TalkLeft Turns 15 Today and Open Thread

Three weeks ago I wrote that Talkleft's 15th birthday is coming up and I was weighing whether to keep blogging. TalkLeft's official birthday is today: I launched this blog on June 15, 2002-- and have written on it almost every day since then.

Thanks to the many kind responses (and several donations) I received, I've decided to keep going. I think there is a lot to talk about, and that these are such scary times, we all need a place to vent.

I also want to thank every one who has taken the time to read a page, post a comment, given us a news tip, linked to TalkLeft, donated dollars and befriended us.

If you missed donating a few weeks ago, and appreciate Talkleft's longstanding and continued existence, and the effort that goes into my researching and writing, or just want to buy me a birthday drink, donations are very much appreciated. [More...]

For those who don't like paypal, here's my snailmail address.

This is an open thread, all topics welcome.

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    Happy Birthday Talk Left, (5.00 / 5) (#1)
    by KeysDan on Thu Jun 15, 2017 at 03:07:29 PM EST
    and, thanks to Jeralyn for its past, present and continued bright future.

    "I will have the best people." (5.00 / 1) (#2)
    by KeysDan on Thu Jun 15, 2017 at 04:05:56 PM EST
    Trump nominee, John Kenneth Bush, for judge of Sixth Court of Appeals, has been a secret blogger of  toxic political rants.

     For the past ten years, Bush has written blog posts that spread fake news (e.g. birtherism) and hateful discourse (e.g, slavery/abortion, anti-gay slurs/positions).  Senator Al Franken's questioning during Judiciary Committee hearings uncovered Bush's poor judgment which does not augur well for his judging on any court, including a food court.

    best is a relative term (none / 0) (#3)
    by CaptHowdy on Thu Jun 15, 2017 at 05:46:54 PM EST
    at best.
    Pence lawyers up

    Trump can take credit for full employment of DC lawyers.


    Not to mention literary agents (5.00 / 1) (#12)
    by Anne on Fri Jun 16, 2017 at 11:34:15 AM EST
    and publishing houses...I can't even imagine how many books will be written about all of this...

    Took your advice (none / 0) (#8)
    by MKS on Thu Jun 15, 2017 at 10:11:53 PM EST
    Am watching Leftovers from Season One and really like it.  Halfway through Season One.  Binge watching is a beautiful thing.  Every episode has at least one scene that is so absurdly comical.  

    I think I initially confused the Leftovers with the Evangelical Left Behind series.  I was once in a Costco and a lady told me the Left Behind books were really true, based on the Bible.  So, I bought the first book in the series.  I was aghast.  It was written on a Second Grade level and only had the vaguest connection to Revelations, which was really about the oppression of Rome imo.  This was the intellectual basis of Evangelical thought and it was vapid and stupid.  


    ha (none / 0) (#11)
    by CaptHowdy on Fri Jun 16, 2017 at 09:31:29 AM EST
    no relation.

    i think its in at least the 5 best things ever on the toob.

    one thing to notice.

    the theme music and credits.
    very somber and beautiful 1st season.  upbeat and interesting in the second.  both are great  but the contrast of the "feeling" of the two is striking.

    but the 3rd season used the graphics from the second season and different music every week.  finishing with the second season music for the finale and the original music for the 1st season for the one before.

    i thought that was an interesting chice.

    just when you think you know where its going it goes someplace totally different.


    Mimi Leder (none / 0) (#35)
    by MKS on Fri Jun 16, 2017 at 06:55:48 PM EST
    is the Director so far.  I really like her other work...she has a good sense of people and relationships....and corny as it may sound believes people can be good.

    Thank god the first season ended with Justin Theroux, he of constantly perplexed expression, taking in the black shepherd and Nora finding the baby.  A little hope.....


    Season 2 (none / 0) (#37)
    by CaptHowdy on Fri Jun 16, 2017 at 07:15:16 PM EST
    Is a little more "up beat".  Reflected well in the credits I think.

    that was the mistake I made and did not (none / 0) (#19)
    by ruffian on Fri Jun 16, 2017 at 03:50:54 PM EST
    watch it from he beginning either. So glad I caught on. It is wonderful and gets more thought provoking as it goes on, right down to the very last few minutes of the series. Beautiful.

    the Presidential Biometrics (none / 0) (#22)
    by CaptHowdy on Fri Jun 16, 2017 at 04:21:17 PM EST
    in the finale was worth watching the whole series for.  

    Might have been (none / 0) (#24)
    by CaptHowdy on Fri Jun 16, 2017 at 04:54:49 PM EST
    The penultimate episode.  I think it was.

    Yeah, I think so! Agreed though. (none / 0) (#25)
    by ruffian on Fri Jun 16, 2017 at 05:04:47 PM EST
    That and the scene with the naked running guy launching the missile. Amazing.

    Two things about the biometrics (none / 0) (#28)
    by CaptHowdy on Fri Jun 16, 2017 at 05:20:09 PM EST
    One, the size of the scanner.

    The other is that when an Australian says "that word", the thing scanned, it's just funny.  


    "I've decided to keep going" (5.00 / 4) (#4)
    by desertswine on Thu Jun 15, 2017 at 05:58:38 PM EST
    Well that's good news.

    Apropos of state attorneys general suing (5.00 / 1) (#5)
    by Peter G on Thu Jun 15, 2017 at 07:40:29 PM EST
    to restrain unlawful Presidential action, I came upon a passage from the Federalist Papers that resonated:
    It may safely be received as an axiom in our political system, that the State governments will, in all possible contingencies, afford complete security against invasions of the public liberty by the national authority. ... They can discover the danger at a distance; and possessing all the organs of civil power, and the confidence of the people, they can at once adopt a regular plan of opposition, in which they can combine all the resources of the community. They can readily communicate with each other in the different States, and unite their common forces for the protection of their common liberty.
    Federalist No. 28 (Hamilton).

    I believe our Gov. Wolf (none / 0) (#36)
    by Chuck0 on Fri Jun 16, 2017 at 07:04:07 PM EST
    is going sue Sessions over medical marijuana.

    Thank you Jeralyn (5.00 / 1) (#7)
    by Militarytracy on Thu Jun 15, 2017 at 10:09:00 PM EST
    I appreciate the many legal voices here weighing in on specific Trump White House matters. Offering clarity during so much uncertainty. When those in power are corrupt, it falls to the law, sometimes slowly down infrequently used avenues, but it is peace of mind knowing the truth. Knowing the remedy probably cannot be applied overnight.

    Happy Birthday TL

    Con Law podcast (5.00 / 1) (#9)
    by leap on Fri Jun 16, 2017 at 12:19:08 AM EST
    A new podcast that is really interesting: What Trump Can Teach Us About Con Law. By Professor Elizabeth Joh, who teaches Constitutional Law at UC Davis. She is so upbeat. She sees Trump as a learning moment, for people to really get to understand our Constitution, since he is so stretching the limits of it. (The program is produced by Roman Mars, who has another really neat podcast, 99% Invisible.)

    You can also listen to the Con Law podcast from here.

    First cast:
    "Back in February 2017, Trump tweeted a criticism of the "so-called judge" who blocked the enforcement of his travel ban. Why does the president have to listen to what the courts say? We're going to tell the story of a key moment in history when the president (Truman, in this case) and the court strongly disagreed."

    Second episode:
    "The US Constitution has a clause that describes how the president can hire certain political appointees with the advice and consent of the Senate. It doesn't say when the president can fire someone. We take a look at recent Trump firings and put them in context of Supreme Court cases where the court both upheld and denied the president's right to fire an executive branch employee. Even if a president has the constitutional power to fire someone, it doesn't mean there aren't political and legal consequences of the action."

    A good way to look at it (none / 0) (#10)
    by Yman on Fri Jun 16, 2017 at 08:09:35 AM EST
    It's like the Con Law version of the ridiculous Torts exam hypotheticals that the professors thought were amusing.  Guy gets simultaneously injured by a property owner's trap while misusing a lawnmower, then his ambulance gets hit by lightning while the drunk ambulance driver flips it,  and he dies shortly thereafter when his unlicensed doctor gives him the wrong medicine.  

    Pretty much sums up the Trump administration.


    Steve King (R-Iowa) (none / 0) (#6)
    by Chuck0 on Thu Jun 15, 2017 at 08:15:38 PM EST
    Continues to prove he is a total douche by claiming Pres. Obama is partly to blame for Alexandria shooting in radio interview.

    Trump's attack on (none / 0) (#13)
    by KeysDan on Fri Jun 16, 2017 at 11:51:11 AM EST
    Mueller yesterday, and Trump's attack on Rosenstein today may be a warm-up for playing out the firing of both.  And, in Trump's tweet about Rosenstein, he admits that he is under investigation: "I am being investigated for firing the FBI Director by the man who told me to fire the FBI Director.  Witch Hunt." For Rosenstein's part he released a curious and puzzling statement about anonymous sources from other countries and/or US agencies.

    followed by this (none / 0) (#14)
    by CaptHowdy on Fri Jun 16, 2017 at 02:24:13 PM EST
    this morning
    "I am being investigated for firing the FBI Director by the man who told me to fire the FBI Director! Witch Hunt," Trump wrote.

    gee (none / 0) (#15)
    by CaptHowdy on Fri Jun 16, 2017 at 02:29:54 PM EST
    i should read your comment before replying.  sorry just woke up from a nap.

    it was being suggested last night that the strange late night thing from the acting AG could be because of something that might BE coming.

    if so it should be dropping any time.

    lots of speculation like this that Trump may be planning a saturday night massacre.  

    worth noting saturday is the 45 anniversary of watergate


    quote of the day (none / 0) (#16)
    by CaptHowdy on Fri Jun 16, 2017 at 02:38:51 PM EST
    "If we're losing upper middle class, suburban seats in the South to a 30-year-old progressive liberal, we would be foolish not to be deeply concerned about the possibility that would exist for a tidal wave election for Democrats in 2018," said Chip Lake, a Georgia-based Republican strategist and former Capitol Hill chief of staff.

    Some fear the catalytic effect a GOP loss would have on the Democratic opposition, which has been raising money and recruiting candidates at a breakneck pace since Trump's inauguration.

    "If Ossoff wins, you're going to see the floodgates open, with Democrats recruiting candidates in races from governor to county commission," said Randy Evans, an influential Republican National Committeeman from Georgia

    GOP sirens blare over Georgia special election

    al-Baghdadi might be dead (none / 0) (#17)
    by CaptHowdy on Fri Jun 16, 2017 at 02:50:08 PM EST
    Another one bits the dust? (none / 0) (#31)
    by Donald from Hawaii on Fri Jun 16, 2017 at 06:05:59 PM EST
    "We are like sheep without a shepherd;
    We don't know how to be alone.
    So we wander 'round this desert
    And wind up following the wrong gods home.
    But the flock cries out for another
    And they keep answering that bell,
    As one more starry-eyed messiah
    Meets a violent farewell.
    Learn to be still."
    - The Eagles, "Learn To Be Still" Hell Freezes Over (1994)

    To quote Mr Spock (5.00 / 1) (#33)
    by CaptHowdy on Fri Jun 16, 2017 at 06:20:20 PM EST
    "I've been dead before"

    Happy Birthday Talk Left! (none / 0) (#18)
    by ruffian on Fri Jun 16, 2017 at 03:40:22 PM EST
    How many is that in blogger years?

    Glad you decided to keep going. We do appreciate your time and writing, and this forum for our rantings.  It has been hard to even keep commenting this year, everything is so depressing to me, so I understand why you are tired and it might not seem worthwhile all the time. I hope you know it is.

    Officer Yanez 'Not Guilty' of manslaughter (none / 0) (#20)
    by ruffian on Fri Jun 16, 2017 at 03:54:44 PM EST
    for killing Philando Castile. Very disappointing to say the least.

    I expect loud protests from the open carry crowd. /snark.

    At least Yanez lost his job (none / 0) (#21)
    by ruffian on Fri Jun 16, 2017 at 03:58:56 PM EST
    He is clearly incapable of doing police work. Could not keep calm and manage a situation even with someone trying to be compliant in a traffic stop.

    Why is it disappointing? (none / 0) (#23)
    by McBain on Fri Jun 16, 2017 at 04:52:06 PM EST
    Did you follow the case closely?  I only know what I read in a few articles and it seemed like it was going to be difficult to prove guilt beyond a reasonable doubt.

    Yanez said Castile was reaching for his gun.  Castile's girlfriend said he wasn't. How would the jury know who is correct?


    If the police shot a black man and no one cared (5.00 / 2) (#46)
    by Repack Rider on Sun Jun 18, 2017 at 10:49:50 AM EST
    Yanez said Castile was reaching for his gun.  Castile's girlfriend said he wasn't. How would the jury know who is correct?

    How did I KNOW you would be high-fiving the jury for this one?

    Just so I understand why it was okay for the cop to shoot the motorist, who had no reason to reach for a firearm...

    We have to assume that the GF is correct, since Mr. Castile had no reason to try to exchange gunfire over a traffic ticket.

    WHAT DID MR. CASTILE DO TO CAUSE HIS OWN DEATH?  Since, of course, the police officer was merely an innocent bystander who happened to shoot him.

    Meanwhile a girl is convicted of manslaughter over an email suggesting suicide.


    I agree it came down to who the jury believed (none / 0) (#26)
    by ruffian on Fri Jun 16, 2017 at 05:10:57 PM EST
    about that.  There is no evidence of besides Yanez's word, and he has every reason to lie about it.  When Castile said he had a gun, why didn't Yanez, as the trained professional, slow the whole situation down and tell him to put his hands up?  

    There is no way the driver can NOT get shot in a situation like this when the officer acts so fast in a panic.  


    This article makes it sound like (none / 0) (#34)
    by McBain on Fri Jun 16, 2017 at 06:24:33 PM EST
    the defense raised questions about the girlfriend's credibility and the couple's marijuana use..

    Gray called her Facebook Live broadcast into question, asking if she reported in the video that Castile had his hands in the air during the traffic stop.

    Reynolds confirmed Gray's account.

    "He didn't have his hands up at any time during the stop, did he?" Gray asked.

    "That is correct," she said.


    Reynolds testified that she smoked marijuana daily with Castile, and only realized that there was some under the front passenger seat of the car after he had been shot.

    There is a podcast called 74Seconds (none / 0) (#30)
    by ruffian on Fri Jun 16, 2017 at 05:48:32 PM EST
    by some reporters at Minnesota Public Radio that gives good background on the case. I think it is episode 2 that goes second by second through the traffic stop. The episodes about the trial itself are done on the fly and not detailed enough to be of a lot of use, but the first 3 or so are good information.

    I don't believe that Yanez gave the situation enough time to come to a reasonable judgement.


    Happy 15th! So glad you decided to stay! (none / 0) (#27)
    by Lora on Fri Jun 16, 2017 at 05:17:25 PM EST
    Here's to the next 15!

    Michelle Carter (none / 0) (#29)
    by Lora on Fri Jun 16, 2017 at 05:30:38 PM EST
    Guilty of involuntary manslaughter

    Moniz, however, focused on Roy's final moments when he wavered, stepping out of the truck -- and Carter told him to "Get back in." The judge said that although Carter knew Roy was in trouble, she took no action.

    "The implications of this conviction go far beyond the tragic circumstances of Mr. Roy's death," Matthew Segal, legal director at the ACLU of Massachusetts, said in a statement. "If allowed to stand, Ms. Carter's conviction could chill important and worthwhile end-of-life discussions between loved ones across the Commonwealth."


    Quite a stretch there (none / 0) (#32)
    by jondee on Fri Jun 16, 2017 at 06:13:46 PM EST
    counselor Segal.

    Is that how you interpret what those two were having? An important and worthwhile end-of-life discussion?

    Worthwhile for who exactly?


    I tend to agree with you (none / 0) (#38)
    by Lora on Sat Jun 17, 2017 at 11:22:37 AM EST
    To play the devil's advocate for a moment, I suppose Segal is concerned that a loved one who is creating a living will, say, and has a Do Not Resuscitate order and is texting with a family member about it and the family member says, "so you want to die" or "don't get help if you are in cardiac arrest" or something of the sort.  Then if the loved one commits suicide, the family member could be charged with homicide based on the texts.

    I don't know.  I think it is a stretch as well, but it does not seem to be a cut-and-dried case at all.  I would expect an appeal, and perhaps we would see the verdict overturned.

    What I did note was that the judge did not seem to focus on all her myriad texts, just the ones when the young man was afraid and got out of his truck.  Then when she texted him to get back in and didn't make any move to get him help, that is what the judge seemed to use to make his decision.

    Which it seems would have little or nothing to do with Segal's point.


    ... my heart is yelling, "WTF? You gotta be kidding me!" What that vicious girl did to that obviously troubled young man was borderline sociopathic, and revealed her as someone lacking in both empathy and conscience.

    I really don't know if I'd have gone so far as to convict her on involuntary manslaughter, but she's clearly got to be guilty of something, given that she literally browbeat him into committing suicide. I mean, when he wavered in his attempt, she told him to get back in the truck. How effed up is that?

    Little Miss Carter gives new meaning to the term "man-eater."


    Well said.. (none / 0) (#39)
    by jondee on Sat Jun 17, 2017 at 01:10:29 PM EST
    that's why these situations need to be examined sensitively and intelligently strictly on a case-by-case basis, and not jumped on immediately and turned into 'landmark' test cases by absolutists who can't see the flesh-and-blood trees for the forest..

    Not that I want this girl burned at the stake or anything, but it's obvious she has some serious issues, to put it mildly. Maybe she should sentenced to attend suicide survivors support group meetings; though she might have to go in disguise.

    Watergate turns 45 (none / 0) (#41)
    by CaptHowdy on Sat Jun 17, 2017 at 06:30:27 PM EST
    today is its birthday.  i just watched All the Presidents Men.  its showing around this weekend including a thing on MSNBC tonight,  it had been a long time since i saw it.

    boy,  the similarity of the deflections and denials is down right eerie.

    i just couldnt help thinking about what Clapper said recently

    Jun 7, 2017 - "I think [if] you compare the two, that Watergate pales really in my view compared to what we're confronting now," Former Director of National Intelligence James Clapper

    one really interesting difference (none / 0) (#42)
    by CaptHowdy on Sat Jun 17, 2017 at 06:34:13 PM EST
    in Deep Throats creepy monologue at the end when he tellshem their lives are in danger he say "it envolves the entire intelligence community, the FBI...."

    well yes, but in a very different way this time.


    my visitors (none / 0) (#43)
    by CaptHowdy on Sat Jun 17, 2017 at 06:40:53 PM EST
    RIP, Stephen Furst (1953-2017). (none / 0) (#44)
    by Donald from Hawaii on Sun Jun 18, 2017 at 02:33:37 AM EST
    "Fat, drunk and stupid is no way to go through life, son."
    - Dean Vernon Wormer (John Vernon) to Kent 'Flounder' Dorfman (Stephen Furst), National Lampoon's Animal House (1978)

    Perhaps best known for his role as Flounder, the good-natured but otherwise hapless Delta House fraternity pledge in director John Landis' raucous 1978 smash hit comedy "National Lampoon's Animal House," Furst died yesterday as a result of complications from diabetes. In addition to his acting and comedy career, he also served as a longtime spokesperson for the American Diabetes Foundation.

    His sons Nathan and Griffin ask that we remember him with laughter. And so we shall.

    Aloha, Stephen.

    My thoughts are with the crew of ... (none / 0) (#45)
    by Donald from Hawaii on Sun Jun 18, 2017 at 09:48:54 AM EST
    ... the Navy destroyer USS Fitzgerald, which limped back into Yokosuka Naval Base yesterday in Japan after a near-catastrophic broadside collision just south of Tokyo with the container ship ACX Crystal, a vessel which is over three times the Fitzgerald's size. The accident took the lives of seven Navy crewmembers and severely injured the ship's captain. They should consider themselves very fortunate that the Fitzgerald wasn't cleaved in two and lost with all hands.

    Such fortune aside, the mishap bears an uncomfortable resemblance to the disastrous October 1942 collision in the North Atlantic between the RMS Queen Mary and one of her convoy escorts, the Royal Navy light cruiser HMS Curacoa, in which the much larger cruise liner-turned-troop transport similarly broadsided the naval vessel while traveling at 25 knots. Cut in half, the Curacoa never stood a chance and quickly sank within a matter of a few minutes, killing 338 of her 439-member crew.



    How is it even possible for two ships (5.00 / 1) (#47)
    by Peter G on Sun Jun 18, 2017 at 06:40:24 PM EST
    of that size to collide? Doesn't modern technology warn them far in advance of anything in their path and allow the captains of each vessel to avoid even getting close? I find this totally baffling. Is someone grossly (and potentially criminally) negligent here?

    Strapped for cash (none / 0) (#48)
    by MileHi Hawkeye on Sun Jun 18, 2017 at 07:09:38 PM EST
    between medical bills and not working, but I do very much appreciate all that you do, Jeralyn.

    Even if you do continue to hold the misguided opinion that Iowa is flat!