Archive for commission – Page 2

U.S. oil disaster panel to hold public meeting

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The big, impressive seven-member oil disaster commission is about to meet. Will they be as toothless as previous commissions? Will there be a modicum of schadenfreude to appease an angry and wounded America? Will we be throwing things at our Tee Vee Machines? Stay tuned. The answers to these and other questions will be revealed on July 12th:

(Reuters) - A U.S. presidential panel to probe the cause of the massive oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico and recommend new rules to prevent future disasters will hold its first public meeting in New Orleans on July 12 and 13, its co-chairs said on Saturday.

Gulf Coasters who have had to endure the BP atrocities will be heard. In fact, we can be confident that they'll be quite vocal. The question is, will they be in the least bit satisfied, will there be any meaningful resolutions, and will my Tee Vee Machine survive my projectile pillows, balled up tee shirts, and cat toys?

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Attorney General Holder misses prison rape prevention reform deadline

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Attorney General Holder officially missed his deadline to implement the reforms to help eliminate prison rape:

Mr. Holder had it right when he told a House subcommittee in March that the government must work diligently to prevent sexual abuse in prison: "This is something that I think needs to be done, not tomorrow, but yesterday." It is bitterly disappointing that he has not done more to make that happen.

I posted about this previously here:

In 2003, Congress acknowledged the serious problem of rape in the nation’s prisons and created a commission to develop a set of national standards for preventing and punishing these crimes. [...]

Predictably, state and local corrections officials determined to preserve the disastrous status quo are pushing back. Mr. Holder must hold the line.

...From an early copy of a press release by JustDetention.org that will be put out tomorrow:  [...]

The BJS survey, which asked detained youth about sexual victimization, found that more than 12 percent of detainees – almost one in eight – reported suffering at least one incident of abuse at their current facility in the preceding year. In the worst facilities, one in three youth was victimized. Overall, 80 percent of the abuse was perpetrated by staff.

Holder's inaction will result in more cases like that of Bryson Martel, who got AIDS after being repeatedly raped in prison.

Two women were repeatedly raped (Nicole Garza and Kimberly Yates), and those in power ignored those, too.

Nicole:

She continues:

A year later the lieutenant came back and was assigned to the yard where I was housed and attempted to pick up where he had left off sexually assaulting me.

Dear Attorney General Holder,

It is vital that you enact a strong set of standards addressing prisoner rape. Unfortunately, I know from experience the devastation this violence causes. I spent about 15 years in state and federal prison on drug charges. In 2004, I was at the Federal Detention Center in Philadelphia where I was repeatedly sexually assaulted by Officer Theodore Woodson.

I was manipulated by this officer, and he forced me to have sex with him on several occasions. What he did to me was inhumane and has stayed with me ever since – rather than let it tear me down, I have taken the opportunity to speak out and educate others about the serious crisis of sexual violence in our nations prisons and jails.

Officer Woodson would take me to the warehouse in the basement of the detention center, and that is where he raped me. After the first time, he told me that if I ever told anybody that he knew where my family lived, where my children lived, threatening to hurt them. I was afraid for myself and my family, so I did not say a word to anybody. He would repeat this threat every time he would attack me.

The final time he raped me, I was badly injured and needed to go to the emergency room. I was bleeding and hemorrhaging – and the medical report identified that I had been raped. When I informed the captain of what happened, fortunately he believed me, and he had Officer Woodson escorted out of the facility.
These and other rape victims can't afford delays. Time to act.
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VIDEO- Big Oil's Katrina: Oh really? No, O'Reilly

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Visit msnbc.com for breaking news, world news, and news about the economy

During all this horrific BP oil blowout news, there have been so many questions, so many blanks not filled in. I've been getting link after link sent to me, so many that I can't keep up, but this one sums up a lot of the sentiment passed on to me.

At TPC, we don't limit ourselves to posts that are solely pro-President Obama, although we do support him in many ways. Sometimes we find a viewpoint interesting, sometimes we disagree, sometimes we just don't know.

I found this one provocative:

Jill Richardson is calling this "just another government cover-up":

The head of OSHA claims that the air in the oil spill cleanup area is not toxic. Strange, because the President WILL be wearing a respirator when he visits today. And those cleanup workers who got sick, that was just food poisoning, wasn't it? Even more outrageous is that BP actually forbids workers for wearing respirators brought from home. It's good enough for the President, but not for the cleanup workers, clearly. [...]

This isn't totally uncharted territory. We've already got 20 years of data on what happens to cleanup workers after the oil spill. Check out this piece, written over a decade after the Exxon Valdez. Countless workers went into the cleanup job healthy and came out sick. The head of the EPA during the Exxon Valdez was none other than Bill Reilly.

H/t: AltaKocker

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AG Eric Holder Can Do Something To Reduce Juvenile Prison Rape

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This is a subject that doesn't get enough attention. It should.

Via My DD, let's start with the premise:

Most prison rape is preventable with low cost, common sense measures. Let's see if Eric Holder has the will to do the right thing.

Via a NY Times op-ed. Please note the use of the C word (commissions). Just as there is now a commission on Big Oil's Katrina, and as there was for 9/11, there is now one for rape prevention in prisons. That's not enough. Commissions tend to be toothless and a way to placate as the clock ticks and people continue to suffer:

In 2003, Congress acknowledged the serious problem of rape in the nation’s prisons and created a commission to develop a set of national standards for preventing and punishing these crimes. [...]

Predictably, state and local corrections officials determined to preserve the disastrous status quo are pushing back. Mr. Holder must hold the line.

...

The commission’s recommendations [...] include better screening of guards and more training to recognize and address the signs of sexual assault, better medical and psychiatric care for assault victims, better protection for the most vulnerable, a system that allows prisoners to report rape without facing reprisal and publicly accessible records that would permit rape prevention programs to be independently monitored.

[T]he Justice Department sought comment on the proposals, further delaying the process and increasing the dangers that the reforms will be watered down. Enough is enough.

There will be hearings later this week in Congress on sexual victimization in juvenile facilities. From an early copy of a press release by JustDetention.org that will be put out tomorrow:  [...]

The BJS survey, which asked detained youth about sexual victimization, found that more than 12 percent of detainees – almost one in eight – reported suffering at least one incident of abuse at their current facility in the preceding year. In the worst facilities, one in three youth was victimized. Overall, 80 percent of the abuse was perpetrated by staff.

Think about that. Imagine if this were your child. Or friend. Or anyone you care about, for that matter.

I'm having flashbacks of Abu Ghraib. Our system of justice should include guarantees of safety for juvenile offenders, and yet look at those statistics.

Let's hope A.G. Holder is listening.

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VIDEO: Obama picks oil exec to probe oil disaster

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Visit msnbc.com for breaking news, world news, and news about the economy

Earlier Paddy posted a video of President Obama promises a full and vigorous accounting of the BP oil disaster (I'm reposting it here) via a commission.  A little later, news broke of Attorney General Eric Holder opening a criminal investigation, which seemed the obvious next step.

However, going back to that video, The Rachel Maddow Blog made an astute observation, one that deserves a lot of attention:

[President Obama] was flanked by the two co-chairs of the bipartisan National Commission on the BP Deepwater Horizon Oil Spill and Offshore Drilling. The Republican co-chair, William K. Reilly, has spent a career in the industry he'll now probe. A former chief of the Environmental Protection Agency, Reilly currently serves on the board of directors of:

Obama: "He's deeply knowledgeable of the oil and gas industry." Yes, yes he is.

First, thank you Maddow Blog, for calling this an oil disaster, not an oil spill. This is something that grates on me no end, seeing the word "spill" used over and over again to describe what is an outright catastrophic gush that is devastating marine life, human life, and plant life, not to mention our economy and America's collective psyche.

Second, thank you Maddow Blog for exposing those who deserve to be exposed. Most of the time, the people pulling the strings, the powers that be behind the scenes, the sources of money financing these and other operations, go unnoticed. Remember FreedomWorks and the other corporate Tea Potty sponsors? Rachel's on it.

But are enough people listening? It's doubtful, at least at this point. Keep at it, Rachel Maddow, we need you and your terrific team of researchers.

H/t: AltaKocker

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Pres. Obama naming Graham, Reilly to oil spill commission

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When I first saw the headline, I did a double take. I thought it said "O'Reilly" and nearly fainted. Who next, Hannity and Palin? But no, no, it was just my eyes playing tricks on me.

Bob Graham is a good choice, but will a commission really make a difference? Do they ever?

(CNN) - President Obama is naming former Sen. Bob Graham, D-Florida, and former administrator of the Environmental Protection Agency William Reilly as the bipartisan co-chairs of a new commission tasked with investigating how to prevent future oil spills, according to two sources familiar with the announcement.

The sources said Obama on Saturday will announce formation of the panel, officially known as the National Commission on the BP Deepwater Horizon Oil Spill and Offshore Drilling, as the administration faces a growing chorus of criticism about whether the administration is putting enough pressure on BP to clean up the massive oil spill in the Gulf region.

On ABC earlier, Rand Paul idiotically said, "Sometimes accidents happen." Well, Rand, hopefully sometimes prison sentences happen too.

Sidebar: I used the title that CNN used, but please note, I do not refer to this as a "spill". No, it's a gush, a volcano,and explosion, an utter disaster, but not a spill.

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White House to Create Oil Spill Commission

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Just as I heard this on The Ed Show on MSNBC, I ran across this report from CBS:

An administration officials says the White House will establish a presidential commission to investigate the oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico.President Barack Obama will establish the commission by executive order. It will be similar to panels created to investigate the space shuttle Challenger disaster and the nuclear accident at Three Mile Island, according to the official, who spoke on condition of anonymity ahead of a public announcement.

No current government employee or elected official will be eligible to serve on the commission, the official said. Other details weren't immediately available.

And just as I was about to complain that commissions are toothless and don't give us the desired results and what we really need is a criminal investigation... along comes my Senator, Barbara Boxer:

Also on Monday, California Sen. Barbara Boxer and other Democrats on the Senate environment committee called for the Department of Justice to open a criminal and civil investigation into the oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico.

Boxer, who chairs the environment panel, said that operators of the Deepwater Horizon oil rig did not appear to have required equipment and technology needed to respond to the spill, which has dumped millions of gallons into the Gulf of Mexico.

Six other Democratic senators and independent Sen. Bernie Sanders of Vermont joined Boxer in requesting the Justice Department investigation.

Boxer said BP officials appeared to misstate the company's ability to respond to an oil spill resulting from a blowout.

Now  the  Department of Justice needs to come through, both with an investigation and eventual prosecutions.  Halliburton is long overdue, as is BP. As for Deepwater... well, don't get me started. Eleven lives have already been lost, wildlife has been lost, there was obvious negligence, there is potential for an enormous economic disaster in addition to the environmental one... which of course can lead to further loss of life as things get exponentially worse.

Are you listening A.G. Holder?

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