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f/k/a archives . . . real opinions & real haiku

November 5, 2004

the exit polling cartel is laughable (but dangerous)

Filed under: pre-06-2006 — David Giacalone @ 8:35 pm

one-breath punditry:
— It looks like the American Antitrust Institute called this election correctly:  joint exit                     ekg ekg f
polling has led once again to massive errors.  The consequences surely could have been
mitigated were there competing sources of exit poll results.  [Dick Morris and Howard Klein,
(through Bainbridge), see conspiracies; “Republicans complain exit polls were erroneous”,
Wash.Times, Nov. 4, 2004]  Warren Mitofsky’s expanations tonight on the PBS News Hour
seem lame.   Will the DOJ Antitrust Division finally investigate? (our prior post  is here; and
don’t cry, insects!
we’re all headed
for the same exit

update (Nov. 9, 2004): Larry Lessig says free the exit poll data: “

“The Exit Polls have done enough damage to this election. My bet is that it was incompetence at Edison/Mitofsky. But those firms owe it to this Nation to release their data totally, so that a wide range of competent statisticians can evaluate whether and where the problem was.

“And more importantly for the blog space: If blogs are going to be something more than the CB radios of journalism, we need an ethic to treat this sort of question ethically. “

tiny check I have often agreed with D.C. Bar President John C. Keeney, Jr., on ways to make
the legal profession more responsible.  However, I can only scoff at his latest suggestion on
how to change “the public’s bad image of lawyers,” which can only backfire:
laughing man small “[T]reat our profession (but never ourselves) more seriously, and join me
in refusing to laugh at lawyer jokes.”  [emphasis added; our perspective here]
tiny check On the other hand, I wish cranky Letter Writer Dennis B. Wilson would prescribe constructive
ways to alleviate the tyranny of billable-hours quotas, rather than suggesting that John Keeney can’t
authoritatively promote more pro bono because he didn’t undergo enough “tangible sacrifices” while making
partner. (letters, Washington Lawyer, Nov. 2004)
tiny check TaxLawProf seems to be mistaking server hits with “visitors”  (as we discuss here, and there, where
we confess “When this weblog has a 1000 page-hit day, I literally have no idea whether the number represents
20 actual human beings looking in or 200, but I know that it is unlikely to be more than 200.”).   Before concluding
that the 7-month old weblog has “crossed the 200,000 visitor mark,” we suggest an audit.

a splash of spiced sake
for his wrinkled face…

crawl and laugh–
from this morning on
a two year old!

all haiku by Issa, translated by D.G.Lanoue

prime numbers and Cafeteria Conservatives

Filed under: pre-06-2006 — David Giacalone @ 1:04 pm

“tree B&W small”   It’s been way too long since f/k/a featured Pamela Miller Ness.  

The latest issue of frogpond leapt into my mailbox this week, and contains three of

Pamela’s poems, which I am pleased to share with you:



birthday morning

he tells me that 53

is a prime number



winter night

a stranger in the laundromat

asks my name





decision time

tiny ripples

in the river


      a blue eggshell


          [linked verse written with Michael Dylan Welch]


froglegs  by Pamela Miller Ness, from frogpond XXVII:3 (Fall 2004)

credit: “winter night” –  haiku spirit 20



first November winds —

tear ducts leaking

again this year


                    [Nov. 5, 2004]


one-breath pundit  

    • Cafeteria Conservatives?  Annoyed by David Bernstein’s position that true libertarians

      would not embrace “traditional values” politics, Prof. Bainbridge notes that “I sometimes

      describe myself has having libertarian leanings, but at bottom I’m really more of mix of

      Catholic neoconservative and social conservative“.  Forgive me for asking whether Steve

      is like many other Cafeteria Conservatives and Buffet Libertarians — calling upon whatever

      creed will get them the laws they want, while precluding those they dislike.

    • Walter Olson is decrying the lack of high-tech communications options on American cars,

      blaming the lawyers and liability risks.  (NYC article) As, I suggested in the post Car XPC, more

      driver distractions — CarXPC being a full-blown dashboard Windows computer — is the last thing

      we need on America’s roads.  Maybe having trial lawyers ain’t such a bad thing.

Will Rogers Part II: In the Risk Pool with the RiskProf

Filed under: pre-06-2006 — David Giacalone @ 9:58 am

Under the banner of his renamed weblog, RiskProf Martin Grace mused yesterday that Will Rogers “probably never said anything funny about insurance or risk management as he knew that someone like me would come along.”  (see our first Rogers posting) That spurred me to ascertain whether America’s beloved comboy-humorist had ever aimed his lasso at the sometimes unpopular insurance industry.
dice Although leaving me exhausted, my non-exhaustive research came up with only one insurance-related quip from Rogers:

“The man who dies without adequate life insurance should have to come back and see the mess he’s created.”

The source for that quote is a Life Insurance quotation service, so I’m not vouching for its pedigree.  It seems a little strange that Will didn’t have something a little more Rogerian to say about insurers or their sales force.  The consumer advocate within me notes, however, that I located the following business in Oklahoma: the Will Rogers Insurance Agency. Hmmm. Conflict of interest?
I also discovered an article written by one Linda Williams, RN, “a long-term care risk manager with The GuideOne Center for Risk Management,” West Des Moines, Iowa.  In the article, Let Will Rogers be your guide, Ms. Williams writes:
“Never before has the [long-term care] industry received so much bad press over the problems of so few facilities. If the great journalist-philosopher Will Rogers * were alive today, I’m sure he could offer a few bits of wisdom to help this hurting industry cope with its problems. Let’s see how 10 of his famous quotes might apply to liability (and headline) avoidance.
crystal ball sm You can click through to see her explanation of the quotes, but here are a few that suggest Rogers knew how to avoid a risk or two:

2. “Always drink upstream from the herd.”

3. “Lettin’ the cat outta the bag is a whole lot easier ‘n puttin’ it back in.”

5. “It doesn’t take a genius to spot a goat in a flock of sheep.”

8. “Even if you’re on the right track, you’ll get run over if you just sit there.”

9. “Good judgment comes from experience, and a lot of that comes from bad judgment.”

10. “If you’re ridin’ ahead of the herd, take a look back every now and then to make sure it’s still there.”

A bunch of these quotes can also be found in the Cowboy Code of Ethics.  (It’s off topic, but I also discovered the UFO Abduction Insurance webpage, which you might want to explore for a chuckle.)
This second visit to Will Rogers brought me to the Quotes Exchange, where I found the following Rogers quotations, which made me smile:
– If stupidity got us into this mess, then why can’t it get us out?

– The American people are very generous people and will forgive almost any weakness, with the possible exception of stupidity.

– The minute that you read something that you can’t understand, you can almost be sure it was drawn up by a lawyer.
will rogers The first two quips confirm that Rogers did not survive to see the 2004 Elections.
Some closing thoughts:  Both Martin Grace and George M. Wallace let me know how much they have always enjoyed Will Rogers.  I sure hope that you don’t have to be over 40 to know about and appreciate Rogers’ legacy to American political wit and wisdom.
Will Rogers actually ran a “favorite son” campaign for the Presidency in 1928, with his Anti-Bunk Party.  His sole campaign plank: “If elected, I will resign.”  [the image here is from the cover of Life Magazine, May 31, 1928, announcing Rogers’ candidacy.]
Finally, my Googling about Rogers led me to an article called “Will Rogers is Running for President,” which covered the Presidential campaign in 1974 of Arizona Senator Morris K. Udall. (by Aaron Latham, New York Magazine, Dec. 1974) The author explains that “if Will Rogers had run for president, this is how he would have done it.”

Udall was well-known for his own gentle but insightful wit.  Seeing the article reminded me that Mo Udall was the first and only Presidential candidate for whom I have sat at a telephone trying to raise money.  I was in my first year of law school and went to Udall’s office in downtown Boston.  I respected Mo Udall a lot, but the impetus for manning a phone bank was the fact that my college friend, Jack Quinn, was Udall’s campaign manager at the age of 24.  Jack went on to become a distinguished lawyer at Arnold & Porter, and then White House Counsel to Bill Clinton.  (And, yes, he became somewhat infamous for Pardongate, the Marc RIch affair.)   I may never have remembered this little piece of my life, were it not for starting down the trail suggested by the RiskProf.  Serendipity can be swell.

Update (Nov. 8, 2004):  If you’ve read this far, you deserve a few Mo Udall quotes (from BrainyQuotes):

  • For those of you who don’t understand Reaganomics, it’s based on the principle that the rich and the poor will get the same amount of ice. In Reaganomics, however, the poor get all of theirs in winter.I have learned the difference between a cactus and a caucus. On a cactus, the pricks are on the outside.

    If you can find something everyone agrees on, it’s wrong.

    One puts on black robes to scare the hell out of white people, while the other puts on white robes to scare the hell out of blacks.

    The more we exploit nature, The more our options are reduced, until we have only one: to fight for survival.

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