Lazy Saturday Reads

Harriet Tubman memorial in Boston's South End

Harriet Tubman memorial in Boston’s South End

Happy Saturday!!

Once again, I’ve spent my early morning hours looking at pictures–this time I have a collection of Boston statues to share–there are gazillions of them here! I’ve got news too, of course.

Last week I wrote a post about a rape trial in Concord, New Hampshire. The case highlighted a culture of misogyny and sexual assault at St. Paul’s, an exclusive private boarding school. Well, the verdict is in.

The jury found Owen Labrie not guilty of aggravated rape, but they convicted him of several other charges, which could still result in jail time. NYT:

…after about seven hours of deliberations over two days, the jury appeared to dismiss Mr. Labrie’s insistence that he had not penetrated the girl in any way, but found that the state had not proved that what happened was against the girl’s expressed wishes.

The nine men and three women rejected the more serious accusations of aggravated sexual assault, as well as a misdemeanor assault charge of biting the girl’s chest, but convicted Mr. Labrie of three misdemeanors related to the girl’s age and involving penetration with his penis, mouth and finger. He was also convicted of endangering the welfare of a child, a misdemeanor, and a felony charge involving use of a computer to lure a minor.

It seemed, one expert said, to be a compromise among the jurors.

The conviction on using a computer to abuse a child means Labrie will have to register as a sex offender for the rest of his life.

Edgar Allen Poe statue near Boston Common

Edgar Allen Poe statue near Boston Common

Boston Globe: As victim in prep-school case feared, the jury didn’t think she did enough.

In the end, the jury believed her. Owen Labrie had sex with her when she was just 15.

But just like she feared, they didn’t think she did enough to stop him.

Over three days of testimony, the now 16-year-old girl described her encounter with one of the more popular seniors on the campus of her elite New Hampshire prep school last year. She described how Labrie, then 18, invited her to a rendezvous in a secluded St. Paul’s School building. She told of kissing him, of taking off her sweatshirt and then her shorts. And then feeling everything go way too far.

His fingers were inside her, then his tongue, then his penis. He wasn’t getting the message when she pulled her bra strap back on, held onto her underpants, pulled his head away from between her legs as she said no repeatedly, she said. She said she winced and stiffened as he penetrated her.

She should have never left her room that night, she thought, as she stared up at the ceiling and waited for it to end.

“If I had just been able to kick or yell at him,” she testified. “If I just had been able to get the point across. To push or do something. I could have stopped it.”

Statue of Bill Russell at City Hall Plaza

Statue of Bill Russell at City Hall Plaza

So they believed Labrie penetrated her when she was under the age of consent, but they still thought it was consensual? I don’t understand that.

At Slate, Mark Joseph Stern explains: The Odd Sexual-Consent Law That Explains the Bizarre Owen Labrie Verdict.

Like many states, New Hampshire has a “Romeo and Juliet” exception to statutory rape. Such exceptions allows individuals to have sex with minors if they are close in age. These laws are designed to allow teens to engage in consensual sex without fear of prosecution. Florida provides a good example: There, the Romeo and Juliet law creates a four-year bubble, so that an 18-year-old can legally have sex with a 14-year-old, but a 19-year-old cannot.

New Hampshire’s law follows this model—with a twist. It sets a hard age of consent at 13: Before then, all sex is illegal. After 13, the rules change. It isn’t illegal to engage in consensual non-penetrative sexual contact with an individual between ages 13 and 16 unless you are at least five years older than the younger person. (Think necking and fondling.) It is always illegal, however, to engage in penetrative sexual contact with any individual between ages 13 and 16. (16 is the universal age of consent in the state.)

Here, the Romeo and Juliet law only affects the severity of the punishment. If you have penetrative consensual sex with an individual between ages 13 and 16 but are within four years of age, you are guilty of misdemeanor sexual assault. If the age difference is more than four years, you’re guilty of felony sexual assault.

Labrie was 18 when he allegedly put his penis, tongue, and finger in a 15-year-old’s vagina. The jury did not find that the girl resisted, so he isn’t guilty of felony rape. But he still had penetrative sex with a girl under 16, the jury believed. Thus, Labrie is guilty on three counts of misdemeanor sexual assault, one for each form of penetration.

A couple more links:

Boston Globe: Owen Labrie and the ‘nerd defense’

Boston Globe: Prep-school rape trial: Read statements from the victim’s family, St. Paul’s School, and Harvard College.

The Boston Women's Memorial celebrates three important contributors to Boston's rich history - Abigail Adams, Lucy Stone, and Phillis Wheatley. Each of these women had progressive ideas that were ahead of her time, was committed to social change, and left a legacy through her writings that had a significant impact on history.

The Boston Women’s Memorial celebrates three important contributors to Boston’s rich history – Abigail Adams, Lucy Stone, and Phillis Wheatley. Each of these women had progressive ideas that were ahead of her time, was committed to social change, and left a legacy through her writings that had a significant impact on history.


I thought I’d share a heartwarming story with you for a change. My mom passed this one on to me.

IndyStar: Indianapolis radio contest sparks neighborhood feud in Muncie.

It wasn’t really a feud, just one nasty neighbor with no sense of humor.

High school student Hannah Brewer, with her mother’s permission, painted the garage door of their residence in an attempt to prove she is the biggest fan of the pop/punk band 5 Seconds of Summer, aka 5SOS.

“Get creative and prove you’re the biggest 5SOS fan on your garage door so the whole neighborhood can see it!” the radio station said in announcing the competition. “Color, paint, decorate … whatever you can think of! Just make sure we can see RadioNOW 100.9 … somewhere” on the door.

The winner will receive tickets to the band’s Aug. 22 concert and get to meet the four members backstage at Klipsch Music Center.

Statue of Col. William Prescott at the Bunker Hill Monument. Famous quote: "Don't shoot till you see the whites of their eyes!"

Statue of Col. William Prescott at the Bunker Hill Monument. Famous quote: “Don’t shoot till you see the whites of their eyes!”

Hannah and her friend Morgan Whitmer worked on the garage door mural together “painting images of the band members, a message reading, “5SOS is kinda hot!” a skull, an astronaut and other things on the door.” An anonymous neighbor was so scandalized that she wrote the ridiculous letter:

Soon after that, an anonymous letter titled “A NOTE FROM YOUR NEIGHBORHOOD” was left in Brewer’s front door at 3305 W. Oaklyn Ave.

It said, “At first we all thought you had been a victim of vandalism on your garage, seeing how NOTHING like that has ever happened around here before … In case you haven’t noticed this isn’t LA or Chicago or Mexico and it certainly isn’t south Muncie.

“There is discussion of getting up a petition, calling the newspaper and retaining a lawyer in case you don’t do the right thing over the ghetto painting … We are all sorry we have had to do this but nobody has ever treated this neighborhood in a trashy manner!”

The author of the letter left another copy of it in the front door on another day.

Hannah’s mother Carrie Mote Craig, a teacher, called the police and learned there was nothing illegal about the painting. One police officer even came to their house and posed for a picture in front of the garage door. Craig then sent an explanatory letter to all of the neighbors and the girls ended up getting tons of support and lots of people stopping by to look at the painting.

Statue of Mary Dyer, who "challenged traditional Puritanism with her progressive beliefs," and was put to death for it.

Statue of Mary Dyer, who “challenged traditional Puritanism with her progressive beliefs,” and was put to death for it.

Well, it turned out that Hannah wasn’t eligible for the radio station contest, because she doesn’t live in Indianapolis. But when the station heard the story, the girls still got tickets and a chance to meet their favorite band.  Indy Star:

RadioNOW 100.9’s afternoon drive host Mike Klein and midday host Hunter personally delivered the good news to Brewer, a high school senior, at her place of work (Wendy’s) on Wednesday night.

“She didn’t actually win the contest,” Max Williams, marketing director at Indianapolis-based RadioNOW, said. “The reason why is she lives in Muncie, which is technically not part of our market. She was not even eligible to win according to the contest rules.”

However, “because of everything that happened and the extra exposure she got for us it is definitely worth her getting to meet the band,” Williams said. “The record label thought it was great extra attention to their band. They loved it, so we were able to secure the extra meet and greet and tickets. They won some pretty decent seats and will get to go backstage prior to the show and meet the band.”

It’s just a small story, but it gave me a good feeling, so I thought I’d share it.

How about some politics? I know, ugh. But there is some political news about Democrats today that isn’t about Emailghazi.

National Journal: At DNC Meeting, Hillary Clinton’s Quiet Moves Are the Ones that Matter.

MINNEAPOLIS—Hillary Clinton publicly bashed her Republican presidential rivals in the cavernous hotel ballroom here Friday, but her bigger accomplishment at the Democratic National Committee summer meeting was what her campaign was doing privately.

At a meet-and-greet at a nearby office tower, in small group sessions, and in one-on-ones behind closed doors at the meeting hotel, Clinton and her top staff worked the 700 or so “superdelegates” who will help choose the next Democratic nominee for firm commitments.

“They’re working really hard to solidify their count going in,” said Florida DNC member Alma Gonzalez. “It is a continual and consistent push.”

“This is really about how you put the numbers together to secure the nomination,” Clinton said at a brief news conference. She said the effort springs from one of the lessons learned from her failed run in 2008, when then-Sen. Barack Obama’s campaign took advantage of party rules to win more delegates even when failing to win the primary vote in a particular state.

“I got lot of votes, but I didn’t get enough delegates, and so I think it’s understandable that my focus is going to be on delegates as well as votes this time,” she said. “I’m very encouraged by the kind of response that I’m getting.”

Statue of immortal pitcher Cy Young near the campus of Northeastern University

Statue of immortal pitcher Cy Young near the campus of Northeastern University

Two more links on this:

Bloomberg: Clinton Camp Says One-Fifth of Delegates Secured for Nomination.

Politico: Democratic elite rally around Hillary Clinton.

Naturally, other candidates were not happy.

Washington Post: Democratic challengers launch attacks against Clinton, party leadership.

What began as a routine forum of candidate speeches evolved into a surprisingly dramatic day at the Democratic National Committee’s summer meeting, as Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) and former Maryland governor Martin O’Malley issued thinly veiled attacks on Clinton and the party leadership.

Speaking from the dais, with DNC Chairwoman Debbie Wasserman Schultz sitting a few feet away, O’Malley blasted the party’s limited number of sanctioned debates as a process “rigged” in favor of the front-runner. The DNC is holding six debates, only four before February’s first caucuses in Iowa, which O’Malley argued is a disadvantage for all the candidates and a disservice to Democrats generally.

“This sort of rigged process has never been attempted before,” said O’Malley, who has struggled to gain traction in the polls. He added: “We are the Democratic Party, not the undemocratic party.”

Sanders — who later told reporters he agreed with O’Malley — lamented low Democratic turnout in last year’s midterm elections and said the party must grow beyond “politics as usual” if it hopes to produce the level of voter enthusiasm required to retain the White House in 2016.

“We need a movement which takes on the economic and political establishment, not one which is part of that establishment,” said Sanders, who is an independent but caucuses with Democrats in the Senate.

Asked later whether he was speaking specifically about Clinton, he told reporters, “I’ll let you use your imagination on that.”

Tough shit. Obama was completely ruthless in 2008, and it worked. I’m glad Hillary is following his lead.

Statue of Paul Revere with the Old North Church in the background.

Statue of Paul Revere with the Old North Church in the background.

More news, links only:

Did you see Peggy Noonan’s latest word salad? Wall Street Journal: America is So in Play, and commentary from Gawker: Peggy Noonan’s Dominican Friend, Cesar, Works at the Deli Counter. Good for a laugh.

CNN: Church says Donald Trump is not an ‘active member’.

Meteor Blades at DailyKos: Clinton’s support for 50-state strategy the right move for any Democratic candidate.

Washington Post: Texas sheriff’s deputy ambushed in ‘execution-style killing’ at gas station.

LA Times: Manson family member Bruce Davis found eligible for parole.

LA Times: Bison attack: Man ‘played dead’ to escape after being gored.

From Vox, a very good long read: Tech nerds are smart. But they can’t seem to get their heads around politics.

The Independent: Study reveals that a lot of psychology research really is just ‘psycho-babble’ (um . . . not quite what the study says)

Washington Post: No, science’s reproducibility problem is not limited to psychology.

So . . . what stories are you following today? Please post your thoughts and links in the comment thread and have a terrific weekend!

Make Way for Ducklings statue in Boston Public Garden

Make Way for Ducklings statue in Boston Public Garden



50 Comments on “Lazy Saturday Reads”

  1. bostonboomer says:

    Ted Cruz wrote a sermon about Planned Parenthood and sent it to thousands of pastors.

    Calling for the defunding of Planned Parenthood, Cruz writes, “When an individual or a nation stiff arms the character of God and embraces an abomination as the law of the land, it ends in disaster. When rebellious people disregard the compass of the most powerful, it is a very short step to dismembering the bodies of the most vulnerable. Like other nations, America has taken that step. It is time for a turnaround.”

    The accusations of “dismembering” fetuses are related to the recent Planned Parenthood “sting” videos that have been debunked by both outside investigators and states that have reviewed their procedures….

    That would be against the law if the churches did it.

    According to the I.R.S.: “An organization will be regarded as attempting to influence legislation if it contacts, or urges the public to contact, members or employees of a legislative body for the purpose of proposing, supporting, or opposing legislation, or if the organization advocates the adoption or rejection of legislation.”

    • NW Luna says:

      It is way overdue for these religious groups involved in politics to lose their non-profit status.

      • Fannie says:

        I hope people go to the churches and video tape them………and send the tapes to the IRS.

    • Beata says:

      Is this an example of Ted Cruz, the “brilliant” constitutional lawyer, at work?

  2. ANonOMouse says:

    “Asked later whether he was speaking specifically about Clinton, he told reporters, “I’ll let you use your imagination on that.”

    Bernie must be feeling a bit desperate to be using the tactic of making a broad brush criticism then refusing to tell the press which candidate/s he was referring to. And criticizing the Dems Debate calendar is foolish. Without the Democratic Party Bernie wouldn’t even be able to run a viable campaign or take part in it’s debates or any other debates, so he needs to just back off a bit and take a deep breath before he makes a complete fool of himself.

    I’m beginning to see “feel the Bern” losing MO as Hillary picks up the pace. KEEP IT UP HILLARY.

  3. NW Luna says:

    I was following one of the links above, and saw this story.

    Men who harass women online are quite literally losers, new study finds

    Here’s a research finding that should surprise no one: The men most likely to harass women online … are the men most likely to have their own problems. That bit of validation comes courtesy Michael Kasumovic and Jeffrey Kuznekoff, researchers at the University of New South Wales and Miami University, respectively. For their latest study, published in the journal PLOS One last week, the duo watched how men treated women during 163 plays of the video game Halo 3.

    As they watched the games play out and tracked the comments that players made to each other, the researchers observed that — no matter their skill level, or how the game went — men tended to be pretty cordial to each other. Male players who were good at the game also tended to pay compliments to other male and female players.

    Some male players, however — the ones who were less-skilled at the game, and performing worse relative their peers — made frequent, nasty comments to the female gamers. In other words, sexist dudes are literally losers.

    Quelle surprise, indeed!

  4. NW Luna says:

    “If I had just been able to kick or yell at him,” she testified. “If I just had been able to get the point across. To push or do something. I could have stopped it.”

    My heart goes out to this brave young woman! And I am furious about the verdict. She was terrified and in shock. And didn’t she tell him “no” more than once? That arrogant bully and rapist would not have stopped; he didn’t care about her lack of consent. It’s not her responsibility to “get the point across,” to an attacker who is not listening. That entitled brat would need a sledgehammer between the eyes (or between the legs) to get the point.

    • bostonboomer says:

      She was much smaller than he was too.

    • Beata says:

      I am so angry about the verdict I could vomit. I saw quite a bit of “this poor boy’s promising future is now ruined” crap following the trial but very little sympathy for the victim. My heart breaks for her.

      The NYT article says no testimony was allowed about the definition of consent or how traumatized victims of rape tend to behave. That is appalling.

      “But missing from the trial, some experts said, was a broad discussion about the meaning of consent. There was no testimony about the definition of consent or about how victims of rape and the accompanying trauma typically behave: A possible government witness prepared to speak on those matters was stricken from the list after a defense motion.”

    • janicen says:

      I’m angry about the verdict too, but I’m sadly not surprised.

    • Fannie says:

      What part of NO do they not understand?

  5. dakinikat says:

    They’ve finally charged that silly clerk in Kentucky with misconduct!!!

    FINALLY Official Misconduct Charges Filed Against Renegade “Christian” County Clerk Kim Davis

  6. NW Luna says:

    BB, I really like the statue photographs!

    • bostonboomer says:

      Thanks Luna.

      • Beata says:

        I agree! They are very impressive. I have seen the statue at the Old North Church. My Boston ancestors worshipped there in Colonial times.

    • Sweet Sue says:

      Me, too. BB, you’re lucky to live in such a beautiful and historic city.

      • bostonboomer says:

        I haven’t been to downtown Boston in ages. I’d really like to see the Edgar Allen Poe statue in person. When I was younger, I used to walk all around the city, but these days I can’t walk as far as I used to.

  7. Beata says:

    I posted this in the previous thread and am reposting it here:

    Mentally ill young black man arrested in April for theft of $5 worth of groceries and held without bail dies in his cell:

    • bostonboomer says:

      I saw that, Beata. That is so sad. The young man was clearly mentally ill. How could they allow him to starve? He should have been in a hospital. Actually he shouldn’t have been in jail for stealing $5 worth of food in the first place.

  8. Beata says:

    BB, thanks for that link from Gawker about Grace Kelly wannabe Peggy Noonan gettin’ down at the deli. It’s hilarious.

    Sometimes I ask myself which media poseur do I like least: Peggy Noonan or Sally Quinn? It’s such a toss-up, I usually have to flip a coin.

  9. Beata says:

    The fashion industry has used a few models with disabilities in ads and shows but according to Cat Smith, a doctoral researcher at London College of Fashion:

    “In general there is real cultural invisibility when it comes to disabled people – in fashion, on TV, in film, in politics, in writing,” she says. “So it’s certainly important to see disabled models, because seeing people who look like you is important in fostering empowerment and making you feel a little less invisible. Visibility also creates a more realistic representation and understanding of disabled people’s lives.

    “But what I find frustrating,” she says, “is that you see the same thing over and over again. Fashion week comes around, a couple of shows include disabled models – and that is a good thing – but the coverage that follows is often quite patronising. It often becomes a fuzzy, inspirational human interest story, aimed at a non-disabled audience, rather than a step towards real inclusivity.”

  10. Beata says:

    The Bible is Donald Trump’s favorite book but he can’t name his favorite verse. But he did say “The whole Bible is an incredible.” No doubt it is also a great.

  11. janicen says:

    OMG, the Peggy Noonan stuff was hilarious. Who could forget 2012 when she said she could really see Newt Gingrich appealing to young people? I laughed my ass off when Colbert joked, “The only thing young people said was, ‘Who is that lady and why does she talk like she’s teaching elocution on a yacht?'”

    • Prolix says:

      Reportedly and according to insider gossipy gossip, Ms. Upper East Side Noonan has a mouth that would embarrass the 7th Fleet. To wash it out with the appropriate amount of soap would foam up the East River.

  12. List of X says:

    So help me understand – Hillary can just convince enough superdelegates to win the nomination without even having to participate in the primary elections?

    • janicen says:

      Yes. It was called smart campaign strategy back in the day when male candidates did it.

      To prepare for that eventuality, the Obama campaign has, for the first time, really, begun to bank delegates. Sources close to the campaign estimate that as many as three dozen Democratic superdelegates have privately pledged to announce their support for Obama on June 4 or 5.

    • bostonboomer says:

      Hillary still needs to win primaries and she will. In 2008, she won more primary votes than Obama and she won most of the major Democratic and swing states. Obama won caucuses with strong arm tactics and began collecting super delegates even before he announce he was running. He used donations from his pacs to get their support in many cases.

      When Obama did it, it was smart politics; when Hillary does it, it’s criminal I guess.

      • Fannie says:

        Oh, yeah BB…….”When Obama did it, it was smart politics; when Hillary does it, it’s criminal I guess.

    • NW Luna says:

      Oh yeah. Remember when some prominent Dems were outraged that Hillary had superdelegates committed to her early on, and cried foul over the possibility she could use superdelegates and caucus results to win, regardless of the #s of individual voters in primaries? Then a few months later Obama was doing those very things, so the strategy was forward-thinking, historic, etc. Gah.

      • bostonboomer says:

        From NPR, Feb. 11, 2008: Brazile: I’ll Quit DNC Position Over Superdelegates

        As Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama continue to run neck-and-neck in amassing the total delegates needed to win the nomination, some have suggested that the party’s superdelegates — comprising party activists and high-ranking officials — could make the deciding vote.

        But Brazile says the superdelegate vote “should reflect the will of the people.”

        But when Hillary Clinton got more votes than Obama, Donna’s rules committee took delegates that Hillary won in Michigan and gave them to Obama. She still had more votes than Obama, but he won the superdelegates; and Brazile’s earlier threat was forgotten.

        • NW Luna says:

          Donna Brazile, who did not quit her position over superdelegates when they were in Obama’s court.

          “forgotten” except by some of us. So this time, STFU Donna.

        • Fannie says:

          Never forget that.

        • janicen says:

          Yep. Thanks for reminding all of us that they actually took super delegates away from Hillary and gave them to Obama to secure the nomination.

  13. bostonboomer says:

    Oliver Sacks is dead.

    ‘Awakenings’ Author, Famed Neurologist Oliver Sacks Dies at 82

    • NW Luna says:

      “People will make a life in their own terms, whether they are deaf or colorblind or autistic or whatever,” he replied. “And their world will be quite as rich and interesting and full as our world.”

  14. NW Luna says:

    Speaking of neurology and brain characteristics:

    An opinion piece published Thursday discusses Wwhy a neurotic person is more likely than a sunny opposite to be creative. ….

    Existing research has shown that creative people and highly neurotic people show similar patterns of activity in the default-mode network when faced with a specific cognitive task. Both groups find it hard to shut down the daydreaming so that more purposeful mental activity can proceed.

    In the creative and the neurotic alike, that persistent spontaneous thought generator might be re-imagining available information in some new form, or casting an imagined threat in a new role. People who have nightmares, who tend to rank high in neuroses, may see that process invade their sleep, the authors wrote.

    “I keep the subject constantly before me, and wait ’til the first dawnings open slowly, by little and little, into a full and clear light,” father of calculus, discoverer of the universal laws of motion and a world-class neurotic Isaac Newton wrote to explain his process of intellectual discovery.

  15. NW Luna says:

    Oh for F’s sake! Even their “candidate” has more sense than these “anyone but Hillary” brogressives:

    Democrats’ latest draft option? Michael ­Dukakis

    First they tried to draft Sen. Elizabeth Warren of Massachusetts. She said no. Then they tried Al Gore. Same deal. And Vice President Joe Biden continues to mull the efforts to draft him into the 2016 presidential race.

    The latest option? Michael ­Dukakis.

    Organizers behind the Twitter handle @Dukakis2016 on Friday began touting the former Massachusetts governor’s record and contrasting it with the rest of the Democratic field.

    “Does #BernieSanders have a record on creating good, high-paying jobs in traditional sectors? No — Mike does. Let’s get him in it to win it,” one tweet read.

    Organizers say a website and a poll of New Hampshire residents is coming in September.

    Max Smith, who describes himself as a Democratic activist from Boston, said this is no joke, and there are political donors from Boston and New Hampshire who want to help fund the effort.

    “The (State Department) email revelations are going to rock the Hillary Clinton campaign. We need somebody with stability,” said Smith, who is part of the Draft Dukakis campaign.

    But the 1988 Democratic presidential nominee said another potential Dukakis versus Bush matchup is not in the cards.

    “I am absolutely not a candidate for the presidency,” Dukakis, 81, said Friday. “Kitty and I are supporting Hillary.”

    • bostonboomer says:

      LOL! They would rather nominate an octogenarian loser than a woman who can win. I had to double-check to make sure that wasn’t satire.

  16. bostonboomer says:

    From #HillaryMen:

    Exposing the Real Deceivers: Why the Overhyped Hillary “Liar” Poll Is a Joke

    Please go read the whole thing, but here are the concluding paragraphs:

    As #HillaryMen, we’re playing the long game through the second Tuesday of next November and we’d urge supporters of Hillary and the Democratic cause to do the same. This is a steel cage death match for the highest office in the land. Bill Clinton didn’t get there in a cakewalk. Barack Obama fought every step of the way and earned the presidency. And he made history in the process. As a woman, Hillary Clinton will have to fight even harder, work even more tirelessly, withstand even more vicious attacks.

    Those who support that quest to break the highest and toughest glass ceiling should put on the armor and steel their spines for the long haul. These attacks will get worse. #HillaryMen will be there.