I never knew Cat Cora was “family”! From the Celebrity Baby Blog;The couple?s new sons are from the same sperm donor as their older boys, Caje, 23 months and Zoran, 5. Zoran and the baby Cat is carrying are from Jennifer?s eggs, while Caje is from Cat?s. In Jennifer?s current pregnancy, both women?s embryos were [...]
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So, if Chas Freeman loses by winning. . . .[...]
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Details of Bernard Madoff's expected guilty plea emerged today when he appeared in court for a hearing to waive any conflict of interest his lawyer might have from past representation of other clients.
Madoff will plead straight-up -- no plea agreement-- to 11 charges in the Criminal Information.
“There is no plea agreement,” Assistant U.S. Attorney Marc Litt said at the hearing, meaning Madoff must plead guilty to 11 counts that he now faces in a criminal information filed today.
Madoff is charged with securities fraud, investment adviser fraud, mail fraud, wire fraud, three counts of money laundering, false statements, perjury, false filings with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission and theft from an employee benefit plan, Litt said.
The Government filed a letter with the Court today outlining its sentencing guideline calculations. (Available on PACER) [More....]
Total maximum penalties: 150 years. There are also two forfeiture allegations, and a request that if the assets to be forfeited have been sold or no longer exist, that substitute assets be forfeited in their place.
By the Government's calculations, the combined offense level under the U.S. Sentencing Guidelines is a whopping 54 -- even after giving Madoff his 3 level reduction for acceptance of responsibility and timely notice of his intent to plead. With a criminal history category of I (no prior convictions), Madoff's guideline range is life in prison.
Because the defendant is not charged with any offense that carries a maximum term of life imprisonment, the Guideline sentence is computed by adding the applicable statutory maximum sentences on all counts of conviction, which results in a Guideline sentence of 150 years' imprisonment. See U.S.S.G. § 5G1.2.
There is no parole in the federal system. A life sentence means exactly that, Madoff would leave prison when he dies.
The Government will seek criminal forfeiture of more than $170 billion as property or proceeds traceable to the SUA offenses and $799 million involved in the money laundering offenses.
Madoff's lawyers also filed a letter (available on PACER). In it, they say they disagree with the Government's monetary calculations:
[I]t is important for us to inform the Court at this early stage that it disagrees with the government's theory as to what constitutes the "proceeds" of the specified unlawful activity in this case.
The government has informed us that the purported $177,000,000,000 of "proceeds traceable to the commission of SUA offenses" represents the total amount of money deposited in the Bernard L. Madoff Investment Securities, LLC ("BLMIS") bank account related solely to Mr. Madoff s investment advisory business.
Even assuming the accuracy of that number, however, the government's theory of the proceeds of SUA - in this case securities fraud, mail fraud, wire fraud and theft from an employee benefit plan - fails to account for or offset the substantial amounts of money that Mr. Madoff paid from the aforementioned account to investors in the form of redemptions, a number likely in the billions.
Madoff's lawyers are seeking a lot of documents in discovery for sentencing. That indicates sentencing could be several months away. Which brings us to another issue to be decided Thursday: Will Madoff be allowed to remain free on bond pending sentencing? Bloomberg reports:
U.S. District Judge Denny Chin said at today’s proceeding that there will be only two issues at the March 12 hearing -- whether he will accept the guilty plea and whether Madoff will be sent to jail that day.
As to whether victims will be heard on Thursday, the answer is "no."
Chin said victims who wish to speak about the jail term Madoff receives will have to wait until sentencing.
Good call by the Judge. There's no plea agreement, no sentence concessions and Madoff is pleading guilty to every charge against him. All victims will have a chance to weigh in on his sentence before it is imposed, even if by letter. Flogging Madoff verbally at the plea hearing serves no purpose other than perhaps emotional satisfaction -- which is not the function of a court proceeding.
My prediction: Madoff will go to jail Thursday, never to be released again. And, no matter how much money the government forfeits, not every victim will be made whole.
My husband has ptsd, tbi and some other injuries and IS getting help. By no means am I saying it's been easy. But, I believe the help is there if your soldier wants it and the spouse or parents help. My husband came back without the ability to do routine household chores, and everything else that goes along with ptsd and tbi. It took us 3 months to get him into neurology for his initial diagnosis, 6 months to get into cognitive therapy rehabilitation, and 8 months to get into ptsd group therapy. Every day after he returned home from Iraq I asked him if he got his appointments made, called him at work every day so he would REMEMBER to call and get into all these classes and doc. appointments. In the meantime we developed our own therapies to help him remember things and to help him out of his flashbacks. We had hand signals, codes and a bunch of other coping mechanisms so he could lead a functional life until he got into all of those classes and therapies. We are stationed at Ft Hood and the help is there if you work to get it. Our life is not the same as it was. I am now his advocate to everything he does. I watch him like a hawk and if he makes bad choices he has to deal with the consequences like anyone else. I am there make sure no one takes advantage of him. It's hard work and I feel like I want to leave and start over. But I'm hoping he will develop more emotions and feelings. That is our next hurdle. I have learned both soldier and spouse have to work like a fine tuned engine to beat these injuries. My husband is better, he doesn't drink or go awol. His flashbacks and nightmares are under control. He's gotten both mental and physical help for his injuries. There is hope and they can get better.
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A new lethal suicide bombing, the second in three days, is casting doubts over the security situation in the country.
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The Employee Free Choice Act is set to be introduced in both chambers today, which will kick off a public relations battle over passage in which corporate special interest groups plan on spending some $200 million to defeat it.
Already, the framing wars are underway, with corporate opponents referring to the bill as "card check," and insisting that it somehow does away with secret ballot voting -- sometimes without even bothering to mention that they're talking about secret ballot voting among employees with regard to whether or not they want to join a union, probably hoping that people will become frightened that the bill will somehow eliminate secret ballot voting for elections for public office.
At any rate, the effort clearly has some Congressional Democrats -- including some who voted for the same legislation in the last Congress, when it passed the House but stalled in the Senate -- running scared.
But the reality is that the issue is about employee choice -- a fact that's somehow escaped notice despite the name of the bill. That is, the bill changes the law such that employees get to choose how they want to vote on whether or not to join a union.
And that's not scary. That's just plain old common sense.
Do they want a secret ballot? Or something else?
Ask Joe Six Pack (or Joe the Plumber -- provided you're talking about a guy who's really named Joe and is actually a plumber) whether he thinks the format of the vote on whether or not to join a union should be up to the employees, or up to the bosses.
Go ahead. I think you know what the answer will be.
Think of it -- if you're inclined to this way of thinking -- as deregulating the federal bureaucracy that oversees labor organizing. How do you think you ought to be able to join a union if that was something you wanted to do?
Do you think it ought to be enough for you to say, "Yeah, I think I'd like to do that. Do you guys want to do it, too?"
Or do you think that your boss ought to be able to use federal regulations to force you into a rigid and formalistic process that gives the company every opportunity to fight, antagonize, harass and even threaten you along the way?
How did we get to where the corporate brass are now cheerleading for government regulation getting in the way of how regular people conduct their own affairs? Why, it's socialism, I tells ya!
Hey, if you want to join a union, be my guest. That's the way I see it. Funny how the free-traders and deregulators suddenly want the government in everyone's face again when it comes to whether or not regular people should be able to decide for themselves how they want to tell their friends and coworkers that they'd maybe like to get together and cooperate on some stuff.
If I want into a union and feel like saying so, get the hell out of my way, boss. Nobody asked you. It shouldn't be up to you how I get to express that any more than you get to decide how I invite people out for beers after work.
"Hey, you can't just invite Joe out for beers. You've got to have a federally supervised secret ballot election on whether or not you can ask him."
And while I'm on the subject, I notice now that people are talking about regulating executive compensation, you're not too crazy about federal interference in how you decide to vote on who gets to be a boss. So how about getting your hands out of how I decide who gets to be in my union?
The GOP's latest meme is that Obama is getting distracted by all these extraneous issues - you know, health care, science, education. House Minority Whip Eric Cantor (R-VA):
"Why are we going and distracting ourselves from the economy? This is job No. 1. Let's focus on what needs to be done," - CNN
Obama struck back today:
"I know there are some who believe we can only handle one challenge at a time," Obama said, before ticking off the great feats past presidents like Abraham Lincoln, Franklin Roosevelt, and John F. Kennedy accomplished during difficult times. "We don't have the luxury of choosing between getting our economy moving now and rebuilding it over the long term." - MSNBC
But here's a point I haven't seen. The key week of the campaign was when the financial crisis first broke, in the days before the first debate, and McCain "suspended" his campaign. Obama didn't, essentially saying Presidents have to be able to do more than one thing at a time. Obama moved out to a significant lead in the polls, and McCain never seriously challenged again.
So, you could argue that a main reason voters chose Obama was because they wanted a President who could do multiple things at once during a crisis. Somehow I don't this latest GOP talking point is going to have any legs with the public.
ABC News? Teddy Davis reports that South Carolina Gov. Mark Sanford (R), who is considering a run for president in 2012, ?will be sending President Obama a letter in the next few days asking for permission to apply a quarter of South Carolina’s stimulus money, approximately $700 million, to paying down state debt rather than using the money to fund government programs.? If Obama rejects Sanford’s request, the governor will not seek the $700 million in stimulus funds which are under his discretion, possibly causing the state legislature to override his efforts. Sanford’s move follows the attempt by Gov. Bobby Jindal (R-LA), another 2012 contender, to reject $90 million in stimulus funding that would have benefited 25,000 unemployed Louisiana residents.
As Krugman points out, Boehner is the "second most influential member of the GOP (after Rush Limbaugh)." Seriously though, the top Republican in the House thinks that what America needs now is for the government to cut spending; to tighten its belt, just like all Americans are having to do. Considering that part of our current problem is that consumer demand is too low, one of the worst things we could do is to suck even more demand from the economy by cutting back on government spending. That's the entire idea behind the stimulus bill - use government demand, aka government spending, to make up for anemic consumer demand. Boehner's statement isn't just idiotic, it's downright dangerous (it's equally ludicrous for Boehner to praise consumers cutting back on their spending as though it's admirable and necessary - in fact, it's making things worse). When will Republicans hold their leaders accountable? And when will they stop choosing blithering idiots, tax cheats, drug addicts, and himbos as their leaders? Yes, Boehner has nice hair and pretty eyes. But can you people ever elect a brain too?
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A security source told IraqSlogger that a forensic investigation into the shooting death of an Iraqi officer a week ago has concluded that the same weapon was used in the attack as in an attempt on a Baghdad municipality employee Unknown gunmen in a white Peugeot used a firearm fitted with a silencer last Wednesday to assassinate an Iraqi Interior Ministry officer known as Col.
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