I got the book for Christmas in 2008 and finally read it over my summer vacation in August 2009.
Title: The White Tiger
Publisher: Free Press
Date: October 14, 2008.
Length: 352 pages.
A personal blog by a Black, Gay, Caribbean, Liberal, Progressive, Moderate, Fit, Geeky, Married, College-Educated, NPR-Listening, Tennis-Playing, Feminist, Atheist, Math Professor in Los Angeles, California
Under the current law, adopted in 1986 after a surge in crack cocaine smoking and drug-related killings, someone convicted in federal court of possession of five grams of crack must be sentenced to at least five years in prison, and possession of 10 grams requires a 10-year minimum sentence. With powder cocaine, the threshold amounts for those mandatory sentences are 100 times as high.
In the bill passed Wednesday, the amount of crack that would invoke a five-year minimum sentence is raised to 28 grams, said to be roughly the amount a dealer might carry, and for a 10-year sentence, 280 grams.
While crack use has declined since the 1980s, arrests remain common, and some 80 percent of those convicted on crack charges in recent years have been black. A growing number of criminologists have concluded that the sentencing disparity is unjustified and has subjected tens of thousands of blacks to lengthy prison terms while offering more lenient punishment to users and sellers of powder cocaine, who are more often white.
The Senate's compromise is still racially discriminatory and morally wrong, and we have yet to hear anyone explain why a disparity is necessary. It's time for those of us who care about this issue to force Sen. Sessions and Sen. Dick Durbin, D-Ill.,--the architects of the compromise--to offer an explanation that actually holds water. If Jeff Sessions really wants to argue that 18:1 is better for our country, we should create a media stir that requires him to defend that position in public. And if the explanation doesn't pass muster, if it doesn't appear to be in line with our communities' interests, we have to say so.
We understand that compromise is sometimes necessary, and we agree with our allies that some level of sentencing relief is better than none. But we can't afford to fold before the final hand has been played, and we shouldn't be negotiating from a position of weakness. That's how we ended up with an 18:1 compromise in the first place versus 10:1 or a 5:1. Real change--on ending this sentencing disparity and on other policy issues important to our communities--depends on our willingness to shine a light on backroom deals and apply grassroots energy to hold our elected officials accountable. That's the way democracy is supposed to work, and our responsibility to raise our voices in protest is not something we should ever compromise.
Federer is about to turn 29, and while I think his game and his style are starting to look obsolete, I don't agree with some critics who think he has lost something because of his age. A little passion, a little edge, a little speed.
No. He still has everything he had before. But the game is changing, players are trying to figure out how to catch him, and he's just standing there, not fighting back. He has thought his elegant and perfect strokes will still be good enough, no matter that the era is changing around him.
But now, maybe this is Federer's way of saying that he's not ready to fade away.[...]Annacone is a good choice. Sampras used to rave about how well he scouted opponents, figured out what was necessary. That means gameplans, not excuses. Federer seemed to think that all that's necessary is for him to just be him.[...]Federer is going to have to attack back. And I think he's going to have to commit to the new technology, probably even change his outdated racket. He's using almost exactly the same one Sampras used a couple eras ago.
Federer won't allow Annacone, who's 47, to re-tool entirely. We'll see how far they go. But just agreeing to listen to Annacone, even if just for a test period, is a real start.
It's pretty exciting really: Mr. Perfect wants to get better.
David Harold Blackwell was born on April 24, 1919, in Centralia, Ill. Early on, he showed a talent for mathematics, but he entered the University of Illinois with the modest ambition of becoming an elementary school teacher. He earned a bachelor’s degree in mathematics in 1938 and, adjusting his sights, went on to earn a master’s degree in 1939 and a doctorate in 1941, when he was only 22.
After being awarded a Rosenwald Fellowship, established by the clothing magnate Julius Rosenwald to aid black scholars, he attended the Institute for Advanced Study at Princeton but left after a year when, because of his race, he was not issued the customary invitation to become an honorary faculty member. At Berkeley, where the statisticianJerzy Neyman wanted to hire him in the mathematics department, racial objections also blocked his appointment.
His “Basic Statistics” (1969) was one of the first textbooks on Bayesian statistics, which assess the uncertainty of future outcomes by incorporating new evidence as it arises, rather than relying on historical data. He also wrote numerous papers on multistage decision-making.
“He had this great talent for making things appear simple,” Peter Bickel, a statistics professor at Berkeley, told the university’s Web site. “He liked elegance and simplicity. That is the ultimate best thing in mathematics, if you have an insight that something seemingly complicated is really simple, but simple after the fact.”
Mr. Blackwell was hired by Berkeley in 1954 and became a full professor in the statistics department when it split off from the mathematics department in 1955. He was chairman of the department from 1957 to 1961 and assistant dean of the College of Letters and Science from 1964 to 1968. He retired in 1988.
There are still many provisions of SB 1070 that will go into effect that will make life harder for immigrants in that state, however, so protests against the law will continue.
The overall law will still take effect Thursday, but without the provisions that angered opponents — including sections that required officers to check a person's immigration status while enforcing other laws.
The judge also put on hold parts of the law that required immigrants to carry their papers at all times, and made it illegal for undocumented workers to solicit employment in public places. In addition, the judge blocked officers from making warrantless arrests of suspected illegal immigrants.
"Requiring Arizona law enforcement officials and agencies to determine the immigration status of every person who is arrested burdens lawfully-present aliens because their liberty will be restricted while their status is checked," U.S. District Judge Susan Bolton ruled.
• One-in-four Californians report that their views on rights for gay and lesbian people has become more supportive over the last five years, compared to only 8% who say they have become more opposed. Among religious groups, ethnic minority groups showed slightly more overall movement than white religious groups. Among black Protestants, twice as many report becoming more supportive as report becoming more opposed (27% vs. 13%); among Latino Catholics, that ratio is 3-to-1 (31% more supportive vs. 9% more opposed) over this period.
• If another vote similar to Proposition 8 were held tomorrow, a majority (51%) say they would vote to allow gay and lesbian couples to marry, compared to 45% who say they would vote to keep same-sex marriage illegal.
• There are major religious groups on both sides of the debate over same-sex marriage in California. Solid majorities of Latino Catholics and white mainline Protestants say they would vote to allow gay and lesbian couples to marry, while solid majorities of white evangelical Protestants, Latino Protestants, and African American Protestants say they would vote to keep same-sex marriage illegal.
Putting more officers in marked police vehicles.
Working with business owners and hotel operators to warn visitors about the consequences of illegal public conduct.
Ensuring the Warm Sands neighborhood is well lit and possibly installing lighting triggered by motion sensors.
CITY COUNCIL ENDORSES NEW POLICY ON CONDUCT
The Palm Springs City Council has unanimously endorsed the Police Department's new proactive enforcement policy to control lewd conduct.
This policy restricts the use of decoy undercover operations.
“Palm Springs has always embraced diversity and tolerance and wants the LGBT community and all visitors to continue to feel safe and welcome in our City at all times,” the council stated.
“In addition to the new enforcement policy, our police department has instituted comprehensive LGBT sensitivity training. The police department continues to meet with residents and hoteliers to receive neighborhood input and to refine the implementation of the new policy,” the council added.
These steps serve as a reminder to citizens and all visitors that Palm Springs is a safe and welcoming city and unique vacation destination for everyone.
"I have had the distinct pleasure of being a municipal court judge, a superior court judge and an appellate court justice," she said. "As a jurist, woman and a Filipina, I am extremely grateful for the trust Gov. Schwarzenegger has placed in me. I hope to show young people what they can achieve if they follow their dreams and reach for their full potential."
Beause there is a constitutional amendment in Montana barring marriage for same-sex couples, the couples in the lawsuit are seeking the protection of state-recognized domestic partnerships, similar to those in place in several other states.
"Mary Anne and I are part of a family unit, bonded by love and mutual respect and a desire to share in a close relationship that benefits not only us, as partners, but our wider family and the entire community," said Jan Donaldson, a Helena nurse, of her 27-year relationship with her partner, pediatric neurologist Mary Anne Guggenheim. "We depend on one another, in all aspects of our life together. We want to be able to do that with grace and dignity and to feel secure that our relationship will be respected. We want our relationship to be recognized for what it clearly is – a loving commitment of responsibility worthy of security and protection by the state."
Montana law automatically grants married opposite-sex couples safeguards upon which they can depend in times of need. But, under Montana law, it is possible for same-sex couples to be barred from visiting their partners in the hospital and to be left out of conversations about emergency medical care. Montana inheritance laws refuse to recognize same-sex couples, and can leave surviving partners with nothing if their partners die without valid wills. Today's lawsuit seeks a mechanism such as the domestic partnership laws adopted by several other states to provide similar protections for committed same-sex couples.
"It's unfair for same-sex couples who have made commitments and formed families to be treated by the state like legal strangers," said Betsy Griffing, Legal Director for the ACLU of Montana. "Lesbian, gay and bisexual Montanans are valuable and productive members of society who should be treated fairly if their partner is in the hospital or dies without a will."
Sent from my iPhone 3G!
Last summer, Palm Springs police used undercover officers to arrest 24 men in a gay neighborhood for allegedly trying to engage the officers in sex. While few in the gay community defend anyone having public sex - whether gay or straight - the anger is over the unusual charges in the case: The men are charged under Section 290(c) of the California Penal Code, making those who are convicted register as sex offenders for life, their names added to a police database.
That charge is essentially a life sentence, defense lawyers say, and has never been used against straight couples arrested for similar activity in Palm Springs.
Adding fuel to the community anger is surveillance tape shot inside a patrol car during the sting. One officer can be heard using an anti-gay slur, while another officer laughs.
The San Diego Gay and Lesbian Times broke this story more than two months ago:
All 24 men were charged with violations of Penal Code sections 314 and 647(a).
According to the defense, the Riverside County District Attorney’s Office will only accept a guilty plea from the defendants, and even then, only to a 314 violation with its sex offender designation.
Herein lies a huge issue that is being alleged in court documents. More on that in a moment.
What is the difference between the 314 and 647(a) misdemeanors?
Penal Code section 314 - California's "indecent exposure" law - has remained virtually unchanged since its enactment in 1872, despite the fact that community moral standards have changed drastically in the 138 years that have passed since that enactment.
This law prohibits publicly "exposing" a person’s naked body or genitals with lewd intent. Typically, a conviction of "simple" misdemeanor indecent exposure under this code brings a sentence of up to six months in a county jail, a maximum fine of $1,000 and a lifetime requirement to register as a sex offender, pursuant to Penal Code 290.
Section 647(a) defines "lewd conduct" as the touching or displaying of the genitals, buttocks or female breasts with the intent of achieving sexual arousal or gratification. These acts are deemed illegal under this code when done in a lewd or lascivious manner in a public place - where a third party may be offended by its viewing. Unless there are overriding circumstances, a 647(a) conviction typically does not come with a sex offender designation.
The sex offender designation, however, can cause dire consequences for a lifetime. Those convicted have trouble keeping or finding jobs and homes, and those with green cards are usually deported.
Major allegations are being raised
The Riverside County Public Defender’s Office thinks something smells fishy about this undercover sting. As a result, court documents show that the defense is making some serious allegations:
The Palm Springs Police Department (PSPD) exclusively targeted gay men in undercover sex stings.
Heterosexual couples get a free pass on public sex in Palm Springs and throughout Riverside County.
A backroom deal was struck with the Riverside County District Attorney’s Office to force those arrested in the sting operations to plead to a harsher charge, requiring lifetime registration as a sex offender.
These contentions are being raised in a Riverside County discrimination motion going before a Superior Court judge in Indio on June 14.
On May 4, Deputy Public Defender Roger Tansey, who is the attorney for the defendants, and Public Defender Gary Windom, filed numerous documents related to this case.
Tansey told SDGLN in an exclusive interview that he believes this case is about “homophobia” and that the Palm Springs police are out to “get the gay guys.”
SDGLN has obtained a copy of the court document from Thomas Hughes, who was a Deputy District Attorney for Riverside County from 2007 to 2009 and who was assigned to the Indio branch. The document – which the DA is trying to get excluded from the trial -- provides an insider glimpse into how Palm Springs initiated its 2009 undercover sting operation.
Hughes describes a 2008 sting operation conducted by the Riverside County Sheriff’s Department, which provides police services to the city of Rancho Mirage. As with the Palm Springs operation, the Rancho Mirage sting was directed at men who have public sex with men, not at heterosexual couples.
Hughes said the county prosecutors settled a majority of the 2008 cases for violations of Penal Code sections 647(a) or 415. Those are much less serious misdemeanor charges than Penal Code 314, which requires lifetime registration as a sex offender.
In his document, Hughes states that he was informed that the Palm Springs Police Department (PSPD) wanted to ensure ahead of the sting operation that their cases would only settle for violations of the more serious Penal Code 314.
“I have been informed and thereon believe that during spring or summer of 2009, a meeting was therefore set up between the PSPD and the District Attorney’s Office,” Hughes states in the document.
“The DA’s Office was represented by Trisha Fransdahl, a Supervising Deputy District Attorney, who met with members of the PSPD. This meeting occurred before the sting operation took place and before anyone was arrested. At that meeting, it was agreed that all of those arrested would be charged with violations of Penal Code sections 314 and 647(a). It was also agreed that Defendants would only be allowed to plead to the 314 count. Based on my experience at the District Attorney’s Office, such a meeting, before anyone is even arrested, is unusual.”
Hughes also states that the DA’s Office decided that the Palm Springs sting cases would not be subject to negotiations or plea deals.
Bolstering the discrimination claim is this statement by Hughes: “I was also in my office when I personally heard Linda Dunn, head of the Eastern Division of the District Attorney’s Office and the supervisor of Ms. Frandahl, make homophobic remarks. This occurred when I overheard Lee Roberts, one of the District Attorneys on the Palm Springs cases, express a desire to Ms. Dunn to visit the scene of the sting.
“Several times I heard Ms. Dunn make disparaging remarks about ‘those people’ as she laughingly expressed concern for Mr. Roberts’s safety if he were to visit Palm Springs. Ms. Dunn did not want Mr. Roberts to go, stating that, ‘I don’t want you around ‘those’ people, we don’t know what they’re capable of doing. If you go, be safe.'”
Today's decision is an affirmation that the voices of lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender people have a place at the United Nations as part of a vital civil society community," said Cary Alan Johnson, IGLHRC Executive Director. "The clear message here is that these voices should not be silenced and that human rights cannot be denied on the basis of sexual orientation or gender identity."
The resolution passed with 23 in favor, 13 against, and 13 abstentions and 5 absences.
This victory is particularly significant, coming as it does after a prolonged 3-year application process in the sub-committee that makes initial recommendations on status. Despite full compliance with all procedures IGLHRC faced deferrals, homophobic questioning, and procedural roadblocks in the ECOSOC NGO Committee.
Today's decision overturned a "no-action" vote in the NGO-committee that threatened to establish a dangerous precedent and the possibility of organizations deemed controversial being continuously denied the opportunity to have their application put to a vote even after undergoing the required review.
The vote also signals a recognition of the important role of a diverse and active civil society at the UN. In support of progress on IGLHRC's application, a group of over 200 NGOs from 59 countries endorsed a letter to all UN Member States, demanding fair and non-discriminatory treatment and supporting IGLHRC's goal of amplifying LGBT voices in the international arena.
THE WHITE HOUSE
Office of the Press Secretary
For Immediate Release July 19, 2010
Statement by the President on UN Accreditation of the ILGHRC
I welcome this important step forward for human rights, as the International Lesbian and Gay Human Rights Commission (ILGHRC) will take its rightful seat at the table of the United Nations. The UN was founded on the premise that only through mutual respect, diversity, and dialogue can the international community effectively pursue justice and equality. Today, with the more full inclusion of the International Lesbian and Gay Human Rights Commission, the United Nations is closer to the ideals on which it was founded, and to values of inclusion and equality to which the United States is deeply committed.
Wait—how can that be? Doesn't Williams still trail five players—Margaret Smith Court (24), Steffi Graf (22), Helen Wills Moody (19), Chris Evert (18) and Martina Navratilova (18)—in major singles titles, the usual benchmark for excellence? Yes, but Williams plays in a far more competitive and demanding era. (Plus, none of the others had to play her sister in a Grand Slam final.) She has also won 12 major women's doubles titles, two major mixed doubles titles and two Olympic women's doubles gold medals. She has earned Grand Slam titles on all surfaces. She has been winning them since she was 17.
10. Justine Henin — Seven Grand Slams, 43 titles, 82% win percentage9. Evonne Goolagong — Seven Grand Slams, 68 titles, 81% win8. Venus Williams — Seven Grand Slams, 43 titles, 80.5% win7. Monica Seles — Nine Grand Slams, 53 titles, 83% win6. Billie Jean King — 12 Grand Slams, 84 titles, 82.2% win5. Serena Williams — 13 Grand Slams, 37 titles, 80% win4. Margaret Court — 24 Grand Slams, 92 titles, 91% win (unofficial)3. Chris Evert — 18 Grand Slams, 157 titles, 90% win2. Steffi Graf — 22 Grand Slams, 107 titles, 88.7% win1. Martina Navratilova — 18 Grand Slams, 167 titles, 86.8% win
Palm Springs Mayor Steve Pougnet today announced that his campaign for Congress raised over $400,000 for the second quarter reporting period. Pougnet has raised over $1.2 million since entering the race, more than any challenger to Congresswoman Bono Mack has ever faced.
“I am incredibly humbled by the support we have received. In these very difficult times, our Congresswoman has been absent and it’s clear people are hungry for change,” Mayor Pougnet said.
“I am committed to fighting every day to create jobs here at home, fix the mess in Washington and end wasteful spending so we can balance the budget. Our region face major challenges but Congresswoman Bono Mack has failed to lead. I pledge that I will work tirelessly to address the needs of people here in the unique and special communities that make up the 45th district.”
Pougnet’s 2nd quarter fundraising puts him in the top tier of Congressional candidates across the county. His fundraising success is coupled with an aggressive grass-roots effort throughout the 45th district. Pougnet is actively engaging in grassroots campaign activity all throughout the district. The campaign has been going door to door talking to residents from Moreno Valley, Palm Desert, Hemet, Blythe, Mecca, Coachella and throughout the district.
The 45th Congressional District is a bit of a purple district, but it is a good sign that Pougnet is doing so well in the money race.