The former womenâ€™s soccer coach at Yale University and a Greenwich lawyer are among 50 people who have been indicted in a vast college admissions scam the government says was carried out by unscrupulous college officials, a crooked admissions consultant and wealthy parents willing to pay bribes to get their children into some of the nationâ€™s top universities.
In a conspiracy engineered by California businessman William â€œRickâ€ Singer that extends from elite schools to celebrities and wealthy executives, parents spent anywhere from $200,000 to $6.5 million to guarantee their childrenâ€™s admissions to elite schools, said Andrew E. Lelling, the U.S. Attorney in Boston.
The college admissions system was rigged against students who worked hard, got good grades and engaged in community service who sought admission to elite colleges and universities, Lelling said Tuesday in announcing the indictments. The FBI called the investigation â€œOperation Varsity Bluesâ€ and said about 300 FBI and IRS agents arrested 46 people on Tuesday.
In addition to Yale soccer coach Rudy Meredith, 33 parents were indicted for their role in the scheme, Lelling said. They include the actors Felicity Huffman and Lori Loughlin, CEOs, and others, such as Gordon R. Caplan of Greenwich, co-chairman of the global law firm Willkie Farr & Gallagher LLP in New York. Caplan has not responded to a request for comment.
â€œAll of them knowingly conspired with Singer and others to help their children either cheat on the ACT or Sat and or buy their childrenâ€™s admission to elite schools through fraud,â€ Lelling said.
â€œThere will not be a separate admissions system for the wealthy,” Lelling said. “And there will not be a separate criminal justice system either…â€œ
Bribes were paid and frauds committed to gain admission for students to colleges such as Boston University, Yale University, Boston College, Northeastern University, Georgetown University, the University of Southern California, the University of California San Diego, the University of California Los Angeles, Wake Forest University, Stanford University and the University of Texas at Austin.
Lelling said it would be up to the colleges and universities who were the victims of the alleged frauds to determine what, if anything, to do with the students admitted under what the government says were fraudulent circumstances.
The government called Singer, 58, of Newport Beach, Calif., the mastermind of the scheme. He ran a college counseling and preparation business called The Edge College and Career Network LLC, which was known as The Key, and the nonprofit Key Worldwide Foundation, which the government says was nothing more than a sham organization that laundered the millions Singerâ€™s company took in. Singer, who cooperated with federal agents during the investigation, was expected to plead guilty Tuesday to racketeering conspiracy, money laundering and other crimes.
In once instance, according to the court documents, Singer accepted a $1.2 million payment from a parent to secure a studentsâ€™ admission to Yale.
More parents could be indicted as the investigation continues. …
â€œAs the indictment makes clear, the Department of Justice believes that Yale has been the victim of a crime perpetrated by its former womenâ€™s soccer coach,â€ Yale spokesman Thomas Conroy said Tuesday. â€œThe university has cooperated fully in the investigation and will continue to cooperate as the case moves forward.â€
The government said it was tipped to the scheme while in the midst of an unrelated investigation.
There were three elements to the scheme: bribing SAT or ACT exam administrators to allow a person to secretly take the test in the place of a student, or to correct the studentâ€™s answers; pay bribes to university athletic coaches and administrators to have students admitted under the guise of being recruited as athletes, and using the facade of Singerâ€™s charitable foundation to launder money and pay bribes. Some would then deduct on their taxes payments made to the phony foundation.
Longtime Yale coach Rudy Meredith, who resigned in November, is accused of accepting a $400,000 check from the family of a Yale applicant he ensured would be admitted to the university as part of the womenâ€™s soccer team, according to court documents. Meredith, who is accused of working in concert with Singer, has agreed to plead guilty to wire fraud, honest services wire fraud, and conspiracy and has been cooperating with the governmentâ€™s investigation since April 2018 with the hope of receiving leniency when he is sentenced, according to the government.
â€œBeginning in or about 2015, Meredith agreed with Singer and others known and unknown to the United States Attorney to accept bribes in exchange for designating applicants to Yale as recruits for the Yale womenâ€™s soccer team, and thereby facilitating their admission to the university, in violation of the duty of honest services he owed to Yale as his employer,” according to court documents.
The applicantâ€™s family paid Singer and his associated businesses about $1.2 million as part of the scheme, according to court documents.
That applicant did not play competitive soccer and Singer is accused of preparing a phony athletic profile to be used during the admissions process that made the student appear to be a co-captain of a prominent club soccer team in southern California.
Meredith agreed to secure a spot at Yale for another applicant in exchange for $450,000 from the applicantâ€™s father, according to court documents.
The two men are charged with conspiracy to commit wire fraud and wire fraud.
â€œThe corrupt behavior alleged by the Department of Justice is an affront to our universityâ€™s deeply held values of inclusion and fairness,â€ Yale President Peter Salovey wrote in a letter to the university community Tuesday. â€œI am committed to making certain the integrity of the admissions and athletic recruitment processes is not undermined again.â€
“As the investigation unfolds, the university may take further actions. I will work closely with our athletics director and dean of undergraduate admissions to make any necessary changes to protect the university from the kind of criminal behavior the Department of Justice described today,” Salovey said.
Meredith, who lived in Madison, resigned from Yale in November and said he was leaving to after 24 years â€œto explore new possibilities and begin a different chapter in my life.â€
Caplan, the Greenwich resident and lawyer in New York, is accused of paying Singer to help his daughter achieve a top score on the ACT, a college entrance exam, by having her purport to have a learning disability.
Caplan paid $75,000 last December to ensure that his daughter would get the desired score on the ACT, according to the indictment.
Everybody knows that standards for representatives of minority victim groups are dramatically lowered, while standards for model minority Asians are dramatically raised. Everybody knows that there will be a large thumb on the scale in favor of the scion of plutocrat alumnus that paid for the University’s new science laboratory.
Life is not entirely fair.
Of course, bribing soccer coaches and cheating on tests is obviously wrong, and a number of schools and national testing services ought to be embarrassed, but I have trouble myself seeing just where the FBI and the IRS come into this.
Have we really reached the state of affairs in which every piece of chicanery, every payoff, every case of cheating is a FEDERAL CRIME?
Felicity Huffman was arrested for “conspiracy to commit mail fraud and honest services mail fraud.” Singer and Meredith are accused of “wire fraud, honest services wire fraud, and conspiracy.” Are wire fraud and mail fraud different or exactly the same thing? Who knows? Where did the mail or the telephone or telegraph come into any of this anyway?
Are we supposed to assume that because Felicity Huffman’s daughter’s college application was mailed, or emailed, in, and Felicity paid for some cheating on her daughter’s tests, that made it mail or wire fraud and brought the whole affair under federal jurisdiction?
This sounds to me exactly like the cases of federal authority brought under the principle of federal jurisdiction over Navigable Waterways and applied to some guy’s backyard that has seasonal rain puddles.
Is setting buildings afire in order to force a suspect to come out or be burned alive an appropriate police tactic? I come from a family which produced large numbers of police officers over several generations. I’m not a bleeding heart or soft on crime either. But I’m pretty skeptical of the practice of equipping police with incendiary tear gas grenades, making it possible for them to intentionally torch buildings and then (like Sheriff McMahon) feign no responsibility by blaming the tear gas for “accidentally” igniting a fire.
Those California police would obviously have been perfectly entitled to shoot Dorner dead to reduce him to possession when he continued to resist, but I think it is (a) cowardly and (b) dubiously legal for them to destroy private property and use arson in order to avoid waiting and exchanging more gunfire with a criminal.
San Bernardino County Sheriff John McMahon… told reporters that the fire in the cabin where Christopher Dorner presumably died was not intentionally set by authorities. He said tear gas canisters fired into the cabin apparently set the blaze.
An alleged recording of police scanner audio transmissions strongly contradicts McMahon’s statement.
Just after midnight Saturday morning, authorities descended on the Cerritos home of the man believed to be the filmmaker behind the anti-Muslim movie that has sparked protests and rioting in the Muslim world.
Los Angeles County sheriff’s deputies escorted a man believed to be Nakoula Basseley Nakoula to an awaiting car. The man declined to answer questions on his way out and wore a hat and a scarf over his face. He kept his hands in the pockets of a winter coat.
Sheriff’s officials could not be reached by The Times, but department spokesman Steve Whitmore told KNBC News that deputies assisting the federal probation department took Nakoula to the sheriff’s substation in Cerritos for interviewing.
[Updated at 1:40 a.m. July 15, 2012: Whitmore told The Times that Nakoula was taken in for a voluntary interview with probation officials and has not been arrested or detained.]
His many thousands of regular readers undoubtedly recognize that Glenn Reynolds is a harmless and mild-mannered intellectual guy with the classic range of nerdy interests, whose characteristic response to the insanities and outrages he notes in the course of his blogging is a sharp witticism.
Early yesterday evening, the seismic recorders in the neighborhood of Knoxville, Tennessee undoubtedly jumped alarmingly, as Professor Reynolds underwent a highly uncharacteristic meltdown of pure, white hot indignation at the news story above reporting that the obscure individual reputedly associated with the 13:51 “Innocence of Muslims”video had been hauled off for questioning in the middle of the night by a small army of law enforcement officers, acting under what was obviously the most questionable kind of authority in a country with Constitutionally-guaranteed free speech.
WHY BARACK OBAMA SHOULD RESIGN Reynolds furiously labeled his posting, which has been accreating additional commentary and bitter humor all day.
Example: Paul Crabtree writes: â€œAlthough the midnight raid to punish free speech is beyond deplorable, I guess we should be relieved that the Nobel Prize winner didnâ€™t order a drone strike on his house.â€ Heh. We probably donâ€™t have to worry about those . . . in the first term.
Glenn Reynolds & his associates instantly correctly penetrated the official malarkey. Under American law, there is no possible crime anyone could be charged with for creating and publishing a video satirizing Islam. Bassley Nakoula was dragged out of his home in the middle of the night by the local Los Angeles branch of the Gestapo for embarrassing the regime.
Patrick, at Popehat, describes how Britain’s police these days protect young thugs by arresting old ladies with walkers for confronting them.
Renate Bowling, a 71 year old widow who escaped to the free world from East Germany, is now a common criminal. She had the poor judgment to â€œpokeâ€ a 17 year old hooligan who was part of a gang throwing rocks at her house. While in America or any other sane country Ms. Bowling would have been let off with a warning, Ms. Bowling is not so fortunate.
The Crown Prosecution Service today defended its decision to take legal proceedings against a 71-year-old woman who prodded a 17-year-old youth in the chest.
Renate Bowling, of Thornton Cleveleys, Lancashire, confronted the boy in the street after stones were thrown at her home.
The disabled widow, who walks with a steel frame, said she thought it was a â€œjokeâ€ when police arrived at the scene and arrested her for jabbing the teenager with her finger.
While the Crown, which undoubtedly prosecuted this vicious criminal for the sake of the children, claims there was no evidence that the youth who received this vicious jabbing threw the rock, it ignores Ms. Bowlingâ€™s own account, in which she saw the boy standing in the street, in the direction from which the rocks had been thrown, and later hiding behind a wall. Ms. Bowling had to toddle out with her walker to confront the little monster. …
What sort of country raises entitled young hooligans, who abuse old ladies by pelting them with stones and calling them â€œGerman whoresâ€? Hooligans who run to the police when theyâ€™re beaten up by the old ladies? What sort of country tolerates, encourages, and condones this sort of behavior?
In the good old days, police actually used to rescue people in danger. Today, however, as we see in a recent incident in Britain, they are more likely to devote their energies to preventing bystanders and civilians from taking risks and getting involved while waiting for the appropriate official agency to arrive.
A pregnant woman, her husband and their three-year-old son were killed in a house fire early yesterday as police who arrived before the fire brigade prevented neighbours from trying to save them. The woman screamed: â€œPlease save my kidsâ€ from a bedroom window and neighbours tried to help but were beaten back by flames and were told by police not to attempt a rescue.
By the time firefighters got into the house in Doncaster, Michelle Colly, 25, her husband, Mark, 29, and son, Louis, 3, were dead. Their daughter, Sophie, 5, was taken to hospital and believed to be critically ill.
Davey Davis, 38, a friend of the family, said: â€œIt was the most harrowing thing I have ever witnessed. Michelle was at the bedroom window yelling, â€˜Please save my kidsâ€™ and we wanted to help but the police were pushing us back and not allowing us near. We were willing to risk our lives to save those kiddies but the police wouldnâ€™t let us.
â€œTempers were running very high, particularly with the women who were there, but the police were just saying we have to wait for the fire brigade because of health and safety.
â€œThere were four or five police officers. They were here before the fire brigade. We heard the sirens and we came across to help but they wouldnâ€™t let us. …
Another resident, who asked not to be named, added: â€œThere were lads with aluminium ladders who wanted to get to them but the police were shouting, â€˜Stay away, get out of the yard.â€™ They were saying, â€˜You have got to wait until the fire brigade gets here.â€™ Michelle was standing at the window banging on it â€“ we all saw it â€“ and shouting to save her kids but the police were just below her pushing us out and telling everybody to stay away.â€ …
A South Yorkshire Police spokeswoman said: â€œThe senior officer in charge is confident we handled this incident as professionally as possible.
The Home Office has quietly adopted a new plan to allow police across Britain routinely to hack into peopleâ€™s personal computers without a warrant.
The move, which follows a decision by the European Unionâ€™s council of ministers in Brussels, has angered civil liberties groups and opposition MPs. They described it as a sinister extension of the surveillance state which drives â€œa coach and horsesâ€ through privacy laws.
The hacking is known as â€œremote searchingâ€. It allows police or MI5 officers who may be hundreds of miles away to examine covertly the hard drive of someoneâ€™s PC at his home, office or hotel room.
Material gathered in this way includes the content of all e-mails, web-browsing habits and instant messaging.
Under the Brussels edict, police across the EU have been given the green light to expand the implementation of a rarely used power involving warrantless intrusive surveillance of private property. The strategy will allow French, German and other EU forces to ask British officers to hack into someoneâ€™s UK computer and pass over any material gleaned.
A remote search can be granted if a senior officer says he â€œbelievesâ€ that it is â€œproportionateâ€ and necessary to prevent or detect serious crime â€” defined as any offence attracting a jail sentence of more than three years. …
Richard Clayton, a researcher at Cambridge Universityâ€™s computer laboratory, said that remote searches had been possible since 1994, although they were very rare. An amendment to the Computer Misuse Act 1990 made hacking legal if it was authorised and carried out by the state.
He said the authorities could break into a suspectâ€™s home or office and insert a â€œkey-loggingâ€ device into an individualâ€™s computer. This would collect and, if necessary, transmit details of all the suspectâ€™s keystrokes. â€œItâ€™s just like putting a secret camera in someoneâ€™s living room,â€ he said.
Police might also send an e-mail to a suspectâ€™s computer. The message would include an attachment that contained a virus or â€œmalwareâ€. If the attachment was opened, the remote search facility would be covertly activated. Alternatively, police could park outside a suspectâ€™s home and hack into his or her hard drive using the wireless network.
Police say that such methods are necessary to investigate suspects who use cyberspace to carry out crimes. These include paedophiles, internet fraudsters, identity thieves and terrorists.
The Association of Chief Police Officers (Acpo) said such intrusive surveillance was closely regulated under the Regulation of Investigatory Powers Act. A spokesman said police were already carrying out a small number of these operations which were among 194 clandestine searches last year of peopleâ€™s homes, offices and hotel bedrooms.
â€œTo be a valid authorisation, the officer giving it must believe that when it is given it is necessary to prevent or detect serious crime and [the] action is proportionate to what it seeks to achieve,â€ Acpo said.
Residents of Britain live under a legal regime that arrests people for carrying pen knives, for hunting with hounds, and for politically incorrect speech, and which watches its own citizens’ daily activities via 4.2 million CCTV cameras (one for every 14 people). The current British idea of what exactly is a “serious crime” is not likely to provide much protection for individual liberty or privacy.
Jerome Tuccile reports how the arcane complexities of state firearm regulations can be selectively enforced by local officials to punish a critic.
Prolific writer Peter Manso, author of, among other books, biographies of Norman Mailer and Marlon Brando, has been indicted on a dozen firearms charges by a Massachusetts grand jury and faces years in prison.
Did he brandish a gun in public? Threaten a neighbor with a drive-by shooting?
No, the guns were all stored, quite securely, in his locked and alarmed home. In fact, police discovered the weapons only when they responded to a burglar alarm while the writer was away. Either the guns were in plain view — evidence that Manso expected no legal trouble for their possession — or else, as Manso’s attorney alleges, “Truro police searched Manso’s house illegally while responding to the alarm.” …
The main problem seems to be that Manso’s Firearms Identification Card expired after the passage of new legislation in 1998 — previously, FIDs lasted a lifetime; now they expire every six years. The new law has caused endless problems in the Bay State, since authorities have not been very effective about informing gun owners of the change. …
Manso claims that he’s been maliciously targeted by the police because of his controversial work on a new book that casts a skeptical look at the work of local authorities in investigating the murder of a writer named Christa Worthington.
Prince George County, Maryland police violated a warrant they were serving for the questionable arrest of the wife of the mayor of Berwyn Heights by staging a SWAT team raid and carrying out an utterly unnecessary forced entry. Two friendly Labrador retrievers were shot dead, and two respectable people were manhandled and manacled for hours.
The training and culture of law enforcement has gone outrageously astray in this country.
Remember the federal officers who came to collect Elian Gonzalez equipped with machine guns, wearing tanker helmets and loaded down with paramilitary gear?
Preposterously excessive force, a systematic kind of cringing cowardice expressed by the mentality that sends paramilitary SWAT teams armed with automatic weapons to kick in doors and make arrests of people who’d come down to the police department if contacted by telephone, the overly-prudential point of view that insists on strip searches and manacles for non-violent middle-class members of the public has become typical of today’s police.
It’s been going on for decades. I can remember marveling in Brookfield, Connecticut, years ago, stopping one evening at a fast food joint and seeing a local cop on his dinner break toting around one of those 9mm Beretta semiautomatics and five, count them, five! extra 15-round magazines on his belt. Has anyone ever actually fired upon a police officer in the 200+ year history of Brookfield? I wondered at the time. And was there currently reason to expect a Zulu impi to come over the hill and attack? Why would a local cop possibly need to be carrying 90 rounds of ammunition? That many cartridges are heavy.
I decided back in the early 1990s to get a Connecticut pistol permit. The process required me to stop by the local Newtown police station to pick up a form. Imagine my surprise, when I found the police barricaded away, inaccessible to the dangerous public of upper middle-class suburban Fairfield County, behind locked doors. One communicated with a secretary in a booth protected by bulletproof glass, passing papers back and forth in one of those sliding bank trays. Obviously, Newtown’s police officers led a life of constant fear.
I grew up in a family with many members who were working or had worked in law enforcement. The kind of men who became policemen in the old days were not afraid of criminals. They knew that they were tough and they knew just how uncommon men like themselves were. They knew most criminals are cowardly scum, and incompetent screw-ups to boot. The human being who will initiate violence is rare, and the human being who will initiate violence against a man in authority recognizably skilled at violence is even rarer.
The kind of men who used to become police officers were adequately armed with a .38 revolver or even just a nightstick. My father, working as a Marine Corps MP, and armed only with a nightstick, placed a dozen men under arrest and marched them off to the brig. He told them he knew perfectly well there were enough to them to overcome him, but he promised that he’d kill the first one or two who tried. They submitted to arrest.
The Texas Rangers used to boast of a necessary ratio of “one riot, one Ranger.” And the Pennsylvania State Police long had the same policy of sending a single State Trooper to suppress a civil disturbance or quell a mob.
Today, they send jack-booted Storm Troopers armed with machine guns to bring in 8 year olds.
Contemporary law enforcement culture is a disgrace and a genuine public hazard and it needs to change. They should dissolve every single SWAT team, get rid of every single item of paramilitary equipage, and –of course– end drug prohibition and the accompanying crime epidemic providing most of the excuse for the militarization of US law enforcement.
Two University of Florida security officers were placed on leave awaiting the results of an investigation by the State of Florida into the appropriateness of police response to a long-winded student questioner of Massachusetts Senator John Kerry.
21-year-old Andrew Meyer monopolized the microphone for only a few minutes, subjecting Kerry to three rambling and paranoid questions, then was seized and forcibly carried away by University police before the senator had time to reply.
Young Meyer’s verbal protests and expressions of astonishment at being arrested provoked the five security officers to throw him to the ground at the rear of the auditorium and handcuff him. His continued pleas cries for help led them to administer electric shocks with a Taser.
Today’s new stories feature excerpts of a self-exculpating police report implicitly accusing Meyer of orchestrating his arrest as a publicity stunt and quoting him as saying afterwards: “I am not mad at you guys, you didn’t do anything wrong. You were just trying to do your job.”
It will probably be a short investigation.
Though Mr. Meyer was behaving inappropriately, taking a little excess questioning time and talking nonsense are neither criminal offenses, and there was no reason to suppose that he represented any actual threat to Senator Kerry or to the rest of the audience at all. Whoever was in charge of the meeting was perfectly entitled to ask Mr. Meyer to relinquish the microphone, but it was his forcible removal which caused the subsequent disruption and delay of the proceedings.
There was no obvious reason he should have been arrested. And, as the second video demonstrates, the university security personnel were embarrassed and confused themselves, telling Mr. Meyer with manifest insincerity to “calm down,” and absurdly threatening to charge him with “inciting a riot.”
While Andrew Meyer’s sufferings were in service to no cause beyond his own political delusions and mistaken sense of self-importance, it needs to be recognized that it was undoubtedly the University of Florida itself which filled that young man’s head with leftwing ideology and paranoia. And there is something beyond even that wrong in the atmosphere and consciousness of a university where security people behave like this.
Underneath all the pomp and symbolism, a university is, in the final analysis, a business and its students are its customers. A business whose employees go around tasering annoying customers has a problem with its service policies.
And a University is not only a business. Its relationship to students is also supposed to be a relationship of affection. It is going to ask them to donate money one fine day after they graduate. If you treat your students like some South American dictatorship treats its revolutionary opponents, you will not do very well raising funds for that new laboratory or football stadium.
A long-winded University of Florida student who was asking John Kerry a series of rambling questions had his microphone cut off, then was arrested by a group of uniformed University police.
Andrew Meyer, 21, asserted that Kerry had really won the 2004 election because of Republican suppression of minority votes and voting fraud. He asked why no efforts were underway to impeach Bush, and then proceeded to inquire whether Kerry had belonged to the same Senior Society as Bush at Yale. (The answer is: Yes, he did.)
An explicit reference to oral sex in relation to President Clinton’s impeachment evidently provoked the authorities to turn off the microphone. That level of monitoring seems unusual and excessive in a university context to me.
The same authorities evidently sic’ed their cops on him as well. Someone mildly disrupting an event in this way in many universities might very well be escorted from the room by local security. But, in this case, University of Florida cops responded to Meyer’s protests, questions, and pleas for assistance by throwing him to the ground, hand cuffing him, and administering incapacitating electrical shocks with a Taser as he pled for mercy.
John Kerry, meanwhile, made feeble and ineffective attempts to calm the situation, demonstrating just how decisive he would have been as president in a crisis. The police simply ignored Kerry, and went on brutalizing the screaming student. Throughout the incident, Kerry’s pompous throat-clearings proved inadequate either to stop the violence or to regain the center of audience attention.
Mr. Meyer was evidently charged with resisting arrest and disturbing the peace. Watch for Mr. Meyer’s lawsuits against the University for false arrest and application of excessive force. And be sure you don’t ask John Kerry any questions about Skull and Bones!
Mark Steyn reflects upon the entrapment of Larry Craig.
My general philosophy on public restrooms was summed up by the late Derek Jackson, the Oxford professor and jockey, in his advice to a Frenchman about to visit Britain. â€œNever go to a public lavatory in London,â€ warned Professor Jackson. â€œI always pee in the street. You may be fined a few pounds for committing a nuisance, but in a public lavatory you risk two years in prison because a policeman in plain clothes says you smiled at him.â€
Just so. Sergeant Karsnia is paid by the police department to sit in a stall in the menâ€™s room all day, like a spider waiting for the flies. The Baron von Richthoven of the Minneapolis Bathroom Patrol has notched up a phenomenal number of kills and knows what to look for â€” the tapping foot in the adjoining stall, a hand signal under the divider. Did you know that tapping your foot in a bathroom was a recognized indicator that a criminal act is about to occur? Donâ€™t take your i-Pod in with you! Or, if you do, make sure youâ€™re listening to the Singing Senators: Hard to tap your foot to â€œSweet Adeline,â€ and if you do itâ€™s unlikely to be in a manner sufficiently frenzied to attract the attention of the adjoining constables.
What else is a giveaway that youâ€™re a creep and a pervert seeking loveless anonymous sex? Well, according to Sergeant Karsnia, when the Senator entered the stall, he placed his wheelie bag against the door, which (according to the official complaint) â€œSgt Karsniaâ€™s experience has indicated is used to attempt to conceal sexual conduct by blocking the view from the front of the stallâ€.
No doubt. But, if you use the menâ€™s room at the airport, where are you meant to put your carry-on? Thereâ€™s not many other places in a bathroom stall other than against the door, unless Minneapolis is planning on mandating overhead bins in every cubicle. In happier times, one would have offered some cheery urchin sixpence to keep an eye on oneâ€™s bags. But today if you go to the airport bathroom and say to some lad, â€œWould you like to take care of my wheelie for five minutes?â€, youâ€™ll be looking at 30 years in the slammer.
Iâ€™ve no doubt Senator Craig went to that bathroom looking for sex. Listen to the tape of his encounter with Sergeant Karsnia and then imagine, as Jonah Goldberg suggested, how the conversation would go if Senators McCain or Webb had been in that stall and were accused of brushing shoes with the flatfoot. Not being privy to the codes of the privy, it would take â€˜em 15 minutes even to figure out what Sarge was accusing â€˜em of and, when it became clear, the conversation would erupt in a blizzard of asterisks and, shortly thereafter, fists. Instead, Senator Craig copped a plea. Because of that, he should disappear from public life as swiftly as possible and embrace full time the anonymity he cherishes in his sexual encounters. Not, as the left urges, on grounds of â€œhypocrisyâ€ â€” because heâ€™s a â€œfamily valuesâ€ politician who opposes â€œgay marriageâ€ yet trawls for rough trade in menâ€™s rooms. A measure of hypocrisy is necessary to a functioning society. Itâ€™s quite possible, on the one hand, to be opposed to the legalization of prostitution yet, on the other, to pull your hat down over your brow every other Tuesday and sneak off to the cat house on the other side of town. Your inability to live up to your own standards does not, in and of itself, nullify them. The Left gives the impression that a Republican senator caught in a whorehouse ought immediately to say, â€œYouâ€™re right. I should have supported earmarks for hookers in the 2005 appropriations bill.â€ Thatâ€™s the reason why sex scandals take down Republicans but not Democrats: Sex-wise, the Leftâ€™s standards are that whateverâ€™s your bag is cool â€” which is the equivalent of no standards. Thus, Monica Lewinsky was a â€œgrown womanâ€ free to make her own decisions on the carpet of the Oval Office. Without agreed â€œmoral standardsâ€, all you have is the law. When itâ€™s no longer clear something is wrong, all you can do is make it illegal.
And so we have the bizarre situation of a United States senator convicted of the crime of brushing his foot and placing his carry-on luggage in the only available space of a menâ€™s room stall. Larry Craig feebly accused Sergeant Karsnia of â€œentrappingâ€ him but, in fact, the officer didnâ€™t even need to entrap him into anything other than an allegedly intrusive shoe movement. Thatâ€™s a crime? On the tape, Craig sounds sad and pathetic, a prominent man cornered in a sordid transaction. Yet Karsnia sounds just as weird and creepy: a guy whoâ€™s paid to sit in a bathroom stall for hours on end observing adjoining ankles. Iâ€™d rather hand out traffic tickets.
Today some Republicans pat themselves on the back for their â€œcourageousâ€ stand against liberal charges of hypocrisy as they were early in their denunciation of Craig. Now, these would be the same liberals who show routinely their hypocrisy embracing Bill Clinton (accused of rape), Barney Frank (accused of allowing his home to be used for male prostitution), and the late Gerry Studds (who had sex repeatedly with a seventeen-year-old page). These Republicans fear the â€œculture of corruptionâ€ label the liberals have assigned them and arenâ€™t quite sure how to respond to it. Mostly, they refuse to fire back by highlighting the numerous examples of demonstrable sleaze involving William Jefferson (alleged bribe), Alan Mollohan (alleged self-dealing), John Murtha (earmarks related to his brother), Dianne Feinstein (her husband profiting from military contracts), Hillary Clinton (Norman Hsu, et al), and, of course, the aforementioned Clinton, Frank, and Studds examples.
There is indeed a culture of corruption, and it extends well beyond any single politician. It swirls around big government. It always has and it always will.