black and white grain elevators, the law and virtue

Grain elevators

Grain elevators, North Dakota. c1971 by D. Plowden.

 

Book Review: Law, Virtue and Justice  (Law, Virtue and Justice. Amalia Amaya and Ho Hock Lai (eds.). Hart Publishing. December 2012.)

Thanks to the 24-7 news cycle, we are more familiar than ever with the personalities involved in legal decision-making, such as judges, legislators, and lawyers. When academics and commentators debate the actions of legal actors, it is often in terms of consequentialist or deontological ethics, proclaiming that they should make a certain decision because it’s the best thing or the right thing to do. Ironically, given how closely we may feel we “know” these people, we rarely focus on the moral character of the legal actors as a factor in the decisions they make.

It has been the general public’s tendency to rush to judgment about guilt and innocence, and the sentencing or other system of punishment for as long as there have been printing presses and pamphleteers. And probably longer. Though easily accessible media, certainly modern electronic media from cable and increasingly Twitter, both encourage and magnify the formation of the instant opinion. Whether it is a good thing or not, doing so around the living room has become a cultural standard. It all became very surreal and dangerous when so much of the media, encouraged by net denizens like Drudge and the New York Post, and even CNN, echoed a lot of wild speculation. They could not bring themselves to say this is what we know for sure and it would not be ethical for us to speculate or just babble about possibilities of other factors. Even their legal experts or supposed experts, go far beyond real world legalities. Having inserted themselves into the legal system and due process, where is the restraint, where is the virtue: Conservative Media’s Own Legal Experts Undermine Campaign To Shred Due Process .

Amaya spends the balance of her concise chapter weighing strong and weak versions of her arguments, as well as confronting objections based on the priority of reasons (which she calls the publicity objection), the authority of the law, and disagreement about virtue themselves. These three distinct objections share a common element in that they all call into question the focus on the agent which is the hallmark of virtue ethics. They claim that too much emphasis is put on legal decision-makers rather than on the reasons on which they make decisions, the extent to which these reasons rely on legal materials, and the particular virtues that serve to justify their decisions. In response, Amaya deftly explains that the objections oversimplify the role of virtue in legal justification: for instance, virtue does not obscure the role of reasons based on the law, but rather governs how the legal agent develops and incorporates them.

It is difficult for me to read that without some irony. We live in the age of the Supreme Court Justices Clarence Thomas and Antonie Scalia. Judges who see venality, a childish spitefulness, as part of the law and legal decisions. Thomas, who is not much more than Scalia’s puppet, and Alito too for that matter, see their authority as a way to take revenge on groups of people – minorities, women, gays, lesbians, laborers, the non-wealthy. Virtue to them seems to be based on some old Calvinistic drive to make people suffer for their own good or because their dogma dictates that they suffer. Consequential virtues, with a positive outcome, do not factor into their legal thinking because it is not part of their character.

cab calloway at the cotton club, the sequester cuts and cancer treatment

Cab Calloway Leads Orchestra at New Year's Ball

Cab Calloway Leads Orchestra at New Year’s Ball. The Cotton Club. I’m not sure about the exact year, though definitely in the 1930s. Calloway (December 25, 1907 – November 18, 1994) lead an immensely popular jazz band from the 1930s through the 1940s. His sister, Blanche, who Calloway claimed was his biggest inspiration in his life, actually started a band before he did. Calloway  appeared on the popular Walter Winchell radio program and appeared with Bing Crosby on his show at New York’s Paramount Theatre. He and Duke Ellington broke the network broadcast color barrier.

 Legal Analyst Peter Johnson, Jr. and Fox News Resurrects Death Panels: ‘This Is About People Dying As A Result Of Obamacare’

During an appearance on Fox and Friends Friday morning, Fox News contributor and legal analyst Peter Johnson, Jr. claimed that Medicare beneficiaries who are losing access to critical medical services as a result of sequestration “ain’t seen nothing yet,” as Obamacare will kill off far more Americans in the next ten years.

Fox news must find their legal analyst rummaging through dumpsters in the back of abandoned bus stations. When I was a kid some adults used to call the TV the idiot box. Networks like Fox and ‘experts” like Johnson are living up to that standard. The cuts at the cancer clinics are due to the sequester cuts, not some legislation or executive order. Conservatives voted for the sequester and the cuts that would automatically kick in unless they reached a budget compromise. I wonder if Johnson is hoping Fox viewers are as unethical and moronic as he is. When Johnson digs up the rotting corpse of a lie about death panels he is referring to medical review broads that look at cost effectiveness of patient treatment. Those panels would also be the same panels that conservatives thought were a good idea and voted for. I’ve had marginal success with trying to convince ideological zealots to stop being serial liars to advance their agenda. I have asked and never received a very good answer to the question; if you’re agenda is so wonderful and patriotic how come it depends on the never-ending river of bullsh*t, dispensed daily.

no good deed goes unbrutalized, black and white photos, HIV Replication 3D Medical Animation

Good Samaritan in West Virginia Brutalized by Police Chief Justin Burke Childers

Teter, who had undergone spinal surgery and had 16 probes implanted near his spinal cord, says he told Childers he was disabled from spinal surgery and asked him not to cuff him behind his back.

“In response, defendant Childers threw Mr. Teter into the snow on his face, pushed his knee between Mr. Teter’s shoulder blades in the exact spot where Mr. Teter had 16 probes implanted near his spinal cord, and handcuffed him,” according to the complaint.
“Mr. Teter told defendant Childers he was hurting him and asked him to call an ambulance because he feared the defendant had moved the probes and his spinal cord would be injured.

“In response, defendant Childers rolled Mr. Teter onto his back, yelled, ‘Disabled my ass,’ and pushed his boot into Mr. Teter’s chest.”

 

Mr. Teter had take in upon himself to sweep some snow from the streets. he had injured no one. Department of Highways workers gave him a “thumbs up” . Teter was not violent or resisting arrest. He was never prosecuted because prosecutors could not find he had done anything illegal.

black and white tree roots

black and white farm road. this one has a very light chrome effect.

“Linus and Lucy”. Because it was part of a holiday themed show, it is thought of as a holiday song. If you forget about that, it is simply a classic piece of jazz that has a festive edge to it.

HIV Replication 3D Medical Animation

Probably the same people who thought invading Iraq was cool get reactionary over photo of female sailors’ homecoming kiss

Virginian-Pilot reporter Corinne Reilly tells me that reaction to her story about two female sailors’ homecoming kiss and the photo that ran with it (on the right, below the fold) “has run the gamut, but the vast majority of messages I’ve received have definitely come from readers who found the story and photo offensive.”

 

The Seattle Times also got a lot of negative feedback – probably semi-professional complainers. of course people who liked it or didn’t have strong feelings about it would not be counted in the reaction. The Times reply to readers was pretty good,

Dear XXX

I’m sorry that you found the photo on today’s front page offensive. That was not our intention. We selected the photo because it depicted an historic moment for the U.S. military, vividly illustrating the end of the “don’t ask, don’t tell” era in a striking twist on the Navy’s “first kiss” tradition.

As you know, treatment of gay and lesbian members of the U.S. military has been hotly debated for years, including at military installations around the Puget Sound region. As politicians and military leaders argued, the effect on individual soldiers and sailors sometimes got lost. This photo, which both our picture and news editors described as iconic, showed what the policy change meant at street level.

Part of our responsibility as a news organization is to reflect the reality around us, even if it might make some readers uncomfortable. We do not make those decisions lightly. We debated how and where to use this picture extensively. In the end, we felt the historic nature of the photo merited front page treatment.

While you may not agree with this decision, I hope this explanation helps you understand it. We were not trying to push a political agenda. We were trying to show the real-world effect of a political change of policy.

I hope you will reconsider your decision to cancel the paper. Just as we value lively debates in our newsroom about how to display news, we value lively debates with our readers about whether they think we’re doing a good job. We need readers like you who care enough to call us to account when you don’t think we’re doing our jobs well. It keeps us on our toes and helps inform the choices we make going forward.

Sincerely,
Kathy Best
Managing Editor, The Seattle Times

All the bold is mine. I wonder if these same people would have also complained about black Americans pictured sitting at formerly white only lunch counters.

cosmic dust holds ingredients for life, winter hues, three of the most dangerous provisions of the patriot act

If you took biology in school you probably heard about the famous Miller-Urey experiments of 1952 in which  in which they simulated atmospheric conditions on early earth. They determined that if the elements found in that atmosphere were put together they would produce organic compounds. The basic building blocks from which life could evolve. Repetitions of the experiment in  2007 found that Miller-Urey actually under counted the amount of complex compounds that would be produced. Nature has been observed to be carrying out its own Miller-Urey experiment in space – Cosmic Dust Contains Organic Matter from Stars

Researchers at the University of Hong Kong observed stars at different evolutionary phases and found that they are able to produce complex organic compounds and eject them into space, filling the regions between stars. The compounds are so complex that their chemical structures resemble the makeup of coal and petroleum, the study’s lead author Sun Kwok, of the University of Hong Kong, said.

Such chemical complexity was thought to arise only from living organisms, but the results of the new study show that these organic compounds can be created in space even when no life forms are present. In fact, such complex organics could be produced naturally by stars, and at an extremely rapid pace.

“What impressed me most is that complex organics are easily formed by stars, they are everywhere in our own galaxy and in other galaxies,” Kwok told SPACE.com in an email interview. “Nature is much more clever than we had imagined.”

 

[  ]…The scientists also found that the chemical structure of organic star dust is similar to complex organics found in meteorites. Since meteorites originate from space rocks that are remnants of the early solar system, the results of the study suggest that stars could have enriched the early solar system with organic compounds, Kwok said.

“It is quite possible that the organics in meteorites are remnants of star dust in the solar nebula,” he explained. “The star dust [was] ejected by nearby planetary nebula[s] and survived the journey across the galaxy.”

Early in the Earth’s formation history, the planet was pummeled in a shower of meteorites and comets during a period known as the Late Heavy Bombardment. Since the organic compounds in meteorites are similar to what was found in stellar dust, the results of this new study show that the barrage of meteorites that fell to Earth during the Late Heavy Bombardment could have carried organic star dust.

 

winter snow, twilight

winter hues wallpaper

Every despotic movement has despised objective news reporting – Franklin Center: Right-Wing Funds State News Source

According to Media Transparency, a media watchdog group that was acquired by Media Matters Action Network in 2008, the Bradley Foundation’s clear political agenda and network has allowed it to have extensive influence on public policy. The media group notes that while the Foundation’s “targets range from affirmative action to social security, it has seen its greatest successes in the area of welfare ‘reform’ and attempts to privatize public education through the promotion of school vouchers.” The Bradley Foundation gave the Franklin Center $190,500 last year.

 

If this sounds like just another far Right echo chamber feeding the usual propaganda to the already converted like Rupert Murdoch’s Fox News or extremist websites like World News Daily, it is not. many of its “reports” are being picked up and relayed to the general public as actual news. The Franklin Center has issued erroneous but well-timed stories, completely lacking any facts, that insinuated corruption against more moderate political candidates in West Virginia and Wisconsin. The FC has also issued utterly bogus polls that showed people did not support bargaining rights in Wisconsin when independent pollsters showed that a majority of state residents did support union bargaining rights. The FC has also been in league with the right-wing ALEC (American Legislative Exchange Council) pushing the purported virtue of its model legislation – much of which is directed at teachers and other public employees. Certainly people have a right to hold such opinions, but issuing “news” reports that show these public employees in a bad light is not journalism, it is advocacy disguised as journalism. CNN and CBS among other mainstream media outlets have passed on FC “reports” as real news.

Post WW II beer sign and train yard

Ten Years After the Patriot Act, a Look at Three of the Most Dangerous Provisions Affecting Ordinary Americans

1. SECTION 215 – “ANY TANGIBLE THING”

Under this provision, the FBI can obtain secret court orders for business records and other “tangible things” so long as the FBI says that the records are sought “for an authorized investigation . . . to protect against international terrorism or clandestine intelligence activities.”

That provision comes with a bonus. If the person or business feels they have been unfairly singled out they are prohibited by a built-in gag order from telling anyone.

2. NATIONAL SECURITY LETTERS

Among the most used — and outright frightening — provisions in the PATRIOT Act are those that enhanced so-called National Security Letters (NSLs). The FBI can issue NSLs itself, without a court order, and demand a variety of records, from phone records to bank account information to Internet activity. As with 215 orders, recipients are gagged from revealing the orders to anyone.

While NSLs existed prior to 2001, they were infrequently used. The PATRIOT Act lowered the standard making it easier for the FBI to use NSLs to obtain the records of innocent people with no direct link to terrorists or spies, and their use skyrocketed. According to the ACLU’s report on PATRIOT Act abuses, there were 8,500 NSLs issued in 2000 but approximately 192,000 issued between 2003-2006. All of these NSL’s led to one terror conviction, and in that case, the NSL wasn’t even needed.

 

Related to the issuance of these NSL’s was Bush warrantless surveillance program and nationwide paranoia brought in thousands of so-called leads to the FBI, but most of those were time and resource wasters according to the FBI.

3. SNEAK AND PEEK WARRANTS

Section 213 of the PATRIOT Act normalized “sneak-and-peek” warrants. These allow law enforcement to raid a suspect’s house without notifying the recipient of the seizure for months.  These orders usually don’t authorize the government to actually seize any property — but that won’t stop them from poking around your computers.  Again, sneak-and-peek warrants could be used for any investigation, even if the crime was only a misdemeanor.

From 2006-2009, sneak-and-peek warrants were used a total of 1,755 times. Only fifteen of those cases—a microscopic 0.8%—involved terrorism. The rest were used in cases involving drugs or fraud.

These uses and abuses of the PATRIOT Act against ordinary Americans are only the tip of the iceberg.

 

It is difficult to pick a favorite abuse of the patriot Act, but the last one is my favorite. Let’s say you’re just a national security geek, or you like reading about spies and terror related stories. You do a lot of searching related to same on the net. You do a lot of e-mail correspondence with acquaintances. The FBI can knock down your door, whether you or your family are there are not and search everything. They can leave without explanation or repairing your door or any other damage to your property. They are also not held responsible for any damage to your reputation or income should it get around to your neighbors or employer.

Fitz and The Tantrums performing “Pickin’ Up The Pieces Of Love”

Fitz and The Tantrums at the iTunes store.

The Incognito Traveller – Chaleur. This video is also a kind of tribute to the black and white films of  Jean-Luc Godard.

autumn lane wallpaper, spend and spend some more, knox luck

fall, autumn leaves, park, nature

autumn lane wallpaper

Kelly Willis – The Heart That Love Forgot. I’m not crazy about the video itself. I suspect record label cronies at work. You could just close your eyes and listen to the music.

Spend, Spend, Spend There is only one way out of the global recession, and government must lead the way.

Amanda Knox’s perverse luck Her trial made Italian justice look cartoonish — but she should be glad her appeal wasn’t heard in the U.S. My first thought was spending four years in a foreign jail is not what I think of when I think of luck. As the full story points out if Knox was here she might have been in prison for years and never had her appeal. Appeals in the U.S. must generally be law based, not evidence based for high courts to order a new trial.

enlightened thinking is elitist, waterfront cranes, perro-come-perro cultura

Sarah Churchwell reviews Help! Mom! There are Liberals Under My Bed! by Katharine DeBrecht

FOR a while during the 2008 election – namely, in the honeymoon period immediately following John McCain’s decision to nominate Sarah Palin as his running-mate – it looked as if the old Republican strategy of inciting ‘cultural resentments’ in order to ignite the conservative base would work yet again. Less torch-bearer than flame-thrower, Palin offered a divisive vision of an America whose ‘reality’ was a function of its conservatism, defensiveness, and a general sense of animus against perceived privilege. When Katie Couric, interviewing Palin on CBS, asked her why she had not acquired a passport until 2006, Palin’s answer was touchy, revealing, and predicated on class resentment: “I’m not one of those who maybe come from a background of, you know, kids who perhaps graduated college and their parents get them a passport and a backpack and say, ‘Go off and travel the world’. Noooo. I worked all my life. In fact, I usually had two jobs all my life, until
I had kids. … I was not part of, I guess, that culture.”

The logic of Palin’s defense, characterising a ‘culture’ of education defined by privilege, leisure and self-indulgence, and pitting them against a different ‘culture’ of work, discipline and self-reliance, is the zero-sum logic of the culture wars. Palin’s hostility to education, and indeed to language, would eventually come to define her candidacy, and establish the limits of America’s tolerance for anti-intellectualism. The real winner of the 2008 election may yet turn out to have been the English language.

Language has long been an unacknowledged casus belli in the American culture wars. If they were fought over the ideological ground of value systems, religious beliefs, political dogma or fiscal policy, the wars have always been waged by means of loaded words. The difference between liberal and conservative was habitually expressed by means of charged registers that put at stake language itself – and its metonymic associations, including not just the tools of vocabulary and grammar, but also the question of edification, of literature, reading and education. Liberals, associated with over-education, ivory-tower irrelevance and elite effeteness, were understood by extension to indulge in overly theoretical, exclusionary or multisyllabic language, as well as pedantry. Conservatives, by contrast, associated with small-town exurbia, were understood to employ the aw-shucks, down-home, common-sense vernacular of the man on the street. Conservatives long claimed that the argument is between those who are too busy dealing with reality to bother themselves with trivial semantics, and those whose privilege affords them the luxury of irrelevance. But in fact the argument is over argot: the way in which language is classed.

 

So much said in so few words. Recently I posted a column by conservative pundit Jonah Goldberg that was a lengthy and contradictory tirade against “experts“. It seems to be the conservative view that we can run a complex technologically advanced country without experts. Some how the answer to all problems, issues, predicaments, diseases, engineering challenges, and medical problems will arrive eventually through some magical common sense bolt of knowledge. One that enters one’s head without damaging the skull or reading a book. Not a week goes by that I do not hear that so and so might be book smart but they ain’t got no common sense. Not exclusively, though for the most part this is the Palin-Perry-Bachmann-Beck-Limbaugh crowd. If they have credentials of some kind – education or experience, they glad to flaunt them. Otherwise it is expertise that got us into what ever trouble under the topic du jour. Certainly experts are not always right – the social sciences have a very bumpy history. On the other hand there has been progress. We feed billions of people on a remarkably small amount of land. People are living longer than ever. Cancer is likely in its retirement years. We can fly across oceans. The internet has made connecting to people from around the world easier than ever – the result of some experts at DARPA. It’s the elitism of a nationwide clique of know nothings. If you know something or have ambitions to learn something than you can’t belong. A human’s reach should not exceed their grasp. Knowledge must be rejected so that the Palins of the world do not feel inferior. There will be no pondering the meaning of life, a poem. a book, a movie. There will be no artistic expressions beyond crude crayon drawings. Know your place and keep your intellectual curiosity in check. Than you’ll be one of them.

“Hide not your talents. They for use were made. What’s a sundial in the shade?”
Benjamin Franklin

“You have brains in your head. You have feet in your shoes.
You can steer yourself any direction you choose.” Dr. Seuss

water front cranes wallpaper

Matt Seitz has been doing a weekly update on Breaking Bad – “Breaking Bad” 4×9, “Bug”. While he makes some good point about Jesse in the last episode, I’m not so sure about Jesse having found himself. That would necessarily imply that he has also found a way out and he hasn’t. Walt as usual suffers from farsightedness. He only sees an ending down the road. In the mean time he is ignoring or bungling the small moves.

late 1800s homestead. a time when one could enjoy the absolute ecstatic pleasure of no Medicare, no Social Security, no FEMA, no FDA, no workman’s compensation.

Mom Says Much-Reprimanded School Cop Killed Her Son

 A 14-year-old boy got into a fight at a school bus stop and the school district’s police officer responded by shooting him to death, the boy’s mother says. She says the cop had been reprimanded 16 times in the previous 4 years, suspended without pay 5 times, and “recommended for termination for insubordination,” but the school kept him on the force “without remedial training.”

Police departments really need better screening procedures. While most cops strive to be good cops, police work is a magnet for people who have issues with rage and revenge.

Yet another reason to be a conservative/libertarian – CNN Tea Party Debate Live-Blog

9:21: Ron Paul the doctor says a 30-year-old who has an accident and needs intensive health care should’ve planned ahead and is responsible for himself. When Blitzer asks if society should let that young man die, some in the crowd shout in approval. Tea Party audience members heard yelling: “Yeah!” “Let him die!

Perro-come-perro cultura. I would know how this would benefit society if only I had some of that special commonsense.

 

conservatives on the SCOTUS hit the trifecta of injustice,19th century print, pollock’s painting physics

Dahlia Lithwick is an excellent court watcher/legal analyst. The general tone of her articles are civil to a fault. This article is civil, but it is among the few times where she shows how deeply frustrated she is and I can understand why. Operating Instructions – The Supreme Court shows corporate America how to screw over its customers and employees without breaking the law.

Start with one of the most important cases of the term, the recently deceased class-action suit filed by a million and a half women employed by Wal-Mart. The headlines—including mine—contended that the import of the court’s decision lay in the ways class-action suits would be severely limited in the future. But dig a little deeper. In his majority opinion on behalf of the five conservatives on the court, Justice Antonin Scalia found that Wal-Mart could not be held accountable for discrimination in pay and promotions because the plaintiffs lacked “convincing proof of a companywide discriminatory pay and promotion policy.” Then Scalia went one further and offered Wal-Mart, the largest private employer in the country, a virtual guidebook on how to discriminate better: Do it in bulk up and down the chain of command, and make certain to do it at every possible level.

Generall the way class action law suits work in the lower courts is the legal counsel file a brief. That brief is largely the documentation they have gathered. Enough documentation that a fair-minded judge can decide yes(or no) that a complaint may proceed based on the evidence presented in the brief. Such briefs are generally well researched and documented. That is because they basically constitute a  kind of pre-trial before an actual trial starts. Yes there are anecdotal stories included. Though in a legal context dozens or hundreds or sometimes even thousands of such anecdotes, like stories of discrimination in the Wal-Mart case, constitute very real evidence. The briefs in such a large case – Wal-Mart being one of the nation’s biggest employers – also include statistics such as how many women or minorities are in supervisory positions. Those statistics would also include comparisons to other similar businesses such as Target or Kmart. The conservatives on the SCOTUS decided two remarkable things. Wal-Mart is such a big company that it is impossible to prove they discriminated based on gender and hey, it says they don’t discriminate in their employee handbook(the latter is not a joke. That was part of the majority opinion). Two, that when discrimination does occur it must be under the pretty much exact same circumstances – age, location, nature of the discrimination, etc.

The same is true for the court’s remarkable 5-4 holding in AT&T Mobility v. Concepcion. In that decision, the court read a federal statute to mean that consumers may not participate in class action suits if their contract—in this case, with a cell phone company—contains an arbitration agreement (by which, I promise you, you are currently bound). In AT&T, a class of California plaintiffs tried to bundle together their claims alleging that AT&T had engaged in false advertising and fraud by charging sales tax on phones it had promoted as free. California law provided that the mandatory arbitration provision was not enforceable and that the parties should be allowed to litigate as a class. But the court—Scalia writing again—determined that the California rule was pre-empted by the Federal Arbitration Act. “It was important [for the court] to protect defendants, such as corporations, from the ‘in terrorem’ effects of class actions, which pressure them into settlements,” writes Erwin Chemerinsky, dean of the UC-Irvine School of Law. “In fact, the Court went further and said that the Federal Arbitration Act requires that claims be arbitrated on an individual basis and that class arbitration is not allowed.”

The way class action suits gain momentum is partly through an old-fashioned phenomenon in which tells of being cheated by such and such a company filter through the grape-vine. Many individuals try to find a remedy of their own by calling or writing the company for their $15 or $50 dollars back, but finally give up. Once again the conservatives on the court have said that justice be denied these people. They may not form a class action to get everyone’s refund for the fraudulent charges. Want your money back, you’ll have to each file a lawsuit on your own. Who has the time to file a law suit for a $75 modem your DSL provider said was going to be free when you signed up and subsequently billed you for. Sure there are always that hand full of people who sue for the principal involved and they might get their money back unless their contract had a binding arbitration agreement ( which your phone or ISP contract probably has). Everyone else is screwed. What might amount to millions in over charges or fraudulent charges are for the company to keep. Imagine if such a scheme involved a political party. How many seconds would it take for conservatives to scream communism – the state taking property without due process. Conservatives at the link for this story are thrilled that corporations how have license to take people’s property without due process. And yes when the SCOTUS makes the wall to getting justice so onerous that the average person no longer has reasonable access to the courts, that is a de facto that is a form of tyranny.

Which brings us to the third case in this trifecta, a case that has gone largely unnoticed in the blur that is the end of the 2010 term: In yet another 5-4 decision last week, Janus Capital Group, Inc. v. First Derivative Traders, the court not only immunized big business from yet more awkward and messy litigation; it gave them an instruction manual on how best to lie to consumers.

[  ]…Even though Janus Capital Management did indeed produce the false prospectuses, the court found that they were actually filed by a separate legal entity—the Janus Investment Fund. And even though the Janus Investment Fund is run by Janus Capital Management, Janus Capital Management is not on the hook for the lies. Wrote Thomas, “Even when a speechwriter drafts a speech, the content is entirely within the control of the person who delivers it. And it is the speaker who takes credit—or blame—for what is ultimately said.”

Don’t even bother asking how huge financial companies will benefit from the holding in the case. It’s as easy as setting up a dummy corporation to make your false statements for you. In the wake of the holding, William A. Birdthistle, an associate professor of law at Chicago-Kent College of Law, told Bloomberg columnist Susan Antilla to expect “corporations outside of the investment-management business to alter their legal structures to gain the same protection that funds now enjoy.” As he put it, “In Delaware, with 30 minutes and $50, you can create a legal entity.

The last speaks for itself. On its own the Janus ruling is a head spinner. All together these three rulings are as though the conservatives on the SCOTUS have given the most unscrupulous elements of business a wink and a nudge – go ahead screw over as many Americans as you like and we’ve provided the operating manual for how to do the screwing.

One last note. Conservatives claim the push back on class action suits is justified because class action lawyers make too much money. That is not a valid legal argument about the issue in question, but rather about their opinions on compensation. That conservatives tie the legals issue up with their resentment of civil litigation attorneys is another testament to their lack of understanding of the fundamental issues of justice involved. Since most civil suits for damages in the U.S. are businesses suing other businesses, all three of these rulings will come back to haunt them.

an american family ejoys their holiday 19th century print

The Cutting-Edge Physics of Jackson Pollock

Jackson Pollock, famous for his deceptively random-seeming drip paintings, took advantage of certain features of fluid dynamics years before physicists thought to study them.

“His particular painting technique essentially lets physics be a player in the creative process,” said physicist Andrzej Herczynski of Boston College, coauthor of a new paper in Physics Today that analyzes the physics in Pollock’s art. “To the degree that he lets physics take a role in the painting process, he is inviting physics to be a coauthor of his pieces.”

They point to one of Pollock’s Untitled painting 1948-49 as illustrative of loops formed by way of fluid coiling. In coiling the thick fluids fold onto themselves. Somewhat like slowly letting out a ball of twine onto the floor and the natural overlapping.