Tuesday Reads: Moose, Black Bears, a Laudable FBI Sting, and Various Slimy Politicians

Good Morning!!

I just had to share this news about wildlife encroaching on Boston’s western suburbs: Black bear and moose sighted in Needham and Wellesley

It was a wild Monday in the suburbs west of Boston, with reports of a black bear ambling down by the Charles River in Needham and sightings of a 600-pound moose racing through backyards and across streets in Wellesley.

Isn’t that exciting?

The suburban sightings follow a rash of similar wildlife reports across the state – coyotes, of course, and more recently, black bears. One particularly adventurous bear spent weeks roaming Cape Cod, romping through cranberry bogs and backyards and spawning bear-themed T-shirts before being tranquilized in Wellfleet.

A bear was spotted in a few yards around Norwood Saturday night, according to local police. And State Environmental Police investigated reports of a black bear in the woods along Route 109 in Dedham Sunday morning. Officers did not locate the bear, and officials speculated it had moved on.

According to the article, the bear population in Massachusetts has increased since it was estimated at 3,000 in 2005 and bears have started to move into the eastern part of the state. It’s mating season now, so the bears are out searching for mates and looking to establish their own territories.

As for the moose:

While authorities combed Wellesley backyards Monday afternoon, people puttered around in their cars hollering out the latest updates on the moose’s location from the police scanners. Groups on foot swapped backyard-sighting stories, and shared pictures on cell phones. They gathered with cameras at the ready to watch as authorities blocked off a home on Lexington Road to search its woody backyard for the wild interloper.

Police searched for hours but were unable to locate the moose.

An FBI Sting Operation Worth Applauding

On Friday, Saturday, and Sunday, the FBI broke up prostitution rings across the U.S., freeing 79 underage prostitutes and arresting 105 pimps “as part of the…Innocence Lost National Initiative entitled ‘Operation Cross Country VI.'”

Reuters:

Seventy-nine teenagers held against their will and forced into prostitution were rescued at hotels, truck stops and storefronts in a three-day sweep of sex-trafficking rings across the United States, law enforcement officials said on Monday.

The FBI said 104 alleged pimps were arrested during sting operations in 57 U.S. cities including Atlanta, Sacramento, and Toledo, Ohio. The operation lasted between Thursday and Saturday and involved state and local authorities as well as the FBI.

The teenagers, aged from 13 to 17 years old, were being held in custody until they could be placed with child welfare organizations. They were all U.S. citizens and included 77 girls and two boys, the FBI said.

One of the minors recovered in the sweep reported being involved in prostitution from the age of 11, according to Kevin Perkins, acting executive assistant director of the FBI’s Criminal, Cyber, Response and Services Branch.

He said the cases were not “one-off” incidents, but evidence of “criminal enterprises” that lure minors in, often through social media, hold them against their will through threats to them or their families, and then traffic them through different U.S. cities.

CNN has more from Perkins:

“Many times the children that are taken in in these types of criminal activities are children that are dissaffected, they are from broken homes, they may be on the street themselves — they are really looking for a meal, they are looking for shelter, they are looking for someone to take care of them, and that’s really the first approach that’s made,” said Perkins.

“Once the child has been taken out of harm’s way, then really the story just begins at that point,” said Perkins. “That’s where the real work starts, where we have to call upon the community, various social welfare agencies, our own office of victim assistance has to work with each child on an individual basis to see what their requirements are.

“This is a very difficult task. These children are very damaged — very harmed, and they need a great deal of help — it’s really taxing the social welfare agencies and it’s something that, going forward, we need to pay particular attention to.”

Unfortunately many of these children may still end up back on the streets. Still, it’s a worthwhile effort, IMHO.

Mitt Romney Updates

ABC News The Note managed to get some details about Romney’s ultra-secret weekend millionaire/billionare donor retreat in Park City, Utah.

Chateaux at Silver Lake

FRIDAY AFTERNOON: As attendees entered the Chateaux at Silver Lake, the host hotel, throughout the sunny afternoon, they were handed a Vineyard Vines tan canvas tote bag with navy piping and the words “Believe in America” stitched on the side. Inside the bag was a blue baseball hat with “Romney” written over a circular American flag and a thick white binder, detailing the weekend’s schedule from policy discussions to social events, along with a list of Romney’s upcoming events and Romney for president pins.

In addition to the Romney swag, there was also a typed note from Romney’s National Finance Chairman Spencer Zwick addressed to the attendees by their first names. “Welcome to the first Romney Victory Leadership Retreat! We are very glad you were able to join us for this special weekend. Thank you for the continued support and leadership. On to victory!,” the card read.
Some were even personalized with a handwritten note from Zwick expressing appreciation to the donor and his or her family, signed with his initials “SZ.”

Golf carts whipped attendees around the complex and to discussions on healthcare, Israel, the state of the race, and the financial services industry that were conducted both Friday and Saturday.

There’s lots more at the link.

Despite the complaints of corporate Democrats like Cory Booker and Ed Rendell, the Obama campaign has continued to hammer Mitt Romney over his history as a corporate raider. And over the weekend, there were three in-depth articles on Romney’s time at Bain Capital. Today James Downie highlighted those pieces at the WaPo: Mitt Romney, Bain Capital and a ‘profit-first’ presidency

The first, from Friday’s Post, described how Romney’s Bain was an early supporter of companies that outsourced American jobs. “While Bain was not the largest player in the outsourcing field,” The Post reported, “the private equity firm was involved early on, at a time when the departure of jobs from the United States was beginning to accelerate and new companies were emerging as handmaidens to this outflow of employment.” That outsourcing damaged American job creation was no matter; Bain made its profit.

The second, in Saturday’s New York Times, outlined how, again and again, Romney’s Bain reaped revenue from companies even as they were failing. “At least seven [of the 40 U.S.-based companies that Bain held a majority stake in while Romney was active at Bain] eventually filed for bankruptcy while Bain remained involved, or shortly afterward . . . In some instances, hundreds of employees lost their jobs. In most of those cases, however, records and interviews suggest that Bain and its executives still found a way to make money.” In several of the bankruptcies, companies made their situation worse by borrowing more to return money to Bain and its investors. And even when both outside investors and the companies themselves failed to do well, “lucrative fees helped insulate Bain and its executives.” Again, Bain made its profit.

The third, and perhaps most damning article, came from Sunday’s Boston Globe, depicting Romney’s work with disgraced junk-bond king Michael Milken. In 1988, Romney was searching for money to finance a heavily-leveraged buyout of two small department store chains. “At the time of the deal, it was widely known that Milken and his company were under federal investigation” for insider trading and stock manipulation. Despite this, Romney and his partners, after personally meeting with Milken, went ahead with the deal. With financing from Milken’s shady business, Romney and Bain were able to make a $10 billion investment, not long before Milken was sentenced to 22 months in prison. Bain eventually profited to the tune of $175 million (although the merged department stores later went bankrupt, shortly after dumping its Bain-appointed chief executive). Sure, an important chunk of the financing may have come from questionable sources, but Bain made its profit.

I included the Boston Globe article in my Sunday morning roundup. If you haven’t read it yet, please do.

Meanwhile, the Romney campaign has been taking the John Kerry approach–ignoring the attacks on Romney’s primary claim to presidential qualifications, just as Kerry long ignored the attacks on him by the “Swift Boat Veterans for Truth.” That didn’t work out so well for Kerry.

Today, President Obama mocked Romney’s response to the outsourcing story at a campaign event in New Hampshire.

The president noted that Romney’s campaign had pushed back against the Post’s scoop by complaining it didn’t sufficiently distinguish between “outsourcing” and “offshoring,” only the latter of which expressly involves shipping jobs overseas.

“You cannot make this stuff up!” Obama said. “What Gov. Romney and his advisers don’t seem to understand is this: If you’re a worker whose job went overseas, you don’t need somebody trying to explain to you the difference between outsourcing and offshoring, you need someone who’s going to wake up every day and fight for American jobs and investment here in the United States.”

Pennsylvania’s Voter ID Law

Pennsylvania is one of the many Republican-controlled states that have instituted voter ID laws. Usually the claim is that these laws will prevent the massive amount of voter fraud that Republicans claim is happening (of course, there’s no evidence whatsoever for this claim). But recently a Pennsylvania Republican state legislator actually told the truth.

House Majority Leader Mike Turzai (R-Allegheny) suggested that the House’s end game in passing the Voter ID law was to benefit the GOP politically.

“We are focused on making sure that we meet our obligations that we’ve talked about for years,” said Turzai in a speech to committee members Saturday. He mentioned the law among a laundry list of accomplishments made by the GOP-run legislature.

“Pro-Second Amendment? The Castle Doctrine, it’s done. First pro-life legislation – abortion facility regulations – in 22 years, done. Voter ID, which is gonna allow Governor Romney to win the state of Pennsylvania, done.”

The statement drew a loud round of applause from the audience. It also struck a nerve among critics, who called it an admission that they passed the bill to make it harder for Democrats to vote — and not to prevent voter fraud as the legislators claimed.

The Pennsylvania voter ID law is particularly complex and strict in its requirements. Most onerous is the requirement that the ID must include a specific date of expiration.

As this article in The Nation explains, most employment and student ID’s do not have expiration dates listed. Even the Republican Secretary of State Carol Aichele did not know that her employee ID would not be accepted for voting!

Back in April, Pennsylvania Secretary of State Carol Aichele visited the editorial board of the Erie Times-News newspaper to speak with them about the new photo voter ID bill Governor Tom Corbett had just signed into law….Aichele’s Erie visit was part of a state tour to educate voters about what they’d need for compliance with law and for the ability to exercise their right to vote. One of the IDs acceptable for voting is a state employee photo identification card. However, the law also says that IDs must have a current expiration date for voter eligibility, and the state employee cards do not. Aichele seemed to overlook this paradox in her education drive.

“Pennsylvania Secretary of State Carol Aichele showed her state photo ID, which is not acceptable for voting because it doesn’t have an expiration date,” wrote the editorial board after she showed hers to them. It must have been humiliating for the secretary who was promoting the new law to find that her own example didn’t hold muster. It’s bad enough mandating that voters have ID cards, but to add the additional restriction that the ID needs an expiration date makes it even more obtrusive. The editorial says that 10 percent of Pennsylvanians, or 88,000, do not have a valid photo ID—though that number is contested and is thought to be much larger.

The law will make voting difficult for many senior citizens.

Take the example of Henrietta Kay Dickerson, 75, of Pittsburgh, a black woman who was born in Louisiana. She came to Pennsylvania as an infant and grew up her whole life in Pittsburgh’s Hill District, the historical black neighborhood immortalized in the plays of August Wilson. In May last year her state ID expired. She went to the state’s department of transportation where she was refused a free voter ID card, even after she paid the $13.50 fee, according to her account in the lawsuit filed by the American Civil Liberties Union and the Advancement Project against the state, which says the law violates voting rights granted by the Pennsylvania Constitution.

Pennsylvania’s many college students could also have difficulties if they don’t research the law’s requirements and follow them exactly. Most college IDs do not have dates of expiration.

I’m going to end here, because this post is getting way too long! I’ll turn the floor over to you now–what are your reading recommendations for today?

45 Comments on “Tuesday Reads: Moose, Black Bears, a Laudable FBI Sting, and Various Slimy Politicians”

  1. Pat Johnson says:

    Check this one out,bb. Something the climate changers have been predicting for years:

    http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/06/25/east-coast-sea-level-rise_n_1624134.html

    I always wanted to live by the sea but I never expected to have it come to my front door being 90 miles from the coastline!

    • bostonboomer says:

      I’ve been reading about that. Pretty scary! If only our “fearless leaders” in Washington paid attention to science instead of the demands of corporations.

  2. joanelle says:

    Thanks for this BB, I’ve been busy looking after my hubby since he had rotator cuff surgery a few weeks ago. One of his arms was already compromised with limited usage -now the other is healing from surgery.
    We don’t have moose here in NJ, but we have black bears, red fox, bazillion deer, etc – folks will tell you we’re “overrun” with deer & bears but they were here first and we’ve really encroached deeply into their domain.

    • bostonboomer says:

      I would love to see a moose! Best wishes to your husband. I hope he will have a full recovery!

  3. Fannie says:

    Been busy kicking locomotives of the damn tracks, but did catch this one speeding by:

    http://www.theatlantic.com/magazine/archive/2012/07/why-women-still-can-8217-t-have-it-all/9020/#.T-nE58Ns4hA.email

    • Fannie says:

      oops “off the damn tracks”

    • Fannie says:

      It makes me sick…………….I remember a time when I was attending state college, and the doors weren’t open in political science, I remember taking international politics and realizing I had to get out because I knew I would never have a job like what she had, why? Because I didn’t come from the right family, and didn’t have the connections, didn’t attend Princeton, and didn’t have a dime saved up.

      She’s right about one thing the structure is screwed up when it comes to women, when it comes to their human rights, and they want me to believe it’s not political?

      She can forget being a counselor, just forget about it.

  4. Woman Voter says:

    BB,

    Thanks for the story about the 79 minors that were rescued from pimps across the country. I hope in the future the young people 18 & 19 will be given safe harbor and a treatment plan for rehabilitation as they too were captured by these vultures at a very young age.

    I think the police is doing good, with the help of the FBI in going after the people that prey on our children and hopefully those captured will be charged under the anti-slavery statue as others have recently been so charged in California.

    Sex trafficking is the new slavery and the victims are women, young girls and boys and must be stopped.

    • bostonboomer says:

      I agree. The 18-19 year-olds were arrested as adults. That really doesn’t seem fair, especially since they were probably seduced or forced into prostitution when they were much younger.

      • RalphB says:

        It’s really unfair but the law is designed that way. I doubt the 18-19 year olds will face any convictions or penalties, other than the damage already done which has to be considerable.

      • HT says:

        What’s even more unfair – the consumers are left untouched. If there was no demand, then supply would dry up. The Johns are the consumers, they create the demand, yet they get off scott free. As long as the Johns continue to consume and create the demand this will never stop – money to be made.
        And no, I’m not a prude – I think the sex trade should be legal, controlled and subject to income tax and ongoing health assessments and treatment for those who want to be in the trade (yes there are some who do).

      • RalphB says:

        Some jurisdictions are going after consumers and that’s a very good thing. I can’t think of any reason they shouldn’t be penalized as much as possible.

      • bostonboomer says:

        I don’t know for sure whether any johns were arrested. Many police departments do arrest them now.

        I used to think legalization was a good idea, but I don’t anymore. Prostitution is not a victimless crime. Not only are prostitutes often forced into the life either by financial need or other means, but also prostitutes are regularly preyed upon by violent criminals.

      • HT says:

        BB I feel the same as you, however how else are you going to exert some measure of relief for the true victims of prostitution – the sex workers? Prostitution is as old as time. No one has ever succeeded in stamping it out. If it is going to continue to exist, then protect the workers by ensuring they receive health benefits including counseling, surprise inspections to ensure healthy working environments and tax the sheite out of the brothel owners.

      • bostonboomer says:

        There would still be trafficking of the poorest and neediest–and especially of children. I’m sure you’re not proposed legalization of child prostitution. Abused children were the targets of this FBI project which was in conjunction with the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children. We’re not talking brothels here–these children were held in truck stops, cheap hotels, etc.

        If I really thought legalization would mean good working conditions, fair pay, health care, and protection for adult women, I might agree. But I don’t see that happening in our culture as it is now.

      • HT says:

        Good point – as usual I’m thinking like a liberal and hoping that everyone will think the same. Sigh, how many times do I need to be struck up the side of my head before I realize that not everyone thinks like us and values human life.

  5. RalphB says:

    I can’t imagine anyone here being surprised by this but it’s still really pathetic. Our media sucks!

    Women aren’t principal news sources on women’s issues, 4th Estate analysis finds

    Men have long been the predominant sources for the news media on issues such as the economy, politics and the military. And a new analysis of campaign coverage found that women aren’t even the principal news source on a topic they would presumably know best: women’s issues.

    Major news outlets, print and TV, turn mainly to male sources for their take on abortion, birth control and Planned Parenthood, according to a study by 4th Estate, a research group that monitors campaign coverage.

    Women don’t even rate as the most common sources for reports about “women’s rights,” a catch-all category that excludes reproductive issues, the group said. Women accounted for less than a third, or 31 percent, of the sources in these reports, with men in the majority, 52 percent, and institutions and organizations comprising the balance.

    • dakinikat says:

      I believe this completely. You rarely see a woman with authority get asked many questions by the press on finance or economics unless they happen to have been appointed to something by some politician.

      • bostonboomer says:

        I’m not at all surprised. These days women’s issues are usually discussed by ignorant hillbillies who refer to women as livestock or morally challenged sub-human creatures.

    • HT says:

      No surprise – as it has been, so shall it always be – or so TPTB want it to remain. Why else have there been several articles in the last few years about how woeful it is that them wimmenz got the vote.

  6. bostonboomer says:

    John Kyl wants to impeach Obama over his failure to enforce the Arizona immigration bill.

    BTW, I learned last night on Lawrence O’Donnell’s show that the “papers please” part of the bill was also eviscerated by SCOTUS. They couldn’t rule on it because it hasn’t been enforced yet, but as soon as any law enforcement officer in Arizona actually profiles someone, that part of the bill will be thrown out too. So the administration is right not to aid in enforcement in Arizona.

    • Seriously says:

      That’s fantastic news. Even the immigrant communities around here are worried that the decision equaled a license to harass. Of course, most of our “illegals” are white people from Ireland, so Downtown Trucky is trying to make sure they get hooked up with visas and don’t suffer the sane fate as their undeserving brethren. God Bless Hypocrisy.

  7. bostonboomer says:

    A Romney campaign bus once again drove around an Obama campaign event at Boston’s Symphony Hall honking its horn until police blocked off the street.

    Previously, Romney supporters drowned out an event with David Axelrod in Boston and a campaign bus drove around an Obama campaign event in Cleveland, honking loudly.

    The funny thing is that Romney doesn’t deny being behind these activities. Sooooo mature and presidential. It’s the middle school bully campaign strategy.

  8. Hello, and I missed you all!

  9. RalphB says:

    Appearing in a bit part in today’s episode of “Lying GOP Scum” is Sen Jon Kyl (R-AZ) who blames Obama for the failure of immigration reform which he himself filibustered.

    Jon Kyl Blames Obama For Failure Of Immigration Reform Under Bush

    The Supreme Court’s ruling Monday against major parts of Arizona’s immigration law highlighted the GOP’s bind on the issue, with Mitt Romney awkwardly equivocating. A leading Arizona Republican sought to ease his party’s troubles by devising a novel claim: that President Obama was to blame for Congress’s failure to pass immigration reform under President Bush.

    “I note that in his response to today’s Supreme Court ruling, President Obama called on Congress to pass comprehensive immigration reform. I also note that the bipartisan comprehensive immigration reform bill I helped draft in 2007 was killed — in part — by then-Senator Obama,” Sen. Jon Kyl (AZ), a Republican leadership member, said in a statement.

    The problem: Obama voted in favor of Bush’s 2007 immigration legislation, while Kyl joined the filibuster that quashed it.

  10. bostonboomer says:

    Romney claims health care is a state’s rights issue. I guess that means Medicare is unconstitutional?

    • bostonboomer says:

      Romney also repeatedly criticized Obama for policies that, he said, have penalized coal companies like those in the extreme southwestern corner of Virginia, home to the state’s mining industry. Some of those in the crowd of several hundred sported t-shirts and signs distributed by the coal industry—and the company that played host to the event, Carter Machinery Co., Inc., sells mining equipment.

      According to government records, the firm also was a beneficiary of the Obama stimulus program, which Romney criticized during his 20-minute speech for adding $787 billion to the federal debt. Carter Machinery received $368,000 in 2010 as a subcontractor on an upgrade project on the NOAA Ship Oregon II, a vessel used for fishery and marine research.

      The Obama campaign used Romney’s appearance to attack what it called “a developing pattern where Romney visits businesses that benefited from the Recovery Act to bash the Recovery Act.” Asked for a response, the Romney campaign referred a reporter to a statement from Carter Machinery CEO Jim Parker, a Romney supporter, who told the Roanoke Times that when his company is paid for government work “we do not know the source of these funds” and “has never received direct stimulus funding.”

      Virginia is one of several states governed by Republicans where Romney’s message of reversing U.S. economic decline has clashed with above average recoveries from the recession. The jobless rate in the Roanoke area, 5.8 percent, is more than two percentage points below the national average. The area is currently benefiting from a sharp fall in the cost of gasoline, with pump prices of $2.96 near the site of the Romney rally.

      Dipshits!

  11. bostonboomer says:

    TSA agent opens sealed jar of man’s grandfather’s ashes, marked “human remains,” stirs contents with her finger and spills ashes on terminal floor. Then laughs as man tries to recover them.

    • northwestrain says:

      TSA the gift that keeps on giving. Very few of the TSA are really trained and few if any have any background in security. Many are bullies and enjoy intimidating passengers. Before there were the TSA — the “security” check points at NY JFK airport loved to bully and intimidate. I really believe that the TSA only hires a certain personality type.

      Many airports are known for sadistic behavior — Seattle is one — Miami is another.

  12. RalphB says:

    Michael Tomasky: Democrats Should Come Out Swinging Against the Court

    I remember reading something about how Clinton said he would have handled the Florida recount. He said something about the Brooks Brothers riot along the lines of “they want to throw a riot, we’ll show them a fucking riot.” That’s the proper attitude.

    In sum, the Democrats should see an adverse decision as a chance to put the other guys—the Republicans in Congress, Romney, and the court’s ideological majority—on the defensive. It is what Republicans would do; they’d bay endlessly about an “out of control” court and all the rest. It’s one of the key psychological differences between conservatives and liberals. When conservatives suffer a political setback, they prowl the terrain like lions, looking for a few necks to bite. When liberals suffer one, they ball up like kittens and ask themselves, “Oh, gee, what did we do wrong?”

    That impulse, not any particular talking point, has been the whole problem on this health-care debate to begin with. As it is on so many matters. Maybe John Roberts and his little quartet of sea-green incorruptibles will finally get it through their heads.

    It’s not complicated. Always Be Attacking. The alternative is a bunch of losers sitting around listening to NPR saying “oh yeah, I used to be interested in politics, it’s a tough racket”.

    • northwestrain says:

      That strategy requires leaders — and the Dems do NOT have any leaders for that sort of battle. Your 0bama is not a leader — the GOP knows that 0bama will back down and stab anyone in the back who tries to fight back.

      That plan might work with a real leader in the White House.

      That idiot writer should stop blaming the victims. We the victims don’t have the money to buy off the Supreme Court, Congress and the White House.

      The right wing nutjobs have the money and the only thing that talks is money.

      • RalphB says:

        Horseshit! That strategy requires Dems with the guts to attack and not apologize, both from the White House and the Congress. Dem operatives should go on the attack instead of wallowing in self pity because FDR isn’t around anymore.

        Republicans attack because they feel victimized while Democrats apologize. That’s why I’m an Independent.

  13. RalphB says:

    Health Care As a Privilege: What the GOP Won’t Admit

    What is being disputed is whether the punishments to the losers in the market system should include, in addition to these other things, a denial of access to non-emergency medical treatment. The Republican position is that it should. They may not want a woman to have to suffer an untreated broken ankle for lack of affordable treatment. Likewise, I don’t want people to be denied nice televisions or other luxuries. I just don’t think high-definition television or nice clothing are goods that society owes to one and all. That is how Republicans think about health care.

    This is why it’s vital to bring yourself face-to face with the implications of mass uninsurance — not as emotional manipulation, but to force you to decide what forms of material deprivation ought to be morally acceptable. This question has become, at least at the moment, the primary philosophical divide between the parties. Democrats will confine the unfortunate to many forms of deprivation, but not deprivation of basic medical care. Republicans will. The GOP is the only mainstream political party in the advanced world to hold this stance.

  14. RalphB says:

    To see healthcare if the ACA is overturned, just take a look at Texas. It’s positively horrific!

    Don’t have to travel far to see the future