Thursday, December 29, 2005

Virginia and the Uniform Trust Code

In Virginia and the Uniform Trust Code, the Wills, Trusts & Estates Prof Blog says:

"John E. Donaldson (Ball Professor of Law, Emeritus, College of William and Mary, Marshall-Wythe School of Law) and Robert T. Danforth (Associate Professor of Law and Alumni Faculty Fellow, Washington and Lee University School of Law) have recently published their article entitled The Virginia Uniform Trust Code, 40 U. Rich. L. Rev. 325 (2005)."

More on the lack of more money for defense of indigent criminal defendants

I agree also with this Roanoke Times editorial that says the Commonwealth should find a way to pay more for lawyers for the poor in criminal cases.

Wednesday, December 28, 2005

No more money for defending the poor

Kudos to the Norfolk paper for this editorial which says that Governor Warner should have proposed more money for lawyers for the poor in criminal cases.

Richmond beaver shot

The Times-Dispatch has this short story with many comments about how authorities at a Richmond-area botanical garden shot and killed a beaver that had been making a nuisance of his (or her) little fuzzy brown self.

From the comments:

"The beaver was a pest? I know some people who are pests, should they also be shot?"

"What happens when a citizen clubs to death an attacking alligator in the James? He gets fined. But an innocent beaver is executed for gnawing shrubs. Where's the justice?"

"It's okay as long as you make a hat from the hide and stew from the meat."

Tuesday, December 27, 2005

Does the insurer's reservation of rights letter give the insured the right to hire its own counsel at the carrier's expense?

In Twin City Fire Ins. Co. v. Ben-Arnold Sunbelt Beverage Co., the Fourth Circuit in an opinion by District Judge Devers, joined by Judge Luttig and Senior Judge Hamilton, took the interesting question of whether, upon an insurer's issuance of a reservation of rights letter, the counsel retained by the insurer for the insured has a conflict of interest, such that the insured has the right to choose its own counsel and have the insurer pay for it.

The answer, under the facts of the case and South Carolina law, is no.

On the poor Kentucky man and the surgeon from the Congo

Here, in a very interesting and provocative article, the Economist compares the lives and fortunes of a fellow on disability in Eastern Kentucky and a physician in Africa.

The man from Hazard gets $521 per month in SSI benefits. The doctor in the Congo gets about $600-700 per month.

The author explains and asks:

"Why juxtapose the lives of a poor man in a rich country and a relatively well-off man in a poor one? The exercise is useful for two reasons. First, it puts the rich world's wealth into context. A Congolese doctor, a man most other Congolese would consider wealthy, is worse off materially than most poor people in America. That, in itself, is striking.

The second purpose of the exercise is to shed light on some ticklish questions. What is the relationship between wealth and happiness? And what is the significance of relative poverty? Mr Banks makes $521 a month in a country where median male earnings are $3,400 a month. Dr Kabamba earns $600 a month in a country where most people grow their own food and hardly ever see a bank note. The two men's experiences could hardly be less similar. But which of the two would one expect to be happier?"

The author concludes:

"The point of this article is neither to mock Mr Banks nor to praise Dr Kabamba. Both have their virtues and flaws, and your correspondent cannot reliably judge which is the happier. But here are two concluding observations. First, if poor Americans were to compare their standard of living with what is normal elsewhere in the world, let alone in Congo, they would see they have little cause for discontent. Then again, were Americans not so incurably discontented with their lot, their great country would not be half as dynamic as it is."

Read the whole thing.

Monday, December 26, 2005

Brian Wills has got it wrong

Brian Wills wrote an ignorant column about the '72 Dolphins.

The idea that the old Dolphins gather for champagne has been debunked as a myth, this year if not before.

And, even when I thought it was true, I thought it was great, myself.