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"We need to get this SNAFU under control rapidly".

My fellow Oceanians, you know we've always been at war with Eurasia
(Or is it Eastasia?) Either way it's war and we need division to wage it
But now the proles are connecting online bypassing these illusory divisions
Of race, religion and nationality (Sounds grand to me?!) It's a catastrophe!

Rap News (previously) analyzes the ongoing struggle of civil liberties in the Internet Age.
Will it remain the one open frequency where humanity can bypass filters and barriers, or become the greatest spying machine ever imagined?

posted by dunkadunc on Sep 10, 2012 - 30 comments

Injury and the Ethics of Reading

Poetry Changed the World: Injury and the Ethics of Reading.
posted by homunculus on Sep 3, 2012 - 8 comments

Grape Apes: The Origins of Morality

Chimp Fights and Trolley Rides from Radiolab's morality episode: "try to answer tough moral quandaries. The questions--which force you to decide between homicidal scenarios--are the same ones being asked by Dr. Joshua Greene. He'll tell us about using modern brain scanning techniques to take snapshots of the brain as it struggles to resolve these moral conflicts. And he'll describe what he sees in these images: quite literally, a battle taking place in the brain. It's 'inner chimp' versus a calculator-wielding rationale."
posted by kliuless on Sep 2, 2012 - 36 comments

"a clear and written threat that they could storm our embassy."

Following claims that Ecuador would accept Wikileaks founder Julian Assange's asylum application, Britain has threatened to raid the Ecuadorian embassy if Assange is not handed over.
Vans are gathered outside the London embassy, reports suggest British police have been seen entering the building. Live stream here.
posted by dunkadunc on Aug 15, 2012 - 1649 comments

Buying a Kick in the Face

My Sister Paid Progressive Insurance to Defend Her Killer In Court: After a Baltimore car accident between an insured and an underinsured driver left the insured driver dead, Progressive Insurance took up the defense of the underinsured driver against their own policy-holder. [more inside]
posted by Ice Cream Socialist on Aug 14, 2012 - 251 comments

Goldman Sachs gets away with it

In April 2011, the Senate Permanent Subcommittee on Investigations (PDF) release a report that Goldman Sachs knowingly sold mortgage-backed securities that they believed would fall in value, and then shorted them for billions in profit. The Department of Justice and the U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of New York declined to press charges today.
posted by Hollywood Upstairs Medical College on Aug 10, 2012 - 94 comments

sowing seeds of love

Arno Michaels used to be the worst kind of asshole. Now he's working to help others not be that kind of asshole. [more inside]
posted by vrakatar on Aug 9, 2012 - 26 comments

“Might just as well say I’m dead.”

Quartavious Davis of Florida, now twenty, has been sentenced to 162 years without parole for his role in several armed robberies during which he discharged a firearm but no one was hurt. He was a teenager at the time of the crimes and had no previous record. The Supreme Court has recently ruled that mandatory life sentences without parole for juveniles constitutes "cruel and unusual punishment." Davis was 18 and 19 at the time of the crimes, and the sentence was discretionary, so this ruling does not apply.
posted by 256 on Jul 4, 2012 - 195 comments

Consumer Rights in the Age of Steam

The Court of Justice of the European Union has ruled that people can resell used software licenses. Rock, Paper, Shotgun speculates about what this will mean for gaming, an industry which has embraced digital distribution wholeheartedly.
posted by gilrain on Jul 3, 2012 - 77 comments

Tie game. Bottom of the 9th. Bases loaded. Two outs. Three balls. Two strikes. And the pitch...

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 year century 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 - 1173 comments

This is the story of Brian Banks

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 - 146 comments

Money Unlimited

Money Unlimited How John Roberts Orchestrated the Citizens United decision. [more inside]
posted by modernnomad on May 15, 2012 - 87 comments

A Tale of Two Carlos

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 - 42 comments

This piece would suggest that the door is opening, and people are walking through it

MSNBC Talks To And About Trans People For An Hour, Doesn't F*ck It Up
posted by sendai sleep master on Apr 19, 2012 - 34 comments

"We did not come to this decision lightly" says Special Prosecutor Angela Corey

Floridian Special Prosecutor Angela Corey has charged George Zimmerman with second degree murder. In a story that has become the focus of national and worlwide attention, a major step has been taken. Where the main question here was not who committed the murder of Travyon Martin but why, and where racial factors in fact a motivation in the killing? From a rare expression of more personnal grief and concern from President Barack Obama, to millions of online signature assembled in the form of a petition, the case of two concerned parents determined to not let the loss of their son's life be forgotten without a closer look, will be debated in a US court of law.
posted by Meatafoecure on Apr 11, 2012 - 845 comments

United States v. Health Care Reform

This morning marked day two of marathon proceedings in what's likely the most momentous and politically-charged Supreme Court case since Bush v. Gore: the effort to strike down President Obama's landmark health care reform law. While yesterday was a sleepy affair of obscure technical debate, today's hearings targeted the heart of the law -- the individual mandate that requires most Americans to purchase insurance by 2014. With lower courts delivering a split decision before today, administration lawyers held some hope that at least one conservative justice could be persuaded to uphold the provision, which amortizes the risk that makes universal coverage possible. But after a day of deeply skeptical questioning by swing justice Anthony Kennedy and his fellow conservatives [transcript - audio], the mandate looks to be in grave trouble, with CNN legal analyst Jeffrey Toobin going as far as calling the day "a train wreck" for the administration. But it's far from a done deal, with a third day of hearings tomorrow and a final decision not expected until June.
posted by Rhaomi on Mar 27, 2012 - 373 comments

Crash the Justice System

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 - 84 comments

"If I had just kept walking...."

The Chicago Reader's current cover story, "The Color of His Skin," (parts 1 and 2,) 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 and 2,) 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 - 3 comments

Dewey Bozella

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 - 7 comments

"We thought we would empty death row, not triple its population."

"Each of us remains a staunch Republican conservative, but our perspectives on the death penalty have changed.... Each of us, independently, has concluded that the death penalty isn't working for California." The authors of California's Death Penalty Act of 1978, which expanded use of the death penalty in the state, have publicly endorsed the SAFE Initiative to abolish capital punishment in California. (Previously)
posted by scody on Feb 12, 2012 - 26 comments

I was kind of hoping for a discussion of necessary trespass, but...

Justice Sonia Sotomayor stops by Sesame Street for a cup of coffee...
posted by Navelgazer on Feb 7, 2012 - 32 comments

The Caging of America

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 - 102 comments

West Memphis 3 Continued

New witnesses surface on the infamous West Memphis 3 case based on Peter Jackson's upcoming documentary which will premiere as one piece at the 2012 Sundance. Here's the trailer. [more inside]
posted by straight_razor on Jan 20, 2012 - 40 comments

Those without the capital get the punishment

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 - 31 comments

The Whole True Story of the Dougherty Gang

In the news media and on the Internet, there was a great deal of speculation about the rhyme and reason behind the crime spree, with observers often reaching the conclusion that there wasn't any. [more inside]
posted by Mr. Yuck on Jan 11, 2012 - 32 comments

Notes From Guantánamo

My Guantánamo Nightmare. Lakhdar Boumediene was imprisoned at Guantanamo Bay for seven years without explanation or charge until his case made it to the Supreme Court, leading to a decision which bears his name and his release ordered by a federal judge. The NYTimes has his and another account from another former detainee: Notes From a Guantánamo Survivor. [Via]
posted by homunculus on Jan 9, 2012 - 63 comments

Hannah and Andrew

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 - 79 comments

We're From The Government That Makes It Legal

Federal Prosecutors Are Allowed To Break Laws and Ethical Violations U.S. Senator from Alaska, Ted Stevens was charged with and convicted of corruption in 2008. The prosecutors were admonished by the judge for their actions during the trial such as sending home to Alaska, a witness who would have helped Sen Stevens. Furthermore in direct violation of Brady v Maryland, the prosecutors withheld evidence from the defense. The DoJ decided that the DoJ did nothing wrong with such violations because they were not explicitly told not to break the law. Because the judge took the government at their word, that they would obey the law, he did not issue a court order demanding that they do so, therefor allowing the attorneys carte blanche.
posted by 2manyusernames on Nov 25, 2011 - 44 comments

Supreme court opinions successfully modeled as Facebook like button

Roger Guimera Manrique and Marta Sales-Pardo have shown that "U.S. Supreme Court justice votes are more predictable than one would expect from an ideal court composed of perfectly independent justices." [more inside]
posted by jeffburdges on Nov 17, 2011 - 47 comments

Judge William Adams beat his 16-year old daughter with a belt for downloading music and computer games

In 2004, Texas Judge William Adams beat his 16-year old daughter with a belt for downloading music and computer games. Unbeknownst to him, she filmed the whole thing. Seven years later, fed up with the continued harassment and abuse from her father, she uploaded it to YouTube (warning: graphic language and violence, NSFW). Less than 24 hours after hitting Reddit, the video is all over the news. Hillary Adams says on Twitter that she hopes her father will receive help, not condemnation.
posted by miskatonic on Nov 2, 2011 - 660 comments

the bonds (and bounds) of trust

Richard Wilkinson: How economic inequality harms societies (ted/yt) - "We feel instinctively that societies with huge income gaps are somehow going wrong. Richard Wilkinson charts the hard data on economic inequality, and shows what gets worse when rich and poor are too far apart: real effects on health, lifespan, even such basic values as trust." (previously)
posted by kliuless on Oct 26, 2011 - 18 comments

Literally

Today, during a panel discussion for the New Yorker Festival featuring the entire cast of Arrested Development and creator Mitch Hurwitz, it was announced there would be another season, leading to a movie. [more inside]
posted by Potomac Avenue on Oct 2, 2011 - 106 comments

A quick overview of the French turntable quartet, Birdy Nam Nam

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 and together 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 - 28 comments

"this man has paid enough"

This week has seen a lot of discussion of the American criminal justice system and its failings, and a lot of concern about what can be done to fix it. In 1947, a working class black man looked like he was about to have the full weight of the system brought down on him for taking justice into his own hands. But after Chicago leftists - including labor unions, religious leaders, artists, civil rights activists & others - launched a movement, James Hickman was set free after an all-white jury, in a trial presided over by a white judge, failed to convict, and the DA chose not to re-try because of the magnitude of public support for Hickman. According to a review in The Nation, a new book tells the story in a way that turns the typical right-wing biases of the true crime genre on their head. [more inside]
posted by univac on Sep 22, 2011 - 11 comments

Full Tilt Ponzi

U.S. Alleges Full Tilt Poker was Ponzi Scheme. The Justice Department has filed suite against popular online poker site Full Tilt Poker, asserting that money players believed to be stored in their accounts was actually diverted to the site's owners, with money from new players being used to pay off bets when necessary. Reaction from the poker community when the site was first shut down in April. Reaction now. Always good for a contrarian spin, Deadspin says the Ponzi scheme is really all the Justice Department's fault.
posted by escabeche on Sep 20, 2011 - 79 comments

The Golden Laws of Prosperity

The Golden Laws of Prosperity
posted by scalefree on Sep 8, 2011 - 42 comments

Overjoyed

Kelly Williams-Bolar, an Akron, Ohio mother convicted of felonies after forging records in 2006-2007 so that her children could attend a better school, was recently denied a pardon recommendation by an eight member parole board, by a vote of 8 to zero. Today Republican Governor John Kasich overruled the board, using executive clemency powers to lessen the conviction from two felonies to two first-degree misdemeanors. "No one should interpret this as a pass -- it's a second chance," Kasich said in a press release. [more inside]
posted by cashman on Sep 7, 2011 - 31 comments

One Bad Cop

Fans of "The Shield" should learn more about the LAPD's Rampart scandal. Rafael Perez and his cronies were the inspiration for Vic Mackey and the Strike Team. [more inside]
posted by reenum on Sep 7, 2011 - 13 comments

AT+T does not add T-Mobile

Justice Department (apparently) blocks the merger of AT+T and T-Mobile. The Associated Press is reporting that Justice will block the deal because "would reduce competition and raise prices." [more inside]
posted by andreaazure on Aug 31, 2011 - 135 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

An Era in Ideas

An Era in Ideas. "To mark the 10th anniversary of the September 11 attacks, The Chronicle Review asked a group of influential thinkers to reflect on some of the themes that were raised by those events and to meditate on their meaning, then and now. The result is a portrait of the culture and ideas of a decade born in trauma, but also the beginning of a new century, with all its possibilities and problems." [Via]
posted by homunculus on Aug 13, 2011 - 11 comments

"The thing I regret most that I cannot change -- except by what I do now -- was drafting the death penalty initiative."

"The way I look at it, what I created can and may already have resulted in the [execution] of an innocent person." Donald Heller is partly responsible for turning California's death row into the most populous and expensive in the nation. So why'd the lawyer known as "Mad Dog" change his mind?
posted by scody on Jul 16, 2011 - 24 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

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

And Justice For All?

An image showing disparity in sentencing appears in a tweet by Electronic Frontier Foundation co-founder John Perry Barlow and raises questions of its validity. Paul R. Allen is clearly a real case and Roy Brown an actual criminal but what do the differences in their sentencing say about the state of justice in America? [more inside]
posted by geekyguy on Jun 25, 2011 - 28 comments

The shooting was expert

"Davis didn’t have time to ponder their motives. The intersection of Jail and Ferozepur roads was packed with cars, bicycles, rickshaws, and pedestrians; the motorcycle pulled around his car and stopped just ahead of it. Shamshad, on the back of the bike, turned. He raised his pistol. He cocked it." [Black Ops and Blood Money] (previously and previouslier)
posted by vidur on Jun 15, 2011 - 30 comments

KENTUCKY v. KING

How “secure” do our homes remain if police, armed with no warrant, can pound on doors at will and, on hearing sounds indicative of things moving, forcibly enter and search for evidence of unlawful activity?
Supreme Court OKs More Warrantless Searches [more inside]
posted by AceRock on May 17, 2011 - 305 comments

Sean Power’s Laptop and the Girl in the Purple Sarong

Sean Power had his laptop stolen five days ago. Last night, while in Canada, preyproject tracking software alerted him to his laptop's location and he put out a call on Twitter for help in getting it back. Twitter user @neilreese and a Girl in a Purple Sarong jumped into action. Here's the chronological summary of Tweets and events, as well as Nick Reese's account of a wild night in which justice was served.
posted by donovan on May 13, 2011 - 75 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

Conflict, Security, and Development

Remove the scourge of conflict - "Taming mass violence is the theme of the World Bank's latest World Development Report, which focuses on 'conflict, security and development' [pdf] ... Mass violence destroys all hopes of progress. We should make a huge effort to eliminate this scourge. It seems feasible. It is desirable. So try."
posted by kliuless on Apr 30, 2011 - 18 comments

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