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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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Friday :: April 01, 2022

Will Smith Resigns from Motion Picture Academy

Will Smith has responded to the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences’ Board of Governors notice that it had launched an investigation into his slapping Chris Rock at the Oscars, by resigning from the Organization. His statement begins with:

I have directly responded to the Academy’s disciplinary hearing notice, and I will fully accept any and all consequences for my conduct. My actions at the 94th Academy Awards presentation were shocking, painful, and inexcusable.

[More...]

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Wednesday :: March 30, 2022

Denver Man Screams for Help For More Than 20 Minutes

I live in a busy neighborhood on the edge of downtown Denver. There's a fire station, a hospital, the Denver jail, Denver courthouse, detox centers and sometimes homeless camps and mentally challenged individuals wandering around all within a few blocks. At night, you can hear ambulances, fire trucks and police sirens every half hour or so. It's like living in the Don Henley song, "New York Minute":

Lying here in the darkness
Hear the sirens wail
Somebody going to emergency
Somebody's going to jail

I wouldn't have it any other way, it's life in the city. Where else could I see the mountains and Denver's skyline, the Convention Center, Elitch's "space needle", the Pepsi Center (now called the Ball Arena) and the Bronco's football stadium (now called Empower Field at Mile High) all from my rooftop? Or be across the street from a Starbucks on one side, a major grocery store on another and the city jail and courthouse on a third side?

But Monday night was different. Around 10:15 I started hearing a man yelling. Since that's pretty common in this neighborhood, I didn't get up from my computer to go take a look. But then he started yelling louder and then I heard him yell for help. I went out on my balcony and saw a few policeman holding someone down as he screamed "Help Me" (and later, "Please don't kill me" and "I didn't do nothing"). [More...]

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Tuesday :: March 29, 2022

FDA Authorizes Second Booster for Adults 50 and Older

If it's been four months since your first booster shot of the COVID-19 vaccine, and you are 50 or older, the FDA announced today you can get a second booster shot (WSJ, free link).

Under the authorization, the older adults can get the shots at least four months after a first booster dose. People will be able to choose between the two vaccines regardless of whether they earlier received a shot from Moderna or Pfizer.

[More...]

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Sunday :: March 27, 2022

2021 Oscars

The Academy Awards are live on ABC TV.

I just tuned in to hear the moving acceptance speech of Troy Kostur in CODA.

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Friday :: March 25, 2022

Friday Open Thread

"I'm Old Not an Idiot" from the New York Times. Does anyone besides me sympathize with this Spanish gentlemen who has launched a successful protest against ageist bank policies like closing branches and forcing people to use smart phones to conduct serious business?

When will we get approval for a 4th dose of the vaccine? I'm ready. Australia and El Salvador approved it today. And the new variant has been detected in Colorado's wastewater.

This is an open thread, all topics welcome.

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The Brazen and Depraved Politicians Putting Ecnomy Ahead of Health

The Colorado Department of Human Health says that the new COVID-19 variant is in our wastewater and is 50% more transmissible than Omnicron.

A few days ago, New York City Mayor Eric Adams became the latest in a line of value-challenged politicians brazenly putting the ability to make a buck over the health of city residents.

Mayor Eric Adams of New York City said Thursday, linking the decision to the city’s high rate of unemployment and the need to keep employees working. In ending the requirement that athletes and entertainers be vaccinated, he said:

“We’re going to make sure we’re healthy,” he said at a news conference at Citi Field, home of the Mets, where he was joined by executives of the Mets and the Yankees. “And being healthy is not only physically healthy, it’s economically healthy.

[More....]

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Democrats to Unite Behind Jackson Confirmation

What did the Republicans accomplish in their disgraceful public display of aggression during the confirmation hearings of Supreme Court nominee Ketanji Brown Jackson? They ensured that Democrats, to include Sen. Joe Manchin, will unite in support of her.

I only watched a smidgen of the testimony -- when Ted Cruz was leading the charge with his chart of sentencing statistics on her child p*rn cases, but wow, did he make an as* of himself.

The other thing I noticed was the superb coaching Jackson got for the hearings (as do all nominees these days). It must be really hard to sit there poker-faced when some horse's as* is trying to bait you with one absurdly worded question after another.

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Saturday :: March 12, 2022

Saudi Arabia Executes 81 People in a Single Day

Saudi Arabia has executed 81 people in a single day (free link), the most in its history.

Most of those executed on Saturday were Saudis, according to the interior ministry. More than half were from the minority Shiite Muslim population, which has a history of militancy and protest against discrimination. Seven were Yemeni nationals and one was Syrian.

The Saudi Government did not specify the method of execution. Gulf News reports 37 of the men were Saudis who had been found guilty of attempting to assassinate security officers.

According to the Saudi Press Agency: [More...]

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Thursday :: March 10, 2022

Jussie Smollet Gets 18 Months in Jail, Starting Now

A Chicago judge has sentenced actor Jussie Smollett to 150 days in jail, beginning immediately.

Jussie's reaction: He yelled out he's not suicidal and he's innocent. Shorter version: If he ends up dead like Jeffrey Epstein, it was not a suicide.

Smollett faced up to three years in prison for each of the five felony counts of disorderly conduct — the charge filed for lying to police — of which he was convicted. He was acquitted on a sixth count.

The Judge wasn't buying into any sympathy pleas from his supporters. In addition to the 5 months in jail, he will have to be on probation for 2 1/2 years, he has to pay $120k in restitution and a $25k fine. His grandmother told the judge that if he sends Jussie to prison, he should send her along with him. [More]

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Thursday Open Thread: Moving Day

I am getting ready to move this weekend. It's kind of sudden, but construction began last week on a new apartment project directly across the street from me -- a very narrow street. It's going to ruin my view of downtown and already is incredibly noisy, from 6 am to 6 pm. And they haven't even started demolishing the six structures on the lot yet, or running wiring or water lines to it. (It will take up a full city block and construction will take more than a year and a half).

So I'm moving down the hall to a unit with the exact same floor plan as my current place but it faces directly west. I'll be out of sight (and earshot) of the construction, have more mountains to look at and a lot more bright sunlight. But the move has taken up all my non-working time this week. Hiring movers, remembering to call the electric company and phone and internet company to stop service at one place and start at the other...move-out and move-in inspections, and on and on. It's really no less complicated and almost as expensive as moving across town. But the sound of those dump trucks and tractors which beep incessantly starting at 6 a.m. was just too much.

So you are all way ahead of me on the news. Which means another open thread. Wish me luck, I need it the next few days!

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Tuesday :: March 01, 2022

State of the Union: Biden-Style

Joe Biden delivered his first State of the Union address tonight.

In a speech that focused on the war in Ukraine before pivoting to domestic challenges, Biden said the American people are ready for the task ahead of them in keeping the world united in the face of autocracy.

“Now is the hour, our moment of responsibility. Our test of resolve and conscience, of history itself. It is in this moment that our character is formed. Our purpose is found. Our future is forged,” Biden said in closing.

“Well, I know this nation. We will meet the test. To protect freedom and liberty, to expand fairness and opportunity. We will save democracy. As hard as these times have been, I am more optimistic about America today than I have been my whole life.”

More....

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Thursday :: February 24, 2022

More Than 1,000 Protesters Detained in Russia

There have been protests in Russia against Putin's war in the Ukraine. As of today, more than 1,000 have been detained by police.

Their names and places of detention are listed in case you know someone who is looking for a disappeared family member.

There's a pretty big protest going on in Pushkin Square, about 100 meters from the Red Square and Kremlim.

I've also seen some photos of Russian soldiers captured by the Ukraine Army.

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