Although most returning citizens in Maryland are allowed to vote, proposed legislation would require that those convicted of a felony receive voter information before being released from prison.
The legislation seeks to mandate the state’s Department of Public Safety and Correctional Services provide a voter registration form, voting requirements and other information before an inmate is released.
The bill, sponsored by Sen. Cheryl Kagan (D-Montgomery County), will be discussed at a public hearing Tuesday, Jan. 28 before the Senate’s Education, Health and Environmental Affairs Committee.
The House Ways and Means Committee reviewed the bill Thursday, Jan. 16 sponsored by Del. J. Sandy Bartlett (D-Anne Arundel County).
“There are many individuals walking on the street who don’t know they have their rights restored,” Bartlett said. “This bill will at least be more proactive and supply the voter registration information because the law states we must do so.”
The bill doesn’t allow voting rights for those convicted of a felony currently serving court-ordered sentences; individuals diagnosed with a mental disability unable to comprehend “a desire to participate in the voting process;” and a person convicted of buying or selling votes.
Del. Jason Buckel (R-Alleghany County) read a portion of the Department of Corrections’ regulations that claims the agency posts notices for inmates, offers absentee ballots and receive voter information while incarcerated.
“It seems to me that we are already bending over backwards to notify people who are already incarcerated that they have these rights,” he said. “Is this really going to have any impact? If someone wants to vote, they have the right to vote.”
Criminal justice reform advocates and activists have said both the state correctional institutions and board of election office don’t offer enough assistance for returning citizens.
Stephen Buckingham explained his client encountered problems during a visit to the Frederick County Board of Elections office.
Buckingham, an attorney who serves as lay community minister and chair with the Unitarian Universalist Legislative Ministry of Maryland, said his client got released from prison six years ago and still hasn’t received documentation to show he’s a free man and can vote.
“He doesn’t have the papers to say, ‘you are now released.’” Buckingham said. “This is a real problem, folks. This man needs to have his life back.”
Similar legislation has been crafted by the ACLU of Maryland and other organizations, which hosted an “Expand the Ballot” town hall Monday, Jan. 20 at Lanham United Methodist Church in Lanham to present the proposed bill and discuss voting rights for returning citizens and those currently incarcerated.
The legislation seeks to direct the state department of corrections work in conjunction with state and local board of election offices and create a voter information program.
The bill would require the state Board of Elections to incorporate a program for returning citizens and inmates such as disseminating voter information at least 30 days prior to the registration deadline. Eligible inmates are those convicted of misdemeanor offenses or who are being held pretrial without a conviction.
According to the ACLU, Blacks represent 70 percent of the prison population in Maryland but are 31 percent of the overall state populace. About one-third, or an average of 8,000, of those incarcerated are from Baltimore City.
Tierra Bradford, policy manager for Common Cause Maryland, said a mandate must be established.
“Policies like the one [Bartlett] is trying to implement and policies like the one we’re trying to implement are necessary for people who are eligible to vote [and] are giving a chance to vote,” said Bradford, whose organization also helped craft the bill with the ACLU. “I’m concerned that there’s no implementation of a policy [from the state department of corrections.]”
Bartlett said she’s open to compromise and work with the group’s bill “because it doesn’t conflict with what the ACLU is doing. More people registered to vote, the better.”
Basketball legend Kobe Bryant’s helicopter pilot was given approval to fly in weather conditions considered dangerous enough for Los Angeles Police to ground its own fleet, it has emerged.
Bryant, 41, was killed along with his 13-year-old daughter and seven others when his Sikorsky S-76 helicopter crashed into the rugged hillside outside Los Angeles on Sunday.
The cause of the crash is still being investigated, but audio of a radio conversation between the pilot, identified as Ara Zobayan, and an air traffic control tower has revealed the helicopter requested to fly under “special visual flight rules” (SVFR).
The special clearance allows a pilot to fly in weather conditions worse than those allowed for standard flights. In chilling audio of the conversation, the control tower can be heard warning the pilot that he is flying “too low for flight following” shortly before the fatal crash.
Conditions at the time were such that the Los Angeles Police Department and the county sheriff’s department decided to grounded their own helicopters, with LAPD spokesman Josh Rubenstein telling the Los Angeles Times that the weather “did not meet our minimum standards for flying”.
Prince Andrew has not responded to FBI following its requests for an interview about his friendship with Jeffrey Epstein, it was claimed on Monday night.
Geoffrey Berman, a US attorney, said federal prosecutors and the FBI had asked to interview the Duke about the late paedophile billionaire, but had been met with a wall of silence despite the Duke previously saying he would talk to investigators if required.
“The Southern District of New York and the FBI have contacted Prince Andrew’s attorneys and requested to interview him, and to date he has provided zero co-operation,” he said.
It was reported that the FBI had been trying to speak to the Duke since last November.
Buckingham Palace declined to comment.
A source said the issue was being dealt with by the Duke’s legal team.
Otto Penzler, the president and CEO of MysteriousPress.com and the owner of the Mysterious Bookshop in New York City, says that his anthologies of short stories sell quite well.
He is the editor of a good number of anthologies, such as “The Big Book of Reel Murders: Stories That Inspired Great Crime Films,” which I reviewed here, as well as “The Big Book of Pulps,” “The Big Book of Female Detectives,” “The Big Book of Sherlock Holmes Stories” and “The Big Book of Jack the Ripper.” He also edits “The Best American Mystery Stories of the Year” series, the “Best American Crime Reporting” series, and other collections.
Otto Penzler has for decades been the champion of crime stories. The Mystery Writers of America presented him with two Edgar Awards, one for his “Encyclopedia of Mystery and Detection” in 1977 and another for “The Lineup” in 2010. The Mystery Writers of America also presented him with the Ellery Queen Award in 1994 and the Raven, the organization’s highest non-writing award, in 2003.
I asked Otto Penzler how “The Big Book” series began.
“It started when a British publisher asked if I could do a collection of pulp stories,” Mr. Penzler recalled. “He said do one on detectives. I barely started and he said do another one on women in pulps, and then while you’re at it, do one on villains. I produced three books and each one was about 500 pages. My agent saw these and said we should get an American publisher. The editor of Vintage liked the books and wanted to make them into one big book. He published the first “Big Book,” “The Big Book of Pulps.”
Otto Penzler said the book was so successful that his editor asked him to next edit “The Big Book of Black Masks Stories.”
“The ‘Big Books’ are a terrific bargain,” Mr. Penzler said. “It is like buying six books.”
I asked him how he selected the stories for his anthologies.
“I’ve been doing this for more than 50 years. I’ve been a reader, a collector, an editor, a publisher, and a book seller,” Mr. Penzler said. “I’ve read voraciously for many years and my collection is nearly 60,000 volumes of first editions of mystery, thriller, espionage and suspense.
“I have a phenomenal library to pick from and I start by finding the subject I’m working on — let’s say, female detectives. I have a big reference library as well, and I find all the authors who are appropriate, and I pull off the books and I start reading. For most of the books I read between 400 and 500 stories and then pick the stories that I think are the best, which means my favorites.”
Otto Penzler began as a copy boy at the New York Daily News in 1963 and he moved up to become a sportswriter. In 1969 he moved over to ABC Sports and became the director of publicity and later worked as a news writer for the “Reasoner Report” with Harry Reasoner. He moved on to become a freelance writer and started the Mysterious Press.
With a partner, he bought a building in New York for the Mysterious Press and realizing that he had a good deal of vacant space, he thought it would be fun to open a book shop.
“I didn’t know anything about publishing when I started, and I didn’t know anything about running a book shop,” Mr. Penzler said.
Mr. Penzler said that the late, great crime novelist Raymond Chandler was the person responsible for his tremendous affection for mystery fiction.
“When I read Raymond Chandler, I said this is real literature.” Mr. Penzler said. “Suddenly, the plots became less important to me. With other mystery writers, the plot was essential, the raison d’etre for the book. With Chandler, it was the writing, the characters and the dialogue.
“The poetry of the prose is what attracted me to him and made me understand that mystery fiction was serious literature.”
I asked Mr. Penzler if there was a future for print books, or will books only be read online?
“That’s what everyone was predicting ten years ago,” Mr. Penzler said. “It’s not true. My bookstore is doing better now than it was five years ago.”
Otto Penzler continues to champion crime stories. The next “Big Book” published will be his “The Big Book of Espionage Stories,” and he is currently working on “The Big Book of Victorian Mystery Stories.”
• Paul Davis’ On Crime column covers true crime, crime fiction, mysteries and thrillers.
The campaign has been going on for months and on a cold night in early February, the winner will finally be selected. There is great discontent with the leading contenders — some deemed too left-wing, some too right-wing, and worst of all in an increasingly ethnically diverse country, all of them far too white. But finally, this overdetermined event that has been pored over, reported on, argued about and even wagered on, is finally almost here.
I refer, of course, to the Academy Awards.
On Feb. 9, the Oscars will air. Films centered on class conflict top the nominations, and will likely clean up when the awards are finally distributed in Los Angeles.
Just a few days earlier, that other heated contest, the Democratic Party’s Iowa caucus, will occur. And the winner there, too, will likely be the candidate of class struggle. America 2020 is a society riven by political division and vast income inequality. It’s little wonder, of course, that both our political and entertainment industries reflect that fact. Which is to say, Sen. Bernard Sanders, the socialist Iowa front-runner from Vermont, hasn’t just taken the heartland by storm. He’s conquered the multiplex as well.
Take “Parasite,” the astonishing South Korean drama detailing the steady infiltration of a rich family by a poor one — one that literally lives underground. The brilliantly wrought film ends in a garish spasm of violence, one that suggests that class conflict is inevitable — and bound to end bloodily. There will be no bridging of divides between upstairs and downstairs, says “Parasite.” “Parasite,” deservedly lauded, could very well win Best Picture.
Then there’s “Joker,” the box office smash that begins as a portrait of a single, lonely, mentally disturbed man, and ends with a mass revolt of Gotham City’s underclass. For some reason, “Joker” — middling, overlong, and at times tedious — was coded as “right wing” by many in the media. Yet “Joker’s” politics are, if anything, crudely Marxist.
“Joker’s” Gotham City is a place where the rich oppress the poor, who have no way to escape or better their situation. Violence is their only recourse. “Joker” has the most Oscar nominations, and, having cleaned up at the Venice Film Festival, is the favorite to win Best Picture.
It’s no secret that popular entertainment reflects economic, cultural, and political trends. And indeed, the contrast with the 1990s is instructive. The 1990s were a relatively placid, even optimistic, decade for the United States. The Soviet threat had been extinguished. The economy was booming. The great political fights of the day centered around so much minutiae — V-Chips? School uniforms? Midnight basketball? The president lying under oath? (OK, that was a serious one — though a transgression, at least according to the Senate of the day, that was just fine.) Class conflict had largely faded as a political issue and would not reemerge as major political force until the 2008 economic crisis.
The Oscar winners reflect that happy time. 1997’s “Titanic” certainly had a strong class element — yet it was fundamentally optimistic, demonstrating that love could overcome even the widest class division. 1994’s “Forrest Gump” was a soft-focus run through American history with a strong emphasis on racial reconciliation. Even the downer winner of the decade — 1999’s “American Beauty” — was about what a drag it is to be upper-middle class. Yet somehow suburban ennui feels less urgent these days.
2020 belongs to “Parasite” and “Joker.” And to Mr. Sanders, too.
• Ethan Epstein is deputy opinion editor of The Washington Times. Contact him at [email protected] or on Twitter @ethanepstiiiine.
The Grammy Awards show was taking place at the Staples Center in Los Angeles, the home of Bryant’s team the Los Angeles Lakers.
Lil Nas X, Lady Gaga and Beyonce took home early Grammys on Sunday as the highest honors in the music industry kicked off under a cloud after the death basketball star Kobe Bryant.
The music video for the viral hit “Old Town Road” by Lil Nas X with Billy Ray Cyrus took home a Grammy, along with Beyonce’s “Homecoming” which won for best music film.
Lady Gaga won two for her work on movie “A Star is Born,” while slain rapper Nipsey Hussle won best rap performance for “Racks in the Middle.”
Harvey Mason Jr, the interim Recording Academy chief, opened proceedings before the main show telecast with a call for a moment of silence. News of Bryant’s death in a helicopter crash had broken about an hour earlier.
“Since we are in his house, I would ask you to join me in a moment of silence,” Mason said.
In the main show starting at 5 p.m. PT (0100 GMT Monday), teen sensation Billie Eilish looks set to crown a breakout year by taking home her first Grammys in a show that will feature the first Grammy performance by K-pop band BTS and a tribute to Hussle.
Eilish, who turned 18 in December, is nominated for six Grammys, competing with fellow newcomers R&B artists Lizzo and Lil Nas X for the top prizes – album, record, song of the year and best new artist.
All three will perform on the Grammy stage in Los Angeles for the first time, joining a roster of stars including Ariana Grande, the Jonas Brothers, Camila Cabello, Demi Lovato, Blake Shelton and rock band Aerosmith.
With her green hair, shapeless clothes, whispery vocals and hard to define musical style, Eilish took the music world by storm in 2019 with her debut album “When We All Fall Asleep, Where Do We Go?” and hit singles like “Bad Guy” and “Everything I Wanted.”
She is also the youngest artist ever to have been chosen to write and perform the theme song for a James Bond movie. The song for “No Time To Die” has not yet been released.
Eilish “is in a rare position of being one of those artists that could sweep all four (top) categories, which does not happen very often,” said Billboard’s Melinda Newman, executive editor for the U.S. West Coast and Nashville.
Lizzo, the “Truth Hurts” singer and advocate for body positivity, has also proved to be a breath of fresh air, along with Lil Nas X, whose “Old Town Road” record of the year nominee collaboration with Billy Ray Cyrus spent 17 weeks at the top of the U.S. charts.
The viral song, which inspired numerous mashups, will get its own moment on Sunday when BTS, electronic dance musician Diplo and other artists join Lil Nas X and Cyrus for what show producers call a one-of-a-kind performance. It will mark the first Grammy performance by the South Korean boy band.
Country singer Shelton and his fiancee Gwen Stefani will debut their new romantic duet “Nobody But You,” while John Legend, Meek Mill and DJ Khaled will perform a tribute to slain Los Angeles rapper Nipsey Hussle, 33, who was gunned down in his own neighborhood last year. Hussle is up for three Grammy awards on Sunday.
The Grammy winners are chosen by members of the Recording Academy, which is currently embroiled in a dispute over the departure of its new chief executive Deborah Dugan and her allegations of conflicts of interest in the nominations process. The Recording Academy has denied the allegations and the dispute is not expected to affect the Grammy show.
US basketball ace one of nine killed in disaster
He was one of the greatest players in the history of basketball. The worlds of sport and showbusiness are today mourning Kobe Bryant, who has been killed in a helicopter crash in California. The ex-Los Angeles Lakers star, 41, died alongside his 13-year-old daughter, Gianna, and seven others. As US Correspondent David Millward reports, witnesses said that visibility was poor and the hills enveloped in fog before the aircraft plummeted to the ground in Calabasas and burst into flames. Bryant called Gianna “Mambacita” after his own court nickname “Black Mamba”, confident she would follow in his footsteps. He had enjoyed a 20-year career with the Lakers, making the all-star NBA team 18 times, and was also an Olympic gold medal winner. Oliver Brown writes that Bryant was a force of nature who transcended his sport.
Health chiefs accused of coronavirus errors
Potential British carriers of the coronavirus may have been wrongly told they only need to be tested if they have “the sniffles”. UK public health bosses are accused of leaving the door open to the deadly outbreak after official advice was thrown into doubt. China said that, unlike the SARS outbreak, infected people can spread the virus for up to two weeks before showing signs of the disease. But Public Health England has so far advised that people should only be offered tests if they display flu-like symptoms. Read an exclusive interview with a potential British “super-spreader”, revealing he had not been offered screening since returning to the UK – despite visiting a fish market at the centre of the epidemic.
Three people are being monitored at hospitals after they showed signs of the novel coronavirus infection, the Virginia Department of Health says. Four cases of the illness have been confirmed in the United States, and several possible cases are being investigated across the country.
The death toll in China from the virus has risen to 56. As of Sunday afternoon, four U.S. cases have been confirmed in Chicago, Washington state and two in southern California.
Two of the Virginia patients under investigation for the new virus — called 2019-nCoV by disease experts — are in the central part of the state, and one is is northern Virginia, according to the department’s website.
Beginning Jan. 27, the Virginia Department of Health will post the number of patients under investigation who meet both clinical and epidemiologic criteria for 2019-nCoV testing at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention on the VDH novel coronavirus webpage. To protect patient confidentiality, specific details about these patients will not be provided.
“Public health is working closely with these patients and anyone who was in close contact to prevent the spread of illness,” the agency said.
Symptoms of the coronavirus include fever, cough, and trouble breathing, and can appear anywhere from two to 14 days after exposure.
The patients in Los Angeles and Orange counties are both returning travelers from Wuhan, China, the epicenter of the virus, according to health officials. The Orange County patient is in isolation at a hospital and in “good condition,” according to the Orange County Health Care Agency. The Los Angeles County patient, confirmed Sunday, sought medical treatment after not feeling well, according to the Los Angeles County Department of Public Health.
Closer to home, the North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services investigated a possible case of coronavirus infection in the state which turned out not to be the new disease, the department confirmed Sunday. The patient had mild respiratory symptoms and is at Duke University Hospital. Officials said the patient recently passed through Wuhan, China, before returning to North Carolina via Raleigh-Durham International Airport Jan. 23.
According to the CDC, coronaviruses are part of a large family of viruses that cause illnesses both in humans and animals. In rare cases, animal coronaviruses can evolve to infect people. The new virus is officially referred to as “2019 novel coronavirus” or “2019-nCoV.”
While there is currently no vaccine for this novel coronavirus, you can take preventative actions every day to help stop the spread of this and other respiratory viruses, including:
Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds. If soap and water are not available, use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer.Avoid touching your eyes, nose and mouth with unwashed hands.Avoid close contact with people who are sick.Stay home when you are sick.Cover your cough or sneeze with a tissue, then throw the tissue in the trash.Clean and disinfect frequently touched objects and surfaces.
Clinicians in Virginia who see a patient who shows signs of the coronavirus should Obtain a detailed travel history for patients with fever and acute respiratory illness.
If a patient meets the criteria of a patient under investigation in association with the outbreak of the coronavirus:
Ask the patient to wear a surgical mask.Evaluate the patient in a private room with the door closed, ideally in an airborne infectionisolation room if available.Use standard, contact and airborne precautions, and eye protection (e.g., goggles or faceshield).Immediately notify infection control personnel and your local health department.
At this time, only the CDC laboratories in Atlanta have the capabilities to test for the coronavirus, though it is expected that state public health laboratories will be able to test soon.
Researchers around the globe are still determining precisely how the virus spreads. Many patients in the Wuhan outbreak had visited a large seafood and animal market, but a growing number of patients have no connection.
Google blurred the line between ads and organic results – 2020 completely change our understanding of the organic SERP
After the redesign of Google’s desktop search engine launch last week, the line between ads and organic results has become even more blurred.
Many experts believe that in the case of the last redesign of Google, we are talking about the use of “dark patterns” – tricks in the interface, designed to mislead users.
In the new UI, advertising and organic results have a similar appearance, in connection with which users can often confuse these results, taking advertising for organic matter and vice versa. This is especially true for English-language issuance, where advertising is indicated by the short word “Ad”, and the new label is very similar to favicons that appear next to the usual results.
The early data gathered by Digiday suggests that after the SERP redesign, users began to click on ads more often.
The Guardian IT editor Alex Hern is one of many commentators who have pointed out this issue.
These tendencies to blur the line between paid and organic results are especially evident if you recall what Google’s search results looked like before 2013. Then confusing advertising with other results was difficult:
Note that during the launch of this design in the mobile version of the search, Google said that the addition of favicons is designed to facilitate users “scanning” the results and finding the desired results.
However, many experts believe that the goals of Google were completely different. And in fact, the company did not so much want to improve the user experience, but rather increase its advertising revenue.
I’m a free spirit, and if I had to do the same thing every day, I might go mad. It seems like my 4-year-old, who has inherited my curls and facial expressions, has the same take on his world. He doesn’t seem to have any interest in routine. He wakes up to a different tune every day, wanting to go on different adventures and even fights me about going to preschool.
He also enjoys playing freely, without being told what to do. I took him to a karate class recently, and he had more fun running around the studio before the class started. Once the instructors started to give him orders on how to kick his feet and punch his hands, he fell onto his knees and started pouting.
The majority of experts and moms say that kids need a routine to feel safe in their world. Maybe they are right, but I sometimes feel like we create so much structure for our little ones that they aren’t allowed to be free and self-directed — although, for some parents, a self-directed child is a scary thought.
Dr. Peter Gray writes about the decline in play and rise in mental disorders in a Psychology Today piece. He says, “Children’s freedom to play and explore on their own, independent of direct adult guidance and direction, has declined greatly in recent decades. By depriving children of opportunities to play on their own, away from direct adult supervision and control, we are depriving them of opportunities to learn how to take control of their own lives.”
I’ve also come across a few moms in my area recently who have admitted that their kids suffer from anxiety and are on medication. I can’t help but think there’s some link between the rigorous schedules our kids experience every day and their unhappiness.
According to Gray, “We may think we are protecting them, but in fact we are diminishing their joy, diminishing their sense of self-control, preventing them from discovering and exploring the endeavors they would most love, and increasing the odds that they will suffer from anxiety, depression and other disorders.”
In my opinion, kids not only feel better when they have less routine and more play, but they seem to learn better, too. According to Kathy Hirsh-Pasek, a professor of psychology at Temple University and co-author of “Becoming Brilliant: What Science Tells Us About Raising Successful Children” with Roberta Golinkoff, kids do learn better through play. She says, “When we’re sitting there like a couch potato, we aren’t learning as much as when we’re doing.”
When chatting about this topic with some other moms, several of them disagreed.
Mom Lyndsey says,”We went from a play-based preschool to a structured ETK [expanded transitional kindergarten] program, and my son is just loving every minute of his new structured life. But, seriously, he’s like coming alive with it! He was really craving more structure but also more academic instruction. I wasn’t expecting that!”
Mom Meg says, “It totally depends on the kid. Some thrive on routine. This is not a blanket statement that can be made for all kids.”
Mom Sharon adds, “I think there’s a big difference between a structured schedule that builds in time and space for free play versus all directed, regimented time. When my kids were small, there was lots of time for self-directed play but also a predictable schedule of meals, bedtime, free playtime, etc. Being able to predict and know what’s coming next helps kids feel safe.”
Yes, we have a few routines too like at bedtime, but I usually don’t get very far when it comes to brushing teeth! Still, my gut instinct tells me that more play is necessary versus structure and routine for kids these days. If you agree, licensed psychologist Dr. Emily W. King suggests you do the following to create more free play for your little ones:
Schedule the free play: Have a scheduled family weekend day (or afternoon) of free play where all family members participate and no structured outings are scheduled.Spend time in nature: Hiking and exploring allow kids to move at their own speed and climb and jump, which is imperative to their gross motor and sensory development.Allow your child to choose in play: Encourage your child to express themselves in wardrobe and art as well as their play ideas. Leave the structure for teaching routines of sleeping, eating, toilet usage and self-care.
Routine or no routine (or a little bit of both), it’s always good to check in with our parenting selves. For example, after exploring this topic, I think I might need a better bedtime routine. Still, with a little more freedom and playtime for our kids during the school day, we all may just find ourselves on the right track.