Friday, April 29, 2005

Weather Update

An update to my previous post about S.786, Senator Rick Santorum's insidious bill to forbid the NWS to give away weather data for free:

the EFF has set up a web page to allow you to easily send a letter to your Senators to voice your opposition to the bill. Click here.

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Wednesday, April 27, 2005

Ask your Senators to Support SB1000

Hey folks, they're having a committee hearing on SB1000 next week. That's the Civil Unions bill. Click here to have Basic Rights Oregon send your letter to the Senate Rules Committee.

Also, take a minute to call your State Senator and tell them to support the bill. I did last night--it took me exactly 1 minute and 33 seconds to leave a message. Don't know who your state legislators are? Click here to find out. I've also added the Oregon Legislator Finder to the links list.

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Monday, April 25, 2005

Coming Out

I had an interesting conversation with my mom this morning. Yeah, that conversation. I've been putting it off for almost two years now. But, with graduation looming, it was time. Thankfully, her response was pretty much the best case scenario outcome. Why I ever doubted her, I don't know. I should have known better.

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Copyright and the Weather Present a United Front

Ok, I couldn't help the pun, but this is serious stuff here. Everyone knows how I am obsessed with the weather. You also know how I am obsessed with Intellectual Property. What you may not realize, is that many Copyright scholars have long recognized an important link between the two.

One of the arguments that the content industry makes about the need for stronger intellectual property laws is that unless they are able to regulate use of their inventions/art, there is no way for them to be able to compete in the marketplace. Also note that intellectual property law in the United States is based on an economic incentive theory. That is, our entire reason for having patents and copyrights is to enable inventors and artists to have a market for their works--thus incentivizing them to produce.

One of the foremost counterexamples to the argument for enhancing IP monopolies is the Weather Industry. Long before there was open source software or Creative Commons, the National Weather Service was giving away weather forecasts for free. I even have a link to their web site on this blog. Yet, the weather industry thrives in this country. Take a look at the Weather Channel or its web site.

Well, Sen. Rick Santorum thinks this is no good. He doesn't think the Weather Channel has any right to be stealing forecasts from the government, so he's introduced a bill to prevent the National Weather Service from giving its information away. That means no more free online weather from the NWS. Please write your Senators to tell them just how ridiculous this is.

In related news, the NWS is in the midst of a notice and comment period concerning the icons they use to convey the daily weather report. I for one prefer the current icons. Please click here to give them your two cents worth.

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Earth Day 2005

Now that I am an environmental lawyer (long story short, I have been hired into my law firm's Real Estate, Land Use and Environmental Group), I have a few reflections on this past Earth Day.

When I first came to law school I was pretty burnt out on environmentalism. Yes, I recycled, yes, I had a compost pile, yes I took public transportation or rode my bike to work. But, as I saw it, the environmental movement was so white and middle class--it seemed like it was never going to get anything accomplished unless it reached out to the people. Why the hell should you care about a rainforest if you can't put food on the table?

In law school I was introduced to the concept of Environmental Justice through my new friends who belong to the Environmental Justice Advocates here at school. These folks taught me exactly why lower income and minority folks should give a shit about environmentalism--it's their/our neighborhoods that are the most heavily impacted by pollution. Come over to my place sometime and we can take a tour of the brownfields in North and Northeast Portland where I live.

Coincidentally with this new outlook of mine, the Catholic Bishops in the Northwest and British Columbia issued a pastoral letter on how it is imperative to understand that the social justice teachings of our church include stewardship of our environment, specifically for Northwesterners, the Columbia River Watershed. Taking this to heart, my parish embarked on a mission to increase awareness of environmental issues, and to make our church grounds more "green." But, most importantly, my church has begun to recognize the link between environmentalism and social justice. This is a very good thing.

Which brings me to last Thursday. In celebration of Earth Day, several of the environmental groups on campus sponsored a talk by Sierra Club Board Member and LC alum, Bernie Zaleha. Now, I have never really cared too much about the Sierra Club, but I was heartened by his talk. Mr. Zaleha, when questioned about what directions he thought the environmental movement should take answered, surprisingly, that environmentalists need to focus on environmental justice and reach out to religious communities and the voluntary simplicity movement (who he observed have long known that possessions do not bring you happiness). But, he noted, that as a leader of the Sierra Club, which is mostly white and affluent, he often feels conflicted about preaching such a message. My hope is that folks like Bernie Zaleha, do start a dialogue about such things. Who knows, he might even inspire someone like me to care.

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Tuesday, April 19, 2005

Attention fellow law students, homos, and sodomites

You kids remember Lawrence v. Texas, the Supreme court case overturning Bowers v. Hardwick, and allowing us all to engage in sodomy in the privacy of our homes, right? Of course you do. Remember Scalia's dissent? Basically he was saying there was a legitimate state interest in regulating homosexual acts--states regulate all sorts of stuff, so why should sodomy be any different?

Apparently at a Q&A at NYU a law student demonstrated to Justice Scalia exactly why it's different by asking the justice if he sodomized his wife. Reason? Some things are nobody's business.

Read the law student's open letter explaining his actions here.

Via Copyfight.

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Rats! zinger

As anyone who has been paying attention to the news this morning knows, Cardinal Ratzinger has been elected Pope. Anyone who knows much about my spiritual life knows how much I can't stand that man. He is bad.

The good news is: 1) he's the one who's been running the show for several years now, so one can only hope for the status quo, 2) he's 78.

The bad news is, the last time the Cardinals elected a Pope they thought was old and therefore transitional was Pope John XXIII. He's the one who instituted the sweeping changes of Vatican II. Only he was good. Ratzinger is bad.

Bad. Bad. Bad.

But, for a more uplifting look at how some young Catholics are dealing with this news, I recommend this post.

UPDATE: for those of you who wonder why I think he's bad.

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Friday, April 15, 2005


Just when you thought Wal-mart could not possibly get any more evil.

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Shit List

Jack Bogdanski has been on thin ice with me for a while now. This post was the last straw. He's no longer on the links list. Christopher Frankonis' Portland Communique has a much better view of local politics anyway. He's taken Bojack's place.

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Wednesday, April 13, 2005


Although I am still angry with the City of Trees, the Gem State's government has at least done something right this year. The above link will get you to the entire resolution concerning the merits of Napolean Dyanamite.

2 WHEREAS, any members of
the House of Representatives or the Senate of the
3 Legislature of the State of Idaho who choose to vote
"Nay" on this concurrent 4 resolution are "FREAKIN'
IDIOTS!" and run the risk of having the "Worst Day of 5
Their Lives!" 6 NOW, THEREFORE,
BE IT RESOLVED by the members of the First Regular Session
7 of the Fifty-eighth Idaho Legislature, the House of
Representatives and the 8 Senate concurring
therein, that we commend Jared and Jerusha Hess and the City
9 of Preston for showcasing the positive
aspects of Idaho's youth, rural cul- 10 ture, education
system, athletics, economic prosperity and diversity.
11 BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED that we, the
members of the House of Representa- 12
tives and the Senate of the State of Idaho, advocate
always following your 13 heart, and thus we eagerly await the
next cinematic undertaking of Idaho's
14 Hess family.

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A recent discussion with friends about Sea Monkeys had me waxing nostalgic. Now, today, BoingBoing had this post. Coincidence? Posted by Hello Thanks to V for the photo.

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Do you share your iTunes?

One of the arguments in the P2P debate is whether the public has a first amendment interest in its music. Is it possible that the music we buy and share is a form of speech? While I have no doubt that sharing music with your friends is a form of expression, this argument was roundly dismissed by my peers in my Cyberlaw class (courts don't seem to buy it either). Copying is infringement. End of story.

This school year I've been fascinated by how folks share their iTunes on the school wireless network. Some folks share their entire libraries (you can tell by the inclusion of MP3 files of lectures, etc.), while other folks have meticulously crafted playlists that change from day to day. One of my friends rarely shares her music, for fear that people who aren't nearly cool enough will begin listening to her music. When she does share, the playlist is often labeled with a command such as, "Listen to Arcade Fire." I myself (when I do share) only share Portland bands. My agenda is to get folks out to see local bands. One person, irate that GetTunes (a hack that enables you download folks' music from the network) has become commonplace, has labeled his or her list "Stop Stealing My Music." One wonders why he or she continues to share. In response, someone else has labeled hers "Everything is Free."

For months now, I've wanted to meet Rockin' because his or her playlist is so cool. I'm also partial to Crepe Paper Hearts because it has the Punk Group.

Which gets me to the point of this post: Georgia Tech has just released a report on how Co-workers sharing iTunes on their company networks form communities within their workplace environments. Turns out, the phenomenon I've been casually observing is actually commonplace even outside the campus environment. People are very meticulous about the messages they send by sharing their music. They also form opinions on others based on their lists. The conclusions in the report not only support the idea that perhaps music is a form of expression for consumers as well as musicians, but that consumers will repurpose technology to suit their needs regardless of what the marketing corporation intends.

Via Copyfight.

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Wednesday, April 06, 2005

The Bible: New Revised Lego Version

It's brilliant. My favorite is Ishmael's birth. Thanks Susan.

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Boise Charges Strippers With Public Nudity

Thanks to BoingBoing for its post on this matter.

Boise Police have ticketed dancers at a Strip Club for violating its anti-nudity ordinance. The ordinance requires dancers to wear pasties and thongs unless they are engaged in a performance with "serious artistic merit."

The club owner had tried to get around the ordinance by promoting "art night" where patrons were given sketch pads and pencils. The art was then displayed on the club walls.

He has called Boise a "communist police state" for going after the dancers.

From my experience, he's absolutely right about the police state part, but I'd have to say Boise is one of the most capitalistic places I've ever been.

Ironically, I'm pretty sure this ordinance is one of the legacies of former mayor and convicted felon, Brent Coles. They sure know a thing or two about ethics and morality in the City of Trees.

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Friday, April 01, 2005

Papal Transition

The above link is a comprehensive article on what will happen when the Pope dies. It was updated yesterday. The article discusses not only the mechanics of electing a new Pope, but also lists 10 likely candidates.

Notably, it concludes that should the Pope slip into a coma, the Church would face a constitutional crisis.

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The Pope's Wishes

This excerpt from an AP article discussing JPII's illness. One doctor stated that he has a 10-20% chance of recovering from sepsis. There are also reports that he has slipped into a coma:

It is not clear who would be empowered to make medical decisions for an unconscious pope. The Vatican has officially declined to comment whether John Paul has left written instructions.
Am I missing something? I thought that the conservatives who champion the Pope's earlier statements on death and dying (see section 3 of my previous post) would say that it is always necessary to keep a ventilator and nutrition for a comatose patient. Isn't that what the Terry Schiavo debate has been about amongst Catholic theologians?

So, sorry John Paul, you don't get to leave written instructions. I guess unless you leave them as a papal decree. That is, only the pope gets to make end of life decisions for himself. Everyone else is SOL.

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