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Friday :: May 20, 2022

Friday Night Open Thread

A major snow storm on May 20? We've got one here. From the National Weather Service:

URGENT - WINTER WEATHER MESSAGE National Weather Service Denver CO
650 PM MDT Fri May 20 2022

...LATE SPRING STORM TO BRING HEAVY SNOW TO THE MOUNTAINS, FOOTHILLS, AND FRONT RANGE URBAN CORRIDOR...

Heavy snow will continue to spread south across the mountains and foothills this afternoon and early evening. The heavy snow will accumulate on trees, causing some tree limbs to break and produce scattered power outages. Do not park under trees and avoid walking under snow laden trees.

....Consider altering your travel plans. Heavy snowfall is expected to make travel very difficult to impossible.

The snow has been coming down fast and furious since 1:00 p.m. At least it isn't sticking near Downtown yet. Although it will soon turn to sleet, and that's bad for driving.

I hope the weather is more cooperative in your neck of the woods.

This is an open thread, all topics welcome.

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Monday :: May 09, 2022

Monday Open Thread

It's too bad we can't send him back to New Jersey.

I can't think of any Supreme Court Justice that TalkLeft argued against more at the time of his nomination. All to no avail. And now, we pay the price. And the price of the losing the 2016 election to the albatross who still wants to hang around our necks (who gave us two more conservative Justices).

Here's a post about Alito's Roe v. Wade comments during his confirmation hearing. And People for the American Way's 155-page report on his Judicial Philosophy written at the time of his confirmation hearings.

This is an open thread, all topics welcome.

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Friday :: May 06, 2022

New Details of Torture of CIA Detainee in Black Site Prisons


Never forgive, never forget. The media barely mentions the U.S. prison at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba or its detainees anymore, some of whom have been held for 20 years without trial. But the facility remains open at an exorbitant cost ($13 million per year per detainee as of 2019 -- 40 detainees remained at that time) and pretrial hearings for many of these remaining detainees are ongoing.

Earlier this week, Carole Rosenberg of the New York Times, who has dedicated the last 20 years of her career to covering Gitmo, reported on a hearing at Gitmo at which James E. Mitchell, "the psychologist who helped develop the C.I.A.’s torture program", testified as to the "approved and unapproved interrogation techniques (aka torture) he personally participated in and witnessed of Abd al-Rahim al-Nashiri, who will be facing a death penalty trial sometime this century for the 2000 attack on the U.S.S. Cole near Yemen that killed 17 U.S. sailors.

Maybe water-boarding is considered too ho-hum to report on these days, but Dr. Mitchell's testimony regarding forced anal feedings; forcing naked detainees into a small crate box (image here) like a dog; using a stiff bristle brush to scrape the detainees an*s and then put it in his face and mouth, and other disgusting treatments are not.

We should all make it a point not to forget the atrocities that have occurred in our name at the behest of some of the most heinous politicians in U.S. history. Dick Cheney, are you listening?

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Tuesday :: May 03, 2022

Tuesday Open Thread

The war in the Ukraine continues.

Johnny Depp's Libel case against Amber Heard continues.
The Karashian sisters won a laswuit against their former sister-in law who had sued them for defamation (or slander).

I'm going to give some props to Pantaya TV, a spanish streaming station, because in addition to have some original programming it has a ton of recent Spanish movies and several TV shows, and everything I've watched is so far has been commercial Free. I liked Senorita 89. I am really looking foward to the new seasons of La Reina Del Sur and El Senor de los Cielos on Telemundo, but it seems the release dates keep getting pushed back.

Does here believe the news articles claiming the media has seen a draft of Roe v. Wade which would appeal it -- written by Justice Sam Alito? Maybe he's engaging in wishful thinking. It seems to me the likely effect will be to turn more Dems out to vote in November.

This is an open thread, all topics welcome.

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Monday :: May 02, 2022

Swap Deal: Russian Pilot Yaroshenko Returns Home

The DEA's Most Excellent Adventures in Africa took a huge hit this week. On April 25, 2022, President Joe Biden commuted the 20 year sentence of Russian pilot Konstantin Yaroshenko to time served so that he would be eligible for immediate release -- and transfer home to Russia, in a prisoner exchange in which an American being held in Russia would fly back to the U.S. The official commutation order for Yaroshenko is here.

The swap occurred in Turkey. Rossiya 1, Russia's main national news channel, showed video of a joyous Yaroshenko being embraced by his wife and his daughter, who was jumping up and down on the tarmac at the airport in Moscow.

I've been writing about Yaroshenko and the DEA manufactured case against him and others since 2010. Here's my account of his trial with a summary of the underlying FBI sting in which cocaine would be flown from South America to Africa and then to Europe. [More...]

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R.I.P. Kathy Boudin, Former Member of the Weatherman

Former left-wing radical, member of the Weatherman (aka Weather Underground), long-time fugitive, participant in a Black Liberation Army robbery that went terribly wrong, wife, mother and former prisoner Kathy Boudin, has died at age 78 of cancer.

What a life she led. I did not know her, but like many people in college during the Vietnam war and the 1970 explosion at an East Village townhouse where the group was making bombs, I followed their activities in the news and at anti-war rallies.

I did not know (or forgot) until reading the NY Times obituary today that the Weatherman took their name from the Bob Dylan's song, "Subterranean Homesick Blues", and the line "You don't need a weatherman to know which way the wind blows"). When I started TalkLeft (20 years ago next month), I gave it the tagline, which still appears at the bottom of the home page, "The pump don't work 'cause the vandals took the handles"-- also from Subterranean Homesick Blues. [More...]

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Friday :: April 29, 2022

James Corden Moving On In a Year

James Corden announced this will be his final year on CBS' Late Late Show. It's hard to believe he has been hosting for 7 years. He says he always intended the show to be an adventure and a journey, but not a final destination. Also, he and his wife are homesick for England. [More...]

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Sunday :: April 24, 2022

Macron Wins Re-Election in France

Emmanuel Macron has been re-elected in France. The world should give a sigh of relief that French voters were rational enough to recognize the threat his uber right-wing challenger, Marine Le Pen, posed to France.

Ms. Le Pen,softening her image if not her anti-immigrant nationalist program, rode a wave of alienation and disenchantment to bring the extreme right closer to power than at any time since 1944. Her National Rally party has joined the mainstream, even if at the last minute many French people seem to have voted for Mr. Macron to ensure that France not succumb to the xenophobic vitriol of the darker passages of its history.

...If Brexit was a blow to unity, a French nationalist quasi-exit, as set out in Ms. Le Pen’s proposals, would have left the European Union on life support. That, in turn, would have crippled an essential guarantor of peace on the continent in a volatile moment.

Le Pen has conceded defeat.

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Thursday :: April 21, 2022

Sarah Palin Would Consider Running as Trump's Veep

Is Sarah Palin using her current run for Congress as a stepping stone to a repeat of her 2008 failed bid to catch John McCain's Hail Mary Pass and become Vice-President under Donald Trump in 2024?

Seems that way. She's now saying Trump called her after Rep. Don Young died and asked her if she was open to running for his seat. And that while he hasn't asked her specifically to run in 2024 on a ticket with him, that she is open to it.

Palin said if Trump runs for president in 2024 and asks her to be his running mate, she’d consider it, though she said he could choose anyone and they haven’t had such a candid conversation.

The only worse ticket I can think of is Donald Trump and Ivanka.

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Tuesday :: April 19, 2022

Tuesday Open Thread

Yesterday, U.S. federal judge in Tampa, Kathryn Kimball Mizelle, appointed by Trump ruled the masks aren't necessary on airlines. Then today:

the Biden administration announced that the Transportation Security Administration will no longer enforce the federal mandate requiring masks in all U.S. airports and on board aircraft.

Effective immediately, masks are optional for all airport employees, crew members and customers inside U.S. airports and on board all aircraft domestically, as well as on most international flights.

Is anyone here canceling airline flights because of it?

Looks like we need a new open thread. Here it is, all topics welcome.

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Johnny Depp Takes the Stand This Afternoon

Actor Johnny Depp will be taking the witness stand in his defamation suit against his ex-wife Amber Heard in about 15 minutes. You can watch live for free here or here. They are on lunch now and replaying earlier testimony.

So far it seems to me the witnesses are saying Amber instigated and perpetrated the violence, but I'm not there. NPR has this description of the case so far.

Depp says, his own career was severely damaged by the essay. Days after Heard's op-ed was published, his complaint says, Disney announced it would remove Depp "from his leading role as Captain Jack Sparrow — a role that he created — in the multi-billion-dollar-earning Pirates of the Caribbean franchise."

Depp accused Heard of making false claims against him, motivated by malice. His complaint also says Heard is not a victim of abuse, but a perpetrator, accusing her of physically abusing him during their relationship."

Court TV has commentators during it, I'm not sure if anyone is just airing the proceeding by itself.

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Friday :: April 08, 2022

The Sacrifices of Journalists Working in War Zones

As we watch news reports from war zones like the Ukraine, I think too often we don't stop to consider the sacrifices of the journalists who give us seats in the front row of history.

As a stark reminder today, let's all send some words of appreciation and encouragement to British journalist Benjamin Hall, State Dept. Correspondent for Fox News and experienced war zone journalist, who was critically injured last month when the vehicle he was riding in came under Russian fire outside of Kiev. His companions, cameraman Pierre Zakrzewski and Ukranian reporter Oleksandra "Sasha" Kuvshynova (age 24), both of whom were on assignment with Fox News, were killed.

Following a harrowing and incredibly well coordinated extraction effort by Fox, the Pentagon and Save Our Allies, Hall made it to the Polish border where the U.S. had sent a C-130 airlift with medical teams to fly him to a hospital in Landstuhl, Germany. A few days later he was flown to the Brooke Army Medical Center in Texas, where he underwent numerous surgeries and is beginning what will be an incredibly arduous recovery.

He was back on Twitter for the first time yesterday, lamenting the loss of his colleagues, describing his injuries for the first time and posting a photo: [More...]

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Thursday :: April 07, 2022

Welcome, Justice Jackson

The Senate today confirmed the nomination of Justice Ketanji Brown Jackson to the United States Supreme Court.

Hopefully, we will see that even one additional progressive voice on our nation's highest Court can make a difference -- on social and criminal justice and privacy issues.

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Wednesday :: April 06, 2022

Aphasia and Singing

There have been a lot of news stories last week and this week about Bruce Willis who has developed aphasia. Aphasia usually happens after a stroke but can be caused by other things. Language and communication, which are controlled by the left side of the brain, are usually affected. Here is the New York Times explanation.

I was surprised that the Times didn't mention that many aphasic individuals, while they can't speak, can sing. (Singing is controlled by the right side of the brain).

In 2015, I wrote about aphasia and singing, describing a woman I represented in the 1970's. Following a brain aneurysm in her early 30's, she was a quadriplegic and she couldn't talk. It's one of my favorite client stories. I am reprinting it below:

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Sunday :: April 03, 2022

2022 Grammy Awards -- Why Las Vegas?

I'm more interested in the Grammys telecast tonight than I was in the Oscars. People already has 125 red carpet photos up. Variety has this list of (in their view) the best dressed of them.

I really don't get why they are being held in Las Vegas -- seems like an odd pairing. But I'm looking forward to watching BTS, who are all recovered from their bouts with COVID-19, which several of them were diagnosed with after their arrival last week in Las Vegas. Here they are on the Red Carpet: [More...]

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