August 23, 2008
An Economic Strategy for Investing in America's Infrastructure
"Infrastructure investment has received more attention in recent years because of increased delays from road and air congestion, high-profile infrastructure failures, and rising concerns about energy security and climate change. The United States now has the opportunity to channel public concern and frustration into a national infrastructure strategy that promotes infrastructure as a central component of long-term, broadly shared growth. While increased spending on infrastructure is likely to be needed, this paper emphasizes the large gains that could be reaped by using existing infrastructure more efficiently and by making better decisions about how to invest in infrastructure.
For physical infrastructure, we recommend establishing pricing mechanisms such as road congestion fees and air traffic control fees to make users bear the costs of their infrastructure use more fully. At least part of the revenues from these fees should be used to offset their potential adverse distributional effects. The federal government can also promote better decisionmaking about new investments by removing distortions in its own policies and providing more flexibility in exchange for accountability by states and localities. For telecommunications infrastructure, we propose that the government make better use of the wireless spectrum by facilitating sales and leases of unused spectrum and by introducing more flexibility in its policy of interference prevention. Further, the government should consider targeted, cost-effective subsidies to encourage private firms to expand high-speed Internet access to unserved rural areas." [RJ]
Two New Human Rights Reports
From the UN Pulse:Two UN human rights committees' reports have been issued.
- The report of the Committee on the Rights of the Child has also been issued (A/63/41). This report also summarizes the meetings of the committee and includes the committee's "General Comments" on topics within the scope of the Convention (A/RES/44/25).
- The report of the Committee on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights on its 38th & 39th session has been issued (E/2008/22 - E/C.12/2007/3). This report summarizes the meetings held, including the review of states parties' reports to the committee.
August 22, 2008
It's Official, You Can Now Find a Crowdsourced Answer for Every Legal Question on the Internet
My proof, a video answering the question "Are tattoos and piercings allowed in Jewish law?" Note well, a comment to the video disputes part of the answer provided. Tattoos may be lawful. [JH]
LLB on Fantasy Football, a Friday Fun Special Feature
As a fantasy football junkie, the dog days of summer can mean only one thing. DRAFT TIME!
There is nothing more crucial to your fantasy success than a proper draft. ESPN, FOX Sports, SI and even Mashable have put together a variety of resources aimed at making your draft a success. After 10 years and 4 championships, I have learned a few things along the way.
- Do your homework! With a virtual plethora of resources out there, you can be up to speed with all the latest news and rumors in a matter of minutes. Drafting T.J. Whosyourmama or a stud on injured reserve is a great way to enshrine yourself as the league’s red-headed step child. Here’s my favorites: CBSsportline; Footballguys; Rotoworld
- Draft Wisely! Should I draft a running back first? When should I draft a Quarterback? In my opinion, in the early rounds, draft the BEST player available. There are some players who are in a league of their own. For example, Randy Moss scored 23 touchdowns last season. The league average was 3.6. Simply Amazing. You just can’t let a player of that caliber drop to another team. That being said, all of those guys will be gobbled up by the 3rd round, so your strategy will then turn to drafting for depth. Sounds simple, but this is what separates the men from the boys. By in large, Ws and Ls are determined by late round picks. The key here is to look for players that consistently put up good numbers. You’re going to see a lot of unfamiliar names here so it’s essential that you are prepared (see above).
- Finally, have fun! The X factor in all of this is a little thing I like to call REALITY. I have friends who immerse themselves in fantasy as if the future of mankind hangs in the balance. There’s no way you can account for all of the possible problems that will inevitably pop up during the regular season (just look at last years injured reserve list). It's supposed to be fun!
Good Luck! [RJ]
Editor's Note: 10 years, 4 championships! Sounds like we might be hearing more from Ron about this. Now, get back to work Ron! [JH]
US News 2009 Rankings of Universities and Colleges Now Online
U.S. News & World Report has released its rankings of US universities and colleges best-ing the Forbes ranking in comprehensiveness by some 800-plus IHEs. See LLB post College Rankings Now a Duopoly, Forbes Publishes Its First Best 569 Colleges.
See also Bob Morse, director of data research for U.S. News & World Report, on How We Make Sure the Rankings Are Right. [JH]
Friday Fun: Fox Asks Homer Simpson to Search YouTube for Copyright Infringements
OK, it's a Homer impersonator but note the searches. Either Homer gets distracted or he's dead-on about the Fox Network's programming. [JH]
Nyberg and Boast's Subject Compilations of State Laws Now on HeinOnline
International Arrests of Citizen Bloggers More Than Triple
The number of citizen bloggers jailed in 2007 has drastically risen from 2006, according to researchers at the University of Washington. "Last year, 2007, was a record year for blogger arrests, with three times as many as in 2006. Egypt, Iran and China are the most dangerous places to blog about political life, accounting for more than half of all arrests since blogging became big," said Phil Howard, an assistant professor of communication. With his students, Howard prepared the World Information Access Report, which documents sources and consequences of social inequality in the information age.
- View Text Table Summarizing Global Blogger Arrests, 2003-2008
- View Color Graphic Summarizing Global Blogger Arrests, 2003-2008
- Download Full Dataset of Incidents
Plagiarism is Plagiarism or Why Readily Available Online Information Changes Nothing
With the vast amount of information available online, the case method (copy and steal everything) is a temptation that many students cannot resist. In a recent Washington Post article An Education in the Dangers of Online Research, Susan Kinzie examines the dangers and consequences of relying too heavily non-authoritative resources and stresses the importance of proper research and writing skills. [RJ]
Loan Forgiveness Program for Prosecutors and Public Defenders
President Bush signed into law the Higher Education Opportunity Act, H.R.4137, P.L. 110-315, last week. [Thomas Resources | Open Congress Resources] Along with making higher education more accessible and affordable, the bill amends the Omnibus Crime Control and Safe Streets Act of 1968 (42 U.S.C. 3711 et seq.) by authorizing the Attorney General to establish a program by which the Department of Justice shall assume the obligation to repay a student loan for any borrower who is employed as a prosecutor or public defender and who agrees to remain employed, for at least three years.
Sorry about the delay in posting this announcement. Been busy paying bills. [RJ]
Third Circuit Rules Temple Sexual Harassment Policy Unconstitutional
Colleges may be forced to rethink their sexual harassment policies after the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit ruled Temple University's now-abandoned policy unconstitutional. According to a recent article in the Chronicle, the decision "may make it harder for colleges to prohibit discrimination and harassment while promoting the open exchange of ideas." Interestingly, Temple's former policies took language directly from the EEOC (like most colleges). Now the question becomes "will employees sexual harassment policies be susceptible to legal challenges?" [RJ]
August 21, 2008
Attention Loyal Lawyer2Lawyer Listeners
For its upcoming third anniversary show, Lawyer2Lawyer is looking for guests. Bob Ambrogi, co-host of this always interesting legal affairs podcast, explains, "we'd like to learn more about the people who listen, whatever their backgrounds and wherever in the world they reside." No doubt, law librarians are welcome. Contact the show's producer at firstname.lastname@example.org. [JH]
Congress Wants to Eliminate 4.5 Billion Personal Complaints
How? Congressman Sam Graves of Missouri introduced H.Con.Res. 404 on July 31, 2008 because he had nothing else to do, I guess. The resolution calls for officially declaring the day before Thanksgiving “Complaint Free Wednesday." [Open Congress Resources][JH]
H.Con.Res. 404: Supporting the goals and ideals of Complaint Free Wednesday:
Whereas the average person complains approximately 15 to 30 times per day, resulting in approximately 4,570,350,000 complaints per day in the United States;
Whereas people complain in order to negatively get attention from others, avoid taking action, pre-excuse poor performance, brag, or exercise control over others;
Whereas complaining damages a person’s health, relationships, and ability to solve underlying problems;
Whereas violence usually begins with complaining by expressing grief, pain, or discontent;
Whereas it is not complaining if a person acts proactively to resolve an issue;
Whereas ‘A Complaint Free World’ is an organization that encourages people to wear purple bracelets as a symbolic reminder to change a person’s complaining nature;
Whereas ‘A Complaint Free World’ has delivered approximately 5,439,532 purple bracelets to people throughout the world;
Whereas ‘A Complaint Free World’ hopes to inspire 1 percent of the world’s population to have a positive attitude;
Whereas supporters of this movement have worked with thousands of schools in the United States through the Complaint Free program and have achieved amazing results in creating positive attitudes; and
Whereas Complaint Free Wednesday will be observed on the day before Thanksgiving, providing each person in the United States a day free from complaining in order to prepare for a day of gratitude: Now, therefore, be it
Resolved by the House of Representatives (the Senate concurring), That Congress -
(1) supports the goals and ideals of Complaint Free Wednesday;
(2) encourages each person in the United States to remember that having a positive life begins with having a positive attitude; and
(3) recognizes and reaffirms the meaning of Thanksgiving by asking each person in the United States to use Complaint Free Wednesday to refrain from complaining and prepare for a day of gratitude.
Hat tip to Donny "I already avoid complaining on even-numbered Tuesdays" Shaw, Congress Gossip Blog. [JH]
Scholars Perspectives: Impact of Digitized Collections on Learning and Teaching
Rare books, archives and other materials play a critical role in both teaching and research. In a recent RLG symposium on digital collections, participants stressed the importance of custodians to “work with faculty to understand current research methods and materials; go outside the library or archive to build collections; and continue to build digital and material collections for both teaching and research.” The Program, Digitization and the Humanities: Impact on Libraries and Special Collections Symposium, offers a unique perspective on the issue from both scholars and librarians. (Podcast of the event available). See also Merrilee Proffitt and Jennifer Schaffner' report on symposium: The Impact of Digitizing Special Collections on Teaching and Scholarship: Reflections on a Symposium about Digitization and the Humanities. [RJ]
Student Tendencies to Self-handicap in Law School
Self-handicapping is a set of behavioral strategies employed before a performance that permits the individual to avoid receiving information that threatens self-esteem. Catherine Ross Dunham (Elon University School of Law) reports her findings on self-handicapping law school student behavior in Hidden Obstacles in the Mass Culture of American Legal Education: An Empirical Analysis, 32 Okla. City U. L. Rev. 237 (2007) [Westlaw]. The results of Dunham's study suggest that "an individual student's self-attributed achiever type correlates to the student's year in law school and GPA. Most significantly, the results of the study suggest that a law student's GPA correlates with the student's self-handicapping score and, further, that GPA is predictive of his self-handicapping score." [JH]
Houdek's History of AALL
What happened between AALL's first meeting in 1906 and its 2006 annual meeting? Read Frank Houdek's First Century: One Hundred Years of AALL History, 1906-2005 (Hein, 2008) to find out. Only $95.00! That's almost a buck per year covered. [JH]
More Best Search Engines You
Probably May Not Have Heard Of Scouring the web for information can be a tall order, especially when you’re treading in unfamiliar waters. Heather Johnson, from BestCollegesOnline.com, has put together a list of 50 Awesome Search Engines Every Librarian Should Know About. My personal favorites:
- Get a Podcast: Search for podcasts all around the web in this directory.
- Shareware: If you need to install new software programs on your library computers, turn to Shareware first, which pulls up tons of free programs and downloads.
- RefDesk: RefDesk is known as the "fact checker for the Internet." You can search MSN, Google, Yahoo! or Wikipedia, as well as various dictionaries and periodicals.
- Congoo: For current events and news searches, use Congoo to connect you to the latest in technology, industry, business, world news, finance, politics, Internet trends and more.
- CataLaw: CataLaw is another law search engine that organizes "all indexes of law and government into a uniform, universal and unique metaindex."
August 20, 2008
Worst Web Glitches of 2008 (so far)
"Web 2.0 is in no way a synonym for 'reliable'" writes Webware's Rafe Needleman. See his timeline of the 10 Worst Web glitches of 2008 (so far). My favorite, Cuil: "Google scientist leaves Google, builds competitive search engine. At launch, it sucks. By the time it's working as advertised, nobody's paying attention anymore."
LLB posts on Cuil:
Hat tip to LISNews. [JH]
OMG, or How Not to Do a Website Featuring Law School Students
There's still a couple of months left in 2008, but there's no need to wait to hand out the award for worst new website development in the legal academy. It goes to the NYU Law Experience in both the overall category and the by-students-for-students category. See for example the Ping Pong League and Coffee Shops. Hat tip to ATL's The NYU Experience: Now 100% Metro-Terrible. Like OMG dude.
Damn you ATL. How do I erase the NYU Experience from my memory. [JH]
Updated with New Link: Take Collection Development Survey for HeinOnline Content
Looks like the survey link wasn't working. Thanks to Marcie Baranich, a new link has been embedded.
Hein is looking for feedback on the delivery of upcoming HeinOnline content and has opened this brief Collection Development Survey. Take a minute to contribute.
Hat tip to Legal Research Plus for calling attention to Galen L. Fletcher's Federal Government Documents in HeinOnline [SSRN], 30 Jurisdocs 5-11 (Spring 2008), a brief overview of federal government document content in the HeinOnline database that is suitable for use as a class handout. [JH]