My friend and UCLAW colleague Sung Hui Kim is guest blogging at the Conglomerate for the next two weeks. One more reason to follow it.
Steve Bradford has a very complete and useful set of links to blogs, news services, and the like that he uses to keep up with his professional reading. I read most of the same sources that he does, funneling all that have RSS feeds through my Feedly account. The one thing I do that he doesn't mention is that I have used Westlaw's alert service to set up a bunch of standardized research searches to run every month to flag cases and articles that seem likely to be relevant to current or ongoing areas of interest. Oh yes, and I also subscribe the the Green Bag.
My friend Wharton professor Eric Orts has started a blog where he'll be focusing on topics falling into one (or more) of three "buckets":
Marcia Narine is a rising star in corporate law academia and the blawgosphere who I've been following with interest for some time. In her latest post at Business Law Professor Blog she poses the following questions as Dodd-Frank turns 4. So I thought I'd try my hand at offering some answers:
1) When Dodd-Frank turns five next year, how far behind will we still be, and will we have suffered another financial blip/setback/recession/crisis that supporters say could have been prevented by Dodd-Frank?
I'm not a macro economist, so I have no idea whether the economy will tank in the next year (but if forced to guess with a gun to my head, I'd say no). As for being behind, she is referring to the fact that the regulatory agencies have only adopted about half of the rules Congress mandated in the Dodd Frank statute. My prediction: In July 2015, about 65% of the required Dodd Frank rulemaking proceedings will have resulted in a final rule but at least 15% will still not have even resulted in a proposed rule.
2) How will the results of the mid-term elections affect the funding of the agencies charged with implementing the law?
Obviously, the big question here is whether the GOP takes control of the Senate. My current guess is that we end up with a 50-50 Senate, with Biden throwing control to the Democracts (and thereby being so busy that he has no chance of beating Hillary for the 2016 Democrat nod). If so, we're looking at high odds of a budgetary train wreck.
3) What will the SEC do to address the Dodd-Frank rules that have already been invalidated or rendered otherwise less effective after litigation from business groups such as §1502, Conflict Minerals Rule (see here for SEC response) or §1504, the Resource Extraction Rule (see here for court decision)?
Both of those rules are pet favorites of the left, so I see the SEC's three Democrat members facing enormous political pressure to get them into law by 2016.
4) Given the SEC's failure to appeal after the proxy access litigation and the success of the lawsuits mentioned above, will other Dodd-Frank mandates be vulnerable to legal challenge?
I think the SEC has finally figured out that it has to throw a lot of resources into doing cost/benefit analysis of its rules and that it has to stick to the limits of its statutory authority. If I'm right, their new rules should be less vulnerable to challenge. In addition, given that Obama's finally been able to tilt the DC Circuit to the Democrat side (7-4), the odds are much better that any challenge will be decided by a pro-SEC panel.
5) Will the whistleblower provision that provides 10-30% of any recovery over $1 million to qualified persons prevent the next Bernie Madoff scandal? I met with the SEC, members of Congress and testified about some of my concerns about that provision before entering academia, and I hope to be proved wrong.
I have no idea. But I did read an interesting article on health care fraud whistleblowers in today's WSJ. Does that count for anything?
Remember Senior District Judge Richard George Kopf who told the SCOTUS to STFU? Apparently one of his keepers screwed up and let him near a computer, because he's back and, instead of responding on the merits to any of the folks who took him to task, the dummKopf has the balls to tell me to "grow up." This from the idiot who is a self-confessed "dirty old man" who blogged about how much he appreciated an attractive female lawyer who "wears very short skirts and shows lots of her ample chest."
I still think the judge needs to take his own advice and STFU.
Update: And I have the same advice for the judge's left-liberal groupies who have been trolling my email and twitter feed.
Update 2: And now the judge is attacking Rick Hasen, one of the best bloggers I know.
Update 3: Althouse points out that the Judge's attack is not well grounded:
The "florid" post of Bainbridge's accused Kopf of "(thinly veiled) anti-Catholicism," which (understandably) irked Kopf. Kopf says Bainbridge cited no evidence, but the evidence was Kopf's own statement that all the Justices in theHobby Lobby majority are Catholic. That's some evidence, but not enough to meet the burden of proof in the courtroom Kopf has no knowledge of Bainbridge ever stepping into if somehow the question of Kopf's anti-Catholicism were an issue.
I'd say it's pretty damned good circumstantial evidence.
Update 3: The good judge has announced that he will be ignoring me from now on out. And it was just getting fun.
I've been a long-term holdout on Paul Caron's periodic rankings of law professor blog traffic, for a lot of reasons. But here's the latest--and I think strongest--reason for opting out:
If you look over the stats closely, you'll notice that all of the members of his Law Professor Blogs Network are up between 35% and 350% in traffic over the last year, with most of the blogs increasing between 100% and 200%. At the same time, I have noticed my LPBN pages automatically refreshing when I leave the window open.
So I guess I'll lay out my views straightforwardly -- I don't see any real reason to have auto-refresh other than to boost traffic. I suppose that if I wanted to just open up the blog and let the auto-refresh do my work for me, I could be assured of getting the most recent content. But if I leave the window open to a blog, it's often because I am in the midst of working my way through the past blog posts and want to come back to it -- not to have to figure out where I was. It makes viewing a video over time impossible, as well (as Caron himself notes). And if I'm on the page of a particular post, I suppose I might like the refresh to show any new comments -- but that's a pretty niche desire. What's more likely, perhaps, is that a lengthy comment will get "vaporized" by the refresh rates, as this comment thread indicates. (A great post & comment thread, BTW!)
So is the refresh innovation a real improvement in the blogging experience, or just a way to boost traffic?
Whatever the motivation for the change may have been, I think it makes Paul's rankings meaningless. Because those of us who don't inflict auto-refresh on our readers will be at an inherent disadvantage, the rankings will have no correlation to merit or even readership rates.
Update: The comments section over at the original Prawfsblawg post by Matt Bodie has gotten quite interesting, to say the least.
If you've noticed the intermittent outages since Thursday of last week and the total outage for the last several days, it's not because I took a vacation. The blog hosting service I use--Typepad--claims to have the victim of a major DDoS attack.
All I know is that getting the service up and running has taken far too long. Typepad should have had better defenses in place (it's not like this is the first DDoS in history), better options for dealing with an attack, and sufficient staffing to get the system up faster. When Basecamp went down to a similar DDoS, it was back up in about 3-4 hours.
Like most bloggers, I get a constant deluge of offers of guest posts from PR flacks. I just add them to my spam folder. But I'm not opposed to offering guest posting opportunities to my fellow corporate and securities law scholars. I'm delighted to have posted Lyman Johnson and David Millon's short essay on Williams Act preemption. If you're interested in guest posting, let me know.
An email from the WaPo:
Eugene Volokh, a law professor at UCLA, founded the blog in April 2002, and it quickly became a regular destination for Supreme Court junkies, academics, and anyone interested in law and national issues. Most of the contributors are law professors, and include some of the top legal scholars in the nation.
Their expertise covers free speech, religious freedom, guns, criminal procedure, environmental law, business law, national security law, and much more. Some of the contributors also have extensive records in government service, and in high-profile Supreme Court litigation: they include a former federal judge; one of the chief architects of the challenge to the Affordable Care Act individual mandate; a former general counsel for the NSA and former Assistant Secretary for Policy at DHS; and a member of the Presidential Commission for the Study of Bioethical Issues.
Christine Hurt on law blogging today:
Yesterday, Paul Horwitz at Prawfsblawg posted about some of the reasons he has been blogging less these days. One of his points hit home with me and echoed one of the reasons I have posted less the past year(s).
Anyone who has blogged for a long time knows it can be difficult to keep it up. Some of it has to do with the usual peaks and valleys of a person's life, including his writing life. A good deal of it has to do with the heated nature of many discussions and comment threads (including from professors), especially around legal education. I think there are good reasons for that, although it does not excuse absolutely any kind of rhetoric in my view. But heated discussions on any topic are more time-consuming to monitor, which I think one must, and can reach a point of exhaustion (both as to the discussion and as to the individual blogger involved) fairly quickly.
I'm assuming that Paul is referencing the "law school scam" meme that has overpowered almost every online discussion of law school and anything having to do with law school. ...
I have to say that now, I hardly ever post about teaching law. Though the benefit might be helping a junior law prof who is reading or getting advice from other law profs, the the downside is a torrent of comments that can be summed up in one sentence: "Law school is a scam and you are an overpaid, underworked fraud who will soon be out of a job and unfit for the legal profession." A person can only see that so many times without taking it personally.
Now, you might be thinking that I should get a little tougher. Real scholars don't shrink from valid criticism, whether it's pointed or sugar-coated. True, and I have never shrank from criticism on the merits of my work, whether long-form scholarship or short-form blog posts. Of course, blogging, strays from the traditional norms of academic presentations. The audience is larger and doesn't seem to have the same discourse community norms. But still, columnists and journalists write on-line pieces that receive comments. Am I more of a sissy than those guys? I don't know if Gail Collins reads her comments or not, but law school blogging is in a strange "sour spot" between presenting in front of colleagues at a conference and writing op-eds commented on by 300 strangers. Getting bitter comments from 10-20 readers, all of whom seemed to be named "anon" seems more personal.
Finally, Paul notes that much of our talk now about life as a law professor goes on facebook. Our grading highs and lows, our blegs for advice and materials. And the comments never begin with "Law school is a scam. . . ." Even though the folks that could comments are former students who have plenty of reason to spew vitriol. But, they can't do it anonymously.
My attitude towards comments is inspired by the defining moment of the 1980 political campaign:
So here once again is my comment policy:
This is not a public forum. I pay for it. If you want a microphone, pay for one of your own.
Accordingly, my comment policy begins with the assumption that as blog owner I have 5 key rights:
Those rights translate into the following policies:
In short, I alone decide whether a comment lives or dies. And the sort of comments to which Christine refers tend to die.
Jason Kottke declares the blog dead over at Neiman Journalism Lab, which makes him the umpteenth millionth person to do so. The actual piece is a bit more nuanced than its headline — Kottke notes that the blog is still an integral part of the online experience — but the overall tone of it is that the blog’s day in the sun is done, replaced by things fresher, less “streamy” and otherwise tuned to the Way Kids Do It Today.
A couple of things about this:
1. Kottke’s not wrong. I’ve noted before that I thought the many of the people who had blogs a few years ago were better served by things like Twitter and Facebook, which are easier for most folks to handle and actually do what they wanted their blog to do — i.e., keep them in contact with all their friends and family and let them share what they were doing (and also, pictures of their pets and children). I love my blog (hello!) but for the large majority of people, I wouldn’t recommend doing one. Even the closest new analog to the blog — Tumblr — is streamlined and connected in ways a standalone blog isn’t.
This isn’t to say that a blog can’t be useful for the people who have a need or interest in them — they absolutely can be. For the people who want to be able to write longer posts, keep a permanent self-branded outpost, and (importantly) have much more substantial control of their online persona, blogs have no real substitute. I recommend them for writers and other creative folks precisely because they’re your own space ...
Law professors strike me as precisely the sort of niche user for whom blogs are an ideal form of expression. BUT if the purpose is to have "a permanent self-branded outpost" that is "your own space," why do you want to participate in a group blog. There are individual bloggers worth following at places like Volokh, Concurring Opinions, or The Faculty Lounge, and so on, but at all of them there is also a lot of chaff. And none of them provide their authors with "a permanent self-branded outpost" that is "their own space." If I were the benevolent despot of the legal blawgosphere, I'd tell all those group bloggers to get off their duffs and start their own personal blog. It'd be much more interesting for both the author and the reader.
From the inaugural post by new blogger Eric Chaffee:
The Securities Law Prof Blog has always been one of my favorite blogs because of its comprehensive coverage of an area of the law that I love. A few weeks ago, I spoke with Barbara Black at the Ohio Securities Conference, an event at which we were both presenting. She mentioned that she had decided to step away from the Blog to concentrate on her list of numerous other projects. After contacting Paul Caron, I now find myself in the editor's chair.
Over the months to come, I look forward to building the Blog into a comprehensive resource for those interested in securities regulation. Thanks to Barbara for her work on the Blog and her willingness to be a friend and a mentor. Thanks to Paul for the opportunity to take the lead on the Blog. Stay tuned for what is to come!