July 19, 2008
The World’s Lost Environmental Causes
A few of what were once considered imminent environmental catastrophes now seem like memories from a bygone era. Whether the problem is solved, the public loses interest, or there was never really much to fear, environmental causes can sometimes simply fade away. Foreign Policy identifies five of the world's lost environmental causes:
- The Ozone Hole: Since the 1987 signing of the Montreal Protocol, the ozone hole has stopped widening and might even be shrinking.
- Acid Rain: The now ubiquitous use of catalytic converters in cars and the switch to cleaner forms of coal and natural gas have helped bring down acidity levels throughout Europe and North America.
- Save the Whales: Humpback and blue whales are recovering. Other species have not fared as well.
- Bald Eagle Extinction: Down to only 417 breeding pairs by 1963, thanks to the DDT ban and protection of their habitat, the bald eagle was taken off the endangered species list in 2007.
- Genetically Modified Food: The current food crisis in the developing world has resulted in more countries growing GM crops than in the developed world.
UNDP's North Korea Report
"The External Independent Investigative Review Panel delivered its final Report on the United Nations Development Program’s activities in North Korea. The panel, appointed by the UNDP Administrator, found broad management deficiencies in UNDP’s North Korea program, including in payment modalities, staffing practices, and project oversight.
The United States remains concerned about the breakdowns in UNDP’s management system, and is committed to the idea of a UNDP that addresses its weaknesses and in so doing better realizes its intended purpose – to help the world’s poor. Toward that end, the United States will continue to work with UNDP management through our UN Transparency and Accountability Initiative, and will focus particular attention on the Panel’s findings and recommendations."
To read the Report please visit: http://www.undp.org/dprk/nemethreport.shtml
To learn more about the UN Transparency and Accountability Initiative, please visit: http://www.usunnewyork.usmission.gov/Issues/reform_untai.html [RJ]
Has Student Achievement Improved Since 2002? State Test Score Trends Through 2006–07
New report from the Center on Education Policy: "Using testing data from all 50 states, this study addresses two key questions: has student achievement increased and have achievement gaps narrowed since the No Child Left Behind Act was enacted in 2002. A comparison is also made between state test results and results from the National Assessment of Educational Progress." [RJ]
July 18, 2008
Netroots Nation Conference Is Underway
Former the Yearly Kos meeting, the Netroots Nation conference of online activists is underway in Austin.
Friday Fun: This Attorney's Practice May Be Too Specialized
A parody of late night Cable TV ads: "Arnie Ping "is a certified, yet extremely limited attorney at law. [JH]
Does Paul McCartney Need More Money?
The European Commission has proposed a plan to retroactively extend the copyright terms on musical recordings for another 45 years to a total of 95 years. From the Commission's statement:
The aim of the proposal is to bring performers' protection more in line with that already given to authors - 70 years after their death. The extended term will enable performers to earn money for a longer period of time and in any event throughout their lifetime. The income from copyright remuneration is important for performers, as they often do not have other regular salaried income. The extended term will also benefit record producers who will generate additional revenue from the sale of records in shops and on the internet. This should allow producers to adapt to the rapidly changing business environment and help them maintain their investment levels in new talent.
Text of the Proposal (pdf)
Hat tip to Ars Technica. [JH]
CFR Task Force Report Calls for Overhaul of U.S. Climate Change Strategy
The Council on Foreign Felations Task Force's report, Confronting Climate Change: A Strategy for U.S. Foreign Policy (June 2008), recommends ambitious emissions cuts, negotiating a Post-Kyoto deal, reducing biofuel tariffs and phasing out domestic subsidies for mature biofuels such as conventional corn-based ethanol, and increasing the use of nuclear power in countries that already have nuclear power generators. Check out the CFR press release for additional information. Purchase a copy of Confronting Climate Change: A Strategy for U.S. Foreign Policy or download the PDF. [JH]
A Quick Look at Our Courts
From the Our Courts mission statement:
The "Our Courts" Project was created to help those seeking to address the evident crisis in civics education. In doing so, we hope to pioneer a new pedagogic approach designed to respond to the particular learning styles of the "digital" generation. Accordingly, over the next 24 months, we will create an online, interactive, and problem-based civics learning environment, entitled "Our Courts," www.ourcourts.org. This web-based environment will be available, free of charge, to students and teachers nationwide for use in classes, enrichment programs, or extracurricular activities. The environment will be content-driven, but will also be media-rich, visually exciting, and highly interactive. It will be designed to captivate and engage students, while empowering and supporting their teachers. Our target audience, at least as an initial matter, includes students in the seventh through ninth grades, and the technology, visuals, and media used will be appropriate to that age group.
Justice Sandra Day O'Connor on the Project:
100 Reference Web Sites
Laura Milligan has compiled a list of 100 "unbelievably useful reference sites you’ve never heard of" for "teachers, students, hypochondriacs, procrastinators, bookworms, sports nuts" ... you get the idea. The directory is organized under the following headings and does include some I've never heard of:
- Dictionaries and More
- Teacher References
- Librarian References
- Just for Fun
- Health Care
- References for Students
- Niche Sites
- Search Engines
- Open Source Sites
- Internet and Computer Reference
- Consumer Research and Public Information
- News and Pop Culture
ISOO 2007 Annual Report to the President
New report from the Information Security Oversight Office (NARA): "The ISOO 2007 Annual Report to the President is now available online. The Report profiles data about the government-wide security classification program during Fiscal Year 2007." [RJ]
July 17, 2008
Amazon Video on Demand Launched Today
Amazon Video on Demand will be accessible to a limited number of invited Amazon.com customers today before it opens to the general public later this summer according to this New York Times story. Unlike other Internet video stores, like Apple iTunes and the original incarnation of Amazon’s video store, Amazon Video on Demand customers will be able to start watching any of 40,000 movies and television programs immediately after ordering them because they will stream, just like programs on a cable video-on-demand service. [JH]
Law Professor Blogs Network Launches Two New Blogs
Check out the Law Professor Blogs Network's two new blogs:
- Career & Professional Development Blog edited by Susan Gainen (Minnesota) and Mina Jones Jefferson (Cincinnati) and
- International Law Prof Blog edited by Mark Wojcik (John Marshall Law School, Chicago), Cindy Galway Buys (Southern Illinois Univ. School of Law) and Michael A. Peil (Washington Univ. School of Law).
See also two Law Professor Blogs Network blogs that were recently relaunched with new bloggers:
- Administrative Law Prof Blog edited by Ted McClure (Phoenix), Kamina Pinder (John Marshall Law School, Atlanta), and Lisa Tripp (John Marshall Law School, Atlanta) and
- Unincorporated Business Law Prof Blog edited by Gary Rosin (South Texas College of Law).
Welcome to the blogosphere!
You can check out what the Network's bloggers are publishing by visiting the Network-wide feed page. [JH]
Rasmussen Reports' Internet Harassment Survey
According to a recent Rasmussen Reports national survey, 49% of Americans think the federal government should regulate the Internet the same way it does radio and television. Thirty-five percent (35%) disagree, and 16% are undecided. The survey also found that that Americans believe overwhelmingly -- 73% yes to 13% no -- that it should be a crime to harass someone on the Internet. [JH]
Power as a Factor in Lawyers' Ethical Deliberations
Susan Carle (American University Washington College of Law) proposes a normative standard for how relative client power should be taken into consideration in lawyers' ethical deliberations in Power as a Factor in Lawyers' Ethical Deliberation (SSRN) From the abstract:
A fundamental disagreement among legal ethics scholars concerns the difference between client-centered and justice-centered approaches to lawyers' ethical obligations. Advocates of client-centered approaches put lawyers' duty to the client first. Justice-centered theorists critique the elevation of the client's interests over other important concerns lawyers affect through the work they do on behalf of clients. Scholars who adopt justice-centered approaches argue that lawyers' ethical obligations should be analyzed with a paramount focus on achieving justice.
Legal ethicists often view these two approaches as inconsistent with each other, but I argue in this Article that they are not necessarily so. Building on the growing awareness of the need for context-specific legal ethics analysis, I argue that a key factor responsible for the disagreement between client- and justice-centered legal ethics scholars is their focus on different practice settings, where different ethics concerns have priority. Ethicists concerned about the immense power of corporate clients to do harm to fragile structures of public regulatory law focus on lawyers' duties to concern themselves with the underlying justice of their representations, while ethicists immersed in practice settings involving the representation of relatively powerless clients or interests, such as in criminal defense and poverty law practice, are adamant about the need for client-centeredness. I argue that we can make much better sense of the debate between client- and justice-centered ethicists if we appreciate the importance of context in setting ethics priorities.
The challenge then becomes identifying the factors that vary with practice setting and account for the different emphases of justice- and client-centered approaches. I suggest that a key factor that accounts for ethicists' varying views about the appropriate balance to be struck between client- and justice-centeredness is the relative power of the lawyer's client in relation to other interests affected by the representation.
Do Female Law Profs Blog?
Bennett Capers (Hofsta) asked the question on PrawfsBlawg recently. For the 53 blogs published by the Law Professor Blogs Network, 30% (30/100) of the editors are female law professors. If we added female law school administrators editing blogs for the Network, the figure would increase to 34% (34/100) and this demographic does not include female law professors, academic law librarians and law school administrators who blog occasionally on Network blogs. See also Capers' follow-up post: Is Blogging Just Another Boys' Club? [JH]
Selected Bibliographies for Directed Reading
Patrick S. O’Donnell (Department of Philosophy, Santa Barbara City College) has been publishing unannotated topical bibliographies of monographs in a series of directed reading posts on Ratio Juris (all downloadable in MS Word file format). Here's the download links:
- Bioethics: A Basic Bibliography (10 pages)
- Criminal Law, Punishment & Prisons: A Selected Bibliography (with Internet sites) (15 pages)
- Comparative Law: A Basic Bibliography of Books in English (17 pages)
- Ecological & Environmental Worldviews: A Basic Bibliography (10 pages)
- Human Rights: Ethical, Legal & Political Perspectives (10 pages)
- International Law: A Basic Bibliography (19 pages)
Check Ratio Juris for forthcoming bibliographies. [JH]
July 16, 2008
Omar Khadr Video Round-up
Following up on our earlier post, First Guantanamo Bay Interrogation Video Released, check out Lawrence Gridin's recent Law is Cool post, Omar Khadr Video Round-up. Among the videos provided in the post is a short clip showing an excerpt from the oral arguments presented before the Canadian Supreme Court in Canada (Justice) v. Khadr, 2008 SCC 28. Excellent coverage! [JH]
Cost Effective Legal Research Advice for New Associates and Law Clerks
A recent semi-serious LLB Poll posed the question: what will be the first thing law firm librarians tell summer associates this year? 74.7% responded with "Lexis/Westlaw costs MONEY!" By now, the truth of that advice, the consequences of not realizing how expensive online legal research can be, is sinking into the minds of some "bright young things" who started working at law firms and corporate legal departments this summer. Perhaps it's time to assign them some required reading.
Lisa Smith-Bulter's Cost Effective Legal Research Redux: How to Avoid Becoming the Accidental Tourist, Lost in Cyberspace, 9 Fla. Coastal L. Rev. 293-346 (2008) [Westlaw | SSRN] may do the job. The goal of her article is to assist legal researchers with cost effectively retrieving legal information. To accomplish this, researchers should understand the various branches of the government and the primary sources of law produced by each branch. Researchers then need to understand and be able to evaluate the available formats, i.e. print or electronic, in which legal information is located. Fee and free electronic sites are reviewed and discussed. Free, reputable Internet sites that provide access to primary and secondary sources of American law are located and reviewed in detail.
The author is the Assistant Dean and Director, Law Library & Technology Center & Associate Professor of Law, Shepard Broad Law Center, Nova Southeastern University. The article is titled "redux" because Lisa Smith-Bulter is revisiting a topic that has changed substantially since her 2000 article, Cost Effective Legal Research, 18 Legal Reference Services Q. 61. Nice job! [JH]
Professional Reading: The Impacts of Free Public Internet Access on Public Library Patrons and Communities
The Impacts of Free Public Internet Access on Public Library Patrons and Communities by John Carlo Bertot, Charles R. McClure and Paul T. Jaeger has been published in the July 2008 issue of The Library Quarterly. Here's the abstract:
Public libraries have evolved into a primary source of Internet access in many communities, generating wide-ranging impacts in the communities that public libraries serve. Based on the findings of the 2007 Public Libraries and the Internet study, this article examines the ways in which the Internet access delivered by public libraries affects their communities. This article describes the public access technology roles of public libraries and explores the relationships among community impacts, community expectations, and public policies related to libraries. The analysis emphasizes the effects of future Internet platforms and applications and online communities on the community impacts. This article also examines ways in which to measure these impacts from other perspectives, including developing a means of assessing the users' perceptions of the impacts of public library Internet access in their own lives and in their communities.
See also: Rita Dermody's (Collection Access Services Librarian, King County Law Library in Seattle) article Reaching the e-Generation (pdf), Law Librarians in the New Millennium (March-April 2008), for programs King County Law Library has implemented to bring legal information to patrons and bring patrons to the law library. [JH]
Readex's Archive of Americana Crossroads Feature
Crossroads gives scholars a single way to interact with any page or article Readex's "Archive of Americana" online research database, and gives them credit for their annotations and comments, or links to other items or comments, all of which is permanently archived. Remmel Nunn, vice president for new product development at Readex, reports in Crossroads: A New Paradigm for Electronically Researching Primary Source Documents that Crossroads is "functionally linked to three modules of the Archive of Americana: Early American Imprints I and II, and American Broadsides and Ephemera. In the coming months we will add links to Readex’s America’s Historical Newspapers database and the U.S. Congressional Serial Set. To give people an opportunity to explore the teaching and research benefits of Crossroads, we are offering free, unlimited access through the end of the fall 2008 semester. After January 1, 2009, a modest annual fee will be required for continued access."
Check out at the interface and a more detailed description of Crossroads. [JH]