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BLAWg In Bloom

The Indiana Law Library Blog

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Health Care Documents Available

The Health Care Reform legislation passed by the U.S. House of Representatives is available on GPO’s Federal Digital System (FDsys). Direct links to the electronic versions of the legislation, debate, and vote are available from the GPO press release.

The Senate Judiciary Committee Considers Prof. Johnsen

Last year Prof. Dawn Johnsen made it through the Senate Judiciary Committee with flying colors.  With her second nomination, she must pass that test again.  Both the New York Times and the Wall Street Journal are running editorials on her, one for and the other against.  If you’d like to follow the Committee’s discussion of her nomination, you can watch it live on the official website of the Senate Judiciary Committee.  Good luck, Prof. Johnsen!

Celebrating the Life of Martin Luther King, Jr.

Today, in addition to enjoying a day off, we celebrate community service and the life of the great Martin Luther King, Jr.  Last year we mentioned that the federal government maintains a website devoted to the service aspect of the day.  That page is still an excellent place to go to find local opportunities for volunteerism. For more information on the holiday locally, you can also go to the Herald Times.  For resources on the man himself, the Seattle Times has a nice website devoted to King.  It offers texts and recordings of his speeches, photographs, a timeline, a biography, and much more.  For a website that combines the history and legacy of Martin Luther King, Jr. with a commitment to service, go take a look at the site for the King Center, founded in 1968 by Coretta Scott King.  Happy Martin Luther King, Jr. Day!


We have often touted the utility of state and federal government websites for information. is a repository for lots of useful information, including a lot of the basics of Indiana law.  We are also heavy users of the federal government’s website, Though a source of lots of helpful information,, like many websites, could use a little sprucing up, and its administrators are asking for your help in deciding what needs updating.  Your Voice Matters is a website created to ask for feedback about They are asking for suggestions, they want to know what are the services that you use most, and they are also asking for opinions on ideas like offering a personal account you could log into.  Some commentators like the idea, others are worried that it is a way to harvest information about users.  Go take a look!  You have to provide an e-mail address to become part of the discussion, but if there is something that you find lacking, or difficult find on the site this is a good opportunity to let them know. The discussion lasts until January 15.

The Veterans History Project

Veterans Day is a time to celebrate the valiant men and women who have served in the armed forces, their stories, and our shared history.  The Veterans History Project of the American Folklife Center does just that, collecting first hand accounts and mementos of veterans and those on the home front during wartime.  Since its inception in 2000, the project has collected the stories of thousands of veterans and those in the war effort for preservation in the Library of Congress.  You can search or browse—many interviews are not digitized yet, but for some you can watch or listen to interviews, read transcripts, or view documents and photographs of interest. One very touching story is of a dog named Lucky who served in the Marines while his owner was in the Navy.  The Project does not conduct interviews themselves—their material comes from partner organizations and from volunteers.  Our own Senator Lugar has contributed greatly to the collection.  If you know a veteran with a story to tell (or are one yourself) you might consider participating in the project.  More details on how to do so can be found here. Happy Veterans Day!

Listening to the Health Care Bill

Last Saturday the House passed H.R. 3962, the highly controversial health care bill, by a very slim margin of 220-215.  The House added one amendment to the bill, concerning coverage of abortion procedures, but declined to include an amendment dealing with insurance. The bill as introduced is sizable—nearly two thousand pages, and if you are interested in reading it you can.  It is available in several places including FDsys, the new website from the Government Printing Office.  There is another alternative, though, for people reluctant to wade through the paper version.  Hear the Bill is a website where voice actors have volunteered their time to read aloud the text of the health care bill.  The later divisions of H.R. 3962 are not yet complete, but all of Division A and the majority of Division B are.  You can also listen to older versions of the House Bill, or a draft version of the Senate Bill.  Go take a look!

Flu Information

Welcome back from break!  We hope that you had a nice one.  Now that you are back, and spending time in close company with many different people, you might be thinking about the flu, both seasonal and the H1N1 strain.  Trends in Google searches show that interest in the flu has been intense in Indiana and in the United States in general.  There are several good places to go for flu information, but the federal government’s website, , is probably one of the best.  It includes information on the flu itself, a little quiz to help you tell if you have the H1N1 flu, and also lots of information about flu vaccination.  It will also help you find a place to get your vaccinations.  The American Lung Association is keeping track of where to get seasonal vaccinations, and the Indiana State government website is the place to go to find out about H1N1.  Stay healthy this season!

An Archive of Blawgs

Legal blogs have taken on a life of their own.  They provide news and current events, and also a look into the minds of some of the best legal scholars.  With that in mind, the Law Library of Congress has been archiving blawgs since 2007.  This database includes more than 100 items and covers a large variety of legal issues.  You can search by keyword, or just browse by subject.  Go take a look!

Happy Constitution Day and Citizenship Day!

The United States Constitution was signed exactly 222 years ago today.  So on this day, we celebrate both this important document, and all the people who have become American citizens.  Constitution Day is celebrated with presidential statements, laws, and lesson plans each year.  This year you can celebrate by learning more about Constitution Day from the Library of Congress website, or by finding out which Founding Father you most resemble at the National Constitution Center’s website.

President Obama Addresses Students

Today at noon the President will be broadcast into preK-12 schools across the nation to talk to students.  His remarks, released yesterday, will focus on the importance of making and meeting educational goals.  Assignment ideas accompanied the speech announcement, both for preK-6 and 7-12.  Since the talk was announced, there has been some controversy about it.  Some parents are concerned that it might be an attempt to politicize children.  An earlier version of the suggested activities included students writing a letter to themselves about how they could help the President, which upset many parents (the language has since been changed).  In the end, the decision of whether or not to show the speech is being left up to schools.  Some schools with show it, some will decline, some are taping it so that they can review it for content before showing it to their children.  What do you think?  If you are interested in more, you can check out the CNN article that includes speeches given by Presidents Regan and H.W. Bush to school children.  For a local view, you can look at the comments that accompany the articles in the Bloomington Herald-Times, both before and after the text of the speech was released.  And, of course, you can tune into the speech itself live at noon.

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