Quote of the Day - I'm a great believer in luck, and I find the harder I work the more I have of it.
MIPTC Co-blogger Wins Best Advocate AwardDad is proud, very proud indeed. My son and co-blogger, Michel J. Ayer, was just named "Best Advocate" in the University of Iowa College of Law's Philip C. Jessup International Law Moot Court Competition. He had the highest score for his "memorial" (brief) and highest score for oral advocacy. He said the win "caught [him] off guard."
He and his four teammates will begin preparing this fall for the 2006 Midwest Regional competitions held next February. The regional winners will advance to the International finals that are traditionally held in Washington, D.C. in March, 2006. Right now, though, he's basking in the award he received at last night's dinner ceremony. The competition is sponsored by the International Law Students Association.
Can you tell my buttons are bursting? Way to go Michel!
The Week In Review VlawgYou could read each of the posts from this past week, or you could just click on the Vidcast icon below (for those of you reading this post via RSS, you'll have to click over to visit the website).
If you do, you'll catch this weblawg's author, J. Craig Williams, vlawgging his way through this week's posts.
You don't even need 3-D glasses. The videocast will play on your Windows Media player, version 8 or higher. If you use Real Media Player, scroll down to the post below.
The Week In Review Vlawg - Real Media Player VersionThis videocast will play on your Real Media Player. If you use Windows Media Player, scroll up to the post above.
The Rally Cry? Don't Clog My Blog.Blogfather and Professor Eugene Volokh has this to say about that. Volokh's article is a good read, as recommended by she who skis too fast (a.k.a. Surfette or to most of us as Lisa Stone).
Is mainstream media is a "clog" to news? Do we really get credible, truthful reporting of the news coupled with full disclosure?
Blogs, on the other hand have been accused of creating a blogswarm. Blogs have attacked mainstream media, and they don't like it. Sure, the house of blogs has a lot to clean up, and there's no shortage of opinions on how to do it.
As the good professor said in the first link to this post, "... blogs' criticism of media outlets may annoy some journalists, but it's good for the media as a whole. Just as media scrutiny helps make government more honest and competent, so media critics, including bloggers, help make the media more honest and competent. And because bloggers also criticize each other, they make other bloggers more honest and competent, too." Blogs have opinions, too.
In the long run, does mainstream media have any more credibility than blogs, or is it that we're both making the same mistakes?
Here's the message to mainstream media: Don't clog my blog.
But the message to blogs, too, is that we need to watch our own ethical behavior. Then, and only then, can we truly stand heir to the mantle of journalism.
MIPTC's Friday At The Movie Series: Reel Reviews Looks at: Get ShortyIt's Friday again, and time for another installment in the Friday At The Movies series, brought to you by my friend Michael Geoghegan. Here it is:
Reel Review #28: “Sometimes you do your best work when you got a gun to your head.” Catch John Travolta on his upswing from Pulp Fiction as he hits on all cylinders in this terrific comedy from 1995. Get Shorty has it all; drug smuggling, loan sharking, the Mob and Hollywood. Filled out with an all-star cast including Danny DeVito, Gene Hackman and Renee Russo, this is a film that you can count on for a good time.
Get Shorty DVD at Amazon
MIPTC's Friday Series: Grape Radio - Winemaker Spotlight: Jeff Dobkin - Thompkin CellarsAs a companion service to MIPTC's Friday At The Movie series, my other buddies want to encourage you to drink some wine with that popcorn. So, give a listen to their podcast spotlighting Thompkin Cellars. Here's what the guys have to say:
Grape Radio #10: Is there a doctor in the house? Doctors Jeff Dobkin and wife Julie Thompson have been bitten by the wine bug. The only cure appears to be the Cabernet Franc of their family wine called “Couchant." Recently relocated, Thompkin Cellars grapes are grown in Santa Barbara and then processed and aged in their Costa Mesa, California facility.
With future plans for a Syrah and Grenache, this is a winery worth watching.
No More Data Rape In New YorkNo, you don't have to give anyone your social security number. Except, perhaps the IRS and other government officials.
That's the ruling of a yet-to-be-published case out of New York (subscription required). Mark Fass of the New York Law Journal today cited the Court's ruling:
"While the privilege must give way as required by statute, regulation, or court order, in ordinary circumstances, the person who holds the social security number appears to be free to decline disclosure," Acting Supreme Justice Diane E. Lebedeff ruled in Meyerson v. Prime Realty Services, 118001/03.
Apparently, this issue has never been decided before: Judge Lebedeff noted it was a case of "nationwide first impression." She also called the practice of identity theft "data rape," expressing concern that "armed with one's SSN, an unscrupulous individual could obtain a person's welfare benefits or Social Security benefits, order new checks at a new address on that person's checking account, obtain credit cards, or even obtain the person's paycheck."
The case involves a tenant in New York who wanted to renew her lease to an apartment she had been a tenant in for many years. In order to renew, the landlord requested the tenant's SSN. The tenant refused, and promptly sued, arguing that it was a deceptive business practice to be required to provide her SSN in order to renew an existing lease for an apartment on anything other than the original terms and conditions (the landlord held no security deposit and did not previously have the tenant's SSN). **NOTE: The facts in this paragraph have been corrected from those in the original post based upon the request of the tenant's attorney, as more fully explained in his comment below.**
You'd almost have to be from New York to understand their attachment to apartments. It's hard for those of us in California who are attached at the hip to our cars.
The net effect of the ruling is that private citizens do not have to provide their SSN to other private individuals.
I just want to know whether she got the apartment.
For Those Who Don't Remember Watergate. And A Reminder To Those That Do.Seeking advice from a lawyer in this example is a bit like going to see the doctor. You want to explain all of your symptoms to the doctor so you get the right treatment, and the problem you brought to the doctor is treated properly.
So it goes with a lawyer. To get the right advice, people who consult us are protected by the attorney-client privilege. Anything said to a lawyer is protected from disclosure, with certain exceptions like fraud and crime.
If, however, you're a public official representing your constituents, should you be able to consult a government attorney and invoke that privilege to protect your communications?
The Second Circuit Court of Appeal thinks so. Ultimately, it looks like the Supreme Court will get the last word, if the Department of Justice appeals. Existing law recognizes that the government can invoke the privilege, but the question is not fully resolved.
The 7th and the 8th Circuits have held that government cannot invoke the privilege, and when a grand jury undertakes a criminal investigation of a government employee, conversations with a government lawyer are not protected. It's a matter of public, not private, interest that controls.
Seems logical. Do we want our public officials hiding behind the cloak of an attorney? Do we want open meetings?
Or, on the other hand, do we want our public officials to have the best advice and full disclosure of all the facts to treat the symptoms correctly?
In Watergate, Congress grilled John Dean, President Nixon's attorney. Did he honor the privilege (5-minute video of testimony before Congress)? Hear him tell it.
Seems to me the Courts are asking the wrong question. Who is the government attorney responsible to? Who's the client here? The citizens or the government official?