Posts Tagged ‘theft’
* Harvard government professor Harvey Mansfield has long been a critic of grade inflation. He’s developed his own way of trying to combat it: giving students two sets of grades — the one they deserve and the one that shows up on their transcript.
In a landmark 2012 U.S. Supreme Court decision on the right to a lawyer during plea bargaining, Justice Anthony Kennedy noted that 95 percent of convicted U.S. criminal defendants enter into a plea bargain and never go to trial. That percentage is even higher for drug defendants, who enter into plea deals in 97 percent of federal cases, according to a new Human Rights Watch report. Prosecutors have had a significant hand in turning the criminal justice system into a system of pleas, wielding in many instances the threat of harsh mandatory minimum prison terms and other sentencing enhancements so severe that defendants may frequently plead guilty simply to avert the high risk. As Human Rights Watch phrased it, prosecutors “force” defendants to plead guilty.
The consequences for those who choose to exercise their Sixth Amendment right to a trial in this system are significant. The average federal drug sentence is three times longer for those who go to trial than for those who plead guilty, at 5 years and 4 months for guilty pleas, and 16 years after trial, the report found…
A 2009 study by the Labor Center at the University of California, Los Angeles, found that there was an average of $26 million worth of wage violations each week in Los Angeles.
* Syllabus minute: I have W.H. Auden envy.
Some projections showed Athletics might not be able to make payments starting in the 2030s when the debt service balloons. The debt is structured so that for the next 20 years, Cal only needs to make interest payments on the debt. The principal kicks in in the early 2030s, resulting in payments between $24 million and $37 million per year.
Look, if it’s good enough for an idea man who settled out of court on securities fraud, it’s good enough for me.
* What If? on The Twitter Archive of Babel. The Twitter Archive of Babel contains the true story of your life, as well as all the stories of all the lives you didn’t lead….
* You and I are gonna live forever: 72 is the new 30.
* Settling nerd fights of the 1990s today: Is This the Smoking Gun Proving Deep Space Nine Ripped Off Babylon 5?
* The Star Wars Heresies: Star Wars and William Blake. Tim Morton’s essay in Green Planets has a similar impulse with respect to Avatar.
* And in even more insane mashup news: WWE Keeps Pressure On Glenn Beck.
* Reality is a hoax: If you’re 27 or younger, you’ve never experienced a colder-than-average month. That’s right; there hasn’t been a colder-than-average month in twenty-seven years.
* “We Would Never Propose A Carbon Tax,” Says White House Spokesman. I’m so glad the pro-science, reality-based candidate won!
* The new normal: Missouri police foil mass murder plot at ‘Twilight’ screening, Walmart.
* And the frame giveth, and the frame taketh away: after the insanity of the last year, Americans describe themselves as pro-choice again.
The world’s super-rich have taken advantage of lax tax rules to siphon off at least $21 trillion, and possibly as much as $32tn, from their home countries and hide it abroad – a sum larger than the entire American economy.
* The Portal 2s that could have been. I do, I happily admit, want to play all of these.
* Drop everything! My brilliant friend and colleague Melody Jue is now blogging at Philosophy of Water.
* At right is your photo of the day: An aurora over Faskrudsfjordur, Iceland.
* Joss Whedon explains how to write a sequel.
* “I have not heard of another hug”: Janet Bell, Derrick Bell’s widow, speaks out.
* Pat Robertson gets one right: he says we ought to legalize it.
* The Seuss book no one’s bought us (yet): The Seven Lady Godivas: The True Facts Concerning History’s Barest Family.
* Jacob Burak crunches the odds on Russian Roulette. But he’s completely failed to account for the quantum immortality factor.
* Science quantifies the Tina Fey effect.
“When all other variables in the model are held at their mean, those who watched the SNL clip had a 45.4 percent probability of saying that Palin’s nomination made them less likely to vote for McCain,” they write. “This same probability drops to 34 percent among those who saw coverage of the debate through other media. Exposure to the clip had no significant effect on the likelihood of voting for Obama.”
* When Terry Kneiss wins a Showcase Showdown, son, he wins it.
* For more than two years, Adrian Schoolcraft secretly recorded every roll call at the 81st Precinct in Brooklyn and captured his superiors urging police officers to do two things in order to manipulate the “stats” that the department is under pressure to produce: Officers were told to arrest people who were doing little more than standing on the street, but they were also encouraged to disregard actual victims of serious crimes who wanted to file reports. I’m shocked, shocked! Followup to this This American Life story.
* The headline reads, “Breakthrough Alzheimer’s treatment stops brain damage in mice.”
* And TPM has today’s sci-fi architecture porn.
A Ferrari -driving fantasist who tried to make £2million by selling a stolen copy of a rare first collection of Shakespeare’s plays was jailed yesterday.
Raymond Scott, 53, hoped to pay off £90,000 in debts and bring 23-year-old Heidy Rios, a raven-haired exotic dancer he met on holiday in Cuba, to Britain.
He ran up the debts posing as an international jetsetter, wearing designer clothes and driving the yellow supercar, while all the time living on benefits with his mother in Tyne and Wear.
The conman walked into the Folger Shakespeare Library in Washington DC with a copy of the 1623 First Folio and asked for it to be verified as genuine.
The copy had been stolen a decade earlier from Durham University.
Experts at the library, which houses around a third of the world’s 228 surviving copies of the First Folio, found it had been ‘damaged, brutalised and mutilated’ to hide its provenance and called the FBI.
Jailing him for eight years at Newcastle Crown Court, Judge Richard Lowden said: ‘You wanted to fund an extremely ludicrous playboy lifestyle in order to impress a woman.’
* Sorry, Hillary; my current SCOTUS bet is Leah Ward Sears, who would be the first African-American woman on the court. She feels like a smart pick that the GOP would have trouble moving against after the Sotomayor debacle. She’d also fulfill the crucially important non-Ivy criterion. I think she’s the one.
* I just hope someone in the White House is reading Scott Lemieux.
* The city of Birmingham was founded in 1871, at the dawn of the Southern industrial boom, for the express purpose of attracting Northern capital — it was even named after a famous British steel town to burnish its entrepreneurial cred. There’s a gruesome irony in it now lying sacked and looted by financial vandals from the North. The destruction of Jefferson County reveals the basic battle plan of these modern barbarians, the way that banks like JP Morgan and Goldman Sachs have systematically set out to pillage towns and cities from Pittsburgh to Athens. These guys aren’t number-crunching whizzes making smart investments; what they do is find suckers in some municipal-finance department, corner them in complex lose-lose deals and flay them alive. Via MetaFilter.
* People with Williams Syndrome lack 26 genes found in a typical human genome. As a result they are inordinately friendly, and experience no social anxiety. Now a new study reveals that they may also be free of racial bias.
Now, if the economy is going to be a bit more than three times larger, but we are only going to emit 17% of the current level of carbon emissions, then the carbon intensity of the economy – that is the ratio of carbon emitted per dollar of goods and services created, is going to have to be only 5% of the current value. Next you have to figure that there are certain things in an industrial society that are very hard to do without liquid fuel – construction and agricultural machinery come to mind, along with aviation. Relying heavily on biofuels is a very dubious prospect in a world that also needs to feed 9 billion (assumed wealthier) people from its limited agricultural land. So you can probably figure that the residual 5% of carbon emission intensity is all going to go on these kind of specialized uses that are hard to substitute.
Therefore, these goals basically imply that the ordinary living and working of most citizens would be essentially carbon free by 2050. That is in 40 years time…