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Saturday :: April 25, 2015

Bali 9 Duo Get 72 Hour Execution Notice

Bali 9 inmates Myuran Sukumaran and Andrew Chan have received their official notification that they will be executed imminently -- as soon as Tuesday. Indonesian law requires they be notified at least 72 hours before the killings.

Another inmate waiting for her final appeal was also moved to the Death Island today, after the decision in her case was announced.

Ten inmates in all are scheduled for execution , 9 of whom are foreigners convicted of non-violent drug offenses. All will face the firing squad together. (Correction: Not all 10 of those scheduled for execution received notices. French citizen Serge Areski Atlaoui and Nigerian citizen Raheem Agbaje Salami still have appeals pending. Brazilian citizen Rodrigo Gularte is still waiting the outcome of his mental health assessment. The lone Indonesian in the group, Zainal Abidin bin Mgs Mahmud Badarudin, also has a pending appeal. [More...]

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Friday :: April 24, 2015

Krugman on the Media's Clinton Rules

Apparently, Paul Krugman experienced the past 25 years of the Media's Clinton Rules:

[I]s this just the return of “Clinton rules”? If you are old enough to remember the 1990s, you remember the endless parade of alleged scandals, Whitewater above all — all of them fomented by right-wing operatives, all eagerly hyped by mainstream news outlets, none of which actually turned out to involve wrongdoing. The usual rules didn’t seem to apply; instead it was Clinton rules, under which innuendo and guilt by association were considered perfectly OK, in which the initial suggestion of lawbreaking received front-page headlines and the subsequent discovery that there was nothing there was buried in the back pages if it was reported at all.

So, is this time different? First indications are not encouraging; it’s already apparent that the author of the anti-Clinton book that’s driving the latest stuff is a real piece of work.

Again, maybe there’s something there. But given the history here, we’d all be well advised to follow our own Clinton rules, and be highly suspicious of any reports of supposed scandals unless there’s hard proof rather than mere innuendo.

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Loretta Lynch Confirmed as Attorney General

Congress finally confirmed Loretta Lynch as Attorney General. Sally Yates, nominated by Obama in December for the Deputy AG slot was also confirmed. Lynch is expected to be sworn in on Monday.

Unfortunately, Lynch does not share Eric Holder's views on marijuana legalization.

She told the Senate that she did not support legalization and did not agree with Mr. Obama that marijuana may not be more dangerous than alcohol.

And she supports the Patriot Act, which once again is coming up for renewal.

It remains to be seen whether she withdraws any of Holder's positive changes to DOJ policy. [More...]

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David Petraeus Sentenced to Probation for Misdemeanor

Ret. General David Petraeus was sentenced to two years probation yesterday for removing classified information and lying to the FBI about it.

Petraeus, 62, pleaded guilty Thursday to a misdemeanor count of unauthorized removal and retention of classified information. According to court documents, he shared the information with Broadwell, his biographer, then lied about doing so to the FBI.

The investigation is continuing. Will Paula Broadwell be next?

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The Media's "Clinton Rules"

Pierce with a tour de force:

It appears that the "exclusive" ratfking arrangement entered into by The New York Times and Washington Post has brought us all back to the Mena Airport again, and that it has done so by strict application of the Clinton Rules, first devised in the mid-1990's, as the nation's elite political press turned laundering oppo research into a smoothly running machine. The very first Clinton Rule, established by most of the original reporting into the Whitewater non-scandal, is that if you can blow enough smoke, you can say there's fire.

More . . .

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Thursday :: April 23, 2015

Thursday Open Thread

Busy day. Here's an open thread, all topics welcome.

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Wednesday :: April 22, 2015

Supreme Court Limits Use of Dog Sniffs During Traffic Stops

Good decision by the Supreme Court yesterday, holding police can't delay a traffic stop to bring on the dogs without reasonable suspicion.

Actual holding: Absent reasonable suspicion, police extension of a traffic stop to conduct a dog sniff violates the Constitution’s shield against unreasonable seizures.

The opinion is here.

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Barry Bonds' Conviction Overturned

The 9th Circuit Court of Appeals has overturned Barry Bonds conviction for obstruction of justice during a grand jury appearance.

"During a grand jury proceeding, defendant gave a rambling, non-responsive answer to a simple question.

"Because there is insufficient evidence that (his statement) was material, defendant's conviction for obstruction of justice... is not supported by the record," it said, adding: "Defendant's conviction here must be reversed.

It's a sort ruling, just the above paragraphs and one more saying he can't be retried on the count because it would be double jeopardy. One judge dissented.

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Tsarnaev Cell Video : Where's the Anger?

Here's the 36 second video of Dzhokhar Tsarnaev that was played to the jury. I don't see any anger, just boredom. Who wouldn't be bored sitting alone in a holding cell all day?

What a big to-do about nothing. The reporter who said his face showed huge anger should cover something other than criminal trials.

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DEA Chief Leonhart Resigns

Good news today. Michelle Leonhart is resigning from the DEA. (I'm sure she'd prefer the word retiring.)

Now if we could only retire the DEA.

In related news, a 19 month old baby who was maimed in his crib during a a botched drug raid will get $1 million. His nose and nipple were blown off.

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Wednesday Afternoon Open Thread

Billy Donovan is a top candidate for the OKC Thunder job. Very nervous bout this.

You can talk about actual things that actually matter here.

Open Thread.

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Tuesday :: April 21, 2015

Monday Night TV: Senor de los Cielos Returns

Update: This may be the best season yet. (I won't give the plot details about characters for a few days to give people a chance to watch it.) Some non-spoiler details: Season three begins 4 years after season 2 ended so everyone's lives have changed. There's a more valuable commodity than cocaine -- uranium in Venezuela. As with last season, there are Venezuelan generals working with FARC in the Colombian jungle at the cocaine labs (which produce coke for the Mexican drug lords.) What's new is that the Iranians have entered the picture and are making deals with all of them to get their hands on Venezuelan uranium. The uranium is to be transported to Mexico and then the U.S. The CIA now wants to take control of Aurelio from the DEA because now it's a matter of national security.[More...]

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Death Penalty Trial Begins for Dzhokhar Tsarnaev

The Government gave its opening statement today in the death penalty trial of Dzhokhar Tsarnaev. Live updates are here. At the end of her opening, the prosecutor giving the opening displayed a screengrab of a security camera video of Tsarnaev in his cell raising his middle finger to the camera. It hasn't been admitted into evidence, so there isn't a copy, but the media reports it was taken a year ago and shows his face was scarred and he was very angry.

The defense deferred their opening until the start of their case. Several witnesses testified as to their injuries in graphic detail. Victim impact testimony in these cases is always horrific. Over defense objection, the judge admitted a video of one victim on the ground, with constant blood curdling screams. [More...]

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Tuesday Morning Open Thread

For those of you who do not like to read my posts, here is an Open Thread for your comments.

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The Politics of TPP

Hillary Clinton will be the Dem nominee for President. Now Martin O'Malley or Jim Webb may not agree, but, will, she is.

That said, if Webb or O'Malley want to make a splash, there is 1 issue that might work - opposition to the Trans Pacific Partnership (TPP.) I'm not going to pretend I have a substantive opinion on it, have not seen the terms (I'm generally pro free trade), but I recognize the political potency.

Greg Sargent's interview with Labor Secretary Thomas Perez highlights the difficulty of arguing for trade agreements:

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