Dispatches > The Buzz

Quick Takes

Quick Takes

Issue: "Bush: Holding the line," June 5, 2004

Barking barrister

A Manhattan state Supreme Court judge has fined an attorney $8,500 for, among other things, barking like a dog. According to a decision released last month, lawyer David Fink began yipping and woofing during a January 2002 deposition after a man being sued by Mr. Fink's client referred to correspondence from Mr. Fink as threatening, "mad dog lawyer" letters.

Mr. Fink, who had already been fined $1,400 for previous misconduct in the case, was cited this time for engaging in frivolous conduct, making false statements, and failing to comply with court orders.

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Mr. Fink's client ultimately lost the breach-of-contract case, prompting the opposing lawyer to quip, "Mr. Fink was barking up the wrong tree."

Bible fight

Siblings Darryl Kelsey and Marguerite Barton apparently didn't learn to share; now they're both about to lose a family heirloom. A Lake County, Ohio, judge last week tried to resolve a 4-year-old dispute between the two over which one should inherit their mother's 125-year-old family Bible by ordering that the Bible be sold, with the litigants splitting the proceeds.

Their mother's will divided her estate equally between the two, but both wanted the family Bible, which includes historical information about the family. The siblings had rejected the idea of each having the Bible for six months at a time.

Prodigal pensioner

"Florida Rolf" is headed back to Germany: The German pensioner, who was living at a Florida beach house courtesy of the German welfare state, has been cut off. The Reuters news service reports that the German government, responding to the media firestorm that erupted when his case was made public last year, has cut his social-security benefit to the point that he can no longer afford to live in Florida. He had originally left Germany in 1979, arguing that he needed extra money from the government because living in Germany made him depressed. The government has not made his last name public.

Kerry constituency

Small-business owners tend to vote Republican, but one group is proving to be an exception this year: strip-club proprietors. The Association of Club Executives is trying to organize voter registration drives at its nearly 4,000 member establishments, with the goal of turning patrons into Kerry voters. Michael Ocello, president of the trade group, said a Bush victory in November could be very bad for the industry: "If we are to survive, we must act now."

Mayoral call

The Reuters news service reports that the mayor of Niamy, the capital of Niger, is calling on all "qualified" sorcerers to do their civic duty: Use traditional sacrifices to ward off an apparition that is rumored to be stalking young women in skimpy outfits. Mayor Jules Oguet promises to protect Niamy residents: "People should be reassured: If there are any evil spirits, they will be dealt with."

Fifteen and counting

No one can claim that the Duggar family of Fayetteville, Ark., doesn't take seriously the biblical command to be fruitful and multiply. Jim Bob and Michelle Duggar, 38 and 37 respectively, had their 15th child last week, and they both say that they want more.

The Duggar clan includes two sets of twins and children ranging in age from newborn Jackson to 16-year-old Joshua. Mr. Duggar is a real estate businessman and a former state legislator, while Mrs. Duggar is a busy mom. "She's a trooper," said mother-in-law Mary Duggar after the birth of Jackson. "She was just all smiles."

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