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February 21, 2012
They are purposefully depriving him of this opportunity (to shave) so he looks unkempt.
Lawyer Victor Acevedo • Discussing the treatment of his client, teacher Mark Berndt, who stands accused of doing unspeakable things to his Miramonte Elementary School students. (Trigger warning on that link.) Berndt pleaded not guilty today in court, and his lawyer says that Berndt’s disheveled appearance prevented him from going in front of court with dignity. Acevedo also complained that his jailers identified Berndt as a child molester over the jail’s loudspeaker. “We cannot have the sheriff’s department deputies acting in such a way to essentially put a bull’s-eye on his head,” he told reporters after the hearing. The sheriff’s office took the claim seriously, investigating the complaint, which was denied by jail officials.
19:55 // 2 years ago
February 9, 2012
Currently jumping from roof to roof: This guy, currently chillin’ in Westwood, Los Angeles, California. Happening live. Watch here.

Currently jumping from roof to roof: This guy, currently chillin’ in Westwood, Los Angeles, California. Happening live. Watch here.

11:53 // 2 years ago
February 8, 2012

Big successive days for marriage equality movement

  • yesterday A three-judge panel of the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals struck down California’s Proposition 8, the gay marriage ban which voters approved in 2008. As we noted, the ruling didn’t endorse same-sex marriage as a right, but said voters had no rational reason to prohibit it; a step forward regardless.
  • today Washington’s state legislature passed, by a vote of 55-43, a bill that legalizes same-sex marriage. The bill will almost assuredly face a legal challenge by opposing advocacy groups, but Democratic Governor Chris Gregoire will likely sign it into law at some point during the next week. source

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20:23 // 2 years ago
Judge Reinhardt does not hold there is a right to same sex marriage, only that CA had no rational reason to take away the label of marriage for use by gay and lesbian couples after the state had had already given it. By crafting the argument in this way, and making the case that the only reason for passing Prop. 8 was anti-gay animus, Judge Reinhardt has given Justice Kennedy a way to decide the case without embracing a major holding recognizing a right to same sex marriage generally.
Rick Hansen • Regarding the nature of the 9th Circuit Court’s ruling on Proposition 8 earlier today. Hansen is suggesting that Judge Reinhardt cast the ruling in an intentionally narrow sense so as to make it easier for Justice Kennedy, the Supreme Court’s most notorious swing voter, to uphold it on appeal. The distinction we made earlier could thus affect the future of gay marriage in California. In short, court rulings often possess a strategic, as well as a legal, foundation. source (viafollow)
2:00 // 2 years ago
February 7, 2012

Some important nuance regarding Proposition 8

A quick note about today’s prop 8 ruling: While the court did rule in favor of gay marriage, the court did not assert that gay marriage is a fundamental or constitutional right. That’s not the angle the court was coming from, and in fact, it intentionally deferred answering that question. Rather, the ruling rested on two assertions. One, the notion that US Constitution requires a “legitimate reason” for states to pass laws that treat “different classes of people differently.” Two, the fact that “under California statutory law, same-sex couples had all the rights of opposite-sex couples, regardless of their marital status.” Because of this fact, Proposition 8 serves only and exclusively to “lessen the status and human dignity of gays and lesbians in California.” The court ruled that this isn’t “legitimate reason,” and therefore, is unconstitutional. As we’ll explain later, this nuance has significant implications for future court rulings. source

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18:30 // 2 years ago
February 6, 2012
20:35 // 2 years ago

Amid molestation scandals, parents keep Miramonte Elementary students home

  • 73% of Miramonte students showed up Monday source

» And parents were protesting outside: Roughly three dozen parents and supporters protested outside the L.A.-area school Monday, which has been rocked by two shocking but unrelated allegations of sexual molestation. The first case, involving a former teacher accused of doing unspeakable things to his students (note: trigger warning), was shocking enough; the second case, involving a teacher active until last week, only worsened things, as the allegations against him came out only as a result of the first case. The initial allegations did not lead to parents keeping their children home en masse (as the school had over 90 percent attendance throughout last week), but the second case, however, did. Low attendance hurts the school’s funding, so this hurt financially, but the school will also close Tuesday and Wednesday for emergency staff meetings, so the pain could go even deeper for the school. And things might go deeper: A third allegation at a different school in the region led to the arrest of a janitor.

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20:03 // 2 years ago
February 3, 2012

Second teacher accused of molestation at Los Angeles-area school

  • Monday Los Angeles’ Miramonte Elementary School was cast under a pall after unspeakable allegations against one of its third-grade teachers, Mark Berndt, surfaced. We covered the allegations over here. (Note: Trigger warning.) Let’s just say it’s not pretty, and was so bad that his $2.3 million bail was increased tenfold later in the week.
  • Thursday Another student, inspired by the arrest of Berndt, came forward in regards to another teacher at the school. The teacher has been removed from their duties while the investigation continues. Also, word that Berdnt was investigated for molestation in 1994 has surfaced, leading to much anger at the school district. source

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16:31 // 2 years ago
January 31, 2012

Unspeakable: L.A. teacher arrested, accused of disturbing lewd acts

Trigger warning: We have to warn you that this story is NOT pleasant, so please take care when reading.

Mark Berndt, a 61-year-old teacher who taught for three decades at Miramonte Elementary School in South L.A., is accused of lewd acts with 23 children between the ages of 7 and 10 — allegedly tying children up and putting giant cockroaches on their faces. And something else we’re not going to print. Berndt, who was fired in March and is being held on a $2.3 million bail, wasn’t caught as the result of children coming forward, but a photo-processor who turned pictures of some of the heinous acts over to the authorities. The L.A. Times has more, including a felony complaint. This is just appalling.

13:32 // 2 years ago
January 29, 2012
Whenever journalists are arrested/detained for reporting the news, everyone’s freedom is at risk.
KGO Radio reporter Kristin Hanes • Discussing her arrest late Saturday as the Occupy Oakland protests flared up. She and Gavin Aronson of Mother Jones were among the over 200 people placed into custody Saturday night, as the Oakland protests reached a new breaking point — including the burning of an American flag. Both mayor Jean Quan and the police were quick to pin negative attention on the protesters: “The Bay Area Occupy Movement has got to stop using Oakland as their playground,” Quan said in a statement. However, it’s important to keep in mind the nature of the police actions — including violence towards protesters and the use of tear gas grenades. An OpenSalon writer has a pretty informative first-person piece worth reading, which describes both the nature of the protesters (not as bad as reported) and why things flared up Saturday. source (viafollow)
10:58 // 2 years ago