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SISKIND SHOULD HAVE REVEALED HIS CONNECTION TO THINK TANK In “Using Terri,” my book about the Terri Schiavo case, I identify the ultraconservative Scaife, Bradley and Koch foundations as funders of the various right-wing think tanks behind the effort to keep Terri Schiavo’s feeding tube attached. Lawrence J. Siskind’s review of “ Using Terri” in Oct. 14′s Recorder calls this a “wander into the swamps of paranoia.” Yet Mr. Siskind did not disclose that he is a Fellow with the Pacific Research Institute for Public Policy, a right-wing think tank which has received $7 million in funding from ultraconservative foundations including, you guessed it, the Scaife, Bradley and Koch foundations. Perhaps Mr. Siskind would like to explain the reasons why he chose not to reveal his personal connection with the funding network he dismisses as a paranoid fantasy. Then again, maybe he shares the penchant for secrecy described in my book. Jon Eisenberg Oakland Lawrence J. Siskind replies: Quod erat demonstrandum. Mr. Eisenberg’s letter illustrates the very paranoid syndrome my review described. Free will is a hard concept for fantasists to grasp. Let me try to explain. When I write, I do so to express my own beliefs � not the views of any organization to which I belong, and certainly not the views of any total stranger who happens to belong to or support the same organization. I’m proud to acknowledge my affiliation with the Pacific Research Institute, a local libertarian think tank. The nonprofit institute is listed on our firm’s community service Web page � so I guess I haven’t learned to master the “penchant for secrecy” Mr. Eisenberg ascribes to Conspiracy members. But the institute played no role in the Terri Schiavo case, and does not even rate a mention in his book. So while I’m proud of it, I do not think I was obligated to disclose that affiliation, any more than I was obligated to disclose my membership in the ABA, the American Jewish Committee or Costco. While we’re on the topic of full disclosure, Mr. Eisenberg might wish to explain why he chose not to reveal that he has referred legal work to me. I appreciate the business, but under his “follow the money” methodology, doesn’t that make him a Conspiracy member too? (Memo to J.E.: The cabal meets at midnight; remember the secret handshake.) * * *

I read Lawrence Siskind’s review of Jon Eisenberg’s “Using Terri” with dismay, not least because Siskind failed to reveal his relationship with a political think tank heavily funded by three of the very foundations Eisenberg names among those that funded the effort to keep Terri Schiavo on life support. If your reviewer did not see fit to do so, was it not your editorial duty to reveal his bias? Practicing what I preach, I hasten to admit that Jon Eisenberg is a friend and former colleague of mine, but also to make it clear that I did not accept his word for the Siskind/Pacific Research Institute/Scaife, Bradley and Koch connections. Information is easy to come by nowadays; integrity not so much. Leslie Wellbaum San Francisco

FAINTING IN COURT NOT WORTHY OF FRONT PAGE I was disgusted to see The Recorder publish on its front page, as though it were news worthy of our attention, a story about an unfortunate lawyer who passed out during oral argument [" Arguments Interrupted When Lawyer Faints," Oct. 13]. Other than to embarrass the lawyer, his firm or his client � he was arguing on behalf of an insurer, after all � The Recorder served no purpose by featuring the story and even the lawyer’s photograph. The Recorder’s use of one lawyer’s physical incapacity to grab its readers’ attention was a cheap shot. You should be ashamed. John C. Baum Alameda Editor’s note: We would agree that a lawyer’s fainting during a routine case might not be news. In this instance, a prominent appellate attorney was arguing a case that would affect the health insurance coverage of hundreds of San Francisco attorneys. Indeed, the San Francisco Chronicle spotlighted the case the day before oral argument (“Insurer faces off against lawyers; Health Net trying to cancel policies for small groups,” Oct. 11). For those reasons we believed that the mishap during argument rose to the level of news, though we appreciate that reasonable minds can differ.
STATE BAR DOES DISSERVICE WITH PERMISSIVE MCLE EVALUATIONS The vexing lack of proportionality in the State Bar of California’s permissive evaluation of recognized continuing legal education hours is never more shown than by the Bar Association of San Francisco’s sponsorship of a “Diversity Conference” generating extraordinary MCLE credit from the State Bar. While a program by three experienced San Francisco Superior Court law and motion department judges, one of them retired, justifies but one hour of MCLE credit in the eyes of the State Bar, six hours of such legal learning as a “Report from 2005 BASF Diversity Task Force,” “Importance of Building the Pipeline,” “Business Case for Diversity” and “Development of Goals for 2010″ produces six hours of credit. The object of mandatory continuing legal education, enacted by the Legislature and then governor in 1989, was substantive and procedural legal proficiency of practitioners, not the business of advancing social, economic or political policies of the moment. With the State Bar’s implementation of mandatory legal education, one can only imagine the eventual mandatory programs of “legal education” for judges. It could make members of the United States Senate Judiciary Committee look judicious. Quentin L. Kopp San Francisco Editor’s note: Quentin Kopp is a retired judge of the San Mateo County Superior Court. You can send Letters to the Editor to The Recorder, 10 United Nations Plaza, 3rd Floor, San Francisco, CA 94102; by fax at (415) 749-5549; or at [email protected].

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