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Glenn Greenwald's New Journalism Venture

Say hello to The Intercept, Glenn Greenwald's new journalism website, published by First Look Media and funded by EBay founder Pierre Omidyar.

While announcing the formation of First Look in October, Omidyar said he is contributing $250 million to pursue independent journalism, and tapped Greenwald to lead editorial operations.

One of today's two articles is about the NSA's role in the targeted assassination program.

The list of authors and staff is impressive -- it includes Marcy Wheeler (Empty Wheel) as Senior Policy Analyst, and Peter Maass, and Dan Froomkin as senior writers. Reporters include Ryan Gallagher, Ryan Devereaux, and Murtaza Hussain.

I hope they are a great success. We need more independent journalism ventures like this.

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Funeral Today for Philip Seymour Hoffman

Philip Seymour Hoffman's funeral was today.

According to NYC police chief Bill Bratton, his death is not a criminal investigation.

Police Commissioner Bill Bratton said the search for the dealer who sold Hoffman the lethal dose was continuing — although he noted it was not a criminal investigation.

“We’re dealing with a death,” Bratton said Friday. “It is, I would emphasize, not a narcotics investigation ... but rather the investigation of a death.”

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Philip Seymour Hoffman: Autopsy Results Inconclusive

The autopsy results of Philip Seymour Hoffman are inconclusive. Authorities say further tests are needed to determine the cause of death.

My translation: He had multiple substances in his system and they can't say for sure whether any specific substance or combination caused his death.

The four people arrested last night have been charged with misdemeanor or felony drug possession. While one, a musician, knew Hoffman, it's not at all clear he was the source of Hoffman's heroin. The drugs seized during the search of their apartments did not have the markings found on the bags at Hoffman's apartment. Also, the heroin found at Hoffman's house did not contain Fentanyl.

The stepdaughter of arrestee Robert Vineberg, a jazz musician, said he hadn't seen Hoffman since November.

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R.I.P. Philip Seymour Hoffman

Actor Philip Seymour Hoffman has died of a drug overdose. His personal assistant found him on the bathroom floor of a Manhattan apartment he had recently rented with a needle still in his arm. There was heroin nearby.

Hoffman had been struggling with drug issues since 2012, after being clean for more than 20 years. He last went through rehab in 2013.

Hoffman and his longtime partner, Mimi O'Donnell, had three children. He was nominated for an Oscar four times, and won Best Actor for "Capote." He had several current film projects on tap. [More...]

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The Grammys

The Grammys are tonight, but most of the awards are given out this afternoon. You can watch live here.

The Red Carpet begins at 3pm ET.

The full nominee list is here. Some of the major categories for tonight:[More...]

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Spanish Programming and Subtitle Purgatory

The new TV season is beginning. Last night, I got bored during Downton Abbey and was not impressed with The Good Wife. They both seemed sluggish and a bit dull. Tonight, The Bachelor begins a new season, which of course I'll watch, but it will be the same old formula (although the Bachelor this year is from Venezuela and a native Spanish speaker.)

I think know why these shows, which I used to really like, now seem plodding and predictable to me: For the past few months, I've been watching Teleseries produced in Colombia, including La Reina Del Sur and Pablo Escobar: El Patron del Mal, and they just rock. They are like the Sopranos on speed. Only Breaking Bad and the first season of Homeland come close in terms of capturing your attention and holding it.

But here's the problem and why I'm writing about this. Other than these two shows, which were available with English subtitles when I watched them on MUN2-TV, since I can't understand Spanish when spoken rapidly, I have no way to watch other shows like El Capo, El Cartel de Sapos (Snitch Cartel), Alias al Mexicano and Los Tres Caines. None of the networks airing these other shows provide English subtitles or even English closed captioning.

These shows aren't all fictional. From the cartels to FARC and the right-wing paramilitary death squads, to the militarization of law enforcement, corrupt cops and the global reach of the DEA, many are educational as well as entertaining. [More...]

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Most Interesting Crime Stories of 2013

Time to recount the year's top crime stories: In no particular order, here's my list:

1. Colorado and legal recreational marijuana
2. Edward Snowden and NSA Phone Records
3. Guantanamo Hunger Strikes
4. Dzhokhar Tsarnaev and the Boston Marathon Bombing
5. The George Zimmerman trial
6. DOJ and Kim Dotcom
7. DOJ and Aaron Swartz
8. Mexico's Release of Rafael Caro-Quintero
9. Adam Lanza (and efforts to enact new gun control laws)
10. Oscar Pistorius

Feel free to add your own own, but please keep them related to crime and civil liberties.

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RIP Lou Reed

Sad news. Lou Reed has died of liver disease at age 71.

I remember him more from the days of the Velvet Underground than his later solo work. In addition to Heroin("I don't know just where I'm going, But I'm goin' to try for the kingdom if I can") I still listen to "Sweet Jane" and "I'm Just Waiting for the Man."

R.I.P. Lou Reed.

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Breaking Bad: "Guess I Got What I Deserved"

Stop reading now if you haven't seen the finale.

What a great finale. No loose ends. [More...]

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Sunday Night Open Thread

Who is the rabid dog, Jesse or Hank?

Here's an open thread, all topics welcome.

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The Reporter Behind the Shellie Zimmerman Interview

Christi O'Connor, the reporter who conducted the ABC Shellie Zimmerman interview, does not work for ABC. She is a freelance investigative journalist.

She says she is writing a book about the trial. I don't recall her reporting on the case prior to now, and with the exception of a reference to her in a video clip on CNN the night on July 13, Lexis.com has no record of articles or media transcripts with her about the case.

She says her book will reveal new information that could have resulted in a different verdict. Here's what she is peddling: A story about a white Sanford police officer's alleged misconduct in tasering an African American male which she is self-publishing on her weblog. On her blog, she writes: [More...]

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Saturday Open Thread

Thinking good thoughts for Linda Ronstadt, who in an interview with AARP this week, says she can no longer sing due to Parkinson's Disease.

Picking just one of her songs is so difficult. Other favorites: Love is a Rose, Desperado, Poor Poor Pitiful Me, Tumbling Dice, Silver Threads and Golden Needles, Love Has no Pride, When Will I Be Loved, and on and on.

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Anti- Anti-

Atrios writes:

[I]t's not that I think everyone to "the left" of me is a posing emo-prog and everyone to "the right" of me is a posing o-bot. There are people genuinely to the left and to the right of me on policy, people who have different ideas about what our goals should be and how best to achieve those goals. And, you know, these people rarely piss me off. People disagree about stuff. People have different priorities. But there are also people who seem to enjoy judging your worth by how righteously you dislike or like the Obama administration. It's annoying.

When you write about politics, team jerseys are alwys a factor for everybody I think. The question is is it the only factor? Or the biggest factor?

I try to make it as small a factor as I can, but there is always the "big political picture" (GOP really sucks) right? And sometimes I get too caught up in it.

Speaking for me only

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Monday Night TV: Bachelorette Finale

It's been billed as the most dramatic, unexpected ending of the Bachelorette ever. Will Desiree take Brooks back or end up alone? Or pick one of the remaining two?

[Deleted: My inaccurate predictions.]

There will be a ring and a dress -- Neil Lane and Randi Rahm have already been paid and need the promotion. [More...]

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R.I.P. Helen Thomas

Journalist Helen Thomas has died at age 92 after a long illness. She was the longest-serving White House journalist and the first female president of the White House Correspondents' Association and Washington's Gridiron Club.

She was a trailblazer, and fearless in her reporting, but as NPR says:

Had she stepped away after the first six decades of her career, she would have been hailed simply as one of the most famous White House reporters in modern times.


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