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Monday :: April 27, 2015

Riots in Baltimore After Freddie Gray Funeral

Baltimore was in chaos today when riots erupted after the funeral of Freddie Gray, a young African American who died in police custody.

Gray's family was shocked by the violence... they hoped to organize a peace march later in the week, said family attorney Billy Murphy. He said they did not know the riot was going to happen and urged calm.

"They don't want this movement nationally to be marred by violence," he said. "It makes no sense."

Maryland Gov. Larry Hogan declared a state of emergency in Baltimore and activated the National Guard.

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Tsarnaev Defense Begins Making Case for Life

Dzhokhar Tsarnaev's defense team began making the case for life instead of death today. From David Bruck's opening statement: (Taken from WBZ reporter Jim Armstrong's live tweets in court.) [More...]

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Live Opening Statements in James Holmes Case

Arapahoe County District Attorney George Brauchler is giving the opening statement for the prosecution in the trial of James Holmes. It's being televised on Channel 7 in Denver (thankfully no commentary so far.) Above is the streaming version from Fox News, also no commentary so far.

Why is the elected District Attorney trying this case personally? My guess: This is his stepping stone to a run for Congress. He is a very fluid speaker, he's got a powerpoint going but he's not using notes. His speech is free of "ums" and "ahs," and his tone is modulated and conversational. I didn't see the beginning so I can't tell what his theme is. He doesn't use trilogies to continually bring it home. Instead, he's doing a chronological presentation. [More...]

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Radio Iran Claims Al Baghdadi Dead

ISIS denies the claim by Radio Iran that al Baghdadi is dead, as a result of injuries he sustained in a U.S. airstrike last November.

Another network played a video of the convoy being hit, claiming Baghdadi is in the video, but others say the man in the video is Seyfullakh Shishani, and the video was in February, 2014.

The media has been wrong multiple times about ISIS leaders getting killed, from Omar Shishani to Abu Wahib. How many times did Ilyas Kashmiri die? At least 4, if I recall. He was becoming like that Saturday night skit,"Generalissimo Francisco Franco is still dead."

In any event, I don't think his passing would make any difference to ISIS. They plan for things like this.

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Nine Drug Offenders Set for Weds. Killing in Indonesia

The frenchman on Death Row got a last minute reprieve over an administrative matter. That leaves 9 who will be killed and the date is set for Wednesday. The coffins are in and the mortician was hand-stenciling the date "4/29/15 into them.

Australia is claiming the judges were bribed to vote for death and it wants the investigation completed before the 8 men and 1 woman are killed. It's doubtful that would happen.[More...]

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James Holmes Trial Begins Over Aurora Theater Shootings

There will be two people fighting for their lives in court this week: James Holmes, the Aurora Shooting suspect who has pleaded not guilty by reason of insanity, and Dzhokhar Tsarnaev, whose defense team will start their case for life. Both begin Monday morning.

I'm curious to see what witnesses the defense will call for Jahar. I'd like to see his friend Junes Umarov testify for him. I'm sure they've canvassed the friends and neighbors for anyone who can say Tamerlan dominated him and he did whatever he asked. I think we may see some teachers in the early grades, a sports coach, and some high school friends to say this was all out of character from him.

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Saturday :: April 25, 2015

Saturday Night Open Thread

Thank you, Comcast! All of a sudden my cable box started showing English captions on Telemundo shows. No more plugging the antenna in every night. And the captions are really good, not like You Tube. I didn't change any settings, all of a sudden a new option appeared besides "on" and "off" where you can choose a secondary language. Maybe it was there all the time, but whatever, I'm so glad. If your box does the same, check out the first week of Senor de los Cielos 3 -- you can watch free on On Demand. It really surpassed my expectations, and they were pretty high. [More...]

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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. The 8th Circuit 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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