SDB Evening Reads: Cringe and fund…and cringe again

Okay, it is Thursday, and tonight is the last football game of the season for my son’s team.  So, I am writing this post early. Please help me out by posting links to any news that you like below in the comments.

Boston Boomer had some links this morning on Obama’s CBC speech, and I just wanted to add this one: James Clyburn (D-SC) “Cringed” When Obama Told Black Caucus to “Stop Crying”

As I noted the other day, Maxine Waters (D-CA) didn’t care for the President’s strange tirade at the Congressional Black Caucus’ award dinner — and as it turns out, neither did James Clyburn.

NORRIS: I’m curious about your reaction to the president’s speech. Now, he said many things that evening. We just heard the end of the speech, where he told people to put on their marching shoes, take off their bedroom slippers, stop complaining. Your reaction to that.

CLYBURN: Well, when I heard it, I cringed because I kind of anticipated so much of what came in the first part of the speech would get lost and people would be hanging on to those words.

Again, this is a completely unforced error by Obama. The White House has admitted this badgering-the-base stuff was a mistake in 2010 — and yet, they’re doing it again. Why?

Blue Texan also points out the frustration Clyburn is expressing when it comes to Obama’s lack of democratic principles.

….most of us have a style that’s a little bit different from the president’s, ’cause it’s his style to try to seek common ground or try to compromise, and he keeps getting the thumb in his eye. And those of us who come from a different era tend not to appreciate that style. […]

Because if you are not going to get it done, what’s wrong with going down swinging? That is what people tend to want to see. They want to see you fight for the issues, even when they question whether or not you can you can be successful.

I found this next link about Georgia’s unemployment dilemma quiet interesting, considering Obama is all “ga ga” over the Georgia Works program. Georgia might cut jobless benefits to repay feds | AccessNorthGa

Georgia could cut jobless benefits for people who are out of work in order to repay the federal government for $721 million the state borrowed to help the unemployed.

Bills for the debt are coming due, and cutting back on jobless benefits is one option being considered to repay the money.

The state will send a $21.4 million check to Washington this week, the first payment on debt run up since late 2009.

Georgia Labor Commissioner Mark Butler says he’s considering several repayment options, one of which is cutting benefits.

Butler says he opposes raising or re-instituting taxes employers pay into the unemployment insurance fund. By next month, he’s expected to offer Gov. Nathan Deal and legislative leaders some options for repaying the debt.

Wow, Georgia sure does know how to run their unemployment programs! /snark

I guess I will continue to bust Obama’s balls, no offense, this post from Tom in Paine puts this question out on the table: Tom In Paine: Will Obama supporters ever admit he’s a fraud?

Every day I get emails from a variety of “progressive” groups and the theme is always the same. “Republicans want to destroy this”, or ” Republicans want to kill that”. They want money for their organizations or political campaigns and they want it based on telling you how bad Republicans are. Well, okay, they are bad. But they aren’t the problem. And never were. The real problem is that Democrats and these groups not only don’t want to face what the real problem is, they are afraid of trying to do anything about it.And that is that Barrack Obama is and always has been a political and policy fraud.

It is a rather long post so I encourage you to read the whole thing…Paine points out some obvious things that we have blogged about on Sky Dancing before..

So what are organizations like MoveOn and the PCCC really so upset about? That Republicans are acting like Republicans? The Republicans are only doing what the people who vote for them want them to do as repulsive as it may be. Is it the Republicans fault that Obama and congressional Democrats never did what those who elected them wanted them to do? Is it the Republicans fault that none of the Democratic initiatives, things that most people believed were best for the country, never got through? What is it that these groups want Republicans to do? Act like Democrats?

Here is a flash for Move On, the PCCC, Credo and Democratic candidates for congress and their donors and supporters — that is what elections are all about. And in 2008 the country threw the Republicans out of control of all 3 branches of government after 8 years of disastrous Republican governance, elected a Democratic president and gave him the biggest congressional majority any president had in 60 years. And what did the Democratic president do with the biggest congressional majority any president has had in 60 years? Nothing. Absolutely nothing. He said he wanted to work with Republicans and incorporate Republican ideas ignoring the fact that if the country had wanted Republican ideas they wouldn’t have thrown them out of office in the first place. Which is why Democratic voters stayed home in 2010 giving the Democrats the worst defeat of any political party in 80 years.

You may not have seen the latest news about the Energy Department:

On Solyndra, the buck stops with Secretary Steven Chu – Darren Samuelsohn – POLITICO.com

Energy Department approves $1 billion in solar energy loan guarantees – The Hill’s E2-Wire

Obama administration approves 2 more solar energy loan guarantees worth total of $1B – The Washington Post

And then there is talk going on (Hot Air link coming up…) that those two new loans are connected…I’ll post the links and let you sort it out…personally it doesn’t look good for Obama to be approving loans for a company that benefits Nancy Pelosi’s brother-in-law, which is supposed to create 50 or so “permanent” jobs.  It is this kind of thing that bothers me…I’ll explain in a bit.

$737 million in green-tech loan to company connected to Pelosi family? « Hot Air

…one of SolarReserve’s “investment partners” is Pacific Corporate Group, through its Clean Energy and Technology Fund.  And PCG’s executive director is Ron Pelosi — brother of Nancy Pelosi’s husband.  Suddenly, this deal makes a lot more sense than spending $737 million for forty-five jobs.

I realize it is not a direct link to Pelosi…but after the Solyndra mess, it does seem a bit fishy that both of these new loans Obama’s Admin has approved of, have these kind of connections.

Here is another link to Daily Caller, another right-wing source, just bear with me a bit:

Solar Energy Companies | Democratic Donors | Loan Guarantees Part 1 | The Daily Caller

Solar Energy Companies | Democratic Donors | Loan Guarantees Part 2| The Daily Caller

Those two links are discussing the connections with donors and the companies who got loans from the Energy Department. Take it for what it is worth…and who is the source for the information…but even outlets like the Enquirer get it right sometimes.

Here is more from ABC:  Obama Fundraisers Had Ties to Green Firms That Got Federal Cash – ABC News

Several of Barack Obama’s top campaign supporters went from soliciting political contributions to working from within the Energy Department as it showered billions in taxpayer-backed stimulus money on alternative energy firms, ABC News and iWatch News have learned.

One of them was Steven J. Spinner, a high-tech consultant and energy investor who raised at least $500,000 for the candidate. He became one of Energy Secretary Steven Chu’s key loan program advisors while his wife’s law firm represented a number of companies that had applied for loans.

And the republicans are eating it up:

“There is great concern over political influence contaminating the DOE loan guarantee program,” said Rep. Cliff Stearns (R-Fla), who chairs the House Energy and Commerce Committee’s Oversight and Investigations Subcommittee. “The prevalence of fundraisers and bundlers scattered throughout DOE is cause for alarm and is a subject our investigation does not take lightly — we are looking into this and will see where it leads us.”

The administration has repeatedly said that politics has played no role in deciding which companies received federal loans.

One more:  Solyndra violated loan terms in 2010 but received more federal money, DOE confirms – The Washington Post

Congressional investigators have questioned why the Obama administration agreed to help the company in late 2010 when it was warned that the firm was at risk of collapse. Internal e-mails show federal reviewers initially estimated they could save the taxpayers as much as $168 million by letting the company go under in December 2010, rather than resuscitating it and allowing it to draw down more federal money.

Energy Department spokesman Damien LaVera confirmed Wednesday that the agency knew Solyndra had violated the loan terms but agreed to change the requirement to help Solyndra. The agency originally required that Solyndra make six installments of $5 million each, starting in December, to create a $30 million cash cushion for problems.

Here is my take on all this…if the Energy Dept can process and approve these loans, which will make some jobs, but it is in a limited capacity when you consider the 14 million unemployed throughout the nation…why can’t the Obama Admin secure loans or funding for Work Programs that will employ more people around the country, instead of a few within the confines of Green Energy? Green jobs are good, but people need to be employed now…not just in a couple of places, they need jobs all over the country.  If shovel ready was just a nice couple of words to get a crowd pumped up, then I question the reasons for the Energy Dept’s approval of these loans that have inside connections to the White House.  It may be nothing, but there is too many “deals” Obama has carried out that benefit his backers and campaign contributors.

I want you to read this editorial by Jesus Rivas: Kentucky voices: Liberalism a tactic, not principle, for Democrats | Op-Ed | Kentucky.com

Progressives are fooled because they fail to notice that liberal values are only a campaign posture for the Democrats and not true convictions. When they trade them easily they are not making sacrifices, they are just following their own agenda. It is we who make the sacrifice.

For instance, many people were outraged at how quickly the Democrats gave up the public option in the health care debate. The thing to notice is that the Democrats in congress receive superb quality health care paid for by the government. What they gave up without a fight was our public option. They protected the interests of insurance companies that pay for their campaigns, not the interests of their constituency.

People on the left were surprised to see President Barack Obama remove the ban on off-shore drilling. They said he had compromised too much too quickly. What they failed to see is that Obama received more than $100 million in campaign contributions from oil lobbies. So, he was simply returning the favor, or perhaps he was clearing up his line of credit for the next campaign.

Last but not least, people were angry to see the Democrats extend tax cuts for millionaires and viewed it as a sacrifice to negotiate with the Republicans.

But remember: many Democrats in Congress are millionaires. It is not a sacrifice when they are putting money in their pockets. What they sacrificed were our social safety net, our teachers, and firefighters that we can no longer afford.

Democratic pundits are quick to point fingers at the Republicans, who are blamed for all the incompetence of Congress since Obama took office. And believe me, I enjoy a good round of fun Republican bashing as much as the next guy, but in this case the fault is not the Republicans’.

As you read this Op/Ed from Rivas, think about the Paine post…

…Republicans are acting like Republicans? The Republicans are only doing what the people who vote for them want them to do as repulsive as it may be. Is it the Republicans fault that Obama and congressional Democrats never did what those who elected them wanted them to do? Is it the Republicans fault that none of the Democratic initiatives, things that most people believed were best for the country, never got through?

I am really interested in what you all think about the green jobs initiative, and the connections to Obama donors and Nancy Pelosi. It bothers me, it has that feeling of nepotism or payback…I don’t know, maybe I should not feel this way about green jobs, they are jobs that are desperately needed. But if funding can be secured so easily and quickly for these Green Loans and Green Programs, why is it so difficult for Obama’s Administration to get other works programs that will be beneficial in all areas of infrastructure, healthcare , education and the arts? (Wait, one area of healthcare has already got their benefits, the big insurance companies…they got their “nut” with Obamacare.)

I hope you all get what I am trying to say. I look forward to reading what you think.

I’ve got to go and cheer the Panther’s on…I just want to end with this article from my local paper, North Georgia News. It is about the game we played last week, which proves there is emotion in football. This was the first game the boys played a day after Derrick Whittle’s funeral. (His funeral procession was 6 miles long.) Nick is Derrick’s son:

Click on the link to embiggen...and btw Jake is my son.

Catch y’all later in the comments!


Thursday Reads: Obama and CBC, Judging Protesters, Net Neutrality, SCOTUS, and Sly Stone

Good Morning!! Let’s start out with a little fire and brimstone. Glen Ford had a rousing rant at the Black Agenda Report about Obama’s disgusting treatment of the CBC last weekend. Here’s just a sample:

…in the same week that he bowed down to Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu before the assembled nations of the world, in New York City, Obama took his church voice to the Congressional Black Caucus annual awards dinner to very pointedly demand that Blacks stop bugging their president about the economic catastrophe that has befallen them, and his own role in it. “Take off your bedroom slippers. Put on your marching shoes,” Obama hectored. “Shake it off. Stop complainin’. Stop grumblin’. Stop cryin’. We are going to press on. We have work to do.”

Black Caucus chairman Rep. Emanuel Cleaver had earlier told reporters, “If Bill Clinton had been in the White House and had failed to address this [Black unemployment] problem, we probably would be marching on the White House.” But Obama came to lay down the law: any marching that you might do will be for my re-election.

The well-oiled crowd cheered….

The Black Caucus, as a body, meekly murmured and mumbled as the administration transferred the equivalent of the U.S. gross domestic product to the banks while Black America disintegrated. Now, with Obama’s numbers falling, he has very publicly commanded them to shut up and perform what he believes is their only legitimate function: to get him re-elected. In the looming contest, he will again resort to Black-baiting whenever it is useful to shore up white support. In that – as with his foreign and domestic policies – Obama is no different than white corporate politicians. His one great distinction, is to have a core constituency that cares more for his security and dignity, than their own.

Sad but true.

In yesterday’s morning post, Minx highlighted the way so many “progressives” are criticizing Occupy Wall Street for all kinds of irrelevant reasons. Glenn Greenwald wrote a very good piece about it: What’s behind the scorn for the Wall Street protests? But I especially liked Kevin Gosztola’s piece at FDL.

Traditional media have characterized the plurality of voices and the number of issues the occupation is seeking to challenge as a weakness. Establishment media has been openly condescending. Ginia Bellafante’s report in the New York Times has generated significant attention for her focus on the fact that some “half-naked woman” who looks like Joni Mitchell to her is the leader of this movement of “rightly frustrated young people.” Bellafante accuses the protesters of lacking “cohesion” and “pantomiming progressivism rather than practice it knowledgeably.” NPR reiterated NYT’s focus on the “scattered nature of the movement” in its coverage of the occupation (and tellingly used a photo of a man holding a sign that reads “Satan Controls Wall St”). Local press have treated the occupiers as if they are a tribe or a group of nomads focusing on occupiers’ behavior instead of trying to understand the real reason why people are in the park.

Liberals have shown scorn, too, suggesting the occupation is not a “Main Street production” or that the protesters aren’t dressed properly and should wear suits cause the civil rights movement would not have won if they hadn’t worn decent clothing.

The latest show of contempt from a liberal comes from Mother Jones magazine. Lauren Ellis claims that the action, which “says it stands for the 99 percent of us,” lacks traction. She outlines why she thinks Zuccotti Park isn’t America’s Tahrir Square. She chastises them for failing to have one demand. She claims without a unified message police brutality has stolen the spotlight. She suggests the presence of members of Anonymous is holding the organizers back writing, “It’s hard to be taken seriously as accountability-seeking populists when you’re donning Guy Fawkes masks.” And, she concludes as a result of failing to get a cross-section of America to come out in the streets, this movement has been for “dreamers,” not “middle class American trying to make ends meet.”

First off, nobody in the last week can claim to be reporting on Occupy Wall Street and genuinely claim it isn’t gaining traction. Ellis conveniently leaves out the fact that Occupy Wall Street is inspiring other cities to get organized and hold similar assemblies/occupations. Second, if the protesters did have one demand, does Ellis really think that would improve media coverage? Wouldn’t pundits then be casting doubt on whether the one demand was the appropriate singular demand to be making? Third, so-called members of Anonymous are citizens like Ellis and have a right to participate in the protest. It is elitist for Ellis to suggest Occupy Wall Street should not be all-inclusive. And, finally, there is no evidence that just “dreamers” are getting involved. A union at the City University of New York, the Industrial Workers of the World, construction workers, 9/11 responders and now a postal workers and teachers union have shown interest in the occupation.

Gosztola is a young guy who replaced Emptywheel after she left FDL. He focuses on human rights issues, and he does a nice job.

It’s interesting that the progs keep comparing the Occupy Wall Street protesters to those in Civil Rights Movement of the ’50s and ’60s, claiming that protesters should wear suits! Obviously these “very serious” yuppie bloggers don’t recall the ’60s anti-war movement. I can just imagine their shock at some of the outfits we wore in those days.

The New York Times published an odd interpretation of the world-wide protest phenomenon that minimized demonstrations: As Scorn for Vote Grows, Protests Surge Around Globe, by Nicholas Kulish. Kulish explains the protests as disillusionment with voting. And why shouldn’t we all be turned off by voting when it gets us nothing but a bunch of corrupt, greedy a$$holes who stab taxpayers in the back repeatedly and suck up to the top 1%?

Not surprisingly, there is only one reference to the anti-Wall Street protests, and the organizers, Occupy Wall Street aren’t mentioned at all. Also not mentioned are the supportive protests beginning in other U.S. cities. And Kulish never mentioned Wisconsin at all!

Last week the FCC announced new net neutrality rules, and now lawsuits from both sides of the issue are starting.

Verizon and Metro PCS, both wireless carriers, had already made clear their intention to sue and were widely expected to be the first to do so. Instead, they were beaten to court by the activist group Free Press—one of the strongest supporters of network neutrality.

Free Press has asked a federal appeals court to review the FCC’s rules—not because it finds them too strong, but because it finds them too weak. The group particularly objects to the way in which wireless companies are exempted from most of the meaningful anti-discrimination policies in the rules. While wireless operators can’t block Internet sites outright, and can’t simply ban apps that compete with their own services, they can do just about anything else; wired operators can’t.

Free Press complains about the “decision to adopt one set of rules for broadband access via mobile platforms and a different set of rules for broadband access via fixed platforms.” The distinction, it says, is “arbitrary and capricious” and it violates the law.

In a statement, Free Press Policy Director Matt Wood said, “Our challenge will show that there is no evidence in the record to justify this arbitrary distinction between wired and wireless Internet access. The disparity that the FCC’s rules create is unjust and unjustified. And it’s especially problematic because of the increasing popularity of wireless, along with its increasing importance for younger demographics and diverse populations who rely on mobile devices as their primary means for getting online.

Here is a summary of the final FCC rules, from Connected Planet:

The FCC highlighted a total of four rules, which specify that:

— A person engaged in the provision of broadband Internet access service shall publicly disclose accurate information regarding the network management practices, performance and commercial terms of its broadband Internet access services sufficient for consumers to make informed choice regarding use of such services and for content, application, service and device providers to develop, market and maintain Internet offerings

— A person engaged in the provision of fixed broadband Internet access service . . . shall not block lawful content, applications, services or non-harmful devices, subject to reasonable network management.

— A person engaged in the provision of fixed broadband Internet access service . . . shall not unreasonably discriminate in transmitting lawful network traffic over a consumer’s broadband Internet access service.

— A person engaged in the provision of mobile broadband Internet access service, insofar as such person is so engaged, shall not block consumers from accessing lawful websites, subject to reasonable network management; nor shall such person block applications that compete with the provider’s voice or video telephony services, subject to reasonable network management.

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I’m sure you’ve heard that the Justice Department has asked the Supreme Court to rule on the health care law ASAP. Dalia Lithwick at Slate had an interesting article on the case: The Supreme Court is less interested in ruling on Obama’s health care law than you think.

Apparently the Obama administration believes that 2012 will not be crazy enough already. That would explain why it has decided not to appeal a ruling from a three-judge panel of the 11th Circuit Court of Appeals striking down the individual mandate at the heart of its health reform law. Instead of asking the full, 11-member court to hear the case, the administration has voluntarily cleared the path toward the Supreme Court as early as this spring. That means there could be a ruling by the end of June, just a few months before the election.

Right now the individual mandate has been upheld, by a 2-1 margin by the Sixth Circuit and struck down 2-1 at the 11th Circuit, while the Virginia lawsuit challenging the act was dismissed on procedural grounds at the Fourth Circuit. This split between the federal appeals courts almost demands that the high court agree to hear the case, as does the fact that it’s the Justice Department filing the appeal.

Lithwick discusses the opinions of other writers on why the administration is doing this now. Then she offers her own assessment:

I remain unsure that there just are five justices at the high court eager to have the court itself become an election-year issue. I don’t think Chief Justice John Roberts wants to borrow that kind of partisan trouble again so soon after Citizens United, the campaign-finance case that turned into an Obama talking point. And I am not certain that the short-term gain of striking down some or part of the ACA (embarrassing President Obama even to the point of affecting the election) is the kind of judicial end-game this court really cares about. Certainly there are one or two justices who might see striking down the ACA as a historic blow for freedom. But the long game at the court is measured in decades of slow doctrinal progress—as witnessed in the fight over handguns and the Second Amendment—and not in reviving the stalled federalism revolution just to score a point.

That’s why I suspect that even if there are five justices who believe the individual mandate is unconstitutional, there probably aren’t five votes to decide that question in this instant. Lyle Denniston over at Scotusblog reminds us that the court has a lot of options to forestall a showdown with the president. If the justices opt to consider the technical question raised at the Fourth Circuit—about who has legal standing to challenge the mandate in the first place—the court could dodge the constitutional question altogether until 2015, when the first penalties will be paid. It’s not so much a matter of the court having to decide whether to bring a gavel to a knife fight. It’s just that this isn’t really this court’s knife fight in the first place.

Roman Polanski is back in the news, because he supposedly “apologized” to the woman he raped when she was only 13.

In a documentary about his life, the Oscar-winning director, 78, admitted Samantha Geimer had been left scarred by his exploitation three decades ago. The Polish-French film maker publicly apologised for the first time for his “mistakes” that included the sexual attack on Mrs Geimer, now 47.

The director of Rosemary’s Baby and Chinatown admitted she was a “double victim” after being caught up in the subsequent media storm, forcing her to move to Hawaii for privacy.

The married mother-of-three successfully sued him and accepted a private apology in 2009, saying she had been left more traumatised by ensuing legal battles to bring him to justice than the assault itself.

Finally, here’s another celebrity story: According to the New York Post, 1960s rock star Sly Stone is homeless, living in a van in L.A.

Today, Sly Stone — one of the greatest figures in soul-music history — is homeless, his fortune stolen by a lethal combination of excess, substance abuse and financial mismanagement. He lays his head inside a white camper van ironically stamped with the words “Pleasure Way” on the side. The van is parked on a residential street in Crenshaw, the rough Los Angeles neighborhood where “Boyz n the Hood” was set. A retired couple makes sure he eats once a day, and Stone showers at their house. The couple’s son serves as his assistant and driver.

Inside the van, the former mastermind of Sly & the Family Stone, now 68, continues to record music with the help of a laptop computer.

“I like my small camper,” he says, his voice raspy with age and years of hard living. “I just do not want to return to a fixed home. I cannot stand being in one place. I must keep moving.”

It’s a pretty nice van, BTW. But the LA Times says if Stone is homeless, it’s his own choice.

If Sly Stone is homeless, it’s by choice and not necessity, according to sources close to the funk legend.

Stone’s attorney Robert Alan has supposedly rented a four-bedroom home in Woodland Hills for his client, one unnamed source told Showbiz411 exclusively. “He’s too paranoid to come inside,” another source told writer Roger Friedman. That person was described as a friend of the singer.

Though Alan wouldn’t comment on the rental house, Friedman said, the lawyer confirmed that Sly Stone documentarian Willem Alkema had paid the singer $5,000 upfront for a recent interview. (An additional $2,000, source unknown, was reportedly paid when the story was picked up.) Alkema, whom Friedman says is trying relaunch his documentary and could benefit from the publicity, co-wrote Sunday’s “Sly Stone Is Homeless and Living in a Van” article for the New York Post.

That’s not to say Stone hadn’t admitted struggling with drugs, nor that he isn’t in financial trouble of the maybe-a-$50-million-lawsuit-will-fix-it variety — he sued former manager Jerry Goldstein in early 2010, alleging fraud and the diversion of $20 million to $30 million in royalties.

I’m just glad to know that Sly is still with us. What a great band he had. I remember seeing Sly and the Family Stone at an outdoor concert at Harvard Stadium–I think it was in 1969. It was fabulous! So in honor of Sly and nostalgia…

So…. what are you reading and blogging about today?


Time to Change the Federal Definition of Rape

Remember awhile back when Republicans in the House tried to pass a law that would allow a woman who had been raped to have an abortion paid for only in the case of “forcible rape?” At the time, there was an uproar on-line and in the corporate media, and the wording of the bill was changed.

At the time, I somehow missed the fact that the official definition used by the FBI in keeping track of crimes statistics not only defines rape as forcible, but also only as vaginal penetration of a female. That leaves out anal and oral rape, rape with objects, and rape of a person who is unconscious, drunk, or drugged by the rapist. It also leaves out rapes of males. Here’s the FBI definition of rape:

“the carnal knowledge of a female, forcibly and against her will”

There’s a story in The New York Times today about efforts to make that definition a whole lot broader and more realistic.

Thousands of sexual assaults that occur in the United States every year are not reflected in the federal government’s yearly crime report because the report uses an archaic definition of rape that is far narrower than the definitions used by most police departments.

This means that local police departments use one definition for their own records and the archaic FBI definition for federal reporting of crime statistics.

“The public has the right to know about the prevalence of crime and violent crime in our communities, and we know that data drives practices, resources, policies and programs,” said Carol Tracy, executive director of the Women’s Law Project in Philadelphia, whose office has campaigned to get the F.B.I. to change its definition of sexual assault. “It’s critical that we strive to have accurate information about this.”

Ms. Tracy spoke Friday at a meeting in Washington, organized by the Police Executive Research Forum, that brought together police chiefs, sex-crime investigators, federal officials and advocates to discuss the limitations of the federal definition and the wider issue of local police departments’ not adequately investigating rape.

So when we hear from the feds that crime rates are dropping, we’re getting false or distorted information, at least as it applied to rape.

According to a September 16, 2010 article at Change.org by Elizabeth Renter, another problem caused by the FBI’s limited definition of rape is that forcible, vaginal rape is the only form of sexual assault that is defined as a Part I office in the FBI’s annual crime report.

While the FBI recognizes other acts as a form of sexual assault, rape is the only crime which they classify as a Part I offense in the Uniform Crime Report, an annually published record of crime rates across the country.

Law enforcement agencies nationwide submit data to the FBI for inclusion in the UCR. Despite this report being completely voluntary, there is said to be a 93 percent participation rate. And though there are always shortcomings and margins of error with any system designed to track crime, the UCR is considered the go-to report when politicians, reporters or other officials need to cite crime statistics. Because of this, it would be in the self serving interest of some agencies to show lower crime rates, to reflect that their crime control techniques are really working when they really aren’t.

But the police wouldn’t do that — would they?

Over the past few years, several metropolitan police forces have come under scrutiny for their handling of rape cases. Baltimore, Philadelphia, New York and Cleveland are just a few cities where law enforcement is alleged to have mishandled or completely ignored reports of rape.

Renter links to a series of investigative articles in the Baltimore Sun that demonstrated that Baltimore Police were discounting more rape reports than any other city in the U.S.

More than 30 percent of the cases investigated by detectives each year are deemed unfounded, five times the national average. Only Louisville and Pittsburgh have reported similar numbers in the recent past, and the number of unfounded rape cases in those cities dropped after police implemented new classification procedures. The increase in unfounded cases comes as the number of rapes reported by Baltimore police has plunged — from 684 in 1995 to 158 in 2009, a decline of nearly 80 percent. Nationally, FBI reports indicate that rapes have fallen 8 percent over the same period.

According to the NYT article linked above, an FBI subcommittee will begin considering a change of their definition of rape on October 18. The New York Times article is the only one I could find dealing with this issue today–except for a reference to the article at the Daily Beast.

Let’s hope other major media outlets pick up this story and run with it. Rape is already assumed to be greatly under-reported. Now we learn that it may not be so much under-reported, but instead minimized or not taken seriously by local police departments.


Sky Dancing Evening News: Sorry for your loss…”Job Loss” that is, when you care enough to send the very best.

Good Evening Y’all!

It is funny how even though it is hot outside, and I have the air running…because the sun is not streaming into our room at a different angle, it feels like fall.  The crystal ball paints brilliant colors of light on the floor and wall, but it only does it in fall and winter. I can’t wait for it to get cooler out…fall is my favorite time of year.

Yes, my mind is a bit off today. It wandered a bit during the morning post and I am sure it will do the same this evening.

A hell of a lot has been going on, so I will post some quick links to things you may have missed…

There’s been a man arrested in connection with the Indiana murders.  Five people were killed Sunday in Laurel, a small town southeast of Indianapolis: Police Arrest ‘Person of Interest’ in Indiana Killings

According to Dr. Christina Pietz, Jared Loughner does know what he did, feels remorse about the killing and his competency can be restored again in about 8 months.  The Associated Press: Testimony: Loughner’s competency can be restored Wow, every time I see that mug shot of Loughner it gives me the willies. He is now being medicated with psychotropic drugs by force…and is no longer having hallucinations. They still have him on suicide watch.

NYPD has announced that they will look into a complaint filed about an officer that  pepper sprayed a woman protester.  NYPD will investigate pepper spraying at protest 

I don’t know how complete and unbiased it will be…the New York City Police Commissioner Raymond Kelly is already pulling an “obama” by commenting on the video evidence:

Kelly says the video leaves out tumultuous conduct by protesters who illegally tried to block streets.

See what I mean, he is setting the investigation up to fail already. (Ah, maybe I am just reading too much into that statement.  Here are a couple more links from different sources, you can decide.)

From a local CBS station in NYC: Kelly Addresses NYPD Pepper Spray Incident At Wall Street Protests « CBS New York

Police Commissioner Ray Kelly won’t say whether the cop was justified, but he did describe the protesters’ behavior leading up to the incident as “tumultuous conduct.”

“We have not interfered with them even when they’re marching on the sidewalk in significant numbers — we’ve allowed them to do that. What we said, what we’ve told them is ‘don’t go out in the street and block traffic’ and that’s precisely what happened on Saturday,” Kelly told reporters, including 1010 WINS’ Carol D’Auria.

And from the Atlantic:  NYPD Now Has Two Pepper Spray Incidents to Investigate

A new video showing Deputy Inspector Anthony Bologna in a second pepper-spraying incident during the weekend’s Occupy Wall Street protest came out overnight, a few hours before the New York Police Department announced it would investigate Bologna’s use of the spray, which it had previously defended. The original video of Bologna spraying four women detained behind netting has been pretty well parsed by folks who say it goes against the department’s guidelines. The new one also seems to show a violation of the department guidelines as Bologna sprays what appears to be a photographer who wasn’t being detained.

We’ll see huh?

Alabama is again going to be a focal point in my post today…first there is this nugget that Boston Boomer emailed me…Sponsor Of Alabama Immigration Law Scott Beason Refers To Blacks As ‘Aborigines’ | ThinkProgress

Alabama state senator Scott Beason (R), who sponsored the state’s tough new immigration law, has been caught on tape referring to black customers of a casino as “aborigines.” Beason made the offensive comparison while wearing audio recording equipment for the FBI as part of an investigation into a group of people accused of buying and selling pro-gambling votes in the legislature. The Associated Press reports:

In one transcript, Beason and two other Republican legislators were talking about economic development in predominantly black Greene County and the customers at one of the county’s largest employers, the Greenetrack casino in Eutaw.

“That’s y’all’s Indians,” one Republican said.

“They’re aborigines, but they’re not Indians,” Beason replied. […]

The transcripts also showed Beason and other Republicans talking about what would happen if the legislation to protect electronic bingo casinos were approved by the Legislature and placed before voters in the election in November 2010. They speculated that casino owners would offer free meals and free bus rides to get black voters to the polls.

Under questioning, Beason said they were concerned that a large black turnout would hurt Republican candidates.

When pressed on his comments, Beason explained, “I don’t know what I meant at the time.” “I don’t use that term normally. I don’t know where it even came from that day,” he said in federal court. Democrats have called on Beason to resign. The federal judge in the bingo trial case will allow defense lawyers to question witnesses about Beason’s “racially charged” statements.

Ooof!

He has also been leading the charge to redraw district lines in a way that would significantly dilute the power of black voters.

Oh, that is a freakin’ surprise.

And what about that Immigration law?  Judge lets key parts of Ala. immigration law stand 

A federal judge refused Wednesday to block key parts of a closely watched Alabama law that is considered the strictest state effort to clamp down on illegal immigration, including a measure that requires immigration status checks of public school students.

U.S. District Judge Sharon Blackburn, appointed by Republican President George H.W. Bush, wrote in her 115-page opinion that some parts of the law are in conflict with federal statutes, but others aren’t.

She said federal law doesn’t prohibit checking students or suspects pulled over by police. She also refused to stop provisions that allow police to hold suspected illegal immigrants without bond; bar state courts from enforcing contracts involving illegal immigrants; make it a felony for an illegal immigrant to do business with the state; and make it a misdemeanor for an illegal resident not to have immigration papers.

There is no mention of when the unblocked parts of the law will go into effect, but Blackburn’s previous order blocking enforcement expires tomorrow.

Alabama Republicans have long sought to clamp down on illegal immigration and passed the law earlier this year after gaining control of the Legislature for the first time since Reconstruction. GOP Gov. Robert Bentley signed it, saying it was vital to protect jobs of legal residents.

Both supporters and critics say it is the nation’s toughest partly because of a section that would require public schools to verify the citizenship status of students and report statistics to the state. Illegal immigrants wouldn’t be barred attending public schools, but opponents contend the law is designed to decrease enrollment by creating a climate of fear.

One of the groups in opposition of this law has issued a statement on behalf of 150 United Methodist Preachers.

…church leaders were “pleased to see some of the harsh and far-reaching elements of the law have been struck down.”

“We feel that many of these elements, written by members of the State House and Senate who campaign on Christianity, are not representative of the message of Christ who welcomed the stranger despite country of origin or status,” they said.

Not to mention the cheap labor the “Righteous” Christians will get in the bargain. (Hey, I have become very cynical of the Religious Right…and the proclamations of being good “christians” while looking out for their best interest.)

And lastly, you know the economy and employment numbers suck ass when Hallmark has a new set of sympathy cards for the loss of a job.  Hallmark adds sympathy cards for job loss – chicagotribune.com

Greeting card companies have taken a cue from the nation’s 9 percent unemployment rate.

In a six-by-four inch envelope, someone can send a friend who lost his or her job a pre-printed message of encouragement and sympathy.

Though not available at every corner store, layoff greeting cards are being manufactured by Hallmark and sold at its stores and online — and selling well, said Frank Fernandez, owner of two Hallmark stores in North Texas.

“We’re in the emotional business,” said Fernandez. “You want to say something emotionally correct and give them (your friends) a card that you’ve chosen to express your own thoughts.”

[…]

Hallmark, based in Kansas City, Mo., has always adapted its cards to the current events, and it has taken into consideration the economy since 1910, said spokeswoman Jaci Twidwell.

Hallmark produces six kinds of layoff sympathy cards. The company would not disclose sales figures, but the manager of a Dallas store said such sympathy and encouragement cards sell out quickly.

In the past, some Hallmark cards have dealt with difficult issues — such as the military draft in the 1960s, nuclear warfare and the Great Depression. Cards have also offered sentimental greetings to members of the military during the 1940s and to those who suffered loss after Sept. 11, 2001.

I just want to see some cards that reflect losing your unemployment pay…and having to pawn what little you have to make a few bucks.  I want to see empathy cards…like some sort of Dr. Pepper jingle. Hey I lost my job, you lost your job…we’re all losing our jobs, aren’t you glad you lost your job too? Man, that sucked didn’t it…not creative enough.

My suggestion would be for Hallmark to make some of these Job Loss Sympathy cards in holders, like they do for birthday’s and graduations. Where the card has a money envelope incorporated within it…Only instead of cash, it would hold the pink slip…and maybe a severance check if you are lucky.

Well, I am off to make some French toast…I’ll catch y’all later in the comments!