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Thursday :: August 11, 2016

DEA Rejects Rescheduling Marijuana

The Drug Enforcement Administration announced today it will not initiate proceedings to reschedule marijuana from a Schedule 1 controlled substance. Why not? According to its notice, available here:

In accordance with the CSA rescheduling provisions, after gathering the necessary data, the DEA requested a scientific and medical evaluation and scheduling recommendation from the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS).

The HHS concluded that marijuana has a high potential for abuse, has no accepted medical use in the United States, and lacks an acceptable level of safety for use even under medical supervision. Therefore, the HHS recommended that marijuana remain in Schedule I....Based on the HHS evaluation and all other relevant data, the DEA has concluded that there is no substantial evidence that marijuana should be removed from Schedule I.

The DEA is locked in the stone age and as a result, marijuana will remain in the same schedule with controlled substances like heroin. The DEA says because of public interest in the topic, it is publishing all of its findings. The 186 page document, which will be published in the Federal Register, is available here.

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Wednesday :: August 10, 2016

Trump's Awkward Second Amendment Comment

Donald Trump said: “the Second Amendment people” might be the only group capable of stopping Hillary Clinton from appointing liberal judges if she is elected president." People are now debating whether he was suggested violence against Hillary. Seriously? Trump is an awkward guy who makes spontaneous awkward comments and has more than a touch of Joe Biden "foot in mouth" disease. He shouldn't be President. But not because of this comment.

I'm taking Trump's side on this one. He was obviously referring to the NRA and other gun rights groups' lobbying power and ability to influence the votes of millions of their members. He was not urging anyone use a weapon protected by the Second Amendment against Hillary. [More...]

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Tuesday :: August 09, 2016

Blagojevich: Judge Refuses to Lower Sentence

The re-sentencing for former Illinois Governor Rod Blagojevich was held today in Chicago. He appeared by video from the Federal Prison Camp in Englewood where he is serving a 14 year sentence. The resentencing was the result of the appeals court vacating five of the most serious counts against him: the ones that pertained to the alleged "sale" of the Senate seat.

The judge refused to impose a lesser sentence. [More...]

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Monday :: August 08, 2016

Monday Open Thread

Busy day here, time for a new open thread. All topics welcome.

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Sunday :: August 07, 2016

New Wapo-ABC Poll Expands Hillary's Lead Over Trump

Hillary is increasing her lead over Donald Trump, according to a new poll.

Hillary Clinton has emerged from the two major party conventions and their aftermath with an eight-point lead over Donald Trump, aided by a consolidation of support among Democrats and a failure so far by Republicans to rally equally behind their nominee, according to a new Washington Post-ABC News poll.

Clinton and her running mate, Sen. Tim Kaine (Va.), now lead Trump and his running mate, Gov. Mike Pence (Ind.), by 50 percent to 42 percent among registered voters, double the four-point advantage the Democrats held on the eve of the Republican convention in mid-July. Among likely voters, the Democratic nominee leads by 51 percent to 44 percent.

Here is the poll.

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ACLU Obtains Documents on Targeted Killings

Through one of its FOIA lawsuits, the ACLU has obtained new documents concerning the Obama Administration's guidelines for targeted killings of suspected terrorists.

The primary document is the May, 2013 Presidential Policy Guidance, available here. [More...]

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Saturday :: August 06, 2016

ISIS Displays US Soldier's ID, US Says He's Fine

Has ISIS in Afghanistan captured a U.S. soldier? A statement today by ISIS-affiliated news agency Amaq, accompanied by photographs displaying the Identification card of U.S. Army soldier Ryan Jay Larson, and what is purportedly his equipment, leaves that impression. But the statement stops short of claiming Larson was seized or killed

The statement says ISIS successfully repelled an attack by the Afghan army in the Tor Ghondi and Kha’stan Kamar areas in Nangarhar. It adds ISIS then conducted a counterattack and took control of three of of their points, killing two and injuring several others. It reports many fled. It says ISIS took “ghanimah” of weapons and ammunition. [More...]

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Friday :: August 05, 2016

Rio Olympics: Opening Ceremony

They are starting to air the the Olympic Opening Ceremony on NBC. I wish Lester Holt could narrate the whole thing, he's got the best voice, doesn't dumb it down or hyperventilate or overly dramatize the small stuff.

I've had NBC on in the background for an hour, and so far, the coverage has been very good and interesting (except for the half hour the local affiliate had the air, what a difference between them and the big leagues.)

This is a thread for all things Olympics and Rio related only.

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Thursday :: August 04, 2016

Rio Summer Olympics Begin

Here is the live stream schedule for the Olympics. Opening ceremonies are tomorrow but the games have already begun. The Torch has now reached Rio.

The media seems intent to run down Rio as host city to the Olympics. I'm seeing articles with headlines like No Game: The Olympics, Rio and Terror, Rio 2016 will be a Brazilian carnival of greed, doping and tear gas, For Olympic athletes in Rio, a lack of buzz over Zika concerns. There's even this Henny Penny articley: Freak 15-foot waves flood TV broadcasting building on Rio’s Copacabana Beach sparking fears it could collapse into the sea

I'm a big fan of Rio and Brazil, I was there in 1977. Yes, things change in 40 years, but the natural wonders of the country remain. [More...]

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Wednesday :: August 03, 2016

Wednesday Open Thread

Here's a new open thread, all topics welcome.

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Obama Commutes 214 More Sentences

President Obama today commuted 214 more federal sentences, bringing his total to 564, more than the previous 9 presidents combined.

67 of today's commutations went to those serving life sentences with no chance of release. To date, he has commuted 197 life sentences. (Some were commuted to 30 years, not time served.)

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Trump's Runaway Train

It seems no one can help [us] now
[we're] in too deep
There's no way out
This time [we] have really led [ourselves] astray
Runaway train never going back
Wrong way on a one way track

Republicans are having a conniption fit over their uncontrollable candidate. There are reports the campaign is in turmoil. Some Republicans are talking about an intervention.

Newt Gingrich says Trump is presently unacceptable: [More...]

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Tuesday :: August 02, 2016

Child Yells Profanity Re: Hillary at Trump Rally

A 10 year old attending a Trump rally with his mother, Pam Kohler, of Mount Vernon, VA, stood up twice and yelled out "Take the b*tch down" when Trump mentioned Hillary Clinton's name.

His mother identified herself to reporters as and stuck up for her son's remark. She said, “I think he has a right to speak what he wants to."

Ms. Kohler and her son were sitting in the media section of the rally and according to the Wall St Journal, both were holding signs that said "Hillary for Prison.....Asked where he would learn such a phrase, she said, "Democratic schools"

BS. He learned it from his mother. [More...]

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Cameron Douglas Released to Halfway House

It's been a long 7 years for Cameron Douglas, son of actor Michael Douglas. This week the former heroin addict and meth seller was released from federal prison to a half-way house.

He looks in much better shape than he did at the time of his original arrest in 2009.

In 2012, Cameron was badly hurt in prison. In 2011 and 2012, I provided a lengthy recap of his legal troubles from court pleadings available at the time here and here. In 2010, I wrote about the sentencing pleadings and very candid family letters and provided a recap of events . Posts about his 2009 arrest and release on bail are here and here.

I took all of the information in the posts from publicly available pleadings, not just in his case, but in the cases of the Escalera brothers, against whom he testified. All of my posts on his case are accessible here.

Here's a letter Cameron wrote from prison in 2013. According to the Page 6 article, he's planning on writing a book of his experiences.

The Bureau of Prisons failed Douglas in my view. He more than did his time, under very harsh conditions. I wish him and his family well.

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Bratton Resigns From NYPD

New York Police Commissioner Bill Bratton has resigned. He was expected to announce he would not seek a second term, but the resignation, effective next month, was a surprise to most. NYPD Chief of Department James O'Neill will take over as interim chief.

Bratton previously served as New York Police Commissioner under Rudy Giulani from 1994 to 1996, and is credited with the "broken windows" theory of policing (with which I have never agreed.)

I have not followed events involving Commissioner Bratton since he returned to New York. I do remember when he became Police Commissioner of Los Angeles in 2002 since I was attended his swearing-in, along with two other defense lawyer pals. We were invited because we all are friends with his wife, former criminal defense attorney turned TV host and legal analyst, Rikki Klieman). I wrote a long post on it and the parties afterwards here.

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