Late Night News Bits…Open Thread

Good Evening!

Many of you already know about this situation: Savannah Dietrich outs her rapists on Twitter and Facebook

Last summer, 16-year-old Savannah Dietrich went to a party, had some drinks, and passed out. Then, two acquaintances sexually assaulted her, took pictures, and forwarded them to their friends. News of the public assault tore through Dietrich’s Louisville high school. Dietrich was forced to “just sit there and wonder, who saw, who knows?” The public humiliation culminated this June, when her assailants struck a plea deal on charges of felony sexual abuse and misdemeanor voyeurism that Dietrich felt amounted to a “slap on the wrist.” And the court had an order for Dietrich, too: Don’t talk about it, or risk 180 days in prison and a $500 fine.

First, Dietrich cried. Then, she logged online. “There you go, lock me up,” she tweeted to a couple hundred Twitter followers, outing her assailants by name. “I’m not protecting anyone that made my life a living Hell.” These men had made their assault on her public. Now, they had convinced a court to keep it all under wraps. “If reporting a rape only got me to the point that I’m not allowed to talk about it, then I regret it,” she wrote in a note on her Facebook wall. “I regret reporting it.”

Well, this morning I found this message in my email…I went and signed the petition.

Drop the charges against Savannah Dietrich, who identified the men convicted of sexually abusing her.
Sign Elizabeth’s Petition

JJ –

Savannah Dietrich is a 17-year-old rape victim in Kentucky. She could face up to 180 days in jail for revealing the names of her convicted attackers — while those two young men will likely face no jail time at all.

The two young men pled guilty to assaulting Savannah at a party — it’s even been reported that they took and distributed photos of the assault. But Savannah found out that their plea bargain likely won’t even include jail time — a slap on the wrist for sexual assault.

To add insult to injury, Savannah was told she must keep the names of her convicted attackers a secret. 

For Savannah, this was the last straw. She called out the two young men by name on Twitter — and now she faces up to 180 days in jail for doing so. Savannah later tweeted, “I’m not protecting anyone that made my life a living Hell.”

Elizabeth Beier was outraged when she heard what had happened to Savannah. “I thought, they’re threatening her with jail time if she doesn’t shut up about the most traumatic thing that has happened to her,” Elizabeth says. “Then I thought, someone needs to do something about this.”

Elizabeth started a petition on Change.org asking Judge Dee McDonald to drop all charges against Savannah Dietrich. Click here to add your name.

Thanks,
Jon

Well, here is some good news on the subject: Savannah Dietrich Doesn’t Face Contempt Charge For Revealing Names Of Sexual Attackers

A Kentucky teenager frustrated by light punishment for two boys who pleaded guilty to sexually assaulting her was spared Monday from having to face a contempt charge for naming them on Twitter in violation of a court order.

The case of Savannah Dietrich, 17, quickly gathered supporters nationwide who were upset that the victim of an assault could be punished for speaking out against her attackers.

The girl turned to Twitter after she said she was frustrated with what she felt was a lenient plea deal. The judge had ordered no one to speak about the case, which was in juvenile court.

On Monday, attorneys for the boys dropped their motion to charge her with contempt. David Mejia, an attorney for one of the boys, said the decision to withdraw the motion had nothing to do with public sentiment and online attention to the case.

He said the purpose of the motion had been to enforce the law that protects juveniles and their actions from disclosure.

“The horse is out of the barn,” he said. “Nothing is bringing it back.”

What an ass these lawyers are to even press charges against Dietrich…

Jeff Dion, deputy executive director of the National Center for Victims of Crime, said victims who feel cheated by the justice system sometimes file civil lawsuits in an effort to get information in the public, but social media has turned that on its head.

“It’s all about giving victims a voice,” Dion said.

In one day, an online petition on Change.org had garnered 62,000 signatures in support of Dietrich’s action.

Finally! Victims a voice, is what is the most important thing the social media has done…Look at what things like Twitter and Facebook have done to change peoples lives. (I’m not just talking about Dietrich, but remember the Revolution in Egypt? Twitter was one of the only ways to get information.)  I am not one of those addicted to either forms of social connection, but it has been beneficial in many ways.

I have to admit, I have been avoiding the news today. So I will give you one more link and open it up to you…

Tax problems haunt state candidates

Get this, from my home state of Georgia…

An in-depth investigation by The Atlanta Journal-Constitution found 56 state legislative candidates have had problems paying their taxes on time, leading to more than $1 million in local, state and federal tax liens. Many have paid them off, while others still owe.

The bills range from token amounts for an unpaid sewer or garbage collection bill to five- and six-figure balances covering multiple years.

In that sense, these challengers are very much like the lawmakers they hope to unseat.

Investigations in the past year by The Atlanta Journal-Constitution revealed Georgia lawmakers accrued nearly $1.5 million in current and past liens for overdue taxes.

Some of the candidates have even filed for bankruptcy:

With the July 31 primary elections a little more than a week away, the news that so many candidates have problems paying their taxes is worrisome to some voters. All 236 seats in the Georgia Legislature are up for election this year.

[…]

Jared Thomas, spokesman for Secretary of State Brian Kemp, said a number of candidates this year have had their place on the ballot challenged because of tax debts.

“It’s much more so than the past,” he said. “It’s probably just a reflection of the poor economy. A lot of people have found themselves in financial trouble and taxes are a part of that.”

Kemp is reviewing the rulings of administrative law judges on several cases. He has yet to make a decision in those cases.

One candidate — Chris NeSmith, who was running for a superior court judgeship in the Northern Judicial Circuit — withdrew from the race Monday after an administrative law judge declared he was ineligible for the ballot after his candidacy was challenged for state and federal tax liens.

Only one candidate for the General Assembly has been challenged on the basis of their tax debt, incumbent Rep. Paulette Rakestraw Braddock, R-Powder Springs. Braddock faces a IRS tax lien for $36,343.59 in unpaid taxes from a failed marketed business. A judge in that case turned down the challenge.

Some candidates saw their past tax problems as a net positive on their political resume.

Bikram Mohanty, a Valdosta Democrat seeking the District 8 Senate seat, paid his 2008 state income taxes late, but not before the Georgia Department of Revenue filed a lien against him for the $4,466.58 bill.

“As most Georgian’s can attest, 2008 and 2009 were the years that many families began to feel the influence of our current economic dilemma,” he said.

No kidding, we lost our house in 2008, my parents lost theirs last year…We also have tax liens on us, and believe me, they have kept my husband from getting jobs in his former career in the finance sector. It kept him from getting a job at a call center in Atlanta..even go so far as affect his entrance into the Army, when things were really bad and the Army may have been the only option.

William Blackmon, a Democratic candidate from Locust Grove in the House District 111 race, said liens and bankruptcies don’t disqualify you from public service. He had a state income tax lien for $582.38 for the 2000 and 2001 tax years he paid off in 2003 and declared bankruptcy in 2009 after a business he invested in failed.

“As a candidate, I’m not different from any other individual that has had a business that went through that,” he said. “If you check the background of some of those (legislators) in there now, you’ll probably find a worse record than that. And I don’t think that’s bad. The economy hit a lot of people in business.”

Wow, I thought guys with tax liens could only get jobs like Treasurer of the US…go figure.


15 Comments on “Late Night News Bits…Open Thread”

  1. Did anyone post a link about this: Penn State Nittany Lions hit with $60 million fine, 4-year bowl ban, wins dating to 1998 – ESPN

    The NCAA said the $60 million was equivalent to the average annual revenue of the football program. The NCAA ordered Penn State to pay the penalty funds into an endowment for “external programs preventing child sexual abuse or assisting victims and may not be used to fund such programs at the university.”

    “We had our backs to the wall on this,” Penn State president Rodney Erickson told the Centre Daily Times of Pennsylvania in an interview later Monday, saying the school accepted the penalties to avoid the so-called “death penalty” that could have resulted in the suspension of the football program for at least one year. “We did what we thought was necessary to save the program.”

    In response to Erickson’s comments, Ray, speaking to ESPN.com’s Adam Rittenberg, said the NCAA did not threaten Penn State with the death penalty, and that the sanctions issued were unanimously agreed upon by the NCAA Executive Committee.

    “It was a unanimous act,” Ray said earlier during the news conference. “We needed to act.”

    Wow, 60 million a year is what the football program brings in…I still think it isn’t enough. I do think the part about taking away Paterno’s wins from 1998 forward is a good thing. Sort of a retroactive losing season? Sounds like a response to the Bain question that Romney is getting away with…

    • dakinikat says:

      I saw that … too bad Paterno didn’t live long enough to see it.

    • ecocatwoman says:

      So glad that you posted this JJ. I was cheering this morning as I heard the story on the way to work. Steve Inskeep interviewed veteran sportscaster Frank Deford and this is what Deford had to say about the NCAA’s decision:
      “INSKEEP: Is there any parallel for the NCAA involving itself in a case where it was a criminal matter and not, strictly speaking, a football matter?

      DEFORD: I can’t think of any, but as I said, they obviously determined that this was a football matter, in the following way: Why was there a cover-up? Was it to protect Jerry Sandusky? Only incidentally. What they were really trying to protect was the football program. If the word got out that one of the assistant coaches was a pedophile, it obviously was going to affect recruiting and affect the whole program.

      So when you draw a line to that, it becomes very much not just a criminal issue but an athletic issue as well, and that’s obviously the way the NCAA decided.”

      Too bad the Vatican, at least as far back as Pope John Paul II, didn’t choose to take as strong a stance against the pedophile priests & their enablers. Amazing to me that the NCAA seems to have stronger moral codes/values than a religious entity who continues to instruct their followers and the rest of Americans on proper moral behavior.

      I applaud the NCAA’s decision.

    • bostonboomer says:

      Tough shit. The NCAA should have suspended the program completely for a year at least.

  2. Here is a bit more good news, for now.
    Mentally disabled man’s execution stayed at 11th hour by Georgia Supreme Court | The Raw Story

    Warren Hill, a death row prisoner in Georgia who has been diagnosed intellectually disabled, has been granted a stay of execution 90 minutes before he was scheduled to be put to death by lethal injection.

    The Georgia supreme court unanimously decided to postpone the death sentence in a case that has caused an uproar nationally and around the world.

    Hill was set to be executed despite the fact that the US supreme court has banned executions for “mentally retarded” criminals on grounds that they constitute cruel and unusual punishment.

    The stay of execution was ordered on the basis of a dispute over the technique of the killing, not the fact that it was to be carried out in itself. The state has recently moved from a three-drug lethal injection procedure to a single fatal dose of the sedative pentobarbital.

    The judges said they would now consider whether the switch in procedures amounts to a violation of Georgia’s administrative procedure act that governs executions.

  3. RalphB says:

    Sheer hypocrisy from another Republican on Rmoney’s team. 🙂

    SOMEWHERE IN HELL, AYN RAND WEEPS BITTER TEARS

    Star of Romney ‘My Hands Didn’t Build This’ Ad Received Millions in Government Loans and Contracts

  4. RalphB says:

    The Republican Party has simply ran out of real arguments. Dahlia Lithwick in Slate:

    The GOP’s War Against Facts

    Someday political scientists will try to date the decline of reasoned discourse in America to the moment when the left and the right began to invent their own facts. Climate change deniers, the purveyors of lies linking abortion to breast cancer, and creationists will all be blamed for the end of meaningful debate between liberals and conservatives. But that’s not quite right. The real end of civic discourse can be traced to the new conservative argument that facts themselves are dangerous.

    It’s a dangerous contention not just for what it hides, but also for what it reveals: a lack of any other arguments.

  5. RalphB says:

    OFA pushback on Rmoneys out of context ads …

  6. RalphB says:

    Krugman on negative real yields.

    Free Money

    Take a look at the latest Treasury real yield curve data — the interest rate the U.S. government pays on bonds that are indexed to inflation:
    […]
    That’s right: for every maturity of bonds under 20 years, investors are paying the feds to take their money — and in the case of maturities of 10 years and under, paying a lot.
    […]
    Now, you might think that there would be a consensus that, even leaving Keynesian things aside, this is a really good time for the government to invest in infrastructure and stuff: money is free, the workers would otherwise be unemployed.

    But no: the Very Serious People have decided that the big problem is that Washington is borrowing too much, and that addressing this problem is the key to … something.

  7. northwestrain says:

    So much to comment on. Penn State deserves the fine and all that goes with it. A lot of people were hurt — including staff who knew that something was wrong and were forced out. Seems like there was a reign of terror — everything the the team. Sports should be a side line — not the major focus and business of colleges.
    ———————————-

    Way to go Savannah Dietrich!!!!!!!! You have a back bone and pride. Be honest and stand up for what is right!!!

    She has a point — she followed the “legal” route — reported the bastards and they get protection from exposure. At least locally their names are mud — creeps like this as a rule will repeat their crimes.

    But note that the media still has not printed the rapist names.

    I’m not convinced by the boy’s lawyers claims that the public outcry had not effect — lying bastards.

  8. Sleepless in NJ says:

    I also signed the petition for Savannah. The terms of the plea bargain are outrageous and ridiculous. Thank goodness the contempt charge was dropped. I hope she gets a lot more support from her community than she got from the judicial system!

  9. If you can, watch this: Jon Stewart Tears Apart ABC’s Brian Ross For False Tea Party Report On Aurora Shooter | Mediaite

    Jon Stewart opened his show tonight by talking about last Friday’s shooting in Aurora, Colorado, and said that it was a complex issue with a variety of different factors involved that should be talked about. He contrasted that assessment with how individuals in the media have been saying it’s completely inappropriate to talk about gun control following the tragedy, and also took time to slam ABC News’ Brian Ross for his false report on the shooter’s tea party ties. Stewart was amazed at how Ross didn’t get disciplined by the network.

    He contrasted the laissez-faire attitude about the gun argument with all the airport security measures taken ten years after 9/11, and made a comparison between gun control and the desire of some not to talk about it.

    “You’re telling me that to discuss the epidemic of gun violence in this country, for that, there is a waiting period. Yeah, I guess you’d hate to go into a conversation about guns all hot-headed and say something impulsive you’ll never be able to take back.”