Not that any of us who want to see Kerry win should get cocky. But the map could look a lot worse.


Paul Berkowitz: ‘Regarding your column on John Edwards’ ‘defining case’ (for which he received $8+ Million) . . . what happened to the other Andy Tobias, whose auto insurance reform program decried these type of lottery awards?’

☞ He’s still here. All along, I’ve argued we need a balance. And that suits against other drivers serve very little social purpose, while suits against, say, GM for safety flaws, push GM to make cars safer.

Is your 6-year-old daughter safer in swimming pools than she was before John Edwards discovered that 12 other children had been similarly disemboweled or killed and succeeded with his lawsuit? Possibly. And that may be worth giving trial attorneys like him the incentive to do what they do. (According to Tim Grieve’s excellent article in Salon, Sta-Rite’s pool drains could have been made safe by the addition of two inexpensive screws.)

Have you read Jonathan Harr’s A Civil Action? I always recommend it, not just because it’s gripping, but because it does such a good job of conveying the other side of the story. (Of course, another book to read is John Edwards’ own Four Trials.)

We definitely need some sensible tort reform. But not all trial lawyers are bad folks by any means. And if anyone is in a position to broker some reasonable improvements to the system, it would be Vice President John Edwards.


Peter Thibeau: ‘Check it out.’

☞ I love it. It’s a page by one Glen Whitman, who explains:

A few years ago, I was chatting with a stranger in a bar. When I told him I was an economist, he said, ‘Ah. So… what are the Two Things about economics?”

“Huh?” I cleverly replied.

“You know, the Two Things. For every subject, there are really only two things you really need to know. Everything else is the application of those two things, or just not important.”

“Oh,” I said. “Okay, here are the Two Things about economics. One: Incentives matter. Two: There’s no such thing as a free lunch.”

Ever since that evening, I’ve been playing the Two Things game. Whenever I meet someone who belongs to a different profession or who knows something about a subject I’m unfamiliar with, I pose the Two Things question. . . . This page is a collection of responses to the “Two Things” question, collected from various pages on the web, with credit given when possible.

The Two Things about the Two Things

1. People love to play the Two Things game, but they rarely agree about what the Two Things are.

2. That goes double for anyone who works with computers.

Unaccountably, he has no “two things” about Politics. Go ye forth to his page and multiply (by two).


John Byers: “I’m confused. Monday, the notice at the bottom of your column read, Tomorrow: Just Because He’s Smarter and Got More Votes Doesn’t Mean He’s Wrong. Reading the column, that sounds like the appropriate title. But you titled it, Just Because He’s Smarter and Got More Votes Doesn’t Mean He’s Right. Which is it – wrong or right?”

☞ It’s not enough sleep! “Wrong” was right. Have gone back and fixed it. Sorry.


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