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Sunday, May 19, 2024 | Back issues
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Switched at Birth

Well, at least one of them wasn't the antichrist.

Good Omens fans will appreciate a tale brought to us by the Tennessee Court of Appeals in which, just as in the science fiction classic (well, I think it's a classic, anyway), a couple of babies are accidentally switched shortly after birth.

In the Tennessee version of the story, though, they don't stay switched. In fact, they're apparently only mixed up for a few minutes.

Let me stop here to assure you that no babies were injured in the making of this story. In fact, as far as I can tell, no one was injured at all. Briefly freaked out maybe, but not injured.

So what do you think happens next?

Yep. Five-plus years of litigation with maybe another appeal or two in sight if past is prologue.

Check out Filson v. Seton Corporation and Hobbs v. Seton Corporation from the Tennessee court for the full story in which the moral appears to be that cooties are not actionable.

For some reason, heartless jurists in Tennessee don't want to award damages to an "irritable, fussy" baby or to a mother who is mildly depressed.

Those symptoms may sound normal to most of us but were most of us mixed up at birth?

Well, I suppose we could have been, but at least we don't know it.

The depressed mom also says she suffered "a loss of trust" in professionals - something a lot of us may wish we had had before the stock market tanked, but, again, were we switched at birth?

Pause for a moment to imagine what the lawyers for these families must have been thinking when they took these cases.

Go on. Imagine it. I'm having a little trouble with the concept myself.

Could it have been the opportunity to set a precedent for fussiness and mild depression liability? Could it have been the thought of life-changing contingency fees?

For the sake of the children, let's hope the lawyers here weren't charging by the hour.

A FISCAL SOLUTION. I've solved the financial crisis.

Like everyone else, I was bothered by the numbers being tossed around. How do you pay for, say, $800 billion worth of bailing? I get the stimulus part of the equation, but does it make sense to go into more debt when massive debt, in part, got us into trouble in the first place?

The key is figuring out how to spend the $800 billion without going $800 billion further into debt. The solution is simple: raise the money before spending it.

No, not with taxes.

We need to use the government's newest and most valuable asset: a president who can speak English and is beloved by subscribers to public radio and television.

That's right. I'm talking pledge drive.

It takes money to run a country and every one of us using this country benefits from it whether we subscribe or not.

If you enjoy a program like the police department or explosions in foreign countries, don't let them disappear by failing to contribute.

You may not realize it, but taxes only pay for a small portion of our government services. We need your support to continue bringing you the fine government programming that you can't get anywhere else.

And it doesn't take a lot. If just 250 million of you contribute $3,200 each, we'll reach our goal of $800 billion and be able to continue bringing you the kind of quality services you've come to expect from the United States of America.

If you contribute at the $10,000 level, we'll send you a special U.S.A. pledge drive t-shirt with the slogan, "It's 'Noo-Klee-Er,' You Idiot!"

Act now.

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