Happy Halloween 2006 : Cats and the Law

Happy Halloween
Our Cat Pumpkin for 2006 points to a Legally Protected Species


In ancient Egypt, cats enjoyed special protection.

In the modern world
cats are protected by special laws in many jurisdictions.

A good place to begin a study and/or appreciation of this topic
is Stephen Young’s article
The Domestic Cat and the Law: A Guide to Available Resources

For a general view of the protection of all animals by law
see The Humane Society of the United States

Readers of LawPundit : Quito Ecuador : Where is the Real Equator?

A recent LawPundit reader hailed from Quito, Ecuador.

Ecuador takes its name from the Spanish word meaning Equator, which Ecuador in fact straddles. But just where is that real equator located?

In a posting entitled “something interesting“, Mickey at the blog 3 Old Men Building Things in the Woods does a superb job of describing the factual situation, accompanied by several easily understandable cartographical maps from Google Earth .

The situation is essentially this. In the year 1736 the French (see Louis Godin, Pierre Bouguer , Charles Marie de la Condamine) measured the exact location of the Equator – something which in those days was not easy to do because the equatorial regions consist primarily of ocean, other waters, swamps and jungle. Finding “hard ground” to measure the Equator led the French to Ecuador and the region north of the city of Quito, where the point of La Mitad del Mundo (The Middle of the World) was established, where it still exists today as the Equator Line Monument, which was built 200 years later in 1936 over the old French point to commemorate its original measurement, and is today the leading tourist attraction in Ecuador .

[For our German members, this French historical measurement of the earth has been described by Daniele Jörg in Ecuador – Armes reiches Land, Stipendien-Aufenthalt in Ecuador, 25. März bis 06. Mai 2004, “Die Vermessung der Erde“.]

A geopage by Olivier Auverlau at the University of California at Berkeley provides panorama photos of the Middle of the World Monument as well as the orange line marking the Equator in Ecuador. Take a look. The photography is quite impressive.

With the arrival of satellite-driven GPS technology, scientists discovered to everyone’s surprise, however, that the 1736 French measurement was not quite accurate, being off by about 300 meters. The correct line of the Equator turned out to run straight through the middle of a nearby pre-Inca ruin, Catequilla. See photo and cartographic map marking at the blog of the 3 Old Men, who comment this development as follows:

A group in Ecuador has found all sorts of alignments with other ruins suggesting that the Ancients knew a lot more about how to find the Equator than the French scientists….

At the site of the Mexican Jaguars a detailed article is found which we definitely recommend as important background reading material:

It is an article about Catequilla written December 22, 2005 by a writer in Ecuador who discusses the AMAZING DISCOVERIES at EARTH’S EQUATOR (we include only excerpts here – be sure to read the original article):

… In 1936 … a monument was constructed near Ecuador’s capital, Quito … at the line reckoned by the 18th century French scientists to be zero degrees latitude ….

Recent findings have slightly relocated the equator…. in 1997 the seemingly insignificant ruins of a semicircular wall were discovered on top of Mount Catequilla, which lies a little to the north of Quito. Using … the Global Positioning System (GPS), investigator Cristobal Cobo discovered that one end of this wall was located precisely on the equator. (On the other hand, GPS places the famous Middle of the World monument some 1,000 feet to the south of the true equator).

[A] line connecting the two ends of the wall creates a 23.5-degree angle to the equator … almost precisely the angle at which earth’s axis is tilted…. Further, one end of the connecting line points to the rising of the sun on the solstice in December; and the other end, to the setting of the sun on the solstice in June….

As more astronomical alignments were plotted on a map, a figure began to emerge –an eight-pointed star….

The Quitsa-to Project, directed by Cobo, is amassing compelling evidence of the astronomical acumen of the early natives. (‘Quitsa-to’ comes from the language of the Tsachila Indians and means ‘Middle of the World.’ Some believe that Quito is a name derived from this term.) More than a dozen archaeological sites and many ancient towns have been found to line up perfectly along the astronomical star figure when it is superimposed over the equator with Catequilla at its center….”

The website Exploring Ecuador writes about Cristóbal Cobo, the driving force behind this research, as follows :

Cristóbal Cobo is an Ecuadorian scientist who has engaged in extensive studies about pre-Incan astronomical wisdom. His theories have already led to the discovery of several archeological sites in and around Quito, dating back to 1500 BC. Cobo holds that all the pre-Incan archeological sites in Quito and its surroundings are either in line with or parallel to the ecliptic and solstices axes running through Catequilla. He believes all these complexes are the work of the Quitus-Caras, a culture of which very little is known ….”I believe that Catequilla was the middle of the world for the Quitus-Caras, the point where their cosmological and spiritual belief systems came together.” (Geographical, September 2002).

Cobo also discovered that several colonial churches in Quito, built over antique pre Incan sites, are aligned with the sunrays of the solstices….

Cristóbal Cobo is the director of the scientific research project Quitsa-to (Quitsa-to is the original name of the city, meaning “middle of the world”). His research findings are displayed at the “Solar Culture Museum” close to the Middle of the World Monument. He may be reached at cristocobo@hotmail.com or at his cell phone 099-701-133. Contact him to learn about activities programmed for December 22nd.

This research is having its public impact. Sailariel.com writes in their sailing log book:

We spent one day in Quito adjusting to the high altitude which at 9200 feet was necessary for our sea level adapted bodies. Just outside Quito at La Mitad del Mundo (the middle of the world) where the equator passes through, we found a scientific research project exploring this past discovery using GPS…. It is now known that the monument is in fact 300 meters away from the equator but that a pre-Inca site on a nearby hill was built exactly on the equator proving this ancient civilization had more accurate calculations. In old town Quito there are a cluster of about 15 churches all built on top of ancient pre-Inca solar sites. On the solstices and equinox the sun shines in on the faces of the Christ above the altars. Much of the Indian weaving seen in the markets depict the layout of these sites in their designs.

These discoveries support work we have published in Stars Stones and Scholars.

Readers of LawPundit : Bridgetown Barbados : George Washington : British and US Jet Setters : Origins of US Declaration of Independence

Fodor’s Online calls the vacation paradise Barbados the “most British” of the Caribbean islands. Nevertheless, Barbados has significant historical ties to fundamental American history as well.

(For the scholarly minded in this regard, see the Note, Liam Seamus O’Melinn, The American Revolution and Constitutionalism in the Seventeenth-Century West Indies, Columbia Law Review, Vol. 95, No. 1 (Jan., 1995), pp. 104-159 [JSTOR], cited in a discussion of Calvin’s Case by Polly J. Price, Natural Law and Birthright Citizenship in Calvin’s Case (1608), Yale Journal of Law & the Humanities).

We were recently pleased to see that a LawPundit reader hails from Bridgetown, Barbados (Photo Gallery), the only city outside of the United States ever visited by America’s first president, George Washington. How’s that for an American connection? But wait – there are more.

Here is the flag of Barbados (linked from the US Department of State)


The history of Barbados is sometimes traced back only as far as the Arawaks, but previous inhabitants are referred to in the Wikipedia entry on Barbados:

The earliest inhabitants of Barbados were Amerindian nomads…. The first wave [of migrants] was of the Saladoid-Barrancoid group, who were farmers, fishermen, and ceramists that arrived by canoe from South America (Venezuela’s Orinoco Valley) around 350 CE. The Arawak people were the second wave of migrants, arriving from South America around 800 CE…. [T]he original name for Barbados was Ichirouganaim. In the 13th century, the Caribs arrived from South America….

However, there are mysterious rock drawings on the island which may predate that era. Indeed, new archaeological discoveries at Port St. Charles point to an earlier date. As written at the site of The Ministry of Foreign Affairs & Foreign Trade of Barbados:

The history of the early settlement of Barbados is being revised as a result of recent archaeological discoveries unearthed at the site of Port St. Charles [Port Saint Charles] in the northern parish of St. Peter. Artefacts and evidence point to settlement some time around 1623 B.C. … [emphasis added]

As concerns more modern history, Barbados was first “discovered” and named by the Portuguese Pedro a Campos in 1536 A.D.

As written at the site of The Ministry of Foreign Affairs & Foreign Trade of Barbados:

“The first English ship arrived on 14 May 1625 under the command of Captain John Powell. He claimed the island on behalf of King James I. On 17 February 1627, [brother] Captain Henry Powell landed with a party of 80 settlers and ten slaves to occupy and settle the island. That expedition arrived at what is now called Holetown, formerly Jamestown, on the west coast of the island. The colonists established a House of Assembly in 1639, at that time only the third Parliamentary Democracy in the world.

Barbados today is still a member of the British Commonwealth.


The detailed CNN article, Barbados saves home where George Washington slept, gives us some amazing facts about Barbados [also called Little England or Bimshire, as home to the British (and now also US) jet set], including the fact that several million Americans can trace some of their roots to Barbadians, or as they are informally called, Bajans.


As written by Steven Knipp in From George Washington to Tiger Woods: An Enduring Bajan-American Love Affair, it is not surprising that Barbados holds a special place in American history down to the present day.


Barbados played a significant historical role in the formation of the United States (see My Barbados Blog, Barbados Free Press, The Barbados – Carolina Connection).

Knipp writes:

Two signers of the Declaration of Independence, Richard Henry Lee and Arthur Middleton, had major business interests in Barbados, and the man who printed the world-changing document was also originally from Barbados….

It was Richard Henry Lee who:

[P]ut forth the motion to the Continental Congress to declare Independence from England. which read (in part): Resolved: That these United Colonies are, and of right ought to be, free and independent States, that they are absolved from all allegiance to the British Crown, and that all political connection between them and the State of Great Britain is, and ought to be, totally dissolved.

As Knipp tells us:

[M]any people think that the Americans were the first group ever to battle against British colonialism. But that is actually not the case. More than a century before the American Revolution, the planters of Barbados refused to support the ruthless Oliver Cromwell, and so Cromwell dispatched a fleet to crush them in 1652. Amazingly the Barbadians fought off the powerful British Navy. The Treaty of Oistins which finally settled the differences contains a clause that reads “no taxes, customs, imports or excise shall be laid, nor levy made on any of the inhabitants of this island without their consent in a General Assembly.” More than 120 years later, the exact same concept of “No Taxation Without Representation” was included in the American Declaration of Independence of 1776. In fact, about half of the Treaty of Oistins had been directly incorporated into the Declaration of Independence.

We find the matter explained as follows at Run Barbados:

Oistins Town was formerly known as Austen’s town. It was here that the Charter of Barbados was signed on 11th January, 1652 at “ye Mermaid Tavern”. This treaty brought to an end, twenty-five years of squabbling between the Barbadian Royalists who were loyal to the English Crown and the Protectorates, who supported the Puritan, Oliver Cromwell. The charter, known as the Treaty of Austen’s, became the model after which the Declaration of Independence was later framed. Imbedded in the USA’s 1776 document are several articles of the Oistins Document.”

This is really a remarkable historical connection between the revolution and declaration of independence in Barbados in 1651 and the revolution and declaration of independence in the United States in 1776, more than 120 years later. Although not available online, see the very bottom of this posting for a book available from the Barbados National Trust which contains a copy of the Charter of Barbados.

A BBC radio presentation does give some essential historical background to the events in Barbados and England at the time of Cromwell, while a detailed presentation online at BBC History is made by Dr Karl Watson in The Civil War in Barbados

[Dr Karl Watson is Senior Lecturer in the Department of History, University of the West Indies. He is the Editor of the Journal of the Barbados Museum, Secretary (Hon) of the Barbados National Trust, Chairman of the George Washington House Restoration Committee, and the Barbados/Carolinas Committee. His publications include, Barbados, The Civilised Island, A Social History 1750 to 1816, The White Minority of the Caribbean (with H.Johnson) and Old Doll, Matriarch of Newton Plantation.]

in which Watson writes:

Then on the 18th of February, 1651, a joint declaration of the Governor, the Council and the Assembly was issued. Its purpose was two fold, to indicate to the inhabitants of the island how much they ‘would be brought into contempt and slavery, if the same (that is, an English invasion) be not timely prevented,’ and to tell the English Parliament and public that Barbadians would not:

prostitute our freedom and privileges to which we are borne, to the will and opinion of any one; neither do we thinke our number so contemptible, nor our resolution so weake, to be forced or persuaded to so ignoble a submission, and we cannot think that there are any amongst us, who are soe simple, and soe unworthily minded,that they would not rather chuse a noble death, than forsake their ould liberties and privileges.

However, the revolution was not fully successful, and Barbados ultimately had to submit once again to British power, while nevertheless being granted some important unprecedented rights:

On 17th January, 1652, the Charter of Barbados setting out the conditions of surrender was ratified at Ye Mermaid’s Inn, Oistin’s Town.”

The historical connections and the importance of that “Charter of Barbados” are summarized at Lonely Planet:

In 1639, island freeholders formed a Legislative Assembly, only the second such parliament established in a British colony (Bermuda was the first). Barbados was loyal to the Crown during Britain’s civil wars and, following the beheading of King Charles I in 1649, Oliver Cromwell dispatched a force to establish his authority over Barbados. The invading fleet arrived in 1651 and by the following year Barbados had surrendered and signed the Articles of Capitulation, which formed the basis for the Charter of Barbados. The charter guaranteed government by a governor and a freely elected assembly, as well as freedom from taxation without local consent. When the British Crown was restored in 1660, this charter ironically provided Barbados with a greater measure of independence from the English monarchy than that of other British colonies.


Not only is Barbados of importance for the political history of the United States, but the Barbadians played an important role in the building of the Panama Canal, which still today is of eminent importance in world trade and transportation.

BARBADOS and the Colonial Williamsburg Foundation in Virginia

The highly prestigious Colonial Williamsburg Foundation in Virginia (online at history.org) has recently conducted archaeological digs in Bridgetown for the period of the Founding Fathers.

Barbados Forum has the following posting of extreme value for its references, including a book containing the Charter of Barbados :


The books I’ve published since retirement (I have to keep my mind active!) are edited and annotated versions of ancient texts referring to West Indian history and the history of Barbados in particular.

The True and Exact History of the Island of Barbados is an annotation of Richard Ligon’s 1657 publication of the same name and was the first published history of Barbados. My version thereof was published by The Barbados National Trust in 2000. It is available for purchase from the Trust.

The English Civil War in Barbados, 1650-1652 comprises annotations of several publications relating to the effects of the English Civil War in Barbados and contains The Charter of Barbados signed at the Mermaid Tavern, Oistins, in 1652. (Published 2001, The Barbados National Trust and available from the Trust). [emphasis added by LawPundit]

The Voyage of Sir Henry Colt to the Islands of Barbados and St Christopher, May-August 1631 is an annotation of the Journal kept by Colt during his voyage. It was published in 2002 by The Barbados National Trust and is available from the Trust.

On the Treatment and Management of the more common West-India Diseases, 1750-1802 is an annotated compilation of several works relating to the medical treatment and care of slaves in the West Indies. It was published in January 2006 by the University of the West Indies Press and is available from the University Bookshops in the West Indies and also from Amazon.com.


Note that the Barbados National Trust may have these books available (see here for contact address), but they are currently not listed at their website.

Other Useful Links are:
Fun Barbados
Visit Barbados
Trip Advisor, Barbados
GOBINET (Government of Barbados Information Network)
University of the West Indies, Cave Hill, Barbados
Oliver Cromwell
Doyle Clan – Cromwell Devastates Ireland

TVUPlayer Copyrights YouTube

We were intrigued by a recent October 24, 2006 CNET News.com article by staff writer Greg Sandoval titled TVUPlayer : Another Napster?, featuring a peer-to-peer service which provides fast streaming video of popular TV programming worldwide for free.

Obviously, copyright questions abound with this kind of a service and we recommend a read of the CNET article for references to the legal issues involved in television streaming and video sharing (the latter, e.g. involving sites such as YouTube, which started out by “unauthorized posting of movie and TV show clips“, and which was just purchased by Google for $1.65 billion in a stock-for-stock transaction.)

See also
Web TV Hub
Get potentially ANY TV Channel On The Internet free : Copyright Nightmare?

Stanford University Needs a New Football Coach : Why not Larry Kehres?

Stanford University is marked by a unique once-only-in-America culture of academic plus athletic excellence.

But this spirit of excellence, which has spawned the likes of John Elway, Jim Plunkett, James Lofton and John Lynch, today has one major flaw – and that is the Stanford football program.

As a Stanford Law School alumnus, we follow the fate of Stanford University football with more than academic interest.

To our distant view, something is seriously wrong in the Stanford University football program this 2006 season. It is not just the bleak 0-8 record which Stanford has compiled thus far this year, but the fact that the team was nowhere in contention in 7 of these 8 games in a disastrous performance showing a football program headed straight for the rocks.

Indeed, given the schedule that Stanford has yet to face this year, as opined by Daniel Novinson at the Stanford Daily: “Stanford football may be on the road to its first winless season since 1960 — a prospect that grows increasingly likely by the week.”

What has happened to Stanford football fortunes?

New athletic director Bob Bowlsby (formerly at Iowa) has most certainly not won our confidence by declining to speak to the press about this matter for the article, “It won’t be an easy fix for Stanford football“, by Michelle Smith, San Francisco Chronicle Staff Writer.

Alex Gyr at The Stanford Daily in his “Sports brief: Football coaches make mass exodus” reported that when the current head coach Walt Harris came to Stanford in December of 2004, there was “a complete overhaul of the Stanford football coaching staff” as “seven new assistant coaches” were brought in.

But these changes only led to a 5-6 losing season in 2005, and, what is more significant to this observer, led to many assistant coaches then LEAVING the Stanford football team after that season for greener pastures, so that five new assistant coaches again had to be hired prior to this season. That is quite a game of musical chairs and points to some kind of a problem at the grass roots.

We attended Stanford as a student – there are NO greener pastures than Stanford. If people leave Stanford in masses, something is amiss. What is causing this mass exodus from the coaching staff?

Harris is known as a “disciplinarian”. Is an authoritarian style proving to be the wrong solution for players and assistant coaches recruited to a school at the top of the nation academically and athletically? Is a particular style of football being autocratically imposed on players (and coaches) who are not suited for it and who were not recruited for it? Are the many injuries we are seeing in part being caused by unnecessary overwork of the players in practice (contrary e.g. to the sensible and successful systems of Larry Kehres of Mount Union and John Gagliardi of St. John’s, who limit physical contact in practices to reduce the risk of injuries).

As reported by Rick Eymer of the Palo Alto Weekly in his February 04, 2005 article “Stanford football recruiting focuses effort on defense, when Harris initially came to Stanford, he concentrated his recruiting on defense, recruiting only THREE offensive players that year and this may in part explain why the team today has virtually no offense at all.

Of course, there are other serious problems at Stanford as well, as identified by Michelle Smith at the San Francisco Chronicle:

Greg Biggins, high school recruiting analyst for Superprep Magazine … said he’s seen a drop-off in the quality of Stanford’s recruiting classes in recent years … I don’t know that it has anything to do with raising (academic) standards….

Biggins said Stanford is still the only major-conference program in the country, to his knowledge, that requires potential student-athletes to apply and gain acceptance to the university before an athletic scholarship offer is extended. And only Notre Dame’s academic standards approach Stanford’s, Biggins said.

Stanford’s recruiting restrictions have been compounded by coaching turnover, not only at the head coaching spot — Harris took over for Buddy Teevens in December 2004 to become the Cardinal’s third head coach in four years — but among the assistant coaches. In this offseason alone, Harris hired five assistants to his staff.”

The major problem to this observer appears to be Harris’s authoritarian approach, with which he is simply at the wrong university. As reported by Alex Gyr of the Stanford Daily in his May 2, 2005 article, It’s a new day for football under Walt Harris:

Throughout the Stanford football program, Harris’ influence is recognizable. The Cardinal brought in seven new assistant coaches, most of them on offense, as well as a different offensive system and a whole new attitude.

“I think the biggest challenge with the new staff and the players that we have is to get our style across to them and get them to execute it,” Harris said. “I think our players are excited about something different. I think our players are excited to try to get better, but I think how they go about doing it is more of a struggle. I think we’re not there yet in reaching them, I’m sure we reached some of them but we need to reach all of them.”

Not surprisingly, bringing change certainly hasn’t been easy. Through 15 days of spring practice, Harris has struggled to get his new message across to many of the players.

“What we teach is pretty basic,” Harris said. “But sometimes it takes time for players to decide to change old habits and sometimes old habits are hard to change.

Harris’ disciplinarian style and offensive acumen have not yielded a quick turnaround for the Cardinal….

… the discontent has begun. Harris is being criticized on Internet message boards and even in the broadcast booth, where Walsh and Jim Plunkett, who won the Heisman Trophy when he quarterbacked Stanford, questioned some of the coach’s decisions Saturday night against Navy.

Here is our view as a Stanford alumnus. We think that Harris has absolutely no future as the head football coach at Stanford, where an “authoritarian” system will simply not be accepted, nor is it in the spirit of “The Farm”. Quite the contrary, rather than forcing a particular style of football down the players’ throats, as Harris has apparently and unsuccessfully done, what Stanford needs is a coach like Larry Kehres of Mount Union, who describes the road to success – CORRECTLY – as follows:

Some years you don’t have the kind of players you need to say, run the option,” he said. ‘As a coach, you can’t just do what you want to do. You have to match it to the ebb and flow of the kind of players you have.’

Harris on the contrary, as we have cited above, has his own system, regardless of the players he has at his disposal, and it may thus be no wonder that the team is demotivated and decimated with injuries, being forced to play a system of football to which they are not suited and which they do not want to play.

It is time for Stanford to acknowledge that it has hired the wrong coach for Stanford.

Stanford should hire a coach with a proven and unprecedented “culture of excellence” such as Larry Kehres of Mount Union. Such a coach, the BEST in the business, would fit Stanford as the nation’s top academic+athletic university.

Jack Ewing, president of Mount Union College, is quoted by Milan Simionich at the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette as saying about Larry Kehres and the football team:

“This is a culture of excellence that I have never seen before.”

That looks like a perfect fit for Stanford. And if Kehres were unwilling to move from Mount Union, perhaps one could hire one of his proteges, so that this “culture of excellence” finds its way to the new Stanford football stadium and to the young men playing in it.

Harris refers above to the fact that some of these young men at Stanford are not understanding what he is “teaching” and that it is “a struggle”. Larry Kehres tells us, however:

I always try to get the assistant coaches who work with me to understand that if there’s no learning by the kids, there’s no teaching,” said the 56-year-old Kehres, whose 29-year-old son Vince is one of the assistant coaches. “I’ve tried hard to get the coaches to accept that as the only measure of performance, and there are just no excuses accepted. If there’s no learning, there’s no teaching…..

Harris – erroneously – puts the onus on the players.

Kehres puts the onus – properly – on the coaches.

Update – View these posts by others about Stanford football

at the Sporting News
Tagaitan’s SportingBlog
Staying the course
Edwards done as QB
The return of the Magic 8-ball!
You know what they say about when it rains

at the Stanford Daily
All wrong now: the voice of a frusturated football fan
October 16, 2006, by Daniel Novinson
A letter from a football fan is posted and it really lets the coaching staff have it – and frankly – they deserve what they are getting. Among other things, it is pointed out that Stanford head coach Harris is after 1 1/2 years of no success still playing a 3-4 pro NFL defense with players who are collegians. That same fan writes:
But ultimately, any amount of talent is constrained by the coaching staff’s gameplan. And that’s why the lion’s share of the blame lays at the feet of the men with the clipboards….
Am I the only one struck by the irony as our coaches lead an unprepared team to battle in a beautiful new stadium?

at the Mercury News
Kawakami: Timing was wrong for Trent Edwards

Better Coaching and Closing is a Matter of Strategy Tactics and a Lack of Fear

Sports teams win or lose for a reason, and good or bad coaching, especially in the closing phases of a game, is often that reason. Note that the principles discussed here are equally applicable to many human endeavors, including law and business (e.g. contract negotiations and the closing of contracts).

The college football weekend was marked by several last-minute wins (Notre Dame over UCLA, Texas over Nebraska) as well as an NCAA record come-from-behind victory by Michigan State over Northwestern, coming back from a 38-3 deficit in the 3rd quarter to win 41-38.

Football coaches can learn a lot from those and similar games, as follows:


ESPN carries an AP report on Notre Dame stuns UCLA on last-minute 45-yard TD in which we read:

Quinn, under pressure all day by a relentless UCLA defense, completed three straight passes in the final 62 seconds, capped by a 45-yard TD pass to Samardzija, to lead the Irish to a 20-17 come-from-behind victory over the Bruins on Saturday. [emphasis added]

Good teams win games like that,” Notre Dame coach Charlie Weis said. “Good teams at the end of the game somehow, good teams make a play at the end of the game to win.” …

Dorrell said the Bruins didn’t try to pressure Quinn as much on the final series….”We tried to play more coverage,” Dorrell said.”

And there you have in a nutshell why Notre Dame won that game and why UCLA lost. The Fighting Irish at the end were playing TO WIN. The Bruins at the end were playing NOT TO LOSE. We find this comment at Stewart Mandel’s College Football Blog by an anonymous poster:

Unbelievable. This was another example of horrible play calling down the stretch by our coaches at UCLA. With under three minutes to go, instead of aggressively trying for a first down by PASSING the ball like we had all game, the coaches decide to RUN up the middle for three straight plays. Yes, it made ND use their timeouts, but there was plenty of time left for them to comeback even without their timeouts. A first down there would have sealed the deal.

THEN the horrible, horrible PREVENT defense. Unbelievable. 4-man rush and our DB’s leaving plenty of cushion. This was an example of a team playing not to lose instead of playing to win….” [emphasis added]

As the perspicacious Stewart Mandel writes in his Saturday Observations Part II:

Despite having successfully pressured Quinn all day, UCLA went with every fan’s favorite, the prevent defense, when the Irish took over at their own 20 with 1:02 remaining. Two uncontested Quinn passes later, ND was at the Bruins’ 45. On what would be the fatal play, UCLA nearly got to Quinn with a four-man rush, but he scrambled to his right and hit a streaking Jeff Samardzija, who not only slipped past the coverage but then juked the last possible UCLA tackler out of his shoes en route to a 45-yard touchdown.”

There is a big difference, as we have previously pointed out, between champions and non-champions in the element of fear. Champions play fearlessly in order to win, whereas non-champions are afraid of losing. In order “not to lose”, UCLA on the last series of downs abandoned its “relentless defense” and went into more passive downfield coverage, giving the Notre Dame quarterback the time to throw which he needed, and which UCLA had otherwise been denying him during the game. This tactic cost UCLA the game. A successful ongoing fearless “winning” strategy was abandoned in the closing minutes of the game in favor of a more fearful “losing” strategy.

That is the reason that, as Notre Dame coach Charlie Weis said: “good teams win games like that” – it is the mark of champions. Such teams continue to be aggressive and try to win down to the last second, whereas non-champions duck for cover. Had UCLA continued to give the Irish quarterback relentless pressure on the last series of downs, it is unlikely the Irish would have scored a touchdown in that short time period.

CAL 31 Washington 24 (OT- in overtime)

California made a similar mistake against Washington and was lucky to escape with an overtime victory, as Washington completed a deflected 40-yard pass against a similar “prevent defense” as in the ND-UCLA game to tie the game as time expired in regulation play.

The Cal player who deflected the pass pointed unknowingly to what may be a wide-spread (?) coaching deficit in college football, i.e. the lack of preparation of players for what they should do in particular situations:

I just tried to catch it — and knock it down,” Bishop lamented. “I’ve never even been in that situation before. I didn’t know what to do.”

Obviously, as an integral and essential part of coaching and teaching, players SHOULD be taught by the coaches what they are to do in particular game situations. That is the ESSENCE of coaching – preparation.

ESPN in the AP report Miracle catch forces OT, but UW can’t overcome Lynch, Cal writes:

We thought we had it wrapped up, and then I thought Doug Flutie was out there,” Cal linebacker Zack Follett said.

Football coaches also have to keep in mind and also teach their players, as Yogi Berra once so succinctly stated:

It ain’t over ’til it’s over“.


No coach and no team had to learn Berra’s lesson more painfully than the Northwestern Wildcats who squandered a 38-3 lead in the 3rd quarter (the comeback starting with only 7 minutes to play in that 3rd quarter) to lose 41-38, the greatest comeback in NCAA Division I-A football history. As reported by ESPN through the AP’s Spartans stun Cats for biggest comeback in I-A history:

…first-year Northwestern coach Pat Fitzgerald…took the blame for his team losing momentum….”

And well he should.

As written by Steward Mandel in The Agony of Defeat of his alma mater:

As you know, college football is a game of momentum. When the Wildcats were in the midst of their 38-point explosion, they could no wrong. Bacher was on fire. And because the Spartans’ defense had to contend with Bacher, suddenly RB Tyrell Sutton was running wild. The offense’s success seemed to be rubbing off on the defense, which continually stymied Michigan State QB Drew Stanton….

But once it got to 38-3, the offense backed off. Stanton started performing target practice on the suddenly helpless defense.”

The job of the coach in this situation is to regain his team’s own momentum as early as possible and block the opponent’s rising momentum. This – based on our observation of basketball games, for example – used to be one of John Wooden’s recipes for his phenomenal success at UCLA, calling timeouts much earlier than his fellow coaches when the tide of momentum seemed to shift against his team. Most coaches call timeout and regroup after a run of points against them has already been made – when it is too late and the damage has been done. The time to regroup is BEFORE that happens.


Kansas was another team which suffered from the change of momentum caused by its coaching staff in shifting to a conservative rushing game after halftime in order to preserve, but not to increase its 35-17 lead. Through a scoreless 3rd quarter, Baylor was then given plenty of time to lick its wounds and summon up new courage. Kansas then did not know what hit it as the 35-17 lead that they still held with 10 minutes to play in the 4th quarter dissipated into a 36-35 loss as Baylor filled the air with footballs. By the time Kansas also starting passing again, it was too late.


Good coaching has something to do with knowing one’s players and calling the right plays in the right situation. Terrence Nunn has a history of fumbling and was definitely not the right call in a tight field situation at the closing minutes of this game. Nunn had already fumbled and perhaps cost the Cornhuskers the Missouri game in 2005. He fumbled in the 2006 USC game and in the 2006 Kansas State game. In the Texas game on the reception in question, he was holding the ball way out to the right, presenting an easy target for an opposing defensive player intent on provoking a fumble and knocking the ball away, rather than tackling the runner.

I do not fault here the player Nunn, who is a fine receiver and who has caught many passes for Nebraska during his career, including the Texas game. His fumbling is surely a function of the way that he carries the ball when running, and that should long ago have been corrected by the coaching staff. Since it was uncorrected, Nunn was certainly not the man to pass the ball to in the Texas situation, where retention of possession was critical.

Stated simply, passing the ball to Nunn in this situation was a crass coaching mistake – and that is what distinguishes the winners from the losers, and the great coaches from the average coaches.

Winning means making the right decisions at the right time – both as to playcalling as also to having the right players in the right place at the right time. You do not call the number of a player with a history of fumbleitis in this kind of a critical game situation.

At the legal and business level, this means having the right personnel in the right positions at the right time for the job at hand.

Media Tracker at The Center for Public Integrity

Via the TVC Alert at The Virtual Chase, we have become aware of a new media map database called Media Tracker, which allows one to locate regional media and its owners on a local map (powered by Yahoo).

A feature of The Center for Public Integrity , the Media Tracker:

plots broadcasting facilities on maps, tells number of broadband providers, examines more than five million records“.

Plug your ZIP Code or City and State into the Media Tracker search boxes and check out the media in your local area (currently limited to the USA only).

College Football Ranking Systems and the Laws of Retrodictive Accuracy and Cyclic Triads

So, you know all about sports?

Then the concepts of “retrodictive accuracy” and “cyclic triads” should be familiar terrain to you.

As B. Jay Coleman informs us in his article, Minimizing Game Score Violations in College Football Rankings, Interfaces 35(6), pp. 483–496, ©2005 INFORMS:

[R]etrodictive accuracy is equivalent to minimizing game score violations: the number of times a past game’s winner is ranked behind the loser“.

Unfortunately, this is not always possible, since, as Coleman informs us, we face the problem of “cyclic triads”, where Team A beats Team B, Team B beats Team C, and Team C beats Team A.

Nevertheless, the amount of retrodictive inaccuracy in college football ranking systems is far greater than cyclic triads alone would engender, Coleman has found that even the current best ranking system from the standpoint of retrodictive accuracy still contains violations which are at least 38% higher than the minimum which can actually be achieved.

Coleman thus developed a minimum-violations ranking solution – MinV, which ranks football teams so that the minimum number of retrodictive violations occur. As Coleman writes:

The minimum number of game score violations MinV identified for the NCAA Division 1-A college football seasons from 1994–2003 was far superior to the numbers that 58, 68, 75, and 93 different ranking systems (Massey 2004b, c) produced in the years 2000, 2001, 2002, and 2003, respectively. Massey did not report ranking violation statistics prior to 2000.”

He then examined the college football games from 1994 to 2003 and applied his results:

to determine whether the consensus top five teams in any of these 10 seasons would have been changed if one had enforced a minimum violations criterion.”

Using his system, the national champion would not have changed, but the rankings of teams below Nr. 1 would have changed, in part, substantially:

MinV ranking (Actual Massey Consensus Ranking in Parentheses)

Year…Number 1………..Number 2…………Number 3………..Number 4……….Number 5

1994…Nebraska (1)……Penn State (2)……Colorado (3)…….Alabama (5)…….Texas A&M (8)
1995…Nebraska (1)……Florida (2)………..Tennessee (3)……Florida St. (4)….Colorado (5)
1996…Florida (1)………Ohio St. (2)………..Florida St. (3)…..Arizona St. (5)…Nebraska (4)
1997…Nebraska (1)……Michigan (3)……..Florida (4)……….Florida St. (2)….Tennessee (5)
1998…Tennessee (1)…..Ohio St. (2)……….Florida St. (3)…..Wisconsin (4)…..Florida (5)
1999…Florida St. (1)…..Nebraska (2)…….Va. Tech (3)´……Michigan (4)……Kansas St. (5)
2000..Oklahoma (1)…..Nebraska (8)……..Washington (6)…Miami (FL) (2)…Florida St. (3)
2001…Miami (FL) (1)…Tennessee (3)……Florida (2)……….Oregon (4)………LSU (9)
2002…Ohio St. (1)……..Miami (FL) (3)…..Georgia (4)………Oklahoma (5)…..Texas (6)
2003…LSU (1)…………..Southern Cal (2)..Oklahoma (3)……Georgia (4)……..Miami, OH (6)

Table 3: Although the national champions would not have been affected, the remainder of the consensus top
five NCAA Division 1-A college football teams for the 1994–2003 seasons often would have been adjusted
had a minimum-violations restriction been enforced (consensus rankings are in parentheses). I used Massey’s (2004b, c) consensus rankings for 1996–2003 and the final Associated Press poll in 1994 and 1995. Massey did not report a consensus ranking for 1994or 1995.

Coleman also examined:

whether the participants in any of the BCS national championship games from 1998 through 2003 would have been altered by a minimum-violations restriction.”

The answer is yes, as this table by Coleman shows:

…………number of……..Actual BCS…………………………….Participants with
Year…..violations……..participants…………………………..MinV adjustments

1998…..41……………….Tennessee, Florida St……………….Tennessee (1), Florida St. (2)
1999…..58……………….Florida St., Va. Tech…………………Florida St. (1), Va. Tech. (2)
2000….51……………….Oklahoma, Florida St………………..Oklahoma (1), Washington (4)
2001….51……………….Miami (FL), Nebraska……………….Miami (FL) (1), Oregon (4)
2002….50……………….Ohio St., Miami (FL)…………………Ohio St. (1), Miami (FL) (2)
2003….59……………….Oklahoma, LSU……………………….Oklahoma (1), LSU (2)

Table 4: The Bowl Championship Series (BCS), begun in 1998, would have
selected different participants in its national championship games in 2000
and 2001 if it had adjusted its final ranking to adhere to the minimum
number of violations (actual BCS rankings are in parentheses).

But note that the retrodictive approach is not a cure-all for ranking systems.

As Coleman himself admits:

[T]he MinV ranking may not make the best predictions of future games; as Martinich (2002) demonstrated, retrodictive accuracy does not necessarily result in predictive accuracy. However, no prior researcher has assessed the relationship between these two perspectives, because none have developed systems that optimize the retrodictive component (as measured by violation percentage) for college football. MinV allows that as a future research objective.

The entire article is definitely worth a read here.

Sports Law : Violence by Athletes Fans & Coaches

There is little doubt – for anyone who takes even the most cursory glance at human history – that mankind is a violent, competitive and dangerous species. Indeed, every news media on this planet caters to the perpetrators and spectators of violence, especially the violence of war, domestic violence, and violence in sports. The greater the evil, the greater the headlines.

We have a private theory that the world is this way because that is the way mankind wants it to be. If we wanted the world to be otherwise, we would change it, would we not? We certainly have had thousands of years to do it, but we have not done it. Violence persists in the world because we condone its presence.

The good, therefore, is not preferred per se over evil per se, but rather it is only the ultimate “victory” of good over evil which is actually desired. For this reason, violence and the presence of evil is a necessary condition for the triumph of good, and that is why evil is present in human society everywhere. It is an enemy to be vanquished, but not one to be totally eradicated.

Nevertheless, in spite of this duality of good and evil, human violence is a costly affair and great evil is costlier still. Civilized peoples thus have developed sensible outlets and forums for the aggression and evil resident in humans.

Chief among these substitutes is the Rule of Law, which, in our view, is a substitute for war and battle. People no longer take part in pistol duels, rather, they go to court to argue their case before an impartial judge, who functions like an umpire in sports.

Sports serve similarly to channel man’s warlike nature into bloodless adversary competition, guided by rules and judged by referees.

The problems begin when the civilized “chains that bind” prove too weak to hold in check the chained beasts of violence and evil, and when the thin civilized veneer of humanity is broken to reveal an inner animalistic reality ready to bash in the opponent’s skull.

What do we do then?

Sports Law is a specialized field of law
dealing with violence in sports and similar issues.
For an overview, see:

Cornell Law School LII – Wex – Sports Law

International Association of Sports Law (IASL, Olympia, Greece)

National Sports Law Institute of Marquette University Law
which publishes the Marquette Sports Law Review
and offers the Marquette Sports Law Program

There are many reports in the news recently about violence by players, hooliganism by spectators, and avoidable injuries in sports caused by unnecessary roughness. Sad examples of this are presented by the following cases:

the violence at the Miami – Florida International college football game (USA)
(see also the Sports Law Blog)

shoulder charges and violence in rugby (Australia & New Zealand),

racist behavior by spectators at a soccer game (Serbia)

racist behavior by players at a soccer game (Germany)

beatings and mistreatment of athletes by coaches (China)

hockey brawls (USA)

fights between athletes and fans (Brazil)

inducement to illegal and violent behavior by coaches (USA)

kidnappings and killings of officials, athletes, coaches and/or referees (Iraq)

alleged gang rape by athletes (USA)

the fractured skull of Chelsea goalkeeper and an injury to his substitute soccer goalkeeper (England)

head butt in soccer (France) and its commercial value and commercial exploitation (Italy)

The only long-term solution to the escalating violence in sports might be the application of stricter laws against undesired behavior.

We thus agree whole-heartedly, for example, with the French Parliament’s recent passage of a law which gives greater protection to referees in sports by imposing strict sanctions upon perpetrators of violence against referees.
See the article by Christian Châtelet at the UEFA for more details.

See also

Athletes should show respect on and off the field

Leadership cadre faces important choices after brawl by Bill Curry in a special to ESPN.com
In the context of the Miami-FIU brawl, Curry states that fight “participants” can be placed into four categories:

“1. Spontaneous….
2. Peacemakers….
3. The Serious Fighters….
4. The Lethal Few: The ones who ran into the fray looking for someone to maim, the ones who hit people in the back of the head, stomped faces, necks, groins and any other unprotected part of defenseless opponents. They should be out for at least one year, perhaps for life, depending on whether they were successful in ending another career, which was their obvious intent….”

We definitely agree with number four.

There is always a contrary view.
For a contrary view to safety in sports, see Beware The Risk Of Goalkeeping Nannying
by John Nicholson

Reason favors limiting violence in sports by law.
Experience indicates that violence in sports will tend to increase to pander to the primitive tastes of mass audiences. One need only view WWE and their modern gladiators.

Nebraska Cornhuskers Plagued by Poor Coaching Strategy

Although the University of Nebraska Cornhuskers beat the Iowa State Cyclones 28-14 Saturday, October 7, the Huskers continue to be plagued by poor playcalling and coaching. Indeed, this year’s Husker team is surely much better than its coaching staff allows.

Apparently, the Husker coaching staff has learned little from its previous games, although it is to be complimented for at least coming out throwing in this game.

We initially analyzed the NU-USC game this year and concluded that Nebraska was outcoached by the Trojans and not outplayed. We have since begun to analyze the Husker coaching and playcalling with the stats available online and have found this general view confirmed, for example, in the NU-Kansas game.

We now have found additional evidence of poor NU playcalling and coaching strategy in the NU-Iowa State game. Except for superb defense, the Huskers would have lost this game, and they would have lost because of poor coaching and playcalling, not because it was the worse team.

At a certain level of analysis, statistics do not lie.
Nebraska had 11 possessions of the ball against Iowa State.

On three of the first five possessions, the Huskers threw the football to start the first series of downs on the drive, and these three drives all ended in Husker touchdowns. Obviously, the coaching strategy and playcalling on these drives was correctly intent on SCORING. Note that this initial pass was not always completed, but it showed that the coaching strategy was to MOVE the ball, not just KEEP the ball. Hence, the subsequent playcalling was OFFENSIVE and not DEFENSIVE and ultimately resulted in scores. When the offensive playcalling was defensive, as in the drives started by rushes, no scores resulted. NONE. The coaching staff should already have learned this in the USC game, but apparently, they have not.

On all of the remaining possessions in the game, which all started with a running play, the Cornhuskers wound up having to punt the ball away, excepting only the last drive in the game and excepting one fumble recovery by the Cyclones.

Obviously, after its initial scores, the coaching staff was again intent on BALL CONTROL, which appears to be one of Callahan’s coaching traumas, under the motto “it’s MY ball, not yours”. We have criticized this before as a strategy which does NOT mark champions.

The College Football Resource Blog wrote this after the NU-USC game:

USC beat Nebraska 28-10, enduring the Huskers’ stall ball tactics but otherwise stuffing Nebraska’s run at all costs approach.

Ball control means nothing if it does not end up with points on the scoreboard.

Here are the relevant plays from Yahoo! Sports for yesterday’s Iowa State game:

1st Quarter
Nebraska – 14:56
[drive started with a pass]
, NEB20 14:56 Z. Taylor passed to J. Phillips to the right for 5 yard gain
[drive ended in a touchdown]

Nebraska – 6:19
[drive started with a run]
1st-10, NEB23 6:19 B. Jackson rushed to the right for 2 yard gain
[drive ended with an NU fumble recovered by NU, an NU punt, and a Cyclone touchdown]

2nd Quarter
Nebraska – 13:55
[drive started with a pass]
1st-10, NEB32 13:55 Z. Taylor incomplete pass to the right
[drive ended in a touchdown]

Nebraska – 5:49
[drive started with a run]
1st-10, NEB30 5:49 B. Jackson rushed up the middle for 7 yard gain
[drive ended with an NU punt]

Nebraska – 1:22
[drive started with a pass]
1st-10, NEB40 1:22 Z. Taylor incomplete pass to the right
[drive ended in a touchdown]

3rd quarter
Nebraska – 11:05
[drive started with a run]
1st-10, NEB3 11:05 C. Glenn rushed up the middle for 3 yard gain
[drive ended with an NU fumble recovered by Iowa State]

Nebraska – 8:40
[drive started with a run]
1st-10, NEB7 8:40 B. Jackson rushed up the middle for 3 yard gain
[drive ended with an NU punt]

Nebraska – 3:26
[drive started with a run]
1st-10, NEB20 3:26 B. Jackson rushed up the middle for 2 yard gain
[drive ended with an NU punt]

Nebraska – 0:32
[drive started with a run]
1st-10, NEB12 0:32 C. Glenn rushed to the left for 7 yard gain

4th Quarter
[drive ended with an NU punt]

Nebraska – 11:12
[drive started with a run]
1st-10, NEB37 11:12 B. Jackson rushed to the left for 3 yard loss
[drive ended with an NU punt]

Nebraska – 6:46
[drive started with a run, but here the playcalling showed a will to score]
1st-10, NEB22 6:46 C. Glenn rushed up the middle for 28 yard gain
[drive ended in a touchdown]

Those kinds of stats point to serious flaws in coaching strategy and playcalling which have to be corrected for Nebraska to be competitive against top-echelon football teams. Such errors will be pardoned (barely) against marginally weaker opponents such as Kansas and Iowa State, but will be a certain cause of lost football games when playing the likes of Texas, USC or Oklahoma, and, this year, will also result in lost games to Missouri and Texas A&M if not timely corrected. The defense is not that good that it can counterbalance poor offensive playcalling all the time.

Readers of LawPundit : Bonnybridge – UFO Capital of the UK (United Kingdom)

We knew that our readership at LawPundit had a global reach, but even we were surprised to see at Google Analytics that we had been visited twice in September by readers from Bonnybridge near Falkirk in Scotland in the United Kingdom (between Glasgow and Edinburgh).

We ask, humourously, of course: do we have “special” readers out there?

Our Socratic mind was led to this state of inquisitive raised eyebrows by reading Ian Johnston’s 2004 article, It’s official – Bonnybridge is UFO capital of UK, where he informs us:

A FEW weeks ago, in the town of Bonnybridge, an unidentified flying object [UFO] was seen to “land” on the golf course [golf].

The town has also been visited by Celtic priests, who claim extra-terrestrials are watching over the hiding place for both the real Stone of Destiny and the Ark of the Covenant, while locals have reported being abducted by aliens.

Some claim indeed that the actual hiding place for the original Stone of Destiny, used for the coronation of Irish and British kings, is Bonnybridge.

You can imagine that this coincidence of unexpected singularities in this particular historical context sparked the imagination of this writer, who not only is an avid golfer, but who also has written about Lia Fail, the Stone of Destiny or Stone of Scone (pic, Arbroath, Jacob’s pillow stone), and also has opined about the present alleged location of the Ark of the Covenant.

Bonnybridge is not just any old village, but is the site of Seabegs Wood and Rough Castle, the best preserved fort on the Antonine Wall (also known as Graham’s Dyke). Many people think that the Antonine Wall (see also Antonine Way and Falkirk Wheel) is Roman in its entirety, but that is false. It is well known that the Romans built on top of previous sacred sites and that modern roads often follow older paths; indeed, radiocarbon dating has shown that some of the ditches and banks at Rough Castle may go back as far as ca. 2134 BC (one of the radiocarbon-dating Sigma dates).

In addition, there was in fact a prehistoric ford at Bonnybridge. See J. Hamilton, C.M. Clarke, A. Dunwell & R. Tipping, A prehistoric ford near Rough Castle, Falkirk, Scottish Archaeol J (Scottish Archaeological Journal) 23.2, pp. 91-103, 2002.

In the hermetic (“as above, so below“) astronomical context of our book, Stars Stones and Scholars: The Decipherment of the Megaliths, Rough Castle at Bonnybridge would mark the position of the Pleiades, both in its form as also by the number and placement of its enclosures (each arguably for a star of the Pleiades), using an ancient hermetic system documented among the Pawnee Indians and similar e.g. to that used, as we have discovered, for the Temples of Malta, and also elsewhere throughout the world at megalithic sites.

For a drawing of the layout of Rough Castle at Bonnybridge in pre-Roman times, see Illustration 2 (Illus 2) at Ian D. Mate (with contributions by J. Barber, M. Baxter, M. McBarron, R. McCullagh, B. Moffat & P. Strong), Excavations of an enclosure system at Rough Castle, Falkirk, Proc SocAntiq Scot (Proceedings of the Society of Antiquaries of Scotland), 125, pp. 483-497, fiche 2: Gil-14, 1995, as funded by Historic Scotland and as surveyed by RCAHMS.

Our equation of Rough Castle at Bonnybridge with the Pleiades in the ancient hermetic stellar system in Scotland should warm the UFOers hearts, many of whom believe that the Pleiades are the home of alien extraterrestrials who visit earth. We ourselves are solid UFO sceptics who think that UFO sightings are atmospheric phenomena, sightings of experimental military aircraft, or similar. We reject all heavenly visitors as superstition.

We note, however, that we are in the vast minority of humanity in our extraterrestrial scepticism. Most of the world’s religions and their adherents seem to believe in extraterrestrials in the broader sense that prophets and sons of God as even God himself have “outer space” connections to a “God in heaven”. Muslims, Jews and Christians seem to think that there is a God “out there beyond us” somewhere, so who are we to allege the opposite?

So maybe the Maker and his cohorts fly in occasionally to see what is up on planet Earth.
Fair enough. Keep an eye on the flock.

In which case, we proclaim: Guests and Visitors, Welcome to LawPundit !

You are at the right place.

Origins of Law in Astronomy : 2006 Nobel Prize in Physics Awarded to Two American Cosmologists

Yes, Virginia, the origins of law are also to be found in astronomy, where, according to Bertrand Russell, mankind derived its first conceptions of natural law. After all, law is a choice of order over chaos in a space-time continuum, but this choice is not necessarily mandated by experience, but originally was probably mandated by observation of the heavenly orbs. Man used to work from sunup to sundown – it was a question of light … and Sun. Astronomy.

As we have previously written:

“As the great Sir Bertrand Russell, “British philosopher, logician, essayist, and social critic” wrote 2 years after my birth in Human Knowledge: Its Scope and Limits, Simon and Schuster, Clarion Books, New York, 1948:

Astronomy is the oldest of the sciences, and the contemplation of the heavens, with their periodic regularities, gave men their first conceptions of natural law.”

Russell further opined that the legacy of astronomy in our “way of life” carries down to the present day, writing:

Although we are taught the Copernican astronomy in our textbooks, it has not yet penetrated to our religion or our morals….How far has the American outlook on life and the world influenced Europe, and how far is it likely to do so?And first of all: What is the distinctively American outlook? And what, in comparison, is the distinctively European outlook? Traditionally, the European outlook may be said to be derived from astronomy. When Abraham watched his flocks by night, he observed the stars in their courses: they moved with a majestic regularity utterly remote from human control. When the Lord answered Job out of the whirlwind, He said: ‘Canst thou bind the sweet influences of Pleiades, or loose the bands of Orion?’ The reply was in the negative. Even more relevant is the question: ‘Knowest thou the ordinances of heaven? Canst thou set the dominion thereof in the earth?

To the LexiLine List we have now just posted the following:

As just reported today (one hour ago) by Dennis Overbye in the New York Times, two American astronomers have just won this year’s Nobel Prize in Physics for their contributions to cosmology and to our understanding of the universe in which we all live.

This Nobel award is quite remarkable, as Nobel Prizes for astronomers are rare.

We thus congratulate heartily
John Mather
of NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center in Greenbelt, Maryland and
George Smoot
of the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory at the University of California.

Really, to the question, “what’s it all about, Alfie?”,
the answer is, it is all about astronomy.

As we have previously written :

Eusebius wrote regarding Manetho’s lists for the length of the rule of Egyptian Pharaohs that:
“ALL [reigns] were astronomy”.

The secret to ancient chronology is thus stated in ancient sources quite clearly
– it is ALL astronomy.

To understand the universe, you have to understand astronomy.
To understand the ancient world, you have to understand astronomy.”

And we might add here,

to understand the law, you have to understand astronomy, because time is a function of astronomy, and time and the law are integrally related at the most basic level of social “order”.

Our average 8 to 5 professional existence is still guided by the Sun and law is merely the human executor of this function insofar as it regulates human activity within the 24 hours of a day – it is ALL astronomy.

At least it WAS. Or is it changing in the modern world?
Has law supplanted astronomy?

See in this regard A TIME FOR EVERY PURPOSE: LAW AND THE BALANCE OF LIFE by Todd D. Rakoff. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 2002. ISBN: 0-674-00910-X. Reviewed by Christine A. Yalda, School of Justice Studies, Arizona State University.

Readers of LawPundit : St. Lucia (Saint Lucia)

Google Analytics provides us with a geographic map of the world showing the locations of our readers. Many of these locations are not well known to us, so that we look them up online, which has turned out to be an enriching educational experience. Hence, we will feature various reader locations periodically at LawPundit as a special service to our readers.

A LawPundit reader recently visited our blog from the volcanic Caribbean island of St. Lucia (Saint Lucia), the “Helen of the West Indies” in the Windward Islands of the Lesser Antilles of the Caribbean Sea (map), 26 miles north of St. Vincent and 21 miles south of Martinique (see maps and explanations at Windward Islands and Leeward Islands at Wikipedia). Castries is the capital city. Saint Lucia became independent in 1979 – here is the flag:

St. Lucia is an independent member state of the British Commonwealth with “a legal system based on English common law and the ‘Code Napoleon’.” See these links for geography, history, religion, people, national symbols and expressions, economy and government of Saint Lucia. The official language is English, but many St. Lucians speak a French patois (creole).

St. Lucia has all the hallmarks of a real paradise whose tourism industry has recently specialized particularly in vacation packages for honeymooners and couples.

The Inn on the Bay (Marigot Bay), St. Lucia, writes:

“The most beautiful Bay in the Caribbean”…That’s how author James A Michener once described beautiful Marigot Bay in St. Lucia!

Lonely Planet writes about the Malgretout Waterfall:

South of Soufriére at Malgretout is a quiet, undeveloped beach and mineral waterfall. Not only does this unfrequented waterfall have a beautiful Eden-like setting, but visitors are allowed to shower in its warm volcanic waters – which you cannot do at the more touristy waterfall at Diamond Botanical Gardens.

The Sandals Regency St. Lucia Golf Resort & Spa (hotel for couples only, 9 holes) and the St. Lucia Golf Resort & Country Club have golf courses which are a luscious green, as befits an island paradise.

It looks good. They can invite us any time, thank you.