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Posted Apr. 19: 

I must question the journalistic integrity of your editorial in this morning's paper [the New York Post; see Apr. 17].  While you make a big splash by repeating other media characterizations of Mr. Kennedy's remarks, you do your readers a tremendous disservice by adopting an expertise about an event which you did not attend.  Had you attended, you would have understood the context of Mr. Kennedy's remarks, and recognized the validity of his rhetorical gesture.  Mr. Kennedy's point, which was well taken by the entire audience, was that Americans will always band together against a common external enemy, such as Osama Bin Laden, and we will always defeat that enemy.  More dangerous are the enemies within, especially those with the resources and power to subvert the democratic process that preserves individual liberty in this country.  Given the track record of industrial livestock producers, it is impossible to deny that they represent exactly this kind of threat to our society. 

For you own edification, I enclose a letter to the editor printed in today's Des Moines Register, written by an actual attendee of the April 5th Hog Summit.  Perhaps you would choose to broaden your search when quoting from other media sources. [For copyright reasons we have linked to this letter rather than reprinted it -- scroll to letter from Jerry L. Anderson of Indianola under heading "Kennedy made perfect sense".  Read the other letters too, while you're at it.] -- Jeffrey Odefey, Staff Attorney, Waterkeeper Alliance, White Plains, N.Y.

-- What a hoot this letter is. There is first of all its structure of non-denial denial: yes, Kennedy did say big hog farms were more of a menace to democracy than bin Laden, but had we only been in the audience we too would have been convinced.  There is the suggestion that the "entire audience" at the Clear Lake rally found Kennedy's Osama comparison well taken, which if true would prove little, and in any case is easily rebutted: the farmer quoted in our article at greatest length as criticizing Kennedy was in the audience there, and some farmers in fact walked out on the speech. Odefey gives us not the slightest reason to doubt the reportorial accuracy of the respected Des Moines Register, which interviewed Kennedy directly as well as reporting on his remarks at the rally, and ever since has been recording Iowans' outraged or contemptuous reactions. 

Topping all is the ripe absurdity of Odefey's assertion that "it is impossible to deny" that "the democratic process" is imperiled because organized ag producers lobby to defend their interests, just as a hundred other organized interest groups do and have done through American history.  Meanwhile, Odefey's own group is participating in a lawsuit campaign whose explicit aim (see Dec. 7, 2000) is to do an end run around the electoral process by obtaining via mass litigation the sort of tightening of existing environmental regulation that the year-2000 election has made it difficult for them to obtain by going to the executive branch or Congress.  And no doubt Odefey would deny that that campaign imperils democratic outcomes in any way.  What arrogance! -- ed. (see also commentaries on main site, Apr. 19-21

I generally enjoy your website immensely, but your Apr. 8-9 item is in error when it describes the corporation I work for, Lockheed Martin, as the contractor for stop light cameras.  Although it is true that Lockheed Martin IMS did originally install and operate those systems, the corporation sold its photo traffic-enforcement division to Affiliated Computer Services Inc. of Dallas, Texas on August 24, 2001. For more specific information please see news reports of Aug. 20 and Aug. 29, 2001.  -- Daren T. Heidgerken, Missile & Reentry System Flight Controls, Lockheed Martin Space Systems Co.

-- Our apologies.  We congratulate Lockheed Martin on extricating itself from this business -- ed. 

Posted Apr. 11: 

I am the lawyer who represents the mother of the boy, Shawn Woolley, who killed himself after playing EverQuest, about which you have recently reported [April 3]. 

You imply that the psychologist interviewed in the piece was prepped by me to say what he said to the Milwaukee Journal reporter.  Let me set you and your anarchist agenda straight:  I never heard of the therapist until the article was written.  I've never talked with him.   So your clever insinuation that people in the medical field don't have a novel thought unless prompted by a lawyer is total fabrication, in this instance anyway. 

I'm a lifelong Republican who has spent most of my lawyering life representing corporate America.  I believe in free enterprise.  I believe that people are responsible for their actions.  The actions for which these corporate ghouls should be held responsible are marketing a game that they know is addictive and is designed to be addictive and prey on addictive personalities, with absolutely no warnings whatsoever. 

Do you think drug pushers are responsible for their behavior?  If not, then go to Afghanistan where your anarchist, pro-drug views will be greatly rewarded.  -- Jack Thompson, Miami

You reported last fall [Sept. 7-9, Oct. 12-14], that attorney Alan Wolk sued the aviation website AvWeb and four individual posters for criticizing the lawsuit that Wolk filed and won against Cessna.  Remembering this case recently and wondering what happened to it, I went back to the AvWeb site and did a search, but could find nothing about it.  The links in your original posts are dead.  Even a Google search turned  up nothing. 

Do you know what happened in the case?  -- Eric Bainter

-- No, we don't.  Do our readers?  Update Sept. 20-22: in July AVweb settled case and apologized.

While we may be overlawyered, there certainly were not enough watching out for the blood supply back in the 80's when AIDS was passed out freely and for a price.  (Jan. 18-20

I question if the author of this article (Natalie Solent) understands the severity of Hep C and the other diseases which have been passed in the blood supply.  She seems to think passing out "death sentences" for free is OK. 

Do you examine the articles to which you are directed or do you just "print" them? -- David Doner

The other day I was speaking with a reporter from the local newspaper when her cell phone rang. It was her three-year-old son's school

He was "sluggish" and should be picked up. She was furious, as he had no fever, merely a slight sniffle when he went to school. She was unable to find anyone to pick him up so she called the school back and said he would just have to stay until she could get there around noon. 

She said this happens all the time, whenever the kid (who is perfectly normal) shows the slightest sign, not of illness, but of less than perfect health.  Since kids, of course, come down with minor ailments almost daily, this is a major problem for her, but she says all her friends have the same problem with their young kids. 

I remarked that I never remember being sent home from school because I was sick.  Then I realized that it must be tort lawyers. The one-in-a-million case where the slightly ill child turns out to have something serious and the school is a sitting duck.  So common sense is out the window and hypercaution is in.  -- John Steele Gordon, North Salem, N.Y.

Re: the highly effective pain treatment medication OxyContin [Jan. 23, Apr. 10]: As a freelance writer researching a piece discussing the DEA investigation of a pain control specialist in North Carolina, I've become increasingly convinced that a tobacco-style legal assault is underway against Purdue Pharma, the makers of this compound. 

As this link indicates, the typical OxyContin abuser is a long-term drug abuser and only a small percentage of the alleged "epidemic" of deaths can be directly attributed to the OxyContin use. 

One of the law-firm-sponsored web pages you cite contends that "crime" is one of the supposed "side effects" of OxyContin.  I've never heard of an FDA-approved drug which compels its users to commit crime! 

Clinical studies have shown that addiction rarely occurs when legitimate pain patients ingest narcotics to treat chronic pain.  Therein lies the tragedy of this impending legal blitz: once physicians get wind that aggressively treating pain can result in a lawsuit, many patients in severe agony will be left twisting in the wind.  -- Cletus Nelson <sketchla@yahoo.com>

Re: suits against food companies [Nov. 15, 1999] -- I wasn't kidding.   -- Nancy C. Giuriati

Re: the Naperville, Illinois ordinance requiring all new houses to be handicapped accessible, or "visitable" [Feb. 6-7, Mar. 6]: The press coverage misses an important point. Most of the land in Naperville has already been developed, much of it recently.  It will be decades before new, handicapped accessible construction will approach even 3% of the housing stock. This is not an unreasonable percentage, especially as our nation's population ages. 

If they had passed an ordinance allowing 97% of homes to be inaccessible, you might look at this differently, but it's the same thing. -- Bill Stade

Re: Ford Motor getting sued for pedal extenders [Feb. 27-28], the gist of the story seems to be: Company 'A' breaks ground with new feature, which mitigates the risk posed by federally-mandated explosives placed in steering wheel. Potential safety increase is greatest for a small minority of population who have been ignored/discriminated against in the past. 

Company 'A' is then sued for knowing of benefits but not releasing feature sooner. Companies 'B', 'C', and 'D', who make a similar product but offer no such safety feature are noticeably absent from list of defendants. 

If anyone knows a better way to ensure companies NEVER add safety features until forced to by the government, I'd like to hear it.   -- Stephen Mason

Re: Speeding tickets being given to Washington, D.C. cops [Dec. 5, 2001].  In most states, the police are only allowed to speed when their lights and sirens are on.  Otherwise, they must obey the same laws as the rest of us.  I don't think enforcing a idea that dates back to the Magna Carta is a bad idea (no one is above the law), whereas hypocrisy is. -- Morgan Bullard

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