The headline pretty much says it all. From CNN:
The Supreme Court has tossed out a lower court ruling that nullified the death sentence for former Black Panther Mumia Abu-Jamal, who was convicted of gunning down a Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, police officer more than 28 years ago.
So, there you have it. Or not:
The justices made their announcement Monday, ordering a federal appeals court to revisit its earlier ruling granting a new sentencing hearing. The high court last year denied Abu-Jamal's separate petition for a new trial. The appeals court now has the option of reimposing the death sentence or ordering a new federal trial to hear other claims of injustice raised by Abu-Jamal.
I'm not all that invested in this case, one way or another. I am, however, curious to see what the Cloggers think.
Dept. of Who Could Have Seen This One Coming: Arlen Specter's latest, greatest, shamelessly transparent political ploy
Can't imagine what prompted this, other than, you know, that little Democratic primary he's facing in couple months, but Sen. Arlen Specter has reversed course on Obama Justice Department nominee Dawn Johnsen, an eminently qualified progressive and a strong critic of the Bush administration. And this is good news, because it means that after her nomination lingered in the Senate for a year, Johnsen now has the 60 votes she needs to clear a Republican+Dick Lugar-Ben Nelson filibuster. Hurray!
"After voting 'pass' (which means no position) in the Judiciary Committee, I had a second extensive meeting with Ms. Johnsen and have been prepared to support her nomination when it reaches the Senate floor," reads a statement from Specter sent to [talkingpointsmemo.com].
The Repubs and Nelson and until now, Specter view Johnsen with suspicion. John Cornyn, that Texas goofball, claimed that she wasn't serious about terrorism because she didn't want to electrocute prisoners' genitalia or whatever, and Ben Nelson mumbled some nonsense about abortion, because she was a NARAL lawyer once. Specter never actually gave a reason for supporting the GOP filibuster, though he did cite his opposition to Johnsen back when he switched parties as one of the ways in which he wouldn't be a party-line Dem.
Coincidentally, Arlen's change of heart happened less than a week after primary opponent Joe Sestak challenged him on this very issue:
I understand that when you switched parties you pointed to your unequivocal opposition to the health care public option, your condemnation of the Employee Free Choice Act as a "bad bill," and your rejection of Professor Johnsen as demonstrations of your commitment to not be a "loyal Democrat" but you switched your position on the first two, and coming through on a second chance to again change your position and support Professor Johnsen would be a tremendous benefit to the nation.
Win or lose, Sestak has certainly, and remarkably, altered this election's character, and made Specter a much more reliable Democrat. At least, until May 19 the day after the primary.
And good for him. I mean, it's been a long time since I watched an actual entire Conan broadcast, and I think his writing for The Simpsons back in the day is far superior to anything he's done for live-action TV. But that aside, NBC (now owned by Comcast) seriously fucked him over to, for some seriously inexplicable reason, keep the terminally unfunny Jay Leno on its payroll.
Here's Conan's statement, which went out this afternoon:
People of Earth:
In the last few days, I've been getting a lot of sympathy calls, and I want to start by making it clear that no one should waste a second feeling sorry for me. For 17 years, I've been getting paid to do what I love most and, in a world with real problems, I've been absurdly lucky. That said, I've been suddenly put in a very public predicament and my bosses are demanding an immediate decision.
Six years ago, I signed a contract with NBC to take over The Tonight Show in June of 2009. Like a lot of us, I grew up watching Johnny Carson every night and the chance to one day sit in that chair has meant everything to me. I worked long and hard to get that opportunity, passed up far more lucrative offers, and since 2004 I have spent literally hundreds of hours thinking of ways to extend the franchise long into the future. It was my mistaken belief that, like my predecessor, I would have the benefit of some time and, just as important, some degree of ratings support from the prime-time schedule. Building a lasting audience at 11:30 is impossible without both.
But sadly, we were never given that chance. After only seven months, with my Tonight Show in its infancy, NBC has decided to react to their terrible difficulties in prime-time by making a change in their long-established late night schedule.
Last Thursday, NBC executives told me they intended to move the Tonight Show to 12:05 to accommodate the Jay Leno Show at 11:35. For 60 years the Tonight Show has aired immediately following the late local news. I sincerely believe that delaying the Tonight Show into the next day to accommodate another comedy program will seriously damage what I consider to be the greatest franchise in the history of broadcasting. The Tonight Show at 12:05 simply isn't the Tonight Show. Also, if I accept this move I will be knocking the Late Night show, which I inherited from David Letterman and passed on to Jimmy Fallon, out of its long-held time slot. That would hurt the other NBC franchise that I love, and it would be unfair to Jimmy.
So it has come to this: I cannot express in words how much I enjoy hosting this program and what an enormous personal disappointment it is for me to consider losing it. My staff and I have worked unbelievably hard and we are very proud of our contribution to the legacy of The Tonight Show. But I cannot participate in what I honestly believe is its destruction. Some people will make the argument that with DVRs and the Internet a time slot doesn't matter. But with the Tonight Show, I believe nothing could matter more.
There has been speculation about my going to another network but, to set the record straight, I currently have no other offer and honestly have no idea what happens next. My hope is that NBC and I can resolve this quickly so that my staff, crew, and I can do a show we can be proud of, for a company that values our work.
Have a great day and, for the record, I am truly sorry about my hair; it's always been that way.
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Well, folks, it's game on: the House is debating the table games bill as we speak (my understanding was that it can't be voted on until about 5:00 tonight; will report back on that).
I'll be covering the discussion (or whatever's left of it) and vote today via Twitter and on the Clog â simultaneously in this case!
My Twitter coverage (PhillyfrScratch) will be streamed below.
Tonight, the state House of Representatives is set to vote on the table games bill â a bill that contains more shady clauses than a Santa convention.
Does it matter? Do I spit into the wind?
Maybe so: but at least I'm spittin'.
This bill is about much more than whether or not you can play blackjack at a casino.
- It expands the powers of casinos to extend credit
- It expands their powers to share information about pools of potentially lucrative gamblers.
- It keeps enforcement and scrutiny of casino operators under the Gaming Board, despite almost uniform agreement among law enforcement officials that it shouldn't be.
- It grants special favors to private interests â including, CP found, favoring a company represented by a top Harrisburg lobbyist to get the last unawarded casino license.
- It extends the opening time for Foxwoods.
- It offers casinos laughably low tax rates and licensing fees â even though its sole purpose, ostensibly, is to raise money for the state.
- It appears to create a new category of casino supppliers, subject to less scrutiny.
The list goes on.
Meanwhile, Governor Rendell â the same who refused to tax the massive gas drilling operations underway in Pennsylvania â maintains his hostage tactic over the small pot of money tied to table games, threatening to lay off 1,000 workers if the bill isn't passed by Friday.
His office argues that, because the projected â key word, there â revenues from table games were included in the budget to the tune of $250 million, the state legislature simply must pass this bill.
Perhaps Rendell â and, indeed, the state legislature â ought not to have included money in the budget that would come from an activity not yet legal! Rendell signed off on a budget that expected money from table games without having seen the actual law that would provide for table game in the first place.
When, lo and behold, the law turned out to be riddled with earmarks, casino giveaways, and greedy in-fighting among the legislature, and therefore got held up â Rendell is all the more to blame for allowing such provisions in his budget in the first place.
Yet it seems to me that the media has played easily into Rendell's hands, covering all sorts of issues â even a natural history exhibit â in a context of something terrible happening "if the House doesn't pass table games," â as if passing table games was some sort of abstract bureaucratic hurdle that simply must be overcome; as if Rendell's bullying and threatening layoffs is somehow more reasonable than the delay of a thoroughly corrupted law.
Example: "Rendell: Might have to close Pa. museum, parks" â Inquirer
Example: "Rendell: Without table gaming, the state budget is ruined." â Business Insider
Example: "Rendell: Layoffs to come if no table games by Jan 8" â Inquirer
Example: "At last, a table games deal" â Allentown morning Call
I've made my personal opinion clear before and, in the interest of disclosure â an, frankly, as an appeal to readers who trust my reporting â I state it again. This bill is a disgrace. It expands the power of a predatory industry, and it reeks of pay-for-play politics.
If you'd like to contact your representatives to urge them to vote either way, you can look them up here by zipcode.
Coming up: table games' shady provisions explored.
Dept. of Major Crimes: Kingston authorities bust terrible, no-good Super Bowl gambling ring, confiscate $45, are very proud of selves.
This shall not stand.The cops who investigated this very important crime are going to talk with prosecutors next week; with any luck, these gambling deviants will all be fired and jailed by the end of the month, and Kingston kids can go back to learning that the earth is 6,000 years old, or whatever it is they teach the youngins over in Pennsyltucky, free from the pernicious influence of small-time, behind-closed-door betting.
My friends and I are looking to out to dinner over the holidays. We want to go somewhere we haven't been before and would like to bring our own bottles of wine. Where's a good place to dine at?
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The Bearded One walking down Chestnut.
Who knew Santa shopped at Five Below?
Aw hell, and because you haven't heard it enough on B101:
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