On Thursday, big-lie-promoting, no-hope candidate for NY Governor Rep Lee Zeldin (R-NY-1) was attacked by a drunk Iraq war veteran wielding a weapon similar to the one pictured above. The attack occurred in Fairport, a suburb of Rochester, and Zeldin was not injured. The attacker was arrested, charged and released on Friday. His release occurred because the Monroe County (Rochester) District Attorney’s office did not charge the attacker with a violent assault. Under New York’s bail reform laws, non-violent felonies are not subject to bail.
It just so happens that the Monroe County DA, Sandra Doorley, is Lee Zeldin’s campaign chair, and bail reform is seen as a winning issue by Republicans (here’s Zeldin making noise about that, post-attack, in a CNN article). Luckily for the course of justice, Zeldin’s attacker was arrested by feds on Saturday and charged with assaulting a member of Congress with a dangerous weapon, which carries a maximum ten year penalty. The attacker is currently in federal custody.
Doorley began her career as DA as a Democrat, but switched parties for her second run. At the time, Monroe County was seen as a Republican stronghold, but we’ve since elected a Democrat as County Executive and made inroads on the County Legislature.
Steve M thinks the whole thing was a false flag operation instigated by the Zeldin campaign, and points to Zeldin’s election denial and also his campaign’s filing of doctored petitions to get on the Independence Party lines as evidence that he’s the type who would do it. So far, the attacker claims that he didn’t know who Zeldin was, that he was drinking, and he thought Zeldin was insulting veterans. So I’m not going to claim a conspiracy, yet, but I sure think that Zeldin, Doorley and Monroe County Sheriff Todd Baxter (who’s making a big stink about bail reform) seized an opportunity. Zeldin basically has no chance against Kathy Hochul, but I hope this causes a big enough stink to hurt Doorley and Baxter in the next election.
A boy can dream
ETA: What clever nickname would you like today, mistermix?
IOKIYAR. Lazy journos–“Local story/GOP cheats bigly, so nu?/dog bites man/Hochul=winnah=2016 redux.”
I await eagerly the outpouring of breathless stories and outraged commentary in the MSM about Republican corruption of law enforcement.
MTP is now on and Chuck finally has a politician on the mat–oops it’s Luria! After the break our GOP panel will show her the dawn of correction.
@oatler: What’s he doing to her? Asking her if Biden took tylenol?
Seems like pretty much of a layup for Hochul on this particular event/issue. “If Zeldin’s campaign chair is so concerned about bail reform, why did she fail to charge his attacker with an obviously violent attack? New Yorkers don’t deserve to have the system gamed the way Zeldin and his campaign staff are clearly doing.”
The Moar You Know
Absolutely a false flag op. If the “attacker” had really wanted to hurt him, he could have. That was staged AF.
@The Moar You Know:
If the feds have him now, hopefully he’ll squeal.
OpenThread? Science.org – What if the consensus that plaques cause Alzheimer’s disease is based on fraudulent images?:
Worth a click.
It’s important to remember that all scientific findings and explanations are tentative and subject to revision. No story is complete when it is first reported, and all important results need to be checked carefully because, even if you’re not intentionally shading the evidence, as Feynman put it, “the first principle is that you must not fool yourself and you are the easiest person to fool.”
That’s why I stick to religion.
@Baud: Church of Baud?
Could poke (someone’s) eye out.
I was a bit … ahhhh, flabbergasted yesterday when people across the spectrum began pooh-poohing “oh, it’s just a plastic cat keychain!” No, it’s a sharp object, two of them. Could poke someone’s eye out. Adam’s Apple.
Otherwise agree with Steve … it’s a false-flag
hells littlest angel
I don’t think it was staged, but Lee Zeldin (Was he named after famous loser Robert E Lee? Could be!) certainly exploited it for all it was worth. Which is not much.
First Church of Baud.
The others are heretics.
hells littlest angel
@Ten Bears: Maybe he was one of those special forces guys trained to kill with an ordinary key ring.
hells littlest angel
Orthodox or Reformed?
@Another Scott: Thanks for posting this. I read that article a few days ago. Since my mother died of Alzheimer’s and I had a front row seat to her steady decline, I read most of the articles that are posted with new studies and discoveries.
I read so many of them and I do take them with a grain of salt, especially the ones that are re-posted in the mainstream news sites with NEW DISCOVERY!!! headlines. But this one really did concern me and upset me. If true, there are now years of research and medications that were targeting the wrong thing. No wonder most of the medications don’t actually help.
If it’s a false flag does the guy become collateral damage in the Republican war on everything they hate, sitting in a federal prison?
Three time zones away NY state politics seem even weirder than California’s.
@Ten Bears: This looks like a dual use keychain, something designed to rake across an assailant’s face before escaping. Seems like something a woman would carry against the prospect of being attacked at her car.
It looks like a fairly safe weapon for a staged attack, though. In the one photo I saw the attacker looked half hearted at most. It seems like a silly stunt to stage, but Republicans are doing a lot of stupid stuff these days. Maybe reporters will develop more information about the authenticity of this “attack.”
Very important point. It is also important to point out that academic science today has some similarity to a pyramid scheme that is starting to collapse. Grants are VERY competitive and there is intense pressure to get “cool” results published in prestigious journals. Unfortunately there is very little pressure to make sure the results are solid. There is also very little interest in funding studies to replicate important research and those studies won’t ever get published in the prestigious journals. There is increasing concern that too much of the literature contains unreproducible results (for example). There have been some studies from drug companies (for example) that show that much less than half of published work that might be used as a basis for drug development can be reproduced. There are serious structural problems in science and this is just one example
@trollhattan: The thing about New York politics is, New York City is one of the oldest, most diverse cities in the country – which means its various power centers are also among the oldest and most diverse.
NYC strikes me as in many ways a medieval place, in terms of what the power centers are, how they developed, and how they interact. Like the powerful Guilds in Europe – or the city-states of Italy during the Renaissance. A lot of sub rosa bargaining and generations-old territorialism.
The rest of the state isn’t like that, SFAIK. But NYC is the center of gravity and affects everything else in the state.
Note: I am not a New Yorker, and have only been in the City once, for two days. My impressions are wholly formed from reading the news over the last few decades.
If the Cat with the black cat had been Black and got out on bail …
I waded into a discussion about no-cash bail on NextDoor. It’s going to be implemented here in Chicago in 2023 and some people are quite shrill about it. I pointed out that other cities that have no-cash bail systems did not see a rise in crime. Plus, all it does it penalize poor people. I was immediately accused of coddling violent carjackers. So that went well. Anyhoo, what that DA in Monroe County did was highly suspect. If it wasn’t false flag, then it was taking massive advantage of the situation.
He wrote that he was a medical laboratory technician in the U.S. Army from 2007 to 2012,
@PAM Dirac: This is precisely why I left science when I did. It reached a point where only superstars and cronies were funded, and even those were pressured to just make shit up to keep the money flowing. I was never a part of that club, so I never got so much as a job offer.
Anonymous At Work
@PAM Dirac: Bodies are really complicated, and the potential payoff in a patented new drug is so astronomical that the incentives are overwhelmingly in the “be optimistic and make it work” side. Without changing the incentives, it’s really hard to change the outcomes.
But as you say, it’s the same outside of medicine. High-powered science and engineering is expensive and time consuming and while funding agencies understand that failure is part of the process of doing new research, success (or at least significant progress and a path forward) is ultimately required for continuing support. Only governments can and will fund research to verify results, and it needs to be done. It could be a way to broaden the research base also too – new programs would have to be independent teams that do blind verification of methods and results, somehow…
So you don’t want the offerings from the Second Church of Baud?
@Anonymous At Work: PTSD for a medical laboratory technician? Right
@Baud: And what do Baudists believe?
The Reformed Second Church of Baud, now those are some messed up folks.
I saw this via Jen Gunter’s Twitter: https://goodscienceproject.org/articles/essay-rachael-neve/
Now maybe this essay contains a dash of sour grapes but I remember many hints along the way that Alzheimer’s research wasn’t showing the desired results.
At least now the research can get a fresh start.
@Ten Bears: Yeah, it definitely looks more dangerous than holding one’s keys to claw an attacker.
West of the Rockies
Republicans adore being victims. It’s no less than a psycho-sexual fixation. The more things rammed down their throats (or up their wazoo’s), the better.
West of the Rockies
There would be much catterwalling.
@J.: No Pants, no sleeves that we don’t need,
And Acapulco Gold is bada*ss weed!
West of the Rockies
What are you doing now (work-wise)? I recall you previously voicing frustration with the absurdity of the job search.
Old Dan and Little Ann
I can’t find any evidence of Doorley being Zeldin’s campaign manager other than random people just claiming it on the internet. If anyone can link something official I’d like to see it. I’ve been looking for 10 minutes. No dice.
Unlike much of Europe, California’s summer fire season has been quiet. That’s changing, the latest being the Oak Fire, adjacent to Yosemite, which has gone from nothing to 14,000 acres in about a day, with 0 containment.
Unfortunately success is too much defined by getting published and getting grants rather than generating solid, verifiable results. Kind of like media defining good journalism as what gets clicks instead of what is informative.
True, but politically it is very hard to do. With grants so hard to come by, any move to spend government research money on anything but investigator initiated grants is vehemently opposed by academic institutions. And even if the government gives grants to verify results, those studies will never lead to “important” publications and won’t advance the careers of those that do the work. In addition a considerable number of researchers, institutions, and journals really don’t want to be subject to that type of review and will tend to deny and deflect rather than meet the problem head on. The problem is there aren’t a lot of incentives to do science the way it is idealistically defined but there are too many people who succeed in the present system that don’t want it to change.
@Ohio Mom: Thanks for the pointer. She has a right to be bitter. There’s a saying in computer science from the great Donald Knuth – “premature optimization is the root of all evil”. It’s a good mantra in other areas of research too. (IOW, don’t eliminate other explanations, approaches, methods, areas of inquiry, too early.)
Here’s hoping that people are taking the right lessons to heart. It’s a never-ending battle.
@hells littlest angel:
From my personal experience in over 40 years working at NIH, the only thing that she says that doesn’t ring true is her blaming it on the NIH officials. She doesn’t realize how little the NIH staff is constrained by the peer review results and how incredibly nasty it gets when the grants awards don’t match the peer review scores exactly. And the peer reviewers are the people that hated her. I’d also say that it doesn’t surprise me in the least how badly the one faction wanted to suppress the other faction. The money is so limited that even the smallest amount of money that doesn’t go into their pockets is worth fighting over.
Anyone with any decent training in unarmed h2h combat would not use such as a weapon.
@Another Scott: I don’t think “Photoshop your images to show the results you want” is what Feynman meant by “fool yourself”.
I will be watching for Derek Lowe’s take on this, he has been a plaque skeptic for years — basically because none of the drug candidates targeting that have ever worked.
In the only video of the actual “attack” I saw, the “attacker” seemed to simply be reaching for the candidate’s microphone. Not something he should be doing, but hardly an attack. Unless there was more to it, no attack. The rest, the charges picked by the chair of the “attacked” candidate’s campaign, seems suspect as well, but let’s start with questioning whether it was an attack even if he did wear a cat-ear keyring while reaching for a microphone.
Another one of the high prices we pay for such a screwed up system. Lots of good people get pushed out just because they want to do science the way it is idealistically defined. I was lucky enough to get a government job where I was specifically tasked to help researchers from government, academics, and industry. It’s a broad generalization that is by no means universally true, but I would trust industry scientists far, far more than academics.
Ella in New Mexico
Uh, until we hear ANY evidence at all that the guy was hired by Zeldin’s campaign no one on our side should be waiving the RW “false flag” stuff.
Bad enough when they do it for mass murders or the 10 year old having to go to another state to get an abortion, we don’t need to copy the kooks.
I meant to say how MUCH they are constrained and how little power they have to fight against the bigwigs in a field.
Old Dan and Little Ann
@Old Dan and Little Ann: Found something. https://zeldinfornewyork.com/2022/04/27/congressman-lee-zeldin-announces-campaign-co-chairs/
Re: drug studies
One the few continuing education programs I attended over the years for my profession (mental health) was given by a semi-retired psychiatrist. It was supposed to be an update on current psychiatric medications. Instead, he spend quite a few of the 6 hours quietly explaining about the sad state of drug studies in the US and the pressure that all the researchers have to get the grants for their departments. He told us that we will likely never hear it publicly but it was common for the researchers to sign contracts ahead of the grants that give the pharmaceutical company the exclusive rights to publish the results. So many studies that showed poor results or adverse effects were never released. And then he suggested (knew?) that there was a growing pressure for the researchers to hide adverse effects or risk losing grant money in the future. This was probably 15 years ago or more.
What I did learn for my practice that day was to study each and every medication my patients were on to see if some of the symptom complaints they were having that seemed psychiatric, were actually adverse effects of the (many!) medications their psychiatrist had prescribed.
@Baud: I’m reminded of a saying that I recall hearing repeated in some popular movies, that “when science has ascended to the summit of the great mountain of Truth, it will find that religion has been sitting there all along.”
And I remember thinking “well, that would be a nice dramatic irony and in some ways emotionally satisfying if it were true… but what kind of mindset does it take to just assert that, and believe it? And which specific religion are we talking about?”
I tend to think that the varieties of inquiry where religion seems to be most useful, to the extent where it is useful, are the ones science doesn’t really have a bead on in the first place. Where science and religion make direct statements on the same topic, religion tends not to come out looking good.
@Old Dan and Little Ann: He claims to be the youngest New York Attorney at age 23. That just means he went directly from college to Law School and passed the bar the first time he took the bar exam. Sidney Powell was a lawyer at a much younger age.
This sounds like a returned veteran dealing with PTSD with alcohol/substance abuse. I hope he can get the treatment he needs instead of sending him away to jail. It feels to uncoordinated and unproductive to be a false flag.
Anonymous At Work
@raven: I can’t find where I read about the attacker’s background but I thought it was a vet with PTSD and substance abuse, et alia.
I do remember the substance abuse and relapse part. So, I think it’s weird but not sold on false flag without direct evidence of such.
I don’t know what a Medical Lab Specialist has to do either way. For a basic science college grad, it’s not an uncommon job that is basic lab skills and may not involve dealing with people much. They typically aren’t cutting-edge science people so much as auto-mechanics-for-viscera.
Everything about this “attack” gives off the same vibe as the girl with the backwards B carved on her face.
@Ella in New Mexico: If this was a set up I think local journalists will get to the bottom of it. The one picture I saw did look a little off to me, but there is certainly no shortage of unbalanced people out there who might do something like this unprompted. The guy will have a lawyer, so more could come out at sentencing (assuming he takes a plea).
West of the Rockies
That’s a precursor to the religious Republican view today. “I have faith, I don’t need no stupid science. I’m extra-special and way smarter for seeing advanced education is bogus!”
Doesn’t have to be a false flag to be abused by Zeldin’s DA campaign manager, jus sayin…
@Another Scott: The way people get funding and their Ph.D.s is broken. Everything is designed to reward novel research. Nothing is designed to support people confirming earlier results. We need to value replicability so we don’t end up with more replicability crises
I agree with what @Pam Dirac said.
@Starfish: I found some of the references that I’d been looking for. I like to give links to “In the Pipeline” because usually the discussion is quite informative.
the problem in a nutshell. One of the people trying to get a handle on how bad the reproducibility problem is talking to a researcher whose work couldn’t be reproduced:
How many new drug targets are even real
Note that this was published in 2011. As I said, this problem has been recognized for a while, but there are too many people with a vested interest in not paying attention.
ETA: I think this comment in the second link is a good summary:
@Another Scott: I read that article. It was something.
I didn’t work at that level, but I do remember the ache when some hypothesis I swore was The One didn’t pan out because data. It can be hard to let go. Add in the egos of some folks at that level of accomplishment and visibility and you have a recipe for shenanigans.
Looked fakety fake. Even The Post cover pic looked more like an overly eager bro greet than an attack.
Hochul immediately condemned. As did Mr.Biden. No room for Zeldin to milk. Not that he won’t try.
There are medications that help?
My dad had Alzheimers, the first indications were seen 15 yrs before he died, but it wasn’t seen/known as Alzheimers dementia for about 5 more years.
“Very important point. It is also important to point out that academic science today has some similarity to a pyramid scheme that is starting to collapse. Grants are VERY competitive and there is intense pressure to get “cool” results published in prestigious journals.”
I think it’s been this way for quite a while. But I also see that writing a paper about something that the person would have almost zero realities of having any kind of ability to prove – no lab, no money for the actual research, would almost always be more of a story about the person’s ability to possibly think outside the box. I see the real problem is monetary. One wants to be a scientist, maybe find an answer that has eluded others, in today’s world that takes money, often a fair amount of money, the kind of money that places like a pharmaceutical company might spend because it could possibly come up with a new, breakthrough medication to sell. A paper like that could easily be published, to burnish the reputation of a school, which might bring them more money to build and hire and enhance their reputation. IOW is it all about the money rather than the science?
The DA works for a campaign? Doesn’t that seem kinda bad? How is that even allowed?
@Ten Bears: That particular keychain is sold as a defensive weapon; I know a young woman who works in downtown Portland and is often closing at her place of employment and walking home after dark. She showed it to me; it’s definitely a weapon with sharp points (ears). It’s not plastic, it’s aluminium.
@Jesse: I think the DA is an elected official and they have a lot of latitude in this area. The DA may be one of several campaign chairs holding a mostly honorary position. Local media should have reporting on that and other aspects of this affair.
@StringOnAStick: The eyes are for putting your fingers through so you have a solid grip on it. A strong punch with it properly held as designed will make two deep puncture wounds, it could kill someone if you hit them in the neck in the right spot. It’s not a cuddly toy keychain. My understanding is that brass knuckles are illegal in some jurisdictions, and this keychain is a lot more effective than those are.
Pretty much, although maybe not a crassly as you might think. As you say, it takes money to do research. When you have to work so hard to find the money, it gets easier and easier to convince yourself that cutting a corner here or dodging some regulations there are justified to keep this important research going. The “easy to fool yourself” from Feynman’s saying doesn’t just apply to data analysis. As long as the rewards go to the best stories without much regard for the underlying reality, what is produced will be more story than reality.
If a Dem candidate were attacked like this, what would our reaction be?
@PAM Dirac: This does not fully match my experience as an Academic, proposal writer, and NSF, EPA and DOE peer reviewer. Generally the funding is very competitive, but I have never had any pressure to decide a certain way in my reviews nor on panel reviews. Except for one paper 10 years ago, I’ve never had any research get big acclaim, but I still have $100k to $500k per year in research funding for the last 20 years.
Also, I have had bad experiences with corporate researchers. Once, one of my colleagues found a foreign corporate researcher hawking our technology, even using figures from our previous years presentation. Another time, some corporate researchers, whose new products we were investigating, would say to our face that it didn’t matter to them, but behind our backs they were bad mouthing our ability and methods and kept the research out of the literature for a year. The end result was a National Board study that vindicated us in every way. Also, I remember a corporation buying a journal at Elsevier and basically bypassing real peer review to print their positive articles in a journal giving the results more power. So, I don’t trust corporate research at all
Could be a stupid drunk acting out, or a clever false flag.
As with any story involving Republicans, there is a fine line between clever and stupid.