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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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Biden Addresses Nation on Gun Control

I'm a little late, and it's a little early for a national speech, but Joe Biden is addressing the nation on gun control. You can watch here.

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Tuesday Open Thread

The war in the Ukraine continues.

Johnny Depp's Libel case against Amber Heard continues.
The Karashian sisters won a laswuit against their former sister-in law who had sued them for defamation (or slander).

I'm going to give some props to Pantaya TV, a spanish streaming station, because in addition to have some original programming it has a ton of recent Spanish movies and several TV shows, and everything I've watched is so far has been commercial Free. I liked Senorita 89. I am really looking foward to the new seasons of La Reina Del Sur and El Senor de los Cielos on Telemundo, but it seems the release dates keep getting pushed back.

Does here believe the news articles claiming the media has seen a draft of Roe v. Wade which would appeal it -- written by Justice Sam Alito? Maybe he's engaging in wishful thinking. It seems to me the likely effect will be to turn more Dems out to vote in November.

This is an open thread, all topics welcome.

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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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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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