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March 13, 1998 - Image 9

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The Michigan Daily, 1998-03-13

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The Michigan Daily - Friday, March 13, 1998 -9

frelebratinL5 Pu rim

Lawyers' expenses become another
sticking point in Texas tobacco deal

DALLAS (AP) - The private attorneys who helped
Texas fight Big Tobacco ran up $1.75 million in
expenses in 1996, including a $952 lunch and $1,995 to
charter an airplane. Then the real spending started.
The expense accounts for the lawyers and their
staffs have ballooned to almost $40 million since state
Attorney General Dan Morales stopped requiring
itemized reports at the beginning of 1997.
Now Gov. George Bush is demanding a full
it is just one of several complications that could
cause the state's $15.3 billion settlement with the
industry to fall apart.
Morales, a Democrat who is not seeking re-elec-
tion, worked out the deal with the tobacco companies
in January. Bush, a Republican who is running for re-
election this year, did not oppose the settlement, in
which he played no role, but immediately attacked as
excessive the additional $2.3 billion the tobacco com-
panies agreed to pay in lawyers' fees.
Then a couple weeks ago he turned his attention to
the separate issue of lawyers' expenses - $5 million
claimed by Morales' staff and the scantily document-
ed spending by their private partners. He is still wait-

"Thaut's a lie. That's not
even part of the
- Tom Banning
Spokesperson for the private attorneys
ing for details.
All that has become public so far are the 1996
expense accounts. Those records show $437,000 in
wages to seven staff attorneys and an unknown num-
ber of clerks, $300 in coffee service, $18,000 on doc-
ument storage and $12,954 on furniture.
The tobacco companies already have reimbursed
the attorneys for $40 million in expenses without
questioning the lunch tab and chartered airplane. The
private lawyers who worked for the state on a contin-
gency basis also have received a $50 million down
payment on their fees.
Karen Hughes,. a spokesperson for Bush, said the
expenses are clearly excessive because they are three

times higher than those in a similar Florida case that
took longer to settle.
Bush has filed a legal motion to intervene in the stt-
tlement because of the expenses.
Although Morales has arged that both the legal
fees and expenses will be paid by the tobacco industry
and not the taxpayers, Bush said he fears Texans could
get stuck with part of the tab after an arbitration panel
sees the numbers.
"It is possible that the taxpayers would have to make
up the difference if the independent court review says
that the tobacco industry does not have to pay the
entire amount," said Debbi Head, a spokesperson for
the governor.
"That's a lie," countered Tom Banning, a spokesper-
son for the private attorneys. "That's not even part of
the settlement"
He would not comment on any specific expenses.
Meanwhile, several state lawmakers, counties and
hospitals are asking the federal judge who approved
the deal to drop a provision that they say would bar
them from obtaining damages for treating smoking-
related health problems. The tobacco companies say
that would be a deal-breaker.

An armed Israeli soldier dances with a clown during the annual Purim
rade In Tel Aviv yesterday. More than one million Israelis lined the city's
"atreets to watch the parade marking a carnivai-like Jewish holiday.
1.. investigators
lame crew for
i' resort tragedy
kVIANO, Italy (AP) -The crew of silent prayer for the victims of one of
Aarine fighter jet that flew too fast the deadlidst training incidents since
I dived too low through the Italian the end of the Cold War.
>s may face manslaughter charges "On behalf of President Clinton and
killing 20 people in a cable car, the the American people, I wish to apolo-
Ses said yesterday. gize," he said.
Italian prosecutor said he would Italy said it wants to prosecute the
tinue his investigation into the acci- fliers, but under a NATO treaty the
it but, in general, Italians seemed United States has the right to refuse,
sfi d with American assurances the and it is expected to do so. The crew
rines would face some sort of pun- will remain at Aviano until a decision is
nent in the United States. made.
V Marine investigation board placed Pentagon spokesperson Kenneth
blame squarely on the four-person Bacon, asked whether there was any
w, who they said broke the rules on chance that the marines would be hand-
fast and how low they couldfly. ed over to Italian authorities, said "it
ir commanding officer said he would be very unusual.:
convene the military equivalent - But he added the matter has been
ieriminal grand jury. taken up by the U.S. commander in
The cause of the mishap was air- chief in Europe, Gen. Wesley Clark,
W error," Maj. Gen. Michael who would make the final decision.
Long, president of the investigation Massimo Bi, Italy's undersecretary
rd, told reporters at the U.S. air base of defense, told reporters at Aviano the
wiano. board's report was enough to hold the
'e A-6B Prowler severed two of crew "criminally responsible" and said
ski lift cables, sending a gondola lie agrees with the findings of the
h 19 skiers from six countries and Italian air force.
Werator to their deaths ott the The mayor of Cavalese said "it isn't
wy slopes. The plane struck the true that the U.S.A. wanted to close this
lei just 370 feet above the ground. with a note of reprimand ...' They want
he incident soured Italian- to punish those responsible."
erican relations, sparking protests at The board looked at many factors,
ano, calls to close U.S. bases but concluded that just one thing
ughout Italy and charges that caused the tragedy: the crew's decision
eriean fliers routinely "hot-dog" in to fly lower than the authorized 1,000
ian airspace. feet and to exceed the authorized speed
esterday, U.S. Ambassador Thomas of 450 nautical miles per hour by 100
lietta knelt at the Cavalese ski lift in nautical miles per hour.
riath enthusiasts
o celebrate Pi day

SLos Angeles Times
ew subjects seem more dispassion-
K, dull to some) than mathemat-
many people, sitting in ai exam
m struggling to remember the for-
a for the area of a circle hardly
tires visions of fun and games,
e less mystic revelation.
his Saturday, however, thousands of
ple around the world will unite to
songs, recite poetry, perform
irre rites and eat ritual food in honor
heir favorite number.
he number is pi, 3.1415926535 ... ad
m. It's the number you get when
fvide the circumference of a circle
its diameter, and it can't be expressed
fraction. It goes on forever.
uch so-called "irrational" numbers
ied so offensive when they were
t discovered by the early Greeks,
arding to some accounts, that peo-
were actually murdered for letting
the secret of their existence.
, day ceremonies, appropriately
h, take place on March 14, at
9 p.m. (That's the third month, the
i day ... and so on.)
he variety of celebratory modes is
rst as long as pi itself, with dozens
Websites devoted to the number's
otees - or piets, as they are called.
ted, along with formulas for calcu-
tg pi, are pi carols, poems and other
of pi trivia for honoring the day.
,e's even a Website dedicated to the
bration of "pi approximation day,"
* takes place on July 22: 22/7 is
action that comes closest to the
value of pi. Some people even cel-
e 2 pi day. June 28 (6/28).
ie high holy day, however, is March
At the Exploratorium science muse-
in San Francisco, the faithful usual-
a'her around the "pi shrine," a small
s plate engraved with pi to a hun-
d- digits along with other obscure
i- 0al symtbols.
circumanmbulate th' shrine 3.14

times, said Exploratorium scientist
Ron Hipschman. They don't measure
the distance exactly, however. "A little
more than 3 is good enough for us," he
Since pi goes on forever, you can't
ever really pin down its exact value to
the last decimal point. There is no last
decimal point.
There is "all kinds of pi stuff" that
goes along with the celebration, said
Hipschman. Last year, someone com-
posed music based on the number pi, lie
said. People add more beads to a ritual pi
string - now up to 1,600 digits of pi,
each digit represented by abead signify-
ing a number from zero through nine.
And of course, they eat pie. All kinds
of pie, including chocolate, apple and
"Sometimes we have pie fights,"said
Hipschman, "but we try to avoid that.
It's kind of messy."
What is it about pi that makes it so
much more than just a number?
For one thing, pi day is Albert
Einstein's birthday. But that's just a
coincidence that adds icing to the cake,
like the fact that the first 144 digits of
pi add up to 666, which some people
equate with the devil.
Certainly, knowing the value of pi to
51 billion digits, as recently calculated
on high-powered computers, is not par-
ticularly useful.
Yet, writes William L. Schaff in his
book, "Nature and History of Pi,"
"probably no symbol in mathematics
has evoked as much mystery, romanti-
cism, misconception and human inter-
est as the number pi."
Schaff, along with dozens of other pi
aficionados, is quoted in a new book
devoted to pi, and published just in time
for pi's special day. Titled "The Joy of
Pi" by computer expert David Blatner,
it's a feast of pi facts and faie is. just
the tittg for people who can't seem to
get their fill of pi.


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