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.
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.
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:
Chart of the day comes from Derek Thompson:
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.
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.
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.