With apologies to my friends in the legal profession, I am writing today about a recent absurd jury verdict, which points toward, in my opinion, the long-overdue need for serious tort reform. I know you guys don't like "non-legal" minds infringing on your province, but the folks just gotta hear this one.
Tort reform, by the way, refers to proposed modifications to the civil justice system aiming to limit the ability of victims to file lawsuits or to reduce the damages that can be received.
In 2014, a truck driver for Werner Enterprises, one of the largest trucking companies in the world, happened to be traveling west across Interstate 20 near Odessa, a city in far western Texas. The weather conditions were poor, including freezing rain, so the driver was safely biding his time, far below the posted speed limit. Truckers travel in bad weather regularly in order to make delivery appointments on-time.
Tragically, a pickup truck driven by Zaragoza Salinas, a friend of the owner of the pickup, Jennifer Blake, traveling east, lost control of the vehicle when it hit black ice. The pickup traveled wildly across a grassy median and slammed into the path of the oncoming Werner truck. Ms. Blake and her daughter suffered serious brain injuries, one son died, and another was injured.
Ms. Blake's attorney, Eric Penn, is quoted as saying "the facts of the crash sequence are not materially in dispute." In other words, the pickup lost control, went across the median, and hit a tractor-trailer who was not doing anything wrong.
About now, you are wondering, "why have I read this far?" Stay with me.
Other than the ridiculous verdict, which I will get to shortly, my first inclination that something was amiss, was the place of the trial - Houston TX. I'm not sure where the truck-driver is from, but Werner is based in Omaha NE. The crash happened near Odessa TX, yet the trial was held in Houston, on the other side of the state...and heavily liberal. This is where those in the legal profession will pounce on me for being ignorant of the law, but I am just deferring to common sense.
Although not said, it appears Ms. Blake resides somewhere near Houston as her lawyer is based in Jacksonville TX. Anybody that knows anything about jury trials knows that the accused doesn't stand a chance in the Houston area - just get ready to fork over a large chunk of cash.
And that is exactly what is now expected of Werner. Because their employee just happened to be driving down the interstate at the time Mr. Salinas was veering across lanes, Werner this past week has been slapped with a verdict of $89.7 million. That is 8-9-7 and five zero's folks...for doing nothing wrong. In my non-legal mind, how would that accident been any different had Mr. Salinas lost control in Omaha NE and crashed into Werner's headquarters, suffering the same results? In either case, what did Werner do wrong? How can one possibly protect themselves from this type situation?
What Werner did wrong, evidently, is have the audacity to have become a large and successful business enterprise, with insurance coverage and deep pockets. And in the mind of most liberals, being a successful business is evil and needs to be "brought down a peg." And the lawyer, he'll probably get about 33% of that verdict, or about $30 million, if he can defeat Werner's appeal.
I'm not trying to be insensitive to the plight of the Blake family. What that family suffered is absolutely horrible and I feel for them. Perhaps it is her insurance company that should step up to the plate to cover the costs she incurred. But they should pay the costs, and the costs only. Should it be the job of twelve jury members to then decide on a absurd amount of money to fork over?
There is nothing right about this verdict, and it has become all too commonplace. These types of outlandish awards drive up insurance and medical costs, which are then passed on to we, the consumer. This award did not have any punitive damages - in other words, the jury did not believe Werner did anything wrong either, but still awarded the plaintiffs a unreasonable amount of money.
Attorney Penn puffed his chest and declared afterwards that Werner should have known to pull off the highway due to the inclement weather. Strangely enough, he didn't mention why Salinas and Blake had not pulled over.
And get this, Texas is a tort reform state!
In the May 14th edition of the Journal, Cole Lauterbach reported on Vote16USA, an organization lobbying to lower the voting age to sixteen for state and/or local elections. The following day, the Journal came out with an editorial stating the concept had merit. Something didn’t set well with me about this.
Both articles quoted Brandon Klugman, who is a campaign coordinator with the National Chapter of Vote16. If you have been reading my columns, you would be aware my dad said I was always a suspicious “fella” so I did a little digging on Mr. Klugman, as well as Vote16, which is a “project” to an organization by the name of Generation Citizen.
Mr. Klugman stated in an interview that Bernie Sanders is the person he would most like to have dinner with because he “energizes” him. As you can imagine, my suspicion-radar went from zero to past two hundred faster than my bathroom scale.
Wading through the comments quoted by Mr. Klugman, you will also arrive at this doozy of a reply to Mr. Lauterbach: “If they’re (16-year-old’s) already working and paying taxes, shouldn’t they have a say in that (voting) process?” After considering this reply, my reaction is an emphatic “NO!”
Any businessman in this country will tell you there is a severe shortage of reliable young people available for work today. If they’re working, it’s mostly part-time (or cash) and the taxes are minimal, at best, making Klugman’s primary justification insignificant. Additionally, most of the tax money they pay is refunded.
Generation Citizen claims their mission is getting children more involved in civics, something only lightly touched upon in school. It would seem a noble project if there also didn’t seem to be a dark side to their efforts. If you read the bios of their Board of Directors you will find a collection of left-leaning intellectuals, foreigners, and government employees, some of which worked in the Obama Whitehouse. This has the stench of Obama.
Follow the websites further and you would be amazed at just how well organized and layered this group has become. One has to ask, why would they be so structured in pursuit of just allowing youngsters to vote two years earlier? Why is this idea so important? It has the feeling of nothing more than another left-wing, socialist mind-grab much like ACORN, Move-On.Org. or even the Hitler Youth. The Democratic party, who keeps hurtling further to the left, and is constantly in search of new voters, is now trying to indoctrinate children who are not old enough to fully understand the complex issues facing the nation and world today.
What’s next – illegal immigrants voting? Oops Chicago mayor Emanuel beat you to that.
I’m not trying to tarnish our youth. I was a 16-year-old too many moons ago. Heck, I wish I was sixteen again. Well, check that, make it nineteen…sixteen was pretty confusing. Suffice to say, at that age, there were a few other priorities in my life that were a little higher on the totem pole than worrying about which candidate was to receive my vote.
What young mind wouldn’t quickly adhere to an “all-that-is-free” Leftist ideology? How would this be any different than welfare, in which literally multiple generations of people living on welfare continue to vote Democrat?
We have laws prohibiting sixteen-year-olds from about everything considered adult - alcohol, marriage, tobacco, military service, firearms, etc. We have those laws as nobody believes an impressionable youngster of sixteen is mature enough to understand or handle the results of such actions. Science states emphatically that the minds of human beings are not fully developed until about the age of 25. So, in light of all that of which is in place to protect youngsters from adult responsibilities, why would we consider allowing sixteen-year-olds to vote?
Can’t we just leave youngsters alone and allow them to enjoy their youth? There will be no shortage of political shenanigans in their lifetimes for them to worry about. They have the rest of their lives to be adults with all the responsibility that comes being older. Most are not going to take the time to truly know why or who to vote for but will instead take their direction either from home or from “leaders” like Mr. Klugman, who gets “energized” by the socialist Sanders.
If we are going to change the voting age, it should be RAISED to twenty-five, except for those that have served our country. And an I.D. should be required too!
It is now being reported that Trump is methodically eliminating Obama's presidential legacy. Emotions run high on both sides of the political aisle, ranging from fits of sobbing to fist pumping triumphs.
My thoughts on this issue aren't so emotional. I keep wondering, what legacy?
My interpretation of the word "legacy" is of a positive nature, such as a gift. Sorry folks, but I don't recall receiving anything remotely like a gift from our former President. In fact, much like past presidents like Carter, Nixon, Harding, Grant, etc., the gift came only after the man left office and seemingly could do no further damage, although it does seem Obama is shamefully still getting some jabs in.
Let's take a stroll down the pot-holed Memory Lane that is the residue of Obama's so-called “legacy”:
Much of what Obama did was without the backing of Congress or the American public. He had a problem being told no, so he went around all those pesky archaic laws and meddlesome people. He used his authority of Executive Orders, which can legally be reversed by the next president, which Trump is now doing.
Obamacare – Who can forget Obama's mantra, "If you like your healthcare plan, you can keep it"? Another failed socialist concept (power grab) jammed down the throats of the citizenry for the benefit of just 15% of uninsured individuals. The Affordable Care Act has been a muddled mess costing nearly everyone more money. ACA was so good that Congress, who didn't read the damn thing, exempted themselves from it after they passed it.
The World Apology Tour – Re-imagine, if you will, the image of an American president bowing to King Abdullah of Saudi Arabia, or apologizing for America's "arrogance" in France, of all places? Unmindful of history, and in disrespect of all the people who fought and died for this country, it is estimated Obama apologized to three billion people worldwide for American “transgressions!” Huh!? While this was going on, ISIS was gobbling up Iraq, publicly removing noggins from bodies, and perpetrating terrorism around the globe.
Racial Division – This was ignited further when Obama's Attorney General Eric Holder dropped voter intimidation claims against the New Black Panthers during the 2008 election. Two thugs in fatigues stood outside a voting area in Philadelphia, one with a billy club, lobbing racial insults at white voters, some of which fled. Abetted and trumpeted by a fawning media, soon, every slight or perceived slight by policemen against non-whites was magnified for maximum effect, causing social discord, riots, and loss of life. That friction is still festering today, particularly on our southern border.
Operation Fast & Furious – The secretive and failed attempt to locate drug cartels by allowing the smuggling of guns, bought in Arizona, to enter Mexico. This resulted in the death of Border Agent Brian Terry, and then the subsequent cover-up of the operation. Just who in the Obama administration came up with that hair-brained idea?
Economic stagnation – To be fair, President Obama inherited an economic mess when he entered office. He reminded us of that often. So did his adoring media flock. The fact is, the economy never reached 3% growth and earnings never increased by more than 2% during the Great Obama Socialist Experiment. But your insurance premiums skyrocketed.
Smash & Grab – Bet you never heard of Marty Nesbitt, Harreld Kirkpatrick, Tony Miller, Jon Samuels, or a company called Vistria. According to the new book by Peter Schweizer called “Secret Empires” these men were Obama’s basketball buddies. They were also owners in an investment firm named Vistria that had the uncanny ability and foresight to benefit by “investing” in very regulated areas (education, healthcare, financial services) …just as the Obama Administration was encroaching on those companies. For example, businesses such as the University of Phoenix and DeVry University, for-profit schools, suffered massive stock price losses as the government intervened in this “Chicago-style” practice of leaning on a company. Vistria, seemingly with inside knowledge, would have the ability to sell short and/or pick these stocks up at much lower prices.
Iran – This was to be Obama’s signature legacy. In perhaps the worst deal since Dutch settlers bought Manhattan from the Carnasie Indians – who didn’t own Manhattan at the time - the US forked over pallets full of cash in exchange for four hostages, and then agreed to hold off a nuclear apocalypse for seven years…maybe. While all this was going on, Iranian citizens and politicians gathered in the streets chanting, “Death to America.
Sorry, I ran out of the Journal’s allowable space long before I ran out of pot holes. Suffice to say, what legacy?
As a teen of the 70’s, I pounced upon rock music voraciously, probably advancing a serious hearing loss matter in the process. As I’ve not gone totally deaf yet, I continue to vigorously enjoy the music of my youth. I guess I’m just wired that way.
Having said that, I would rather get a hemorrhoidectomy than listen to even one minute of rap music. (I don’t like Country either, so don’t go there.) Rap music grates on me like fingernails on a blackboard, much as I suppose my father thought the first time he found me grooving to Grandfunk Railroad. Today, proving God has a sense of humor, my son greatly enjoys rap music.
Therefore, I have never listened to a Kanye West song in my life, and doubt I would recognize him, even if he was standing next to his alluring wife. (Can I say “his alluring wife” out loud?) My son tells me Mr. West is pretty much the king of rap music. I have seen his picture on the news a few times, usually scowling at the camera-person. (I only said “person” in case I made a politically incorrect faux pas in a prior sentence.)
Mr. West was hurled wall-to-wall into my news watching schedule recently for favorable tweets he made towards President Trump. Full disclosure, I have a Twitter account, but have no idea how to get into it, nor have I ever tweeted. So, I didn’t receive the tweets, I only heard what was said. I do, however, receive President Trump’s numerous tweets via email daily and am starting to wish I knew how to turn them off.
With Kanye’s tweets, the collective heads of the entire entertainment world, as well as the rest of the Left, seems to have exploded. Gray matter and blood hangs everywhere like moss. Bricks are falling off buildings. Mothers are taking their kids off the streets.
How dare Mr. West say anything respectful about President Trump? That is simply not acceptable to those Left of center. He must immediately atone for his sin. And of course, when you’re young, rich, and the world is your oyster, you do the logical thing…you double-down to defend yourself. Which Kanye did. It didn’t help matters any either when Roseanne chimed in.
About this time, you’re thinking, well there goes Webber again, disparaging those on the Left and trumpeting those on the Right. You watch, he is going to say something about how Kanye came to his senses or finally has seen the light. He has been saved.
I have no idea what prompted Kanye to issue those tweets, whether they were how he really felt, or if he was just seeking attention. (President Trump un-presidentially ate it up!) My guess…it was a little of both. If he ever was, or just became a Conservative, Kanye is certainly welcome with open arms as would just about anyone else. Well, except for Nancy Pelosi.
Having said that, my major news source, Fox News, seemed almost giddy about the tweets. Something inside me was uncomfortable with Fox’s fawning. It seemed as if Mr. West was being played like a volleyball by both the Right and the Left. It wasn’t so much his actual message that was being considered by anyone, but the position on the totem pole everyone thought the entertainer maintained. The Left acted as if the man had abdicated his throne. The Right acted as if he was some sort of wizard that was going to show them the answers to alchemy.
The fact is, he is neither. He is just one man with evidently entirely too much influence over the lives of other people. Jeez, folks, get a life.
I happen to like the music of Roger Waters and Bruce Springsteen, two far Left leaning loons, in my opinion. I listen to them at high decibels because of their music, not their political views. I also do not attend their concerts or buy their merchandise. That will teach them to publicly dis my president!
My understanding is Mr. West is pretty talented at what he does. So is a seal balancing a ball on his nose in a circus. Beauty is in the eye of the beholder – it explains why my wife likes me. Kanye’s surprising comments are not going to change deep-seated attitudes of mainstream black folks or adoring millennial's towards Conservatism any more than me convincing Liberals to agree with my commentaries. When it comes to politics, people vote/think more with their heart or pocketbook than they do their head.
The point is, regardless of where you stand on an issue, having entertainers on your side neither vanquishes or validates your position whatsoever.
“If you want to see chaos, you should come to my house early in the morning, when my three kids are running around. That’s chaos. This is nothing.”
The above witty quote was from the lovely Sarah Huckabee Sanders, the White House Press Secretary and daughter of former-Arkansas Governor Mike Huckabee, when questioned by a reporter if she thought the White House was in a state of confusion because of its turnover rate.
Then there is this quote from someone previously unknown (by most), “comedian” Michelle Wolf, at the recent White House Correspondents Dinner when she was castigating Vice President Mike Pence on his moral stand on abortion:
"He thinks abortion is murder which, first of all, don't knock it 'til you try it — and when you do try it, really knock it. You know, you've got to get that baby out of there."
(Side note – did anyone notice she called it a “baby” instead of a fetus?)
Also, during her tirade, the foul-mouthed Ms. Wolfe turned her sights on Sarah Sanders, who happened to be sitting two seats away from the lectern. So, there we have a comedian no one ever heard of unloading on a mother of three who superbly handles one of the toughest jobs in all of the Swamp. Which woman do you find to be the woman of higher character?
Maybe I’m a little biased here. I have met and like Mike Huckabee. I have a daughter named Sarah who happens to be the same age as Sarah Sanders, who is very ably balancing a successful career while raising two kids. (My Sarah just got promoted to Director at her business too!) They both seem to have the same countenance and although somewhat of a stretch, could possibly pass for sisters.
Ms. Sanders is a graduate of Ouachita Baptist University in Arkansas, a small private college in Arkadelphia Arkansas. She has a major in political science and a minor in mass communications. At school, she was named the Outstanding Senior Woman, as well as membership in other extra-curricular activities. She is one of only three women to hold the White House Press Secretary position.
When I saw the clips from the dinner I cringed, and then seethed, just as I imagine Mike Huckabee did. In this age of millennial-screw ups, gangs, drugs, decadence, and moral decay, Mr. and Mrs. Huckabee raised a young lady who has become an accomplished woman in an important position, juggling career with raising children, only to have some third-rate nobody trash her publicly. And half the country applauds this “roast” or thinks it was funny. Imagine if it was your daughter.
The bottom line, it was filth and Netflix should cancel Ms. Wolfe’s upcoming show.
I read where the Boston Globe newspaper reported former Secretary of State, John Kerry has been working "behind the scenes" to save former President Obama's reprehensible Iran agreement. (OK, I added the word "reprehensible" to that last sentence.) If you don't recall, that was the agreement whereby Iran promised to stop building nuclear weapons for a whole seven years if world-wide sanctions against them were lifted. Seems they were getting hungry.
Seven years? Really? And then what - Armageddon?
Iran, arguably the world's foremost sponsor of terrorism, additionally agreed to nuclear inspections so as to confirm they were complying with the agreement. Just don't look over "there."
As an added bonus - we released frozen assets from them, dating back decades, sending nearly two billion dollars in cash for "walking around money." Seriously, a plane delivered actual pallets stacked with non-US currency, on two different occasions, each time for supposed different reasons. The money was taken from a special fund, called the Judgment Fund, established by the Treasury Department. The Judgment Fund, by the way, is made up of our tax dollars, and allows the president to by-pass Congress to spend it.
The US got four hostages back, reversing a long-standing US policy of not paying ransom money for the release of hostages. With a straight face, Obama told us the two events - money, hostages - were not related either.
Since nobody outside the Obama Administration thought Iran possessing nuclear weapons at any time, was a good idea, President Trump has been openly pondering withdrawing from the accord. After all, Israel has recently released compelling evidence that Iran may be continuing to build nuclear weapons in defiance of the agreement. (Who would have seen that coming?) Given that it is only 1,215 miles from Tehran to Jerusalem, one might see where Israel has a vested interest in knowing what the Iranians are up to. Iran seems to have a history of reacting with testosterone first and brain cells second.
Evidently, Trump's possible wavering on the agreement has been eating at Mr. Kerry. Whether for vain or altruistic reasons, Kerry decided to just go around the sitting president of the United States in order to keep the agreement, the one he negotiated while Secretary of State, intact. He considers the agreement as his and Obama's "signature achievement." So, supposedly on his own, he has evidently met with foreign leaders in both France and Iran. (Any whiff of Obama here? Just asking.)
When I read this, I at first doubted the veracity, but as I was to learn, it was true. The son-of-a-gun, who was married on third base and thought he hit a triple when he married Heinz (catsup) widow Teresa, had gone around the President. He's running a shadow government. And my first thought was, "this is treason!" Within a few days, others on Face Book were saying the same thing - this is treason.
Now, Congressman Devan Nunes, the Chairman of the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence, is calling for the FBI to arrest John Kerry on treason for negotiating against President Trump.
Given the political propensity of Congress for dramatic theater, one wonders if Rep. Nunes will follow through on his threat to have Kerry arrested. He should, but then again, this entire affair is in that stratosphere that we can only watch...and pay for.
And then there is the question that if Rep. Nunes does direct the FBI to arrest Kerry, will they actually do it? You see, in this day and age, the FBI seems to only do what they want, and the people sitting atop the food chain at the FBI seem to have a disdain for anything Trump. So what happens if Nunes directs the FBI to arrest Kerry and they just say "no?"
As I later learned, Kerry is in fact in violation of the Logan Act. According to laws on the books since 1799, a private US civilian may not meet with a foreign authority in order to negotiate a deal concerning the country. He cannot usurp the president - only the president has the right to negotiate with a foreign entity. Whether he likes it or not, Mr. Kerry is merely an unemployed US citizen at this time and has no business meeting with foreign powers on his own. A conviction carries a three year prison term.
Oh, and for the record, Donald J Trump is Kerry's president at this time, and ours, not Barack Obama.