Thursday, August 04, 2005

Crohn's disease and the Agricultural Adjustment Act

This report on research for Crohn's disease and ulcerative colitis says: "Researchers investigating anecdotal evidence that cannabis relieves some of the symptoms of inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) have discovered a potential new target for cannabis-derived drugs for treatment of the disease."

Earlier this year in the Raich case, the Supreme Court shot down the authority of the states to allow the medical use of marijuana, citing Wickard v. Filburn.

Check out the Virginian

Virginian is a new (or renewed) blog by a sometime reader of this blog, and I've been intrigued by almost every single post.

Apparently, the name has nothing to do with the restaurant you can see in this photo, a place where I've been once or twice.

Wednesday, August 03, 2005

Come to Abingdon and Bristoll

Salt Lick says come to Abingdon for the Barter Theatre, and we have reserved tickets for a show there later this week.

Going on right now, and every year in the first two weeks of August, is the Virginia Highlands Festival. So, there's a crowd, but it's good. I go several times, every year, among other things to see the Cheesesteak and Gyros Lady. (She should have a chain of restaurants selling nothing but cheesesteaks, gyros, lemonade, and strawberry smoothies. Instead, she has one that moves, and it comes to town twice a year.)

Soon after the Festival is Race Week down here at Bristol at BMS, about which I just received this press release, which says that "Bristol Motor Speedway and Bristol, Tennessee have been named in this week’s issue of The Sporting News annual 'Best Sports City' issue as the best in NASCAR," just like Green Bay in the NFL and St. Louis in Major League Baseball.

So - the Barter, the Highlands festival, the Bristol race - why not go for all three? Except this year there's some blog meeting in Charlottesville on the day of the Bristol race, I don't know what John Behan was thinking.

Then in September - Bristol has the Rhythm and Roots event.

The Roanoke Times is headed down the Crooked Road towards Bristol, but as of today has only made it to Grayson County.

What to do when the prisoner-plaintiff changes religions, perhaps to get better food

In Hawkins v. Mills, Magistrate Judge Urbanski made his recommendations about an interesting prisoner case. He concluded, as an initial matter, that the outcome of prior claims brought under 42 U.S.C. § 1983 did not estop the plaintiff from the assertion of his current claims, because in the first place, the discussion of the merits by Judge Quillen was unnecessary once he had determined correctly that the only defendant in the first case, the Commonwealth, was immune. Second, the plaintiff had switched religions shortly before filing the first case, but had taken subsequently some additional steps to join the faithful, so to speak, suggesting the possibility that if he was not sufficiently committed previously, the changed circumstances might justify a different outcome now.

On the merits, Magistrate Judge Urbanski explained:

"RLUIPA defines religious exercise as 'any exercise of religion, whether or not compelled by, or central to, a system of religious belief.” 42 U.S.C. 2000cc-5(7)(A). Thus, 'the truth of a belief is not open to question, rather, the question is whether the objector’s beliefs are truly held.' Cutter v. Wilkinson, 125 S. Ct. 2113, 2124, n.13 (2005) (internal citation omitted). The question then becomes whether plaintiff’s beliefs are sincerely held. See Dehart v. Horn, 227 F.3d 47, 51 (3d Cir. 2000) (en banc) (stating that a court must determine as a threshold matter whether an inmate’s belief is 'sincerely held' and 'religious in nature'). The relevant case law in the free exercise area suggests that two threshold requirements must be met before particular beliefs are accorded first amendment protection. A court must decide whether the beliefs avowed are (1) sincerely held; and (2) religious in nature, in the claimant's scheme of things. See United States v. Seeger, 380 U.S. 163, 185 (1965); Ephraim v. Angelone, 313 F. Supp. 2d 569, 578 (E.D. Va. 2003). The Supreme Court has emphasized that 'while the 'truth' of a belief is not open to question, there remains the significant question of whether it is 'truly held.'"

The defendant questioned the sincerity of the plaintiff's beliefs, with the idea that he had changed to Islam because the last religion he had claimed would not get him his preferred diet, and because he was not observing the common practices of Islam. Judge Urbanski concluded "CCS's method of determination here – forcing plaintiff to demonstrate that he has adhered to the key tenets of his faith for a moderate period of time – is reasonable." He also concluded that in the alternative, the defendant should be entitled to qualified immunity.

Tuesday, August 02, 2005

Former Gate City mayor indicted, but not anyone from the registrar's office

The Roanoke paper reports here on the indictment of the former mayor of Gate City on multiple counts of election fraud.

The article says:

"Willie Mae Kilgore has been accused in a separate lawsuit of running the registrar's office in a partisan way, and her role in the 2004 Gate City elections was cited recently when she was asked to resign by the candidate running against her other twin son, Del. Terry Kilgore, R-Scott County.

Yet Joel Branscom, the Botetourt County commonwealth's attorney who was appointed special prosecutor in the case, said the investigation to date has found evidence to support charges only against Dougherty.

Branscom noted that the probe is ongoing."

Monday, August 01, 2005

Hunting the Federalists

I was amused by the article in today's NY Times, Debating the Subtle Sway of the Federalist Society.

Myself, I am not now, and have never been, a member of the Federalist Society, but I have read some of the subversive material available on their website.

Palmeiro first big fish caught in the steroid net

I am bummed that Rafael Palmeiro of the Rangers, Cubs, and now the Orioles has been suspended having tested positive for steroids, as reported here on

The return of The Mint Julep

It says here that a new version of The Mint Julep will soon be released, with a new foreward by Professor George Garrett. The article says: "Written by the late Richard Barksdale Harwell, the 95-page volume provides a foray into the ceremonial, traditional and regional history of the Old South's favorite drink."

Sunday, July 31, 2005

Indigent Defense Commission head gets blamed for missed deadlines by public defenders?

AG candidate Bob McDonnell was interviewed for this story in the Leesburg paper about the resignation of the executive director of the Indigent Defense Commission, Richard Goemann.

The article concludes:

"Goemann, who was making $132,211 a year and is a former public defender, commanded the 25 public defender offices and more than 1,000 court-appointed attorneys, and controlled the commission's $31 million budget. Some of the criticism aimed at him by commission members was that he did not spend enough money on the attorneys of the system--the overwhelmed public defenders, some who handle twice as many cases as the average, private attorney. The large workload led to public defenders botching appeals on default because they couldn't meet filing deadlines. The Leesburg public defender's office mishandled at least eight appeals cases in a two-year period. These failures prompted the General Assembly to pass a law that last year that protected a defendant's appeal rights if his indigent defense attorney missed a filing deadline."

It seems like the newspaper is stretching the point a bit to suggest a connection between missed appeal deadlines and the fiscal management by Mr. Goemann.

What's the statute of limitations on goofiness?

Bob Gibson points out here that the timing of the Republican Party of Virginia's lawsuit against its insurer is absurd.

Was the RPV facing a statute of limitations problem? Probably not, on a written contract of insurance - the time to sue is probably five years. I thought that the point of the settlement, in such amount at such point in time, was to get the case out of the news - since I never understood the damage claim. What else made the case worth $750,000? No one was maimed, no profits were lost, nobody on the plaintiffs' side lost a job.

U.Va. law's Prof. Harrison on Roberts

In this commentary, Professor John Harrison endorses the nomination of Judge Roberts to the U.S. Supreme Court.

The news coverage regarding Judge Roberts is really boring, and that's a good thing.

100 days for cussing out the judge

The Kingsport paper has this story about a defendant in General Sessions court who earned extra jail time by cursing the judge, giving the finger to the judge, threatening the judge, and so on. Evidently, the judge summarily sentenced the defendant ten times to ten days, spinning out the numbers in the manner of auctioneer, or so claimed the author of the newspaper story.

Ah, a centrist

Reading today's Bristol paper, I learned from the local print version of this AP story that Senator Feinstein from San Francisco (whose interest group ratings are shown here and whose biography in the dKosopedia is here) is "a centrist." I didn't know.

Why I won't be hired by the Bush administration

This commentary suggests that President Bush picked Judge Roberts because of his physical fitness.

By way of contrast, the author refers to President Clinton as "a cheesy marching band geek if ever there was one."

Are fewer pages better?

This post asks the question, is a shorter document with a smaller font better than a longer document with a larger font? The winner is: a shorter document with a larger font.