Betts? Who is not from Harvard, but Yale, and who is not a law professor, but a “poet” who is currently a law student.

      All of which, makes his criticisms of Goffman even more ridiculous.

      1. He’s referring to NBC’s Meet the Press guest list.

        1. Well, what in the Sam Hill does that have to do with the article? Can a brotha get an “OT”?

          1. So, were you triggered? Or othered?

    2. Let me guess: Henry Louis “Skip” Gates?

      1. Gates is a English Literature professor.

        [insert joke about them all looking alike]

        1. Sorry – missed the “law professor” part. Just saw “Harvard” and “race”: figured they had engaged their resident race-baiter.

  7. President Obama shows support for local book store by buying a few books there

    Barack Obama showed some presidential support for small businesses on Saturday, when he stopped at a local Washington bookstore for a spot of holiday shopping.

    His visit to the Politics and Prose independent bookstore came on “Small Business Saturday” ? a growing movement that encourages shoppers to support local merchants.

    America’s Thanksgiving holiday is followed by Black Friday, which sees throngs of often-frenzied consumers swamp large stores in search of steep discounts.

    Along with his daughters Sasha and Malia, Obama bought a basketful of books for readers of varying ages.

    When he jokingly asked for a discount, a store clerk said he could have a “neighbor’s discount.” The bookstore is a few miles north of the White House.

    At one point, a person in the crowd shouted something about the Guantanamo Bay military prison, to which Obama said: “We’re working on it. Any other issues?”

    Obama has promised to close the prison, but more than 100 inmates remain.

    Wonder how much they pay in taxes and if they have more than 50 employees and must provide everyone with health insurance.

      1. He doesn’t need that ’cause he’s a brilliant Constitutional scholar and stuff. [/Obot]

        1. LOL.

          The sarcasm is strong in this ne.

    1. Screw that, all my holiday shopping will be done on Amazon.

      shoppers to support local merchants.

      My somewhat neo-con father was on about this the other day, worrying about people not using local services or locally manufactured goods. To which I responded that it is better for the consumer if someone can make a superior product at lower cost no matter where it is made. Also, I told him to his face that he was making an emotional appeal that is not a real argument. Good times.

      1. The protectionist BS is one of my least favorite conservative traits (not held by all, but many). it’s selfishness disguised as patriotism and community. As if other countries are less deserving of economic growth. We must hoard it all!

        1. Not to mention it’s a policy that bites you in the ass as soon as the economy takes a dive.

        2. Protectionism such as anti immigration?

          1. Care to detail a way in which either of us is “anti-immigration” or how reference to immigration is even relevant to what either of us have said about protectionism?

            1. Restrictions on immigration is a firm of protectionism, just focused on foriegn labor instead of goods.

              1. Restrictions on private property is a form of protectionism too, just focused on trespassers instead of goods. Damn you and your pure libertarian logic.

              2. The main restriction on immigration is actually on “illegal immigration”. But you probably know that and choose it twist it around to fit your narrative.

            2. “Care to detail a way in which either of us is “anti-immigration””

              I’m anti-immigration because I think there’s a difference between a person and a box of widgets.

              And even though I don’t give a shit about whether immigrants take our jobs or work and I want more people to be allowed here legally. I’m protectionist because I think the law should be applied equally and we should have some enforced system in place to make sure immigrants aren’t criminals, diseased, or wanting welfare rather than employment. I’m just a racist yokel. I can’t help myself.

            3. If I import a car from Mexico, and it doesn’t work, I’m the one stuck making the payments on it.

              If the givernment imports a person from, Mexico, and he doesn’t work, we’re all stuck making payments to him to just exist.

          2. I’M totally up front about wanting to restrict immigration to benefit Americans. The open borders crowd usually isn’t so open about their plan to harm Americans.

            1. The open borders crowd usually isn’t so open about their plan to harm Americans.

              That’s because open borders don’t harm Americans.

              What the closed border logic misses is that new people need news goods and services. The ratio doesn’t change.

              The closed borders crowd isn’t usually so open about their innumeracy.

              1. “The ratio doesn’t change.”

                Of course it does. You’re planning on filling the country with poor, low productivity people. There’s no conceivable way for them to afford the living standards of the average American, and no plan from anything or anyone that suggests they’ll earn that much.

                1. Funny, that’s what they used to say about East European Jews.

                2. “You’re planning on filling the country with poor, low productivity people.”

                  Yep. We want someone at the border telling rich, productive people they aren’t welcome!
                  Damn, I got busted!

                3. You’re planning on filling the country with poor, low productivity people.

                  [citation needed]

                  Aside from which, even if I don’t ridicule your concept of me “planning” anything, innumerable studies show most the so-called lower class immigrants always taking the crummy jobs which natives won’t take. This is true every place and every when.

              2. But I’m innumerate and “closed borders” because you’re bad at fractions.

              3. Pretty clueless aren’t you. The illegals coming are not engineers, doctors and lawyers. They are mostly uneducated and unskilled.

                Many will become a drain on the economy. Wise up.

        3. Having the government send foreign aid is virtuous. Aiding people in foreign countries directly by buying their products is evil.

      2. To which I responded that it is better for the consumer if someone can make a superior product at lower cost no matter where it is made.

        We will make the guilt overwhelming and their daily personal interactions so frictional that shopping local will truly be better for the consumer.

      3. I will spend money locally at store that stack what I want locally. I will special order from local stores that actually provide some sort of service. I will spend more money in order to have a store with pleasant atmosphere and/or knowledgable staff when I need them. Any body who always shops for price, until they need service, and then bitches because the service isn’t available at a Discount Store has been run over by his Karma.

        1. Contd.

          That said, don’t come whining to me about small local store is the small local stores don’t provide me with something the chains or internet sites don’t. During the 1980’s every Liberal Paper (which is almost all of them) was whining about how Crown Books, Barnes & Nobel, and Borders were driving the small neighborhood bookstores out of business. My observations?

          1) In most cases, WHAT small neighborhood bookstores? Outside of upscale Urban neighborhoods, there weren’t that many bookstores, and in the absence of the chains I’d have lost my mind.

          2) Too many of the “Small Neighborhood Bookstores” the whiners were going on about had nothing that the chins didn’t. They ordered straight off of the New York Times Review Of Books, and tended to be snooty about stuff that a fellow might actually want to READ, as opposed to leave ostentatiously on a coffee table.

          3) Were the small stores had an actual point of view, they survived. Mystery Books Stores, SF Book Stores, Civil War Books Stores, 50’s Nostalgia Books Stores. I’ve seen a lot of weirdly specific bookstores thrive within blocks of hyde chain stores. Why? They actually knew their subjects.

          I won’t insist that these observations apply to other kinds of stores – I kind of obsess over books, can you tell? – but I wouldn’t be the least bit surprised if they do.

          1. The only small local book stores I’ve ever bothered to visit were used book stores. I fucking LOVE used book stores. Never know what you’ll find.

            I found signed copies of the first three Roger Zelasny “Amber Chronicles” books in a used book store on Devonshire in the San Fernando Valley. That was a good day.

            1. Used bookstores are a slightly different beast, although they do overlap with specialty bookstores. Specialty bookstores can be great places to go to get put onto authors you (and Barnes and Nobel) never heard of. GOOS chain bookstores will refer you to specialty bookstores when it’s the right thing to do (one of the reasons I miss Borders). The Chin stores in DC when I lived there know that there was no point in making you wait for a special order if The Technical Bookstore (I think that was actually it’s name) was likely to have what you wanted. When you found out you have waited a needless week, you were going to be pissed, and that wasn’t good for repeat business.

              1. I’ve never been to a GOOS store, or a Chin store. What are these, pray tell?

            2. Me too. I love used book stores. The new books are generally way over priced. Almost as bad as text books.

              My big complaint about online downloadable books and CD’s is they are also way overpriced.

      4. “To which I responded that it is better for the consumer if someone can make a superior product at lower cost no matter where it is made.”

        That’s more a platitude than a ‘real argument.’

        1. Then, please, explain in what situations its better for me to take an inferior product and/or a higher price?

          1. Trueman admits to lying when he can’t find facts to back an argument.
            Nothing he posts is due any credibility at all.

      5. So how long before he disowns you? 🙂

    2. His visit to the Politics and Prose independent bookstore came on “Small Business Saturday” ? a growing movement that encourages shoppers to support local merchants.

      Too bad none of his policies support local merchants.

    3. I imagine that the Secret Service had an advance team and kicked all of the commoners out of the store. I wonder how the owners felt about that.

      1. Given the fact that this was filmed, I wouldn’t be suprised to find out that the “owner” was actually a hired actor, and they’d kicked the real owner out along with the shoppers.

        Can’t have a real person asking unwanted questions, now can we?

  8. a person in the crowd shouted something about the Guantanamo Bay military prison, to which Obama said: “We’re working on it. Any other issues?”

    Just need another 783 days to implement a final solution for that issue?

    1. a person in the crowd shouted something about the Guantanamo Bay military prison, to which Obama said: “We’re working on it. Any other issues?”

      He then whispered to his assistant “If we wants to know about Guantanamo, round him up and send him there!”

  9. What a bunch of blithering idiots.
    “Let’s derail this opportunity to seriously examine the unchecked power of government and the head-bashing goons who enforce the laws, and moan about race.”

    Of course, the progressive true believers would rather be waterboarded than question the role of the Total Control State and public employees’ unions on the “baffling” increase of ironfisted law enforcement.

    1. I’ve noticed the same thing in the public discussion of Ferguson. We have to keep narrowly focused on race and only race. Otherwise, we might have to think uncomfortable thoughts about whether government in general is omnibenevolent, and we can’t have that

      1. narrowly focused on race and only race

        All progs have are their feelz and race-baiting elicits all kinds of feelz for them.

      2. and we dare not focus on race to avoid breaking the white notion that all blacks are happy-go-lucky nigras – except for a few ungrateful troublemakers amirite?

        1. Once again, that slurry of blood, leftist jizz, and pus which exists in place of a brain has overflowed your cranial cavity onto a keyboard, infecting no one but irritating all.

        2. If only your handle was literal.

      3. The progs might focus on race in the matters but at least they focus on the matters. Conservatives are too busy championing our New Professional Heroes.

  10. So lets pull all the police out of black neighborhoods and put them in white neighborhoods.

    1. It wouldn’t take long before the blacks would be crying for police protection.

  11. “The level of social control that tough-on-crime policy envisions-particularly in a liberal state-is so extreme and difficult to implement,” Goffman writes, “that it has led to a flourishing black market to ease the pains of supervision.”

    ———

    Through it all, policies intended to battle crime wind up creating a more criminal world.

    But they meant well; you can’t blame them just because everything they do makes people’s lives worse.

    1. All together now: Intent is magic!

  12. Or the “unique” population could learn some impulse control or not to exhibit antisocial behavior at every opportunity. The entire underclass of this country is given a pass for whatever awful behavior they come up with.

    1. “Raaaacist!!”

      1. Why the quotation marks?

        1. I take that to mean it is not his comment or feeling, but a quote typical of some liberal loon.

    2. Yea they totally deserve the police thuggery and oppression right?

      1. Given that natttureboy appears to have seriously struggled not to write the word ‘nigger,’ I think questioning him is probably a lost cause.

          1. You’re like a YouTube connoisseur.

      2. Yea they totally deserve the police thuggery and oppression right?

        No, they don’t. No one does. But I think there is plenty of blame to go around here. Certainly the cops are swine and the laws against victimless crime aid in maintaining the status quo.

        That said, one lives in poverty because of the choices one makes. You want out, keep your nose clean, work your ass off and get out.

        And I have no tolerance for those who commit crimes with victims.

        1. “That said, one lives in poverty because of the choices one makes”

          That’s not true for children or actually disabled people, or for people whose livelihoods are destroyed by the stupid, heavy hand of government.

          1. *Francisco rereads his comment to discover where he mentioned chirenz, teh disabled and the truly persecuted*

            I am talking about able bodied adults and individual responsibility.

      3. They deserve to be kept in their place until they possess the social skills necessary to not victimize everyone they come into contact with.

          1. Not really. Plenty of whites fit into that category too.

      4. As opposed to the oppression of the black thugs in their neighborhood?

  13. On Mayeux’s blog, she argues that Goffman’s “book is unevenly footnoted,”

    Oh, horror!

  14. But Betts seems to suggest it’s better to ignore the cycle of criminality and police reaction that make up a large part of life in many troubled neighborhoods. (Betts himself spent eight years in prison for carjacking before moving on to a very different life.) The book’s unflattering portrait of the cops and courts hardly encourages calls for a heavier police presence.

    Well, yes. When facts make leftists sad, those facts must not be uttered.

    It seems to me that once you start getting upset at someone telling the truth because the truth could conceivably be used to justify policies that you don’t like, you’ve basically decided to become a political hack who is incapable of thinking for yourself.

    1. Part of the problem is the way that certain elements on the right don’t see that portrait of the cops and the courts as “unflattering.” They think the heavy police presence is just dandy – when they aren’t wanting it to be even heavier.

      It’s a bipartisan flustercluck.

  15. Once again, Twitchy shows that it mostly exists to stoke the victim complex of conservatives.

    What’s the post called?

    GOP Hill staffers liken amnesty opponents to Nazi murderers

    That strikes me as unlikely. What did he actually say?

    Each time Mr. Boehner arrived at the White House for an event, the president would pull him aside and ask about immigration, according to White House and Republican aides. Mr. Boehner urged patience, saying there was a “narrow path” to get something done, despite opposition in his party from what Republican aides call the “boxcars crowd,” a reference to conservative members who favor deportation for most of the 11 million.

    Wait…that can’t be it, right?

    During World War II, Nazi Germans used boxcars to transport Jews to extermination camps.

    So, according to some GOP Hill staffers, enforcing U.S. immigration law is morally equivalent to the annihilation of six million Jews.

    I think they might be reading a little something into Boehner’s comments, because I’m not quite seeing the Holocaust parallels.

    1. You know who else was into all that crap above?

      1. Boxcar Willie?

        The Boxcar Children?

        1. I always thought the Boxcar Children had a bit of a victim complex. They lived in the boxcar for ONE BOOK, out of the entire series. The rest of the series is spent living with their wealthy grandfather.

    2. It’s important to remember that the writers at Twitchy are all mendacious cunts, with no moral compass whatsoever.

      Come to that, actually, that describes most progressives.

    3. I think they might be reading a little something into Boehner’s comments, because I’m not quite seeing the Holocaust parallels

      Of course, the elephant in the room was the FDR administration turning away boatloads of Jewish refugees from 39 to 44.

      1. We aren’t supposed to mention that, or internment camps. Actually the list of things we aren’t supposed to mention is pretty long.

        Shhhhhhhhhh. Progressives are the compassionate ones and on the right side of history.

        1. You mean they might gloss over some awful positions of someone and concentrate only on the policies and rhetoric they like?

          Have you been here for a Thomas Jefferson discussion?

          1. That is not what I mean at all. No.

            I have a hangover, thus no patients for engaging you today.

          2. concentrate only on the policies and rhetoric they like

            You mean judge the idea by its own merits instead of that of the person who expressed it? THE. HORROR.

          3. Have you ever been here when Bo decries the use of slavery by Jefferson, but then rapidly deflects as much as he can when it’s pointed out that he has directed benefited from slavery while declaring his Libertarian Moral Superiority?

          4. Not necessary in the case of FDR. He wasn’t a hypocrite who failed to live up to his stated principles like Thomas Jefferson. No, he was a paragon of Boic morality; perfectly consistent in rhetoric and deed.

        2. Nonsense.

          Internment camps are mandatory for mentioning, as something to feel horribly guilty about.

          They’re equivalent to the death camps!

          (Except for the way they weren’t, you know, instruments of mass murder.)

          What’s never to be mentioned is German internment; that is, American internment of Germans and German-Americans.

          Because that’s the wrong narrative or something, or undermines the “anti-Asian racism” of the Japanese internment.

          None of which is to say that interning people because were of Japanese ancestry was right – it was wrong; rather that it is never portrayed in a neutral context.)

    4. Sounds like a Logical Fallacy to me

  16. Betts seems to suggest it’s better to ignore the cycle of criminality and police reaction that make up a large part of life in many troubled neighborhoods.

    Ignore it in favor of what? More welfare? Raising the minimum wage for private employers at gunpoint? More affirmative action quotas?

    1. “Ignore it in favor of what? More welfare? Raising the minimum wage for private employers at gunpoint? More affirmative action quotas?”

      I’m pretty sure those would be first priorities, along with more money for educators’ unions.

      I would say, if you don’t like the police in your community, we’ll take the police out of your community. Local vigilantes could hardly be less effective than the police, according to what I read lately.

  17. Of course, there’s always the neutron bomb…

    1. Meh it believe there is still a large fission explosion involved… Bad for property values.

      When going nuclear always go from orbit… With an assured fresh start

      1. Yeah, it was always the “No Nukes” people who tried to make everyone else believe that enhanced-radiation weapons were some kind of black-magic evil.

        They still blow everything up. Just more useful against armor.

  18. OT: Han Solo leading in presidential polls. Also Darth Vader, and Bobba Fett ahead of all earth bound candidates.

    http://www.washingtonpost.com/…..didates-2/

    1. Han shot first! (and rightfully so)

      1. Well there was a reason Greedo didn’t make the list.

      2. Han shot only.

    2. I’d vote for a former smuggler, he clearly understands how markets work and subvert government laws and regulations.

      1. Ya but we all know Bobba Fett is the pure libertarian.

  19. Occidental students confront a reality of political campaigns: defeat

    In what is believed to be the only college program of its kind, the undergraduates in the Campaign Semester course spent at least 2 1/2 months, often seven days a week, 12 hours a day, working on behalf of candidates in contested states.

    None won.

    In addition to talking about the finer points of voter engagement and campaign donations, the students also talk about the more unsavory aspects of democracy: negative ads, doors slammed in your face and what it’s like to live on pizza for weeks at a time. And, for this group, what it’s like to feel depressed and cry after your candidate loses.

    “I don’t think our representative government is broken, but I do think it’s become less democratic and it’s difficult to get good people in office,” said Joshua Wodka, a fifth-year senior who worked for North Carolina Sen. Kay Hagan and admits he still hasn’t recovered from her loss. “I’m exhausted.? I’m annoyed.”

    MY CANDIDATE LOST, DEMOCRACY IS BROKEN!

    1. Seriously, this is the best article ever written:

      Other students were even more emotional. Early election night, Tieman started driving from one campaign office to another when Hagan was in the lead. She sang aloud as she drove, excited for the victory.

      When it was clear Hagan was going to lose, Tieman began “gross-sobbing and ugly-crying.”

      “It felt like everything I had poured my heart and soul into ended up not meaning anything,” she said.

      The two professors teaching the course ? Peter Dreier and Regina Freer ? were concerned enough that they asked the religious counselor to visit the class. They said their students seemed to be coping well.

      They’re “mature enough to realize that this was part of a national trend that may have been unstoppable this year,” said Dreier, a politics professor.

      Or, as junior Daniel Stigall put it: “The pity party is over.”

      Stigall worked for Texas gubernatorial candidate Wendy Davis.

      HAHAHAHAHAHAHAAHAHAHAHAHA!

      1. All of the students worked for Democratic candidates;

        No. Fucking. Way.

        1. Since every student who took this course worked with Democratic candidates, I think the program should be shut down for unreported in-kind contributions.

          Maybe that would make these idiots rethink their lust for campaign finance laws.

          1. The problem is they don’t think, they rationalize. It won’t work.

          2. Don’t know if you caught my reply to you the other day Irish, but the “Hitchens/Marcotte line of coherence” meant that Hitchens is above the line, and Marcotte below it. It was a play on Mason/Dixon.

            And on the night in question, Agile Cyborg was far below it.

            1. 2,4,5-trimethoxyamphetamine is a hell of a drug.

            2. I tend to read comments before noticing who posted them, i.e. I don’t keep up with who is who unless the poster is a regular and it gets drilled into my brain in spite of my inattention.

              I had the impression that Agile Cyborg was a sensible person most of the time. Am I wrong?

              Whatever happened the other night they were off their rocker, and it is not the first time.

              Bad drugs? Psychotic break?

      2. Thank you Irish. It’s…beautiful. An ocean of prog tears. I’m almost in tears at the splendour of it all.

      3. It seems they all worked for Dems. I wonder why that is…..

        Also; “…it is difficult to get good people in office.”.
        No shit. One reason is because young, naive twits work like mad for the campaigns of horrible people.

      4. Oh good, my alma mater is the news! And it’s not because of their epic bungling of sexual assault investigations!

        Dreier was the professor for the first (and only) politics course I took at Oxy. He proclaimed himself a Marxist on like the second day of class, then proceed to explain that “Elitism” is when a powerful centralized government works in the interests of the rich and powerful, and “Populism” is when a powerful centralized government works in the interests of the common folk. A real piece of work.

    2. “I’m exhausted.? I’m annoyed.”

      Truer words have never been spoken…

    3. and what it’s like to live on pizza for weeks at a time.

      That’s the definition of white privilege.

      Sign me up.

    4. “Tieman said Republicans once confronted her while she was wearing a Hagan T-shirt and many people seemed annoyed when she rang doorbells, but she had grown a thicker skin by the end of the campaign.

      She could have been most helpful by not interrupting people’s lives with her cause.

      “I wanted to tell them, ‘I’m here to be helpful,'” she said.”

      HaHaHaHa….in other words…” they don’t realize they’re too stupid to know what is best for them”.

  20. and we dare not focus on race to avoid breaking the white notion that all blacks are happy-go-lucky nigras

    Speaking of blithering idjits…

  21. And yes, it’s true that Goffman’s subjective approach

    2Chili, I wonder if you could elaborate on how Goffman’s approach was subjective. And yes, I’m asking you to toss around terms like “etic” and “emic”.

    1. I have a question for you. I’ll leave it you-know-where.

        1. Thank you. I owe you a (cheap domestic) beer.

      1. I’ll leave it you-know-where.

        Jammed up his ass? 😉

    2. And yes, I’m asking you to toss around terms like “etic” and “emic”.

      Put those two together, and you have “emetic”. 😉

  22. MY CANDIDATE LOST, DEMOCRACY IS BROKEN!

    What’s wrong with those hicks? Why can’t they understand we only want what’s best for them?

  23. Well, what in the Sam Hill does that have to do with the article?

    What’s your point?

  24. Since every student who took this course worked with Democratic candidates, I think the program should be shut down for unreported in-kind contributions.

    Maybe that would make these idiots rethink their lust for campaign finance laws.

    A MOST EXCELLENT SUGGESTION.

    1. Pretty much. If it’s so unfair that someone with more money can speak in the media more than someone who can’t, then, isn’t it unfair that college students have so much extra free time, that they can volunteer for campaigns, while someone with a real job can’t?

      For the sake of equality, we need to shut these people down.

      1. and they were no doubt paying tuition for the entire time they were “volunteering” for these candidates.

  25. And Reason turns to its Liberal side for this article. Ugh. Now they just need to find someone to “immerse themselves” in the operations of the police department around 6th street and we can balance the reporting out and appease the more conservative readers.

    1. Knock yourself out. Ethnographies of urban police departments are so common as to be cliche.

      1. Yeah…..I googled ‘Oakland Police Department White’ and perused a few articles. My two favorite tidbits:

        “Beginning with World War II thousands of poor rural Southern African Americans migrated into Oakland to work in the shipyards. During this same period the Oakland Police Department began to heavily recruit white police officers from the Deep South. In the years that followed incidents of police brutality increased.”

        “By 2012, over 90% of Oakland police officers resided outside of Oakland”

    2. ITT, butthurt LAN N’ORDA conservaderps.

    1. There is no such thing as racial bias in law enforcement. Here is the proof.

      http://fox5sandiego.com/2014/0…..nt-page-1/

      “Local law enforcement must be able to use their discretion to determine who can carry a concealed weapon,” [California Attorney General] Harris said.

      If racial bias actually existed, we would not be able to trust local law enforcement to use their discretion “to determine who can carry a concealed weapon”, because they would end up discriminating against unpopular, powerless minorities. Instead, we would have to require local law enforcement to allow persons to carry concealed weapons. But Attorney General Harris does trust local law enforcement with such discretion. QED.

  26. “Some end up committing additional crimes to pay their accumulating debts to the courts.”

    Is the person writing this stuff high off their ass? Against whom are these “additional crimes” being committed? All the rich honkies living in inner city neighborhoods? Nope, it’s black victims that these valiant social justice twerps care nothing about. What contempt they have for the innocent.

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  28. You know, I loathe the whole Olympics of suffering thing, but it’s really tasteless and insulting to people who actually experienced the gulags to draw the parallel in the title. How about “Oy Vey! I haven’t seen so many civil assets forfeited since the Holocaust!” for the next article, eh Tuccille?

  29. It never ceases to amaze me that Reason’s motto is: “An inebriated/intoxicated/drugged citizenry is a better citizenry.”

  30. Attend career day at any urban high school. The booth with the biggest draw? The local city PD.

  31. Has a community of poor Chinese or Vietnamese immigrants ever compmaIned about police victimization?

    One of the glowing benefits of immigration from the third world is that it makes the ongoing excuse of white oppression look stupid.

    And as we can see with recent lawsuits against colleges, I think Asian-Americans are tiring of this charade very quickly.

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  33. I’d be curious to find out how much Goffman got “Margaret Meaded.” It turns out that Meads tremendously influential anthropology work was extremely flawed, but because the people in the tribes she studied would make up stories to fool with the strange white scientist lady.

    Enter Goffman, a young white college girl. She must have been a tremendous target for ghetto tale-spinners eager to aggrandize themselves, blame “the system” for their failures and put one over on the naive girl.

    I take it with a grain of salt.

    I’ve lived in and still own rental properties in black-dominated neighborhoods. They leech off the system, and make their own problems through short-sightedness, impulsiveness and all-around bad decision-making.

    1. If by “the system” you mean the various welfare systems, I think you are noticing the moral hazards such systems enable.

      Not having read Goffman’s book, I wonder if she made the connection. Despite the institutionalized denials, the “tough on crime” attitude is actually an outgrowth/counter-reaction to the moral hazard problem of the welfare state. Now we’re forever stuck in a chicken-egg argument about not only about which came first, but which should be dismantled first.

      1. Good observation. The challenge to defusing such a system requires either rapid collapse or a structural change that forces a generational change. both are painful. there is no easy answer yet intuition tells me that somehow less government means more progress.

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  35. Suburbanites should never be taken seriously when throwing around the term police state. It is a complete joke. The solution is to permit what happened in NYC in the 1960s to the 1980s, where Fun City was Crime City. Surburbanites should spend sometime in a real police state before publishing such claptrap.

  36. “… recurring court dates devour time that might be devoted to work, job searches, or family responsibilities…”

    Right, because THAT’S what they’d with their time if they weren’t in court. They’d spend their time doing what put them in court in the first place!

    A little logic goes a long ways, honey.

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