Ernie the Attorney : Searching for Truth & Justice (in an unjust world)
Updated: 6/1/2002; 9:44:38 AM.


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Tuesday, May 14, 2002

Audible - Okay, I think I'll keep you

I was all set to cancel my account with Audible (because I didn't like having to listen to the titles with an MP3 player).  Jenny's recent post about the difficulties of finding certain titles (which, as she points out, is not Audible's fault) prompted me to go to their site with the purpose of cancelling.  I had sold my Rio 500 MP3 player to a co-worker who lost hers but loved Audible.   Well then I found out that you can now burn the downloaded books to CD's.  So I decided not to cancel, and I ordered Tim Berner's Lee's book on Weaving the Web, which I am burning to CD as we speak (so to speak).  I think Audible is a great concept and if all of the available titles can be burned to CD then I'm totally psyched (again).  

Buzz had a great idea for Audible that I wish could be implemented: his idea was for State Bar Associations to make CLE lectures available for download through Audible.  Naturally, there is resistance to this idea, mostly for a lot of short-shrift reasons.  In Louisiana we have to have 15 hours or CLE every year, and most attorneys scramble in December to find programs to go to for their CLE (they don't go earlier in the year because it is tough to find time when they are busy).  I know if if I could get materials through audible I would probably voluntarily get at least 40 hours.  And I'm sure that many attorneys would sign up and really use Audible and find it convenient.  But I doubt the bar association (actually the La. Supreme Court) would trust attorneys to get their CLE this way.  This is silly because the attorneys that really don't want their CLE can beat the system that is in place now (they just show up in the morning and leave after they have signed the sign-in sheet).

There's another reason that state bar associations would resist this:  it takes revenue (earned on the CLE programs) away from local people and gives it to Audible.  Oh well, just a thought...

10:05:54 PM    

How to RSSify your site if you have Blogger - From Jenny

Go to Voidstar where you will see the following-

"This form takes your web page and turns it into RSS 0.92. This is especially useful for Blogger users.

A tip of the hat to Aaron Swartz who came up with the idea and the first implementation.

    1. Put <span class="rss:item"> ... </span> round each item in your page.
      In Blogger you'd do this by going to your template in blogger and changing
      <span class="rss:item"><$BlogItemBody$></span>
      And then publish something to re-create the page with the new template
    2. Then put the URL of your new and modified page into the form below.
    3. Check that what you get back looks like RSS.
    4. Now you can make a link to this file like ""
    5. Finally add a link to it on your web page, something like this.  This gif is freely copyable. Just right click, save

Now if Howard Bashman could add this to his site then I would be in heaven  (same for Denise so she wouldn't have to use the Rick Klau workaround).  Thanks Jenny!

9:48:37 PM    

"Better than Google" Search Engine

Think that Google can't be improved on? Check this out: Let's try a search on, say, Dave Winer.   Awesome, huh? Via [Scobleizer Radio Weblog]

8:36:11 PM    

Canadian Government sues tobacco companies using RICO; report by Howard Bashman

In Attorney General of Canada v. R.J. Reynolds Tobacco Holdings, Inc., the government of Canada brought a RICO suit against various cigarette manufactures and accused the manufacturers of promoting cigarette sales on the Canadian black market in order to avoid the imposition of Canadian taxes. In 1991, Canada doubled its tax on a carton of cigarettes, which raised the average price of a carton from $26 (Canadian) to $48 (Canadian); the result established that cigarette taxation actually does work to reduce consumption. In any event, the Second Circuit affirmed the district court's dismissal of Canada's complaint , causing Canada to seek U.S. Supreme Court review. Sixth Circuit nominee and Jones, Day partner Jeffrey S. Sutton was among the lawyers who represented R.J. Reynolds in the Second Circuit and, now, in opposing U.S. Supreme Court review.  Via [How Appealing]

Howard's got a great site.   I hope that he will be covering the Supreme Court cases, including the cert grants.  And, of course, I wish his site was a Radio site so I could get the XML/RSS feeds. 

7:05:22 PM    

Vendor/Customer Communication

Rick says "I feel something like a voyeur reading Chris Smith's weblog...He's documenting the very real challenges: extranets and justifying a CRM investment, and what he's trying to accomplish. It's instructive because I'm a vendor (I hate that term). My company, Interface Software, sells to firms like Chris's. And understanding the challenges faced by folks like Chris is key to our ability to solve those challenges...."

Rick hopes that through the blog-connection "Chris might learn something from me. Seeing life through the eyes of someone selling into the legal market might shed some light on his own challenges, and/or identify some solutions he hadn't thought of." [tins ::: Rick Klau's weblog]

I'm sure that Chris will learn something from Rick, and Rick is certainly much more than a "vendor."  He's a guy who (1) understands software at a deep level; (2) fully understands the legal system, and (3) is honestly interested in helping people.   I wish there were more people like Rick practicing law and managing law firms.  

6:46:48 PM    

The Digital Chicken and the Electronic Egg

FCC Chairman Michael Powell had an op-ed piece in the Washington Post yesterday, challenging all parts of the TV industry step off the curb and do their part to adopt digital television. He suggested, quite rightly, that all piece of the industry -- programming, transmission, and receivers -- have been unwilling to commit unless someone else goes first. Powell's suggestion: "for all the industries to link arms and take one step forward -- together." Via [Over the Edge]

I'd like to by a High-Def TV, but they're expensive and there is little programming.  The broadcasters don't want to buy the equipment and put out the HDTV signal until enough people can be convinced to buy the expensive TVs.  The Wheels on the Bus go round and round, round and round, round and round....

6:33:08 PM    

Deep-Link Suit threatened by publisher of Runner's World 

The publisher of Runner's World magazine officially threatened a hobbyist website this week, demanding it delete a hyperlink to a "printer-friendly" version of a article or -- face the consequences.   Allen Tullar, an attorney representing the publisher, gave the site until the end of the day Tuesday to comply, saying otherwise, "My client will pursue its rights" under federal copyright law. [Wired News]

The storm clouds are forming, and you can just see the "deep linking" issue is going to be pushed into court.  Is it really less expensive to hire lawyers, though, than it is to configure your website to redirect all incoming traffic to go to the home page first?  And if you are teaching "marketing" at business school do you teach students to sue websites that are devoted followers of your business? 

6:28:14 PM    

Moron Victims in the News

The Assistant Principal who was looking up student's pants to ensure the appropriateness of their underwear is playing the victim. Via [Morons Dot Org]

Of course, everyone is a victim now.  But, I'm dying to hear her explain how she had the right to look up female students' dresses, and why that isn't sexual harrasment.

6:12:04 PM    

Brobeck Partners to Leave for Clifford Chance? - Story with comments from Rick Klau

Brobeck Ousts Former Chairman Tower Snow. In a stunning decision, San Francisco-based Brobeck, Phleger & Harrison expelled former Chairman Tower Snow Jr. from the partnership Friday in retribution for his attempt to lure several partners with him in a move to Clifford Chance. The decision -- acknowledged by Brobeck partners as unprecedented -- came amid speculation that Snow was shopping himself and his colleagues to another firm after the Clifford Chance deal fell through. []

It has been a tough year for Brobeck. Their attorney ranks have shrunk by 26% (mostly by layoffs, but attrition is included), they pulled their first-of-a-kind-for-law-firms ad campaign on CNN and MSNBC (and the CMO left as a result)their managing partner (Tower Snow) was ousted, profits per partner are down more than 40%, they let more than half of their team of KM lawyers go, and now this.   Via [tins ::: Rick Klau's weblog]

I wasn't aware of their knowledge management efforts, but it sounds like a good idea.  I hope those ideas don't go down with the ship....

11:27:54 AM    

The Tipping Point - A Great Book

I just finished The Tipping Point.  Actually, I just finished reading it for the first time; I'll definitely read it several more times in the next year.   This is a book that anyone who cares about the world they live in should read.  It's a book about social change, and how it can occur.  It's a book about marketing of products, and why some products succeed for seemingly indescribable reasons (Dave and John - I hope you've read this book; if not do so right away).  I have created a shortcut for the book (with the Amazon link) and will have a lot to say about it as I digest it more.  But for now, here is one passage that sums the book up:

Look at the world around you.  It may seem like an immovable, implacable place.  It is not.  With the slightest push -- in just the right place -- it can be tipped.

Thanks to Jenny for recommending it.  

11:16:01 AM    

Tobacco Lawyers Pay ATLA a Pittance

Six leaders of the Association of Trial Lawyers of America-New Jersey -- who, packaged as ATLA-NJ's team, won the bid to represent the state in the national tobacco litigation and reaped $40 million in fees -- have contributed $300,000 to the association, reportedly in order to quell a simmering controversy. The $300,000 contribution, representing less than 1 percent of the fee award, has some ATLA board members crying foul. []

The plaintiffs' lawyers are fighting about money?  I thought all they cared about was helping victims of oppression?  Since when did they care about money?  I'm shocked!!!

11:05:48 AM    

Attorney Compelled to Testify Under Privilege Exception

An attorney for a defendant in a multimillion-dollar insurance fraud prosecution has been disqualified because the government plans to call him as a witness. A federal judge in New York ruled that John P. Bracken can be compelled to testify under the crime fraud exception to the attorney-client privilege. Bracken represented one of seven people charged in an alleged conspiracy to defraud Nassau County, N.Y., on insurance contracts. []

11:03:47 AM    

© Copyright 2002 Ernest Svenson.

Comments by: YACCS

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