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ROUTE 70 | KILIMANJARO | PARENTS & POT

THE HUFFINGTON POST MAGAZINE

POVERTY IN THE U.S.

OCTOBER 21, 2012

The Other Americans


10.21.12 #19 CONTENTS

Enter POINTERS: Hillary Takes Libya Blame, Zumba Sex Scandal, and the Globes Hosts Are... MOVING IMAGE DATA: Massachusetts Economy Under Romney Q&A: Yael Kohen

Voices

THE OTHER AMERICANS

FROM TOP: MATT RAINWATERS; BILLY DELFS

BY TOM ZELLER JR.

THE STOP

BY RADLEY BALKO

HOSSAIN: The Silence of a Laureate WHITMIRE: How to End the End of Men KETTERINGHAM & MENDENHALL: Some Pro-Pot Parents Blog, Others Lose Their Children QUOTED

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CELEBRITY: The ‘Real’ Star Tours of Los Angeles County STYLE: Porsche Design Moves Into Fashion’s Fast Lane GREATEST PERSON OF THE WEEK: Robert Wolniewicz APPROVAL: Step Away From the Screen THE GILDED AGE: How to Insult a Banker TFU FROM THE EDITOR: The People Still Left Behind ON THE COVER: Photograph for

Huffington by Aaron Packard


LETTER FROM THE EDITOR

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The People Still Left Behind N THIS WEEK’S Huffington, Tom Zeller puts the spotlight on what he rightly calls a “national disgrace”: the grinding poverty that plagues rural communities throughout America, especially among minorities. The numbers are staggering: 46 million Americans now live below the poverty line, nearly 60 percent of them minorities; the poverty rate among children in rural areas is about 27 percent (up 6 percent since 2000)—their struggles and suffering not touching our country’s moral consciousness. In a desolate trailer park outside Laredo, Texas, Zeller meets Elia De La O and her husband,

ART STREIBER

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Rogelio—legal immigrants who came from Mexico more than a dozen years ago. Their trailer has electricity but lacks running water; for this they must travel miles to a county-run spigot that dispenses barely-drinkable water, or else a water vendor in Laredo. As Elia puts it, the conditions are far from her vision of the American Dream when she was living in Mexico: “We didn’t think when we came here that we would live like kings, but we didn’t imagine there would be places like this.”

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LETTER FROM THE EDITOR

Elsewhere in the issue, Radley Balko puts the spotlight on a routine traffic stop last December in Collinsville, Illinois. On their way back to Ohio after attending a Star Trek convention, filmmaker Terrance Huff and his friend Jon Seaton were pulled over by a police officer, supposedly for an unsafe lane change. However, just as they are about to drive away, the officer asks whether the men are transporting drugs, weapons or cash. Before long, a police dog is sniffing for drugs. The cop rummages through the mens’ luggage. Finding nothing, he sends them on their way. Balko uses the incident to put the mechanics of routine traffic stops under the microscope: the ways police interact with the people they’ve stopped; the ways drivers will consent to dubious police demands in order to avoid trouble; and new research showing that police dogs, so often used in traffic stops, are not nearly as effective as police claim. As Balko puts it, Huff’s story­—and the stories of countless traffic stops no one will ever hear about—raise “important questions about law

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enforcement and the criminal justice system, including whether improper financial incentives are inducing police departments to commit civil rights violations, the drug war, profiling, and why it’s so difficult to strip problematic cops of their badges.” As Elia After the encounputs it, the ter, Huff made an conditions open records request are far from to obtain video of her vision of the traffic stop taken the American from the cop’s dashDream when board camera—a she was living video that has since in Mexico.” gone viral. In May, Huff filed a civil rights lawsuit against the Illinois town and the officer (who himself has a record including six speeding tickets and a conviction for selling fake designer sunglasses). It’s material worthy of primetime TV—and indeed, earlier this month, the ABC drama The Good Wife included a plotline directly inspired by Huff’s case.

ARIANNA


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AP PHOTO/ERIK SCHELZIG

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CONGRESSMAN HIT WITH COMPLAINT OVER SEX WITH PATIENT

POINTERS

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Rep. Scott DesJarlais (R-Tenn.) is facing an ethics complaint after The Huffington Post revealed that the congressman, who is also a doctor, had an affair with one of his patients. The complaint calls for an investigation and sanctions, arguing DesJarlais violated a state ethics law barring doctor-patient sexual relations. HuffPost printed parts of a transcript of a September 2000 phone call in which the anti-abortion congressman pushes the woman to terminate her pregnancy: “You told me you’d have an abortion, and now we’re getting too far along without one,” DesJarlais said.


FROM TOP: AP PHOTO/KAREL NAVARRO; NOAA/NCDC; CHRISTOPHER POLK/GETTY IMAGES FOR NBC UNIVERSAL

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POINTERS

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HILLARY CLINTON ON LIBYA: ‘I TAKE RESPONSIBILITY’

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HOTTEST SEPTEMBER ON RECORD SINCE ’05

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COMEDY DUO TO CO-HOST GOLDEN GLOBES

Hillary Clinton claimed responsibility this week for any security lapses related to the attack on the U.S. consulate in Benghazi, Libya, that killed Ambassador Christopher Stevens on Sept. 11. The Obama administration has been hit with questions about the attack and security at the compound, but Clinton backed up Vice President Joe Biden’s claim that the White House was not involved in security requests. “I want to avoid some kind of political gotcha,” she told CNN.

Last month tied with September 2005 as the warmest September ever recorded worldwide, according to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. This year will likely be one of the top 10 warmest years on record, and is on track to be the warmest year on the books for the U.S, the federal agency says.

The Hollywood Foreign Press Association lucked out this year by getting Amy Poehler and Tina Fey to sign on as hosts for the 2013 Golden Globes—a “major coup,” as one NBC exec called it. With a hit show to each of their names—Parks and Recreation for Poehler and 30 Rock for Fey—the duo is sure to bring in large audiences. Fans praised the announcement on Twitter, calling it a “genius move” and proclaiming that “all is right in the world.”


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POINTERS

MARISSA MAYER TARGETS GOOGLE FOR NEW HIRE

Marissa Mayer has not wasted any time since having a baby. The Yahoo CEO hired a new chief operating officer for the struggling site—from none other than her former employer, Google. “My first full day back in the office, and I’m excited to kick it off by announcing my new COO, Henrique de Castro,” Mayer tweeted. De Castro will start at Yahoo early next year with a package valued at about $60 million.

CLIENTS NAMED IN ZUMBA SEX SCANDAL

6 FROM TOP: PAUL ZIMMERMAN/GETTY IMAGES FOR TECHCRUNCH/AOL; AP PHOTO/JOEL PAGE

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Police have released the names of 21 men accused of paying a 29-year-old Zumba instructor for sex in a small town in Maine. The instructor is charged with using her dance studio to set up a prostitution ring. Police say that she kept records showing she may have made $150,000 from the encounters, and that more than 150 men are being investigated for involvement.

THAT’S VIRAL THERE’S A GOOD CHANCE WE’RE ALL LIVING IN THE MATRIX

A selection of the week’s most talked-about stories. HEADLINES TO VIEW FULL STORIES

THE BIGGEST TROLL ON THE INTERNET LOSES HIS JOB

‘PUT THE WHITE BACK IN THE WHITE HOUSE’

CONSERVATIVE CHRISTIAN MAN PRETENDS TO BE GAY FOR A YEAR

BIDEN: ‘PAUL RYAN ASKED ME FOR STIMULUS FUNDS’


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Life on Africa’s Roof Every year, thousands of well-heeled tourists climb Mt. Kilimanjaro in Tanzania. For travelers, trekking the 19,000 ft. “roof of Africa” is the journey of a lifetime. But for the courageous men who work the mountain and the families who live there, life is anything but a vacation. PHOTOGRAPHS BY NEIL KATZ


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Being on a team of five climbers required 18 porters to carry gear, two guides and a cook. Despite tough conditions and a grueling schedule, there are no shortage of takers.

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On the first day, a group of small children rushed the team for sweets. Many of their bellies were distended, a common sign of malnutrition.

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Most porters are at least in their late teens or 20s, but some are clearly much younger. They are often tested by running supplies to lower camp sites. Officially, porters should carry no more than 20 kilograms of weight, but many pack much more.

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One in six children growing up in Tanzania is malnourished, according to the World Bank. Less than half of all rural dwellers have access to clean water.

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Many porters come from Moshi, the nearest town to the mountain. Jobs on Kilimanjaro are heavily prized.

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Porters can earn up to $12 a day on Kilimanjaro. A chef (pictured) can earn slightly more. Foreigners pay around $2,000 to climb the mountain.

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Only a handful of women work on the actual mountain. These three swept the parking lot at Kilimanjaro’s base.

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Busy porters and guides can do 12 climbs in high season. After the climb, the team’s guide, David (pictured), spent a night with his wife and newborn, then returned to Kilimanjaro.

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Like most Tanzanians, few porters have health insurance. “If you’re not rich and you get sick, then you must die,” one of the team’s guides, Pius, said.


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The peak of Kilimanjaro is a no-man’s land, where a lack of oxygen strains the brain. David strolled casually ahead of the team. He said he’d summited the mountain more than 100 times.

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At journey’s end, porters dance and sing “Jambo Bwana,” a pop song from the 1980s by Kenyan band Them Mushrooms. The title is Swahili for “Hello Mister,” and the lyrics are mostly silly. But the joy is infectious.

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DATA

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SOURCES: U.S. BUREAU OF LABOR STATISTICS, US CENSUS BUREAU, FEDERAL HOUSING FINANCE AGENCY, POLITIFACT, THINK PROGRESS

Massachusetts Economy Under Romney

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Despite what politicians might claim during good times and deny during bad, no one individual is responsible for the ebbs and flows of the overall economy. But as Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney has made his economic record as governor of Massachusetts a centerpiece of his campaign, it’s well worth taking a look at the raw numbers. Below, Huffington has charted several key economic indicators in Massachusetts and nine other states with similar size populations from 2002, the year before Romney became governor, to 2007, the year he left office. — John Stephens

WA

7%

6% TN

MA

IN

5% MO WI MN

4% AZ

3%

2% 2002 UNEMPLOYMENT

MD

UNEMPLOYMENT

Under Gov. Romney, Massachusetts unemployment was nearly unchanged between 2002, the year before he took office, and when he left.

2003 STATE DEBT

2004 MEDIAN HOUSEHOLD INCOME TAP THE CATEGORIES

VA

2005 MEDIAN HOME PRICES

2006

2007 TOTAL EMPLOYMENT


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Yael Kohen Has the Last Laugh

Yael Kohen’s new book doesn’t argue why women are funny, but shows us how. PHOTOGRAPHS BY VICTORIA WILL

Q&A

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Q&A

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ROM JOHNNY CARSON to Christopher Hitchens to Adam Carolla, there have always been people who say women aren’t funny – or at least not as funny as men. Author Yael Kohen doesn’t expect her new book, We Killed: The Rise of Women in American Comedy, to change any minds, and that wasn’t her intent anyway. Kohen begins with the premise that women are funny and focuses her oral history on the experience of female comedians from the 50s to the present. Phyllis Diller, Ellen DeGeneres and Chelsea Handler are among the many f unny women who help her tell the story. – Lori Fradkin

How willing were women to talk about this topic? Certain people were very open to it. Others were not. Tina Fey and Amy Poehler didn’t speak to me, but they’re still in the book. I did get the sense they felt like they’d said all they had to say. And to an extent it’s true. How much can you continue to ask, “are women funny?” Let’s move on and talk about how they’re funny, how they broke through, what the barriers were — as women but also just as comics. Loni Love discussed the issue of “having it all” and says you can’t as a stand-up. She decided not to get married or have kids. I heard that from a lot of women. As a man, you can go on the road, have a wife stay home with the kid and come in and out. For some reason, that’s acceptable, but it’s not as do-

able for a woman. Chelsea Handler doesn’t have kids. Sarah Silverman doesn’t have kids. Ellen doesn’t have kids. Then you have people like Joy Behar and Roseanne who already had kids when they went into stand-up. It’s like they either had kids when they were young and struggling to make ends meet or they become stand-ups and then

Kohen is also a contributing editor at Marie Claire.


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Q&A

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don’t have kids because it’s too hard with the lifestyle. I didn’t realize until I read your book that Chelsea Handler was such an advocate for women in comedy. You get the sense that she’s kind of a bitch, and she’s not. And she doesn’t seem to have that competitive thing at all. It’s not just that she hires writers to help her look good. She brings them on the show. The other thing that’s interesting is the way she grew a female audience for standup. You get the sense that people who work in comedy think that women go to a comedy club, and they’re laughing because their boyfriend is laughing. But you now have this huge audience of women laughing because they like Chelsea. You interviewed Phyllis Diller, who died earlier this year. What was she like? When I went to her house, the experience was pretty formal. Her assistant was like, “She likes to be called Madame Diller. Don’t hug her. You can shake her hand. Don’t kiss her.” We ended up speaking for two hours. She was lucid. She [was] very warm, and she really did laugh that way. But she was 92 at the time, and she was so frail I thought she was going to keel over when she

was laughing. It made you nervous because her whole body shook. What are the challenges women in comedy face today? Look, the Internet obviously provides an opportunity to more directly build an audience. But at sites like Funny or Die or CollegeHumor, you still don’t have a lot of female writers. You have female producers. So that’s going to continue to be a challenge.

Women who are most successful [on Saturday Night Live] went in when they were like 28 versus the ones who go in at 22 and just sink.” [And] because people are hungry for young female comics, they’ll try to get someone before they’ve had enough stage time to get good. Even when you look at Saturday Night Live, women who are most successful went in when they were like 28 versus the ones who go in at 22 and just sink. There’s a confidence that comes at 28 — you’ve developed your point of view. It takes time to build that, and men have that time. They hire a lot of 40-yearold men for comedy.


Voices

ANUSHAY HOSSAIN

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The Silence of a Laureate WHEN I WAS GROWING UP in Bangladesh, Burma’s Aung San Suu Kyi amazed me. Burma is right next door to us geographically, but as a little girl all I understood about the military junta there was

ILLUSTRATION BY KYLE T. WEBSTER

primarily through pictures. I just could not wrap my head around what kind of threat a tiny woman—with her iconic bright and colorful flowers carefully tucked behind her ear—posed to these big men with guns. Clearly the military’s worries went beyond what Suu Kyi represented to

Anushay Hossain is the founder of AnushaysPoint.com


Voices them physically. This woman personified the heart and the spirit of the long, winding road that Burma has tread to democracy. In my adult years, Suu Kyi’s imprisonment lasted well over a decade. Forced to be a prisoner in her own home, Suu Kyi is known worldwide as a champion for the core principles of democracy. Nobody embodied the fight for a people to choose their government the way she did. And it is clear that “The Lady” is not done fighting after her much awaited release in 2010, declaring recently her willingness to run for Burma’s presidency: “... As a political party leader, I also have to have the courage to be president.” Suu Kyi went on to state that her political party would work to remove an existing clause in the Burmese constitution barring her from the presidency. Her words signal a new era in a country that is still waking up from the tight grip of five decades of military rule. Could anything be more politically dramatic than watching her take the place of the very regime that placed her under arrest, separated her from her family and barred her from taking office even

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after winning landslide elections? She is arguably one of the most romanticized political figures of modern times. However, it is what Suu Kyi is not saying that may be the most telling of the kind of leader she would be. In reality, how will “The Lady” rule? Burma’s ethnic minorities may hold some clues. This summer, ongoing tension between Burma’s Muslim population, the Rohingyas, who are denied citizenship and legal rights by the government, reached new heights as social media helped propel the issue to global attention. Religious and Why is ethnic violence the world displaced almost being silent 80,000 people from about Aung their homes beginSan Suu Kyi’s ning in June, and to silence? We make matters worse, clearly have neighboring Banglaidolized this desh has closed off woman to the entry of Rohingya point of no refugees fleeing the return.” violence in Burma. Burma’s president suggested that the Muslim minority should be physically moved out of the country, while the prime minister of Bangladesh,


Voices Sheikh Hasina, declared that Bangladesh cannot help the Rohingyas. Bangladesh has even shut off foreign NGOs from being able to assist the thousands of people trapped between two countries, in desperate need of food and medical services. But it is Suu Kyi’s silence on this issue that is particularly deafening. How can a woman the world has watched fight for her people against the might of a military junta for decades not have a word to say when an entire section of her country’s population is being violently attacked? It is shocking to say the least. It also makes us ponder what kind of leader Suu Kyi will be. Why is the world being silent about Suu Kyi’s silence? This is where the politics gets personal and begins to implicate all of us. When I first mentioned that I wanted to write about how Suu Kyi has failed the Rohingyas, many people were shocked that I would “attack” a woman the world holds so dear. No one wants to hear anything bad about Suu Kyi. We clearly have idolized this woman to the point of no return. We want to believe

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that the fight she waged for a “free” Burma includes the Rohingya people as well. The lesson is that, when it comes to women in positions of power, we still tend to genderize them. We do not want anything to taint the perfect portrait of grace and political sacrifice we This is have painted in our where the hearts and minds of politics gets Aung San Suu Kyi. personal and We imagined and begins to worshiped her as a implicate all maternal political warrior, and that is of us.” how we want her to remain. Even if this can be a considered a positive stereotype, it still is a stereotype. But as both the Bangladeshi and Burmese governments abdicate responsibility, remaining silent about the war on Rohingyas is a moral failure—and who more could facilitate a solution to the crisis than Suu Kyi? We have waited decades to see Burma’s Aung San Suu Kyi ascend toward what we all believed was her rightful political throne. Where lies her political destiny? The Rohingyas now hold the key.


RICHARD WHITMIRE

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How to End the End of Men

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VER THE PAST DECADE hundreds of articles and scores of book have chronicled the “boy troubles,” the odd phenomenon of boys failing in school and men adrift in life. ¶ That is so yesterday’s story. ¶ Today’s story is about what happens to women when men fail, and the storytellers are women. Look no further than the highly publicized The End of Men and the Rise of Women, by Hanna Rosin. Rosin’s book followed The Richer Sex: How the New Majority of Female Breadwinners Is Transforming Sex, Love, and Family, by Liza Mundy. ¶ Why shouldn’t women be the ones to write about ILLUSTRATION BY KYLE T. WEBSTER

Richard Whitmire is the author of Why Boys Fail


Voices the world of failing men? Women actually read books (checked out the men’s versus women’s section in your local bookstore lately?). Rosin and Mundy certainly get all the facts right about how the demise of men affects women, but I’m not sure they get it right about what caused this dilemma. More to the point, there’s never a hint from these authors that this male reversal might be reversible. Let’s start with The End of Men, which is packed with beautifully crafted narratives about the rapidly rising fortunes of women and what this means for their (often hapless) boyfriends and husbands—if, that is, they deign to even bother with male companionship. Rosin’s worked can be summed up as plastic women and cardboard men. That means women are proving themselves flexible enough to bend with the fastchanging market forces, while cardboard-like men keep waiting in vain for the return of the economy that once favored them. She’s right about that. Mundy covers much of the same women-are-taking-over ground, only from a more touchy-feely, optimistic perspective. She seems very, very sure that all this is go-

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ing to turn out well. Men really will adjust to their lesser status. They really will start to do more housework. They really will start separating whites from darks as they do the daily laundry. According to Mundy, life as we know it has “flipped” as women land the great paying jobs. Men may fumble around looking for the next best thing, but a “new masculinity,” where men adjust to their diminished status, saves the day. Plastic The women, plastic men. common Where I differ with denominator Rosin and Mundy of any college is over their skimpy class, whether analysis of what history or caused all this. Both biology, is writers leave readers the ability to with the impression read and write that vast, immutable quickly and economic upheavals accurately.” are the cause of these setbacks for men. My reporting, in contrast, led to a trigger that is both discrete and reversible. Roughly 20 years ago, national leaders launched an education reform movement designed to steer more students to college. It was the right thing to do, and the first step was pushing


Voices stiffer literacy skills into the earlier grades. After all, the common denominator of any college class, whether history or biology, is the ability to read and write quickly and accurately. So how’s that reform turning out? The U.S. Department of Education recently gave us a partial answer. At the eighth grade level, 37 percent of girls scored proficient or above in writing, compared with 18 percent of boys. On the surface those reforms appeared perfect. Educators properly ramped up literacy skills in the youngest grades. To make sure everyone was keeping up, they set up accountability systems based on race, ethnicity and income. What got left out of the accountability formula? Gender. Any parent knows that boys pick up literacy skills later than girls. When boys get slammed with early academic demands they can’t handle they tune out. They assume school is for girls and move on to more interesting activities, such as video games (which then unfairly garner all the blame). Schools should have adjusted their teaching methods so that boys could succeed at these new

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literacy skills. But they didn’t. State and federal education officials should have included gender in their accountability systems so that warning lights would flash early and often. But they didn’t. So now we’re stuck with an education system where many males end up in their senior year of high school unprepared and unmotivated for college work. And we’re Now surprised about the we’re stuck scarcity of males on with an the campuses of comeducation munity colleges and system where four-year colleges? many males We’re surprised that end up in their college-educated senior year of women are taking over high school field after field? unprepared This one trigger and can’t account for all unmotivated male setbacks. Global economic changes for college truly are huge playwork.” ers. But if educators adjusted their earlygrades literacy practices, a lot more boys would arrive in 12th grade prepared and motivated to compete in the new economy. What educators have done can be un-done. It’s at least worth a try.


Voices

KETTERINGHAM & MENDENHALL

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Some Pro-Pot Parents Blog, Others Lose Their Children RECENTLY, The New York Times published an op-ed by an art dealer and father from San Francisco titled “Pot for Parents.” It was just the latest in a growing number of pieces published espousing the benefits of marijuana use for parents. These pro-pot missives share a carefree and cavalier tone, portraying marijuana use as an upscale diversion that ameliorates stress and leads to more patience and creative parenting. The “best part” of marijuana use, the “Pot for Parents” author writes, “is an amazing off-label benefit I call Parental Attention Surplus Syndrome”: the ability to perform obligatory paren-

ILLUSTRATION BY KYLE T. WEBSTER

tal duties with genuine enthusiasm after using marijuana. Whatever benefits marijuana use may or may not have for parenting, to those of us who represent parents in New York City’s Family Courts, these articles only highlight a daily reality: when it comes to drug use, there are very different rules for poor parents, and particularly poor parents of color. The disproportionate and devastating impact of the drug war on poor communities of color, in terms of

Emma S. Ketteringham is the managing attorney and Mary Anne Mendenhall is a staff attorney at The Bronx Defenders, Family Defense Practice


Voices criminal arrests and prosecutions, has been well documented. What has largely gone unreported, however, is the extent to which lowincome parents across the country live with the fear—a fear clearly not shared by the well-heeled author of “Pot for Parents”—that they could lose their children to the foster care system if they were as brazen about their pot smoking. These fears are well founded. For poor parents in New York, suspicion of marijuana use will often trigger a visit from the Administration for Children’s Services, or “ACS,” and an intrusive inspection of their homes, bedrooms, and cupboards. The municipal caseworker, untrained in social work or child psychology, will interrogate their children—asking intrusive questions about the intimate minutia of all aspects of family life without background or context—and require a drug test. And if the parent refuses a drug test or tests positive for marijuana, she will be asked to attend intensive drug treatment lasting up to 18 months, usually at taxpayers’ expense, even for casual or infrequent marijuana use. If the parent refuses to attend treatment, ACS will file a petition charging the parent with child neglect, regard-

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less of whether there is any evidence that the marijuana use has had a negative effect on parenting. Contrary to the ACS position, the available research actually suggests that there is no exIt is poor press link between parents of marijuana use on its color who own and child neoverwhelmingly glect. In one 13-year shoulder the study at Columbia burden of a University, research- dysfunctional ers found that even and broken during periods of child welfare marijuana-induced system.” intoxication, people are able to engage in appropriate social behaviors and even respond to emergencies. Despite a lack of evidence of any actual harm, these cases will nonetheless wind their way through protracted and torturous court processes. Parents will be drug tested over and over again, ordered to attend services, and threatened with the removal of their children until they test negative. If they fail to comply with mandated services or test positive for marijuana during the proceedings, the court can remove their children and place them with strangers. To say that this process weighs


Voices heavily on a family’s day-to-day functioning is an understatement. Cases frequently linger in the court system for months or sometimes years. Parents are required to open their homes up to an everchanging line-up of caseworkers that come knocking at the dinner hour or, worse, past bedtime. And even if the legal case is ultimately dismissed, the parent’s name will likely remain on a statewide registry of people who have maltreated children until the parent’s youngest child turns 28, a stigma that will foreclose numerous job opportunities and disadvantage the parent at every turn in future child-related court proceedings. We know that substance use cuts across socioeconomic and racial lines. National studies show that 22.5 million Americans say they regularly use drugs, and marijuana use is heaviest among whites. Yet it is poor parents of color who overwhelmingly shoulder the burden of a dysfunctional and broken child welfare system. Despite higher rates of illegal drug use by white women during pregnancy, African American women are 10 times more likely to be reported to child welfare authorities for testing positive for an illegal drug at their child’s birth.

EMMA S. KETTERINGHAM & MARY ANNE MENDENHALL

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The child welfare system’s treatment of substance-using parents provides one of the clearest examples of the double standard that exists for rich and poor parents in this country. In one America, parents risk nothing more than the passive disapproval of Our peers whose tolerance courts of parental palliatives regularly mete stops at a legal glass out draconian of Chardonnay at dinpunishments nertime. In the other to poor America, families risk parents for needless and costly behavior governmental intruthat would sion, court-directed elicit nothing scrutiny of their parworse than a enting abilities, and, disapproving in many cases, the glance in more permanent disruption well-to-do of their families. circles.” Our courts regularly mete out draconian punishments to poor parents for behavior that would elicit nothing worse than a disapproving glance in more well-to-do circles. ACS perpetuates this double standard unabated—without any support for its position—causing more short- and long-term harm to children than a little “pot for parents” ever could.


CLOCKWISE FROM TOP LEFT: DAVE M. BENETT/GETTY IMAGES; VALERY HACHE/AFP/GETTYIMAGES; JAY DIRECTO/AFP/GETTYIMAGES

Voices

QUOTED

“It was the same version and production but mine’s better. ” — Leona Lewis

to The Daily Star, on how she recorded Rihanna and Calvin Harris’s hit “We Found Love” with Harris first

“We are just at the starting point of a long journey to lasting peace, let’s join hands together.” — Norhaiya Macusang

of political group Anak Mindanao told a crowd in support of the peace agreement signed between the Philippine government and the country’s largest Muslim rebel group

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“My drug days are long since passed, but it’s certainly true that I could probably land in any city in any state and get you whatever you wanted... Give me 24 hours or so. And yet we still support this charade called the drug war. We have spent a trillion dollars. It’s lasted for over 40 years. A lot of people have lost their lives for it. And yet we still talk about it like it’s this success.”  

— Brad Pitt,

to a small crowd at a theater in L.A. during a screening for his new film The House I Live In

“We are littering mars already! Can’t take us anywhere without trashing the place.”

— JACK_B_GOOD,

“‘Bright Object’ On Mars Identified As Plastic From NASA’s Curiosity Rover”


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QUOTED

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Tebow throws a football and thanks the lord .. Felix jumps off a little ledge 24 miles up in space, walks away and thanks engineering.

— Kmuzu,

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“Felix Baumgartner Completes Record-Setting Jump”

“I’m going to live until 105 and I’m going to show my thighs every day.”

— Girls star Lena Dunham,

defending her decision to flaunt her figure, at the New Yorker Festival

“TLC is exhibit A for why PBS should retain its non-commercial status.”

— RTheriault,

“Marya Rosales, 1000-Pound Woman Charged With Murder, Discusses Her Trial On TLC’s ‘Half-Ton Killer?’”

“The great thing about democracy is that everyone gets a vote!  The worst thing about democracy is that EVERYONE gets a vote...”

— AlanDente,

“Woman Calls Obama A Communist, Doesn’t Know What It Means”


10.21.12 #19

FEATURES THE OTHER AMERICANS THE STOP PHOTOGRAPH BY DERO SANFORD


THE OTHER AMERICANS RURAL MINORITIES STUCK ON THE ECONOMY’S BOTTOM RUNG BY TOM ZELLER JR.


ABOUT 22 MILES NORTHEAST OF LAREDO, TEXAS in an otherwise desolate and unincorporated stretch of Webb County, a roughed-out grid of unnamed dirt roads cuts through a maze of half-built cinderblock homes and dilapidated trailers. ¶ Israel Reyna, a local attorney and advocate for the poor, has been driving me through this and similar communities, and we’ve stopped amid

THIS PAGE AND PREVIOUS PAGE: MATT RAINWATERS

A “restricted” sign with instructions hangs from the entrance to a colonia resident’s property in Texas.


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a haphazard cluster of residences a few hundred yards off the main highway. As I linger at the side of the road, a yellow school bus inches past, taking care not to savage its struts on a path rutted by poor drainage and cycles of fierce, mud-churning rain and baking prairie sun. Reyna calls from the side of a tidy trailer where he is chatting with its owners, Elia De La O and her husband, Rogelio. The couple invites us inside. Like most of the homes in this ostensibly planned subdivision, the De La Os’ trailer, with its exposed beams and jerry-rigged wiring, is a work in progress. The family is blessed with electricity— still a luxury for some impoverished communities along the Texas-Mexico border—but they lack running water. For this residents queue up, sometimes for hours, at a county-run spigot a couple miles away, where they fill huge plastic drums of varying shapes and vintage with foul-smelling water that officials describe as potable. Elia and Rogelio, like most residents, won’t drink it, preferring to visit a private, for-profit water vendor in Laredo, or nearby Rio Bravo, for jugs to slake their thirst.

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The De La Os were not born here and have not yet sought full citizenship, they say, in part because they’ve struggled with the language. But they’ve learned enough to find steady work as seasonal agricultural hands in states across the Midwest, and they have been permanent, legal and taxpaying residents of the U.S. for more than a dozen years. They take great care to say that they are proud of their home, and that they are grateful to have gained a foothold on the American dream. But Elia, 64, also shares that, growing up in Mexico, she once imagined that dream rather differently. “I never thought there were people living like this, like we’re living here, in the United States,” she says. “We always thought, ‘This is the United States—it’s the United States, it’s the best.’ We didn’t think when we came here that we would live like kings, but we didn’t imagine there would be places like this.” From the borderlands of Texas and the cotton fields of the Mississippi Delta to the reservations of the Great Plains, there are many places like this, and they have remained as such, generation after generation—all of them easy to find. While much has improved since this sort of grinding poverty was first identified as a national disgrace more than 40 years ago,


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advocates for the rural poor say the pace of change has been glacial. They also say that persistent, multi-generational poverty continues to plague millions of people living in rural areas, particularly blacks, Hispanics and Native Americans who languish in small towns and isolated outposts where dollars are scarce, development is difficult and discrimination is historically rampant. In a nation where a breathtaking 46 million people are now living below the poverty line; where the gap between rich and poor is wider than ever; and where upward economic mobility is increasingly rare, these destitute, rural, largely

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minority communities represent the poorest of America’s poor—the very bottom of an economic ladder that fewer and fewer have the capacity to climb. Viewed against the nation’s larger urban and suburban populations, their numbers are small. Only about 51 million Americans— less than 20 percent of the population—are considered nominally rural anymore, and minorities make up a fraction of that: about 10 million, all told. But their share of the poverty burden is, by any calculus, wildly disproportionate, making them emblematic of some of the country’s more unsettling and persistent truths. Several anti-poverty advocates summed up the situation in a word: “embarrassing.”

An entire household is powered by a single 20 amp circuit— the minimum required of a garage and half of what is necessary for a modern kitchen.


“I NEVER THOUGHT THERE WERE PEOPLE LIVING LIKE THIS, LIKE WE’RE LIVING HERE, IN THE UNITED STATES.” In May, the Census Bureau reported that the number of minority births in the U.S., for the very first time, had exceeded the number of white births. For whatever else that statistic might mean, it suggests that, as a new generation of black and brown Americans comes of age in these forgotten communities, they will increasingly find themselves at the center of the philosophical tug-of-war now paralyzing the nation and animating a presidential election. It is a debate that turns on fundamental questions of wealth, advantage and the role of government in mitigating, even minimally, the influence of discrimination and dumb luck—of where and to whom we are born— on the odds of acquiring equitable access to the American dream. Just last month, the ideological poles were brought into stark relief when news broke of a grainy video showing Republican presidential contender Mitt Romney telling a group of wealthy donors, “If the Hispanic voting bloc becomes as

committed to the Democrats as the African-American voting bloc has in the past, why, we’re in trouble as a party and, I think, as a nation.” The video also recorded Romney disparaging “47 percent” of the nation—all presumably supporters of President Barack Obama, the candidate quipped—as undertaxed, dependent on government programs and unwilling to “take responsibility for their lives.” Critics, of course, quickly pointed out that many of the households Romney categorically dismissed are, in fact, among the nation’s poorest, and whose subsistence income is mercifully exempt from federal income tax. Others noted that Romney’s own father benefitted from welfare and other government programs early in life. In broader terms, however, concern and finger-pointing over the persistence of grinding poverty in the U.S. is not a purely partisan affair. Many activists in the most distressed communities I visited for this article also criticized the current leadership in Washington for cutting housing and loan programs that are vital to the rural poor; for favoring cities over small towns; or


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for lavishing subsidies on corporate agriculture while ignoring millions of struggling rural residents who have no connection to farming. Other stakeholders gave the Obama administration high marks for taking what they viewed as an unprecedented interest in rural development generally, and for targeting persistently poor, minority communities specifically, even as budgets have shrunk. The reality is surely some blend of all these observations, but what remains clear is that allowing these pockets of deep poverty to persist, generation after generation, is in no one’s interest. “Rural Americans are often overlooked and under-appreciated,” said Tom Vilsack, who heads up the U.S. Department of Agriculture, the primary federal agency charged with overseeing rural development. In a phone call, Vilsack underscored hundreds of millions of dollars of Obama-era programs, grants and loans aimed at revitalizing rural communities and reaching disenfranchised populations that have struggled for decades. “I strongly believe that through the sustained commitment of this administration,”

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he said, “the best days for rural America are yet to come.” In the meantime, Elia De La O says that despite the faint scent of rotten eggs left on her washed clothes, and a vaguely slimy feeling left on the skin after bathing, the water she and Rogelio cull from the county spigot serves most of their household needs. “We are content,” she says. Reyna, who works with Texas RioGrande Legal Aid, which represents low-income and seasonal workers in nearly 70 counties of Southwest Texas, isn’t convinced. “Entire generations have passed through, from birth to adulthood, living without water or without electricity, without plumbing,” he says. “It doesn’t have to be this way, and that’s part of the tragedy of all this. We keep thinking that maybe if we tell this story one more time, it will provoke enough shame in people and finally spur real action. “Unfortunately, it hasn’t happened that way so far,” he adds. “Progress moves at a snail’s pace.”

DISPROPORTIONATE POVERTY

The story of miserably poor Latinos, African and Native Americans eking out hardscrabble lives beyond the bustle of the city is hardly new. Such places were the impetus, more


MATT RAINWATERS

A man fills a container at the community spigot.


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than 40 years ago, for President Lyndon B. Johnson’s formation of a National Advisory Commission on Rural Poverty and that body’s subsequent report, titled “The People Left Behind.” In 1967, places like this drew Robert F. Kennedy, then a junior senator from New York, to the Mississippi Delta, where he encountered, to his and subsequently the country’s dismay, a harsh landscape of plank-wood outhouses, dirt floors and affectless children with bellies distended from hunger. In the 1980s, Richard Woodbury, writing for Time magazine, exposed the struggle “to bring drinking water to thousands of impoverished families” in ramshackle communities along the Mexican border. In 1990, reporters from the Associated Press noted that the infant mortality rate in the Delta ranked below that in some Third World nations. Last October, ABC’s Diane Sawyer described the “unthinkable conditions” on the Pine Ridge Indian reservation of South Dakota. In many of these places, basic amenities like plumbing and electricity have improved standards of living, even if jobs remain scarce and dependence on government assistance remains widespread. In some outposts, however, house-

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holds lacking even these most basic of basics can still be found. The Economic Research Service, the data-gathering arm of USDA, notes that while the gap in poverty rates between the nation’s urban areas and its rural outposts has been shrinking over time, families living away from the bustle of city and suburban life have had a higher rate of poverty every year since data on the subject was first officially recorded in the 1960s. The ERS lists the current overall poverty rate in rural America at 16.6 percent, the highest rate since 1993. The poverty rate among children in rural areas is now roughly 27 percent—an increase of 6 percentage points over 2000—according to an analysis prepared by the Southern Rural Development Center at Mississippi State University. These statistics often conjure visions of Appalachia, and not without reason. More than 90 counties in the Southern Highlands of the Virginias, eastern Kentucky and parts of Missouri and Oklahoma—all predominantly white—are considered “high poverty,” according to federal data. No matter where poverty is measured, however—whether in urban, suburban or rural areas— minorities always fare worse. According to a 2011 analysis by the


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National Poverty Center, a nonpartisan research center at the University of Michigan, roughly 26 million of the nation’s poor are racial or ethnic minorities. Put another way: Of the 46 million U.S. residents who now live below the poverty line, nearly 60 percent are minorities. This is despite the fact that all racial and ethnic minorities combined comprise just 37 percent of the U.S. population. In rural areas, the disparities are particularly pronounced. Of the more than 400 rural counties with poverty rates exceeding 20 percent, which are considered “high poverty” counties, roughly threefourths were “linked directly to the economic circumstances of racial and ethnic minorities,” according to the NPC report. About 47 percent of those counties are largely African-American; 17 percent are mostly Hispanic; and about 9 percent are Native American. These include places like predominantly black Isaquenna County in Mississippi’s Delta region, where 60 percent of children were living in poverty in 2010, or Todd County, S.D., with its large Native American population, where the child-poverty figure is 59 percent. “Despite advances made through

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the civil rights movement, labor struggles and increased self-determination, the experiences and conditions of rural minorities are often overlooked given their relatively small populations,” noted the Housing Assistance Council, a Washington-based nonprofit that tracks rural poverty issues, in a recent report. “Moreover, it is often assumed that the conditions that led to these upheavals have been addressed.” These numbers suggest, of course, that they have not. Disparities in standards of living, wherever they occur, are often dismissed as the result of poor personal choices or cultural decay. A 2012 survey commissioned by the Salvation Army, for example, suggested that 27 percent of Americans believe people are poor because they are lazy. Nearly 30 percent of respondents said poor people have lower moral values, while 43 percent believed poor people could find a job if they really wanted one. Fully half of those surveyed said a good work ethic was all that was needed to escape poverty. Epidemics of drug and alcohol abuse, low educational attainment, teen pregnancies and long-term, multigenerational dependence on government subsidies in these rural outposts, as in areas of urban decay, can lend a superficial legiti-


MATT RAINWATERS

Freshly clean clothes hang from the chicken coop outside a colonia.


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macy to such assessments. But they rankle experts like Meizhou Lui, the former director of the Closing the Racial Wealth Gap Initiative at the Insight Center for Community Economic Development, a California-based nonprofit, and the lead author of the 2006 book, The Color of Wealth: The Story Behind the U.S. Racial Wealth Divide. For starters, Lui points out that numerous studies have shown that economic collapse or struggle in any American enclave—urban, rural, white, black, Latino—is often attended by higher rates of depression, drink, drug abuse and other social ills. She also notes that a more humane social safety net has been documented to prevent similar outcomes in European communities where factories have closed up or job opportunities have otherwise shriveled. High unemployment in rural areas, Lui says, also makes competition for whatever jobs might be available—meatpacking, poultry processing, light factory work—incredibly fierce, ensuring that wages remain at or near the minimum. Even when combined with government assistance, such wages are typically unable to lift

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families out of poverty. “People can be working full-time and still be living under the poverty line,” Lui said. “You have all these people in these rural areas that don’t have great schools, they don’t have great amounts of skill, and they don’t have jobs. Everybody is saying, ‘You need to have a college degree,’ but there aren’t even enough jobs that require a college degree to go around. As it is, today white middle-class kids are graduating from college and not finding jobs,” Lui said. “So what’s a poor person from a rural area, especially given the cost of college these days, supposed to do? “The opportunities just are not there, and I think that even conservatives have recognized that we have systemic unemployment problems,” Lui added. “They think the solution is to give tax breaks to the wealthy, but if a few wealthy people are not paying as much taxes, are they then going to create employment programs in rural Mississippi for African Americans? “I don’t think so,” Lui said, “unless you make them do it.”

THE POVERTY TRAP

In 1992, the late Willie Morris, a chronicler of the American South and then a writer-in-residence


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at the University of Mississippi, described the experience of escorting visitors to Yazoo City and other parts of his native flatlands that extend eastward from the Mississippi River: “Over the years I have taken countless outlanders through the Delta: peregrinating Yankee scholars, writers, journalists, civil rights activists, and more than a few of the merely idle and professionally despondent curious. Their reaction has often been a singular blend of bafflement, titillation, anger, and, not the least of it, fear; yet to the person they are struck nearly dumb by its brooding quintessential sadness.” Morris’ words were written when Lakeisha Davis, another Delta native, was just 2 years old. Today, the 22-year-old Davis sits on a concrete slab skirting the Anguilla Family Houses, a low-rise, low-income housing project in Mississippi’s Sharkey County, one of the poorest counties in one of the poorest regions of one of the poorest states in the nation. Her daughter, 2-yearold Josmin, plays in a nearby patch of dying grass, unaware that she is likely the latest installment in what seems a forever unfolding tale of brooding, quintessential sadness.

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Davis and I take a seat on a pair of orange cafeteria chairs, which have been reclaimed as porch furniture, and I ask her to tell me what life is like in this rural outpost. “There just ain’t nothing here,” she says. “That’s it.” Davis’ response is an abridged version of a story told to me by just about every resident, academic or politician I met in a week of touring the area. These plainspoken observations are typically delivered without affect or complaint: The Delta, one resident told me, never changes. I arrived in Jackson, the state capital, just as the wet, leaden weight of summer was settling on the South. I headed westward across the eternal flatness of the Yazoo, aka the Delta basin, a wide shelf of cotton, soybeans, rice and catfish farming that stretches like a black cherry leaf—wide in the middle and pinched at both ends— from Vicksburg in the south to Southaven in the north, along the border with Tennessee. This roughly 15-county floodplain, bounded by the Bluff Hills to the east, was essentially a swamp in the antebellum years, prompting many locals to remind visitors that there never really was slavery in the Delta. Rather, levees and other post-war infrastructure created an expanse of fertile cotton land


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Marion Tyler is a social worker in Cary, Miss. “Any step up is a step back, so why step up?” she said. “That’s the whole trap with everybody out here, and I understand it.”


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for white farmers, and free blacks flocked to the area as sharecroppers. Its population is now predominantly African-American. But just as the untameable Mississippi still rises here, often leaving many of the poorest residents vulnerable to devastating floods, so too does the residue of racism and discrimination linger in the Delta. In the tiny town of Cary, I visited the town hall, a two-room, one-story building adjacent to an empty field where a lumber mill once stood. Inside, the walls of the building are lined with carefully framed memorabilia reaching back decades: black-and-white yearbook photos and sepia snapshots of local sports teams, high school dances, returning war heroes. Virtually every smiling face in every photograph is white. Cary’s population, on the other hand, is two-thirds black. I asked Leslie Brock, the deputy clerk and the only occupant of the building, why that’s the case. “Well, you’ve got to think about, at that time, things were segregated,” said Brock, who grew up in the area around Cary and is black. I suggested to her that there must be at least a few contemporaneous photographs of African-American

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families from the area—black schools, black proms? “You would think so,” she replied. Brock, who left the Delta for Los Angeles at 18 before returning in her early 40s two years ago, grew up in the sort of sparse “shotgun house” that predominated among black families here in the 1960s and ‘70s: narrow shacks, typically without water or plumbing, that skirted the cotton fields where many blacks found work. These were the places where Robert Kennedy often encountered hungry, barefoot children during his 1968 anti-poverty tour of the Delta. Government programs have lifted most families out of shotgun shacks and into an assortment of small single-family homes, trailers or government-subsidized housing of varying quality. Most have the basics: electricity, running water, plumbing. But the ability to flip on a light switch, flush an indoor toilet, or draw a glass of water from a kitchen tap has not created new opportunities for poor black Delta residents to thrive, and many continue to languish in a limbo of dependence and the sort of social strife that comes with long-term disinvestment: drug and alcohol abuse, teen pregnancy, truancy, poor health and crime. Asked why these trends continue


“ENTIRE GENERATIONS HAVE PASSED THROUGH, FROM BIRTH TO ADULTHOOD, LIVING WITHOUT WATER OR WITHOUT ELECTRICITY, WITHOUT PLUMBING.” generation after generation, Brock said part of it is the mentality of the people who live here. “They’ve heard for so long that they can’t have anything, that they cannot be anything, that they cannot do anything, that they start to believe it,” she said. “People are a product of their environment.” Paulette Meikle, the director of the Center for Community and Economic Development at Delta State University in Cleveland, Miss., 40 miles north of Greenville, expounds on this notion. “When you drive through parts of the Delta, you can see, it’s like, ‘Wow, this is a wealthy place,’” she said. “There is wealth, because we have the power elite, the ones who own the means of production, who control the land. That economy, which grew out of the plantation economy, still survives. You have wealth here that emerged out of that structure.” But that wealth was not shared by—and, as researchers have frequently shown, was actively with-

held from—black workers and sharecroppers. As the 20th century wore on and mechanization eliminated work opportunities for low-skilled blacks, nothing emerged to take its place. “The intersection between race and social class, it’s so locked-in,” Meikle explains. “So when you look at the data: if you’re born in poverty and you’re a minority group member, a large percentage of those who are born into that kind of situation will remain that way. An intergenerational exchange of poverty occurs.” Such has been the fate of Lakeisha Davis and her daughter. There once was a peanut factory in Anguilla, she tells me offhandedly, but that’s long gone. Today, the town has a mini-mart and little else. Davis managed to complete high school, though now she mostly gets by on food stamps and other government assistance, much as her mother did before her, and her grandmother before that. She enlisted in job training in Greenville, about 40 miles northwest of Anguilla, but she has no car, and the


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difficulty in finding a ride to and from the city, along with the dearth of even low-paying opportunities within a wide radius of her home, made the effort Sisyphean. By her calculus—and that of many in her station—it’s safer to maintain her benefits than to suffer the subsidy cuts that come with a minimum-wage income and longdistance travel to and from home. “If you move a little forward, they push you right back,” Davis said. “It doesn’t make sense.” That sentiment is echoed by Marion Tyler, a licensed social worker with the Cary Christian Center, a nonprofit organization

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that has helped Davis navigate the vagaries of her young pregnancy. Tyler, once a teen mother herself, said she benefited from the benevolence of an employer who was willing to support her as she earned a bachelor’s and then master’s degree. Without that support—exceedingly rare, she said— she would likely still be spinning her wheels on subsidies. Far more often, the young and poor wash up at low-paying service or fast-food jobs. Tyler recalls flipping burgers at McDonald’s, which caused her government benefits—$96 in cash assistance at the time, along with $118 in food stamps for her and her son each month—to plummet. “So I quit my job,” she says.

The walls of a town hall in Cary, Miss., are lined with memorabilia including black-andwhite yearbook photos. While Cary’s population is two-thirds black, virtually every face pictured is white.


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“Any step up is a step back, so why step up? That’s the whole trap with everybody out here, and I understand it.”

‘TELL THEM TO COME HELP US’

All of this, of course, raises the question: Why not just leave? Charles Fluharty, the founding director of the Rural Policy Research Institute and a professor at the Harry S. Truman School of Public Affairs at the University of Missouri, suggests that’s a facile question. “That is like saying to someone in a five-block area of the Bronx, ‘You should leave here now.’ And they look at you and say, ‘What are you talking about? This is my neighborhood. I’m the fourth generation on this block, you’ve got to be kidding me.’” In economic terms, Fluharty said, it’s a given that some people will always take less money to stay where they’re comfortable. In many of the most impoverished, minority-dominated rural communities, the proclivity to stay put despite poor prospects can be particularly strong. Combine those who won’t leave

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with those who, for a variety of reasons, can’t—lack of means or connections elsewhere, or family obligations—and the result is substantial pockets of gnawing economic need. That raises another key quandary, Fluharty said. “There’s an ongoing argument in the social welfare literature about whether you invest in people or in places. There’s a pretty strong argument for both sides.” On one hand, he explained, if you invest in people, they will move away to improve their social mobility. But if you only invest in people, it will ignore the problems of place that attend those who stay behind. “If you don’t invest in the places where those people stay,” Fluharty said, “you are giving them an uphill battle that’s almost impossible.” A recent analysis by Richard Morrill, a professor of geography and environmental studies at the University of Washington, showed the Mississippi Delta to have experienced some of the highest population losses in the country between 2000 and 2010. Several counties in the Delta have shed 15 percent to 20 percent of their populations over that period, according to census data. Sharkey County, where Davis and her daughter idly watch the hot sun rise and fall each day, lost


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more than a quarter of its population. These are areas “where significant development investment simply did not occur,” Morrill writes. “Race matters.” Karl Stauber, president and CEO of the Danville Regional Foundation, a Virginia-based nonprofit, and a former undersecretary for research, education and economics with the USDA, explained the dynamic. “The two challenges I have to the ‘just move’ argument are that the people most likely to move are the people that are the most skilled,” he said. “So then we’re back to the rural ghetto. “We spent a lot of the 1960s to the 1980s trying to overcome the concentration of poverty in places like Appalachia, the Delta,” Stauber added. “If we had been a little more sophisticated, we would have included Indian reservations, we would have included the colonias, which were already existing along the U.S.-Mexico border. We would have produced a more nuanced picture. “What we know will happen, because it’s already happening, is that people that are the most skilled and the people who are often the best educated are the folks that are most likely to move and

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successfully relocate. And then we end up with this poverty concentration, and we go back to the ‘Two Americas’ problem.” A measure of this sort of economic divide can be found in any number of statistics. Mississippi, for example, now ranks first in children born underweight; it is among the five states spending the least amount of money per pupil; it ranks first for obesity, second for diabetes, and has the highest teen pregnancy rate in the country. In infant mortality—often correlated with the worst sorts of endemic poverty—Mississippi ranks second, just behind the nation’s capital. The infant mortality rate for blacks in Mississippi, roughly 14 deaths per 1,000 live births, is more than double the rate for whites, more than double the national average, and considerably higher than the rates in Botswana and Sri Lanka. Cuts in government benefits after the wholesale reformation of the welfare system in 1996 have been blamed for a worsening in many of these metrics, although small social service agencies, like the Cary Christian Center 13 miles south of Anguilla, have made inroads in turning them around. The Center’s prenatal program, funded through donations, involves intensive outreach and home visits by


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“WE KEEP THINKING THAT MAYBE IF WE TELL THIS STORY ONE MORE TIME, IT WILL PROVOKE ENOUGH SHAME IN PEOPLE AND FINALLY SPUR REAL ACTION.”


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social workers like Tyler, and has been credited with keeping infant mortality rates markedly lower in Sharkey and Issaquenna Counties, compared to rates in other parts of the Delta. Yet endeavors like these, along with the slow drip of food stamps and cash assistance, stakeholders suggest, are mere bandages on a much more systemic problem. “We need the powers that be, the policymakers and the landowners— they need to create opportunities for people to benefit from living in a rural community,” says Dorsey Johnson, a co-director of the Cary Christian Center. “We have to create something, you know, that will have some longevity and will help to sustain our community.” Not doing so can be expensive. In a recent essay published in The Clarion Ledger, Charlie Mitchell, a syndicated columnist and assistant dean of the Meek School of Journalism and New Media at the University of Mississippi, lambasted state and federal officials for watching the Delta languish and letting taxpayers foot the bill: “Take Humphreys County. There, the cost of direct government aid, in all forms, per person, was $11,385.31 in 2010. The same

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cost in DeSoto County, which was Mississippi’s fastest growing in the last census, was $4,717.20. So, clearly, given that the expense to the taxpaying public can be 2.5 times greater per person where poverty rules than where there’s an economic pulse, there’s an economic imperative (on top of the social imperative) to seek a turnaround for the region as aggressively as possible.” Mitchell decried the fact that major assembly plants for brands like Toyota and Nissan have found their way to other parts of the state in recent years, and he had special opprobrium for Democratic Rep. Bennie Thompson, the powerful member of Congress who has represented the Delta counties for more than 20 years. “He practices politics the old-school way,” Mitchell wrote. “Reward your friends, punish your enemies, tell your constituents repeatedly they are hapless victims of an unfair world and then dance off to enjoy junket after junket.” Thompson declined to be interviewed for this article, but in a phone call, a spokesman for his office, Cory Horton, ticked off a number of programs and federal funds that the congressman had secured for his district over the years, including substantial funding for Army Corps of Engineer


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improvements to the levees that keep the entirety of the Delta from going underwater. He also points to funds that have augmented agriculture, catfish farming and casinos in the Delta. “You know, it’s going to take everybody working together to fix these things,” Horton said. “There’s just this one congressman from this district, but there are also two senators. There’s a governor. Everything can’t be put off on one person.” Heather McTeer, a former mayor of Greenville who ran unsuccessfully against Thompson for the Democratic nomination in a primary earlier this year, suggested that everyone has copped out. “There are a number of reasons I think we’re still in this situation, and one is leadership,” she said. “When you have leadership on a state and a federal and a local level that’s not really addressing the true issues of poverty and how you change a community, when they’re not identifying what factors are critical to helping to change poverty, then you’re always going to stay in that situation.” Back in Anguilla, I asked Davis what she aspired to as a child. “I wanted to go all over the

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world,” she declared. “I wanted to go to Canada.” Today, she talks of making it to Jackson, the state capital 100 miles to the south, or to Memphis, 200 miles north, where she reckons she’d have higher odds of finding a job—any job. At the moment, though, she’s got little in the way of means to make this happen, and those faraway cities, which are facing their own tough times, might as well be in another country. “Tell them to come help us. We need some real help down here,” Davis said when asked if she had a message for people outside the Delta. “We sure need some help.”


DIFFERENT STARTING LINES

In the book The Color of Wealth, Lui and her co-authors take on those who would suggest that enough help has already been given, or that people in Davis’ shoes just haven’t tried hard enough. “Individual effort does make a difference in financial success, compared to how the same individual would have fared without putting forth an effort,” they wrote. “But Americans begin the race from different starting lines. Not only do well-off people, primarily whites, have significant head starts, but even many working-class whites


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have had modest advantages when compared with working-class people of color, most of whom begin far behind whites’ starting line.” At the point of birth, that starting line might be thought of as wealth, a nugget of potentiality and as-yet-unrealized opportunity that individuals, families and communities carry with them, nurture, contribute to and pass on, sometimes

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in imperceptible ways, to subsequent generations. Beyond revealing that net worth for all families plummeted between 2007 and 2010, data from the Federal Reserve Board’s most recent survey of consumer finances, released in June, show a marked and continued disparity in the size of that carrying resource among racial groups. The median value of net worth for white, non-Hispanic families in 2010 was about $131,000, ac-

Lakeisha Davis, 22, and her daughter Josmin, 2, of Cary, Miss. Davis has struggled to find gainful employment in her corner of the Delta, where critics say a lack of investment has created “rural ghettos.”


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cording to the survey. For nonwhites and Hispanics, the amount was just over $20,000. The data also showed that the median value of immediately available financial assets for white families was $37,000. For non-whites, it was just $6,000. Studies have also shown that anywhere from a quarter to a third of white families will, at some point in their lifetimes, augment their net worth with an inheritance of some kind—but even the majority who don’t receive such endowments often fail to recognize the variety of other windfalls that come their way. Citing research from Thomas Shapiro, a professor of sociology and public policy at Brandeis University, Lui explains in her book: “These numbers show that most white people do not receive any inheritances from deceased relatives’ estates. But in interviewing black and white working-class families, Shapiro found that modest amounts of money passed down by living relatives were also far more common in white families than in black families. Whites who get such help often don’t think of themselves as inheritors, but consider such transfers to be just a normal part of family life. Contributions

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to a down payment on a house and college tuition are the most common forms of family financial aid. Shapiro calls these ‘transformative assets,’ because they boost lifelong prosperity and security.” “Transformative assets” or “transformative wealth” are key words in the study of persistent poverty. These are the sorts of windfalls, even small ones, that can lead upward to new rungs on the economic ladder. It’s cash to buy a reliable car, for example, which can lead to new job opportunities and upward progress. For some, it may simply be enough money to buy a decent suit for a job interview. For those already halfway up the ladder, transformative nuggets like these, if they initially came from family, come later in the form of commercial loans or credit, ideally at interest rates that aren’t ruinous. For the rural poor, neither avenue is available, and the dribble of government benefits or minimum-wage work tends to keep the unlucky on a treadmill of subsistence. It is worth noting, for example, that in 2011, the average monthly food stamp outlay in the U.S. was just $133, according to data compiled by the Kaiser Family Foundation. Families that qualify for temporary cash assistance have also seen the purchasing power of that benefit plummet. In all but two


OF THE 46 MILLION U.S. RESIDENTS WHO NOW LIVE BELOW THE POVERTY LINE, NEARLY 60 PERCENT ARE MINORITIES. states, cash assistance benefit levels in 2011 are actually lower, in real dollars and despite inflation, than they were in 1996, according to the Center On Budget and Policy Priorities in Washington. Jim Richardson, the executive director of the National Rural Funders Collaborative, a philanthropy aimed at addressing persistent poverty, particularly in minority communities, argues that it’s this inability to get any sort of foothold that has kept so many poor families poor. It also explains why they remain disenfranchised socially, politically and culturally. “Our initial understanding was simply that from years of disinvestment and disenfranchisement of people at low wealth, you basically got these deep pockets of poverty. We knew that these have to be addressed, and can only be addressed, through building family wealth, increasing family sufficiency and then increasing civic participation within the communities,” Richardson said. “But what we found over the

first four or five years was that persistent poverty, especially in rural communities, was inextricably linked with race. And if you look at the disparities not only in income but in wealth, in rural areas by race, the statistics are really pretty staggering.” By the reckoning of numerous researchers, the comparative absence of such transformative assets among communities of color—particularly those in areas where land and labor were the only assets available—is no mere accident. Some have attempted to calculate, for example, the real loss of wealth that attended slavery and subsequent discriminatory policies. Among these are Joe Feagin, a professor of sociology at Texas A&M University and a leading expert on the racial wealth gap. Writing in the 2010 edition of his book Racist America, Feagin cited a variety of estimates for the value of the free labor provided by enslaved African Americans, with the cumulative losses for subsequent generations of American black families ranging between $2.1 trillion and $4.7 trillion. The “40 acres and a mule” that


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Cary, Miss., is a case study in persistent rural poverty. Government programs have lifted most, though not all, families out of shotgun shacks and into an assortment of small single-family homes, trailers or other lowincome housing. But jobs remain scarce and government dependency is rampant.

were historically promised as a way to allow freed slaves and their families to begin building real wealth never materialized for the most part, Feagin noted. Through much of the 20th century, and particularly in the South, deliberate and codified exclusion from land acquisition, access to credit, equal education and even political power continued to prevent the wider community of African Americans from developing the sort of wealth that has passed

through and improved the lot of generations of whites. “A simple total of the current economic worth of all black labor stolen by whites through the means of slavery, segregation, and contemporary discrimination is huge—perhaps six to ten trillion dollars,” Feagin wrote. “This latter figure is staggeringly high, indeed about 70 percent of the Gross Domestic Product generated by the United States in a recent year. In addition, these monetary figures do not include other major costs—the great pain and suffering inflicted,


“THE INFANT MORTALITY RATE FOR BLACKS IN MISSISSIPPI, ROUGHLY 14 DEATHS PER 1,000 LIVE BIRTHS, IS CONSIDERABLY HIGHER THAN THE RATES IN BOTSWANA AND SRI LANKA.” the physical abuse, or the many untimely deaths.”

THIS IS NOT ANCIENT HISTORY.

What land had been acquired by African Americans in the early part of the 20th century—more than 15 million acres at its peak—was systematically whittled away through a variety of post-slavery structural barriers to only 2 million acres by the 1990s. Part of this was almost certainly due to a lack of wills, estate planning and basic legal representation among African American landowners—tools that that would have helped to protect and foster wealth. As intestate land accrued to disparate and farflung heirs over generations, state acquisition and redistribution to white or corporate interests was made easier, and common. But the federal government was

also instrumental in preventing black landowners from profiting from their properties. According to a 2011 report by the nonpartisan Congressional Research Service, which reviewed the findings of a 1994 study commissioned by the USDA, agency loans granted to black farmers were $4,000 less, on average, than those given to white farmers. The study also found that less than 1 percent of disaster payments went to black farmers. The largest agency loans went to corporations and white male farmers. In 1997, African-American farmers filed a class action suit against the USDA, Pigford v. Glickman, claiming the agency had discriminated against black farmers in the issuance of money for crop payments, disaster payments and loans between the late 1980s and late 1990s. An initial settlement was reached in 1999, resulting in some $1 billion in payouts to more than 13,000 black farmers to date. Another $1.2 billion was agreed


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upon in 2008 to cover the large number of farmers and their families who missed the original cut-off for filing claims. The deadline for filing new claims passed on May 11 of this year. Conservative critics have slammed some of these efforts. In particular, the USDA suit— among the largest civil-rights settlements in history—was labeled a “shakedown” and a “fraud” by right-wing pundit Andrew Breitbart, among others, in large part because the number of claimants exceeded federal data on black-owned farms for the period in question. Extensive under-counting of black farmers, as well as shared land development among minorities, have been offered as explanations for the disparity. But even if every one of the nearly 100,000 claimants in the Pigford case were fraudulent, and they somehow managed to game the system to secure what amounts, in most cases, to a one-time $50,000 payout, the total $2.2 billion price tag for the case would still only amount to a tiny fraction—far less than 1 percent—of the estimated wealth that has been extracted from the African-American community

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over time, if Feagin’s upper-end estimate is accurate.

IF ONE PERSON IS POOR, WE ARE ALL POOR Eileen Briggs, a member of the Cheyenne River Sioux reservation in central South Dakota, joins me for a 50-mile drive along Route 212 from Eagle Butte to the reservation’s eastern edge. A herd of buffalo, property of the tribe, grazes on the crest of a low hill off to the right, beyond which an empty, yellow-green prairie spills southward to the horizon. Briggs, an articulate and passionate host, has been educating me about her tribe’s role in an otherwise familiar narrative arc for all Native Americans, one of displacement, disenfranchisement and unabashed double-dealing. This has been particularly true for tribes of the desert and prairie West, where, over the last century or so, tribal culture has been deliberately undermined, land has been given and taken away, and geographic isolation has made gaining a meaningful foothold in the American economy particularly difficult. By at least one recent census measure, Ziebach County, one of two South Dakota counties that comprise most of the Cheyenne River reservation, is cur-


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rently the nation’s poorest. At the point where 212 meets Lake Oahe, a massive reservoir formed by the damming of the Missouri River north of Pierre two generations ago, Briggs points toward a manicured, roadside pull-out punctuated by a large granite monument. The boulder, cleaved to expose a broad, polished face, is inscribed with a tribute to Cheyenne River leadership. At the bottom, behind a clutch of wildflowers placed by an unknown visitor, the monument notes that the tribe’s burial sites

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have been relocated from their original site nearby, along the banks of the pre-dammed Missouri. The Cheyenne River Sioux lost more than 100,000 acres, including huge swaths of valuable timber and range land, to intentional flooding when the federal Oahe Dam project got underway in the 1950s. The dam now provides electricity for millions of residents and businesses across the northcentral United States, but the federal government originally offered little to the Cheyenne River tribe in return. Dogged legal battles,

The Delta basin is a wide shelf of cotton, soybeans, rice and catfish farming that stretches from Vicksburg in the south to Southaven in the north, along the border with Tennessee.

“THERE JUST AIN’T NOTHING HERE.”


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spearheaded by tribal leaders over the last 40 years, finally prompted the U.S. Treasury in October of last year to set aside roughly $145 million in interest, along with $293 million in principal, for the tribe as compensation for the land lost in the dam project. That’s good news, Briggs says, but all of this—the damming, the exhumation of tribal graves by the Army Corps of Engineers, the wholesale relocation of the tribal agency to Eagle Butte and the high-handed behavior of the federal government—are simply part of a long list of insults that this and other tribes have borne. Briggs says it all weighs heavily on minds here, and that healing from all that, both economically and culturally, takes time. “Our thinking, our culture tells us, that if one person is poor, we’re all poor,” she said. “And we are someone struggling in this country. We are part of this great American story that we all believe in, that we all want to see happen—a future for any dream that we want. There should be some understanding and some newly raised awareness and compassion for these Americans who have been suffering for a very long time.”

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Unemployment figures on the reservations of South Dakota are staggering: averaging about 70 percent year over year, and peaking as high as 90 percent when seasonal work dries up. Not surprisingly, drunkenness, drug abuse and crime are problems, as are high-school dropouts and teen pregnancies. Among the unemployed is Ronnie Bowker, a 50-year-old tribal member who last found work two years ago installing fencing around the cemeteries, scattered about the reservation, where the Army Corps of Engineers relocated the tribe’s graves. He has not worked since. Bowker grew up on the reservation in abject poverty, with no running water and no electricity. He now has a subsidized trailer in a community called La Plant, not far from the stone monument at the reservation’s end, that he struggles to maintain against the harsh prairie winters and wicked spring and summer storms. A span of shingles is missing, torn off by high winds a year ago, and a broken gutter hangs across one of the front windows. Like many of the residents with whom I spoke, Bowker has his own particular understanding of his station. He complained of racism within the tribe, where “halfbreeds” with lighter skin wield more power and have more opportunity than “full-bloods” like him.


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He blamed himself for the indiscretions of his youth: dropping out of school, drinking heavily, fighting and spending time in prison. But he also said that despite his efforts at reform—he no longer drinks, he earned his GED, and he has become a something of a spokesman for the poorest and most remote residents on the reservation—he has a hard time identifying opportunities that might better his lot in life, and that of his wife and children. “I often say it in a joking way, that La Plant is like a retirement home: You come here to die,” he tells me. “There’s just nothing to do.” It’s easy to dismiss Bowker’s lot as self-inflicted, and there’s little question that, had he followed a different path early in life, he might have found better fortunes. But as with African Americans, it’s also fair to say that a great deal more wealth— transformational wealth—would have been coursing through La Plant, and Cheyenne River, and among many other tribes of the Great Plains, had it not been for decades of discriminatory policy. This, too, would likely have made a difference in Bowker’s trajectory. Consider the trust system set up

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by the U.S. government under the Dawes Act of 1877, which essentially broke up tribal lands and assigned parcels, ranging in size from 40 to 160 acres, to individual tribal members as a way of assimilating Native Americans into the economy through land ownership. But rather than grant the parcels outright, the government held the land in trust— at first temporarily, but in the end, in perpetuity—and in many cases, it was leased for exploitation to the timber industry, miners and oil and gas companies. Presumably, the tribal owners of each parcel would profit from such leasing, but the royalties collected from industries active on trust land was wildly mismanaged by the Department of the Interior. A lawsuit filed by a tribal member in 1996 seeking to find out the extent of the mismanagement discovered that the department had also failed to keep track of the heirs to the original allotments. And as had happened with black landowners, nominal ownership of intestate tribal allotments had multiplied exponentially over the generations. In his 2004 testimony before Congress, Ross Swimmer, the former special trustee for American Indians at the Interior Department, noted that there are now tribal properties “with ownership interests that are less than


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0.0000001 percent.” That fraction would afford an interest holder, Swimmer said, about four onethousandths of a penny. In the end, the lack of records made it virtually impossible for government officials to sort out what it owed and to whom. Even if it were possible to forensically create records for every potential beneficiary, Swimmer said, doing so would have cost vastly more than what most account holders were actually owed. More than a dozen years of litigation yielded a $3.4 billion settlement that was ultimately upheld in May of this year. It will provide

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payments of between $800 and $1,000 to individual claimants. A large chunk of the settlement will also be used to allow the government to buy up some of the hopelessly fractionated land and turn the consolidated allotments back over to the tribes. The federal judge who presided over the case for 10 years before being removed by an appeal panel in 2006, called the Interior Department and its handling of tribal interests “the morally and culturally oblivious hand-me-down of a disgracefully racist and imperialist government.” Despite all of this, the Cheyenne River Sioux have been remarkably entrepreneurial, establishing a number of tribally owned ventures

Ronnie Bowker, a 50-year-old tribal member who last found work two years ago installing fencing around cemeteries, scattered about the South Dakota reservation, where the Army Corps of Engineers relocated the tribe’s graves. He has not worked since.


“OUR THINKING, OUR CULTURE TELLS US, THAT IF ONE PERSON IS POOR, WE’RE ALL POOR.” that have created jobs and small measures of growth and opportunity over the last few decades. These include a telephone authority, which now has some $10 million in annual revenues, and Lakota Technologies, an information technology firm that provides call centers and other services to government and commercial customers. Still, many stumbling blocks remain. There is not nearly enough housing for the reservation’s population, and overcrowding inside crumbling housing stock is common. Attempts to attract outside businesses to the area—an assembly plant, say, or a livestock processing facility—are stymied by the tribe’s antiquated and overtaxed water system, which has been unable to support new connections for years. Kevin Keckler, chairman of the Cheyenne River Sioux tribe, reckoned a proper upgrade to the water system would cost about $65 million. He said the tribe has lobbied the federal government for funding assistance with limited success,

estimating that about half the necessary amount is still needed. He guessed it would be another four or five years, even in the best of circumstances, before a new water system might be in place. He also said hundreds of millions more dollars would be needed to distribute the water to the remote communities like La Plant and others scattered across the reservation. Keckler held up his index finger to indicate the size of the tubing that currently snakes out under the prairie to reach far-flung homes. When more than a few of these households turn on a spigot at the same time, the pressure can drop to a trickle. “If we could get that water system built,” Keckler said, “I think we could see a better quality of life.” Meanwhile, even tribal members who sit on substantial and intact parcels of trust land with clear title have had difficulty using the holding as collateral to secure loans and otherwise spur economic activity that would improve their lot. Commercial banks often avoid lending against trust land, they say, for fear of unfamiliar paperwork and complicated jurisdictional issues should


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the debt go bad. This in turn makes it more difficult for tribal members to develop the sort of credit histories that are so key to upward mobility in modern society. Zach Ducheneaux, a tribal member who sits on the board of directors of the Intertribal Agriculture Council, an organization founded in 1987 to promote the development of agricultural resources in tribal territories, traveled to Capitol Hill in June. He was armed with a request that the Government Accountability Office undertake a study of “credit deserts,” areas of the U.S. that are statistically underserved by bank financing and other credit opportunities. “We think if you did a map of credit deserts, places where there is a lack of available credit and affordable credit to acquire assets to produce income and build wealth, it would lay right over the poorest places in the country, including this reservation,” Ducheneaux said. “It’s a real problem here.” Officials at the USDA said they are working on programs to help ease the commercial credit gap on tribal land. The agency also noted in June that it was taking advantage of a new rule, authorized in the 2008 Farm Bill, that “will

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make it much easier for Tribes to gain access to USDA funding for water and sewer improvement projects, electrical system upgrades and telecommunications services including broadband.” In the minds of tribal members attempting to turn things around, such incremental programs and investments are a pittance compared to what’s been taken away, and to what was promised in treaties signed with their people. “The reality is that the federal government has a trust responsibility with the Cheyenne River Sioux Tribe and every other tribe in this country,” Briggs said. She is currently the executive director of Tribal Ventures, a 10-year, $11 million poverty-reduction plan funded largely by the Northwest Area Foundation, a Minnesotabased philanthropy. The Tribal Ventures program seeks to spur community and economic development opportunities on the reservation, and by its conclusion in 2016, Briggs hopes to be able to provide insight for other tribes on what works and what doesn’t in the struggle to lift reservations out of poverty. “My relatives, my ancestors, gave up much for this country to be prosperous, to be what it is today,” Briggs says, “and if people cannot remember that, if they have forgot-


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Above: Doretta Bowker, wife of Ronnie Bowker, proudly holds up a jigsaw puzzle she had put together years before. Below: A lightly graffitied playground overlooks La Plant, South Dakota.


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ten that, we will continue to remind them. This is not about handouts. The government has not provided assistance for tribal lands because they felt it was the charitable thing to do. It’s because they have a treaty obligation to the Sioux Nation and to our tribe. This was an exchange. This was a business deal. “This whole economic downturn and the country’s struggle, we have compassion and recognize that many people in this country have suffered a great deal because they lost their homes and their jobs and their savings. We have a lot of compassion for that,” Briggs added. “But that’s been our reality for 100 years.”

TURNING THINGS AROUND

On a blazing June afternoon, Ale Obregon, one of the leaders of the community where Elia and Rogelio De La O live, stands at the local county watering hole armed with a video camera. He’s arranged to meet with the Webb County utility supervisor, Johnny Amaya, to discuss the lack of official supervision at the site, the need for better maintenance of the pump, which occasionally breaks down, and the

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inadequacy of the facility to meet growing needs of residents. As he waits for Amaya to arrive, a queue of cars pulling flatbed trailers and assorted pickup trucks—all bearing empty plastic tubs and drums—begins to form. As their turn arrives, drivers maneuver their vehicles under a fat hose dangling alongside a rusty steel box the size of a small van. They stuff the hose into the mouth of a container and then drop a couple of quarters into a slot on the side of the box: 50 cents for 150 gallons. The pump motor inside the box revs to life, and a stream of water begins to flow. The stink of sulfur fills the air. When Amaya arrives, Obregon complains that many customers are taking more than their prescribed limit, 500 gallons, which is laid out on a small sign nearby. He asks why the county doesn’t keep someone posted at the water point to oversee the operation, and why another water point couldn’t be set up nearby to help alleviate what can be grindingly long waits in line—sometimes hours. Amaya, a small man with dusty boots and the weary carriage of an empathetic bureaucrat— someone who would like to do more but can’t—listens patiently and says he will look into the problem. Later, Amaya tells me that his staff has tried to regulate matters better at the water point, but that


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tensions and tempers run high in the queue. Heated words and threats have been exchanged, he says, and guns have been drawn. He also notes that the water, a third of which comes from an aquifer underfoot, with the rest being trucked in from Laredo, is provided by the county at a substantial loss. The coin box generates about $30,000 a year, he says. The cost to pump and truck water there, and otherwise maintain the facility, is more than 10 times that. Underserviced communities like this are found all along the U.S.Mexico border, from New Mexico and Arizona to California, but the largest share of them is in Texas. Some 400,000 Texans call these colonias home. The vast majority— including 85 percent of colonias residents under 18—are American citizens born in the United States. Taking advantage of lax authority on unincorporated county land, developers in the 1950s began creating ad hoc subdivisions outside of city boundaries, often in agriculturally fallow or dangerously floodprone areas. “They divided the land into small lots,” the Secretary of State’s website explains, “put in little or no infrastructure, then sold them to low-income individuals

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seeking affordable housing.” What the site doesn’t say, poverty advocates argue, is that demand is and has long been high among low-income buyers in part due to a lack of affordable housing inside border cities. And while the Texas legislature has passed numerous zoning laws, beginning in the 1990s, to curb the proliferation of the colonias, the lack of housing alternatives remains a problem. Often enough, colonias residents informally subdivide their own small plots to make room for family and other new neighbors, who plop down low-budget trailers or begin stacking cinder blocks in pursuit of a home. Tangled networks of orange extension cords sometimes crisscross these complexes, linking those who don’t have power to those who do. Just how all of these pockets of need—or those in the Delta, or those on tribal lands—can ultimately be turned around is a matter of great debate. Karl Stauber believes that part of the problem is that per capita government spending has traditionally favored metropolitan areas over rural areas. Given the billions of dollars in agricultural subsidies that arise every five or so years from the Farm Bill, that might seem a flawed assumption, but there’s some evidence to support it, including a


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Kevin Keckler, chairman of the Cheyenne River Sioux tribe, reckons a proper upgrade to the water system would cost about $65 million. He says the tribe has lobbied the federal government for funding assistance with limited success, estimating that about half the necessary amount is still needed.

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recent analysis by Bill Bishop, a long-time Texas-based journalist covering rural affairs and a coeditor of the web-based newspaper The Daily Yonder. Using data from the Economic Research Service, Bishop found that federal spending on cities outstripped rural spending every year between 2004 and 2009. Per capita spending on non-agricultural development—that is, on community facilities, the environment, housing, regional development, transportation and Native American programs—has been substantially lower in rural areas in recent years. “I think the Obama administration is the most metropolitanfocused administration in my lifetime,” Stauber told me, “and I’m over 60 years old.” Secretary Vilsack took great umbrage at that suggestion, noting that President Obama signed an executive order last year that created the very first White House Rural Council specifically to address the challenges facing rural communities. “For the first time we actually have a damn plan to build a rural economy that will support middleclass families, and we don’t get credit for it and don’t get recognition for it by anybody,” said Vil-

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sack, who heads up the year-old council. “Pardon me for being frustrated about this, but we’re working our tails off here and you know, this rural council doesn’t get the recognition it deserves. For someone to say [the President] is urban-centric, it’s crazy.” Stauber and other critics also argue that government strategies aimed at rural development have traditionally focused too heavily on subsidizing farming, and that this inevitably drives dollars into the pockets of big agriculture—a highly mechanized affair that has slowly shed jobs even as output has increased—at the expense of real solutions for America’s poorest citizens. “I think the reality is, as long as the dominant federal frame that gets applied to rural development is agriculture, then I think we’re actually forcing people to leave,” Stauber said. “If you want to look at one of the great economic success stories of the 20th century, it’s agriculture. You look at the yield per unit of labor and the yield per unit of capital, and it’s just remarkable. “There’s nothing wrong with helping farmers create new competitive advantage,” he added, “but the answer to that is not the same thing as the answer to the question: ‘How do you help rural communities create new competitive advantage?’”


“WE SEND ALL THIS FOREIGN AID TO OTHER COUNTRIES TO HELP THEM DEVELOP WATER RESOURCES, AND YET THERE ARE PEOPLE LIVING RIGHT HERE [IN TEXAS] WITHOUT POTABLE WATER.” According to a 2010 report from the Congressional Research Service, even farm families don’t make money from farms. “Nearly 90 percent of total farm household income comes from off-farm sources,” the report found. Manufacturing accounts for roughly 25 percent of rural private sector earnings and about 12 percent of all rural jobs, according to the report. As in many other places, the service sector is the predominant source for employment opportunities in rural areas. “Farming, and agriculture more generally, however, remain the major legislative focus for much of congressional debate on rural policy,” the report noted. Other advocates, including John Henneberger, a co-director of the Texas Low-Income Housing Information Service, which works to develop low-income housing opportunities in Texas, have con-

demned both Congress and the USDA for cutting back on a number of crucial programs. Henneberger is particularly incensed at steady declines in housing loan programs that have helped thousands of very low- and low-income families to build their homes or otherwise become homeowners. “Vilsack may be investing historic amounts of money in some people in rural America, but it is not getting invested in the homes or lives of poor rural Americans,” Henneberger said. “Rural Americans have Congress to thank for acting to reject a portion of Secretary Vilsack’s unprecedented transfer of funds to corporate agriculture from programs that help the rural poor afford a home.” On this, and on charges that the administration is too agriculture-focused to really address the problem of rural poverty, Vilsack again becomes incensed. “One of the biggest frustrations I have in life—in life, not just in this job,” he said, “is how few people under-


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stand what this department does.” The administration has overseen substantial increases in agricultural production and exports, Vilsack said, which lead to increases in processing and shipping and packaging jobs in rural areas. He points to a recent analysis of the rural manufacturing sector by the Federal Reserve Bank of Kansas City, which notes that “rural manufacturing has rebounded with a vengeance” in the last two years. Vilsack also said the administration has enrolled a record number of acres in conservation, linking that to outdoor recreational opportunities and, in turn,

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increased jobs in contracting and tourism. The administration has also put a good deal of support behind domestic energy production, including biofuels, which inevitably creates jobs in rural areas. In an effort to drive USDA resources further into historically disenfranchised minority communities, the agency has also developed a StrikeForce Initiative, which seeks to connect with community-based organizations already on the ground and distribute USDA resources through them. And all of this has been done, Vilsack said, in an era of stiff budget and staffing cutbacks.

Tribal members who sit on substantial and intact parcels of trust land with clear title have had difficulty using the holding as collateral to secure loans that would improve their lot.


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“When we’re dealing with substantial reductions in our budget, and we’re dealing with having to meet a growing demand,” Vilsack said, “the challenge for us is to determine where we can do the most good with the least amount of money.” Reyna, the Texas attorney who introduced me to the De La Os, says that’s a philosophy that’s deeply familiar to residents of the border colonias. “We send all this foreign aid to other countries to help them develop water resources, and yet there are people living right here without potable water,” he told me. “They live on American soil. They live in Texas. They live right here, smack in the middle of the United States. It’s really very, very sad to see. I wish we had a magic wand to fix all this, but we don’t.” Since the late 1990s, the De La Os have been improving their trailer home, inch by inch, dollar by dollar, with their own hands. A lack of affordable alternatives drove them to this place, and the bare wood framing, floppy panel floors, exposed insulation and unfinished wiring suggest years of sweat equity for a family that has lived—without government help, they say—on

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$10,000 to $15,000 a year. Until Rogelio, 69, took ill last year, they earned that money, with help from their American-born daughter, working in the canneries of Wisconsin or harvesting beets and potatoes in North Dakota and Minnesota. When harvest season was over, they returned to Texas and took jobs in sewing factories or construction sites around Laredo. For most of this work, the family earned about $8 an hour, Elia said. At the family’s kitchen table, Elia serves her guests tall glasses of distilled water, which she draws from a jug. It is a welcome treat on a day when the outside temperature is now upwards of 105 degrees. I ask the couple if they’ve ever felt taken advantage of, or abused by a social order that, from the outside, seems very much stacked against them. Elia quickly answers no, and so I follow with another question: Does she consider herself poor? “Poverty doesn’t make a difference to us. We’ve always been poor,” she replies. “We don’t have luxuries. But the things that God has allowed us to do here, we appreciate them. Many people are worse off. “The only thing that is a great need for us,” she adds, “is the water.”


Filmmaker Terrence Huff and his PT Cruiser.

BAD COPS, DRUG DOGS AND TREKKIES ALONG I-70


>> BY RADLEY BALKO >> PHOTOGRAPHS BY BILLY DELFS FILMMAKER TERRANCE HUFF and his friend Jon Seaton were returning to Ohio after attending a Star Trek convention in St. Louis. As they passed through a small town in Illinois, a police officer, Michael Reichert, pulled Huff’s red PT Cruiser over to the side of the road, allegedly for an unsafe lane change. Over the next hour, Reichert interrogated the two men, employing a variety of police tactics civil rights attorneys say were aimed at tricking them into giving up their Fourth Amendment rights. Reichert conducted a sweep of Huff’s car with a K-9 dog, then searched Huff’s car by hand. Ultimately, he sent Huff and Seaton on their way with a warning.

That all happened last December. In March, Huff posted to YouTube audio and video footage of the stop taken from Reichert’s dashboard camera (obtained in an open records request). No shots were fired in the incident. No one was beaten, arrested or even handcuffed. Reichert found no measurable amount of contraband in Huff’s car. But Huff’s 17-and-a-half-minute video raises important questions about law enforcement and the criminal justice system, including whether improper financial incentives are inducing police departments to commit civil rights violations, the drug war,

profiling, and why it’s so difficult to strip problematic cops of their badges.

‘LET ME ASK YOU A QUESTION’

The stop itself happened Dec. 4 on Interstate 70 in Collinsville, a town of 26,000 people just outside of St. Louis. Law enforcement officials call this stretch of highway a drug-trafficking corridor. The account that follows is based on Huff’s video, the unedited dashboard footage from Reichert’s vehicle and a Huffington interview with Huff. After pulling Huff over, Reichert approaches Huff’s car and asks him for his license, registration and proof of insurance. Huff complies. Reichert then asks Huff to step out of the car, because he


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HUFFINGTON 10.21.12

says he can’t hear him over the noise from the highway. Huff complies. Before talking to Huff, Reichert asks Seaton for ID as well, which Seaton isn’t obligated to produce, but does. Reichert then tells Huff he pulled him over for weaving across lanes. Huff says in his video that this is a fabrication. But he didn’t challenge Reichert’s claim at the time because, “I was from out of state, and I didn’t want any trouble.” After running a check on Huff’s license, Reichert tells Huff he’ll let him off with a warning, and the two men shake hands. Legally, Huff is now free to go. But just as Huff is set to get back into his car, Reichert says, “Let me ask you a question real quick.” Huff agrees. It’s here that Reichert adds, seemingly as an afterthought, that Seaton—the passenger—appeared nervous and apprehensive. He then asks Huff a series of what law enforcement officers call rolling no questions about whether Huff is transporting any drugs, weapons or cash. Huff says “no” to each. In his interview with Huffington, Huff asks, “If he thought Jon was nervous, and that might indicate drug activity, why did he wait so long to bring it up? And why did he wait until he had basically told me I could go?” “It’s a common tactic,” says John Rekowski, the public defender for MadisonCounty, where the stop took place. “[Officer Reichert] thinks he’s doing Video footage of the stop taken from Reichert’s dashboard camera.


“If you’re from out of state, they’re simply going to find a reason to pull you over.” something legally significant there. He thinks he’s establishing that everything that happens after the handshake is consensual, because after that, Huff was technically free to go. But of course he isn’t free to go.” If Huff had ignored Reichert’s “Let me ask you a question real quick,” gotten into his car and driven off, Rekowski says, there’s no way Reichert would have let him leave. “And in Illinois, the definition of a detainment is that you aren’t free to leave.” Collinsville Police Chief Scott Williams, who has seen the dash cam video, tells Huffington: “I don’t have any reason to doubt the integrity of any of our officers. But we’ll do our due diligence and look into that. If we find that any of our officers is taking shortcuts or violating someone’s civil rights, that officer will be fired.” Huffington was unable to reach Reichert for comment. During the questioning, Reichert tries several times to get Huff to admit to having marijuana in his car, even if only a small amount for personal use. Huff says he has none. “I would just like to go on my way if I could,” he tells Reichert. Reichert says that he’s going to bring

his K-9 out of the car to do an outside sweep. Huff objects. Reichert points out that Huff had a prior arrest for a drug charge. (Huff did—it was an old misdemeanor charge that was supposed to have been expunged from his record.) Reichert pats down both Huff and Seaton and takes the dog around the car twice. He tells Huff that on the second trip, the dog has “alerted” to the presence of drugs, but did so at the front of the car, out of the view of Reichert’s dashboard camera. He explains that because the front of the car is downwind, the drug scent would most likely register with the dog at the front of the car. The dog’s alert gives Reichert probable cause for a thorough hand search of Huff’s car, as well as Huff and Seaton’s luggage and personal belongings. Reichert finds no drugs. He does claim to find “shake”—marijuana residue— beneath the seats of Huff’s car. That, Reichert says, must have been why the dog alerted. Reichert never collected any of the alleged shake for testing, however, and Huff says now that the accusation is nonsense. After an hour of questioning and searching by Reichert, Huff and Seaton leave Collinsville with only a warning for an unsafe lane change.


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COURTESY OF TERRANCE HUFF

THE FORFEITURE CORRIDOR

Asset forfeiture is the process by which law enforcement agencies can take possession of property suspected of being tied to illegal activity. Under these laws, the property itself is presumed to be guilty of criminal activity. Once the property has been seized, it’s up to the owner to prove he obtained the property legitimately. In about 80 percent of civil asset forfeiture cases, the property owner is nevercharged with a crime. And in Illi-

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Huff is shown here traversing the vast regions of space. His ship has never been pulled over.

nois—like many states—the law enforcement agency that makes the seizure gets to keep the cash or the proceeds of the forfeiture auction, where the property is auctioned off. (In Illinois, the prosecutor’s office gets 10-12 percent.) Critics say civil asset forfeiture is rife with improper incentives, and violates the Fifth Amendment’s protection against seizure of property without due process of law. Police can seize a car, cash, even a home on the flimsiest of evidence. Madison County, Ill., where Huff was


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pulled over, is bisected by I-70 just outside of St. Louis. Interstates are a particularly rich ground for forfeiture. Law enforcement officials say that’s because interstates are ideal for drug running. Critics say it’s because police can target out-of-state drivers, who are more likely than local residents to accept a police officer’s baseless accusations and turn over their property, rather than refuse and face arrest, multiple returns to the state for court dates and thousands of dollars in legal expenses. The costs of fighting to win back what was seized can often exceed the actual value of the property. Faced with that choice, it isn’t difficult to see why innocent people would opt to hand over their cash and head home. “The joke around our office is that all you need for probable cause in Madison County is an Arizona, New Mexico, Texas, or Florida license plate,” says Rekowski, the public defender. Collinsville defense attorney Jessica Koester says she’s seen the same thing. “If you’re from out of state, they’re simply going to find a reason to pull you over.” Local news reports indicate that Illinois law enforcement agencies along the I-70 corridor have ramped up their forfeiture efforts in recent years in their battle against drugs. Rekowski said one tactic police use is to put up a sign for a “drug checkpoint” roadblock ahead. In 2000, the U.S. Supreme Court said such checkpoints are illegal; roadblocks

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are legal for DWI checks, but not for narcotics checks. But Rekowski says that isn’t the point. “They put the sign up so there’s only one exit you can take to avoid it. Then they pull over and search anyone who tries to exit before the roadblock.” That tactic too is constitutionally suspect. Police can’t pull a driver over merely for exiting before an announced (and illegal) drug checkpoint. “But, of course, that isn’t why they’ll say they’ve pulled you over,” Rekowski says. “They’ll say you crossed two lanes to get to the exit, or switched lanes without signaling, or that you cut someone off.” The Edwardsville Intelligencer reported in 2010 that the Madison County State’s Attorney’s Office has reaped a half-million dollars from the policy over eight years, which at the prosecutor’s take of 10-12 percent suggests a total bounty of $4.5 million to $5 million. Madison County Assistant State’s Attorney Stephanie Robbins, who handles forfeiture cases for the office, told local paper the Telegraph in 2010, “Law-abiding citizens have nothing to worry about.” But maybe they do. Jerome Chennault, a Nevada resident had the misfortune of driving through Madison County on his way home after visiting his son in Philadelphia. Chennault said he had withdrawn $22,870 in cash to take with him before leaving Nevada, which he had intended to use for a downpayment on a home. After he was pulled over for following another car too closely, Chennault gave


“I don’t have any reason to doubt the integrity of any of our officers.” police permission to use a drug dog to sweep his car. The dog then “alerted” to the bag containing Chennault’s cash. Police found no actual drugs on Chennault or in his car. He was never charged with a crime. But the dog alert itself was enough to allow police to seize Chennault’s cash. Over the next several months, Chennault had to travel to Edwardsville, Ill., at his own expense to fight in court for the return of his property. He had to put up a bond equal to 10 percent of the value of the property taken from him in order to secure it. Cheannault won in court. His money was returned. But he won’t be reimbursed for his travel or his legal expenses. Similar stories have been reported along other forfeiture corridors across the country. In Teneha, Texas, police reportedly routinely pull over cars from out of state (the highway is popular for drivers, flush with cash and jewelry, going to and from casinos). A Nashville TV station recently reported on a stretch in Tennessee where the vast majority of police stops were of suspected drug runners leaving the city, meaning the police apparently preferred to let the drugs come into the city so they

could seize the cash on the way out. “When we saw the Huff video in our office, we just laughed,” Rekowski says. “Not because it wasn’t outrageous. But because it’s the kind of thing we see all the time. The stop for a so-called ‘inappropriate lane change,’ the games they play in the questioning, the claims about nervousness or inappropriate behavior that can’t really be contradicted. It’s all routine.” According to Koester, the defense attorney in private practice, “The dog alert that happens off-camera isn’t unusual either. You see that all the time.” Koester and Rekowski say the Huff stop has all the markings of a forfeiture fishing expedition. “You see where he asks if [Huff] is carrying large amounts of U.S. currency,” Rekowski says. “It’s pretty clear what they’re after. These kinds of cases put my kids through college.” He laughs, then adds, “I’m only half joking.” Louis Meyer, an attorney who is representing Huff in a lawsuit, says he’s found that in high-forfeiture parts of the state, police making stops like the one in Huff’s case tend to follow the same script. “They let the motorist off with a warning, letting him think he’s free to go. They’ll then engage him in conversation as he’s leaving. That’s when they’ll then mention that someone in the car appeared nervous. They’ll give the line


COURTESY OF TERRANCE HUFF

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about ‘I’m not concerned about a small amount of marijuana, so if you have a little bit on you, just let me know now.’ Then they bring in the drug dog, and the search follows.” In fact, Meyer says, the dialogue in the Huff stop matches other stops he has seen from Illinois state police officers, almost verbatim. That could be because officers learn the tactics at some of the same asset forfeiture training seminars. These

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Huff and a friend make themselves comfortable on the bridge of the Enterprise from Star Trek: The Next Generation.

conferences are often administered by police and law enforcement agencies, such as this one for Louisiana highway patrol officers. They’re also offered by private companies like Professional Law Enforcement Services. A brochure for a forfeiture conference in Hollywood, Florida, even instructs police officers how to pay for their trip with, yes, asset forfeiture funds. (“No budget? No problem! Make the bad guys pay!)


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THE DRUG DOG

Huffington showed the video of Huff’s stop to two K-9 experts. Gene Papet is executive director of K9 Resources, a company that trains detection dogs, including police dogs. Papet found a number of problems with the way Reichert handled his dog. “Just before the dog alerts, you can hear a change in the tone of the handler’s voice. That’s troubling. I don’t know anything about this particular handler, but that’s often an indication of a handler that’s cuing a response.” In other words, it’s indicative of a handler instructing the dog to alert, not waiting to see whether the dog will alert. “You also hear the handler say at one point that the dog alerted from the front of the car because the wind is blowing from the back of the car to the front, so the scent would have carried with the wind,” Papet says. “But the dog was brought around the car twice. If that’s the case, the dog should have alerted the first time he was brought to the front of the car. The dog only alerted the second time, which corresponded to what would be consistent with a vocal cue from the handler.” Russ Jones is a former police officer with 10 years in drug enforcement, including as a K-9 officer. He’s now a member of Law Enforcement Against Prohibition, a group of current and former cops and prosecutors who favor

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“Law-abiding citizens have nothing to worry about.” ending the war on drugs. “That dog was going to do what ever (Officer Reichert) needed it to do,” Jones says. “Throughout the video, the dog is looking for handler feedback, which isn’t how it’s supposed to work.” In the 2005 case Illinois v. Caballes, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled that having a drug dog sniff the exterior of a vehicle during a routine traffic stop does not violate the Fourth Amendment. But in a dissent to that opinion, Justice David Souter pointed to mounting evidence that drug dogs aren’t as infallible as police departments often claim. Souter noted a study that the state of Illinois itself used in its briefs showing that in lab tests, drug dogs fail 12.5 to 60 percent of the time. Since then, more evidence has emerged to support Souter’s concerns. The problem isn’t that the dogs aren’t capable of picking up the scent, it’s that dogs have been bred to please and interact with humans. A dog can easily be manipulated to alert whenever needed. But


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even with conscientious cops, a dog without the proper training may pick up on its handler’s body language and alert whenever it detects its handler is suspicious. In one study published last year in the journal Animal Cognition, researchers rigged some tests designed to fool dogs into falsely alerting and others designed to trick handlers into thinking a package contained narcotics (it didn’t). Of

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Evidence suggests that detection dogs may be easily manipulated by their handlers to prompt a reaction.

the 144 total searches performed, the dogs falsely alerted 123 times. More interesting, the dogs were twice as likely to falsely alert to packages designed to trick their handlers than those designed to trick the dogs. In 2011, the Chicago Tribune published a review of drug dog searches conducted over three years by police departments in the Chicago suburbs.


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The paper found that just 44 percent of dog “alerts” led to the discovery of actual contraband. Interestingly, for Hispanic drivers the success rate dipped to 27 percent, again supporting the theory that drug dogs tend to confirm the suspicions (and, consequently, the biases) of their handlers. A 2006 statistical analysis (PDF) of police dog tests by University of North Carolina law professor Richard Myers concluded that the dogs aren’t reliable enough to provide probable cause for a search. Huffington obtained the records for one Illinois state police K-9 unit for an 11-month period in 2007 and 2008. Of the 136 times this particular dog alerted to the presence of drugs during a traffic stop over that period, 35 of the subsequent hand searches found measurable quantities of illegal drugs. Jones, the former narcotics and K-9 officer, said those sorts of numbers are why he now opposes the drug war. “Ninety percent of these dog-handler teams are utter failures. They’re just ways to get around the Fourth Amendment,” he says. “When I debate these people around the country, I always challenge the K- 9 officers to a double-blind test to see how accurate they and their dogs really are. They always refuse.” Government leaders appear to be catching on. The police chief in Henry, Tennessee, recently dropped the charade entirely. In August, Chief David An-

HUFFINGTON 10.21.12

drews persuaded the mayor and board of aldermen to purchase a drug dog for the department not because because he wanted to get drugs off the streets, but because a drug dog alert would bring in lots of revenue from asset forfeiture. These figures strongly suggest that while the Supreme Court has ruled that there’s nothing invasive about an exterior drug dog sniff of a car, in truth, the dog’s alert may be nothing more than the dog confirming its handler’s hunches — which is exactly what the Fourth Amendment is supposed to protect against. This term, the Supreme Court will revisit the issue in two cases. In Florida v. Jardines the Court will consider whether to expand its ruling in Caballes to allow police to search homes after a drug dog alert. And in Florida v. Harris, the court will review a Florida Supreme Court decision that called the reliability of drug dogs into question. The Florida court ruled that a mere training certificate wasn’t enough—law enforcement officials would need to demonstrate that the dog was accurate and reliable.

THE BAD COP

If drug dog searches and poorly incentivized forfeiture policies are bad ideas in general, both can be particularly damaging when utilized by an unscrupulous police officer. And Michael Reichert has both a reputation and a documented history of questionable scruples. “All the departments around here are bad when it comes to these searches, but he’s really the poster boy,” says Rekows-


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ki, the public defender. Another defense attorney, who didn’t wish to be quoted by name, went further: “The guy is a menace to society.” In a 2005 case, U.S. v. Zambrana, U.S. District Judge Michael J. Reagan overturned a federal drug conviction because he didn’t find Reichert’s testimony credible. Reagan’s assessment of Reichert’s methods and credibility is blunt. He calls Reichert “polished” and his testimony “rehearsed, coached and robotic as to be rote.” He continues, “It was a generic, almost default performance not dependent upon the facts of this case, but suitable for any case in which Reichert might testify to having found reasonable suspicion.” In that case too, Reichert’s stated reason for pulling Zambrana over was that Zambrana crossed over a lane divider. According to Reagan’s opinion, Reichert also stated that the motorist appeared “nervous,” like Huff, and again nearly let the driver go (he told Zambrano he was “free to leave.”) Then, again nearly as an afterthought, Reichert started in with the “rolling no” questions. Reichert described Zambrano’s refusal to consent to a search as “suspicious.” Reagan writes that Reichert is so confident in his ability to observe body language to detect deceit, he appears to be a “human polygraph.” Reichert taught a class on how to conduct roadside searches, which Reagan wrote could easily have

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“One blemish on your record and you’re branded for the rest of your life.” been titled, “How to avoid the warrant requirement in searching a vehicle.” Reagan’s opinion, along with the fact that Reichert was also convicted on federal charges of selling knockoff designer sunglasses, led to Reichert’s dismissal from the Collinsville Police Department in 2006. But with the help of the police union, Reichert sued to get his job back. In subsequent hearings, the local state’s attorney’s office said it didn’t trust Reichert, as did the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Southern District of Illinois. Reagan and the state circuit court judge also made clear that they felt Reichert was untrustworthy. Despite these concerns, in March 2009, an Illinois appellate court ordered Reichert rehired. Huffington has since obtained a copy of Reichert’s criminal record. In addition to the conviction for selling fake designer sunglasses, Reichert was also arrested in 1988, before he became a police officer, for slashing someone’s tire with a knife. Between 1989 and 1992, Reichert


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was also issued six speeding tickets. In much of the country, discipline and dismissal of police officers is governed by union-negotiated contracts. Some states have a “police officer bill of rights,” which affords police accused of misconduct and criminal acts more rights than are afforded other citizens. Others send officer misconduct cases to union- negotiated arbitrators. Federal law also protects police from being fired for refusing to answer questions in a misconduct investigation, even if their answers can’t be used against them in any ensuing criminal case. Police watchdogs say all of this makes it extremely difficult to fire even cops with long histories of misconduct. These concerns have been raised at police and sheriff departments across the country, including in King County, Wash.; Maywood, Calif.; Gary, Ind.; Cincinnati, Covington, Texas, Aurora, Colo., San Diego; Spokane, Wash., Louisville, Ken.; Milwaukee; and the entire state of Florida. By spring of 2009, Reichert was back on the job in Collinsville. Soon after, federal prosecutors raised new concerns about Reichert’s credibility. Those too were dismissed. In January 2011, Williams gave Reichert the Chief’s Award of Merit (PDF), and in April 2011, he was named Officer of the Month. For the latter, Reichert was cited for making six arrests and seven citations out of 166 total incidents. According to

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Williams, “incidents are dispatched calls for service. They range from traffic crashes to domestic disputes and everything in between.” Despite Reichert’s past, Williams said he sees no reason to question the officer’s integrity. In May, another Collinsville police officer was suspended, then criminally charged after dash camera footage showed he had lied about his justification for a traffic stop. Officer Luke Tillman claimed in his police report that he pulled over Cheryl Helfrich for failure to display a registration, then found a crack pipe when he searched her car. But Helfrich was able to obtain the video footage (which Tillman had failed to log—fortunately, it was backed up on the department’s computer system) clearly showing she had displayed the proper registration. The charges against Helfrich were dropped.

EPILOGUE

The Huffington Post first reported on Huff’s stop in March. Shortly after that story ran, Collinsville Police Chief Scott Williams told St. Louis Today that he stood behind Reichert, his department and the way local police agencies conduct stops and searches. Williams said his department had received hundreds of emails and phone calls in response to the article, but dismissed most of them as “’anti-law enforcement’ people.” Referring to the way Reichert instructed his drug-sniffing dog in the Huff video, Williams told the paper, “While some people may think it’s


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distasteful, it’s clearly not illegal.” Williams added, “Everything that we do is vetted through current law or Supreme Court rulings.” Williams didn’t address Reichert’s history in his interview with St. Louis Today. But since our initial report, Huffington received other complaints from other motorists who have been stopped by Reichert as well as other officers in the area. More local defense attorneys have also since said they too have had clients with stories similar to Huff’s. In May, Huff filed a civil rights lawsuit against the town and against Reichert. Until the video went viral, it was hard for him to find representation. “The ACLU blew me off,” he says. “They said this sort of thing was common, and there wasn’t much they could do about it.” He is now represented by the Chicago law firm Meyer & Kiss. In response to the suit, Madison County State’s Attorney Thomas Gibbons told the St. Louis Post Dispatch that the video “speaks for itself.” He also said Reichert was justified in searching Huff’s car because of Huff’s previous arrest. But a previous arrest isn’t probable cause for a search. It was also an especially odd comment given that the officer who pulled Huff over had a record of his own. “I’ve definitely learned to sympathize with people who get stopped and frisked, or who have a minor arrest record,” Huff says. “One blemish on your record and you’re branded for the rest of your life. Whether the law says so or not, you basically forfeit your

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Fourth Amendment rights. Meyer and Huff say the lawsuit isn’t about money. It’s real aim, they say, is to prompt new training for police officers in the area, including proper discipline for officers who violate motorists’ civil rights. “I’d just like to draw attention to what’s going on, so we can change all of this,” Huff says. “I was subjected to a similar stop in 2005. Same thing. I was profiled, they searched my car from top to bottom, and again they found nothing. It sort of rolled off my back at the time. But when it happened again, it put me in a more activist mindset. If this happened to me twice, it’s definitely happening to lots of other people. There’s probably a lot more of this going on than we could ever know.” Huff says he’s received lots of support from fellow Star Trek fans. He got another boost in October when the season premiere of the ABC prime-time drama The Good Wife included a plotline that followed Huff’s case—and The Huffington Post’s reporting of it—almost to the letter. The show even gave a call-out to Huff, when one of the characters mentioned the title of the video he posted to YouTube, “Breakfast in Collinsville.” “That was gratifying,” Huff says. “If the goal was to get these issues in front of a larger audience, you can’t do much better than 10-12 million people. But it will feel even better if we can put an end to these things.”


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CELEBRITY

The ‘Real’ Star Tours of Los Angeles County BY ANNA ALMENDRALA

HEN IT COMES TO trading on the fantasy of celebrity, there’s no city better than Los Angeles. And for star worshippers seeking a bonafide celebrity encounter, only one long-held tradition will do: star home tours.

W

ILLUSTRATION BY GLUEKIT

Packed shoulder-to-shoulder on one such tour last weekend, tourists oohed and aahed at the magnificent estates of Kim Kardashian, Lady Gaga, Jennifer Aniston, Jennifer Lopez, Kobe Bryant, Madonna and George Clooney in Beverly Hills and Bel-Air.

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PREVIOUS PAGE: FAMEFLYNET (BERRY); VISUAL/FLYNET (MOORE); TEACH/FLYNETPICTURES.COM (HARTNETT); BJJ/STOIANOV/FAMEFLYNET PICTURES (HILTON); BRJ/FAMEFLYNET (KARDASHIAN); FAME PICTURES (LOHAN); AAR/FAME PICTURES (PITT); GETTY IMAGES/VETTA (PALM TREE); GETTY IMAGES (CHATEAU MARMONT); SHUTTERSTOCK (HOLLYWOOD); THIS PAGE: TMZ

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But a simple check of L.A. County’s public records reveals that almost none of the homes featured on the tour (simply titled Hollywood Tours) that day have ever been associated with the stars mentioned. A Beverly Hills home said to belong to Jennifer Aniston in fact belongs to Dr. Phil. Kobe Bryant was said to live down the street from Aniston, when in fact Bryant’s three homes can be found in Newport Beach. Lili Bosse, a Beverly Hills city council member, is the actual owner of a home the tour linked to Kim Kardashian. She laughed about it in a conversation with Huffington the day after the tour. “Kim Kardashian has never lived in this home,” she confirmed. “We have tour buses all the time, and the names are constantly changing.

CELEBRITY

I guess Lili Bosse isn’t interesting enough,” she joked. Star tours started appearing in L.A. almost as soon as entertainment industry blossomed in the region, and the tour bus industry’s most recent crop of independent operators all model themselves after Starline, a Hollywood tours juggernaut that has been operating since 1935. Today, dozens of hawkers work on commission on Hollywood Boulevard, selling perpetually discounted tickets for celebrity home tours. For Starline, dominating the industry means occasionally getting blamed for the less scrupulous actions of their scrappy little competitors. While there is no real effort to keep track of which tours lie (confirming the veracity of Hollywood home tours isn’t high on the list of priorities for city officials), many tours were on routes similar to the

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TMZ partnered with Starline in May of 2011 for a tour experience that spotlights celebrities’ most embarrassing moments.


Exit Hollywood Tours one that day. Lori Daniels of Rancho Palos Verdes, Calif., was on board and said she was OK with the deception. “It’s more [about the] ambience of the tour than being 100 percent factual,” she said. But the fundamental dishonesty of this kind of celebrity encounter has left an opening for a new kind of star tour, one that ditches the classic model for one that’s perhaps more authentic — which in today’s world, means it comes with an eye to scandal: The controversial, and cheekily subversive, TMZ Tours. Partnering with industry veteran Starline, TMZ ditches the classic presentation of Hollywood history and fawning appraisals of celebrity homes for a less-than-flattering history of their most embarrassing moments. The tour, Starline’s fastest-growing one, invites passengers to keep a hawk-like vigilance for celebs on the street to approach for photos and impromptu interviews. Tour guides, armed with an iPhone affixed to a massive flash bulb, push the possibility that at any given moment, on this very tour, you, too, could add to their canon of clips. Kathleen and Lisa Dettman, a mother and daughter from St. Joseph, Mich., didn’t spot any celeb-

CELEBRITY

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rities on their tour, but the mere possibility was enough to satisfy. “I wanted the TMZ experience,” Lisa Dettman, 35, told Huffington. “That was the one thing I wanted to do when I was here.” Well-versed in TMZ’s signature snark, tour guides also take on the role of Harvey Levin, the TMZ founder who leads the daily pitch session-turned TV news show. “Did you cry during Kim Kar-

A check of L.A.’s public records reveals that almost none of the homes featured have ever been associated with the stars mentioned.” dashian’s wedding?,” guide Alex Gettlin mocked as the TMZ bus stopped outside the London West Hollywood hotel. “At yourself? Because you’re the loser watching Kim Kardashian’s wedding on TV?” Just when the ribbing gets to be almost too much, Gettlin pulls back. “This is a safe place,” he assured. “We only judge celebrities here.” Right on cue, the bus’s TV monitors show footage of Kardashian getting flour-bombed at the very hotel he’s parked in front


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HUFFINGTON 10.21.12

CELEBRITY

of. “If you were going to do that to a celebrity,” Gettlin quipped, “Wouldn’t you at least use paint or something else that sticks?” The video element is key for TMZ’s tour, billed as a “show on wheels.” Almost every story is accompanied with B-roll or TMZ news coverage of an embarrassing celebrity meltdown, which leaves no questions about the authenticity of the tawdry tidbit. Rolling past the Chateau Marmont, for example, triggers a 911 recording of Josh Hartnett complaining about explosive diarrhea in his hotel room. Where the stars fistfight, where they film their sex tapes, where they trip and fall — that’s where you’ll find the TMZ bus. Celebrity sightings do happen, as it’s a lot more likely to catch

stars living, working or eating in their natural environs instead of in neighborhoods that none of them actually live in. But even without any star sightings that day, Gettlin still managed to deliver the impression that celebrity was just around the corner. At one point, Gettlin called out to a pair of Osteria Mozza workers taking a break on Melrose Avenue, “Any big celebs eat here lately?” Neither of them said a word as they walked back into the restaurant and closed the door behind them. Gettlin insists “paparazzi” isn’t TMZ’s style. “We don’t chase anybody down,” he told Huffington after the tour. “We’re not going to hop off the bus and run down an alley to get a celebrity.” At least not yet, anyway.

5 STOPS ON TMZ’S UNCONVENTIONAL ROUTE El Pollo Loco, Sunset Boulevard & North La Brea Avenue: Brad Pitt worked at this restaurant before being discovered. By day, he dressed as a chicken and danced in front of the store. By night, he drove a limo full of strippers to parties around town.

Sunset Tan, Sunset Boulevard & Alta Loma Road: Paris Hilton once locked herself into one of the rooms of this tanning salon, forcing an employee to climb over a wall to free her. The Body Shop, Sunset Boulevard & North Harper Avenue: A strip club where Courtney

Love worked and Demi Moore trained for the film Striptease. The Grove, Beverly Boulevard & North Fairfax Avenue: Tour plays a clip of actress Cloris Leachman driving off the street and onto the sidewalks of this heavily trafficked outdoor mall.

Chateau Marmont, Sunset Boulevard & Marmont Lane: Classic luxury hotel long associated with celebrities and industry glamour. The tour plays an audio clip of actor Josh Hartnett dialing 911 from his hotel room to complain about his explosive diarrhea.


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STYLE

HUFFINGTON 10.21.12

Porsche Design Moves Into Fashion’s Fast Lane BY DANNY SHEA

HIGH FASHION collection of Bauhaus-inspired clothing may not be what comes to mind when you imagine Porsche Design. But Porsche Design probably isn’t what you think it is, either. The brand, which has always stood for a sort of engineered luxury, designing high-end watches and sunglasses lauded as much for their

A

PHOTOGRAPHS COURTESY OF PORSCHE DESIGN

aesthetic as for their instrumental design, actually has very little— apart from its founder—to do with the car company that shares its name. And now it’s drifting even further away, making a push toward becoming a player in the fashion industry, thanks to newlyinstalled creative director Thomas Steinbruck, a 46-year-old German designer who began his career at

Porsche Design’s Spring 2013 collection represents its first big push into highfashion.


Exit Christian Dior and who joined the company last year from luxury design house Elie Saab. Earning credibility in the fashion world is difficult even without an association with a sports car brand. Many luxury auto companies offer apparel as a branding extension (think: logo-emblazoned Ferrari hats) but none is taken seriously as a real fashion player (or particularly able to avoid a “Eurotrash” connotation). Porsche itself has a “Driver’s Selection” collection of branded apparel for its auto enthusiasts, but Porsche Design—founded in 1972 by Ferdinand Alexander Porsche, designer of the Porsche 911 and grandson of the Porsche founder—is something else entirely. “What attracted me was the challenge to take a design brand with DNA in the automobile industry that then became an industrial design brand and make it a lifestyle brand,” Steinbruck told Huffington. “To start something from scratch, creating fashion where there is no history of fashion, injecting the DNA of the brand into something completely new.” And it’s promising. For his first collection, presented during New York Fashion Week before some of the industry’s leading editors,

STYLE

Steinbruck drew from Bauhaus— the minimalist German design school emphasizing both form and function—updated with modern touches for what he calls “NeoBauhaus.” The architecturallyconstructed collection includes a shift dress made of RawTec, an innovative leather fabric; a mens sports blazer with rubberized zippers more commonly associated

HUFFINGTON 10.21.12

Thomas Steinbruck, 46, was recently installed as creative director at Porsche Design.


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with athletic wear; and the brand’s signature car coats for both men and women, all presented in blacks, greys and dunes, a tonal take on the Bauhaus color block. “I’m always looking for new and innovative materials,” Steinbruck said. “We played the leather like a fabric, and treated it like any other material rather than being afraid of it because it’s leather.” But it doesn’t come cheap. The leather dress, for instance, will retail for upwards of $2,300, with the car coats coming in at just under $1,300. Polo shirts sell for around $200, and the collection’s most expensive piece—a detailed men’s leather field jacket—is priced at more than $2,500.

STYLE

The company recently opened its biggest retail store yet—a 2,700 square-foot boutique in New York’s fashionable Soho district—and plans a major retail expansion, with eyes toward opening hundreds of retail stores worldwide. Women’s shoes and handbags are next, and Steinbruck aims to present the brand’s first runway show at New York Fashion Week next year. “We want to make this brand a key player in the luxury industry for men and women,” he said. “You have a lot of fashion brands but you don’t have a real lifestyle brand out of Germany. We are the only brand in the market, and we see ourselves as the only German luxury lifestyle brand.” Steinbruck’s job now is to make fashion editors, buyers and customers see that as well.

HUFFINGTON 10.21.12

From left to right: asymmetric sports jacket in black ($2200); windbreaker zip in stone ($2500); leather shift dress in dune ($2300).


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APPROVAL

BIANCA BOSKER

HUFFINGTON 10.21.12

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Step Away From The Screen HI THERE. So nice of you to join me. Now that you’re here, there’s something I’d like to discuss. While I don’t want you to put down this issue of Huffington, I imagine that if you’re anything like me and most people I know, you probably spend a tad too much time staring at screens. Agree? Then take a look at these apps to get you off your gadgets.

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Stop and ID the roses. I know you’ll be hiking with your phone one way or another, so might as well make use of it to appreciate your surroundings.

You could answer email. Or you could drop by a meditation group and learn to skateboard thanks to Meetup, which tells you about events taking place near you.

Those without the latest in iDevices can enjoy one of their perks. This voice recognition app lets you talk rather than type so you can stop bumping into things.

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He’s got a really caring heart. He’s in tune with how people feel.”

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GREATEST PERSON OF THE WEEK

Robert Wolniewicz

Little Kid, Big Heart

BY EMMA DIAB

ROBERT WOLNIEWICZ was an expert of sorts on tornadoes. He’d studied their destructive power and prepared an emergency kit for his own family. So last spring when 10-year-old Wolniewicz — who earned a Cub Scout pin for his work on tornadoes — learned about the plight of a baby girl who had lost everything to a twister, he sprung into action. PHOTOGRAPHS BY KEN RICHARDSON

HUFFINGTON 10.21.12


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Fifteen-month-old Angel Babcock was initially found alive in a field in New Pekin, Ind., after a tornado had destroyed her home and killed her parents, little brother and her two-month old sister on March 2, 2012. The baby clung to life for two days until she died that Sunday, and was buried with her family in a pauper’s field. While the baby was still fighting for her life that weekend, Wolniewicz was determined to help her in any way he could after hearing of her survival on the news. “I was thinking… I wanted to give her a gift, and money, and I wanted to let her know that I care for her,” he says. The fact that this little girl had lost everything — her home, her belongings, her family — struck Wolniewicz. He had been displaced from his own home for six months in January of 2010 and lost all of his possessions. In this respect, he was able to empathize. “I kind of felt it… I halfway felt it,” he says, conscientious of the fact that he was lucky to have his family and a home to go back to, eventually.

GREATEST PERSON OF THE WEEK

AWAY FROM HOME Catherine and David Wolniewicz had lived in Danvers, Mass., all their lives — they were even neighbors. Today, the parents of four volunteer extensively in their community and for the various groups and sports teams that fill up their kids’ schedules. The close-knit family managed to keep it all together when an oil leak in their basement forced them from their home for months. Looking back, the oil spill itself was the least of their problems — its consequences — medi-

HUFFINGTON 10.21.12

Wolniewicz earned an “Emergency Preparedness” pin from the Cub Scouts.


Exit cally and monetarily, were what hit the Wolniewiczs the hardest. Catherine and David discovered oil leaking under the floorboards of their basement after a routine oil replacement and cleaning of their unit. To make sure their house was habitable, the company came in and doused their home in chemicals. The kids were ushered to their aunt’s house, but David stayed behind to oversee the workers. One month later, he was in the hospital with chemical pneumonia — his lungs had collapsed. “I wasn’t sure he was going to make it,” says Catherine, recalling with derision the workers who assured David it was safe to stay around the house while they worked. “I found out they weren’t telling me the truth. I had air quality tests done and they came back imminent hazard for occupational [spaces], and we were residential so that was even worse,” she says. David is now disabled with both cognitive and nerve damage. When their house was thoroughly emptied of the toxins, the Wolniewiczs came back to a shell of a home they used to know. All of their belongings were gone. “I had to throw away all their

GREATEST PERSON OF THE WEEK

HUFFINGTON 10.21.12

toys and things like that,” Catherine says. “Everything had to be dumped. Furniture, beds, toys everything.”

HELPING ANGEL When Robert Wolniewicz discovered what had happened to one little girl in Indiana, he remembered his own loss and was inspired to help. “Knowing, being in a position to know what it’s like to be out of your

He’s lucky, he didn’t lose his parents and he got back to his home. But there are so many people who don’t, and he knows that.” home, I think that that’s kind of what inspired him,” his mom says. “I mean he’s lucky, he didn’t lose his parents and he got back to his home. But there are so many people that don’t, and he knows that.” Catherine recalls the first thing he said after the news report. “‘I want to raise money for her because she lost everything. I want to get her a toy,’” he had said. “In his mind,” says Catherine, “he wanted to get her a toy because


Exit he knew ‘that’s what I lost.’” He went to church that Sunday, informing his priest about his idea, and by the time he came back, the fifth grader had plans for starting his own organization, which he named Helping Angel. Angel Babcock passed away that very night in a hospital in Kentucky. “We had to tell him the baby had passed away, and it was hard,” Catherine says. “And then he said, ‘well I still want to raise money for other kids. So that it’s in her name.’”

ROBERT IN ACTION The fifth grader, who is on his school’s basketball, football and lacrosse teams, took initiative to raise money. His father helped him make a website, HelpingAngel.org, and his mother helped him draft a letter to his school’s principal to get the other students to donate to the cause. He placed an old coffee can in the teacher’s lounge for donations and had a table at an open house, raffling off donated tickets to the Globe Trotters. Strangers donated directly to the website, much to his parents’ surprise. “Of all the kids,” says his mom of her children, “he’s got a really car-

GREATEST PERSON OF THE WEEK

ing heart. He’s in tune with how people feel.” Helping Angel is hoping to be sponsored by a national store like Walmart or Home Depot, but the organization needs to pick itself up off the ground before trying for sponsorship. Robert has raised $700 so far, and he hopes to reach $1,000 in order to donate the money directly a family in need. “Five hundred dollars would go a long way for a family in an immediate tragedy, if they need to get a hotel room or that kind of stuff,” Catherine says. “Whatever comes out of it, hopefully he can help families.” The organization is also trying to find Angel’s grandparents, to tell them about Helping Angel and “to say this [Helping Angel] is in honor of this baby and to have their blessing,” Catherine says. “It would be nice to make that connection.”

HUFFINGTON 10.21.12

Wolniewicz started collecting donations with an old coffee container placed in his school.


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THE GILDED AGE

BY GREGORY BEYER

HUFFINGTON 10.21.12

How to Insult a Banker A “THIRD AVENUE GUY” is someone on Wall Street who is not smart enough to work for a company with offices in a more upscale neighborhood, while a “DUFFEL BAG” is a person on Wall Street who is never going to move beyond carrying someone else’s bag.* *FROM THE NEW YORK TIMES

A “JIMINY CRICKET” is someone on Wall Street who is diminuitive and driven by a sense of conscience.

A “SANTA” is someone on Wall Street who actually has to buy Christmas presents for his own kids.

A “COATTAIL” is someone on Wall Street who only got hired because he knew someone already at the firm.

A “STEAMER” is someone on Wall Street who gets fired for ironing the boss’s pants while the boss is wearing the pants. ILLUSTRATIONS BY CHRISTOPH HITZ

A “CRUDE, ILL-NOURISHED FRENCH REVOLUTION-ERA PEASANT” is someone on Wall Street who makes less than $500,000 a year. A “BUMBLE BEE” is someone on Wall Street who sells a toxic mortgage to an unsuspecting client and then immediately dies.

A “DUST BOWL-ERA SOD HOUSE RESIDENT” is someone on Wall Street who lives in a building without a doorman.


TFU

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HUFFINGTON 10.21.12

School Bus Aide

Slams 7-YearOld Boy

SHUTTERSTOCK (BUS, PEANUTS); SAUL LOEB/AFP/GETTYIMAGES (OBAMA); GETTY IMAGES (911); GETTY IMAGES/PHOTO RESEARCHERS RM (LEMUR)

Against Window

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Jason Thompson Says ‘We Have the Opportunity’ to Send Obama Back to Kenya

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CONTAMINATED FOOD KILLING THOUSANDS OF AMERICANS EVERY YEAR

4

Butt Dials Overwhelm 911 Call Centers

25 Primate Species on the Brink of Extinction


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HUFFINGTON 10.21.12

TFU

DAVID BECKER/GETTY IMAGES (ROMNEY); WISCONSIN STATE LEGISLATURE (RIVARD); SHUTTERSTOCK (JEWELRY BOX); DEKALB COUNTY (EDETANLEN); AP PHOTO/MATT YORK (SERVER)

Koch Brothers Send ProRomney Mailing to 50,000 Employees

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Republican Representative Says ‘Some Girls Rape Easy’

8

GERMAN TEEN SELLS MOM’S JEWELS FOR BROTHEL VISIT

9

Dad Justifies Killing Son by Citing Biblical Passage

Woman Denied Job Because She Can’t Fit Into Skirt


Editor-in-Chief:

Arianna Huffington Executive Editor: Timothy L. O’Brien Executive Features Editor: John Montorio Managing Editor: Katy Hall Senior Culture Editor: Gazelle Emami Senior Politics Editor: Sasha Belenky Senior Voices Editor: Stuart Whatley Quoted Editor: MacGregor Thomson Viral Editor: Dean Praetorius Social Editor: Mia Aquino Editorial Assistant: Jenny Macksamie Editorial Intern: Emma Diab Creative Director: Josh Klenert Art Director: Andrea Nasca Photography Director: Anna Dickson Associate Photo Editor: Wendy George Designers: Martin Gee, Gloria Pantell, Troy Dunham Production Director: Peter Niceberg AOL Mobile SVP Mail & Mobile: David Temkin Mobile UX and Design Director: Jeremy LaCroix Product Managers: Mimmie Huang, Luan Tran Developers: Scott Tury, Mike Levine, Carl Haines, Terence Worley, Sudheer Agrawal, Jacob Knobel, Eisuke Arai Tech Leadership: Umesh Rao QA: Scott Basham, Eileen Miller Sales: Mandar Shinde, Jami Lawrence AOL, Inc. Chairman & CEO:

Tim Armstrong

PHOTO OR ILLUSTRATION CREDIT TK


Huffington (Issue #19)