Ohio on Barack : Gail Collins goes Zanesville on Hillary

Here is a nice New York Times op-ed from Ohio with a great finish by Gail Collins:

You don’t often see a candidate on a trajectory like Obama’s, and at some point it will inevitably head down again. But until it does, even the original Bill Clinton would have a hard time beating him.

If things don’t go well for Hillary over the next few weeks, some of her consultants may need retraining for a promising new career in, say, motel management, but here’s what I hope she understands. She’s done fine. And she’d probably have won the nomination walking away if Barack hadn’t picked this moment to mutate into BARACK!

You do your best, and if things don’t work out, it just wasn’t your time. Life isn’t always fair.

All of which Ohio understands very well.

Bloomberg Not Running For President But Getting Into the Fray

New York Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg has a nice op-ed at the New York Times which he aptly titles, I’m Not Running for President, but …

It looks like a philosophical endorsement of Obama to us.

Follow Xiang Yu : Rational Decisionmaking : Close a Few Doors : Improve Your Life

Here is a remarkable article of direct relevance to nearly every human life…. Curious?

Do you know the story of Xiang Yu?

John Tierney in the New York Times Science Findings : The Advantages of Closing a Few Doors tells us something about the legendary Chinese general:

The next time you’re juggling options — which friend to see, which house to buy, which career to pursue — try asking yourself this question: What would Xiang Yu do?

Xiang Yu was a Chinese general in the third century B.C. who took his troops across the Yangtze River into enemy territory and performed an experiment in decision making. He crushed his troops’ cooking pots and burned their ships.

He explained this was to focus them on moving forward — a motivational speech that was not appreciated by many of the soldiers watching their retreat option go up in flames. But General Xiang Yu would be vindicated, both on the battlefield and in the annals of social science research.“

The amazing thing is what M.I.T. experiments with students tell us about learning to close some doors and not trying to keep too many of them open….

Read the rest here.

You Can Get It If You Really Want : UK Conservatives Learn From Obama

If you have any doubt that the Obama campaign is having an enormous effect worldwide, check out this OurKingdom posting and this video of conservatives.com in the UK.

"Black" Obama as a World Phenomenon

To the same degree that Obama’s race is most certainly playing less-and-less a role in the American Presidential election as time goes by, his primary campaign successes have lit a fire around the world among the “blacks” of the world.

We have just been reading a February 27, 2008 New York Times article by K.A. Dilday, a columnist for the online magazine Open Democracy, titled Go Back to Black in which the American Dilday of London writes:

When, early on in the race for the Democratic nomination, people wondered if black Americans would vote for Mr. Obama, I never doubted. During the last two years I’ve learned to decipher his name in almost any pronunciation, because on finding out that I’m an American, all other black people I meet, whether they are Arabic-speaking Moroccans in Casablanca, French-speaking African mobile-phone-store clerks in the outer boroughs of Paris, or thickly accented Jamaican black Brits, ask me eagerly about him. Black people all over the world feel a sense of pride in his accomplishment….

Polls show that about 80 percent of blacks who have voted in the Democratic primaries have chosen him. And all of the black people in the mountains of Morocco, the poor suburbs of Paris, the little villages in Kenya and the streets of London are cheering Mr. Obama’s victories because they see him as one of their own.“

Frankly, Obama’s election alone would probably do more to restore the American dream around the world than anything that Obama may ever do in his tenure as President, should he actually be elected.

Russia and Putin : A New Russian President Will be Elected March 2, 2008

Did you know that Russian President Vladimir Putin, whose 2nd 4-year term expires May 7, 2008, will be leaving office after his two 4-year terms, as required by the Russian Constitution – and that a new President of Russia will be elected on March 2, 2008, almost certainly to be Dmitry Medvedev, Putin’s chosen successor and friend and a man who has otherwise never held an elective political office?

Did you know that Putin has been a phenomenally successful Presidentfor Russia:

Under the Putin administration the Russian economy saw increases in GDP (2000 – 10%, 2001 – 5.7%, 2002 – 4.9%, 2003 – 7.3%, 2004 – 7.1%, 2005 – 6,5%, 2006 – 6.7%, 2007- 8.1%), industrial and agricultural production, construction, real incomes, the volume of consumer credit (between 2000-2006 increased 45 times), and other economic measures. The number of people living below the poverty line decreased from 29% in 2000 to 15.8% in 2007. A number of large-scale reforms in retirement (2002), banking (2001 – 2004), tax (2000 – 2003), the monetization of benefits (2005) and others have taken place.

How well do you really know the world political situation? What is the CIS ?

At his Presidential page, Russian President Putin currently has the following quotation next to his portrait at the top of the page:

““The CIS is a clear and constant priority for Russia, not only by virtue of our common past and the need to maintain the historic ties between our peoples, but also because the development of the CIS is crucial in many ways for the future of all of our countries.”

Read about the basics of the CIS.

The Franco-German network ARTE (Association Relative à la Télévision Européenne) had a broad program about Russia and outgoing President Vladimir Vladimirovich Putin (Wikipedia) this past Tuesday, February 26, 2008, which we found to be one of the best political TV programs that we have seen in years. A part of that series can be seen in full on video:

1) as a positive documentary (40 minutes in German) – available until March 4
2) as a negative documentary (52 minutes in German) – available until March 4

The mainstream media and national presses misinform us regularly about the nature of world politics because they all view current events from THEIR OWN greatly skewed political perspectives (this CNN article is a perfect example of that).

But that is the wrong way to view the world – at least if you want to truly understand what is going on. To have a full grasp of the world political situation, you also have to be able to see current events from the perspective of the other guy.

Why is that important?

The most important lesson that we learned at Stanford Law School we learned on the very first day, when Dean Bayless Manning, welcoming the entering class in 1968, stated (and here we paraphrase): “If you learn nothing else here at Stanford Law School, please learn that in this world 99% of the people think that they are the ones wearing the white hats.

In other words, almost everyone, people and leaders, think that they are in the right in their actions and thinking and that they are doing what is best for themselves or for their country. It is a hard lesson to accept, but it is the only REALISTIC view of current events. Everyone thinks that they are good guys.

Russia and outgoing President Putin, whose denominated successor Medvedev will for certain be elected on March 2, 2008, can only be understood from this perspective.

The fact is that Putin is a beloved figure in Russia and has tremendous support among the Russian population. This is not the picture you see in the international press, however, which has their own personal axe to grind, whatever it is. Objectivity is most certainly not an important element for mainstream journalism.

But how should we actually measure the leaders of countries to get a true picture?

The most important thing is that we have to look at their job responsibilities. If you are an American, you do not judge the Presidency of George W. Bush by whether people in Russia like him or not, rather, you judge him by the impact he has made on the United States of America in the eyes of Americans. Similarly, the job of any leader in any country is to represent and defend the interests of his or her own country first, and that is what we must look at in the first instance in assessing leadership performance at the level of nations.

By that standard, Putin has been a superb President of Russia.

By that same standard, George W. Bush has been a controversial President of the United States, and has in fact been less successful both politically and economically than Putin has been in his country.

As someone whose parents originate from the Baltic country of Latvia, and who wound up in the United States to escape Russian Communist domination, please note that this author has no particular reason to applaud the Russians, whose mentality is not a Baltic mentality. However, precisely because of our own personal history, this author has learned to look at things objectively, because wishful thinking can find you on the wrong side of iron curtains.

We often make the mistake in the Western world of imposing our political system and our ideas about democracy on other nations, and we do so particularly when we assess political leadership in those countries. This of course is foolish.

It is impossible to establish the American system of democracy in countries which do not have the same basis for government that exists in the United States. It is a government based on English tradition and common law, as based on Germanic tribal law and also Celtic tradition, all of which reach far back into antiquity.

The American system of democracy has been in the making for over 200 years, and even we, the great democrats ourselves, abandoned slavery only ca. 150 years ago, gave women the right to vote in Presidential elections only about 90 years ago, and ourselves officially ended racial segregation only about 50 years ago. These democratic changes occurred only when the political times were ready for them, and not before.

In creating its documentary about Russia, the ARTE programs referred to above show an interview with a Russian artist who says that the problem with the West is that it thinks that the people in the East are all idiots, which he says is of course not true. In addition, he notes that the people in Russia, for example, do not really want the same type of democracy that exists in America because it is a system not suited to the Russian mentality nor to Russian tradition.

He is of course right on both counts. We can not assess countries like Russia only from our perspective. Rather, the most telling way to judge countries such as Russia is from the realistic standpoint of where are they now, how far have they come, and where are they going? Not from OUR point of view, but from THEIR point of view. We need not agree – but we need to see.

By any stretch of the imagination, Russia has made gigantic political and economic strides forward in the last 20 years since the dawn of Perestroika under Mikhail Gorbachev. But this does not mean that Russia will wind up with the same system as the United States, much in the same manner that the European Union has its own unique system of government. The Russian solution will be different, and we have to be prepared to accept and deal with that differing and unique resulting political and economic system.

President Putin has acted and will continue to act in the Russian interest. That is his job. Also his successor will do the same, as that will be his job as well. The job for the rest of the nations in this world is simply to accept that and to promote their own interests, whatever they may be, and to be conscious of the fact that the guy on the other side of the table is doing exactly the same thing. Then we will have a real Realpolitik.

EU Translation Scope Defended by Language Director : But There is a Trend Toward English as the Lingua Franca

The great amount of language translation that is required in the European Union because of the many languages of the Member States is a cause of concern to some, but no one has come up with a better solution, and there is little likelihood that anything will change soon.

We ourselves have done translation work for the European Commission and have seen first-hand through that work that translation of important EU documents into the languages of the Member States is essential for Europe.

Teresa Küchler in an EU Observer article from 25 February 2008 quotes Juhani Lonnroth, Director General of the European Commission translation department as follows:

Nobody would wish or dare to touch upon this sacred principle…. Language and power are very closely related. Throughout history, totalitarian regimes have not been keen on teaching their populations other languages than that of the ruling layers, for instance.

Nevertheless, there is trend toward English as the lingua franca of the European Union. Küchler informs us that 88% of European Union websites are in English and 72% of EU institutional texts are now in English, as compared to the figure of 58% of these texts in French in 1986. Obviously, the newer EU Member States do not write in French, but use English, and that will account for the change.

Küchler writes:

In the European Commission, French, German and English are procedural languages, meaning all internal documents as well as EU legislation must be issued in them, while the 20 other EU languages have “official” status, meaning EU legislation appears in these languages.

The European Court of Justice in Luxembourg is, however, entirely run in French, for reasons the head of EU translations claimed he was not aware of.

We have been to the European Court of Justice and it is in fact hard to find anyone among the lower staff at the EU institutions in Luxembourg, including the receptionists, who speak any English at all. Perhaps this is because the average employee in Luxembourg speaks no English, but French, and in some cases German. We generally made headway only by speaking German, which is similar to Letzeburgish. Anyone visiting Luxembourg will quickly understand why translators are essential and why concentration on one language can lead to great difficulty in communication, which is essential at all levels of government.

Ecology Counts : Biodiversity Declining at an Alarming Rate : The Earth’s 6th Great Mass Extinction is Under Way

Biodiversity and Ecology remain important Earth topics.

If we are to believe The Daily Galaxy report concerning the observations found at the E.O. Wilson Biodiversity Organization, biodiversity on our planet is being rapidly reduced by man-made extinction, and if we don’t find a solultion soon, it may be time for all of us to start packing our bags as The Earth’s 6th Great Mass Extinction is Now Under Way:

Biocide is occurring at an alarming rate. Experts say that at least half of the world’s current species will be completely gone by the end of the century. Wild plant-life is also disappearing. Most biologists say that we are in the midst of an anthropogenic mass extinction. Numerous scientific studies confirm that this phenomenon is real and happening right now. Should anyone really care? Will it impact individuals on a personal level? Scientists say, “Yes!”

The solution is in our own ecological hands:

With the human population expected to reach 9-10 billion by the end of the century and the planet in the middle of its sixth mass extinction — this time due to human activity — the next few years are critical in conserving Earth’s precious biodiversity. The cause of the Sixth Extinction, Homo sapiens, means we can continue on the path to our own extinction, or, preferably, we modify our behavior toward the global ecosystem of which we are still very much a part.

Read the whole thing here.

Hat tip to CaryGEE.

Online PC Surveillance by the Government is Restricted by the Federal Constitutional Court in Germany in a Landmark Precedential Case

Fresh off the presses and with still little commentary elsewhere online…..

In a decision hailed by some as the most important court ruling in Germany in the last 20 years, and with clear ramifications in international law in terms of the creation of a “new right”, the German Constitutional Court (Bundesverfassungsgericht in Karlsruhe, Germany) ruled today, Wednesday, 27 February 2008, that widescale surveillance of personal computers for anti-terror purposes violated the constitutional right to privacy and was prohibited by law, except in exceptional circumstances.

See
The court’s press release concerning the decision (in German).
The court’s decision (in German).
RSS feeds and an email service from the court are available.

The court held that extensive uncontrolled online PC surveillance was impermissible, but did permit computer surveillance by the government under certain exceptional circumstances where clear evidence of a concrete threat to a prominent object of legal protection exists. Such surveillance, however, can only be carried out via a court order, and no personal data can be collected or evaluated.

As written at heise online:

Germany’s Federal Constitutional Court has rejected provisions adopted by the State of North Rhine-Westphalia that allowed investigators to covertly search PCs online. In its ruling, the court creates a new right to confidentiality and integrity of personal data stored on IT systems; the ruling expands the current protection provided by the country’s constitutional rights for telecommunications privacy and the personal right to control private information under the German constitution.

As written at Deutsche Welle:

Intelligence agencies will only be allowed to collect data secretly from suspects’ computer hard drives if there is evidence that “legally protected interests,” like human lives or state property, are in danger, the Constitutional Court in Karlsruhe announced.

Law enforcement authorities must get permission from a judge before they secretly upload spyware to a suspect’s computer via e-mail, the court said. Furthermore, personal data may not be collected or evaluated in an investigation.

The Age (Australia) writes:

The Karlsruhe-based Federal Constitutional Court said in a precedent-setting ruling that data stored or exchanged on a personal computer is effectively covered under principles of the constitution that enshrine the right to personal privacy.

“Collecting such data directly encroaches on a citizen’s rights, given that fear of being observed … can prevent unselfconscious personal communication,” presiding judge Hans-Juergen Papier said in his ruling.”

Xinhua (China) writes:

Germany’s highest court ruled Wednesday that government surveillance of personal computers in the name of pursuing terrorists would violate the constitutional right to privacy.

Business Week writes:

Interior Minister Wolfgang Schaeuble welcomed the ruling, saying his ministry would refer to the clause allowing surveillance in specific cases in preparing new legislation to guide Germany’s national intelligence services.

In other words, blanket surveillance is not permitted but specific surveillance IS permitted.
This is the right decision and well done by the Federal Constitutional Court of Germany in setting an important legal precedent regarding online PC surveillance.

New York Philharmonic Orchestra with Conductor Lorin Maazel on a Historic Visit to Pyongyang Korea (DPR)

It is a shame that my deceased friend, Professor Kim Youn-Soo, a great Korean patriot during an academic lifetime devoted to the reunification of Korea, is not alive to witness this event, as the New York Philharmonic orchestra with Conductor Lorin Maazel is today in Pyongyang, Democratic People’s Republic of Korea (DPRK).

As reported by Daniel J. Wakin and Graham Bowley at the New York Times, the orchestra plays:

[I]n the East Pyongyang Grand Theater, where music of Gershwin, Dvorak and Wagner, not to mention the American and North Korean national anthems, is to be broadcast live on state radio and television….

In a special gesture, the orchestra planned to play a folk song deeply resonant to all Koreans, “Arirang,” as an encore.

The trip has been stirring for the eight orchestra members of Korean origin….

The vice minister of culture, Song Sok-hwan, gave a speech calling the visit a “big stride in cultural exchange.”

A resident Western diplomat, who spoke on condition of anonymity because of the delicate position of envoys here, reported the words of one foreign ministry official: “Yes, this is something big.”
” [emphasis added]

The visit of the New York Philharmonic reflects a slowly developing policy in the DPRK under Kim Jong-Il, who ” has cracked open [the] door to outside businessmen, sports teams and diplomats….
and now, music….

Events of this nature are gratifying to this observer, who – as a founding and board of directors member of Professor Kim Youn-Soo’s German Korea-Studies Group in Kiel, Germany, in the late 1970’s, witnessed a period in which that group was virtually the only academic group anywhere openly propounding and actively working for the re-establishment of Korean relations, with a view toward peaceful reunification of the Korean peninsula.

Indeed, for a number of years we annually held a conference in Malente-Gremsmühlen on the subject of the reunification of Korea, inviting scholars, also from Korea, to participate in the discussions. Professor Kim Youn-Soo’s family hailed from what is now the DPRK, where his father had been an industrialist, and the many capable members of this family are now strewn around the world, including also Germany and the United States.

In those days we were very impressed by the capabilities of the Koreans we met, so that the success of modern commercial enterprises such as Samsung or Hyundai or LG are no surprise to us at all. Indeed, in 2005 Samsung surpassed Sony as the world’s Number 1 electronics brand, small wonder when one considers that 25% of the company’s employees have a Ph.D. or equivalent.

When high intelligence, realism, hard work and capital are combined, a very likely result is success. When capital begins to flow into the DPRK, as it will in the case of normalized relations, the people in the DPRK will also begin to enjoy the fruits of greater success in the modern world.

The present author might note that – at this same time in the late 1970’s – he also participated at the Berlin meetings of “Kuratorium Unteilbares Deutschland” (Committee for an Indivisible Germany). This committee stopped its work in 1992, after the ultimate successful German reunification.

We have always predicted that reunification on the Korean peninsula would take longer, but that it was inevitable. Perhaps we are now moving toward that possibility. All Koreans agree that there are two Korean States, but only one Korea.

We might also add that we came to Germany from the USA in the mid-1970’s to work not only on the problems of divided nations, but also on the problems of the Baltic States (Latvia, Lithuania and Estonia) following Professor Dietrich André Loeber’s prediction to us in 1974 that the Soviet Union (USSR) would most certainly fall apart within the following 20 years, and that Latvia would not only regain its independence, but would need a modern legal basis to begin that independence, upon which we worked, already in the 1970’s. Loeber’s prediction turned out to be true as the Soviet Union was disbanded in 1991, 17 years after my arrival on European soil.

Literature:

Kim, Youn-Soo. “The Foreign Policy of the Korean Democratic People’s Republic.” In Kie-Taek Kim and Andis Kaulins, eds. The Foreign Policies and Foreign Trade of the German Democratic Republic and the Korean Democratic People’s Republic. Kiel, West Germany: German Korea-Studies Group, 1979.

Kim, Kie-Taek and Andis Kaulins, eds. The Foreign Policies and Foreign Trade of the German Democratic Republic and the Korean Democratic People’s Republic. Kiel, West Germany: German Korea-Studies Group, 1979.

Professor Frank wrote in 1999 on the KoreaWeb

I would like to recommend on the issue of the GDR-DPRK relationship:

– Chon, Tuk Chu: Die Beziehungen zwischen der DDR und der Koreanischen Demokratischen Volksrepublik (1947-1978) (The relationship between the GDR and the DPRK), Muenchen 1982 (in German)

– Kim, Kie-Taek and Andis Kaulins (eds.): The Foreign Policies and the Foreign Trade of the German Democratic Republic and the Korean Democratic People’s Republic, Kiel 1979

(Kim Kie Taek became the 7th President of Yeungnam University)

Dietrich Andre Loeber, East-West Trade : A Sourcebook on the International Economic Relations of Socialist Countries and Their Legal Aspects, January 1977 (the present author edited that book)

Aladdin and the Magic Lamp : Patents for Human Motion? The Proprietary Pinch : Apple Filing Multitouch Patent and Trademark Applications

Patents for Human Motion !! ??

The idea of controlling an object by waving a magic wand or snapping one’s fingers has been around for ages. As a judge – we think we would call that a priori prior art from the Stone Ages and veritably enshrined since antiquity in the best tales about wizards, sorcerers and magicians. Was it not Aladdin who “rubbed” the magic lamp? A patentable act?

To us, the very idea that anyone could patent any God-given human motion for whatever purpose appears to be absurd, but our views are probably old-fashioned.

We currently live in an age of economic gouging in which the actual state of affairs in the prevailing patent system has reached a plateau, where, it seems, just about anything can be patented, regardless of its lack of novelty.

We think that this happens because the patent system in part functions primarily as a means to maintain or improve the status of vested interests in our society, who work mightily to stay on the receiving end of the benefits – and successfully so, as wealth accumulation in the hands of the few has increased greatly in the modern era, partly because of patent monopolies, thus leaving a poverty-stricken trail behind the ever-increasing numbers of globe-spanning rights being granted to the chosen few.

Especially emboldened by the faltering Bush Administration’s ill-advised current blockage of the Patent Reform Act, the mania of patent filings for just about anything that comes to mind is continuing unabated under the motto that the best “get rich quick scheme” on this Planet Earth is a monopoly – any monopoly – granted by the USPTO.

Indeed, one sometimes gets the impression that far less real time is being invested in this world to discover inventions which might actually benefit mankind and more and more “inventive time” is being spent figuring out just what can or can not be patented for gigantic windfall profits.

Not content with merely selling its own iPhone and similar products to consumers in the economic system, Apple has now filed a bunch of “mutlitouch” patents – and also a trademark registration for “multi-touch” in Asia – to try to control as much of the “finger-control” and “human motion” world as possible.

As written at WIRED by Bryan Gardiner at Can Apple Patent the Pinch? Experts Say It’s Possible:

“It seems that Apple could win patent claims where they are directed toward a touchscreen user device,” says Chad Peterman, an expert on patent and antitrust litigation and an attorney at Patterson Belknap Webb and Tyler. While a gesture like “the pinch” in and of itself is not patentable, if you connect that motion to a specific function on a popular device, it is possible to argue that other devices using the same technique are infringing, Peterman says.” [law firm link added by LawPundit]

As a result, we can probably expect in the not too distant future that raising one’s finger to make a point in a discussion or to catch the attention of a waiter, or even a proverbial “pinch” of salt at the dining table may easily be confounded in coming eras as patent infringement if the pinching is done too close to a technological device not bearing the Apple brand.

So easily is money made, if the patent system is behind you. There is no longer any need to “pinch” pennies to make a dollar. Rather, one avails of the motto:

“In a Pinch, Give this a Go, File a Patent with the USPTO.”

Of course, this has engendered a panoply of commentary, for example at:

digg

Quintin Smith comments at ITP.net:

Raj Abhyanker, a patent lawyer who used to write patent applications for Apple told the magazine: “If Apple’s patents are granted, the company could absolutely stop others from using similar technology. They’d also be in an especially good position to stop others from including certain features. Apple could stop [their use] not only on mobile devices but also desktops.”” [link added by LawPundit]

Lifescape : Modern Women’s Magazine on Its Way Up : "Eco, Fair Trade, Cruelty-Free, Organic, Beauty, Fashion, Lifestyle"

Law is ultimately connected to everything else, in this case…
Publishing, Lifestyle, Entertainment, Health, Wealth, and Wellness….

Lifescape. Here’s one for the ladies out there, or, dear gentlemen readers, for the lady in your life. I am not quite sure what age group this mag attracts, but women seem to like it. The most recent issue features Heather Mills, Lady McCartney, who is locked in a legal divorce battle with estranged husband Paul McCartney. Here is the current Lifescape cover:


Lifescape is published under the slogan “Eco, Fair Trade, Cruelty-Free, Organic, Beauty, Fashion, Lifestyle”. Lifescape is a British “trend” magazine, fully in the trend, which we had cause to view today. In its coverage of lifestyle, fashion, health and wellness, the magazine is definitely a coming force, at least, that was a suggestion by someone who regularly reads Good Housekeeping.

Lifescape describes itself as an independent “glossy magazine where all the fashion, health and beauty is natural/fair trade/organic, etc.

All the food is vegetarian or vegan. It’s not a hippy thing – it sits beside the other women’s glossies but only contains ethical stuff. We’re on sale in Sainsbury’s, Waitrose, WH Smiths and Borders as well as independent newsagents and of course online.”

We don’t read Lifescape, but there is no question that the women do. This is not an ad by the way, but just some information gathered from the events of the day here in our environs.

Obama : Build the Country Up rather than Knock Each Other Down

In our opinion, Hillary Clinton and John McCain have recently taken to the false “boomerang-likely” election strategy of attacking Barack Obama (see also Obama Campaign) as the frontrunner, rather than sticking to their arguments and platforms as to why their own election would be better for the nation.

As we just read at the article of David Espo of AP at AOL News about the head-to-head debate of Obama and Clinton in Austin, Texas, Clinton “ridiculed [Obama] as the candidate of “change you can Xerox.” That statement shows poor judgment on four fronts:

First, no one doubts that if Obama is elected, that there will be change.

Second, the metaphor is poorly taken, since change is one thing that definitely can not be “photocopied”.

Third, the use of the word Xerox as a verb has long been resisted by the company for legal reasons, of which Hillary, as a Yale Law School graduate, should be aware. The Wikipedia writes:

The word “xerox” (or “make a xeroxed copy”, etc.) is commonly used as a synonym for “photocopy” (both as a noun and a verb) in North American English; for example, “I xeroxed the document and placed it on your desk.” or “Please make a xeroxed copy of the articles and hand them out a week before the exam“. Though both are common, the company does not condone such uses of its trademark, and is particularly concerned about the ongoing use of Xerox as a verb as this places the trademark in danger of being declared a generic word by the courts. The company is engaged in an ongoing advertising and media campaign to convince the public that Xerox should not be used as a verb.[9][10]

Fourth, Presidential candidates should not be using statements that basically serve as indirect advertising for corporate institutions.

Obama’s reply showed his great leadership skills as he countered:

What we shouldn’t be doing is tearing each other down, we should be lifting the country up.

Score that one for Obama. This interchange in a nutshell continues to demonstrate in our view that Obama is the better Democratic Presidential candidate (even though we also think that Clinton is capable). Obama’s response indicates that he is sincerely interested in the betterment of the country, and is not getting carried away by the personal wish to be elected.

McCain, who we think would also make a good President, would certainly be well advised in his campaign not to get involved in too much mudslinging, since he also has good objective arguments on his side. In other words, there are plenty of legitimate problems that need to be addressed on the way to the White House without any need to make the campaign a “knock down” festival, which in our opinion Obama would surely win anyway.

The question of charismatic leadership has been decided and Obama wins, hands down.

However, there are legitimate issues (the economy, the war in Iraq, etc.) about which voters can differ in their opinions. Change, yes, but what kind of change? That in our view is the central political issue beyond the personalities.

Given the state of the economy, the crisis in the banking and housing industries, and the widespread desire of many Americans to let Iraq now run its own affairs, we continue to think that these vote-deciding parameters favor Obama’s election – but, all punditry aside – in the end, the people decide.

Dress Right? Precedent Blog & Precedent Magazine (new rules of law and style) : Feature Blawg of the Week at ABA Journal

Now, THAT’s Precedent (it may be Canada, but it applies everywhere):


Mark Twain wrote: “Clothes make the man. Naked people have little or no influence on society.” At least half of that statement is true.

When we think of law and blawging, we think of lawyers, courts, laws, cases and documents, and probably not enough about the image “indicentals” that can make or break a case, a lawyer or even a career. Although someone like Marilyn Monroe could vitalize her rise up the ladder as Hugh Heffner’s first naked Playboy Magazine foldout in the first issue of that magazine and thus clearly contradict Mark Twain’s observation above, the great American writer’s perspicacious observation clearly applies to careers in the law, where dapper dress in the style of the times functions as an accessory to success.


Image linked from Wikipedia
Of course, each epoch has its own fashion, but it does have it.

In this spirit it is interesting to see that Precedent Blawg : The new rules of law and style is the current Feature Blawg of the Week at ABA Journal. Precedent Blog was launched under the idea that “Law is Cool” but that many blawgs tend to be old, earnest and boring. Melissa Kluger, editor-publisher was quoted at the Precedent Magazine launch in 2007:

I’ve been a lawyer in Toronto now for four years. Over this time, a lot of law magazines, newspapers and newsletters have crossed my desk. Even though these are publications for lawyers, I never feel like they are really talking to me. They always feel a little old, a little earnest and, well, a little boring.

There is no denying that Precedent Blog and Precedent Magazine have a fresher and more modern approach than your standard blawg, covering important topics of style and all things related.

For example, what does the young law generation wear, and what should it wear?

A good Precedent posting to start at is Graham F. Scott’s Kids these days don’t know how to dress, say geezers. What’s a geezer?

Follow that up with Precedent Blog postings by Fashionista for men and women.

For men, Style & Error : No bowties informs us that suspenders are out, bowties are out (except for “seniors”), sportcoats are out, vests are out, button-down shirts under sweaters are out.

For women at court, see Style & Error: Gussy Up Your Robes.

And now, what about Edible Hours, eating at the firm?
or the right Port?
after hours of course.

US Presidential Election Primaries Followed Worldwide : Millions Affected : Obama Preferred in Continental Europe : Clinton Holds the Edge in Britain

The US Presidential election is decided by the votes of Americans only, but there is an international component in the election climate which may (or may not) influence voting in some quarters.

At the EU Observer, Lucia Kubosova in her February 18, 2008 article French and Germans like Obama, but Britons prefer Clinton writes:

Most citizens from Germany, France, Italy and Spain would prefer Democrat Barrack Obama to become the next US president, but Britons would vote for Hillary Clinton, according to a poll of some 5000 individuals from the biggest EU states.

The survey was conducted by Harris agency between January 30 and February 8, for the Financial Times.“

Soeren Kern, Senior Fellow for Transatlantic Relations at the Madrid-based Grupo de Estudios Estratégicos (GEES, Strategic Studies Group), gives us a detailed news insight into European views on the Presidential candidates in his What European Are Saying About American Democracy, downloadable as a .pdf.

His first paragraph suggests that it is worth our while to read the whole article:

The outcome of the US presidential election will affect the lives of millions of people around the world. So it’s probably not surprising that many Europeans are resentful that only Americans will have a say in it. European media is saturated with election coverage that is heavily biased in favor of the Democrats. And, as in past elections, European elites are demanding the right to help choose the next occupant of the White House. What follows is a brief survey of what some Europeans are saying about the American way of democracy.

The article is reprinted in Europeans on the US elections at Spero News.

There is no question that part of the increased foreign interest in the American election is the growing globalization of the world economy, and it is the economic component (economic voting) which always surfaces to be the No. 1 decision-maker when voters actually mark their ballots.

In other words, the average American is going to vote for the candidate who that voter, consciously or subconsciously, short-term or long-term, thinks is good for HIM or HER or their family, or their country, especially in terms of their own economic future and security. It is for that reason that foreign citizens and nations have very little influence on the outcome of American elections, even though they may be greatly influenced by those elections. What is good for America may not be generally good for the world, and the opposite is equally true. One hopes of course for a situation where everybody wins and where the President elected is good for America and good for the World as well, but that is not a determining issue in the election itself.