May 3, 2008
Deal Struck to Reinstate Pakistan Judges
The Washington Post is reporting that the coalition government of Pakistan has agreed to reinstate the country's chief justice and 60 other judges through a parliamentary resolution scheduled for May 12, 2008. Prime Minister Yousaf Raza Gillani is expected to sign an executive order completing the arrangement. Supreme Court Chief Justice Iftikhar Mohammed Chaudhry and the other judges were deposed last year under a controversial order by President Pervez Musharraf. [JH]
UNHCR and Google Earth Unveil Program for Humanitarian Operations
"Representatives of the UN refugee agency and Google on Tuesday unveiled a powerful new online mapping programme that provides an up-close and multifaceted view of some of the world's major displacement crises and the humanitarian efforts aimed at helping the victims.
The "Google Earth Outreach" programme gives UNHCR and other humanitarian agencies the ability to use Google Earth and Maps to highlight their work on behalf of millions of refugees and other populations of concern in some of the world's most remote and difficult areas."
Very cool. [RJ]
Lincoln and his Circle
Digital Collection from the University of Rochester Libraries: "The project seeks to digitize and make available the letters to, from, and about Abraham Lincoln that are held in the collections of the Department of Rare Books and Special Collections at the University of Rochester." You can browse the collection or search by keyword, writer, recipient and date range. [RJ]
May 2, 2008
"Consumer credit can be complicated. From the unusual legal terms to the complex mathematical formulas, understanding how credit works can be a big task. The Committee on Consumer Financial Services of the Section on Business Law of the American Bar Association has created this website to provide you with the tools to help you on your way to financial success. This website covers the four basic types of consumer credit: financing your home, financing your car, financing your education, and credit cards. At some point in your life you will be faced with decisions about most, if not all, of these types of credit. By reading through this website and others that we point you to, you will be able to get a grasp on understanding these types of credit and how to use them safely and wisely."
Friday Fun: Wrapped Up in Books
A soothing video for you from Belle and Sebastian filmed in a library with a very bookish theme. Please enjoy and try not get distracted like I did thinking, "Who is going to re-shelve all those books?" [BB]
Friday Fun: Law School Men of Genius
This video, a production of the Illinois Law Revue, highlights the unsung contributions of law school administrators.
Fair Use Blog Used in Legal Writing Class
The Chronicle of Higher Education profiles a blog created by Peter Friedman to supplement his legal writing class at Case Western. Check out What Is Fair Use?, an interesting topical blog for a legal writing course.
Hat tip to Adjunct Law Prof Blog. [JH]
Learning to Live in a Post-Fact Society
Well worth reading. Make no mistake: this is no run-of-the-mill exposé of media bias, but a sophisticated analysis of the ways and means by which lies and distortions do so well in today's fractured, cynical media world. —Todd Gitlin, Professor of Journalism and Sociology, Columbia University
True Enough: Learning to Live in a Post-Fact Society
by Farhad Manjoo
List Price: $25.95
Publisher: Wiley (March 17, 2008)
Book Description: In True Enough, Manjoo presents findings from psychology, sociology, political science, and economics to show how new technologies are prompting the cultural ascendancy of belief over fact. In an age of talk radio, cable TV, and the Internet—the blog- and YouTube-addled million-channel media universe—it is no longer necessary for any of us to confront notions that contradict what we "know" to be true. Stephen Colbert calls this "truthiness"—when something feels true without any evidence that it is. Here Manjoo probes the cognitive basis of truthiness, exploring how biases push both liberals and conservatives to select and interpret news in a way that accords with their personal versions of "reality."
Why has punditry lately overtaken news, with so many media outlets pushing partisan agendas instead of information? Why do lies seem to linger so long in the cultural subconscious even after they've been thoroughly discredited? And why, when more people than ever before are documenting the truth with laptops and digital cameras, does fact-free spin and propagandaseem to work so well? True Enough explores leading controversies of national politics, foreign affairs, science, and business, explaining how Americans have begun to organize themselves into echo chambers that harbor diametrically different facts—not merely opinions—from those of the larger culture. We meet people who espouse far-out interpretations of reality—about everything from the history of John Kerry's time in Vietnam to the integrity of the 2004 election to the truth about 9/11—and dig into the mechanism by which they came to hold those beliefs.
Seven Tips for Making the Most of Your RSS Reader
"RSS is a big deal, as anyone who's subscribed to even a few feeds probably knows. Once you get past just a few feeds, though, it can quickly get overwhelming. RSS can leave you feeling inadequate, brain-dead and uninspired.
I was feeling frustrated yesterday when switching from one feed reader to another on a new computer. Then I remembered how wonderful RSS really is - and I decided to write this post. I hope you'll find it interesting and useful." [RJ]
New Research Shows Teachers, Like Students, Are Re-segregating
In Desegregating Teachers (SSRN), Wendy Parker (Wake Forest) reports that based on the results of her empirical study of 157 school districts, public schools are more segregated than is commonly recognized. From the abstract of her article:
[T]his Article uncovers that teachers are re-segregating, just as students are. Many educators, policy makers, and legal scholars would find no fault with this resegregation because they disconnect integration from quality of education. The consequences of teacher segregation, however, remain uncharted territory in this debate over the value of integration. The resegregation of teachers exposes the truth of segregation - it continues to impede structural equality and helps to perpetuate white supremacy. Segregated teaching staffs, which put inexperienced white teachers in minority schools, are but one aspect of the inequality of segregation. Yet, this past term the Supreme Court legitimated the current segregation in our public schools in its landmark opinion, Parents Involved. Our society's refusal to recognize the transformative potential of integration is, however, more of an obstacle to equality than the Supreme Court. That is, until we identify integration with quality of education, the Supreme Court's refusal to do so is unimportant.
Hat tip to Workplace Prof Blog. [JH]
Pace Law School Receives $1 Million Grant for ADR Center on Environmental Interest Disputes
"The Pace University School of Law ... announced establishment of the Kheel Center on Resolution of Environmental Interest Disputes. The Center will provide educational programs for law students and lawyers in the techniques of discovery, fact-finding and other means of alternative dispute resolution to resolve environmental “interest disputes,” those that do not lend themselves to resolution by litigation.
The Center is being established with a $1 million grant to Pace Law School from Theodore W. Kheel, the famed mediator, through the Nurture Nature Foundation that he established and chairs. The grant will be supplemented by additional funding obtained through a fund raising campaign.
The Center will have a focus on using alternative dispute resolution techniques to resolve the many issues surrounding global warming. The Center also plans to assist law firms in establishing legal practices in this field." [RJ]
May 1, 2008
2007 Wiretap Report Released
The Administrative Office of the U.S. Courts has released the 2007 Wiretap Report which reports that state and federal judges issued a total of 2,208 orders authorizing the interception of wire, oral, or electronic communications -- a 20% increase over the previous year. The top three states for applications approved by state court judges are California, New York, and New Jersey.
Law Day USA at 50
Fifty years ago President Eisenhower proclaimed the first Law Day a "day of national dedication to the principle of government under law" [text] following up on a suggestion by ABA President Charles S. Rhyne. See The Original Creation and Future Impact of Law Day: Law Empowering People to Be Free from 1958 to the New Millennium, Address by Charles S. Rhyne at Law Library of Congress Law Day Celebration, May 1, 2000.
From the Address:
... I drafted a U.S. Presidential Proclamation, which made its way from John Foster Dulles, Secretary of State, to Sherman Adams, Chief of Staff to President Eisenhower, and stopped there.
It had seemed such a sure thing that Dulles had affixed his signature, authenticating the President's signature, before the Proclamation was presented to Eisenhower. Dulles then left on a trip. Because Dulles was so respected, not only by Eisenhower but by the world, I wanted his signature on the Proclamation rather than some assistant's.
Time passed. May 1 was fast approaching and I had heard nothing, so I went to see Governor Adams. He pulled the Proclamation out of his desk and gave it back to me saying "the President will not sign a proclamation praising lawyers."
I strode down to the Oval Office and handed it to President Eisenhower himself. As he stood there reading it, Adams burst in yelling "Do not sign that paper praising lawyers!"
The President held his hand up for silence until he had read the entire document. Then he said "Sherm, this Proclamation does not contain one word praising lawyers. It praises our constitutional system of government, our great heritage under the rule of law, and asks our people to stand up and praise what they have created. I like it and I am going to sign it." And he did.
Endnote. On April 17, 2008, the Canadian Bar Association marked Law Day [Canadian Bar Association Law Day]. The date corresponds to the signing of Canada’s Charter of Rights and Freedoms. Hat tip to Library Boy. [JH]
Human Rights Watch Releases Report Detailing Government Harassment of Chinese Lawyers
From the press release:
The 142-page report, Walking on Thin Ice: Control, Intimidation and Harassment of Lawyers in China, details consistent patterns of abuses against legal practitioners. These include intimidation, harassment, suspension of professional licenses, disbarment, physical assaults, and even arrest and prosecution when lawyers take politically sensitive cases, seek redress for abuses of power and wrongdoings by party or government agents, or challenge local power-holders.
Human Rights Watch also said that restrictions on lawyers risk exacerbating widespread social unrest as citizens are denied meaningful legal avenues to solve disputes. China has witnessed an explosion of social unrest in recent years, fueled by rising economic disparities and endemic abuses by unaccountable local officials. Issues such as illegal land seizures, forced evictions, relocations from dam areas, environmental pollution, unpaid social entitlements and administrative malfeasance have become burning social issues.
Key Recommendations. Human Rights Watch urges the Chinese government to address the plight of lawyers and the legal profession by:
- Immediately releasing all lawyers arrested, detained, or under supervision as a result of their professional activities, including as human rights defenders;
- Ending all officially sponsored attacks on lawyers and holding the perpetrators of such attacks accountable under the law;
- Making lawyers associations fully independent, insulated from interference by Party officials, security officials, and the Ministry of Justice;
- Repealing aspects of annual bar registration for lawyers which allow judicial system authorities to put pressure on and arbitrarily retaliate against lawyers for political and other reasons;
- Revising key laws and regulations governing the legal profession to bring them into accordance with international standards;
- Ensuring that arbitrary restrictions are not placed on the press in the coverage of politically sensitive cases; and
- Ensuring that lawyers, like other citizens, are able to exercise their rights to freedom of expression, belief, association, and assembly.
Professional Reading: Search Engines, Link Analysis, and User's Web Behavior
Search Engines, Link Analysis, and User's Web Behavior: A Unifying Web Mining Approach
by George Meghabghab & Abraham Kandel
List Price: $169.00
Hardcover: 341 pages
Publisher: Springer; 1 edition (May 2008)
Book Description: This book presents a specific and unified approach framework to three major components: Search Engines Performance, Link Analysis, and Users Web Behavior. The explosive growth and the widespread accessibility of the WWW has led to a surge of research activity in the area of information retrieval on the WWW. The book can be used by researchers in the fields of information sciences, engineering (especially software), computer science, statistics and management, who are looking for a unified theoretical approach to finding relevant information on the WWW and a way of interpreting it from a data perspective to a user perspective. It specifically stresses the importance of the involvement of the user looking for information to the relevance of information sought to the performance of the medium used to find information on the WWW.
New Law & Public Policy Titles from MIT Press
Details below the fold. [JH]
- Handbook of Antitrust Economics, edited by Paolo Buccirossi
- The Road to Democracy in Iran, by Akbar Ganji
- Why Nuclear Disarmament Matters, by Hans Blix
- The Epicenter of Crisis: The New Middle East, edited by Alexander T. J. Lennon
- American Environmental Policy, 1990-2006: Beyond Gridlock, by Christopher McGrory Klyza and David Sousa
- Environmental Law, Policy, and Economics: Reclaiming the Environmental Agenda, by Nicholas A. Ashford and Charles C. Caldart
- Fundamental Tax Reform: Issues, Choices, and Implications, edited by John W. Diamond and George R. Zodrow
- Taxing Ourselves: A Citizen's Guide to the Debate over Taxes, 4th ed., by Joel Slemrod and Jon Bakija
- Digital Media and Democracy: Tactics in Hard Times, edited by Megan Boler
- The Privacy Advocates: Resisting the Spread of Surveillance, by Colin J. Bennett (forthcoming, October 2008)
Handbook of Antitrust Economics
Edited by Paolo Buccirossi
MIT Press, April 2008
Book Description: Over the past twenty years, economic theory has begun to play a central role in antitrust matters. In earlier days, the application of antitrust rules was viewed almost entirely in formal terms; now it is widely accepted that the proper interpretation of these rules requires an understanding of how markets work and how firms can alter their efficient functioning. The Handbook of Antitrust Economics offers scholars, students, administrators, courts, companies, and lawyers the economist’s view of the subject, describing the application of newly developed theoretical models and improved empirical methods to antitrust and competition law in both the United States and the European Union. (The book uses the U.S. term "antitrust law" and the European "competition law" interchangeably, emphasizing the commonalities between the two jurisdictions.)
After a general discussion of the use of empirical methods in antitrust cases, the Handbook covers mergers, agreements, abuses of dominance (or unilateral conducts), and market features that affect the way firms compete. Chapters examine such topics as analyzing the competitive effects of both horizontal and vertical mergers, detecting and preventing cartels, theoretical and empirical analysis of vertical restraints, state aids, the relationship of competition law to the defense of intellectual property, and the application of antitrust law to "bidding markets," network industries, and two-sided markets.
The Road to Democracy in Iran
MIT Press, April 2008
Book Description: Akbar Ganji, called by some "Iran's most famous dissident," was a commander of the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps. But, troubled by the regime's repressive nature, he became an investigative journalist in the 1990s, writing for Iran's pro-democracy newspapers. Most notably, he traced the murders of dissident intellectuals to Iran's secret service. In 2000 Ganji was arrested, sentenced to six years in prison, and banned from working as a journalist. His eighty-day hunger strike during his last year in prison mobilized the international human rights community.
The Road to Democracy in Iran, Ganji's first book in English, demonstrates his lifelong commitment to human rights and democracy. A passionate call for universal human rights and the right to democracy from a Muslim perspective, it lays out the goals and means of Iran's democracy movement, why women's rights trump some interpretations of Islamic law, and how the West can help promote democracy in Iran (he strongly opposes U.S. intervention) and other Islamic countries.
Throughout the book Ganji argues consistently for universal rights based on our common humanity (and he believes the world's religions support that idea). But his arguments never veer into abstraction; they are rooted deeply in the realities of life in Islamic countries, and offer a clear picture of the possibilities for and obstacles to improving human rights and promoting democracy in the Muslim world.
About the Author: Since his release from prison in March 2006, Akbar Ganji has been traveling outside Iran, meeting with intellectuals and activists in the international human rights community. He is currently living in the United States.
Why Nuclear Disarmament Matters
MIT Press, April 2008
Book Description: In 2002 Dr. Hans Blix, then chief United Nations weapons inspector, lead his team on a search for weapons of mass destruction in Iraq. Before the United States went to war with Iraq the next March, he maintained there were no WMD in Iraq. History proved him right.
For more than forty years Dr. Blix has worked on global disarmament, and with this new book he renews the call for nuclear nonproliferation. His interests, though, go beyond stemming the threat of nuclear attack from rogue states and terrorists. It is not, he argues, a recipe for success for nuclear states to tell the rest of the world that it must stay away from the very weapons that nuclear states claim are indispensable. We will never be able to convince rogue states to halt the pursuit of nuclear weapons programs unless we take the lead in a new nonproliferation and disarmament movement.
Looking back at the UN post-World War II efforts against the use of nuclear weapons, Blix documents the retreat from early commitments by nuclear powers, most alarmingly from pledges against first use and toward programs to develop new types of nuclear weapons. He urges us to revive these efforts, and that the world's powers also look at issues of global disarmament and security as pieces of the same puzzle. Why Nuclear Disarmament Matters includes specific suggestions--how the UN can set the stage for a credible multilateral disarmament and nonproliferation process; what kind of treaties would be most helpful--and recommendations for regional policy, including providing the Middle East with enriched uranium for civilian nuclear power production but not allowing uranium enrichment there.
About the Author: From March 2000 to June 2003 Hans Blix was Executive Chairman of the UN Monitoring, Verification, and Inspection Commission (UNMOVIC). Dr. Blix, author of Disarming Iraq, is Chair of the Swedish government's Commission on Weapons of Mass Destruction.
The Epicenter of Crisis
The New Middle East
Edited by Alexander T. J. Lennon
MIT Press, March 2008
Book Description: The Epicenter of Crisis argues that six contiguous states epitomize the security challenges of a post-9/11, globalized world: Saudi Arabia, Syria, Iraq, Iran, Afghanistan, and Pakistan. Characterized by a dramatically transforming Islam, ethnic conflict, civil war, failed states, and terrorism, this "new Middle East" is the epicenter of what some call an arc of crisis, stretching from the Balkans into Southeast Asia. The Epicenter of Crisis examines this geopolitically dynamic region, analyzing the changing role of Islam in these six critical countries, the dangers posed by potential failed states, and the evolving terrorist threat
The contributors, all specialists in Middle East or foreign policy, address such crucial issues as the relationship between the Saudi royal family and Al Quaeda, Syria's waning influence over Hizbollah, media coverage of the war in Iraq, a new U.S. strategy for dealing with Iran, Afghanistan's opium industry, and the effectiveness of U.S. multi-billion-dollar assistance to Pakistan. The Epicenter of Crisis challenges readers to reconceptualize the boundaries of the Middle East in a changed world.
American Environmental Policy, 1990-2006
Christopher McGrory Klyza and David Sousa
MIT Press, January 2008
Book Description: The "golden era" of American environmental lawmaking, between 1964 and 1980, saw twenty-two pieces of major environmental legislation (including the Clean Air Act, the Clean Water Act, and the Endangered Species Act) passed by bipartisan majorities in Congress and signed into law by presidents of both parties. But since then environmental issues have divided the parties and engendered bitter interest-group politics, with most new proposals blocked by legislative gridlock. In this book, Christopher McGrory Klyza and David Sousa argue that this longstanding legislative stalemate at the national level has forced environmental policymaking onto other pathways, both inside and outside government. Despite the congressional impasse, they write, environmental policymaking today is vibrant and complex--although the results fall short of what is needed in the years ahead.
Klyza and Sousa identify and analyze five alternative policy paths, which they illustrate with case studies: "appropriations politics" in Congress; executive authority, including the rulemaking process; the role of the courts, whose role in environmental policymaking has grown in the era of legislative gridlock; “next-generation” collaborative experiments (which, the authors argue, should be seen as an important approach but not a panacea); and policymaking at the state level. Their comprehensive analysis of the state of environmental policymaking since 1990 shows that although legislative gridlock is unlikely to dissipate anytime soon, the nation continues to move in the direction favored by environmentalists, largely because of the policy legacies of the 1960s and 1970s that have created an enduring 'green state" rooted in statutes, bureaucratic routines, and public expectations.
About the Authors: Christopher McGrory Klyza is Robert '35 and Helen '38 Stafford Professor of Public Policy and Professor of Political Science and Environmental Studies at Middlebury College. David Sousa is Professor in the Department of Politics and Government at the University of Puget Sound.
Environmental Law, Policy, and Economics
Reclaiming the Environmental Agenda
Nicholas A. Ashford and Charles C. Caldart
MIT Press, May 2008
Book Description: The past twenty-five years have seen a significant evolution in environmental policy, with new environmental legislation and substantive amendments to earlier laws, significant advances in environmental science, and changes in the treatment of science (and scientific uncertainty) by the courts. This book offers a detailed discussion of the important issues in environmental law, policy, and economics, tracing their development over the past few decades through an examination of environmental law cases and commentaries by leading scholars. The authors focus on pollution, addressing both pollution control and prevention, but also emphasize the evaluation, design, and use of the law to stimulate technical change and industrial transformation, arguing that there is a need to address broader issues of sustainable development.
Environmental Law, Policy, and Economics, which grew out of courses taught by the authors at MIT, treats the traditional topics covered in most classes in environmental law and policy, including common law and administrative law concepts and the primary federal legislation. But it goes beyond these to address topics not often found in a single volume: the information-based obligations of industry, enforcement of environmental law, market-based and voluntary alternatives to traditional regulation, risk assessment, environmental economics, and technological innovation and diffusion. Countering arguments found in other texts that government should play a reduced role in environmental protection, this book argues that clear, stringent legal requirements--coupled with flexible means for meeting them--and meaningful stakeholder participation are necessary for bringing about environmental improvements and technological transformations.
About the Authors: Nicholas A. Ashford is Professor of Technology and Director of the Technology and Law Program at MIT. Charles C. Caldart is Director of Litigation of the National Environmental Law Center and a Lecturer in the Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering at MIT.
Fundamental Tax Reform
Issues, Choices, and Implications
Edited by John W. Diamond and George R. Zodrow
MIT Press, April 2008
Book Description: Reform of the federal income tax system has become a perennial item on the domestic policy agenda of the United States, although there is considerable uncertainty over specifics. Indeed the recent report of the President's Advisory Panel on Federal Tax Reform recommended not one but two divergent policy directions (and included extensive discussion of a third). In Fundamental Tax Reform, top experts in tax policy discuss a wide range of issues raised by the prospect of significant tax reform, identifying the most critical questions and considering whether the answers are known, unknown--or unknowable.
The debates over tax reform usually concern the advantages and disadvantages of income-based taxation as opposed to any of the several alternative forms of consumption-based taxation. The book opens with chapters that discuss the strengths, weaknesses, and political feasibility of these options. Other chapters consider the effects of tax reforms on businesses, especially their investment behavior, and include a discussion of possible problems in any transition to a consumption-based tax; international taxation issues arising in an era of globalization; and individual behavioral response to tax reform, including a view of the topic from the perspective of the relatively new field of behavioral economics.
Taxing Ourselves, 4th Edition
A Citizen's Guide to the Debate over Taxes
Joel Slemrod and Jon Bakija
MIT Press, April 2008
Book Description: As Albert Einstein may or may not have said, "The hardest thing in the world to understand is the income tax." Indeed, to follow the debate over tax reform, the interested citizen is forced to choose between misleading sound bites and academic treatises. Taxing Ourselves bridges the gap between the two by discussing the key issues clearly and without a political agenda: Should the federal income tax be replaced with a flat tax or sales tax? Should it be left in place and reformed? Can tax cuts stimulate the economy, or will higher deficits undermine any economic benefit? Tax policy experts Joel Slemrod and Jon Bakija lay out in accessible language what is known and not known about how taxes affect the economy, offer guidelines for evaluating tax systems, and provide enough information to assess both the current income tax system and the leading proposals to reform or replace it (including the flat tax and the consumption tax).
The fourth edition of this popular guide has been extensively revised to incorporate the latest information, covering such recent developments as the Bush administration's tax cuts (which expire in 2011) and the alternatives proposed by the President's Advisory Panel on Federal Tax Reform. Slemrod and Bakija provide us with the knowledge and the tools--including an invaluable voter's guide to the tax policy debate--to make our own informed choices about how we should tax ourselves.
About the Authors: Joel Slemrod is Paul W. McCracken Collegiate Professor of Business Economics and Public Policy and Director of the Office of Tax Policy Research at the University of Michigan. Jon Bakija is Associate Professor of Economics at Williams College and Visiting Associate Professor of Law at Cornell University Law School, 2007-2008.
Digital Media and Democracy
Tactics in Hard Times
Edited by Megan Boler
MIT Press, May 2008
Book Description: In an age of proliferating media and news sources, who has the power to define reality? When the dominant media declared the existence of WMDs in Iraq, did that make it a fact? Today, the "Social web" (sometimes known as Web 2.0, groupware, or the participatory Web)--epitomized by blogs, viral videos, and YouTube--creates new pathways for truths to emerge and makes possible new tactics for media activism. In Digital Media and Democracy, leading scholars in media and communication studies, media activists, journalists, and artists explore the contradiction at the heart of the relationship between truth and power today: the fact that the radical democratization of knowledge and multiplication of sources and voices made possible by digital media coexists with the blatant falsification of information by political and corporate powers.
The book maps a new digital media landscape that features citizen journalism, The Daily Show, blogging, and alternative media. The contributors discuss broad questions of media and politics, offer nuanced analyses of change in journalism, and undertake detailed examinations of the use of Web-based media in shaping political and social movements. The chapters include not only essays by noted media scholars but also interviews with such journalists and media activists as Amy Goodman of Democracy Now!, Media Matters host Robert McChesney, and Hassan Ibrahim of Al Jazeera.
The Privacy Advocates
Resisting the Spread of Surveillance
Colin J. Bennett
MIT Press, October 2008
A number of high-profile conflicts in recent years have brought this international advocacy movement more sharply into focus. Bennett is the first to examine privacy and surveillance not from a legal, political, or technical perspective but from the viewpoint of these independent activists who have found creative ways to affect policy and practice. Drawing on extensive interviews with key informants in the movement, he examines how they frame the issue and how they organize, who they are and what strategies they use. He also presents a series of case studies that illustrate how effective their efforts have been, including conflicts over key-escrow encryption (which allows the government to read encrypted messages), online advertising through third-party cookies that track users across different Web sites, and online authentication mechanisms such as the short-lived Microsoft Passport. Finally, Bennett considers how the loose coalitions of the privacy network could develop into a more cohesive international social movement.
About the Author: Colin Bennett is Professor in the Department of Political Science at the University of Victoria, British Columbia. He is the coauthor (with Charles Raab) of The Governance of Privacy: Policy Instruments in Global Perspective (updated paperback edition, MIT Press, 2006).
Parenthood and Productivity in Law Firms
In Parenthood and Productivity: A Study of Demands, Resources and Family-Friendly Firms, 72 J. Vocational Behavior 110 (Feb. 2008), sociologists Jean Wallace & Marisa Young (Calgary) find that childless female lawyers billed more hours than childless male lawyers (and male and female lawyers with children) The study also finds we little support for the benefits of family resources or working in a family-friendly firm for women. Here's the abstract:
We examine how the presence of children is related to women’s and men’s productivity. We hypothesize family demands, family resources, and family-friendly workplaces are also related to productivity. Productivity for 670 Alberta law firm lawyers is analyzed using a standardized measure of productivity referred to as billable hours. The results suggest that mothers with school-aged children are less productive than non-mothers, whereas fathers with preschool-aged children are more productive than non-fathers. While time spent on household and childcare tasks significantly reduces women’s productivity, we find little support for the benefits of family resources or working in a family-friendly firm for women. Rather, fathers seem to benefit more: family resources are positively related to their productivity and family-friendly benefits allow them more time for leisure. These results support the assumption that having children is negatively related to women’s productivity but challenges the belief that family-friendly policies are primarily beneficial only to mothers trying to balancing work and family.
Hat tip to TaxProf Blog. [JH]
Investor and Industry Perspectives on Investment Advisers and Broker-Dealers
"In theory, financial professionals are relatively distinct: A broker conducts transactions in securities on behalf of others; a dealer buys and sells securities for his or her own accounts; and an investment adviser provides advice to others regarding securities. Broker-dealers and investment advisers are subject to different regulatory structures. But trends in the financial services market since the early 1990s have blurred the boundaries between them. Regulatory reform requires a clearer understanding of the industry’s complexities. The U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission asked RAND to conduct this study to examine the professionals’ current business practices and whether investors understand differences between and relationships among them. The report describes a heterogeneous industry, with firms taking many different forms and offering a multitude of services and products and with investors failing to distinguish broker-dealers and investment advisers along regul! atory lines. Despite this, investors express high levels of satisfaction with the services they receive from their own financial service providers. This satisfaction was much more frequently reported to arise from the personal attention the investor receives than from the actual financial returns arising from this relationship." [RJ]
April 30, 2008
2008 Essential Reference Tools Surveys
Check out Diane Kovacs' on-going reference tool surveys, including surveys for Law and Government Documents, both hosted by SurveyMonkey. Kovacs is author of The Virtual Reference Handbook (2007)(Details below the fold). [JH]
List Price: $65.00
Neal-Schuman Publishers, 2007
Book Description: IM, e-mail, and chat reference is already here, but have you adapted your traditional reference interview and information provision skills to these new formats? ACRL online trainer and popular Internet workshop leader Diane Kovacs has assembled this handbook to help reference librarians develop the communication skills and resources they need to work effectively in the virtual reference environment. The handbook shows how to adapt traditional face-to-face reference interview skills to the virtual interview—and how to interpret and use new cues (chat slang, IM shorthand, emoticons, etc.) to better serve your users. For both chat and e-mail transactions, Kovacs outlines strategies for analyzing the question, conducting the interview, developing a search strategy, and delivering sources. There is guidance for selecting the best information format for users and delivering content in a timely and valuable manner. This practical guide offers everything reference librarians need to move from the face-to-face to virtual transaction with ease.
Managing Web 2.0 Deployments for e-Discovery Compliance
Pretty much all digital information is vulnerable when it comes to e-discovery requests. That includes content stored in-house on servers and local drives, plus mobile devices. IT departments can readily deal with these discovery requests but what about Web 2.0 apps like blogs and wikis not hosted in-house but used for business purposes? Covered by e-discovery requests? Yup.
As discussed in an Information Week story Holy Web 2.0 Herding Nightmare, employees are flocking to online collaboration tools that are not always supported by in-house IT departments. In Web 2.0 And Legal Discovery, Information Week reviews the need to develop an enterprise-level policy for the use of collaboration tools, one that gives companies and law firms the right to access any online tools that contain corporate data but are not hosted in-house, retrieve that data, and shut down the employee's access to the site if necessary.
As a first step, KM managers should conduct an audit to identify the use of Web 2.0 apps hosted off-site by service providers and consider bringing them in-house to provide users with the capabilities they need to do their jobs. Holy Web 2.0 Herding Nightmare reviews some IT options for doing so.
For Web 2.0 deployments that remain hosted off-site, a registry of blogs, wikis and other collaboration tools used for business purposes is absolutely essential for e-discovery purposes. Courts will not look kindly on "we didn't know" responses. [JH]