By Chuck Shepherd, Universal Press
-- In April, Richard Huether, the manager of the HoneyBaked Ham outlet in Cary, N.C., was shot in the stomach during a robbery of the store and hospitalized, with medical bills paid through worker compensation and his employee health benefits. In September, when his worker compensation expired (and though still at least three months away from returning to work), HoneyBaked fired him (forcing him to begin paying 100 percent of his insurance premiums and making subsequent insurance prohibitively expensive because of his new “pre-existing condition”). However, HoneyBaked human resources executive Maggie DeCan told WRAL-TV that the firing was for Huether’s own good, in that it would clear the way for him to receive Social Security disability payments. Said DeCan, “We couldn’t feel any worse for Rich, and we would do anything we could for him (except keep him on the payroll).”
-- The price of gasoline for U.S. troops in Afghanistan is about $400 per gallon, according to a U.S. House subcommittee in October, citing Pentagon officials (factoring in the security necessary to bring fuel through Pakistan).