- A former Oklahoma City police officer was convicted yesterday of raping and sexually victimizing eight women on his police beat in a minority, low-income neighborhood.
Daniel Holtzclaw, who turned 29 yesterday, sobbed as the verdict was read aloud. Jurors convicted him on 18 counts involving eight of the 13 women who had accused him; the jury acquitted him on another 18 counts.
He could spend the rest of his life in prison based on the jury's recommendation that he serve a total of 263 years, including a 30-year sentence on each of four first-degree rape convictions. He was also convicted of forcible oral sodomy, sexual battery, procuring lewd exhibition and second-degree rape.
The jury deliberated for about 45 hours over four days. Holtzclaw's sentencing is set for Jan. 21. A judge will decide whether he will have to serve the sentences consecutively.
Holtzclaw's father - a police officer in Enid, about 100 miles northwest of Oklahoma City-his mother and sister were in the courtroom as the verdict was read. At least one accuser was present, as well as several black community leaders. Seven armed deputies were stationed around the room.
Commandos say no to women in special ops
-The men in the U.S. military's most dangerous jobs care little about political correctness or gender equality. And they have a message for their political leadership.
When they are fighting in the shadows or bleeding on the battlefield, women have no place on their teams.
In blunt and, at times, profanity-laced answers to a voluntary survey conducted by the Rand Corp., more than 7,600 of America's special operations forces spoke with nearly one voice. Allowing women to serve in Navy SEAL, Army Delta or other commando units could hurt their effectiveness and lower the standards, and it may drive men away from the dangerous posts.
An overwhelming majority of those who agreed to respond to the RAND survey said they believe women don't have the physical strength or mental toughness to do the grueling jobs..
Obama's exec actions could open a door
WASHINGTON -While the White House has condemned Donald Trump's call for a ban on Muslim immigrants as "disqualifying" and "toxic," President Barack Obama may have only himself to blame if a President Trump ever succeeds in putting his plan, or some version of it, into action.
In his efforts to work around Congress, Obama has made the aggressive use of executive power, particularly on immigration, an increasingly effective and politically accepted presidential tool. While legal scholars are divided on whether Obama has accelerated or merely continued a drift of power toward the executive branch, there's little debate that he's paved a path for his successor.
Depending on who that is, many Obama backers could rue the day they cheered his "pen-and-phone" campaign to get past Republican opposition in Congress. The unilateral steps he took to raise environmental standards, tighten gun control measures and ease the threat of deportation for millions of immigrants in the U.S. illegally, may serve as precedent for moves they won't cheer.
"Democrats have been remarkably shortsighted in embracing of this type of uber-presidency," said Jonathon Turley, a George Washington University law professor. Although Turley represents House Republicans in a challenge to Obama's health care law, he says he agrees with the policies Obama has enacted in some other actions.
"Unfortunately I think the bill will come due for many Democrats," Turley said. "In a future administration, they will hear the same arguments played back to them as they watch a different president go after a different set of priorities."
Climate deal emerges as talks near end
LE BOURGET, France
- Negotiators from China, the U.S. and other nations haggled into the early morning today over how to share the burden of fighting climate change and paying for a trillion-dollar transition to clean energy on a global scale.
Some delegates said an elusive climate pact was in sight heading into the final scheduled day of talks outside Paris while others said a new draft presented late yestersday by French Foreign Minister Laurent Fabius allowed rich nations to shift the responsibility of fighting global warming to the developing world.
"We are going backwards," said Gurdial Singh Nijar of Malaysia, the head of a bloc of hardline countries that also includes India, China and Saudi Arabia.
They have put up the fiercest resistance against attempts by the U.S., the European Union and other wealthy nations to make emerging economies pitch in to reduce global greenhouse gas emissions and help the poorest countries cope with climate change.
The issue, known as "differentiation" in United Nations climate lingo, was expected to be one of the last to be resolved.
U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry zipped in and out of negotiation rooms as delegates broke into smaller groups overnight to iron out their differences.
U.S. Muslim women debate safety of hijab
- On the night of the California shootings, Asifa Quraishi-Landes sat on her couch, her face in her hands, and thought about what was ahead for her and other Muslim women who wear a scarf or veil in public.
The covering, or hijab, often draws unwanted attention even in the best of times. But after the one-two punch of the Paris and San Bernardino attacks by Islamic militants, and amid an anti-Muslim furor stoked by comments of Donald Trump, Quraishi-Landes, an Islamic law specialist at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, wanted to send a message.
"To all my Muslim sisters who wear hijab," she wrote on her Facebook page. "If you feel your life or safety is threatened in any way because of your dress, you have an Islamic allowance (darura/necessity) to adjust your clothing accordingly. Your life is more important than your dress."
Amid a reported spike in harassment, threats and vandalism directed at American Muslims and at mosques, Muslim women are intensely debating the duty and risks related to wearing their head-coverings as usual.
Sites for Muslim women have posted guidance on how to stay safe. Hosai Mojaddidi, co-founder of the educational group MentalHealth4Muslims, drew nearly 4,000 likes for her Facebook post advising women to "pull out those hooded sweatshirts, beanies, hats and wraps for a while until the dust settles."
- Associated Press