Police are recruiting young drug offenders to become confidential informants on drug cases—with little training and tragic consequences:
According to a confidential deposition from a friend of Hoffman’s, the police made it clear that run-of-the-mill pot busts wouldn’t be sufficient to work off her charges. Instead, the friend said, the cops were looking for large quantities of ‘heroin, cocaine, crack, Ecstasy, guns.’ The Florida State student told her about a young man he’d seen dealing drugs at a car-detailing shop near campus—the man, whom he knew only as Dre, might have access to Ecstasy and cocaine, and possibly more. Hoffman, it turned out, had just had her Volvo worked on by Dre at the same shop, and he had joked about the car’s pungent marijuana smell. Soon, she was wired up and dispatched to the shop, where, using her friend’s connection, she put in a request to Dre’s brother-in-law, Deneilo Bradshaw, to buy a stash of cocaine, fifteen hundred Ecstasy pills, and, as she described it, a ‘small and pretty’ handgun. The order was large, by any standard. She wanted the drugs for friends who would be visiting from Miami, she explained. And the gun? ‘I’m a little Jewish girl,’ she told Bradshaw, as police listened via a surveillance device. ‘I need to be safe.’
By early May, the deal had been arranged. She was to show up with thirteen thousand dollars, and they’d make the swap—at Bradshaw’s parents’ house, in a quiet green neighborhood on the outskirts of Tallahassee. Behind the scenes, the police worked up an Operational and Raid Plan, which involved more than a dozen local and federal agents.
“In the past, it was a style of ball that was three yards and a cloud of dust, so you didn’t see too many of these big hits, because there wasn’t so much space between players,” the Steelers’ Troy Polamalu said. “I mean, with the passing game now, you get four-wide-receiver sets, sometimes five-wide-receiver sets. You get guys coming across the middle, you get zone coverages. You know, there’s more space between these big hits, so there’s more opportunity for these big hits.”
Many politicians have committed indiscretions in earlier years: maybe they had an affair or hired an illegal immigrant as a nanny. Republican Congressman Darrell Issa, it turned out, had, among other things, been indicted for stealing a car, arrested for carrying a concealed weapon, and accused by former associates of burning down a building.
Crying constitution is a minor American art form. “This is my copy of the Constitution,” John Boehner, the Speaker of the House, said at a Tea Party rally in Ohio last year, holding up a pocket-size pamphlet. “And I’m going to stand here with the Founding Fathers, who wrote in the preamble, ‘We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their creator with certain unalienable rights including life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness.’ ” Not to nitpick, but this is not the preamble to the Constitution. It is the second sentence of the Declaration of Independence.
“I realized this was a big deal,” McCoy told me. “You’ve got all the press out there and everybody is liquored up on the moment. You have this Paris, 1944, feel. I remember thinking, The media is watching the Iraqis trying to topple this icon of Saddam Hussein. Let’s give them a hand.”
Steve O’Shea, a marine biologist from New Zealand, is one of the hunters—but his approach is radically different. He is not trying to find a mature giant squid; rather, he is scouring the ocean for a baby, called a paralarva, which he can grow in captivity. This year, he told me, he would venture out during the summer nights of the Southern Hemisphere, when giant squid released their babies. “Come on down, mate,” he said. “We’ll see if we can’t find the bloody thing and make history.”
But now all sorts of well-established, multiply confirmed findings have started to look increasingly uncertain. It’s as if our facts were losing their truth: claims that have been enshrined in textbooks are suddenly unprovable. This phenomenon doesn’t yet have an official name, but it’s occurring across a wide range of fields, from psychology to ecology. In the field of medicine, the phenomenon seems extremely widespread, affecting not only antipsychotics but also therapies ranging from cardiac stents to Vitamin E and antidepressants.
“According to Ioannidis, the main problem is that too many researchers engage in what he calls ‘significance chasing,’ or finding ways to interpret the data so that it passes the statistical test of significance—the ninety-five-per-cent boundary invented by Ronald Fisher. ‘The scientists are so eager to pass this magical test that they start playing around with the numbers, trying to find anything that seems worthy,’ Ioannidis says. In recent years, Ioannidis has become increasingly blunt about the pervasiveness of the problem. One of his most cited papers has a deliberately provocative title: ‘Why Most Published Research Findings Are False.’”