April 19, 2008
Undercover GAO Investigators Purchase Sensitive and Stolen US Military Items on eBay and Craigslist
On April 10, 2008, the Subcommittee on National Security and Foreign Affairs of the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform investigated the sale of sensitive, in-demand military technologies and supplies on Internet sites such as eBay and Craigslist. Specifically, the Subcommittee heard the results of an undercover Government Accountability Office (GAO) investigation. The GAO team showed the Subcommittee the items they were able to purchase online and explained how the deals were consummated. Here's the GAO report (pdf).
The purchased items include:
- Two F-14 fighter jet components. The United States has retired its fleet of F-14s. Only Iran is currently using them.
- Night vision goggles specially made to military specifications that allow the user to identify U.S. troops at night.
- Nuclear and biological chemical gear that could be reversed engineered to develop countermeasures
- Body armor plates currently used by troops in Afghanistan and Iraq
Prepared statements from Tod Cohen, Vice President, Government Relations, eBay Inc., Jim Buckmaster, CEO, Craigslist.org plus others are available on the hearings webpage. [JH]
Women and Nation-Building
New report from the RAND Corporation: "This study examines gender-specific impacts of conflict and post-conflict and the ways in which events in these contexts may affect women differently than they affect men. It analyzes the roles of women in the nation-building process and considers outcomes that might occur if current practices were modified. The recent nation-building activities in Afghanistan are used as a case study. Despite the difficulty of collecting data in conflict zones, the information available from Afghanistan provides several pragmatic points for consideration. Gender issues have been overtly on the table from the beginning of U.S. post-conflict involvement in Afghanistan, in part because of the Taliban’s equally overt prior emphasis on gender issues as a defining quality of its regime. Also, the issue of women’s inclusion is an official part of Afghanistan’s development agenda, so all the active agents in the nation-building enterprise have made conscious choices and decisions that can be reviewed and their underlying logic evaluated." [RJ]
April 18, 2008
Midwest Regional Conference on International Justice
The Midwest Regional Conference on International Justice "The International Criminal Court 10 Years After the Rome Conference" will be held Friday, April 25, 2008 at the Chicago Public Library, Harold Washington Library Center from 8:30am-5:30pm. Notable speakers on the past and present role of the ICC include H.E. Phillipe Kirsch, President of the ICC and Hon. John Bellinger, III, Legal Adviser to the Secretary of State. Panel discussions will be held on the Situations in Uganda, Darfur, and the Democratic Republic of the Congo and on the future of the ICC. Keynote luncheon speaker will be Prof. M. Cherif Bassiouni of DePaul College of Law.
The Conference is free and open to the public but registration is required. For more, including information on travel and hotels: http://www.law.depaul.edu/centers_institutes/ihrli/programs_projects/icc_default.asp
Georgia State University Hit With Copyright Lawsuit
NISO Forum: Digital Resources: Working with Formats Beyond Serials, May 5-6, 2008
NISO will be hosting a forum on "Digital Resources: Working with Formats Beyond Serials" in San Francisco, CA on May 5-6, 2008.
About the Forum: With the onset of the digital age, the information community has had to rethink its approach to content -- from creation to how to manage the sale and retention of that information, to questions of delivery and use. A great deal of that focus has been on the more traditional journal, yet creators, libraries, and users today are working with content ranging from e-books to audio and beyond. However, the basic questions surrounding these digital resources remain the same as those that have been confronted with electronic serials, though the answers may not be: what formats are best when creating digital content, and how might metadata be best applied? What pricing models should be applied, and how will these, and their associated licenses, be managed? How will these digital formats be delivered, and to what platforms?
Confirmed speakers include:
- Keynote by Peter Brantley, Executive Director, Digital Library Federation (DLF)
- Bill Kasdorf (Vice President, Apex Publishing) on XML models for book content.
- Christine Stamison (Senior Customer Relations Manager, Swets) on the topic of customer access to e-books.
- Justyn Baker (Executive Director of Licensing / Digital Formats, Naxos of America, Inc.) on the topic of pricing and
licensing of e-music.
- Allen McKiel (Dean of Library & Media Services, Western Oregon University) on changing patterns of e-book usage
- Laura Dawson (Consultant, LJNDawson.com) on BISG identification of digital book content
- Jennifer Sutton (Independent Contractor for DAISY Consortium) on the DAISY/NISO standard for digital talking books
Additional presentations are planned on the topics of digital rights management (DRM), the role of digital content in libraries, and e-content platforms.
Friday Fun: Do Robots Have Too Much Power Over Our Lives
Panelists on Onion News discuss whether robots have been given too much power. President Executron pandering to robotic special interest groups, the automated police force "just doing its job" and what ever happened to the subservience chip are among the topics covered. Hat tip to Ron Jones for sharing! [JH]
Robert Bennett Memoir Recommended from Tomorrow's Litigators (Law Students)
[Bennett*s legal career narrative] chronicles his highest-profile cases, often supplemented with detailed trial transcripts of his cross-examinations. These sections are likely to impress fellow trial lawyers or those familiar with trial practice. To the layperson, the skillfulness may be lost. -- Joshua S. Sellers, The Law School and the Department of Political Science, University of Chicago, Law and Politics Book Review
In the Ring: The Trials of a Washington Lawyer
by Robert S. Bennett
List Price: $27.50
Hardcover: 400 pages
Publisher: Crown; 1 edition (February 19, 2008)
Book Description: Robert S. Bennett has been a lawyer for more than forty years. In that time, he’s taken on dozens of high-proﬁle and groundbreaking cases and emerged as the go-to guy for the nation’s elite. Bob Bennett gained international recognition as one of America’s best lawyers for leading the defense of President Bill Clinton in the Paula Jones case. But long before, and ever since, representing a sitting president, he has fought for justice for many famous (and some now infamous) clients. This is his story.
Born in Brooklyn and an amateur boxer in his youth, Bennett has always brought his street ﬁghter’s mentality to the courtroom. His case history is a who’s who of ﬁgures who have dominated legal headlines: super lobbyist Tommy Corcoran, former Secretaries of Defense Clark Clifford and Caspar Weinberger, Marge Schott, and, most recently, New York Times reporter Judith Miller and former World Bank president Paul Wolfowitz. Bennett also served as special counsel to the Senate during the ABSCAM and Keating Five scandals and was a leading member of the National Review Board for the Protection of Children & Young People, created by the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops in response to the sex abuse allegations.
Taking the reader deep within his most intriguing and difﬁcult cases, In the Ring shows how Bennett has argued for what’s right, won for his clients, and effected his share of change on the system. This is an intimate and compelling memoir of one lawyer’s attempt to ﬁght hard and fair.
About the Author: Robert S. Bennett is the country’s leading criminal defense and crisis management lawyer for corporations and individuals in trouble. He has recently represented Enron, KPMG, and Health South. He is a partner with the ﬁrm of Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher & Flom and lives in Washington, D.C. with his wife, the photographer Ellen Gilbert Bennett.
Violence Against Women, WHO and CRS Reports
From the UN Pulse: "The World Health Organization (WHO) has published Multi-country Study on Women's Health and Domestic Violence against Women. This report presents initial results based on interviews with 24 000 women. The report concludes with 15 recommendations to strengthen national commitment and action on violence against women."
See also International Violence Against Women: U.S. Response and Policy Issues (pdf) (CRS Report, March 31, 2008) which addresses causes, prevalence, and consequences of violence against women. It provides examples of U.S. activities that address VAW directly or include anti-VAW components. It also outlines possible policy considerations for the 110th Congress, including the scope and effectiveness of current U.S. programs; further integrating anti-VAW programs into U.S. assistance and foreign policy mechanisms; strengthening U.S. government coordination of international anti-VAW activities; and collaborating with international organizations such as the United Nations on anti-VAW efforts. [RJ & JH]
Regulatory Resource Center
New resource from OMB Watch: "The Resource Center provides tips for advocates who want to get involved in regulatory decision making and educational resources for anyone interested in how the federal regulatory process works." [RJ]
Constitutional Interpretation: Justice Thomas and Cass Sunstein
The World's 50 Most Powerful Blogs
According to The Guardian. [JH]
April 17, 2008
Organizing Digital Research
I've received a few questions lately about how to organize digital research for the academic. The askers have been interested in some product that will allow them to bring together email, web sites, web pages, PDFs, word docs, etc., in a meaningful and organized manner; something that can handle all digital information, regardless of format. Interested in hearing if anyone uses these products, or knows of any others, and their experiences. Here's what I've found so far, arranged in alphabetical order:
asksam - "It's never been easier to organize, search, and manage your information. askSam 6 is a flexible and powerful way to organize information and create searchable databases from Web pages, Email, PDF files, texts, and Word documents. For over 20 years askSam has been the choice of researchers and other information professionals."
imiser - "Download, Save, Search Organize, and annotate Web pages and links, email, images, selected text, and newsgroup messages. Save any text from EVERY drag-enabled program, such as Microsoft® Word®, Outlook Express®, or Forte® Agent. Save local text, HTML, RTF, DOC, and PDF files to the iMiser database for instant retrieval."
OneNote - "Gather, store, and manage your notes and information — including text, pictures, digital handwriting, audio and video recordings, and more — in a single location. Having all your important information at your fingertips can help you make more informed decisions and be better prepared..."
Onfolio - "Onfolio is an add-in for the Windows Live Toolbar that helps you collect and organize online content, read RSS news feeds, and share content in emails, blogs and documents. With Onfolio, you get all of these tools built into your browser for simplicity. Whether you are planning a trip, looking for a job, investigating a major purchase, or simply looking for a better way to keep up with the news that interests you, Onfolio will help you be more efficient, thorough and organized."
PersonalBrain - "PersonalBrain helps you organize all your Web pages, contacts, documents, emails and files in one place so that you can always find them - just like you think of them. This saves you time and makes your life easier! With PersonalBrain you can even find related items that you worked on, but forgot existed."
Zotero - "Zotero is an easy-to-use yet powerful research tool that helps you gather, organize, and analyze sources (citations, full texts, web pages, images, and other objects), and lets you share the results of your research in a variety of ways. An extension to the popular open-source web browser Firefox, Zotero includes the best parts of older reference manager software (like EndNote)—the ability to store author, title, and publication fields and to export that information as formatted references—and the best parts of modern software and web applications (like iTunes and del.icio.us), such as the ability to interact, tag, and search in advanced ways." [seems not to allow email integration]
Harry Potter Trial Wraps
Ongoing WSJ coverage:
Court encourages parties to settle here.
Partial settlement here.
Opinionating by an IP attorney here.
Last day here.
Who will win? Take the poll and check the comments.
Georgia State Sued for Course ePacket Practices
In a complaint filed Tuesday in United States District Court in Atlanta, Cambridge UP, Oxford UP and Sage Publications sued Georgia State University, asserting “systematic, widespread and unauthorized copying and distribution of a vast amount of copyrighted works” by the university through the library electronic course reserve system, Blackboard, departmental websites and individual course syllabi posted online. According to the suit, "hundreds" of Georgia State professors have posted "thousands of copyrighted works" without permission. In a February count of the university’s course reserves, the lawsuit asserts, over 6,700 works were available for over 600 courses, with "much (and likely most)" posted without proper copyright authorization.
The lawsuit suggests that copyright clearance procedures are not in place for course ePackets. The Copyright Clearance Center offers the clearance for digital distribution. J-STOR offers similar services for journal articles available online.
Will Basic Books v. Kinko’s be followed? It should since copyright law does not distinguish between online and print editions of publications. Read more about it: Insider Higher Ed and New York Times. [JH]
Reflections on LLB's 1,000,000th Page View
Sometime today Law Librarian Blog should receive its 1,000,000th page view. It's a milestone I have been looking forward to but I don't exactly know why. Except as a marketing metric for advertisers, traffic stats tell us nothing about a blog's influence and it's contributions to our profession and for those outside our profession who are interested in providing or gaining access to information on the web. In the early days of this blog, I guess I just want to know whether anyone "out there" had found LLB.
It's not an uncommon interest. None other than Tim Berners-Lee started logging page accessions to the planet's first web server, info.cern.ch, in the summer of 1991. If the person who cooked up the web wondered about traffic stats, I guess it is OK for the rest of us too. But let's not make too much about traffic stats. In his Weaving the Web, Berners-Lee mentions traffic growth on CERN's web server only three times and the book's indexer didn't think the topic deserved indexing.
I know bloggers who check their traffic stats every day, several times a day even. It can be quite an obsession. I've succumbed to it from time to time but it is an urge well worth resisting. Just post and establish a web destination by doing so regularly. Visitors will find the blog via search engines and some will turn into regular readers.
About law library/law librarian blogs, Dennis Kennedy writes "across the board, these blogs have developed into strong information resources, often with links to primary source information that I'm not sure how I would find otherwise." While Ron Jones, our great team of contributing editors, and I thank you for making our efforts worthwhile by visiting LLB, why not also check out some of the other 140 law library/law librarian blogs today if you haven't already done so. Here's Bonnie Shucha's Directory. Together, law library/law librarian blogs are creating a valuable information space for users of legal resources. [JH]
Professional Reading: Telling Stories to Clients and Students
Check out Steven Johansen's (Lewis & Clark) This is Not the Whole Truth: The Ethics of Telling Stories to Clients [SSRN]. Here's the abstract:
This is not the whole truth. Rather, it is a tale of deception. More precisely, it is a reflection on storytelling and the law. It begins from the premise that stories, by their nature, can never tell the whole truth. Stories are told from a point of view, and that point of view necessarily limits the story. If told from another point of view, the truth of the story would change. To at least some degree, then, stories are incomplete analytical tools, and as such, deceptive. Despite the incomplete nature of stories, they can be powerful tools of persuasion. This creates a dilemma: when does the deception inherent in storytelling make storytelling an inappropriate tool of persuasion in a legal context? This article seeks to define the limits of legal storytelling generally and of storytelling to clients in particular.
Part II explores how the American Bar Association (ABA) not only tolerates deception, but in some cases requires it. The second inquiry, discussed in Part III, is storytelling's ability to inform and persuade in a way that rational analysis cannot. Part III of this paper explores how stories persuade through appealing to the listener's emotions, or, in Aristotelian terms, pathos. The final inquiry regards lawyer-client relations. Part IV explores the inherent conflict between a lawyer's responsibility to counsel a client and a client's own autonomy.
While storytelling at the client level may present some ethical problems, teaching law through stories can be an excellent pedagogical device. See Paul Caron's (Cincinnati) Back to the Future: Teaching Law Through Stories [SSRN]. [JH]
Religion, Politics and Law in Contemporary Islam: Three Recent Titles for Law Library Collections
1. The Fall and Rise of the Islamic State by Noah Feldman
List Price: $22.95
Hardcover: 200 pages
Publisher: Princeton University Press (March 3, 2008)
Book Description: Western powers call it a threat to democracy. Islamist movements are winning elections on it. Terrorists use it to justify their crimes. What, then, is the sharia? Given the severity of some of its provisions, why is it popular among Muslims? Can the Islamic state succeed—should it?
Feldman reveals how the classical Islamic constitution governed through and was legitimated by law. He shows how executive power was balanced by the scholars who interpreted and administered the sharia, and how this balance of power was finally destroyed by the tragically incomplete reforms of the modern era. The result has been the unchecked executive dominance that now distorts politics in so many Muslim states. Feldman argues that a modern Islamic state could provide political and legal justice to today’s Muslims, but only if new institutions emerge that restore this constitutional balance of power.
The Fall and Rise of the Islamic State gives us the sweeping history of the traditional Islamic constitution—its noble beginnings, its downfall, and the renewed promise it could hold for Muslims and Westerners alike.
About the Author: Noah Feldman is professor at Harvard Law School. He is a contributing writer for the "New York Times Magazine" and an adjunct senior fellow at the Council on Foreign Relations. He is the author of Divided by God, What We Owe Iraq (Princeton), and After Jihad.
2. Islam and the Secular State: Negotiating the Future of Shari'a by Abdullahi Ahmed An-Na'im (Harvard UP, 2008), recently featured on LLB here.
3. The Ulama in Contemporary Islam: Custodians of Change by Muhammad Qasim Zaman
Paperback: 312 pages
Publisher: Princeton University Press; New Ed edition (February 5, 2007)
Book Description: From the cleric-led Iranian revolution to the rise of the Taliban in Afghanistan, many people have been surprised by what they see as the modern reemergence of an antimodern phenomenon. This book helps account for the increasingly visible public role of traditionally educated Muslim religious scholars (the `ulama) across contemporary Muslim societies. Muhammad Qasim Zaman describes the transformations the centuries-old culture and tradition of the `ulama have undergone in the modern era--transformations that underlie the new religious and political activism of these scholars. In doing so, it provides a new foundation for the comparative study of Islam, politics, and religious change in the contemporary world.
While focusing primarily on Pakistan, Zaman takes a broad approach that considers the Taliban and the `ulama of Iran, Egypt, Saudi Arabia, India, and the southern Philippines. He shows how their religious and political discourses have evolved in often unexpected but mutually reinforcing ways to redefine and enlarge the roles the `ulama play in society. Their discourses are informed by a longstanding religious tradition, of which they see themselves as the custodians. But these discourses are equally shaped by--and contribute in significant ways to--contemporary debates in the Muslim public sphere.
This book offers the first sustained comparative perspective on the `ulama and their increasingly crucial religious and political activism. It shows how issues of religious authority are debated in contemporary Islam, how Islamic law and tradition are continuously negotiated in a rapidly changing world, and how the `ulama both react to and shape larger Islamic social trends. Introducing previously unexamined facets of religious and political thought in modern Islam, it clarifies the complex processes of religious change unfolding in the contemporary Muslim world and goes a long way toward explaining their vast social and political ramifications.
About the Author: Muhammad Qasim Zaman is Robert H. Niehaus '77 Professor of Near Eastern Studies and Religion at Princeton University. He is the author of Religion and Politics under the Early Abbasids and the editor, with Robert W. Hefner, of Schooling Islam: The Culture and Politics of Modern Muslim Education (Princeton).
The Implications of Climate Change Litigation for International Environmental Law-Making
Check out David Hunter's (American University, Washington College of Law) The Implications of Climate Change Litigation for International Environmental Law-Making, available from SSRN. Here's the abstract:
Climate advocates are increasingly raising specific climate change concerns before domestic courts, human rights tribunals, international commissions and other national and international decisionmaking bodies. Win or lose, these litigation strategies are significantly changing and enhancing the public dialogue around climate change. This article discusses the awareness-building impacts of climate litigation as well as related impacts such strategies may have on the development of climate law and policy. The article argues that litigation's focus on specific victims facing immediate threats from climate change has increased the political will to address climate change both internationally and nationally. It has also shifted the debate towards questions of compensation and adaptation, and has brought new and democratic voices to the climate policy debate. As a result, climate litigation is leaving an important imprint on climate policy regardless of whether a tort action in the United States or the Inuit human rights claims, for example, ultimately prevail - and as demonstrated by the recent US Supreme Court decision in Massachusetts v. EPA, some climate claims will prevail, setting important precedents for the future direction of climate law and policy.
Vision 2020: Digital Ubiquity and University Transformation
The University of Cincinnati College of Design, Architecture, Art and Planning (DAAP) is hosting Vision 2020: Digital Ubiquity & University Transformation: 2008 Higher Education Leadership Summit, August 6-8, 2008. The conference is co-sponsored by Apple. Details on the conference website.
The deadline for submitting presentation proposals is May 2, 2008. "Academic officers, instructional and academic technology managers, faculty, staff, IT staff and librarians from higher education institutions who have designed and implemented innovative solutions taking advantage of digital ubiquity are encouraged to submit proposals. 1:1 Apple notebook, iPod, iPhone or other intense integrations are particularly encouraged." Submissions should relate to one of the themes listed below;
- Presentation Themes
- Creating a Shared Vision on Campus
- Building a Culture of Innovation
- Designing a Curriculum for Digitally Equipped Students
- Faculty Development
- Teaching Excellence in a Digital Learning Environment
- Measuring Results
Crawford on Kindle and eBooks
Walt Crawford, Director and Managing Editor of the PALINET Leadership Network, takes a look at Kindle and eBooks in the April 2008 issue of Cites & Insights. See Old Media/New Media Perspective: Thinking About Kindle and Ebooks [HTML | PDF of entire issue]:
- Amazon's Kindle (page 9 in PDF)
- Nine Models, One Name: Untangling the Ebook Muddle (page 16) (manuscript version of article that was published in American Libraries (Sept. 2000)
- Other Thoughts on eBooks (page 20)