Archive for the 'Legal' Category

Present FTC Regulations and

Tuesday, January 26th, 2010

Here is a concise explanation of what the FTC does, taken from Wikipedia:

The FTC carries out its mission by investigating issues raised by reports from consumers and businesses, pre-merger notification filings, congressional inquiries, or reports in the media. These issues include, for instance, false advertising and other forms of fraud. FTC investigations may pertain to a single company or an entire industry. If the results of the investigation reveal unlawful conduct, the FTC may seek voluntary compliance by the offending business through a consent order, file an administrative complaint, or initiate federal litigation.

Reports from consumers is first in the list of things to which this great big independent government body responds. In the absence of consumer complaints, a misleading online sales pitch can thrive indefinitely. Here is a video tutorial on how to file a complaint with the FTC:

Interestingly, this video recently celebrated its second anniversary an Kimkins is still not in compliance with the current FTC regulations. The FTC has a page of good advice for people shopping for weight loss products and services. Nobody who reads that page carefully will pay for a Kimkins membership but at this point it’s not the careful consumers that we are worried about. If Heidi Diaz had been around in the 1800s, we’d probably be debating whether she had coined the phrase about suckers and their reproductive rates. Kimkins doesn’t comply with the FTC because it simply wouldn’t work. The FTC disapproves of fantastic claims of weight loss and asks instead for typical or average results. Please leave some comments with wording suggestions for the typical results of Kimkins. My suggestion is as follows:

I lost $39.99 in just 3 months!!!

People Don’t Forget

Monday, January 12th, 2009

While I was reading some online information about how American clothing labels get their stuff manufactured in Chinese sweatshops I started noticing something. All the sites that I was visiting looked very dated. This issue was a cause du jour several years ago . An undated PBS web page linked to a very impressive chart showing the wages and conditions at various factories as well as what fashion house they were working for. That chart had a date at the bottom, it was made in 1998.

The lack of freshness of the info is best illustrated by the fact that one of the main targets for criticism was Kathy Lee Gifford. For all I know she could be working in a sweatshop by now. When I googled a few factory names, I saw the dated information being paraphrased or quoted in blogs from this century. The manufacturing industry of China is huge, I am not even going to pretend to know whether the situation is better or worse today. I am pretty sure that things are not exactly the same as they were in 1998.

The thing that bothers me about this situation is that companies that respond to criticism by cleaning up their acts deserve to have the positive changes acknowledged. It seems like having ten year old facts used against them would be a disincentive.

On the bright side, hopefully new corporations understand that unethical practices can result in decades worth of negative word of mouth.

Picking Up Where Bob Barker Left Off… Have Your Pet Spayed or Neutered!

Monday, December 22nd, 2008

I am of the opinion that responsible pet owners should spay and neuter most of their cats and dogs. I don’t know if this has anything to do with the PSA that Bob Barker made after every airing of “The Price is Right” but I do know that I heard him say have your pet spayed or neutered hundreds of times. My mom watched the show regularly and it was on during the siesta that we always took during hay making season.

But what about neutering stray cats? My daughters spent last summer regularly volunteering at an SPCA on Gozo. One of this organization’s goals was to neuter and spay ALL of the feral cats on the island. I thought that this goal would someday make for an interesting metaphor. That day has not yet come. Unlike many other SPCAs in the world, the one in Gozo has a very well-contained and quantifiable problem, but it still a big problem. I recently read a letter sent to the editor that was written by a visitor to the island. She praised the efforts of the SPCA and went on to say that the health and relative happiness of the feral cats on the island influences her decision of where to vacation. I am presently living in another country with a less healthy feral cat population and I can see how that can impact people who are extra sensitive to the plight of cats.

I am under the impression that the SPCA’s main reason for neutering feral cats is so that the reduced population will translate to better welfare for the remaining individuals. While doing a bit of research I discovered that wildlife conservationists make a strong case against feral cat populations. They also want cat owners to keep their pets indoors. Cats kill small birds and animals and they will do so even if they are provided with adequate nutrition by well meaning individuals. Without a neutering program, feral cat populations will usually increase in number rather than health when people supply additional food.

I have some compassion for feral cats and my daughters have lots of it. If you feed stray cats, please take some time to read through It is primarily a site promoting participation in (and donations to) Trap-Neuter-Return programs and it has a lot of resource material.