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Light a Candle for Melanie and Open Thread

Sad news. Singer and 60's icon Melanie (Safka) has passed away at age 76. She was one of a kind. Her voice was so rich, so unique and powerful. I loved listening to her albums, especially the ones with "Brand New Key" and Beautiful People.

Her children posted the news on Facebook. They ask:

... that tonight (Jan. 24), at 10 p.m. CT, “each of you lights a candle in honor of Melanie. Raise, raise them high, high up again. Illuminate the darkness, and let us all be connected in remembrance of the extraordinary woman who was wife, mother, grandmother, great-grandmother and friend to so very many people.”

R.I.P. Melanie.

This is an open thread, all topics welcome.

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Friday Open Thread

Your turn, all topics welcome.
I’ll be back later or over the weekend.

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Republicans Nominate Steve Scalise for House Speaker

CNN reports that Republicans have nominated LA Congressman Steve Scalise to replace McCarthy as Speaker of the House. His success is not guaranteed as a majority of the House will need to vote for him.

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Donald Trump Indicted by NYS Grand Jury

And there you have it. An honest to goodness Indictment has been returned by a New York State grand jury investigating Donald Trump's finances and the reimbursement of the hush money payment Michael Cohen made to adult film star Stormy Daniels on his behalf.

Donald Trump is presumed innocent. No one knows the exact charges. I've heard reports of two charges and of 34 charges, but these are just leaks.

He is expected to surrender to the DA's office on Tuesday, where he will have his mugshot and fingerprints taken, and then appear before a judge and be released on a personal recognizance bond.

One Indictment down, two to go? Grand jury investigations of Trump have been ongoing in the state of Georgia and at the federal level over the Jan. 6 uprising at the Capitol. [More....]

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Move Over Supermax, You've Got Competition

El Salvador, whose President suspended civil rights last March 27 and had 60,000 alleged members of MS-13 and other gangs arrested (no probable cause needed), proudly showed off to the world last week its newest creation --the Center for the Confinement of Terrorism, a concrete prison built in the middle of nowhere that will house 40,000 gang members. The first 2,000 moved into last week. The videos are deplorable to anyone with a belief that human beings must be treated as such, and not as caged animals.

For El Salvador, there will be no rehabilitation programs. Forced labor. No outside cell activities. No gyms, no classes. No going outdoors. No seeing the sun.

The enormous prison, which was built in 7 months, is now the largest and most severe on American continents. [More...]

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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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