March 15 roundup

  • “Intellectual Easter egg hunt”: great Michael Kinsley column on Wyeth v. Levine and FDA drug preemption [Washington Post]
  • Negligent for the Port Authority to let itself get bombed: “Jury Awards $5.46M to 1993 WTC Bomb Victim” [WINS, earlier]
  • “How following hospital quality measures can kill patients” [KevinMD]
  • Owner of Vancouver Sun suing over someone’s parody of the paper (though at least it drops the printer as a defendant) [Blog of Walker]
  • Court dismisses some counts in Billy Wolfe bullying suit against Fayetteville, Ark. schools [NW Arkansas Times, court records, earlier here and here]
  • Law bloggers were on this weeks ago, now Tenaha, Tex. cops’ use of forfeiture against motorists is developing into national story [Chicago Tribune, earlier here and here]
  • Can hostile blog posts about a plaintiff’s case be the basis for venue change? [IBLS]
  • Calls 911 because McDonald’s has run out of chicken nuggets [Lowering the Bar]


  • I’m having trouble with he mcnugget thing. It may not have been an emergency, but it sure sounds like it was a theft. If someone steals your money, and won’t give it back to you, you might probably want someone to enforce the law too. She should have called the local police non-emergency number, sure. But the linked article, which ridicules the victim’s grammar as well as the idea of using a police officer to enforce laws against stealing, is irritating.

    Should we just make a dollar limit before cops get involved in crimes? Maybe we should make it like $500, and then we’d never have to “justif[y] depriving the city of an officer who might be needed for a real emergency” instead of a petty theft involving poor people.

  • “But the linked article, which ridicules the victim’s grammar …”
    I think Paul is the only source that has suggested that grammar is a point for ridicule in this case; he too goes on to suggest that this individual represented a class of poor people.
    I don’t think he comes at this case with a very objective view and may be reading into the story his own biases.

  • Re the quality measures linked at KevinMD

    As is typical with bean counters and lawyers, they just don’t get the real world all too often.

    In my line of work (aerospace, specifically the defense side) think of it like this – there’s no reason to fly into a thunderstorm, period, or to dodge in and out of mountain canyons at 200′ above ground level doing 450 MPH. Except when you’re trying to dodge a surface to air missle or a heavy concentration of flak. The ‘quality of care’ hacks would call this – flying into a thuderstorm or dodging into and out of canyons at super low altitude and high speed, a violation of ‘standard’ ‘safe’ procedures.

    It’s just that there are times when being ‘dangerous’ or doing ‘stupid’ things is a heck of a lot safer than being ‘safe’ or doing the ‘smart’ thing.

  • Perhaps McDonalds should post the non-emergency number under the “caution, hot coffee” sign. OR the local police department could hold free seminars and program the non-emergency number into folks’ cell phones.

    If all I had was my cell phone and someone wasn’t giving me my money I would call 911. I am regularly in 5 different cities in 3 counties with 3 area codes in a typical week—should I be required to add all those non-emergency numbers to my phone, including the extra cities I only drive through to get where I need to be?

    This woman needs some grace from the local police and McD’s needs to give her her money back, without questions, when they don’t have what a customer wants.

  • Thanks for your post.

    This situation shows why we need federal laws to make bullying a crime and to require schools to have anti-bullying policies?

    Of course, the bullies’ parents are to blame for allowing their children to act that way. But when schools tolerate bullying, the real problems are the administrators (principals and assistants).

    Other people can take forever trying to educate and convert bullies and their parents. I want to protect the rest of us now. Therefore, we need to force:
    1. Parents of the bullies to see that there will be stiff penalties for their teenagers and for themselves if they encourage or allow bullying to continue.
    2. School principals to protect kids who are being bullied. This will happen only when the principals are more afraid of the publicity and penalties they’ll get if they don’t stop bullying than they are now of the parents of the bullies.

    I’m sensitive to principals that don’t protect the victims because I’m from Denver. Remember Columbine High School.

    Whatever the court decides on the basis of law; shame on those adults. They have shamed themselves and their community. They are definitely not models who should be allowed to teach or administer for children.

    Disclosure: I’m a parent of six children and the author of the books and CDs “How to Stop Bullies in Their Tracks” and “Parenting Bully-Proof Kids.”