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April 12, 2003

Legal Activism

Painting the house, NPR on in the background, and I hear this Wall Street Week bit about problems in the fast food industry. I've been "teaching" Fast Food Nation this semester, so I turned up the radio to see if the speakers had anything to add. They did—all great stuff about the lawsuits against the fast food industry for failing to warn consumers about the deadly nature of its food. Another tidbit: Those "fresh" salads and sandwiches you're buying at Baja Fresh, Panera, etc, may be even higher in calories and fat than a Big Mac meal from McDonald's. Hold the mayo, no kidding! I know a lot of people think its ludicrous to sue fast food companies because they serve unhealthy food, but it's not as simple as that. These cases have piqued my curiosity because they're at least close to what I'd like to do with a J.D.—use my knowledge of law to improve society. How about some lawsuits against automakers for knowingly building and marketing unsafe SUVs? I know, I know. Your first reaction is, "that's crazy!" But dig a little deeper into our SUV nation and you might change your tune.

Long story short: one of the speakers on Wall Street Week was John F. Banzhaf III, who just happens to teach an infamous class called "Legal Activism" at, yes foks, George Washington University.

Suddenly I really, really want to go to GW. I just hope they come through with some more cash.

Posted 11:51 AM | law school

Saddam Conspiracy

Just for the record: The Tehran Times reports that the U.S. cut a deal with Saddam and Co. to end the "war" quickly. This is certainly one way the dots can be connected; there are obviously others.

UPDATE 4-16-03: Salon's coverage of related issues gives a more complete picture of possible links. I'm not saying I believe it, just tracking the story for the record, so to speak...

Posted 09:49 AM | general politics

Is Apple Hungry?

According to the LA Times, Apple is in talks with Vivendi Universal (a mega-media corporation) to buy Universal Music Group for $5-6 billion. The BBC adds a little to the story, and Scripting News links to Tim Jarret's helpful thoughts. It seems this could be Apple's biggest gamble ever, truly a make or break move.

Apparently Vivendi is in a bit of trouble—who knew? It's been talking with potential buyers for lots of its assets for months. According to the Columbia Journalism Review, Vivendi is not the biggest media player, but it's big. Apple couldn't become a mega-corporation, could it? Perhaps I should start learning Linux....

UPDATE: The NY Post reports that Microsoft is now interested in Universal Music, as well. The NY Times says the Apple deal is unlikely.

Posted 09:43 AM | mac geek

Get Your War On

Cartoonist David Rees has been busy working on his subversive/satirical strip, "Get Your War On," including a tribute to Mister Rogers, some good jabs at the whole "freedom fries" thing, and the news that your tv's endless loop of statues of Saddam Hussein falling is the antidote to 9/11! (What do you think—is it working?) But one of my all-time favorite lines from Rees's strip is still the one from last February about The Son of Patriot Act:

You think once they have Benjamin Franklin's body spinning in his grave fast enough, they'll be able to power an internal combustion engine with it?

Doesn't that just explain everything? That's even better than turning turkey guts into oil. Strategery, I tell ya!

Posted 09:08 AM | general politics

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