November 2014


Thanksgiving turkeys pardoned

Turkeys, stuffed or pardoned, are an American favorite.

I’ll be the first to admit that I appear to be easily impressed by turkey stories. In past years, I’ve pointed you to turkey pardons, here and here, and even just Turkey generally (see what I did there?)

But though we often are subjected to the annual ritual of public figures “pardoning” a select fortunate turkey (while its cousins end up on America’s dinner tables), we sometimes wonder if that is all for show. Does the gobbling poultry live out a happy life gobbling, or are they dispatched soon after the press conference?

One news story confronted that question head on and discovered that, at least in regard to last year, the turkey was living a life of ease. (And if you ever wondered why the White House always pardons white turkeys, well, there’s a news story that explains that too.)

turkey Thanksgiving I regret nothing gif

The message, I suppose: Enjoy life while you’ve got it.

But today is Thanksgiving Wednesday, which, in the world of my blog, means it must stand in for a lighter Change of Venue Friday. And to get you chuckling (before the gobbling), I take you to Seattle, Wash., where the Mayor has granted a pardon to … a tofurky.

Seattle Mayor grants pardon to Tofurky, to the acclaim of hipsters. (Source: NOT The Onion)

Seattle Mayor grants pardon to Tofurky, to the acclaim of hipsters. (Source: NOT The Onion)

Thank you to journalist and former Phoenician Jon Talton for pointing out this hilarious act of municipal largesse. I suppose if there is anything that will mock turkey pardons into history, it is the pardon of processed tofu in the shape of a turkey.

Whatever you plan to enjoy at your table, I wish you and yours the best.

turkey and girl

A girl and her turkey (meal)

Erwin Chemerinsky Supreme Court book coverBefore November runs its course, I wanted to point out one item in this month’s Arizona Attorney you may have missed—a book review.

My fondness for book reviews—when well done—is unabashed. And this month, attorney Roxie Bacon examines a new book by Erwin Chemerinsky that dissects the U.S. Supreme Court.

Chemerinsky is Dean of the UC-Irvine law school, as well as an accomplished scholar and SCOTUS litigant. And his assessment of the Court’s standing is damning. He argues that the Court has fallen down on the job in regard to its most important missions.

You can read Roxie’s excellent review here.

Meantime, for those who think Chemerinsky and Bacon are being too hard on the High Court, consider the current thinking of someone who knows that tribunal well. Linda Greenhouse covered the Supreme Court for years for the New York Times (and I spoke with her once myself, here). Now, she merely shakes her head in dismay at the tortuous legal paths the Court’s majority have taken in significant cases.

Linda Greenhouse

Linda Greenhouse

You should read Greenhouse’s op-ed, and feel free to let me know if the assembled thinkers have overstated their case, or if you agree.

A grateful hat-tip to Kristen Senz of the New Hampshire Bar Association for mentioning Greenhouse’s essay.

Five years ago, this law blog started as a novel. Thanks and I'm sorry.

Five years ago, this law blog started as a novel. Thanks and I’m sorry. (Photo by mpclemens)

Five years is a long time to do anything—especially write a daily legal blog. But it was November 2009 when I launched this blog. How to celebrate?

Well, I won’t urge you to go back in blog time and to read old posts. But I will note this blog’s literary roots.

In case you don’t know, I started this blog as a method to publish a legal novel—written all in one month, November 2009, as part of a national novel-writing effort.

At the bottom of this post, I’ll share some links to a few chapters of the book. But before I do, here is how I previously described the adventure:

“Originally, in November 2009, this blog launched as a portal for my novel-in-progress titled ‘The Supremes’. It is a tale of a firm comprised mainly of retired state supreme court justices. They thought working together would be a great idea. Oy.”

“The novel effort was part of a national write-a-novel-in-a-month event. See here for more information on that crazy venture.”

nanowrimo novel writing postcard“Since then, I have blogged about law and law practice in one of the most, um, colorful states in the Union. Day in and day out, fascinating people and topics come to the fore, almost yearning to be transformed into blog posts. And so I oblige.”

“My novel was in memory of lawyer-author Peter Baird, who was a great friend and influence to many others, whether they were lawyers or writers. He died suddenly in late August 2009, and he will be missed.”

“Each novel chapter opens with a quotation from the respective portion of the United States Code. There are 50 ‘titles’ (chapters) in the Code, but we’ll see if there are 50 chapters. Time will tell.”

Here are the first few chapters. If you want to read more … I bet you can figure it out.

Prologue

Chapter 1

Chapter 2

Chapter 3

Chapter 4

Chapter 5

Artist Don Coen speaks before the opening of his "Migrant Series," Phoenix Art Museum, Oct. 17, 2014.

Artist Don Coen speaks before the opening of his “Migrant Series,” Phoenix Art Museum, Oct. 17, 2014.

An impressive show has launched at the Phoenix Art Museum that forces viewers to take a closer look at people and products they may take for granted. “The Migrant Series” by Don Coen is composed of arresting portraits of the migrant workers who bring much of the food to American tables. It opened on October 18 and runs through February 1, 2015.

Just a few days ago, I recommended an art-related event. I hadn’t planned to offer another so soon, but last night’s address by President Obama explaining his sweeping move to overhaul the nation’s immigration system got me thinking that this Change of Venue Friday should also head down the migrant path.

Understand, Don Coen’s remarkable artwork is not about undocumented workers or illegal immigration—though its appearance at the museum was affected by both of those things. Instead, his pieces are about the people themselves, most often workers who are here legally.

A media preview of the show on October 17 gave the opportunity to hear from the Colorado artist and some museum officials.

Ten years’ work went into the show, Coen said. And it was our relationship with our dining-room table that drove him.

“At Whole Foods, we pick up food, but we usually have no idea where it comes from,” Coen told attendees.

Perhaps best known for his previous work called the Lamar Series, Coen hopes viewers focus on the workers who bring that food to most Americans.

“I don’t think anyone will walk into the show and leave without knowing these people.”

Aiding in that result will be the near-photo-realism of the works, their close-up nature, and their massive scale.

Coen was accompanied at the media tour by his two grown sons. Shane Coen said, “Don saw the workers as friends, humans. He wanted to tell the human stories, show their faces.

Museum Director Jim Ballinger said how impressed he is by Coen’s work, including how its “luminosity is built up through layers of paint”—60 to 120 layers of paint per painting.

“This shows the back-of-the-house of the agricultural economy,” Ballinger told me. “America is so urban that we don’t see the agricultural life.”

That is the show’s most important layer, Ballinger said. When pressed, though, he did discuss the show in relation to the immigration debate.

He said that the museum delayed the show for a few years to avoid getting swept up in the debate over SB1070. “Don Coen’s first interest was not immigration,” Ballinger said. After all, most if not all of the people in the paintings are either citizens or have green cards.

Cover card Don Coen show

But the topic cannot be entirely avoided, Ballinger acknowledged, and in the context of SB1070, there may be great value in helping people understand more about the individuals who work in the fields.

“It may change people’s minds about how we get the food that we get.”

Dr. Jerry Smith, curator of American and Western American Art at the museum, agreed.

“We didn’t want the heated debate of a few years ago to overwhelm the story” of Coen’s work, he said. “There are 1.3 million citizens who are migrant farmers; when those people can see themselves be self-represented, that’s good.”

Smith spoke with me about the paintings’ scale, “which is very important because it makes the point that you are looking at people who should not be ignored.”

“The takeaway is that you really don’t have to be a head of state to get a portrait.”

Son Shane Coen told me that the family originally wasn’t sure the project was a great idea—or how it would be received.

“In the beginning, we asked him, ‘What are you painting?’”

Don Coen, Phoenix Art Museum, Oct. 17, 2014.

Don Coen, Phoenix Art Museum, Oct. 17, 2014.

Ultimately, though, he saw that his father was able to “bring the workers’ voices to light.”

“Hopefully, it will bring more compassion.”

Cord Coen saw the show’s importance in its ability to reveal “a world that is often invisible to us.”

More photos can be found on the Arizona Attorney Magazine Facebook page.

(In case you wondered (as I did), Cord explained how Don Coen worked with such massive canvases: Not (as I had guessed) via scaffold, but by having the pieces raised and lowered into a gap in the floor. That allows Coen to stand on the floor and have the piece ride up and down on a track.)

Don Coen, Phoenix Art Museum, Oct. 17, 2014.

Don Coen, Phoenix Art Museum, Oct. 17, 2014.

Here is some more background from the Phoenix Art Museum:

Don Coen: The Migrant Series was organized by Phoenix Art Museum and opens there on October 18, 2014. The exhibition is comprised of a series of 15 large-scale, realistic portrait paintings of migrant farm laborers by the Colorado artist. The paintings are inspired by photographs of individuals that Coen took on farms across the U.S. over a decade. During the hundreds of hours he spent in the fields studying and taking photos of these farmers, Coen got to know each person’s story and it shows in these paintings. Over the past decade, he painted these works measuring almost 10 by 7 feet using dozens of layers of paint applied with a spray gun—then added the finishing details by hand with pencil. In these portrait paintings, the artist’s non-traditional approach of using airbrush is apparent.

The 3rd annual ASU-Arkfeld eDiscovery Conference will be on March 12-14, 2015. Get your proposed papers in now.

In the event you have a great eDiscovery treatise banging around in your head (or your desk drawer), here is the opportunity for you.

A respected conference focused on eDiscovery and digital evidence is seeking papers on the topic. They are due by December 2, though, so sharpen your (digital) pencils.

Here is more from conference organizers:

“The Conference welcomes papers that fit within our 2015 theme: ‘Know the Law, Know the Technology.’ Papers might address law, technology, or the intersection of the two. All papers submitted will be fully refereed by a minimum of two specialized referees.”

“Only accepted papers will be published in the conference proceedings. Best papers awards will be distributed during the conference, authors will be given an opportunity to briefly present their papers, and selected papers may be published in Law Technology News.”

“Authors whose papers are accepted will be entitled to complimentary registration for the conference. Papers must comply with the guidelines set forth in the attached announcement. The length of the articles will be 800-1000 words.”

The eDiscovery paper brochure is here. Click for more information.

More detail about the conference itself, to be held March 12-14, 2015, is here.

David Taylor, Seismic Sensor, Texas, 2007. From the series “Working the Line,” 2007 – 2010. Pigment print on aluminum, 29 ½ x 36 ⅜ inches. Courtesy of the artist and James Kelly Contemporary, Santa Fe, New Mexico. © David Taylor

David Taylor, Seismic Sensor, Texas, 2007. From the series “Working the Line,” 2007 – 2010. Pigment print on aluminum, 29 ½ x 36 ⅜ inches. Courtesy of the artist and James Kelly Contemporary, Santa Fe, New Mexico. © David Taylor

This Saturday, a symposium examines challenging and timely issues of privacy and security. Coupled with an art exhibition, the panel discussion will include Washington Post journalist Dana Priest, who will deliver the keynote address. Priest is a two-time winner of the Pulitzer Prize.

Organizers say Priest will offer “an incisive appraisal of national security, counter-terrorism and the U.S. intelligence industry since 9/11.” Also appearing will be artists Hasan Elahi, David Gurman and David Taylor; their work probes “electronic surveillance, terrorist profiling and classified government programs.” SMoCA Curator Claire C. Carter and Sandra S. Phillips, Curator of Photography at the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art, will also speak.

The symposium is titled “Stop Asking and Start Questioning: Information, Secrecy and Surveillance Since 9/11.” It is paired with the exhibition “Covert Operations: Investigating the Known Unknowns.” As organizers say, the show:

“considers a generation of artists working in the violent and uncertain decade following the 9/11 terrorist attacks to collect and reveal previously unreported information. Using traditional research methods—such as the Freedom of Information Act, government archives, field research and insider connections—these artists tackle subjects ranging from classi­fied surveillance to terrorist profiling, narcotics traffi­cking to ghost detainees and nuclear weapons to drone strikes. The thirty-seven artworks included in Covert Operations employ the tools of democracy to bear witness to attacks on liberty and to embrace democratic ideals, open government and civil rights.”

More detail on the symposium is here.

Jenny Holzer, Ribs, 2010. Eleven LED signs with blue, red and white diodes, text: US government documents, 58 1/4 x 5 1/4 x 5 3/4 inches each. Courtesy of the artist and Cheim & Read, New York. © 2010 Jenny Holzer, member Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York. Photo: Richard-Max Tremblay.

Jenny Holzer, Ribs, 2010. Eleven LED signs with blue, red and white diodes, text: US government documents, 58 1/4 x 5 1/4 x 5 3/4 inches each. Courtesy of the artist and Cheim & Read, New York. © 2010 Jenny Holzer, member Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York. Photo: Richard-Max Tremblay.

Giving Tuesday 2014 logoA quick item to consider: #GivingTuesday is coming, and you can play a part.

Here is how the creators of the event describe it:

“We have a day for giving thanks. We have two for getting deals. Now, we have #GivingTuesday, a global day dedicated to giving back. On Tuesday, December 2, 2014, charities, families, businesses, community centers, and students around the world will come together for one common purpose: to celebrate generosity and to give.”

“It’s a simple idea. Just find a way for your family, your community, your company or your organization to come together to give something more. Then tell everyone you can about how you are giving. Join us and be a part of a global celebration of a new tradition of generosity.”

University of Arizona Law School logoLast year (the second year of the global effort), it was reported that more than 10,000 partner organizations in 50 states and over 15 countries participated. And from the University of Arizona College of Law, we hear that there is a new way to participate: Lawyers in Arizona—and across the country—will be asked to donate the first billable hour of their day to help fund law scholarships for the First Americans.

Here is more detail about the law school’s “First Hour for First Americans”:

  • The University of Arizona College of Law is focusing attention on #GivingTuesday 2014 to kick off a donation-matching fundraising drive for the Huerta Scholars Program, established at the University of Arizona James E. Rogers College of Law in Tucson in honor of Judge Lawrence Huerta, the first Native American to graduate from the College of Law (Class of ’53) and practice law in Arizona.
  • The “First Hour for the First Americans” scholarship drive for the Huerta Scholars Program will assist future generations of Native American law students to follow in this trailblazing first American’s footsteps at the University of Arizona.
  • Whether supporters are public defenders, partners in a large or small law firm or prosecutors, their donation of one hour of billable work to the “First Hour for the First Americans” scholarship drive will help bring needed support to a population with few resources and significant legal needs.

You can read more about the effort here and here.

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