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Thursday Open Thread

I've been an absent blogger this month. I have been busy at work, not too interested in domestic news, and planning my first international trip since 2008 - well before COVID.

With the whole world my oyster, where did I pick? Istanbul for a week in September. In another post I'll explain why, but I'm ticketed, I have my pre-TSA pass and I am very excited about it.(Also, some friends of mine have provided me their condo to stay at on the Asian side, which is the side I want to stay at).

Has anyone seen the plans for "The Line", (the vertical glass city Saudi Arabia thinks will be the future of the world in 2030? It is 180 degrees
from what Istanbul, London, New York, Shanghai and other large cities offer. I find the homogeneity of the planned city dwellings depressing. Actually, I think the whole concept is depressing, even the mountains they are building.

This is an open thread, all topics welcome.

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Joe Biden: Too Old to Run?

The New York Times reports Joe Biden wants to run for President again in 2024 but polls show Democrats don't like the idea.

I thought he was too old when he ran in 2020. He'll be ancient in 2024. Can he even make it to 2028 when his term ends?

Maybe if he was an inspiring, engaging, full of life leader who fostered a heightened sense of patriotism in us, I would care a little bit. But he isn't and I don't care for him or his politics or his leadership, so I hope he does the right thing for the country and gracefully exits.

Why have the Democrats avoided having a discussion about Biden's replacement candidate for so long? Republicans like Ditsy Doozy Donald Trump (and his offspring) are chomping at the bit to get back that desk in the oval office so they can make some more millions playing monopoloy with real estate deals from Saudi Arabia to South Florida - and look for new loopholes to avoid paying their fair share of taxes.

Can't anyone think of a Democrat who would be good for progressive issues and under the age of 80? If not, maybe my write-in candidate will be Mick Jagger. (Yes, I know he can't be President because he's a British citizen but at least he acts alive and can stay up past 9:00 at night.)

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Fourth of July Open Thread

Three weeks ago, the Stones had to postpone their show in Amsterdam because Mick, at 78, tested positive for COVID-19. Here he is today, three weeks later, dancing and prancing at Hyde Park.

I'll have what Mick's having. [More...]

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Saturday Night Open Thread

Happy 80th Birthday to Paul McCartney. He gave a concert last week at New Jersey's Metro Life stadium and who showed up to lead the audience in singing Happy Birthday? Jon Bon Jovi.

He also brought out Bruce Springsteen and they sang Glory Days.

Tonight (U.K. Time) Paul is headlining at Glastonbury. He's the oldest performer ever to headline the show. He's already brought out Dave Grohl (they sang "And I Saw Her Standing There") and Bruce Springsteen. And he performed a tribute to the Rolling Stones. Here is the full schedule and information on how to watch live.

I'll be back later this weekend with my thoughts on yesterday's Supreme Court decision overturning Roe v Wade, and a post on Ghislaine Maxwell's imminent sentencing and the absurd amount of time the Government has asked the Court to impose on her, and the battle over whether women not involved in the case or the charges she was convicted of have standing to speak at her sentencing.

This is an open thread, all topics welcome.

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Roe v. Wade Decision Fallout

During Olivia Rodrigo's set today at the Glastonbury Music Festival, she brought out Lily Allen. Olivia denounced yesterday's Supreme Court decision overturning Roe v. Wade which she tells the crowd will put the lives of so many women at risk because they won't be able to get a safe abortion.

Olivia dedicates the next song to the five Supreme Court Justices who voted to overturn Roe. She calls out their names individually and says,"We hate you". The crowd cheers. Lily Allen repeats "We hate you" and Olivia and Lily launch into a 2009 song by Lily called "F*ck You". The crowd gleefully joins in the refrain.

Here is a version of Lily singing the song accompanied by the lyrics. (In 2014, she performed the song dedicating it to Donald Trump. She also has performed it before at Glastonbury.) Here's an account of their performance today in the Guardian.

I'm still writing my thoughts on the court's decision, it will be up soon. In the meantime, here's a place to discuss the decision.

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Jan. 6 Hearings: Trump's Rejected Scheme involving Mike Pence

The Jan. 6 hearings continue today. It will be in four parts and focus on Trump's failed plan to pressure Mike Pence into acting unilaterally to reject state electors and block the vote certification. The committee will try to make the case that Trump's pressure on Pence contributed to the violence at the capitol and put Pence at physical risk.

I hope people watching today's hearing don't forget that while Trump is the villain, there's no reason to make Pence into a victim or hero. Mike Pence is no friend to democracy. At a speech in Arizona on Monday, he called for a return to Trump's immigration policies and completion of Trump's ridiculous border wall. (I wonder if he also said Mexico would pay for it).

We need to keep our eye on the ball -- eviscerating any remaining support Trump has prior to the 2022 midterm elections.

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Dr. Fauci and Mick Jagger Have Covid-19

COVID-19 keeps on barking at us. Dr. Anthony Fauci has tested positive with "mild symptoms." He is 81.

Monday, Mick Jagger was in Amsterdam for a Stones concert. He tested positive for COVID when he arrived at the venue to rehearse, and the concert was postponed until July 7. A concert in Berne, Switzerland was also postponed. He is 78. He's doing better now he says. Here is his 5 year old son, Devereaux, who is staying with Mick (and his mom, Mick's girlfriend Melanie Hamrick) in Amsterdam. Could he be any cuter or look more like Mick?

Best wishes to both Dr. Fauci and Mick Jagger for a speedy recovery.

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Sunday Open Thread: In Other News

The Washington Post this week has two long-form news articles that contain far more detail than any of us need to know. The first is (in my view) a clear example of just how far off the deep end some Americans have jumped. Irrational and uncivilized behavior seems not only to be the norm for these people, but they are teaching and promoting it to their young children, passing the violence off as a "sport."

If it didn't contain the names of American cities, I would have thought the article was referring to Brazil, El Salvador, or Indonesia. This is no sport -- it's savagery. It's the kind of violence you would expect from caged animals. Only it's children who are in the cages.

The parents who not only endorse, but pay for their kids to engage in this violence, and who attend and cheer on their kids, don't deserve to raise kids. Maybe we could ship them all to El Salvador to live for a year, after which authorities check in with them and see if the kids still think that beating the sh*t out of another kid is cool, and if the parents are still cheering when watching their kid get their as* kicked by a gang member with no training. [More...]

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Johnny Depp Finally Clears His Name

(Not yet proofed for spelling and grammer, but I promised this post and here it is. I'll correct later tonight).

Last week, actor and musician Johnny Depp finally won his 6 year battle to clear his name of accusations that he physically abused his ex-wife Amber Heard during their relatively brief but very toxic marriage. You can watch the court deliver the verdict here.

Here is Johnny's post-verdict statement of gratitude, issued by his publicist as he remains in Europe touring with Jeff Beck at performances where he is treated by fans to standing ovations.

The jury gave Johnny a home run on all three statements he claimed were false, defaming and made with malice. For each statement, the jury had to answer 6 questions. [More...]

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Thursday Night Open Thread

Our last open thread is full. Here is a new one.

Thanks to all of you who have pointed out "site violator" comments. I am working to delete them. When I delete them, I also deleted the comment referring to them, to maintain the flow of the overall thread of comments, if that makes sense. But I do count on readers to point them out, soe please keep doing so.

I am working on a post about the Johnny Depp trial and verdict which should be up sometime tonight. Shorter version: I'm very happy for Depp, as having watched hours and hours of the trial testimony, I didn't believe Heard at all. I hope he will be able to get movie roles again. I'm not a fan of his music, but I love his movies.

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Tulsa Shooter Targeted his Surgeon Over Excessive Pain

I'm normally not inclined to write about mass shootings, unless there's a twist I'm interested in.

Tulsa interests me. The shooter had a back operation as a result of which he allegedly suffered pain, which despite numerous calls to his surgeon's office, was not adequately addressed.

I don't know if indadequately addressed pain was the direct cause of the shootings. But I am aware that the amount of opiate pain meds a doctor can administer is now determined by the DEA, and other federal and state agencies, not a person's physician.

Pharmaceutically-made pain pills are now too hard to get. This leads people buy black market pills on the street, and unbeknownst to them, even though they ask for "oxys" or "blues" and the pills they receive are stamped with the manufacturer's name and the dosage, the pills are not pharmacutically made but made in some clandestine labatory in by Mexico by the cartels, who use some fentanyl powder they get from China. The lab workers throw in some acetominaphen (mostly in Western states) or mix some heroin or other drug with the fentanyl powder (mostly in Eastern states according to the DEA) and then use a pill press to turn it into pills and ship them to the U.S. where unsuspecting consumers have died after ingesting the synthetically made non-pharmaceutical substance.

[More...]

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Biden Addresses Nation on Gun Control

I'm a little late, and it's a little early for a national speech, but Joe Biden is addressing the nation on gun control. You can watch here.

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Friday Night Open Thread

A major snow storm on May 20? We've got one here. From the National Weather Service:

URGENT - WINTER WEATHER MESSAGE National Weather Service Denver CO
650 PM MDT Fri May 20 2022

...LATE SPRING STORM TO BRING HEAVY SNOW TO THE MOUNTAINS, FOOTHILLS, AND FRONT RANGE URBAN CORRIDOR...

Heavy snow will continue to spread south across the mountains and foothills this afternoon and early evening. The heavy snow will accumulate on trees, causing some tree limbs to break and produce scattered power outages. Do not park under trees and avoid walking under snow laden trees.

....Consider altering your travel plans. Heavy snowfall is expected to make travel very difficult to impossible.

The snow has been coming down fast and furious since 1:00 p.m. At least it isn't sticking near Downtown yet. Although it will soon turn to sleet, and that's bad for driving.

I hope the weather is more cooperative in your neck of the woods.

This is an open thread, all topics welcome.

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Monday Open Thread

It's too bad we can't send him back to New Jersey.

I can't think of any Supreme Court Justice that TalkLeft argued against more at the time of his nomination. All to no avail. And now, we pay the price. And the price of the losing the 2016 election to the albatross who still wants to hang around our necks (who gave us two more conservative Justices).

Here's a post about Alito's Roe v. Wade comments during his confirmation hearing. And People for the American Way's 155-page report on his Judicial Philosophy written at the time of his confirmation hearings.

This is an open thread, all topics welcome.

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New Details of Torture of CIA Detainee in Black Site Prisons


Never forgive, never forget. The media barely mentions the U.S. prison at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba or its detainees anymore, some of whom have been held for 20 years without trial. But the facility remains open at an exorbitant cost ($13 million per year per detainee as of 2019 -- 40 detainees remained at that time) and pretrial hearings for many of these remaining detainees are ongoing.

Earlier this week, Carole Rosenberg of the New York Times, who has dedicated the last 20 years of her career to covering Gitmo, reported on a hearing at Gitmo at which James E. Mitchell, "the psychologist who helped develop the C.I.A.’s torture program", testified as to the "approved and unapproved interrogation techniques (aka torture) he personally participated in and witnessed of Abd al-Rahim al-Nashiri, who will be facing a death penalty trial sometime this century for the 2000 attack on the U.S.S. Cole near Yemen that killed 17 U.S. sailors.

Maybe water-boarding is considered too ho-hum to report on these days, but Dr. Mitchell's testimony regarding forced anal feedings; forcing naked detainees into a small crate box (image here) like a dog; using a stiff bristle brush to scrape the detainees an*s and then put it in his face and mouth, and other disgusting treatments are not.

We should all make it a point not to forget the atrocities that have occurred in our name at the behest of some of the most heinous politicians in U.S. history. Dick Cheney, are you listening?

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