Saturday, October 04, 2008

New Launch of Global Legal Monitor

The Law Library of Congress recently announced big changes to its Global Legal Monitor, which covers news and legal developments worldwide. Formerly a monthly PDF publication, Global Legal Monitor is now a continuously updated web site that is browseable by topic and jurisdiction and fully searchable. Drawing from official national legal sources, reliable press sources, and its own Global Information Network (GLIN) database, Global Legal Monitor is a great place to find information, with links to primary documents, about new laws, constitutional developments, treaties, and major legal news events of other countries and regions. Each legal development has its own permanent link for easy access and sharing.

Ernster, the Virtual Library Cat

Friday, October 03, 2008

VP Debate - getting their facts straight

Watch Sarah Palin face off with Joe Biden last night? I lost count how many times each of them claimed that what the other said was not true. So, I have turned to my trusty fact checking sites for the VP debate - and - - a cooperative effort of Congressional Quarterly and the St. Petersburg Times.

So, did Barak Obama vote to increase taxes “families” making as little as $42,000 a year as Sarah Palin claimed? He did not. According to, "the budget bill in question called for an increase only on singles making that amount, but a family of four would not have been affected unless they made at least $90,000 a year."

Did John McCain really say, as Joe Biden claimed last night, that "he wouldn't even sit down with the government of Spain, a NATO ally that has troops in Afghanistan with us now."? According to, not really, but rather "McCain refused to commit."

What I really like about both of these sites is that they give you links to follow up the sources of their information so we can make our own judgments.

Ernster, the Virtual Library Cat

Thursday, October 02, 2008

Opening Westlaw PDF Documents in Internet Explorer 7

Those who are having difficulty opening Westlaw documents in PDF using the Internet Explorer 7 Web browser may wish to try re-setting their browsers per these instructions.

(Thanks to the Paul L. Boley Law Library of Lewis & Clark Law School for providing this information).

Ernster, the Virtual Library Cat

Wednesday, October 01, 2008

Getting to Know HeinOnline

HeinOnline's legal database provides access to full-text legal resources including treaties, law review articles and cases from the U.S. Supreme Court. In addition, the HeinOnline Wiki includes frequently asked questions, instructional videos and training guides.

Ernster, the Virtual Library Cat

Tuesday, September 30, 2008

New Look for UN Treaty Collection site

The United Nations Treaty Collection has a new refined look. The front page is much easier to view and the contents clearly identified. Searching for a treaty is streamlined and there are some advance search features including: Popular Name, Participant search and Title search. Texts of the treaties are in PDF. Better yet, you can access the text of the treaty from the "Status of Treaty" database. One just has to figure out which of the icons to use.

Ernster, the Virtual Library Cat

Monday, September 29, 2008

Obscenity Laws and The First Amendment

If you are interested in obscenity laws and the First Amendment, you might want to check out Obscene. Obscene is a documentary about Barney Rosset, the founder of Grove Press and the publisher who fought obscenity laws in order to bring classics such Lady Chatterly's Lover and Henry Miller's Tropic of Cancer to the United States. Rosset is also receiving an award from the National Book Foundation.

Ernster, the Virtual Library Cat

Law Library Staircase Repairs

The Library staircase closest to room 102A is closed for repair today. Please use the staircase next to room 104 to access (or exit) the lower level of the library. Apologies for the late notice!

Ernster, the Virtual Library Cat

Fact-Checking Friday's Debate

Here are a few of the claims made by Senators McCain and Obama in Friday's presidential debate, and resources for checking their accuracy. and the Washington Post's Fact Checker blog each have their fact-checking for the whole debate on a single page, so those two links are only provided here. PolitiFact has separate pages for each claim, which are linked to individually.

- The kerfuffle over whose position on talking to Iran is most like Henry Kissinger's.
The answer is nuanced. Here is Kissinger's reaction.

- Obama's tax plans. Obama said that he would give 95% of people a tax cut. McCain said that Obama had voted to increase taxes on people making as little as $42,000 per year.
The answer to the latter depends on whether a vote on a budget resolution counts.

- McCain: "The average South Korean is 3 inches taller than the average North Korean."
This is true.

- McCain: Pakistan was a "failed state" before Musharraf came to power.
This was not answered by any of the fact-checking sites mentioned, but using "a country in social and economic collapse where the government no longer exercises authority" as a definition for a "failed state," this AP article calls the statement false.

Several more claims are fact-checked on the sites mentioned.

Ernster, the Virtual Library Cat