Law and Public Policy

Nevada encourages employees to have kids

The state of Nevada's Public Employee Benefit Program released the rate chart for our next year's benefits. In the past a couple with a $500 deductible paid about $18 less a year for coverage than the same couple with a child. Now, however, the scales have tipped, the family of three, five or a dozen will pay $63 dollars less a year than the couple without children. I'm not sure how this will be explained but it should be interesting.

Questions raised about CU Foundation

Cindy Carlisle, University of Colorado regent, has a very frank editorial in the Colorado Daily about CU Foundation President Michael Byram. The editorial is a must-read for every Colorado resident who has a direct interest in how $9 million are spent each year. Carlisle cites her two-year quest for some documents which seem as though they should be readily accessible to all Coloradans.

We the people

It is not too uncommon to see the West Wing television show have some important points about governance and the process of governing. With the help of Lawrence Lessig last evening's show made a very important point about constitutional democracries. It is the culture not the document that matters. There is a critical lesson here for Iraq. One country, group of people, military, etc., no matter how well-meaning can choose the form of government for another people. Perhaps the most important phrase in the United States Constitution is "We the People," not you the former subjects of an evil dictator, not you the people of China, but We the People.

Theory of Evolution

Thursday's decision by Judge Clarence Cooper means that the Cobb County, Georgia, has to remove stickers from their textbooks reading "Evolution is a theory, not a fact."

The issue here is one of linguistics. In the scientific realm things which are well understood are called theories. In order to be equitable other theories would include the theory of gravity. Both gravity and evolution have roughly the same amount of supporting evidence. It is the desire of some religious factions to deny the origins of the human race that led to the stickers in the first place.

Judge Cooper correctly recognized that this is a religious matter, not a matter of science.

Making an impression

I haven't written about the disastrous tsunami in the Indian Ocean. What could I possibly add that would help bring any meaning to the situation? Evidently there are others who aren't so concerned. An AP story today quotes Bill Frist, majority leader of the U.S. Senate talking to a photographer taking his picture, "Get some devastation in the back." And we wonder how we Americans get a reputation for being self centered.

Truck driver or doctor, who should pay more?

The nightmare is all too real. An out of control gas tanker barrels down on a commuter on the way home from work. A long day on the road has made the driver tired, and he doesn't step on the breaks soon enough. When he does they don't respond as they should, the company, with its record of terrible maintenance is on the hook as the commuter is badly shaken up but escapes relatively unharmed.

Across town a woman goes in for a checkup after having shoulder surgery. The wound is a little puffier than it should but appears normal. It is a day later when the septic infection, a result of the improper sterilization of the surgeon's knife, sets in. By the time the problem is recognized the patient is left with life long pain.

Who should be held responsible? Should the commuter be awarded a million dollar settlement while the malpractice patient gets no more than a quarter of that amount. A few scary seconds versus a lifetime of pain and suffering? This is not the case today but if the administration gets the cap on medical malpractice they want it could soon be the case for your son or daughter.


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