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Feed aggregator
The "Can't Find Workers" Meme

CJR Daily - February 21, 2012 - 7:59pm
In a time when millions of American workers can't find work, it's only natural to be
intrigued by counterintuitive stories that claim American companies can't find workers.
I like to imagine the newsroom conversations go something like this: EDITOR: Meh. I've
read 10,000 stories on how Americans can't find work, Scoop. Find me some news.
REPORTER: Well, say, what about...
Categories: Media

Two Wall Street Players Ensnared in New Probe

Pro Publica - February 21, 2012 - 6:59pm

by Jake Bernstein

More than three years after the financial crisis, Wall Street watchdogs are still
uncovering questionable actions rooted in that time. The latest revelation involves one
of the more creative packagers of securities who contributed to a trail of billions in
soured deals, as well as a much-maligned rating agency.


The Financial Industry Regulatory Authority — an independent, non-governmental
regulatory body — has recommended disciplinary action against two men for “alleged
misrepresentations in connection with the sale” of a complex security.


The recommendation is preliminary. No civil or criminal charges have been filed.

The men, Alexander Rekeda and Timothy Day, are both affiliated with Guggenheim
Capital, a privately held, financial services company that does everything from trading
securities to providing investment advice. According to its web site, the firm,
headquartered in New York, has 1,700 employees in 25 offices located in 10 countries,
and it manages about $125 billion.


A lawyer for Rekeda could not be reached for comment. ProPublica has learned that he
is no longer with Guggenheim. Day, who is still at Guggenheim, did not respond to a
request for comment. We will update this post when they are reached.
FINRA has been investigating the men over the sale of a type of security known as a
collateralized loan obligation, or CLO. The investigation touches on a CLO called Nine
Grade Funding II, although it remains unclear if this CLO is the main focus of the probe.
FINRA’s filing did not elaborate on the type or character of the “alleged
misrepresentations” it said were involved in the sale of the CLO it is investigating.

In a story published Monday evening, the Wall Street Journal reported that Rekeda was
under investigation by FINRA for an unnamed CLO. The Journal also reported that
Rekeda is being investigated by the Securities and Exchange Commission for a
collateralized debt obligation, or CDO, he helped construct while employed by the
Japanese bank Mizuho.


As we detailed in our series the Wall Street Money Machine, Rekeda was involved in the
creation of several CDOs with Magnetar, a hedge fund that helped put together more
than $40 billion of the securities. Magnetar often lobbied for riskier assets to be put
into the CDOs and then placed bets against many of the investments, reaping
tremendous profits when the deals soured. (Magnetar has never been charged with any
wrongdoing, and has always maintained that it did not have a strategy to bet against
the housing market.) The investigation into Rekeda is one of the few public signs that
regulators are considering charges against a top banking executive involved in a
Magnetar deal.


Nine Grade Funding was a CLO comprised of other CLOs backed by corporate loans. It
was issued at a time when few such securities were being sold. The CLO was featured
prominently in allegations by a whistleblower, Eric Kolchinsky, against the rating agency
Moody’s. Kolchinsky alleged that Moody’s allowed bonds to be added to the CLO in
January 2009 and that it allowed the CLO to keep its previous rating. Moody’s took
these actions, according to Kolchinsky, despite plans already in the works by the rating
agency to downgrade all such securities. Moody’s denied the allegations. After
Kolchinsky was forced out of the firm, he testified about the deal before the House
Committee on Oversight and Government Reform.

Categories: Media, Politics

Dear John King

CJR Daily - February 21, 2012 - 3:22pm

A day before the CNN Arizona Republican debate, moderator John King sits down to
take your questions live. Send your questions via Twitter to @JohnKingCNN, then watch
for live answers. Join the conversation. (CNN Live) OK! John is in listening mode. As for
me, I can’t squeeze a thought into 140 characters right now, so I’ll use...
Categories: Media

Pioneering a Way to Distinguish Blood Disorders From Child Abuse
Pro Publica - February 21, 2012 - 3:16pm

by Gretchen Gavett, Special to ProPublica


Last year, as part of our ongoing investigation into the troubled state of death
investigation in America, PBS "Frontline," ProPublica and NPR took a closer look at what
can be the most troubling and difficult cases — suspicious deaths of young children.



We discovered a growing awareness in the medical community of a variety of
diseases that can mimic the symptoms of child abuse, including hereditary
blood disorders, leukemia and vitamin K deficiency.

One doctor we spoke to — Dr. Michael Laposata, a pathologist and blood-clotting
expert at Vanderbilt University who co-published a 2005 study on diseases that can
mimic abuse — is pioneering a new blood testing regimen to rule out these types of
disorders.

"If you're lucky, most places ... do the three routine tests: PT, PTT [both blood-clotting
tests] and a platelet count, and that's it," Dr. Laposata told FRONTLINE in a phone
interview. "It turns out most of the kids that have a bleeding problem have something
other than that."


Laposata and his colleagues have devised a system to make blood testing as foolproof
as possible for doctors in cases of potential abuse: They created a tiered series of blood
tests, known as a "Non-Accidental Injury Coagulation Panel," which can identify
underlying disorders that are more common in children. The panel can be performed
with a small amount of blood, which is key when the patient is a baby.

"I think it's the most comprehensive evaluation for a bleeding disorder that anybody
has put forth to date," Laposata said.

The panel is expected to be introduced soon at Vanderbilt and Dr. Laposata hopes to
study its efficacy and to follow cases through the system over the years.

Because blood tests like these can only be performed on living patients whose blood is
still flowing, a gap remains in diagnosing underlying conditions from autopsies.
Laposata hopes that advances in genome testing could someday help close it, allowing
for hereditary disorders to be better identified.


He said he also hopes his coagulation panel "will spur doctors to invent similar panels to
evaluate bone injuries and skin changes that are also misdiagnosed as child abuse."
Laposata was one of a number of doctors and other experts to offer testimony during
the appeals process of Ernie Lopez, a Texas man convicted in 2003 of sexually assaulting
6-month-old Isis Vas. Isis, who had bruising and bleeding in the brain and vagina, later
died. Lopez was sentenced to 60 years in prison. After reviewing lab tests performed on
Isis before her death, Laposata concluded that they contained "clear abnormalities" and
suggested that Vas suffered from a bleeding disorder known as disseminated
intravascular coagulation (DIC). He gave an affidavit in the case in 2010.

Last month, the Texas Criminal Court of Appeals voided Ernie Lopez's conviction, saying
Lopez received ineffective counsel because his attorneys did not adequately challenge
the prosecution's medical evidence. Potter County District Attorney Randall Sims says
he will retry Lopez.



Take a look at Dr. Laposata's PowerPoint presentation highlighting the difficulty
in diagnosing abuse cases. On one side is a photo of a child with bruises from a
bleeding disorder; on the other, a photo of a child who was abused.

"I've been looking at patients with bleeding problems for years, more than two
decades," he said. "And if you show me the two children with the bruises on
their legs, I couldn't tell you that that one is the bleeding disorder. I'd have to
do the blood test to find out."

Gretchen Gavett is a digital associate producer for Frontline. "The Child Cases," our film
on questionable convictions in child death cases, rebroadcasts tonight on PBS (check
your local listings). You can also watch it anytime online.

Categories: Media, Politics

Cardinal Sins

CJR Daily - February 21, 2012 - 2:50pm
In ceremonies filled with pomp, twenty-two men were named cardinals in the Roman
Catholic Church, including two from the United States: Timothy Dolan of the
Archdiocese of New York and Edwin O’Brien, emeritus archbishop of Baltimore and now
the Grand Master of the Equestrian Order of the Holy Sepulchre of Jerusalem. (Now,
THAT’S a title!) Depending on where you looked,...
Categories: Media

SEC Warns Top Banker of Charges Over Magnetar Deal

Pro Publica - February 21, 2012 - 1:49pm

by Cora Currier
According to The Wall Street Journal, the Securities and Exchange Commission
has warned a top banker that it may bring civil charges against him for his role
in creating a risky collateralized debt obligation, or CDO, that exploded
spectacularly as the housing market crashed. It's the first public evidence that
the SEC is considering charges against a top banking executive involved in
CDOs, which fueled the financial crisis.


The CDO, from the end days of the boom in 2007, was one of dozens that had been
created with the help of the hedge fund Magnetar. As we reported with This American
Life and NPR, Magnetar often pushed for riskier assets to be included in CDOs, and
placed bets against many of the same investments so that it would profit if those risky
assets went sour. (Magnetar has never been charged with any wrongdoing, and has
always maintained that it did not have a strategy to bet against the housing market.)

Alexander Rekeda, the banker warned by the SEC, helped create a $1.6 billion
CDO called Delphinus CDO 2007-1 for the Japanese bank Mizuho. Investigators
allege that investors were not told Magnetar stood to profit if the investments
failed. (Here's the pitchbook for Delphinus.)


In a related matter, the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority, an
independent Wall Street watchdog, has made a preliminary recommendation
that Rekeda be disciplined for "alleged misrepresentations in the sale of"
another type of security -- we have the details here.


Delphinus is not the first deal involving Mizuho and Rekeda that the SEC has looked
into. As The Journal reported last year, the agency has been investigating a CDO called
Tigris that Magnetar created with Mizuho. That CDO was a collection of the riskiest bits
of other CDOs — as we described it, they were "bundling up the dregs of a CDO," a
"rare, if not unprecedented" strategy. The Tigris deal has not yet resulted in charges.

We've reached out to Rekeda, who no longer works at Mizuho, but have yet to hear
back. A Mizuho spokesman told The Wall Street Journal that it "has been asked by the
SEC to provide related documents and information, and it's currently dealing with it."
(We also have reached out to Mizuho.)

The warning sent to Rekeda, called a Wells notice, says that the SEC has made a
"preliminary determination … to recommend charges based on alleged
misrepresentations in connection with the structuring of a CDO."
As we noted last fall, the SEC has also warned the ratings agency Standard &
Poor's that it also may face civil charges in connection with the Delphinus CDO.
Standard & Poor's abruptly downgraded Delphinus just a few months after the
security was issued and received a top rating.

Other banks have been charged by the SEC and settled allegations involving CDOs. In
2010, Goldman Sachs settled with the SEC for more than $500 million. In June, J.P.
Morgan agreed to pay $153 million, and in October, Citigroup reached a $285 million
settlement.

Categories: Media, Politics

Graphic: Who are the Super PACs’ Biggest Donors?

Pro Publica - February 21, 2012 - 12:52pm

by Al Shaw

An interactive chart showing the share of all contributions given by the top ten donors
to each of the 12 largest super PACs.

Categories: Media, Politics

prwatch: The Center for Media and Democracy's @ALECexposed project
mentioned in the @guardian: http://t.co/JBr0bYPO #ALECexposed

PR Watch on Twitter - February 21, 2012 - 12:10pm
prwatch: The Center for Media and Democracy's @ALECexposed project mentioned in
the @guardian: http://t.co/JBr0bYPO #ALECexposed

prwatch: On Anniversary of Prank Call the Real David Koch Wants to "Stop
Union Power" in Wisconsin http://t.co/v8sxrk1A #WIrecall #WIunion #WI
#Koch

PR Watch on Twitter - February 21, 2012 - 12:05pm
prwatch: On Anniversary of Prank Call the Real David Koch Wants to "Stop Union
Power" in Wisconsin http://t.co/v8sxrk1A #WIrecall #WIunion #WI #Koch

Stories I'd Like to See

CJR Daily - February 21, 2012 - 11:32am
In his weekly “Stories I’d Like to See” column, journalist and entrepreneur Steven Brill
spotlights topics that, in his opinion, have received insufficient media attention. This
article was originally published on Reuters.com. 1. When health insurers say no: Like
probably every other family in America, ours regularly has claims we submit to our
health insurer rejected—with little or...
Categories: Media


HMIC review of police "domestic extremism" intelligence-gathering units

SpinWatch - February 20, 2012 - 10:30pm
                                  21-Feb-12

“Well, we always knew HMIC’s ludicrously named ‘review of national police units which
provide intelligence on criminality associated with protest’ was going to be a farce, and
we haven’t been disappointed.”


That’s what FITwatch wrote when the first review into the special unit that supervised
Mark Kennedy as an infiltrator was published earlier this month. Today SpinWatch
republishes a critical overview of the report, by Matt Salusbury, freelance journalist and
self-proclaimed Data Protection Act enthusiast.
Categories: Public relations industry

prwatch: RT @ALECexposed: #Heartland docs reveal another nonprofit
intervening in #WIrecall http://t.co/Z75RMBQV #p2

PR Watch on Twitter - February 20, 2012 - 4:23pm
prwatch: RT @ALECexposed: #Heartland docs reveal another nonprofit intervening in
#WIrecall http://t.co/Z75RMBQV #p2



prwatch: RT @ALECexposed: "Who really runs Florida education?"
http://t.co/bKwdNNdR #ALEC #ALECexposed #edu #education #p2 #FL #Florida

PR Watch on Twitter - February 20, 2012 - 4:22pm
prwatch: RT @ALECexposed: "Who really runs Florida education?"
http://t.co/bKwdNNdR #ALEC #ALECexposed #edu #education #p2 #FL #Florida



prwatch: RT @ALECexposed: University of #Wisconsin professors shed light on
#ALEC's threat to public education: http://t.co/6KIZGFkJ #ALECexposed ...

PR Watch on Twitter - February 20, 2012 - 4:22pm
prwatch: RT @ALECexposed: University of #Wisconsin professors shed light on #ALEC's
threat to public education: http://t.co/6KIZGFkJ #ALECexposed ...
prwatch: RT @WiscJobsNow: MT @prwatch: Vulture Capitalism Gets a
Makeover http://t.co/YND4rF4u #wiunion

PR Watch on Twitter - February 20, 2012 - 2:30pm
prwatch: RT @WiscJobsNow: MT @prwatch: Vulture Capitalism Gets a Makeover
http://t.co/YND4rF4u #wiunion



prwatch: "Charity" planned to support Walker w/ $612K in tax-deductible
funds http://t.co/cZNy0U6E #WIrecall #p2 #tcot #campaigncash

PR Watch on Twitter - February 20, 2012 - 2:02pm
prwatch: "Charity" planned to support Walker w/ $612K in tax-deductible funds
http://t.co/cZNy0U6E #WIrecall #p2 #tcot #campaigncash

Words of Warning on the Payroll Tax

CJR Daily - February 20, 2012 - 1:41pm
Last week, Congress voted to extend the payroll tax holiday through the end of 2012.
Social Security supporters have argued that a tax holiday may not be such a hot idea,
and could jeopardize the program’s future by changing its revenue stream and
eventually making it compete with other programs for general revenues. Alarm bells
rang at the end of...
Categories: Media


prwatch: RT @ALECexposed: #ALEC member Heartland Institute plans to spend
$612,000 supporting #WI Gov. #Walker and 4 GOP Sen. in probable recall ...

PR Watch on Twitter - February 20, 2012 - 11:47am
prwatch: RT @ALECexposed: #ALEC member Heartland Institute plans to spend
$612,000 supporting #WI Gov. #Walker and 4 GOP Sen. in probable recall ...



prwatch: "Angry Badger" Campaign Revealed: Another "Charity" Gets Involved
in WI Recall http://t.co/F8Viijmj #WIrecall #WIunion #WI #ScottWalker

PR Watch on Twitter - February 20, 2012 - 11:41am
prwatch: "Angry Badger" Campaign Revealed: Another "Charity" Gets Involved in WI
Recall http://t.co/F8Viijmj #WIrecall #WIunion #WI #ScottWalker

prwatch: #Heartland docs reveal another nonprofit intervening in #WIrecall
http://t.co/jnStsH41 #p2

PR Watch on Twitter - February 20, 2012 - 11:37am
prwatch: #Heartland docs reveal another nonprofit intervening in #WIrecall
http://t.co/jnStsH41 #p2

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Lisa Graves Joins MSNBC's Up with Chris Hayes
Lisa Graves Discusses ALEC's "Stand Your
Ground" Law with NPR Host Michel Martin

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appear here! Perhaps your browser cannot
display it, or maybe it did not initialize correctly.


Lisa Graves at DC Rally Protesting ALEC's
"Stand Your Ground" Law, March 29, 2012
Center for Media and Democracy • 520 University Avenue, Suite 260 • Madison,
Wisconsin 53703
Phone: 608-260-9713 • Fax: 608-260-9714

				
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