Monday, June 20, 2011

Wal-Mart Class Action; Rule of Law

I'm wholly impressed by the Supreme Court's ruling against the gender bias case of Dukes v. Wal-Mart.

First and foremost, the purpose of a class action lawsuit is to bring together individuals who have been similarly injured by the same company for the same reason.

Betty Dukes sued believing that male coworkers at Wal-Mart were getting better promotions and pay than herself and female counterparts. It was shown that the actions may have been due to the individual store where Betty Dukes worked.

I truly feel that it's important to understand that a multinational corporation the size of Wal-Mart has absolutely no way of controlling every decision of every open store throughout their operations. It's infeasible, not possible, stop thinking it is.

Wal-Mart has had a bad rap for years for probably some good reasons and bad reasons. There is nothing in this case that shows every women working since 1998 has been discriminated against and injured due to her sex. I think the biggest flaw of this case was the scope. Had a class action lawsuit been approved, or attempted, to incorporate only certain regions of Wal-Mart stores, it may have been more likely that the Supreme Court would have ruled in favor of the Ninth District's opinion.

Regionally it can be expected that the larger corporation will monitor results and pay grades. It also makes it more likely that each individual would have been harmed in a similar manner. With 1.6 million women included in the court's decisions, there is no way that I can fathom a similar disadvantage to all unless Wal-Mart had a policy that explicitly stated or indirectly caused a bias. With such a policy, the case would have been in favor of the plaintiffs. Instead, the court was shown a policy stating that sex was not to place any bearing on pay decisions or promotions. The policy outlined disciplinary actions to those managers who did use sex as a basis for qualification and pay determination.

Currently, many of the women who had hoped for a better outcome are angered and surprised. Honestly, it's not a surprise. They were facing an uphill battle, not because Wal-Mart has the money to fight the war with the best lawyers, but because they had no basis for their class action.

Now, the women have an opportunity to reorganize into smaller class actions. It may be hard to do without the spirit and having put so much effort into the first case, but it may be worthwhile to some of the women who have worked under discriminatory conditions.

Sunday, June 5, 2011


Today I spent the majority of my time basking in the sun, reading "The Federalist", and writing my personal statement. Quite a life of leisure it seemed.

To wind down the day, my friend and I popped in "Restrepo" the movie.

"Restrepo", a movie about the Korangal Valley, was very intense. Emotionally it can be hard to bear but it also informs the watcher of what happens in one of the deadliest and most dangerous areas of war. The men in the film were on a mission to build a camp in the Valley which was known to take fire from the Taliban daily.

While in the valley, fighting was on an off, but the deployed soldiers lost two during the film. One of the men was Officer Restrepo, whom the camp is now commonly referred after. You get to see his exuberance, his uplifting spirit and his commitment to the deployment. The hardest part of the film was not seeing the dead soldiers but seeing the reactions to the death by the fellow servicemen. It was hard to see them troubled and emotionally unstable. Their interviews brought me to tears without even a description of the events. It was the faces of the soldiers, the quiver of the lips that brought me to tears. To know that someone so strong, willing to fight for the country and having faced so many Taliban soliders; to know that even they wanted to cry can only bring the strongest of heart to cry.

The film was well worth the watch and I highly recommend that anyone looking to form an opinion on the tours of duty in Afghanistan watch the film. Beware it is all real footage, but it can only be so moving that way.

Saturday, June 4, 2011

Summer Time; A Fresh Breathe

As the summer starts, it's time to start anew. Breathe the fresh air, take in the beautiful sun and roam the uneven streets of Boston.

I've declared this as my summer. This will be the summer that I take my experiences to new places that will give me insight into others' experiences. It may be food, it may be the farmer's markets or a new movie theatre. There's plenty of free stuff in Boston and great ways to enjoy things at discounted prices.

So far this summer I have rediscovered some of my favorite loves of Boston summers:

The Farmer's Market at Haymarket has so many vendors with ridiculously cheap prices for produce. The strawberries always look delicious, plump, juicy, and a dark rich red color.

The Boston Public Library is not just amazingly beautiful on the outside. Inside the BPL there is a courtyard with a fountain and statute. My favorite is relaxing and reading at one of the many tables around the courtyard that always seems to be peaceful.

Something new I just recently tried was a restaurant called Saus. It's a Belgian Waffle House with a variety of fries and waffles. The real adventure is the multitude of sauces that are served at, conviently named, Saus. I tried the Truffle Ketchup Sauce and it was splendid. I was surprised by the strong flavour of the truffle but, of course, it was delectable. Accidentally, I also tried the Pungent Sauce. It has a vinegar, blue cheese, bacon, shallot flavor. Be careful if you're vegetarian - this is not for you, I learned the hard way (bacon, bacon, bacon).

My final goal for this summer is to save enough money to back pack across Europe next summer. Summer 2012 will be my last summer to take advantage of my freedom. I'll have prospects of Law school near ahead. As I post in my blog, I will tally my progress toward my goal so that I can be held accountable for what I'm saving toward my trip. Granted I can make do with just a couple thousand dollars, my goal is to have a lot of fun and stay as long as possible abroad. An open ended goal is the way to go :)

Progress toward my goal right now - $2315.40 ... not bad

Until next time,