February 2, 2008
Effects of Gasoline Prices on Driving Behavior and Vehicle Markets
New report from the Congressional Budget Office: "This Congressional Budget Office (CBO) study—prepared at the request of the Ranking Member of the Senate Budget Committee—relates rising gasoline prices to changes in how fast people drive, the volume of highway traffic, and rail transit ridership. It also examines the effects on market shares, fuel economy, and pricing of cars and light trucks purchased over the past several years. With the worldwide price of oil continuing to rise, this study provides an indication of the kinds of adjustments consumers would make if gasoline prices continue to rise, and of the implications of rising gasoline prices for policies that would discourage gasoline consumption and thus limit the growth in carbon dioxide emissions. In keeping with CBO’s mandate to provide objective, impartial analysis, the study makes no recommendations." [RJ]
UNICEF's The State of the World's Children 2007 Report
"The State of the World's Children 2007 examines the discrimination and disempowerment women face throughout their lives - and outlines what must be done to eliminate gender discrimination and empower women and girls. The report argues that investment in women's rights will ultimately produce a double dividend: advancing the rights of both women and children."
February 1, 2008
Blawgs as Scholarship Up for Review, Again
Blawgs as scholarship is the hot topic of the day in the sphere. Check out these posts:
- Balkanization reviews how many law review aricles cite to blawgs.
- Brian Leiter's thoughts on the subject, plus some links to previous commentary on the issue.
- Prawfsblawg discusses the ethics of blogging.
- Remarks by Legal Blog Watch here.
- And a general comment on the changing nature of the world we live in here.
Microsoft Bids $45 billion for Yahoo
CNN is reporting that Microsoft has made a cash and stock offer of $31 a share, a 62% premium from Yahoo's closing price on Thursday. Follow the possible acquisition using Google News and Google Blog Search. [JH]
Friday Fun: Can You Classify and Shelve Books
Check out this Tech Services game developed by the Carnegie Mellon University Libraries. You have to shelve books in the right spot. First you get books labeled with their LC call numbers. Then, as the game progresses, they disappear, leaving you with only book titles to go by. A very basic LC classification guide and a hint option are provided but this damn little game is still a challenge! Hat tip to Ron Jones for sharing the madness.
Also stacks-related, check out this video. Our law school students are too mature for this, right? [JH]
Obama v Clinton: Hot4 Video Competition on YouTube
Named the biggest web video of 2007 by People magazine...the AP...Newsweek...and AOL, "I Got a Crush...On Obama" By Obama Girl has created some humorous YouTube video competition. Here's the original and two pro-Clinton videos.
"I Got a Crush...On Obama"
"I Got a Crush...On Hillary" (take that Obama girl!)
"Hott 4 Hill"
Hat tip to Meev for sharing. [JH]
AALL's 2008 A Day in the Life Photo Contest Is Now Underway
...and US law librarian productivity comes crashing to a halt this month as staffers make plans to win this most cherished AALL award!
Six Category Winners and One Overall Winner. The 2007-2008 AALL Public Relations Committee, chaired by Law Librarian Blog contributing editor Julie Jones (Cornell), will judge the entries and select the top five winning entries for each of the following six categories, plus one overall winner:
- Librarians as Information Evaluators and Managers
- Librarians as Expert Researchers
- Librarians as Teachers and Trainers
- Librarians as Trailblazers in New Technology
- The Artistry of Librarianship
- Most Humorous
Deadline. Entry forms must be completed online or postmarked by February 29, 2008. [Details] Winners will be announced at the 2008 AALL Annual Meeting in Portland. [JH]
CRS Report on President's Authority to Instruct Federal Agencies to Ignore Congressional Earmarks
The President's Authority to Issue an Executive Order Governing Executive Agency Responses to "Earmarks" Contained in Committee Reports
CRS Publication Date: 12/18/2007
Document No.: M-121807
Abstract: This memorandum provides a legal analysis of the President's authority to issue an executive order that would instruct "federal agency officials to ignore Congressional Earmarks contained in committee report language. Additionally, the memorandum addresses whether, as a matter of law, earmarks contained only in committee report language are legally binding on federal agencies.
Racial Disparities in Drug Imprisonment in Large Counties
"The Vortex: The Concentrated Impact of Drug Imprisonment and the Characteristics of Punitive Counties is a new report that explores racial disparities in drug imprisonment at the county-level and the characteristics of counties that send people to prison for drug offenses." [RJ]
January 31, 2008
New Empirical Legal Studies Bibliographic Database
Matt Morrison (Cornell Law Library) writes "Empirical legal studies are increasingly important in the legal academy as it evolves to become more interdisciplinary. Moreover, empirical legal scholarship has direct relevance to the discussions of legal issues in today's public and political discourse. Through the collaborative efforts of Cornell and UCLA, there is now available a bibliographic database of empirical legal studies and scholarship: the ELS Bibliography. The database allows author, title, and subject searching, as well as limiting by year. For more information, see the database's About Page."
The database is a work-in-progress; suggestions are welcome. [JH]
New Book Explores Friendships Among Literary, Legal Giants
Friendships Across Ages: Johnson and Boswell; Holmes and Laski
by Jeffrey O'Connell and Thomas E. O'Connell
List Price: $60.00
Hardcover: 188 pages
Publisher: Lexington Books (December 2007)
From the UVa press release:
A new book exploring the friendships among 18th century literary figure Samuel Johnson and his biographer James Boswell and 20th century U.S. Supreme Court Justice Oliver Wendell Holmes Jr. and British socialist Harold Laski reveals how the relationships helped establish the legacies of Johnson and Holmes.
All four men were fascinated by, and wrote about, the law, although only Boswell and Holmes were lawyers, according to Jeffrey O’Connell, Samuel McCoy II Professor of Law, who co-wrote Friendships Across Ages: Johnson and Boswell; Holmes and Laski, with his brother, Thomas E. O’Connell, president emeritus of Berkshire (Mass.) Community College.
A Quick Look at the Annotated Justinian Code Website
In Tim Kearley's Justice Fred Blume and the Translation of Justinian’s Code, 99 Law Library J. 525 (2007), he mentioned the Annotated Justinian Code website. The site went live late last year. Created with the support of an AALL/Aspen research grant, the site contains PDFs of Justice Blume’s copiously annotated English translation of Justinian’s Code—the only English translation made from the Latin version regarded as most authoritative. It also includes Blume’s scanned translation of the Novels; his 100+ page "The Code of Justinian, and it’s Value"—an address he delivered part of to the Riccobono Society in 1938 but which has never been published and several additional Blume-related items. [JH]
Resources on the History of Silicon Valley
The History of Silicon Valley, the Internet & the PC collects archived interviews with early innovators in all three fields, early photographs, and links to detailed research papers.
Hat tip to LISNews. [JH]
Pew Study Finds States Face $2.73 Trillion Bill for Retiree Benefits
"States have promised at least $2.73 trillion in pension, health care and other retirement benefits for public employees over the next three decades, according to a report released today by The Pew Charitable Trusts’ Center on the States. Promises with a Price, the first 50-state analysis of its kind, finds that states have saved enough to cover about 85 percent of their long-term pension costs, but only 3 percent of the funds needed for promised retiree health care and other non-pension benefits. All told, states already have set aside about $2 trillion to meet their long-term obligations. But they still need to come up with about $731 billion—a conservative figure that does not include all costs for teachers and local government employees."
Man Arrested for Painting Crosswalk
Whitney Stump, a Ball State University graduate student and father, took the
law paint brush into his own hands when city officials refused to create a crosswalk at a dangerous intersection. He was, of course, arrested for criminal mischief and then arrested a second time when he went back to touch up the paint some six months later. In other words, the city never removed the crosswalk! [JH]
January 30, 2008
Transparency International's Global Corruption Report 2007
Transparency International's Global Corruption Report 2007 brings together scholars, judges and civil society activists from around the world to examine how, why and where corruption mars judicial processes, and to reflect on reforms and activism that help remedy a corruption-tainted system.
GCR 2007 includes:
- analysis of the causes of judicial corruption and its consequences, including an exploration of the particular impact on women
- reports on judicial corruption in 35 countries
- evaluation of efforts to reduce judicial corruption
- recommendations for action against judicial corruption directed at judges, political powers, prosecutors, lawyers and civil society
- a specially commissioned survey on citizens' experiences of court corruption around the world
- the latest empirical research on judicial corruption, for example on the determinants of judicial corruption and the relationship between immunity laws and corruption
- detailed assessments of the state of corruption in countries by national chapters of Transparency International plus essays by experts and practitioners.
Hat tip to Law & Development Blog. [JH]
Jimmy Wales Summons Librarians to Helps Improve Wikipedia
"Librarians are not engaging with the academies," said Wikipedia founder Jimmy Wales. "If libraries throughout the world formed regional groups and made an effort, they would be playing a positive role within Wikipedia. The job of the librarian is about highlighting the weaknesses and strengths of information." Read Mark Chillingworth's Information World Review article for more and check out Phil Bradley's thoughts. [JH]
First Study on Voting Technology Innovations Prompted by the Help America Vote Act
The Not-So-Simple Act of Casting a Ballot
Paul S. Herrnson, Richard G. Niemi, Michael J. Hanmer,
Benjamin B. Bederson and Frederick C. Conrad
Brookings Institution Press, 2008
Paper Text: 978-0-8157-3563-2, $19.95
Cloth Text: 978-0-8157-3564-9, $49.95
Description: Voting difficulties hung over America's presidential election in 2000 like a dark cloud. Passage of the Help America Vote Act in 2002 sparked further interest in the physical act of casting a vote, leading to a number of technological innovations. Voting Technology is the first book to investigate in a scientific and authoritative manner how voters respond to the new equipment.
An interdisciplinary group, the authors synthesize their work in American politics, campaigns, human and computer interaction, and human factors. They employ their collective expertise in evaluating five commercially available voting systems, each one representing a specific class based on shared design principles, as well as one prototype system not currently available. They evaluate each system according to key criteria such as accuracy, speed, and ease of use. The results reveal the good and bad about the systems, including specific features that contribute to greater clarity as well as those leading to confusion and error.
The concluding chapter of Voting Technology pulls together best practices that will guide voting-system manufacturers, ballot designers, election officials, political analysts, and voters. In a political system based on free and informed exercise of personal choice, the least we can do is make sure those choices are being correctly cast and accurately recorded and counted.
Active Legislation List Produced by US Senate
Excellent resource from the U.S. Senate: Active Legislation is a list of current bills, arranged by subject, that have been receiving legislative or media attention. Check it out! [RJ]
Average Starting Salaries of Law School Grads
Average starting salaries for law school grads range from $135K to $38K in The National Jurist's recent ranking of law schools. Chicago, Duke, Michigan and Northwestern are tied for the top spot. See How Much Will You Earn?
Hat tip to TaxProf Blog. [JH]