Last night, J and I spent part of the night cuddling on the couch watching a movie off of his netflix queue. He fell asleep; I only made it about 40 minutes through before giving up on it. For reasons I don't understand, it's one of the bestselling movies in Russian film history. I found it to be a mildly interesting story, but the implementation alternated between being so confusing that I had no clue what was going on (on the one hand) and dreadfully dull (on the other hand). I might be willing to try out the books, but the rest of the movie, and the sequels? Not gonna happen.
It seems the ACLU is suing California over a ballot initiative. This isn't news; someone is always suing California over a ballot initiative. :)
In this particular case, they're suing California over the exact reason I declined to vote for the initiative, which makes me happy - albeit, while I agree with them as a policy matter, I'm not convinced they're right as a matter of law.
The issue is that California passed a ballot measure requiring everyone arrested for a felony (or suspicion of a felony) to have their DNA tested and added to a database. People who are acquitted can ask a judge to remove their data from the database after six months; people who are never charged or never get to trial and don't plead guilty can ask to have their data removed after three years; neither request is automatic and a judge can refuse to comply with it.
That's right: in California, your DNA sample can be stored in a database of known criminals even if you are never charged with a crime. IMO, this is excessive; I'd have no problem with it if the request were automatically granted (or, better, the data automatically removed unless you were convicted) ... but a system which basically lets the data stay there encourages the police to go on a dna collecting expedition by arresting people groundlessly and then dropping charges; and it's needlessly invasive of the privacy of the people involved.
But as a matter of law, I'm unconvinced that it violates the fourth amendment. Allegedly two appeals courts have held that it does, but I'm unable to form the argument.
Politics, part 2:
It's surreal and disturbing watching the antics in Maine from afar. It feels an awful lot like things did here, last year, and my faith in the ability of the people of that state to be better than the people of my state were is waning. :( I really don't want to see another loss here, and i'm getting dispirited enough to think that maybe it's better to stop fighting for a decade, because not fighting doesn't hurt as much as fighting and losing.
Politics, part 3:
The Governor is apparently threatening to veto all 700 bills the Legislature sent him this session if they don't pass a bill he wants involving restructuring the state's water supply system. By tomorrow.
One legislator - who is running for Attorney General - has asked the AG to investigate the Governor for criminal extortion. (Right, because criminalizing this kind of politics doesn't just lead to government by the state courts). Another legislator is threatening to have the legislature impeach the governor if he carries through on his threats.
This just goes to demonstrate (a) the relatively low power of California's governor, (b) the incredibly poor job the governor is doing, and (c) the surreal nature of California politics. There's a great fiddling-while-Rome-burns feel to the whole thing: unemployment is up, particularly in the central valley; the economy is rocky; the housing market has collapsed; the state's budget is in tatters; our prison system is about to be taken over by the feds; the university system is in crisis; the water system is in crisis; and the government is playing games like this? Double-WTF.
Joris Voom (Balance 014 CD):
I first encountered this CD in May when a friend from Coachella passed it along; it's a downtempo trancy form of house music which, while probably undanceable, does a great job of invoking atmosphere, an overwhelming ethereal beat that sinks in and focuses you outward. it's great music for listening to while focusing on something else, whether it be work, of the beauty of the world.
Kyteman (The Hermit Sessions):
Kyteman is a dutch hip-hop group who performs in English, French, and Dutch. In theory, this ought to appeal to me; I loved Jigge Je, for example, and MC Solaar; and there's somethign neat about hip hop in languages I don't speak because it causes me to ignore the lyrics and focus on the sound in a way that I just can't do with anything in English that has lyrics. But ... perhaps it was because i kept getting interrupted, perhaps not: the first listen left me utterly unmoved ... nothing stood out as remarkable one way or another. I'll have to give ti a second try and see how it goes.
Men at Work (Live in Dayton, Aug 5, 1983):
I rarely download bootlegs of concerts from before 1990; the few times I have, the sound quality has been worse tham mediocre, and I've ended up deleting the files off of my hard drive after failing to enjoy them. But my bootleg torrent server recently had a free weekend, and I was interested in the band after seeing some snippets of their performance at the US Festival, so I downloaded it, to check it out.
The sound quality was amazingly good - it would be a good quality today, and for the time, that's nothing short of incredible. It was apparently a recording of a 'westwood radio one rock stars in concert' show, or some such thing, and was probably soundboard mixed with an audience mic.
That said ... while I like some of their songs (Down Under, say, of Who Can It Be Now?), the music of that era often had an appalling softness, a blending of sounds and a softening of the edges, a conscious shaping and processing that squeezed out the velveeta of music; and that applied, alas, to this show. I have this sneaky suspicion that the singers singing the identical songs over a banjo backed by a harmonica would have been more interesting.
Midnight Oil (Live in Geelong, Nov 7, 2002):
I've never had the privilige of seeing Midnight Oil in concert, and the only previous concert rip I've had of them was from their one-off reunion earlier this year, where they rocked the house down with an incredible energy which would not have been sustainable as an every day thing during a long tour, so I wasn't really quite sure what to expect with this. It was sorta wierd; the band was very chatty, and the music seemed less rock-y and more like they were experimenting with adult contemporary elevator music versions of their songs. Still, they did a good job with it. Although I'm still not sure what anyone sees in Redneck Wonderland.
we're talking about the federal rules for impeaching a witness' credibility during cross-examination. The general rule is that if you ask about something you need to have a good-faith basis for believing that it's relevant, and that whatever you are implying about the witness is true; but in some cases, if the witness denies it, you are required to then prove it or run the risk of a mistrial; and for other cases, if the witness denies it, you are not allowed to then prove it.
The simple version of the rules: You can always impeach a witness with evidence of bias, and are required to prove it if they deny it. You can generally impeach with prior inconsistent statements, but if you're going to introduce evidence of the prior inconsistent statement, you have to provide the other side with the opportunity to refute it. You can always impeach by contradiction - that is, showing that something the witness said is inconsistent with some other known fact. You can impeach with evidence of prior convictions if the crime was a felony and the prejudice to the case does not substantially outweigh the probative value of the impeaching evidence ... unless the prior conviction was more than ten years ago, unless there a specific facts which cause the evidence's probative value to substantially outweigh the prejudicial impact. You can call any witness to testify about the reputation of the other witness for truthfulness, or the new witness' personal opinion of the first witness' truthfulness. You can ask the witness about prior conduct which might indicate untruthfulness, but if he lies about it you can't introduce evidence to prove the lie.
The entire evidence code is like this. Isn't it fun? Can I have a flow chart?
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