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General Mills abandons controversial arbitration scheme

The big company gets points for accepting it was an idea that was going to be more trouble than it would ever be worth. The Huffington Post story by Hunter Stuart says, “General Mills last week revealed a new rule that prevented people from joining class action lawsuits if they ‘joined [its] online communities.’ Such actions might include entering a General Mills-sponsored contest, subscribing to newsletters or liking the company on Facebook. Under the new terms, those who violated the rule would be limited to arbitration or informal negotiations as a means of conflict resolution. But in a blogpost on its corporate website on Saturday, General Mills said it was changing back to its old legal terms.”

For MPR, Jon Collins writes, “Scott Nelson, a lawyer at the consumer advocacy group Public Citizen, said he’s pleased that General Mills appears to have responded to consumer pressure and backed off the arbitration clause. He said the controversy has helped many people notice for the first time just how common these arbitration clauses are becoming with many large companies. ‘It would be nice if we could build on this little moment of empowerment for consumers and keep the spotlight on other people who have not backed down,’ Nelson said.”

Raul Hernandez for the Guardian Liberty Voice website says, “Instead of a notice that using a single means of service would cause the consumer to agree, the company put wording that included almost any way that the consumer would gain some benefit or discount from the company. People misinterpreted this to mean that all ways of communication were subject to agreement. Consumers thought the agreement was active by simply purchasing a product or interacting with online social sites. It did not help that news headlines reported the misunderstandings as well.”

It’s an either/or game apparently. Says Tony Kennedy of the Strib, “ … as the state launches a three-year process to reset its deer population — the first in nearly a decade — deer hunters won’t be the only ones at the table. There also will be white, red and jack pines, orchids and other wildflowers and all the species that depend on them. The likely increased numbers of Minnesota’s favorite game animal will come at the peril of the state’s beloved pine trees and the native plants, insects and animals that live below them on the forest floor.”

Speaking of trees and other combustible things … . The Northland’s News Center up in Duluth says, “In a quicker than anticipated time frame, burning permit restrictions for Minnesota now cover the entire state. According to the Minnesota DNR, burning permits are now required for anyone in the state wanting to burn small amounts of dry leaves, plant clippings, brush, and untreated, unpainted wood as long as weather conditions do not pose an immediate fire hazard.”

The GleanNothing says ”organic” like a 15-story power line tower.  The Strib’s David Peterson writes that Cedar Summit Farm will test the state’s “Buy the Farm” law requiring pipeline or power companies to buy out operations. “For decades, County Road 2 has represented a tranquil rural existence on the edge of the metro area to Dave and Florence Minar. Not anymore. Today, a row of steel towers 15 stories tall marches down that road and across the land near New Prague that has been in Dave’s family since 1926, casting a shadow the Minars contend clouds the future of one of the state’s leading organic dairy farms.”

Betty McCollum to the rescue … . Alex Friedrich at MPR says, “McCollum, a Democrat who represents Minnesota’s 4th District, has proposed language that would require the U.S. Dept. of Education to change how it accounts for college pensions. … Bethel [University] officials say the [federal] accounting formula incorrectly calculates the pension obligations of colleges that offer their employees defined-benefit pension plans. They say those calculations make universities such as Bethel appear financially weak when they’re not.”

Kind of like consultants … . Kim McGuire of the Strib reports, “the Regional Center of Excellence based in Rochester, [is] one of three state teams of specialists who are dispatched into the state’s lowest-performing schools — called ‘Focus’ and ‘Priority’ schools — to help them improve. The centers, established under the state’s 2012 waiver to the federal No Child Left Behind law, represent a significant shift in the way the state supports struggling schools.”

Hmmm … . Too big for The Replacements. Too small for The Beatles. Maybe one BeatleWCCO-TV says, “start the guesses now. The Minnesota Twins say they will announce a major summer concert coming to Target Field on Monday. In a short news release, the Twins didn’t give any clues, only to say the announcement will be made at 11 a.m. Monday.” Prince and Beyonce?

Comments (2)

  1. Submitted by Davis Hal on 04/21/2014 - 01:05 pm.


    One Beatle.

  2. Submitted by Pat Berg since 2011 on 04/21/2014 - 01:24 pm.

    Maybe one Beatle?

    It’s Paul McCartney.

    Can Brian call ’em or what!

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