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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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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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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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Here is a new open thread. All topics welcome.
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Our last one is full, here's a new open thread all topics welcome.
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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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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, 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.
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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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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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As America celebrates Freedom and Independence today, here are some thoughts on what they mean.
Happy Fourth of July, everyone. I hope you all have a great day planned. When you return, please tell us about it.
This is an open thread, all topics welcome.
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The supreme court holds that under the plain language of section 24-34-402.5, 13 C.R.S. (2014), Colorado’s “lawful activities statute,” the term “lawful” refers only to those activities that are lawful under both state and federal law. Therefore, employees who engage in an activity such as medical marijuana use that is permitted by state law 16 but unlawful under federal law are not protected by the statute. We therefore affirm the court of appeals’ opinion.
Brandon Coats, a quadriplegic and medical marijuana user who was fired from his job as a telephone operator at Dish Network for using marijuana in his off-job hours. [More...]
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Three jurors were dismissed today from the Aurora Theater shooting trial of James Holmes. One juror (juror 872) had told other jurors about media accounts of a mistrial request that had been denied. On another occasion she told them about information she received from her husband that one of the lawyers in the case (who was chief prosecutor George Brauchler) got in trouble with the court for tweeting about the case from the courtroom. Her husband told her that @GeorgeBrauchler had tweeted about the trial from the courtroom and he called him an "idiot." On one occasion, she had her husband on speakerphone in the presence of up to four other jurors.
The judge said, "This isn't' a one word type of thing. These were multiple comments."
There are four women jurors who hang out together on breaks on the patio where they can smoke cigarettes. The fifth juror sometimes went out to the patio. [More...]
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Bill Clinton makes it official in an interview with Christine Amanpour: The 1994 Violent Crime Control and Law Enforcement Act went too far and locked up too many people.
"The problem is the way it was written and implemented. We have too wide a net. We have too many people in prison. And we wound up spending - putting so many people in prison that there wasn’t enough money left to educate them, train them for new jobs and increase the chances when they came out that they could live productive lives," he said, according to a CNN transcript of the interview.
He approves of Hillary's recent commitment to back off from that stance. [More...]
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Arapahoe County District Attorney George Brauchler is giving the opening statement for the prosecution in the trial of James Holmes. It's being televised on Channel 7 in Denver (thankfully no commentary so far.) Above is the streaming version from Fox News, also no commentary so far.
Why is the elected District Attorney trying this case personally? My guess: This is his stepping stone to a run for Congress or Governor. He is a very fluid speaker, he's got a powerpoint going but he's not using notes. His speech is free of "ums" and "ahs," and his tone is modulated and conversational. I didn't see the beginning so I can't tell what his theme is. He doesn't use trilogies to continually bring it home. Instead, he's doing a chronological presentation. [More...]
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