Sunday, December 19, 2010

Isn't Science Wonderful, or, How I Joined The 21st Century

I'm a confirmed friend of General Ned Ludd, but every so often something comes along that is a real eye opener and a great use of technology-at present that is a Kindle e-book reader my lovely wife gifted me with recently.
I had resisted it for all the usual well thought out reasons, but a couple of tools and some information changed my mind about it.

First of all there is the idea that the Kindle can carry in excess of 3,000 books within-that's right, folks, an entire moderately sized library in a platform the size of a memo book.

But what really made it for me was a program called Calibre, which allows you to manage your electronic book forays and translate them into the format of your choice, being as Kindle isn't the only game in town.

Amazon thoughtfully provides a page with links to several open source free book repositories, and they do not mention google books which also maintains a large collection of public domain works.

And that's where the interest started, because if something's in the public domain it's free for public use.

At present I have sampled and downloaded the collected works of Ambrose Bierce, a manual for the Liberty V-12 aero engine, Across America By Motorcycle, written by a British army officer in 1921, Three Years in the Confederate Horse Artillery by George Neese (1911), Mr. Dooley's Philosophy by Finley Peter Dunne, The Long Arm of Lee-A History of the Artillery of the Army of Northern Virginia by Jennings Wise (1913), The Long Road to Baghdad by Edmund Candler (1919), a biography of Glenn Curtiss, the aviation pioneer and motorcycle racer deluxe, and a raft of other stuff.

This is a rare opportunity to build the library of your dreams.

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Memo to Tom Miller-Keep It Simple.

It looks like Tom Miller is heading up a fifty state charge that seeks to address the number of bogus residential foreclosures that have become notable lately. Most notable have been the number of affidavits that were signed in bulk by people recruited from homeless missions and fast food outlets.

There's a very simple solution and I know exactly what it is.

Iowa R. Civ. P. 1.413(1) states in part "Counsel's signature to every motion, pleading or paper shall be deemed a certificate that counsel has read the motion, pleading or paper; to the best of counsel's knowledge, information and belief, formed after reasonable inquiry it is well grounded in fact and law and is warranted by existing law or a good faith argument for the extension, modification or reversal of existing law..." 1.413(3) states that any motion asserting facts as the order it seeks and any pleading seeking interlocutory relief shall contain or be accompanied by an affidavit of the person or persons knowing the facts requisite to such relief...

An affidavit, of course, is executed under penalty of perjury.

This places the responsibility for assessing the accuracy of the pleadings squarely on two people-the plaintiff's bar, and the affiants.

It seems clear-discipline the lawyers up to and including disbarment and send the perjurers to prison.

It also places responsibility on the defense bar-put the plaintiffs to their proof. They're the ones with the burden here.

It also places the ultimate responsibility on the judiciary to enforce these precepts and impose sanctions, which are mandatory under Iowa Code Section 619.19. In addition, if a party has filed three lawsuits in the past five years that were unsuccessful, the court may deem these to be frivolous and require the plaintiff to post a bond before proceeding sufficient to pay all costs accruing to opposing parties.