"Plasma gettin' bigger, Jesus gettin' smaller, Spill a cup o' coffee, make a million dollars."
- "American Ride" written by Joe West and Dave Pahanish, performed by Toby Keith
You may not remember the name Stella Liebeck. If you remember the 1990s, then you'll remember the jury award she won in a lawsuit against McDonald's because the scalding hot coffee spilled in her lap, causing severe burns. As you'll see in the video below, there's a lot more to this story than was actually reported in the media. (Warning: graphic photos showing Liebeck's burns from 5:12-5:19.) It's this case that's referred to in "American Ride." What it seems most people do not know is that while the jury awarded her $2.7 million in punitive damages, the judge reduced that to just $650,000! She also was awarded $160,000 in compensatory damages, to pay for her medical bills.
"Do we have to keep living this over, and over, and over again?" - Judy Allen, daughter of Stella Liebeck
While the idea of "spill a cup o' coffee, make a million dollars" is clearly inaccurate to the facts of this case, it might be far-fetched to expect replacement lyrics in future performances of "American Ride."
Here's the "Retro Report" from The New York Times.
Last weekend the marching band at Ohio State University did a tribute to Michael Jackson, including a full-formation moonwalking likeness of Jackson (starting about 4:15 into the video).
Here it is!
It's a safe bet to say most young women (even girls) have dreams of what their future wedding will be like. And it follows that many mothers look forward just as eagerly to their own daughters' weddings. For Georgia mom Becky Swales, all three of her daughters were engaged, each with their own wedding to plan. Then doctors informed Becky that the breast cancer she had been fighting for four years had advanced to the point that Becky was given merely months to live. It seemed like she wouldn't ever see all three daughters take their vows.
Daughters Jodie, Sarah, and Kaylee Swales made the decision to hold a triple wedding. The three would get married on the same day so their mom could fulfill her dream. Originally choosing October 26, they had less than a month to plan the details. Then, they learned their mom didn't even have that much time left. The daughters pushed up their ceremony to last Sunday, with their dad Otis Swales walking them each down the aisle, and mom looking on from the front row. Becky Swales passed away early the next morning.
Media reports during the planning process resulted in numerous donations, including the reception venue, where the ladies will have a bittersweet celebration on October 26.
Here's more about the story from Fox 5 Atlanta.
Would you be shocked to learn that your high school kid was being asked about your political affiliation? How about your household income? Your religion?
While at least a couple of parents alerted media company The Blaze of a survey given to sophomore students at Poolesville High School in Montgomery County, the school system initially denied such a survey existed. The parents claim the survey, which asked (among other things) the students to identify their parents' political affiliations, was posted on edline (the electronic portal for students, teachers, and parents) and later scrubbed after inquiries were made. Eventually the school district's public information officer confirmed the existence of the survey and it's removal from edline. The official said it was an anonymous survey exclusively for the students in the Advanced Placement government course, that the questionnaire was put together by students, and completely voluntary. However, parents insist that the students weren't given the option of opting-out, and the survey was put together by teachers and given as an assignment. Additionally, since students accessed the survey by logging into the edline portal, the system would be able to identify the answers with the individual students.
The complete survey can be accessed at the link above.
As an expectant father, I'm particularly fascinated by stories like this!
Several weeks ago in California, a pregnant woman's unborn baby was diagnosed with severe aortic stenosis, meaning the baby's aortic valve was so tight it was causing blood to back up in the left ventricle of the baby's heart. Therefore, the heart was unable to pump normally.
Without surgery, the baby's left ventricle would not develop properly, and in all likelihood the baby would be born with a life-threatening condition known as hypoplastic left heart syndrome (HLHS).
After first practicing on a grape (about the size of the baby's heart) encased in a gelatin mold (representing the baby's body), a team of doctors in Los Angeles performed the procedure on their patient last month.
Using a needle exactly 11 centimeters long, a wire the width of a hair, and a balloon measuring just a few millimeters in width, the surgeons opened up the narrow valve, all while the baby is still growing inside it's mother!
Read more about this fascinating medical miracle over at the LATimes.
Here's the short video of the procedure!