Potpourri

Work is calling, and calling, and calling, and I was out late last night at the Trail Blazers game (I have three young kids, late for me is anything past 9:30), so there is time only for a couple quick items today.  

— I saw this hyped on a couple of relentlessly shrill sites this morning as a court ruling on Farmers’ alleged practice of tying adjusters’ compensation to the amount of claims paid out.  Instead, it looks like a pretty unremarkable discovery ruling.   Here’s the ruling: judge for yourself, it’s only a few pages long.  Credibility is hard to come by, easy to squander. You can’t fool people on the Web, they can check it out for themselves.

This caught my eye because it started out talking about Jacques Barzun and his recent book, From Dawn to Decadence, which I really liked. This piece is good in its own right: it discusses whether society has actually grown more illiterate, not less, over the centuries.  Incidentally, I’ll link to anything that talks about Jacques Barzun, because I have fond memories of discovering, while in college, a series of taped discussions between Barzun and Clifton Fadiman on literary matters.  It would be difficult to find two more erudite, well-reasoned people, and I spent many an hour listening to their talks.    

— In my never-ending search for Katrina coverage news, one of my 24/7 robot searches returned this item about a federal judge in Louisiana who found flood exclusions in some policies ambiguous.  If this is an accurate description of what happened, it would be significant, but because the ruling is 85 pages long, I’m not going to be able to look at it for a while. I take any news reporting on insurance coverage with a grain of salt: reporters have no better idea what a case really says or means than I would have had back in my reporting days, and consequently are dependent on interviews and subject to spin. 

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