Election Prediction...

Election will be called for Obama at 10:17 PM EST.
Eventual Electoral Vote Total: Obama 332, Romney 206

Post your guesses in the comments below:  Prizes for closest to time announced + closest to electoral vote totals.


The truth about kleptocrats...

So here's that non-partisan economic analysis of the Bush tax cuts--the one that Republicans had withdrawn from the Library of Congress because they didn't like its conclusions...

(No really.  Check out this article on it...)

Here is what the report was addressing:

 "Advocates of lower tax rates argue that reduced rates would increase economic growth, increase saving and investment, and boost productivity (increase the economic pie). Proponents of higher tax rates argue that higher tax revenues are necessary for debt reduction, that tax rates on the rich are too low (i.e., they violate the Buffett rule), and that higher tax rates on the rich would moderate increasing income inequality (change how the economic pie is distributed). This report attempts to clarify whether or not there is an association between the tax rates of the highest income taxpayers and economic growth."

And here's the conclusion:

"There is not conclusive evidence, however, to substantiate a clear relationship between the 65-year steady reduction in the top tax rates and economic growth. Analysis of such data suggests the reduction in the top tax rates have had little association with saving, investment, or productivity growth. However, the top tax rate reductions appear to be associated with the increasing concentration of income at the top of the income distribution."

Clear enough?  Lower taxes for the rich, do nothing for anyone except the rich.  It makes them richer.

Here's the full report:


Here Comes The Flood...


Director of anti-Obama film, resigns... Di-Screws up...

"“I had no idea that it is considered wrong in Christian circles to be engaged prior to being divorced,”


The deep irony of the L'affaire D'Souza is that as it turns out, when it comes to his personal morality, he is a liberal.

To most progressives, his claim (If true) that he'd been separated for two years, prior to engaging in this new relationship would seem perfectly plausible.
It is only in the repressive world evangelicalism, that this distinction has no bearing.

But just as troubling is the obvious mendacity of his claim that he had no idea "being engaged prior to being divorced' was a problem in his circles.
Certainly his decision to file for divorce the day he was contacted by a reported would seem to be evidence of what we, in legal circles call "a guilty mind..."

Another pious republican hoisted on his own...well, you know...


BIDEN 2012!!!



Making Bail Better...

Here's a link to a fine (and flattering) piece in the Village Voice that ran today:
Making Bail Better - Page 1 - News - New York - Village Voice

It's about our efforts to get our Charitable Bail Bill passed and signed.

Now all we need is some money to hire an administrator to get the Bronx Freedom Fund rolling again...


New Gridiron Hero--Chris Kluwe

Okay, one of the more hilarious and incisive letters on the subject of gay marriage.
This from Chris Kluwe--punter for the Vikings:

And yes, it just begs to be re-published in it's entirety...

Baltimore Ravens linebacker Brendon Ayanbadejo has spoken out in favor of a Maryland ballot initiative that would legalize gay marriage. Yahoo has published a letter that Maryland state delegate Emmett C. Burns Jr. wrote last week to Ravens owner Steve Bisciotti, urging him to "inhibit such expressions from your employee." This is Minnesota Vikings punter Chris Kluwe's response to Burns.
Dear Emmett C. Burns Jr.,
I find it inconceivable that you are an elected official of Maryland's state government. Your vitriolic hatred and bigotry make me ashamed and disgusted to think that you are in any way responsible for shaping policy at any level. The views you espouse neglect to consider several fundamental key points, which I will outline in great detail (you may want to hire an intern to help you with the longer words):
1. As I suspect you have not read the Constitution, I would like to remind you that the very first, the VERY FIRST Amendment in this founding document deals with the freedom of speech, particularly the abridgment of said freedom. By using your position as an elected official (when referring to your constituents so as to implicitly threaten the Ravens organization) to state that the Ravens should "inhibit such expressions from your employees," more specifically Brendon Ayanbadejo, not only are you clearly violating the First Amendment, you also come across as a narcissistic fromunda stain. What on earth would possess you to be so mind-boggingly stupid? It baffles me that a man such as yourself, a man who relies on that same First Amendment to pursue your own religious studies without fear of persecution from the state, could somehow justify stifling another person's right to speech. To call that hypocritical would be to do a disservice to the word. Mindfucking obscenely hypocritical starts to approach it a little bit.
2. "Many of your fans are opposed to such a view and feel it has no place in a sport that is strictly for pride, entertainment, and excitement." Holy fucking shitballs. Did you seriously just say that, as someone who's "deeply involved in government task forces on the legacy of slavery in Maryland"? Have you not heard of Kenny Washington? Jackie Robinson? As recently as 1962 the NFL still had segregation, which was only done away with by brave athletes and coaches daring to speak their mind and do the right thing, and you're going to say that political views have "no place in a sport"? I can't even begin to fathom the cognitive dissonance that must be coursing through your rapidly addled mind right now; the mental gymnastics your brain has to tortuously contort itself through to make such a preposterous statement are surely worthy of an Olympic gold medal (the Russian judge gives you a 10 for "beautiful oppressionism").
3. This is more a personal quibble of mine, but why do you hate freedom? Why do you hate the fact that other people want a chance to live their lives and be happy, even though they may believe in something different than you, or act different than you? How does gay marriage, in any way shape or form, affect your life? If gay marriage becomes legal, are you worried that all of a sudden you'll start thinking about penis? "Oh shit. Gay marriage just passed. Gotta get me some of that hot dong action!" Will all of your friends suddenly turn gay and refuse to come to your Sunday Ticket grill-outs? (Unlikely, since gay people enjoy watching football too.)
I can assure you that gay people getting married will have zero effect on your life. They won't come into your house and steal your children. They won't magically turn you into a lustful cockmonster. They won't even overthrow the government in an orgy of hedonistic debauchery because all of a sudden they have the same legal rights as the other 90 percent of our population—rights like Social Security benefits, child care tax credits, Family and Medical Leave to take care of loved ones, and COBRA healthcare for spouses and children. You know what having these rights will make gays? Full-fledged American citizens just like everyone else, with the freedom to pursue happiness and all that entails. Do the civil-rights struggles of the past 200 years mean absolutely nothing to you?
In closing, I would like to say that I hope this letter, in some small way, causes you to reflect upon the magnitude of the colossal foot in mouth clusterfuck you so brazenly unleashed on a man whose only crime was speaking out for something he believed in. Best of luck in the next election; I'm fairly certain you might need it.
Chris Kluwe
P.S. I've also been vocal as hell about the issue of gay marriage so you can take your "I know of no other NFL player who has done what Mr. Ayanbadejo is doing" and shove it in your close-minded, totally lacking in empathy piehole and choke on it. Asshole.


Jet Skier Breaches $100 Million Security System at JFK

I love this:

Media reports said Casillo had been stranded in the waters of Jamaica Bay after he was separated from a group of friends and his jet ski failed him. He swam several miles to the airport, located in Jamaica Bay in New York City's borough of Queens, the New York Post reported.
Casillo, who the agency said was charged with criminal trespass, would have walked past motion sensors and closed-circuit cameras that make up the airport's state-of-the art, Perimeter Intrusion Detection System. The system is valued at about $100 million, according to the Port Authority.
He entered one of the airport terminals where an airport worker alerted authorities.


Finally, after almost three years of work, the New York State Legislature has passed our bill allowing charitable bail funds.  This is a big step toward alleviating one of the more tragic consequences of poverty in the criminal justice system--being forced to plead guilty because you can't afford bail.

Yay us.

As the WSJ reports:  "According to the lawmakers, their bill was based on a pilot project where the Bronx Freedom Fund was established and posted similar bails for three years. The result was 95 percent returned for every court date and half the cases were dismissed or otherwise resulted in no convictions."

And yes, I remain (proudly) on the board of The Bronx Freedom Fund.

Thanks to Phil Boyle, and Sen. Rivera who have been our champions on this.

Here's a link to the WSJ piece...


The more things change the more they stay the same...

I was just realizing it's been almost exactly 10 years since I wrote this piece for the NYT, and here we are again, 10 years later, with California on the cusp of a big push to substitute passive death for active death. Meanwhile, three strikes, endemic overcrowding,Draconian sentencing policies and racist enforcement practices remain rampant. Change takes time, of course, but it's a touch depressing how much...
FATAL FLAWS IN THE CRIMINAL JUSTICE SYSTEM (From May of 2002) Last week an Illinois state commission charged with examining the fairness of the death penalty released its findings. The commission, composed of 14 prominent citizens -- including nine present or former prosecutors -- recommended more than 80 changes designed to ensure that the death penalty is administered in a just fashion. A slight majority of the commission also declared themselves in favor of abolishing the death penalty entirely. These recommendations say a lot about the criminal justice system -- the whole system, not just capital punishment. The death penalty has always galvanized public sentiment. And just as horrific crimes have brought cries for justice through death, so the exoneration of death row inmates has become a rallying point for opponents of capital punishment. But from inside the criminal justice system, the whole debate about the death penalty can sometimes seem like a distraction. The reality is that for every person on death row, there are many more who will die before completing their sentences. They will die alone in their cells or in the prison yard. They will die from jailhouse violence or natural causes hastened by stressful conditions and substandard medical care. The main causes of these virtual death sentences are three-strikes laws and mandatory minimum sentencing. Because of them, more and more people receive prison terms of 20 or 30 years or life with no chance of parole. In California, there are inmates serving life sentences for petty theft, receiving stolen property or possession of marijuana for sale. All over this country governments are spending more and more money on aging inmates -- creating entire geriatric wards for prisoners no longer able to walk or talk, let alone maim or kill. Long sentences are not rare. The next case I am likely to take to trial carries a mandatory minimum sentence of 15 years to life. Why? Because my client is charged with possessing more than four ounces of cocaine. Just about every public defender I know has a horror story about a client who was the victim of a long mandatory sentence. Almost no one else remembers these prisoners. They do not face the needle or the electric chair, so there is no debate about them. Because of the complexity and the potential punishment, defendants in death penalty cases are in some jurisdictions afforded better than average lawyers and greater than average resources. Many appellate courts look more closely at a case when the defendant has been sentenced to die. And yet we still make mistakes -- not a few, but many. In Illinois, there were more innocent death row inmates exonerated than guilty ones put to death. There is no reason to think the error rate is any lower in cases that receive less scrutiny. For all its thoughtful recommendations and groundbreaking work, the Illinois commission runs the risk of focusing too much attention on a small number of cases while ignoring the same problems in the broader criminal justice system. Mandatory sentencing and the continued politicization of criminal-justice issues make it ever harder for defendants, especially poor ones, to get a fair shake. And as we continue to lock people up longer, faster and with fewer safeguards, we run an ever greater risk that justice is routinely not being served.


Did the cops plant the drugs?

Interesting video in which the cops seem to plant drugs on a guy...



Avoid Chase Credit Cards!

Astonishing as it may seem according to a TECHNICAL SUPPORT SUPERVISOR there is NO WAY to download a year's worth of credit card activity on a Chase-issued card. They only make 90 days worth of statements available.


Makes them useless at tax time and useless for any accounting purposes.