Archive for December 22nd, 2007

And This Is The Liberal State…


State authorities have given a controversial special education school in Canton a one-year extension of its authority to use electric shock treatments on students, provided the center makes a series of significant changes.

Among them, the Judge Rotenberg Educational Center must prove that it uses shock treatments only for the most dangerous and self-destructive behaviors and that the aversive therapy actually led to a reduction of those harmful actions.

The center must also stop electric shocks for “seemingly minor infractions,” such as getting out of a seat without approval or swearing. And it must show greater commitment to phasing out shock treatments, especially for those about to leave the school to enter mainstream society.


Jean McGuire, assistant secretary of the state’s Office of Health and Human Services, said the state has issued this conditional reauthorization well aware of the events last August in which two teenagers wrongfully received dozens of electrical shocks at the direction of a caller posing as a supervisor. The caller told staff to wake up the teenagers and give them dozens of shocks each based on alleged behavior that had occurred at least five hours earlier.

McGuire said the center has promised to eliminate delayed punishments and end the delivery of shocks to students who are sleeping. While the school’s critics want the state to ban any form of shock treatment, McGuire said the state also had to consider the many parents who defend the school as the only effective place for their hard-to-teach youngsters.


Critics of the Rotenberg Center expressed disappointment that state officials, especially in light of the August episode, did not order the school to end the shock treatment program, which critics consider ineffective and inhumane.


The provisional reauthorization was given by the Department of Mental Retardation, which is responsible for overseeing the shock therapy program. The Rotenberg Center is the only school in the nation that depends so heavily on shock treatments for its students, most of whom are autistic, mentally retarded, or have serious emotional problems.

According to the report, the school has about 250 students, nearly all of whom attend the center’s Canton school and live in one of its 38 group homes in nearby communities. Two-thirds are minors; the rest are adults. Roughly one-third are from Massachusetts. About 60 percent of all students have court-approved plans that allow for shock treatment.

In the reauthorization, state officials criticized the center for producing generic-looking treatment and assessment plans for the students, seemingly using a common template for many of them.


McGuire said the state plans to inspect the school next month, as well as repeatedly throughout the year to make sure the required changes are being addressed.

“We’re being as aggressive as we can,” McGuire said.

This is just nuts. How is anything but “We are shutting you sadistic bastards down RIGHT NOW” not the only possible response to this? These people are completely out of control, they’re torturing these kids instead of helping them, and the government response is to give them a year to cut back on electroshock treatment??? As the shadowy and mysterious Codename V. said: 1840 called – they want their treatment back.

I think “Don’t tase me, bro” is going to become our new national motto.

(h/t dakine)

4 comments December 22nd, 2007 at 10:50pm Posted by Eli

Entry Filed under: Torture,Wankers

NYC Party Still Life Photoblogging

Some mostly non-art photos from the party:

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December 22nd, 2007 at 05:28pm Posted by Eli

Entry Filed under: NJ/NYC,Photoblogging


Is the Don Siegelman story about to go large?

CBS is reportedly still working hard on a “60 Minutes” segment on former Gov. Don Siegelman’s trial and incarceration, despite some suspicions that political pressure had forced the network to back off.

Some of those in Alabama who have been cooperating with the CBS crew said they thought the report would air this month, but now it looks like it will be on some time in January.


“60 Minutes,” of course, is not only on a major network, it is also known for going into depth on stories like this and is reportedly in possession of some revelations not previously known about the back story that could be devastating for those who seemed determine to eliminate Siegelman from the Alabama political scene.

One Siegelman partisan close to the story and cooperating with the “60 Minutes” producers emailed me this week and said he had been involved in “extensive detail work with CBS yesterday and today. They have been requesting photos and film footage and info to develop graphics.”


The “only downside is that in the midst of this, Don is nearing his sixth month in prison. The 11th circuit asked [U.S. presiding Judge Mark] Fuller to give a reason for the incarceration [rather than grant bail pending appeal] expeditiously and today is the 33rd day since they made the request.

“Also, Fuller is responsible for the transcript and you know how that is going,” he added, referring to the transcript of the trial that more than a year and a half after the trial still has not been produced.

My corespondent was also bitter that Fuller “was able to hold a clandestine hearing to free Lanny [Young] 13 months early.” That was in reference to the Dec. 11 release of a key prosecution witness on the bribery charges against Siegelman. Young had gotten two years in the slammer for his part in what a federal jury concluded was a crime, but served only 11 months.

Since he was jailed, it has been revealed that Young had allegedly provided similar bribes for Alabama Republican Sen. Jeff Sessions and former Alabama Republican attorney general and now U.S. Judge District Bill Pryor, neither of whom were even investigated, much less indicted and tried.

“It’s really hard for all of us, the attorneys included, not to sense that Lanny was freed early and told to disappear and keep his mouth shut,” my email correspondent wrote. “This, we feel is directly linked to the revelations in his FBI file about Sessions and Pryor as revealed by TIME last month and echoed in the MSNBC story.”

The Siegelman story is probably the clearest and most perfect example of just how far BushCo’s ruthless politicization of the Justice Department has gone, both in terms of destroying the innocent and protecting the guilty. It also sounds like Judge Fuller is a corrupt BushCo. tool as well (Larisa Alexandrovna also makes a cryptic reference to his “alleged mistress”). Fabulous – I hope 60 Minutes shines a spotlight on him too.

(h/t pontificator)

2 comments December 22nd, 2007 at 02:44pm Posted by Eli

Entry Filed under: Corruption/Cronyism,Media,Politics,Republicans,TV,Wankers

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