August 19, 2008

Crime and Punishment Chancellor's Forum Sept. 10

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District Attorney Lynne M. Abraham and Police Commissioner Charles H. Ramsey will be among the panelists for the Wednesday, Sept. 10 Chancellor's Forum "Crime and Punishment: The Philadelphia Story."

Abraham and Ramsey will be joined by Everett Gillison, deputy mayor for public safety; Mark Harrell of Men United for a Better Philadelphia; and David Rudovsky, senior fellow at University of Pennsylvania Law School. The panel will be moderated by Philadelphia Inquirer reporter Chris Satullo.

The panel will discuss the problems and challenges surrounding the issue of crime and punishment in Philadelphia and the ways in which community and civil rights groups can work with law enforcement to reduce crime in the city.

The program begins at 12:15 p.m. in the 11th floor Conference Center of Bar Association headquarters, 1101 Market St. Registration begins at 11:45 a.m. There is no charge for lunch, but registration is required. Click here to RSVP for this program.

Save the Date for PhiLAWpalooza on Oct. 2

Join the YLD for PhiLAWpalooza on Thursday, Oct. 2, as attorney musicians play at the legendary JC Dobbs on South Street.

If you are an attorney musician and are interested in performing at PhiLAWpalooza or if you are interested in connecting with other attorney musicians to play PhiLAWpalooza, please contact Stephanie Mensing. Registration information will be coming shortly.

Bar Association Available on Facebook

The Philadelphia Bar Association is now on the social networking site Facebook. More specifically, the Bar Association is now on Facebook "Pages": Philadelphia Bar Association.

In November 2007, Facebook created Pages — a space for businesses and organizations. (Previously, Facebook — unlike the other popular social networking site MySpace — allowed only individuals to create profiles.) The idea behind Pages is to offer organizations an opportunity to promote themselves through a social network, as opposed to, say, a traditional Web page.

An organization's "Page" works much the same way an individual's profile works on Facebook — there's some basic profile information and areas to add news, events and photos. Rather than creating a network of "friends," as an individual would do on Facebook, an organization collects "fans."

The difference is that anyone who has a Facebook account can become a fan of the organization — they don't need approval, as they do to become a friend of an individual. The other key difference is that Facebook Pages can be viewed without a Facebook account.

On the Association's page, readers can find the latest Association news, photos from recent events and links to posts from the Young Lawyers Division blog. More material will be available in the coming weeks. Readers who are not already Facebook members can join easily and quickly become a fan of the Association.

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Register Online for Bench-Bar and Annual Conference

Registration is now open for the Association's 2008 Bench-Bar and Annual Conference on Sept. 19-21 at Bally's Atlantic City.

This year's conference is expected to bring together more than 500 lawyers and judges from the Philadelphia area for three days of CLE programming that lets practitioners and the judiciary share ideas and best practices. The theme of this year's conference is "The Sound of Philadelphia."

Registration for the full three days of the conference is $629 and includes all meals and CLE. For public interest attorneys, government attorneys and members of the Young Lawyers Division, the full conference registration fee is $479. Other one-day and two-day registration packages are available. For those prices, visit philadelphiabar.org.

Bally's Atlantic City offers a world-class spa, salon, fitness center and 18 restaurants to meet every craving. Experience the Old West at Bally's Wild Wild West Casino with nearly 74,000 feet of gaming accessible via a short walkway connected to Bally's.

Bally's is now accepting hotel reservations for attendees. Book early for the best rates: rooms on Thursday, Sept. 18 are $99; rooms Friday, Sept. 19 are $144, and Saturday, Sept. 20 rooms range from $189 to $209. A limited number of rooms are available for the $189 rate on Saturday night. Call 1-800-345-7253 for reservations and mention you are attending the Philadelphia Bar Association Bench-Bar Conference to get these special room rates.

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Olympian Evictions by Harper Dimmerman

The other night was fairly typical at the old homestead. A frenetic family dinner, bedtime rituals with an inquisitive sugar-crashing toddler, the casual nighttime walk with the lethargic lab, a half dozen Caribbean flavored fruit bars. Invariably I also succumbed to my wife's wretched excuse for a relaxation technique - reality TV hell. Relegated to my 10% of the stain-proof stained microfiber sofa, the uncomfortable section to boot, I plummeted headlong into the mind numbing programming abyss. Poker-faced, I naturally did what I've learned to do far too well. I simply pretended to bond with my significant other over the wicked stratagems of the money-grubbing contestants on Big Brother 10. Wait. Now before you let your sympathy get the best of you, I must concede that I was presented with an alternative. All in the spirit of magnanimity of course. A red-hot DVR’d episode of Swingtown was the other selection du jour. Aha! My Morton's Fork! In the end, I abstained from indulging in that racier voyeuristic exhibition. For some odd reason, the concept seemed so unseemly.

Anyway, the blockbuster CBS hit in which the object is to withstand eviction, continued to unfold, the same exact way it did each of the nine times before. The HOH or Head of Household challenge involved the brainy contestants responding either "True" or "False" to a hodgepodge of current events. Remember. In an ironic twist, there is no actual contact with reality while they are in the Big Brother house. So one of the claims was a reference to Beijing, also known as summer Olympics central. Apparently, the Chinese government has been cracking down on rogue cabbies. Those drivers who violate certain regulations, newly enacted just for the Games mind you, just might find themselves detained for the balance of the summer.

At the time I didn't think much of it. I was too consumed with who would slither their way to an HOH victory. And who ever said I was shallow? Well in an effort to make a positive international impression, it seems that the Chinese government has been erring on the side of superficiality lately too. Toward that end, it has been scrutinizing the accepted practices of its citizenry, even instituting laws just for the Olympics. Some of these culturally shocking mandates have been easy fodder for the media. These include the "No Spitting" edict. Apparently the government distributed millions of brochures urging Beijing commuters to opt for the sanitary bags bearing the Chinese symbol for "mucus" the next time they decide to let one fly. These were provided gratis of course. Rumor has it that a newly instituted Code of Conduct prohibits the slurping of soup, public discontent (smiles required at all times) and disorderly queuing. And of course we can't forget about the “No Dog Eating” rule. Let's leave it at that, shall we?

Now here’s another one, a disturbing statistic certain to destabilize your lawyerly existence. In preparation for Beijing’s global coming-out party, the Chinese government decided to start evicting 13,000 people from their homes monthly. Think it of it as condemnation to the enth degree. It needed to make way for Olympic improvements, the kind would be certain to wow foreign attendees. By the time the Games commenced, it was estimated that 1.5 million people would have been displaced. Let me repeat that. 1.5 million. Can you say human rights violations? Although the Chinese government is apparently quite adept at spin doctoring, the tragic reality is that these evictions typically involve the complete demolition of low income homes, frequently without any notice or even compensation. This is all happening as we consume reality TV shows like Big Brother, where competitors are evicted from a Hollywood set by majority vote. And then they cry about it during the post-eviction Julie Chen interview. Something's certainly wrong with this picture.

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