: The Blawgraphy
Life of a Law Student, University of Houston Law Center

Please note: I'm no longer updating this particular blog, but keep it around for archival purposes. Visit me at the current blog at

Is Obama the first Web 2.0 President

Marc Ambinder’s article in The Atlantic, HisSpace outlines a vision for technological revolution under an Obama Presidency similar to Candidate Obama’s nimble use of social media to harness support -

Obama clearly intends to use the Web, if he is elected president, to transform governance just as he has transformed campaigning. Notably, he has spoken of conducting “online fireside chats” as president. And when one imagines how Obama’s political army, presumably intact, might be mobilized to lobby for major legislation with just a few keystrokes, it becomes possible, for a moment at least, to imagine that he might change the political culture of Washington simply by overwhelming it.

What Obama seems to promise is, at its outer limits, a participatory democracy in which the opportunities for participation have been radically expanded. He proposes creating a public, Google-like database of every federal dollar spent. He aims to post every piece of non-emergency legislation online for five days before he signs it so that Americans can comment. A White House blog—also with comments—would be a near certainty. Overseeing this new apparatus would be a chief technology officer.

Ambinder also points out the the potential pratfalls of opening up two-way discourse with the American people – reminding us that it’s a representative democracy for a reason. The potential for transparency may usher in a new era of government accountability to to me bodes well for both fiscal conservatives and civil libertarians.

Texas is a terrible place to have a child with Autism, Make it Better

Disclaimer: I’m a little biased on this subject. Two of my best friends in the world were living in San Antonio when their 2-year old son was diagnosed with autism. While there’s no cure for autism, early, ongoing treatment of the disorder can dramatically increase the level of functionality of people with the disorder, often producing healthy, happy, productive, taxpaying, voting members of society.

My friends explored all the options with help from family that had connections in the medical community, that is to say, more resources than most folks in their situation would have at their disposal. It didn’t matter. Texas is a terrible place to raise a child with autism. They moved to Vermont.

While in Texas the best they could do was a version of daycare with only group supervision of autistic children that spanned the gamut from high to very low functioning. The cost was upwards of $2,000 a month. In Vermont they have a team of specialists that make regular house visits to work with their son one-on-one in their own home. The cost is picked up by the state.

The Vermont approach has costs of course. The treatment is funded by tax dollars. We shouldn’t ignore the costs of Texas’ do-nothing approach either. People like my friends leave and those who might consider coming to Texas for a job think twice.

According to a friend of mine who works in the law center, the Law Library was considering a potential hire from out of state and was impressed enough to offer the candidate a job on the spot. The catch? That person had a child with autism and decided to keep looking rather than raise that child in Texas.

I mention these stories because Off the Kuff alerts us that Governor Perry is considering vetoing HB 1919, a bill that would reclassify autism as a neurological disorder rather than a mental illness, requiring insurance companies to cover treatment for autistic children from 3-5 years of age. HB 1919 has passed both houses, but according to the San Antonio Express News, the Texas Association of Business is pushing for the veto.

Read the Full Text of HB 1919

More reactions and analysis from Autism Bulletin Blog, Dig Deeper Texas, A Perfectly Cromulent Blog

A Firm by Any Other Name

I ran into an associate at Bracewell & Giuliani this weekend and couldn’t resist knowing if he had any Rudy sightings. In 2005, former U.S. Attorney, NYC Mayor and now Presidential Candidate Rudy Giuliani joined then Bracewell & Patterson as a name partner and started the New York office. At the time, I wondered if this arrangement not might be more ‘name’ than ‘partner’. I’m assured that this is no mere endorsement and that Rudy is involved in day to day operations to surprisingly degree, focusing on client acquisition and management. This makes sense. If you were a potential client facing complex business litigation in bet-the-company scenarios, can you imagine a more reassuring figure than the guy who lead NYC through 9-11?

Given Rudy’s lead in the polls, however, I wonder if Bracewell & Giuliani might not have to consider another name change in the not too distant future? At the very least, TRPC 7.01(c) would seem to prohibit the name of a sitting President from being used in the name of the firm.

(c) The name of a lawyer occupying a judicial, legislative, or public executive or administrative position shall not be used in the name of a firm, or in communications on its behalf, during any substantial period in which the lawyer is not actively and regularly practicing with the firm.

I knew I liked this guy

Add another reason why – NY Times: In Law School, Obama Found Political Voice

Though I guess I don’t like him as much as this Timothy Noah does -
The Obama Messiah Watch: Introducing a periodic feature considering evidence that Obama is the son of God.

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