Local music and local heresy, the lure of the Oil Patch, Marina Keegan's last essay, wishing away Jim Crow, and what happens to all the VHS tapes?
The tobacco industry has had a tough time winning court cases in Minnesota in recent years. It won one today, however, when the Minnesota Supreme Court killed an 11-year-old lawsuit against Philip Morris that claimed the company fraudulently marketed Marlboro Lights as a safer cigarette.
The Minnesota Court of Appeals had resurrected the case in late 2010 after the U.S. Supreme Court ruling in 2008 cleared the way for class action suits against cigarette companies that manufacture "light" cigarettes. The Appeals Court said Philip Morris could be sued for false advertising, consumer fraud, and deceptive trade practices under Minnesota consumer-protection statutes."
But today, the Minnesota Supreme Court said the suit, filed by a private party, can't proceed because the 1998 tobacco trial settlement, negotiated between then Attorney General "Skip" Humphrey's office and Philip Morris, precludes it
The group filing the suit claimed the tobacco company marketed the Marlboro Lights as safer than a typical cigarette. Memos uncovered during the Minnesota tobacco trial revealed the company knew the claim to be false. The memos acknowledged that consumers who smoked "low tar" or "light" cigarettes, took longer "drags" on them, negating any benefit.
In a dissent to today's ruling, Justice Alan Page argued the case should proceed because the false and deceptive advertising claims occurred after the 1998 settlement agreement.
Similar lawsuits were filed in several other states.
"The Minnesota Supreme Court now joins with 14 courts in 15 'lights' cases which have rejected these claims on a variety of legal and factual grounds, Murray Garnick, Altria (Philip Morris' parent company) senior vice president, said in a statement.(9 Comments)
Dean Barkley, who was a U.S. senator because Gov. Jesse Ventura appointed him after the death of Paul Wellstone in 2002, has announced plans to run for the Minnesota Supreme Court.
He'll challenge Associate Justice Barry Anderson.
"I decided to try a different approach," he tells the Star Tribune. Presumably, he's referring to getting elected to something. He finished third in the 2008 U.S. Senate race, and also ran for the job in 1994 and 1996.
He could be right. Most people have no clue about judicial candidates on the ballot, and there are restrictions on what candidates for judicial positions can say. A little name recognition could go a long way.
It also could lead to the ongoing debate of whether it's better to have judges elected or appointed.
Of course, if judges are merely appointed, you don't get neat campaign jingles and ads.(5 Comments)
Is it better to be deliriously giddy over a short period of time, are reservedly happy over a long period of time?
Perhaps the answer should determine whether marriage is for you.
A study out today says people are not happier when they get married than when they were single, but over time, married people are happier than if they had stayed single.
Michigan State researcherStevie C.Y. Yap set out to determine whether personality helps people adapt to major life events including marriage, a news release from the university says.
The answer, essentially, was no: Personality traits such as conscientiousness or neuroticism do not help people deal with losing a job or having a baby.
"Past research has suggested that personality is important in how people react to important life events," Yap said. "But we found that there were no consistent effects of personality in how people react and adapt to these major events."
In general, similar-aged participants who did not get married showed a gradual decline in happiness as the years passed.
Those who were married, however, largely bucked this trend. It's not that marriage caused their satisfaction level to spike, Yap noted, but instead kept it, at least, stable.(2 Comments)
One thing about the NASA public relations department: it doesn't overplay events.
Here's today's news release:
On Thursday, May 31, at 3:00 p.m. EDT NASA will host an informal discussion for the general public with astronomers about new Hubble Space Telescope observations that allow them to predict with certainty the next major cosmic event to affect our entire galaxy, sun, and solar system.
By "next major cosmic event," they're talking about the end of the world. Many worlds, actually.
Using data from the Hubble space telescope, scientists apparently have determined the answer to the long standing question about whether the Andromeda galaxy will have a head-on collision with the Milky Way.
Bad news: The answer is "yes."
It will happen billions of years from now but when it does, it will look something like this:
It will be an amazingly beautiful result, even if all life as we know it will be over.
(Visualization By : Frank Summers, Space Telescope Science Institute)