The law that let her abuser go


By Fallon Williams
Brookline, Massachusetts

Honor Jennifer Martel: Protect Victims of Abuse

27-year-old Jennifer Martel was a caring mom to a little girl. Working her way through college, Jennifer hoped to become an elementary school teacher. Jennifer’s boyfriend had a long history of criminal activity, including domestic violence, yet was released on his own recognizance after smashing Jennifer’s head into a mirror Tuesday, Aug. 13. Just two nights later, he was found covered in blood after stabbing Jennifer to death in the presence of their four-year-old daughter and neighbors.

While Massachusetts is at the forefront of the war against domestic violence, the recent murder of Jennifer Martel highlights a gaping flaw in the current system. Under M.G.L. 276 sec. 58A, offenders can be released on their own recognizance, without any bail set, within 24 hours of an assault. An emergency restraining ordered was issued against Jennifer’s assailant, but since Jennifer did not appear in court the day after she was attacked, her assailant was released without bail on his on recognizance.

When I heard about Jennifer’s murder, I was moved to create this petition. It seems senseless that this beautiful, caring young woman is gone. Something must be done to ensure this never happens again. As a child, I was a victim of domestic violence and witnessed the abuse of my birth-mother as well. Luckily, my father was able to remove me from the situation. Most children are not so lucky.

Females murdered by a current or former partner account for 30% of homicides against women each year. In many instances of intimate partner homicide, domestic violence is a precursor to murder. More often than not, victims of domestic violence do not take action against their abusers for a number of reasons, including fear of retaliation. Known abusers should not be allowed to walk free without bail within 24 hours of a repeat offense. Special concern should be warranted when there is a child in the home, as well.

I am asking for your signature on this petition, in order to prompt the Commonwealth of Massachusetts to close the loophole that allows repeat, violent offenders to be released without immediate consequence, putting their victims and the public at risk.

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Doubling Down


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The GOP’s Anti-Obamacare Dead-Enders

The American people are not happy with the GOP for inflicting a government shutdown that cost $24 BILLION on the country in a failed and mean-spirited attempt to deny affordable health insurance to millions of Americans. A new memo from former Obama campaign pollster Joel Benenson presents an “array of public polling from a wide variety of outlets” demonstrating that the GOP’s effort to undermine Obamacare has hurt the party “on every front”:

– A Quinnipiac poll shows that 58% oppose Congress cutting off funding for the health care law to stop its implementation.

– Kaiser’s tracking poll has consistently found strong opposition to scrapping the health care law.  In late September, 56% disapproved of cutting off funding to the ACA.

– CBS / NY Times pollsters found 56% of voters want Congress to uphold the law and make it work as well as possible, compared to just 38% who want to stop it by defunding it.

– According to NBC/WSJ, only 39% support eliminating federal funding for the law while 50% oppose.

– In Gallup’s recent polling, just 29% want the law repealed, while 64% want it kept as it is, or kept with some changes.

– Even Tea Party supporters knew the Republican strategy was doomed, with a Fox News poll showing that 54% believed that the ACA would remain the law in spite of attempts to defund it.

In view of the unpopularity of their strategy and complete and total failure of the GOP to accomplish anything with their 16-day shutdown (other than sabotaging the economy and causing pain for millions of Americans) and more than 40 Obamacare repeal votes, one would think they’d shift gears.

One would be wrong. Even after the disastrous shutdown, the most prominent Obamacare opponents are simply doubling down on their failed campaign against the law:

Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX): The Tea Party lawmaker was the primary architect of the GOP’s shutdown strategy. But now that it’s failed, Cruz won’t admit defeat. “I would do anything, and I will continue to do anything, to stop the train wreck that is Obamacare,” he said on Thursday. He has also hinted that he hasn’t ruled out pushing for another government shutdown over Obamacare.

Sen. David Vitter (R-LA): Vitter tried to use the funding negotiations to push through an Obamacare-related amendment that would ultimately force Congress members and their staff to pay more for their health plans under the law. He was unsuccessful, and the final agreement didn’t include his amendment. But Vitter isn’t fazed and promises to keep pushing to amend the law anyway. “I’m not going away, and this issue is certainly not going away,” Vitter said on Fox News this week.

Sen. Marco Rubio (R-FL): Speaking on the Senate floor over the summer, Rubio told his colleagues that shutting down the government represented “our last chance and our last best chance” to undermine Obamacare. Now, the senator is saying that Republicans will keep fighting anyway. This week, he told Fox News that there is going to an “all-out revolt” next year, once the rest of Obamacare’s major provisions take root. “And that is, I think, the moment to absolutely act and say we are going to get rid of this law and then look for opportunities in the future to replace it,” Rubio said.

The Heritage Foundation: During the shutdown battle, Heritage’s political arm told its supporters that it needed their support because “we only have one more chance to repeal Obamacare.” The group didn’t deliver. Now, Heritage is simply assuring its supporters that it won’t stop fighting the law. The group’s president, Jim DeMint, published an op-ed this week claiming that most Americans’ lives “are not dominated by the electoral cycle,” so those people “shouldn’t have to wait three more years for Congress to give them relief from this law.”

FreedomWorks: The right-wing group recently claimed that shutting down the government “may be the last best chance to defund Obamacare before it goes into effect.” Rather than adjusting their strategy, the group is now planning rallies to discourage young Americans from signing up for health coverage. The group says that Obamacare will still be a losing issue for Democrats up for re-election in red states — although outside polling has shown that the shutdown fiasco has made more than a dozen House seats more winnable for Democrats.

BOTTOM LINE: Albert Einstein once said that the definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting a different result. The American people are sending Republicans a message loud and clear: stop the insanity on Obamacare.

The Shutdown was a Symptom


Media Matters for America

“There can be no liberty for a community which lacks the means by which to detect lies.” – journalist Walter Lippmann. As long as the conservative media machine pushes lie after lie upon its viewers, symptoms like the shutdown will keep happening.

John Whitehouse Twitter: @existentialfish

Were They Even Paying Attention?

The Republican government shutdown of 2013 has caused at least $24 billion worth of damage to the American economy. How does Fox News respond to that? By pretending the damage doesn’t exist: http://mm4a.org/1aPendT Related: On Sunday, Megyn Kelly declared that Fox News does not lean right: http://mm4a.org/1gCvLY4 By Wednesday, Kelly was openly advocating the Republican position on the debt: http://mm4a.org/1cvp6wh

It’s Never Them, Is it?

In the wake of the failure of the radical shutdown strategy, conservatives whined that the strategy they advocated for didn’t fail, — they were betrayed. http://mm4a.org/19PJ988 Related: How did we even get here? If you’re looking for one man to blame, blame Rush Limbaugh: http://mm4a.org/17kGL5h

Treating Opinions As Facts

Schoolchildren do not get to claim that their wrong answers on a math test are just their opinions. And yet, that’s the same logic the news media uses when mainstreaming climate lies. The latest outlet to fall for this is USA Today. Shauna Theel explains their error: http://mm4a.org/19LK9u1

FEATURED VIDEO

Appearing on Fox News Sunday, Juan Williams blasted the conservative “media bubble” causing hyper partisanship: http://youtu.be/PtLnrH8zg7s

AFTER IT’S NEWS

The second episode of Media Matters original web series After It’s News is live on Youtube! Check it out: http://youtu.be/XDC8XbZfviU

CHRONICALLY WRONG

Economist Dean Baker excoriates Niall Ferguson for being chronically wrong about the economy, from Ferguson’s inflation fearmongering to his attacks on the stimulus and more: http://huff.to/19TcAGD

IMAGE OF THE WEEK


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