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Monday :: May 02, 2022

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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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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