Mattel Thought They Could Outsmart The Chinese Poison Train

Two weeks before announcing the recall of nearly 1 million toys tainted with toxic lead paint, Mattel was featured in the New York Times as a role model, the “gold standard” for companies manufacturing goods in China. The Chinese Poison Train’s ability to sneak past Mattel’s fortified defenses highlights the tremendous difficulties faced by well-meaning American manufacturers trying to police their supply chains. Mattel spared no expense to ensure the safety of their products.

http://consumerist.com/2007/07/30/monstercom-cuts-800-jobs-announces/

Monster.com cuts 800 jobs, announces plans to restructure. [CNBC]

IRS Fails Audit: Free File "Did Not Always Accurately Compute Taxes"

IRS Fails Audit: Free File "Did Not Always Accurately Compute Taxes"

A Treasury Department audit found that Free File users with kids may have missed out on several significant tax credits. Free File allows “low-income” Americans – taxpayers making under $52,000 per year – to file their taxes for free. The audit discovered that the program’s online affiliates “could not handle simple returns,” resulting in the following failures:

Ethanol Raises Prices As Part Of Continuing Crusade To Liberate Nation From Expensive Foreign Oil

Ethanol Raises Prices As Part Of Continuing Crusade To Liberate Nation From Expensive Foreign Oil

Ethanol is billed as the answer to America’s addiction to foreign oil, but the immense demand for the corn, from which ethanol is made, is also raising prices in supermarkets and restaurants across the nation. The demand to transform corn into ethanol has already doubled the average price for a bushel of corn from $2 to $4.

The corn price increases flow like gravy down the food chain, to grocery stores and menus. The cost of rounded cubed steak at local Harris Teeters is up from $4.59 last year to $5.29 this year, according to TheGroceryGame.com, which tracks prices. The Palm restaurant chain recently raised prices as much as $2 for a New York strip. And so on.

Michael Pollan best summarized our little-known reliance on corn in The Omnivore’s Dilemma:

Fairey Responds To Walmart Ripping Off His Nazi Shirt

Shepard Fairey told us what he thought about Walmart ripping off his Nazi tshirt design: [More]

Phone Record Lawsuit Over NSA Spying Dismissed

Phone Record Lawsuit Over NSA Spying Dismissed

A judge Tuesday tossed out an ACLU lawsuit against the government over over AT&T’s alleged turning over of phone records to the NSA.

Ken Lay Predicted His Own Death

Ken Lay Predicted His Own Death

The official Ken Lay info page, besides being a prime example of Web 1.0 brochureware, has a letter to visitors penned shortly after the trial’s conclusion. In it, he expresses surprise and shock (twice) at the outcome, some blah blah blah, and then, his belief that this is all part of God’s plan. In light of Ken’s recent “demise,” the concluding paragraph runs rife with irony and foreboding.

Consumer-Made Ad Mocks Chevy

Consumer-Made Ad Mocks Chevy

With all the bloat and spasmodic jibbering about consumer-generated ads, it’s nice to see one backfire. Chevy teamed up with The Apprentice to hold an online contest where you remix video and sound clips to make your own Chevy Tahoe ad. Winners receive their choice various expense paid trips.

Triple Indemnity: Keyspan Overestimates Gas Bills

Triple Indemnity: Keyspan Overestimates Gas Bills

Got bi-monthly bill from Keyspan. Gas supplier. Opened. Read.

The Consumerist’s Poor Customer Service

So as much as it pains me—Joel—to say this, I’ve got to tell you what I did, because it’s painfully ironic.