Worst Story Ever

February 13, 2009

Top this: Pennsylvania Juvenile Court judges take $2.6 million in kickbacks from private juvenile detention facilities in exchange for sending them business — in exchange for incarcerating teenagers over minor offenses. Among the Orwellian details: The bribe-paying juvies were named PA Child Care and Western PA Child Care.

If one were of a political frame of mind, one might conclude that this is what inevitably happens when we privatize public institutions and thereby create incentives that are contrary to public policy. Can you imagine privatizing the fire department, and paying them by the fire? Don’t you think that some unscrupulous operator might team up with an arsonist?

Back to the case, the feds are accepting a plea bargain that calls for seven years, three months in prison for the bribe-taking judges. This seems low to me.



February 11, 2009

Something good has come from the economic meltdown:

MUZAK has filed for bankruptcy!!

apologies to anyone who actually works for Muzak, but i’m just saying . . .

Fair Use

February 10, 2009

Here’s a great copyright law issue.Hope

Did the poster artist infringe on the copyright of the owner of the photo? Is this protected fair use? What does it mean to have a copyright in a photo of a public figure? Should the protection allowed be less than for other images? If so, why? Is there a public interest in the use and dissemination of those images that weakens our interest in protecting copyright? If so, do we end up with fewer such images?

The Associated Press wants to be paid for the use of its photo. What do the Law and Society folks think? Students? Everyone else?


February 3, 2009

“Power tends to corrupt, and absolute power corrupts absolutely.  Great men are almost always bad men,” according to Lord Acton in 1887.  First, it was Tim Geithner, then Nancy Killefer & now Tom Daschle.  Not that they had absolute power or have been totally corrupted, but didn’t they think, if nothing else, these actions would threaten their future ambitions?  Perhaps it’s the FEAR OF LOSING POWER that can lead us to poor choices.

Afterthought—this isn’t a legal topic, is it?