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SonofCarl on Barrister Lingo

SonofCarl's EZ Guide to Law Talk

As a lawyer, I often get asked many things, but since this is a PG website, I will try to answer just the one eternal question: "What the heck did you just say?"

Lawyers often are criticized for using foreign expressions. Please. Leave us alone on this one. We have so little. As a profession we once had wigs and robes, for Pete's sake, and carried on conversations without worry of anyone understanding us. All that has been taken away. Where lawyers were once a secretive but highly esteemed group, that role has been taken over by Linux programmers.

A few tiny reminders of our secretive past live on with the occasional Latin or other obscure word or phrase that we keep around to distract clients. I've selected some of the more common ones to explain.

"Certiorari" relates to review of a judge's decision. It's origin comes from the Latin "certio", meaning "I'll think about it" and "rari", meaning "but don't hold your breath".

"Quo warranto" is a very old term that translates roughly as "Who made you King?". The everyday uses of this phrase are endless, particularly if you are a teen-aged boy and people are always infringing your God-given right to videotape yourself and your friends leaping from high places.

Speaking of teenagers, "Mandamus" means "do it" in Latin, so could come in handy in a dispute over the cleaning of a teenager's room. You might want to give the Latin a try: (1) it will confuse your teenager long enough to hide the car keys; and (2) what, you're going to do worse?

Once a lawsuit gets started, the parties are often asked to attend a "Deposition". A Deposition is basically a formal interview, and the lawyer asking the questions is "deposing" the witness. The origin of this phrase comes from the

same root as the word "pose", which originally meant to stand naturally and comfortably, and "de" which modified the attached word by meaning to take that all away (not unlike "to debone the steak"). History buffs will also be familiar with what happens to rulers that get "deposed". So you get the idea of what it is like to attend your Deposition.

As a tip for people that may be deposed in the near future, when a lawyer starts a question with "would it be fair to say that...", before answering readers should consider how often things in life are fair. Readers should also be aware that when a lawyer says what sounds like "in summary", he or she is actually saying the ancient Chaldean expression "in suh ma ree", which means "this is what I wish you would have said".

A "Plaintiff" is the person who is complaining about something. Originally this related to a very small group of people with obvious and serious injuries making a provable claim according to law, but the meaning has broadened considerably to include a class of people formerly known as "idiots". A colleague's daughter recently saw a news program that had a clip with a young man hanging high above a crowd on power lines after becoming grossly intoxicated. She asked my colleague what that kind of person should be called. "Inevitably, the Plaintiff" was his answer.

The opposite of a Plaintiff is a "Defendant". This is the person getting sued. A Defendant goes through a cycle that starts with being informed that they are being sued. At this point a defendant is either panicking, or should be. In desperation the Defendant seeks out legal advice and is grateful for any information that will provide information about this trying time. The end of the cycle comes at the end of the trial or settlement. At this stage, if the defence has been successful, it has become obvious that the involvement of the lawyer was completely unnecessary and the telling of ribald lawyer jokes can resume. If the defence was not successful, then clearly it was the lawyer's fault and not the action that immediately followed the soon-to-be-Defendant saying "hold my beer and watch this" that led to the lawsuit in the first place.

"A writ" is an interrupted writing of "a written document", kind of like "the treasure is buried at Sa-".


It's quite embarrassing, and it's the type of thing someone would write when they are distracted and stop what they're doing half way. The origin of this word becomes very clear, however, when you consider that the first step in a lawyer's career since time immemorial has been to be "called to the bar".

I hope this has helped.

Barrister and Solicitor

By Joel Achenbach  |  July 24, 2006; 5:49 AM ET
Save & Share:  Send E-mail   Facebook   Twitter   Digg   Yahoo Buzz   StumbleUpon   Technorati   Google Buzz   Previous: From the Archives: Weighty Summer Reading
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hey, that's a nice kit that you've writ!

Posted by: ot | July 24, 2006 6:49 AM | Report abuse

SonofCarl, you're a barrister AND a solicitor? I thought the twain never met in the same person...Thanks for all the explanations, it is a great kit!

Posted by: slyness | July 24, 2006 7:09 AM | Report abuse

Good morning, friends. Sonofcarl, your bunch gets put down so much, and are prey to those awful lawyer jokes, but I must say I got a good laugh this morning after reading your kit. It was simply better than good. Excellent. I imagined how you looked while writing that, and I could see a smile on your face. I know I'm still smiling.

Must get up and put the clothes on and head out the door to the center. I've had the walk, and it's nice outside, although I doubt that will last once the sun comes up.

Nani, if you're still lurking, I hope you got a kit coming. Miss you much.

I've prayed for all this morning, and have lifted you up to God through Christ that He will supply whatever your need is in this life, and the life to come.

Have a good day, folks. And know that God loves you more than you can imagine through Him that died for all, Jesus Christ.

Posted by: Cassandra S | July 24, 2006 7:12 AM | Report abuse

Lindaloo, I went back and read the last kit and saw what you said about your eye. I am so sorry that happened to you. My prayer to God is that He will heal your eye in every way, and not just your eye but whatever else needs healing in Jesus' name.

Posted by: Cassandra S | July 24, 2006 7:22 AM | Report abuse

Brilliant SonofCarl. You have easily established a prima facie case for your wit. (Especially since you are doing this pro bono.)

Posted by: RD Padouk | July 24, 2006 7:32 AM | Report abuse

What exactly is a solicitor anyway?

Posted by: RD Padouk | July 24, 2006 7:42 AM | Report abuse

SoC solicits bars??? What???


Seriously, what better day for this Kit to show up than immediately following LindaLoo's call for legal assistance? And LL, I don't even play a lawyer on TV, but here's my two cents: I'd tend to say anytime a medical procedure goes forward on a mentally competent person who has NOT signed off on the appropriate "I know what's being done" forms, the medicos have set themselves up for a world of hurt. I do hope things improve for you.

Posted by: Scottynuke | July 24, 2006 7:42 AM | Report abuse

LindaLoo, here's the link for US News & World Reports list of best hospitals for opthalmology. In your place, I'd be making an appointment to visit one of these and establishing the cause of your problems:

Good luck! As one who has always had bad vision, I can sympathize.

Posted by: slyness | July 24, 2006 8:00 AM | Report abuse

SonOfCarl, I googled "lawyer joke" and got over 12 million hits. You guys come from a funny lot. I always enjoy reading your posts.

And if I ever get drunk and fall off a ladder, somebody's getting sued. Large corporations that neglect the blind community by not publishing the warnings in braille are just asking for a lawsuit. Not that I can read Braille, but that's beside the point.

Loomis, I wish I could help. I'm wundering if your eye therapy is the same as one who is being treated for diabetic retinopathy?

Posted by: Pat | July 24, 2006 8:18 AM | Report abuse

Nice, SoC.

IIRC "soliciting" will get you arrested in the US, but in Canadiauckistan, it's what we call "lawyering".

Barrister is a nice term.

Linda, I hope that there are more than legal remedies for your eye.


Posted by: bc | July 24, 2006 8:36 AM | Report abuse

Great kit, SoC! We lawyers come in all shapes, sizes and colors, and even some of us (alas, not all) have a sense of humor. We are, of course, the exceptions to the rule.

What I find interesting (and exasperating) in my own practice is that one needs to ask the client the same questions, over and over again. In the vast majority of cases, the answers change, most of the time knocking asteroid-sized holes in your case. You never really want to be in the position of being blindsided by your own client and then raising your hand in the courtroom and asking: "Your Honor, may I go home now???"

Clients need to learn how to be clients and to disclose absolutely *everything* -- which is very, very hard for the passive-aggressive types out there for whom everyone is the enemy. Just gotta keep asking those questions over and over and over.

It's a fun gig -- much more fun than my previous gig (computer programmer -- borrrring), and it pays the mortgage. I find that cool enough to stay with it.

Posted by: firsttimeblogger | July 24, 2006 8:42 AM | Report abuse

Aren't clients like the dental patients at the Oregon Health Sciences University who have been referred to the high blood pressure clinic because their blood pressure is enough to rupture something? Could law offices have quiet rooms, with no cell phones, no radio, no nothing, for Clients to chill for 5 minutes (and then have their blood pressure checked?)

Posted by: Dave of the Coonties | July 24, 2006 9:13 AM | Report abuse

"Lawyerized" That's a term I use to describe a product that has been rendered useless by its own safety device. I have a suspician that more and more products are being manufactured this way by design. This conspiracy theory derives itself from the fact that the cost of replacing the specialized safety device is comparable to buying the product as new.

Firsttimeblogger, I'm assuming that all the lawyer types on this boodle have a good sense of humor so I may take a little liberty today to poke fun at you all.

Sometimes when I'm having a particularly difficult day [Computer Programming], I'll go over to the Mommy blog and clobber a lawyer. they take a lot of umbridge over there. Some of us computer types hav a vindictive sense of humor.

Posted by: Pat | July 24, 2006 9:30 AM | Report abuse

Linda, I'm sorry to hear about your vision becoming worse. The dye is a big concern. When I went in for my angiogram and stent, they specifically asked about shellfish allergies. The iodine-rich dye used for fluoroscopy is shellfish-derived. The fellow in the bed next to me (in for his fourth procedure, third stent), reacted to the dye for the first time out of his several procedures. Repeated exposure can induce allergic reaction. He itched over his entire body, which is merely unpleasant. He had all the other symptoms of a severe hystamine reaction throughout the body. It took a few hours to subside. However, his reaction on the next exposure, if it ever happens, could potentially be life-threatening. Failure to verify your reaction to shellfish is a serious breach of procedure.

Posted by: ScienceTim | July 24, 2006 9:46 AM | Report abuse

>Where lawyers were once a secretive but highly esteemed group, that role has been taken over by Linux programmers.


Posted by: Error Flynn | July 24, 2006 9:58 AM | Report abuse

"A colleague's daughter recently saw a news program that had a clip with a young man hanging high above a crowd on power lines after becoming grossly intoxicated. She asked my colleague what that kind of person should be called. 'Inevitably, the Plaintiff' was his answer."

A small question here: Should this knucklehead be arrested for public drunkeness and/or this stupid stunt (reckelss endangerment?), would he not be the Defendant?

Apologies if I missed an obvious joke here; I'm multitasking an on-line meeting as well as Boodling.


Posted by: bc | July 24, 2006 10:11 AM | Report abuse

SCC: Should he stand trial after his arrest, I mean.


Posted by: bc | July 24, 2006 10:12 AM | Report abuse

bc, common sense says yes he should be the defendant but so often in the world of sue and be sued, common sense is a missing ingredient.

Posted by: dr | July 24, 2006 10:19 AM | Report abuse


stand trial after his funeral, perhaps?


Posted by: Scottynuke | July 24, 2006 10:21 AM | Report abuse

Yah, I thought that might have been a subtle reference in the fact that most lawyers would rather be suing someone: The brewery, the beer store, the power company and/or the friend than defending such idiotic behavior.

I don't 'spect there's much money in defense compared to trying to force a settlement with a large corporation.

It's all about the Benjamins.


Posted by: bc | July 24, 2006 10:26 AM | Report abuse

Excellent, excellent kit, SonofCarl. However, you forgot a few other key phrases, such as Res Ipsa Loquitur (which means the defendant's action was so mind-numbingly obvious that a jury of four-year-olds would find liability), In Rem (meaning, "if we win, we get your house"), respondent superior (if a guy in a bread truck runs over you, you sue the bakery) and pro bono publico (meaning, "I'll gladly pay you Tuesday for some legal work today.").

Posted by: CowTown | July 24, 2006 10:26 AM | Report abuse

But OF course when that guy sobers up after being arrested, he's going to: 1) Sue the power facilities for putting such a blatantly dangerous "attractive nuisance"

An "attractive nuisance", as I understand it, is a legal concept referring to the danger value of swimming pools and trampolines to neighbors' kids who, if they kill themselves, their parents can sue you for not having 12 foot walls in the first place.

The drunk's lawyer would thus be compelled to argue for the Plantiff that a power tower within 250 feet from the bar, unfenced consisted of an attractive nuisance to drunks, and said lawyer would call a lot of experts to testify as to the non composis mentis and impaired judgement. Probably to finish it off, the plantiff would call in a 5 year-old and ask the kid if he would ever climb a power tower and touch the hot lines. "huh-nuh. Can I have my popiscle now?"

And this does not cover the lawsuit for wrongful arrest, probably because the plantiff has a confused idea that the Declaration of Independence (assuming this is the US, don't know the Canuck version) talking of the pursuit of happiness is somehow constitutional law and the police unfairly arrested him just because he was climbing the tower naked to "get closer to heaven."

In other words, SoC, great kit.

Posted by: Wilbrod | July 24, 2006 10:27 AM | Report abuse

"Sue the power facilities for putting such a blatantly dangerous 'attractive nuisance'".

At some point, a celebrity stalker will sue a celeb on this point.

I imagine that someone will sue Brangelina on this basis. After JA sues Mrs. Butterworth for that mess at the MUSH auction. Ha, JA must have thought he was in a MUSH pit.


Posted by: bc | July 24, 2006 10:44 AM | Report abuse

SCC: Add to second sentence, "If it hasn't happened already, that is."

This is one thought-provoking Kit, SoC.


Posted by: bc | July 24, 2006 10:45 AM | Report abuse

I, too, like bc, am multi-tasking at the moment--still trying to nail down research for my Kit-in-process (last week's research brought me much joy!), but you *have no idea* how much I appreciated your post and info.

I had my hair cut Saturday morning by the same person who has cut my hair for several yars now--a beautiful young blonde woman originally from Tajikistan (Russia). She had a procedure done about a dozen years ago to check her gynocological plumbing, as she calls it, and had dye injected. She had a horrible hives reaction when she was out, unbeknownst to her. She had lots of questions for me Saturday morning about what it's like to have a severe hives outbreak. It's getting interesting for me when people start to compare notes.

My situation is tricky--it requires knowledge of genetic disorders and high alkalinity (Curses that I never had chemistry in high school--too busy with foreign languages and art), allergies, the chemistry of modern drugs, medicine and medical protocols, drug reactions--and LAWYERS!

Oh, where to start? One local PI lawyer says in her TV advertisements that the/her law firm does all the research in PI cases, but I imagine every minute is billable?

(Heck, my husband broke his Costco eyeframes Saturday morning just cleaning the lenses, and I'm having kiniptions about that--the cost to replace those flimsy wires he calls frames was $80! The same-style frames already broke once when they were under the first year's warranty. He is a bull in a china cabinet kind of guy--should be wearing the sex-killer frames, as an old young co-worker used to call them--you know, the heavy, black-plastic kind of rims--no offense intended to those guys out there who wear them--they are practical!)

Posted by: Loomis | July 24, 2006 10:49 AM | Report abuse

Linda, I read about your eye this morning, and I am so very sad this is happening to you. I hope that it was not caused by someone's carelessness. That makes it so much worse, but if it is, I hope there is at least some avenue for redress.

Posted by: dr | July 24, 2006 10:51 AM | Report abuse

SonofCarl, thank you for so clearly explaining so many mysteries of our profession. CowTown, your addendum was helpful too. Just don't give away the secret handshake.

Everyone who watches movies or TV knows you have "rights" when you're arrested and must get Miranda warnings. These are the phrases which affirm your rights (to remain silent, to have a lawyer, etc.). However, police don't have to read your Miranda rights if they don't plan to ask you questions -- so when you're stopped for drunk driving, wobble on the field tests, and make the breathalyzer woozy, don't assume your case will be thrown out because you weren't read your rights. If the officer doesn't ask you anything and you start chatting with him anyway, you've implicitly agreed to have the entire conversation used against you. Also, remember, although I have the greatest respect for police officers, if you are accused of a crime do not assume they will let you go if you just explain. If it doesn't work for five-year-olds, it won't work for you either.

Lindaloo, I'm so sorry. Get a lawyer. If you don't know where to look, check with the San Antonio and Texas bars for references.

Posted by: Ivansmom | July 24, 2006 10:54 AM | Report abuse

If he's sexy enough, he can handle sex-killers and make them his own, Loomis. Some women do find nerds hot.

I know such a woman who specialized in such as prey through HS and college. She said it was really easy to make them blush when she flirted too ;).

Posted by: Wilbrod | July 24, 2006 10:55 AM | Report abuse

Linda, generally speaking and I hope I'm not offending anyone here, you don't want your first call to be to a lawyer you saw advertising on TV.

Unless, of course, you're defending a DUI.

And yes, EVERYTHING is billable. Right, Bill Everything?

Posted by: Ivansmom | July 24, 2006 10:57 AM | Report abuse

Loomis, I have to wear the itty bitty wire frames myself-- the curse of having a child-sized face. My glasses were too narrow for my 1 year old nephew when I tried to put them on when he was busy stealing them.

The only damage I've ever had was that the hinges came undone.

This just shows how small they are. (And my nephew now seems on track to become a 6 foot + hulk, so I'm not feeling TOO bad...)

Before that, I wore sex-killers (not in black). I became free of them when a drunk stepped on them in the bathroom one day when I was taking a shower in the dorms.

I don't really think one is any less sturdy than the other, it entirely depends on the person using them (and the frequency of drunks in the locality).

An eye doctor told me never to consider contacts because I had such a phobia of things near my eye. Never mind that he had the bedside manner a Nazi dentist would envy.

I changed eye doctors, always a good idea when you experience more pain and suffering than necessary.

Posted by: Wilbrod | July 24, 2006 11:03 AM | Report abuse

*looking up briefly after being deeply immersed in writing a draft of his shared kit with bc*

Huh? Oh. Cool kit, SofC.

LindaLoo, sue 'em. And get a second opinion on the med part.

*returns to mad scribbling*

Posted by: Curmudgeon | July 24, 2006 11:11 AM | Report abuse

Jeez, don't Kit mad, Mudge.


Posted by: bc | July 24, 2006 11:15 AM | Report abuse

Mudge,bc, can you hurry up. this bated breath stuff nearly killed me this weekend. I'm not sure how much longer I can hold on without passing out.

Hey wait a second, its really hot here. A little oblivion in my day may be just the thing.

Posted by: dr | July 24, 2006 11:21 AM | Report abuse

Now, now dr... as Milton said, all things come to those who wait.

And I think we'd rather have Paradise Regained rather than Paradise Lost when reading Mudge's co-kit.

I expect it to be an erudite treatise on the art, maintenance, tuning, and feeding of tin hats.

Posted by: Wilbrod | July 24, 2006 11:26 AM | Report abuse

I heard the hot bet for my kit was for a "dog-and-pony show".

Since I like to be contrary, I'm busy searching for a new kit topic now. Angst follows.

Posted by: Wilbrod | July 24, 2006 11:28 AM | Report abuse

In second grade at a Catholic school, I wore the black plastic frame glasses and during recess a kid accidentally elbowed me in the bridge of the nose, breaking the frame. The school nurse taped the two halves together with surgical tape, and I went on my way. What I wouldn't give today for a picture of me living that cliche.

Posted by: yellojkt | July 24, 2006 11:29 AM | Report abuse

Linda, I have spiffy wire-framed glasses with anti-reflective coatings and other such niceties for when I care how you (the generic "you") see me. I have a pair of black plastic-framed glasses for when I care only how I see you. I use them in spectacle-damaging environments such as deserts, mountaintops, laboratory/observatory type environments. They cost much less than the nice wire frames (which you'd expect) and ironically are much more comfortable. But they look dorky. The ScienceSpouse and I call them the Apollo Glasses, in honor of all those dorky-looking guys in Mission Control back in the Apollo days, at least half of whom had frames just like them. Of course, at least half of them were chain-smoking at their workstations, an action which I do not want at all to emulate.

Posted by: ScienceTim | July 24, 2006 11:30 AM | Report abuse

I liked the kit a lot, SoC...

I haven't had much need for legal help in my life (thankfully), but one term that sticks in my mind from the few times I needed a lawyer is "retainer". As in, give the lawyer some "tain" to discuss your case, then "re-tain" to take the case, then "re-tain" every couple of weeks when unforeseen "research" or other costs come up (translation: whenever he needs a new set of golf clubs).

I'm not saying that lawyers are all a bunch of greedy money-grubbing you-know-whats. I know that judges are expensive. ;-)

LOL... just looked up "tain":

tain n.

1. A type of paper-thin tin plate.
2. Tinfoil used as a backing for mirrors.

Does that mean I coulda paid in Reynolds Wrap? Or leftover BPH hats?

Posted by: martooni | July 24, 2006 11:34 AM | Report abuse

Martooni, I think "tains" are valid Canuckstani currency. You never know when you need a tain to help reflect heat, light, or the image of a charging moose back at him while you make your parka'd escape.

Posted by: Wilbrod | July 24, 2006 11:37 AM | Report abuse

Linda, I am not a lawyer, nor do I play one on TV (but you knew all that). I do, however, have friends and family in the medical profession, and I can tell you about things that they worry about and rigorous steps they take to avoid both actual malpractice and apparent liability for it. Failing to inform you of the actual risks of your dye procedure, including an estimate of what fraction of the population reacts adversely, certainly would qualify as a failure of practice. Failure to take a medical history that probes specifically the known problems with medical dyes, and explains to you why they have to ask those questions, also would qualify as a failure of practice. I cannot tell you or advise you whether those things rise to the level of medical malpractice, or merely rate a call to the Better Business Bureau. That's what an actual legal expert is for. You should follow the advice of Ivansmom and locate a lawyer -- a real lawyer, not an ambulance-chasing TV lawyer.

You should prepare yourself for the possibility that your lawyer might tell you that you are absolutely right, but should not bother to sue. My sister (the Science Sibling?) was whomped, while bicycling, by a car driven by a moron. The motorist clearly had violated common sense, the North Carolina law (where this took place), and the uniform vehicular code (I think that's the name of it). She took her case to a lawyer who agreed that she was absolutely in the right, but that she had better just take satisfaction in knowing that. His advice was that there was not a judge or jury in North Carolina who would find in favor of an adult bicyclist against a motorist (if she were a child, it would be different). Since she had no deep pockets, such a case would only suck up her time and all her money and come out against her. Losing battles for righteous causes are a luxury of the well-to-do and the obsessed.

Posted by: ScienceTim | July 24, 2006 11:49 AM | Report abuse

Thanks for the kind words, everyone. I come away with renewed respect for the Boss.

I'm away a lot of today so I can't reply as much as I should.

Wilbrod, you're bang on. The warning labels on everything (hair dryer: do not eat) are the result of somebody somewhere convincing a judge or jury that the old rule of "I wouldn't do that if I were you" no longer has legal standing.

re: solicitors. Briefly, in Merry Olde Englande, historically all lawyers are solicitors, but only barristers could appear in court. In Haute Maine we kept the titles, but the US practice of being able to do both.

Pat: LOL

Loomis, I understand Harriet Miers is available? Don't go by ads or billboards, please. If you're going to talk to a lawyer, you need someone with quite a bit of experience with medical issues. You should be able to tell in an initial discussion.

Posted by: SonofCarl | July 24, 2006 11:50 AM | Report abuse

yellojkt is back!

How was the American Odyssey?

Posted by: ScienceTim | July 24, 2006 11:57 AM | Report abuse

*hugs* for your posts. They are making me laugh and they are making me ponder (along with SoC's 11:50 a.m. Harriet Miers, hmmm....? Is the initial phone call free of charge?)

*I* did not call them sex-killer glasses! It was Katie Brown, with whom I once worked, she being in college at the time, majoring in art--early 20s; I, being in my early 40s and absolutely far more worldly.

I've *never* let the frames of eyeglasses be a barrier to pleasure. It's not what the guy does with his glasses on, but what he does with them off that counts! It's not what you have that is the measure of man, it's how you use it! It's not what rests on the bridge of your nose, but what lies behind it.

I heard Steve and Cokie Roberts speak at the main, downtown Louisville Library when we lived over in the Knobs. They were on a book promo tour, speaking about their then-recently released book about marriage. In it, they write that good sex is all in your head, if you catch my and their meaning. I couldn't agree more.

I did step to the mic and ask Steve and Cokie two questions--the first the "Oprah" question: "What favorite read of yours in the past has really stayed with you over the years?" I think they didn't expect this question in a million years. Cokie answered Greek and Roman mythology; Steve, a book about his hometown area in New Jersey.

Posted by: Loomis | July 24, 2006 12:15 PM | Report abuse

I'm sure yellojkt intends to post a link to his blog, but maybe he's taking a nap right now? I hope he's not at work--talk about needing a vacation to recover from your vacation!

Posted by: kbertocci | July 24, 2006 12:17 PM | Report abuse

Historical footnote, Ivansmom, re: Miranda rights...

Miranda decision handed down in 1966 through the Warren Court. Earl Warren attended the same high school I did in Bakersfield, Calif.

An Ironic Ending for Ernesto Miranda

Ernesto Miranda was given a second trial at which his confession was not presented. Based on the evidence, Miranda was again convicted of kidnapping and rape. He was paroled from prison in 1972 having served 11 years.

In 1976, Ernesto Miranda, age 34, was stabbed to death in a fight. Police arrested a suspect who, after choosing to exercise his Miranda rights of silence, was released.

Posted by: Loomis | July 24, 2006 12:27 PM | Report abuse

Loomis, I love those "where are they now" stories following cases (except for "Roe", who keeps getting trotted out to say what a big mistake etc).

Welcome back, yellojkt!

Posted by: SonofCarl | July 24, 2006 12:48 PM | Report abuse

Thanks for the link, kb.

I am back at work. We wisely scheduled our return for Saturday so as to have a full day of recovery before returning to work. And by "we", I mean "me" since my wife and kid are on summer break.

My kid loved Physics Camp at Stanford which could eventually be damaging to the retirement account since there is no college account.

I will eventually blog ad naseum (a legal term meaning the feeling you get when receiving a bill from a lawyer) about the trip as soon as I get some of my 1000+ digital photos posted to Flickr. I completely filled 3.5GB worth of memory chips.

My wife insists there are higher priorities like paying the two weeks worth of bills sitting on the dining room table and drafting the letter trying to get my son out of the speeding ticket for doing 80 in a 70 in eastern El Paso County.

Also, the water line to my icemaker gave up the ghost while I was away and my refrigerator will be sitting in the middle of the kitchen until the repairman can come on Saturday. I did diagnose that the leak is nowhere I can non-destructively reach with the tools at my disposal.

I could have told Joel the exact time required to walk between from the side entrance to the Mona Lisa then to the Venus De Milo and then out the I.M. Pei pyramid. And the time spent walking between the "must-sees" is not wasted; there are a lot of really big paintings in between that are probably famous. Four museums in one day was my personal best in Paris:

And that included both the Louvre and the Musee d'Orsay.

Posted by: yellojkt | July 24, 2006 12:56 PM | Report abuse

Loomis, sorry to hear about your eye troubles. I suggest a good university medical center for a second opinion. They tend to have seen most of the conditions that occur and might be able to help.

I had the opposite experience with my vision. My left eye was 20/500 (corrected with glasses) until I developed a cataract in it and had it replaced last year with an artificial lens. It's now about 20/25. Of course, I'm now far-sighted in my left eye and nearsighted in my right (20/250), so they don't quite agree with each other unless I wear contacts, but it's better than the triple vision I had with the cataract!

Posted by: ac in sj | July 24, 2006 1:09 PM | Report abuse

LindaLoo, this looks like a good week not to be in California!

Posted by: slyness | July 24, 2006 1:10 PM | Report abuse

SoC -- very much enjoyed your kit. I once worked as a paralegal for a while during a period of unemployment (long story). I abstracted depositions from a massive, decades long, civil suit against a steel company. And other civil suits.

As I recall, the most frequently used phrase in most of these despostions was "I don't recall." :-)

Mudge -- a quick comment re: your post about Thomas Ricks' article on the mess created in Iraq by the military not using or even understanding counterterrorist tactics.

He actually has just released a book: 'Fiasco' -- describing in horrible detail the catastrophe that is Iraq.

Saw him interviewed on 'Meet the
Press'. Says he interviewed over 100 people, some of whom handed him CDs full of emails sent to Bremer, etc. about situation.

He read though 37,000 pages of stultifying detail of the mess.

Anyway -- yet another book thoroughly documenting the chilling, premeditated ineptitude that got us where we are today.

OK - political statement over.

Linda -- so sorry about your allergic reaction and your eye. I hope you get some sort of resolution. To perform that kind of procedure without any written consent smacks of ineptitude. Anymore, I have to sign a stack of papers before I have a regular office visit. Can your vision in that eye be corrected with glasses or contacts? At least in the short term?

I have some excellent news on my now unimpending homelessness.

It seems that the women who told me I had to move out were wrong.

The apartment complex has been bought by an outfit that is affiliated with HUD. No longer under Agriculture. The maximum allowed income was changed from a federal average of low-to-very-moderate income to that of the State of Virginia, which is below the average.

I cannot be legally forced out. I *can* be bought out. Seems there is a program to help people in my situation. They have to pay out to get me out.

For a not insignificant amount of money.

Seems they would lose money on tax credits for each unit occupied by someone over the financial limit.

After they finish renovating the units (next late spring) they will sit down with me and make an offer to buy me out. The specifics of this offer are extremely generous.

It is enough money to move back to the West (Albuquerque looms large) and even have a down payment on a modest house.

So, in the space of 48 hours, I have gone from the pit of the "poor-me" blues, to the unbelievable, but true, knowledge that I am going to be given a ton of money to leave.

It's not quite sunk in yet -- but all these years perusing the Albuquerque MLS listings and apartment rentals may be put to use in mid '07.

'07 has always been my make or break year for getting back to the West -- it was in February of '87 that I ended up in Northern Virginia with my now ex.

I thank everyone who offered me solace and advise on how to resolve this problem.

There's an interesting article by Vedantam today in the Post, "The Evolutionary Beat Goes On." (True confession: I do not know how to transfer a link to my boodle posts. This is most embarassing. Extremely so. I've finally decided to break my shameful silence and ask for help. How does one put a link in a post?)

Anyway, seems certain areas of the genome literally show natural selection at work. Lighter skin color in Europeans, adaptation to diet by dint of developing abilities to metabolize lactose (the classic one, of cousre) into adulthood, different types of sugars, etc.

It's accompanied by a morphing video of a lemur turning into Stephen Jay Gould. A nice quirky touch.

But the end does Gould a disservice. Vedantum writes that Gould would not have agreed with the genomic data that shows the evolution of humans into many bushes of adaptation. That evolution is not one continuous straight line leading to the inevitable rise of intellectually superior humans.

Huh? Gould always argued that evolution was not unilinear, progressive and somehow preordained to produce humans.

He passionately wrote about bushy family trees and natural selection as a process that was emphatically not driven towards greater complexity.

So, I either read the article wrong, or Vedantum got Gould wrong.

But it's a nice read, either way.

Posted by: nelson | July 24, 2006 1:10 PM | Report abuse

Don't have time to do much more than check in. Spent the weekend fighting with plumbing (I lost!) and cleaning the dining room carpet. Plus the A/C guys are coming today, and are probably going to tell me I need a new furnace. Ah, well, back to work.

Posted by: ebtnut | July 24, 2006 1:17 PM | Report abuse

great, the dam filter ate my post, and I'm absolutley certain it shouldn't have.

Posted by: omni | July 24, 2006 1:22 PM | Report abuse

Nelson that's great news.

Posted by: dr | July 24, 2006 1:23 PM | Report abuse


YAY! *doing a Snoopy happy dance for ya*


Posted by: Scottynuke | July 24, 2006 1:24 PM | Report abuse

Nelson, your news has made my day.

Posted by: dmd | July 24, 2006 1:26 PM | Report abuse

Yes, slyness, it's really, really hot here. Lots of people have inadequate or no air contioning (we have it in one room only) so it's especially miserable. We went up to San Francisco yesterday to cool off. Only 83 degrees up there.

Posted by: ac in sj | July 24, 2006 1:32 PM | Report abuse

SoC, great kit, in honour of your kit and for all the lawyers in the boodle I will share a short history of my university days. I took a combined major, one part being law. As it was an undergrad degree I was able to choose from a wide selection of law courses, all of the courses were taught by Lawyers, they were intelligent, funny and great teachers/speakers.

One of my favorites who taught a course on Medical Law/Medical Ethics I read about in an article on the weekend, he is now in charge of the ethics department in Ottawa. He made a very difficult course very interesting and funny.

To all the lawyers despite the reputation of your field I wish you well.

Loomis in the course I distinctly remember a case about the importance of "Informed Consent" however it was a Canadian case so I do not know if it applies.

Allergies are one of the risks of medical treatment, my mom went through one when she first started her pain medications, however, if a medication is linked to other allergies i.e. shellfish then part of the routine screening should be asking if the person has shellfish allergies.

Posted by: dmd | July 24, 2006 1:35 PM | Report abuse

Nelson, hooray!

Posted by: ac in sj | July 24, 2006 1:37 PM | Report abuse

Now that we're officially allowed to veer off topic, I see that a place I spent money and time during my youth is threatened:

Flash powder and paper, and all that great stuff. I grew up just to the upper left of that map, FWIW. The magic shop was about a 20 minute bike ride away. I'll be sad if it's really forced to close. That place is a Wheaton institution, like the Anchor Inn. Oh, wait, the Anchor Inn closed a couple of years ago after something like 50 years... yikes, there goes my old neighborhood.

Here's that Evolutionary piece nelson refers to:

Since we're not allowed to make the comments, *really linky* I cut and paste the URL.


Posted by: bc | July 24, 2006 1:54 PM | Report abuse

I'm going to try this in pieces to see if I can isolate the offender.

Posted by: omni | July 24, 2006 1:55 PM | Report abuse

I'm going off topic, but first, great kit SoC!

Earlier this year when I realized my license would be expiring I went on to get info about what I need to do to renew. So I find out from the website that a renewal notice would be sent to me. This was a relief cause I knew I would forget. Well, I forgot, and guess what:

Posted by: omni | July 24, 2006 1:56 PM | Report abuse

The STUPID GOVERNMENT NEVER SENT ME A RENEWAL NOTICE. sorry for the shouting. I went back online to see just how scrood I was. If your license expired 90 days ago you have to retake the knowledge test. More than 180 the knowledge test and the road test. Whew, if their not lying, I'm not scrood.

Posted by: omni | July 24, 2006 1:57 PM | Report abuse

Back on topic: I believe scrood is a legal term meaning up sh!te creek without a paddle...

Posted by: omni | July 24, 2006 1:58 PM | Report abuse

I guess the offender was sh!te with an i.

Posted by: omni | July 24, 2006 1:59 PM | Report abuse

Nelson, wonderful! Just don't take a wrong turn and wind up in the middle of a Mexican bullfight ring instead. ;).

Which is always what I visualize whenever I see the word "Albequerque", thanks to those Bugs Bunny cartoons. I never did find out if that rabbit made it there.

Thanks for the link tip-- I'll check it out. Those "variations" are called adaptations. All species that have a wide range generally wind up with local adaptations to various clines, etc.

Pharmacogenetics also studies how different populations metabolize different drugs. There can be surprising variation between populations in their general metabolism and also specific metabolism of certain substances.

Posted by: Wilbrod | July 24, 2006 2:11 PM | Report abuse

LindaLoo, you might consider trying to kill three birds with one stone: hop a jet to Philly. (1) it is home to Wills Eye Hospital, one of the best in the world for eye problems; (2) you can have an authentic Philly Cheesesteak "wit'" (worth the trip right there); and (3) you can hire a "Philadelphia lawyer," which once upon a time was the n'est plus ultra of legal talent.

Posted by: Curmudgeon | July 24, 2006 2:11 PM | Report abuse

Wonderful news, nelson! I trust everything will work out to your advantage.

Dunno how other people do it, but I just copy/paste links...

Posted by: slyness | July 24, 2006 2:18 PM | Report abuse

Butchering latin now my old man?
"nec plus ultra"

Posted by: Gendarme de la grammaire | July 24, 2006 2:18 PM | Report abuse

Tom Ricks had an excellent chat today about his new book. His last comment is his best:

nelson, that is super news. I hope everything works out the way you describe it!

Posted by: pj | July 24, 2006 2:25 PM | Report abuse

I found the paragraph you meant, Nelson:

"Come to think of it, the late Stephen Jay Gould might have been upset with the above illustration. Contrary to the popular imagination, evolution is not a linear process that culminates in the triumphal ascent of humans at the top of the genetic heap. The process is analogous to a bush, where twigs and leaves push out in every direction."

I'm afraid the author was a little less than ept in making it clear he was talking about the morphing video, not the model, and that Gould believed in the bush model of evolution as well.

I saw nothing wrong in saying Gould's model of punctuated equilibrium may have been irrelevant, although I highly doubt it-- a famine that favors the ones most adapted to make do with the relevant food (detoxifying it, lowered metabolism, whatever) and get back to reproduction quickly can literally overwhelmingly favor a handful of genes.

Europeans seem to be more resistant to HIV infection, living for long periods with it thanks in part to a gene that is so prevalent that they suspect it might have been selected for by the Black Death in which over 1/3 of the European population was wiped out.

Given that the bubonic plague is a bacteria and HIV is a virus, this is an interesting finding.

Maybe the Black Death was actually a virus of some sort. The historical records support bubonic plague, but some scientists are doubtful.

Posted by: Wilbrod | July 24, 2006 2:26 PM | Report abuse

(pardon the obligatory Python reference)

PROFESSOR: Plague... Cholera... The Black Death...

*cut to group of undertakers sitting dreamily by a coffin*

1st UNDERTAKER: Ah, THOSE were the days...


Posted by: Scottynuke | July 24, 2006 2:54 PM | Report abuse

Those sure were the days, Scottynuke.

For anybody with a really messed-up pooch who is born neurotic or has an interesting collection of genetic diseases, check this website out, maybe your dog can help science!

(You'll have to coax SciencePooch out from under the sofa for a mouth swab first, though. No contaminating the sample with specimens of your blood).

Posted by: Wilbrod | July 24, 2006 3:10 PM | Report abuse

BTW, exceptionally sane dogs can help out, as well ;).

Posted by: Wilbrod | July 24, 2006 3:13 PM | Report abuse

Son of Carl - great Kit!

yellojkt, can't believe you only had one day to recover from the trip. And I was wondering where you got the speeding ticket - should have known it was the boy, in west Texas, no less!

Linda Loo, good luck with the eye and the lawyers. nelson, great news - hope it all works out for New Mexico.

On my way to my doctor appointment today I was listening to a Doc Watson tape and heard Oh Groundhog, which made me think of Error Flynn:
Off to the woods for to catch a groundhog.
Oh, groundhog.
Run here Sally with a ten foot pole,
To twist that whistle-pig out of his hole.
Oh, groundhog.

Achenfan, Nani, hope you're just too busy to boodle!

Posted by: mostlylurking | July 24, 2006 3:17 PM | Report abuse

You're right, Gendarme; I did butcher that, didn't I? Not many people can butcher two or three languages simultaneously, ya know. So let's "ne plus outre."

Posted by: Curmudgeon | July 24, 2006 3:38 PM | Report abuse

Linda L--might it be too soon to tell how your eye will be? My son (though he is adopted) and I have very similar corrections... both, before Lasik, tested at 20/200. I could read the huge "E" on the chart only because I knew it's an "E."

So I had to return to Denver for nearly a year, with improvement every time, except for astigmatism. finally stabilized after a year of returning every few months. I would not trade the ability to see for anything. For years the glasses I got locally were not adequate. now I have the no=line trifocals, not a half inch thick like before.

Son's eyes were great, the second day, a bit more than 20/20. Not everyone responds to Lasik right away. I know that you had another procedure, rather than Lasik. good luck.

Posted by: Gunde | July 24, 2006 3:52 PM | Report abuse

...oops...should have said your Lasik was not for the same problem as our procedues.

Posted by: Gunde | July 24, 2006 3:55 PM | Report abuse

You're making me laugh, (and I did see slyness's post with link about the best eye hospitals in the U.S. of A. Thanks!)

I'm laughing on account of Philly Cheesesteaks. For a handful of years now, my hubby's disaster recovery drills have been held in Philly. The one thing he *must* do on each trip is to have a Philly cheesesteak sandwich and a beer. It's his raison d'etre there.

A local Spur from Philly, Malik Rose (Was he traded in the last year or so? I have no idea...) who hails from Philly, I believe, set up a chain here locally of Philly Cheesesteak sandwich shops. The second franchise/restaurant is but 1.5 miles from our house. I ate a Philly Cheesesteak sandwich there once when my husband was in Philly, swore and vowed I would never go back. My taste buds were underwhelmed!

Such great news for you. Albuquerque--now that'd be sum'thun'!

Posted by: Loomis | July 24, 2006 3:59 PM | Report abuse

bc: I also grew up in the upper left of that detail map of Wheaton. When we moved out there in the boonies, Wheaton consisted of the Anchor Inn (which was recently leveled, in case you hadn't seen or heard), an Esso gas station, and a couple of the little strip centers on Georgia Avenue. Randolph Road didn't get built till the next year. Xander's General Store and gas stood at the corner of Georgia and Layhill. The next sign of civilization was the little crossroads village of Olney. Long time ago!

Posted by: ebtnut | July 24, 2006 4:06 PM | Report abuse

I think you had radial kerototomy (sp?)? My lasering was for occlusions (broken side-branch vein and central vein) in the retina.

Guess who had radial kerototomy recently and no longer looks nerdy (adjective used by mostlylurking)? Do I like his "new look? (See accompanying photo.) Yes, very much. (Of course, this blog piece and Neil Justin's original article in the Star Tribune raise the question: Can one be shy and still be a journalist?)

Posted by: Loomis | July 24, 2006 4:09 PM | Report abuse

SofC, do you still get to wear the cool robes at least? Those spiffy little black jackets?

Ah, for the days of Rumpole.

Posted by: dr | July 24, 2006 4:19 PM | Report abuse

Ahhhh, gotta love that "Rearing on my hind legs" line Rumpole used all the time.

And "She Who Must Be Obeyed". Immortal.

Posted by: Wilbrod | July 24, 2006 4:24 PM | Report abuse

You are the straw that is breaking the camel's back, in a good way, I suppose, with your mention of genetic disorders of dogs.

I was going to post the following this morning to Error Flynn, but became involved in something else. Since you have provided me the segue (and since Joel is visiting France and I think often of the Moulin Rouge and wonder if he 's seen it? I spoke in a lengthy conversation on Sunday morning with one of my friends who just returned from France--Moulin Rouge was one of her stops in Paris and she loved it.), I shall post this.

Eror Flynn,
I am so sorry that you had to be "cheesed off" about my posts about my family. (Why did you have to be cheesed off? Such a high-fat and high-protein way to be irritated? Why couldn't you have been carbohydrated off, or vegetabled off?)

I have tried, for the most part, to present the bright side of my family's history--although wars, pogroms, allegedly getting a hot poker up the wahzoo for being gay, burnings at the stake and dropping of the atomic bomb are hardly pleasant events.

As a mutant, I would like you to realize that there is a much more tragic and dark side to the family story for me personally. I didn't know what I was going to find when I set out on my journey of discovery, my research--and for better or worse, I have had to live with the consequences and knowledge of what I unearthed, since when I begun the end result of what I would find was an unknown.

I cannot tell my story any better than writer Armand Marie Leroi does in the last two paragraphs of the chapter "Flesh of my Flesh, Bone of my Bones (On Skeletons)" in his 2003 book, "Mutants: On Genetic Variety and the Human Body."

It is the story of the gifted French painter Henri de Toulouse-Lautrec--different disorder, same ancient family roots (one of France's most noble houses, the Comtes de Toulouse-Lautrec, a dynasty of rambunctious southern noblemen who had, at one time or another, ruled much of Rouergue, Provence, and the Languedoc, sacked Jerusalem, dabbled in heresy, been excommunicated by the Pope--on 10 separate occasions and, in the 13th century, felt the military wrath of the French crown), and essentially the same story.

In Leroi's words:

"Whatever his disorder, it seems that he shared it with several other members of his family. By the time Henri Marie Raymond, Comte de Toulouse-Lautrec-Montfa, was born in 1864, his family, though still rich, was quite inbred. The Napoleonic abolition of primogeniture had prompted an already much-reduced French nobility to keep what wealth remained in their families by the simple expedient of not marrying out of them. Henri's parents were first cousins, as were his aunt and uncle; between them they produced 16 children, of whom four including Henri were dwarfed, the other three far more severely than he. Indeed, it is likely that at least some surviving members of that noble house still carry the mutation, although it is not likely to be expressed if they have discontinued their consanguineous habits.

"Lautrec himself had no doubts about the ultimate cause of his malady. One night, in one of his favorite haunts, Montmartre's Irish and American Bar, two women were arguing about a pitiful dog whose legs shook from hip dysplasia. The dog's owner conceded that the animal wasn't handsome, but insisted nevertheless that it was pure-bred. 'Are you kidding, that dog has a pedigree? Have you taken a look at his ugly fur and twisted feet?' laughed her friend. 'He makes you feel sorry for him.' 'You obviously don't know anything about it,' said the dog's owner, and turned to Henri who was sitting next to her. 'Tell her, Monsieur, that my dog can perfectly well be ugly and still be pedigreed.' Henri, getting down from his high barstool and standing up to his full four feet eleven inches, saluted her with a charcoal-stained hand and murmured, 'You're telling me.'

Posted by: Loomis | July 24, 2006 4:43 PM | Report abuse

Thanks everyone for comments about my 180 degree situational turn-around. I'm still digesting this bit of very good news. S'nuke -- do your ears stand up over your head when you do a Snoopy happy dance? :-)

dmd -- you're still much in my thoughts.

Wilbrod -- thanks for clarifying the Gould comment in the evolution story. Somehow I read it as *not* being about the morphing. But I had't had my second cup of coffee yet when I read it!

I've always like the idea of puncuated equilibrium -- it makes a lot of sense.

Some catastrophic event happens -- organisms with the right genome, the right mutations survive while most of their species, as well as many other species are killed outright.

Bottlenecks, places in genetic history where it's obvious a lot of a population was killed off, leaving only a few with the right genetic combination to survive whatever happened, are documented in our own genome.

The survivors all have the same mutated gene(s) that conferred survival -- and natural selection is abbreviated into a tiny timeframe.

It is such a bottleneck that has some geneaologists believing that all modern humans descend from mitochondrial Eve -- some sort of catastrophe that killed off most of the exisitng human population -- leaving a literal handful to begin repopulation.

Anyway, this may sound trite and simplistic, but I was so glad to see an article addressing human evolution that ocurred *after* the neolithic period started.

I get very tired at so many articles written for popular consumption (not to mention more than a few evolutionary psychologists) who think humanity stopped evolving 10,000 years ago.

The explanations that humans are the way they are because of our hunting and gathering ancestry. I've seen explanations of anorexia (from well respected sources) that somehow involve behaviors best suited for a paleolithic lifestyle.

I might also add that with disease like diabetes, which are perhaps linked to a metabolism best suited for a feast-or-famine existence (American Indians have very high rates of diabetes -- most were hunter-gathering cultures and so perhaps had metabolisms tailored to carry the organism through very lean times) may be an expression of a certain genes not suited to todays high sugar/carbohydrate diets.

But natural selection really isn't at work here. These genes stay in the gene pool, because there are medical interventions that help the folks who may carry such genes stay alive and reproduce.

We might be witnessing a manifestation of maladaptive genes, but they aren't being culled from the gene pool -- so selection really isn't at work.

Anwyay, I hope all of this makes some sense. I'm a wee bit tired today, and am probably mangling my thoughts.

I've read a bit about the regional genomic variations in populations. I wasn't aware about doubt as to whether the Black Death was really the bubonic (and pneumonic) plague. What else could it have been?

I recently read 'The Great Influenza' by John Barry -- about the 1918 epidemic.

Some eyewitness accounts relate how one minute a person would be standing and talking; the next minute he/she would fall down and die. the flu virus at the heart of this epidemic is one that, according to Barry, represents a "quasi-species" or a "mutant swarm."

"DNa has a kind of built-in proofreading mechanism to cut down on copying mistakes. RNA has no proofreading mechanism whatsoever, no way to protect against mutation. So viruses that use RNa to carry their genetic information mutate much faster -- from 10,000 to 1 milion times faster, than any DNA virus. Different RNA viruses mutate at different rates as well. A few mutate so rapidly that virologists consider them not so much a population of copies of the same virus as what they call a "quasi-species" or a "mutant swarm."

"These mutant swarms contain trilliosn and trilliosn fo closely related but different viruses . . . the swarm as a whole will routeinely contain almost every possible permutation of its genetic code."

Most of these viruses, of course, will not survive -- but the ones that do, ones with "other mutations, sometimes in a single base . . in its geneti ccode will allow the virus to adapt rapidly to a new situation. It is this adaptability . . . that explains why thes mutant swarms can moce rapidly back and forth between different environments and also develop extraordinary rapid drug resistance . . ."

Whoa. It's this kind of behavior that has so many virologists up at night worrying about H5N1 -- the bird flu virus.

Wonder if it's this kind of behavior in a virus that may have some folks doubting whether Yersinia, the plague bacterium, was behind the Black Death.

I'm gonna hit the "submit" button now and hope this is all legible.

Posted by: nelson | July 24, 2006 4:48 PM | Report abuse

Exactly Wilbrod. I keep telling Mr.dr that all the time.

Posted by: dr | July 24, 2006 5:26 PM | Report abuse

Great, I do the right thing and stay on task for a change on a Monday and I miss the lawyer blog! Outtasight SoC!

Couldn't but skim through the boodle.

LL, hard to tell you what to do at a distance other than what others suggest, especially about trying to address the problem before worrying about a lawsuit. If you do go with a firm that advertises big time, despite what your case is worth, they are in the volume business and will want to settle anything as quickly as possible to avoid the work that is involved with going to trial (or going anywhere near trial). The local bar association will not give you recommendations but might give you advice into what to look for as a consumer when seeking legal representation.

Nelson, extremely pleased to hear the good news.

Posted by: bill everything | July 24, 2006 5:31 PM | Report abuse

I've been researching a move to Albuquerque for years now. I can't afford to move back to Colorado (at least to live in the areas I would like to) -- and I've spent a lot of time in the Santa Fe and Taos area.

Albuquerque is in a different geological area than the other two, but still close by. And surprisingly, it's very affordable.

It's a real city (no, it ain't DC, but it also ain't Williamsburg!), state capitol, home of UNM, with a pretty prestigious Anthropology department.

Lots of art, cultah, and folks who share same interests as myself.

Plus, I can smell sagebrush with every breath (well, not downtown).

I just never had the means to get there.

Now, it seems I will have said means in '07.

Don't have much stuff -- pack up a big UHaul type truck, get someone to help me drive it (I can't drive very far in one day -- it might take me a month to drive what is normally a 3 day trip! :-)) -- and I'm outta here.

There are plenty of apartments available. I could have my brother, who is still in Colorado, drive down and help find the right one.

Anyway -- don't want to think too much about all this right now -- I still have to pack up this tiny place and move to another apartment here on the grounds -- the reason for all this activity is the rehab of these old, dilapidated structures.

Start giving away the garden in the fall.

OK -- I promised my cat I would lie down and snuggle with her for a while. She gets jealous of the computer.

Posted by: nelson | July 24, 2006 5:32 PM | Report abuse

Good luck with whatever you do, nelson. Fate works in interesting ways.

Posted by: yellojkt | July 24, 2006 5:39 PM | Report abuse

hey nelson - is the heat of the desert something that could help with the fibromyalgia (sp?)

my cat gets jealous of the phone...

oh, and a fun site:

Posted by: mo | July 24, 2006 5:45 PM | Report abuse

Ha, ebtnut, I worked for Bill and Henry Xander's Shell station at the corner there. Glenn Brenner and Donnie Simpson were good tippers.

A few too many fast runs down Layhill Rd., too many evenings spent at the Cue Club, and at the Stained Class, er, *Glass* Pub.

That's all more Glenmont than Wheaton, though, I think.

I heard about the old AI being torn down, what's left? The Royal Mile Pub? Too new, really, though I managed to waste a few nights there, too.


Posted by: bc | July 24, 2006 5:56 PM | Report abuse

Nelson, I'm very happy that you have good news about your moving situation.

dmd, you and family still in my prayers.

Nani, need to read one of your stories, bad, real bad.

Posted by: Cassandra S | July 24, 2006 6:44 PM | Report abuse

Nelson, what a great turn of events!

dr, we do indeed still have the robes for any trial appearances in Queen's Bench or the Court of Appeal (and the SCC); the lowest level, Provincial Court, is not as formal.

Posted by: SonofCarl | July 24, 2006 8:56 PM | Report abuse

Son of Carl, mad props to you for the Kit from one of your wigless and robeless sistren in Lower Canuckistan (aka California). I was also reminded by the Boodler who mentioned the "attractive nuisance" doctrine that we used to use that phrase around the office to refer to a womanizing colleague.

{By the by, could we have the nice cool jet stream back for a while, please? It's HOT here!}

Posted by: Boodleaire | July 24, 2006 10:10 PM | Report abuse

What about an amicus brief...what would the origin of that be? Friendly tighty whiteys? What if you're a boxer kind of guy? Is there an amicus boxer? How about an amicus thong?
When the US Supreme Court asks for one, do they indicate the size/color they're looking for?
Just a thought......

Posted by: LostInThought | July 24, 2006 10:15 PM | Report abuse

Interesting Wachovia news...

But a fundraising appeal that aired last week on the Hezbollah-connected Al Manar television station asks that money for the Hezbollah resistance be sent a specific account at the Middle East and Africa Bank.

An Arabic speaking NBC News producer called the number listed on the television ad, and was told to go to any U.S. bank and wire the money. Our producer was advised to not tell anyone the money was meant for Hezbollah.

The Middle East Africa Bank has a relationship with the U.S. bank Wachovia. After NBC News informed Wachovia of the Hezbollah fundraising appeal, Wachovia immediately terminated the relationship.

In a statement, a Wachovia spokesman said, "Wachovia confirms that it has very stringent procedures and policies in place to monitor accounts and ensure compliance with the Patriot Act, including not conducting business with any organization identified by the U.S. government as a terrorist organization or supporting terrorism."

Posted by: Loomis | July 24, 2006 10:22 PM | Report abuse

In the meantime the Bush administration has announced an aid package worth $US 30 million for Lebanon, including 100,000 medical kits and 20,000 blankets. The supplies will start to be delivered by ship and air tomorrow.

Help. I'm confused. Our military industry sells all sorts of military hardware to the Israel--bunker-bustering bombs, helicopters, jets, arms. When Israel uses these products of U.S. origin on its neighbors and creates widespread havoc--as well as causes much death and destruction, and days go by without any intervention on our part and a much delayed action calling for a cease-fire--then we rush in with millions in humanitarian aid for those civilians in Lebanon whose lives have been turned upside down, who have become refugees? What am I not getting or understanding here? Why are we straddling both sides of the fence?

Also, why are we raising hoopla about Iran enriching uranium, when when we've known about Pakistan's plan to build a nuclear reactor for some time now, and failed to keep members of Congress informed about this information?

I'm reminded of several lines about Francis Crick's (the Britsh half of the pair of scientists to have discovered DNA) life, as reported by Nick Wade in a July 11 article in the NYT:

"Crick forged his own path through life. Mr. Ridley dwells only briefly on Crick's heterodox views and experimental way of life. He seldom read newspapers, because working in intelligence had convinced him that most stories never reached the press."

Posted by: Loomis | July 24, 2006 11:02 PM | Report abuse

Loomis: You have mentioned (in warm tones) the honest, simple appeal of country folk, and you have also criticized ignorant rubes. Much of that dichotomy is in play in the situation to which you refer.

If it was simple, I'm guessing that we'd have figured it out long before now! I'm considered (by most of my acquaintances) to be substantially brighter than the average bear, and I haven't figured it out, even without having my every utterance second-guessed by a thousand pundits. I think that I'd be over-optimistic to expect elected officials who aren't chosen primarily for intellectual achievement to have figured it out.

Posted by: Bob S. | July 25, 2006 12:12 AM | Report abuse

Actually, I HAVE figured it out, I just have no idea how long it's gonna take. And in this case, there's even a fairly relevant example (Northern Ireland) upon which to build!

The "Middle East problem" will resolve itself when most of the folks in the "Middle East" don't live lives that are full of frustration.

[Don't even try to throw religion into this problem without giving me well-thought examples. My fairly extensive reading has given me NO examples of religion being a significant factor in political upheaval in an economically stable sector of a society, anywhere, anytime, ever.]

In the specific case of Palestine, this will require that Israel, the U.S., Europe, and several of the mid-East oil states pour enough money into the economy that it's no longer a crap-hole place to live. The problem with that plan (most of the aforementioned money sources are essentially ready & willing) is figuring out how to toss the money at the problem without having most of the money sidetracked by opportunistic vultures.

The problem is the same almost everywhere, the solution is the same almost everywhere, the difficulties are the same almost everywhere. And yet, slowly but surely, we (I mean humans in general) DO make a little progress. Ten steps forward, nine steps back, we'll get there eventually, I hope!

Posted by: Bob S. | July 25, 2006 12:35 AM | Report abuse

Loomis: Of course you're right that is insane, on the face of it, for the U.S. to stand idly by while Israel destroys the Lebanese infrastructure, and for the U.S. also to boast about our clean-up & relief efforts. But, I also think that it would be insane of Israel to stand idly by while a neighboring country hosts a group which not only blares propaganda about its eventual agenda of destroying Israel (no big deal, but quite annoying, I imagine), but also is known to engage in murderous activities, ranging from the occasional kidnap and/or murder of a few citizens to the launching of rockets into nearby cities.

I don't think anyone gives a crap about Iran or North Korea having a few nuclear bombs. There IS some (possibly legitimate) concern that those governments might have elements within them that could and would then sell usable devices to organizations that would, in fact, use them.

Face it, even with all of the unpleasant folks who've been in charge of the U.S., Russia/USSR/whatever-you-should-call-the-grab-bag-there-now-that-might-have-a-piece-of-a-nuke, China, France, Great Britain, and a few other newcomers in the club, nobody has felt any strong desire to actually ignite one of these devices in anger since the U.S. horrified ourselves and the world back in 19 & 45.

There is a substantial fear that these interest groups who don't represent actual living populations of humans, but instead strive to personify a great honking pure ideal, might be a little less fussy about setting off one of the really big bangs, just to prove a point. Might be right, might be wrong, but countries that seem possibly inclined to provide those groups with the REALLY BIG firecrackers tend to make other countries a little uneasy.

Posted by: Bob S. | July 25, 2006 1:28 AM | Report abuse

Bob S... I agree with you on the economic solution. If we threw money at them instead of bombs, helped them build up their living standards, there would be very few left of the mindset that violence is the only way out.

If jobs are plentiful and pay a decent wage, if there is ready access to affordable housing, health care, food and clean water, electricity, etc... that leaves little reason to wrap oneself in explosives or lob a rocket over the fence to make a statement.

However, if the powers that be here in the U.S. don't get on the ball and make sure its *own* citizens have all these things, I have a feeling that the rich and priveleged may find themselves being served up as dinner. I was out of work for over two years not long ago -- not for lack of education, experience or trying -- and I gotta tell ya... after scraping up $2.00 (mostly pennies) to put a gallon (then) of gas in the old VW to make it to a job interview, only to get a dirty look at the pump from a dude yammerin' away on his cell phone about the country club as he puts 400 gallons in his Hummer on a credit card, even a peace-lovin' hippie like me wants to strangle someone.

Money can't buy love, but give someone who has none an opportunity to earn some fairly and squarely and you have a friend for life.

Posted by: martooni | July 25, 2006 7:51 AM | Report abuse

Amen, Martooni!

Posted by: slyness | July 25, 2006 8:02 AM | Report abuse

In my personal opinion there is no way to bribe those who wish to destroy Israel. The hatred has become a matter of religious principle for many. This is why "land for peace" has been less effective than was hoped. Unfortunately, you also can't eliminate this hatred with bombs. All you can do is push people underground and make them get longer range missiles. It's like setting up your tent in a field of fire ants. You can't solve the problem by lobbing dynamite. All you can do is put up with the stings and hope for winter.

Posted by: RD Padouk | July 25, 2006 8:06 AM | Report abuse

Good morning, friends. As one that has been bitten by red ants last week, your solution RD does not go over very well with me. Of course, I have no idea how to solve the world's problems. I'm hopeless at my own. Didn't get to walk this morning, overslept. Will have to make up if I can.

Martooni, you're right of course. Let's pray we don't get to that stage. I believe we're simmering in a sense because of gas prices, and other situations thrown in the mix.

This morning my prayer is for peace and blessings where there is anger and violence. My prayer is that love rules the day, and that Christ is glorified in every way. My prayer is that there is healing where there is disease and hatred. And my prayer is that all know that God loves you more than you can imagine through Him that died for all, Jesus Christ.

P.S. Hope you're well Nani. We miss you terribly.

Posted by: Cassandra S | July 25, 2006 8:20 AM | Report abuse

Good news! In a mere 40 to 50 generations a far seeing Russian geneticist develop tamed Siberian rats.
We will finally be able to snuggle up to those charming little buggers without risking a bite from those pearly incisors.. I wonder if they wag their cute little scaly tail when the masters are getting home ?

Posted by: Shrieking Denizen | July 25, 2006 8:32 AM | Report abuse

Shrieking Denizen: I used to breed Russian Dwarf Hamsters, so the incisors don't bother me much, but those rat tails sure do.

Here is a link to a similiar experiment done with Siberian foxes.

Siberia: Your pet superstore for the 21st century.

Posted by: RD Padouk | July 25, 2006 8:49 AM | Report abuse

RD, CowTown, and some of you other folks might be interested in this book regarding DIY Home Improvement:


Posted by: bc | July 25, 2006 8:54 AM | Report abuse

SD: Silly me - I see the foxes are referenced further down in your article.

Posted by: RD Padouk | July 25, 2006 8:54 AM | Report abuse

Here's an article on Titan about the methane/ethane lakes they just found.

Still working on getting the image of the nasty rats out of my head, that and the question - what do they do with them?

Posted by: dmd | July 25, 2006 9:10 AM | Report abuse

"I heard about the old AI being torn down, what's left? The Royal Mile Pub? Too new, really, though I managed to waste a few nights there, too."

bc: The Royal Mile is still going strong--probably still the best place to eat and drink in Wheaton. It's now run by the son of the couple who ran it for about 15 years. He's a trained chef. Occurs to me this might be a potential BPH venue? They have 50 varieties of single-mail Scotch. And it's only 2 blocks from the Metro station. And re: next week's BPH--Looks like we might be going to north Jersey to see my father-in-law. He's in early stage Alzheimer's. We need to see him while he still can recognize us.

Posted by: ebtnut | July 25, 2006 9:11 AM | Report abuse

scc: Single-malt Scotch

Posted by: ebtnut | July 25, 2006 9:11 AM | Report abuse


Perhapsh they're training the rats for Titanian research missions?


Posted by: Scottynuke | July 25, 2006 9:12 AM | Report abuse

RD... No offense, but there's a big difference between bribing and providing real support for a self-sustaining economy. All that the US and others have ever really done financially for these countries is bribe the local leadership and divert the balance back to American corporations -- an approach which has failed for obvious reasons.

Under the current system of US "support", after the leaders are paid off and the myriad layers of administrators, managers and Haliburton shareholders get their cuts, there's almost enough left over to buy a Carbucks latte. And we wonder why the populace of these areas is still mad at us after we've "invested" billions there.

What I'm talking about is *real* investment -- as in we give you $30 million, you build a power plant, factory, business, farm, whatever -- and we expect a return on that investment (be it profit or peace). I also think the money for these projects should come primarily from the private sector -- let the Feds provide the seed money, but if US corps are going to profit, let them take on bulk of the risk. If we truly want our dollars to win friends, the primary beneficiaries of our investments should be *local* talent and labor.

I'm thinking of how Honda has built plants here in the States. How beneficial would those plants be if they were staffed and managed by employees shipped in from Japan? Yet that's what we've been doing in the MidEast.

It's a mad mad mad mad mad world...

Posted by: martooni | July 25, 2006 9:13 AM | Report abuse

SCC: perhaps

Perhaps I've been reading that single-malt reference too much... *L*

Posted by: Scottynuke | July 25, 2006 9:16 AM | Report abuse

I should have started my comment by a heartfelt congratulation to the boodlers who have kitted. What a great bunch of subjects and bits of writing!
RD : The "bad" foxes are a piece of work. I've seen a documentary about the fox experiment a few years ago, when the West first got wind of it. The snarling and spitting foxes were hurling themselves at the cages walls when people were coming into the barn. They didn't dare show the "bad" rats, it's got to be the stuff of nightmares. Great psychological warfare tools !
I could see the Veep as the mad scientist bent on dominating the world menacing a well turned secret agent of putting a demented rat's cage against her face or something. This is not torture right, it's just a threat...

Posted by: Shrieking Denizen | July 25, 2006 9:17 AM | Report abuse


You realize, of course, that image makes me think of the Veep as the Brain. Guess who Pinky would be? NARF!


Posted by: Scottynuke | July 25, 2006 9:20 AM | Report abuse

martooni - you may be right. Perhaps I am being too cynical. Perhaps economic development would have a calming influence on religious zealotry.

But I doubt it.

Posted by: RD Padouk | July 25, 2006 9:38 AM | Report abuse

Thanks for the link, bc. I'd much rather read about home improvement than do it. Now I've been tasked with replacing the ballast to an ancient flourescent fixture. This should only take about 1 1/2 weeks and cost about $125.00.

Posted by: CowTown | July 25, 2006 9:45 AM | Report abuse

I think its going to take real sustained economic development and a generation before the situation really changes, but even after the ecomnomics improve, there still has to be a change in how people see themselves in their society. If a person does not feel he is able to redress when he has been wronged, he will not trust in the rule of law and some of these things won't go aways till each person learns that the law will protect him.

Posted by: dr | July 25, 2006 9:53 AM | Report abuse

Oh, come on, why can't GW be The Brain?


Posted by: bc | July 25, 2006 9:53 AM | Report abuse

I have to agree with Padouk. If we were talking about sub-Saharan Africa, the Far East, Central/South America, even inside the U.S., the economic argument makes sense, especially if the problem centered around issues of poverty. But the Middle East is very different from all those other areas, because the issue ISN'T economic, it ISN'T poverty, and it ISN'T about jobs. So helping in some way to solve those issues might be a nice, humanitarian thing to do, but it won't solve any of the core issues, which fundamentally ARE religious: Suni versus Shiite, Wahabi and Jihadist Muslims against everybody else, and Arabs versus Israelis. Not one of those issues will be so much as dented by helping a few people get jobs, or food, or whatever. In fact, if they'd stop the crap, that itself would go a long way toward improving their own living conditions, since they expend so much energy and resources in insane and counterproductive ways.

Posted by: Curmdugeon | July 25, 2006 10:00 AM | Report abuse

I may be wrong, too, RD. I'm also a cynic, but an optimistic one (if that's not an oxymoron).

What I do know is that a populace lacking basic needs (let alone any hope for prosperity) is much more susceptable to the preachings of religious zealots and bigots. If the US (and the rest of the western world) were to actually help these regions do something to improve their economies and living standards, the mullahs' invectives would be reduced to nothing more than p!ssing in the wind.

Posted by: martooni | July 25, 2006 10:00 AM | Report abuse

Those nasty rats keep making me think of Room 101 in Orwell's 1984.

dr - I agree with you that it will take generations and that economic development isn't enough. Personally I also think that there needs to be some kind of intellectual Renaissance in the Islamic world in which religious beliefs are trumped by certain over-arching humanistic notions. This is, in my mind, the most impressive accomplishment of Western Civilization and the reason I am kind of fond of it. We don't burn heretics anymore.

Posted by: RD Padouk | July 25, 2006 10:08 AM | Report abuse

ebtnut, I didn't mean to imply that the RMP wasn't there anymore, but it's still pretty new compared to the Magic shop and the old Anchor Inn.

RMP is a fine place, indeed.


Posted by: bc | July 25, 2006 10:27 AM | Report abuse

The problem with economic development and democracy as a route to happiness is that it takes away all the best crutches. No longer can one direct blame at That Guy Over There for causing unhappiness or failure to accomplish anything meaningful in life.

Rather, economic development and democracy WOULD take away the best crutches. We become very attached to our metaphoric crutches. It's mentally easier to persist in counter-productive homicidal idiocy than to admit that we hold the power to solve our own problems -- and it's our own fault (to some extent) if we fail to solve them.

Posted by: ScienceTim | July 25, 2006 10:28 AM | Report abuse

SciTim, I would agree and add that religion often is the same, your problems are caused by the other religion.

What the world needs is more personal responsibility. Quit blaming others and stop suing for your own mistakes. Then add a huge dose of tolerance to others individualities.

Posted by: dmd | July 25, 2006 10:38 AM | Report abuse

New kit: The MUSH Rough Draft from last Sunday.

Posted by: Shrieking Denizen | July 25, 2006 10:39 AM | Report abuse

Jus to throw my two cents into the mix, this is a video clip of 5 minutes and 28 seconds of an Arab-American psychologist standing up to a mullah of some sort on Arab television. She is obviously a human secularist--and the exchange has a slight Jerry Springerish quality to it for Arab TV.

It was forwarded to me by a friend about a week ago. The verbal volleys are subtitled in English, but I think the exchange between these opposite points of view is worth a listen:

Posted by: Loomis | July 25, 2006 10:40 AM | Report abuse

martooni, I think I have to respectfully disagree with your premise, that "a populace lacking basic needs ... is much more susceptable to the preachings of religious zealots and bigots. ... the mullahs' invectives would be reduced to nothing more than p!ssing in the wind."

I think you are overlaying a general "Western Civilization" mindset on top of a culture that doesn't operate that way. If you were talking about maybe half the world, I'd agree with you. In the West, as well as a lot of the Third World influenced by the West or Western Colonization, we do indeed think about poverty, jobs, medicine, education, etc., and yes, many of our wars and revolutions have been fundamentally about core issues of economics and resources.

But what you are saying is that because many of the Muslims "lack basic needs," they are susceptible to the zealots' preaching. This implies the opposite also: that if they HAD their basic needs met, they'd be fat and happy like us, and wouldn't worry about Allah, jihad, kiccking the U.S. out of Saudi Arabia, etc. The facts, I think, are rather different. For one thing, all the 911 hijackers, and many of the other subway bombers and their crowd have been middle-class, well-educated (usually IN the West) people, and nowhere in any of their rhetoric or idealogy is there the remotest verbiage about economics, poverty, improving conditions, etc. In fact, it is the opposite: they are OPPOSED to what they view as Western materialism (the very thing you're talking about improving) and want to go back to a 10th century theocracy. Jobs, economy, medicine and education all go hand-in-hand; these people aren't interested in "education." They aren't thinking about improving anybody's living conditions or eradicating disease.

What you are advocating is imposing your (and, admittedly, mine too) Western value system on them--which is the ONE thing they DON'T want (foolishly so, in my view, but that's a different question). Their primary enemies are the SECULAR Muslims and Arabs who (in their view) have swung over to exactly the position you advocate: jobs, economic improvements, improved medicine, etc., etc.

And of all this, the war against Israel is just one sub-set. If Israel were (god forbid) destroyed tomorrow, or somehow magically transplanted to the Amazon rain forest, the theory is that the Mideast would suddenly become nice and happy and settle down, and wouldn't hate us any more. And I'm not even convinced that might even have been true up until the late 1950s or 1960s. But it sure isn't true now. Osama bin Laden isn't primarily concerned with Israel; the Taliban aren't primarily concerned with Israel; the current Iranian government isn't; and in Iraq we have foolishly exchanged a vile secular madman/dictator for what may ultimately become a vile non-secular Islamist madman dictator of some sort (unless our own leadership and military finally gets its act together, which I am sadly inclined to doubt, based on past history).

In a way, your own argument is contradictory: the "mullahs' invective" that you (rightly) wish to counter isn't about food, poverty, economics--that isn't what they inveigh against. As to helping them build their economies: they have one and only one resource on which any economy can be built, and that is oil. And you know what kind of trouble THAT has been.

Posted by: Curmudgeon | July 25, 2006 10:56 AM | Report abuse

Good point RD, and I do agree with you but is that not one of the essential differences in our societies. They (including fundamentalists) see western society as a very strong negative influence because of those overarching humanistic notions. Those notions challenge the very foundations of their societies, not just religions. Just our belief that they need that kind of renaissance could be seen to be an attack on their entire social structure. As much as we need to understand that difference, they need to understand that our beliefs are not going to destroy them just because our belief's exist.

Is it a strong society, a strong belief system if it must destroy all other belief's in order that it not be destroyed? I don't think so. (Look at what happened to Catholicism. It did not tolerate or accept any variance, and it splintered, and split.) That is why I too believe that they will have to have some kind of renaissance.

Posted by: dr | July 25, 2006 11:02 AM | Report abuse

Boy, Loomis, that clip is really good. Who is that woman? I'd vote for her in a heartbeat.

Posted by: Curmudgeon | July 25, 2006 11:07 AM | Report abuse

Good points, Mudge... I agree that the problems there are rooted in much more than economics.

Other than what I see and read in the news (both Western and Middle Eastern), my only frame of reference is from the late 70's, when my family lived in Saudi Arabia for two years (my Dad was there on a civvy job building power plants).

The impression I was left with was of a society split between the haves and have-nots (very few "haves", many "have-nots" and no real middle class to speak of), and all of them struggling to figure out how to enjoy and reconcile the benefits of Western culture without destroying their own. Of course, the "haves" were more interested in keeping all the Western goodies for themselves and charging the mullahs with keeping the masses in line.

I think what saddens me the most about the whole region, though, is that back in the day it was the Arabs who were the Rennaisance thinkers while most of Europe was wallowing in it's own feces.

Posted by: martooni | July 25, 2006 11:39 AM | Report abuse

I agree, martooni--it is pretty ironic that in the period of about 800 or 900 AD to about 1500, the Arabs were the leaders in things like science, math, astronomy, medicine, and so on, as well as a lot of humanistic thinking, writing, poetry, etc. All promising signs of a brand new, potentially interesting "start-up" culture and civilization--all pretty much shot to hell.

Posted by: Curmudgeon | July 25, 2006 11:52 AM | Report abuse

Some of the best "Islamic" scholars of that period were Jewish.

Posted by: Wilbrod | July 26, 2006 4:18 PM | Report abuse

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