Day: June 13, 2016

Amazon hit with proposed $350K fine for shipping hazardous package that hurt nine UPS workers

The Federal Aviation Administration’s penalty requested today is the largest the agency has sought against Amazon, which it says has had a series of at least 24 hazardous materials violations in recent years.

Amazing Fire drain cleanerThe FAA claims the retailer sent a UPS package on Oct. 15, 2014, with a one-gallon container of “Amazing! LIQUID FIRE,” a corrosive drain cleaner for transportation by air from Louisville to Boulder, Colo., according to an agency press release. The cleaner contains sulfuric acid, which can cause serious burns, including permanent blindness on contact.

The package leaked and nine UPS employees who came into contact with the cardboard box were treated after feeling a burning sensation, the FAA said. The agency didn’t say where the UPS employees worked, and it didn’t say how the drain cleaner arrived in Louisville. UPS has 22,000 employees in Louisville, making it the area’s single-biggest private employer.

Amazon declined to answer questions about the incident, according to Reuters, and UPS said the workers were fine after treatment.

The FAA said the shipment was improperly packaged, not accompanied by a declaration for dangerous goods, and not properly labeled to indicate the hazardous contents, according to an agency press release.

Boulevard found an identically described product sold by N.J. Wholesale Supply for $102 for a case of 12 32-oz. bottles. The company says in red, capital letters that it can only be shipped by freight. It contains sulfuric acid, according to the site. We also found it on Amazon’s website, but the product description doesn’t mention sulfuric acid. It advises buyers to “read the label for warnings and directions before using.”

In high concentrations, sulfuric acid can cause very serious damage upon contact, including chemical burns, permanent blindness if splashed onto eyes and irreversible damage if swallowed, according to Wikipedia, which cites chemical maker BASF.

The FAA didn’t detail any of the other 24 hazardous materials violations it said Amazon had committed. Amazon has 30 days from receipt of the FAA’s enforcement letter to respond to the agency.

Schools claim freedom to study capitalism, even as big donor Schnatter praises ‘greatest mechanism’ to pursue happiness

Ball State University is the latest school to defend another multimillion-dollar gift from one of its most famous graduates, Papa John’s founder John Schnatter, to establish an institute promoting the virtues of free enterprise.

Schnatter and Koch
Schnatter and Koch.

School administrators offered similar assurances when Schnatter and the Charles Koch Foundation gave $12 million to the University of Kentucky in December and $6.3 million to the University of Louisville in March 2015, in both cases to launch free-enterprise centers. Ball State in Muncie, Ind., is getting $3.3 million.

The contract UK signed says the institute must support a “diversity of ideas,” according to the Kentucky Center for Investigative Reporting. But it also says Continue reading “Schools claim freedom to study capitalism, even as big donor Schnatter praises ‘greatest mechanism’ to pursue happiness”

Cowboy in tux“A tuxedo with work boots: All-new Ford F-Series Super Duty King Ranch Platinum Editions offer premium vinyl flooring option.”

That’s the headline from a Ford Motor press release this morning, promoting an option for customers wanting a $75,000 luxury truck that can double as a work truck “without fear of damaging the interior.” The photo, below, is the one the marketing department at the employer of nearly 10,000 Louisville workers suggested news outlets use — which, of course, is why we opted for the gratuitously hotter one, above.

Vinyl floor option

Review: At this KFC in Orlando, the server was ‘definitely the most miserable’

An occasional look at reviews given to restaurants owned by Papa John’s, Texas Roadhouse, and Yum.

The location: 6217 International Drive, Orlando, Fla. The headline: “Lunch after wetnwild.” Number of stars: two out of five. The customer: TripAdvisor user loubiehigh of the U.K.’s Preston.

Anton EgoThe review: Although we don’t eat a lot of fast food at home, we do love the occasional KFC! Not in the US!!! The burger my husband had was half the size of a “zinger” which he would normally have. The popcorn chicken was better than home because the coating was more akin to the classic KFC chicken coating. Boys had the mash and gravy, and said the gravy was better than home, but disappointed you couldn’t buy this on its own. Wedges were good. Menu seemed limited; advertised some really hot chicken on the outside windows, but this didn’t seem available in the shop. Of all the Orlando residents/workers we came across the server here was definitely the most miserable. Chicken was over greasy.

Illustration, inset: That’s Anton Ego, the merciless restaurant critic in Pixar’s delightful 2007 “Ratatouille.” Here’s the trailer:

Ball State defends $3.3M from Schnatter-Koch; more Humana-Aetna op; Ford GT back at Le Mans, and Brits say KFC server in Fla. was ‘most miserable’

Latest headlines, focused on big employers; updated at 4:37 p.m.

Ford GT Le Mans
Ford’s new GT faces Ferraris and other top rivals at famous French race again. Thousands have applied to buy one of the $400,000 supercars.

PAPA JOHN’S: Ball State University deflected concerns over accepting a $3.3 million donation from Papa John’s founder John Schnatter and the Charles Koch Foundation, to promote free enterprise, saying it wouldn’t subvert academic freedom (Star-Press). The March donation is only the latest from the two men.

Schnatter and Koch
Schnatter and Koch.

They gave $12 million to the University of Kentucky in December and $6.3 million to the University of Louisville in March 2015, in both cases also to establish free-enterprise institutes. Administrators there offered similar assurances about academic independence. But a contract UK signed and Schnatter’s views on capitalism point to a possibly sharp collision of goals. Schnatter graduated from Ball State in Muncie, Ind., in 1983, and started his pizza company the following year.

GE: In Appliance Park, new owner Haier is getting a facility that’s completely rebuilt itself from years of outsourcing and offshoring,” said John Shook, CEO of the nonprofit Lean Enterprise Institute, which advised long-time GE owner in trimming management and tweaking production. “GE Appliances is a lean producer with an engaged leadership that has done an excellent job involving the union workforce to build in quality on the front lines (Benzinga). China-based Haier completed the $5.6 billion deal a week ago today; Appliance Park has about 6,000 employees making refrigerators and other home appliances.

HUMANA and planned acquirer Aetna face increased opposition to the $37 billion deal — as do merger partners Anthem and Cigna — from a new coalition of consumer and medical groups worried about the consolidations,  which would shrink the healthcare insurance market to three major insurers from five (CT Mirror). Aetna officials have said recently the deal is still on track to close in this year’s second half. About Humana.

Edsel Ford II

FORD: Unfortunately misnamed Edsel Ford II leaves tomorrow for Le Mans to watch the new Ford GT return to the legendary race against Ferraris, Porches and Aston Martins, starting Sunday. Ford, 67, a great-grandson of the company’s founder, visited the track with his father, Henry Ford II, in 1966 when he was a teen to witness the Ford GT40 place 1-2-3. “Fifty years have gone by fast,” he said. “Seems like yesterday I was there with Dad” (Detroit Free Press). The GT racing is based on the all-new $400,000 supercar unveiled in January. Le Mans history. Edsel Ford is a consultant to the company and member of its board of directors. At this year’s annual meeting, he faced the most resistance from shareholders re-electing directors, apparently over the $650,000 Ford paid him as a consultant. About Ford in Louisville.

Watch video of the 1966 race, and the new car:

KFC: Job recruiters want to talk to you if you have a “friendly attitude and positive demeanor” at an open house on Thursday (CraigsList). Elsewhere in Maryland, firefighters responded to a mulch fire early Saturday afternoon that spread to the exterior of a KFC; no injuries were reported. Why was there mulch so close? The news report is silent on that important question (Carroll County Times). More about KFC corporate parent Yum.

In top culture news, Broadway’s Hamilton won 11 Tonys last night, including best musical — just shy of the record of 12 won by The Producers. Tickets are impossible to get, as we discovered when we found one for a whopping $7,075 in a travel story last month.

El funeral de Muhammad Ali se realizará en el KFC Yum Center

As the headline above makes clear, another foreign-language news story has popped up in our search results. And it’s Tribu magazine again. Our foreign news desk has once more turned to Google to translate; for Spanish speakers, an excerpt:

Will Smith
Señor Smith

La procesión contó además varias limusinas que transportaban a los hijos y los nietos del ex boxeador, así como a las personalidades que llevarán su féretro: el actor Will Smith y los excampeones del mundo de los pesos pesados Lennox Lewis y Mike Tyson. Los aficionados arrojaron flores en el coche fúnebre, mientras que pétalos de rosa estaban dispersos a lo largo de la ruta. Los camioneros sonaban sus bocinas en señal de saludo.

Our last Tribu challenge, about l’attrice con l’Oscar Jennifer Lawrence, was in Italian. Smith was a pallbearer at Muhammad Ali’s burial Friday at Cave Hill Cemetery. The Louisville native died June 3 in Phoenix, his primary home; he was 74.