Small Print, Big Problem (part I)
Imagine you’ve clicked on your computer screen to accept a contract to purchase a good or service—a contract, you only realize later, that’s straight out of Kafka. The widget you’ve bought turns out to be a nightmare. You take to Yelp.com to complain about your experience—but lo, according to the contract you have given up your free speech rights to criticize the product. Let’s also say, in a fit of responsibility, (a bit fantastic, I know) you happened to have printed out this contract before you “signed” it, though you certainly hadn’t read through the thing, which is written, literally, on a “twenty-seventh grade” reading level. Well, you read it now (perhaps with the help of a friend who’s completed the twenty-seventh grade). And you see that there was nothing in the contract limiting your right to free speech at the moment you signed it. That part was added later. Your friend with the twenty-seventh-grade education points to the clause in the contract in which you’ve granted this vendor-from-hell the right to modify the terms of the contract, unilaterally, at any time into the vast limitless future. [more inside]
posted by the man of twists and turns
on May 1, 2013 -
Since the 80s
Tony Galeota managed Porky's, a Hialeah dive notorious
for drugs, prostitution, and violence, where he was part pimp, part bouncer, and completely untouchable
. When he left to open a bona fide brothel in Panama, Galeota thought the country's lax prostitution laws
(NSFW) would make him rich. Instead, he's trapped in a labyrinthine legal system, alone and unable to speak Spanish.
posted by Potomac Avenue
on Oct 7, 2012 -
There's been little discussion about the problem of poverty in the current Presidential election, the conventions pretty much ignored it.
"The Circle of Protection, composed of Christian leaders from across the religious spectrum, released President Barack Obama's and GOP nominee Mitt Romney's video responses today at the National Press Club in Washington, D.C."
Both candidates responded.
posted by HuronBob
on Sep 13, 2012 -
In less than an hour, the Supreme Court will hand down its final judgment in what has become one of the most crucial legal battles of our time: the constitutionality of President Obama's landmark health care reform law.
The product of a strict party line vote following a
of debate, disinformation
, and tense legislative wrangling, the Affordable Care Act
would (among other popular reforms
) require all Americans to buy insurance coverage by 2014, broadening the risk pool
for the benefit of those with pre-existing conditions.
The fate of this "individual mandate," bitterly opposed by Republicans despite its similarity to past plans touted by conservatives
(including presidential contender Mitt Romney
) is the central question facing the justices today
. If the conservative majority takes the dramatic step
of striking down the mandate, the law will be toothless, and in danger of wholesale reversal, rendering millions uninsured
, dealing a crippling blow to the president's re-election hopes, and possibly endangering the federal regulatory state
But despite the pessimism of bettors
, some believe
the Court will demur, wary of damaging
its already-fragile reputation
with another partisan 5-4 decision
. But those who know don't talk, and those who talk don't know
. Watch the SCOTUSblog liveblog
for updates, Q&A, and analysis as the truth finally comes out shortly after 10 a.m. EST.
posted by Rhaomi
on Jun 28, 2012 -
In 2002, Brian Banks
was a sought-after high school football phenom
until he was accused of kidnapping and raping a female student. On the advice of his lawyers, he pleaded no contest and served 6 years in prison. Then his accuser recanted
. That's when the Innocence Project stepped in
to help exonerate
Brian Banks. CA Innocence Project filing here; informative if you skip right to the "Statement of Facts" part.
posted by lalex
on May 25, 2012 -
Los Tocayos Carlos
- a comprehensive investigation by Columbia Law School Professor James Liebman and a team of students which uncovers evidence that Carlos DeLuna, a poor Hispanic man with childlike intelligence who was executed in Texas in 1989, was innocent. The issue of The Columbia Human Rights Law Review, entirely dedicated to this investigation, is available at this website
posted by Gyan
on May 14, 2012 -
Go to Trial: Crash the Justice System
. Michelle Alexander argues that ubiquitous plea bargains have allowed America's politicians and judicial system to short-circuit constitutional due process and ignore the mechanics of mass incarceration. If everyone charged with crimes suddenly exercised his constitutional rights, there would not be enough judges, lawyers or prison cells to deal with the ensuing tsunami of litigation.
posted by the mad poster!
on Mar 11, 2012 -
The Chicago Reader's current cover story, "The Color of His Skin," (parts 1
,) revisits the murder of a black man on Chicago's South Side in 1970 by a gang of white teens. Last September, a similar article by the same author, "The Price of Intolerance," (parts 1
,) examined an incident from 1971, in which a twelve year old boy and thirteen year old girl were killed.
posted by zarq
on Mar 7, 2012 -
Dewey Bozella landed a hard right cross on his opponent's jaw at the final bell, and the 52-year-old boxer raised his arms in victory. After 26 years behind bars for a murder he didn't commit, Bozella triumphantly realized a dream deferred in his first and only professional fight. [more inside]
posted by Trurl
on Mar 5, 2012 -
The scale and the brutality of our prisons are the moral scandal of American life. Every day, at least fifty thousand men—a full house at Yankee Stadium—wake in solitary confinement, often in “supermax” prisons or prison wings, in which men are locked in small cells, where they see no one, cannot freely read and write, and are allowed out just once a day for an hour’s solo “exercise.” (Lock yourself in your bathroom and then imagine you have to stay there for the next ten years, and you will have some sense of the experience.)
posted by Trurl
on Jan 24, 2012 -
All this brings me to an Indian I want you to know better than his jury did—Douglas Ray Stankewitz, the longest tenured inmate on California’s death row. Like most Indians who find themselves in a group of non-Indians, he is currently known as Chief, but unlike many Indians, he is proud of the nickname.
The government wants to kill Chief because Theresa Greybeal was shot dead in the course of a robbery by a group of people high on heroin, and there is no question that Chief was one of them. There is a serious question about who pulled the trigger, and juries are reluctant to kill individuals who did not pull the trigger. But as far as his jury knew, Douglas Stankewitz pulled the trigger. And he might have, but we will never know, based on his trial.
posted by latkes
on Jan 15, 2012 -
In 2006, Hannah Overton was charged with the death of her 4-year-old foster son, Andrew Burd. Media accounts
at the time claimed that Overton had force-fed her misbehaving son a mixture of water and creole seasoning, leading to death by salt poisoning. Convicted of capital murder and sentenced to life without parole in 2008, Overton's case led angry bloggers to call her "the ultimate evil,"
part of a cult of "child abuse groupies,"
a murderer that "church cronies"
are working to free.
This month's issue of Texas Monthly
paints a fuller picture of the short life of Andrew Burd and the conviction of the mother who was working towards adopting him.
posted by mudpuppie
on Dec 20, 2011 -
Birdy Nam Nam is four f*cking guys
, named for a reference from the 1968 movie The Party
. They are a quartet of French turntablists, consisting of Crazy B
, DJ Pone
, DJ Need
, and Little Mike
. They've spun solo
at the 2002 DMC competitions
, where they took the team championship title. In 2005, they released an album made from turntable-manipulated samples
, but they weren't studio-only tracks. They were also performed live
, though some tracks featured additional live musicians
. A 2007 live album followed
, keeping the same over-all turntablism sound as their first album. Their second album
was largely produced by French produceder/DJ Yunksek
, and the sound changed accordingly
into an album of delightful French dance music
, but they kept (generally) to the turntables
to create their songs. The band has released their third album
, now working with Para One
, another French producer/DJ. Their sound has gone on a slightly new path
, with another bizzare music video
to accompany their sound. [more inside]
posted by filthy light thief
on Sep 23, 2011 -