Can you list six facts you learned — or came to appreciate in a more profound way — in the last month? Give it a try. It’s a pretty good exercise for the mind and probably a good way to retain things you’ve picked up from reading or watching the news.

I list six such things in my Sunday column, the main one being something that might sound boring (required arbitration) but is no less a fine-print scam fully authorized by Congress. Sign up for a checking account with a bank or plastic with a credit card company, and you’ve most likely signed away your right to sue the bank or credit card company should you have a serious dispute with either. This was done in the name of efficiency — reducing court cases and litigation — but it’s really there to protect big financial institutions. The outrageous and sad case I’ve highlighted in recent columns — 88-year-old Myrle Bratcher’s loss of $175,000 from her checking account — is a prime example of the type of ripoff that needs a judge or jury and a public courtroom, not lawyers serving as arbitrators in office buildings with no public scrutiny.

If you have not watched a Senate hearing in a while, you might want to watch the one conducted on this subject last Tuesday. Here’s the link to a video of the hearing; it starts about 12 minutes into the recording.

In the meantime, try Brain Gain: Write down six things you learned — or came to appreciate in a new way — in the last month. It’ll do you good.

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