Happy Leif Erikson Day (updated with video)

The Original Hipster: in America before it was cool; Christian before it was cool.

Leif Erikson, not to be confused with the unholy spawn of Leif Garrett and Marshall Erikson (yes I know how it’s spelled), is what those of us in know call an “OH”. He’s the guy that scientists and other people with advanced degrees now believe was the first European to set foot in North America, way back in the 1000s. That’s approximately 495 years before Christopher Columbus made his way over, bringing with him all of Europe and its cute little foibles like slavery, disease and genocide.

So, in order to celebrate my Nordic ancestry, this edition of Monday Morning Jumpstart will be in honor of those magnificent Nordic peoples, like Famke Janssen and Audi motor cars.

  • The unbearable cost of the death penalty is making some long-time supporters in CA push for abolition.
  • A fantastically heartwarming article in the NYTimes about the NYPD’s “jumper squad”: officers assigned to talking people off of tall buildings, bridges and ledges.
  • In 1982, Idaho (wouldn’t you know?) abolished the insanity defense. This is not a joke. Now, a murder suspect is mounting a challenge to that abolition and their Supreme Court will decide if the ban is Constitutional.
  • There’s a ballot initiative in New Mexico to make an independent Public Defender Commission and remove it from under the thumb of the Governor and the DOC.
  • The government is arguing – reportedly with a straight face – that the arrest of a white male carrying Arabic flashcards with a Middle East stamp on his passport was supported by probable cause.
  • Matt Brown writes eloquently about the complete disregard for truth in the modern incarnation of the criminal justice system.
  • Prosecutors are trying to shut down a defendant’s website because he’s using it to proclaim his innocence or something. I don’t know. Apparently they don’t have enough work there.
  • Chris Dodd (DODD!) says that PIPA/SOPA are dead. There was no report on whether they were bitten by the virus and might reanimate as zombies.
  • The Juvenile Justice Information Exchange has this intelligent post on Cassidy Goodson, a 14-year charged with murdering her unwanted baby.
  • Scott writes about the most facepalm inducing story of the week: the New Orleans prosecutor who got fired because a joint fell out of his pocket while he was talking to cops which led to his arrest. Prosecutors: they’re just like us; they just hide it better.
  • The embattled East Haven police department will now have dashboard cams outfitted on all their cruisers.
  • Six federal judges win a lawsuit seeking pay raises.
  • Dr. Karen Franklin has this interesting post on false confessions and the taint it causes with corroborative evidence.
  • Meanwhile, this exists (a blog about a Yalie with “Supreme Ambitions”, i.e. to get a SCOTUS clerkship. Excuse me while I go kill myself.)
  • Wait. Someone made an Angry Birds-Star Wars crossover? Faith in humanity restored.
  • Finally, in case you missed it, compare my post on State v. Fourtin with HuffPost and ThinkProgress. One of us has read the actual decision. You guess which one.

Update: You know what? Forget everything I just said and watch this instead:

(via io9 and Part Two here.)

Now go build some ships hexaflexagon and sail forth, but don’t forget the horned helmets.


Image via jpellgen, license details here.

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