The new $5 monthly fee Bank of America is charging debit card holders wasn’t just picked because the spreadsheet guys really like Subway $5 footlongs. There’s actually a calculation behind it. Here’s the math.
Maybe the real reason Americans are so fat is because our food labels are so ugly. If they were easier on the eye to read, maybe more people would read them and make better eating choices. That was the idea in mind behind a recent design contest at the University of California, Berkeley, School of Journalism aiming to give the standard government-mandated food label a much-needed makeover. The winning entry uses colored boxes for each ingredient that are sized in proportion to how much of each is inside the package.
It’s funny how similar the labeling tactics used by hucksters of fake snake oil used after getting busted by new laws in 1907 are to some techniques used by food and product packagers today.
The government proposes new regulation to make an industry safer. The industry shouts back that the new measures are “cumbersome and costly,â€Ÿ tantamount to “a confiscation of property.” A newspaper opines, “Excited persons rarely accomplish anything…No new laws are needed.” Trade groups issue dire warnings about how the new laws will wipe out entire industries and sacrifice jobs. Are these the latest response to new Consumer Product Safety Commission guidelines? Banking giants balking at financial reform? Nope, those were quotes from when fire protection guidelines were proposed after the Triangle Shirtwaist Factory fire of 1911, in which 146 garment workers died. Friday marks the 100th anniversary of this tragedy.
A tipster says that NBC is having employees submit new paperwork for a new personnel management software program that will take over after the Comcast merger, even though that merger hasn’t been approved by the FCC yet. Hmm. Here’s the note:
Here is the letter Comcast sent the FCC after eyebrows were raised when Level 3 accused the cable company of setting up a effective tollgate to collect fees when L3 tried to deliver Netflix content to Comcast customers.
The largest broadband backbone provider in the world says Comcast has set up a tollbooth, charging it a fee to deliver Netflix content to Comcast customers. “This action by Comcast threatens the open Internet and is a clear abuse of the dominant control that Comcast exerts in broadband access,” said Level 3 in a statement.
Last year the FTC asked online marketers to regulate targeted advertising, so in an attempt to avoid new regulatory policies the major ad industry groups have gotten together to launch a new service. Starting late summer, when a targeted ad from a participating marketer appears on your screen, you’ll be able to click a small icon somewhere on the ad and see your profile on that marketer’s site. You’ll also be able to then opt out of future ads from that ad network, reports Wired.
Ever since the FDA and Congress started asking Johnson & Johnson to explain why it keeps recalling medicine, there have been references to an unpublicized “recall” that happened in November 2008. Last month, at a hearing of the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee, a J&J executive swore that the company didn’t mean to mislead anyone. It turns out that wasn’t exactly accurate: Bloomberg has obtained emails from J&J’s company, McNeil Consumer Healthcare, that show executives knew the secret recall would trigger an FDA reaction if the agency got wind of its full scope.
Banks and card issuers warned against the credit card reforms that went into effect a few months back, but so far it’s been a good thing for consumers, according to new delinquency numbers.
An amendment to the financial overhaul bill banning the use of taxpayer funds for bank bailouts has been agreed upon in the Senate, says the LA Times.
One of the implied promises of a brand name, especially when it comes to drugs, is you can expect higher quality, but maybe that doesn’t apply when it comes to McNeil products.The FDA says the plant that produced the recently recalled children’s Tylenol, Motrin, Zyrtec and Benadryl, was using raw materials that were contaminated with bacteria. The plant also lacked adequate quality-control procedures and was dirty. So far none of the recalled medicine has tested positive for bacterial contamination, but the FDA report suggests that the contaminated material was used to make the recalled lots. The plant has been shut down indefinitely.
Do you work in a corrupt industry? The Daily Beast took a look at data gathered by Transparency International, a “global anti-corruption think tank,” and put together a list of America’s most corrupt professions. Everyone may be hating on Wall Street right now, but the worst offenders according to the criteria used are utilities. In second and third place were Wall Street and telecommunications, and media came in fifth, well before banking, insurance, or retail.
Senator Charles Schumer is upset on your behalf over Facebook’s latest loosening of its privacy policies, and yesterday he called for the FTC to step in and provide some guidance, offering to introduce legislation if the agency feels it needs that extra authority. Specifically, Schumer wants three things: opt-out defaults should be switched to opt-in, sites should always disclose where the information is going, and there should be some general “guidelines for user privacy” that sites follow.
The White House has released potions of a speech to be made by the president later today in NYC. In it Mr. Obama calls on banking industry lobbyists to halt their efforts to stop financial reforms that he feels are in the best interest of the market and the country.