November 5 2007 Legal Blog Roundup

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Here's another interesting book written by a lawyer: Speechless: The Erosion of Free Expression in the American Workplace by Vanderbilt professor Bruce Barry. If you've been down recently thinking that all those pesky little details like habeas corpus and other civil liberties were being limited or tossed out by the current administration, read up on what an increasing number of lawyers and law professors are calling the war on free speech.

Barry has a decidedly pro-free speech perspective — he's the president of the board of directors of the American Civil Liberties Union of Tennessee — but his book does make for timely reading. Read the book, but before you do that, read the mini review at www.paemploymentlawblog.com/2007/09/articles/

discrimination/freedom-of-speech-in-the-workplace-think-again. Also check out Chris McKinney's blog entry "Limits of Free Speech in the Workplace" and "Freedom of Speech in the Workplace: Think Again" by Michael A. Moore (the lawyer, not the filmmaker).

Patently has an interesting October 16 entry that may help you decide whether or not to take on that next patent case. The entry, titled "Patent Office Has Stopped Examining Patents with 25+ Claims," shows that the Patent Office is cracking down on serial patent claimers, especially those who have unresolved patents waiting to be examined.

Heads up; those of you who missed it can still read the spring 2007 issue of the ABA's Human Rights Magazine dealing this time with that ever-contentious issue of the death penalty. Here's an unsavory morsel: guess which five countries executed the most prisoners in 2006? China (in the lead by thousands), Iran, Pakistan, Iraq, and Sudan. Number six is the good ol' USA, which missed the fifth spot it held the year prior by just eight executions. Ponder it all at www.abanet.org/irr/hr/spring07/home.html.

Lawyers enjoy their gadgets and tech toys, right? Who doesn't? Here's a common conundrum: been spending too much time on your cell phone, computer, or iPod recently? (We're excluding you crackberries on this one — I mean, question asked, question answered, right?) Well, here's a scary thought: 24% of Americans recently told Zogby International that the Internet can serve as a satisfactory substitute for a significant other for an extended period of time.

That's right — forget the kids, the spouse, that lover you're having a tumultuous affair with — all you need is a high-speed Internet connection and boom! Adios humanity. What hath happened to you, America?

Another crazy finding: most Americans are willing (yes, willing) to have chips implanted in children under 13 years of age to track them if they are lost, abducted, or simply truant. Big Brother's antlers are growing as I write this, and surely Orwell must be tossing in his grave. Looks like the days of ditching gym class and going to the mall are coming to an end. Read the terrifying results at 463.blogs.com/the_463/2007/10/hi-there-im-the.html.

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