f/k/a . . . the archives

February 28, 2006

get that lawyer out of my shower

Filed under: pre-06-2006,viewpoint — David Giacalone @ 8:23 pm

Is “My Mommy made me do it,” a defense for bringing a frivolous claim?  How about, “Plaintiffs threatened to disown me”?  I have a feeling that Colorado lawyer Sheldon H. Smith may find out in a few weeks (March 22), when his Noisy Bather lawsuit comes before Denver District Court Judge Ronald Mullins. (Denver Post, “Lawsuit: Baths swamp sleep”, by Mike McPhee,  Feb. 21, 2006; Overlawyered.com, “Early Bather Lawsuit,” Feb. 27, 2006)

 

As usual, Walter Olson has summed up the case pithily:  WOlson
“Shannon Peterson, a special education teacher in the Arvada, Colo. public schools, “can’t believe she’s being sued for bathing before leaving for work.” But the elderly couple who lives upstairs from her Denver condo unit have been complaining about noisy pipes, and unfortunately for Ms. Peterson they happen to have a son, Sheldon Smith, who’s an attorney at the large law firm of Holland and Hart.

 

   SheldonHSmith
    Sheldon Smith, Esq.  “Represented by their son, the Smiths ‘sued Peterson just before Christmas, citing the ‘reckless and negligent use of her bathtub.”’  Before that, the younger Smith had fired off a letter to Peterson, saying her ‘intransigence … and tortuous conduct have resulted in incredible sleep deprivation for Mr. and Mrs. Smith. Your obstinacy has ruled the day. That will now cease.’    According to the Denver Post, his demand letter insisted that that Peterson not run water in her bathtub before 8 a.m.”  

showerTubF 

Peterson told the Denver Post:  

 

“I’ve done everything I can think of to work this out,” she said. “I’ve had maintenance men remove all my tile and insulate the pipes. I’ve had sound engineers measure my unit and others in the building. Nothing’s abnormal. Even the homeowners’ board investigated and told the Smiths they should install sound barriers in their unit.”  

 

The Post reported that “the homeowners’ association stepped into the fray and wrote Smith a letter that his request didn’t comply with the building’s rules.” Fortunately, Peterson is getting help from a friend, lawyer J. Michael DowlingFrom what I’ve read, I have to agree with Dowling’s assessment: “This is the most frivolous lawsuit I’ve seen in 30 years of practicing law.”  

 

 

bathtubG So far, coverage by Overlawyered has provoked a chorus of webloggers rightly decrying the lawsuit.  It will be interesting to see if this negative publicity gets all of the Smiths to back down.  Of course, only Lawyer Smith has to worry about violating professional ethics rules against bringing frivolous claims — claims that have no colorable basis in fact or law. 

showerHead At first, I thought Sheldon Smith might be a tenderfoot, too young to say “no” to his parents’ request for legal assistance.  But, his firm bio page suggests that he’s in his mid-50s, and is a respected lawyer in his specialty of employee and executive benefits.  (He’s worked as an adjunct faculty member at Denver Law School and as a CLE presenter.)  What I don’t understand is how his partners at the Rocky Mountain mega-firm of Holland & Hart could have let this matter get out of hand. 

 

showerHead     Certainly, someone in H&H’s Real Estate Litigation practice group could have told him how lame his claims are.  Also, H&H has an Alternative Dispute Resolution section that could have come up with options short of litigation and national infamy.   More to the point, however, H&H’s Water Rights practice group boasts: “Our water law practice involves commercial and other transactions that routinely require skilled negotiations and first-rate administrative experience.”  Couldn’t they, or someone, at H&H have stopped this silly lawsuit?  I have a feeling that somebody there just might be leaning on Sheldon Smith right now.  I sure hope so.

tiny check Once again, I’m learning legal practice tips too late.  Forget about noisy showers.  When I moved into my first condo, in Alexandria, VA, two years out of law school, I could hear love-making from three other condo units (above, below, and on the otherside of my bedroom wall).  Talk about keeping a lonely guy up.  I wonder if H&H had a D.C. office back in 1978.

donkey 
update Thanks to Suz-at-Large for pointing (March 11, 2006) to this post. Suz had an earlier piece on the case (Feb. 22, 2006), with the sub-headline: “The Law is Not An Ass, But No Thanks to Some Lawyers.”   Suz points out that the new weblog Leadership for Lawyers is written by Mark Beese, the marketing director for Smith’s firm, Holland & Hart.

update (April 26, 2006) see our water-torture bathtub suit still afloat  bathtubG 
in the shower
an economy size bar of soap
lands on my toe
. . .. by Tom Clausen from Homework (Snapshot Press 2000)
meteor shower
a gentle wave
wets our sandals 
. .. by michael dylan welch,  HSA Henderson Contest; a glimpse of red:rma 2000   
   
from the shower
a sad love song -
bathtub cricket
the shower massage
finds her navel –
buddha smile
showerHead

 

headful of suds
the shower
turns cold.

. . . . .. . . . .  . by  dagosan

the heron’s nest haiku mardi gras

Filed under: pre-06-2006 — David Giacalone @ 2:54 pm

If you love to read or write haiku, Mardi Gras might be best celebrated

with a parade of some of the best haiku published in 2005.  Yesterday,

Feb. 27, 2006, The Heron’s Nest made that easy — it announced the

winners of its Readers’ Choice Awards Vol. VII  (2005).  There are two

categories, Best Poem and Most Popular Poet.  All those participating

in the poll agreed to read all of the poems published at THN in 2005.

 

                                                                                               MardiGrasG

 

tiny check  We at f/k/a are celebrating extra hard, as four of our Honored Guest

Poets were among the six winners — with Carolyn Hall topping both

categories.

 

Here are the contest results:


“THNLogoG” 

 

Best Poem Vol. VII (2005)

 

GRAND PRIZE (120 points)

so suddenly winter
baby teeth at the bottom
of the button jar


            — Carolyn Hall  Commentary

 

 



FIRST RUNNER-UP (94 points)

- Click to see Rick Tarquinio‘s haiku

 

 

 

SECOND RUNNER-UP (75 points)

unemployed
the uneven edge
of a quahog shell


            — paul m. Commentary

 

 

 

THIRD RUNNER-UP (58 points)

- click to see David Lindsey‘s haiku
 

 

Popular Poets Vol. VII (2005)  “THNLogoF”

 

GRAND PRIZE

Carolyn Hall (5 of 7 poems received votes – total = 163 points)

- click to see each of Carolyn’s Vol. VII poems: 0701 EC#1,  0701 5#8,  


 


FIRST RUNNER-UP


paul m. (6 of 7 poems received votes – total = 141 points)

- click to see each of paul’s Vol. VII poems 0701 1#10,  0701 7#5,  


SECOND RUNNER-UP (a tie)



Rick Tarquinio (4 of 6 poems received votes – total = 135 points)

-click to see each of RIck’s Vol. VII poems: 0701 9#9,  0702 EC#1,  

0702 3#90703 6#1,  0704 10#3,  0704 12#8

John Stevenson (8 of 8 poems received votes – total = 135 points)

- click to see each of John’s Vol. VII poems: 0701 11#4,  0701 7#1,  



 

THIRD RUNNER-UP


Yu Chang  (4 of 4 poems received votes – total = 93 points)

- click to see each of Yu’s Vol. VII poems: 0703 7#1,  0703 7#7,  

0704 12#3,  0704 7#3.  (Being an engineer and a stickler for

precision, I bet the ever-humble Prof. Yu would point out that

a tie for Second makes him the Fourth Runner-Up.)

 

MGstuff  Celebrate Mardi Gras with a pair of poems from each of f/k/a‘s

Honored-Guest winners from Vol. VII of the Heron’s Nest:


 



 

Arlington
the tulips
wide open 

 







rain-streaked windows
    how to paint
    the finch’s song

 

 


 

 

 






pull of the moon
I am not myself
tonight

 

 

 

fallen sycamore —
the chess players move
to another tree

 



 

dandelionClock


 





daffodil shoots–

all these years

as an accountant

 

 

 



drifting seed fluff . . .

the rented horse

knows an hour’s worth

 

 


 

 

 

 

evening light
a loaf of bread
on the cutting board

 

 

 

 






fresh snow
for the hands,
for the face

 


 

 

 

MardiGrasN  There’s one big difference between The Heron’s Nest

Mardi Gras celebration and traditional ones: THN will still be feasting

on Ash Wednesday — with its first edition of 2006 (Vol. VIII). Check

it out on March 1st.

 


tiny check  By the way, in April, THN‘s first annual paper edition

will be published, containing all of the poems that

appeared online in 2005, plus the Reader’s Choice

Awards result.  It’s only $15.  Details here, in the left-

hand margin.

 

p.s. dagosan didn’t win any THN awards this year, but still felt like a

winner a year ago, when this poem appeared in Vol. VII: 1 — his

very first haiku in a haiku journal:

 







alone —
hugging
warm laundry

 

      david giacalone

 

 

LanoueSelf On Feb. 17, we wrote that New Orleans resident

David Lanoue planned to go all out this year celebrating Mardi

Gras post-Katrina.  We hope the good professor has a great

time and brings something more than a headache to his

creative writing class on March 1.

 

 



somebody’s little sister

     Bourbon Street

        stripper

 

 

 







the city recovers
restaurant
by restaurant

 

the city Care forgot
is drowning, Care
remembered

 

 


                                                                                         MGstuff

 

too much to read, too much to write

Filed under: pre-06-2006 — David Giacalone @ 1:42 am


I may have to stop reading Blawg Review every week. No, it’s not

because of its cutesy title.  It’s far more practical: The darn “carnival”

of law-related weblogs keeps adding to my to-do list of things to read

– and then, naturally, of things to write — at a pace that can never be

accomplished.

 

computer weary

 

For example, Sean Sirrine hosted Blawg Review #46 at DeNovo this

week, and there are simply too many recent postings that sound inter-

esting and/or entertaining, not to mention the must-reads.  (Go, see for 

yourself.)  I used to hope that Blawg Review would introduce me to one

brand new weblog each week.  Now, to be honest, I hope it tempts me

to read no more than one or two postings each week. 

 

This week, I’m going to check out Bruce MacEwen’s look at 

BigLaw in 2015, at Adam Smith Esq. and follow the pointers

at David Jacobson’s Other Interests weblog, regarding the

lack of optimism among lawyers. (By the way, David surely

doesn’t have to worry about low-esteem — check out his

About page and “signature strengths.”)


carCoupeG However, I wish I hadn’t clicked on the AutoMuse

link at BR #46.  To save myself aggravation, I am going to refrain

from explaining antitrust law, competition policy, monopoly 

power, conspiracy theory and consumer choice and welfare,

to E.L. Eversman, who seems to be a little confused in a post on


weblog can educate old E.L. — including pointing out why the issues

raised are not really caused by the McCarran-Ferguson Act’s antitrust

exemption for the business of insurance.  This former antitrust lawyer

(who spent a lot of time trying to get rid of that exemption) just hasn’t

got the time or the energy.

 

Link Love?  No thanks.  Before leaving the topic of Blawg Review, I want to

respond to Sean Sirrine’s plea that we all start “giving out permanent links” to

eachother again.  Sean wants us to put more weblogs on Blog Rolls, when we see

a post that is well done.  He likens the process to tipping for good service. 

 

Sorry, it’s not for me.  Perhaps it was because Blog Rolls seemed so gimmicky

when I started weblogging (meant to create a clubby feel and to goose search engine

placement), but I have never had one and don’t plan to start.  As the number of law

weblogs multiplied, it became impractical to keep a list of every weblog that seemed

worth a look.  And, once a list is started, pruning out the deadwood becomes rather

touchy, and distinguishing between their quality and scope is impossible.

 

                                                                                                laptop in bed

 

Sean worries about law-oriented weblogs becoming static and “talking about the

same things,” but I still see lots of topics and choices — while wanting the best

weblogs to keep doing what they do best.  Perhaps, this gets back to my opening

theme at the top of this post: Who has time for reading ever-more weblogs?  When

do law students study?  When do lawyers practice law?  When do they have lives

away from their computers? 

 

There are many ways for those in search of new weblogs to find them.  Browsing

long and un-annotated blog rolls — created by bloggers who are promiscuous with 

their Link Love – seems like one of the least efficient ways to do so.   Taking a

look at the weekly Blawg Review is a pretty good place to start — but don’t feel

you have to “Read them all,” like Sean says.   You don’t have to catch every

fish in the sea.

 


 ”MGStuff”  Brevity is one of the best things about haiku.  Here to

show you how to do it right is composer-professor-poet Hilary Tann:

 



on his daily walks

my father’s steps

shorter now

 

 








hotel room -

trapped

in reflections

 

 

“MirrorG”

 

 



queene anne’s lace

   the tiny

       dark heart

 

 

 

 

 

first

snow

then

rain

then

snow

 

 







first date

she buys an extra

lottery ticket

 

 

 

above the embers

   fireflies

     and stars

 


 

                                                                                             iglooG

February 27, 2006

a spidey-tale in the schenectady jail

Filed under: pre-06-2006,Schenectady Synecdoche — David Giacalone @ 12:29 pm

You may have heard on Friday that the famous Wall-Crawler will be dressed

in a new black costume, in the 2007 Sony film “Spider-Man 3,” instead of his

old, nerdy red and blue suit. Here in Schenectady, NY, we had a Spidey of

our own this week, but he was dressed in bright prisoner orange. [articles

and local comment collected here]

 

The Schenectady County jail is right next door to our main County Office Building

and courts, at the edge of our downtown district, and a little over a mile from my

home. Operated by the Schenectady [NY] County Sheriff’s Department (SCSD),

and Sheriff Harry Buffardi, the jail had its first escape since 1987. The story would

be rather entertaining, if it didn’t suggest quite a bit of ineptitude in an agency that

is important for public safety.

 

OrtizGaz Edwin Ortiz

photo: P.R.Barber/Gazette

 

The star of the show is 41-year-old Edwin Ortiz, who has been out of prison only

about half a year out of the last 20. When released in March 2005 from a Penn-

sylvania prison, he and his girlfriend (Rhonda L. Nickell-Spearman) went on an armed

robbery spree that ended last October in Schenectady, after a dangerous, high-speed

vehicular chase. At that time, he allegedly threatened to kill the arresting officer, saying

he would not be taken alive. His jailors soon learned that Ortiz had escaped from a

Pittsburgh juvenile detension center in 1982, using a knife to threaten his “house mother.”

After his arrest, Ortiz admitted to gun-point robberies in Herkimer County, Syracuse,

Philadelphia, New York City, Erie, Pa., and Bergen, N.J. (Newsday/AP, Feb. 22, 2006)

tiny check Sheriff Buffardi has had a distinguished career in SCSD,

rising from jail guard to Sheriff, and has written a well-regard-

ed History of the Office of Sheriff. Given Ortiz’s history, Buffardi

assured the public this week that “we had him on extraordinary

watch.”

jailNeg

 

Tuesday night, however, it was Ortiz who acted extraordinarily. From news stories,

including interviews with Ortiz after his capture, here’s a quick summary of the

tale [see "Inmate Escapes from County Jail: authorities consider man dangerous,"

Schenectady [NY] Gazettte, by Kathleen Moore, Feb. 22, 2006, $ub. only, but, repro-

duced here; “Jailbreak details provided;” Gazettte, by Steven Cook, Feb. 23, 2006, re-

produced here, at Reply 8); “Ortiz talks; Buffardi stews,” Gazettte, by Steven Cook,

Feb. 24, 2006,r eproduced here, at Reply 12); “No plan doomed fugitive: Edwin Ortiz

details desperate attempt to flee . .,” by Jordan Carleo-Evangelist, Albany [NY]

Times Union, Feb. 24, 2006; CapitalNews9, “Inmate who escaped now in police cus-

tody,” Feb. 23, 2006]:

jailFence The recreation area of the Schenectady County Jail , which is

located on the roof of the jail’s kitchen — surrounded on three sides by building

walls and on the fourth side by a fence; it is also enclosed on the top by fencing

that is 35′ above the ground.

 

About a month ago, Ortiz “noticed a flaw in a chain-link fence obscured from

the lone guard by a steel beam. An assiduous runner, Ortiz said he kicked the

fence as he jogged past everyday, jolting it free from a broken hook.” [TU] He

also began a vigorous exercise routine (running in place in his cell and deep-

knee bends, accourding to Buffardi) and a weight-loss program.

Ortiz later told the TU that he plotted to exploit a weakness in the

jail’s rooftop exercise yard, convincing himself that even plummeting to

his death in the attempt would be better than never seeing freedom again.

 

Sheriff Buffardi BuffardiH

 

According to CapitalNews9, Sheriff Buffardi “said he knew the fence

was loose in the rec yard but he never imagined an inmate could get

out.” However, Buffardi told the Gazette that “the rec fence was com-

promised and that went undiscovered.” The Sheriff assures County

residents that fences will now be checked regularly.

At 5:08 PM, on Feb. 21, 2006, Ortiz and a group of prisoners were escorted to the

jail’s recreation area. Ortiz recalled to the TU reporter:

As dusk approached Tuesday “I paced the yard for a couple of minutes to

hype myself up for the jump,” Ortiz said, knowing what was ahead. Then

he slipped his fit, 5-10 frame through the hole and scaled the cage unseen

by anyone except fellow inmates, authorities said.

 

OrtizTU Edwin Ortiz

by Lori Van Buren/Times Union

 

Standing on top, 35 feet above the pavement, Ortiz said he briefly contem-

plated the 10-to-12-foot gap that separated him from the roof of an old

dormitory. He stepped back a few feet and made a running leap, crashing

onto the adjacent roof and spraining his ankle. He then had to scramble

to different levels of that roof to reach its lowest point, where his grip slipped

and he fell 12′ straight to the ground, again hurting his ankle — an injury that

would hobble him during his tour of the “Electric City.”

Like the “real” comics-movie Spiderman, who often acts without a plan (or enough

spidey-web), Ortiz found himself “A fugitive in a strange city, injured and searching for

railroad tracks so he could hop the first train ‘anywhere out of Schenectady’.” Also,

like Spidey, he shrugged out of his work clothes and was running around in under-

wear (wearing a sweat shirt, long johns and boxer shorts). Oritz says he had no

inside or outside help, and merely found (in a bag on State Street, our main down-

town thoroughfare) the jeans, jacket and other clothes he was wearing when captured.

Sheriff Buffardi is quoted saying: “We did not anticipate that he could make

this miraculous spider-man-like jump from the top of the recreation area to

the top of another building 12 feet away.” (CapitalNews9, Feb. 22, 2006)

 

Buffardi told the Gazette: “I can understand his reluctance to divulge the

people who were helpful to him.”

handcuffsG

 

Ortiz hobbled off, after his escape, believing that he probably had a 15-minute head

start. However, he didn’t realize that he was dealing with SCSD. Here’s what was

going on inside the jail:

- 6:12 p.m: the other inmates were escorted back to their cell blocks from

the rec yard and an officer recorded Ortiz to be back on the floor

 

– that same officer, who was required to make his count by visual

inspection of each inmate, recorded Ortiz (who was, after all, “on

extraordinary watch”) as present in the cell block 5 additional times

in the next hour

 

- 7:15 p.m: according to the officer’s log, he finally realized that he was

one man short.

escapeCount

“Forty-two, forty-fwee plus one missing,

that makes forty-four!” [Gazette, Feb. 26, 2006

orig. at 14]

- 7:38 p.m. : said officer gets around to notifying his supervisor of the

problem

“tinyredcheck” Because Ortiz had supposedly come in from the rec yard, and

no one could conceive of an escape off that roof, almost three

hours were spent looking inside the jail for Ortiz. “We took apart

every wiring conduit. We had to get keys to locks we haven’t

opened in years,” Buffardi said. . . . “Then we found the breach

in the recreation yard fence,” and realized they had an escape.

(Gazette, Feb. 22, 2006, B1)

- 9 p.m.: neighboring police departments alerted;

 

- 10:15 p.m.: general alarm sounded of the escape

Ortiz9

 

Although Schenectadians went to bed Tuesday night, and awoke Wednesday

morning, knowing that a dangerous felon was at large, the Schenectady Gazette

went to bed with an edition that told of the danger in a lengthy story, but did not

bother to run a picture of Edwin Ortiz. TV stations did run photos on their local

news shows on Tuesday night.

 

The residents of Schenectady County were lucky. Ortiz had escaped into a city

he did not know, where he had no personal contacts; he was also very cold and

confused. (When he found the apartment of a girlfriend of one of his prison-mates,

she slammed the door in his face and told him where he could find some Puerto

Ricans) Nineteen hours after his escape, Ortiz was captured, only ten blocks from

the jail, and without injuries to the arresting officers. He apparently committed no

crimes while loose. [You can see a video interview in which Ortiz says the brief

escape was worth it. WNYT13, Feb. 23, 2006]

 

Luckily, Ortiz had no guns or other weapons. He told the Times Union reporter:

“I wish I would have had a gun yesterday. Just to shoot it out … to get

lucky and not have to face it anymore. . . . Guys who are facing the rest

of their lives in jail, I don’t know what holds them back.”

jailNeg

 

The TU reporter got it right:

In addition to a cinematic jailbreak story, Ortiz’ 19-hour vanishing

act has left serious questions about security at the downtown jail.

Chief among them is how a veteran guard counted Ortiz as being

in his cell block six times in the hour after he’s now believed to

have escaped.

At this point, both an internal investigation and one by the state Commission of

Correction are continuing. Sheriff Buffardi says that any disciplinary action against

the [so far unnamed] guard, who repeatedly miscounted the inmates, and others,

would stem from those investigations.

 

update (March 3, 2006): See quick, count to six, to learn that deputies Gerald

Treacy and Jayme Paul were fired for their negligent counting, and more. Per the

Gazette (“Sheriff fires 2 after jail escape,” by Steve Cook, March 2, 2006, repro-

duced here, reply 15):






“There were supposed to be six inmates on Ortiz’s


tier, [Sheriff Harry] Buffardi emphasized.



‘I don’t think it’s a difficult or tremendous burden


for us to require a count to six people,‘ Buffardi said.”

 

jailbird neg

 

 

Prison fence:
the razor wire glints
with first light

 

George Swede -Simply Haiku (Sept. 2003, I:3)


restored prairie . . .
where the grasses end
the prison’s outer fence

postal chess –
he moves me
from his cell

rook horiz

winter sun begins
to warm the steering wheel
prison visit day

another Christmas . . .
my parents visit
the son in prison

lee gurga from Fresh Scent (1998)

SpiderManBlackF

 

February 26, 2006

happy birthday, dad!

Filed under: pre-06-2006,q.s. quickies — David Giacalone @ 7:24 pm

DadMay05s [larger] Today is my father’s 87th birthday. Arthur P. Giacalone was born in Lodi, NJ, to Italian-immigrant parents, on Feb. 26, 1919. For most of his working life, “Art” was a “mail man” for the U.S. Post Office (on walking routes in neighborhoods in Rochester, NY). In retirement, he drove a school bus until hitting the maximum age limit of 70. (With his perfect safety record, why didn’t his two lawyer sons fight that ageist rule? He probably would have told us to mind our own business).

I wish it were possible to give Dad his good health back. Instead, the best I can do is to let him know how much his three children, his wife, and his five grandchildren love him, and appreciate how hard this humble man worked to raise his family and set us off into the wider world.

Click here to see my Dad with his three children on Easter 1954.dadEaster54s

 

  And click here to see him in 2005 with his two youngest grandchildren. 

 

I’m a lucky man to reach the age of 56 and have both of my parents alive. Dad, as always, I send my love and wish you all the best.

My friend Yu Chang has written many poems that set an appropriate tone today.

 

old passport
the tug
of my father’s smile

pumpkin patch –
this one is big enough
for my son

winter woods
seeing myself
in black and white

early bird special
rubbing elbows
with strangers

old birch
the cracked heart
still shows

winter solstice
so glad
you got home safely

mountain lake -
basking
in your reflection

………………….. Yu Chang - all from Upstate Dim Sum
“old passport” – (2001/II); The Loose Thread: RMA 2001
“pumpkin patch” & “winter woods” – (2005/I)
“old birch” – Upstate Dim Sum (2001/I)
“early bird special” – (2004/II)
“winter solstice” – (2005/II)

dagosan has penned a few, too, that are dedicated to Art Giacalone.

WWII
dad rather not
talk about it

dad’s 87th birthday
emphysema
and dementia

visiting parents –
faces and refrains
gettin’ old

rainy night drive –
squinting at glare
through dad’s eyes

[haiga here]

that little grunt
dad always made–
putting on my socks

frogpond (XXVIII: 2, 2005); inside the mirror: RMA 2005

……………………….. by dagosan

February 25, 2006

wallace & rushdie, stevenson & hall

Filed under: pre-06-2006 — David Giacalone @ 10:29 pm

My friend George Wallace at Fool in the Forest tries to keep

his “personal and cultural” weblog apolitical.  However, he is

willing to head out on the choppy seas of political punditry in

pursuit of a bad pun.  Thus, a few days ago he opined on the

Dubai Ports World controversy, in order to use the headline:

Scubai-Dubai To-do (Feb. 22, 2006).  Having stuck his neck

out that far, George decided to rally on the side of freedom

of speech regarding publishing the Danish cartoons of the

Prophet.  George says:


HideGoTree  “I am inclined to be an absolutist when it

comes to matters of free speech and free expression,

let it gore whose ox it may.  On that score, I quote

approvingly this weekend commentary from Colby Cosh:


“What I want to know is, how come our other

constitutional freedoms are never hogtied and

thrown onto the psychoanalyst’s couch like this? 

. . .

 

“But let anyone exercise freedom of the press, or

freedom of speech, and suddenly his motives are i

nterrogated — suddenly the ‘right’ is only available

to the well-meaning, which is to be defined none

too broadly.”

I left a lengthy Comment disagreeing with George (and Colby),

George replied thoughtfully, and I responded (not persuaded

by George’s quoting from William Bennett and Alan Dershowitz

in the Washington Post).

 

                                                                             watch step sign

 

       Now that we’ve had a little more time for reflection and the

(totally unjustified) violent riots have died down, it would be

great if others joined the discussion.  It seems to me that no rea-

sonable person in the Western World is questioning the right

of Flemming Rose, editor of the Danish Jyllands-Posten, to

publish those cartoons.  We have been questioning the wisdom

or appropriateness of the decision to publish.   As I noted at

Fool in the Forest, having the right is not the end of the decision-

process for responsible citizens, publishers, speakers: 


When exercising the free speech right is likely to lead

to violence or great offense to others, I would hope that

there would at least be a balancing of interests — what

is the benefit from exercising the right, and what are the

probable ill effects? Saying the benefit is proving the ex-

istence of the right is not particularly useful.

 

newspaperS

 

Since the cartoons say nothing that could not have been

said (much better) with words, and they would predictably

offend even moderate Muslims (who would not dream of

reacting with violence), their original publication makes little

sense to me. Re-publishing makes even less sense. No

matter how shocking or tame, republishing in the USA adds

little to the discussion — Muslims will still be offended; all but

extremists will condemn the violent reactions; and, more people

are very likely to be victims of violence at the hands of extremists.

What do you think?


tiny check  Although I think Colby Cash has greatly exaggerated the

threat to free speech (especially since that right exists vis-a-

vis the government, not as protection from the opinion of private

persons), I heartily agree with him that the United Church of

Canada was completely off-base concluding — with nothing

but speculation to support their claim — that the only reason

the cartoons were published is “simply racial hatred.”

 









empty bottle

a few words

I would like to take back

 


 

tiny check With George Wallace on my mind, I should point you

to his Declarations and Exclusions, an insurance-oriented 

legal weblog, where he has started a new feature called

Beyond the Bar — which will have George’s gleanings from

non-law-oriented weblogs that seem to be worth a look by

lawyers. The first selection for BtB is a post from 3quarksdaily 

by Michael Blim, who teaches anthropology at the Graduate

Center of the City University of New York. Blim examines the


the U.S. Supreme Court.   

 

update (Feb. 26, 2006): Speaking about free speech in a

“free country”, please check out this tale of police station

intimidation when an undercover reporter tries to get a

complaint form in Miami. cbs4.com, “Police State Intimidat-

ion,” Feb. 4, 2006 (via Mike Cernovich).  I don’t think this

could have happened in Schenectady.

 

“rushdieNYT”  salman rushdie

from nyt

 

tiny check  In thinking about the free speech issues raised by the Danish

cartoons, and wondering when it is wise to speak up against bullies

who are prone to react with violence, I naturally thought about author

Salman Rushdie, who was placed under a death fatwa, over the sup-

posed insults to the Prophet in his novel Satanic Verses.  In so doing,

I remembered my own connection with Mr. Rushdie. 

 

Two weekends ago, I finally got around to trying the Facial Recognition

software demonstration at MyHeritage (which I learned about through

Bob Ambrogi).  You can upload a photo and the MyHeritage folks will 

compare it with a data base of 2500 past and present celebrities.” 

You are then told which celebrity you most resemble. 

 

                                                                                                DAGMay05 

 

Well, I submitted this 2005 photo, and was told that I most looked like Salman 

Rushdie — based on a photo of Rushdie where he, unlike me, has a beard. 

I then tried a 1980 photo of myself and was told I most resembled Harry 

Houdini.    A week later, my same 2005 photo was matched with Colin

Powell.   Interesting.  (Back around 1980, one of my best friends remarked

that I looked like whichever ethnic group you most disliked that week. In 

1970, I was told I looked like “Omar Sharif on acid.”  Omar and I were both

a lot younger then.

 

I had a lot of fun with MyHeritage.  Three female friends of mine were very

pleased to hear that they looked like Julia Roberts, Katherine Hepburn,

and Isabella Rossellini.  I was a little surprised that a male friend, despite

his mustache, most resembled  “The Little Flower of Jesus,” St. Therese

de Lisieux.

 

 









 
 

under the

blackest doodle

something unerasable

 


erasingS

 

 


 

 

 



their laughter

is not about me

but would sound

just like that

if it was

 


“empty bottle”& “their laughter” - Quiet Enough (2004)

“empty bottle” – Upstate Dim Sum  (2002/I)

 


sunglassesG  Now, it’s time for something non-controversial.

The excellent haiku of Carolyn Hall:

 


 

sudden gust?

the book opens to a poem

I like even better 

 

 







icicles drip on the sill

   a pile of bills waiting

        to be paid

 

 

 

            winter sunset

        in the shrimp boat’s wake

pink pelicans  

 

 

 

 

 

                                                      sunglassesR

 

 

 

over the top

of my sunglasses

blue sky    

 

 

 

 







spilt milk

spreading along the grout lines

morning chill

 


 ”spilt milk” – Heron’s Nest (11:5, May 2000); A New Resonance 2

 ”icicles drip” – Acorn 3; A New Resonance 2:

“winter sunset” – The Heron’s Nest (II:5, May 2000)

“sudden gust” – The Heron’s Nest (II:10, Oct. 2000)

“over the top” – The Heron’s Nest (II:1, Jan. 2000)

 

                                                                                                                                          newspaperS

 

February 24, 2006

penalver questions bush’s culture of life

Filed under: pre-06-2006 — David Giacalone @ 6:55 pm

a Blue Light Special: coming soon to your law firm?

Filed under: pre-06-2006 — David Giacalone @ 5:42 pm


If any partners in your law firm get Harvard Magazine (on paper or by email),

you might want to intercept the current edition (Jan.-Feb. 2006), before they 

see an article reprinted in it from the Harvard Gazette.  By William J. Cromie,

it’s called When the Blues Keep You Awake: Blue light can reset your biological

rhythms,” (Harvard Gazette, Feb. 9, 2006),  Here’s the opening paragraph:


“Your eyes do more than see. Researchers at Harvard Medical School

demonstrated this by showing that your eyes are part of a light reception

system that can keep you alert when sleep starts to fog your brain. When

the researchers exposed people to blue light at night, this system imme-

diately increased their alertness and performance on tests.”

greater than eq blue 

 

Steven Lockley, an assistant professor at Harvard Medical School and a researcher

in sleep medicine at Brigham and Women’s Hospital in Boston. says:


“Men and women exposed to blue light sustained a high level of alertness

during the night when people feel most sleepy. These results suggest that

light may be a powerful countermeasure for the negative effects of fatigue

for people who work or study at night.”

So, if you think your billable-hour or fee-generation total is already too high, just

imagine what it will be when your firm buys a few Blue Light Special lamps or

cubicles.  If you’re late, and the managing partner has already seen the article,

maybe you can point out potential health problems and appeal to the firm’s moral

values:

 

                                                                                                             skaterSign


“Because blue light contains more energy than white, concern exists

that long-term exposure may damage the eyes. Too much blue light

might cause problems like age-related macular degeneration, progressive

damage to the retina common in older people. ‘This is a warning that we

should not just use blue light without thinking carefully about the timing

and duration of exposure and monitoring any routine exposure,’ Lockley

says.”

Sure, that should work.  Meanwhile, I can offer no assurance that the pushy 

associate down the hall isn’t bathed in blue light right this minute.

 

 

“uranusB”                                                                                                              

 

 

 


even the horses
sleep in light green
mosquito nets!

 

 

 

 





little snail, no different
asleep
awake

 

 


translated by David G. Lanoue

 



everyone asleep

except the one sleeping alone–

distant train whistles

 





 

 

 


summer dawn–

the curve of your body

under the sheets

 

 

 

 

 

 

snowbound–
firelight on the face
of the sleeping boy

 

 


my dream

awakens me . . .

I wake you

 

 



 

                                                                                         “BoxerSignB”

 

blue genes and billie wilson

Filed under: pre-06-2006 — David Giacalone @ 12:39 pm

The article “Twigs Bent Left or Right: Understanding how liberals

and conservatives differ, from conception on,” from the current 

edition of Harvard Magazine (Jan-Feb. 2006), has a rather mis-

leading title.  It’s really just a discussion of studies that support 

(usually quite weakly) or refute (ditto) various theories on what 

forces effect an individual’s political philosophy or party affiliation.


The article is worth a read if those issues interest you.  For me,

the most compelling section was a Sidebar called Blue Genes or Red?,

which describes a study by Harvard Professor Sidney Verba into

whether one’s genetic makeup can predict whether they will have

conservative or liberal views. 

 

“twins Nov51 small”

 

The study used data on 8,000 sets of twins. “Using information about

their opinions on 28 different political issues, they compared fraternal

twins, who share half of their genes, with identical twins, who have the

same genes. The researchers assumed that twins raised in the same

home experienced a similar upbringing.”  The results?


tiny check They found that genetic inheritance played a

statistically significant role in all 28 issues, but opinions on

school prayer and property taxes were the most powerfully

influenced by genes. Both had a ‘heritability estimate’ of .41,

while views on federal housing and liberals had estimates of

.20 and .18, making them the least affected by DNA.

 

“Although DNA appears to predispose people to react one way

or another to certain issues, shaping their ideology, the researchers

said party affiliation seems to depend more on the environment in

which the twins were raised. 

Naturally, Verba is cautious about what this study reveals, saying, he says.

“Pinning down any genetic basis of politics and separating it from how you

were raised, and then connecting them to actual public policy or voting behavior

has got a long way to go. But I can see more of this in the future.”

 

                                                                                your editor and his brother  twins 2001 small

 

Another wishy-washy study from an academic who hopes for more grant money?

Probably.  I can tell you, though, that my identical twin brother and I almost

certainly have similar views on school prayer and property taxes.  I need to poll

him about his feelings on federal housing and liberals.

 



“snowflakesN” From Billie Wilson and the Alaska Haiku Society

website: 







late night rain–


he reads to me from the book


I read to him


 


Mayfly #40 (2005)


 


 


 


 


nearly dark–


snow deepens


on the baseball field


 


Acorn 15 (2005) 


 






snow pile


 









swing shift


scattered through the parking lot


leaves from distant trees


 


                   Mariposa13 (2005)


 


 


 


 


winter storm–


three people in the checkout line


buying daffodils


 


              Acorn 15 (2005)


 





 









a squabble of jays–


he shovels my bootprints


off the sidewalk


 


           The Heron’s Nest VII:4 (2005)


 



 

                                                                                                      “snowflakeSN”

 

February 23, 2006

poetry from pamela

Filed under: pre-06-2006 — David Giacalone @ 8:31 pm

Our pundit in residence is suffering from a particularly

virulent strain of procrastination today.   If you stopped by

for some poetry,  here are two tanka and a haiku from


 

 

 



Whitman wrote:
Look for me under
your bootsoles.
And I do.
And you are.

Raw NerVZ Haiku IX:1 (Spring 2003)


 


coffeeCupS


 


To Guanyin
seated on my study shelf:
grant me
grace when the words flow
and grit in the silences.


TSA Newsletter IV:3 (September 2003)


 


 







autumn dawn

the space between our shadows

on the bedroom wall

 

               

 


“Whitman wrote” & “To Guanyin” – Simply Haiku (Vol. 2: 3)

“autumn dawn” – inside the mirror RMA 2005; Acorn 14

 

 

 

NessPlumpG






muddy puddle

a plump robin

a plump robin

 

                                                                              

February 22, 2006

i don’t like your (implicit) attitude!

Filed under: pre-06-2006 — David Giacalone @ 11:48 pm

Does your unconscious mind harbor prejudices that differ from your conscious

beliefs regarding race, gender or sexuality?  The Implied Association Test (IAT),

from Project Implicit, attempts to reveal whether there is a divergence between

one’s “explicit” attitude or belief on a subject, and one’s “implicit” or unconscious

beliefs, stereotypes, biases or preferences on the subject.

 


 

An introduction to the site states: “It is well known that people don’t always

‘speak their minds’, and it is suspected that people don’t always ‘know their minds’.

Understanding such divergences is important to scientific psychology. This web

site presents a method that demonstrates the conscious-unconscious divergences

much more convincingly than has been possible with previous methods.”

 

There are demonstration IAT’s for topics ranging from  Disability, Skin-tone,Gender-


Science, Religion, Weapons, Gender-Career, Race (Black-White, Asian American,

Native American), Sexuality (Straight-Gay), Arab-Muslim, Body Weight, Presidential

Popularityy, and Age (Young-Old),  Each demo test takes about ten minutes to

complete. 


Project Implicit is jointly sponsored by Psych Departments at Harvard,

Virginia and Washington Universities. The scientists behind the Project 

are Mahzarin Rustum Banaji (Harvard); Brian Nosek (U.Virginia); and

Anthony Greewald (Univ. of Washington)


The heart of the Project is a large-scale study of preferences. Volunteers

“have the opportunity to assess your conscious and unconscious prefer-

ences for over 90 different topics ranging from pets to political issues,

ethnic groups to sports teams, and entertainers to styles of music,”

while assisting the Project. 

 

                                                                                                  “MRBanaji”

                                                                                                                                      M.R. Banaji  

Younger readers may have already heard of Project Implicit from their recent  

college days.  I discovered it today, through an email invitation from the Harvard

Alumni Club in NYC, to attend a talk on March 2nd by Prof. Banaji, entitled

“Mind Bugs: The Psychology of Ordinary Prejudice.”  [If, like me, you can't

attend, a similarly-titled talk given by Prof. Banaji at Yale Law School is available

from its Video Archive ("Mind Bugs," March 11, 2003).]   Banaji focuses “on

systems that operate in implicit or unconscious mode and their relationship to

conscious social cognition. . .  [S]he asks about the social consequences of

unintended thought and feeling, and its implications for theories of individual

responsibility and social justice.”

 

Yes, it sounds a little woo-woo to me, too.  However, it’s also fascinating. The 

IATs ask you to put words or pictures into one of two categories.  If it takes you 

longer to match a word with the appropriate category, it is assumed that your

unconscious or implicit beliefs make your conscious mind work harder to get

the “right” answer — thus, showing an implicit preference/bias for the incorrect

category.  

 


Before starting an IAT, you must agree that:


“I am aware of the possibility of encountering interpretations

of my IAT test performance with which I may not agree.

Knowing this, I wish to proceed.” 

So far, I’ve only taken the Gender-Career IAT.  Because I responded more

quickly in assigning Male names to the Career category than assigning Female

names to that category, my test performance data “suggest a moderate association

of Male with Career and Female with Family compared to Female with Career and

Male with Family.” 

 

ImplicitLogoN

 

A lot of people, including Prof. Banaji, and test-takers at Montgomery-Blair High

School, in Bethesda, Maryland (Silver Chips Online, April 6, 2005), are unhappy

with the assessments they receive after taking IATs.   An article last month in

the Washington Post Magazine ,”See No Bias: Many Americans believe they are

not prejudiced. Now a new test provides powerful evidence that a majority of us

really are” (by Shankar Vedantam, Jan. 23, 2005, p. W12), takes an extended

look at Project Implicit, the results and conclusions drawn from

Here are a few intriguing passages from the WaPo article:


“The tests were better predictors of many behaviors than people’s explicit

opinions were. They predicted preferences on matters of public policy —

even ideological affiliations. Banaji and others soon developed tests for bias

against gays, women and foreigners. The bias tests, which have now been

taken by more than 2 million people, 90 percent of them American, and used

in hundreds of research studies, have arguably revolutionized the study of

prejudice.

 

quoteMarksLS

 

“In their simplicity, the tests have raised provocative questions about this

nation’s ideal of a meritocracy and the nature of America’s red state/blue state

political divide. Civil rights activists say the tests have the potential to address

some of the most corrosive problems of American society; critics, meanwhile,

have simultaneously challenged the results and warned they could usher in an

Orwellian world of thought crimes. Banaji has received death threats from supre-

macist groups; sensing that the tests can detect secrets, officials from the Central

Intelligence Agency have made discreet inquiries.

 

But the tests do not measure actions. The race test, for example, does not measure

racism as much as a race bias. Banaji is the first to say people ought to be judged by

how they behave, not how they think. She tells incredulous volunteers who show biases

that it does not mean they will always act in biased ways — people can consciously

override their biases. But she also acknowledges a sad finding of the research: Although

people may wish to act in egalitarian ways, implicit biases are a powerful predictor of how

they actually behave.” 

Although the tests are anonymous, volunteers are asked about their sex, race and whether they

consider themselves liberal or conservative.  Here’s one of the most provocative conclusions from

Banaji and her colleagues:


Conservatives, on average, show higher levels of bias against gays, blacks and Arabs than

liberals, says Brian Nosek, a psychologist at the University of Virginia and a principal IAT

researcher with Greenwald and Banaji. In turn, bias against blacks and Arabs predicts policy

preferences on affirmative action and racial profiling. This suggests that implicit attitudes affect

more than snap judgments — they play a role in positions arrived at after careful consideration.

 

                                                                                                                          quoteMarksRS

 

“Brian Jones, a Republican National Committee spokesman, says the findings are interesting

in an academic context but questions whether they have much relevance in the real world. “It’s

interesting to ponder how people implicitly make decisions, but ultimately we live in a world where

explicit thoughts and actions are the bottom line,” he says. Volunteers drawn to the tests were

not a random sample of Americans, Jones adds, cautioning against reading too much into the

conclusions.”

For more on this topic, see Stealthy Attitudes, from the Harvard Magazine (Summer 2002).

 

All and all, a lot of food for thought, debate, devil’s advocacy.  Although I’ll have to decline the

invitation, I’m glad the Harvard Club of NYC pointed me to Project Implicit and the work of Prof.

Banaji and her colleagues. 

 



podiumSN  All this talk of psychology put me into the mood for

a bit of poetry from Prof. George Swede:

 


anchored supertanker

                 its reflection

trembles

 

 

 





county graveyard

a dog burying

a bone

 

 

 

fishing pole

 

made for each other

the fishing pole and

the full moon

 

 

 




dropping stone after stone

into the lake     I keep

reappearing

 

 




                                                                                                                                        ImplicitLogoG

 

the Arkansas Bar irks me

Filed under: pre-06-2006 — David Giacalone @ 7:16 pm

Later this evening, I will post on the topic of our implicit attitudes and

biases.  First, though, I want to mention one very explicit attitude/bias

that I have: I do not respect bar associations that put the interests of the

lawyers before those of clients (see bar & guild) — especially when lawyers

are merely being asked to give clients information that is important to their

selection of counsel. 

 

100DollarBill

 

Today, my bad attitude goes out to the Arkansas Bar Association. Why?


Via Ben Cowgill, I learned that the Arkansas Bar’s House of

Delgates voted by a two-to-one margin to reject a proposed

rule requiring lawyers in active practice to certify whether

they carry professional liability insurance.  As Ben reported:


The proposal had been drafted by the Bar’s Profession-

alism Task Force and had received a strong endorsement

from the Bar’s Board of Governors. 

 

Arkansas is the first state that has rejected the concept

of mandatory reporting of professional liability insurance

since the ABA recommended a Model Court Rule on Insur-

ance Disclosure, in August of 2004.

The rejected rule is a weak form of disclosure — made to the Court

and not directly to clients.  Ben lists eleven states that now require

disclosure along with annual registration statements: AZ, DE, IL,

KS, MI, NE, NV, NM, NC, VA and WV.  There are also five states

requiring notification of clients: AK, NH, OH, PA and SD.  In addi-

tion, as Ben notes in his comprehensive review, “Oregon is still the

only state which requires all members of the Bar to maintain profes-

sional liability insurance.”  Find state-by-state details from the ABA


We’ve long supported mandatory disclosure to clients.  Click here for

the submission of the legal reform group HALT to the Georgia State

Bar (Nov. 4, 2004), explaining the benefits of mandatory disclosure

rules, and the need for notifying each client or potential client. HALT

gives one statistic that would surely surprise most members of the

public — and lawyers, too — the national average of lawyers who carry

professional liability insurance is 40%.  It is no surprise that disclosure

rules have motivated many formerly “naked” lawyers to purchase pro-

fessional liability insurance. 

 


p.s. Arkansas is among the 8 states that still impose a Gag Rule

on complainants in disciplinary matters.  Several state supreme

courts have recently declared such rules to be unconstitutional,

including the New Jersey Court last September.  

 

 



hidden in leaves
gazing at the camellia
croaking frog

 

 

 

 

 




hidden in shadows
a laughing mouse…
New Year’s inventory

 

 

 

 

midday’s mosquitoes
hidden behind
the Buddha of stone

 

 

Issa, translated by David G. Lanoue

 

 

 











PhantomMask

 

 

February 21, 2006

kukai: peer-reviewed haiku contests

Filed under: pre-06-2006 — David Giacalone @ 8:12 pm


The Shiki Monthly Kukai is a peer-reviewed haiku contest hosted on

the haikuworld.com website.  Its roots go back to March 1996, when

the Shiki Internet Haiku Salon began holding periodic kukai (haiku

contests).  Kukai secretaries choose two topics each month for the

Shiki contest, and poets submit their haiku in one or both of the cate-

gories.  Poems must contain the assigned word(s) in each category. 

“An ‘anonymized’ list is then distributed to all participating poets and

they are invited to vote” for the best haiku in each category.

 

The Shiki website has archives of previous topics and submitted 

haiku.   This afternoon, as I often do, I looked through the most recent

Shiki kukai results and submissions.  The February topics were “early

thaw” and “sunlight.” 

 


boxerSignG Here are poems submitted by three of our Honored Guests

poets to this month’s Shiki kukai:


 



early thaw
she brings up the least
of my worries

 

 

 

 

 

 






the eggs
comes to a slow boil
dappled sunlight


Shiki Monthly Kukai (February 2006)

 

 

 

 





the toddler’s feet
find a patch of sunlight–
swept kitchen floor

DeVar Dahl 

Shiki Monthly Kukai (February 2006)

 

 

 

 

 


early thaw…
for a moment
mother remembers my name


Shiki Monthly Kukai (February 2006)

 

 


snowFlakeSN  In addition, the January 2006 Shiki kukai also

attracted participation from several f/k/a‘s Guests:

 

 

 







midwinter dusk

a fireman faces

the flames  

 

 


Shiki Monthly Kukai (January 2006)

 

 

 

 

 







a shut-off notice
flaps in the wind–
midwinter

 

 

 


dark winter skies–
the bright “OPEN” sign
of a liquor store



Shiki Monthly Kukai (Jan. 2006)

 

 

 





prairie breeze–

the girl’s ponytail

as she rides a horse

 

 

 

 

 

midwinter thaw–

a groggy fly creeps

up the window

 

DeVar Dahl 
Shiki Monthly Kukai (February 2006)

 

 

tiny check The next time you’re tempted to wile away time on a computer

game at the office, I suggest you instead surf over to haikuworld’s

Shiki Kukai site, where you can compare and evaluate the submit-

ted haiku for yourself, or use the lists of prior topics to find collec-

tions of haiku on dozens of topics.  

 

Thanks and Congratulations to all those who have worked to make

the Shiki Kukai a reality over the past decade.

 

potluck


tiny check  From the New York Times, today, we learn that it took email   fail gray s

from their students for many college professors to discover

just how self-absorbed and self-entitled their classroom charges

really are.  Like, Duh!  (“To:  Professor at University.edu Subject:

Why It’s All About Me,” FEb. 21, 2006)

 

tiny check I would have thought that hard-nosed public defenders, like David Feige 

and Skelly Wright would have thicker skins than they are showing in

response to “Lawyers Compete to Represent an Unprepossessing Client,”

a New York Times, dated Feb. 19, 2006.  Feige (with whom I usu-

ally agree) wants to vomit and calls the article an “obsenity,” while fret-

ting over condescension.   Surely, he can’t be surprised that an NYT

reporter (here, Anemona Hartocollis) is snotty.  The article focuses on

the fight, between the former assigned trial lawyer and Legal Aid, to

represent recently overturned-convict Andrew Goldstein in his new trial.

It suggests the lawyers are hoping to handle a historic case. (The Court

of Appeals said Goldstein was deprived of the right to confront witnesses

against him, when a psychologist for the prosecution quoted non-witnes-

ses who had negative things to say about the defendant.)

 

boxerSignN

 

“Skelly Wright” at Arb & Cap notes that he doesn’t size up each client

as a potential “ticket into the history books.”  As I noted in a Comment

at his weblog, the NYT article wasn’t talking about the run-of-the -mill client. 

And, Legal Aid and Assigned Counsel don’t normally fight very hard over such

regular clientele.  This story is about an infamous defendant in a case that

raises important evidentiary issues.  The legal history books just might be

on the mind of lawyers who most often do toil hard in anonymity and are under-

appreciated by their clients, the public and even their profession. 

 

It certainly is not shocking for a reporter to imagine that criminal defense

lawyers might go out of their way to get a high-profile case.   Reporters —

and  the vast majority of working stiff professionals with moxie – do the very

same thing.

 

                                                                                                               “jeevesNV”

 

tiny check We reported last September that Jeeves of AskJeeves fame was

going to be retired (and we fretted that the Vatican might not let him

become a priest, as a late-life career).  It finally looks like Jeeves is as

good as out to pasture.  (“Jeeves Retires,” SearchEngineWatch, Feb.

20, 2006; via TVCAlert, Feb. 21, 2006)  You can leave Jeeves career or

leisure-time suggestions, at his Retirement Office.   What I find quite

strange is that the search engine is going from being called “Ask Jeeves,”

to being “Ask.”   When Dear Abby was replaced, was her column re-

named “Dear“?   Barry Diller and IAC just better not try to get a service-

mark on the word “ask.”   “Ask Diller” has a nice ring to it, though.

                                                                                                                                                                    hangmanN

 

                                                                                                                         

The Billable Hour Resources Page

Filed under: pre-06-2006 — David Giacalone @ 12:38 am

Legal outsourcing advocate Lisa Solomon has put together an excel- 

lent Billable Hour Resources Page, on the website of her retail firm,

The Billable Hour™ Co (which offers “clever timepieces for lawyers”).

The web page aptly sums up its content:

 

                                                                                                     “pocketWatchS”


“A compilation of links to books; studies and reports; newspaper

and magazine articles; and blog entries discussing the billable

hour and related subjects such as client service and value billing.”                                                                                



An upcoming press release, notes that Lisa, “a practicing lawyer and

partner in The Billable Hour™  Company, vetted all of the listed items for

relevance before adding them to the collection.   Her spouse and  time-

piece partner, Mark Solomon explains:


“While the utility and proper role of the ‘billable hour’ is hotly

debated in the legal community, until now there hasn’t been a

single comprehensive source for links to writings on the subject.”

Although their timepieces bring a bit of humor to the subject of billable 

hours, the Solomons want ”to encourage serious consideration of the issues

involved in the billable hour/value billing discussion.”  As the debate unfolds,

the Resources Page will be regularly updated; it has an RSS feed.

 

timeMoney

 


This list is far more comprehensive than others I have seen.  Of equal im-

portance for those interesting in seriously considering the ethical and

practical issues raised, the Billable Hours Resources Page — unlike others

– includes materials that are skeptical of both the blanket condemnation of

hourly billing and the unquestioning acceptance of the value billing mantra


tiny check Much of the skeptic materials appeared first at this

website and voice the Editor’s belief that “value billing” may

result in neither lower overall fees for clients nor more leisure

time for associates. See, e.g., chronomentrophobia (hourly

billing is not the problem) and value billing or venal bilking?.

So, the f/k/a gang suggests you bookmark the page and grab its RSS

feed — or even re-syndicate it (instructions are at the foot of the page).  

Thanks to Lisa and Mark Solomon for assembling this tool, and — “ad-

vanced praise” — for keeping it updated.

 

                                                                                    Billable Hour desk clock BillableDeskClock

 

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