Friday, February 11, 2005
Eason Jordan Quits
Update: Michelle Malkin details the history of this story.
German 'Homosexual' Penguins Spark Gay Protest
A plan by a German zoo to test the sexual appetites of a group of suspected homosexual penguins has sparked outrage among gay and lesbian groups, who fear zookeepers might force them to turn straight.
...the zoo concluded the penguins might be gay after seeing male penguins trying to mate with other males and trying to hatch offspring out of stones.
German media reported that female Swedish penguins would be brought to the zoo to test the theory, but when word got out about the plan, the phones started ringing
I'm really not sure what the problem is here. If the penguins are gay, then the worst thing that will happen if they add in female penguins is there will be some female penguins with guy friends that really listen to them. If they are not gay, there will be some really happy boy penguins.
Linked up in Outside the Beltway
Thursday, February 10, 2005
Class Action Tort Reform Nearly Here
- A class action case in Illinois against Poland Spring claiming the company's bottled water was not pure. Under the settlement, Poland Spring admitted no wrongdoing, consumers received coupons for discounts on Poland Spring water and the class action lawyers received $1.35 million.
- A class action case in Alabama against the Bank of Boston over escrow accounts. At settlement, class members actually ended up losing money to pay the plaintiffs'lawyers fees of $8.5 million.
- The settlement of a class action in Texas against Blockbuster over late fees. Class members only received coupons, while their lawyers walked away with $9.25 million in fees.
In 1989, attorneys sued a San Francisco title company because its fees included a $25 charge for a rarely performed physical inspection of the property. (If the company had included the charge as a service fee, there would have been no grounds for a lawsuit.) The company settled the case by setting up a $4.9 million fund representing the revenue from the inspection fees. Class members who filed a written request for a refund received $15. Those who did not file a request received additional insurance coverage.
In 1988, class action lawyers sued the Mt. Konocti Water Company for overcharging lot owners on their water bills in a Lake County, California subdivision. The court ordered the water company to return $1.2 million, but the company only had $500,000 in assets. The real problem, however, was that the water company was self-insured and owned by the owners of the lots. As a result of the judgment, the water company went into bankruptcy, requiring it to pay over $3 million in attorneys' fees for the settlement and a plan of reorganization. The original plaintiff
received $300 as a result of the class action settlement, but will owe $6,000 for the cost of the reorganization.
In 1993, class action lawyers settled a lawsuit in Alabama against the Bank of Boston. The bank had allegedly taken excessive escrow fees from customer accounts to cover taxes and insurance payments. As part of the settlement, the bank was permitted to charge class member accounts for the costs of the litigation, including attorneys fees. One objecting class member got a $2.19 credit on his account and was charged $91.33 for the cost of obtaining the credit.
In 1993, class action lawyers sued a large California bank, claiming that it was collecting an excessive late fee penalty of $3 to $5 dollars and overlimit fees of $10. The bank admitted that it had not done a study to determine whether its fees reflected the actual cost of handling late payments. As a result of the lawsuit, the bank instituted such a study and determined that costs associated with late payments exceeded fees collected. It returned $1 million in overlimit fees, but has raised its late fee charges to future customers. The attorneys who brought the lawsuit negotiated a $450,000 attorney payment. As a result of that type of litigation, several California bank credit card operations have moved to neighboring states. Effective 1995, the California legislature allows credit card issuers to impose late fees of up to $15.
In 1992, class action lawyers sued VIACOM Cable Company, claiming that a $6 late fee charged in several Northern California communities was excessive. The judge concluded that the method used to calculate the late fee at $6, while not perfect, was reasonable. The judge nonetheless approved a settlement reducing the late fee for customers who paid within fifty days of the payment due date, but increasing for those who paid after the fifty day period. The lawyers received $514,000 in attorneys' fees for bringing the lawsuit.
In 1994, in Los Angeles, California, after learning about a lawsuit by Compaq Computer against Packard Bell Corporation, class action lawyers sued Packard Bell for selling computers containing recycled and reconditioned parts in new computers. The suit claimed that the practice reduced the value of computers sold to the general public. The case was settled; the company agreed to place language in its instruction manual for a three-year period with words to the effect that the computer "may contain used or reconditioned parts." In seeking approval of the settlement, both sides agreed that recycled parts have lower failure rates and thus are, in fact, better than new parts. The lawyers received $3.95 million in attorneys fees for a settlement negotiated within two months after filing the complaint.
In 1986, class action lawyers sued several major banks in San Francisco, California, for conspiring to fix credit card interest rates at 18 percent. The evidenceof the conspiracy (in addition to purported statistical probability) came from a Southern California college professor who claimed that an employee of one of the banks, since deceased, told him of a meeting he had attended twenty years earlier. Reportedly, bank representatives discussed interest rates. (The professors motives, it was found, were suspect; he had sued one of the banks unsuccessfully for allegedly stealing his idea for a debit card.) Three banks settled for $55 million (plaintiffs had alleged nearly $2 billion in damages), of which $7 million went to attorneys' fees. The professor himself opposed the settlement as inadequate. A fourth bank refused to settle and a jury, after ten weeks of testimony, found in the bank's favor.
One juror stated that the plaintiffs "had no case." The judge, commenting on the plaintiffs' expert witness, said "I would never let this man testify at a criminal trial . . . and anyone who did would be worthy of discipline."
In 1995, in Portland, class action lawyers sued a west coast lumber company on behalf of homeowners because the company's wood siding was subject to premature deterioration. It was later disclosed that the company itself arranged to be sued in a national class action. The company was seeking to avoid numerous individual lawsuits. Although the settlement could theoretically cost the defendants up to $425 million, collections from class members almost always are less than the total settlement amounts made available. The average payout per class member to date has been $6,300, in spite of the fact that a complete home residing can cost between $10,000 and $20,000. The class action attorneys received $26.2 million in attorneys' fees.
In 1993, class action attorneys sued General Chemical Corporation over an accidental release of sulfuric acid from its facility in Richmond, California. At its highest level of concentration, the amount of sulfuric acid released in the onetime event was a small fraction of the daily exposure limit allowed by California safety laws. Plaintiffs' lawyers hired "representatives" to scour the neighborhood. They successfully signed sixty thousand clients. Thirty thousand residents flooded local hospitals but treating doctors claimed that very few had any significant injury.
It was reported that neighbors in adjacent communities came to the area in order to become clients in the litigation. The chemical firm's insurance company settled the case for $180 million, $50 million of which went to the lawyers. The average payment to class members was under $1,000
Linked up in Outside the Beltway
Wednesday, February 09, 2005
AZ Gov. Wants Feds To Pay $118M For Migrant Costs
On a journalistic note. I find it interesting that the headline describes the illegal aliens as "migrant." My impression that migrant workers are of all decents and are NOT illegal. Apparently this will be the next politically correct term for illegals.
Monday, February 07, 2005
Michelle Malkin Gets Confirmation On Eason Jordan's Accusation of Journalist Assassination By US Troops
"Senator Dodd was not on the panel but was in the audience when Mr. Jordan spoke. He like panelists Mr. Gergen and Mr. Frank was outraged by the comments. Senator Dodd is tremendously proud of the sacrifice and service of our American military personnel."
Malkin also has spoken with Barney Frank (D-Mass.) and David Gergen who moderated the panel where Jordan leveled these charges.
Rep. Frank said Eason Jordan did assert that there was deliberate targeting of journalists by the U.S. military. After Jordan made the statement, Rep. Frank said he immediately "expressed deep skepticism." Jordan backed off (slightly), Rep. Frank said, "explaining that he wasn't saying it was the policy of the American military to target journalists, but that there may have been individual cases where they were targeted by younger personnel who were not properly disciplined."From Gergen:
David Gergen, who moderated the Davos panel on which CNN exec Eason Jordan appeared, spoke with me by phone this afternoon about the controversy.Now with the comments confirmed by many, we have to ask about the source. Eason Jordan has been described as the CNN chief news executive and by others as chief of foreign news gathering. Either way, his position amounts to control over the information and stories CNN reporters and news gathers are working on. As many would like us to believe, news gathering rarely starts with a "see what you can find out about such-and-such." Rather, bureau chiefs and execs send out requests like "get me a story about how the Marines are assassinating journalists." So with CNN's news gathering being run by a conspiracy theorist and an apparent anti-military activist, how does CNN expect to keep credibility with it's viewers. No wonder FoxNews routinely creams CNN for ratings. On top of a further loss of credibility for CNN, the complete lack of coverage by the MSM and the lack of any response by CNN except this one, in which they simply state Jordan is being taken out of context has "cover-up a-la Rather" written all over it.
First, Gergen confirmed that Eason Jordan did in fact initially assert that journalists in Iraq had been targeted by military "on both sides." Gergen, who has known Jordan for some 20 years, told me Jordan "realized as soon as the words had left his mouth that he had gone too far" and "walked himself back." Gergen said as soon as he heard the assertion that journalists had been deliberately targeted, "I was startled. It's contrary to history, which is so far the other way. Our troops have gone out of their way to protect and rescue journalists."
Gergen mentioned that Jordan had just returned from Iraq and was "caught up in the tension of what was happening there. It's a raw, emotional wound for him."
Here is CQ's response to Jordans lame attempt to explain away his accusatory comments. Note the numerous other times Jordan has slandered the US and it's military while speaking to anti-US groups on foreign soil. I'm getting nauseated just writing this post.
Sunday, February 06, 2005
Stoops Takes UA Recruiting To New Level
One of Coach Stoops' first comments was that geographically, UA is strategically positioned to recruit heavily both in California and Texas. This may seem like a no brainer but this mileage-based fact was completely lost on Tomey and Mackovich. As many of you recall, Tomey made a living recruiting from the South Pacific - big boys but he could never make an entire team from there. Tomey usually gave up on California recruiting from the beginning and Texas did not even cross his mind. Mackovich actually tried recruiting in TX but he was hated there almost more than in Tucson, so he was completely ineffective in TX as well as everywhere else he tried to recruit.
Stoops' second point was that his coaches recruited hard in ARIZONA. Our previous "coaches" gave up every year to asu and were lucky to get even a decent Tucson player to stay at UA. Certainly there were enough kids in Phoenix who could morally never play for asu and ended up in Tucson, but not due to aggressive recruiting. I have several close friends who coach football for good teams in Phoenix and, prior to Stoops, they could not hardly get UA recruiting to return their phone calls, let alone evaluate their players. Stoops changed all that and got most of the best players in AZ (who stayed in AZ) to come to Tucson.
Now don't just take my word for it. The 2005 UA recruiting class has been ranked in the top 20 in every ranking I could find. SI.com has Arizona ranked 13th nationally and 2nd in the Pac-10. Fox Sports/Sporting News has UA 14th and 3rd in the Pac. Rivals.com has UA ranked 21st and 3rd in the Pac behind USC and Cal. Scout.com has UA as 14th and 3rd in the Pac. College football news has us third in the Pac. Finally, Si.com's Stewart Mandel put UA in the winners column and summarized the class like this:
Winner: Arizona. The past two years, Arizona didn't even finish among the nation's top 50. This year, they nearly cracked the top 10. Second-year Arizona coach Mike Stoops has brought a level of energy to Tucson unseen in years. He worked his old Big 12 connections to land eight Texas prospects, not to mention top 10 QB Willie Tuitama and several touted receivers.
Last year, I commented on an article "Stoops Brings The Passion" in which I said Stoops brings an intensity to Arizona football which has not been seen in a while. This recruiting class proves his enthusiasm, work ethic and skills as a recruiter and I'd like to think that handing asu's ass to them in the final game of last season proved his coaching ability.