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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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Thursday Open Thread: Moving Day

I am getting ready to move this weekend. It's kind of sudden, but construction began last week on a new apartment project directly across the street from me -- a very narrow street. It's going to ruin my view of downtown and already is incredibly noisy, from 6 am to 6 pm. And they haven't even started demolishing the six structures on the lot yet, or running wiring or water lines to it. (It will take up a full city block and construction will take more than a year and a half).

So I'm moving down the hall to a unit with the exact same floor plan as my current place but it faces directly west. I'll be out of sight (and earshot) of the construction, have more mountains to look at and a lot more bright sunlight. But the move has taken up all my non-working time this week. Hiring movers, remembering to call the electric company and phone and internet company to stop service at one place and start at the other...move-out and move-in inspections, and on and on. It's really no less complicated and almost as expensive as moving across town. But the sound of those dump trucks and tractors which beep incessantly starting at 6 a.m. was just too much.

So you are all way ahead of me on the news. Which means another open thread. Wish me luck, I need it the next few days!

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Sunday Open Thread: Olympics, Superbowl, and Everything Else

It's a beautiful Sunday afternoon here. The Olympics are ongoing, and most of the country will be watching the Superbowl.

And then there's Donald Trump. Nixon had his plumbers, he had a plunger.

This is an open thread, all topics welcome.

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Sarah Palin Continues to Eat NYC Restaurants With COVID

Sarah Palin may love Sarah Palin, but she sure doesn't seem to care about anyone else. Saturday night she ate indoors at Elios. Monday she tested positive. Tuesday night she ate outdoors at Campagnola( my go-to Manhattan restaurant during the mid-90's through the mid-2000's, when I traveled to New York a lot.) Wednesday she went back to Elios and ate outdoors.

New York City Hall spokesman Jonah Allon said in a statement that, “By repeatedly flouting CDC guidelines, Ms. Palin has shown a complete disregard for the health and safety of small business workers and her fellow patrons. The city offers multiple resources to support isolation for those who test positive for COVID-19, and we encourage Ms. Palin to join the 98 percent of New Yorkers who report they have followed guidance on isolation and have helped New York City stop the spread.”

New York and CDC guidance suggest 5 days of isolation after being diagnosed with Covid. [More...]

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Sarah Palin Strikes Again

Sarah Palin, the former Governor of Alaska who agreed to be used by John McCain as a Hail Mary pass in his failed bid for the presidency, is on the loose. In New York, no less, where she is a party to a defamation lawsuit against the New York Times. Trial is set to start Feb. 3.

On Saturday night, the UnVaxxed Palin had the gall to eat dinner inside Elios, a well-known New York restaurant on the Upper East Side. You have to show proof of vaccination to eat indoors in Manhattan. But no one at Elios asked her for it. (Restaurateur Elio died in 2016.)

And guess what happens? On Monday she tests positive for COVID. So all the other people who were dining at Elios and the employees are now in jeopardy.

Is she just stupid, or does she really think rules don't apply to her? Some people may just be seriously misinformed about the vaccine and the virus(like Eric Clapton, but with Palin, it just seems like she thinks she can do what she pleases. I hope NYC fines her (and Elios for not asking her to show her ID).

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Ghislaine Maxwell Guilty On 5 Counts

Ghislaine Maxwell has been found guilty on five of the six counts against her. The only count that she was found not guilty of was enticing the accuser who testified using the name “Jane”.

I am really surprised by this verdict. The impeachment evidence was overwhelming in my view.

I will explain why when I get to a computer later tonight. (I am typing this on my iPhone in the grocery store parking lot. Please excuse any typos).

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Open Thread

I've got a lot to do today, and every time I look at the news, it seems I'm only interested in reading about Ghislaine (hoping her Denver lawyers Laura and Jeff kill it on cross-examination) and events in Central and South America.

Since I doubt many readers are as interested in these topics as I am, here's an open thread, all topics welcome.

If you do want my thoughts on these topics or other international criminal cases, let me know in comments. I'm pretty fascinated these days by Alex Saab, kidnapped or extradited from Camp Verde (depending on your point of view); the capture of Otoniel in Colombia (the Colombian President says Pablo Escobar was small potatoes by comparison); and the sentencing of Emma Coronel-Aispuro (El Chapo's wife) to 3 years.

What I'm not interested in: school and workplace shootings, missing white girls, the January 6 events at the capital, or anything having to do with Donald Trump. I barely remember him and I have no desire to be reminded.

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Rittenhouse's Counsel: Defending a Client, Not a Cause

Kyle Rittenhouse's chief counsel, Mark Richards, hasn't been known to give interviews about the case. Now that it's over, he has spoken.

It's an enlightening interview about the role of criminal defense attorneys. We don't represent causes, we represent individuals.

I was hired by the two first lawyers. I’m not going to use their names,” Richards said Friday. “They wanted to use Kyle for a cause and something that I think was inappropriate – and I don’t represent causes. I represent clients"

.....Richards...said that to him, the only thing that mattered was “whether he was found not guilty or not.'"

As for the choice of a defense strategy:

Regardless of what was happening behind the scenes, the strategy from Richards and [co-counsel] Chirafisi in court was clear: get the jury to regard Rittenhouse as a scared teenager who shot to save his life.

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