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

September 23, 2005

don’t ask, don’t tell — Jeeves’ aborted vocation

Filed under: pre-06-2006 — David Giacalone @ 9:44 pm

What’s the world coming to?  Ask Jeeves is about to fire Jeeves the Butler

Sept. 23, 2005).  And, just as I was going to suggest a possible late-life

priestly vocation for the unemployed manservant, I learn that the Vatican is

about to post a “No Gays Need Apply” sign on all of its seminaries.   (see

BBC, Vatican ‘to ban new gay priests’,” Sept. 23, 2005; Mirror of Justice,

Gay priests and the Vatican, with a lengthy excerpt by “Fr. Paul Michaels,”

from The Tablet; NYT, “Gay Men Ponder Impact of Proposal by Vatican.”)


According to TimesOnline:

“The Roman Catholic Church is about to ban men who are even

suspected of latent homosexual tendencies from training as priests.


“Vatican sources said that the Pope will recommend mobilising all

the resources of modern psychology to weed out those with homo-

sexual thoughts.”


The Guardian explains:

The proposed move, a clear shift away from earlier church policy

of condemning homosexual acts but not homosexual orientation,

is being seen as another example of the hardline approach of the

deeply conservative new Pope, Benedict XVI.

“JeevesG”  Although I wish they’d keep the updated Jeeves search engine icon, 

I have no idea whether that newly-purchased enterprise needs a fresher and

more expansive image to compete with Google and Yahoo!. 


On the other hand, I’m almost certain that a ban on gay priests will greatly

hurt the Church’s image and its institutional soul.  It will both worsen the drastic

shortage of priests and greatly burden gay men who have been serving their

Church faithfully and are now being told they really should never have been

ordained.  (It has been estimated that between 20 and 30 pecent of American

priests are gay.)  Branding all persons with a homosexual preference as unsuitable

for the priesthood is both unjust and unholy.  I urge you to read the Tablet

column mentioned above, which was written by a celibate, homosexual priest

with an active ministry in the United States.


Just as Martin Grace recently wondered whether the American Catholic   “JeevesN”

Church is getting good advice from its lawyers, I have to wonder whether the

Vatican is getting good advice from the Divine Counselor, who is purportedly

the source of the Church’s “Truth.”  More accurately, I wonder whether any

one in the Vatican still has the ear of the Holy Spirit and whether they really

listen to the Divine message of love and compassion.

maleSym femaleSym  At my Jesuit high school some forty years

ago, the principal (a male priest) ran off with the female head of

our Parent-Teacher Association.  Do you think we should check

out seminarians for heterosexual tendencies?   What the Church

apparently needs is a whole lot of good eunuchs. 

Meanwhile, Old Jeeves might have to look elsewhere for new employment.  

Don’t Ask.  Don’t tell.  And watch those bad thoughts!


[Tom Toles “explains” it all in this editorial cartoon (Wash. Post., Sept. 23, 2005)]



he stows his fan
behind his neck…
little priest


quite remarkable
being born human…
autumn dusk



       translated by David G. Lanoue                                                                             

                                                                                                       “JeevesLogo” don’t tell! 




no intro needed: hotham & ness

Filed under: pre-06-2006 — David Giacalone @ 4:33 pm

sun blocked by clouds
mile after mile
in silence



mourning –
a piece of birchbark



leaves flying




Landing on the lintel

a pigeon and its shadow

become one



sun blocked by cloudsThe Heron’s Nest  (Jan. 2002)

mourning — ”  The Heron’s Nest  (Nov. 2002)

“landing on the lintel” – the haiku sequence “A Flutter of Wings” (2003)



under us —
water that roared
in the waterfall 







on every step
dead cicadas —
a day’s list of things to do






home early –

your empty coathanger

in the closet


under us” & “on every stepThe Heron’s Nest (Sept. 2005) 




  • by dagosan                                               


big hurricane  –

holding my breath


                          [Sept. 23, 2005]


tiny check  George Wallace has been away from his Forest and his webDEsk

for two whole weeks now.  Would someone please tell him that

preparing for and handling a trial is not a good enough excuse —

even in California.


tiny check  What can a harried airline passenger say to a TSA agent?  Not  “oilcanHFs”

much, according to the 6th Circuit in Rendon v. TSA.  Over at

Crime & Federalism, hoping for an en banc, Mike Cernovich offers

to do all the grunt work (drafting of pleadings) for any lawyer

willing and able to handle the oral argument pro bono.  Also,

check out First Amendment at the Airport? at Appellate Law &



trivializing economics (Tabarrok and Helland)

Filed under: pre-06-2006 — David Giacalone @ 12:59 pm

Today’s ABA Journal eReport spotlights the recently-released study

Two Cheers for Contingent Fees (AEI, Aug. 2005), written by economic

professors Alexander Tabarrok and Eric Helland (eReport, by G.M.

2005). Today’s article quotes GMU’s Tabarrok defending the Study from

the critiques of Walter Olson (of the Manhattan Institute and Point of Law),

Cardozo Law Professor Lester Brickman, and myself.   


In our prior post, “fees of the assumption” (Aug. 26, 2005), I outlined my basic

problem with the T&H study: it’s based on two major premises that are belied

by the facts.  Frist, T&H posit that contingency fee arrangements are “efficient”

because — well — contracting is efficient.  My retort:

scales rich poor neg  This assumption of efficiency has no basis in fact when

applied to the contingency fee arrangement between lawyer and client.  

In the vast majority of cases, the lawyer presents the client with a contract

that reflects the standard or “prevailing” fee in their locality; the client 

has no idea that he or she has the right to negotiate the percentage

level, and has no information that would allow for intelligent bargaining

e.g., the likelihood of success, how much work is involved, or how

much the award is likely to be. [see our post “it’s not unusual (to

charge one-third)”]

Similarly, T&H assume as a matter of economic faith that p/i lawyers faced with

a cap on contingency fees would merely start charging by the hour and would

not lose income.  As Olson and Brickman argue, there is no empirical evidence

supporting that claim and plenty of reasons to believe the switch to hourly fees

would never happen (including the historical fact that the lack of client funds were

the reason contingency arrangements arose and were allowed in the first place,

and the failure of p/i lawyers to offer hourly fee arrangements now to every client as

an alternative, even though ABA Formal Ethics Opinion 94-389 mandated over a

decade ago that they do exactly that.)


What is Tabarrok’s reply?  He told the author of the eReport article that T&H’s  trashman small flip

assumption is “trivial economics” and that “no economist would disagree with it.” 

In other words “economic theory tells us this would happen or does happen” and

therefore we can base our conclusion on that assumption.   I think Tabarrok is

trivializing economics by touting theory over reality — and even worse, by positing

simplistic theory that fails to take into account marketplace dynamics in a particular

and peculiar industry.   Only fervent acolytes of T&H’s brand of economics will bow

down to their pronouncements and conclusions and accept them as the basis for

policymaking decisions.  The rest of the us will conclude that economics has about

as much to with shaping public debate on topics such as tort reform and fee caps

as does theology.


Theories are guides; when they become blindfolds accepted on blind faith, they

rarely lead us to a useful destination. 


taking up

the holy man’s chant. . .

croaking frogs


       translated by David G. Lanoue  



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