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Sunday :: October 17, 2021

More Capitol Riot Defendants are Foregoing Lawyers

We've always known that most non-millionaire Donald Trump supporters are marginalized and under-informed. (Just a nicer term for under-educated and/or stupid). So perhaps it's no surprise that many of those charged in the Capitol riots are now seeking to represent themselves, despite repeated warnings from the Judge that it's a bad idea, and despite being offered the services of court-appointed counsel.

U.S. District Court Judge Royce Lamberth told one such defendant he hadn't seen a successful case of self-representation since he took the bench in 1987. New York Civil Rights Lawyer Ron Kuby says he hasn't seen a successful case of self-representation in his 40 years as a lawyer.

I say this all the time on TalkLeft, but I'll do it one more time: You have the right to remain silent. Use it or lose it. Our jails are filled with people who thought if they could only tell their side of the story, the police (or judge or jury) would see it their way. It rarely happens.

Many of these under-informed defendants think that if they represent themselves, they will be able to put the corrupt "system" on trial. It won't happen. The system is not on trial, you are. Judges, not defendants, decide what is admissible at a trial. Any hint of something that seeks jury nullification won't be permitted in federal court.
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Sunday Open Thread

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I'm obsessed with bodies of water these days. From Drake's Passage that goes between Ushaia, Argentina and the Antarctic, to the amazing waters around Tasmania, just below Australia, I've spent hours looking at pictures and ships and adventure tours.

By contrast, I also love the photo above. It's neither in South America, Australia, Asia nor the Indian Ocean. It's somewhere in Europe. I would love to sit on one of those chairs and do nothing but stare at the ocean. Any guesses?

Have any of you crossed Drake's passage or been to Tasmania? (Not the same as Tanzania in Africa).

This is an open thread, all topics welcome.

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Bill Clinton On the Mend, Heads Home to NY

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Former President Bill Clinton has left the hospital in Irvine, CA for his home in New York. A urinary infection led to sepsis shock, but he's been treated and his blood levels have returned to normal. He can continue his treatment at home.

This Reuters article seems more like an obituary than a news article to me the way it sterilely recounts his past achievements. I'm sure every media organization has had his obituary written for ages -- I wish Bill Clinton many more years of health and meaningful activity before that day comes.

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Tuesday :: October 05, 2021

Facebook Hearing

Can anyone explain what it is that Facebook is accused of? Articles like this are ridiculous, not once does it say what they are "targeting children" with or how Instagram is dangerous. On some network later, Monica Lewinsky is going to weigh in, so I take it that bullying is involved.

Why isn't it a parent's responsibility to monitor their child's use of social media and the internet. Some Congressman today said on the radio that we are going to have a generation of afflicted children. Afflicted by what?

And what does artificial intelligencve have to do with it? I heard a news anchor on the radio say that a woman who has a miscarriage will be bombarded by it online for years.

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Thursday :: September 30, 2021

Thursday Open Thread

Thanks to Peter G. for letting me know we need a new open thread. I'll be back over the weekend.

All topics welcome.

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Tuesday :: September 28, 2021

Military Generals Weigh in on Afghanistan and Taliban

At a Congressional hearing today, there was criticism of Joe Biden's decision to withdraw from Afghanistan.

Among the comments: Fear-Mongering:

Gen. Milley: "We must remember that the Taliban was and remains a terrorist organization and they still have not broken ties with Al-Qaeda...A reconstituted Al-Qaeda or ISIS with aspirations to attack the United States is a very real possibility."

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Sunday :: September 19, 2021

2021 Emmys -- Scaled Down

The Emmys Awards are on. There is something very different about this year's production. It is so scaled down, and many of the nominees are celebrating and appearing from London.

I'm watching on my desktop and there seems to be a time delay of a few seconds during which you get to see the exact moment the nominee hears their name and their entire expression changes. I like that.

The London room seems like an intimate bar, with just a handful or two of tables. It's a more intimate setting than even the Golden Globes.

So far, the awards are going to a handful of shows like The Crown, Ted Lasso, The Handsmaid's Tale, Pose, Ted Lasso to name a few.[More...]

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Friday :: September 17, 2021

Congratulations to CO Governor Jared Polis

Mazel Tov, Congratulations and Muchas felicidades to Colorado Governor Jared Polis and Colorado First Gentleman Marlon Reis, partners of 18 years. They got married in Boulder on Wednesday.

The greatest lesson we have learned over the past 18 months is that life as we know it can change in an instant. We are thankful for the opportunity to celebrate our life together as a married couple.

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Tuesday :: September 07, 2021

Mexico Supreme Court Ruling: Abortion is Not a Crime

The Mexico Supreme Court has ruled that laws criminalizing abortion violate its Consitution.

The unanimous ruling from the nation’s top court follows a growing women’s movement in Mexico that has repeatedly taken to the streets of major cities across the country, demanding greater rights and protections for women.

“Today is a historic day for the rights of all Mexican women,” said Supreme Court Chief Justice Arturo Zaldivar after the decision was announced. “It is a watershed in the history of the rights of all women, especially the most vulnerable.”

And then, there's Texas, whose Governor showed some foot in mouth disease when answering a question about the new Texas law banning abortion after the detection of a fetal heartbeat (usually 6 weeks): Texas won't force rape victims to have babies because they have 6 weeks to get an abortion and Texas will make a great effort to eliminate rape by removing rapists from the streets.

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Taliban Announces New Government

The Taliban named its new Government leaders today. Not surprisingly, this is no "Taliban 2.0". Religious minorities and women were excluded from the leadership positions. Its public announcement proclaimed:

"...in the future, all matters of governance and life in Afghanistan will be regulated by the laws of the Holy Shariah.”

Just as in the Taliban administration of the 1990s, almost all top members of the new government are ethnic Pashtun, with one deputy prime minister slot going to an Uzbek, a Tajik commander from the northeastern Badakhshan province becoming chief of army staff, and another Tajik taking over the ministry of economy. The Shiite Hazara community, whose representatives held important positions during the republic and which accounts for more than a fifth of the nation’s population, was excluded altogether.

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Tuesday Open Thread

The number of COVID-19 cases in the U.S. has reached 40 million.

The Taliban has claimed full victory and the right to govern all of Afghanistan. It has not yet officially named the leaders of its new government, but its spokesman says the announcement is imminent.

Pretrial hearings are scheduled to resume this month at Guatanamo for Khalid Sheikh Mohammed and the other detainees accused in the 9/11 attacks.

Rosh Hashanah, the Jewish New Year, began Monday night. If you are cooking for the holiday, the New York Times offers these recipes.

This is an open thread, all topics welcome.

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Thursday :: August 26, 2021

Thursday Open Thread

I am so glad August is almost over. And I'm so sorry to those of you who expected me to be blogging and updating. I honestly couldn't find a time to do it.

But September is around the corner, and my work and court schedule will be back to normal.

The only news I've had time to follow is Afghanistan. What a terrible day the U.S. military had today.

Anyone who believed Trump that ISIS was defeated was as delusional as he was. Also, the Taliban and IS-IK (Isis in Khurasan)are enemies. Different goals, different religious views, and ISIS thinks the Taliban will buddy up with China which wants Afghanistan's rich minerals.

The faster we leave Afghanistan, the better. We never should have been there in the first place. That blame belongs on Bush and Cheney and Rumsfeld.

This is an open thread, all topics welcome.

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Tuesday :: August 10, 2021

Andrew Cuomo Resigns

New York Governor Andrew Cuomo resigned today.

Five months ago, I opined he would not and should not resign.

....Stripping someone of their job before they have been found guilty of a crime, based on disputed factual allegations, is simply unacceptable. This is not Alice in Wonderland ("No, no said the Queen. First the punishment, then the verdict").

There are thousands if not millions of Andrew Cuomos out there -- men over 50 who are or were in positions of power in business or government who are as sexist as the day is long. Educate them, privately. Write them a letter and tell them how they made you feel. Ask them to acknowledge and validate your feelings according to today's norms, even if these norms did not exist when the event happened. If your goal is to end sexual harassment in the workplace, rather than to get 15 minutes of fame, reap a financial benefit or get personal revenge, this should suffice.

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Saturday :: July 24, 2021

Dangerous Delta Roars: Booster Shots, Masks, Lockdown Protests

Could there be any more dangerous time than now, when Delta makes up 83% of all new cases and we're being told not to worry if you get Delta after being vaccinated because the vaccines are likely to prevent serious illness or death. They tell us only the unvaccinated need fear serious illness or death.

I don't buy that for a second. Nor do I care whether my chance of getting a serious sillness or death from Delta is 3% or 10%. That means some people, whatever the number, are going to get sick and die from it. Our lottery chances may be 85 million to 1 and people still buy tickets because they know someone usually wins. In this case, it's like drawing the Old Maid card, and I don't want to play that game.

Around the world, countries are imposing more lockdowns. The numbers in Cancun are so high that some hotels have designated specific floors for sick tourists. Cabo San Lucas is also through the roof. Australia has shut down Sydney. New Zealand has reimposed quarrantines for travel from Australia. [More...]

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Saturday Open Thread

Is there anything to watch on TV? I recommend Race Around the World Season 1 and 2 on Discovery +. It is not another Amazing Race, it's miles better and more interesting with unbelievable photography.

Next up is Vicenzo on Netflix, which is half drama and half comedy and just wonderful.

I'm also watching the new season of Make the Cut on Amazon Prime (with Heidi and Tim). If you haven't seen Tehran on Apple TV, it's great and has you on the edge of your seat from beginning to end.

U.S. Network TV continues to get more and more vacuous in my opinion. Cop stories and victim stories. No thank you.

In the good news department, Malverde will be starting soon, Telemundo's "most ambitious adventure". (Although that phrase is as overused as when Chris Harrison would say on the Bachelor, "This is the most dramatic season ever.) Rafael Amaya who played Aurelio in Senor de los Cielos will make his return to TV after more than year. And there's an indication, however slight, there could be a Senor de los Cielos 8. A La Reina del Sur 3 is also in the works.

This is an open thread, all topics welcome.

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