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Good Riddance, Sarah Sanders

Good Riddance to Sarah Sanders who is leaving her job which consists of ensuring Donald Trump's opinions get more media play.

Sanders is nothing but a Trump shill with a bit more spine than some of the others who reportedly were in contention for the job.

I wish her well, I just hope she stays away from politics, as her credibility score calculated on her own acheivements, has got to be less than zero.

I also doubt anyone will remember her name in 3 years (unless she did something bad while serving Trump, and gets added to a future Indictment charging him.

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Colorado Hits $1 Billion in Marijuana Tax Revenue

It took only five years for Colorado to take in $1 billion in tax revenue from legal marijuana.

According to the DOR, the state currently has 2,917 licensed marijuana businesses and 41,076 individuals who are licensed to work in the industry. In a statement announcing the new tax milestone, Governor Jared Polis wanted to make sure that growth continued as more states legalize marijuana for medical and recreational purposes.

I am so glad that Jared Polis is our new governor.

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Bachelorette Hannah: A Hit or Misfire?

Bachelorette Hannah is starting her "journey to find love" and taking us along for the ride.

She has a very annoying southern accent, and has trouble articulating her thoughts. She is so syrupy it's enough to turn me off sugar completely. At first, I wasn't going to watch. But, having seen the previews, it looks like she will be so raw and unfiltered, I'm going to give it a chance. [More...]

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Happy Mothers Day Open Thread

To all our readers who are Moms, we wish you a very Happy Mother's Day. And for those of you who are not, if your mom is still around, be thankful and don't forget to call.

I'm going to be late for my own Mother's Day get-together if I don't hurry up and go offline. I'd hate to miss spending some time with this little one:

This is an open thread, all topics welcome.

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Denver Votes to Legitimize 'Shrooms

Denver is the first city in the U.S. to effectively legitimize psilocybin mushrooms. By a slim 2,000 vote margin, voters yesterday passed Ordinance 301:

A "yes" vote was a vote in favor of making the adult possession and use of psilocybin mushrooms the lowest law enforcement priority in Denver and prohibiting the city from spending resources on enforcing related penalties.

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Happy Passover and Open Thread

Passover begins tonight at sundown. Tomorrow is 4/20. Cochella is streaming live on You Tube this weekend. Sunday is Easter.

Monday night, La Reina del Sur 2 returns on Telemundo, with English subtitles and the terrific Kate del Castillo back in the lead role. It's been 8 years since season 1 and many of the cast members who survived Season 1 are returning. I've been waiting for months for the return, and I'm not going to miss a single minute. [More..]

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Cher: The Icon

Cher was the star guest on the Tonight Show with Jimmy Fallon last night. Towards the end of the show, the three singer-actresses who play her in the Broadway show "Cher" came on with her for a talking segment. After the commercial break, the three actresses were on stage singing "If I Could Turn Back Time." At one minute and 2 seconds in, Cher joined them.

After another commercial, the lead Cher actress was on stage singing "You Got Me Babe" with the Cher show cast member who plays Sonny(he is absolutely adorable.) About 1 minute and 3 seconds into the song, Cher comes out, dressed in an almost identicial outfit as the actress just singing and continues the duet with Sonny.

When Cher belted out the line "I got you to understand", I got chills up and down my arms that stayed for the rest of the song. It was just like watching them in 1965. Her voice remains incredibly strong and she is great physical shape -- even her skin has never looked better. [More...]

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Mick Jagger is OK After Heart Procedure

Mick Jagger has had a heart procedure performed at a New York hospital and is feeling fine. The show will go on, just at later dates, most likely beginning in July.

The procedure is called "transcatheter aortic valve replacement." (Is that a fancy name for a stent?) Billboard reports:

Doctors were able to access Jagger's heart valve through his femoral artery and are now monitoring the Rolling Stones frontman for any complications that could arise from the procedure, including excess bleeding.

Get well, Mick. And please reschedule Denver!

Update: Answer to my question: Yes, it is kind of like a stent.

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Charges Dropped Against Jussie Smollett

Prosecutors in Chicago today dropped all charges against "Empire" actor Jussie Smollett, who had been charged with 16 felonies for allegedly directing a hate crime against himself.

Jussie continues to maintain his innocence. The AP has a curious statement in its article:

It was not immediately clear what prompted the decision to dismiss the case. Typically, a minimum condition of dropping cases is some acceptance of responsibility.

That's obviously wrong. It suggests that cases are never dropped because police make mistakes and the defendant is innocent. Why would a person who has been falsely charged accept responsibility for anything? Shouldn't the police or DA be accepting responsibility for rushing to judgment and filing charges it decides a few weeks later it cannot prove? Innocence may or may not be why Smollet's charges were dropped, but it is a reason many other people's charges are dropped. Not everyone who is arrested and charged is guilty.

There is no statement by the DA's office that they dropped the case because Jussie is innocent. [More...]

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Barr's Letter on Mueller Report: Donnie Can't Read

We knew Donald Trump wasn't the sharpest knife in the drawer, but who knew he can't even read?

Trump claimed today Mueller's report on the Special Counsel's investigation into Russian interference in the 2016 election and obstruction of justice exonerates him. Attorney General Barr's four page letter contains this direct quote from Mueller's report: (link fixed)

The Special Counsel states that "while this report does not conclude that the President committed a crime, it also does not exonerate him."

Either Donnie can't read, or he didn't have the attention span to make it to page three of a four page letter. Take your pick.

[For those of you too young to remember the song, it's "Johnny Can't Read" which was released in 1982.]

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Mueller Delivers Report on Russia to Attorney General

Robert Mueller has turned in his report on Russia. What's in it? No one knows. Attorney General Robert Barr says he will update Congress this weekend.

Since there have been no announcements of new arrests, I assume D.Jr. skated on charges of lying to Congress. As soon as Trump announced it's okay with him if Mueller's report gets released, I figured that would be the anti-climatic ending.

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Trump Requests $100 Million for Ivanka's Project

Donald Trump's 2020 budget includes $100 million for a project created and led by his daughter, Ivanka Trump, named the Women's Global Development and Prosperity Initiative. (I wonder how much they paid for the spiffy website.) It will give $50 million to 50 million women in the developing world.

Do we have a math problem here? How is $1 per woman going to help empower anyone?

What exactly qualifies Ivanka Trump for this position? What does she know about women entrepreneurship in countries where working mothers don't have multiple nannies like she does?

I do not want my tax dollars going to any federally funded position led by a child of Donald Trump. Not a single one of them has been proven to have the experience or skill set to lead anything. It's pure nepotism and like everything Trump, just another branding exercise.

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Manafort Sentencing: 47 Months

Paul Manafort is in the courtroom. He is in a wheelchair. If you are following, let us know what happens. [Added: I returned just as the prosecution was wrapping up its argument. The updates below start with the latest and work backwards.

Update 5:23 p.m: Every prominent sentencing hearing in which the judge grants a downward variance from the advisory sentencing guideline is a good thing in that it will serve as a reminder to every other judge of their ability to do so, and that their job is not to impose a guideline sentence, but one that is sufficient, but not greater than necessary, to comply with the purposes of sentencing]. Chief among these factors is the nature of the offense and "the history and characteristics of the defendant."

Every judge must complete the "Judgment" form after sentencing. Part of that form is called a "Statement of Reasons." It lists a lot of factors and asks the Judge to check off the boxes that apply to their decision to impose a non-guideline sentence (called a variance -- a departure is something different.) When the judge completes and submits the Statement of Reasons, it does so under seal (sometimes available to counsel for the defendant). The form itself is not sealed and available on the U.S. Judiciary website. Here is the page with the non-exhaustive list of reasons a judge might choose to vary from and impose a non-guideline reason.

Update: 5:00 p.m. (MT): Manafort is sentenced to 47 months. Quite a departure from the guidelines, which reportedly were 19 to 24 years (according to the Government and Probation.) As a defense lawyer, I say good for Judge Ellis for so publicly recognizing that the advisory guidelines are just the starting point. Judges may not even presume the guidelines to be reasonable. [More...]

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Tuesday Open Thread

I had jury duty this morning in state court. They want you there by 7:30 a.m. That is really, really early. They don't start sending you to the courtroom till almost 10. There's virtually no parking so I took an Uber. But, I was late, and even though they had just started sending jurors to courtrooms, they said I have to do the whole thing again in two weeks. I don't mind, I just wish it were at 1:00 pm instead of 7:30 a.m.

I've been doing this periodically for decades and I've never been picked. What prosecutor is going to leave a practicing criminal defense lawyer on a jury? But Colorado has no occupational restrictions, so it's mandatory. (With a potential 6 month jail term if you fail to show up.)

This is an open thread, all topics welcome.

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CO Gov Jared Polis Says He'd Sign Bill to Repeal Death Penalty

Colorado Democrats have re-introduced a bill to repeal the state's death penalty law. If it passes, Colorado will be the 21st state to ban the death penalty.

Our new Governor, former Congressman Jared Polis, says he will sign the bill if it passes. (In a Denver Post article, he said he also might then grant clemency to the three men on Colorado's death row, all of whom were prosecuted in Arapahoe County and all of whom are African-American.)

The bill will get its first hearing Wednesday. If you are a Colorado voter, please email your Representative and Senator (find them here)and urge them to pass this bill. You can read the bill here and follow its progress. And send thanks to Gov. Jared Polis.

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