Advocates for Gay Marriage in Maryland Speak Out

Good for them.
At a press conference at the Maryland chapter of the National Association of Social Workers, representatives of the professional groups stressed there is extensive, consistent scientific evidence showing that children raised by lesbian and gay couples develop as well as children raised by heterosexual couples.

"The evidence is clear: No matter how you measure it, children raised by same-sex couples are no different from their peers raised by opposite-sex couples. In areas such as social development, psychological functioning, cognitive ability, and adjustment, there is no difference when comparing these kids," said Dr. Paul Clavelle, President of the Maryland Psychological Association.
I would be very proud if the Maryland Court of Appeals upheld the decision of Judge M. Brook Murdoch. Her reasoning makes a lot sense to me.
"After much study and serious reflection, this court holds that Maryland's statutory prohibition against same-sex marriage cannot withstand constitutional challenge," Murdock wrote in her decision.

"When tradition is the guise under which prejudice or animosity hides, it is not a legitimate state interest," the judgment said.

Update: Republic of T has an interesting take on same-sex marriage and the difficulties of state-by-state legalization.

Baltimore Sun jumps on the bandwagon

The Sun has picked up the witness murder story I blogged about yesterday, as well as the "Stupid witnesses get what they deserve" meme, and shame on them for it.
Cooperating with authorities - though vital to the criminal justice system - can be dangerous.


But many Baltimore witnesses aren't accepting help. Some, like the Dawsons, refuse to leave their dangerous neighborhoods. Still more witnesses, like Dowery, participate only halfway, agreeing to relocate but returning to their old haunts, witness coordinators say.
Halfway? Are you kidding me? From the same story:

After watching his friend rob drug dealers in his East Baltimore neighborhood and then overhearing the dealers' bosses discuss killing the robber, Dowery agreed to become a witness in a city murder case.

Dowery was shot at least six times outside his home in October 2005 in what police believe was an attempt to silence him, but he testified anyway. When the case became federal this year, he agreed to help with that, too.

Ah yes, risking your life multiple times in the interest of justice is "going halfway" for the Sun. What more could Mr. Dowery have done short of raising the murdered men from the dead?

Rep. Cummings even joins the party:
"You can give someone all the witness protection you want, but if someone wants to go back to their neighborhood, what can you do?" said Rep. Elijah E. Cummings, a Baltimore Democrat who has proposed legislation to beef up local witness protection programs.


Cummings introduced legislation that would help give states a version of witness protection more like the federal program. The legislation has languished for almost two years in a House subcommittee, but with the Democrats about to assume power in Washington, Cummings said he plans to reintroduce it in January.

State's Attorney Patricia C. Jessamy has said she supports Cummings' bill. She said she wants witness protection to be handled statewide and run by the Maryland State Police, instead of individual state's attorney's offices. The goal, she said, would be to give Baltimore witnesses the same sense of security that federal witnesses have.
What is disturbing is what Rep. Cummings acknowledges without even saying or meaning to. He acknowledges that the police have NO CONTROL over the violence in the city. Its assumed that Mr. Dowery's returning to his neighborhood might as well have been a suicide attempt. As if it is Mr. Dowery's fault that he was murdered, not that of the spineless criminals that shot a father of nine. Those criminals are an afterthought. They most likely won't be caught, and no one seems to care.

All the state cares about is keeping their witnesses alive long enough to testify, and if those witnesses DARE TO GET MURDERED, they probably had it coming.


Witness Slaying Underscores... Something

Another witness has been murdered in Baltimore. Just try to guess who he was witnessing against.
Dowery's involvement with the justice system began Oct. 13, 2004, as he stood in his doorway. His friend James Wise told him about a plan to rob drug dealers. Dowery tried to talk Wise and Wise's younger companion out of it, but he watched as they went through with the plan.

Then Dowery said he saw the drug dealers' bosses hop into a car and chase after the robbers. He read in the newspaper that Wise had been killed. He decided to tell police what he knew and that he would testify.
Mr. Dowery, a father of 9 had come into the city to be with his relatives for thanksgiving. He was shot after dinner at a corner bar. Of course, the police blame him for having the audacity to visit his family.
Dowery was warned by local and federal authorities not to go back to his old neighborhood, but a major problem in protecting witnesses is keeping them from returning to their homes.

"We cannot take their safety more seriously than they take their own safety," said Gloria Luckett, a victim-witness assistance coordinator for the Baltimore State's Attorney's Office.
This is insanity.

The Examiner has the gall to say in their headline that this slaying "underscores Baltimore's problem with witness intimidation." I disagree. It underscores Baltimore's problem with drugs being illegal.

Now, I must admit, this post is coming one day after watching a rather moving episode of HBO's The Wire. If you are reading this and are not familiar with the show, you are doing yourself a great disservice. If you live in Baltimore, and have the desire to see this city live and breath again, you must watch this show.

Yeah, the show is fiction, but the streets they shoot it on are real. The witness slayings, the demonization of witnesses within sections of the Black community are real. The bodies (269 last year, about the same this year) and the ruined lives are definitely real. The culture that has been created by the criminalization of drugs is real and pervasive.

But what can Baltimore do (what can any city really do)? Drugs aren't going anywhere. They are an extremely profitable business, just ask Anheuser-Busch or R.J. Reynolds. I seriously doubt that I will live to see any comprehensive drug policy reform in the country, which is a terrible shame. Baltimore will not heal until drugs are legalized. Neither will Detroit or St. Louis or any town afflicted by the ills of the illegal drug trade. I really wish that there were other options, but I just can't think of any.

It has taken a few years for much of the public to realize the War in Iraq is a losing battle. That our policies are doing more harm than good. That our policies are getting people killed in huge numbers. I wonder when Americans will begin to examine our own war at home and what the policies of that war are doing to Americans every day?


Oh Newt...

He sure does care about free speech.

So much so, that the folks who hold the "Nackey S. Loeb First Amendment award dinner" thought that Former Speaker Gingrich deserved an award for protecting free speech.

Newt gave a speech at the dinner and in it he laid out his vision for the future of free speech in America. As you might have expected, Newt is a stalwart protector of the constitution.
Former Speaker of the House Newt Gingrich yesterday said the country will be forced to reexamine freedom of speech to meet the threat of terrorism.

Gingrich, speaking at a Manchester awards banquet, said a "different set of rules" may be needed to reduce terrorists' ability to use the Internet and free speech to recruit and get out their message.

"We need to get ahead of the curve before we actually lose a city, which I think could happen in the next decade," said Gingrich, a Republican who helped engineer the GOP's takeover of Congress in 1994.

See, Former Speaker Gingrich gets it. He knows that if we don't curtail free speech soon, we could lose a whole American city. Thank god he is still considering a run for President in 2008.

We need a Commander in Chief who is willing to ask the tough questions. Questions like, "Who really needs this first amendment anyway!?"


Who is Really Investing In Baltimore's Youth?

Juvenile Drug Trade "On the Rise" in Baltimore City

Once again, its clear that Baltimore's Drug traffickers are investing more in the youth Baltimore than anyone else.
“The number of juveniles in the felony drug distribution and possession of narcotics is alarming,” said James Green, director of special projects for Baltimore City police. “It is a huge indicator to other acts of crime and violence.”

Last month, Baltimore City police arrested 133 juveniles on charges of either distribution of illegal drugs or possession of drugs with intent to distribute. Suspects ages 12, 13 and 14 were arrested on distribution of cocaine charges. A 13-year-old and two 14-year-olds were arrested on distribution of heroin charges.

Why are these teens getting involved with selling drugs? Its OBVIOUS that they have no choice:

“These kids are often facilitating a violent drug organization at the request of adults who use young kids so they can escape ... prosecution,” Burns said.

See, its all at the request of adults. All the adults have to do is "request" that their kids stay home from school (its always difficult to convince a 13 year old to stay home from school) and then "request" that they go out and make oodles of non-taxable income.

Of course, Director of Special projects for the Baltimore City Police has come up with an innovative solution that is sure to have the situation under control in the next few weeks:

The best tool for suppressing the juvenile drug trade and its related problems is keeping youth in school, Green said.

Wonderful. Send the teens back to school, where they know they are appreciated and adequately funded.