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R.I.P. Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg

U.S. Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg passed away today from complications of pancreatic cancer.

Ginsburg had experienced a series of health issues. In July she disclosed she had a recurrence of cancer after bouts with pancreatic cancer in 2019 and 2009. She also survived bouts with lung cancer in 2018 and colon cancer in 1999.

Tonight is the beginning of Rosh Hashanah, the Jewish New Year. According to Jewish wisdom (called Midrash), a person who dies on Rosh Hashanah is a tzaddik, a person of great righteousness and justice.

when a tzaddik departs, then the "glory (hod), splendor (ziv), and beauty (hadar)" that infuse his being accompany him as he moves on. There is a profound feeling of gratitude for the gifts the tzaddik bestowed upon the community while he was present. At the same time, there is an unavoidable and genuine sense of loss that marks his departure.

The politics of replacement have already begun. But for today, let us all remember she was indeed a Champion of Justice. May she rest in peace.

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Labor Day Weekend Open Thread

The Rolling Stones and Axl Rose of Guns 'N Roses singing "Salt of the Earth." It's my favorite song for Labor Day.

Below is one of my favorite sculptures. It is in downtown Omaha, at the Lewis & Clark landing, along Omaha's Missouri River Walkway. Created by Matthew Placzek, it is the second-largest labor monument in the U.S.. Two-hundred-fifty tons of cement and 39,000 pounds of steel were used in its construction.

Larger version here. If you are ever in downtown Omaha, I highly recommend seeing it up close. The trail that leads to it is right by most of the major downtown hotels.

Enjoy the weekend everyone and if you are going out, please avoid large crowds.

This is an open thread, all topics welcome.

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Cocaine and RNC Are Trending on Twitter

The Talking Heads, Living in Wartime, 1983

This ain't no party, this ain't no disco,
This ain't no fooling around No time for dancing, or lovey dovey, I ain't got time for that now

Could have fooled me. Don, Jr and Kimberly were wound so tight last night, they could have jumped right into the video and given David Byrne and the Talking Heads a run for their money.

When was the last time you saw cocaine trending on Twitter? Answer: Last night, after the RNC aired the pre-taped speeches of Donald Trump Jr. and his girlfriend, Trump National Finance Committee chair Kimberly Guilfoyle (formerly Kimberly Guilfoyle Newsome, a San Francisco prosecutor, wife of Gavin Newsome and more recently Fox News legal analyst),. I didn't watch but the comments and reactions on Twitter are hilarious -- many are laugh out loud funny.

Kimberly shrieked out her speech to the empty hall at the top of her lung. Even Republicans were asking why she was hollering at them. And dozens or hundreds of people commented that Trump Jr.'s eyes and demeanor looked like he had snorted too much cocaine in before they took the stage. Both of their speeches were pretaped, and one does wonder, where were the editors and monitors? Why didn't they step in?

Check out this twitter feed of Brian Tyler Cohen. I had never heard of him before, but there's a blue check mark next to his name which means he is who he says he is -- a political host on You Tube and the former managing editor of Occupy Democrats. Here are three of his tweets with a lot of funny comments posted in response: [More...]

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KellyAnne and George Take a Break to Parent

KellyAnne Conway is leaving her job working for Donald Trump to attend to her children, one of whom announced on TikTok this weekend that she would be seeking early emancipation. The daughter cannot stand that her mother works for Donald Trump. But she says her father, for different reasons, is no better. Her father, George Conway, announced he will be stepping down from the Lincoln Project and from Twitter. [More...]

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Steve Bannon and Others Charged In Border Wall Funding Scheme

Steve Bannon, Brian Kolfage, an Iraq war vet who happens to be a triple amputee, a man named Timothy Shea from Castle Rock, Colorado and a man named Andrew Badolato have been charged in federal court in Manhattan with fraud offenses and money laundering for a scheme to raise funds for a privately built section of Trump's border wall, during which they collected millions of dollars.

“As alleged, the defendants defrauded hundreds of thousands of donors, capitalizing on their interest in funding a border wall to raise millions of dollars, under the false pretense that all of that money would be spent on construction. While repeatedly assuring donors that Brian Kolfage, the founder and public face of We Build the Wall, would not be paid a cent, the defendants secretly schemed to pass hundreds of thousands of dollars to Kolfage, which he used to fund his lavish lifestyle. ....

“The defendants allegedly engaged in fraud when they misrepresented the true use of donated funds. As alleged, not only did they lie to donors, they schemed to hide their misappropriation of funds by creating sham invoices and accounts to launder donations and cover up their crimes, showing no regard for the law or the truth.

This case should serve as a warning to other fraudsters that no one is above the law, not even a disabled war veteran or a millionaire political strategist.”

The Indictment is here. [More...]

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Obama and Kamala Score Huge

President Obama was terrific for his take-down of Donald Trump.

But Kamala Harris was the star of the night. Her demeanor was impeccable. With her facial expressions, she made us feel like she was talking to each one of us. She was so believable, so self-assured, so happy to be there, so (justly) proud.

Kudos, Kamala. I hope you win.

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Herman Cain Dies of CoronaVirus

Herman Cain got the "Tulsa Virus" two weeks after attending Trump's rally in Tulsa. After a month in the hospital, he has died. RIP, Mr. Cain.

Cain did not wear a mask at the rally. Masks and sanitizers were reportedly available but not mandatory. The article has a photo he posted on his Twitter feed sitting with a group of people, smiling, and none are wearing masks.

Cain was a four time cancer survivor and former contender for the Republican nomination for President.

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Thursday Open Thread

There's Covid, Covid and Covid news, never-ending, always spreading. California has not outpaced New York as the state with the largest number of infections.

Michael Cohen will be going home to be placed on home confinement again. The judge in his ruled the book restriction was retaliation.

Hellerstein in ordering Cohen’s release, said that he found that “the purpose of transferring Mr. Cohen from furlough and home confinement to jail is retaliatory, and it’s retaliatory because of his desire to exercise his First Amendment rights to publish a book and discuss anything about the book or anything else he wants on social media and others.”

This is an open thread, all topics welcome.

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Trump Interview on Coronavirus, Schools and More

Fox News' Chris Wallace interviewed Donald Trump today. Here are the top 4 minutes.

Here's the Washington Post's account of the entire interview

Trump says he is implementing a new health care plan within two weeks, and an immigration plan as the Supreme Court gave him the authorization.

He also would not commit to accepting the election results if Biden won.

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Friday Open Thread

So, who made Joe Biden's "heart go boom" when he saw her standing there? And, will he pick his heart throb for his running mate or will his head take over and make him choose someone else?**

I've taken the week off from blogging. I'm Trump-ed out, Biden-ed out and virus-ed out. The attention being given to the selfish, ignorant segment of the American people who object to wearing masks is just so aggravating. When the respirator shortage comes, can we send them to the back of the line? (yes that's snark).

But on that topic, I really hoped more people would follow guidelines and stop congregating in large numbers without masks so states will not have to implement their Crisis Standards of Care guidelines, which determine whose life is most worth saving, when due to a shortage of respirators or other equipment or medicine, you can't save them all. Reading these guidelines may be the most depressing wake-up call of this pandemic yet. [More...]

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Michael Cohen Jailed For Rejecting Terms of Home Confinement

Donald Trump's former lawyer, Michael Cohen, was blindsided today by the U.S. Marshals and taken into custody, to await return to a federal prison.

Cohen was furloughed by the U.S. Bureau of Prison back in May, due to the coronavirus. A furlough is temporary. BOP decides what happens when it's over. Sometimes you go back to prison. Sometimes you go home to serve the remainder of your sentence on home confinement.

BOP decided Cohen could serve the rest of his sentence on home confinement and not return to prison when the furlough was up.

Home confinement has restrictions. The conditions are spelled out in a agreement between you and BOP. Cohen apparently had not yet begun his home confinement because he and BOP had not agreed on the terms.

According to Cohen's lawyer, Cohen and his lawyer went down to the U.S. Marshal's office today to sign the agreement. [More...]

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Supreme Court: Trump Not Immune From DA's Subpoena of Tax Records

The Supreme Court has ruled Trump does not have absolute immunity as to the Manhattan DA's subpoena of 8 years of his tax records. (Opinion here). But, the Court ruled, he still has defenses:

In the case concerning the prosecutors’ subpoena, Chief Justice Roberts wrote that “no citizen, not even the president, is categorically above the common duty to produce evidence when called upon in a criminal proceeding.” He added that Mr. Trump may still raise objections to the scope and relevance of the subpoena.

In a second case (opinion here), the Court refused to order that Trummp's financial records must be turned over to congressional committees investigating Trump. There could be separation of powers issues. [More...]

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Thursday Open Thread

The corona virus keeps breaking records. More than 50,000 cases a day in the U.S.

This is an open thread, all topics welcome.

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9k New Cases Today in Florida

TrumpVirus Update: Florida reached 9,000 new cases today, up from its 5,000 record a few days ago. It has ordered bars to close. Too little, too late, of course, just like Texas.

Unlike Birx who is thanking millenials for getting tested, I have no nice words for them. Faucio agrees they are the culprit, but is too nice to criticize them.

Will the 65 + age group ever be able to safely leave their homes, return to work, go to dinner in outdoor parking lot or hug their grandkids? Looks more and more like the answer is "No". Forever shut-ins. Remember when Trump said, open the schools, let all the teachers, except those over 70, return? That will probably be the new normal for all jobs and professions. Your accountant (plumber, electrician, lawyer, shop owner, chef, etc) is too old to safely be in public? Just hire or patronize a younger one.

In the meantime, MASK UP AMERICA and stay home if you can.

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Mike Pence's Coronavirus Task Force Briefing

Tuned in to hear Mike Pence tell us all to pray.

Dr. Deborah Birk: Praise be due the millenials, who have come out for testing.

"We know know" who is most at risk: the elderly. (We knew that many moons ago.)

"We know who is dying": (We've always known that).

"We know" people on respirators will respond well to steroids.

A slide is playing on the right from NBC reminding us there are 125,0000 deaths.

We are most concerned about states with rising test positives and rising numbers of cases. She names them. [More...]

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