FDL Movie Night: Hot Coffee

By: Monday December 19, 2011 5:00 pm

Hot Coffee, the fast-paced, info-packed exploration of tort reform exposes the real story behind Stella Liebeck, who sued McDonalds after being badly burned by spilled coffee, an incident which wrongly entered the collective consciousness as a prime example of a “frivolous” lawsuit. First time director Susan Saladoff, a civil litigator with 25 years of experience, uses the McDonalds coffee case as the starting point and from there builds a strong case that tort reform, binding arbitration and non-economic damage caps subvert justice and benefit big business.

 

Shocker: The More You Pay a Rating Agency, the More They Do Your Bidding!

By: Monday October 31, 2011 6:30 pm

Sit down for this one. Because you’re just not going to believe it. It seems that the more credit rating agencies are paid by corporations and banks to rate their debt, the more favorable ratings they hand out! This goes against everything I know about the untainted, incorruptible hand of the free market, and comes very close to shaking my faith in the credibility of the rating agencies.

Other Rating Agencies Implicated in DoJ Mortgage Bond Probe

By: Sunday August 21, 2011 7:00 pm

It turns out that the Justice Department is not only concerned with Standard and Poor’s but the entire credit rating agency industry, it appears. The reported investigation into the ratings of mortgage backed securities during the housing bubble is centered on S&P, but not limited to them.

US Debt Downgrades as Revenge for Dodd-Frank?

By: Wednesday August 10, 2011 7:02 pm

The Senate Banking Committee claims to be gathering information on S&P, but as Manns says this is an industry-wide phenomenon. Long ago, the government gave the rating agencies a good deal of power, and now they’re using it to protect their core business. I’d love to see Congress defy the rating agencies and reduce their role in bond deals (through mandating AAA securities in them), but I don’t see it happening.

Al Franken (D-MN) Can’t Trust Focus on the Family’s DOMA Testimony

By: Wednesday July 20, 2011 7:06 pm

In exposing Mr Minnery’s basic error in understanding the definition of “nuclear family” in the HHS study Minnery cited, Senator Franken made clear that such a fundamental mistake in reading the report made all of Minnery’s testimony suspect and unworthy of consideration by the committee.

Al Franken: “I Think We’ve Ceded Too Much Ground” in Deficit Debate

By: Friday June 17, 2011 4:20 pm

I talked to Franken via phone today, as he returned home from a funeral for a soldier killed overseas. His remarks tomorrow are really connected to the fear that we are seeing a flickering out of the American dream. “We have the greatest disparity in income since the 1920s. The middle class dream is fading, and we’re losing the argument on the economy. We need to gain back the initiative, and convince people that it’s ridiculous to be gutting Medicare, to essentially end it, in order to give huge tax cuts.”

Two Themes from Obama’s Cybersecurity Proposal: Private Auditors and Immunity

By: Thursday May 12, 2011 6:05 pm

Two and a half years after privatized auditors largely signed off on practices that contributed to the collapse of Wall Street, and a year after coziness between government inspectors and the oil industry they regulate allowed a massive oil spill in the gulf, the Obama Administration proposes relying on private auditors to ensure that private companies guard our nation’s cybersecurity.

GAO Report Calls Federal Oversight of Mortgage Servicers “Limited” and “Fragmented”

By: Friday May 6, 2011 2:50 pm

We definitely need strong federal servicer standards, and CFPB is a great place to house them. All the more reason to recess-appoint Elizabeth Warren as soon as possible.

Proper Reaction to S&P Credit Downgrade Threat: Bursting Out Laughing

By: Tuesday April 19, 2011 7:46 am

As James Fallows points out, S&P is basically making a guess, no more informed or uninformed than any observer of politics. No modeling went into this threatened downgrade. “They’re saying they have an opinion on the state of Congressional-White house dealings on the budget,” writes Fallows. “Fine. Go on a talk show or start a blog.”

Psy-Ops on Senators Just Another Example of Military Illegally Manipulating Information

By: Thursday February 24, 2011 7:45 am

Building on the success of his “The Runaway General” article that led to President Obama firing Stanley McChrystal, Michael Hastings returns to the pages of Rolling Stone with “Another Runaway General“, where he exposes information operations, or Psy-Ops, on dignitaries including US Senators as they visited Afghanistan on “fact-finding” trips. What should not be missed when contemplating the illegal and immoral aspects of this information operation directed against the citizens of the country and high level government officials is that it is just one more instance in an ongoing pattern of information manipulation and outright deception on the part of the military in recent years. A few recent examples include the use of retired generals posing as independent military analysts to spout information coordinated by the Pentagon, intentional deception to cover up Special Operations troops digging bullets out of the bodies of pregnant women they killed in a night raid and the more recent claim by General Petraeus that parents intentionally burned their children in order to exaggerate injuries received in a US attack, to name just a few.

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