Major win for rape victims – Obama admin updates definition of rape

Today the Obama administration announced that it is updating the formal definition of rape. This move will help many rape victims who were previously unaccounted for achieve justice against their perpetrators and will more accurately reflect the extent of the problem of sexual crimes in our country.

Attorney General Eric Holder today announced revisions to the Uniform Crime Report’s (UCR) definition of rape, which will lead to a more comprehensive statistical reporting of rape nationwide. The new definition is more inclusive, better reflects state criminal codes and focuses on the various forms of sexual penetration understood to be rape. The new definition of rape is: “The penetration, no matter how slight, of the vagina or anus with any body part or object, or oral penetration by a sex organ of another person, without the consent of the victim.” The definition is used by the FBI to collect information from local law enforcement agencies about reported rapes.…
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Benton Harbor Emergency Manager Joe Harris shuts down city radio station

Benton Harbor Emergency Manager Joe Harris shuttered the city’s only radio station this week, citing “efficient use of the city’s resources”.

Two Benton Harbor city commissioners threatened the city’s emergency manager with a lawsuit Wednesday after he shuttered the city’s radio station.

The low-power FM radio station WBHC-LP 96.5, which is broadcast out of City Hall, shut down Jan. 1. [...] [Commissioner Juanita Henry] Henry said Wednesday night the radio station, which played music and had programs hosted by Commissioners Muhammad, Henry and Dennis Knowles, was not a burden on the city’s budget, but had its own funding.

The radio station gave the Benton Harbor residents what they always ask for – a communication link between citizens and city officials, Henry said.

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Benton Harbor still deep in the red. Is the magic of an Emergency Manager simply not enough?

Joe Harris has been on the job as Emergency Manager in Benton Harbor for over a year and a half now. However, a recent report indicates the success he is credited for at “turning Benton Harbor around” may not be based in fact. Michigan Radio has this important story.

The State Treasurer’s office is reviewing an independent audit of Benton Harbor’s finances for the 2011 fiscal year. The audit shows the city still spent more money than it made during its first year under a state appointed emergency manager.

The audit shows Benton Harbor Emergency Manager Joe Harris cut the yearly operating deficit by about $126,000 from when elected city leaders were governing.

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Governor Rick Snyder sued by ACLU and the Oakland County Democratic Party

[UPDATE: I have corrected this post to indicate that the Oakland County Democrats are the ones suing Governor Snyder over the redistricting there, not the Michigan Democratic Party as I initially (and incorrectly) wrote.]

Governor Rick Snyder is facing two impending lawsuits. One is from the ACLU over new law prohibiting health insurance benefits for to same-sex partners of public employees. The other is from the Michigan Oakland County Democratic Party over a recent redistricting of Oakland County.

The ACLU’s suit challenges the new ban on same-sex partner benefits as “wrong, discriminatory, and unconstitutional” because its impact is limited only to same-sexcouples.…

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Some good news for Detroit: Chrysler adds shift, 1,100 jobs at Jefferson plant

Good news is hard to come by in Detroit these days but, yesterday, they got some very good news. Chrysler announced it is adding a third shift at the Jefferson Assembly Plant, restoring 1,100 jobs.

Chrysler Group LLC said Thursday that it will add a third shift — with 1,100 new jobs — at its Jefferson North Assembly Plant in Detroit to meet growing demand for its Jeep Grand Cherokee, which will be offered in a diesel version for the North American market.

The shift would start in early 2013, according to Chrysler. Hiring will not begin immediately, and applications will only be accepted through Chrysler’s employment website at

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The Onion: “Obama Openly Asks Nation Why On Earth He Would Want To Serve For Another Term”

Scarily believable (unlike New Hampshire Republicans sponsoring a bill requiring that new legislation reference the fucking Magna Carta):

PITTSBURGH—Citing three years of exhausting partisan politics, constant gridlock in Congress, and an overall feeling that the entire nation has “completely lost it,” President Barack Obama openly asked a campaign-rally crowd Tuesday why he’d want to serve another term as president of “this godforsaken country.”

“My fellow Americans, I come to you today to ask, why?” Obama said to 1,200 people gathered inside a gymnasium at Taylor Allderdice High School. “Why can’t our congressional leaders work together to create jobs? Why can’t Wall Street ever be held accountable?

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New Hampshire Republicans jump the shark, introduce bill mandating laws reference the Magna Carta

I couldn’t believe this was true when I read it at Angry Black Lady Chronicles. Sadly, it is.

As in other lines of work, lunchtime discussions among lawmakers at the State House often spur ideas. Sometimes those ideas become bills. And sometimes those bills seemed less strange over lunch.

House Bill 1580 is the product of such a brainstorming session this summer between three freshman House Republicans: Bob Kingsbury of Laconia, Tim Twombly of Nashua and Lucien Vita of Middleton. The eyebrow-raiser, set to be introduced when the Legislature reconvenes next month, requires legislation to find its origin in an English document crafted in 1215.

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Imposition of yet another Emergency Manager in Michigan + other EM news

The Emergency Manager juggernaut continues to roll unabated in Michigan. In early December, I reported that Muskegon Heights school district was requesting an Emergency Manager and that a state review had been initiated.

Yesterday, the Snyder administration added Highland Park schools to the list.

An emergency manager may soon take charge of the Highland Park School District. A state review panel today recommended the governor appoint someone to fix the school district’s “financial emergency.”

The financial review team has been looking at the Highland Park School District’s books since November.

The panel’s report to the governor finds the school district is $11 million in the red.

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