Minneapolis law firm Maslon, Edelman, Borman & Brand, is being shunned by two groups, the Twin Cities Diversity in Practice consortium and the Minnesota Association of Black Lawyers. Apparently, the law firm headed by a woman, that is responsible for many landmark civil rights cases, and that was founded by Jewish lawyers who couldn’t get hired elsewhere is not supportive enough of diversity.
Why? Because Maslon also represented the plaintiffs in the Grutter and Gratz affirmative action cases concerning admissions at the University of Michican and the UM Law School. The plaintiffs were white, which MABL apparently can’t stomach. MABL has apparently stalled Maslon’s admission to TC Diversity in Practice because of these cases.
According to Strib writer Katherine Kersten, this is nothing but a double standard. It sounds like she could be right.
Article no longer available at StarTribune.com.
Unlike Google and Yahoo, Wikipedia has decided to stand up for free speech, saying “take it or leave it” to China’s censors. From the article:
[Wikipedia founder Jimmy] Wales said censorship was ‘ antithetical to the philosophy of Wikipedia. We occupy a position in the culture that I wish Google would take up, which is that we stand for the freedom for information, and for us to compromise I think would send very much the wrong signal: that there’s no one left on the planet who’s willing to say “You know what? We’re not going to give up.”‘
Wales will be meeting with Chinese officials soon. It will be interesting to see if Wikipedia has become influential enough that China cannot afford to block it. Google and Yahoo probably are, but they are also a tad lacking in spine, it seems.
Project Censored‘s annual list of the 25 most significant stories that the mainstream media completely ignored:
#1 Future of Internet Debate Ignored by Media
#2 Halliburton Charged with Selling Nuclear Technologies to Iran
#3 Oceans of the World in Extreme Danger
#4 Hunger and Homelessness Increasing in the US
#5 High-Tech Genocide in Congo
#6 Federal Whistleblower Protection in Jeopardy
# 7 US Operatives Torture Detainees to Death in Afghanistan and Iraq
#8 Pentagon Exempt from Freedom of Information Act
#9 The World Bank Funds Israel-Palestine Wall
#10 Expanded Air War in Iraq Kills More Civilians
#11 Dangers of Genetically Modified Food Confirmed
#12 Pentagon Plans to Build New Landmines
#13 New Evidence Establishes Dangers of Roundup
#14 Homeland Security Contracts KBR to Build Detention Centers in the US
#15 Chemical Industry is EPA’s Primary Research Partner
#16 Ecuador and Mexico Defy US on International Criminal Court
#17 Iraq Invasion Promotes OPEC Agenda
#18 Physicist Challenges Official 9-11 Story
#19 Destruction of Rainforests Worst Ever
#20 Bottled Water: A Global Environmental Problem
#21 Gold Mining Threatens Ancient Andean Glaciers
#22 $Billions in Homeland Security Spending Undisclosed
#23 US Oil Targets Kyoto in Europe
#24 Cheney’s Halliburton Stock Rose Over 3000 Percent Last Year
#25 US Military in Paraguay Threatens Region
Article no longer available at ProjectCensored.com.
Another reason to check your credit report regularly. From the article:
According to Shirin Sinnar from the San Francisco branch of the Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights, credit bureaus are listing the names of known terrorists on the credit reports of unsuspecting everyday, average citizens across the country. Sinnar indicated the names are harvested from the U.S. Treasury Watchlist by credit bureaus and other financial institutions.
“The credit reporting agencies are now scanning this list and putting watchlist information on the reports even if it’s a partial match,” said Sinnar.
Even partial matches? Sheesh. Given all the problems with the various terrorist watchlists out there, I’m not sure this is remotely a good idea. Consumers, beware!
This is ridiculous. Typing confidential “do not distribute” into Google nets just under 70,000 hits. Apparently “confidential” and “do not distribute” don’t mean “do not post on a public website for all the world to see.” Unfortunate for anyone or any company whose private information is now permanently cached by Google.
A client sent me a link to this February 2006 article on condo conversions and some of the problems they create. The part of the trend—which is thankfully waning—that is more worrisome to me is this:
“[Y]ou’ve got people who were displaced who otherwise would be committed urbanists. They’ve moved on because they had to. The displacement cost is something that everybody pays. The renters leave, the buyers fail, and the buildings sit empty.”
So the real estate developers are driving their future tenants out of the market, harming their own interests as well as the city itself. Not illegal, just unfortunate.
Article no longer available on CityPages.com
A federal district court judge, Judge Anna Diggs Taylor, today found the NSA’s wiretapping program illegal. From CNN:
The defendants “are permanently enjoined from directly or indirectly utilizing the Terrorist Surveillance Program (TSP) in any way, including, but not limited to, conducting warrantless wiretaps of telephone and Internet communications, in contravention of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act and Title III,” she wrote.
She further declared that the program “violates the separation of powers doctrine, the Administrative Procedures Act, the First and Fourth amendments to the United States Constitution, the FISA and Title III.”
She went on to say that “The president of the United States . . . has undisputedly violated the Fourth in failing to procure judicial orders.”
Yesterday I sold my beloved Audi, and today I am left with a non-functioning 1969 VW Bus, a rusting 1977 Honda motorcycle, and an old Trek mountain bike with road tires.
Plus, I signed up for HourCar for getting to and from court hearings and other work-related meetings when turning up in oil-stained jeans (from the motorcycle) won’t do. And I bought a bus pass for rainy-day commutes.
Why am I doing this? Mostly because I hated having a car payment, coupled with the fact that I felt compelled to care for my car like a newborn baby because it had shiny, new-looking paint. Too much stress caused by a machine, even if it did have heated seats.
I learned two things today: (1) Drivers hate bicyclists, and (2) I am ridiculously out of shape.
I plan to find out whether alternative transportation is feasible even for a lawyer who needs to be very mobile.
I went paperless for reasons of convenience, but the fact that I am using fewer trees makes me feel good, as well. I sold my daily driver because I was tired of paying for it, and to force me to get in (and stay in) shape. But I’m hoping that with a little planning, it will be nearly as convenient and more economical to go without. And if I lessen my consumption of fossil fuels as well, that’s fantastic.
Stay tuned to see how it goes.
This investigative piece by KSTP talks about the extent of the foreclosure problem in Minneapolis. And with every foreclosure comes dozens of letters from hopeful equity strippers. In fact, many of those houses are probably in foreclosure because of predatory refinances, fraudulent assessments, and overstated income by unscrupulous mortgage brokers.
There are two parts to this problem. First and foremost, there are homeowners and home buyers who are not sufficiently informed about what they are doing. Second, and equally dangerous, are the numerous realtors, lenders, investors, and mortgage brokers who are happy to take advantage of that ignorance (and often, a poor financial situation, as well).
Article no longer available on KSTP.com
Nathan Hines sent me a link to this four-part Boston Globe article about the world of consumer debt.
From the article:
This Boston Globe Spotlight Team investigation into the world of consumer debt in the United States found a system where debt collectors have a lopsided advantage, debtors are often treated shabbily by collectors and the courts, and consumers can quickly find themselves in a life-upending financial crisis.
I’m reading the articles now, and it’s fascinating (and disturbing) reading. If you want to know why consumer law is so important, read this article. If you aren’t outraged by the time you get through the introduction to Part 2 (listen to the court hearing), you must be a debt collector.