Jonathan B. Wilson

Legal Resources
Business Law Updates
Out of Balance
Legislation for Renewable Energy

Jonathan Wilson is an Atlanta attorney with more than 19 years of experience guiding growing private and public companies.  He currently serves as the outside general counsel of several companies and is the former general counsel of (NASDAQ: WWWW) and EasyLink Services (NASDAQ: ESIC).  He is also the founding chair of the Renewable Energy Committee of the American Bar Association's Public Utility Section.

Archive Newer | Older

Wednesday, November 28, 2007

Pelosi and the Grievance Lobby
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi is now holding up a $53 billion appropriations bill because of an attached rider that would give immunity to the Salvation Army and other charities from discrimination suits based on English-only policies, according to John Fund in today's WSJ
That new immigrants to the U.S. be required to speak, read and write ordinary English has been a requirement of U.S. law for more than 100 years and is supported by a vast majority of the population, including among groups whose second language is English.
So why is the Speaker tempting fate by catering to the very small minority who oppose English-only policies in the workplace? 
The group most likely to benefit from defeating the immunity rider is the trial lawyer lobby, whose members will be able to continue to sue deep-pocket defendants with English-only policies.  Those same trial lawyers have contributed $10,000 to Pelosi so far in this election cycle. 
8:59 am est 

Monday, November 26, 2007

Shelby Steele on Diplomacy
The historian argues:
Meanwhile our enemy is fighting all out to achieve a new balance of power. As we anguish over the possibility of collateral damage, this enemy practices collateral damage as a tactic of war. In Iraq, al Qaeda blows up women and children simply to keep alive the chaos of war that gives it cover. This enemy's sense of moral authority--as misguided as it may be--is so strong that it compensates for its lack of sophisticated military hardware.
On the other hand, our great military might is not enough to compensate for our weak sense of moral authority, our ambivalence. If we have the greatest military in history, it is also true that we lack our enemy's talent for true belief. Our rationale for war is difficult to articulate, always arguable, and distinctly removed from immediate necessity. Our society is deeply divided and there is a vigorous antiwar movement ready to capitalize on our every military setback.
This is the pattern of disciplinary wars: Their execution is always undermined by their inbuilt lack of moral authority. In the end, our might neutralizes our might. Our vast power makes all such wars come off as bullying, even when we fight selflessly for the freedom of others.
Steele begins this piece by writing about Barack Obama's claim that, if elected President, he would meet with our enemies in an act of "diplomacy".  I'm not sure Obama meant it this way, but there is something to Steele's analysis.
Certainly every conflict the U.S. has fought since Viet Nam (and arguably including Viet Nam) has involved a significant anti-war counter-argument that has contended that the U.S. lacks the moral authority to fight that conflict.  At the same time, each of those conflicts (Grenada, Panama, Gulf War I, Afghanistan, Gulf War II) have involved a U.S. claim to be fighting for the rights of others. 
One of the classic arguments against the extension of U.S. Presidential diplomacy to rogue regimes is that it cloaks the rogue regime with an aura of legitimacy that it does not deserve.
This is certainly true in the traditional sense of U.S. diplomacy where Presidential involvement is limited to the signing ceremonies, Under-Secretaries of State do the heavy lifting and the SecState takes on the missions too risky for the President to risk his credibility.
But what if Presidential diplomacy were different?  What if the President met more opening and more broadly with a larger group of international leaders and influencers?  Would it be easier for such a President to make his case for moral authority in that context, while also undercutting the "inadvertent legitimacy" argument because of the wide availability of Presidential face time? 
How would the world react if a U.S. President met with Mahmoud Ahmadinejad and gave him a public upbraiding on a par with that meted out by Columbia President Lee Bollinger? 
8:20 am est 

Monday, November 19, 2007

Pike Family Nurseries Files for Bankruptcy
Traditional, Atlanta-based Pike Family Nurseries last week filed for bankruptcy, citing a slowdown in sales resulting from the lengthing drought in the Southeast. 
I haven't written about the drought before but it is becoming frightening in the metro Atlanta area.  Most subdivisions and apartment complexes are postponing or cancelling their fall/winter flowerbed plantings since all outdoor watering is prohibited.  I heard on NPR this morning that municipalities are having to purchase additional water purification chemicals as area water systems are pulling water from the "dead zone" in Lake Lanier and other water sources.
The Pike's bankruptcy is especially sad as the family-owned business has been an Atlanta landmark for years with its trademark red wagons that it gives to customers for carting plants around its stores.  The company is probably most famous for its "playing in the dirt again" jingle.
Here's hoping that it emerges from reorganization. 
9:03 am est 

November MIRLIN
Vincent Polley's Miscellaneous IT-Related Legal News, or MIRLIN, is now available.  MIRLIN makes for good reading for lawyers involved in technoloy and the Internet. 
8:28 am est 

Friday, November 2, 2007

New Patent Office Rules Enjoined - Business as Usual For Now
The Eastern District of Virginia issued a temporary restraining order yesterday in combined cases challenging the PTO's new patent rules.  (Memorandum opinion).  Those new rules were to have taken effect November 1st and would have limited the number of continuations that patent holders could file.  
The theory behind the new rules was that patent law was too loose and permited patent holders too much latitude in processing continuations, thereby creating uncertainty for competitors.  By limitating the number of continuations the new rules would have constricted the scope of patents and, presumably, reduced future patent litigation.
The debate over patent reform is a worthwhile one that is sometimes hampered by its complexity.  News clips simply don't do justice to the topic.
For now, however, it remains business as usual. 
Law firm and blog coverage:
9:37 am edt 

Archive Newer | Older


Blog Roll


Join the mailing list

Phone: 404-353-4833 |

Terms of Use

Jonathan B. Wilson is an Atlanta attorney at the law firm of Taylor English Duma LLP.  Jonathan B. Wilson provides legal advice to investors, companies and business executives involving corporate law, securities law, SEC matters, intellectual property, website and Internet legal issues, start-ups, limited liability companies, partnerships, 1934 Act matters, outsourcing, strategic alliance agreements, contracts, and other matters of importance to growing private and publicly-traded companies.