Happy Valdez Day!

     What did you do to celebrate the 20th anniversary of the Exxon Valdez oil spill?
     Did you forget?
     That’s OK. Not everyone has forgotten. Technically, the anniversary was last March. The U. S. Court of Appeals for the 9th Circuit this month marked the anniversary with a lovely reminder – yet another ruling in the litigation.
     Yep. Twenty years later and the Exxon Valdez is still in court.
     You may now shake your head in wonder.
     A 9th Circuit panel divided 3-2 in In re: The Exxon Valdez on the issue of who should pay for the $70 million cost of an appeal of a punitive damages award. Do you think the Supreme Court will get one last crack at this? How could they resist the nostalgia?
     The parties were fighting over interest too. Imagine how grateful the Exxon people must be these days for recent Federal Reserve policy.
     Hmm … $70 million in costs, a half-billion judgment sitting in a bank savings account.
     Are you thinking what I’m thinking?
     What better way to stimulate the economy?
     We need government polices that encourage long-lasting litigation. Write your Congressperson.
     DEFENSE ISSUE. Much has been made over the past week or so of President Obama’s lightning-quick strike on an attacking fly in the White House.
     As usual, the commentary has ranged from praise for his skill to charges of murder.
     But, at least as far as I can tell, there’s been a critical question missing from all the coverage of this incident: where was the Secret Service?
     The Commander in Chief of the United States of America isn’t supposed to be defending himself. Why was there not a highly-trained Secret Service agent diving between that attacking fly and the chief executive?
     Is the man so powerful that he’s considered invulnerable?
     Are we going to see Obama leading a commando squad into a cave in Afghanistan next?
     Hmm. Maybe this has something to do with those budget cuts we’ve been promised.
     FOOD AND DRUG ADMINISTERING. Now that the Food and Drug Administration have been given the task of regulating cigarettes, I have a question: how exactly do they do it?
     Isn’t the FDA supposed to ban stuff that could kill us?
     Do we want an FDA whose job description includes allowing the sale of products that damage heart and lungs, make breathing more difficult, and promote cancer – as long as they’re not as bad as they could be?
     Here’s another question: are cigarettes a food or a drug?
     Food seems out. We don’t eat cigarettes. At least not unless we’re really, really hungry.
     Drugs don’t seem right either. Normally, you take those to cure something or get high.
     OK, maybe the “get high” might apply – I don’t know because I’ve never smoked – but those kind of drugs are usually just plain illegal.
     So what does the FDA do?
           I don’t know, but for some reason this reminds me of Captain Kirk confronting Nomad.
     The FDA may explode.
     Those of you who are not sci-fi geeks can look it up.

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