Jailing rape victims who refuse to testify v. protecting personal agency

It’s not uncommon for rape victims to suffer at the hands of the justice system for reporting the crime committed against them. They’re interrogated about their clothing and behavior when they were raped, they’re accused of lying, and frequently they have to watch as the authorities half-ass the investigation and then throw up their hands and dismiss it as he-said, she-said. The courts in New Orleans go even further, though, as rape victims, and other victims of violent crime, can be — and have been — jailed for refusing to testify against their rapist in court. And too many people are okay with that.

Let’s talk about inspiration pr0n.

Rebecca Schmitt, Rashema Mason, Griffin Furlong, and Crystal Tarbell are incredible young people — they endured homelessness and incredible emotional hardship to become valedictorian at their high school and earn college scholarships. Their stories make for inspirational, heartwarming reads — unless you pause long enough to ask, “In what world should a girl and her family end up homeless because they can’t afford her mother’s cancer treatment?”

Ugh, “presidential”

WASHINGTON, DC - FEBRUARY 28: (AFP OUT) U.S. President Donald Trump arrives to deliver an address to a joint session of the U.S. Congress on February 28, 2017 in the House chamber of the U.S. Capitol in Washington, DC. Trump's first address to Congress is expected to focus on national security, tax and regulatory reform, the economy, and healthcare. (Photo by Jim Lo Scalzo - Pool/Getty Images)

Following Donald Trump’s address to the joint session of Congress Tuesday night, the news media — left and right — have been falling all over themselves about how presidential he sounded.

And it’s true that the address was decidedly un-Trumpian. He didn’t talk about his electoral margin. He didn’t bash Hillary Clinton or Barack Obama. He didn’t denigrate the media. He even refrained from doing the thing where he repeats the ends of sentences like a kindergarten teacher reading aloud to the class. But from the media response, you would think his accurate script read and bare minimum of restraint was the Gettysburg Address meets the Sermon on the Mount meets MLK having a dream.

International Holocaust Remembrance Day

It seems appropriate, in that horrible way that sometimes things seem darkly appropriate, that it’s on International Holocaust Remembrance Day that Donald Trump signed an executive action limiting the flow of refugees into the U.S. It’s called “Protection Of The Nation From Foreign Terrorist Entry Into The United States,” but like so many other duplicitously named bills, it’s less about protecting the country than keeping out Others, banning certain refugees, suspending the refugee program, more than halving the number of refugees who will be allowed into the country, and prioritizing Christian refugees over Muslims.

It’s horrible-appropriate because 80 years ago, those same policies, and those same actions, for those same reasons, turned away thousands of Jewish refugees who were left to die in the concentration camps of Nazi-occupied Europe.

Week 1 in the Trump White House: So that happened.

In case the blackening of the skies, shaking of the earth, and disembodied screams of the damned didn’t clue you in, Donald J. Trump was inaugurated as the 45th president of the United States one week ago today. (Just kidding; as Trump himself will tell you, there were no blackened skies because the rain stopped and the sun came out the moment he started speaking.)