Friday, June 08, 2007

slouching towards tort reform

ACS Blog

Judge Robert Bork, one of the fathers of the modern judicial conservative movement whose nomination to the Supreme Court was rejected by the Senate, is seeking $1,000,000 in compensatory damages, plus punitive damages, after he slipped and fell at the Yale Club of New York City. Judge Bork was scheduled to give a speech at the club, but he fell when mounting the dais, and injured his head and left leg. He alleges that the Yale Club is liable for the $1m plus punitive damages because they "wantonly, willfully, and recklessly" failed to provide staging which he could climb safely.

Judge Bork has been a leading advocate of restricting plaintiffs' ability to recover through tort law. In a 2002 article published in the Harvard Journal of Law & Public Policy--the official journal of the Federalist Society--Bork argued that frivolous claims and excessive punitive damage awards have caused the Constitution to evolve into a document which would allow Congress to enact tort reforms that would have been unconstitutional at the framing:

friday random ten

Photo by Ryan McManus

"Reform the Countryside" - Frog Eyes [Tears of the Valedictorian (2007)]

"Hey Fanny" - Coachwhips [Coachwhips / Trin Tran Split 7" (2004)]

"Sublime" - Miou Miou {La La Grande Finale (2006)]

"Mr. Whippy" - Lost Penguin [demo (2006)]

"Cowboys and Virginians" - The Midgetmen [High Life (2004)]

"Ghosts" - Big Ditch Road [Suicide Note Reader's Companion (2006)]

"Crime Does Pay" - The Hourly Radio [History Will Never Hold Me (2006)]

"The Season Is Ours" - Flying Saucer Attack [Flying Saucer Attack (1994)]

"Bugs" - Spare Snare [Live At Home (1995)]

"The Mercy Seat" - Johnny Cash [American Recordings III - Solitary Man (2000)]

Powered by

Thursday, June 07, 2007

more ghost detainees found


At least 39 people from a half-dozen countries have been held in secret U.S. detention centers worldwide for three or more years, and their fates remain unknown, six human-rights groups say in a report to be released Thursday.

Human rights advocates said that the document, which they called the most comprehensive account yet of so-called "ghost detainees," raises new alarms about the Bush administration's practice of secretly detaining suspected terrorists without any legal proceedings.

In five instances, the report says, U.S. authorities detained the wives or young children of suspects held in secret prisons. And in four instances, terrorism suspects in U.S. custody may have been transferred to Libya, once a major adversary of Washington.


AlterNet - Noam Chomsky speaks about the status of democracy in Iraq, U.S. imperialism over Latin America, and the media's shallow coverage of foreign affairs -- all topics explored in his latest book, Interventions.

The Horsies - "Noam Chomsky"

They Die in Brooks County

The Texas Observer - As border security tightens, South Texas becomes a graveyard for the weak and the unlucky

At the Side Door Café in Falfurrias, Texas, body counts enter conversations as naturally as the price of feed, or the cost of repairing torn fences. “I removed 11 bodies last year from my ranch, 12 the year before,” said prominent local landowner Presnall Cage. “I found four so far this year.” Sometimes, Cage said, he has taken survivors to a hospital; mostly, however, time and the sun have done their jobs, and it is too late.

As increased U.S. border security closes certain routes, undocumented migrants continue to come but squeeze onto fewer, more dangerous and isolated pathways to America’s interior. One of these is the network of trails that bypasses the last Border Patrol checkpoint traveling north on Hwy. 281, in Brooks County. That change is having a dramatic ripple effect on the county (total pop: 7,685), and on people who have lived here for generations.

For one thing, the dead are breaking the budget. County officials earmarked $16,000 in fiscal 2007 for handling deceased indigents. That category includes the remains of undocumented Mexicans and other would-be migrants found within county lines. But by May, Brooks County had already spent $34,195 on autopsies and burials, “and we’re just heading into the hot months now,” said County Judge Raul Ramirez. It’s also rattlesnake mating season, noted the judge, who grew up on the King Ranch. It’s the time when the serpents move around most, biting the unwary and those who walk in grass and sand without high boots.

Tuesday, June 05, 2007

tuesday morning reads

Guardian UK

A multinational coalition of protesters will today begin their bid to physically prevent world leaders from gathering at the G8 summit despite widespread criticism of violent tactics during growing demonstrations in Germany.

Water cannons, riot vans and 16,000 police officers - one per protester - last night fanned out around the Baltic resort of Heiligendamm to end the protests.

More than 1,000 people were injured on Saturday in Rostock, the nearest city, in some of the most violent protests seen in postwar Germany. The authorities are desperate to avoid a repeat of the violence that marred the 2001 G8 in Genoa, where a student was shot dead by police.

Der Spiegel has some photos

Guardian UK
The Bush administration's plans to bring detainees at Guantánamo Bay to trial were thrown into chaos yesterday when military judges threw out all charges against a detainee held there since he was 15 and dismissed charges against another detainee who chauffeured Osama bin Laden.

In back-to-back arraignments for the Canadian Omar Khadr and Salim Ahmed Hamdan, a Yemeni national, the US military's cases against the alleged al-Qaida figures were dismissed because, the judges said, the government had failed to establish jurisdiction.

If President Bush and Vice President Cheney can blurt out vulgar language, then the government cannot punish broadcast television stations for broadcasting the same words in similarly fleeting contexts.

That, in essence, was the decision on Monday, when a federal appeals panel struck down the government policy that allows stations and networks to be fined if they broadcast shows containing obscene language.

Sunday, June 03, 2007


Worse Than Bush

Rudy giuliani is a true American hero, and we know this because he does all the things we expect of heroes these days -- like make $16 million a year, and lobby for Hugo Chávez and Rupert Murdoch, and promote wars without ever having served in the military, and hire a lawyer to call his second wife a "stuck pig," and organize absurd, grandstanding pogroms against minor foreign artists, and generally drift through life being a shameless opportunist with an outsize ego who doesn't even bother to conceal the fact that he's had a hard-on for the presidency since he was in diapers. In the media age, we can't have a hero humble enough to actually be one; what is needed is a tireless scoundrel, a cad willing to pose all day long for photos, who'll accept $100,000 to talk about heroism for an hour, who has the balls to take a $2.7 million advance to write a book about himself called Leadership. That's Rudy Giuliani. Our hero. And a perfect choice to uphold the legacy of George W. Bush.

Yes, Rudy is smarter than Bush. But his political strength -- and he knows it -- comes from America's unrelenting passion for never bothering to take that extra step to figure shit out. If you think you know it all already, Rudy agrees with you. And if anyone tries to tell you differently, they're probably traitors, and Rudy, well, he'll keep an eye on 'em for you. Just like Bush, Rudy appeals to the couch-bound bully in all of us, and part of the allure of his campaign is the promise to put the Pentagon and the power of the White House at that bully's disposal.