Thursday Reads: DADT Decision, Bachmann Surging, High-Profile Trials, and Mega-Wombats

Good Morning!! I think I have some interesting reads for you today, so let’s get right to it.

The biggest story of the day is that the Ninth Circuit Court Of Appeals has ordered the Obama administration to quit stalling and get rid of DADT immediately.

A three-judge panel of the United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit issued a two-page order against the policy known as “don’t ask, don’t tell” in a case brought by the group Log Cabin Republicans.

In 2010, a federal judge in California, Virginia A. Phillips, ruled that the law was unconstitutional and ordered the government to stop enforcing it. That decision was appealed to the Ninth Circuit, which issued a stay allowing the government to continue enforcing the policy as it made its way through the courts.

Congress repealed the policy last year, but called for a lengthy process of preparation, training and certification, still under way, before ending it….

Judges Alex Kozinski, Kim McLane Wardlaw and Richard A. Paez stated in their order that “circumstances and balance of hardships had changed” since their initial ruling: the Obama administration had informed the court that repeal of the policy was “well under way,” and in a filing in another case on July 1, the Department of Justice took the position that discrimination based on sexual orientation should be subjected to tough scrutiny. The government, the judges wrote, “can no longer satisfy the demanding standard for issuance of a stay.”

And the credit goes to the Log Cabin Republicans, because Democrats are too weak and cowardly to do anything useful anymore.

As I predicted, Michele Bachmann is making gains on Mitt Romney in New Hampshire, according to the latest PPP Poll.

When PPP polled New Hampshire in April Michele Bachmann was stuck at 4%. She’s gained 14 points over the last three months and now finds herself within single digits of Mitt Romney. Romney continues to lead the way in the state with 25% to 18% for Bachmann, 11% for Sarah Palin, 9% for Ron Paul, 7% for Rick Perry and Herman Cain, 6% for Jon Huntsman and Tim Pawlenty, and 4% for Newt Gingrich.

Bachmann’s surge in New Hampshire is being built on the back of the Tea Party. Among voters identifying themselves as members of that movement she’s leading the way at 25% with Palin and Romney tying for second at 16%, and Cain also placing in double digits at 11%. Only 33% of Republican primary voters in the state identify themselves as Tea Partiers though and with the remaining folks Romney’s way ahead with 33% to 13% for Bachmann, and 10% for Huntsman and Paul.

Don’t say I didn’t warn you.

The 14 men (and 5 boys whose names are being withheld because they are juveniles) who gang raped an 11-year-old Texas girl were due in court yesterday.

Four of the accused face charges of continuous sexual abuse of a child, while the majority of the men have been charged with aggravated sexual assault of a child. All defendants are expected to appear in the Liberty, Texas courtroom today for status updates, according to the Associated Press.

Cleveland police began investigating the case in December of last year after cell phone video showing the alleged sex attack started circulating among students at Cleveland schools, according to court documents. The video shows the girl engaged in sexual acts with several men….Most of the men who face charges are free on bond. One of the accused men, Marcus Porchia, 26, has been implicated in another unrelated case for sexual assault.

The trial has been postponed until October because of delays in DNA testing.

“I’m going to pressure the state to pressure the DPS lab to get whatever analysis as quickly as possible,” state District Judge Mark Morefield said.

Morefield reset the 14 men’s cases for Oct. 3. Five juvenile boys also have been charged.

During the hearing, Warren told the judge his office was in tentative negotiations with at least one of the defendants, Jared McPherson. Warren did not say if he was referring to a possible plea agreement and he declined to comment after the hearing. McPherson’s attorney also declined to comment. A gag order is preventing those connected to the case from commenting.

Something tells me this trial won’t get as much publicity as the Casey Anthony trial. I hope I’m wrong, because this is a horrendous crime against a child, and these men need to be put away for a very long time.

Actually the next high profile trial I expect to follow is that of Amy Bishop, the professor who opened fire in a faculty meeting after failing to get tenure. So far the judge is planning to keep the trial open to the public. I hope it will be televised. Once Bishop finishes that trial, she’ll have to go to Massachusetts and face murder charges in the shooting of her brother in 1986.

There’s already a true crime book out about the Bishop case.

The Amy Bishop story inspires fear, confusion, and now 258 pages of true crime drama.

Attorney Mark McDaniel says the lawyers involved in the case will be hurrying to read the book.

McDaniel says, “I promise you the defense lawyers and the prosecutors are reading that, probably reading it today.”

And then there’s the Whitey Bulger trial. Bulger pled not guilty to 19 murders today.

The retired state police colonel who oversaw the unearthing of the remains of several of the people James “Whitey” Bulger is accused of killing from crude mass graves said he felt some personal satisfaction yesterday in seeing his notorious nemesis “a broken man” in chains before a judge.

But retired Col. Thomas J. Foley said that for the families to hear Bulger, 81, plead not guilty to 32 charges, including 19 murders, extortion, machine-gun possession and money laundering, “I’m sure had to be a difficult pill for the families to swallow.”

Assistant U.S. Attorney Brian Kelly said that should the case go to a trial, he expects prosecutors will need at least a month to present evidence and up to 40 witnesses.

J.W. Carney Jr., Bulger’s public defender, would not say whether his client, who faces life imprisonment here and could face the death penalty in murder cases pending in Florida and Oklahoma, is interested in striking a plea deal.

Boston Herald columnist Peter Gelzinis is asking Whitey’s politically powerful brother Billy Bulger to get Whitey to talk.

William M. Bulger, former president of the state Senate and the University of Massachusetts, sits in the front row in a charcoal business suit, a look of implacable rectitude frozen on his pale face.

Around Billy in the courtroom are the wives, brothers, sons and daughters of some of the 19 people Whitey is accused of killing. Billy knows they are there, but never acknowledges them. Strange for a man who began his star-crossed career as a lawyer taking cases in South Boston District Court.

As this circus lumbers forward, it will become increasingly obvious that the only man who can clear a path to something called justice is Billy Bulger, the man some people still think of as “The Good Brother.”

Billy should do what he refused to do 10 years ago before a grand jury and a congressional committee. He should have the courage to confront his brother and urge him to give some small semblance of peace to the families he’s wounded by coming clean. Billy should ask Whitey to take ownership of his sins.

I’ve got a few reactions to the verdict in the Casey Anthony case. James Wolcott says he didn’t follow the case closely, but based on what he did see he wasn’t surprised at the not guilty verdict.

I seemed to be one of the few whose world didn’t flip sideways–I wasn’t that surprised and if anything pleased that the jury made up its own collective mind in defiance of the lynch-mob clamor on the cable channels.

It can’t be said that the know-nothing know-it-alls on Fox News and Nancy Grace’s Sweeney Todd cooking school accepted the jury’s verdict with modesty and maturity. After expressing shock and taking turns to tell us how “stunned” they were, they accused the jury of suffering from Stockholm Syndrome (staring at Casey Anthony’s face somehow melting their reason and resolve), appearing to resent that fact that the defendant might be freed soon (since she might be granted time-served on the lesser charges, having already served years behind bars), and acting peevish that they didn’t get their way, having already convicted Casey Anthony on the airwaves for years now and treating the trial as an audiovisual demonstration of what to them was self-evident.

“Appearing to resent” and “peevish” are too mild, actually–many of the instant commentators on cable were visibly, audibly angry at the AUDACITY these acquittals.

Failed OJ prosecutor Marcia Clark thinks the verdict in the Anthony case is even worse than what happened with OJ.

…it was a circumstantial case. Most cases are. But the circumstances were compelling. Maybe not sufficient to prove premeditated murder—and I never believed the jury would approve the death penalty—but certainly enough to find Casey Anthony guilty of manslaughter at the very least.

Why didn’t they? My guess, since I’m writing this before the inevitable juror cameos, is that the jury didn’t necessarily believe Casey was innocent but weren’t convinced enough of her guilt to bring in a conviction. The thinking goes something like this: Sure, Casey’s behavior after her daughter’s death looks bad—dancing, partying, lying—but that doesn’t mean she killed the baby. Sure, that duct tape was weird, but that could’ve been done after the baby was already dead—no way to know who or when that tape was put on the baby’s face. Sure, the chloroform computer search seems damning, but that may not even have been done by Casey (her mom took the fall for that one).

And so, every bit of evidence presented by the prosecution could’ve been tinged with doubt. At the end of the day, the jury might have found that they just couldn’t convict her based on evidence that was reconcilable with an innocent explanation—even if the weight of logic favored the guilty one.

It’s a thoughtful article, highly recommended. Clark may be right about the jury, because at least one juror is already talking. She says she felt sick to her stomach at having to vote not guilty.

I wonder why she didn’t push for manslaughter then or at least child endangerment?

Jeralyn wrote a couple of good posts on the Anthony case yesterday: The Meaning of a Not Guilty Verdict and So Many Ignorant Reactions to Casey Anthony Acquittal. She had a few choice words for the HLN vampires.

HLN…proceeded to blast the defense team for holding a victory party and sharing a toast of champagne. Excuse me? This team didn’t work as hard as the prosecution? With fewer resources? The defense team saved a life today. That’s as close to G-ds work as it gets for criminal defense lawyers. Why shouldn’t they be proud? They held the state to its burden of proof and the state failed to meet it.

[….]

One viewer said the jury got it wrong because unlike everyone else, they weren’t privy to what was being said on Facebook and Twitter. The host agreed, saying the jury was in a vacuum in the courtroom. Hello? The jury was in the courtroom and heard and saw all the evidence. They were sequestered so they would be free from outside influences and prejudice. The jurors were the ones who received the judge’s instructions on how to apply the law. Did anyone bother to post or read all the instructions on Facebook and Twitter?

[….]

I wish the news media would stop saying no one will ever be held accountable for the little girl’s murder. It hasn’t be proven there was a murder. The defense argued it was an accident. The state took its best shot and came up short.

Congratulations to Jose Baez, Cheney Mason and everyone else on the defense team. They represented their client with pride and dedication, and with enormous sacrifices to their personal lives and law practices. They successfully battered the junk science, and prevailed in the long run — despite the unprofessional conduct of a prosecutor who smirked throughout their closing argument.

Modern day wombat

A fossilized “mega-wombat” has been dug up in Australia.

The fossil of a car sized mega-wombat has been unearthed in northern Australia, scientists said Wednesday — the most complete skeleton of its kind.

Weighing in at a whopping three tonnes, the herbivorous diprotodon was the largest marsupial to ever roam the earth and lived between two million and 50,000 years ago.

A relative of the modern-day wombat, the diprotodon skeleton was dug up in remote Queensland last week — the most northerly specimen ever discovered — and scientists believe it could shed valuable light on the species’ demise.

Mega-Wombat

Along with Australia’s other megafauna, which included towering kangaroos and gigantic crocodiles, diprotodon became extinct around the same time that indigenous tribes first appeared and debate has raged about the role of humans.

Very cool.

That’s all I’ve got for today. What are you reading and blogging about?


27 Comments on “Thursday Reads: DADT Decision, Bachmann Surging, High-Profile Trials, and Mega-Wombats”

  1. Branjor says:

    The 14 men and 5 juveniles who gang raped an 11 year old Texas girl

    That was 14 men and 5 boys.

    • bostonboomer says:

      Thanks, I changed it. Why aren’t they being tried as adults anyway? None of them are below high school age.

      • Minkoff Minx says:

        Because they are all big basketball or football high school stars.

      • madaha says:

        I don’t know why the charges don’t include the obvious charge of rape, according to what you reported there. Not even statutory rape, just to include that somewhere? I mean, she was 11, if there are videos that’s not hard to prove.

        they should be charged with all that stuff!

      • okasha says:

        They are being charged with rape. “Sexual assault” is how Texas words the law so that it’s gender-neutral and includes not only penetration with a penis but objects, etc..

        Theyre not to the point yet, I think, where they make the decision about trying the younger accused as adults. That takes a hearing

  2. jillforhill says:

    Maybe Whitey and Bishop were abused and they can get off as well.

    I guess Caylee must have killed herself according to the smart people,us dumb people just don’t get it. The defense saved a life,why didn’t casey save Caylee’s life or protect her diginty by not throwing her away like trash so maggots can eat her body.
    If your under five years old and die its okay because you really haven’t done anything in your like unlike Casey. Caylee is dead and the defense parties what a system.

  3. joanelle says:

    Good grief – we’re on the chopping block again!

    http://www.washingtonpost.com/business/economy/in-debt-talks-obama-offers-social-security-cuts/2011/07/06/gIQA2sFO1H_story.html

    What kind of people have we elected to office in this country?
    WP: As part of his pitch, Obama is proposing significant reductions in Medicare spending and for the first time is offering to tackle the rising cost of Social Security

    • bostonboomer says:

      Fox News: Obama wants debt deal TODAY that will include substantial cuts to Medicare and Social Security.

      President Obama will propose to congressional leaders today a plan that trades an immediate increase to the federal government’s $14.3 trillion credit limit and increased taxes in exchange for a bouquet of immediate and prospective spending cuts and tweaks to entitlement and welfare programs, including Medicare and Social Security.

      The White House caused a tsunami of speculation on Wednesday when the administration told news outlets that the president would seek a $4 trillion deal instead of the approximately $2 trillion plan that has been under construction in weeks of bipartisan talks led by Vice President Joe Biden.

      Obama’s proposal, according to multiple outlets, will be to build on the $1.5 trillion already agreed upon (a mix of cuts and projected interest savings on the cuts) by getting Republicans to agree to his $400 billion tax-increase package (which includes lower tax deductions for individual charitable giving and higher taxes on business inventories).

      The president would double that deal by then including lower payments to those who provide health care to senior citizens and poor people under Medicare and Medicaid and change the way cost of living adjustments for Social Security beneficiaries are calculated in the future.

    • paper doll says:

      Fox News: Obama wants debt deal TODAY that will include substantial cuts to Medicare and Social Security

      He must have a pressing tee time looming…as soon as he joined this farce , it was about him cracking the whip for his over lords…he never does anything but whine that others aren’t doing for him fast enough…” we need to scrape these programs NOW people! git ‘er done! I have fundrasier to go to! ”

      help us Great Goddess!

  4. Pat Johnson says:

    Jeralyn always works to improve the theory that she is an ass! The same Jeralyn who protested against the imprisonment of Roman Polanski and who also agreed with OJ’s jury aside from the fact that he was dripping in blood. She can also be counted on to defend those pigs in Texas for the gang rape.

    Casey’s jury never bothered to even consider the evidence in deliberations. It appears that some of them may have ulterior motives seeing as to how they are seeking recompense for their appearances. Marcia Clark’s essay brought those points home in her article because those questions alone would have at least led to a verdict of neglect if nothing else.

    For a jury that was supposed to remain sequestered and not be discussing the case during trial, it is puzzling to me to hear an alternate juror, one who was not included in the deliberations himself, announce that they all agreed that “George had something to hide?. How could he know that, and how is it even remotely possible that 12 people completely agreed on the same points without one at least having some reservations concerning the evidence?

    Two of the jurors had less than a 12th grade education. My belief is that they were unable to understand some of the forensic testimony and more than likely those weeks of sequestration begin to play on their patience. Perhaps our jury system should require a little more of an educational background to be considered in this day and age of technogical wonders that is sure to become part and parcel of most trials.

    As learned as this judge appeared to be, he did push through the jury selection within a timeframe he created, and though I believe that she may have been overcharged with the possibility of facing a death penalty, there were lesser charges included that they could have considered rather than shrugging off her entire involvement by issuing an acquittal.

    And by the way, some commentators in Boston are suggesting just “letting Whitey go” due to his age. Apparently now it seems fashionable to just turn the other way when the defendant is young, white and pretty or elderly no matter the extent of the crimes involved.

    I hope you keep a pulse on the Bulger case as well. Justice these days seems to be in the hands of morons.

    (BTW, I am scheduled for jury duty in October myself. Unless Boston calls for a change in venue, I doubt it will be the Whitey case out here in WM.)

    • bostonboomer says:

      Very good questions, Pat. I sure hope you get the Whitey case, but is he being tried in state or federal court? I got called to jury duty in federal court a couple of years ago, but I didn’t have to actually go into Boston. I had to call in every day to see if I was needed, and I never was.

      Even when Whitey was still living in South Boston, a lot of people seemed to view him as a sort of Robin Hood figure. I never could understand that.

    • Minkoff Minx says:

      Just saw that Casey is getting out on Wednesday…

      Could the jury convict her on a lesser offense, I thought they could only give a verdict on what she was charged with? The least of those being 3rd degree murder.

  5. paper doll says:

    Today, CBS News reported that Obama wants to give the Republicans twice as much as they were originally asking for.

    Mother of Mercy! Look down on us with an eye of pity!!!

  6. AliceP. says:

    Obama has done all he could to destroy what we had of The New Deal. These cuts are going to destroy hospice and nursing home care as it is now. It was already hard to get as much as was needed for some seniors. Cuts in these areas have already been resulting in hospice lay offs to the point of extreme strain. My sister works in hospice care, her case load has doubled in the last two years. These new cuts will mean some seniors will get ZERO care and will not qualify for hospice now. I’m thinking many will close down. And who is going to pay for the nursing home care. Families already cash strapped? What about seniors who have no family and are alone. This is just shockingly disgraceful. I’m ashamed I was ever a democrat with this man in office as POTUS.

    Why doesn’t he just go ahead and run as a GOP nominee against Bachman. I’m sure he’d win, he’s giving them everything they’ve wanted for decades. Good thing we put a democrat in this time. Good thing we got that “hope n change TM”

    • paper doll says:

      The over lord’s plan is have put Mom and Dad put out on the curb on a bed of glad bags

  7. Beata says:

    I’m hoping to die quickly.

  8. Minkoff Minx says:

    Murdoch is closing it down:

    News Corp to close News of the World – Yahoo! Finance

    Will post more on my evening reads…

  9. madaha says:

    Oh and BB – I loved all your stuff on the Amy Bishop case – kind of interesting for the same reasons as the Anthony one – family system dysfunctional, mental illness, cover up on the part of the parents of the accused, (in the brother scenario), etc

    • dakinikat says:

      I like all of her stuff too. It looks like many kids growing up in what appears to be ‘traditional’ families don’t have a damned chance in the world. It’s very sad.

  10. Woman Voter says:

    Freeloaders: U.S. Corporate Tax Rates Are Among the Lowest in the World

    By Alain Sherter | July 7, 2011 http://www.bnet.com

    American companies are taxed to death.
    American companies are taxed to death.
    American companies are taxed to death.

    Sorry, just wanted to see if repeating that particular chestnut, intoned like a mantra by Republican presidential candidates, CEOs and Tea Partiers alike, would eventually make it true. Guess not. U.S. corporate income taxes as a share of GDP are the second-lowest among 26 developed economies, according to a new report from Citizens for Tax Justice (see chart at bottom; click to enlarge). Only Iceland, a country that flopped worse during the financial crisis than LeBron James in the fourth quarter, has lower rates.
    http://www.bnet.com/blog/financial-business/freeloaders-us-corporate-tax-rates-are-among-the-lowest-in-the-world/14623

    Journos are beginning to question the lies…

    How Obama and the Democrats can go along with Robbing Social Security and Medicare is beyond logic…. Obama needs to run as a Republican.