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Disclosure/Conflict of Interest (Organizational)
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Date Fairness.com Resource Read it at: Oct 23, 2016 If your shampoo says “organic” on the label, it probably doesn’t mean anything (Buyer Beware)
QUOTE: for non-food items, such as shampoos, cosmetics, and textiles—there is no such certification process. The Federal Trade Commission has a “flexible” rule for industry, which requires marketers to have accurate and reliable science to back up their claims. But there is no formal definition for “organic” outside of food...
Quartz Aug 21, 2016 To Crack Down on Securities Fraud, States Reward Whistle-Blowers
QUOTE: In the aftermath of the financial crisis, a growing army of confidential informants — better known as whistle-blowers — has helped federal securities regulators identify and prosecute wrongdoers. Now the same thing is happening at the state level...
New York Times Dec 30, 2014 Intelligence, defense whistleblowers remain mired in broken system
QUOTE: Since 9/11, defense and intelligence whistleblowers such as Greenstein have served as America’s conscience in the war on terrorism. Their assertions go to the heart of government waste, misconduct and overreach: defective military equipment, prisoner abuse at Abu Ghraib, surveillance of Americans. Yet the legal system that was set up to protect these employees has repeatedly failed those with the highest-profile claims. Many of them say they aren’t thanked but instead are punished for speaking out. More than 8,700 defense and intelligence employees and contractors have filed retaliation claims with the Pentagon inspector general since the 9/11 attacks, with the number increasing virtually every year...
McClatchy DC Dec 06, 2014 Energy Firms in Secretive Alliance With Attorneys General
QUOTE: unprecedented, secretive alliance that Mr. Pruitt and other Republican attorneys general have formed with some of the nation’s top energy producers to push back against the Obama regulatory agenda...Attorneys general in at least a dozen states are working with energy companies and other corporate interests, which in turn are providing them with record amounts of money for their political campaigns, including at least $16 million this year. They share a common philosophy about the reach of the federal government, but the companies also have billions of dollars at stake.
New York Times Nov 19, 2014 A Rape on Campus: A Brutal Assault and Struggle for Justice at UVA
QUOTE: UVA's emphasis on honor is so pronounced that since 1998, 183 people have been expelled for honor-code violations such as cheating on exams. And yet paradoxically, not a single student at UVA has ever been expelled for sexual assault. "Think about it," says Susan Russell, whose UVA daughter's sexual-assault report helped trigger a previous federal investigation. "In what world do you get kicked out for cheating, but if you rape someone, you can stay?"
Rolling Stone Jun 05, 2014 G.M. Inquiry Cites Years of Neglect Over Fatal Defect
QUOTE: A sweeping internal investigation of General Motors released on Thursday condemned the company for its decade-long failure to fix a deadly safety defect, one that led to “devastating consequences,” including at least 13 deaths....The report offered an extraordinary window into a company where employees avoided responsibility...
New York Times Mar 06, 2014 Pitfalls Seen in a Turn to Privately Run Long-Term Care
QUOTE: a closer look at Tennessee, widely cited as a model, reveals hidden pitfalls as the system of caring for the frail comes under the twin pressures of cost containment and profit motive. In many cases, care was denied after needs grew costlier — including care that people would have received under the old system. “The notion of prevention saving money in the long run only works if you actually provide care in the long run,”
New York Times Feb 01, 2014 Law Doesn’t End Revolving Door on Capitol Hill
QUOTE: Federal ethics rules are intended to limit lobbying by former senior officials within one year after they leave the government. Yet even after the ethics rules were revised in 2007 following a lobbying scandal, more than 1,650 congressional aides have registered to lobby within a year of leaving Capitol Hill...
New York Times Jan 10, 2014 Death threats and denial for woman who showed college athletes struggle to read
QUOTE: when CNN asked UNC for comment on Willingham's research, officials initially denied knowing about it, and said: "Such analysis is not part of her job duties at the university." Then, after being shown the e-mails, a spokesperson admitted that Willingham did share her findings and did have permission from the university to do the research...
CNN (Cable News Network) Dec 27, 2013 Academics Who Defend Wall St. Reap Reward
QUOTE: major players on Wall Street and elsewhere have been aggressive in underwriting and promoting academic work. The efforts by the financial players, the interviews show, are part of a sweeping campaign to beat back regulation and shape policies that affect the prices that people around the world pay for essentials like food, fuel and cotton.
New York Times Dec 16, 2013 Judge Questions Legality of N.S.A. Phone Records
QUOTE: A federal district judge ruled on Monday that the National Security Agency program that is systematically keeping records of all Americans’ phone calls most likely violates the Constitution, describing its technology as “almost Orwellian” and suggesting that James Madison would be “aghast” to learn that the government was encroaching on liberty in such a way.
New York Times Dec 16, 2013 Glaxo Says It Will Stop Paying Doctors to Promote Drugs
QUOTE: The British drug maker GlaxoSmithKline will no longer pay doctors to promote its products and will stop tying compensation of sales representatives to the number of prescriptions doctors write, its chief executive said Monday, effectively ending two common industry practices that critics have long assailed as troublesome conflicts of interest.
New York Times Dec 14, 2013 The Selling of Attention Deficit Disorder: The Number of Diagnoses Soared Amid a 20-Year Drug Marketing Campaign
QUOTE: “The numbers make it look like an epidemic. Well, it’s not. It’s preposterous,”....The rise of A.D.H.D. diagnoses and prescriptions for stimulants over the years coincided with a remarkably successful two-decade campaign by pharmaceutical companies to publicize the syndrome and promote the pills to doctors, educators and parents. With the children’s market booming, the industry is now employing similar marketing techniques as it focuses on adult A.D.H.D., which could become even more profitable.
New York Times Nov 13, 2013 Meet the Punk Rocker Who Can Liberate Your FBI File: Ryan Shapiro's technique is so effective at unburying sensitive documents, the feds are asking the courts to stop him.
QUOTE: Invoking a legal strategy that had its heyday during the Bush administration, the FBI claims that Shapiro's multitudinous requests, taken together, constitute a "mosaic" of information whose release could "significantly and irreparably damage national security" and would have "significant deleterious effects" on the bureau's "ongoing efforts to investigate and combat domestic terrorism."
Mother Jones Oct 20, 2013 Legislative panel examines mystery fee for water and sewer connections in new homes
QUOTE: unexplained and unexpected charges that has made it more difficult to afford their homes. The charge is assessed for the installation of pipes that connect new homes to the public water and sewer system. But in 1998, the Maryland General Assembly changed the law for Montgomery and Prince George’s counties to allow developers, rather than the public water and sewer commission, to lay the pipes, and then charge homeowners for the work.
Washington Post Oct 18, 2013 US drone strikes violate international law, says UN: Report says 33 CIA attacks led to civilian deaths and casualties and says US protocols are 'hurdle to transparency'
QUOTE: A United Nations investigation has so far identified 33 drone strikes around the world that have resulted in civilian casualties and may have violated international humanitarian law. The report by the UN's special rapporteur on human rights and counter-terrorism, Ben Emmerson QC, calls on the US to declassify information about operations co-ordinated by the CIA and clarify its positon on the legality of unmanned aerial attacks.
Guardian Unlimited Sep 24, 2013 Don't get blind-sided by hidden travel fees
QUOTE: That cheap rate on the screen rarely includes all fees. Without the help of a knowledgeable travel agent or a resource like NerdWallet that compares fees for a given airline route, it's challenging to calculate your total cost. Hotels, cruises and especially airlines like this model because fees have allowed them to stay profitable while slashing their base prices to appear competitive.
CNN/Money Magazine Sep 20, 2013 Fukushima Forever
QUOTE: Fukushima is just the latest episode in a dangerous dance with radiation that has been going on for 68 years. Since the atomic bombing of Nagasaki and Hiroshima in 1945 we have repeatedly let loose plutonium and other radioactive substances on our planet, and authorities have repeatedly denied or trivialized their dangers. The authorities include national governments (the U.S., Japan, the Soviet Union/ Russia, England, France and Germany); the worldwide nuclear power industry; and some scientists both in and outside of these governments and the nuclear power industry. Denials and trivialization have continued with Fukushima.
Huffington Post Jul 31, 2013 White House Closes Inquiry Into Afghan Massacre – and Will Release No Details
QUOTE: Soon after taking office, President Obama pledged to open a new inquiry into the deaths of perhaps thousands of Taliban prisoners of war at the hands of U.S.-allied Afghan fighters in late 2001. Last month, the White House told ProPublica it was still “looking into” the apparent massacre. Now it says it has concluded its investigation – but won’t make it public.
ProPublica Jun 23, 2013 Anger mounts after Facebook's 'shadow profiles' leak in bug
QUOTE: Facebook said Friday it fixed a bug that exposed contact info for over six million accounts. The admission revealed its 'shadow profile' data collection activities, and users are furious.
ZDnet Jun 22, 2013 Halving the Portion, but Not the Price (The Haggler)
QUOTE: You’re at a grocery store and pick up your favorite jar of peanut butter — or box of pasta, or can of soup — and realize that something is a little off. Like, 20 percent off....A lot of shrinkage is so subtle that it’s hard to escape the sense — and please forgive the Haggler’s cynicism here — that manufacturers may be trying to sweeten their profits on the sly. Because rarely do these reductions in container size come with proportional reductions in price.
New York Times May 31, 2013 Hunch About Bloomberg Brought Rivals Together (Dealbook)
QUOTE: Goldman Sachs and JPMorgan Chase are usually bitter rivals, competing for lucrative banking and trading business. But one day in April, the Wall Street titans found common ground: frustration with the Bloomberg news and financial data empire....they believed that Bloomberg reporters were using the company’s data terminals to monitor Wall Street sources — the executives at the banks that were spending thousands of dollars a year to use the data-rich machines.
New York Times May 01, 2013 Cellphone Thefts Grow, but the Industry Looks the Other Way
QUOTE: new nationwide database for stolen cellphones, which tracks a phone’s unique identifying number to prevent it from being activated, theoretically discouraging thefts. But police officials say the database has not helped....Some law enforcement authorities, though, say there is a bigger issue — that carriers and handset makers have little incentive to fix the problem.
New York Times Mar 15, 2013 JPMorgan Executives Face Withering Questions at Senate Hearing
QUOTE: ...[Senator] Levin and a handful of colleagues questioned current and former executives about the bank’s risk management, oversight policies and pricing methods. The lawmakers took aim at JPMorgan for misleading investors and regulators about the disastrous bet, building off a scathing, 300-page Congressional report...
New York Times Mar 04, 2013 Embattled Scottish Cardinal O'Brien apologizes for 'my sexual conduct'
QUOTE: A Scottish cardinal who had earlier challenged allegations of sexual impropriety -- claims that once again shined an international spotlight on alleged sexual abuse involving Roman Catholic clergy -- reversed course Sunday and apologized....Two Italian publications said Benedict, 85, resigned not because of his advanced age but because of a brewing scandal over the blackmail of gay priests by male prostitutes in Rome.
CNN (Cable News Network) Mar 02, 2013 Selling the Home Brand: A Look Inside an Elite JPMorgan Unit
QUOTE: To bolster sales, said the advisers, many of whom spoke on the condition of anonymity because they feared retribution, JPMorgan largely pushes its own bank-branded investments, which include a mix of mutual funds. While the practice can be legal, competitors have moved away from such investments after facing perceived conflicts. The concern is that, driven by fees, banks will push their own products over lower-cost options with stronger returns.
New York Times Feb 10, 2013 Complex Investments Prove Risky as Savers Chase Bigger Payoff
QUOTE: Regulators across the country are confronting a wave of investor fraud that is saddling retirement savers with steep losses on complex products that until a few years ago were pitched only to the most sophisticated investors. The victims are among the millions of Americans whose mutual funds and stock portfolios plummeted in the wake of the financial crisis, and who started searching for ways to make better returns than those being offered by bank deposits and government bonds with minuscule interest rates.
New York Times Feb 04, 2013 U.S. Accuses S. & P. of Fraud in Suit on Loan Bundles
QUOTE: The Justice Department filed civil fraud charges late on Monday against the nation's largest credit-ratings agency, Standard & Poor's, accusing the firm of inflating the ratings of mortgage investments and setting them up for a crash when the financial crisis struck....From September 2004 through October 2007, S.&P. "knowingly and with the intent to defraud, devised, participated in, and executed a scheme to defraud investors" in certain mortgage-related securities, according to the suit filed against the agency and its parent company, McGraw-Hill Companies. S.&P. also falsely represented that its ratings "were objective, independent, uninfluenced by any conflicts of interest," the suit said.
New York Times Dec 13, 2012 DealBook Conference Was Impressive, Lucrative and Chummy
QUOTE: Here is what the conference did not have going for it: A great deal of distance between sources and those who cover them — something traditionally thought to be a bedrock journalistic idea....DealBook – a blog and print section dedicated to coverage of mergers and acquisitions and other related subjects — is something of an oddity at The Times. A rainmaker for the company, it has garnered its share of critics who see it as too soft on its sources.
New York Times Dec 11, 2012 Scientists Propose Central Database for Disclosing Conflicts of Interest
QUOTE: a lack of standardization in COI disclosures increases the administrative burden on physicians and increases the chances of being accused of incomplete and misleading statements. As a solution, their committee — facilitated by the Institute of Medicine — recommends the creation of a centralize database for the disclosure and reporting of interests.
Scholarly Kitchen Nov 24, 2012 As drug industry’s influence over research grows, so does the potential for bias
QUOTE: What only careful readers of the article would have gleaned is the extent of the financial connections between the drugmaker and the research.Whether these ties altered the report on Avandia may be impossible for readers to know. But while sorting through the data from more than 4,000 patients, the investigators missed hints of a danger that, when fully realized four years later, would lead to Avandia’s virtual disappearance from the United States: The drug raised the risk of heart attacks....
Washington Post Oct 24, 2012 Tax Policy Center in Spotlight for Its Romney Study
QUOTE: No white paper or policy manifesto put out during the presidential campaign has proved more controversial than an August study by the Washington-based Tax Policy Center, a respected nonprofit that issues studiously detailed tax analyses. That study found, in short, that Mr. Romney could not keep all of the promises he had made on individual tax reform...
New York Times Oct 18, 2012 Boy Scout Files Detail Decades of Abuse Accusations
QUOTE: Regrets and recriminations about how the Boy Scouts of America have policed the ranks of its scoutmasters and other volunteers to guard against sexual predators — and how they have often failed — echo through the thousands of pages of internal documents, police files and newspaper clippings....They do not suggest that scouting was riddled with sexual stalkers.
New York Times Aug 17, 2012 Prestigious Emory University intentionally misreported student data to rankings magazines for more than a decade, the Atlanta school disclosed Friday, adding its high-profile name to a growing list of
QUOTE: Prestigious Emory University intentionally misreported student data to rankings magazines for more than a decade, the Atlanta school disclosed Friday, adding its high-profile name to a growing list of institutions caught up in scandals over rankings pressure.
Seattle Times Aug 14, 2012 A Giant Hospital Chain Is Blazing a Profit Trail
QUOTE: HCA’s emergence as a powerful leader in the hospital industry is all the more remarkable because only a decade ago the company was badly shaken by a wide-ranging Medicare fraud investigation that it eventually settled for more than $1.7 billion. Among the secrets to HCA’s success: It figured out how to get more revenue from private insurance companies, patients and Medicare by billing much more aggressively for its services than ever before; it found ways to reduce emergency room overcrowding and expenses; and it experimented with new ways to reduce the cost of its medical staff, a move that sometimes led to conflicts with doctors and nurses over concerns about patient care.
New York Times Jul 26, 2012 The Real Problem With Offshore Tax Havens
QUOTE: one doesn’t necessarily have to fly to the Channel Islands with a bag of cash to stash ill-gotten gains or evade the taxman anymore. The past 30 years have seen the evolution of a mainstream financial system that is global in scope and that through secrecy and complexity has enabled itself to profit handsomely off of the tax evasion of the world’s richest citizens.
Time Magazine Jul 25, 2012 Are cruise lines 'dumping' sick passengers?
QUOTE: I asked Royal Caribbean about its policy on dropping off passengers and whether the Claussens could have done anything differently. It declined to answer. Walker says that cruise lines keep their policies on emergency care confidential.
Seattle Post-Intelligencer Jul 23, 2012 Why the NCAA’s Sanctions on Penn State are just dead wrong
QUOTE: The punishment levied by Emmert was nothing less than an extra-legal, extra-judicial imposition into the affairs of a publicly funded campus...Take a step back from the hysteria and just think about what took place: Penn State committed no violations of any NCAA by-laws.
Nation Jul 06, 2012 A Fancy Financial Adviser Title Does Not Ensure High Standards
QUOTE: Investors can’t be blamed for failing to recognize the differences between a glorified salesman pushing a particular fund and a true investment adviser who is required to act in your best interest, but there are many.
New York Times May 24, 2012 Beware small investors: Facebook was just a warning
QUOTE: a bipartisan bill, innocuously named the JOBS Act, rolled back these and other investor protections for companies with less than $1 billion in revenue, deemed emerging growth companies. Once again, research analysts can communicate directly with management and if desired share favorable (or unfavorable) reports....Prior to Sarbanes-Oxley, researchers at Cornell and Dartmouth universities found that analysts affiliated with the underwriting bank issued buy ratings to prop up dropping stocks...
CNN (Cable News Network) May 06, 2012 Study Says Broker Rebates Cost Investors Billions
QUOTE: The rules governing Wall Street generally force stockbrokers to seek out the best prices for clients who pay them to buy and sell shares. In recent years, though, brokers have had another enticement that can pull them in a different direction: payments from stock exchanges in return for sending them business.
New York Times Apr 28, 2012 How Apple Sidesteps Billions in Taxes
QUOTE: The growing digital economy presents a conundrum for lawmakers overseeing corporate taxation: although technology is now one of the nation’s largest and most valued industries, many tech companies are among the least taxed, according to government and corporate data. Over the last two years, the 71 technology companies in the Standard & Poor’s 500-stock index — including Apple, Google, Yahoo and Dell — reported paying worldwide cash taxes at a rate that, on average, was a third less than other S.& P. companies’.
New York Times Apr 21, 2012 Vast Mexico Bribery Case Hushed Up by Wal-Mart After Top-Level Struggle
QUOTE: Wal-Mart dispatched investigators to Mexico City, and within days they unearthed evidence of widespread bribery. They found a paper trail of hundreds of suspect payments totaling more than $24 million. They also found documents showing that Wal-Mart de Mexico’s top executives not only knew about the payments, but had taken steps to conceal them from Wal-Mart’s headquarters....The lead investigator recommended that Wal-Mart expand the investigation. Instead, an examination by The New York Times found, Wal-Mart’s leaders shut it down.
New York Times Apr 17, 2012 DOJ review of flawed FBI forensics processes lacked transparency
QUOTE: Attorney General Janet Reno and FBI Director Louis J. Freeh decided to launch a task force to dig through thousands of cases involving discredited agents, to ensure that “no defendant’s right to a fair trial was jeopardized,”...The task force took nine years to complete its work and never publicly released its findings. Not the results of its case reviews of suspect lab work. Not the names of the defendants who were convicted as a result. And not the nature or scope of the forensic problems it found. Those decisions more than a decade ago remain relevant today for hundreds of people still in the U.S. court system, because officials never notified many defendants of the forensic flaws in their cases and never expanded their review to catch similar mistakes.
Washington Post Mar 19, 2012 A Drumbeat on Profit Takers
QUOTE: Their joint crusade, stated repeatedly in editorials for the journal and since expanded in books and dozens of articles in the lay press, is against for-profit medicine, especially its ancillary profit centers of commercial insurance and drug manufacture — in Dr. Relman’s words, “the people who are making a zillion bucks out of the commercial exploitation of medicine.”
New York Times Mar 07, 2012 More Angst Over Pepper Spray
QUOTE: The UC police union and the former officer at the center of the controversy filed for the stay after hearing from a lawyer that the report would contain confidential personnel information, the release of which is prohibited under state penal code....Cruz Reynoso, the law professor emeritus at Davis and former associate justice of the California Supreme Court who was tapped to chair the task force, was outraged at the request – in particular, at its last-minute delivery – and worried that it could prevent the truth of what happened from coming out.
Inside Higher Ed Mar 06, 2012 Female service members sue U.S. military for alleged rape, sexual assault
QUOTE: '"Although defendants testified before Congress and elsewhere that they have 'zero tolerance' for rape and sexual assault, their conduct and the facts demonstrate the opposite: They have a high tolerance for sexual predators in their ranks, and 'zero tolerance' for those who report rape, sexual assault and harassment," according to the lawsuit...'
CNN (Cable News Network) Feb 29, 2012 Stop the ‘Do Not Track’ Madness
QUOTE: There are certainly aspects of our lives where genuinely intrusive practices can have serious detrimental impacts. But with so much in our world that needs attention, a misguided focus on web advertising personalization is not only irrational, but could ultimately undermine the “free services” basis of the web in ways that we could very soon come to severely regret.
Wired Feb 15, 2012 Apple: Apps need 'explicit approval' before collecting user contacts
QUOTE: Apple on Wednesday said it will start requiring mobile apps to get explicit permission from iPhone and iPad owners before the apps collect and store information about users' personal contacts. The statement came after a week of revelations that popular social tools like Twitter and Path were doing just that -- sometimes without the user even knowing it.
CNN (Cable News Network) Feb 10, 2012 The Afghanistan Report the Pentagon Doesn't Want You to Read
QUOTE: a bombshell piece about Lt. Colonel Daniel Davis, a 17-year Army veteran recently returned from a second tour in Afghanistan. According to the Times, the 48-year-old Davis had written an 84-page unclassified report, as well as a classified report, offering his assessment of the decade-long war. That assessment is essentially that the war has been a disaster and the military's top brass has not leveled with the American public about just how badly it’s been going.
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