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Thursday :: July 01, 2021

Bill Cosby Freed After Appellate Victory

Bill Cosby's criminal conviction for sexual assault justly met its demise in the PA Supreme Court yesterday, not on a technicality, but because the decision to charge and try him was a bait and switch that violated one of the most basic tenets on which our criminal justice system is founded: due process of law. The Court found the violation was so egregious that only a remedy of dismissal with no chance of retrial was appropriate. Cosby was freed from prison immediately.

The 79-page opinion is here. There is some really good language on the awesome (as in huge, not terrific) power of prosecutors and why, when prosecutors make a promise to a defendant that induces him to give up a constitutional right, that promise must be enforced.

There's also a word I rarely see, and the opinion uses it three separate times: Undergird. (It means brace or support (an underpinning) and apparently was first used in the 1500's). [More...]

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Saturday :: June 26, 2021

Derek Chauvin Sentenced to 22.5 Years

Original Post Friday: Derek Chauvin will be sentenced today for the murder of George Floyd.

He could get life plus cancer and the public would say it's not enough.

Attorney Ben Crump will be on hand afterwards to give a press conference. He's beome as ubiquitous as Gloria Allred was a decade ago. Not my cup of tea.

Update: He got 22.5 years. His motion for a new trial was denied just before sentencing. The Judge issued a 20 plus page opinion explaining his sentence. You can read it here. Basically, it seems his guideline sentence was 11-12 years, and the judge said he had discretion to impose an upward variance, and because of the aggravating factors in the case, including Chauvin's extreme cruelty to George Floyd, he decided to do that. From the Washington Post: [More...]

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Friday :: June 25, 2021

Friday Open Thread

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

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Rudy Giuliani Loses NY Law License

New York State has taken away Rudy Giuliani's ticket to practice law. The reason: His “false and misleading statements” about Trump's election loss. His conduct "immediately threatens the public interest." He calls the action "ridiculous".

His bizarre son Andrew "railed" against the license loss in a parking lot this afternoon.

Is he still running for Governor of New York? Apparently so. What a joke.

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Delta Variant is Not Just a Problem for Unvaccinated

The government wants you to believe only the unvaccinated need fear the Delta variant. It says that the vaccines are 90% effective against COVID-19 and almost as effective against the Delta variant. So even though the variants are more transmissible and may make people sicker, only the unvaccinated need fear them. The vaccinated can toss their masks, cram into elevators, cheer and sing in each others faces at sports events and concerts, and go back to their regular lives.

But there are at least 10,000 "break-through" cases of people who have gotten infected with COVID-19 or a variant after being fully vaccinated. Yes, that's a tiny percentage of all people. But that's not how people make decisions. For example, you only have a miniscule chance of winning the lottery but millions of people still buy lottery tickets. Why? Because they know someone is likely to win, and they figure it might as well be them -- they have just as much chance as anybody else.

By the same token, someone is going to be in that group of 10,000 who get the virus or the Delta variant after being fully vaccinated. Why take a chance it might be you? [More....]

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Tuesday :: June 15, 2021

U.S. COVID-19 Deaths Reach 600K

600,000 people with COVID-19 have died in this this country. That is such an appalling number.

The World Health Organization says even people who have had COVID-19 should get vaccinated.

The virus has not gone away. The Delta variant is growing in the U.S. and elsewhere. We don't know if it's more dangerous, just that it's more transmissible. Meaning it's a fast spreader. The CDC has now declared it a "Variant of Concern". It thinks the current vaccines will be mostly effective against the variants, but that sounds more like hope than science. [More...]

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Donald Trump and His Emails

Donald Trump is on a downward legal spiral. But oh, the irony, if he goes down on emails after all the years he spent maligning Hillary and urging she be "locked up" over her emails.

The report in the New York Times today about how he tried to pressure Assistant AG Jeffrey Rosen (who later became Acting Attorney General) to support his baseless claim of election fraud is very damaging.

Are the emails the final nail? (They are available here). The Times says the emails show:

Mr. Trump pressured Mr. Rosen to put the power of the Justice Department behind lawsuits that had already failed to try to prove his false claims that extensive voter fraud had affected the election results.

[More...]

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Thursday :: June 03, 2021

Thursday Night Open Thread

I have been adjusting to life outside of my bubbled apartment. After more than a year indoors, I can't help but avoid the computer. I will be back though!

Here's an open thread, all topics welcome.

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Wednesday :: May 26, 2021

Wednesday Open Thread

Time for a new open thread, all topics welcome.

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Tuesday :: May 25, 2021

CDC To Relax COVID Testing for the Vaccinated

I'm almost as tired of writing about COVID-19 as I used to get writing about Trump. The CDC seems to me to have jumped the shark. Now they are recommending less testing for people who have been vaccinated?

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said last week that most people who have received the full course of shots and have no COVID-19 symptoms don’t need to be screened for the virus, even if exposed to someone who is infected.

When will these experts figure out that we need to prevent the virus, not just treat it after it infects and kills. To do that you need to test. This year-old interview with Virologist Shao Yiming, chief AIDS expert at China’s Center for Disease Control and Prevention,published in Science Insider Magazine makes a lot of good points.

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Monday :: May 24, 2021

Bob Dylan Turns 80

Wow. Just wow. Bob Dylan is 80 years old.

Happy birthday Bob Dylan. I know all the readers here will join me in wishing him many, many more.

His work is too extensive for me to pick a favorite. But I'll go with the one that has been the tagline for Talkleft's front page (bottom middle right column)for 19 years: Subterranean Homesick Blues.

The pump don't work cause the vandals took the handles

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Wednesday :: May 19, 2021

NY AG Joins State Criminal Investigation of Trump

The New York Attorney General announced it has joined the New York DA's criminal investigation of the Trump Organization. Previously, the AG's investigation was civil rather than criminal.

A spokesman for the state's top prosecutor, Letitia James, said the inquiry into Mr Trump's property company was "no longer purely civil"....We are now actively investigating the Trump Organization in a criminal capacity, along with the Manhattan DA."

The AG spokesman said it has notified the Trump Organization of the change in status. According to the New York Times, it's about Trump Org. Chief Financial Officer Alan Weisselberg and his family. [More...]

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Sunday :: May 16, 2021

Sunday Open Thread

Is anyone going maskless here?

I used to say about Wordperfect that they'd have to pry it out of my dead hand before I changed to Microsoft Word. That's how I feel about my mask. I'm still going to wear it and I won't be shopping at any grocery store or butcher where either the employees or customers are not masked.

As for restaurants: Just the thought of an unmasked worker handling my food and breathing over convinces me it's not time to eat at an indoor or outdoor restaurant yet.

With the large numbers of law enforcement and prison guards refusing to take the vaccine, and the government claiming they don't have the right to demand they get one, I'm not feeling any safer today than I did two weeks ago or a month ago. [More...]

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Wednesday :: May 12, 2021

Liz Cheney Ousted as Party Leader

The House of Representatives today held a vote on Liz Cheney and she has been removed as House Republican Conference chair

which is considered to be the third most important Republican position in the House.

Donald Trump was happy, calling her "a poor leader, a major Democrat talking point, a warmonger, and a person with absolutely no personality or heart.”

He did get one right: warmonger.

I don't understand why Democrats and progressives are flocking to defend Liz Cheney. Liz Cheney holds the same beliefs as her father, Dick Cheney. See Maureen Dowd's column this week, on the similarity of beliefs held by Cheney and her father. I'm with Dowd on this.

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Monday :: May 03, 2021

Bill and Melinda Gates Announce Divorce

Bill and Melinda Gates have announced they are getting a divorce. Both their twitter feeds have the same message. They say they will continue their work together at the Gates foundation, but won't continue to work together as a couple.

The Seattle-based Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation is the most influential private foundation in the world, with an endowment worth nearly $50 billion. It has focused on global health and development and U.S. education issues since incorporating in 2000.

Melinda Gates has been heavily involved in gender equality initiatives in the past few years. Maybe she wants to start her own foundation. Given they are announcing a divorce, not a separation, I suspect they have already settled their financial affairs.

It may be the largest divorce settlement in history, since they are reportedly worth $150 billion. I found this part of their announcement curious:

‘We no longer believe we can grow together as a couple in the next phase of our lives

They've been married for 27 years. What kind of continued growth as a couple were they expecting? [More...]

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