Posts Tagged ‘News’
I read an article pleasantly entitled “Prisoner work crews save taxpayers hundreds of thousands of dollars” but in my mind, the article might as well have read “Prison labor keeps Maine unemployment rate at 7.6 %”. The state of Maine has increased its use of inmate labor to perform duties in their department of public works, schools and construction. Maine inmates are performing duties such as painting, road work, maintenance and other jobs that could be performed by qualified people who are actively seeking employment.
According to reports from Maine’s Department of Corrections, inmates performed 39,201 labor hours in 2011, a sharp rise from the 22,890 hours that inmates worked in 2010. Maine’s DOC places a $10.00 per hour value on the labor and admits that some of the jobs are considered to be skilled labor jobs that would normally pay much higher if the jobs were performed by workers in the private sector and “tax payer” savings could actually be in the millions of dollars each year under this system.
I am not opposed to inmates working, however, I am against a system that boasts about exploiting inmate labor when the private sector unemployment is substantial and the jobs could be given to qualified applicants in need of work. The state admits that the value of many of the jobs have been undervalued, meaning that inmates are being paid pennies on the dollar to perform jobs that they would have to pay others well above $10.00 per hour to do.
Corrections Commissioner Joe Ponte said in an interview ““It’s a good service, both for the community and for the inmates and crews that go out, the inmates feel good about giving back to the community.”
“There is a lot of misperception about the work crews,” Ponte said. “Some criticize that they are taking away jobs. I don’t see it that way.”
I think that Ponte needs his eyes checked and that the DOC’s department of public relations needs a raise for making this modernized version of the convict leasing system palatable to those who simply don’t know any better.
Sen. Stan Gerzofsky, D-Brunswick, the Democratic senator on the Criminal Justice Committee stated “ work crews are beneficial to the inmates and gives them a chance to use their skills and acquire new ones. He said the program is a win-win for the department because it improves morale of inmates while helping communities.”
Again, a polite golf clap for the DOC public relations department, please.
In all fairness, Maine is not the only state that is using inmate labor in an attempt to balance cutbacks and increase inmate morale (which helps the prisons run a bit more smoothly), but I hardly see how the community benefits in the long run when so many people are still unable to earn a living wage as those jobs are basically being done by inmates for next to nothing. Who can compete with that?
What are your thoughts on the program?
I kept thinking about at what angle I was going to blog the Trayvon Martin case. I could not think of an angle by which to approach it that has not been already done and thankfully, I could not find one. I say thankfully because that means that the community, bloggers and the media have really come together getting this story the attention that it really requires. If you are not familiar with Trayvon’s case, I’m not sure where you’ve been hiding but you can read the story on the CNN website.
What I decided that I’d do is address some questions that I have been asked about the case in an attempt to clear up any misconceptions that some people may have about some of the particulars, so, here goes….
Why did Zimmerman have a gun on him in the first place? The shortest answer to that is, because he can. Florida is a conceal and carry state, the 2nd amendment gives people the right to bear arms, so Zimmerman did not need a particular reason to be in possession of a weapon.
Isn’t Trayvon’s case reason enough that the President should push for tougher gun control laws? Absolutely not. Tougher gun control laws will do nothing to get guns off the street. Stricter gun control laws just make it harder for law abiding citizens to obtain a weapon. Criminals don’t give a damn about the law and if the criminals want guns, they will get them. If gun control laws are further tightened, it will inhibit the ability of law abiding citizens to protect themselves and their families.
Zimmerman has a violent past, how did he get a gun in the first place? The best answer that I have for this is, according to my research, Zimmerman has never been convicted of a felony, of anything for that matter. When a background check is done, anything information that the gun shop obtains is all what is available in the public record. A person with a history of mental illness can even get a gun as long as their mental illness does not show up as a matter of public record. HIPAA protects a person’s medical information from being made public, so unless a person’s mental illness has landed a person in court for something, it will not show up on the background check.
Can’t they just charge Zimmerman with a hate crime? If the FBI deems that on the 911 audio that Zimmerman indeed called Trayvon a “Fucking Coon”, then yes. I have heard the audio and I believe that was the comment that Zimmerman made, however, it would not be up to what I or you think, it will come down to what the jury thinks.
A hate crime conviction is not a “cure all”, the maximum penalty for a hate crime used to be 3 years in prison. Since the passage of Title 18, U.S.C., Section 249, also known as the Matthew Shepard and James Byrd, Jr., Hate Crimes Prevention Act , the maximum penalty has been raised to 10 years.
What about those kids in Mississippi, they got life in prison for a hate crime? No, they did plead guilty to a hate crime but they got life in prison for the murder they committed. If you are unfamiliar with the Mississippi case, read it here.
Can the NRA be sued for the “Stand Your Ground” law? No. The stand your ground law is not actually a bad law if you are a proponent of the 2nd amendment. The law states:
A person who is not engaged in an unlawful activity and who is attacked in any other place where he or she has a right to be has no duty to retreat and has the right to stand his or her ground and meet force with force, including deadly force if he or she reasonably believes it is necessary to do so to prevent death or great bodily harm to himself or herself or another or to prevent the commission of a forcible felony.
Zimmerman is no how, in no way, covered by the “Stand Your Ground” law, recently, Zimmerman’s attorney has even come forward to admit that the law does not apply to Zimmerman. Click here to read remarks by Zimmerman’s lawyer.
What I really think is interesting is that this case is being viewed from all sides as a racially motivated “white on black crime”. In these times when racial discourse is used to increase media readership, there is little mention of the fact that Zimmerman’s father is white but his mother is Latina. It is also not hitting the forefront of the media that Zimmerman’s family is not without African American’s.
Why does my observation matter? To me, it matters only in the respect that in a multi-cultural society, like the one in which we live, there is still a need to categorize people on one side or the other of the black and white line, regardless of their true ethnicity. Don’t get me wrong, I think that Zimmerman should be charged and that the judicial system needs to handle this, so I am glad that the case has gotten the attention that it needs to make people sweat and to begin moving in the right direction. I can’t help but wonder, however, if the case would have reached the same fever pitch that it has if Zimmerman had been reported as being Latino instead of white.
One could argue that institutional racism was in full effect since the white police chief chose to conduct a half assed investigation and call the case a wrap, but then how does one explain the African American city manager? The African American city manager has the power to fire the police chief and chose not to do so. I have to wonder, how much institutional racism played into this tragedy in comparison to how many people were willing to sweep Trayvon’s death under the rug in order to protect their own political careers?
I think that there are so many sociological factors involved in this case that down the line, I expect for Trayvon’s case to turn up in criminal justice and sociology textbooks.
At the end of the day, regardless as to who is what ethnicity and who has what job, I do think that Zimmerman needs to be charged and brought to justice. It is my prediction that he will be charged and the first motion that his lawyer will file, will be a motion for a change of venue.
Ahh yes, another Thursday and a day that I should be working on papers but I choose to procrastinate until later in the afternoon. Taking time out for a little rant has never hurt anyone in the long run as long as deadlines are met, right?? Even if it’s not right, that’s the way it is today….
There are things that I am just OVER hearing about, so much so that although I have an opinion, I don’t engage in multiple discussions about them on social networks because beating a dead horse usually ends up in frustration..so, here is my list of things that I wish people could STFU about and move on…….(in no particular order, just as they come to mind)
1. My blogs – There are some people who must be a glutton for punishment. They make snarky comments and remarks but never really “bring it” and say what they mean. As far as my blog and content is concerned, I think it is all pretty self explanatory. One can choose to agree or disagree with the post, follow or not follow the blog. To me, following a blog to take an opportunistic moment to say something random and passive aggressive makes no damned sense. If what I am doing is that serious to someone, I may suggest some professional help because that sh!t is not healthy.
2. Whitney Houston – Look, I think the tragic death of anyone is just that, tragic. Whitney was a songbird of whom I was never a huge fan but I will give credit where credit is due, she had a beautiful voice, it was just not one that caught my ear. As my mom used to say “everythang ain’t for everybody”. Every day, some media outlet is further trying to reduce the Whitney thing to its lowest common denominator. Look, she’s gone, it’s sad, no illegal drugs were found, he death was either accidental or it wasn’t and ultimately, she was the only one responsible for her own demise. Relax……let it go……….she’s gone and running a new story about her every day is not going to change that.
3. Chris Brown, with or without Rihanna – This whole argument about what Chris Brown should be allowed or not allowed to do professionally because of his domestic violence issues has been blown way out of proportion. He’s a douche bag, it is what it is but it’s time to move forward. I do not recall anyone repeatedly trying to professionally bury people like Sean Penn, Charlie Sheen, David Hasselhoff, Nicholas Cage, Vanilla Ice, Tommy Lee, Terrance Howard, Wesley Snipes or any of the other poorly behaving celebrity perpetrators of domestic violence. Either we throw them all under the bus professionally or let them do their job and let the courts handle them. There is no reason to keep the tape rolling. Now, as far as he and Rihanna are concerned, who cares? They are grown, let them screw each other’s heads off if they want, this nonsense of analyzing their recent work together is a waste of time. So much of a waste of time that I’ve spent all that I am going to spend on it……..see how that works?
4. Forgetting that some things are human issues and not “left” or “right” issues – Issues such as health care reform, entitlement programs, reproductive heath and so on are “hot button” political topics, they always are, especially during an election year. Although how those issues are managed may be a “left” or “right” issue, I think that the core idea that is forgotten is that those issues pertain to how we are going too manage and treat sick people, and how are we going to empower those who have been displaced by the economic downturn to once again be able to support themselves and their families under their own power. I am not into handouts or paying people to do nothing, I am, in favor of helping to create a climate where people can crawl out of a hole, help themselves and return to being self sufficient. To me, those issues are not just about politics, they are about human lives and human survival. Maybe if they were viewed as such, some compromises could be made. I am OVER people who make EVERY damned thing a left or right issue, hell it’s not the fault of the “left” or the “right” if the weather is bad……..oh wait, that’s a “global warming” issue…*Rolls Eyes*.
5. I have a dream!!! I have a dream!!! I have a dream that one day, I will live in a nation where my President will not be judged based on the color of his/her skin but the content of his/her character!!! That dream is very much a reality for me, I will NOT vote for a candidate for any office just because they’re black, white, blue, green or purple. I am an issues based person and that is what matters to me. I think that people who support a politician based on the color of his/her skin are just as shallow as those who refuse to support a candidate based on the same reasons. If I have to choose between two buses, one going straight to hell driven by a black driver and one going where I am trying to go, driven by an Asian driver……guess what, I’m not going to take the chance that I might reach my destination by using hell as the scenic route. I’m going with the driver that is going my way.
6. People who are impressed because Obama is capable of doing stereotypical “black thangs” – There are some groups of people who really believe that black folks are born to sing, dance and entertain the masses, kind of the way that jesters used to. I come unglued when I hear people go on and on about Obama singing at some event but not being outraged that some of his policies are leaving gaping holes in the Bill of Rights. It is NOT okay that he passes a bill that allows U.S. citizens to be arrested and held indefinitely without charges or gives INTERPOL the right to violate our entire Bill of Rights as long as he can SING about it! C’mon!!! I guess I should be glad that he’s shown that he can’t dance, I am not sure my nerves could handle it.
7. People who try to convert the internet by way of preaching gospel on status updates, all day, every day……..that annoys me so much that I just delete them. I’m a spiritual person and I am a firm believer that if one’s higher power is going to reach out to people, he’s not going to need twitter, facebook, email or anything like that to do it. My deity has much stronger networking skills than that….lol.
8. Definition of “Natural Born Citizen” – Some people think this is a new issue but it’s not, it’s been one since the 1800′s. Maybe I’m over simplifying this but here is the way I see it. One was considered to be a natural born citizen if born of two american citizens prior to the 14th amendment. The ratification of the 14th amendment should supersede anything before it as does an addendum to any contract. If the goal is to repeal the 14th amendment, then I think people need to just come out and say it, why try to enforce antiquated rulings because the wording of the 14th amendment is not working for them? Now, one has to be careful in handling the 14th amendment since it is also the one that gives citizens the protection of due process under the law. Personally, I think we should have an established congressional vetting system with a list of documentation that must be disclosed for people to run for president. I think that would eliminate politicians from using executive orders to have their records sealed and so on. If one wants to lead a nation, do so with their hand open, it’s about transparency, remember?
I was going on to number 9, but my producer says that I’m out of time….lol!!!! Have a great day!
Senior deputy King County prosecutor James Konat, who went on leave last summer after having his hands slapped by the Supreme Court for using racially charged language during a murder trial in 2007.
In June, the Supreme Court affirmed that Konat had indeed engaged in “prosecutorial misconducts” during his line of questioning of black witnesses during a 2007 murder trial.
During his line of questioning black witnesses, Konat had often referred to the police as the “PO-lees”. In the course of the trial, Konat questioned the black witnesses about a “code” that existed in predominately black neighborhoods that kept potential witnesses from talking to police during the original investigation of then murder suspect Kevin L. Monday Jr. who was subsequently convicted of first-degree murder and first-degree assault. Monday was subsequently sentenced to 64 years in prison.
During his closing arguments, Konat said that despite the denial of such a code by witnesses, Konat said that “the code is that black folk don’t testify against black folk. You don’t snitch to the police.”
The Supreme Court found Konat’s remarks unacceptable and a complaint has been filed with the bar association. But was Konat truly wrong in his statements?
In 2004, a very public campaign was launched in urban neighborhoods known as the ”Stop Snitchin” campaign. The campaign was complete with t-shirts, bumper stickers and signs with slogas such as “snitches get stitches”, “snitches sleep in ditches”, “snitches are bitches who get stitches and end up in ditches” and “snitches get stiches and end up in ditches”.
The campaign was no secret; it received coverage in such publications as (USA Today) and other mainstream media. So, I am forced to ask, was Konar really so out of line that he deserves to be sanctioned by the Supreme Court and a hearing in front of the bar association or was he simply pointing out something that most people knew anyway?
The state of Massachusetts is preparing to implement legislation to help curb prostitution and online hookers are hopping mad.
The new human trafficking law that goes into effect on February 17th, 2012 is targeted towards reducing the prostitution of juveniles by hitting those who patronize hookers (Johns) with fines up to $5000 and up to 21/2 years in prison.
The new law specifically designed to put the heat on the Johns and the pimps have made online hookers angry, many of whom are self-employed and do not consider themselves victims of human trafficking and believe that the new law will significantly reduce their income.
Attorney General Martha Coakley, a proponent for the law, tells the Boston Herald “The penalties we’ve had have been far too low” and “All we’ve done by the increases make them appropriate for the kinds of offenses we are talking about.”
The law signed in November provides a much stiffer penalty for those who are convicted of trafficking juveniles. Instead of the $5,000 fine that can be assessed to the Johns, those who are convicted of trafficking juveniles can receive 2 ½ years in jail and fines up to $25,000.
The theory behind the new law is that by penalizing those who traffic women or those who patronize prostitutes, reduces the clientele for the prostitutes thereby reducing prostitution as a whole in the state of Massachusetts.
One prostitute that was interviewed by the Boston Herald says that the new law will have a greater impact on those who work at the street level and will not hurt her business as much as it may others because she has a steady clientele. She further goes on to say that many of the men who patronize “high end” prostitutes do not usually do business with those who they don’t know and are often referred to prostitutes by other prostitutes in the industry.
Senator Mark C. Montigny (D-New Bedford), the law’s chief sponsor says that prostitution is not a victimless crime and that once one is trapped into human trafficking or enslavement are not free to leave the industry and are working against their will. Furthermore, minors under the age of 18 who are arrested on a first offense will be protected under a safe-harbor clause, allowing them to avoid penalties.
I think that tougher laws regarding the prostitution of minors are necessary as the human trafficking industry is rapidly growing. I do, however, think that women who choose to voluntarily prostitute themselves as a way to make a living should be allowed to do so under government legislation. I think that if the prostitution industry is regulated, those who participate should be subject to mandatory STD testing and their income subject to the same rate of taxation that is mandated for other contractors that are considered 1099 contractors.
Until that happens, I think that it takes a lot of nerve for prostitutes to complain about the loss of revenue in an industry where their actions are considered illegal in every state but Nevada. I will be outdone the first time a prostitute sues the state for loss of revenue due to the new legislation.
So, I’ve been reading the rants and raves about CNN’s Roland Martin’s suspension for tweets he made on Superbowl Sunday. If you missed it, here is what he tweeted:
“If a dude at your Super Bowl party is hyped about David Beckham’s H&M underwear ad, smack the ish out of him! #superbowl
Ladies, if your man don’t like sports, send his azz back to the factory. He came to you defective! #rolandsrules
I’m sorry. I’m not down with seeing dudes walking around with bags on their shoulders that resemble women’s handbags. #helltothenaw
Who the hell was that New England Patriot they just showed in a head to toe pink suit? Oh, he needs a visit from #teamwhipdatass
Many gay-rights groups took offense to what they refer to as “anti-gay” remarks and in response, CNN has suspended Martin.
I am not nearly as sick to death about hearing this story as I am people who are on the bandwagon touting that CNN is only reprimanding Martin because he’s black. *SMH*
CNN’s decision to suspend Martin is based on color, but that color is green, it’s not black. The bottom line is, when Martin or any other media correspondent speaks in a public forum such as Twitter or Facebook, they represent their organization. If one makes statements that are contradictory to the “view” of the station, they take action. CNN is a lot more worried about their advertisers than they are standing behind Martin or anyone else on their staff that steps off into stupid.
The next half-baked argument I’ve heard is regarding the 1st amendment (freedom of speech) and how CNN is infringing on Martin’s 1st amendment right. Nooo stupids, they’re not. The 1st amendment states:
“Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.”
Get that?? CONGRESS shall make no law…..in this case, it hasn’t. Many people want to cling to not having their rights violated, but they do not want to cling to accepting the responsibility that goes along with them. Martin exercised his right to “free speech” without taking into consideration that his high profile position could reflect negatively on CNN. Granted, that is a large responsibility to have but it’s not a responsibility that is only afforded to Martin. Paying attention to his public relations is a responsibility that he accepted when he took the job at CNN. Face it, Martin put his foot in his mouth, actually, he put his fingers in his mouth and the consequence is his to deal with.
I am over the thinking that people of color should get away with things because “other people have…” I did not hear such public outcry when MSNBC released Chris Hansen (the journalist that did the ‘To Catch A Predator” series), nor did I hear the same public outcry when Don Imus was fired for referring to the Rutger’s Women’s Basketball team as “nappy headed hoes”. As a matter of fact, the outcry over Imus was to the contrary, groups pushed for his release. Why is it okay to push for the release of someone who makes negative public comments about people of color, but when a person of color makes an anti-gay comment, there should be no accountability? The only reason I can think of is hypocrisy.
People from all walks of life make poor judgments. I think that one can support a person but not support one of their actions, it’s not all or nothing. I think that before people jump up on that bandwagon and say “it’s only because he/she is black”, that one looks at the situation and just says “it’s because he/she was stupid…..” Why is that so hard?