April 28, 2007
Google Launches Authors@Google
From the announcement:
The Authors@Google program brings authors of all stripes to Google for informal talks centering on their recently published books. Through the program, we invite authors to our Mountain View headquarters as well as our New York, Santa Monica, and Ann Arbor offices, where they treat Googlers to readings of everything from serious literature and political analysis to pioneering science fiction and moving personal memoirs; past participants have ranged from novelist Martin Amis and Nobel-prizewinning economist Joseph Stiglitz to primatologist Jane Goodall and U.S. Senator Hillary Clinton. When possible, we share these remarkable conversations with the world outside the Googleplex via Google Video and YouTube.
Teaching about the Military in American History: A History Institute for Teachers
The Symposium, held March 24–25, 2007, is now available on-line at the website of the Foreign Policy Research Institute.
Library of Congress and PBS Collect and Preserve Oral Histories of U.S. Wartime Veterans
"The Library of Congress Veterans History Project and the Public Broadcasting Service (PBS) announced a joint community engagement initiative designed to gather first-hand recollections of the diverse men and women who served our nation during wartime. The public outreach campaign begins this spring and will continue beyond the broadcast of Ken Burns’ new film, "The War," which is scheduled to air on PBS beginning on September 23, 2007." [RJ]
OCLC Board launches Governance Study
"The OCLC Board of Trustees has appointed a special Governance Study Committee to conduct a study of OCLC’s governance structure. The Board will also retain a consulting firm to assist the Committee in the study."
"As OCLC becomes an increasingly global cooperative, we need to adjust our governance to ensure representation and participation by our members around the world," said Lizabeth Wilson, Chair, OCLC Board of Trustees, and Dean of University Libraries, University of Washington. "This study will review and evaluate current and alternative governance forms for OCLC. The Committee will recommend a governance structure appropriate to the roles that OCLC is expected to carry out in the next decade." [RJ]
April 27, 2007
Friday Fun: "I want to be a librarian" music video
This is the first music video by HauntedLove, a New Zealand band. The video was reportedly filmed at the Dunedin Public Library. [JH]
Primer on the Complex Issues in the Stem Cell Debate
"The Century Foundation has published Stem Cells and Public Policy— a guide to the issues. This is the most recent publication in The Century Foundation’s series, The Basics. Stem Cells and Public Policy, provides a concise, comprehensive overview of the implications of stem cell research for the development of public policy. It addresses critical questions related to stem cell research including the establishment of medical research priorities, the treatment of intellectual property rights, the role of religious and scientific institutions and the effective national and international governance of the burgeoning field of biotechnology." [RJ]
The President's Identity Theft Task Force Releases Comprehensive Strategic Plan to Combat Identity Theft
"Attorney General Alberto R. Gonzales and Federal Trade Commission Chairman Deborah Platt Majoras announced the completion of the President’s Identity Theft Task Force strategic plan to combat identity theft.
The strategic plan is the result of an unprecedented federal effort to formulate a comprehensive and fully coordinated plan to attack this widespread and destructive crime. The plan focuses on ways to improve the effectiveness of criminal prosecutions of identity theft; enhance data protection for sensitive consumer information maintained by the public sector, private sector, and consumers; provide more comprehensive and effective guidance for consumers and the business community; and improve recovery and assistance for consumers." [RJ]
States rethink eyewitness ID procedures
"A continuing wave of exonerations and wrongful convictions linked to false eyewitness identification have led more states to consider reforming their lineup procedures through new guidelines and legislation.
A key factor is the order in which lineups should be shown as more states consider whether to replace the traditional simultaneous method with the sequential procedure, during which people or photographs are shown one after another instead of all at once." [RJ]
Bush Administration Submits Annual Trade Report to Congress
"The Office of the U.S. Trade Representative announced the release of its 2007 National Trade Estimate Report (NTE), which details significant barriers to U.S. trade and investment and the broad array of U.S. actions to reduce and eliminate those barriers." [RJ]
"This report reflects the success of the Administration's pro-growth, market-opening trade agenda. However, a significant amount of work remains to knock down trade barriers and ensure that American exporters have new economic opportunities across the globe," said U.S. Trade Representative Susan C. Schwab.
ARL Publishes ARL Preservation Statistics 2004-05
"The Association of Research Libraries (ARL) announces the availability of the ARL Preservation Statistics 2004–05, a compilation of data on the levels of preservation efforts in ARL member libraries throughout North America.
Highlights from the report suggest that preservation expenditures are in a steady state. In 2003–04, 109 ARL libraries reported expenditures of $97,833,909; in 2004–05, 107 ARL libraries reported spending $2 million more than that for a total of almost $100 million." [RJ]
No more Windows XP as of 2008
From CNet News: "Starting next year you won't be able to buy a new PC loaded with Windows XP, despite the lukewarm reception of Windows Vista. Microsoft will stop selling Windows XP to PC makers such as Dell, Lenovo and Hewlett-Packard by January 31, a company representative confirmed Thursday. The software maker will stop selling XP to system builders, the smaller custom PC makers, a year later, the representative said." [RJ]
April 26, 2007
New Legal Search Engine
From the site: "Law.com Quest searches the Law.com Network of sites, including the New York Law Journal, The American Lawyer, The National Law Journal, Law Firm Inc., the U.S. Supreme Court Monitor, and more publications and resources from ALM Media. Law.com Quest also brings results from hundreds of hand-picked law firm websites and prominent legal blogs, and we're adding new sites all the time." [RJ]
Congress OKs Iraq Troop Withdrawal Bill
UPDATE: CNN is reporting that the Senate has passed the war spending bill with the troop withdrawal provision intact. But the 51 votes cast for the bill are nowhere near the 67 needed to override President Bush's expected veto. [JH]
By a vote of 218-208, the House approved a $124 billion war spending bill that would require American troops to begin withdrawing from Iraq by Oct. 1. President Bush has said repeatedly that he will veto it.
All Congressional Actions with Amendments, With links to Congressional Record pages, votes, reports.
Gerken's Book Asks, "What Good is Legislative History?"
What Good is Legislative History?
Justice Scalia in the Federal Courts of Appeals
By Joseph L. Gerken, Reference Librarian University at Buffalo Law Library
1 volume | 376 pp | $82.00
ISBN: 0-8377-3232-8 | ISBN 13: 978-0-8377-3232-9
William S. Hein & Co., 2007
Book Description: From his opening sentence ("Justice Antonin Scalia hates legislative history") and analysis of more than 250 Circuit Court decisions referencing Justice Scalia's criticism of legislative history, Gerken weaves the web of Justice Scalia's influence on the judicial system with his approach to statutory interpretation (today known as "Textualism") in which Scalia believes courts should focus on the text of a law, and not on extrinsic sources, which are as likely to mislead as to enlighten.
In opinion after opinion Gerken points to Justice Scalia's castigation of his colleagues and practitioners for relying on material that he considers misleading and unreliable as a basis for interpreting statutes. While his opinions and writings in secondary sources have drawn a good deal of attention, Scalia's approach to statutory interpretation has spawned a new generation of Textualist judges throughout the Federal Courts of Appeals, with Scalia being the "lighting rod" for what many consider to be an ultra-conservative movement.
Inasmuch as Scalia has had an impact in many areas of the Court system, however, his beliefs have not been accepted at the highest level of our Judiciary - the U.S. Supreme Court. In decision after decision the Court has turned to legislative history when such sources are deemed relevant, while Scalia's criticism of legislative history is almost always expressed in concurring or dissenting opinions.
Of course, this raises the ultimate question, which Gerken aims to explain throughout this work: What do Federal Courts of Appeals judges do when presented with legislative history in support of a statutory argument? On the one hand, courts follow precedent and they look to majority and not minority opinions to define that precedent. One would therefore expect lower courts to reject Scalia's viewpoint. On the other hand, given the attention he has drawn and the recent judicial appointments under the Bush Administration, it would not be surprising if judges adopted his Textualist approach simply because they agree with his ideas.
In addition to the main focus of the work, Gerken also includes chapters explaining the history of legislative history as well as the evolution of the Supreme Court's attitude toward legislative history.
Gerken's work is an invaluable contribution to scholarly research on our judiciary, and should be among the Constitutional Law holdings of almost all libraries.
Appellate Courts Going Live With CM/ECF
"Some day in the not-too-distant future, locating and reading a brief filed in a federal appellate case will become as easy as finding an appeals court opinion. And electronic appellate briefs will feature hyperlinks to lower court rulings, statutes, regulations, and other cited materials.
"Judges generally are excited about having attorneys file briefs that contain hyperlinks to citations,” said Gary Bowden, chief of the Administrative Office’s Appellate Court and Circuit Administration Division. “And through PACER (the Public Access to Court Electronic Records system) these briefs will be available to everyone.” [RJ]
New Executive PayWatch Website Exposes Rigged CEO Pay System
"The AFL-CIO today unveiled its 2007 Executive PayWatch Website (www.paywatch.org), detailing how a flawed executive compensation system allowed CEOs in 2006 to collect excessive severance packages and providing an in-depth look at the ongoing stock options backdating scandal. The AFL-CIO PayWatch site -- which had more than 300,000 visitors in 2006 -- also provides a snapshot of the total compensation for CEOs, including the grant date value of stock and option grants, and offers investors a way to change a broken CEO pay system." [RJ]
Federal Revenue Forecasting
"Federal revenue forecasts are crucial to debates about budget policy. But revenue forecasts are often very wrong despite being prepared by very talented analysts. This paper describes the forecasting process used by the Congressional Budget Office (CBO) and documents past errors. The errors tend to be serially correlated. That is to say, if CBO is too optimistic (pessimistic) one year, they are very likely to be too optimistic (pessimistic) the next year as well. The paper speculates about the reasons for this phenomenon. It concludes by arguing that the uncertainty of forecasts should play a much larger role in debates regarding budget policy." [RJ]
Security on America's College Campuses
"Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Chairman Joe Lieberman, ID-Conn., and Ranking Member Susan Collins, R-Me., Monday sought answers to questions students, faculty, and parents around the country are asking in the aftermath of the Virginia Tech tragedy: how secure are college and university campuses and what can be done to make them more secure?
At a hearing entitled “Security on America’s College Campuses,” college administrators, campus public safety officials, and mental health counselors cited a number of measures being implemented to protect those who live, work, and study on college campuses, but reported that campus counseling is stretched thin and will require additional resources to adequately serve large university populations."
View Webcast of Hearing. [RJ]
Opening: Law Library Director, Campbell
Norman Adrian Wiggins School of Law
Director of Law Library and Information Technology
Campbell University’s Norman Adrian Wiggins School of Law invites nominations and applications for the position of Director of the Law Library. The Director provides vision and leadership needed to advance the goals and objectives of the law library in harmony with Campbell Law School’s mission and strategic plans. The Director is a member of the Law School’s executive staff and reports directly to the Dean of the Law School. The Director oversees the planning, implementation and budgetary considerations for the Law Library and the Information Technology Services Department.
Job Description: The Director is responsible for the leadership, strategic planning, and management of the law library, which includes information technology services. The Director collaborates with faculty, staff, administration and students to develop the law library collections and services. The Director also is responsible for policy development, continuous improvement of services and operational processes, the effective application of new technology, staff development, and budget management. The appointment will be to a tenure track or tenured faculty position, as appropriate.
About the School: Campbell Law School was founded in 1976, is ABA-accredited, and is located south of Raleigh, North Carolina in pastoral Buies Creek. To learn more about our school, please visit our website at www.law.campbell.edu.
Qualifications: Candidates must have received a J.D. and an M.L.S. or (its equivalent) from an accredited university, be committed to Campbell’s mission as a faith-based institution, and should have substantial law library administrative experience, preferably in an academic setting. Demonstrated leadership experience and managerial skills are essential, as are the abilities to listen well and work successfully in a collegial setting. Additionally, candidates should have a demonstrated interest in scholarship, professional and community service and possess classroom teaching experience.
Application Procedure: Please send nominations or letter of interest, curriculum vitae, and the names of three references to: Professor Bryan Boyd of the Faculty Recruitment Committee by e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org. Applications will be reviewed upon receipt and will be accepted until the position is filled. Women and minorities are especially encouraged to apply.
April 25, 2007
Professional Reading: The Role of Information Technology in the Rulemaking Process
Weak Democracy, Strong Information: The Role of Information Technology in the Rulemaking Process
Cary Coglianese, Univ of Penn Law School
Abstract: Techno-optimists advocate the application of information technology to the rulemaking process as a means of advancing strong democracy -- that is, direct, broad-based citizen involvement in regulatory policy making. In this paper, I show that such optimism is unfounded given the obstacles to meaningful citizen deliberation posed by the impenetrability of current e-rulemaking developments, the prevailing level of citizen disengagement from politics and policy making more generally, and most citizens’ lack of the requisite technical information about and understanding of the issues at stake in regulatory decision making. As such, a more realistic goal for the application of new technology to the regulatory process is to expand the information base available to regulatory decision makers through increased interest group pluralism. Instead of creating conditions of strong democracy, information technology can expand the involvement and access of informed, knowledgeable, and affected parties to the rulemaking process, a weaker form of democracy that nevertheless can provide better information for government officials.