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July 06, 2009

Homicides in San Francisco hit 9-year low

S.F. homicides fall as police flood tough areas The causes are a Federal crackdown on the MS-13 gang in the Mission, and a new foot patrol approach in five troubled neighborhoods (the Mission, the Tenderloin, Bayview, Sunnydale and the Western Addition).

(07-05) 18:03 PDT -- San Francisco's homicide total for the first half of 2009 hit a nine-year low - falling more than 50 percent from last year - a drop that police officials attribute to flooding high-crime areas with officers and focusing on the handful of people who commit most of the crimes. As of June 30, police were investigating 25 homicides recorded so far in 2009, according to department statistics. That total includes one slaying that happened in 2008 but was not labeled a homicide until this year. Considering only deaths that have happened this year, the tally is 24. The last time the city had so few slayings in the first half of a year was in 2000, when there were 24 killings by June 30. The total for that year was 61, the fewest since 1964.

July 05, 2009

Why won't NPR call it torture?

The still-growing NPR "torture" controversy - Glenn Greenwald - Salon.com Glenn Greenwald of Salon.com has been on NPR's case for awhile now, after realizing that the nominally-liberal public broadcaster refuses to call what the Bush government did to detainees "torture." They won't do it. They use the slimy phrase "enhanced interrogation techniques," which everyone knows is just Rumsfeldian code for torture.

There are several noteworthy developments since I wrote on Tuesday about the refusal of NPR's Ombdusman, Alica Shepard, to be interviewed by me about NPR's ban on using the word "torture" to describe the Bush administration's interrogation tactics. Given the utter vapidity of her rationale ("there are two sides to the issue. And I'm not sure, why is it so important to call something torture?"), I was momentarily amazed to learn that she actually teaches "Media Ethics" to graduate students at Georgetown University (my amazement quickly dissipated once I recalled that this is the same institution that, until last year, paid Doug Feith -- Doug Feith -- to teach students "national security policy" and that Berkeley Law School has John Yoo "teaching law" to its students; next semester at Georgetown: Karl Rove teaches Civility in a Post-Partisan Age, Bill Kristol lectures on Accountability in Punditry, while David Gregory examines The Role of Intellect in Adversarial Questioning). NPR's "torture" ban and its Ombudsman's incoherent defense of it has now turned into a significant controversy for NPR -- and rightfully so. Yesterday, The Huffington Post trumpeted the controversy in a prominent headline all day long, focusing on Shepard's refusal to be interviewed here. The media reporter Simon Owens wrote a long column on Shepard's refusal to discuss her rationale with me despite my having been a primary critic of NPR's policy (indeed, this controversy began several weeks ago when I noted the ample documentation from NPR Check of NPR's steadfast refusal to use the word "torture" and the embarrassing contortions it employs to accomplish that).

July 03, 2009

Texas Police discover illegal daycare in locked shed

Police: Infants locked in shed behind illegal day care in Sealy | TOP STORIES | KHOU.com | News for Houston, Texas
Police went to the home at 227 Willow Street after a Texas Child Care licensing inspector alerted them that the occupants were operating a day care center illegally. Investigators believe Patek tried to hide the children when the inspectors came to her door. Patek is allowed to care for three children at a time. Investigators say they found 14 children when they arrived. The officers said the five children were car seats in a storage building surrounded by hazardous materials, including gasoline and insecticides. There were no adults in the storage building. There was also only a small air conditioner. Other infants and children were found hidden throughout the house, the backyard and the house next door, according to Sealy police. Police say Patek and her husband hid the children when State inspectors came to their front door. One of the children was found in a closet.

July 02, 2009

Florida cop quits after he's caught destroying the bike of a homeless racist

Police officer quits after admitting he slashed homeless man's bike tires - St. Petersburg Times With video. The man had been with the NYPD for twenty years before taking a job in Florida. I wonder if anyone else was a victim of his retaliation?
TARPON SPRINGS — On Jan. 28, Tarpon Springs police Officer Jeffrey Robinson says he encountered a barrage of racial slurs when he drove a homeless man to the Pinellas County Jail. On Feb. 8, he retaliated. On Wednesday, Robinson resigned from the Tarpon Springs Police Department after a three-month internal investigation, complete with video evidence, determined that he slashed the bicycle tires of John Bilawsky, the homeless man.