December 30, 2006
Saddam Hussein: Death Sentence Carried Out
Hussein, 69, was hanged for his role in the 1982 Dujail massacre, in which 148 Iraqis were killed after a failed assassination attempt against the then-Iraqi president after being convicted on November 5, 2006 of crimes against humanity. Hussein was found guilty of murder, torture and forced deportation.
Two other co-defendants -- Barzan Hassan, Hussein's half-brother, and Awwad Bandar, the former chief judge of the Revolutionary Court -- were also found guilty and sentenced to death but CNN is reporting that their executions were postponed.
For legal analysis and documentation of the trial, see
- Grotian Moment: the Saddam Hussein Trial Blog, produced by the Frederick K. Cox International Law Center of Case Western Reserve University School of Law and the Public International Law and Policy Group; and
- Trial of Saddam Hussein Digital Depository compilied by the Law Library of Congress.
The Iran-Contra Affair 20 Years On
DOJ's 2006 Performance and Accountability Report
From US Department of Justice: "This Performance and Accountability Report (PAR) for fiscal year (FY) 2006 provides financial and performance information, enabling the President, Congress, and the American public to assess the annual performance of the Department of Justice " [RJ]
December 29, 2006
Food Law Prof Blog
Cohen's The Legal Year in Review
The good news from the world of the law in 2006 is that we did not for once in recent memory have to endure an avalanche of vapid news coverage about a solitary trashy tale of sex and fame and crime. There was no Michael Jackson molestation trial or Kobe Bryant rape trial or Laci Peterson saga to draw our attention away from trials and cases and legal issues of true merit.
The bad news from the world of the law in 2006 is that we didn't take that extra time given to us by divine providence and follow or absorb with any depth or sense of passion or outrage the truly monumental and generally ominous things that were done in the law, in our name, in this fifth-going-on-sixth year of the legal war on terrorism. Tens of millions of Americans know and care about the identity of the latest winner of American Idol. But only a tiny fraction of those know, too, of the manifold pressures currently pushing upon the rule of law.
Beyond the Medical Model of Mental Illness
208 pages | National Academies Press, 2006
List Price: $27.95
Book Description: By many estimations, the Western medical model of mental health is dangerously incomplete. If we step outside of the traditional disease model there are many new and different ways to understand, treat, and even accept mental illness. Culture how we collectively live, interact, and view the world frames our mental outlook. Arguably, culture even creates it. Western culture, for example, has completely embraced the medical model of mental illness. We quickly turn to physicians if we are unhappy or otherwise mentally discomfited, seeking solutions on a prescription pad. We expect brain chemistry to be at the root of any mental malady, forgetting the deeply entwined relationship between the biology of the brain and the environment in which we think, feel, and react. But every culture has a different view of the world, a lens through which normal or insane are viewed and defined.
Anthropologist Meredith Small contends there is much to be learned from stepping away from the traditional Western medical model to explore and embrace alternative perspectives. By examining culture itself, rather than focusing on biology and medicine, we can fully understand the nature of our discontent. Looking at social, evolutionary, cross-cultural, and nutritional influences, Small deconstructs mental illnesses like depression and anxiety conditions that appear in different forms and for different reasons within the culture that defines them. By rethinking assumptions and questioning standard treatment programs, she helps us gradually relax our grip on the medical model to discover a new perspective on mental illness.
Combating Terrorism: How Prepared Are State and Local Response Organizations?
“In light of the catastrophic impact of hurricanes Katrina and Rita, controversy has arisen over whether state and local organizations have overemphasized preparedness for terrorism at the expense of emergency preparedness for natural disasters. Our survey results suggest that the events of 9/11 spurred response organizations not only to undertake preparedness activities for terrorism-related incidents, but also to make general improvements in emergency response. All these activities support overall preparedness for any catastrophic event.”
Southwestern Ohio's Return from Investment in Public Libraries Nearly 4 to 1
"A new study released November 29, 2006 shows that nine public library systems in Butler, Clermont, Hamilton, and Warren counties in Southwest Ohio create an annual economic impact of nearly four times the amount invested in their operations. The report from Levin, Driscoll & Fleeter in Columbus concludes that, using a conservative measure of value the libraries' cumulative expenditure of about $74 million returned a quantifiable direct economic benefit of $238.6 million, or $3.81 for each dollar expended in 2005. The study also recognizes that these libraries add significant value to their users and communities that cannot be assigned a dollar value including, improved economic prospects and an enhanced quality of life." [RJ]
Kahle v. Ashcroft Litigation Site
In Kahle v Ashcroft, two archives ask the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California to hold that statutes that extended copyright terms unconditionally — the Copyright Renewal Act and the Copyright Term Extension Act (CTEA)— are unconstitutional under the Free Speech Clause of the First Amendment, and that the Copyright Renewal Act and CTEA together create an “effectively perpetual” term with respect to works first published after January 1, 1964 and before January 1, 1978, in violation of the Constitution’s Limited Times and Promote...Progress Clauses. The Complaint asks the Court for a declaratory judgment that copyright restrictions on orphaned works — works whose copyright has not expired but which are no longer available — violate the constitution.
The Stanford Law School Center for Internet and Society has created a web destination to monitor this litigation. Check it out. [RJ]
Contracts as Reference Points
In this NBER report, Oliver Hart and John Moore argue that a contract provides a reference point for a trading relationship: more precisely, for parties' feelings of entitlement. A party's ex post performance depends on whether he gets what he is entitled to relative to outcomes permitted by the contract. A party who is shortchanged shades on performance. A flexible contract allows parties to adjust their outcome to uncertainty, but causes inefficient shading. The authors' analysis provides a basis for long-term contracts in the absence of noncontractible investments, and elucidates why "employment" contracts, which fix wage in advance and allow the employer to choose the task, can be optimal. See Contracts as Reference Points. [JH]
December 28, 2006
Yahoo's Project Panama Expected in Early 2007
Yahoo's Project Panama is the company's new advertising solution. It is Yahoo's answer to Google which does a much better job of matching advertising to search queries. Project Panama is expected to lead to greater click-throughts for its advertisers which could increase Yahoo's share of the search advertising market.
Project Panama is expected to go into production in the first quarter of 2007. For users it will be marketed as a new search engine but details on how the new search engine will be more helpful for users are sparse at this time. For more, see webpronews.com's Yahoo Finally Launches Project Panama and Yahoo Readies New Search Engine on Law.com's Law Librarian Update. [JH]
Americans Overwhelmingly Opposed to EPA's Plans to Cut Back Toxic Reporting
New report from OMB Watch:
"The American public is overwhelmingly opposed to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency's (EPA) plans to cut back toxic chemical reporting under the Toxics Release Inventory (TRI), according to a report released today. OMB Watch produced the report, titled “Against the Public’s Will,” and documented opposition from 23 state governments and more than 120,000 average citizens, 60 members of Congress, 30 public health organizations, 40 labor organizations and 200 environmental and public interest organizations. EPA's proposals would relax reporting requirements in order to reduce a perceived paperwork burden for companies that release and dispose of toxic chemicals." [RJ]
Most Americans Just Treading Water
"Widely reported data on Americans’ incomes paint a disappointing picture of the current economic expansion, especially for low- and middle-income families. By most measures, Americans’ real (inflation-adjusted) incomes in 2005 were still below their level in the recession year of 2001. Less-well-known data on consumer spending — including newly released Labor Department data for 2005 — add an important element to this story, showing that only high-income households have been able to raise their living standards in recent years." [RJ]
YouTube and Fair Use
Interesting article from The Christian Science Monitor: The YouTube world opens an untamed frontier for copyright law. [JH]
Bankruptcy Filings Decline in FY 2006
"Bankruptcy cases filed in federal courts tumbled in fiscal year 2006. According to the Administrative Office of the U.S. Courts, filings for FY 2006, the 12-month period ending September 30, 2006, fell 37.6 percent to 1,112,542, from total filings of 1,782,643 in FY 2005." [RJ]
December 27, 2006
Former President Ford dies at 93
Gerald Ford, who assumed the presidency from Richard Nixon in 1974 and announced to a weary nation that "our long national nightmare is over," died yesterday at age 93. Former first lady Betty Ford issued the following statement:
"My family joins me in informing you that Gerald R. Ford - our beloved husband, father, grandfather, and great grandfather - has passed away at 93 years of age. His was a life full of love for God, family, and country."
- CNN is covering the developing story
- Gerald R. Food Presidential Library & Museum
- Gerald R. Ford Memorial site
Collecting Evidence from a Running Computer: A Technical and Legal Primer for the Justice Community
Cornell Law Library's InSITE Website Reviews
Reviews published in the December 11, 2006 issue of InSITE:
- Citizens Against Government Waste
- Labor Project for Working Families
- NCLR: National Center for Lesbian Rights
- Siyanda: Mainstreaming Gender Equality
Citizens Against Government Waste
Citizens Against Government Waste (CAGW), a non-partisan non-profit of more than one million members, seeks to “eliminate waste, mismanagement, and inefficiency in the federal government.” Founded in 1984, CAGW is a legacy of the Grace Commission, which was directed by President Reagan to identify inefficient and wasteful government practices. CAGW continues to work to implement the Commission’s recommendations. The website provides various materials on the issue of wasteful government spending. The Reports and Issues sections are of greatest interest. Annual reports available include the Congressional Pig Book, Prime Cuts, and Congressional Ratings. The Congressional Pig Book, published annually, compiles the pork-barrel projects in each year’s federal budget. Prime Cuts is a catalog of programs and policies identified for reform, and it includes a database that can be searched by agency. To determine how members of Congress have voted on specific spending bills, users should consult the Congressional Ratings report. The Issues section provides press releases, commentary, articles, and reports by topic. The website provides other assorted news and information, but the Porker of the Month feature is most enjoyable. [MM]
Labor Project for Working Families
Since 1992, the Labor Project for Working Families has worked with unions, union members, community groups, organizations and other activists on work and family issues across the country. The Project works diligently to expand the Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA). Legal researchers will be interested in the Project’s website as it maintains the nation's only database of contract language as regards labor vis-à-vis child care, elder care, alternative work schedules, and family leave. The Labor Project has also created a series of fact sheets to aid unions and union members in their bargaining efforts around work and family issues. The Labor Project for Working Families provides numerous articles and other publications, including a quarterly newsletter, some of which are available for a fee. Most articles are in PDF. [BWK]
NCLR: National Center for Lesbian Rights
The National Center for Lesbian Rights (NCLR) is a national legal resource center with a primary commitment to advancing the rights and safety of lesbians and their families through a program of litigation, public policy advocacy, free legal advice and counseling, and public education. The NCLR website focuses on projects such as Homophobia in Sports, Family Law, Youth, Immigration, and Public Advocacy. Each Project page provides its lay audience with advice, resources, articles, and an overview of NCLR’s cases and legal assistance in this area. Legal researchers will be interested in the site’s “Docket” page, which provides synopses of current NCLR legal cases, organized by topic. NCLR also offers free fact-sheets, articles, brochures, and other documents covering a variety of topics. Most of these publications are available in HTML and PDF. [BWK]
PENNumbra is the web presence of the University of Pennsylvania Law Review. Developed by two members of the 154th Editorial Board, PENNumbra seeks to be “a novel venue in the marketplace of ideas, on the frontier of a refreshing medium that is accessible to legal scholars and to the lay public alike.” In addition to the masthead, submission guidelines, and other general information about the Review, the website offers full-text access of articles published in volumes 152 forward. For each article, users can submit a response or add a comment. When responses are submitted, they are collected together in the Responses section for convenient review and access. As well, the site offers an online forum for scholarly debate on various topics. Currently, there are three debates available: Judicial Activism and its Critics, The Obviousness Requirement in the Patent Law, and Is the United Nations Still Relevant? It will be interesting to watch the future development of this value-added law review site. [MM]
Siyanda: Mainstreaming Gender Equality
According to the site, “Siyanda is an on-line database of gender and development materials from around the world. It is also an interactive space where gender practitioners can share ideas, experiences and resources.” An isiZulu word meaning “we are growing,” Siyanda strives to mainstream gender equality and support gender program workers by providing easy and free access to relevant research, and by facilitating an online environment that connects colleagues around the globe. Of particular note to researchers is the database of gender materials, ranging from country profiles to policy reports to case studies, searchable by keyword, topic, document type, and year. The site also supports a database of consultants, searchable by name, expertise, skills, country/region, and language. Hosted by BRIDGE, the gender and development research service at the Institute of Development Studies in the UK, Siyanda is a strong resource for researchers interested in any gender related issues. [JJ]
InSITE contributors: Julie Jones, Research Attorney, Brandy Kreisler, J.D., M.L.S., Matt Morrison, Research Attorney, Jean Pajerek (editor), Head of Technical Services & Information Management, all current or former members of the professional staff at Cornell Law Library.
About InSITE: InSITE highlights selected law-related Web sites in two ways: as an annotated publication issued electronically and in print; and, as a keyword-searchable database. The law librarians at Cornell evaluate potentially useful Web sites, select the most valuable ones, and provide commentary and subject access to them.
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DPIC Releases 2006 Year End Report Noting Decline in Use of the Death Penalty
Study Finds Podcast Use Rising but Small
"Some 12% of internet users say they have downloaded a podcast so they can listen to it or view it at a later time. However, few internet users are downloading podcasts with great frequency; just 1% report downloading a podcast on a typical day." [RJ]