Fri December 16, 2011

SEC Sues Former Freddie, Fannie Executives

Originally published on Fri December 16, 2011 1:24 pm



In federal court in New York this morning, the Securities and Exchange Commission charged six top executives of Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac with civil fraud. The SEC says the executives of the giant mortgage companies mislead investors about the amount of subprime loans their companies held during the housing bust. NPR's John Ydstie reports.

Read more


Fri December 16, 2011
The Two-Way

Slugger Barry Bonds Sentenced To One Month House Arrest

Baseball slugger Barry Bonds will serve 30 days in house arrest for his obstruction of justice conviction back in April.

The San Francisco Chronicle reports:

"Bonds sat stoically as U.S. District Judge Susan Illston told baseball's home run king that he had avoided prison but must spend one month in his two-acre Beverly Hills estate, two years on probation, serve 250 hours of community service and pay a $4,000 fine.

Read more


Fri December 16, 2011
The Record

Music In Holiday Concerts Thorny Subject For Public Schools

Originally published on Mon December 19, 2011 10:59 am

A choir in Little Rock, Ark., performs.
dlewis33 istockphoto.com


Fri December 16, 2011
The Two-Way

Citing Eurozone Crisis, Fitch Threatens Downgrade Of 6 EU Countries

Originally published on Fri December 16, 2011 11:29 am

Fitch ratings agency, one of the big three, said today that it was considering downgrading the credit ratings of six Euro-zone countries. Italy, Spain, Ireland, Belgium, Slovenia and Cyprus could see their their rating cut by one or two notches.

The AP reports:

Read more


Fri December 16, 2011
The Two-Way

Family Of Agent Killed By 'Fast And Furious' Rifle Demands Accountability

Originally published on Fri December 16, 2011 1:19 pm

A year after Border Patrol Agent Brian Terry was killed by a weapon lost in a failed gunwalking operation, his family is calling on the U.S. government to hold those responsible accountable.

Read more


Fri December 16, 2011

For Hitchens, In Life And Death, An Unaware Cosmos

Originally published on Fri December 16, 2011 8:29 pm

Christopher Hitchens, shown here in 2010, began a lifelong battle with a God he didn't believe in when he was just 9 years old.
David Levenson Getty Images

Writer Christopher Hitchens, who died on Thursday from complications of cancer at the age of 62, leaves behind some 18 books and countless essays on politics and public figures. But his most lasting legacy may be his atheism and his long-running duel with what he considered the world's most dangerous threat: religion.

Read more


Fri December 16, 2011
Planet Money

Why Airlines Keep Going Bankrupt

Scott Olson Getty Images

The airline industry consistently breaks the number one rule of business: The job of the company is to make money.

"The industry in aggregate has lost about $60 billion over the 32 years since deregulation, " says Severin Borenstein, an economist at the Haas School of Business at U.C. Berkley.

Read more


Fri December 16, 2011
The Two-Way

'Layaway Santas' Are Spreading Cheer This Year At Kmarts

We need a heart-warming story and this fits the bill:

"At Kmart stores across the country," The Associated Press writes, "Santa is getting some help: Anonymous donors are paying off strangers' layaway accounts, buying the Christmas gifts other families couldn't afford, especially toys and children's clothes set aside by impoverished parents."

We're seeing stories about this happening in:

Read more


Fri December 16, 2011
Shots - Health Blog

An Early Exit For Early Retiree Insurance Program

Originally published on Fri December 16, 2011 9:36 am


The clock is winding down on a little known but very popular part of the Affordable Care Act that has helped employers offer health benefits to early retirees.

The $5 billion early retiree fund has already paid out $4.5 billion, and the last day to submit claims for any of the remaining funds is Dec. 31.

The federal health law created the fund to give employers an incentive to keep providing health insurance coverage for retirees between the ages of 55 and 65.

Read more


Fri December 16, 2011
Movie Reviews

An 'Impossible' Mission Full Of Fun And Wonder

Ethan Hunt (Tom Cruise) and his Impossible Mission Force go to great heights to combat the threat of a nuclear confrontation in Mission: Impossible — Ghost Protocol.
Paramount Pictures

The fourth Mission: Impossible picture is nonsense from beginning to end — and wonderful fun. The director is Brad Bird, of Ratatouille and The Incredibles and The Iron Giant, and there's no doubt now, in his live-action debut, that he's a filmmaker first and an animator second. Part 4, titled Mission: Impossible — Ghost Protocol, is in a different league from its predecessors.

Read more