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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).

Friday, November 30, 2007

Upcoming Shows

12/01 - Hayes Carll at McGonigel's Mucky Duck
12/01 - Billy Joe Shaver at the Firehouse Saloon
12/01 - The Ginn Sisters at Dosey Doe Coffee House (Woodlands)
12/04 - Noise for Toys Benefit Concert at the Mucky Duck
12/06 - Bruce Robison and Kelly Willis at the Mucky Duck
12/06 - John Egan at Mojo Risin'
12/07 - The Gougers at the Mucky Duck
12/07 - Romi Mayes and Gurf Morlix at the Old Quarter (Galveston)
12/07 - Houston Marchman at Anderson Fair
12/08 - Radney Foster at the Mucky Duck
12/08 - Eric Taylor at Millbend Coffee House (Woodlands)
12/08 - The Belleville Outfit at Anderson Fair
12/11 - Bruce Robison and Kelly Willis at the Mucky Duck
12/13 - Bleu Edmondson at Big Texas (Spring)
12/14 - Robert Earl Keen with Bonnie Bishop at Verizon Theater
12/14 - Tish Hinojosa at Dosey Doe (Woodlands)
12/14 - Dana Cooper at the Old Quarter (Galveston)
12/14 - Gary P. Nunn at Blanco's
12/15 - Sean Reefer at the Old Quarter (Galveston)
12/19 - Brennen Leigh at the Continental Club
12/20 - Songwriter Showcase at Verizon Theater
12/20 - Band of Heathens at the Mucky Duck
12/20 - Clay Farmer at Blanco's
12/22 - Corey Morrow at the Firehouse Saloon
12/26 - Hayes Carll at the Continental Club
12/27 - Clandestine at the Mucky Duck
12/28 - Joe Ely and Randy Weeks at Verizon Theater
12/28 - Stoney Larue at the Firehouse Saloon
12/28 - Sisters Morales at the Mucky Duck
12/28 - Dale Watson at Blanco's
12/29 - Jesse Dayton/Johnny Bush at the Continental Club
12/30 - Shake Russell at the Corner Pub (Conroe)
12/31 - Shake Russell at Anderson Fair
12/31 - Jimmy Lafave at the Mucky Duck


Thursday, November 29, 2007

Randy Weeks

"Randy Weeks is the number one most underrated songwriter in this country."

Randy Weeks
still rocks.

I saw Randy perform again Tuesday night at the Mucky Duck.

Randy was once again backed by a great lineup featuring Eric Danheim on lead guitar and Jack Saunders on bass.

Randy and the band played a great show featuring songs from all three of his cds as well as a new song thrown in for good measure.

The only disappointments were a less than ideal sound mix during the opening set and a fairly small audience turnout.

The fact that this show was not sold out was almost criminal. I did notice, however, that a number of the people who did show up included some important local and regional musicians. : )

Randy will be returning to Houston next month on the 28th to open for Joe Ely at the Verizon Theater. Now that will be a show that should not be missed!


Scruggs Indicted

Mississippi attorney Richard "Dickie" Scruggs has been indicted on bribery charges.

This article from the Clarion-Ledger has the details.

The indictment can be found here (h/t to the Insurance Coverage Law Blog .


Tuesday, November 27, 2007

Breaking News: FBI Raids Scruggs Office in Mississippi

From the Mississippi Sun Herald:

FBI issues warrant on Scruggs' office

-- The FBI in Jackson has been searching the Scruggs Law Firm on The Square since 10:30 this morning for a specific document that is "ancillary" to Hurricane Katrina insurance litigation, attorney Joey Langston said this afternoon.

The FBI confirmed this morning that a search warrant had been executed at the law firm headed by high-profile attorney Richard "Dickie" Scruggs, who successfully sued Big Tobacco and has represented hundreds of policyholders suing insurance companies over Katrina damage.
FBI agents were barring all but employees from the office Tuesday during the ongoing search.

"It is a search warrant for a thing, a document," Langston said. "I don't think anyone has made an allegation that the Scruggs Law Firm has done anything improper or illegal. I think that the federal authorities will probably learn when they complete their investigation that whatever the allegation of wrongdoing is that the Scruggses were not involved in any wrongdoing."

Langston would not provide any further information about the document the FBI was seeking, other that it involves one case.

FBI media coordinator Deborah Madden said only that the warrant was issued "in furtherance of an ongoing investigation," but would not comment further.

Langston said the search warrant was served on the law firm, not on Scruggs or his son, Zach Scruggs, also an attorney with the firm. He said the warrant was unnecessary because the Scruggses would have cooperated with any request for records from the federal government.

A search warrant must be based on evidence, but Langston said the sworn statement used to gain the warrant in this case is under seal, so nobody from the Scruggs Firm knows who made allegations or what they were specifically.

"This is a surprise to everybody connected to the Scruggs Firm," Langston said, "but I've got to tell you people who are very high profile and very successful have to contend with unpleasantries and this is unpleasant, but we'll contend with it."

He also said: "We just are hesitant to try to be more specific about it with the public or the media until we know more ourselves. We think we'll learn that the information on which the federal authorities have acted will turn out not to be legitimate."

Langston did say the document sought is unrelated to an ongoing legal battle in Alabama over State Farm records Scruggs obtained from two whistle-blowers who adjusted Katrina claims for the company. State Farm has claimed the whistle-blowers pilfered records pertaining to Scruggs clients, then left to work for his firm.

The search also is unrelated to a lawsuit State Farm has filed in federal court in Jackson to stop a criminal investigation by Attorney General Jim Hood. The federal government has a separate, ongoing investigation of State Farm. The insurer has denied any wrongdoing.


Wednesday, November 21, 2007

"Glory to God for all Things": The Akathist of Thanksgiving

Ikos 1

I was born a weak, defenceless child, but Thine angel spread his wings over my cradle to defend me. From birth until now Thy love has illumined my path, and has wondrously guided me towards the light of eternity; from birth until now the generous gifts of Thy providence have been marvelously showered upon me. I give Thee thanks, with all who have come to know Thee, who call upon Thy name.

Glory to Thee for calling me into being
Glory to Thee, showing me the beauty of the universe
Glory to Thee, spreading out before me heaven and earth like the pages in a book of eternal wisdom
Glory to Thee for Thine eternity in this fleeting world
Glory to Thee for Thy mercies, seen and unseen
Glory to Thee through every sigh of my sorrow
Glory to Thee for every step of my life's journey
For every moment of glory
Glory to Thee, O God, from age to age

is the full text of this beautiful Akathist.


Tuesday, November 20, 2007


Photo Source

I recently viewed the Russian film OCTPOB ("The Island"). The official Russian language website for the film can be found here. The Internet Movie Database page in English can be found here. The film is directed by Pavel Lungin.

I was struck by how well this film depicts the main character, Father Anatoly, in his role as a Fool-for-Christ.

Father Anatoly is often depicted as being harsh, rude and teasing in his interactions with others. He is believed to be a starets (or Elder) by many people who flock to him for guidance despite his seemingly "unsaintly" behaviour.

He is ultimately revealed as a great man of God even though he does not always attend the church services with the other monks and is disruptive when he does attend. He also plays pranks on the brethren.

There were several other themes in this film that I found of interest including:

Father Anatoly's podvig of severe physical asceticism

the coal-house as a symbol of hell

the relationship between Father Job and Father Anatoly and how it is ultimately transformed

how people are often ungrateful even after miracles have been worked in their lives

how people get caught in the spiritual traps of their worldly possessions

Father Anatoly's moments of doubt and uncertainty as to why he has been chosen by God

Father Anatoly's personal knowledge of the demon that has possessed the young widow

the symbolic similarities of Father Anatoly's death and burial with the Baptismal service

A DVD of this film that comes with English subtitles can be found here.


Tangled Tale

This article from the Hartford Courant offers some more details on the Hoeffner case.


Tuesday, November 13, 2007

Relic of Saint John Chrysostom in Cyprus

Thousands of pilgrims in Cyprus have stood in line for hours to venerate a relic of Saint John Chrysostom.

The relic was brought to the island from Mount Athos.

Two miraculous healings are also believed to have occurred through the relic's veneration.

Read the full story here.

More information on Saint John Chrysostom can be found here.


The Real Victim?

This article from the Houston Chronicle offers more details into the growing soap-opera that is this case.

Hoeffner's Cross-Claim can be found here (h/t WSJ Law Blog).


Monday, November 12, 2007

Vioxx Settlement

The Vioxx settlement agreement can be found here. (h/t to the Mass Tort Litigation Blog).

More information on the Vioxx settlement can be found at this official site.


Friday, November 09, 2007

Breaking News: Merck Settles Vioxx Cases


Merck to pay $4.85 billion over Vioxx suits
Drug firm will settle thousands of claims drug fatal, or injured users
The Associated Press
updated 8:38 a.m. CT, Fri., Nov. 9, 2007

TRENTON, N.J. - Merck & Co. said Friday it will pay $4.85 billion to end thousands of lawsuits over its painkiller Vioxx in what is believed to be the largest drug settlement ever.

The deal becomes binding only if 85 percent of all plaintiffs in about 26,600 lawsuits agree to drop their cases. It was finalized in the early morning hours after attorneys for Merck and the plaintiffs met with three of the four judges overseeing nearly all Vioxx claims.

Merck faced personal injury lawsuits representing 47,000 plaintiffs, and about 265 potential class action cases, filed by people or family members who claimed the drug proved fatal or injured its users. The agreement covers cases filed in both federal and state courts.

Negotiating teams met more than 50 times in eight states and spoke hundreds of times over the telephone to hammer out the deal, according to attorneys.

“I’m very happy with it,” Chris Seeger, one of the six plaintiff lawyers who helped negotiate the settlement, said Friday. “It’s a tremendous way to resolve this litigation.”

Merck pulled Vioxx from the market Sept. 30, 2004 after its own research determined the then-blockbuster painkiller doubled risk of heart attacks and strokes.

Seeger said the deal was put in motion last December when three key judges pushed the parties to open out-of-court talks.

“Every claimant is going to be compensated” once their claim is validated, he said.

Seeger believes it is the largest settlement ever in the industry and said he will recommend that his 2,000 clients accept the deal.

Merck could put the uncertainty of millions of dollars in possible settlements that have plagued the pharmaceutical company behind it, though it has been fairly successful fighting cases individually, winning 10 of 15 court verdicts to date.

Analysts predicted early on that liability could reach $50 billion, but after losing its first case in a $253 million verdict, Merck has won a string of civil cases in numerous states.

The company said last month it had added $70 million to its reserves for defending lawsuits over the blockbuster painkiller that it pulled from the market three years ago. As of Sept. 30, Merck had reserved a total of $1.92 billion for legal expenses and spent a total of $1.2 billion.

Payments would vary, depending on severity of injuries and the length of time that Vioxx was used.

Attorneys for both sides were to present the deal Friday morning to U.S. District Judge Eldon E. Fallon in New Orleans.


Thursday, November 08, 2007

Where in the World is Dr. Harron?

This article from the New York Times discusses the (currently unknown) whereabouts of Dr. Ray Harron.

Dr. Harron is one of the physicians whose diagnoses of asbestosis and silicosis have come under scrutiny in recent years in ongoing investigations into asbestos and silica litigation.

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Wednesday, November 07, 2007


These guys
are good...real good.

I caught them in concert over at Anderson Fair last Saturday night.

You have to be impressed with any band that opens their show by pouring out a sip and offering a toast to the late great Townes Van Zandt (who used to grace the very same stage in years past).

The guys played a great concert to a very appreciative audience. They played several great songs mixing covers (including songs by Muddy Waters, Townes and Blind Boy Fuller) as well as many of their own soulful original compositions.

You can check out some of their music here.


Monday, November 05, 2007

2 Kool 2 Be 4-Gotten

Photo Source

It appears that Cactus Music is coming back to Houston!

Details here.

(With apologies to Lucinda)


Friday, November 02, 2007

Red Elvises

Photo Source

My favorite band!

The Red Elvises returned to Houston to perform at the Mucky Duck on Halloween night.

What a great show!

It featured the ultra-high-energy performance one would expect from this band as well as the added bonus of several audience members dressed in costume!

The only drawback was the confusion surrounding the show's start time. It seems most people thought the show was starting at 8pm but it actually did not start until 9pm. It was just as well, however, since it allowed me to hear a little of Patrice Pike's music as part of her new Wednesday night "artist-in-residence" gig at the Duck. It also gave me time to sample some of this year's vintage of Saint Arnold's Christmas ale and to visit with my friends before the show.

As for the show itself, the Red Elvises played two generous sets featuring a number of their best known songs including: "I Wanna See You Bellydance", "Closet Disco Dancer", "Gypsy Heart", "Love Rocket", "Rocketman", "Harriett", "Sad Cowboy Song", "My Love is Killing Me" and "Ticket to Japan" among many others.

I would recommend this cd for anyone contemplating buying one of their recordings.

I defy anyone to go to a Red Elvises concert and NOT have a good time!