Chief Justice Roberts Sends Kozinski Inquiry To Another Judicial Council

Ninth Circuit Appeals Court Judge Alex Kozinski has been accused of sexual harassment. An inquiry into the allegations has been transferred from the 9th Circuit to the 2nd Circuit.

Justin Sullivan/Getty Images

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Justin Sullivan/Getty Images

Supreme Court Chief Justice John Roberts has transferred a formal investigation into sexual harassment claims from the West Coast to the federal appeals court based in New York. The transfer came at the request of the chief judge of the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals based in California. That court had undertaken a formal inquiry against judge Alex Kozinski after allegations of sexual harassment were published on Dec. 8in the Washington Post.

Kozinski, 67, is a distinguished and respected federal appeals court judge, appointed by Ronald Reagan, who has served on the Ninth Circuit for 32 years, seven of them as chief judge. The Post reported that six former clerks and externs on the appeals court had accused Kozinski of subjecting them to inappropriate comments or exposing them to pornography.

In a letter to Chief Justice Roberts, Ninth Circuit Chief Judge Sidney Thomas said it is the practice of the appeals court to investigate published allegations of misconduct, and that the circuit had therefore initiated a formal inquiry. To ensure confidence in impartiality, Thomas asked the chief justice to transfer the complaint to another circuit, where the judges do not sit with Kozinski. And that is what Roberts did on Friday.

Under the rules of the Judicial Conference, the policy-making body of the federal courts, a chief judge may “in exceptional circumstances” ask the chief justice to transfer a misconduct inquiry.

Pursuant to that, Chief Justice Roberts said in a letter on Friday afternoon that he was routing the inquiry to the Second Circuit.

Since the Washington Post‘s report last week, two other former clerks on the Ninth Circuit who did not work for Kozinski, including Slate columnist Dahlia Lithwick, have published accounts of their own encounters with the judge. One of Kozinski’s current clerks has resigned, a spokesman for the court told The Associated Press.

The Post quoted Kozinski on Dec. 8 as saying that he would “never intentionally do anything to offend anyone,” and that he has had some 500 employees work in his chambers during his years on the bench and that he treats them all “as family.”

This is not the first time that Kozinski has faced misconduct charges. In 2008, after the Los Angeles Times reported that the judge maintained a publicly accessible website that contained sexually explicit photos and videos, the judge himself initiated a misconduct inquiry. That one too was transferred to another court, which subsequently admonished Kozinski for exhibiting “poor judgment’ in maintaining material that could prove “an embarrassment to the federal judiciary.” Kozinski said that he had inadvertently mixed his personal files with court files on his computer.

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A Jazz Piano Christmas 2017

Abelita Mateus, Marcia Ball, Helen Sung and Joanne Brackeen were this year’s A Jazz Piano Christmas guests.

Jati Lindsay/Courtesy of the Kennedy Center

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Jati Lindsay/Courtesy of the Kennedy Center

What are the holidays without Charlie Brown?

Nowadays, the quietly elegant and celebratory recordings by pianist Vince Guaraldi have become as much a part of the holidays as the sound of unwrapping presents. And every year we are treated to at least one interpretation of that classic Charlie Brown Christmas soundtrack by one of the pianists on NPR’s A Jazz Piano Christmas. This year is no exception.

In fact, listening to our annual show every from the host podium, it’s amazing how the music originally meant for the lovable Peanuts characters has become as integral as other classics.

Our guests this year bear this out: Abelita Mateus, Helen Sung, Marcia Ball and NEA Jazz Master Joanne Brackeen create an intimate and toe-tapping meditation on peace and the holidays with tinges of Brazil (Mateus), Louisiana (Ball), classical music (Sung) and good old-fashioned swing (Brackeen).

Holidays are indeed time for family, tradition and jazz.

Hear The Performances

  • Abelita Mateus

    Abelita Mateus

    Jati Lindsay

    Set List:

    • “The Christmas Song”/”O Tannenbaum”
    • “Have Yourself A Merry Little Christmas”/”O Little Town Of Bethlehem”

    A Jazz Piano Christmas 2017

    13:46

    • <iframe src="https://www.npr.org/player/embed/570475826/570477511" width="100%" height="290" frameborder="0" scrolling="no" title="NPR embedded audio player">

  • Marcia Ball

    Marcia Ball

    Jati Lindsay

    Set List:

    • “I Told Santa Claus” (Fats Domino)
    • “This Time Of Year” (Ray Charles)

    A Jazz Piano Christmas 2017

    13:58

    • <iframe src="https://www.npr.org/player/embed/570475826/570477606" width="100%" height="290" frameborder="0" scrolling="no" title="NPR embedded audio player">

  • Helen Sung

    Helen Sung

    Jati Lindsay

    Set List:

    • “Christmas Time Is Here”/”Skating”
    • “Go Tell It On The Mountain”

    A Jazz Piano Christmas 2017

    16:20

    • <iframe src="https://www.npr.org/player/embed/570475826/570477657" width="100%" height="290" frameborder="0" scrolling="no" title="NPR embedded audio player">

  • Joanne Brackeen

    Joanne Brackeen

    Jati Lindsay

    Set List:

    • “Winter Green Tea Soy Latte”

    A Jazz Piano Christmas 2017

    8:11

    • <iframe src="https://www.npr.org/player/embed/570475826/570477731" width="100%" height="290" frameborder="0" scrolling="no" title="NPR embedded audio player">

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Scientists Say Japanese Monkeys Are Having 'Sexual Interactions' With Deer

An adolescent female Japanese macaque on the back of a male sika deer. Researchers have looked into some macaques’ attraction to the deer.

Courtesy of Noëlle Gunst

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Courtesy of Noëlle Gunst

Adolescent female monkeys in Japan have repeatedly engaged in sexual behaviors with sika deer, for reasons that are not yet clear, according to researchers who study macaque behavior.

The study, published in the peer-reviewed Archives of Sexual Behavior, follows up on a single report from earlier this year of a male macaque mounting a female sika deer on Yakushima Island.

That report was intriguing, but a co-author of the new study told The Guardian it was essentially anecdotal. “Even the sexual nature of this interaction was not clearly demonstrated,” said Noëlle Gunst, a researcher at the University of Lethbridge in Canada. So she and her colleagues sought to nail down the nature of the mounting.

Looking at a different set of relationships — adolescent female monkeys and deer, particularly male deer, in Minoo, Japan — the researchers found interactions that definitely seemed to be sexual in nature. (The female monkeys were climbing onto the deer and grinding their genitals against the deer’s backs. Yes, there’s video.)

Japanese macaques are known to ride deer like humans ride horses, for fun or transportation — behavior the deer seem to tolerate in exchange for grooming and discarded food. But these monkeys were up to something different.

The researchers compared the monkey-deer interactions, which happened during mating season, with homosexual monkey-monkey interactions, where female macaques mount each other. They paid close attention to the “mounting postures” the monkeys assumed on the deer, and the vocalizations they made, to determine that the interactions were, in fact, sexual … at least for the monkeys.

Some of the deer shook the monkeys off and fled the situation. But adult male deer, in particular, were likely to just stand calmly as the female monkeys thrusted. In some cases, the male deer kept eating.

Five of the female monkeys had “successful heterospecific consortships” with deer. That is, they had “a temporary, but exclusive, sexual association” with an individual from another species, with “three or more mounts within a 10-minute period.”

All told there were 13 successful pairings — and 258 separate mounts.

There were eight failed attempts as well. In some of those cases, the monkey-deer interaction was interrupted because another young female macaque came along, “successfully displaced the original adolescent female mounters and took over the deer to start their own heterospecific consortships,” the researchers noted. That was not a plot twist they had anticipated.

And the interactions went beyond the mere moment of thrusting. The “monkey-to-deer solicitations … were persistent and conspicuous,” the researchers write. Young female monkeys would identify a “particular target” and make calls that sound identical to the ones in monkey-on-monkey courtship.

If the deer avoided the interaction, “the female monkeys often displayed sexually motivated tantrums which consisted of crouching on the ground, body spasms and screaming, while gazing at the deer,” the study found.

So. What does this all mean?

Sexual interactions between animals of different species are not unheard of (even when you take human behavior out of the equation.) But most of them don’t look like these monkey-deer consortships.

Often the animals are of very similar, related species, and the mating might just be a case of mistaken identity. Clearly, that’s not the case here. Writing with significant understatement, the researchers note that “this interpretation is implausible in our case because the anatomical differences between Japanese macaques and sika deer are profound.”

Scientists have five theories about why the young monkeys might seek out sexual relationships with deer.

First, it might be a way for a less-mature monkey to practice for future sex with other monkeys.

Second, it might be a less dangerousway for a young female macaque — physically smaller than male macaques — to have a sexual interaction. That’s the “safe sex” hypothesis, as the scientists put it. It’s similar to one explanation for why young female macaques have sex with each other.

Third, they might be an option for young macaques with no available sexual partners of their own species. Apparently adolescent female macaques are not the “preferred” partner for male macaques and are “routinely rejected.” This is what the researchers call the “best-of-a-bad-job” hypothesis.

Fourth, it might be the result of non-sexual interactions, with macaques riding deer either for fun or for transport, and discovering it’s a source of genital stimulation that they then seek out on purpose.

Finally, the researchers say, this might be a kind of cultural practice. Japanese macaques display different behaviors in different locations — some wash their food, or take hot-spring baths, or play with snow-balls.

Adolescent females grinding on the backs of deer might similarly be a cultural phenomenon. But it has only been observed at Minoo within the last few years.

“The monkey-deer sexual interactions reported in our paper may reflect the early stage development of a new behavioural tradition at Minoo,” Gunst-Leca told The Guardian.

Alternately, the paper notes, it could be a “short-lived fad.” Time will tell.

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Trump Administration Moves To Kill Rules For Organic Eggs

A free-range chicken perches on a post at an organic farm in Dawson, Ill.

Seth Perlman/AP

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Seth Perlman/AP

The Trump administration has announced plans to withdraw a regulation that would have required organic egg producers to give their hens room to graze outdoors.

The move was widely anticipated; the U.S. Department of Agriculture has repeatedly delayed the date on which these regulations would go into effect. But organic advocates still reacted with outrage, and promised to fight the decision in court.

It’s an unusual situation, because in this case the demand for regulation is coming from the very organic farmers who would need to meet those new rules. But those farmers say those rules are needed in order to maintain a level playing field in the organic industry.

Current organic rules require animals to have “access” to the outdoors. The largest egg producers, however, have built chicken houses that hold tens of thousands of hens, and the hens have access to the outdoors only through small enclosed “porches.” Under the new rules, finalized at the end of the Obama administration, these porches would no longer be adequate.

Those large egg producers have been fighting the new rules. They’ve been joined by some non-organic farm groups — most prominently, the National Pork Producers Council — who see a threat in any federal regulation of animal welfare practices on farms.

Earlier this year, the U.S. Department of Agriculture put the rules on hold to study them. Now the administration says that it plans to withdraw the regulation entirely because it “would exceed USDA’s statutory authority.”

The Organic Trade Association, which represents organic food companies, condemned the move and says it will try to reverse it in court.

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Don Pullen On Piano Jazz

Pianist Don Pullen (1941–1995) was known for his melodic brilliance, swirling chords and glissandos; his kinetic, cascading piano attack could ignite any band. He gained his first experiences playing African-American church music and R&B, and his career took off when he joined Charles Mingus‘ band in the 1970s. He went on to form his own quartet with saxophonist George Adams.

In this 1989 episode of Piano Jazz, Pullen performs one of his original compositions, “Jana’s Delight.” He and host Marian McPartland get together for “All The Things You Are.”

Originally broadcast in the fall of 1989.

SET LIST

  • “Once Upon A Time” (Pullen)
  • “The Sixth Sense” (Dean, Pullen)
  • “All The Things You Are” (Hammerstein, Kern)
  • “Mad About The Boy” (Coward)
  • “On Green Dolphin Street” (Kaper, Washington)
  • “Jana’s Delight” (Pullen)
  • “Clothed Woman” (Ellington)
  • “Don And Marian’s Blues” (McPartland, Pullen)

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Forget Neutrality

58

Yesterday, the Federal Communications Commission voted to end net neutrality — a rule that required internet providers to treat all web traffic equally.

The decision was really controversial. And a lot of the controversy boils down to a single number. As luck would have it, that number is today’s indicator: 58 percent. As in, 58 percent of Americans have access to at most one option for broadband Internet.

On today’s show, how the broadband market got the way it is, and what it means for the debate over net neutrality.

Music by Drop Electric. Find us: Twitter/ Facebook.

Subscribe to our show on Apple Podcasts, PocketCasts and NPR One.

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