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Monday :: June 06, 2016

Hillary on the Cusp of Historical Nomination

It's just about over. After her win this weekend in Puerto Rico, Hillary Clinton is expected to reach the magic number tomorrow and become the presumptive nominee of the Democratic party.

As for Bernie, I hope he goes off for a long overdue nap.

The LA Times endorsed Hillary, but not Donald Trump. The Times calls Trump "an astoundingly unqualified candidate." It refused to make a Republican endorsement.

Arnold Schwarzenegger's spokesman confirmed that Arnold, who will be succeeding Trump as host of Celebrity Apprentice, mailed in his ballot with a vote for John Kasich.

This thread is for all things election-related.

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Saturday :: June 04, 2016

Countdown to the End of Primary Season

It was June 7, 2008 that Hillary Clinton withdrew from the Democratic presidential nomination race. I remember it well, since I was in Aspen for a NORML legal seminar and watched the speech on TV there.

Sanders, apparently, is not dropping out. No matter. He could win California and it still won't matter.

A whopping total of 475 delegates are at stake, but if it’s as close as the polls suggest, the winner stands to net a mere 20 or 30 delegates. Using this excellent delegate calculator, let’s go through all the remaining races and then circle back to the big prize, bearing in mind that right now, among pledged delegates, it’s Clinton up by 268, 1,769 to 1,501.

[More...]

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Saturday Open Thread

"Float like a butterfly, sting like a bee." RI.P. Muhammad Ali.

Authorities say Prince died of a self-administered Fentanyl overdose.

Weldon Angelos, who was sentenced to 55 years for marijuana, has been released after 12 years. He lost in the 10th Circuit and the Supreme Court. His clemency petition dangled for 3 years. Ultimately, his lawyer says, a prosecutor put in motion events to set him free.

He had no criminal record before he was convicted of selling $350 worth of marijuana to a police informant three times.

This is an open thread, all topics welcome.

We close comments at 200, so please don't hog the thread. (No one should be commenting 30 times in a single thread.)

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Thursday :: June 02, 2016

Thursday Open Thread

Where has this week gone? I've am just swamped with work and have a lot to do before I can focus on the news and blogging. Hopefully, I'll catch up over the weekend.

In the meantime, here's an open thread, all topics welcome.

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Monday :: May 30, 2016

Memorial Day Open Thread

Today we justly honor the many men and women who died while serving in our Armed Forces.

This year, more than most, I'm struck by the fact that war is not a distant memory, or an occasional event, but an ever-present condition.

In war news, Iraqi forces stormed Fallujah early this morning, backed by U.S. aircraft, to retake the city from ISIS. In Baghdad yesterday, ISIS suicide bombings claimed the lives of more than 20 people.

Meanwhile more than 700 migrants, including children, may have died in sea crossings this week.

Hopefully, some of you have something cheerful to write about, even if it's just how you spent your weekend. This is an open thread, all topics welcome.

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Friday :: May 27, 2016

Friday Open Thread

Donald Trump has all the delegates he needs. Bernie Sanders does not. But Bernie's trying to stay relevant by debating Donald Trump. Yes, some polls have Hillary and Bernie in a dead heat in California. Others have Hillary with a wide lead. Others say there's a backlash against Bernie brewing.

This is an open thread, all topics welcome.

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Wednesday :: May 25, 2016

Hillary, Donald and Bernie Open Thread

I've had enough of the election for a while. I'm not particularly interested in Trump protests or Bernie Sanders' latest maneuvers. Or reports on Hillary's email.

Here's an open thread to discuss the election.

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El Chapo's Lawyers Denied Extradition Documents

Some new developments in the extradition efforts against Joaquin "El Chapo" Guzman:

His lawyer Jose Refugio was refused permission to meet with El Chapo when he went to the Prison.

The Ministry of Foreign Affairs refused to give his lawyer, Andres Granados Flores, a copy of its extradition orders. It said it had given the certified copies directly to El Chapo.[More...]

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All Four ISIS "Beatles" Guards Now Identified

All four of the brutal British prison guards of ISIS's foreign hostages known as the Beatles have now been identified. Here's an interview with the mother of the 4th one, El Shafee Elsheikh, identified a few days ago by the Washington Post and BuzzFeed.

All are believed to have been part of Amr Al Absi's group, a story I've summarized numerous times (see here and here) and who was killed in a US air strike recently. [More...]

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Obama Family's Future Home in DC

President Obama and his family have picked a house to rent in D.C. after he leaves the White House. (They aren't going back to Chicago right away because daughter Sasha is still in high school.)

Check out the stunning photos of the home, which has more than 8,000 square feet (9 bedrooms.) The house belongs to former Clinton press spokesman Joe Lockhart who is now living in New York.

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Monday :: May 23, 2016

Indonesia Readying More Executions of Foreign Drug Offenders

Boycott Indonesia.

A new round of executions of foreign drug offenders is set for this week or next. Of the 15 set for killing, 10 are foreigners:

Ten of at least 15 convicts facing the firing squad at the Nusakambangan prison island in Central Java’s Cilacap regency are foreign citizens. ....In a rare move, police have revealed that among the foreign citizens are four Chinese, one Pakistani, two Nigerians, two Senegalese and one Zimbabwean.

Not on the list: Filipino drug convict Mary Jane Veloso and Frenchman Serge Areski Atlaoui, both of whom got temporary reprieves at the 11th hour last year, and British grandmother Lindsay Sandiford. [More...]

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Fallujah, Syria, and ISIS

The battle by Iraqi forces to retake Fallujah has begun.

The U.S. says it killed the iconic Abu Wahib, ISIS's military commander of the Anbar province about 10 days ago. He's been declared dead before, but not by the Pentagon, which claims to have killed him in an airstrike near Rutbah.

ISIS conducted suicide bombings in Syria today killing a lot of people. [More..]

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"Bitter Bernie" Loses "Halo" Among Progressives

It's about time. Bernie is losing his halo among progressives.

A few days ago I wrote a post "Bitter Bernie" and it's still in my editing pile. I don't have time to edit it now, so I'll just post it. I named him "Bitter Bernie" because that's what I see when I watch him, and I can just imagine Trump using it.

Bernie Sanders grows more tiresome to me every day. His primary emotions are anger and bitterness. (See Kevin Drum on this.) He seems like a very unhappy, unfulfilled man. He's also tone-deaf to the best interests of Democrats, the very party whose nomination he wants and isn't going to get.

It may be over soon -- all except the street protests at the convention which will turn out to be a mess since his sore-loser supporters preach hate and intolerance. Sanders doesn't support hate and intolerance, but no one will know that since he refuses to criticize even the most unbecoming behavior of his supporters.

The reason it will be over soon: He's running out of cash, having spent his millions like a drunken sailor (or Jeb Bush, take your pick.) He's run through $40 million a month. Hillary has millions more than him. [More...]

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President Obama in Vietnam

President Obama is in Vietnam. He visited Ho Chi Minh's house. And he ended the arms embargo so weapons can now be sold to Vietnam.

What a pleasure to read Vietnam newspapers -- the ones I've seen don't have autoplay video. Here are some photos of the welcoming ceremony.

I'm sorry I haven't visited Vietnam. Here are ten reasons you really should go.

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Freddie Gray Officer Acquitted

A Baltimore judge today found police officer Edward Nero not guilty in the death of Freddie Gray. From the Baltimore Sun:

The judgment, following a five-day bench trial, is the first in the closely-watched case. Nero, 30, faced four misdemeanor charges of second-degree assault, reckless endangerment and two counts of misconduct in office.

Prosecutors had argued that Nero committed an assault by detaining Gray without justification, while the reckless endangerment charge related to Nero's role in putting Gray into an arrest wagon without buckling a seat belt. In closing arguments Thursday, Williams had skeptically questioned prosecutors about their theory of assault, which legal experts said was unprecedented.

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