Felix Salmon

Ben Stein Watch, lawsuit edition

By Felix Salmon
January 12, 2012

Many thanks to Yoree Koh (and @Dutch_Book) for bringing Ben Stein’s lawsuit against Kyocera to my attention. You can download the whole thing here, but it’s worth spelling out some of the more hilarious parts.

Confessions of a Vertrue call-center operator

By Felix Salmon
June 9, 2011

I had a fascinating conversation this afternoon with someone I’ll call Casey, who spent most of the past two years working for Adaptive Marketing, a/k/a Vertrue, a/k/a Ben Stein’s sleazy paymasters, as a Customer Care Assistant. Casey’s job was, essentially, to spend 40 hours a week, at $9 an hour, being abused by people who found out that they were being charged $29.95 a month on their credit card for a service they’d never heard of and had no idea they’d ever signed up for.

Ben Stein Watch, penny-stock edition

By Felix Salmon
May 23, 2011

In 2004, Ben Stein wrote a thin book called How to Ruin Your Financial Life, a collection of short sarcastic chapters giving extremely bad advice. Chapter 32 is entitled “Invest in Penny Stocks”, and it aims directly at the purveyors of “advice” about the same:

Ben Stein Watch, DSK edition

By Felix Salmon
May 17, 2011

Without further ado, the top ten lines from Ben Stein’s article on Dominique Strauss-Kahn:

Ben Stein’s fiscal policy

By Felix Salmon
September 20, 2010

Here’s Ben Stein in August 2008, when we were at the depths of the longest recession in postwar history:

Unemployment chart of the day

By Felix Salmon
July 20, 2010

Chart of the day comes from Derek Thompson:

median longterm unemployment.png

The dynamics here are terrible, of course, because there are five unemployed people for every job opening. In that kind of context the only way that this chart is going to start reverting to the mean is if millions of Americans simply give up looking for work at all, and therefore stop counting as unemployed for the purposes of these statistics. The ranks of the demoralized are growing fast — but, clearly, not enough to stop the median period of unemployment rising inexorably past the 6-month mark.

Ben Stein’s employer breaks the law

By Felix Salmon
April 5, 2010

April 2 was meant to be a great day in the history of sleazy free-credit-report websites like Ben Stein’s employer Freescore. A new FTC rule came into effect (read all 22 pages of it here), forcing all such websites to have a huge notice across the top of every web page, saying that AnnualCreditReport.com is the ONLY authorized source for credit reports under federal law, and providing a prominent link to this page.

Iowa cracks down on Ben Stein’s sleazy paymasters

By Felix Salmon
March 24, 2010

Ben Stein has a bit of free time on his hands these days, now that his odorous association with FreeScore.com and its sleazy owners Vertrue means that he’s no longer writing a column for the NYT. So he might be interested in reading the blistering 62-page ruling that Judge Robert Hutchison has just handed down in Iowa, which goes into great detail about how Vertrue has violated all manner of laws in that state with its unfair and deceptive practices.

Goldman-bashing at Bloomberg and Fortune

By Felix Salmon
January 29, 2010

It’s Goldman-bashing time again (when isn’t it), with Michael Lewis returning to the same source of comedic gold that he’s mined in the past. His new column should be here, but isn’t; Alphaville has excerpts.