Gerry Canavan

the smartest kid on earth

Posts Tagged ‘law

*More* Weekend Links? Can It Be?

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41BSSAd0WEL._SX325_BO1,204,203,200_* Jaimee’s amazing first book has a preorder page at Amazon. Book launches in October! See her webpage for some of her online poems in the meantime!

* The entire natural world is celebrating this event. Dolphins are riding whales off the coast of Hawaii.

* The latest at Marquette’s Haggerty Museum of Art yet.

Keywords for the Age of Austerity 21 / Wednesday Night Fights: “Equity” vs. “equality.” Two words enter! One word leaves!

* Are universities in wealthy nations exploiting researchers from developing countries, treating them mainly as data gatherers instead of respected colleagues? And, wielding all the money and the clout, do Western academics fail to engage with their counterparts in emerging nations as true partners in the research collaborations?

* In the intensifying debate over whether to reduce federal government regulations on universities and colleges, one number has been at the forefront: $150 million. That’s what Vanderbilt University says a study found it spends each year complying with government red tape: 11 percent of the university’s entire budget.

A University Without Shared Governance is Not a University.

U. of Wisconsin Professor’s Tweets Draw Criticism From Her Own Colleagues. Another social media trainwreck for academia.

* From Open Humanities Press: Art in the Anthropocene: Encounters Among Aesthetics, Politics, Environments and Epistemologies.

Video shows that African-American woman who died in custody did not assault an officer as police claimed.

Millennials Who Are Thriving Financially Have One Thing in Common.

‘Streets of Old Milwaukee’ to close for reimagining, sensory upgrade.

Confessions of an Executioner.

* On Otherkin.

The Judy Greer effect: Why a ridiculously talented actress gets stuck with so many thankless roles.

Watching ‘The Stanford Prison Experiment’ In The Era Of Mass Incarceration.

One man’s journey from Sesame Street to the heart of truther collage art.

* Age at First Marriage and Divorce Risk.

* I know it usually seems like we’re living in the darkest timeline, but we need to remember every day that somehow we got spared The Amazing Spider-Man 3.

Episode five of Telltale’s Game of Thrones arrives next week.

* Probably not a good sign — though I think I’m most upset that they made the robot so apologetic.

* xkcd reads sports rulebooks like I read sports rulebooks.

Over a decade ago, Sky Captain and the World of Tomorrow laid the foundations for today’s effects-driven blockbusters. Why haven’t its creators made a film since?

And warming of oceans due to climate change is unstoppable, say US scientists. Have a good weekend, everyone!

artpreview_haggerty_a.widea

Four More

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So the claim is that the top-notch sociology students of America are unfamiliar with (and probably not of) the urban poor and they will learn empathy and be introduced to poor people through a made-up TV program. That seems a little broken.

* Some modest proposals for Arizona lawmakers.

* At least Bank of America got its name right. The ultimate Too Big to Fail bank really is America, a hypergluttonous ward of the state whose limitless fraud and criminal conspiracies we’ll all be paying for until the end of time. Did you hear about the plot to rig global interest rates? The $137 million fine for bilking needy schools and cities? The ingenious plan to suck multiple fees out of the unemployment checks of jobless workers? Take your eyes off them for 10 seconds and guaranteed, they’ll be into some shit again: This bank is like the world’s worst-behaved teenager, taking your car and running over kittens and fire hydrants on the way to Vegas for the weekend, maxing out your credit cards in the three days you spend at your aunt’s funeral. They’re out of control, yet they’ll never do time or go out of business, because the government remains creepily committed to their survival, like overindulgent parents who refuse to believe their 40-year-old live-at-home son could possibly be responsible for those dead hookers in the backyard.

* And a brief history of female away team members: Redskirts.

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March 15, 2012 at 10:51 am

This Was Monday

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* Judy Clarke, lawyer.

* All these worlds are yours, except Kepler 10-b. Attempt no landings there.

* Autonomous organization: In urban N.J. areas, few residents disrespect unwritten rule of reserving snow-cleared parking spots.

* Matt Taibbi gets introspective.

For my part, as a member of the political media, and a vitriol-spewing one at that, the Tucson shooting immediately made me ask myself the question: do I personally do anything to add to this obvious problem of a hypercharged, rhetorically overheated political atmosphere? And the unfortunate answer I came up with was, maybe. I’ve always told myself that what I do is different from what someone like Rush does, because I don’t target classes of people and try not to exempt anyone (even myself) from criticism, or favor either party. 

I’ve also counted on the belief that anyone who’s willing to devote the mental energy to even follow whatever wild rhetoric I’m using is probably also smart enough to tell the difference between reality and hyperbole. I also hope that anyone reading my articles will get the underlying message that I’m pretty sure — I hope I’m sure, anyway — I’m conveying at all times, i.e. that violence is irresponsible, that we should use our brains instead of baseball bats to solve problems, etc.

But while I tell myself all these things, I also know that I would never talk to my wife or my mother the way I talk to Lloyd Blankfein. Is it ever right to just wind up and let someone have it with all you’ve got? That’s a question that I think has to be asked. It’s certainly possible that we’ve all become too used to unrestrained rhetoric as a form of entertainment, and people like me live right in the middle of the guilt parabola there. Most all of us are grownups and can handle extreme argument, but clearly some people are not, and obviously I’m not just talking about Jared Loughner.

To see that, all you have to do is attend almost any family gathering, where once-loving relationships have been completely lost because of the overheated right-left culture war. If real family relationships are being lost to this kind of political debate, if someone on TV can reach into your living room and break up your family without knowing anything about you or even knowing that you exist, that tells us that this mechanized mass-media rhetoric has been almost unimaginably successful at dehumanizing whole classes of people.

Twitter beta-tests a spine.

* The University of California Student Association responds to news of an additional half-billion dollars in cuts to education in California.

* Short film of the night: “Three Minutes.”

* Infographic of the night: Dexter’s victims.

What Could Be Simpler?

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May 28, 2010 at 12:31 am

Select Links While I’m Away (Part 1)

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Saturday!

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* io9’s 20 best science fiction books of the 2000s. I say any list missing The Years of Rice and Salt, Accelerando, *and* Cloud Atlas is pretty deeply suspect.

* A federal judge has halted implementation of the ban on funding for ACORN on the grounds that the law is a bill of attainder.

* “Those scores on the prestigious test are in the same range as would be expected from children who never attended school and simply guessed at the answers,” said Robert Bobb, emergency financial manager of Detroit Public Schools, during a press conference Tuesday.

* David Rakoff’s oral history of the Gore presidency. A nice idea whose execution is marred by some badly forced jokes and a total inability to write like Jon Stewart, Josh Marshall, or anybody else.

* And the Morning News has your photos of abandoned shopping malls.

‘U.S. Finally Gets Around To Prosecuting Mastermind Behind 9/11’

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December 9, 2009 at 1:59 pm

Friday Night Infodump #2

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More infodump.

* Tentherism goes even more mainstream.
* Republicans vs. America’s changing demographics.
* There’s another excerpt from Žižek’s First as Tragedy, Then as Farce online, this time at the London Review of Books.
* Why I Am Not A Catholic: “Catholic Church Says It Will Stop Charity Work If D.C. Passes Gay Marriage Law.” Steve Benen isn’t above quoting the Book of Matthew over this.
* In Obama’s America, people wear hats on their feet, hamburgers eat people, and criminals are tried in courts of law. I should note that Glenn Greenwald says this isn’t quite the big step forward it appears to be.
* What happened after Kelo vs. City of New London?
* Fantastic Mr. Fox reviews. Oh, to live in New York.

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November 14, 2009 at 5:59 am

Linkdump #1

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Lots of saved links today. Here’s the first batch.

* V is a hit. But is Obama an evil lizard for outer space? Acephalous reports.

* Michael Bérubé talks this year’s terrible academic job market.

* North Carolina mayoral races in Charlotte and Chapel Hill are getting some national attention.

* Congratulations, Atlanta, America’s most toxic city.

* What do kids call LEGO pieces? Via Kottke.

* Legal outrage of the day: The Supreme Court has indeed said that prosecutors are immune from suit for anything they do at trial. But in this case, Harrington and McGhee maintain that before anyone being charged, prosecutors gathered evidence alongside police, interviewed witnesses and knew the testimony they were assembling was false.

The prosecutors counter that there is “no freestanding constitutional right not to be framed.” Stephen Sanders, the lawyer for the prosecutors, will tell the Supreme Court on Wednesday that there is no way to separate evidence gathered before trial from the trial itself. Even if a prosecutor files charges against a person knowing that there is no evidence of his guilt, says Sanders, “that’s an absolutely immunized activity.” These innocent men were in jail for twenty-five years; naturally, the Obama administration is backing the corrupt, lying prosecutors who put them there.

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November 5, 2009 at 12:47 am

Monday Night 2

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Monday night 2!

* 61 Essential Postmodern Reads: An Annotated List. (Absalom, Absalom!? Hamlet? Really?)

* Nature’s right to exist comes to Shapleigh, Maine. Via MeFi.

* The Harvard Crimson reports that Henry Louis Gates was apparently arrested yesterday for trying to break into his own home. Post-racial America is awesome. (via SEK)

* Also from SEK: scientific proof Powerpoint sucks.

* Inside Blackwater, the corporation so evil they forgot to give it a non-evil name.

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July 20, 2009 at 9:39 pm

Friday!

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Friday.

* How to score 1830 points in a single turn of Scrabble.

* A recent study has proved scientifically that we’re all dicks.

You might expect that being prompted (primed) to think of yourself as a good person would make you more altruistic or moral — but, in fact, the exact opposite appears to be the case. Primed to think about what a good person you are, your most likely reaction is to think you’ve paid your morality dues and go on about your business.

* Universities during the meltdown.

Since most American colleges have an endowment less than 1 percent the size of Harvard’s, most do not have Harvard’s problem. But they have other problems. The sources of income on which they depend—tuition revenue (at private colleges) and state appropriations (at public colleges), as well as annual alumni contributions (at both)—are under pressure too. Everyone knows about the competitive frenzy to get into a few highly ranked colleges, but in fact most of the 1,500 private colleges in the United States do not attract significantly more applicants than they can enroll. On the contrary, they struggle to meet enrollment targets, especially now that families in economic distress are turning to public institutions, which tend to be cheaper.[2]

* Glenn Greenwald’s three laws of actually existing media bias.

(1) Any policy that Beltway elites dislike is demonized as coming from “the Left” or — in this case (following Karl Rove) — the “hard Left.”

(2) Nobody is more opposed to transparency and disclosure of government secrets than establishment “journalists.”

(3) The single most sacred Beltway belief is that elites are exempt from the rule of law.

AIG: Numbers Don’t Lie:

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Let’s start off with xkcd’s lesson in how numbers lie.

As I’ve been saying both up top and in the comments the significance of this AIG bonus outrage is being badly overblown. The bonuses are a nice red-meat issue for the media circus but they’re basically a rounding error with regard to the scale of the bailout as a whole. Nate Silver is basically right here precisely because, as the cliche goes, “hard facts make bad law”—though his comparison to the Terry Schaivo case flounders at the fact that this silly thing the Congress is doing has wide popular support. (Nate and Josh Marshall both have more on the possible unintended consequences of this poorly thought-out new tax.)

As I’ve been trying to argue, the only relevant consideration regarding the bonuses is whether they were legal contracts, negotiated in the proper way and not predicated on fraudulent accounting or other illegal activity. Andrew Cuomo and Eric Holder should be investigating the bonuses, in other words, not Barney Frank. If they were legal, and their terms were met, pay them out; if they were fraudulent or predicated on fraud, arrest people.

What angers me about this situation is the widespread assumption that of course the bonuses are legal (just ill-advised), just like of course everything AIG did was legal but ill-advised. See, for instance, Ezra Klein on Madoff:

Madoff knew his investment scheme was a fraud. Wall Street should have known their investment schemes were a fraud.

Give me a break. Plenty of people on Wall Street knew their investment schemes were fraudulent. Those people are crooks, not dupes, and criminal prosecutions are the way we find out who they are.

(EDITED TO ADD: You can draw a distinction between AIG and Madoff, but it’s the distinction between two separate categories of crime, not between the guilty and the innocent.)

Repeating what I wrote in answer to Shankar’s question “Criminal Prosecution for what?” last night:

Well, that’s the job of state and federal prosecutors to determine. But there’s plenty of reason to think that (say) underwriting billions trillions of dollars in insurance obligations you know you have no capacity to pay out on is an abrogation of your fiduciary obligations — just for starters. Fraud and dishonest account methods were rampant in the banking industry, which has strict rules about this sort of thing that plainly weren’t followed. It’s not *just* stupid — in many cases it was stupid and illegal. Or so it seems to me.

…To add the obvious disclaimer, I’m not a lawyer, much less a prosecutor. But the treatment of the issue in the media tends to frustrate me on this point. Generally speaking the operative assumption seems to be “Oops, and they all got away with it” — that what they did was obviously legal, just slimy, and so we’re all just going to have to swallow our anger and move on. I don’t know that it *was* legal in all cases, and if CEOs and CFOs broke the law in chasing these bogus returns then DOJ and state AGs absolutely need to get involved. It’s a much higher priority for me than retributive taxation of contracts that are obscene (but probably legal) in an industry where the payment of obscene salaries is already (and still) an unchallenged norm. The bonuses are peanuts compared to the amount of money that’s already vanished.

Going After AIG

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New York Attorney General Andrew Cuomo is apparently going after the AIG bonuses. He’s already got some details on who got paid:

The highest bonus was $6.4 million, and six other employees received more than $4 million, according to Mr. Cuomo. Fifteen other people received bonuses of more than $2 million, and 51 people received bonuses between $1 million and $2 million, Mr. Cuomo said. Eleven of those who received “retention” bonuses of $1 million or more are no longer working at A.I.G., including one who received $4.6 million, he said.

Meanwhile, Josh Marshall has been looking into various claims that failure to pay the bonuses could constitute a “default event” under the ISDA Master Agreement that would trigger AIG’s trillion-dollar liabilities immediately. Sounds as if that’s not probably not the case, though Geithner may have been fooled. (Or “fooled.”)

When are these people going to jail?

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March 17, 2009 at 6:30 pm

Let’s Close Some Tabs

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Let’s close some tabs.

* Stanley Fish says academic freedom is dangerous. I’m beginning to think Stanley Fish is dangerous.

* Forced arbitration is one of our most unrecogized societal injustices. And the courts are complicit.

After nearly three years of harassment, abuse and long hours for little or no pay, Dantz finally decided that she’d had enough. She filed suit against her employer—and the court kicked her to the curb. Even though Dantz refused to sign the binding arbitration agreement, the court said that merely by continuing to work for Applebees, she was bound by its terms. Debbie Dantz’ employer illegally abused her for almost three years, and Dantz was powerless to hold it accountable.

What a horrifying story. Via MeFi.

* Scenes From An Alternate Universe Where Saved By The Bell, Rather Than Law And Order, Became The Dominant Television Franchise For A Generation.

* The Singularity is a myth. Pharyngula explains.

* Catholicism is a myth. Cynical-C explains.

* America loves Obama and hates the GOP.

* It looks like the stimulus package (tee hee) passes today. That’s because we’re all socialists now.

The Dictatorship of Flies

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When the trumpet sounded
everything was prepared on earth,
and Jehovah gave the world
to Coca-Cola Inc., Anaconda,
Ford Motors, and other corporations.
The United Fruit Company
reserved for itself the most juicy
piece, the central coast of my world,
the delicate waist of America…

From my Facebook news feed: incoming Attorney General Eric Holder’s relationship with Chiquita. I usually outsource my commentary on Chiquita to Pablo Neruda and Gabriel García Márquez, but suffice it to say, generally speaking, this is perhaps my least favorite corporate conglomerate. It’s really, really unfortunate that Holder was involved with them, though I must admit that his actions as their counsel in this particular instance don’t strike me as especially reprehensible in context. Glen Greenwald for the defense:

I’ve seen some attempts to criticize Holder based upon clients he has represented while in private practice, most notably his defense of Chiquita Brands in a criminal case brought by the DOJ arising out of Chiquita’s payments and other support to Colombian death squads. Attempts to criticize a lawyer for representing unsavory or even evil clients are inherently illegitimate and wrong — period. Anybody who believes in core liberties should want even the most culpable parties to have zealous representation before the Government can impose punishments or other sanctions. Lawyers who defend even the worst parties are performing a vital service for our justice system. Holder is no more tainted by his defense of Chiquita than lawyers who defend accused terrorists at Guantanamo are tainted by that.