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What is the difference between addiction and compulsion? The explanation now given is but one so therefore, is sure to check others. In this article, compulsion and habituation are considered synonymous. The classic definition of compulsion is the drive to continuously repeat a certain behavior like combing one’s hair.
Addiction generally means that the stimuli are a chemical of some kind like heroin. Although there can be a few that can limit their usage, most find that as the chemical increases in their system they build a tolerance so they need more and more. The drug be it chemical, pill, or smoke keeps a person wanting more. If they should withdraw, they suffer. They are addicted. Additionally, some can become more addicted quickly than others. This is probably due to genetics, environment or both.
Compulsion means that an individual sees something or learns something that is generally dangerous to themselves or others. Compulsions can be less visible. Watching hardcore pornography is habituating. That means there is withdrawal from organic chemicals or an imbalance in bio- chemicals that particularly due to the loss of seeing the movies. Many things that are not visibly inculcated into one’s system are more likely to become compulsions. You don’t over dose on porn, but you become very irritable and withdrawn. It can ruin your life. Compulsions are due to again genetics, environment or both.
Both addiction and compulsion are diseases. Why? Some become much more vulnerable to both than others. This vulnerability means that contact is likely to end with hospitalization. The disease aspect means the level of defense against the above is quite low. There are some addictions and compulsions that just are “catching” to some and not to others. The bio-chemical, cognitive imbalance and crimnogenic environments are the outer stimuli. The internal defense is the internal trigger.
Although both drug and porn terms and related have woven themselves into our culture, they are serious, and in some instances kill. Now check the other position that indicates that the topic discussed is generally a rational choice made from a psychological and sociological calculus.
Prof. Joel C. Snell



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NIH Research Matters
July 25, 2011
The Benefits of Being a Beta Male

Male baboon. Jeanne Altmann, Princeton University.
In male baboons, a higher social rank generally brings higher testosterone and lower stress hormone levels. But according to a new study, the highest-ranked (alpha) males have higher stress levels than the second-ranking (beta) males. The finding suggests that life at the very top can be more costly than previously thought.
Past studies have yielded conflicting results about the benefits of being an alpha male. A high social rank clearly has advantages in many animal societies. Alpha males, for example, have first choice of food and father the most offspring. But attaining and maintaining a high rank also brings conflict and stress, and stress can take both a mental and physical toll. Long-term exposure to high levels of stress hormones can suppress immune function and lead to cardiovascular problems like hypertension, coronary heart disease and stroke.
For 4 decades, a research team led by Dr. Jeanne Altmann at Princeton University, now along with Dr. Susan Alberts at Duke University, has been investigating the costs and benefits of social hierarchy among baboons in the Amboseli Basin in Kenya. The researchers have been collecting weather, life-history and behavioral data. They’ve also been collecting fecal samples since late 1999. The effort is unique in its ability to follow individuals through social hierarchy changes over time.
For their latest report, the researchers examined hormone levels in over 4,500 fecal samples from 125 males over a period of 9 years. They tested for metabolites of testosterone and the stress hormone glucocorticoid and compared these hormone levels with the animals’ social rank. Their work was funded by NIH’s National Institute on Aging (NIA) and National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH), along with the National Science Foundation.
The team reported in the July 15, 2011, issue of Science that high-ranking males generally had higher testosterone and lower glucocorticoid levels than other males. But there was one notable exception: Alpha males had much higher levels of glucocorticoid than beta males. This was true both when the social hierarchy was stable and when it was undergoing changes.
The researchers looked for differences that might account for the finding. Alpha and beta males were challenged by lower-ranking males at similar rates. They also received similar rates of grooming from adult females. But alpha males spent significantly more energy guarding fertile females. They also spent more energy displaying threatening, aggressive behavior toward other males to retain their alpha status.
In any given group, alpha and beta males do most of the mating and father most of the offspring. But this study yielded a surprising downside to being the alpha male. The insight will have implications for future studies of how social hierarchies influence health and wellness.
“Baboons are not only genetically closely related to humans, but like humans they live in highly complex societies,” says lead author Dr. Laurence Gesquiere of Princeton. “An important insight from our study is that the top position in some animal — and possibly human — societies has unique costs and benefits associated with it, ones that may persist both when social orders experience some major perturbations as well as when they are stable.”
— by Harrison Wein, Ph.D.
Related Links
Understanding Resilience to Stress
Brain Responds to Changes in Social Standing
Stressed Out? Stress Affects Both Body and Mind
Amboseli Baboon Research Project
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This November is the Wikipedia Asian Month. Come join us.

Baker-Miller pink
From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
  (Redirected from Baker-Miller Pink)
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Baker-Miller Pink

    Color coordinates
Hex triplet
sRGBB  (r, g, b)
(255, 145, 175)
CMYKH   (c, m, y, k)
(0, 43, 31, 0)
HSV       (h, s, v)
(344°, 43%, 100[1]%)
B: Normalized to [0–255] (byte)
H: Normalized to [0–100] (hundred)
Baker-Miller Pink is a tone of pink claimed to reduce hostile, violent or aggressive behavior.
The color is also known as P-618 , Schauss pink, or Drunk-Tank Pink.[2] and was originally created by mixing one gallon (3.78 L) of pure white indoor latex paint with one pint of red (0.473 L) trim semi-gloss outdoor paint.[3]
Alexander Schauss did extensive research into the effects of the color on emotions at the Naval Correctional Facility in Seattle, and named it after the institute directors, Baker and Miller.
It has the RGB code: R:255, G:145, B: 175.

Contents  [hide] 
Facilities painted
In culture
See also


Baker-Miller Pink (#FF91AF)
In the late 1960s, Alexander Schauss, who now operates the American Institute for Biosocial Research in Tacoma, Washington, did studies on psychological and physiological responses to the color pink. Schauss had read studies by the Swiss psychiatrist Max Luscher, who believed that color preferences provided clues about one’s personality. Luscher noticed that color preferences shifted according to psychological and physiological fluctuations in his patients. Luscher asserted that color choice reflects emotional states. He theorized that one’s color choices reflect corresponding changes in the endocrine system, which produces hormones. Schauss then postulated that the reverse might also be true; color might cause emotional and hormonal changes, and various wavelengths of light trigger could trigger profound and measurable responses in the endocrine system.
In early tests in 1978, Schauss observed that color, surprisingly, did affect muscle strength, either invigorating or enervating the subject, and even influenced the cardiovascular system. Schauss began to experiment on himself, with the help of his research assistant John Ott. Amazingly, he discovered that a particular shade of pink had the most profound effect. He labeled this tone of pink P-618. Schauss noted that by merely staring at an 18 × 24 inch card printed with this color, especially after exercising, there would result “a marked effect on lowering the heart rate, pulse and respiration as compared to other colors.”
In 1979, Schauss managed to convince the directors of a Naval correctional institute in Seattle, Washington to paint some prison confinement cells pink in order to determine the effects this might have on prisoners. Schauss named the color after the Naval correctional institute directors, Baker and Miller. Baker-Miller Pink is now the official name of the paint whose color has the following RGB code: R: 255, G: 145, B: 175.
At the correctional facility, the rates of assault before and after the interior was painted pink were monitored. According to the Navy’s report, “Since the initiation of this procedure on 1 March 1979, there have been no incidents of erratic or hostile behavior during the initial phase of confinement”. Only fifteen minutes of exposure was enough to ensure that the potential for violent or aggressive behavior had been reduced, the report observed.[4]
Facilities painted[edit]
Baker-Miller pink rooms at the Naval Correctional facility in Seattle, WA beginning in 1979
Santa Clara County jail
California VA psychiatric hospital
San Bernardino youth clinic
Bold Tendencies in Peckham, London
Results of a controlled study by James E. Gilliam and David Unruh conflicted with Baker-Miller Pink’s purported effect of lowering heart rate and strength.[5] While the results of Schauss’s study at the Naval correctional facility in Seattle showed that Baker-Miller pink had positive and calming effect on prisoners, when the same pink was utilized at the Santa Clara County Jail, the prison incidence rate increased and even peaked compared to pre-pink months, albeit a small decrease in the first month.[6]
In culture[edit]
The band Bakers Pink is named after the Baker-Miller pink phenomenon.
A 2013 book, entitled Drunk Tank Pink, is named for the color. Written by Adam Alter, a professor of marketing and psychology at New York University’s Stern School of Business, the book describes how features of the environment—including colors—shape how people think, feel, and behave.[7]
The Chicago-based, James Beard Foundation Award-nominated Baker Miller Bakery & Millhouse purposely incorporated Baker-Miller pink into its restaurant decor and menu items.[8]
See also[edit]
List of colors
Shades of pink
Shades of magenta
Jump up
^ web.forret.com Color Conversion Tool set to hex code #FF91AF (Baker-Miller Pink):
Jump up
^ “Colors” by David Byrne Cabinet Magazine:
Jump up
^ “The Effects of Baker-Miller Pink on Biological, Physical and Cognitive Behaviour” by James E. Gilliam and David Unruh
Jump up
^ “Colors” by David Byrne Cabinet Magazine:
Jump up
^ “The Effects of Baker-Miller Pink on Biological, Physical and Cognitive Behaviour” by James E. Gilliam and David Unruh
Jump up
^ http://orthomolecular.org/library/jom/1981/pdf/1981-v10n03-p174.pdf
Jump up
^ Alter, Adam. “Drunk Tank Pink”. Retrieved 24 September 2013.
Jump up
^ Wetli, Patty. “Baker Miller Hid A Secret In Plain Sight; Kendall Jenner Led Us To It”. DNAinfo. Archived from the original on 4 February 2017. Retrieved 3 February 2017.
Shades of pink
Shades of magenta
Color topics
Categories: Shades of pinkShades of magenta

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David Cassidy, ‘Partridge Family’ Star, Dies at 67

Pat Saperstein
8 hrs ago

Song lyrics inspired by celebrity breakups

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David Cassidy Dead at 67 After Suffering Organ Failure

Video by US Weekly

David Cassidy, pop culture idol of the 1970s, died Tuesday in a Florida hospital. The musician and actor was 67.
His publicist JoAnn Geffen confirmed his death, with a statement from his family. “On behalf of the entire Cassidy family, it is with great sadness that we announce the passing of our father, our uncle, and our dear brother, David Cassidy. David died surrounded by those he loved, with joy in his heart and free from the pain that had gripped him for so long. Thank you for the abundance and support you have shown him these many years.”
He had been hospitalized for several days with organ failure. Cassidy announced his diagnosis with dementia in early 2017. He performed at the B.B. King Blues Club & Grill in New York in March, talking about his dementia, and said his arthritis made playing guitar an ordeal.
With pretty-boy good looks and a long mane of dark hair, Cassidy was one every girl’s favorite teen crush in the early 1970s and drew screaming crowds at concert appearances. David Cassidy was part of a showbusiness family that included his father, Tony-winning actor Jack Cassidy, stepmother Shirley Jones, half-brother Shaun Cassidy and daughter, actress Katie Cassidy.
Raised in New Jersey, Cassidy moved to Los Angeles in 1969 after starring in a Broadway musical that closed after only four performances. In 1970, after signing with Universal, Cassidy took on the role of older brother Keith Partridge in “The Partridge Family.” Keith was the son of Shirley Partridge, who was played by Jones.
The ABC sitcom was loosely based on real-life family musical act the Cowsills, and ran from 1970 to 1974. The show became popular for its squeaky queen portrayal of life on the road as a family rock band in a brightly painted bus. In addition to Cassidy and Jones, “The Partridge Family” starred Susan Dey, Danny Bonaduce and Suzanne Crough as the family’s other children, and Dave Madden as manager Ruben Kincaid.

© Provided by Variety
Cassidy and Jones were the only cast members who were allowed to actually sing; the other kids lip-synced, while the Wrecking Crew provided musical backup. Theme song “C’mon Get Happy” became one of TV’s most enduring songs, and helped launch Cassidy’s musical career.
After the singles “I Think I Love You” and “Cherish” took off, Cassidy began working on solo albums as well. He regularly sold out stadiums, leading to commentators to coin the phrase “Cassidymania.” Several of his shows resulted in riots or mass hysteria, including one notable 1974 performance in Australia, which garnered calls for Cassidy to be deported from the country.
At a 1974 London concert, nearly 800 people were injured in a stampede at a Cassidy concert, and one teenage girl died a few days later. He stopped touring and acting soon after, concentrating on recording, and had a hit with “I Write the Songs” before Barry Manilow made it part of his act.
In musical theater, he performed in “Little Johnny Jones,” “Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat,” “Time” and “Blood Brothers” and created the Vegas shows “The Rat Pack is Back” and “At the Copa.”
Cassidy was Emmy nominated for a guest role on a “Police Story” episode “A Chance to Live.” NBC based the series “David Cassidy – Man Undercover” on the segment, but it lasted just one season. He also made guest appearances on shows including “Fantasy Island,” “The Love Boat” and “Tales of the Unexpected.”
In the decades that followed, Cassidy continued to perform in Las Vegas and tour. At later shows, Cassidy was known for participating in Q&A sessions at his concerts. He also played the manager of Aaron Carter’s character in the 2005 film “Popstar” and starred with half-brother Patrick in “Ruby and the Rockits,” created by his half-brother Shaun.
But he struggled with achieving his peak fame early in life, dealing with alcoholism and being arrested several times for DUIs. He filed for bankruptcy in 2015.
He is survived by half-brothers Shaun Cassidy, actors Patrick and Ryan; daughter Katie Cassidy and son, actor Beau Cassidy.
Related slideshow: David Cassidy: Life in pictures (Provided by Photo Services)

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Best known as Keith Partridge from the hit ’70s musical sitcom “The Partridge Family,” David Cassidy was arguably one of the most popular teen idols and pop singers of the era. Cassidy died from organ failure on Nov. 21, 2017, in Fort Lauderdale, Florida, at age 67. We look back at some of the biggest milestones of his life and career.

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Elite Daily

The Alpha Male & Beta Male
By Anna Madsen
Mar 1 2012

The Alpha and Beta-principle categorizes men into two distinct groups depending on their social traits not only in a group, but also towards the opposite sex. Just like their names suggest, taken from the Greek alphabet, they illustrate a certain hierarchy. For a long time, Alpha has been said to be better than Beta, as he is supposedly physically superior and possesses higher Testosterone levels.
However, more than a decade into the 21st century, one might argue that those traits are no longer needed, when we can access both gyms and Viagra. Before we pick a side though, let’s get clear on definitions. For the gentlemen, here’s a guide serving to identify yourselves. For the ladies, let’s see what the market offers and who to target.
For starters, the alpha-male is most likely to be the Elite Daily reader and the beta-male is the non-Elite Daily reader.
The Alpha-Male: consists of the greatest part of the male population. According to scientists, one possible explanation is that during Stone Age, the men who were most successful during the hunt for food, were physically strong, had a high amount of testosterone and an aggressive behavior (Alpha-traits) which gave them a greater chance of surviving. Basically Darwinism and the “Survival of the fittest”. In the animal kingdom, Alpha gets to be the first to pick the female in the group (sometimes he has the right to all females). He runs the pack and makes the calls. When speaking of humans, the traits are there as well but more subtle; Alphas have a strong self-esteem, work in top positions and get to date the most desirable girls.

Alpha Star-signs: Leo, Scorpio, Aquarius, Sagittarius, Taurus, Capricorn, Libra, Gemini
Alpha-male quote:
“I’m gonna tear his eyeballs out and I’m gonna suck his fucking skull”. Gordon Gekko
Famous Alphas: James Bond, Ari Gold, Bill Clinton, Gordon Gekko, Patrick Bateman, Tiger Woods, Kobe Bryant
Alpha-animals: Lion, Gorilla, Shark
Alpha-Song: Anything Jay-Z
Alpha-Male Pros: Alpha males see it their duty to serve and protect, therefore a woman will at least have the perception of being safe. The Alpha-male wants to provide and is ideally looking for a “house-wife”. Because of their high amount of Testosterone, they focus on feminine women to create a balance. Alphas take initiative. They pick up the bill and love to sweep women off their feet. Alphas prioritize physical strength, and go to the gym, which make them always be in good shape. They tend to drive a nice car. They’re good at math. They are charismatic, and let’s be honest; their seduction skills are exceptional and all women love bad boys.

Alpha-Male Cons: Alpha-males are restricted “Left-brainers”. As they in general only use half of their capacity, they lack creativity and a sense of “thinking outside the box”. They have a hard time feeling empathy and emotionally connect with other people. They have difficulties in reading facial expressions, and therefore won’t understand that a woman is upset, until she actually slaps him in the face. They have a weak understanding for fashion; they buy shoes once a year. They are bad communicators; Alpha-males do not understand “small talk”, and a some have difficulties in speaking to a woman without letting animalistic instincts take over. In communicative text (bbm, sms, letters etc.) they become formal, reserved and abrupt. They do not understand different layers of language or subtle messages, and in most cases master only 1 or 2 languages. They black-out if a woman outsmarts them in public. Being Alpha is also stressful; when you’re top of the pile, somebody always wants to knock you off.
The Beta-Male: is in minority. Being artistic and calm, the betas that lived during stone-age, creating art on the cave wall and attending his wife’s need, were unfortunately not the ones that made it to the second round. Nonetheless, Beta males are intellectual as they prioritize brains before muscle. Beta is not necessarily a follower to Alpha, rather a different kind. He avoids confrontation and risks. He does not have a need to expose himself and keeps in the background.

He is diplomatic and conciliatory. He is poetic and sensitive. He appreciates beauty. He has an inner self-esteem, and does not prove his value in materialistic terms. He is “chilled” and a “cool dude”. He is cordial and warm. Beta-males are content with non-traditional gender roles a.k.a does not think “Men have to be Men”. The Beta has a normal or low amount of Testosterone. He is either a loner or groups with few other Beta-male friends and female friends.
Beta-male occupation fields: Art, Music, Photography, Fashion, Editorial, Non-for-profit Org, Technology, IT, Medicine, Communication, Administration
Beta-male quote:
“I just wanna say that you guys are all employees of the month’ in my eyes “. – Jim Halpert
Beta Star signs: Pisces, Cancer, Aries, Virgo
Beta-Animals: Dog, Wolf, Panther, Cameleon, Sheep
Famous Beta-Males: Dan Humphrey, Nate Archibald, Mark Zuckerberg, Dr. Phil, Dalai Lama, Jim Halpert, Peter Parker
Beta-Male Pros: Beta is said to be the best choice for a woman of the 21st century. As more and more women reach high ranked positions in male dominated sectors, neutral Betas seem a better call. Betas are sensitive to women; they listen, comfort and sympathize. Thanks to their ability of synchronizing both of their brain’s hemispheres, (Left and Right) they are able to combine creativity with strategy. Beta is refined and emotional, compared to his animalistic counterpart. He is an excellent communicator. Betas also have puppy eyes, which some girls find irresistible. They’re easily convinced/controlled.
Beta-Male Cons: At a young age, often very weak. They’re introverted, and lack the sexy self-esteem the Alpha possesses. They easily get nervous. They’re sometimes intimidated by Alphas. They will not take the first step to seduction. They sometimes pass by unnoticed, and might have a hard time making it to the top, career-wise. Beta’s passive and subordinate role may drive some women crazy as they often lack initiative and their own opinion. Beta lacks a concrete plan, and is undecided about things, waiting for direction. Beta can be coward, as he is reluctant to taking risks. Betas don’t prioritize the gym, and go to the library, computer store or Yoga-centre instead. Betas are a scarce kind, and therefore are time-consuming to track down.
Closing thought: A combination of an alpha and beta is of course possible, but rare. Picture Dalai Lama introducing himself as Lama, Dalai Lama with a James Bond-attitude. Word to the wise; pick a box and deal with the benefits and consequences of each type.
Anna Mikulowska Madsen | Elite Daily

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Human Nature’s Pathologist
Profiles in Science
By CARL ZIMMER NOV. 28, 2011
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Steven Pinker
An interview with the Harvard psychologist and linguist on violence, language and Twitter. By Thomas Lin on
Publish Date
November 28, 2011. Photo by Tony Cenicola/The New York Times. Watch in Times Video »
CAMBRIDGE, Mass. — Steven Pinker was a 15-year-old anarchist. He didn’t think people needed a police force to keep the peace. Governments caused the very problems they were supposed to solve.
Besides, it was 1969, said Dr. Pinker, who is now a 57-year-old psychologist at Harvard. “If you weren’t an anarchist,” he said, “you couldn’t get a date.”
At the dinner table, he argued with his parents about human nature. “They said, ‘What would happen if there were no police?’ ” he recalled. “I said: ‘What would we do? Would we rob banks? Of course not. Police make no difference.’ ”
This was in Montreal, “a city that prided itself on civility and low rates of crime,” he said. Then, on Oct. 17, 1969, police officers and firefighters went on strike, and he had a chance to test his first hypothesis about human nature.
“All hell broke loose,” Dr. Pinker recalled. “Within a few hours there was looting. There were riots. There was arson. There were two murders. And this was in the morning that they called the strike.”
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The ’60s changed the lives of many people and, in Dr. Pinker’s case, left him deeply curious about how humans work. That curiosity turned into a career as a leading expert on language, and then as a leading advocate of evolutionary psychology. In a series of best-selling books, he has argued that our mental faculties — from emotions to decision-making to visual cognition — were forged by natural selection.
He has also become a withering critic of those who would deny the deep marks of evolution on our minds — social engineers who believe they can remake children as they wish, modernist architects who believe they can rebuild cities as utopias. Even in the 21st century, Dr. Pinker argues, we ignore our evolved brains at our own peril.
Given this track record, Dr. Pinker’s newest book, published in October, struck some critics as a jackknife turn. In “The Better Angels of Our Nature” (Viking), he investigates one of the most primal aspects of life: violence.
Over the course of 802 pages, he argues that violence has fallen drastically over thousands of years — whether one considers homicide rates, war casualties as a percentage of national populations, or other measures.
This may seem at odds with evolutionary psychology, which is often seen as an argument for hard-wired Stone Age behavior, but Dr. Pinker sees that view as a misunderstanding of the science. Our evolved brains, he argues, are capable of a wide range of responses to their environment. Under the right conditions, they can allow us to live in greater and greater peace.
“The Better Angels of Our Nature” is full of the flourishes that Dr. Pinker’s readers have come to expect. He offers gruesomely delightful details about cutting off noses and torturing heretics. Like his other popular books, starting with “The Language Instinct” (1994), it is a far cry from his first published works in the late 1970s — esoteric reports from his graduate work at Harvard, with titles like “The Representation and Manipulation of Three-Dimensional Space in Mental Images.”
From Irregular Verbs, a Career
He came to Harvard after graduating from McGill University in 1976. At the time, he was convinced that a life in psychology would allow him to ask the big questions about the mind and answer them with scientific rigor. “It was the sweet spot for me in trying to understand human nature,” he said.
But he quickly realized that such explorations would have to wait. “You can’t do a Ph.D. thesis on human nature,” he said. “So I studied much smaller problems — academic bread-and-butter problems.”

BEFORE THE PH.D. Steven Pinker in 1971 with fellow Wagar High School students on a Canadian television quiz show.
He began by studying how we picture things in our heads, looking for the strategies people use to make sense of the visual information continually flooding the brain. As he worked on his dissertation, however, he recognized that many other scientists were also tackling the same problems of visual cognition.
“There were a lot of people studying them who were doing a better job than I could,” he said. So he looked for another problem.
The field he settled on was language, and it proved to be consuming. For Dr. Pinker, it was “a window into human nature.” Linguists have long debated whether language is a skill we develop with all-purpose minds, or whether we have innate systems dedicated to it.
Dr. Pinker has focused much of his research on language on a seemingly innocuous fluke: irregular verbs. While we can generate most verb tenses according to a few rules, we also hold onto a few arbitrary ones. Instead of simply turning “speak” into “speaked,” for example, we say “spoke.”
As a young professor at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, he pored over transcripts of children’s speech, looking for telling patterns in the mistakes they made as they mastered verbs. Out of this research, he proposed that our brains contain two separate systems that contribute to language. One combines elements of language to build up meaning; the other is like a mental dictionary we keep in our memory.
This research helped to convince Dr. Pinker that language has deep biological roots. Some linguists argued that language simply emerged as a byproduct of an increasingly sophisticated brain, but he rejected that idea. “Language is so woven into what makes humans human,” he said, “that it struck me as inconceivable that it was just an accident.”
Instead, he concluded that language was an adaptation produced by natural selection. Language evolved like the eye or the hand, thanks to the way it improved reproductive success. In 1990 he published a paper called “Natural Language and Natural Selection,” with his student Paul Bloom, now at Yale. The paper was hugely influential.
It also became the seed of his breakthrough book, “The Language Instinct,” which quickly became a best seller and later won a place on a list in the journal American Scientist of the top 100 science books of the 20th century.
Dr. Pinker used the success of the book to expand the scope of his work. “It gave me the freedom to return to these much larger questions, informed by what I could learn about real humans,” he said.
For the past 17 years, he has alternated between wide-ranging books on human nature, like “How the Mind Works” (1997) and “The Blank Slate” (2002), and books focused on his research, like “Words and Rules” (1999), about irregular verbs. He writes at the apartment he shares with his wife, the novelist Rebecca Goldstein, and at a house on Cape Cod.
Cause for Optimism
As a public intellectual, Dr. Pinker has engaged in a series of high-profile debates about evolutionary psychology. In 1997, the Harvard paleontologist Stephen Jay Gould accused him and other evolutionary psychologists of seeing fine-tuned adaptations in every facet of human existence.
Evolutionary psychology, Dr. Gould wrote, “could be quite useful if proponents would trade their propensity for cultism and ultra-Darwinian fealty for a healthy dose of modesty.”
Dr. Pinker gave as good as he got. He declared that Dr. Gould was “scrambling things so that his opponents have horns and he has a halo.” (Dr. Gould died in 2002.)

WORDPLAY Dr. Pinker, in 1991 at M.I.T., showed how a puppet figured in his study of language development in children (here, a colleague’s daughter).
Then there is the question of male and female minds. In 2005, Lawrence H. Summers, then president of Harvard, caused an uproar by speculating that one reason for the underrepresentation of women in tenured science and engineering positions was “issues of intrinsic aptitude.”
Dr. Pinker (who had moved from M.I.T. to Harvard in 2003) came to Dr. Summers’s defense, and ended up in a high-profile debate with a fellow Harvard psychologist, Elizabeth Spelke.
Dr. Pinker argued that there were small but important biological differences in how male and female brains worked. Dr. Spelke argued that these differences were minor, and that evolutionary psychology had no part to play in the debate.
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“The kinds of careers people pursue now, the kinds of choices they make, are radically different from anything that anybody faced back in the Pleistocene,” Dr. Spelke said at the close of the debate. “It is anything but clear how motives that evolved then translate into a modern context.”
In a way, “The Better Angels of Our Nature,” is a response to this kind of critique. He says the idea for the book took root in his mind around the time of his debate with Dr. Spelke, when he stumbled across graphs of historical rates of violence. In England, for example, homicide rates are about a hundredth of what they were in 1400.
In 2006 Dr. Pinker was invited to write an essay on the theme “What Are You Optimistic About?” His answer: “The decline of violence.”
The reaction to the essay was swift and surprising. “I started hearing from scholars from fields that I was barely aware of, saying, ‘There’s much more evidence on this trend than you were aware of,’ ” he said.
Researchers sent him evidence that violence had declined in many other places, and in many different forms, from the death rate in wars to rates of child abuse. “I thought, ‘This is getting to be a conspiracy.’ It was beyond my wildest dreams. I realized there was a book to be written.”
Dr. Pinker set out to synthesize all these patterns and find an explanation for them. And in the process, he wanted to rebut stereotypes of evolutionary psychology.
“There’s a common criticism of evolutionary psychology that it’s fatalistic and it dooms us to eternal strife,” he said. “Why even try to work toward peace if we’re just bloody killer apes and violence is in our genes?”
Instead, Dr. Pinker argues that evolutionary psychology offers the best explanation for why things have gotten better, and how to make them even better.
Civilization’s Effect
“Better Angels” has impressed many experts on historical trends of violence.
“Steven Pinker’s great achievement is to weave these trends into a much larger pattern of reduced violence, greater empathy and, indeed, a comprehensive civilizing process,” said Nils Petter Gleditsch, a research professor at the Peace Research Institute Oslo in Norway.

Rebecca Goldstein
Human violence started dropping thousands of years ago with the formation of the first states, Dr. Pinker argues. For evidence, he points to archaeological studies and observations of stateless societies today. With the birth of the first states, rates of violence began to fall, and they have dropped in fits and starts ever since.
Dr. Pinker grants that these results may be hard to believe, but he thinks that is more a matter of psychology than of data. The emotional power in stories of violence — whether on the nightly news or on “Law and Order” — can distract us from the long-term decline.
He acknowledges, of course, that the past century produced two horrific world wars. But he says they do not refute his argument. Statistical studies of war reveal a lot of randomness built into their timing and size. The 20th century, he argues, suffered some particularly bad luck.
Dr. Pinker finds an explanation for the overall decline of violence in the interplay of history with our evolved minds. Our ancestors had a capacity for violence, but this was just one capacity among many. “Human nature is complex,” he said. “Even if we do have inclinations toward violence, we also have inclination to empathy, to cooperation, to self-control.”
Which inclinations come to the fore depends on our social surroundings. In early society, the lack of a state spurred violence. A thirst for justice could be satisfied only with revenge. Psychological studies show that people overestimate their own grievances and underestimate those of others; this cognitive quirk fueled spiraling cycles of bloodshed.
But as the rise of civilization gradually changed the ground rules of society, violence began to ebb. The earliest states were brutal and despotic, but they did manage to take away opportunities for runaway vendettas.
More recently, the invention of movable type radically changed our social environment. When people used their powers of language to generate new ideas, those ideas could spread. “If you give people literacy, bad ideas can be attacked and experiments tried, and lessons will accumulate,” Dr. Pinker said. “That pulls you away from what human nature would consign you on its own.”
And these ideas helped drive down violence even further. Ideas about equality led to women gaining power across much of the world, and “women are statistically more dovish than men,” Dr. Pinker said.
Reviews for the new book have been largely enthusiastic, though not unmixed. In The New Yorker, Elizabeth Kolbert called it “confounding,” “exasperating” and “fishy.”
“Hate and madness and cruelty haven’t disappeared,” she concluded, “and they aren’t going to.”
Dr. Pinker’s response was equally scornful. “No honest reviewer would imply that this is the message of the book,” he wrote on his Web site.
Though violence has indisputably declined, he says, it could rise again. But by understanding the causes of the decline, humanity can work to promote peace. He endorses the new book “Winning the War on War” (Dutton/Penguin), by the political scientist Joshua S. Goldstein, which argues that the slogan “If you want peace, fight for justice” is precisely the wrong advice.
If you want peace, Dr. Goldstein argues, work for peace. Dr. Pinker agrees.
“It’s psychologically astute, given the massive amount of self-serving biases,” he said. “In any dispute, each side thinks it’s in the right and the other side is demons.”
The moral of his own book might be, If you want peace, understand psychology.
Profiles in Science: This is the fifth article in a series about leaders in science.
A version of this article appears in print on November 29, 2011, on Page D1 of the New York edition with the headline: Human Nature’s Pathologist. Order Reprints| Today’s Paper|Subscribe
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Recent Comments
Amy November 30, 2011
It’s incorrect to call Pinker a scientist. He has zero significant findings to his credit. Rather he is a skilled debater.
Sue November 30, 2011
The only thing that really makes us different from animals is that we have the ability to become something better by our own choice. Teach…
RCR November 30, 2011
Pinker’s detail about cutting off noses is “gruesomely delightful”?? According to whose limbic system? The details in this book are…
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Pinkerisms NOV. 28, 2011
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Posted in New Essays | Comments Off on HUMAN NATURE/ STEVEN PINKER


Democracy Dies in Darkness

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Inspired Life
My mother spent her life passing as white. Discovering her secret changed my view of race — and myself.

By Gail Lukasik November 20
The author’s mother, Alvera Fredric, was born into a black family in New Orleans but spent her life passing as white. (Family photo)
I’d never seen my mother so afraid.
“Promise me,” she pleaded, “you won’t tell anyone until after I die. How will I hold my head up with my friends?”
For two years, I’d waited for the right moment to confront my mother with the shocking discovery I made in 1995 while scrolling through the 1900 Louisiana census records. In the records, my mother’s father, Azemar Frederic of New Orleans, and his entire family were designated black.
The discovery had left me reeling, confused and in need of answers. My sense of white identity had been shattered.
My mother’s visit to my home in Illinois seemed like the right moment. This was not a conversation I wanted to have on the phone.
But my mother’s fearful plea for secrecy only added to my confusion about my racial identity. As did her 1921 birth certificate that I obtained from the state of Louisiana, which listed her race as “col” (colored), and a 1940 Louisiana census record, which listed my mother, Alvera Frederic, as Neg/Negro, working in a tea shop in New Orleans. Four years later, she moved north and married my white father.

[A C-SPAN caller confessed his racism to a black guest. A year later, he called back to say how he’d changed]
Reluctantly, I agreed to keep my mother’s secret. For 17 years I told no one, except my husband, my two children and two close friends that my mother was passing as white. It was the longest and most difficult secret I’d ever held.
My mother’s pale, olive skin and European features appeared to belie the government documents defining her as African American, allowing her to escape that public designation for most of her adult life.
A search for answers yields more questions
In the silence of those 17 years, I tried to break through my mother’s wall of silence. But every time I tried, she politely but firmly changed the subject. Her refusal to talk about her mixed race only fueled my curiosity. How had she deceived my racist white father? Why was she so fearful and ashamed of her black heritage?
Using my skills as a seasoned mystery author, I started sifting through the details of her life, looking for clues that would help me understand her. But this real-life mystery only intensified as I tried to sort truth from fiction.
Author Gail Lukasik (Courtesy of Gail Lukasik)
My mother had always told me that she was reluctant to visit her family of origin in New Orleans because she hadn’t been raised by either parent and there were just too many sad memories. Now I wondered if she was really just afraid that if we visited we’d meet family members who were not passably white? On several occasions her mother and her sister visited us in Ohio. But they appeared white and no one hinted otherwise. Did her brother never visit us because he didn’t appear white?
[‘You are not going to let that word hurt you’: Proctor & Gamble ad taking on racism is met with parse — and outrage]
I wondered now why she’d never been able to show me photographs of my grandfather growing up. Was it because he was visibly black? And could my mother’s avoidance of the sun be attributed to her fear that her skin would darken too much? Then there was her obsession with makeup, even wearing makeup to bed.

Piecing her life together, I marveled at how she endured the racism of living in the predominantly white suburb of Parma, Ohio, with a racist husband. My father’s racism was a reflection of his upbringing in a close-knit Cleveland ethnic neighborhood. Though he never used the N-word, he was still vocal about his bigotry, referring to African Americans using other racial slurs, deriding blacks for what he perceived as their lack of ambition and criminality. Unknowingly deriding his wife, my mother.
My mother reprimanded him with little vigor. Was she afraid of bringing too much attention to the race issue? Did his racist remarks beat on her like a hard, cold rain? Or had she convinced herself that she deserved it for the lie that sat at the heart of their marriage?
In escaping the Jim Crow south, coming north and marrying my white father, she must have thought gaining white privilege was worth the price of losing family ties and her authentic self. The irony was that in gaining white privilege, in passing for white, the onslaught of racism was splayed open to her. Its ugly face could now be shared with her, a “white” woman who would understand and possibly agree.

[The ‘ironic’ friendship that convinced a former neo-Nazi to erase his swastika tattoos]
Every day she had to live with the paradox of what W.E.B. Du Bois called “two-ness,” the ambivalence of people of mixed European and African ancestry. If a mixed-race person is white enough to pass, how does that person deal with the trappings of a racist culture where you’re forced to choose a side?
As if in self-defense or maybe retaliation for my father’s racism, she imbued me with a moral imperative to respect all people regardless of their color. A gifted storyteller, she related stories of New Orleans and the bigotry she witnessed. As a child I listened with rapt attention to the story of the old black woman on Canal Street burdened with packages who didn’t move off the sidewalk for a white man. He shoved her aside like so much trash and called her the n-word.
“That wasn’t right,” my mother told me. “But that’s how it was in New Orleans back then.”
Now I understood the clues concealed in that story. That she was hinting at her hidden self or maybe preparing me to accept the part of her she’d left behind in New Orleans and her reason for doing that.

[‘We Wear the Mask’: Post book critic Ron Charles interviews the author of a new essay collection about people who pass as another race]
The mystery, solved
After my mother’s death in 2014 I was freed of my vow. In what can only be called serendipity, I was presented with an opportunity to solve the uncertainly of my racial heritage. PBS’s Genealogy Roadshow was looking for family mysteries related to New Orleans. I appeared on the show in January 2015.
Three days later, my mother’s family found me. My “new” Frederic family welcomed me with generosity and love, neither judging my mother nor rejecting me. At the welcome home party in New Orleans, I met my new uncle, two aunts, and slews of cousins. We were every shade of skin from darkest ebony to whitest white and all the shades in between. Suddenly, I was part of a multiracial family.
Armed with Genealogy Roadshow’s confirmation of my racial heritage and wanting to understand that heritage, I traced the Frederic family back to 18th-century Louisiana. I discovered slave owners, enslaved women, and free people of color. Through the centuries I saw how shifting racial laws had affected my family, boxing them into racial categories that hindered them. My redemptive journey became the basis for my book, White Like Her: My Family’s Story of Race and Racial Passing.
I suspect there are many white Americans are unaware of their own mixed-race heritage. Our country’s hidden history of racial mixing is embedded in many Americans’ DNA whether they know it or not, belying the notion of racial certainty. It’s embedded in my DNA, which is 9 percent African. But although I could check “other” or “multiracial” when asked my race on a form, I still identify as a white woman. At this late point, it would be disingenuous of me to claim any other identity. I’ve enjoyed white privilege my entire life.
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How DNA testing for your ancestry works

University of British Columbia professor Wendy Roth explains genetic ancestry tests and how these tests influence the way people understanding of race. (YouTube/Peter Wall Institute for Advanced Studies)

I will never forget my mother’s haunted look as she said, “How will I hold my head up with my friends?” I bear no rancor toward her for not telling me of her mixed-race heritage. I feel only sorrow that, even after I knew, she was unable to share with me her feelings about who she really was and the life she had lived. Even so, I find solace and pride in finally knowing the truth of my own heritage and the mixed-race family of which I am a part.
Gail Lukasik is the author of White Like Her: My Family’s Story of Race and Racial Passing, four mystery novels and more. She lives in Illinois with her husband.
This post has been updated.

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Posted in New Essays | Comments Off on MY MOTHER WAS BLACK AND LOOKED WHITE



POLITICS 11/21/2017 09:36 am ET Updated 4 hours ago
Congresswoman Says Former Congressman Tried To Force Himself On Her In Elevator
Rep. Diana DeGette says former San Diego mayor and lawmaker Bob Filner once tried to forcibly kiss her.

By Alanna Vagianos

Rep. Diana DeGette (D-Colo.) on Monday accused a former congressman of assaulting her while they were both serving in the House. 
In an appearance on MSNBC’s “Meet the Press Daily,” DeGette said that former Rep. Bob Filner (D-Calif.) at one point tried to pin her in an elevator and forcibly kiss her. 
“Some years ago, I was in an elevator and then-Congressman Bob Filner tried to pin me to the door of the elevator and kiss me. And I pushed him away,” DeGette said. “I mean, I was his colleague. He couldn’t take action against me. And believe you me, I never got in an elevator with him again.”
Filner served in Congress from 1993 to 2012, and in December 2012 became the mayor of San Diego. The following August, he resigned amid allegations of sexual harassment and assault from more than a dozen women. He ultimately pleaded guilty to felony false imprisonment and two misdemeanor counts of battery. In December 2013, he was sentenced to three years probation and three months of home confinement. 
Filner could not immediately be reached for comment Tuesday.
DeGette is one of many lawmakers to come forward in recent weeks with allegations of harassment or assault on Capitol Hill. 
Earlier this month, Rep. Jackie Speier (D-Calif.) said she knew of two current members of Congress ― one Democrat and one Republican ― who had sexually harassed staffers. Rep. Barbara Comstock (R-Va.) also said she’d heard rumors of a current congressman who had exposed himself to a young female staffer. Former Rep. Mary Bono (R-Calif.) told The Associated Press that a congressman who is still serving once approached her on the House floor and said he thought about what it would be like to see her shower. 
DeGette is the first lawmaker to name her alleged attacker. 
Speier and Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand (D-N.Y.) introduced legislation last week to improve the sexual harassment reporting process for lawmakers and staffers. The system to report harassment on Capitol Hill is a very convoluted process, which Speier has said is “not a victim-friendly process.” 
DeGette urged female lawmakers who have experienced sexual harassment to name their attackers, especially if they’re still serving in Congress.
“When these advances happen, they’re brushed under the rug,” she said. “But if there are people who are sexual predators in Congress right now, we need to know who they are.”
What Happens When You File A Sexual Harassment Complaint On Capitol Hill
Congresswoman Says At Least 2 Members Of Congress Are Sexual Harassers

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Rep. John Conyers denies harassing female employee, admits settlement

Todd Spangler, Detroit Free Press Published 10:34 a.m. ET Nov. 21, 2017 | Updated 3:53 p.m. ET Nov. 21, 2017

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WASHINGTON — U.S. Rep. John Conyers, D-Detroit, on Tuesday denied a BuzzFeed report stating he sexually harassed an employee who received a settlement of more than $27,000 in 2015.
The bombshell allegation was leveled at Conyers on Monday, as Buzzfeed also reported that it had copies of affidavits filed by three other former employees who said they saw the longest-serving active member of Congress and civil rights legend repeatedly make sexual overtures to women staffers, requesting sexual favors and touching them. 
It represented what could be the most serious threat to the 88-year-old Conyers’ storied career ever as fellow members of Congress and his own party called for an Ethics investigation, which Conyers said he would cooperate with.
[“… the mere making of an allegation does not mean it is true”: Read Conyers’ full statement here.]
After initially telling the AP he knew nothing about the accusations, Conyers put out a statement saying he wasn’t denying that there was a settlement, but that “My office resolved the allegations – with an express denial of liability – in order to save all involved from the rigors of protracted litigation. That should not be lost in the narrative.”

Conyers “expressly and vehemently denied” the accusations, however, saying the settlement “was not for millions of dollars, but rather for an amount that equated to a reasonable severance payment.” He said he couldn’t discuss it because of confidentiality requirements.
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It wasn’t immediately clear if Conyers was denying the other accusations made in the affidavits or only the central claim made by the former employee. 
“I have long been and continue to be a fierce advocate for equality in the workplace and I fully support the rights of employees who believe they have been harassed or discriminated against to assert claims against their employers,” Conyers said. “(But) it is important to recognize that the mere making of an allegation does not mean it is true. The process must be fair to both the employee and the accused.”

The accusations against Conyers came as the political, media and entertainment worlds have been rocked by accusations of powerful, influential men sexual harassing others.
Last week, with an effort underway to make the handling of sexual harassment claims in Congress more transparent, U.S. Rep. Debbie Dingell, D-Dearborn, said she was sexually harassed decades ago by a senator who made unwelcome advances and a “prominent historical” figure who was not in Congress who groped her, not naming either. U.S. Rep. Brenda Lawrence, D-Southfield, also accepted the resignation of her chief of staff after women accused him of harassment — which he denied.
On Monday, new accusations were raised against CBS news anchor Charlie Rose and U.S. Sen. Al Franken, D-Minn. 

U.S. Rep. Debbie Dingell, D-Dearborn (Photo: Congresswoman Dingell’s office)
Speaking of the allegations against Conyers, Dingell called them “deeply disturbing” and called for a “transparent, fair and thorough investigation” by the Ethics Committee. She also called for action on legislation to change how claims are handled to prohibit non-disclosure agreements, saying, “Everyone deserves to work in an environment that is free from harassment and hostility.”
U.S. Rep. Jerrold Nadler of New York — the second ranking Democrat behind Conyers on the House Judiciary Committee — on Tuesday called the allegations “extremely serious and deeply troubling,” adding that there “can be no tolerance for behavior that subjects women to the kind of conduct alleged.”
Also on Freep.com: 
Sexual harassment claims heat up as Debbie Dingell says ‘prominent’ figure touched her

U.S. Rep. Debbie Dingell says she’s been sexually harassed in Washington

The Michigan Democratic Party and also called for an investigation, noting that the report also pointed to “other troubling allegations of misconduct, including the potential misuse of congressional resources.” 
House Speaker Paul Ryan, R-Wis., called the report involving Conyers “extremely troubling” and noted that he has already directed the House Administration Committee to review policies on workplace harassment and discrimination.
While there was no immediate call for Conyers to resign, it appeared clear that, as with Franken, the allegations were not going to fade quickly and could lead others to push for his departure.
Buzzfeed’s report on Conyers cited not only the affidavits but its own interview with the former staffer who filed the wrongful dismissal complaint in 2014 alleging she was fired for rebuffing Conyers’ repeated sexual advances. 
In her initial complaint to the congressional Office of Compliance, the former staffer said Conyers — who has been in the U.S. House since 1965 — asked her for sexual favors and to join him in his hotel room on several occasions. Buzzfeed also said the secret complaint said on one occasion he told her she needed to either touch his penis or find him a woman who could meet his sexual needs.
In other incidents reported by Buzzfeed, the woman accused Conyers of making her work nights, evenings and holidays to keep him company and insisted she stay in his hotel room when they traveled together for a fundraising event.
“Rep. Conyers strongly postulated that the performing of personal service or favors would be looked upon favorably and lead to salary increases or promotions,” the former employee said in the documents.
To apologize or not? Calculating the cost of contrition | Brian Dickerson

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An unsigned copy of the settlement agreement, posted with the Buzzfeed story but believed to be representative of the final agreement, included a payment of $27,111.75 to the former employee and a provision that required her confidentiality in accordance with law. It also said that Conyers’ office “expressly denies” her allegations.
The claim apparently was ultimately settled with Conyers’ congressional office paying her for not working through what the settlement termed a “severance period.” It appears the Office of Compliance signed off on the settlement as well, with the agreement noting that the employee dismissed the claim against Conyers in return for the deal. 
The employee told Buzzfeed she felt as though she had no choice but to accept the settlement considering a congressional process that involves months of waiting, counseling and mediation and the signing of the confidentiality agreement before a claim can move forward.
No record of any such settlements is ever made public; not even the House speaker’s office is notified.
“I was basically blackballed. There was nowhere I could go,” the former employee told Buzzfeed in a phone interview. The news website kept her name anonymous at her request and because she said she fears retribution.
Buzzfeed said it was first provided the documents by Mike Cernovich, who the website described as a “men’s rights figure turned pro-Trump media activist who propagated a number of false conspiracy theories including the ‘Pizzagate’ conspiracy.” Buzzfeed independently confirmed the authenticity of the documents with people involved.
In the affidavits filed in support of the claim, the other former employees said they either experienced or saw Conyers rubbing female staffers’ backs or legs in public and heard him make sexual comments. One woman said she was offered a position on staff after Conyers made sexual advances toward her and rubbed his hand in a way that seemed to her inappropriate.
At least one staffer also said they were often asked to bring women to Conyers’ apartment. 
BREAKING: Longtime Michigan Rep. John Conyers denies sexual harassment settlements, says he knows nothing of claims.
— The Associated Press (@AP) November 21, 2017
Another former male staffer of Conyers’ who spoke on condition of anonymity to the Free Press, said the accusations ring true to his experience in the office. 
“He would rub women’s legs, he’s a flirt,” the staffer said. “He wasn’t short of women admirers.”
When the Free Press visited Conyers’ home in the Detroit Golf Club community on Tuesday morning, no one came to the door despite three cars being in the drive, including a Chevrolet Equinox with a yellow congressional sign in the window.
Nancy Turner, a 74-year-old neighbor of Conyers’ who has known him for decades, was stunned by the allegation, saying, “I’ve only known Mr. Conyers to be a kind, respectable man.”
Ed Sarpolus, a Michigan political consultant who was Conyers’ campaign manager in 2012 and worked for his 2014 campaign, said no one should expect the allegations to end his career.
“He has faced greater obstacles and has been challenged before. He’ll reach out to the community and see how they feel,” Sarpolus said. “I don’t see him giving up because of stories about his life.”
Conyers is the ranking Democrat on the House Judiciary Committee, which handles criminal matters and oversees the Department of Justice. A former chairman of that committee, he is in his 27th two-year term in office and has widely been expected to run for a 28th next year.
He is widely seen as a legendary civil rights figure, having marched with Martin Luther King Jr., and employed Rosa Parks after she left Alabama for Detroit. A longtime proponent of reparations to African Americans for slavery, he also was instrumental in securing a federal holiday for King. 
U.S. Rep. Cedric Richmond, chairman of the Congressional Black Caucus — of which Conyers is a founder — didn’t immediately responded to the Free Press’ request for comment. Meanwhile, House Democratic Leader Nancy Pelosi said she was unaware of the secret settlement but echoed calls for an Ethics investigation.
The report is not the first time Conyers’ has been accused of unethical conduct, however.
As recently as this summer, the U.S. House Ethics Committee confirmed it was continuing to look at whether he had wrongly paid his former chief of staff more than $50,000 for time she didn’t work. Conyers said he was only paying her for accrued leave time and severance as part of a separation agreement reached after she pleaded guilty to a misdemeanor charge of receiving stolen property unrelated to her job.
In 2003, the Free Press reported on complaints from six unnamed Conyers aides who said they were forced to work on various campaigns, including a failed legislative campaign for Conyers’ wife Monica, on government time. A follow-up Ethics Committee report, however, focused on allegations that the congressman used staff to babysit his sons, help his wife with her law studies and chauffeur him to private events. Conyers’ office denied the accusations and eventually reached a deal to ensure staff knew where they responsibilities began and ended.
Much of the attention on Conyers in recent years has also been due to Monica Conyers, a former Detroit city council member who spent three years in federal prison for taking bribes, with her husband remaining largely silent during her legal troubles.
More than 30 years his junior, the Conyers — who met when she worked for him as a campaign photographer and were married in 1990 — filed for divorce in 2015 only to reconcile a year later with a renewal of vows.
Contact Todd Spangler at 703-854-8947 or at tspangler@freepress.com. Follow him on Twitter at @tsspangler. Staff writers Kathleen Gray and Tresa Baldas contributed to this story.





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