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Saturday :: June 25, 2022

Saturday Night Open Thread

Happy 80th Birthday to Paul McCartney. He gave a concert last week at New Jersey's Metro Life stadium and who showed up to lead the audience in singing Happy Birthday? Jon Bon Jovi.

He also brought out Bruce Springsteen and they sang Glory Days.

Tonight (U.K. Time) Paul is headlining at Glastonbury. He's the oldest performer ever to headline the show. He's already brought out Dave Grohl (they sang "And I Saw Her Standing There") and Bruce Springsteen. And he performed a tribute to the Rolling Stones. Here is the full schedule and information on how to watch live.

I'll be back later this weekend with my thoughts on yesterday's Supreme Court decision overturning Roe v Wade, and a post on Ghislaine Maxwell's imminent sentencing and the absurd amount of time the Government has asked the Court to impose on her, and the battle over whether women not involved in the case or the charges she was convicted of have standing to speak at her sentencing.

This is an open thread, all topics welcome.

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Roe v. Wade Decision Fallout

During Olivia Rodrigo's set today at the Glastonbury Music Festival, she brought out Lily Allen. Olivia denounced yesterday's Supreme Court decision overturning Roe v. Wade which she tells the crowd will put the lives of so many women at risk because they won't be able to get a safe abortion.

Olivia dedicates the next song to the five Supreme Court Justices who voted to overturn Roe. She calls out their names individually and says,"We hate you". The crowd cheers. Lily Allen repeats "We hate you" and Olivia and Lily launch into a 2009 song by Lily called "F*ck You". The crowd gleefully joins in the refrain.

Here is a version of Lily singing the song accompanied by the lyrics. (In 2014, she performed the song dedicating it to Donald Trump. She also has performed it before at Glastonbury.) Here's an account of their performance today in the Guardian.

I'm still writing my thoughts on the court's decision, it will be up soon. In the meantime, here's a place to discuss the decision.

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Thursday :: June 16, 2022

Jan. 6 Hearings: Trump's Rejected Scheme involving Mike Pence

The Jan. 6 hearings continue today. It will be in four parts and focus on Trump's failed plan to pressure Mike Pence into acting unilaterally to reject state electors and block the vote certification. The committee will try to make the case that Trump's pressure on Pence contributed to the violence at the capitol and put Pence at physical risk.

I hope people watching today's hearing don't forget that while Trump is the villain, there's no reason to make Pence into a victim or hero. Mike Pence is no friend to democracy. At a speech in Arizona on Monday, he called for a return to Trump's immigration policies and completion of Trump's ridiculous border wall. (I wonder if he also said Mexico would pay for it).

We need to keep our eye on the ball -- eviscerating any remaining support Trump has prior to the 2022 midterm elections.

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Wednesday :: June 15, 2022

Dr. Fauci and Mick Jagger Have Covid-19

COVID-19 keeps on barking at us. Dr. Anthony Fauci has tested positive with "mild symptoms." He is 81.

Monday, Mick Jagger was in Amsterdam for a Stones concert. He tested positive for COVID when he arrived at the venue to rehearse, and the concert was postponed until July 7. A concert in Berne, Switzerland was also postponed. He is 78. He's doing better now he says. Here is his 5 year old son, Devereaux, who is staying with Mick (and his mom, Mick's girlfriend Melanie Hamrick) in Amsterdam. Could he be any cuter or look more like Mick?

Best wishes to both Dr. Fauci and Mick Jagger for a speedy recovery.

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Sunday :: June 12, 2022

Sunday Open Thread: In Other News

The Washington Post this week has two long-form news articles that contain far more detail than any of us need to know. The first is (in my view) a clear example of just how far off the deep end some Americans have jumped. Irrational and uncivilized behavior seems not only to be the norm for these people, but they are teaching and promoting it to their young children, passing the violence off as a "sport."

If it didn't contain the names of American cities, I would have thought the article was referring to Brazil, El Salvador, or Indonesia. This is no sport -- it's savagery. It's the kind of violence you would expect from caged animals. Only it's children who are in the cages.

The parents who not only endorse, but pay for their kids to engage in this violence, and who attend and cheer on their kids, don't deserve to raise kids. Maybe we could ship them all to El Salvador to live for a year, after which authorities check in with them and see if the kids still think that beating the sh*t out of another kid is cool, and if the parents are still cheering when watching their kid get their as* kicked by a gang member with no training. [More...]

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Tuesday :: June 07, 2022

Johnny Depp Finally Clears His Name

(Not yet proofed for spelling and grammer, but I promised this post and here it is. I'll correct later tonight).

Last week, actor and musician Johnny Depp finally won his 6 year battle to clear his name of accusations that he physically abused his ex-wife Amber Heard during their relatively brief but very toxic marriage. You can watch the court deliver the verdict here.

Here is Johnny's post-verdict statement of gratitude, issued by his publicist as he remains in Europe touring with Jeff Beck at performances where he is treated by fans to standing ovations.

The jury gave Johnny a home run on all three statements he claimed were false, defaming and made with malice. For each statement, the jury had to answer 6 questions. [More...]

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Thursday :: June 02, 2022

Thursday Night Open Thread

Our last open thread is full. Here is a new one.

Thanks to all of you who have pointed out "site violator" comments. I am working to delete them. When I delete them, I also deleted the comment referring to them, to maintain the flow of the overall thread of comments, if that makes sense. But I do count on readers to point them out, soe please keep doing so.

I am working on a post about the Johnny Depp trial and verdict which should be up sometime tonight. Shorter version: I'm very happy for Depp, as having watched hours and hours of the trial testimony, I didn't believe Heard at all. I hope he will be able to get movie roles again. I'm not a fan of his music, but I love his movies.

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Tulsa Shooter Targeted his Surgeon Over Excessive Pain

I'm normally not inclined to write about mass shootings, unless there's a twist I'm interested in.

Tulsa interests me. The shooter had a back operation as a result of which he allegedly suffered pain, which despite numerous calls to his surgeon's office, was not adequately addressed.

I don't know if indadequately addressed pain was the direct cause of the shootings. But I am aware that the amount of opiate pain meds a doctor can administer is now determined by the DEA, and other federal and state agencies, not a person's physician.

Pharmaceutically-made pain pills are now too hard to get. This leads people buy black market pills on the street, and unbeknownst to them, even though they ask for "oxys" or "blues" and the pills they receive are stamped with the manufacturer's name and the dosage, the pills are not pharmacutically made but made in some clandestine labatory in by Mexico by the cartels, who use some fentanyl powder they get from China. The lab workers throw in some acetominaphen (mostly in Western states) or mix some heroin or other drug with the fentanyl powder (mostly in Eastern states according to the DEA) and then use a pill press to turn it into pills and ship them to the U.S. where unsuspecting consumers have died after ingesting the synthetically made non-pharmaceutical substance.

[More...]

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Biden Addresses Nation on Gun Control

I'm a little late, and it's a little early for a national speech, but Joe Biden is addressing the nation on gun control. You can watch here.

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Friday :: May 20, 2022

Friday Night Open Thread

A major snow storm on May 20? We've got one here. From the National Weather Service:

URGENT - WINTER WEATHER MESSAGE National Weather Service Denver CO
650 PM MDT Fri May 20 2022

...LATE SPRING STORM TO BRING HEAVY SNOW TO THE MOUNTAINS, FOOTHILLS, AND FRONT RANGE URBAN CORRIDOR...

Heavy snow will continue to spread south across the mountains and foothills this afternoon and early evening. The heavy snow will accumulate on trees, causing some tree limbs to break and produce scattered power outages. Do not park under trees and avoid walking under snow laden trees.

....Consider altering your travel plans. Heavy snowfall is expected to make travel very difficult to impossible.

The snow has been coming down fast and furious since 1:00 p.m. At least it isn't sticking near Downtown yet. Although it will soon turn to sleet, and that's bad for driving.

I hope the weather is more cooperative in your neck of the woods.

This is an open thread, all topics welcome.

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Monday :: May 09, 2022

Monday Open Thread

It's too bad we can't send him back to New Jersey.

I can't think of any Supreme Court Justice that TalkLeft argued against more at the time of his nomination. All to no avail. And now, we pay the price. And the price of the losing the 2016 election to the albatross who still wants to hang around our necks (who gave us two more conservative Justices).

Here's a post about Alito's Roe v. Wade comments during his confirmation hearing. And People for the American Way's 155-page report on his Judicial Philosophy written at the time of his confirmation hearings.

This is an open thread, all topics welcome.

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Friday :: May 06, 2022

New Details of Torture of CIA Detainee in Black Site Prisons


Never forgive, never forget. The media barely mentions the U.S. prison at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba or its detainees anymore, some of whom have been held for 20 years without trial. But the facility remains open at an exorbitant cost ($13 million per year per detainee as of 2019 -- 40 detainees remained at that time) and pretrial hearings for many of these remaining detainees are ongoing.

Earlier this week, Carole Rosenberg of the New York Times, who has dedicated the last 20 years of her career to covering Gitmo, reported on a hearing at Gitmo at which James E. Mitchell, "the psychologist who helped develop the C.I.A.’s torture program", testified as to the "approved and unapproved interrogation techniques (aka torture) he personally participated in and witnessed of Abd al-Rahim al-Nashiri, who will be facing a death penalty trial sometime this century for the 2000 attack on the U.S.S. Cole near Yemen that killed 17 U.S. sailors.

Maybe water-boarding is considered too ho-hum to report on these days, but Dr. Mitchell's testimony regarding forced anal feedings; forcing naked detainees into a small crate box (image here) like a dog; using a stiff bristle brush to scrape the detainees an*s and then put it in his face and mouth, and other disgusting treatments are not.

We should all make it a point not to forget the atrocities that have occurred in our name at the behest of some of the most heinous politicians in U.S. history. Dick Cheney, are you listening?

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Tuesday :: May 03, 2022

Tuesday Open Thread

The war in the Ukraine continues.

Johnny Depp's Libel case against Amber Heard continues.
The Karashian sisters won a laswuit against their former sister-in law who had sued them for defamation (or slander).

I'm going to give some props to Pantaya TV, a spanish streaming station, because in addition to have some original programming it has a ton of recent Spanish movies and several TV shows, and everything I've watched is so far has been commercial Free. I liked Senorita 89. I am really looking foward to the new seasons of La Reina Del Sur and El Senor de los Cielos on Telemundo, but it seems the release dates keep getting pushed back.

Does here believe the news articles claiming the media has seen a draft of Roe v. Wade which would appeal it -- written by Justice Sam Alito? Maybe he's engaging in wishful thinking. It seems to me the likely effect will be to turn more Dems out to vote in November.

This is an open thread, all topics welcome.

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Monday :: May 02, 2022

Swap Deal: Russian Pilot Yaroshenko Returns Home

The DEA's Most Excellent Adventures in Africa took a huge hit this week. On April 25, 2022, President Joe Biden commuted the 20 year sentence of Russian pilot Konstantin Yaroshenko to time served so that he would be eligible for immediate release -- and transfer home to Russia, in a prisoner exchange in which an American being held in Russia would fly back to the U.S. The official commutation order for Yaroshenko is here.

The swap occurred in Turkey. Rossiya 1, Russia's main national news channel, showed video of a joyous Yaroshenko being embraced by his wife and his daughter, who was jumping up and down on the tarmac at the airport in Moscow.

I've been writing about Yaroshenko and the DEA manufactured case against him and others since 2010. Here's my account of his trial with a summary of the underlying FBI sting in which cocaine would be flown from South America to Africa and then to Europe. [More...]

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R.I.P. Kathy Boudin, Former Member of the Weatherman

Former left-wing radical, member of the Weatherman (aka Weather Underground), long-time fugitive, participant in a Black Liberation Army robbery that went terribly wrong, wife, mother and former prisoner Kathy Boudin, has died at age 78 of cancer.

What a life she led. I did not know her, but like many people in college during the Vietnam war and the 1970 explosion at an East Village townhouse where the group was making bombs, I followed their activities in the news and at anti-war rallies.

I did not know (or forgot) until reading the NY Times obituary today that the Weatherman took their name from the Bob Dylan's song, "Subterranean Homesick Blues", and the line "You don't need a weatherman to know which way the wind blows"). When I started TalkLeft (20 years ago next month), I gave it the tagline, which still appears at the bottom of the home page, "The pump don't work 'cause the vandals took the handles"-- also from Subterranean Homesick Blues. [More...]

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