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Thursday, September 29, 2005
Roberta Baskin, who has worked as a producer and journalist for "20/20," "48 Hours," "Primetime," the CBS evening news, and other programs, detailed the work of The Center for Public Integrity, in a speech in the Wynne Courtroom this morning. She also expressed her concerns for the state of journalism, meanwhile billing the Center as "journalism utopia" because of its numerous award winning journalists.
Baskin stressed the importance of transparency and disclosure of campaign finance and other matters by state legislatures and Congress. The Center for Public Integrity, where she is a board member, takes the role of organizing and publicizing disclosures from numerous institutions of government at the state and federal level, including electronic versions on its website.
She also noted the importance of journalists and citizen groups in acting as watchdogs over their government, saying that state ethics commissions--even independently operated ones--often are ineffective. Such commissions are often ill-funded, ill-equipped, and/or hesitant to file complaints against legislatures, she reasoned.
Regarding the role and effectiveness of journalism, she said, "More and more, citizens are doing the work that journalists neglect."
"I have a great feeling of despair regarding the state of journalism," continued Baskin, "Newsrooms are becoming blips on the radar for much bigger entities... At 20/20 they watched minute-by-minute ratings and they tracked where eyeballs pointed on the screens, so they could keep people from changing the channel. That's entertainment, not news. News is about providing important information to people."
When I asked her what role bloggers and citizen journalists would play as a watchdog, she responded, "I was terrified of bloggers a year ago. I thought this was a disaster. Well, now I think this is all gonna shake out. I don't care about what they say as long they link back to us [the Center], and we provide fair and accurate information."
She concluded, "This is a very interesting time... People want information."
The Senate has finished the vote.
Tuesday, September 27, 2005
FrontPage Mag is reporting that Professor Bradford will be on the O'Reilly Factor on the Fox News Channel tonight at 7 P.M. EST (8 EDT).
Paul Musgrave, of InTheAgora, has a great column in the Indianapolis Star that takes a hard look at IU's leadership and the challenges that lie ahead for the university.
Here is Musgrave's lede, but read the whole column if you have a chance:
Indiana University President Adam Herbert says he wants to make IU's Bloomington campus choosier about the freshmen it admits.
Friday, September 23, 2005
A handful of IU-Indy law students are joining Professor Florence Roisman in a trip to Washington, D.C. this weekend, to join an anti-war march and rally there on Saturday.
The rally and march, planned by the group "United for Peace and Justice," is being billed by them as the largest anti Iraq war rally since the beginning of the war.
The rally features Cindy Sheehan, the mother of a fallen soldier in Iraq and anti-war protestor, and includes the call on the website:
"END THE WAR ON IRAQ
BRING THE TROOPS HOME NOW!
Leave no military bases behind
End the looting of Iraq
Stop the torture
Stop bankrupting our communities
No military recruitment in our schools"
A 'support the troops' rally will be held in D.C. at the same time by a group called, "You don't speak for me Cindy."
An IU law evening student has a blog called TV Law. I have added it under the blogroll category IU-Indy Law Peeps.
TV Law bills itself as "A look at the laws, lobby groups and technology that will affect the future of TV." Check it out.
Thursday, September 22, 2005
Of course this is going to be a parking post/rant.
I made the mistake of getting to school a little bit early yesterday. Oh, around 4:10ish. Parking window was closed and nailed shut. You really need to get there between 4:25:30 -4:50:47 to have a decent shot at getting a parking spot without circling the parking lot.
How irritating is this? While I was circling the lot, I kept thinking that I would gladly, GLADLY, pay an extra thirty bucks or so for an IH parking lot pass just for the lot behind Inlow Hall. Gladly.
Wednesday, September 21, 2005
Don't forget that ILN has a cool store. All proceeds from the store go to the LRAP, loan repayment program.
The merchandise now includes: t-shirts, sweatshirts, coasters, notebooks, mousepads, mugs, hats, magnets, bumper stickers, and posters.
Okay, comments have returned, but with changes. Our system still allows anonymity, but now comments will not appear on the site until approved by one of the site's associate editors, in accordance with ILN's new commenting policy (posted on the left).
Please read the policy.
Sunday, September 18, 2005
The initial comments following my previous post were mostly civil, but then today several of them turned sour. Thus I have been forced to remove the commenting feature from ILN until we can implement a moderated one. I thank the many commenters who offered their advice, but this recent spat of negative comments has made my responsibility all too clear.
The offending commenters seem to share one common fallacy--namely, the mistaken idea that using personal attacks and immaturity will counteract other such acts, or even positively move one's own agenda.
I should also clarify a couple other matters. First, Professor Bradford apologized for his prior misuse of the blog comments and admitted to such. Other commenters have made personal attacks against him and others, yet they are too small to apologize or to lift their mask of anonymity, and I can assure you that if I had a way to identify them, I would.
The most egregious example was a commenter under the name of "Safety First" who claimed that Bradford had made physical threats under the comments. I cannot stress too strongly that this claim is patently untrue.
Finally, there is one more matter I should mention. A captain from the IUPUI campus police contacted me on Friday. Her e-mail to me included her signature saying that she was a captain in the IUPUI police.
I called her, and she asked several questions about the technology of IP addresses and how I "could be sure" of the identity of a commenter, by using the IP address. I told her that I could not be certain. I then asked her if this questioning was part of a police investigation, because if it was, I would need to determine my obligations.
She answered that it was not for an investigation and that she was just personally curious. I do not believe that, as it simply does not make sense. I suspect she was asked to question me, in order to discover a possibility of digging up dirt on somebody. Perhaps the use of her position in the police was thought to intimidate me into giving more information.
Obviously this is reasoned conjecture, but if it is indeed true, I implore the party or parties seeking information to use ethical and honest channels rather than underhanded methods such as this.
Friday, September 16, 2005
If ever a rule of internet discourse could be formulated, it would be this: anonymity encourages personal attacks and a generally lower level of discourse.
However, allowing for anonymous comments also has its benefits. Students afraid of retribution from a faculty member or administrator can comment critically without fear. A commenting forum is an opportunity for a website's readers to further "develop" a news story and critically examine the author's language and motivations. This is a vast departure from the brick and mortar mentality of journalism without scrutiny.
In light of these stark pro's and con's of an anonymous commenting system, I allowed ILN's comments to provide anonymity, accepting the occasional off-color comment or personal jab.
However, the Bradford controversy has led to an unacceptable low in commenting decorum. While the discussion has been quite productive at times-- an earnest debate on the merits of several aspects of the tenure process-- it has been marred by impersonation, vulgarity, possible defamation, and manipulation.
The biggest malfeasants have been anonymous posters and ironically Professor Bradford himself, who has posted under fake names, and possibly another commenter's name, to manipulate the forum to give the impression that he had more allies in the debate than he actually had and to use nearly vicious language at times. The IP address behind most of his comments was also used to curse in Italian at another commenter. Perhaps somebody familiar with the Bradford tenure story snuck onto his point of net access. I doubt it.
In light of this, and in response to serious concerns expressed to me by several students and faculty, I am strongly considering adding moderation and/or a registration system for comments on ILN.
I would be remiss to use my judgment solely to moderate comments, however, and a registration/moderation system presents certain logistical challenges. I welcome your input on the best method to conduct a commenting system on ILN.
Thursday, September 15, 2005
Just in case you're like me, and you had no idea, the law school cafe takes credit cards now. Last year, the only plastic they took was the Jagtag.
This is great news if you're perennially cash free (like I am.)
The vote for a Congressional commission to study the "who knew what, did what, didn't do what" of Hurricane Katrina was rejected today on a straight party line vote.
I don't think this is the last we'll see of this type of bill. It will come around again in either a different format, or sponsored by a different Senator.
It was also interesting to note that Sen. Corzine, who was a co-sponsor of the bill, didn't vote at all.
(thanks SJ for the tip and suggestion)
The teen hacker who hacked Paris Hilton's phone (and posted the contents on the internet) was sentenced to 11 months yesterday. In addition to his Hilton phone shenanigans, this little treasure also emailed some bomb threats to high schools.
Wednesday, September 14, 2005
This was sent to me by an IU law student with the request that I post it:
So I check my mailbox, (you know, that one on your way in that's always full of random advertising), and I'm greeted by 6 or 7 colorful pieces of paper. Then I start reading. The first one is fine: it lists the activities for an event. I go on to find that in addition to the first page, an additional piece of paper is added with the SAME EXACT INFORMATION PRINTED ON IT (albeit, in a bigger font size) AS THE FIRST SCHEDULE FOR EVERY EVENT SCHEDULED. So I add things up, 6 pieces of paper multiplied by the roughly 300 students in this law school= 1800 flyers for the SAME EVENT. 1800. That's practically a full ream of paper. ALL the information given on the subsequent sheets is EXACTLY the same as the first list.
Now, I applaud the organization's efforts to get the word out about events (especially this one, which is of great importance to the law school), but is this really an effective means of communication?? What does this say about our school's position on resource conservation?? Not to mention the inefficient use of monetary resources considering all the focus on budget woes!!! Albeit some of the flyers come from non-IU-Indy organizations (such as Bar Review classes), the school should be the first to set an example.
In addition to this particular incident, I'm astonished by the lack of this school's embrace of resource conservation in general. Ok, so I know you all think you have to be some sort of tree-hugging, Birkenstock wearing-hippie in order to care about the Environment, but there are recycling bins RIGHT NEXT TO most of the garbage cans in the school. I watch EVERY DAY as students read their newspapers and drink their beverages only to throw them in the garbage cans that are literally INCHES away from the HUGE bins that say "Paper", "Plastic" and "Aluminum." I don't understand whether it is apathy or just plain laziness that drives these habits. I also watch as the school's janitorial staff takes recyclable materials out of the bins and deposit them into the trash. I appreciate the janitorial staff's diligent efforts to keep the law school clean, but this is just getting out of hand. The school gets MONEY for its recycled products! This isn't just a waste of time!
Alright, that's enough ranting, but next time you have to throw something away, do everyone a favor and move the additional 6 inches and throw your newspapers, magazines, flyers, and beverage containers in the Recycling bins.
Tuesday, September 13, 2005
As a blogger and law student, I am always interested in the next persons views on life. More particularly, the unseen laws that govern life. I stumbled across this on the internet, and thought that I would share. Some of these are more true than I think we would care to admit. from legal trivia.
Monday, September 12, 2005
The nomination hearings began today for John Roberts. Each member of the Senate Judiciary Committee gave their opening statements today, as did Roberts. Here is an excerpt from Roberts' humble opening statement:
I have no agenda, but I do have a commitment. If I am confirmed, I will confront every case with an open mind. I will fully and fairly analyze the legal arguments that are presented. I will be open to the considered views of my colleagues on the bench. And I will decide every case based on the record, according to the rule of law, without fear or favor, to the best of my ability. And I will remember that it's my job to call balls and strikes and not to pitch or bat.
Thursday, September 08, 2005
[ed. note: the following article recapitulates the main details of the Bradford tenure story; new details are located towards the end and are in bold]
First year and transfer students at IU Law-Indy may be unfamiliar with the controversy that has unfolded regarding one of the school's faculty, Professor William Bradford.
In April, numerous students signed a petition that urged the school to grant Bradford tenure, who has been a professor at the school for three years. Some argued, on ILN and elsewhere, that granting tenure after three years defies precedent and would be premature, while others, including Bradford himself, argued that his scholarship was more than sufficient for tenure.
Then, on June 26, the story took a turn when the Indianapolis Star published an article by Ruth Holladay that quoted a claim by Bradford that IU Law-Indy had failed to act on his application for tenure-- due to his political leanings. Five of the faculty members on the Promotion and Tenure Committee, in charge of recommending tenure to the school's trustees, voted against Bradford in an earlier straw poll regarding tenure and confidence of his continued employment.
In a statement published on ILN, Professor Bradford elaborated, "The real reason for the votes of 5 tenured colleagues not to renew my contract, as best I can tell and based on what little has percolated down to me, was that I defend the war on terror ... and won't sign letters in support of Ward Churchill's assertion that the victims of the 9/11 terrorists are the moral equivalents of the architect of the Jewish Shoah."
Professor Florence Roisman, a tenured faculty member at the school, claimed her negative vote on the Promotion and Tenure Committee and denied Bradford's assertion, in an e-mail to ILN: "My conviction that you are not deserving of or likely to earn tenure here is not based on any political views you may hold, and I have made that clear in every statement."
Professor Roisman and other members of the Promotion and Tenure committee have been contacted by ILN for comment, but thus far none beyond Roisman have given reasons for the 'no' votes, and Roisman has declined to elaborate on her previous statements.
On July 3, the Indianapolis Star ran a letter by IUPUI Vice Chancellor William Plater, who stated, "Professor Bradford has not presented his case for tenure. He is not yet eligible. There has been no vote on tenure."
However, in an interview via phone, Indiana Rep. Jeff Thompson stated to ILN that IUPUI Chancellor Charles Bantz told him that Bradford was eligible for tenure and that no formal time commitment exists in the university's tenure policy. ILN's reading of the policy confirms this. Furthermore, ILN has obtained e-mail correspondence from Professor Bradford to Associate Dean Tom Allington, the chairman of the Promotion and Tenure Committee, which shows that Bradford signaled his intention to seek tenure for the 2005-2006 academic year.
Vice Chancellor Plater has been contacted by ILN on several occasions to retract or clarify his statement to the Star, but he has failed to respond. ILN will soon be contacting the Star to inform them that a correction is needed.
Currently, both Professor Roisman and Professor Bradford have ethics complaints pending against one another before a faculty review board, the members of which are Professors Jerry Bepko, James White, and Angela McBride.
Professor Bradford has also filed a complaint before the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) against Professors Roisman and Mitchell. That complaint is also under investigation.
ILN will publish the results of these ongoing complaints as the investigations conclude.
For additional news on this matter, check out David Horowitz's FrontPage Mag which has run several articles and commentary pieces.
Wednesday, September 07, 2005
The California legislature passed a bill yesterday that would allow gay marriages in that state. The bill, which came after failed attempts earlier in the year, is now in the hands of Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger (that still sounds weird to me...).
According to this Reuters article, Schwarzenegger is likely to veto the bill:
A spokeswoman for Schwarzenegger said the governor supports Proposition 22, a voter-approved measure defining marriage as between a man and woman. He also believes the courts are the "correct venue" for deciding on the state's ban on same-sex marriages, she said.California courts are widely expected to deny any challenge to that state's current ban.
Update: Arnold just announced that he will indeed veto the bill. Just as well, since the bill appears to be constitutionally dubious, according to Eugene Volokh.
The Sports Law Blog comments/reviews an article from the Virginia Sports and Entertainment Law Journal about athletes suing for lack of playing time. If you're interested in reading the entire article, we have electronic access to the journal through IUCAT. It seems we also have a hard copy subscription, but, as of today, we haven't received the latest issue in our library.
Check it out if you're so inclined.
In a September 1 letter to the chair of the U.S. Senate Judiciary Committee, some 160 law faculty members from around the country assert that "On the existing record, we do not believe that Judge Roberts warrants a lifetime seat on our nation’s highest court, and we urge the Senate to withhold its consent to his confirmation." Among the signatories are two professors from the Indiana University School of Law - Indianapolis: Rep. David Orentlicher (D), Samuel R. Rosen Professor of Law and Co-Director, Center for Law and Health at the Indiana University School of Law—Indianapolis, and Paul J. Galanti, Professor of Law Emeritus at the Indiana University School of Law—Indianapolis. Click here to read a text of the letter. The letter with the full list of signatories and footnotes is available for download here.
Tuesday, September 06, 2005
I have created a new website, Indiana Barrister, which is devoted to Indiana legal news and commentary.
Monday, September 05, 2005
Sunday, September 04, 2005
Thursday, September 01, 2005
With the virtual destruction of New Orleans comes the virtual destruction of countless legal records. The Louisiana Supreme Court, the 5th Circuit Court of Appeals, city and district courts in as many as 8 parishes/counties, as well as three circuit courts have all been flooded, including evidence/files for countless cases. The state bar and disiplinary offices, and numerous other legal-related facilities are virtually destroyed.
Of course, ways of life have also been disrupted, including those of our fellow law students at Loyola, Tulane, Southern and LSU. According to Susanah Mead, Interim Dean and Professor of Law here at IU School of Law - Indianapolis, "Virtually all law schools have agreed to take Tulane and Loyola students tuition free, if tuition is paid to their home school and they are in good standing at their home school."
According to Dean Mead at least two of these students will be joining us within the next week. I hope that every student works to reach out to them and make the transition as easy as possible.
Update: Thanks to this story in the Evansville Courier and Press (requires registration) I was alerted to the plight of Mirta Desir, a first year Loyola law student. I have gotten Mirta in touch with the administration and it appears as though she may be joining us soon.
Update 2: Associate Dean Klein has clarified the school's policy regarding students affected by Hurricane Katrina: "The deans of Loyola and Tulane have been in contact with the law school community today. Both deans told us that they would welcome schools admitting their 2L and 3L students as visitors for the fall semester. However, they are asking that we not accept 1Ls. At this point, both schools still hope to have some sort of operations before the year is over. In fact, just an hour ago, Loyola announced that it is planning to establish a program at the University of Houston beginning in October that will include a first-year curriculum."