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Tuesday
Jun042013

Senate Showdown Over Military Assaults | Marijuana Arrest Rates Target Blacks | Komen Cancels 2014 Races

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Military leaders agreed on the need to do more to prevent sexual assaults while resisting any and all attempts to institute reforms, including removing the handling of sexual assault cases from the chain of command.

Army Gen. Martin Dempsey, the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, described the sexual assaults “like a cancer” in the military. But he said only the commanders — who resulted in a 1% conviction rate in last years’ estimated 26,000 sexual assaults — can change it.

“Not every single commander necessarily wants women in the force. Not every single commander believes what a sexual assault is. Not every single commander can distinguish between a slap on the ass and a rape because they merge all of these crimes together,” said Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand, D-N.Y.

Frustration among the senators was obvious in a unified group of seven women senators from both parties. Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz, a Navy veteran of Vietnam, said he could no longer give his unqualified support that women are safe in the military. Note that 50% of sexual assault victims are men. Proportionally, women are more likely to be assaulted, representing a much smaller number of service members.

The Washington Post summarizes that “More than 40 senators are sponsors or co-sponsors of the proposals, several of which have overlapping provisions. A bill by Sens. Patty Murray, D-Wash., and Kelly Ayotte, R-N.H., would provide any victims with a special military lawyer who would assist them throughout the process. Another, sponsored by Sens. Claire McCaskill, D-Mo., and Susan Collins, R-Maine, would require any service member found guilty of rape or sexual assault receive a minimum punishment of a dismissal or a dishonorable discharge. Sen. Amy Klobuchar, D-Minn., introduced a bill with provisions that require commanders to submit reports of sex-related offenses to more senior officers within 24 hours.”

Drug Use & Drug Arrest By Race

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A major study by the ACLU reports the huge disparity between the number of black Americans and whites arrested for marijuana possession. The report confirms that blacks and whites use marijuana at about the same rates. Among young people ages 18-25, usage rates are higher for whites.

Iowa leads the country, arresting blacks at 8.34 times the rate of whites, while DC arrests blacks at 8.05 times the rate of whites for marijuana possession. Nationally, blacks are 3.5 times more likely to be arrested. Graphs via Washington Post.

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Komen Cancels 2014 Races

Dayna Smith/For The Washington Post - Walkers in the The Komen Global Race for the Cure, an annual run/walk event in Washington, D.C. that raises funds and awareness for the fight against breast cancer, which was held on the mall near the Washington Monument, May 11, 2013.The Susan G. Komen foundation has cancelled for 2014 its signature 3-Day walk in Washington DC and six other cities: Arizona, Boston, Chicago, Cleveland, the Tampa Bay area and San Francisco. 

Komen will continue to host the 3-Day events in 2014 in Atlanta, Dallas-Fort Worth, Michigan, Philadelphia, San Diego, Seattle and Minneapolis-St. Paul.

Komen’s annual Race for the Cure in Washington took place a week later. It had fewer participants than in previous years — about 21,000 people, down from 27,000 last year and nearly 40,000 in 2011. The race raised $5 million in 2011, $2 million last year and about $1.5 million this year, although this year’s tally is not final, writes The Washington Post.

Komen has never recovered from the fury caused by founder Nancy Brinker when she unsuccessfully attempted to deny Komen funds to Planned Parenthood. The Komen 3-day events, which requires participants to raise at least $2,300, previously attracted a significant number of Planned Parenthood supporters. 

Avon’s 2014 Walk for Breast Cancer will take place in the same eight cities as this year. They are Houston, Washington, Boston, Chicago, San Francisco, New York, Charlotte and Santa Barbara, Calif. Avon’s walk in Washington which took place in May raised $4.5 million, compared to $5 million in May.

Despite trademarking the phrase race “for the cure”, Komen gave only 16 percent of the  2011 $472 million raised to research vs the $231 million spent on education and screening. The actual value of mammograms was recently covered by the New York Times in Our Feel Good War on Breast Cancer by Peggy Orenstein. 

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