For the safety conscious, Consumer Reports has a nice piece on Halloween safety. Light the front walk, drive carefully, carry flashlights, practice fire safety with those pumpkins, etc.
Happy Halloween and have fun trick-or-treating!
For the past several years, Baby Einstein has been under attack by propaganda groups taking extreme positions that try to dictate what parents should do, say and buy. Our philosophy has always been to focus on creating products that parents and babies love, and to not get sidetracked and pulled down into their street fight.Not being a big fan of television for kids, we actually found the Baby Einstein dvds had some positive, if not wholly education components. But, clearly there is a difference of opinion. It is difficult to make this really a good case of a breached warranty. It would have to be an express warranty (affirmation of fact) under UCC 2-313. The case that the dvds did not make your kids smarter would seem to have problems on the arguments of opinion, puffery and the like. Disney has put a stop to any claims by just offerring the refund.
Unfortunately, with Susan Linn’s latest stunt, we cannot be silent any longer. Linn’s obvious dislike for Baby Einstein has now turned into a sensational, headline-grabbing publicity campaign that seeks to twist and spin a simple, customer satisfaction action into a false admission of guilt. This is clearly not the case.
Linn’s moves are carefully crafted to prey on parental guilt and uncertainty. This time, she began by asking the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) to go after Baby Einstein because, she said, we claimed that Baby Einstein was educational. But we do not make any such claim – and the FTC brought no action.
Not content to rely on the judgment of the federal government, her attacks continued and escalated despite the fact that her assertions have no merit.
That’s where we are today. However, we took a very different approach. We strongly believe that, unlike Linn, our consumers find value in our product, and rather than continue to fight with her, we decided to leave it up to those consumers. That is why we extended a refund policy that was already in place. Although she would like to claim otherwise, there is nothing extraordinary about a company’s willingness to stand behind its product. To the contrary, it is the strongest possible show of confidence in it.
Baby Einstein announced this offer in a press release issued on September 4, 2009, which was largely ignored by the media. Linn’s latest public relations blitz simply distorts the facts and misleads the public. In the end, this smear campaign has everything to do with Linn trying to generate ink and funding for her cause, and not about the value that consumers find in our product.
Thank you for letting us set the record straight.
General Manager, The Baby Einstein Company
We have seen numerous instances when weaknesses and gaps in the regulatory structure itself contributed to the crisis, many of which can only be addressed by statutory change. Notably, to promote financial stability and to address the extremely serious problem posed by firms perceived as "too big to fail," legislative action is needed to create new mechanisms for oversight of the financial system as a whole; to ensure that all systemically important financial firms are subject to effective consolidated supervision; and to establish procedures for winding down a failing, systemically critical institution without seriously damaging the financial system and the economy.Bernanke went on to comment on a number of actions the Federal Reserve has taken and also to to take up the issue of consumer protection. Bernanke observed that "effective consumer protection promotes healthy competition in the financial marketplace, supports sound lending practices, and increases confidence in the financial system as a whole." Bernanke commented on the Fed's efforts using consumer testing to help determine when consumers understand financial products and communications from financial institutions. The Fed has used consumer testing in the debate involving debit cards, for instance. While no final regulations are yet in place for debit cards, the consumer testing tool may turn out to help the Fed tackle issues surrounding clarity of disclosures.
This agency will have the power to make certain that consumers get information that is clear and concise -- in plain language -- so they can compare products and know exactly what they're getting themselves into. It will ensure that banks and other firms can't hide behind these ridiculously confusing contracts -- pages and pages of fine print that nobody can figure out. It will have the ability to enforce and build on the credit card reforms we passed earlier this year, so that consumers aren't hit with unfair rate hikes and penalties, or hidden charges. It will require brokers to look out for the interests of families if they give advice about mortgages. And it will ensure transparency and fair dealing for other financial products, like bank overdraft services and payday loans.
The Obama administration has proposed restructuring financial services regulation by transferring all consumer protection functions from existing agencies to a new Consumer Financial Protection Agency (CFPA). The goal of the CFPA legislation is to address the flaws in the regulatory architecture that have inhibited effective responses to the substantive problems, rather than mandate specific new substantive consumer protection laws.
The current consumer financial protection is based on disclosure regime and is policed through supervisory feedback, enforcement actions, and occasionally prohibitions on terms, products, and practices that are deemed inherently unfair and deceptive. On the federal level, consumer protection in financial services is divided among a number of agencies: the OCC, OTS, NCUA, Federal Reserve Board, FDIC, FHFA, HUD, VA, FTC and DOJ. Some of these agencies have the ability to promulgate regulations, some also exercise supervisory authority over financial institutions, and some may only enforce existing regulations. Sometimes authority is over a class of institutions, and sometimes it is over a particular type of product.
There are four main structural criticisms of the current regulatory structure: that consumer protection is a so-called 'orphan' mission; that consumer protection conflicts with, and is subordinated to, safety-and-soundness concerns; that no agency has developed an expertise in consumer protection in financial services, and; that regulatory arbitrage of the current system fuels a regulatory race-to-the-bottom.
Consolidation of consumer financial services protection authority could: place all financial services companies, regardless of the form of their charter, under a single regulator, thus ending its orphan status; separate consumer protection from safety-and-soundness regulation, thus ending subordination; encourage the development of a deep bench of regulatory expertise and knowledge, and; end the opportunity for regulatory arbitrage and any potential race to the bottom.
There are several potential concerns about a CFPA: conflicts with prudential regulators; ambiguity with respect to Consumer Reinvestment Act authority, and; potential overregulation resulting in higher costs of financial products, less product availability, and discouragement of innovation. Still, there are compelling reasons to believe that the present regulatory architecture cannot produce the optimal consumer protection regime and will continue to fail in its task, resulting in unfair treatment of consumers and a potentially significant source of systemic risk. To this extent, consideration of a CFPA should strive to distinguish between the basic thrust of the legislation - a consolidation of the regulatory authority of - and the proposed new substantive powers granted to the agency.
This article offers both a concession and a critique. The article concedes that the law of fixtures under the Uniform Commercial Code is helplessly tied to the various state laws dictating real estate. The natural impact of explicitly tying a UCC doctrine to multiple state law variation is the automatic loss of uniformity. At the center of the fixtures discussion in the UCC is a definition that does not define, and more importantly, does not limit doctrinal extension. Because the UCC offers a non-defining definition, this article considers the function of the fixtures definition. Specifically, the article looks to the original drafters comments about what the purpose of the fixtures definition was intended to accomplish.
Conceding that the definition in the UCC does not define, the article then critiques the definition by asking what role the definition plays in the game of seeking uniformity. Specifically, the article argues that the fixtures definition in UCC Section 9-102(a)(41) performs a function just as important as defining - it narrates. The article argues that the drafters in deciding on a definition of fixtures isolated themes of commonality and described those themes in a concise, but useful description of the fixture. Those themes include the joining of goods to realty, the concept of relation, and the emphasis on interests as a governing factor in the fixtures analysis. The article argues that the narration accomplished by the UCC allows for uniformity, not by mandatory uniformity, but by synchronic dialogue - allowing the themes to create images and the images to compel instinctive beliefs. The article argues, however, that the description provided by the drafters should be reunited with the substantive provisions relating to fixtures since each are tied to the other’s understanding.