## Re: Balls

1

Hard to fathom what he's thinking.

It's a mark of a genuine irredeemable asshole. Loads of people do criminal shit, but the ones who look you in the eye and deny it when you have them dead to rights are the ones you don't worry about being gentle with.

Posted by: gswift | Link to this comment | 05-27-15 7:19 PM
2

The Internet, how the fuck does it work?

Posted by: SP | Link to this comment | 05-27-15 7:20 PM
3

I love that the journalist hadn't even anticipated that he was going to pull this kind of lie,* and had only installed the browser extension in the (possibly naive) hope that LaCour was going to issue his promised statement.

*I also don't understand why on earth he told THAT lie. Like, if "that version of the CV hasn't been on my website for at least a year," does that mean that LaCour thinks lies have a statute of limitations? "Oh, don't worry about that statement -- it's more than 12 months old! Who cares if it's true!"

Posted by: Witt | Link to this comment | 05-27-15 7:34 PM
4

Possibly there's a statute of limitations on criminal fraud that he's worried about and is only one year?

Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 05-27-15 7:48 PM
5

But probably he's just throwing chaff in hopes of gaining time.

Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 05-27-15 7:49 PM
6

And anyway, apparently the statute of limitation for fraud run from the discovery of the fraud. So says the law firm of Googling Shit.

Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 05-27-15 7:55 PM
7

I think you're attributing too much rationality and knowledge to him.

Lawyers Guns and Money linked to this very reasoned analysis of a SECOND possibly faked paper, and I have to say that if this guy's analysis is true, then I suspect the thought pattern behind the fakery is one that I find pretty familiar. It's somebody who doesn't think that anyone else is really doing the work either -- they think that because they find something complicated, or overwhelming, that everybody else must be humming a few bars and faking it too. They convince themselves their lies are normal, and that they are low-stakes, because nobody else will want to rock the boat because they're all lying too.

I had a former colleague who had this mentality. As far as I know she never outright faked anything, but just last week we had an issue where a reporter called up wanting a source for a number she had trumpeted. No source could be found. Having worked with her for several years, I strongly suspect that this was case of her doing back-of-the-envelope math to generate an estimate, and failing to document her calculations. But who knows? She certainly showed frequent evidence of cognitive laziness* and endless shortcuts when we worked together.

*I don't use this word lightly; it took me three years to decide this was what was going on with her.

Posted by: Witt | Link to this comment | 05-27-15 7:56 PM
8

it took me three years to decide

Oh, who's the lazy one?

Posted by: ogged | Link to this comment | 05-27-15 8:02 PM
9

Seriously? I didn't have the power to fire her, and I was trying not to jump to conclusions and be unfair, just because she wasn't good at the kinds of things I'm good at.

Also, I don't know that I would have been able to manage the cognitive dissonance of rewriting her work -- which was my job -- if I had acknowledged that it was deliberate laziness on her part. I have very little ability to conceal my contempt once I've made a judgment like that.

Posted by: Witt | Link to this comment | 05-27-15 8:11 PM
10

O.K. I read that linked article. I think I met that guy once. He's really writing the for slow crowd in back who don't pay close attention. One minor quibble. I don't doubt the other paper was likely fraudulent in whole or part, but I doubt LaCour didn't know the Chi-Squared distribution. I think he just got too lazy to insert the right character.

Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 05-27-15 8:12 PM
11

Wow, that's brazen. What a bold deceiver!

At this point, I'm sure he is acting out of sheer desperation, and therefore reacting to new developments (and fresh inquiries) without really thinking it through (how does the internet work? e.g., as SP points out).

Posted by: Just Plain Jane | Link to this comment | 05-27-15 8:20 PM
12

I certainly didn't know you could do something as simple as a browser extension to monitor a web page for changes.

Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 05-27-15 8:23 PM
13

I'm a little annoyed that my lazy proxy that people who put the time into making nice-looking, easily-interpretable plots are usually doing solid work is so very wrong in this case.

Posted by: essear | Link to this comment | 05-27-15 8:26 PM
14

The fact that he's reached the point where he's just reacting to things in a blind panic kind of makes me want to give him a call pretending to be a reporter and start asking him questions about problems with his papers/history/CV/etc. that I've just made up out of nothing to see what happens. If you're already in "deny everything cover it up!" mode there's fewer cognitive resources to devote to "wait did I actually do that unethical thing he's asking about?" and something relatively complicated but plausible might slip right through.

Posted by: MHPH | Link to this comment | 05-27-15 8:31 PM
15

You should call and pretend to be from the gas company. And then after talking about gas company things for five minutes, ask about his papers.

Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 05-27-15 8:33 PM
16

If he has to go to court, he should hire Stephen Glass.

Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 05-27-15 8:38 PM
17

14: You should knock on his door, all loaded up with Watchtower pamphlets, and pretend to be canvassing on behalf of the Jehovah's Witnesses. If he doesn't agree to convert, his research methodology is a fraud!

Posted by: Just Plain Jane | Link to this comment | 05-27-15 8:46 PM
18

This reminds me. For Halloween this year, I'm going as sexy IRB member.

Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 05-27-15 8:56 PM
19

You know, I get enough stress just feeling like an imposter. Being an actual imposter must be maddening.

Posted by: Spike | Link to this comment | 05-27-15 9:15 PM
20

I wonder if actual impostors get impostor syndrome at all. Witt's theory in 7 seems plausible, and I'm not sure someone who assumes everyone else is faking it would experience much anxiety about faking it themselves.

Posted by: teofilo | Link to this comment | 05-27-15 9:48 PM
21

sexy IRB member

Not enough brain bleach in the world.

Posted by: Cosma Shalizi | Link to this comment | 05-27-15 10:33 PM
22

20: the other day I was trying to develop a grand unified theory of imposter syndrome, the peter principle, and the dunning-kruger effect.

Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 05-28-15 4:41 AM
23

"This has more than minimal risks so you're no longer eligible for expedited review."

Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 05-28-15 5:04 AM
24

"She's here to serve as a witness to your informed consent."

Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 05-28-15 5:05 AM
25

a grand unified theory of imposter syndrome, the peter principle, and the dunning-kruger effect.

Is that when someone gets promoted to a point where they don't know enough to recognize that they are an imposter?

Posted by: Spike | Link to this comment | 05-28-15 5:08 AM
26

Yes.

Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 05-28-15 5:22 AM
27

Balls
Posted by Ogged
on 05.27.15

Read to the end. LaCour is going to brazen ...

In other words, he has brass balls.

Posted by: marcel | Link to this comment | 05-28-15 5:30 AM
28

"Like the key points of the Belmont Report, the facts of our love will be put into slides that thousands of people have to review every two years."

Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 05-28-15 5:37 AM
29

An ex-gf had a colleague like in 7. A really extraordinarily stupid person, who - through a combination of constant, brazen lying and having a convincing way of looking you in the eye and nodding confidently while you explained something - got as far as a PhD programme in a technical field, in a global top ten uni before she got caught out on one thing, and then quickly got caught out on everything else. She was eventually asked to leave, refused to do so for a while, until her funding got revoked and she had little choice. Anway, yeah, these types aren't living in the same universe as the rest of us.

Posted by: real ffeJ annaH | Link to this comment | 05-28-15 6:02 AM
30

someone gets promoted to a point where they don't know enough to recognize that they are an imposter

George W. Bush comes to mind.

Posted by: Spike | Link to this comment | 05-28-15 6:08 AM
31

10: I was thinking the same. The Chi-squared distribution is covered in very basic intro stats, and if you know enough to make your computer sprinkle normally distributed noise over some data, then you certainly know about that.

Posted by: Tia | Link to this comment | 05-28-15 6:27 AM
32

Is George Mason University not a very good university? I don't know much about it.

Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 05-28-15 6:30 AM
33

Anyway, maybe he has graduate students who don't know what it is.

Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 05-28-15 6:31 AM
34

22: like the sociopaths, chimps, losers explanation of firms?

Posted by: clew | Link to this comment | 05-28-15 6:37 AM
35

Chumps, I guess, though chimps kind of works.

Posted by: clew | Link to this comment | 05-28-15 6:38 AM
36

18: This just opens up a whole new range of costumes, doesn't it? I mean, I was planning to go as Young Professor X, but now - Sexy Sponsored Projects Administrator! Sexy Translational Research Coordinator! Sexy Biostatistics Director! Sexy Environmental Health And Safety Officer!

The LaCour thing freaks me out - I keep envisioning it as a science version of "Paul's Case".

Posted by: Frowner | Link to this comment | 05-28-15 6:51 AM
37

The sheer brazenness of it reminds me of the Schon affair.

Posted by: AcademicLurker | Link to this comment | 05-28-15 6:59 AM
38

I've seen that one.

Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 05-28-15 7:00 AM
39

32 - It's a weird beast, a public university in Virginia that sucks up a lot of Koch Brothers funding and has an even-more-libertarian-than-expected economics department.

Posted by: snarkout | Link to this comment | 05-28-15 7:06 AM
40

Jarring.

Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 05-28-15 7:23 AM
41

7: The paper could be faked, but I didn't find the evidence very compelling. Moby's explanation that he was too lazy to look up the character for chi is more plausible. The rule of thumb he gives about confidence intervals is sort-of true, but it's the weakest possible rule of thumb -- it wouldn't be at all surprising to see it violated on real data.

Posted by: Walt Someguy | Link to this comment | 05-28-15 7:40 AM
42

I'm not sure someone who assumes everyone else is faking it would experience much anxiety about faking it themselves.

This seems plausible, and up to a point resembles a valuable insight. It's similar in a way to the realization that in an adversary proceeding your opponent has as much reason to be afraid of you as you have of your opponent. In the Salt River episode in The Personal Memoirs of U.S. Grant, Grant recounts that he was beside himself with fear and anxiety before what he expected to be his first battle in command, only to find his opponent had hastily retreated. Grant says he was never afraid in the same way after that, although anxious of course.

There's a night-and-day distinction between a lawyer who realizes he could be better-prepared and a researcher faking data, which is making a knowingly false statement. But someone morbidly conscientious, or a perfectionist given to procrastination out of fear could benefit from that some of that brazenness; it seems a special charm bestowed on the obtuse. They're not anxious about issues they haven't even spotted.

Posted by: idp | Link to this comment | 05-28-15 7:41 AM
43

It's similar in a way to the realization that in an adversary proceeding your opponent has as much reason to be afraid of you as you have of your opponent.

Nescis, mi fili, quantilla sapientia mundus regnatur?, as my dad told me before I went off to university.

Posted by: ajay | Link to this comment | 05-28-15 7:51 AM
44

Is George Mason University not a very good university

I saw Weezer play the GMU basketball arena. It was pretty underwhelming, but, then, it was the Green Album tour, so what do you expect.

Posted by: Stanley | Link to this comment | 05-28-15 7:57 AM
45

Is George Mason University not a very good university?

I only ever hear about them in the context of some libertarian BS or other. So my guess would be 1) not all that good, and 2) well funded by right wing creeps (see 39 above).

Posted by: AcademicLurker | Link to this comment | 05-28-15 8:00 AM
46

GMU also caters to a different type of student body. It's a commuter campus, lots of adults returning to get a needed credential. It means much less attention to "campus life" type stuff combined with not much research/graduate programs. They seem to have normally functioning if poorly ranked department in my field. I think of it like a four year version of community college, not in a pejorative way.

Posted by: ydnew | Link to this comment | 05-28-15 8:08 AM
47

Too lazy to type "\chi"?

Posted by: essear | Link to this comment | 05-28-15 8:10 AM
48

I was temporarily assigned once to an office where the staff attorneys started the day with a meeting. The first day I noticed a very well-dressed and self-confident young woman describing her cases, and thought to myself "I wish I could be that confident."

Well, in few weeks we found she'd never been to court, nor done any work in the files. In the meantime she'd just disappeared. We scrambled madly to try to repair the damage, which I found oddly dis-inhibiting. Someone else having made the errors, I could act confidently.

I don't think of hers as a case of brazenness, but of desperately keeping up appearances. She must have been terrified.

Posted by: idp | Link to this comment | 05-28-15 8:10 AM
49

libertarian BS
Specifically, the Mercatus Center and Tyler Cowan.

Posted by: Eggplant | Link to this comment | 05-28-15 8:20 AM
50

This post needs a sound track, or rather, a theme song. And I have just the one (NSFW, unless you put the volume down low):

Posted by: marcel | Link to this comment | 05-28-15 8:22 AM
51

This could be another upcoming scandal:

http://www.newrepublic.com/article/121909/did-sociologist-alice-goffman-drive-getaway-car-murder-plot

I'm thinking less the 'accessory to murder' angle and more 'sounds too good to be true' angle.

Posted by: Buttercup | Link to this comment | 05-28-15 8:27 AM
52

I'm getting more worried about these things. Traditionally we don't suspect our colleagues of perpetrating frauds that extend as far as "entire fictional research study" or "entire fictional CV", because such frauds are easy to detect if people try to replicate them, so people don't do it unless they are crazy and/or narcissists.

But as the paths nowadays for trainees are "publish solid but unexciting study, see academic career end" vs. "publish exciting study, become established in academic career", with the latter path being off-limits to most people because their data is not exciting, we'll see more people resort to this.

Posted by: Cryptic ned | Link to this comment | 05-28-15 8:51 AM
53

Aren't there one or more movies with the plot of someone shows up to job X and confidently pretends they belong even though they were never qualified/hired in the first place?

Posted by: SP | Link to this comment | 05-28-15 8:59 AM
54

I'm not as worried because I don't think the incentives are that bad. Or rather that they are that good for faking. It's not like banking where you can commit a fraud and figure on keeping at least a good portion of the profits if you get caught five years later. It takes years to build an academic career even in the best of circumstances and if you get caught you don't really get to keep anything of worth.

Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 05-28-15 9:00 AM
55

51: Oh I don't know: speaking professionally, I'd think that "Librul professor was accessory to gang murder" has a certain appeal to some segments of the market.

Posted by: NW | Link to this comment | 05-28-15 9:59 AM
56

Aaagh. Somebody just wrote a reply to one of our articles that a) points out a really stupid error we did make and b) asks us if we considered a question that is direct restatement of the fucking title of the article.

Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 05-28-15 10:16 AM
57

The error was just a type, nothing huge.

Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 05-28-15 10:28 AM
58

But did you consider it?

Posted by: MHPH | Link to this comment | 05-28-15 10:28 AM
59

Not me personally.

Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 05-28-15 10:30 AM
60

Is it possible that some universities in China don't distinguish between comments on articles and actual articles when they count a faculty member's publications? Because that would explain this guy's publication record.

Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 05-28-15 10:37 AM
61

That sounds not just possible but likely.

Posted by: essear | Link to this comment | 05-28-15 10:57 AM
62

Maybe I'm missing information by never reading an actual physical journal where I might notice such things.

Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 05-28-15 11:01 AM
63

Also, the overly polite and formal indication of respect for the authors? Not necessarily ironic?

Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 05-28-15 11:02 AM
64

Science has retracted over La Cour's objections.

Posted by: Minivet | Link to this comment | 05-28-15 12:39 PM
65

47: I bet the fucker writes his papers in Word.

Posted by: Walt Someguy | Link to this comment | 05-28-15 12:55 PM
66

65: If you look at the paper in question, as linked from the site linked in the OP, you'll see that it was either written with LaTeX or someone went to a lot of effort to make Word use Computer Modern and otherwise generally resembled LaTeX output.

Posted by: essear | Link to this comment | 05-28-15 1:00 PM
67

So if a paper looks like it was done in LaTeX, it's likely to be fraudulent.

Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 05-28-15 1:18 PM
68

Whereas I've been told before that if I don't use the default LaTeX font, my papers look unprofessional. You can't win.

Posted by: essear | Link to this comment | 05-28-15 1:24 PM
69

writes his papers in Word.

*sob*

Posted by: redfoxtailshrub | Link to this comment | 05-28-15 1:33 PM
70

Hey. I write papers in Word.

Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 05-28-15 1:35 PM
71

They won't install WordPerfect.

Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 05-28-15 1:41 PM
72

53: Does Catch Me If You Can count? For what it's worth, it's based loosely on real events.

56: Sooo... sounds mildly annoying, then? I'm having a hard time seeing a problem here. Except maybe keeping your reply to (b) polite.

Posted by: Cyrus | Link to this comment | 05-28-15 2:01 PM
73

72.2: Mostly just mildly annoying, yes.

Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 05-28-15 2:04 PM
74

How to Succeed in Business Without Really Trying?

Posted by: redfoxtailshrub | Link to this comment | 05-28-15 2:04 PM
75

60,61

Yes. Also, promotion is very quantified. You have to have X number of publications in X-tier journals, and I think there's a conversion system, e.g. where 1 publication in a top tier journal is worth 2 in a second tier journal, or whatever the concrete numbers are.

63
That's likely to be respect, or at least an idea that one has to adhere to a formal register in academic communication. Very unlikely to be ironic, if the writer is a non-native English speaker from mainland China.

68
I didn't know comic sans serif came with the default Latex package.

Speaking of, I had to explain how to do interlinear glosses in Latex to an elderly linguist the other day. He wanted to know 1) how I was able to write in a non-roman alphabet, and 2) if I could export it into word.

Posted by: Buttercup | Link to this comment | 05-28-15 2:20 PM
76

The immortal classic of American cinema, Don't Tell Mom The Babysitter's Dead.

Posted by: snarkout | Link to this comment | 05-28-15 2:28 PM
77

Don't Tell Mom The Babysitter's Dead

YES. Also, The Secret of My Success.

Posted by: TRO | Link to this comment | 05-28-15 2:32 PM
78

75: Thank you. I noticed he (she?) had letters in journals I knew of and articles mostly in ones I hadn't.

Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 05-28-15 2:41 PM
79

The retraction says he admits that the grants were all fake, but not to the retraction of the article. That's real weird, he's already given away the game with that admission. Is he somehow trying to still get a degree out of this even though he will never get an academic job?

Posted by: Unfoggetarian: "Pause endlessly, then go in." (9) | Link to this comment | 05-28-15 3:07 PM
80

Re: Buttercup at 51: Wow, Alice Goffman is having a public Twitter meltdown (as of an hour ago). I'm feeling uncharitably gratified to have my grouchy suspicions confirmed.

Posted by: Witt | Link to this comment | 05-28-15 3:17 PM
81

I write papers in Word, and sometimes assemble figures in PowerPoint.

Posted by: SP | Link to this comment | 05-28-15 3:17 PM
82

I am approaching the crossover point of having more papers than my age- is that significant?

Posted by: SP | Link to this comment | 05-28-15 3:23 PM
83

And now the Twitter account is protected. Wonder if it was an imposter. I could be suffering from confirmation bias.

Posted by: Witt | Link to this comment | 05-28-15 3:27 PM
84

Mrs. Doubtfire? Sort of.

Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 05-28-15 3:30 PM
85

80

Wow, that was fast. No screenshots of twitter?

Posted by: Buttercup | Link to this comment | 05-28-15 3:33 PM
86

There are a few screenshots but I don't know if anyone captured the whole thing. Search Goffman on Twitter.

Posted by: Witt | Link to this comment | 05-28-15 3:38 PM
87

Holy crap, she approved me as a follower. She has deleted some of the most egregious stuff, but she's doubling down on how she's being attacked for having feelings. !!!

If this is really Goffman, she's digging a very big hole.

Posted by: Witt | Link to this comment | 05-28-15 3:47 PM
88

Witt! Motherisdues at googles mail if you save it. I still have t read the book because I'm such a skeptic, which is unfair

Posted by: Thorn | Link to this comment | 05-28-15 3:51 PM
89

Don't be surprised she followed you. You're like half of the actual information on my feed.

Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 05-28-15 3:55 PM
90

Sent!

Posted by: Witt | Link to this comment | 05-28-15 3:59 PM
91

Off-topic, and I apologize if this was already linked to today (I skimmed the other active threads and couldn't find any reference to it), but here's something that's certainly relevant to nosflow:

http://www.rawstory.com/2015/05/boulder-cops-declare-rock-stacking-a-jailable-offense-to-stop-local-artist-who-spent-7-years-creating-sculptures/

Boulder's bold boulder builder's boulder building banning by Boulder's blue rocks Boulder!

Posted by: protoplasm | Link to this comment | 05-28-15 4:02 PM
92

In 66 when I said "linked in the OP" I actually was thinking of Witt's link in 7. Oops!

Posted by: essear | Link to this comment | 05-28-15 4:09 PM
93

91: I just saw that and also thought of nosflow.

Posted by: Stanley | Link to this comment | 05-28-15 4:21 PM
94

Okay, ProPublica reporter with verified Twitter account has called Goffman, who says account is a fake.

Posted by: Witt | Link to this comment | 05-28-15 4:31 PM
95

I would say that setting up a fake Twitter account to have a fake meltdown as a pretend sociologist was the greatest waste of time of all time, but then I took a closer look at myself.

Posted by: TRO | Link to this comment | 05-28-15 4:34 PM
96

Posted by: dairy queen | Link to this comment | 05-28-15 5:31 PM
97

I wonder if she filled out the research confidentiality agreement properly and filed it with the sexy IRB.

Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 05-28-15 5:49 PM
98

What's Hastert's defense going to be? Maybe he'll say that he covered up someone's abuse, and wasn't himself the abuser, and boy is he sorry he didn't do more.

Posted by: ogged | Link to this comment | 05-28-15 5:51 PM
99

Maybe he'll hope for a pardon from President Huckabee.

Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 05-28-15 6:03 PM
100

In my experience everyone writes papers in Word. LaTeX is one of those things that's only normal on the internet, like people obsessing over knife sharpening, or making fun of how dumb non-atheists are. But I know a couple people (not in my field) whose papers have equations in them, and they use LaTeX.

Posted by: Cryptic ned | Link to this comment | 05-28-15 7:22 PM
101

R is a thing that internet people do that real people are starting to do.

Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 05-28-15 7:32 PM
102

Also , dinosaurs fucking cars.

Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 05-28-15 7:39 PM
103

91: UPDATED 3:00: Top Rock Cop's Rock-Block Stopped, Charges Crock, Will Be Dropped

Posted by: foolishmortal | Link to this comment | 05-28-15 8:00 PM
104

I'd think that "Librul professor was accessory to gang murder" has a certain appeal to some segments of the market.

It seems tailor-made to appeal to the "librul academics are objectively pro-terrorist/pro-let's-destroy-America" crowd.

But that doesn't mean that what Goffman did (or what she said she did) is okay. Did she really drive the getaway car in an apparently failed murder plot? If so, that seems a bit felony-ish. Or did she merely fabricate a story of driving the getaway car in a failed murder plot, in order to give her account more street cred, more "authenticity"? If so, that seems a bit fraudulent, and must surely violate the established research protocols of her academic discipline.

Posted by: Just Plain Jane | Link to this comment | 05-28-15 9:09 PM
105

I doubt the horns of the dilemma are all that sharp. On her account, there were two people in the car, and they can both plead the fifth. They could use the book against her, but just that? Seems like a stretch. And by pleading the fifth, she can avoid saying she lied, so she'll get some reprimand for being realer than real.

Posted by: ogged | Link to this comment | 05-28-15 9:27 PM
106

A tweeter notes that Hastert paying off an illegitimate child also fits the facts.

Posted by: ogged | Link to this comment | 05-28-15 9:33 PM
107

Which is more "for the record" than "I think it's more likely that."

Posted by: ogged | Link to this comment | 05-28-15 9:41 PM
108

That doesn't really fit with the stuff about "past misconduct against" the person he was paying off, though.

Posted by: teofilo | Link to this comment | 05-28-15 9:59 PM
109

He could have falsely disclaimed paternity and told the kid to go away.

Posted by: ogged | Link to this comment | 05-28-15 10:05 PM
110

Maybe, but that doesn't seem like the kind of thing someone would agree to pay $3.5 million to cover up. Posted by: teofilo | Link to this comment | 05-28-15 10:09 PM 111 Driving a getaway car isn't actually that illegal, if you didn't know it was a getaway car until afterward. Posted by: Keir | Link to this comment | 05-29-15 2:13 AM 112 I was reading a volume of criminology from the sixties that discussed that particular question, in the context of the participant-observer. Posted by: Keir | Link to this comment | 05-29-15 3:01 AM 113 xkcd 1531 to 22. Posted by: SP | Link to this comment | 05-29-15 4:01 AM 114 doesn't seem like the kind of thing someone would agree to pay$3.5 million

I agree.

if you didn't know it was a getaway car

In her account, she definitely knew.

Posted by: ogged | Link to this comment | 05-29-15 4:35 AM
115

A tweeter notes that Hastert paying off an illegitimate child also fits the facts.

IIRC, Hastert used to be a wrestling coach. I would be surprised if it were anything *but* molestation.

Posted by: knecht ruprecht | Link to this comment | 05-29-15 5:08 AM
116

They could use the book against her, but just that?

I doubt she'll face criminal charges. Which is to say that I agree with you in terms of the legal issues. I was thinking more about the researcher ethics.

Posted by: Just Plain Jane | Link to this comment | 05-29-15 5:29 AM
117

She could always try Princeton.

Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 05-29-15 5:33 AM
118

I would be surprised if it were anything *but* molestation.

Of course! I was just thinking of available dodges for him (not that the truth won't come out).

Posted by: ogged | Link to this comment | 05-29-15 5:51 AM
119

Am I understanding correctly that he paid somebody $3.5 million in$10,000 installments over four or five years? That's more than one payment a week.

Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 05-29-15 6:34 AM
120

I guess it looks like he was making installments of greater than $10,000 for the first couple of years and then reduced the amount of evade the reporting requirement. Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 05-29-15 6:36 AM 121 Man, if Mom didn't have Alzheimer's, she'd be so happy to see Hastert indicted. She had a funny voting record of having voted against both Reagan and Hastert every time they ran for public office. She met him a few times and absolutely loathed him. ("Typical dumb coach" was I think what she said.) Posted by: ydnew | Link to this comment | 05-29-15 6:38 AM 122 As I see it the problem here is big government. He should have done more to loosen regulations back when he was in power, and then he wouldn't have this problem now. Posted by: peep | Link to this comment | 05-29-15 6:41 AM 123 If it is something truly gross, a possible silver lining would be seeing the "Hastert Rule" in the House of Representatives falling into ill-repute. Posted by: Spike | Link to this comment | 05-29-15 6:43 AM 124 This article is confusing me. He paid$3.5 million total, but only $1.7 million to one particular person? Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 05-29-15 6:47 AM 125 Isn't the oddest aspect of this the timing? If I was the blackmailer I would have threatened him when he was in Congress and then upped my demands once he became Speaker. Once he left office, he might be inclined to call the blackmailer's bluff. On the other hand, he made a lot more money as a lobbyist than he did as a politician -- so maybe they worked out a long-term deal. Posted by: peep | Link to this comment | 05-29-15 6:49 AM 126 124: I think it's saying that he had agreed to pay the person 3.5 million but had paid only 1.7 million so far. Posted by: peep | Link to this comment | 05-29-15 6:53 AM 127 At that rate, he'd never get his youthful crimes paid off quickly enough to enjoy any retirement crimes. Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 05-29-15 6:57 AM 128 Blackmailer is an ugly word. Whether someone he abused or an illegitimate kid is getting money, that does not mean they're a blackmailer. The simplest explanation for the timing is that Hastert's identity got revealed to someone competent for the first time in the year 2009. Posted by: lw | Link to this comment | 05-29-15 6:57 AM 129 Knecht beat me to it. That's the kind of money you pay when you did something that doesn't have a statute of limitations. Posted by: gswift | Link to this comment | 05-29-15 7:01 AM 130 Does it matter, legally, for the person receiving the money if Hastert was guilty or not? Telling somebody you'll report them for a crime unless they give you something is still blackmail. Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 05-29-15 7:01 AM 131 128, 130: Yes, I'm not making a moral judgment -- I just think that this is what's called blackmail. What word would you use? Posted by: peep | Link to this comment | 05-29-15 7:06 AM 132 130: Out here it wouldn't. Our code specifically uses the language "(d) Accuse any person of a crime or expose him to hatred, contempt, or ridicule" http://le.utah.gov/xcode/Title76/Chapter6/76-6-S406.html?v=C76-6-S406_1800010118000101 Posted by: gswift | Link to this comment | 05-29-15 7:07 AM 133 Somehow the FBI found and interviewed Individual A. That must be the source for the 3.5 figure, and the pattern of meetings and payments. How A came to their attention/was discovered isn't clear yet. Posted by: idp | Link to this comment | 05-29-15 7:11 AM 134 133: Presumably they followed the money. Posted by: peep | Link to this comment | 05-29-15 7:14 AM 135 If the meetings were in person, as they may have been by the language of the indictment, they might have simply followed Hastert and discovered A that way. The Art. 31 pattern would have justified their surveillance. Posted by: idp | Link to this comment | 05-29-15 7:14 AM 136 135: Following the person with the money would work too. Posted by: peep | Link to this comment | 05-29-15 7:15 AM 137 By recording the serial numbers on bills? I suppose that would work, and is much easier now with scanning etc. But you'd need to know where to look to zero in. Posted by: idp | Link to this comment | 05-29-15 7:17 AM 138 Meet Denny Hastert, Bitcoin's next big supporter. Posted by: SP | Link to this comment | 05-29-15 7:32 AM 139 I think of blackmailers as people who have no stake other than information that could be damaging, and who are motivated solely by an interest in profit. Someone who has been for example hurt and agrees to a private settlement rather than a public trial is not in my mid a blackmailer. 133. Searchable metadata for all US telephone calls might could possibly be handy here. Huh, so this metadata covers legislators too, but isn't used while they oversee security budgets. Interesting. Posted by: lw | Link to this comment | 05-29-15 7:34 AM 140 I never thought I would see the day when Republicans couldn't launder money. Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 05-29-15 7:34 AM 141 140. He got busted when he no longer had power. Posted by: lw | Link to this comment | 05-29-15 7:35 AM 142 Someone who has been for example hurt and agrees to a private settlement rather than a public trial is not in my mid a blackmailer. But this isn't (if what we think happened, happened) simply agreeing to a private settlement. It's agreeing not to report a serious crime to the police in exchange for compensation. While I don't want to take a had line against somebody who was victimized, from a public policy perspective I even less want a situation where anybody with enough money can continue to commit crimes that are never reported because they paid off their victims. Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 05-29-15 7:41 AM 143 || Do people have a favorite secure password manager? One that works on iOS? If the answer is LastPass, is it worth paying for LastPass premium? It's not that I mind paying$12/year, it's that I would need to set up yet another subscription account, which....grrr. I would ideally prefer something that I can just pay for and be done with it. Or something free!

</bostoniangirl>

|>

Posted by: knecht ruprecht | Link to this comment | 05-29-15 8:12 AM
144

143: "Password" has always worked fine for me!

Posted by: peep | Link to this comment | 05-29-15 8:18 AM
145

You need to have a number. "P4assw0rd" is better.

Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 05-29-15 8:19 AM
146

-a

Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 05-29-15 8:21 AM
147

Pass phrases are harder to crack. "My voice is my passport" is my standby.

Posted by: Eggplant | Link to this comment | 05-29-15 8:21 AM
148

I once used '1234' as a PIN on my library card. Somebody started ordering books on it.

Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 05-29-15 8:21 AM
149

Yes, I have Lastpass Premium, it's pretty good and worth it for the mobile support. There are glitches on some websites where you need to enter by hand instead of autofill.

Posted by: | Link to this comment | 05-29-15 8:29 AM
150

The links I read made it sound like Goffman drove around helping a guy try to find someone to kill, but that no murder took place on those trips.

Posted by: fake accent | Link to this comment | 05-29-15 8:35 AM
151

150, cont'd: It's obviously still bad, legally, ethically, morally, but getaway made me think it was going to be something else.

Posted by: fake accent | Link to this comment | 05-29-15 8:39 AM
152

Is there a word that means schadenfreude, but with a solely positive valence? Delight in watching the scum of the earth get in trouble? If so between FIFA, the Duggars + Huckabee, and now Hastert, it's positive schadenfreudapalooza right now.

Posted by: Buttercup | Link to this comment | 05-29-15 8:46 AM
153

There are open source variants of KeyPass for all platforms, and you can use dropbox or something to sync the database.

Posted by: x.trapnel | Link to this comment | 05-29-15 8:47 AM
154

150: That is correct.

Posted by: peep | Link to this comment | 05-29-15 8:50 AM
155

Let's not rule out murder! Why not!

Posted by: redfoxtailshrub | Link to this comment | 05-29-15 8:58 AM
156

(Re: Hastert)

Posted by: redfoxtailshrub | Link to this comment | 05-29-15 9:00 AM
157

Does wandering around with a passenger who has a gun and is looking to kill somebody count as an accessory to attempted murder?

Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 05-29-15 9:00 AM
158

(Re: Sociology)

Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 05-29-15 9:01 AM
159

157: Yes, but this probably never comes up. The only way it would is if the driver decided to write a book boasting about it.

Posted by: peep | Link to this comment | 05-29-15 9:02 AM
160

My guess is it's all going to come out as a fraud. It feels too much like a Venk|atesh copycat project, and people in the know have also said much of what she wrote was highly implausible. Who knows, maybe I'm just an asshole, but my spidey sense is tingling.

Posted by: Buttercup | Link to this comment | 05-29-15 9:12 AM
161

124: it's \$3.5m total with federal matching funds.

Posted by: Minivet | Link to this comment | 05-29-15 9:15 AM
162

my spidey sense is tingling

That's nerve damage.

Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 05-29-15 9:35 AM
163

It feels too much like a Venk|atesh copycat project

...which itself was a copycat of Jay MacLeod, whose project originated as an undergraduate honors thesis, thus permanently condemning subsequent generations of students in my college major to having their senior theses measured against his benchmark.

Posted by: vaguely presidential santa's helper | Link to this comment | 05-29-15 9:47 AM
164

"There are plenty of odd couple Congressmen who have roomed together on Capitol Hill, but I have never heard of a chief of staff who rooms with his boss. It is beyond unusual. But it must have its advantages. Anything they forget to tell each other at the office, they have until bedtime to catch up on. And then there's breakfast for anything they forgot to tell each other before falling asleep. And then there's all day at the office. Hastert and Palmer are together more than any other co-workers in the Congress."

Posted by: unimaginative | Link to this comment | 05-29-15 9:55 AM
165

152: "Schadenfreudapal00za!" would make an excellent password. It's got a capital letter, at least one number and a special character. And easy to remember!

Posted by: AcademicLurker | Link to this comment | 05-29-15 10:15 AM
166

WMR reported on old charges that swirled around Hastert when he was a high school wrestling coach at Yorkville High School in Yorkville, Illinois. Hastert decided to enter politics in 1980 after rumors surfaced about inappropriate contact with male high school students.

This is so crazy - he couldn't be a wrestling coach anymore because of rumors about "inappropriate contact with male high school students" -- so he ran for public office?

Posted by: peep | Link to this comment | 05-29-15 10:27 AM
167

What? The standards are visibly much lower.

Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 05-29-15 10:30 AM
168

Screwing one underage person is a crime, screwing the country is a statistic.

Posted by: Opinionated Joseph Stalin | Link to this comment | 05-29-15 10:30 AM
169

Molest a little and they throw you in jail
Molest a lot and they make you Speaker.

Posted by: peep | Link to this comment | 05-29-15 10:32 AM
170

Goffman's stuff about how she dressed to fit in with the guys and not code as female or whatever just seems way, way off. I was going to find an actual quote and send it as a guest post along with this article about the Wife Bonus Wealthy Primates woman because I think they're both fooling themselves and only themselves about their physical transformations and the implications of those new looks.

Posted by: Thorn | Link to this comment | 05-29-15 10:39 AM
171

I don't know. I saw this documentary where nobody noticed a woman was beautiful because she was wearing glasses.

Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 05-29-15 10:52 AM
172

170: Did you read Goffman's book, Thorn? (if I'm remembering correctly, the last time we discussed it, you hadn't )

Do you think she made up everything?

Posted by: peep | Link to this comment | 05-29-15 10:54 AM
173

I still haven't. I don't think she made everything up but I think she got things wrong in her interpretations and she probably made some of it up. I found the takedown Lemmy Caution linked to a few weeks back pretty convincing.

Posted by: Thorn | Link to this comment | 05-29-15 11:03 AM
174

173: That takedown was tl;dr! Longer than the book, maybe! But just sampling bits of it, it does seem pretty devastating.

Posted by: peep | Link to this comment | 05-29-15 11:21 AM
175

The parts where the timing doesn't match up seem pretty telling. But haven't any of her classmates gone on gawker to say they saw her at parties or something if she was actually a normal student? I haven't really been looking into it, just reading what I see go past.

Posted by: Thorn | Link to this comment | 05-29-15 11:25 AM
176

Wait, is that whole thing in 173 unsigned?

Posted by: lurid keyaki | Link to this comment | 05-29-15 11:41 AM
177

I scrolled to the end to look for a signature. The fact that he (I assume) takes time to meticulously deconstruct her statements about feeling unattractive and call them racist suggests that the whole lengthy-takedown process was, uh, psychologically taxing.

I also couldn't help but get stuck on Ms. Goffman's description of why she thought the men on 6th Street did not find her attractive. She writes, "I couldn't live up to the 6th Street community's ideals of femininity: I wasn't 'thick' enough, I didn't dress the right way, I couldn't dance. I was not black" (pg. 248). First off, not all black people are "thick." There are black people of all shapes and sizes. And there are black people who like all shapes and sizes. Second, she says she didn't dress the right way (implying in a black way). But not all black people dress the same way. Moreover, she implies the 6th Street guys don't like her because she can't dance (again implying that black people can dance). However, not all black people can dance. And many black people don't care if their partner or sexual interest can dance. She also says they did not find her attractive because she was not black. However, plenty of black people find people of other races attractive. All of these are stereotypes that a student would learn are offensive in a Race 101 class.

The idea that "the 6th street community" has "ideals of femininity" is baseless, because black people... don't, and the offensive stereotype is that black men aren't hot for blond chicks? I totally believe that this critical process left this person without a drop of charity, and that any reflection like the quoted lines from Goffman is a pointless and unillustrative minefield for a white academic to walk in print... but this seems mostly like evidence of fatigue. (I am in turn inordinately annoyed by "Race 101." If this is a serious critique, at least come up with a name for an actual class.)

Posted by: lurid keyaki | Link to this comment | 05-29-15 11:58 AM
178

Yeah, sorry, there's stuff like that that's totally ridiculous and poorly written. It's the stuff about how she's inconsistent about how much time she spent doing this work and how people's ages and life stories jump in mutually exclusive ways that I thought seemed like a meaningful critique.

And I do have a problem with the way she described her looks and dress in connection to the project, but that quoted piece is totally not what I'd complain about!

Posted by: Thorn | Link to this comment | 05-29-15 12:05 PM
179

In pictures, she looks a lot like a twelve-year-old for somebody who is past 30.

Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 05-29-15 12:09 PM
180

Right, Thorn, I'm sure a lot of the critique is sound, but do you have any idea where it came from? It just looks like plain text on the internet attacking this woman FROM ALL SIDES.

179: It must be rough to know in advance how many "Alice in Blunderland" headlines you're in for.

Posted by: lurid keyaki | Link to this comment | 05-29-15 12:13 PM
181

No idea at all. It was posted here and that's the only reason I ran across it.

Posted by: Thorn | Link to this comment | 05-29-15 12:15 PM
182

It's definitely criminal* (and very possibly made up), but am I the only one who has a kind of mild admiration for Goffman for participating in the driver-of-the-car episode and then talking about it? First, as I understand it, the whole point of the book (which I haven't read) is that people in these neighborhoods or situations get ineluctably drawn into doing criminal acts, even when they don't necessarily want to, just because the burden of avoiding the law is so great. Second, you know, she's been living with these people and so when they have a major crisis and ask her to do something she doesn't wuss out like an above-it-all jerk.

Yes I also understand that this is against ethnographer's ethics, even though the people who come up with ethical rules for ethnographers are undoubtedly lame-os. And it's also totally possible that she just made up a lot of stuff in the book, including this, I'm not taking any position on that issue one way or another, and that would be wrong. Assuming that she was telling the truth, however, condemning her for the driver incident alone as Northwestern legal ethics guy in Slate wants to do seems like a stretch.

Posted by: TRO | Link to this comment | 05-29-15 12:19 PM
183

The "*" was supposed to be "*though probably not prosecutable"

Posted by: TRO | Link to this comment | 05-29-15 12:20 PM
184

I cannot be the only one picturing her as Natalie Portman raps.

Posted by: lurid keyaki | Link to this comment | 05-29-15 12:30 PM
185

Socks with sandals: objectively stupid. Anyway, I walked right past all this stuff while going to lunch.

Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 05-29-15 12:32 PM
186

So, this case might be something that I or a close co-worker is going to get stuck with. I am considering changing jobs. Or maybe my name. I could move out of state, they'd never find me, and I wouldn't have to talk to any of these people.

Posted by: Indira Gandhi | Link to this comment | 05-29-15 12:38 PM
187

182: You're not the only one, no.

It's sort of Jared Diamondesque in that it makes her work more compelling to a lay audience which is no doubt extra annoying to those working in the field, but what are you going to do?

Posted by: jake | Link to this comment | 05-29-15 12:38 PM
188

186: You could be the go-to person for eye gouging, if you want.

Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 05-29-15 12:49 PM
189

It's like you didn't even notice the disease-spreading biting.

Posted by: Indira Gandhi | Link to this comment | 05-29-15 12:50 PM
190

That's just cut-and-paste work. Find an old case of biting that spread disease, replace "bats" or "rabid dog" with "public servant," and call it a day.

Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 05-29-15 12:52 PM
191

If it were me I'd view it as a rare opportunity to get a clinic in disease-spreading biting and eye gouging from a pro. Even if you never do that to someone in practice, won't you feel better knowing that you could? It's like learning karate.

Posted by: TRO | Link to this comment | 05-29-15 1:00 PM
192

Given one of the necessary skills you need to acquire for spreading disease by biting people is getting the relevant disease first, I'll pass.

Posted by: Indira Gandhi | Link to this comment | 05-29-15 1:07 PM
193

Indira, do the facts of the case give you find room within the obligations of zealous advocacy to say "The plaintiff has us dead to rights, and we should settle this motherfucker now and spare ourselves further embarrassment"?

Posted by: knecht ruprecht | Link to this comment | 05-29-15 1:08 PM
194

I assume the training would cover how to be an asymptomatic carrier.

Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 05-29-15 1:08 PM
195

We wouldn't be representing The Fang, anyway (at least I'm pretty sure not). Just her supervisors. Most of whom haven't bitten anyone.

Posted by: Indira Gandhi | Link to this comment | 05-29-15 1:09 PM
196

193: Mostly, I don't know anything yet. But the specific defendants that would be my problem don't seem to me to plausibly have had anything to do with the whole donnybrook.

Posted by: Indira Gandhi | Link to this comment | 05-29-15 1:10 PM
197

Doesn't seem that way now, but wait until you find the emails about the "unofficial" eye-gouge-and-bite happy hours on Friday.

Posted by: TRO | Link to this comment | 05-29-15 1:15 PM
198

xoxox "The Fang" xoxox

Posted by: redfoxtailshrub | Link to this comment | 05-29-15 1:23 PM
199

Reviewing the briefs is going to need theme music.

Posted by: gswift | Link to this comment | 05-29-15 3:10 PM