May It Please The Court
Quote of the Day - The man who never alters his opinion is like standing water, and breeds reptiles of the mind.
$200,000 for SUV GraffitiSometimes you just have to wonder why. Despite whatever validity there may or may not be, these tactics don't fit with society's laws.
According to an AP article published today, three men aged 18 to 20 plead guilty to vandalizing more than 25 sport utility vehicles, construction equipment and building sites near Richmond, Virginia. The claim to have acted on behalf of a radical environmental group, the Earth Liberation Front.
The men have been ordered to repay $200,000. Guess the protest didn't go all that well.
Measure H is for High, not Hereditary GeneticsYa gotta love California. Out here on the left coast, we're just a bunch of wierdniks. Mendocino County will vote on March 2 (fittingly Dr. Seuss' birthday) whether to approve a first-in-the-nation ballot measure that would prohibit genetically modified plants and animals from being raised or kept in the county.
Ironically, products that are genetically engineered will still be allowed to be sold on store shelves. This contradiction could only happen in the county where the largest cash crop is marijuana, and the first county in the country to decriminalize marijuana.
It only makes sense here, where the district attorney is a Libertarian who served time in prison on tax charges and its sheriff is an outspoken proponent of medicinal marijuana.
It's become a bit of a battle. Proponents have a Measure H website, and the California Plant Health Association sued to get the language changed in Measure H, but lost.
Any county that legalizes marijuana is bound to disapprove of genetically altered plants. The people there must think the only things that should be altered are their minds, not their food. Get the whole store here.
Farm-raised Salmon Allegedly High in Dioxin & PCB PollutantsFarm-raised salmon have 1.88 ppb (parts per billion) of PCBs and dixons compared to 0.17 ppb for wild salmon. It generally costs $4-5 for a pound of farm salmon, and $15 for wild salmon, according to this Associated Press article.
The Food & Drug Administration does not set safe levels for these contaminants. Beyond not eating farm-raised salmon, there appears to be an easy fix: stop using feed that contains these high levels of pollutants, according to the Environmental Working Group.
The study, published in Science magazine (free, but time-consuming registration required just to review the abstract) indicates that feed is the source of the pollutants. But, you've got to love the internet. The Pew Charitable Trusts, which funded the study, published the entire study on its site.
Despite the findings, the FDA said the levels of pollutants found in salmon are too low for serious concern. The agency urged Americans not to let the new research frighten them into a diet change.
"We are certainly not telling people not to eat fish. ... We're telling them to eat less farmed salmon," said David Carpenter of the University at Albany, N.Y., who tested 700 salmon from around the world.
I don't like salmon, and now I've got an even better reason to avoid it - well, at least the farm-raised stuff, even if it is colored pink. But that assumption may not be the entire story. There's a completely different perspective offered by the Free Market Project.
Shocker: Low-Tar Cigs Just As Bad as Regular CigsHere's a shocker: low-tar cigarettes have no less danger of causing cancer than regular cigarettes.
I would have never guessed. ;)
The study, published in the British Medical Journal (but not yet available online) noted that smokers of "lighter" cigarettes compensate by taking deeper drags, holding the smoke longer and smoking more cigarettes.
The American Cancer Society and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology conducted the study. According to this article, "Tobacco industry representatives said manufacturers never claimed light or mild cigarettes were safer, and don't dispute the study's findings."
Philip Morris, for example, publishes its version of the facts about low-tar cigs, which are surprisingly similar to the study's conclusion. Guess they learn well after so many smoker's lawsuits.
Don't ask me, I only occasionally smoke cigars.
Y for Snowmobiles in Yellowstone?The Yellowstone / Snowmobile flap has been in this blog before and before, and here it is again.
The Wyoming Attorney General apparently filed a Motion for Reconsideration, and the judge agreed to reopen the case.
No decisions yet - not even new dates for the reconsideration. Just the news that the case is not final. The decision was announced on Findlaw, and there'll be more to come here when the case reopens.
For now, follow this bouncing ball on the Yellowstone fact page.
Eggs Gone Mad - Where's the Parents Here?It had to come to this.
K.M. donated her eggs to her then lesbian partner, E.G., (no, not e.g., or exempli gratia) who presumably with only the help of a sperm donor, became pregnant and had twins. Eight years ago.
At the time she donated the eggs, K..M signed a waiver of parental rights, but then proceeded to parent the twins for the ensuing eight years.
Until K.M. and E.G. broke up. Then, when E.G. presumably denied access to the twins, K.G. filed a Petition to Establish Parental Relationship.
In Marin County. (Where else?)
In the trial court, the Commissioner rejected K.M.'s Petition, according to Courthouse News. Commissioner Randolph E. Heubach ruled that K.M. was no different than a sperm donor who gave up his rights to the sperm after donation.
The case is now on appeal before the First District Court of Appeals in San Francisco. K.M.'s argument is that her eight years of parenting should amount to something.
All the briefing's not in yet, but this brief was filed by amicus curiae National Center for Lesbian Rights.
This case is apparently the first time that a lesbian has attempted to assert parental rights to children based on donating her own eggs.
All I want to know is why we're referring to these people by initials. Don't they have names? Weren't they aware that when they got started with this that all hell might break loose?
What Will Jimmy Buffett Sing About Now?As Jimmy Buffet sings in his song, Fruitcakes:
"We lost our Martian rocket ship
The high paid spokesman said
Looks like that silly rocket ship
Has lost it's cone-shaped head
We spent ninety jillion dollars
Tryin' to get a look at Mars
I hear universal laughter
Ringing out among the stars"
Well, not anymore. NASA nailed it this time. They spent twice as much money ($180 jillion dollars) on Spirit and Opportunity, two Martian rocket ships, before getting it right.
But get it right they did. Last time, though, the Mars orbiter got programmed partially in metric, partially in English measurements, and thus Buffett's lyrics.
I often get to write about the environment and business litigation, but rarely about postcards from Mars. Those of you who know me well know that you'll get one from me when I get there.
Until that happens, here are a few to enjoy.
A 2004 RetrospectiveSo, we made it through New Year's without any terror attacks. Sure, a plane crashed and there were surely other disasters that merit our thoughts and prayers.
We were on High Alert, and it appears to have paid off. We get to pay later, though. The cost of high alerts is expensive, not only financially, but also emotionally for some.
Contrast that with the silliness of New Year's resolutions and the rationality of it all seems utterly foolish.
Fellow blogger the Sassy Lawyer celebrated with a band and a blowjob (the latter is a name for a drink) and we went to the Newport Beach Sutton Place Hotel for dinner, and then drinks at Prego with our friends and acquaintances, complete with a New Year's hat and a tiara.
Now, the first week of New Year is upon us, and the world's in front of us again. The holiday season is gone, and 2004 is here.
Welcome to another year. What are you going to do with it?