You might think this was a parody, but apparently not. The federal government has ordered the destruction of a series of fifteen postage stamps intended to get kids to be more active after sports safety advocates said three of the stamps raised safety concerns, including illustrations depicting kids “skateboarding without kneepads, and doing a headstand without a helmet.” [Postal News]
My own view is that if you’re learning proper skateboarding technique off a postage stamp, you’re doing it wrong. (&Scott Shackford, Reason)
Reactions via Twitter: “One can understand the recall after the disastrous spate of upside-down plane crashes in 1918.” [@tedfrank] “I wonder how they missed the one with explosives on it” [@Bert_Huggins] “USPS thinks kids know what stamps are.” [@UlyssesHL]
“Officials at Weber Middle School in Port Washington are worried that students are getting hurt during recess. Thus, they have instituted a ban on footballs, baseballs, lacrosse balls, or anything that might hurt someone on school grounds. … some parents said it is really about liability and lawsuits.” [CBS New York] More: Lowering the Bar.
Illinois isn’t exactly a state known as hospitable to liability reform, but here’s this: “The Illinois House and Senate recently passed SB1042, a bill that protects property owners from liability if they allow the public on their land to hike, fish, watch birds or participate in other forms of outdoors recreation. The bill now goes to Gov. Pat Quinn for his signature.” [State Journal-Register]
More, via Free-Range Kids, a surprisingly good insurance-company ad, from Allstate:
In the New York legislature, bowling alleys are hoping to win a law protecting them from slip-fall liability arising after their customers wear store-rented shoes outside the building and either slip there or track snow or other slippery matter back inside. Weather hazards have been tripping up more customers of the ordinarily indoor sport, it seems, since the state enforced a complete indoor smoking ban. The trial lawyer association is dead set against the bill; its president claims that the bill “undercuts the constitutional right to a trial by a jury” — presumably on the theory that it somehow undercuts trial by jury for a legislature to roll back any instance of liability for anyone anywhere. That’s sheer nonsense, of course — otherwise, it’d have been unconstitutional for legislatures around most of the country to have abolished the old heartbalm torts of breach of promise to marry and alienation of affection. [Albany Times-Union via Future of Capitalism] More: Lowering the Bar.
The chairman of the Dan yr Ogof group of tourist attractions in South Wales is threatening to sue Britain’s National Weather Service over “misleading predictions of bad weather which later do not materialize … Forecasts of Good Friday snow for the Swansea Valley area saw a rash of booking cancellations at the attraction, he said. But while coach parties [= tour buses] made other arrangements, the day turned out to be one of blazing sun and blue skies, although quite cold.” [Press Association/Yahoo; Sarah Rae Fruchtnicht, Opposing Views]
More on court’s enjoining Alabama House from sending schools bill to governor [Joshua Dunn, earlier]
Connecticut mom’s fibbing to get kid into better school district, interpreted as theft of services, contributes to 12-year sentence (also predicated on four unrelated charges of drug sale and possession) [WFSB]
Student speech hit by one-two punch: post-Newtown hysteria, campaign against bullying [Hans Bader, more]
Turn Pell Grants into entitlements? Has the Gates Foundation taken leave of its senses? [Neal McCluskey, Cato]
“The Dubious Case for Regulating Day Care” [John Ross, Reason, responding to Washington Post coverage of Virginia push]
Kansas lawmakers push back against court’s power grab on edubucks mandate [K. C. Star, earlier]
$30,000 in community fund-raising later, kids have a reason to be glum [Washington Post]:
Although parents worked with the Fairfax County Public Schools facilities department, purchased the equipment, hired a contractor and had the playground ready for recess, the school system suddenly deemed the play equipment too dangerous. Since Nov. 30 it has been off-limits, parents say.
Never mind that the same equipment is installed at more than 1,200 parks and schools across the country, including a public park in the county.
Public health busybodies call on UK government to set minimum price for alcoholic drinks [Telegraph] Carrie Nation never thought of this: anti-booze campaigners target its calorie count [Baylen Linnekin] New York state plans anti-alcohol campaign [NY Post]
“Will Litigation over Playground Injuries Create a Generation of Neurotics?” [WSJ via ABA Journal]
Massachusetts Gov. Deval Patrick reassigns his exceedingly accident-prone state highway director [Boston Globe, Ilya Somin]
“Magnet spheres may soon be harder to acquire than ammunition in the U.S.” as Buckyballs gives up [Anthony Fisher/Reason, earlier] And from Twitter: “Those 0.0 deaths per year were not in vain.” [@TPCarney modifying @bigtimcavanaugh]
“Mary Cain wants $3000 damages from the street car company for a ‘sudden jerk.’ MO1917″ [@tweetsofold]
“No Liquid Soap Allowed in Pre-School Bathroom: Children Might Drink It” [Free-Range Kids]
And finally, the catchy, unsettling safety promotion video that’s been everywhere the last week or two, from the Melbourne transit authority:
Through garden tours and charitable dinners, Chrissie D’Esopo has raised some $175,000 over the years at her beautiful home in Avon, Ct., near Hartford. Following a lawsuit over a slip and fall — not to mention the claim filed by the visitor’s uninjured husband — she’s decided to call it quits, but might reconsider on hearing of a recently passed Connecticut recreational-immunity law that extends legal protection to property owners who do not profit from a visitor’s presence. Notes a commenter: “This is why we can’t have nice things.” [Hartford Courant]
“Unfortunately for Mr. Korte, as he fired the crossbow, he stuck his thumb in the path of the bow string, which is a major no-no. … Mr. Korte has, of course, filed a lawsuit against Hunter’s Manufacturing Company (d/b/a TenPoint) and Cabela’s Retail.” [Madison County Record via Abnormal Use]
Strava ‘player’ William “Kim” Flint got so competitive that when he lost his first place rank as “King of the Mountain” for a steep route in Berkeley, California, he raced down the road on his bike at 40 mph to try to reclaim his title. The 41-year-old electrical engineer had to brake suddenly; he flipped over a car and died on the 2010 ride, reports ABC News. Now his family is suing Strava for negligence, alleging that the start-up is responsible for Flint’s death.
Speaking as I was in the Times farm-bill symposium of what I call isometric government, in which different subsidies or regulations tend to cancel out each others’ effect, reminds me of this L.A. Times story recently blogged by Gideon Kanner: government has required that public beaches be carved out of prime Malibu coastline, but then keeps those beaches mostly inaccessible to the public: “In fact, officials discourage visitors from trying to reach the shore from the highway above out of concern that they will be injured scrambling down the 20-foot bluff,” in the words of reporter Tony Barboza.
Among ways to add to the festive atmosphere: sign-in and sign-out sheets, monitors hired to look out for slip-inducing bead spills, and rules against letting supervisors or employees pour drinks. [Melissa Landry, The Hay Ride] Earlier on Mardi Gras liability here (tossed coconuts), here (floats), here (King cake figurine), and here (flasher’s-remorse cases.
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