September 1 roundup

  • “Massage Parlor Mistrial Declared After Masseuse Recognizes Defense Lawyer as Client” [ABA Journal]
  • Paying opposing expert to leave country? “Drug company lawyer taped trying to foil lawsuit” [AP]
  • What anti-business crusades have in common with the War on Drugs [David Henderson] Some of those “oil and gas subsidies” aren’t [Coyote]
  • Nocera on NLRB v. Boeing [NYT] A contrary view [Hirsch]
  • Science finds no link between WTC dust, cancer? Then science will just have to give [Jeff Stier, Reason; but see later study on firefighters at the scene]
  • Per Maureen Orth at Vanity Fair, the widow of designer Oleg Cassini has been in at least 15 lawsuits. Guess who’s named in number 16? [AW]
  • Stop competing with us! Lawyers claim online-legal-form provider LegalZoom is engaged in unauthorized practice of law [WSJ, Dan Fisher, ABA Journal]


  • The work at 9/11 was done outdoors where the air was constantly refreshed. The “Dust” theory is actually as insane as the other conspiracy theories associated with 9/11. Even shortly after the towers fell, monitoring equipment found no harmful concentrations of toxins in the air.

    How can you get an increase in cancers? Easy; people who are ill would be more likely to recall and enhance their recollection of work in lower Manhattan. There was the celebrated case of the man whose family claimed that his death was from work at ground zero when his actual exposure was in December and blocks away from the cite.

    I am particularly dismayed by Jon Stewart’s role in the hype. He is very smart in the SAT sense of that term. He probably uses his memory of the towers falling and the dust attended thereto with actual exposure to God’s good air, mainly from New Jersey. Child abduction hysteria works that way. The massive amount of news coverage of a few cases overwhelms the fact that child abduction is rare, and exceedingly rare when you take out feuding divorcees.

  • William,
    I am confounded by Jon Stewart about once a week. He’s such a sharp guy, but falls for every single story regarding ‘evil doers’. People like him need to see that their constant tele-vigilantism are usually the source of avoidable harm. I guess it’s easier to see a brave fire fighter with cancer and want to help than it is to see how the rest of us are affected by being forced to pay for unrelated issues.

    I don’t like to use first-responders as an example…it’s (insert ‘victim’ here) for Mr. Stewart.

  • Thank you, Mike, for your comment above.

    The ambassador to the United States from Germany is a brilliant fellow. His English is perfect. He spoke about Germany’s recent decision, after the problem in Japan, to wind down Germany’s use of nuclear power plants.

    People in Germany were affected by the Chernobyl incident, which event occurred at a point in time and at a point on the Earth’s surface. Germany is a two dimensional object covering 137,000 square miles, and Germany is buffered from Chernobyl by all of Poland. Yet the Germans were counseled to not eat certain vegetable, meat and milk. It was ridiculous as the ability to measure some radioactivity was equated to risk. Such measurements and risks have to be compared to other risks and background rates. For example, there were roughly 15,000 deaths in France in 2003 due to a heat wave. The actual harm from Chernobyl, to the extent that it can be estimated, was much less that feared at the time, which was 20,000 or so for the whole world over many decades. Even the high number would be lost in the 5 million of so deaths per year in Europe. The December 2004 tsunami killed at least 250,000 people, and at least 20,000 of our Japanese friends were washed out to sea by a wave that dwarfed the massive sea wall that protected Japan. Those deaths were definite and were within days of the events.

    After Chernobyl, Germany went wild for solar panels in a relatively dark climate – compared to our Southwest. After investing billions of Euro’s on alternative Energy, the Germans threw in the towel when the total solar contribution offset only two nuclear plants. They are as crazy now about nuclear power plants as we were about the WMDs in Iraq.

    If the officials of Germany can not understand attenuation through dispersion, it is not so surprising that Jon Stewart can not comprehend infinite dilution. (Actually there were no known toxins from 9/11 to dilute in the first place.)