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Alec Baldwin Charged in "Rust" Shooting Death

The District Attorney's office in Santa Fe has concluded its investigation into the shooting death that occurred during the filming of the movie "Rust".

Alec Baldwin and the film's armorer, Hannah Guiterrez-Reed, who was in charge of handling guns and ammunition on the set are being charged with involuntary manslaughter.

The first assistant director, Dave Hall, who handed the weapon to Baldwin declaring it safe, took a plea deal. He pleaded guilty to "negligent use of a deadly weapon" in exchange for a suspended sentence and probation. [More...]

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College Admissions Fraud Leader Rick Singer Sentenced to 42 Months

Rick Singer, the Pied Piper behind "Varsity Blues", the Government investigation into rich parents paying Singer , his company and even athletic coaches at colleges for tricks to ensure their kids got into certain impressive colleges they knew their kids were likely to be rejected at if they applied the traditional way, was sentenced today to 3.5 years in prison. He was also ordered to pay restitution of $10,668,841 to the IRS and forfeit another $8.7 million. The Government had sought a sentence of 6 years.

According to the NYTimes article, the Government wrote in its sentencing memo that Singer "was a reluctant and duplicitous cooperator who destroyed evidence and tipped off at least six clients. As a result, the government did not call him as a witness at trial." [More...]

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Hello Sunshine, Goodby Freezing Temps: Open Thread

Thank goodness the freezing cold has passed us and the roads are now drivable. For those who are waiting for the icy weather to reach them, be prepared. It is really cold out there.

Today will be my first day outside in about 4 days. I'll be back after I make my rounds.

It is also Christmas Eve. Merry Xmas Eve, to all who observe.

This is an open thread, all topics welcome.

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Harvey Weinstein Convicted of Assaulting One of Four Accusers

A California jury has found Harvey Weinstein guilty on 3 of the 7 counts against him. All three counts pertained to a "Jane Doe #1", an Italian model who testified Mr. Weinstein attacked her in her hotel room at the "Mr. C Hotel" in February 2013. Here's a recap of Jane Doe #1's testimony and her daughter's testimony .

The jury acquitted Weinstein of sexual battery as to Jane Doe 3, a massage therapist, and hung on counts of sexual battery by restraint pertaining to Jane Doe 2, who has been publicly identified as Lauren Young, an actress and screenwriter.

The jury also hung on three counts, pertaining to Siebel Newsom (wife of CA. Gov. Gavin Newsom), who alleged Weinstein raped her at the Peninsula Hotel 18 years ago. During the trial she testified:

 “I could tell he just needed, he was so determined, just so scary, just all about him and his pleasure, his need for satisfaction, so I just did it to make it stop,” Siebel Newsom told the jury.

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U.S. Finally Swaps Viktor Bout for Brittany Griner

Brittany Griner is back in the U.S. and Viktor Bout is back home in Russia, 14 years after the U.S. engineered his arrest in Thailand and extradition to the U.S. as part of a sting operation in which DEA informants posed as FARC rebels.

Mr. Bout was sentenced to 25 years in jail in a federal court in Manhattan in 2012, protesting his innocence to the end. Prior to that he spent around two years in detention in Bangkok pending extradition to the U.S., and then a further two years in detention in America before he was convicted.

Even former Judge Shira Scheindlin, who sentenced
Bout, said last year Bout's sentence was excessive:
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Monday Open Thread: Heading to the Fediverse and Mastodon

I'm trying to figure out Mastodon, the "fediverse" alternative to Twitter that journalists, media sites big and little, analysts and bloggers are joining en masse while abandoning Twitter. TalkLeft's account is here. Hopefully over Thanksgiving I can figure out how to properly use the place. It's very enticing, and friendly, and free. But not particularly intuitive to me. It's like switching to MAC when you've always been a Windows person, it takes some getting used to. [More...]

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Boebert v Frisch - Colorado's 3rd District

Update: 11/17 6:00 pm: Now there are only 500 votes separating Boebert and Frisch. Looks like there will be an automatic runoff recount. At noon, Boebert had 162,175, 50% and Frisch had 161,078, 50%. I think the question now is, if Boebert holds her 500 vote lead, will there be enough mistakes in the recount for Frisch to win?

Update: I hate being wrong. But it looks like Lauren Boebert will skip to the lou for another 2 years. She's now more than 1,000 votes ahead. Her lead in Mesa County (Grand Junction) alone is 11,000 votes.

So even though she loses Aspen (Pitkin), Vail (Eagle), Telluride (San Miguel) and Crested Butte (Gunnison) by a landslide, and she even loses Garfield County (Glenwood Springs) and Pueblo (which used to be a Democratic stronghold and is apparently much more mixed now) by several thousand votes, those voters all turn into chopped liver because they're outnumbered by the Biden-hating Trump lovers.

Update: CNN is using higher percentages for the votes already counted in Colorado -- almost all at 95%. The New York Times and NPR are using the percentages I did below.

****Original Post

I would love if Lauren Boebert lost to Adam Frisch. Then maybe she'll pick up her guns and go skip to her lou someplace where we don't hear from her again.

The final vote count may not be in for a few days. Colorado has a process for "curing" votes. And if the candidates are within .05% of each other, there's an automatic recount.

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Happy Birthday (Mine) and Open Thread

I'm no longer counting, but it's my birthday.

If you'd like to donate some appreciation, it would be more than welcome. Here is the link.(link fixed)

It has been more than a few years since I last asked readers for donations, mostly because my posting activity decreased during COVID. But I'd like to keep writing. I also intend to continue rejecting ads on the site. That said, the site does cost a significant amount to maintain, and help is always welcome. (And of course, no one should feel compelled to contribute).

This is an open thread, all topics welcome.

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Jewish New Year and Open Thread

The Jewish high holy days begin at sundown (about now, Denver) with Rosh Hashanah. Temple Emanuel in Denver, like many other temples and synagogues, is streaming its service live. For many congregations, it is the first High Holy Day service inside the sanctuary since 2019 due to COVID-19.

At Temple Emanuel, a Reform congregation, you no longer need a prayerbook to follow along, although they are available. The words are up on the screen, in English (and Hebrew, and Hebrew-alliterative English). It is heavy on music -- there is a cantor, a guitarist, a pianist, a cello, a violin, and a choir. They play some prayers like a folk song, others to a modern beat, and still others alternating with the cantor's classical voice. This is not the service of your grandparents. It's much better. [More...]

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Liz Cheney Concedes Wyoming Republican Primary

And just like that, she's gone.

Republican Liz Cheney, who has seemed to be the dominant force behind the House committee hearings over the January 6 violent melee by Trump supporters lost by a landslide in the Wyoming Republican primary yesterday and has conceded.

She gets no sympathy from me. That she recently released a campaign commercial starring her father, who in my opinion, was the most horrid and ignoble VP in history, says it all.

Democrats praising her for doing what any rational human being would do remind me of those Democrats who praised the Lincoln Project, overlooking the fact that Steve Schmidt and George Conway were among its founders/leaders. Who is Steve Schmidt? John McCain's former campaign manager who was largely responsible for McCain choosing Sarah Palin as his running mate. George Conway, may be a slightly more familiar name than Schmidt, but he is also comes across to me as a less likable, somewhat shifty human being who happens to be the conservative lawyer-husband of Ms. Most Unimportant Person in the World (the mother of the beleagured teen Claudia Conway who took to Tik-Tok to promote her request for emancipation from what she alleged to be parental abuse).

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Tuesday Open Thread: Coastal Grandmothers

I've been reading about the "Coastal Grandmother" trend since April.

You know the Coastal Grandmother. She wakes up early in her white linen-covered bed, seaside sunlight streaming in. “Siri, play ‘The Big Chill’ soundtrack,” she commands, listening to it in her marble bathroom while applying Vintner’s Daughter face oil.

Eager to get to the farmer’s market—it’s peony season, after all—she puts on a crisp light-blue button-up shirt, white jeans and a straw hat. Oversized, the shirt qualifies as a “shent,” .... With a Provençal market basket, Coastal Grandmother is good to go. She hops into her vintage Range Rover and heads out to begin her satisfying, Sancerre-punctuated day.

I haven't played music from "The Big Chill" since the year it was released, But Diane Keaton (and her beach house in the Hamptons) made "Something's Gotta Give" one of my all-time favorite movies.

The New York Times doubles down on the Coastal Grandmother trend today in its review of the new film starring (who else?) Diane Keaton, called Mack and Rita, with a headline proclaiming "Boomers Are All the Rage".

I'm not so sure that's true, but I've definitely been adapting some Coastal Grandmother habits lately. And I can't wait to see Mack and Rita.

This is an open thread, all topics welcome.

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R.I.P. Olivia Newton-John

Singer and Actress Olivia Newton-John, who has suffered from cancer for 30 years, has died at age 73. She died peacefully at her home in California, surrounded by her family. All the U.S. obituaries I've read focus only her career.

One article, The brave words with which Olivia Newton-John faced death and reassured her family, from InfoBae, google-translated, adds these details from her niece:

"It wasn't just the cancer, but other complications, being in a hospital and having a very sensitive immune system ," Totti Goldsmith told an Australian channel. “ She had secondary infections. She fell apart in the last five or six days.”

The woman shared that Olivia had turned to medical cannabis to cope with the illness before her death, but her pain level continued to escalate and the medication provided little relief by the end. “ It really helped her, but then it wasn't enough ,” she explained. and she added that Olivia " really struggled through a lot of pain."

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Thursday Open Thread

I've been an absent blogger this month. I have been busy at work, not too interested in domestic news, and planning my first international trip since 2008 - well before COVID.

With the whole world my oyster, where did I pick? Istanbul for a week in September. In another post I'll explain why, but I'm ticketed, I have my pre-TSA pass and I am very excited about it.(Also, some friends of mine have provided me their condo to stay at on the Asian side, which is the side I want to stay at).

Has anyone seen the plans for "The Line", (the vertical glass city Saudi Arabia thinks will be the future of the world in 2030? It is 180 degrees
from what Istanbul, London, New York, Shanghai and other large cities offer. I find the homogeneity of the planned city dwellings depressing. Actually, I think the whole concept is depressing, even the mountains they are building.

This is an open thread, all topics welcome.

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Roe v. Wade Decision Fallout

During Olivia Rodrigo's set today at the Glastonbury Music Festival, she brought out Lily Allen. Olivia denounced yesterday's Supreme Court decision overturning Roe v. Wade which she tells the crowd will put the lives of so many women at risk because they won't be able to get a safe abortion.

Olivia dedicates the next song to the five Supreme Court Justices who voted to overturn Roe. She calls out their names individually and says,"We hate you". The crowd cheers. Lily Allen repeats "We hate you" and Olivia and Lily launch into a 2009 song by Lily called "F*ck You". The crowd gleefully joins in the refrain.

Here is a version of Lily singing the song accompanied by the lyrics. (In 2014, she performed the song dedicating it to Donald Trump. She also has performed it before at Glastonbury.) Here's an account of their performance today in the Guardian.

I'm still writing my thoughts on the court's decision, it will be up soon. In the meantime, here's a place to discuss the decision.

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Thursday Night Open Thread

Our last open thread is full. Here is a new one.

Thanks to all of you who have pointed out "site violator" comments. I am working to delete them. When I delete them, I also deleted the comment referring to them, to maintain the flow of the overall thread of comments, if that makes sense. But I do count on readers to point them out, soe please keep doing so.

I am working on a post about the Johnny Depp trial and verdict which should be up sometime tonight. Shorter version: I'm very happy for Depp, as having watched hours and hours of the trial testimony, I didn't believe Heard at all. I hope he will be able to get movie roles again. I'm not a fan of his music, but I love his movies.

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