August 14 roundup

  • 47% of those polled believe traditional media should offer equal time to opposing viewpoints.  Although 57% polled say blog sites should not have to allow other viewpoints, 31% believe the government should “force” them to.  Can you believe that?  In a related story, help me in welcoming John Edwards as next week’s guest blogger.  (“47% Favor Government Mandated Political Balance on Radio, TV”, Rasmussen Reports, Aug. 14).
  • Speaking of John Edwards–is he the new Bill Clinton?  Some may think he’s the right person to carry on his legacy.  (“John Edwards is the new Clinton, Spitzer, Craig”,, Aug. 13).
  • I thought the law was well-settled that you could say ignorant, mean and hurtful things (and, shame on those who do).  But, anyway the Oregon Supreme Court unanimously agreed.  (“Oregon court says racist, insulting speech is protected”,, Aug. 14).
  • Also from Oregon–a young man’s family filed a wrongful death lawsuit in the police shooting death of their son.  “We were forced to go ahead and file this to shed light on the events of that night” his mother said.  Shed light?  So, what’s with the $14M demand?  And, what’s this about him threatening police with a knife? (“Tigard teen’s family sues for millions in fatal police shooting”,, Aug. 13 & Sep. 17 ’06).
  • Let the plaintiff’s bar go to bat for you on this one–after a Utah school learned of a bat infestation it partnered with the county health department to exterminate them.  Meanwhile, the district made intercom announcements asking students who may have had contact with bats to seek assistance, and made voluntary payments to seven students for rabies vaccinations.  A student’s mother sues despite no evidence her son contracted rabies or suffered any other injury.  (“Lehi Mom sues Alpine School District over bats”, Deseret News, Jul. 17).


  • >>“We were forced to go ahead and file this to shed light on the events of that night” his mother said. Shed light? So, what’s with the $14M demand?<<

    Once again, we need a ‘It’s not about the money’ restriction. If you say it or something similar (“We’re bringing this suit only to find the truth!”), then you can only be awarded fees.

    It’ll never happen, but we can dream 🙂

  • If the lawsuit against the Oregon Police Department was filed, without a request for the $1.4 million, what is there to make the Police Department take it seriously?

  • $14,000? Seems pretty low as far as extortionate demands go.

    Oh, you meant $14 million? $14MM?

    Don’t worry, yahoo! and the AP do the same thing.

  • Pedantic, M is the SI symbol (prefix “mega-“) for million. K would be thousand.

  • Perhaps Pedantic is involved in the printing industry? There, ‘M’ does indeed stand for ‘thousand’. One can order a print run of 10M, for example, and expect to receive approximately 10,000 items. ‘M’ is also used for circulation figures of printed publications.

  • I did a brief online check for the correct abbreviation but did not immediately find it. If someone out there can link to the appropriate authority in formatting I’d appreciate it.

  • RE the bat story is this little tidbit from the linked article:

    (Lawyer Matthew) Howell said the negligence lawsuit has been filed as a class action, meaning other students could join in.

  • Jason, the United States Government Printing Office Style Manual is located here.

    From page 166:

    “M, million (3 M=3 million)”
    “k, thousand (7k=7,000)”

    Similarly, the the “numbers, measures, and money” portion of the style manual for the UK’s Telegraph indicates the same thing. That is located here:,-measures-and-money.html

  • The use of M or k for thousand and M or MM for million seems to depend on the writer’s country of origin. I encounter both on a daily basis, but each writer seems to be consistent in their application.

    I think this is one of those issues where all you can do is grit your teeth and politely ask for clarification when it is important.