Archive for July, 2007

Assessing liability in the Phoenix news-chopper crash

Tuesday, July 31st, 2007

When I heard about Friday’s fatal news-helicopter collision in Phoenix, one of the first things I thought — perhaps unsurprisingly, since I was just coming off the bar exam — was whether wrongful-death liability could attach to the carjacker who initiated the police chase that the news choppers were covering when they crashed. Is it sufficiently foreseeable that a car chase in a major city could lead to a news-helicopter crash? Is it the type of harm that a reasonable person should anticipate? (There’s a joke in here somewhere, in very poor taste of course, about “negligence in the air.”) What about contributory negligence? Assumption of risk? Etc., etc. I babbled a bit about these things to Becky, Kristy, V and Shannon (who were, by this point, accustomed to being subject to my pre- and post-exam law nerdery), without coming to any definitive conclusions; it’s not like I was going to write an essay about it. But I did think it was kind of an interesting question.

Well, it turns out I wasn’t the only one. V sent me this Slate article about essentially the same topic — though the authors focused on criminal, not civil, penalties. I hadn’t even thought about the potential applicability of felony-murder statutes, but yeah. The article notes:

The county attorney technically can charge the fleeing suspect with four counts of murder, but it’s unclear how strong the argument would be in practice. A judge might decide not to apply felony murder because the cause of the crash was only loosely related to the chase. Or a jury might acquit the driver because he couldn’t possibly have foreseen these outcomes. In other words, a reasonable person could expect traffic deaths to result from a car chase. But it might be unreasonable to expect a car chase to cause a collision between choppers pursuing a breaking news story.

It might. Or it might not. I mean, if you live in L.A., Phoenix, or some other major western city, shouldn’t you be aware that car chases are pretty much always televised? Anyway, interesting stuff, at least for those who haven’t sworn off all discussion of law-related topics for the next month of their lives. :)

More Makem clips

Tuesday, July 31st, 2007

Here’s another wonderful old Clancy Brothers & Tommy Makem clip, showing the boys in concert singing The Irish Rover, one of my favorites as kid. (Sean and others can attest that I used to sing it during recess when I was in elementary school.)

And here’s a clip from a BBC documentary showing, among other things, Makem and the Clancys performing for President Kennedy:

I know I said this in yesterday’s post about Tommy Makem’s declining health, but since it was after the jump and thus most readers probably missed it, I’ll say it again: if anybody is reading this from South Bend, would you mind lighting a candle for him at the Grotto for me? Thanks!

Hugh is home!

Tuesday, July 31st, 2007


Tuesday, July 31st, 2007

Tropical Depression Three has formed off the East Coast. It may become Tropical Storm Chantal later today, but it’s a race against the clock — or more precisely, against extratropical transition. Will the NHC name T.D. 3 before it’s too late? She (if it isn’t premature to call her “she”) is already moving north-northeast at 16 mph, and will soon accelerate into colder waters. In just over a day, she’s expected to be near Newfoundland. So this will be a short-lived entry in the Atlantic tropical logs for 2007, whether it earns a name or not.

Margie Kieper, back from the blogging dead, has more over at Jeff Masters’s place.

UPDATE BY MIKE QUINN: According to CNN, Tropical Storm Chantal has been born.

ND football news

Tuesday, July 31st, 2007

Brady Quinn is holding out.

Meanwhile, contrary to previous reports, the Notre Dame-Michigan rivalry has been renewed for the next 25 years. Or, as The Rock puts it, “With this deal Kevin White has ensured that Notre Dame will have [at least] two top opponents [each season] until Chelsea Clinton battles Jenna Bush for the ’32 presidency.” Heh.

The Bard of Armagh

Tuesday, July 31st, 2007

I recently learned, much to my dismay, that the great Tommy Makem is battling cancer. The “Godfather of Irish Music,” whose songs comprise a substantial portion of my life’s soundtrack, was diagnosed with lung cancer in May 2006, and the folk-music discussion site reported last week that the cancer has now spread to his liver. Blogger Ron Olesko says Makem is “receiving hospital treatment.” [CORRECTION: In a later Mudcat post, a guest identified as “The Makem family” writes, “His cancer has not spread to his liver and right now he is resting comfortably.”] [UPDATE, 8/4/07: Sadly, Tommy Makem has passed away. More below.]

Makem was “too ill” to attend the Stan Rogers Folk Festival in Nova Scotia a month ago, and he has cancelled his scheduled appearance at this weekend’s Dublin Irish Festival in Dublin, Ohio. His official schedule still includes upcoming performances at Irish Fest Milwaukee (Aug. 17-19) and the Newport Irish Festival (Sept. 2), but I don’t know if that’s a solid plan or just a hope. Information on his current condition is rather sketchy.

In any event, the sad news of Makem’s worsening health has given me occasion to reminisce about the importance of his music — as well as that of the Clancy Brothers, with whom Makem performed in various combinations and incarnations through the years — to my life. I feel very much like Olesko, who wrote, “For many of us, Tommy Makem has been a huge part of our lives and the music we love. Thank you Tommy for all you have shared with us.”

Here’s a video clip of Makem singing one of my favorites, Roddy McCorley:

Much more, including more videos, after the jump.


The Iowa Way

Tuesday, July 31st, 2007

Mickey Kaus:

Iowa ex-governor Tom Vilsack criticizes Obama for criticizing Clinton. “It’s not the Iowa way.” The Iowa Way! What’s the Iowa Way again? Oh, right — never be mean to another Democrat in a way that might reveal his or her flaws or ability to respond under fire! That way you can make an uninformed and disastrous gut choice at the last minute.


We’re home

Monday, July 30th, 2007

And the TSA totally searched my bag. Considering it weighed 46 pounds and contained all manner of books, wires and a laptop computer, I think I’d be concerned if they hadn’t.

CNN Breaking News

Monday, July 30th, 2007

Chief Justice John Roberts has suffered a seizure and is hospitalized in Maine, the Supreme Court says.

Visit CNN for the latest.

UPDATE BY BRENDAN: Reportedly, the Chief Justice has recovered. Good.

Rocky Mountain Mama

Monday, July 30th, 2007

We went to Rocky Mountain National Park today, which was awesome. Here’s our signature group shot:

And here’s the first official Becky Baby Bump photo, taken in Estes Park in front of an ice cream shop:

More pictures to come later. Now, I gotta pack and get to bed. Tomorrow morning, we head back east. Thanks for the memories, Denver!

Computer tech stuff I don’t understand

Sunday, July 29th, 2007

But that those of you who do may find interesting.

One of Brendan’s chief complaints about the iPhone seems to be that he couldn’t connect it to his lapper and use it as a modem.

If I’m reading this right, that seems to have been fixed by some enterprising computer person.

I’m really just posting this for those of you who actually know how to do that kind of thing. I don’t know how/if/why it works.


Bonds update: Giants’ homestand ends today

Sunday, July 29th, 2007

Marlins pitcher Dontrelle Willis challenged Barry Bonds yesterday, throwing “fastball after fastball,” and Willis won the duel: Bonds failed to hit a home run, striking out once and popping out twice. So he’s stuck at 754 home runs, one short of Hank Aaron’s record, heading into today’s 4:30 PM EDT game against Florida, which is the last game of his homestand. The Giants hit the road tomorrow for a three-game series at Dodger Stadium, followed by a three-game series at the Padres.

Meanwhile, as the inevitable historic homer approaches, ESPN’s Gene Wojciechowski asks:

What will Barry Bonds tell his three children if one day their curiosity overwhelms their loyalty and they ask, “Daddy, did you cheat?”

What will he say to the revered Henry Aaron, whose 33-year home run record is about to fall, if Hammering Hank asks, “Tell an old man the truth: Did you beat me fair and square?”

And what will Bonds tell himself when career home run No. 756 arrives? Will he ask if the means justified the end?

A new life experience

Sunday, July 29th, 2007

Eating mashed potatoes on the roof of a 34-story downtown highrise at 3:30 AM:

This is what the view was like:

Iraq wins Asian Cup

Sunday, July 29th, 2007

Turns out, soccer players do better when playing for a monetary reward instead of playing to avoid being tortured:

Iraq delivered an inspirational victory Sunday by winning the Asian Cup with a 1-0 victory over Saudi Arabia, a beacon of hope for a nation divided by war.

It was an extraordinary triumph for a team drawn together from all parts of the Gulf and with its players straddling bitter and violent ethnic divides.

Iraq scored on a 71st-minute header by Younis Mahmoud and dominated the final against heavily favored Saudi Arabia, a three-time Asian Cup champion. This was Iraq’s first Asian Cup title. …

Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki’s office announced that each player on the Iraqi team would receive $10,000.

The win is being greeted with celebratory gunfire.

Rat poison causes D.C. terrorism scare

Sunday, July 29th, 2007

Just got a breaking-news email from ABC News with this rather scary headline: “WASHINGTON, D.C., CLOSES AT LEAST TWO GREEN LINE METRO STATIONS AS DEAD BIRDS ARE FOUND.” But based on the AP article, it doesn’t sound like terrorism:

Authorities have confirmed that the substance that killed up to 20 birds at the Greenbelt metro station and brought hazmat crews to three others is rat poison.

D.C. fire department spokesman Alan Etter says the metro will have to figure out if the poison was put out by an employee or contractor.

He says they “strongly suspect” that the same substance was responsible for the dead birds at Naylor Road, Anacostia and Takoma stations.

He says the birds from the D.C. stations are being packaged up and taken to the health department, since the rain and wind caused most of the substance to wash away by the time the fire department got there.

The discovery came shortly after noon today and caused the Greenbelt and Takoma stations to close during the investigation.