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Let’s call them the Seven Injustices.

They are old-school originalists and newfangled activists. They are torture advocates, LGBTQ antagonists, rape apologists, Islamophobes, and Confederate-monument defenders. They are anti-abortion fundamentalists. And they are remaking the law. Some of these people will end up on Supreme Court short lists; others will simply continue to choke off your rights, quietly but relentlessly, for the rest of their lives. We’d better be ready for them.

Don R. Willett

The First Injustice
Position: Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals
Age: 53
Hostile to: Civil rights, federal laws, gun regulations

It makes sense that our Twitter troll acting-president would nominate a Twitter troll acting-judge.

Nearly every story about Texas Judge Don Willett mentions his Twitter feed, mainly because he has one and it’s exceedingly rare for a judge to have any kind of presence on social media. Unlike puppetine, Willett has tended to cop an “aww, shucks” Twitter persona, praising his mother and presenting himself as an affable, God-loving family man.

Hidden among the dad jokes and puppy pictures, however, you’ll find a meaner streak that exemplifies his judicial opinions.
In one tweet, Willett, a fierce opponent of marriage equality, joked that he could “support recognizing a constitutional right to marry bacon.”

In another, he called a transgender woman allowed to play on a girls’ softball team “A-Rod.

Apparently, he’s another cis-dude bro who thinks the transgender-equality movement is just another ruse for people who want to cheat at high school sports.

Since Willett was confirmed to the Fifth Circuit in 2017, his Twitter feed has fallen silent, and we have only his record and his decisions to go on.

That record is anything but kind.

He previously served on the Texas Supreme Court, and none other than religious-right leader James Dobson of Focus on the Family called Willett the “most conservative” judge on the court—a claim he proudly repeated in a campaign ad.

Touting yourself as the most conservative judge on a court in Texas is like boasting about being the most violent member of your street gang.

It’s a terrifying thing to be proud of, even to other members of the gang.

But Willett wasn’t fronting; in decision after decision, he backed up his boast.
Prior to the Supreme Court’s decision protecting same-sex marriage in Obergefell v. Hodges, Willett refused to extend full faith and credit to same-sex marriages performed in other states.

He dissented from an opinion that allowed a same-sex couple to be divorced in Texas.

After Obergefell, he did everything he could to delay the implementation of same-sex marriage in Texas by lodging purely procedural objections.

He ruled, again post-Obergefell, that the spouses of public workers in same-sex marriages can’t receive employment benefits through their partner.

Even before Willett became a Texas judge, his personal agenda was well documented.

He worked for George W. Bush when dubya was governor of Texas.

As director of research and special projects, Willett wrote a memo about a proclamation that Bush was set to issue honoring the Texas Federation of Business and Professional Women.

That memo leaked.

In it, Willett wrote in part:

"I resist the proclamation’s talk of “glass ceilings,” pay equity (an allegation that some studies debunk), the need to place kids in the care of rented strangers, sexual discrimination/harassment, and the need generally for better “working conditions” for women (read: more government)."

Yes, the man who puts the mention of glass ceilings and better working conditions for women in scare quotes is now a federal judge who may strike down federal laws that seek to ameliorate inequities he thinks have been debunked.

And he might someday be a Supreme Court justice. >:( ...

Willett’s name was floated by some hard-core conservatives as a possible nominee when Justice Anthony Kennedy retired.

Willett never made the short list for the spot, which eventually went to Brett Kavanaugh, possibly because that old Twitter feed of his included a few disparaging remarks about puppetine.

(Willett, like many of the GOP faithful, was against Trump before he was for him.)
But on the Fifth Circuit, Willett has done what he could to stay in puppetine’s good graces.

He wrote a blistering dissent in a Second Amendment case, lamenting that the amendment was “scorned as fringe.”

If Willett considered the number of bodies annually sacrificed to the Moloch that is the Second Amendment, he might see why others hold his position in such scorn.
But gunmongering is a position that gets the puppetine people riled up.

Most important for puppetine, Willett was one of two judges behind a controversial ruling in Collins v. munchkin for the Fifth Circuit holding that the acting-president could fire the head of the Federal Housing Finance Agency.

The FHFA is a minor agency, but the way Willett and his fellow judge described the agency made it sound as if the FHFA were similar in structure to the Federal Reserve.

By creating this connection, the decision could someday provide a useful precedent for puppetine to dismiss the head of the Federal Reserve if the country’s central bank doesn’t do what puppetine wants on interest rates.

Explaining the ruling, ThinkProgress justice editor Ian Millhiser wrote that the Collins decision “is a potential recipe for economic and political disaster—a central banking system subject to the whims of puppetine’s reelection campaign.”
That’s the kind of decision the people who read puppetine his bedtime stories will notice.

Most people are better humans in real life than they appear to be on Twitter.

Willett is the opposite.

Twitter is where he went to appear friendly and reasonable.

His judicial opinions are where he trolls to own the libs.

Chad Andrew Readler

The Child Cager
Position: Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals
Age: 46
Hostile to: Children, health care, immigrants, lung health

Chad Readler is what happens when Democrats refuse to make judicial appointments a key factor in campaigns for the US Senate. Readler was nominated by puppetine to fill a seat on the Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals before the end of the 115th Congress, when Republicans held just a one-vote majority in the chamber. His nomination was quietly sent back to puppetine without the candidate receiving an up-or-down vote.

Emboldened by the 2018 midterm results, which saw Republicans gaining seats in the Senate, puppetine renominated Readler and 50 other unsuccessful puppetine nominees in front of the current 116th Congress.

This time, Readler squeaked by, 52-47, despite the decision by Republican Senator Susan Collins of Maine to break ranks with her party and vote against the nominee.
You see what happens? I hope some of the interchangeable centrist white guys running for the Democratic presidential nomination remember how important it is that Democrats take back the Senate and return to their home states to help in that effort.

Before his elevation to the Sixth Circuit, Readler was serving as then–Attorney General Jeff Sessions’s right-hand man in the civil division of the Department of Justice.

There he was the lead defender some of puppetine’s and Sessions’s most sadistic policies.

When Texas (and other states) sued to prevent the Affordable Care Act from mandating coverage of preexisting conditions, Readler filed the Justice Department’s brief in support of that effort.

The Department of Justice is supposed to defend federal programs like the Affordable Care Act from lawsuits.

Sessions’s decision to abandon the ACA was an act of sabotage. Readler didn’t have to go along with it. In fact, three other career DOJ officials refused to take part; one even resigned.

Readler’s decision to lead the fight at the DOJ is an indication that he will continue the fight against Obamacare from the bench.

That’s probably what cost him Collins’s vote. For the rest of us, Readler’s unabashed defense of the puppetine empire’s cruel child-separation policies for migrant families should earn him a place in every attack ad funded by any Democrat running for Senate.

This is from Readler’s brief in response to the ACLU’s lawsuit aimed at ending child separation:

"Plaintiffs persist in ignoring the fact that the separation of a purported family unit is a Government action or decision that does not occur in a vacuum, but rather occurs as an incident of lawful immigration and criminal enforcement, and thus it does not violate Plaintiffs’ rights under the Fifth Amendment or the Administrative Procedure Act."

Remember that some of these kids who were separated will never see their “purported family unit” again.

Readler seems to have a particularly cruel streak when it comes to nonwhite children.

At the Justice Department, he defended ending the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program. He defended the Muslim ban.

He defended withholding funds from sanctuary cities.

Readler also asked for a departure from the Flores Agreement, which requires humane conditions for immigrant children held in detention—think access to blankets and toothbrushes—as well as their prompt release.

But Readler doesn’t just threaten children because it’s his job. He once wrote an op-ed in the Los Angeles Daily Journal titled “Make Death Penalty for Youth Available Widely.”

Before Sessions picked Readler to help carry out human rights violations, he was a partner at the law firm Jones Day.

He got his start as a Big Tobacco lawyer, which is a nice way of saying he went to finishing school for henchmen.

(Jones Day has acted like a farm team for puppetine’s judicial appointments, sending 17 lawyers to his administration, including former Executive Mansion counsel Don McGahn and two federal judges: Readler and DC Circuit Court abomination Gregory Katsas.)

At Jones Day, Readler represented RJ Reynolds as it challenged an ordinance in Buffalo, New York, that prohibited tobacco ads from appearing within 1,000 feet of (wait for it) schools, playgrounds, and day-care centers.

It’s critical that Democrats make Readler a campaign issue.

Some puppetine judges hide their retrograde views in legalese, but with Readler the inhumane policy agenda is in plain view, for all to see.

Republican senators voted for a guy who would rather give migrant children a pack of cigarettes than a tube of toothpaste.

Put that on a bumper sticker.

James C. Ho

The Torture Whisperer
Position: Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals
Age: 46
Hostile to: Human rights, dignity, campaign-finance regulation

One of the worst things about puppetine is that he’s made some people forget what a truly terrible president dubya was.

When it comes to judicial appointments, we have to remember that many of the judges appointed by puppetine would have also been appointed under George Bush, Jeb Bush, or even the sycophantic Billy Bush.

We have to remember that all Republicans, including the never-puppets, have been complicit in this conservative takeover of the federal judiciary.

James Ho is the terrifying amalgam of 30 years of post-Reagan conservative legal malpractice.

He somehow combines all of the old-school conservative nightmarishness with being a puppetine University warrior doused in inexperience, partisan hackery, and naked ambition.
Most people have heard of Jay S. Bybee and John Yoo.

As assistant and deputy assistant attorneys general in the Justice Department’s Office of Legal Counsel, they were among the principal authors of the so-called torture memos, which informed the Bush administration that “enhanced interrogation techniques” did not violate the Geneva Conventions.

But who assisted them with this research?

That would be Ho, whose (still unpublished) work was cited in a torture memo that tried to distinguish torture from “other acts of cruel, inhuman, or degrading treatment or punishment.”

If Abu Ghraib and the Law were a course you wanted to take, Ho could probably teach it.

And it’s not as if Ho were just some young lawyer merely following orders to justify torture.

He went on to write a law-review article with Yoo that argued that Al Qaeda and Taliban fighters were not “lawful combatants” and thus not entitled to protection under the Geneva Conventions.

Ho is one of the clear bad guys in our country’s shameful treatment of prisoners in Iraq and Afghanistan.
Naturally, that means he spent the post-Bush years making hundreds of thousands of dollars at megafirm Gibson, Dunn & Crutcher, helping lead its constitutional law division.

Now puppetine has plucked him out of his law firm and put him straight on the Fifth Circuit.

As a judge, Ho has wasted no time putting his terrible positions into practice.

His first opinion was to invalidate a campaign-finance restriction, a pet project of his.

His ruling was no surprise; in a Federalist Society publication, he argued for abolishing “all restrictions on campaign finance.”

But as Slate’s legal analyst and Supreme Court correspondent Mark Joseph Stern noted, “What was startling was the petulant partisan tone of his opinion.”

Ho wrote,

“If you don’t like big money in politics, then you should oppose big government in our lives. Because the former is a necessary consequence of the latter. When government grows larger, when regulators pick more and more economic winners and losers, participation in the political process ceases to be merely a citizen’s prerogative—it becomes a human necessity.”

To call this circular logic is an insult to circles.

Ho seems to believe that citizens should cede the public sphere to the monied interests so that those interests can reduce the size of government to a point that citizens don’t have to worry about it.

Which is great as long as you don’t need the government to maintain roads and bridges on your way to work or reduce warming on the planet so your children don’t have to sprout gills in order to visit you in Miami.

Ho has argued in support of the death penalty and against same-sex marriage, which seems to be a requirement to get a judicial appointment in the puppetine era.

Since he’s been on the bench, he has embraced his inner anti-LGBTQ streak, arguing in one recent opinion—in a case in which a transgender woman brought a sex-discrimination claim against her employer—that the protections of the 1964 Civil Rights Act should not apply to LGBTQ people.

“For four decades,” Ho wrote, “it has been the uniform law of the land, affirmed in eleven circuits, that Title VII of the 1964 Civil Rights Act prohibits sex discrimination—not sexual orientation or transgender discrimination. But that uniformity no longer exists today.”
For what it’s worth, that opening statement is not entirely correct. While there has been no definitive ruling formalizing Title VII protections for the LGBTQ community, federal courts have been expanding the definition of sexual discrimination since at least 1989 to include people discriminated against because of their “sexual stereotype.”

Next year the Supreme Court will likely settle the issue of whether LGBTQ workers are protected by the Civil Rights Act, and given the makeup of the court, they will likely decide the issue wrongly.

But that doesn’t mean Ho is on solid legal ground. His argument about the limits of Title VII might well apply to the next four decades, but it has not applied to the last few.

James Ho is what you’d get if dick cheney and Mike Pencil-neck geek had a baby who was raised by a political action committee.

That he may well have been appointed not just by puppetine but by any Republican president reminds us that puppetine’s judges, like the man himself, aren’t merely quirks of this fetid moment; they’re the extremist offspring of more than three decades of conservative thought.


Monday, 15th July 2019
Puppetine and the Plot To Take Over The Courts
by Elie Mystal

Puppetine will not be acting-president of the United States forever.

He will lose his reelection bid in 2020 or be term-limited out of office in 2024.

Or perhaps the inevitable result of human frailty will do its work and put an end to puppetine’s ongoing illegal reign.

Most people now living will outlast his presidency and be left to pick up the pieces of the shattered nation he will leave behind.

But puppetine’s Court—the collection of judges and justices now swarming our judicial system, nominated and confirmed to lifetime appointments on his recommendation—will linger, like an infected wound poisoning the body politic even after the initial injury has scabbed over.

As of this writing, the puppetine empire has had 123 federal judges confirmed, including 41 to the federal courts of appeal—the circuit courts just one rung below the Supreme Court.

By comparison, at this point in his presidency, President Barack Obama had pushed only 19 circuit-court judges through to confirmation.

puppetine’s appointees now account for some 14 percent of the federal judiciary and more than 22 percent of the judges on the nation’s courts of appeal—and he has been in office for just two and a half years.

Many of puppetine’s other offenses could be overturned by a new president with the stroke of a pen.

puppetine’s Court will remain as his legacy.
The characteristics of these new puppetine judges are not limited to their hostility toward a woman’s right to choose.

puppetine promised anti-choice judges, and he has made good on that threat.

But while tapping judges who can be trusted to oppose the Supreme Court precedent of Roe v. Wade, he has also dredged up those who share a nasty disrespect for any individual rights that don’t flow from God or the barrel of a gun.

puppetine judges are dismissive of LGBTQ rights and protections—in some cases, to the point of open bigotry.

They’re hostile to minority voting rights and claims of racial or gender discrimination.

They’re largely young and inexperienced, and an unsettling number have earned their stripes as partisan think-tank writers, op-ed columnists, or even bloggers.

They believe in deregulation to the point of corporate anarchy, meaning that significant climate-change proposals might have to wait until they can be enacted over these judges’ literal dead bodies.

And they don’t much resemble the rest of the country: 78 percent are male, and 87 percent are white.
Appealing to puppetine’s Court is like letting the board of governors at your local yacht club—or Proud Boys chapter—decide your fate.

The puppetine Court, of course, is not actually puppetine’s idea; he probably wouldn’t be able to tell you the difference between Chief Justice John Roberts and Judge Wapner.

But puppetine has been all too happy to play along with the game orchestrated by Senate majority leader bitch mcconnell and his coterie of Senate enablers because—it’s a deal, see?

puppetine delivers the judges, helping fulfill the conservative movement’s long-cherished dream of remaking the judiciary, and his base remains content.

For mcconnell, this moment has been a long time in the making.

Even before he blocked Merrick Garland, who was nominated by Obama for the Supreme Court after the death of Antonin Scalia, mcconnell had been busy systematically stymieing the previous president’s judicial appointments.

This years-long campaign of obstruction left an astonishing 106 judicial vacancies at the end of Obama’s second term and is a prime reason that puppetine has been able to fill seats at such a brisk pace.

The senator was playing a very long game. "Not really."

Still, mcconnell and puppetine would not have been able to capitalize on this obstruction if they hadn’t had help from a network of far-right legal arsonists who have spent the better part of the last decades working to change the federal courts from the protectors of last resort for minority rights to the enforcement arm of the Republican Party.

These include organizations like the Heritage Foundation, the Alliance Defending Freedom, the Judicial Crisis Network, and above all the Federalist Society.

When puppetine maggot’d his way to the Executive Mansion, the Federalist Society was ready with a raft of archconservative nominees that it had been incubating to unleash on the country.

Funded by powerful right-wing donors—including Charles and David Koch, Robert and Rebekah Mercer, and the Scaife foundations—the Federalist Society has become the de facto Department of Judicial Appointments in the puppetine empire.

It’s the Federalist Society, not the Executive Mansion, that does the serious vetting of many potential nominees.

A significant number of puppetine’s appointees have come with some sort of approval from Leonard Leo, the Federalist Society’s leader.

For Supreme Court appointments, Leo and mcconnell give puppetine a list.

When it comes to lower-court appointments, I’d be shocked if puppetine knew anything more than the names of most of the people he’s nominating.

The Federalist Society and mcconnell want the same thing: the supremacy of the Republican political agenda.

And now they’ve almost won.

We stand on the brink of a precipice.

In March, puppetine finally flipped the critical Third Circuit Court of Appeals (which covers New Jersey, Pennsylvania, and Delaware), achieving a majority of judges appointed by Republicans instead of Democrats.

In other regions, he’s made the GOP-controlled circuit courts even more conservative.

The Republicans, of course, already control the Supreme Court.

If puppetine wins a second term, the conservative Anschluss of the lower courts will be complete.

And these courts are incredibly important.

The Supreme Court heard only about 70 cases during its 2018–19 term, out of nearly 7,000 that are filed annually for potential review.

For all the cases that are not taken up by the Supreme Court—the vast majority—these lower courts serve as the final arbiter.

Nothing can reasonably be done to remove the people on puppetine’s Court from their current positions.

The damage they’ll do for the rest of their lives is our collective punishment for not caring or voting on the basis of court appointments sooner.

But we should know who these new judges are, and we should understand what they’re up to.

Institutions like the Alliance for Justice have done a thorough job of tracking the men and women who make up the puppetine Court, and their reports make for illuminating, if terrifying, reading.

However, since no one has time to read over 100 profiles of judges who think the Second Amendment protects your right to own a tank, The Nation has come up with a list of seven who exemplify what puppetine and mcconnell are up to.


« on: July 14, 2019, 08:16:52 pm »
Sunday, 14th July 2019
Former Pittsburgh firefighter arrested for allegedly holding woman hostage
by WTAE (ABC News affiliate)

A former Pittsburgh firefighter was arrested for allegedly holding a woman hostage inside his home in Brighton Heights on Saturday afternoon.

Police said a woman was calling for help from a second-floor window, saying that the man would not let her leave and that she had been assaulted.

Police used a ladder from a city firetruck to get to the woman and bring her to safety.
The suspect, identified as 47-year-old Marc Vrane, barricaded himself inside the home.

He made multiple threats of violence against police and was uncooperative.

WAT then gained entry into the home and took Vrane into custody on the third floor of the home.

Vrane faces multiple charges including aggravated assault, strangulation and making terroristic threats.

Officers also found drug paraphernalia in the house and are obtaining a search warrant.

The woman was treated at the scene for bruises and other injuries.
Vrane was taken to an area hospital for evaluation before being transported to the county jail.
Police have been to the home on Brandon Road before.

In 2011, Vrane was charged with attacking officers and paramedics who responded to the home for reports of an overdose.

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« on: July 14, 2019, 07:10:51 pm »
Sunday, 14th July 2019
Two escapees from 'doomsday preppers' in Florida claim they were abused for years

by Janelle Griffith

Two females who escaped from a North Florida farm belonging to a pair of "doomsday preppers" told police they were held captive and abused for years by the married couple.

Mirko Ceska, 58, and his wife, Regina, 55, were arrested Friday and booked into Wakulla County Jail on serious charges, including sexual battery and abuse, authorities announced Friday.

The couple had "exercised custodial responsibility" for the two individuals, the Wakulla County Sheriff's Office said, but their exact relationship was not disclosed.

The females, whose identities and ages were not disclosed, told police that the couple had "getaway properties" throughout the United States, stocked with food rations and weapons in the event of a major world disaster.

The females escaped the farm in Crawfordville, about 20 miles south of Tallahassee, on June 28 2019.

They told police they had been trained to raise livestock, shear sheep, operate a loom and grow fruits and vegetables on the property.

Their days began at 5:30 a.m., and they were prohibited from leaving the property or communicating with other people.

They told police they were "instructed to always look happy" and that if if they didn't smile, they would get punished.

If they refused orders, the Ceskas would beat them and restrict their food intake, the sheriff's office said.

The most recent beating was carried out by Mirko Ceska with a metal rod, the females said.

Detectives noticed marks and bruises on one of the female's back and arm.

Both females said Mirko Ceska would force sex acts upon them, at times with the support of his wife, according to police, who allegedly found evidence of an Internet search for "incestuous video" on his phone.

During a search of the residence, detectives found large quantities of food rations and survivalist items and seized dozens of high-quality firearms and "many cases of ammunition from throughout the house," the sheriff's office said.

Some of the firearms were hidden behind false walls or a staircase.

Police also recovered a homemade video depicting an altercation between Mirko Ceska and the two females, during which his face was very close to theirs and he screamed that they had stolen food.

Mirko Ceska was charged with sexual battery, sexual assault, abuse, and neglect.

Regina Ceska was charged with two counts each of neglect and failure to report abuse.

They are both still being held in custody and it is unclear if they have legal representation.

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Latest Flicks / Re: Bond 25
« on: July 14, 2019, 01:44:16 pm »
Sunday, 14th July 2019
Actress Lashana Lynch Is the new 007 in the Upcoming James Bond
by Luke Darby

The James Bond franchise has been in need of a jolt for a while now, and there has long been speculation that once Daniel Craig steps down from the role, he could be replaced by Idris Elba.

The idea of a black James Bond incensed many people though, from rush limburger to that guy who edited all women out of 'The Last Jedi', probably.

But in the upcoming installment, directed by Cary Joji Fukunaga of True Detective, Bond is indeed getting replaced, not by Elba but by British actress Lashana Lynch, according to the Mail on Sunday.

Most recently, Lynch appeared as a fighter pilot in Captain Marvel, alongside Brie Larson and Samuel L. Jackson.

According to the Mail:

A movie insider said:

"There is a pivotal scene at the start of the film where M says 'Come in 007', and in walks Lashana who is black, beautiful and a woman. It's a popcorn-dropping moment. Bond is still Bond but he's been replaced as 007 by this stunning woman."

There aren't many other details on the film yet, there are rumblings that Christoph Walz, who was recently seen on set.

"Bond 25," as it's currently dubbed, is expected to premiere in April 2020.

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Saw a few more Wakandans out there!

Latest Flicks / Re: X-Men: Dark Phoenix
« on: July 14, 2019, 11:35:26 am »
You have ever right not to like a film, or whatever, but to deny the role the first X-Men film, and Bryan Singer, played in where comic book films are today in Hollywood and the popular imagination isn't fair. I didn't like Bay's Transformers films or The Force Awakens, but they made money, they were very popular films. X-Men helped set the foundation for Raimi's Spider-Man. It showed Hollywood that you could do a convincing, and successful, big comic book adaptation. Certainly, the first X-Men film was toned down from what we get today from the MCU and DCEU, and that film even made fun of the traditional colorful X-Men uniforms, but that film was coming from a place where superhero films were not sure things and the mass audience hadn't shown much of an interest in seeing faithful (relatively speaking here) adaptations of comics material outside of Batman or Superman films.

I didn't agree with every decision made in the X-film franchise, though I don't accept the idea that the same franchise that produced X-Men, X-Men United, First Class, Days of Future Past, The Wolverine, Logan, both Deadpools, was built on a 'mistake'. (Personally I liked Apocalypse, and didn't hate Dark Phoenix, or Wolverine Origins; The Last Stand was disappointing but it wasn't a complete train wreck either). It's not your cup of tea, and that's fine, but Singer, etc. got a lot right in what they came up with.

The failure to successfully adapt the Dark Phoenix Saga does not mean that the entire franchise was a failure.

Failure is not the issue here.

The X-Men projects are on hold indefinitely.

bryan singer intentionally sexually assaulting underage boys is another matter that must be dealt with.   

End of discussion.

« on: July 14, 2019, 11:26:13 am »
"They Lie. They Murder. They Cheat."
Saturday, 13th July 2019
Chess Player Caught Cheating Using His Phone While On The Toilet During A Tournament

by Gabe Fernandez

Latvian-Czech chess grandmaster Igors Rausis is reportedly under investigation after he was caught checking his phone while on the toilet in the middle of a tournament he was participating in.

Rausis signed a declaration stating that the phone that investigators eventually found in a toilet stall was in fact his, and was suspended from the tournament, according to a Fakebook post from FIDE Director General Emil Sutovsky.

The evidence found is apparently being sent to an ethics committee and the French police will be involved with what happens next as the tournament where Rausis was caught took place in Strasbourg.

Rausis told Chess dot com:
"I simply lost my mind yesterday. I confirmed the fact of using my phone during the game by written [statement]. What could I say more? Yes, I was tired after the morning game and all the Facebook activity of accusers also have a known impact. At least what I committed yesterday is a good lesson, not for me—I played my last game of chess already."

It’s not clear whether he’s specifically looking at a chess app, but it’s likely that the grandmaster will face a harsh penalty nonetheless given the attitude that FIDE has towards phones during tournaments.

Even being caught in possession of one during competition can lead to disqualification.

This suspension does add a wrinkle to Rausis’s unprecedented career, and opens the floodgates for even more reasonable doubt to spill in.

The Latvian-Czech grandmaster advanced to become a “super” grandmaster in the span of six years, which is a really quick turnaround for such a feat.

The challenge of raising one’s FIDE rating from 2500 (regular grandmaster) to 2700 (“super” grandmaster) in that timespan requires near-perfect play against every opponent.

Even more incredible is the fact that he reached this level in his 50s, which immediately caused some to question the sudden jump in success, particularly when he broke into the Top 100 and was the oldest player on that list.

“It’s amazing Rausis wasn’t stopped earlier. Seems naive that people think someone can improve that much in their fifties,” said grandmaster and ex-England player Danny Gormally.

Had Rausis not been caught today, there appears to be evidence that he might have been stopped sooner rather than later, as FIDE’s Fair Play Commission Secretary Yuri Garrett outlines in his own Fakebook post that the commission had been closely following Rausis for a while.

Though he doesn’t mention Rausis by name, it’s obvious that that is who he is referring to in the post.

Strangely enough, this isn’t even the first time cheating of this nature has happened—though the career implications were certainly not the same.
In 2015, a Georgian grandmaster was banned for three years and stripped of his grandmaster status when he too was caught cheating with a phone app on the toilet during a tournament.

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Sunday, 14th July 2019
Representative Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez is right, Speaker Nancy Pelosi has a women of color problem
by Sophia A. Nelson

No, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi is not a racist.

Yes, she has been an ally of women of color for her entire 31-year career in Congress.

I have seen her up close and personal, when she spoke at an event my Alpha Kappa Alpha sorority held last year in Washington, D.C. at the Library of Congress to honor a historic black woman.

She is all in on black women’s advancement and policy issues.

To argue otherwise would be untrue.

Yet freshman Representative Alexandria Ocasio Cortez has it right — Speaker Pelosi is old guard.

She does not like her new, high-profile women of color members nipping at her heels.

She paid her dues.

She worked her way up through the male dominated congressional system for decades to become the nation’s first female Speaker of the House.

The daughter of a powerful Baltimore Mayor, Pelosi was raised in the 1950s and came of age in the early 1960s.

She remembers a time when women were like "Leave it to Beaver” or “Father Knows Best” moms, known for their pearls and perfectly coiffed hair.

Pelosi remembers an America where women were largely silent, and could advance in politics, but only through steady party loyalty, staying in their place, waiting their turn, and never running their mouths to the media.

This is Pelosi’s formation as a politician and to a large degree as a person.

Enter New York’s 29-year-old "AOC,” as she is known, and her Democratic colleagues Rep. Ayanna Pressley of Massachusetts, Rep. Ilhan Omar of Minnesota and Rep. Rashida Tlaib of Michigan.

These bold, young women of color — unbought and unbossed in the spirit of the late Rep. Shirley Chisholm — have turned the Democratic caucus on its head.

They are unafraid to speak out, to call out, and demand the change that we are so often asked to delay or deny as women of color.

The current tensions erupted after the four women opposed a border spending bill they said failed to protect migrant children from the acting-president's policies.

Pelosi criticized them  in interview with New York Times columnist Maureen Dowd, the women fought back, and AOC told the Washington Post that Pelosi had been "outright disrespectful."

She accused her of "the explicit singling out of newly elected women of color."

The issue here is NOT that Pelosi is a racist.

The issue here is what we academics call “intersectionality" — the combined impact of racism, sexism and other types of discrimination on people and groups.

In practice, it means that white women in power often take on the same characteristics of white men in power toward women of color.

The effect on women of color is widespread.

White women earn 77 cents on the dollar compared to white men.

Hispanic or Latina women earn 53 cents on the dollar.

Black or African-American women earn 61 cents.

White women have made notable advancements in industry, politics, academia and corporate America, whereas women of color make up only about 5% of corporate executives and there is only one woman of color heading a Fortune 500 company.

In medical schools, law schools  and law firms, while women overall have achieved parity or better, women of color lag far behind.

I could go on and on with data points, but that is not the issue at hand.

When you need puppetine to defend you as not being a racist, you must stop and consider why.

What do I mean?

On Friday, puppetine told reporters that AOC had been "very disrespectful" to Pelosi.

"I don't think that Nancy can let that go on," he bleeted.

What the heck?

What puppetine really meant to say is that older white people like him, Biden, and yes, Pelosi, simply do not yet know how to deal with women of color being in power and holding their feet to the fire.

Black women are deemed “angry.”

Latina women are deemed "fiery".

And Muslim women are “radical.”

These words often used to describe us are meant to marginalize and silence us.

The solution here is not for Speaker Pelosi to silence AOC or condemn her.

It is to listen and learn and find a way to work together.

This is not Congress in 1978, 1988 or 1998.

This is 2019. People of color have a voice.

Women of color have a voice.

These women are members of the United States Congress.

These women of color have a national platform that empowers them and indeed demands of them that they speak up for themselves and their constituents.

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Vox Populi / Re: Disappearing Excellence: The Senate & Loretta Lynch
« on: July 14, 2019, 07:59:57 am »
Thursday, 11th July 2019
Maryland police agencies have for years broken law mandating reporting of excessive force, charges against officers
by Kevin Rector

In the wake of Freddie Gray’s death from injuries suffered in police custody and the subsequent protests and rioting in Baltimore in 2015, state lawmakers passed a law mandating police agencies across Maryland report when officers use excessive force or injure someone and cases of officers’ criminal misconduct, among other data.

However, dozens of agencies — including the Baltimore Police Department — never did so.

That’s resulted in extreme undercounting of such encounters in annual reports mandated by the law and collated by the Maryland Police Training and Standards Commission.

In 2018, 42 of 148 agencies required to submit data did not, according to the commission.

“There was a misunderstanding here about which unit was responsible for submitting,” said Matt Jablow, a Baltimore Police spokesman, after The Baltimore Sun asked this week about the agency’s failure to comply with the law.

Jablow said the agency has since reported its figures to the commission.

Its doing so more than doubles the statewide totals for 2017 and 2018 in several key categories, including instances of serious injury or death of an officer or someone who came in contact with police, as well as the number of officers who faced criminal charges.

For instance, in 2018, the commission’s statewide report noted 11 cases in which contact with an officer resulted in injury or death.

The Baltimore Police Department’s recently submitted figures included 15 such incidents in the city alone.

The 2018 statewide report noted 20 cases in which criminal charges were filed against officers.

Now, the Baltimore Police Department’s 34 such incidents are added to that number.

Several lawmakers who backed the legislation mandating the reporting in 2016 said that the lack of compliance with the law is unacceptable — and that the legislature should amend it to add repercussions for agencies that fail to comply.

“This is indicative of the problem that you have when you pass legislation with no accountability mechanism in place,” said State Senator Jill Carter, a Baltimore Democrat who was a state delegate at the time of the bill’s passage and who contributed some of the law’s language.

“The legislature must revisit this and entertain sanctions for noncompliance. Otherwise, the work that we’ve done up until now, the effort we’ve put in up until now, is absolutely futile.”

Delegate Curt Anderson, a Baltimore Democrat who also backed the bill, said he intends to have the House Judiciary Committee, of which he is a member, revisit the language of the law to see what can be done to strengthen it.

“As a member of the legislature, you assume that at least the police would comply with laws that are passed. But maybe we made a mistake by not putting some kind of compliance enforcement in the bill,” he said.

“That’s something we’re going to have to take a look at.”

A full list of agencies out of compliance obtained by The Sun showed they run the gamut statewide from big agencies like the Baltimore Police to much smaller ones — like those in small towns, at public universities in the city and at mental health hospitals.

Several large agencies from the suburban counties around Washington that were not on the list only complied recently, after being questioned about their failure to comply by WTTG-TV in Washington.

Heads of several agencies that didn’t report their information said they hadn’t known about the requirement and would rectify their failure to comply immediately — including Leonard Hamm, head of the Coppin State University Police in Baltimore, and his son Akil Hamm, head of the Baltimore City Public Schools Police.

Several said they did not have significant use-of-force cases to report, and hadn’t heard from the commission that they were out of compliance.

“If we don’t have anything of any significance, and the training commission don’t ask us for it, it can slip our mind,” the elder Hamm said.

Gregg Todd, deputy secretary of operations for the Maryland Department of Health, which oversees state mental health hospitals and their police agencies, several of which were out of compliance, said the reporting requirements were “simply not picked up” in the past, but that the department has begun submitting the required information.

He also said the health department is in the process of unifying all of its police operations under one command, which he said will improve compliance with the reporting law.

Gerard Shields, a spokesman for the Maryland Department of Public Safety and Correctional Services, of which the commission is a part, defended the commission’s role in overseeing the reporting program.

He said all police agency heads are notified in January that the previous year’s data is to be submitted, and that in 2018, the commission “sent out two follow-up communications to them.”

Also, verbal reminders were given at gatherings of law enforcement agencies in the state, Shields said.

He said the commission has found that “some agencies do not believe they have to file if they did not have an incident” to report, but that is not correct.

They must report even a lack of incidents, he said.

Anderson said not properly understanding the law is no excuse for noncompliance.

“Police agencies by their nature are the ones who you would think would follow the law, and it’s disturbing that so many agencies have either ignored it or are ignorant of it,” he said.

“Of course, ignorance of the law is no excuse.”

Delegate Erek Barron, a Prince George’s County Democrat who has pushed for increased police transparency in the state, said the noncompliance of the police agencies does not come as a surprise given the yearslong, concerted effort from many of them to prevent additional reporting requirements around instances of excessive force and misconduct at the state level.

“It’s a consistent stance by many of these agencies to hide how often there are instances, and how these instances are investigated," he said,

“which is a big problem.”

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Vox Populi / Re: Arizona no like Latinos
« on: July 13, 2019, 07:06:14 pm »
Saturday, 13th July 2019
Top Puerto Rican officials resign over profanity-laced chat
by Danica Coto of Associated Press

(SAN JUAN, Puerto Rico) — Puerto Rico's Gov. Ricardo Rosselló announced Saturday that his chief financial officer and secretary of state will step down following their participation in a private chat that used profanities to describe an ex-New York City official and a federal control board overseeing the island's finances.

The U.S. territory's CFO Christian Sobrino, who is also the governor's representative to the control board, announced he was stepping down via Twitter on Saturday. Its Secretary of State Luis G. Rivera Marín also offered his resignation.

Rosselló later released a statement saying he would let go members of his administration who participated in the chat on a messaging system used by government officials. The release of the chat's contents in local media had led to calls for the governor's resignation.

Rosselló apologized for the comments late Thursday, saying he'd been working 18-hour days and releasing tensions when he called former New York City Council speaker Melissa Mark-Viverito the Spanish word for "whore" and in English told the oversight board to "go f--- yourself" followed by a string of emojis with the middle finger raised.

"Aware that the current environment cannot be maintained, I have communicated to all the other public officials involved in the chat that I will have to dispense with their services and/or their advice," he said in the statement.

He said he would ask Ricardo Llerandi to remain as Puerto Rico's secretary of the interior and Anthony Maceira to stay as secretary of Public Affairs.

"This is a very painful situation for me, as Governor, as a human being and as a Puerto Rican," Rosselló said.

"But I recognize there is no other way out and there is no worthwhile forgiveness on my part that does not include corrections and clear signs of intent to change."

The comments had drawn the ire of many Puerto Ricans who said they were ashamed of his language and of how this might affect the reputation of the U.S. territory, which had already come under scrutiny earlier this week with the arrests of former government officials including the island's education secretary.

Rosselló said late Thursday that he had not yet spoken to Mark-Viverito, who posted a lengthy statement on Twitter that read in part, "A person who uses that language against a woman, whether a public figure or not, should not govern Puerto Rico ...this type of behavior is completely unacceptable."

In the chat, Rosselló wrote that he was upset Mark-Viverito had criticized Tom Perez, chair of the Democratic National Committee, for supporting statehood for Puerto Rico.

Puerto Rican pop star Ricky Martin, who was mentioned in the chat with a homophobic comment, urged Rosselló to step down.

Martin tweeted that the governor "lacks the abilities of a true leader, who inspires, stimulates and guides by example so that our people attain a higher level of life."

Rosselló, who faces other troubles, has said he will not resign.

Days earlier, FBI agents arrested Julia Keleher, Puerto Rico's former education secretary, and five others on charges of steering federal money to unqualified, politically connected contractors.

Officials said the alleged fraud involves $15.5 million worth of federal funding issued between 2017 and 2019.

They said $13 million was spent by Puerto Rico's Department of Education while Keleher was secretary and another $2.5 million spent by Ángela Ávila Marrero when she was director of Puerto Rico's Health Insurance Administration.

Ávila Marrero was charged along with businessmen Fernando Scherrer-Caillet and Alberto Velázquez-Piñol, and education contractors Glenda E. Ponce-Mendoza and Mayra Ponce-Mendoza, who are sisters.

Officials said there was no evidence that Keleher or Ávila-Marrero had personally benefited from the scheme.

On Thursday, a group of protesters had gathered at Puerto Rico's main international airport to received Rosselló as he cut a European vacation short to address the arrests and the leaked chat.

The protesters then traveled to the governor's seaside mansion where Rosselló spoke late Thursday and demanded his resignation.

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Vox Populi / Re: Iraqi Americans Targeted by ICE/Trump
« on: July 13, 2019, 01:26:37 pm »
Look familiar?

Latest Flicks / Re: X-Men: Dark Phoenix
« on: July 13, 2019, 12:10:03 pm »
I've heard before about Singer not being a comic book fan (though he is a Star Trek fan, and I think a Battlestar Galactica fan, go figure), but not about Kinberg. And while some X-Men fans were disappointed with the X-Men movies so far, few can deny the success of several of the films, and most of those had Singer's involvement. (And to my knowledge Singer wasn't involved with Last Stand, Dark Phoenix, or Wolverine Origins, which are considered by some three of the worst films in the franchise; he does have to own Apocalypse, which is also one of the most criticized entries; comparatively, he directed X-Men, X-Men 2-which was a massive success, and Days of Future Past-which was even bigger than success). I say that not to defend Singer as a person or even fully as a creative, though I give him his due that he did a very solid job taking material he might not have been familiar with, or was a fan of, and putting it in live-action. The first X-Men and I would add the second, helped power superheroes to Hollywood domination, along with Blade and the Spider-Man films. I don't think he ever got the potential for Storm, but the same can be said for the X-Men comics creators.

Not every director has to be a fan of the material they are adapting or putting on the screen, because sometimes non-fans like Nicholas Meyer with Wrath of Khan and The Undiscovered Country can create great works.

Tim Burton wasn't a fan of the 'Batman' comicbook series either if I remember reading the printed reviews, at the time.  However, he was a fan of the 1960s television show.  Granted, he used some rudimentary portions of Batman's origin story from the comicbook but essentially, the bulk of the material was a 'very dark' version of the 1960s television show...   and it worked!

This is what singer was trying to do with 'X-Men' by not referencing any particular storyline in the 'X-Men' comicbook series. Looking back, it was mistake.

I must be honest, the 'X-Men' series in the movies wasn't very interesting to me;  I missed out on a lot of other theatrical releases because I don't know many of the characters on the big screen after the comicbook version of the Dark Phoenix saga concluded.   I'm familiar with most of the newer X-Men characters from the MARVEL versus Capcom video game series.
Liked some scenes in 'X-Men: First Class' but that ain't sayin' much.

Wanna know what really helped superhero movies dominate Hollywood...?   'Spider-Man'. 

Why? Because it matched box office numbers against 'Star Wars: Attack of the Clones', that's why.  That was unheard of.
No one puts their movie up against the like of 'Star Wars' but 'Spider-Man' did and succeeded!

Spider-Man had generations & generations & generations of fans since the 1960s which predates Star Wars by a single decade.

Vox Populi / Re: Disappearing Excellence: The Senate & Loretta Lynch
« on: July 13, 2019, 10:25:33 am »
Friday, 12th July 2019
Former Correctional Officer Pleads Guilty To Misdemeanor Battery In Beating Of Jail Inmate

by CBS Chicago

(Chicago) - A former Cook County correctional officer caught on video repeatedly punching an inmate has pleaded guilty to a misdemeanor charge.

Miguel Ortiz was charged with two felony counts of official misconduct in 2016.

Instead, he pleaded guilty Thursday to a misdemeanor charge of battery.
Ortiz resigned from the Cook County Sheriff’s office not long after the beating.

Miguel Ortiz, a Cook County Sheriff’s correctional officer, is charged with felony official misconduct and misdemeanor battery in the beating of inmate Litroy Bolton.

Avoiding a felony conviction means Ortiz might keep his pension.

On Jan. 17, 2014, Ortiz was caught on video as he beat Litroy Bolton in a cell in the medium-security wing of the Cook County Jail.

The video showed Bolton did nothing to antagonize Ortiz, who repeatedly punched the inmate in the head, according to the sheriff’s office, which had moved to fire him before his resignation in 2016.

Officers put Bolton in handcuffs after the beating.

Sheriff’s officials said video contradicted Ortiz’s statement that Bolton took a fighting stance before he was punched.

Bolton told investigators he had refused to get into a cell, because it wasn’t cleaned properly after a sick inmate earlier was held in the cell.

“Maybe somebody was sick, it was contagious, but at that time, Officer Ramos did inform Ortiz not to put me in there,” Bolton told CBS 2 after Ortiz was charged in the case.

“I just felt helpless, defenseless, like I couldn’t do nothing, was nothing going to happen about this, ain’t nothing going to never ever happen, and they just going to beat me up, and they’re going to get away with it.”

Bolton’s attorney had accused the sheriff’s Office of Professional Review, which investigated the incident, of dragging out the case for more than 2 ½ years before ruling Ortiz used excessive force.

Ortiz was found to have assaulted ten other inmates before he was de-deputized in 2015.

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Latest Flicks / Re: X-Men: Dark Phoenix
« on: July 13, 2019, 07:28:30 am »

From the article:

It's no secret that Bryan Singer banned the cast of X-Men from reading comics on the movie's set, but Olivia Munn has now revealed just how clueless he and Simon Kinberg are about the source material.


Told you!
I didn't read the entire article, however, just needed this sentence to confirm what I already knew.  At the time when the first X-Men movie came out, fans of the comicbook were extremely excited (and desperate) to see a live-action version of their favorite superheroes on the silver screen.  No one cared about the movie director, at all.

In hindsight, the movie was nothing but potential as it performs like a lone story rather than the episodic series it was meant to be.  Everyone who read 'Uncanny X-Men' on the newsstands & spinner racks, hung onto that Dark Phoenix saga every single month Summer of 1979 to its final conclusion.   

Fans get none of that w/these lackluster X-Men movies & it all started with singer.

If people who know singer today feel that he's a narcissistic arrogant jackass, he was far worse back-in-th'-day!  :-[ 
I attended the same private school at the same time he did back in the 1980s, and he was a complete hump whenever I encountered him.

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