Tuesday, September 30, 2003
Kiss cites personal concerns regarding his family members and their financial security as well as insufficient campaign funds as reasons he is not seeking the party's nomination.
Kiss had the backing of the chamber of commerce, insurance companies and healthcare workers. I think the money would have been there had he wanted to make a run for it. It is unclear who, if anyone, will step up to challenge Warren McGraw.
Acting under authority of the new law passed in June, the Workers' Compensation Division gave the man compensation based on rates that had been lowered as of July 1. The worker claims his right to due process was violated by the retroactive application of the law.
If the suit is successful, the date of the injury would be the operative factor in determining benefits, not the date of the decision. The division claims that if the suit is successful, the fund could go bankrupt.
According to Chief Justice Starcher, the goal is to stabilize non-threatening offenders with mental illness in their communities and keep them out of the criminal justice system.
Saturday, September 27, 2003
The Fourth Circuit disagreed, holding that although
the plaintiffs' proposed use is afforded First Amendment protection ... We also conclude ... that the Board's exclusion of the plaintiffs from the community centers, which we classify as limited public fora, is viewpoint-neutral and reasonable in light of the purpose of the centers. It is reasonable for the Board to limit use of the community centers to recreational and community enrichment activities, and formal private education is not a use that is consistent with those purposes. We conclude that Calvert County's exclusion of the plaintiffs' proposed uses does not violate the plaintiffs' right to free speech or to equal protection under the First or Fourteenth Amendments. We affirm the order of the district court....although under different reasoning.I always thought the idea of homeschooling was to teach the kids at home. Why should you expect to be granted the use of a government building to conduct homeschooling of your children? The government has already invested millions of dollars in school buildings for that exact purpose. The court here recognized that it was reasonable for the county to prohibit schooling activities in these community centers. The restriction is content-neutral in that it does not attempt to decide what can be taught or learned. It is a blanket prohibition. Therefore it survives First Amendment scrutiny, in the opinion of the court.
Thursday, September 25, 2003
The article notes that the do not call list could jepardize thousands of West Virginia jobs. An appeal of the ruling is expected.
Wednesday, September 24, 2003
[Via W.Va. Chamber of Commerce "Chamber Links" newsletter]
West Virginia’s Vision Shared initiative has produced a technology study report, entitled “eWest Virginia, Comparative Analysis of State Government IT Enterprises,” highlights deficiencies and recommended improvements in the state’s information technology management and infrastructure.
The report was prepared by the Southern Growth Policies Board and the Vision Shared New Economy Task Force chaired by Verizon’s Gale Given and Cabell County Circuit Judge Dan O'Hanlon. The Southern Growth Policies Board was asked to carry out an analysis of West Virginia's strengths and weaknesses in state government information technology. SGPB is a non-profit agency supporting governmental and economic development programs across a 14-state southern region.
Among its findings and recommendations, the report highlights states that are exemplary in “their use of technology to improve delivery of state services to citizens. The authors also cite lessons learned from poorly implemented plans in other states,” according to Vision Shared.
The report’s main proposition is that there should be a centralization in the management and operation of the state's "fragmented" IT infrastructure....with other general recommendations on undertaking strategic technology planning, empowering a strong state CIO and creating an independent, consolidated state IT authority (see pages 33-36).
The report also have a number of recommendations and best practices suggestions from other states regarding rural broadband access and availability, which is an emerging issue for W.Va.'s community technological and economic development efforts.
“This study sets the stage for an ongoing strategic technology planning process in state government, whereby we can integrate our efforts, set priorities and timetables and, ultimately, realize the results from our technology investments,” Judge O’Hanlon said.
Tuesday, September 23, 2003
Monday, September 22, 2003
The problem I see with the order is that it required that area residents be tested at DuPont's expense before trial without all of the Bower v. Westinghouse factors being met. (See this previous post). As the company's attorneys are arguing, "[b]y ordering blood testing before a trial, DuPont says, Hill 'put the cart before the horse.'"
The Carter v. Monsanto case would seem to say that any pre-trial testing is the responsibility of the allegedly injured party, not the defendant. The first element of a cause of action for medical monitoring is a showing that the Plaintiff was "significantly exposed" to the hazardous substance in question. That is part of the plaintiff's burden of proof. I do not believe the court should shift the cost of proving that element to the defendant. That was the sentiment expressed in the Monsanto case, and I can't see any difference here. The plaintiffs can all recover their testing costs once they receive a verdict, if indeed they are successful.
Thursday, September 18, 2003
Rory (Rory Perry's Weblog) mentions in this post that he would prefer not to have the portal frame over the Supreme Court's web site, and I don't blame him. It took a lot of work to create the look and feel of the Court's web site, and the folks who built the portal site apparently think their product is so good, no one will mind taking it with them. It is obnoxious. Rory also notes some separation of powers issues. "Quite apart from the accesibility issues created by the inserting the image-map into our site, the practice would also appear to violate separation of powers principles, as well as interfere with the impartiality and independence of the judiciary, not to mention being a questionable security practice."
I was really just kidding in this post about the executive branch power play, but Rory is not joking. He is looking to the blog community for suggestions regarding measures he can implement to prevent the portal's navigation element. So if you are a good scripter and can lend a hand, please contact him.
Thursday, September 11, 2003
I noticed that the article does not hyperlink the new URL. Why? I can understand having a policy about not linking to web sites, but when your article is posted online, and the subject of the article is a new web site, and you print the URL in the article, wouldn't it make sense to hyperlink it?
Anyway, the new site is supposed to be streamlined and more user-friendly. It uses folder-style tabs toward the top with drop-down menus, a left sidebar with featured links, and a right side bar for information such as lottery numbers and weather info. No links to all of the video lottery locations on the main page yet, but I am sure that is in the works.
The site search window has been moved to the top, which is a good idea. However, I clicked on it, typed supreme court and when I hit enter, I got a pop-up window that said I had to click on the button with my mouse -- annoying. Also, I was surprised to find that the words supreme court turned up zero hits. (Could that be an intentional move by the executive branch? The term governor turned up several hits. -- Rory, you may want to investigate this blatant power play.)
The site also has an annoying "crawler banner" along the top which you can read if you want to sit there for a minute or two staring at it.
The Governor wanted the site to be a portal for all of the branches of state government. According to the article, this is only two phases of a bigger web site overhaul. Over the next year the look of sites for each agency and department will be standardized to match the portal.
A new tourism site similar in style is expected to be launched on September 30.
An expedited review has been ordered, with oral argument to take place on Friday, October 10, at 9 AM. The post also contains links to the papers filed in the cases, and a copy of the order.
Wednesday, September 10, 2003
There is a silver lining, however. People who paid for the premium upgrade can get a "refund in the form of a Blogger sweatshirt," according to the article.
ME: "Hey, I paid for the premium upgrade so I could get an XML feed for a year, and now you are giving it away!"
BLOGGER: "Yeah, well, uh, sure, but we'll give you a refund."
ME: "Great! A prorated return of my annual fee for the unused months?"
BLOGGER: "No, just this sweatshirt with our corporate logo, so you can do some advertising for us out there in meatspace."
ME: "So you are taking my money and making me your walking billboard?"
BLOGGER: "Right, but you have to act fast. The offer is only good until October 1!"
ME: "Let's see... What was Ernie saying about TypePad..."
I have downloaded one or two e-books, and I must admit I did not enjoy the reading experience. In fact, I could not bring myself to finish two of the books, and I paid full-price for them. The e-book format is great for reading in short spurts of 10 or 15 minutes--great for reference books, but not so great for novels. I greatly enjoy having the Bible on my PDA. Zipping to a particular verse has never been easier. I downloaded the Pocket PC version of the Modern King James Bible, which you can find at Olive Tree Bible Software.
Tuesday, September 09, 2003
This suit brings the total to three pending or threatened. Harless has another suit in the works challenging the constitutionality of video gambling, which provides revenue to fund the program.
The cities of Charleston and Huntington along with Kanawha and Ohio Counties filed a separate lawsuit asking the state Supreme Court to uphold the constitutionality of the grant handouts and video gambling.
I have the answer (aren't you glad?). It will take a cheaper, more portable and more versatile display. I have a device in mind: a very thin, simple, inexpensive, wireless "tablet" that has not been invented yet. It would be able to display anything a monitor can display (including video, etc.) The device would look sort of like the duty rosters on Star Trek the Next Generation except a little bigger-- about 1/8" to 1/4" in thickness and slightly larger than an 8 1/2" x 11" piece of paper (about the size of a basic clipboard without the clip). It would have a few very simple control buttons (hopefully flat) in the nature of an e-book reader (a power button, arrow buttons to turn pages, etc). Document images could be loaded onto the unit instantly and wirelessly from a notebook PC, a PDA, computer or other tablet. Tablets could be synchronized by the users, so if say four people (you, a judge, a witness and opposing counsel) wanted to look at the same document, you could do that with one person controlling the displays of the other three. The only purpose of this unit is to display and share documents.
Such a device is the missing link for lawyers and probably for most business people trying to get away from paper. With modern tools, you can scan all of your case documents into PDF format, but just try to show them to a judge at a hearing. Or try sharing them with other parties at a deposition. You can store them on a PDA, but reading a PDF document on a PDA is torture. You may have all of your documents in digital format, but the fact is you still have to print them if you want to share them in a live setting. No one wants to carry a projector to a hearing or a deposition just to show a handful of documents to the witness or a judge, so they are forced to print out the pages they think they will need and take them along. The irony is that paperless systems are less "portable" and "sharable" than paper systems. With paper documents, you can just pass the document around the room or hand it to the bailiff to show the judge. With digital documents, you don't have that option unless the Court is using the same technology as you (and knows how to use it). That's why we need a simple device like this.
The tablet PC is a step in the right direction, but they are just too expensive and clunky. They are trying to be laptop computers. We need a lean, mean, quick and reliable device to replace paper. Okay, now who is going to build it?
Monday, September 08, 2003
The article also notes that "[w]hile West Virginia considers its first stab at a water use law, it could also play a role in a legal battle between Virginia and Maryland that is now before the U.S. Supreme Court." Apparently, Virginia is suing Maryland to increase its access to the Potomac River. "As West Virginia was part of Virginia until the 1860s, the Mountain State could claim to have inherited whatever rights the justices say that Virginia has." We'll keep a close eye on that one.
Saturday, September 06, 2003
Friday, September 05, 2003
60 of the children were from one school -- Van Devender Junior High School in Wood County.
The purpose of the e-Goverment initiative is to "use improved Internet-based technology to make it easy for citizens and businesses to interact with the government, save taxpayer dollars, and streamline citizen-to-government communications." That, to me, sounds like a critical function in the 21st century. The follow-up article makes the surprising revelation that the U.S. Senate has slashed the e-Gov program to $1 million for fiscal 2004. This seems like a paltry sum of money for such an important program. And I am not just saying that because a fellow West Virginian is taking over the helm. Someone out there needs to be pushing the government toward common standards--hopefully open source standards like XML. I wonder if this is a priority?
Update: I just noticed this article in ZDNet that says "Jamie Love, an open-source advocate at Ralph Nader's Consumer Project on Technology, said he had made some progress persuading Forman--Evans' predecessor--to move toward open standards and open file formats inside the federal government." It doesn't mention XML, but I would bet that is a component of the lobbying effort. The ZDNet article also adds that Evans is a graduate of my alma mater, West Virginia University.
Thursday, September 04, 2003
They want their money, Larry wants to hold everything and reexamine the use of video lottery funds in the first place.
I think the expansion of gambling in this state was a terrible idea we will live to regret. I regret it every time I drive through town and see flashing neon signs advertising "casinos." (Even though West Virginia does not allow "casinos," apparently these video lottery facilities are using "casino" in their corporate names to circumvent the advertising ban. Something has to be done about that. ... But I digress).
I also don't like the idea of our government spending millions of dollars every year to directly fund private projects (why not spend the money on improved infrastructure and schools to support new businesses?) However, the people, through the legislature, have spoken on these issues, and it is time for use to move on. This incessant stream of litigation over the Economic Development Grant Committee and the way they spend their funds must end. It is time for us to live with the consequences of our choices.
If the IRS doesn't understand the tax code, how can it expect taxpayers to understand it?
Tuesday, September 02, 2003
He hopes to help create a critical mass of small technology firms in the Interstate 79 high technology corridor, using resources of West Virginia University’s tech research initiatives and Wheeling’s National Technology Transfer Center.