Mojo - August 2012

Men Defining Rape: A History

| Mon Aug. 27, 2012 3:00 AM PDT
In 2 Samuel 13:1-22, Amnon rapes his half sister Tamar. Nothing happens to him.

Men have been in the business of deciding when it is okay and when it is not okay to rape women for thousands of years. If Missouri Rep. Todd Akin's claim that women's bodies magically fend off rapist sperm or the GOP's meditation on what's really rape sound medieval to you, that's because they are. Check out our timeline of the male notions and common-law statutes that have defined rape over time, and see for yourself which eras the GOP's views on rape line up with:

Property theft: The Code of Hammurabi, one of the first sets of written laws, which dates to about 1780 BC (and contains the old "eye for an eye"), defines rape of a virgin as property damage against her father. If you were married, sorry lady: You were an adulteress. Punishment? You get thrown in the river.

Translation: Girl, you're screwed.  Batigolix/FotopediaTranslation: Girl, you're screwed. Batigolix/FotopediaGod is a dude: Deuteronomy 22:28-29 says if you rape a virgin, you have to give her dad 50 shekels and take her to the altar.

Et tu, Roma? The Latin root raptus referred to the abduction of a woman against the will of whatever male controlled her life. What the abductor did with her was secondary.

Rape of the Sabine Women, by Giuseppe Cesari.  Dirk Huijssoon/FotopediaRape of the Sabine Women, by Giuseppe Cesari. Dirk Huijssoon/FotopediaTodd Akin, 1.0: As the Guardian recently pointed out, one of the earliest British legal texts, Fleta, which was written around 1290, laid the foundation for Akin's notion that if you get preggers, you weren't raped: "Without a woman's consent she could not conceive."

(Mississippi and) The Middle Ages: During the 13th century, the severity of punishment under Saxon law varied according to the type of woman raped—whether she was a virgin, a wife, a widow, a nun, or a whore. That's appropriately medieval. But in the United States, well into the '90s (yes, the nineteen-nineties) some states still had laws that held statutory rape wasn't rape if the woman was "impure". Mississippi was the last state to ditch such a law—in 1998. King Edward I and his wife Eleanor.   From an early 14th century manuscript/WikipediaKing Edward I and his wife Eleanor. From an early 14th century manuscript/Wikipedia

Pre-wave feminism: King Edward I of England was a forward-thinking chap. He enacted the landmark Statutes of Westminster at the end of the 13th century. They redefined rape as a public wrong, not just a private property battle. The legislation also cut out the virgin distinction and made consent irrelevant for girls under 12, laying the basis for the modern principle of statutory rape.

"The wife hath given up herself": In a treatise on capital crime and punishment from around 1670, English judge and lawyer Sir Matthew Hale wrote this little gem: "[T]he husband cannot be guilty of a rape committed by himself upon his lawful wife, for by their mutual matrimonial consent and contract the wife hath given up herself in this kind unto her husband, which she cannot retract." The law had quite a bit of traction. A man could legally rape his wife in North Carolina until 1993.

If you were brown: It didn't count, whether you were a slave or a "savage." And after abolition, the white legal establishment pretty much ignored rape against black women.

Rape to prove rape: Men in common law courts in the 18th and 19th centuries had a bit of trouble agreeing on how much proof a woman had to give to show she wasn't lying. Some said the hymen had to be broken. Some said she had to provide evidence of semen. Virginity test, anyone?

Egyptian women protest the ruling military council's "virginity tests" in December 2011.  Ayman Mose/ZUMA PressEgyptian women protest the ruling military council's "virginity tests" in December 2011. Ayman Mose/ZUMA Press"Absolute rape," kind of like "legitimate rape": English physician Samuel Farr was pretty certain women couldn't get pregnant without an orgasm. The Guardian quotes the mansplanation from his 1814 Elements of Medical Jurisprudence: "For without an excitation of lust, or the enjoyment of pleasure in the venereal act, no conception can probably take place. So that if an absolute rape were to be perpetrated, it is not likely she would become pregnant."

You can't thread a moving needle: Or: If you don't squirm a lot, it's not rape. Dr. Lawson Tait, an eminent 19th century gynecologist and medical officer who helped police with criminal investigations, was "perfectly satisfied that no man can effect a felonious purpose on a woman in possession of her sense without her consent." Said he: "You cannot thread a moving needle."

Irina Misevic/ShutterstockIrina Misevic/Shutterstock

The FBI calls rape by its name: As the Post's Gerhart explains, the federal government used the "rather prim euphemism, 'indecent assault,' a phrase that seems as linguistically tortured as 'legitimate rape,' from the 17th century until 1929, when the FBI's Uniform Crime Reporting Program renamed it like this: "the carnal knowledge of a female, forcibly and against her will." That definition was still totally 17th century, btw.

Lady rules: Feminists had been fighting to raise the statutory rape age in states since the 1890s (in response, some legislators proposed raising the age of consent to 81). Nonwhite feminists had been fighting for equal treatment under the law. Second wavers gave the movement another push, demanding a range of other expansions to make the definition of rape gender neutral, include date rape, and scrap medieval marital exceptions and virginity requirements.

Sue Lyon in Stanley Kubrick's 1962 Lolita.  Zellaby/FotopediaSue Lyon in Stanley Kubrick's 1962 Lolita. Zellaby/Fotopedia83 years later: January of 2012: that's when the FBI decided to update its definition of forcible rape. As Kate Sheppard pointed out last year, the year 1929 "was quite a while ago—before the Great Depression, before Mickey Mouse, and before the Empire State Building, to name a few. It was also before roofies had been invented and before date or partner rape were even concepts." The new, expanded definition includes other forms of sexual assault, other genders, and instances where the "victim is incapable of giving consent because of temporary or permanent mental or physical incapacity, including due to the influence of drugs or alcohol or because of age."

Backward, ho!: Last year, House Republicans pushed to limit taxpayer funding of abortions by excluding non-"forcible" rapes from federal abortion funding. Their plan failed. But the Republican war on women was just starting to heat up.

Johnny Andrews/ZUMA PressJohnny Andrews/ZUMA Press"Legitimate rape": "If it's a legitimate rape, the female body has ways to try to shut that whole thing down." Or, as Urban Dictionary puts it: "Rape between one man and one woman who are not married or even acquainted; the only rape sanctioned by the Republican Party."

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What Exactly Is a Mass Shooting?

| Fri Aug. 24, 2012 3:17 PM PDT

Update, December 16, 2012: In the wake of the massacre at Sandy Hook Elementary in Newtown, a story from the Associated Press suggested that mass shootings have not increased in the United States in recent years. But the AP cited research that uses broader criteria than the criteria we used for our investigation, which found an increase. Here is our approach, explained:

What is a mass shooting?
Broadly speaking, the term refers to an incident involving multiple victims of gun violence. But there is no official set of criteria or definition for a mass shooting, according to criminology experts and FBI officials who have spoken with Mother Jones.

Generally, there are three terms you'll see to describe a perpetrator of this type of gun violence: mass murderer, spree killer, or serial killer. An FBI crime classification report from 2005 identifies an individual as a mass murderer if he kills four or more people in a single incident (not including himself), typically in a single location. (The baseline of four fatalities is key—more on that just below.)

The primary distinction between a mass murderer and a spree killer, according to the FBI, is that the latter strikes in multiple locations, though still in a relatively short time frame. The third type, a serial killer, is distinguished by striking over a longer time frame, in multiple locations, with opportunity for what the FBI report refers to as "cooling-off periods" in between attacks.

How often do mass shootings occur? 
Beginning in July, after the movie theater slaughter in Aurora, Colorado, we documented and analyzed 62 mass shootings from the last 30 years. As we delved into the research, we realized that robust data on this subject was hard to come by, in part due to the lack of clear criteria. We were focused on the question of how many times Aurora-like events had actually happened. We honed our criteria accordingly:

  • The attack must have occurred essentially in a single incident, in a public place;
  • We excluded crimes of armed robbery, gang violence, or domestic violence in a home, focusing on cases in which the motive appeared to be indiscriminate mass murder;
  • The killer, in accordance with the FBI criterion, had to have taken the lives of at least four people.

The traumatic events included in our guide to mass shootings are the kind that tend to grab national attention—school and workplace shootings, attacks in shopping malls or government buildings—but they represent only a sliver of America's gun violence, which results in approximately 30,000 deaths annually.

Since the 1980s, the baseline of four fatalities has generally been used for studying mass murder, according to Professor James Alan Fox of Northeastern University, who has written multiple books on the subject. But as Fox agreed when we spoke, while that number may seem to make some sense intuitively, there is nonetheless something coldly arbitrary about it. Was it not a "mass shooting" in 2008, for example, when a man walked into a church in Tennessee and opened fire with a shotgun, killing two and injuring seven? Dropping the number of fatalities by just one, or including motives of armed robbery, gang violence, or domestic violence, would add many, many more cases to the list.

According to a recent report in Time magazine (available only to subscribers, and whose criteria is unclear), there've been "nearly 20 mass shootings" every year on average during the last three and a half decades.

Why didn't you include the infamous DC Beltway sniper attacks on your mass shootings map?
We've been asked this question numerous times. The man who killed 10 and wounded 3 others a decade ago (along with a young accomplice) was a serial killer: He committed multiple attacks over several weeks, in different locations. It was a particularly tense time for people living in the DC metro area—the shooter "terrorized our neighborhood," as one person wrote to me in an email—but the case did not fit the criteria described above.

Is Mother Jones focusing on this stuff as part of a conspiracy to take away Americans' gun rights?
No. One of our lead reporters on this beat, Adam Weinstein, who covered the Trayvon Martin killing and investigated how the National Rifle Association helped spread "Stand Your Ground" laws nationwide, is a Navy veteran and third-generation gun owner. We're happy for him to hang onto his guns. Multiple other Mother Jones staffers are experienced with guns.

The debate over guns in the United States is extremely contentious and polarizing, and we think that the more reporting and clear data there is available about guns, the better. That mass shootings keep happening is an undeniable fact. Why they do, and how to stop them, is a matter for further investigation.

Update, January 8, 2013: Where can I learn more about MoJo's investigation?
See our recently published America Under the Gun: a Special Report on gun laws and the rise of mass shootings, which contains interactive maps, charts, and dozens of stories from over the last year.

The Weekly Standard Defends Ryan on Redefining Rape

| Fri Aug. 24, 2012 2:05 PM PDT

The Weekly Standard's John McCormack says the New York Times is being unfair to Paul Ryan—and he says it's all my fault.

What McCormack is objecting to is a line in a recent Times article noting that Ryan had co-sponsored a bill that tried to "restrict the definition of rape." He says this phrase is imprecise and gives readers the wrong impression of what Ryan and the House GOP were actually trying to do. The bill in question, H.R. 3, the "No Taxpayer Funding for Abortion Act," passed the House in May 2011 and was supported by Ryan and most House Republicans. It was a grab-bag of abortion foes' favorite proposals. The most controversial measure would have limited the types of rapes that would be eligible for federal abortion funding, changing the guideline from "rape" to "forcible rape." The bill would have also eliminated federal abortion funding for victims of incest who were over 18. Both changes were removed from the bill after a national outcry.

McCormack blames me for giving the Times—and other oulets—a false impression of what the "forcible rape" language would do. In January 2011, I broke the news about the forcible rape language and reported, based on interviews with experts (including a former federal prosecutor), that many kinds of rapes—including drug- and alcohol-aided rapes—could be excluded from the "forcible rape" definition. McCormack says that's "blatantly untrue." He says the "forcible rape" language in H.R. 3 would merely have excluded funding for abortions in cases of statutory rape—which, he goes on to claim, is probably what existing law says anyway. As evidence, he notes that the 2004 edition of the FBI's Uniform Crime Reporting Handbook requires that attempts to use date-rape drugs to rape someone be classified as forcible rape attempts. He says this makes it clear that drug- and alcohol-aided rapes (in which the victim is incapable of consenting) would still have been eligible for abortion funding if H.R. 3 became law.

#FutureMittJokes: We Built That

| Fri Aug. 24, 2012 1:18 PM PDT

When Mitt Romney had his birther moment this morning, some defenders tried an age-old tactic to shift attention off the candidate's remarks: react to the reaction to the remarks. In this case, the conservatives in question worked at Michelle Malkin's website, the Twitchy, and their outrage was directed at a hashtag meme that had taken off on Twitter:

When you've been dealt a bad hand, you can still play the race card. At least that’s the strategy liberals subscribe to. After Mitt Romney cracked a birth certificate joke earlier today, the Left experienced nothing short of a major meltdown. Bereft of any rational thought, they decided to birth a ludicrous hashtag game, #FutureMittJokes.

Actually, Twitchers, there's no need to blame liberals for spotlighting the presidential candidate's racial blindspot with some pointed tweets: You can just blame us. #FutureMittJokes was the brainchild of MoJo's Adam Serwer, who spontaneously tweeted:

He got it warmed up with:

From there, it just sort of took off. With writers from:

The American Prospect:

Wired:

Gawker:

Here's my personal favorite, because it sounds like the kind of joke I could really hear Romney saying:

So, yeah, we built that. (We can take no credit, however, for American Bridge, a liberal-connected super PAC, taking the ball and sticking one of their campaign plugs on the hashtag's search page as a "sponsored tweet." Way to piggyback on a good thing, dudes.)

Apparently, this is all outrageous! and shocking! to conservatives—who, as quick as they were to condemn Rep. Todd Akin's luddite notions of female assault and reproduction earlier this week, quietly dismissed Romney's birther shoutout as a cute, banal, not-at-all-racially-coded joke. Apparently the only thing that's more offensive than racial pandering is being accused of racial pandering. "Those are fighting tweets, sir!"

But, whoops, a couple folks didn't get the memo and tried to highjack the hashtag and use it to dump some anti-Obama barbs:

 

"Pretty sure that's a win, right there," the Twitchy's anonymous blogger wrote of the attempted highjacking. Hmm... Depends on what your definition of "win" is.

BREAKING: Todd Akin To Say Something Today

| Fri Aug. 24, 2012 1:11 PM PDT

UPDATE (Friday August 24, 5:33 p.m. EDT): Rep. Todd Akin took five press questions. Nothing has changed, he is still in the race, and his family is still running his Senate campaign. That was fun, guys. Happy Friday.

On Friday afternoon, embattled Rep. Todd Akin (R-MO) announced that he is holding a press conference at 5:15 p.m. EDT.

After stepping into some mess with his strange account of female reproduction, Akin missed the first deadline earlier this week to drop out of his Missouri Senate race against Democrat Claire McCaskill, and vowed to fight on—even after the GOP money machine choked off financial support to his campaign. At the moment, it appears as though this presser is designed to remind reporters of the candidate's audacity: 

In other news:

Akin has been under fire from scores of liberals and conservatives after he posited last weekend that female victims of "legitimate rape" are unlikely to become pregnant.

On Friday afternoon, shortly before his planned press conference, his campaign changed his Facebook banner to: "WE PROVED THE PARTY BOSSES WRONG":

We will update this post after his planned statements, and as new information flows in.

What to Make of Mitt Romney's Birther Joke?

| Fri Aug. 24, 2012 12:46 PM PDT

Mitt Romney made a birther joke.  

"Now I love being home, in this place where Ann and I were raised, where both of us were born," Romney told a campaign rally in Michigan. "Ann was born at Henry Ford Hospital I was born at Harper Hospital. No one's ever asked to see my birth certificate they know that this is the place we were born and raised." The crowd at first laughed, then cheered. Here's the video:

Romney is not himself a birther. He was engaging in ironic post-birtherism—showing solidarity with birthers by making a humorous remark that can be plausibly denied as a joke later. This is a necessary device for a Republican politician who wants to rile up the base without seeming like a lunatic, because the belief that President Barack Obama was not born in the United States is still held by nearly half of self-identified Republicans even after the very public release of the president's birth certificate. Birtherism remains the most frank and widespread evidence of racial animus among some of the president's critics. As Ta-Nehisi Coates writes in The Atlantic this month, the birthers, strapped in their waxen wings, aim for nothing less than the sun: "If Obama is not truly American, then America has still never had a black president."

The Romney campaign, for its part, has denied that their candidate intentionally offered a nod to birtherism. Romney campaign adviser Kevin Madden told Buzzfeed that Romney "was only referencing that Michigan, where he is campaigning today, is the state where he himself was born and raised." So in case the audience didn't understand that Romney was born in Michigan when he said he was born there and named the hospital he was born in, Romney just thought he'd tell them that no one's asked to see his birth certificate.

Romney's claim about never having been asked for his birth certificate is almost certainly false. Romney holds a US passport, and for a first time applicant naming the hospital where you were born will not suffice. It's far-fetched to imagine Romney did not intend to reference birtherism, especially given his embrace of political allies (such as Donald Trump) who have expressed sympathy for it.

I suspect many Republicans who continue to subscribe to the birther lunacy do so because it bothers liberals and because it's an act of symbolic defiance of a president they dislike. The problem with birtherism, however, is that the underlying assumptions driving it have always been broader than the president. Birtherism is more than just a conspiracy theory about the president's birth. Its underlying principle is a rejection of American racial pluralism. The refusal to believe—in the face of all evidence to the contrary—that Obama is an American reads to many as saying black people don't really count as American unless they talk like Herman Cain or Allen West. 

That's the problem with Romney's "joke," too. It falls into a long list of remarks that suggest an emotional myopia based on an extremely sheltered life experience. It comes across as gloating about the fact that, as a rich white man born into a wealthy and powerful family, Romney has rarely been subject to the kind of racist or sexist assumptions that clog the daily lives of millions of Americans. Romney might as well joke that he's never been mistaken for a waiter in a restaurant or a clerk in a retail store, or that he's never been selected for extra screening at an airport or randomly told to empty his pockets by the NYPD. The reason Romney doesn't have to show the country his papers isn't because everyone knows he was born in Michigan. It's because whiteness remains unquestionably "American" for some people in a way blackness does not. That should not be a point of pride for Romney; it should be a matter of anger and disappointment. 

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VIDEO: Romney's 5 Dumbest Comments

| Fri Aug. 24, 2012 11:31 AM PDT

Critics are jumping all over Mitt Romney's Michigan stump-speech birther "joke" as if it's the first unguided missile that ever left the Republican presidential candidate's mouth. But Romney has a long history of campaign-trail remarks that have left listeners wondering if he's from another planet. Here are five of dumbest:

1. The Birther Joke

          

He said what? "I love being home, in this place where Ann and I were raised. Where both of us were born...No one's ever asked to see my birth certificate. They know this is the place where we were born and raised."

Why was it dumb? Nothing will make campaign journalists drool all over their keyboards in excitement like a joke referencing the birther movement.

2. "Sport"

          

He said what? "I met a guy yesterday, 7 feet tall, handsome, great big guy...I figured he had to be in sport, but he wasn't in sport. His business is caring for seniors."

Why was it dumb? Besides the fact that this story is one phrase ("and then I found $10") away from something your senile great aunt might say, Romney's anachronistic use of "sport" makes little sense. In American English, "sports" replaced the use of "sport" in the mid-20th century. Is this something Romney picked up from the French?

3. NASCAR Owners

          

He said what? Asked if he followed NASCAR racing, he replied: "Not as closely as some of the most ardent fans, but I have some great friends who are NASCAR team owners."

Why was it dumb? The reporter gave Romney an easy opportunity to relate to sports fans. But Romney inadvertently took the chance to remind his constituents that they are not like him. As The Nation's Ari Melber tweeted in parody: "Do I like movies? Well I have some friends that own movie companies..."

4. The Cadillacs

          

He said what? "Ann drives a couple of Cadillacs, actually."

Why was it dumb? Romney was trying to show Detroit that his connections to Michigan run deep, and he drives American cars. Instead, Romney told a city that has faced decades of hard times that he and his wife, Ann, roll in luxury—two deep.

5. The Trees Are the Right Height

          

He said what? "It seems right here, the trees are the right height...I like seeing the lakes. I love the lakes. There's something very special here."

Why was it dumb? Romney is doing his darndest to show enthusiasm for his native Michigan, but something about the phrasing seems a bit off. Maybe it's the fact that he sounds like he could be a character in the movie Anchorman ("Do you really love the lamp, or are you just saying it because you saw it?") Or maybe it's because Romney has actually used this lame speech multiple times on the trail.

We're Still at War: Photo of the Day for August 24, 2012

Fri Aug. 24, 2012 8:41 AM PDT

U.S. Marines with Battalion Landing Team, 1st Battalion, 2nd Marine Regiment, 24th Marine Expeditionary Unit (MEU), replace their targets after conducting a multiple target, live-fire range on the flight deck of the amphibious assault ship USS Iwo Jima (LHD 7, at an undisclosed location, Aug. 19, 2012.) DoD photo by Gunnery Sgt. Chad R. Kiehl, U.S. Marine Corps.

This Week in Dark Money

| Fri Aug. 24, 2012 3:01 AM PDT

A quick look at the week that was in the world of political dark money...

the money shot

quote of the week

"He's not going to get grassroots support from individuals; I don't think he’ll get organized support by the party or 501(c)(4)s and I don’t know how you survive without that kind of support."
—Republican operative Bradley Blakeman, expressing skepticism about Rep. Todd Akin's (R-Mo.) chances at unseating Democratic Sen. Claire McCaskill after his comment that victims of "legitimate rape" aren't likely to become pregnant. Groups including Karl Rove's dark-money Crossroads GPS have pulled their ads from the race (for now).

 

attack ad of the week

The liberal nonprofit Patriot Majority USA dropped $500,000 on an ad campaign targeting Charles and David Koch for attempting to "buy this year's elections and advance their agenda." But two can play the dark-money game: The web of groups collectively referred to as Patriot Majority has disclosed its mostly union and Democratic bigwig donors since 2006, but Patriot Majority USA doesn't plan to.

 

stat of the week

7 percent: The amount of television stations' revenues that may come from political ads, thanks to super-PACs and nonprofit groups, according to Moody's. TV stations are required to give discounted rates to campaigns, but those rules don't apply for outside spending groups. "It's like Christmas in September for broadcasters. And October," David Keating, head of the pro-Citizens United group Center for Competitive Politics, told Politico.

 

chart of the week

Between 2011 and this July, conservative super-PACs have spent $137.1 million, four times the $33.1 million spent by their liberal counterparts. The Center for Responsive Politics charted this year's numbers:

 

more mojo dark-money coverage

Super-PAC Cash Still Favors GOP: Conservative super-PACs continue to dominate their liberal rivals in the latest round of fundraising.
GOP Money Machine Choking Off Support For Rep. Todd Akin: Both Karl Rove's Crossroads GPS and the GOP's main Senate committee are ending ad support for Akin.
Lefty Dark-Money Group Drops $500K Attacking The Koch Brothers: Patriot Majority, a liberal nonprofit group, says its new ads are the opening shots of a sustained anti-Koch campaign.
 

more must-reads

• An exhaustive account of how nonprofits claiming to be social welfare groups are pouring millions of dollars into the 2012 election. ProPublica
• No one seems to be taking the rule banning campaigns from coordinating with outside spending groups too seriously. Politico
• While his brothers were off playing the dark-money game, Bill Koch built himself a private Old West town. Denver Post

23 Numbers to Know About the 2012 Republican and Democratic Conventions

| Fri Aug. 24, 2012 3:00 AM PDT

Summer is on its way out. The class of 2016 is shipping out, all the good summer movies seem a distant memory, and the NFL is only in preseason. At this point, you might even be gearing up to live-tweet and intensely hate-watch media coverage of the 2012 Republican and Democratic national conventions.

While you're waiting, here's a rundown of some numbers to know for the nominating conventions in Tampa and Charlotte: 

50,000: The number of people (media, delegates, attendees, merchants, etc.) expected to take part in the Republican National Convention in Tampa, Florida, between August 27 and 30. (Around thirty-two percent of attendees will be journalists; 4.6 percent will be actual delegates.)

35,000: The number of people expected to take part in the Democratic National Convention in Charlotte, North Carolina, between September 4 and 6. (Forty-three percent journalists, 16 percent delegates.)

670,000: The number of square feet that make up the Tampa Bay Times Forum, the convention site where Mitt Romney will be delivering his acceptance speech.

The Tampa Bay Times Forum WikiThe Tampa Bay Times Forum Christopher Hollis/Wdwic Pictures/Wikimedia Commons1,600,000: The number of square feet that make up Bank of America Stadium (a.k.a., "Panthers Stadium," on the night the president is speaking), where Barack Obama will be delivering his acceptance speech.

Bank of America Stadium WikiBank of America Stadium UCinternational/Wikimedia Commons

346,037: The population of Tampa.

751,087: The population of Charlotte.

$2,000,000: The amount spent by the Tampa Police Department on 60 new surveillance cameras, all of which are installed downtown.

$765,795: The amount spent by the Charlotte-Mecklenburg Police Department on security software and a "command center upgrade."

15,000: The number of protesters expected to show up at the Tampa convention site.

10,000: The number of protesters expected to show up at the Charlotte convention site.

$136,000,000: The total amount of cash the two parties have received in public funding for convention security and other expenses.

$175,000,000: Amount of money projected to flow into the local Tampa economy as a result of the four-day-long Republican convention.

$150,000,000: Amount of money projected flow into the local Charlotte economy as a result of the three-day-long Democratic convention.

$55,000,000: The fundraising dollars the Republican host committee expects to haul in during the four days in Tampa.

$36,600,000: The fundraising dollars the Democratic host committee hopes to achieve in the three days in Charlotte. (They likely won't.)

$0: The convention funds Democrats have raised from corporate donors. (This isn't a #fail, per se; it's intentional.) 

33: The percentage of registered voters who identify as Republicans in Hillsborough County, where the city of Tampa is located.

45.2: The percentage of registered voters who identify as Democrats in Mecklenburg County, where the city of Charlotte is located.

Via Ruth's List FloridaVia Ruth's List Florida

49: The age of the Republican keynote speaker, New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie, at the time of the 2012 convention.

Wikimedia CommonsDavid Shankbone/Wikimedia Commons37: The age of the Democratic keynote speaker, San Antonio mayor Julián Castro, at the time of the 2012 convention.

WikiJamesgatz/Wikimedia Commons20: The number of strip clubs in Tampa.

12: The number of strip clubs in Charlotte.
 

A CAGILLION BAGILLION: The estimated number of highly predictable stories published by various news outlets over the past three months on what the Republican and Democratic national conventions mean for their respective host town's stripper revenue.

The Consumerist/FlickrThe Consumerist/Flickr