Daily Archives: August 23, 2011

Earthquake Hits Northern Virginia

An earthquake with a preliminary magnitude of 5.9 struck in northern Virginia.

It was felt in Washington, D.C., and as far away as North Carolina and New York. All Capitol buildings were evacuated, but there are no reports of injuries or damage.

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Judge Drops Charges Against Strauss-Kahn

Dominique Strauss-Kahn, Managing Director, Int...

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All criminal charges in the sexual assault case against former International Monetary Fund chief Dominique Strauss-Kahn have been dropped after a hearing with a New York judge.

The dismissal will be stayed until an appellate court decides on a requires from the accuser’s attorney for a special prosecutor.

A grand jury indicted Strauss-Kahn in May on charges that he sexually assaulted Nafissatou Diallo in his New York hotel suite.

On July 1, a judge freed Strauss-Kahn after prosecutors learned Diallo lied about her whereabouts after the incident.

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Rebels Take Gadhafi’s Tripoli Compound

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Rebels in Tripoli say they have taken Moammar Gadhafi‘s compound. The massive compound came under attack Tuesday, according to a rebel spokesman in Tripoli.

Anti-Gadhafi fighters came out of the compound chanting “God is great” and hugging each other in the streets.

Rebels received assistance from NATO air operations, which were continuing over Tripoli on Tuesday to protect civilians in areas where pro-Gadhafi forces were active.


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Jon Huntsman Has a Brain But No Shot at the Presidency

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During a campaign stop in New Hampshire on Thursday, Republican Presidential candidate Rick Perry raised skepticism about evolution and said he did not “have any idea” how old Earth is.

John Huntsman wrote his response in a tweet. “To be clear,” he tweeted, “I believe in evolution and trust scientists on global warming. Call me crazy.”

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Supreme Court Will Examine Issue of Eyewitness Identification

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To a jury, an eyewitness identification is the best possible evidence of a defendant’s guilt. “There is almost nothing more convincing,” Justice William J. Brennan Jr. wrote in a 1981 dissent, quoting from a leading study, “than a live human being who takes the stand, points a finger at the defendant, and says, ‘That’s the one!’”

Every year, more than 75,000 eyewitnesses identify suspects in criminal investigations. Study after study tells us that those eyewitnesses are wrong about a third of the time.

Mistaken identifications lead to wrongful convictions. Of the first 250 DNA exonerations, 190 involved wrong eyewitness identifications.

Eyewitnesses are almost always certain they have the right person. The more certain the eyewitness, the more likely he is wrong.

In November, the Supreme Court will look at the question of the Constitutionality of eyewitness evidence for the first time since 1977. Since 1977, technology and studies have changed the way we look at evidence and memory.

The current Supreme Court, however, is wary of using due process to correct flaws in the criminal justice system. In 2009, for example, the Court said inmates have no right to test DNA evidence that could prove their innocence.

Via NYT.

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Filed under Crime and Punishment, Law, National, Sidebar

Michele Campaigns in South Carolina in Spanglish

On Thursday, Republican Presidential candidate Representative Michele Bachmann said that she is the “hombre-ette” to represent voters in Washington.

“We need one strong hombre or hombre-ette, and I’m the hombre-ette to go and stand for you in Washington DC,” Rep. Bachmann said.

“Hombre” is the Spanish word for “man.” The Spanish word for “woman” is “mujer.”

Rep. Bachmann also vowed that, as President, she would reduce the price of gas. She did not explain how she would do it.


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Filed under Everyone's a Little Bit Racist, National, Politics, Stupid Is As Stupid Does

On This Day…

Bartolomeo Vanzetti (left) and Nicola Sacco in...

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In 1927, Italian-born anarchists Nicola Sacco and Bartolomeo Vanzetti were executed in Boston for the murders of two men during a 1920 robbery.

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Anna Hazare Leaves Prison and Begins Protest

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On Tuesday, just hours before beginning his hunger strike in protest of India’s toothless proposed anti-corruption bill, police took Anna Hazare into custody.

Hazare, 74, began fasting in prison nonetheless.

Following Hazare’s arrest, supporters rushed to the streets to protest.

Tuesday evening, government officials ordered Hazare released from prison. Hazare refused because his discharge was contingent on him agreeing to abide by government regulations during future protests.

Wednesday evening, one of Hazare’s aides announced via Twitter that Hazare accepted a police offer to limit any hunger strike and demonstration in New Delhi to fifteen days. Participants began arriving on Thursday, many wearing apparel that says “I Am Anna.”

On Sunday, over 50,000 people attended the event.

Hazare is demanding that his anti-corruption bill be introduced to parliament and be passed by the end of the month. While many support Hazare’s goals, critics point out that he is attempting to dictate policy to an elected parliament.

A major point of contention surrounding the bill is whether the prime minister can be investigated for corruption.


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Congratulations, Bisexual Men: Northwestern University Says You Exist!

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Northwestern University has done an about-face and decided that its new research proves that bisexual men do exist, after all. A 2005 Northwestern University study reported that “with respect to sexual arousal and attraction, it remains to be shown that male bisexuality exists.”

The 2005 study outraged bisexual men and women. In the intervening years, the study’s methodology has come under scrutiny, as they recruited men from publications with gay readerships. The new study had more stringent criteria for participation.

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Filed under Education, National, Science, Strange But True

President Obama Calls for Gadhafi to Relinquish Power

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On Sunday night, President Barack Obama issued a strongly worded statement calling on Libyan leader Moammar Gadhafi to relinquish power.

“Tonight, the momentum against the Gadhafi regime has reached a tipping point. Tripoli is slipping from the grasp of a tyrant,” he said. “The surest way for the bloodshed to end is simple: Moammar Gadhafi and his regime need to recognize that their rule has come to an end.”

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