Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin raised eyebrows recently when — in the face of federal ethics rules — he suggested that parents should take their kids to see the LEGO Batman Movie, one of many films on which the former Goldman Sachs executive has a producer credit. Mnuchin has already tried to downplay the incident, but today he officially told a government ethics watchdog that he won’t do it again, for real. [More]
Last night, against the reported wishes of party leadership, Republican members of Congress met behind closed doors to adopt an amendment to the House Rules package that would have effectively neutered an independent Congressional watchdog created in 2008. Following a huge backlash from the public and the President-elect, the lawmakers have now walked back this controversial effort, and will reconsider the change this summer. [More]
Odds are very, very good that you’ve been part of a scientific research experiment in the past few years. Probably more than 70% likely if you’re on the internet at all, and approaching 100% if you’re under 30. Why? Because those are the percentages of Americans who use Facebook… which is constantly conducting some of the largest-scale behavioral research ever done.
Comcast has been using every trick in the book to drum up approval for their pending merger with Time Warner Cable. They’re spending big on lobbyists, filling campaign coffers, relying on revolving doors, and strategically funding feel-good initiatives. But those are just icing on the cake. What really gives them confidence in their merger plan? The buddy-buddy relationship they’ve developed with regulators.
According to the consulting firm Reputation Institute, Amazon is the most reputable company in the United States and Freddie Mac is the least.
Employee: Borders Is Making Us Push Loyalty Cards That May Be Worthless If Company Declares Bankruptcy
Steve received an early, accidental Christmas present from Macy’s, which mistakenly issued a refund for a jacket he ordered online. Being paragons of moral virtue, Consumerist readers will no doubt tell him to let the retailer know about the goof and offer to pay for the jacket. But the question isn’t so much whether or not to tell Macy’s, but how much effort he’s morally obligated to exert in order to give Macy’s the chance to correct the error. Is an email to customer service enough? Does he need to follow it up until he receives a response?
Ever the hotbed of innovation, a new innovation in foreclosure defense is emerging in Florida. Until now, the big question for foreclosure lawyers is “how do we get paid?” If their client can’t afford to pay the bank, how are they going to pay for legal services? One firm has figured out a way. After the original mortgage is nullified or reduced, the client takes out a new mortgage for 40% of the savings, and pays it to the lawyer.
Sarah seems partly jubilant and partly terrified that a travel website failed to make her pay for a round trip flight to Alaska. She wants to protect herself and know whether or not she has to do anything more.
A reader emailed us to ask what he should do about an accounting mistake he discovered with some gift cards. He suspects the different parts of the hotel don’t update the card balance in real time, but it could also be that the hotel’s employees aren’t processing the card correctly. Now he’s wondering whether he should have said something.
Yesterday we wrote about someone who downloaded a pirated copy of a game after he couldn’t gain access to the copy he’d already paid for. In that case, which most of our commenters supported, it was clear that the consumer was trying to resolve a problem created by the DRM. But what about if you own a printed copy of a book and you simply want to read the ebook version? Should you have to pay for a second copy? Randy Cohen, who writes the The Ethicist column for the New York Times, says downloading a copy you find online is ethical.
TechCrunch canned a teen intern for asking for a MacBook Air in order to do a post about a Startup, Inquisitr reports, pointing out the site’s founder and co-editor Michael Arrington throws the kid under the bus, hardly acknowledging the lack of managerial oversight that made the practice possible.
“Homeowners should be walking away in droves. But they aren’t. And it’s not because the financial costs of foreclosure outweigh the benefits. One can have a good credit rating again–meaning above 660–within two years after a foreclosure.” That’s the conclusion reached by a law professor who’s written a paper about strategic default, which is when you elect to walk away from an underwater mortgage because you stand to lose more money trying to keep it than if you cut your losses immediately. The problem is, lots of people think it’s the wrong thing to do, because individuals are supposed to play by different rules than the companies they do business with.