Tuesday Open Thread

I'm off to the jail today. Here's an open thread, all topics welcome.

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    George Zimmerman has waived his right (none / 0) (#1)
    by sarcastic unnamed one on Tue May 08, 2012 at 02:39:54 PM EST
    George Zimmerman has waived his right to a speedy trial, arguing to a Florida court that he needs more time to prepare. The move means it could be October at the earliest -- and likely much later -- before the start of his second-degree murder trial.

    Zimmerman's intentions were outlined in two brief documents that Zimmerman's attorney, Mark O'Mara, filed Tuesday in Seminole County, Fla., circuit court. The actions did not come as a surprise to legal experts, who said such moves are common even in less-complex and lower-profile felony cases.

    Florida's rules of criminal procedure require that suspects charged with a felony be brought to trial within 175 days of their arrest, unless those defendants ask that the right be waived. [...]

    Kenneth B. Nunn, a professor and criminal law expert at the University of Florida, said that prosecutors are likely pleased to have the extra time, given the expert witnesses to line up, police audiotapes to analyze and other details to sort out. Nunn said he wouldn't be surprised if the trial started sometime in the spring of 2013.

    Perhaps (one can only hope) the (5.00 / 1) (#2)
    by oculus on Tue May 08, 2012 at 02:54:46 PM EST
    intense interest in the case will diminish.  

    Which is what Z's team are betting on (5.00 / 1) (#3)
    by Dadler on Tue May 08, 2012 at 03:01:38 PM EST
    In addition to whatever other work they need to do, obviously.  And they are smart to do so.

    As a diversion, I've just read all (none / 0) (#4)
    by oculus on Tue May 08, 2012 at 03:04:19 PM EST
    about the "sex tape."  

    Even just knowing there is one (5.00 / 1) (#15)
    by gyrfalcon on Tue May 08, 2012 at 07:11:17 PM EST
    is already TMI for me!

    Smart imo (5.00 / 1) (#8)
    by Big Tent Democrat on Tue May 08, 2012 at 04:16:46 PM EST
    And frankly, good for the country.

    And stop calling me Frankly! (5.00 / 3) (#9)
    by sarcastic unnamed one on Tue May 08, 2012 at 04:44:30 PM EST
    Surely, you jest (5.00 / 3) (#10)
    by Zorba on Tue May 08, 2012 at 04:47:42 PM EST
    And I know, "Don't call me Shirley."   ;-)

    A Stand Your Ground hearing (none / 0) (#5)
    by KeysDan on Tue May 08, 2012 at 03:22:30 PM EST
    would come before the trial, should Mr. O'Mara take that route for his client.   And, if the judge rules that SYG is not applicable, that can be appealed to the DCA--all with time involved.

    Immunity Hearing as Trial (none / 0) (#24)
    by nomatter0nevermind on Tue May 08, 2012 at 10:08:00 PM EST
    People are used to thinking of a 'hearing' as something shorter and less important than a 'trial'. Because of that and the usual poor media reporting, there is not yet general understanding that the immunity hearing is going to be a trial of the case.

    It will be a bench trial, with the defendant having a preponderance of evidence burden.

    Justification is Zimmerman's only defense, so the immunity hearing will be a trial of the entire case, with all the evidence and witnesses.

    And it will be televised. If I'm not misinformed, the hearing is covered by a Florida law requiring cameras to be permitted in the courtroom.


    O'mara has not decided whether to (none / 0) (#29)
    by ruffian on Wed May 09, 2012 at 06:21:28 AM EST
    request a Stand Your Ground Immunity hearing. You sound as if it is inevitable, when it is not. He can use a normal self defense defense during a regular trial without invoking SYG.

    Not Inevitable (none / 0) (#33)
    by nomatter0nevermind on Wed May 09, 2012 at 06:41:04 AM EST
    Sorry, that was careless wording. It's possible O'Mara will decide against an immunity hearing, though in my opinion very unlikely.

    An acquittal won't confer immunity against civil action, as would prevailing in the immunity hearing.

    He can use a normal self defense defense during a regular trial without invoking SYG.

    I don't see what that has to do with the immunity hearing. The immunity hearing has no particular connection with SYG, except for being a consequence of a different provision in the same legislation.

    OK, maybe I misunderstand part of the law (none / 0) (#37)
    by ruffian on Wed May 09, 2012 at 09:09:43 AM EST
    I think I agree with you - and maybe I said it wrong - there is no point in waiting until the regular trial before claiming SYG. The immunity hearing is the place to do that, since as you say, it has more benefits.

    Is there a down side to having the hearing and being denied immunity? Does that look bad at trial?


    Rolling the Dice (none / 0) (#38)
    by nomatter0nevermind on Wed May 09, 2012 at 09:32:43 AM EST
    If my lawyer told me I had no chance of winning the immunity hearing, I think I would skip it to save the extra money, for the lawyer and the expert witnesses. If there's a even a small chance of winning, I think the gamble would be worth it.

    Losing an immunity hearing, with a preponderance of evidence burden on the defendant, shouldn't prejudice a trial with a reasonable doubt burden on the prosecution. It wouldn't be admissible against the defendant at trial.



    The pre-trial evidentiary hearing (none / 0) (#36)
    by KeysDan on Wed May 09, 2012 at 08:51:53 AM EST
    by the judge is certainly important.

    at issue for SYG: putting Zim on the stand or not (none / 0) (#62)
    by willisnewton on Thu May 10, 2012 at 09:32:09 PM EST
    This is being discussed elsewhere as well, but I have heard it in passing that a SYG hearing would likely put GZ on the stand, whereas a full trial might keep him from having to do so.  


    But a defense lawyer usually waits until the entire prosecution case has been presented to decide if they want their client on the witness stand and open to cross-examination or not.  


    Obama and Pardons (none / 0) (#6)
    by ScottW714 on Tue May 08, 2012 at 03:48:18 PM EST
    President Barack Obama is on track to be one of the least forgiving of presidents in U.S. history...


    No surprise there (5.00 / 1) (#12)
    by sj on Tue May 08, 2012 at 05:35:46 PM EST
    That's in line with the authoritarian streak in his nature.  Or rather, the authoritarian streak that I perceive to be in his nature.

    Apparently 12 of the whopping 23 pardons were given to some one who never even served jail time.


    And Leonard Peltier continues to rot (5.00 / 2) (#13)
    by Dadler on Tue May 08, 2012 at 05:55:00 PM EST
    And non-violent drug offenders continue to rot.  

    And, and, and...

    When will we ever gain wisdom?

    With Peltier alone, if he fails to act, Obama, like Clinton, will have no excuse but cowardice.


    I'm not altogether convinced ... (5.00 / 2) (#14)
    by Donald from Hawaii on Tue May 08, 2012 at 06:53:23 PM EST
    ... that Leonard Peltier is necessarily innocent in the deaths of those two FBI agents on the Pine Ridge Reservation in 1975.

    That said, it was the none-too-subtle level of federal support in the early 1970s for the corrupt political practices of Oglala Sioux Chief Dick Wilson, which led directly to the armed occupation of Wounded Knee on the Pine Ridge Reservation by members of the Lajota Sioux and the American Indian Movement (AIM) from February to May of 1973.

    Given the active federal hostility directed toward members of AIM (of which Peltier was a member) in the aftermath of the Wounded Knee incident, I believe that some Pine Ridge residents could be forgiven for determining that FBI Special Agents Jack R. Coler and Ronald A. Williams represented a provocative and even hostile presence in their midst in June 1975, and that a solid case can be made that Peltier's trial and prosecution were politically motivated.

    Given the subsequent passage of 35 years, I'm not sure if Leonard Peltier could ever receive a fair trial even today. I'd certainly support his release, in the interest of justice, compassion and forgiveness. Clearly, it's time to move on.


    Moving on. (5.00 / 1) (#21)
    by lentinel on Tue May 08, 2012 at 08:25:31 PM EST
    For Obama, when it comes to Bush and Cheney, he's all for moving on.

    For Peltier, not so much.


    Read IN THE SPIRIT OF CRAZY HORSE (none / 0) (#60)
    by Dadler on Thu May 10, 2012 at 10:26:33 AM EST
    And watch the documentary INCIDENT AT OOGALALA.  The book alone, with the FBI tried to shelve for years, makes the case clearly.  In short, if you actually examine the record, there is not a shred of evidence left standing, all of it, every bit, has been debunked and disproved.

    You're not convinced, I am.  So be it.


    Here a link to the documentary (none / 0) (#61)
    by Dadler on Thu May 10, 2012 at 10:30:01 AM EST
    mahalo, donald. Very well put. (none / 0) (#63)
    by willisnewton on Thu May 10, 2012 at 09:55:03 PM EST
    I've read everything and more about AIM, Wounded Knee '73 and Peltier.  

    Pardoning Peltier is tantamount to admitting America is nothing more or less than an empire.  We are either a nation of laws or we are not.  And in the case of the Indians, we are not.  

    When it comes to war crimes like the use of military dogs against prisoners, we are not.  (That one can be traced right into the oval office.) And so it goes.  The entire war in Vietnam was a crime, in my book but certainly major elements were as well, parts that were direct orders from Nixon.  

    Nixon got a pardon "for the good of the nation," yet I always felt it would have been better for the country to put him in prison and prove the law could be administered evenly for all.  

    At the height of the occupation of Wounded Knee, a majority of Americans polled sided with the Indians.  And nobody cared for Nixon by the end.  But look who retired in San Clemente and who sits in prison still.  


    The drill is.. (none / 0) (#40)
    by jondee on Wed May 09, 2012 at 10:40:39 AM EST
    if cops are killed, somebody,anybody HAS to hang for it. It's not a question of if, it's a question of when.

    The cosmic balance which has been upset, has to be restored..

    The Thin Blue Line between order and chaos and all that..


    I think the Drill is... (none / 0) (#56)
    by ScottW714 on Wed May 09, 2012 at 01:42:29 PM EST
    ...democrats are scared of being labeled soft on crime, soft on drugs, or whatever other non-sense they know the right will throw at them for acting like human beings.

    The problem is it's making the party scared to take stands on very important matters of right and wrong.  

    ...or they are just sliding over to the right and they aren't scared of jack, and support authoritarianism and have little regard for justice and equality and empathy.

    And in reality, it doesn't matter why they do it, they are doing it.


    Maurice Sendak died. Post at DK (none / 0) (#7)
    by oculus on Tue May 08, 2012 at 04:11:26 PM EST
    links to two very funny and very frank Colbert interviews.  

    Those Colbert interviews are priceless (none / 0) (#30)
    by ruffian on Wed May 09, 2012 at 06:26:07 AM EST
    So funny. Also Terri Gross on Fresh Air  aired excerpts from some of her old interviews, which are also great. He has a very funny story about people bringing children to his book signings.  Also the last interview, from last fall, was very moving as he discusses saying goodbye to departed friends and says a 'just in case' farewell to Terri. Brought a tear.

    Santorum endorsed Romney. (none / 0) (#11)
    by KeysDan on Tue May 08, 2012 at 04:57:08 PM EST
    "It will require all hands on deck if our nominee is to be victorious. Gov. Romney will be that nominee and he has my endorsement."   Some found his endorsement to be mild, and the fact that it was 'phoned in", with a late night e-mail, curious.    But, not me.  I think that Santorum just was not feeling well, a little nauseous  --Biden made Santorum want to throw up.  

    Ah, another member of the clown parade (5.00 / 1) (#31)
    by ruffian on Wed May 09, 2012 at 06:28:05 AM EST
    of endorsements. I was laughing over the weekend as McCain, Gingrich, and Bachmann turned up on Face the Nation.  Can't think of one reason people should listen to any of these people.

    Wack-a-doodle-doo! (none / 0) (#16)
    by Donald from Hawaii on Tue May 08, 2012 at 07:13:13 PM EST
    Longtime moderate GOP Sen. Richard Lugar has been ousted by a far-right candidate in today's Indiana Senate Republican primary, while Democrats lick their chops at the unanticipated political opportunity his departure presents to them:

    Chicago Tribune | May 8, 2012
    Richard Lugar loss could open Senate seat to Democrats - "One of the Democrats' top Senate campaign strategists said a tea party victory over Republican Sen. Richard G. Lugar in Indiana's primary would present an opening for Democrats to take the seat this fall. The outlook from Sen. Charles E. Schumer (D-N.Y.) reflected the growing enthusiasm among Democrats over Tuesday's vote in Indiana, where Lugar, the veteran GOP senator, is in the fight of his political life against the state's two-term treasurer, Richard Mourdock, a tea party favorite."

    Simply put, RINO's are not going to be given (none / 0) (#17)
    by jimakaPPJ on Tue May 08, 2012 at 07:35:23 PM EST
    a pass.

    How smart that is for the Repubs remains to be seen.

    Strange though, everyone has been telling me that the Tea Party is defunct.

    Say good night, Dick.

    Good night, Dick.

    And the follow up.... What does that say about Obama's chances??


    Against a serial bull$H!+ artist ... (5.00 / 1) (#19)
    by Donald from Hawaii on Tue May 08, 2012 at 08:16:29 PM EST
    I believe in an America where millions of Americans believe in an America that's the America millions of Americans believe in. That's the America I love."
    - Former Gov. Mitt Romney (R-MA), 22 January 2012

    ... like the prospective GOP nominee, I'd say that President Obama's chances are pretty good.


    Two "artists" collide. (5.00 / 2) (#20)
    by lentinel on Tue May 08, 2012 at 08:22:20 PM EST
    The next election in a nutshell;

    In this corner:

    I believe in an America where millions of Americans believe in an America that's the America millions of Americans believe in. That's the America I love.


    In this corner;

    Change we can believe in yes we can we are the ones we've been waiting for we can't wait.

    Sounds a little line Dandy Dan (5.00 / 1) (#22)
    by brodie on Tue May 08, 2012 at 08:48:58 PM EST
    Quayle and that time he went off script talking before the United Negro College Fund as he tried to discuss their motto, A mind is a terrible thing to waste.

    Then after a brief chuckle I am brought up short by the reminder that Danny ran with Herbert Walker and that Poppy and the Knucklehead actually won that 1988 election.

    James Carville today at CNN.com nails it -- Dems need to wake up and stop being complacent about Obama and his alleged certain reelect.  Killing Osama, rescuing GM, running against an opponent with laughable flaws -- none of that will matter if most voters feel insecure about their economic lives.  They will vote to give the other guy a shot.

    I think that's what is going to happen, though if enough Dems are worried about the prospect of Tea Party-infused GOP extremist governance under Romney it need not happen.


    Um, yes, but (5.00 / 1) (#27)
    by gyrfalcon on Tue May 08, 2012 at 11:48:48 PM EST
    you can't seriously compare Dukakis's awful campaign with a sitting president who's one of the better campaigners of either party in recent years.

    I think the caution not to be complacent about this is well taken, but I still think the odds are absolutely in Obama's favor, or not in Romney's.


    Also, people are overlooking the fact (5.00 / 2) (#42)
    by ruffian on Wed May 09, 2012 at 10:49:14 AM EST
    that Romney is a horrible campaigner...maybe not Dukakis level horrible, but close. He can't even win over his own party convincingly. Yes, I know they will still line up behind him, but it is an indication of his abysmal political skills. He is not going to win over anybody new.

    Yeah (5.00 / 1) (#46)
    by Ga6thDem on Wed May 09, 2012 at 11:16:28 AM EST
    Romney's not that great but neither is Obama. Have you seen Obama at those town halls? He's terrible. Neither one of them are able to express one iota of empathy for the suffering that's going on right now in the country.

    Obama has a serious enthusiasm gap right now. Perhaps that can be rectified and perhaps it cannot. It certainly would have been a lot easier with Gingrich or Santorum than its' going to be with Romney.

    Just anecdotal but I have friends who are willing to pull the lever for Romney simply based on the fact that "Obama has had a chance and he didn't do what was needed"

    Basically this election is going to be a race to the bottom with probably depressed turnout which right now I would say favors Romney.

    The fact of the matter is I feel that either way the middle class is not going to win.


    We'll see...i think Romney is a gaff-o-matic (none / 0) (#54)
    by ruffian on Wed May 09, 2012 at 01:11:14 PM EST
    using the definition of gaffe as that he accidentally says what he means.

    All things considered, and I have considered a lot, my money is still on Obama.


    I have no idea (none / 0) (#57)
    by Ga6thDem on Wed May 09, 2012 at 01:59:12 PM EST
    but Obama is going to have to do something to get people motivated to come out and vote for him because voting against Romney just isn't going to cut it from what I've seen so far.

    'win over' as in gain new supporters (none / 0) (#43)
    by ruffian on Wed May 09, 2012 at 10:49:51 AM EST
    not as in 'beat'.

    Obama has to (none / 0) (#58)
    by jbindc on Wed May 09, 2012 at 02:15:12 PM EST
    hold on to the ones he had.  Voter registration is way down among blacks and Hispanics, and the enthusiasm is way down among young voters.

    That kind of "better" campaign (none / 0) (#28)
    by sj on Wed May 09, 2012 at 02:16:47 AM EST
    can only work once.  When you are an unknown.  It's too soon to tell if he can pull off a better campaign when you have a history.

    I don't know, I would bet money on it right now (5.00 / 1) (#32)
    by ruffian on Wed May 09, 2012 at 06:30:23 AM EST
    It won't be the same campaign, but I am fairly sure Obama will win.

    I think a lot of people (none / 0) (#44)
    by CST on Wed May 09, 2012 at 11:03:08 AM EST
    are underestimating Obama's campaigning because they don't like him, and it's not effective at getting them to like him.

    But the thing is, a lot of these same people also weren't won over 4 years ago.  So the idea that he's "lost it" for someone who never thought he "had it" is a bit of a stretch.

    Yes, there was the whole soaring rhetoric, hope for change, etc.... but I think that was really more of a factor in the primary than the general - by then he'd taken a lot more bruisings and was brought down to earth a bit.  In any event, personally I think he can be a very effective campaigner.  But then it worked for me the first time too, and not because I thought he was the Messiah.


    And I think (none / 0) (#47)
    by jbindc on Wed May 09, 2012 at 11:23:09 AM EST
    Romney is being underratted too.  Oh, he won't give sermon-style speeches, but he did win in liberal Massachusetts.  He obviously was able to convince people to come to him - even after a the term of a troubled interim Republican governor and against a Democrat with long standing ties in the state party.  He won by 5 points.

    the "liberal" Massachusetts (5.00 / 1) (#52)
    by CST on Wed May 09, 2012 at 12:46:52 PM EST
    that had a long history of electing GOP governors and almost never elects women to top-level political positions?  And the Dem candidate was hardly the consensus pick.  She won the primary with 33% of the vote which kind of suggests that she wasn't the slam dunk pick you are making her out to be.  Not to mention she came out of said primary pretty much broke.  And he wasn't tarnished by the interum Governor, he came to "save" the party from said interum Governor.

    But sure, he ran a decent enough election campaign 10 years ago.  He's just not running one now.


    Just as (5.00 / 1) (#55)
    by jbindc on Wed May 09, 2012 at 01:38:53 PM EST
    Obama ran a good campaign with "hope and change" in a year when my glass of tea could have run as a Democrat and won.  Unfortunately this time, he actually has to defend a record.

    It's going to be much closer than you think and it would not surprise me at all if he loses. It will all come down to the economy and jobs, and right now, that is not going in Obama's favor.


    Oh I think he'll win as well (none / 0) (#45)
    by sj on Wed May 09, 2012 at 11:14:48 AM EST
    I'm just not convinced that he is a great campaigner.

    Donald, let me help you (none / 0) (#23)
    by jimakaPPJ on Tue May 08, 2012 at 08:56:48 PM EST
    What that says is that the people of this country are very very very upset with what is going on.

    I don't know if Obama will win. And neither do you.


    and if they had a clue (none / 0) (#41)
    by jondee on Wed May 09, 2012 at 10:44:53 AM EST
    as to what was really going on, they'd be even MORE upset..



    It says zippo (none / 0) (#26)
    by gyrfalcon on Tue May 08, 2012 at 11:45:28 PM EST
    as I think you well know.  The extreme right wing of the GOP has always been with us.  Now they're eating their own instead of following orders from the establishment.  Ho-hum.  They're still a small minority of the voting population overall.

    Not upset??? I guess OWS (none / 0) (#34)
    by jimakaPPJ on Wed May 09, 2012 at 06:54:53 AM EST
    didn't happen and doesn't exist.

    Of course OWS was following orders from the Demo establishment.



    The media would have it so (5.00 / 1) (#39)
    by Lora on Wed May 09, 2012 at 09:58:07 AM EST
    "I guess OWS didn't happen and doesn't exist"

    What? (5.00 / 1) (#53)
    by gyrfalcon on Wed May 09, 2012 at 12:56:18 PM EST
    What does that have to do with the influence of the TP on the general election for pres?

    The purification... (none / 0) (#18)
    by desertswine on Tue May 08, 2012 at 07:36:50 PM EST
    of the Republican Party continues.  

    Haven't been following this closely, but (none / 0) (#25)
    by gyrfalcon on Tue May 08, 2012 at 11:43:56 PM EST
    I'm a little bit baffled that anybody thinks Indiana is likely to vote for a Democrat for Senate.

    It's a darn shame about Lugar, though, who was sort of the last of the principled conservatives.  I've always had a bit of fondness for him since he's always seemed like an honest man, much as I usually disagree with him.


    Well (none / 0) (#35)
    by jbindc on Wed May 09, 2012 at 08:37:49 AM EST
    The Dems may need all the support they can get, and if getting a Democratic senator from Indiana is the result(which I highly doubt), then that will be good.  But in reality, Obama himself is not very popular in other states, which could be a problem - take West Virginia, for example.

    And in Virginia - a state that the Dems insist has "turned blue", it's a dead heat in the Senate race to replace Dem. Sen. Jim Webb - between Tim Kaine and George "macaca" Allen.  Newsflash:  Virginia has not turned blue and I predict will go back to red in November.