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marble falls

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Hometown: marble falls, tx
Member since: Thu Feb 23, 2012, 03:49 AM
Number of posts: 25,367

About Me

Hand dyer mainly to the quilters market, doll maker, oil painter and teacher, anti-fas, cat owner, anti nuke, ex navy, reasonably good cook, father of three happy successful kids and three happy grand kids. Life is good.

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Domestic Violence Needs Criminal Justice Reform, Too

Domestic Violence Needs Criminal Justice Reform, Too

The criminal justice system isn’t stopping intimate partner violence. It might be making it worse.

By Leigh Goodmark

Ms. Goodmark is a professor and an anti-violence activist.

July 23, 2019


All of a sudden, it seems like criminal justice reform is on everyone’s policy agenda. Politicians across the political spectrum in the United States are finally thinking about policies to reverse the decades-long expansion of the criminal system, and the mass incarceration that has resulted.

But legislators have been doubling down on the system when it comes to domestic violence. Concerns about intimate partner violence threatened the campaign for pretrial bail and discovery reform in New York State. Iowa abandoned some mandatory minimum sentences in 2016, but created new ones for intimate partner violence. Various federal reform proposals would have decreased mandatory minimum sentences for many crimes, but increased them for crimes of domestic violence.


These efforts are misguided. The effectiveness of the criminal legal response to domestic violence is a sensitive subject. Questioning it is harder sell politically than reconsidering our responses to drug or property crimes. But intimate partner violence should be included in criminal justice reforms. This is not an argument for treating incidents of domestic violence differently than other crimes; rather, it’s an argument to stop treating them differently.


The push for more vigorous law enforcement gained additional momentum with the passage of the Violence Against Women Act in 1994. The act dedicated hundreds of millions of dollars each year to funding courts, police, prosecutors and community-based agencies. As of 2013, about 85 percent of its funding was dedicated to law enforcement efforts.

Prioritizing criminal justice responses to intimate partner violence would make sense if there was reason to believe that it was working. But that’s not what the evidence shows.

It’s true that rates of domestic violence have been dropping in the United States for years. But so has the overall violent crime rate. From 1994 through 2000, those rates fell about the same amount — a 47 percent decline for violent crime generally, a 48 percent decline for intimate partner violence. For the decade following, however, total violent crime decreased much more than rates of intimate partner violence, which stayed essentially the same — even though during this period, the Violence Against Women Act continued to devote hundreds of millions of dollars to criminal justice responses. Domestic violence homicides actually increased 19 percent between 2014 and 2017; and gun-related domestic violence homicides were up 26 percent between 2010 and 2017.


But violence, and particularly intimate partner violence, has been the third rail of criminal justice reform. Violent crimes feel viscerally different from other forms of crime; the desire for retribution may be stronger. And in the case of intimate partner violence, concern that we will return to the bad old days when police and prosecutors ignored it prevents policymakers from considering alternatives.

But the criminal justice system isn’t stopping intimate partner violence. And it might even be making it worse.

Leigh Goodmark is a professor of law at the University of Maryland, Baltimore and the author of “Decriminalizing Domestic Violence: A Balanced Policy Approach to Intimate Partner Violence.”

2.5 Billion Pound Meat Glut Could Lead To "Biggest Correction In Years"

U.S. Ranchers and Meat Packers Could Be the Next Victims of the Trump Trade War
By David Z. Morris

July 22, 2018


Motorcycles, beer, washing machines, and whiskey—U.S. producers in all of those categories have faced unintended consequences from the Trump trade war.

Now add another all-American mainstay: meat.

According to a new report by the Wall Street Journal, more than 2.5 billion pounds of U.S. beef, pork, and poultry are currently in cold storage, waiting for buyers. One analyst told the Journal that those stockpiles, combined with modest U.S. demand growth and serious uncertainty surrounding export conditions, could lead to “one of the biggest corrections we’ve seen in the industry in several years.”

Some meat packers are canceling investment and expansion plans in the U.S., while others are reportedly scaling back production. Storage facilities, meanwhile, are reportedly running out of room to store the near-record amounts of excess meat.

Part of the glut is thanks to long-term overproduction caused by declining feed costs. U.S. meat production has been rising steadily for nearly a decade, and will reach a record 102.7 billion pounds this year, according to USDA projections.

But the best prospect for selling all that meat—exporting it—has hit a snag courtesy of President Donald Trump. Trump’s trade war has driven up tariffs on U.S. meat in major foreign markets including Mexico, China, and Canada. China imposed a 25% tariff on American pork in April, and raised it to a staggering 62% this month. According to the Journal, prices for pork products have increased sharply there, and exports from the U.S. declined by 18% in the first half of 2018. The largest market for U.S. pork, Mexico, doubled its pork tariff to 20% on June 5.

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One hog farming operation in Carlyle, Ill. told the Journal it was cancelling $30 million worth of domestic investment, and considering setting up new operations in Eastern Europe or South America to avoid trade uncertainty. Many of America’s meat production and processing hotbeds are in states Trump carried in the 2016 election, including Texas, Nebraska, Kansas, and Arkansas. That’s not coincidental—China has specifically targeted industries in conservative states as a way to drive a wedge between groups in the U.S.

Canada, meanwhile, implemented a 10% retaliatory tariff on some U.S. beef starting July 1, and China raised its tariff on U.S. beef to 37% on July 6. China is not a major export market for U.S. beef, which was banned there for more than a decade, but the tariffs appear poised to throttle rapidly growing demand. The U.S. Meat Export Federation had projected that U.S. beef exports to China, which only resumed in June of last year, could have reached $400 million over the next four years.

Farming leaders speaking at a House Ways and Means subcommittee hearing this month warned that Trump’s multi-front trade war could have “dire” consequences for farmers and ranchers. Among other points, they emphasized that the impacts of tariffs don’t end when the tariffs are lifted.

“Once we lose that market,” one farmer told the committee, “It is really tough to get it back.”

If we're killing for it, shouldn't we be eating it?

The Case of Al Franken A close look at the accusations against the former senator


The Case of Al Franken
A close look at the accusations against the former senator.

By Jane Mayer

5:00 A.M.

When Franken was asked if he regretted his decision to resign from the Senate, he said, “Oh, yeah. Absolutely.”


Photograph by Geordie Wood for The New Yorker


Only two years ago, Franken was being talked up as a possible challenger to President Donald Trump in 2020. In Senate hearings, Franken had proved himself to be one of the most effective critics of the Trump Administration. His tough questioning of Jeff Sessions, Trump’s nominee for Attorney General, had led Sessions to recuse himself from the investigation into Russian influence in the 2016 election, and prompted the appointment of Robert Mueller as special counsel.

As it turns out, Franken’s only role in the 2020 Presidential campaign has been as a figure of controversy. On June 4th, Pete Buttigieg was widely criticized on social media for saying that he would not have pressured Franken to resign—as had virtually all his Democratic rivals who were then in the Senate—without first learning more about the alleged incidents. At the same time, the Presidential candidacy of Senator Kirsten Gillibrand has been plagued by questions about her role as the first of three dozen Democratic senators to demand Franken’s resignation. Gillibrand has cast herself as a feminist champion of “zero tolerance” toward sexual impropriety, but Democratic donors sympathetic to Franken have stunted her fund-raising and, Gillibrand says, tried to “intimidate” her “into silence.”


A remarkable number of Franken’s Senate colleagues have regrets about their own roles in his fall. Seven current and former U.S. senators who demanded Franken’s resignation in 2017 told me that they’d been wrong to do so. Such admissions are unusual in an institution whose members rarely concede mistakes. Patrick Leahy, the veteran Democrat from Vermont, said that his decision to seek Franken’s resignation without first getting all the facts was “one of the biggest mistakes I’ve made” in forty-five years in the Senate. Heidi Heitkamp, the former senator from North Dakota, told me, “If there’s one decision I’ve made that I would take back, it’s the decision to call for his resignation. It was made in the heat of the moment, without concern for exactly what this was.” Tammy Duckworth, the junior Democratic senator from Illinois, told me that the Senate Ethics Committee “should have been allowed to move forward.” She said it was important to acknowledge the trauma that Franken’s accusers had gone through, but added, “We needed more facts. That due process didn’t happen is not good for our democracy.” Angus King, the Independent senator from Maine, said that he’d “regretted it ever since” he joined the call for Franken’s resignation. “There’s no excuse for sexual assault,” he said. “But Al deserved more of a process. I don’t denigrate the allegations, but this was the political equivalent of capital punishment.” Senator Jeff Merkley, of Oregon, told me, “This was a rush to judgment that didn’t allow any of us to fully explore what this was about. I took the judgment of my peers rather than independently examining the circumstances. In my heart, I’ve not felt right about it.” Bill Nelson, the former Florida senator, said, “I realized almost right away I’d made a mistake. I felt terrible. I should have stood up for due process to render what it’s supposed to—the truth.” Tom Udall, the senior Democratic senator from New Mexico, said, “I made a mistake. I started having second thoughts shortly after he stepped down. He had the right to be heard by an independent investigative body. I’ve heard from people around my state, and around the country, saying that they think he got railroaded. It doesn’t seem fair. I’m a lawyer. I really believe in due process.”

Former Senate Minority Leader Harry Reid, who watched the drama unfold from retirement, told me, “It’s terrible what happened to him. It was unfair. It took the legs out from under him. He was a very fine senator.” Many voters have also protested Franken’s decision. A Change.org petition urging Franken to retract his resignation received more than seventy-five thousand signatures. It declared, “There’s a difference between abuse and a mistake.”


The lawyer Debra Katz, who has represented Christine Blasey Ford and other sexual-harassment victims, remains troubled by Franken’s case. She contends, “The allegations levelled against Senator Franken did not warrant his forced expulsion from the Senate, particularly given the context in which most of the behavior occurred, which was in his capacity as a comedian.” She adds, “All offensive behavior should be addressed, but not all offensive behavior warrants the most severe sanction.” Katz sees Franken as a cautionary tale for the #MeToo movement. “To treat all allegations the same is not only inappropriate,” she warns. “It feeds into a backlash narrative that men are vulnerable to even frivolous allegations by women.” ♦

Notre Dame's Bees Seem to Have Survived the Blaze A little bit of sweet news.

Notre Dame’s Bees Seem to Have Survived the Blaze
A little bit of sweet news.
by Jessica Leigh Hester April 19, 2019



Beekeepers tend to hives atop several Paris landmarks, including the Opéra Garnier, Musée d’Orsay, and Notre Dame. More than 180,000 honeybees were said to flit around the hives atop the sacristy, their honey doled out among cathedral staff. So when a blaze recently torched Notre Dame’s wood roof and demolished the spire, apiarists were eager to know how the colonies had fared.

For the beekeeper Nicolas Géant, who cares for Notre Dame’s hives, aerial images of the scorched building were a good omen. “If you look at the photos from the sky, you see that everything is burnt, there are holes in the roof, but you can still see the three beehives,” Géant told NBC News.

The hives are stacked slightly below the portion of the roof that went up in the flames. The fact that the hives hadn’t burned was promising, but it didn’t necessarily mean that the bees had survived the clouds of hot, gray smoke. (Géant explained to CNN that it’s possible that the hives would have handled that alright, since beekeepers regularly blow cold smoke into hives to lull bees into a honey-feast stupor while the humans do their work.) Then, a few days after the blaze, he got the news he had been waiting for: A cathedral spokesperson told him that bees had been seen buzzing around the hives, the Agence France-Presse reported. At least some winged residents had made it through.


Donald Trump not encouraging his racist supporters ...

Donald Trump not encouraging his racist supporters

Voter Fraud Activist Will Apologize To Citizens He Accused Of Being Illegal Voters

Voter Fraud Activist Will Apologize To Citizens He Accused Of Being Illegal Voters

J. Christian Adams, who served on Trump’s voter fraud commission, helped author a report that published the citizens’ personal information online.


By Sam Levine


Adams leads a group called the Public Interest Legal Foundation and served on President Donald Trump’s voter fraud commission. He helped produce two reports in 2016 and 2017 purporting to show thousands of cases of noncitizen voter registration in Virginia. Published with the Virginia Voters Alliance, the reports listed people who had been removed from the voter rolls for allegedly not being U.S. citizens, and published personal information like their home addresses and phone numbers. Four of the voters named in the report, who were in fact U.S. citizens, sued Adams and PILF for damages, accusing them of defamation and violating federal statutes that prohibit voter intimidation.

As part of the settlement reached this week, Adams will offer a written apology to the four Virginia voters, according to a statement from Protect Democracy, which helped represent them. Adams and his group also agreed to remove the personal information of the accused from the reports and add a statement to the front of them acknowledging that they falsely accused people of being noncitizens. Adams and his group agreed to redact personal information for any future reports they produce on noncitizen registration in Virginia.


In a statement, PILF offered a “profound apology that it relied so heavily on the commonwealth election records,” and said “it seemed implausible that Virginia would be improperly removing American citizens from the voter rolls.”

Adams has led an aggressive effort to inspect voter rolls around the country in search of people who are not citizens. PILF noted in its release that it has published similar reports in New Jersey, Michigan and Allegheny County, Pennsylvania.


The significance of the case goes beyond an apology, Riggs told HuffPost. The lawyers brought their suit in part under the Ku Klux Klan Act and Section 11(b) of the 1965 Voting Rights Act, both of which prohibit voter intimidation. First passed in 1871, the Ku Klux Klan Act allows any citizen entitled to vote to sue for damages if two or more people try to block them from doing so “by force, intimidation, or threat.” Lawyers argued that by publishing the names and contact information of eligible voters and wrongfully accusing them of being noncitizens, PILF and VVA had engaged in a conspiracy to intimidate lawful voters out of casting their ballots.


“Saying we had prior knowledge that the list of ‘declared noncitizens’ removed included citizens all along is a defamatory lie,” he wrote. PILF received emails from local election officials during their process, but Adams said those emails didn’t specifically address the state’s list of canceled voters.

Riggs disputed Adams’ characterization. She said PILF had been warned by election officials that the information it was gathering might be inaccurate, and that the group had voter registration forms from suspected noncitizens in which the people indicated they were indeed citizens. At the very least, lawyers wrote in a June filing, that should have prompted Adams to investigate further. Instead, Riggs said, Adams and PILF knowingly turned a blind eye to the possibility of inaccuracies in the list.

“They knew what was going on,” Riggs said. “We were going to win this case on their own words ― their internal email.”

A Girl, 15, Reported a Sexual Assault, Then the Detective Abused Her, Too

A Girl, 15, Reported a Sexual Assault, Then the Detective Abused Her, Too

The investigator, Neil David Kimball, pleaded guilty to a charge of unlawful sexual intercourse with a teenager he met when she reported a sexual assault to the authorities.
Karen Zraick

By Karen Zraick

July 16, 2019



It was at least the third time the detective, Neil David Kimball of the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department, had been accused of misconduct while on duty, though he was not charged as a result of the first two allegations.

District Attorney Gregory D. Totten of Ventura County, whose office prosecuted the case, said in a statement that Detective Kimball, 46, met the then-15-year-old victim in 2017 when she reported a sexual assault. He befriended her and then sexually assaulted her, according to the statement.


Detective Kimball was originally charged with raping the victim while she was tied or bound. Detective Kimball was also accused of “witness intimidation by threat of force.”


Detective Kimball pleaded guilty last week to a lewd act with a child and unlawful sexual intercourse, and is expected to be sentenced to three years in prison at his next appearance, on Aug. 8. He must also register as a sex offender.


Detective Kimball’s plea comes just over a month after Sara Abusheikh, a Los Angeles fashion designer, wrote in a post on Medium about her experience with the detective after she was sexually assaulted by an acquaintance in 2014, and reported it to the authorities. Detective Kimball was assigned to her case, but she wrote that he never investigated, and instead said wildly inappropriate things to her.

Ms. Abusheikh wrote that Detective Kimball teased her about going back to her assailant and suggested she “let him make love to you gently.”


In 2009, Detective Kimball was investigated for sexual battery but not charged after an episode at a hotel the previous year, The Los Angeles Times reported. According to the report, which was based on a prosecutor’s memo, the detective had questioned a group of friends in a parking lot. Afterward, women in the group and Detective Kimball went to a hotel room, where some of the women stripped down to their underwear and got into a hot tub as he encouraged them, the memo stated. It also said that one woman accused the detective of grabbing her hand and trying to place it on his genitals.


Notre-Dame came far closer to collapsing than people knew. This is how it was saved.

Notre-Dame came far closer to collapsing than people knew. This is how it was saved.
Thomas Goisque
By Elian Peltier, James Glanz, Mika Gröndahl, Weiyi Cai, Adam Nossiter and Liz Alderman


A baffling alert. A race to the wrong building. Notre-Dame still stands only because firefighters decided to risk everything, a New York Times reconstruction has found.
July 17, 2019

PARIS — The employee monitoring the smoke alarm panel at Notre-Dame cathedral was just three days on the job when the red warning light flashed on the evening of April 15: “Feu.” Fire.

It was 6:18 on a Monday, the week before Easter. The Rev. Jean-Pierre Caveau was celebrating Mass before hundreds of worshipers and visitors, and the employee radioed a church guard who was standing just a few feet from the altar.

Go check for fire, the guard was told. He did and found nothing.

It took nearly 30 minutes before they realized their mistake: The guard had gone to the wrong building. The fire was in the attic of the cathedral, the famed latticework of ancient timbers known as “the forest.”

<snipping of great graphics>

10 minutes after alarm

The guard went to the attic of a small adjacent building, the sacristy.

Instead of calling the fire department, the security employee called his boss but didn’t reach him.

The manager called back and eventually deciphered the mistake. He called the guard: Leave the sacristy and run to the main attic.

But by the time the guard climbed 300 narrow steps to the attic, the fire was burning out of control,


This is an interesting, longish read!

Former ASU Professor Defended Jeffrey Epstein Before His Own Sex Scandal Arose

Former ASU Professor Defended Jeffrey Epstein Before His Own Sex Scandal Arose
Hannah Critchfield | July 12, 2019 | 2:36pm



Many of Epstein's friends and acquaintances are being outed in the fallout. One of those is Lawrence Krauss, the former Arizona State University professor and world-renowned physicist who himself faced allegations of sexual misconduct spanning a decade’s time. Krauss reportedly received $250,000 from one of Epstein’s foundations for his Origins Project.


Krauss publicly defended Epstein’s character during this time period. Epstein was previously convicted in 2008 for soliciting prostitution from underage girls. He served just 13 months in a controversial plea deal — the very deal for which Acosta has now resigned.

"Jeffrey has surrounded himself with beautiful women and young women but they're not as young as the ones that were claimed,” said Krauss in a 2011 interview with the Daily Beast. “As a scientist I always judge things on empirical evidence and he always has women ages 19 to 23 around him, but I've never seen anything else, so as a scientist, my presumption is that whatever the problems were I would believe him over other people."

Krauss insisted that despite receiving criticism from colleagues about his alignment with the sex offender, "I don't feel tarnished in any way by my relationship with Jeffrey; I feel raised by it."

A cosmologist and celebrity physicist, Krauss agreed to retire from Arizona State University last year after Buzzfeed News reported a string of sexual harassment claims against the tenured professor. Accusations detailed a spectrum of inappropriate and discriminatory behavior over the last decade: Krauss reportedly made sexist jokes to undergraduate students, groped women, and told another ASU employee that he was going to buy her birth control so she didn’t inconvenience him by taking maternity leave.


Hannah Critchfield is an editorial fellow for Phoenix New Times.

Contact: Hannah Critchfield

Follow: Twitter: @hannacritch

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