Saturday, September 11, 2004

Soon to be outsourced?

Today, I got a solicitation on the gmail address from a firm in India that does legal research. Their website notes: "Our team consists of lawyers who hold legal degrees from some of the top law schools in India and who graduated in the top tiers of their law school classes."

If off-shore computer programming is buggier, I wonder what Indian law grads would make of Virginia civil procedure.

Kerry v. Bush in coal country

According to this AP report, two issues of interest to voters in the coal-producing areas of Appalachia are restrictions on the use of coal and the possession of guns.

This week in the Virginia Supreme Court

According to the Supreme Court's argument docket, cases scheduled to be heard this coming week include:

Mullins v. Town of Coeburn - where the attorneys are Tim McAfee and Gary Gilliam from Wise County

Chandler, et al. v. Graffeo, M.D., et al. - in which the issues include the use of testimony from members of a Medical Malpractice Review Panel, and the counsel include Abingdon's Mary Lynn Tate

Nguyen v. General Auto Repair, Inc. - where the issues include the trial court's award of "only $904 pursuant to the fee-shifting provision of the Virginia Consumer Protection Act for 68.4 hours of services in a case brought under that statute"

Union of Needletrades, Industrial and Textile Employees, AFL-CIO v. Jones - where the appellant seeks relief from a defamation verdict, with punitive damages

Cowan v. Hospice Support Care, Inc. - where the issue is whether the trial court "improperly held that Plaintiff was barred from bringing a lawsuit against a charity for gross negligence or willful and wanton negligence of its employees or volunteers."

City of Chesapeake v. Cunningham - where the issues include whether the trial court erred in refusing to strike the plaintiff's claim for punitive damages (surely you can't get punitive damages against a City in Virginia, but maybe there's more to it somehow)

City of Martinsville v. Commonwealth Boulevard Associates, LLC - where the issues include whether the trial court erred in adopting "the opinion of the taxpayer’s expert as reflecting fair market value"

Commonwealth of Virginia, ex rel. Jerry W. Kilgore, Attorney General v. Patriot Tobacco Company - where the issue is whether the trial court erred "when it held that it does not have jurisdiction over a non-resident tobacco product manufacturer whose tobacco products are sold in the Commonwealth"

McCloskey, Administrator, etc. v. Kane, M.D. - where the issues include whether the trial court "erred in determining that Dr. Timothy Kane was a state employee as a matter of law rather than sending the issue to a jury"

Billups v. Carter, et al. - where the issues include whether the trial court erred "in ruling that the Plaintiff-Petitioner failed to meet her burden to demonstrate that she had properly filed a notice of her claims under the Virginia Tort Claims Act," when "the Defendant never alleged that notice had not been properly filed"

Lindeman v. Lesnick, M.D. - where the issue is whether the trial court "erred in denying Defendant Lindeman's Motion to Strike based on Lindeman's absolute privilege to give the documents containing defamatory statements to the attorney representing him in a workers' compensation proceeding"

The South's Oldest Rivalry

Via Yahoo, this Cavalier Daily story recounts the first game Al Groh took the field for Virginia against North Carolina, there was a fist fight on the field after the game.

Virginia and UNC are about to fight it out on the football field for the 109th time in just a few minutes.

Virginia's current streak of 12 home wins over the Tarheels started in 1983, which was my first year. After the game, which was Virginia's sixth of the year and clinched a winning record for the first time in decades, the fans swarmed the field and tore down the goal posts. On Sunday morning of that same weekend, I went over to the Chemistry building looking for a phone book, of all things, and walked into the plate glass window between two doors, shattering the glass and slicing the back of my hand. I dripped blood across the street back to my dorm, then across the Grounds to the University Hospital, and got stitches that would leave an inch-long scar, and generally felt like a fool. (Pondering the honor implications of these events, I called the buildings and grounds department and made a complete confession.)

The next day, on Monday, at a lecture in the Chemistry auditorium, the professor professed outrage at the drunken football hooligans who had vandalized the front door to the building, before confessing that he had a segment of a goal post that was torn down from his undergraduate days in Charlottesville. (I didn't raise my bandaged hand to explain that no alcohol was involved.)

New public defenders' office for Hampton and Newport News

The Newport News paper has this report ("State assists with local legal offices," 9/11/04) on new public defenders' offices in Newport News and Hampton.

Most Virginia jurisdictions do not have public defenders, relying instead on court-appointed private attorneys to defend indigent people accused of crimes.

The article concludes:

"The new offices will join 21 others spread across the state, including those in Norfolk, Virginia Beach, Portsmouth and Suffolk.

Together, the four are expected to save the state $700,000 over the next two years, said Del. Phillip A. Hamilton, R-Newport News, who sponsored legislation supporting the new offices."

Virginia's Conflict of Interest Act

The Roanoke paper has this article ("Not much 'wiggle room' in conflicts of interest law," 9/11/04) which says "Virginia's law concerning conflicts of interest is very clear."

Blogs vs. 60 Minutes

This commentary from Tech Central asks: "[H]ow could a rabble of bloggers, in one day, provide hard core proof of forgery when major news organizations took those documents at face value? Most fundamental of all, why did the New York Times, the Boston Globe and CBS allow themselves to be used for such a transparent attempt to slander President Bush?"

The NY Post has this commentary which begins: "THE populist revolution against the so-called mainstream media continues. Yesterday, the citizen journalists who produce blogs on the Internet — and their engaged readers — engaged in the wholesale exposure of what appears to be a presidential-year dirty trick against George W. Bush."

CNET news says here: "When history books are written, bloggers' real contribution to the 2004 election may well turn out to be in providing leagues of amateur sleuths to fact-check political controversy."

My favorite parts of the forgery debate

This interesting post says: "When I first started using Word 2001 for the Mac (after several years with WordPerfect), one of the first things I did was turn off this annoying 'feature'. I don't want my 'th's and 'st's superscripting themselves. It looks fussy and unprofessional, in my opinion. . . ." Here, here. It is just the kind of nutty thing that I would obsess over.

The analyst also picks up on "curly quotes" in the alleged forgeries. Curly quotes are something else I rant about from time to time.

Another favorite: "Even though you are only supposed to type one period after a space when using proportional fonts, most people use two." - from a comment to this Beldar post. Somewhere I wrote a post about this, and even got a link to it from Jerry Lawson.

When the people in my office file a petition to have me committed, they will use my poison e-mails on these and like topics.


Check out this link with the voice of President Bush and the music and lyrics of U2's Sunday Bloody Sunday.

Friday, September 10, 2004

Virginia Tech grad killed in Iraq

The Roanoke paper reports here ("Tech alumnus, Corps leader killed in Iraq," 9/9/04), the Washington Post reports here ("Va. Tech Mourns Alum Killed Tuesday in Iraq," 9/10/04), and the Virginia Tech paper reports here ("Tech alumni killed in Iraq," 9/10/04) on the life and death of Tim Price, the second member of Virginia Techs Corps of Cadets, Class of 2001, to be killed in Iraq. The Richmond paper reports here ("2 soldiers from area die in Iraq," 9/9/04) on the death of Price and another young man from the Richmond area.

The article notes that Price's name will be the 419th on the War Memorial at Tech.

Images of the War memorial can be seen here, here, here, and here, and also here.

30th circuit judges rule in Gate City Town Council case

The Kingsport paper reports here ("Judges make appointments to Gate City Town Council," 9/11/04) that Judge Sergent, Stump, and Kilgore have ruled on the May 4 Gate City election that the results must be declared void because 10 unqualified voters participated in the election, and they have appointed 4 council members, who will have to select an additional council member and pick an interim mayor.

I've never quite figured this case out, lost track of who are the parties and who was wanting the Court to do what.

Chief Judge Jones dismisses School Board but keeps in superintendent in teacher misconduct case

In Rasnick v. Dickenson County School Board, Chief Judge Jones granted summary judgment for the School Board on the plaintiff's Title IX and section 1983 claims, and dismissed the claims against the superintendent under Title IX (assuming there can even be a claim against an individual under Title IX, which I doubt), but denied summary judgment as to the superintendent on the plaintiff's supervisory liability theory under section 1983, which is normally difficult, but there was some unusual evidence that created a question of fact on what the defendant knew about the likelihood of further misconduct by the bad teacher - and denied the defendant's qualified immunity argument.

How to apply for a federal judge clerkship

Law Dork @ Ohio State has this post on what he went through to apply for federal judge clerkships.

I don't know anything about this any more, but I know better now than I knew when I was in law school that the best thing in the world is a federal judge clerkship, especially for a district court judge. My clerkship was sort of like high school or college - a relatively short period of time, of which many, many tales have been told. A few years back, I gave a little speech about my judge, and how working for him has affected me, and I finished with these words (at the risk of quoting myself, yet again):

"The author Scott Turow in one of his lawyer books has a character, a woman, describe the relationship between a lawyer and the judge for whom he or she clerked, and she said that just as a race horse is always known by its sire and dam, the lawyer is known by his or her judge. Like that character in the book, it is my proudest heritage in the law, that I will be known always as a Judge Williams clerk."

Conservation groups without standing to challenge permit from State Water Control Board

The AP reports here that Judge Johnson of the Circuit Court for the City of Richmond has ruled that two environmental groups lacked standing to bring a legal challenge to a permit issued by the State Water Control Board, with respect to the development of alleged wetland property in Chesapeake.

More on the woman v. woman, state v. state custody case

The Winchester paper has this update on the same sex custody case, with the last shots being fired off by the judge in Vermont, holding the Virginia petitioner in contempt for petitioning in Virginia.

More on Kerry's chances in Virginia

The Connection newspapers have this article adding to the pile of analysis on whether John Kerry has a chance in Virginia this year.

Southwest Virginia sheriff and others study counter-terror tactics in Israel

This article (second item) says the Bedford County sheriff from Southwest Virginia is among those on a trip to Israel to learn tactics for dealing with terrorism.

Thursday, September 09, 2004

Proposed amendments to the federal rules for e-discovery has this article on proposed amendments to the Federal Rules dealing with electronic discovery. Here and here are documents from the FJC website on the proposed amendments.

I can't say that I've got my mind around e-discovery, but I have a case now where I think it might be necessary to get into it just a bit - if it's not too late, and not too expensive, and unfortunately the matter is in state court, so who knows what's going to happen? Maybe nothing.

Those documents that may be forged from the CBS show I didn't watch

Instapundit has this post with many links on the speculation about whether the CBS report on the President's National Guard service (or lack thereof) focused on documents that were forged.

Part of the scrutiny is on the superscript "th". Geez, I see that superscript and I think there is somebody who doesn't know how to disable the worst features of MS Word. Whenever I have to reinstall or reconfigure MS Word, that's the first thing I turn off. I almost wrote to Steve at Southern Appeal to protest all the superscript in that brief of his that was recently posted online. (Sometimes I'm able to resist my more foolish impulses.) By the way, here is the Southern Appeal post on this story.

If the documents purported to come from a law firm, then you would know for sure they were bogus, because most lawyers even now in 2004 won't use the Times font OR proportional spacing, for reasons that escape me. Those skinny fake-typewriter fonts, among other things, really don't fax very well (which is another thing lawyers can't stop doing, sending a fax when an e-mail will do). Maybe the U.S. military in 1973 was really modern in its thinking about word processing - which seems really unlikely to me, almost fantastic.

Of course, Bill Hobbs (an old favorite) and John Behan (a new favorite) are all over this, particularly as it reflects on CBS. What seems increasingly true these days that the networks and the NY Times have somehow crossed over to where the bullseye is upon them as much or more than it is on the politicians, and their work product cannot always withstand that level of scrutiny.

Beldarblog points out here that real live lawyers almost never come across documents that are not what they appear to be, and that's true.

UPDATE: Tomorrow's Washington Post has this article and the AP has this report on the controversy, which is probably kind of silly - another twist in the tortured path of this election.

No Kerry ads in Virginia?

In the ebb and flow of whether anybody thinks Virginia is in play, the AP reports here that no Virginia ads are bought or scheduled for the Kerry campaign.

Yesterday, there was a Washington Post article about a fundraising letter from Jerry Kilgore claiming money was needed for the Republicans to win in Virginia. The article quotes Professor Sabato as saying that there's not much truth as opposed to hysteria in direct-mail letters.

VSB revokes license of Norfolk lawyer for misconduct in conduct in cases where she was a litigant

The Norfolk paper reports here ("Bar pulls Norfolk lawyer's icense, appeal is planned," 9/9/04) on action taken by the Virginia State Bar to revoke the professional license of a Norfolk lawyer.

Appeal denied, where petitioner sought to avoid execution tonight

The AP reports here that the final appeals of Virginia inmate seeking to avoid executing tonight were denied. The inmate was convicted of murdering an 87 year-old Christiansburg woman.

Since my grandmother in Christiansburg lived to be 80-something, I think of her whenever I read of this particular case, which does not engender any sympathy at all.

NPR : Band Politics at the University of Virginia

Via this link, you can listen to the NPR segment on college bands in general and in particular the new band and the old band at the University of Virginia.

Wednesday, September 08, 2004

The Commonwealth moves to recuse trial court judge in Muhammad case

The Paper Chase has this post with links related to the Commonwealth's unusual motion in the second sniper Muhammad case to have the Circuit Court judge recuse himself. The motion seems to suggest that the judge went over to the jail and rooted around some to see and hear some things for himself regarding matters the Commonwealth believes are in dispute.

So, what are these "disputed" fact matters? I have no idea.

The 145 pages of the Fourth Circuit's opinions in Hammoud

Here, over a month since the argument, are the en banc Fourth Circuit's opinions in Hammoud, dealing with the application of Blakely to the U.S. Sentencing Guidelines (among many interesting issues - the Blakely discussion starts on page 48).

There were six opinions: Chief Judge Wilkins wrote the opinion, in which Judges Wilkinson, Niemeyer, Williams, Traxler, King, Shedd, and Duncan joined and in which Judge Widener joined as to all except Part VII.C. Judge Wilkinson wrote a concurring opinion. Judge Shedd wrote a concurring opinion. Judge Widener wrote a concurring and dissenting opinion. Judge Motz wrote a dissenting opinion, in which Judges Michael and Gregory joined. Judge Gregory wrote a dissenting opinion.

There is an interesting Daubert holding in this opinion, as the U.S. relied on expert testimony about Hizballah (or is it Hezbollah), and the majority opinion affirms its admissibility.

The "instructions to the district courts" relating to alternate sentencing begin on page 68, and includes a footnote directed at Judge Goodwin's criticism of the idea of sentencing both ways.

In his concurring opinion, Judge Wilkinson wrote this: "The great drawback of applying Blakely v. Washington, 124 S. Ct. 2531 (2004), to the Sentencing Guidelines is that in doing so the federal courts would perform a legislative function. It is and always has been the prerogative of the legislature to define the elements of a criminal offense. In denominating those sentencing factors which must now be treated as elements and found by a jury, the courts arrogate to themselves the most basic of legislative tasks. I do not think the judiciary can legislate the elements of a criminal offense without bending the Constitution beyond recognizable shape."

Judge Widener dissented from the instructions to the district courts, noting, among other things, that "[a]s a practical matter, if the advisory-only sentence is lower than the Guidelines sentence, an appeal will be guaranteed."

Judge Motz began her dissent with this: "The Supreme Court has spoken: When a sentencing 'system' permits a 'judge [to] inflict[] punishment that the jury’s verdict alone does not allow' it violates a defendant’s Sixth Amendment right to trial by jury. Blakely v. Washington, 124 S.Ct. 2531, 2537, 2540 (2004). In this case, the United States Sentencing Guidelines permitted the district judge to inflict punishment on Mohammed Y. Hammoud thirty times greater than that allowed by the jury verdict alone. Blakely makes clear that such a sentence violates the Sixth Amendment; the majority can reach a contrary conclusion only by resolutely refusing to follow Blakely."

In the last 32 pages of the 145, Judge Gregory, who joined in Judge Motz's opinion on sentencing, dissents on issues relating to the conviction. Apparently, he was alone on these issues, if my scorekeeping is correct.

Proposed Rule 11 Amendment

This post from a tort et a travers describes proposed legislation to make Rule 11 tougher. I'm not sure that I agree with yet another paternalistic (or maternalistic) effort by the legislature to reduce the discretion of trial court judges.

Vermont judge says woman in contempt for litigating same-sex custody case in Virginia

The AP reports here that the Vermont court that made some kind of temporary custody ruling before the litigation in Virginia has held the woman who brought the case in Virginia in contempt for defying the Vermont order.

I'm not sure what the Vermont order says, probably it is out there on the internet somewhere.

Way back when, as a law clerk for Judge Williams, I had to study the line between civil and criminal contempt, and the last piece of work was to start on an opinion that was finished (OK, maybe it was mostly his) by Brad Young in which the judge made his final decision on whether after the strike settled, the union should still have to pay the fines he had imposed for violating his injunction. He thought they did, and they paid, as I recall. See Clark v. UMWA, 752 F. Supp. 1291 (W.D. Va. 1990).

The state court fines, on the other hand, went all the way to the Supreme Court of the United States, where they were struck down, in UMWA v. Bagwell. I believe Judge Williams thinks his ruling on the fines would have passed muster even under the Supreme Court's analysis (or so his law clerks had him thinking).

Woman's conviction affirmed, for delivering threatening letter to the Food Lion

In U.S. v. Lockhart, the Fourth Circuit in a decision by Judge Widener, joined by Judge Gregory and Senior Judge Beam from the Eighth Circuit, affirmed the convictions of a Virginia woman who was proven at trial to have delivered a letter threatening President Bush to the manager's office of her local Food Lion. The Court rejected the woman's defense arguments based on the First Amendment.

(The Food Lion aspect is what I can't figure, do you suppose she figured that the Food Lion was some sort of repository for unlawful threats against federal officials? I mean, the Food Lion is not even American-own, you'd think it would be the places for notes about NATO officials, maybe, or gripes about the EC.)

We're No. 6 to say no to Nader

ElectionLaw is back in business and has this post with links to the NY Times and Washington Post articles about the decision to keep Ralph Nader off the ballot in Virginia.

Tuesday, September 07, 2004

Virginia Supreme Court grants appeals in three civil commitment cases

In this statement, the Attorney General's office announced its determination to seek the civil commitment of Derek Lamont McCloud as a sexually violent predator. A year later, as shown here, the Virginia Supreme Court has decided to hear the assignments of error and cross-error in the case, including the Commonwealth's issue of the trial court "erred by accepting Dr. Miller as an expert witness."

In this press release, the Attorney General's office announced it would seek the civil commitment of Richard Bryan Allen. The Supreme Court has granted the Commonwealth's petition for appeal in the Allen case, where an issue is whether the trial court "erred by permitting the testimony of Allen's expert witness."

In this statement, the Attorney General's office announced it would seek civil commitment of Lorenzo Townes. The Supreme Court has granted an appeal in the Townes case.

Evidently, the Court will use these cases to express its views on the law and procedure under the civil commitment statute, including the use of expert testimony.

Wife gets the house, appeals custody of the dog

In Conahan-Baltzelle v. Baltzelle, the Virginia Court of Appeals found no error in a case where the wife appealed the circuit court's order awarding custody of the couple's German Shepherd to the husband.

Unilateral suspension of comp benefits prohibited, even for claimant in jail

In Uninsured Employer's Fund v. Peters, the Virginia Court of Appeals in an opinion by Judge Benton held that the Workers' Compensation Commission improperly allowed the unilateral suspension of the benefits of a claimant who was incarcerated.


In Berglund Chevrolet, Inc. v. Landrum, the Virginia Court of Appeals in an opinion by Judge Kelsey concluded that worker's compensation covered the claimant's injuries he suffered as the result of injuries because a co-worker pulled a chair out from under him as he was sitting down.

We're going to make our dreams come true (and we'll do it our way. . .)

I never knew it before now, but there is a University of La Verne College of Law. Curious, I clicked around their website, but saw nothing like this.

Nader Won't Be on Virginia Ballot

The AP reports here that the State Board of Elections has determined that Ralph Nader will not be on the Virginia ballot, because he did not get enough of the signatures on his petitions verified by whoever did the verifying.

A must-see - Copernic Desktop Search

I just found out about and started playing with Copernic Desktop Search, but Brian Peterson beat me to the punch. This appears to be the kind of search software I've been needing (it will index the stuff on the server, as well, where all the good stuff is), and it's free (for now).

Monday, September 06, 2004

Who says the wealthy aren't liberals?

A while back, I read this:

"Sure, Harvard has some professors who make Sen. Ted Kennedy look like a founding member of the Moral Majority. Yet, as a whole, the institution is extremely conservative.

This is evidenced by the fact that its rich and powerful alumni continue to donate zillions of dollars to the school each year. Surely, these privileged people aren’t donating money to a school bent on destroying the social order. They may be eccentric, but they’re not crazy."

At about the same time, I read something like the WSJ report described here by Professor Bainbridge, the gist of which is "how the Democrats have become the party of the elites and the GOP the party of the working middle."

It struck me at the time there is some conflict between these two points of view.

Logging on the Appalachian Trail - hype or horror?

The AP has this story that says some group called The Campaign to Protect America's Lands has issued a press release to the effect that 163 miles of the Appalachian Trail, including some in Southwest Virginia and Northeast Tennessee as shown here and here, are in forest areas where the Bush administration would permit logging, but the Forest Service that won't happen.

I don't know what to make of this, but their maps are really cool.

America's First and Last Frontier

The Akron, OH paper has this review and the Rappahanock paper has this review of The Appalachians: America's First and Last Frontier, a new book soon to be a movie.

Topics in the book include: "the musically talented Carter family, old-growth trees in North Carolina, the infamous Hatfield-McCoy feud, life in Stearns, Ky., storytelling and music in the mountains, the beginnings of the country music recording industry in 1927 in Bristol, Tenn., religion in Appalachia, and life in West Virginia (by U.S. Sen. Robert C. Byrd)."

The film will be shown on PBS next spring.

The Sierra Club has this link about the film.

The Pine Mountain Trail

Here is the website for the Pine Mountain Trail Conference, which is working on a hiking trail along the Virginia-Kentucky border between the Breaks Interstate Park and Cumberland Gap National Historical Park.

The neighbors have 6 children, so it must be true

This post from the Volokh Conspiracy explains that conservative, religiously minded Americans are doing a better job than other groups of accepting the Biblical invitation to "be fruitful and multiply."

Tennessee courts struggling with Blakely

The Johnson City paper (registration required) has this article ("Supreme Court ruling leads to confusion for local lawyers, judges," 9/6/04) focusing on the state court effects in Tennessee of the Supreme Court's ruling in Blakely.

Defense lawyers quoted in the article conclude the impact will be revolutionary in Tennessee, as it will limit the issues a judge may consider in deciding whether to impose an enhanced sentence to the prior criminal record of the defendant.

A prosecutor notes that one court in Western Tennessee has conducted a bifurcated criminal trial, to allow the jury to decide fact issues related to sentencing, but said there is no authority for such bifurcation and that he hopes the legislation will not make bifurcation a future requirement. Bifurcated trials, he says, "could make it extraordinarily complex and greatly increase the backlog of cases."

Virginia law, by contrast, provides for bifurcated criminal trials, apparently without these docket effects.

This page from the website of the Administrative Office for Tennessee's courts, this press release, and this link to the Executive Order itself describe Governor Bredesen's Task Force on the Use of Enhancement Factors in Criminal Sentencing, which will meet against on September 17, as it considers whether a special session of the legislature is necessary to protect the Tennessee Criminal Sentencing Reform Act.

The TnCrimLaw website has a link to this TBJ article on the effect of Blakely in Tennessee.

Health-care benefits and bankruptcy

Via Yahoo, the Chicago Tribune has this article discussing the use of corporate bankruptcies to avoid health-care obligations, highlighted by the Horizon coal case.

Following the bankruptcies of Continental Airlines and others, in 1984, Congress passes 11 U.S.C. 1113 to prevent the use of bankruptcies to rid companies of collective bargaining agreements; in 11 U.S.C. 1114, Congress dealt with benefits for retirees. Nevertheless, the Trib article notes that "Many, including Democratic U.S. Senate candidate Barack Obama, say federal bankruptcy laws need to be changed to prevent companies from declaring bankruptcy, dumping union obligations and then re-forming."

What's new with Al Gore?

The New Yorker has this long article about Al Gore, still an oddity of American history.

One interesting passage was this: "From his reading, online and elsewhere, he has grown more convinced that, in the wake of the Goldwater collapse, in 1964, and the anti-Vietnam War movement, American conservatives were determined to “play a long game” and organize themselves, ideologically, financially, and intellectually, to win national elections and carry out a conservative revolution. Gore is interested in a memorandum written at the request of a committee chairman of the U.S. Chamber of Commerce by a Virginia attorney named Lewis F. Powell, Jr., and dated August 23, 1971, just two months before Nixon nominated Powell to the Supreme Court. The Powell memorandum portrays the American economic system as “under broad attack” by well-funded leftists, who dominate the media, academia, and even some corners of the political world. The memo describes a battle for the survival of free enterprise, and calls for less “hesitation” and “a more aggressive attitude” on all fronts."

Well, I never heard of "the Powell manifesto," but I looked and found this wild article about it, and this wild article about it, and the text is here. I expect that if Justice Powell had not been put on the Supreme Court, the Powell manifesto would no doubt have remained in obscurity.

Sunday, September 05, 2004

Virginia counties as anachronisms?

The Newport News paper has this editorial characterizing the boundaries and organization of a Virginia county as an anachronism.

Bizarro World is not like the Fourth Circuit

In this post from Professor Berman, he takes apart an amicus brief filed by a group of former federal judges in the Supreme Court's pending sentencing cases, as describing a Bizarro World in which federal judges have wide sentencing discretion (unlike the 6% departure rate in the Fourth Circuit). In the brief, the former judges take the view that a jury trial is not required because of the discretion federal judges have in sentencing.

Professor Berman also has some fun explaining, from both Seinfeld and Superman comics, the concept of Bizarro World. There is a lot of Seinfeld and Superman stuff on the internet, including this site where you can watch their American Express commercials.

Editorializing on railroads for people in Virginia

The Fredericksburg paper has this editorial prising the concept of using the railroads to relieve the auto traffic.

From Friday, the Roanoke paper had this editorial that says people have to be willing to pay for new passenger rail service in Virginia.

Professor Turley's take on Virginia's law against adultery

Law Professor Jonathan Turley offers his criticisms of the past and present of Virginia's law criminalizing adultery in this piece from the Washington Post.

Jens Soering releases a book on prison reform

The Charlottesville paper reports here ("Soering releases book on prisons," 9/5/04) that convicted murderer Jen Soering has written a book about prison reform.

Here was my last Jens Soering post. Here, here and here are some Cavalier Daily articles on former University of Virginia students Soering and Elizabeth Haysom.

New Virginia law gives students alternatives to dissecting frogs

The AP has this report on a new Virginia law that requires school divisions "to inform all students they can decline to dissect without penalty, and instructors must provide them with alternative learning tools, including computer programs, Internet tutorials and plastic models." The article quotes someone from PETA as saying, "We believe that dissection in the classroom is an antiquated method of dissection and promotes the widespread abuse of animals."

The article also quotes education officials who were mostly critical of the new law, as another infringement on the prerogatives of teachers. One official said: "I wish I could do that when I had to read Shakespeare or Homer or learn all four verses of the 'Star Spangled Banner,'" which makes me wonder what that guy has against Shakespeare, Homer, and the Star Spangled Banner.

ah, haiku

An e-mail from me sparked this David Giacalone (not Giacolone) post.

Hokie Bird Red and Hokie Bird White

The Richmond paper had this article ("Virginia Tech adopts official school wine," 9/4/04).

I was under the misapprehension that Boone's Farm Apple Wine was the official wine over in Blacksburg.