Wednesday

A Job Well Done

And we all love cake!
If you have a lemon car, let us make the manufacturer take it back and refund your money.

That's what we did today. And here's what a very happy client dropped off to give thanks and for our staff to enjoy (and we will, too).

For us it was just one more lemon that went back to where it came from, deservedly so.

For him it was a total refund of all his money. He's a happy man to be rid of his lemon.

Burdge Law Office
Getting Rid of Lemons is What We Do, Everyday

Monday

The Farmer's Son, a Veteran, and a War Long Ago

Every Veterans Day we pause to thank those who served and to reflect on the meaning of this day by republishing an article written several years ago, to give tribute to the veterans in all of our families - and all the veterans who have served over the generations. We pause to note not our time but to honor the time of the millions of veterans who passed before and after us. The true story below is that of a farmer's son and a war that was only just beginning some fifty plus years ago and which now is little more than a few pages in a history book. Like every war in the last 100 years, it was life and death everyday, half a world away from the evening news.

A few years ago, a local farmer came in to see me for some help. Bills and crop prices and debt had him over a barrel and we talked about bankruptcy and what it could and couldn’t do to help relieve his situation. He was a big strong man, the way some farmers just naturally are, both in his heart and his size. We were about the same age but he looked so much older.

His situation took about 5 months to get resolved but I will never forget the day that I learned that he was a chopper pilot in Vietnam about the same time as my older brother, Larry, was there. I had no clue and never would have guessed.

We both stopped what we were talking about, his own current problem, while he looked out the window and quietly talked about what it was like then, back in Vietnam. It was hard for me to look at this older and much heavier man and try to imagine what he must have looked like back in the days of 1966-'68. Now, he was mostly bald and probably weighed a lot more than he did back then, but like me he had been young once too. Now, he didn't move as quick as he undoubtedly did back in 'Nam either.

But you could tell from the distance in his eyes as he spoke that he had never really left it all behind him.

He talked about what it was like to fly a chopper in and out of valleys and hills and fire, dropping down as quickly as he could and picking up a wounded soldier or two and getting back out of there, wherever "there" was, as fast as he could. Nothing but plexiglass between him and the bullets.

He said he loved flying helicopters then, but that he was never in his life as scared as he was in those few minutes between the time just before he would land and when he was back out of the worst of the fire. He said they were the longest minutes of his life. He called it dodging a lifetime of bullets, scared to death that one of them had his name on it.

He had a dusty old baseball cap in his hand as we talked. It hung loosely in his hand as he gazed aimlessly out the window. It was from some team that didn't really matter, I'm sure. His eyes were never in the room with us as he calmly and matter-of-factly talked of how men died around him and also of those who came back like him.

You could tell he had memories he wished he didn't have. He said the worst feeling he had from the whole war was that every time he'd lift off the ground he knew that while he was getting out of there, he was leaving other boys behind. He'd fly away, his heart pounding loud in his chest, while the fighting went on below him.

After a long while, he stopped talking and we just sat there, not talking at all. I could see that things were going on inside his mind and I just didn't know what to say. I was dumbstruck by this seemingly now-gentle giant of a man who had been through hell. Truth be told, I didn't think I had a right to say anything at all. After what seemed like the longest time, both of us returned to the present moment. He never spoke about it again.

It's been years now. I don't even remember his name. Probably most of the guys he saved didn't remember it either. I haven't thought of him since then until my older brother sent me a recording he found on the internet, called God's Own Lunatics (click below) that explained what it was like to be one of those foot soldiers on the ground. I clicked on it, listened, and the memory all came back to me.

I recall that he was the son of a local farmer who had gone off to war and came back all grown up - to be his father's son, a farmer again. Something about beating your swords into plows seems appropriate for me to end this note but it also seems so trivial a thing to say. I can still recall his face.

We all owe veterans a whole lot more than any of us will ever be able to repay. If you know someone who served, shake their hand and thank them. You don't need to say why. They'll know. And remember on this Veterans Day that there are lots of vets that aren't around for you to thank, so say thanks to those who still are. Thanks, Dad. And thank you, Larry. Two of the bravest men I have known in my lifetime. Veterans.

Giving Back Is Important to Them, and to You

2,000 Empty Bins Being Passed Out to Volunteers
This year, just as our entire staff has for the last three years, our office is joining with Fairhaven Church in its annual Christmas Gift campaign.

This will be the fourth year that the local community has followed Fairhaven Church's lead to donate new clothes and supplies to under-served students and families in the region. In the past, 1,500 bins have been filled each year to help the needy in the region with clothing and personal supplies and needs.

Roughly 1 out of every 5 families in the area struggle each day to meet basic human needs, a number that is about average for Ohio. In fact, about 2,000,000 Ohioans live below the federal poverty level and Ohio exceeds the national poverty average. In the last decade poverty in Ohio increased a staggering 58%. Worse yet, roughly 61,000 veterans live in poverty.

It's time we all helped those in need.
You can help. While unemployment has decreased, the economy is much better overall, and even gasoline prices are remarkably lower than they have been since 2008, people still need help. And now is the time to pitch in.

This year, there will be 2,000 bins and Burdge Law Office and our entire staff are proud to be doing our part to help families in the Centerville, Franklin, Kettering, Northmont and Springboro school districts.

So the next time you see a chance to help someone, stop and do it. You'll be surprised how much better you will feel about yourself and your community too.

Burdge Law Office
Helping Consumers, Everyday. It's What We Do.

UPDATE - Hyundai and Kia Fined $100 Million by US

Money to Burn?
The New York Times is reporting that Hyundai - Kia have been fined $100 million by the US EPA and Justice Department for falsified mileage data numbers. More on that breaking news here -



This comes on the heels of Hyundai-Kia's purchase of land for $10 billion on which to build their new headquarters building, a price equal to over $18,000 per square foot - a move many called extravagant for the car building conglomerate.

Floating in cash, the US fines seem huge and tiny at the same time.

Is it all about the profit?
UPDATE - in addition to the $100 million fine, Automotive News is reporting that in the settlement Hyundai and Kia also agreed "spend $50 million to establish an independent fuel economy certification group and forfeit some 4.75 million greenhouse gas emission credits the companies have banked under the EPA’s tailpipe emissions regulations -- estimated to be worth more than $200 million." Those EPA "credits" are estimated to have a cash value of about $45 per credit currently.

That makes the Hyunda - Kia - EPA settlement worth about $350 million total. Still only a fraction of the $10 billion the cash-rich car companies spent on the land (alone) for their new HQ.

For over two years some 13 vehicle models' fuel ratings were overstated. The fuel ratings of an economy car model are commonly known to be one of the primary marketing and advertising tactics used by motor vehicle manufacturers to attract buyers.

While the manufacturers were still defending the way they calculated their mpg numbers that they reported to the federal government, Automotive News also reported that Hyundai and Kia used “cherry-picked” data and conducted testing in ways “that did not reflect good engineering judgement” that ultimately led to artificially high fuel economy ratings for most of its lineup at the time in question, according to the DOJ’s statement.

It just goes to show you that when big corporations have millions of dollars at stake, they are not shy about fudging the numbers if it means big bucks in ill-gotten profits and stealing customers from the other competing auto makers.

Burdge Law Office
Helping Consumers Protect Themselves, Everyday