Sheriff Joe Arpaio got a lot of national publicity for running a strict jail for Maricopa County in Arizona, one of the early big stories was a tent city in the desert rather than a “cozy” building. From that he rode a wave of populism for how to be tough against criminals. But was he really a tough guy or was he abusive? Decide for yourself from the coverage of the local media.
- In 1997 an inmate, locked up for petty theft, reacted severely to his Crohn’s disease since he did not have his prescribed medication. The sheriff’s staff failed to respond promptly to his condition, which ended up with a hospital visit that cost taxpayers $30,000 (where his prescription would have cost $400). The sheriff called it inmate fiction, but the hospital did not treat a fictitious case.
- In 1999, an inmate who placed in a cell where air circulation was cut off and eventually he died, his corpse registering a temperature of 109 degrees at time of examination. The guard did not like what the inmate had been saying to him and cut off the air flow.
- In 1999 he staged a fake assassination story, including false arrest and imprisonment, only to get more publicity. The resulting lawsuit cost taxpayers over $1 million to settle.
- In 2004 he arrested, on false charges, a New York Times reporter who was digging into his shady real estate deals.
- Also in 2004, an errant SWAT team raid led to setting a puppy on fire. It was one of a series of botched raids over time as reported by the Phoenix New Times.
- Between 2005 and 2007, the Sheriff was contracted with to provide police services to the area and refused to investigate sex crimes against Latino victims.
- In 2008, a pregnant female inmate locked up for a pair of DUI’s was not transported to a hospital as she went in labor, which resulted in the otherwise healthy pregnancy ending in a stillborn. The Sheriff, who would not allow legal abortions in the jail and a professed pro-lifer, has similar put pregnant inmates in pre-natal jeopardy.
- In 2009 he marched Latino prisoners, in chains, into an open detention area with an electric fence, with tops that read “unsentenced” because they had committed no crimes but were awaiting deportation hearings.
- In 2010, the Sheriff bragged about his tent city being a “concentration camp”
- In 2012 he sent, at taxpayer expense, some sheriff office staff to Hawaii to investigate President Obama’s birth certificate. The Sheriff is a “birther“.
- In 2013, the ACLU won a case against the sheriff for racially profiling, he subsequently ignored that request very publicly, which led to his federal contempt of court conviction in 2015 (and cost the county $44 million in lawsuits). But not before the sheriff tried to destroy evidence.
- In November 2015, it was revealed 160 inmates had died in the Sheriff’s care, most from suicide (by hanging). Compared to other jails across the country, Maricopa County had a 25% suicide rate, most other jails hover around 10%. It cost taxpayers $140 million in lawsuits.
This is who President Trump decided needed a full pardon.
On Monday, President Trump’s pick for the Department of Education, Betsy DeVos, was confirmed in an historic Senate vote where the Vice President had to vote to break a 50-50 tie. Why historic? Because a Vice President had never in 200+ years ever had to break a tie for a Cabinet secretary. How did it get to 50-50? Educators and concerned parents bombarded Senate offices (Colorado, North Carolina, Pennsylvania) with emails and phone calls in opposition to DeVos, who had a historically bad hearing and seems vastly unqualified for the position. Two GOP Senators voted in opposition, causing the tie.
But what emerged in this fight over DeVos’s nomination underscores what the left faces over the next two years: GOP lawmakers do not believe their re-election is in jeopardy despite massive public outcry. As Mike Gecan wrote in the Daily News, Democrats are getting played. Continue reading
This morning brought a flood of Twitter reaction to President Trump blasting a judge, who late Friday put a nationwide block on his Executive Order. Raise your hand if you expected the President to go on the offensive over night. See? That was expected. Move along, nothing to see here.
Whether the President cares, the a federal judge is part of an equal and independent branch and cannot be fired like he did a week ago to acting Secretary of State Sally Yates. Those on the left were, wrongly, outraged at that firing: Continue reading
It’s easy to just boil over with the overdosing of negative news coming out of the White House. But is it worth the anxiety? I’m going to try and put the “outrage” people are feeling into political or historic context. So I’ll attempt, if at least for myself, look through a wider lens. Is this really as bad as the media claims it to be? Continue reading
Regardless of your spirituality, Christmas in America has grown into a cultural holiday that embodies the best of America, giving you the choice of how much religion you partake with the occasion. It’s hard to support the belief that some news channels and a handful of people have that there is a “war on Christmas” as it dominates the landscape for two months, if not more.
The real war on Christmas was waged before America was its own nation, as Puritan America wanted nothing to do with it. There is disagreement among scholars as to the exact birthdate of Jesus, as the Bible is silent on the special day. Puritans went so far as to outlaw Christmas and invoke fines for those who partook in the occasion. Continue reading
I boldly stated a month ago that white guys weren’t deciding this election. Oops.
While the election won’t be viewed as close as it was, Nate Silver pointing out that if 1 in 100 Trump voters flipped to Clinton she wins, it is accurate to point out how wrong I was.
It’s barely an hour past the deciding of our 45th President by an apoplexed media in the wee small hours of the morning. Part of America is wildly ecstatic, another hand-wringly gobsmacked.
To the Republicans, enjoy the moment: I’ll call for you here in a few. To the Democrats: let’s talk.