Author Archive: Erich Vieth

Erich Vieth is an attorney focusing on consumer law litigation and appellate practice. He is also a working musician and a writer, having founded Dangerous Intersection in 2006. Erich lives in the Shaw Neighborhood of St. Louis, Missouri, where he lives half-time with his two extraordinary daughters.

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Why the war on drugs is worse than the drugs themselves.

May 16, 2017 | By | Reply More

Peter Christ, founder of LEAP (“Law Enforcement Action Partnership”). The war on drugs is worse than the drugs themselves, as Peter Christ’s explains in this video:

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Appellate Law in the Trenches

May 4, 2017 | By | Reply More

I was happy with the turnout and quality of speakers for today’s seminar sponsored by the Bar Association of Metropolitan St. Louis: “Appellate Lawyering in the Trenches.” I had the honor of being the organizer, but most of the work was done by the following presenters: Eric Martin, Beth Carver and Barbara Smith (Bryan Cave), Jeff McPherson (Armstrong Teasdale), Hon. Colleen Dolan and Joy Hannell (Missouri Court of Appeals), John Campbell (Campbell Law),and Shannan Hall (BAMSL). We have already received lots of good feedback from those attending and I look forward to doing something like this again within the next year or two.

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Charles Glenn Continues to Earn the Spotlight

May 4, 2017 | By | 1 Reply More

The St. Louis Post-Dispatch recently featured this article on Charles Glenn, best known these days for singing the national anthem a cappella at Blues games. He has a strong clear voice even now, in his early 60’s. I applaud his successes for many reasons. He is genuinely an upbeat generous man, a dedicated dad with a wonderful sense of humor and unrelenting creativity.

Back in the 1970s, when we were mere teenagers, Charles and I were co-leaders of the 8-piece St. Louis jazz-rock band “Ego.” I was the guitarist and Charles was lead singer (of course), which he excelled at while playing a full set of drums. I’m really proud of what we accomplished. And I continue to celebrate Charles Glenn’s many successes.

[caption id="attachment_28180" align="aligncenter" width="602"] Ego, Circa 1974[/caption]
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About people who are “Anti-Science”

May 2, 2017 | By | 8 Replies More

Good article in Scientific American reminding us that those who are science-adverse or science-ignorant in some ways embrace science in other ways.  That should be obvious, in that creationists are willing to fly in airplanes and those who reject vaccines love to use their smart phones.  But this article goes further, and warns us that slapping people with with a general anti-science label risks driving them further into scientific ignorance.

People’s relationship with science is much more complex and nuanced than “pro-science” or “anti-science.” We need to correct some of the misconceptions we have and show that what is often labeled as “anti-science” or “science denial” is often better understood as isolated incidents of motivated bias. In general, trust in science is much higher than we often realize, in part because it includes a lot of people we might often consider “anti-science.”

The conclusions of this article:

  • There is a deep respect for scientists and the scientific process.
  • People often use what they believe to be credible scientific findings to argue against actual, credible scientific findings.
  • It is often the implied solutions of scientific findings that motivate denial.
  • People often deny the relevance of facts, not just their correctness.
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How safe is it to have even one nuclear weapon?

April 27, 2017 | By | Reply More
How safe is it to have even one nuclear weapon?

When I was a child, my school would have nuclear attack drills, which involved quickly climbing under a desk of walking quickly to the basement of the school. I think the general strategy was to go somewhere special to essentially kiss your ass goodbye.  That was in the 1960’s where a neighbor in Florissant had actually built a bomb shelter in the front yard, and you can still see the entry to that shelter.  In the decade since the 1960s, I’ve gradually stopped thinking so much about the world’s arsenal of nuclear weapons, even though they are extremely dangerous to possess, even for a country that has them for the supposed purpose of using them against another county.

See time code 1:17 of this excellent documentary by Eric Schlosser, “Command and Control,” where it is revealed that a declassified military report indicates that there have been more than 1,000 U.S. accidents involving nuclear weapons, at least 31 of these posing serious risks of accidental detonation, risking the lives of countless Americans.

It is a miracle that none of these have resulted in nuclear detonations. From the American Experience Website: “Based on the critically-acclaimed book by Eric Schlosser, this chilling documentary exposes the terrifying truth about the management of America’s nuclear arsenal and shows what can happen when the weapons built to protect us threaten to destroy us.”

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On interfering with elections

April 25, 2017 | By | Reply More

The U.S. has accused Russia of interfering with the recent U.S. Presidential election. That accusation needs to be viewed in context:

The U.S. has a long history of attempting to influence presidential elections in other countries – it’s done so as many as 81 times between 1946 and 2000, according to a database amassed by political scientist Dov Levin of Carnegie Mellon University.

That number doesn’t include military coups and regime change efforts following the election of candidates the U.S. didn’t like, notably those in Iran, Guatemala and Chile. Nor does it include general assistance with the electoral process, such as election monitoring.

This  information is from a detailed article in the LA Times, with many specifics. For instance, the U.S. tried to interfere with the election of the Russian leader in 1996. According to the same article, Russia attempted to interfere with “36 foreign elections from the end of World War II to the turn of the century.”

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The cost of interruptions

April 23, 2017 | By | Reply More

When I’m trying to write, I really get frustrated with interruptions. That’s why I try to write at times when interruptions will be limited, and I turn off my phone and close my email while I write.

Today I discovered that the effects of interruptions have been measured. This stunning conclusion is complements of Gloria Mark, Professor in the Department of Informatics at the University of California, Irvine:

How long does it take people to get back on task? We found about 82 percent of all interrupted work is resumed on the same day. But here’s the bad news — it takes an average of 23 minutes and 15 seconds to get back to the task.

The article offers that not all interruptions are the same, and in fact, some interruptions are beneficial. However, the author of this article echoes my own general frustration:

Are we becoming more superficial thinkers? I argue that when people are switching contexts every 10 and half minutes they can’t possibly be thinking deeply. There’s no way people can achieve flow. When I write a research article, it takes me a couple of hours before I can even begin to think creatively. If I was switching every 10 and half minutes, there’s just no way I’d be able to think deeply about what I’m doing. This is really bad for innovation. When you’re on the treadmill like this, it’s just not possible to achieve flow.

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Career shift in the works . . .

April 13, 2017 | By | Reply More

In addition to my career as a lawyer, I’ve been blogging for years, but I’m going to turn more toward investigative reporting in coming years. I haven’t determined the details yet, but this idea energizes me and encompasses much of my training in the legal field, as well as my interests in photography and creating videos. Over the years I’ve attended national conferences of Free Press, which instilled the idea that high quality journalism is valuable, whether it be created by a big organization or by a citizen journalist.

In the meantime, Bill Moyers offers this list of organizations that do high quality investigative reporting. I’m familiar with most of these, but I just made sure that I’m signed up to receive email newsletters from each of these organizations. I’ll continue sharing links to selected articles on FB and on this website, Dangerous Intersection.

Moyers’ List includes:

1. ProPublica 
2. The Center for Public Integrity (CPI)  
3. The Center For Investigative Reporting (CIR) —
4. Frontline 
5. Mother Jones 
6. The Intercept 
7. Real Clear Investigations 
8. The International Consortium of Investigative Journalists (ICIJ) 
9. Investigative Reporters and Editors (IRE) 
10. BuzzFeed 

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Insanity in every corner in these times of needless war

April 12, 2017 | By | Reply More

We have reached unprecedented levels of dysfunction on both the political right and the political left. I agree with each of these conclusions by Glenn Greenwald of The Intercept:

1. New wars will always strengthen Trump: as they do for every leader.
2. Democrats’ jingoistic rhetoric has left them no ability – or desire – to oppose Trump’s wars.
3. In wartime, US television instantly converts into state media.
4. Trump’s bombing is illegal, but presidents are now omnipotent.
5. How can those who view Trump as an Inept Fascist now trust him to wage war?
6. Like all good conspiracy theories, no evidence can kill the Kremlin-controls-Trump tale.
7. The fraud of humanitarianism works every time for (and on) American elites.
8. Support for Trump’s Bombing Shows Two Toxic U.S. Conceits: “Do Something” and “Look Strong”
9. Obama’s refusal to bomb Assad hovers over everything.
10. None of this disproves, obviously, that Hillary Clinton was also a dangerous hawk.

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