Houston is a relatively young city. It was founded in 1836 on 6,642 acres of land. Today, Houston is the biggest city in Texas (where everything is big) and the fourth biggest in the US. With a population of about 2.2 million people from almost any culture and ethnicity you can think of, it would be strange if no one famous ever came out of it. Here are three of some of the well-known people to come out of the Space City.
Singer, songwriter, Grammy award winner, and namesake and franchise owner of the fast food chain with the best corn muffins, Kenny Rogers was born in Houston in 1938. He is best know for his country music, and scored one of his biggest hits when he recorded the duet “Islands in the Stream” with Dolly Parton in 1983. Rogers also tried his hand at acting in the 1980s series The Gambler among other, and he was pretty good for a true blue country singer. He now also has a record label, Dreamcatcher Entertainment.
The eccentric central figure played by Leonardo di Caprio in the movie The Aviator was born in Houston on Christmas Eve in 1905. Howard Hughes was heir to his family’s oil tool millions, and he invested it on films and his passion for flying. He was an excellent pilot and a shrewd producer. However, his main claim to fame was his bizarre behavior after a flying accident. He became a recluse and obsessive-compulsive. There were many rumors about what he did behind closed doors. He died in 1976, and this aroused public interest because of the fake wills that started surfacing.
The daughter of Mexican immigrants, Marlen Esparza was born in Houston in 1989. She grew up among people that were passionate about boxing. By the time she was 16, she managed to snag the National Championship, the youngest ever. She earned a place on the Olympic boxing team as a flyweight in 2012 and won a bronze medal.more info
From the very beginning, John Eddie Williams was always meant to be a lawyer.
His mother was endlessly fascinated with legal procedures and the law in general, and ended up pointing him into the direction of this practice. Perhaps he was always destined for this route. Williams goes on record to say that ever since he was younger, his mother used to tell people: “Johnny is going to be a lawyer!”
His beginnings were inspired by passion and curiosity because of that – and because he grew up with a father and a grandfather who were union longshoremen, he has always had an affinity and deep set compassion for the rights of individual workers. When he had first begun practicing law, he worked for an impressive firm that mostly had big name brand corporations as clients. This inspired him to start his own firm with the dedication to represent the proverbial “little guy” from “the bad guys.”
Some of his cases have included asbestos-related injury lawsuits, major plant explosions, and catastrophic injuries. Perhaps one of his most notable cases is that he represented the entire state of Texas against the tobacco industry, which resulted into the largest settlement in the history of the United States. He brings forth this same passion, integrity, and perseverance which has led him to have been once the president of the Texas Trial Lawyers Association as well as the Houston Trial Lawyers Association.
Having had graduated as cum laude from Baylor University in 1976 and graduating as first from Baylor University School of Law in 1978, he was the recipient of the Baylor Lawyer of the Year award in 2002 and was awarded Baylor Alumnus of the Year 2012-13. John Eddie Williams, Jr. has certainly done his mother, his family, his school, and his people proud, staying strong and firm in his beliefs, showing that there is still love in law.more info
It has been said that the world was never the same again after that one dreadful day in 2001 – and it was no accident. Fear of flying has only increased due to reports such as these and, as of more recent times, there have been more incidents that make people justifiably anxious with airborne travel. That is why, with the continuous advancement of technology, people work tirelessly in order to improve the system, never wanting for such incidents to occur again.
Though not as common as accidents that occur on land or sea, according to the website of the Sampson Law Firm, the aftermath of an airplane accident is so much more devastating. Sometimes, there is truly nothing that could have been done as perhaps the accident was born out of unforeseeable and uncontrollable circumstances. However, after all the devastation that airplane accidents have caused, it is the responsibility of all the crew and the manufacturers of these aircrafts to ensure passengers of only the safest form of transport that is possible. If an accident is caused due to negligence, you are warranted to take legal action in order to receive justice and due financial compensation.
There is no lack of warning or horrid stories from the past about the aftermaths of airplane accidents. It makes it that much more painful to have an accident that should have been preventable but wasn’t. If this is the case and you are looking for some closure and recompense for your loss, it is advisable for you to seek legal aid immediately.
The only thing that you need to be concentrating on is trying to get your life back together, or as normal as it can be again, after such a traumatic experience. However, seeking legal action will allow for those responsible for such a horrible situation to be accountable for their mistake or negligence and give the bereaved some semblance of peace that can only be achieved by a closed case.more info
A long-standing joke about lawyers is that they are actually “liars” who will take any money from you that they can. Don’t become a statistic and fuel this joke – select a lawyer that will really work for you! Read this article for tips on selecting someone that really knows their stuff.
Ask for a free consultation. Many lawyers will offer a free consultation, so you can have your questions answered. During the consultation, you can also see if you are comfortable with that lawyer. Always go to more than one free consultation so you have a good mix of lawyers to choose from.
A good tip to remember when looking to hire a lawyer is to make sure you find a lawyer that has the necessary experience that you’re looking for. If you’re going to court soon for a criminal case, it wouldn’t make sense to bring on a divorce lawyer, you’ll need a criminal lawyer.
Make sure that you have a decent interaction with any attorney before you invest any money. You may have to spend a good amount of time with your lawyer, so it is important that you choose one that you don’t have any issues working with. Take the time to sit down with any potential attorneys and see if you get a good feel for them.
Use Google to your advantage when it comes to hiring a lawyer. Look for reviews about any attorney you are considering. Some lawyers like the Abel Law Firm have reviews right there on their website. If the general consensus is that the attorney you are interested in is lazy and incompetent, you should do your best to look for another attorney to handle your case.
Instead of becoming a victim who must pay high bills for little quality service, do your homework and find a reliable lawyer. You can easily find someone that will help you in the courtroom. Remember these tips next time you find yourself in a sticky situation, so you can come out on top!more info
The da Vinci Surgical System – The Means to A Perfectly Accurate and Infection-free Surgical Procedure?
In the year 2000 the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approved the use of the da Vinci Surgical System, a multi-armed robotic surgical equipment designed to help surgeons perform surgeries with the greatest ease and accuracy. Though only controlled by a trained surgeon using a console, the capability of the da Vinci in carrying out surgical procedures through minimally invasive approaches has been lauded by a number of surgeons due to the surgical system’s precision, consistency and efficiency in highly delicate procedures in hard-to-reach body parts.
As of this year (2013) more than 2,000 da Vinci Surgical Systems have already been sold worldwide, including in Europe and Japan and the number of surgeries performed (involving prostatectomies, hysterectomies and urologic/ gynecologic) using the unit has already exceeded a million (400,000 in the US). The only drawback other hospitals have from having their own unit is the unit’s high cost, which is more than $1 million; there is a need for, at least, another hundred thousand dollars annually for maintenance.
The da Vinci Surgical System was manufactured by the American company Intuitive Surgical Inc., which has ties with S&P 500 and NASDAQ-100. Though surgeries where the unit is used take about an hour longer, cost of hospital stay is reduced since incisions made by da Vinci are smaller (and, therefore, less painful), requires only some stitches and heals quickly, allowing patients fast recovery.
Despite the training and utmost care during procedures, surgeons who have used the da Vinci Surgical System needed about half a dozen surgeries before getting really comfortable with it. This is because of the need to finally get used to losing that tangible feel of tissues and organs. This multi-armed robotic device has four major components which allow surgeons to effectively perform minimally invasive surgeries where 1cm incisions are precisely made and probability of infection is eliminated. These components include:
- The Surgeon console, which provides a magnified 3-D image of the surgical area. The surgeon, who is seated a number of feet away from the operating table, operates the instruments in real-time through the console.
- The Patient-side cart includes the robotic arms which come in direct contact with the patient. In 2003 Intuitive Surgical Inc. added another arm to the device which reduced the need for an operating room nurse by one. Besides the endoscope arm, the device’s other arms handle surgical instruments.
- The Endowrist instruments, which can be detached to allow switching from one robotic arm to another, using quick-release knobs, include functions like clamping, suturing and tissue manipulation. Attached to the robot’s perfectly steady hands (though replicating the every movement of the surgeon’s wrist, the robotic device is able to totally filter out hand tremors), these instruments allow surgeons to make key-hole or tiny surgical incisions which means minimal loss of blood and almost non-existent scars.
- The 3-D Vision System allows the surgeon to see everything 10-15 times larger. Images are displayed brightly, clearly and in real time. With fogging and distortions of images eliminated, incisions are made in perfect precision and accuracy.
Cases of deaths (5 were reported last year) and injuries due to surgical robot malfunction have surfaced, it is true. Though, compared to open or traditional surgery, the numbers are very minimal. Many surgeons still maintain that the da Vinci Surgical System, the only robotic system which the FDA has approved for soft-tissue surgery, is the safest and most accurate way of performing minimally invasive surgeries.more info
The 2010 Deepwater Horizon Oil Spill, also known as the BP oil spill and the largest environmental disaster to occur in the petroleum industry to date, affected thousands of individuals and businesses. The 4.9 billion barrels of oil that spilled into the Gulf of Mexico resulted in the loss of livelihood for those living along the coasts of Louisiana, Florida, Mississippi, Texas and Alabama as well as various long-term adverse health and environmental effects.
These thousands of affected individuals have a right to economic damage compensation for this accident which has since been found to be due to the negligence of BP, Halliburton Energy Services, TransOcean Inc., and Cameron International Corporation. As part of its agreement with the federal government, BP had established a $20 billion settlement fund which is to be used to expedite the BP oil spill claims processing of those affected.
Recently, however, there has been a hold put on the 600 claims being handled by New Orleans law firm Andry Lerner LLC by US District Judge Carl Barbier because of allegations of conflict of interest on the part of claims facility senior lawyers Lionel Sutton III and his wife Christine Reitano. Both have since resigned following the start of investigations into the alleged improper processing of claims favoring those been handled by the Andry Lerner firm in exchange for referral fees. BP oil spill claims processing is undertaken by most law firms on a contingent fee basis. This means that claimants will have to wait longer to get the compensation they deserve in order to pick up the threads of their lives.
This is tough news to hear for those still struggling to recover, especially since there has so far been no evidence to suggest that these allegations have any foundation in fact. This further attempt by BP to delay paying compensation to those they affected is an illustration of how big business will find ways and means to avoid their civil liabilities. Victims of negligence will not win if they do not have aggressive representation. If your livelihood has been affected by the Deepwater Horizon oil rig disaster, have your BP oil spill claims processing done by a law firm with a good track record in handling oil spill economic damage claims.more info
The creation of a parent-child relationship between individuals not naturally related is what adoption is all about. Through adoption, the adoptee, usually a child, is given all the privileges and rights as any member of the family and becomes an heir in the same family. The new legal relationship created through adoption simultaneously ends the natural parents’ rights over their child.
Adoption was initially viewed as a means for childless (married, opposite sex) couples to have children and normalize their union. Today, the present focus is for the child to be placed in an improved environment. The first modern adoption law, the 1851 Adoption of Children Act, was passed in Massachusetts; it recognized adoption as both a legal and social operation intended to promote child welfare rather than cater to the interest of the adopting adults.
There are two types of adoption recognized in the US: open adoption and closed adoption. While the birth mother may be allowed to choose who can adopt her child, as well as be permitted to maintain contact with, and visit, her child in open adoption, closed adoption requires the birth mother to relinquish her rights over her child and let the state decide as to who can adopt the child.
The website of the Law Office of Andrew A. Bestafka, Esq., reports that adoptions are regulated by state laws which vary between states. There are two major issues, though, that need to be resolved by all states regarding adoption: Who can adopt?; and, Who can be adopted?
Who can adopt?
Different states allow adoption to be made by:
- Any single adult
- A married couple
- A stepparent (can adopt her or his spouse’s birth child)
- Married persons who are legally separated or in one spouse is judged legally incompetent, may adopt singly
- Adopting parent must be at least 18 years old (some states require the age of 21, others 25, still others, require that the adopter ought to be at least 10 years, 14 years or 15 years older than the adoptee
Who can be adopted?
Varying states laws on who can be adopted, include:
- Persons below 18 years old
- A child who is legally free for adoption
- Any person, regardless of age, but so long as the adopting parents are older than the adult to be adopted
To fully understand your legal options with regard to adoption, a highly-qualified family lawyer will be able to provide you with the assistance you need. He or she will also be able to inform you of the specific adoption laws your state observes. Make sure you contact one in the event that you are considering adopting someone.more info
With over 200,000 miles of railroad track spanning across the US, 20,000 locomotives and 1,200,000 freight cars, trains are definitely major contributors to the nation’s transportation and economic growth. Thousands of Americans take the train to get to their destinations much faster; tourists ride it for an experience of America on rails, while tons of cargo and various goods have been transported from coast to coast on board it.
Since trains cover very long distances and often travel at high speeds, it is essential that these, and all of their parts, are always in good working condition for guaranteed safe and efficient travel. Also, since these incredibly powerful vehicles run only on rails, these rails will also have to be properly maintained and kept in good condition.
Many of those responsible for the maintenance of railroad tracks fail to do their job well, though. As a result, the number of train accidents for the past five years has steadily increased, averaging at least 5,500, with injuries going over 2,000 and fatalities numbering to about 600. In fact, according to the National Transportation Safety Board many railroad crossings are not properly maintained; many do not even have lights or safety gates that would protect motorists from approaching trains, especially at night.
There are other types of railroad accidents, including train colliding with another train, collision with another motor vehicle, derailment, driver fatigue, driver error, mechanical failure and improperly maintained tracks, which, by the way, cause 60% of all railroad deaths.
Besides taking lives and destroying properties train accidents have also caused spills of hazardous chemicals, endangering the lives of residents living near the site of the accident. With many train and railroad equipment already outdated and with the local governments having no absolute say about the train traffic in their particular state, maintenance and improvement of materials and equipment are sure to take much time.
The severity of harm committed against people and the tremendous amount in damage to property are just a couple of things that need to be addressed. According to the website of the Law Offices of Donald D. Guthrie, if the accident is due to the carelessness of a firm, another person, or a local government, then justice and compensation may be won for the victim.more info
More than 70 million children and teenagers (below 18 years old) presently populate the US, comprising nearly one fourth of the nation’s total population. The website of Alexander & Associates says that like any ordinary adult, sometimes young people act recklessly, engaging in different risky activities that may warrant either counseling or disciplinary actions. As recorded by the Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention (OJJDP), these activities include drinking and getting drunk, driving while intoxicated, carrying a weapon, attempting suicide, and engaging in sexual intercourse.
Though OJJDP research shows a downward trend in the number of juvenile crime in the US since the early 90s, the number is still more than a million. In fact, about 1.5 million juveniles get arrested annually for criminal activities that include shoplifting, vandalism and damage to property, murder and many others.
Reasons as to why these young people choose to engage in criminal activities, include:
- Some want to test the limits of parents and / or society
- Lack or leniency of rules and not enough supervision
- Substance abuse
- The kind of environment where the child has been and is exposed to
- The poverty level of the family
- Relationships (which can lead to gangs) developed inside or outside the school
- Peer pressure
Gangs are definitely major factors to juvenile crimes and, with at least 700,000 youths belonging to street gangs, there can be many who are being pressured and driven to commit offenses. Besides identifying the reasons behind the crimes, the OJJDP also gives the following information:
- Boys, more than girls, are prone to becoming juvenile delinquents. This can be due to the “male phenomenon,” which states that boys commit more crimes compared to girls since they are supposed to be more aggressive and as proof of their masculinity.
- Juvenile crimes are committed during and after school hours, specifically between 3 and 7 p.m. (surprisingly, crimes committed by adults usually peak between 8 p.m. and 12 midnight.
Crimes, whether committed by youth or adults, are a serious matter that require full attention. Oftentimes adolescents act irresponsibly without fully understanding the consequences of their actions. If any youth in your family or circle of friends has been charged with a crime, that person will definitely need legal assistance that may keep him or her from suffering harsh punishments which may only worsen his or her outlook in life.more info
Work-related or workplace injury is one type of personal injury that always registers a high rate of claim annually in the US. Due to this, the federal government has obligated all employers to include compensation insurance in the workers’ benefits which will ensure fast financial assistance or coverage in the event that a worker gets injured in the workplace.
Worker’s compensation, like Social Security is a mandated benefit; it includes payments for lost wages, death benefits, medical care and specific loss benefits (a benefit given to those whose jobs have caused permanent or severe deformity on their face, head or neck; this benefit is also given to those who have lost permanent use (whether part or whole) of their hand, finger, thumb, leg, toe, foot, sense of hearing and sense of sight.
The workers’ compensation benefit which was passed into law in 1908 is a much needed financial assistance, especially to construction workers, furnace repairers and installers, sandblasters, foundry workers, raw materials handlers, miners and many others who develop job-related illnesses even years after retirement. One very common mineral these workers are exposed to is silica, which can be inhaled in dust form during breaking or crushing of rocks and sands. Many are not fully aware of the deadly effect this widely used mineral has, though.
Inhalation of silica dust can lead to silicosis, a lethal form of lung illness that leaves the lungs scarred and inflamed. The effects of silicosis are irreversible, even though exposure to silica has long ceased.There are three known types of silicosis those affected can suffer from:
- Chronic Silicosis – this is the most common form of silicosis and its symptoms may remain undetected for many years. It worsens, though, as it progresses and can even lead to the development of heart disease.
- Accelerated Silicosis – it much like chronic silicosis, except that it develops fasters. This type is usually acquired after being exposed to larger amounts of silica dust in a short period of time.
- Acute Silicosis – this type of lung illness develops and worsens the fastest, with effects, including weight loss, fever, shortness of breath and cough. Respiratory failure is fast, resulting to death one or two years after symptoms appear.
Being made to work in a dangerous environment is one of the major offenses an employer can commit. Though no one may have intended that the worker suffer from a deadly illness, the effects of being exposed to deadly minerals have already progressed and these are irreversible.
The website of Williams Kherkher has information about how those who have suffered workplace injuries may be able to seek compensation. Such compensation that you legally could be a big financial boost to you and your family, for the cost of your medication and the financial losses that you may have suffered, and will still suffer from.more info