Sunday, October 9, 2011

Last Call

I'm from the Midwest, so I know how domestic violence works in the Bible Belt. The reality is, while the law says women should not be beaten, culturally allowed gender bias does turn a blind eye to the problem. In what I consider the information age, a time when bright trumps might, we still find ourselves facing domestic violence with a certain trepidation in this region. The central U.S. is about a decade behind the rest of the nation, both in recognizing and correcting the problem.

But decriminalizing domestic violence? You gotta be freaking kidding me. This isn't a brand new problem, however. The gaps in help for abused women is so poor that the district attorney advises victims not to call in.  Another danger is that domestic violence situations will escalate to regain dominance of the situation. What is often mistaken as retaliation is actually an attempt to assume control over the victim. Not that it matters to the victim. For her, it's just another beating.  She may have to pay for her medical bills, knowing the man who hurt her won't have to pay a dime to her or for his crime.  Could it be that jaywalking or owning dangerous dogs will be a worse crime than beating an adult woman?

We have two problems here. One is that misdemeanor domestic violence may be decriminalized. Second, what they consider misdemeanor is pretty scary, including beating a woman with a crowbar.  The article from ThinkProgress states they are repealing the city code that specifically bans domestic violence.  Sixteen people have been arrested and released with no consequences or charges filed.  To be fair not every victim of domestic violence is a woman but they are certainly the majority.  We have to ask ourselves why this could ever be considered an intelligent move.  Why not cut from programs that do not directly protect victims of violent crime?  The fact that there are too many victims to help should be all we need to step in and protect.  We also need to ask at what point is protecting women going to be cut off?  When a man buys her a drink, or do they have to live together first?  Because if a stranger beats a woman with a crowbar or throws her through a window, that would be assault and battery.  If the city government is going to draw a line, that line had better be clearly defined and justified.  I really want to hear their reasoning when they look at medical costs of abused women.

It seems the people in charge all say it's a damn shame, but nobody has any money to help prosecution. That's no reason to make it legal so they are no longer obligated to do their jobs. What happens when other hate crimes become too numerous to control?

Originally posted at Angry Black Lady's corner.

Spectator Off The Sidelines

And speaking of Occupy Together protests in other cities besides the Big Apple, it seems at least one conservative magazine editor has admitted to joining Occupy DC as a mole with the intent of causing problems...and was at the incident where protesters were pepper-sprayed at the Smithsonian's Air and Space Museum.

An assistant editor with a right-wing magazine admitted in a column Saturday evening to posing as part of the 99 Percent Movement in D.C. “in order to mock and undermine” it. Patrick Howley, an assistant editorfor the American Spectator, was committed enough to his deception to be at the vanguard of a demonstration that saw police firing pepper spray and closing a downtown Washington museum.
In his column, Howley says he took part in the demonstration Saturday at the Smithsonian Institute’s Air and Space Museum reportedly directed at an exhibit about the unmanned drone aircraft used by the U.S. and others for spying and, increasingly, targeted killings in far-flung hotspots.
As between 100 and 200 anti-war demonstrators arrived at the steps of the museum — some of them affiliated with a group organizing the “Occupy DC” spinoff of the Wall Street protests — a few intrepid protesters made a rush for the door despite apparent warnings from security guards. One of them was Howley, who recounts that “as far as I could tell I was the only one who got inside the museum.”

Howley's own words are revealing:

[A]s far as anyone knew I was part of this cause — a cause that I had infiltrated the day before in order to mock and undermine in the pages of The American Spectator — and I wasn’t giving up before I had my story. Under a cloud of pepper spray I forced myself into the doors and sprinted blindly across the floor of the Air and Space Museum…

And of course, he got his story.  Maybe he got swept up in the moment, maybe he actually learned something about the Occupy Together protests, maybe he's an adrenaline junkie, maybe he's just an inveterate liar of the first order.  He admits to joining the protest at the Air and Space Museum under false pretenses and cops to being in the thick of things when the pepper spray started to fly.

So yes, no matter what motive you assign to Howley's actions, the establishment is taking the various Occupy Together protests very, very seriously.  If you're headed out there this week (Occupy Cincy ended up in downtown right on Fountain Square this weekend with peaceful demonstrations) be aware, and be careful.

California DREAM Acting On Such An Autumn's Day

California's Democratic Gov. Jerry Brown on Friday signed into law a number of education bills, including the state's version of the DREAM Act, allowing undocumented immigrants the chance to attend college at in-state rates.

Brown's signature on the bill fulfilled a campaign promise to allow high-achieving students who want to become citizens the opportunity to attend college, regardless of their immigration status.

"Going to college is a dream that promises intellectual excitement and creative thinking," Brown said in a statement. "The Dream Act benefits us all by giving top students a chance to improve their lives and the lives of all of us."

Beginning in 2013, illegal immigrants accepted by state universities may receive assistance from Cal-Grants, a public program that last year provided aid to more than 370,000 low-income students.

The new law also makes students who are not legally in the country eligible for institutional grants while attending the University of California and California State University systems. And it permits them to obtain fee waivers in the community college system.

Students must graduate from a California high school after attending school in the state for at least three years and must affirm that they are in the process of applying to legalize their immigration status. They also must show financial need and meet academic standards.

The bill was by Assemblyman Gil Cedillo (D-Los Angeles), who praised Brown for showing courage in signing it.

"After having invested 12 years in the high school education of these young men and women, who are here through no fault of their own," Cedillo said, "it's the smartest thing for us to do to permit these students to get scholarships and be treated like every other student."

California Republicans are furious, of course, vowing that "tens of thousands" of new undocumented immigrants will enter the country because of the law at great expense to taxpayers.  The reality is that only a few thousand students per year would qualify under the law, and oh yes, they would have to admit they are undocumented.  Texas Republican Rick Perry signed a similar measure into law in 2001 and stood by it as late as this July:

"To punish these young Texans for their parents' actions is not what America has always been about."

Perry said earlier this year.   Texas has not collapsed under the measure.  In California, Brown hasn't gotten much credit for being better than Ahnold on a number of issues, but between himself and state AG Kamala Harris refusing to let the banks off the hook for Foreclosuregate, California Democrats are leading the way forward for the nation in the country's most populous state.  Good for the both of them...and hey, give Rick Perry some credit for his state's version, too.  Especially now that he's running for President.  Be sure to remind your GOP friends.

This Week's WTH - Wrong Way Edition

AMARILLO, Texas -- A prosecutor says the Colorado state senator involved in a crash that killed a pregnant woman in the Texas Panhandle last year has pleaded no contest to a misdemeanor charge of driving on the wrong side of the road.

Sen. Suzanne Williams paid a $200 fine and $68 in court costs, according to Hartley County Attorney Shane Turner. The Amarillo Globe-News reported Friday that Texas law allowed for the dismissal of two seat-belt citations against Williams.

State police investigators had recommended that Williams be charged with criminally negligent homicide, tampering with physical evidence and injury to a child in a crash that killed a pregnant Amarillo woman, Department of Public Safety records.

But a grand jury declined to charge Williams.

It gets worse. It seems Williams, a loud advocate of child restraints, tampered with evidence when she picked up her grandchild and placed him in a car seat after the accident. In fact, it seems none of the passengers in the car were buckled up.  She lied to the police, but I guess that isn't punishable when you're important.

Investigators said the Honda drifted into the oncoming lane of traffic, colliding with a 2003 GMC Yukon driven by an Amarillo man. The man's wife, Brianna "Brie" Gomez, 30, was a passenger in the SUV.

Gomez was flown to Northwest Texas Hospital in Amarillo, where an emergency cesarean section was performed. Gomez was pronounced dead after her baby boy was delivered. The premature infant, Curran Blaec Gomez, weighed just 3 pounds at birth. He survived. He now weighs about 18 pounds.
Williams' son, Todd Williams, and his 3-year-old son were ejected from the vehicle. They were seriously injured.

"While on scene Suzanne (Williams) told me that no one had been ejected from her vehicle and that everyone was extracted from the vehicle by rescue ... Suzanne failed to inform me of the truth of the events that had taken place before anyone arrived on scene," a state trooper said in an offense report obtained by the Amarillo Globe-News newspaper.

A misdemeanor is no longer a misdemeanor when it kills an innocent person. Brianna Gomez did nothing wrong. She was sober, driving on the right side of the road, and because of Williams, will never get to know her child. If there is a good reason to dismiss charges, let's hear it. Because the facts say an innocent woman died and the guilty woman would have paid more for a good pair of shoes.

What. The. HELL.

Sunday Sunshine

Here's something to brighten your day, courtesy of the New Haven Independent:

Stuck inside a subterranean pipe, the kitten howled. But it wouldn’t come out. Lt. Holly Wasilewski knew she wouldn’t be able to sleep that night if the feline remained there.

So began an hour-plus-long drama in Kimberly Square.

Finally Wasilewski had the cat in her arms. It didn’t fight her.

“I’m coming up!” Wasilewski called as she, slowly, straightened. The cat relaxed. “It knew at that point it was being rescued.”

She handed the grayish tiger kitten to one of the officers above, who placed it in the Corona box. Then Wasilewski called the animal shelter, which didn’t have room. She took the kitten to the veterinary hospital on State Street, which also couldn’t take in the kitten. But the folks there did give the kitten a bath, washing away its fleas.

Wasilewski took the kitten home—just for the night. She said she couldn’t permanently take on a fourth cat. As it was, she had the kitten sleep in her bed, away from Shane, Bella, and Pumpkin. Especially Shane, who’s “kind of a bully.”
An hour in a storm drain, a fellow cop who adopted the kitten for his son despite his allergies, an innocent creature makes it out okay.  Win-win-win.

Happy Sunday!

Repatriation Nation

What I don't get about former CBO head and McCain campaign economics adviser Douglas Holtz-Eakin is that of course he lies and says that President Obama's stimulus plan "failed" America, but then he:

  • A) admits that the stimulus worked by CBO standards, that
  • B) the "private sector stimulus plan" he's pushing for a repatriated profit tax holiday wouldn't go towards job creation with anywhere near the level of efficiency as the either the ARRA or the proposed new jobs bill, 
  • C) that the exact same strategy was tried in 2004 and according to his own criteria that he holds the ARRA to, it too "failed" America as only 23 percent of repatriated tax funds went to job creation, then 
  • D) says if we "double down on the same failed strategy" (as he calls the American Jobs Act), and repatriate again it will count as a $1.4 trillion stimulus and create almost 3 million new jobs.

What I don't get is that American corporations have record profits on hand right now in order to create jobs, and are simply choosing to create them overseas because that's where the growing demand for their products and services are.   Repatriation would make sense if the issue was somehow that businesses were strapped for capital to invest in payrolls.  They're not.  They're making record profits quarter after quarter, most sectors.  Not banks, currently.

And banks are suffering all kinds of losses right now and they are shedding jobs by the tens of thousands.  Repatriation wouldn't fix any of that.  They'd just keep the money.  All repatriation would do is give corporations even more profits.  Maybe they would invest them here.  In 2004, when times were good, they only invested 23% in new jobs.  Why would that rate increase?

OK, the Senate McCain-Hagan plan would offer a better tax rate if businesses added to payroll.  But how much do they need to add to get the lower tax rate?  At best that would change that 23% by a few points.  And worst case scenario, those repatriated profits went straight to the bubble economy in Bush's second term.

No matter how you look at it, Holtz-Eakin's own numbers wreck his own theories.  Hell, Eakin's own math cited is that repatriation is $482,000 per job created ($1.4 trillion, 2.9 million jobs.)  Obama's stimulus was a "failure" at $278,000 per job created, remember?  What happened to the efficiency of the free market over government waste?

Sure would be good for CEOs however.

Can You Village Idiots Please Make Up Your Minds?

This week, the President is, let's see...too angry no too nice umm....too coporate...errm...too smart OK I give up, what is it this week?

Beyond the economy, the wars and the polls, President Obama has a problem: people.

This president endures with little joy the small talk and back-slapping of retail politics, rarely spends more than a few minutes on a rope line, refuses to coddle even his biggest donors. His relationship with Democrats on Capitol Hill is frosty, to be generous. Personal lobbying on behalf of legislation?

He prefers to leave that to Vice President Biden, an old-school political charmer.

Obama’s circle of close advisers is as small as the cluster of personal friends that predates his presidency. There is no entourage, no Friends of Barack to explain or defend a politician who has confounded many supporters with his cool personality and penchant for compromise.

Obama is, in short, a political loner who prefers policy over the people who make politics in this country work.

“He likes politics,” said a Washington veteran who supports Obama, “but like a campaign manager likes politics, not a candidate.” The former draws energy from science and strategy, the latter from contact with people.

Which raises an odd question: Is it possible to be America’s most popular politician and not be very good at American politics?

Oh I see, we're back to Obama is a bloodless library dweeb with more than a little dash of "You know people like him are so (whispers) above their station" and let's throw in the ol' "affirmative action President/empty suit/not too bright" while we're at it.  Asshole Scott Wilson here can't do any better than comparing him backhandedly to Joe Biden and unsourced quotes from "Washington veterans".

My ass.  Nice hit piece, jagoff.
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