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Uber driver reportedly strands woman in labor, charges her $13

Updated: Sunday, August 28, 2016 @ 10:30 PM
Published: Thursday, January 14, 2016 @ 6:34 PM
By: Cox Media Group National Content Desk


            Uber driver reportedly strands woman in labor, charges her $13
(Spencer Platt / Getty)

Trending on Facebook

David Lee acted fast when his wife was in labor.

He grabbed her overnight bag, called their birthing coach, and called an Uber to take them from their Manhattan apartment to the hospital.

But when his wife, who did not want to be named, vomited on the sidewalk before entering the Uber, the driver refused to take him to the hospital.

>> Read more trending stories

Lee told Fortune.com that he and his wife’s birthing coach promised the driver his wife wouldn’t get sick again. If she did, they would pay for any cleaning fees.

But the driver still refused, saying he would lose $1,000 a day if Lee’s wife got sick in the car and he had to wait for it to be cleaned.

Lee said the driver told them no other Uber drivers would take a woman in labor as a passenger.

The driver then drove off and charged Lee and his wife $13 for the time he lost while speaking to them.

“I don’t blame Uber for one driver’s poor actions, since bad apples can appear in any organization, but I do think that when a company has a culture of bullying their way past laws and regulations, as Uber seems to do, they begin to think they can act with impunity in anything,” Lee said.

Ultimately, Lee, a lawyer, complained to Uber and was refunded the $13. His wife made it safely to the hospital in another Uber and gave birth to a healthy baby boy.

“Uber should have clarified their policies on drivers and women in labor, and confirmed that the driver received appropriate disciplinary action,” Lee said. “I’m fortunate enough to know my rights and have access to resources, but I feel for the person who is not as lucky.”

Emily Martin of the National Women’s Law Center in Washington, D.C., said it is illegal for New York drivers to refuse service to women in labor.

“Uber drivers are bound by the same public accommodation laws that prohibit New York City taxi drivers and car services from discriminating on the basis of pregnancy when deciding who they will pick up,” she said. “Those laws are a good thing, as they help ensure that not many babies end up being born on New York City sidewalks.”

In a statement, Uber said, “Denying service to a passenger in labor is unacceptable. It goes against our code of conduct and the standard of service our riders rely on. We extend our deepest apologies to both riders and have taken action to respond to this complaint. We are glad that the rider’s next driver was professional and courteous.”

Dog swims, walks nearly 20 miles to reunite with family

Updated: Tuesday, August 30, 2016 @ 11:45 AM
Published: Tuesday, August 30, 2016 @ 11:11 AM
By: Cox Media Group National Content Desk

A dog fell overboard Sunday morning then swam 6 miles and walked another 12 before reuniting with her family the following day.

Rylee, a 10-month old Belgian Malinois, fell off a boat on Lake Michigan, according to WPBN.

"In retrospect I remember her coming out here to see where I was going," Kristin Casas told WPBN. "My poor assumption was that she would go back into the cabin with her dad."

>> Read more trending stories

But Rylee was nowhere to be seen either on the boat or in the water nearby.

After making a “dog overboard” distress call, fisherman and the U.S. Coast Guard tried searching.

The wife of one of the fisherman runs the Lost Dog Search Team which uses social media to help reunite lost pets, according to WPBN.

"We ended up having over 20,000 people look at our post online and when I saw that I was like... we're going to find the dog," Lynn Fiedor, who runs the search team, told WPBN.

Fiedor shared the information about Rylee and got leads almost immediately.

The dog was spotted later Sunday. However when the Casas went to the beach where the dog was last seen, Rylee wasn’t there.

The next day Rylee was discovered by some campers. This time the Casas were able to find her.

"Our optimism grew... and we found her in 15 minutes," Ed Casas told WBPN.

Using hazard lights in rain is illegal in some states; use could cost you

Updated: Tuesday, August 30, 2016 @ 11:45 AM
Published: Tuesday, August 30, 2016 @ 11:17 AM
By: Kristina Webb

We've all been there: The rain is pouring down in sheets, you're white-knuckle holding the steering wheel of your car and the person in front of you suddenly turns on their yellow, blinking hazard lights, as if to say, "Here I am!"

But here's the thing: It's illegal in some states to have your hazard lights on while you're driving, and the ticket could cost you more than $100 in some counties.

>> Read more trending stories  

Sgt. Mark Wysocky, Florida Highway Patrol spokesman, said people may think they're helping others, but hazard lights can be misleading if used improperly.

metro Atlanta police department recently warned its residents that using hazard lights while you're driving may incorrectly signal to other motorists that you're stopped or otherwise traveling much slower than other traffic.

"They may think they're doing everybody a favor, but in reality they're creating confusion," Wysocky said, explaining that in some cars, the bulbs for hazard lights may be the same as the one for your brake lights or turn signals. "People may think you're stopped in the roadway."

Plus, hazard lights "turn off your ability to use your turn signals," one Georgia police department wrote in a January Facebook post.

So what should you do when the rain starts pouring down? Wysocky advises motorists turn on their headlights and windshield wipers and pay close attention to their surroundings. 

Here is a list of each state's rules regarding driving with hazard lights, according to AAA

Alabama: The use of hazard lights is permitted while driving unless otherwise posted.

Alaska: The use of hazard lights is not permitted while driving.

Arizona: Hazard light use is not permitted while driving except in an emergency situation.

Arkansas: Hazard light usage is not permitted while driving except to indicate a traffic hazard.

California: Hazard light use is not permitted while driving except to indicate a traffic hazard.

Connecticut: Hazard light use is permitted while driving unless otherwise posted.

Delaware: Hazard light use is not permitted while driving except to indicate a traffic hazard.

District of Columbia: Hazard light use is permitted while driving.

Florida: The use of hazard lights is not permitted while driving.

Georgia: The use of hazard lights is permitted while driving.

Hawaii: Hazard light use is not permitted while driving.

Idaho: Hazard light use is not permitted while driving except to indicate the presence of a vehicular traffic hazard requiring unusual care in approaching, overtaking or passing.

Illinois: The use of hazard lights is not permitted while driving.

Indiana: Hazard light use is not permitted while driving except in emergency situations.

Iowa: The use of hazard lights are not permitted while driving except to indicate a traffic hazard.

Kansas: Hazard light use is not permitted while driving.

Kentucky: Hazard light use is permitted while driving.

Louisiana: Hazard light use is not permitted while driving.

Maine: Hazard light use is not permitted while driving unless to indicate a traffic hazard.

Maryland: Hazard light use is not permitted while driving except in emergency situations.

Massachusetts: Hazard light use is not permitted while driving.

Michigan: Hazard light use is permitted while driving.

Minnesota: Hazard lights are not permitted while driving except to indicate a traffic hazard.

Mississippi: Hazard light usage is permitted while driving.

Missouri: Hazard light usage is permitted while driving.

Montana: Hazard lights are not permitted while driving except to indicate a traffic hazard.

Nebraska: Hazard light use is permitted while driving.

Nevada: Hazard light usage is not permitted while driving.

New Hampshire: Hazard light use is permitted while driving.

New Jersey: The use of hazard lights is permitted while driving.

New Mexico: Hazard light use is not permitted while driving.

New York: Hazard light use is permitted while driving unless otherwise posted.

North Carolina: Hazard light use is permitted while driving unless otherwise posted.

North Dakota: Hazard light use is permitted while driving unless otherwise posted.

Ohio: Hazard light use is not permitted while driving except when a hazardous condition is present.

Oklahoma: Hazard light use is not permitted while driving except in emergency situations and to indicate a traffic hazard.

Oregon: Hazard light use is permitted while driving unless otherwise posted.

Pennsylvania: Hazard light use is permitted while driving.

Rhode Island: Hazard light use is not permitted while driving.

South Carolina: Hazard lights may be used while driving for the purpose of warning the operators of other vehicles of the presence of a vehicular traffic hazard requiring the exercise of unusual care in approaching, overtaking or passing.

South Dakota: Hazard light use is permitted while driving.

Tennessee: Hazard light use is not permitted while driving except in emergency situations.

Texas: Hazard light use is permitted while driving.

Utah: Hazard light use is permitted while driving.

Vermont: Hazard light use is permitted while driving.

Virginia: Hazard light use is not permitted while driving except for emergency vehicles, stopped or slowed vehicles to indicate a traffic hazard, when traveling as part of a funeral procession, or traveling slower than 30 mph.

Washington: Hazard light use is not permitted while driving except to indicate a traffic hazard.

West Virginia: Hazard lights are not permitted while driving except in emergency situations.

Wisconsin: Hazard lights are not permitted while driving except to indicate a traffic hazard or when a hazardous condition is present.

Wyoming: Hazard light use is permitted while driving.

Is Colin Kaepernick breaking the law by not standing for the National Anthem?

Updated: Tuesday, August 30, 2016 @ 11:12 AM
Published: Monday, August 29, 2016 @ 10:44 AM
By: Debbie Lord - Cox Media Group National Content Desk


            Is Colin Kaepernick breaking the law by not standing for the National Anthem?
Five Fast Facts: Colin Kaepernick

On Friday, prior to a National Football League preseason game, San Francisco 49ers’ quarterback Colin Kaepernick opted not to stand during the playing  of the “Star-Spangled Banner."

Kaepernick explained following the game, “I am not going to stand up to show pride in a flag for a country that oppresses Black people and people of color. To me, this is bigger than football and it would be selfish on my part to look the other way. There are bodies in the street and people getting paid leave and getting away with murder.”

As controversy over Kaepernick’s decision spread, the NFL issued a statement over the weekend saying, “Players are encouraged, but not required, to stand during the playing of the National Anthem.”

While the NFL doesn’t require you stand when the anthem is played, the federal government has a different take on whether you should.

Here’s a quick look at what the United States Code says about how we should be conducting ourselves in the presence of the country’s flag and at the playing of the Star-Spangled Banner.

Are American citizens required to stand during the National Anthem?

According to Title 36 (section 171) of the United States Code, “During rendition of the national anthem when the flag is displayed, all present except those in (military) uniform should stand at attention facing the flag with the right hand over the heart. Men not in uniform should remove their headdress with their right hand and hold it at the left shoulder, the hand being over the heart. Persons in uniform should render the military salute at the first note of the anthem and retain this position until the last note. When the flag is not displayed, those present should face toward the music and act in the same manner they would if the flag were displayed there.”

The question, of course, is whether “should” in the first sentence means “must” or “shall.”

So does it, and what’s the penalty if I don’t stand?

No, it doesn't. Section 171 does not specify nor impose penalties for violating the section of the code. According to a Congressional Research Service report to Congress in 2008, “The Flag Code is a codification of customs and rules established for the use of certain civilians and civilian groups. No penalty or punishment is specified in the Flag Code for display of the flag of the United States in a manner other than as suggested. Cases ... have concluded that the Flag Code does not proscribe conduct, but is merely declaratory and advisory."

In other words,  the Flag Code serves as a guide, and it is followed on a voluntary basis. You won't be forced to stand for the National Anthem, nor hauled off to jail if you don't. Cases brought because of something in the code --  mainly ones that involve defacing the flag  -- have made their way to the U.S. Supreme Court where the justices have upheld that such conduct is protected  by the First Amendment.

There are no provisions in the code for either enforcement nor penalties.  

(A side note:  In Massachusetts, singing the National Anthem, “other than as a whole and separate composition or number, without embellishment or addition … or, as dance music, as an exit march or as a part of a medley of any kind, shall be punished by a fine of not more than one hundred dollars.” Same goes for enforcement here, no one will be arrested for dancinng to the anthem.) 

See other stories about Colin Kaepernick and the National Anthem:

>>Intense fan burns Colin Kaepernick jersey in protest

>>Victor Cruz criticizes Kaepernick's decision to sit during anthem

>>Colin Kaepernick's national anthem protest ignites debate on social media

How long has this been the law?

 

Until 1923, there was no law governing the display of the flag of the United States or direction on how to conduct yourself around it. On June 14 of that year, the National Flag Code was adopted by the National Flag Conference. Led by members of the Army and Navy, 66 groups came together to decide on procedures to display the flag and how to conduct oneself around the flag. It wasn’t until 1942 that Congress passed a joint resolution to make the standards Public Law 829: Chapter 806. That law spells out the exact accepted use, display, expected conduct in the presence of the flag, and pledge to be made to the flag.

What did Kaepernick say about staying seated?

From ESPN, here is a transcript of what Kaepernick said about this decision to remain seated during the National Anthem (the questions have been edited for length).

Why did you choose to do this?

People don't realize what's really going on in this country. There are a lot things that are going on that are unjust. People aren't being held accountable for. And that's something that needs to change. That's something that this country stands for freedom, liberty and justice for all. And it's not happening for all right now.

Is this something that's evolved in your mind?

It's something that I've seen, I've felt, wasn't quite sure how to deal with originally. And it is something that's evolved. It's something that as I've gained more knowledge about, what's gone in this country in the past, what's going on currently. These aren't new situations. This isn't new ground. There are things that have gone on in this country for years and years and have never been addressed, and they need to be.

Will you continue to sit?

Yes. I'll continue to sit. I'm going to continue to stand with the people that are being oppressed. To me this is something that has to change. When there's significant change and I feel like that flag represents what it's supposed to represent, this country is representing people the way that it's supposed to, I'll stand.

(inaudible)

There's a lot of things that need to change. One specifically? Police brutality. There's people being murdered unjustly and not being held accountable. People are being given paid leave for killing people. That's not right. That's not right by anyone's standards.

So many people see the flag as a symbol of the military. How do you view it and what do you say to those people?

I have great respect for the men and women that have fought for this country. I have family, I have friends that have gone and fought for this country. And they fight for freedom, they fight for the people, they fight for liberty and justice, for everyone. That's not happening. People are dying in vain because this country isn't holding their end of the bargain up, as far as giving freedom and justice, liberty to everybody. That's something that's not happening. I've seen videos, I've seen circumstances where men and women that have been in the military have come back and been treated unjustly by the country they fought have for, and have been murdered by the country they fought for, on our land. That's not right.

Do you personally feel oppressed?

There have been situations where I feel like I've been ill-treated, yes. This stand wasn't for me. This stand wasn't because I feel like I'm being put down in any kind of way. This is because I'm seeing things happen to people that don't have a voice, people that don't have a platform to talk and have their voices heard, and effect change. So I'm in the position where I can do that and I'm going to do that for people that can't.

Are you concerned that this can be seen as a blanket indictment of law enforcement in general?

There is police brutality. People of color have been targeted by police. So that’s a large part of it and they’re government officials. They are put in place by the government. So that’s something that this country has to change. There’s things we can do to hold them more accountable. Make those standards higher. You have people that practice law and are lawyers and go to school for eight years, but you can become a cop in six months and don’t have to have the same amount of training as a cosmetologist. That’s insane. Someone that’s holding a curling iron has more education and more training than people that have a gun and are going out on the street to protect us.

Do you think you might get cut over this?

I don’t know. But if I do, I know I did what’s right. And I can live with that at the end of the day.

Click here to see the full transcript of the interview.

How does that song go, again?

"The Star-Spangled Banner"

Oh, say can you see by the dawn's early light

What so proudly we hailed at the twilight's last gleaming?

Whose broad stripes and bright stars through the perilous fight,

O'er the ramparts we watched were so gallantly streaming?

And the rocket's red glare, the bombs bursting in air,

Gave proof through the night that our flag was still there.

Oh, say does that star-spangled banner yet wave

O'er the land of the free and the home of the brave?

Here's Whitney's version

California bill inspired by Brock Turner case closer to becoming law

Updated: Tuesday, August 30, 2016 @ 11:04 AM
Published: Tuesday, August 30, 2016 @ 10:47 AM
By: Briana Altergott


            California bill inspired by Brock Turner case closer to becoming law
In this June 2, 2016 photo, Brock Turner, 20, right, makes his way into the Santa Clara Superior Courthouse in Palo Alto, Calif. The six-month jail term given to Turner, the former Stanford University swimmer who sexually assaulted an unconscious woman after both attended a fraternity party, is being decried as a token punishment. (Dan Honda/Bay Area News Group via AP) 

Brock Turner's six-month jail sentence for sexually assaulting an unconscious woman sparked outrage from many who thought the punishment didn't fit the crime.

And now, California is just one step away from passing a law that would close a loophole that made Turner's lenient sentence possible.

>> Read more trending stories  

State lawmakers passed the bill Monday by a unanimous vote. If it's signed into law, it will make prison time mandatory for offenders convicted of sexually assaulting a person who is unconscious.

In the past, prison time was only required in sexual assault cases where force was used, which leaves out incidents in which a person couldn't fight back because they were unconscious or severely intoxicated.

In Turner's case, he was put behind bars at the Santa Clara County Jail, which critics thought was far more lenient than serving time in prison.

"Sexually assaulting an unconscious or intoxicated victim is a terrible crime, and our laws need to reflect that," assemblyman Bill Dodd, who helped write the legislation, said in a statement.

Turner, who was a swimmer at Stanford University, was found guilty in March of sexually assaulting an unconscious, intoxicated woman outside a fraternity party on campus.

He was sentenced in June, but he is expected to be released from jail Friday after serving only three months of his sentence.