Friday :: April 18, 2014

Friday Night Open Thread

I've got the grill going (Asian Steak and Watermelon and Arugula Salad over rice noodles with peanuts on top).

What's on your agenda for this holiday weekend?

This is an open thread, all topics welcome.

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Murdered Denver Woman On Phone With 911 for 13 Minutes

Why did it take Denver Police officers more than 15 minutes to arrive at the home of Kristine Kirk? She was dead by the time they got there. She spent her last 13 minutes of life on the phone with 911.

Kirk called 911 at 9:31 pm. She grew more panicked as the call progressed. She told the operator her husband was hallucinating and had taken drugs, there were kids in the house, he said he wanted her to shoot him, he went to take the gun out of the safe, and then, that he had the gun and she didn't know where to go. Those were her last words before being shot to death. Police finally arrived but it was too late.

The Kirk's home is 1.1 miles from the local police station -- a 3 minute drive. [More...]

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Thursday :: April 17, 2014

Congrats to Chelsea Clinton and Husband Marc

Chelsea Clinton announced today she and husband Marc Mezvinsky are expecting a child.

Hillary and Bill are of course, excited. Hillary tweeted:

“My most exciting title yet: Grandmother-To-Be!”

The new addition to the family is due "sometime later this year."

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Thursday Night Open Thread

Just getting home from work and I see our last open thread is full. Here's another one. All topics welcome.

I hope to get something substantive posted after checking the news later tonight.

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Wednesday :: April 16, 2014

Wednesday Night Open Thread

There was a hearing today in the case of Dzhokhar Tsarnaev.

John Edwards is back in the courtroom - practicing law.

El Capo is about to begin. It's really hard to understand without captions. I wish there was an episode review guide somewhere.

Here's an open thread, all topics welcome.

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Two New Defendants Added to Chicago Sinaloa Indictment

A sixth Superseding Indictment in the Illinois case charging Joaquin "El Chapo" Guzman and Ismael Zambada-Garcia has been unsealed. Two new defendants are named, Edgar Manuel Valencia Ortega and Heriberto Zazueto Godoy.

Valencia Ortega was arrested in Nevada in September, 2013. According to a ruling by Judge Matthew Kennelly in case no. 13-cr-720 (document no. 24), the government had received information he would be traveling to Nevada from Mexico, so they quickly put together an indictment charging a single count of conspiracy to distribute cocaine from April, 2013 to November, 2013. The Government hoped that by arresting him on this indictment, he'd agree to cooperate. After his arrest, they told him and his lawyers that if he diddn't cooperate, he'd be added as a defendant in El Chapo's case. This would also conflict out his lawyers, who represent Tomas Arevalo-Renteria in that case.

He declined to cooperate, and the Government followed through on its threat. His lawyers objected, claiming adding him to the Guzman/Zambada-Garcia indictment was unfair retaliation for his refusal to cooperate. [More...]

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Tuesday :: April 15, 2014

Pistorius Testimony Over, Back to Expert Witnesses

Oscar Pistorius has completed his testimony. The prosecutor picked apart every little detail hoping to show his version of events was not possible. The state is pushing an alternate theory, however, it sounds like it's nothing more than "it might have happened this way." He didn't get Oscar to admit that any of the elements of his theory were correct. The state's theory is predicated on an argument between the couple, and given Oscar's denial and the lack of any other witnesses present, I don't see how the theory can be considered proved in any way, let alone by proof beyond a reasonable doubt.

Here is the state's version, succinctly put on Twitter by reporter Barry Bateman, who has been in the courtroom every day:

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Monday :: April 14, 2014

Monday Night Open Thread

Tonight is the first night of Passover, the inspirational holiday that celebrates freedom and the release of the Jews from slavery in Egypt 3,000 years ago. The full story is here. Our best wishes to all who are observing.

This is an open thread, all topics welcome.

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Mexico AG: Unhappy with Zambada-Niebla Deal, No Plan to Extradite El Chapo

Murillo Karam, Attorney General for Mexico, gave an interview today to Radio Fórmula during which he expressed displeasure with DOJ's recent plea deal with Jesus Vicente Zambada-Niebla, son of Sinaloa co-leader Ismael Zambada-Garcia. (The details of Zambada-Niebla's plea agreement are here.)

He also said Mexico presently has no intention of extraditing Joaquin "El Chapo" Guzman to the U.S. ("no tenemos ninguna intensión de mandarlo a Estados Unidos.") He added that Mexico still hasn't received a formal extradition request for Chapo's extradition. [More...]

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Guardian and WaPo Win Pulitzers for NSA Coverage

The Guardian and Washington Post have won gold medal Pulitzer Prizes for their coverage of the National Security Agency's secret electronic surveillance program. The announcement is here. The full list of winners, with citations, is here.

For a distinguished example of meritorious public service by a newspaper or news site through the use of its journalistic resources, including the use of stories, editorials, cartoons, photographs, graphics, videos, databases, multimedia or interactive presentations or other visual material, a gold medal.

Awarded to The Washington Post for its revelation of widespread secret surveillance by the National Security Agency, marked by authoritative and insightful reports that helped the public understand how the disclosures fit into the larger framework of national security.


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Jury Selected for Abu Hamza Trial in New York

Jury selection began this morning in the trial of Mustafa Kamel Mustafa, aka Abu Hamza al-Masri.

The 55-year-old Mustafa also will face a life sentence if he is convicted of conspiring to support al-Qaida by trying in 1999 to set up a terrorist training camp in Bly, Ore., by arranging for others to attend an al-Qaida training camp in Afghanistan and by ensuring there was satellite phone service for hostage-takers in Yemen in 1998 who abducted two American tourists and 14 others. Four hostages were killed.

Jurors were questioned about Abu Hamza's physical appearance. He has no hands and only one eye: [More....]

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Chelsea Manning Clemency Rejected, Appeals to Begin

Military District of Washington commander Maj. Gen. Jeffrey Buchanan has rejected Chelsea Manning's request for clemency and reversal of his conviction. The press release is here. Chelsea's case will now go to the the Army Court of Criminal Appeals (ACCA) for appellate review. She has excellent new civilian lawyers for the appeals, Nancy Hollander and Vincent Ward.

Nancy and Vicent gave a presentation last night at the Georgetown Law Center to Chelsea's supporters. Firedoglake has the details.[More...]

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Sunday :: April 13, 2014

Sunday Open Thread

It's a rainy Sunday here, about to turn to 4 to 7 inches of snow. Sorry for the lack of posting, I've been busy trying to assemble a few pieces of outdoor furniture for my balcony, listening to Spanish tapes and composing a "comment" for the FCC about whether it should eliminate the two year exemption for new television networks to comply with close-captioning rules, when the new network is part of a big network (like MundoFox.) The FEC's 153 page order of February, 2014 in which it requests comments is here. To submit a comment, start here. The proceeding is Case CG 05-231.

I think it's absurd that MundoFox doesn't have close captions, even in Spanish, on a multi-million show like "El Capo." (The only captions are when someone speaks in English, then they translate that.) El Capo is a production of MundoFox, RCN Television and Fox International. [More...]

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Thursday :: April 10, 2014

Thursday Night Open Thread

I'm about to start watching "El Capo." Here's an open thread, all topics welcome.

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Zambada-Niebla's Plea Agreement

The Government today released the plea agreement of Jesus Vicente Zambada-Niebla, son of Sinaloa cartel leader Ismael Zambada-Garcia, in his Illinois case. The agreement was signed a year ago. The press release is here.

The plea agreement is here. He's cooperating, so what would otherwise be a life sentence will be less than that. He's also agreeing to a forfeiture of more than $1 billion.

His guidelines are so high -- offense level 51 (the sentencing table only goes up to level 43) -- that even with a Criminal History Category of I (meaning no significant priors), his guidelines are life in prison (not even 30 to life, or any range at all - just life.)

Since he's been cooperating and will continue to cooperate as requested, the Government anticipates moving for a reduction to a lesser sentence. It also sounds like he's in or will be in the witness protection program, since the agreement says the Government will recommend he and his family be allowed to stay in the U.S. at the end of his sentence. [More...]

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