Monthly Archives: August 2011

J.P. Morgan Chase makes record settlement for violations

Marshall Thompson J.P. Morgan Chase settled with the U.S. Treasury Department last week to pay $88 million for sanctions violations last week. It’s the largest fee a U.S. bank has ever paid. According to the Wall Street Journal, the U.S. charged that “between December 2005 and March 2011, J.P. Morgan Chase violated several sanctions orders related to…

Hurricanes and Moral Hazard

Yevgeny Shrago This weekend’s highly hyped hurricane didn’t materialize with the expected vengeance, but it did manage to do significant damage to property across the Mid-Atlantic and Northeast.  Flooded out homeowners find themselves in two very different categories: those with flood insurance and those without.  Since most private insurers won’t provide flood insurance, deeming it too risky, the government…

Big Tobacco v. The FDA: Are the new label requirements constitutional?

Jessica Jackson  Unless you’ve been living under a rock for the last thirty years, you’re probably aware that smoking cigarettes can cause emphysema, lung cancer, and other dangerous respiratory and pulmonary diseases.  However, every day millions of people across the country continue to light up and inhale these poisons.  In response, the FDA decided recently…

Slave labor still a part of U.S. economy

Marshall Thompson Despite the 13th Amendment and strong laws against human trafficking, slavery continues to be a part of the U.S. economy. Recently, the feds busted a human trafficking ring in Wyoming that was providing labor for the hospitality industry. So, the person who helped you with your bags at the Holiday Inn Express might seem perfectly willing, but was…

Justice Denied in Manhattan

Billy Corriher  On Tuesday, a New York judge dropped the rape charges against Dominique Strauss-Kahn, the former head of the International Monetary Fund.  The judge acted at the request of the Manhattan District Attorney, who argued that his case against Strauss-Kahn is ruined.  The District Attorney noted that the evidence of two critical elements – force and…

No “Top Tier” – It’s Still Romney v. Everyone Else

Jake Laperruque  It’s been 10 days since Rick Perry announced his candidacy for President, and the Texas governor has already jumped to the top of the pack.  Or, to use the term latched onto by the media, he’s moved into the Top Tier, where Perry, Michelle Bachman and Mitt Romney battle for the nomination.  But while…

Zee Public Authority Problem

Yevgeny Shrago NPR’s Planet Money has an interesting story about why the Tappan Zee Bridge is in the wrong place, on a much wider part of the Hudson River than if it had been placed a few miles farther south.  Essentially, the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey had a monopoly on all bridges within…

Inhibiting Speech by Throwing a Switch

Mark Wilson San Francisco’s Bay Area Rapid Transit (BART) last week earned the ire of the hacker group Anonymouswhen it shut off cell phone service on train platforms— in anticipation of a protest over BART officers’ fatal shooting of a knife-wielding man in the Civic Center station. That protest never happened, but the cell phone shutdown…

Holding Someone Accountable for Torture

Billy Corriher  David Vance – a Navy veteran – was working for an Iraqi security company in 2006.  He began to suspect his employer of corruption.  Vance and fellow whistleblower Nathan Ertel gave evidence to the FBI, but their employer became suspicious of their efforts and effectively detained them.  When they were transferred to the…

Oh TPaw, We Hardly Knew Ye

Jake Laperruque  With over five months to go before the Iowa Caucus, the 2012 GOP primary has its first casualty.  Poor TPaw had no chance; his campaign couldn’t even handle an unofficial straw poll with barbeque and fried butter on a stick, and came to an abrupt end after he placed an unimpressive third behind Michelle…

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