Eyewitness misidentifications

According to the Innocence Project, the leading cause of wrongful convictions is eyewitness misidentification.

Eyewitness misidentification is by far the leading cause of wrongful convictions. Nationwide, 75% of wrongful convictions that were overturned by DNA testing involved erroneous identifications from victims or witnesses.

Decades of solid scientific research, combined with a growing body of real-world experience, show that eyewitness identification is often fallible. Simple reforms have been proven to increase the accuracy of identifications.

I mention this because no few of the television commentariat have ballooned with outrage at the suggestion that perhaps Dr. Ford has misidentified Brett Kavanaugh as her attacker.

Granted, it sounds implausible; how could a woman mistake the face of the man who attacked her? The well-documented fact is that it does happen, however, and the possibility has to be considered when we’re talking about two solid citizens with good reputations.

It doesn’t need much imagination to picture a scenario where then 15-year old Dr. Ford has had a drink or two, is assaulted, and later, innocently and in good faith, fills in her memory of the attack with the wrong face. It happens, and at least explains the immovable contradictions in their stories.

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Franklin Graham: It’s “not relevant”

I have to admit to mixed feelings about the Kavanaugh confirmation mess; I don’t know whether I believe the allegations and, if true, I don’t know if he ought to pay all his life for bad behavior as a teenager — especially when there’s no shortage of women who say he has never been anything but a gentleman. On the other hand, Kavanaugh has lied to the Senate if the allegations are true and, yes, that should be disqualifying.

I do know that I don’t think much of Franklin Graham’s willingness to shade the facts and then turn a blind eye.

Well there wasn’t a crime that was committed. These are two teenagers and it’s obvious that she said no and he respected it and walked away–if that’s the case but he says he didn’t do it. He just flat out says that’s just not true. Regardless if it was true, these are two teenagers and she said no and he respected that so I don’t know what the issue is. This is just an attempt to smear his name, that’s all.

Graham is lying to Robertson’s gullible listeners.

  • The only account we have of the encounter is Ford’s, and she says she escaped when Kavanaugh’s buddy jumped on top of she and Kavanaugh. According to the only account we have, Kavanaugh did not accept “No” and then retreat.

  • Ford requested anonymity, and agreed to be identified by The Washington Post only a few days ago; Feinstein was not free to publish the letter, and there is no reason to think this is a last-minute ambush meant ot “smear his name.”

None of this will persuade the evangelicals who accept Graham’s and Robertson’s gibberish that the “deep state” will do anything to defeat an abortion-hostile nominee, which of course is exactly why Graham is willing to lie and look away.

Whether or not Kavanaugh is confirmed, there is no doubt whatever about Franklin Graham’s character, and it’s just one more nail in the coffin that the Evangelical Right is making for itself. They’re not fooling anybody with two functioning eyes connected to a functioning mind.

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So long, TIME

TIME Magazine hasn’t been important for years. After all, Donald Trump managed to keep a fake TIME magazine cover featuring himself hanging on his golf course clubhouse walls for years — and nobody noticed. Who cares who is on the cover of TIME? It’s a bit like discovering that a retired actor, or politician, or writer is still alive — who knew?

What do you know? From its heyday as one of the world’s most important news outlets, to the dysfunctional merger of TIME-Warner and AOL, to its quick-flip acquisition by an Iowa media company with no background in news to, now, its purchase by a tech billionaire who knows nothing whatever of publishing or news gathering. It’s sad, embarrassing, vaguely reminiscent of the heroic sled dog Balto’s eventual poor treatment in vaudeville.

It’s time to stop milking the name and allow TIME Magazine to go off to a dignified retirement.

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Arresting lede of the day

Senate Democrats are pure evil, but like the devil no one will deny that they are smart.

Larry Klayman

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Quote for the day

Remember, Republicans wouldn’t even give President Barack Obama’s nominee a hearing, claiming that because Obama was late in his second term the process should wait, leaving a court seat vacant for more than a year, to let voters weigh in. Now they’re trying to ram Kavanaugh through in a matter of weeks, despite incomplete vetting of his legal record and major questions about his personal history.

Why the rush? Because there’s a chance the G.O.P. will lose the Senate soon.

Paul Krugman

Krugman’s column is not, as you might suppose, concerned primarily with the now-disordered state of Brett Kavanaugh’s nomination to the Supreme Court; it’s about, rather, the consistent bad faith exhibited by the Republican Party, and it’s worth reading.

I’ll add an aside concerning Kavanaugh and demographics, however: Much of the commentary concerning this event remarks upon the likely effect of these allegations upon college-educated white women. Why?

Are non-college-educated women, and minority women, indifferent to sexual assault? Is it a commonplace that they are simply expected to endure? Why is there a widespread expectation that their votes won’t be influenced?

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