Stories I’d like to see

Amazon’s price increase, Congressional whistleblowers, and a question for President Obama

By Steven Brill
March 18, 2014

1. Are customers really upset at the Amazon Prime price increase?

The day after Amazon raised the annual subscription price for its Prime service from $79 to $99, the New York Times ran a story headlined, “Complaints As Amazon Raises Cost of Prime.” I found the reporting lacking and the headline unfair.

The mysterious allure of cruises, Al Sharpton conflict check, and doing the math on Ukraine bailouts

By Steven Brill
March 11, 2014

1. Why do people take cruises?

A few weeks ago, USA Today reported that “More than 160 of 3,104 passengers on Princess Cruises’ Caribbean Princess “had fallen ill with a gastrointestinal illness that the cruise line suspected was norovirus — a highly contagious infection that causes severe vomiting and diarrhea.”

Ambassadors astray, the Federal Reserve Board’s minutes, and conflict recusals in the Valley

By Steven Brill
March 4, 2014

 

1. Ambassadors without portfolios?

What happens when you’re an ambassador whose government has been overthrown?

With the Ukrainian government being deposed last week, I’m wondering about the fate of the country’s envoys and their families. As key appointees of President — now fugitive — Viktor Yanukovich, have they been replaced and evicted from their embassies in Washington, New York (the United Nations ambassador), London or Paris? Or are they all professional foreign service officers, able to roll with the punches?

Cigarette companies’ final days, high-speed trading, and how rich is Ringo?

By Steven Brill
February 18, 2014

1. Cigarette companies’ final days:

This article last week from the Associated Press, “U.S. health experts predict…a cigarette-free America,” highlighted the release of a 900-page report on smoking from the U.S. surgeon general. “Though the goal of a cigarette-free America has long seemed like a pipe dream,” the AP noted, “public-health leaders have started throwing around phrases like ‘endgame’ and ‘tobacco-free generation.’”

CVS and the doctoring business, Sochi consequences, and getting Cohen’s side of the story

By Steven Brill
February 11, 2014

1. How far can CVS and other pharmacy chains get into the doctoring business?

In announcing Wednesday that CVS Caremark would stop selling tobacco, chief executive officer Larry Merlo said selling cigarettes would be, according to a company press release, “inconsistent with our purpose.” He explained, “As the delivery of health care evolves with an emphasis on better health outcomes, reducing chronic disease and controlling costs, CVS Caremark is playing an expanded role in providing care through our pharmacists and nurse practitioners.”

Is NBC soft on Sochi terror threats, political stalling, and the lawyer who could nail Christie

By Steven Brill
February 4, 2014

1. Is NBC soft on Sochi terror threats? Or are its rivals overdoing it?

I may be imagining it, but while the other network news organizations are giving full, even avid, coverage to the threat of terrorism at the coming Sochi Olympics, NBC — which is televising the games — seems to be playing it down. Or at least not playing it up.

Christie’s legal bills, who profits from retailer hacking, and Davos economics

By Steven Brill
January 28, 2014

1. Christie’s legal bills and lawyers’ conflicts:

When it was announced earlier this month that Governor Chris Christie had hired Randy Mastro, the New York litigation head of California-based Gibson, Dunn and Crutcher, to represent the Christie administration in dealing with all of the investigations involving Bridgegate, some observers told reporters that signing on Mastro signaled that Christie and his team might be gearing up to take an aggressive posture that is inconsistent with the governor’s initial promise to cooperate fully in all investigations.

Why isn’t Chuck Todd anchoring ‘Meet the Press,’ how Sochi happened, and watching LGA crash

By Steven Brill
January 21, 2014

1. Why isn’t Chuck Todd anchoring “Meet The Press”?

NBC’s “Meet The Press” is not simply mired in third place behind “Face the Nation” (CBS) and “This Week” (ABC). It has also become a boring hour weighed down with predictable guests answering bland questions from anchor David Gregory.

Bezos and the Post, America’s worst-run agency, and who’s paying Dennis Rodman?

By Steven Brill
January 14, 2014

1. Bezos and the Washington Post: A nothingburger?

It has now been more than six months since Amazon founder Jeff Bezos announced his deal to buy the Washington Post. It’s been more than four months since the transaction closed and Bezos was legally in charge. But so far nothing seems to have changed. The paper still seems to be in a defensive crouch rather than back on the offense, fueled by Bezos’s promise to invest both his money and his brain in the enterprise and launch a bunch of think-outside-the-box initiatives.

Marijuana rules of the road, grading the CBO, and hiring journalists in war zones

By Steven Brill
January 6, 2014

1. Marijuana rules of the road:

With Colorado legalizing pot last week, I’ve been waiting for a story about whether the bomb-sniffing dogs at the Denver International Airport will now have an expanded portfolio.