ambivalent imbroglio home

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October 19, 2004

Is West A Thief? PKD, and...

One: Did you know that West started its online database of caselaw (Westlaw) by legally stealing a database created by the Department of Justice? According to this article, that's true. Does anyone know anything more about this? I can't believe there were no lawsuits related to this, but I haven't found any so far... UPDATE: Ok, I know it's not stealing if it was legal, and in fact the story almost suggests that the DOJ's failure to contract on terms that would have allowed it to retain rights to the work done by West was such a convenient and egregious “mistake” as to be almost intentional. This was the Reagan DOJ; deregulation and privatization were the tenets it lived by. So maybe the DOJ gave the database to West. In my book that doesn't decrease the injustice.... Two: I wish I had time to read Arts & Letters Daily more often. Three: Speaking of time, I wish I had time to tell you more about the Peggy Browning Fund's National Law Students Workers' Rights Conference, which I attended last Saturday. It was awesome, and I highly recommend it for any law student or future law student for next year. I took lots of notes and I hope to post more about it soon. For now I can say that I'm more convinced than ever that being a labor lawyer would be an awesome job. The trouble is, getting the job.... Four: Speaking of labor law, check out American Rights at Work, a new organization designed to offset the multi-million dollar anti-worker, corporate-sponsored National Right to Work Foundation and Committee. (If you didn't know it already, “right to work” is Orwellian doublespeak for “rights of employers to screw their workers.” Or, as the Disinfopedia puts it, “The National Right to Work Legal Defense Foundation is an organization that attacks workers organizations through the US court system.” Five: Some comments from Tucker Carlson and Paul Begala on John Stewart's appearance on their show last week. It's like they didn't hear a thing Stewart said. Six: Here's a comment about a Phillip K. Dick essay I haven't read but will when I find the time. I recently read Dick's short story “Autofac”—great little dystopian scenario. A lot of people think he's a hack, and in many ways he is, but if I could do what he did, I could be fairly happy that way... (Dick brought us the stories behind Blade Runner, The Running Man, Total Recall, Minority Report, and more that are not coming to mind at the moment.) Seven: This electoral college prediction is really a beautiful thing: Kerry 284, Bush 247. The pro-Bush interpretation of the polls is different: Bush 274, Kerry 264. This seemingly less partisan prediction says Bush's probability of winning has fallen below 50% (but is trending a bit up) and predicts an electoral college count of: Bush 269.1 to Kerry 268.9. Both candidates are currently trying to scare the bejeezus out of voters. Kerry's try to scare old people by saying that Bush is going to privatize Social Security (which is exactly what Bush is saying, he just doesn't use the word “privatize”); Bush is trying to scare everyone by saying Kerry is weak and won't fight terrorism. I guess people will have to decide which one they think is more credible.

Posted October 19, 2004 08:14 AM | lists

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