Monthly Archives: March 2014

Shades of GM: Toyota to Pay $1.2 Billion in Fines

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The Justice Department announced a record $1.2 billion in criminal fines against Toyota for knowingly misleading and concealing information about safety defects in its vehicles. The case is being watched closely by GM whose head may be on the chopping block next. Read more…

A Costly Omission during 2009 GM Reorganization

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In 2009, GM was spared from having to shut down with an influx of billions of dollars in taxpayer funds. Chapter 11 reorganization effectively created two entities: General Motors Company and Liquidations Motor Company. General Motors Company got the assets and was excused from further bankruptcy proceedings. Motors Liquidation Company got the debt. GM executives failed to mention at the time their knowledge of the faulty ignition switch and the implications for future liability and costly litigation. Was it all an innocent oversight? Read more…

GM: Full Speed Ahead on Public Relations

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The safety scandal plaguing GM widened considerably yesterday when the company announced that it was recalling an additional 1.55 million vehicles due to wide-ranging problems unrelated to the faulty ignition switch prompting two earlier recalls. Meanwhile, the NHTSA–tasked with the responsibility of “saving lives, preventing injuries and reducing motor vehicle crashes”–maintains it simply did not have sufficient evidence to do anything substantive before now about GM’s safety issues. This notwithstanding that the Administration had received 260 complaints about the faulty ignition switch over the last decade. Read more…

Man with Facial Deformities Has New Face “Printed”

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The technology of 3D printing has existed for more than 30 years, but its potential for biomedical application has only recently gained widespread attention. Among other possibilities, 3D printing may someday be used to create entirely new organs or prosthetic arms and legs. Recently, it was used to reconstruct the face of a motorcyclist in the U.K. who had sustained extensive injuries in a crash. Read more…

GM: Failings of an Ignition Switch…and Corporate Responsibility

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Evidence is mounting that GM has known about the gravity of problems associated with the ignition switches on several of the models recalled just last month. At least a dozen deaths have been attributed to the faulty ignition switches. One independent consumer group claims that the switches are linked to over 300 fatalities. Exactly what did GM know, and when? Read more…

The Light of Transparency

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In recent blogs, I have talked about the University of Missouri’s lack of integrity in responding to the apartment walkway collapse that killed Columbia firefighter Bruce Britt. I have also talked about the growing controversy over the EPA’s questionable handling of the West Lake Landfill in Bridgeton. The public deserves a full and transparent accounting by both entities aimed at resolving the many unsettling questions and concerns that remain. Read more…

Occupational Lung Disease

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It might surprise you that Occupational Lung Disease affects workers in industries beyond mining, factory workers and firefighters. Bartenders and bakers also suffer disproportionately high rates of lung disease due to occupation-related exposure. Are you at risk? Read more…

Venlafaxine (Effexor) Discontinuation Hazardous to Driving

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Venlafaxine (Effexor), an antidepressant often prescribed for generalized and social anxiety disorder, has been found to cause severe discontinuation or withdrawal symptoms. These symptoms may be abrupt in onset, manifesting within hours of missing or reducing a single dose. Patients taking this medication should be advised to not drive if they are discontinuing use or have inadvertently skipped a dose. Read more…

Remembering Dr. Frank Jobe

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Dr. Frank Jobe, best-remembered for the revolutionary surgery he performed on Tommy John, saving his–and countless other pitchers’–career(s) has died. Jobe was an early pioneer in the field of sports medicine and literally transformed modern baseball’s legacy. Read more…

Wrong Answers Continue in the Wake of Walkway Collapse

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The independent engineering firm hired by the University of Missouri in the wake of the February 22nd walkway collapse that killed fireman Bruce Brit has concluded that the collapse was likely caused by expansion-freeze action. Christian Basi, University spokesman, went on record saying that the engineering firm said that had they been out there a week earlier, they would not have been able to predict this happening. That statement–if it was taken in context–may be very difficult to reconcile amid other findings, not the least of which is several other walkways in the complex also were found to be in imminent danger of collapse. Read more…

Hot Spots Spark Congressional Appeal for a Takeover of West Lake

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Amid growing concerns regarding the potentially hazardous state at the West Lake Landfill in Bridgeton, Missouri’s congressional delegation has asked the EPA to allow the Army Corps of Engineers to take over cleanup efforts.This followed revelations by KSDK Channel 5 that several new hot spots had been found in the West Lake Landfill beyond where the radioactive waste was believed to be. Read more…

Is The University of Missouri Being Honest?

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More than a week after Chancellor Loftin issued a statement saying that the safety of students was a top priority, University of Missouri officials have revealed that only academic buildings undergo routine safety inspections, not the residential facilities. Instead, the University relies on complaints from students and workers to stay atop residential building and maintenance issues. Tomorrow, inspection reports will be released to the public, but after more than a week of the University’s constant smoke-and-mirror responses, can we really believe the information contained in them? Read more…