f/k/a archives . . . real opinions & real haiku

January 5, 2006

The State Center: help for state trustbusters, nannies

Filed under: pre-06-2006 — David Giacalone @ 11:12 pm

AEI’s AG Watch may have to change its Least Favorite Website

selection.   It’s nemesis, Prof. Jim Tierney, has a new ally in the 

fight to make State Attorneys General stronger and better cham-

pions of consumers and competition.  It’s The State Center, whose

mission is:

to enhance consumer welfare by supporting the fair,

effective and vigorous enforcement of antitrust and

consumer protection laws at the state level.



The State Center says it is “independent of any other organ-  

nization” and “bipartisan in outlook and approach.”  Its 

Executive Director is Stephen D. Houck, the former chief of

the New York AG antitrust unit.  (see “New York’s Trustbusters,”

NYSBA Journal, July 2004).   It’s 4-person Board of Directors

is chaired by Wisconsin attorney Kevin J. O’Connor; and includes

Prof. Tierney; Penn State law professor Susan Beth Farmer; and 

Shirley Sarna, a former FTC attorney and ex-chief of the NYS AG 

Consumer Frauds Bureau, who now teaches at John Jay Law 



State Center has been busy preparing materials for use by the

Antitrust Modernization Committee, as it looks into the role of

state AGs in antitrust enforcement.   It already has an online

grant application form, and travel stipends for AAGs who want

to attend relevant conferences.


“$key small”  The Center is also setting up a Panel of Economists, in order

to  “have economists available for consultation by AAGs confidentially

and expeditiously, at the State Center’s expense, in the early stages

of an investigation.”

tiny check Steve Houck would like your input: “If you have any

thoughts with respect to the structure, operation or

composition of the State Center Panel of Economists,

don’t hesitate to share them with the Executive Director.” 


Note (especially to AEI’s federales and Prof. B) : We’re pretty

sure Steve means constructive thoughts.

Confession:  Long ago, the Editor of this weblog was a young and

brash FTC antitrust lawyer, who may have looked down his nose at

state law enforcers.  However, as we stated a year ago over at Crime

& Federalism, in How Federalism Saved Antitrust, the states have

proven their worth as protectors and preservers of our nation’s antitrust

regime.   As Lloyd Constantine told the American Antitrust Institute

in 2004:

“BoxerSignG” The Antitrust Laws are worth preserving and fighting

for. It is important for State and Federal antitrust agencies to

try to coordinate their efforts when possible – but it is also

essential that each sovereign guard the law and maintain

its prerogative to act, and if necessary to act boldly and

alone. . . . Federalism is not a suicide pact.”

Although I used the word “nannies” above to attract attention, I believe

that state attorney generals, and thus The State Center, have an impor-

tant role to play in the protection of consumers and competition.  That

is especially true in an era when the interests of the average American

consumer is often given far too little consideration at the federal level. 



His Honor’s glasses
clouding over…
adjourned for snow


     barry george



city lights —

the brightest are all

selling something


      john stevenson

            Upstate Dim Sum (2005/I)









the mountain moon               
gives the blossom thief

                         Issa, translated by David G. Lanoue

                                                                                                                                       55 limit n



winter fog — and (L)Userland

Filed under: pre-06-2006 — David Giacalone @ 2:05 pm

Apologies: We’ve been having a lot of problems accessing

our webserver over the past fortnight, making it very difficult

for us to post, respond, or even see this weblog.   Software 

from the folks at Userland/Manilla keeps identifying us as

potential Spammers — and Userland won’t help the Harvard

webserver fix the problem!   If you know the f/k/a Gang, you

know this is causing major agita.


Now that you’re here, please browse: Besides this homepage,

we suggest our Recent posting, our Guest Poet and dagosan

archives, and our reaction to being chosen “Creative Law Blog


                 winter fog

                     everyone crowds around

                             the mime




snow pile 



                winter fog

                    i stub my toe

                      on the snowman





                        winter fog

                            even the snowman

                                   requires a disguise





wind chill zero

outside the high school

not one jacket zipped





erasingS  Metadata Meshugass:  The Florida Bar Board of Governors

doesn’t like metadata — the hidden data you generate whenever you use

a document program like Word or WordPerfect, including all the changes

you have made in a document (see. IL Trial Practice Weblog and linked

materials; via Legal Underground)  At their meeting in December, the

Board announced its “sense” that mining that information from your

oppoent’s documents is unethical.  The Board therefore submitted two

questions to the Professional Ethics Committee of the Florida Bar:

The first is whether it is unethical for a lawyer to mine metadata

from an electronic document he or she receives from another party.

The second is whether an attorney has an affirmative duty to take

reasonable precautions to ensure that sensitive metadata is removed

from an electronic document before it is transmitted.

Although we have often derided the FBA (e.g., here and here), they might just

have a point. As Prof. Yabut commented over at Legal Underground: a) it does

sound unethical for lawyers to be peeking into their opponents’ e-waste-baskets

merely because they have the technological ability to do so; and b) lawyers do

owe it to their clients to take measures to prevent such spying to the extent

possible.  Some tech-savvy lawyers might think they are providing cutting edge

legal services by mining metadata.  It seems to me they are cutting ethical corners

and that definitive statements from Professional Reseponsibility Committees on

this topic would indeed be helpful would be helpful. [update: David Hricik at Legal

Ethics Forum agrees, Jan. 16, 2006.]




tiny check  Where does john-e-come-lately weblogger The

Wall Street Journal get off giving its new law-oriented

weblog the generic name Law Blog?  Next thing you

know, they’ll be trying to trademark the name.  So far,

there seems to be very little content that would be of

interest to those (like myself) who are indifferent to the

action on Wall Street and in Wall Street law firms.   If

and when I refer to this new weblog, it will be as WSJLawBlog.


erasingSF   Talk about mountains out of molehills and hyper-critical, ivory-

towered academics, check out this post by Prof. Bainbridge.  (“Media Bias?

NYT Headline Refuted by Own Story,”  Jan. 5, 2006).  I’ve said it before:  when

it’s one of his pet peeves, Prof. B. loses all sense of objectivity or proportion. 





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