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One year later

Each night, the nightmare is the same. Spurred by presidential incompetence, congressional corruption, and a deeply unpopular war, voters go to the polls and throw Republicans out in droves. The new Democratic majorities in both houses go to work immediately, implementing a slew of progressive reforms, utterly changing the face of American politics, and moving the entire nation in a diametrically opposite direction after years and years of Republican hegemony.

I wake in a cold sweat, heart pounding, breath coming in ragged gasps, until reality slowly comes back into focus. Whew, that's a relief. The Democrats have done jack shit! Then, as with those "I'm suddenly back in school and forgot an exam" dreams, I smile and go peacefully back to sleep.


decaf, Barry, decaf. You really can't tell the difference.

Rachel, I don't know about that, but I have been hearing about a new *instant* coffee that's supposed to be as good as fresh-brewed.

Well, on a local level some Democrats have "done things,"...take NY Governor Eliot Spitzer, for instance. He recently unilaterally decided to dole out NY driver's licenses to illegal aliens and, as Fred Dicker pointed out, he nearly single-handedly revitalized NY's moribund GOP, damaged Hillary Clinton who flubbed a question about that policy in a recent debate and made a lot of people realize why voting for Democrats is such a dicey proposition.

The Dems seem to suffer from an abundance of Eliot Spitzer's and a shortage of Zell Miller's.

As much as I would hate to bolster JMK's reflexive Dittohead criticism of any "enemy of Bush the Great", I must admit that Michigan Governor Jennifer Granholm and her new House Dem majority have reminded me why I am a registered Republican.

Just like the old cliche, these Dems all got together to save Michigan, and jacked up everyone's taxes, and created whole new classes of taxes on services to further destroy the business future of Michigan.

Now they are facing a voter recall, and just like Bush, the Dems are using every dirty tactic at their disposal to stop the people from having a vote.

The Dem ruled Election Board, which is only supposed to approve or disapprove initiatives based on whether or not the language is clear and would not confuse voters, rejected this initiative:

Van Woerkom, R-Norton Shores, and Valentine, D-Norton Shores, were among those 10.

"State Rep. Mary Valentine should be removed from office because she voted yes on 2007 House Bill 5194 to increase the income tax to 4.35 percent and voted yes on 2007 House Bill 5198 to impose new six percent taxes on certain services."

Anyone confused? I don't think so. But the Dem Election Board saw it this way:

"I just think it's wrong for these groups to try to exploit Michigan's budget crisis for their own personal gain," Valentine said. "Recalls can be disruptive and expensive and can tear communities apart. Now is the time to be working together, not engaging in smear campaigns."

What??? Was the language clear or not? That is your only discretion, dumbass!

When all hell breaks loose, here comes the Dem attornies to explain:

Mark Steckloff, a Detroit attorney hired by the state Democratic Party to represent Valentine, argued that both reasons given to recall Valentine lacked clarity.

"The first reason given -- that she voted to increase the income tax -- is misleading," Steckloff said. "While it's true the bill does raise the income tax, it also decreases it in years to come. The petition fails to state that.

"The second reason given -- that she voted to approve a new tax -- is extremely confusing and misleading. It's not a new tax. It's an existing tax, and the bill expands the coverage of that tax."


There is no way to win. They are all alike.

"I must admit that Michigan Governor Jennifer Granholm and her new House Dem majority have reminded me why I am a registered Republican." (BH)


Just a few short months ago you were prattling on about how much of an improvement over Engler, Governor Granholm was!

Now THAT really IS funny!

Um ... suuuuure JMK, now be quiet while the adults talk. We all know that you are as one-sided as a Mike Tyson rape case.

What I probably said was that Engler was in the pockets of the insurance companies and championed the severe tort reform that allows a Michigan doctor to operate on you drunk, kill you, and only owe $250,000 maximum.

That's the price a Republican puts on human life when it might hurt corporate profits: $250,000.

The auto insurance companies have a state sponsered monopoly. They charge as much as they like, and you have to pay it.

Actually, thanks for bringing Engler up, JMK. You made my point for me perfectly!

They are all alike.

No, what you insipidly said, was that Governor Granholm was a big improvement over Governor Engler.

Par for the course, with you Barely.

Tort reform is coming, just as surely as some form of "Universal Healthcare" coupled with a PayGo private insurance system is coming.

The reason they're both coming is pretty much the same, there's really no way to argue against them. Our businesses want out from under the ponderous burden of insuring over 85% of the American people and in an increasingly restrictive healthcare environment, physicians and their malpractice insurers have to be protected from excesive liability.

Again, no insurance company EVER pays those damages, they simply "pass them along." The insurers pass them along to their consumers, BOTH physicians and the rest of us who buy auto, home, etc. insurance, and physicians pass those costs along to government (Medicaid, Medicare, SSI, etc) and to HMO's (which in turn pass them onto us in the form of higher premiums and copays, etc)....in short, the cost of ALL these incredibly large judgments are paid by us (the people, as consumers), and we SHOULD pay for them - businesses CAN'T, physicians (those people in the BUSINESS of providing healthcare) CAN'T, but consumers CAN....and SHOULD.

Tort reform, as currently advocated would cap "Punitive Damages," (ie. awards for "Pain & Suffering," etc.), it NOT cap direct compensation for post-event corrective medical care, nor awards based on the loss of projected income over the course of one's life.

So a physician cuts off the wrong leg of a 40 y/o individual who is currently earning $100,000/year.

There's no question that that is tragic, in every way...it shouldn't have happened, but it did.

If I were on a jury, I'd have no problem awarding that individual, taking into account a projected 35 years more life at $100K/year, or $3.5 Million for "loss of income," plus a built-in inflation adjuster...round it out to $5 million in "lost compensation."

PLUS the costs of all corrective medical procedures related to correcting the damage done. That could amount to another $1 million or more in services.

BUT, I'd also have no problem capping that individual's "pain & suffering" award to $250,000.

AND I'd strongly support targeting the bulk of such an award (for "loss of projected income") to both the life expectancy of that individual and to what they currently earn. A person earning $250,000/year certainly would lose MORE income than one currently earning, say, $80,000/year and that should be reflected in such awards.

Things like "Pain & Suffering" and "Loss of Spousal Affection" are, by comparison, mere ditherings, and should be, at the very least capped.

In the above case of that 40 y/o who lost the wrong leg, he'd get $5 million in compensation in "Lost Income," all medical procedures related to that egregious error paid for by that physician's insurer and perhaps another $500,000 in Punitive Damages ("pain and suffering," and "loss of spousal affections"). That would come out to at least $6.5 Million!

That seems very fair.

What doesn't seem fair is a jury of teary eyed soccer Moms eagerly forking over a $50 or even a $100 Million judgment, based on emotionalism over reason.

That's why most reasonable people support tort reform.

Hi, my name is JMK and I would like to rattle on rapidly and incoherently, humping your every post with a novel of sheer nonsense!

I'm conveniently ignoring the fact that Tort Reform was supposed to lower insurance premiums, because I know that the fact is that in Michigan rates went UP after Tort Reform.

Hyuk! I'm almost too stupid to breathe! You see, I said that all of these HUGE lawsuits are costing consumers A TON OF MONEY because like I always say, it just gets passed along ... but, hyuk, why did rates just keep going up AFTER tort reform!

Hyuk, I have no answer! I just listen to Rush every day and the spam this board with my idiot comments!

Dur-hurr, my favorite thing to do is put on my Rush Limbaugh gimme cap and fill up my Rush Limbaugh coffee cup with real American coffee, and then pretend that $100 million judgments have anything to do with insurance premiums!

Either I'm completely retarded or just a liar! No wait, I can be both! I know damn good and well that tort reform does NOT lead to lower insurance premiums! I can't cite a single example of this happening!

I'm JMK and I'm retarded.

Thanks for listening.

Read further to bask in more of the glories of tort reform:

Product injuries and the Flat Earth

Much has been written about the shrinking world of commerce and how the world has become "flat", enabling competition from continents away. In the United States, this has also generated controversy as a "race to the bottom" since many good jobs, particularly in manufacturing, are being moved overseas where labor costs are low and worker's rights and safety are negligible.

The recent controversy over toy recalls raises additional issues of safety and liability, particularly for Michigan residents. So far in 2007, 24 toys have been recalled in the United States, including all of the "Thomas the Train" toys [in the case of Thomas, the issue is the use of lead paint]. All of these recalled toys were manufactured in China--along with 70 to 80 percent of all toys sold in the U.S.

A number of other Chinese products have also been recalled in the past few months, including poisonous tooth paste. Clearly, "cheap" products from a loosely regulated economy bear additional safety risks that Americans had been accustomed to ignore.

These products bear an additional risk for Michigan residents, since after tort "reform" the seller of the product is not legally responsible for defects or injuries they cause. Further, the Chinese government doesn't allow its industries to be sued (particularly since most are government-owned). As a result, when a "Thomas" occurs in Michigan, if it causes catastrophic injuries to someone, no one is responsible and has to stand behind it.

Prior to "reform" large retailers like Wal Mart and K Mart required their suppliers to purchase substantial insurance policies to indemnify the seller and protect the consumer. Since they are no longer amenable to suit in Michigan, they no longer add this requirement to their purchasing terms, and if the company has an insurance contract, it is not available to injured Michigan consumers.

Hyuk, everything must be a lot cheaper in Michigan! I think I'll move there now!

In fact, everywhere tort reform has been enacted it's saved tons of money without really negatively impacting the people.

In MI dimwits use the fact that Phizer left the state, taking 2500 jobs with them to claim that tort reform "didn't result in more jobs, more savings, etc."

Why that's as poor logic as, well, as your typical Barely Hanging argument.

Phizer left the state because of its oppressive tax burden.

So, those 2500 jobs were lost to Granholm's tax policies NOT tort reform.

Capping "pain & suffering" and "punitive damages" is a great idea. It would save millions of dollars and it would bring sanity to a tort system that's been too long out of control.

I've supported a return to the originaltort policy of "assumed risk" that kept most Civil Service workers, especially high risk workers like law enforcement and firefighters from suing Municiplaities over ridiculous things like their getting injured in buildings that had been slated for demolition years earlier.

I've benefitted from four such lawsuits. To be fair to myself, two were class-action lawsuits, one over the city of NY failing to get Bunker gear for ist firefighters in violation of OSHA regs. Anyone burned between 1984 - 1994 was a party to that suit.

It was those experiences, improperly profitable as they were, that spurred me to now support real and extensive tort reform and a return to policies like "assumed risk."

Believe me, I'm used to running into a large number of misinformed dolts who say things like, "Yeah, you got yours, and now you wanna pull up the ladder behind you!"

I don't get it!

What ladder?!

Assumed risk would save the city of NY and other Municipalities untold tens of millions of dollars each year.

The main people benefitting from this abuse are trial lawyers like the slimey John Edwards.

Hyuk, but I be a dumbass an avoidin da question, cause insurance rates and medical costs went up in Mishigun even MORE dan places wid NO TORT REFORM!!!


I be a dumbass!

Michigan lost those Phizer jobs (and rightfully so, due to their oppressive taxes) BUT litigation costs DID NOT go up in Michigan or ANYWHERE else tort reform was passed.

Now, MI may well have passed a less comprehensive and less effective version of tort reform than, sya, Texas, but tort reform is NEEDED. Remember we're talking a Democrat/Trial Lawyer controlled state here!

I've never heard, nor do I wish to hear any affirmative arguments in favor of unbridled "Pain & Suffering" and "Punitive Damages" awards. Reducing those things is always a net gain to the people, especially the beleagured taxpayer.

And Barely, you flatter me yet again.

Last time I asked BH privately, why he would respond as JMK without my homepage and email (as to clearly distinguish between us), he replied "Since I can't beat you, I figured I'd join you, besides, you're the only person here who pays any attention to me."

As I said then, "Much obliged old paint," that is indeed the sincerest form of flattery there is.

I'd be inclined to return the favor, but unfortunately I don't hold you in any such high regard....but that doesn't mean I don't appreciate you as a "fan."

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