Wednesday, June 8, 2011

‘On the Media’: Comics Edition - 50,000 online predators, the goldilocks number

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Original Article

06/08/2011

By DAN KOIS


Remember that great episode of NPR’s “On the Media” about the Goldilocks number? Brooke Gladstone ruthlessly disassembled a claim by the NBC reporter Chris Hansen, on a “To Catch a Predator” episode of “Dateline,” that at any given moment, 50,000 child predators are online, skeevily perving out on your child.

Gladstone discovered that 50,000 is a magic number for the news media; previous reports cited it as the annual number of American deaths via trans fats, secondhand smoke and satanic cult sacrifice. She asked Hansen’s source, a longtime F.B.I. agent, why he’d approved Hansen’s Yankee Stadium-size guesstimate. “It wasn’t a real small number — it wasn’t like 100, 200,” the agent said. “And it wasn’t a ridiculously large number, like 10 million. It was like a Goldilocks number — not too hot, not too cold.”

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Click to enlarge
If you heard that 2006 NPR report, your eyes were forever opened to how news organizations botch numbers. But do you need to read that story again — this time narrated by an adorable cartoon version of Brooke Gladstone? If so, then Gladstone’s new book, “The Influencing Machine,” a media manifesto in comics form illustrated by Josh Neufeld, is for you.

Readers of Larry Gonick’s cartoon histories or Scott McCloud’s seminal “Understanding Comics” (which Gladstone cites as her inspiration) will recognize the book’s format. Gladstone’s omnipresent cartoon avatar — reduced, in caricature, to frizzy hair, prominent chin and signature rectangular glasses — leads readers through a short history of the news media, around some familiar journalistic conundrums (bias, objectivity, pandering), and into a future in which, thanks to cybernetic implants, news will be broadcast directly into, and out of, our brains.

But comparing “The Influencing Machine” with those earlier examples of cartoon nonfiction brings its shortcomings into focus. In Gonick’s and McCloud’s work, clever design and illustration make complicated ideas or insights strikingly clear. In “The Influencing Machine,” the illustrations simply accompany, rather than illuminate, Gladstone’s prodigious research. It’s hard to see why it needs to be a comic.



NY - State mulls registry for its violent felons

Original Article

06/08/2011

By Keith Goldberg

Would be similar to sex-offender list

Could New York's violent felony offenders soon join sex offenders on a public watch list?

A bill that would create a registry for anyone convicted of a violent felony offense, including murder, manslaughter, assault, robbery and burglary, is making its way through the state Legislature.

It would be similar to the state's sex offender registry — offenders would have to register upon their release from prison and re-register every year for 10 years.
- Why only 10 years and not life like most sex offenders? And also what about some draconian residency restrictions as well? Why not put all criminals on a registry?

Brittany's Law is named after 12-year-old Brittany Passalacqua, killed along with her mother in upstate Geneva in 2009 by a convicted violent felon on parole.

The bill easily passed the state Senate — our region's three senators voted yes — and now is in the state Assembly.

"I support any legislation that will reduce repeat offenders," said Assemblywoman Aileen Gunther, D-Forestburgh, a co-sponsor. "I think it gives increased protection."
- It's nothing more than a placebo, and will not reduce repeat offenders, watch and see. It's just more politicians exploiting people for their own gain, IMO.

Opponents said the registry punishes offenders after they've legally served their sentence, and could hinder their ability to find housing or employment.

"Why don't we just give them tattoos?" said lawyer David Lindine of the Orange County Legal Aid Society. "They used to do that in Cuba."

In a news release touting the bill's passage last month, the Senate cited studies showing high recidivism rates. In New York, recidivism among parolees, which includes all violent felony offenders, declined 40 percent the last decade, according to Division of Parole data. Parolees accounted for just 3.1 percent of all criminal arrests in the state in 2009, a 25 percent drop from the previous decade.

"That's great, but it doesn't mean the problem is gone," said state Sen. David Carlucci, D-New City. "Should we not pass any more legislation that helps our law enforcement?"
- Hell, why not just give them all the power so they can do anything they want? Make it a Gestapo police state.

There haven't been any studies that conclusively show the impact — positive or negative — of criminal registries, said Ohio State law professor Douglas Berman, an expert in sentencing law.

Their public-relations impact is certainly positive.

"It's a relatively cost-effective way for politicians and public officials to suggest that they're getting tough," Berman said.
- Yes, it helps them further their own career, period, nothing more.

Berman adds the courts generally have been hands-off when it comes to the legality of registries.

"It's been about public safety rather than directed punishment," he said.

One exception was two years ago, when a state Supreme Court judge effectively squashed all local sex offender residency laws, ruling only the state had authority over registered sex offenders.

Just knowing where their attackers live would further empower crime victims, said Pat Bodnar, co-chair of the Orange County Coalition for Crime Victims' Rights.

"I think it gives victims a sense of security, and I think the public has a right to know," Bodnar said.
- It's the placebo effect. It doesn't do anything, but people think it does. And people do NOT have a right to know. Hell, why not put every single criminal on a registry then?


CA - (Corey Wright) New Magazine Publishes Sex Offender Listings

Corey Wright
Original Article

It would seem, Corey Wright has a record of his own. And he also has a Facebook page. Click the "Magazine" link above to see other magazines like this, some who have been sued!

06/07/2011

Magazine Publisher Currently Looking For Advertisers

SACRAMENTO - A Sacramento magazine publisher wants everyone to know about sexual predators who could be living in their neighborhood.
- I wonder if we should publish one about drug offenders in the Sacramento area and publish their photos?

Corey Wright is the publisher of the local 916 edition of Predator Magazine, a publication that features photos of convicted sex offenders.

It'll give parents and grandparents the ability to know what's around the corner,” Wright told KCRA 3.
- That is what the online hit-list registry is suppose to do.  You are just trying to draw attention away from yourself and make a quick buck, IMO.

Wright goes through California’s Megan’s Law website and puts up pictures and information into Predator Magazine.
- And the California registry clearly states the following:

Legal and Illegal Uses. The information on this web site is made available solely to protect the public. Anyone who uses this information to commit a crime or to harass an offender or his or her family is subject to criminal prosecution and civil liability. Any person who is required to register pursuant to Penal Code section 290 who enters this web site is punishable by a fine not exceeding $1,000, imprisonment in a county jail not exceeding six months, or by both the fine and imprisonment. (Pen. Code, § 290.46, subd. (h)(2).)

Wright hopes to print 10,000 fresh copies of Predator Magazine and is currently looking for advertisers.

The magazine would be free and available in area markets and stores, Wright said.
- So is he made of money?  Printing this many copies cost a lot of money.  How is he getting the money to do this, and make it free?

Publishing a magazine that outs convicted child molesters who are trying to blend into a community can have its drawbacks.

"(I get) death threats. Everything kind of surprised me," Wright said. "I thought that this magazine would be welcome by all.


Eminem - Not Afraid

WARNING: Contains adult language, discretion advised!


Video Link

LYRICS:
[Hook]
I'm not afraid (I'm not afraid) to take a stand (to take a stand)
Everybody (everybody) come take my hand (come take my hand)
We’ll walk this road together, through the storm
Whatever weather, cold or warm
Just let'n you know that, you're not alone
Holla if you feel that you've been down the same road

[Intro]
Yeah, it's been a ride…
I guess I had to go to that place to get to this one
Now some of you might still be in that place
If you're trying to get out, just follow me
I'll get you there

[Verse 1]
You can try and read my lyrics off of this paper before I lay ‘em
But you won't take the sting out these words before I say ‘em
Cause ain't no way I'm let you stop me from causing mayhem
When I say I'mma do somethin' I do it, I don't give a damn what you think, I'm doing this for me, so f--- the world
feed it beans, it's gassed up, if it thinks it's stopping me
I'mma be what I set out to be, without a doubt undoubtedly
And all those who look down on me I'm tearing down your balcony
No if, ands or buts don't try to ask him why or how can he
From Infinite down to the last Relapse album he's still s----in' and whether he's on salary, paid hourly
Until he bows out or he s---'s his bowels out of him
Whichever comes first, for better or worse he's married to the game, like a f--- you for Christmas
His gift is a curse, forget the Earth he's got the urge to pull his d--- from the dirt and f--- the whole universe

[Hook]
I'm not afraid (I'm not afraid) to take a stand (to take a stand)
Everybody (everybody) come take my hand (come take my hand)
We’ll walk this road together, through the storm
Whatever weather, cold or warm
Just let'n you know that, you're not alone
Holla if you feel that you've been down the same road

[Verse 2]
Ok, quit playin’ with the scissors and s---, and cut the crap
I shouldn’t have to rhyme these words in the rhythm for you to know it's a rap
You said you was king, you lied through your teeth
For that f--- your feelings, instead of getting crowned you're getting capped
And to the fans, I'll never let you down again, I'm back
I promise to never go back on that promise, in fact let’s be honest, that last Relapse CD was “ehhhh”
Perhaps I ran them accents into the ground
Relax, I ain't going back to that now
All I'm tryna say is get back, click-clack BLAOW
Cause I ain't playin’ around there's a game called circle and I don't know how
I'm way too up to back down
But I think I'm still tryna figure this crap out
Thought I had it mapped out but I guess I didn't
This f---ing black cloud’s still follow’s me around
But it's time to exercise these demons
These motherf---ers are doing jumping jacks now!

[Hook]
I'm not afraid (I'm not afraid) to take a stand (to take a stand)
Everybody (everybody) come take my hand (come take my hand)
We’ll walk this road together, through the storm
Whatever weather, cold or warm
Just let'n you know that, you're not alone
Holla if you feel that you've been down the same road

[Bridge]
And I just can't keep living this way
So starting today, I'm breaking out of this cage
I'm standing up, I'mma face my demond
I'm manning up, I'mma hold my ground
I've had enough, now I'm so fed up
Time to put my life back together right now

[Verse 3]
It was my decision to get clean, I did it for me
Admittedly I probably did it subliminally for you
So I could come back a brand new me, you helped see me through
And don't even realize what you did, believe me you
I been through the ringer, but they can do little to the middle finger
I think I got a tear in my eye, I feel like the king of my world, haters can make like bees with no stingers, and drop dead
No more beef flingers, no more drama from now on, I promise to focus solely on handling my responsibility’s as a father
So I solemnly swear to always treat this roof like my daughters and raise it
You couldn't lift a single shingle on it
Cause the way I feel, I'm strong enough to go to the club
Or the corner pub and lift the whole liquor counter up
Cause I'm raising the bar, I shoot for the moon
But I'm too busy gazing at stars, I feel amazing and...

[Hook]
I'm not afraid (I'm not afraid) to take a stand (to take a stand)
Everybody (everybody) come take my hand (come take my hand)
We’ll walk this road together, through the storm
Whatever weather, cold or warm
Just let'n you know that, you're not alone
Holla if you feel that you've been down the same road


CANADA - Sex offenders site could be tool for vigilantes

Original Article

06/07/2011

TORONTO — Ontario could be the first province in Canada to create a website listing the names and addresses of its registered sex offenders -- a controversial proposal that's sparking a larger debate about whether it's an effective tool to stop crime.

Some experts say it would better protect children from predators, while others are concerned that it may lead to vigilante action or weaken a system that currently allows police to keep track of sex offenders.

If it comes to pass, the election promise by the Progressive Conservatives would go further than any other program in Canada that's designed to warn the public about high-risk offenders.

Alberta is currently the only province that has a website listing the names and photos of high-risk offenders. However, it doesn't provide their addresses for safety reasons.

If they form the next government, the Ontario Tories said they'll post the province's sex offender registry online, allowing public access to the names and locations of 14,100 individuals.

Jim Stephenson, who spearheaded efforts to create the provincial registry after his 11-year-old son Christopher was murdered by a convicted sex offender, opposes the idea.

"I don't think the public should have access to that information at all," he said in an interview.

Ontario has a very successful registry because the vast majority of sex offenders are complying with the law and providing accurate information about where they live, he said. And that's largely because they know the public won't have access to it.

"If that weren't the general thinking, sex offenders would simply not register and say, 'Forget it, I am not going to put my name on a register if the people in my hometown have access to that registry,"' he said.

Police would no longer have any idea where convicted sex offenders were living and "neuter" the registry, he said.

"Public access would be self-defeating to the general public and to law enforcement officers in general," Stephenson said.

Sex offenders can face charges if they don't comply, but provincial offences carry a two-year maximum and they'd likely only serve a year in jail, he noted.

"It's a small price to pay for your supposed freedom, so that no one would know where you are," he added.

Stephenson said he was surprised that the "poorly researched" idea is being floated by the Tories, who rejected it a decade ago when they were in power and created the registry.

It would put a "huge strain" on the administration of the registry, because some of Ontario's registered offenders are also on the national registry -- which isn't public. The conflict could also spark constitutional challenges in court.

"You would have a situation where if the province determined to make the information public, it would be counter to the federal legislation, where right now they're running side-by-side in tandem to provide authorities with the most up-to-date information on convicted and released offenders," he said.

But some experts believe it would do more good than harm. Paul Gillespie, a former Toronto police officer who co-founded the Kids' Internet Safety Alliance, said he supports the idea.

The website is "absolutely needed" to better protect kids from predators, said Gillespie, who headed the Toronto Police's well-known child exploitation unit.

"If people had any idea how many sex offenders were living in their neighbourhoods, they would be astonished, to be very honest with you," he said. "If they're considering buying a house or, in fact, somebody is on their street that might pose a threat, I think they deserve to know, so they can better protect their children."

But people should also ask themselves what might be the "unintended consequences" of making that information public, said Ann Cavoukian, the province's privacy commissioner.

Police already keep tabs on registered sex offenders and have the power to notify the public if there's a potential danger to a community, she said. Providing names and addresses could lead to a fear of retaliation or vigilante action.

"It could possibly lead to greater difficulty on their part, in terms of reintegrating into the community or genuine efforts at rehabilitation," Cavoukian said in an interview. "These are the concerns that come to mind, in my mind. Because if there isn't an enhancement of public safety, but there may be these negative consequences, then it might also lull the public into a false sense of security."

Tory Leader Tim Hudak defended his platform plank, saying people across Ontario are asking for the change.

"I respect there will be those who disagree with this approach," he said. "I just think it is the right thing to do. ... I believe that it's time that Ontario gave this information to parents to help them understand the risks to their young children in their neighbourhoods."

The Alberta website warns the public that the information should "under no circumstances" be used to "injure, harass, or commit a criminal act" against any of the listed individuals.

But there have been examples of vigilantism.

In 2006, a Nova Scotia man killed two American sex offenders before taking his own life after visiting an online registry that listed their names and addresses.

The 20-year-old dishwasher entered his name on the registry in order to get more information about the men, according to U.S. officials.

About 50 American states have similar websites, as well as federal authorities.

"I think it serves several symbolic purposes, but it's not proven that it affects public safety," said Martin Horn, a professor at John Jay College of Criminal Justice in New York and former commissioner of the city's Department of Corrections. "I think there's a logical argument to be made that it might, but I don't think that it's been demonstrated statistically that it does."