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My First Tornado

I was driving to the ICE detention facility in Aurora today when looking off to the left, I saw what I assumed was a fire. I considered for a brief second it could be a tornado, but it wasn't raining and it didn't seem to be twirling, it just looked like dirty smoke. So I kept going.

Within a minute there was lightening. Then I could hear a little bit of hail fall on the roof of my car, then a siren went off in my car (my cell phone was plugged into the stereo, and the siren was as loud as the radio when the volume is turned up really high. I didn't even have the radio on, let alone set at high volume.) It was an emergency alert -- which I hadn't signed up for but appreciated -- telling me to get out the area, a tornado had been spotted "in rotation" on radar. I had no idea what "in rotation" meant, but I understood I should get out of the area.

Within seconds, I was in the midst of a torrential downpour and the streets were flooded. By now I was only about 5 blocks from the jail, but the jail was in the direction of the brown blob of smoke I had seen, which was not a fire, but a tornado that had touched down. [More...]

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Monday Open Thread

Here's an open thread, all topics welcome.

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Drug Mule's Cocaine Pellets Burst on Plane

Colmin Smith, age 48, was flying from Antigua to London with 239 grams of cocaine (about 1/2 pound) in pellets in his stomach. Shortly after the packed Virgin Atlantic flight took off, the pellets burst. He managed to tell a flight attendant right before he lost consciousness.

The plane made an emergency landing in Bermuda, where medics performed emergency surgery at the airport, and then took him to the hospital. He survived, and then had to face the judge.

The penalty: No jail, just a fine of 417 pounds (about $700.00). Why did he catch such a break? [More...]

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ISIS Turns Against John McCain in Latest Publication

ISIS released the second edition of Dabiq, its glossy magazine yesterday, titled "It’s Either the Islamic State or the Flood"." There's a drawing of a big ark on the cover. While they certainly have mastered graphic design -- the issue is visually compelling, well laid-out, and uses easily readable fonts, it's also very long (44 pages) and mostly centered around religious concepts.

As with its other publications, it mostly ignores the West and U.S. The notable exception is that it devotes 2 pages to John McCain. On the first page it blasts him.[More...]

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Trial Monday on Production of Missing Video From OKC Bombing

Utah attorney Jesse Trentadue has been fighting for years to obtain videos referenced in Secret Service and FBI timelines of the Oklahoma City Bombing investigation. Trial in his FOIA lawsuit (see IntelFiles case page for background) begins tomorrow in federal court in Utah. Trentadue's brother Kenneth died in an Oklahoma detention facility in 1995. The government claimed his death was a suicide. Jesse says the condition of his brother's body shows it was murder.

On Monday, a three-day trial is scheduled to begin in U.S. District Court in Salt Lake City on a lawsuit by lawyer Jesse Trentadue. He filed a request under the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) seeking documents and videotapes from the bombing investigation — including one tape he believes shows two suspects exiting a Ryder truck parked in front of the Alfred P. Murrah Federal Building and the detonation of explosives in the vehicle.

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New York Times Editorial: Feds Should Legalize Marijuana

The New York Times has taken a bold step. Its editorial board is calling for the legalization of marijuana -- Repeal Prohibition Again.

The Times will feature marijuana legalization all week in a series of articles, High Time. Here's the first article, Let the States Decide. [more....]

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No Treaty, No Problem for the DEA

Update 7/27: The Netherlands has authorized Aruba to release Hugo Carvajal, saying he does have diplomatic immunity. Looks like the DEA has lost this round. Definitely the right decision in my view.

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Venezuela does not allow the extradition of its citizens to the U.S. That doesn't stop the DEA. The latest conquests in its global war on drugs: Benny Palmeri-Bacchia, a Venezuelan attorney who served as a judge and prosecutor, and Hugo Carvajal Barrios, aka "Pollo" (chicken), the former head of Venezuela's Military Intelligence. Palmeri-Bacchi was arrested en route to Disneyland with his family for a vacation, and Carvajal was arrested in Aruba (as the result of a year long DEA plan to arrest him outside of Venezuela, more on this below.) [More...]

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Saturday Open Thread

For Stephanie Grisham, the press secretary for Arizona Attorney General Tom Home , who said in an email that the claims being made by the media witnesses and defense attorneys about the botched execution of Joseph Wood are not accurate.

"He went to sleep, and looked to be snoring. ...I was surprised by how peaceful it was. There was absolutely no snorting or gasping for air."

(h/t SJ in comments.) This is an open thread, all topics welcome.

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ISIS Publishes Graphic Photos of Multiple Beheadings

ISIS yesterday published its most gruesome photos yet of multiple beheadings at the Division 17 base in Raqqa, Syria. I'm not going to link because they are just too gross.

The New York Times says 50 Syrian soldiers were killed. Reuters says the same.

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Friday Night Open Thread

As expected following the media's publication of multiple unnamed law enforcement leaks concerning Stephen Silva, (background here) Dzhokhar Tsarnaev's lawyers have renewed their motion to determine the source of law enforcement leaks. I'm glad to see they complained about the leak I thought was the most egregious -- you can read the leak here. As I wrote:

....leaks by law enforcement that this is bad for Jahar because it shows he was more than an errand boy are just speculation. And incredibly out of line for law enforcement, who have no business opining to the media on the specifics and strength of any defendant's defense.

The defense wants to know what steps the Government took after the June hearing at which the judge expressed his concern about leaks to avoid future ones.

Israel and Hamas have agreed to a 12 hour cease-fire tomorrow.

I wonder what ISIS has been up to the past 2 days. I'll write about it later if there's anything new.

This is an open thread, all topics welcome.

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Another Complaint About Auto-Play News Videos

It is getting harder to find news sources on just about any topic that don't have intrusive, time-wasting auto-play videos. Lately, more and more major news sites have them. I refuse to link to them, and it takes a ridiculously long amount of time to click through several sources on any topic hoping to find one without a video and popup ads and surveys.

Here's a post I wrote a year ago on how to disable them. But it's still not an ideal solution.

I'd like to start a list of major sites that have the auto-play videos so readers know to avoid clicking on them when they see them elsewhere. I'll update this post with specific sites later tonight, but feel free to name the media sites with them in comments (no links please, I want to avoid giving them traffic.)

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Thursday Open Thread

Hope I got the day right. Here's an open thread, all topics welcome.

Check out the ISIS Tour bus.

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Another Botched Execution: 2 Hours to Die

Joseph Wood was executed in Arizona yesterday. It took two hours to kill him. The execution was not halted, even though he repeatedly gasped and snorted during it.

An Associated Press reporter who witnessed the execution saw Wood start gasping shortly after a sedative and a pain killer were injected into his veins. He gasped more than 600 times over the next hour and 40 minutes.

Most disgusting comment, from a relative of the victim named Richard Brown:

Why didn't we give him Drano?

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Silva, Silva and Tsarnaev: A Confusing Story

Yesterday the feds arrested Stephen Silva of Cambridge, MA for heroin dealing and possession of a firearm with a partially obliterated serial number. Leaks from law enforcement claimed the gun is the one used to kill a Cambridge police officer days after the Boston Marathon bombings.

In June, the Judge in Dzhokhar Tsarnaev's case said he was very concerned about leaks but declined to issue a gag order. He should be more concerned now. As should the judge in Silva's case, since Silva isn't charged with anything related to the bombing, the Tsarnaev's or the officer's shooting.

He was charged with unlawful possession of a gun that had an altered or obliterated serial number. That police say it's the same gun that killed the officer says nothing about how the Tsarnaev's got it. Silva could have given it any number of people who might have given it to the Tsarnaevs. who ended up giving it to the Tsarnaevs. Maybe someone paid a drug debt with the gun and not being into guns, sold it the next day, and the person he sold it too sold it to Tsarnaev.

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U.S. Judge Approves Search Warrant for Entire Gmail Account

U.S. Magistrate Court Judge Gabriel Gorenstein in the Southern District of New York has approved a search warrant request for the entire contents of an unnamed person's Gmail account, with no restrictions. Federal prosecutors requested the warrant in a money laundering investigation.

The decision is contrary to earlier rulings by Magistrate Judges in Kansas and Washington, DC. I have uploaded the opinion here. [More...]

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