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37 posts from June 2009

June 14, 2009

Sy Hersh and James Bamford


Investigative journalists Sy Hersh and James Bamford speaking on a panel about the ethics of anonymous sources at the annual conference of Investigative Reporters and Editors.

Minuteman tied to home invasion

Border Reporter Michel Marizco has a blockbuster story about a member of the anti-immigration vigilante group known as the Minutemen arrested today in Arizona in connection with a home invasion:

A 41-year-old woman involved with the Minuteman vigilante groups that hunt illegal migrants through the Arizona desert has been arrested for pulling a home invasion and murdering a father and his nine year old daughter last month.

Then it gets ugly and weird. According to the Pima County Sheriff’s Office, Shawna Forde, 43, was arrested south of Sierra Vista, Ariz. today. Her accomplices, Albert Gaxiola and Jason Eugene Bush, were also arrested. Bush was picked up in Kingman on June 11 and Gaxiola in Tucson. The father and daughter, Raul and Brisenia Flores, were murdered May 30.

The Pima County Sheriff’s Office says Forde and her two accomplices pretended to be police and entered the home. A woman in the home is recovering from her injuries.

Read the whole thing. Truly a bizarre tale.

Update: is reporting that Forde has been charged with first degree murder, burglary, and aggravated assault in connection with the May 30 incident. Authorities hypothesize that the Minutemen intended to steal money and drugs to finance their illegal activities. I wonder if the GOP will tell us that the Minutemen are secret leftists, like George Tiller's assassin and the Holocaust Museum shooter.

June 11, 2009

Ice cream preferences vary by gender

Ice CreaM, originally uploaded by SwEeTcHy.

New market research shows that the perennial chunky vs. smooth ice cream divide splits along gender lines:

Mintel has released new findings about the varying ice cream preferences of men and women. According to the Chicago-based market research firm, seven in 10 men prefer plain ice cream flavors, such as chocolate or vanilla, while 74 percent of women look for those varieties featuring chocolate or candy bits [Progressive Grocer].

June 10, 2009

GITMO Uighurs Palau-bound

The Uighurs of Guantanamo finally catch a break:

They were plucked from their ancient Silk Road home in central Asia eight years ago and sent to Guantanamo Bay as part of the "war on terror". Now cleared of being enemy combatants, the 17 Chinese Uighurs, who once lived about as far away from the ocean as it is possible to live, find themselves bound for a new life on the remote Pacific island of Palau.

The 1.6 million sq km of their home province, Xinjiang, is a major earthquake zone, which includes three deserts as well as the famed ancient trade route; the 350-island archipelago of Palau was only founded in 1994, has just 20,000 inhabitants and is a renowned scuba diving destination.

The relocation will be the biggest single release of Guantanamo detainees to date, and a major relief to US President Barack Obama, who has been searching for a way to resolve the prisoners' situation since he declared his intention to close the American military camp. [Independent]

Pelau's president President Johnson Toribiong has earned the gratitude of the United States and a $200 million dollar "donation" from Washington through the soon-to-be renewed U.S.-Palau cooperation treaty.

Kudos to the diplomats who brokered this deal and to the sane, compassionate people of Palau.

If you like human rights and like tropical paradises with great scuba diving, you might consider rewarding Palau for its service to the international community by booking your next vacation there.

June 08, 2009

Blood money

Jesus bought us with his own money, and by money we mean blood...

[HT: Ken Silverstein]

It's irresponsible to criticize Ed Whelan

Ed Whelan, Bush torture law adviser turned National Review blawger, outed publius of Obsidian Wings.

Via Gawker:

Ed Whelan, former Scalia law clerk, Bush Justice Department appointee, and, most amusingly, "President of the Ethics and Public Policy Center," got soooo mad at some blogger who was criticizing him that he published the guy's real name and job.

Whelan explains that he's exposing publius, not out of a petty desire for revenge, but as a matter of principle. You see, publius was recklessly criticizing Whelan while pseudonymous.

Whelan says this all started when third blawger, Juan Eugene Volokh, pointed out that Whelan had made some kind of mistake in a post. Whelan fixed the infelicity. But then that guttersnipe publius piped up on his own blog to say that Whelan should be embarrassed:

What Blevins—I mean, “publius”—somehow takes away from all this is that “Volokh actually decimates Whelan’s argument”—the concededly sloppy sentence that I promptly revised—and that I should be “thoroughly embarrassed.”

So, yeah, publius was totally asking for it. I'm glad Ed Whelan had the courage to rip back the veil and expose his reckless, wanton, and vicious use of speech to chide Ed Whelan. I will sleep better knowing that selfless public servant Ed Whelan will not be embarrassed about anything, ever.

Update: Jesse Taylor is so irresponsible that I wish "Jesse Taylor" was a pseud so I could unmask his true identity and thereby neutralize the threat he poses to the Republic, common decency, and the purity of our essence.

Update 2: Whelan has apologized, not exactly for outing publius, but for being "uncharitable" to him, whatever that means.

Friday: Roboticists and BSG cast members talk cylons

Attention BSG fans, The World Science Festival is sponsoring a panel discussion at the 92nd St. Y this Friday featuring leading roboticists and two of your favorite BSG cast members:

Friday, June 12, 2009, 8:00 PM - 9:30 PM, 92nd Street Y

Cast members from Battlestar Galactica join leading roboticists to explore scientifically, philosophically, and ethically the approaching frontier where intelligent machines are commonplace and cybernetic technology enhances human capabilities. Featuring sneak previews from the forthcoming Battlestar special The Plan as well as live appearances by some of the show's star cylons.

June 06, 2009

Pianist in Purple Tights


A shot from last week's performance by Bill Britelle's Television Landscape at Galapagos Artspace in DUMBO.

June 05, 2009

I have a special practice, I handle one client

Revelations from law enforcement: "Police say lawyers aid Mafia, new book suggests"

Police suspect a handful of practising lawyers play an indispensable role in the dealings of Canada’s most notorious crime family, protecting sensitive meetings from police scrutiny with their mere presence, and even subscribing to cellphone numbers for mobsters in order to thwart police eavesdropping, a new book reveals.

Mobsters have lawyers. Who knew?

June 04, 2009

Wecht walks!

The government has quietly dropped all charges against Cyril Wecht a Pennsylvania coroner and Democratic party activist whom many believe was targeted for politically motivated prosecution by GWB-appointed U.S. Attorney Mary Beth Buchanan.

White Collar Crime Prof has details:

There is no press release on the website of the US Attorney for the Western District of Pennsylvania announcing the dismissal of the case against Cyril Wecht.  But one seldom finds a US Attorney's Office posting a press release on a case dismissal - it always seems to be the indictments and convictions that they are anxious to report. (shouldn't a minister of justice report all instances of justice?).  

But the press is reporting that the charges against Cyril Wecht have been dropped. See Paula Reed Ward, Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, Wecht charges dropped; Eric Heyl, TribLive, Buchanan's big case slams shut for good; Joe Mandak, (AP),U.S. drops charges against pathologist