Friday, December 31, 2010

Ford Recalls 15,000 Vehicles with Wiring Problems

Ford Motors has recalled 15,000 trucks and crossovers to fix an electrical problem that can result in fire. The recall covers 2011 models of the F-150, F-250, F-350, F-450, F-550, Ford Edge and Lincoln MKX models. For more read Article: Kansas City Star

Thursday, December 30, 2010

LWCC Pays $22.5 Million Dividend To Businesses While Workers Are Cheated

It’s a daily occurrence at hazardous work sites throughout Louisiana. A worker is injured or killed and must depend upon workers compensation to provide income for medical attention, food, housing, education and clothing. That's how the system is supposed to work, but it is not reality.

In reality, the employer does everything in its power to prevent the worker from recovery. The most devastating weapons in the arsenal of employer assault are the Louisiana Worker's Compensation Corporation (LWCC) and the legal impediments to the worker hiring an attorney.

As originally conceived, the LWCC was a creature of the state, state-funded, state-controlled, favoring employers over workers. To make matters worse, Louisiana law limits the amount of money that an injured worker can pay to an attorney for legal representation. By contrast, employers are allowed to pay their attorney whatever it takes to win the case. A virtual David and Goliath legal battle takes place, but, here, the corporate Goliath always wins.

Recently, LWCC announced it would pay a $22.5 million dividend, to be divided among about 18,000 policyholders. The policyholders or employers! In 2009 LWCC paid a $15 million dividend to policyholders; over the past eight years, the business has paid out nearly $159.3 million in dividends. Meanwhile, workers are cheated.

Here in Louisiana, workers compensation is "checkbook justice" from beginning to end!

Wednesday, December 29, 2010

BP Caught Red-Handed in Conflict of Interest with Gulf Claims Facility

The Center for Justice & Democracy, a citizens' advocacy group, isn’t about to back down from British Petroleum, the mega-national corporation that devastated the Gulf Coast.

The CJ&D has asked various Gulf Coast attorneys general to launch an immediate investigation into possible conflict of interest between BP and the administration of the Gulf Coast Claims Facility by Kenneth Feinberg.

The CJ&D letter objects to Feinberg serving as claims administrator while BP is paying his law firm $850,000 a month for legal fees! Hum... almost a million dollars a month in attorney fees!

CJ&D’s letter charges that “Mr. Feinberg, employed by BP, has decided on his own authority that all claims recipients must release all companies who caused this disaster from any and all legal responsibility, no matter how grossly negligent they were. This sweeping release, which assigns victims’ claims to BP, benefits only one actor: BP – the company that pays Mr. Feinberg’s salary."

Link to CJ&D’s letter!

Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Glucose Test Strips Recalled in U.S.

Abbott Diabetes Care announced a recall of 359 lots of blood glucose test strips in the United States and Puerto Rico. The company issued a recall after it was discovered the strips may give falsely low blood glucose results. The false results may cause patients "to try to raise their blood glucose when it is unnecessary and to fail to treat elevated blood glucose due to a falsely low reading," the company said. See, Staff Report, PR Newswire 12/22/2010

Friday, September 24, 2010

U.S. Chamber Accused of Tax Fraud $$$$$$

Taking on the "Big Boys" can be hard. And they don't come bigger than the U.S. Chamber of Commerce. But, one group has decided that enough is enough.

Critics of the U.S. Chamber of Commerce filed a complaint with the Internal Revenue Service, charging that the chamber violated tax codes by laundering millions meant for charitable work from a group connected with insurance giant A.I.G. The complaint was filed by the newly formed U.S. Chamber Watch, which is backed financially by labor unions. A chamber spokeswoman said the charges are a political ploy.

Read: Chamber of Commerce Accused of Tax Fraud

Read: Letter of complaint to the IRS, which presents a compelling case against the the Chamber.

The U.S. Chamber of Commerce has such a prominent presence that many Americans believe it is part of the federal government. Tom Donohue, chamber president and CEO, is the sixth highest paid lobbyist in the nation. With fall congressional elections approaching, the chamber plans to spend $50 million in about 40 U.S. House and Senate races. That amount is more than twice the combined cash holdings of the Republican National Committee and the National Republican Congressional Committee as of late May.

Read: Show Him the Money: Tom Donohue scares millions of dollars out of corporations and Republicans. But is his U.S. Chamber of Commerce good for business?

The U.S. Chamber of Commerce is the largest force for lobbying in America. In 2000, it spent $18.7 million on lobbing . In 2008, it spent $91.7 million. By 2009, the U.S. Chamber pumped in $144.5 million. It's lobbying costs are five times higher than the next highest spender, Exxon Mobil who weighs in at $27.4 million. The Chamber has more than 150 lobbyists from 25 different firms working on its behalf.

Monday, May 31, 2010

Gov. Bobby Jindal gets $25 million from BP for cleanup, but doesn't distribute the funds.

This morning State Sen. Butch Gautreaux appeared on MSNBC.

Because Sen. Gautreaux is from St. Mary Parish, which borders the Gulf of Mexico, the reporter was interested in getting a clearer picture of just how bad the BP oil spill disaster will be for coastal Louisiana. Parishes along the Gulf of Mexico will, no doubt, be the areas most severely impacted by the devastating oil spill.

When asked if Pres. Obama's response to the oil spill was quick enough, Sen. Gautreaux said he personally witnessed US Coast Guard involvement shortly after the oil spill was reported.

After that question was answered, the interview really turned bad for Gov. Bobby Jindal.

The reporter then asked Sen. Gautreaux if Gov.Jindal's criticism of Pres. Obama was justified.

In response to that question, the senator dropped a virtual "political nuclear bomb" on Gov. Jindal.

Sen. Gautreaux said that, Friday, he learned BP gave Gov. Bobby Jindal $25 million to help with cleanup efforts in Louisiana coastal parishes. Sen. Gautreaux said Gov. Jindal has used a measly $3 million of the $25 million for cleanup efforts in the coastal parishes.

So, Gov. Jindal the question is "where has all the money gone... long-time passing?"

Gov. Jindal needs to make a complete accounting of his efforts to timely distribute the remaining $22 million.

The problems only get worse over time! So why wait, Gov. Jindal? Also, why weren't the funds immediately distributed to the coastal parishes to help with cleanup efforts?

Hopefully Gov. Jindal's tune about government response will change. Otherwise, we'll be singing, "Who took the cookie from the cookie jar? Bobby took the cookie from the cookie jar? If not you, then who?"

Friday, May 21, 2010

Tea Party takes the side of BP against Louisiana.

It’s offensive, but it’s expected!

Today, Tea Party Republican Rand Paul took the side of BP against the people of Louisiana.

Determined to protect the British corporation, the Tea Party's Republican Senate nominee Rand Paul criticized President Barack Obama's handling of the Gulf oil spill Friday as putting "his boot heel on the throat of BP" and "really un-American."

Paul made his comment on Good Morning America. "I think that sounds really un-American in his criticism of business." Psst...Rand, BP's British; Louisiana's American. Do you understand the difference?

Paul further explained, "And I think it's part of this sort of blame-game society in the sense that it's always got to be somebody's fault instead of the fact that maybe sometimes accidents happen."

So what does “sometimes accidents happen” mean in Tea Party language? It means: Hey Louisiana, get over it, sometimes sh** happens.”

Thursday, May 13, 2010

More BP Finger Pointing, But No Clean-Up

They're at it again!

As the first congressional hearings into the incident prepared to get underway, the Bigwigs of Big Oil are doing their level best to lay blame on each other. They really...really...are!

So, here's the question: What happened to corporate responsibility and corporate governance? Enough finger pointing. You broke it; now fix it!

See H. Josef Hebert, Associated Press, The Advocate 05/11/2010 Read Article: The Advocate

Monday, May 03, 2010

The finger pointing begins: BP says it’s not responsible for accident

By now, news of the disaster off the coast of Louisiana has circulated around the world. But, the finger pointing among the corporations responsible for the disaster is just beginning. BP's chairman claims that BP "is not responsible for the accident." In the corporate world, passing the buck is good business.

BP claims that Transocean, the owner of the drilling rig, is responsible for the accident.

This is not the first time that BP has failed to take responsibility for safety failures. BP caused a major casualty in Texas in 2005 and avoided liability for it. The safety problems at BP are so bad that the US Department of Labor called BP's safety failures "systemic."

Will BP eventually pay for the disaster? Probably not.

Exxon was found guilty of the Valdez disaster and ordered to pay $5 billion in punitive damages. How much has Exxon paid? NOTHING! That's right, not a penny!

So, don't hold your breath for BP to pay. Let the finger pointing begin!

Wednesday, February 03, 2010

Wrongful Death Suit Filed Over Toyota Crash

The family of Trina Renee Harris has filed suit against Toyota Motors Inc. Ms. Harris was killed in an accident when her car sped through a stop sign and smashed into a cement wall. The accident occurred just weeks before the recall that would have included Ms. Harris’ 2009 Toyota Corolla.

The Houston Chronicle says Ms. Harris told her husband that she felt the accelerator moved on its own at times, but did not think anything of it.

This is yet another example of corporate indifference. It also highlights the failure of NHTSA to police corporate neglect. For years, the auto industry has virtually controlled NHTSA. And, our families have been the victims of corporate and government indifference.

The Harris suit is the third wrongful death lawsuit filed against Toyota in relation to the recalled vehicles.

For more, see Mary Flood, Houston Chronicle 02/01/2010 Houston Chronicle

Saturday, January 30, 2010

Fire Risk Prompts Honda Recall

Honda Motors Co. has begun a large-scale recall due to a defective part that could cause serious injuries or death to occupants. The recall invloves 646,000 units of the Fit/Jazz and City models globally, including 140,000 in the United States.

The cause: a defective master window switch could cause a fire.

One child burned to death after a fire broke out. Other cases have been reported.

For more, read Chang-Ran Kim, The New York Times 01/29/2010 Read Article: The New York Times

Friday, January 29, 2010

How partisan has the U.S. Court become? Very partisan!

During Pres. Obama’s recent State of the Union address, Supreme Court Justice Samuel Alito, a standard bearer for insurance companies and corporations, stooped to the tactics of Republican S.C. Rep. Joe Wilson by mouthing "not true" when Pres. Obama said that the Supreme Court had wiped away "a century of law" that "will open the floodgates for special interests, including foreign corporations, to spend without limit in our elections." Take a look:
Before assuming office, Pres. Obama was a professor of constitutional law. Pres. Obama's criticism hit the proverbial nail on the head, which prompted Justice Alito's "Joe Wilson moment."

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Plea Entered For Faking Drug Research

On March 11, 2009, Scott S. Reuben, a Massachusetts anesthesiologist and former chief of acute pain at Baystate Medical Center, Springfield, Mass., admiteed he faked data for 21 studies for the efficacy of various drugs. At the time, Reuben was also a former "paid spokesperson" for Pfizer.

Recetnly, Reuben agreed to plead guilty to healthcare fraud in connection with research involving Vioxx, Bextra and Celebrex. Reuben could serve a 10-year prison sentence and pay a $250,000 fine.

James A. White, WSJ Blogs 01/25/2010 Read Article: WSJ Blogs

Monday, January 25, 2010

Toddler Death Sparks Crib Recall in U.S.

Another tragedy that could've been prevented.

The recent death of a six-month-old child has prompted the recall of about 635,000 Dorel Asia cribs. The cribs are manufactured by Dorel Asia SRL.

The cause: The cribs have a drop-side that can detach from the frame, thus trapping and suffocating a child.

For more read: Andrea Chang, LA Times 01/20/2010 LA Times

Saturday, January 23, 2010

Toyota Issues Massive Vehicle Recall

Often, single car accidents are presumptively blamed on driver error. But, as is clear from the recent Toyota recall, driver neglect isn't always the cause.

Recently, Toyota Motors issued a 2.3 million automobile recall when it was discovered that accelerator pads may stick, causing the vehicle to unintentionally speed up. It's the second large recall in two months.

The recall stemmed from an accident in December where four people died when an Avalon sped off the road into a pond.

The recall covers car and truck models 2005 to 2010. This recall includes the 2005-10 Avalon; 2007-10 Camry and Tundra; 2008-10 Sequoia; 2009-10 RAV4, Corolla and Matrix; and 2010 Highlander. It also covers the 2009-10 Pontiac Vibe.

For details, read NY Times, The New York Times 01/21/2010 The New York Times

Friday, January 22, 2010

Fingertip Amputations Prompt Graco Stroller Recall

Next time you take your child out for a stroll, pay attention to the stroller. 1.5 million Graco strollers have been recalled because several children’s fingertips were amputated or severely injured. Wow, amputated!

The strollers, which are manufactured by Graco Children's Products Inc., involve certain model numbers of Graco Passage, Alano and Spree Strollers and Travel Systems.

The strollers were made in China by Graco and sold at AAFES, Burlington Coat Factory, Babies R Us, Toys R Us, Kmart, Fred Meyer, Meijer, Navy Exchange, Sears, Target, Wal-Mart and other retailers nationwide from October 2004 to December 2009.

The cause: The stroller’s hinges pose a danger to children when opening or closing the stroller’s canopy.

These tragic, avoidable injuries underscore the need for a new “decade of corporate accountability,” leveling the playing field that today tilts too in favor of powerful corporate interests. There needs to be stronger oversight and the accountability of wrongdoers.

Settlement and Policy Change Reached In Train Deaths

Too often railroads, and the public bodies who regulate them, turn a deaf-ear to the physical condition of the thousands of miles of railroad track that lace local communities. In this case, it was more than a deaf-ear, the railroad and public body simply closed their eyes. And, because they did, tragedy struck.

In July of 2008, two boys were hit and killed by a Maryland light rail train. The boys were struck by a northbound train that was on southbound tracks. The cause of the tragedy: vandalism on the northbound tracks and the train operator took his eyes off the track at a critical moment and could not explain why.

Recently, the families of two boys received a $1.5 million settlement from the state of Maryland. Along with the settlement, the Maryland Transit Authority has agreed to create new policies regarding trespassing and single-track operations.

To read more, see Michael Dresser and Julie Bykowicz, Baltimore Sun 01/21/2010, Baltimore Sun

Thursday, January 21, 2010

Johnson and Johnson Recalls Medicines

McNeil Consumer Healthcare, a division of Johnson & Johnson, recalled several hundred batches of Benadryl, Motrin, Rolaids, Simply Sleep, St. Joseph Aspirin and Tylenol because of a moldy smell upon opening. The recall came 20 months after numerous complaints were logged.

Once the FDA got involved, the plot thickened.

Last week, the FDA sent a warning letter to the company, noting that consumers not only complained about the moldy smell, but also complained about digestive problems like nausea, vomiting and stomach pain.

Coming clean, McNeil released a statement saying, chemicals used to treat wood pallets that transport and store product packaging were the source of the problem.

For more, read Natasha Singer, The New York Times 01/17/2010 The New York Times

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Pendleton Memorial Methodist Hospital CEO Says Not Aware of Emergency Power Concerns

During Hurricane Katrina, 73-year-old Althea LaCoste, whose ventilator depended on electricity, survived the initial power outage thanks to manual breathing assistance from hospital staff. But a medical expert for Ms. LaCoste said that she died some time later because of the strain suffered during that time.

The CEO of Pendleton Memorial Methodist Hospital, who was sued because of the death, said under cross examination that he didn't know previous executives documented concerns that the power generator system could fail if a first-floor fuel pump flooded in an emergency. That's exactly what happened during Hurricane Katrina. Ms. LaCoste died in the hospital after the storm.

The LaCoste case could establish a new standard of liability for hospitals in wrongful death due to disaster planning decisions. Pendleton's CEO should have known of the documented pervious concerns.

For more, read Bill Barrow, New Orleans Times-Picayune 01/16/2010 Read Article: New Orleans Times-Picayune