The NY Times presents 74 of its "favorite facts" for 2020

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And I was in Bangkok for two.


did the people with money ever not come out on top?


In '86 the king declared his support for democracy (at the end of the day) and the coup attempt ended. But democracy (and whatever virtue was in the Thai monarchy) is now dead there.


So you’re saying you lack an alibi?


Japan’s legal system has a 99 percent conviction rate.

If the stats are accurate (and not fudged, as US prosecutors do) then this is terrifying. There is no way the rest of the justice system in any country is 99% accurate, as in they find and convict the correct person 99% of the time. That means a whole lot of innocent people are in prison.


Either that or their indictment / grand jury process is MUCH more cautious than in other places.


Interesting point, but I think it might be impossible to differentiate those hypotheses. Maybe if there’s an equivalent to The Innocence Project in Japan, it would be interesting to compare their data and get a sense of the false positive conviction rate compared to the US.

It seems like the NYT is stating that high conviction rate as though it’s admirable, but I don’t see how it could be. No court system is infallible, so the unstated major premise that everyone convicted deserved it (and therefore their police are awesome) is very troubling.

This is the justice equivalent of dictators who crow about getting 98% of the popular vote. There are a lot of reasons that happens, none of which mean the majority of people wanted said dictator.


I saw a article or video about this. Basically it is a two fold issue:

  1. They never prosecute someone who isn’t clearly guilty.

  2. Because of this policy, the jury naturally assumes that if the person is being tried for a crime, they are clearly guilty.

I don’t recall in the article if they estimate how well that actually works. Meaning, how many people are just rammed through the justice system, and since they only prosecute guilty people, they are naturally assumed and deemed guilty, even if they are innocent.


It’s terrifying that the police, whose job it is not to do so, essentially decide innocence and guilt all around the world.

The figures here are actually lower than I remember while studying criminology.

Japan is explained by the way they drop half the cases they initiate apparently, which I’d never heard before.


According to wikipedia, Japan’s incarceration rate is 48 per 100k, compared to the USA 655. Add in the huge prevalence of plea deals (legalized extortion) in the USA and I’m going to say the US has more people who were jailed due to the word of the police over evidence-based trials.


In the 1960s, concertgoers at the rock promoter Bill Graham’s Fillmore theaters in New York and San Francisco were greeted with barrels offering free apples.

And in the 2010s. At least in San Francisco.


My favorite fact of 2020: Trump lost.


Just a friendly reminder that the 1st NYT article on Hitler (Jan 21, 1922) included this gem: “…well-informed sources confirmed the idea that Hitler’s anti-Semitism was not so genuine or violent as it sounded, and that he was merely using anti-Semitic propaganda as a bait to catch masses of followers…”


The cultural differences are huge. On the one hand, people expect to be caught for crimes and often turn themselves in. On the other hand, traditionally all accused confessed before trial (often not voluntarily). Conviction rates are a lot higher with a confession.

I’m currently reading a Keigo Higashino mystery (translated), and its shocking how different the police and people’s view of police both are in Japan.


Yeah, Mark Levin loves to hammer the NYT on old Nazi articles.

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Maybe they get more convictions, but the punishments are less severe?

Just a side note here. Japan has capital punishment and one of the cruelest death row processes where the date of execution is not announced and can happen at any time… every knock on a cell door is potentially your last hour.



This is why you need an Ace Attorney.

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