Archive for the ‘Law and Justice’ Category

I found out about this experiment from the video presentation “Steven Pinker: The Elephant, the Emperor, and the Matzo Ball”,

Steven Pinker asks:

“Why are bribes, requests, seductions, solicitations, and threats so often veiled when both parties know what they mean?”

The article starts….”You want to go to the hottest restaurant in town. You have no reservation.”

Bruce Feiler has a plan for you.

Source: Pocketful of Dough – Tips on Tipping: 2000s Archive :


Ross, “the world’s first artificially intelligent attorney” built on IBM’s cognitive computer Watson, was designed to read and understand language, postulate hypotheses when asked questions, research, and then generate responses (along with references and citations) to back up its conclusions. Ross also learns from experience, gaining speed and knowledge the more you interact with it.

Source: Artificially Intelligent Lawyer “Ross” Has Been Hired By Its First Official Law Firm

Having launched and led the battle against offshore tax evasion, America is now part of the problem

Partly because of state rights, the US can appear to have multiple personalities:

“Business lobbyists and states with lots of registered firms, led by Delaware, have long stymied proposed federal legislation that would require more openness in corporate ownership. (Incorporation is a state matter, not a federal one.) America will often investigate a shell company if asked to by a foreign government that suspects wrongdoing. But incorporation agents do not have to collect ownership information. This is in contrast to Britain, which will soon have a public register of companies’ beneficial owners.”

Source: The biggest loophole of all | The Economist

Via Business Insider:


“As the war over income inequality wages on, super-rich Seattle entrepreneur Nick Hanauer has been raising the hackles of his fellow 1-percenters, espousing the contrarian argument that rich people don’t actually create jobs. The position is controversial — so much so that TED is refusing to post a talk that Hanauer gave on the subject. National Journal reports today that TED officials decided not to put Hanauer’s March 1 speech up online after deeming his remarks “too politically controversial” for the site…”.

“In addition to psychic numbing, there is another psychological disposition at work, called “pseudoinefficacy.” This tendency was demonstrated in another study of charitable giving, published this year in Frontiers in Psychology, also by Paul Slovic and colleagues. We found that people might be inclined to send money to an individual person in need, but that if they heard that a second person also required aid but could not be helped, they were less inclined to donate to the first person. Meeting that need no longer felt as satisfying. Similarly, when the need for assistance was described as part of a large-scale relief effort, potential donors would experience a demotivating sense of inefficacy arising from the thought that the help they could provide was but “a drop in the bucket.”

Is lethal injection the most humane method of execution? Is there another way?  Should we eliminate the death penalty altogether? Here’s some of the best reporting on the practice.

excerpt: “Americans are conditioned to see the harsh punishment of offenders as the best form of justice for crime victims. Barajas sees things differently. She and her allies focus on victims and offenders alike, emphasizing trauma care, crime prevention, and rehabilitation of former prisoners instead of police crackdowns and long sentences in penitentiaries. Sometimes shoulder to shoulder with police, sometimes at odds with their sworn protectors, they wade into the messy consequences of violence, drugs, imprisonment, and chronic poverty resolved to replace a war on crime with a quest for peace. In their worldview, victims and offenders do not occupy separate spheres. They share the same streets, the same struggles—often they are the same people. This more complicated reality requires strategies to address urban violence that are often overlooked by a system still in the grip of the law-and-order mentality.”

Source: Los Angeles crime: A new way of fighting crime—and helping victims—in a city with no shortage of either.

Bill Dedman received the Pulitzer Prize in investigative reporting in 1989 for researching and writing these articles.

The first series, published May 1-4, 1988, disclosed that Atlanta’s banks and savings and loan institutions, although they had made loans for years in even the poorest white neighborhoods of Atlanta, did not lend in middle-class or more affluent black neighborhoods. The focus moved to lenders across the nation with the January 1989 article, “Blacks turned down for home loans from S&Ls twice as often as whites.”

As a result of the stories, the federal Home Mortgage Disclosure Act was expanded to provide more information to the public on the pattern of activity by all mortgage lenders.

via The Color of Money.

The author writes:

“I cannot forget the neighbors who testified that Reeva was screaming just before the shots were fired. Was she calling for help? Begging for her life, as she cringed in the bathroom with her cell phone?

“She did not get help. She was not rescued. And with this sentence, she does not get justice. The paltry sentence doled out to Pistorius sends a frightening message: kill a woman, get a slap on the wrist.”

via The unsatisfying conclusion to the Oscar Pistorius trial.