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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Takata Airbags: They Keep Blowing

The Takata airbag recently claimed another victim. In March, an unidentified driver of a 2003 Honda Civic was injured when the airbag deployed and the inflator housing shattered, sending a jagged piece of metal into the neck. The driver survived after emergency surgery, but has still filed a lawsuit against the automaker.

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Enlightened Self-Interest: Insurers Call for More Restrictions on Morcellators

U.S. health insurance companies historically have never given an tinker's damn about patient lives. In a profit-driven system, their only concern has been maximizing those profits. If a treatment or a patient's condition threatened to cut into those profits, they would simply deny or drop coverage and allow the patient to suffer and die.

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UBS Hurts More Than Their Clients

UBS of Puerto Rico deceived its customers, costing many their life's savings though high-risk investments. This is not recent news. Nor is the fact that managers and supervisors (namely, one Miguel Ferrer, former  Chairman of UBS Financial Services Inc. of Puerto Rico) pressured brokers and advisors to sell these high-risk investments to clients they knew to be inappropriate for their level of risk tolerance and ability to sustain loss.

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The Implications of Automated Trucking

In 1903, an adventurous pair of young men set out from San Francisco to New York City in a used Winton automobile, powered by a 20 horsepower, two-cylinder engine. A little over two months later, having traveled primarily on dirt trails through regions of the country where filling stations and repair facilities were virtually non-existent,  Horatio Jackson and Seward Crocker arrived in New York City.

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