12 January 2008

More reasons to like John Edwards

The more I hear about John Edwards' campaign, the clearer it is that America would strongly benefit from him being president. His campaign has become a populist mission to assert control over corporate control--halt the relaxing of regulatory control that harms consumers and blunt the greed that destroys human lives.

His book, "Four Trials," documents the kind of greed he saw and fought in his law practice. Perhaps the hardest example is the company that made a children's pool drain pump strong enough to suck the intestines out of a 5 year old child--which it did. Of course, the corporation knew about this risk but ignored it because it did not want to spend money making it safer.

And corporate lobbyists know about his career and apparently fear his presidency.

Ask corporate lobbyists which presidential contender is most feared by their clients and the answer is almost always the same -- Democrat John Edwards.

The former North Carolina senator's chosen profession alone raises the hackles of business people. Before entering politics, he made a fortune as a trial lawyer.

As an aside, note how the Reuters article refers to "winning" settlements when settlements are, by definition, mutually agreed to by the parties and cannot be "won." The media very frequently makes mistakes in their writing about legal concepts.

One more detail is the reference to "litigious" America without any discussion of what that means. I suppose the writer could mean that we as Americans are argumentative, but I doubt it. If you are not a corporation and assert your rights in court, you are litigious, apparently.

11 January 2008


I think right about now it is OK to be ambivalent about this great country of ours.

09 January 2008

An unfortunate illustration of Indiana as craphole

The state of Indiana requires voters to present photographic identification before they can vote. The law's obvious purpose is to discourage voting by poor and minority voters. Thankfully, the voter ID law has been challenged and has a theoretic chance to be overturned. However, given our US Supreme Court that seems unlikely.

This law is one in a long history conservatives and other reactionaries have enacted to prevent voting by minorities and others they consider undeserving of the right to vote. Poll taxes and literacy or civic tests are some of the more common ones from our recent past.

At least as far back as 1996, while I working for lobbyists in the Indiana legislature, this voter ID law was being thrown-- around even though it has no ostensible or legitimate reason.

Before the voter ID law, Indiana came up with a clever way to dilute the votes of those most likely to vote for Democrats. Unigov. As clever as it was simple, the Republic voting suburbs were consolidated into Democratic voting city of Indianapolis in order to ensure Republic hegemony. And it worked: from its creation in 1969 until the late 1998 Indianapolis' mayor was Republican. (as a neat aside, Senator Dick Lugar was the mayor of Indianapolis at the time of Unigov).

08 January 2008

John Edwards is surging

And nobody knows it but me.

ERISA should meet FCRA

A while back I promised a proposal to amend ERISA. I will make it short unless someone requests more detail.

The Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA) provides for damages, both statutory and actual, and attorney fees. For example, if a credit reporting company messes up your credit report and causes you to be denied credit, you can sue them for damages + attorney fees. This is good.

In contrast, ERISA does not have this. For example, if your health insurer wrongfully denies a treatment and this denial causes poor health or death, you can sue them for the cost of the procedure, but no other damages or attorney fees. This is bad.

Therefore, ERISA should provide for damages and attorney fees like FCRA does. That was easy.

06 January 2008

Somebody writes that Bush/Cheney should be impeached

The always influential George McGovern.

Soviet material culture post: Ekranoplan

Soviet design and production is always interesting. Not only are they Russian--which is cool in a not Western but not quite fully Eastern kind of way--they also were conceived outside of market forces. Usually the central committee identified a need and dispatched some design bureaus to make it so. Of course, there might be competition between the design bureaus but the whole concept was generally conceived by the political body. Something like that.

Image source.

Anyway, the Soviets certainly did make some really cool stuff.

Fear of the GOPer

The worst kind of protest is a black one. Apparently.