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Thursday, January 15, 2009

"Demography will indeed be destiny if Republicans can't broaden their reach" -- columnist Ron Brownstein, writing in the National Journal

Quote of the Day II
"From 1992 to 2008, the share of the vote cast by African-Americans jumped from 8% to 13%. For Hispanics the share soared from 2% to 9%; for Asians and other minorities combined, from 2% to 5%. Meanwhile, the percentage of the vote cast by well-educated whites remained unchanged at 35%. The big losers were blue-collar whites -- those without college degrees -- whose share plummeted from 53% in 1992 to just 39% now. That's a threat to the GOP because those culturally conservative, working-class whites are today its most reliable voters. . . . Demography will indeed be destiny if Republicans can't broaden their reach" -- columnist Ron Brownstein, writing in the National Journal. /WSJ Political Diary Quote of the Day 1-14-09
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Botched Paramilitary Police Raids: An Epidemic of "Isolated Incidents"

"If a widespread pattern of [knock-and-announce] violations were shown . . . there would be reason for grave concern." —Supreme Court Justice Anthony Kennedy, in Hudson v. Michigan, June 15, 2006. An interactive map of botched SWAT and paramilitary police raids, released in conjunction with the Cato policy paper "Overkill: The Rise of Paramilitary Police Raids," by Radley Balko. What does this map mean? How to use this map View Original Map and Database

Key

Death of an innocent. Death or injury of a police officer. Death of a nonviolent offender.
Raid on an innocent suspect. Other examples of paramilitary police excess. Unnecessary raids on doctors and sick people.
The proliferation of SWAT teams, police militarization, and the Drug War have given rise to a dramatic increase in the number of "no-knock" or "quick-knock" raids on suspected drug offenders. Because these raids are often conducted based on tips from notoriously unreliable confidential informants, police sometimes conduct SWAT-style raids on the wrong home, or on the homes of nonviolent, misdemeanor drug users. Such highly-volatile, overly confrontational tactics are bad enough when no one is hurt -- it's difficult to imagine the terror an innocent suspect or family faces when a SWAT team mistakenly breaks down their door in the middle of the night. But even more disturbing are the number of times such "wrong door" raids unnecessarily lead to the injury or death of suspects, bystanders, and police officers. Defenders of SWAT teams and paramilitary tactics say such incidents are isolated and rare. The map above aims to refute that notion.

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