Wednesday, September 26, 2007

Yale Law Women Releases 2nd Annual List of the Top Ten Family-Friendly Firms

California Newswire » : By Valerie Gotten
NEW HAVEN, Conn. — Yale Law Women (YLW), the largest student organization at Yale Law School, announces the release of its 2007 Top Ten Family-Friendly Firms list. Phoenix-based firm Quarles & Brady received top honors, followed by Proskauer Rose; Akin Gump Strauss Hauer; Jenner & Block; Mayer Brown; Covington & Burling; Arnold & Porter; DLA Piper; Mintz, Levin, Cohn, Ferris, Glovsky and Popeo, PC; and Faegre & Benson. YLW seeks to emphasize the need for firm employment policies that facilitate work-life balance for attorneys. The DC Women’s Bar Association’s report, Creating Pathways to Success, indicates that 70% of lawyers with children-both men and women-report work-life conflict. Due largely to inflexible work demands, firms face an ongoing retention problem with young associates. “If firms are to recruit and retain attorneys, they must change their work environments to not only accommodate but support lawyers with families,” said YLW Activism Co-Chair Jill Habig. Fellow Co-Chair Katie Wilson-Milne stated, “This list is a way to celebrate those firms that have taken important steps toward helping attorneys have both a family and a successful career.”

YLW analyzed firms from Vault’s Top 100 Law Firms and Best of the Rest lists. The variables used were selected based on a survey of Yale Law School alumni, who ranked in order of importance a list of family-friendly law firm policies. Categories included maternity/paternity leave, childcare, and alternative work arrangements, among others. All data was collected from the National Association of Law Placement (NALP) directory.

Monday, September 17, 2007

U.K. Hospitals Issue Doctors' Dress Code

New York Times:
Hospital dress codes typically urge doctors to look professional, which, for male practitioners, has usually meant wearing a tie. But as concern over hospital-borne infections has intensified, doctors are taking a closer look at their clothing. ''Ties are rarely laundered but worn daily,'' the Department of Health said in a statement. ''They perform no beneficial function in patient care and have been shown to be colonized by pathogens.''"

Times to End Charges on Web Site

New York Times:
The New York Times will stop charging for access to parts of its Web site, effective at midnight tonight. The move comes two years to the day after The Times began the subscription program, TimesSelect, which has charged $49.95 a year, or $7.95 a month, for online access to the work of its columnists and to the newspaper’s archives. TimesSelect has been free to print subscribers to The Times and to some students and educators. In addition to opening the entire site to all readers, The Times will also make available its archives from 1987 to the present without charge, as well as those from 1851 to 1922, which are in the public domain. There will be charges for some material from the period 1923 to 1986, and some will be free. The Times said the project had met expectations, drawing 227,000 paying subscribers — out of 787,000 over all — and generating about $10 million a year in revenue. “But our projections for growth on that paid subscriber base were low, compared to the growth of online advertising..."

Wednesday, September 12, 2007

New Social Sites Cater to People of a Certain Age

New New York Times:
"Social networking has so far focused mainly on businesspeople and young people because they are tech-savvy and are treasured by Madison Avenue. But there are 78 million boomers — roughly three times the number of teenagers — and most of them are Internet users who learned computer skills in the workplace. Indeed, the number of Internet users who are older than 55 is roughly the same as those who are aged 18 to 34, according to Nielsen/NetRatings, a market research firm."

Court Won’t Rule on Life’s Beginning - New York Times

Court Won’t Rule on Life’s Beginning - New York Times

LibraryThing | Catalog your books online

LibraryThing | Catalog your books online

Gary Hart: J'Accuse

The Huffington Post:
"This administration stands indicted for incompetence and mendacity. That it still commands the loyalty of even a quarter of our fellow citizens is testament to the persistence of willful ignorance. Against all the facts assembled in this indictment, that the administration's operatives can still make claims on strength, security, and determination is chutzpah on stilts. That the media still treat these operatives and spokespersons, and indeed the president himself, seriously is witness to their desire for 'access' and 'sources' rather than their commitment to the truth. America is today under the steady gaze of billions of the world's citizens and even more under the examining lens of history. Nothing is more difficult than to admit that we made a tragic mistake in selecting our leaders. But that is the first step toward redemption. Absolute rejection of those who lay claim to ownership of security is the next. We are too old to behave as adolescents any longer. That includes particularly our president. America must grow up. We must redeem ourselves in the name of those who lost their lives unnecessarily six years ago. We must reclaim our dignity and our honor from those who have neither."

Some interesting and relevant themes for Rosh Hashanah in America.
(not to speak of Hart's invocation of "chutzpah on stilts"!)

Monday, September 10, 2007

Boys Cast Out by Polygamists Find Help

Boys New York Times: By ERIK ECKHOLM
ST. GEORGE, Utah — Woodrow Johnson was 15, and by the rules of the polygamous sect in which his family lived, he had a vice that could condemn them to hell: He liked to watch movies.

When his parents discovered his secret stash of DVDs, including the “Die Hard” series and comedies, they burned them and gave him an ultimatum. Stop watching movies, they said, or leave the family and church for good.

With television and the Internet also banned as wicked, along with short-sleeve shirts — a sign of immodesty — and staring at girls, let alone dating them, Woodrow made the wrenching decision to go. And so 10 months ago, with only a seventh-grade education and a suitcase of clothes, he was thrown into an unfamiliar world he had been taught to fear.

Over the last six years, hundreds of teenage boys have been expelled or felt compelled to leave the polygamous settlement that straddles Colorado City, Ariz., and Hildale, Utah.

Disobedience is usually the reason given for expulsion, but former sect members and state legal officials say the exodus of males — the expulsion of girls is rarer — also remedies a huge imbalance in the marriage market. Members of the sect believe that to reach eternal salvation, men are supposed to have at least three wives. ...

“In part it’s an issue of control,” Mr. Murphy said of the harsh rules. But underlying the expulsions, he added, is a mathematical reality. “If you’re going to have plural marriage, you need fewer men,” he said.

Andrew Chatwin, 39, the uncle who took Woodrow in, left the sect 10 years ago. He explained how the expulsions usually happen: “The leaders tell the parents they must stop this kid who is disobeying the faith and Warren Jeffs. So the parents kick him out because otherwise the father could have his wives and whole family taken away.”...

Mr. Gilbert estimates that 100 boys from his school class, or 70 percent of them, have been expelled or left on their own accord; there is no way to verify the numbers. “There are a lot of broken-hearted parents, but you question this decision at the risk of your own salvation,” Mr. Gilbert said.

The problem of surplus males worsened in the 1990s when the late prophet Rulon Jeffs, Warren Jeffs’s father, took on dozens of young wives — picking the prettiest, most talented girls, said DeLoy Bateman, a high school teacher who watched it happen.

Warren Jeffs, taking the mantle after his father’s death in 2002, adopted most of his father’s wives and married others, and also began assigning more wives to his trusted church leaders, former members say. Forced departures increased. ...

Prisons Purging Books on Faith From Libraries

Behind the walls of federal prisons nationwide, chaplains have been quietly carrying out a systematic purge of religious books and materials that were once available to prisoners in chapel libraries. ...

Traci Billingsley, a spokeswoman for the Bureau of Prisons, said the agency was acting in response to a 2004 report by the Office of the Inspector General in the Justice Department. The report recommended steps that prisons should take, in light of the Sept. 11 attacks, to avoid becoming recruiting grounds for militant Islamic and other religious groups. The bureau, an agency of the Justice Department, defended its effort, which it calls the Standardized Chapel Library Project, as a way of barring access to materials that could, in its words, “discriminate, disparage, advocate violence or radicalize.”...

“It’s swatting a fly with a sledgehammer,” said Mark Earley, president of Prison Fellowship, a Christian group. “There’s no need to get rid of literally hundreds of thousands of books that are fine simply because you have a problem with an isolated book or piece of literature that presents extremism.”...

The lists are broad, but reveal eccentricities and omissions. There are nine titles by C. S. Lewis, for example, and none from the theologians Reinhold Niebuhr, Karl Barth and Cardinal Avery Dulles, and the influential pastor Robert H. Schuller. ...

“Otisville had a very extensive library of Jewish religious books, many of them donated,” said David Zwiebel, executive vice president for government and public affairs for Agudath Israel of America, an Orthodox Jewish group. “It was decimated. Three-quarters of the Jewish books were taken off the shelves.”

Mr. Zwiebel asked, “Since when does the government, even with the assistance of chaplains, decide which are the most basic books in terms of religious study and practice?” ...

“Government does have a legitimate interest to screen out things that tend to incite violence in prisons,” Mr. Laycock said. “But once they say, ‘We’re going to pick 150 good books for your religion, and that’s all you get,’ the criteria has become more than just inciting violence. They’re picking out what is accessible religious teaching for prisoners, and the government can’t do that without a compelling justification. Here the justification is, the government is too busy to look at all the books, so they’re going to make their own preferred list to save a little time, a little money.”...

There are some well-chosen things in here,” Professor Larsen said. “I’m particularly glad that Dietrich Bonhoeffer is there. If I was in prison I would want to read Dietrich Bonhoeffer.” But he continued, “There’s a lot about it that’s weird.” The lists “show a bias toward evangelical popularism and Calvinism,” he said, and lacked materials from early church fathers, liberal theologians and major Protestant denominations. ...

Fracas Erupts Over Book on Mideast by a Barnard Professor Seeking Tenure

New York Times: "Dr. Abu El-Haj has some opponents at her own college. “There is every reason in the world to want her to have tenure, and only one reason against it — her work,” said Alan F. Segal, a professor of religion and Jewish studies at Barnard. “I believe it is not good enough.” He said he was particularly troubled by her suggestion that ancient Israelites had not inhabited the land where Israel now stands, and he said that she had either misunderstood or ignored evidence to the contrary. “She completely misunderstands what the biblical tradition is saying,” he added. “She is not even close. She is so bizarrely off.” He also said that a Barnard official, whom he declined to name, had asked him to suggest people who were not Jewish to comment on Dr. Abu El-Haj’s work for the tenure review, and that he had refused."

Friday, September 7, 2007

This is our second annual Constitution Day quiz. Constitution Day is September 17th. Federal law now requires that educational institutions that receive federal funds hold an 'educational program' on the Constiution. Give this handy quiz to everyone on your campus — students, professors, administrators, staff, even members of the hockey team — and happily avoid the suspension of millions of dollars of federal research money. 1. In the Military Commissions Act of 2006, Congress suspended the writ of habeas corpus for alien enemy combatants detained at Guantánamo Bay. The Constitution, however, stipulates that Congress can suspend the writ only 'in cases of rebellion or invasion.' We can therefore conclude: 1. We have been invaded. 2. We are in the midst of a rebellion (against the government, not against the Constitution itself). 3. The Military Commissions Act is unconstitutional. 4. The Constitution does not protect evil suspects. 5. The founding fathers intended to make an exception for Gitmo. ...

Print: Psychologists, Under a Historian's Lens By THOMAS BARTLETT
As the American Psychological Association debates whether its members should be involved in so-called coercive interrogation, Alfred W. McCoy is trying to get psychologists to own up to their past. Mr. McCoy, a professor of history at the University of Wisconsin at Madison, is the author of A Question of Torture: CIA Inter­rogation From the Cold War to the War on Terror (Metropolitan Books, 2006). The book is a detailed indictment, brimming with outraged accusations — what one reviewer called 'a flashlight beaming into the dark closets of government.' It is also a book that has come under fire for alleged distortions and overstatements. Mr. McCoy has been criticized for suggesting that two towering figures in the discipline, Donald Hebb and Stanley Milgram, worked with the Central Intelligence Agency. He has also been accused of being too quick to see nefarious connections between psychologists and the government, and of basing grand conclusions on skimpy evidence. In a paper to be published next month by the Journal of the History of the Behavioral Sciences, he takes on his detractors and digs further into the 'deep, dark' history of psychology.

"If you don't diagnose the disease," asks Mr. McCoy, "how can you find the cure?"...

Wednesday, September 5, 2007

Jewish students at American Universities

More Jewish students choose the University of Florida than any other public university, while New York University is their top pick among private universities. That’s according to a list of the 60 most popular college campuses for Jewish undergraduates, published as the Insider's Guide to College in this month’s Reform Judaism magazine. The popularity list used raw numbers, and the list was divided by public and private institutions. The University of Florida in Gainesville heads the list in the public category for the second year in a row with 5,500 Jewish undergraduates. Next are the University of Central Florida and the University of Maryland, College Park, each with 5,000 Jewish undergraduates. York University in Toronto and Rutgers University in New Jersey each have 4,500 Jewish undergraduates. Among private universities, New York University has 4,000 Jewish undergraduates, followed by Boston University, Cornell University and the University of Pennsylvania with 3,000 each. Yeshiva University ranks fourth on the list of private schools with 2,810 Jewish undergraduates. Not surprisingly, Yeshiva heads the guide's list showing the 20 colleges with the highest percentage of Jews -- 93.5 percent of its undergraduates are Jewish. Next is Brandeis University with 61.7 percent, then Barnard College with 43.5 percent. The Ivy League schools with the highest percentage of Jewish students are Harvard and Penn, with 30 percent each.

Israeli court hands down order to reroute West Bank barrier : CAROLYNNE WHEELER
JERUSALEM -- After 2 ½ years of a fight marked by tear gas and rubber bullets, the Battle of Bilin seems at last to have an end in sight, after a rare Israeli Supreme Court ruling ordering the army to reroute a part of its separation barrier near this West Bank village. 'We are ecstatic about the court's decision ... It is a step in the right direction,' Abdallah Abu Rahmeh, a village resident and one of the protest organizers, said in a telephone interview yesterday. Palestinians have been joined by Israeli and foreign activists in protests at Bilin since February, 2005, when the growing barrier of fortified fencing equipped with sensors began to separate farmers from their olive groves and orchards, effectively allotting the land to the nearby Jewish settlements of Modiin Illit. Each week, a few dozen protesters would show up to trade slogans and stones for the tear gas, the rubber bullets and batons of the soldiers pushing them back.

D.C. Appeals to Supreme Court on Gun Law

WASHINGTON (AP) — The District of Columbia on Tuesday asked the U.S. Supreme Court to overturn a ruling that struck down the city's 30-year-old ban on private handgun ownership. If the Supreme Court takes the case, it could lead to its first direct ruling on the Second Amendment since 1939. Mayor Adrian Fenty announced the appeal on the steps of police headquarters: 'The bottom line is we do not need more guns in this city.' The district argues that the Second Amendment prohibits only federal interference in the rights of states to maintain citizen militias, but does not cover the ability of citizens to own handguns privately for other purposes. It argues that states have the right to regulate gun ownership and that the district should be treated like a state. A federal appeals court panel ruled in March that the district's broad gun law was unconstitutional.

Saturday, September 1, 2007

Who Founded Facebook? A New Claim Emerges

New York Times: "In an interview at a cafe here this week, Mr. Greenspan said he had mostly made peace with the fact that Mr. Zuckerberg will be the first of his classmates to become a billionaire."

Oliver Sacks - Columbia University

New York Times:
The new appointment will allow Dr. Sacks, the author of 10 books and a frequent contributor to The New Yorker, to range freely across Columbia’s departments, teaching, giving public lectures, conducting seminars, seeing patients and collaborating with other faculty members. Many of the details of his appointment have yet to be worked out, but among other things, he will be teaching in the university’s creative writing department as well as at the medical school. “My first year at Columbia is going to be, to some extent, a year of experiment and exploration,” Dr. Sacks said. “I very much look forward to meeting students and faculty and doing classes that could be about almost anything, from music to psychiatry to whatever.”...

Dr. Sacks’s appointment is “a commitment both to having one of the great clinical neuroscientists in our midst and one of the great writers about this subject, but also a commitment to try to take that and reach out to other fields and human activities,” Mr. Bollinger said.

The university has committed $20 million to expanding the study of neuroscience to include an interdisciplinary approach, and last year it received a donation worth more than $200 million from Dawn M. Greene and the Jerome L. Greene Foundation to build a new center to house the university’s Mind, Brain and Behavior Initiative, which will help apply neuroscience to multiple areas of scholarship.

For his part, Dr. Sacks said he was looking forward to returning to the classroom. At Albert Einstein, he said, he had not taught formally since 1973. “I’ve actually missed it,” he said. He added: “In a way, for me, this is a real entrance into university life such as I’ve never had, rather than a part-time medical appointment. I’m excited, because, in a way, I’ve been a sort of an outsider or freelancer or maverick for the last 40 years, and here I think it will be quite an intense sort of full relationship with Columbia.”

Dr. Sacks said that although he was looking forward to exploring disciplines outside medicine, his clinical work would remain a focus, not least because it inspires so much of his writing.