We've reached the point in the political year when important events are happening fast.

Sometimes, things happen so fast, we have to chose among them. Here's a short list of stories with political and social meaning that you too may have missed this past week.


Daniel Holtzclaw cries as the verdicts are read in his trial in Oklahoma City, Thursday, Dec. 10, 2015. (AP Photo/Sue Ogrocki, Pool)

1. A former Oklahoma City police officer was convicted of raping multiple women who prosecutors said he targeted because they were black, poor and/or had criminal records who were thus unlikely to report him to police.

Some of the rapes occurred while Holtzclaw was on-duty and in-uniform. Holtzclaw was convicted due to victim testimony and former coworkers willing to conduct a thorough investigation.

You can read more about this case and the ugly way that attitudes about race, class and gender seemed to combine to make this situation both possible and yet little-covered -- despite this being a year in which the country was forced to contend with other types of police misconduct. You can read more about the hearing and Holtzclaw's 263-year sentence if you follow the link below.

[Disgraced ex-cop Daniel Holtzclaw sentenced to 263 years for on-duty rapes, sexual assaults]


Silhouettes of people's heads are seen in front of an electoral U.S. Map, displayed during an election night event organized by the U.S. embassy in Skopje, Macedonia Nov .7, 2012. (AP Photo/Boris Grdanoski)

2. The District of Columbia's bid for statehood was on the receiving end of a statistically challenged attack.

It's never been an idea that's quite entered the mainstream and not one remotely popular with conservatives who typically champion local control and limited federal influence in local affairs.

But on Wednesday, Rep. Andy Harris (R-Md.) pretty much shared the highly paternalistic -- and that's the nice word for it -- reasons that he believes this seeming contradiction makes sense. The residents of the District can't be trusted to make good decisions, Harris told a group gathered at a town hall.

His "evidence:" Efforts to allow legal marijuana sales much like the dispensaries that now exist in other states (which have been stymied by Congress), and the city's 12 percent black high school graduation rate and its 40 percent unemployment rate.

There are more than a few problems here. But, congressman, your "data" are quite wrong. The black high school graduation rate in D.C. is a deeply concerning 59.7 percent during the 2013-2014 school year. The black unemployment rate hit an annual average of 15.4 percent in 2014. That's high, but not Depression-level as Harris described.

3. This weekend, Define American, a nonprofit organization founded by the journalist and undocumented immigrant activist Jose Antonio Vargas, is hosting a documentary film festival with a distinctly political mission in Des Moines, Iowa.

The films tell the real-life stories of immigrants and are available for viewing in Iowa, home of the nation's first primary season contest and a number of voters who rank unauthorized immigration high on their list of political concerns.

(Vargas is a former Washington Post reporter who left the paper in 2009 and announced in 2011 that he was undocumented.)

The three-day film festival is a first-time event for Define American. Follow this link for more information about the films.


Ammon Bundy, one of the sons of Nevada rancher Cliven Bundy, arrives for a news conference at Malheur National Wildlife Refuge near Burns, Ore. (AP Photo/Rick Bowmer)

4. This one is a link-out to a reported story worth reading -- over on Colorlines.com (a publication of RaceForward, a racial justice nonprofit and think tank) -- about the still-ongoing standoff in Oregon.

A reporter spent several days talking with the mostly white, male and armed occupiers still holding forth out in Burns, Ore., without much in the way of a law enforcement response -- much to the chagrin of Oregon Gov. Kate Brown (D).

The reporter behind the story found some very interesting things happening inside the community of armed occupiers, including people with no legal training taking on quasi-official titles like "judge" and some participants willing to speak openly about their sense that Native Americans no longer have any right to the federal land these men want "returned."

The somewhat inside view offered up in the story is worth a read. And you can read more about the problems with the armed occupiers' "return" claims if you click the link below.

[The Bundys want federal land ‘returned’ to them. But it was never ‘theirs’ in the first place]


Kyle Lydell Canty is an American seeking refugee status in Canada. He is claiming police brutality and racism. (Screenshot courtesy CBC News)

5. This one is technically a little more than a week old, but it's an update on an old Fix post: Canada has denied a request for political asylum filed by a black American man seeking refuge due to what he described as pervasive police abuse directed at people like him in the United States.

American refuge-seekers in Canada are rare and subject to extra scrutiny, though they do exist. They include a woman convicted of a sexual contact with a minor.

The board that considered the man's police misconduct-related request said that there was no evidence that the man's interactions with police have involved illegal activity on the part of police. Click the link below to learn more about the man's case.

[A black American man is applying for refugee status in Canada, citing police racism. Don’t laugh.]