Quote of the Day - Patriotism varies, from a noble devotion to a moral lunacy.
Patriotism or Capitalism? Or are they the same?The New York Post, a veritable bastion of legal news, plastered a headline about an old-line New York law firm that committed to remain in lower Manhattan, near ground zero.
The paper quoted Mayor Michael Bloomberg: "Cadwalader, Wickersham and Taft LLP signed a lease for 450,000-square-feet of space at One World Financial Center." Cadwalader, first established in 1792, has made an astounding deal.
The firm was awarded a $5.3 million government grant to remain in lower Manhattan, and $1 million over 15 years toward energy costs. Cadwalader is also eligible to receive another $3.4 million to add up to 400 additional jobs over the next five years. In return, the firm committed to a seven-year stay.
Here in California, companies are leaving in droves, with some 17% of businesses presently in the state planning to leave. Now we know where some are going.
At least I'm going to call up Bloomberg and find out what kind of deal I can get.
Celts Corral Cigars - California StyleCalifornia's smoking ban has wound it's way across the country, with New York enacting a similar ban earlier this year.
Now it's crossed the big pond and is set to go into law in Ireland in January 2004. Not all are happy about it, though.
The Irish Independent newspaper (they couldn't have chosen any other name and gotten away with it), notes that the century-old tradition is about to go up in smoke.
Cigar smoking is something of a national pastime in Ireland, with a significant number of female smokers, too. The venerable JJ Fox has been on Grafton Street in Dublin for 122 years, and even Mr. Fox says he needs an exemption from the ban because "we ourselves have to test the cigars to find out if they are a good or bad vintage."
Especially if you have cigars in your humidor from 1948, as JJ Fox does. For me, I'll stick with my favorite style - Cubana cigars, which I haven't been able to find in the U.S.
Hanging Chads and Hanging VotersNow we wait until March, unless the U.S. Supremes elect (no pun intended) to hear the California gubenatorial challenge. In what is otherwise a wonderful historic lesson in voting processes - extending all the way back to the black and white fava bean method (see "Discussion") in revolutionary times - the Ninth Circuit voted "No" on the recall.
The well-written opinon tracks past history and into the present "disenfrancisement" of California voters given the "antiquated" voting system we now have in place. The 9th Circuit thinks in one place that about 40,000 voters may not have their votes counted, and in another that it may extend to 44% of California counties.
300,000 California voters have already voted.
The three Circuit Judges (the old joke is that there is no "Justice" in the 9th Circuit), then move into legal analysis of the injunction and voting rights.
The beginning section of the opinon contains this colorful gem: "In this case, Plaintiffs allege that the fundamental right to have votes counted in the special recall election is infringed because the pre-scored punchcard voting systems used in some California counties are intractably inflicted with technologic dyscalculia."
Huh? This 37-word sentence says it all. Heck, even I'm afraid to vote now. No wonder they put off the election.
Dyscalculia? Webster's defines it as: "Impairment of the ability to solve mathematical problems, usually resulting from brain dysfunction." That must translate into a difficulty to count votes.
I don't know. Last time I counted something, I started with 1, 2, 3, 4 and kept going. The problem, though, is in the proverbial hanging chad, a la Florida-style. The University of Iowa's Douglas W. Jones provides a lesson in hanging chads from a computer science perspective. But that's not the only issue.
The Supreme Court faces several problems in hearing the case. First, there's hardly enough time to render an opinion (the election was originally scheduled for October 7), second, the Justices came under fire for their involvement between Bush and Gore, and third, there's no hard evidence - only the spectre of prospective harm. MIPTC predicts the Supremes will turn down the opportunity to resolve the dispute because other than the delay, what's the harm?
Even without such a resolution, if our voting system was so flawed, then why didn't California have the disaster that Florida had in the last election (i.e. when we elected Gray Davis)? I don't know who's got the brain dysfunction here, but I don't think it's California voters.
Ahhhnold is Temporarily TerminatedThe Ninth Circuit delayed the election for the California Governor in a 66-page opinion.
I haven't read it all yet, but will have some thoughts on it later. The only thing I will note, however, is that on cases taken on certorari by the U.S. Supreme Court, general estimates place the reversal rate of 9th Circuit rulings over 90 percent. The end of the 9th Circuit's opinion gives the California Secretary of State just one week to appeal the decision before the injunction goes into effect.
Diesel Emission Limits Under StudyAn internal EPA report recommends tightening the standards for soot emissions. The Washington Times notes that this report may result in stricter standards for diesel emissions.
The standards already in place from the Clinton era address soot emissons below 15 micrograms of soot per cubic meter of air. Although in place since 1997, these standards have been the subject of several challenges.
In the draft report, EPA staff analysis recommends the allowable concentrations be reduced further, possibly as much as 50 percent for the 24-hour standard and 20 percent for the annual average standard.
Bill Kovacs of the U.S. Chamber of Commerce claims that more regulation will cost U.S. businesses between $50 to $150 billon dollars. American Lung Association representatives seemed pleased with the report. The ALA originally criticized the EPA for failing to adopt these tighter standards in 1997.
Glen Kedzie, Assistant General and Environmental Counsel for the American Trucking Association has been leading the fight against tighter standards.
An EPA spokesperson said that the 442-page report was in draft form and had not yet been reviewed by other scientific peers. New regulations are not expected until after 2005.
Canadian Women Obtain More Law DegreesMore Canadian women than men are graduating with law degress. Today's Ottowa Citizen published a news article citing a recent news article citing a study performed by the Association for Canadian Studies about the results.
While some are excited about the results, the news is not all good. "Only about 20 percent of all women hold university degrees," said Dr. Jo-Anne Lee, a professor in women's studies at the University of Victoria. Even among those with degrees, she doubted many were able to achieve the highest positions in their professions.
Litigation + Budget Crisis = TaxiforniaSome seven months after introducing the bill, California State Senator Joe Dunn's SB 796 looks poised to pass into law. It may be a first for the Left Coast.
The bill empowers workers to sue bosses over wage and hour violations. Given the State's budget crises, it appears that the Labor and Workforce Development Agency doesn't have the budget for enforcement.
Instead, Senator Joe Dunn promises to put that power in the hands of the people. Unfortunately for the worker, however, the recovery is split three ways, with the worker getting only 25%, and the other 75% flowing into the State's hands. Now that's a creative way to solve California's budget crisis. The Assembly just passed the bill, so it's on to the Governor's office.
Will Gray Davis sign it? Does he need votes?
Plenty Of Dogs In This FightDinky the talking Chihuahua can't sport one of those T-shirts that reads: "If you can't run with the Big Dogs, get off of the porch." Previously relegated only to TV commercials hawking burritos, he's now starring in a Michigan courtroom.
Two men, claiming to have created the talking Chichuahua, sued Taco Bell for ownership of the mascot. Plaintiff's attorney Douglas Dozeman stated, "my clients created a licensed character named 'Psycho Chihuahua,' which was then adapted and used by Taco Bell in the ads." Dinky is the name of the actual dog that played the part of the Chichuahua in the ads.
Dozemons's clients won. Big. Now they're the ones on the porch.
But not satisfied with the paltry $30.2M victory highlighted in Justice Bedsworth's weblog, the two men went for the gusto, and ended up with mucho gusto. In post-trial motions, Federal District Court Judge Gordon J. Quist awarded an extra $11.8M in interest on top of the judgment.
Dozeman said: "Sooner or later, Taco Bell is going to run out of issues, and Joe and Tom will finally be able to receive the proper compensation for their intellectual property." Taco Bell Spokeswoman Lauire Bell responded, "We continue to believe that the Chihuahua character was created independently, and we intend to appeal the jury's verdict."
I'm still waiting to hear Dinky's thoughts now that the Psycho Chihuahua is running with the Big Dogs.