RESURRECTION OF MAY 5, 2013
THE GOVERNOR’S PATH FROM SEX SCANDAL TO THE PULPIT PSSST. WANNA BUY AN iPHONE? JENNY McCARTHY BARES ALL YOUR BODY ON MEDITATION
COVER: JOHN O’BOYLE/STAR LEDGER/CORBIS; THIS PAGE FROM TOP: AP PHOTO/MEL EVANS; DAVID PAUL MORRIS/BLOOMBERG VIA GETTY IMAGES
05.05.13 #47 CONTENTS
Enter POINTERS: ‘I’m Black and I’m Gay’ ... Shriver Returns JASON LINKINS: Looking Forward in Angst DATA: Your Body on Meditation Q&A: The Dating Game, With Jenny McCarthy HEADLINES MOVING IMAGE: The Week in Photos
BORN AGAIN Former Gov. Jim McGreevey’s “fall to grace.” BY LILA SHAPIRO
DEAN BAKER: Deficits Are Bad, and the Sun Goes Around the Earth. Wrong! MICK EBELING: How to Draw With Your Eyes QUOTED
Exit 25Q: Is Iron Man 3 the Best Marvel Film Yet? STRESS LESS: Dealing With Cancer, Mindfully TASTE TEST: Sparkling Reds TFU
THE STING Undercover cops enter the stolen iPhone market. BY GERRY SMITH
FROM THE EDITOR: Small Screens, Big Business
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LETTER FROM THE EDITOR
Small Screens, Big Business N THIS WEEK’S issue, Gerry Smith looks at one of the less savory effects of recent technological innovation: the billion-dollar black market for stolen smartphones. He takes us to San Francisco — specifically the intersection of Seventh and Market Streets, prime
ground for the city’s open-air, stolen electronics market. A group of undercover cops — aiming, as Gerry writes, “to poison the market with fear and distrust” — are at work, conducting a sting operation designed to snare those who would knowingly buy a stolen iPhone. It’s all part of “the intensifying cat-and-mouse game between law enforcement and criminals,” as criminals look to cash in on stolen iPhones that can be resold in
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LETTER FROM THE EDITOR
places like Rio de Janeiro and Hong Kong — a $30 billion business. This aggressive policy of arresting buyers, rather than just sellers, has stirred controversy and accusations of entrapment. But as San Francisco Police Capt. Joe Garrity says, “If they steal the phone but can’t sell it, there’s no market. We’re cutting the head off the snake.” Elsewhere in the issue, Lila Shapiro considers the career of former New Jersey Gov. James E. McGreevey, just as a new documentary about him airs on HBO. McGreevey, who in 2004 very publicly resigned by announcing that he was having an affair and was a “gay American,” has embarked on new pursuits since departing public life, including an effort, eventually abandoned, to become an Episcopal priest. Today, he is working as a spiritual counselor for women prisoners at the Hudson County Correctional Facility in Newark — the work of, as Lila puts it, “a disgraced politician who has forsworn ambition.” But as we see him, speaking to women on subjects like healthy shame vs. unhealthy shame, it’s clear that
McGreevey has shifted to a different kind of leadership, still in possession of “the charismatic smile that helped endear him to a generation of New Jersey voters.”
This aggressive policy of arresting buyers, rather than just sellers, has stirred controversy and accusations of entrapment.” Finally, our stress coverage includes a look at how meditation affects the brain, and a story on how mindfulness-based therapies can help treat the many mental health woes that afflict cancer patients.
SCOTT CUNNINGHAM/NBAE VIA GETTY IMAGES
‘I’M BLACK. AND I’M GAY’
NBA center Jason Collins made history this week, becoming the first male professional athlete in a major sport to come out. “I didn’t set out to be the first openly gay athlete playing in a major American team sport. But since I am, I’m happy to start the conversation,” he told Sports Illustrated. “I’ve endured years of misery and gone to enormous lengths to live a lie. I was certain that my world would fall apart if anyone knew. And yet when I acknowledged my sexuality I felt whole for the first time.” GLAAD’S Aaron McQuade said Collins is a “new hero” for LGBT athletes and President Barack Obama called Collins to show his support.
FROM TOP: TODD WILLIAMSON/INVISION/AP IMAGES; STAN HONDA/AFP/GETTY IMAGES
NBC SHUFFLES THE DECK. AGAIN.
CAPITOL HILL BACKLASH AFTER GUN VOTE
A ‘LINGERING PROBLEM’ THAT WILL ‘GET WORSE’
Maria Shriver will be joining NBC as a special anchor for NBC News and editorat-large for women’s issues across NBC News’ digital properties. Shriver began working at the network in the 1980s, but left in 2004 after becoming the first lady of California. “We want to say welcome back to the family,” Today co-host Matt Lauer told Shriver on Tuesday. The network announced her return on the same day rival Good Morning America hosted exclusive interviews with Amanda Knox and Jason Collins.
Several senators are facing a drop in approval ratings after they voted against a bill that would expand background checks for gun buyers, a new poll by Public Policy Polling found. Sen. Lisa Murkowski’s (R-Alaska) net approval rating fell 16 points, while Sen. Rob Portman’s (R-Ohio) rating dropped 18 points. Forty-six percent of Nevada voters said they were less likely to vote for Sen. Dean Heller (R) because of his vote, and 52 percent of Arizona voters said the same of Sen. Jeff Flake (R). Most national polls taken since the massacre in Newtown, Conn., have found more than 80 percent support for background checks.
President Barack Obama said Tuesday that he still wants to shut down the military prison facility at Guantanamo Bay, declaring it’s a “lingering problem that is not going to get better.” He continued, “The notion that we’re going to continue to keep over 100 individuals in a no-man’s land in perpetuity ... the idea that we would still maintain, forever, a group of individuals who have not been tried, that’s contrary to who we are, it’s contrary to our interests, and it needs to stop.” His comments come amid a hunger strike at the base that now includes 100 of the 166 detainees, according to the military.
TONY HITS AND MISSES
The musical Kinky Boots came out on top this week with 13 Tony nominations, and Matilda was right behind it with 12. A revival of Clifford Odets’ Golden Boy got the most nominations of any play, with eight, while Nora Ephron’s Lucky Guy received six, including one for its star, Tom Hanks. Actors Nathan Lane and Laurie Metcalf also made the cut, but Bette Midler, Scarlett Johansson, Alec Baldwin and Jessica Chastain were left out. The awards will be broadcast on June 9 from Radio City Music Hall.
A GEORGIA HIGH SCHOOL’S FIRST INTEGRATED PROM STAN HONDA/AFP/GETTY IMAGES (KINKY BOOTS)
THAT’S VIRAL A FEE FOR BEING GREEN?
Like many high school seniors across the country, students at Georgia’s Wilcox County High School went to prom this weekend — the only difference, however, was that their prom was integrated for the first time. Students at the south Georgia school have gone to segregated proms since 1971, but this year, four seniors launched a Facebook group to support an integrated prom and raised enough money to rent a ballroom, buy food and distribute gift bags. “As a group of adamant high school seniors, we want to make a difference in our community,” the Facebook page says.
A selection of the week’s most talked-about stories. HEADLINES TO VIEW FULL STORIES
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A PENIS ON THE MOON
THE WORLD’S OLDEST HAMBURGER
Your Body on Meditation Studies show that meditation can improve our psychological wellbeing. But did you know that meditating can also make structural changes to the brain? The practice can change the way neurons talk to each other, forming new circuits. It can also help some brain regions become thicker, while making others less dense. And let’s not forget the
body: Meditating can reduce blood pressure and even bolster the immune system. We spoke to neuroscientists Hedy Lober and Sara Lazar, who study the effects of mindfulness meditation, to learn more. Scroll down to discover what happens when you sit down and tune out. –Meredith Melnick
PAIN MATRIX In one study conducted by Kober and associates, study subjects were given a pain stimulus – a painfully hot sensation on their arms. They were given the hot sensation without any instruction and then again with the instruction to practice mindfulness – to ask themselves the question: Is this a tolerable pain? Can I handle it? The researchers found that not only did the study’s participants report 27 percent lower pain sensation after using the mindfulness technique, they also were able to measure 45 percent less brain activity in the pain matrix after subjects implemented the exercise. They concluded that mindfulness can improve both perception of pain and the actual neural response to pain. And their research was confirmed when another researcher, Dr. Joshua Grant, conducted the same pain experiment on subjects who already practiced meditation. He found that the number of hours of meditation a person had completed was directly related to his or her ability to handle the pain during the experiment.
AMYGDALA The amygdala is involved in the way we experience negative emotions like stress. The region actually grows more dense as a result of stress. But those who practice meditation show decreased activity in the area during stressful moments and also a reduction in density over time. That means meditation can not only alter acute stress response, it actually plays a role in shaping the structure of the brian. For example, in one study, cigarette smokers were split into two groups: one attended eight mindfulness meditation training sessions and the other took a popular smoking cessation course. While both groups smoked less, the group that learned meditation showed less of a stress response in the amygdala when they were later asked to recall painful memories while hooked up to an fMRI machine.
PREFRONTAL CORTEX The prefrontal cortex begins to thin with age, contributing to cognitive function decline in later years. But meditation practitioners can reverse this pattern, thanks to an inverse correlation between prefrontal cortex thickness and meditation practice. “I’ve found that people who meditate for a very long time don’t show a decline in the thickness of the prefrontal cortex,” Lazar told HuffPost.
HIPPOCAMPUS Like the amygdala, the hippocampus is responsive to stress, though in this case stress can shrink the brain region. Lazar conducted brain imaging research on a group of 16 people before and after taking a standard eight-week Mindfulness-Based Stress Response training. “We found that the hippocampus is sensitive to cortisol, is negatively impacted by stress hormones and gets smaller,” Lazar says. She found that the group increased the concentration of gray matter in the left hippocampus following the mindfulness training.
PCC (POSTERIOR CINGULATE CORTEX) Lazar also found increases in gray matter density in the PCC, which is associated with “mind wandering” (think: creativity), rumination, self-reflection and something called “self-referential processing” – the way in which a person assesses how any given situation relates to him or her as an individual.
TPJ (TEMPORO-PARIETAL JUNCTION) Lazar also found increased gray matter density in the TPJ, which functions inversely to the PCC: It is associated with perspective-taking and empathy. And, indeed, one small study at Emory University found that a meditation program called Cognitively-Based Compassion Training made subjects more able to read the emotions on strangers faces.
HEART Meditation may protect against heart disease. One study of 40 older adults found that the eight-week MBSR training reduced concentrations of the marker C-reactive protein, which is associated with the development of heart disease.
IMMUNE SYSTEM In the same study of older adults, from the University of California, Los Angeles, researchers found a drop in the expression of a group of genes that activate inflammation and are part of the body’s immune response.
BLOOD PRESSURE In a study at the Benson-Henry Institute for Mind Body Medicine in Boston, hypertension patients were instructed to try “relaxation response” — a daily meditation method developed by a cardiologist. After three months of practice, 40 of the 60 patients were able to reduce their medication thanks to reduced levels of blood pressure. The meditative practice helped the body increase production of nitric oxide — a gas it can use to expand blood vessels, increasing the channels through which blood can flow, and lowering the pressure required to pump it throughout the body.
ILLUSTRATIONS BY TROY DUNHAM
LOOKING FORWARD IN ANGST
ALLISON SHELLEY/GETTY IMAGES
IS EVERYTHING NOT LOST ON BACKGROUND CHECKS? HEN THE SENATE voted to frustrate the efforts of Sens. Joe Manchin (D-W. Va.) and Pat Toomey (R-Pa.) to strengthen the existing system of background checks for gun purchases by extending the oversight
to gun shows and internet transactions, a visibly angry President Barack Obama vowed that the matter was not closed. “I see this as just round one,” he said after the April 17 vote. “I believe we’re going to be able to get this one. Sooner or later we are going to get this right. The memories of these children demand it, and so do the American people.”
Senators Pat Toomey (right) and Joe Manchin speak to the press about background checks for gun purchases on April 10.
Enter And over the weekend, Manchin stepped forward to pledge to reintroduce the bill he helped to author, telling Fox News Sunday’s Chris Wallace, “I’m willing to go anywhere in this country, I’m going to debate anybody on this issue, read the bill and you tell me what you don’t like.” Of course, more practically, Manchin won’t simply be able to move the issue forward by debating just “anybody.” He’ll have to go after some “no” votes, and turn at least five of them around to “yes” votes. Is there hope for that? There does appear reason to believe that the cause for enhancing background checks is not a lost one. As Lauren Fox of U.S. News and World Report reported Monday: Public Policy Polling released the latest in a series of surveys it has conducted that show five senators who voted against a bill that would have required all gun sales over the Internet and at gun shows to be subject to background checks, are in hot water with voters. The survey was conducted from April 25 to April 26. PPP surveyed more than 1,000 voters
LOOKING FORWARD IN ANGST
in Alaska, 600 in Arizona, 500 in Nevada and 600 in Ohio. “The background checks vote is a rare one that really is causing these senators trouble back home,” Dean Debnam, president of PPP, said in a release. “All five of these senators ... have seen their approval numbers decline in the wake of this vote. And the numbers make it clear that their position on Manchin/ Toomey is a major factor causing the downward spiral.”
I’m willing to go anywhere in this country, I’m going to debate anybody on this issue, read the bill and you tell me what you don’t like.” Those five senators? Jeff Flake (R-Ariz.), Mark Begich (D-Alaska), Lisa Murkowski (R-Alaska), Dean Heller (R-Nev.), and Rob Portman (R-Ohio). Some of the poll slippages are more dramatic than others. The most harmed since the background checks vote is Flake, who former Arizona Rep. Gabby Giffords and her husband, former NASA astro-
BRENDAN SMIALOWSKI/GETTY IMAGES
naut Mark Kelly, singled out for opprobrium. Flake has earned himself the distinction this week of being the least-popular senator — with approvals around 32 percent. (There is a caveat, however — Flake’s membership in immigration reform’s “Gang of Eight” is also a possible factor in those disapprovals.) The other four senators have not seen their numbers erode as dramatically as Flake’s, but to supporters of the background check proposal floated by Manchin and Toomey, it leaves open the possibility of mounting a re-appeal. Additionally, a WMUR Granite State Poll in New Hampshire has found that Sen. Kelly Ayotte’s (R-N.H.) numbers have taken a similar
LOOKING FORWARD IN ANGST
dive since her no vote on ManchinToomey was cast. All of which is an important lesson in how a lost vote doesn›t necessarily translate to the final nail in the coffin of a legislative priority. Supporters of the background check bill look at these poll numbers and see possibilities. The Obama administration, which has a voter outreach machine, can continue to add public pressure as well. Of course, none of this necessarily means you gain new leverage. In Ayotte’s case, for example, the National Rifle Association is sending help. And there are really no new ways to twist the arm of say, Heidi Heitkamp (D-N.D.), who won’t even be up for re-election until 2018. While you can’t always win the votes you want, there’s still
Rep. Jeff Flake’s (left) approval numbers have taken the biggest hit among Congressmen since voting against background checks. Rep. Gabby Gifford (right) and her husband singled him out for opprobrium.
Enter a way to lose well — and that involves making it clear to everyone precisely where you stood on the day you lost. In this way, the Obama administration has staked out pretty specific terrain — they want the background checks measure passed. They’re making a bet that sooner or later, events are going to force the public to return to the issue and to respond with greater intensity than before. This is a lesson that the GOP actually understands better than Democrats. Since the passage of the Affordable Care Act, Congressional Republicans in both the House and Senate have combined for nearly 40 separate attempts at repealing it. Every single time they’ve taken a vote, they’ve done so knowing full well that it’s a non-starter. It doesn’t matter — they’re making a bet that at some point in the future, public sentiment will turn against the president’s health care reform bill, and if that happens, no one will be left wondering where they stood. In fact, the news on that score this week is that the freshmen in the House’s GOP caucus are sort of aggrieved that they’ve not been afforded the opportunity to cast some futile votes against the Af-
LOOKING FORWARD IN ANGST
fordable Care Act themselves. As Talking Points Memo reported: Rep. Mick Mulvaney (R-S.C.) urged leadership to hold a repeal vote so freshman members can serve up the same anti-Obamacare talking points for their conservative constituents that more senior Republicans enjoy.
A lost vote doesn’t necessarily translate to the final nail in the coffin of a legislative priority.” “If you’re a freshman — the guys who’ve been up here the last year, we can go home and say listen, we voted 36 different times to repeal or replace Obamacare. Tell me what the new guys are supposed to say,” he said. “We haven’t had a repeal or replace vote this year.” Does the GOP regret those 30-some-odd failed votes for repeal? Clearly not. Maybe there’s something for legislators who support the background checks measure to learn from that.
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Playing the Dating Game With Jenny McCarthy Jenny McCarthy: [On The Rock] “I don’t like guys that are too big.” Marc Lamont Hill: “There’s a thought sometimes that really big guys have small penises.” McCarthy: They do!”
Above: Jenny McCarthy speaks during the 2013 Winter Television Critics Association Tour. Below: McCarthy poses for her VH1 talk show, The Jenny McCarthy Show.
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The Week That Was
Auckland, New Zealand 04.27.2013
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Guests are welcomed onto sacred ground by a “haka” dance, a tradition of the indigenous Polynesian peoples of New Zealand, the Maori, during the Taniwha and Dragon Festival. The celebrations bring together the New Zealand and Chinese cultures, sharing food, dance and music.
PHOTO OR ILLUSTRATION CREDIT TK
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Sydney, Australia 04.23.2013 A photograph is projected onto the sails of the Sydney Opera House during the unveiling of the new Samsung GALAXY S4 smartphone. PHOTO OR ILLUSTRATION CREDIT TK
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Harrogate, England 04.25.2013 A woman views daffodils on display at the Harrogate Spring Flower Show, a gardening event in which more than 100 nurseries show off their flowers and plants. PHOTO OR ILLUSTRATION CREDIT TK
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Dallas, TX 04.25.2013 U.S. Army 1st Lt. Melissa Stockwell (Ret.) (right), the first female American soldier to lose a limb in the war in Iraq, recites the Pledge of Allegiance as former first ladies Barbara Bush and Lady Bush, and former presidents George H.W. Bush and George W. Bush, look on during the opening ceremony of the George W. Bush Presidential Center. PHOTO OR ILLUSTRATION CREDIT TK
Enter Kolkata, India 04.28.2013
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A member of the Indian Sikh community attends a special prayer for the good health of prisoner Sarabjit Singh, an Indian national facing the death penalty in Pakistan on espionage charges. He was rushed to the hospital after clashes with fellow inmates.
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Allahabad, India 04.26.2013 An Indian fisherman pulls in his net from a boat on the Yamuna river. PHOTO OR ILLUSTRATION CREDIT TK
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Savar, Bangladesh 04.27.2013 Bangladeshi relatives hold photos of missing and dead workers three days after an eight-story textile factory building collapsed, killing 332 people. PHOTO OR ILLUSTRATION CREDIT TK
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Vatican City 04.28.2013 Priests attend the Rite of Confirmation during a special Mass held by Pope Francis in St. Peterâ€™s Square. The Mass was organized as part of the Year of Faith, during which 44 people from all over the world receive the Sacrament of Confirmation directly from the Pontiff. PHOTO OR ILLUSTRATION CREDIT TK
Rutshuru, The Congo 04.27.2013
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A soldier of the rebel military group known as the Mouvement du 23-Mars (M23), or the Congolese Revolutionary Army, which has been engaged in an armed conflict with the government of the Democratic Republic of the Congo since April 2012. The group has directed threats at an armed UN intervention brigade that will be arriving in the coming months.
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Gaza, Palestinian Territories 04.28.2013 Palestinian refugee children play in a poverty-stricken quarter of the town of Beit Lahia, in the northern Gaza Strip. PHOTO OR ILLUSTRATION CREDIT TK
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Manila, Philippines 04.28.2013 Makeshift boats wade through the waterways in Artex Compound in Malabon City. The residents of the former textile compound had to adjust their daily lives after flood waters submerged their lowlying village in 2004. PHOTO OR ILLUSTRATION CREDIT TK
AP PHOTO/ANDY WONG, POOL
Beijing, China 04.23.2013 A Chinese soldier stands guard at the main entrance door of the Bayi Building where Gen. Martin Dempsey, U.S. chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, is meeting with Chinese military officials. Tap here for a more extensive look at the week on The Huffington Post. PHOTO OR ILLUSTRATION CREDIT TK
AP PHOTO/J. SCOTT APPLEWHITE
Deficits Are Bad, and the Sun Goes Around the Earth MOST OF US accept that the earth goes around the sun. This is impressive since we can look up in the sky and see the sun going around the earth. We believe the opposite because we have been told about the research of astronomers over the centuries showing that what we can see with our own two eyes is wrong. Instead we accept that the motion of the stars and planets can be much better explained by the earth going around the sun. Suppose for a moment that astronomers and people who write on astronomy did not agree on
earth or solar orbits. Imagine that a substantial group of these people, including many of the most prominent astronomers, insisted the sun goes around the earth, as anyone can plainly see. In that case there would likely be huge numbers of people who refused to accept that the earth goes around the sun. This is the state of modern economics. A new study by three researchers at the University of Massachusetts found major arithmetic errors in the widely cited paper
Erskine Bowles, cochair of Obama’s deficit commission, recently said: “ ... when any organization has too much debt that is an enormous risk factor.”
Voices by Carmen Reinhart and Ken Rogoff, “Growth in a Time of Debt,” that purports to show high levels of government debt sharply slow growth. This study has been widely cited by political figures demanding deficit reduction, in spite of the fact that the unemployment rate remains high and interest rates are at extraordinarily low levels. When the errors in the Reinhart and Rogoff study are corrected, the strong relationship between high debt levels and slower growth disappears. In other words, there is little obvious reason that we need fear higher debt levels. We can have the government make investments in infrastructure and education that will boost growth, create jobs, and increase future productivity. If economics were like astronomy, the experts in the field would all be calling for the government to spend what is needed to boost growth. But economics is not like astronomy. When this key piece of evidence arguing for austerity was discredited, many experts just doubled down. If any prominent economists reversed their support for austerity, they did so quietly, but the best comment came from Erskine Bowles, the co-chair of President Obama’s deficit commission:
“What it doesn’t change is the common sense and my own personal experience in both the public and private sector that when any organization has too much debt that is an enormous risk factor and your risks go up then people lending you money will want more money for their money.” In other words, Bowles told the
If economics were like astronomy, the experts in the field would all be calling for the government to spend what is needed to boost growth. But economics is not like astronomy.” public to ignore the state of economic research; we can all see the sun goes around the earth. Of course economists could explain how governments are not like people. In principle, governments do not die. A country such as the U.S. borrows in its own currency so it literally can never go bankrupt as long as it knows how to print money. Unlike an individual, the government has the obligation to support the economy when private sector demand collapses as it did after
Voices the housing bubble burst. But hey, Bowles knows from personal experience we are borrowing too much and the sun goes around the earth. It may help explain the difference between debates in astronomy and economics that many people can profit from slow growth and high unemployment. The after-tax profit share of GDP is at its highest level in more than 60 years. For those who are at the top of the income ladder, times are good. They may see efforts to lower unemployment as a risk. With lower unemployment, workers may be able to get a larger share of productivity growth. This may be good for most of the country and mean increased economic growth, but it would mean less for the one percent. In the current situation, the blame for the bad economic situation of much of the workforce turns to the failure of individual workers. There is no shortage of news articles that blame workers for lacking the skills needed to succeed in the modern economy, as opposed to blaming policymakers for failing to design policies that keep the economy operating at its capacity. It is worth noting that spreading confusion about basic economics carries large financial re-
wards. According to The New York Times, Bowles gets paid $40,000 for many of his speeches. In addition, Bowles has collected millions of dollars sitting as a director on corporate boards. Perhaps most notable are the hundreds of thousands of dollars that he pocketed as a director of Morgan Stanley, one of the too-big-to-fail banks that would have gone bankrupt in 2008 had it not been saved by the Fed. He also pocketed hundreds of thousands of dollars as director of General Motors until it actually did go bankrupt in 2009. The point is that there is lots of money on the table for those who are willing to use their status to help spread confusion and convince the public that there is nothing that can be done about continuing high unemployment and stagnant wages. And every economist knows that if there is money sitting on the table someone will take it. There will be no shortage of reputable economists and economic pundits prepared to yell about the risks of the debt, even if they have no evidence to support their concerns. Dean Baker is co-director of the Center for Economic Policy Research.
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The Incredible Power of a Single Pair of Glasses IT ALL STARTED with Date Night. My wife and I received advice long ago that Date Night was the key to a successful marriage. We had plans, but a friend came by and asked if we wanted to go to an art show instead. That was the night I
was introduced to Tempt. When we got to the show there were posters and signs everywhere saying “TemptOne Benefit.” There was a palpable buzz about the place. I kept hearing people talking about this Tempt. Even the art on the walls by incredibly famous artists had his name worked into them. After being there a
The EyeWriter includes eye-tracking and drawing software that allows a user to draw with the movement of the eye.
Voices while and hearing about this Tempt, I finally asked “So where is this guy anyway?” The answer was shocking. “He lives in a hospital. On life support. He’s completely paralyzed. He has ALS.” Since that night, my life has never really been the same. The [EyeWriter] — a device that let’s the user draw with the movement of his eyes — has been a journey, and due to the nature of ALS it’s a never-ending one. It started in 2008, and it continues on today. I am often asked, “Why did you do it?” The first time I heard this question, I was caught off guard. I had never really thought about “why” I did it. I was always just focused on the “how” to get it done.
I BOILED THE HOW DOWN TO 3 THINGS: 1. SINGULARITY OF FOCUS. We weren’t trying to create the next big thing. We didn’t have visions of revolutionizing the medical device industry. We wanted to help Tempt. One person. I think that had we gone in with visions of sugarplums and tried to help all people with ALS, we would have missed the mark of creating
something that helped Tempt because we would have been so distracted. Singularity of focus kept us and keeps us on track. 2. GIVE IT AWAY. Giving something away is a powerful thing, but I had no idea how powerful it really is. When we first created the EyeWriter in the living room of our house, it was decided that if we were going to make this thing to help Tempt draw again, then it had to be open source. Understanding the practice of open source within the software world did not prepare me for what this philosophy was capable of when applied outside of the world of programming. I can say, without a doubt, that the
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act of giving the EyeWriter away was one of the most important and powerful components of the project. We made a documentary about the EyeWriter journey called Getting Up: The Tempt One Story. (We want this story shared so we are giving it away at gettingup-thedoc.com.) 3. BEAUTIFUL, LIMITLESS NAIVETY. After our documentary premiered in Park City, a group of computer programmers approached us to tell us how much they enjoyed the film. They told us that since seeing our film they had been discussing amongst themselves why they thought we had succeeded. Their consensus?
I don’t think anyone who has stared face-to-face with a reality like that can just walk away and say, ‘Good luck. I hope everything works out for you.’” “If you had any fucking idea how hard it was to do what you did, there was no way you would have done it in the first place.” They had discussed this idea amongst themselves and concluded that they should become more like us. “Clueless?” I asked. “Sort of... more like naive,” they replied. Turns out, our naivety was the key to us tackling the EyeWriter with brave abandon. We didn’t know that we weren’t supposed to be able to do it. We didn’t know that kind of thing doesn’t
Ebeling and his team created the EyeWriter for American graffiti artist Tempt.
really happen in two and a half weeks. We didn’t know what we didn’t know. And because of that, the entire team just did it because no one ever contemplated or considered the concept of failure.
NOW THE WHY.
Since this project has been ongoing since 2008, I’ve had some time to think about the “why.” Why I pushed so hard to make the EyeWriter for a person I didn’t really know at first. Why it was so successful. Why it seems to touch people in such a powerful and meaningful way. I did it for my brother. I did it for my dad. I did it for my sons. It’s really that simple. The day I met with Stephen and Ron, Tempt’s brother and father, it was like looking in a mirror that somehow, luckily, had avoided me. I am a father. I have sons. I have a brother. I could not imagine what it would be like to not be
MORE ON TED WEEKENDS TAGGING IS MORE THAN JUST SCRAWL
THE CHANGING VOICE OF GRAFFITI ART
able to talk to them everyday and ask them what they were thinking or feeling. Basic communication was nearly impossible for Tempt. That struck me as wrong. Why did I do it? Because I don’t think anyone who has stared faceto-face with a reality like that can just walk away and say, “Good luck. I hope everything works out for you.” You can’t walk away from someone or something that hits that close to home. I had no idea how it was going to affect my life — or more importantly — how I was going to pull it off. But I knew I could not, in good conscience, just walk away. What is it in your life that you just can’t walk away from? Mick Ebeling is the founder of the Not Impossible Foundation.
A selection of the week’s related blogs HEADLINES TO VIEW BLOGS ABOUT THIS WEEK’S THEME
ARE WE THINKING OF ART ALL WRONG?
A WORLD UNDERWATER
CHALLENGES FACING AN ARTIST WITH A DISABILITY
CLOCKWISE FROM LEFT: JEWEL SAMAD/AFP/GETTY IMAGES; TIFFANY ROSE/ WIREIMAGE/GETTY IMAGES; ASSOCIATED PRESS
“Why would an honest hard working woman want to make a step down into a dirty, sleazy, greedy profession like politics?”
—HuffPost commenter dayzee10,
“Occasionally I may make some of you angry, because I am going to reach out to Republicans. I am going to keep on doing it, even if some of you guys think I’m a sap.”
— President Barack Obama, during a fundraiser in Dallas
on mayoral candidate Linda Fondren admitting to a past life as a prostitute
“We’ve had enough Bushes.” — Former first lady Barbara Bush brushed aside talk of Jeb Bush making a run for the White House during an interview on NBC’s Today show
“...you found you were an invasive parent.” CLOCKWISE FROM TOP LEFT: ROBB COHEN/ROBBS PHOTOS/INVISION/AP; GREGG DEGUIRE/WIREIMAGE/ GETTY IMAGES; AP PHOTO/CHARLES DHARAPAK; FRAZER HARRISON/GETTY IMAGES FOR ABC
—HuffPost commenter RagMag,
on “What I Found in My 5-Year-Old Daughter’s Diary”
“Don’t be a douche.”
— Joey Fatone
had some words of advice for Justin Beiber when he stopped by HuffPost Live
It should read ‘Texas officials looked the other way for 30 years in the name of business.’
—HuffPost commenter Tikiman2012, on the West fertilizer plant’s hazards eluding regulators for nearly 30 years
“She’s a cool chick. We can hang.”
— Bradley Cooper
told Details magazine about living with his mom in an interview
“Contrary to womens’ belief, most MEN prefer women with a little meat on their bones.”
—HuffPost commenter RonP-uk,
on Alice Jackson, a former anorexic gaining three stone to become a plus-size lingerie model
AP PHOTO/MEL EVANS
05.05.13 #47 FEATURES BORN AGAIN THE STING
RESURRECTION of JIM McGREEVEY From the Governor’s House to Prison (But Not the Way You Think)
PREVIOUS PAGE: VICTORIA WILL/INVISION/AP IMAGES; THIS PAGE: AP PHOTO/MEL EVANS
By LILA SHAPIRO
ON A RECENT WEDNESDAY MORNING,
James E. McGreevey, the former governor of New Jersey who resigned in disgrace nearly a decade ago, stands in the center of a circle of several dozen women, all prisoners at the Hudson County Correctional Facility. ¶ “We talked a little bit about shame last time,” McGreevey tells the women, who call him Jim. “We talked about unhealthy shame. What would be an example of unhealthy shame?” ¶ McGreevey pauses, and snaps his fingers at a latecomer with straight brown hair and bangs, lingering on the fringes of the meeting, “Pull up! Come in!”
McGreevey speaks to women inmates of the Hudson County Correctional Center in Kearney, N.J.
THE RESURRECTION OF JIM McGREEVEY
Wearing a navy sweater with a hole in the elbow, McGreevey, 55, flashes the charismatic smile that helped endear him to a generation of New Jersey voters. That smile may be the most resilient reminder of his former life — little else remains the same. He has changed churches, divorced his second wife, moved in with his partner, the financier Mark O’Donnell; his hair has gone grey, the lines around his eyes and across his forehead are more deeply etched, the curves of his cheekbones have softened and he’s traded in his red white and blue ties for moth eaten sweaters and professorial tweed jackets. “People project their prejudices on you, their hatred on you,” McGreevey continues, pacing around the circle, stopping now and then to smile at one woman, or squeeze another woman’s shoulder. “If somebody doesn’t like you because of the color of your skin, your sexual orientation, the community you’re in, that’s unhealthy shame.” “Healthy shame is when you what?” He pauses and glances around the room. “When you recognize that there’s a right and a wrong, and you have violated your moral code. Somebody just say yes so that I know that you’re
listening to me.” The women start to nod, some sleepily, some emphatically, some with tears in their eyes. “Yes.” “Yes.” “Yeah, that’s right, Jim.” In 2004, McGreevey announced in a public resignation, that he was a “gay American,” and that he had been having an affair with a veteran of the Israeli Defense Forces whom McGreevey had appointed New Jersey home-
“I THOUGHT TO MYSELF, ‘WHAT IS THIS GUY GONNA DO? HE’S REALLY GOING TO GO INTO DEEP COVER AND WHO KNOWS HOW OR IF HE’S GOING TO COME OUT.’” land security adviser. Now, Alexandra Pelosi’s new documentary, Fall to Grace, which debuted last month on HBO , thrusts him back into the spotlight. The film chronicles McGreevey’s political downfall in 2004, his comfortable new life as an openly gay man and, most importantly in his eyes, his reinvention as a spiritual adviser to women in prison. That latest chapter began a couple of years after his disgrace, when he entered divinity school, pursuing a dream he said predates his interest in politics. He hoped
VICTORIA WILL/INVISION/AP IMAGES
THE RESURRECTION OF JIM McGREEVEY
to become a priest in the Episcopal Church, one of the first denominations to accept openly gay clergy. But the church was “hesitant” to accept him, he said, something he attributes to his resignation and the divorce. “And I understand that,” he said softly, a faint New Jersey ac-
cept creeping into his voice. “I think ironically it’s a good thing.” As he sees it now, his effort to join the priesthood was in some ways just another campaign, another symptom of the relentless ambition that earned him the nickname “robo-candidate” when he was in politics. By the time that campaign foundered, he had already begun working with women prisoners, and he said the failure
Director of Fall to Grace Alexandra Pelosi and McGreevey pose for a portrait at the Sundance Film Festival in January 2013.
AP PHOTO/MEL EVANS
THE RESURRECTION OF JIM McGREEVEY
of his clerical ambitions brought him closer to those women. “A title can be a source of division or separation, or even promote a sense of ‘better than’ as opposed to ‘equal to,’” he said. “For the women, there have been all too few people in life who have met them on their terms.” For a disgraced politician who has forsworn ambition, McGreevey continues to be remarkably adept at convincing people to
“... CLEARLY, HE HAS TRANSFORMED INTO SOMETHING NOBLER.” see him as a leader. The program, in which McGreevey’s official title is “spiritual counselor,” offers addiction counseling to inmates as they prepare to leave jail and attempts to soften their transition to the outside world by providing them with transitional housing, job training and other services. According to the Associated Press, it has cut recidivism by more than
McGreevey (center right) advises the incarcerated women of Hudson County Correctional Center in 2011.
JANET VAN HAM. COURTESY OF HBO
Director Alexandra Pelosi, whose HBO documentary threw McGreevey back into the spotlight, is pictured after it aired last month.
THE RESURRECTION OF JIM McGREEVEY
AP PHOTO/MEL EVANS
"HIS DETERMINATION IS SECOND TO NO ONE I'VE EVER MET. AND I'VE FLOWN ON AIR FORCE ONE WITH BILL CLINTON AND HUNG OUT WITH AL GORE." half, and the Justice Department has named it one of the two top re-entry programs in the country. He and Oscar Aviles, the director of corrections at Hudson County, see their program as a potential model for jails nationwide, and are trying to get other facilities to adopt their approach. Aviles and others hope that McGreevey’s political acumen can help win more support. McGreevey hopes so, too; he and Pelosi say that’s why he agreed to let her document his work. Over the years, many people have expressed skepticism about McGreevey. A reporter who covered him when he was governor wrote in a recent story for Religion News Service that he regarded him as “one of the most disingenuous phonies I had ever met.” But after meeting with McGreevey
and watching him work with the women, he was compelled to point out that he believed in redemption. Prison ministry, he wrote, “is not something one does for the glory or for attention.” “People do it because they believe in it,” he continued, “because they’re driven by faith, or love, or whatever it is that I, frankly, don’t have enough of.” One McGreevey watcher, frequently quoted at the time of his fall, said he was genuinely surprised by the former governor’s resurrection. “I remember exactly where I was,” Rutgers political science professor Ross Baker said,
New Jersey State Senator Raymond J. “Ray” Lesniak, a close friend of McGreevey's.
THE RESURRECTION OF JIM McGREEVEY
reflecting back on the day McGreevey broke the news nine years ago. “I was in Rockport Maine, listening to my car radio, and I thought to myself, ‘What is this guy gonna do? He’s really going to go into deep cover and who knows how or if he’s going to come out.’” Of all the New Jersey politicians that have crashed and burned over the years, Baker continued, he was hard pressed to think of another example of someone who “came out a changed person, who was transmogrified by the fires of adversity into something nobler, and clearly he has transformed in something nobler.” Those who know him well aren’t so shocked. New Jersey State Senator Raymond J. “Ray” Lesniak, a major power broker in the state and close friend of McGreevey’s, as well as a long-time political ally who sat as the Chairman of McGreevey’s 1997 campaign for governor, said McGreevey’s new life was “no surprise at all.” “His determination is second to no one I’ve ever met,” Lesniak said in an interview with the Huffington Post. “And I’ve flown on Air Force One with Bill Clinton and hung out with Al Gore,” Lesniak added with a laugh.
Lesniak and McGreevey met decades ago when McGreevey was the executive director of of the state parole board, but they didn’t develop a close personal friendship until the days after McGreevey’s resignation. He doesn’t doubt McGreevey’s stance that he’s done with politics for
“THE PROBLEM IS THE DARK SIDE OF ALL OF IT, THAT’S WHAT HE DIDN’T WANT TO GO NEAR, THE LURE OF PUBLIC ADORATION AND THE NEED FOR APPROVAL.” good. McGreevey has said in recent interviews that he’ll never return to political life. On three separate occasions Lesniak tried to temp him back into the game; each time, McGreevey turned him down. “They were very enticing offers,” he said, “but he said no. The problem is the dark side of all of it, that’s what he didn’t want to go near, the lure of public adoration and the need for approval.” “I experience it myself,” Lesniak continued, “and it’s important to take a step back and say, are you doing this because of the good that you’re doing or are you doing this because of the
THE RESURRECTION OF JIM McGREEVEY
praise that you’re going to get for the work that you’re doing? It’s not easy to separate the two, but when you do, it’s heavenly.” At the jail Wednesday, McGreevey prompts the women to talk about the specific behaviors that make them feel shame. “When we’re running and doping in the street, what do we do?” he asks. “Operate out of what we know how to do best,” says a woman in flip-flops. “It’s stupidity,” says a woman in a white hair-wrap. “You go around in darkness.” “Negative behavior,” says a third woman. McGreevey nods. “You have a default mechanism. Your default mechanism is to do x. Where did you learn that behavior?” The woman in flip-flops is still listing shameful behaviors: “Lyin’, cheatin’, manipulatin’, fightin’, usin’, cheatin’.” McGreevey interrupts, stamping his foot. “Preach, preach, preach!��� She trails off, and McGreevey brings the conversation back into focus. “But what is Elle sharing with us? These are behaviors that she…?” Elle: “Learned.”
McGreevey: “We copy behavior. How did we get to this lovely Hudson County college?” The woman in a hair wrap: “We walked in.” McGreevey: “You walked in all right. You walked in with handcuffs.” The conversation continues in this back-and-forth style for some time, and then McGreevey makes a suggestion. “At some point in time when we’re out on the street and no one is watching, the question is ... Will we turn over our will to unhealthy cravings? Or will we stay in a godly place and do what we are meant to do? And that’s always the challenge. That’s always the challenge. So yes, we’re blessed with free will, but what I would like us to be called to do is to exercise free will in a godly sense. So before the food comes, some prayers. Then we’ll break.”
HuffPost reporter Lila Shapiro addresses whether McGreevey is remorseful. Tap here to watch the full video on HuffPost Live.
WANNA BUY AN iPHONE?
UNDERCOVER POLICE TARGET A NEW BLACK MARKET
BY GERRY SMITH
SAN FRANCISCO —
ON A CLOUDY AFTERNOON IN THE TENDERLOIN DISTRICT, a man in a hooded sweatshirt walks slowly along Market Street, stopping to engage people he encounters along the way. He offers a peek at the wares inside the backpack slung over his shoulder: Three new iPhones, each still sealed in a white box affixed with Apple’s logo. He stole these phones, he tells potential customers, before asking them to make an offer. ¶ He walks past a checkcashing shop and a boarded-up pharmacy until he attracts an interested buyer. But before the deal is done, another man dashes out of a nearby donut shop and mumbles a warning to the wouldbe buyer in Spanish. He suspects the seller is a cop. Suddenly nervous, the buyer walks away.
The man in the hoodie is indeed a policeman: Officer Tom Lee is playing the role of decoy in a sting operation targeting buyers of stolen iPhones. Beneath his sweatshirt, he wears a small recording device taped to his chest. Nearby, two plainclothes officers blend into the crowd, armed with guns to protect Lee should the deal go bad. A block away, two more officers sit in an unmarked car, awaiting Lee’s signal for them to make an arrest. Lee approaches a heavy-set man standing outside the red awning of a Carl’s Jr. burger restaurant. The man wears glasses and a black pinstripe suit. He inspects the iPhone and offers $100. Lee takes the cash, hands over the phone and gives the signal. Four officers swoop in and place the man in handcuffs, notching another arrest in the intensifying cat-and-mouse game playing out here and in other major American cities between law enforcement and criminals looking to profit from the burgeoning trade in stolen mobile devices. Lee and his team are part of a special task force established three years ago to combat phone thefts here, mirroring similar undercover teams set up in New York
and Washington, D.C. They have not chosen this corner at random. The intersection of Seventh and Market is San Francisco’s primary open-air market for stolen electronics, police say. Given that nearly half of San Francisco resi-
“You’re basically creating crime or luring people to commit crimes. It’s an outrageous waste of resources.” dents own an iPhone — the highest rate of any city in the nation — this stolen phone bazaar amounts to a crucial conduit in an illicit, increasingly global trade. Police say stolen phones bought here are often resold overseas — in part to avoid a domestic blacklist being established by American wireless carriers — eventually fetching as much as $1,000 at markets scattered from Hong Kong to Rio de Janeiro. The total value of lost or stolen phones in the U.S. is about $30 billion a year, according to the mobile-security firm Lookout. Nearly half of all robberies in San Francisco last year involved smartphones, according to police. After thieves across the Bay Area
swipe iPhones or iPads, police use GPS sensors in the devices to trace them here, to the corner of Seventh and Market. For Lee and his partners, shutting down this marketplace has become their primary objective. Initially, the undercover unit focused on catching people stealing phones. Officers rode city trains and buses while appearing to carelessly text, hoping to attract thieves. But hardly anyone took the bait. Now, the task force is pursuing a new strategy: arresting buyers. The team aims to poison the market with
fear and distrust, depriving wouldbe sellers of a place to unload their stolen merchandise. “If they steal the phone but can’t sell it, there’s no market,” San Francisco Police Capt. Joe Garrity says. “We’re cutting the head off the snake.” The tactics are controversial. Defense attorneys say undercover stings entrap ordinary people who are looking for deals on smartphones and have no plans to engage in crime. “You’re basically creating crime or luring people to commit crimes,” says Chesa Boudin, a San Francisco public defender. “It’s an outrageous waste of resources.”
A police sting on Market and Seventh streets in San Francisco.
Others question their effectiveness. San Francisco District Attorney George Gascon says decoy operations “yield little deterrence” and have failed to reduce phone thefts in the city. “The numbers don’t appear to be abating at all,” Gascon said in an interview. “This is like the drug — for drug use, the more drug use seems to go on.” But police say most buyers who arrive at Seventh and Market are far from innocent: They are street-level merchants who comprise a key link in the global distribution system for stolen
iPhones and iPads. Police say these undercover operations present their best means of stopping the modern-day crime wave sweeping the country. “It’s important to send a message to criminals that you can’t just buy stolen property in the street,” Garrity says. “This isn’t Macy’s or a bargain basement. It’s illegal.”
A STOLEN PHONE BAZAAR
A fast-talking 54-year-old who resembles former New York Mayor Rudy Giuliani, Garrity has spent three decades on the San Francisco force, most of it in the Tenderloin, along the way rising from patrolman to sergeant to lieutenant to captain. (“Everything but
San Francisco Police Capt. Joe Garrity says undercover stings are disrupting the stolen iPhone market.
the janitor,” he says.) On a recent afternoon, he was sitting at a table at the police station, going over instructions for an upcoming iPhone sting. Not for the first time, the task force is targeting Seventh and Market. “These guys haven’t been hit in a month,” Garrity tells the eight officers sitting before him. “So they’re ripe for the picking.” The red-brick plaza is populated by drifters, addicts and homeless men camped out outside Donut World, Bargain Bee and Carl’s Jr. Over the years, the corner has nurtured a wide variety of blackmarket commodities, from pirated DVDs to counterfeit North Face jackets and copied Gucci purses. But these days, commerce revolves largely around stolen Apple products, a fact that attests both to the street value of the mobile devices and the apparent ease of swiping them from victims whose heads are down with their eyes fixed on tiny screens. “Everybody is distracted,” says Garrity, struck by the vulnerability of pedestrians who carelessly hold their gadgets. “Shit, I could grab that phone, take off running and no one would catch me, then run down to Seventh and Market and sell it.”
The fact that San Francisco has become a central clearinghouse for stolen iPhones is not surprising. The city is uniquely loyal to products made by Apple, which is headquartered only 40 miles
“If they steal the phone but can’t sell it, there’s no market. We’re cutting the head off the snake.” south in Cupertino, Calif. Fortyeight percent of San Francisco residents own an iPhone, according to research by Samsung, Apple’s main smartphone competitor. Apple chief executive Tim Cook unveiled the iPhone 5 at a special event last fall in the city’s Yerba Buena Center for the Arts. But less than a mile away, stolen iPhones and iPads are routinely bought and sold at Seventh and Market. To disrupt this underground trade, Tom Lee plays the role of a stolen iPhone salesman. A 37-year-old Asian-American man, Lee is something of an Apple expert. Before becoming a police officer six years ago, he worked at an Apple store. The retail experience allowed Lee to perfect his sales pitch, now repurposed as part of a law enforcement ruse.
AP PHOTO/JEFF CHIU
On a recent afternoon, Lee wore a green hooded sweatshirt, blue jeans, and white Adidas sneakers, a wardrobe that makes him look “more streetlike,” he says. Normally soft-spoken and reserved, he becomes more aggressive undercover. “You’re not going to be polite when selling phones because that will give it away,” he explains. “I try to mimic the way they speak. If they use profanities, I’ll throw a few in.” After brief small talk, Lee tells buyers that he is selling iPhones that he stole from a nearby Apple store. He never suggests a price, in order to avoid the appearance of entrapment, he says. Instead, he invites buyers to make him an offer. Before paying, they often inspect the phones to make sure they work. Then, they typically check to see if he is a cop. They pat him down, feeling his hip for a gun and his lower abdomen for a bulletproof vest, overlooking the small recording device taped to his chest. Lee worries about how prospective buyers might respond should his cover be blown. He is unarmed, but some of his buyers have been arrested while carrying small knives and guns. Still, he remains calm, knowing the “close cover” officer — his undercover bodyguard
— is armed and standing nearby. “I know I can trust my life to him,” Lee says. Handsome and clean-shaven, Lee has proven to be a convincing stolen iPhone salesman. He has performed in about 10 sting operations, he estimates, never failing to attract at least one buyer. Those buyers have paid between $25 and $200 for his iPhones, depending on the model and whether the item is still in its box. But recently, Lee’s superiors have expressed concern about using him too often: Some buyers appear to be avoiding him. “I wonder if they’re starting to get suspicious,” Sgt. Jerry Darcy says. In San Francisco, as in many major cities, buyers and sellers of stolen phones tend to organize into teams that resemble drug-dealing
San Francisco District Attorney George Gascon has questioned the effectiveness of undercover sting operations, saying they “yield little difference.”
DAVID PAUL MORRIS/BLOOMBERG VIA GETTY IMAGES
Apple’s headquarters in Cupertino, Calif.
street gangs, police say. Some have as many as 10 members. A certain tight-knit group refuses to purchase stolen phones from sellers they don’t know and trust, Lee explains. One member serves as a police lookout, another works as a go-between, or a “hook,” who connects buyers and sellers. Others are like members of a baton relay team, accepting the handoff from the buyer so that he isn’t carrying a stolen phone if he’s caught by police. In February, police arrested a man who traveled more than an hour via BART train from Hayward, Calif., to buy phones at Seventh and Market. In his pockets, police found $426 in cash, two stolen iPhones that he had bought from an undercover officer for $300, and seven SIM cards, the tiny removable chips that connect each device to a particular network. When phones are reported stolen, wireless providers block their SIM cards, but thieves routinely replace them with new SIMs and resell stolen phones for use on other networks, police say. Before the sting, Garrity tells his officers to look for both stolen phones and SIM cards: “Go through these guys with a finetoothed comb.” He also reminds
officers not to move in prematurely. “Once Tom gives the signal, you grab him,” he says. Three iPhone boxes sit on a table in front of him. Garrity takes a Sharpie and marks each with a black dot, to be able to identify them after an arrest.
“Shit, I could grab that phone, take off running and no one would catch me …” Apple loans the department iPhones to use as bait on undercover stings. But officers have lost a few. Once, after buying a stolen iPhone from an undercover officer, a man evaded arrest by sprinting down the subway stairs, jumping over the turnstile and running down the tracks. Another time, a man bought an iPhone and dashed into a crowded pizza parlor, handing off the phone to an associate who got away. As the officers stand up and head for their squad cars, Garrity issues one last order: “Try not to lose the fucking phones!”
A CONTROVERSIAL STRATEGY Garrity’s team is accustomed to undercover work. For years, his officers wandered the streets
OFFICIAL NYC COUNCIL PHOTO BY WILLIAM ALATRISTE
wearing tattered clothing, reeking of alcohol and slurring their speech. They asked homeless people for cigarettes and arrested those who grabbed at the $20 bills they purposely dangled from their breast pockets. Defense attorneys and civil rights advocates argued the resulting busts merely padded robbery arrest rates, instead of protecting the homeless from street crime. The undercover stings targeting iPhone buyers have provoked similar concerns. In February, San Francisco police arrested
an undocumented Mexican immigrant for buying two stolen iPhones from an undercover officer at Seventh and Market. The man, who had two children and no criminal record, did not speak English and did not understand the officer, according to Boudin, the public defender. After his arrest, police notified federal immigration officials. The man spent a week in jail while his attorney fought to prevent him from being deported. He was later released and sentenced to community service. In 2011, New York police arrested 237 people over a five-day period for buying and selling stolen
New York City Councilman Vincent Gentile (right) believes undercover stings lure unsuspecting people into committing a crime.
iPhones and iPads from undercover officers. The officers told buyers they had stolen the devices from an Apple store in Manhattan. Robert Tester, 20, of Brooklyn, was among those arrested. Tester said the undercover officer was “relentless” and insisted that he buy the iPhone, even after Tester refused. The officer claimed he needed money to buy his daughter Christmas presents, according to a federal lawsuit Tester filed against the city in January. Tester bought the iPhone for $20 because he was “feeling sorry” for the seller and his daughter, his suit claims. He said he did not know the phone was stolen. The charges were dropped, but Tester claims his arrest made him miss work and caused him psychological injury. He is seeking $150,000 in damages. His suit is pending. “Trying to root out merchants who are known dealers in stolen electronics is one matter; luring unsuspecting and otherwise lawabiding teenagers to ‘buy’ goods from undercover officers is another matter entirely,” New York City Councilman Vincent Gentile wrote to Police Commissioner Raymond Kelly after the sting
that caught Tester. Gentile asked Kelly to conduct an investigation into “Operation Take Back,” as the NYPD called it. Instead, Kelly responded in a letter that said the sting was “carefully supervised and closely controlled.” “The individuals arrested during this initiative attempted to purchase items which they clearly knew were stolen,” Kelly wrote.
A STING GOES BUST
As Lee looks for buyers along San Francisco’s Market Street, officers park their squad cars a few blocks away, out of sight. They listen to the voice of a second undercover
“… you can���t just buy stolen property in the street. This isn’t Macy’s or a bargain basement. It’s illegal.” officer — the “close cover” — crackle over the police radio. In police code, he provides a running play-by-play. Lee, the “UC,” and his buyer, a black male, or “BM,” are nearing a deal. “UC at Fifth and Market at northwest corner,” the officer says over the radio. “He’s westbound, almost at the check cashing place ... BM with red hat and gray jacket
... BM is taking out money ... BM is looking at the phones.” Minutes later, after the officers swoop in, the buyer and a man who police say brokered the deal stand at Seventh and Market with their hands cuffed behind their backs. As some 50 pedestrians gather in the plaza to watch, officers search the buyer’s blue messenger bag. They find their iPhone with the black dot and $438 in cash. They lead the two men into the back of a marked police car. Back at the police station, Officer Damon Jackson questions the men in a small interrogation room. Jackson reads them their Miranda rights, but both choose to give statements defending themselves. The man blamed for brokering the deal says he is homeless and staying in a shelter. He wears gray Nike sneakers, jeans and a gray cardigan over a red T-shirt. He says the undercover officer offered him “a couple bucks” to connect him with buyers, adding that he did not know anything about the phones being stolen. He is charged with a misdemeanor for attempting to buy stolen property. A few days later, a judge sentences him to community service — a common fate for those ar-
rested in undercover police stings. The buyer, the man in the black suit, tells police he rode the BART train that day from his home in Berkeley with the intention of buying a used phone. He claims he knows nothing about the phones being stolen. “I want my $100 back!” he shouts at the officers. Searching his messenger bag again, officers find a Motorola smartphone missing its battery and SIM card. Garrity cites this as evidence of an experienced buyer at work: Who else would swap the SIM card before reselling a stolen phone? “This is not his first time at the rodeo,” Garrity says. But the police find a problem with their bust: Lee never told the man in the suit that the iPhone he was buying was stolen. They have to let him go. Officers remove his handcuffs and return his $100, along with his messenger bag. He leaves the police station on foot. Garrity explains later that the undercover stings “are hit or miss sometimes,” but he defends the strategy. “It’s been successful,” he says. “If we just sit back and do nothing, they’d be down at Seventh and Market in droves. We have to do something to address this problem.”
MARK XLII IRON PATRIOT
Is Iron Man 3 the Best Marvel Film Yet? (AND 24 OTHER URGENT QUESTIONS)
N MAY 3, summer blockbuster season kicks off here in the U.S. with the release of Iron Man 3. Once again, Robert Downey, Jr. (Iron Man 2) reprises his role as billionaire playboy Tony Stark in the series, but this time there’s a new director on board: Shane Black replaced Jon Favreau behind the camera for this installment. (Favreau, however, still appears onscreen as Tony’s bodyguard-friend Happy Hogan.) Does Iron Man 3 improve on the fairly dismal Iron Man 2? Could Iron Man 3 possibly be the best of the Marvel movies? As a service, we answer every question that you could possibly have about Iron Man 3. —Mike Ryan
Is Iron Man 3 the best of the Marvel movies? Yes.
Wait, Iron Man 3 is better than The Avengers? As sheer spectacle? No. And I haven’t forgotten how much fun The Avengers was last summer. But, as a movie from start to finish, Iron Man 3 is a better film.
Is there a chance that I smell hyperbole? First, hyperbole doesn’t have a specific smell that I’m aware of. (If it did, I assume it would smell something like a warm tire.) But I saw Iron Man 3 10 days ago, so I’ve had at
least some time for this to settle in. (Yes, I’ve spent way too much time thinking about this.)
Where do we find Tony Stark when Iron Man 3 begins? Iron Man 3 picks up shortly after the events of The Avengers. In fact, Tony’s mental state in Iron Man 3 is influenced heavily by the events that occurred during The Avengers.
What is Tony’s mental state? Tony is now prone to the occasional panic attack. Are the events from The Avengers specifically mentioned during Iron Man 3? Yes. In fact, that’s one of the best parts of Iron Man 3. Tony
went through some serious shit during The Avengers and Iron Man 3 is smart enough to address all the fallout.
How does Iron Man 3 begin? Iron Man 3 begins with a flashback to a 1999 New Year’s Eve party in which Tony meets a young botanist named Maya Hansen (Rebecca Hall) who is developing a technology called Extremis.
FILM FRAME/© 2012 MVLFFLLC. TM & © 2012 MARVEL
08 What is Extremis? Extremis allows living organisms to regrow extremities. Unfortunately, not every living organism’s body accepts the Extremis treatment. If Extremis is rejected, it creates a very large explosion.
How long do we spend in 1999? Basically long enough for Tony to also meet Aldrich Killian
(Guy Pearce), another scientist who Tony rejects. Of course, since this man is played by Guy Pearce, we meet him later in the movie and he has kept a grudge.
Is there a Pulp Fiction reference during this scene? Yes.
Does Guy Pearce have a similar role to the one Sam Rockwell had in Iron Man 2? I had assumed that this was the case, but no. I’ll say this: Pearce’s role in this movie is a lot larger and a lot more important than I had ever assumed.
Does Tony have any new toys in this movie? Tony has developed quite a few new Iron Man suits, and he’s created a way to control the suits without actually being in the suit.
Isn’t The Mandarin in this movie? The Mandarin, played by Ben Kingsley, is very much in this movie.
Gwyneth Paltrow as Pepper Potts in Iron Man 3.
In the comic books, The Mandarin is Chinese. How does Ben Kingsley pull this off? In Iron Man 3 The Mandarin is certainly not Chinese. He’s presented as a terrorist figurehead not unlike Osama bin Laden and he has a habit of interrupting regular scheduled programming to broadcast his propaganda videos. If I’m a huge fan of The Mandarin, will I enjoy how he’s presented in this movie? Well ... let’s just say it’s an extremely unique performance and we’ll just leave it at that.
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Does Rhodey (Don Cheadle) have more to do in this movie than he did in Iron Man 2? Not at first, but, by halfway though, Rhodey becomes a major player, fighting under the name Iron Patriot. In fact, everyone has more to do in Iron Man 3 — Gwyneth Paltrow especially — than in the prior movie.
Why is this? The biggest problem with Iron Man 2 (notwithstanding Mickey Rourke’s awful performance) is that there is just so much going on. Not only were there the characters that are essential to the Iron Man movies,
but Iron Man 2 also had to deal with all of the pre-Avengers buildup nonsense. I mean, even Jon Favreau’s Happy Hogan has a nice little part in Iron Man 3. Wait, what’s an Iron Patriot? The U.S. government rebranded Rhodey’s former alter ego, War Machine, to something a little more ... patriotic — which includes a new red, white and blue exterior. This becomes a running punchline for most of the movie.
There are still a lot of characters. How does it not get too crowded like Iron Man 2 did? It’s funny, even though Iron Man 3 is a big summer Marvel movie, it still somehow feels intimate at times — which is a credit to director Shane Black.
Intimate? There’s a good half hour portion of the movie in which Tony Stark is stranded in Tennessee and doesn’t have access to the Iron Man suit — all the
Robert Downey, Jr. as Tony Stark and Don Cheadle as James Rhodes.
ZADE ROSENTHAL/ © 2012 MVLFFLLC. TM & © 2012 MARVEL
while Tony has to solve a mystery without access to his technology. (Plus Iron Man 3 is set during Christmastime, which also helps building a sense of intimacy.)
Does Iron Man 3, once again, end with Iron Man fighting another human being wearing an iron suit? Thankfully, no.
What is the worst thing about Iron Man 3? As with any superhero movie, there are a few hokey moments, especially near the end. Fortunately, there are quite a few less than normal. What’s the most impressive scene that you’ve watched in the past year?
There’s a sequence in Iron Man 3 in which quite a few people are thrown out of an airplane in midflight. The scene of Iron Man trying to rescue them was filmed using a honest-to-goodness real parachute team. In other words: Real human beings! In more other words: Yes, CGI in 2013 is great, but the human eye can still tell the difference what’s real and what’s not.
Ben Kingsley as The Mandarin.
What is the funniest thing about Iron Man 3? Tony Stark’s interactions with an adolescent boy while Tony is stranded in Tennessee — which, I know just by typing this, sounds corny. But it’s done extremely well. How many times does Tony Stark call an adolescent boy a “pussy” in Iron Man 3? Once.
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Dealing With Cancer, Mindfully BY CAROLYN GREGOIRE
HE WORD “cancer” alone can trigger a stress response, and for those undergoing cancer treatment, the experience can easily be the most stressful they ever endure. After all, research has shown that roughly half of people with advanced or terminal cancer struggle with
Exit mental health conditions including depression, anxiety and adjustment disorders. Recently, mindfulness — an increasingly popular (and scientifically backed) antidote to stress and depression that involves cultivating a focused awareness on the present moment — has been gaining traction as a treatment for the mental health woes that commonly affect cancer patients. According to Australian Cancer Council psychologist Joanne Bell, there are almost always elements of distress in those affected by cancer, and mindfulness-based therapies can be effective in minimizing worry and emotional distress in patients undergoing treatments. This month, the Australian Cancer Council is beginning an eight-week Living Mindfully program, based on mindfulnessbased cognitive therapy (MBCT), to help cancer patients manage stress while undergoing treatment, reported ABC Capricornia in Australia. The program meets for two hours per week, and places a strong emphasis on meditation. “For many people who have been diagnosed with cancer — or have been diagnosed with ad-
vanced cancer and are facing endof-life issues — their mind is so full of worries about the future... that they can’t fully be aware and enjoy the time they have now,” Bell tells ABC Capricornia. Emotional distress, in turn, can have a significant impact on the course of the illness. Depression has been shown to hasten decline in cancer patients, and also to increase the risk of death. By
For many people who have been diagnosed with cancer their mind is so full of worries about the future... that they can’t fully be aware and enjoy the time they have now.” reducing stress and negative emotions, mindfulness programs could potentially play an important role in the treatment process. “[Cancer] is very demanding on the body and the mind, so the aim of this program is to help people learn ways to focus and calm their mind, and live more fully in the present moment so they can better manage difficult thoughts and difficult feelings,” Bell says in an interview with ABC Capricornia.
STEPHAN ZABEL/GETTY IMAGES
Exit A good deal of research has examined the impacts of both mindfulness-based cognitive therapy and mindfulness-based stress reduction (MBSR) on cancer treatment. A 2012 Danish review of studies found that mindfulnessbased therapies — which include yoga, meditation, breathing exercises and mental training — are an effective way to manage depression and anxiety in cancer patients. “[The] summary of the study findings shows that mindfulness has a documented effect as an effective and inexpensive therapy method for cancer patients with anxiety and depression symptoms,” an Aarhus University press release on the research stated. “The positive effect was not only seen immediately after therapy, but was maintained for at least six months following the therapy.” A 2011 study published in the journal Cancer Nursing also found that the majority of cancer patients who participated in mindfulnessbased stress reduction therapy experienced positive effects including increased calm and well-being, better sleep quality, more energy and decreased physical pain. With the research to back up the effectiveness of mindfulness
in helping cancer patients, it’s likely that these types of programs will continue to spread through hospitals, universities and treatment centers in the U.S. and abroad. According to Bell, the Australian programs have been highly successful so far. “The last two programs last year were fully booked before they even started, and all of our patients have stated that it’s been a positive experience,” Bell says in the ABC Capricornia interview. “It’s a really rewarding experience to watch the personal journey that the participants take throughout the program.”
Mindfulnessbased therapies, such as yoga, help patients manage stress and anxiety.
Sparkling Reds: The Cheaper, the Better BY KRISTEN AIKEN
ERVED SLIGHTLY chilled, sparkling red wine is that perfect spring drink â€” in the afternoon or into the night, with food, dessert, or just on its own. And it tends to be incredibly affordable, too. We hit up our favorite local wine shop and asked our buddies there for their top five recommendations, because we want to save you from trial and error. Great news: The two sparkling red wines that topped our taste test are the cheapest ones. Check out the results of our tasting ahead.
As always, this taste test is in no way influenced or sponsored by the products included.
PHOTOGRAPHS BY DAMON DAHLEN
TAP ON THE WINE FOR THE TASTERS’ VERDICTS
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