Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Wordless Wednesday

Walmart and the Equal Rights Amendment

Following the Supreme Court's decision that female employees could not bring a class-action sex discrimination suit against Walmart, some lawmakers are reintroducing the Equal Rights Amendment. Considering the fact Justice Antonin Scalia has specifically said women are not protected from discrimination under the Constitution, it's easy to understand why people would want the ERA to finally be ratified. Scalia's comments in the Walmart ruling (that "merely showing that Walmart's policy of discretion has produced an overall sexbased disparity does not suffice" and that since Walmart doesn't print pamphlets saying 'pay women less' there's no "specific employment practice" the court can rule on) also show the need for some kind of constitutional protection for women.

Stephen Colbert on the Walmart ruling:

The Equal Rights Amendment is nothing new, but lawmakers are probably hoping to capitalize on some of the anger people will have with the judges ruling. Democrats Rep. Carolyn Maloney (D-N.Y.) and Sen. Robert Menendez (D-N.J.) reintroduced the amendment and has 160 co-sponsors in the House. Rachel Maddow had a great segment on the ERA last night.

Maddow on ERA:

Visit for breaking news, world news, and news about the economy

It's kind of sad that people still have to argue for equal rights for women. More proof we still have a long way to go.

Friday, June 24, 2011


Once again, here's a collection of random things that have interested me lately.

Random Picture:

 Infographic by Third Wave Foundation


1. 13% of H.S. Biology Teachers Advocate Creationism in Class:
The majority of high-school biology teachers don't take a solid stance on evolution with their students, mostly to avoid conflicts, and fewer than 30 percent of teachers take an adamant pro-evolutionary stance on the topic, a new study finds. Also, 13 percent of these teachers advocate creationism in their classrooms.

"The survey left space for [the teachers] to share their experiences. That's where we picked up a lot of a sense about how they play to the test and tell students they can figure it out for themselves," Michael Berkman, co-author of the study with Penn State University colleague Eric Plutzer, told Livescience. "Our general sense is they lack the knowledge and confidence to go in there and teach evolution, which makes them risk-averse."
The 13% isn't even the most troubling thing about this article. Instead it's the 60% of teachers who have to basically try and avoid taking a stance on evolution simply because of the controversy.

2. A Better World Is Possible With Socialism:
But with the world economic order in an increasing state of disorder as the U.S. economy falls back into a recession and Japan cannot seem to crawl out of one, a disorder where many countries throughout Asia have just experienced their worst economic crises in recent history and Argentina's economy has almost ceased to function, a disorder which promotes and intensifies world poverty and world war, it becomes increasingly urgent to raise the question that capitalism always prefers to dodge: Which system is superior, capitalism or socialism? where by socialism we mean the system as originally defined by its founders, Marx and Engels, and as it was elaborated by its supporters. We will argue that when the question is posed in these terms, socialism triumphs decisively. In particular, we will focus on socialism's ability to raise people's standard of living to a significantly higher level than what capitalism provides. But first we must have a clear conception of what socialists mean by the term "socialism."
3. Feminism For Bitches:
Feminism has to be for all women. Even women you think are stupid, naive, or "tragically unfamiliar with the content of Playboy." Even women who walk into the wrong room. Even women with bad publicists. Even women with no publicists. Even women who expect professional photographers and stylists to honor professional contracts without question. Even women who have lied. Even women who have bashed other women. Even women who you think have capitalized on their "female sexuality." Even women who "flaunt [their] junk for money and fame." Even women with cleavage on the cover of books. Even women who sometimes wear bikinis. Even women who don't perform all of these feats of "female sexuality" naturally, even women from whom it's all "an act." Even women you think are bitches. Even women who talk about it.
4. How to Stop People from Voting:
This year, an unprecedented wave of voter suppression bills hit statehouses across the country and garnered very little media attention in response, even as voting rights activists decried the shift. In 27 states, bills that will demand voters show identification, bills that require proof of citizenship, bills that will change processing of provisional ballots, and bills that are aimed directly at students were all introduced or moved through the legislative process. GOP proponents of these bills claimed they were simply protecting elections against fraud. This seems specious at best, given that there are no reports of system-wide fraud at the polls in the 2008 or 2010 elections.
Follow the link for specifics.

5. The Five Smartest Congressional Bills You've Never Heard Of:
During any given Congressional term, literally thousands of proposals never make it past the committee stage of the legislative process. In recent years, less than 5 percent of all bills introduced ultimately became law. The scope of proposals in Congress garnering considerable media attention is similarly narrow. The pieces of legislation that attract the most publicity from the beltway media—like Paul Ryan’s radically unpopular plan to scrap Medicare—tend to drown out more sensible ideas that hardly stand any chance of enactment without public pressure on lawmakers to move the agenda forward.

But behind the smoke screen of the news cycle, there are several genuinely excellent pieces of legislation that remain more or less entirely shrouded from public view. The bills below are among the more progressive efforts underway in our 112th Congress, with sponsors and co-sponsors representing both sides of the aisle. They warrant far greater attention than they’re getting.
I'm particularly interested in the 21st Century Civilian Conservation Corps Act (CCCA).

6. The Whistle-Blowers of 1777:
Today, the Obama administration is aggressively pursuing leakers. Bradley E. Manning, an Army private, has been imprisoned since May 2010 on suspicion of having passed classified data to the antisecrecy group WikiLeaks. Thomas A. Drake, a former official at the National Security Agency, pleaded guilty Friday to a misdemeanor of misusing the agency’s computer system by providing information to a newspaper reporter.

The tension between protecting true national security secrets and ensuring the public’s “right to know” about abuses of authority is not new. Indeed, the nation’s founders faced this very issue.

Justin Bieber's Tricks For Picking Up Chicks:

Fox News False Statements:

The Last Thing I Learned From Gil Scott-Heron:

Lots of social commentary and as usual Jay is perfect.

Republicans Raise Taxes On Abortion:

Random Quote:
“Turn on the television. We have a wedding channel on cable TV devoted to the behavior of people on the way to the altar. They spend billions of dollars, behave in the most appalling way, all in an effort to be princess for a day. You don’t have cable television? Put on network TV. We’re giving away husbands on a game show. You can watch The Bachelor, where thirty desperate women will compete to marry a 40-year-old man who has never been able to maintain a decent relationship in his life. That’s what we’ve done to marriage in America, where young women are socialized from the time they’re five years old to think of being nothing but a bride. They plan every day what they’ll wear, how they’ll look, the invitations, the whole bit, they don’t spend five minutes thinking about what it means to be a wife. People stand up there before god and man even in Senator Diaz’s church, they swear to love honor and obey, they don’t mean a word of it. So if there’s anything wrong with the sanctity of marriage in America, it comes from those of us who have the privilege and the right and have abused it for decades.” — Diane Savino, NY State Senator

Thursday, June 23, 2011

Hello World

I know I haven't really been posting, but I've been busy doing nothing. Yup, reading and lounging around take a lot more energy then you'd guess. Plus, the news has been kind of boring this week. I'll be back with a roundup tomorrow, but until then enjoy this little treat of 90s awesomeness:

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Jon Stewart on Fox News Sunday

Jon Stewart went on Fox News Sunday with Chris Wallace and I thought his comments were great as usual:

Stewart's comments about how he gets legitimacy die to frustration with current news media was spot on I think.

Friday, June 17, 2011

Democratic Candidate Janice Hahn Attack Ad

If Cenk Uygur thinks something is sexist then you know it's got to be over the top. This political attack ad is... I don't even know what to say to be honest.


Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Update in Wisconsin: 3 Democratic Senators Recalled

I'm a bit late tot he game, but I figured I might as way keep up with the latest recall efforts in Wisconsin. After filing many challenges and claims fraud was carried out by Republicans, the Wisconsin Government Accountability Board has recently voted to recall three Democratic state senators: Sens. Dave Hansen, Jim Holperin and Robert Wirch.

From TPM:
The board faced a conundrum, in that the Dems' challenges outlined a significant number of signatures that were the products of apparent fraud. But even without all the signatures that the Dems were able to question within their ten-day review period, there would still be enough signatures left to trigger recalls.

However, as the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel reports, the GAB's staff laid out several options for the board. The first option would be to green-light the recalls, on the grounds that enough signatures remain that have not been challenged. The other options, for which the staffers cited various precedents in other states, would be to disqualify all petition pages collected by certain signature-gatherers who had exhibited a pattern of fraud, beyond just a few disqualified signatures that normally occur -- which would shut down the three recalls in question -- or even to throw out all the petitions entirely as the ultimate sanction.

Democrats had used their ten-day response period, after Republican activists had submitted the completed petitions, to conduct extensive phone surveys of the people whose names were on the forms. Along the way, they produced affidavits from people alleging various dirty tricks, ranging from claims that they were misled into signing -- being told that it was to support the legislator in question, or to recall Walker, etc -- to claims from some individuals that they did not sign their names at all, but were forged as having done so (possibly by getting their names from the phonebook).

Most notoriously, the Dems found the purported signature of a man who had been dead for 20 years, but whose name was still in the phonebook (by peculiar circumstance, he was the father of a very liberal current Democratic state representative). In addition, they found a married couple for whom the signatures were clearly written in the same hand -- but both people have signed affidavits that neither of them actually did sign.

As one might expect, the Republican attorney Eric McLeod argued before the board that only specific, identified signatures should be tossed, preserving the state's constitutional right for voters to sign recall petitions. On the other side, both Democratic attorney Jeremy Levinson and GAB staff attorney Shane Falk have each been arguing in their own ways that petition efforts involving crooked circulators have to be held accountable in some way, in the name of protecting the process.

To be clear, this was a very serious decision, with major implications either way that were thoroughly discussed throughout the GAB's meeting. To throw out all of a crooked circulator's pages would very likely disenfranchise the signatures of many other people who had legitimately signed the papers in good faith, and might have helped constitute a sufficient number of people to hold a recall election against a legislator. But to leave the petitions in could potentially make it virtually impossible to disqualify future recalls that might entail extensive fraud, involving too many signatures for the opposition to effectively screen out. [...]

Ultimately, the board voted to send a message for future recalls, by voting to strike individual pages that were circulated by some of the more offensive petition-gatherers, on the pages that showed a pattern of fraudulent conduct. This still left enough signatures to certify those recalls to move forward.
Since the GAB needed more time to review the challenges to the GOP's recall petition, these new recalls will take place on July 19. The six GOP senators that were recalled will still have their election on July 12th. I explained how the recall works in another post, but I forgot to mention the difference between a primary and general election. Basically, if there's only one challenger then the July 12 and July 19th elections become general elections. One vote, winner take all. If there's more than one challenger though, the July elections become primaries and the general recall election would be Aug. 9. In the hopes of having till August to campaign, the Wisconsin GOP plans to plant fake Democratic candidates.

Wisconsin GOP Runs Fake Candidate To Waste Time:

As the video says, this little game isn't coming cheap. One estimate claims this GOP ploy will cost taxpayers more over $428,000. Those budget issues must be really important. And just to make things more interesting, it looks like this Democrats plan to run extra Democratic candidates in order to force all the election to be held in August.

Wisconsin Dem chairman Mike Tate (via):
"The unprecedented Republican manipulation of these recall elections has compelled a number of people to urge a level playing field by running fake candidates in GOP primaries.

"We cannot and will not stoop to the Republicans' level by encouraging candidates to lie about their party affiliation, or recommending that people try to deceive voters. We never have done that, and won't start now. This is something that every single one of our six challengers has said they adamantly oppose. Fred Clark, Jess King, Shelly Moore, Nancy Nusbaum, Jen Shilling and Sandy Pasch -- along with Senator Miller -- all contacted the party over the last 24 hours to make it crystal clear this was absolutely the wrong tactic.

"At the same time, these phony GOP primary candidacies have in essence allowed the Republicans to seize the ability to call these elections at a date of their choosing. They can pick and choose which sham primaries to force. That's wrong. Selecting an election day is a responsibility that should fall to an independent, nonpartisan agency looking out for the people of Wisconsin -- not to a political party gaming the system for partisan gain. This transparent GOP conspiracy has cheated the people of protections against such dirty tricks.

"That is why we must guarantee these primary and general election dates move forward. The only way to do that in the face of these deplorable Republican tactics is by ensuring Democratic primaries with placeholders.

"This approach will keep the Republicans honest - an increasingly difficult task given the stunts they've pulled. It sends a clear statement that the GOP attempts to exploit the political process won't be tolerated. It also ensures a much fairer process than what Republicans have concocted with their dirty tricks, as well as reduces confusion among voters about when recall elections will take place.

"No one likes where Republicans have taken this process. The fight for Wisconsin is too important to have one hand tied behind our back."
Even though this seems confusing and a bit ridiculous, it actually makes sense. Now voters are less likely to be confused about which elections are primaries and which are general elections. If everything works as planned the general elections will be Aug. 9 for the six Republican recalls and Aug. 16 for the three Democratic recalls.

Lastly, I also want to point out that the Wisconsin Supreme Court recently upheld the the controversial bill stripping some unions of collective bargaining rights in a 4-3 decision that overruled Judge Maryann Sumi's ruling law last month that lawmakers violated the state’s open meetings.

Milwaukee Journal Sentinel:
Acting with unusual speed, the state Supreme Court on Tuesday reinstated Gov. Scott Walker's plan to all but end collective bargaining for tens of thousands of public workers.

The court found a committee of lawmakers was not subject to the state's open meetings law, and so did not violate that law when they hastily approved the measure and made it possible for the Senate to take it up. In doing so, the Supreme Court overruled a Dane County judge who had struck down the legislation, ending one challenge to the law even as new challenges are likely to emerge.

The majority opinion was by Justices Michael Gableman, David Prosser, Patience Roggensack and Annette Ziegler. The other three justices - Chief Justice Shirley Abrahamson and Justices Ann Walsh Bradley and N. Patrick Crooks - concurred in part and dissented in part.
Republicans had already made it pretty clear they would just re-pass the unpopular bill if the Wisconsin Supreme Court voted differently so this ruling doesn't really change anything. If anything it should fire people up and ensure the August elections are worth keeping an eye on.

Update in Wisconsin: 6 GOP Senators Recalled
Wisconsin Anti-Union Law Struck Down By Judge
How the Recall in Wisconsin Works (and an update on the effort)

Wordless Wednesday

GOP Presidential Debate

Like the majority of people I decided to skip the latest GOP debate. Once it gets narrowed down to just two or three people the race will get a lot more exciting. As of now it's all peacocking and talking points. So let's leave it to the experts to tell us what we need to know: Stephen Colbert and Jon Stewart.

Elephants in the Room:

Indecision 2012 - Second Republican Debate:

Saturday, June 11, 2011


Another collection of things that caught my eye.

Random Picture:

I wish I knew where this was from.

Sexualised Girls and Macho Heroes – Gender Depictions in Children’s TV:
This was the largest media study ever conducted about children’s television, tracking some 26,500 main characters in children’s fictional TV from 24 countries. It revealed that of all the main characters on children’s TV, 68 percent are male and only 32 percent are female. In the children’s and family films produced for cinema, the ratio is even worse: here, only 28 percent of all speaking characters are female. But it is not just the quantity which is open to criticism: stereotyped, clichéd depictions of many female characters are still being perpetuated worldwide: the female friend and helper, the consumption-fixated glamour puss, or the beautiful princess awaiting rescue. Thankfully, there are some positive examples of strong and complex female characters as well, such as Bibi Blocksberg, Lilly the Witch, Pippi Longstocking or Kim Possible. However, as these make up just 10 percent of all fictional programming for children, they unfortunately remain the exception. And yet as Leonie’s comment shows, they could play an extremely important role.
Follow the link for more interesting results and adorable pictures drawn by boys and girls showing what they don't like about boy/girl characters.

Color-blind Racial Ideology Linked to Racism, Both Online And Offline:
In a study that examined the associations between responses to racial theme party images on social networking sites and a color-blind racial ideology, Brendesha Tynes, a professor of educational psychology and of African American studies at Illinois, discovered that white students and those who rated highly in color-blind racial attitudes were more likely not to be offended by images from racially themed parties at which attendees dressed and acted as caricatures of racial stereotypes (for example, photos of students dressed in blackface make-up attending a "gangsta party" to celebrate Martin Luther King Jr. Day). [...]

"If you subscribe to a color-blind racial ideology, you don't think that race or racism exists, or that it should exist," Tynes said. "You are more likely to think that people who talk about race and racism are the ones who perpetuate it. You think that racial problems are just isolated incidents and that people need to get over it and move on. You're also not very likely to support affirmative action, and probably have a lower multi-cultural competence."
Interesting but not surprising. I bet these "color-blind" people also believe racism against whites is just as bad as racism against people of color. Sigh.

How Christian Were the Founders? by Russell Shorto:
Or, as Brookhiser rather succinctly summarizes the point: “The founders were not as Christian as those people would like them to be, though they weren’t as secularist as Christopher Hitchens would like them to be.”

...The curious thing is that in trying to bring God into the Constitution, the activists — who say their goal is to follow the original intent of the founders — are ignoring the fact that the founders explicitly avoided religious language in that document.
Another long post that goes into the Texas school board and the fight between Christians and secularists. It's a year old but I really liked it.

California Prisons: Really, Really Inhumane, Says the Supreme Court from Tiger Beat Down:
Big news for California last week, with a decision in Brown v. Plata, an important case for prisoner rights. This case is primarily being reported in the media as a mandate for prisoner release, which to some extent, it is; it affirms a decision to mandate a reduction in California’s prisoner population to address prison overcrowding. To illustrate how severe the overcrowding is, the state must reduce the prisoner population to a mere 137.5% of capacity in the next two years. The media wants you to know that this case means that California is about to be flooded with a horde of violent criminals, and that’s the main takeaway it wants you to have. Nothing else to see here, move along!

...One of the most disturbing things to think about with the upcoming prisoner release isn’t the flood of citizens clutching at their pearls as California’s prison population is reduced, but the fact that people who could not access health care in prison also will not be able to access health care outside of it. California’s budget for social services has been repeatedly slashed, making it extremely difficult to enroll in assistance programs that might cover the costs of health care or managing a disability. Prisoners are less able to find work upon release, which means they are unlikely to be entering the workforce and snapping up jobs with benefits; not with an unemployment rate hovering above 10% they’re not. At least some of the prisoners that may be released under this decision will be released to certain death on the streets.
The fact most people simple don't care about prison conditions is not surprising. we had to talk about the death penalty in my Personal Ethics class and it was ugly. People are too obsessed with revenge and fearful of faceless "criminals" to remember these people are human beings. Maybe it's because both my parents, friends, and other family members have been to prison (in California actually) for me to pretend this issue doesn't matter.

One ‘Man Down’; Rape Culture Still Standing by NewBlackMan:
Rihanna’s music has never been great art (nor should it have to be), but that doesn’t mean that the visual presentation of her music can’t be provocative and meaningful in ways that we nominally assign to art. Additionally, responses to “Man Down” also adhere to the long established practice of rendering all forms of Black expressions as a form of Realism, aided and abetted by a celebrity culture that consistently blurs the lines between the real and the staged.

Ultimately discussions of “Man Down” should pivot on whether the gun shooting that opens the video was a measured and appropriate response to an act of rape. Perhaps in some simplistic context, such violence might seem unnecessary, yet in a culture that consistently diminishes the violence associated with rape, often employing user friendly euphemisms like sexual violence—as was the case in the initial New York Times coverage of a recent Texas gang rape case—rather than call a rape a rape. As an artistic statement, intended to disturb the public square, Rihanna’s deployment of the gun is an appropriate response to the relative silence associated with acts of rape, let alone the residual violence that women accusers are subject to in the denial and dismissal of their victimization with terms like “she deserved it,” or “she was asking for it” because of her style of dress.
I posted my thoughts on the Rihanna video yesterday, but I really liked this post

The Tea Party Jacobins by Mark Lilla:
If either Beck or Blumenthal is right about the new populism, then it’s not worth taking seriously. My own view is that we need to take it even more seriously than they do; we need to see it as a manifestation of deeper social and even psychological changes that the country has undergone in the past half-century. Quite apart from the movement’s effect on the balance of party power, which should be short-lived, it has given us a new political type: the antipolitical Jacobin. The new Jacobins have two classic American traits that have grown much more pronounced in recent decades: blanket distrust of institutions and an astonishing—and unwarranted—confidence in the self. They are apocalyptic pessimists about public life and childlike optimists swaddled in self-esteem when it comes to their own powers.

...But what happens after the class president is sworn in and the homecoming queen is crowned? The committees dissolve and normal private life resumes. And that, I suspect, is what will happen to the Tea Party organizations: after tasting a few symbolic victories they will likely dissolve. This is not only because, being ideologically allergic to hierarchy of any kind, they still have no identifiable leadership. It is because they have no constructive political agenda, though the right wing of the Republican Party would dearly love to attach its own to them. But the movement only exists to express defiance against a phantom threat behind a real economic and political crisis, and to remind those in power that they are there for one thing only: to protect our divine right to do whatever we damn well please. This message will be delivered, and then the messengers will go home. Every man a Cincinnatus.
This post is long but wonderfully refreshing. Lilla talks about the principle of private autonomy from the Sixties vs the principle of economic autonomy from the Eighties. He also claims home schoolers are "the only successful libertarian party in the United States." Very interesting.


Immigrants For Sale:

The prison industrial complex is one of the most disgusting entities in this country.

Not A Virgin:

Is Monogamy a Myth:

God this conversation is so stupid. Who cares what 'human nature' is? This is no better then people who claim rape is human nature. It simply doesn't matter. Do what works for you. I wouldn't cheat, even if I knew I wouldn't get caught, because it would still hurt me to hurt my partner. It just irritates me to no end because the people who think this way are so sanctimonious about how their way is the best way. Guess what? It isn't. [/rant]

Random Quote:
“And let’s put one lie to rest for all time: the lie that men are oppressed, too, by sexism—the lie that there can be such a thing as ‘men’s liberation groups.’ Oppression is something that one group of people commits against another group specifically because of a ‘threatening’ characteristic shared by the latter group—skin color or sex or age, etc. The oppressors are indeed FUCKED UP by being masters (racism hurts whites, sexual stereotypes are harmful to men) but those masters are not OPPRESSED. Any master has the alternative of divesting himself of sexism or racism—the oppressed have no alternative—for they have no power—but to fight. In the long run, Women’s Liberation will of course free men—but in the short run it’s going to COST men a lot of privilege, which no one gives up willingly or easily. Sexism is NOT the fault of women—kill your fathers, not your mothers.”

—Robin Morgan -radical feminist, writer and activist. “Goodbye to All That”, 1970 in Going Too Far: The Personal Chronicle of a Feminist, p 126.

Thursday, June 9, 2011

Rihanna's 'Man Down' Video Controversy

I love that the some groups are up in arms about Rihanna's "Man Down" video. The idea of course is that teens aren't able to look at a music video and understand it's artistic expression. Or as The Parents Television Council said, "Instead of telling victims they should seek help, Rihanna released a music video that gives retaliation in the form of premeditated murder the imprimatur of acceptability." I know I've always had a hard time making a distinction between music videos and reality. Imagine my shock when it turned out Aqua wasn't a barbie girl and we didn't live in a barbie world.

I'm actually more surprised about the message of the song. A video just going along with the lyrics could have been really different, but it's obvious Rihanna and the director decided to do something with more meaning. Plus, the way Rihanna handled the faux-outrage was spot on.

What Rihanna had to say about the brouhaha:
“‘Man Down’ is a song about a girl who has committed a murder that she regrets and is completely remorseful about … Making that into a mini-movie or a video, we needed to go back to why it happened. Obviously, she’s not a cold-blooded killer. It has to be something so offensive. And we decided to hone in on a very serious matter that people are afraid to address.

“Rape is, unfortunately, happening all over the world and right in our own homes. We can continue to cover it up and pretend it doesn’t happen. Girls and boys feel compelled to be embarrassed about it and hide it from everyone, including their teachers, their parents and their friends, and that only continues to empower the abuser.

“I personally don’t condone violence or murder. I’ve been abused in the past and you don’t see me running around killing people in my spare time. I just want girls to be careful.”

Rihanna said she wasn’t trying to stir up trouble with the violent storyline: “I didn’t go into it to make a controversial video. I wanted to make a mini-movie, something raw and artistic. If I can be a voice for so many that aren’t heard, then I win twice.

“Look at how it’s affecting people,” she explained. “Girls are empowered by this. It’s easy to turn it into something negative, but I’m just really impressed that my fans get it. That was really important to me. This is a story for them. It’s not for the critics. It’s for my fans. They need a voice sometimes, and if I can be that, then I’ve done my job.”
I also don't see how this video is any different from "Janie's Got A Gun," "Goodbye Earl" or quite a few Johnny Cash songs.

In the end this whole thing is kind of like the "Love the Way you Lie" video. Just because you talk or depict a subject doesn't mean you're condoning it or glamorizing it. So two thumbs up from me. If you think it's too violent for your children then turn off the tv. Or better yet, you can use it as a starting point to talk about rape and violence.

Record A Cop for Ignoring Your Assualt, Go To Prison

The story about a Chicago woman who is being prosecuted for recording a conversation with police authorities after they tried to dismiss her complaints that she was sexually assaulted by a police officer has my blood boiling. I'm so angry I think I need to listen to some NWA.

From the Huffington Post:
When Chicago police answered a domestic disturbance call at the home of Tiawanda Moore and her boyfriend in July 2010, the officers separated the couple to question them individually. Moore was interviewed privately in her bedroom. According to Moore, the officer who questioned her then came on to her, groped her breast and slipped her his home phone number.

Robert Johnson, Moore's attorney, says that when Moore and her boyfriend attempted to report the incident to internal affairs officials at the Chicago Police Department, the couple wasn't greeted warmly. "They discouraged her from filing a report," Johnson says. "They gave her the runaround, scared her, and tried to intimidate her from reporting this officer -- from making sure he couldn't go on to do this to other women."

Ten months later, Chicago PD is still investigating the incident. Moore, on the other hand, was arrested the very same afternoon.

Her crime? At some point in her conversations with internal affairs investigators, Moore grew frustrated with their attempts to intimidate her. So she began to surreptitiously record the interactions on her Blackberry. In Illinois, it is illegal to record people without their consent, even (and as it turns out, especially) on-duty police officers.

"This is someone who is already scared from being harassed by an officer in uniform," said Johnson. "If the police won't even take her complaint, how else is a victim of police abuse supposed to protect herself?"

Moore's case has inspired outrage from anti-domestic abuse groups. "We just had two Chicago police officers indicted for sexual assault, there have been several other cases of misconduct against women," says Melissa Spatz of the Chicago Task Force on Violence Against Girls & Young Women. "And now you have Moore, who was trying to report this guy, and she gets arrested. The message here is that victims of unwanted sexual advances by police officers have no recourse -- that the police can act with impunity."

If the Chicago cops recently indicted for sexual assault are convicted, they'll face four to 15 years in prison. That's the same sentence Tiawanda Moore is facing for trying to document her frustrations while reporting her own alleged sexual assault: Recording an on-duty police officer in Illinois is a Class 1 felony, the same class of crimes as rape.
I posted about Illinois crackdown on recording police officers before, but this is ridiculous. If you follow the link the article goes into a lot more detail about Chicago's corruption problems and the harassment of other people under the guise of wiretapping laws. Now my only hope is that Moore's case goes ahead and these laws can be challenged. Unfortunately, the case keeps getting continued.

Wednesday, June 8, 2011