From the New York Times:
The Senate on Thursday rejected a controversial bipartisan bill to remove military commanders from decisions over the prosecution of sexual assault cases in the armed forces, delivering a defeat to advocacy groups who argued that wholesale changes are necessary to combat an epidemic of rapes and sexual assaults in the military.
The measure, pushed by Senator Kirsten E. Gillibrand, Democrat of New York, received 55 votes—five short of the 60 votes needed for advancement to a floor vote—after Ms. Gillibrand’s fellow Democrat, Senator Clare McCaskill of Missouri, led the charge to block its advancement. The vote came after a debate on the Senate floor filled with drama and accusations that Ms. Gillibrand and her allies were misguided...
Several Republicans, including Senator Rand Paul of Kentucky and Senator Charles Grassley of Iowa, supported the Gillibrand proposal, and expressed deep frustration with the military’s failure to stem the number of sexual assaults. Congress began scrutinizing the sexual assault problem in the military after a recent series of highly publicized cases, including one at the Naval Academy, and after the release of new data from the Pentagon on the issue. On Sept. 30, 2013, the end of the last fiscal year, about 1,600 sexual assault cases in the military were either awaiting action from commanders or the completion of a criminal investigation.
Critics of the military’s handling of such cases say that the official numbers represent a tiny percentage of sexual assault cases, while Ms. Gillibrand said that only one in 10 sexual assault cases were reported. She and her supporters argue that forcing sexual assault victims to go to their commanders to report cases is similar to forcing a woman to tell her father that her brother has sexually assaulted her.
Because commanders often know both the victims and the alleged abusers, Ms. Gillibrand’s supporters say, victims often shy away from reporting abuse. Military commanders, they say, have not proven themselves able to deal with the issue.
I'm so angry I can't actually process it effectively enough even to RANT about it. This shit is unacceptable.
Woody Allen's friend Robert B. Weide rushes to his defense in The Daily Beast by—you guessed it—attacking the credibility of Dylan Farrow, who accused him of molesting her as a child in an open letter last week, and her mother, actress Mia Farrow.
This is a basic principle: until it is proven otherwise, beyond a reasonable doubt, it’s important to extend the presumption of innocence to Dylan Farrow, and presume that she is not guilty of the crime of lying about what Woody Allen did to her.
If you are saying things like “We can’t really know what happened” and extra-specially pleading on behalf of the extra-special Woody Allen, then you are saying that his innocence is more presumptive than hers. You are saying that he is on trial, not her: he deserves judicial safeguards in the court of public opinion, but she does not.
The damnably difficult thing about all of this, of course, is that you can’t presume that both are innocent at the same time. One of them must be saying something that is not true. But “he said, she said” doesn’t resolve to “let’s start by assume she’s lying,” except in a rape culture, and if you are presuming his innocence by presuming her mendacity, you are rape cultured.
Allen's response so far? His publicist issued a statement on Sunday calling the allegations "untrue and disgraceful," and his lawyer calls it "a story engineered by a vengeful lover."
A Montana judge says he doesn't deserve to lose his job for commenting that a 14-year-old rape victim appeared "older than her chronological age" when he sentenced her teacher-rapist to just a month in prison.
Let me restate: District Judge G. Todd Baugh, who is 72, thinks that implying a rape victim deserved to be raped because she looked like a grown woman isn't cause for losing his job. The rape victim wasn't available for comment because she committed suicide before the trial began. Baugh, who whined about his status as "kind of a lightning rod" due to the case, also said in a letter to the Judicial Standards Commission that the rapist has recently demonstrated "morally good conduct."
There are many alarming things in this news story of a Kenyan man who "defiles" (has sex with) a "she-goat." But the most alarmig thing is that the she-goat was actually present in the courtroom. Okay, maybe that's not the most alarming thing. BECAUSE THERE ARE SO MANY ALARMING THINGS!!!
More information here, if you're that kind of person.
A buddy of mine got his car stolen a few months ago. Over the weekend, the police called and said they found it and it was waiting for him. It hadn't been wrecked, but it was out of gas and entirely filled with trash from the joyriders. We carefully cataloged all the trash as we cleaned it out and now YOU get to play detective. Who was it who stole this car?
Obviously we've got somebody living a pretty confusing life. He's writing a screenplay about the life of Jesus while admiring (or wearing) a pony tail butt plug. Somebody is in a tutu. Stay tuned after the jump for the rest (and trust me, it gets even better).
Comes from Crooks & Liars:
Florida Man Cites 'Bush Doctrine' After Pre-emptive Killing of Neighbors at Labor Day Cookout
And yes, that is exactly what it sounds like:
In their motion, Woodward’s attorneys claimed that the victims had called him names and threatened to "get him."
The motion referenced Enoch V. State, which suggests that an "imminent" threat can include something that is likely to occur at sometime in the future.
It may not take hold with this case, but the Bush Doctrine is the logical next step after Stand Your Ground: Get them before they get you. Imagine a future like Minority Report, only instead of Tom Cruise enforcing pre-crime with the help of the world's largest iPad and a hot tub full of psychics, it's just a bunch of average Americans with really strong hunches.
White people who kill black people in 'Stand Your Ground' states are 354 per cent more likely to be found justified in their killing than a white person who kills another white person, according to research.
On Saturday George Zimmerman, 29, was acquitted of second-degree murder and manslaughter in the shooting death of 17-year old-Trayvon Benjamin Martin.
But he was not arrested for 44 days after the February 26, 2012, shooting as police in Sanford insisted that Florida's Stand Your Ground law on self-defence prohibited them from bringing charges - Florida gives people wide latitude to use deadly force if they fear death or bodily harm.
John Roman, an analyst at Urban Institute’s Justice Policy Center, used FBI data for this study.
Tuesday's at the Mercury SUUUUUUCK!
I just type and click, type and click, type and click, fart on Erik the film editor's mouse when he's not looking, type and click, all day until the paper is sent to the printer and I finally get to go home and pet my kitty (knowhattamean?).
Sometimes I just need a break.
Here's how I take a break
Push my whip back (that's my desk chair).
Stand up and walk away from the desk.
Take my clothes off in the office bathroom and put a wetsuit on.
Ask officemates if they want to go with me (no takers, just one gawker with a camera).
Ride the elevator from the 6th floor down to the lobby.
Walk two blocks to Waterfront Park.
Go a little further to the Steel Bridge.
Walk to the halfway point on the lower level of the bridge.
Grab the railing and fling myself off the bridge.
Fall until I think I'm dead.
Come up for air.
Swim to the shore.
Walk back to the office.
Shower in the bathroom.
Put dry clothes back on.
Sit back in my whip.
Get back to work.
This is all probably illegal, so don't do it (Wussy!). [OF COURSE IT'S ILLEGAL, JESUS CHRIST!—editor]
Check out this hilariously awesome car chase using Matchbox-sized cars—and three hip hoorays for whoever did the sound editing on this mini-cinematic masterpiece.
Everybody's talking about last night's very bloody episode of Game of Thrones—particularly the last scene. (Check out our recap here.) HOWEVER! An expert witness in the O.J. Simpson trial, forensic pathologist Dr. Michael Baden, tells TMZ that it was a bunch of BAAAAA-LONEY!
"Blood doesn't come out like that."
"If cut deep enough, the right and left carotid artery will spurt a few feet, just like a hose... not this broad blood-flowing out like a waterfall from the whole neck."
He adds, "There would have been squirting from the right or left carotid artery, carotid arteries spurt.”
Baden also says ... the victims wouldn't have died so quickly ... because death from a throat slashing, "takes much longer than that."
Got it. Thanks again for ruining everything, Science! (Read the whole thing here.)
A narrowly divided Supreme Court ruled Monday that police can collect DNA from people arrested but not yet convicted of serious crimes, a tool that more than half the states already use to help crack unsolved crimes..."DNA identification of arrestees is a reasonable search that can be considered part of a routine booking procedure," [Justice Anthony] Kennedy said. "Taking and analyzing a cheek swab of the arrestee's DNA is, like fingerprinting and photographing, a legitimate police booking procedure that is reasonable under the Fourth Amendment."
Justice Antonin Scalia wrote an angry dissent for himself and three liberal justices, charging that the decision will lead to an increased use of DNA testing in violation of the Constitution's protection against unreasonable searches.
This is certainly a power that the government will never manage to misuse, right? This Supreme Court is George W. Bush's most important legacy. For at least a decade to come, the law of the land will continue to be interpreted like it's 2003, when Americans were eager to give up any right as long as they could feel safe.
Craig Mosbaek went to bed Friday night assuming nothing was amiss outside his house near SE 30th and Division, hardly a hotbed of mayhem and trouble. He woke up the next morning to something a little startling and a lot annoying.
His lawn sign endorsing Portland's water fluoridation measure—Mosbaek is a public health consultant, former state official, and occasional volunteer for the campaign—had been torched at some point in the night. It was there when Mosbaek walked his dog around 8 pm Friday. This is what he saw in its place the next day:
"I woke up and went outside and saw the sign wasn't there," he says, "and I looked closer and you could see the ashes on the grass below the sign and a little bit of melted plastic stuck to the metal supports for the sign. I found a pack of matches close to it, too. I figured that's what happened."
Just when you thought leaving it behind at the hospital was the only option for your afterbirth…..
Pretty much everyone in the Oregon Legislature is all about HB2612—a bill that allows postpartum moms to take their placentas home with them.
The thing is, some people have already been taking their disposable organs home, breaking the law without knowing it. “I think this was a huge shock to everyone” says Representative Allisa Keny-Guyer (D) regarding the legality of placenta custody. Patients aren’t allowed to keep “medical waste” of any kind as souvenirs, but many hospitals have been making the exception for placentas because the language of the law is so unclear.
A placenta is the iron-rich sack of flesh that nourishes a baby in the womb. It allows mother and child to trade nutrients for poop (thanks again, Mom!). From the Latin for cake, the placenta is round and flat. Also, most mammals eat them post birth. Some humans do, too. Moms have been known to fry it up like a steak (most likely with some fava beans and a light Chianti), or pay one of several businesses that will cook, dehydrate, and pulverize a placenta, and then put the resulting powder into capsules you can swallow.
Many cultures have rituals and traditions regarding placentas. Some believe eating the self-made nutrients help aid in lactation, boost energy, and aid postpartum depression. It’s also common to bury it and plant a tree on top to represent new life. Apparently you can also make art and jewelry and drums out of it too.
On the Senate floor Senator Elizabeth Steiner-Hayward said “it’s a pretty straightforward bill, it’s safe, let’s do this.” And they did. The measure passed unanimously in the Senate today, following last week’s unanimous approval by the House.
The original bill prohibited selling the placenta, but the amended language puts the guidelines into the hands of the Oregon Health Authority. They can put that part in or not, since they’re in charge of all the logistics of the regulation.
On an equally gross note, today the House Judiciary Committee heard public testimony on a bill that would make spitting on a police officer a felony.
Masked gunman drive in through tight security with military precision, steal millions worth of diamonds, and leave without hurting anybody. The target was perfectly selected (it's hard to feel bad for the diamond industry) and the execution was flawless. It's tough to get 8 people to order pizza without killing each other, so pulling off something like this blows my mind.
I can only hope Benicio Del Toro didn't get hurt transporting the stolen diamonds.
Boston Art Heist
23 years after the greatest art heist of all time, the FBI announced they know who did it but it's too late to do anything about it. For crimes like this (brazen, nobody was injured), I feel like it's a game and the thieves won. If you can elude police past the statute of limitations, you deserve it.
I can only hope Pierce Brosnan is having great sex on an island somewhere to a Nina Simone song.
Helicopter Prison Escape
In Canada of all places, a helicopter landed on a prison roof and lowered a rope to the yard where two men grabbed it and rode it away to freedom. That's the most amazing thing I've ever heard. Even better, within 24 hours, everybody was in police custody and nobody was hurt. The cops won this one despite having to do it on horseback (I assume). It's a great story.
I can only hope Ice Cube wasn't too angry that the helicopter was two minutes late, because that guy can get pretty sassy when he's driving tanks.
Last month, Marjorie posted a video of pranksters pulling "the old slip 'n' smash" where kids would pretend to slip in grocery stores and smash plastic jugs of milk on the ground. According to the comments, YOU DID NOT APPRECIATE THIS BEHAVIOR. Well quit shaking your cane, Grandpa—because the cops have identified the
kids criminals, and are filing charges! C'mon, let's all "tsk-tsk-tsk" along with this news anchor!
Ahhhhhh... now you can die happy.
So said T.J. Lane, the 18-year-old convicted of killing three students at Ohio's Chardon High School, to the families of his victims at his sentencing this week. From the Associated Press:
T.J. Lane, 18, had pleaded guilty last month to shooting at students in February 2012 at Chardon High School, east of Cleveland. Investigators have said he admitted to the shooting but said he didn't know why he did it.
Lane was defiant during the sentencing, smiling and smirking throughout, including while four relatives of victims spoke.
After he came in, he calmly unbuttoned his blue dress shirt to reveal the T-shirt reading "killer," which the prosecutor noted was similar to one he wore during the shooting.
At one point, he swiveled around in his chair toward the gallery where his own family members and those of the slain teenagers were sitting and spoke suddenly, surprising even his lawyer.
"The hand that pulls the trigger that killed your sons now masturbates to the memory," he said, then cursed at and raised his middle finger toward the victims' relatives.
Lane was given three life sentences with no possibility of parole, but I imagine his sassy mouth will get him slain in prison in no time.
LAST UPDATE ON THIS 5:30 pm: Bystanders cheered when Ditto was taken into custody, according to the full police report on the incident. Read it here [PDF].
ORIGINAL STORY: Beth Ditto has been convicted of disorderly conduct, following an incident this weekend where the Gossip singer drunkenly held up traffic on Mississippi Avenue, the Mercury has learned.
Ditto— after sending her lawyer to an arraignment on the charge yesterday—appeared in court to plea no contest this morning to the violation, according to court files. It's unclear at this point how she was sentenced for the
According to Deputy District Attorney Caroline Wong, Ditto had the option to complete community service in order to have the case dismissed. Or, she could simply accept fines, which are a minimum of $435. Wong said the case file is still in the court house, and that she did not know the exact outcome.
Ditto (legal name Mary Beth Patterson) was charged with disorderly conduct after being denied service at Bungalo Bar (formerly Casa Naranja, on N Mississippi). She walked out into the street, where she attracted the attention of police officers, who took her in and booked her with the charge of second degree disorderly conduct, a Class B misdemeanor. That charge was reduced to a violation— akin to a speeding ticket—at arraignment.
Eyewitnesses include another drinker at Bungalo who posted this account on Reddit.
In Ditto’s place was her lawyer, Thomas Coan, who handed Multnomah County Judge Steven Todd a written statement from his client. The statement was not read in court.
Ditto’s lawyer also told the court his client was “concerned there’s been a lot of media attention [about her case],” and asked the judge if it were possible, given Ditto’s local celebrity, to have her contact information expunged from the public record. A number that presumably belongs to Ditto is listed in OJIN, the Oregon court’s database.
Todd said there wasn’t a lot he could do. Ditto's information, he says, is already in the system, after she received a traffic ticket in 2011.
Ditto didn't make a plea today. Coan also declined to comment. The Mercury has also left a message at the number listed for Ditto in court records. If convicted, Ditto could face up to 16 hours of community service or a possible fine of $435. Her charge has been reduced from a misdemeanor to a violation.
The incident that lead to Ditto’s disorderly conduct charge happened last Friday outside of the Bungalo Bar on North Mississippi after the bar wouldn't serve her and she wandered out in the street where, police say, "her arms extended from her sides like an airplane, and she was shouting (unknown what) as she blocked traffic." Her next court date is set for 9 am on Monday, March 25.
As Nathan briefly mentioned in Good Morning News, a fugitive holed up in a North Portland Travelodge found himself in a three-hour motel room standoff with cops last night. According to the latest reports from the PPB, the suspect was 34-year-old James David Tautfest who was wanted by Federal Marshals for identity theft, forgery and possession of a controlled substance. He also had his 15-year-old runaway sister in the room with him—but released her early on, and after more tense negotiations, eventually succumbed to tear gas and gave himself up without a fight.
NOW HERE'S THE REALLY INTERESTING PART OF THIS STORY... from the PPB press release:
During the standoff Tautfest, who was high on methamphetamine, kicked a hole in the hotel wall, entered an adjacent attic, crashed through the floor and entered the weight room below. He then climbed back through the floor and crawled back into the room.
And he would've gotten away with it, too... if only he hadn't climbed back into his own room?? Now I'm not promoting criminality, but C'MON DUDE. You show real promise as an escape artist—if you weren't so distracted by the meth. GET YOUR ACT TOGETHER, SON! You could really go places!
To say nothing of the Sword of Valen.
Spotted last night at a bar in SE Portland. Thanks to Mark for the heads up.
On February 4, HBO premiered Alex Gibney's Mea Maxima Culpa: Silence in the House of God, a brilliant and infuriating documentary exploring the epidemic of priestly sex abuse at a Milwaukee's St. John's School for the Deaf in the '60s, and drawing damning conclusions about the conspiracy of silence mandated by the Vatican. Here's the trailer:
It's an amazing movie, which will soon get a theatrical release, The heroes of this film—the now middle-aged former students/sexual abuse survivors from St. John's School for the Deaf—need to be seen by as many people on as many screens as possible. For now, two things:
*The doc exposes Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger as the Vatican's foremost authority on sex abuse allegations made against the church, then shows how Ratzinger did nothing with his extensive knowledge of the problem once he became Pope.
*With the pope's resignation landing one week after the premiere of Mea Maxima Culpa, it's tempting to somehow link the two events, imagining that Ratzi somehow watched the doc and resigned out of disgust and disappointment with himself, or watched the doc and resigned out of fear of an impending shitstorm. However, being pope provides Ratzinger—the head of the "state" of the Vatican—with a ton of legal protections against any and all shitstorms, and I don't like to imagine the Vatican makes history-altering decisions based on HBO's broadcast schedule.
Whatever the case, please watch Mea Maxima Culpa as soon as you can.
After days on the run, and a manhunt that included L.A. cops mistakenly shooting at a vehicle that looked like the one driven by the suspect, the L.A. Times is reporting that fugitive ex-cop Christopher Dorner was in an alleged shoot-out with Big Bear officers this afternoon.
The shooting occurred after Dorner burglarized a home, tied up a couple and stole a white pickup truck, sources said. San Bernardino County sheriff's spokeswoman Jodi Miller confirmed deputies responded to a vehicle theft about 12:20 p.m., and the resident who reported the theft said the suspect matched Dorner's description.
The U.S. Forest Service confirms there was an exchange of gunfire between officers on foot and the suspect, in the Santa Ana River drainage, north of State Highway 38 and south of Big Bear Valley. At least one officer of the California Department of Fish and Wildlife was involved, said John Miller, San Bernardino National Forest spokesman. That officer is not believed to be injured.
Dorner's status was not immediately known as the gunfight continued.
The most recent updates claim that Dorner is inside a cabin, surrounded by police. More updates to come.
UPDATE 2:25 PM: More details from the L.A. Times regarding Dorner's chase with authorities, and how he is currently in a cabin surrounded by police.
Dorner crashed the truck during the ensuing chase and exchanged gunfire with the officers as he fled into another cabin, where he was quickly surrounded by San Bernardino Sheriff’s deputies. One deputy was hit as Dorner fired out of the cabin and then a second was wounded when Dorner exited the back of the cabin, deployed a smoke bomb and opened fire again in an apparent attempt to flee. Dorner was driven back inside the cabin, where it appears he is pinned down, the source said.
The extent of the deputies’ injuries is unknown.
UPDATE 3:25 PM: From the L.A. Times twitter feed:
UPDATE 3:45 PM: One of the deputies who was shot during the shootout with Dorner has died from his wounds.
UPDATE 4:25 PM:
UPDATE 5:50 PM: From the L.A. Times:
According to a law enforcement source, police had broken down windows, pumped in tear gas and blasted a loud speaker urging Dorner to give up. When they got no response, police deployed a vehicle to rip down the walls of cabin "one by one, like peeling an onion," one law enforcement official said.
By the time they got to the last wall, authorities heard a single gunshot, the source said. Then flames began to spread through the structure. Then, they heard gunshots likely set off by the fire.
Dorner's body has not been found.
UPDATE 6:05 PM:
Meet Kai (straight out of Dogtown!) who is the most hilarious, deadly surfer dude/hitchhiker you will ever meet. Listen to his totally insane description of taking his ax and "smash, smash, SUH-MASHing" the head of an alleged rapist who nearly went on a Jesus-fueled killing spree, and... okay, this is far too complicated to explain. Just listen to the story, and then delete every news site you have bookmarked, because this is the greatest news story you will ever hear and there's no need to listen to or read anything else. HUMANITY HAS REACHED ITS APEX!!
UPDATE: This video has either been blocked or "smash, smash, SUH-MASHED" with an ax. Watch it here! (Thanks, commenters!)
In this video from the Black Mental Health Alliance of Massachusetts, a "cop" warns the youth of today that if they wear their pants "hip hop style" (which apparently is droopy with underpants showing) they can be sent to prison for THREE YEARS?!? Hypervocal looked into it a bit, and discovered that this crime might maybe possibly but probably not fall under Section 16 of the Commonwealth of Massachusetts General Law (regarding open and gross lewdness and lascivious behavior), which says:
A man or woman, married or unmarried, who is guilty of open and gross lewdness and lascivious behavior, shall be punished by imprisonment in the state prison for not more than three years or in jail for not more than two years or by a fine of not more than three hundred dollars.
Now I'm no lawyer... but if you're found guilty of wearing droopy drawers in Massachusetts, this is a case I think I can probably win! CALL ME.
Vice President Biden has met with the NRA and Walmart, and he's preparing his gun control recommendations for the president. He'll announce them on Tuesday, Huffington Post reports:
"There is really a very tight window to do this," [Biden] told the press corps during his announcement Thursday.
The recommendations are expected to address a number of angles and topics on gun policy, ranging from the availability of certain firearms and ammunition to data collection between federal and state law enforcement agencies. Biden announced that a top priority would be to create a more thorough system of background checks to prevent those with criminal histories or mental illness from purchasing weapons.
There's a real sense of pessimism about any gun control legislation making it past the Republicans in Congress, but Biden says President Obama could avoid Congress entirely by issuing an executive order. Either way, gun sales are booming around the country, which is probably how history will remember our national response to the Sandy Hook Elementary School Massacre.
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