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Sunday :: May 03, 2015

AU Federal Police Defend Role in Bali Nine Arrests

Facing mounting criticism for helping Indonesia execute Bali Nine duo Andrew Chan and Myuran Sukumaran, the Commissioner and Deputy Commissioner of the Australian Federal Police held a press conference today to discuss the AFP's role in the arrest of the Bali Nine. [More....]

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Mayweather Beats Pacquiao: Unanimous Decision

All three judges scored Floyd Mayweather the victor over Manny Pacquaio. Scores: 118-110, 116-112, 116-112.

After the fight:

Was anyone rooting for Mayweather?

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Saturday :: May 02, 2015

Saturday Open Thread

Congratulations to Kate and William, the Dutchess and Duke of Cambridge, and a warm welcome to the newborn Princess of Cambridge. [More...]

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Friday :: May 01, 2015

Indictments in Chris Christie Bridge Case

William Barone and Bridget Anne Kelly have been indicted in the Chris Christie bridge scandal. The Indictment is here and is quite detailed. It does not appear to implicate Chris Christie.

Barone is the former deputy executive director of the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey. Kelly is a former deputy chief of staff to Chris Christie. They were charged in nine counts, including conspiracy to commit fraud by “knowingly converting and intentionally misapplying property of an organization receiving federal benefits”. [More...]

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Six Officers Charged in Freddie Gray's Death

Six officers have been charged in Freddie Gray's death. The van driver was charged with second-degree "depraved heart" murder. The charges against the others include involuntary manslaughter, assault and false imprisonment and misconduct in office.

In a news conference, the state’s attorney in Baltimore, Marilyn J. Mosby, described repeated mistreatment of Mr. Gray. Time and again, she said, officers abused him, arresting him without grounds and violating police procedure by putting him in handcuffs and leg restraints in the van without putting a seatbelt on him.

[More...]

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Thursday :: April 30, 2015

Bernie Sanders will run on the issues, not the nonsense

Very encouraging first morning from the Bernie Sanders' campaign for president:

No nonsense for Bernie. What will he run on? The issues:

Like foreign policy, trade, Wall Street, etc.

Sanders will run on the actual issues that matter to "everyday" people, to coin a phrase.

And that's why it's great he is in the race.

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Thursday Open Thread

R.I.P. Jean Nidetch, the founder of WeightWatchers. She died this week at age 91. I spent a week at a health spa with her in the early 80's. She was very smart and funny and fun to be around. Here's a picture I took of her that week, and one another guest took of her and me. Should I mention again it was 30 years ago? R.I.P. Jean.

This is an open thread, all topics welcome.

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Tsarnaev Prosecutors Threaten to Remove Defense Witnesses Before They Testify Witnesses

The Government reached a new low in the Dzhokhar Tsarnaev trial this week, in my opinion. At a hearing outside the presence of the jury, AUSA William Weinreib complained about the security costs and FBI time spent ensuring the safety of five of Tsarnaev's relatives who traveled here from Russia to testify for him. They threatened to the FBI will take them back to Russia if the defense doesn't call them by Friday.

“It’s an enormous expense and distraction for the agency, and that’s just part of the expense that the government has endured,” federal prosecutor William Weinreb said during a closed-door meeting Monday with the defense and Judge George O’Toole, according to transcripts shown on the court's public terminal.

The Sixth Amendment compulsory process clause guarantees defendants the right to have witnesses brought to trial to testify for the defense: [More...]

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Wednesday :: April 29, 2015

Oral Arguments Over Lethal Injection Drugs

The Supreme Court heard oral arguments today in the case involving lethal injection drugs.

Conservative justices accused opponents of capital punishment of disingenuous delaying tactics regarding the drugs used in executions. Liberal justices suggested state officials were shading the facts to rush condemned men to the execution chamber.

The case involves the drug midazolam, which was used in the botched Oklahoma execution of Clayton Lockett. (More here.) Three death row inmates brought the case. One, Charles Warner, was since put to death using midazolam. His last words: [More...]

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Hillary Announces Plan to Revamp Criminal Justice Policy

Hillary Clinton today announced a plan to revamp criminal justice policy and end the focus on mass incarceration ad draconian sentences, policies favored during the Bill Clinton administration.

Clinton unveiled a sweeping set of proposed criminal justice reforms that would dismantle much of what her husband did. .. Whereas Bill looked to lock up offenders and throw away the key, Hillary is seeking to “end mass incarceration.” His focus was on resources for law enforcement; hers is on transparency meant to protect suspects.

Bill promoted zero tolerance, while Hillary is inclined to lend a second chance. “Keeping them behind bars does little to reduce crime, but it does a lot to tear apart families,” she said of children guilty of nonviolent offenses.

[More...]

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Jakarta Globe Criticizes Joko Widodo Over Executions

Indonesia President Joko Widodo, already getting justly raked over the coals of international opinion, isn't doing any better at home. The editorial in the Jakarta Globe yesterday, hours before the executions, concludes he was hoodwinked by his aides (which doesn't say much for his leadership ability) and that the executions are not in Indonesia's best interest:

With regards to the planned executions, we doubt that such action is really aimed at creating deterrence. We are afraid that it was born out of political strategy of people surrounding Joko, and the president might be only a victim of his aides who provided him with false data and arguments.

It goes on to oppose the executions and say they have nothing to do with the problem of drugs in Indonesia: [More...]

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1,400 Police Secure Execution Site, All 8 Sang Together Until Shot

Central Java Police chief Insp. Gen. Noer Ali says Indonesia used 1,400 police personnel to secure the executions of the 8 non-violent drug offenders yesterday. This doesn't include military personnel who were also involved.

As I've written before, Indonesia was obsessed with security, to the point where they used four fighter jets armed with sidewinder missiles and a fully equipped navy warship to move the two Australians, Myuran Sukumaran and Andrew Chan from one island to another. [More...]

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Tuesday :: April 28, 2015

Australia Recalls Ambassador to Indonesia

Indonesia President Joko Widodo is in the doghouse. Leaders all over the world are condemning Indonesia's executions today.

Australia Prime Minister Tony Abbott has recalled their Ambassador to Indonesia. [More...]

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Bernie Sanders To Announce Presidential Run

From Vermont Public Radio:

VPR News has learned from several sources that independent U.S. Sen. Bernie Sanders will announce his candidacy for the Democratic presidential nomination on Thursday. Sanders will release a short statement on that day and then hold a major campaign kickoff in Vermont in several weeks.

This is welcome news imo.

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Indonesia Mass Killings: Eight Drug Offenders Are Dead

Update: Thumbing its nose at the world, Indonesia executed eight drug offenders tonight, including two models of rehabilitation, Australians Myuran Sukumaran and Andrew Chan.

Mary Jane Fiesta Veloso was spared, but only temporarily, after the woman who recruited her to act as a drug courier gave herself up to police in the Philippines. Her government said she was the victim of human trafficking and today said she is needed as a witness against her recruiter. Indonesia says her execution has been temporarily delayed so she can testify against the trafficker. [More...]

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