Monday, October 31, 2005

Carnival Roundup

I've been a bit tardy in linking to Blawg Review, et al. these past couple weeks. So bear with me...

Blawg Review #30, the Howell-o-ween edition, is up at Bag and Baggage. Denise Howell mentions yours truly not once, but twice.

Last week's Blawg Review (#29) was hosted by none other than the Blawg Review editors themselves, on the Blawg Review Homepage, who, in a blog carnival double header, also hosted Carnival of the Capitalists #107. Ed. writes:
Blawg Review was started by some lawyers who blog and others who have participated in Carnival of the Capitalists over the past two years. We owe a lot to Jay Solo and Rob May for the inspiration, and trailblazing the blog carnival concept for business professionals.

This is not the first Carnival of the Capitalists hosted by lawyers, and more have already signed on to host future editions.

Hosting Carnival of the Capitalists #107 and Blawg Review #29 together on the same weblog this week, we hope to introduce our law blog followers to the always informative and often entertaining CotC, and to introduce business blog readers to a good selection of blawgs, recommended reading for everyone interested in business, economics, law, and money quotes.
Grand Rounds Vol. 2 No. 4 was at Diabetes Mine - hosted by a patient blogger. Grand Rounds Vol. 2 No. 5 was at Hospital Impact . And look for tomorrow's Grand Rounds at Kidney Notes .

Can anyone recommend a good Mommy carnival?

Friday, October 28, 2005

Final Update - Chandler, Arizona

The City Council of Chandler met last night and decided to do the right thing:
  • The City Council tentatively adopted a breast-feeding ordinance that allows a mother to breast feed on public or private property "where the mother and child are otherwise authorized to be." Final adoption will be in November and the ordinance would then take effect 30 days from final adoption.
  • Additionally, a resolution was passed encouraging the Legislature to take up the issue of rights for breast-feeding mothers as well. Both votes were unanimous.
This makes Chandler the second city in the nation to pass a breastfeeding ordinance (first was Philadelphia). Thirty-five states (but not Arizona) have passed breastfeeding legislation similar to Chandler's ordinance. The City of Tucson is taking up the issue.

Prior to this week's Council meeting, City Attorney Michael House - who has apparently been living in a cave for the last 50 years - was quoted as saying, "Under the United States Constitution, they, the business owner has the almost unrestricted power to regulate activities on their premises." Excuse me?

Ironically - or not - Chandler was recently named one of the Top 100 Best Communities for Young People .

Links:
Previous post on Chandler, Arizona (with extensive legal discussion)
Previous post on Update - Chandler, Arizona

Thursday, October 27, 2005

Milkdudz vs. Milk Duds Trademark Dispute

**Update 10/28/05** ABC News/AP has picked up this story.

Milkdudz, a company that sells hip, sexy nursing wear, is reportedly in a trademark dispute with Hershey's, maker of "Milk Duds" candies:
Attorney Theresa Middlebrook representing Hershey’s is claiming that a third party consumer would be easily confused between Milkdudz 'not your mommaz nursing wear' and the chocolate covered caramel candy known as "Milk Duds." Also, Hershey's is claiming that Milkdudz 'not your mommaz nursing wear' will somehow tarnish the reputation of the candy. Hershey’s is demanding that the name of the breastfeeding apparel company be changed and the domain rights handed over to Hershey's as soon as now.
Yeah, whatever.

The writer of the press release goes on to explain helpfully, for those who might have skipped Trademarking 101:
While Hershey's had the "Milk Duds" mark officially trademark in 1970, they only marked in the category of CANDY. When adding a trademark to any name/logo, there are many different categories in which you can have exclusive rights to, and while marking "Milk Duds," Hershey’s only marked it in the category "candy" so that technically left the category of "apparel" open.
On a (vaguely) related topic, Breastfeeding Witch Causing Stir In Vermont.

Don't Forget Hurricane Katrina Victims

I am continuing to update the list of childbirth-related hurricane relief efforts.

Thursday, October 20, 2005

Life in a Small Town

We've just come back from several days spent in Monticello, Iowa (population 3,607). The day we arrived, we headed down to the public library to use the computer. All four computers were in use, said the librarian, and would be available in about an hour. She remembered us from our trip last June and our daily one-hour internet-addicted visits. We didn't give her our names or our phone number, but exactly one hour later the phone at my in-laws' house rang. It was the librarian; two computers had opened up and she would reserve them for us if we would come right down.

A similar thing happened this summer when we were visiting, and my son attended vacation bible school at one of the local churches. I was a bit concerned when registering him that I only had to provide my son's name and age and a parent's name. No address, no phone number, no liability release. However, on the second day of VBS, we got a call from the church saying that he had thrown up and maybe we should come get him.

Later this week, my husband went with his dad to make a delivery at an Amish farm in Kalona. They also bought some chickens and a couple dozen eggs (non-certified organic) and received a gift of a large bag of apples and an Angelfood cake, made from scratch by the farmer's wife. They don't have electricity, so it left us wondering how she bakes such beautiful cakes - wood stove? Propane oven? D. and the farmer, a 30-something father of seven, had an interesting conversation about midwives and homebirth and vaccinations and such. Like us, they birthed their firstborn in a hospital; and two midwives in their community assisted the rest. In Iowa, direct-entry midwifery is illegal, but even the most midwifery-hostile states tend to refrain from prosecuting midwives who work exclusively within religious communities. Some states, like California, have a specific religious exemption (art. 2063, Medical Practices Act) for traditional midwives. (Compare, however, the case of Judy Wilson who served both Amish and non-Amish populations in Pennsylvania. Her trial is scheduled for January).

Another neat thing we did was visit the Field of Dreams in Dyersville. We brought along a couple of plastic balls & bats and the boys (ages 4 1/2 and 2 1/2) took a couple of swings and ran the bases. We also walked out of the corn. The Field of Dreams is actually two separate entities - the Lansing family's Field of Dreams Movie Site, where the house used in the movie is located; and the Ameskamp family's Left and Center Field of Dreams, which owns 3rd base and left field. Of course, a feud ensued between the two property owners. Rumor has it that the two parties have patched things up; for instance we noticed the groundskeepers aerating the field on both sides of the property line. Reminders of the division remain, however; two separate roads run down to the site, and a sign on the Lansing farm side lets you know that the Left and Center site is run by "an out-of-state investment trust." For the record, while the Field of Dreams Movie Site has a bigger & closer parking lot, the Left and Center site has a much bigger souvenir shop (with drinks and snacks) and better displays of educational/historical information.

Wednesday, October 12, 2005

Breastfeeding Legislative Update - Wisconsin

A proposed bill in Wisconsin (hey, dairy country!) would impose a fine of $200 on anyone who harasses a breastfeeding mother. To my knowledge, the bill, if passed (doubtful) would make Wisconsin the first state to put teeth into legislation guaranteeing the right to breastfeed in public. Scotland passed such a law earlier this year, and efforts are being made to do the same in Britain.

Tuesday, October 11, 2005

Carnival Roundup

Blawg Review #27 is up at Legal Blog Watch, plus an announcement about Blawg Review.

Grand Rounds Vol. 2 Issue 3 is up. Doulicia is a non-practicing attorney-turned-labor doula - a woman after my own heart. She writes:
This week's Grand Rounds is meditation on symbiotic relationship between law and medicine. I mean, without medicine, what would lawyers do? And without lawyers? Well, probably some aspect of medicine would be worse off than it is now.
What we have this week is a lawyer carnival hosted by a non-lawyer, and a medical carnival hosted by a non-doctor. What's next? Dogs and Cats living together? (Just kidding, I think it's marvelous.)

Saturday, October 08, 2005

Implications of Cerebral Palsy Litigation

The Journal of the American Medical Association has an excellent editorial on Cerebral Palsy Litigation (subscription required, but you can read it here). The author points out important facts about Electonic Fetal Monitoring (EFM), such as:
EFM as compared with monitoring by intermittent auscultation is associated with no decrease in perinatal deaths, no fewer admissions to neonatal intensive care units, no fewer Apgar scores below 7 or below 4, and no less incidence of CP. All randomized trials of EFM to date have shown that such monitoring is associated with a higher rate of interventions into the process of birth and, in the United States, with an increased rate of surgical delivery.
Which begs the question, doesn't it, which advocates of evidenced-based obstetrics have been asking for years - if continuous EFM increases the risk of interventions, has few if any benefits, and creates a record which could be used in litigation (and given the EFM's high false-postitive rate, more likely to be used offensively than defensively), then why is it still being used? Some have suggested it is due to inadequate levels of nursing staff:
Studies that show intermittent auscultation to be equivalent or better than EFM had 1:1 ratios of nurses to patients and fetal heart tones were assessed every 15 to 30 minutes during the first stage of labor and every five minutes in the second stage. In one study, a university hospital center attempted to use intermittent auscultation as the primary method of monitoring without increasing the number of staff. Auscultation was only successfully completed in 31 of 862 patients in labor with viable fetuses. Intermittent auscultation was abandoned for most patients because the staff was not able to maintain the required 1:1 nurse-patient ratio.
Which leads to yet another question: if there is not enough nursing staff available to cary out intermittent fetal monitoring, is there enough nursing staff available to provide optimal care to the patient?

Legal Blogging

The New York Times ran a piece this week (Opening Arguments, Endlessly) about lawyers blogging - although, apparently, they are in desparate need of a fact checker.

Wednesday, October 05, 2005

The Next Supreme Court Justice of the United States

When I was twelve, I wanted to be a lawyer.

This may not seem so surprising, since I actually am a lawyer. However, after my brief early flirtation with the law, I quickly lost interest in the legal profession, an interest I did not regain until about 6 months after I graduated from college.

But my dad, the son of a lawyer who had himself once planned to go to law school, did his best to encourage my career aspirations. One day when there was no school, he took the day off work. We went downtown to the Dallas Courthouse, where we spent a good hour or so watching the morning docket - mostly plea bargains, that sort of thing. I got to go up to the bench and meet the aptly named Judge Scales.

After our morning in court, we had lunch with a lawyer friend of my dad's - actually, a woman he had dated in college. From what my family tells me, theirs was a fairly serious relationship. Don't know exactly why things didn't work out between them, but according to my grandmother, my father (now deceased) is known to have said that she was "too much woman for him." Or any man, for that matter; as it turns out, she never married.

I don't remember her giving me any great career advice. What do you say to a twelve-year old who wants to be a lawyer? "Don't do it, kid, you'll regret it"? "Stay in school and get good grades"? What I do remember is people stopping her in the hall at the courthouse, asking her questions or just greeting her, and she seemed like a busy person who knew a lot of people. Back then I didn't have words for it, but now I would use words like "important", "powerful", "well-connected", "respected". Busy, but not too busy to have lunch with an old friend and his daughter.

That woman was Harriet Miers.

My father's family, most of whom are Catholic Democrats (as was Ms. Miers, once upon a time), are delighted to know someone who has been nominated to the Supreme Court. They always liked her, and we all have been following her career for years. No "Harriet who?" comments around here. It's probably the only thing that George W. has ever done that they have approved of. The conservative pundits, however, are "disappointed" and "underwhelmed". With a few notable exceptions; Marvin Olasky is blogging both "pro" and "con" - but he has interviewed actual people who actually know Ms. Miers. Texas attorney Beldar is doing a great job of defending and fact-checking (here and here and here and here and here and here). For instance, he points out that the Texas Bar Association is a very different animal from the ABA. Locke, Liddell is a top Texas law firm. And while SMU may not be a "first tier" law school, it is by no means "second rate". It is well-respected both regionally and internationally, and as an SMU law graduate, the wife of an SMU law graduate, and the descendant of an SMU law professor, I will have you remember that. Thank you very much.

"'Every woman lawyer in Dallas, Texas, owes a debt to Harriet Miers,' said Robin P. Hartmann, a partner with the Dallas law firm of Haynes and Boone", quoted in an Associated Press article.

My point exactly.

Sunday, October 02, 2005

William Bennett

Douglas Wilson has some interesting comments on the recent William Bennett conflagration:
While recently walking in the meadows of public discourse, William Bennett stepped in the cow pie of truth. He mentioned that if evil, pragmatic outcomes were your only consideration, you could reduce crime by evil means.
and later:
Blacks are far more likely to be incarcerated than whites. That is the simple fact, and the basis of Bennett's hypothetical (and roundly condemned by Bennett) scenario. White racists attribute the difference in the incarceration rates to the genetic and hardwired attraction of blacks to crime. Liberals of various stripes blame various societal factors, like the "cycle of poverty" caused by society generally, and selective and prejudicial enforcement of the laws. But in that debate, both the liberals and the racists are talking about the same phenomenon, an indisputable phenomenon which it is apparently now hazardous to even mention.