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  1. Yes it is all in the stuff in bold, but the paragraph in bold refers to both "discretionary" and "mandatory" sentences. I'm trying to emphasize that in the end his sentence will be more mandatory than discretionary. Yes, if his lawyer is good enough to get the aggravated identity theft charges dropped entirely, he can get a lower sentence. My point is that by tacking on such charges, the prosecutors are sending a strong signal that they aren't open to such a deal. Should he elect to go to trial, his odds are not good, as federal prosecutors have a 95%+ conviction rate. Unless his attorney believes he has an unusually good case at trial, they will likely focus on getting as good a plea bargain as possible. By tacking on the aggravated identity theft charges, the prosecutors have already drawn their line in the sand as to how they expect said plea bargaining to go, and it is unlikely (not impossible) that line will be crossed. He'll get some short, plea bargained, sentence on the wire fraud and two years, served consecutively, on the aggravated identity theft.
  2. Thanks for this link. There is a statement from that press release that needs to be clarified a bit: If convicted, Pooley faces a maximum statutory penalty of 20 years in prison and a $250,000 fine for each count of wire fraud, and a mandatory two year sentence on each count of aggravated identity theft. Any sentence, however, would be determined at the discretion of the court after consideration of any applicable statutory factors and the Federal Sentencing Guidelines, which take into account a number of variables. This says that the court has discretion on the sentencing. That is only true on the wire fraud charge. On the surface, the wire fraud charge sounds more serious since the maximum penalty is 20 years. In practice, however, the federal sentencing guidelines will almost surely lead to a sentence far, far lower than 20 years. For the wire fraud charge, 20 years probably doesn't really mean 20 years or anything close. However the 2 years for aggravated identity theft really does mean 2 years. If convicted, his sentence on that count will be 2 years, neither more nor less. There is exactly zero discretion when it comes to the federal sentencing guidelines for aggravated identity theft. The 2 years for aggravated identity theft could well end up being longer than the 20 years for wire fraud because there is no discretion. The aggravated identity theft charge is only used in conjunction with other serious felonies, and it is a tool used by federal prosecutors to reduce the discretion of judges, probation officers, and the defense to push for a shorter sentence. If convicted, he will be serving 2 years plus whatever he gets on the other charge. By tacking on the aggravated identity theft charges, the prosecutors are sending a strong signal that they want significant prison time rather than some more lenient alternative sentence.
  3. I got that survey question too. Long ago I used to be a member of CSPA (Canadian Sport Parachuting Association) back when they still had an E license on the books. I said that an E license was wrong back when CSPA did it. And an E license would be wrong if USPA does it. And two wrongs sure as hell don't make a Wright @BobWright LOL!! More seriously, I did recommend to them in my response to the query that they talk to Bob. Bob is the only E license holder I've ever met, CSPA E-8. I jumped at his DZ a couple of times in 1986. I recall that the E license involved jumping through a lot of hoops, figuratively or literally. One had to have made five night jumps and five water jumps. The E license seemed to just involve bragging rights without really giving a lot of additional privileges. Most jumpers stopped at a D.
  4. Note that multiple responses are not allowed. Trump, like anyone else, can only physically be sent to one prison at a time. There is a lot of talk of prosecuting him after he leaves office. However, he has been accused of multiple instances of different types of crimes--crimes against the country as President as well as both private business and personal crimes. At some point a decision will need to made as to which type of crime to focus on first.
  5. Agreed but if those real time decisions evince underlying priorities that are seriously screwed, then something needs to change. AFAIK George Floyd was accused of nothing more than using a $20 counterfeit bill--a relatively minor crime. I have no idea whether he was innocent or guilty of the original accused crime--and he is no longer around to defend himself from any criminal charges. But it should never happen that the arrest of someone charged with such a minor crime results in anyone's death--be that the detainee, a law enforcement officer, or a bystander. It is better--much better--that the suspect simply get away than there be a death over something so minor. When such minor charges escalate into death, something is very very wrong with the underlying priorities that are driving the real time decisions. Now it is different when more serious crimes are alleged. If we are talking about the Boston Marathon bombing, then it was reasonable for law enforcement to take some risk of death both for themselves and for the suspects they were attempting to apprehend. As it turned out, one police officer as well as one suspect did perish, and the other suspect was seriously hurt before hiding in a boat and eventually being arrested. But something is very wrong when these minor accused crimes--often, it seems, involving a black suspect--escalate into something so tragic. If the arrest cannot be done safely, then it should not be done at all. This case was especially egregious since it seems most of the severe brutality took place after Floyd was already handcuffed and, I presume, no longer a significant threat. A review of any real time decision making needs to include learning and, if needed, changing the policies that were guiding the decision making. It is hard for me to imagine any reasonable policy leading to the real time behavior we've seen in these officers, especially the one who physically restrained Floyd. The fact that we don't typically see such things happen in other wealthy countries--many of which are also becoming quite racially diverse like the USA--means that we shouldn't accept such things as unavoidable. I also believe that, given that this happened in the covid-19 era, this incident has resulted in protests which have put the whole country at greater risk of a new spike of covid-19 cases. As such I believe that Derek Chauvin should face federal treason charges carrying the death penalty. And I'm someone who is generally opposed to the death penalty. Chauvin should face state murder charges--life without parole--for the murder of Floyd but federal treason charges--death penalty--for jeopardizing the country's recovery from covid-19.
  6. I think that is the point. O'Toole is writing from the perspective of other rich democracies, and it may be a correct view from that perspective. It is not necessarily a worldwide view. The USA is still an attractive destination from the point of view of people from other countries who are truly hurting and want to seek a better life. Have a look at the following site which admittedly was before coronavirus but was after Trump took office: Which countries do migrants want to move to? It shows that the US is still the most popular destination for immigrants worldwide. I know a lot of immigrants from countries like India and China. As the list suggests, other countries like Canada, Germany, and the UK tend to be seen as worthy second choices if they can't get into, or stay, in the USA. But the US is still often the first choice. O'Toole's Ireland isn't on the list at all. Additionally, per capita Ireland is actually harder hit by coronavirus than the US is: COVID-19 Cases per Million Inhabitants: A Comparison In general it seems to be "rich democracies" that are the hardest hit, or maybe they are just able to do more testing? The situation with the migrant caravans traveling to the US from Central American countries through Mexico a year or two ago sent, for me, an interesting and mixed message. On one hand, the Democrats may be correct that they received pretty poor treatment from the Trump administration when they arrived at the border. OTOH, the caravans wouldn't have existed at all if people didn't still want to move to the US, even with Trump in charge. I think O'Toole's comment really nails it, although he may not have intended it. If you are rich and live elsewhere the US has little to offer. But if you are poor and live elsewhere, there is still a perception, even now, that there is a lot of opportunity in the US--if you can get in that is.
  7. I don't know who Biden will pick, but on the list you've provided I'd pick either Rice or Whitmer. Tulsi Gabbard would be an option too. My sole criterion is that it should be a strong woman who is not currently sitting in the US Senate. It needs to be understood that when we pick a VP, we are effectively picking a US Senator, because the VP casts the tie breaking vote. The prospect of a deadlocked Senate after the 2020 election is high enough that I believe this should be the only criterion. Democrats should view the VP choice as an opportunity to pick up a seat in the Senate. As such we should not be picking for a VP someone who is already sitting in the Senate, since we need their strong voices there. Even if the VP comes from a state with a Democratic governor who would surely appoint a Democratic replacement, appointments of that kind are going to be much weaker than an elected Senator with seniority. It is an extreme example, but the appointed Roland Burris proved to be a lot weaker than the elected Senator he replaced (Barack Obama). The Democrats lost that seat in the next election. Now that Democrats have again won that seat back (Tammy Duckworth) I think Duckworth and all strong women in the Senate should remain just that--strong women in the Senate. But I do think Biden is right to want to pick a woman. I just think it should be a woman from outside the US Senate with one possible exception I'll now mention. If I were Biden, and given how unusual this election is in multiple ways, I would be at least toying with the idea of pulling an Abe Lincoln and turning to a strong, but moderate, Republican woman to help unify the country. Susan Collins comes to mind.
  8. I would expect that at DZ's where people who work there live (i.e. when they "shelter in place" they will remain at the DZ because that is where they live) they would still have the occasional load going up. The DZ might be closed to the general public and to skydivers who don't live at the DZ, but jumpers who live there could still jump. Such people, although they will make far fewer jumps than in ordinary times, will still be jumping enough to stay current.
  9. I don't think many people in the skydiving community know that much about my professional background, but I've worked in the data science and AI communities for many years. An Israeli data science/AI friend of mine, Shmuel Ur, has developed a new technique for diagnosing covid-19. The idea is to detect changes in the pattern of someone's voice which may betray having the virus before more visible symptoms show up. He needs people to sign up for his site and record their voice, though, to get him the data he needs to perfect his technique. He needs both healthy people and people with the virus to do this. It only takes a few minutes of someone's time to do this. You can check out Shmuel's site and sign up here: HELP US BEAT COVID-19 (Coronavirus)
  10. Nothing about COVID-19 is funny. I will not apologize for getting on my "high horse" on this. Close friends of mine are on a ship that was in Antarctic waters before this COVID-19 thing became serious. Their ship has been roaming the world looking for a place to dock that will let them in, and they may end up, against their will, in the Netherlands (their ship's home country) before too long. I hope they will find a place that is not too badly infected. I recognize that my attitude here is that of a tight-assed asshole, and I make no apologies for acting like a tight-assed asshole in times like this. Social distancing is applicable to EVERYONE, even immediate family living together, in times like this. Period.
  11. Still wrong at least in some circumstances. There will be circumstances when husbands need to self isolate from wives to fight this. There will be circumstances when mothers need to self isolate from their children to fight this. There will be circumstances when this is needed even when they live in the same home. No one is exempt and no human relationship guarantees exemption. This whole thing is REALLY serious and no one is exempt no matter what their relationship might be.
  12. Then the Netherlands is approaching this wrong and putting the planet at risk.
  13. Really sad to hear this. Maybe you should consider making the trip. Perhaps you could change the hospital's minds if you were there in person. Sounds like you don't have much time to decide what to do one way or the other.
  14. Agreed. While we are on the topic of prisons--and even more so jails--it seems to me that jails present a huge problem in terms of beating this thing. In a jail you have very overcrowded conditions which seem to me to be prime breeding grounds for spreading this virus. It is especially a problem in a jail because a jail, moreso than a prison, is run by the county and has a bit of a revolving door. These inmates then come into contact with correctional officers who in turn come into contact with the larger community. Big problem.
  15. Hmmm...something doesn't seem right about these numbers. We are definitely at at least moderate mitigation here in the US at this point. Most non-essential businesses are closing where I live and travel is definitely severely restricted. These numbers suggest there would be no reduction at all in numbers of infections--only the numbers of casualties--by going from weak to moderate mitigation. That doesn't make sense to me, Additionally, in China/Wuhan, the rate of new infections peaked around mid-February, so strong mitigation seems to result in a peak less than a month after the number of cases was at the current US level.