Category Archives: Political

Take Justice Back: A New Website Regarding Rights of Individuals Harmed By Corporations

Today, the American Association for Justice, a lawyers’ group, launched a new website called Take Justice Back.  The website seeks to inform everyday Americans about the civil justice system, and why they should care about protecting that system, and protecting the rights of individuals harmed by corporations.

The American Association for Justice describes the new website as follows:

Take Justice Back will:• EDUCATE people on how their rights are being threatened;

• MOTIVATE Americans by sharing real stories of people denied justice;

• ENGAGE consumers through social media such as blogs, Facebook, and Twitter; and

• EMPOWER activism by creating a portal where people can share information, send letters to members of Congress, sign petitions, and link through to their own blogs

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Filed under Philosophy - Employee Rights, Political, Progressive, Resources for WI Workers

From Positivity Blog: 7 of My Favorite Timeless Tips from the Last 2500 Years

These 7 tips describe very practical approaches and attitudes for life challenges. The quoted tip below reminds me of the Supreme Court, and all the confirmation-process talky-talk where Justices are described with labels like “activists” (bad label) or “umpires” (good label). Behind all the labels and analogies, as well as behind the intellectual rationalizations of complex legal decisions, there are concrete benchmarks– actions by the Justices– that are much more predictable and telling than what is said about and by the Justices. Is a Justice an “umpire,” as described, or do the Justice’s actions on occasion reflect idealism and contradict the umpire ideal? Not to pick on Justices. This is something we all struggle with, to make sure our actions constantly back up our stated intentions.

1. Andrew Carnegie on paying attention to the more important things.

“As I grow older, I pay less attention to what men say. I just watch what they do.”

I have to agree, I pay less and less attention to what people say. Because in the end, what someone does is the most important thing. Talking is easy, but walking your talk is harder. And walking it consistently even though you fall, slip back into old habits and make mistakes is a huge part of success.

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Lipsen/Roll Call Article re Importance of Civil Justice System and Trial Lawyers

Linda Lipsen, CEO of the American Association for Justice, wrote at RollCall.com about the importance of trial lawyers as the last resource (and often, the only resource) to address corporate misconduct.

Reading this article made me think, as I often do, of a thought experiment.

Here it goes– think about your answers to the following questions:

(1) How many individuals, yourself and/or others, do you know of who filed a lawsuit against a corporation?

[I bet your answer is very few].

(2) How many of those individuals were found by the legal system to have a frivolous claim?

[I bet your answer is zero].

(3) How many individuals do you know who in effect “won the lottery” and walked away with a big payday as a result of their lawsuit? (This being individuals you KNOW FIRSTHAND won what you think– people routinely gossip, second hand about individuals supposedly winning far, far more than actually occurred).

[I bet your answer is zero, or very few].

(4) How many individuals do you know of who have lost $500 or more as a result of a corporation’s careless or intentional conduct?

[I bet your answer is far more people than your answers to 1-3 combined].

Ms. Lipsen writes:

It has been a daily occurrence to see the news dominated by the latest example of corporate misconduct. Each saga follows the same pattern: Tragedy occurs, followed by apologies tempered by denials and claims of innocence, and evidence that profits were knowingly put ahead of the safety and well-being of the American people.

At the same time, we have also seen how federal agencies lack the resources to adequately protect and safeguard the American people. Regulation is difficult when corporations brag about the millions of dollars saved by limiting their recalls or ignoring industry guidelines in spite of consumer safety.

Ultimately, Americans simply want safe products, fewer preventable injuries and a restoration of checks and balances that give people a fair chance to obtain recourse — before a company’s rampant negligence secures its position in the hot seat. But only after tragic accidents do we closely analyze the agencies and systems that failed, and what must be corrected.

Every time we do so, there is only one institution that consistently protects consumers and holds wrongdoers accountable: America’s civil justice system.

[O]nce these [corporate] scandals fade away, it will be telling to see whether some lawmakers continue with their fixation on “tort reform” — or handing out immunity to the very same corporations responsible for injuring consumers in the first place. Because today, such calls are not only illogical and tone-deaf, but contrary to the interests of all Americans.

Corporations, or their hired guns at the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, have dedicated millions of dollars to demonize trial attorneys. Yet each corporate scandal and dangerous product show that when the first lines of defense fail to protect the safety of consumers, only the civil justice system can hold negligent corporations accountable and restore justice. At the end of the day, it’s trial attorneys — not the corporations that put profits ahead of safety — that speak for the interests of these families and consumers.

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Workplace Anti-Bullying Bill Considered By Wisconsin Legislature, Part I

State Capital, Madison Wisconsin
Image by Rustic Roads via Flickr

Wisconsin legislators are considering enactment of a bill, 2009 Assembly Bill 894, that prohibits workplace bullying by employers.

The bill seeks to prohibit abusive work environments in Wisconsin, and to allow a worker subjected to such an environment to bring a civil legal claim.

Importantly, a civil claim would be filed in a Wisconsin county court, as opposed to federal court or an administrative agency like the Wisconsin Equal Rights Division or EEOC (i.e. agencies that handle discrimination complaints).

This post summarizes the bill, its legal requirements, its potential benefits for WI employees, and potential liabilities for employers.

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Article About Biblical Illiteracy

There are a lot of articles claiming the public is scientifically illiterate, but this article is the first I’ve seen making assertions about biblical illiteracy. (I am pretty bible-illiterate, I must confess, and I do not post this to judge anyone).

As a general matter, I believe that most of us don’t know much about most of the issues we talk about.  How could we?  There’s hardly enough time for someone to become an expert in one area of knowledge, much less for all the issues that affect us and that merit discussion.  Whenever we start feeling righteous about something we think we know well (whether the topic involve religion, politics, law, etc. etc.), it’s probably good that we remind ourselves there is so very much we don’t know.

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Progessive on Progessives’ Hate Talk

When will those who are “liberals” and “progressives” (which includes me) realize that we are just as responsible as “conservatives” for the epidemic of negative and hateful communication inflicting public discourse nowadays?

Conservatives—particularly extreme-side-of-the-party folks like Rush Limbaugh and Newt Gingrich— are often criticized by progressive folks for communicating in a hateful way.

I agree any negative or hateful communications by Limbaugh and Gingrich should be open to criticism. But what is more disconcerting to me are those progressives who do not recognize when similarly negative or hateful tones inflict our own demeanor (as they easily and instinctively can) when we encounter people holding beliefs (like extreme-end-political beliefs) with which we disagree.

I should mention that I have my own body of unfortunate literature—dating back to my grade school days—where I have written things that were very negative and disparaging toward others with whom I disagreed.   Heck, this post probably goes too far.  So I am not putting myself on the high horse here by any means. Rather, I’m asking others to consider joining me on the big bus called work-in-progress.

It is one thing for a progressive to politely—and strongly— dispute an opposing viewpoint or policy, especially if it is important, empirically incorrect, or both. But it is quite another thing to needlessly make the disagreement personal, and question the other person’s motives or character.

And it is another thing still to completely avoid self-reflection on our own communication style, as if the fact that we are right on the merits (we think) provides a ticket to not only describe the merits, but to further elaborate in a righteous, condescending and/or hypocritical tone about why our opponent is deserving of condemnation, name-calling, and in some cases, violence.

Consider these excerpts of progressive authors’ communications, which are all from today’s (6-11-09) Huffington Post, a progressive blog:

(from a blog header by a progressive blog author): Death at the Holocaust Museum and the Degradation of the American DialogueThere is no Environmental Protection Agency to measure hate pollution in national dialogue, and no mechanism in place to warn us when the poisonous rage spewed into the national consciousness by shock-jocks, poisonous television pundits, megachurch leaders, and oh-so-subtle politicians, has reached dangerously toxic levels. No, there is only the result: widows, orphans, collective grief, and an absolute refusal on the part of our loudest, coarsest voices to take any responsibility for their part in the carnage. Click here to read more….

(blog header by another progressive blog author): The Health Insurance Mafia Deserves a Good Screwing …

(blog header by another progressive blog author): Sexism Against Conservative Women Is Still Sexism

When progressive readers of a hugely-read and influential blog need a reminder that conservative women are just as entitled to human dignities as progressive women, it’s high time for progressives to get off our high horses real fast.

The Huffington Post, to its credit, also has a blog post today by Russell Simmons- which couldn’t be timelier- titled “Cleansing the Hatred From Within.”

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