Writer: Rick Schmitt

Recent Stories

Air War: A Relentless Whistleblower Once More Girds for Battle Over Aviation Safety

To his supporters, former air marshal Robert MacLean personifies the best traits of whistleblowers, determined to expose the government's dirty laundry, even at high personal cost. To critics, he's an obsessive and even vindictive ex-federal employee who overstepped his bounds. Now he's battling over the need for secondary barriers to keep would-be intruders from reaching the cockpit.

Consumer Protection

Turning Point in Fight to Stop Child Deaths from Window Blinds

Jeremy and Carolyn Eastburn with their daughter, Presley, who died in December 2016 at the age of 4. She was strangled on a custom window blind the family bought for their new home near Houston. Sales of most corded window blinds and shades – products blamed for the [...]

Consumer Protection

Brain Boosters a Gold Mine for Supplements Industry But Benefits Are Hotly Disputed

A few years ago, motivated by a family history of dementia, Bea Pena-Reames began using a dietary supplement that promised improved memory and brain health. It was advertised as safe and effective - but that was not her experience. “I’m typically a joyful person, but I couldn’t shake this depression [...]

Consumer Protection

Congress Moves to Reduce Risk of Midair Collisions Posed by Drones

iStock photo Congress today sent to President Obama legislation to address the growing safety threat posed by thousands of drones entering the nation’s airspace. The safety measures are contained in a bill to continue the funding of the Federal Aviation Administration, whose legal authority is due to expire [...]


Federal Regulators Open Investigation Amid Reports of Exhaust Fumes Wafting into Ford Explorers

A Ford Explorer on a desert highway. (NoDerog/iStock photo) Federal regulators are investigating a possible defect in Ford Explorers following scores of complaints about exhaust and carbon monoxide pouring into the passenger compartments of the popular SUVs. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration said it had received 154 [...]

Consumer Protection

Some Companies Break Ranks to Halt Risk of Kids Dying from Window Cords

Over the years, more than 300 children in the U.S., most under age two, have died from strangling on window cords. Despite calls from safety experts and parents groups, manufacturers and retailers have continued to sell window blinds and shades with pull cords. But now, a few companies are breaking ranks


Railroad Vindicated as Judge Rejects Claim of Legal Corruption in Arbitration Case

John Kirk/iStock photo A federal judge today rejected an allegation of legal corruption against BNSF Railway Co., ruling that a former company executive didn’t threaten to blackball an arbitrator to win a favorable ruling in a dispute with a fired worker. Judge Ronald Leighton in Tacoma, Wash., said [...]

Categories: Labor  Tags: Workplace | 2 Comments
Consumer Protection

Feds Want to Run Flimsy Motorcycle Helmets Off the Road

A fatal motorcycle accident in San Diego County on Jan. 30, 2011. (CAL FIRE San Diego) After years of inaction, federal regulators are trying to crack down on the use of cheap novelty helmets linked to thousands of motorcycle crash deaths and injuries in recent years. The novelty [...]

Consumer Protection

Years of Talking, Kids Still Dying

Erin Shero and her youngest son, Colton Shero, in the spring of 2013, about five months before the toddler was fatally strangled by a window blind cord. "My son died in less time than it takes to pop a bag of popcorn," Shero said. After fixing a quick [...]