Legal, Laws, and Regs

Arbitration update

Recovered from the Wayback Machine.

I need to write an update on arbitration and what’s happening with the Arbitration Fairness Act of 2007. In a way, I’d almost rather we wait on a vote until after we have a Democratic president, because anything that doesn’t support corporations over the people will be vetoed by President Bush. At least with a Democratic president, we’ll have someone who cares about consumers, employees, and regular people like you and me.

In the meantime, you can compare how various sides debate this issue. Kia from Tortdeform has three recent items. Huffington Post has a story about more women abused by KBR employees in Iraq and forced into arbitration.

Then there’s Ted at Overlawyered. Ted works for one of the conservative think tanks. I wouldn’t want it said that I didn’t point out the opposition. Here’s a couple of recent posts from Ted. Personally, I think Ted does more to sell the Arbitration Fairness act of 2007 than almost anyone I know, and he’s against it. Do be sure to check out the comments.

This is my favorite from a recent exchange:

Me: The only choice I know of with arbitration clauses in employment contracts is not to take the jobs. That doesn’t strike me as a true choice. Does that strike you as a true choice?

TF: KBR employees have that option. They don’t have to work for KBR if they would rather have lower wages with an employer that does not have a mandatory arbitration agreement. It’s just one of the terms and conditions of employment, like free parking, a free gym, and how many weeks of vacation are offered.

Yes, I typically equate the loss of constitutional rights with free parking and a gym pass.


Body Worlds

Recovered from the Wayback Machine.

I went to the Body Worlds exhibit at the St. Louis Science Center today. If you’ve not heard of this, it’s an exhibit of preserved human bodies formed into shapes to best demonstrate the human anatomy.

The human bodies are without skin, so that the muscle, bone, tendons, organs show. Believe me when I say that there is nothing at all gross about the exhibit. On the contrary, it was all rather fascinating. Our bodies are incredibly sophisticated machines, and the exhibits were a celebration of our wonderful sophistication.

In addition to the staged human bodies, the show also featured cross sections and preserved organs, both diseased and healthy. Another interesting type of display was the vein work sculptures, displaying only the veins.

What was terrible, though, is that I had the strongest craving for beef jerky during the show. I confessed my hunger to my roommate, and he said that he had the same craving. As we were leaving, we could hear the people behind us, debating where to go to lunch because they were starved.

There was something very Freudian about all of this.


I gather there was or is a 20/20 investigation of Body Worlds, especially about where the bodies originated. According to the information I know, the bodies used in the displays at the Body Worlds in St. Louis were all donated at the behest of the individuals, and with permission of the individual families.

As for whether the show was purely entertainment, most of the show is devoted to a closer look at organs, including those diseased, as compared to healthy. Displays of lungs damaged by smoking, livers damaged by drinking, and one cross section display of an obese man with diagrams detailing of the damage to his body based on his weight–including a cross section of the pacemaker he wore–were juxtaposed with bodies seemingly in the peak of health and vitality.

Was the work educational?

One elderly woman wearing a camel colored coat, and a hat with a little feather was talking with three kids who part of a school tour group. Their discussion was occurring over an exhibit of hip bones, including one demonstrating a hip replacement. Evidently, the kids had been at the display, looking at the hip replacement when the lady heard them talking. She started telling them about her own hip replacement, her mobility before and after, answering their questions. The small group of four were so intent, they were completely unaware of the kids’ chaperons, patiently waiting for them to finish so they could move on.

Was the work art? Art is, as always, in the eye of the beholder.