Wednesday, October 17, 2007

It's raining heavily, so I'm not going to leave for Chicago just yet.
There's lots of bloggable stuff at Howard's today, besides the obvious stuff like "Court stays killer's execution at last minute."

There's the Notorious B I G versus the Players story.
There's a bit about teens doing life.
And the Pence bill to shield some journalists some of the time passes the house.

"Lifers as Teenagers, Now Seeking Second Chance": Today in The New York Times, Adam Liptak has an article that begins, "In December, the United Nations took up a resolution calling for the abolition of life imprisonment without the possibility of parole for children and young teenagers. The vote was 185 to 1, with the United States the lone dissenter. Indeed, the United States stands alone in the world in convicting young adolescents as adults and sentencing them to live out their lives in prison. According to a new report, there are 73 Americans serving such sentences for crimes they committed at 13 or 14."
Posted at 07:45 AM by Howard Bashman

Lonnie Hall was 15 when he tried to kill me during a series of burglaries where I used to live. He'd told me he was 19, which was plausible; he's bigger than I am. The young age helps explain his stupidity. Not the sort that brings up diminished capacity, but not the sharpest tool in the shed. He killed a Hispanic couple in one of his burglaries and got 110 years, or maybe just 55, not sure if the sentences run concurrently. He'll spend his life in prison, being a victim or a victimizer or both.
One of the reasons I was kind of depressed a few years ago is that I was wrestling with whether or not I was morally obligated to kill Lonnie. I didn't, and innocent people died. Lonnie isn't someone who it's safe to let out. That doesn't mean that he's safe inside either. It's a genuine ethical dilemma - what do you do with kids like that?

The Pence bill passed the house by a wide margin, 398 to 21, important, because Bush may use his veto I think just the 3rd time in 7 years, and the house is signaling that it can override. WaPo. The Pence bill, to shield some journalists sometimes, is toothless and full of loopholes, but for the first time it would give some federal protection to the journalist's privilege, for which many decent reporters have been willing to go to jail to protect.

The Notorious lawsuit on the one hand is just a routine copyright dispute.
One musician sampled the work of another, didn't obtain copyright clearance,
got sued, and lost b.i.g. to a jury. The circuit court reduced the award, but let an injunction stand. Defendants made lots of arguments, lost most won a few.
Boring stuff really.
But musician number 1 is dead. The album, "ready to die", was huge, sold millions. The defendants include Sean Combs aka puff daddy p diddy etc., and a series of holding companies. The plaintiffs are some outfits that bought up the rights from the Ohio Players, a well known old school funk band. So the right journalist could make a real story out of this, mixing law and popular culture. I'm not that writer. I'll go see how Drudge is covering it. Drudge has nothing. Oil $89 a barrel. My oil well checks are still around $150 a month; I'm not seeing the profits. I spend the $150/mo on gas, so I break even. Congress approval at 11%.

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