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Quote of the Day - My definition of a redundancy is an air-bag in a politician's car. - Larry Hagman
Imagine American Beauty With A Canvas Bag
It all started in San Francisco.
No more bags in trees. Yep, you heard it here first.
I'm not kidding. That's the argument used to justify a proposed $0.17 per grocery bag tax.
Try to imagine those two sentences next to each other.
"No bags in trees." "A $0.17 grocery bag tax."
Go ahead, read them again. Now certainly, discarded plastic bags blow around the City. And San Francisco has a lot of trees. Makes perfect sense to me.
Next thing you know, we've got plastic bags in trees. What happened to paper bags? To be fair, SF has also proposed to subject paper bags to the tax.
What next? Think canvas.
Just Pinch Your Nose
The USEPA has agreed to provide factory farms immunity from Clean Air Act civil fines and penalties in exchange for the farms' agreement to submit air quality data and pay a one-time fine. The AP quotes a USEPA representative who said, "This is not a 'pay up and get out of jail free' pass," said Thomas V. Skinner, USEPA's acting chief of enforcement.
The USEPA believes that it would take in excess of 10 years to get full compliance from the farms, and apparently elected to shortcut that process with this agreement. Now, the government believes the deal could result in the first federal emissions standards for the nation's animal processing farms within about four years.
No word yet from the Sierra Club or other environmental organizations. MIPTC wonders whether this exemption will turn into a big stink.
Go Away, Corporate America. Leave Us To Our Own Revolution.
Or, When Can We Expect You To
Last week, Disneyland's new President Matt Ouimet spoke to an organization I belong to. Not surprisingly, he spoke about leadership.
Join Wake Up?
After his speech, I asked him if Disney would consider blogging (fan site, not Disney), partly because Ernie was wondering whether corporate America would adopt this medium of communication. I'm pleased to report that I believe we can expect a Disney corporate blog soon.
Ernie reports that he woke up and discovered Detroit actually is blogging. The company is going to have to work a bit harder at it, though. I couldn't find a link to the GM blog on GM's home page.
It's a question that's been around for some time, and Ernie's right: whether corporate America adopts blogging is not the measuring stick of blog power. It's you, the reader, listener and now watcher of blogs.
It's been a long time since we had a grass-roots revolution. Let's give this one time to develop.
Is Your Right To Access About To Be Hoovered?
Don't look now, but your ability to get documents from the federal government may be eroding away.
The problem with this case is not only that the government is trying to limit access, but the very department that is charged with protecting your and my rights is the department seeking the limitation.
On behalf of the FBI.
Presumably already secretive, access to government may get Hoovered.
This limitation is just plain wrong. Here's the DOJ's report of the Utah District Court decision. Apparently, the case is now pending in Washington, D.C.
To learn more about the underlying lawsuit, click on the Google search in the last link.
MIPTC Offers Up A Serving Of Wine Reviews To Go With Movie Reviews
In addition to Fridays at the movies, MIPTC will also offer Grape Radio, a podcast of wine reviews and related information from some friends of mine.
Click on the podcast link below to listen to Jay, Leigh and Brian impart their thoughts on wine. Here's today's installment:
"GrapeRadio #2: If you are under the impression that the only place you can drink wine is at home or at a restaurant, your in for a big surprise! There are many choices. Come join our hosts and hear about their experiences in tasting rooms, wineries, and even at your local retailer."
For their first ever podcast, go visit the boys.
Friday At The Movies: Reel Reviews Looks At "Chopper"
Reel Review #22: “I never killed anyone that didn’t deserve it.” This 2000 Australian film put Eric Bana on the map. Australia has been putting out some great films recently and Chopper is one that is at the top of the list. It is the story of Australia’s most famous criminal as well as one of its best selling authors: Mark Brandon “Chopper” Read. Eric Bana is electrifying on the screen as Chopper. As Chopper always said, “never let the truth get in the way of a good yarn.” Check it out.
Small Wineries And The High Court
Even though I now call Iowa home, I still check in on the happenings of the wine business every morning before heading to class. The news of the day often works its way into conversations with my classmates and professors.
Often my colleagues react with surprise when I share the morning’s headlines, which frequently sound more like something out of “Falcon Crest” rather than “I Love Lucy.” Inevitably, there are stories of mergers, bankruptcies and family in-fighting.
One of my classmates was absolutely shocked when after asking me for a wine recommendation for Valentine’s Day, I told him that it was actually a felony for a winery in California to send bottle of bubbly to his girlfriend in Florida. I have the feeling it is going to be chocolates for her this year, but next year depending on what the Supreme Court decides, it could be another story.
Not that it matters on a student budget, but thankfully I live in a reciprocal state and have the opportunity to have my favorite Napa Cab delivered to my doorstep. Unfortunately, the same can’t be said about my favorite New York Riesling.
Whether we agree or not with the current system that allows each state to set its own rules to distribute alcohol, there is no question that small wineries are missing out on the opportunity to reach their customers across the country.
The SODDI Defense Goes Corporate With Shrug And Point
Friends of mine who are criminal lawyers shorthand their clients' defenses. One of those shorthand references is SODDI: "Some Other Dude Did It," or slang as noted by Black's Law Dictionary.
It appears the defense has now gone
corporate, or perhaps a variant of it called "shrug and point." The so-called "Dumb CEO Defense" is just that - a shrug of the shoulders, coupled with a point of the finger.
You know. SODDI.
It worked for former Cendant CEO Walter Forbes. After a six-month trial and two months of deliberations in the largest securities case ever, a Hartford, CT jury deadlocked on the 16 counts against Forbes earlier this month.
It didn't work for his second-in-command, vice chairman E. Kirk Shelton, who was convicted.
Over what? According to the Law.com article, "Cendant's stock plummeted on April 15, 1998, from $41 to $7.50, wiping out $14 billion in shareholder value in a day. In what was the largest accounting scandal at the time, the company later restated $571 million in income." Cendant paid $2.83 billion to settle the shareholders' class action, and its accountants, Ernst & Young, paid $341 million to make the largest securities settlement.
Now that the dust has settled, Forbes is staring at the possibility of a retrial and his assistant, Shelton, turning "state's evidence" to lessen the penalties for the conviction.
Stay tuned for the sequel.
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