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May 24, 2013

The Argument for Tort Reform
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Whether a client wins or loses a legal case, it seems the lawyers always come out ahead. Is America ready for tort reform? We’ll talk to an expert who says yes. Then, are America’s schools stuck in the past? Our second guest will explain why we must unlearn what we know about education.
Episode Segments:
InfoTrak: Lawyer Barons
Lester Brickman author of Lawyer Barons: What Their Contingency Fees Really Cost America talked about the corrosive effects that contingency fees have on the nation’s legal and political system. He explained how these financial incentives dramatically increase costs for litigants and consumers. He also made recommendations for potential reform of the civil justice system.
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InfoTrak: Unschooling Rules
Education reform expert Clark Aldrich, author of Unschooling Rules: 55 Ways to Unlearn What We Know About Schools and Rediscover Education explained why schools are very resistant to change and are stuck in 19th century modes of education. He talked about critical skills that are seldom taught in high schools and why he believes that testing and homework don’t work. He talked about the innovative methods of education he found among home schooling families, and how those principles could be applied to public school settings.
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InfoTrak: The Environmental Impact of Cigarette Butts
Cigarettes are the most common form of litter in the world, with more than 5.6 trillion filters finding their way into the environment every year. Richard M. Gersberg, PhD, Professor and Head of the Division of Environmental Health in the Graduate School of Public Health recently led a study that found that 50% of fish died when exposed to water polluted by cigarette butts. He talked about the reasons behind the findings and the overall environmental impact.
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Guest(s) Appearing on this Episode
Lester Brinkman
Lester Brickman is a professor at the Benjamin N. Cardozo School of Law of the Yeshiva University and a widely-regarded legal scholar. Brickman is a graduate of Carnegie Mellon University. He holds a juris doctor degree from theUniversity of Florida and an LLM degree from Yale Law School. He teaches contracts, legal ethics and Land Use and Zoning at the Cardozo School of Law and has written extensively on asbestos litigation and tort reform. Brickman has espoused the Early Offer model of allocating contingent fees as a way of reforming the American tort law system. One noted area in which his reform efforts have already been successful is that of nonrefundable retainers. After he wrote several law review articles and an amicus curiae brief deriding them as illegal, the New York Court of Appeals struck down their use by lawyers in New York State. This holding has been adopted in other states.

Dr Brinkman at Cardazzo Law

Clark Aldrich
Clark Aldrich is a global education thought leader, labeled a guru by Fortune Magazine. His experience ranges from spending years working with children at a leading environmental education foundation to serving on boards of universities, of companies, and in the intelligence community. Clark Aldrich is also one of the top educational game designers in the world, including the recent anti-doping game underwritten by the World Anti-Doping Agency. His educational games are market leaders in their categories, use custom Artificial Intelligence systems, have been rigorously proven to drive long term desired changes in competence and conviction, and have been translated and deployed in dozens of countries and languages. He is also a pioneer in educational games for deaf and blind students. His projects have been award- and patent-winning and generated millions in revenue. Aldrich is also the author of Unschooling Rules (Greenleaf, 2011) and four earlier books: Simulations and the Future of Learning (Wiley, 2004), Learning By Doing (Wiley, 2005), The Complete Guide to Simulations and Serious Games (Wiley, 2009), and Learning Online with Games, Simulations, and Virtual Worlds (Wiley, 2009). Aldrich's work has been featured in hundreds of sources, including CBS, ABC, The New York Times, Wall Street Journal, CNN, NPR, CNET, Business 2.0, BusinessWeek, U.S. News and World Reports.

Clark's Blog

Richard M. Gersberg
Dr. Richard M. Gersberg is currently a Professor (and Head of the Division) of Environmental Health in the Graduate School of Public Health at San Diego State University (SDSU), and Acting Director of the Coastal and Marine Institute at SDSU. He has an M.S. degree in biology from the University of Houston, and a Ph.D degree in microbiology from the University of California, Davis (1977). Dr. Gersberg specializes in water quality research and limnology, and has broad experience working with both chemical and microbiological pollutants and risk assessments. He has over 50 scientific publications in these areas. Dr. Gersberg has conducted a number of studies on the fate of bacterial indicators and toxics in both freshwater and estuarine ecosystems. He has recently completed a U.S. EPA funded project on monitoring and modeling (using the BASINS model) of stormwater contamination in the Tijuana River watershed. He is also currently a Co-Principal Investigator of project funded by the Regional Water Quality Control Board to characterize pollutant loading from point and non-point sources into Tecate Creek, Mexico. Dr. Gersberg has served as scientific director of an EPA-funded project on the use of constructed wetlands for wastewater treatment at Santee, CA , and has published numerous articles on the fate of viruses and bacteria as well as nutrients and organic pollutants in constructed wetlands. Dr. Gersberg has been a member of the Department of Health Services (State of California) Task Force on Wastewater Reclamation Criteria (Title 22). He has also served as technical consultant on TMDL (Total Maximum Daily Load) and human health risk issues in impaired waters of Mission Bay, Newport Bay, San Diego Bay, and Santa Monica Bay, CA. Dr. Gersberg is currently a member of the Mayor of the City of San Diego's Clean Water Task Force, the County of San Diego's Environmental Health Advisory Board, the Technical Advisory Committee for the Santa Monica Baykeeper, the Scientific Advisory Committee for the Tijuana River National Estuary Research Reserve and the Ballona Wetlands Foundation, and the Mission Bat Clean Water Technical Advisory Committee.

More About Dr. Gersberg