(Image courtesy of USGS)
As science advances, new findings become possible and the unexplained may become explainable. The events might even become tortious. Consider, for example, earthquakes and new evidence suggesting that there  are "hidden" or indirect costs to extraction of oil, coal and other carbon based fuels. A respected scientist has now published

Publish What You Pay. The theory is simple. Require oil companies and others to publish all payments of more than $ 100k to government entities and government-owned entities, such as state-owned oil companies. Then compare the inflow against budgets and payouts to taxpayers from the government agency or entity. If inflow does not match outflow,

The world’s most polluted places. Our Amazing Planet  provided this eye-opening Earth Day story in words and pictures. The story shows that some mining and extraction operations create massive pollution. Some are government owned and some are private. One wonders whether and how they will be held accountable for harms caused.

Hat tip to Huffington Post for

Persons injured by torts are involuntary creditors of the entity which committed the tort. And, today, we see increasing examples of  insolvent companies failing to pay anything close to full value for massive harms spread over many years and continents. For product liability examples, consider the American car companies which used bankruptcy to largely walk away from various tort  liabilities (a position later modified), bankrupt former makers of asbestos

Yesterday, Paul Krugman used his NYT column to tee off on the failure of the Republican budget "plan" to acknowledge that health care costs drive long-term many budget disasters, and the system is not fixing itself. The lesson really should be simple to grasp – just look at the various bankrupt car companies, or any state that can’t pay

Depakote. It’s a drug for people with epilepsy, migraines and other miserable disease. It’s also a drug that causes severe birth defects (e.g spina bifida) in a signficant percentage (perhaps 20%) of the children born to women taking Depakote during the first trimester of pregnancy.  Go here to see extracts from relevant articles. Go here to see Abbott’s current, lame warning.

Science lessons from Depakote ? This drug provides yet another example of the lesson that the TIMING of the dose can be critical – e.g. during the first trimester.  That lesson was previously taught by DES daughters. Another lesson? We need the software and smart research aimed at predicting when drugs will cause genetic problems. One more lesson ? Some drugs and "toxins" are in fact causing harm to multiple-generations by altering genes and/or the epigenome.

A political lesson ? Rudy Giuliani used to campaign in favor of  "tort reform." But now his law firm (Bracewell & Giuliani) is representing Depakote plaintiffs, as shown by this website seeking Depakote plaintiffs and using the Bracewell & Giuliani name.  And as shown by this article, the Bracewell & Giuliani firm is filing cases from around the country, in St. Clair County, the sister county to the infamous Madison County.

Welcome to the plaintiff’s side, Rudy. Stay awhile – it’s sometimes great to represent real people who actually need help, and to hold people accountable for their actions.


Go here to "ontheissues" for the link to a transcript with the following quotes:

Supports tort reform like “loser pays” rule

GIULIANI: Fred was the single biggest obstacle to tort reform in the US Senate. He stood with Democrats over and over again. He voted against $250,000 caps on damages, which they have in Texas. He voted against almost anything that would make our legal system fairer: loser pays rules, things that would prevent lawsuits like that $54 million lawsuit by that guy who lost his pants–you know? That cost that family $100,000 in legal fees. I think the man should have to pay the family for the $100,000. Fred Thompson, along with very few Republicans, blocked tort reform over and over and over again.

THOMPSON: I supported tort reform with regard to securities legislation. I supported tort reform with regard to product liability legislation, things that have to do with interstate commerce. I think it appropriately passed. I supported and worked for those things. Local issues belong at the state level. Most states have passed tort reform. That’s our system. It’s not all federalized.

Source: 2007 GOP primary debate in Orlando, Florida Oct 21, 2007
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