Stories I’d like to see

The cost of attacking Syria, and tell me what to think about fracking

By Steven Brill
September 10, 2013

1. Scoping out the budget for attacking Syria:

This article in Defense News estimates that if President Obama attacks Syria the cost would likely be “hundreds of millions of dollars in weapons,” including $1.4 million for each Raytheon Tomahawk missile that is launched. All last week I saw estimates that were equally vague and varied from the tens of millions up to and over a billion dollars.

MTV’s Miley Cyrus mess, Donald Trump and the law, and who benefits from federal fines

By Steven Brill
September 3, 2013

1. Ask about the Miley Cyrus sleaze:

In the wake of MTV’s universally-panned decision to feature 20-year-old Miley Cyrus in a cringe-producing sex pantomime with 36-year-old Robin Thicke during the telecast of the MTV Video Music Awards, reporters ought to be sticking microphones in front of producers and executives at MTV and its parent Viacom.

Bezos’ silence, lobbyists and Egypt, and the inner workings of State-owned TV

By Steven Brill
August 27, 2013

1. Wash Post reporters: Get a Bezos comment

These sentences in last week’s Times profile of Amazon’s Jeff Bezos beg for a follow-up from the house the Grahams built:

Football’s costs, SEC v. Cohen and the Whale’s tale

By Steven Brill
August 20, 2013

The NFL’s looming court tests

As the 2013 National Football League season begins, it’s time for an update on the liability suits the league is facing from what the website Deadspin reported last April were “more than 4,000 former players” who claim to have suffered on-the-job brain damage. The same Deadspin report noted that helmet-maker Riddell is also a defendant in the suits and that in April a Colorado high school student won a $3.1 million judgment against Ridell after he was brain damaged and partially paralyzed following a concussion suffered in a 2008 practice drill.

How the Guardian protects state secrets, and weak reporting at Ad Age

By Steven Brill
August 6, 2013

1. How the Guardian protects America’s national security:

Last week, the Guardian released another Edward Snowden-procured red-hot document – a “top secret,” 32-page National Security Agency training manual for a program initiated in 2008 called XKeyscore that purportedly allowed NSA analysts to vacuum up data on Internet browsing activity around the world.

The cushy world of academia, surveillance 2.0 and $200 million to tear down a building

By Steven Brill
July 30, 2013

1. Is higher ed the capital of featherbedding?

This sentence in an LA Times editorial two weeks ago about Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano becoming the president of the University of California caught my eye: “Half of the regents haven’t even had a chance to talk to her about how she would approach the job — a job that involves 10 campuses, 170,000 faculty and staff members and more than 220,000 students.”

TV’s campaign ad addiction, Obamacare outsourced to Canada, and a Romney aide’s new role

By Steven Brill
July 23, 2013

1.  TV’s campaign addiction:

This report from the New York Times’ Brian Stelter two weeks ago explains how campaign cash spent in hotly contested presidential election swing states and in close primary and general election congressional races has helped to drive two recent multibillion dollar purchases of television station groups by Gannett and Tribune Company, both of which already own large collections of local television outlets.

Teflon Tim Geithner, and profiling the Center for Responsive Politics

By Steven Brill
July 9, 2013

1.  Teflon Tim and the Obama Keystone Cops:

Did the First Amendment get amended when I wasn’t watching so that freedom of the press is guaranteed except when it comes to writing about Timothy Geithner?

Selling artificial knees, analyzing the Trayvon Martin trial, and Random House cancels Paula Deen’s cookbook

By Steven Brill
July 1, 2013

 

When Madison Avenue pitches artificial knees, do we all pay?

Americans — personally, or through private insurance or Medicare — spend more than $12 billion a year on artificial knees and hips. That’s more than Hollywood takes in at the box office.

The mysterious farm bill, sequestration’s virtues, and the death of airport newsstands

By Steven Brill
June 25, 2013

1.  Can someone please explain the farm bill fight?

I’m a news junkie. But I am completely clueless about one policy issue that is hugely important (it affects what we eat and how much we pay for it), involves hundreds of billions of dollars in government programs and subsidies, and was splashed all over the front pages last week as the latest example of congressional dysfunction.