Saturday, March 29, 2008

Another Big Win for Wal-Mart

[Story also posted at the Springfield Intruder.]

Sorry, Wal-Mart, but this time you're the bad guy.

Doing business and conquering the retail world is one thing. Bankrupting a family already on the ropes - both financially and emotionally - just to prove a legal point is something else entirely.

A CNN story reports that Wal-Mart sued a couple for health benefits it paid out after former employee Debbie Shank was awarded money in her own lawsuit against a trucking company deemed responsible for disabling 52-year-old wife and mother.

Shank suffered debilitating injuries which left her wheelchair-bound, in a nursing home and with a persistent case of short-term memory loss that drives her to re-live the shock of hearing about her son's death in Iraq every time somebody brings it up. She was awarded $1 million in her lawsuit, but after legal fees and (continuing) medical expenses, she is currently down to $277,000.

Wal-Mart sued on one of those "fine print" matters that seem to screw so many people: In accordance with the company's Health Plan (see fine print) the company can recoup benefits paid out if the recipient receives money in a lawsuit. The retail giant sought $470,000 in benefit money it paid out the Shanks. All sentiment aside, Wal-Mart won their case - although the court ruled the company could only recover the amount remaining in the trust fund. The Shanks appealed several times, but lost each one. The Supreme Court refused to hear their case.

Make no mistake about it: Wal-Mart is perfectly within its legal rights to get its money back from the Shanks. And it intends to get it.

Last year Wal-Mart posted $90 million in net sales. Meanwhile, Jim Shank divorced his wife so she could collect more Medicaid.

Go get 'em, Wal-Mart.

* *

Labels: , , , ,

Thursday, March 27, 2008

More Internet Journalism Opinion

The latest episode of Cranky Geeks - the videocast of PC Magazine tech writer John Dvorak - brings up the topic of failing newspapers and how they continue to just "not get it" - firing writers that provide content and so further degrading their product.

The issue is brought up at about just after the half-way mark on the below-linked video. (The first parts may bore you if you're not a tech brat.)

Cranky Geeks - Episode 109

* *

Labels: , , ,

Wednesday, March 26, 2008

Dwarf Seeks Justice for Being Feared

Can't blame someone for being frightened of you, can you?

Apparently you can, according to Ethan Wade, a dwarf who ventured into a McDonald's to get some grub and struck fear into the heart of a counter clerk. Another employee explained to Wade that the frightened server had a fear of little people. Said Wade in the FoxNews article: "The [frightened] employee had stated to her, 'Imagine if you saw a snake or a spider, how would you respond?' And that employee said she understood that. And I said, 'That's unbelievable. I am a human being.'"

"You can't have a phobia of a person," said Wade in the story. "I'm a human being. You can't have that type of phobia."

Oh really, Wade? How about if you were a gay little person?

* *

Labels: , ,

Thursday, March 06, 2008

"Us" and "Them"

Driving out to Holland, MA, last weekend, I was struck (figuratively speaking) by the sight of a cemetery along Route 20 that had a large landscaped shrubbery inscription reading, "Pray For Us" along its front. I thought it was a creepy sentiment, as it gave one the sense that the dead had put forward the request - despite the certain knowledge that a living grounds crew had crafted the message. It made me think of "the other side", where none return from, and how I've always thought it a little unsettling that I sometimes think of life and death as an "us" and "them" kind of thing.

Death is the final act in the story of all our lives. Most of us try to avoid our fate for as long as possible, but in the end we know that, eventually, we are going to lose the fight and become like "them".


~ ~

Labels: , ,

Wednesday, March 05, 2008

Kinks and Tweaks

Well, the new version of the Springfield Intruder is up and running - with some occasional sputtering, of course. I'm having a little trouble with the various rss feeds going into the Front Page - two offering blog feeds, plus the google feeds. I suspect the problems I've encountered are from the blog feeds, and I'm working to get the bugs fixed on that.

It's like a never-ending ordeal, sometimes, getting things straight. Oh well!

Some minor tweaks to the site will also be performed in the coming days and weeks. And I still need to update and check the links on the "Missing Persons" section of the site, so for now, it's not linked on the site.

That's all for now.