Morning Links

Tuesday, April 3rd, 2012
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65 Responses to “Morning Links”

  1. #1 |  Boyd Durkin | 

    Love the Longaberger picnic basket building. Sorry. How is London’s Gherkin not on the list?

  2. #2 |  Robert | 

    RE: Bloomberg. It’s nothing to do with health and everything to do with control.

  3. #3 |  thomasblair | 

    If the FBI Building belongs, then so does the L’Enfant Plaza Hotel.

    http://www.dcpages.com/gallery/d/102610-4/DSC08832.jpg

  4. #4 |  Josh | 

    When I was at U of Michigan (early 90s) they were in the midst of a giant expansion/updating. One of the departments to get a new building was the School of Social Work. They got a brand new, state of the art building in the middle of campus. I kept thinking they were setting those students up for a tremendous disappointment (at least as far as facilities go) when they got out in the work force.

  5. #5 |  Robert | 

    If the ice cream guy is going around and handing the ice cream to the kids, and then demanding that the parents pay up, then that is a different story. Otherwise, yeah lady, do your job.

  6. #6 |  Yizmo Gizmo | 

    “Baur said Cassandra Kennedy will not be prosecuted for her apparent lies about her father, partly because prosecutors do not want to discourage people in similar circumstances from coming forward.”

    So… people in similar circumstances [not the victims of crimes] should “come forward?”

  7. #7 |  Mattocracy | 

    “I should not have to fight with my children every warm day on the playground just so someone can make a living!”

    And likewise, no one should have to lose their job so you don’t have to tell you kid no.

  8. #8 |  Leonard | 

    When a father is wrongly imprisoned for a decade raping his daughter, it most certainly is an indictment of the system.

    So bring an indictment, Mr. Balko, and tell us where the system went wrong. If it was just an individual misjudgment, then no change is necessarily indicated. But if it is systemic, then you ought to be able advocate some sort of systemic change. What?

    Seems to me where they went wrong was in taking the word of a child about rape, even after they had some idea that it might be false. They needed to dig deeper, and look into why the accuser might have lied about it. (Certainly the father in that case maintained his innocence vehemently.) Women (or in this case, a girl) falsely allege rape with some frequency. (Measuring it is very difficult for obvious reasons; but my guess after perusing wikipedia is perhaps 1 in 20.) No other crime has the combination of such seriousness in the eyes of society and the law, while (possibly) producing no physical evidence. But saying this will enrage the feminists. Are you sure you have the fortitude for that? Are you soft on rape?

  9. #9 |  Lefty | 

    re: indictment of the system

    Seems to me you shouldn’t be able to get a conviction based solely on first person testimony. There should be a requirement for physical evidence.

  10. #10 |  Lefty | 

    And that, I believe, is where the system fails

  11. #11 |  Glockenspieler | 

    WRT ugly buildings, I think that just the passage of time can make seemingly ugly buildings less so. Granted, I might be an outlier here given that I find some of the brutalist (great term) architecture to be charmingly reminiscent of my formative years in the 60s.

  12. #12 |  BamBam | 

    @9 for Teh Win. I have been saying the same for a decade. It Can Happen To You — The State happens to innocent people all of the time.

  13. #13 |  Picador | 

    … the FBI Building, another D.C. brutalist monstrosity.

    I think it’s important to call it by its actual name: the J. Edgar Hoover Building. It’s a reminder of the core values still guiding the FBI in the year 2012: sticking it to the homosexuals, hippies, negros, and other un-American social elements. And, uh, cross-dressing.

  14. #14 |  Tom | 

    Some people just don’t appreciate the whimsical. In architecture or anything else. Some of these buildings are, at the very least, better than yet another boring mirrored glass box that would have gone completely unnoticed.

  15. #15 |  Eyewitness | 

    Would the FBI building be as ugly if it had been finished with the marble facade as originally planned? Maybe not. On the other hand, the way it is now projects a more accurate image.

    Walking around L’Enfant Plaza always seemed like a stroll through communist Bulgaria.

  16. #16 |  Ben | 

    That father/daughter story was absolutely horrifyin. I have an infant son, and I’m sure there will be days during his childhood/adolescence when he hates me fiercely. The idea that my life could be flushed down the toilet just based on his say so, with no more evidence required, that’s the shit of nightmares.

  17. #17 |  Windypundit | 

    I hate to say it, but I’d add the Geisel Library:

    http://libraries.ucsd.edu/about/geisel-building.html

  18. #18 |  Brandon | 

    “But if it is systemic, then you ought to be able advocate some sort of systemic change. What?”

    Have you never been here before?

  19. #19 |  KristenS | 

    Embassy of the UK in DC looks like a 1960’s high school.

    And the State Dept is pretty awful (and Soviet-looking), even on the inside.

  20. #20 |  derfel cadarn | 

    This is perfect for little Mikey Bloomers force everyone to get a gym/yoga membership so you can stay fit and then tax the shit out of them. As for the anti ice cream man mother,If you had taught your child discipline and the meaning of the word NO there woulds be not be any issue here. Essentially you have not done your job and want others to bail your sorry ass out. You mame have failed at motherhood !

  21. #21 |  SamK | 

    Yeah, I’m just a bit irritated at the “conviction with no physical evidence for a crime that’s easy to lie about”. Of course, I mention that in normal rape cases too. “He did it!”…”did what?”…”raped me!”…”ok, so let’s prove sex happened, that it was him, and that it was non-consensual”. The only part of that that *should* be in question is the last one if you’re even remotely considering putting someone away for rape.

  22. #22 |  Dave Krueger | 

    The ugliest buildings in the word.

    If it looks like it can fly, it should fly, goddammit!

  23. #23 |  Stormy Dragon | 

    SCOTUS grants absolute immunity to investigators for prosecutor’s offices who give false testimony to grand juries.

    The headline was misleading. The ruling didn’t protect investigators specifically, it was that you can’t sue anybody purely on the basis of them testifying against you in a trial.

    Which makes sense to me, given that if you are subpeonaed, you don’t have a choice whether or not to testify. It would very bad to have a system where on party to a case can force you to appear before court and then the other side is allowed to sue you for doing so.

  24. #24 |  Lefty | 

    Lying is, I’m assuming, only a small part of the problem. The real problem is the unreliability of eye witness accounts in general.

  25. #25 |  SamK | 

    And another “oh Arizona” link for everyone today:

    http://gizmodo.com/5898585/itll-soon-be-illegal-to-troll-in-arizona

  26. #26 |  David Chesler | 

    Agreed with Tom #14. “It doesn’t work” is not the same “It’s ugly.”
    Plenty of Brutalism I don’t like that I think is uglier, such as Boston City Hall and its Plaza (usually on such lists) http://www.american-architecture.info/USA/USA-Boston/BO-011.htm; Tracey Towers (tallest buildings in the Bronx — a Chinese food deliverer was stuck in an elevator for a couple of days) http://www.nyc-architecture.com/ARCH/Notes-30.htm and the Chatham Towers in Chinatown, NY, whose appearance made me literally ill with their ugliness when I was a kid, http://www.emporis.com/complex/the-chatham-towers-new-york-city-ny-usa (And I grew up in a cement “Tower in a Park”, Co-op City, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Co-op_City_Hutch_River.jpg about which the architecture [inside and out] is my favorite part, amidst lots of complaints.)

    Dave Krueger #22, wasn’t there a mandate from the Vatican in the 60s that churches had to look like rocket ships? :-) It applied from the Metropolitan Cathedral in Rio de Janeiro (http://eng.archinform.net/projekte/13973.htm) to bunches of suburban churches in the US.

  27. #27 |  Stephen Tower | 

    boston city hall and city hall plaza hands down the ugliest building in the world. R.I.P. Scollay Square.

  28. #28 |  qwints | 

    The problem with the opinion in Rehberg v. Paulk is not civil immunity for grand jury testimony. If it were indeed true that perjury served as a deterrent for false grand jury testimony, it would make perfect sense to give witnesses civil immunity to prevent their intimidation by the threat of litigation. The problem is that the actors the court relies on to discipline lying witnesses and bad prosecutors have wholly abdicated their responsibilities. State prosecutors virtually never bring perjury charges against police officers who are caught lying in their testimony, and state bars virtually never discipline prosecutors involved in bad behavior. (Can anyone think of an example of bar sanctions for bad actions as a prosecutor besides Nifong?)

    The fact is the system isn’t broken because the rules are written or interpreted badly (with a couple high profile exceptions), the system is broken because the foxes are guarding the hen house. No law or doctrine can stop testilying police offices working with prosecutors who are perfectly willing to suborn perjury. There are mechanisms on the books that could directly address the worst of the problems but there’s a complete lack of will to do anything about it.

  29. #29 |  The Late Andy Rooney | 

    @6

    I think what’s being referred to by “people in similar circumstances” is people who made a false allegation years ago and now want to do right by the person they accused. Should they have to fear going to prison for perjury after finally doing the right thing? I don’t know.

    Of course, as others here have already said, a better way to tackle this problem would be to demand more substantial evidence than the mere word of a single person who may or may not have an axe to grind.

  30. #30 |  C. S. P. Schofield | 

    “How does this fit into Bloomberg’s fanatical healthism?”

    Bloomberg’s isn’t a fanatical healthist. He’s a fanatical buttinski. He needs that money so he can invade EVERY aspect of his subjects’ lives.

  31. #31 |  Aresen | 

    I like the picnic basket building & don’t think it is ugly at all.

    Also I liked the “coin” building in Abu Dhabi.

  32. #32 |  C. S. P. Schofield | 

    Nominations for Ugly building lists;

    The State, War, and Navy Building (a real Victorian monstrosity);

    http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/7/75/State,_War,_%26_Navy_Building_-_Washington,_D.C..jpg

    The Kennedy Center; the myth is that this is a wonderful building and it probably looked great through the lens of its times, but time has not been kind to it. Now the proportions look off, there are rust stains near every one of those too-thin metal columns, and the white sides are going dingy (and they don’t seem to be able to clean them). All the pictures I could find seem intended to make the place look good, but up close it is really depressing.

  33. #33 |  Miranda | 

    Another nomination for the ugliest buildings list – The George R. Brown Convention Center in Houston.
    http://www.top-city-photos.com/images/convention-center.JPG

  34. #34 |  EH | 

    Regarding the Health Salon/Weight Clinic thing, most of them are scams, so this is just Bloomberg getting a cut of the vig.

  35. #35 |  Lefty | 

    @27. Couldn’t agree more. Those are some ugly buildings

  36. #36 |  lurkerbee | 

    IIRC, at a certain time of year light passing thru the Aldar headquarters points to the location of the buried treasure(a la Raiders of the Lost Ark). Or just turns the sun into a death ray. Cant remember which.

  37. #37 |  Juice | 

    I used to live a few blocks from HUD. Yeah, not a pretty building but it grows on you.

    I’m not that turned off by brutalist architecture though.

  38. #38 |  Windypundit | 

    Whenever I see one of those buildings with…let’s call it “an unusually strong non-functional design aesthetic”…I always want to twit the designer by asking if they’ve found all the leaks in the roof yet.

  39. #39 |  Juice | 

    #14 – I agree. Most of those buildings in the slideshow were pretty damned cool. Some were just plain ugly.

  40. #40 |  AnonyHUD | 

    Actually typing this comment from within the Robert C. Weaver Building (aka HUD), and if you think the outside’s hideous…whoof. You don’t wanna see the inside.

  41. #41 |  omar | 

    @#29 | The Late Andy Rooney

    I think what’s being referred to by “people in similar circumstances” is people who made a false allegation years ago and now want to do right by the person they accused. Should they have to fear going to prison for perjury after finally doing the right thing? I don’t know.

    I don’t know either. A comparison would be a murderer confessing to an unsolved crime. That person will probably end up in jail. And making confessed murders go to jail may reduce the number of out-of-the-blue murder confessions. But this confession won’t bring back the dead person, so I’m not sure it’s an apt comparison.

  42. #42 |  Mike T | 

    #21,

    And how do you prove a lack of consent without witnesses in most cases? Plenty of people like aggressive sex and some minor damage to the vagina or marks are not exactly smoking gun signs of a struggle. Unfortunately, because of rape shield laws you cannot force a woman who claims she was raped to divulge her sexual history and preferences in court. Wouldn’t it be interesting to find out she’s got a taste for BDSM and/or known to be a chronic liar about her partners? Her right to not be shamed is apparently more important than the fact that an innocent man (or woman) might be sent to prison for a very long time.

    What I find most interesting about the rape case mentioned here, though, is the fact that no one picked up on the fact that the prosecutor actually went to bat for the father rather than fighting this:

    On Feb. 15, after Longview police told prosecutors that Cassandra Kennedy was recanting, Baur wrote an urgent letter to Superior Court Judge Stephen Warning. “I need to inform you that I have been made aware of new, credible material evidence that potentially creates a reasonable likelihood that Mr. Kennedy is innocent of those crimes,” Baur wrote, adding that her staff was “continuing to work with investigators to uncover the truth.”

    I’m willing to let her have a free pass on her comment about indicting the system because in her district, that might actually not be fair. It also seems that doctors found some physical evidence so it sounds like it came down to more of a moral panic on the jury’s part and bad defense than government misconduct.

  43. #43 |  Zeb | 

    That was one fucked up little girl. Viscerally, my reaction is that she should be punished just as someone who locks someone in their basement for 10 years would be. But I think that it is a good point that that would discourage others from recanting false testimony. Better that the guilty go free than the innocent stay locked up.

    I think I must have a different idea of what reasonable doubt means than most people. I can’t imagine convicting someone of anything based solely on he said/she said without any physical evidence linking the accused to the crime.

  44. #44 |  Read It And Weep | Lawyers on Strike | 

    [...] Radley Balko) Share this:FacebookTwitterLinkedInMoreEmailRedditDiggStumbleUponPrintTumblrLike this:LikeBe the [...]

  45. #45 |  Kevin Rulokowski | 

    Radley,

  46. #46 |  Kevin Rulokowski | 

    Radley,
    You should drive north of Portland about 35-40 minutes to Longview and pay a visit to Prosecutor Baur. This particular case is just one of the times she has gone after a falsely accused man. Her idea of Justice is that if you are accused of a crime and have a penis, you are obviously guilty. She is a man hater and probably had Daddy Issues herself.
    KR

  47. #47 |  orangeyouglad | 

    RE:Rehberg v. Paulk

    Maybe I am missing something, but I didn’t see an opinion in the linked article. I read through the arguments but I must have missed where SCOTUS made their ruling.

  48. #48 |  InMD | 

    I don’t think the above story is an indictment of the system at all. I agree that we need to rethink how evidence is weighed in criminal trials but the reality is that innocent people will always be convicted. The solution to that, in my opinion, is a big statutory payday from the state for getting it wrong combined with major assistance in re-adjusting to the outside world.

    Really I think Mr. Balko should be commending the prosecutor here. When confronted with evidence of injustice she did the right thing, which as we all know from reading this site, is not necessarily the norm.

  49. #49 |  Nancy Lebovitz | 

    Mike T, you seem to be assuming that only women might be making false accusations.

    Are you sure that a history of lying about sexual partners is excluded, as distinct from just having had a number of partners?

  50. #50 |  Voss | 

    Robarts Library in Toronto is the ugliest building in the world. It’s a giant misshapen mass of grey concrete that is completely out of place on the otherwise elegant University of Toronto campus. It’s hideous to look at from the inside as well. Almost no natural light can break through its tiny windows, so you have to rely on fluorescent lights to (poorly) illuminate the hideous 70s interior.

    http://blogs.studentlife.utoronto.ca/UpbeaT/files/2010/01/picture-016.jpg

    When “brutal” is the best word to describe your architectural style, you know something is gravely amiss.

  51. #51 |  Henry Bowman | 

    The Forrestal Building in DC (Dept. of Energy HQ) is also rather ugly.

  52. #52 |  C. S. P. Schofield | 

    Voss,

    At least it isn’t BORING. And I’ve seen worse. Lots worse. The Princeton Arts Council building, for example;

    http://www.princetoninfo.com/files/moreinfo/Cover-story,-Arts-Council-o.jpg

    The picture makes the best of it, but its proportions are bad, the colors of the material clash, and it frankly looks like it was put together out of spare parts.

    To my mind what it demonstrates is that the Princeton Arts Council has more money than is good for it.

  53. #53 |  Goober | 

    Okay, so the girl who put her Dad in prison for 9 years was a minor when she lied, so you can’t charge her, right?

    But what about the 3 years she was legally an adult that she kept the lie and continued to allow him to rot in prison?

    She needs to go to jail for a while and think about what she did. And if that “cools” other girl’s from falsely reporting incidents, then this is a good thing, right?

    They always say this – that if a liar is caught in a lie, that punishing the liar might scare other people from coming forth with real crimes. i don’t understand how letting liars get away with lying is going to help a rape victim come forward with her story, but i can definitley see it showing other girls who are considering lying that there will be no ramifications if they so choose.

    Chystal Mangum is a perfect example of someone who should be serving the sentence of the men she tried to falsely convict. Her running about free from punishment for her crimes merely reinforces for the next girl who wants to get some attention that there is no downside to ruining a man’s life.

  54. #54 |  The Late Andy Rooney | 

    @Nancy Lebovitz

    I don’t know enough about shield laws to answer your question, but I do know of cases in which they have prevented the defense from raising questions about the accuser’s credibility and/or history of making false accusations. The case of Oliver Jovanovic (in New York) is a particularly chilling example, and has been covered in the New York Times by John Tierney, the same person who did so much to bring attention to the Richard Paey case.

  55. #55 |  Mark | 

    This is the ugliest building (there are actually several of them in a complex) that I am aware of: http://spoonfedminneapolis.blogspot.com/2010/07/ghetto-in-sky.html

    It is a travesty and the owners are seeking historic status 10 years early so they can get a subsidy to update the exterior.

  56. #56 |  Bob | 

    “There should be no indictment of the system.” Incorrect. When a father is wrongly imprisoned for a decade raping his daughter, it most certainly is an indictment of the system.

    Yup. The system is messed up.

    When I was younger, I was told that “rape” was a crime of violence. And yet… no actual violence needs to be perpetrated for some man to be charged.

    And Nancy?
    #47: Nancy Lebovitz

    Mike T, you seem to be assuming that only women might be making false accusations.

    Yeah. That’s basically the case. Women make the vast majority of false accusations. Sorry, but it’s true.

    Here’s what I want to see… The crime of “Rape” needs to be a result of a violent assault involving sexual activity.

    There has to be sex… You know how that works.

    There has to be violence… I.E. Injury beyond what could be expected in consensual sex consistent with the victim.

    By that measure, I expect most “rape” cases would be tossed.

  57. #57 |  Jerryskids | 

    Re: Bloomberg “We do see this as a fairness issue,” according to Edward Walsh, a spokesman for the Department of Taxation and Finance, noting that Pilates studios have to pay sales tax. “Businesses that provide similar services should be subject to the same taxes in the city.”

    I wonder if he spent even a microsecond considering the argument that if yoga studios didn’t have to pay city sales taxes, fairness would dictate not charging Pilates studios or weight control or health salons city taxes either. Funny how fairness only works the one way.

    And #54 Bob – if you insist that ‘rape’ must include an element of violence, remind me to sleep with one eye open anytime I am in your vicinity. Surprise buttsecks gives a whole new meaning to ‘a rude awakening’.

  58. #58 |  Rune | 

    WRT rape, a new and important Danish study shows that consensual leaves as many lesions in the woman’s vagina as rape does. Lesions are traditionally takes as proof of forcible entry, but this cannot now hold. I wonder how many men have been convicted on vaginal lesions and the word of a woman alone?
    http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2123246/Voluntary-sex-lead-injuries-rape-new-study-shows.html

  59. #59 |  Mike T | 

    #47,

    Mike T, you seem to be assuming that only women might be making false accusations.

    Are you sure that a history of lying about sexual partners is excluded, as distinct from just having had a number of partners?

    It is my understanding that rape shield laws tend to generally block the defense counsel from examining the alleged victim about her sexual history. This is problematic from a constitutional perspective because shielding the plaintiff in any way that might impeach their credibility undermines the due process rights of the defendant.

    Consider a woman who has had literally “about a 1000 sexual partners” (search the British tabloids as there is a woman who proudly claimed this) and almost all of them have been men whom she could not claim she knew or trusted. Therefore, if she claims one raped, but she has no strong evidence such as clear signs of struggle or a witness testifying to coercion, how can the jury trust that this man is different from her other partners? That’s one of the problems with proving rape in ways that objectively meet constitutional muster.

    As to your other question, do you really want to go there when the overwhelming majority of criminal complaints of rape are made by women?

  60. #60 |  central texas | 

    “There should be no indictment of the system.

    Well at least the prosecutor took immediate steps to end the damage. Give them that. If it had been that asshole from Williamson Co, TX, the father would still be in prison and the court of criminal appeals would be explaining that they were on vacation and could not be bothered, or something.

  61. #61 |  PersonFromPorlock | 

    Incidentally, the comment about Soviet-style buildings isn’t hyperbole: these are in Vorkuta, Siberia but are pretty typical.

  62. #62 |  Bee | 

    I lived in a “neo-Stalinist” apartment complex once overseas, complete with communal creche, elementary school, community room, bakery, corner shop, and athletic facilities. Aggressively ugly buildings, but the “planned village” feel of it was surprisingly friendly. I ended up loving it and was very sorry to come back to a spacious suburban house in the States.

    Cheers to the poster who nominated the UCSD library – I worry what would happen to it in an earthquake. My nomination: People seem to love or hate the new LAUSD HS #9 building:

    http://archrecord.construction.com/projects/portfolio/archives/1001highschool-1.asp

  63. #63 |  Lefty | 

    In the absence of actual evidence we have no way of knowing if the girl was lying about her father as a child or is lying now. All we have is an admitted lier with two stories.

    And that’s exactly why physical evidence should be a requirement to put someone in jail.

  64. #64 |  Damian P. | 

    A few “ugliest building” contenders from Atlantic Canada:

    Confederation Building, St. John’s, NL: http://www.assembly.nl.ca/education/images/ConfederationBuilding.jpg

    St. John’s, NL City Hall: http://farm3.staticflickr.com/2392/2599095186_2ed79a9da9_z.jpg?zz=1

    Fenwick Tower, Halifax, NS: http://www.fenwicktower.ca/images/vision/photo_before4.jpg

    Centennial Building, Fredericton, NB: http://3.bp.blogspot.com/-XhjcnUY1aQg/TsJK1fkxsZI/AAAAAAAAA7U/yCPbLc9e9Kc/s400/318a.JPG

  65. #65 |  Nathanael | 

    “The fact is the system isn’t broken because the rules are written or interpreted badly (with a couple high profile exceptions), the system is broken because the foxes are guarding the hen house. No law or doctrine can stop testilying police offices working with prosecutors who are perfectly willing to suborn perjury. ”

    In the UK they have private prosecutions, which does the trick nicely.

    In the US, we were supposed to be able to elect different prosecutors. Perhaps someday that will work but it’s not working right now.

    And then there’s the grand jury, which has been nerfed and abused by prosecutors (its purpose was to be an *independent* check on what prosecutors said, so prosecutors were mandatorily *excluded* from grand jury hearings. Does that happen now? no.)

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