law

‘I feel so blessed that the government protects my wife and me from the dangers of gay marriage so we can safely go buy some assault weapons.’ –Will Ferrell

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As I reported a couple of weeks ago, a recent Senate bill came with a nice bonus for the genetically modified seed industry: a rider, wholly unrelated to the underlying bill, that compels the USDA to ignore federal court decisions that block the agency’s approvals of new GM crops. I explained in this post why such a provision, which the industry has been pushing for over a year, is so important to Monsanto and its few peers in the GMO seed industry. […]

Sen. Roy Blunt (R-Mo.) has revealed to Politico’s ace reporter David Rogers that he’s the responsible party. Blunt even told Rogers that he “worked with” GMO seed giant Monsanto to craft the rider.

{ Mother Jones | Continue reading }

art { Cady Noland, Mutated Pipe, 1989 }

‘If you receive a little money for this, a little money for that, everything becomes mediocre.’ –Salvador Dalí

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The U.S. District Court in the Southern District of New York dismissed collector Jonathan Sobel’s lawsuit against photographer William Eggleston. […]

The lawsuit was spurred by Christie’s sale last March of 36 poster-size, digital prints of images that Eggleston had shot in the Mississippi Delta more than 30 years ago. Some were created from negatives he had never printed before, while others were based on iconic works, such as “Memphis (Tricycle).” (Sobel owns a 17-inch version of that photograph, for which he reportedly paid $250,000.) The sale was a massive success — by the time it was over, the large digital works accounted for seven of the artist’s top 10 prices. (The five-foot “Tricycle” came in on top, selling for a record $578,500.)

For Sobel, who owns 190 Eggleston works, the success of the sale was part of the problem. “The commercial value of art is scarcity, and if you make more of something, it becomes less valuable,” he told ARTINFO last April.

The judge disagreed. Egggleston may have profited from the Christie’s sale, she concluded, but not at Sobel’s expense. Eggleston could be held liable only if he created new editions of the limited-edition works in Sobel’s collection using the same dye-transfer process he used for the originals — a move that would directly deflate their value. In this case, however, Eggleston was using a new digital process to produce what she deemed a new body of work. 

{ ArtInfo | Continue reading }

‘It’s hard to walk down Bedford Ave., Williamsburg’s bustling main drag, without seeing someone dressed like an exploded taxidermist workshop.’ –Adrian Chen

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{ A man dressed as Batman has handed over a wanted man at a Bradford police station before disappearing into the night. }

Some, to example, there are again whose movements are automatic. Perceive. That is his appropriate sun.

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There’s growing privacy concern over flying robots, or “drones.” Organizations like the EFF and ACLU have been raising the alarm over increased government surveillance of US citizens. Legislators haven’t been quick to respond to concerns of government spying on citizens. But Texas legislators are apparently quite concerned that private citizens operating hobby drones might spot environmental violations by businesses.

{ Robots | Continue reading }

The eyes in which a tear and a smile strove ever for the mastery were of the dimensions of a goodsized cauliflower

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Buffett’s Berkshire Hathaway and 3G said last Thursday they would buy Heinz for $23 billion in cash. Almost immediately, options market players noted there had been extremely unusual activity the day before the deal was announced.

On Friday, the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission filed a suit against unknown traders who it said used a Goldman Sachs account in Switzerland to trade on purported inside knowledge of the transaction.

On Tuesday, the FBI said it was joining in as well.

{ Reuters | Continue reading }

Would you rather eat a pinecone, or poop a pinecone?

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To determine whether “folk myths” regarding the relationships of penile size to body height and foot size have any basis in fact, 63 normally virilized men were studied. Height and stretched penile length were measured; shoe size was recorded and converted to foot length. Penile length was found to be statistically related to both body height and foot length, but with weak correlation coefficients. Height and foot size would not serve as practical estimators of penis length.

{ Annals of Sex Research, 1993 }

Gary and members of his law firm filed a lawsuit late Monday in federal court in Fort Pierce on behalf of Chubby Checker, the 71-year-old singer known for “The Twist,” against Hewlett-Packard and its subsidiary Palm Inc. over the use of Checker’s name on a software application that claims to estimate the size of a man’s penis based on his shoe size…

{ via Improbable | Continue reading }

photo { Leon Levinstein }

Agree, for the law is costly

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How far has society gone in dreaming up new dangers to protect our children from? […]

(A.) An upstate New York school district outlawed soap in its pre-school bathrooms for fear that children might suddenly start drinking it. Now kids must come out and ask an adult to squirt some soap in their hands.


(B.) Unaccompanied children under age 12 were banned from the Boulder, CO, library, lest they encounter “hazards such as stairs, elevators, doors, furniture…and other library patrons.”


(C.) The Consumer Product Safety Commission announced a recall of certain fleece hoodies sold at Target because of lead paint on the zipper, which presumably could raise blood lead levels if the zippers are eaten.


(D.) Children under age 18 were prohibited from gathering on the streets of Tucson, AZ, for fear they might “talk, play or laugh” in groups, which could lead to bullying.


(E.) A New Canaan, CT, mom was charged with “risk of injury to a minor,” for letting her 13-year-old babysit the three younger children at home for an hour while the mom went to church.


(F.) A Tennessee mother was thrown in jail for letting her kids, aged 8 and 5, go the park without her, a block and half away from home.

[…]

The message to parents? The government is better at raising your kids than you are. The message to kids? You are weak little babies.

{ CATO Unbound | Continue reading }

photo { Mary Ellen Mark }

She captures his hand, her forefinger giving to his palm the pass touch of secret monitor, luring him to doom

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Federal prosecutors intend to bring civil charges against Standard & Poor’s for wrongdoing in its rating of mortgage bonds prior to the 2008 financial crisis.

Allegations against the McGraw-Hill unit will center on the model used to rate the bonds and will reportedly be made in lawsuits to be filed as soon as this week.

A move by U.S. officials would be the first federal enforcement action against a major credit rating agency over alleged illegal behavior tied to the financial crisis.

The lawsuit is reportedly regarding 30 triple-A rated CDOs from the first half of 2007, and the Department of Justice is seeking “a 10 figure plus settlement and the admission of wrongdoing,” according to sources.

“A DOJ lawsuit would be entirely without factual or legal merit,” S&P said in a statement. “It would disregard the central facts that S&P reviewed the same subprime mortgage data as the rest of the market – including U.S. government officials who in 2007 publicly stated that problems in the subprime market appeared to be contained – and that every CDO that DOJ has cited to us also independently received the same rating from another rating agency.”

Shares of McGraw-Hill are down nearly 14 percent following news of the charges.

{ CNBC | Continue reading }

Musical duets, mandoline and guitar, piano and flute, guitar and piano

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The Government of Antigua is planning to launch a website selling movies, music and software, without paying U.S. copyright holders.

{ TorrentFreak | Continue reading }

During a meeting in Geneva today the World Trade organization (WTO) authorized Antigua’s request to suspend U.S. copyrights. The decision confirmed the preliminary authorization the Caribbean island received in 2007, and means that the local authorities can move forward with their plan to start a download portal which offers movies, music and software without compensating the American companies that make them.

{ TorrentFreak | Continue reading }

Are you sure about that Voglio?

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Cruentation was one of the medieval methods of finding proof against a suspected murderer. The common belief was that the body of the victim would spontaneously bleed in the presence of the murderer.

Cruentation was part of the Germanic Laws, and it was used in Germany, Poland, Bohemia, Scotland and the North-Americans colonies. In Germany it was used as a method to find proof of guilt until the middle of the 18th. century.

The accused was brought before the corpse of the murder victim and was made to put his or her hands on it. If the wounds of the corpse then began to bleed, or if other unusual visual signs appeared, that was regarded as God’s verdict (judicium Dei) announcing that the accused was guilty.

{ Wikipedia | Continue reading }

Hokypoky penny a lump

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Infiniti Poker, like several other new online gambling sites, plans to accept Bitcoin when it launches later this month. […]

Developed in 2009 by a mysterious programmer known as Satoshi Nakamoto, Bitcoins behave much like any currency. Their value—currently about $13 per Bitcoin—is determined by demand. Transactions are handled through a decentralized peer-to-peer network similar to BitTorrent, the protocol for sharing films and music over the Internet. An assortment of merchants around the globe accept Bitcoin; it’s also the currency used on online black markets such as Silk Road, which processes an estimated $1.2 million a month in sales of illegal drugs, according to Nicolas Christin, the associate director of Carnegie Mellon’s Information Networking Institute.

Individuals can buy and sell Bitcoins using global currencies through such online exchanges as Mt. Gox. There’s even a service facilitated by BitInstant, a payment-processing company, that allows you to purchase the virtual currency for cash at 700,000 U.S. locations, including participating Wal-Mart, Duane Reade, and 7-Eleven stores. Once users have Bitcoins, they store them on their computers or mobile devices in files known as Bitcoin wallets or in cloud-based “e-wallets.”

Hajduk says Infiniti Poker will accept credit cards, wire transfers, and other payment options, but players in the U.S. will be able to play only using Bitcoins. He originally included the currency not to get around U.S. law but to reduce the time it takes to cash players out. Bank transactions can take up to 12 weeks; players who use Bitcoin can get a payout in a matter of hours, he says.

{ Businessweek | Continue reading }

5-0 said freeze! and I got numb

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When a law bans exchanges wanted by everyone directly involved a number of things happen:

1) The exchanges continue;

2) Prices of the banned items rise and wars to control turf begin;

3) New criminals are created, including many people who are ordinary good people (like colored margarine seekers);

4) New enforcement agencies and staff are created;

5) New jails are built and new jailers are trained;

6) Laws, lawyers and lawsuits proliferate;

7) A new branch of law and its practitioners prosper and support further extension and complexification of regulations;

8) A portion of the entire apparatus of enforcement and punishment is progressively corrupted;

9) New agencies and staff are created to discover, eliminate or suppress the corruption;

[…]

It is not enough to simply ban exchanges that have consequences we don’t like. The costs of doing it should be compared with the costs of not doing it.

{ Chicago Boyz | Continue reading }

related { Have We Lost the War on Drugs? | Tide detergent: Works on tough stains. Can now also be traded for crack. }