Saturday, September 27, 2008

Ap-Palin-g

Since there's apparently an epidemic of outrage going around (see here and here) I figured I might as well channel it towards something truly deserving of that emotion - this article in the NY Times about a decision by the town of Wasilla (under the mayorship of Ms. One-Heartbeat-Away-From-Being-President Palin) to charge rape victims for the cost of forensic exams and rape kits, because apparently the $ 5,000 a year expense of these kits / procedures was an unfair burden on the taxpayer.

That is so far beyond outrageous even I'm at a loss for words.

8 comments:

Szerelem said...

Not new news, no? John Stewart has been bitching about this and her in general for the last few weeks.

She scares me. And disgusts me.

Falstaff said...

This particular factoid was news to me, though that may be because I don't watch John Stewart and haven't really been reading the news that much.

And ya, me too.

Salil said...

And she is supposed to win over the Hillary votebank! sheesh!

Anindita said...

Oh god :(. Sorry, I'm too speechless to muster up a more articulate response.

Chevalier said...

Wait, I just saw this post. I thought this'd been debunked:

Palin spokeswoman Maria Comella has said that the governor "does not believe, nor has she ever believed, that rape victims should have to pay for an evidence-gathering test."

quoting a newsbusters article: As mentioned first up was The Frontiersman story from 2000. In that story Police Chief Fannon was quoted as standing against legislation that would force local municipalities to pick up the costs of rape kits being performed. In the interview Fannon said that, upon conviction, he favored the criminals being charged for the costs.

http://www.frontiersman.com/articles/2000/05/23/news.txt

It was the hospitals in Alaska, not the police agencies, that were passing the bills on to the victims' insurance companies.

Does this help clear things up?

Falstaff said...

Salil: Actually, I don't think she is.

anindita: Ya, well.

chevalier: That makes no sense.

a) "In the interview Fannon said that, upon conviction, he favored the criminals being charged for the costs"

So, first, hospitals are supposed to wait till conviction to get paid? And second, what happens if the conviction doesn't come through? If there are appeals? For that matter, what happens if they never catch the perp?

b) "It was the hospitals in Alaska, not the police agencies, that were passing the bills on to the victims' insurance companies."

What does that mean? The state is supposed to pay for the gathering of evidence against criminals, not hospitals. If the state didn't pay the hospitals obviously they passed on the cost to the victim's insurance companies. The dereliction of responsibility still lies with the state, not with the hospital.

c) In any case, why the exception for rape victims? Does the city refuse to pay for collection of evidence in other crimes?

d) I don't see how a statement from a spokeswoman constitutes debunking. Obviously she's going to say she doesn't believe it. It wouldn't be the first time she's lied.

e) Finally, even if we believe for a moment that Palin didn't actively support rape victims having to pay for an evidence-gathering test herself, it still happened on her watch, didn't it? So at best she's not grotesquely small minded, just incompetent and indifferent.

Chevalier said...

Agree on a), b) and c) - the last thing I'm doing is *supporting* such an insane measure.

On d), I'm guessing the spokeperson is stating Palin's stance on the issue - not sure where the truth/lie comes into picture - what she says is crystal clear, no ambiguity - so I'm glad that that's Palin's (and McCain's?) stance. Unless you're saying she's going to flip in the future.

On e), first there's never been any victim found who's ever charged for her/his own rape kit throughout Palin's terms as governor or mayor. It was probably just a law that no one knew to find out about, until this weird police cheif started screaming about saving taxpayer's money.
And second, I know Senators have a different responsibility than a Governor, but there are other places that have the exact same measure, Illinois for one. And some other lovely states like Georgia, Arkansas and North Carolina too.

Falstaff said...

Chevalier:

1. "there's never been any victim found who's ever charged for her/his own rape kit throughout Palin's terms as governor or mayor"

Not true. The article that you point to clearly says:

"While the Alaska State Troopers and most municipal police agencies have covered the cost of exams, which cost between $300 to $1,200 apiece, the Wasilla police department does charge the victims of sexual assault for the tests."

(italics mine)

and goes on to quote Fannon as saying:

"In the past weve charged the cost of exams to the victims insurance company when possible"

Note that this article is dated May 2000 and Palin was Mayor of Wasilla from 1996 to 2002. Therefore rape victims were charged for the cost of exams during her tenure.

2. Which leaves the question of whether she knew that this was happening. Now remember, Wasilla has a population of a little over 5,000 people, as opposed to, say, the 12 million people who live in Illinois. Are we really to believe that she didn't know what her police chief, a man she hired to the post, was doing? How hard can it be to keep tabs on a handful of senior subordinates?

The really interesting question, to me, is what she did after the story you linked to came out. At the very least, you would think she would have fired Fannon asap. Any idea whether she did?