10,000 on ignore, Book 166: The Days of Reckoning, Part 25.....

Ten Thousan Marbles

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Ten Thousan Marbles

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...according to Medina, "'cleared' means law enforcement has found the perpetrator of the crimes which occurred in the reported incident."

In other words, a clearance doesn't mean someone has been prosecuted and found guilty of committing an illegal act. But even judged by this lower standard, over about half the violent crimes in Denver are cleared — a rate of 53 percent in 2019, a decline from the 55 percent in both 2017 and 2018.

The percentage of murders cleared is higher (73 percent in 2019, up from 71 percent in 2018 and 68 percent in 2017), while the cleared rate has mostly held steady for aggravated assaults (61 percent in 2019, 62 percent in 2018, 61 percent in 2017).

In contrast, clearances in non-consensual sex offenses have fallen precipitously — just 46 percent in 2019, as opposed to 52 percent in 2018 and 58 percent in 2017. And the odds of anyone being brought to justice for robbery have been lousy for years: The clearance rate in 2019 was a mere 36 percent, a slide from the 37 percent in 2018 and 38 percent in 2017.....
 

Ten Thousan Marbles

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Christopher Grider said he came to Washington on Jan. 6 with no intention of rioting. But he got caught up in the mob of angry supporters of then-President Donald Trump as they surged into the U.S. Capitol, breaking through police barriers and smashing through doors.

It wasn’t his fault, he said, that he ended up inside the building with a yellow “Don’t Tread on Me” flag around his neck as lawmakers ran for their lives.

Grider, 39, a winery owner and former school teacher in Texas is among at least a dozen Capitol riot defendants identified by The Associated Press who have claimed their presence in the building was a result of being “caught up” in the hysteria of the crowd or that they were pushed inside by sheer force.

For some, blaming the mob is part of an attempt to restore reputations tarnished by their presence at an event of such infamy. Others may try to broach the issue at trial or at least during sentencing in bids for leniency.

Social scientists have long observed how individuals can act in ways they never would on their own when they are in crowds of like-minded people who are whipped into a frenzy.

The insurrectionists descended on the nation’s capital that day to disrupt the certification of Joe Biden’s presidential victory. Many attended a rally by Trump, who was refusing to concede even though there was no evidence to suggest the election had been rigged and his own administration said it wasn’t.

Hundreds of Trump supporters broke through police barricades and overwhelmed officers, violently shoving their way into the building to chants of “Hang Mike Pence” and “Stop the Steal.” Some came prepared with pepper spray, baseball bats and other weapons. More than 400 people have been charged; it’s the largest prosecution in the Justice Department’s history.

Grider, accused of helping to break a glass door to the House chamber, never planned to storm the building, his lawyer has said in filings and comments to reporters after Grider, was charged with violent entry and disorderly conduct on Capitol grounds.

“He would never have anticipated finding himself in the situation, but for the president and the rally and the way everything went down,” Brent Mayr told the Houston Chronicle. “We’ve heard ‘mob mentality’ — and he describes it to a T.” Mayr more recently declined to comment further.

Judges typically don’t let defendants assert at trial that outside influences, be it drugs or peer pressure, made them act as they did. Most judges would reject efforts by rioters’ lawyers to use any iteration of a blame-the-crowd defense, legal experts say.

“Even though I’m a criminal defense attorney, it sounds like a desperation move,” said Miami lawyer Joel Hirschhorn, insisting that would-be rioters who traveled long distances to Washington had to understand what they might be getting into. “It’s sort of like, ‘The devil made me do it.’ Come on.”

But there’s some precedent for a version of the argument succeeding at trial.

Lawyers at the California trial of two African American men charged with attempted murder in the beating of white truck driver Reginald Denny during Los Angeles riots in 1992 were allowed to call psychiatry professor Armando Morales to testify that a pervasive mob mentality meant the men couldn’t have intended to harm anyone.

Denny was pulled out of his truck and severely beaten after four white Los Angeles officers were acquitted of most charges in the beating of Black motorist Rodney King.

Morales described to jurors how individuals can become infected by a mass hysteria when in angry throngs, losing their normal control and acting violently without actual intent to commit a crime.

“This can happen to the most upstanding individuals,” he said.

While prosecutors called rebuttal witnesses to challenge the professor’s contention that intent wasn’t possible during the riot, jurors acquitted the two men of attempted murder, convicting them of lesser chargers.

Many in law enforcement criticized the verdicts at the time, saying they sent the wrong message that participation in crowd violence made someone less culpable than if they had acted alone.

In federal court such arguments are usually allowed only during sentencing, but defendants are already laying groundwork.

One rioter told investigators that walking up the Capitol steps was like “a funnel.” A second claimed he couldn’t pull back from the crowd, even though the FBI said video showed the man made no attempt to turn around.

One defendant, Kevin James Lyons of Chicago, is accused of going into House Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s office during the riot and posting a photo on social media of a plaque bearing Pelosi’s name. A caption with the photo read, “WHOS HOUSE?!?!? OUR HOUSE??”

Authorities say Lyons claimed he planned to attend only the Trump rally, where he heard flash-bang devices going off in the distance and saw people walking toward him with red faces. They say Lyons, nevertheless, soon headed to the Capitol himself and wound up inside.

“Lyons claimed that there was very little he could do to escape the crowd because he weighed 140 pounds,” the FBI said.

James “Les” Little of Claremont, North Carolina, told the FBI that he had no intention of entering the building when he went to the Capitol but became overwhelmed by the moment. Once inside, he said he fist-bumped others, walked around the Senate chamber and took photos of himself.

During an interview with investigators, he also said he was caught up in the moment when sending a text to someone about taking over the Capitol. Little’s attorney, Peter Adolf, didn’t return a call seeking comment.

Debra Lieberman, a psychology professor at the University of Miami, said people in large crowds make calculations on the costs and benefits of their actions, and with so many others around, they believe they can get away with it.

Those who went through barricades at the bottom of Capitol Hill had to have made an explicit decision to participate and can’t contend they were just swept up by the crowd, she said.

Saying you were “being swept up is pushing the blame and culpability aside,” Lieberman said. “It’s a sneaky strategy.”

When U.S. District Judge Ketanji Brown Jackson ruled in February that she would release Grider on bond pending trial, she didn’t speak directly to whether crowd dynamics might be relevant to his case. His legal team hasn’t said it will attempt to make that a feature of a trial defense.

But Jackson showed no sympathy for claims that Grider was more of a bystander than anything else that day.

Jackson noted Grider can be seen at the front of a crowd that rushed toward House chamber doors. While he didn’t smash the door windows, he stood by while others did and did not retreat, she said. One rioter was fatally shot by police as she tried to climb through one of the shattered windows.

“Make no mistake, Mr. Grider, you did participate,” the judge said, addressing him directly. “You did have a role in one of the most egregious assaults on our democracy in the history of this country.”
 

Ten Thousan Marbles

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On Sunday, Sen. Susan Collins, R-Maine, suggested that a roadblock to gaining GOP support is the commission’s timing, echoing concerns from Republican leaders last week that the panel’s final report could extend into the 2022 midterm election year.

THE FACTS: Those claims on 2022 timing are untrue. The bill has consistently called for the report to be complete by the end of this year......
 
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Ten Thousan Marbles

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Sweet Marijuana' Sing-along song from the 1934 Hollywood picture 'Murder at the Vanities'​


This is the film that contains the "Sweet Marijuana" song and dance number. It got past the censors because at the time the film was made, marijuana's legality in the United States varied by state, and marijuana was prescribed by physicians for medicinal use. Today, most copies of the film delete the "Sweet Marijuana" number.

According the Kitty Carlisle in the documentary Complicated Women (2003), when the "Sweet Marijuana" number was being filmed, she had no idea what marijuana was. She thought it was a Mexican musical instrument.

Sweet Marijuana by Arthur Johnston and Sam Coslow

Sung by Gertrude Michael
From 'Murder at the Vanities' 1934
Directed by Mitchell Leisen

Starring Victor McLaglen, Jack Oakie, Kitty Carlisle, Donald Meek, Gertrude Michael
 

Ten Thousan Marbles

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This year, there will be rose petals in the Pantheon on Sunday May 31, 2020, when Rome’s fire brigade climb on top of one of Rome’s most recognisable monuments to drop rose petals through the circular hole in the Pantheon’s roof, known as the oculus. Pentecost is one of Christianity’s most esoteric festivals.
 

Ten Thousan Marbles

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A new law passed in Florida on Monday will allow the state to fine social media companies that ban political candidates.

Signed by Gov. Ron DeSantis (R), the law is aimed at keeping sites such as Facebook and Twitter from removing candidates running for state office.

Specifically, the law makes it illegal to ban a candidate running for statewide office in Florida for more than 14 days. Platforms that do not comply can face a $250,000 per day fine.


DeSantis further argued that the law, which was introduced following the removal of former President Donald Trump from multiple social media platforms in January, guarantees “protection against the Silicon Valley elites.”

“If Big Tech censors enforce rules inconsistently, to discriminate in favor of the dominant Silicon Valley ideology, they will now be held accountable,” DeSantis said in a statement.

Over 100 similar bills have been introduced across the country, according to the New York Times, since Trump was banned in the wake of the Capitol riot.

Most of the legislation, which specifically targets the moderation practices of social media companies, has thus far failed. One proposal in Texas, however, is currently being debated.

The Florida law also bars social media sites from banning or prioritizing certain media outlets. The section is believed to have been spurred on by Twitter’s actions against the New York Post over its coverage of Hunter Biden’s alleged laptop.

Not only that, the law demands that social media platforms be more transparent about its moderation practices and even lets users sue if they feel they were unfairly targeted.

But it remains unclear how exactly the law will work in practice given Section 230 of the Communications Decency Act, which protects social media companies from being held liable for content posted by its users.

Questions have also been raised over potential First Amendment violations given that the law would dictate how tech companies choose to moderate their platforms.

Experts argue that the law will almost certainly be challenged in court as a result.
 

Ten Thousan Marbles

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Las Vegas restaurant manager shows exactly why he might be having trouble hiring workers
Laura Clawson

As 21 Republican governors and counting cut off the federal government’s $300 weekly unemployment subsidy and yell and scream about how no one wants to work, a big, big thank you to one Las Vegas restaurant manager for telling it how he sees it.

“‘How much do you pay?’ that’s one of the first questions out of their mouth,” said Steven Kim, director of operations for restaurants Zenshin and Island Sushi & Grill, of jobseekers. “When they opened the economy, they should have decreased the amount of unemployment.”

How DARE people looking for work ask how much the jobs are going to pay! How f’ing dare they. Everyone knows that it is your obligation, when looking for work, to not even think about trifles like pay rather than simply getting straight to work at unknown but presumably rock-bottom wages serving Zenshin’s “8 Second Bull Ride” sushi roll: “Deep Sea Crab, Avocado, Tempura Asparagus Roll, Topped with Seared Wagyu Beef, Sesame Miso & Truffle Essence” for $17.
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Except … is it $17? By Kim’s logic, shouldn’t I be able to show up there and order that, or perhaps the “Lasagna” (California Roll, Baked with Spicy Aioli, Eel Sauce & Cream Cheese, for $13) and be all “Why is ‘How much you want me to pay’ the first thing you’re telling me, the government should make you take whatever I choose to offer”? ($0, for the record.)

For the record, generous unemployment benefits are not keeping people from looking for jobs. Multiple studies show that, most recently one from the commies over at the Federal Reserve Bank of San Francisco. And the Census Bureau has found that, even with the extra $300 a week, one in three people on unemployment still has trouble paying basic bills. It’s not that $300 a week that is keeping people from working at restaurants where management gets offended when asked how much the jobs pay.

Some other restaurant executives have a better grasp of what’s going on.

”The world is reopening,” Jeffrey Bank, CEO of Alicart Restaurant Group, which has restaurants in New York, Atlantic City, Washington, D.C., and the Bahamas as well Las Vegas, said to the Las Vegas Review-Journal. “When was the last time in history this many jobs were created in four weeks, six weeks? This is a tsunami of an opening. Employees have a chance to decide where they want to work.”

Which means they get to show up and ask “How much do you pay” and do a little comparison shopping. And their concerns may not just be pay, although the pay question may end up telling workers something about how much employers are going to value them.

“Sexual harassment, hostility and health risks are way up,” said Saru Jayaraman, director of the Food Labor Research Center at the University of California, Berkeley, and president of One Fair Wage. A survey conducted by her group found that 53% of restaurant workers are thinking about leaving the industry. Low pay is a reason for 76% of those, but the sexual harassment and hostility are presumably not making those low-paid jobs more appealing. It’s not a “Well, the pay isn’t great, but the people coming back to Las Vegas first at the end of a pandemic are just treating me with such love and respect that I can’t wait to bring them their 8 Second Bull Ride sushi roll at any pay level” kind of situation.


Things are legitimately looking up. Weekly unemployment claims have fallen two weeks in a row, to a pandemic low of 444,000 (which is still a lot, to be clear). Vaccination rates are still rising, albeit more slowly than would be ideal. Unfortunately, Republicans and too many employers think that the answer to everything—including the United States not coming back from a major global pandemic in the time it takes to snap their fingers—is blaming workers.
 

Ten Thousan Marbles

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Gordon Sondland sues government, Mike Pompeo for impeachment-related legal fees
Hunter

Remember when it was conclusively proven that Donald Trump did a crime? No, not that one, the other one. No, between those two. We're talking about the confirmation, by multiple witnesses called before the House to testify on presidential acts, that Donald Trump slow-walked both military and diplomatic aid to Ukraine, which was fighting off a Russia-backed insurrection after Russian troops invaded and proclaimed ownership of Crimea, because Donald Trump was demanding the Ukrainian government do him specific favors to aid his upcoming campaign.

In a move eerily similar to the Trump campaign's 2016 dalliances with Russian espionage and propaganda campaigns, this time it was Rudy Giuliani, not Paul Manafort, who acted as courier looking to boost the effectiveness of Russian disinformation campaigns looking to damage Trump's most-feared Democratic election opponent. Pro-Russian Ukrainians laundered anti-Biden materials through Giuliani, who broadcast even the weirdest and most ridiculous ones (Secret servers! Russia was unfairly blamed for 2016 election hacking when actually it was Democrats hacking themselves the whole time!) into Donald Trump's own incomprehensibly hollow head; Donald Trump then insisted that Ukrainian government officials announce that they were investigating these very stupid claims, lending them official credence, in exchange for Trump (1) meeting with the Ukrainian president as show of support for the nation's battle against Russian occupation and (2) agreeing to release his hold on congressionally mandated military aid that Trump and his top officials had no legal authority to block in the first place.
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During House impeachment investigations, Trump ally, donor, and ambassador to the European Union Gordon Sondland testified through only a little flopsweat that yes, there was a "quid pro quo" demand from the White House that the Ukrainian government promote the Trump-backed anti-Biden hoax before Trump would agree to meet with the Ukrainian president—a clear abuse of governmental powers to gain something of value to Trump personally. Sondland was one of the few pro-Trump witnesses to even agree to appear before Congress; other key witnesses to the events, including William Barr and Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, refused to testify or to produce subpoenaed documents.

Trump and his allies faced no repercussions, however. Senate Republicans near-unanimously refused to hear testimony or evidence in the resulting impeachment trial, because they are corrupt. Only days after those Republicans dismissed the impeachment trial against Trump, Trump fired Sondland and other witnesses who testified to his actions, beginning a large-scale purge of any government officials deemed to be unwilling to cover up future Trump corruption. It was a fascist act from a fascist administration backed, then and now, by a fascist party.

Trump once-ally Gordon Sondland is now suing both the U.S. government and Mike Pompeo. His claim? That Pompeo assured him that the U.S. State Department would cover the legal expenses he incurred in preparing for his congressional testimony, back when Pompeo (himself hiding from Congress) and other Trump allies still believed Sondland would refuse to acknowledge Trump's extortive would-be deal. When he came back from testifying, however, Pompeo demanded his immediate resignation, Trump fired him after he refused to give it, and Pompeo's State Department stiffed him, leaving him with $1.8 million in legal bills.

Or, in other words, the same thing happened to him that has happened to everyone else who ever tried to attach themselves to Trump. Who would have thunk it.

Pompeo, for his part, is scoffing at the lawsuit. Democrats have for some reason declined to enforce Pompeo's testimony now that Pompeo no longer has the whole of Trump's government stonewalling that testimony on his behalf, and Pompeo is currently preparing to jet off to Israel to attend a party honoring an Israeli intelligence official and, presumably, commit another crime or two while he has the chance. He remains of the belief that he is still a force to be reckoned with in Republican politics, despite being made to look like a chump throughout Trump's incompetent reign and despite newer-generation fascist blowhards like Ron DeSantis running circles around him when it comes to kissing Trump's ass and getting Americans pointlessly killed.


Will Sondland get his money back? Who knows. Not from Pompeo, that's for sure. We'll see whether the new Biden administration decides that a Pompeo promise ought to be honored even when Pompeo himself never intended to do so, or whether maybe all involved believe that if you staked nearly $2 million on a promise from Trump's crooked inner circle than maybe that's your problem and not ours.

 

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Rep. Stephanie Murphy announces she'll defend Florida House seat rather than challenge Marco Rubio
Jeff Singer

In a surprise, Democratic Rep. Stephanie Murphy announced Monday that she would seek reelection to the House rather than challenge Republican Sen. Marco Rubio. Murphy’s decision makes Rep. Val Demings, a former Orlando police chief who would be Florida’s first Black senator, the favorite to secure the Democratic nod, though Team Blue’s field is still taking shape.

Murphy’s declaration was unexpected because it came less than two weeks after Axios, citing unnamed "people familiar with the matter,” reported that the congresswoman was planning to announce a Senate bid in early June, though her team quickly said she was still making up her mind. So, it seems, she was. Whatever the case, Murphy’s decision not to run statewide is another important reminder that even if a potential candidate gives every indication they’re committed to a race, someone isn’t running for office until they announce they’re running for office. Until that magic moment, they can always back down.
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Indeed, there was a major event between the Axios story and Murphy’s decision that very much seems to have played a role in the congresswoman's choice: Multiple media outlets also reported last week that Demings, a fellow congresswoman from the Orlando area, would enter the Senate race, but unlike Murphy, her team soon made it clear she had indeed decided to run.

Murphy didn’t mention her colleague by name on Monday, but her statement acknowledged that there would have been a tough intraparty fight if they'd both run. “The reality is that Marco Rubio will not be an easy opponent especially if it’s on the heels of a bruising primary where Democrats spend millions attacking each other instead of using those millions to build the infrastructure we desperately need to win,” Murphy said.

Her decision also will come as a relief to House Democrats looking to defend a seat that could get a lot redder in redistricting. The current version of Florida’s 7th Congressional District, which is based in the northern Orlando suburbs, started the decade as very closely divided turf on the presidential level, but it's moved steadily to the left since, backing Joe Biden by a 55-44 margin last year. Republican mapmakers will have the chance to reverse the impact of those shifts, though, and Democrats will likely benefit from having a battle-hardened incumbent there to defend it.