Thursday, April 24, 2014

Wondering About Cliven Bundy, Wondering About Black Folk

I don't for a minute believe that most people supporting Bundy's fight with the Bureau of Land Management also support is infamous news conference and his subsequent 'wonderings' about black peoples lot in life. I do however believe that he thought he was among some others with similar 'wonderings'.

Black people don't wonder. They know that in these United States there are people who 'wonder' like Cliven Bundy. Just read in my local paper the other day comments regarding a column by Leonard Pitts Jr. The general feeling was that Pitts always uses the race card. I say to those folks, yes, he does, because he knows the Cliven Bundys are alive and well in American society.

Another thing I wonder about is why the members of  on the right of our political spectrum feel like they now have a target on their back? Are they wondering if Leonard Pitts Jr. is going to say, "See, I told you so."

Saturday, April 19, 2014

No One Walks Off The Island

The title of this post is taken from some great investigative reporting by ESPN The Magazine writer Scott Eden. It tells an unflattering story of MLB stars Yasiel Puig (LA Dodgers) and Alrodis Chapman (Cinnanati Reds). It appears, though not proven, that these two men fingered innocent men to Cuban authorities in order to cover their attempts to defect from Cuba. Not all Cuban defectors took this route. Jose Fernandez (Miami Marlins) was just 15 when he and his mother made a fourth attempt to get to U.S. shores. Three previous attempts resulted in Cuban imprisonment. On the fourth attempt Jose's mother fell overboard and he jumped into the ocean and saved her. How naive am I, thinking this is how all Cuban defectors get to the United States.

The story of Puig's defection without the alledged informing, is a story of a talented man wanting a better life in a freer country. There is nothing wrong with that and one can assume that Puig was unaware that death, Mexican cartel (Los Zetas) participation, bribery of government officials and torture would all be involved in his goal to play Major League baseball. The difference between Puig, Chapman and Fernandez is the financial reward at the end. Fernandez was just 15 and his baseball abilities, if known, had no immediate payoff. Whereas, Puig and Chapman were worth alot of money. As you will learn from Scott Eden's reporting there were investors financing the defection of Puig. In return they were supposed to get up to 20% of his contract money with whatever MLB team won the bidding for his services.

As you read this article, one wonders who benefits from the Cuban Embargo that has been in place since October, 1960? I see no political advantages for Cuba or the United States. There use to be a strong anti-Cuban lobby made up of Cuban refugees. But their clout has weakened as they age and younger Cuban-Americans seem to be more moderate in their views toward the island.

Friday, April 18, 2014

General Mills Update

"UPDATE April 17, 7:05 pm ET General Mills says a New York Times report cited in an earlier version of this story incorrectly stated that the company's legal policy change prevents consumers from suing the company if they like any of the company's brands on Facebook. This post has been updated to reflect the correction from GeneralMills." Reporter Todd Wasserman

Thursday, April 17, 2014

General Mills Takes Away Your Day In Court

Reading an article by Stephaine Strom reporting at the New York Times, that just by downloading a coupon for Cheerios, you may loose some of your constitutional rights. Yep, today consumers are subject to 'forced arbitration' and because of AT&T Mobility v. Conception you don't even have the right to a class action forced arbitration. If you and others have been wronged in some way by a business, each wronged individual must pay for his/her own defense. However, even a binding arbitration decision can be appealed. So there's that. But, it is still more expense for the plaintiff.

I have never read a privacy statement, but apparently by agreeing to joining a book club, Facebook, etc., there is also a good chance you are 'voluntarily' giving up your 'day in court', should you be harmed in some way. Just by going into a store you may lose your right to sue if you are injured.   (There is a Whataburger franchise owner who has a sign on the restaurant entrance, "that by simply entering the premises, they [customers] agreed to settle disputes through arbitration)'. Most credit card and mobile phone companies take away your 'day in court'.

Julia Duncan, at the American Association for Justice says; "It's [General Mills] essentially trying to protect the company from all accountability, even when it lies, or say, an employee deliberately adds broken glass to a product."

Some of you might be inclined to say that frivolous law suits, greedy trial lawyers, and outlandish jury awards have caused this to happen. I say frivolous law suits, greedy trial lawyers and outlandish jury awards pale against losing constitutional rights. Furthermore these abuses having absolutely nothing to do with the plaintiff(s). Finally, let me emphasize that trial lawyers will still make money from force arbitration, companies will save money, and settlements will shrink as will your constitutional rights.