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Where is Your Stimulus Going?

819 billion dollars certainly sounds like a lot of money, but where is it going when all this pans out? Fortunately the Washington Post is right there with a graphic breakdown of the stimulus plan. It lets you see not only where the money is going, but when it is going there. At the moment it looks like the largest sums of money will be going to education and Medicaid, with tax credits and state money not far behind. You can also, of course, go look at the plan on the White House website.  Do you think that this looks like a good plan? Where would you make changes?

Thanks to the Law Librarian Blog for once again pointing us toward good information.

Black History Month and the N.A.A.C.P.

This Black History Month is a particularly poignant one. We can celebrate the election of the first black president at the same time that we are observing the 100th anniversary of the N.A.A.C.P. There will be more on the N.A.A.C.P. on February 12th, which is the day itself, but for the moment you might be interested in looking at the new display in the hallway.

Obama Back in Indiana

President Obama is appearing today in Elkhart, Indiana to talk to people about the stimulus plan. This is Obama’s first gathering with regular Americans since taking office. According to White House Press Secretary Gibbs, however, this is not as much an effort to sell the stimulus plan as it is for the government to remind itself of the economic problems facing the nation—“We aren’t in Elkhart to explain Washington’s process to them, but instead to highlight for Washington the problems and pain facing Americans.”

For more see the articles from CNN and MSNBC.

Do You Blog?

There has been some debate recently about law student blogs. It started with a post on the Volokh Conspiracy about dwindling numbers of student bloggers, which sparked a lot of discussion. There are several reasons that law students don’t blog—they don’t have the time, or they graduate and move on, and of course the terrifying idea that saying the wrong thing could influence a future employer. Since then the issue has appeared in other places, including The Shark, and Legal Blog Watch, which suggest that maybe schools should offer services to encourage their students’ blogging.

Blogging is not easy. If you are going to be good it is pretty time consuming and requires a certain level of personal interest. You have to always have something to say, and you have to be very careful that what you say is not going to come back to haunt you. You need to be interesting, relevant, current, and appropriate—not an easy thing to pull off. At the same time, though, blogging can be a real boon. You can use it to keep your thoughts organized, and the very exercise of preparing them for publication forces you to refine them. The same future employers who might be shocked by a nasty remark can be impressed by a blog that shows perception and dedication.

So go ahead and blog—you can do yourself a lot of good—but it is worth it to give a blog the time and attention that it deserves. Remember that if you wouldn’t want to say it in an interview now, you certainly don’t want it to take you by surprise in an interview in a few years.

A Circus Trial

Yesterday the D.C. Circuit Court heard opening arguments in an animal rights case against the Ringling Brothers and Barnum& Bailey Circus. The trial has been years in the making, with special interest groups trying to show that the Circus’ treatment of their elephants violates the Endangered Species Act. If you are interested in finding out more, both the Circus and the Animal Welfare Institute have created websites to plead their respective cases and provide court documents to interested parties.

Half a Century After Holly

50 years ago today we saw the end of three promising young musicians—Buddy Holly, Ritchie Valens, and J.P. “The Big Bopper” Richardson. The Big Bopper was fresh and bouncy, Valens was making a place for Hispanics in the rock ‘n’ roll world, and Holly was making inroads in both music development and, according to a couple of Texas Tech professors, the legal world. Holly was one of the first musicians to produce himself. His control over his own intellectual property not only made him a lot of money, but it allowed him to develop in ways that the music industry might have been slower to embrace without Holly. It’s thought that his wife, Maria Elena Holly, was also influential on his business practices, and in honor of the two the Texas Right of Publicity Act is referred to as “the Buddy Holly law,” and she still owns the rights to his name today. Today is a fitting day to remember the man who so greatly influenced music and intellectual property law. It’s a good time to listen to Peggy Sue, La Bamba, Chantilly Lace, or American Pie.

Happy Groundhog Day!

Want to know more about Groundhog Day? There are several good websites. Probably the most famous weather-predicting groundhog is Punxsutawney Phil, native of Punxsutawney, Pennsylvania. You can take a look at his official website for a thorough if slightly skewed look at the day. There are several places on the site which claim a 100% accuracy rate for Phil. According to StormFax, however, he only gets it correct about 39% of the time. Phil is not the only game in town, either. There are actually several weather predicting groundhogs. Ask.com has compiled a list, complete with links to websites. If you really want to know more you can head over to the Wells Library and take a look at the Don Yoder’s book on the subject, called simply Groundhog Day—you can get a preview of it on Google Book Search. Or you might just kick back and watch the Groundhog Day movie.

In any case have a very happy Groundhog Day. Phil predicted six more weeks of winter this morning, so stay warm!

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