f/k/a . . . the archives

July 30, 2007

stop Kosiur: my first single-issue election

Filed under: viewpoint — David Giacalone @ 12:00 pm

Update (August 1, 2007): Republican George Amedore Jr. defeated Edward Kosiur by 2800 votes yesterday, receiving 56% of the votes cast. As the Albany Times Union reported, the victory “ends at least two dozen years of Democratic dominance over the Assembly seat representing Montgomery and Schenectady counties.” The unusually large turnout for a special election — 31 % of registered voters — can surely be attributed to the anger over Kosiur’s ill-conceived Sex Offender Residency law. Amedore outpolled Kosiur by over 1000 votes in each county. See “It’s Assemblyman Amedore: ‘Extreme Makeover’ builder offers message of change in GOP win, Albany Times Union (Aug. 1, 2007; scroll down page to locate the article); “Amedore Wins 105th: Republican newcomer pulls upset over Kosiur by more than 2,800 votes,” Schenectady Daily Gazette, (Aug. 1, 2007). Video is available at the FoxNews23 website. Let’s hope the upset helps our County’s misguided Democrat Party leaders to rethink and rescind the sex offender residency restrictions and leave the issue to the State. update (Aug. 3, 2007): Albany Times Union columnist Fred LeBrun gives his take on the election, and concludes that “The 500-pound gorilla on Ed Kosiur’s back is a nuclear piece of legislation he sponsored and extensively promoted that passed the County Legislature on June 12. It concerns the potential redistribution of sexual predators in the county. . . . Passing that law when they did was about as dumb a political act as the Democrats could have concocted, not to mention that the law is dumb to begin with.”

Click to find newspaper articles and commentary Analyzing Kosiur’s Defeat, including a great editorial cartoon of Ed Kosiur with a backfiring gun.

- share this posting with this short URL: tinyurl.com/NotKosiur -

Original Posting:

Tomorrow I will cast my first true single-issue vote, in the special election for the New York State 105th Assembly District, which covers most of Schenectady County, about half of the City of Schenectady, and all of Montgomery County (which includes Amsterdam). The candidates are homebuilder and political-newcomer Republican George Amedore and Democrat Edward Kosiur, who is currently a member of the Schenectady County Legislature, and has been endorsed by the NY Working Families Party. As the Mohawk Valley’s Upstream weblog points out today, Kosiur and Amedore are both members of a local pentecostal, evangelical Assembly of God church; surprisingly, for 2007, neither has a college degree. (You can find press coverage and public commentary on the election at this community bulletin board.)

Daily Gazette Columnist Carl Strock has correctly concluded that the election will have little direct effect on local representation or statewide politics in the Assembly, as Democrats control 108 of the 150 Assembly seats. (Nonetheless, the Albany Times Union tells us that “No expense is spared in 105th district race: Both parties pump in cash to win Tuesday’s election.”) The lack of partisan significance makes it even easier for me to Vote My Conscience in this election and to Send a Signal to local and state politicians: Draconian, poorly-structured laws that react to and fan the public’s fear of sex offenders are bad politics, as well as bad policy.

Despite the apparently small stakes involved, there is far more interest than would normally be expected for a special Assembly election. The reason can be easily traced: it’s the Sex Offender Residency Restriction law passed on June 12, 2007, by the Schenectady County Legislature, which was proudly sponsored by Ed Kosiur, and prominently touted in his campaign ads and materials as the “toughest sex predator law in New York State”. “Sex Crimes law key issue in race” (Daily Gazette, July 26, 2007).

ExitSignArrow The restrictions effectively ban sex offenders from living in the city of Schenectady and two major suburbs, and are therefor likely to cause relocation and future location of sex offender residences in more rural parts of Schenectady County and into Montgomery County. Town Supervisors and families living in the permitted residential areas are a bit upset. (see, e.g., the Resolution of the Town of Duanesburg; and “Towns Push Back on Sex Offender Laws,” Daily Gazette, July 13, 2007)

I discussed the law and my reasons for opposing it at length in our June 13th post “Schenectady’s PanderPols Vote to Evict Sex Offenders.” It bars even the lowest-risk sex offenders from living within 2000 feet of schools, parks and playgrounds, or day care centers, forcing those currently within the proscribed areas to move out by Oct. 1st, and move again should such a facility be placed within 2000 feet of their residence. There is absolutely no reason to believe the law will make any child safer, and much research that suggests the restrictions may make things worse. Even the County legislature’s own attorney and the County attorney have privately stated that the eviction requirement is unconstitutional, and the law is likely to be held to be preempted by State residency restrictions on sex offenders.

Amedore has concluded that patchwork local laws that merely shuffle residences are not the solution; and has instead proposed “protecting children in every community” with statewide laws that would increase sentences, permit better tracking, and restrict the number of offenders who may live in any one area. See “Laws for Sex abusers still debated,” Daily Gazette, July 28, 2007; “Amedore unveils sex offender plan,” CapitalNews9, July 27, 2007; and TU Local Politics Blog). This approach makes far more sense than Kosiur’s banishment policy.

[Ed Kosiur, CapitalNews9] There is little doubt that the poorly-drafted SORR laws were rushed out of the County Legislature last month in order to launch Kosiur’s candidacy for the open Assembly seat. Now that he has discovered that his plan is not universally appreciated (and has opposition from more than just those with bleeding-hearts and ACLU-leanings), Kosiur tells the Daily Gazette that “the bottom line is I am the candidate with the proven record of advancing legislation that is tough on these predators and have not ever been afraid to vocalize my beliefs even when it has not been politically advantageous.”

A lifelong Democrat, my brain and conscience often affect my vote. My opposition to Ed Kosiur is not due to his exaggerated claims of job creation, nor his having voted to raise City property taxes (which can often be far more responsible than the Mr. Amedore’s silly pledge to never raise taxes). Indeed, I’m pleased that he would support a gay marriage law, despite his personal opposition to gay marriage (while, according to the Times Union, Mr. Amedore would vote his faith and oppose such a law). Nor am I particularly moved by gadfly Pat Zollinger’s psycho-analysis of the candidate. Tomorrow, I will vote against Ed Kosiur because of his sponsorship of Schenectady’s SORR — to make it clear that politics that pander to hate and that ostracize and stigmatize unpopular groups are not acceptable. I hope his defeat will send an important message to other politicians in Schenectady County and across the State

Go to StopKosiursLaw.com to see an unofficial map that depicts the forbidden residency zones (the County hasn’t released one yet despite the looming Oct. 1 eviction date), and for the Gazette‘s cartoon showing PanderPol Ed scaring a child.

p.s. For a much-needed change of pace, here are a few poems by three poets who always get our vote, from the newest issue of Bottle Rockets (#17, Vol. 9 no. 1)

flooded creek
the dark night fills
with white noise

morning mist
i type
the first word

………………………………. by Carolyn Hall

garden party — spiltWine
with no regard for who’s who
the mosquitos

feeder freshly filled
the sparrows and finches
just tail feathers

………………………………………. by George Swede

god’s house of healing ………….. by Ed Markowski

chains & padlocks . . .
a crucifix appears
in the liquor store window

neon cross
in its off white light
the deal goes down

“revelations 8:2″
the preacher pauses
’til the sirens fade

storefront church
no one has
a hat to pass

neon cross
its pulsing light illuminates
the all night girls

in the window
where the choir swayed
two shiny trumpets

joe’s pawnshop
an antique mannequin
graces the display window

………….. by Ed Markowski ..

July 28, 2007

heavy hitters back on deck

Filed under: Haiku or Senryu,lawyer news or ethics — David Giacalone @ 1:27 pm

at bat neg With Barry Bonds hitting home run No. 754 yesterday (one shy of Hank Aaron’s record), and A-Rod swatting #499 on Wednesday, sports fans around the nation are thinking about round-trippers and Big Bats. Nonetheless, while some weblogging lawyers may be interested in sluggers (in pinstripes), most are still concentrating on the law, rather than the game. Indeed, after many of New York State’s recently-adopted lawyer-ad-rules–on-steroids were struck down earlier this week, in Alexander v. Cahill (USNDNY, Dkt. 5:07-CV-117, July 20, 2007; see our prior post, and Consumer Law & Policy Blog, July 23, 2007), many lawyers are wondering just when the profession’s own Heavy Hitters will be back in the line-up in tv, radio, yellow-pages and billboard advertising. You see, the Alexander court struck down a provision banning use of “a nickname, moniker, motto, or trade name that imples an ability to obtain results in a matter.”

law firm picnic
the ump consults
his Blackberry

…………………………… by david giacalone – Baseball Haiku (2007)

The winning plaintiffs in Alexander v. Cahill were the Syracuse law firm Alexander & Catalano. Their hometown Syracuse Post-Standard reported earlier this week that “The Heavy Hitters are back in the game. And they can be as funny and irreverent as they choose in advertising their legal services.” “‘Heavy Hitters’ knock down rules on lawyer ads,” July 24, 2007. According to Newsday/AP, “‘The Heavy Hitters’ can’t start hitting home runs again just yet, but at least they’ve reached base.” “Heavy hitters get past first base, must wait for state appeal” (July 24, 2007) The article quotes plaintiff James L. Alexander:

“Being a lawyer, I respect the system, but we agree with the judge’s decision,” Alexander said. “For the state’s rules to survive, there would be sterile advertising, unappealing advertising, and ineffective advertising. We don’t want to reverse 30 years of jurisprudence.

umpireS “We don’t want to stick this in anybody’s face,” Alexander said. “It affects lawyers throughout the state, but more than lawyers it protects the public to get uncensored information. The public is used to seeing advertising that is entertaining, and they can make their own decisions. They’re not being brainwashed. The public doesn’t need the protection. They’ve been dealing with it for decades.”

Alexander & Catalano had billed itself in most of its advertisements as “The Heavy Hitters.” The firm abandoned the motto for fear of running afoul of the new rules’ prohibition against implying the ability to obtain results.

Both dollars and principle are involved when it comes to the use of the Heavy Hitter moniker, however, so it is no surprise that Alexander & Catalano already has commercials in the can and ready to roll reprising their motto. As the New York Law Journal reported on July 27, the firm:

“has just taped ads featuring testimonials from clients and will begin airing them on Monday, with the nickname ‘heavy hitters’ back as a tagline.

Only a last-minute order staying Judge Scullin’s permanent injunction on the enforcement of the nickname rule and other affected provisions, will delay the return of the Heavy Hitter motif this week. Here in the NY Capitol Region, the law firm Martin Harding & Mazzotti had been using the Heavy Hitter slogan for over five years, but dropped in when the new rules went into effect on February 1st. According to NYLJ, “Partner Paul B. Harding said Thursday that after Scullin’s ruling, the firm was trying to decide between again being ‘heavy hitters” or to use another nickname: ‘Team 24/7′.” The article continues:

HeavyHittersCoverG [full-size phone book ad]

The “heavy hitters” tagline “did stick a lot more than we thought it would,” Harding said. “We used it for about five years and I am not sure people actually realized we stopped using it. Our numbers [of calls] didn’t fall off.”

The f/k/a Gang has often assailed the silly nickname bans, see, e.g., here and there. [And see MyShingle.] They are a brand of regulatory overkill that has nothing to do with protecting consumers. Instead, they are aimed at protecting the image of lawyers, while avoiding the competition that comes from effective advertising. We will be quite pleased when the Alexander opinion is affirmed and adopted by courts everywhere.

Ted hits another homer
a seagull high over right field
gets out of the way

after the grand slam
the umpire busy
with his whisk broom

under the lights
hitting it out of the park
and into the night

BaseballHaikuCover…………. by Cor van den Heuval – orig. pub. Play Ball (1999); from from Baseball Haiku (edited, with translations, by Cor van den Heuvel and Nanae Tamura, W.W. Norton Press, April 2007)

last day of school . . .
the crack of a bat
through an open window

………… by Randy Brooks – Baseball Haiku (2007)

bases loaded
a full moon clears
the right field fence

………………………………. by Tom Painting from Baseball Haiku; and “piano practice

Louisville Slugger
the boy’s fingertips caress
the trademark

…………………………………. by Lee Gurga – Baseball Haiku (2007)

infielderG p.s. As noted at ABA Journal’s Law News Now, NYSBA bar president Kathryn Grant Madigan is trying to escape blame for the unlawfully-restrictive advertising rules that were struck down this week. Here’s the Comment that I left at the ABA site:

The New York State Bar Association attempt to distance itself from the unconstitutional ad rules that it inspired is misleading and cowardly. In 2005, NYSBA declared war on lawyer advertising in the name of the image/dignity of the profession. (See, e.g., our post “NYBar disses lawyer advertising“). In 2006, its Advertising Task Force called for far more restrictive rules than were eventually adopted by the NYS Judiciary — demanding that ads not only be “true, accurate and clear”, but also “fair,” “rational” and “relevant to the thoughtful selection of counsel.” In a press release dated Jan. 4, 2007, NYSBA tried to take credit for the toned-down final version of the rules. (see our discussion of the rules) If Bar president Madigan really means “we went too far and our initial proposals were unconstitutional, unnecessary, and insulting to the intelligence of the public and the integrity of the profession,” she should say so, rather than merely trying to cover the Association’s rear end.

Prominent first amendment lawyer Floyd Abrams has correctly pointed out that the Alexander decision “exposes the reality that there appears to have been almost no empiric basis for the adoption of almost any of these rules.” NYSBA knew there was no proof when they proposed sweeping new restrictions on lawyer advertising. Perhaps their folly will embarrass other state regulators into backing off the foolish crusade to blame lawyer advertising for the sorry state of the bar’s image.

crack of the bat
the outfielder circles under
the full moon

……………… by George Swede – Baseball Haiku (2007)

Seattle sunset at bat neg
Ichiro sends one
toward the Sea of Japan

distant thunder
the home run hitter
drops a bunt

……….. by Ed Markowski

July 26, 2007

Presumed Ignorant: Scott Turow on the Billable Hour

Filed under: viewpoint — David Giacalone @ 5:09 pm

Scott Turow gets a solid A for his skill as a legal storyteller. But, he doesn’t even merit a Gentleman’s C for his analysis of the ethics and economics of hourly billing. See his article for the current ABA Journal, “The Billable Hour Must Die” (August 2007). In his cover piece, Turow sees the billable hour as the source of all sorts of evils — from inefficiency and client suspicion, to associate disillusionment and ethics violations. His presumption of guilt for the billable hour reflects superficial analysis and group-think. The many logical and theoretical errors roused me (again) from my punditry break, leading me to leave the following Comment at the ABA Journal website:

Scott Turow has chosen the wrong target, by joining the crowd and blaming the billable hour, rather than the greed of law firms and lawyers. Unless lawyers are willing to make less income/profit, a switch to alternative billing methods will benefit neither clients nor the lawyers who feel crushed by billable-hour quotas. See my post “chronomentrophobia” and the linked material.

[image by Jeff Dionise, ABA Journal]

As explained in that posting, there is nothing unethical about hourly billing, as long as the lawyer sets the hourly rate by using the factors that Turow wrongly complains are irrelevant to hourly billing (such as experience, complexity, skill required, etc.), works efficiently and competently, and keeps the client well-informed. (Of course, the ethical lawyer knows that “actual hours X rate” is the maximum that will be charged the client — with hours reduced for time used inefficiently or getting up to speed in a new field.)

Clients expect “alternative fee arrangements” and “value billing” to result in lower overall fees. It’s the Alternative Billing gurus, who tell lawyers they can switch from hourly billing and make higher “premium” fees while working less, whose ethics need to be scrutinized.

Life will not get more balanced for associates, if the regime of billable hour quotas is discarded, unless it becomes perfectly acceptable for the young lawyer to generate less income without it affecting future partner status. Indeed, if the firm management still expects each lawyer to produce the same amount of billed income, it might get even more stressful — the associate won’t know how to keep score; won’t know if he or she is keeping pace for the year. That might be especially true if fee contracts with clients are based on some post-completion assessment of the “value” of the performance to the client.

Complaining about “the billable-hours regime” is like a condemned man complaining about the executioner using a rope. If they get rid of the rope, they will substitute another means to secure his death. It’s the death penalty that is the problem not the rope. Similarly, it is the insistence that enormous amounts of fees be generated by each lawyer that is the problem for clients and lawyers, not the formula used to calculate the fee.

update (July 30, 200): Carolyn Elefant beat me to the punch at MyShingle with her critique of Turow’s article called “The Problem with Billable Hours — or the problem with Lawyers?” (July 24, 2007). It is a well-said and incisive post. And, see the discussion and thoughtful comments at The Legal Ethics Forum, plus my second Comment (#5) at the ABA Journal. And, note that Prof. Daniel Solove at Concurring Opinions is surprisingly blind to the efficiency challenges and ethical temptations of every other kind of billing system. As long as law firms demand, and the profession as a whole approves by its silence, ethically-hostile work environments that require that each lawyer generate impractically-large amounts of fees, the billing system used will be irrelevant. (see our post Sanction this (firm)!) That point is so obvious, that one cannot help but conclude that the focus has been so vehemently placed on the billable hour (as opposed to billable hour quotas) in order to avoid having to make the switch from systematically milking to habitually serving clients.

afterthought (Aug. 18, 2007): Please read our post, “broadening the billable-hour debate — consider yourself, your clients and your ethics” (Aug. 18, 2007).

in my thicket
they’re out of time…
fireflies

spring mist–
people without hoes
wasting time

………………….. by Kobayashi Issa, translated by David G. Lanoue

o pshaw, we reiterate (again)

Filed under: Haiku or Senryu,q.s. quickies — David Giacalone @ 9:16 am

          We never need an excuse to quote George Bernard Shaw, but his birthday (b. July 26, 1856) is always a good reminder to share a few of Shaw’s gems (see, e.g., “o politics, o pshaw“; and click for many more).  Our favorites include:

  • “The power of accurate observation is commonly called cynicism by those who have not got it.”
  • “The fact that a believer is happier than a skeptic is no more to the point than the fact than a drunken man is happier than a sober one.”
  • “He knows nothing; and he thinks he knows everything. That points clearly to a political career.”
  • “Democracy substitutes election by the incompetent many for appointment by the corrupt few.”
  • “We have no more right to consume happiness without producing it than to consume wealth without producing it. [Candida (1898) act 1]
  • “Martyrdom… is the only way in which a man can become famous without ability.” [ The Devil’s Disciple (1901) act 3]

If you like your humor law-related, take another look at Robert Ambrogi‘s article from three years ago today “Web Watch: Laughing at Lawyers and the Law” (Law Technology News, 07-26-2004), which we featured that day in a post “blame bob“.

I think G.B. Shaw would have been bemused by Bob’s post earlier this week at LegalBlogWatch, explaining why he is sticking to his conclusion that Overlawyered.com was the first legal weblog.  It seems that two veteran cyber persona, Bruce W. Marcus and Sabrina Pacifici, want to claim the title for their own early e-newsletters, by bending the definition of weblog.  After due consideration, Bob won’t budge.  We concur.

Meanwhile, if you want easy access to news and developments in law and lawyering, check out the recently-unveiled ABA Journal Law News Now website.  Ambrogi covers it here, as does Larry Bodine, who sees the site as a competitor for Law.com.  The site is now free and fully-accessible to the public.  Its staff cover and accumulate legal news on a broad array of topics,  while monitoring 1000 law weblogs. You will also find several years’ worth of ABA Journal articles, and you can now comment on all of them, as well as items produced for Law News Now.

The f/k/a Gang definitely needs no excuse to feature the poetry of Pamela Miller Ness.  We did so on July 27, 2005, and present those poems again today, along with a few more summer-themed haiku that have caught our fancy over the years:

sultry morning
the child’s rag doll
slumped on the veranda

the longest day
slowly the cat
licks each paw

midsummer sun
facing the mountain
I’ll never climb

……………………….. Pamela Miller Ness from The Heron’s Nest frisbeeFlyingF
“sultry morning” (Sept. 2003); “the longest day” (Aug. 2003)
“midsummer sun“ (Valentine’s Issue, Special Mention, Feb. 2005)

morningmoon
plays hide-and-seek
my sleepfilled eyes

first love
in the summer gazebo . . .
little brother won’t leave

midsummer evening
mother’s two-syllable whistle
ends our play

    August hurricane
our candlelit teaparty
for three

“morningmoon” – from pink light, sleeping (Small Poetry Press, 1998)
“first love” & “midsummer evening” & “August hurricane” – driveway from childhood (small poetry press, 1997)

July 23, 2007

federal court decimates NY lawyer ad rules

Filed under: Haiku or Senryu,lawyer news or ethics — David Giacalone @ 4:31 pm

We interrupt our punditry hiatus momentarily to report that Public Citizen has achieved a major victory against the stupendously silly and over-reaching New York state lawyer advertising rules, which went into effect on Feb. 1, 2007 (see our prior post for a description of the rules and links). In Alexander v. Cahill (Mem. Decision & Order, 30-pp, pdf., USNDNY, Dkt. 5:07-CV-117, July 20, 2007), Senior Federal District Judge Frederick J. Scullin, Jr., specifically rejected New York’s bald assertion that it “could ban attorney advertising that was ‘irrelevant, unverifiable, [and] non-informational’” without reference to the Supreme Court’s Central Hudson test for the regulation of commercial speech.

honest! The Alexander court enjoined enforcement of provisions that would “prohibit attorney advertisements from containing endorsements and testimonials about matters still pending, portrayals of judges, techniques to obtain attention that lack relevance to selecting counsel, portrayals of attorneys with characteristics unrelated to legal competence, and use of a nickname, moniker, motto, or trade name that implies an ability to obtain results in a matter.” It also struck down a ban on pop-up and pop-under internet ads, and held that the rules would not be construed to apply to non-commercial speech (by not-for-profit attorneys).

Congratulations to the Public Citizen team, which included Brian Wolfman, Gregory Beck and Scott Nelson. Beck reports on the victory this afternoon at Consumer Law & Policy Blog. Let’s hope the many other states (see our post) that have been racing toward indiscriminate bans on lawyer advertising that is deemed undignified will take note of Judge Scullin’s advice that lawyer ad regulation must be “accomplished in a manner consistent with established First Amendment jurisprudence.”

p.s. I am a bit disappointed that Judge Scullin repeats the unproven assertion that “the public perception of the legal profession has been greatly diminished” by ads deemed “tasteless” or “obnoxious.” If the NY Bar Dignity Police are feeling unappreciated after the decision in Alexander v. Cahill, they should consider moving to France, where the new government is looking for people who do less thinking. See “New Leaders Say Pensive French Think Too Much,” New York Times, July 22, 2007. Update: See Nicole Black’s thoughtful column in the Daily Record, “Lawyer Advertising — The Great Debate,” which is reproduced at her weblog Sui Generis (July 31, 2007).

update (July 24, 2007): See Law.com‘s news coverage, in “N.Y. Federal Judge Strikes Down Many New Attorney Ad Rules: Finds state failed to prove that ban on certain content advanced goal of protecting public from misleading ads,” New York Law Journal (July 24, 2007), which explains:

The four presiding justices of New York’s Appellate Division, who are charged with overseeing attorney discipline, first unveiled proposed restrictions on attorney advertising last June to address concern that outrageous and aggressive lawyer ads were misleading the public as well as harming the image of the profession.

But Northern District of New York Judge Frederick J. Scullin ruled that the state had largely failed to show that its wholesale prohibitions of certain kinds of content had advanced its interest in protecting the public from misleading lawyer advertisements. Moreover, he said, the state had failed to show less onerous means could not achieve the same ends.

“Defendants have failed to produce any evidence that measures short of categorical bans would not have sufficed to remedy the perceived risks of such advertising being misleading,” the judge wrote in Alexander & Catalano v. Cahill, 07 Civ. 117. “There is nothing in the record to suggest that a disclaimer would have been ineffective.”

 update (Aug. 11, 2007): NYSBA President Kathryn Madigan says she agrees with the Alexander decision.  Should we believe her?   See “after Alexander v. Cahill, where does NYSBA stand on lawyer advertising?“.

mountain butterfly
from her boulder
to mine

moonrise . . .
cattle single file through
the narrow pasture gate

early morning cool
men in hard hats gather
on the last patch of grass

tongue out
the boy guides a new airplane
round and round

thunder . . . erasingS
little leaguers chatter
silenced

baseball
rolls into the mud –
painted lady flutters up

……………………. by Randy Brooks
“early morning cool” – the loose thread: rma 2001; Modern Haiku XXXII:1;
“moonrise . . .” – the loose thread: rma 2001; tundra 2
“mountain butterfly” – a glimpse of red: RMA 2000; Modern Haiku XXXI:2

“tongue out” – The Heron’s Nest VIII (2006)
“thunder” & “baseball” – Baseball Haiku (2007)

July 21, 2007

just another july 21st

Filed under: Haiku or Senryu,q.s. quickies — David Giacalone @ 8:37 am

It’s a lazy summer weekend, so I’m sure you’ll excuse a couple of “on this day” reprise themes from your sleepy Editor. On July 21, 2004, we were “at play with matt“, and presented two of my favorite Matt Morden haiku:

an old resume
my son colours in
his rainbow

children’s playground
a swallow’s nest
high above the noise

……………………….. by Matt Morden, from a selection at World Haiku.

credits: “an old resume” – Snapshots #7 2000;
”children’s playground” – Haiku Canada Newsletter VXII Feb 99

Here’s a recent poem from Matt’s Morden Haiku website:

unattached
a ballon free to follow
every gust

full moon On July 21, 2005, we talked of perigee and focused on summer moon poems by Kobayashi Issa, with Prof. David Lanoue’s priceless translations. You can find ten summer moon haiku at David’s Issa collection. Here are some of my favorites:

her child tucked in
she washes his clothes…
summer moon

crossing the river
taking a leak…
summer moon

in soup kettle
and outhouse
the summer moon

We’re still taking a pundit hiatus, but would like to point you to two items featured in the July 2007 Harvard Monthly e-newsletter. First, a press release from the Kennedy School of Government titled “Survey Finds Young Americans’ News Use Is Half That of Older Adults: Teens’ Daily News Use Is Even Lower Than That of Young Adults” (July 10, 2007). It describes The Shorenstein Center Report on Young People’s Daily News Consumption, Young People and News, which concludes that:

“some recent surveys have overestimated young people’s news consumption and the capacity of non-traditional media to take up the slack from young people’s flight from traditional news sources. The report concludes that most young people can be expected to continue to do what they have been doing — snatching a bit of news here and there without making it a routine part of their day.”

Plus, the newsletter includes an Interview with Kennedy School Dean David Ellword about his Acting in Time Initiative, which was established “to confront and overcome inaction in the face of looming catastrophic events” (e.g., global warming, aging populations, health care, nuclear proliferation). The Initiative’s goal is:

“understanding the reasons that particular problems are not being addressed and to help foster ideas to help move solutions forward. The hope and expectation is that by bringing together scholars of different backgrounds along with practitioners, we will be able to learn more about the qualities of analysis, governance, policy design, democratic institutional structure, information, political mobilization, and leadership that can lead to effective and timely action.”

the child runs
in tears –
“mommy! that man smiled at me”

………………………………………………… by dagosan, July 21, 2004

July 19, 2007

outfit oratory

Filed under: Haiku or Senryu,q.s. quickies — David Giacalone @ 10:19 am

clohanger I said it here two years ago today and — after overhearing a few conversations recently at a restaurant — I’m going to say it again, “males don’t wear outfits“! Indeed, in 2005, I pleaded:

[N]o loopholes, ladies: neither boys, nor babies and toddlers of the male gender, wear “outfits” — no matter how cute you may think their clothes look. Of course, there are times when males wear uniforms or costumes, and men may even be members of an outfit, but they do not wear outfits. See: the lyrics to “Outfit” by Drive-by Truckers, from their 2003 album “DecorationDay” . . .

For examples of female people wearing outfits, check out Gianni Versaci’s Legacy, in today’s New York Times, where Versace’s death 10 years ago is remembered in “The Murder on Ocean Drive” (July 19, 2007). Meanwhile, there’s murder in the hearts of many drivers in Virginia, where a “lead-footers’ rebellion” is being waged against new laws “imposing huge new fines — some as high as $2,500 — for residents caught driving 20 miles above the speed limit or engaging in other reckless driving.” (New York Times, “High fines for speeding anger Virginians,” July 19, 2007)

withering wind…
the scarecrow’s jacket
fits

…………………………… by ed markowski

the accused teen
and his lawyer…
dressed for spring

…………………………. by barry george

a shiny disco shirt
out of the attic trunk . . .
something scurries away

…………………………………… by randy brooks from School’s Out

spiltBucketG On July 19, 2005, we also shared three poems by Peggy Willis Lyles,

including this one from Frogpond XXVIII:2:

mops and pails–
the wren goes on singing
with straw in its beak

Here’s are a few of the many poems published by Peggy since then:

a breeze
where paths cross
tangled vines

crisp maps
beside the backpack–
morning star

moonrise
a man on a treadmill
nods and smiles

time out spiltWine
the setting sun
takes center field

Sunday afternoon–
butterflies sweep the slow end
of the soccer field

blue butterflies
a knife without a handle
on the lichened stone

grey Atlantic
a pelican crosses
the rainbow

……………………….. by Peggy Lyles
“a breeze”, “crisp maps” & “moonrise” – FreeXpressSion 2007
“time out” – Modern Haiku, Winter/Spring 2007
“sunday afternoon–” – Mayfly #41, Summer 2006
“blue butterflies” – Roadrunner Haiku Journal, May 2007 Issue VII:2
“grey Atlantic” – Mainichi Daily News (July 2007)

mid-July –
the weatherman explains
dew points again

………………………. by dagosan, July 19, 2005

July 16, 2007

flipped our wig

Filed under: Haiku or Senryu — David Giacalone @ 5:57 pm

In search of lawyer commentary during f/k/a‘s punditry hiatus? Jamie Spencer is hosting Blawg Review #117 at his Austin Criminal Defense Blog, where he spotlights the best recent work at law-related weblogs. Jamie has built this week’s Blawg Review around a unique and instructive theme. As he explains:

“I decided to use the six amendments from the Bill of Rights that most apply to criminal defense, highlight a historic Supreme Court criminal case, and use the text of the Amendment itself as the springboard for this week’s featured posts.”

Checking out the list of featured posts, I discovered JD Hull’s discussion of whether you have to like a client to do a good job. I also learned that J. Craig Williams is worried that they’re running out of lawyers in California. Clearly, Craig has not seen my recent article at The Complete Lawyer, No Senior Discount at the Ethics Bar, which Tim Kevan graciously included in the Weekly Review at The Barrister’s Blog (July 16, 2007), which is my favorite shortlist of the best-’o-the-blawgs.

Tim has also pointed to BabyBarista‘s Interview Tips for law students (which supplement the more conventional suggestions published earlier this month at TimesOnLine), and reminds us that wigs and gowns will be abolished next year in the United Kingdom’s family and civil courts.

monday morning
a paper cup
with a slow leak

the song ends as i leave the store

evening calm . . .
the fisherman’s
smoke rings

a dry straw
in a dry cup
no last words

……….. by john stevenson from Upstate Dim Sum (2006/II)

p.s. Over at LegalBlogWatch, today, Robert Ambrogi asks Who Was the First Legal Blogger? Bob did some archive-diving and found the start-up dates for some venerable sites (including Bag’n’Baggage and Ernie the Attorney). He concludes that Walter Olson’s Overlawyered.com was the first law-related weblog, which was launched on July 1, 1999.

digital age
aging digits
at the keyboard

………………………………. by dagosan

autumn wind
trying to keep myself
under my hat

……………………………. John Stevenson - Modern Haiku (Vol. 36:1, 2005)

July 14, 2007

weekend haiku opportunity

Filed under: Haiku or Senryu,q.s. quickies — David Giacalone @ 5:27 pm

Asking “Land of Opportunity?,” yesterday’s New York Times editorial (July 13, 2007) points out that “Recent research surveyed by the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development, a governmental think tank for the rich nations, found that mobility in the United States is lower than in other industrial countries. One study found that mobility between generations — people doing better or worse than their parents — is weaker in America than in Denmark, Austria, Norway, Finland, Canada, Sweden, Germany, Spain and France.” The editorial explains:

“America’s sluggish mobility is ultimately unsurprising. Wealthy parents not only pass on that wealth in inheritances, they can pay for better education, nutrition and health care for their children. The poor cannot afford this investment in their children’s development — and the government doesn’t provide nearly enough help.”

tree to porch…
a spider strings
sunlight

meadow wildflowers
an old fence post
leans low

paint brush –
my breath moves
a spider

windsong…
the deep bow
of a willow

…………………………………. by Laryalee Fraser from Simply Haiku (Vol. 5:2, Summer 2007)

you! Today’s New York Times has a piece by Adam Liptak, reporting that “Public Defenders Get Better Marks When on Salary” (July 14, 2007). The article starts: “Some poor people accused of federal crimes are represented by full-time federal public defenders who earn salaries, others by court-appointed lawyers who bill by the hour. A new study from an economist at Harvard says there is a surprisingly wide gap in how well the two groups perform.” The salaried public defenders resolve cases more quickly, with shorter sentences for their clients. See our similar conclusions in the posts “Too Many Assigned Counsel Just Don’t Give a Damn” and “NYS Chief Judge wants statewide public defender system.”

distant shoreline –
silence catches up
with the train

radio talk show
mist rises between
headlights

scissors –
each dewdrop reflects
the rose

…………… by Laryalee Fraser – from Mainichi Daily News, Feb. 2007, June 2007, and July 2007

Finally, in “Drinkers in Korea Dial for Designated Drivers” (New York Times, July 10, 2007) you’ll learn about Korean “replacement drivers,” who make their living by delivering inebriated people and their cars home. “There are tens of thousands of them operating in this hard-drinking metropolis of 10 million people.” Indeed, “An estimated 100,000 replacement drivers handle 700,000 customers a day across the country, the number increasing by 30 percent on Fridays, according to the Korea Service Driver Society, a lobby for replacement drivers.”

crisp breeze
a gull’s shadow breaks
from the pilings

lowered flag -
two swallows
wing past

“Grandma, a push?”
her sneakers scuff
the curve of the sky

………….. by Laryalee Fraser from Stylus Poetry Journal

July 11, 2007

of ash and All-Stars

Filed under: Haiku or Senryu — David Giacalone @ 12:16 pm

baseballdiamond

I don’t know if Ichiro Suzuki is a haiku fan, but I’m sure he inspired a poem or two at last night’s MLB All-Star Game — especially with his inside the park home run. (“Ichiro’s magic gives AL home field again, ” CBS Sports Line, July 11, 2007). Now that the controversial selection of Barry Bonds for the All-Star squad is behind us (see USAToday), the f/k/a Gang wants to remind you of the roster of haijin all-stars on our Baseball Haiku page, and in this year’s MVP anthology of sports poetry, Baseball Haiku (Cor van den Heuvel and Nanae Tamura, eds., W.W. Norton Press, April 2007).

Seattle sunset
Ichiro sends one
toward the Sea of Japan

fireflies…
the smallest boy hits
the game winning homer

……………………………………. by ed markowski, The Old BallGame (April 2006)

BaseballHaikuCover Poems from nine of our Honored Guest Poets were selected to appear with “the best haiku ever written about the game” in Baseball Haiku : randy brooks, tom clausen, lee gurga, jim kacian, ed markowski, tom painting, john stevenson, george swede, michael dylan welch. And, dagosan even got in as bat boy. You can find poems from the Baseball Haiku volume in several of our prior posts: e.g, here, here, and there, plus here; and we previewed the book back in January, here).


called third strike–
the slow roll of the ball
back to the mound

seventh inning stretch –
dust from dragging the bases
hangs in the air

……………………………………. by jim kacian from Baseball Haiku (2007)

at bat neg Meanwhile, although it may not be as big a deal as Pope Benedict vs. The Non-Catholics (Chicago Sun-Times,” Catholicism is the only true church, Vatican declares,” July 11, 2007), the New York Times reports today on the competition between baseball bats made of ash and those made of maple, as well as the great threat posed by a killer beetle and warmer climate to ash trees, in “Balmy Weather May Bench a Baseball Staple” (July 11, 2007). Naturally, this calls for an aggregation of topically relevant haiku and senryu by our Honored Guests.

red maple
against the white wall
of the fire station

………….. by Alice Frampton, at World Haiku Association website

new shoots
on the big-leaf maple—
how blue the sky, how blue

………….. by michael dylan welch from Thornewood Poems

kissing…
a woodpecker works
the sugar maple

……………………………… ed markowski – from Bottle Rockets # 11 infielderG

september wind
ash leaves follow
a swallow south

………………………………… by matt morden

light wind
a maple armada
leaves the shore

…………………………………. by Hilary Tann – Frogpond XXX:1

fading rainbow
a maple leaf swirls
down the drain

umpireS ………….. by laryalee fraser

it brightens
through the silver maple . . .
cloudy afternoon

………………… by andrew riutta – Full Moon Magazine (2005)

last day of school
the crack of a baseball bat
outside the open window

……………… by Randy Brooks, from School’s Out (Press Here, 1999)

crack of the bat
the outfielder circles under
the full moon

The beetle I righted
flies straight into
a cobweb

……………… by George Swede – from Almost Unseen
“crack of the bat” – Baseball Haiku (2007)

first red leaves
i swing late
on a change-up

………….. by ed markowski

July 8, 2007

justifiable pride?

Filed under: Haiku or Senryu,q.s. quickies — David Giacalone @ 8:39 pm

Good Pride/Bad Pride: The L.. A. Times had an interesting article last Sunday, which has been reprinted in many other newspapers: “Positive pride or arrogance? It’s as plain as your face,” Los Angeles Times & Houston Chronicle, by Janet Cromley, July 1, 2007. Here’s the central finding:

“Pride appears to be a universal, human emotion, and it comes in two flavors: positive and arrogant. In a summary of current scientific thinking on the nature of pride and a review of four of their own papers on the topic, Jessica Tracy, an assistant professor of psychology at the University of British Columbia, and Richard Robins, a psychology professor at the University of California at Davis, suggest that pride is a cross-cultural phenomenon – that even remote-living tribal cultures know it when they see it – and that humans recognize two types of pride: justifiable pride and arrogant, or conceited, pride.”

The article also explains that “people who feel justifiable pride are likely be more extroverted and conscientious, whereas those who feel conceited pride tend to be narcissistic and attribute their success to their innate abilities rather than their personal efforts.” Meanwhile, the New York Times has an important editorial today which attempts to correct our nation’s worse example of arrogant pride and hubris: The Iraq War. See “The Road Home” (July 8, 2007), which concludes:

“President Bush and Vice President Dick Cheney have used demagoguery and fear to quell Americans’ demands for an end to this war. They say withdrawing will create bloodshed and chaos and encourage terrorists. Actually, all of that has already happened — the result of this unnecessary invasion and the incompetent management of this war.

“This country faces a choice. We can go on allowing Mr. Bush to drag out this war without end or purpose. Or we can insist that American troops are withdrawn as quickly and safely as we can manage — with as much effort as possible to stop the chaos from spreading.”

Not Proud: This morning, I checked out the Albany Times Union‘s Local Politics weblog for the first time, and was disappointed to see that its archives contain no discussion of sex offender residency restrictions [SORR] — a topic that is certainly on the calculating minds of our local pols in Schenectady County, and throughout the New York Capital Region. (see our post on Schenectady’s PanderPols). The only mention of sex offenders at the 5-month old TU weblog comes in a sentence reporting that Democrat Ed Kosiur, “a Schenectady County legislator who has championed legislation to restrict the movement of convicted sex offenders,” is running in a special election this month to fill the 105th Assembly District seat of Paul Tonko (who left to become president of the NYS Energy Research and Development Authority). Trust me, the special election had a lot to do with the County Legislature rushing through their reckless SORR law in June, with Kosiur as the chief sponsor and poseur. (By the way: Kosiur’s tv ad just ran during 60 Minutes. He proclaims that he has sponsored “the toughest sex offender law in New York State.” And he is so proud.)

ooh No Rush (apparently): Despite their rush to get an overreaching SORR on the books a month ago (with no grandfather clause for offenders already living with 2000 feet of schools, parks and day care facilities), the arrogant and inept County Legislature still has not put together or published a map of the forbidden residency zones. On the other hand, they continue to insist that all sex offenders move out of said zone by October 1st, even if it means selling homes, breaking leases, and many other inconveniences.

Our Pride: The f/k/a Gang can’t claim any credit, but we sure are proud that four of the ten poets featured in the Shiki Haikusphere 10th Anniversary Anthology (edited by The Shiki Team, April 2007; cover image) are members of our Honored Guest family — Roberta Beary, Yu Chang, Paul Miller and Michael Dylan Welch. Here are a few of the Ten by Ten haiku by each of the featured haijin:

…………………………………………………… by Roberta Beary from Shiki Haikusphere 10th Anniversary Anthology:

after the funeral
the seeds she ordered
in today’s mail

talking divorce
he pours his coffee
then mine

hotel check-in
the pool boy
filters the moonlight

cats
noisy with love
out of tune

……………………………………………….. by Yu Chang from Shiki Haikusphere 10th Anniversary Anthology:

Valentine’s Day –
pulling a thorn
from my palm

video chat –
touching the gap
in her baby teeth

empty beach
a love poem
where she was

Stephanie Allen West of Brains on Purpose and Idealawg reminds us that today, July 8, is Savor the Comic, Unplug the Drama (SCUD) Day. Stephanie‘s advice is to stop being Drama Queens (and Kings, I guess), and to face life with humor and laughter. Although I am not a big fan of forced frivolity in the workplace (spare me the clown noses and whoopee cushions), I definitely prefer to work (and live) around people who have a sense of humor and avoid taking themselves too seriously.

 ………………………….  by Paul Miller from Shiki Haikusphere 10th Anniversary Anthology (2007):

airing new sheets
my father-in-law finds fault
with the new house

brown pine needles
today walking
at my own pace

winter crescent
the reservoir’s bottom
of tree stumps

no player
for this old cassette tape
winter stars

Your humble editor is proud to be a contributor to The Graying of Lawyers edition of The Complete Lawyer (Vol. 3 #4. July-August 2007) , which will be online on Monday, July 9, 2007), with an impressive array of articles looking at our aging legal profession from many perspectives. In “No Senior Discount at the Ethics Bar“, I harp on one of my favorite subjects (the ethical responsibility to protect clients from the age-related mental and physical maladies of lawyers). TCL Editor and Publisher, Don Hutcheson deserves applause for putting the focus on this important and multi-faceted topic.

……………………………………… by Michael Dylan Welch, from Shiki Haikusphere 10th Anniversary Anthology (2007)

the waiter interrupts
our argument on abortion –
a choice of teas

moving day –
the emptiness
of the child’s room

nude beach –
the crowd around
the dead whale

morning stillness …
first snow
on the tree-bound kite

p.s. Does technology have you tied up in knots and acting out? Don’t be too proud to ask for help. Technology Advisors are now so plentiful, they have their own association and career path. See “Technology’s Untanglers: They Make It Really Work,” New York TImes, July 8, 2007.

July 6, 2007

osculation celebration

Filed under: Haiku or Senryu — David Giacalone @ 10:10 am

It’s time to remind you once again that July 6th is International Kissing Day. For more information, see the Guardian Unlimited, “All you need to know about the day we celebrate osculation” and “Of mouths and men: Is a kiss ever just a kiss?” (July 6, 2000); and Prettier than Napoleon; as well as “Brits Lag Behind Rest of Europe on National Kissing Day” (July 4, 2004). Perhaps others will discuss legal aspects of kissing today. f/k/a will not.

update (July 5, 2008): See our post “let’s celebrate kissing and chocolate

first kiss
deep in the woods
sunbeams filter down

……………………………… Randy Brooks from School’s Out (Press Here, 1999)

good morning kiss
wing beats
of the hummingbird

…………. by peggy lyles from To Hear the Rain (2002)

In our earlier post, we collected a lot of haiku and senryu on kissing. Here are a few samples and some new ones:

moving day–
the coolness on my cheek
after the kiss

…………………………. by Michael Dylan Welch – HSA Brady Contest; a glimpse of red: RMA 2000

summer heat –
two women kiss in the spray
from the fountain

…………………………….. by matt morden, Morden Haiku (Oct. 7, 2005)

family vacation
in the museum corner
uncle’s hard kisses

……………………………. by Roberta Beary – frogpond XXVII

slow train
i lose count of the cars
when the woman blows a kiss

dog day heat
the subtle breeze
of a blown kiss

her kiss
on the cool side of tepid …
indian summer

…………………………………………. by ed markowski
“her kiss” – Haiku Harvest (Fall/Winter 2005)
“dog day heat” – Full Moon Haiku (July ‘05)

faint pink lips
where someone kissed
the window

kissing moon goodnight
a gentle
drunk

………………………………… by David G. Lanoue from Haiku Guy: a novel

As we noted in our post bocce advocacy, the Italian word for kiss is bacio, and the plural is baci. Click for the very romantic story of the first chocolate kisses — Baci from Perugina/Nestle. Speaking of my Italian heritage, here’s some advice on kissing with pizza burn.

no goodnight kiss –
driving home
under a half-empty moon

Kissing Day –
just as much fun
with our dentures out

her chocolate breath
mingles with mine –
easter sunset

……………. by dagosan
“her chocolate breath” – Simply Haiku (Vol. 3, No. 4, Winter 2005)

Kiss Your Kids: Here’s an interesting slant on “Do as I say, not as I do.” An article in the London TimesOnline, “Children are right to ignore their prescribed futures” (July 5, 2007), reports that lawyers and other professionals often hope their children will choose a career different than their own. (via Carolyn at LegalBlogWatch)

July 4, 2007

go 4th and celebrate

Filed under: Haiku or Senryu — David Giacalone @ 8:26 am

As usual, National Public Radio has accumulated a parade of Independence Day stories and features, including the history of the Stars and Stripes, memories of the Vietnam War from July 4, 1967, a reading of the Declaration of Independence, and reminders that 150 million hot dogs will be consumed in America today (along with more beer than St. Patrick’s Day — and, probably, more kegs stolen), tips for photographing fireworks, and much more.

Update 10PM: The Yankee Doodle Editor of Blawg Review has accumulated a lot of annotated links to interesting July 4th postings across the so-called blawgiverse. He was even nice enough to mention f/k/a. Meanwhile, the New York Times has an editorial with a most apt message: “It is a day to ask how good a job — from the world’s perspective — we are doing living up to the principles enunciated in the Declaration of Independence, whether we have done enough to make those sonorous old rights seem like more than a limited case in a limited argument. The answer is more equivocal than we like to believe. But the ideal is one that must drive us all.”

flagsMast As we have declared our independence from punditry, all the f/k/a Gang wants to add to our coverage is a few haiku. (See more poems on independence, fireworks and dissent at our July 4, 2005 posting.)

you squeeze my hand . . .
how still the sky
after fireworks

…………………………… by Michael Dylan Welch, from Open Door (see photo and poem)

Independence Day
after all the fireworks, the stars
still there

… by George Swede, from Almost Unseen

night train
the fireworks
you missed

fireworksS

fireworks
I close my eyes
for a second look

… by John Stevenson, from Quiet Enough

fireworks end -
town hall fireflies
keep working the crowd

…………………………………………………… by dagosan

Arthur's Market This morning (July 4, 2007), I put together the Arthur Polachek Celebration, a collection of haiku in honor of a much-beloved neighbor, who died in May. Art was the proprietor of Arthur’s Market here in the Schenectady Stockade Historic District for almost 60 years. He will be missed for at least that long by all who knew him.

July 1, 2007

landscape psycho-architecture

Filed under: Haiku or Senryu — David Giacalone @ 5:03 pm

   The new July-August edition of Harvard Magazine has an interesting article in its Brief Life Vita series, on Frederick Law Olmstead, calling him the “first landscape psychoarchitect.”  Olmstead believed that introducing nature to the urban scene could be “prophylactic and therapeutic” — a cure for the “nervous tension, over-anxiety, hasteful disposition” of the city.  The piece reminded me that Schenectady’s lovely little Central Park was designed by Olmstead, and that I could use a little Olmsteadian therapy.  So, I took a short drive over there this afternoon, and savored its Rose Garden. 

  My lucky friend and frequent Honored Guest Poet, Yu Chang, lives right across the street from the park (where we play bocce).  It is often a source of haiku inspiration for Yu.  Here are a few examples:

duck pond
making small talk
with strangers

Central Park
the echo of her voice
in every direction

someone’s hat
left on a park bench
quiet afternoon

bumblebee
deeper in the petunia
summer heat

topiary garden
a lantern
in bloom

after the rain    
the white lilac
just my height

shutter lag -
just bees
on the blossoms

………….. by Yu Chang – from Upstate Dim Sum  
except “bumblebee” – A New Resonance (1999); Acorn I

HaigaGatesBridgeDucksGs  (see similar haiga at HaigaOnline Vol. 8-1)

early thaw
she serves the canard
a l’orange

…. poem by dagosan; photo by Arthur Giacalone

See our prior post with links to more photos of The Gates exhibition in that other Central Park.

alone at the rose garden -
ooh and ah
to myself

…… by dagosan

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