Wednesday Open Thread

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    Exposing a fraud in Ferguson (5.00 / 1) (#1)
    by Uncle Chip on Wed Dec 17, 2014 at 06:36:39 AM EST
    Witness 40

    Referred to only as "Witness 40" in grand jury material, the woman concocted a story that is now baked into the narrative of the Ferguson grand jury, a panel before which she had no business appearing.

    The "Witness 40" testimony, as Fox News sees it, is proof that the 18-year-old Brown's killing was justified, and that the Ferguson grand jury got it right.

    Despite an abundance of red flags, state prosecutors put McElroy in front of the Ferguson grand jury the day after her meeting with the federal officials.

    After the 12-member panel listened to a tape of her interview conducted at the FBI office, McElroy appeared and, under oath, regaled the jurors with her eyewitness claims.

    It's still Groundhog Day (5.00 / 2) (#2)
    by CoralGables on Wed Dec 17, 2014 at 08:17:20 AM EST
    Yes, well, (5.00 / 2) (#6)
    by Zorba on Wed Dec 17, 2014 at 08:55:46 AM EST
    Phil Connors (Bill Murray) eventually wound up re-examining his priorities.    ;-)

    After trying every other (5.00 / 1) (#7)
    by CaptHowdy on Wed Dec 17, 2014 at 09:01:34 AM EST
    evasuon and avoidance

    Hated that movie, for whatever that's worth. (5.00 / 2) (#10)
    by Anne on Wed Dec 17, 2014 at 09:15:50 AM EST
    I know people have gotten impatient with Chip on the Wilson/Brown case, but I think when we shrug our shoulders and allow these kinds of things to go unanswered, or we excoriate the messenger instead of demanding that those responsible for what appear to be irregularities at best, and a whole lot of perjury that allowed a no bill to be obtained, at worst, answer for that, we are ensuring a steady corruption of the entire process.

    Would the outcome have been any different had Witness 40 been eliminated as a witness?  Hard to say, but it isn't hard to say that her testimony was held up repeatedly as "proof" that Wilson's version of the events was credible.  If the witness cannot be believed, it doesn't necessarily mean that Wilson can't be believed, but maybe it inserts enough doubt that he should have been indicted, and those conflicts resolved in a trial.

    And if more holes and more discrepancies come to light with regard to the process that resulted in the no-bill in this case, why shouldn't it be re-opened?


    The process (5.00 / 1) (#52)
    by toggle on Wed Dec 17, 2014 at 11:53:19 AM EST
    Don't get me wrong -- I completely agree that the DA is "passing the buck" to the grand jury, but the point that you and many others seem to be missing that the prosecutor is under no obligation to pursue doubtful prosecutions. In fact, he has an ethical obligation not to when he is convinced the person cannot be convicted. That's the end of the line.

    If the prosecutor has acted irregularly in this case, it was in his decision to put the case to the grand jury in the first place.


    In your estimation, what ... (5.00 / 1) (#99)
    by Donald from Hawaii on Wed Dec 17, 2014 at 02:39:47 PM EST
    ... constitutes a "doubtful prosecution" in this case -- I mean, aside from evidence that law enforcement officers are seldom convicted when they DO stand trial for alleged wrongdoing committed in the course of their duties?

    I daresay most of greater L.A. was left dumbfounded last January when two Fullerton police officers were acquitted by an Orange County jury in the beating death of Kelly Thomas, a 135-lb. white schizophrenic who was living on the streets -- even in the face of video and audio evidence from multiple sources which very strongly suggested that the defendants were clearly the aggressors in the fatal confrontation.

    Nevertheless, the propensity of jurors to believe and acquit police officers does not and should not relieve the prosecution of its obligation to bring an officer to trial, if there's evidence which leads a reasonable person to believe that the officer may have committed a crime.

    And in this particular case, I believe there's more than enough evidence to establish that: (a) Michael Brown's death was more than likely avoidable; and (b) Officer Darren Wilson is entirely culpable in causing Brown's unnecessary demise. This really warranted a criminal trial, and whether Wilson's actions actually constituted a crime on his part should've been left for a trial jury to determine.

    We have to live with the final verdict of a trial jury, and further respect the right of jurors to render their determination as they see fit. But we should never have to tolerate the perceived manipulation of due legal process by the authorities in order to achieve their desired outcome.

    If you think otherwise, I'd really like to hear your rationale.


    This is interesting. (none / 0) (#102)
    by sarcastic unnamed one on Wed Dec 17, 2014 at 02:52:48 PM EST
    Can you tell us what the laws are, and what the "more than enough evidence" is, that puts Wilson on the wrong side of those laws?

    No, I won't. (5.00 / 2) (#115)
    by Donald from Hawaii on Wed Dec 17, 2014 at 03:29:57 PM EST
    There's any number of open threads at TL that have already discussed this topic in rather tedious detail, if you're really that interested.

    Further, ff you read the grand jury transcripts, it's pretty apparent that Wilson's version of events was never seriously challenged in an adversary manner by prosecutors, while the testimonies of other witnesses were in some instances countered aggressively as a means to discount and / or discredit.

    I've expressed no opinion on Wilson's guilt or innocence, and am only saying that this case likely warranted going to trial. And from my perspective, it looks like the authorities bent over backwards here to ensure that such a trial would never happen, and they succeeded in attaining their objective.



    "feelings" on the issue, it sounded like you had a factual basis; ie, "more than enough evidence," etc.

    fwiw, I also have that "feeling" but I have not seen the factual basis to support it, and was hoping you did.


    Let's debate this with the understanding (5.00 / 2) (#148)
    by NYShooter on Wed Dec 17, 2014 at 04:33:23 PM EST
    that we're both grown up, semi-intelligent adults.

    The unambiguous inference I drew from Donald's comments was that, for justice to have been served, Mr. Wilson's guilt, or innocence should have been  determined by a panel of fair/open minded citizens. To that end, Mr. McCulloch's duty was to provide a Grand Jury with just the amount of evidence necessary to make a referral to a court(Petit jury) justifiable. Mr. Wilson's fate should have been determined in that Court where all the evidence from both sides was heard, and offered by knowledgeable, partisan attorneys. And, probably the most powerful mechanism devised yet for ferreting out the truth, vigorous cross-examinations, would be conducted.

    Now, if we just want to argue ad infinitum, or just score partisan points, our discussion will have no end. But, regardless of which "side" you're on, the above procedure should be the goal of both parties. Intellectually, you know that's right. Spiritually, you may have other hopes, but, intellectually, you know that trial by jury is the best system we have for determining a defendant's guilt, or innocence.

    So, the question for me is, and always has been, why did Robert McCulloch reject the standard process Prosecutors use 99% of the time? Here again, if I was given the job of defending McCulloch's actions I could concoct dozens of pretexts justifying them. But, inside, I would know they're just a pile of steaming, lawyerly crap, plausible, but still, crap. That's what good defense lawyers do. And, thank god for that.

    But, Robert McCulloch wasn't supposed to be Wilson's defense attorney. He was supposed to be "The People's" attorney. And, in my opinion, he committed a grievous, unforgiveable sin. I won't go into a speech about his duty, morality, right/wrong, etc. What he did was as bad an act of corruption as any cash-stuffed envelope sliding across a desk could be. The train of justice was click-clacking along, until Bob McCulloch snuck in, under the imprimatur of his office, and pulled the lever that derailed the train.

    The damage McCulloch caused is incalculable, and all for the lowest, cringe worthy reason possible, political cronyism.  


    I think McC believed he most likely (none / 0) (#174)
    by sarcastic unnamed one on Wed Dec 17, 2014 at 05:22:44 PM EST
    could not prevail in court based on the law, and therefore he should not bring charges.

    However, I think he also knew it would be wise for him to not be the sole deciderer, so he punted the decision to a GJ with the proviso that all the "evidence" presented would be released after the decision for all to see.

    While this may have further distanced him from the decision to not charge Wilson, it has also, of course, brought other criticisms on him.


    was a delaying tactic intended to prevent some violence. No way to prove a negative of course, but I bet by delaying the decision via the GJ some violence was avoided.

    Prosecutorial Ethics (none / 0) (#180)
    by toggle on Wed Dec 17, 2014 at 05:45:18 PM EST
    Require prosecutors to investigate cases and forbid them to prosecute cases they know they cannot prove.

    American Bar Association

    National District Attorneys Association

    Stuff like this (not an exclusive list of applicable ethics, just a sampling):

     Standard 3-3.6 Quality and Scope of Evidence Before Grand Jury


    (b) No prosecutor should knowingly fail to disclose to the grand jury evidence which tends to negate guilt or mitigate the offense.

    (c) A prosecutor should recommend that the grand jury not indict if he or she believes the evidence presented does not warrant an indictment under governing law.

    Standard 3-3.9 Discretion in the Charging Decision

    (a) A prosecutor should not institute, or cause to be instituted, or permit the continued pendency of criminal charges when the prosecutor knows that the charges are not supported by probable cause. A prosecutor should not institute, cause to be instituted, or permit the continued pendency of criminal charges in the absence of sufficient admissible evidence to support a conviction.

    (b) The prosecutor is not obliged to present all charges which the evidence might support. The prosecutor may in some circumstances and for good cause consistent with the public interest decline to prosecute, notwithstanding that sufficient evidence may exist which would support a conviction. Illustrative or the factors which the prosecutor may properly consider in exercising his or her discretion are:

       (i) the prosecutor's reasonable doubt that the accused is in fact guilty;


    (c) A prosecutor should not be compelled by his or her supervisor to prosecute a case in which he or she has a reasonable doubt about the guilt of the accused.

    (d) In making the decision to prosecute, the prosecutor should give no weight to the personal or political advantages or disadvantages which might be involved or to a desire to enhance his or her record of convictions.


    (f) The prosecutor should not bring or seek charges greater in number of degree than can reasonably be supported with evidence at trial . . . .

    I couldn't agree less (none / 0) (#200)
    by RickyJim on Wed Dec 17, 2014 at 06:31:17 PM EST
    And, probably the most powerful mechanism devised yet for ferreting out the truth, vigorous cross-examinations, would be conducted.

    Cross examination in court is pretty much restricted to common law countries that speak English.  Most of Europe, South America and Asia doesn't use it.  Thus the proceedings held in the Ferguson matter resembled a trial in one of the latter countries.

    I have never seen a study that showed that trials that use cross examination are more likely to find the truth that those held in a more inquisitional, investigative manner.  In fact many law scholars think cross examination is just a way to confuse the jury, put words in witnesses mouths and allow lawyers to testify.  I think the trial held for Wilson was more likely to arrive at the truth than the kind you imagine because the jury was much more actively involved than they are in ones where dueling lawyers run the show and ask all the questions.  By the way, the jury had transcripts of the out of court cross-examination done by the FBI and St. Louis police.


    Never challenged (none / 0) (#153)
    by toggle on Wed Dec 17, 2014 at 04:37:50 PM EST
    It's amusing how your claim that the prosecutors never challenged evidence favorable to Wilson is sitting right below Chip's argument about how the prosecutors proved a pro-Wilson witness to be a liar.

    I note, also, that the prosecutors put on a great many witnesses who were probably lying or mistaken, including pretty much everyone who implicated Wilson.


    Looking back at what I wrote, ... (none / 0) (#123)
    by Donald from Hawaii on Wed Dec 17, 2014 at 03:47:04 PM EST
    ... I really should've said that the evidence establishes a decent probability that Brown's death was likely avoidable and that Wilson was culpable in causing it.

    Rather, I sounded entirely too definitive, when the evidence is not necessarily conclusive in determining the degree to which either individual's respective behavior may have affected the confrontation's outcome.

    I apologize for any confusion.


    That is just wrong (none / 0) (#147)
    by toggle on Wed Dec 17, 2014 at 04:32:53 PM EST
    A prosecutor is not obligated to bring someone to trial just because there is some evidence he has committed a crime.  On the contrary, the prosecutor is obligated to fully investigate the case and make the decision based on all the evidence. He is also supposed to consider not just whether the case meets the bare requirements of probable cause, but whether he has the ability to prove it beyond a reasonable doubt.

    ... on behalf of the people, regardless of where it might lead. Justice cannot and should not be measured merely by the number of cases won and lost. And it most assuredly will never be obtained by prosecuting attorneys who punt their obligations to a grand jury, blow a lot of smoke in its members' eyes by burying them in minutiae, and even mislead them by citing an inapplicable and unconstitutional statute in their instructions.

    "You don't understand how I feel! I'm standing there with my pants down and my crotch hung out for the world to see and three guys are sticking it to me, a bunch of other guys are yelling and clapping -- and you're standing there telling me that that's the best you can do. Well, if that's the best you could do, then your best sucks! Now, I don't know what you got for selling me out, but I sure as s--- hope it was worth it!"
    -- Rape victim Sarah Tobias (Jodie Foster) to Dep. D.A. Kathryn Murphy (Kelly McGillis), The Accused (1988)

    There was probable cause to take this case to trial and have a jury of Wilson's peers weigh the veracity of evidence and testimony, as introduced and subjected to an adversarial examination, and then render their verdict. That didn't happen here for reasons already discussed. As such, members of the African-American community in greater St. Louis have every right to be upset at the outcome -- not to mention those of us who respect the public's expectations of a due and impartial process of law.

    Criminal Justice, Vol. 20, No. 2 | Summer 2005
    Ethics: Why Should Prosecutors Seek Justice? -- "A fourth rationale that can be advanced for requiring a prosecutor to have different ethical obligations than a defense lawyer could be based on the need to reinforce public confidence in the justice system. Confidence in the justice system and public respect for the law are important in any justice system that relies in large part, as ours does, on voluntary compliance of the citizenry. Public confidence will arguably be increased if the justice system is seen as both fair and accurate. Requiring prosecutors to provide a sort of safety net against procedural unfairness and inaccuracy may increase public confidence in the criminal justice system as a whole. This respect could be eroded if prosecutors were seen as lawyers solely interested in winning even at the expense of the truth. The public might also react quite negatively to prosecutors acting in a highly adversarial way, indifferent to the fairness and accuracy of criminal convictions and punishment, such as cross-examining a truthful witness or concealing information from the accused that might be exculpatory." (Emphasis is mine.)



    I agree (none / 0) (#197)
    by McBain on Wed Dec 17, 2014 at 06:28:50 PM EST
    Based on the evidence we've seen he should have decided not to indict and avoided the GJ all together.  Obviously, he used to GJ to deflect some of the criticism. Was that the right thing to do? Probably not, but he was in a no win situation.

    Why do so many people want a trial?  There was no chance of a conviction. People would sill riot. If the Zimmerman trial taught us anything, it's that people won't change their mind even when the evidence (or lack of) is laid out for them on national TV.


    It also seems like (none / 0) (#11)
    by CaptHowdy on Wed Dec 17, 2014 at 09:26:02 AM EST
    it gives the Feds more of an opening.  

    Doesn't it? Lawyer people?

    (No accountng for taste on GD:)


    I don't think (none / 0) (#25)
    by Reconstructionist on Wed Dec 17, 2014 at 11:03:29 AM EST
     it has any bearing, one way or the other, on the prospects of a federal prosecution.

      Beyond the factual issues, the Feds should not prosecute unless there is the good faith belief that they can prove beyond a reasonable doubt that Wilson intended to deprive Brown of a constitutional right because he was black.

    From Screws

     The difficulty here is that this question of intent was not submitted to the jury with the proper instructions. The court charged that petitioners acted illegally if they applied more force than was necessary to make the arrest effectual or to protect themselves from the prisoner's alleged assault. But in view of our construction of the word 'willfully' the jury should have been further instructed that it was not sufficient that petitioners had a generally bad purpose. To convict it was necessary for them to find that petitioners had the purpose to deprive the prisoner of a constitutional right, e.g. the right to be tried by a court rather than by ordeal. And in determining whether that requisite bad purpose was present the jury would be entitled to consider all the attendant circumstance the malice of petitioners, the weapons used in the assault, its character and duration, the provocation if any, and the like.

       Note also this case is from 1945. Congress can amend the statute if it chooses (or enact new ones), but it has not. Note also the "willfulness" requirement was added by the Court based on the belief that the statute was otherwise void for vagueness because it did not sufficiently define the offense as to give notice as to what conduct was  a crime. The court followed the customary rule of construction: "This Court has consistently favored that interpretation of legislation which supports its constitutionality."

       In reality to Court was not endeavoring to give police a license to deprive people of the their rights, but to give the law a construction which would allow it to be lawfully enforced (albeit in more limited circumstances).

       This is the full text of 18 U.S.C. § 242.

      The current construction essentially means that the prosecution must prove a cop did something unlawful with the specific intent to deprive a person of a constitutional right because that person is in a referenced protected class.

      That's very difficult to prove in a "heat of the moment" type incident as opposed to a more prolonged course of conduct like a beating or false imprisonment.


    Thanks for the response (none / 0) (#27)
    by CaptHowdy on Wed Dec 17, 2014 at 11:13:44 AM EST
    i hope you are wrong but I certainly have no idea.
    Which is why asked.

    She isn't the only one (allegedly) (none / 0) (#12)
    by jbindc on Wed Dec 17, 2014 at 09:34:32 AM EST
    She certainly is not (none / 0) (#13)
    by CaptHowdy on Wed Dec 17, 2014 at 09:36:50 AM EST
    but she sure makes a good "face" for the issue.

    Sure (none / 0) (#14)
    by jbindc on Wed Dec 17, 2014 at 09:40:03 AM EST
    But when there are multiple witnesses who (allegedly) lie, the GJ's job was to wade through and come to a conclusion.  There was also physical evidence.

    Tony Saclia (none / 0) (#16)
    by CaptHowdy on Wed Dec 17, 2014 at 09:45:38 AM EST
    It is the grand jury's function not `to enquire ... upon what foundation [the charge may be] denied,' or otherwise to try the suspect's defenses, but only to examine `upon what foundation [the charge] is made' by the prosecutor. Respublica v. Shaffer, 1 Dall. 236 (O. T. Phila. 1788); see also F. Wharton, Criminal Pleading and Practice § 360, pp. 248-249 (8th ed. 1880). As a consequence, neither in this country nor in England has the suspect under investigation by the grand jury ever been thought to have a right to testify or to have exculpatory evidence presented.

    Again, (5.00 / 1) (#18)
    by Reconstructionist on Wed Dec 17, 2014 at 10:17:37 AM EST
      a person not "having a right" to do something does not mean it is unlawful or otherwise  wrong to allow a person to do something.  

      A holding that it is not error for a GJ/prosecutor to refuse a person under investigation the opportunity to testify, does not support the position that therefore it is error to  allow a person to testify.


    Capt. Howdy can correct me, but I (5.00 / 2) (#34)
    by Anne on Wed Dec 17, 2014 at 11:21:28 AM EST
    took his posting of Scalia's comment to emphasize this part:

    It is the grand jury's function not `to enquire ... upon what foundation [the charge may be] denied,' or otherwise to try the suspect's defenses, but only to examine `upon what foundation [the charge] is made'

    as opposed to the part you zeroed in on.

    It comes back to the grand jury's function not being conflated with a preliminary hearing or a trial, which I think is what has happened with this one because of how it was conducted, and the reminder that its purpose is to determine whether there is probable cause to bring formal charges.

    I am not a lawyer, but many who are have opined that McCulloch's approach, which seems to have boiled down to, "well, shoot - even though I've been a lawyer for many years, and have obtained indictments against countless individuals for all manner of crimes, this one has me stumped - I just don't know what to do here, so I'm going to dump pretty much everything in your collective lap, including witnesses whose testimony will be less-than-truthful, and you laypeople can figure it out" was both unusual and unwise.

    One more thing: does it necessarily follow that just because the grand jury saw a large volume of evidence and heard from a long list of witnesses, that there wasn't anything or anyone left out, any avenue unexplored, or no questions that didn't get asked - or if asked, that the follow up was as thorough as it needed to be?

    I don't think so.


    I would (none / 0) (#35)
    by CaptHowdy on Wed Dec 17, 2014 at 11:25:11 AM EST
    never correct you.

    I would want you to, if I wasn't (5.00 / 1) (#39)
    by Anne on Wed Dec 17, 2014 at 11:31:25 AM EST
    accurate in stating what I thought you'd intended by posting Scalia's remarks.

    I would add (none / 0) (#45)
    by CaptHowdy on Wed Dec 17, 2014 at 11:47:49 AM EST
    its been pretty well documented that there was a lot that was not seen or allowed to be considered by the GJ.

    What evidence was not seen by the GJ? (none / 0) (#101)
    by unitron on Wed Dec 17, 2014 at 02:43:09 PM EST

    Im sure that is legally correct (none / 0) (#20)
    by CaptHowdy on Wed Dec 17, 2014 at 10:35:42 AM EST
    what is also correct is that it turned the traditional role of a GJ on its head.  

    Something that would Never be done for a citizen.  Only for a cop.


    I think this is as was the OJ trial, (5.00 / 2) (#26)
    by sarcastic unnamed one on Wed Dec 17, 2014 at 11:09:34 AM EST
    most people have their minds set, no matter what.

    IMO (none / 0) (#29)
    by CaptHowdy on Wed Dec 17, 2014 at 11:15:22 AM EST
    it's not about what people think.

    It's about justice for Michael Brown.


    for Simpson and Goldman.

    Criminal Trials really are not about (5.00 / 2) (#40)
    by Reconstructionist on Wed Dec 17, 2014 at 11:31:49 AM EST
    "justice" for the victim, whatever one thinks that means. Trials are brought by "society's" representatives on behalf of the members of society to determine whether a criminal wrong was committed and if so to mete out appropriate punishment.

       The Polanski case, coincidentally, shows why that's not necessarily a bad thing.



    ...sorry, Nicole Simpson... (none / 0) (#38)
    by sarcastic unnamed one on Wed Dec 17, 2014 at 11:28:53 AM EST
    Clarifying (none / 0) (#46)
    by CaptHowdy on Wed Dec 17, 2014 at 11:49:08 AM EST
    i don't think it matter a at all that "people's" minds are set.

    It may not matter, but like OJ, (none / 0) (#68)
    by sarcastic unnamed one on Wed Dec 17, 2014 at 12:38:51 PM EST
    the legal decision has been rendered, so all we have are people's opinions.

    I won't say never (5.00 / 1) (#30)
    by Reconstructionist on Wed Dec 17, 2014 at 11:15:33 AM EST
      but it is definitely very atypical.

      In full disclosure, I have represented cops as criminal defendants. (charges arising from both on-duty conduct including alleged violent acts and corruption and off-duty conduct). Although, I've never had a client invited to the GJ or had a case that progressed that far where a prosecutor presented other exculpatory evidence to the GJ, except in the most egregious circumstances, I have certainly detected a level of, call it "hesitance" not present in cases with my more typical clientele. Now, I will add that hesitance can arise from causes fair or foul and it might be hard sometimes to determine which.

      To me, fair includes a good faith determination by a prosecutor that a conviction is unlikely -- even if that determination is based in part on who the defendant is and how the jury is likely to perceive him and the facts because of who he is. I certainly appreciate the perception that creates of unequal justice (cops aren't the only ones who can benefit from this) but trials should not be used as a ritualized public shaming.


    Yeah, well, Recon, (5.00 / 2) (#71)
    by Mr Natural on Wed Dec 17, 2014 at 12:47:08 PM EST
    ritualized public shaming is pretty much what the process looks like from the other side of the bar.

    Shakespeare was right.  But I'd modify his recommendation with a little Denis Diderot.  Kings, Priests, and Lawyers.

    Obviously some of y'all are exceptions.  Peter G, Counselor Merritt...  


    I'm not sure what your point is (none / 0) (#88)
    by Reconstructionist on Wed Dec 17, 2014 at 02:08:31 PM EST
     or whether you are alluding to Shakespeare's most famous line about lawyers (he wrote a good bit more about law and lawyers):

      "The first thing we do, let's kill all the lawyers."

       While there are those who assert otherwise, most people who view that line by "Dick the Butcher" (a violent criminal portrayed as a buffoon) in context don't interpret it as being "anti-lawyer" let alone meant to be taken literally or even figuratively in the sense that Shakepeare believed England would be a better place without any lawyers. The most common interpretation is that he put the words in the mouth of a violent lout, sarcastically (and humorously) contemplating his ideal world as an acknowledgement laws and lawyers (albeit while protecting the landed and monied classes) protect against the dangers of mob rule.


    Are you sure about that? (5.00 / 1) (#41)
    by sarcastic unnamed one on Wed Dec 17, 2014 at 11:41:21 AM EST
    In fact, it is already the rule in New York that a defendant on notice of a grand jury investigation has an absolute right to testify before the panel if he chooses and may also recommend specific witnesses to the grand jury.18

    Actually (none / 0) (#66)
    by jbindc on Wed Dec 17, 2014 at 12:31:26 PM EST
    It is standard operating procedure for a prosecutor to allow a target to testify in a grand jury proceeding if the target wishes to.  Most targets don't, of course, because they cannot have their lawyers present, so they don't want to say anything that could be used against them at a further proceeding.

    Even the US Attorney's Manual discusses it for federal cases, and it isn't a stretch to say states' attorneys probably follow similar guidelines:

    It is not altogether uncommon for subjects or targets of the grand jury's investigation, particularly in white-collar cases, to request or demand the opportunity to tell the grand jury their side of the story. While the prosecutor has no legal obligation to permit such witnesses to testify, United States v. Leverage Funding System, Inc., 637 F.2d 645 (9th Cir. 1980), cert. denied, 452 U.S. 961 (1981); United States v. Gardner, 516 F.2d 334 (7th Cir. 1975), cert. denied, 423 U.S. 861 (1976)), a refusal to do so can create the appearance of unfairness. Accordingly, under normal circumstances, where no burden upon the grand jury or delay of its proceedings is involved, reasonable requests by a "subject" or "target" of an investigation, as defined above, to testify personally before the grand jury ordinarily should be given favorable consideration, provided that such witness explicitly waives his or her privilege against self-incrimination, on the record before the grand jury, and is represented by counsel or voluntarily and knowingly appears without counsel and consents to full examination under oath.

    Such witnesses may wish to supplement their testimony with the testimony of others. The decision whether to accommodate such requests or to reject them after listening to the testimony of the target or the subject, or to seek statements from the suggested witnesses, is a matter left to the sound discretion of the grand jury. When passing on such requests, it must be kept in mind that the grand jury was never intended to be and is not properly either an adversary proceeding or the arbiter of guilt or innocence. See, e.g., United States v. Calandra, 414 U.S. 338, 343 (1974).

    "Come into my parlor," said the spider (5.00 / 1) (#69)
    by Anne on Wed Dec 17, 2014 at 12:42:01 PM EST
    to the fly...

    I would imagine most targets of a GJ proceeding would view an invitation to testify in that light, since most of the time, it's clear the prosecutor is seeking an indictment, not reasons not to indict.


    Exactly... (5.00 / 2) (#81)
    by kdog on Wed Dec 17, 2014 at 01:34:10 PM EST
    when it's a cop accused, that spider turns into a big ol' cuddly teddy bear.  While equality under the law would seem to demand being a spider to all, or a teddy bear to all.

    It's different when you're a good ol' boy, (5.00 / 1) (#89)
    by Mr Natural on Wed Dec 17, 2014 at 02:09:35 PM EST
    and your attorney's a good ol' boy and the prosecutor's a good ol' boy and boy, oh, boy, he's just going through the motions to mollify all those unhinged libruls.

    Or, more likely (none / 0) (#72)
    by jbindc on Wed Dec 17, 2014 at 12:47:25 PM EST
    Most targets of a grand jury investigation are actually guilty.

    Finishing my thought (none / 0) (#73)
    by jbindc on Wed Dec 17, 2014 at 12:49:32 PM EST
    ...are probably guilty and don't want to give a prosecutor more information.

    I love this: (none / 0) (#24)
    by Uncle Chip on Wed Dec 17, 2014 at 10:59:07 AM EST
    "You told three different stories in the time we've been here today. So I want to know which one is really your memory or did you see this at all?" a prosecutor asked.

    Witness 37 posed an intriguing question to the prosecutors.

    "If none of my stuff is making any sense, like why do y'all keep contacting me?" the witness asked.

    Good question. Give that witness a cigar --


    Witness 35 (none / 0) (#31)
    by Uncle Chip on Wed Dec 17, 2014 at 11:15:59 AM EST
    Witness 35 said Brown was "on his knees" when Wilson shot him in the head.

    "Are you telling us that the only thing that's true about all of your statements before this is that you saw that police officer shoot him at point blank range?" a grand juror asked.

    "Yes," he answered.

    In defense of this witness atleast he admitted to the GJ that he didn't see all that other stuff.  

    Others lied and never came clean.

    And regarding seeing a point blank shot to the head while on his knees which he did hold onto:

    If all he saw of this entire incident was a snapshot of the last shot to the head as Brown was falling forward, then that may very well appear as if he was shot while on his knees.

    A good prosecutor would have elicited that from him.


    Where is the humor? (none / 0) (#21)
    by oculus on Wed Dec 17, 2014 at 10:37:10 AM EST
    A "fraud" debunked (none / 0) (#179)
    by toggle on Wed Dec 17, 2014 at 05:33:26 PM EST
    Slate of all people explains why this line of attack on the prosecutors is bogus: Slate link.

    A review of the grand jury documents released by St. Louis County shows that McElroy's account was questioned openly and extensively by authorities.


    While the Smoking Gun's investigation is useful in undermining those in the media who would take McElroy's words out of context, it's doubtful--given the evidence currently at hand--that the grand jury's ultimate decision would have been any different had she never testified.

    Your smile for the day (5.00 / 2) (#4)
    by jbindc on Wed Dec 17, 2014 at 08:20:25 AM EST
    I could never have seen (5.00 / 1) (#15)
    by Zorba on Wed Dec 17, 2014 at 09:44:17 AM EST
    my mother doing something like this.  But my grandmother, OTOH, definitely.   ;-)

    US Cuba to Resume Diplomatic Relations. (5.00 / 1) (#19)
    by RickyJim on Wed Dec 17, 2014 at 10:34:32 AM EST
    After 50 years!  Link  

    I'd love to see Cuba before they roll over (5.00 / 2) (#22)
    by Mr Natural on Wed Dec 17, 2014 at 10:41:29 AM EST
    for developers and the money.

    That makes me selfish, I know, since fishcamp pointed out a week or so ago that Cuba isn't quaintly stuck in the fifties by choice but because they have no capital and the people, most of them, have little or no money.


    Funny (none / 0) (#23)
    by CaptHowdy on Wed Dec 17, 2014 at 10:42:54 AM EST
    i was thinking the same thing.

    Well, you probably don't (none / 0) (#28)
    by fishcamp on Wed Dec 17, 2014 at 11:14:37 AM EST
    have to hurry down there, since it will remain quaint for a long time.  Those buildings are falling down daily.  It probably will start looking funny with brand new structures next to the crumbling ones.  It was dangerous to walk around too close to buildings, for fear of something falling on your head, back in 2001, and I doubt it's gotten better.  I really hope it happens and the TL crowd can take the hydrofoil from Key West to Havana.  Now that would be fun.

    Came very close to having a building (none / 0) (#33)
    by CaptHowdy on Wed Dec 17, 2014 at 11:20:30 AM EST
    fall on my head in NYC once.   I can take it.

    I was close at one time (none / 0) (#32)
    by CoralGables on Wed Dec 17, 2014 at 11:17:00 AM EST
    until the Bush administration started seizing property of some of those that traveled to Cuba.

    As everyone is probably seeing, (none / 0) (#48)
    by fishcamp on Wed Dec 17, 2014 at 11:51:04 AM EST
    it's all over the news right now.  Marco Rubio is condemning the moves, and unfortunately some of the stuff he's saying is probably true.  But with the re-establishment of diplomatic relations between the U. S. and Cuba, there will be progress for both sides, and Rubio's hatred of the Cuban rulers will have to change.  One of the first moves, aside from the Castro's giving equality to it's people, will be the establishment of money transfers, such as use of credit cards, and the loosening of taxes on US dollars.  There are so many aspects of this new move,  that it will be difficult to keep up.

    Rubio can be the Cuba pontificator now (5.00 / 1) (#75)
    by CoralGables on Wed Dec 17, 2014 at 01:09:16 PM EST
    With Jeb in the 2016 race, Marco has nowhere to go but nightly news soundbites.

    A clear and correct move. (5.00 / 2) (#111)
    by KeysDan on Wed Dec 17, 2014 at 03:15:37 PM EST
    For many reasons, firstly, the Cuban people who have borne the brunt of the emotion-based embargo; secondly, it acknowledges on the part of the Cuban government the need to change its disastrous policies; and, thirdly, it provides an opportunity for the US to influence human rights in Cuba.

    And, beyond American/Cuban relations, it has broader, geo-political ramifications.  The US had an opportunity to change course in 1991 with the collapse of the Soviet Union, Cuba lost its $billions in annual subsidies and about 80 percent of its commerce.

    But, the view at the time, was apparently, to sit back and finish off the Cuban economy. Then we could talk, or have a monologue.   While a financial basket-case, Cuba trucked on, developing relationships with other Latin American countries, especially Venezuela--with trade and  yearly subsidies of about $9 billion.  Venezuela is no longer in a position to continue its relationship in that manner.  So, once again, the US has an opportunity to do what it should have done long ago.

    Russia, too, is in dire financial straits at the moment.  The ruble decline involves financial pressures from the US led embargo and the fall in oil prices--bringing migraines to Putin. And, putting Putin's new overtures to  Cuba, such as drilling in the Florida Straits, in a tenuous position.

    Senator Rubio, and my former Representative Ileana Ros-lethin, are speaking of, and to, the past. As they are wont to do.   The new relationships will no doubt be stepwise, since the changes  are complicated.  And, as you note, it will be awhile before Havana becomes even close to being a Miami Beach, and even then, it will not be a Fulgencio reincarnation.


    Transformative President! (none / 0) (#190)
    by Politalkix on Wed Dec 17, 2014 at 06:18:24 PM EST
    We need another transformative President in 2017 :-).

    You forgot the (5.00 / 2) (#193)
    by nycstray on Wed Dec 17, 2014 at 06:21:01 PM EST
    exclamation point! :-)

    Let's hear then for Hillary Clinton! (none / 0) (#207)
    by christinep on Wed Dec 17, 2014 at 06:54:05 PM EST
    When (none / 0) (#96)
    by Ga6thDem on Wed Dec 17, 2014 at 02:33:42 PM EST
    I saw the news that Rubio was speaking out on this issue, I just started laughing. I don't think anyone cares what this guy says except a few old timers in Little Havana.

    Senator Rubio, (5.00 / 1) (#152)
    by KeysDan on Wed Dec 17, 2014 at 04:37:13 PM EST
    who is Catholic, was quite sharp, if not irreverent, in his criticism of Pope Francis.  Jeb, also a Catholic, was  critical, but not so harsh.   Rubio may be so disheartened that he may, once again, become a Mormon.

    I'm all for this move if... (none / 0) (#116)
    by Slado on Wed Dec 17, 2014 at 03:31:43 PM EST
    We use it to get the regime to change its ways.

    If it's only the establishment of an embassy and nothing comes of it and the regime hangs on without real change then what?

    I agree with Obama that what we're doing now isn't working and give him props for trying something but just playing nice and talking nice isn't going to work either.  We need to become the country Cuba relies on but it must come with political and social change for the people of Cuba.

    Also a slow approach is best.   Move to fast and we'll get another set of problems.

    But color me skeptical that this president is going to follow through.  I'm going to wait and see and give him the benefit of the doubt.  


    Oh heavans to Betsy (5.00 / 2) (#128)
    by jondee on Wed Dec 17, 2014 at 04:00:43 PM EST
    what if Cuba doesn't change.. Oh the humanity!

    How about it's none of American conservative's effing business if they do or not? The Right in this country came within a hair's breadth of starting WWIII over Cuba, so maybe they should they should just shut up forever about Cuba and think about getting some intensive around-the-clock therapy in order to get to the bottom of this obsession -- with Cuba..and Venezuala..and..Guatamala..and Honduras..and El Salvador..

    And please, dial all of us up when the Cubans undermine the democratic process in other countries and prop up sadistic, murderous regimes like Pinochet's or the Shahs and set up a training program for Third World torturers and death squads; or declare through the highest courts in the land that money and speech are synonymous, thus establishing a totalitarianism of Capital masquerading as a land of "Freedom and Democracy.    


    Btw, the City I live in (5.00 / 1) (#132)
    by jondee on Wed Dec 17, 2014 at 04:07:09 PM EST
    Rochester, NY, currently has an infant mortality rate something like three times what is in most Western, European countries.

    As far as I know no left wing troublemakers here are cooking the numbers to make the Free Market system look bad..



    Interesting, (5.00 / 2) (#210)
    by NYShooter on Wed Dec 17, 2014 at 07:18:48 PM EST
    I just knew there was another reason....

    I see that you're from Rochester. I went to college in Syracuse, so I'm quite familiar with the Syracuse, Rochester, Buffalo, and (possibly,) Binghamton Box. Later, during my corporate life, I had reason to travel throughout central, and Western New York. All I can say is, what a shame.

    If a foreigner, unfamiliar with the history, simply checked out the assets contained within that region of NY, they would think they've found heaven. First of all, transportation; the area sits at the crossroad of many excellent (sadly, underused) interstate highways. Oh well, you know the list: a concentration of some of finest, world class colleges and universities, an eager, educated, underemployed  work force, international airports, huge tracts of farmland, ancient mountain ranges, and, some of the most beautiful lakes on earth. And, best of all, it's New York.

    Now some may be cynical regarding that comment. They'd say "It's New York" is the reason the place has had an exodus of its population. But, take it from me, being a New Yorker through and through, having lived most of my life in NY, it's still worth every negative you could counter-argue with me.

    I know, I know....the taxes, omigod, the taxes. And, I know I've been very fortunate that I was able to pay my share and still enjoy a great standard of living. But, let me tell you, in the non-income avocation I've pursued, working with, and for, underprivileged people & families, the benefits, and outreach, New York does for these people, it's quite the untold story. I live in Tennessee now, and until/unless you have a chance to actually live, and compare the two states side by side, you're not human if you begrudge NY, or its taxes. Maybe, someday people will wise up, and see NY like I do. And, maybe the youngsters who, today, yearn to grow up and make their futures in the high-tech world of Silicon valley, or in the caverns of Manhattan's financial district, will wise up, and see that the goldmine they've been dreaming about is right there in New York.

    A guy can dream, no?

    Well, that's enough nostalgia for tonight; maybe we'll pick up the conversation at a later date.


    Lets be clear what Cuba is (none / 0) (#162)
    by Slado on Wed Dec 17, 2014 at 04:50:44 PM EST
    Why would you trust the statistics that come out of a country that is a dictatorship and a huge abuser of human rights?  What does this tired stat have to do with how this regime abuses it's people in order to remain in power?

    Are you honesty saying we in the US can't be critical of a failing communist state that must use force and media control to remain in power?

    Cuba is ruled by a tyrannical elite and is literally falling in on itself.  

    We shouldn't have to pretend that its a workers paradise in order to support Obama's policy shift.

    I support his actions because I agree engaging with this horrible regime is a better way to change it then the previous 50 year policy of isolation.

    We have relations with other horrible governments.   Like Nixon before him maybe Obama is the guy to change the status quo for the better.

    Along with Ruubio and crew being sidelined in this discussion I'd hope the Cuba apologists will also be marginalized going forward because they're input to me is just as pointless.


    Why should we trust the stats (5.00 / 1) (#189)
    by jondee on Wed Dec 17, 2014 at 06:17:51 PM EST
    coming out of a country that's owned by cutthroat investment bankers and maintained by pr firms, focus group researchers, and a veritable People's Army of corporate mouths-for-hire?

    Such outrage. (none / 0) (#137)
    by sarcastic unnamed one on Wed Dec 17, 2014 at 04:15:18 PM EST
    Are you sure this is solely a "conservative" and/or "The Right" position?

    Pretty sure it's a similar position as TL's own "elected Democratic official."


    That quote's out of context. (1.00 / 1) (#208)
    by Donald from Hawaii on Wed Dec 17, 2014 at 06:55:35 PM EST
    Better to include that entire thread, so people can see the entire discussion, RE: Cuba.

    And there was absolutely no need to make a snide reference to my being a Democratic Party official. At least I'm actually out there trying to effect change, whereas you apparently just like to b*tch an awful lot.


    pfft (none / 0) (#155)
    by jondee on Wed Dec 17, 2014 at 04:41:45 PM EST
    Easy Jondee (none / 0) (#138)
    by CoralGables on Wed Dec 17, 2014 at 04:15:56 PM EST
    Slado is actually taking a moderate approach here. Save the outrage for someone that deserves it like Rubio, Menendez, or Graham.

    Easy my as* (none / 0) (#154)
    by jondee on Wed Dec 17, 2014 at 04:40:13 PM EST
    I read that other thread and am familiar with Slado's mo.

    A few years ago it was Chavez this and Chavez that..

    Utter horror at Latin American socialism is a brain disease American conservatives have.


    Been proven right (none / 0) (#165)
    by Slado on Wed Dec 17, 2014 at 04:54:57 PM EST
    When it comes to Chavez.

    Not sure what your point is.  In fact Venezuela is such a mess some argue this is why Cuba is open to change.

    Communism has a perfect batting average of sucking.  Not much debate about that is there?


    And the American Right (none / 0) (#171)
    by jondee on Wed Dec 17, 2014 at 05:16:12 PM EST
    was going to start WWIII, sent out torturers and death squads, elected coke-out fundamentalists President, and generally dragged this country's reputation through the gutter and onto the stage at the Improv.

    You all suck. And not even in a a well-meaning Christian-spiritual way either. Though some people were taken in by that cover for awhile.


    jondee did you get bit by a rabid dog today? (5.00 / 1) (#173)
    by CoralGables on Wed Dec 17, 2014 at 05:21:41 PM EST
    As a matter of fact I did (5.00 / 2) (#176)
    by jondee on Wed Dec 17, 2014 at 05:29:11 PM EST
    but that's entirely beside the point. ;-)

    As they, speaking for me only, (5.00 / 3) (#182)
    by NYShooter on Wed Dec 17, 2014 at 05:48:13 PM EST
    I like the new jondee.

    Too many weasel-word conversations going on out there.


    Well (none / 0) (#186)
    by jondee on Wed Dec 17, 2014 at 06:04:32 PM EST
    I do get a little..shall we say indignant.

    But I also lived through the Slados of the world threatening Cuba until they put those missiles in place -- which was the only way a small country like Cuba could prevent an invasion from a country like the U.S -- which led again, to the Slados of the world claiming, laughably, that Cuba was "threatening" us, which led to children in this country being traumatized because another group of Slados in the Joint Chiefs was perfectly willing, insanely, to risk an apocalyptic first strike against Cuba and the SU to prove America and General Lemay had the biggest d*cks on the planet.

    So you'll excuse me if I'm a little short with Sladfos National Reviewisms.


    No need to get personal (none / 0) (#192)
    by Slado on Wed Dec 17, 2014 at 06:19:56 PM EST
    I'm also a libertarian so please use labels for people that deserve them.

    I, too, hope that you (none / 0) (#126)
    by KeysDan on Wed Dec 17, 2014 at 03:57:52 PM EST
    as well as guys like Marco Rubio and his old guard, give the president the benefit of the doubt.   Although, I am not sure of what the doubt may be.  The announcement alone is a tectonic political shift.  Moving on that announcement will  almost be put on automatic given the convergence of common interests and needs.  However, it will take Congressional support, not undermining and obstructionist tactics.  

    Cuba, to me, is (5.00 / 2) (#93)
    by Mr Natural on Wed Dec 17, 2014 at 02:23:17 PM EST
    Ibrahim Ferrer with Ry Cooder's Buena Vista Social Club band

    I was lucky to see him once before Dubya slammed the doors.  Ferrer's dead now and will never return.  One more reason to despise George Dubya.

    Aquellos Ojos Verdes


    Looks like some theater chain's... (5.00 / 2) (#37)
    by kdog on Wed Dec 17, 2014 at 11:25:49 AM EST
    courage is as lacking as Sony's cyber security...Landmark has cowered and cancelled the NYC premier of "The Interview" in the face of threats, and Carmike Cinemas is cancelling screenings.  Even Rogen and Franco are laying low...

    As if Kim Jong-Un's ego needed anymore fellating...how embarrassing.

    On Rogen and Franko's part (5.00 / 1) (#49)
    by CST on Wed Dec 17, 2014 at 11:51:44 AM EST
    I get it.  They set out to make a comedy, I don't think they ever thought it would lead to something like this, and I think they have a feeling that their comedic chops are not worth this nonsense.  "The Interview" is not important enough for the $hitstorm it caused.

    I disagree, I think the very fact that it caused all this is why they should be standing behind it more, but it was never meant to be a statement/protest movie, and I think Franko and Rogen are a bit overwhelmed/taken aback by it.  These aren't the southpark guys, they don't seem particularly political.


    You're probably right... (5.00 / 1) (#56)
    by kdog on Wed Dec 17, 2014 at 12:11:19 PM EST
    and I agree with you...they should take this hot potato and run with it, not hide.  

    They may not have intended to make a political statement, but it's political to N. Korea and whoever these "Guardians of Peace" characters are...and it's a free speech & censorship fight worth fighting imo.  

    It's starting to remind me of the whole Mohammed cartoon thing.


    Oh no (5.00 / 1) (#60)
    by CaptHowdy on Wed Dec 17, 2014 at 12:15:48 PM EST
    its way worse.  There is no question of validity here based on religious intolerance.  This is pure terrorism from an insane fascist dictator.  The movie must be released.

    There is never a question of validity imo... (5.00 / 3) (#62)
    by kdog on Wed Dec 17, 2014 at 12:22:35 PM EST
    Publish the cartoons, publish the books, release the movies...and haters be damned...nobody is forcing (or forbidding) anybody to buy a paper or a book or see a movie some find offensive.  That's what Kim does, and what the Taliban does...not us.

    Even religious intolerance can be tolerated, as long as you aren't forced to buy it and it isn't state sanctioned.  And the religious and/or ideological need to understand that what is sacred to them may not mean sh*t to the next guy...and vice versa.


    iow.... (none / 0) (#63)
    by kdog on Wed Dec 17, 2014 at 12:25:07 PM EST
    a question of validity is basically the same as a question of taste.  It's all in the eye of the beholder.

    And, now, kdog (5.00 / 1) (#85)
    by NYShooter on Wed Dec 17, 2014 at 01:48:21 PM EST
    We got the emotions right, but, practically speaking, what do we do?

    Seriously, kdog, you know my background, so I don't want to hear armchair Generals admonishing regular, average citizens that it's somehow their duty to risk their lives for Sony, millionaire actors, producers, directors, and the rest of their industry. I'm not talking about you, dog, you're certainly not "regular or average."

    This is a fight between countries, governments, not housewives in Des Moines. Like the song says, "there is a season." There's a right time and place to address this imbroglio. Regular civilians should not be asked to do battle with crazed, sadistic fascists from half way around the world.

    This is a very, very interesting, and, complicated situation developing. And, of course, freedom of speech, and, freedom from terrorism are issues worth fighting for. The question is, who should do the fighting?


    If going to "The Interview" is ... (5.00 / 1) (#104)
    by kdog on Wed Dec 17, 2014 at 02:59:59 PM EST
    risking your life, wouldn't Christmas shopping also be risking your life?  Getting out of bed even?

    If yes, then yes...living is worth risking your life.  Or should we stop sending our kids to school because of the horrors in Pakistan or Sandy Hook?

    I guess where we may differ is I don't think going to see this movie is risking your life anymore than taking the subway or going to buy a gallon of milk.  Or am I missing your point Shooter?


    Well lately (5.00 / 1) (#149)
    by jondee on Wed Dec 17, 2014 at 04:34:18 PM EST
    whenever I've seen a Seth Rogan movie I feel like part of my brain's been sprayed with liquid nitrogen, but that's another risk we take in an open society.

    I feel like there's a whole lot of (none / 0) (#151)
    by CST on Wed Dec 17, 2014 at 04:37:03 PM EST
    "not my cup of tea" in this thread.

    Which is fine.  No one is suggesting these guys do high-brow humor.

    On the other hand, I thought "This is the End" and "Your Highness" were 2 of the funniest movies I've seen in a while.  So... yea.  Obviously it's not for everyone.

    But I don't think this movie was necessarily going to tank.  They know their audience pretty well - and it's not the readers of TL for the most part :)


    kdog, we don't have enough (none / 0) (#175)
    by NYShooter on Wed Dec 17, 2014 at 05:23:54 PM EST
    concrete, actual information at this time regarding North Korea's position, and what, if any, threats they have made. So, my comments, necessarily, contained certain suppositions that have yet to occur. I'm assuming that N. Korea makes a definite, plausible, threat of violent, and deadly acts of retribution against the movie, its producers, directors, actors, distributors, and, most importantly, its viewers.

    It that plays out like I've pictured it, then it's an act of war. It's nation against nation. And, if that's the case, our nation's first line of defense should not be asking our citizens to assume the role of cannon fodder, and become the first victims to suffer and die, just to "stand up" to a crazed dictator's demands.

    That's the job for our armed forces.

    Like I said, certain actions would have to occur for my position to be valid. The threat would have to real, and believable. And, if that were actually the case, a call for innocent civilians to go see a movie, in spite of the very real possibility of being blown to pieces, is too crazy to contemplate.


    I agree, Cap'n. (5.00 / 1) (#108)
    by Donald from Hawaii on Wed Dec 17, 2014 at 03:09:38 PM EST
    CaptHowdy: "The movie must be released."

    Judging by its rather insipid previews, I believe that "The Interview" should've rightly been allowed to die a quick death at the box office. Because quite frankly, it looks gag-me-with-a-spoon silly to the point of truly awful.

    But the studio, theatre chains and government officials should not bar this movie's release based upon these apparent terrorist threats.

    Alas, the egregious behavior of Kim Jongs and His Taepodongs in this case has likely ensured a boffo box office for the film -- at least through its first week, anyway, or until word of mouth about its mediocrity deters audiences from buying tickets.

    As for myself, I've already seen one bad movie this month. I've really no interest in wasting more good money to see another, even if doing so would prove an effective political statement.



    HUUUUUUUUUUUUUGE (5.00 / 2) (#142)
    by Reconstructionist on Wed Dec 17, 2014 at 04:27:05 PM EST
     difference between government censorship and  the studio or the  theatre chains deciding not to show it.

      If I owned a theatre, my decisions on what movies to show would likely be based on what movies will make the most money. A movie that I have valid reason to believe might not only draw fewer people but would also lessen attendance at my other screens while increasing my security costs (and my exposure to potential liability)  is one I would probably exercise my personal right to give a pass.

       I'd also, factor in that even if the likelihood of something actually happening at my theatre might be low, the consequences if it did would be very high.  Running another movie instead is not being cowardly, it's being  a businessman.


    Agreed. let this movie go. (5.00 / 2) (#145)
    by KeysDan on Wed Dec 17, 2014 at 04:31:13 PM EST
    Pulling the movie at this point presents too many ramifications. particularly the danger of any determined group that dislikes a movie content.  That having been said, it is not hard to criticize both the movie and the studios.  The movie is probably the first to depict the killing of sitting world leader, comically or otherwise. Kim Jong-un is no American's poster boy, on any front, but blowing up his head is unfunny and not tactic in which to frolic with popcorn.

    The studio should have at least held the creative writers to a roman a clef.  And, of course, there are those principled reasons for pulling the movie--such as liability, law suits, undermining theater-going in favor of home viewing. And, of course, money.  


    We've got some free speech fundamentalism (none / 0) (#169)
    by jondee on Wed Dec 17, 2014 at 05:10:55 PM EST
    going on in this country that doesn't always harmonize with how things play out on the ground in the real world..

    I give you the thinking behind the ACLU's Citizens United stance for starters.

    Free Speech here, again, all too often is primarily the "speech" of the big donors, movie moguls, and the people who own the media.

    Lets not fantasize that everyone or every group "gets their say" in this country because we country supposedly value Freedom Of Expression. They don't -- unless some of them take to the streets.


    Well... (none / 0) (#80)
    by ScottW714 on Wed Dec 17, 2014 at 01:25:44 PM EST
    ...there is good evidence that they could go after them, and while I am not one to cower, believing that my personal emails and financials could be tampered with would have me second guessing how I handle a film, that in reality, has no redeemable value beyond making people laugh.

    Same with the theaters, they don't know what's out there for exposure should hackers decide they are next.  It's not like they are out their fighting for some ideological principles or humanitarian need, it's a dumb movie, more or less like 100 others released this year.


    Maybe just one dumb movie... (5.00 / 1) (#84)
    by kdog on Wed Dec 17, 2014 at 01:43:04 PM EST
    today, but if the threats work as intended, more threats will come.  I thought that was the logic behind refusing to negotiate with "terrorists"?

    Now I'm not opposed to negotiation per se, but I am opposed to cowering in the face of threats.  

    Not to be too hard on Seth & James...not my arse being threatened!  But I would hope I'd keep on keepin' on doing my thing.


    To Me It's... (5.00 / 1) (#97)
    by ScottW714 on Wed Dec 17, 2014 at 02:37:15 PM EST
    ...picking your battles, and locking down information because yes, if it works, it will happen again.  The hope would be in that future fight, you at least feel confident that your information is secure.  

    If you want to call not promoting a POS movie, cowering, go ahead, but standing up unprepared, just to say you stood up, isn't IMO the best plan and depending what is out there, could seriously effect their careers.  

    Give me something worth fighting for and I will fight.


    Not sure I follow... (5.00 / 1) (#103)
    by kdog on Wed Dec 17, 2014 at 02:55:17 PM EST
    Unprepared for what exactly?  Kim Jong Il stealing your credit card number and CCV code?  Hacking your emails?  

    Kim Jong Style: (5.00 / 1) (#121)
    by Mr Natural on Wed Dec 17, 2014 at 03:43:32 PM EST
    He's got the right body type.  Don't know if he can do the moves.

    lol; looks like somebody already thought of it.


    They've been doing promos (5.00 / 1) (#98)
    by nycstray on Wed Dec 17, 2014 at 02:39:44 PM EST
    I'm pretty sure saw them on one of the morning newstainment shows (I think that's where it was) earlier this week.

    Looks like the 4 largest theater chains are shutting the movie down. Stupid.


    Hard not to sympathize (none / 0) (#124)
    by CaptHowdy on Wed Dec 17, 2014 at 03:51:46 PM EST
    with the theaters.  So easy to make havoc.  Lots of crazy people.  But the can't bomb my cable box or DVD player.

    Hard to imagine a more obvious example of letting the terrorists win than not releasing this movie.  


    And it looks like that is happening (5.00 / 1) (#131)
    by nycstray on Wed Dec 17, 2014 at 04:06:43 PM EST
    Hard to imagine a more obvious example of letting the terrorists win than not releasing this movie.

    Personally, I think they should announce they are going forward with The Interview Part2 . . . while making The Interview free for everyone via the internet/broadcast TV or something. Early x-mas present from Sony . . .


    Sony has cancelled the Xmas (none / 0) (#163)
    by caseyOR on Wed Dec 17, 2014 at 04:51:17 PM EST
    release date for the movie. No idea if they are pulling it totally or just releasing on a later date.

    Sony cited the ongoing threats as the reason for not opening as scheduled.


    I'll have to let you know if I see them: (5.00 / 1) (#74)
    by Anne on Wed Dec 17, 2014 at 12:53:26 PM EST
    Billion Dollar Surveillance Blimp to Launch over Maryland

    In just a few days, the Army will launch the first of two massive blimps over Maryland, the last gasp of an 18-year-long $2.8-billion Army project intended to use giant airships to defend against cruise missiles.


    The project is called JLENS - or "Joint Land Attack Cruise Missile Defense Elevated Netted Sensor System." And you couldn't come up with a better metaphor for wildly inflated defense contracts, a ponderous Pentagon bureaucracy, and the U.S. surveillance leviathan all in one.

    Built by the Raytheon Company, the JLENS blimps operate as a pair. One provides omnipresent high-resolution 360-degree radar coverage up to 340 miles in any direction; the other can focus on specific threats and provide targeting information.

    Technically considered aerostats, since they are tethered to mooring stations, these lighter-than-air vehicles will hover at a height of 10,000 feet just off Interstate 95, about 45 miles northeast of Washington, D.C., and about 20 miles from Baltimore. That means they can watch what's happening from North Carolina to Boston, or an area the size of Texas.


    As soon the blimps are up, if you're driving on the interstate north of Baltimore, you won't be able to miss them. They are 80 yards long and their total volume is somewhere around 600,000 cubic feet. That's about the size of three Goodyear blimps. Or over 3,500 white elephants.

    Good god...

    - or containing the gas equivalent (5.00 / 5) (#77)
    by Mr Natural on Wed Dec 17, 2014 at 01:14:01 PM EST
    of 1 U.S. Senator.

    And they'll let you know... (5.00 / 1) (#78)
    by kdog on Wed Dec 17, 2014 at 01:17:57 PM EST
    when they see you...or not.  Probably not;)

    Holy crap (5.00 / 1) (#79)
    by sj on Wed Dec 17, 2014 at 01:21:35 PM EST
    I got out of Baltimore at the right time I guess.

    Yeesh! (5.00 / 2) (#87)
    by Zorba on Wed Dec 17, 2014 at 02:06:06 PM EST
    And $2.8 billion.
    Our tax dollars at work.  

    Very disappointed by the photo of the blimp (5.00 / 3) (#129)
    by Mr Natural on Wed Dec 17, 2014 at 04:04:18 PM EST
    I was so hoping for a Victoriana gondola, a catwalk in the sky, manned by gun-bra-ed Lady Gagas, a Steampunk panopticon.

    Wonder what will happen when some airplane (5.00 / 2) (#143)
    by fishcamp on Wed Dec 17, 2014 at 04:27:32 PM EST
    clips that 10,000' cable.  We have a smaller version of that down here in the lower keys named "Fat Albert."  It's on a 2,000' cable and has been hit twice, that I know of.  Classicaly it's at the end of Blimp Road, and has a small boat, launch ramp adjacent.  The whole affair is in the back of a big pickup truck, and can be wound down to change the computer chips, lenses, and other secret stuff.

    fish (none / 0) (#170)
    by CoralGables on Wed Dec 17, 2014 at 05:15:34 PM EST
    Didn't Albert get retired early last year? Or did the Feds decide to prop that puppy up? If it's gone, you really must explore more of the Keys than just your slice of paradise.

    Oh (none / 0) (#95)
    by CaptHowdy on Wed Dec 17, 2014 at 02:31:49 PM EST
    the humanity!!

    Love this part (none / 0) (#172)
    by CaptHowdy on Wed Dec 17, 2014 at 05:21:37 PM EST
    In just a few days, the Army will launch the first of two massive blimps over Maryland, the last gasp of an 18-year-long $2.8-billion Army project intended to use giant airships to defend against cruise missiles.

    And while the blimps may never stave off a barrage of enemy missiles, their ability to spot and track cars, trucks and boats hundreds of miles away is raising serious privacy concerns.

    Cars trucks and boats could have missiles, right?


    Props to TL - Cuba (5.00 / 2) (#120)
    by Slado on Wed Dec 17, 2014 at 03:40:47 PM EST
    Interesting that we at TL had a lengthy debate and discussion of Cuba a week or so ago that was for me one of the most interesting and educational I can remember in a while in terms of the links and opinions that were put forward.

    Maybe Obama was reading it?

    Also props to my guy the Pope for helping put this deal together.

    I support Obama fully but worry about follow through.  I will give him a chance to start turning things around and hope he works with congress to reform the embargo so we can actually make a difference.  

    The question I have is (none / 0) (#135)
    by fishcamp on Wed Dec 17, 2014 at 04:12:40 PM EST
    will we use the same embassy building we built back in the day.  It's still new looking, but I'm sure it's riddled with microphones and all types of bugs imbedded in the cement.  The Russian Embassy building is a huge, cement onion dome, that we used  as a trolling marker for marlin fishing.  The other end of the run was the huge soccer stadium.  The water drops off thousands of feet very close to shore.  I could envision our first embassy being a Naval ship close to shore.  Many ships have to wait offshore, before they can enter the tiny, narrow, curvy Havana harbor, to off load their goods.

    Exonerated After Execution (5.00 / 2) (#122)
    by ScottW714 on Wed Dec 17, 2014 at 03:45:13 PM EST
    Seventy years after South Carolina executed a 14-year-old boy so small he sat on a phone book in the electric chair, a circuit court judge threw out his murder conviction.
    Stinney was put on trial and then executed within three months of the killings. His trial lasted three hours, and a jury of 12 white men took 10 minutes to find him guilty.


    America: Love it or Die Trying... (none / 0) (#133)
    by Mr Natural on Wed Dec 17, 2014 at 04:09:07 PM EST
    your link is missing (none / 0) (#140)
    by sj on Wed Dec 17, 2014 at 04:17:48 PM EST
    pretty much everthing :) I think you forgot to paste?

    Try (5.00 / 1) (#144)
    by Zorba on Wed Dec 17, 2014 at 04:27:58 PM EST
    Speaking of the Interview/Sony Hack (5.00 / 1) (#134)
    by CST on Wed Dec 17, 2014 at 04:10:08 PM EST
    Is anyone else a bit surprised that North Korea has friends with this kind of capability?

    I question if they have anything at (none / 0) (#139)
    by nycstray on Wed Dec 17, 2014 at 04:16:01 PM EST
    all to do with NK . . . and I think we will find out soon . . . .

    It looks like whoever it was (none / 0) (#141)
    by CaptHowdy on Wed Dec 17, 2014 at 04:21:11 PM EST
    they had some "inside" help.  Or so they say.   The back story is going to be the great movie.

    I would too (none / 0) (#146)
    by CST on Wed Dec 17, 2014 at 04:32:25 PM EST
    but then why on earth is there such outrage over the Interview?  What a meaningless film to flip out over.

    I mean unless this is some crazy evil plot by Will Farrell to destroy his comedic competition - I just don't get it.


    Maybe the intent was just to eff with Sony (5.00 / 1) (#156)
    by nycstray on Wed Dec 17, 2014 at 04:42:08 PM EST
    and NK was already in the mix, so why not have a bit of 'fun'? Especially with the American media in the mix . . .

    I don't really know, but this just feels off as a 'terror' issue to me.


    I think it's definitely terror (none / 0) (#157)
    by CaptHowdy on Wed Dec 17, 2014 at 04:43:23 PM EST
    maybe not international terror

    I dunno, hacker boys are (5.00 / 1) (#164)
    by nycstray on Wed Dec 17, 2014 at 04:52:51 PM EST
    a different breed . . . I really hope we don't start referring to hacking as terrorism (and the US Gov steps in in 5 . . 4 . . . 3 . . .)

    Hmmm (none / 0) (#167)
    by CaptHowdy on Wed Dec 17, 2014 at 05:00:08 PM EST
    see below.  On one level I agree of course.  On another hacker boys could crash our economy, launch missiles, cause nuclear meltdown etc etc.  the list of the damage that can be done through the tubes is really almost limitless.

    I think (none / 0) (#158)
    by CST on Wed Dec 17, 2014 at 04:43:37 PM EST
    I've just convinced myself this is an evil plot by Will Ferrell and we're all missing it.

    Honestly that probably makes more sense than anything else at this point.


    On terror (none / 0) (#160)
    by CaptHowdy on Wed Dec 17, 2014 at 04:46:18 PM EST
    actually it might be a wake up call.  People in fields like mine, or my ole one, have been saying for a long time that if you really want to grab us by the short hairs forget dirty bombs and suicide bombers.  You can do this from your moms basement.
    Look at the havoc they caused on one movie company.

    Just heard (none / 0) (#150)
    by CaptHowdy on Wed Dec 17, 2014 at 04:34:24 PM EST
    no theatrical release

    That's what I was responding to earlier (none / 0) (#159)
    by nycstray on Wed Dec 17, 2014 at 04:43:44 PM EST
    to you. It popped up on my FB feed of all places :P

    Ha (none / 0) (#161)
    by CaptHowdy on Wed Dec 17, 2014 at 04:48:54 PM EST
    same here.  I really like your idea of a Christmas present to the world and a big FU to the bad guys.

    Seriously! (none / 0) (#166)
    by nycstray on Wed Dec 17, 2014 at 04:59:24 PM EST
    It's a DawgD@mn MOVIE. One you go see with your effed up family after you are all sick of each other on x-mas day. If you've ingested enough nogg, you just might think it's funny :P

    The rest of the hack isn't so funny for those involved, but if folks didn't see this coming, they sure must be stuck in the 90s. And the folks at SONY seem to have forgotten the golden rule of email, don't put sh!t in an email you don't want the world to read . . . ya know, it's not PRIVATE or CONFIDENTIAL.


    I predict they will not forget again (none / 0) (#168)
    by CaptHowdy on Wed Dec 17, 2014 at 05:01:52 PM EST
    Gas 1.98 a gal Today (5.00 / 2) (#185)
    by CaptHowdy on Wed Dec 17, 2014 at 06:01:01 PM EST
    merry Christmas !!

    It's Obama's fault (none / 0) (#194)
    by CoralGables on Wed Dec 17, 2014 at 06:21:32 PM EST
    because he won't allow drilling (5.00 / 2) (#196)
    by jondee on Wed Dec 17, 2014 at 06:27:11 PM EST
    in the not-yet-privatized National Parks

    There's a lot of information about it on the radio.


    Very funny today after I filled up (5.00 / 2) (#199)
    by CaptHowdy on Wed Dec 17, 2014 at 06:29:21 PM EST
    i dropped by my sisters house.  My pudgy nephew and his father were there, they always seem to be,  and this time it was my turn to shout from the upper driveway-



    One other thought on the hack (5.00 / 1) (#209)
    by CaptHowdy on Wed Dec 17, 2014 at 07:15:09 PM EST
    and the vulnerability of our whole society, defense, power grids and infrastructure, financial systems-
    As a person who knows hackers the thing that scares me is that the people who do this, the people who are the best at doing this and understanding how to stop it do and will not ever work for the government.
    It's just a fact. It's the nature of the beast. Anyone who thinks a suit in a govt office is going to protect you from these guys is sadly misguided.
    A quote from a bad movie that is correct and cautionary-

    Taz 'Rat' Finch: How many languages do you speak?
    Dr. Conrad Zimsky: Five, actually.
    Taz 'Rat' Finch: Well, I speak one... One Zero One Zero Zero. With that I could steal your money, your secrets, your sexual fantasies, your whole life. Any country, any place, any time I want. We multitask like you breathe. I couldn't think as slow as you if I tried.

    I'm on (none / 0) (#3)
    by lentinel on Wed Dec 17, 2014 at 08:18:10 AM EST
    a list that sends out periodic emails touting miracle cures.

    Every one of them, without exception, tells the beleaguered reader that a natural substance is available that will cure you-name-it without side effects. This is something, it chastens me, that my doctor will never tell me about.

    So far so good, I suppose.

    But then, it goes on to say that they will tell me this miracle cure, made of things you would find around the house or in the refrigerator, or the vitamin shop - if I send them $59,99 (special price - usually $149.95) to buy their pamphlet and get their newsletter.

    I translate this to be:

    "Sure. We can save your life, you dumb mthafka, but you gotta shell out the cash or you can just drop the fk dead. Have a nice day."

    Yeah. I know. People got to make a living.

    My hero.

    Federal judge in Pittsburgh (none / 0) (#5)
    by jbindc on Wed Dec 17, 2014 at 08:34:56 AM EST
    Rules Obama's 4-week old immigration policy is unconstitutional.

    A federal judge in Pittsburgh, in the first court ruling on President Obama's new policy on undocumented immigrants, ruled on Tuesday that, because the president had no authority to act alone, the policy is unconstitutional.   If that part of the ruling by U.S. District Judge Arthur J. Schwab survives further review in lower courts, the issue could go to the Supreme Court much earlier than expected.

    Although the judge flatly declared the November orders by the president and other U.S. officials to be unconstitutional, he did not bar the policy's continued enforcement and, in fact, set up additional steps he plans to take in a pending case on the alternative view that the policy may actually be valid.


    Instead of being a form of case-by-case judgment about which individuals are to be deported, Judge Schwab found, the policy "provides a systematic and rigid process by which a broad group of individuals will be treated differently than others based upon arbitrary classifications."  Rejecting the government's claim that the policy only delays deportation and does not create any new legal rights for those who benefit from it, the judge declared that the policy provides those who qualify with "substantive rights."

    He ultimately concluded: "President Obama's unilateral legislative action violates the separation of powers provided for in the United States Constitution as well as the Take Care Clause, and, therefore, is unconstitutional."

    Given that neither side in this case, ... (5.00 / 2) (#44)
    by Donald from Hawaii on Wed Dec 17, 2014 at 11:43:39 AM EST
    ... in which an earlier deportee was charged with illegal re-entry into the United States, was challenging any provision of President Obama's executive action, Judge Schwab's unilateral decision to strike it down from the bench is extraordinary. And from this layman's perspective, his rationale for having done so appears to be rather a stretch. Further, he took it upon himself to issue this particular ruling without ever having held a hearing on the matter.

    In light of his conduct of this current case, of course it naturally follows that Schwab is no stranger to personal controversy, having either been removed by a higher court or compelled to recuse himself numerous times from cases before him, amid repeated and multiple accusations of bias. His impartiality and judicial temperament have also been repeatedly questioned in judicial surveys from the recent past, so we'll see what happens here.



    A number of articles on this W. Bush appointee (5.00 / 1) (#64)
    by christinep on Wed Dec 17, 2014 at 12:25:50 PM EST
    Judge Schwab, as a quick scan of the references coming up under his name does seem to have his run-ins with the Third Circuit (in terms of removal from cases), numerous recusals for claimed bias, and all-around politicization of process.  Perhaps, this is an outlier, jbindc?

    I think so too (none / 0) (#67)
    by jbindc on Wed Dec 17, 2014 at 12:32:00 PM EST
    I think he's looking to pick a fight.

    Obama seems to be moving (none / 0) (#8)
    by CaptHowdy on Wed Dec 17, 2014 at 09:03:54 AM EST
    on Cuba.  Alan Gross respleased in exchange for some Cuban prisoners.  Kerry instructed to look at other things they can do.

    Alan Gross (none / 0) (#9)
    by CaptHowdy on Wed Dec 17, 2014 at 09:12:13 AM EST
    To be clear (none / 0) (#17)
    by CaptHowdy on Wed Dec 17, 2014 at 10:02:56 AM EST
    they are saying the Cubans were exchanged for a U.S. intelligence asset not Gross.

    Cuba .... and what a stunner! (none / 0) (#42)
    by christinep on Wed Dec 17, 2014 at 11:42:17 AM EST
    For those of you who heard the President's comments carried on all networks in the past hour ... I wonder if you all experienced the same sense of real progress as I did.  Tellingly, a portion of his remarks pointedly noted that when 50+ years of the isolation policy that we solely have pursued hasn't changed human rights policy, etc., in Cuba, that reason would indicate that continued application of what-may-once-have-been-a-well-intentioned policy won't advance the situation in future.  He also pointed out our efforts and some successes in moving forward with a more open policy & interaction with Vietnam and China as examples of growing relationships.

    Certainly, this international shift will bring both the good and the bad of $$$$ driven economy. Yet, it also signals the final act of the Cold War and the rigid trappings it wrought.

    Oh--and, the President thanked Pope Francis for his personal intercession with Cuba. (And, he thanked the Canadian government as well.)  Pope Francis sure has been busy ... in a very, very good way!

    Tidbit: The 45 minute call between President Obama & President Raul Castro yesterday was the first personal contact between Presidents of the two countries in more than 50 years.  

    Lame duck??? Hoo ha.  Hardly.

    I think they'd benefit greatly if Cuba were to become a US Territory like Puerto Rico.

    Just make Cuba the 51st State... (none / 0) (#100)
    by unitron on Wed Dec 17, 2014 at 02:41:50 PM EST
    ...there's nothing in The Constitution that says Congress has to have the agreement of anyone living there to do it, so just declare it to be so and let the Cuban people take it from there.

    But I'd think them far too proud to put up with going from independent nation to mere territory of Yankee Imperialism.


    That Would Make the Constiutuion... (5.00 / 1) (#117)
    by ScottW714 on Wed Dec 17, 2014 at 03:34:14 PM EST
    ...applicable to GITMO.  Or so we are told that is why people at GITMO don't have any rights.

    If they don't want it I agree. (none / 0) (#112)
    by sarcastic unnamed one on Wed Dec 17, 2014 at 03:18:12 PM EST
    If they do, considering all the familial ties that exist between the two nations, and the apparent mutual benefits that could come from it, I'd support it.

    Shouldn't be a shocker (none / 0) (#86)
    by CoralGables on Wed Dec 17, 2014 at 01:54:52 PM EST
    Obama took this stance during the 2008 primary debates.

    In reference to Cuba:

    I support the eventual normalization. And it's absolutely true that I think our policy has been a failure. During my entire lifetime, Cuba has been isolated, but has not made progress when it comes to the issues of political rights and personal freedoms. So I think that we have to shift policy. I think our goal has to be ultimately normalization. But that's going to happen in steps.

    And now for something (none / 0) (#43)
    by Zorba on Wed Dec 17, 2014 at 11:42:28 AM EST
    Completely different.

    POCATELLO -- Police fatally shot a 1,000-pound cow Friday afternoon that had led them on a lengthy chase through the city's north side.

    The heifer eventually died after being shot by a Pocatello police officer in the backyard of a residence at Henderson and Jessie Clark lanes around 1:30 p.m.

    Police had shot the animal earlier in the pursuit but the wounded cow kept running.

    Pocatello Police Chief Scott Marchand said the two shots his officers took at the cow were fired because of the safety risk the animal posed.

    During the pursuit, the cow rammed a Pocatello animal control truck and two police cars in residential neighborhoods.

    The heifer also nearly caused motor vehicle accidents on Hawthorne Road and had run through a playground. Police felt like the animal might trample someone as it charged through the residential neighborhoods on the city's north side.

    The cow had jumped a six-foot fence at a meat processor to escape.   Link.

    Two days later, four more cows escaped from the same processor, although not because they jumped the fence.  

    The first escape is more impressive.  A six-foot fence is quite a high one for a half-ton cow to jump over.
    Angus cattle are well-known as jumpers, but this cow does not look like an Angus, at least, not a pure-bred one.

    I lived in Pocatello, back in the day. (none / 0) (#50)
    by sarcastic unnamed one on Wed Dec 17, 2014 at 11:52:30 AM EST
    I don't think it's widely understood how beautiful this part of the US is...

    You lived in Pocatello sarc? (none / 0) (#55)
    by fishcamp on Wed Dec 17, 2014 at 12:09:35 PM EST
    Good grief man, I'v been there several times, but we always scooted through on our way to some ski race.  Union Pacific railroad passes through Pocatello, so there are good Chinese restaurants, like all railroad cities.  Can't say I remember much else.  We were always in a hurry to get to Sun Valley and ski fast.

    I spent a summer there. (none / 0) (#61)
    by sarcastic unnamed one on Wed Dec 17, 2014 at 12:16:51 PM EST
    I'd drive to work each day along the rolling hills and farms and think there's a 100 calendar photos on my ride to work alone. Regretfully, I worked so much I spent too little time chasing the feesh there...

    It's (none / 0) (#51)
    by CaptHowdy on Wed Dec 17, 2014 at 11:53:08 AM EST
    Bessie's Run

    Go Bessie!


    Damn (none / 0) (#53)
    by CaptHowdy on Wed Dec 17, 2014 at 11:54:30 AM EST
    wrong link

    Stupid iPad


    LOL! (none / 0) (#54)
    by Zorba on Wed Dec 17, 2014 at 12:06:09 PM EST
    And for those who think of cows as slow, plodding creatures who can't run very fast, let me say that yes, they can run pretty fast when they get up a head of steam.    ;-)

    Apperences can be deceiving (none / 0) (#58)
    by Mordiggian 88 on Wed Dec 17, 2014 at 12:12:16 PM EST
    Apperences can be deceiving (none / 0) (#59)
    by Mordiggian 88 on Wed Dec 17, 2014 at 12:12:16 PM EST
    We had a steer galloping through the (none / 0) (#65)
    by Anne on Wed Dec 17, 2014 at 12:26:30 PM EST
    streets of downtown Baltimore in June - it escaped from a slaughterhouse.

    One can see a lot of strange things in the city, but an almost-800 lb animal running loose is a whole new level of "unexpected."


    I have a minor (none / 0) (#70)
    by Zorba on Wed Dec 17, 2014 at 12:46:10 PM EST
    editorial quibble about the article.  It said "A bull escaped," although later stating that it was a steer.
    A steer is not a bull.  A bull is, shall I say, "intact."
    Most male beef cattle are castrated when they are young, becoming steers, and never having a chance to become bulls.
    Having participated many times in the past in the castration of our male calves, I am more than aware of what the difference is.   ;-)
    Be that as it may, I'm sure that a member of the cattle species running through a city must have caused quite a bit of consternation, as it did in Pocatello.
    Gives a whole new meaning to the phrase "Run for your life," even though the animals were not ultimately successful.

    I watched a vet do that to a horse (none / 0) (#76)
    by Mr Natural on Wed Dec 17, 2014 at 01:12:21 PM EST
    when I was young.  Not something a boy forgets.

    Colts are generally (none / 0) (#82)
    by Zorba on Wed Dec 17, 2014 at 01:34:14 PM EST
    surgically castrated, involving a veterinarian.
    Male calves are very often elastrated, no veterinarian and associated expenses needed.
    We used an elastrator.  Look it up (although a warning to men, it still is cringe-inducing for most).  It basically involves an instrument that places a sturdy elastic band around the base of the scrotum, denying the blood supply, numbing the area, and eventually causing the testicles to die and fall off.
    Mr. Zorba wielded the elastrator, and I wielded a cattle cane with which to ward off the calves' mothers, who were, as you might expect, upset that their offspring were being restrained.

    I saw those when I was in the (none / 0) (#91)
    by Mordiggian 88 on Wed Dec 17, 2014 at 02:15:52 PM EST
    5th grade, the ones used for boars.  

    We Used a Crimper... (none / 0) (#92)
    by ScottW714 on Wed Dec 17, 2014 at 02:19:40 PM EST
    ...or whatever it was called.  It's not traumatic in that there is about a quarter of an inch gap when it's fully closed.  The idea is to cut the blood vessels, so over time, without blood, they would shrivel up and fall off.  There is no blood and I would imagine the pain they feel is similar to when kids twist skin, aka snake bite.

    The hard part if getting them into the stanchion, which they hated, because that is what was used given them their yearly maintenance, like giant pills and some sort of powder to their coats.  I also remember giving the a magnet for their stomach, but not sure why.


    It's a burdizzo (none / 0) (#105)
    by Zorba on Wed Dec 17, 2014 at 03:02:41 PM EST
    We decided to use an elastrator because you can use that when the calves are even younger, birth to about 3 weeks of age.  With the burdizzo, they have to be around a month old or more, when the spermatic cord is able to be palpated.
    Our calves were a few days old when we elastrated them, little enough that we didn't need to use our stanchion.  Mr. Zorba just grabbed them, tipped them over, held them down and slipped on the elastic.

    Cattle are done younger (none / 0) (#83)
    by Militarytracy on Wed Dec 17, 2014 at 01:36:39 PM EST
    Because you want them to put on extra weight after being castrated, you want their developmental growth to change.  It is a different goal with horses.  You only want to do this with a horse after they have reached maturity, usually a year and a half to three years of age.  I watched cowboys castrate three horses, one that was over the age of three but all close to three, and all of them a horrible fight.  I think I'm scarred for life from it.  But when not gelded, a ranch full of stallions is a terrible mess, fences torn down and horses injuring each other. Some horses can remain ungelded and rideable, and some aren't and can become pretty savage and even a little dangerous.

    Yes, exactly (none / 0) (#90)
    by Zorba on Wed Dec 17, 2014 at 02:10:03 PM EST
    Calves are castrated when very, very little.
    BTW, a ranch or farm full of bulls would not be a picnic, either.

    Pulllleeeez (5.00 / 2) (#94)
    by CaptHowdy on Wed Dec 17, 2014 at 02:30:45 PM EST
    change the subject so I can uncross my legs

    Howdy, here's the last one, (5.00 / 2) (#106)
    by fishcamp on Wed Dec 17, 2014 at 03:05:53 PM EST
    back in Colorado we used to have nut fries regularly...tasty.

    Mountain oysters. (5.00 / 1) (#107)
    by sarcastic unnamed one on Wed Dec 17, 2014 at 03:07:21 PM EST
    They were neither as bad (5.00 / 1) (#110)
    by CST on Wed Dec 17, 2014 at 03:15:34 PM EST
    as I expected them to be nor as good as I was hoping they'd be.

    The texture was off-putting to me. (none / 0) (#113)
    by sarcastic unnamed one on Wed Dec 17, 2014 at 03:19:40 PM EST
    maybe it's just where we got them (none / 0) (#114)
    by CST on Wed Dec 17, 2014 at 03:23:03 PM EST
    I was at a steakhouse in Texas where the steak was better than anything I'd eaten all year, and the "novelty" of some overly deepfried chewy meatballs didn't go very far.

    Bleh (none / 0) (#195)
    by Militarytracy on Wed Dec 17, 2014 at 06:26:55 PM EST
    We did put them in the fire and cooked them a bit in a pile.  But the dogs ate them.

    Subjective fish (none / 0) (#118)
    by CaptHowdy on Wed Dec 17, 2014 at 03:37:43 PM EST
    i was talked into trying one (once) I thought it was pretty revolting.  Just below chicken gizzards on my list

    It's quite a bit different (5.00 / 2) (#125)
    by fishcamp on Wed Dec 17, 2014 at 03:54:53 PM EST
    when you're out on the range, and they're real fresh, and have a bottle of Jack Daniels being passed around.

    Remember where I live (5.00 / 1) (#127)
    by CaptHowdy on Wed Dec 17, 2014 at 03:58:04 PM EST
    i saw them removed.  They were pretty fresh.  As far as the Jack.  Probably make anything passable.

    I'll just have a grilled cheese, thanks.


    As a point of reference, (5.00 / 1) (#130)
    by MO Blue on Wed Dec 17, 2014 at 04:04:39 PM EST
    how long after the bottle of Jack started its rounds, were these "delicacies" eaten? ;o)

    'till everything was gone... (none / 0) (#136)
    by fishcamp on Wed Dec 17, 2014 at 04:14:01 PM EST
    Sorry, Howdy (none / 0) (#109)
    by Zorba on Wed Dec 17, 2014 at 03:12:38 PM EST

    You can have more than one bull (none / 0) (#198)
    by Militarytracy on Wed Dec 17, 2014 at 06:28:54 PM EST
    In a herd of cattle, that is a no go in a horse herd.

    Ascension (none / 0) (#57)
    by CaptHowdy on Wed Dec 17, 2014 at 12:11:39 PM EST
    plugging this one more time while there is still time to catch all three episodes tonight in SiFi.  It's really really good.   It's taking the FX route of viewer discretion warnings for sex, language and violence.   If the release date allows for it I will be surprised it it doesn't show up on some awards lists.

    Forbes -

    Review: Syfy's 'Ascension' is Great Television

    Syfy's a network that's in the middle of a struggle. For most of recent memory, the Universal owned cable network's been working to promote a family friendly image with shows such as Eureka and Warehouse 13. While working initially, the direction failed to attract new viewers once those series came to a close, and it's this ratings downturn that's led the genre station back to its roots. Starting in 2015, Syfy plans to get back to the ideals of its namesake with hard science fiction, however it seems the powers that be aren't too keen on waiting until January to get things rolling if their new series Ascension has anything to say about it.


    The jan series 12 Monkeys and Helix also look very promising.

    North Korea did it (none / 0) (#177)
    by CaptHowdy on Wed Dec 17, 2014 at 05:29:40 PM EST
    So "Guardians of Peace" (5.00 / 1) (#181)
    by nycstray on Wed Dec 17, 2014 at 05:47:30 PM EST
    are threatening terror attacks on behalf on NK? The whole thing still doesn't work for me . . .

    I wonder who is/was contracted to carry out the actual attacks on the theaters? Seriously . . .

    Sounds like something Sony/Marvel or WB/DC would cook up as a movie plot . . . Supercyber heroes and all (WB/DC brat here ;) )


    Honestly (5.00 / 1) (#183)
    by CaptHowdy on Wed Dec 17, 2014 at 05:54:00 PM EST
    thats close to what I expected.  Korea would have someone else do it.  I expected Russia or Chechnya or someplace like that.
    they said there had to be an insider at some point.  Very curious who that might be.  I hope they are safely in Chechnya or wherever by now.  For their sake.

    Or China (none / 0) (#184)
    by CaptHowdy on Wed Dec 17, 2014 at 05:58:42 PM EST
    left out China.  I never believed the theater attacks.   The Fatherland Security people have said there was no indication of that.  I'm of the naive opinion that if a terrorist suspect scratches their butt any where on the globe they know which cheek.

    The theater attacks/threats (5.00 / 1) (#187)
    by nycstray on Wed Dec 17, 2014 at 06:07:35 PM EST
    are what put it over the top for me. I still can't believe "we' fell for it . . .

    I agree with the knowing about any attacks, especially since "we" like to help set them up to catch them . . . :P


    It seemed pretty obvious (none / 0) (#188)
    by CaptHowdy on Wed Dec 17, 2014 at 06:15:02 PM EST
    although that could have been a distraction, that from their warnings and threats english was not their first language.  And likely not even their first alphabet.  

    I suspect that Sony already knew this before their announcement earlier.  It pains me to say but no theatrical release seems prudent.  Hard to say it's worth anyone getting hurt even it it was unlikely.  But they said no THEATRICAL release.

    I think anyone who wants to see this will still be able to.  And lots of people will.


    Hey, I think we can all do (none / 0) (#191)
    by nycstray on Wed Dec 17, 2014 at 06:19:55 PM EST
    English is not my native tongue emails by now ;)

    Oh lordy, the news is on . . . "the terror threat" . . . "unprecedented action by Sony" . . .


    Seriously though remember this (5.00 / 2) (#201)
    by CaptHowdy on Wed Dec 17, 2014 at 06:34:36 PM EST
    Removing Sony Pictures on earth is a very tiny work for our group which is a worldwide organization. And what we have done so far is only a small part of our further plan. It's your false if you think this crisis will be over after some time. All hope will leave you and Sony Pictures will collapse. This situation is only due to Sony Pictures. Sony Pictures is responsible for whatever the result is. Sony Pictures clings to what is good to nobody from the beginning. It's silly to expect in Sony Pictures to take off us. Sony Pictures makes only useless efforts. One beside you can be our member.

    Many things beyond imagination will happen at many places of the world. Our agents find themselves act in necessary places. Please sign your name to object the false of the company at the email address below if you don't want to suffer damage. If you don't, not only you but your family will be in danger.

    I mean damn
    You are a hacker.  Don't you have phuckng google translate ?


    On second thought (none / 0) (#204)
    by CaptHowdy on Wed Dec 17, 2014 at 06:35:44 PM EST
    may e they did and that's the problem

    Is google translate the same (none / 0) (#205)
    by nycstray on Wed Dec 17, 2014 at 06:40:42 PM EST
    as what FB uses? That reads like the translations in my FB Dalmatian group. They say the funniest things about their Dals . .  :P

    Sort of upset they are now saying (none / 0) (#206)
    by Militarytracy on Wed Dec 17, 2014 at 06:42:56 PM EST
    The movie is being pulled because of threats to movie goers.  We were going on Christmas.  Since our soldier just returned from Korea it is a comedy that sort of fit into our current life.  We have to be some sort of precious rarity though.  North Korea does understand that this is a comedy right?  Not a drama, not a documentary.

    Single payer is off the table (none / 0) (#203)
    by Politalkix on Wed Dec 17, 2014 at 06:34:58 PM EST
    If single payer is off the table in Vermont (possibly our most lefty state), what chance did it have nationally?

    Awsum (none / 0) (#211)
    by CaptHowdy on Wed Dec 17, 2014 at 07:49:35 PM EST
    Yman, your claim rings untrue (none / 0) (#212)
    by jimakaPPJ on Wed Dec 17, 2014 at 10:45:22 PM EST
    No results found for "Kill everyone who is where the weapons are Men women and children too" site:www.talkleft.com.

    You wrote the following (none / 0) (#213)
    by Mordiggian 88 on Thu Dec 18, 2014 at 12:13:25 AM EST
    some time ago:

    Sadly, yes. (1.00 / 4) (#90)
    by jimakaPPJ on Tue Jul 29, 2014 at 10:16:46 AM EST
    Kill everyone who is where the weapons are.
    Men, women and children too.

    And when Hamas stops the rockets and leaves let me know.

    I'd tell you how I found it, but it should be easy for any techie to figure out on their own.

    CG, IIRC, Fat Albert went from (none / 0) (#214)
    by fishcamp on Thu Dec 18, 2014 at 07:50:39 AM EST
    the DEA to Homeland Security, in an overnight switch out of equipment.  There are many of these small blimps along our Mexican/American border, and a few in the Caribbean.  I'll call my buddy in Cudjoe Key and see if fatty is still up there.