50 Years Ago
California Highway Patrol Commissioner H.W. Sullivan has characterized the state’s new “presumptive limits” law which became effective November 10 as “a major boost to efforts to remove drunk drivers from the state’s highways.”
“Now, for the first time in California, we have a legal objective method of determining whether a person is under the influence of intoxicating liquor,” Sullivan declared. “It will go a long way toward assisting the court or a jury to determine the guilt of an alleged drunk driver.”
Under the presumptive limits law, a person with a blood alcohol level of .10% is presumed to be under the influence of intoxicating liquor. If the blood alcohol level is between .05% and .10% there is no presumption, and if the blood alcohol level is less than .05% the person is presumed not under the influence. It does not prevent introduction of other evidence relevant to the question of intoxication.
40 Years Ago
The trial of the Pacific Sun vs. the Chronicle and the Examiner opened Monday in U.S. district court in San Francisco. Although the case has been in the works for 4 1/2 years, will take a month to try and involves five squads of lawyers, it seeks basically to answer one simple question:
Why did Examiner president Randolph Hearst and the late Chronicle publisher Charles Theriot decide in 1962 to quit competing for advertising and circulation?
Was it because a joint operating agreement, in which production facilities are shared and profits split 50-50, was the only way to prevent both the examiner and News Call-Bulletin from going out of business? If so, that’s legal and the Sun loses its case.
Or was it because the joint operating agreement was merely the most profitable of several ways by which the Examiner and/or News Call-Bulletin could have been saved? If so, that’s illegal and the Examiner and Chronicle will have to dissolve their agreement and stand again on their own two feet.
30 Years Ago
With The Little Mermaid, Disney’s first animated feature since 1959’s Sleeping Beauty, the old studio is really back up to speed. Though more Disney than Hans Christian Anderson (predictably, the movie avoids the tale’s sad ending), John Musker and Ron Clement’s charmer is bound to become a favorite. Deservedly so.
The style is more or less classic Disney, with its full animation, lush colors, cute heroine and hateful villain, lovable sidekick characters and hummable songs. It’s familiar territory – derivative, even, though what it derives from is so good that one can scarcely object.
Most of the action is set under water – “Darling, it’s better down where it’s wetter, under the sea,” as one character sings – and it is better indeed, with lots of gorgeous color and an array of sea creatures ranging from winsone dolphins and whales to seahorses, turtles and snails. Makes you want to grab your mask and fins and dive right in.
—Renata Polt, 11/24/89
20 Years Ago
What [public health scientist George Carlo] found may prove to be the cell phone industry’s worst nightmare.
He found that the risk of acoustic neuroma, a benign tumor of the auditory nerve that is well in range of the radiation coming from a phone’s antennae, was 50 percent higher in people who reported using cell phones for six years or more.
…He found that the risk of rare neuroepithelial tumors on the outside was more than doubled, a statistically significant increase, in cell phone users as compared to people who did not use cell phones.
He found that there appeared to be some correlation between brain tumors occurring on the right side of the head and use of the phone on the right side of the head.
And, most troubling, he found that laboratory studies looking at the ability of radiation from a phone’s antenna to cause functional genetic damage were definitely positive, and were following a close-response curve.
Carlo said that he has repeatedly recommended that the industry take a proactive, public health approach on the issue, and inform customers of his findings. He says that he uses a cell phone, but only with a headset.
—Russell Mokhiber & Robert Weissman, 11/24/99