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Quote of the Day - Smoking is one of the leading causes of statistics. - Fletcher Knebel
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There are 2033 Journal Items on 255 page(s) and you are on page number 161

The Dangers Of Smoking

For some reason the headline "Man Sues Over Exploding Toilet" sounds much too much like a Monty Python skit or a headline from the onion.com.

Not being a smoker, I am not sure if it is commonplace to sit down and light up or not. If it is, just imagine the additional warning labels that are going to have to be placed on packs of smokes. If words can’t get the message across, perhaps a picture (see photo) would do. This graphic may be the best way to keep kids from ever picking up the habit.

Podcast 

Printer friendly page Permalink Email to a friend Posted by Michel J. Ayer on Sunday, June 05, 2005 at 14:24. Comments Closed (1) |

Blogger As Journalist Dispute To Be Decided

Or, Was Ben Franklin The First Blogger?

Writ granted!

The Sixth District Court of Appeal wants to hear more from Apple and Jason O'Grady. On Thursday, the Court agreed to consider whether Apple Computer can subpoena records kept by the ISP for O'Grady's blog PowerPage that published / posted information about Asteroid. Apple claims the information posted was a trade secret. The 6th DCA issued an order requesting more briefing and giving the parties the opportunity to request oral argument.

That's one postcard you can expect will be sent in. Surely we'll hear both sides argue the issue shortly.

Initially, this dispute seemed ripe for bloggers to take up the banner of whether O'Grady was a journalist, a position Apple hasn't contested. (Aside here, and hat tip to fellow Law.com blogger Professor Orin Kerr, whose law review article, A User’s Guide to the Stored Communications Act, and a Legislator’s Guide to Amending It, got cited in the EFF brief.)

Apple understandably has tried to frame the issue as a violation of its trade secrets in an attempt to avoid First Amendment issues.

The EFF, on the other hand, views the issue squarely as one that involves the right of journalists to protect their sources.

Bloggers offer all types of solutions. They propose boycotting Apple (how many bloggers out there are willing to give up their Macs in support of that boycott?); sticking their head in the sand; seeing what other bloggers think; waiting and seeing; and throwing up their hands.

Some have jumped right into the fray, and filed amicus briefs. No matter what stance you take, everyone's got an opinion, but ultimately, it will be only one opinion that matters.

Mine won't be it, and it's highly likely that unless you sit here, yours won't either. But that doesn't stop us from prognosticating.

Where do you come down on the issue? Are bloggers journalists? Perhaps, but not all, which means the converse is likely true, as well: not all journalists are bloggers. I'm sorry; Logic is getting me off track, again. Let's get back to the point of this post.

There are some journalists who aren't journalists, and some newspapers tabloids that aren't journalism.

But apparently, all MSM journalists enjoy the privilege of protecting their sources. A nice, easy-to-apply, bright-line test.

The only result that would remain consistent, then, is that all bloggers are journalists. All we have to do is rely on precedent. You know - go back in time at bit. Thanks, Ben Franklin, for the reminder that one person can be writer, printer and publisher all rolled into one.

Just like a blogger.

Podcast 

Printer friendly page Permalink Email to a friend Posted by J. Craig Williams on Saturday, June 04, 2005 at 17:23. Comments Closed (1) |

What Next? Lice On The Endangered Species List?

There are a lot of real estate developers frustrated with the Endangered Species Act. Here in California, the Kangaroo rat has held up acres of real estate development.

Hold on to your hat. You are about to get even more frustrated with the ESA, if some scientists have their way.

Ready for this? They've proposed adding lice as an endangered species. In fact, Doctor-in-waiting Noah Whiteman wants to add a number of parasites to the list.

Now before you get your knickers in a twist, don't expect these additions to happen anytime soon. There are, after all, criteria before a species makes it onto the list.

Thank God.

Next thing you know, someone will nominate tapeworms.

Podcast 

Printer friendly page Permalink Email to a friend Posted by J. Craig Williams on Friday, June 03, 2005 at 20:18. Comments Closed (1) |

The Money Has To Come From Somewhere - The Consequences of Decreasing Investment Returns

Which side of the debate do you fall on? There's one more study that apparently falls on the side of lawyers. Dartmouth College researchers argue that it's not lawsuits that cause rising malpractice premiums.

To $100,000, on average, for doctors.

The researchers argue that the rise in premiums is a direct consequence of the insurance companies' decrease in investment returns. You know, that old inverse proportion problem.

You gotta get money from somewhere in order to pay malpractice claims, so if investments go down, premiums go up.

The AMA disagrees, and claims that tort reforms are the answer. Insurance companies likewise blame lawyers.

I don't sue or defend doctors, so I'm arguably neutral on the point - other than my occupation as a lawyer and perhaps inherent desire to defend the profession. But I'm siding with Dartmouth on this one.

Most people know about stock market losses, and know what's happened to their own insurance premiums.

Should doctors be surprised that their malpractice premiums have increased at the same proportion that insurance investment returns have decreased? Or did they miss that day in math class?

Podcast 

Printer friendly page Permalink Email to a friend Posted by J. Craig Williams on Thursday, June 02, 2005 at 00:13. Comments Closed (0) |

Death Knell For MIPTC Comment Spam

Some time ago, MIPTC followed Google's lead and added the No follow code to our comment coding to prevent comment spam. Unfortunately, it hasn't worked.

Comment spam is out of control. I'm so frrrustrated with taking so much time to delete it that we've developed the ultimate weapon.

First, though, please realize that MIPTC tried and tried to come up with alternatives. After adding the 'No Follow' code, comment spam almost seemed like it got worse. We next reprogrammed the administrative site to make it easier to delete comment spam. I spent way too much time deleting comments encouraging you to play poker and visit strip sites. All of this at significant expense and effort to prevent this parasite.

It still didn't work. We finally recoded the administrative site to delete any comment with more than three html links. Same amount of comment spam as before, just more comments to delete.

So, regrettably, MIPTC has installed software to patrol comments and automatically delete any comment that adds an html link.

You can still comment, but you will no longer be able to put a link in a comment. If you want to comment and post a link, send me an email, and I'll add it to a post. You can also call MIPTC's audio comment line at 206-338-3088 and I'll post your audio comment.

If anyone can come up with a better solution, I'm all ears. Just don't put the link in the comment box.

Podcast 

Printer friendly page Permalink Email to a friend Posted by J. Craig Williams on Wednesday, June 01, 2005 at 20:41. Comments Closed (0) |

What Do Marriage Brokers and Assisted Suicide Have In Common?

If you guessed maybe a bad joke on The Tonight Show, perhaps. But actually, it's the California Legislature.

They're both pending bills. If passed, international marriage brokers will now have to be licensed, and assisted suicide may become legal in California.

The “Compassionate Choice Act would authorize an adult who meets certain qualifications, and who has been determined by his or her attending physician to be suffering from a terminal disease to make a request for medication for the purpose of ending his or her life in a humane and dignified manner, ” according to Assemblywoman Patty Berg (D-Eureka), who authored this bill. Oregon is the only other state with a similar law.

This year may be a first for California. Licenses may be required to get into a marriage and to get out.

Podcast 

Printer friendly page Permalink Email to a friend Posted by J. Craig Williams on Tuesday, May 31, 2005 at 23:20. Comments Closed (0) |

Submarining Base Closures Based On Contamination Cleanup Costs

Base closures are battlegrounds of their own. While they're certainly big issues for discussion, MIPTC wants to focus on one.

As a young cadet, I spent a summer learning how to sail across from the sub base in Groton, in New London, on the Thames River.

We learned the rules of the road of sailing, one of which required powered vessels to give way to sailboats. Learning in 12-foot dingys, we thought we held sway over submarines. It didn't work. One cadet ended up with his dingy smashed into the conning tower, and as he looked up to the stunned submarine captain, he could only muster "Permission to come aboard, sir?" Subs, it turned out, were entitled to the right of way over a sailboat because even though powered (sail almost always trumps power), the subs' movement was restricted in a tight channel and couldn't stop or turn easily, whereas 12-foot dingys could.

Shortly, however, that story will not repeat itself, since subs won't be maneuvering up and down the river. The shocking aspect of the base closure, however, isn't so much missing subs, but the contamination left behind.

So much so that the government predicts the Groton property won't be able to be used for virtually anything (see the last line of the story from the last link above). Beyond MIPTC's known penchant for making the government responsible to clean up its own mess (since the government requires businesses to clean up their contamination), this closure just doesn't make sense.

Think about it.

The Pentagon wants to close a base that ultimately can't (or won't) be used for anything else.

Why not just keep it open?

Podcast 

Printer friendly page Permalink Email to a friend Posted by J. Craig Williams on Tuesday, May 31, 2005 at 00:52. Comments Closed (0) |

Napa Means Napa!

Another big decision rolled through wine country yesterday as the California Court of Appeal upheld a state labeling law that says that the names of places mean something and if you want to use the name of that place in your winery name, then the bulk of the grapes have to come from that place.

This decision is good news for consumers. Federal law basically requires that the brand name not be misleading but had an exception for brands established before 1986. The California law eliminates this exception. Additionally, wine labels that wish to state a particular state, county, or viticultural appellation are subject to additional federal requirements. To use a state or county appellation on the label, at least 75% of the grapes used to produce the wine must be from the state or county. In order to use an approved viticultural appellation, the wine must be at least 85% from that AVA.

Bronco Wine Co., the company challenging the state law, claimed that its labels were not misleading or deceptive. The ruling will have an immediate impact on three of Bronco’s brands: Napa Ridge, Napa Creek Winery, and Rutherford Vintners, but shouldn’t affect its massively successful Charles Shaw brand. Napa Ridge, Napa Creek and Rutherford Vintners are all produced with grapes grown outside of Napa or Rutherford.

If you weren’t in the wine industry or hadn’t read this post up to this point would you have had any indication that the above mentioned wines weren’t from the famed Napa Valley? On the face of things you probably would have thought that these were Napa products even though the federally mandated fine print prohibited a claim of Napa as the source of the fruit. The fact of the matter is if you aren’t a wine geek like me, you probably wouldn’t look at the fine print and would just assume a wine called Napa Ridge was from Napa.

The court felt the same way, “Although more sophisticated wine consumers may not be misled by a brand name of viticultural significance that does not meet the appellation of origin requirements, other wine consumers are unaware of the technical meaning of the term 'appellation of origin,' and do not understand the significance of the specification of origin on the label. At the same time, these less sophisticated wine consumers are sufficiently aware of Napa Valley and its reputation as a premium wine growing region and consider that factor when purchasing wine.”

Thanks to the California Court of Appeal, now you can be sure if the label says Napa, it means Napa!

Podcast 

Printer friendly page Permalink Email to a friend Posted by Michel J. Ayer on Friday, May 27, 2005 at 13:21. Comments Closed (0) |



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