"Where there is no vision, the people perish: but he that keepeth the law, happy is he."
-- Proverbs 29:18, King James Bible (KJV)

Monday, December 22, 2014

Danielle Allen to Replace Lawrence Lessig as Director of the Safra Center for Ethics at Harvard

Danielle Allen will be the next Director of the Edmond J. Safra Center for Ethics at Harvard, replacing Lawrence Lessig, Roy L. Furman Professor of Law and Leadership, Harvard Law School and current Director of the Center.

Tuesday, December 16, 2014

BigLaw Event: Paul, Weiss Media and Entertainment Law Head James H. Schwab To Join Vice Media

Is Vice Media the coming news platform?

In a rare but surely not totally unprecedented move for a top lawyer

-- but even noted at Above the Law --

James H. Schwab, see also here,

chairman of the Paul, Weiss law firm media and entertainment group,

is to leave the law firm to join Vice Media as Co-President.

We read about Vice Media at Wikipedia:
"In June 2014, it was reported that Time Warner was negotiating to acquire a minority stake in Vice Media; among the company's plans were to give Vice control over the programming of HLN—a spin-off network of CNN which had recently struggled in its attempts to re-focus itself as a younger-skewing, social media-oriented news service. However, the deal fell through as the companies were unable to agree on a proper valuation,[6] and VICE chose to partner with A&E Networks — a joint venture of Hearst Corporation and The Walt Disney Company, for a 10% minority stake in Vice Media for $250 million, keeping VICE independent."
DealBook at the New York Times has the story at Vice Poaches a Lawyer from Paul, Weiss as Co-President.

Law is a Seamless Web (Published in 4 Volumes) Tweeted at Twitter

Money and Investment Questions: Berkshire Beyond Buffett at the Stanford Rock Center

Corporate Governance and Stanford Directors' College 2015 for Corporate Heavyweights (Directors & Senior Executives of Publicly Traded Firms)

The ultimate corporate governance conference for corporate heavyweights....

The 21st Annual Stanford Directors' College for directors and senior executives of publicly traded firms will take place June 21-23, 2015 at Stanford Law School, in Stanford, California.

See for background The Directors College and The Arthur and Toni Rembe Rock Center for Corporate Governance, also at Twitter's StanfordRock.


Sunday, December 14, 2014

New Stanford Lawyer Features "IP Law and Innovation with Mark A. Lemley and A. Douglas Melamed"

For those readers out there interested in intellectual property law,
the new Fall print Issue (#91) of the Stanford Lawyer
features
"IP Law and Innovation - with Mark A. Lemley and A. Douglas Melamed"
(it is online at that link).

Definitely worth an IP scrute.

Friday, December 12, 2014

Wearable Technology and Wearables are Strong in Coming

Wearable technology and wearables are strong in coming.

We have created the Wearable Technology Wizard blog,
mirrored at WeTechWi.

Take a look.


Clear Recent Searches and Individual Search Items from Keyword Drop-Down Box in Mozilla Firefox

A significant irritant in Mozilla Firefox is the "keyword history box" which persists on dropping down previously entered words identical or similar to the one the user is entering, thus detracting the USER from what the USER IS DOING.

There may be people for whom this feature is useful, fine, but those of us who find it a greatly distracting nuisance should not be forced to put up with it!

Why the people at Mozilla Firefox seem to prefer tyrannical force rather than providing democratic and simple toggles to turn features on or off is a mystery to this writer, and that applies to the entire software programming industry.

The whole original idea of the Mozilla Firefox browser was to let the USER do what he wants! Search options and full customizability are essential!

Our solution: We disabled the "remember history" function, but keywords kept appearing.  We then held down the up and down arrow buttons while the cursor is focused on the search bar, then pressed and held down the delete button and that gets rid of the individual stored search keywords and phrases quickly.

See online Clear recent searches from the Search bar and especially at the bottom there, the how-to material on "Clearing individual search items".

The serious user wants full and easy "toggled" personal customizability.
Why not create a separate "Beginners" Mozilla Firefox for the rest of the world?

Thursday, December 11, 2014

How to Disable the Invasive Search Bar in Mozilla Firefox 34

The people at Mozilla Firefox continue not to get the basic fact that many users do not want invasive browser popups or messages of any kind disturbing their work.

The newly introduced search box confusion is just another example of veritable incompetents at work who ignore user wishes.

THE USER's WORK should be in the foreground,

not what some adolescent programmer wants!!!!!

AskVG.com explains how to get rid of the abomination quickly.

Use Method 2 there by changing your about:config settings via the address bar.

Change

browser.search.showOneOffButtons user set boolean true

to

browser.search.showOneOffButtons user set boolean false

and you remove the nonsense thought up by someone with time on their hands.

The search bar now works as before.

Tuesday, December 02, 2014

Effective January 1, 2015 New VAT Rules in the European Union for Electronic Services, also eBooks, etc.

European Union Value Added Tax (VAT) Rules (and corresponding record keeping) for telecommunications, radio and TV broadcasting and electronic services supplied in the EU Member States change starting January 1, 2015.

Under the new rules, the location of the customer is determinative for the VAT applied.

For example, we today received an email notice from Amazon's Kindle Direct Publishing (KDP) about the new rules, which informed us, inter alia:
"On January 1, 2015, European Union (EU) tax laws regarding the taxation of digital products (including eBooks) will change: previously, Value Added Tax (VAT) was applied based on the seller’s country – as of January 1st, VAT will be applied based on the buyer’s country. As a result, starting on January 1st, KDP authors must set list prices to be inclusive of VAT.  We will also make a one-time adjustment for existing books published through KDP to move from VAT-exclusive list prices to list prices which include VAT. We'll put these changes into effect starting January 1st; you may always change your prices at any time, but you do not need to take any action unless you wish to do so."
Accordingly, one can see that the new rules have very broad implications.

See the European Commission website page on VAT on electronic services.

For practical aspects of implementing the new rules in daily business,
see Tax Briefing at Revenue.ie
and
Taxamo.


Thursday, November 27, 2014

The Future of Europe at a Crossroads? Helmut Kohl Raises Some Tough Issues

Helmut Kohl, former German Chancellor at the time of the German reunification, has written a striking piece at Europe is at a crossroads: will we push forward a united Europe of peace and freedom?

The Great Land Grab in the West Needs to be Stopped - U.S. Senator Martin Heinrich Has it Right at the NY Times

U.S. Senator Martin Heinrich has it right at the New York Times in The Land Grab Out West.

We have written previously at Home Ownership, Elites, Wealth, Congressionally Plundered Federal Lands and a Polarized Society of Haves and Have Nots about how vested interests over the centuries have pilfered national American land from its citizens for ultimately private gain.

If all of this land still belonged to the people, as it should and as it originally did, there would be much less national debt and much less taxation of the people. Now the people who have acquired that land want to keep all the loot and pay no taxes. That is not going to work.

Ideally, the federal government represents everyone in the country.

By contrast and by definition, individual U.S. States are minority-run collections of vested local and regional interests and it is hard to make a case that they have done anything useful in American history that could not have been done better federally.

The Interstate Highway System is one example. Just imagine all U.S. roads being solely in greedy and selfish individual State hands. That used to be the case in Europe, for example, and still is to some degree, though Germany led to and served as the model for the greater "Autobahn" idea to get rid of the old toll road practices, where you had to pay tolls and other private subsidies to use the roads, thus greatly diminishing freedom of movement. Things have greatly improved in Europe since the beginning of the European Union, which is the antithesis of the former selfish war-torn Europe of individual greedy States.

Friday, November 21, 2014

Irishman and New EU Ambassador to the USA David O’Sullivan Presents European Union Credentials to U.S. President Barack Obama and Tweets it at Twitter

In a diplomatic position enabled by the Treaty of Lisbon,
the
New European Union Ambassador David O’Sullivan
this week
presented his EU credentials
to U.S. President Barack Obama.

As written at the website of the
Delegation of the European Union to the United States:
"Ambassador David O’Sullivan presented his credentials to President Barack Obama at a White House ceremony today [November 18], formally assuming the role of European Union Ambassador to the United States.... Ambassador O’Sullivan is only the second diplomat to hold the position of EU Ambassador to the United States, established when the Treaty of Lisbon came into force on December 1, 2009." 
The Irish Times elaborated as follows in
Irishman formally becomes EU ambassador to United States:
"[O'Sullivan] succeeded Portuguese diplomat Joao Vale de Almeida in the role and follows in the footsteps of former taoiseach John Bruton who was the EU’s representative to the US from 2004 to 2009.... Mr O’Sullivan announced he had officially taken up his job in Washington with his first message on social media website Twitter.“Happy to send out my 1st tweet as EU Ambassador to the US after having presented my credentials to @BarackObama @WhiteHouse today,” he wrote in the message."
For Twitter, see:
@EUAmbUS - European Union Ambassador to the United States
@EPWashingtonDC - European Parliament Liaison Office in Washington DC

New Meta-Research Innovation Center at Stanford University to Study the Problem of Deficient Science Research and Optimize Practices

John P. A. Ioannidis at the Scientific American in Science Research Needs an Overhaul writes that he has co-founded a new center at Stanford University -- the Meta-Research Innovation Center at Stanford (METRICS) -- to deal with the costly problem that most mainstream research is wasted, for example, 85% of medical research, according to The Lancet. He writes that the METRICS center:
"[W]ill seek to study research practices and how these can be optimized. It will examine the best means of designing research protocols and agendas to ensure that the results are not dead ends but rather that they pave a path forward. The center will do so by exploring what are the best ways to make scientific investigation more reliable and efficient."
We applaud this development.

We have been confronted for years by gullible, uninformed, and opinionated people in and out of science proclaiming the near infallibility of mainstream ideas and research methods.

Having taught research ourselves at the university level, we know from experience, of course, that exactly the opposite is true.

Most of what is researched in science and published as a result is a costly waste of time and often leads science in the wrong direction.

One main reason for these follies of "scientific research", as we have written time and time again, is that science in the past has been predominantly "authority-based", whereas "evidence-based" research must be given priority.

Outdated memes must be abandoned.

That is our quest.

Tuesday, November 18, 2014

Common Sense and Innovation Prevail in Ultramercial III: Is Federal Circuit Finally "Getting" the Supreme Court Patent Decision Reasoning in Alice etc.?

As written by James M. Singer, Fox Rothschild LLP, at Mondaq.com,

Federal Circuit Reverses Course In Ultramercial v. Hulu;
Finds Method Of Delivering Advertisements To Be An Abstract Idea
.

At Patently-O, Dennis Crouch posts on the Federal Circuit decision in

"Ultramercial III" at

Novelty in Implementation of an Abstract Idea Insufficient to Overcome Alice.

Daniel Nazer correctly cheers at the Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF) in

Victory! Court Finally Throws Out Ultramercial’s Infamous Patent on Advertising on the Internet that:

"This is a big victory for common sense and innovation."

Absolutely.

Due to the recent U.S. Supreme Court decision in Alice Corp. v. CLS Bank Int'l, 573 U. S. ___ (2014), the "Ultramercial III" case referred to above finds the Federal Circuit NECESSARILY reversing its path on a case in which it was twice previously and horrendously on the wrong side of understanding patent law.

Judge Lourie, who wrote the majority opinion in the latest and last Ultramercial decision,  reluctantly overturned the sinking ship of previous Federal Circuit patent decisions, a general patent-friendly reluctance he previously voiced in a previous Ultramercial concurrence:
"It is our obligation to attempt to follow the Supreme Court’s guidance in Mayo rather than to set forth our own independent views, however valid we may consider them to be...."
Judge Lourie -- a 1970 Temple Law School graduate -- will be 80 in January and it is surely high time that not only he but all other judges on the Federal Circuit acknowledge that they must follow U.S. Supreme Court precedents, a general jurisprudential and hierarchical truth presumably learned by every first-year law student in all law schools. That this kind of "sour grapes" judicial thinking about precedents still exists in higher court opinions among those who should know better is astonishing.

Judge Haldane Robert Mayer (J.D. 1971, Marshall-Wythe School of Law of The College of William and Mary) in concurring writes in his opinion what we consider to be the future of the patent law world, that:
"The Supreme Court has taken up four subject matter eligibility challenges in as many years, endeavoring to right the ship and return the nation’s patent system to its constitutional moorings.  See Alice, 134 S. Ct. at 2357 (concluding that “generic computer implementation” did not bring claims within section 101); Ass’n for Molecular Pathology v. Myriad Genetics, Inc., 133 S. Ct. 2107, 2117–18 (2013) (“Myriad”) (concluding that claims covering naturally-occurring DNA segments were patent ineligible); Mayo, 132 S. Ct. at 1302 (concluding that claims describing a natural law but “add[ing] nothing of significance” to that law fell outside section 101); Bilski, 561 U.S. at 611 (concluding that a method for hedging against economic risk was a patent ineligible abstract idea).  Rejecting efforts to treat section 101 as a “dead letter,” Mayo, 132 S. Ct. at 1303, the Court has unequivocally repudiated the overly expansive approach to patent eligibility that followed in the wake of State Street, 149 F.3d at 1373.  See Bilski, 561 U.S. at 659 (Breyer, J., concurring in the judgment) (explaining that State Street “preceded the granting of patents that ranged from the somewhat ridiculous to the truly absurd” (citations and internal quotation marks omitted))."
That is correct.

Slowly, but surely, the sinking patent ship is being righted, even if it is against the reluctance of some Federal Circuit judges to follow judicial precedents and against the myopic reluctance of many legal beagles -- just read the comments at Patently-O -- to understand the enormity and importance of swinging the patent pendelum in exactly the oppposite direction of the last 60 years.

Millennials Shaking Up Legal Profession as Digital World Confronts More Traditional Views

Claire Bushey at Crain's Chicago Business reports on
How millennials are shaking up the legal profession.

The amazing thing is not that this is happening.
The amazing thing is that it is happening so late
-- years AFTER the applicable technology has been in place.

On the other hand, when push comes to shove,
nothing beats personal contact,
regardless of the digital tech available.

Wednesday, November 12, 2014

Users Expect Legislation Rather Than Technology Tools to Protect Privacy Rights

The message to the U.S. Congress, American state legislatures and other parliaments and legislative bodies of the world is clear.

BBC News reports at Americans have 'no control' of data that most people expect legislation to be the solution to privacy rights protection, rather than improved technology tools directed to that same problem.

Our legislatures are full of people who want to "run" things, rather than doing their job, which is passing sensible and timely legislation to deal with modern problems.

Tuesday, November 11, 2014

The "Frivolous Nine" ? Is The United States Supreme Court Abetting Radical "Political" Attempts to Damage Obamacare

From our politically centrist podium, we think that institutions of government in any country, to obtain the proper consent of the governed that is necessary for any long-term success in governing the masses, must manifest a seriousness befitting the respective office.

Especially the U.S. Supreme Court can not afford to be viewed as a playground of political frivolity or as a handmaiden to politically-motivated abuses of the courts.

Jonathan Chait's piece at New York Magazine is representative of the low to which the "frivolous nine" appear to have sunk, aptly titled:

Newest, Craziest Legal Challenge to Obamacare.

Who will take this body seriously in the future if they are not "above" it all?


Friday, November 07, 2014

What Effective Tax Rate Do American Corporations Pay and How Does it Compare to the Other Major Developed Economies of the World?

Procon.Org writes that few U.S. business ever pay the full corporate income tax rate due to exemptions, preferences, deductions and other benefits.

The right measure of corporate taxes is the effective corporate tax rate, and there the United States is roughly on the same level as the average of the six other large developed economies (Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Japan and the UK), at about 30%. America has no tax-based competitive disadvantage against such countries.

Procon.Org writes in fact that the larger the corporations are, the less effective corporate taxes that they actually tend to pay, noting:
"Of the 500 large cap companies (a market capitalization value of more than $10 billion) in the Standard & Poor (S&P) stock index, 115 paid a total corporate tax rate – federal and state combined – of less than 20% from 2006-2011, and 39 of those companies paid a rate of less than 10%."
All this talk about reducing corporate taxation and thereby stimulating employment and the economy is just mostly nonsense.

The USA does of course have a problem when competing with slave-labor-like nations, and the solution there is to forbid the outsourcing of manufacture to such nations or the import of products made under slave-labor-like conditions.

Make mass foreign labor exploiters such as the Apple firm produce their wares in the USA and/or forbid the sale of their slave-labor-like produced products domestically. It is an easy legislative solution.

Reducing America to a slave-labor-like nation by increasing the already massive national inequality of income and wealth by pandering tax-legislatively to the benefit of the corporate exploiters is not the right solution by any means.

About that Yarn That Reducing Corporate Income Taxes Decreases Unemployment and Spurs the Economy

Many erroneous ideas are at the root of prevailing evidence-unsubstantiated political and economic memes in Washington D.C.

Concerning the issue of more or less corporate taxation, the hordes of uninformed people in the U.S. Congress might consider examining the following:

Also in Law, The Rich Get Rich and the Poor Get Poorer as Law Schools Continue to Churn Out Too Many Too Highly Indebted Graduates

At the New Yorker, Jeffrey Toobin has the story in Law Schools and the Legal One Per Cent.

The solution (tongue-in-cheek here of course) is to adopt the same awesome logic we now find being bantered about by those caught in the thrill of the Republican win of the majority in the U.S. Senate, whose first "cause" seems to be to reduce corporate taxes, thus allegedly opening the floodgates of employment.

Analogously, what one needs to do then is to reduce the taxes of corporate law partners around the country, and the number of new hires of law graduates will arguably increase astronomically via the increased "in pocket" partner income....

or in the case of corporations, the equally gullible view that outsourced, expatriated and off-shored companies such as Apple and Google and similar, who, we have read online, pay only about 2% corporate income tax in the USA, will thus suddenly be induced to repatriate onto American shores by the reduction in the corporate tax rate from let us say the current 35% (which few pay) to 25%. It is not going to happen.

Such is the empty, vapid intelligence that guides the many economically confused heads that are being elected to U.S. Congress, and their uninformed supporters.

See our next posting.

Friday, October 31, 2014

The '99ers Patent Gold Rush Continues Unabated After State Street According to Figures Published at Patently-O by Dennis Crouch : The Patent World Meme

At Patently-O in The Number of U.S. Patents In Force, Dennis Crouch has a graphic titled "Timeseries Showing the Number of US Utility Patents in Force, Grouped by Patent Age" which shows a clear, unabated and massive rise in the number of utility patents in force, starting in the year 1999, when the current "99ers patent gold rush" began and quickly established itself as the "patent world meme".

The chief culprit for this development is of course the incompetent Federal Circuit and its absurd decision in State Street Bank & Trust Company v. Signature Financial Group, Inc., 149 F.3d 1368 (Fed.Cir. 1998), which held, in a bizarre decision, and virtually out of the blue, that computer-based systems and methods of doing business were patentable. See White & Case LLP in A "State Street" Court Decision That Could Change The Way You Do Business. State Street was one of the worst court decisions of all time and opened a Pandora's Box which has led to the patent chaos that dominates the legal world today.

Equally responsible, however, for the burgeoning patent glut is a "do nothing" U.S. Supreme Court which denied certiorari in the State Street case, making the Federal Circuit Court decision final, and essentially establishing State Street Bank as the patent law in force, and letting virtually everything be patentable.

Recent foolishly permissive and wishy-washy Supreme Court patent decisions, which allegedly "limit" State Street significantly, such as In re Bilski,  have done nothing to stem the glut of patents as the entire business world continues to take up the State Street patent meme, a happening which reminds of the frenzied 49ers of California Gold Rush days, when hundreds of thousands of gold-seekers arrived in California to seek quick fortunes, just as is being done in the patent wars of today -- where USPTO-issued patents for obvious, non-innovative state-of-art developments in all fields of modern technology continue to offer the carrot of instant millions or even billions of dollars in windfall income for clever patent applicants and holders.

If we had enough judges with any practical sense on the Federal Circuit or the Supreme Court, and if Congress were not filled with people trying to play President rather than legislating sensibly, this would not be happening.

Until then, many fortunes will be made by clever people, whose main claim to fame is that they know how to "ride the system".


Thursday, October 30, 2014

Law is a Seamless Web - LawPundit 2003 to 2014 Now in Print in Four Volumes - Volume 4

LAW IS A SEAMLESS WEB!

This year LawPundit hit an accumulated half-a-million online hits since its inception in 2003. We are thus converting past postings into print form -- and, with some selected exceptions, are removing past online postings, making room for the new things to come.

LawPundit 2003-2014 (selected postings) in print is now available for your libraries and professional or personal use at CreateSpace.com, individually by volume as a four-volume printed series titled LAW IS A SEAMLESS WEB (each volume is 326 pages, except for the first, which is 328 pages). Go to https://www.createspace.com/5070319 or e.g. Amazon.com at http://www.amazon.com/Law-Seamless-Web-LawPundit-2012-2014/dp/1502977141.

Originally, each volume was priced identically and affordably in terms of $US dollars, but conversions to other currencies may differ because of different publishing dates and other e.g. website variables not under our control. We make no guarantees about pricing, which, of course, is always subject to change -- this is one great advantage of on-demand publishing. Caveat emptor.

LAW IS A SEAMLESS WEB is also available for Kindle and for iPhone and iTab, whereby we have converted each book page as a graphic for use by the appropriate format -- pages should be resizable as a whole on your device.

Online here at LawPundit, for purposes of presentation, we make separate postings for each volume of LAW IS A SEAMLESS WEB. All cover photos were made personally by Andis Kaulins, the LawPundit, on location, except for teaching at Trier Law School (made by a student), and the photograph at the Düsseldorf Opera (made by a guest), from which the profile photos are made.



We describe this series at Amazon.com and Amazon sister sites as follows:

"The here published materials focus on law, legal issues and jurisprudence, including intellectual property (copyrights, patents, trademarks), Constitutional Law, information technology (IT), telecommunications, new media, the Internet, social media networking, politics and current events, personal computers and their spin-offs (smartphones, pads, tablets), sports, travel, the history of civilization, the history of law, cyberspace, and lifestyle.

Law is a Seamless Web is a multi-volume publication that contains a wide selection of the "collected wisdom" of LawPundit postings, starting in the year 2003. LawPundit content has been edited substantially for purposes of print and ebook publication. Photographs by the author originally posted to the blog were removed to avoid printing problems and ebook conversion. For legal intellectual property reasons, postings that originally contained too much text material from copyrighted sources were truncated or not included at all. Short quotes from such third parties are included, however, as permissible "fair use". Longer text quotations are used sparingly and involve "public" texts, e.g. court opinions, government documents or sources freely available with attribution (e.g. Wikipedia). Ultimately selected materials concentrate on topics that presumably remain of general or specialized interest over longer periods of time, also beyond the original dates of posting.

The initial selections for the print version were checked for the currency of links, substituting current pages or removing dead links as required, but this turned out to be such a gargantuan task that we ultimately abandoned it, since such changes also changed the general content of postings. Many links simply have no permanence. That is part of the ephemeral nature of the digital landscape, even in law.

LawPundit is a legal blog, a so-called "blawg", originally hosted at lawpundit.com, that was started in the year 2003 by Andis Kaulins, J.D. Stanford University Law School 1971.

The USLaw.com list of "Best Legal Commentary Blogs" recently ranked LawPundit 6th in the Top 10 by quantity of postings, preceding Discourse.net, Jami Floyd: Best Defense, Discriminations and Balkinization, and following Althouse, TalkLeft, The Volokh Conspiracy, Res Ipsa Loquitor, and Prawfs, many of which have multiple authors, whereas LawPundit has only one author."


Law is a Seamless Web - Volume 4
Title ID: 5070319 ISBN-13: 978-1502977144 https://www.createspace.com/5070319
Publication Date:
    Oct 25 2014
ISBN/EAN13:
    1502977141 / 9781502977144
Page Count:
    326
Binding Type:
    US Trade Paper
Trim Size:
    7" x 10"
Language:
    English
Color:
    Black and White
Related Categories:
    Law / General

Law is a Seamless Web - Volume 4 - is also available for Kindle
(and also for iPhone and iPad).

Law is a Seamless Web - Volume 4 LawPundit 2012-2014
[Kindle Edition] ASIN: B00OW9SDCM


Law is a Seamless Web - LawPundit 2003 to 2014 Now in Print in Four Volumes - Volume 3

LAW IS A SEAMLESS WEB!

This year LawPundit hit an accumulated half-a-million online hits since its inception in 2003. We are thus converting past postings into print form -- and, with some selected exceptions, are removing past online postings, making room for the new things to come.

LawPundit 2003-2014 (selected postings) in print is now available for your libraries and professional or personal use at CreateSpace.com, individually by volume as a four-volume printed series titled LAW IS A SEAMLESS WEB (each volume is 326 pages, except for the first, which is 328 pages). Go to https://www.createspace.com/5024945.

Originally, each volume was priced identically and affordably in terms of $US dollars, but conversions to other currencies may differ because of different publishing dates and other e.g. website variables not under our control. We make no guarantees about pricing, which, of course, is always subject to change -- this is one great advantage of on-demand publishing. Caveat emptor.

LAW IS A SEAMLESS WEB is also available for Kindle and for iPhone and iTab, whereby we have converted each book page as a graphic for use by the appropriate format -- pages should be resizable as a whole on your device.

Online here at LawPundit, for purposes of presentation, we make separate postings for each volume of LAW IS A SEAMLESS WEB. All cover photos were made personally by Andis Kaulins, the LawPundit, on location, except for teaching at Trier Law School (made by a student), and the photograph at the Düsseldorf Opera (made by a guest), from which the profile photos are made.



We describe this series at Amazon.com and Amazon sister sites as follows:

"The here published materials focus on law, legal issues and jurisprudence, including intellectual property (copyrights, patents, trademarks), Constitutional Law, information technology (IT), telecommunications, new media, the Internet, social media networking, politics and current events, personal computers and their spin-offs (smartphones, pads, tablets), sports, travel, the history of civilization, the history of law, cyberspace, and lifestyle.

Law is a Seamless Web is a multi-volume publication that contains a wide selection of the "collected wisdom" of LawPundit postings, starting in the year 2003. LawPundit content has been edited substantially for purposes of print and ebook publication. Photographs by the author originally posted to the blog were removed to avoid printing problems and ebook conversion. For legal intellectual property reasons, postings that originally contained too much text material from copyrighted sources were truncated or not included at all. Short quotes from such third parties are included, however, as permissible "fair use". Longer text quotations are used sparingly and involve "public" texts, e.g. court opinions, government documents or sources freely available with attribution (e.g. Wikipedia). Ultimately selected materials concentrate on topics that presumably remain of general or specialized interest over longer periods of time, also beyond the original dates of posting.

The initial selections for the print version were checked for the currency of links, substituting current pages or removing dead links as required, but this turned out to be such a gargantuan task that we ultimately abandoned it, since such changes also changed the general content of postings. Many links simply have no permanence. That is part of the ephemeral nature of the digital landscape, even in law.

LawPundit is a legal blog, a so-called "blawg", originally hosted at lawpundit.com, that was started in the year 2003 by Andis Kaulins, J.D. Stanford University Law School 1971.

The USLaw.com list of "Best Legal Commentary Blogs" recently ranked LawPundit 6th in the Top 10 by quantity of postings, preceding Discourse.net, Jami Floyd: Best Defense, Discriminations and Balkinization, and following Althouse, TalkLeft, The Volokh Conspiracy, Res Ipsa Loquitor, and Prawfs, many of which have multiple authors, whereas LawPundit has only one author."


Law is a Seamless Web - Volume 3 https://www.createspace.com/5024945
Title ID: 5024945 ISBN-13: 978-1502552716
Publication Date:
    Sep 30 2014
ISBN/EAN13:
    150255271X / 9781502552716
Page Count:
    326
Binding Type:
    US Trade Paper
Trim Size:
    7" x 10"
Language:
    English
Color:
    Black and White with Bleed
Related Categories:
    Law / General


Law is a Seamless Web - Volume 3 - is also available for Kindle
(and also for iPhone and iPad).

Law is a Seamless Web - Volume 3 LawPundit 2010-2011
[Kindle Edition] ASIN: B00O242K4Y



Law is a Seamless Web - LawPundit 2003 to 2014 Now in Print in Four Volumes - Volume 2

LAW IS A SEAMLESS WEB!

This year LawPundit hit an accumulated half-a-million online hits since its inception in 2003. We are thus converting past postings into print form -- and, with some selected exceptions, are removing past online postings, making room for the new things to come.

LawPundit 2003-2014 (selected postings) in print is now available for your libraries and professional or personal use at CreateSpace.com, individually by volume as a four-volume printed series titled LAW IS A SEAMLESS WEB (each volume is 326 pages, except for the first, which is 328 pages). Go to https://www.createspace.com/4995841.

Originally, each volume was priced identically and affordably in terms of $US dollars, but conversions to other currencies may differ because of different publishing dates and other e.g. website variables not under our control. We make no guarantees about pricing, which, of course, is always subject to change -- this is one great advantage of on-demand publishing. Caveat emptor.

LAW IS A SEAMLESS WEB is also available for Kindle and for iPhone and iTab, whereby we have converted each book page as a graphic for use by the appropriate format -- pages should be resizable as a whole on your device.

Online here at LawPundit, for purposes of presentation, we make separate postings for each volume of LAW IS A SEAMLESS WEB. All cover photos were made personally by Andis Kaulins, the LawPundit, on location, except for teaching at Trier Law School (made by a student), and the photograph at the Düsseldorf Opera (made by a guest), from which the profile photos are made.



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Law is a Seamless Web is a multi-volume publication that contains a wide selection of the "collected wisdom" of LawPundit postings, starting in the year 2003. LawPundit content has been edited substantially for purposes of print and ebook publication. Photographs by the author originally posted to the blog were removed to avoid printing problems and ebook conversion. For legal intellectual property reasons, postings that originally contained too much text material from copyrighted sources were truncated or not included at all. Short quotes from such third parties are included, however, as permissible "fair use". Longer text quotations are used sparingly and involve "public" texts, e.g. court opinions, government documents or sources freely available with attribution (e.g. Wikipedia). Ultimately selected materials concentrate on topics that presumably remain of general or specialized interest over longer periods of time, also beyond the original dates of posting.

The initial selections for the print version were checked for the currency of links, substituting current pages or removing dead links as required, but this turned out to be such a gargantuan task that we ultimately abandoned it, since such changes also changed the general content of postings. Many links simply have no permanence. That is part of the ephemeral nature of the digital landscape, even in law.

LawPundit is a legal blog, a so-called "blawg", originally hosted at lawpundit.com, that was started in the year 2003 by Andis Kaulins, J.D. Stanford University Law School 1971.

The USLaw.com list of "Best Legal Commentary Blogs" recently ranked LawPundit 6th in the Top 10 by quantity of postings, preceding Discourse.net, Jami Floyd: Best Defense, Discriminations and Balkinization, and following Althouse, TalkLeft, The Volokh Conspiracy, Res Ipsa Loquitor, and Prawfs, many of which have multiple authors, whereas LawPundit has only one author."

Title ID: 4995841 ISBN-13: 978-1502349293
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Law is a Seamless Web - Volume 2 - is also available for Kindle
(and also for iPhone and iPad).

Law is a Seamless Web - Volume 2 LawPundit 2007-2009
[Kindle Edition] ASIN: B00NJ85Z7S

Law is a Seamless Web - LawPundit 2003 to 2014 Now in Print in Four Volumes - Volume 1

LAW IS A SEAMLESS WEB!

This year LawPundit hit an accumulated half-a-million online hits since its inception in 2003. We are thus converting past postings into print form -- and, with some selected exceptions, are removing past online postings, making room for the new things to come.

LawPundit 2003-2014 (selected postings) in print is now available for your libraries and professional or personal use at CreateSpace.com, individually by volume as a four-volume printed series titled LAW IS A SEAMLESS WEB (each volume is 326 pages, except for the first, which is 328 pages). Go to https://www.createspace.com/4974386.

Originally, each volume was priced identically and affordably in terms of $US dollars, but conversions to other currencies may differ because of different publishing dates and other e.g. website variables not under our control. We make no guarantees about pricing, which, of course, is always subject to change -- this is one great advantage of on-demand publishing. Caveat emptor.

LAW IS A SEAMLESS WEB is also available for Kindle and for iPhone and iTab, whereby we have converted each book page as a graphic for use by the appropriate format -- pages should be resizable as a whole on your device.

Online here at LawPundit, for purposes of presentation, we make separate postings for each volume of LAW IS A SEAMLESS WEB. All cover photos were made personally by Andis Kaulins, the LawPundit, on location, except for teaching at Trier Law School (made by a student), and the photograph at the Düsseldorf Opera (made by a guest), from which the profile photos are made.



We describe this series at Amazon.com and Amazon sister sites as follows:

"The here published materials focus on law, legal issues and jurisprudence, including intellectual property (copyrights, patents, trademarks), Constitutional Law, information technology (IT), telecommunications, new media, the Internet, social media networking, politics and current events, personal computers and their spin-offs (smartphones, pads, tablets), sports, travel, the history of civilization, the history of law, cyberspace, and lifestyle.

Law is a Seamless Web is a multi-volume publication that contains a wide selection of the "collected wisdom" of LawPundit postings, starting in the year 2003. LawPundit content has been edited substantially for purposes of print and ebook publication. Photographs by the author originally posted to the blog were removed to avoid printing problems and ebook conversion. For legal intellectual property reasons, postings that originally contained too much text material from copyrighted sources were truncated or not included at all. Short quotes from such third parties are included, however, as permissible "fair use". Longer text quotations are used sparingly and involve "public" texts, e.g. court opinions, government documents or sources freely available with attribution (e.g. Wikipedia). Ultimately selected materials concentrate on topics that presumably remain of general or specialized interest over longer periods of time, also beyond the original dates of posting.

The initial selections for the print version were checked for the currency of links, substituting current pages or removing dead links as required, but this turned out to be such a gargantuan task that we ultimately abandoned it, since such changes also changed the general content of postings. Many links simply have no permanence. That is part of the ephemeral nature of the digital landscape, even in law.

LawPundit is a legal blog, a so-called "blawg", originally hosted at lawpundit.com, that was started in the year 2003 by Andis Kaulins, J.D. Stanford University Law School 1971.

The USLaw.com list of "Best Legal Commentary Blogs" recently ranked LawPundit 6th in the Top 10 by quantity of postings, preceding Discourse.net, Jami Floyd: Best Defense, Discriminations and Balkinization, and following Althouse, TalkLeft, The Volokh Conspiracy, Res Ipsa Loquitor, and Prawfs, many of which have multiple authors, whereas LawPundit has only one author."

Title ID: 4974386 ISBN-13: 978-1500997113
Publication Date:
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    328
Binding Type:
    US Trade Paper
Trim Size:
    7" x 10"
Language:
    English
Color:
    Black and White with Bleed
Related Categories:
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Law is a Seamless Web - Volume 1 - is also available for Kindle
(and also for iPhone and iPad).

Law is a Seamless Web - Volume 1 LawPundit 2003-2006
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Sunday, January 26, 2014

CINEMA: America's First Surrealist Film - Object Lesson - Early Avant-Garde Movie by Chris Young - Son of Charles Morris Young, Renowned American Landscape Painter - Subject Lesson

OBJECT LESSON (1941) was described by its director, Chris (Christopher) Young, as "America's first surrealist film". (Lovers of Cinema)

Chris Young worked with Lowell Thomas and was married to Mary Elizabeth Bird Young, who represented the United States in alpine skiing at the 1936 Winter Olympics in Garmisch-Partenkirchen, Germany. Christopher Baugham Young, born 1908, Jenkintown, Pennsylvania, died 1 December 1975, Hartford, Connecticut. Films: Object Lesson (1941), Subject Lesson (1953-1955, 1955 or 1956 depending on source), Nature is My Mistress (after 1955), Search for Paradise (after 1955).

The late Robert (Bob) Schubel Sr. was the "Sound Engineer" for Object Lesson's movie sequel, SUBJECT LESSON (1956), an independent avant-garde short flim again directed by Chris Young. Original copies of the sound tapes to the Subject Lesson film still exist and there must be film copies somewhere out there in cinema-land. Please let us know if you know if and/or where one or both films can be obtained. Thank you.

OBJECT LESSON (1941) as a film is currently available in part online, and that video is embedded below, but make sure you also read the text following, especially if this entire subject is of interest to you.

A YouTube Video of OBJECT LESSON

OBJECT LESSON (1941), directed by Chris (Christopher) Young, is currently found in part online (1:45 minutes of a ca. 12-minute film) at YouTube. Share the video using this link.


The "Opening Screen" unfolds entering this text line by line:

LET US CONSIDER OBJECTS
FOR THEY TELL THE STORY OF LIFE
THERE IS NO THING WITHOUT MEANING
__ AND THE COMBINATION OF THINGS
MAKE NEW MEANINGS THAT ARE
TOO COMPLICATED TO EXPLAIN_

It is accompanied by some -- for that era and given our own special interests -- spectacular photography of anthropomorphic figures in stone, thus proving an early recognition of such figures by Young, which of course is of particular interest to us because of our work on megalithic cultures.

It is known that Chris Young was at one time in a skiing party that was rescued and dug out of an avalanche in Switzerland, so that these anthropomorphic figures could be located somewhere in Europe, perhaps in Switzerland, rather than in the United States.

Here is our version of the transcript of OBJECT LESSON for that 1:45 intro, as corrected by us from the otherwise erroneous English "transcript" shown online at YouTube, but we must point out that we are VERY thankful neverthelss to the YouTube poster for putting this video online. Thank you! Here is the transcript of the narrator's text in the film in its introductory minutes:
"In the beginning, before life had appeared on the Earth
there were life-like forms,
places and figures in the very rocks and stones.
But out of the stones will come life,
out of life, man,
and out of man,
new things that he will make
from the stones and the stuff from the Earth --
things that may be beautiful,
or useful,
or dangerous.
The story of them can not be told with words
but only by the things themselves.
It begins with the first Spring."
The rest of the movie is not shown in this YouTube video, except for some shots of a human-sculpted Venus in the landscape -- we presume -- intended to show the transition from anthropomorphic figures not created by mankind to those so created.

Indeed, we might venture to guess that anthropomorphic natural "faces seen in stone" may at some stage in history have served as models for human sculpting of similar figures by hand in stone for a variety of purposes. Young's father as a landscape painter had apparently instilled in his son the same talent that he had for spotting essentials in the landscape, also in stone.

Chris Young was the son of Charles Morris Young, a famed landscape artist. See the Charles Morris Young artist profile, in more detail at Brush with Greatness, and examine the auction prices obtained recently for his paintings.

Chris Young as a man was not only an early, creative filmmaker, but also traveled in Europe and was "an avid skier, explorer and mountain climber". He passed away with an estate worth more than $1 million in 1975 and left legal questions about the whereabouts of several of his father's paintings.

The Young films mentioned here (there are others) received cinema awards in their era. "Object Lesson" won the award for best avant-garde film at the Venice Film Festival in 1950, while its sequel, "Subject Lesson," won the top Creative Film Award in 1957, a series of prizes sponsored jointly by the Creative Film Foundation and Cinema 16.

Both films are in fact listed in the Final Cinema 16 Distribution Catalog Film Listings, 1963, Columbia University, where Amos Vogel, Cinema 16, wrote as follows (excerpts):
"Since the publication of our first listing of experimental films in 1950, the independent and avant-garde cinema in America has come into its own. In 1950, we were the first to pioneer in both the exhibition and distribution of such films at a time when their very purpose, integrity and seriousness were openly questioned by many; step-child of the industry, they were at times considered scandalous, fraudulent, or irrelevant. Their distribution was limited to hardy individuals and stubborn public institutions unwilling to join in the prevailing lack of celebration. Today these films are used by hundreds of universities, public libraries, churches, civic groups, film societies, art institutes and individuals across the nation. They have become curriculum-integrated in cinema, art, or English literature departments. They are exhibited at church conventions; at special festivals, on television and in theatres; discussed in magazines; used by art galleries, advertising agencies and coffee houses for their own nefarious purposes; purchased by international film archives. The basic question asked is no longer why such films are being made but rather (and rightly so) an investigation of the quality and originality of a particular title or tendency in the field....

There is also no doubt that the publication of this new catalog — the most comprehensive listing of experimental cinema published anywherein the world — will further contribute to a more rapid opening up of the field and a more general appreciation of the efforts and achievements of the film avant-garde.... Produced by independent film artists, these are explorations in the cinema. Offered as significant efforts to broaden the scope of the film medium and further develop its aesthetic vocabulary and potential, these films express the psychological and emotional tensions of modern life; delve into the subconscious; explore the world of color and abstract images; experiment with cinematic devices and synthetic sound...."
We have found some additional materials online about Young's films.

In An introduction to the American underground film (1967), New York : E.P. Dutton & Co., Sheldon Renan writes:
"Second Film Avant-Garde

The second film avant-garde began as the Depression ended. Sixteen-millimeter film and equipment, available since 1923, were becoming more accessible, and the Second World War, because its training films and features for the troops were on 16mm, rapidly increased this accessibility. Sixteen-millimeter was less expensive than 35mm, the film stock used by the first avant-garde, and the coming of prosperity eased the money problem in this expensive art medium. There was, too, the effect of the Museum of Modern Art's circulating film programs, starting in 1937, which brought back into sight the refreshing old French trick films and the work of the first avant-garde. Later the Art in Cinema showings in San Francisco and those of Cinema 16 in New York gave publicity to the personal art film and a chance for exhibition to the new film-makers.

By 1941 Crockwell, Bute, and Nemeth and some new people were already at work. Francis Lee made 1941, an abstract antiwar film. He was then drafted and left the pawn ticket for his camera in the hands of Marie Menken and Willard Maas, soon to become film-makers themselves. Dwinnel Grant made Themis (1940), Contrathemis (1941), and Three Dimensional Experiments (1945), all abstract films. Mylon Meriam made unnamed abstract films (1941-42). And Christopher Young made Object Lesson (1941), a work that employed symbolic objects placed in natural environments to give the effect of a journey through a surrealist landscape. His later Subject Lesson (1953-55) did much the same thing in color." [emphasis added]
In the Village Voice, June 13, 1956, page 6, we find written:
"Eleven Receive First Creative Awards

Christopher Young and Hilary Harris, makers of experimental films entitled "Subject Lesson" and "Generation", were last week named the top winners of the first annual Creative Film Awards, a series of prizes sponsored jointly by the Creative Film Foundation and Cinema 16. Young and Harris each received an award for Exceptional Merit.
In the Sarasota Herald-Tribune, October 4, 1959, page 36, we find under the headline, Asolo Opens Fall Season Wednesday:
"Subject Lesson," a short produced by Christopher Young, won the highest Creative Film Award in 1956. It is a sequel to Young's 1950 award winner, "Object Lesson" and is an imaginative representation of the inner life of man, told in symbols."
In the CITWF Complete Index To World Film we find the following entries:

CHRISTOPHER YOUNG - Person Information

OBJECT LESSON - Director CHRISTOPHER YOUNG, 1941, 12 Minutes, USA

SUBJECT LESSON - Director CHRISTOPHER YOUNG, 1956, 22 Minutes, USA

At the BFI (British Film Institute) in Film Forever we find under the entry Christopher Young Filmography for SUBJECT LESSON only a marvelous -- from the artistic point of view -- still photograph from the film of a beach with statues and sculptures in the sand (Venus statue, Adonis statue, Lion sculpture, and Hand of God sculpture ala Michelangelo). We have reason to believe that at least some of these statues and sculptures were originally in the garden of the house of Christopher Young in Connecticut (perhaps in Sharon, near Canaan and Cornwall, CT).

The Underground Film Journal lists both films in its Underground Film Timelines for 1940-1949 and 1950-1959:
1940 — 1949
Filmmakers:
.... Christopher Young ... Object Lesson
1950 — 1959
Filmmakers:
.... Christopher Young ... Subject Lesson (1953-55)
We found at The Sticking Place: Theatre - Film - Books, The Angry Young Film Makers, by Amos Vogel, who wrote:
"Christopher Young’s Subject Lesson (Creative Film Foundation Winner 1957), symbolic tracing of the development of man’s consciousness, with startling juxtapositions of familiar objects and incongruous backgrounds...."

originally at Evergreen Review, November/December 1958
© Amos Vogel/Evergreen Review
All rights reserved by the original copyright holders
The Sharon Greenhorn in The Harlem Valley Times, Feb. 14, 1957 wrote:
"It is a pleasure to correct an error made in this space two weeks ago. We reported the fact that Christopher Young's movie "Subject Lesson" had won one of the 1956 Creative Film Awards. Incidentally, it received the top award of "Exceptional Merit." We then said he had a new film, "Object Lesson" which he had enjoyed and which you could look forward to seeing on the award lists in the future. We were happily incorrect. "Subject Lesson" is the new film, and "Object Lesson" the older one which did win an award at the Venice Film Festival in, we believe, 1950. Both are very special...."
To add an international touch, we find written at the prestigious Pompidou Centre in  France -- in la collection en ligne du Centre Pompidou - Musée national d’art moderne -- the following French text about Chris Young and his films, citing as a bibliographical source: Christopher Horak, Lovers of Cinema, The First American Avant-Garde Film 1919-1945. Please go to Google Translate if you do not read French and plug in the text below to get a translation in your preferred language:
"Christopher Young a été une figure marginale du cinéma d’avant-garde américain. Sa réputation repose essentiellement sur un film, Object Lesson (1941), une fusion singulière d’invention visuelle et de symbolisme naïf. Object Lesson, réalisé juste avant l’entrée des États-Unis dans la seconde guerre mondiale, reflétait les courants intellectuels et politiques dominants de l’intelligentsia américaine : il situe le caractère inévitable et tragique de la guerre dans la nature de la psyché humaine, et incarne formellement les principes de la sémantique que posaient alors les écrits de Korzybski, Hayakawa et Chase. À l’instar de 1941 de Francis Lee, réalisé l’année suivante, le film de Young souffre d’un symbolisme excessif, qui résulte peut-être de l’intensité des pressions politiques et sociales de l’époque ; il reste que, de même que le film de Lee, ses résonances dépassent largement les limites de l’allégorie nettement explicite. Dans un texte écrit à l’époque de ce film, Young révèle lui-même la détermination univoque des objets de cette allégorie : “Les forces de la vie, exprimées dans ce film sous forme symbolique, sont… : la nature (symbolisée par les rochers, la végétation), l’idéalisme et les idées de l’Homme (les statues grecques), l’art (le violon), la guerre (les épées, etc.), le déclin (la destruction, etc.).”
De crainte que le spectateur ne manque le récit symbolique, malgré de telles précisions, le film commence par un titre d’introduction : “Considérons les objets, car ils nous racontent l’histoire de la vie. Il n’existe nulle chose sans signification et l’association des choses crée de nouveaux sens qui sont trop difficiles à expliquer.” Le trope sur lequel s’ouvre le film, qui réunit des statues féminines et une épée, avec tous les signes du printemps, indique la concaténation de l’agression destructrice et régénératrice qui est inscrite dans la différence sexuelle. Le film montre les sublimations cycliques et les éruptions violentes de cette tension fondatrice.

Object Lesson indiquait le chemin d’une utilisation plus mystérieuse et anti-allégorique de l’association prônée par Deren, Broughton et Anger, et par les autres cinéastes du style dit du “film de transe”, qui avait marqué le premier grand épanouissement du cinéma d’avant-garde américain, peu après que Young eut réalisé son premier film.

L’emploi spectaculaire qu’il faisait du raccourci et des angles de caméra, qui dérive peut-être du cinéma d’Eisenstein et qui évoque les compositions de Que viva Mexico !, et son montage innovateur de sons symboliques et isolés (sur un fond de chant russe) ont contribué à la réputation du film autant que son utilisation des objets. En fait, le son anticipe curieusement d’une vingtaine d’années La Jetée de Chris Marker.

Avant Object Lesson, Young avait réalisé un film documentaire pour le ministère de l’Agriculture, The Vanished Land (1935), qui traite de l’érosion du sol dans la réserve Navajo, ainsi que deux films nés de sa passion pour le ski. Après avoir servi dans les transmissions durant la seconde guerre mondiale, il a réalisé au moins deux autres documentaires. Entre 1953 et 1956, il a essayé de retrouver le style et les préoccupations d’Object Lesson, avec Subject Lesson (1956). Le film a reçu l’Award of Exceptional Merit de la Creative Film Foundation de Maya Deren, mais ne possède pas la force historique de son modèle. Entre 1941 et 1956, le cinéma d’avant-garde américain avait subi une telle évolution que Subject Lesson, qui n’en tient pas compte, se faisait l’écho d’une technique antérieure et naïve, et d’une ambition sans prétention.

La description que fait Young de la conclusion du film laisse indirectement entrevoir ses réticences face aux investigations de Deren, Broughton, Peterson et Anger, dans la littéralité sémantique: “Au sein du feu, l’Homme voit son ancien soi, puis son autre soi, puis son propre soi, répété (à l’infini : indiquant que l’objet de sa quête est lui-même). Ces nombreux “soi” se dissolvent dans le feu. Alors apparaît le globe de la conscience, reflétant la double image de l’homme… L’Homme et Vénus sont entourés par le feu.
La Main de Dieu (La Main de Dieu de Michel-Ange) apparaît. L’Homme est seul au coucher du soleil. Titre : fin, suivi d’un plan du Sphinx qui indique qu’il n’y a pas de fin à la quête humaine de soi-même.”

P. Adams Sitney

Bibliographie sélective [Selected Bibliography] :
Christopher Horak (sous la dir. de), Lovers of Cinema, The First American Film Avant-Garde 1919-1945, op. cit. [Jan-Christopher Horak, Lovers of Cinema: The First American Film Avant-garde, 1919-1945, University of Wisconsin Press, 1995, 404 pages.]


Friday, January 24, 2014

Marijuana Law Revision 40 Years After John Kaplan's Marijuana: The New Prohibition: Why is the Legal System So Slow in Adopting the Obvious?

What is true for marijuana laws is true for most of the laws that we post about. Why are we always something like 40 years ahead of the pack?

Let me say at the outset here that I am not a proponent of drug use of any kind, and I have recently even sworn off coffee, because it raises my blood pressure. Clean, disciplined living is always the best policy in the long run.

Nevertheless, past American laws and criminal justice policies toward drug use of all kinds, and this includes tobacco, marijuana and alcohol have been poorly deliberated, poorly legislated and have not worked. Abuse is still rampant.

We wonder, for example, why the current change in marijuana laws in some quarters is occurring 40 years later than it should have. Why is the legal system so slow in reacting to things that are clear??

John Kaplan had this figured out in the late 1960's and early 1970's, and yet we hear nothing about his publications in the press, even today, indicating that many people in mainstream media are not doing their homework.

In terms of drug possession, drug abuse and drug criminalization, we wrote previously elsewhere about John Kaplan's book, published in 1970:
"John Kaplan's
Marijuana -- The New Prohibition

John's book on the drug laws resulted from his membership on a professorial advisory committee to the California state legislature. John was quite conservative in his views and had in fact served as a public prosecutor of crimes, but his committee recommended a liberal stance toward marijuana - regarding its criminalization to be a legislative mistake.

John's view was that the legislature should concentrate more on workable laws regarding hard drugs such as heroin and cocaine, which were the major dangers. Too much emphasis was going toward marijuana - where young people were easily being caught in the act of smoking - and too little effort was being placed on going after hard drug makers and dealers, where arrests were much harder for the authorities to obtain.

As the result of the objective committee report, however, the committee was fired by the California legislature and a new committee was formed, ostensibly with members whose views were more in line with what the legislature subjectively wanted to hear, whether it fit the facts or not.
In his book, John predicted that the criminalization of marijuana would not work - it did not work - and that, on the contrary, the marijuana laws would strengthen the hard drug dealers as suppliers - which in fact happened, leading many people to take stronger drugs.
The drug abuse mess that exists today throughout much of America is partially the result of this very erroneous drug law policy, having concentrated on marijuana and not enough on the truly dangerous substances.

See: Marijuana -- The New Prohibition
by John Kaplan
Publisher: Ty Crowell Co; 1st Edition (June 1970)
"
As we wrote about this topic previously at LawPundit:

"The State of California and the other states of the United States have ignored Kaplan's recommendations and the results are now in, 40 years later. They do not speak well for the wisdom of past or current legislation on drug laws or their enforcement. According to the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA) :
"In 2006, 25 million Americans age 12 and older had abused marijuana at least once in the year prior to being surveyed. Source: National Survey on Drug Use and Health; http://www.samhsa.gov/. The NIDA-funded 2007 Monitoring the Future Study showed that 10.3% of 8th graders, 24.6% of 10th graders, and 31.7% of 12th graders had abused marijuana at least once in the year prior to being surveyed. Source: Monitoring the Future http://www.monitoringthefuture.org/. "
According to Eric E. Sterling, President of the non-profit Criminal Justice Policy Foundation and former counsel on anti-drug legislation to the U.S. House Judiciary Committee, there are currently 2.3 million Americans in jails or prisons, many of them due to drug infractions:
"We certainly need to imprison dangerous offenders - to protect us and to punish them. But we need to get a lot smarter about why we imprison and who we imprison. Remarkably, in the last thirty years, the largest increase in imprisonment has been due to prohibition drug policy.
Even though drug enforcement leaders have warned for more than twenty years that "we can't arrest our way out of the drug problem," every year we arrest more people for drug offenses than the year before. Last year we arrested over 1.8 million Americans, more than three times the number arrested for all violent crimes combined. Now about one-quarter of those in prison are serving drug sentences. As the centerpiece of our anti-drug strategy, arrests and imprisonment have failed: high school seniors report that drugs are easier for them to get now than in the 1970s and 1980s."
Andrew Bosworth in Incarceration Nation: The Rise of a Prison-Industrial Complex writes similarly:
"Consider this disturbing fact: the United States now has the world's highest incarceration rate outside of North Korea. Out of 1,000 people, more Americans are behind bars than anywhere in the world except in Kim Jong-Il's Neo-Stalinist state. The US has a higher incarceration rate than China, Russia, Iran, Zimbabwe and Burma - countries American politicians often berate for their human rights violations.

Well over two million Americans are behind bars. Let us agree that violent criminals and sex offenders should be in jail, but most Americans are not aware that over one million people spend year after year in prison for non-violent and petty offenses: small-time drug dealing, street hustling, prostitution, bouncing checks and even writing graffiti. Texas, with its boot-in-your-butt criminal justice system, is now attempting to incarcerate people who get drunk at bars - even if they are not disturbing the peace and intend to take a taxi home...

Arguably, continuously lowering the bar for what it takes to be jailed threatens the liberty of all Americans. And having one million non-violent offenders in prison (often for absurdly long periods) makes it that much easier, in the near future, for the return of debtors' prisons and dissident detention centers. This approach to locking up everyone possible undermines both the liberal emphasis on personal liberty and the conservative emphasis on small government."
Who out there in the American criminal justice system understands the basic wisdom found in Herbert L. Packer's Limits of the Criminal Sanction? What lawmaker, government official, judge, prosecutor, or prison official in the United States has ever read Packer's book - much less applied the inexorable legal policy conclusions demanded by it? (see Google Books, this PPT and Packer's Two Models of the Criminal Process)

Not every undesirable human action or activity in society is or should be subject to criminal punishments. There are other - more modern - means available to deal with socially undesirable behavior.

Indeed, the primitive idea of jails or prisons as legal solutions for societal problems has been around for millennia. But such jails and prisons, except as a deserved punishment of and/or an effective deterrent of violent and dangerous criminals, are by their very nature as outdated in modern law as the now discredited blood-letting is in modern medicine, which was an accepted medical practice worldwide from the earliest times of humanity down to the late 19th century, a flawed medical practice which surely cost America's first President, George Washington, his life (we quote from the Wikipedia):
"Bloodletting was also popular in the young United States of America.... George Washington asked to be bled heavily after he developed a throat infection from weather exposure. Almost 4 pounds (1.7 litres) of blood was withdrawn ... contributing to his death in 1799."
We were reminded of the similar backward state of contemporary American law by the April 26, 2009 TIME article of Maia Szalavitz on Drugs in Portugal: Did Decriminalization Work? (referring to an article by Glenn Greenwald at the Cato Institute), where the answer to that question in the title is a clear, resounding, "YES, drug decriminalization has worked in Portugal".

Szalavitz quotes Glenn Greenwald, writing at the Cato Institute:
"Judging by every metric, decriminalization in Portugal has been a resounding success," says Glenn Greenwald, an attorney, author and fluent Portuguese speaker, who conducted the research. "It has enabled the Portuguese government to manage and control the drug problem far better than virtually every other Western country does."
What sensible legal policy did Portugal adopt?

Going to the original article at the Cato Institute, Glenn Greenwald writes in Drug Decriminalization in Portugal: Lessons for Creating Fair and Successful Drug Policies :
"On July 1, 2001, a nationwide law in Portugal took effect that decriminalized all drugs, including cocaine and heroin. Under the new legal framework, all drugs were "decriminalized," not "legalized." Thus, drug possession for personal use and drug usage itself are still legally prohibited, but violations of those prohibitions are deemed to be exclusively administrative violations and are removed completely from the criminal realm. Drug trafficking continues to be prosecuted as a criminal offense....

The data show that, judged by virtually every metric, the Portuguese decriminalization framework has been a resounding success. Within this success lie self-evident lessons that should guide drug policy debates around the world." [emphasis added]
We are particularly gratified to read this result, because the Portuguese solution is the solution advocated 40 years ago by our mentor at Stanford Law School, the late Professor John Kaplan - famed for his legal brilliance from his days at Harvard, a former prosecutor who was a conservative at heart - who in the late 1960's was selected as a member of a top-notch advisory committee of law professors to advise the California state legislature on a revision of the California criminal (penal) code.

Kaplan's drug research at that time led the professorial advisory committee to recommend the decriminalization of marijuana in California to the California legislature - with the result that the entire advisory committee was released from its duties by the legislature and replaced by other law professors whose political views were more in line with what the California legislature wanted to hear. I know of this only by hearsay and can not vouch for the exact details.

In any case, Kaplan responded to this experience with his book, Marijuana: The New Prohibition, which I had the honor and pleasure to edit (indeed, I drafted a chapter) while still a student, and in which Kaplan was of the opinion that drugs such as marijuana should be "decriminalized" - it was his major recommendation in this field of law.

As Herbert Packer - for whom I was also a student assistant at Stanford Law School - would have predicted by the principles in his book on the limits of the criminal sanction, drug abuse simply does not lend itself well to control by criminal punishments.

Eric E. Sterling, J.D., President of the Criminal Justice Policy Foundation in his Drug Policy Bibliography and Websites lists Kaplan's book as follows:
"John Kaplan, Marijuana – The New Prohibition, Pocket Books, New York, 1971, 402 pp. A classic. Stanford law professor John Kaplan demolished the factual foundation for marijuana prohibition when originally published in 1970. Throughly documented."
Talcott Bates M.D. wrote in his book review of Marijuana: The New Prohibition:
"Professor Kaplan was appointed in 1966 by the California Senate to a committee to revise the California Penal Code, last completely revised in 1872. By chance he was assigned the drug laws, about which he felt he had no knowledge or experience except that which he had acquired as a one-time prosecutor as Assistant United States Attorney. It became apparent at once that the key drug problem in California was the treatment of marijuana. Not until the treatment of marijuana was intelligently handled would progress in the broader area of drug abuse be possible.

Marijuana: The New Prohibition reviews the history of marijuana, how in 1937, four years after Prohibition ended, Congress outlawed the sale, possession, and use of marijuana. Professor Kaplan points out that the measure of the wisdom of any law is the measure of its total social and financial costs and the benefits that derive from this outlay. This book is an attempt to measure the costs of the criminalization of marijuana and concludes that the costs far outweigh the benefits."
It is not without reason, as written at ProhibitionCosts.Org, that in the year 2005, three Nobel laureates in economics and more than 500 distinguished economists advocated:
"replacing marijuana prohibition with a system of taxation and regulation similar to that used for alcoholic beverages [which] would produce combined savings and tax revenues of between $10 billion and $14 billion per year...."
The case for decriminalization and for a more intelligent approach to drug possession and abuse is clearly apparent, and has been so for 40 years.

Generally, in terms of all petty and needlessly "criminalized" legal infractions, there are great legislative and judicial opportunities out there to adopt sensible criminal laws, to get people out of jails and prisons who should not be there, and to help to integrate people into normal life rather than tossing them stupidly into jails and prisons, where little progress in development is possible for most.

Quite the contrary, people are thrown together with hardened criminals, to their detriment. In the case of most non-violent crimes, especially petty infractions, and definitely in the case of financial infractions, jail and/or prison should be the very LAST option, not the first.

But how likely is it that an entrenched unmoving American legal system will now take the intelligent path forward to reform its vastly outdated drug laws and to free its jail and prison populations of people who should not be there?

Not very likely - unless the people in Congress and state legislatures suddenly get to be a lot smarter than we judge them to be.

For more resources on this topic, see the Cato Institute's Criminal Justice Reading List."

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Sky Earth Native America

Sky Earth Native America 1 :
American Indian Rock Art Petroglyphs Pictographs
Cave Paintings Earthworks & Mounds as Land Survey & Astronomy
,
Volume 1, Edition 2, 266 pages, by Andis Kaulins.

  • Sky Earth Native America 2 :
    American Indian Rock Art Petroglyphs Pictographs
    Cave Paintings Earthworks & Mounds as Land Survey & Astronomy
    ,
    Volume 2, Edition 2, 262 pages, by Andis Kaulins.

  • Both volumes have the same cover except for the labels "Volume 1" viz. "Volume 2".
    The image on the cover was created using public domain space photos of Earth from NASA.

    -----

    Both book volumes contain the following basic book description:
    "Alice Cunningham Fletcher observed in her 1902 publication in the American Anthropologist
    that there is ample evidence that some ancient cultures in Native America, e.g. the Pawnee in Nebraska,
    geographically located their villages according to patterns seen in stars of the heavens.
    See Alice C. Fletcher, Star Cult Among the Pawnee--A Preliminary Report,
    American Anthropologist, 4, 730-736, 1902.
    Ralph N. Buckstaff wrote:
    "These Indians recognized the constellations as we do, also the important stars,
    drawing them according to their magnitude.
    The groups were placed with a great deal of thought and care and show long study.
    ... They were keen observers....
    The Pawnee Indians must have had a knowledge of astronomy comparable to that of the early white men."
    See Ralph N. Buckstaff, Stars and Constellations of a Pawnee Sky Map,
    American Anthropologist, Vol. 29, Nr. 2, April-June 1927, pp. 279-285, 1927.
    In our book, we take these observations one level further
    and show that megalithic sites and petroglyphic rock carving and pictographic rock art in Native America,
    together with mounds and earthworks, were made to represent territorial geographic landmarks
    placed according to the stars of the sky using the ready map of the starry sky
    in the hermetic tradition, "as above, so below".
    That mirror image of the heavens on terrestrial land is the "Sky Earth" of Native America,
    whose "rock stars" are the real stars of the heavens, "immortalized" by rock art petroglyphs, pictographs,
    cave paintings, earthworks and mounds of various kinds (stone, earth, shells) on our Earth.
    These landmarks were placed systematically
    in North America, Central America (Meso-America) and South America
    and can to a large degree be reconstructed as the Sky Earth of Native America."

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