Quote of the Day - You get what you pay for.
Live, From Las Vegas, It's the BlogOver the last few days, this blog has been coming to you live from Las Vegas, and in particular the Bellagio hotel. Today, for the first time, I've been able to go wireless, thanks to Bellagio Business Services Manager LeCheyva Smith, and several of Bellagio's highly qualified internet technicians, and specifically Greg, who took the time to convert fiber optic signal to my wireless router (yes, I carry one with me).
My compliments to the whole team. They went above and beyond the call of duty to help out just one of their guests. It's a rarity to find one person at a hotel that will help, let alone five. Bellagio should give this team a raise.
Thanks guys! It's working great.
Too Cool Law Students Learn a Lesson from ProfNo matter how many times you read about law school, you generally don't hear about gunner bingo.
It's a game that those that are "cool" in law school play, and don't tell the ones that readily answer questions (gunners). The article on gunner bingo (see link above), is written by a former player, now turned law professor.
For law students, it's a good read, and an interesting perspective. It applies to the rest of us, too, who may from time to time think that we're too cool (link intentionally "coming soon" - read between the lines).
Here's a Surprise: The ACLU Takes A StandThere are a number of blue-blooded American citizens who think that the ACLU should be banned.
There are a number of other Americans who thank the ACLU for restoring America to its roots.
Whatever your beliefs are, here's some news you may not have heard. Not the news that's in the news. That news is that the ACLU stopped accepting federal money.
The ACLU accepted federal money?
Say it ain't so.
OK, the ACLU isn't what it claimed to be. There's a surprise. Of course, the ACLU blames its refusal to accept money on the federal government's Patriot Act and the McCarthyist "watch lists."
You know, it all comes down to the money.
Let's see. It's mid-2004, and the Patriot Act was passed in 2001.
It only took the ACLU three years and $1,500,000 in federal money to figure it out. What's the real reason? I don't know. Maybe the federal government decided to cut the ACLU off, and the ACLU just decided to sluff it off on a "principled" stance.
What's your guess?
Insurers Lose Battle Against CustomersCalifornia insurers lost another battle in the long-running war against their customers and lawyers. The case decided last week, Casssim v. Allstate, by the California Supreme Court dealt a blow on the issue of attorneys fees.
Insurers, of course, want to pay as little as possible. Not anymore. Here's the setup:
The Cassims' house burned, and they submitted a claim to Allstate. The insurer suspected arson, and refused to pay. The only problem was that the insurer had no proof that the insureds burned their own home, although they accused the Cassims of setting it.
That accusation was just the first of a long list of Allstate's bad faith actions against their insureds. The Cassims successfully sued Allstate for bad faith and won $3.6 million in compensatories, and $5 million in punitives. Ouch.
Obviously dissatisfied with losing that big of a verdict, Allstate tried to save more money by not paying the Plaintiff's lawyers, but it didn't work.
After Plaintiffs win a bad faith case, their lawyers are entitled to recover fees and costs caused by the insurer's bad faith under a case called Brandt v. Superior Court (be careful about the information on that last link - that's the law firm that lost the Cassim case).
So, Allstate claimed that the Cassim attorneys should recover only 40% of the actual amount in dispute - some $46,000 - not the entire amount of the $8.6 million recovery. Of course, many other insurance companies submitted amicus curiae briefs, claiming that the Plaintiff's lawyers were entitled to only about $16,000.
The Supreme Court didn't buy the argument. The Court ruled that the attorneys can recover 40% of the total recovery. "Plaintiffs agreed, as is generally the case, to pay their attorney an unallocated and undifferentiated 40 percent of their total recovery, whatever that might be," Justice Kathryn Mickle Werdegar wrote. "To conclude that to obtain a $40,856.40 contract recovery, plaintiffs are out of pocket precisely $16,342.56, no more and no less, is therefore a fiction."
Of course, it's not that simple - the Court set out a complicated formula to figure out the exact apportionment. But, for people that can't afford to hire lawyers and lawyers that work on contingency, it will assure representation.
It's a victory for the regular people.
Redux on Bulletproof Vests - We Scooped ItWe covered it here back in December, last year. The Pennsylvania Attorney General is just now catching up.
Bulletproof vests, that is. MIPTC's article told the story of vest material that was not doing the job. We even got a thank you from one of the men in blue for the warning.
Now, PA's AG has decided to sue the vest manufacturer, perhaps aptly named Second Chance. About time?
Maybe the AG should have read MIPTC back in December.
Mad About ConventionsIt's convention time, both for the GOP and the DNC. Yes, the Green Party has a convention, too, as well as the Libertarians.
I presume there are others that I should give equal time to, but you get the idea. There are almost as many political parties as there are people in the U.S. - especially if you ask for opinions.
What's the hullabaloo all about? Pomp and circumstance? Just an opportunity to get together?
Is it really just for show?
No. It's what we're about. It's voting, something other countries rarely get. It's something we've started wars over.
So, join in, enjoy the fun, listen to the speeches and then, come November, do something about it.
California Beaches Not Rated, But Still CleanAre our beaches here in California clean, or are we just cheap?
Probably not either one. Turns out that we may be being blackmailed.
Californians, along with officials in several other states, refused to pay for a group to come here and "rate" our beaches.
Clean Beaches, a "non-profit" charges $2,500 to "rate" a beach as clean, and $1,500 for every year thereafter. For that sum, you get a "blue" code on the organization's website. If you don't pay, your beach is rated "red." Apparently, the Washington, DC-based group hadn't made it out to California, except by telephone.
No West Coast beach was rated as clean, leading the group's founder and President Walter McLeod to suggest those beaches were not qualified. "We toughened our criteria last year, which means that beaches have to build up to become certified,' McLeod said to CNN last month.
When questioned recently about the lack of payments, however, McLeod responded, "I probably may have misconveyed that it was quality criteria alone that caused California or Hawaii not to be in the program. If that was communicated, then that's certainly not what we intended."
Go swim in the Potomac. That's nice and clean.
Watch the Road or Watch a Movie? Watch Out.You might want to think twice when installing an in-dash DVD player. Apparently, it can be installed bypassing the safety feature requiring your foot to be on the brake when watching it.
That's what prosecutors in Alaska are claiming. They believe that a pickup swerved across the highway and killed the two occupants of an oncoming car. The authorities believe that the pickup driver was watching his in-dash DVD player instead of the road.
The pickup's driver, Erwin J. Petterson Jr., denies using the DVD player as he drove north on along Seward Highway on Oct. 12, 2002, and contends he was only listening to music from a compact disc.
The National Transportation Safety Board discourages the use of in-dash units because they distract drivers. I couldn't find much on the Consumer Electronics Association website. They just seem happy that sales are up.
There's no law against in-dash units yet, but you can expect that Alaska may lead the nation in putting one on the books.