Law and Legal
Audubon – “As our climate changes, the bird species we see in our national parks will change, too. On average, one-quarter of bird species found in a given national park could be completely different by 2050 if carbon emissions continue at their current pace. New research, led by the National Audubon Society and National Park Service and published in the peer-reviewed journal PLOS ONE, underscores the need to safeguard and manage protected lands for birds and wildlife in a changing world…”
23% – Projected turnover (change in bird species) a national park could see by 2050, averaged across 274 parks…Some U.S. birds are already altering their behavior and distribution in response to shifts in temperature and rainfall caused by climate change…”
The New Republic – Women of Substance – “…Now there are six—count them, six. Klobuchar, Warren, New York’s Kirsten Gillibrand, and California’s Kamala Harris have a plausible shot, followed by Hawaii’s Rep. Tulsi Gabbard, whose qualifications and motivation remain unclear, and spiritual author Marianne Williamson, who, in her apparent quest to transmute news-cycle mentions into book sales, is channeling not so much her nineteenth-century spiritualist predecessor Woodhull as the great self-help goddess Oprah. To be sure, the United States is not Iceland, where women were put in charge after male recklessness and corruption led to the 2008 banking crisis. Nor are we France, where quotas require that parties must run an equal number of women candidates as men. And our political system certainly does not resemble the parliamentary democracies of Scandinavia and Northern Europe, where women were able to take office in significant numbers soon after the feminist revolution of the 1970s, sliding onto tickets alongside men at a time when aspiring American female political leaders could barely get the parties to notice them. We are not even Rwanda, where, after the genocide, a quota system ensured that 30 percent of government positions were filled by women, who brought with them basic policy innovations like seat-belt regulation—and, oh yes, peace. ..”
“This year marks the 30th anniversary of Reach Out and Read, an organization that helps transform doctors and health care professionals into partners in literacy. Since its launch at Boston Medical Center in 1989, under the leadership of Robert Needlman and Barry Zuckerman, Reach Out and Read has been giving young children a foundation for success by donating books to pediatric care providers, reading aloud to kids in waiting rooms, and teaching families about the benefits of reading together at home…”
Fortney, Susan Saab, Online Legal Document Providers and the Public Interest: Using a Certification Approach to Balance Access to Justice and Public Protection (March 5, 2019). Oklahoma Law Review, (symposium on Lawyering in the Age of Artificial Intelligence), Forthcoming. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=3367196 – “The Internet and electronic communications have revolutionized how consumers obtain legal information and assistance. The availability of legal forms and services has developed at lightning speed and countless consumers are using these forms, rather than consulting attorneys. At the same time, many regulators of the legal profession appear to be frozen in time. Some take the position that the provision of interactive forms amounts to the unauthorized practice of law and others question arrangements that appear to involve the sharing of legal fees with non-lawyers. Even for those interested in regulating the provision of on-line services, one complication to doing so relates to the fact that the forms and services are provided around the world, rather than being limited to particular jurisdictions. This article examines the regulatory challenges and the manner in which a private governance approach using third-party certification can be used to improve access to legal services while advancing consumer protection.”
Open Heritage – Explore iconic locations in 3D, discover the tools of digital preservation, and download the collection. Heritage preservation around the world. 54 sites that are digitally preserved and downloadable. 54 sites that are digitally preserved and downloadable.
ZDNet – Google’s Chrome browser will get a Reader Mode, similar to the one found in competing browsers like Firefox and the old Microsoft Edge. The feature is currently under development, but Chrome Canary users can test it starting today. Chrome’s Reader Mode will work by stripping pages of most of their useless content, such as ads, comments sections, or animations, and leave a bare-bones version behind, showing only titles, article text, and article images…”
Earther: “Making that future a reality will, among other things, require a lot of batteries: batteries to charge our electric cars; batteries to store solar power collected while the sun’s up and wind power harnessed when it’s gusty out. And as a new report by researchers at the University of Technology Sydney warns, that’s likely to drive demand for the metals used to build green batteries—as well as wind turbines and solar panels—through the roof. In other words the clean tech boom is, at least in the short term, likely to fuel a mining boom. And that won’t come without cost. “We already know about the environmental, social, and human rights impacts extraction is posing to front line communities right now,” Payal Sampat, mining program director at Earthworks, which commissioned the new report, told Earther. “It’s kind of unimaginable to think about… how it would be considered sustainable to scale up those impacts that many fold and still be reaping benefits.”
Much like our smartphones and computers, the high-tech energy infrastructure of tomorrow requires a host of metals and minerals from across the periodic table and the planet. The lithium-ion batteries used in EVs and energy storage require not just lithium, but often cobalt, manganese, and nickel. Electric vehicle engines rely on rare earths, as do the permanent magnet-based generators inside some wind turbines. Solar panels gobbles up a significant share of the world’s supply of tellurium, and gallium, along with a sizable fraction of mined silver and indium. Most renewable technologies demand heaps of copper and aluminum…”
Follow up to ongoing updates via this beSpacific posting – Guides to the Redacted Mueller Report – Release is April 18, 2019 – see also via National Security Archive – Mueller Report Censorship Raises Question: What’s the Government Hiding? Documents Show It’s an Art Not a Science – Vast Over-classification. “The National Security Archive has published hundreds of examples over the years of “dubious secrets” where U.S. government censors blacked out documents that had already been released in full – or redacted entirely different parts of the same document at different times. This surprisingly common occurrence throws into relief how subjective the classification process is and how often agency declassifiers opt for the most sweeping rulings that wind up denying the public reasonable access to their government’s information. The release of the redacted Mueller report today focuses new public attention on the systemic problem of over-classification and the routine overuse of exemptions to the Freedom of Information Act that are supposed to be reserved for protecting true secrets. (See for instance this week’s AP story in the Washington Post and the feature on PRI’s “The World.”) Included in today’s posting is a famous precursor of the Mueller document – the outside consultant’s report from 2002 on racial discrimination within the Justice Department, which Justice’s own experts on information policy redacted in completely unjustified ways, a fact that could be confirmed only after the accidental removal of the electronic veils over deleted portions of the document. Also in today’s e-book are a number of classic examples of U.S. government over-zealousness in applying a figurative Magic Marker to information that was already public or should be public…”
“The Mapping Gothic France project was initiated by Stephen Murray, Professor of Art History and Archaeology at Columbia University and Andrew Tallon, Assistant Professor of Art at Vassar College and funded through the generosity of the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation. Mapping Gothic France was developed within the framework of collaboration between the Media Center for Art History in the Department of Art History and Archaeology at Columbia University, the Visual Resources Library at Vassar College, and the Columbia University Libraries.
Whereas pictures can be satisfactorily represented in two dimensions on a computer screen, space — especially Gothic space — demands a different approach, one which embraces not only the architectonic volume but also time and narrative. Mapping Gothic France builds upon a theoretical framework derived from the work of Henri Lefèbvre (The Production of Space) that seeks to establish linkages between the architectural space of individual buildings, geo-political space, and the social space resulting from the interaction (collaboration and conflict) between multiple agents — builders and users. Our intention has been not just to develop a more appropriate way of representing the spaciousness of individual monuments, but to provide the user of the site with new ways to understand the relationship of hundreds of buildings conventionally described as “Gothic” — in terms of sameness and difference, found in the forms of multiple buildings within a defined period of time and space that corresponds to the advent of the nation of France.” Mapping Gothic France is an open-source project. View the source-code here.
Business Law Today – The Rise of Risk Management in Financial Institutions and a Potential Unintended Consequence – The Diminution of the Legal Function By: Thomas C. Baxter, Jr. April 2, 2019 – “After the global financial crisis, a highly respected group of financial supervisors from the industrialized world convened to consider what might have caused the worst financial crisis experienced since the Great Depression. This group – aptly named the “Senior Supervisors Group” – concluded that a material contributing cause was what they characterized as a “colossal failure of risk management.” The Senior Supervisors Group was not alone. Many other bodies have taken up the same topic and reached a similar conclusion. In the 10 years since the global financial crisis ended, the financial community has responded to the identified causes of the financial crisis, adopting lessons learned and significantly reforming the financial system. This work has resulted in a financial system with individual institutions that are demonstrably more safe and more sound than before, and a much more resilient banking system overall. In contrast to what existed on the eve of the crisis – early 2007 – today’s financial system has considerably higher capital and liquidity, as government officials and other commentators have observed. In addition, and perhaps even more importantly if we accept the conclusion of the Senior Supervisors Group, there has been a revolution in the discipline of risk management and in the “build-out” of processes and procedures for identifying, measuring, monitoring, and controlling risk. In the United States, for example, one may witness the Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act, which President Obama signed into law on July 21, 2010 (the “Dodd-Frank Act”). The Dodd-Frank Act introduced varied and different requirements for risk management, including a series of “enhanced prudential standards,” as well as governance directed at risk management requirements, like the requirement for a risk committee of the board of directors….
This article will discuss whether the rise of the risk management function has had one very specific unintended consequence – the diminution of the legal function. To place such an important question in a proper context, this article will focus on the potential inverse relationship – it is not only that the legal function has declined in importance, but it is also that the decline has come as the direct result of the rise in risk.
U.S. Department of Justice has released the 448 redacted (searchable) report in PDF – Report On the Investigation into Russian Interference In The 2016 Presidential Election, Vols I and II March 2019. Special Counsel Robert S. Mueller III. Submitted Pursuant to 28 C.F.R. Sec 600.8(c).
- Please see this link for a screen shot of text from the Report via Bloomberg – The Special Counsel investigated these instances of “potential issues of obstruction of justice” involving Trump.
- Via Bloomberg – Also from the appendix, this video is a glossary of the key persons, entities, and organizations named in the #MuellerReport
Thread by @SethAbramson: “(MUELLER REPORT LIVE THREAD) This thread chronicles—in real time—the release of the Mueller Report, with news and analysis from a @Newsweek columnist and @NYTimes https://threadreaderapp.com/thread/1118631217212067841.html bestselling author (Proof of Collusion)”
The New York Times: “After 23 months, 500 search warrants, 2,300 subpoenas and a string of indictments, the results of the investigation by the special counsel, Robert S. Mueller III, will be public on Thursday in a nearly 400-page report. The treatise is likely to add significantly to our understanding of Russia’s 2016 election interference and President Trump’s efforts to control federal inquiries into the matter. Attorney General William P. Barr said last month that the special counsel did not find that anyone associated with the Trump campaign worked with the Russian government to illegally influence the election. He also said there was insufficient evidence that Mr. Trump illegally obstructed justice. But Americans have been eagerly waiting to hear from Mr. Mueller’s investigators in their own words. Whether you have followed every step of the investigation or are tuning in after months of avoiding the headlines, here is a primer for the report’s release….” Also via NYT – “Justice Department officials have had numerous conversations with White House lawyers about the conclusions made by Mr. Mueller, the special counsel, in recent days, according to people with knowledge of the discussions. The talks have aided the president’s legal team as it prepares a rebuttal to the report and strategizes for the coming public war over its findings….”
AP: “… Barr will hold a 9:30 a.m. news conference [this is a link to the DOJ live stream site] to present his interpretation of the report’s findings, before providing redacted copies [on CDs] to Congress and [then posting it online for] the public. The news conference, first announced by Trump during a radio interview, provoked immediate criticism from congressional Democrats…After the news conference, the report will be delivered to Congress on CDs between 11 a.m. and noon and then be posted on the special counsel’s website…” [Note – Neither Mueller nor any members of his team will attend this press conference.]
Hanging Together: “That was the topic discussed recently by OCLC Research Library Partners metadata managers, initiated by Daniel Lovins of Yale and Stephen Hearn of the University of Minnesota. As controlled vocabularies and thesauri are converted into linked open data and shared publicly, they often separate from their traditional role of facilitating collection browsing and find a renewed purpose as Web-based knowledge organizations systems (KOS). As Marcia Zeng points out in Knowledge Organization Systems (KOS) in the Semantic Web: a multi-dimensional review, “a KOS vocabulary is more than just the source of values to be used in metadata descriptions: by modeling the underlying semantic structures of domains, KOS act as semantic road maps and make possible a common orientation by indexers and future users, whether human or machine.” Good examples of such repurposing are the Getty Vocabularies, which not only allow browsing of Getty’s representation of knowledge, but also help users generate their own SPARQL queries that can be embedded in external applications. Another example is Social Networks and Archival Context (SNAC), which enables browsing of entities and relationships independently of their collections of origins. In such cases, the discovery tool pivots to being person-centric (or family-centric, or topic-centric.), rather than (only) collection-centric. BIBFRAME, RDA, and IFLA-LRM vocabularies may prove similarly valuable as knowledge organization systems on the Web…”
Women in Congress 1917-2019: Service Dates and Committee Assignments by Member, and Lists by State and Congress
EveryCRSReport.com – Women in Congress, 1917-2019: Service Dates and Committee Assignments by Member, and Lists by State and Congress, April 9, 2019. “In total 365 women have been elected or appointed to Congress, 247 Democrats and 118 Republicans. These figures include six nonvoting Delegates, one each from Guam, Hawaii, the District of Columbia, and American Samoa, and two from the U.S. Virgin Islands, as well as one Resident Commissioner from Puerto Rico. Of these 365 women, there have been
- 309 (211 Democrats, 98 Republicans) women elected only to the House of Representatives;
- 40 (25 Democrats, 15 Republicans) women elected or appointed only to the Senate; and
- 16 (11 Democrats, 5 Republicans) women who have served in both houses.
A record 131 women currently serve in the 116th Congress. Of these 131 women, there are
- 25 in the Senate (17 Democrats and 8 Republicans);
- 102 Representatives in the House (89 Democrats and 13 Republicans); and
- 4 women in the House (2 Democrats and 2 Republicans) who serve as Delegates or Resident Commissioner, representing the District of Columbia, American Samoa, the U.S. Virgin Islands, and Puerto Rico.
This report includes brief biographical information, committee assignments, dates of service, district information, and listings by Congress and state, and (for Representatives) congressional districts of the 365 women who have been elected or appointed to Congress. It will be updated when there are relevant changes in the makeup of Congress…”
Cornell Chronicle – “A blueprint for conserving enough habitat to protect the populations of almost one-third of the warblers, orioles, tanagers and other birds that migrate among the Americas throughout the year is detailed in research published April 15 in Nature Communications. An international team of scientists used eBird, the Cornell Lab of Ornithology’s global citizen science database, to calculate how to sufficiently conserve habitat across the Western Hemisphere for all the habitats these birds use throughout their annual cycle of breeding, migration and overwintering. The study provides planners with guidance on the locations and amounts of land that must be conserved for 30% of the global populations for each of 117 bird species that migrate to the Neotropics (Central and South America, the Caribbean and southern North America). More than one-third of Neotropical migratory birds are suffering population declines, yet a 2015 global assessment found that only 9% of migratory bird species have adequate habitat protection across their yearly ranges to protect their populations. Conservation of migratory birds has historically been difficult, partly because they require habitat across continents and conservation efforts have been challenged by limited knowledge of their abundance and distribution over their vast ranges and throughout the year…”
One of the Time 100 this year is Barbara Rae-Venter – “After 23 frustrating years of trying to identify the elusive Golden State Killer—who terrorized the state of California from 1976 to 1986—a fortuitous phone call brought me to genetic genealogist Barbara Rae-Venter. I wondered if the work she was doing, using DNA samples from related individuals to find their common ancestors, could identify an unknown offender like the Golden State Killer, based on the DNA he left behind at crime scenes. Rae-Venter assured me it could. Over the course of 4½ months, we painstakingly pursued the strategy laid out by Rae-Venter. With her guidance, we ultimately identified the suspected Golden State Killer as Joseph James DeAngelo Jr., a former police officer. Since DeAngelo’s arrest in April 2018, more than 25 horrific cold cases—many of which had frustrated their investigators for decades—have been moved forward. Rae-Venter has provided law enforcement with its most revolutionary tool since the advent of forensic DNA testing in the 1980s.” By Paul Holes – former chief of forensics at the Contra Costa County, Calif., district attorney’s office.
“How fake news gets into our minds, and what you can do to resist it Although the term itself is not new, fake news presents a growing threat for societies across the world. Only a small amount of fake news is needed to disrupt a conversation, and at extremes it can have an impact on democratic processes, including elections. But what can we do to avoid fake news, at a time when we could be waiting a while for mainstream media and social networks to step up and address the problem? From a psychology perspective, an important step in tackling fake news is to understand why it gets into our mind. We can do this by examining how memory works and how memories become distorted. Using this viewpoint generates some tips you can use to work out whether you’re reading or sharing fake news.”
Roll Call – Computers on wheels raise thorny questions about data privacy: “If you’re driving a late model car or truck, chances are that the vehicle is mostly computers on wheels, collecting and wirelessly transmitting vast quantities of data to the car manufacturer not just on vehicle performance but personal information, too, such as your weight, the restaurants you visit, your music tastes and places you go. A car can generate about 25 gigabytes of data every hour and as much as 4,000 gigabytes a day, according to some estimates. The data trove in the hands of car makers could be worth as much as $750 billion by 2030, the consulting firm McKinsey has estimated. But consumer groups, aftermarket repair shops and privacy advocates say the data belongs to the car’s owners and the information should be subject to data privacy laws…”
Bradley, Christopher G., The Consumer Protection Ecosystem: Law, Norms, and Technology (March 8, 2019). Denver Law Review, Vol. 97, 2019. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=3349190 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.3349190
“Consumer law provokes fierce policy debate on issues from identity theft to online privacy, from arbitration clauses and class action lawsuits to Americans’ accumulation of debt and the unsavory practices sometimes used to collect. Pervasive technology in every aspect of consumer transacting has opened up many new fronts in these battles. Scholars, policymakers, and advocates have responded in kind, devoting increased energy to this area of law, which affects every single one of us, every single day. Despite its prominence, however, confusion persists regarding what consumer protection really is or does. The realities of social and technological change have not been integrated into legal analyses of consumer transactions.
This Article constructs a novel and comprehensive model of the consumer protection ecosystem by contextualizing purely legal constraints amid the other realities of commercial relationships. Drawing on scholarship in the areas of technology, social change, and the law, the model lays out three basic types of constraints on the activities of participants in consumer commercial transactions: legal, technical, and social constraints. This model provides a basis for exploring how those constraints interact and shape behavior.
The model has significant ramifications for scholars, policymakers, and advocates. The model underscores why the area of consumer-facing commerce defies one-size-fits-all solutions; instead, it demands refined and layered consideration of consumers, merchants, and the commercial relationships they pursue, as well as the changes in the social and technological contexts of those relationships. This Article’s model provides a framework for that future research and debate.”