Quote of the Day - Be gone, vulgar one. I am best not trifled with. Return to your petty games.
Banishment Revived Among Indian TribesWondering what to do with your rebellious teenagers? If you're a member of an Indian tribe, you can try banishment. An age old punishment, it's now coming back into vogue as a means to deal with drugs and gangs on the reservation.
The practice used to force violators out of tribal lands to fend for themselves in the wilderness. Since there's not as much wilderness left these days, banishment has sparked a debate that the Indians are just moving their problems into the general population.
The punishment is more personal for many Indians, though. According to this article, Kay Commodore, a Lummi Indian, was stripped of her tribal membership and banished from the reservation after she was convicted of drug trafficking in 1992. She served three years in prison, but said banishment is worse. She is allowed on the reservation only to visit a plot of land she holds and is forbidden to visit family members.
"They're taking away a piece of who I am," Commodore said. "I can go out to my land, but I can't stop and see anybody - that's the thing that hurts me."
The concept of banishment is nothing new. It was practiced by the Greeks and Romans. Just be glad you're not Irish.
$9M in Virtual Game MoneyOnline gaming has reached a new level of absurdity. One gamer spent more than two years and over $1,000 amassing virtual money and an online cache of weapons in a game known as Red Moon. The last time he logged in, however, a real-world hacker broke into the company's server, and wiped out his virtual money and weapons.
His response? A lawsuit when the company refused to reinstate his virtual winnings.
Now, a Chinese court has found that the gamer has virtual property rights. According to the New Scientist, noted "the case is just another example of how the line between online games and the real world have begun to blur. Some gamers already trade game goods and characters for real money through online auction sites like eBay."
Given that, an enterprising California State University, Fullerton assistant professor calculated that a successful online gamer could make $3.42 per hour amassing virtual wealth, and then selling it on Ebay.
The professor noted that so far, Ebay has sold over $9,000,000 in "virtual" goods.
Wolf in Sheep's Clothing - The ESA at 30How does it look for the Endangered Species Act, now 30 years old? Probably more cooperative efforts than lawsuits, according to this article.
The World Wildlife Fund sees a collaborative mindset as the future for the Act. In the past, the ESA has been labeled a failure, and recently targeted for repair.
At least one organization sees hope for the Act, and while typically benefiting charismatic species, it also has been applied to rare and relatively unknown species.
Expect to see more use of Habitat Conservation Plans, which generally encompass areas of habitat for multiple species.
Also be on the lookout for Safe Harbor Agreements and Candidate Conservation Agreements, two types of voluntary agreements between the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service and private landowners. Under those agreements, the Service can issue a "take" permit in return for landowners' voluntary protection of endangered species.
Likely not a wolf in sheep's clothing, these changes have only taken 30 years to start coming about. How much longer will it take us to learn to really work together?
Past, Present and Future ImperfectThe end of the year is here, and it's been just five months of blogging for me. Typically, articles at the end of the year look back on what's happened, recapping the most significant events of the year.
Admittedly, there's a lot to look at this year, but I prefer to look ahead. Where will this blog go in the next year?
It's hard to find a formula that works, so I've just stuck with Mark Twain's advice: "Write about what you know, son." I suspect there will be more of the same next year.
But is that all there is to it? Shouldn't the end of the year and the beginning of the next cause a time for reflection and planning? Take stock and store up for the coming months?
I guess there's some of that. The blog has come a long way from the first few articles. I've added a logo, which we sell in a store (thanks to those of you who've ordered), the left nav bar is up and working, the external links page now has categories, and the comment and Permalink sections have been added.
All with you in mind, dear reader.
Which then raises the question of who I write for - you or me. I must jealously say I write for me, with the thought that if it interests me, it's likely to interest a significant number of others. So far, it apparently has - nearly 15,000 of you a week.
The fun thing about writing each day is that when I sit down to the computer, I have no preconceived idea what I'm going to write about. I scour the internet, looking for legal news tidbits that, for the most part, fall into my practice area.
Sometimes, and pretty often, I think, an oddball article catches my eye, and that's what I pick for the day. It's as simple as that. Writing does take discipline, though, but I've found it entertaining and enlightening.
I have to admit I'm better informed for it. I learn much more than I would if I didn't read news articles and other blogs. I read a lot of other blogs, but try to stay away from things that others are writing about, which is somewhat self-serving since you don't find my material on someone else's blog. Sure, there are occasions when others write about what I do, but from what I've seen, for the most part it's rare.
I stay away from celebrity tidbits. You get enough of Kobe, Michael Jackson, Winona and others in the mainstream media. You wouldn't be reading this blog if that's what you wanted anyway. Besides, I get tired of people asking my opinion about the outcome of those cases, and I typically demur, saying that I don't know enough about the evidence and repeating, mantra-like, that the jury system works best if they are allowed to do their job, review the evidence, and the defendant is innocent until proven guilty.
Plus, the news media plays judge and jury enough as it is. They don't need me to add to it.
So, what's next? I suspect that there will be more improvements to the blog, especially as technology makes changes possible. For the articles, though, you'll just have to check back.
A post a day, that's all I can promise.
I hope you've had a wonderful holiday season and that you have a prosperous new year.
By the way, if you're wondering what I was going to write about today before this idea struck me, check out this foolishness.
Frankenfish (Glofish) Enter the MarketEthics or science? That's the conundrum facing the California Department of Fish & Game. The battle centers on a transgenic aquarium fish.
First developed at the National University of Singapore as a pollution marker, researchers spliced a sea anemone gene into what nature intended as a black-and-silver zebra fish. They made a freshwater fish that appears bright red - the color of a tropical saltwater reef dweller in normal light. In a dark room under ultraviolet or black light, however, the fish appear to glow.
Dubbed the FrankenFish, critics are concerned that it may survive in the wild and affect natural species. The species has been trademarked as the "Glofish."
Commissioners of the CDFG aren't "ethically" comfortable with the new species, although the science behind the fish led biologists to recommend approval. California is the only state to prohibit sales of the Glofish, which account for one-eighth of the country's ornamental fish sales.
Greenpeace, the Sierra Club, the National Environmental Trust, the Institute for Agriculture and Trade Policy and Consumers Union all objected to the lack of regulation by the U.S. Food & Drug Administration. They all said in a joint letter to the FDA that a decision not to regulate the zebra fish will open a "floodgate" for other transgenic species to hit the market with no oversight. The Center for Food Safety plans to sue to force regulation of such transgenic species.
You can check out the Glofish site, and also this detailed article for more information.
They go on sale elsewhere on January 5.
Trains, Kisses, Population and New Year'sThink about this as you kiss on New Year's Eve. The U.S. Census Bureau today projected the January 1, 2004, population of the United States will be 292,287,454 up 2,816,586 or just 1.0 percent from New Year's Day 2003.
The Census Bureau offers us these mathematical calculations. In January, the United States is expected to register one birth every 8 seconds and one death every 13 seconds. Meanwhile, net international migration is expected to add one person every 25 seconds.
So, if one train is approaching at 50 miles an hour, and the other is traveling at 120 miles an hour, and the wind is out of the east ... you get the idea.
The result is an increase in the total population of one person every 12 seconds. So, where does everyone go?
Ground Zero - Legislation by the Executive Branch
New York Attorney General Eliot Spitzer is gloating. Along with 11 other State's Attorneys General, he challenged the USEPA's proposed regulations scaling back Clean Air Act regs.
Trespassing in CyberspaceNPR, or National Public Radio, recently featured an hour-long program on Trespassing in Cyberspace. It features an interesting discussion about whether unsolicited emails constitute trespass.
If you're interested in an intelligent discussion of the issue and have some time between shopping trips to return those unwanted gifts, it's a worthwhile listen.