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A New Phone Law?

Since Our Blog is a little bit about travel, this seemed like a good start.

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Do we need a new phone travel restriction law? Admit it! You get so irritated when you see someone sitting… just sitting in front of you, at a light that has turned green… and they aren’t moving because they are just sitting there talking on their cell phone. Or, maybe it’s just me.

Already, it’s against the law to text. But, Virginia State Senator Scott Surovell re-introduced a bill that was previously voted down on the Senate floor in 2015. A bill that would make it a traffic violation to use your cell phone in hand.  Hands free only.

Senator Scott Surovell today introduced SB 74 which prohibits driving while operating a mobile phone unless it is being used in “hand’s free” mode”.

Here is what the Virginia Transportation Alliance has said about the bill:

 

The Alliance applauds Senator Surovell’s efforts to find solutions that will help reduce distracted driving. Recent VDOT statistics show that over a 6 year period, approximately 1 in 6 traffic fatalities in Northern Virginia occurred when at least 1 of the drivers involved was distracted,” stated Northern Virginia Transportation Alliance President David Birtwhistle in an email to Potomac Local. “Many more traffic incidents impacting the efficiency of the transportation network are caused by distracted driving. Northern Virginia’s congestion issues will not be solved by such legislation, but every effort to reduce the number of incidents and save lives matters.

The days of having your cell phone in your hand while driving may come to a close after this session. The argument against passage of the bill includes that it may also serve to limit GPS use with your phone. Opponents of the bill believe that it just represents too much government involvement in our driving, and puts more burden on the police to enforce it.

For pic o’ day, this is more like just plain ole phone humor. (Does phone humor really exist?)

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The Real Loser!

This blog news made me laugh because it should really be titled, “Who is the loser now?”.

From TulsaWorld.com comes a story about a recently enacted law in Oklahoma. The newspaper sums it up like this,

A law recently signed by Gov. Mary Fallin will unintentionally make dramatic changes in the payment of attorney fees in civil lawsuits.

House Bill 1470 increases the age to 45 from 20 for victims of child sexual abuse to bring a civil case.

But Sen. Anthony Sykes, R-Moore, amended the original bill to make the loser pay all legal fees in civil cases, a dramatic shift from how those cases are currently handled”.

Here’s why this makes me smile. For years, Big Business has been threatening to fight for loser pays laws. Whenever someone brings a lawsuit and loses, they would also have to pay the attorney fees for the winning side. That was supposed to stop the “frivolous lawsuits” from being filed.

I have always been a supporter of Loser Pays laws. In my world, it’s the insurance companies who have frivolous defenses. And now, losers paying is a reality in Oklahoma. The state where I went to law school. A reality by legislative mistake.

If you fully read the article, you will see that Big Business is scrambling to get the laws changed again. The last thing they really wanted was to pass “Loser Pays” laws. They would rather make it a talking point instead of reality. It’s Biblical to watch David defeat Goliath. And that’s what has them scrambling in Oklahoma.

And for pic o’ day… Are these the legislators in Oklahoma?

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I know that our pic o’ day shouldn’t end the blog in a mean way, so here’s Yoga Pup for a more relaxing ending:

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Just Some Friday Law(s)

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From AvvoStories comes some unique laws:

In Maryland, it is still illegal for lions to attend the theater.

In Minnesota, you may not enter the state with a duck or chicken on your head.

In Oklahoma, you can be fined or jailed for making “ugly faces” at dogs.

In Washington, it is against the law to pretend that your parents are rich.

And finally, In West Virginia it is illegal to whistle while underwater.

And these are great reminders why we really do need weekends, and so do legislators.

I hope you have a great one!

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A Selfie… and Some Alcohol History

First, my dad sent me a selfie over the weekend. What is the world coming to?

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Hahahahahaha. I couldn’t help it. I had to post it on my blog. 110 years from now when we read this blog together… I will still laugh!

Since it’s Monday and I am in the work weeds right now, I don’t want to write an epistle today. Still, there’s a piece of history that I want to mention.

Today in history in 1933, the 18th Amendment was repealed. More specifically, it became legal to drink alcohol again.

On November 18, 1918, Congress banned the sale of  beverages that had an alcoholic content of greater than 2.75%. On January 17, 1920, the 18th Amendment outlawed “the manufacture, sale or transportation of intoxicating liquors”. Curiously, it was still legal to drink alcohol. Sounds like some lobbyist got busy!

Many states didn’t enforce the amendment. Drinking did decline but bootleggers kept supplying until the amendment was repealed. The only Constitutional Amendment to ever be repealed.

 

And for our “official” pic o’ day, Amy M. sent one that shows that everyone knows that it’s time to buy the Christmas tree:

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The Importance of a Seat Belt

You have to appreciate a mother who puts a special emphasis on her daughter wearing a seat belt. Here’s a story from ABC7 in Chicago  about this Arizona woman, where you might think that she took it a bit too far. I am posting the article that comes with the news story:

A woman in Arizona called police to teach her young daughter a lesson about seat belt safety.

 Michelle Fortin said her 3-year-old unbuckled her seat belt during a ride home on Monday.

 Fortin then pulled over and explained to the girl why seat belts are important.

 But the mom later decided that the lesson needed to be reinforced.

 So she called police in Scottsdale, who were more than happy to come and back her up.

 “I guess it was an extreme choice on my part to call police, but I knew she was gonna remember it and I knew by hearing from a police officer, who is a person of authority that my kids respect, I knew that was gonna drive the point home better than just hearing it from mom,” Fortin said.

 The strategy seems to have worked.  Michelle’s daughter Camille promised to the officers that she would always keep her seat belt on.

Not sure what this mother will do when her daughter starts texting in the car when she turns 5!

And for pic o’ day…

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Those Crazy Laws

There are always some things that cannot always be explained. For instance, Charlie Chaplin once won third prize in a Charlie Chaplin look alike contest.

When it comes to different laws in different states, some of those seem a bit curious. I suppose that it used to be much more important to address the issue of having your horse tied up in front of the store. Now… taking your horse grocery shopping is not expected.

From Criminal Justice Career Schools comes a listing of Criminal Justice Resources: The Top 50 Strangest Laws. I have not personally researched each of these laws. However, I am fascinated to see the Virginia law that was posted. I suspect that this Virginia law (if you scroll down) had something to do with games of chance. So here we go:

Alabama: It is not permitted to playing the game of dominos on Sundays

Alaska: You cannot wake a bear up in order to take a picture with it in the state of Alaska.

Arizona: According to a law in Tucson, Arizona, women are not allowed to wear pants.

Arkansas: Men can beat their wives, but only once per month in Arkansas.

California: Mousetraps cannot be used in California without an official hunting license.

Colorado: In Pueblo, Colorado, dandelions cannot be grown within the city limits.

Connecticut: Dogs cannot get an education in Hartford, Connecticut.

Delaware: A marriage can be annulled if the marriage occurred because of a dare.

Florida: It is against the law to imitate an animal in the city of Miami.

Georgia: Barbers cannot advertise the price of a haircut or any other services in the state of Georgia.

Hawaii: Ironically, the laws of Hawaii say you cannot appear in public wearing only swimming trunks.

Idaho: If you’re giving your sweetheart a box of candy in Idaho, it must weight more than 50 pounds.

Illinois: It is very clearly stated that all cars in Illinois must be driven with a steering wheel included.

Indiana: In South Bend, Indiana, monkeys cannot smoke cigarettes.

Iowa: No one can be charged an admission cost to see a one-armed piano player in the state of Iowa.

Kansas: Cherry pie a la mode cannot be served on Sundays in Kansas.

Kentucky: Kentucky law states that people must bathe at least once per year.

Louisiana: Gargling in public is illegal in Louisiana.

Maine: You cannot win more than three dollars from gambling in the state of Maine.

Maryland: Oysters must be treated properly in Maryland by law.

Massachusetts: Tomatoes are not permitted in clam chowder in the state of Massachusetts.

Michigan: A woman’s hair is her husband’s legal property in Michigan.

Minnesota: Women impersonating Santa Claus can face up to thirty days in prison.

Mississippi: You cannot kill your “servant” in Mississippi.

Missouri: Men must have permits to shave in the state of Missouri.

Montana: Wives cannot open their husbands’ mail or else they face felony charges.

Nebraska: Soup must be made at the same time bartenders serve beer in Nebraska.

Nevada: Camels cannot be driven on the highway in Nevada.

New Hampshire: You cannot check into a hotel under a false name in New Hampshire.

New Jersey: Forget buying cabbage on Sunday in New Jersey: it’s illegal!

New Mexico: The city of Carlsbad has banned the Miriam-Webster collegiate dictionary.

New York: It is illegal in New York to throw a ball at a person’s head for fun.

North Carolina: The city of Ashland prohibits public sneezing on city streets.

North Dakota: You cannot fall asleep with your shoes still on in North Dakota.

Ohio: In the state of Ohio you cannot have a bear without a license.

Oklahoma: No ugly or funny faces shall be made at dogs in the state of Oklahoma.

Oregon: No one can bathe without wearing acceptable clothing that covers their body from the neck to their knees.

Pennsylvania: Marriages cannot be performed if either the bride or groom is drunk.

Rhode Island: It is illegal to throw pickle juice on a trolley in Rhode Island.

South Carolina: Everyone living in South Carolina must take their gun to church with them.

South Dakota: You cannot fall asleep while in a cheese factory in South Dakota.

Tennessee: You are not allowed to drive and sleep in the state of Tennessee.

Texas: In the state of Texas, no one is allowed to have a pair of pliers on them at any time.

Utah: All birds are granted the right of way on highways in Utah.

Vermont: You must not deny that God exists in Vermont.

Virginia: In Richmond, Virginia, it’s illegal to flip a coin to determine who will buy the coffee.

Washington: It’s against the law to pretend your parents are rich in Washington state.

West Virginia: No adults allowed: In the state of West Virginia, only babies are allowed to ride in baby carriages.

Wisconsin: There will be no kissing on trains in Wisconsin!

Wyoming: Women cannot stand within five feet of a bar.

       And this pic o’ day made me laugh. Is it like wearing a shirt on shirt on shirt?

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Observation and Future Concern

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When I see this picture, it makes me think about seeing what is to be seen.

Stressed is desserts spelled backwards. That reminds me that sometimes worrying about the future is really just looking at things wrong.

Thomas Edison thought he was really looking towards the future when he got a patent for a method of making concrete furniture… And a patent that allowed a cigar to burn forever. Now I think about his “future inventions” and think “Not so much”.

In 1875, it was against the law to sell sodas and candies on Sunday. So, to get around the law, William Garwood invented the ice cream sundae. We now benefit from that treat and have clearly moved past a silly law.  No future in that kind of pious thinking.

While coming back from the Virginia Beach office on Monday night, I saw several cars that had hit ice patches and slid into the ditch. It made me wonder why we have made so much progress with technology and still can’t easily drive on roads because of weather.

I am asked about my thoughts on how our practice will be impacted by cars without drivers. It’s probably like Edison getting all excited about cement furniture or the evils of candy being sold on Sunday.

Who will be at fault when cars without drivers get into car crashes? For now, I just wish the future would provide a better way to drive on the road in different kinds of weather! Some things aren’t worth thinking about.

And for pic o’ day, more on thinking about the future!

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The Next FDA Commissioner

Conflict or Qualified? The NY Times just did a story on the recent Presidential nominee to head the FDA. The title of the article tells the summary of the story, F.D.A. Nominee Califf’s Ties to Drug Makers Worry Some.

The article starts out with a meeting in May 2014, and presentation that Dr. Robert M. Califf gave to a group of biomedical researchers,  pharmaceutical lawyers and industry experts.

His PowerPoint slides showed the importance of speeding up the pace of biomedical innovation by transforming research. Near the end of the presentation, one slide was put up that indicated one barrier to that pace: Regulation.

At the time, no one reacted to that one slide. Now, it has garnered some attention because this Cardiologist/nominee will potentially be the “Police Chief” of medications that get approved and make it to our pharmacies.

He is a renowned clinical researcher who is unquestionably qualified to lead the agency. On the other hand, he will be in charge of an agency that regulates what is responsible for about a quarter of every dollar that we spend.

This agency is now facing such issues as whether/how to regulate electronic cigarettes. Dr. Califf’s previous job was heading up Duke University’s research center, which received more than 60% of its funding directly from pharmaceutical companies. Does that make him too close to them and create a conflict; or does his familiarity with the industry make him more qualified to regulate it.

Dr. Califf personally received $215,000 as a consultant from drug companies from 2009-2015. As a side note, several years ago Frank Luntz did research on the term drug companies and advised them to start calling themselves pharmaceutical companies. Drug Company sounded bad to the public. More on that in his book Words That Work: It’s Not What You Say, It’s What People Hear.

“Pharmaceutical Companies” have always been known to have great ties to government while employing powerful lobbyists. In 2002, the Homeland Security Act that we all knew was going to make us safe as it was signed into law… also contained a provision buried deep in the legislation that protected Eli Lilly and a few other big drug companies against  lawsuits by parents who believed that there children had been harmed by thimersol.

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    So, the question really remains, when is regulation protective and when is it too restrictive? Let’s hope that Dr. Califf knows the balance. As one professor who worked with him observed, “How does he think? We won’t know until we see how he behaves.”

 

 

And for pic o’ day, a bit of surveillance:

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Rules and Regulations

All weekend, I saw the blue lights of police cars. Many drivers had been pulled over for breaking some traffic rule. I guess just because the car speedometer says 120 or 160… you’re not allowed to see if it actually goes that high. I guess those are the rules!

In the 1920’s, people would go to the beach… to look at the water. The next decade, swimwear companies realized that they had to adapt to beachgoers actually getting in the water. So, they had to create suits that were practical for swimming.

As swimwear became shorter, beach police would walk along the sand to patrol the appearance of improper swimwear. These police would carry a tape measure in hand to determine if a woman was showing too much skin. These police would measure the distance between the bottom of a woman’s bathing suit and her knee. If there was too much skin, then that woman would be fined $10.

Historians tell us that soon these rules of modesty were lifted. Too many woman ignored the rules and the men on the beach didn’t mind.

(picture from 1933)

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The Federal Aviation Administration enforces rules on airlines. The FAA regulates the type of coffee pots that can be used on planes. They also require ashtrays  near bathrooms, even though smoking is now banned on flights.

The reason? Because in 1973, it was determined that a plane crash as a result of a cigarette not properly being extinguished. So, even though there is no smoking, the FAA recognizes that some people will still try to break the rule. Hence, they still want to make sure that cigarettes can be properly extinguished.

Now here is a curious FAA non-regulation. The FAA allows airlines to fly planes with broken restrooms. A quick review. A plane must have a specific type of coffee maker but it can have a broken restroom. Does that make sense? Well, at least there’s some comfort that there are some exceptions.

The U.S. Department of Transportation requires airlines to provide fliers access to working restrooms during excessive ground delays. In addition, Federal law under  the Americans with Disabilities Act requires working restrooms for passengers with disabilities on certain specific planes. An example is the twin-aisle aircrafts that are delivered to  U.S. airlines since 1992 or to a foreign airlines since 2010.

Rules and regulations sometimes just seem to apply because someone decided that there needed to be a rule.

And for a Monday after a long weekend, here’s that famous dog, Denver! Just seems like a good face of a candidate who doesn’t know an answer.

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Sideburns and Swimsuits

I can tell that summer is here. I wrote a Friday blog that I forgot to post and all weekend, our email was down. So, I am late posting the blog this morning. However…

It’s Monday and we are full steam into the steam! So, I thought I would give you some history… of the sideburn and the swimsuit. It reminded me (ok… google reminded me when I did a search) of Greek Philosopher Heraclitus who said that, “The only thing that is constant is change!”

Which leads me to our first historical part of the blog that combines a bit of war, leadership… and a horrible hairstyle look!

First we have Civil War General Ambrose Burnside. He coined the phrase sideburn. Wow!

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Which leads us to controversy in history. This is Annette Kellerman in 1907, who was arrested for indecency after showing up at the beach with this fitted one-piece bathing suit.

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Yes… laws have changed.

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