Wednesday, December 19, 2012

National Conference of State Legislatures

Need to find out when a particular state’s legislative session begins? The National Conference of State Legislatures (NCSL) has that information in both map and chart form. Check out the 2013 Legislative Calendar.

While you are at the NCLS site, take a look at some of the other information they offer under the Issues and Research tab. Although some of what NCLS offers is available only to legislative staff, the public can access a good amount of information. For example, NCLS offers state legislative tracking databases on a variety of topics including health, education, energy and the environment.

Monday, December 17, 2012

CRS Report on Gun Control Legislation

On Friday, December 14, 2012, the Congressional Research Service (CRS) issued a 100+ page report for Congress on gun control legislation. The report provides "basic firearms-related statistics, an overview of federal firearms law, and a summary of legislative action in the 111th and 112th Congresses."

Saturday, December 15, 2012

Library Hours Changes

Now that School of Law autumn quarter classes and exams have ended, the Law Library will be operating on its interim schedule. In addition, the Library will be closed several days around the holidays.

The Law Library will be closed:

Dec. 15 - 17, Saturday - Monday
Dec. 22 - 25, Saturday - Tuesday
Dec. 29 - Jan. 1, Saturday - Tuesday
Jan. 5, Saturday

On other weekdays between Dec. 18 and Jan. 4, the Law Library will be open from 8am - 5pm and the Reference Office will be open from 9am - 12noon and 1 - 5pm.

On Sunday, Jan. 6, the Law Libary will be open from 12noon - 5pm and the Reference Office will be open from 1 - 4pm.

Regular academic quarter hours begin on Monday, Jan. 7 when classes resume.

You can find other information about the Law Library's hours on our website.

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

No Evening Reference Tonight; Cold and Flu Season

The Reference Office will close at 5:00 this evening (instead of the usual 8:00).

Remember that you can use the Ask Us! link to ask us questions when the office isn't staffed, and we'll answer when we're back.

It's cold and flu season. Remember to wash your hands often, cover coughs and sneezes, and stay home when you're sick.

Stop Germs, Stay Healthy! poster from Seattle & King County Public Health
The CDC has these tips for when you get the flu.

UW students can get a flu vaccine at Hall Health.

Here's hoping you all finish finals week in good health and have a great break!

Monday, December 10, 2012

Shopping Tips

As soon as you slog your way through finals, many of you will head for home and Christmas or maybe the last couple of nights of Hannukkah. But when have you had a chance to shop, since you've been studying all the time?  I hope you don't survive exam angst only to be overwhelmed by holiday shopping angst.

My shopping tip for you can be summarized in just three words: University Book Store.

The University Book Store has great selections! If you haven't wandered up to the second floor, you might not know that there's a terrific children's book department where you can find just the right book for your niece Natalie or your nephew Norton. If you're lost, ask the very knowledgeable staff up there, and they can suggest something. You might feel buried under your textbooks, but there are lots of general books too—science fiction, art, history, psychology, humor, literary fiction, cookbooks—you name it.

Free gift wrap! You don't have to come up with paper, tape, and ribbon‐and they do it for you!

Shipping! They'll ship books anywhere in the U.S. via book post free! If you're sending something other than books—or if you're sending books but you need to get them there faster—they'll also send via UPS or priority mail, but they'll charge for it. Still, it's great that they handle it and you don't have to trek to the post office.

No sales tax on out of state shipments! If you're shipping something to your brother in Baton Rouge or your sister in Sheboygan, tell the sales clerk and you won't be charged sales tax.

And UW students, faculty, and staff can register for a 10% rebate on everything they buy!

This tip won't help you prepare for your last couple of finals, but it might help you with your last-minute shopping.

This blog doesn't usually make commercial endorsements, but the University Book Store is tied to the university, and these tips are too good not to share.

I am not and never have been an employee of the University Book Store. I am just an enthusiastic customer.

Have yourself a yummy little Christmas...

As Examination Period comes to a close, the tunnel vision you might be experiencing may broaden ever so slightly to allow you to see twinkling holiday lights out of the corner of your eye. Your thoughts might momentarily wander to your holiday travel plans, reuniting with loved ones, and special holiday dinners with friends and family. Thoughts of TSA screenings might not make an appearance in your holiday fantasies so to help you out, the TSA has compiled a sample list of holiday items that should be checked, shipped or left at home. Among the items are cranberry sauce, jams, jellies, salad dressing and salsa.
Surprisingly (to some), you may bring pies and cakes on board with you but "they can be subject to additional screening." Hopefully the screening does not involve spoons or forks!

Photo Credit 1: Julian Pie Company

Friday, December 7, 2012

To-may-toes, To-mah-toes: A Pronunciation Guide for the Supreme Court of the United States

The other day, another reference librarian and I were checking some recent twitter posts from colleagues and we came across this Pronouncing Dictionary for the Supreme Court of the United States. Since we found this little gem, I've found myself playing around on it merely for the sake of playing around. So, I decided that it would be a great tool to share.

The pronouncing dictionary is compiled by students from both the Yale Law School and the Yale Linguistics Department. The purpose of the dictionary is to "help conscientious lawyers, judges, teachers, students, and journalists correctly pronounce often-perplexing case names." The list is sorted alphabetically by case name and includes both an audiofile of the difficult name as well as the phonetic symbols. When possible, the students ascertained and followed the litigant's preferred pronunication. The dictionary is not complete but is a fantastic tool whether preparing for an oral argument or just looking to pass some time and impress your friends!

Alexander Wang's Recovery from Labor Lawsuit "Shaft" to Creative Director "Stud"

Earlier this year, former employees of Alexander Wang filed a lawsuit in federal court alleging that the designer and 2008 CFDA/Vogue Fashion Fund recipient maintained sweatshop-like conditions in his New York factory. Since the settlement and dismissal of the lawsuit in August, it seemed that the designer was laying low. His Spring 2013 line produced mixed reviews (as fashion lines typically do), further perpetuating the idea that perhaps the designer had been rattled by the lawsuit's negative publicity.

It is not uncommon for individuals and businesses to suffer when recovering from a public lawsuit - regardless of the lawsuit's outcome. The recovery for Alexander Wang now seems to be...more studs! Wang has been named Balenciaga's new Creative Director indicating a turning point for him since the lawsuit. While some have expressed surprise at the direction Wang and Balenciaga have taken, it seems fitting since both have an obvious attraction to hardware!

If you want to learn how you can help potential clients avoid labor lawsuits, the library offers labor law resources for interested attorneys and attorneys-in-training. See our Research in Labor & Employment Law: Secondary Sources guide, and Research in Labor & Employment Law: Databases guide.

Photo Credit 1: Alexander Wang
Photo Credit 2: Balenciaga

Wednesday, December 5, 2012

The App from Hell

Prof. Daniel Solove has written a lot of articles and books, mostly about privacy and technology. Unlike the great majority of professors, he also writes animated videos to support his training company, TeachPrivacy.

He recently released The App from Hell, a two-minute cartoon that vividly illustrates the dangers of loading apps without privacy safeguards. Check it out:

Tuesday, December 4, 2012

Google Ranks Journals

Google Scholar Metrics measure the impact of scholarly journals based on their citations in the last five years.

The top 100 publications list is dominated by science and medicine, with a couple of finance journals appearing at #74 and #77. You can also find a list of the top 20 in a category—for instance, Social Sciences—or a subcategory—e.g.,

Monday, December 3, 2012

Initiative 502 and the Countdown to December 6

Since voters passed Initiative 502 last month, plenty of news and media outlets have discussed the potential impact the decriminalization of marijuana possession might have on the state of Washington.  While we might be somewhat familiar with Initiative 502 (the text of the initiative can be found via the Secretary of State's Office here), questions raised by the initiative's passage have proved to be imaginative and humorous.

From the Seattle Police Department Blotter Post, "Marijwhatnow? A Guide to Legal Marijuana Use In Seattle":
  • Will police officers be able to smoke marijuana? As of right now, no. This is still a very complicated issue. 
  • SPD seized a bunch of my marijuana before I-502 passed. Can I have it back? No. 
From the Seattle Post-Intelligencer's, Washington marijuana law: Answers to I-502 questions:
  • How much will it cost? The specific retail prices haven’t been set. If you think the tax on booze is tough, don’t expect a break with pot. 
  • Can’t you already legally smoke weed in Seattle? Pretty much. City Attorney Pete Holmes has a policy of not filing charges for simple marijuana possession, and in 2003, Seattle voters passed an initiative making the investigation, arrest and prosecution of marijuana offenses the lowest law enforcement priority when the drug was intended for adult personal use. The combination of those explains why some people walk on downtown streets with a lit joint and aren’t worried, and that's also why there were no arrests for pot at Hempfest this year. 
Although some questions (and answers) are amusing, the question of how the federal government will act when the initiative takes effect on December 6 has a more serious tone. In the meantime, keep in mind that refraining from the old "puff puff pass" routine might be the wisest choice since the Washington Supreme Court ruled that medical marijuana law does not protect employees from being terminated in Roe v. Teletech.  In addition to job security, foregoing the ganja may be advisable since UW policy states that any use or possession of illicit drugs on the university campus will result in strict penalties including prison time and the loss of federal benefits such as student loans. 

Saturday, December 1, 2012

WSBA Starts Blogging

NW Sidebar is a new blog, launched by the Washington State Bar Association in mid-October. With a tagline of "the voices of Washington's lawyers and legal community," the blog offers news and commentary from a variety of contributors.

You can read posts on law office management, technology, new decisions, and more. "Friday5" is a weekly feature with five whatevers: five holiday dishes, five locally made briefcases, five career tips for nontraditional jobs, . . . There's no telling what will be next!

For more law-related blogs, check the national directories Blawgsearch (includes a feature for search blog posts) and Blawg Directory from the ABA Journal. For blogs closer to home, see our guide, Law-Related Blogs in Washington State.

World AIDS Day

Dec. 1 is World AIDS Day. Here's the UN page, and here's a U.S. government page. UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-Moon ends his statement on an optimistic note:
Zero new HIV infections, zero discrimination, and zero AIDS-related deaths by 2015 are achievable. On this World AIDS Day, let us commit to build on and amplify the encouraging successes of recent years to consign HIV/AIDS to the pages of history.
AIDS is not just a health issue—society's response to AIDS also has many legal implications. For the global view, see Global Commission on HIV and the Law, HIV and the Law: Risks, Rights & Health (July 2012). HIV/AIDS Laws of the World (Harvard School of Public Health) provides links (as of Feb. 2010) to the laws of dozens of countries.

For discussion of some of the U.S. legal issues, see: