GAPS AND MAN AT YALE: The state of play across the state!

THURSDAY, MAY 24, 2018

Part 4—Where only elite children count:
It would be a better world if young people—young people at Yale, let's say—were never viewed or assessed on the basis of their "race."

(Note: The concept that people have a "race," and that their race defines their identity, is a destructive idea which comes to us live and direct from The World the Slaveholders Made.)

It would be a better world if young people were never assessed in such ways. It would also be a better world if young people didn't even think they were being so viewed and assessed, sometimes in situations where their judgment may be imperfect.

It would be a better world if young people—even young people at Yale!—weren't confronted with such situations. On the other hand, it would also be a better world if the students of the state of Connecticut didn't produce academic data like these:
Average scores, 2017 Naep
Connecticut, Grade 8 math

White kids: 295.01
Black kids: 257.73
Hispanic kids: 263.00
Asian-American kids: 311.18
By a standard, very rough rule of thumb, the average white student in the Nutmeg State was 3.7 years ahead of the average black student in Grade 8 math. It would be a better world if the many black kids in the state of Connecticut weren't asked to deal with the consequences of that kind of achievement gap.

That said, the kid who gets looked at sideways at Yale is elite. On that basis, that person is worthwhile in the mind of our high liberal class.

The young person who's struggling in the Bridgeport schools comes from a much lower class. All in all, those Bridgeport kids can go drown in the Sound as far as our high liberal news orgs are concerned. The microaggressions of Yale are a serious deal to our liberal elite. The macro-burdens of Bridgeport are essentially never discussed.

It has now been more than two years since the New York Times, as part of a bungled news report, presented the voluminous, gruesome data from a nationwide study by Professor Reardon and two associates.

The data are there for all to assess. The data have been there for more than two years, but our big corporate stars just don't care.

Rachel and Lawrence and Chris and the gang would drown in the Long Island Sound themselves before they'd stoop to discussing such a topic—though they might be more likely to end it all in the ocean surf found in the Hamptons.

Just south of Bridgeport, we find Fairfield, the city's wealthy next-door neighbor. Using Readon's data, we explored the gaps between the students of these two school systems in yesterday's award-wining report.

That said, while New Haven is known as The Elm City, Fairfield is gateway to the Gold Coast. Meandering through the county toward New York City, the traveler hits such school systems as these (Professor Reardon's data):
Where the average student stood
Grades 3-8, reading and math

Westport: 2.6 years above grade level
Ridgefield: 2.6 years above grade level
New Canaan: 2.7 years above grade level
Darien: 2.6 years above grade level

Black kids, Bridgeport: 1.9 years below grade level
Granted, those are some of the wealthiest communities in the nation. That said, kids from those communities will sometimes head off to spend their college years at Harvard or even at Yale.

Bridgeport's kids will rarely have to worry about something like that. According to Reardon's data, the average black student in Bridgeport was 4.5 years behind the average student in those communities, presumably at or near the start of sixth grade!

We liberals! We care a great deal, as we basically should, about microaggressions at Yale. But what would it take to make us consider the average black kids across the whole state of Connecticut?

They're much more numerous than Yale students, and they face a much tougher road through life. What keeps us from briefly considering their plight as we rage, rage against the torments faced by the students of Yale?

We'd planned to discuss the ultimate dream—the kind of "desegregation" which might result if the Bridgeport schools and the schools of next-door neighbor Fairfield just up and decided to merge.

We liberals love to dream such dreams. They make us feel like good, moral people—and they throw the little girl who will start first grade in Bridgeport this fall deeper off into the Sound.

We'd planned to discuss that impossible dream, but let's leave that for another day. Before moving on to Atlanta, "the Yale of The South," let's finish our ruminations about gaps and man [sic] at Yale:

In an ideal world, young people at Yale would never be assessed on the basis of their "race." Also in an ideal world, they might occasionally care a bit more about the young people of Bridgeport.

In an ideal world, our multimillionaire corporate cable stars would stop selling The Chase long enough to talk about the gaps which exist all over the state of Connecticut.

Granted, they'd have no idea what to say, so long has it been since they've considered such problems. And, of course, they'll never do that because their owners know something about us:

We liberals! We weep for the poor elite children of Yale. As for the low-income kids of New Haven, Hartford, Bridgeport and Stamford, we quit on those kids a long time ago.

We're rarely asked to consider their plight. Lawrence and Rachel, and their handlers, know that we don't really care!

Tomorrow: Lemon and Clark

BREAKING: Chait calls spy theory completely insane!

WEDNESDAY, MAY 23, 2018

Forgets to say what happened:
The headline on Jonathan Chait's post this morning said this:
Trump's FBI Spy Theory Is Completely Insane
For a good time, click there.

Almost everything Trump says and does tends to lean toward the insane. (Chait, of course, is using the term in its pleasing, metaphorical sense. As far as we know, he's never taken a stand on whether the press corps should discuss the possibility that Trump's behavior reflects actual mental illness.)

If it's ever fully fleshed out, Trump's "spy theory" will make little or no sense. Here's something else that doesn't make a boatload of sense:

In a fairly lengthy post, Chait doesn't describe the part of the FBI's conduct which most needs explanation and justification. Like everyone else on our lazy, floundering team, he blows past the basic facts of the FBI's conduct. Having blown past the shakiest facts, he's free to say that the other guy's reaction to the facts is completely insane. Pleasing!

Why did the FBI go surreptitious in its approach to Papadopoulos (and Page)? Was it a good idea to adopt this technique within the context of a presidential campaign?

We'd like to see someone like Chait speak to these simple-minded questions. But as our panicked pseudo-liberal culture keeps trending toward the totally tribal, people like Chait grant themselves the right to disappear the possibly inconvenient facts which they'd otherwise have to explain. In this way, the basic facts about the FBI's conduct in this matter have been disappeared.

Chait used to be a smart policy analyst who was considered a bit of a squish on the left. In the past year, he has turned himself into a hackneyed, hysterical anti-Trump blogger. No obvious snark left behind!

He now spends the bulk of his time in the land of useless bashing of Trump. It's probably good for his career. It seems to us that it isn't real good for basic American interests.

BREAKING: Three thousand clams have disappeared!

WEDNESDAY, MAY 23, 2018

A bizarre journalistic event:
In this post, for the third straight day, we'll be discussing the disappearance of the clams.

More precisely, three thousand clams have gone missing in our high-profile public discussion! Also, a plane ride to London! That too has been disappeared!

We refer to the $3000 reportedly paid to George Papadopoulos by Stefan Halper, the FBI's now-famous, though sometimes still-unnamed, "informant." In the endless discussions of this event, those three thousand clams—and that plane ride to London—have been disappeared.

Was there any such payment at all? On each of the past two days, we've shown you the way the New York Times reported this payment to Papadopoulos—a payment which was made under false, phony pretenses. (For yesterday's post, click here.)

That said, the Washington Post also reported the payment last Saturday, in even more detail than the Times. Below, you see the Post's account of the matter, part of a 1550-word report by four of the Post's top reporters. In this passage, the reporters refer to the FBI informant as "the professor:"
COSTA, LEONNIG, HAMBURGER AND BARRETT (5/19/18): People familiar with [the informant's] outreach to Papadopoulos said it was done as part of the FBI’s investigation. The young foreign-policy adviser had been on the radar of the FBI since the summer, and inside the campaign had been pushing Trump and his aides to meet with Russian officials.

“Please pardon my sudden intrusion just before the Labor Day weekend,” the professor wrote to Papadopoulos
in a message described to The Post.

He said he was leading a project examining relations between Turkey and the European Union. He offered to pay Papadopoulos $3,000 to write a paper about the oil fields off the coast of Turkey, Israel and Cyprus, “a topic on which you are a recognized expert.”

It is a long-standing practice of intelligence operatives to try to develop a source by first offering the target money for innocuous research or writing.

The professor invited Papadopoulos to come to London later that month to discuss the paper, offering to pay the costs of his travel. “I understand that this is rather sudden but thought given your expertise, it might be of interest to you,” he wrote.

Papadopoulos accepted.
While in London, he met for drinks with a woman who identified herself as the professor’s assistant, before meeting on Sept. 15 with the professor at the Traveler’s Club, a 200-year-old private club that is a favorite of foreign diplomats stationed in London, according to the emails described to The Post.

After Papadopoulos returned to the United States and sent his research document, the professor responded: “Enjoyed your paper. Just what we wanted. $3,000 wired to your account. Pls confirm receipt.”
Some people will refer to that approach as "tradecraft." Rightly or wrongly, others will be inclined, and not completely crazily, to describe it as "spying." Meanwhile, the New York Post has reported the payment too. To read that report, click here.

In short, three major newspapers, but mainly the Washington Post and the New York Times, have reported this incident. But we've still seen no one on CNN or MSNBC describe these reported events.

We'll assume that these channels have adopted a policy under which this report can't be mentioned, perhaps because the report hasn't been confirmed by their own reporters. We say this because pro-Trump commentator Sean Miller referred to "entrapment" several times on Monday night's Anderson Cooper show.

Presumably, that was a reference to this clandestine procedure. But even Miller, a CNN contributor, didn't cite the clandestine payment, or explain why he was using the term.

Was this approach to Papadopoulos really a form of "entrapment?" Not really, although the informant was imaginably hoping that Papadopoulos would cop to inappropriate or even illegal behavior.

At any rate, these high-profile reports by the Post and the Times have gone down the memory hole on CNN and MSNBC. And not only there! In this morning's Washington Post, David Ignatius wrote a column about the informant, but even he skipped past this episode—an episode which has been reported in substantial detail in his own newspaper!

Why does this matter? Here's why:

We'd like to see a specialist like Ignatius answer a simple-minded question. Why did the FBI have this informant approach Papadopoulos under false pretenses, in a surreptitious manner?

They'd been told that Papadopoulos had said that the Russkies had Clinton's emails. Why didn't they simply send an agent to ask him, in the full light of day, what he'd actually heard?

We'd like to see analysts answer that simple-minded question. But in the current climate, no one is willing to say that the clandestine approach occurred!

The FBI's surreptitious approach helps explain why it's easy to sell this as an example of "spying." Indeed, even James Clapper seemed to possibly fumble the language yesterday on The View:
BEHAR (5/22/18): So I ask you, was the F.B.I. spying on Trump’s campaign?

CLAPPER: No, they were not. They were spying on—a term I don’t particularly like—but on what the Russians were doing. Trying to understand were the Russians infiltrating, trying to gain access, trying to gain leverage or influence, which is what they do.
Oof—and oops as well!

Don't get us wrong! Given the totally tribalized nature of our current political world, our two tribes have already created hardened narratives about what Clapper meant by what he said. But, tribal imperatives to the side, Clapper came awkwardly close to saying that the FBI actually was spying in its approach to Papadopoulos—but they were only trying to spy on what the Russkies knew, not on what the Trump campaign was doing.

Whatever! People can call this approach whatever they like. But in a traditionally rational world, the facts come before the semantics.

The recitation of basic facts comes before the semantics! But in this episode, everyone is arguing semantics, and no one is stating the reported facts! It's amazing to see the way those high-profile reports by the Post and the Times have been disappeared wherever anti-Trump viewpoints are sold. Even Ignatius, a Post columnist, won't mention what the Post itself said!

This is one of the weirdest journalistic episodes we've ever seen at this site. It represents a descent into a Pravda-istic, post-Enlightenment type of discourse.

We have a deeply disordered president—and an increasingly tribalized mainstream press. In this case, our two most important mainstream newspapers have published similar, high-profile news reports. It's amazing, and deeply bizarre, to see our floundering career liberal world refusing to discuss what these famous newspapers have said.

We liberals! We're staging a fight about the semantics—and refusing to state the known facts! As our deeply corporatized tribe descends into its own form of madness, we liberals won't even be asked to hear the known facts about what has occurred!

GAPS AND MAN AT YALE: Less than twenty miles to the south!

WEDNESDAY, MAY 23, 2018

Part 3—The gaps of Fairfield County:
The microaggressions of Yale University have come to play a recurrent role in our national discourse concerning matters of race.

There was the microaggression contained within the email about the Halloween costumes. Not long after that, there was the microaggression within the speech about free speech, which led to the fiery spitting incident.

Other microaggressions have been discussed, some of which were maybe perhaps more worth discussing that others. A few weeks ago, we finally faced the microaggression in which a slumbering graduate student was asked by a campus policeman to produce her Yale ID. This led to the essay at Slate which ran beneath these headlines:
“We Need to Make Sure You Belong Here”
On being black in the white space of Yale.
In the headline, as in the essay, we find the type of jargonized tribal language which helps alienate progressives and liberals from many voters. That said, we'll have to say that the writer's descriptions of "unequal treatment" at Yale didn't strike us as hugely egregious, at least as described, though it would be a much better world if young people never had to feel that they were being perceived or assessed on the basis of so-called race.

True story! When we read about the graduate student and watched the videotape of the incident, we recalled the time when we ourselves were ordered, by a gun-wielding campus policemen, to go into our own dorm room and produce our own student ID. It was our very first weekend in college. The campus policemen seemed very old, and yes, we had to assume that his weapon was loaded.

We'll guess he wanted to make sure we belonged there, we thoughtfully said to ourselves. At any rate, perhaps because of our own worldly experience, the latest horror stories from Yale haven't strike us as completely horrendous. Of course, that also may be because we also thought of the arguable "macro"-aggressions which routinely occur just twenty miles down I-95 from Yale's micro-laden campus.

We'll admit it! We thought of the macroaggressions—and of the gaps—of Connecticut's Fairfield County! And when we thought of the problems of Fairfield County, the microaggressions of Yale University no longer seemed quite so bad.

The achievement gaps of Fairfield County are extremely large. That said, you rarely hear about such topics in the leafy pages of Slate, or from those who've been forced to endure the hardships of life at Yale.

The macroaggressions of Fairfield County can largely be found in Bridgeport, Connecticut, which at the time of the 2010 census was, if only by a whisker, the largest city in the state. (Bridgeport, Hartford, New Haven and Stamford vie rather closely for this distinction. None are huge cities by national standards, but they're all rich with large gaps.)

Bridgeport is a low-income city located next to a wealthy suburb. The suburb in question is Fairfield, Connecticut, gateway to New Canaan.

Bridgeport and Fairfield sit side-by-side. Two years ago, Elizabeth Harris and Kristin Hussey set the scene at the start of a front-page report in the New York Times:
HARRIS (9/11/16): The two Connecticut school districts sit side by side along Long Island Sound. Both spend more than the national average on their students. They prepare their pupils for the same statewide tests. Their teachers, like virtually all the teachers in the state, earn the same high marks on evaluations.

That is where the similarities end: In Fairfield, a mostly white suburb where the median income is $120,000, 94 percent of students graduate from high school on time. In Bridgeport, the state’s most populous and one of its poorest cities, the graduation rate is 63 percent. Fifth graders in Bridgeport, where most people are black or Hispanic, often read at kindergarten level, one of their teachers recently testified during a trial over school funding inequities.
As is often the case in such matters, this Times report was pegged to a court case—in this instance, to a trial concerning school funding issues. (You've never heard anyone say a word about how that case turned out!)

A trial was underway concerning funding issues. That said, where are the "macro"-aggressions in this tale of two communities?

So a reader might sensibly ask. A bit later on, Harris offered this, among other possibilities:
HARRIS: Harding High School, a once-grand red brick building now long past its heyday, sits on Central Avenue in Bridgeport. Ground has been broken on a new $106 million school nearby, on a site of a former General Electric plant.

But for now, the school’s 1,100 students make do with crumbling walls, peeling paint and classrooms that on Friday were sweltering. By late morning, teachers and students mopped sweat from their faces as they marched through the building.

Finding and keeping qualified teachers, especially those certified to teach math and science, is a
"Is a what?" you might sensibly ask. We can't help you with that one today. Nexis and nytimes.com both end that paragraph there!

Do the kids of Bridgeport, in Fairfield County, really face "macro"-aggressions? You're unlikely to see such questions addressed in the leafy pages of Slate.

You won't hear about their minor problems when you watch your favorite cable shows. You see, the children of Bridgeport don't count.

Few Yale grads appear in Slate discussing those kids and their problems. For today, let's outline the achievement gaps which could even be viewed as a macroaggression in a world whose overwrought elites cared.

Yesterday afternoon, the executives of Mapquest.com abandoined therir afternoon mah-jong game to help us detail the geography. Bridgeport is 19.9 miles down the coast from New Haven, these experts reported. It's 20.4 miles south of Yale if you take the scenic route.

You can almost see Bridgeport from Yale! Fairfield is a leafy suburb one more town to the south.

We've now positioned the players, including the next-door neighbors on whom Harris reported. But uh-oh! According to Professor Reardon's nationwide study, the student populations of the two school districts at issue looked like this a few years back, Grade 3 through Grade 8:
Student population, Grades 3-8
Bridgeport Public Schools

White kids: 8 percent
Black kids: 41 percent
Hispanic kids: 48 percent
Asian-American kids: 5 percent

Median family income: $40,000

Fairfield Public Schools
White kids: 84 percent
Black kids: 2 percent
Hispanic kids: 7 percent
Asian-American kids: 7 percent

Median family income: $158,000
There you see it! These communities are next-door neighbors, twenty miles down the coast.

With those data, we've outlined the basic lay of the land. Now we'll show you the gaps, as best we can manage, from Professor Reardon's study:
Where the average student stood
Bridgeport Public Schools
Grades 3-8, reading and math

White kids: 0.7 years below grade level
Black kids: 1.9 years below grade level
Hispanic kids: 1.9 years below grade level

Fairfield Public Schools
Grades 3-8, reading and math

All students: 2.0 years above grade level
Those are Reardon's numbers, as derived from the New York Times graphics to which we link once again.

We can't disaggregate the Fairfield numbers. But the average student among all the district's kids was 2.0 years above grade level, according to Reardon's data.

Right next door, in Bridgeport, the average black or Hispanic student was 1.9 years below grade level. As such, that average student in Fairfield was 3.9 years ahead of the average black or Hispanic student in Bridgeport, right next door.

That's a 3.9 year achievement gap—at the start of sixth grade!

A overwrought progressive could almost call those numbers a record of macroaggression. In our view, such fiery language tends to shed a lot more heat than light, but you needn't worry:

You're unlikely to see or hear any such language about Bridgeport's kids from the students of Yale. Beyond that, you can safely go to Slate today without any fear of being bored by talk of the gaps of Fairfield County. Nor will Rachel or Lawrence depart from their scripts to talk about any such topic at any point in the next year.

We quit on such topics a long time ago. Today's corporate liberals don't care!

Good decent kids in Bridgeport, Connecticut are getting a rather tough break at the start of life. But people! Someone looked sideways at someone at Yale! We progressives can't fairly be asked to focus on every injustice!

Tomorrow: Possibilities of "desegregation." Also, the whole darn state!

Coming Friday: On to Clark Atlanta

BREAKING: Oddest statement of the evening!

TUESDAY, MAY 22, 2018

Democracy dies like this:
Should Rod Rosenstein have done the things he did?

First, he agreed to let the DOJ Inspector General investigate the FBI's conduct with the informant who approached George Papadopoulos and Carter Page.

That strikes us as a nothingburger. Then, Rosenstein agreed to another deal whose contents aren't yet clear. For obvious reasoos, we have no view on that.

Last night, MSNBC worked all night to edit your knowledge of what the informant actually did. Whatever you think of the informant's conduct, this was a striking performance.

Viewers were kept from learning the facts. But for our money, the oddest statement of the night was made by Rachel Maddow.

Rather plainly, Maddow doesn't like Rosenstein. You can tell by the way she puts her thumbs on the scale when she discusses his actions, past and present.

Rachel tends to play that way. Even so, she acknowledged the possibility last night that Rosenstein could be making the best of a bad situation with this pair of moves.

In the passage shown below, she was discussing Rosenstein's decision to let the inspector general investigate the FBI and the informant. We're showing you a large chunk of what she said, but we're only interested in the highlighted assessment made at the end.

Does democracy die in darkness, as the Post says? This is where democracy goes when big giant corporations create partisan "cable news" channels and invents big major stars:
MADDOW (5/21/18) To bolster that sunny side way of looking at it, you should look at the statement that Rosenstein actually made when he gave in to the president's demand that the Russia investigation itself get investigated.

The statement from Rosenstein was really spectacularly specific. The investigation he ordered is supposed to determine, quote, "whether there was any impropriety or political motivation in how the FBI conducted its counterintelligence investigation of persons suspected of involvement with the Russian agents who interfered in the 2016 presidential election." That's the investigation that he ordered after the president's tweet.

So on the one hand, he is giving in to the president's tweeted demand for a new investigation. On the other hand, he's confirming in his statement that the FBI was engaged in a counterintelligence investigation of people who were suspected of involvement with the Russian agents who were interfering in the election at the time. And those people who were the subject of that counterintelligence investigation were on the Trump campaign.

It's kind of actually good to have that all laid out in black and white. That's all confirmed now. OK.

And honestly, if he's confident that there wasn't any, what does he say, "impropriety or political motivation" in how the FBI conducted that investigation, then maybe it's not giving away much to allow the inspector general to look into it.

[PAUSES AND SHRUGS]

How do we know? How do we know whether Rod Rosenstein is doing the right thing?
No really—that's what she said! If Rosenstein is sure that the FBI didn't engage in impropriety, then it's OK to let the IG conduct a probe.

The corollary is all too obvious. If Rosenstein believes the FBI did misbehave, then he shouldn't let the probe go forward. He'd want to keep that under wraps!

In all honesty, Maddow shouldn't be on the air without much greater journalistic supervision. But this is where democracy and the discourse go when partisan victory has come to be the only consideration.

Maddow is a very strange duck. Our tribe isn't able to see this. That doesn't mean it's not true.

This also happened last night: We were interested to see Maddow interview the New York Times' David Kirkpatrick, live and direct from London. All the analysts came in the room to watch.

Long ago and far away, Kirkpatrick wrote the New York Times' 7300-word front-page report about the actual events which actually transpired during the deadly attack in Benghazi. That said, his December 2013 report arrived on the scene much too late. People like Maddow had sat on their hands and played it safe all through the fall of 2012, when the Benghazi mythology was being created and was hardening into stone.

Four years later, that mythology was part of the narrative war which elected Donald J. Trump.

In real time, Maddow sat it out. The bullshit had started with John McCain and Bob Schieffer, and people like Maddow never challenge people like that. She completely sat it out that fall as Susan Rice was thrown to the wolves and the Benghazi myths were formed.

Four years later, she did the same thing when James B. Comey (Comey the God) savaged Candidate Clinton in July 2016. Here's the way it went down:

As of July 2016, Comey was still a major establishment god. People like Maddow never challenge the conduct of people like that. Quite literally, Maddow never so much as mentioned his name until late in October 2016. As she'd done with Susan Rice, so she did with Candidate Clinton. On the brighter side, she did a lot of other stuff to keep us entertained.

It gets worse! In early July 2016, when Comey delivered his attack, Maddow's guest host, Steve Kornacki, actually took Comey's side on two consecutive nights, ridiculing Democrats who were criticizing the irregular conduct of the great godlike figure. When Maddow returned from vacation the next week, she never so much as mentioned Comey's name for the next three months-plus.

Maddow is stunningly good at selling the car. Aside from that, she has 1) a high IQ and 2) a highly self-serving set of instincts.

Good God! She even tried to sell us Greta Van Susteren, her drinking buddy and Fox's chief enabler of Trump the birther king. That said, nothing Maddow does will ever turn our tribe against her. She's simply that good at selling the car, and we're that weak and helpless.

About last night! You could tell that the London-based Kirkpatrick isn't one of the gang. You could tell that because this was the first thing he said:
MADDOW (5/21/18): Am I correct that your reporting indicates that Joel Zamel's company drew up this proposal for a social media manipulation campaign but we don't know whether this proposal was ever actually picked up by the Trump campaign, we don't know what happened to the proposed campaign?

KIRKPATRICK: Correct. So I think you're overstating his lawyer's denial, by the way.
He thinks she's overstating something? Dearest darlings, use your heads! On the Rachel Maddow Show, such things simply aren't said!

BREAKING: Lawrence would have called it a lie!

TUESDAY, MAY 22, 2018

Except it was Lawrence who said it:
Lawrence would have called it a lie—except it was Lawrence who said it!

We refer to something Lawrence said during last evening's Last Word. During his opening monologue, he described what the FBI's now-famous informant did:
LAWRENCE (5/21/18): Now understand, Rod Rosenstein is in a position to already know whether anyone did infiltrate or surveil participants in a presidential campaign. He already knows that that did not happen.

Rod Rosenstein certainly already knows what has been publicly reported, that someone in England had a couple of conversations with a couple of people who were affiliated with the Trump campaign and that source, in England, told the FBI about those conversations. That is not "infiltrated" or "surveilled," as Donald Trump put it.

So Rod Rosenstein already knows that no one is going to find that the FBI infiltrated or surveilled the Trump campaign for political purposes, as the Trump tweet put it. Rod Rosenstein knows that there was an investigation of Russian interference in the presidential campaign and possible Russian influence and assistance to the Trump campaign, and that that investigation was not conducted for political purposes but for national security purposes.
In that way, Lawrence described what the FBI's now-famous informant did.

He also told us what the informant didn't do. The informant didn't "infiltrate" or "surveil" the Trump campaign!

As we watched the fiery gentleman do this, an irony leaped to mind. Given his fiery hatred of disinformation, Lawrence would have called that presentation a lie if one of The Others had said it!

Why do we say that? Here's why:

Like everyone else on MSNBC, Lawrence was extremely selective last night in what he was willing to tell us.

Basically, everything he said was accurate. It's true! "Someone in England" did in fact "have a couple of conversations with a couple of people who were affiliated with the Trump campaign." And that source did "tell the FBI about those conversations."

Some of those conversations actually took place in Virginia, but we'll call that close enough for cable news work. What Lawrence said was basically true—but down below, you see the part of "what has been publicly reported" that he chose to leave out.

Lawrence was rather selective last night. Indeed, three days after the New York Times reported these slightly peculiar facts, no one on MSNBC seemed willing to mention them last night:
GOLDMAN, MAZZETTI AND ROSENBERG (5/19/18): F.B.I. agents were seeking more details about what Mr. Papadopoulos knew about the hacked Democratic emails, and one month after their Russia investigation began, Mr. Papadopoulos received a curious message. The [informant] inquired about his interest in writing a research paper on a disputed gas field in the eastern Mediterranean Sea, a subject of Mr. Papadopoulos’ expertise.

The informant offered a $3,000 honorarium for the paper and a paid trip to London, where the two could meet and discuss the research project.

[...]

Mr. Papadopoulos accepted the offer and arrived in London two weeks later, where he met for several days with the [informant] and one of his assistants, a young woman.
How weird! Three days after it was "publicly reported," Lawrence left that out.

In fact, "someone in England" didn't merely "have a couple of conversations with a couple of people." In fact, that person in England paid Papadopoulos $3000 on a phony pretext, inducing him to fly across the Atlantic Ocean so those conversations could occur.

This is the part of the story which will perhaps seem a bit strange within the context of a presidential campaign. It's the part of the story which could almost make it seem that the Trump campaign really was "infiltrated" or "surveilled" by the FBI.

Almost surely for that reason, this is the part of the story you didn't hear on MSNBC last night. Hour after hour passed, and no one told you that the informant did those things—not even on the Maddow Show, where public readings of Times reports are now a popular favorite.

In the end, of course, it doesn't principally matter what you decide to call the FBI's conduct. It doesn't necessarily matter whether you call it "infiltration" or "surveillance"—but it does matter that basic facts don't get disappeared.

On MSNBC last night, Lawrence and a cast of thousands disappeared a basic chunk of this story. You weren't allowed to know what the informant actually did. More frequently, you were told what he didn't do.

Make no mistake—everybody seemed to be playing this game on The One True Liberal Channel. We saw no one mention the $3000 and the plane ride to London, offered on a phony pretext.

Those basic facts were nowhere to be heard. But people were offering disclaimers like this, courtesy of Brian:
WILLIAMS (5/21/18): So Julia, this is a crisis independent of the known facts. There was no one with a stick-on mustache sitting in the back of the press corps covering the Trump administration as a paid federal government spy.
Ha ha ha ha ha ha ha! Oh boy, that was good!

Speaking in defense of "the known facts," Brian told us what didn't happen. No one wore a stick-on mustache! So true!

That said, neither Brian, nor any one of his three pundit guests, told his viewers what did happen—that a government informant paid a Trump aide $3000 on a phony pretext to lure him across the Atlantic for talks.

Should the FBI have done that? As we noted yesterday, we don't have any experience or expertise in this area. But within the context of a presidential campaign, it strikes us as a slightly odd thing to have done.

That's why you weren't told that it happened. Given his loathing of disinformation, Lawrence would have loudly called it a lie—except that it was Lawrence himself who was misleading you last night.

This is classic propaganda. It's also the way Fox works.

The horse he rode out on: For Brian, this is the flip side of the horse he rode out on. Back in the day, he made up all sorts of phony stories about heroic things he had done.

(This was after he spent months trashing Candidate Gore for his disturbing wardrobe, what with the polo shirts that didn't look right and the three-button sweaters [sic], with plenty of psychiatric discussions about what was wrong with Gore. This was in the Jack Welch era, so Brian got Brokaw's job.)

Later, it turned out that Brian had done heroic things—things which hadn't happened! He got canned from Nightly News on that basis. Last night, on the flip side of the horse he rode out on, Brian was at it again!

GAPS AND MAN AT YALE: Desegregation in Hartford's schools!

TUESDAY, MAY 22, 2018

Part 2—Tribal happy talk:
Should mainstream news orgs—news orgs like Slate—cover reports of microaggressions at Yale?

Presumably yes, they should. We'd also say that news orgs like Slate perhaps shouldn't overdo it.

As everyone knows, every time a Yale graduate student is asked to produce her ID card, the American people are just a bit less free. On our own first weekend in college, we were asked by a campus policeman to go inside our own dorm room and come out with our college ID, so we're especially aware of the severity of this type of problem.

We may flesh out that experience before the week is done. At any rate, thismuch is plainly true:

When young people go to Yale, they shouldn't feel that they're being harassed on the basis of race. Presumably, news orgs like Slate might want to report on perceptions to the contrary.

That said, we liberals! We seem much more interested in highly privileged students at Yale than in the low-income first graders living nearby in New Haven. We dote on the experiences of the one group, tend to throw the other group under the big yellow bus.

And not only that! Even when we deign to speak to the issues affecting low-income students, we may tend to remain rather firmly within our own preferred tribal frameworks. Consider the report on "desegregation" which appeared in last Friday's New York Times.

Sharon Otterman's news report dealt with a perfectly newsworthy topic—"a lawsuit [filed] against the State of New Jersey on Thursday, calling on it to desegregate its schools statewide." The suit has been brought by "the Latino Action Network, together with about a dozen other plaintiffs," Otterman wrote.

Does the state of New Jersey currently have "segregated" schools? It certainly has a lot of schools which are racially imbalanced! In the passages shown below, Otterman laid out some basic facts:
OTTERMAN (5/18/18): The lawsuit cites statistics to show that without legal action, segregation has only deepened. The number of New Jersey public school students who attend schools that are at least 99 percent nonwhite, for example, grew to 107,322 in the 2016-17 school year, from 93,614 in 2010-11.

[...]

Statewide, 46 percent of the 585,000 black and Latino public school students attend schools that are more than 90 percent nonwhite.
Of the 622,359 white students in New Jersey public schools, 43 percent attend schools that are at least 75 percent white.
Assuming the basic accuracy of those data, New Jersey's diversity seems to make it a candidate for court-facilitated attempts at greater "integration" within its public schools. When such facilitation goes well, it can, at least in theory, provide improved experiences for a state or community's public school students.

When such facilitation goes poorly, less valuable outcomes may occur.

Is there a legal basis for ordering "desegregation" of New Jersey's schools? We don't know, but we were struck by a classic upbeat reference to the magnificent desegregation which has been achieved in one of Connecticut's largest school systems.

Assaults on the dignity of Yale elites take place in New Haven. Not too many miles away, Hartford—the capital of the Nutmeg State and its largest city—operates the second or third largest school system in the state.

In most ways, Otterman's report on the New Jersey lawsuit was perfectly professional. That said, our incomparable gorge did threaten to rise when we read about the spectacular desegregation accomplished up north in Hartford:
OTTERMAN: New Jersey is rare among the states: Its courts have declared even de facto school segregation unconstitutional since the 1960s. Such segregation has persisted, and worsened, however, because “no one has done anything about it,” said Gary Stein, a former New Jersey Supreme Court justice on the court that ordered equal funding for the state's districts.

“Here in New Jersey, we have segregation that’s more intense than any state today in the South,” he said. “What we have got in New Jersey, frankly, is an embarrassment. We have segregation at a level that is just intolerable for a state like ours, and we have never addressed it.”

The lawsuit suggests several remedies, including the creation of magnet schools that draw from multiple towns and districts and tax incentives for municipalities to create more diverse schools. It points to an effort in Hartford, stemming from a 1996 desegregation lawsuit, that created clusters of magnet schools so attractive that suburban children are bused into inner-city Hartford to attend them.
Otterman was reporting the facts, just the facts—the facts about what the high-minded lawsuit alleged. That said, we'll have to admit—we were skeptical concerning the glories allegedly achieved in Hartford in the past 22 years.

When "desegregation" is capably handled, kids may tend to benefit from a better social experience in school. That said, how well do these procedures address the massive achievement gaps concerning which our Yale elites have so little to tell us, even in the useless decades following graduation?

Last Friday morning, we returned to our sprawling campus from a local Starbucks. Upon re-entry, we demanded a full review concerning the glories of Hartford.

Desegregation had been ordered in 1996. Suggestible readers of the Times were now being told that 22 years of desegregation had created schools so attractive that you couldn't keep the suburban kids away!

In response to our demand, the analysts scrambled to their research stations. Using the data from Professor Reardon's study, they hit us first with the demographics of the Hartford Public Schools:
Student population, Grades 3-8
Hartford, Conn. Public Schools

White kids: 9 percent
Black kids: 38 percent
Hispanic kids: 50 percent
Asian-American kids: 3 percent

Median family income: $27,000
"Finally!" we shouted, perhaps hysterically. "Finally! A student population which 'looks like America!' "

Timorously, another analyst asked permission to approach. Visibly shaking, he handed us the printout for the suburban West Hartford Public Schools, located just west of Hartford:
Student population, Grades 3-8
West Hartford, Conn. Public Schools

White kids: 62 percent
Black kids: 8 percent
Hispanic kids: 15 percent
Asian-American kids: 14 percent

Median family income: $100,000
All data come from Professor Reardon. For the record, the Hartford schools enroll about 21,000 students. The suburban West Hartford schools enroll roughly half that number.

Frankly, our eyes began to fill. We hadn't seen so much successful desegregation since the time of Louise Day Hicks! Needless to say, we felt fairly sure that, with all those suburban children being bused into Hartford to attend the city's attractive schools, Hartford had surely eliminated any achievement gaps too!

We barked an order at the analysts; they quickly delivered the goods. Twenty-two years later, here's the Arcadia which is found just up the road from New Haven:
Where the average student stood
Hartford Public Schools
Grades 3-8, reading and math

White kids: 0.8 years above grade level
Black kids: 1.6 years below grade level
Hispanic kids: 2.4 years below grade level
Sure enough! After 22 years of desegregation, the achievement gap barely exists in the Hartford Public Schools!

According to Reardon, the average white student in the Hartford schools is only 3.2 years ahead of the average Hispanic kid at the start of sixth grade! Given our liberal world's complete disinterest in the lives of our low-income kids, we're willing to call that even.

It's fairly clear that Hartford is a type of post-desegregation Eden. That said, fairness will make us report that the gaps get a bit larger is you factor in the West Hartford schools.

Using the graphics at the New York Times, we haven't been able to find a full demographic breakdown for the academic levels achieved in the West Hartford schools. That said, the Times graphics do tell us this:
Where the average student stood
West Hartford Public Schools
Grades 3-8, reading and math

All students: 1.5 years above grade level
Based on that overall number, we'll guess that the average white student in West Hartford is something like 2.0 years above grade level. That would create a 3.6 year achievement gap with the average black kid in Hartford—and a 4.4 year gap with the average Hispanic kid, presumably at or near the start of sixth grade!

Why do we offer these data? Let's return to the reading experience of the average New York Times reader.

Last Friday morning, that average reader received a standard plate of tribal gruel. He or she was told about the wonders of desegregation in Hartford. Continuing from the text shown above, Otterman offered this:
OTTERMAN (continuing directly): Children who attend integrated schools do better than those who remain in segregated schools, research shows. And while the benefits of desegregation are most profound for black and Latino low-income students, diversity also helps white students by exposing them to children of different socioeconomic backgrounds and broadening their perspectives.

“We think that white children who attend segregated white schools are disadvantaged,” Mr. Stein said.
None of that is necessarily untrue. Beyond that, nothing that has happened in Hartford negates the possibility that "desegregation" can help lower-achieving "minority" kids improve their academic performance in public schools.

The data from Hartford don't and can't settle outstanding questions about the possible academic value of "desegregation" plans. That said, that picture of all the suburban kids streaming into Hartford's attractive schools is a typical plate of tribal happy-talk. In these ways, we liberals are constantly fluffed about the lives of the low-income kids we plainly don't care much about.

Within our rather selective tribe, we do care about the graduate students found down the road in New Haven. Their bumps in the road are important to us.

By way of contrast, first-graders attending the state's public schools can pretty much go hang in the yard. We quit on those kids a long time ago. Few things could be more clear, though we do love our happy-talk.

We liberals! Routinely, we pleasure ourselves with feel-good descriptions about those kids and about the sources of their struggles. At present, we're easily pleased about low-income kids, bears about Eli elites.

Tomorrow: Campus policeman pulls gun!