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reports and thoughts on legal issues, music, Orthodox Christianity and/or whatever else strikes my interest

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Location: Houston, Texas, United States

My name is David Stone. I live in Houston, Texas. I am a 30-something single white male. I am an Orthodox Christian and am a member of an English-language parish of the Russian Orthodox Church Outside of Russia (ROCOR).

Tuesday, January 31, 2006


Ancient Faith Radio has updated their webpage so that you can now buy the cd's of the Orthodox Liturgical Music played on the site.

You can check out this new feature here.

Orthodoxy in England

Here is an interesting post from the classical music blog On an Overgrown Path on Saint Seraphim of Sarov Orthodox Church in Walsingham, England.

Blogging the Enron Trial

Here are some links to blogs that are covering the trial of Ken Lay and Jeff Skilling:






Monday, January 30, 2006

The Smartest Guys in the Courtroom (sic)

Well it was a real media-circus at the Federal Courthouse across the street from my building today as the main Enron related trial finally got underway. I think I saw Geraldo Rivera standing in line at Whataburger today at lunch. Just kidding...

I won't be posting much on this trial, for personal reasons, but I will try to post some links to some sites with useful information.

On that note here are some helpful links:

The Court's website for the proceedings can be found here.

Enron/Prisma Energy's site is here.

The government's indictment can be read here.

More documents related to the proceedings can be found here.

Information on Defense Counsel can be found here and here.

You can also heck out the documentary The Smartest Guys in the Room which should be available most everywhere now on DVD.

Wednesday, January 25, 2006

Remember Rita

From today's edition of the Houston Chronicle:

Jan. 25, 2006, 8:04AM

Many in Louisiana and Texas lament Hurricane Rita 'amnesia'


Associated Press

LAKE CHARLES, La. -- A steady procession of congressmen and U.S. senators have visited the Gulf Coast this month, inspecting Hurricane Katrina damage. But they didn't show up here, one of the places devastated by Hurricane Rita, Louisiana's "other" storm.

Four months after Rita caused $4.7 billion in damage, people in southwest Louisiana and southeast Texas say they're concerned the storm has been erased from the country's memory, overshadowed by Katrina's assault on New Orleans. While New Orleanians fret about "Katrina fatigue," people here say they've been victims of "Rita amnesia."

"We don't want anyone to lose sight of the things that have happened to coastal Louisiana because of Rita," said Randy Roach, the mayor of Lake Charles.

Rita hit Sept. 24, one month after Katrina, along the Texas-Louisiana line. Its 120 mph winds and 9-foot storm surge flattened the Louisiana coastal towns of Holly Beach and Cameron, and caused extensive damage further inland, in Lake Charles and Port Arthur, Texas. About 100 died in Texas, including 23 elderly people whose bus exploded during an evacuation.

Like Katrina, Rita was a Category 3 storm that received a lot of attention at the time. Amid fears of Katrina-like chaos, the media zoomed in on the massive traffic jams as people in Houston and southwest Louisiana evacuated northward as the storm approached.

Soon, the country's attention shifted back to New Orleans and Katrina.

"After four or five days of national news coverage, this was not a huge news story anymore," said Guy Goodson, Beaumont's mayor. "We did kind of fell off the radar, and that's a little disarming."

Roach said Katrina has overshadowed Rita for good reason. Katrina wrecked a major U.S. city, killed over 1,300 people and led to widespread looting, plus a bitter political spat between the Republican White House and Democratic Louisiana Gov. Kathleen Blanco.

But Rita caused destruction very similar to what happened to New Orleans and coastal Mississippi.

Lake Charles, home to 72,000 people, has never had much in common with big city New Orleans. Now, the cities share a landscape of ruined refrigerators and wrecked roofs patched with blue tarps. Port Arthur and Beaumont, Texas, look much the same, Goodson said.

A dusk-to-dawn curfew remains in effect in Cameron, a town of 2,000. Electricity and water service are back, but most homes were washed away or are uninhabitable because of flood damage. People are allowed to move onto their properties if they can; however, the Federal Emergency Management Agency won't provide them with mobile homes until the sewage system is fixed. So few people have moved home.

A bleak drive around Cameron is brightened only by the sight of the occasional house that more or less survived. Rebuilding those homes is made more difficult because Rita destroyed the town's retailers — no place to buy nails, hammers, gasoline, food or drink.

Southwest Louisiana parishes face the same problems as New Orleans, but on a much smaller scale: How to get rid of tons of debris, how to bring evacuated residents back home, how to stop the false rumors that the government will force them to sell their land or bulldoze indiscriminately.
Not all residents are concerned if the rest of the country has forgotten what Rita did to southwest Louisiana.

"We're not complaining about any of that," said Howard Romero, a retired high school principal whose home in coastal Johnson Bayou was swept away by floodwaters.

"But you hear mt spilled milk. We know it's destroyed, it's tore up. We're going to have to rebuild, and that's that we're doing."

But elected officials said Rita amnesia has concrete consequences — the amount of federal relief the area receives.

Congress passed tax relief provisions and other benefits for areas affected by Katrina, but at least six — including debt cancellations, tax credits and tax breaks for those who took in people made homeless by the storms — were not extended to people affected by Rita.

Roach said it can be a delicate matter to make the case for federal assistance for those affected by Rita when so much death and destruction was caused by Katrina, whose victims are also clamoring for help.

"We really don't want to put ourselves in competition with Katrina. I don't think that's appropriate at all," Roach said. "At the same time, we don't want to be overlooked. We just want to make sure our story doesn't get lost."

Tuesday, January 24, 2006

Alito on AC&S and Asbestos

This article details the U.S. Third Circuit Court of Appeals recent decision which voided an earlier arbitration ruling involving a dispute between AC&S and one of their insurance carriers regarding the amount of its liability for asbestos-related lawsuits.

The opinion for the Court was written by Judge Samuel Alito whose nomination for the U.S. Supreme Court was approved today by the U.S. Senate Judiciary Committee.

Monday, January 23, 2006

St. Theophan the Recluse

Today the Russian Orthodox Church commemorates Saint Theophan the Recluse.

A number of Saint Theophan's writings have been translated into English in recent years. You can find out more about his writings here.

Sunday, January 22, 2006

Tavener on the Radio

The other day at work I was listening to KUHF, Houston's Classical Music/NPR radio station. They don't normally play a lot of a cappella choral music during the day but that day someone put on one of my favorite pieces by the British composer John Tavener.

The piece they played was his "Song for Athene" which gained a worldwide audience when it was performed at the Funeral Service for Princess Diana. The piece was actually not written for Princess Diana and was an earlier work of Tavener's composed after the death of a family friend.

The performance the played was from my favorite recording of the work. It is a difficult cd to find at least on this side of the pond. The details are here. The famous live recording of the piece can be found here.

Second Texas Vioxx Trial

Here is an article from Foxnews.com on the second Texas Vioxx trial which is scheduled to begin this week.

The case will deal with whether Vioxx caused the death of a man who had taken a one week supply of Vioxx about a month prior to his death from a heart attack.

The trial will be held in Starr County, Texas which is near Corpus Christie in South Texas. This is often considered an extremely plaintiffs-friendly region with juries often awarding large amounts of damages to plaintiffs.

For more details on this case see this article from law.com.

Saturday, January 21, 2006

Icon Exhibit

My parish, St. Jonah of Manchuria Orthodox Church, will be hosting an exhibit of Russian Orthodox icons next month. The icons will date from the 18th and 19th centuries. For more information on the exhibit check out this page.

Last year was the first time we held the exhibit and it was a huge success. You can check out some pictures from the exhibit here. And yes the goofy looking guy in the bookstore photo is yours truly.

: )

Shake Russell at the Mucky Duck

Last night I was able to hear Shake Russell in concert at the Mucky Duck. I had gone to his last show at the Duck back in December. That was the first time I had ever heard him perform and his show blew me away.

It must have had the same effect on everyone else because last night's show was standing room only. They were standing two and three deep at the bar at times. Luckily I got one of the last seats at the bar.

As an added surprise Shake had his friend Michael Hearne, from Taos, New Mexico open the show with an extended set. This was the first time I had ever heard of Michael and his music also blew me away. You can check out some of his music here. Michael even sang "White Freightliner Blues" one of my all time favorite songs by the late great Townes Van Zandt. For more on Townes check out this page.

After the great opening set by Michael, Shake and his band took the stage. The concert that night was actually a cd release party for his newest effort Love is Why. The cd was literally released that afternoon and offered for sale for the first time at the show. It is a great cd and you can order it through Shake's webpage here.

Shake and his band put on a great show of over three hours. They performed several songs from the new cd along with several of his older classics. The place was packed with both long time fans and new listeners. As always Shake and his band were gracious enough to hang around after the show to sign cds and visit with the audience.

I'll definitely be looking forward to his next appearances in Houston. His shows are always great fun so you shouldn't miss them. You can check out his touring schedule here.

Friday, January 20, 2006

Asbestos Bill vote expected soon

This article from Reuters reports that S. 852, the FAIR Act of 2005 Asbestos Bill, will be brought up for a floor vote in the Senate soon.

The article states that a vote could come as early as the week of February 6, 2006.

The article relates that sources are reporting that Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist told Senate Minority Leader Harry Reid that he has enough votes to bring the bill to the floor.

Thursday, January 19, 2006

From the Fathers

"The whole tradition of the Orthodox Church consists in healing and bringing to life the soul which is dead from sin. All the sacraments and the whole ascetic life of the Church contribute to this healing. Anyone who is not aware of this fact is unable to sense the atmosphere of the Orthodox Tradition."

Metropolitan Hierotheos of Nafpaktos


Tuesday, January 17, 2006


photo from www.therogues.com

Not much of a trip actually...just a short drive down to the Mucky Duck this weekend to catch the Celtic-band The Rogues.

I had been intrigued about hearing these guys for awhile. The Rogues are one of Houston area piper E.J. Jones many projects. He can often be found at the Weds. night Irish Sessions at the Mucky Duck.

There had also been some hype about this show in the local press.

Suffice it to say the show was wildly entertaining. Now I understand why they have such loyal and vocal fans.

Who would have thought that a band comprising 2 bagpipers and 2 percussionists would be such a hit.

Anyway you can check out some of there music here. Once you are hooked you can buy their recordings here. There is even a dvd available of a prior performance at the Duck.

Class Action Lawsuit Kickback Scheme Alleged

Here is an article from the New York Sun regarding a man who has been charged with accepting illegal payments in exchange for serving as a plaintiff in over a dozen class-action lawsuits.

The lawsuits involved are all class-action securities lawsuits. Also charged was the man's personal attorney.

The man has been charged with receiving more than $44 million in exchange for being a named plaintiff in the lawsuits! In addition the man actively encouraged other members of his family to become plaintiffs in similiar lawsuits.

The article also notes that the man was payed the illegal monies through a complicated system of law firms and lawyers. The article maintains that the once mighty Milberg Weiss firm of NY seems to have been the firm behind the payments.

A criminal investigation into the NY firm has been ongoing for the past few years.

Saturday, January 14, 2006

From the Fathers

"It is always possible to make a new start by means of repentance. 'For a righteous man may fall seven times And rise again' (Prov. 24:16). And if you fall again, then rise again, without despairing at all of your salvation, no matter what happens. So long as you do not surrender yourself willingly to the enemy, your patient endurance, combined with self-reproach, will suffice for your salvation. 'For we ourselves were also once foolish, disobedient,' says St. Paul, '...not by works of righteousness which we have done, but according to His mercy He saved us' (Tit. 3:3,5)."

St. Peter of Damaskos

Thursday, January 12, 2006

Texas Music: Top Songs of 2005

Here is a link to the Texas Music Chart's special "Top Songs of 2005".

In case you did not know Shooter Jennings' "4th of July" ranked #1 and yes he is Waylon's son.

Florida State Bar sued by Asbestos Claimants

Here is an article from the Miami Herald regarding former asbestos clients of a disbarred attorney who are now suing the Florida State Bar.

There are over 4,000 former clients involved in the lawsuit.

Monday, January 09, 2006

Orthodox Site of the Week

St. Tikhon of Zadonsk Orthodox Monastery in South Canaan, Pennsylvania has a new website which can be found here.

One particularly interesting section of this excellent site deals with historical photos of the Monastery.

Coldplay on ACL Revisited

The other night KUHT, the local PBS affiliate, rebroadcast Coldplay's performance on Austin City Limits.

I was struck again at how good the concert was but also that the inclusion of Michael Stipe from REM on two songs was the highlight of the show.

Apparently some others out there thought so as well. I noticed I was getting some hits to my blog from google searches for the songs that Michael Stipe and Coldplay performed. In particular people were searching for the song "In the Sun" written by Joseph Arthur.

Well fear not...mp3's of the entire concert, including "In the Sun" performance can now be found here.

Alito Hearings

Finally...They're here!

For good comprehensive coverage on the Hearings check out C-Span's special Alito page. NPR is also offering special coverage of the Hearings here.

For blogs dealing with the Hearings check out How Appealing and the SCOTUSblog.

Friday, January 06, 2006

Nativity Services at Christ the Savior Cathedral in Moscow

For those who can read Russian (and figure out the time differences) the website of Christ the Savior Cathedral in Moscow will be offering live video broadcasts of the Holy Nativity services led by Patriarch Alexey II.

A limited English language version of the site can be found here.

A schedule of the Nativity services (in Russian) can be found here.

From the Fathers

"When the mind forgets the purpose of piety, then visible works of virtue become useless."

St. Mark the Ascetic - "Early Fathers From the Philokalia," trans. by E. Kadloubovsky and G.E.H.Palmer, (London: Faber and Faber, Ltd., 1981), pp. 86 - 90.

Thursday, January 05, 2006

Judge Jack Article

Here is an interesting article (registration may be required) from the Corpus Christi Caller Times on the Silicosis Debacle and Judge Janis Graham Jack.

Wednesday, January 04, 2006

Nativity Epistle

Here is a link to the Nativity Epistle of Metropolitan Laurus, First Hierarch of the Russian Orthodox Church Outside of Russia.

Tuesday, January 03, 2006

Fifth Time the Charm?

This article from Bloomberg details the (latest) new and improved bankruptcy reorganization plan for Owens Corning.

This is now OC's fifth try at gaining approval for a plan to pay off thousands of asbestos claims which forced the company into bankruptcy in October of 2000.

As the article points out some observers are hopeful that a solution may finally be at hand:

"This plan may be the final road map for resolving all the mega-asbestos bankruptcies being heard in Delaware...Everyone will be cheering if this gets approved.''

For more specific details on the plan see this article.

...and from a similiar story see this press release for information on the rejection of Armstrong World Industries' Reorganization Plan by the U.S. 3rd Circuit Court of Appeals.