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Tuesday :: April 23, 2019

Joe Biden Wants To Save Your Soul

Joe Biden has apparently pushed his announcement he's running for president until Thursday. The theme of his campaign is "the battle for the soul of America". Terrible. It's both ghoulish and religious. (A battle for the American Dream would be much better.)[More...]

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Monday :: April 22, 2019

No Joke in the Ukraine

Citizens of the Ukraine have elected a comedian with no political experience as their president.

Ukraine entered uncharted political waters on Monday after near final results showed a comedian with no political experience and few detailed policies had dramatically upended the status quo and won the country’s presidential election by a landslide.

His name is Volodymyr Zelenskiy. He is 37 years old. No one knows what he stands for other than pledging to preserve "Ukrainian identity".

Zelenkiy is most famous for having played a President on TV. (No, I didn't make this post up.) It seems the vote was more a protest against his opponent than a vote for Zelenskiy.

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Rudy Giuliani Drops to Less Than Zero

Rudy Guiliani has been acting like he has a few screws loose for a few years now. The only art he seems to have mastered is the art of speaking out of both sides of his mouth.

Nowhere is this more apparent than his remarks Sunday that there's nothing wrong with campaign officials accepting information from foreign nations. He even had the audacity to ponder aloud that maybe the hacking of DNC emails was a good thing because it alerted the country to Hillary's true nature.

Don't get sucked in. He's mimicking Donald Trump by trying to divert your attention from polls showing that Trump's approval ratings have sunk to their lowest level yet in the wake of the Mueller report.

And 68 percent said they were more likely to believe that the president or one of his cronies broke the law.

Donald Trump's most absurd claims come when he's about to face bad press -- it's his go-to diversion tactic. Rudy is just mimicking him.

There are 12 to 14 other federal and state criminal referrals from Mueller's office to other agencies who are considering whether Donald Trump, his children and others in his circle committed crimes. Some Dems are itching to start impeachment proceedings now. Diversion and distraction through outrageous comments is the new Trump game plan. I'm not playing Rudy's word games.

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Friday :: April 19, 2019

Happy Passover and Open Thread

Passover begins tonight at sundown. Tomorrow is 4/20. Cochella is streaming live on You Tube this weekend. Sunday is Easter.

Monday night, La Reina del Sur 2 returns on Telemundo, with English subtitles and the terrific Kate del Castillo back in the lead role. It's been 8 years since season 1 and many of the cast members who survived Season 1 are returning. I've been waiting for months for the return, and I'm not going to miss a single minute. [More..]

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Thursday :: April 18, 2019

Barr's Presser and Release of Mueller Report

Update: Barr's remarks are here. The 448 page Mueller Report is here.

It's tempting to get excited about today's release of the Mueller report. Personally, I expect so many redactions, edits and topic deletions, I'm not excited at all.

The showrunner, Attorney General William Barr, will hold a press conference at 9:30 a.m. ET. Once the report is released, you can most likely find it on the Special Counsel's website

Yesterday, prosecutors from the U.S. Attorney's Office in the District of Columbia and Mueller's office laid out the plan for releasing the Mueller report in a filing in Roger Stone's criminal case (available here). They say there will be a separate version with fewer redactions for "some members of Congress" that will be made available at a secure location. [More...]

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Tuesday :: April 16, 2019

Cher: The Icon

Cher was the star guest on the Tonight Show with Jimmy Fallon last night. Towards the end of the show, the three singer-actresses who play her in the Broadway show "Cher" came on with her for a talking segment. After the commercial break, the three actresses were on stage singing "If I Could Turn Back Time." At one minute and 2 seconds in, Cher joined them.

After another commercial, the lead Cher actress was on stage singing "You Got Me Babe" with the Cher show cast member who plays Sonny(he is absolutely adorable.) About 1 minute and 3 seconds into the song, Cher comes out, dressed in an almost identicial outfit as the actress just singing and continues the duet with Sonny.

When Cher belted out the line "I got you to understand", I got chills up and down my arms that stayed for the rest of the song. It was just like watching them in 1965. Her voice remains incredibly strong and she is great physical shape -- even her skin has never looked better. [More...]

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Friday :: April 12, 2019

Friday Open Thread

Mick Jagger is on the mend.

Question: What part of the college admissions cheating scandal is interesting to you? The scam itself, the coaches, proctors and test takers, the parents, and if so, what about them: their wealth or their sense of entitlement, the students, the charges, the way they were arrested, why some are pleading guilty and others aren't, or something else? [If the answer is none of it, just scroll on by, no need to tell us, I'm going to write about it anyway].

This is an open thread, all topics welcome.

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Michael Avenatti Indicted in California

Lawyer and TV pundit Michael Avenatti has been charged in federal court in Los Angeles with 36 counts of fraud, tax crimes, obstruction and related offenses. The charges principally relate to his use of settlement money received for clients for his own use, and failing to pay his taxes. The U.S. Attorney's long announcement is here. The even longer Indictment is here.

There are four clients highlighted in the charges "client 1" client 2 client 3 and client 4. Client 1 is a parapalegic for whom he (and co-counsel) obtained a $4 million settlement from the City of Los Angeles. The unnmamed client is Geoffrey Ernest Johnson. The case is 13-cv-04496-MMM-AJW in the U.S. District Court for the Central District of California. In one pleading I read, Doc. 119, Avenatti and cocounsel describe their client:

Plaintiff is a paraplegic who sustained his life altering injuries while in Defendants’ custody at the Twin Towers Correctional Facility. Plaintiff sustained his injuries when he attempted to commit suicide for a second time while in Defendants’ custody. Both times it was by jumping from an upper tier. Since Plaintiff was an inmate in Defendants’ custody, Defendants and their employees had a constitutional obligation to take reasonable measures to protect Plaintiff’s safety and to provide safe conditions of confinement.

[More...]

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Thursday :: April 11, 2019

Julian Assange Charged With Hacking Conspiracy

Julian Assange has been arrested and removed from the Ecuador Embassy in London, where he has spent the last 7 years, due to the return of an Indictment in the U.S. charging him with conspiring with Chelsea Manning and others to commit conspiracy intrusion. The charge carries up to five years in prison. The Indictment is available here.

Assange, arrested by British police in London and carried out of Ecuador’s embassy, faces up to five years in prison on the American charge, the U.S. Justice Department said in a statement. His arrest paved the way for his possible extradition to the United States.

The Indictment was obtained in March 2018 and sealed until today. [More...]

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Monday :: April 08, 2019

Kirstjen Nielsen's Resignation

Once again, Donald Trump has catered to his underninformed, xenophobic voter base. He met with Homeland Security chief Kirstjen Nielsen Sunday and asked for her resignation, which she readily provided. She'd had enough.

While the 30-minute meeting was cordial, Mr. Trump was determined to ask for her resignation. After the meeting, she submitted it.

What happened? [More...]

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Friday :: April 05, 2019

Friday Open Thread

I'm still buried under with work, but I am hoping to take a little break to blog and barbecue this weekend.

This is an open thread, all topics welcome.

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Mick Jagger is OK After Heart Procedure

Mick Jagger has had a heart procedure performed at a New York hospital and is feeling fine. The show will go on, just at later dates, most likely beginning in July.

The procedure is called "transcatheter aortic valve replacement." (Is that a fancy name for a stent?) Billboard reports:

Doctors were able to access Jagger's heart valve through his femoral artery and are now monitoring the Rolling Stones frontman for any complications that could arise from the procedure, including excess bleeding.

Get well, Mick. And please reschedule Denver!

Update: Answer to my question: Yes, it is kind of like a stent.

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Tuesday :: March 26, 2019

"El Chapo" Seeks New Trial for Juror Misconduct

Joaquin "El Chapo" Guzman-Loera has filed a motion for an evidentiary hearing on the issue of whether flagrant and admitted juror misconduct during the trial warrants a new trial.

I wrote this long post on the juror misconduct when it was first disclosed.

The 26 page motion is available here. It was written by attorneys Marc Frenich and Jeffrey Lichtman (and very well done in my opinion).

I doubt this judge will allow the defense to question the jurors, but hopefully he'll at least agree to question them himself and ask written questions proposed by both sides.

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Charges Dropped Against Jussie Smollett

Prosecutors in Chicago today dropped all charges against "Empire" actor Jussie Smollett, who had been charged with 16 felonies for allegedly directing a hate crime against himself.

Jussie continues to maintain his innocence. The AP has a curious statement in its article:

It was not immediately clear what prompted the decision to dismiss the case. Typically, a minimum condition of dropping cases is some acceptance of responsibility.

That's obviously wrong. It suggests that cases are never dropped because police make mistakes and the defendant is innocent. Why would a person who has been falsely charged accept responsibility for anything? Shouldn't the police or DA be accepting responsibility for rushing to judgment and filing charges it decides a few weeks later it cannot prove? Innocence may or may not be why Smollet's charges were dropped, but it is a reason many other people's charges are dropped. Not everyone who is arrested and charged is guilty.

There is no statement by the DA's office that they dropped the case because Jussie is innocent. [More...]

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Monday :: March 25, 2019

Monday Open Thread

I apologize for the lack of open threads recently. It's because I start one and try to include something worthwhile and end up writing half a novel about a topic and then get diverted to something else and never finish it.

So here's an empty open thread, all topics welcome.

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