Railroad Workers Unions: Onboard Equipment Failure Contributed to Amtrak Train Accident

In its ongoing investigation to determine the cause of the recent Amtrak train derailment of May 12, 2015, the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) has ruled out a terrorist attack. It has been determined that a grapefruit-sized fracture on the locomotive's windshield was not caused by a bullet, though NTSB investigators have not ruled out deliberate vandalism (according to local residents, the stretch of track near Frankford Junction is easily accessible).

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Florida Medical Malpractice Caps on Damages Not Retroactive, Says Florida Supreme Court

When the Florida State Legislature under the governorship of Jeb Bush passed an arbitrary cap on non-economic damages in medical malpractice lawsuits, it was ostensibly to control the cost doctors had to pay for malpractice insurance. Not surprisingly, the American Tort Reform Association and the Federal Chamber of Commerce lobbied heavily for the legislation. Since the law went into effect, it has encountered opposition – and a few setbacks.

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Nursing Home Abuse - People Don't Know The Half Of It

In July of 2001, the House Special Investigations Division Committee on Government Reform published a report that painted a very grim picture of nursing home abuse. Requested by now-retired California Representative Henry Waxman, the investigation showed that nearly one-third of nursing homes in the U.S., representing nearly 5,300 facilities, had been cited for cases of abuse over the previous two years.  These abuses included everything from dehydration and malnutrition to poor (or non-existent) medical care and hygiene.

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Big Rig Tires - Unsafe At High Speeds

Anyone who has spent any time at all traveling along out nation's freeways regularly sees the remains of blown-out truck tires lying on the shoulder.  It's the sign of a safety issue that very few highway safety officials or state regulators even know about.

Those of a certain age may remember the oil crises of the 1970s that led to a federal speed limit of 55 miles-per-hour. It wasn't especially popular with motorists or the trucking industry. Nonetheless, it saved lives as well as petroleum resources.

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Takata Airbag Recall Doubles, Becomes Highest Vehicle Recall in History

Today, several media outlets are reporting that airbag maker Takata has expanded its recall to include 34 million vehicles worldwide – nearly twice the current figure. This will make it the largest vehicle recall in history, eclipsing the Ford recall of the 1980s for defective transmissions.

Tataka, a company based in Tokyo, was for decades a pioneer in automotive safety devices that include seatbelts (actually illegal in the U.S. prior to the 1950s) and child safety seats. It was also an innovator when it came to air bags, now standard equipment on all newly-manufactured vehicles.

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Should The AmTrak Derailment in Philadelphia Been Prevented?

The recent Amtrak train accident that took eight lives and injured 200 was not the first such tragedy in the annals of railroad history – nor was it the worst. On the night of August 13, 1939, the Union Pacific streamliner City of Francisco plunged off of a bridge over the Humboldt River in the Nevada desert, killing more than twenty of the 220 passengers aboard.

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Fed-Ex: Putting Corporate Profits Ahead of Trucking Safety

Fed-Ex is certainly not the only major corporate oligarch calling the shots in Congress, pushing legislation that increases potential profit at the expense of human lives and safety.  In this case, it's being joined by Old Dominion Freight Line and a number of other large trucking firms, which are all calling for greater productivity at lower costs. (If history is any indication, don't expect these firms to share their increased prosperity with the employees that actually make it possible.)

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Atlanta Nursing Home Resident Dies – Severe Neglect Alleged

An investigation of the New London Health Center in Atlanta has taken a new and tragic turn. 77-year-old  Carol Sheppard, who was removed from the nursing home after her grandson found she had been subject to severe neglect, has died from her condition. Ms. Sheppard was discovered with a gash in her head, bleeding inside her skull, an open bedsore, a laceration on her hand for which the bandage had not been recently changed and severely ingrown toenails.

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On The Eve of the Centennial: Another Trucking Breakthrough

The first cross-country long-haul truck journey started in Seattle, Washington in July of 1916. It was largely a publicity stunt, intended to prove the feasibility of long-haul trucking – but nonetheless a quantum leap forward in the history of freight transportation.

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Dangerous Drugs Sold With the Protection of Corporate “Free Speech”

The First Amendment of the U.S. Constitution reads as follows:

Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.

Seems pretty clear and straight-forward, right? Not necessarily.

Defining “Free Speech”

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Bayer More Concerned with Competition than Injuries in regard to Xarelto

Currently, Bayer AG, manufacturer of the anti-coagulant Xarelto, faces nearly 500 injury lawsuits over its product. Used to treat patients at risk for stroke due to atrial fibrillation (a type of arrhythmia, or irregular heartbeat), Xarelto has been implicated in cases of uncontrollable gastrointestinal bleeding, brain hemorrhages and hemorrhagic stroke. Plaintiffs allege that Bayer was aware of these risks and failed to issue proper warnings.

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Down, Down, Down – and No End in Sight for Puerto Rico Bonds

In mid-February 2015, ratings agency Moody's downgraded already troubled Puerto Rico General Obligation bonds to CAA1 – which is seven levels below investment grade. Standard & Poor's had them at B. Two-and-a-half months later, that B rating has fallen to CCC+. This is well into “junk bond” territory, and only four notches above “default” status.

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“Granny Cam” Laws May Help Prevent Elder Abuse and Neglect

“Last scene of all, that ends this strange eventful history,
Is second childishness and mere oblivion,
Sans teeth, sans eyes, sans taste, sans everything.”

William Shakespeare, As You Like It, Act II Scene 7

The beginning of life (“the infant, mewling and puking in the nurse’s arms,” as Shakespeare's Jaquis describes it in that play) and the end of life have many similarities. “Second childhood” requires as much care and supervision as the first, and often more; like infants, many elderly are vulnerable.

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