Tag Archives: crime

Governor Signs Smartphone Theft Bill

Leno bill requires anti-theft software

by Brian Leubitz

Gov. Brown signed Sen. Leno’s SB 962 today addressing the growing epidemic of smartphone theft in California. SB 962 requires all smartphones sold in California to come pre-equipped with theft-deterring technological solutions to render the devices useless if stolen. The bill is the first of its kind in the nation prompting every consumer to enable a kill switch as the default setting during the initial setup of a new smartphone. Sen. Leno then went full Colbert in his assesment of the bill:

“California has just put smartphone thieves on notice,” said Senator Leno, D-San Francisco. “Starting next year, all smartphones sold in California, and most likely every other state in the union, will come equipped with theft deterrent technology when they purchase new phones. Our efforts will effectively wipe out the incentive to steal smartphones and curb this crime of convenience, which is fueling street crime and violence within our communities.”

On a more serious side, this bill, in some ways, is just legislating what has been happening already. However, many lower end phones may not have seen this feature for several years. It isn’t any huge issue to add it at this point, but this makes it the law in the state.  And because this is California, phone makers will just end up making all phones comply with this law.

This was quite a controversial bill, but ultimately, Leno and SF DA George Gascón built a coalition that could get this law passed. It is a big step in not only protecting property, but also encouraging public safety in general.

Death Penalty Still On Hold

Death Penalty halted by courts again

by Brian Leubitz

It’s been a long time since California actually executed anybody. 2006 to be precise, and we’ve only executed 13 people since 1976. Even if I were to support the death penalty, it is not hard to call this a broken system. We spend billions of dollars in legal challenges, extra security, suicide watch, etc, to keep these inmates alive long enough to kill them.

But the biggest reason that we haven’t executed anybody since 2006 is that we haven’t had approval from the courts. After federal courts struck down our lethal injection procedure in 2006, the case has been bouncing back and forth in both state and federal courts. The prison system released a new protocol two years ago. That didn’t turn out well, as we found out yesterday:

In a 28-page ruling, the 1st District Court of Appeal found that state prison officials failed to comply with administrative rules when crafting new regulations more than two years ago.

The appeals court upheld a Marin County judge, who faulted the prison department for a variety of procedural missteps, including offering no public explanation for why San Quentin officials opted to continue with a three-drug lethal injection method instead of a single-drug execution option being embraced by a number of other states. (Howard Mintz / BANG)

So, it is back to the drawing board for the prison system, as they’ll have to either appeal to the state Supreme Court or go through the process properly.  Gov. Brown will ultimately have to make the call on the appeal, but certainly the question of how long we will have the death penalty is still open.  Prop 34 to end it entirely  only failed by 47-53 last year. It is not the toxic issue that it once was. With all the other spending priorities, does it really make sense to spend billions of dollars on a punishment that is simply not effective at reducing crime:

In my view deterrence plays no part whatsoever. Persons contemplating murder do not sit around the kitchen table and say I won’t commit this murder if I face the death penalty, but I will do it if the penalty is life without parole. I do not believe persons contemplating or committing murder plan to get caught or weigh the consequences. Statistics demonstrate that states without the death penalty have consistently lower murder rates than states with it, but frankly I think those statistics are immaterial and coincidental. Fear of the death penalty may cause a few to hesitate, but certainly not enough to keep it in force, and the truth is that there is no way of ever knowing whether or not the death penalty deters. (Judge H Lee Sarokin)

Crime Is On The Decline, But Why Are People STILL Surprised?

Once again there is another article pointing out that crime is on the decline in the United States.Once again socilogists and criminologists are seeking to explain why there is a decline in crime. The study concluded:

…during the current downturn, the unemployment rate rose as the crime rate fell. Between 2008 and 2009 violent crime fell by 5.3% and property crime by 4.6%; between 2009 and 2010, according to the preliminary Uniform Crime Report released by the FBI on May 23rd, violent crime fell by another 5.5% and property crime by 2.8%. Robberies-precisely the crime one might expect to rise during tough economic times-fell by 9.5% between 2009 to 2010.

We here at strictlynumbers.com hypothesized there is a simple explanation for this correlation. Unemployment rates have a direct affect on the crime rate in a given city. The correlation relates to the fact that as unemployment rates rise less people chose to spending time out in a given city going to bars, clubs, restaurants, and other night time venues due to a lack of revenue. If there are less people out and about in a given city then logic suggests there are less people to be victims of crime. In other words, crime isn’t declining it is just becoming harder to commit.

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It’s Time to Reform Three Strikes

California voters overwhelmingly passed the Three Strikes initiative in 1994 based on the promise that it would take repeat violent offenders off the streets.

But now, more than fifteen years after the initiative’s passage, we have the benefit of facts to help us understand the true impact of Three Strikes.

Most Californians already know that in the wake of Three Strikes the cost of corrections has soared. Our state prison budget is now so high that California spends as much on prisons as we do on higher education.

But many Californians are surprised to learn that, under Three Strikes, Curtis Wilkerson of Los Angeles was sentenced to life for petty theft of a pair of socks; that Shane Taylor of Tulare was sentenced to life for simple possession of 0.1 gram of methamphetamine; or that Greg Taylor of Los Angeles was sentenced to life for attempting to break into a soup kitchen to get something to eat.

In fact, the majority of those put away for life under Three Strikes – over 4,000 people total – committed a minor, non-violent third strike. These non-violent third strikers will, according to the California state auditor, cost the state at least $4.8 billion over the next 25 years – almost $200 million per year.

The people named above have an advantage that the vast majority of three strikers do not — they are all clients of the Three Strikes Project at Stanford Law School’s Mills Legal Clinic. Under the direction of Project co-founder Michael Romano, Stanford law students have helped get a dozen non-violent third strikers released from prison after having their sentences reduced.

They are not being released because they are innocent. As Romano said on the Criminal Justice Conversations Podcast,

“Our clients are, in almost every circumstance, absolutely guilty. We’re not going into court and saying that they didn’t do it. What we’re saying is that the punishment that they received for this petty crime is disproportionate.”

This disproportionate punishment is unjust, and it is bankrupting our state. We are wasting precious resources to unnecessarily incarcerate minor offenders who pose little threat to society for huge periods of time – and draining resources away from the law enforcement agencies, community organizations and schools that can truly prevent crime and keep us safe.

Simply put, it is time to reform Three Strikes – so that it is focused on the serious and violent repeat offenders we all agree society must be protected from. Because Three Strikes was passed by a voter initiative, it can only be changed by initiative. In the past, Three Strikes was viewed as untouchable. But now, with the state facing fiscal catastrophe, and Romano and his students bringing attention to the unjust extremes of the law with each new client that gets released, there is momentum for change.

Romano thinks that there is another ingredient necessary for successful reform: political leadership. He says that “with a few notable exceptions, there has been very little leadership on this issue from our elected law enforcement leaders.”

Now is the time to show the leadership what it will take to return to sensible, cost-effective and fair criminal justice polices in California.


David Onek is a Senior Fellow at the Berkeley Center for Criminal Justice, former Commissioner on the San Francisco Police Commission and candidate for San Francisco District Attorney. You can listen to Onek’s recent interview with Romano on the Criminal Justice Conversations Podcast.

San Francisco District Attorney’s Office Must be Transparent in Officer-Involved Shootings

After spending my career working to identify and implement the most effective public safety strategies, I have seen one constant – the community is safest when the police and prosecutors earn and keep the public’s trust.

That’s why I read with real concern that the San Francisco District Attorney’s office would not produce reports related to officer-involved shootings pursuant to a recent public records request from NPR-affiliate KALW.

As a former Police Commissioner, I have been briefed in closed session on the details of officer-involved shootings. But the public knows very little about these incidents. My fellow Commissioners and I often heard complaints from community members about how little public information was released about officer-involved shootings. This lack of transparency breeds distrust.

In all officer-involved shootings, the DA’s office conducts an independent review to determine if there is criminal liability. If such liability is found, the DA presses charges, which are public. But when the DA determines that there is no liability, it is equally important that the DA publicly explain the reasons for its decision.

As such, the District Attorney’s office should issue a very detailed report on every officer-involved shooting in which it does not file charges and should make the report publicly available on its website. The report should detail the facts, the law and the reasons for the decision not to file charges.

This kind of complete transparency will make the job of our police and prosecutors much easier by building trust between law enforcement and the community – making it more likely that community members will work in partnership with police and prosecutors, and that victims and witnesses will come forward to testify.

San Francisco is lucky that we are served by rank and file police officers who are second to none. Publishing detailed reports that clear officers when they acted within the law can dispel public misconceptions about what actually happened.

Of course, officers’ privacy rights need to be respected and investigations cannot be compromised. But once an investigation is complete, and an officer has been cleared, it is imperative that the District Attorney’s office share its findings with the public.

This is the standard that is already being applied in communities throughout California. The District Attorney’s office in San Diego, hardly a bastion of liberalism, actually lists these cases on its website. Many other counties – including Los Angeles, Orange and Fresno – also make them matters of public record and available on request.

Building trust with the community is the key to enhancing public safety. Let’s not violate that trust by refusing to release documents that the public has the right to see.

David Onek is a Senior Fellow at the Berkeley Center for Criminal Justice, former Commissioner on the San Francisco Police Commission and candidate for San Francisco District Attorney.

Innovation First: Using Technology to Fight Crime

It’s great to be here blogging with you at Calitics! I look forward to stopping by frequently as my campaign for Attorney General continues over the coming weeks and months.

Today I want to share some news with you — and get your feedback.

In today’s fast-paced environment, California deserves better than ineffective policies that are out of touch with ever-changing technology and fail to keep our communities safe. As the next Attorney General of California, I will apply an innovative, fresh, and tech-savvy approach to fighting crime and protecting the citizens of California.

So this week I’m rolling out my new plan, Innovation First: Using Technology to Fight Crime, which will combat the fiscal, legal, and public safety problems that Californians deal with on a daily basis. This is a call to action. The next Attorney General must be willing to utilize new and innovative tools that reduce crime, keep violent offenders off our streets, protect our children, and provide local law enforcement with the resources they need to fight crime.

Details of my new plan on the flip.

You can learn more about my Innovation First plan here: http://www.kelly2010.com/innovation

For too long, the state of California has thrown more taxpayer money at substandard “public safety” systems that don’t cut it. Violent crime is on the rise and police patrolling our cities streets are dying. Rehabilitation programs intended to re-engage offenders are carelessly monitored and haphazardly organized. This is costing time, money and resources that the state of California can’t afford to expend.

Given my background as a policy advisor to President Bill Clinton, and my experience working with Attorneys General from around the country while serving as Chief Privacy Officer of Facebook, I will be able to quickly implement and utilize new technology and innovative solutions that will reduce crime and make California safer.

My first priority is to make certain that California’s forensic technology is on the cutting-edge and that our regional crime labs and local law enforcement have the necessary tools to deal with complex crime scene investigation and analysis. I will also review training techniques from the California Criminalistics Institute to ensure that essential forensics training programs are made available to the appropriate California law enforcement agencies.

Also, as Attorney General, I will also work towards improving efficiency of our DNA analysis and hold laboratories accountable for performance measures. I will put cost saving measures in place to prevent spending taxpayer money on costly private DNA analysis laboratories.

Second, I will create a standardized crime mapping system across the state of California so local enforcement agencies can work together more effectively and efficiently. This will allow law enforcement agencies to accurately evaluate crime data and better respond to criminal acts in real-time. Additionally, I will work with law enforcement in all 58 counties to form strategic partnerships, including building cross-jurisdictional and regional crime analysis information sharing systems.

As Attorney General, I will conduct an assessment and overhaul of all essential technology upgrades that are necessary for police and sheriffs to effectively combat crime. This will include upgrading databases and outdated computer systems with technologically advanced systems and mapping technologies that highlight criminal hotspots for officers to target.

Third, I will develop and implement an effective Global Positioning Monitoring System that would increase and improve supervision and monitoring of parolees. In the past, the transformation from prisoner to parolee has failed to keep Californians safe.

In particular, the recent Jaycee Dugard case is a tragic example of what can happen when our officers are not held accountable for proper investigation and for monitoring of tracking technology. The California Inspector General’s November 2009 report into the kidnapping, hostage holding and sexual assaults on Jaycee Dugard revealed the systematic failure of California’s parole and probation system.

As Attorney General, I will develop and implement an effective Global Positioning System (GPS) monitoring policy, set training and performance standards for all parole agents and increase accountability for California’s parole and probation enforcement supervisors.

Fourth, as Attorney General I will work with federal, state, and local law enforcement agencies to prevent high-tech Internet fraud and identity theft.
Internet fraud and identity theft are becoming increasingly prevalent in our state. Californians need advanced computer privacy technology and innovative law enforcement to ensure our online safety. Internet fraud and identity theft costs California taxpayers millions of dollars. With the proper allocation of innovative and smart resources, these types of crime can be avoided.

As Facebook’s Chief Privacy Officer, I have first hand experience working with Attorneys General around the country to promote a trusted and safe online experience. In New York, working with Attorney General Andrew Cuomo, I helped craft the Electronic Security and Targeting of Online Predators Act (E-Stop). Under this law, sex offenders who previously had used the internet to commit a crime or who are determined to be a high-risk threat would have their online usage restricted by the state’s parole board, including making it a violation to use unregistered e-mail addresses. This is the first step in updating Megan’s law for the digital age.

Finally, California’s justice system must have up-to-date, efficient computer systems. Tracking criminal activity and maintaining accurate data will improve legal services for Californians while also saving taxpayers millions of dollars. Given our state’s budget crisis, improving computer-based systems is something our state cannot afford to ignore.

It is time for to take the state of California in a new direction, to take a new path. In particular, it’s time to stop judging politicians on a curve, especially when it comes to crime. Crime, coupled with misused resources to fight crime, not only costs lives but also precious resources and money at a time when California is in dire need of economic strength and stability.

I aim to combine my service in government and experience in the private sector to deliver for Californians in this new role, but I can only do so with your help. Please join me at kelly2010.com and at facebook.com/chriskelly to begin the long process of rebuilding our broken state.

To read more about and endorse my Innovation First plan, please visit http://www.kelly2010.com/innovation

And if you have any feedback on my plan, I hope you’ll share it in the comments.


Cross-posted at Huffington Post

The Unintended Consequences of ToughOnCrime(tm) and the Externalizing of Social Problems

Surprise, surprise, Jessica’s law ended up driving sex offenders into rural areas (h/t polizeroes). Whocoodanode?

Just as with the controversy over the Yolo reentry center in Madison, the unintended but completely foreseen (yes, we told you so) effect of Jessica’s law is to externalize the social problem of crime to rural areas who for various reasons do not have the political power to refuse. That conservative rural voters repeatedly vote for the ToughOnCrime(tm) approach to social problems is ironic, but does not obviate the fact that they are, in essence, being forced to take care of urban areas’ problems (or, to be more accurate, disproportionately so).  

As the Guardian article points out, the relocation of sexual offenders to rural areas (the only places where housing can be found more than 2,000 feet from either parks or schools) compounds the initial problem by putting sexual offenders in communities that are already unable to adequately police themselves, doubly so in the current depression with collapsing exurban housing value and the corresponding property tax revenues, trebly so given the state government’s GOP ransom-driven decision to steal from government so as to avoid raising taxes on the rich, oil companies, and corporations. Making the definition of “sex offender” unduly broad – lumping flashers in with the real baddies – only makes it harder for police to monitor those who are actual dangers to the community, in a manner starkly reminiscent of the drug war’s idiot strategy of throwing essentially harmless pot smokers in with violent felons.

There is a better way to do this. Californians need to understand that they cannot simply make Bad People go away, and urbanites should not foist off their problems on politically weak rural areas. The conservative, law and order ToughOnCrime approach to our deeper social problems has been an abject failure at all levels. It is time to totally rethink our criminal justice system. We need to be throwing a lot less nonviolent people in jail, we need to devote a lot more resources – in both relative and absolute terms – towards training, rehabilitation, treatment  and counseling so that criminals don’t just get mired permanently in the cycle of crime and prison, and we need to make sure that all communities actually deal with the external costs of the criminals they prosecute, instead of passing them off on communities elsewhere.

originally at surf putah

The Stakes Of The Upcoming Prison Policy Fight

At the Netroots Nation panel (and a quick thanks to everyone who attended, and the panelists, and Dan Walters for noticing), I identified two short-term fights that are worth engaging.  One consists of playing defense – stopping the Parsky Commission from instituting a Latvia-ization of California through eliminating business taxes and flattening the income tax.  The other short-term fight concerns the $1.2 billion dollars in cuts to the prison budget, identified in the July budget agreement but not clarified on the specifics until the Legislature returns to work this week.  We are starting to see some organizing around that, with human rights and civil liberties leaders massing on the Capitol Steps today to promote sound prison reform instead of just lopping off all rehabilitation and treatment programs for the overcrowded corrections system and calling it a day.  Leland Yee, Nancy Skinner, Jim Beall and Tom Ammiano, who just replaced indie Juan Arambula as chair of the Assembly Public Safety Committee, will speak.  So we have a sympathetic ear on one of the key committees.

About a week back, Laura Sullivan produced an NPR report describing the devolution of the corrections system in California, using Johnny Cash’s historic concert at Folsom Prison as a launching pad:

The morning that Cash played may have been the high-water mark for Folsom – and for the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation.

The men in the cafeteria lived alone in their own prison cells. Almost every one of them was in school or learning a professional trade. The cost of housing them barely registered on the state budget. And when these men walked out of Folsom free, the majority of them never returned to prison.

It was a record no other state could match.

Things have changed. California’s prisons are all in a state of crisis. And nowhere is this more visible than at Folsom today.

Folsom was built to hold 1,800 inmates. It now houses 4,427.

It’s once-vaunted education and work programs have been cut to just a few classes, with waiting lists more than 1,000 inmates long.

Officers are on furlough. Its medical facility is under federal receivership. And like every other prison in the state, 75 percent of the inmates who are released from Folsom today will be back behind bars within three years.

In addition to having a solid education, transportation and medical system in the early post-war period, California’s prisons were once the envy of the nation, too.  Then the Tough On Crime crowd got a hold of the levers of power, produced 1,000 laws expanding sentences over 30 years, pushed the public to do the same through ballot initiatives, increased parole sanctions, and the system just got swamped.  In the early 1980s we had 20,000 prisoners.  Now it’s 170,000.  The overcrowding decimates rehabilitation, sends nonviolent offenders into what amounts to a college for violent crime, violates prisoner rights by denying proper medical care, and increases costs at every point along the way.  Sullivan argues that much of this goes back to the prison guard’s union.

In three decades, the California Correctional Peace Officers Association has become one of the most powerful political forces in California. The union has contributed millions of dollars to support “three strikes” and other laws that lengthen sentences and increase parole sanctions. It donated $1 million to Wilson after he backed the three strikes law.

And the result for the union has been dramatic. Since the laws went into effect and the inmate population boomed, the union grew from 2,600 officers to 45,000 officers. Salaries jumped: In 1980, the average officer earned $15,000 a year; today, one in every 10 officers makes more than $100,000 a year.

Sullivan uncovered a front group PAC called Crime Victims United of California that has received every one of their donations from the CCPOA.  By seeding “victim’s rights” groups and enabling more stringent sentencing laws, the CCPOA mainly benefits from the overtime needed for their officers to properly house 170,000 prisoners in cells designed for 100,000.  70% of the prison budget pays salaries.  5% goes to education and vocational programs.  And that’s the part of the budget being cut.

It only costs her about $100,000 to run these programs – not even a blip in a $10 billion-a-year prison budget. But, says Bracy, the programs are always the first to go. Sometimes she almost feels like giving up.

“It’s just not cost-effective to throw men and women in prison and then do nothing with them,” she said. “And shame on us for thinking that’s safety. It’s not public safety. You lock them up and do nothing with them. They go out not even equal to what they came in but worse.”

The numbers bear that out, with 90,000 inmates returning to California’s prisons every year.

But compare that to the Braille program here at Folsom. Inmates are learning to translate books for the blind. In 20 years, not a single inmate who has been part of the program has ever returned to prison. This year, the program has been cut back to 19 inmates.

Meanwhile, the Schwarzenegger Administration is about to use federal money to increase funding for anti-drug units, which will actually send more nonviolent drug offenders to prison at a time when federal judges have mandated the reduction of the population by 44,000.

This is insanity.  But members of the political class, for the most part, still want to be seen as daddy protectors, and will gladly institute the exact same failed policies that have thrown the system into crisis.

We have a moment here, with $1.2 billion in mandated cuts, to create legitimate policies that can both cut costs and reduce the prison population while actually making the state safer.  The recent Chino prison riot has led editorialists to come out for sensible prison policies, understanding the connection between stuffing hundreds of thousands of people into modified public storage units and the potential for unrest.

Jean Ross argued on our panel that lawmakers will probably pass the buck and let the judicial branch take the heat for any individual consequences to early release.  That would be a mistake, particularly if in the process, they jettison the founding of an independent sentencing commission that would finally address the runaway sentencing laws at the heart of the crisis.  The clock is ticking on whether we will have any leadership on this issue, as a report is demanded by the federal judges in mid-September.  This is an organizing opportunity, a chance to show an ossified political class that we care about more than just being Tough On Crime.

Willie Brown Profits off the Backs of Unpaid Workers

Everybody’s gotta eat, but does Willie Brown really need to eat this badly?  The former California Assembly Speaker and Mayor of San Francisco is now a private citizen and practicing attorney.  Now he’s representing  a contractor charged with 48 felony counts, accused not only of defrauding the State of California out of over $1 million in money that would have been used for schools and public services , but even worse, she forced  employees to work 60-72 hour weeks but paid  them for only 10-40 hour weeks.  Monica Ung cheated 19 workers out of $3.6 million!

What’s up with Willie Brown?! These workers were immigrants who did not speak English, and did not know their rights!


To me, the fact that Willie L. Brown Jr., supposed Stalwart of the Democratic Party, is taking blood money to defend Ung  and NOT the workers themselves, is a clear sign of how ridiculously corrupt our whole political and legal process has become.  Does Willie Brown have no shame?!  

Sure, everyone deserves their day in court, but the last time I checked, the Democrats were supposedly the ones standing up for the little guys, not the other way around.  

If you agree with me, use this opportunity to tell Willie what you think and call his office at (415) 348-0348, or better yet, come to the Hayward Courthouse this Friday July 24, 2009, at 1:30 p.m. where Art Pulaski of the California Labor Federation will be on hand to tell Willie what real Democrats think about him and his client.  

News Of Local Jerks

Two of the eight “Obama Republicans,” that is, members of the GOP delegation in the House whose districts went for Barack Obama in November, are in the news of late, and I think we can draw some conclusions about their behavior.

First of all, Dan Lungren held a “town hall meeting” in his district last week.  I put “town hall meeting” in quotes because unlike actual town hall meetings, attendees weren’t allowed to ask questions:

After a brief introduction by Elk Grove Mayor Patrick Hume, Lungren made it clear that the format of this ‘townhall’ meeting would not include direct questioning from the audience. Rather constituents were to fill out a questionnaire and submit for indirect questioning by Hume.

Lungren’s reasoning was that he had received several constituent complaints that other district meetings were “so rambunctious” that they were afraid to come. To make the meeting open, Lungren said questions would be answered only by those filling out the questionnaires.

During the course of the meeting there were 15 questionnaires read covering a variety of topics, none of them pointed or very relative, in our opinion, to the staggering recession we find ourselves in. Lungren talked about his favorite topics of immigration, deficit spending and judiciary matters.

Hume, who had a table full of submitted questionnaires in front of him, never seemed to ask the questions as written. Hume was either being overly polite, or didn’t want to incur the wrath of a congressman […]

“If this is a townhall meeting, we should be allowed to be allowed to make comments,” said Elk Grove resident Mike Monasky. Immediately Monasky was loudly told by city charter commission member Christopher Orrock to be quiet.

Now there’s someone who doesn’t want to be held accountable by his constituents.  That makes the Bush “town hall meetings” look like free-for-alls.

Then there’s Buck McKeon.  His home in Santa Clarita was burglarized.  We’re sorry for him and his wife.  But we did not expect McKeon to push a political angle.

A thief, who has since been arrested, broke into the McKeons’ home on the morning of March 4 and stole jewelry from the master bedroom, said Bob Haueter, McKeon’s 2010 campaign manager. The rest of the home was not disturbed, he said […]

The burglary was mentioned in a McKeon fundraising letter, dated March 25, that discussed McKeon’s opposition to the Employee Free-Choice Act – a bill that would make it easier for workers to unionize. The legislation is backed by President Barack Obama, whose political roots are in Chicago.

The letter says the labor legislation is “right out of Stalin’s playbook” and part of the president’s “socialist agenda.” A note at the bottom of the letter, written by Patricia McKeon, read:

“As if things couldn’t get any worse, our home was just broken into while we were in D.C. Some observant neighbors were able to identify the thieves and get the license plate number of the car they used.

“You won’t believe this; the car is registered to a person in Chicago! Just know this, no matter what happens to us, Buck and I won’t back down.”

Are you kidding me?  Apparently we’re to believe that President Obama has a cadre of thieves he’s dispatching across the country to Republican homes.  While I admit that would be a simply ingenious strategy (note to Patricia McKeon: I’m joking), I simply don’t think he’s concerning himself with an underworld network.

Can we conclude that these two are maybe just a little bit scared, as they see their stranglehold on their districts slipping away?