03 January 2008

Don't be a functionary

A film worth watching:

He said he has returned repeatedly to one concern: the power of authority to warp morality. At bottom, Mr. Gibney said, people do what they are told. "Everything in life," he said, "goes back to the Milgram experiment."

In the early 1960s Dr. Stanley Milgram, a psychologist at Yale, showed that many people were willing to deliver what they understood to be painful electric shocks to other human beings simply because they were told by a scientist that it was necessary.

ODS just gets by with $5 mil

Those poor suckers at ODS made only $5,000,000 in 2006.

02 January 2008

A Bad Measure Rising

As you know, the forces of evil and darkness want to prevent the non-wealthy from accessing the courts or otherwise asserting our rights. The recently filed petition 51 is the latest attempt. It will screw us over by limiting the contingency fees of plaintiffs' attorneys to 25% of the first $25,000 recovered and 10% of additional recovery.

The purpose of Petition 51 is to make lawsuits against negligent or incompetent doctors, dangerous product manufacturers, or even drunk drivers financially impossible. That is bad public policy.

Dr. Evil, aka Loren Parks, has given $125,000 for the petition. In fact, he is the only contributor so far.

Thankfully, Oregon State Bar Association opposes Petition 51.

Links to the text of Petition 51: in html or pdf.

Texas needs more lawsuits!

At least the insurance industry think so.

Now, though, the insurance industry is wondering if its campaign worked too well—not because malpractice victims can't get justice (which they can't) but because tort reform is cutting into insurance company profits. Defense lawyer Gary Schumann told a group of insurance execs recently that tort reform had worked so well in Texas that judges were trying cases that might otherwise go to mediation just to stay busy. Not only that, but Texas nursing homes (among the worst in the nation) have become so unconcerned about getting sued that many have stopped buying private liability insurance.

Schumann said he was worried about the industry's future. "We want a little bit of litigation out there, don't we? We want a little bit of risk. We need risk or we're all out of business. … We'll see what happens but tort reform has worked. I just hope for all of our sakes it hasn't worked too well."

Soviet Material Culture Post

If anyone read this blog, this might be an open thread. However, since it's just me, here is a post about calculators from former soviet union. Motto: where calculators calculate you!

Haven't you wondered what glorious mother russia produced other than military hardware like the respected MiG or Su aircrafts? I know I have! Behold the Elektronika DD.

All that I know of soviet calculators I owe to this wonderful website. Though the USSR had impressive aircraft, tanks and the like, their electronics (and other consumer goods) were inferior to those in the West. Consequently, most of the electronic calculators were reversed engineered versions from Japan or the United States.

30 December 2007

The story of wingnut welfare

or how I learned to love the Edwards' campaign:

For these billionaires, the ROI of the Conservative Movement is absolutely spectacular. At the micro level, for example, if you want to create an aristocracy, then you want to eliminate any taxes on inherited wealth, despite what Warren Buffet or Bill Gates might say about the values entailed by that project. So, the Conservative Movement goes to work, develops and successfully propagates the term “death tax” — which they may even believe in, as if sincerity were the point — and voila! Whoever thought that “family values” would translate to “feudal values” and dynastic wealth? At the macro level, their ROI has been spectacular as well. Real wages have been flat for a generation; unions have been disempowered; the powers of corporations greatly increased; government has become an agent for the corporations, rather than a protector of the people; the safety net has been shredded; and so on and on and on.

As I understand, those were the days

Your mom