March 4, 2006
Democrats Vow Not To Give Up Hopelessness
WASHINGTON, DC—In a press conference on the steps of the Capitol Monday, Congressional Democrats announced that, despite the scandals plaguing the Republican Party and widespread calls for change in Washington, their party will remain true to its hopeless direction.
"We are entirely capable of bungling this opportunity to regain control of the House and Senate and the trust of the American people," Senate Minority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV) said to scattered applause. "It will take some doing, but we're in this for the long and pointless haul."
The rest of the story.
Ron Jones, University of Cincinnati Law Library
Ohio Supreme Court Holds Sentencing Law Unconstitutional
In State v. Foster (Feb. 27, 2006), 2006-Ohio-856 and State v. Mathis (Feb. 27, 2006), 2006-Ohio-855, the Ohio Supreme Court held certain portions of Ohio's sentencing law unconstitutional, specifically ORC 2929.14(B) and (C); 2929.19(B)(2); 2929.14(E)(4); 2929.41(A); 2929.14(D)(2)(b) and (3)(b). These provisions, imposed by S.B. 2, effective July 1, 1996, concern imposing maximum sentences, greater than the minimum sentences, consecutive sentences, and penalty enhancements for major drug offenses and repeat violent offenders. These provisions require judicial factfinding, thus violating a defendant's Sixth Amendment right to a jury tri! al, per Blakely v. Washington. The Ohio Supreme Court found these provisions severable from other portions of the sentencing law. The result is that, "Trial courts have full discretion to impose a prison sentence within the statutory range and are no longer required to make findings or give their reasons for imposing maximum, consecutive, or more than the minimum sentences." See Ohio Applies Blakely and the Booker Remedy! by Douglas Berman, Sentencing Law and Policy Blog, Feb. 27, 2006.
Ron Jones, Reference & Electronic Services Librarian, University of Cincinnati Law Library
Opening: Corrections Librarian, MD
Librarian Supervisor I: Corrections Librarian . Full information is available at http://www.epfl.net/info/hr/job.cfm?job_id=76
March 3, 2006
YLS's Access to Knowledge Conference, Early Bird Registraton Ends March 15
The Access to Knowledge Conference (A2K)
Information Society Project, Yale Law School
April 21-23, 2006
About the A2K Conference
In the digital era, most multinational corporations and policymakers are of the view that the current trend characterised by increasing intellectual property rights and corporate control over knowledge best serve society's interests. At the same time, however, a growing number of commentators believe that widespread access to knowledge (A2K) and the preservation of a healthy knowledge commons are the real basis for sustainable human development. Nonetheless, intellectual property-based approaches continue to singlehandedly dictate global legal norms and shape national legal infrastructures.
The first goal of the Yale A2K Initiative is to come up with a new analytic framework for analysing the possibly distortive effects of public policies relying exclusively on intellectual property rights. Beyond this aim, the A2K initiative seeks to support the adoption and development of alternative ways to foster greater access to knowledge in the digitally connected environment.
The landmark A2K conference at Yale Law School will bring together leading thinkers and activists on access to knowledge policy from North and South, in order to generate concrete research agendas and policy solutions for the next decade. This conference will be among the first to synthesize the multifaceted and interdisciplinary aspects of access to knowledge, ranging from textbooks and telecommunications access to software and medicines. The A2K Conference aims to help build an intellectual framework that will protect access to knowledge both as the basis for sustainable human development and to safeguard human rights.
This conference is made possible with support from the MacArthur Foundation.
Proposals and Registration Now Open for 2006 Conference for Law School Computing
Rip, Mix Learn
2006 Conference for Law School Computing
June 15-17, 2006
Nova Southeastern University Shepard Broad Law Center
Fort Lauderdale, FL
GPO Launches Redesigned Online Bookstore
In case you have missed it, the Government Printing Office has launched its new Online Government Bookstore. Go to: http://bookstore.gpo.gov.
Some of the new features are
- Improved search capabilities;
- The ability to process International orders & GPO Deposit Accounts online;
- Speedier delivery options; and
- The ability to save your "Shopping Cart" for up to 72 hours.
Opening: Law Librarian, Connecticut Judical Branch
LAW LIBRARIAN I/II – Waterbury Area
STATE OF CONNECTICUT
Resumes must be received by March 13, 2006.
E-mail questions to: Human.Resources@jud.ct.gov
The Connecticut Judicial Branch is seeking a qualified individual to perform professional to advanced library duties which include providing legal reference and research guidance, instruction in database searching, catalog and collection maintenance.
Minimum Qualifications: A Master’s degree in Library Science or Information Science from a graduate school accredited by the American Library Association.
Starting Salary: $50,719/$53,120 – plus benefits.
In-state travel required. Please reference AD ID #06-1000-022.
Please mail resumes to:
Human Resource Management
90 Washington Street
Hartford, Ct 06106
or fax to: (860) 706-5091
Value of Bill Gates Home Is...
According to Zillow.com, the Gates family residence's estimate value is a mere $117 million. (Click on the image.)
And according to the report, it only has one bathroom! In a 50,000 sq. ft. house one better start heading for the bathroom long before one has to go.
What about property tax? Only $989,733 in 2004.
March 2, 2006
Hinxton Group Publishes Stem Cell Research Principles
The Hinxton Group, 60 scientists, doctors, philosophers, lawyers, scientific journal editors, federal regulators and others from 14 countries who met in Hinxton, England, to consider "ethically acceptable norms" of stem cell research, has released a statement of extra-legal basic principles of acceptable behavior. From the statement:
As scientists, philosophers, bioethicists, lawyers, clinicians, journal editors and regulators involved in this field, we have reached consensus that if humankind is to have the very best chance of realizing the benefits of stem cell research in an ethically acceptable manner, the  principles should govern the ethical and legal regulation and oversight of stem cell and related research and its clinical applications.
The Washington Post reports that a separate working group of the International Society for Stem Cell Research is expected to release its recommendations in July
Read more about it in today's Washington Post: Universal Stem Cell Principles Proposed
Turn Your Blog Content into a Book
Turn your blog content into a compilation. Blurb, a self-publication book service, will be releasing later this month, free software that automatically downloads and reformats blog posts into books that can be purchased online at the Blurb website. The application provides layout templates and guides self-publishers through the design process. Read more about it in today's New York Times: From Blogger to Published Author, for $30 and Up.
If a Library Is Bookless, What's In It?
From National Public Radio:
"What helps make the evolution of libraries so complicated are two related questions: What is the library's role -- and who should pay for it? The squeeze on county and municipal budgets prompts many to wonder if they will continue to pay for these institutions. Others insist that the public library plays a vital role as a community center and as an intellectual oasis, a place to reflect as well as a place to learn. But if it's to survive, it has to adapt. A range of approaches are meant to help design a library for the 21st century."
Guests for this program:
- Tom Frey, executive director, The DaVinci Institute
- Jo Haight-Sarling, director, access and technology services at the Denver Public Library System
- Charles Brown, director, Public Library of Charlotte and Mecklenburg County, N.C.
Ron Jones, Reference & Electronic Services Librarian, University of Cincinnati Law Library
Noteworthy Recent NBER Reports
The Economic Costs of the Iraq War: An Appraisal Three Years After the Beginning of the Conflict by Linda Bilmes, Joseph Stiglitz
Abstract: This paper attempts to provide a more complete reckoning of the costs of the Iraq War, using standard economic and accounting/ budgetary frameworks. As of December 30, 2005, total spending for combat and support operations in Iraq is $251bn, and the CBO's estimates put the projected total direct costs at around $500bn. These figures, however, greatly underestimate the War's true costs. We estimate a range of present and future costs, by including expenditures not in the $500bn CBO projection, such as lifetime healthcare and disability payments to returning veterans, replenishment of military hardware, and increased recruitment costs. We then make adjustments to reflect the social costs of the resources deployed, (e.g. reserve pay is less than the opportunity wage and disability pay is less than forgone earnings). Finally, we estimate the effects of the war on the overall performance of the economy. Even taking a conservative approach and assuming all US troops return by 2010, we believe the true costs exceed a trillion dollars. Using the CBO's projection of maintaining troops in Iraq through 2015, the true costs may exceed $2 trillion.
In either case, the cost is much larger than the administration's original estimate of $50-$60bn. The costs estimated do not include those borne by other countries, either directly (military
expenditures) or indirectly (the increased price of oil). Most importantly, we have not included the costs to Iraq, either in terms of destruction of infrastructure or the loss of lives. These would all clearly raise the costs significantly.
Abstract: Some anti-discrimination laws have the perverse effect of harming the very class they were meant to protect. This paper provides evidence that age discrimination laws belong to this perverse class. Prior to the enforcement of the federal law, state laws had little effect on older workers, suggesting that firms either knew little about these laws or did not see them as a threat. After the enforcement of the federal Age Discrimination in Employment Act (ADEA) in 1979, white male workers over the age of 50 in states with age discrimination laws worked between 1 and 1.5 fewer weeks per year than workers in states without laws. These men are also .3 percentage points more likely to be retired and .2 percentage points less likely to be hired. These findings suggest that in an anti-age discrimination environment, firms seek to avoid litigation through means not intended by the legislation -- by not employing older workers in the first place.
A Framework for Assessing Corporate Governance Reform by Benjamin E. Hermalin, Michael S. Weisbach
Abstract: In light of recent corporate scandals, numerous proposals have been introduced for reforming corporate governance. This paper provides a theoretical framework through which to evaluate these reforms. Unlike various ad hoc arguments, this framework recognizes that governance structures arise endogenously in response to the constrained optimization problems faced by the relevant parties. Contract theory provides a set of necessary conditions under which governance reform can be welfare-improving: 1) There is asymmetric information at the time of contracting; or 2) Governance failures impose externalities on third parties; or 3) The state has access to remedies or punishments that are not available to third parties. We provide a series of models that illustrate the importance of these conditions and what can go wrong if they are not met.
The Most Important Works of Art of the Twentieth Century by David W. Galenson
Abstract: A survey of art history textbooks identifies and ranks the eight most important works of the 20th century. The most important painting of the century was Les Demoiselles d'Avignon, executed by Picasso at the age of 26, which began the development of Cubism. Among the other seven works, a collage, an earthwork, and a ready-made all represent new genres that had not existed at the start of the century. All eight works were made by conceptual artists, at a median age of just 32. The results underline the importance of young conceptual innovators, who made radical departures from existing conventions, in the advanced art of the century. Four of the eight works were made by Picasso and Marcel Duchamp, and this highlights the importance of the versatile conceptual innovators who became a prominent feature of twentieth-century art.
First Amendment Rights v. Simpsons and American Idol Judges
In a contest between our fellow citizens' knowledge of "The Simpsons" and what they know about the First Amendment, Bart and Homer win hands down. So says a study by the McCormick Tribune Freedom Museum. The study found that
- 22% of Americans could name all five Simpson family members, compared with just 1 in 1,000 people who could name all five First Amendment freedoms; and
- more people could name the three "American Idol" judges than First Amendment rights
Additional findings include: 69% of people could name freedom of speech as a First Amendment right, just under 1 out of 4 people could name freedom of religion. Only 11% knew freedom of the press, 1 in 10 could name freedom of assembly and 1% named freedom to petition for redress of grievance.
Recently Revised, Howell & Peterson's The Education Gap
The Education Gap
Vouchers and Urban Schools, Revised Edition
Willam G. Howell and Paul E. Peterson
Brookings Institution Press 2005
Paper Text, 0-8157-3685-1, $19.95
From the blurb: The voucher debate has been both intense and ideologically polarizing, in good part because so little is known about how voucher programs operate in practice. In The Education Gap, William Howell and Paul Peterson report new findings drawn from the most comprehensive study on vouchers conducted to date.
Updated. Added to the paperback edition of this groundbreaking volume are the authors’ insights into the latest school choice developments in American education, including new voucher initiatives, charter school expansion, and public-school choice under No Child Left Behind. The authors review the significance of state and federal court decisions as well as recent scholarly debates over choice impacts on student performance. In addition, the authors present new findings on which parents choose private schools and the consequences the decision has for their children’s education. Updated and expanded, The Education Gap remains an indispensable source of original research on school vouchers.
Are Wikibooks Coming to a Law School Near Your?
From Imagine textbooks in a new form (Philadelphia Inquirer, Feb. 19 2006):
Imagine your textbook in a new way. Imagine a book that grows as knowledge grows. Imagine teachers teaching the same content contributing their collective knowledge as well as their best strategies and resources to keep the book fresh. Imagine scholars outside the education field contributing their research. Imagine textbooks customized to meet the needs of different locations with different standards or, more important, the needs of different learners.
So are legal wikibooks just around the corner? Martin's Introduction to Legal Citation (reviewed here earlier this week) might be considered a legal wikibook in the sense that the author solicits comments etc., but Lexis, Thomson-West and/or Aspen will have to develop wikibook projects before we can say that legal publishing has joined this latest "textbook revolution."
Not a wikibook designed for course adoption, Wex, the freely available legal dictionary and encyclopedia being developed by the Legal Information Institute, has the potential for becoming a wikibook-like study guide. See A Quick Look at Wex. See also the open source but underdeveloped Wikilaw. (Tech Law Prof Blog's review, Spotlight on Wikilaw and Wikilaw Recently Launched)
March 1, 2006
Mississippi One Step Closer to Criminalizing Abortion
Following the example set by South Dakota last week as reported here and here, on Tuesday, the Mississippi House Public Health Committee passed an anti-abortion bill that would allow abortion only to save a women's life. The bill does not include an exception for rape or incest cases.
The measure came as a surprise. It was accepted in Committee as a substitution amendent to S.B. 2922, which originally required abortion practitioners to allow women considering an abortion to see an ultrasound of their unborn child beforehand. The Mississippi House is expected to vote on the S.B.2992 next week and it would then go to the Senate. The AP is reporting that Mississippi Govenor Haley Barbour is inclined to sign the bill.
Text of S.B. 2922 as Amended Download SB2922_H_Cmte_Amend_01.pdf
SECTION 1. Section 41-41-33, Mississippi Code of 1972, is amended as follows:
41-41-33. * * * No abortion shall be performed or induced in the State of Mississippi, except in the case of a medical emergency or the presence of a life-threatening condition in the mother that would be worsened by continuing the pregnancy.
* * *
SECTION 2. Section 41-41-39, Mississippi Code of 1972, is amended as follows:
41-41-39. Anyone who purposefully, knowingly or recklessly performs or attempts to perform or induce an abortion in the State of Mississippi, except in the case of a medical emergency or the presence of a life-threatening condition in the mother that would be worsened by continuing the pregnancy, shall, upon conviction, be guilty of a misdemeanor and shall be punished by a fine of Five Thousand Dollars ($5,000.00), by imprisonment in the county jail for a period of time not to exceed one (1) year, or both such fine and imprisonment.
SECTION 3. The State of Mississippi shall be responsible for the medical and educational needs of any child born to a citizen of this state if the mother has received family counseling during the gestation period and chose to continue the pregnancy to delivery, and the child will be entitled to these services until the child reaches the age of nineteen (19) and the mother agrees to allow for these services to be provided to the child.
SECTION 4. This act shall take effect and be in force from and after July 1, 2006.
Sample of media coverage:
- Barbour says he'd likely sign bill to ban most abortions in Miss. (AP report)
- Mississippi Becomes Second State to Advance Abortion Ban (LifeNews.com)
Tech Firms Operating in China Discussing Code of Business Conduct
Coming on the heels of Congressional hearings last month, Google's research chief said the search giant and other technology firms with Chinese operations are discussing a code of principles to address censorship and protection of people's privacy in repressive countries. Read all about: Google discussing ethics code for dealing overseas.
Oral Argument in Cuno Today
The Supreme Court hears oral argument today in Cuno v. DaimlerChrysler, Inc., 386 F.3d 738 (6th Cir. 2004), cert. granted, Nos. 04-1704 & 04-1724. The case involves the constitutionality of Ohio's investment tax credit (as well as the procedural question of Respondents' standing).
For links to news accounts and court documents, see Cincinnati Law Prof Paul Caron's TaxProf Blog.
Top 25 Cutting Edge Campuses
From Forbes, America's Most Connected Campuses is based on The Princeton Review's Most Connect Compuses. The study examines the technological capabilities of the country's best universities and identifies the 25 campuses that are the closest to the cutting edge.
Strongest Links on Human Resources
Check out Tom Mighell's Strongest Links on Human Resources, published in Law Practice Today.