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Wednesday :: May 13, 2015

Wednesday Open Thread

Since I'll be following Tsarnaev and then heading to court (here, not in Boston), here's an open thread for other topics. All topics welcome, except Freddie Gray. Please use threads dedicated to Gray for comments about him.

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Freddie Gray Thread #3

Here's a new thread for the continuing discussion of the Freddie Gray case.

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Monday :: May 11, 2015

Both Sides Rest in Dzhokhar Tsarnaev Trial

Both sides rested their case today in the Dzhokar Tsarnaev trial. Closing arguments and deliberations begin Wednesday.

The defense ended its case with the testimony of Sister Helen Prejean. She testified she met with Tsarnaev five times over the past year and he expressed remorse.

"He said it emphatically. He said no one deserves to suffer like they did," said Prejean, the public face of the New Orleans-based Ministry Against the Death Penalty and a Nobel Peace Prize nominee. "I had every reason to think that he was taking it in and that he was genuinely sorry for what he did."

[More..]

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Shot Fired into George Zimmerman's Vehicle

Someone fired a shot through the passenger window of George Zimmerman's vehicle today. He was taken to hospital in an ambulance, but was able to walk on his own. (Added: he sustained minor injuries.)

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The D.C. Media Attacks on Hillary

Eric Boehlert at Media Matters offers his thoughts on why the D.C. media is "primed to take down Hillary Clinton."

It's official: Hillary Clinton now faces two looming campaign challengers, Republicans and their allies in the press. But don't take my word for it. The anti-Clinton press campaign is now an open secret in the media, and it marks a whole new chapter in campaign journalism.

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Sy Hersh vs. the White House on Bin Laden Kill Mission

Seymour Hersh's version of the targeted killing of Osama bin Laden couldn't be more different from that of the White House.

[Hersh] claims that Bin Laden’s burial at sea never happened, that Bin Laden was an invalid when the SEALs raided the compound and killed him, and that there was no firefight at all during the SEAL raid. Additionally, Hersh’s account says that the ISI captured and set bin Laden up in Abbottabad in the first place, to use him as “leverage” in the country’s dealings with al-Qaida and the Taliban.

Hersh's version appears here in the London Review of Books.[More...]

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Post - Mother's Day Open Thread

I'm a day late with my Mother's Day post. Instead of asking what you planned to do, let us know what you did yesterday. I hung out with the TL kid and we had a lot of fun. I put pics of us up a few years ago on mother's day here.

This is an open tread, all topics welcome.

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Friday :: May 08, 2015

Friday Open Thread

ISIS switches to blue prisoner suits in its latest display of multiple "spies" killed in Baghdad.

Lindsay Graham is going to seek the Republican nomination for President.

Prosecutors are trying to keep Sister Helen Prejean ("Dead Man Walking") off the stand in the Tsarnaev trial.

This is an open thread, all topics welcome (except Freddie Gray, please put those in a thread dedicated to that topic.)

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Freddie Gray Thread 2

Here's a new thread to continue the discussion about matters related to Freddie Gray.

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Thursday :: May 07, 2015

Omar Khadr: America's Shame

Update to my earlier post on Omar Khadr today: Driving home, I was listening to satellite radio reporting on Omar Khadr's release on bail. They were all suggesting he got off easy. That's preposterous.

I'm going to reprint a post below I wrote in March, 2010, which includes source links. I'm also adding links to additional case documents at the end.

I highly recommend this 81 page defense motion filed in his case which details his case, his history, the evidence and the torture and coercive treatment inflicted on him. His plea agreement is here. Here are the two diplomatic notes between the U.S. and Canada acknowledging Canada could release him at any time. My post on his sentencing is here. [More...]

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Tsarnaev Jury Hears About Life at Supermax

Yesterday and today, the defense in the Dzhokhar Tsarnaev trial presented evidence about life at Supermax in Florence, CO.

Lawyers for Dzhokhar Tsarnaev sought Wednesday to convince jurors in the death-penalty case that Tsarnaev could end up in the country’s most secure federal prison, locked in a cell 23 hours a day, with limited communication with the outside world — if the jury votes for a life sentence.

...Under those conditions, Tsarnaev would be limited to two 15-minute telephone conversations with only immediate family members each month, his mail would be screened, and he would be confined to a single-inmate cell.

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Canada Orders Omar Khadr Released on Bail

Canada has ordered Omar Khadr released on bail. He will leave prison for the first time in 13 years, and reside with his lawyer.

Omar Khadr was 15 in 2002 when he was captured in Afghanistan and sent to Guantanamo. After 10 years at Gitmo and a lot of torture (including being used as a "human mop" to wipe up urine) he entered a plea deal which allowed him to be transferred to Canada. The agreement contained no requirement that Canada continue to keep him imprisoned.

There are no legitimate grounds I can think of to deny Omar release. No one has alleged he presents a risk of violence. He was a model prisoner. The U.S. took 10 very prime years of his life and Canada stuck him with a few more years. [More...]

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Fallout Not Likely From Hillary Clinton's Stance on Over-Incarceration

Radley Balko effectively takes a few Washington Post columnists to task for their articles criticizing Hillary Clinton's recent statements on our unjust mass incarceration policies. His article, also in the Washington Post, is titled "This isn’t 1968. Baltimore isn’t Watts. And Hillary Clinton isn’t Michael Dukakis." He writes:

Both [columnists]compared the civil unrest of 2015 to the civil unrest in 1968. Both cited Nixon’s “tough on crime” campaign, which even members of that campaign team have since admitted was an overt, often racist appeal to white fear of black people. Both scorned Clinton for being “soft on crime,” and daring to criticize mass incarceration in a speech given the same week as the riots. Both mentioned New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio, and his shift in tone from gently criticizing the New York City police department for excessive force after the death of Eric Garner to robustly defending the officers after they were accused of roughing people up at a recent protest.

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Fed. Appeals Court: NSA Mass Call Tracking Program Illegal

The Second Circuit Court of Appeals has ruled the NSA's warrantless mass call tracking program under which Verizon collected phone records of all of its customers is illegal -- it violates Section 215 of the Patriot Act.

At issue was a FISA Court order requiring Verizon to turn over on “an ongoing daily basis” phone call details. The details included whom calls are placed to and from, when those calls are made, and how long they last. The order is here.

The case is ACLU v. Clapper. Today's 100 page decision is here.[More...]

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Wednesday :: May 06, 2015

Wednesday Open Thread

I'll be working for several hours yet. Here's a new open thread, all topics welcome (except Freddie Gray, please put those in his own thread. If it fills up, I'll start a new one.)

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