A New Link To Feed To The Blogtopus!

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Salah’s Blog!

Salah, who now is a socially conscious entrepreneur, is a boyhood friend / smarty-pants who taught me to play chess and failed utterly to teach me French. I almost misspelled the etymologically French word “entrepreneur”. Sorry Salah, it just didn’t take! 🙂

The Ultimate Hit Piece On Sarah Palin?

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From the liberal leaning Atlantic, a reasonable piece on Sarah Palin?

As governor, Palin demonstrated many of the qualities we expect in our best leaders. She set aside private concerns for the greater good, forgoing a focus on social issues to confront the great problem plaguing Alaska, its corrupt oil-and-gas politics. She did this in a way that seems wildly out of character today—by cooperating with Democrats and moderate Republicans to raise taxes on Big Business. And she succeeded to a remarkable extent in settling, at least for a time, what had seemed insoluble problems, in the process putting Alaska on a trajectory to financial well-being.

And this:

PALIN HAS GAINED a reputation for being erratic, undisciplined, not up to the job. But that wasn’t how she looked as governor. She began by confronting the two biggest issues in Alaska—the gas pipeline and the oil tax—and drove the policy process on both of them.

After taking office in December 2006, she kept her word and hired Tom Irwin, and other members of the Magnificent Seven. They devised a plan to attract someone other than the oil companies to build the pipeline, and they bid out the license to move ahead with it—to the deep displeasure of the oil producers, who vowed not to participate. Palin came under serious political pressure. Although she doesn’t mention it in Going Rogue, the Associated Press discovered that Vice President Dick Cheney called her at least twice that month. According to her aides, Cheney urged her to make concessions, but she didn’t.

…Cooperating with Democrats and moderate Republicans??? …Raise taxes on Big Business????? … She said “NO” to Dick Cheney?????

Sarah Palin is secretly a moderate RINO!

To quote Keanu Reeves…. WOAH!!!!

I’m libertarian with a small “i”. The Sarah Palin in this piece… the early one… she sounds like the kind of person I could have voted for. Hell, she almost sounds like the kind of person my liberal little brother could have voted for! Too bad she decided to be a political rock star instead.

On Court Cases and The Media

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Today Ann Althouse made note of a court case where a judge in Utah awarded a couple $1.9 mil against the federal government after their son was killed by a bear while camping. The judge apparently ruled that the federal government was “65 percent responsible for the death of Samuel Ives,… the state government was 25 percent responsible… and the boy’s family was 10 percent responsible”. At first glance the ruling seems like one of those stupid ruling that everyone loves to point out when they complain that the judicial system and judges are all screwed up, and this has a 87% chance of making it to the talk radio circuit.

Here is some background on the story:

The lawsuit was brought against the federal government and the U.S. Forest Service after a cinnamon-colored black bear dragged Ives out of his tent and killed him during a family camping trip in 2007. Ives’s family had gone to American Fork Canyon for Father’s Day, and contended that government personnel failed to warn them that a dangerous bear was prowling the area.

The bear that killed Ives was tracked and killed shortly after the attack.

The lawsuit was argued in court during a week-long bench trial in February. During the trial, government lawyers argued that posted signs adequately warned the family of the potential dangers of bears. They also pointed out that Ives had brought a granola bar and Coke Zero into his tent, though Rebecca Ives testified during the trial that she didn’t know there was food nearby.

But Judge Kimball’s ruling describes government employees as negligent, saying specifically that United States Forest Service law enforcement officer Carolyn Gosse failed to follow regulations and inform Ives’s family about a potential threat. Gosse was notified on the day Ives died that another camper visiting the area had been attacked by a bear earlier that morning. Judge

Kimball attributes Ives’s death in part to Gosse’s failure to properly respond.

“Plaintiffs have proved by a preponderance of the evidence that Defendant’s breaches were a cause of Sam Ives’ death and the Plaintiffs’ damages,” Judge Kimball wrote.

Gosse later resigned from the Forest Service, but Judge Kimball nonetheless determined that the government bore responsibility for Ives’s death. In his ruling, Judge Kimball wrote that based on other cases, a fair reward would be $3 million. However, because the government was only 65 percent responsible, the ruling stipulates that it must pay only 65 percent of that sum, or $1,950,000. Francis and Rebecca Ives were seeking $2 million in the lawsuit.

Before I continue, I want to point out I am familiar with this judge due to the SCO vs Linux case and consider him to be one of the better ones. Interesting to note that the typical award for this type of case was $3 mil, but the judge reduced it to just under $2, as it shows that other cases were awarded in a similar fashion, so the judge is following precedent and not making some outlandish, unique ruling. I hate forming an opinion on a court case based on a newspaper clipping. 92% of the time (and yes that is yet another riff off Judge Kimball), there are pertinent details left out that would clarify exactly why the case went the way it did. In my opinion, the only people who have the perspective to know if the ruling was fair or not are those who were actually in the court room during entirety of the trial.

This is just an educated guess, but I bet the events in this case went something like this. I’ll bet that the previous bear attack happened before the Ives got to the park. I’m betting that Gosse made the decision that gate attendants NOT verbally inform incoming campers at the gate when they paid to gain entrance into the park, but instead post signs warning that a bear attack had occurred in the area. Signs warning of the dangers of bears are all over the national parks. I see them all the time when I hike Yosemite. On a hike up to Half Dome, a friend took a nap and woke to find one a foot away. That bear was euthanized a month later for getting too used to being around humans. Anyway, we’re used to the signs and don’t pay much attention to them because we know the bears are there and take precautions. Maybe the signs posted on that day were posted before the Ives entered the camp, but a sign doesn’t convey the same type of vital urgency that a verbal warning does. I doubt I would have noticed the difference if the signs changed. The Ives probably entered the park sometime after that decision was made. This was probably shown to be a decision made by Gosse in part to prevent the loss of money made at the gate, which would explain why Gosse resigned from the Forest Service.

That is my guess on why this case went the way it did.


Note: Judge Dale Kimball is the same judge who initially handled much of the ridiculous SCO vs Linux fiasco, where SCO originally claimed there were millions of lines of code from Unix in Linux. Unlike Microsoft or Apple OS code, this is all open source and the code can be read by anyone, so it was obvious there was no stolen code to begin with, but SCO pulled a bait and switch and shifted the claims from specific copying of code to patent infringement and copying of methods. In many court systems, the plaintiff is not allowed to pull this kind of bait and switch, but because of quirks in Utah law dealing with tech issues, the case went on for almost five years. After the very long trial, where SCO unsurprisingly could not produce proof that a single line of code was copied from Unix to Linus or even prove unlawful copying of methods or patent infringement, Kimball ruled against SCO. Oh, did I forget to mention they don’t own the rights to Unix either? Did I also forget to mention that Utah is a very tech heavy state and the legislators are basically in the pocket of big tech, writing laws that allow these kind of lawsuits to stay in court where other states


PS. From the Althouse comment thread:

Trooper York said…
None of this would have happened if they had the kid in stroller.

Now THAT my friends is how you WIN a thread!