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Date: Monday, 21 Apr 2014 23:37

Legal Scholarship We Like,
and Why It Matters

University of Miami School of Law
November 7-8, 2014

JOTWELL, the Journal of Things We Like (Lots), is an online journal dedicated to celebrating and sharing the best scholarship relating to the law. To celebrate Jotwell’s 5th Birthday, we invite you to join us for conversations about what makes legal scholarship great and why it matters.

In the United States, the role of scholarship is under assault in contemporary conversations about law schools; meanwhile in many other countries legal scholars are routinely pressed to value their work according to metrics or with reference to fixed conceptions of the role of legal scholarship. We hope this conference will serve as an answer to those challenges, both in content and by example.

We invite pithy abstracts of proposed contributions, relating to one or more of the conference themes. Each of these themes provides an occasion for the discussion (and, as appropriate, defense) of the scholarly enterprise in the modern law school–not for taking the importance of scholarship for granted, but showing, with specificity, as we hope Jotwell itself does, what good work looks like and why it matters.

I. Improving the Craft: Writing Legal Scholarship

We invite discussion relating to the writing of legal scholarship.

1. What makes great legal scholarship? Contributions on this theme could either address the issue at a general level, or anchor their discussion by an analysis of a single exemplary work of legal scholarship. We are open to discussions of both content and craft.

2. Inevitably, not all books and articles will be “great”. What makes “good” legal scholarship? How do we achieve it?

II. Improving the Reach: Communicating and Sharing

Legal publishing is changing quickly, and the way that people both produce and consume legal scholarship seems likely to continue to evolve.

3. Who is (are) the audience(s) for legal scholarship?

4. How does legal scholarship find its audience(s)? Is there anything we as legal academics can or should do to help disseminate great and good scholarship? To what extent will the shift to online publication change how people edit, consume, and share scholarship, and how should we as authors and editors react?

III. Improving the World: Legal Scholarship and its Influence

Most broadly, we invite discussion of when and how legal scholarship matters.

5. What makes legal scholarship influential? Note that influence is not necessarily the same as “greatness”. Also, influence has many possible meanings, encompassing influence within or outside the academy.

6. Finally, we invite personal essays about influence: what scholarship, legal or otherwise, has been most influential for you as a legal scholar? What if anything can we as future authors learn from this?

Mechanics:

Jotwell publishes short reviews of recent scholarship relevant to the law, and we usually require brevity and a very contemporary focus. For this event, however, contributions may range over the past, the present, or the future, and proposed contributions can be as short as five pages, or as long as thirty.

We invite the submission of abstracts for proposed papers fitting one or more of the topics above. Your abstract should lay out your central idea, and state the anticipated length of the finished product.

Abstracts due by: May 20, 2014. Send your paper proposals (abstracts) via the JOTCONF 2014 EasyChair page at https://www.easychair.org/conferences/?conf=jotconf2014.

If you do not have an EasyChair account you will need to register first – just click at the “sign up for an account” link at the login page and fill in the form. The system will send you an e-mail with the instructions how to finish the registration.

Responses by: June 13, 2014

Accepted Papers due: Oct 6, 2014

Conference: Nov. 7-8, 2014
University of Miami School of Law
Coral Gables, FL

Symposium contributions will be published on a special page at Jotwell.com. Authors will retain copyright. In keeping with Jotwell’s relentlessly low-budget methods, this will be a self-funding event. Your contributions are welcome even if you cannot attend in person.

Author: "Michael Froomkin" Tags: "Jotwell, Talks & Conferences"
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Date: Sunday, 20 Apr 2014 16:21

Reprinted with permission.

Reprinted with permission.

In the face of a huge public backlash, General Mills has removed the abusive contract terms it tried out earlier this week. (See Cereal Wrap?)

Only question now is: how long before a modified limited stealth version turns up somewhere on their site or in or on their packaging.

Author: "Michael Froomkin" Tags: "Law: Everything Else"
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Date: Thursday, 17 Apr 2014 14:14

Warning: This Cereal May Be Hazardous to Your Rights

Warning: This Cereal May Be Hazardous to Your Rights

Really? Firms are going to try to expand browsewrap (or web-wrap) to liking them on Facebook? To opening a cereal box? So claims the NYT in When ‘Liking’ a Brand Online Voids the Right to Sue.

From the company’s viewpoint it’s a logical attempt to force consumers into arbitration so that buyers’ rights are more limited than in courts. This would allow the firms to flee liability — especially class action risk — no matter how deadly their products might be.

For courts, I hope very much this rights grab will be held to be unconscionable. Prospects in the 7th circuit must, however, been seen as poor given its approval of shrinkwrap terms for both licenses and sales in ProCD v. Zeidenberg (per Easterbrook). And of course the Supreme Court has been on a pro-arbitration tear for over a decade. This, though, should be a crunch too far.

Author: "Michael Froomkin" Tags: "Law: Everything Else"
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Tax Day   New window
Date: Tuesday, 15 Apr 2014 16:45

“Taxes are what we pay for civilized society,” wrote Justice Oliver Wendel Holmes (in dissent); it seems I’ve been misquoting it for decades as “taxes are the price of civilization.”

They’ve even got the Holmes version on the front of the IRS building in Washington:

inscription03

Just for fun, here’s another good tax quote, from the IRS:

People who complain about taxes can be divided into two classes: men and women.”
— Unknown

Author: "Michael Froomkin" Tags: "Econ & Money"
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Date: Friday, 11 Apr 2014 19:09
Reprinted with kind permission of Mike Stanfill

Reprinted with kind permission of Mike Stanfill

Author: "Michael Froomkin" Tags: "Politics: US"
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Date: Tuesday, 08 Apr 2014 13:55

Apologies, blog readers, but this announcement is for UM Law 1L & 2L students only:

I would like to hire a part-time summer research assistant. The hours are negotiable, but likely would be in the 15 hours per week range. It would be best if you could start soon after exams finish. Current UM 1Ls and 2Ls are welcome to apply.

My research assistant will help me with my summer writing projects. The job requires someone who can write clearly, is well-organized, and who is really good at finding things in libraries and on the Internet. There may be some bluebooking involved too. (If you happen to have some web or programming skills (some or all of HTML, MySQL, Perl, Debian), that could be useful, but it is not in any way a requirement.)

The hourly pay of $ 13 is set by the university, and is not as high as you deserve, but the work is sometimes interesting.

If you are interested, please send me an e-mail with the words RESEARCH ASSISTANT (in all caps) followed by your name in the subject line. In the email tell me:

- how many hours you’d ideally like to work per week and what other jobs/courses you have planned for the summer (if any),
- when you are free to start, and whether you have vacation plans (no problem if you are planning to take a week or two off during the summer)
- your phone number and email address.
- whether it is OK for me to share your application with other interested faculty members who might also want a summer research assistant.
- whether, if things work out, you might be interested in continuing on at 10/hrs week during the next academic year.

Please attach the following to your email:

1. A copy of your resume (c.v.),

2. A short writing sample (non-legal is preferred — in any case, please do NOT send your LCOMM memo),

3. A transcript (need not be an official copy).

(You might also mention that you saw the ad here. Can’t hurt.)

Please note that this job is different from the Jotwell summer editor position I am also advertising.

Author: "Michael Froomkin" Tags: "U.Miami"
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Date: Tuesday, 08 Apr 2014 01:21

And it was A Happening. The papers were strong, and the presentations if anything stronger. David Post wins for best line of the 2-day conference, and I’ll link here to his video when we have it up in a few days. (Unedited video can be found at the livestream site)

Meanwhile, however, we had some media at and around the event:

I really think it was the best We Robot yet. I should recover soon.

Author: "Michael Froomkin" Tags: "Robots, Talks & Conferences"
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Date: Friday, 04 Apr 2014 11:06

We Robot 2014 is happening today and tomorrow. We have a great lineup of papers, all of which you can download and read from our Program page. There you can also see our schedule, and follow along on the livestream or via our own proprietary live video feed. Everything will be broadcast except the demos, which take place in different rooms.

The papers seem strong this year, so there’s plenty to read and think about.

I co-authored a paper this year on “self-defense against robots,” which is a fun topic. The paper is actually quite a basic application of tort law to robot issues – it’s one of those papers you write to lay a foundation for other papers. But as far as I know, no one else had written it, so I hope it is useful.

Author: "Michael Froomkin" Tags: "Robots, Talks & Conferences"
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Date: Tuesday, 01 Apr 2014 22:06

I was interviewed today by @pfunkmedia about #We_Robot. You can hear the podcast — I’m the second half.

Author: "Michael Froomkin" Tags: "Robots, The Media"
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Karma?   New window
Date: Saturday, 29 Mar 2014 15:55

Somehow it seems fitting that it should be the USS Miami nuclear attack submarine that got scrapped yesterday because, well, a shipyard employee trying to get out of work set it on fire, causing $700 million in damage.

Author: "Michael Froomkin" Tags: "Miami, National Security"
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Date: Wednesday, 26 Mar 2014 14:27

click for larger image

Click above for a larger image. Key facts are that it’s Monday March 31st, 12:30-1:50pm in the SAC-Law School Multipurpose room. And they’ll feed you lunch!

Author: "Michael Froomkin" Tags: "Law: Privacy, Talks & Conferences"
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Date: Tuesday, 25 Mar 2014 00:44

pig-flyThis doesn’t happen very often — well, ever, actually — a staff writer on the Wall Street Journal Editorial page just quoted favorably from one of my articles.

Lest the quote make me sound like more of a jingo than I actually am, let me explain the context. The US Department of Commerce (DoC) has been gradually extricating itself from management of the Internet domain name system (DNS). Until a few weeks ago, the major recent step in that distancing process was the so-called “Affirmation of Commitments” between the DoC and the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN) which I wrote about in Almost Free: An Analysis of ICANN’s ‘Affirmation of Commitments’, 9 J. Telecom. & High Tech. Law 187 (2011). That paper updated my original ICANN paper, Wrong Turn in Cyberspace: Using ICANN to Route Around the APA and the Constitution, 50 DUKE L.J. 17 (2000), in which I explained the complicated web of relationships between DoC, ICANN, and other major players.

But ten days ago, everything changed again — sort of. In response to international political pressure that intensified after the Snowden revelations, the DoC announced that it planned to let go of its major remaining lever over ICANN, control of the so-called IANA function, as soon as the international community could craft a suitable transition plan. ICANN of course rushed to suggest that the transition should be to ICANN, but DoC (via the NTIA) has quite properly suggested that this isn’t quite what it had in mind.

Governments around the world are thought to prefer a system like the ITU or the UN (although not those bodies themselves) which are primarily controlled by governments on a one-sovereignty, one-vote system. And now we come to the part of this which I oppose. As accurately quoted by the WSJ, I believe it would be a mistake to give despots a say over the communications of democracies. Thus a fully world-wide international body dominated by governments seems like the wrong tool to me. It could be international but non-governmental. It could be run by a committee of democracies. We could give the whole thing to Canada (my favorite, but alas unlikely solution). Fortunately the US government has clarified its original remarks by saying it isn’t signing a blank check, and there are also ambiguities in what exactly got promised. So everything remains to be decided. But there are many interest groups that want this to happen as quickly as possible — before the US changes its mind, and before opposition groups wanting structural separation from ICANN or more accountability get organized. So we could be in for a wild ride.

Author: "Michael Froomkin" Tags: "ICANN, The Media"
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Date: Saturday, 22 Mar 2014 04:34

Copright 'brizzle born and bred' Some rights reserved.Jotwell, the online journal of reviews of recent faculty scholarship relating to the law, needs a Student Summer Editor. The student editor supports faculty editors both at UM and elsewhere, and has a role that is a blend of a substantive editor and a managing editor.

The ideal candidate will be a current University of Miami School of Law 1L or 2L who is organized, a careful editor, and enjoys reading legal scholarship. Grades matter for this job, but a demonstrated ability to write and edit may substitute for grades up to a point. The job would start as soon as you are available after your Spring ’14 final exams and run to mid-August; there would be no problem if you wanted to take one or more vacation periods during that time, as long as none of them was for a long continuous period.

The workload typically runs 30 hours per week, and is paid at the law school’s research assistant scale, which in most cases is $13/hr. Jotwell uses WordPress to publish, but it is easy to learn, so no experience needed.

If you are interested, please email your c.v. (aka “your résumé”) and a copy (unofficial is fine) of your transcript to michael.froomkin@gmail.com. Please put “JOTWELL 2014″ and your name in the subject line. If you have a non-legal writing sample please include that also.

Some preference may be given to applicants who indicate that they also would be willing to continue as a part of the team of Student Editors during the 2014-2015 school year, a job that typically takes 7-10 hours per week.

Author: "Michael Froomkin" Tags: "Jotwell"
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Date: Tuesday, 18 Mar 2014 04:18

The government of Vietnam is controlled by the Communist Party of Vietnam.

Strange, therefore, to read that Vietnam Airlines, the flag carrier, wholly owned by the government of Vietnam, has a business class featuring better seats and food, a private lounge, and a private bus to take you to the plane.

A socialist-oriented market economy, eh?

I suppose one could spin this so many different way: VietNam was never really communist it was anti-colonialsist; communism is a failed strategy, here’s the proof; socialism, ditto; fill-in-the-blank has never been tried; virus theory of capitalism; there were always classes under Communism now it’s more open; and doubtless more.

Author: "Michael Froomkin" Tags: "Politics: International"
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Date: Saturday, 15 Mar 2014 19:29

Inside The Barista Class. It’s about power,

After a while, the process of dealing with the clientele itself can conform to a similar—albeit slightly more nuanced—math. Somewhere around the hundredth order, the expectations underneath each inflection become easier to decode, like you’ve developed a sixth sense. Often it was simply detecting how much overt power a customer wished to exercise. By far the simplest to please are, unfortunately, the most cliche: the older, better-dressed, and very likely monied ones. They want substitutions and customized drinks, and from their servers, only hyper-polite deference. For a woman, men over a certain age are easy, most of the time—there is but only one marginally flirtatious smile, and all it requires is a twist of the mouth.

And don’t forget the alienation:

I once had a friend who quit his job as a bike messenger because, as he told it, people on the street started to resemble nothing more than obstacles in the way of his next commission. If delivery work makes all humans into roadblocks, front-of-the-house service professions render them as a collection of preferences and tastes and, as both Pierre Bourdieu and latte orders have taught me, taste is almost never singular. Luckily there really aren’t that many kinds of people buying $5 coffees in Brooklyn, and thus there are a limited number of ways in which it becomes necessary to communicate, particularly once you figure out which parts of yourself are most in demand.

…and….

My kind of service work is not the kind of service work that puts you in the back room washing dishes for 12-hour shifts for dollars because you are considered completely expendable. But my kind of service work is part of the same logic that indiscriminately razes neighborhoods. It outsources the emotional and practical needs of the oft-fetishized, urban-renewing “creative” workforce to a downwardly mobile middle class, reducing workers’ personality traits and educations to a series of plot points intended to telegraph a zombified bohemianism for the benefit of the rich.

Always lurking is the reserve army of the un- and under-employed,

The national unemployment rate was hovering close to ten percent while I was in school, and if I ever doubted how lucky I was, I had only to look around my own place of employment. The shop was perpetually full of people glaring at their laptops. Some endlessly scrolled through the universal yet private hell of Craigslist job postings. Others hammered away manically, picking away at their corner of the gig economy, that handily shortened name for what had once been termed the Industrial Revolution of our time. It had been estimated, around 2010, that there were a million freelancers in New York. I only knew one or two who were making it work—for everyone else, working for yourself just meant begging for projects while you looked for a job. I was lucky.

As of 2012, one in ten employed Americans worked in food service. Two-thirds of them are under 35. The average hourly wage for a food service worker, according to the Department of Labor, is around $12, with a work week less than 25 hours long. It comes out to a little more than $14,000 a year. These are jobs without benefits or much potential for upward mobility, jobs where the idea of a sick day is laughable. Almost 60% of new jobs are of the low-wage, high-turnover variety; food service ranks in the top five of industries with job growth; the others are mostly in healthcare.

There is a small amount of class solidarity,

For all of North Brooklyn’s book groups and websites and meet-ups dedicated to alternative monetary systems, the solidarity economy is, for the time being, at its best in the service sector. I can barely remember paying full price for anything. Checks for Negronis, artisanal spicy pickles, hand-roasted coffee beans, and sometimes entire locally sourced meals disappeared with a wink and a nudge reminiscent of Fight Club’s ominous waiter scene. At the very least, it allowed us to participate in a culture we couldn’t really afford. At its vilest it felt like a neighborhood of people working for slightly more than minimum wage in exchange for a chance to play-act at brunching in a nice neighborhood.

Rarely spoken aloud, the tendency of Greenpoint’s service class to take care of its own was one of the only outright gestures of solidarity I witnessed, the only place where a distinction was made between the server and the served. I suspect the rarity of that admission has something to do with the fact that, for most intents and purposes, our jobs relied on completely erasing that distinction from public view.

But if you’re not one of them, you better be a good customer, or you will get it:

If a customer was particularly bad we exercised one of the only powers we possessed and “decafed” them. To covertly rob a caffeine-addicted asshole of their morning jolt was truly one of the sweetest pleasures of baristahood, and one that my subsequent professions haven’t come close to replicating.

Author: "Michael Froomkin" Tags: "Econ & Money"
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Date: Tuesday, 11 Mar 2014 16:25

Senator Diane Feinstein (D-Cal), one of the more reliable friends the intelligence community has had in the Senate, delivered a remarkable statement on the floor of the Senate yesterday.

It’s really worth reading all of it. Choice bits below (I have boldfaced the choicest bit near the end):

The interrogations and the conditions of confinement at the CIA detentions sites were far different and far more harsh than the way the CIA had described them to us.

Per an exchange of letters in 2009, then-Vice Chairman Bond, then-Director Panetta and I agreed in an exchange of letters that the CIA was to provide a, quote, stand-alone computer system, end quote, with a, quote, network drive segregated from CIA networks, end quote, for the committee that would only be accessed by information technology personnel at the CIA who would, quote, not be permitted to share information from the system with other CIA personnel, except as otherwise authorized by the committee, end quote.

It was this computer network that notwithstanding our agreement with Director Panetta was searched by the CIA this past January — and once before, which I will later describe.

In early 2010, the CIA was continuing to provide documents and the committee staff was gaining familiarity with the information it had already received. In May of 2010, the committee staff noticed that the documents had been provided for the committee — that had been provided for the committee’s review were no longer accessible.

Staff approached the CIA personnel at the off-site location, who initially denied that documents had been removed. CIA personnel then blamed information technology personnel, who were almost all contractors, for removing the documents themselves without direction or authority.

And then the CIA stated that the removal of the documents was ordered by the White House. When the White — when the committee approached the White House, the White House denied giving the CIA any such order.

… this was the exact sort of CIA interference in our investigation that we sought to avoid at the outset.

To be clear, the committee staff did not hack into CIA computers to obtain these documents, as has been suggested in the press.

When the internal Panetta Review documents disappeared from the committee’s computer system, this suggested once again that the CIA had removed documents already provided to the committee, in violation of CIA agreements and White House assurances that the CIA would cease such activities. As I have detailed, the CIA has previously withheld and destroyed information about its detention and interrogation program, including its decision in 2005 to destroy interrogation videotapes over the objections of the Bush White House and the director of national intelligence. Based on the above, there was a need to preserve and protect the internal Panetta Review in the committee’s own secure spaces.

Now, the relocation of the internal Panetta Review was lawful and handled in a manner consistent with its classification. No law prevents the relocation of a document in the committee’s possession from a CIA facility to secure committee offices on Capitol Hill. As I mentioned before, the document was handled and transported in a manner consistent with its classification, redacted appropriately, and it remains secured, with restricted access in committee spaces.

on January 15th, 2014, CIA Director Brennan requested an emergency meeting to inform me and Vice Chairman Chambliss that without prior notification or approval, CIA personnel had conducted a search — that was John Brennan’s word — of the committee computers at the off-site facility.

This search involved not only a search of documents provided by the committee by the CIA, but also a search of the standalone and walled-off committee network drive containing the committee’s own internal work product and communications. According to Brennan, the computer search was conducted in response to indications that some members of the committee staff might already have had access to the internal Panetta review.

The CIA did not ask the committee or its staff if the committee had access to the internal review or we obtained it.

Instead the CIA just went and searched the committee’s computers. The CIA has still not asked the committee any questions about how the committee acquired the Panetta review.

In place of asking any questions, the CIA’s unauthorized search of the committee computers was followed by an allegation, which we now have seen repeated anonymously in the press, that the committee staff had somehow obtained the document through unauthorized or criminal means, perhaps to include hacking into the CIA’s computer network.

As I have described, this is not true. The document was made available to the staff at the off-site facility, and it was located using a CIA-provided search tool running a query of the information provided to the committee pursuant to its investigation. Director Brennan stated that the CIA search had determined that the committee staff had copies of the internal Panetta review on the committee staff shared drive and had accessed them numerous times. He indicated at the meeting that he was going to order further forensic investigation of the committee network to loan — to learn more about activities of the committee’s oversight staff.

Besides the constitutional implications, the CIA search may also have violated the Fourth Amendment, the Computer Fraud and Abuse Act, as well as Executive Order 12333, which prohibits the CIA from conducting domestic searches or surveillance.

Weeks later, I was also told that after the inspector general reviewed the CIA’s activities to the Department of Justice — excuse me, referred the CIA’s activities to the Department of Justice, the acting counsel general of the CIA filed a crimes report with the Department of Justice concerning the committee staff’s actions. I have not been provided the specifics of these allegations, or been told whether the department has initiated a criminal investigation based on the allegations of the CIA’s acting general counsel.

As I mentioned before, our staff involved in this matter have the appropriate clearances, handled this sensitive material according to established procedures and practice to protect classified information, and were provided access to the Panetta Review by the CIA itself.

As a result, there is no legitimate reason to allege to the Justice Department that Senate staff may have committed a crime. I view the acting counsel general’s referral as a potential effort to intimidate this staff, and I am not taking this lightly.

I should note that for most if not all of the CIA’s detention and interrogation program, the now-acting general counsel was a lawyer in the CIA’s counterterrorism center, the unit within which the CIA managed and carried out this program. From mid-2004 until the official termination of the detention and interrogation program in January 2009, he was the unit’s chief lawyer. He is mentioned by name more than 1,600 times in our study.

And now, this individual is sending a crimes report to the Department of Justice on the actions of Congressional staff — the same Congressional staff who researched and drafted a report that details how CIA officers, including the acting general counsel himself, provided inaccurate information to the Department of Justice about the program.

Mr. President, let me say this: All senators rely on their staff to be their eyes and ears and to carry out our duties. The staff members of the intelligence committee are dedicated professionals who are motivated to do what is best for our nation. The staff members who have been working on this study and this report have devoted years of their lives to it, wading through the horrible details of a CIA program that never, never, never should have existed.

They have worked long hours and produced a report unprecedented in its comprehensive attention to detail in the history of the Senate. They are now being threatened with legal jeopardy just as final revisions to the report and being made so that parts of it can be declassified and released to the American people.

Mr. President, I felt that I needed to come to the floor today to correct the public record and to give the American people the facts about what the dedicated committee staff have been working so hard for the last several years as part of the committee’s investigation.

I also want to reiterate to my colleagues my desire to have all updates to the committee report completed this month and approved for declassification. We’re not going to stop. I intend to move to have the findings, conclusions and the executive summary of the report sent to the president for declassification as release to the American people. The White House has indicated publicly and to me personally that it supports declassification and release.

If the Senate can declassify this report, we will be able to ensure that an un-American, brutal program of detention and interrogation will never again be considered or permitted. But, Mr. President, the recent actions that I have just laid out make this a defining moment for the oversight of our Intelligence Committee. How Congress and how this will be resolved will show whether the Intelligence Committee can be effective in monitoring and investigating our nation’s intelligence activities or whether our work can be thwarted by those we oversee.

Author: "Michael Froomkin" Tags: "Law: Constitutional Law, National Securi..."
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Date: Friday, 07 Mar 2014 19:37

According to an email full of corporate jargon I received today,

The results of the 2012 Mini-Pulse engagement survey and the ‘Canes Total Rewards-Your Thoughts assessment have been compiled and reported to University senior leadership. Nearly 6,000 faculty and staff responded to the surveys.

You cannot imagine my joy at learning that results are in from a 2012 survey I don’t remember. Especially given the exciting outcomes, which include, as the dramatic finale, the following:

In response to the Mini-Pulse survey and action plan submissions, the University has created a Culture Leadership Team to work on our common purpose, core values and behaviors, and employee value proposition. High-performing organizations have strong organizational identities based on established values and expectations for every member of the team. To continue to be successful we must be driven by a common vision, united in our core values, and focused on a set of aligned strategic goals. Along with President Shalala and more than 20 senior leaders, we have launched a formal process focused on leadership accountability for our workplace environment. In the months to come you’ll hear more about this effort and how you can get involved.

It is undoubtedly possible that there is a meaning hiding somewhere in that paragraph other than “more meetings,” but I for one don’t have the time or energy to figure out what it is.

Author: "Michael Froomkin" Tags: "U.Miami"
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Date: Thursday, 06 Mar 2014 22:39

Today had more than its usually dollop of ‘net-fame, in that I was mentioned by Robert Paul Wolff at The Philospher’s Stone and by Cory Doctorow at boingboing.

As for me, I spent a good chunk of the day mastering Expresso and Scholastica and sending off my new article to law reviews. Maybe law review editors read boingboing?

Author: "Michael Froomkin" Tags: "Personal"
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Covers   New window
Date: Thursday, 06 Mar 2014 03:31

I tend to like covers of songs that change or interpret it in some way, and tend not to like to covers that redo a song much in the way of the original. And I don’t mind a little weirdness if it makes you see a song in a new way.

Thus, for example, I’ve enjoyed some strange and wonderful covers of Eleanor Rigby (although many attempts are certainly very weird, and others intentionally awful), but didn’t much like Elton John’s very popular cover of Lucy in the Sky With Diamonds, which I thought was too much like the original without adding anything or even being as good.

These are just tendencies. I’ve loved a number of covers of Al Green’s stunning Take Me to The River. I’m still not sure whether I prefer the original, the Talking Heads’ version, or Bryan Ferry’s even-more strangled-pop cool version. I think I heard the Talking Heads version first, but they each have something great.

All this is preamble and possibly apology for my enthusiasm for this cover of Lorde’s Royals. I like the original — I like the whole album — and I’m prepared to argue that one of the measures of great pop today is that it spawns great covers. Well, as far as I’m concerned, case closed. (Spotted via Crooked Timber; At the risk of undermining myself, I will add I was underwhelmed by the also CT-endorsed Royals cover by Mayer Hawthorne.)

Care to share your favorite cover?

Author: "Michael Froomkin" Tags: "Kultcha"
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Date: Wednesday, 05 Mar 2014 14:55

This story seems like a Smoking Gun-sized Big Deal. The NYT version, C.I.A. Employees Face New Inquiry Amid Clashes on Detention Program and the less namby-pamby McClatchy version, Probe sought of CIA conduct in Senate study of secret detention program paint a pretty damming picture of an agency totally out of control, and of a potentially massive separation of powers conflict arising out of the Senate’s report on CIA torture.

Compare McClatchy’s leed:

The CIA Inspector General’s Office has asked the Justice Department to investigate allegations of malfeasance at the spy agency in connection with a yet-to-be released Senate Intelligence Committee report into the CIA’s secret detention and interrogation program, McClatchy has learned.

The criminal referral may be related to what several knowledgeable people said was CIA monitoring of computers used by Senate aides to prepare the study. The monitoring may have violated an agreement between the committee and the agency.

to the NYT leed:

The Central Intelligence Agency’s attempt to keep secret the details of a defunct detention and interrogation program has escalated a battle between the agency and members of Congress and led to an investigation by the C.I.A.’s internal watchdog into the conduct of agency employees.

The agency’s inspector general began the inquiry partly as a response to complaints from members of Congress that C.I.A. employees were improperly monitoring the work of staff members of the Senate Intelligence Committee, according to government officials with knowledge of the investigation.

McClatchy also says this:

The committee determined earlier this year that the CIA monitored computers – in possible violation of an agreement against doing so – that the agency had provided to intelligence committee staff in a secure room at CIA headquarters that the agency insisted they use to review millions of pages of top-secret reports, cables and other documents, according to people with knowledge.

Sen. Ron Wyden, D-Oregon, a panel member, apparently was referring to the monitoring when he asked CIA Director John Brennan at a Jan. 9 hearing if provisions of the Federal Computer Fraud and Abuse Act “apply to the CIA? Seems to me that’s a yes or no answer.”

Brennan replied that he’d have to get back to Wyden after looking into “what the act actually calls for and it’s applicability to CIA’s authorities.”

None of that is in the NYT version, although the NYT (like McClatchy) does have these details:

Then, in December, Mr. Udall revealed that the Intelligence Committee had become aware of an internal C.I.A. study that he said was “consistent with the Intelligence Committee’s report” and “conflicts with the official C.I.A. response to the committee’s report.”

It appears that Mr. Udall’s revelation is what set off the current fight, with C.I.A. officials accusing the Intelligence Committee of learning about the internal review by gaining unauthorized access to agency databases.

In a letter to President Obama on Tuesday, Mr. Udall made a vague reference to the dispute over the C.I.A.’s internal report.

“As you are aware, the C.I.A. has recently taken unprecedented action against the committee in relation to the internal C.I.A. review, and I find these actions to be incredibly troubling for the committee’s oversight responsibilities and for our democracy,” he wrote.

Developing.

Author: "Michael Froomkin" Tags: "Law: Constitutional Law, National Securi..."
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