Attorneys select jurors for their stupidity, not their impartiality, argues Contributing Editor Walter K. Olson in "The Art of the Runaway Jury" (page 22). Fortunately for his intellectual reputation, Olson, a Manhattan Institute research fellow, hasn't yet been selected to serve. In fact, his work—which includes the just-released The Rule of Lawyers: How the New Litigation Elite Threatens America's Rule of Law, The Excuse Factory (1997), and The Litigation Explosion (1991)—has gotten someone else excused from jury duty. "Two friends took my books to the courthouse," Olson explains. "For one it actually worked; he was dismissed." Since 1999 Olson has also tracked legal idiocies on his popular Web site, Overlawyered.com.
In "Pumped-Up Hysteria" (page 32), sportswriter Dayn Perry wonders whether steroid use by baseball players merits such a fuss. A Mississippi native who now lives in Austin, Texas, Perry did some weightlifting in high school and college. But his interest in steroid hype has more to do with fellow sportswriters than with sports itself. "I'm interested in how the mainstream sports media tend to distort issues," he says, "steroids being just one example." Perry also serves as a talent consultant for a major league baseball team—one that shall remain nameless. "They don't like to admit they use consultants to help pick players," he says.
"I usually get my coffee in Dunkin' Donuts or local shops," confesses Jackson Kuhl, who nevertheless defends the mega-chain Starbucks in "Tempest in a Coffeepot" (page 55). "I'm amazed that many people who complain about 'corporate' coffee are also the ones who buy it." Kuhl sounds like someone who could use a good, strong cup. The former senior producer at FoxNews.com is now a freelance writer, an archeology grad student at Yale, and an at-home dad to a 6-month-old son. Kuhl and family live in Fairfield, Connecticut—about five minutes from the nearest Starbucks.