Feds say video of Jeffrey Epstein cell 'no longer exists' — accidentally destroyed by jail staff, oops

Video taken of Jeffrey Epstein's cell on the night of his first suicide attempt was deleted by mistake, according to federal prosecutors

Just keeps getting weirder, doesn't it. Read the rest

Mystery of the vanishing bird seed solved

The bird seed in our feeder began disappearing overnight, no matter how full it was. I set up an infrared camera to see what was devouring so much seed in such a short amount of time. Here are the culprits! Read the rest

Tesla must face lawsuit alleging racism, 'n-word' use at Elon Musk's California factory

Some news you may have missed on New Year's Eve -- a federal judge has rejected efforts by Elon Musk's Tesla to dismiss claims brought by two former California employees that the car factory where they worked was a racist environment. The judge's decision clears the way for a trial, which is scheduled for May 11, 2020. Read the rest

Mass convictions of local warlords for 2009 massacre revive faith in Philippines' justice system

The election of the violent Philippine autocrat Rodrigo Duterte and the subsequent widespread extrajudicial killings, torture, and other crimes against humanity was a blow to the rule of law in the Philippines and the democracy advocates who have struggled to make a just society after centuries of colonial exploitation. Read the rest

New Jersey AG says 5 politicians took thousands in cash bribes via envelopes, paper bags, coffee cups

Well, it's nothing if not on brand for New Jersey politics. Read the rest

Tekashi 6ix9ine sentenced to 2 years in prison after cooperating with feds

He has already served 13 months and will be released in late 2020.

NJ to expunge criminal records of many pot offenders, and restore voting rights for 80,000+ convicts

New Jersey's Democrat governor today signed legislation to clear the state criminal records of low-level marijuana offenders, and he approved restoring the voting rights of more than 80,000 convicts. Read the rest

Gentleman arrested at airport with 80 pounds of marijuana disguised as holiday gifts

He was only dreaming of a green Christmas, you guys. Read the rest

New York City bans most flavored e-cigarettes in war on vaping

New NYC law to cub vaping takes effect next July, aims to protect teens' health

Supreme Court affirms homeless peoples' right to be on public property

The U.S. Supreme Court refused to let Boise ban people from sleeping rough.

The San Francisco-based 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals said Boise would be violating the constitutional ban on cruel and unusual punishments by enforcing criminal penalties under its anti-camping ordinance when its three homeless shelters are full.

“The state may not criminalize conduct that is an unavoidable consequence of being homeless -- namely sitting, lying, or sleeping on the streets,” the 9th Circuit said.

State abuse of the homeless is one of the nastier trends in 21st century governance—the end is usually accomplished by more subtle means (pictured) than criminalization. Read the rest

Utah destroys thousands of gallons of beer

In Utah, liquor authorities who have long been aligned with the Mormon patriarchs who more or less run everything in the state have poured thousands of gallons of drinkable beer down the drain -- no, literally-- after a change in state law allowed higher-alcohol beer. Read the rest

South Carolina's feudal magistrate system may take a modest step toward modernization

Propublica's blockbuster report on the magistrate judges in South Carolina revealed a system of patronage, cronies, and gross miscarriages of justice, with judges appointed on the say-so of a single state senator, without regard to whether they had any legal experience (some judges took the bench after working construction, or as pharmacists, or as underwear distributors), and without any vetting of their ethical lapses (some judges were disgraced lawyers who stole from clients, or retired lawmakers notorious for their racism). Read the rest

Do It For State: epic domain name shakedown article

State Snaps is a send-in-your-photos party wheeze aimed at fratboys. Spread amorphously over various social media platforms, it's too sleazy to go mainstream but too successful to stay in one place. But the wannabe operators failed to register a key domain name, doitforstate.com, that reflects the viral motto "Do it for State!" associated with The Brand. So a domain squatter got it. Usually, a call to a lawyer comes next. Not these guys.

The gunman wore a baseball cap, had pantyhose pulled over his face, and sunglasses covered his eyes.

Deyo briefly raised his arms in surrender — then bolted into his bedroom. He slammed the door behind him and braced for impact. Moments later, the intruder kicked through the doorway and grabbed Deyo by the neck.

“Where’s your computer?” he demanded. According to Deyo’s courtroom testimony, he led the man across the hall and into his office with the gun now shoved into the small of his back. He sat down, the man opened up his MacBook Pro, and Deyo felt the gun move from his spine to the rear of his skull, the metal hard on his scalp.

“Okay, motherfucker,” Deyo recalled him saying. “GoDaddy.com.”

Why file a trademark and SLAPP your way to a domain name you want when you can just get a goon to force the squatter to turn it over at gunpoint? All time greatest domainer tip right here. Read the rest

Google under investigation by National Labor Relations Board for 'Thanksgiving Four' firings

Google is reported to be under investigation by the United States National Labor Relations Board (NLRB.gov) for allegations of discouraging union organizing among workers, and for firing the so-called “Thanksgiving Four.” Read the rest

Arizona man rescued and arrested after getting stuck in chimney that did not belong to him

His name was not Santa Claus.

Newsletter detailing the world of white collar crime

Matt Levine's consistently excellent newsletter for Bloomberg is called Money Stuff, and is typically focused on white collar crime and crime-adjacent behavior. Monday's edition looks at the New York Times' article on on the possible existence of Epstein-related incriminating videos, and attempts to explain why the story doesn't actually allege criminal behavior by the lawyers involved:

It’s “a long way from extortion” in the technical sense that they were lawyers and knew the proper incantations to utter to make it not extortion. It’s not a long way from extortion in the sense that they were planning to go to rich men and say “we have compromising videos of you and we will publish them unless you pay us money.” But the incantations make all the difference!

Monday's newsletter includes a summary of various ways bankers can be induced to aid financial crimes, and why Credit Suisse Group AG’s Mozambique scandal doesn't seem to fit the mold:

the Mozambique case is even weirder than I thought, because the bribes weren’t just to motivate the bankers to get the deals approved, they were to motivate the bankers to cut the fees.

...

It is honestly a bit mysterious to me how this could work. If you’re a banker and you come to your bosses with a hairy deal with a higher-than-usual fee, they will be repulsed by the hair but intrigued by the fee. If you come to your bosses with a hairy deal and a below-average fee, because you are pocketing a bribe-in-lieu-of-fees yourself, what’s in it for them?

Read the rest

Alaska dentist rode hoverboard while performing procedure, prosecutors say

Not cool. Read the rest

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