Stories I’d like to see

Vetting the Syrian rebels, stock gyrations, and A-Rod’s return

By Steven Brill
June 18, 2013

1.  Vetting the Syrian rebels:

Most of those pushing for providing arms and other aid to the Syrian rebels — which the Obama administration announced last week it will now do — have promised that the rebels could be “vetted” so that weapons and other assistance don’t end up in the hands of jihadists and other bad actors.

Booz Allen’s liability, Europe and the NSA, and Obamacare as stimulus

By Steven Brill
June 10, 2013

1. Booz Allen’s liability in the government snooping leaks:

We now know that the source of last week’s leaks revealing various U.S. government data collection and surveillance activities is a low-level employee of the giant consulting firm Booz Allen Hamilton, which the New York Times reported on Monday was paid $1.3 billion last year by various American intelligence agencies under multiple contracts related to data collection and analysis. (The firm’s website  has a whole section under “Intelligence Community” about how Booz turns “Big Data Into Big Insights.”)

More questions for Bloomberg and Angelina Jolie

By Steven Brill
June 4, 2013

Actor Brad Pitt and his fiance Angelina Jolie arrive for the premiere of his film World War Z in Berlin June 4, 2013. REUTERS/Tobias Schwarz

Justice Department overreach, and a rudderless IRS

By Steven Brill
May 28, 2013

1.    Who called Fox News reporter a “co-conspirator”?

On the Sunday before last, the Washington Post broke a story providing details of the Obama Justice Department’s investigation into how Fox News reporter James Rosen obtained classified information about American intelligence gathering in North Korea. Coming on the heels of the news that the Justice Department had secretly conducted a massive sweep of the phone records of the Associated Press as part of another leak investigation, the Post’s scoop was big news and ignited complaints from the press and others that the Obama administration was engaged in an unprecedented dragnet that would chill basic reporting.

The commencement speech market, Obamacare job bonanza, and recess appointment gridlock

By Steven Brill
May 14, 2013

1.  The commencement speech market:

It’s my guess that the most sought-after commencement speaker this season is former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton. How many invites did she get, and how does that compare with other top names? And did she accept any? Is she getting paid? Especially now that Benghazi has come back into the news, has she set any ground rules related to the appearance, such as whether she will be available to the press before or after the talk?

The compensation racket, Al Jazeera’s plans, and Boston health costs

By Steven Brill
May 7, 2013

1.     Looking at ‘Ratchet, Ratchet and Bingo’:

In his 2006 annual report to shareholders , Warren Buffett had this to say about compensation consultants:

Lawsuits from tragedy, ubiquitous security cameras, and IRS torpor

By Steven Brill
April 23, 2013

1. Does awful luck always have to mean a lawsuit?

As Alison Frankel reported in her Thomson Reuters litigation column, last week a federal judge in Colorado refused to dismiss a suit brought by victims of the movie massacre in Aurora, Colorado against Cinemark, the theater chain that owned the Aurora venue.

A New York Times home run, piggyback journalism, and hospital TV ads

By Steven Brill
April 16, 2013

1.   The Times hits a home run in the Bronx:

This item comes under the category of stories I loved seeing. On Sunday the New York Times did a front pager (continued on two full pages inside) by veteran reporter William Glaberson on the collapse of the criminal courts in the Bronx that was about as close to perfection in execution and impact as journalism can get.

The revealing Rutgers report, job number revisions, and Trayvon, Inc

By Steven Brill
April 9, 2013

1. The Rutgers basketball coach scandal as a window on NCAA sports:

Some of the stories about the firing of Rutgers basketball coach Michael Rice after a video of him abusing his players in practice was aired on ESPN referred to a 50 page report the university commissioned from an outside lawyer after the videos were first brought to school administrators’ attention. It’s this report that provided the rationale for the school initially to suspend and fine Rice but not dismiss him.

Steve Cohen’s frustrated PR machine; unlikely lobbyists; and the $600 million train station

By Steven Brill
April 2, 2013

1. Inside Steven Cohen’s frustrated PR machine:

Steven Cohen, the billionaire who is widely reported to be the ultimate target of prosecutors investigating insider trading at his hedge fund, has to be either crazy-reckless or supremely confident of his innocence. Either way, the master-of-the-universe buying spree he went on last week must make him the ultimate nightmare for the savvy financial PR firm that represents him, Sard Verbinnen &Co.