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Wednesday :: April 01, 2015

Rolling Stones to Tour U.S. This Summer

If you're in one of these 15 cities, you can see the Rolling Stones in concert this summer. Tickets for all U.S. shows go on sale Monday April 13.

If, like me, you aren't in one of those cities, you know what they say: [More...]

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Tuesday :: March 31, 2015

Judy Clarke: How to Save a Life

Vanity Fair has an excellent new profile of Judy Clarke. My favorite line, and it is not an exaggeration:

Her record defending the indefensible speaks for itself. Among those who want capital punishment abolished in this country, Judy Clarke is the most effective champion in history.

A basic premise:

No person should be defined “by the worst moment, or worst day” of his life.

How she does it: [More...]

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Monday :: March 30, 2015

ISIS Releases Dabiq Issue #8

Issue #8 of the Islamic State's English magazine, Dabiq, has been released. The cover title says "Shari'ah Alone Will Rule Africa." You can download it here.

As with prior issues, the last article is one by British hostage John Cantlie. It's called "The Paradigm Shift" and in it he asserts that the only viable course for the west is a truce with ISIS. [More...]

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Monday Open Thread

Time for a new open thread. All topics welcome.

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Silk Road: DEA and Secret Service Agent Charged With Fraud

A former DEA and Secret Service agent have been charged in Baltimore with stealing bitcoins while working undercover on the Silk Road investigation.

The former agents are Carl Mark Force IV, who worked for the Drug Enforcement Administration, and Shaun Bridges, who worked for the Secret Service.

Mr. Force is being charged with wire fraud, theft of government property and money laundering; and Mr. Bridges is being charged with wire fraud and money laundering, according to an affidavit filed in the United States District Court in San Francisco.

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Govt Rests in Tsarnaev Trial

The Government ended its case in the Boston Marathon bombing trial of Dzhokhar Tsarnaev with gory photos of the autopsy of child victim Martin Richards. At least three jurors cried, according to reporters tweeting from the courtroom.

An FBI photographer testified earlier this morning about where Tsarnaev was standing in relation to Richards. The Government tried to make the argument that Tsarnaev deliberately targeted the 8 year old. On cross, the defense showed other photos that had two people standing between Jahar and the boy, and pointed out Jahar walked away right after the first bomb went off, while the Richards family stayed where they were.

The witness used a diagram that, at the direction of the government, didn't depict the other people standing between Jahar and Richards. On Cross: [More...]

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Saturday :: March 28, 2015

Amanda Knox: Justice At Last in Perugia

It's over, for good. Amanda Knox can finally put this horrific 8 year ordeal behind her. Italy's Supreme Court of Cassation has fully exonerated both Amanda and Raffaele Sollecito of murder.

The supreme Court of Cassation panel deliberated for 10 hours before declaring that the two did not commit the crime, a stronger exoneration than merely finding insufficient evidence to convict.

...The decision to overturn the convictions without ordering a new trial amounted to a rebuke of another high court ruling two years ago that vacated Knox and Sollecito's 2011 acquittal, ordering yet another trial.

[More...]

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Friday :: March 27, 2015

Friday Open Thread

An exhausting week at work. I'm so glad it's Friday. Here's an open thread, all topics welcome.

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OIG Report on DEA Agents' Sexual Misconduct Allegations

Via Politico, the Office of Inspector General has issued a report on sexual misconduct allegations against agents in four law enforcement agencies in the Department of Justice, including the DEA, FBI, ATF and Marshals Service.

The full report is here. It's over 100 pages long, so I've summarized the more salacious parts below: [More...]

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Wednesday :: March 25, 2015

Wednesday Open Thread

Time for a new open thread. All topics welcome.

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Another Judgment Day for Amanda Knox

The Supreme Court in Italy will rule Friday on yet another appeal in the Amanda Knox case.

If she loses, will she be extradited? Will Italy even file the request? I don't think given the unique and twisted history of the case, disputed facts and the different and lesser protections afforded defendants by the Italian legal system, which allows prosecutors to appeal not guilty verdicts and according to some news reports, considers jeopardy not to attach until final judgment is rendered after appeal, the U.S. would grant an extradition request. Nor do I think a diplomatic showdown will result if it refuses. This case needs to be put to rest.

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Tuesday :: March 24, 2015

Utah Reinstates Death by Firing Squad

Utah Governor Gary Herbert has signed a bill into law allowing executions to proceed by firing squad when lethal injection drugs aren't available. From the Governor's website:

HB11, Death Penalty Procedure Amendments

This bill establishes the firing squad as a secondary method for executions, in the event the drugs necessary for lethal injection cannot be obtained. Lethal injection remains the primary method for carrying out executions in Utah.

I'd call Utah the new Indonesia except it isn't killing non-violent drug offenders. Still, it's sickening to think that any state in this country would legalize such barbaric means of state-sanctioned murder.

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Monday :: March 23, 2015

Monday Night Open Thread

I'm about to catch up on the day's news, and watch the Voice. Our last open thread is full. Here's a new one, all topics welcome.

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Ted Cruz Announces Presidential Bid

Ted Cruz will seek the Republican nomination for President. Here's a place to discuss him and the 2016 Presidential race.

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The So-Called "ISIS Hacking Division"

Many media outlets, including the New York Times reported Saturday that ISIS has released the names and addresses of 100 service members on a website and urged followers to find and kill them. It's far from certain this release has any official connection to ISIS. Instead of "ISIS Urges Sympathizers to Kill U.S. Service Members It Identifies on Website", the headline should be "Group Supporting ISIS Urges Killing of U.S. Service Members Named in Internet Posting."

The release was announced Friday night on Twitter and uploaded to PasteBin, the site used by many groups to post messages. [More...]

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