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"Everyone has pain. It's your job to find it."

Start a home business, get rich quick, win financial freedom! If you watch late-night TV, you've heard it all before. But what's the story behind these slick pitchmen and their dubious schemes? Enter The Salty Droid, your ornery metal guide to the corrupt underworld of scam-marketing scum. This charmingly acerbic bot (owned and operated by mild-mannered Chicago dog-lover Jason Michael Jones [inter-view, long talk + transcript]) is a valiant crusader against the vile con-men who bankrupt the elderly and the desperate with beautiful lies. Exposed so far: A shadowy "Syndicate" of frauduct-pushing personality cults polluting the media with blogspam and woo-woo talking points. Boiler rooms in the Utah desert where telemarketers farm credit from easy targets with cunning, probing scripts [PDF]. Powerful politicians bought wholesale. Believers left to die in fraudulent new-age vision quests. It's a soul-crushing beat, enough to make one feel like a regular catcher-bot in the digital rye. But somebody's got to do it -- preferably someone with plasma nunchucks and titanium skin.
posted by Rhaomi on Aug 31, 2011 - 47 comments

Australia's High Court Rules The "Malaysian Solution" Unconstitutional

Australia's High Court has handed down a 6-1 judgement against (PDF) the Commonwealth Government's deal with the Malaysian Government, to replace the so-called Pacific Solution, under which the two countries would have "swapped" asylum seekers.
posted by Fiasco da Gama on Aug 31, 2011 - 56 comments

Addressing the Justice Gap

Several commentators are advocating the deregulation of the practice of law.
posted by reenum on Aug 26, 2011 - 125 comments

Seoul's Intellectual Pressure Cooker

Welcome to Exam Village, a neighborhood in Seoul where people live while studying for various professional entrance exams.
posted by reenum on Aug 23, 2011 - 23 comments

Terrorists for the FBI

Terrorists for the FBI: Inside the Bureau's secret network that surveils and entraps Americans.
posted by homunculus on Aug 22, 2011 - 36 comments

UK London Met police proposed undemocratic refusal of bail to all arrested in London riots.

London Metropolitan Police formulated policy of refusing bail to all arrested in London riots which might have influenced high remand in custody rate.
posted by maiamaia on Aug 22, 2011 - 30 comments

4 Ways To Fix Our Broken Legal System

Phillip Howard argues here that rather than protecting our freedoms, the U.S. legal system has actually begun to restrict our liberties and paralyze society. Life as a working professional has increasingly become what Howard describes as "a legal minefield". In this talk from the TED 2010 conference, Howard suggests 4 ways of helping to fix what he deems "a broken legal system." [more inside]
posted by Vibrissae on Aug 22, 2011 - 68 comments

Veterans and PTSD

Army vet with PTSD sought the treatment he needed by taking hostages – but got jail instead. "Fifteen months of carnage in Iraq had left the 29-year-old debilitated by post-traumatic stress disorder. But despite his doctor’s urgent recommendation, the Army failed to send him to a Warrior Transition Unit for help. The best the Department of Veterans Affairs could offer was 10-minute therapy sessions — via videoconference. So, early on Labor Day morning last year, after topping off a night of drinking with a handful of sleeping pills, Quinones barged into Fort Stewart’s hospital, forced his way to the third-floor psychiatric ward and held three soldiers hostage, demanding better mental health treatment." [Via] [more inside]
posted by homunculus on Aug 21, 2011 - 38 comments

Want To Go For A Hike?

The perfect location for the perfect crime. Due to a loophole in the US Constitution there is an area of Yellowstone Park where you may be able to get away with a major crime. U Michigan Prof Brian C Kalt looks into this loophole and gauges your chance at success. Someone has tried. [more inside]
posted by stp123 on Aug 21, 2011 - 36 comments

What if law schools opened their own law firms?

The job market is saturated and graduates are unable to get hired anywhere to get proper training. Law professors Richard Rhee and Bradley Borden have a solution: law schools should open their own law firms.
posted by reenum on Aug 19, 2011 - 93 comments

"We shall walk with a walk that is measured and slow / And watch where the chalk-white arrows go"

Where the sidewalk ends: A new walking code of conduct, 10 proposed rules for New York City sidewalks.
posted by Fizz on Aug 18, 2011 - 142 comments

The SEC's Memory Hole

Is the SEC Covering Up Wall Street Crimes? "A whistleblower claims that over the past two decades, the agency has destroyed records of thousands of investigations, whitewashing the files of some of the nation's worst financial criminals."
posted by homunculus on Aug 18, 2011 - 45 comments

Inside the Law School Scam

An anonymous, tenured, mid-career faculty member at a Tier One law school shares his/her observations on the state of contemporary American legal education.
posted by joe lisboa on Aug 12, 2011 - 82 comments

The History of Torture

The History of Torture—Why We Can't Give It Up. "Some 150 years ago, the West all but abandoned torture. It has returned with a vengeance." [Via]
posted by homunculus on Aug 11, 2011 - 48 comments

Also, patent trolls suck hairy donkey balls

Drew Curtis' FARK.com has settled a lawsuit with a patent troll. The popular "not news" site was sued by "Gooseberry Natural Resources LLC" which held a ridiculous broad patent (6,370,535) that it claimed covered the basic concept of generating a press release online. Other sites targeted included Reddit, Digg, Slashdot, TechCrunch & Others. In the case of Fark, the suit was settled for $0. Curtis writes, "I paraphrased our best one-time settlement offer as "how about jack sh*t and go f*ck yourself."
posted by furiousxgeorge on Aug 10, 2011 - 79 comments

Ah, now there's the inflated sense of self-esteem!

The Secret History of Guns. "The Ku Klux Klan, Ronald Reagan, and, for most of its history, the NRA all worked to control guns. The Founding Fathers? They required gun ownership—and regulated it. And no group has more fiercely advocated the right to bear loaded weapons in public than the Black Panthers—the true pioneers of the modern pro-gun movement. In the battle over gun rights in America, both sides have distorted history and the law, and there’s no resolution in sight." [Via]
posted by homunculus on Aug 10, 2011 - 36 comments

Testing the right to photograph in public spaces

"On Tuesday 21 June 2011 six photographers were assigned different areas of the City to photograph. Some used tripods, some went hand held, one set up a 5 x 4. All were instructed to keep to public land and photograph the area as they would on a normal day. The event aimed to test the policing of public and private space by private security firms and their reaction to photographers. All six photographers were stopped on at least one occasion. Three encounters led to police action. This is what happened." (The actual video starts at 1:14.)
posted by John Cohen on Aug 8, 2011 - 57 comments

“This Sharia Law business is just crap…I’m tired of dealing with the crazies!"

Gov. Chris Christie of New Jersey defends his appointment of Sohail Mohammed to the state bench. Sohail Mohammed is New Jersey's first Indian-born Superior Court Judge. "After Christie nominated Mohammed in January for the judgeship, the former federal prosecutor found himself accused of cozying up to Islamic radicals. Mohammed’s confirmation hearing before the state Senate included two hours of grilling, including inquires about Sharia, jihad and Hamas." [more inside]
posted by spitbull on Aug 4, 2011 - 78 comments

Does digital writing leave fingerprints?

"When legal teams need to prove or disprove the authorship of key texts, they call in the forensic linguists. Scholars in the field have tackled the disputed origins of some prestigious works, from Shakespearean sonnets to the Federalist Papers."
Decoding Your E-Mail Personality Ben Zimmer, of Language Log discusses the Facebook case and forensic linguistics in the NY Times. [more inside]
posted by iamkimiam on Aug 2, 2011 - 13 comments

"I decided that forgiveness was not enough."

"I decided I had to do something to save this person’s life. That killing someone in Dallas is not an answer for what happened on Sept. 11." Rais Bhuiyan petitions the state of Texas to stay the execution of a white supremacist who shot him and murdered two others in a hate-motivated crime.
posted by Blazecock Pileon on Jul 18, 2011 - 87 comments

phone's not working today

It took the photographer Donald Weber more than five years to make his way inside a Ukrainian police interrogation room.

For months, Weber showed up every morning at police headquarters, where he sat on a wooden bench in a drab hallway, waiting to ask the suspects if they’d let him witness their interrogations. When they agreed, he sat and watched from his chair in a small room as a damaged light fixture cast spider-web patterns on the wall. [more inside]
posted by plexi on Jul 17, 2011 - 25 comments

Law for Damaging the State of Israel

Last Monday, the Israeli Knesset (legislature) passed the Law for Prevention of Damage to State of Israel through Boycott (Q&A), which, among other things, makes it a civil offense for residents of Israel to advocate economic boycotts against Israel or any geographic region under its administration, including the Occupied Territories. This means that while individual Israelis may themselves refuse to buy products made in the settlements, they run the risk of being sued if they publicly call upon others to do likewise. [more inside]
posted by iati on Jul 16, 2011 - 59 comments

The Brain on Trial.

The Brain on Trial. Advances in brain science are calling into question the volition behind many criminal acts. A leading neuroscientist describes how the foundations of our criminal-justice system are beginning to crumble, and proposes a new way forward for law and order.
"We may someday find that many types of bad behavior have a basic biological explanation—as has happened with schizophrenia, epilepsy, depression, and mania."
[more inside]
posted by Eideteker on Jul 15, 2011 - 99 comments

"...nor shall be compelled in any criminal case to be a witness against himself..."

Public interests will be harmed absent requiring defendants to make available unencrypted contents in circumstances like these. Failing to compel Ms. Fricosu amounts to a concession to her and potential criminals (be it in child exploitation, national security, terrorism, financial crimes or drug trafficking cases) that encrypting all inculpatory digital evidence will serve to defeat the efforts of law enforcement officers to obtain such evidence through judicially authorized search warrants, and thus make their prosecution impossible.

The "if you were innocent, you'd have nothing to hide" argument rears its head, in a big way. [more inside]
posted by fifthrider on Jul 11, 2011 - 215 comments

People Staring at Computers

The US Secret Service has raided the home of an artist who collected images from webcams in a New York Apple store. The tumblr is still up, as is a explanation of the project by the artist at F.A.T.
posted by chavenet on Jul 8, 2011 - 68 comments

Chi-Coms On The March?

Chi-Com Comeback? July 1st is the 90th anniversary of the founding of the Chinese Communist Party (Official English website). Since 1979, China has been on a course of economic reform, first initiated by Deng Xiaoping, who climbed from disgrace during the Cultural Revolution to lead China away from a communist economy. Now, however, with the anniversary of the Party coming up, at least in Chongqing, the fastest growing city on the planet which 32 million people call home, the East may once again be Red. [more inside]
posted by Ironmouth on Jun 28, 2011 - 27 comments

"There are no national standards or regulations regarding forensic pathology and practices vary widely from place to place."

The Hardest Cases: When Children Die, Justice Can Be Elusive A joint investigation by PBS Frontline, ProPublica and NPR has found that medical examiners and coroners have repeatedly mishandled cases of infant and child deaths, helping to put innocent people behind bars. (Via. (Article contains descriptions of children that have been killed by abuse. May be disturbing / triggering to some readers.) [more inside]
posted by zarq on Jun 28, 2011 - 20 comments

SCOTUS, Video Games, & Violence

US Supreme Court finds Cali. law restricting sales of violent videogames to adults violates First Amendment. [more inside]
posted by modernnomad on Jun 27, 2011 - 93 comments

Literal Wisconsin Supreme Court battle

Two weeks ago, the Wisconsin Supreme Court voted 4-3 [video] to reinstate the controversial anti-union Budget Repair Bill, which a district judge had declared void due to a law requiring 24 hours' public notice of meetings. The Supreme Court's deliberations were heated. The liberal Justice Ann Walsh Bradley now says that after she asked conservative Justice David Prosser to leave her office, he put his hands around her neck in a choke-hold. Justice Prosser denies the allegation. [more inside]
posted by East Manitoba Regional Junior Kabaddi Champion '94 on Jun 26, 2011 - 160 comments

The Big Business of Synthetic Highs

A look into the industry behind synthetic cannabinoids featured in "legal weed" and "incense" products. [more inside]
posted by cwhitfcd on Jun 21, 2011 - 36 comments

George W. Obama

In a 32 page report to Congress [pdf] President Obama concludes:
...the current U.S. military operations in Libya are consistent with the War Powers Resolution and do not under that law require further congressional authorization, because U.S. military operations are distinct from the kind of “hostilities” contemplated by the Resolution’s 60 day termination provision.
Now, the New York Times reports that this legal opinion was reached by rejecting the views of top lawyers at the Pentagon and the Justice Department. It is instructive to compare President Obama's actions with those of his predecessor, George W. Bush. [more inside]
posted by ennui.bz on Jun 20, 2011 - 240 comments

More Judges Say DOMA Unconstitutional

Today, Judge Donovan of the U.S. Bankruptcy Court for the Central District of California in Los Angeles ruled [link is to pdf of decision] that DOMA is unconstitutional. 19 judges join his opinion. [more inside]
posted by insectosaurus on Jun 13, 2011 - 35 comments

Support Telepath Local 153

The Washington Post asks: Can Mutants And Humans Really Co-Exist? Metafilter's own Mightygodking responds.
posted by The Whelk on Jun 10, 2011 - 80 comments

I will not Tweet indiscriminately. I will not Tweet indiscriminately. I will not Tweet indiscriminately. I will not...

Malaysian performer and social activist Fahmi Fadzil was sued for defamation by media company Blu Inc after a Tweet in January alleging that the company maltreated a pregnant friend who was an employee. His punishment? To tweet 100 times over 3 days:
I've DEFAMED Blu Inc Media & Female Magazine. My tweets on their HR Policies are untrue. I retract those words & hereby apologize.
Responses from other Malaysian Twitter users, mostly on Fahmi's side, have been interesting.
posted by divabat on Jun 2, 2011 - 38 comments

The curious case of the Amazonian Chernobyl

An Ecuadoran court has issued a landmark $8bn judgement against Chevron Corporation. [more inside]
posted by clarknova on May 27, 2011 - 40 comments

High-Stakes Seismology

In a chilling development, six Italian scientists (and one government official) are facing manslaughter charges for failing to predict the April 6, 2009 earthquake that killed 309 people.
posted by Betelgeuse on May 27, 2011 - 45 comments

Canuck court claims consciousness-less consent clearly crap.

The Supreme Court of Canada ruled today, in a 6-3 decision, that a person cannot give advance consent to sexual activity while unconscious. [more inside]
posted by greatgefilte on May 27, 2011 - 109 comments

"Mommy tracked" and loving it?

In-sourcing the legal business: America's biggest law firms are "creating a second tier of workers, stripping pay and prestige from one of the most coveted jobs in the business world." [more inside]
posted by kanuck on May 24, 2011 - 76 comments

Bubbles and Public Facts

The Destruction of Economic Facts - "Renowned Peruvian economist Hernando de Soto argues that the financial crisis wasn't just about finance—it was about a staggering lack of knowledge" (via) [more inside]
posted by kliuless on May 23, 2011 - 35 comments

Vermont, Single-Payer in the USA?

With the constitutionality of the Affordable Care Act being argued in lower courts, it's probably also worth looking at Vermont's adoption of single-payer health care: "On May 26, Gov. Peter Shumlin of Vermont is expected to sign legislation that will create universal coverage in the state—eventually. Vermont will use subsidies from the Affordable Care Act to help create a Canada-style system. And its system, or so the theory goes, will become so popular and cheap that the rest of America will want to copy it." [more inside]
posted by kliuless on May 16, 2011 - 51 comments

"I Will Never Plea-Bargain With The Truth."

The Secret Sharer: Is Thomas Drake an Enemy of the State? [more inside]
posted by zarq on May 16, 2011 - 25 comments

Every one a little lawyer.

“Watching the video I thought that it was wise of Major League Baseball to combine this sort of sentimental moment with mass speculative litigation. It kept brand values strong. I felt strangely grateful that I could have a moment to remember that afternoon. Surprised by the evidence of both copyright violation and father-daughter affection.” —Paul Ford, “Nanolaw with Daughter” [more inside]
posted by kipmanley on May 15, 2011 - 26 comments

Florida's Bestiality Law May Have Accidentally Outlawed Sex Entirely

If you have had sex in Florida in the last week, technically, you broke the law. Due to some unfortunate wording, Florida's new bestiality law technically outlawed sex between two animals.

"An act relating to sexual activities involving animals; creating s. 828.126, F.S.; providing definitions; prohibiting knowing sexual conduct or sexual contact with an animal; prohibiting specified related activities; providing penalties; providing that the act does not apply to certain husbandry, conformation judging, and veterinary practices; providing an effective date."
posted by Leisure_Muffin on May 13, 2011 - 88 comments

Britain's Got The Next Terri Schiavo

British "super-injunctions" goes one step further: "A High Court judge has issued an injunction which bans publication of information on Twitter and Facebook." [more inside]
posted by iviken on May 13, 2011 - 29 comments

Let's find as many suckers as we can as fast as we can, because we'll only make more money as more and more shit hits the fan.

The People vs. Goldman Sachs. Matt Taibbi's latest magnum opus (previous coverage) lays out the full case for federal prosecutions against the Vampire Squid according to Sen. Carl Levin's Senate Subcommittee on Investigations. [Wall Street and the Financial Crisis: Anatomy of a Financial Collapse 650 page pdf].
posted by T.D. Strange on May 11, 2011 - 176 comments

Now You See It, Now You Don't

Homeowners are using a little known loophole in the bankruptcy laws to shed their second mortgages.
posted by reenum on May 9, 2011 - 42 comments

"Discrimination generates hatred"

Brazil's supreme court recognises same sex unions. The Brazilian Supreme Court voted 10-0 (one abstention) yesterday to recognise same-sex civil unions as of equal legal validity to marriage/ with "stable" same-sex couples now able to gain certificates that allow access to equal legal rights. "Discrimination generates hatred," said Justice Carlos Ayres Britto, who wrote the ruling. [more inside]
posted by jaduncan on May 8, 2011 - 42 comments

What is the meaning of the assassination of OBL?

Guy Rundle teases out the meanings of the bin Laden assassination, in contrast to the Eichmann trial.
posted by wilful on May 5, 2011 - 93 comments

All Cannabis Use Is Medical

A 35 minute conversation on medical marijuana with Michael Backes.
posted by gman on May 3, 2011 - 19 comments

'These children don’t recognize the flags of their home countries, but they can all sing "Jesus Loves Me."'

The Evangelical Adoption Crusade [more inside]
posted by zarq on Apr 28, 2011 - 137 comments

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