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April 9, 2014

Jonathan Tobin: Why Did Kerry Lie About Israeli Blame?

Samuel G. Freedman: A resolution 70 years later for a father's unsettling legacy of ashes from Dachau

Jessica Ivins: A resolution 70 years later for a father's unsettling legacy of ashes from Dachau

Kim Giles: Asking for help is not weakness

Kathy Kristof and Barbara Hoch Marcus: 7 Great Growth Israeli Stocks

Matthew Mientka: How Beans, Peas, And Chickpeas Cleanse Bad Cholesterol and Lowers Risk of Heart Disease

Sabrina Bachai: 5 At-Home Treatments For Headaches

The Kosher Gourmet by Daniel Neman Have yourself a matzo ball: The secrets bubby never told you and recipes she could have never imagined

April 8, 2014

Lori Nawyn: At Your Wit's End and Back: Finding Peace

Susan B. Garland and Rachel L. Sheedy: Strategies Married Couples Can Use to Boost Benefits

David Muhlbaum: Smart Tax Deductions Non-Itemizers Can Claim

Jill Weisenberger, M.S., R.D.N., C.D.E : Before You Lose Your Mental Edge

Dana Dovey: Coffee Drinkers Rejoice! Your Cup Of Joe Can Prevent Death From Liver Disease

Chris Weller: Electric 'Thinking Cap' Puts Your Brain Power Into High Gear

The Kosher Gourmet by Marlene Parrish A gift of hazelnuts keeps giving --- for a variety of nutty recipes: Entree, side, soup, dessert

April 4, 2014

Rabbi David Gutterman: The Word for Nothing Means Everything

Charles Krauthammer: Kerry's folly, Chapter 3

Amy Peterson: A life of love: How to build lasting relationships with your children

John Ericson: Older Women: Save Your Heart, Prevent Stroke Don't Drink Diet

John Ericson: Why 50 million Americans will still have spring allergies after taking meds

Cameron Huddleston: Best and Worst Buys of April 2014

Stacy Rapacon: Great Mutual Funds for Young Investors

Sarah Boesveld: Teacher keeps promise to mail thousands of former students letters written by their past selves

The Kosher Gourmet by Sharon Thompson Anyone can make a salad, you say. But can they make a great salad? (SECRETS, TESTED TECHNIQUES + 4 RECIPES, INCLUDING DRESSINGS)

April 2, 2014

Paul Greenberg: Death and joy in the spring

Dan Barry: Should South Carolina Jews be forced to maintain this chimney built by Germans serving the Nazis?

Mayra Bitsko: Save me! An alien took over my child's personality

Frank Clayton: Get happy: 20 scientifically proven happiness activities

Susan Scutti: It's Genetic! Obesity and the 'Carb Breakdown' Gene

Lecia Bushak: Why Hand Sanitizer May Actually Harm Your Health

Stacy Rapacon: Great Funds You Can Own for $500 or Less

Cameron Huddleston: 7 Ways to Save on Home Decor

The Kosher Gourmet by Steve Petusevsky Exploring ingredients as edible-stuffed containers (TWO RECIPES + TIPS & TECHINQUES)

Jewish World Review March 16, 2005 / 5 Adar II, 5765

When warnings make us less safe

By John Stossel


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http://www.JewishWorldReview.com | It's dangerous to swallow a fishing lure.

Thanks for the warning, counselor. I was thinking about snacking on the thing. It works so well for the fish.

As litigation prompts businesses to add ever more ludicrous labels to their products (in cringing, desperate hope that the labels will protect them from lawsuits, which they won't), Michigan Lawsuit Abuse Watch tracks the worst warnings. There's one on those shades people put on their windshields to keep their cars from getting hot when parked in the sun. Now, shades have a label that says: "Remove shade from windshield" before driving.

Driving with the shade blocking the windshield must be nearly as difficult as drying your hair in your sleep. But someone thinks we need to be warned about that, too — there is a "Do not use while asleep" label on some hair blowers. There's even a warning on Garfield the cat back massagers: "Do not use when unconscious!"

There may be people for whom such warnings could be useful: people who shop for dental equipment in hardware stores (warning on a power drill: "Not intended for use as a dental drill") and protective gear in card shops (warning on birthday candles: "Do not use soft wax as ear plugs").

Most of us, when we buy a CD rack with lots of little wires designed to hold the little plastic disks and their little plastic cases, don't need to be told not to use it as a ladder. Too bad: We are told anyway.

Twenty years ago, the sovereign people of California decided the world was too dangerous. By a 2-1 vote in a referendum, they demanded that a warning label be affixed to any product sold in California containing a chemical the state had determined could cause cancer or reproductive problems — even though such chemicals appear everywhere in nature and even though there was no evidence that trace amounts in products are harmful.

Even if the product was something no reasonable person would swallow, say, a lead bullet, California law now requires a warning: Harmful if swallowed. Which brings us back to the fishing lures. Karen Eppinger's family has been making its Dardevle lures in Michigan for nearly a century. They carry only a trace amount of lead. I doubt that you could get one down your throat. Even if you could, you'd have to swallow many lures to get enough lead to hurt you.

But with parasitic lawyers spreading fear, all that didn't matter. Eppinger's own lawyers had her in a panic. "Wal-Mart was being sued; Cabela's and Bass Pro were being threatened with lawsuits," she told ABC News. "The brass lures going into California did not have a warning label to not eat them." Eppinger quickly moved to re-label and re-box her lures at a cost of more than $10,000.

The fear of that terrible lawsuit causes companies to cower in fear. The power-drill maker who is warning us not to apply his drills to our teeth told us that every warning is based on real litigation.

And real litigation costs real money. Even if a company wins, it loses, because it has to pay expensive defense lawyers. In some cases, it has to pay the lawyers who sued it.

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Where do these companies get the money to spend on lawyers and labels? From you and me, of course, in higher prices.

It might be worth it if it made us safer. But it doesn't. When we are surrounded by warnings we don't need to read, we don't read the warnings that might make us safer. We ought to read the warning on the antibiotic that says, "Don't take with milk." Take it with milk, and it won't work. But who reads drug labels anymore? I don't, because they're too long. There are 41 warnings on stepladders now. This doesn't make us safer.

So next time someone tells you that you need more law to keep you safe, remember: Fear of lawsuits mostly drowns us in paperwork and distracts us from information that would make us safer. Fear of the lawyers makes us less safe.

Give Me a Break.

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Give Me a Break  

Stossel explains how ambitious bureaucrats, intellectually lazy reporters, and greedy lawyers make your life worse even as they claim to protect your interests. Taking on such sacred cows as the FDA, the War on Drugs, and scaremongering environmental activists -- and backing up his trademark irreverence with careful reasoning and research -- he shows how the problems that government tries and fails to fix can be solved better by the extraordinary power of the free market. Sales help fund JWR.




JWR contributor John Stossel is co-anchor of ABC News' "20/20." To comment, please click here.




03/09/05: Gasoline prices 2005: An inflation-adjusted bargain
03/02/05: Washington's labor laws now hurt children more than they protect them
02/23/05: Outsourcers are the bigger job creators?
02/16/05: Selfishness is bad, right?
02/09/05: Fifth Avenue farmers
02/02/05: Buy a bridge? This $200 Million one isn't for sale — it's being paid for by taxpayers and it leads almost nowhere
01/28/05: Aren't science and scholarship supposed to ask questions and open our eyes to facts?
01/26/05: Forced altruism

© 2005, by JFS Productions, Inc. Distributed by Creators Syndicate, Inc.