Friday, April 21, 2006

Duke Rape Case

I haven't said much on this so far. I put a lot of my time in college into rape prevention and rape defense classes. I volunteered with groups to escort female students from place to place on campus at night. I am highly sympathetic to rape victims and highly unsympathetic to rapists' claims of curable diseases. It is an emotional issue for me, having known so many rape and domestic assault victims personally and helped them work through things, legal and personal, as much as I could with my limited years of experience. The professionals just can't do everything that needs to be done for such victims because of budget constraints and women on a college campus often don't have the luxury of family and life long friends near by.

I really don't know if this woman was raped at the party or not and I don't think anybody but the accuser knows that at this point. I have 4 points to make that, hopefully, make no judgment on that issue at this time.

1. It seems pretty clear that one of the accused wasn't there when the alleged rape occurs. This would seem to assist the other accused, who also claims not to have been there during the relevant time frame, with reasonable doubt. This DA's case seems to be in big trouble unless there is a smoking gun that hasn't been leaked to the press (an idea I find less and less likely with passing days).

2. This leads me back to my ongoing plea that the antique media (with or without legislation) stop releasing the names of those accused of rape until they are convicted. I have no problems with not releasing the names of accusers on the basis that there are ramifications for rape victims that are not the same as burglary or simple assault. I support that. The same logic applies at least as strongly on those accused; today I would actually argue that the stigma of being accused falsely of rape is more severe than the stigma of being raped. Once convicted, plaster their names and faces all over the world, but until that time their names should be withheld.

3. I still have issue with a judge ordering DNA testing for all members of the team with no proof that a particular player was even there. Imagine the following scenario: a white/hispanic woman janitor goes to the DA and claims that two black men, whose faces she cannot identify, raped her in the restroom at last night's NAACP meeting in D.C. Do you see a judge ordering DNA testing of all the black male members of the NAACP who were invited to the meeting, with no proof they were there, and excluding a search of white men who were known to have been there? Wouldn't the ACLU be all over that court order? Would it not be a headline of outrage in all the major papers for days? I am not a lawyer but the fact that these tests were court ordered on such thin evidence is disturbing. It seems to violate the right against self incrimination on its face.

4. Assuming the judge isn't a complete lunatic, one assumes that before said court order was given there was something to compare the DNA swabs to. I further assume, and may be wrong here, that said DNA evidence from the victim was damning in the event of a match, i.e. sperm or epithelials from inside her that don't match her or pubic hairs on her or her undergarments or skin cells from under her nails. I would not assume that any sane judge would order these tests on the basis of skin cells found on the back of the accuser's hand or coat. Since we know that the "evidence DNA" that they tried to match to the players didn't match any of the players, why are they not extending the search for the attackers beyond the team? I went to a fair share of parties at college and I never heard of anybody throwing a party that was exclusive of non-members. Frat parties always had non-frat people at them. Team parties did too. Even dorm floor parties always had friends of both sexes who did not live on the floor. The fact that the police don't seem to be searching for people who aren't on the team at this time seems awfully suspicious and/or stupid to me.

In closing, the DA's case seems to be falling apart because he was/is an idiot. The woman may have been abused at this party or she may not have. We don't know. What is becoming clear is that the behavior of the DA is likely to guarantee that nobody is convicted. The other thing that is clear is that at least 43 (of the 46) young men were smeared by the media for a crime they did not commit and seem to not believe even occurred. Their season was cancelled, their coach was fired and they will never be able to fully escape this negative impression of their character.

I hope that the truth eventually comes out in full surrounding this incident. At this point that seems pretty unlikely. I hope I am wrong about that.

Thursday, April 20, 2006

"Journalists" need to get out more

Today we will have a look at Diane Carman's views on Senator Wayne Allard. Not that anybody should care what a columnist thinks about a particular politician, but it is revealing of a syndrome that is killing the newspaper business in this country. They need to get out and chat with the folks every once in a while. They are under the impressions that all of America agrees with their lefty coworkers in the news room.
National Journal recently ranked him one of the three "most conservative" senators in the country,
Um, Diane, it is a RED state and it was a lot redder when Sen. Allard was sent to Washington. I hope, and expect, our other Senator who ran as a centrist and then immediately began voting as a lefty will get that message when he comes up for re-election. Red states tend to send conservative folks to Washington. Some of them are good, others are not so good, but Ted Kennedy isn't getting elected here state-wide.
and last month he set out to enhance his impeccable conservative street cred by denouncing his colleague Wisconsin Sen. Russ Feingold on local radio.
In the opinion of most conservatives, this is a major accomplishment. More of it should be done. Daily.
He said Feingold, a Democrat, had "taken the side of the terrorists" when he called for censure of Bush for engaging in domestic wiretapping without a warrant. He called censure "unconstitutional."
Again, Feingold did take the side of terrorists in attacking this program, at least in the eyes of most conservatives. Kudos.
Then when he found out that fellow Republicans were fleeing from his comments frantically, and when somebody mentioned to him that Andrew Jackson actually had been censured by the Senate in 1834, so clearly it was constitutional, he quickly and decisively declined further comment. He went back to being a workhorse instead of a show horse.
This is rich. First, I only saw fellow Republicans say that they don't generally criticize their fellow Senators. I didn't see any number "run away" from the thrust of the statement. Second, while I don't agree that censure of the President is unconstitutional the fact that the Senate did it in 1834 does not make it constitutional. The Senate has done thousands of things that are unconstitutional. To my knowledge nobody has ever bothered to attempt to take a censure vote to the Supreme Court to determine the constitutionality of it. Why would they? Why would the Court hear the case?

Lastly, I guess Diane hasn't bothered to read the case history surrounding the issues of (what we believe is) the NSA international (it is international, not domestic as much as that bothers Diane and her fellow libs) wiretapping order. If she had she would know that multiple rulings have been made on these issues and ALL of them are in favor of the President's right and responsibility to order the NSA to engage in this behavior. So while censure itself is most likely not unconstitutional, censuring the President for violating the law/constitution when he quite clearly has not is incredibly stupid.
Still, even with all that political capital accumulated from his slavish loyalty to Bush, he hasn't been able to get anybody appointed to fill the vacancy in the U.S. attorney's office here. The job's been open for more than a year.
And Senator Allard is somehow responsible for this? Why is he, and not Senator Salazar responsible for this? Has Senator Allard voted for filibuster on any appointment of the President? How about Senator Salazar?
One thing that's undeniable about Allard is his responsiveness to his constituents, particularly those who contribute heavily to his campaigns.

Among them: the National Rifle Association, which he responded to by voting for immunity from lawsuits for gun manufacturers; the National Pro-Life Alliance, which got his vote against a $100 million program to reduce teen pregnancy through education and contraception; the pharmaceutical industry, which got his vote against negotiating bulk purchasing for Medicare prescription drugs; the energy industry, which appreciated his vote against stricter regulations on mercury emissions from their smokestacks; and military contractors, who got his vote against investigating questionable contracts for work in Iraq and Afghanistan.
OK, let's take these one at a time from a conservative voters perspective:
Immunity for gun manufacturers: Correct
Naral/Planned Parenthood funding: Correct
bulk pricing for Medicare: Wrong, although the legislation should have been better
unreasonable mercury emissions regs: Correct

And lastly, he didn't vote against investigating, he voted against ANOTHER investigation after the first ones showed up nothing more than routine book keeping problems which the process self corrected. CORRECT!
Allard, a longtime member of the Senate Banking Committee, ranked ninth out of 100 senators for contributions he received from big accounting firms at the time he sent a letter to the Securities and Exchange Commission opposing reforms to the accounting industry in 2000.
Any guesses what percentage of the 8 ahead of him are on a Banking Committee? I don't know, but isn't it an interesting question. And what, exactly were those reforms? Sarbanes-Oxley has been a freakin' disaster. It is a classic case of the cure being far worse than the disease.
The record shows our senior senator voted against raising the minimum wage to $7.25 from $6.25, against increasing tax deductions for college tuition, and for the repeal of work rules designed to protect workers from repetitive stress injuries.
Again, good conservative votes.

OK, maybe the little guy is not generally his thing.

Actually, the little guy who wants to start his own business is very happy to have the Senate intrude less on his aspirations.
Still, he has said that one of his "proudest achievements" since he was elected to the world's greatest deliberative body is getting the federal government to give the town of Dolores a ballpark.
OK, so I am way against this as are all true conservatives but do I really need to relist all the Robert Byrd named bridges, roads, buildings, etc? It is highly unfortunate that politicians feel they have to "bring home the bacon" to get re-elected but it is true. If one ballpark in Dolores is the worst case of senseless federal spending Allard is guilty of I may have to campaign for him.

I notice that Diane didn't list our Senator's recent votes on tax cuts and tax cut extensions. Interesting?

Wednesday, April 19, 2006

Great email: Why?

Stolen, blatently and it totality, from SlagleRock. I don't think he'll mind.

Cindy Sheehan asked President Bush, "Why did my son have to die in Iraq?"

Another mother asked President Kennedy, "Why did my son have to die in Viet Nam?"

Another mother asked President Truman, "Why did my son have to die in Korea?

Another mother asked President F.D. Roosevelt, "Why did my son have to die at Iwo Jima?"

Another mother asked President W. Wilson, "Why did my son have to die on the battlefield of France?"

Yet another mother asked President Lincoln, "Why did my son have to die at Gettysburg?"

And yet another mother asked President G. Washington, "Why did my son have to die near Valley Forge?"

Then long, long ago, a mother asked, "Heavenly Father, why did my Son have to die on a cross outside of Jerusalem?"

The answers to all these are similar -- "that others may have life and dwell in peace, happiness and freedom."

This was emailed to me with no author and I thought the magnitude and the simplicity were awesome.

Original Author Unkown

Time to rethink Presidential elections.... not

In another unsigned editorial, the Denver Post throws its support behind a terrible proposal being offered in the Colorado legislature. Let us look at the editorial piece by piece.

First, here is their summary of the legislation:
The proposal was developed by a multipartisan national group and is circulating across the country in book form - 620 pages, to be exact. The Colorado bill is sponsored by Democratic Sen. Ken Gordon and Rep. Tom Plant. The plan calls for states to form a compact and pledge their electoral votes not to the majority candidate in their own state, but to the winner of the national popular vote.
So after some number (possibly all) states agree to pledge their votes to the national winner of the popular vote, Colorado will do the same.

Now, their argument as to why this is a good idea.
The system also gives a modest number of battleground states too much voting power. States that are dependably Republican or Democratic are all but ignored during campaigns in favor of swing states. The Electoral College discourages voter participation because people in the majority of states know before the election who will win their votes. Minority-party voters in Democratic Massachusetts and Republican Wyoming know their votes won't count, because their Electoral College votes are never in doubt.
So let us assume that Colorado is, and will remain, reliably Republican meaning that 60-70% of the voters here vote Republican on the national level. How much time do you expect the candidates to spend in our physically large but small population state? What about Wyoming? What has been fixed?
For years, political science wonks have studied the unique Electoral College system with an eye toward updating the process to suit this day and age.
This is true. The only interesting thing they have come up with is to get states to, en masse, partition their electoral votes based on either the popular vote in the state or by district. I kinda like the by district method which is closer to the original intent of the Constitution. That said, my vote wouldn't count in that case because I am in a heavily Democratic district within the state, so I am still "disenfranchised" by the Post's standards.
In 2004, we opposed Amendment 36 on the Colorado ballot because its single-state approach unilaterally diluted the impact of Colorado's electoral votes. True reform should be broader.
That is hard to disagree with. Only if California, New York, Texas, etc partition their electoral votes in a new way that dilutes their dominance does it make sense for smaller states to do so.
The Founding Fathers' rationale for creating the Electoral College is debatable even today. Some believe it was meant to balance the power of small and large states. Others thought it was to create a system of indirect election of good candidates from which the House of Representatives could make the final selection. Whatever the reason, the system creates strange anomalies in both campaigning and in settling the result.
It seems pretty clear to me that the former was the intent and the latter was a side effect of the largely rural population in a day before radio, TV and even daily newspaper delivery. "The public" was fairly well informed when it came to their local politicians but it was very difficult for them to be well informed about a national presidential election.
Colorado has often been ignored in presidential contests, having been reliably Republican and casting only nine electoral votes. The state became a battleground in 2004 largely because Democratic candidate Sen. John Kerry was born here and because of the state's growing number of independent voters.

We favor attempts to change the current system not only because it will boost the value of a Colorado voter to the same level as a voter from, say, Ohio or Florida, but because a system that produces a majority winner will boost political engagement across all 50 states.
They shot down their own argument here. Colorado only has 9 electoral votes. That is because we have a relatively small population. This proposal would push the candidates from spending their time, energy and proposals targeting "swing" states, which Colorado could be one of, to targeting New York, San Francisco, Chicago, Miami, Los Angeles, and a handful of other large cities with their interest groups. Rural America would be totally ignored along with suburban America and we would wind up with, IMO, even worse government than we have now.

At the end of the day, the editorial board is just looking for any proposal that increases the likelihood that Colorado's electoral votes could go Democrat. Since the large population centers tend to go Democrat and tend to have relatively lower voter turnout, anything that moves in the direction of popular vote looks attractive to them, for now. The south used to be reliably Democratic and has been reliably Republican for decades. Could it change again? You bet! The average guy on the street isn't nearly as tied to a party as party insiders might think.

Recommending books is sexual harassment?

That is Ohio State's position in filing charges against a librarian. Unbelievable.
Scott Savage, who serves as a reference librarian for the university, suggested four best-selling conservative books for freshman reading in his role as a member of OSU Mansfield's First Year Reading Experience Committee. The four books he suggested were The Marketing of Evil by David Kupelian, The Professors by David Horowitz, Eurabia: The Euro-Arab Axis by Bat Ye'or, and It Takes a Family by Senator Rick Santorum. Savage made the recommendations after other committee members had suggested a series of books with a left-wing perspective, by authors such as Jimmy Carter and Maria Shriver.

Savage was put under "investigation" by OSU's Office of Human Resources after three professors filed a complaint of discrimination and harassment against him, saying that the book suggestions made them feel "unsafe." The complaint came after the OSU Mansfield faculty voted without dissent to file charges against Savage. The faculty later voted to allow the individual professors to file charges.
I thought that Big Ten was more grounded in reality than this...... sad.

Senior moonbat dishonors son

Cindy Sheehan is refusing to get a tombstone for her son because it is too painful. Where is his father and why hasn't he bitch slapped this silly woman yet? Have whatever political opinions you like but you do not refuse to put a headstone on a fallen soldiers grave!

Today's tidbit

From this DryBones strip, a tidbit I didn't know and thought was interesting:
The sea was a marsh, filled with bullrushes and reeds. The name of the sea was the Reed Sea. But when the word for reed (soof in Hebrew) was translated into English, reed was misspelled as red!!

. . . and because of that dopey spelling mistake, the sea is still called (in English) the Red Sea until this day.