"Subprime Is Boiling Over ... Bringing Down the House..."
Today, US Attorney General Eric Holder hurled strong accusations at the Standard and Poor’s rating agency for defrauding investors out of billions of dollars with its false ratings on mortgage securities. The case has a comical side, though. The 128-page lawsuit filed by the US Department of Justice contained a note on how an analyst parodied the 1983 hit “Burning Down the House
” by the post-punk band Talking Heads. In an email to coworkers in 2007, “Analyst D” sent a video of himself dancing to the song and singing about the collapsing housing market. The lawsuit has been no joke to the rating agency’s parent company McGraw-Hill
(NYSE:MHP), though. The company’s stock has dropped over 7% today and it faces penalties of $5 billion.
Cures for Your Post-Super Bowl (and Inevitable Future) Hangover
Some 1.5 million individuals called in “sick” to work yesterday, hung over from the Super Bowl. Bloomberg
compiled a list of curious cures used by people over the centuries to counter the effects of too much alcohol, such as burying yourself up to your neck in wet sand -- a popular fix used by Irish clans. You can also follow the sage advice of English chimney sweeps in the 19th century, who drank a "warm cup of milk" mixed with a “level teaspoon of fine soot” (preferably from burning hardwood) to help get themselves back on their feet.
Facebook More Transparent About Ad Targeting... but Not Really
The practice of retargeting ads -- or serving ads to an individual's browser based on his or her Internet surfing history -- has caused some strain between Facebook
(NASDAQ:FB) and the Better Business Bureau. A retargeted ad usually displays the “AdChoices” logo when on websites like Google
(NASDAQ:GOOG) and Yahoo
(NASDAQ:YHOO). These clickable logos allow users to learn about a given Web publisher’s targeting practices. To assuage the Better Business Bureau, Facebook will start including similar icons for users to click on
. However, the icons only display when you hover your mouse over the ad. And if you actually click on one, you're forced to read jargony and vague information about advertising practices. Plus, Facebook will add this feature to an advertisement only if the sponsoring company requests the icon. So, how does this actually help make Facebook's advertising more transparent?
Lamborghini Execs Go Begging for Dollars
Lamborghini sales in the US grew 53% last year despite the rough economy, but Stephan Winkelmann, head of Lamborghini, and Maurizio Reggiani, director of R&D, found themselves out of money and in an embarrassing situation on New York’s I-495
. When the two pulled up to a toll booth in one of the luxury sports cars, they suddenly realized they were out of cash and ended up begging the passengers in the car behind them for money. Apparently Reggiani doesn't carry much cash on him as he found himself again with empty pockets at the tunnel leaving Manhattan and had to ask the journalist interviewing him for help. He did repay her the $10, though.
Boston Market Worker Fired After Telling Wrong Person He "Literally Hates Customers"
(NYSE:CBS) show Undercover Boss
followed the Chief Brand Officer Sara Bittorf of the fast casual restaurant Boston Market on a recent episode. To Bittorf's chagrin, the shift supervisor of the restaurant where she pretended to be a waitress for the reality show, opened up and shared his disdain for customers
, saying, “I literally hate customers more than anything in the entire world. I hate them so much. They’re terrible. It’s all about them all the time and they demand everything.” The supervisor failed his secret employee evaluation and became the first worker at a business to get fired as a result of his or her show appearance.
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