Friday, May 28, 2010

Details of G20 fence announced

Fences will start going up on June 7 around the inside security perimeter ringing the Metro Toronto Convention Centre in downtown Toronto as the first concrete signs of the G20 summit start to fall into place.

The fences will be similar to the chain-link barriers used during the Indy car race in July, said Toronto Police Superintendent Tom Russell. No razor wire will be used. Police will be able to use tear gas, he said, and while the piercing LRAD sirens will be primarily for communication, he would not rule out other uses.

The security bill for the G20 summit of world leaders on June 26 and 27 and the G8 summit that precedes it in Huntsville adds up to $1.1 billion, including $933 million for policing.

Read on...


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Budget watchdog probing summits' $1-billion price tag

Tories must provide records on security costs, Parliamentary Budget Officer Kevin Page says

Steven Chase

Parliament’s budget watchdog has begun probing the hefty and controversial $1-billion security bill for the two global summits the Harper government is holding next month in Ontario.

Parliamentary Budget Officer Kevin Page says his study will founder, however, if the Conservatives fail to provide him with the necessary records to scrutinize policing and protective spending for the Group of Eight and Group of 20 meetings.

“We will investigate with the purpose of issuing a report for parliamentarians and Canadians,” Mr. Page told The Globe and Mail.

“For the report to be helpful, we will need co-operation from the government on information and this will need to be done in a timely manner.”

Read on...

Anyone think the Conservative government is going to cooperate with the budget watchdog? Tom

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The siege mentality of back-to-back summits will cost us dearly

Spending $1-billion to play host is preposterous

by Jeffrey Simpson

There was a time, when Gerald Ford was president of the United States and Pierre Trudeau was prime minister of Canada, that seven world leaders gathered informally once a year.

The meeting was called the G7 summit, and the countries formed a cozy club of Western democracies. The leaders brought a handful of aides, didn’t make grandiose declarations, but rather talked among themselves about the issues of moment. They got to know each other better, and that was no bad thing.

The world has mightily changed since those mid-1970s days. With those changes came the expansion of the G7 to the G8, courtesy of the admission of Russia, and the creation of the G20, whose leaders will gather in late June in Toronto.

Mark these words, based on briefings from officials from four participant countries: The G20, at least for the Canadian media, will be the most grossly over-covered event of 2010.

Read on...

Meanwhile the Canadian deficit continues to go through the roof. Tom

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Banks vandalized with anti-G20 slogans

Madeleine White Staff Reporter

Police have a man in custody after several downtown bank machines were spray painted with anti-G20 slogans early Friday.

Officers learned of the vandalism around 3 a.m. after discovering red spray paint covering the screen, key pads and envelope slots of bank machines scattered across the downtown core.

The walls of the ATM enclosures were also marked with “Resist the G20” in black and red paint.

Read on....

Probably just kids having a bit of fun. Tom


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Sonic gun 'like a root canal,' former G20 protester says

G20 protester Albert Petrarca blocks a Pittsburgh police truck last fall carrying a long-range acoustic device, or LRAD, designed to disperse unruly crowds with piercing sound. Toronto police have bought four LRADs in preparation for the G20 summit here.

G20 protester Albert Petrarca blocks a Pittsburgh police truck last fall carrying a long-range acoustic device, or LRAD, designed to disperse unruly crowds with piercing sound. Toronto police have bought four LRADs in preparation for the G20 summit here.

John Goddard Staff Reporter

“Like a root canal” is how G20 protester Albert Petrarca describes the piercing sounds he endured from Pittsburgh police last fall.

“It moves from side to side,” he recalled Thursday of a directional, sonic crowd-dispersal tool introduced at the last summit conference.

“When the (sound) beam moves away from you, it’s annoying background noise,” he said. “When it’s directed at you it’s noxious.”

Read on...

Who approved the use of an experimental crowd control device in Toronto? Tom

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Thursday, May 27, 2010

Rage Against the Machine Lead Arizona Boycott

Rap-rock crew invite musicians to skip Arizona on concert tours until the state's controversial new immigration law is repealed

[Rage frontman Zack de la Rocha: "If other states follow the direction of Arizona, we could be headed towards a pre-Civil Rights era reality."  (photo by Flickr user Scott Penner)]Rage frontman Zack de la Rocha: "If other states follow the direction of Arizona, we could be headed towards a pre-Civil Rights era reality." (photo by Flickr user Scott Penner)

Hot on the heels of Shakira, Rage Against the Machine are leading a fresh charge against Arizona's controversial new immigration law. Artists including Kanye West, Sonic Youth and Massive Attack have all pledged a musical boycott of the US state, refusing to tour there until the "odious" bill is repealed.

Rage frontman Zack de la Rocha is seizing the megaphone for Sound Strike, a new organisation for which "Arizona is [the] picket line". Their target is bill SB1070, which passed the Arizona state legislature last month. Signed into law by governor Jan Brewer, the bill compels police officers to challenge anyone they suspect of being an illegal immigrant to prove their immigration status. Those without documentation will be arrested as criminals.

"Fans of our music, our stories, our films and our words can be pulled over and harassed every day because they are brown or black, or for the way they speak, or for the music they listen to," de la Rocha wrote in an open letter. "This law opens the door for them to be shaked down [sic], or even worse, detained and deported while just trying to travel home from school, from home to work, or when they just roll out with their friends."

Read on...

At least Rage Against the Machine is doing something. The Obama Justice Department continues to twiddle its thumbs. Tom

Update: The Obama Justice Department is poised to challenge the law. How long will they remain poised before acting?

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Constitution Project Committee Member Testifies Before the U.S. Sentencing Commission on Mandatory Minimums

Thomas W. Hillier, II, federal public defender in Washington State, urges Commission to endorse a reduction in the number of mandatory minimum sentencing laws


WASHINGTON - May 27 - Thomas W. Hillier, II, the Federal Public Defender for the Western District of Washington and member of the Constitution Project's Sentencing Committee, will testify before the United States Sentencing Commission today that the number of federal mandatory minimum sentences should be dramatically reduced. The hearing is being held pursuant to a Congressional directive requiring the Commission to report to the House Judiciary Committee on federal mandatory minimum sentences. The Commission will hear from many relevant perspectives on the issue, including executive branch officials, sentencing practitioners, law enforcement officials, academics, policy analysts, and advocacy groups.

Mr. Hillier will appear on behalf of the Constitution Project's Sentencing Committee, which concluded that mandatory minimums are at odds with a federal sentencing guidelines system that is designed to allow for a proper balance between consistency and individualization of sentences. In prepared testimony, Mr. Hillier stated that, in his opinion, the most troubling aspect of these sentences is the inappropriate skewing of the balance of power, which gives a disproportionate amount of power to the prosecutor. He observed that, in his experience, mandatory minimums create the perception of injustice by both the public and individual defendants and thus erode confidence in our criminal justice system, and that they are commonly threatened to induce pleas in situation in which the penalty would be unfair and unjustified based on the facts of the alleged crime. As a result, he testified, the truth-seeking function of our criminal justice system is threatened.

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US Demands Civilian Trials -- Except in the US

by Glenn Greenwald

The Washington Post, [yesterday] (h/t Arkinsaw):

A judge granted parole Tuesday to Lori Berenson, the 40-year-old New York activist who has spent 15 years in Peruvian prisons on a conviction of aiding leftist rebels. . . . Berenson had for many years denied any wrongdoing, maintaining she was a political prisoner and not a terrorist. But her defense team said in papers submitted to the judge that she "recognized she committed errors in involving herself in activities of the MRTA" . . . .

Berenson was arrested in 1995 and initially accused of being a leader of the MRTA, which bombed banks and kidnapped and killed civilians but was nowhere near as violent as the better-known Shining Path insurgency. It is blamed for, at most, 200 killings. . . .

She was convicted of treason by a military court in 1996. But after an intense campaign by her parents. . ., she was retried in a civilian court in 2000. It convicted Berenson of the lesser crime and reduced her sentence to 20 years. . . . The U.S. State Department had pushed hard for the civilian trial, saying Berenson was denied due process by the military tribunal.

Read on....

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With Majorities Supporting CA's Marijuana Legalization Initiative, Victory Is in Grasp

Less than six months from election day, the CA initiative to legalize marijuana has the support of half the voters, according to two polls.



According to two different polls released last Wednesday, the Tax Cannabis California marijuana legalization initiative is ahead but not by much, making the path to victory in November a rough one. Both polls show the initiative winning, but just barely, and both polls show the initiative hovering around 50% support. On the other hand, polling also shows remarkably high support for the concept of marijuana legalization in some form -- especially when the word legalization is not used.

In an internal campaign poll, when voters read either the ballot measure's title or the attorney general's summary of it -- all voters will see when they cast their votes -- the initiative garners 51% and 52%, respectively, with opposition at 40%. In a Public Policy Institute of California (PPIC) poll, 49% approved of the initiative, while 48% opposed it.

The standard wisdom among initiative veterans is that campaigns should begin with support around 60%. They argue that once a campaign begins, opponents will find ways to shave off percentage points, and if you are starting with only half the voters on your side, losing any support means you lose.

Read on...


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Toronto police get 'sound cannons' for G20

Long-range acoustic devices can be used for crowd control


Protesters plug their ears as Pittsburgh police use a sound cannon at last year's G20 summit. It was the first use of the device in North America.

Protesters plug their ears as Pittsburgh police use a sound cannon at last year's G20 summit. It was the first use of the device in North America.

Michael Henninger/Post-Gazette

Riotous protesters marching at the G20 summit next month may be greeted with ear-splitting “sound cannons,” the latest Toronto police tool for quelling unruly crowds.

Toronto police have purchased four, long-range acoustic devices (LRAD) — often referred to as sound guns or sound cannons — for the upcoming June 26-27 summit, the Star has learned.

Purchased this month, the LRADs will become a permanent fixture in Toronto law enforcement, said police spokesperson Const. Wendy Drummond.

Read on...

Crimbrary predicted it wouldn't take long for the LRAD to come to Canada. Sounds like an indiscriminate intimidating device that will injure protesters, onlookers, and bystanders. Not to mention people who are just trying to get to and from work. Tom


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Thursday, May 20, 2010

Blind Justice? Attractive Get Breaks with Juries

Unattractive Defendants 22 Percent More Likely to Be Convicted, Study Finds

  • (AP)



According to a Cornell University study, unattractive defendants are 22 percent more likely to be convicted than good-looking ones. And the unattractive also get slapped with harsher sentences - an average of 22 months longer in prison.

The study, "When Emotionality Trumps Reason," was authored by Cornell graduate Justin Gunnell and Stephen Ceci, a professor of developmental psychology. It examines how some jurors make decisions rationally, based on facts and logic, while others reason emotionally, taking into consideration factors unrelated to the case - attractiveness being one of them.

Read on...

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Pedophile Island

For those who need more political whackos in your day than Rand Paul, consider California GOP gubernatorial candidate Douglas Hughes. His main campaign promise is to exile sexual offenders to Santa Rosa Island - to be renamed Pedophile Island - where within their "island society" they will farm, ranch, build housing, choose police, firemen, fish and game agents, write their own Constitution, and "live out their existence... away from our precious children" to the end of their sorry days.

Read on...

If Rand Paul can win, anyone can win. Does anyone else think Douglas Hughes looks weird. Tom

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Toronto Police Accountability Bulletin No. 53, May 19, 2010.

Toronto Police Accountability Bulletin No. 53, May 19, 2010.



May 19 2010

1. Two recent Toronto deaths
2. Making sure the evidence fits
3. Taser use in Toronto
4. The G20 meeting and police consolidation
5. Assessing the Human Rights project

Toronto Police Accountability Bulletin No. 53, May 19, 2010.

This Bulletin is published by the Toronto Police Accountability Coalition, a group of individuals and organizations in Toronto interested in police policies and procedures, and in making police more accountable to the community they are committed to serving. Our website is http://www.tpac.ca
***
In this issue:
1. Two recent Toronto deaths
2. Making sure the evidence fits
3. Taser use in Toronto
4. The G20 meeting and police consolidation
5. Assessing the Human Rights project
6. Subscribe to the Bulletin
***
Read on...

Some interesting stuff in this issue about Taser use in Toronto and G20 security. Interesting that the leaders of the world need all this security to protect them from their own citizens. Even in nice little old Toronto. Tom

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Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Major Supreme Court Ruling: Kids Who Didn't Kill Anyone Should Not Have to Die in Prison

The Supreme Court has given a second chance to juveniles serving life without parole for non-homicide crimes.



Children who commit crimes other than murder can no longer face a sentence of life without parole, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled Monday in a highly anticipated decision that civil rights lawyer Bryan Stevenson calls "an incredibly important win for kids who've been condemned to die in prison."

Stevenson represents Joe Sullivan, who was sentenced to life without parole (LWOP) when he was just 14 years old. Sullivan, one of 77 prisoners in Florida serving LWOP for non-homicide crimes committed before the age of 18, was the defendant in one of two related cases before the court. His case, Sullivan v. Florida, was "dismissed as improvidently granted" given the ruling in the other case, Graham v. Florida, which bluntly held that "the Constitution prohibits the imposition of a life without parole sentence on a juvenile offender who did not commit homicide." (Read AlterNet's two-part series on Sullivan and Graham for an explanation of both cases.)

The ruling was based heavily on the court's 2005 decision in Roper v. Simmons, which abolished the death penalty for juvenile defendants on the grounds that it violates the Eighth Amendment ban on cruel and unusual punishment. Writing for the majority, Justice Anthony Kennedy drew a parallel between the death penalty and life without parole, noting that while "it is true that a death sentence is 'unique in its severity and irrevocability,' (Gregg v. Georgia) ... life without parole sentences share some characteristics with death sentences that are shared by no other sentences."

Read on...


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U.S. Overflowing Prisons Spur Call for Reform Commission

NEW YORK - Despite the lackluster performance of so-called "blue ribbon commissions" in the United States over the years, sponsors of the latest proposal - the National Criminal Justice Commission - are optimistic that it will become a reality and that its recommendations will be taken seriously by the president, Congress and the U.S. public.

[Initial contacts with police officers are often driven by racial profiling and other racially tainted practices, and the disparities exist through the sentencing phase: African Americans routinely receive more jail time and harsher punishments. (photo by Flickr user Sirkullay)]Initial contacts with police officers are often driven by racial profiling and other racially tainted practices, and the disparities exist through the sentencing phase: African Americans routinely receive more jail time and harsher punishments. (photo by Flickr user Sirkullay)
The reason, says its sponsor, Senator Jim Webb, a Democrat from Virginia, is that "America's criminal justice system has deteriorated to the point that it is a national disgrace".

He added, "We are wasting billions of dollars and diminishing millions of lives. We need to fix the system. Doing so will require a major nationwide recalculation of who goes to prison and for how long and of how we address the long-term consequences of incarceration."

Given the checkered history of blue ribbon commissions in the nation's capital, a spokesman for Sen. Webb told IPS that "with nearly 40 Democratic and Republican cosponsors, there is a strong likelihood of success".


Read on...

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Friday, May 14, 2010

Toronto streets get more surveillance cameras for G20

http://www.freefoto.com/images/04/07/04_07_66---CCTV-Security-Camera_web.jpg?&amp%3Bk=CCTV+Security+Camera

Police began installing 77 more closed circuit security cameras around downtown Toronto Friday in preparation for the upcoming G20 summit.

They will remain up and in use until “the completion of the event, when there’s no longer an issue of security,” said Toronto police Const. Wendy Drummond.

The cameras are “similar to other ones we’ve deployed in the past,” Drummond said. “They’re going to be very recognizable. They will be clearly marked with ‘police’ on them.”

Drummond said the installations will occur over the next few weeks, with the first cameras going up Friday along Adelaide St. The exact locations will be disclosed to the public once they are installed, Drummond said.

Read on...

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G20 protest area moved to Queen's Park

.
Entry archive:

A protest march to Queens Park on Jan. 27, 2009.

After a failed attempt to corral protesters in Queen Street West’s popular Trinity Bellwoods Park during June’s G20 summit, police have announced that the “designated speech area” will now be located in Queen’s Park North.

The official change of plan came after strong public outcry caused police to move the zone out of Trinity Bellwoods, and led a coalition of labour groups to cancel their plans to march to the park.

Wendy Drummond, of the Integrated Security Unit, said security officials took into consideration feedback from town hall meetings and community groups when exploring other options, and settled on Queen’s Park, which is about 2.7 kilometres from the summit site at the Metro Toronto Convention Centre.

Read on...

Earlier Crimbrary reported that the G20 protests would be in Bellwoods Park. Local opposition has resulted in the protest being moved to Queens Park. This is great news for Crimbrary readers. This is across the street from Crimbrary headquarters. I'll try and do a bit of live blogging while dodging taser shots. Tom

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L.A.'s Homeboy Industries lays off most employees

The institution dedicated to helping gang members quit lives of crime has been unable to raise the $5 million it needs. A quarter of the staff will remain.

Solidarity

Father Gregory Boyle greets one of the many young men who offered support and comfort after he announced that most of Homeboy Industries' employees would be laid off. (Francine Orr, Los Angeles Times / May 13, 2010)

Homeboy Industries, the Los Angeles institution whose mission for more than 20 years has been to turn jobs into a recipe for saving the lives of gang members, laid off most of its employees Thursday because of crushing financial problems.

Father Gregory Boyle, who started Homeboy Industries in Boyle Heights during the height of the city's gang wars, said 300 people were laid off, including all senior staff and administrators. Boyle said he has stopped taking a paycheck.

» Don't miss a thing. Get breaking news alerts delivered to your inbox.

"We let people know so they could apply for unemployment, which I'm going to do as well," he said.

Inside the organization's headquarters at Alameda and Bruno streets in Chinatown, employees — many of them former gang members — took turns embracing and consoling Boyle. Young men crowded around him and promised to come back even without pay.

Read on...

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Thursday, May 13, 2010

The Taserification of America

The whole justification for police to get tasers in the first place was to subdue potentially violent suspects -- but it's gone way, way, past that.



Unless you've been living in a Waziristan cave for the last 24 years, you've heard about the unfortunate misdemeanor-breaking dude who got Tasered at a Philadelphia Phillies game at Citizens Bank Park Monday night. My computer screen here at the Philadelphia Daily News went all a-Twitter about it even before all the electrons had even stopped flowing through 17-year-old suburban high school senior Steve Consalvi.

My gut instinct when I first learned of it was the same as I feel about it a day later: That while it wasn't exactly a Rodney King affair, clearly the officer had used excessive force. I've been watching baseball games for more than 40 years, and the drills is always the same. The fan isn't trying to do harm, just get attention; it used to be that the TV cameras never even showed a field-jumper for exactly that reason, back before ESPN needed an endless stream of fodder for its "Top 10 Plays."

People forget that the whole justification for police to get Tasers in the first place was to subdue potentially violent suspects in cases in the past in which they might have been tempted to use lethal force. But the notion that the cops would have pulled a gun and shot 17-year-old field jumper Steve Consalvi is absurd, which means the rationale for tasing him is...what? There's something oddly funny about zapping a fellow human for some reason, but Tasers are no joke to the loved ones of the estimated 50 people who died because of their use.

Read on...

Wonder how many citizen's exercising their right to protest will get tasered during the G20 meetings in Toronto. Anyone want to hazard a guess? Tom

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Glenn Greenwald v. Lawrence Lessig: Debate Over Elena Kagan's Supreme Court Nomination

Two leading legal experts debate the pros and cons of Obama's nomination of Elena Kagan.



Amy Goodman: If confirmed, the fifty-year-old Elena Kagan would be the Court’s youngest member. She would become the fourth female Supreme Court justice in US history and the third on the Court’s current bench. She would also be the first justice in nearly four decades without any prior judicial experience.

Elena Kagan’s nomination has divided progressives in part because so little is known about her judicial views. Her nomination sparked a heated debate between two noted legal commentators: Harvard Law professor Lawrence Lessig and constitutional law attorney and Salon blogger, Glenn Greenwald. Glenn first appeared on Democracy Now! last month making his case against Kagan’s nomination. Then on Monday, he was on our show again and then interviewed by Rachel Maddow that night on MSNBC. Right after Greenwald, Maddow interviewed Lawrence Lessig, who criticized what Greenwald had to say. This led to them both penning articles criticizing each other, defending their position on Kagan’s nomination. Read Lessig's here, Greenwald's here

Read on...

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The Torture of Omar Khadr, a Child in Bagram and Guantánamo

Are we so inured to the implementation of torture by the Bush administration that we no longer recognize what torture is? Torture, according to the UN Convention Against Torture, to which the US is a signatory, is "any act by which severe pain or suffering, whether physical or mental, is intentionally inflicted on a person for such purposes as obtaining from him or a third person information or a confession, punishing him for an act he or a third person has committed or is suspected of having committed, or intimidating or coercing him or a third person."

Under President Bush, however, John Yoo, an ideological puppet in the Justice Department's Office of Legal Counsel, which is supposed to objectively interpret the law as it applies to the executive branch, purported to redefine torture, in two memos that have become known as the "torture memos," as the infliction of physical pain "equivalent in intensity to the pain accompanying serious physical injury, such as organ failure, impairment of bodily function, or even death," or the infliction of mental pain which "result[s] in significant psychological harm of significant duration e.g. lasting for months or even years."

I ask this question about torture - and our attitude to it - because of what took place last week, in pre-trial hearings at Guantánamo preceding the trial by Military Commission of the Canadian prisoner Omar Khadr, who was just 15 years old when he was seized after a firefight in Afghanistan in July 2002. A number of witnesses revealed details of Khadr's mistreatment, in the US prison at Bagram airbase in Afghanistan, which hinted at his inclusion in an abusive program that, before the 9/11 attacks, before Yoo's memos and before a general coarsening of attitudes towards abuse and the mistreatment of prisoners, would have led to calls for that mistreatment to be thoroughly investigated, and, very possibly, for it to be regarded as torture or as cruel, inhumane and degrading treatment.

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Caving To NRA, Tennessee Legislature Passes ‘Guns In Bars’ Bill

guns

Last month, Virginia Gov. Bob McDonnell (R) signed legislation to allow “concealed carry permit holders to bring loaded guns” into establishments that serve alcohol. The law does not permit gun holders to consume alcohol, though the gun lobby is working to get that changed.

Virginia isn’t alone in its quest to arm its bar patrons. The Georgia state house has also passed a bill that would make it “legal to enter a bar or restaurant with a licensed concealed weapon and get drunk,” as long as the individual doesn’t fire the weapon.

Tennessee, too, is trying to follow in Virginia’s footsteps. Last year, the legislature overrode Gov. Phil Bredesen’s veto to pass a law providing gun owners the right to carry their weapons into any restaurant, except those whose predominant business was to serve alcohol. But the law was declared unconstitutionally vague by a state court, so Tennessee is trying again. This time, the law provides “no exclusions for where guns can be carried, as long as permit holders don’t consume alcohol.”

Read on...

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Wednesday, May 5, 2010

Crimbrary Named Top 50 Criminology Blog

What is criminology other than a look into the past to gather evidence that might support justice for crime victims? Simple, that theory, but fraught with human elements, lack of evidence, a legal system that may not work effectively and criminals who, sometimes, are too lucky to be caught with their crimes. This list of the top 50 criminology blogs looks at all those issues and more.

Specifically Criminology

  1. Bent Society: Based in Great Britain, this blog is maintained by a “growing band of concerned and dedicated undercover criminologists” and others who provide insight into UK crime.
  2. Cambridge’s Ph.D. Candidates’ Criminology Blog: This blog calendars events for a specific audience, but it also offers public news and commentary on criminology.
  3. Centre of Criminology Library Blog: The University of Toronto provides a blog resource for news, research and opinion about criminology.
  4. Chris Uggen’s Blog: Learn more about sociology, criminology and “self-indulgery” from Christopher Uggen, a professor in Minnesota.
Read on...


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What BP's Oil Disaster and Goldman Sachs' Rip-off Schemes Have in Common

After 30 years of deregulation, it's no wonder everything from oil production to banking is messed up.

What do oil giant BP, the mining company Massey Energy, and Goldman Sachs have in common? They’re all big firms involved in massive plunder. BP’s oil spill is already one of the biggest and most damaging in American history. Massey’s mine disaster, claiming the lives of 29 miners, is one of the worst in recent history. Goldman’s alleged fraud is but a part of the largest financial meltdown in 75 years.

All three of these companies are also publicly-held, which means that much of the financial costs of these failures will be passed on to their shareholders, many of whom are already watching their stock prices plummet. Prominently among those shareholders are pension funds and mutual funds held by people like you and me.

That may seem fair. After all, shareholders benefitted when BP made big profits extracting oil without paying attention to a possible blowout, when Massey Energy got fat earnings from its careless coal mining operations, and when Goldman Sachs did wonderously well for its own stock holders by allegedly defrauding others. In fact, it was pressure from their shareholders seeking the highest possible returns — and their executives, whose pay is linked to the firms’ share performance — that led all three companies to cut whatever corners they could cut in pursuit of profits.

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May 4, 1970: The Day the War Came Home

by Nick Spicer

Forty years ago, on May 4, 1970 soldiers opened fire on a student anti-war protest on the campus of Kent State University, nestled around the small, sleepy Ohio town of Kent.

[Four students were killed, including Elaine Holstein's son, Jeffrey Miller]Four students were killed, including Elaine Holstein's son, Jeffrey Miller
The number of dead - four students, two of them simply heading to class - does not compare to the number of American soldiers ultimately killed in Vietnam: some 57,000.

And the death toll cannot begin to compare to the number of Vietnamese civilians who lost their lives: between 700,000 and 2 million, according to estimates.

But those student deaths were momentous.

"May 4th represented the war coming home to America. And in many ways it was. It was soldiers firing at unarmed people," said Jerry M. Lewis, who was just a young professor at the time of the shootings, an eyewitness who is still troubled by what happened, four decades on.

Read on...

It would be nice if some small portion of society cared enough to protest current wars. Guess everyone is too busy. Tom

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Too Big to Jail?

Executives unscathed as regulators let banks report criminal fraud


[Ted Kaufman, a veteran of the S&L crisis-turned-U.S. Senator, says there haven't been enough cops on the beat. (Photo by Lagan Sebert / Huffington Post Investigative Fund)]Ted Kaufman, a veteran of the S&L crisis-turned-U.S. Senator, says there haven't been enough cops on the beat. (Photo by Lagan Sebert / Huffington Post Investigative Fund)

by David Heath

The financial crisis has spawned hundreds of criminal prosecutions for alleged fraud. Yet so far, defendants have been mostly minor players such as real-estate agents, mortgage brokers, borrowers and a few low-level bank employees. No senior executives at large financial institutions face criminal charges.

That’s in stark contrast to prosecutions during the savings and loan scandal two decades ago, when the government’s strategy targeted and snagged some of banking's most powerful players. The approach back then succeeded in sending scores of S&L executives to prison, as well as junk-bond king Michael Milken and business tycoon Charles Keating Jr.

Read on...

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