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    I didn't realize this idea of putting definitions in BEGIN was a serious 
    suggestion. I strongly oppose having either BEGIN or LET do this. The reason
    is that it makes it impossible to write code which wants to use these 
    primitives for other things and doesn't have additional implications that
    may be unwanted or may have implications in macros or program-writing programs
    that some programmer didn't count on.

    As a counter-proposal, how about a LOCALLY special form. 
     ie, (LOCALLY <definition>* <form>*)

The main reason for local DEFINE is S&ICP.  If LET is just syntactic
sugar for LAMBDA, DEFINE must be allowed at top level of a LET.
Beyond that I would object strongly to disallowing DEFINE in LET since
I (and other people at MIT) use it all the time.

I think that JAR sent the message about begin at least half jokingly
(April 1st), so it should not be taken too seriously.