December 2006

On January 31, 2004, the NYT published a piece on John Edwards by Adam Liptak and Michael Moss. It is a hit-piece that traces Edward’s successful career as a trial lawyer. The opening paragraphs are shocking:

n 1985, a 31-year-old North Carolina lawyer named John Edwards stood before a jury and channeled the words of an unborn baby girl.

Referring to an hour-by-hour record of a fetal heartbeat monitor, Mr. Edwards told the jury: “She said at 3, `I’m fine.’ She said at 4, `I’m having a little trouble, but I’m doing O.K.’ Five, she said, `I’m having problems.’ At 5:30, she said, `I need out.’ ”

But the obstetrician, he argued in an artful blend of science and passion, failed to heed the call. By waiting 90 more minutes to perform a breech delivery, rather than immediately performing a Caesarean section, Mr. Edwards said, the doctor permanently damaged the girl’s brain.

“She speaks to you through me,” the lawyer went on in his closing argument. “And I have to tell you right now — I didn’t plan to talk about this — right now I feel her. I feel her presence. She’s inside me, and she’s talking to you.”

The jury came back with a $6.5 million verdict in the cerebral palsy case, and Mr. Edwards established his reputation as the state’s most feared plaintiff’s lawyer.

In the decade that followed, Mr. Edwards filed at least 20 similar lawsuits against doctors and hospitals in deliveries gone wrong, winning verdicts and settlements of more than $60 million, typically keeping about a third. As a politician he has spoken of these lawsuits with pride.

Never mind that the scientific evidence shows that cerebral palsy is usually caused by events, such as infection, much earlier in the pregnancy. Never mind that natural birth is usually safer than a caesarian section for mother and child. More from the NYT piece:

The effect of his work has reached beyond those cases, and beyond his own income. Other lawyers have filed countless similar cases; just this week, a jury on Long Island returned a $112 million award. And doctors have responded by changing the way they deliver babies, often seeing a relatively minor anomaly on a fetal heart monitor as justification for an immediate Caesarean.

On the other side, insurance companies, business groups that support what they call tort reform and conservative commentators have accused Mr. Edwards of relying on questionable science in his trial work. Indeed, there is a growing medical debate over whether the changes have done more harm than good. Studies have found that the electronic fetal monitors now widely used during delivery often incorrectly signal distress, prompting many needless Caesarean deliveries, which carry the risks of major surgery.

The rise in such deliveries, to about 26 percent today from 6 percent in 1970, has failed to decrease the rate of cerebral palsy, scientists say. Studies indicate that in most cases, the disorder is caused by fetal brain injury long before labor begins.

An examination of Mr. Edwards’s legal career also opens a window onto the world of personal injury litigation. In building his career, Mr. Edwards underbid other lawyers to win promising clients, sifted through several dozen expert witnesses to find one who would attest to his claims, and opposed state legislation that would have helped all families with brain-damaged children and not just those few who win big malpractice awards.

It turns out that Edwards was a gifted trial lawyer who spcialized in high margin amulance chasing:

Over time, Mr. Edwards became quite selective about cases. Liability had to be clear, his competitors and opponents say, and the potential award had to be large.

“He took only those cases that were catastrophic, that would really capture a jury’s imagination,” Mr. Wells, a defense lawyer, said. “He paints himself as a person who was serving the interests of the downtrodden, the widows and the little children. Actually, he was after the cases with the highest verdict potential. John would probably admit that on cross-examination.”

It is hard to see any medical professional voting for Edwards when this record is exposed.


They should have done Al Sadr at the same time but you can’t have everything.

According to this report in Arutz Sheva:

the State Department has blocked the transfer of weapons and technology to Israel over the past three months, reflecting deteriorating relations between the two countries since the war in Lebanon in August of this year.

The unofficial suspension of U.S. arms deliveries, beginning in late September, halted the airlift of air-to-ground and other munitions that had been ongoing since the war – despite Israel’s continuing need for them. Israel says it needs the equipment in order to replenish munitions and other stocks in preparation for a larger war that might include Syria in mid-2007.

Two reasons have been given for the deterioration in relations. One is the perceived Israeli loss, or at least non-victory, in the war with Hizbullah, which has undermined U.S. confidence in Israel’s military and government. In addition, the U.S. may be trying to assuage Saudi Arabia, whose help the U.S. seeks in Iraq. “There’s nothing like stopping the weapons flow to Israel to show the Saudis that the United States means business,” a diplomatic source told MENL.

Meanwhile, Iran has restocked Hezbollah’s supply of rockets, weapons designed for use against random Israeli civilian targets. The idea that the “Israeli loss, or at least non-victory, in the war with Hizbullah, which has undermined U.S. confidence in Israel’s military and government” is a bit rich. It’s not like the US is doing well in Iraq after four years of slogging. Worse, hurting Israeli to assuage the duplicitous Saudis, the primary financers and exporters of Islamic radicalism, is short-sighted stupidity and a betrayal of our one true ally in the Middle East. Looks like the Bush administration is listening to the likes of James “F… the Jews, they don’t vote for us anyway” Baker.

My estimation is that there are a lot of loyal US non-citizen residents that are really, truly, absolutely in love with the U.S.A. and would gladly volunteer to fight in Afghanistan, Iraq or wherever Islamic scum coagulates. I’m one of those US non-citizen residents, and I’d volunteer to confront our enemy. I only have one condition: we change the rules of engagement from the PC “do no harm to anyone not aiming an AK47 at me” to “kill every one within cooee of an attack on us who did nothing to warn us.”

See, the more I read about the idiotic rules of engagement, and the dire penalties for anyone who is accused by an enemy sympathizer for breaking them, the less inclined I would be to join the fight.

Question to the President Bush: What is the moral difference between killing civilians caught up in the aftermath of an IED attack and dropping incendiary weapons on Tokyo?

I’d say none. Get tough, for God’s sake. Nobody credits the US for being nice. Everbody would respect us for being tough.

The Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor killed 2,403 Americans. That attack brought America into World War II. By the end of the conflict the US had lost approximately 500,000 people. The first US land operation in World War II was Operation Torch, an invasion of Vichy French controlled territory in North Africa. The operation started on 8 November 1942 and finished 3 days later. History records that:

Operation TORCH gave the Allies substantial beachheads in North Africa at rather modest cost, considering the size of forces committed. One hundred twenty-five thousand soldiers, sailors, and airmen participated in the operation, 82,600 of them U.S. Army personnel. Ninety-six percent of the 1,469 casualties were American, with the Army losing 526 killed, 837 wounded, and 41 missing. Casualties varied considerably among the three task forces. Eastern Task Force lost the fewest Americans killed in action, 108, Western Task Force, with four times as many American troops, lost 142 killed; Center Task Force lost almost twice as many killed, 276.

In the current conflict, Operation Iraqi Freedom has given the US a substantial beachhead in the Middle East at rather modest cost, considering the size of the forces committed. Of course, that is not the way the MSM has presented the case. But, think how they would have reacted if the US had lost 500 troops in 3 days in Iraq. It would have been labeled a catastrophe. Yet, Operation Torch was regarded as a modest success and a valuable lesson for the untested Americans.

The fact that US casualties in Iraq have exceeded the 2,973 lost on 9/11 only means that US casualties in this war have passed the 6,000 mark. That number will only grow. If we lack the fortitude to do the tough things now, that number will climb past total WW2 casualties and we will pass the war on to the next generation. If we succeed in Iraq, and beyond, through continued fortitude, then we can keep casualties modest, and crush radical Islam in a decade or two.

A commenter at Belmont Club writes:

…there is a need to engage the virtual Jihad not only in the media, but….

Wretchard? The media? Like CNN, BBCommunists, New Duranty Times, Associated with terrorists Press, Al-Reuters?

We would all love to see the media – our media – supporting, and not white anting, civilization’s efforts against jihad. But instead we get is Jihadi terror snuff videos, embeds with the Taliban, incessant wails of “islamophobia!”, Jamil Hussein soundbites, and fauxtography.

Not even mentioning their media outlets.

Paul Weyrich recently suggested in a column reanimating the House Unamerican Activies Committee to hunt for islamist sympathizers. That or something similar needs to be done, its obvious.

I can’t imagine it happening this side of a WMD.

I can’t disagree with this assessment. Unfortunately, an utterly irresponsible MSM still sets the agenda and filters all its coverage through its BDS filter.

My wife and I are back from a family reunion and wedding in Melbourne, Australia. We moved from Melbourne to the US in 1993. Back then, Australia seemed to be headed in the wrong direction. Downtown Melbourne was struggling. There was no residential development to speak of. We had been living in a nice high-rise condo in one of the better inner suburbs. The developer had gone broke pursuing his dream.

Fast forward 13 years. Downtown Melbourne is booming. The skyline is crowded with new skyscrapers, including wonderful high-rise condos. The star of the show is the Eureka building, a 92 story condo building, that is simply stunning in its style and sophistication. We stayed in a nearby short-term apartment rental that is a mere 31 stories high. I went for a run down the Yarra River and saw dozens of high-rise residential and commercial developments that hadn’t been there when I last visited in 2002.

I don’t know what Melbourne did right. I just wish Cleveland could find the formula. I was told that some of the credit went to Liberal (conservative) State Premier Jeff Kennet who ran the state of Victoria from 1992 until a narrow electoral loss in 1999. His Wikipedia entry seems to be fair from my vantage point. Another factor has to be the influx of Asian money and talent. The Communist takeover of Hong Kong saw a lot of Chinese move to Australia. The uncertainties in Malaysia are also causing some non-Muslim people to move to Australia. Melbourne has also become a preferred educational destination for many Asian students and a fair percentage stay after they graduate. One thing is for certain; an influx of educated and business savvy Asians makes a hell of a lot more economic sense than a flood of uneducated Mexican laborers.

We did lots of wining and dining around the downtown area. We weren’t looking for gourmet experiences but we always found great food and wine at reasonable prices. The BYO culture makes it easy to have a great night out without breaking the bank. My wife thinks Australia is missing a tourist opportunity by not promoting itself as a food and wine gourmet destination. It sure has better price-performance than France.

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