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Accused Planned Parenthood Shooter Found Incompetent

A state psychologist has concluded that Robert Lewis Dear Jr., accused in Colorado's Planned Parenthood shootings, is incompetent to stand trial (unable to assist in his own defense and understand the nature of the charges and consequences.)

Dear faces 179 counts — including eight charges of first- degree murder — for the Nov. 27, 2015, attack at the Colorado Springs clinic. The 57-year-old is accused of killing University of Colorado at Colorado Springs Police Officer Garrett Swasey, Ke'Arre Stewart, 29, and Jennifer Markovsky, 35.

If the Judge agrees, Dear, Jr. will be sent to the State Hospital for treatment to restore his competency. At an earlier hearing, Dear, Jr. announced his guilt.

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The Will of Bernie

Bernie Sanders and his wife Jane seem to think that the Democratic nomination isn't about nominating a Democrat. (scroll down to 7:45 am entry.) They think non-Democrats should be allowed to dictate who the Democratic nominee should be:

In an interview with MSNBC's "Morning Joe" Thursday, Jane Sanders noted that Bernie Sanders won Rhode Island on Tuesday, which was an open primary, allowing independents as well as Democrats to vote for her husband.

"If you close the primary and you only have people who have been in the Democratic Party for years, what you are doing is effectively shutting the door on the millions of people that Bernie has brought in to the political process during this election," she said.

This isn't rocket science. There's a Democratic nominee and a Republican nominee. The Democrats nominate a Democrat and the Republicans nominate a Republican. If an outsider wants to participate, he can run as a third party candidate after being nominated by that party. [More...]

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Donald Trump's Fire

Hillary Clinton today said Donald Trump may start a fire he can't control.

Clinton is also using Trump’s slogan Make America Great Again as a vehicle for her message, which aims to take the high road by preaching political unity.

“You don’t get the chance to make America great by getting rid of everything that made America great,” Clinton said.

A protester in Ohio today crashed a barricade, resulting in the Secret Service intervening. It was a false alarm. Here's Donald taunting the protesters. He finally trashed John Kasich today in his speech and again said the protesters are Bernie Sanders' supporters.

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Hyperventilating Over Trump

The Trump opposition forces are in full swing mode. Now they say his asking rally goers to raise their right hand (as if in a courtroom) and swear to vote for him is an intentional play on the Nazi salute.

Michael Bloomberg has joined the Anti-Trump forces:

"I have known Mr. Trump casually for many years, and we have always been on friendly terms," Bloomberg said in his Monday announcement. "But he has run the most divisive and demagogic presidential campaign I can remember, preying on people’s prejudices and fears. Abraham Lincoln, the father of the Republican Party, appealed to our 'better angels.' Trump appeals to our worst impulses."

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R.I.P. David Bowie

David Bowie has died after a long bout with cancer. He was 69.

My favorite David Bowie song:

R.I.P.

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2015 Was a Miserable Year

Looking back at the news during 2015, it was a year that sucked big-time, around the world.

Here's a few examples, with just a few of the dozens of graphics I used throughout the year. Feel free to add your own events (mine is just a partial list), or disagree. Just stay on topic -- it's a list of bad things that happened in 2015, not a place to debate specifics or rehash evidence. [More...]

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Thursday Open Thread

I'll be gone for several days. Here's an open thread. Hopefully BTD can put up a new one if it gets full.

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Self-Labeled "Warrior for Babies" Declares Guilt, Complains about Toilets

I have had little interest in Planned Parenthood shooting suspect Robert Lewis Dear from the get-go, as it was apparent the main legal issue in his case would be his competency and mental health, while the issue for the media would be gun control.

Today in court Dear declared himself guilty, complained his lawyer (a highly respected, experienced and dedicated public defender who was one of the two main lawyers for Aurora shooter James Holmes) was out to drug him and was conspiring with Planned Parenthood, and called himself a "warrior for babies." Facing 179 criminal counts, he told the judge he wanted more charges, saying more babies had been killed that day by Planned Parenthood.

According to observers in the courtroom, he had about 20 outbursts during the hearing. I thought this one was interesting: [More...]

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Thursday. Open thread

Here is a new open thread. All topics welcome.

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Saturday Open Thread

Our last one is full, here's a new open thread all topics welcome.

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DA Brauchler's Post Verdict Statement on the James Holmes Trial

Live blog: DA George Brauchler begins his press conference with a reading of the names of the 12 victims who died in the Aurora theater shootings.

He refuses to use James Holmes' name, calling him "that guy."

He says even though the verdict didn't go his way, and that his view of justice called for a death sentence, "those jurors did a helluva job."

While he's disappointed in the outcome, he is not disappointed in the process and he still believes in the system. He praises the jurors.

He talks about the work of the police officers and how they prevented many more injuries.[More...]

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James Holmes Sentenced to Life In Prison

The jury did not reach a unanimous death verdict in the trial of James Holmes. He will receive life in prison without parole.

Great work by Colorado Public Defenders Tamara Brady, Daniel King and the rest of the defense team. It was an enormous uphill battle to save his life, and they did it.

Holmes agreed to plead guilty and accept a sentence of life without parole before trial, but Arapahoe County District Attorney George Brauchler would not agree and insisted on a far more costly death penalty trial. The cost of this trial is estimated to be between $5 and $10 million. That money could have better spent elsewhere.

There are only three inmates with death sentences in Colorado. All three were charged and tried by the Arapahoe County DA's office. (Brauchler was not D.A. then.) All three are African-American. The last execution in Colorado was 18 years ago, in 1977 (Gary Davis.) The last death penalty verdict was 6 years ago (Robert Ray.) The death penalty in Colorado has been severely criticized as arbitrarily applied.

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Joe Biden 's One Man Crime Band

Joe Biden, the "Band of One" needs watching. Last night I was reading a speech he gave on the Senate Floor in 1991, in which he claimed Pres. Bush wasn't tough enough on crime and his crime bill was tougher than Bush's. The cite is 137 Cong Rec S 8263.

Leopards don't lose their spots. If he gets elected we'll live in a police state. His major priority is throwing more money at police, DEA, Homeland Security and anyone else with a badge.

Here's some quotes from his speech pushing for his 1991 crime bill over then President Bush's bill. He thought Bush was soft on crime. [More...]

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Defense Rests in James Holmes' Aurora Theater Shooting Trial

The defense has wrapped up its case in the Aurora theater shooting trial of James Homes. The jury will decide whether he was insane at the time of his killing rampage.

After playing jurors a video of the defendant naked and running head-long into a cell wall, and another of him thrashing around in restraints at a hospital, the defense rested.

The prosecution said it would not present any rebuttal case. Attorneys from both sides will make closing arguments on Tuesday

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New Report on Rising Heroin Use and Deaths

The Centers for Disease Control released a report today, "Vital Signs: Demographic and Substance Use Trends Among Heroin Users — United States, 2002–2013." The press release is here.

It finds increased heroin use, particularly among users of pain pills and cocaine, and increased heroin-related deaths.

Predictably, the report calls for more restrictions on pain pills. The U.S. always gets it backwards when it comes to drugs.

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