IBM Joins Vermont Energy PartnershipVermont’s Largest Employer Concerned About State’s Energy FutureIBM, Vermont’s largest employer, has joined the Vermont EnergyPartnership, a recently launched sizable and diverse coalition working toensure that Vermont has reliable, affordable, and clean electricity.The Vermont Energy Partnership, a recently-launched coalition of business, labor, and community leaders dedicated to ensuring that Vermont has reliable, affordable, and clean electricity, announced today that IBM has joined the organization. With this addition, the Partnership, which was formally launched on January 31, now has 25 members. “The two key questions that should be asked about our power system are the ones most often ignored, ‘Will the lights go out and can we afford the bill?,'” said John O’Kane, government relations manager for IBM.”This is an issue that goes to the heart of preserving jobs and Vermont’squality of life. We need to take steps now to improve the cost andreliability of Vermont’s electricity supply. In doing so, we will be ableto make the state’s electricity costs more competitive for residents andbusineses, and attract companies to expand and re-locate to Vermont,” saidMr. O’Kane. Former Governor Tom Salmon, a founding member of the Vermont Energy Partnership said, “IBM gets it. They understand that Vermont is at a critical crossroads. We can come together and address electricity issues now and help to ensure a promising future, or we can continue to neglect this exceedingly important public policy issue and invite potential calamity,” said Governor Salmon. Founded in 2005, the Vermont Energy Partnership (www.vtep.org(link is external) ) is a diverse group of business, labor, and community leaders working to ensure that Vermont has reliable, affordable, and clean electricity, which is essential to maintaining the state’s quality of life and future prosperity. The Vermont Energy Partnership recognizes that it is imperative to address Vermont’s tremendous electricity challenges today, so that Vermont stays a great place to live and work.- 30 –
Ad rules making their way to the board Senior Editor The Bar’s Advertising Task Force 2004 has spent hundreds of hours reviewing and redrafting advertising regulations, but there will still be serious policy issues left for the Bar Board of Governors to decide.“It will be this body’s final decision to look at the policy issues,” said board member Chobee Ebbets, who is also vice chair of the task force.Ebbets was responding to a question at the board’s recent meeting. A board member asked if the task force considered what to do about pending grievances under current rules that might not be violations after changes that could be proposed by the task force and approved by the board and the Supreme Court.“What to do with old complaints. Will we need more Bar staff [to review ads]? All of those things are going to be on our plate,” Ebbets said. “There was a limit to what the task force could do.. . . “We’re going to have a long and lengthy debate on this.”Task force Chair Manny Morales gave a detailed summary of the task force’s preliminary recommendations, which are published on the Bar’s Web site at www.flabar.org.He said the task force is getting feedback on the proposals and will hold a public hearing on the morning of January 20 at the Bar’s Midyear Meeting in Miami. That afternoon the task force will attempt to hammer out its final recommendations, which could be presented to the board preliminarily the following week when it meets in Key West.The goal, Morales said, is for the board to take final action on the rules at its early April meeting in Tallahassee or its early June meeting in Palm Beach. After that, the amendments will go to the Supreme Court.Aside from Ebbets’ comments, Morales said the task force is presenting options on two controversial issues for the board’s ultimate decision.One is whether to extend the 30-day ban on direct mail advertising in personal injury cases to criminal defense and civil traffic ticket mailings. The other is whether the rules should require lawyers to submit their nonexempt ads to the Bar for review before they are published or broadcast. (Ads that provide only certain basic information do not have to be submitted for review.)On extending the 30-day direct mailing ban, Morales said the task force may make a recommendation instead of presenting options. “We have gotten more mail and e-mails about this particular issue from the criminal defense bar and lawyers involved with civil traffic infractions than anything else,” he said. “My personal judgment is we’re probably going to leave the rule the way it is, that it only applies to the personal injury cases. But again, we’ll decide that in January.”At the request of the board, the task force did add an option requiring prepublication review of nonexempt ads, Morales said, although that came by an 8-7 vote. Other options are to keep the present system where ads must be submitted no later than the first publication or broadcast or implementing an incentive system. The latter provides that a lawyer who has an ad approved before using it would get a guarantee he or she would not receive a grievance prosecution if a violation was later discovered, as long as the ad did not have a deliberate falsehood that was found after the ad was approved.“It makes it clear that a lawyer who wants a safe harbor should submit the ad and have it okayed,” Morales said. “Looking at the whole scheme, that’s probably the best practice for any advertising lawyer to follow.”Board members had a variety of questions and observations.Board member Warren Lindsey questioned the need to extend the 30-day ban in direct mail to criminal cases. If that is done, he suggested that lawyers should be limited to defendants who are not already represented by counsel. Morales noted that could cause some enforcement difficulties in determining whether a lawyer had made an innocent mistake.Board member Nancy Gregoire said she agreed with a conclusion of the Citizens Forum (see story, page 1) that lawyer Web sites should be subject to the same regulations as print and electronic ads. The task force is recommending that Web sites be treated as information provided at the request of a potential client, which would exempt them from most advertising regulations.“Because of search engines, it’s just like they’re flipping through the Yellow Pages and up comes your site,” she said. “I think this is too close to the line.”In answering a question from board member Steven Chaykin, Morales said the task force is recommending the elimination of the required hiring disclosure language in print ads because task force members feel it no longer serves any purpose.Board member Ian Comisky said he was concerned about First Amendment issues that could be raised by the revisions.“I think the task force needs to take a First Amendment prism to the entire set of rules so we don’t pass new rules that are immediately challenged,” he said.Other changes being considered, Morales told the board, include:• Expanding what can be included in an ad that does not require review by the Bar.• Making it clear that advertising rules do not apply to communications between lawyers, communications with family members, and communications with current or former clients.• Dropping the prohibition of language that creates unjustified expectations. Morales said that is covered by other parts of the rules, and it was difficult creating a definition for that term.• Clarifying to lawyers that their ads cannot guarantee results.• Dropping the requirement that a lawyer must state in an ad that he or she intends to refer a case to another lawyer. “We decided that it’s better to have a lawyer refer a case than attempting to do it if it’s not their area of practice,” Morales said. January 15, 2005 Gary Blankenship Senior Editor Regular News Ad rules making their way to the board ‘We’re going to have a long and lengthy debate on this’
Celebrities “are stuck inside, but can’t read the room”, as The Guardian eloquently pointed out. As I would put it, the divide between the celebrity ideal and the masses has never been more obvious. The famous have long played the role of “ambassadors of the meritocracy” by serving as success stories of the American Dream and the pursuit of wealth through talent and hard work, yadda yadda. They are not the richest of Americans by a long stretch, but they have often acted as a middle ground between the elite and the masses, with a unique ability to be both unattainable and relatable. Yup, celebrities are on the chopping block, and no, that’s not hyperbole — #eattherich and #guillotine2020 have become rallying cries of the digital generation. I mentioned in a column earlier this year that growing anti-capitalist sentiment has led to criticism of the highly-publicized lives of the rich and famous. People were already fed up, and quarantine just might have been the straw that broke the camel’s back. I brought up the role of women in the workforce in WWII to introduce the idea that initially reactive changes can become instrumental to a system, a country or an ideology. Only time will tell whether the widespread disillusionment toward celebrities is a temporary coping mechanism or a permanent cultural shift. In fact, this all feels strangely and poetically ironic coming off “Parasite”’s (2019) legendary Best Picture win at this year’s Oscars. For those who haven’t seen it, the film tells the story of how a poor South Korean family cons their way into a rich home, shedding light on the vapid nature of the uber-wealthy without missing a beat. Its powerful message of class warfare, as one Twitter critic put it, was that “when you try to beat capitalism at its own game, you’ll always shed more blood of the working class than the elite.” There is a cultural equivalent to this situation: In times like these, veils are lifted and bare, ugly truths are revealed. When the economy is at a standstill and we are collectively forced to hole up in our homes, class inequality becomes impossible to ignore and pandering can’t do much to offset that. Among the social impacts of the virus, as one New York Times article so aptly put it, “is its swift dismantling of the cult of celebrity.” Rachel McKenzie is a junior writing about pop culture. Her column, “The Afterword,” runs every other Tuesday. The rich ate “Parasite” up, lauding its astute social commentary without realizing — doy! — that they embody the same invulnerability and obliviousness that characterized the wealthy Park family. In a sense, that’s what’s happening now: Over the course of this pandemic, celebrities have tried to embed themselves in a narrative of sacrifice and resilience that is humorously misplaced. It’s like that one scene in the movie where a flood destroys the Kim family’s home while the Park family laments they can’t go camping anymore because of the rain — highly metaphorical, uncomfortably disparate and impossible to forget. I hope I’m not overgeneralizing, but there’s something to be said about Madonna calling this pandemic “The Great Equalizer” from a bathtub filled with rose petals. I mean, come on. Well, as it turned out, we never looked back. Women’s roles continued to expand in the postwar era, and what was once a compensatory shift quickly evolved into a persisting societal norm. That’s not the only occurrence of its kind; in fact, wars and pandemics tend to bring with them large-scale changes that otherwise might not have breached the mainstream. Amid the coronavirus pandemic, for one, the idea of universal basic income has transitioned from fringe to buzzword status. I don’t know what I believe, but I do think that this might be the end of “We Are the World”-esque pandering. Hey, it’s a small victory, but a good one and likely not the only positive one that will come of this mess. When men across the country went off to fight in the Second World War, women filled the gap they left in the labor force — as a temporary measure, of course. That idea has always been a thinly veiled charade, sure, but it is clear now that it has disintegrated altogether, giving way to the realization that, no, we’re actually not “all in this together” and, no, not all of us can afford to “stay positive” all the time. Some are unemployed, late on rent and trapped in crowded, conflict-ridden apartments while others are sitting pretty in heavily-staffed palatial mansions. All that considered, corny one-liners and awful song covers aren’t doing much to convince us we’re all facing the same beast. Shockingly, a recently-deleted Instagram post from Kylie Jenner sending us her “love and prayers” in a pair of $2,000 Dior Jordan 1’s isn’t the light at the end of the tunnel we were looking for. Surprisingly, Gal Gadot telling us that “staying home is her superpower” from her walk-in closet is not easing our existential stress. Oh, and plot twist: Celebrities’ joint cover of “Imagine” by John Lennon was incredibly tone-deaf — in more ways than one: Turns out that the sheer presence of celebrities didn’t cure all our ailments and we don’t want millionaires singing to us about “no possessions” in a period of acute financial stress whose reverberations will likely alter the course of our careers and lives. Who’d have thought?