CVIndependent

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Last updateWed, 27 Sep 2017 1pm

NEW YORK (Reuters)—Hate crimes in nine U.S. metropolitan areas rose more than 20 percent last year, fueled by inflamed passions during the presidential campaign and more willingness for victims to step forward, a leading hate crimes researcher said on Monday.

Bias crimes appeared to increase in some cities following the Nov. 8 election of President Donald Trump, a trend that has extended into this year with a wave of bomb threats and desecrations at synagogues and Jewish cemeteries, according to California researcher Brian Levin. 

The White House could not be reached immediately for comment on the research. 

Levin collected data as director of the nonpartisan Center for the Study of Hate and Extremism at California State University, San Bernardino, where he is a professor of criminal justice. The new numbers, collected from police departments, reverse a trend toward fewer hate crimes in many of the cities in recent years.

Among U.S. cities, New York reported the greatest number of hate crimes at 380, a 24 percent increase from 2015, while Washington, D.C., had the largest percentage rise at 62 percent, to 107 incidents.

Overall, there were 1,037 incidents, a 23.3 percent increase from the previous year in the nine areas researched: New York; Washington; Chicago; Philadelphia; Montgomery County, Md.; Columbus, Ohio; Seattle; Long Beach, Calif.; and Cincinnati.

Trump in recent weeks has more forcefully denounced the anti-Semitic and other racially motivated incidents, notably at the start of his address to Congress on Feb. 28. Trump has also expressed how he was personally affected, since his daughter Ivanka converted to Judaism and he has Jewish grandchildren.

After the most recent bomb threats last week, the Trump administration denounced them “in the strongest terms,” White House spokesman Sean Spicer said, promising to search for ways to stop them. 

While some Jewish leaders have suspected the bomb threats may be linked to a higher profile for white nationalists animated by the Trump’s campaign, Levin did not draw that direct link.

In New York City alone, there were 55 anti-Semitic crimes reported from Jan. 1 to March 5 of this year, up 189 percent from 19 such incidents in the same period of 2016, the data showed.

“We might very well be at the start of a trend where anti-Semitic incidents are going up each year. We were seeing an over-decade decline in anti-Semitic incidents,” Levin said.

Bias crimes against Muslims and LGBT people accounted for much of the growth in hate crimes that were reported.

Experts say many hate crimes go unreported and caution against drawing conclusions from such data, which have small sample sizes.

Trump has proposed building a wall on the southern border with Mexico to stop illegal immigrants, and a temporary ban on Muslims entering the country, a proposal he later scaled back.

By highlighting issues such as race, religion and national origin, the presidential election campaign could have influenced both the number of incidents and frequency of reporting them to police, Levin said.

“That, coupled with significant coverage, might have encouraged two things to happen: Individuals who vary in motivation, from hardcore bigots to those just seeking a thrill, seeking something to do, as well as victims who felt that they should report this because they’re not alone,” Levin said.

Even so, Levin said: “I don’t think we can just explain away the increase with increased reporting.”

(Reporting by Grant Smith and Daniel Trotta; Editing by Michael Perry)

 

Published in National/International

On this week's frightened inauguration eve edition of the weekly Independent comics page: Red Meat goes to mail-order medical school; Jen Sorenson looks at a new beginning; The K Chronicles has a coffee-shop confrontation; and This Modern World examines the Unbelievable Baby-Man!

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Dear Mexican: I was wondering if you could shed some light on the debate on whether 29 percent of Mexicans/Hispanic voters really voted for Trump, or whether it was much less, like other polls show.

The Poll y Voces

Dear Pocho: Exit polls are like the PRI: full of shit, full of money and incredibly pendejo yet dangerous. But I’ve been mucho amused by Latino organizations, political scientists and all Trump-haters attacking exit polls that showed nearly a third of Latinos going for Cheeto Dick. Instead, they’ve pushed their numbers, which unsurprisingly show raza voting for Hillary Clinton in overwhelming numbers against Donald Trump.

It really doesn’t matter: The point is that not enough of us went out to vote against Trump, and more than a few Mexicans voted for him for reasons I’ve stated in this columna: We like strongmen; the more macho the better.

Even more importantly, a lot of Mexicans didn’t vote for Hillary for reasons ranging from her being a mujer to her pathetic Hispandering to her being a Clinton to her uninspiring platform to her being the worst lesser-of-two-evils since the days music fans had to pick between Thalia and Paulina Rubio. Latino yacktivists need to acknowledge we’re not all knee-jerk libs, and that’s OK.

Oh, and #fucktrump.

Dear Mexican: I wrestled in high school (badly), and have always had a love-hate relationship with professional wrestling. On the one hand, I love the sport, but I hate what they have done to it with all the scripted outcomes and over-the-top clown-show antics. That said, the wrestlers do turn in some amazing performances, and make real sacrifices of their bodies (not to mention their personal lives, like any type of performing entertainer).

Luchadores, however, are sheer brilliance. While they have their share of hamming it up, their performances are like a testosterone-fueled ballet. Even if you don’t find the whole mascara culture fun (Hey, who doesn’t want to be a superhero?), it’s impossible to ignore the amazing, high-flying gymnastics these guys put on. While I am happy that Rey Mysterio found popularity in the U.S., I am concerned that the WWE may screw up a good thing with the popularity of the rudos.

Can you help?

Viva Lucha Libre!

Dear Gabacho: I gotta admit: I haven’t religiously followed pro wrestling since the time Stone Cold Steve Austin made Kurt Angle wear a tiny tejana. So I asked my cousin, who said that WWE SmackDown Live had a recent storyline in its women’s division with a masked wrestler going by La Luchadora sneaking into matches to raise desmadre. That’s not surprising, given lucha libre masks are now a given at nearly every sporting event in the United States thanks to Nacho Libre and Rey Mysterio, who is past my time but is apparently a chingón of some sorts.

Cultural appropriation? Nah, gabachos just trying to hide their feo faces.

Ask the Mexican at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.; be his fan on Facebook; follow him on Twitter @gustavoarellano; or follow him on Instagram @gustavo_arellano!

Published in Ask a Mexican

On this week's nearer-to-the-end-times weekly Independent comics page: This Modern World asks some lingering political questions; Jen Sorenson looks at some oddly familiar soundbites; The K Chronicles celebrates Kwanzaa; and Red Meat invents a new cologne.

Published in Comics

On this week's shopped-out weekly Independent comics page: Jen Sorenson examines the forgetfulness of swing-state voters; The K Chronicles finds undeveloped photos; This Modern World looks back at 2016; and Red Meat talks corsets.

Published in Comics

On this week's very special episode of the weekly Independent comics page: Jen Sorenson looks at the political cycle from George W. Bush through the future; The K Chronicles heartily endorses Rogue One; This Modern World looks at the post-truth era; and Red Meat enjoys some foliage.

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I wish were using this space to discuss the results of the third annual Best of Coachella Valley readers’ poll—and explain how we received an all-time-high number of votes, and gush about how proud I am that our list of winners and finalists represents all parts of the valley.

I wish I were using this space to discuss the inaugural Palm Springs Craft Cocktail Week—and tell you all about how the week was an amazing success that featured amazing cocktails, lots of fun and thousands of dollars going to two amazing charities.

However, I feel compelled to instead discuss the president-elect of the United States.

Barring something freaky coming out of the proposed recounts and challenges, and despite the popular-vote results, it’s undeniable: Donald Trump won, fair and square. He deserves significant credit for confounding the experts and the establishment, and for tapping into and exploiting the serious concerns and pain being felt by many people across this great country.

However, that does not mean that his behavior during the campaign can or should be forgotten or forgiven.

Just like it’s undeniable that Trump won, fair and square, it’s also undeniable that he said and did some despicable things on his way to that win. He mocked the disabled. He demeaned women. He threatened the rights of LGBT individuals. He said things about Mexicans, Muslims and African Americans that were flat-out racist. He demonized the media. And by doing all of these awful things, he sent a message to racists, sexists and other haters across the country that it’s OK to feel and act that way.

As a small-business owner, I am petrified about what Trump could do to the economy. As a caring human, I am fearful of what he, his surrogates and his fans could do to Muslims, women, refugees and anyone else who is not a straight white man. As a reporter and journalist, I am downright pissed about the crap he’s said about the media—specifically newspapers that have exposed his lies, his deception and his wrongdoing.

However, I am not just petrified, fearful and pissed off. I am also motivated.

Since we published our first articles online more than four years ago, the mission statement of the Coachella Valley Independent has included this statement: We believe in true, honest journalism: We want to afflict the comfortable, and comfort the afflicted.

We and the rest of the country’s alternative media are on alert. We realize that our work is more important than ever. We’re watching.

By the way, pick up the December 2016 print edition of the Coachella Valley Independent, hitting streets all across the valley this week. As always, thanks for reading.

Published in Editor's Note

On this week's completely stuffed weekly Independent comics page: Jen Sorenson offers helpful Thanksgiving survival tips; The K Chronicles urges Americans to keep up the fight; This Modern World suggests some things for which to be thankful; and Red Meat comes in out of the rain.

Published in Comics

It was the best of times, it was the worst of times, it was the age of wisdom, it was the age of foolishness, it was the epoch of belief, it was the epoch of incredulity, it was the season of Light, it was the season of Darkness, it was the spring of hope, it was the winter of despair.

OK, sure, there are one or two issues more important than cannabis legalization. Maybe three. And while the idea of making America great again seems horribly ironic to many right now, cannabis legalization scored unprecedented victories across the country this November.

On the medicinal front: A stunning 63.8 percent of North Dakota voters legalized medicinal use. The state has 90 days from the election to implement the law statewide.

However, Arkansas was the big surprise, as it became the first Bible Belt state to legalize cannabis for medicinal use. Arkansas’ governor, former Drug Enforcement Administration chief and outspoken cannabis opponent Asa Hutchinson, has indicated he will accept the will of the people and allow the law to go into effect without interference.

After failing in 2014 (even though a majority of voters said yes; a 60 percent supermajority was required), Florida voted overwhelmingly to legalize medicinal weed: 71 percent of voters were in favor, but much remains to be seen regarding how Gov. Rick Scott’s administration will implement the law.

As for recreational marijuana, Nevada was a big question mark heading into Election Day, but despite casino mogul Sheldon Adelson’s best efforts (he supplied 97 percent of the opposition funding), 54 percent of Silver State voters ended up in favor of legalization. Nevada was already ahead of the cannabis-tourism game by accepting medical recommendations from other states, and recreational use will surely be a further boon for the travel industry. The personal use and possession components of the law go into effect on Jan. 1, 2017. However, lighting up in public will still get you a $600 fine. Also: Don’t expect pot shops to start popping up on The Strip anytime soon. The state is not expecting to start taking license applications until the beginning of 2018.

Some 54 percent of Massachusetts voters thought legalizing was a good idea, too. Once the law goes into effect in December of this year, adults 21 and older can possess up to 10 ounces of cannabis at home, and 1 ounce in public.

Maine approved legalization in a real nail-biter of an election. The measure passed by just more than 2,600 votes—less than 1 percent. Opponents of the law have already demanded a recount, and anti-pot crusader Gov. Paul LePage has indicated he may challenge the law.

Arizona’s failed Proposition 205 was the low point of the state elections; it was the only cannabis-related state initiative to fail, receiving just 48.5 percent of the vote.

Here in California, Proposition 64 passed by a comfortable margin—surprising no one. The home cultivation, possession and consumption components went into effect immediately.

What’s allowed:

  • Consumption of cannabis in private homes.
  • Possession of up to an ounce of flower and up to 8 grams of concentrate.
  • Growing up to six cannabis plants and keeping the harvested product in a private home. (Product harvested from your own grow is exempt from the one ounce limit.)
  • Giving up to an ounce of flower and up to eight grams of concentrate to another adult.

The first commercial-permit applications are expected around the beginning of 2018, with stores opening a couple of months later. If the Washington and Colorado examples hold true, demand will skyrocket, while newly licensed commercial growers get up and running, resulting in a temporary shortage.

Prop 64 removes virtually all penalties for those 21 and older, and replaces criminal charges with drug education for those younger than 18. You can get busted for smoking in public, and you can still get fired for failing a drug test. In a weird loophole … if you’re 18-20 years old, you got screwed: Possession of more than an ounce can now mean 6 months in jail. If an adult shares cannabis with someone younger than 21, he or she could face six months behind bars and a $500 fine. Something to think about the next time you’re passing a joint around at a concert …

California is the sixth-largest economy in the world, so Prop 64 passing is the brass ring for the legalization movement.

In Colorado, the push toward further legalization received a boost when Denver passed Initiative 300, which allows businesses to permit social consumption of cannabis on their premises. This opens the door to smoking weed in bars, cafes and other public spaces.

While the news regarding legalization was great on the state and local levels (outside of Arizona, that is), the national results were not quite as encouraging: With election of The Donald and Republicans in control of both houses of Congress, don’t expect federal prohibition to end any time soon. While Trump himself has indicated he would defer to the states to set medicinal cannabis law, Vice President-elect Mike Pence’s influence remains to be seen. Pence is a long-time proponent of the War on Drugs and believes in jail time for minimal possession. Pence’s role in leading Trump’s transition team indicates he will have an active role in the administration. This also means the DEA will be under no pressure to remove marijuana from Schedule 1 for at least the next four years—which will complicate cannabis-industry banking and deter major investment in the industry for the foreseeable future due to a continued lack of Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation coverage.

It was the best of times, it was the worst of times, it was the age of wisdom, it was the age of foolishness …

Published in Cannabis in the CV

On this week's tumultously transitional weekly Independent comics page: Red Meat enjoys the holiday; Jen Sorenson examines unhelpful post-election declarations; The K Chronicles ponders what's next for the National Rifle Association; and This Modern World heads over a cliff.

Published in Comics

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