Latest News

Weekend Wellness: Being Present

InteroMojo - Sat, 12/20/2014 - 8:00am

During this Holiday Season, we often think of presents. Buying presents, giving presents, wrapping presents, mailing presents and of course receiving presents! It’s fun to give, to watch someone you love open something they enjoy causing them to smile.

What about the other present…BEING present? We get into such a rush this time of year that rarely are we in the moment. Rarely do we pause, listen, slow down and embrace what we are feeling, what we are seeing, what we are listening to.

How often these past few days have you taken a pause to hug someone you love…really hug them? Did you rush in the door, say hello to your family so you could get on the computer to order that deal which only had 2 hours left remaining on the web? Did you get on the road, driving frantically to your favorite store to buy gifts before it closed; ignoring the rainbow, the decorated houses, and the scent of the air after the rain?

When you went to that holiday party this past weekend, were you present? Did you notice everyone around you? Did you engage in conversation true to the moment? Did you get the opportunity to go “inside” and reflect on the memories of the party after you left?

Trust me, I know how easy it is to have lists, to run from commitment to commitment only to find myself with 10 more things to do at 10 pm. It’s a habit to set priorities for the future, yet while doing that, we can often forget to sit quietly and BE.

I am suggesting to take a pause this upcoming week. Notice your family and friends, really notice. Tuck your phone away and out of sight for the night and meet new people, laugh and enjoy new and old friend. Listen to the sounds both internally and externally. Smile at the little things and while wrapping your presents, wrap your heart and mind around being present.

Categories: Latest News

One Major Positive, But Still Many Negatives, for Asbestos Defendants in 2014

WLF Legal Pulse - Fri, 12/19/2014 - 4:50pm
When assessing liability risk, businesses, insurers, and others impacted by America’s free-wheeling civil justice system often ask, “What’s the next asbestos?” Regrettably for defendants still wrapped up in what the Supreme Court once called “the elephantine mass” of asbestos litigation, asbestos is still the next asbestos. In 2014, asbestos defendants continued to struggle against the […]
Categories: Latest News

Kline, Alexander Respond to Administration’s College Ratings Proposal

Education & the Workforce Committee - Fri, 12/19/2014 - 12:30pm

House Education and the Workforce Committee Chairman John Kline (R-MN) and Senate Committee on Health, Education, Labor, & Pensions Ranking Member Lamar Alexander (R-TN) issued the following statements after the Department of Education released the framework for an unprecedented college ratings system:  

“The same administration that created the HealthCare.gov debacle, now wants to arbitrarily grade and rank our nation’s diverse system of colleges and universities,” said Chairman Kline. “After working for more than a year on this unprecedented scheme, the department clearly hasn’t begun to figure it out. We should be looking for opportunities to empower students and families with information that allows them to make informed decisions. This should be done through commonsense reforms of the law, and there is already strong bipartisan support for such an effort. This so-called college ratings system is a fool’s errand and the secretary needs to stop it immediately.” 

Alexander said: “Trying to create yet another complicated, federal system—this time for grading our country's 6,000 colleges and universities—is every bit as impossible and unnecessary as it sounds and is sure to fall flat on its face. Making sure students have access to the information they need to pick the right school is important and something we will discuss during the next reauthorization of the Higher Education Act, but I can’t support letting Washington bureaucrats use taxpayer dollars to fund a higher education popularity contest.”

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Supreme Court Observations: “Dart Cherokee” Eliminates the Presumption against Removal of Class Actions

WLF Legal Pulse - Fri, 12/19/2014 - 9:49am
*Joining WLF’s Richard Samp as a guest commentator on this post is M.C. Sungaila, a partner with Snell & Wilmer LLP. Ms. Sungaila acted as counsel to the International Association of Defense Counsel and the Federation of Defense and Corporate Counsel, both of which joined WLF in its amicus brief in Dart Cherokee. The Supreme […]
Categories: Latest News

EPA proposes revisions to the Ozone NAAQS

Office of Advocacy - Fri, 12/19/2014 - 8:37am

On December 17, 2014, EPA issues proposed revisions to the national ambient air quality standards (NAAQS) for Ozone.  This widely anticipated rule proposes to lower the primary standard to a level within the range of 65 to 70 parts per billion.  Because the NAAQS impose requirements only on states, EPA has certified that the rule will not have a significant economic impact on small entities.

Categories: Latest News, SBA Advocate

EPA proposes air emission standards for Brick Production

Office of Advocacy - Fri, 12/19/2014 - 8:36am

On December 18, 2014, EPA issued proposed regulations that would establish national emission standards for hazardous air pollutants (NESHAP) for brick and structural clay products manufacturing. This rule would set emission standards for a wide variety of pollutants, including particulate matter, mercury, and acid gases.  A majority of the firms in brick production are small businesses, and EPA projects that this rule may force some out of business.

Categories: Latest News, SBA Advocate

Cool Apps: NORAD Tracks Santa

InteroMojo - Fri, 12/19/2014 - 8:00am

On December 24th, while we’re all snug in our beds dreaming of dancing sugar plums, one man embarks on the longest work day of his year. Santa Claus makes his rounds from continent to continent, country to country, dropping off presents to all those who have been nice throughout the year (okay, maybe those who have been naughty too). Guided by his 8 tiny reindeer, somehow, he manages to do this all in one night. In total, Santa will visit over 100 million households just in the US on the eve of Christmas morning. Now think about that multiplied by the whole world. Pretty amazing.

Well, you can track Santa’s trip with the NORAD tracks Santa App. Watch the days countdown to Santa’s flight, follow Santa’s progress and play games to help Santa’s elves deliver presents. Visit the NORAD website to see daily updates straight from the North Pole. Check out the holiday village to play the day’s game in the arcade or find out more about Santa and how he’s able to get so much done in such a short time in the Library. You can even visit the exclusive theater to watch movies and listen to music straight from the North Pole music station to get you in the holiday spirit.

So jump in on the fun and bring out the Christmas kid in everyone.

Categories: Latest News

ICYMI: Pension Reform Benefits Businesses, Workers and Retirees

Education & the Workforce Committee - Fri, 12/19/2014 - 12:00am

There are nearly 11 million workers and retirees across America, including more than 165,000 Minnesotans, who rely on the little known but economically vital multiemployer pension system. Nationwide, this system has an economic impact of approximately $38 billion — with more than $375 million in benefits being paid to Minnesota retirees each year.

Today, many multiemployer pension plans find themselves in jeopardy, including some right here in our state.

Make no mistake: Some of these pension plans are on the brink of insolvency. While most plans are well-funded, including those here in Minnesota, some of the nation’s largest plans are in trouble. If they fail, the fallout will overwhelm the federal backstop, which recently announced that it is facing a $42 billion funding deficit.

If no action is taken, the plans themselves — as well as the government safety net — likely will disappear. That would mean deep, automatic cuts to pensioners and the real risk of businesses needing to close their doors forever.

U.S. Rep. John Kline, R-Minn., chairman of the congressional committee that oversees pensions, has called this issue a “ticking time bomb” that jeopardizes a long-standing promise to so many retirees. Just last week, Kline, along with the committee’s ranking member, Rep. George Miller, D-Calif., crafted a bipartisan proposal to address this issue.

The proposal has support from both labor and business groups; both the House of Representatives and the Senate recently passed the pension reform legislation. Thankfully, our leaders have acted to address an issue before it became an unmanageable crisis.

As heads of a company with headquarters in Minnesota and of an international labor union, we don’t always see eye to eye on issues, but on this critical matter, we do.                                                                      

These plans give employees the ability to accrue benefits in industries where frequent job changes are common — such as retail, construction, entertainment or, in our case, the food services industry. Companies contribute to these pension funds on behalf of their employees. These pension plans have existed for decades and, historically, they have been stable pension vehicles for countless families. Today, millions depend on their hard-earned retirement benefits, and employers depend on them to stay competitive and to stay in business.

Like other multiemployer participants, we have taken many steps on our own to ensure that our business, employees and retirees can continue to rely on their plans for both business stability and retirement security. With this action, Congress is providing the critical tools so the plans themselves can take the steps needed to survive in the long term. Congress’s bipartisan action provides the opportunity to keep the majority of multiemployer plans healthier longer — and helps prevent the devastating, automatic cuts that would have come if nothing had been done.

We applaud the efforts on this critical issue. 

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FTC Commissioner Looks Back, and Ahead, on Patent Litigation Reform Efforts

WLF Legal Pulse - Thu, 12/18/2014 - 2:40pm
Commissioner Julie Brill of the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) offered some interesting year-end thoughts on abusive litigation by patent-assertion entities (“PAE”, or to some, “patent trolls”) in a speech last week. Most notable in Commissioner Brill’s comments was her call for legislative change even as FTC and the federal courts are addressing some of the […]
Categories: Latest News

Advocacy Releases Annual Small Business Lending Report

Office of Advocacy - Tue, 12/16/2014 - 9:21am

Both number and value of small business loans increase for the first time in five years.

Categories: Latest News, SBA Advocate

Monday Morning Mojo: Make it to 100

InteroMojo - Mon, 12/15/2014 - 6:30am

So, here is the question… If people won’t make small changes to save their life, how in the world will people make small changes to make more money, have better relationships, have a better business, or have a better life? That is the bazillion dollar question and if someone can figure out the answer you will make Mark Zuckerberg look like a chump. Here’s a thought…Maybe in order to start making more money, having better relationships, having a better business and having a better life we need to start by making the most important thing we all have better…our health.

If I told you that I could give you some tips on things you can do to live longer, maybe even live to be 100, would you do it? Would you make the changes? I hope the answer all of us would say is YES!!!!!! Well, here’s your chance. Go to www.livingto100.com and do the LivingTo100 Calculator. At the end, the “test” will tell you, based on your answers to the questions, how long you can expect to live. It will also give you some tips on things you can do to live longer.

Here’s my prediction: If you take the test and if you make the necessary changes to live to 100, you will not only live longer, but because you will feel better and will be more fired up about the fact that you are doing all the right things to give yourself a shot at making it to 100, you will make more money, have better relationships, have a better business, and just plain and simply have a better life.

Let’s start by making some changes in the most important area of our life and it will help us make some changes in the other areas of our life as well.

Here’s to making it to 100++++

Categories: Latest News

Weekend Wellness: Planning For A Storm

InteroMojo - Sat, 12/13/2014 - 8:00am

When we know a big storm is on the horizon or we plan on taking a trip “in” to a storm, we prepare for it. If our tires are bald, we consider new tires. We look at our windshield wipers, get new ones if needed, and we keep a blanket in the car.

For our homes we check any leaks which might need attending, we clean the gutters and stock up on candles.

If we know we are going to be out and about we bring our hats, gloves and umbrellas. We prepare for the storm as best we can.

What about when we wake up, expecting a sunny “emotional” day and an emotional storm hits us out of the blue. Are you prepared? Do you know how to calm yourself down to handle the chaos? Do you know how to move into “safety” mode and protect your family (i.e. how not to yell, have a breakdown, be grumpy, etc.)?

How about when you over indulge in food and even alcohol? Do you know how to ground yourself and be healthy again? Do you quickly drink more water and choose low salt, low sugar foods on quick reflex to reset your body; or do you go for the greasiest burrito you can find to keep the dark clouds brewing in your body?

We value the safety of our cars and homes in stormy fronts; do you think we should also create a plan of how to react and protect our health in times of internal winter weather?

I think it’s time for a health preparedness plan!

Categories: Latest News

A Key Ruling for Food Labeling Class Action Defendants Issued on “Reasonable Consumer” Standard

WLF Legal Pulse - Fri, 12/12/2014 - 10:30am
Guest Commentary by James D. Smith, Bryan Cave LLP In what seems likely to become a defining case on appeal, Northern District of California Judge Lucy Koh granted summary judgment this week in a long-running food labeling class action. The plaintiff in Brazil v. Dole Packaged Foods, LLC, No. 12-CV-01831-LHK (N.D. Cal.), alleges that 10 […]
Categories: Latest News

Cool Apps: Ship Smarter with Slice

InteroMojo - Fri, 12/12/2014 - 8:05am

I’m sure by now, you’re feeling good about your holiday shopping. Items are are starting to pile up in a corner of your house. Your Cyber Monday purchases slowly trickling in. Can you even remember what you ordered or where it’s from? Not to mention which shipping carrier to expect it from? Well, today’s app is going to help with all of that because going through your thousands of emails to find the tracking information to make sure grandma received the gift basket you sent can be a challenge and time consuming.

Slice works seamlessly with your email inbox to find and store the e-receipts from the stuff you buy storing all of the information in one simple app. It will track your packages from shipment to delivery sending you automatic alerts on the status of your purchases.

To make life even easier, the app doesn’t stop there. For retailers that honor price adjustments, Slice will send you push notifications when the price drops for one of your purchases so you can recoup the difference! It will also alert you if one of your products has a recall associated with it.

To take advantage of Slice, all you have to do is sign up and link your account to your Google, Yahoo, Hotmail or other email system. Slice will automatically find your receipts and track your packages. It really is just that easy. It takes less than 2 minutes! To check on your purchases, just go to the app and click on the item you want to view or set up automatic notifications so the app tells you when there’s an update with your order. What a great way to keep organized this holiday season and throughout the year. You’ll wonder how you managed without it!

Watch how it works in the below video.

Click here to play video

Categories: Latest News

Committee Leaders Respond To NLRB Ambush Election Rule

Education & the Workforce Committee - Fri, 12/12/2014 - 12:00am
 House Education and the Workforce Committee Chairman John Kline (R-MN) and Health, Employment, Labor, and Pensions Subcommittee Chair Phil Roe (R-TN) issued the following joint statement after the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) implemented a new rule speeding up the union election process: 

After more than three years of public outcry, the Obama board is still determined to impose an ambush election scheme on our nation’s workplaces. This administrative overreach will stifle employers’ free speech, cripple workers’ free choice, and jeopardize the privacy of workers and their families. It will completely upend an election process that has worked well for decades, one that is fair and designed to foster agreement.

The American people want policies that will set us on the path to a stronger economy, more jobs, and higher wages for working families. This misguided ambush election rule will pull our country in the opposite direction. Congress cannot stand by and let that happen. The committee has been leading the fight against the president’s radical labor board, and rest assured, we will continue to do so.

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Update: Federal Liability Immunity Thankfully Conferred for Some Ebola Vaccines

WLF Legal Pulse - Thu, 12/11/2014 - 3:03pm
Per Washington Legal Foundation’s suggestion earlier this fall, the Secretary of the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) issued a formal declaration this week that those who manufacture, distribute, and administer certain yet-to-be-approved vaccines for the Ebola virus qualify for federal liability protection under the federal Public Readiness and Emergency Preparedness Act (PREP Act). […]
Categories: Latest News

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