January 19, 2008
The American Idea: The Best of the Atlantic Monthly
The American Idea: The Best of the Atlantic Monthly
edited by Robert Vare
List Price: $35.00
Hardcover: 688 pages
Publisher: Doubleday (October 16, 2007)
Book Description: This extraordinary anthology brings together seventy-eight of the magazine's most acclaimed and influential articles, including "Letter from Birmingham Jail," by Martin Luther King, Jr., one of the 20th century's most famous reflections upon—and calls for—racial equality; "Broken Windows," by James Q. Wilson and George L. Kelling, which gave birth to a new way of thinking about law enforcement; "The Roots of Muslim Rage," by Bernard Lewis, which prophetically warned of the dangers posed to the West by rising Islamic extremism; and "The Fifty-First State," by James Fallows, which previewed in astonishing detail the mess in which America would find itself in Iraq—a full six months before the invasion. The collection also highlights some of The Atlantic’s finest moments in fiction and poetry—from the likes of Twain, Whitman, Frost, Hemingway, Nabokov, and Bellow—affirming the central role of literature in defining and challenging American society.
Hoover Planned Mass Jailing in 1950
"A newly declassified document shows that J. Edgar Hoover, the longtime director of the Federal Bureau of Investigation, had a plan to suspend habeas corpus and imprison some 12,000 Americans he suspected of disloyalty.
Hoover wanted President Harry S. Truman to proclaim the mass arrests necessary to “protect the country against treason, espionage and sabotage.” The F.B.I would “apprehend all individuals potentially dangerous” to national security, Hoover’s proposal said. The arrests would be carried out under “a master warrant attached to a list of names” provided by the bureau.
The names were part of an index that Hoover had been compiling for years. “The index now contains approximately twelve thousand individuals, of which approximately ninety-seven per cent are citizens of the United States,” he wrote."
January 18, 2008
Friday Fun: Bad Day at the Office
I've seen "rage against the machine" happenings like the ones in this video in a law firm office! Hat tip to Lisa Wernke, Acquisitions Librarian, University of Cincinnati Law Library for sharing. [JH]
Should Law Profs Require Student Blog Participation?
That's the question Adjunct Law Prof Blog editor Mitchell Rubinstein asked after noting that Barry Law School Adjunct Professor Marc John Randazza gives credit for student participation on his blog, The Legal Satyricon. The question has created a mini-dust storm in the blogosphere. Check out the comments to Rubinstein's original post and the following posts and their comments:
- Susan Cartier Liebel's post, Knickers Are Twisting Over Innovative Adjunct Telling Students They MUST Blog on Build a Solo Practice
- Scott Greenfield's post, Adjunct Accused of Misblawgary on Simple Justice
- Randazza's Post
- And Rubinstein's follow-up post on Adjunct Law Prof Blog
Belated Happy Birthday Wikipedia
Researchers: Beware the IE Cache on a Public Terminal
"If you use Internet Explorer to access Google's Gmail on public terminals, you may be leaving a lot of sensitive information exposed in the browser's cache, according to a warning from Web application security specialist Cenzic. However, Microsoft has downplayed the risk, insisting this is "not a product vulnerability." Cenzic spokesman Mandeep Khera said his company's researchers figured out a way to use CSRF (cross-site request forgery) in combination with the improper use of caching directives to hijack Gmail credentials from the IE cache.
The issue is specific to Gmail on IE and Cenzic believes both Microsoft and Google should apply fixes to secure customers, especially those using computer kiosks in a library or Internet café. After a "thorough investigation," Microsoft has dismissed the threat as overblown. "In the scenario in question an attacker would need authenticated access to the system in order to modify files located in the cache. With that level of access, an attacker could install malicious programs that would have more impact than the scenarios described," a Microsoft spokesman said in a statement sent to eWEEK."
Obviously overblown. Who ever heard of Microsoft IE being vulnerable...[RJ]
What Did the Professor Say? Check Your iPod
"Students staring at their iPod screens may be taking a break with a music video — or they may be reviewing a tough chemistry lecture.
These days, students who miss an important point the first time have a second chance. After class, they can pipe the lecture to their laptops or MP3 players and hear it again while looking at the slides that illustrate the talk.
At least two companies now sell software to universities and other institutions that captures the words of classroom lectures and syncs them with the digital images used during the talk — usually PowerPoint slides and animations. The illustrated lectures are stored on a server so that students can retrieve them and replay the content on the bus ride home, clicking along to the exact section they need to review.
When it’s time to cram, the replay services beat listening to a cassette recording of a class, said Nicole Engelbert, an analyst at Datamonitor, a marketing research company in New York." [RJ]
White House Fact Sheet: Year in Review: 2007
From the White House. [RJ]
January 17, 2008
News Stories This Week Poll
I thought I would test drive a possible new blog feature today. [JH]
How important were these stories to you?
- New self-destructing palm species discovered. A self-destructing palm tree that flowers once every 100 years and then dies has been discovered on the Indian Ocean island of Madagascar, botanists said Thursday. CNN coverage.
- New ultra-thin MacBook Air notebook computer unveiled. Steve Jobs took the wraps off a super-slim new laptop at the Macworld trade show on Tuesday, unveiling a personal computer less than an inch thick. CNN coverage.
Be True to Your School
Check out the ten law schools who graduated the most law teachers on Brian Leiter's Law School Reports. The data was obtained from 7,820 tenured and tenure-track law professors listed in the AALS Directory of Law Teachers.
The data was provided to Leiter by a Michigan Assistant Dean in response to Leiter's recent Ludicrous Hyperbole Watch: University of Michigan Law School post. Leiter (JD '87 and Ph.D in philosophy '95 from Michigan) writes, "The data [as supplied] was presented in aggregate form, which works to the advantage of larger schools like Michigan." Ah yes, crunch the numbers to make your school look good. Leiter reworked the data for a more appropriate per capita ranking.
Beware the thin-skinned law school administrator. [JH]
Does Court Secrecy Undermine Public Health and Safety?
THE SUNSHINE IN LITIGATION ACT: DOES COURT SECRECY UNDERMINE PUBLIC HEALTH AND SAFETY?: Hearing Before the Subcomm. on Antitrust, Competition Policy and Consumer Rights of the S. Comm. on the Judiciary 110th Cong. (2007). [Webcast]
- Johnny Bradley
- Honorable Joseph F. Anderson, Jr.
- Robert N. Weiner
- Leslie A. Bailey
- Stephen G. Morrison
- Prof. Richard Zitrin
Reforming U.S. Immigration Policy: Open New Pathways to Integration
"Roughly 12 million people reside illegally in the United States. More are joining the workforce, and nearly half of these households have children. Congress tried but failed to pass legislation to change the functioning of current immigration policy.
The next President, in order to ensure the economic, social, and civic integration of illegal immigrants, should support policies that:
- recognize the economic role and contribution of undocumented workers by implementing an earned legalization program
- create an Impact Aid Program that would offset state and local expenditures related to the program
- create a New Americans Initiative—a program to support state-level public-private partnership that would help all immigrants integrate into American society in a systematic, coordinated, and effective way, through local government and nonprofit programs
Cornell Law Library's InSITE Website Reviews
Reviews published in the January 14, 2008 issue of InSITE:
- Dying Speeches & Bloody Murders: Crime Broadsides Collected by the Harvard Law School Library
- Human Rights
- Martin Luther King, Jr., Research and Education Institute
The International Debate Education Association has teamed with students and alumni from Georgetown University to create Debatepedia, a wiki project that seeks to be the “Wikipedia of debate and deliberation.” As a wiki, Debatepedia allows users to document published and original arguments, thus empowering individuals in the decision-making process. Specific debate categories are organized by subject area, geographic region, and hot topic. Subject areas include Business, Individual Rights, Legal, Religion, and Crime. Hot topic categories range from Abortion to Welfare. Under these groupings users will find specific debates. Within the Legal subject area, debate topics include divorce, hate crimes, prisoners, and school prayer. Each debate topic may include one or more questions to which users may contribute a pro or con argument. Many of the debates are still being developed. While the site can be fun to browse, students may find it beneficial to both read and contribute to the debates. [MM]
Dying Speeches & Bloody Murders: Crime Broadsides Collected by the Harvard Law School Library
The Harvard Law School Library has digitized its collection of eighteenth- and nineteenth-century British crime broadsides, covering the years 1707 to 1891. Broadsides were a form of street literature printed on one side of the page and were sold to the crowds that gathered for public executions. Intended for the lower classes, broadsides recounted the crime, the trial of the accused, and included a purported confession. Broadsides were often styled “Last Dying Speeches” or “Bloody Murders.” Harvard’s collection of 500-plus broadsides is “one of the largest recorded and the first to be digitized in its entirety.” The collection may be browsed by title or searched. Keyword searching is available by title, name, date, site of publication, and subject. The category search allows users to select one or more items from any of six categories: crimes, year of publication, site of publication, printers, condemned, and victims. In addition to the Harvard collection, the site links out to other digitized broadside collections. [MM]
The Human Rights digital exhibit at the United Kingdom’s National Archives website uses original documents scanned from their collection to illustrate the progression of rights “we today take for granted.” Covering the eleventh through twentieth centuries, the site is divided into discrete time periods for easy browsing. Within each, background history for that period is presented, as is a timeline of major events and links to scanned documents relevant to the period. A glossary provides definitions of less familiar terms, which are also hyperlinked within the exhibit. For quick access to all the scanned documents, the document index lists in chronological order the exhibit images available. As most of the documents are illegible to our modern eyes, transcriptions are provided, as are translations where appropriate. For researchers interested in human rights or legal history, this is a worthwhile website that weaves together primary source material with historical context. [JJ]
Martin Luther King, Jr., Research and Education Institute
The Martin Luther King, Jr., Research and Education Institute at Stanford University builds on the Martin Luther King, Jr. Papers Project undertaken by Stanford professor Clayborne Carson and for 22 years has served “as the institutional home for a broad range of activities relating to King’s life, the civil rights movement in the United States and the history of struggles worldwide to achieve social justice.” The site is divided into four areas in addition to a Home page with news, mission statement, requests for support, and FAQs. Major navigation tabs link to the Papers Project, which in conjunction with the King Center is undertaking the task of publishing 14 volumes of King’s papers (Vol. V is now available for purchase); the Liberation Curriculum, to assist high school teachers in teaching about social justice; Public Programs such as conferences, seminars, workshops, dramatic workshops, and King Day celebrations; and About the Institute. The Papers Project has the most coverage on the site, including information about each volume published and a document inventory that is browseable by year and searchable by keyword. The Papers Project lists other publications by King and about King, such as compilations of sermons and speeches, and full text of some articles in HTML (many by Prof. Carson.) A powerful segment of the site is “The Voice of King” which plays stirring excerpts from King’s sermons, speeches, and autobiography. Overall, the Institute site contains an enormous amount of information via the King Encyclopedia, an Interactive Chronology, King biography, selected quotes, and daily “news” from the Civil Rights struggle with inspirational quotes from King’s Freedom Journal. Finally, the Institute lists recommended readings and additional links for researchers and offers a fee-based research service as well. The various types of information available make the site a bit confusing to navigate, so the best way to appreciate the wealth of information is by visiting the Site Map which neatly organizes the contents and makes selecting topics simple. [JC]
OpenCongress is the latest project of the Sunlight Foundation, in partnership with Participatory Politics, designed to bring the full legislative process into the open. Using bill texts, voting records, and committee reports from Thomas ( http://www.thomas.gov/); campaign contribution information from OpenSecrets.org; news from Google News; and blog posts from Technorati and Google Blog Search; OpenCongress brings together the “big picture” behind each bill on the Hill. In addition to searching the site, users can browse by bill number, senator or representative name, House or Senate committee, industry, or topical issue, and track or share their interests using RSS feeds and tagging. Voting trends are analyzed for every politician, stating with whom they most and least frequently vote. For all categories, results can be ranked by name, most viewed, most blogged, most in the news, etc. OpenCongress also provides a number of widgets and applications to download, as well as its own blog that reports on Congressional activities. This is an informative site with a friendly user interface to track legislation and get the “behind the scenes” scoop on Congress. [JJ]
InSITE contributors: J. Callihan, J. Jones, B. Kreisler, M. Morrison, J. Pajerek (editor)
InSITE highlights selected law-related Web sites in two ways: as an annotated publication issued electronically and in print; and, as a keyword-searchable database. The law librarians at Cornell
evaluate potentially useful Web sites, select the most valuable ones, and provide commentary and subject access to them. This information can be accessed via:
1. Searchable database or by browsing current and archived
issues on the web:
Click InSITE at http://www.lawschool.cornell.edu/library
3. Via e-mail subscription: send the following request to: email@example.com:
join INSITE-L "your name"
where your name (include the quotation marks) is the name you want to be available to the list's administrator. You must send this message from the e-mail address where you want to receive the e-list's messages.
4. Print format for the Cornell Law School community.
Impact of Undocumented Immigrants on Public Treasuries
CBO's The Impact of Unauthorized Immigrants on the Budgets of State and Local Governments: CBO drew the following conclusions:
- State and local governments incur costs for providing services to unauthorized immigrants and have limited options for avoiding or minimizing those costs.
- The amount that state and local governments spend on services for unauthorized immigrants represents a small percentage of the total amount spent by those governments to provide such services to residents in their jurisdictions.
- The tax revenues that unauthorized immigrants generate for state and local governments do not offset the total cost of services provided to those immigrants.
- Federal aid programs offer resources to state and local governments that provide services to unauthorized immigrants, but those funds do not fully cover the costs incurred by those governments.
See also, Immigration Policy Center Reports:
Assessing the Economic Impact of Immigration at the State and Local Level: Recent studies have found that undocumented immigrants, and immigrants in general, are net contributors to the public treasuries and economies of many states and localities. (December 2007)
Undocumented Immigrants as Taxpayers: As the debate over illegal immigration continues to rage, some pundits and policymakers are claiming that unauthorized immigrants do not pay taxes and rely heavily on government benefits. Neither of these claims is borne out by the facts. Undocumented men have work force participation rates that are higher than other workers, and all undocumented immigrants are ineligible for most government services, but pay taxes as workers, consumers, and residents. (November 2007)
[RJ & JH]
Pooling Scholars' Digital Resources
"The various and competing efforts to digitize university libraries’ vast holdings have no lack of ambition, but access to documents and copyright issues have been two factors slowing the development of online scholarly repositories. Now, an effort at George Mason University seeks to bypass libraries entirely and delve into scholars’ file cabinets instead.
Or at least, their hard drives. If many researchers have had to scan rare documents or books for their own perusal, there’s a potential treasure trove of material that exists among their combined efforts. Rather than let all that scholarship rot, or waste away in data files, the university’s Center for History and New Media sees an opportunity to create an open archive of scholarly resources in the public domain.
"What about this, what we call the ‘hidden archive’?” said Daniel Cohen, the director of the center. “That’s a scholarly resource that’s not really helping any other scholar.”
In partnership with the Internet Archive, and with funding from the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, the center is creating a way for scholars to upload existing data files to be optically scanned (to make them text-searchable) and stored in a database available to the public."
January 16, 2008
Life after the J.D.
A brief item in the New York Post’s Page Six magazine caught our eye. In a story spotlighting women up to their ears in debt, the Post interviewed Kirsten Wolf, a 32-year-old BU Law grad. It left us wanting more, so we connected with Wolf this morning and had her tell us her story. From time-to-time, we’ve focused on the dark side of the law. Put this interview in that category.
Be sure to check out the comments as well. [JJ]
Professional Reading on How to Create a Legal Research Toolbar
Jennifer Greig has recently posted her article to SSRN, "Have You Seen the New Library Bar?: Designing a Legal Research Toolbar." Here's the abstract:
It seems like more and more people today are selecting their legal research results based on ease of access rather than the completeness of the results. After hearing one too many third-year law students say "I researched my entire paper on Google," I set off to create a tool that would satisfy both the desire for speed and the need for complete and authoritative research results. The tool is a legal research toolbar that integrates into a web browser and provides constant and quick access to library-sanctioned websites and databases. This paper walks readers through the design process of the Barry Law School Toolbar, including conception, negotiating with IT, and testing.
Hat tip to Pat Court at Cornell Law Library. [JJ]
FDA Announces Cloned Meat Safe to Eat
In a controversial move, the FDA announced yesterday that cloned animals pose no health risk if consumed. Wired.com has an article here.
After four years of deliberation, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration announced today that meat from cloned animals and their offspring is safe to eat.
But despite public unease and lingering scientific uncertainty, the FDA won't require such meat to be labeled or tracked.
Food producers say they're not about to put cloned meat on American dinner plates, as the procedure is too expensive and inefficient, and a third of U.S. adults say they won't eat cloned meat regardless of its approval. Instead, farmers will purchase cloned animals to serve as breeding stock for their entire herds.
Get the FDA press release here, and the final FDA risk assessment of cloned meat here. More over at Food Law Prof Blog which discusses the pending 2007 Farm Bill which will overrule this new FDA regulation if passed.
Law.com has a piece on information overload for attorneys, with some discussion of legal research here:
Confronting today's practitioner is a virtual onslaught of daily information that requires organization, analysis and response. Although statistics vary on the amount of information received by an individual in a given day, by 2003, there were over 15,652 Web sites dealing with the issue of "information overload" and its consequences.
The culprit, of course, is technology and the myriad methods by which it throws this information at us. But the receipt and processing of this information is critical to our professional development, and our professional survival now depends on it.
Our daily informational sources are manifold. They include direct, personal contact; telephone and voice mail; text-messaging, telefax and e-mail; and regular mail and FedEx (or its equivalent). We also daily access printed newspapers and magazines, as well as their online equivalents and an infinite variety of Internet resources. As a whole, the influx may appear overwhelming, but taken individually, we must recognize that each component provides a valuable and necessary resource. The key to our professional success now lies in organizing this informational flow and making it work for us.
Tushnet's Weak Courts, Strong Rights
"Tushnet puts flesh on the bones of the claim that constitutionally guaranteed social rights, judicially enforced, are already a part of the jurisprudence of the United States and other countries of interest. He takes this argument some distance beyond where any other scholar has taken it, so far as I know, and he does so with considerable refinement. This book gives a full and strong manifestation of the style, intelligence, and learning that have earned Tushnet his eminence as a scholar of American constitutional law and comparative constitutionalism." -- Frank I. Michelman, Harvard Law School
List Price: $29.95
Hardcover: 288 pages
Publisher: Princeton University Press (October 15, 2007)
Book Description: Unlike many other countries, the United States has few constitutional guarantees of social welfare rights such as income, housing, or healthcare. In part this is because many Americans believe that the courts cannot possibly enforce such guarantees. However, recent innovations in constitutional design in other countries suggest that such rights can be judicially enforced--not by increasing the power of the courts but by decreasing it. In Weak Courts, Strong Rights, Mark Tushnet uses a comparative legal perspective to show how creating weaker forms of judicial review may actually allow for stronger social welfare rights under American constitutional law.
Under "strong-form" judicial review, as in the United States, judicial interpretations of the constitution are binding on other branches of government. In contrast, "weak-form" review allows the legislature and executive to reject constitutional rulings by the judiciary--as long as they do so publicly. Tushnet describes how weak-form review works in Great Britain and Canada and discusses the extent to which legislatures can be expected to enforce constitutional norms on their own. With that background, he turns to social welfare rights, explaining the connection between the "state action" or "horizontal effect" doctrine and the enforcement of social welfare rights. Tushnet then draws together the analysis of weak-form review and that of social welfare rights, explaining how weak-form review could be used to enforce those rights. He demonstrates that there is a clear judicial path--not an insurmountable judicial hurdle--to better enforcement of constitutional social welfare rights.
About the Author: Mark Tushnet is the William Nelson Cromwell Professor of Law at Harvard Law School. His many books include "The New Constitutional Order" and "Taking the Constitution Away from the Courts" (both Princeton). He is a fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences.