No Taming This Shrew


Justice Department Bends Over

I know, it's a little crass for 8 am, but here's why (from the old dependable Post):

"After eight months of courtroom argument, Justice Department lawyers abruptly upset a landmark civil racketeering case against the tobacco industry yesterday by asking for less than 8 percent of the expected penalty.

As he concluded closing arguments in the six-year-old lawsuit, Justice Department lawyer Stephen D. Brody shocked tobacco company representatives and anti-tobacco activists by announcing that the government will not seek the $130 billion that a government expert had testified was necessary to fund smoking-cessation programs. Instead, Brody said, the Justice Department will ask tobacco companies to pay $10 billion over five years to help millions of Americans quit smoking."

Needless to say, judges and lawyers alike fell out of their chairs. You know it's bad when the attorney for Philip Morris says, "It's clear the government hasn't thought through what it's doing."

Oh, I think there's been a lot of "thinking" about this one. Charging the tobacco guys with "the largest civil racketeering and conspiracy case in U.S. history" and then saying "KIDDING! We kid the tobacco industry! Puff!?" (This case accuses six tobacco companies of engaging in a conspiracy to addict smokers while concealing the dangers of cigarettes. Interesting stuff. Or at least, it was...)