Wednesday, December 28, 2005

Clearing out the 2005 Links

A Cross-Cultural Dining Etiquette Quiz from Don't Gross Out the World.

"On Once Having Been a Cute Girl" - a thought-provoking personal post by the Happy Feminist. She also has a great post on being a prosecutor, and the moral dillemas that can result:
The next twelve months in that office were a terrible strain. My boss allowed new prosecutors like me no discretion at all as to how to plea bargain cases or what sentences to recommend. I was never again asked to violate my ethical obligations, but I was constantly forced to take positions that were at odds with my views of what a just result would be in a particular case. Finally, I was asked to leave, the circumstances of which will be another story for another day.

I wound up getting another job as a prosecutor for a very rural county. My new county really needed me, and as a result, I was able to have an impact right away on my new office's policies on crime and punishment. Most importantly, I was in a position to refuse if asked to do something which made me uncomfortable. I believing that declining to prosecute inappropriate cases is a crucial aspect of the prosecutor's job. I always had disdain for prosecutors who claimed that they "had" to pursue a particular case because the victim wanted them to or because the police wanted them to or because the Grand Jury indicted.

Read the whole thing, if you're so inclined.

Congress this month passed The International Marriage Broker Act, which requires potential mail-order brides to be informed if their suitors have criminal histories or have had domestic violence complaints taken out against them. It was spawned by the Anastasia King murder case. Many foreigners who are domestic violence victims find themselves in the horrid situation of not knowing the language and believing that if they go to the authorities to report the abuse, they'll be deported. There is a U-visa possible to ensure they aren't, but nobody's quite sure how it's going to work because they've never released the rules for obtaining one. Ampersand has more.

Also on Alas a Blog: the bigotry against men when it comes to children:
A man who was seated next to a child travelling alone was asked to change his seat, because the airline has a policy against men sitting next to unaccompanied minors. The man objected, the fuss reached the press, the airline claimed that it was only doing what most airlines do on international flights.
It goes on from there.

Bits of Wisdom courtesy of Waiterrant.

News Flash: Kansas is flatter than a pancake. Kris coulda told ya that one.

We now have self-aware robots. Grreeeaaat. Does nobody pay attention to movies like the Terminator?

BTQ has an open thread. Debate the merits of eggnog!

Scientists have discovered the genetic mutation for white skin. Hey, I'm a mutant.

Ever see a cool website and want to trackback your click trail to see how you got there? There's a tool for that.

Aprille makes an excellent point on the Iowa City Public Library's policy of not stamping the due date in books - you always lose the little slip of paper and it's impossible to remember when the dang things are due.

For trial lawyers: an article on mining metadata in discovery.

Nose cells may repair spinal injuries. Let's hope they can't still link to the smell section of the brain. . .

Remember the Cory Maye case? Radley Balko has posted transcripts. He has some thoughts here.

How to tie really good knots.

Credit card not scanning? Try the plastic bag trick.

The Volokh Conspiracy had a post a while back on whether or not David Letterman could own a gun. For those not in on the original story: a woman got a judge to issue a temporary restraining order, based on allegations Letterman was sending her secret signals via his broadcasts, telling her to come marry him, among other things. Generally those subject to restraining orders are not allowed to have guns. How does this apply in this case? An interesting read, if you're into that kind of thing.

Overlawyered discusses the "I was sleepwalking" rape defense. On the one hand, you need to prove mens rea. On the other hand, whaddaya mean "Sleepwalker cleared of three rapes?"

Big Brother has moved to Great Britain? Talk Left reports Great Britain to Monitor All Vehicle Movements.

Via Michelle's Mental Clutter: "Who's on First" remade Star Wars style!

Instapundit's finally getting around to watching the new Battlestar Galactica. When's the new season start up again? And does anyone have the miniseries on DVD? I've seen the rest of it, and I don't think it's worth buying the boxed set just to get the mini. I won't need it for a while, I did get the Firefly season for Christmas. I still need Serenity, though. And what's up with Sex in the City costing something like $200 for the whole run? I'm waaay too cheap for that.

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