Tuesday Night Open Thread

President Obama made a surprise trip to Afghanistan on the anniversary of Osama bin Laden's death.

Newt Gingrich is finally giving up his bid to become President.

For those following the Roger Clemons retrial, Andy Pettitte testified today.

New Zealand has a big campaign contribution mess developing, and it involves donations from Kim DotCom.

This is an open thread, all topics welcome.

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    The British Parliament's official report ... (5.00 / 1) (#5)
    by Donald from Hawaii on Tue May 01, 2012 at 10:13:39 PM EST
    ... on the phone hacking scandal at News Corp. has been released, and even most hardened political observers were surprised at its particularly harsh assessment of News Corp. Chair Rupert Murdoch. Why exactly they were surprised, I haven't the faintest idea:

    The Guardian | May 1, 2012
    Rupert Murdoch deemed 'not a fit person' to run international company - "Rupert Murdoch's media conglomerate conceded that MPs had fastened on 'hard truths' in a parliamentary report into the phone-hacking scandal that also concluded he was 'not a fit person' to exercise stewardship of a major international company. A chastened News Corporation accepted that the culture, media and sport select committee was right to highlight 'serious wrongdoing at the News of the World' and that its response to hacking allegations was 'slow and too defensive'. It also accepted the committee's verdict that former employees misled parliament, including the former editor of the News of the World. But Murdoch's company adopted a more defensive tone in responding to the MPs' hostile description of its 81-year-old patriarch, noting that it considered the verdict 'unjustified and highly partisan' because it was only agreed following a vote that saw five Labour MPs and the sole Liberal Democrat, Adrian Sanders, outvoting a Conservative bloc."

    The link to Parliament's report is HERE. The damning language on Murdoch is found on page 75 of the report, Item No. 229, which reads as follows:

    "On the basis of the facts and evidence before the Committee, we conclude that, if at all relevant times Rupert Murdoch did not take steps to become fully informed about phone-hacking, he turned a blind eye and exhibited wilful blindness to what was going on in his companies and publications. This culture, we consider, permeated from the top throughout the organisation and speaks volumes about the lack of effective corporate governance at News Corporation and News International. We conclude,therefore, that Rupert Murdoch is not a fit person to exercise the stewardship of a major international company."

    Delicious and (5.00 / 1) (#7)
    by gyrfalcon on Tue May 01, 2012 at 11:27:15 PM EST
    richly deserved-- finally.

    Don't know if you saw it, but PBS's Frontline had a terrific program on this a few weeks ago, with details I hadn't heard before and a whole cast of British characters who got dragged into it.

    Turns out what blew this wide open initially was a local football (soccer) player who'd been slimed in a Murdoch paper, and his attorney, a provincial lawyer with MS, no less, got an offer from the Murdoch Empire to settled the suit for an astronomical sum of money, way more than usual for this sort of thing, which prompted him to pursue the issue.

    It's really an incredible story what they'd been getting away with for so long.

    Couldn't happen to a nicer guy, even if he is now an old man.


    Maybe Murdoch should have read (5.00 / 1) (#8)
    by Zorba on Wed May 02, 2012 at 07:11:02 AM EST
    his Rudyard Kipling, who said: "the sin they do by two and two they must pay for one by one" (from Kipling's Tomlinson)

    And today.... (5.00 / 1) (#12)
    by bmaz on Wed May 02, 2012 at 10:13:21 AM EST
    Andy Pettitte gutted his own testimony, and the prosecution's main purpose in calling him, in the Clemens trial:

    "I could have" misheard Roger Clemens tell me he used human growth hormone."

    Exactly what Clemens stated all along.

    thanks, just read your comment (none / 0) (#14)
    by Jeralyn on Wed May 02, 2012 at 11:07:42 AM EST
    and did a new post on Clemens about this.

    Romney's comment about how students who (5.00 / 2) (#13)
    by Farmboy on Wed May 02, 2012 at 10:59:25 AM EST
    need money for tuition should just let their parents take care of it reminds me of Barbara Bush's comment about how well things are working out for the Katrina victims.

    The privileged literally can't wrap their heads around why the working class doesn't buy nicer stuff, or live in nicer houses, or have their broker endow a chair so their kids can get into college. After all, that's what they and their friends do, and look how well things are working out for them.

    the whole quote, fwiw: (5.00 / 0) (#15)
    by sarcastic unnamed one on Wed May 02, 2012 at 12:28:08 PM EST
    "We've always encouraged young people: Take a shot, go for it. Take a risk, get the education, borrow money if you have to from your parents, start a business," Romney said.

    Yep (5.00 / 0) (#17)
    by sj on Wed May 02, 2012 at 12:51:37 PM EST
    Definitely just as clueless as Barbara Bush.

    Mom, Dad, I need $10 million to start my (5.00 / 1) (#18)
    by Farmboy on Wed May 02, 2012 at 01:56:34 PM EST
    investment banking firm. - Tagg Romney

    Sounds like a great idea, Son. Here you go. Let us know if you need more. - Mitt & Ann Romney

    Honestly, I don't know why I didn't think of "going for it" like that. Seems obvious in retrospect...


    Dale Oen, Norway's premier swimmer, (none / 0) (#1)
    by sarcastic unnamed one on Tue May 01, 2012 at 08:29:26 PM EST
    died of cardiac arrest today.

    He won silver at the 2008 Olympics and Gold at last year's world champs. He won Gold just 3 days after Norway lost 77 people in their Columbine-esque tragedy.

    26 y/o.

    I can't imagine how his family and country feel.

    Now, the cynic in me, I await the autopsy results and hope and pray that he had some naturally occurring heart defect.

    This is a couple of weeks old (none / 0) (#2)
    by ding7777 on Tue May 01, 2012 at 09:34:58 PM EST
    A step in the (none / 0) (#16)
    by sj on Wed May 02, 2012 at 12:49:23 PM EST
    right direction, I think.  Thanks for reposting a link.

    On the DNA post (none / 0) (#3)
    by SuzieTampa on Tue May 01, 2012 at 09:35:34 PM EST
    Angel brought up the Michael Morton case handled by the Innocence Project.

    I wanted to reply, but I didn't want my comment deleted for being off-topic. So ... I'm putting it here in case anyone else finds it interesting. Of course, the IP is making an argument, not trying to show both sides. If you want both sides, you may want to start with this article by a local newspaper.

    It certainly sounds like the prosecution made mistakes. But I can understand why charges were brought in the first place. A medical examiner (I think that was his title) went back and forth, but concluded that Christine Morton had been killed before her husband said he went to work. It helped that the Mortons had eaten at a restaurant, and so, investigators knew when and what she had eaten.

    Christine's family and friends told investigators that they suspected her husband, who they said was controlling and kept fighting with her because she wouldn't acquiesce to sex with him as much as he wanted. He had left a note to her, complaining that she had not had sex with him the night before, on his birthday. He later said that he was upset, but not angry.  

    The police reported that a sheriff's deputy searched a nearby construction site on the day of the murder and found only an old bandanna, but it had no blood on it.

    The next day, the victim's brother came to investigators with a baggie containing a bloody bandanna that he said he found at the construction site. There was no DNA testing then, and certainly no unbroken chain of custody. Attorneys argued over its admissibility, and the attorneys for Michael Morton -- well-respected Austin defense lawyers -- said they would try to verify its authenticity, but it was not brought up in trial.

    Recent DNA testing of the bandanna was what exonerated Morton.

    Here's what else the Innocence Project mentions: The victim's mother told an investigator what her 3-year-old grandchild told her -- that the man with her mother was a monster, presumably not "Daddy." But 3-year-olds weren't (and perhaps still aren't) considered reliable witnesses. Murderers sometimes wear masks or other things to hide their identity. Plus, the father had had sole custody for several weeks.  

    I won't go on ... unless someone is interested. I also realize this is a defense blog.

    I know this case since I live in the vicinity and (none / 0) (#4)
    by Angel on Tue May 01, 2012 at 09:51:49 PM EST
    followed it when it happened and through the years on appeal.  There is way more to the story than what you're presenting with regard to some of the things that were not brought up at the trial.  It's too long a story to tell, but I honestly believe that Michael Morton was railroaded.  There were attempts to have the bandana tested for years and the DA's office fought that battle fiercely.  This is a tragedy because the people that put him in jail refused attempts at his exoneration when they knew for a fact they had the wrong man.

    I linked to a long 3-part series (none / 0) (#6)
    by SuzieTampa on Tue May 01, 2012 at 11:16:30 PM EST
    on the case, for those who want more. I think the series is actually skewed toward Morton, but at least tries to be fair.

    It's certainly a bad coincidence that Morton left a note about their fights over sex only to have his wife murdered in a sex crime the same day.


    No coincidence (5.00 / 0) (#10)
    by Rojas on Wed May 02, 2012 at 08:25:07 AM EST
    That John Bradley was involved in this tragic abuse of state power. John petitioned the ledge. for a law to destroy all evidence upon acceptance of a plea. His infamous role on the Texas Forensic Science commission and the Cameron Todd Willingham case was another abuse of power. It ended when the ledge rufused to confirm him. John is a real special piece of work.

    I'd also say its no coincidence that the prosecutor who tried the case was John Bradley's mentor. He was a very imaginitive prosecutor who played hide the ball with the states evidence in the Morton case.

    I'd estimate these people are represenative of the worst trash that seek office. I'm not a religious person but I'd like to think there is a special place in hell for the like of these two.


    I disagree since I have followed this case from (none / 0) (#11)
    by Angel on Wed May 02, 2012 at 08:37:46 AM EST
    the very beginning.  I know how they operate in Williamson County. You'll need to do a whole lot of reading to get all the facts of the case.  I have neither the time nor the inclination to post links here to substantiate my beliefs.  The prosecutors hid evidence and didn't even question the young son, essentially ignored what the victim's own mother told them, didn't turn over all of the detective's notes to the defense, etc., etc., etc.  Michael Morton was innocent of the crime of murder and spent 25 years in prison.  This is a tragedy and a travesty, and it was due to misconduct by the DA's office, in my opinion.  They don't play fair in Williamson County.    

    Apparently (none / 0) (#9)
    by Ga6thDem on Wed May 02, 2012 at 07:46:57 AM EST
    the Clinton/Obama ad about getting rid of Osama has drawn blood from the GOP the way they are screaming.

    John Stewart takes them down in fine style (none / 0) (#21)
    by ruffian on Thu May 03, 2012 at 05:42:39 PM EST
    here. Really good.

    Junior Seau, former NFL linebacker dead at age 43. (none / 0) (#19)
    by caseyOR on Wed May 02, 2012 at 03:27:36 PM EST
    Bruce and the other Band pay (none / 0) (#20)
    by ruffian on Thu May 03, 2012 at 05:40:39 PM EST
    tribute to Levon Helm with this rendition of The Weight last night in Jersey. I love the crowd singalong and the E-street Band joining one by one. I think Levon would approve.