Friday, May 18, 2012

How Maryland deals with domestic abuse

Fighting Back
by Tim Stolloh
The New Republic

Has one state discovered a simple way to combat domestic violence?

...In recent decades, one of the great grassroots movements of the twentieth century built a raft of protections designed to help abused women. These included a sprawling network of community shelters, gun restrictions for abusers, protection orders, and the nation’s first federal anti-domestic violence legislation, the Violence Against Women Act (VAWA). Yet, despite this sustained effort—and even as overall homicides have plummeted nationwide—victims of domestic violence are today killed in basically the same numbers as they were about 15 years ago. Between 40 and 50 percent of female homicide victims are killed by their husbands, boyfriends, and exes. And, for about half of these victims, police had been alerted to previous incidents of abuse.

There is, however, one exception to this grim trend: Maryland. Since 2007, domestic violence homicides in the state have fallen by a stunning 40 percent. What is Maryland doing that other states are not? The answer appears to lie with a former high school nurse, an ex-Washington, D.C., police lieutenant, and their ground-breaking efforts to protect the most vulnerable victims of abuse...

The rest of the article in the May 10 New Republic.

Republicans are trying to undermine the reauthorization of the Violence Against Women Act.

Harvey Milk goes to war

C.W. Nevius on naming a Navy ship after Harvey Milk: "Petty local politics shouldn't ruin a truly meaningful national gesture, which is naming a U.S. Navy ship after gay icon Harvey Milk":

Supervisor Christina Olague, who voted against the idea in committee this week, thinks Milk's objection to the war in Vietnam makes a Navy ship a poor choice. "It's a warship," she said. "I'm not convinced that reflects Harvey Milk values." Even more vehement is gay activist Tommi Avicolli Mecca. "Why not name a bomber after Gandhi?" he asks. "The purpose of the military is to kill people, no matter how we look at it. I know Harvey opposed the Vietnam War, and if he were alive, he would be against the wars we are in now. I think it is inappropriate."

But opposition to the idea from Supervisor Olague and other city progressives isn't about "petty local politics." It's about an essentially anti-American ideology. That's why in 2005 the Board of Supervisors rejected the idea of berthing the USS Iowa, a World War II battleship, in San Francisco. Didn't that war have to be fought? Olague and Mecca don't deign to discuss specific wars because all wars are the same, right? (Olague and Mecca mention Vietnam, but that war ended 37 years ago last month.) And none of them have to be fought, because War is Bad and Peace is Good. What else do you need to know? 

Milk was in the Navy for four years, and there's no evidence that he shared that view, since he served during the Korean War. Olague and Mecca are just drafting Milk into their vacuous anti-war cause, which is how Randy Shilts described how some members of the gay community used Milk's name after his assassination:

Virtually every aspect of the San Francisco gay community laid claim to some part of Harvey's legacy. Gay Jews used Harvey to eke out greater acceptance from the city's Jewish establishment, while the Gay Atheist League published a number of essays discussing Milk's status as a martyr to weasel concessions from the local Democratic party, while gay Republicans spent no small effort noting that the Democratic establishment had opposed Milk through most of his political career. Some of Harvey's closer allies found great convenience in the fact that dead leaders can be counted on to say the most quotable things at the most timely occasions. Brochures were frequently dressed up with stirring Harvey Milk quotes written long after the supervisor's demise ("The Mayor of Castro Street," page 346).

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Obama administration threatens California

Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood is trying to bully the state legislature into giving the High Speed Rail Authority a blank check or the feds will take back $3 billion in federal money. According to the LA Times, state legislators are apparently unintimidated:

Sen. Doug La Malfa (R-Richvale), who has introduced legislation to allow voters to reconsider the bullet train project, said LaHood doesn't understand the state's problems. "This state is facing a $14-billion deficit, our students have seen their tuition double, and he wants California to invest in a high-speed rail scheme that has a $61-billion shortfall without reviewing the plan's risks?" LaMalfa said. "Secretary LaHood's demand boils down to a belief that Washington, D.C., knows best, a point of view I couldn't disagree with more strongly."

The LA Times is also reporting on a Community Coalition on High-Speed Rail study of how the CHSRA is radically underestimating operational costs if/when the system is ever built.

Thanks to Randal O'Toole's Antiplanner blog.

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