August 25, 2007
Consumer Innovations to Inform Web Site for Spies
In today's Washington Post, Sam Diaz reports:
Government agents may soon find valuable information through an online-recommendation system like the one on Amazon.com: Spies who read this report, it might say, also found these reports useful.
That is one of several features the Office of the Director of National Intelligence might borrow from mainstream technology as it designs its new Web-based information-sharing system.
The DNI is working on a new system intended to "tunnel through" the 16 different intelligence-gathering agencies in hopes of streamlining data sharing, said Michael Wertheimer, DNI's assistant deputy director for analytic transformation and technology.
The Global State of Higher Education and the Rise of Private Finance
"The Institute for Higher Education Policy’s Global Center on Private Financing of Higher Education (GCPF) released a report that explores the growing importance of private capital to nations where governments seek additional resources to share the rising per student costs and increasing enrollment rates. The report, The Global State of Higher Education and the Rise of Private Finance, also provides an overview of international good practices and lessons learned from individual countries where the business of tapping into private finance as a supplemental funding source has increased in the past two decades."
See also: Worldwide, Financing for Higher Education Is Increasingly Shifting From Public to Private Sources, The Chronicle (for subscribers). [RJ]
Job hunters hire experts to clean up online image
"Job hunters perfecting their resumes for that dream job are being urged to also polish their online profile -- and clean it up if need be, with a new breed of companies emerging to help mold Internet images.
Recruitment experts advise job hunters to Google themselves before stepping out into the competitive job market to see if a search pulls up a blog entry written about legalizing marijuana or drunken party photos with friends.
"The Internet brings a new dimension to the application process. Sometimes it can work to your advantage, and sometimes to your disadvantage," employment Web site Careerbuilder.com spokeswoman Jennifer Sullivan told Reuters.
Various surveys have shown that employers are using online searches to check out potential candidates -- especially as some of the early Internet surfers become bosses themselves." [RJ]
August 24, 2007
Friday Fun: Librarian Job Interview
Monty Python style!
On the same theme, see also On a Claire Day's great comic strip [JH]
First Person Report: Thomas P. Sullivan, Guantanamo Bay Attorney
"Attorney Thomas P. Sullivan writes about his experiences representing prisoners held at Guantanamo Bay." [RJ]
Google Video DRM: Why is Hollywood more important than users?
"With the introduction of its new copy-restriction video service, Google has diverged from its corporate ethos. For the first time in the company's history, it has released a product that is designed to fill the needs of someone other than Google's users.
Google Video is a new video-search and video-sales tool, through which users can download videos that have been uploaded by their creators or by others who have the rights to them, either because the videos are in the public domain, or because they are used in a way that satisfies the "fair use" defense in US copyright law.
Part of the Google Video offering is a store that sells videos. Some of these are delivered in a locked format of Google's devising that restricts how Google's users can play and use the videos they buy. This Digital Rights Management system (DRM) is like many of those used by Google's competitors in that it doesn't attempt to model any copyright system in the world, but rather reflects a one-sided vision of how copyright should work and imposes that unilaterally on Google's customers.
Here's how the Google Video DRM works: when you download a restricted video from Google, it locks that video to your account and software player. Every time you want to play the video, your player has to communicate with Google to determine whether you are currently permitted to play it; if the player doesn't get the answer it's looking for, it won't play the video. The specifics of how this works aren't available -- Google hasn't published any details of how the security is implemented, committing the cardinal sin of security through obscurity."
Still Waiting After All These Years; a New Look at FOIA Delays
"A new analysis of Freedom of Information Act performance by the Coalition of Journalists for Open Government, shows that service continues to frustrate requesters, despite a presidential directive ordering agencies to improve agency response. Over the past nine years that agencies have been reporting performance data, the number of FOIA requests processed has fallen 20%, the number of FOIA personnel is down 10%, the backlog has tripled, and the cost of handling a request is up 79%." [RJ]
World Drug Report 2007
"The World Drug Report presents the most comprehensive statistical view of today's illicit drug situation. This year's edition reports signs of long-term containment of the global problem. However, the overall trend masks contrasting regional situations, which the report examines in detail. For instance, while an impressive multi-year reduction in opium poppy cultivation continued in South-East Asia, Afghanistan recorded a large increase in 2006. More interceptions of cocaine and heroin shipments across the world have played an important part in stabilizing the market. However, as we witness successes in some areas, challenges appear in others. Although drug abuse levels are stabilizing globally, countries along major and new trafficking routes, such as those now going through Africa, may face increasing levels of drug consumption. The World Drug Report 2007 also discusses a possible method to better assess and monitor the role played by organized crime in transnational drug trafficking." [RJ]
August 23, 2007
ABA Approves Uniform Limited Liability Company Act
"The Uniform Limited Liability Company Act (ULLCA), a new act which provides the states with modern, updated legislation governing the formation and operation of limited liability companies, was approved today by the American Bar Association’s House of Delegates at its Annual Meeting in San Francisco.
The new uniform law, drafted and approved by the Uniform Law Commission (ULC) in 2006, is a revision of the Uniform Limited Liability Company Act of 1996. The new act, like its predecessor, permits the formation of limited liability companies (LLCs), which provide the owners with the advantages of both corporate-type limited liability and partnership tax treatment. The ABA resolution endorsing the ULLCA was supported by the ABA Business Law Section." [RJ]
Digital Government: Technology and Public Sector Performance
Technology and Public Sector Performance
Darrell M. West
256 pp, Princeton University Press, 2007
Paper: $19.95 | ISBN: 978-0-691-13407-9
Cloth: $29.95 | ISBN: 978-0-691-12182-6
Description: Few developments have had broader consequences for the public sector than the introduction of the Internet and digital technology. In this book, Darrell West discusses how new technology is altering governmental performance, the political process, and democracy itself by improving government responsiveness and increasing information available to citizens.
Using multiple methods--case studies, content analysis of over 17,000 government Web sites, public and bureaucrat opinion survey data, an e-mail responsiveness test, budget data, and aggregate analysis--the author presents the most comprehensive study of electronic government ever undertaken. Among other topics, he looks at how much change has taken place in the public sector, what determines the speed and breadth of e-government adoption, and what the consequences of digital technology are for the public sector.
Written in a clear and analytical manner, this book outlines the variety of factors that have restricted the ability of policy makers to make effective use of new technology. Although digital government offers the potential for revolutionary change, social, political, and economic forces constrain the scope of transformation and prevent government officials from realizing the full benefits of interactive technology.
Winner of the 2006 Don K. Price Award, Science, Technology, and Environmental Politics Section, American Political Science Association
Kudos to Ron Jones, University of Cincinnati Marx Law Library
Ron Jones, Electronic Resources & Services Librarian, University of Cincinnati Robert S. Marx Law Library, and co-editor of this blog, is the recipient of the Marx Law Library’s Faculty Bonus Award for the 2006-2007 academic year. The purpose of the award is to recognize members of the faculty who have made outstanding individual professional contributions to the University. Virginia Thomas, Director, Law Library & Information Technology, said, "we are very pleased that Ron’s achievements and his contributions to the service mission of the Law Library have been acknowledged with this award."
Ron has worked his way up the academic ladder the old fashioned way, namely by hard work. While serving our Law Library as Head of Circulation, he completed library school. He was promotion to the position of Reference Librarian where he quickly earned tenure by working diligently at the reference desk and for his faculty liaisons while offering quite a number of library workshops to our students, and ably serving on numerous law library and cross-jurisdictional committees. Ron also is beginning to earn his law librarianship credentials on the national stage by participating for the first time in an AALL session in New Orleans this past summer.
Filling a gaping hole in our staff skills, Ron willing accepted the challenge to become our law library's first Electronic Resources & Services Librarian last year. His mandate is broad, ranging from evaluating digital resources for collection development, to serving as the production manager of the Law Library's website, to helping law faculty tailor online current awareness resources that push content directly to our faculty members desktops using applications and techniques readily available. As soon as his lovely wife Erin and he stop making babies, Ron plans on attending law school. Meanwhile, I am the first to admit that Ron does most of the heavy lifting for this blog by keeping our audience (and me) apprised of current developments. Great job, Ron! [JH]
Supreme Court Review: Prevailing Winds
From the National Law Journal (sub. req.):
"The end of the first full term of the newly constituted Roberts Court marked the beginning of a historical, sharper shift to the right that may go unchallenged for the next decade or longer. Further, in a number of decisions, such as the abortion, campaign finance and religion cases, the majority said it was not overruling precedents, but the decisions' practical effect seemed to do so." [RJ]
Recent Titles from OUP
The Basic Questions
Sotirios A. Barber and James E. Fleming
Ronald Dworkin famously argued that fidelity in interpreting the Constitution as written calls for a fusion of constitutional law and moral philosophy. Barber and Fleming take up that call, arguing for a philosophic approach to constitutional interpretation. In doing so, they systematically critique the competing approaches - textualism, consensualism, originalism, structuralism, doctrinalism, minimalism, and pragmatism - that aim and claim to avoid a philosophic approach. Details...
In Constitutional Goods, Alan Brudner distils the essentials of liberal constitutionalism from the jurisprudence and practice of contemporary liberal-democratic states and argues that the model liberal-democratic constitution is best understood as a unity of three constitutional frameworks: libertarian, egalitarian, and communitarian. Details...
The Creation of States in International Law
James R. Crawford
Statehood in the early 21st century remains as much a central problem now as it was in 1979 when the first edition of The Creation of States in International Law was published. As Rhodesia, Namibia, the South African Homelands and Taiwan then were subjects of acute concern, today governments, international organizations, and other institutions are seized of such matters as the membership of Cyprus in the European Union, application of the Geneva Conventions to Afghanistan, a final settlement for Kosovo, and, still, relations between China and Taiwan. All of these, and many other disputed situations, are inseparable from the nature of statehood and its application in practice. Details...
This book considers the proper nature and scope of criminal responsibility in the light of its institutional and political role. Tadros begins by providing an account of the foundations, both ethical and political, of criminal responsibility, and moves on to reconsider some of the central doctrines of criminal responsibility. Details...
Institutions of American Democracy
A Republic Divided Annenberg Democracy Project
The Institutions of American Democracy series, published in partnership with the Annenberg Foundation Trust at Sunnylands and the Annenberg Public Policy Center (APPC), is designed to stimulate debate about the future of American democracy. Commissions of the nation's leading scholars as well as practitioners directly involved with each of these institutions gathered together to discuss the important issues being debated within each. Led by a stellar national advisory board, the first five volumes were published in late 2005 and focused on the executive branch, legislative branch, judicial branch, public schools, and the press. This sixth volume in the series assesses the state of American democracy by taking a close look at how people see these five core institutions. Details...
The Grammar of Criminal Law
American, Comparative, and International
Volume One: Foundations
George P. Fletcher
The Grammar of Criminal Law is a 3-volume work that addresses the field of international and comparative criminal law, with its primary focus on the issues of international concern, ranging from genocide, to domestic efforts to combat terrorism, to torture, and to other international crimes. The first volume is devoted to foundational issues. The Grammar of Criminal Law is unique in its systematic emphasis on the relationship between language and legal theory; there is no comparable comparative study of legal language. Written in the spirit of Fletcher's classic Rethinking Criminal Law , this work is essential reading in the field of international and comparative law. Details...
One In Four Adults Read No Books Last Year
Yup, according to a recent AP Poll, 27 percent of adults did not read a book last year. Read the topline results (pdf). [JH]
August 22, 2007
50-State Legislative Tracking Web Resources
"At the request of NCSL's Legislative Research Librarians (LRL) staff section, NCSL has developed this resource of 50-state compilations covering various issues that concern state legislators and legislative staff. Here you will find a topical, alphabetical listing of legislative and statutory databases, compilations and state charts/maps." Check it out! [RJ]
Spanning the Academic-Real World Divide to Prepare Competent Lawyers
What can law schools do to address the criticisms in the Carnegie Foundation's report on legal education, Educating Lawyers: Preparation for the Profession of Law (2007)? That report found that law schools are not teaching students how to be competent lawyers. One suggestion: how about legal research and writing program components that support clinical and externship programs? Some background from articles deposited in SSRN:
- ABA Standard 305'S Guided Reflections: A Perfect Fit for Guided Fieldwork
- What Students Don't Know Will Hurt Them: A Frank View from the Field on How to Better Prepare Our Clinic and Externship Students
- The Clinical Divide: Overcoming Barriers to Collaboration Between Clinics and Legal Writing Programs
Anahid Gharakhanian ABA Standard 305'S Guided Reflections: A Perfect Fit for Guided Fieldwork (SSRN). Abstract:
The ABA recently introduced some flexibility in how law schools may structure field placement programs (i.e., externship programs).
Specifically, new ABA Standard 305(e)(7) provides that in addition to a seminar or tutorial, “other means of guided reflection” satisfy the academic component requirement for a field placement program. This article describes one successful method for meeting the revised ABA Standard through the use of contemporaneous online guided reflections. It does so by examining the experience of Southwestern Law School, which recently redesigned the academic component of its large externship program.
This article describes Southwestern's externship program before the new Standard 305(e)(7), and then details the program's redesign with the use of online guided reflections, noting its success and the delivery of a substantially better educational experience. The article first details how the new ABA Standard provided the impetus for Southwestern to reassess the nature of its large fieldwork-focused externship program. In that reassessment, Southwestern considered: (1) the role of externships in providing a well-rounded legal education; (2) the impact of generational considerations; and (3) the insights gained from different models of success in law school and on the job. After providing a detailed background to Southwestern's fieldwork-focused approach to externships, the article describes the flexibility and creativity that online guided reflections afford. This flexibility allowed Southwestern to emphasize fieldwork, while getting more out of the academic component without the restraints of form over substance. The author hopes that Southwestern's approach, detailed in this article, will serve as a productive model for crafting innovative and effective academic components for field placements.
Carolyn R. Young & Barbara A. Blanco, What Students Don't Know Will Hurt Them: A Frank View from the Field on How to Better Prepare Our Clinic and Externship Students (SSRN). Abstract:
This article investigates the areas in which law students are under-prepared for the externship and clinical experience as identified by those in the best position to know: their placement supervisors. Through surveys and interviews, the authors asked supervisors what qualities they hope to see in students, what abilities they want from students, and the level of competence for which they will settle. The article begins with an examination of the authors' own perceptions of student inexperience and the factual basis, if any, for the concern that law students need to be better prepared for their first field placements and clinics. Next, the authors describe the survey of nearly three dozen judges, law clerks, government agency and public interest attorneys with experience supervising students from schools across the county. Also discussed are the more detailed accounts offered by several supervisors who presented their opinions at the authors' Externship 3 conference presentation in March 2006. The authors analyze the results by type of skill (writing, research, office etiquette, etc.), as well as by type of placement (judicial, government and public interest). The article concludes with a discussion of the tools that the authors have developed to better prepare their students and their plans for future program improvements.
Sarah Schrup, The Clinical Divide: Overcoming Barriers to Collaboration Between Clinics and Legal Writing Programs (SSRN). Abstract:
Increased communication between legal research and writing (“LRW”) programs and clinical programs is desirable because it provides students with a seamless learning experience, enhances faculty teaching in both departments, and creates opportunities for collaboration that benefits a law-school community generally. But barriers presently exist that hinder collaboration. Specifically, barriers that impact collaboration and integrated learning between LRW and clinical programs stem from: (1) differences in the development of the two disciplines and the resultant differences in teaching methodologies; and (2) other practical barriers including physical separation, status issues, lack of communication, competing demands within the law school and the reality of how little collaboration presently occurs. With respect to the first barrier, which is the most deeply rooted and the most salient, the differences in the development of clinics versus LRW programs has created, on the clinical side an approach to teaching that is defined by progressive, client-centered and reflective learning and on the LRW side teaching methodologies guided by traditional, lawyer-centered, and forward-looking principles. Because these approaches are so different and because in practice clinicians and LRW faculty are not regularly communicating on these issues, faculty cannot provide seamless instruction to students. But clinical and LRW faculty can overcome these differences with increased communication and a conscientious commitment to incorporate principles of each other's teaching into their own pedagogy. The author encountered and addressed these very difficulties in the context of designing a hybrid LRW-clinical course at Northwestern University School of Law.
Examining 'Backlash' and Attacks on Landmark Decisions
"The Fifth Annual ACS National Convention included a breakout session on "Examining 'Backlash' and Attacks on Landmark Decisions from Brown to Roe to Goodridge." Streaming video of the discussion is now available in the ACS Multimedia Library.
This session -- which was taped and re-broadcast by C-SPAN and hosted by ACS's Issue Groups on Equality & Liberty and Constitutional Interpretation & Change -- explored the argument, heard lately with increasing frequency, that over-reliance on the courts has undermined progressive goals." [RJ]
Freedom and Information: Assessing Publicly Available Data Regarding U.S. Transportation Infrastructure Security
New report from the RAND Corporation:
"The goal of this investigation was to determine how much data regarding U.S. anti- and counterterrorism systems, countermeasures, and defenses are publicly available and could be found
by individuals seeking to harm U.S. domestic interests. The study focused on information
that would be freely accessible through Web search and review of library materials. To obtain
a reasonably detailed picture of the available information while still covering a range of possible
scenarios, researchers examined six different hypothetical terrorist operations involving
three categories of transportation infrastructure: air, rail, and maritime. The research team
also developed a framework for comparing the amount of information that is publicly available
across different terror attack scenarios and infrastructure targets." [RJ]
Pew Internet Report on Online Video
"The growing adoption of broadband combined with a dramatic push by content providers to promote online video has helped to pave the way for mainstream audiences to embrace online video viewing. Fifty-seven percent of online adults have used the internet to watch or download video, and 19% do so on a typical day. Three-quarters of broadband users (74%) who enjoy high-speed connections at both home and work watch or download video online.
The Pew Internet & American Life Project's first major report on online video also shows how many video viewers have contributed to the viral and social nature of online video. More than half of online video viewers (57%) share links to the video they find with others, and three in four (75%) say they receive links to watch video that others have sent to them." [RJ]
Is Google Promoting Video Piracy?
"Recently Google Video hosted apparently pirated copies of such current major films as "Sicko" and "Evan Almighty." Both were posted without the permission or knowledge of the copyright owners. This follows a lawsuit against Google by media giant Viacom seeking $1 Billion in damages for allegedly posting approximately 150,000 copyrighted works on its popular YouTube website.
Ironically, many other Internet operations such as MySpace, TorrentSpy, DailyMotion and Break.com have set up filtering systems to block copyrighted material. Google is a $158 Billion company with arguably the most advanced search technology in the world. The argument that they cannot block pirated content because of technological or financial reasons is laughable.
The National Legal and Policy Center promotes ethics and accountability in public life. And NLPC is not afraid to take on major foes: it won the Federal lawsuit against Clinton's Health Care Task Force for operating in violation of Federal law and more recently exposed the $23 Billion dollar Boeing tanker scandal where a former Air Force official and Boeing's Chief Financial Officer went to prison.
Many believe that Google is facilitating the piracy of copyrighted movies, concerts and music by turning a blind eye to copyright infringement on Goolgle Video and YouTube because they value the traffic – and ultimately profits -- that the illegally posted content generates. And make no mistake about it, copyright infringement around the globe hurts everyone. Our own Carl Horowitz recently wrote that theft of copyrighted movies alone is a scandal that resulted in our film industry losing an estimated $2.3 billion in revenue to worldwide Internet piracy.
Our goal is to do our best to expose the pirating of copyrighted material by finding and posting as many apparently pirated works as possible. For starters, we are focusing on Google Video because it hosts many full-length movies and concerts and because it has received less attention than YouTube, also owned by Google." [RJ]