Music For Your Listening Pleasure: Ry Cooder

Posted January 31, 2012 by masonblue
Categories: Music For Your Listening Pleasure, Ry Cooder

Tags: , , , , , , ,

Here’s Ry Cooder and David Lindley performing All Shook Up. Cooder is playing a 12 string electric mandolin with a thick glass slide and Lindley accompanies on a 12 string electric guitar.

Here’s Boogie Chillun with John Lee Hooker, Charlie Musselwhite, Carlos Santana, Robert Cray, Bonnie Raitt, and Ry Cooder.

Go here to find out everything you wanted to know about Ry Cooder and the instruments he plays.

Saturday Art: Jury Selection And The Art Of Voir Dire

Posted January 21, 2012 by masonblue
Categories: Law

Tags: , ,

Justice at work

Justice at Work
From Creative Commons at Flickr

Jury Selection And The Art Of Voir Dire

Voir dire means to speak the truth. We use the term to describe two legal processes, the process by which prospective jurors are questioned to select a jury and the process by which certain witnesses are questioned to determine if they are qualified to testify as experts and express opinions. This post will be about jury selection, a subject near and dear to my heart.

Which do you think is most important to win a jury trial?

(a) Jury selection,

(b) Opening statement,

(c) Direct examination,

(d) Cross examination, or

(e) Closing argument?

The correct answer is: (a) jury selection.

Why?

Because, if you do not select the right jury, you will have little chance to win, no matter how strong your case and how proficient you are with the other four skills.

How do you select a jury?

Let us begin with a clarification. Jury selection is a misnomer because each side actually selects the jurors whom they do not want on the jury.

How do you select the jurors whom you do not want on your case?

Hopefully, the panel of prospective jurors has filled out a juror questionnaire that you have had an opportunity to review before you begin to question them. I always prepared questionnaires tailored to the issues in my case. For example, if there had been extensive negative pretrial publicity, which was pretty common given the types of cases that I handled, I would include a short description of the case in the questionnaire and ask the prospective juror to write down what they had read or heard about the case and whether they had formed an opinion about my client’s guilt or innocence. Another example involves rape cases where you want to know whether the prospective juror, or a family member, or close friend has ever been raped.

You question prospective jurors individually using their answers on the questionnaire as a guide and, depending on their answers, you pass or challenge them for cause, or later use a peremptory challenge to get rid of them.

Challenges for cause are unlimited, but you must reasonably articulate a reason why you believe a prospective juror cannot be fair, impartial, and follow the jury instructions that are the law of the case. If your opponent objects to your challenge for cause, your challenge will turn into mini trial with you attempting to discredit the prospective juror whom you have challenged and your opponent attempting to rehabilitate him or her. Ultimately, the judge will decide whether to grant or to deny the challenge.

Warning: Keep in mind that, if you lose the challenge, you are going to have to use one of your limited number of peremptory challenges to get rid of the prospective juror whom you have just insulted in front of all the rest of the panel of prospective jurors by challenging his ability to be fair, impartial, and follow the court’s instructions. If you think you are going to lose the challenge for cause and possibly irritate the other members of the panel in the process, you should seriously consider passing the prospective juror for cause and later use one of your peremptory challenges to get rid of him.

Peremptory challenges are exercised silently by opposing counsel passing a sheet of paper back and forth and striking a prospective juror each time. Finally, delay striking someone whom you think your opponent may strike. If she does, you will have saved a peremptory that could mean the difference between winning or losing the case.

You do not have to explain why you challenged a prospective juror, unless the challenge appears to be systematically based exclusively on race, sex, or religious affiliation. If that appears to be the case and your selection is challenged, you will have to satisfy the judge that you had another reason.

In misdemeanor cases, each side gets 3 peremptory challenges. In felony cases, each side gets 6 peremptory challenges. In death penalty cases, each side gets 24 peremptory challenges.

I used to tell my clients to think of our peremptory challenges as bullets in a gun. We have to use them strategically so that we do not need one after we run out.

So, here is the strategy in a nutshell.

(1) Go through the questionnaire and identify the prospective jurors who appear to have strong personalities who, by reason of education, experience, or occupation appear to be capable of leading the jury. You must get rid of any of them who appear biased in favor your opponent or prejudiced against you or your client. No matter how good you are, you will lose, if you fail to do this.

(2) Identify any other prospective jurors who for any reason appear to be, or might be biased in favor of your opponent or prejudiced against you or your client. You can probably still win your case, if you leave them on the jury, so long as they do not influence other jurors to vote for your opponent’s case. Prioritize getting rid of them according to how likely you believe they will influence others.

(2) Focus on both categories of prospective jurors during voir dire and, if you confirm your initial opinion, try to set them up for a challenge for cause.

(3) Pass or challenge the prospective juror for cause. Occasionally, you will desperately want to get rid of a prospective juror who stubbornly refuses to admit they are prejudiced against you or your client, even though the prejudice is apparent. You will need to use a peremptory challenge to get rid of them, if that happens.

(4) Exercise peremptory challenges after a sufficient number of prospective jurors has been passed for cause, such that there will be enough of them to form a jury, plus alternates, if both sides exercise all of their peremptory challenges.

Selecting a jury is an art form that is not taught in law schools. Very few judges and lawyers appreciate how important it is and only a few of them know how to do it well. I worked very hard on developing this skill and I believe that is why I won approximately 80-90% of my trials.

You have to know your case thoroughly. You have to identify all of the potentially outcome-determinative factual issues before jury selection. Most of them will relate to witness credibility. You do not want jurors who will not believe you and your witnesses. If you are not planning on calling any witnesses — as might happen in a criminal case, if your client decides not to testify — you want jurors who will follow the jury instructions and not hold your client’s silence against him.

Here is an example regarding the presumption of innocence.

Defense counsel: Good morning, Mr. Jones.

Q: I am going to ask you a hypothetical question, sir. Let us suppose that you have to decide whether my client, Sandra Wade, is guilty or not guilty, and you have to make that decision right now, before you have heard any evidence. What would your decision be?

A: Uhm, I don’t know. I can’t make a decision without any evidence.

Q: I understand. I suppose like most folks, you want to be fair and hear both sides before you make a decision, right?

A: Yes, I want to be fair.

Q: Fair to both sides?

A: Yes, of course.

Q: Do you believe it is important to follow the court’s instructions?

A: Yes.

Q: Even if you disagree with them?

A: Yes, the judge told us they are the law of the case and I intend to follow the law.

Q: Even if you disagree with them?

A: Yes.

Q: Since this is a criminal case, the judge has instructed you that my client, Sandra Wade, is presumed innocent, right?

A: Right.

Q: What is your verdict right now, before you hear any evidence?

A: Uhm, Okay. I see what you mean. I guess I’d have to vote not guilty.

Q: Sounds like you aren’t sure. Are you certain you could do that? Because, if you can’t, you probably should not be a juror in this case. Do you understand why I say that?

A: Yes, you’re representing Ms. Wade and protecting her legal rights.

Q: Right. This isn’t personal. I just want to know if you can honestly — and I emphasize the word ‘honestly’ — presume Sandra Wade is innocent, even though she is charged with killing her husband while he was asleep. Lots of folks for one reason or another might not be able to do that and that doesn’t mean they are a bad person. It just means they shouldn’t be a juror in this case. How about you, sir?

Can you look her in the eye and honestly tell her that you presume she is innocent?

A: Yes.

Thank you, sir. Your Honor, I pass Mr. Cameron for cause.

Warning: Eye contact and body language are vitally important indicators that often are more important than the answers people give. For example, if Mr. Cameron had suddenly shifted his body position or been unable to look at my client when I asked him to look her in the eye, I would have known that I had to get rid of him, unless I was satisfied that he would not lead the jury.

INSIDER TIP: When in doubt while questioning prospective jurors during voir dire, ask why they said or did something. This gets them talking and you will find out a lot more about them, if you are listening, rather than trying to impress everyone with how smart and well spoken you are.

Namaste.

Cross posted from my law blog.

Closing In On Dark Matter (Part 2)

Posted January 19, 2012 by masonblue
Categories: Astronomy, Science

Tags: , , ,

Mapping the Invisible - Hubble Yields Clues to Galaxy Cluster Growth

Mapping The Invisible — Hubble Yields Clues To Galaxy Cluster Growth
By NASA Goddard Photo and Video
Creative Commons at Flickr

In Part 1 of this continuing series on dark matter, I reported that scientists have been perplexed by the apparent lack of sufficient matter in the Milky Way Galaxy to keep it from flying apart. Space is expanding and scientists theorize that something they call dark energy, which is everywhere in the observable universe, is causing that expansion. Since space is not expanding in our Milky Way, the matter present must be generating sufficient gravity to overwhelm dark energy.

Scientists know that matter is a source of gravity and gravity holds galaxies and galaxy clusters together. Our Local Group, for example, is a cluster of galaxies that is composed of our own Milky Way, Andromeda, and several dwarf galaxies nearby that have been identified. However, when scientists total up all of the observable matter in our Local Group, they find that it falls far short of the amount of matter that is required in order to generate enough gravity to defeat dark energy and hold the two galaxies and the dwarf galaxies together in our Local Group.

The lack of sufficient observable matter to hold galaxies and galaxy clusters together, such as our Local Group, is a well known feature of the observable universe.

Scientists have developed a simple theory that, if true, would explain why galaxies and galaxy clusters hold together. They have theorized that there must be a type of matter made up of invisible particles (i.e., they do not emit light) that permeate vast regions of space and it acts like a gravitational matrix or web within which galaxies can develop. It is a beautiful and simple theory, except that they have not identified a particle of dark matter and still do not know what it is.

Dr. Sukanya Ckakrabarti at the University of California at Berkley has proposed a theory to explain why scientists have not detected more dwarf galaxies in our Local Group. She has proposed that such galaxies are present, but we cannot see them because they are made of dark matter, or concealed by it. A year ago at the annual meeting of the American Astronomical Society in Seattle, she reported that she had discovered gravitational ripples at a location in space at the far edge of the Milky Way, approximately 260,000 light years from the center of the galaxy. These gravitational ripples correspond to what she was looking for; namely, the visible gravitational effect of a dwarf galaxy composed mostly of dark matter.

She calls it Galaxy X, and if it is there, it will be about 20% of the size of the Milky Way. Meanwhile, she has to wait in line for her turn to use the Spitzer Space Telescope, just like all of the other scientists waiting for their turn to study space.

Now, the exciting news. In a letter published today in Nature, a professional scientific journal, S. Vegetti, D. J. Lagatutta, J. P. McKean, M. W. Auger, C. D. Fassnacht, and L. V. E. Koopmans have reported that they found a small anomaly in a gravitational lens that may be a small satellite galaxy that’s too faint to be seen via direct observation.

Matthew Francis of Ars Technica explains:

Mass affects the path of light, as a consequence of the general theory of relativity. For a sufficiently large mass, the light’s shift may be sufficiently large that we can measure it, and it can produce lensed images of the original light source. In gravitational lensing, the lens is a galaxy or galaxy cluster lying between Earth and a distant source, itself typically a galaxy. If the lens is directly in the line of sight, the image of the source galaxy can be distorted into an Einstein ring, a circular image of the source. By studying the shape and other characteristics of the image, observers can reconstruct details about both the lens and the source galaxies.

A particular lens system, JVAS B1938+666, is a distant elliptical galaxy that produced a bright Einstein ring image of an even more remote source galaxy. Independent observations by the W. M. Keck Telescope’s Near Infrared Camera 2 and the Near Infrared Camera aboard the Hubble Space Telescope provided the basis to reconstruct the mass distribution in the lens galaxy. The analysis by Vegetti and colleagues found an anomaly in the results; explaining it requires either an extra bit of mass in the lens or some intervening dust to block the light from parts of the image. However, dust absorbs light in a particular way, changing the spectrum of the image, and the team failed to find the appropriate signature.

That leaves the most likely culprit being another clump of mass that isn’t part of the main lens galaxy. Subtracting a reasonable model for the elliptical galaxy leaves the image pattern that would be produced by this hypothetical clump of mass. If you assume that this lensing isn’t from an unconnected galaxy with a smaller effect, then the clump of mass can be characterized fairly easily apart from the larger elliptical galaxy. Starting with assumptions taken from standard dark matter simulations, the researchers attempted to fit the location and mass of the clump, and found something consistent with an object in the same mass category as the Sagittarius dwarf galaxy.

Although the research letter published today in Nature calls this dwarf galaxy candidate “dark” both in the title and description (implying no emitted light), the authors do point out that they can only put a ceiling on the luminosity on the object. That maximum limit is still brighter than several of the Milky Way’s dwarf satellite galaxies. In other words, it’s premature to declare that a dark galaxy has been found, even if the mass estimate holds up under further investigation.

The scientists report that the lens galaxy is about 3 billion parsecs away. A parsec is the distance traveled by light in 3.26 years, or about 19 trillion miles. In other words they are detecting light that was emitted by the lens galaxy when the universe was half its present age.

Detecting any small galaxy at that distance is not only an impressive feat, but also gives us some hints about the history of the formation of galaxies farther back in time. Since the candidate dwarf galaxy was found using parameters from dark matter simulations, the authors argue that the simulations may not be as far off as they have seemed.

Cross posted from my law blog

For My Readers: 2011 Site Statistics

Posted January 16, 2012 by masonblue
Categories: Site Statistics

Tags:

Happy New Year to all of you.

I started this site on March 20, 2011.

2500 people viewed the site.

My first post was, Who Is Your Leader? No One; We Are One.

I posted 64 articles, most of them are from my book, Namaste: If Not Now, When? I have revised and added to what I have presented here and I am looking for a publisher.

Here are the 5 most viewed articles:

(1) Three Crows Rising (Namaste Chapter 9, 8/28/2011);

(2) Good And Evil Do Not Exist, Part 2 (Namaste Chapter 15, 7/30/2011);

(3) The Death Penalty Is Unconstitutional And Insane (9/22/2011);

(4) Good And Evil Do Not Exist, Part 1 (Namaste Chapter 15, 7/20/2011);

(5) We Must Reduce The Human Birth Rate & Develop Microcredit and Micropower Networks (9/27/2011).

Article with the most comments: Consulting Death As Your Advisor (Namaste Chapter 8, 7/18/2011).

Viewer Locations:

North America

USA 97.9%
CAN 2.1%

South America

Brazil 80%
Venezuela 20%

Europe

UK 36.4%
I.E. 13.6%
Portugal 9.1%
Denmark 9.1%
Czech Republic 4.5%

Africa

South Africa 100%

Asia

Indonesia 22.7%
Hong Kong 13.6%
South Korea 13.6%
Philippines 9.1%
India 9.1%

Oceania

AUS 62.5%
NZ 37.5%

If you are interested in law, and have not already done so, you should check out my law blog.

Many thanks and many blessings to all of you.

The Weight (Easy Rider) Grateful Dead HQ/HD

Posted January 15, 2012 by masonblue
Categories: Grateful Dead

Tags: , , , ,

The Weight by Robbie Robertson; performed by the Grateful Dead.

Easy Rider video added by chasefukuoka61. Enjoy!

Saturday Art: The Heilbrunn Timeline of Art History

Posted January 15, 2012 by masonblue
Categories: Art History

Tags: , , ,

Metropolitan Museum Collection. Model of King Sahure's Pyramid at Abusir

Model of Pharaoh Sahure’s Pyramid Complex at Abusir, Metropolitan Museum Collection. By Cornell University Library on Creative Commons at Flickr
Pharaoh Sahure was the Second pharaoh of the 5th Dynasty (2458-2446 BCE)

I recommend to all of you art enthusiasts the Heilbrunn Timeline of Art History. The site is part of the Metropolitan Museum of Art and it provides you with an interactive timeline of art history.

There are 300 timelines available to peruse at your leisure, so this is a great site to bookmark and periodically return to view.

Each timeline includes “representative works of art from the Museum’s collection, a chart of time periods, a historical overview, a list of key events, and related content.”

The site also presents 900 thematic essays that ” focus on specific themes in art history, including artistic movements and periods, archaeological sites, empires and civilizations, recurrent themes and concepts, media, and artists.” Each thematic essay includes links to relArt History Timelineated themes and timelines and often demonstrates the cross-fertilization of civilizations.”

You can examine and compare art from any of the ten geographical regions of the world during any of the time periods ranging from 8,000 BCE to the present. The regions are North America, Central America, South America, Africa, Europe, West Asia, Central and North Asia, East Asia, South and Southeast Asia, and Oceania. Just click on any icon exhibiting a small photo of a representative sample and it will enlarge to a splendid close-up photograph of the sample with “supporting material, including when available, links to technical glossaries on CAMEO and artist biographies from Oxford Art Online.” In all, there are 6,000 photographs available to examine.

You also will find a bibliography “comprised of over 3,000 Metropolitan Museum of Art publications” that is “further enriched by other publications whose primary focus is on Metropolitan Museum works of art.”

Cross Posted from my law blog.

The Deal

Posted January 15, 2012 by masonblue
Categories: Assholes, Grateful Dead, Politics, Revolution

Tags: , , ,

I am 64 years old. I have never been as disgusted with the political situation in the United States as I am now. On a scale from 1 to 10, I score all of the Republican candidates and Barack Obama at -1.

In other words, unfit and unqualified to serve.

Hell, I refuse to support Obama because I consider him to be a serial liar and a war criminal who supports indefinite detention, torture, and extrajudicial assassination. He’s flat out insane and dangerous. There is only one place he should be and it is not the White House. It is a prison cell.

The mind blowing fact about the campaigns of the various candidates is the absence of any acknowledgement and discussion of the important issues of these difficult times.

(1) Why empire?

(2) Why no civil liberties?

(3) Why are 2.3 million people locked up?

(4) Why haven’t all drugs been legalized?

(5) Why isn’t anything being done about unemployment?

(6) Why not single-payer health insurance for all?

(7) Why not free college and graduate education?

(8) Why forfeiture?

(9) Why no prosecutions of war criminals and criminal banksters?

(10) Why haven’t the TBTF banks been allowed to fail or taken over and broken up?

(11) Why the extreme and increasing disproportional distribution of income and what can be done to reverse it?

(12) Why oil?

(13) Why nuclear?

(14) Why coal?

(15) Why poverty?

These are some, but not all of the problems that beset us and I neither want to hear, nor will I listen to all these stupid jerk candidates babbling about bullshit.

Fortunately, OWS is starting to change the dialogue, and that gives me hope.

Which brings me to The Deal.

Listen to this tune by the Grateful Dead with OWS as The Deal.

OWS is The Deal.

The Deal

Source: The Annotated Grateful Dead Lyrics by David Dodd.

Words by Robert Hunter; music by Jerry Garcia
Copyright Ice Nine Publishing.

Since it cost a lot to win
and even more to lose
You and me bound to spend some time
wondring what to choose

Goes to show you don’t ever know
Watch each card you play
and play it slow
Wait until your deal come round
Don’t you let that deal go down

I been gambling here abouts
for ten good solid years
If I told you all that went down
it would burn off both your ears

It goes to show you don’t ever know
Watch each card you play
and play it slow
Wait until your deal come round
Don’t you let that deal go down

Since you poured the wine for me
and tightend up my shoes
I hate to leave you sittin there
composin lonesome blues

It goes to show you don’t ever know
Watch each card you play
and play it slow
Wait until your deal come round
Don’t you let that deal go down
Don’t you let that deal go down, no
Don’t you let your deal go down

Cross posted from my law blog.