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Wednesday :: July 01, 2015

Wednesday Open Thread

Here's a new open thread, all topics welcome.

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Indonesia Refused U.S. Request in Fight Against ISIS

Indonesia's former foreign minister says the U.S. asked Indonesia to send ground troops to Iraq to fight ISIS, and it refused: It didn't want to upset "radical Muslims" at home.

Indonesia was asked by the United States to send troops to join the fight against the Islamic State terror group in Iraq but declined because it feared a backlash among radical Muslims at home, the country's former foreign minister has revealed. Marty Natalegawa, the long-serving top envoy under Jakarta's previous administration, said Indonesia felt it could better contribute by tackling its own domestic extremism problem, whereas sending forces would be "cosmetic".

Maybe the next time it gets hit by a massive Tsunami, our response should be "We can better use that money at home."

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Monday :: June 29, 2015

Supreme Court Upholds Execution Drug

In a 5-4 opinion written by Justice Alito, the Supreme Court has upheld Oklahoma's use of midazolam in executions. The reasoning:

Alito said the prisoners failed to identify a “known and available alternative method of execution that entails a lesser risk of pain,” which he said was required under the court’s previous ruling upholding lethal injection. And he said plaintiffs had failed to establish that a massive dose of midazolam “entails a substantial risk of severe pain.”

Some background is here. The opinion is here.

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Islamic State One Year Later: Lasting and Expanding

The Islamic State is one year old today. Its long term goal remains the creation of a "lasting and expanding" Caliphate.

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Nurse Jackie Finale: It Was Time to Go

Showtime's Nurse Jackie ended its 7 year run last night. (Spoiler Alert: Don't read further unless you've seen it or don't intend to watch.) [More...]

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Sunday :: June 28, 2015

ISIS-Inspired Attacks: 3 Hours, 3 Countries, 3 Continents

When ISIS official spokesman Mohamed al-Adnani gave his audio speech last week at the beginning of Ramadan, he ended it with a call for more attacks:

“O mujahedeen everywhere, rush and go to make Ramadan a month of disasters for the infidels.”

On June 25 and June 26, ISIS launched a surprise attack in Kobane, Syria, killing around 200 people.

On June 26, within a span of three hours, lone wolves struck alone or in a pair in 3 countries: France, Tunisia and Kuwait. ISIS has taken credit for the attacks in Kuwait and Tunisia. [More...]

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Sunday Open Thread

Last week the Rolling Stones got a stellar review in Pittsburgh. Last night, in Kansas City, more of the same. Check out the accolades in the review in the Wichita Eagle.

Their two-hour performance was about as close to perfect as a stadium rock show can get. The weather was idyllic. The sound was pristine. The production was stunning. The set list was stellar. And the band appeared to be having as much fun as the 50,000-plus fans who filled the stadium with a mix of jubilation and reverence.

Keith Richards to the crowd: ""Good evening Kansas City. It's good to be back. It's good to be anywhere."

This is an open thread, all topics welcome.

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Friday :: June 26, 2015

Friday Night Open Thread

I've been offline working all day and just saw the news about the Supreme Court's historic same-sex marriage decision. Thanks to BTD for putting up a thread on it. Here are the last two paragraphs of Justice Kennedy's opinion:

....the Court also must hold—and it now does hold—that there is no lawful basis for a State to refuse to recognize a lawful same-sex marriage performed in another State on the ground of its same-sex character.

[More...]

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SCOTUS Rules Constitution Requires Marriage Equality

Decision here.

Discuss.

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Thursday :: June 25, 2015

Supreme Court Upholds Obama's Health Care Act

In a 6-3 decision, the Supreme Court today upheld the Affordable Choices Act. The opinion in King v. Burwell is here.

The 6-to-3 ruling means that it is all but certain that the Affordable Care Act will survive after Mr. Obama leaves office in 2017, and will give it a greater chance of becoming an enduring part of America’s social safety net

Dissenters: Justices Antonin Scalia, Clarence Thomas and Samuel A. Alito Jr.

The Court upheld the Act's tax subsidies intended to assist the ability of the poor and middle-class to buy health insurance. [More...]

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Thursday Open Thread

Our last open thread is full, so here's a new one, all topics welcome.

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Full text of Dzhokhar Tsarnaev's Statement

Here is the full text of Dzhokhar's statement at his death penalty trial.

THE DEFENDANT : Thank you, your Honor, for giving me an opportunity to speak. I would like to begin in the name of Allah, the exalted and glorious, the most gracious, the most merciful, "Allah" among the most beautiful names. Any act that does not begin in the name of God is separate from goodness.

This is the blessed month of Ramadan, and it is the month of mercy from Allah to his creation, a month to ask forgiveness of Allah and of his creation, a month to express gratitude to Allah and to his creation. It's the month of reconciliation, a month of patience, a month during which hearts change. Indeed, a month of many blessings.

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Wednesday :: June 24, 2015

Dzhokhar Tsarnaev Speaks at Sentencing

Dzhohkar Tsarnaev has been sentenced to death for the Boston Marathon bombings. From live tweets of reporters Jim Armstrong and Patricia Wen in the courtroom.

Dzhokhar Tsarnaev spoke for about 4 minutes. He expressed remorse. "I would like to now apologize to the victims and to the survivors." ..."I am sorry for the lives I have taken....for the suffering I have caused and the terrible damage I have done."

He left no doubt about his guilt:

"I am guilty of the bombing, let there be no lingering question about that."

He thanked his attorneys and said "I cherish their company." He said they have done a lot for his family. His defense attorney, Judy Clarke, told the Court he had tried to settle the case before trial. [More...]

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Tuesday :: June 23, 2015

ISIS Publishes Video of Extremely Cruel Killings

ISIS continues to shock the world with atrocity killings. Its latest video, filmed in or around Mosul and released by the Nineveh Wilayat, is titled "If You Promised We Came Back." I won't link to it, but I did watch it.

In the 7 minute video, orange-clad prisoners are divided into three groups. Each makes a statement. The first group is put inside a vehicle. An ISIS member fires a grenade missile launcher at the car, blowing it up and setting it on fire. The prisoners burn to death inside the vehicle.

The second group are put in a cage, suspended over water. The cage is lowered and they drown to death. There's a camera underwater filming their painful drowning.[More...]

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Benghazi Suspect Ali Awni al-Harzi Killed in Mosul Drone Strike

Ali Awni al-Harzi, a suspect in the 2012 Benghazi embassy attack, has been killed by a U.S. drone strike in Mosul.

Ali, a Tunisian, was arrested in 2012 for his suspected role in the embassy attack, and freed by Tunisia in January, 2013. [More...]

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