McCain on Turtle Island: FALSE

Didn’t happen. But it’s going around as a viral email.

I just received, for the second time, the viral email that’s going around describing John McCain’s purported ill-mannered behavior at the Turtle Island resort. The story has also had some blog life on Telling Thoughts and Blue Oregon (retracted) and DKos.

The original version attributed the story to someone named “Ana Dubey.” When I got it, I found an “Ana Dubey” on Facebook, and sent a message asking for a confirmation or denial. That message was never answered, and “Ana Dubey” no longer shows up on Facebook. (I has no reason to doubt that there is such a person, and that she disabled her account to stop from being pestered about this.)

The latest version attributes the story to a professor at UCSC named Mary-Kay Gamel. Below is Gamel’s response to my email:

I have received thousands of emails and phone calls about the Turtle Island account.

I did NOT write that account.

I did NOT forward it under my name.

I did NOT ask for it to be widely distributed.

I do not know whether the story is true or not, but I

1) have never been to Turtle Island (which costs $2000/day)

2) have never met Senator McCain

3) was a classics major, not an English Literature major

4) never eat pancakes

I regret the misinformation which is circulating, but it is not my doing, and I protest the misuse of my name.

How I think this happened: on 16 September I received this account 3rd-hand and forwarded it, with full email trail information and the name of the purported author (whom I don’t know), to several friends with whom I discuss politics. It was further forwarded, and at some point the trail was deleted and I was misidentified as the author. I suspect whoever did this thought that my name and contact information would make the story more credible. is investigating the account; current status “undetermined.”

Finally, this is NOT an organized effort on the part of any political candidate.

I hope you will pass this on to all who have been misinformed. may consider this “undertermined,” but I think we now know enough to call it false. The thing has been hanging around for two weeks now, and the purported author has not come forward to confirm it.

Mary-Kay Gamel. it seems to me, acted responsibly; she passed on a rumor, as rumor, to people who might be able to verify it. Whoever sent it to her, and those who have retailed the story without verifying it, seem to me to have acted irresponsibly.

If you get either version of this fiction, I urge you to send work of its falsity back up the chain.

Author: Mark Kleiman

Professor of Public Policy at the NYU Marron Institute for Urban Management and editor of the Journal of Drug Policy Analysis. Teaches about the methods of policy analysis about drug abuse control and crime control policy, working out the implications of two principles: that swift and certain sanctions don't have to be severe to be effective, and that well-designed threats usually don't have to be carried out. Books: Drugs and Drug Policy: What Everyone Needs to Know (with Jonathan Caulkins and Angela Hawken) When Brute Force Fails: How to Have Less Crime and Less Punishment (Princeton, 2009; named one of the "books of the year" by The Economist Against Excess: Drug Policy for Results (Basic, 1993) Marijuana: Costs of Abuse, Costs of Control (Greenwood, 1989) UCLA Homepage Curriculum Vitae Contact: