Archive for crime

Michigan's Rape Insurance -- A Tragic Catch-22

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rape

We all know what a Catch-22 is: A situation in which a desired outcome or solution is impossible to attain because of a set of inherently illogical rules or conditions. Or to borrow from the famous New England expression when asked for directions, "You can't get there from here."

And that is the condition in the state of Michigan as of Thursday, March 13, 2014: you can't get there from here.

Legislation known as "The Rape Insurance bill," which passed in the Republican dominated state house has become law. Yes, wake up all you sleepy-head women in Michigan!  As of today, if you get raped, and somehow become preggers despite what Todd Akin said, your insurance will no longer cover an abortion. Well, that's not fully true. Insurance companies can cover this procedure if you purchased a separate rape insurance policy -- in advance.

So, all you have to do is plan ahead for your next rape. C'mon, women - take some personal responsibility! Is that so much to ask? After all, it generally takes two to tango, if you catch my drift.

Just go out and get some rape insurance. Don't make a big to-do out of this. It's for your own protection. I mean we all have auto insurance because everyone gets into a fender bender from time to time. And we hopefully now all have health insurance (ACA) because sooner or later we all have medical issues. So why not just carry rape insurance?

Well, that's a good question. Sadly the answer isn't quite as good. NO INSURANCE CARRIERS IN THE STATE OF MICHIGAN CARRY RAPE INSURANCE.

It seems there's a mandated insurance coverage should this situation arise, but not a mandated provider for that coverage. That's the Catch-22. There's where the insanity lies. And that's why you can't get there from here.

This is literally all the Republican's fault. And Gov. Rick Snyder signed the bill into law.

If you want to feel the outrage, listen to Rachel Maddow railing over this last night.

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Senior Assisted Living Doesn't Mean Senior Assisted Raping

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Edgewood Vistaw Senior Living

Edgewood Vistaw Senior Living

My mother is in a seniors' assisted living and care facility. She's 95 and I'm glad to say doing very well. She's still able to amble around on her own and her faculties are perhaps even better than mine. And with nearly a century of memories to deal with, the loss of a husband and a son, she's lived through a lot. And her care is most important to me.

Safety in her housing is something that I thought was a given, but this story from Minnesota has my ears pricked up. Of course this story isn't the norm, but if it can happen in one state, it could happen in another. Bottom line is it's shocking. Anyone who has an aging relative should watch this. Then afterwards, read the horrific rest of the story.

So if this brutal attack wasn't enough, what happened afterwards was incredulous.

The Raw Story:

 The nursing home transferred the woman to a psychiatric ward at St. Luke’s Hospital for nearly three days.

“The room she was in was dark and cold … and they locked her in at night and all she had was a blanket,” nurse examiner Theresa Flesvig said in the court documents.

When Flesvig was finally able to examine the victim, she found the “biggest tear” as a result of rape that she had ever seen in her career.

Testimony filed with the court said that the nursing home’s clinical services director, Marilyn Moore, tried to defend that rapist after he had confessed to police.

They send the victim of a vicious rape to the psych ward and the 30 year old man who rapes an 89 year old woman isn't? Help me see how this isn't so wrong that it's sick.

The rapist gets 4 1/2 years in prison and 10 years of registering as a sex offender. Sadly his victim probably won't live long enough to get beyond this trauma. But so far nothing has been done to the nursing home -- though this upcoming trial could find them paying some pretty hefty fines. But to think this nursing home would defend a confessed rapist for an attack in their senior facility is totally off the charts.

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"Boys Will Be Boys" No Longer Justification For Rape in Montana

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Rape in Montana

Sometimes it's great to set a precedent. It opens the doors to those who follow. You might be Gertrude Ederle becomes the first woman to swim across the English Channel. Or maybe Neil Armstrong, the first man to step onto the lunar surface. Admirable accomplishments that lead young, middle and old to dream of someday being the first to do something, big or small. I mean, wouldn't that be great?

Well, not always. Seems there's a prosecutor named  Fred Van Valkenburg up on Montana whose office may have just set a first. They has been accused by the Justice Department of bias against female sexual assault victims and of mishandling rape cases according to federal officials this week. But Missoula County prosecutors office thinks its just a smear campaign. They didn't do anything wrong.

HuffPo:

It's unusual and may be unprecedented for DOJ to accuse a prosecutor's office of violating the Constitution's guarantee of equal protection under the law and the Safe Streets Act's prohibition against discriminating against female sexual assault victims. DOJ has issued findings involving sexual assault cases against three police departments, a sheriff's office and a campus police agency -- but not a prosecutor's office.

So we're looking at virgin territory here, with this DOJ accusation. If there's smoke where there's fire, lets see what's cookin'.

Jocelyn Samuels, acting assistant attorney general in DOJ's Civil Rights Division, told Van Valkenburg in a letteron Friday that his office was ill-prepared to prosecute sexual assault cases, treated victims with disrespect and "apparently leaves sexual assault and rape laws largely unenforced."

That's a pretty serious charge against the office. And it seems these claims of abuse and deaf ears by the prosecutors are numerous. One woman described dealing with her assault at the prosecutors office as "traumatic," as if the crime alone wasn't harrowing enough. Others said they were treated with no compassion whatsoever. These alleged victims felt "judged." That's hardly the way any victim wants to be made to feel when they're seeking out justice.

One woman was told that because "there was no video of the incident," prosecutors "wouldn't see this as anything more than a girl getting drunk at a party." What message is that sending? Yet Van Valkenburg who runs the office thinks he's being picked on. He claims these are just a few small examples and they shouldn't be taken with much more than a grain of salt.

Really? They shouldn't be taken seriously. Well how about this:

A clinical psychologist who counseled sexual assault victims said she had heard so many horror stories about the County Attorney's Office that she was reluctant to press charges with the office when she was sexually assaulted.

When even a psychologist with experience in this field is hesitant to move forward with her claim because of first hand knowledge of the abusive handling of such matters by the prosecutor's office, this is only the tip of the iceberg up in Missoula.

In one case, a woman whose 5-year-old daughter was assaulted by an adolescent boy asked why the boy's punishment was two years of community service. A prosecutor told her "boys will be boys," according to the DOJ letter.

Boys will be boys. Well hopefully the new boys and girls examining this office, will bring down the wrath of justice with the power of Thor and his hammer, Mjölnir.

Thor's hammer

Sad as all of this is, this Montana office isn't alone. And sexual crimes against women AND men are vastly under-reported because of louts like Attorney Van Valkenberg. Time to do a bit more investigating the investigators for their improper behavior. Women and men victims deserve better.

Just like the firsts of Ederle and Armstrong, they were followed by second and thirds accomplishing their amazing feats. Let's hope this trend continues with the DOJ.

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As Legalized Marijuana Goes Up, Suicides Go Down. 'Highly' Recommended Reading

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MarijuanaJusticew398h225

Okay, I'm not telling anyone that they should smoke anything. I'm just commenting on the new study out by the American Journal of Public Health. They conducted a study on marijuana laws and suicide rates. From the results which follow, one could certainly make a furthering argument for legalization, but not just for medical reasons. For law enforcement.

Suicide is against the law. I know, how are you going to prosecute someone after their dead? Well, that's really not the point. Suicide is a crime as is assisted suicide. There have been prosecutions for those. Think Dr. Kevorkian.

According to the results of this study, maybe crime will go down.

American Journal of Public Health:

Objectives. We estimated the association between legalizing medical marijuana and suicides.

Conclusions.Suicides among men aged 20 through 39 years fell after medical marijuana legalization compared with those in states that did not legalize. The negative relationship between legalization and suicides among young men is consistent with the hypothesis that marijuana can be used to cope with stressful life events.

prevent suicide

Think of all those suicides smoking grass might be preventing. And with each one, that's another crime not committed. HuffPo goes on in its reporting of this study:

The researchers took a close look at state-level suicide data over a 17-year period, from 1990 to 2007, from the National Vital Statistics System’s mortality detail files. They analyzed data from the 12 states that had legalized medical marijuana during that time and compared it with states that continued to criminalize the drug. In states that had legalized marijuana for medical use, there was a 10.8 percent reduction in the suicide rate of men in their 20s and a 9.4 percent reduction in men in their 30s, the study found.

Could it be Reefer Madness actually saves lives? Draw your own conclusions, but add this life- saving use for cannabis to the hopper of reasons to legalize (and of course, tax) recreational marijuana, not just for medical use. The life it saves may be your very own. And don't forget how it's also going to cut down on crime. This has win-win-win written all over it.

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Anti-Pot Chris Matthews Rails Against Alcohol And Tobacco, Too

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MatthewsKennedyw349h222video below at end of post

There's never a time when the unpredictable Chris Matthews isn't opinionated. That's what he's best known for and he's made a niche for himself being just that -- outspoken and oftentimes outrageous -- on his MSNBC show, HARDBALL.  He's so self-inflated in importance he oftentimes loses sight of logic and reason. He's the aging old dog that has been gifted with a relatively meaty bone and doesn't let you get near it with his growling and barking. Even after the bone's been chewed clean of the last hint of anything to eat, even its aroma of past pleasures, he's protective.

Yesterday was a case in point. Now it's a bit unusual for him to disagree, even somewhat reluctantly, with President Obama. He will, from time to time pick around the edges, but as a general rule he allows the President to make his own decisions and justifies them with the Big O's surrounding himself with qualified minions to help him form intelligent choices.

Chris took exception to Obama's coming out publicly and stating what a vast majority of Americans and pillars of the scientific community have been saying for years now. Pot is not good for you in general, but it's no more harmful than alcohol and tobacco.

That wasn't strong enough this time for Matthews. He decided that scientific evidence isn't good enough in this case. So he traipsed out two of the Kennedy clan -- newer generations of the Camelot crew -- Christopher Lawford and Patrick Kennedy. Both recovering addicts -- but not from pot -- from Alcohol and pills.

In Matthews' mind, and perhaps to these fine, brave gentlemen, one addiction is the same as another. And I'm not sure they're wrong. Addictive personalities can be just as harmful whether the vice is drinking, drugs, sex, video games, pornography, eating, et.al. The bottom line is anything can get you high if abused. That's the point of the book that Lawford was really on the show to promote. He wasn't there as an expert, but rather a survivor who was trying to sell his book, which Matthews gladly promoted at the end of the interview. If that makes you know more than someone else, fine. But surviving a 12 step program doesn't make you a counselor.  It makes you a veteran.

So after all was said and done, Chris, who's about as current as last week's expired milk in your refrigerator, made an anti-pot stand. And I'll applaud him for that -- speaking his mind -- or what's left of it. His ability to idolize Ronald Reagan and his former boss, Tip O'Neill while overlooking all the laws these two men broke, shows that he's still got the '70s going on in his mind. But granting him that clouded thinking, he's now going after pot with a similar cloud around his thinking.

His argument is that pot is a gateway to other vices. Maybe it is, but that's like saying drinking milk leads you to over eating chocolate chip cookies or Oreos. They are really not connected, but you could statistically make an argument.

So if Chris wants to take on the 'pot is bad for you' challenge, saying that it is as dangerous as tobacco and alcohol, then why isn't he pushing for tobacco and alcohol being outlawed? Certainly scientifically we can prove these two substances are dangerous, cause deaths and are gateways to all sorts of crimes and misdeeds, not just death.

Or maybe I missed the point. Perhaps that IS what Matthews on HARDBALL was really saying. Using his own argument, that pot can be addictive and lead to dangerous behavior, tobacco and alcohol should be against the law. If what's good for the goose is good for the gander, than he should be taking his soapbox to Capitol Hill and start rallying Congress for a revisit to the Volstead Act as well as banning all tobacco products. They're as dangerous (or as safe) as marijuana.

What? That's not what he meant? Then what was he doing when he chose to argue against legalization where the usage of cannabis products are monitored and quality is checked? Hundreds if not thousands died from bathtub gin and moonshine during prohibition. That's because there were no quality controls of the products. And to get these elixirs, how many were killed in back alleys or gunned down by the likes of Capone and his lieutenants?

Today we're unfairly incarcerating people, outrageous numbers of minorities, all over a little plant that has still not been proven to be any more harmful than legally obtained alcohol and tobacco. So move the soap box to another corner, Chris. Your arguments to outlaw pot are the same ones to make cigarettes and booze illegal. I don't think you'll want to take to the air to defend that. But you did. And here it is:

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FBI Admits Complicity In Record Levels Of Criminal Activity

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FBI ID

This sounds like a startling statistic to me. According to HUFFPO:

In a Jan. 14, 2013, letter to Justice Department officials, obtained by The Huffington Post through a Freedom of Information Act request, FBI officials disclosed that its 56 field offices authorized informants to break the law at least 5,939 times during the 2012 calendar year. USA Today reported earlier this year that the bureau allowed its informants to break the law 5,658 times in 2011.

Think about it.  Nearly 6,000 crimes. That's a lot of criminal activity for the FBI to turn it's back on. And keep in mind, that's the number of crimes the bureau is admitting to. How many more were there they complicit in that somehow didn't get reported?

What's also a bit startling is that the number of "ordained" or "forgiven" infractions of the law increased 5% from the year before. Did this substantial bump result in greater safety for us? The FBI doesn't seem to keep stats on that -- we really don't know what the ratio of crimes allowed to major busts is statistically -- if it can even be quantified.

But if I'm a victim of one of these FBI approved crimes, I'd sure hate to think the G-men were covering it up. Or worse, condoning that crime ahead of time, knowing I or someone else would be a victim.

To get a glimpse of the oversight to these crimes the FBI allows, the following might be an eye-opener:

The breakdown of how many crimes were authorized by each individual FBI field office were redacted from the 2012 report, which is known as the Otherwise Illegal Activity Report. The FBI's fellow federal law enforcement agencies -- the Drug Enforcement Administration and the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives -- do not track how often their sources commit crimes.

There must be a set of guidelines on this Otherwise Illegal Activity Report. And I'm sure there are some sacrifices that we, the public are called upon to make (even involuntarily) for the public good, but it sure would be nice to know where the line is drawn and what kind of oversight is mandated. Is it just non-violent crimes? Is it physical assaults?

Actually, it goes much farther than small infractions. It even includes murder.

Whitey Bulger

...the Boston field office allowed mob boss James "Whitey" Bulger to continue to operate his crime ring because he was providing information to the bureau.

Whitey Bulger, just in case you missed it, was indicted and found guilty this year on 19 murder charges. Nineteen. And many of them were committed during his time as an informant. How far should we allow this program to go unbridled? Where do we draw the line? After someone commits one ordained murder? Three? Nineteen?

"It sounds like a lot, but you have to keep it in context," former top FBI official Shawn Henry told the newspaper. "This is not done in a vacuum. It's not done randomly. It's not taken lightly."

So the FBI says this is not taken lightly? Bulger committed at least 19 murders? I beg to differ with FBI Official Henry. They absolutely did take it lightly. So lightly they didn't care at all. I guess he was just a bad guy killing other bad guys -- and women. And he didn't just kill them, he had them tortured, then dismembered and tossed away like garbage.

To top all of that off, Whitey, for all the FBI's oversight, slipped away and disappeared for 16 years. So much for things not being done in a vacuum. Maybe it they really had been, he wouldn't have been given so much rope to hang so many other people.

Just like with the NSA spying, it would be better to set the rules BEFORE innocent people become the victims, not afterward.

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Discovered. Lost. Then Found -- The Real Bettie Page

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classic-bettie-page-poster-24948_1

I'm excited. There's a movie, a documentary, that I'm looking forward to seeing. It's not about someone I know or knew -- just remember. The subject is a woman who pushed the boundaries of taste and became the real Betty Boop of her time -- Bettie Page.

I've seen pictures of her, both photos and drawn, and I knew she was somebody, but not really who. When I was told she was Bettie Page, that didn't mean too much to me. She's a generation before me, maybe two. But what I do recognize is she "busted" down a lot of taboos and was a woman of courage, vision and a sense of style. She created a look. She was admired by men and women alike.

Hugh Hefner said she was, "a combination of bawdy and nice."

Betty Page

She caused fear in those who fought the 1950s culture wars. She was arrested and tried. Given a chance at her freedom over an obscenity charge if she'd just burn the negatives, she told a judge she would not. "I'm not indecent." She even challenged him to raise the charges because she would never cop a plea.

If you're like me and don't know of her other than a nodding acquaintance, she meteorically rose to fame as a pin-up girl, post Betty Grable, and at the pinnacle of her career, disappeared. Where'd she go? Rumors flew fast and furiously. The mob got her. She fell victim to heroin. She had gone insane.

See if this doesn't add a bit of 'tease' to the movie term, teaser. I Bettie you it does.

How closely were you paying attention. Professionally she used Betty and Bettie as her first name. But I don't blame you if you hadn't caught it. It took me two viewings to see it.

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