Friday, October 15, 2004

Frivolous Lawsuits 

With Bill O'Reilly heroically filing a pre-emptive complaint against the woman he had been masturbating at for several months, I feel it's my duty to take on the issue of frivolous lawsuits.

Nobody is denying that the tort system needs some tweaking, but with the recent rollbacks of vast swaths of business and industry regulatory structure, there needs to be something to catch those unfortunates who slip through the cracks. It's a fine line to walk and nobody is saying it's an easy job. I think damage caps are a bad idea because they are wholly arbitrary. I think penalizing attorneys heavily who bring frivolous suits might help, but you have to do something to penalize the client as well...lawyers can be good filters, but they can also be manipulated.

Well...I'm not going to come up with a full answer this early in the morning (and before my coffee), so I'll just mention the fact that
American businesses file four times as many lawsuits as do individuals represented by trial attorneys, and they are penalized by judges much more often for pursuing frivolous litigation, according to a report issued today by Public Citizen.
What about those nasty trial lawyers and their heartless wasting of judicial resources again?

UPDATE: For those of you who are not either lawyers or in law school and who don't immediately get the point of this post, it's simple. More judicial resources are being wasted by the filing of frivolous lawsuits in the commercial (i.e., Company X v. Company Y) context than in the individual tort victim context (i.e., medical malpractice, products liability, etc.). Note that nobody is defaming commercial litigators, it's those damn "trial lawyers" (i.e., personal injury, med. mal.) who have to go. But in reality, they are less a drain on the system.

Now if you want to argue about magnitude of liability, punitive damages, etc., there's something to be discussed there. If you want to talk about frivolous suits wasting judicial resources, check your facts before you start blaming the "trial lawyers."

Thursday, October 14, 2004

A Rove Gambit? 

I'm way to lazy right now to actually dig up links for stuff in this post...

I'm assuming everyone has read somewhere that the Falluja assault would be put off until after the election. Some on the left were whining about how Bush was refusing to act big in Iraq until after the election for political reasons (i.e., it would be bad for Bush to have a sudden rise in U.S. military deaths in Iraq just before the election).

I think the left played into Rove's hands, there.

Bush is on his heels in the campaign and so he floats this thing just enough to hit a slight buzz in the media, and now he's initializing the attack today (the day after the debates). Officials, of course, are saying "this is not the assault to take back Falluja." (saw that just now on CNN) That's a way of trying to lower expectations before, and cover Bush's back door if this blows up in his face, but the benefits will still rain down if the city falls and any semblance of order is restored.

I'm not saying the whole thing was orchestrated for political ends, I'm just describing the politics surrounding a military maneuver that I hope would have happened as the military planned regardless of what the politics of the situation were. And I think Rove did this really well...

Fair and Balanced 

I've noticed on several occasions that "Fair and Balanced" Fox News has tacitly, passively recognized its own bias. Normally, this happens when I am watching TV at my girlfriend's house and switch to Fox to get the ol' blood pressure goin'. I'm always about to blog about it when I realize that to substantiate seeing what I saw, I would have to wait for a transcript and then go hunt it down. I'm a lazy bastard.

Well I finally found an instance that is already online and easily link-to-able.

It happens in the context of Bill O'Reilly's recent troubles with one of those frivolous lawsuits the right is always braying about. I won't discuss the details of the lawsuit because Tbagged... is pretty clearly a family site. If you want to read about Bill, vibrators and falafel, however, click here.

Here's the portion of the whole thing relevant to this post, via Salon:
O'Reilly's attorneys alleged that the lawsuit was motivated not only by greed but politics, alleging that Mackris' lawyer, Benedict Morelli, his firm and his wife are "known supporters of and contributors to the Democratic Party" who wanted to "embarrass and tarnish the reputations of Fox and O'Reilly" during the election season.
Now, if Fox really believed it was fair and balanced, then why would it automatically assume that supporters of the Democratic party would attack it with a frivolous, politically driven suit? Shouldn't it be secure enough in it's fairness and balancedness not to check out the political leanings of those who file suit against it or its talking heads?

And note what the Fox lawyer is saying. The lawyers for this woman are somehow filing a politically motivated suit. That's interesting since they would have to find a client to file a sexual harassment suit like this. What did these nasty Democrat lawyers do, hang around outside the Fox News studios asking all young, female producers if the station's flagship pundit had rubbed one out while having a dirty phone conversation with them until they found one that fit the bill (pun intended)?


Mary Cheney 

I hate it when Andrew Sullivan points out why I'm wrong...but he does so occasionally, and this is one of those times.

In a previous post about the vice presidential debate, I said I thought it was a low blow for Edwards to drag Mary into the gay rights debate. I had not heard the question, which mentioned Mary with some specificity.

I again got the feeling that Kerry did not do well to drag Mary into the third presidential debate, not because I thought it was out of line (she is out, open, and even a sometimes activist on gay rights issues...so no nasty outing here or anything) but because I thought it would give Republicans some ammo. Lynne isn't letting me down on that count.

But Sullivan does a great job of explaining why it is people who get in a tizzy about other people talking about gays who are confortable with and out about their sexuality that have the problem, not people who use those people as personal examples in legitimate political discourse:
I keep getting emails asserting that Kerry's mentioning of Mary Cheney is somehow offensive or gratuitous or a "low blow". Huh? Mary Cheney is out of the closet and a member, with her partner, of the vice-president's family. That's a public fact. No one's privacy is being invaded by mentioning this. When Kerry cites Bush's wife or daughters, no one says it's a "low blow." The double standards are entirely a function of people's lingering prejudice against gay people. And by mentioning it, Kerry showed something important. This issue is not an abstract one. It's a concrete, human and real one. It affects many families, and Bush has decided to use this cynically as a divisive weapon in an election campaign. He deserves to be held to account for this - and how much more effective than showing a real person whose relationship and dignity he has attacked and minimized? Does this makes Bush's base uncomfortable? Well, good. It's about time they were made uncomfortable in their acquiescence to discrimination. Does it make Bush uncomfortable? Even better. His decision to bar gay couples from having any protections for their relationships in the constitution is not just a direct attack on the family member of the vice-president. It's an attack on all families with gay members - and on the family as an institution. That's a central issue in this campaign, a key indictment of Bush's record and more than relevant to any debate. For four years, this president has tried to make gay people invisible, to avoid any mention of us, to pretend we don't exist. Well, we do. Right in front of him.
Good point, Andy...

UPDATE: Hesiod comes out of retirement...again...to wonder just where ol' Lynne was when Alan Keyes (R - Maryl...er...Illinois) said outright that Mary was practicing "selfish hedonism." Not that I ever had any respect for Lynne Cheney, but if there was a shred hanging there, it just fell off.

Wednesday, October 13, 2004

Texans for Medical Marijuana Benefit Party 

For those of you in the Austin area:

First Aid - A Benefit for Texans for Medical Marijuana

Saturday, October 16th
at The Caucus Club (912 Red River)
10pm - 2am
21+ $5/person

Bands inside:
The Back Porch Vipers (Texas swing)
PAW (singer-songwriter)
Transmography (jammy goodness)

DJs outside:
Merrick Brown (Get Broke, Chalant, 626 Soul)
Tyler (Get Broke, APOV, SemiAudiks)
Perspective (APOV, SemiAudiks) on the mic...

Come out and support a good cause and have some fun. Should be a good party.

Monday, October 11, 2004

San Diego 

Can't beat the weather out here.

I'm staying in the Hilton north of town, which isn't nearly as cool as the Standard, but damn nice nonetheless. De La Soul's tourbus just pulled up a while ago...guess they're playing a date here tonight. If I didn't have to leave for the airport early in the morning, I'd have to figure out where that was going down. Maybe once my interview is over I'll take a nap to rest up for crashing an afterparty.

The rest of my time in L.A. was inspired. Good friends, great show (Bugz in the Attic at the Toro Lounge), and some good afterpartying.

Right now I'm trying not to think about the OU game...at least it wasn't a blowout this year. It'd be nice if we had a little offense, though.

I'm taking a much needed break from thinking about politics too much, but that'll start back up again once my trip is over. I wish I could fly out tonight...I miss my girlfriend and need to get more work done than I can make myself do on the road.

That's about that.

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