Friday, March 31, 2006

More on the Attack of the Deans

See this post for background.

Information continues to come in [about “ALDA”]. This is a right wing rump group of deans, a combination of deans of elite law schools who do not want to meet diversity requirements and barely accredited law schools who don’t want to meet any requirements. They first surfaced about fifteen years ago supporting the anti-trust action against the American Bar Associations accreditation efforts. It is not yet clear how many deans are in this group, but they are purporting to speak for the entire 110 membership of ALDA. The requirement of long-term contracts for clinical and legal writing faculty seems to have provided the impetus for this new effort.

One addition to my earlier memo, the AALS found out when a reporter called Carl Monk, Executive Director, for comment. The ABA and the AALS are gearing up to respond. I believe there is a network of law deans forming to disown this group.

We are dealing with the Bush Department of Education, and they would love to eliminate or severely limit tenure and totally eliminate long-term contracts. This is part of a broadly based, organized attack on faculty independence that has been going on for at least fifteen years. This new threat must be taken seriously.

The good news is that this move seems to have provided the impetus for an alliance between tenurial and contract faculty. Part of the long-term strategy against faculty independence was to divide and conquer.

–Marina Angel

Friday Blogalicious France II

Having finished with the cave art, let's take a lovely car trip around the south of France. We'll make it a leisurely trip, stopping in the wonderful little restaurants and inns, staying where we please. Here is a terrific list of the amazing museums we can visit as we tool around Provence, Avignon and the Riviera. Ta-Da! Everything from the Corkscrew Museum, to Cezanne's studio and VanGogh's bedroom, to the Silk Tester's Museum and a Lapidary Museum. This lovely bed and breakfast is Le Château de Saint-Côme chez Famille Poutet as photographed here. You can almost smell the vines and the lavender.

When we are done with Provence, perhaps we might plan a bicycle route through the Loire Valley. This beautiful river valley and its history takes us to the heart of France -- Paris. But along the way, it might be nice to see some of those famous castles and châteaux. Here is a handy website to help us plan: the bike trip. The river valley is lovely and fruitful. It is often called "the garden of France. The Loire River floods occasionally when rains have been heavy, and levees built in the 1500's still control the river. The castles reflect the embattled history of this central valley, which leads to the capital. Many of the châteaux were begun in the 1400's and 1500's when building was done with defense rather than beauty foremost in the planners' minds. But of course, now, the châteaux have been remodeled and are most charming, filled with art, tapestries and beautiful gardens. We will tour a few as we go. I think we will have to set aside another day to visit Paris, though.

The headwaters of the Loire river rise near the famous pilgrimage route of Santiago de Compostela (Saint James of Compostela), a site famous for its healing properties, not far across the mountainous border into Spain. The pilgrimage was such a major route throughout the Middle Ages that Unesco has declared the Routes to be a World Heritage Site here. See here to visit the rich churches along the French mountainous portion of the route. Much easier than bicycling up all those mountain passes! The thing to consider is how long and how many thousands, perhaps millions of faithful pilgrims have followed this route over the course of the centuries. For more than a thousand years, pilgrims have walked, ridden and been carried over these mountain trails. There are guest houses still in operation to care for the pilgrims who still come.

So, we finish looking at the pilgrim's church, and take one last look at the beautiful Loire River. We can slip into the boat and take our bicycle back down to the lowlands with us the easy way.

Friday Blogalicious Time

It's Friday, and March is drifting out like a lamb up here in Boston. The sun is shining. It must have been in the 70's. We had people all over the Common and the Public Gardens today. They made music and sunbathed, picnicked and just were glad for the spring weather. Lovely! I had cut a big armful of forsythia with buds and brought them into the library earlier in the week. We have them scattered around in vases and they are breaking into yellow blooms.

So, it's very hard to want to blog about serious subjects, although the news is just crammed with them. Let's take a break, and relax. I thought I'd take a little mind trip to France, in a happier state than it exists right now -- no labor unrest. Though it sounds as though the French know how to pace themselves rather nicely on the barricades -- you read about students going home after several months for a weekend at home to do the laundry and celebrate a birthday and chill. I can't help but think they are all going to live longer for it.

Anyway, back to the blog-trip du jour. First, let's visit a terrific French cave that is filled with prehistoric art: La grotte Chauvet-Pont-d'Arc. The website is sponsored by the French government here. The website gives the viewer a handy choice of French, English or Spanish. The cave itself is located in south-eastern France, in a mountain valley between the border with Spain and the beginnning of the Mediterranean coast. It is a more-recently discovered cave, full of beautiful cave paintings that extend startlingly far into the winding cavern. There is a map of the cave with color-coded dots that correspond to photographs of both archeological and geological items of interest. Very beautiful.

The website explains that the cave paintings are dated to 32,000 - 30,000 before the present day (BP). The discovery of the cave sent a shockwave through the archeology community because the paintings included such a wide variety of animals, including not just the prey animals usually found, but many fierce animals such as bears and lions. The animals were drawn in 3-D and shading which was very sophisticated. The cave site is considered a fairly un-sophisticated group of people the Aurignacians, who used neither bow and arrows nor atlatl throwing sticks. They did not use sewing needles either. So the artistry and the range of animals was particularly puzzling. I include several examples to illustrate this blog entry. There is an orange bear's head, a charcoal black image of rhinoceroses facing each other, with horses in the background, and a magnificent drawing of lions' heads which shows the shading which so astounded the archeologists.

Thursday, March 30, 2006

A Librarian's Guide to Etiquette: Online catalog, Lamenting your

Online catalog, Lamenting your

All librarians should have a love/hate relationship with their online catalog. For all the time and effort librarians put into maintaining their online catalogs, you might think the interfaces would be a lot more user-friendly. (How often does have to do training sessions on 'Finding Books'?) The only real course of action is for librarians to lament the sorry state of their catalogs' interfaces to one another -- informally, in meetings, at conferences, with users' groups, and on listservs. In the meantime, just be sure you keep paying your catalog vendors outrageous fees for their substandard products.

More on the Deans' Proposal on Tenure

Betsy earlier quoted from the American Law Deans Association's proposal to the US Department of Education to require the ABA to eliminate the requirement of tenure from the ABA Standards for Approval of Law Schools. That proposal has been making the rounds of the blogs and listservs. Here is an update from Marina Angel at Feminist Law Professors:

American Law Deans Association (ALDA) Attacks Tenure and Long Term Contracts; ABA Standards §§ 205(c), 405, and 603(d)

This statement [Download file] to the U.S. Department of Education was sent by the Board of Directors of ALDA, purporting to speak on behalf of the organization. So far I’ve determined:

1. The statement was probably sent in early March;

2. The Board took no vote of their membership;

3. The ABA was not copied and did not know until I called this morning;

4. The AALS was not copied and did not know until last night;

5. It is not clear who is on the ALDA Board or who the members are.

We need to organize quickly to counter this effort with counterstatements and with organizing to get our most eloquent spokespersons to the June Department of Education hearing.

The deans who signed need to be called to task by their faculties. All of the deans who did not sign need to be energized to voice opposition.

Please move ASAP as individuals and organizations.

Who is the ALDA, anyway? They do not appear to have a website; the Association of American Law Schools website lists the American Law Deans Association on its "Organizations Related to Legal Education" page, and gives the following address:
American Law Deans Association
The University of Chicago Law School
1111 East 60th Street
Chicago, IL 60637

Telephone: (773) 702-9495; Fax: (773) 834-3607

Wednesday, March 29, 2006

Librarians, Do not gently into that good night!

I just received a voice mail from a faculty friend who has a friend retiring from law practice. She is considering post-law things to do with herself and wants to talk to me about law librarianship. Here is the gut kick: She does not want to go to library school.

Of course, my faculty friend sees nothing amiss here. Her friend has no idea she has said anything at all offensive. They would be outraged or amused if somebody told them they wanted to practice law without going to law school. We librarians have failed so badly at defining our profession and its training standards that nobody thought that was an odd thing to consider. Maybe we do deserve to die out!

But here is the irony. I don't think for a New York minute that law school prepares young lawyers any better for practice than library school prepares young librarians! I've been to both. I've been a newly hatched lawyer and a newly hatched librarian. And I can tell you, I felt a LOT less prepared as a lawyer!

So, what are librarians doing wrong?

Well, for one thing, people compare lawyers to sharks, right?

Nobody compares librarians to sharks, or anything very dangerous. Except maybe a few FBI agents who are very frustrated by the ALA's opposition to the USA PATRIOT ACT. People like librarians. We are fuzzy and cute. Well, maybe not fuzzy and cute, but harmless, anyway, not imposing. (of course, there is the point that nobody much likes lawyers, but at least they never think about practicing law without going to law school, doggone it!)

Maybe we need more librarian action figures. Librarian cartoons with butt-kicking heroes who fight for the right and make sure the book is on the shelf, too. I just loved Mary Whisner's title:


See Rex Libris, a comicbook series by James Turner for one, here. You will want to follow the adventures of Rex Libris, Librarian:

The astonishing story of the incomparable Rex Libris, Head Librarian at Middleton Public Library, and his unending struggle against the forces of ignorance and darkness. With the aid of an ancient god who lives beneath the library branch, Rex travels to the farthest reaches of the galaxy in search of overdue books. He must confront incredible foes, such as powerful alien warlords who refuse to pay their late fees. Wearing his super thick bottle glasses, and armed with an arsenal of high technology weapons, he strikes fear into recalcitrant borrowers, and can take on virtually any foe from zombies to renegade public-domain literary characters with aplomb.

But, I sense we need more pizazz... something like Lara Croft of Tomb Raiders, she says, shamelessly. Ideas, anybody? We need to save this excellent profession!

How 'Bout Them Deans?! Dadburn their fool hides!

The American Law Deans Association petitions the Secretary of Education to force the ABA to back off tenure for EVERYBODY, I mean Every-body. They include deans, FACULTY, clinicians, legal writing instructors, and (alas!), law library directors:...

American Law Deans Association

Public Comment On The Application Of The American Bar
Association ("ABA")For Reaffirmation Of Recognition By
The Secretary Of Education ("Secretary") As A Nationally
Recognized Accrediting Agency In The Field Of Legal Education.

The American Law Deans Association ("ALDA") represents
the chief academic officers of 110 of the nation's
ABA-accredited law schools.


Generally, ALDA objects to the ABA using its power as
an accrediting body recognized by the Secretary to
seek to enforce upon its accredited institutions terms
and conditions of employment that are extrinsic to
educational quality. Specifically, we wish to call to
the Committee's attention to Standards 205(c), the
entirety of Standard 405 and 603(d), which,
respectively, essentially define the terms of
employment of the law school dean, faculty (including
those who supervise clinical programs), legal writing
instructors and the director of the institution's law
library. The referenced ABA Standards either state,
or have been interpreted in the course of accreditation
actions to mean, that compliance requires either the
granting of tenure or incorporating a tenure-like
equivalent in personnelpolicies. At a minimum, it is
a short step from requiring long-term contracts to
mandating tenure.


Except in extraordinary circumstances, a law library
director shall hold a law faculty appointment with
security of faculty position. (Emphasis supplied.)

There is simply no reason for requiring that a senior
administrative officer have such status. While some
law schools have chosen to engage their library
directors in tenured positions, there is no
reasonable connection between the quality of the law
library and the terms and conditions of employment of
the director.

As in the case of reviews of clinical programs, the
substantive reviews of institutions that have been
cited for failure to comply with the requirement of
Standard 603(d) are replete with glowing praise of the
quality of their law libraries and the services those
law libraries provide.[5]
The tenure status of the law librarian seems uniformly
unrelated to the qualitative review of the law library
and the services provided by its professional staff. We
further note that it is the entirely reasonable position
of many law schools (and the universities within which
most such schools are embedded) that it is inappropriate
"to provide tenure or similar employment security to
people who have significant management responsibility."[6]

There is, however, a very direct connection between
the ABA Standard and the policy of the professional
association of law librarians, the American Association
of Law Libraries, which provides, under the heading
"Policy Statement on Job Security, Remuneration, and
Employment Practices," the following:

Security of employment enables a law librarian to work
responsibly without fear of interference or of arbitrary
or unjust dismissal. Security of employment encourages a
law librarian to make professional decisions without fear
of reprisal. Security of employment provides a sufficient
degree of economic security to make the profession of law
librarianship attractive to persons of ability.

Security of employment means that, following the
satisfactory completion of a probationary period,
the employment of a law librarian under any form of
permanent appointment status carries with it a
commitment to continuous employment.
(Emphasis supplied.)[7]

Professional organizations can be expected to
advocate job security for its members. And it
is certainly within the discretion of a law school
to decide whether to adopt such a policy. But it
should not be within the realm of an accrediting
organization, certainly not one bearing the
imprimatur of the Secretary of Education, to
translate advocacy for specific economic terms into
prescribed conduct. This is an abuse of the power
that the accrediting agency has secured by means of
its governmental recognition.

We believe that in exercising its authority
as an accrediting body recognized by the
Secretary, the ABA has an obligation to focus
its attention on those elements of institutional
performance that relate to the quality of
education provided its students. When it
dictates terms and conditions of employment, the
accrediting body inappropriately inserts itself
into the internal affairs of the institutions it
accredits and does so in a way that forces
homogeneity, and conversely stifles innovation and
diversity, among law schools. We are fully aware
that this Committee is not the Antitrust Division
of the United States Department of Justice. We
understand that the law, regulations and policies
that guide this Committee inits deliberations are
very different from the antitrust laws of the United
States. We are also aware that the regulations
governing the recognition of accrediting bodies
expressly state that "an agency that has established
and applies the standards [specifically prescribed in
the regulation] may establish any additional
accreditation standards it deems appropriate."
[8] Still, we
believe that experience suggests that scrutiny of
standards and policies that are extraneous to the
purpose of ensuring the quality of legal education
is appropriate.

We therefore believe that it is incumbent upon
the Committee to require the ABA, as a condition of
its continued recognition, to demonstrate how its
prescriptive language respecting the terms and
conditions of employment of law school professionals,
span style="font-weight:bold;">be they deans, faculty
or library directors (emphasis added), "effectively
address[es] the quality of the institution or its program."
and the referenced standards "are relevant to the
educational or training needs of students." Both of
these showings are required by the regulations
this Committee is obligated to enforce. It would be
an injustice to legal education, and to the process of
voluntary accreditation, for the Committee to fail to
diligently examine the ABA respecting these critical
elements of its accreditation practices and policies.

The American Law Deans Association also respectfully
requests the opportunity to appear before the Committee
at its June meeting to further explain its concerns
respecting the accreditation practices of the ABA and
to respond to the Committee's inquiries.

Submitted on behalf of the Board of Directors of the American Law Deans
Association by:

Saul Levmore, Dean of the University of Chicago Law School, President,
American Law Deans Association; David Van Zandt, Dean of the
Northwestern University Law School, Vice-President, American Law Deans
Association; Katharine Bartlett, Dean of the Duke Law School; James
Huffman, Dean of the Lewis & Clark Law School, Treasurer, American Law
Deans Association

If you have not seen the entire thing which is zooming through the listserves, you may e-mail me at and I will do my best to send you a copy toot sweet as the embattled French say.

I say, as Ben Franklin said before me, If we do not hang together, assuredly we will all hang separately.

Also, that very nice statement from Martin Niemoller, a submarine commancer in WWI and German protestant preacher during WWII, who spent time in the concentration camps for angering Hitler with his outspoken sermons:

“First they came for the Communists, but I was not a Communist so I did not speak out. Then they came for the Socialists and the Trade Unionists, but I was neither, so I did not speak out. Then they came for the Jews, but I was not a Jew so I did not speak out. And when they came for me, there was no one left to speak out for me.”

See a nice link here.

What I mean to say is that the statement attacks tenure for every group within legal education. If we are to retain tenure for ANY group, I think we must argue for ALL groups. There was a statement earlier that this was an attack on affirmative action in the academy. If anybody could enlarge this statement, I would like to hear more.

Lies, Damned Lies, and Statistics

This is a wonderful webpage explaining all about how to lie with statistics and the display of them in chart form. It is easy to understand, and fun to read. It is always worth remembering:

Figures don't lie
But Liars figure!

It is worth knowing this stuff for a number of reasons:

1) You don't feel so bad when you have to sort of make rough guesses for a report (blush);

2) You read other people's statistics with a less trusting eye. This is good. Whether you are looking at library statistics or government statistics, it is a very good thing to keep in mind that everybody gets tired when they have to count every little thing, and sometimes they sort of fudge a little. Sometimes they fudge a lot. Sometimes it's all smoke and mirrors. If you read this webpage, you will feel empowered to tell the difference a little better.

3) When you ask other people for statistics, you will understand better what they are giving you. :)

4) When you want to mislead somebody with statistics, you will have some good ideas about how to do it. ;)

Pay special attention to the 3-D bar chart -- these are not good ideas, unless you intend to confuse people. The froggie bar chart is another bad idea. Both things are misleading.

Here is another page that adds a bit more to thinking about ways that statistics can mislead, sometimes even unconsciously. See link here.

Some people subconsciously tend to depict data in the most favorable light. Others intentionally try to deceive the reader by selective data use, extrapolation from the data, using creative graphics, or by making faulty assumptions.

Following are just a few examples of how the data may be presented to cloud the actual result:

Consider the news headline quoting a study, “At lunchtime, men network, women run errands.” In reality, researchers at the University of California - Irvine, found that 51 percent of women said they shopped or ran errands at lunch. Only 39 percent of men claimed to do the same. No question asked men what they were doing instead of errands. The writer used a creative extrapolation of the data and a false assumption of activity to derive the headline.

From SRA Research Group website.

Here is another nice website that analyzes the misuse of statistics to sow fear:

From: Ed Chenel, a police officer in Australia.

Hi Yanks,

I thought you all would like to see the real figures from Down Under.

It has now been 12 months since gun owners in Australia were forced by a new law to surrender 640,381 personal firearms to be destroyed by our own government, a program costing Australia taxpayers more than $500 million dollars.

The first year results are now in: Australia-wide, homicides are up 3.2 percent, Australia-wide, assaults are up 8.6 percent; Australia-wide, armed robberies are up 44 percent (yes, 44 percent!). In the state of Victoria alone, homicides with firearms are now up 300 percent. (Note that while the law-abiding citizens turned them in, the criminals did not and criminals still possess their guns!)

While figures over the previous 25 years showed a steady decrease in armed robbery with firearms, this has changed drastically upward in the past 12 months, since the criminals now are guaranteed that their prey is unarmed.

There has also been a dramatic increase in break-ins and assaults of the elderly. Australian politicians are at a loss to explain how public safety has decreased, after such monumental effort and expense was expended in "successfully ridding Australian society of guns."

You won't see this data on the American evening news or hear your governor or members of the state Assembly disseminating this information.

The Australian experience proves it. Guns in the hands of honest citizens save lives and property and, yes, gun-control laws affect only the law-abiding citizens.

Take note Americans, before it's too late!

This piece of urban legend was collected from the web in 2001 according to the snopes website. The analyst then goes on to look at the way the author mis-used the percentages in the little message to fear-monger. I will snip considerably; please see the original website for a more in-depth analysis of the problems.

Origins: Although the old adage says that "Figures don't lie, but liars figure," those who seek to influence public opinion often employ a variety of means to slant statistical figures into seemingly supporting their point of view:


* Percentages by themselves often tell far from a complete story, particularly when they involve small sample sizes which do not adequately mask normal fluctuations or the potential influence of a number of extraneous factors affecting the phenomenon under study.


* Context is especially important, and percentages alone don't provide context.


* Most importantly, percentages don't establish cause-and-effect relationships — at best they highlight correlations which may be due to any number of factors.


In the specific case offered here, context is the most important factor. The piece quoted above leads the reader to believe that much of the Australian citizenry owned handguns until their ownership was made illegal and all firearms owned by "law-abiding citizens" were collected by the government through a buy-back program in 1997. This is not so. Australian citizens do not (and never did) have a constitutional right to own firearms — even before the 1997 buyback program, handgun ownership in Australia was restricted to certain groups, such as those needing weapons for occupational reasons, members of approved sporting clubs, hunters, and collectors. Moreover, the 1997 buyback program did not take away all the guns owned by these groups; only some types of firearms (primarily semi-automatic and pump-action weapons) were banned. And even with the ban in effect, those who can demonstrate a legitimate need to possess prohibited categories of firearms can petition for exemptions from the law.

Given this context, any claims based on statistics (even accurate ones) which posit a cause-and-effect relationship between the gun buyback program and increased crime rates because "criminals now are guaranteed that their prey is unarmed" are automatically suspect, since the average Australian citizen didn't own firearms even before the buyback. But beyond that, most of the statistics offered here are misleading and present only "first year results" where long-term trends need to be considered in order to draw valid cause-and-effect conclusions.

For example, the first entry states that "Homicides are up 3.2%." This statistic is misleading because it reflects only the absolute number of homicides rather than the homicide rate. (A country with a rapidly-growing population, for example, might experience a higher number of crimes even while its overall crime rate decreased.) An examination of statistics from the Australian Institute of Criminology (AIC) reveals that the overall homicide rate in Australia has changed little over the past decade and actually dipped slightly after the 1997 gun buy-back program. (The chart found at this link also demonstrates how easily statistics based on small sample sizes can mislead, as when the homicide rate in Tasmania increased nearly eight-fold in one year based on a single incident in which 35 people were killed.)


The main point to be learned here is that determining the effect of changes in Australia's gun ownership laws and the government's firearm buy-back program on crime rates requires a complex long-term analysis and can't be discerned from the small, mixed grab bag of short-term statistics offered here. And no matter what the outcome of that analysis, the results aren't necessarily applicable to the USA, where laws regarding gun ownership are (and always have been) much different than those in Australia.

That might be enough different ways for now to think about being lied to with numbers. Everybody likes to think that numbers are bedrock solid and objective. But they are only as solid and objective as the people who compiled them and as the methodology they used both to collect and to display them. Be skeptical of numbers -- they can be meaningful and useful, or they can be lies, damned lies and statistics!

Manufacturing Legislative History

Back in the glory days of Newt Gingrich, the House enacted a rule that would limit revisions to the Congressional Record to correct mistakes in grammar, typographical errors, and other such "flyspeck" matters. Any additions to the live debate would be typographically distinguished so that it would be crystal clear if the language had been added after the fact. No more would legislators be able to rewrite the record from whole cloth and have it go unnoticed by future legislative history researchers.

A story in today's Washington Post puts researchers on notice that Congress is up to its old tricks. According to the article, the transcript of a fifteen-page floor debate between Senators Lindsey Graham and Jon Kyl that never took place was inserted into the Congressional Record for December 21, 2005, and is now being cited by the Justice Department in its brief to the Supreme Court in the Hamdan case. Interestingly, there is nothing in the issue to indicate that the language was added after the fact, although a C-SPAN recording reveals that the debate never took place. Here's the article, which I intend to share with my Advanced Legal Research students when we discuss legislative history in the next few weeks:

Record Shows Senators' 'Debate' That Wasn't

By Dan Eggen
Washington Post Staff Writer
Wednesday, March 29, 2006; Page A06

According to the official Congressional Record of Dec. 21, 2005, Sens. Lindsey O. Graham (R-S.C.) and Jon Kyl (R-Ariz.) held a long conversation on the Senate floor about an amendment bearing Graham's name that restricts the legal rights of detainees in the military prison at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba.

"I agree entirely," Graham responds to Kyl at one point. "I have just been handed a memorandum on this subject," Kyl says later. Another Republican senator, Sam Brownback of Kansas, interrupts the two with his own commentary.

But those exchanges never occurred. Instead, the debate -- which runs 15 pages and brims with conversational flourishes -- was inserted into the Congressional Record minutes before the Senate gave final approval to the legislation.

In legal briefs to the Supreme Court, which took up the issue yesterday, the Justice Department cites the material as evidence that Congress intended the Detainee Treatment Act to retroactively invalidate pending legal challenges by hundreds of detainees held at Guantanamo Bay. Graham and Kyl submitted a friend-of-the-court brief asserting the same thing.

Some Democrats, including Sen. Carl M. Levin (Mich.), whose name is also on the amendment to the law, have argued otherwise. They contend that the law was written to allow cases filed before its enactment to go forward.

The inserted floor debate, known in Senate parlance as a "colloquy," has since become an intriguing side issue in the case of Salim Ahmed Hamdan, Osama bin Laden's former driver, whose case was at issue before the court yesterday.

Hamdan's lawyers complained about the colloquy in a recent legal filing, and the origin of Graham's and Kyl's comments has drawn recent attention on legal Web sites and on The subject did not come up during yesterday's Supreme Court argument, which focused on broader issues.

The briefs filed in support of the government do not make clear that the Graham-Kyl debate was manufactured. In their friend-of-the-court brief, filed in February, Graham and Kyl note that the "Congressional Record is presumed to reflect live debate except when the statements therein are followed by a bullet . . . or are underlined."

The Graham-Kyl exchange is not marked in either way, although a C-SPAN recording and other records make clear that the discussion never happened.

Members of the House and Senate routinely insert lengthy statements into the Congressional Record without uttering them on the floor or anywhere else. But Senate historian Richard Baker said that colloquies -- contrived debates between two or more lawmakers -- are relatively rare. Baker said he could not recall another example that included feigned banter of the type found in the Graham and Kyl debate.

David H. Remes, a Washington lawyer who has helped Hamdan's defense team, called the colloquy "outrageous."

"This colloquy is critical to the government's legislative history argument, and it's entirely manufactured and misrepresented to the court as having occurred live on the Senate floor before a crucial vote," Remes said.

Representatives from Kyl's and Graham's offices did not respond to telephone messages yesterday. A spokesman for Levin and a spokesman for the Justice Department declined to comment.

Tuesday, March 28, 2006

Wikipedia Revisited

I think that Wikipedia, the online encyclopedia, has tremendous potential and use it all the time, especially at home. Last December, I was cheered by the article in the journal Nature stating that Wikipedia rivalled the Encyclopaedia Britannica for accuracy. For this reason, I was distressed several months ago when it was disclosed that congressional staffers were "editing" their bosses' Wikipedia biographies, and began looking at Wikipedia with a somewhat more jaundiced eye. Well, the plot thickens.

In a March 25 story ( it is alleged that Bono, the rock star and activist, and the organization, Make Poverty History (, have been doctoring the Wikipedia entries of people Bono hopes to influence. A case in point is Representative Jim Nussle, Chair of the House Budget Committee. Nussle's biography was altered to include the sentence: "As Chairman of the House Budget Committee, Congressman Nussle and Iowa also have an incredible opportunity to influence and save lives in fully funding the fight against global AIDS and extreme poverty." The theory seems to be that Nussle will be motivated to change his priorities by knowing he has a chance to help the people of Africa. Sounds pretty unrealistic to me!

I noticed an additional news story about Wikipedia today. The Encyclopaedia Britannica corporation has done its own study of Wikipedia's accuracy to rebut the Nature study. Britannica's study found that "Almost everything about the journal's investigation, from the criteria for identifying inaccuracies to the discrepancy between the article text and its headline, was wrong and misleading." The full report is available at

I guess I will look more carefully at Wikipedia entries in the future.


If you haven't run across bookmarklets yet, try them out. "Are they the coolest thing since sliced bread? Umm, maybe," modestly says Steve Kangas, "Chief of Rocket Science" at They are tiny little javascript programs that let a web page become two-way instead of just one-way operators. Just hand-dandy little web tools. I am especially fond of the "Page Freshness" bookmarklet. It used to be an easy thing to check with your browser. Then they changed browsers. You can't check any more. Use a bookmarklet! Yay!

They gladly accept donations. The bookmarklets are free, though.

LOCKSS and CLOCKSS and you thought librarians were dusty!

This is such a cool initiative by an international consortium of libraries to preserve electronic materials in the age of the Web! They are looking to preserve electronic journals that evaporate when the subscription is up, and fugitive government documents on the Web that disappear into the electronic ether. They are also looking to preserve electronic dissertations and thesis materials. The plan is to make a multitude of copies and have a failsafe archive, as well. Librarianship is changing fast, and these guys are on their toes!

Senate Bill 1033, Secure America and Orderly Immigration Act

Sponsored by Senator McCain and nine co-sponsors from both sides of the aisle (Kennedy, Kerry, Lieberman, Obama, Brownback, Chaffee, Graham, among others), this bill seeks to allow undocumented aliens currently in the country to legalize their status without exiting the country. The bill advanced through the Senate Judiciary Committee yesterday. (Also see HR 3477, blogged here March 26 under the title "Immigration Conflagration" and April 29 as "Immigrant Walkout") See the NY Times article quoted in part below, by clicking here.

But even as hundreds of religious leaders and others rallied on the grounds of the Capitol on Monday, chanting "Let our people stay!," the plan was fiercely attacked by conservative Republicans who called it nothing more than an offer of amnesty for lawbreakers. It remained unclear Monday night whether Senator Bill Frist, the Senate majority leader, would allow the bill to go for a vote this week on the floor or would substitute his own bill, which focuses on border security. His aides have said that Mr. Frist, who has said he wants a vote on immigration this week, would be reluctant to move forward with legislation that did not have the backing of a majority of the Republicans on the committee.

Only 4 of the 10 Republicans on the committee supported the bill. They were the committee chairman, Senator Arlen Specter of Pennsylvania, and Senators Lindsey Graham of South Carolina, Mike DeWine of Ohio and Sam Brownback of Kansas. All eight Democrats on the committee voted in favor of the legislation.

The rift among Republicans on the committee reflects the deep divisions in the party as business groups push to legalize their workers and conservatives battle to stem the tide of illegal immigration. Mr. Specter acknowledged the difficulties ahead, saying, "We are making the best of a difficult situation." But he said he believed that the legislation would ultimately pass the Senate and would encourage the millions of illegal immigrants to come out of the shadows.

Here is a link to Thomas, the Library of Congress database of legislative materials, where you can read a summary of the bill (and the HR 4437 that is harsher towards immigration), see the entire bill and track its progress. I will note that the database does not say that the bill made progress in the Senate Judiciary Committee yet. See the Thomas database link here.

But here is a nice link to Senator Kennedy's website. He has a summary of the main highlights of the bill, noting amendments and who is responsible for them. Of course, it is all rather self-serving, but it is handy. See the link here.

And the Boston Globe, noting massive demonstrations, from the Boston Common to San Francisco, reports:

Panel acts to expand immigrant rights
Vote by committee sets up fight in Senate

By Rick Klein, Globe Staff | March 28, 2006

WASHINGTON -- The Senate Judiciary Committee yesterday approved a major overhaul of the nation's immigration laws, including a provision allowing undocumented immigrants to earn legal status, and a new temporary worker program in which immigrants would be able to fill US-based jobs for up to six years.

The vote cleared the first major hurdle to the most sweeping changes to American immigration laws in two decades, although significant obstacles remain before any measure becomes law.

Lawmakers who celebrated victory yesterday credited massive public rallies held across the nation in recent days with convincing senators that a comprehensive approach to immigration is in order.

''Americans wanted fairness, and they got it this evening," said Senator Edward M. Kennedy, Democrat of Massachusetts, whose proposals formed the basis of the committee's final bill. ''The demonstrations at the grass roots had a powerful impact. This was a nation-shaking event."

Under the measure, the nation's estimated 11 million undocumented immigrants would be able to apply for citizenship after six more years of residency if they hold stable jobs, pay back taxes and fines, maintain clean criminal records, and learn English.

In addition, the bill authorizes 400,000 new work visas for foreign nationals who are now living in other countries to work in jobs that employers say Americans don't want. The ''guest worker" program would allow immigrants to work legally in the United States for up to six years, and apply for citizenship in their fourth year.

The vote surprised many observers who expected the Republican-controlled committee to approve a bill that would focus primarily on enforcing the nation's borders. Major legislation is always difficult in an election year, and many across the country want fewer immigrants in the United States, believing that immigrants have been taking jobs from Americans.

Despite yesterday's vote, Senate majority leader Bill Frist warned that he may substitute his bill, which only enforces borders, and ask the full Senate to vote on it instead of the far broader and more lenient measure approved yesterday by the judiciary committee.

In any event, a bruising battle on the Senate floor is expected this week. And even if the Senate approves the committee's bill, any measure that appears to provide ''amnesty" to those who are here illegally faces fierce opposition in the House, which in December passed a bill that would erect a fence along the Mexican border and make it a crime to provide social services to undocumented immigrants.

And while President Bush is a strong supporter of a guest worker program, he has signaled hesitancy to allowing undocumented immigrants to gain legal status.

Still, the judiciary committee's action drew cheers from immigrants' groups and their advocates, who were pessimistic about lawmakers' appetite for boosting the prospects of undocumented immigrants. After the vote, Senator John McCain, Republican of Arizona, called on Frist to respect the committee process and allow a vote on the measure approved yesterday.

If you are doing work on the immigration, do not overlook the excellent reports at the Center for Immigration Studies here.

The photograph is from The Boston Globe, on San Francisco's Market Street protestors wave a Mexican flag and protest signs.

Monday, March 27, 2006

Nano-Breadboards -- Grow Your Own!

The Scientific Activist: Reporting from the Crossroads of Science and Politics: Genetic Engineering's Next Challenge: The Smiley Face

The terrific blog, Scientific Activist reported on March 19 on an article in the journal Nature

by Paul Rothemund of Caltech, details a simple but apparently effective technique of designing and building virtually any two-dimensional shape using one long strand and several short pieces of DNA.

The method is fairly straightforward, and after a few planning steps nature takes care of the rest. After the desired shape has been chosen, the shape is conceptually filled in with rows of parallel DNA double helixes. The next step involves mapping one long single strand of DNA onto this template so that it zigzags over the entire surface, providing the shape with a great deal of stability. This piece of DNA is only single-stranded, though, so short pieces of DNA are then designed to be complementary to specific pieces of this long strand completing the double helixes. These pieces provide additional cross-links as well. After the DNA has been designed and manufactured, the individual pieces just have to be mixed together, and they’ll self-assemble into the desired shape, whatever that may be.

The smiley face and so forth in the third row above are actually constructed of DNA strands in the method explained above, and photographed with a scanning electron microscope. If you follow the link in the title, they have many more images: stars, rectangles, even pixels created with these strands of DNA to create the words, DNA repeating over and over. Just amazing to me! Beyond the sheer cuteness of it all (imagine designer DNA messages for loved ones with scanning electron microscopes!), this really leads to some pretty exciting future applications.

Think about being able to use the DNA to grow computer chips of incredible tininess. You could lay down the thinnest connections imaginable, and yet they would be more reliable than anything humans or robots could solder. You can use this method to design any 2-dimensional layout. There may eventually be a way to use it for 3 dimensions, which is what Nick is thinking at the S.A. blog -- he has written about folding proteins. That would be another step to create automatic 3-D designs. Wow!

Antonin Scalia at Boston for Red Mass

The Boston Herald ran a front page story today (March 27, 2006) "Bada-Zing" about Justice Antonin Scalia flipping an obscene Sicilian hand gesture beneath his chin as he spoke to a Herald reporter at the Red Mass at the Boston Cathedral. The reporter had asked about the Justice's attitude toward those who doubt his impartiality when it comes to matters of church and state.

“You know what I say to those people?” Scalia, 70, replied, making an obscene gesture under his chin when asked by a Herald reporter if he fends off a lot of flak for publicly celebrating his conservative Roman Catholic beliefs.

“That’s Sicilian,” the Italian jurist said, interpreting for the “Sopranos” challenged.

“It’s none of their business,” continued Scalia, who was the keynote speaker at yesterday’s Catholic Lawyers’ Guild luncheon. “This is my spiritual life. I shall lead it the way I like.”

From the Boston Herald story linked in the title above. I am amazed. This may be the only thing on which I agree with Antonin Scalia. His faith is separate from his work as a jurist. I believe that, and agree with him, Sicilian gestures in the cathedral notwithstanding. Bada-zing!

How 'Bout Them Deans?

John A. Sebert, Consultant on Legal Education for the A.B.A., writing in Syllabus, Winter, 2006, his "From the Consultant" column, notes that the tenure of law school deans continues to lengthen, on average. From a shockingly short 4-5 year average in the late 1990's, law school deans have improved their administrative life span.

The tasks expected of law school deans changed dramatically from the 1970's and earlier until the current day. The earlier deans were much like the formula describing the Pope's status among Bishops: first among equals. They were the chair of the faculty, essentially, and did a bit of fund-raising on the side. They liaised with the University but not much happened, I think.

Suddenly, higher education, and legal education became much more challenging. The expansion days of the post-war and baby-boom were over. The classes and faculty had blossomed into many more niches than formerly and somebody had to find ways to support this enlarged list of personnel. Students expected the enlarged curriculum, and schools that did not offer lots of specialty courses felt they would be at a disadvantage in the competition for 1) students; 2) better faculty recruitment; 3) academic reputation. So they felt they could not back away from what had begun, but had to continue to build it, whether the student market was readily available. So tuition goes up, and the need for scholarship dollars, development money, donors and alumni grooming.

Poor deans! Suddenly they have all these demands. And from conflicting constituencies. The University President and other central admnistration wants fiscal prudence, but also glitz building and development work. The alumni want to hear from their dean about their school, BEFORE they are asked for money, thank you very much. The faculty think they ought to be consulted and have a say in lots of governance issues, and need some dean face time. They need to be motivated and thanked and cheered on, and associate deans just won't do. Students need to see their dean cares about them, too, and listens to their issues. They need scholarship money or they will have too much debt; they need money to help them take non-profit summer jobs and after graduation, take pro bono jobs and still pay their loans. (Nobody much cares about the dean, in all this, poor schmoes). And librarians need a LOT of money, all the time, even if we don't need the dean's ear.

Well, John Sebert is happy to tell us that deans are getting the kind of help they need to deal with this sea change in their jobs. I can't imagine, myself, why anybody would WANT a job like what I just described. Yech! But some people evidently really do. And they are getting early on-the-job training through the ABA Section on Legal Education's "New Dean's Seminar." This has been offered annually since 1993, according to Sebert's column, and by now, the majority of sitting deans have attended. The seminar gets a lot of credit from Sebert for training a new generation of more sophisticated law school deans for a much more demanding role. They are lasting longer in their positions, according to Sebert, the average law school conducts a dean search every 7.5 years.

Sunday, March 26, 2006

Spring in New England

Spring in New England
Betsy McKenzie

The bare, rocky hillsides,
Breathtakingly spare,
Are still clearly visible.
Leafless trees, gray and brown.
March somberly up the steep slopes,
Relieved here and there by occasional
Dark greens: pines, firs and hemlocks.
The greenbriers are not yet brightening
At their feet. Only a few maples
Are beginning to glow with banked fires
Of springing life. A few maple-leaf viburnums
Answer back with deepening red stems
In the undergrowth.

By the ponds, the winter willows
Have glowed golden
Like visual alleluias
Through the snow and gloom of November,
December, leading on to spring.
Alone, the oaks and beeches
Cling stubbornly to last year’s leaves.
Like crumpled sheets of a bad draft,
Clutched by a hand unwilling
To let it go. Rattling in the wind,
The yellowed, bleached leaves
Curled about the twigs hang on.
We welcome spring with more fervor
For how late it arrives.

The painting above was at a gallery website, where it was evidently sold. Unfortunately, that means I cannot identify the artist. It was amazingly difficult to locate a good illustration of what I mean by golden-twigged willows. I cannot locate a decent photograph and cannot seem to take a good one myself. It is a lovely phenomenon and I am grateful to this artist who did a wonderful job of painting it.

Never Again, Argentina!

The posters and billboards vowing "never again" were put up days in advance, accompanied by special museum displays, photographic exhibitions, books, public forums, and television programs.

Then Argentina came to a halt to mark the 30th anniversary of the military coup that ushered in the dictatorship that may have been the most murderous in modern South American history.

Overcoming some resistance in Congress, President Néstor Kirchner succeeded earlier this month in making March 24 a permanent holiday, to be called the National Day of Memory for Truth and Justice.

In response, many Argentines marched or held commemorative vigils across the country in recent days, while a few gathered outside the homes of former officials of the military dictatorship to hurl insults, eggs, rocks, sticks, and containers of paint.

At a ceremony at the military academy Friday afternoon, with human rights leaders sitting in the front row, just a few feet away from the military high command, Kirchner unveiled a plaque that promised "Never again coups and state terrorism."

In the speech that followed, he castigated the armed forces for their "criminal project" and "plan for extermination" during their rule from 1976 through 1983, but he added that other groups were also to blame.

"Sectors of society, the press, the church, the political class, also had their role," as did "powerful economic interests," he said. "Not all of them have acknowledged their responsibility for those facts."

The anniversary of what was known as the "dirty war" against those thought to be subversives - including not just leftist guerrillas, but also groups as diverse as union activists, long-haired university students, and Jewish psychiatrists - has been accompanied by reminders that some of the problems of Argentina's past still linger.

In the provincial city of Córdoba, a stronghold of death squads during the dictatorship, masked men broke into the home of a leader of the human rights group Grandmothers of the Plaza de Mayo last week. According to police reports, they beat her and made clicking sounds as if holding a gun to her head and pulling the trigger.

In addition, a small bomb went off Thursday at a Ford dealership here. The act carried political connotations because Ford supplied the car that became the hated symbol of the repressive state security forces, the Falcon. Ford is being sued by a group of former employees who were labor leaders and accuse the company of cooperating with state security in having them kidnapped from the plant floor and illegally detained.

More ominously, it came to light this month that the naval intelligence agency has continued spying on public officials, journalists, and political leaders, including Kirchner, Defense Minister Nilda Garré, and at least one provincial governor. Two admirals, one of whom was the director of naval intelligence, have been fired and all naval intelligence activities have been suspended pending a complete investigation.

That the navy was involved is especially relevant, because the Naval Mechanics School was the most notorious of the hundreds of clandestine torture centers during the dictatorship.

Two years ago, Kirchner announced that the school was to be made into a Museum of Memory, but the project has stalled because of disagreements among human rights groups about how best to accomplish that objective.

Last Wednesday, Garré ordered that all official military archives from the period be opened. That step, coming months after an amnesty law for human rights violators was overturned, is expected to help prosecutors when trials of former military officers charged with crimes like kidnapping, murder, and torture begin later this year.

Simultaneously, the National Security Archive, a private research group based in Washington, has made public newly declassified U.S. government cables and transcripts relating to the 1976 coup.

Documents indicate, for example, that when a deputy warned Secretary of State Henry Kissinger two days after the coup to "expect a fair amount of repression, probably a good deal of blood," Kissinger was unfazed and ordered U.S. support for the new military junta.

"I do want to encourage them," Kissinger said, according to the documents. "I don't want to give the sense that they're harassed by the United States."

The papers also include a Chilean intelligence report, passed on to the United States, listing 22,000 names of people who had disappeared in Argentina by mid-1978 and were presumably killed.

That is significant because an official commission here in the 1980s published a list with the names of just over 9,000 people, far fewer than the 30,000 human rights groups have long said were killed during the seven years of the military dictatorship.

The level of anniversary commemorations has been much higher than five or 10 years ago, Argentines agree. That is largely due to Kirchner, a Peronist who, though accused recently of trying to manipulate the judiciary and the press, has made the defense of human rights and "recovering our historical memory" hallmarks of his administration.

"The Kirchner government signifies a problem difficult to resolve" for human rights groups, said Horacio Verbitsky, director of the Center for Economic and Legal Studies. "For 30 years, human rights groups have gone to the streets shouting and were accustomed to being repressed or at best ignored. But now there is a government that says, 'Yes, and is there anything more?' So where is the enemy? That has produced a great deal of bewilderment."

A faction of one group, the Mothers of the Plaza de Mayo, for example, has halted its weekly marches, arguing that there is no longer any need to protest human rights abuses.

But another faction continues, and similar divisions were on display in the congressional debate about the designation of March 24 as a national holiday.

Opposition parties, as expected, criticized the legislation, arguing that a policy of state terrorism began not with the military coup, but three years earlier, when General Juan Perón returned to power. But even some leading human rights advocates expressed concern that an official holiday would end up trivializing what is still a national trauma.

You can see that the opposition has not totally settled down in Argentina. Rather frightening news! The decoration is from a sad and lovely website in Argentina, a blog entry dated March 24, 2006. here With this image of so many "desaparecidos" (the lost ones -- the "disappeareds" literally), the blogger notes that 30 years ago on that day, March 24, 1976, the Argentine Armed forces took over the government, promising before God and the saints to defend Western civilization and Christianity. This (those who disappeared under the secret police regime that followed) was the result. The blogger says, "Memory is essential to avoid committing the same mistakes." The Argentine majority who observed the National Day of Memory for Truth and Justice, are determined to remember, and to avoid the same mistakes in the future. May their efforts be blessed. Never again, Argentina! Nunca Jamas!

Television Regulation in Web World

In a world where television producers can post their uncut products on the web for fans to view as they meant them to be viewed, the FCC's regulations are becoming increasingly strange. The FCC posted a lengthy diatribe against three years' worth of indecent network television:


Washington, D.C. – The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) today released decisions resolving over 300,000 consumer complaints about the broadcast of indecent, profane, and/or obscene television programming. In these decisions, the Commission addresses complaints about nearly 50 television programs broadcast between February 2002 and March 2005. The decisions respond to the public’s growing concern about the content of television programming. At the same time, they provide further information for broadcasters about the kinds of material that are and are not prohibited under the FCC’s indecency and profanity standards.

In the decisions, the Commission takes enforcement action against the broadcast of a wide variety of television programming. The FCC upholds its earlier decision against CBS for the broadcast of indecent material during the February 1, 2004 Super Bowl XXXVIII halftime show. The Commission rejects CBS’ claim that the pulling off a portion of Janet Jackson’s bustier to reveal her breast is not indecent. The Commission also holds that CBS consciously and willfully failed to take actions to prevent the broadcast of the material, and that CBS is responsible for the halftime show.

The Commission also finds episodes of “Without a Trace” and “The Surreal Life 2,” which contained numerous graphic, sexual images, to be impermissible under the Commission’s indecency standard. The Omnibus Order also finds indecent the broadcast of a movie containing a graphic rape scene and a talk show featuring a female guest who appeared in an open front dress. Finally, the Commission finds indecent and profane several television programs containing offensive language. Where material is found actionable, the Commission sanctions all licensees whose stations are the subject of viewer complaints filed with the Commission.
Finally, the Commission denies complaints regarding numerous other television programs. Although the complained-of material may offend many people, the Commission concludes that the material in 28 television programs involved was not actionable.

Action by the Commission, February 21, 2006, Notices of Apparent Liability and Memorandum Opinion and Order (FCC 06-17). Chairman Martin, Commissioners Copps and Tate; Commissioner Adelstein concurring, dissenting in part. Separate statements issued by Chairman Martin and Commissioners Copps, Adelstein, and Tate.

Action by the Commission, February 21, 2006, Notice of Apparent Liability (FCC 06-18). Chairman Martin, Commissioners Copps and Tate; Commissioner Adelstein concurring. Separate statements issued by Chairman Martin and Commissioners Copps, Adelstein, and Tate.

Action by the Commission, February 21, 2006, Forfeiture Order (FCC 06-19). Chairman Martin, Commissioners Copps and Tate; Commissioner Adelstein concurring. Separate statements issued by Chairman Martin and Commissioners Copps, Adelstein, and Tate.

Press contact: David Fiske at (202) 418-0513


View the original and more here.

But the Boston Globe reported on March 25 that the producers of The Bedford Diaries, a new series based on a college course in human sexuality (!). The producers are dismayed at the network's decision to cut some explicit images from the show -- self-censorship. Here is the Globe report:

Cooling down of 'Bedford Diaries' makes FCC policy a hot-button issue

By Joanna Weiss, Globe Staff | March 25, 2006

''The Bedford Diaries," a new WB series that premieres next week, is unequivocally, unapologetically about sex. The ''diaries" in the title are video confessionals about college students' sexual experiences, assigned as homework for a course on human sexuality. (Whether this portends the death of the term paper isn't something the show addresses.)

So the network's decision to cut some explicit images from the show -- an act of preemptive self-censorship that sent ripples through the TV industry this week -- is, in a sense, extraneous. As co-creator Tom Fontana points out, the WB always knew what it was getting.

''We didn't lie to them," he said in a phone interview. ''We didn't say we were going to do [a series about] accountants."

Things changed for the network censors last week after the Federal Communications Commission proposed $4 million in indecency fines against television stations -- the bulk of them to a group of CBS affiliates, for airing an episode of ''Without a Trace" that featured a teen orgy. Suddenly, ''they were afraid," Fontana said of WB executives. ''They didn't know if it was indecent. They were afraid it was indecent. And that was what really roiled me."

Many industry-watchers have reacted that way, saying the fines are casting a pall over broadcast TV. But while an edited version will premiere Wednesday at 9 p.m. the deleted scenes have hardly disappeared from public view. On Friday, the WB posted an uncut version of the ''Bedford Diaries" pilot on its website. And some say the ''Bedford" affair actually proves that, in an age of streaming video, iPods, and PlayStation Portables, the FCC's regulatory teeth are less effective than ever.

''This game is up," said Adam Thierer, senior fellow at the Progress and Freedom Foundation, a market-based think tank in Washington, D.C. ''They're just continuing to try to exert whatever authority they have, and all they really have is authority over broadcast television and radio. This policy is now highly illogical, increasingly unworkable, and blatantly unfair."

The deleted ''Bedford Diaries" scenes -- which Fontana said he had no hand in choosing -- aren't crucial to any story lines or characters' psychodramas. For the most part, the WB cut images that appear on the screen for a matter of seconds: a girl with a hand in her pants, two girls kissing on a dare. A close-up of a woman modeling nude for an artist has been cut, but wider shots of the scene will remain. The bare behind of a streaker will be blurred. A silhouetted shot of a woman's bare breast will be altered so the nipple isn't visible.

In a statement this week, WB chairman Garth Ancier said the cuts were made ''out of an abundance of caution."

Fontana, whose previous credits include ''Homicide: Life on the Street" and the HBO series ''Oz," decried the move. But he also called the Web posting ''a brilliant compromise on WB's part. It will actually put the question before the American public, if they have any interest -- to be able to see the show the way we intended it to be, and then watch it on Wednesday night the way that the fear mongers have decided the American public should watch it."

But some advocates of increased regulation say the deleted scenes seem gratuitous at best -- and call the WB's dual move a sign that the FCC needs to extend its reach.

''You have to ask yourselves, what is the motivation for putting a show like this on TV in the first place?" said Melissa Caldwell, senior director of research at the Parents' Television Council, an advocacy group that has largely been responsible for a recent uptick in FCC complaints. ''They're trying to give this impression that the FCC is out of control and capricious and arbitrary, and that's not the case at all."

Still, Thierer said it's not surprising that networks claim confusion about the FCC's stance. In this month's lengthy ruling, he noted, the government recommended fines for a Martin Scorsese-produced PBS documentary about the blues, which contained explicit language. But the FCC chose not to fine an episode of ''The Oprah Winfrey Show" that featured graphic descriptions of teen sex.

''This is what I call a nonstandard," Thierer said. ''There is no standard there. There is no policy."

And for young, tech-savvy viewers, there is less and less distinction between TV and other media. Networks, including the WB, have increasingly posted their shows on the Web and iTunes. And the viewers most likely to watch a college drama, Thierer says, are probably most likely to search for it online.

''It's all being done in the name of protecting the children, but the children have increasingly bolted from this medium," he says. ''The government is essentially protecting adults from themselves."

Joanna Weiss can be reached at

I like to check to see if Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF) has anything to say about things like censorship, but this doesn't really come up on their screen. Still, here is their link -- they are a terrific resource for all kinds of electronic rights issues: EFF

American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) is another good resource for tracking civil rights issues. Again, this is more of a case where people are self-helping and evading the regulation through technology, but here is the ACLU link.

Immigration Conflagration

With the passage in December of HR 4437, the climate in the
United States seems poised to move markedly chillier for
immigrant peoples of all types, and illegal immigrants in particular.
Here are some highlights trumpeted on the webpage of
Congressman Miller:

The bill includes such measures
as enlisting military and local law enforcement
help in stopping illegal entrants, requiring
employers to verify the legal status of their
workers and building 700 miles of fencing along
parts of the 2,000-mile U.S.-Mexico border.
It did not include President Bush's sought
after guest-worker program, which is strongly
opposed by Mr. Miller.

Highlights include:

Penalties for Hiring Illegals: Requires employers to
verify Social Security numbers for all workers and
boosts fines for businesses who hire illegal
immigrants. Fines for the first offense would be
between $5,000 and $7,500, fines for the second
offense would be between $10,000 and $15,000, and
all subsequent offenses would result in fines
between $25,000 and $40,000.

End “Catch and Release” Policy: Requires illegal
immigrants apprehended at U.S. borders to remain
in custody until removal from the country and
provides quicker deportation of illegal immigrants
from countries other than Mexico . The measure ends
the "catch and release" procedures currently in place,
under which non-Mexican illegal immigrants are
released and told to return for a U.S. court appearance.

Border Fence: Requires the construction of 700 miles
of security fencing, including lights and cameras,
along certain ports of entry along the U.S.-Mexico
border. Such fencing would be constructed in areas
that have high numbers of immigrant deaths, high rates
of drug smuggling, and high rates of illegal
border-crossing. The bill also requires the Homeland
Security Department to conduct a study into the use
of physical barriers, such as fences, along the
U.S.-Canada border.

Additional Border Security: Requires the Homeland
Security Department, subject to the availability
of appropriated funds, to add an additional 250
inspectors at ports of entry each year from 2007 to
2010, and it requires the department, as appropriated
amounts are available, to increase the number of
canine units at ports of entry and along the border
by 25 percent each year from 2007 to 2011.

Criminal-Related Policies: Blocks admission for
individuals who are members of certain criminal street
gangs, or who intend to enter the country for the
primary purpose of engaging in gang crime. It allows
the government to deport criminal gang members, deny
members asylum and requires detention of gang members
illegally in the country. The bill also expands the
number of crimes for which immigrants could be deported.

Penalties for Marriage: Sets penalties — including
fines, up to 10 years imprisonment, or both— for
knowingly misrepresenting a marriage in an immigration
document or during an immigration proceeding, and
provides fines and sentences of between two and 20
years for individuals who enter into two or more
marriages to evade immigration laws, as well as those
who facilitate or arrange such marriages.

Re-Entry Penalties for Felons: Changes the
maximum prison terms for aliens who commit
offenses and try to re-enter the country. If
they were sentenced to at least 30 months for
felony conviction, the maximum sentence for
re-entry would be 10 years; if they received
a sentence of 60 or more months for their felony,
they could be imprisoned for up to 20 years.

Document Fraud: Increases penalties under current
law for passport and immigration fraud and makes
passport fraud grounds for inadmissibility to the
country or removal from the country. For anyone
who knowingly creates, sells, possesses, uses or
transports at least 10 fake passports or passport
applications, it authorizes a prison term of
between three and 20 years. For fraud related to
fewer than 10 passports, it allows a sentence of
up to 15 years in prison. It set a sentence of up
to 15 years in prison for false statements related
to passport applications. Also creates a new
forensic document laboratory to collect and analyze
information about the production, sale and
distribution of fraudulent documents intended to
be used to enter, travel or remain unlawfully in the
United States.

Day-Laborer Sites: Prohibits local governments
from requiring businesses to set up day-laborer
sites as a condition for conducting or expanding
their businesses.

Border Intelligence Coordination: Requires the
Homeland Security Department and the director of
national intelligence to establish a joint two-year
Red Zone Defense Border Intelligence pilot program
to improve coordination and management of intelligence
and homeland-security information used by the
department on the southwestern border.

Local Enforcement of Immigration Laws: Allows
local sheriffs, or coalitions of sheriffs, in
counties within 25 miles of the U.S.-Mexico border,
to detain illegal immigrants and transfer them
to federal custody. It authorizes $100 million
per year for the federal government to reimburse
sheriffs for costs of detaining, housing and
transporting illegal immigrants. It also requires
the department to provide training at no cost to
local and state law enforcement in as many means
as possible and requires development of a training

Additional Funding: Authorizes $1 billion each year
for the State Criminal Alien Assistance Program,
$250 million annually for a new grant program to
help state and local governments cover the costs of
housing and processing aliens and a total of $650
million over the five-year period from 2007 through
2011 for the Institutional Removal Program, which i
identifies and provides removal for criminal aliens
in correctional facilities.

This is not a bad summary of the bill's highlights. You can get the full text (very long!)and a less dramatic summary of the bill from a Congressional Research Office document at Thomas here. I must say I, living in the northeast, was shocked that folks wanted to build a fence across our border with Mexico. How much of my youth had the Berlin Wall been held up to me as a symbol of a failed system of government? Of course, that was was for keeping citizens inside and this is for keeping people out. Still, it sends a shiver up my spine. Here is the info on the bill:

Title: To amend the Immigration and Nationality Act to strengthen enforcement of the immigration laws, to enhance border security, and for other purposes.
Sponsor: Rep Sensenbrenner, F. James, Jr. [WI-5] (introduced 12/6/2005) Cosponsors (35)
Related Bills: H.RES.610, H.RES.621, S.2454
Latest Major Action: 1/27/2006 Referred to Senate committee. Status: Read twice and referred to the Committee on the Judiciary.
House Reports: 109-345 Part 1

One can see that the bill is largely focusing on Hispanic
immigration through the Mexican border. Hispanics felt the slap
of the bill and responded in March, as the Senate proceeds on
deliberations. They demonstrated across the country:

Immigration bill sparks protests, Bush plea

By Caren Bohan | March 25, 2006

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - Thousands of
demonstrators in California protested
moves to impose stricter U.S. immigration
laws on Saturday, while President George
W. Bush urged wary Republicans to take
up his guest-worker proposal.

More than 10,000 immigrants and their
supporters clogged the streets in front
of Los Angeles City Hall to protest a
proposed law they see as punitive to
undocumented workers.

"This bill is wrong because this is a
country for everybody who wants to live
a better life and this is a free world,"
said protester Lionel Vanegas, who owns an
accounting firm.

On Friday, as many as 15,000 marched in
Phoenix in a similar demonstration.

Bush weighed in on the heated immigration
debate in his weekly radio address as the
Senate was days away from taking up
legislation on the subject.

The president favors including a temporary
work visa in broad legislation that would
also bolster border enforcement.

But some Republicans view the guest-worker
plan as a back-door amnesty for illegal
immigrants and prefer an approach that focuses
solely on toughening border security and
cracking down on illegal immigration.

Bush, who this week urged all sides to tone
down their rhetoric in the emotional debate,
said securing borders was a top priority of
immigration reform but invoked the country's
history as "a nation of immigrants" to argue
for a balanced approach.

"As we debate the immigration issue, we must
remember there are hardworking individuals,
doing jobs that Americans will not do, who are
contributing to the economic vitality of our
country," Bush said.


Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Arlen
Specter wants to finish work on legislation
that includes a temporary worker program and
would give undocumented aliens an opportunity
to legalize their status.

The Pennsylvania Republican is working against
a deadline set by Senate Majority Leader Bill
Frist, a Tennessee Republican and potential 2008
presidential candidate. Frist plans to bring to
the Senate floor his own border-enforcement
immigration bill if the Judiciary Committee fails
to pass legislation.

The panel is to meet on Monday in hopes of rushing
legislation to the floor before Frist brings up his
own bill.

Meanwhile, Bush is leaving on Wednesday for
meetings in Cancun with Mexican President
Vicente Fox, who has been disappointed by Bush's
failure so far to achieve progress on the guest-worker
program. Mexico took out full-page ads in U.S.
newspapers this week promoting the guest-worker idea.

Immigration is looming as a key issue in the
November midterm elections in which Republicans
are seeking to hold on to their majorities in
both houses of Congress.

But the politics of border security have
created competing pressures for Republicans.

Bush views the guest-worker program as way of
courting Hispanic voters in key states like
Arizona, New Mexico and Florida. But some
conservative Republicans are focusing on
enforcement as constituents vent frustration
at what they see as a strain on schools,
hospitals and other local resources from
illegal immigration.

Although the guest-worker plan would offer
the estimated 12 million illegal immigrants
a chance to register and work in the
United States for up to six years, Bush
rejected any description of it as an
amnesty plan.

"I believe that granting amnesty would be
unfair, because it would allow those who
break the law to jump ahead of people who play
by the rules and wait in the citizenship line,"
Bush said.

© Copyright 2005 The New York Times Company

Online Boston Globe Story here

But while the bill clearly is most focused on the Mexican border
and Hispanic immigrants, other immigrant groups are aware that
they will be affected as well:

Irish-Americans lend voices to the immigration law debate

By Rick Klein | March 8, 2006

WASHINGTON --More than 2,400 Irish-Americans
descended on the nation's capital today, lending
their voices to the rollicking debate in
Congress over the nation's immigration laws.

The lobbying by Irish-American groups,
including a large contingent from Boston,
reflects an attempt to reframe the issue of
immigration at a key time. Though the issue
has been broadly perceived as mainly affecting
Hispanic immigrants, the Irish community wants
to remind lawmakers that the economy also
depends on the huge number of undocumented
immigrants from Ireland -- estimates run from
20,000 to 50,000 -- who work in Boston and
cities across the country.

This week, the Senate Judiciary Committee
is debating a bill that would overhaul the
nation's immigration laws, through stronger
border enforcement and new legal channels for
immigrants to work in the United States. The
latest draft would allow undocumented
immigrants who come forward to live legally
in the US for as long as they have jobs, but
would give them no special treatment if they
want to become citizens.

Many immigrant groups are supporting a proposal
that would give undocumented immigrants a new
path to obtaining permanent legal status. Under
that proposal, crafted by Kennedy and Senator
John McCain, an Arizona Republican, undocumented
immigrants who pay $2,000 in fines could apply
for green cards after six years of good behavior,
instead of the decades they could be forced to
wait through existing channels.

The proposal is so intriguing to many Irish
that Ireland's government has taken the unusual
step of endorsing the proposal, as a way to allow
undocumented immigrants to visit family and
friends back in Ireland. Prime Minister Bertie
Ahern of Ireland plans to mention the Kennedy-McCain
bill in his meetings with President Bush and top
congressional leaders next week, said Joe
Hackett, a spokesman for the Irish embassy
in Washington.

"The government has thrown its full weight
behind the Kennedy-McCain," Hackett said.
"Because of immigration law, they’re not able
to travel back and forth for family events and
weddings. This provides the undocumenteds who
are hear a path to permanent residency, without
them having to leave the country."

Online Boston Globe story here.

So, not all illegal immigrants are Hispanic. However, currently Mexican
immigrants far outstrip the closest three groups by a large margin.
According to a study done in 2002 by Steven Camarota at the link given below, Mexico provides 29.8% of the immigrant population, where the next four immigrant groups: China (Taiwan/HK), Phillipines, India, and Cuba together make up less than 16%.
This is an interesting study of the countries of origin for the largest immigrant pools. It is included as part of a report within an excellent website from a non-profit organization studying all aspects of immigration. A very good resource.
Report here.

It does seem to be true, according to the reports at this website, that immigrants use more social services, on average than native-born citizens. The studies seem to do a careful job looking at the demands immigrant populations put on local schools and welfare systems. This is where a great deal of the uproar about immigration pressure is coming from, I think. But much of the pressure about illegal aliens and the focus on Mexican immigration in particular is not entirely rational. Immigrants as an undifferentiated group over history, have contributed great things to this country. Hispanics and Mexicans in particular have already brought us much good, and are contributing as good citizens.

Undocumented workers -- migrant workers, field laborers do work that American citizens are not willing to do. If they disappeared, there are many important tasks that would not be done -- crops would not be harvested. A good number of child care workers would disappear. Many construction workers would fade away and many jobs would become more expensive to accomplish. Perhaps that would be a better thing in the long run. These people work for us without proper compensation. They contribute to the economy while getting very little back out of it.

Undocumented workers, illegal immigrants are at extreme risk for human rights abuses. They are afraid to complain and because going to authorities exposes them to immigration processes, they are most unlikely to ask for help. When you read stories about modern day slavery, the people most likely to be involved are illegal immigrants:

Human trafficking a local problem, outreach workers say

By Ken Maguire, Associated Press Writer | March 25, 2006

BOSTON --Victims of human trafficking are everywhere,
as close as your neighbor's house or your local coffee
shop, but at the same time they are virtually invisible,
outreach workers said Saturday.

"In the media, most of what we hear tends to be the
sensationalized stories," said Carol Gomez, director
of the Cambridge-based Trafficking Victims Outreach
and Services Network.

Gomez was among the speakers at the In Our
Backyards conference at Simmons College, an event
to raise awareness and propose solutions, such as
new laws to protect victims, who can be anyone
from household domestic workers to prostitutes.
Many are illegal immigrants who don't turn to
authorities out of fear of arrest
or deportation.

The Labor Department defines human trafficking
as recruiting, transporting, providing or
obtaining any person for forced labor,
slavery or servitude in any industry.

Most of Gomez's cases, however, fall into a
"very gray area." About 30 percent of her cases
are domestic servants, while another 20 percent
are mail-order brides. They also work in
sweatshops, in construction and in the fishing

Two years ago, a woman from India claimed she
was held captive by a Brookline couple who brought
her here as a nanny, held her passport and forced
her to work for $3 per day. A neighbor helped her
find a shelter. She sued the couple and settled
out of court.

In January, a Connecticut businessman pleaded
not guilty to charges of recruiting Portuguese
immigrants to work long hours for low wages in
his Dunkin' Donuts shops and home. Jose Calhelha,
46, faces up to 70 years in prison if convicted.

Gomez said immigration laws should be relaxed
to allow victims access to help without fear of
prosecution or deportation.

"Fear will keep the sweatshop worker from even
considering reporting to the police, or telling
a social worker ... what they go through,"
Gomez said.

Young prostitutes also too often face prosecution,
said Ra'shaun Nalls, a Boston outreach worker.
One of his clients was arrested 17 times before
her 18th birthday.

"Johns," meanwhile, get a slap on the wrist,
he said. Men who seek out prostitutes need to
face tougher penalties, but Nalls said he's

"They're influential. They're our teachers,
they're our principals, they're our doctors,"
said Nalls, outreach worker for the Boston
program called A Way Back, which steers teenage
girls toward social service programs.

The average age of a girl entering prostitution
is 13, he said. Most have been sexually abused
and are from all racial and socio-economic backgrounds.

Most prostitution doesn't fit the Hollywood
stereotype of street-walking girls handles by
pimps wearing flashy clothes and driving oversized

"It's more hidden. It's something that's
happening in hotel parties," he said.

"The average pimp right now is about 19-20
years old, wearing a baseball hat, Timberlands
and baggy jeans," Nalls said. "They're
not these fly guys with expensive clothes."

Nalls' group works with referrals from the
Department of Social Services, which has
referred 83 girls in the past three years. There
are many more, he said, but getting to them
is difficult because pimps "trade" girls
between cities.

"They trade these girls like they're cards,"
he said.

Breaking up child prostitution rings has been
a federal law enforcement priority since 2003
with the advent of the Justice Department's
Innocence Lost Initiative.

In December, prosecutors announced arrests in
prostitution rings from New York to Hawaii that
forced more than 30 children as young as 12 to
have sex at truck stops, hotels and brothels.
Thirty-one people were indicted.

© Copyright 2005 The New York Times Company

Online Boston Globe story here.

So it appears that the country is in another pendulum swing, where the folks already here get all paranoid about how many strangers are knocking at the door. They are different from "us." And it makes us uneasy. So we pass laws, as we have in the past, to limit how many of "them" can get in to disrupt our nice place. We forget what a short time ago we were "them" (at least most of us). There were laws limiting the number of Chinese that could immigrate.

There have been strict limits on most groups coming into the United States. And now, we are trying to limit Mexican and other Hispanics. Too late. They will be the majority in this country within a decade whether we limit their immigration quotas or not, whether we limit undocumented workers or not. Just by the patterns of family size, Hispanics are going to be the largest single language and ethnic group in the United States within a decade. According the the 2000 Census Bureau Brief The Hispanic Population, the Hispanic population as an entire group grew from 1990 to 2000 at a rate of 57.9% compared to an overall increase in the total United States population of 13.2%, and varying percentages by ethnicities, but none approaching the Hispanic rate. The Boston Globe ran an article in 2004 about the changes in Miami, Florida as that city became more and more Hispanic:

In Miami, Hispanic majority takes hold
Assimilation issues are raised

By Sharon Moshavi, Globe Correspondent | October 17, 2004

MIAMI -- Maria Burford lives in the United States but it doesn't feel that way to her. In shops and restaurants, the clerks speak to her in Spanish, although she doesn't understand a word. Her neighbors all speak Spanish, too, and they make her feel like a foreigner. It's not simply that she has trouble communicating; it's how they treat her. ''They come up to me, and when I don't speak Spanish, they give me a little attitude," she says.

Burford can't wait to leave Miami, which she, her husband, and their 13-month-old son plan on doing in a few years as soon as their condominium appreciates in value. They won't be alone. More than 100,000 whites have left in the past decade and continue to leave.

This is the reality of life in Miami for many whites, who are referred to by the city's dominant Hispanic population -- and increasingly by themselves -- as Anglos. It is a Miami where business is conducted in Spanish, menus are in Spanish, the most popular radio and television stations are broadcast in Spanish, and the dominant political class speaks Spanish. It is a Miami with more than one multimillionaire who doesn't speak a word of English. And it is spreading its influence throughout the state as many Hispanics migrate north.

It is also a Miami that Harvard professor Samuel Huntington thinks is a harbinger of things to come in America. In his book ''Who Are We?" Huntington portrays Miami, which is 60 percent Hispanic, as a city that has been Hispanicized ''without precedent in the history of major American cities." Other cities could follow suit, he warns, and will form a kind of parallel America, one ''with economic and political resources sufficient to sustain its own Hispanic identity apart from the national identity of other Americans and also able to influence significantly American politics, government, and society."

Huntington says he thinks Hispanics are different from previous waves of immigrants. They are not assimilating, he says, in part because of their large numbers and their proximity to their native countries. He worries that they have a dramatically different culture and values that will erode America's core identity, which he sees as based on Anglo-Protestant values. He foresees an America that is bilingual and bicultural, a loose confederation with little to unify it.

Not surprisingly, Huntington's views have angered many in Miami's Hispanic population. ''It's sophisticated racism," said Joe Garcia, a leader in the Cuban-American community. Hispanics are assimilating, both culturally and linguistically, Garcia asserts. A prime example, he says, is that he does not speak Spanish as well as his father, and his daughter does not speak it as well as he does.

Some historians note that previous waves of immigrants to the United States, including Italians and Eastern European Jews, have provoked similar fears, and they turned out to be unfounded. In 1751, worried about German immigration, Benjamin Franklin wrote, ''Why should Pennsylvania . . . become a Colony of Aliens, who will shortly be so numerous as to Germanize us instead of our Anglifying them, and will never adopt our language or customs, any more than they can acquire our complexion."

In fact, says Thomas Boswell, a professor of geography at the University of Miami, the city's Hispanics are assimilating, just as German immigrants did in the 1700s. In a recent study examining six indicators of assimilation, including migrants' rate of citizenship, whether they lived in a mixed neighborhood, language, and marriage, he found that Hispanics are acculturating.

Boswell found, for example, that second-generation Hispanics are more comfortable speaking English than Spanish. More importantly, Boswell found what he described as a ''fair amount" of marriage between Hispanics and non-Hispanics. ''Some say that's the acid test of assimilation," he said.

Victoria Rovirosa, 23, has passed that test, then. Born to a Cuban father and American mother, she grew up surrounded by Cuban family and friends, but she is also more comfortable speaking English than Spanish. She attended the University of Georgia, married an Anglo, and now lives in Atlanta.

''I don't think I've ever even dated a Hispanic. I never wanted to," she said. ''Hispanic men have this attitude that a woman's place is in the kitchen. That kind of bothers me."

There is little chance that she will move with her husband to Miami because he doesn't think he could get a good job here. ''He knows he would be kind of an underdog because most people speak two languages," she said.

Miami continues to experience successive waves of new immigrants, particularly from Latin American countries other than Cuba. More than two-thirds of Hispanics in Miami are foreign-born, compared with a national average of one-third. These new immigrants will determine how much the city of Miami assimilates, says Alex Stepick, director of the Immigration and Ethnicity Institute at Florida International University. ''The speed of immigration will be what keeps the differences alive," he said.

And what does that mean for Miami's Anglo minority? Stepick says their only option is to embrace the changes and the language, what he calls ''acculturation in reverse."

Most Anglo Miamians have opted to flee instead, heading north to Broward and Palm Beach counties, or leaving South Florida altogether. From 1990 through 2000, Miami-Dade County had a net loss of 119,000 whites, and they're still leaving, specialists say.

The exodus is futile, Garcia says. ''If you moved to Broward 10 ten years ago, guess what? We're there, too," he said. ''If you moved to Palm Beach County five years ago, guess what? We're there now, too." As for the non-Hispanics who remain in Miami, they still refuse, for the most part, to learn Spanish. ''There is resistance to learning it and resentment at having to learn it," said Marvin Dunn, a community psychologist who has tried in particular to encourage African-Americans to learn Spanish to improve their job prospects.

Then there are those like Jim Hoover, a 27-year resident of Miami who has made peace with his decision to stay. He does not speak much Spanish but is not bothered by hearing it around him. He likes the flavor of life here. ''Miami fits into my diversity plan," he said. ''I get sick of meat and potatoes."

The struggle over Miami's identity might best be summed up by dueling bumper stickers. As the Hispanic, in particular Cuban, population soared in the 1980s and '90s, some cars began to sport this slogan: ''Will the last American to leave Miami please bring the flag."

Since then, someone came up with a response and printed it on another bumper sticker. That one says, ''Don't worry, the flag and your job will still be here when you get back."

Boston Globe online here.