The Spectacle Blog

Illinois Tort Rollback

By on 12.16.05 | 6:57AM

In case you haven't heard about Madison County, Illinois, you should. In recent years it has become infamous as a destination for trial lawyers. Judges and juries were remarkably friendly to nearly any class action lawsuit, leading the American Tort Reform Association to dub it the number one "legal hellhole" in 2003 and 2004 (in 2005 it dropped to merely number four). How bad is it? Between 2003 and 2004, judges certified more than 200 class action lawsuits, more than any jurisdiction in the country.

The trend may be over. The most touted of Madison County's egregious lawsuits, a $10 billion verdict against Philip Morris for claiming "light" cigarettes are less harmful, was thrown out yesterday by the Illinois Supreme Court. Now let's see some federal tort reform.

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Re: President McCain

By on 12.16.05 | 6:43AM

You've a sharp eye, Wlad. If body language determines victory or defeat, the President seems the victor. However, if this is a win, I'm quickly getting tired of them.

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Re: President McCain

By on 12.15.05 | 11:49PM

I disagree, Dave. The president is clearly seated higher than the senator. He's looking down on the latter as they shake hands. Plus McCain looks tired, bushed if you will.

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67 Percent

By on 12.15.05 | 6:16PM

Is the turnout in the Iraqi elections. Much higher than the 58 percent in January.

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Hunter Saving the Day?

By on 12.15.05 | 5:31PM

HASC chairman Duncan Hunter (R-Ca) said he won't agree to the conference report including the McCain amendment unless he's assured it won't degrade our ability to gather intelligence from terrorist detainees. Hunter is the last hope to stop this horrifically vague and dangerous legislation. Let's hope he sticks to his guns. No bill is worth this. And just why is the president caving in to McCain? Again?

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McCain Amendment Deal Reported

By on 12.15.05 | 12:58PM

According to this Bloomberg report, House Speaker Dennis Hastert announced a deal between the White House and the Senate on the McCain Amendment. This is a non-trivial disaster.

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Iraqi Voting

By on 12.15.05 | 12:04PM

From the earliest reports, voting in Iraq is going very well, and turnout is heavy. This clip is from a release by the MNF in Baghdad:

"With tight rings of security circling the city, Iraqi citizens took to the streets the morning of Dec. 15 to vote for the first full-term government since the fall of Saddam Hussein. Iraqi Police are providing close-in protection at polling stations; Iraqi public Order Battalions and Iraqi Army Soldiers are providing the next level of protection; and more Iraqi Soldiers and Coalition Forces are in a third ring of troops. They will also provide a quick-reaction force if needed.

"Shortly after polling sites opened in Baghdad, a rocket landed in the International Zone, damaging a vehicle and injuring one Marine and two civilian contractors. The wounded were treated at the site for minor injuries and released.

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Re: Brooks, Catholics, and Capitalism

By on 12.15.05 | 10:51AM

I'm at a loss -- if the Catholic Church was behind the Industrial Revolution, did England lead the way because of what were essentially copyright violations? I'm willing to accept that Catholicism played a large part in preparing people intellectually for great achievements -- repudiating the charge that it was a burden is important -- but the spread of literacy and the cultural implications of memorizing psalms as Weber describes is valid enough to consider. Brooks starts to head down the road of the argument that "the Catholics really did it, not the Protestants."

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Brooks, Catholics, and Capitalism

By on 12.15.05 | 10:33AM

Since I excoriated David Brooks last week, I'm obligated to praise him when he gets it right this week. And he gets it right today. Here's a taste:

 


Ideas and culture drive civilizations. The Catholic Church nurtured one of the most impressive economic takeoffs in human history. Today, as Catholicism spreads in Africa and China, it's important to understand the beliefs that encourage people to work hard and grow rich.

Now, Mr. Brooks, I'd like 2000 words reconciling this argument with Max Weber's The Protestant Ethic and the Spirit of Capitalism.

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