FCC Chair gives AT&T/DirecTV Merger Preliminary Approval…with a Catch

7/22/2015 Tom Wheeler, the chairman of the Federal Communications Commission (FCC), announced his support on Tuesday of AT&T’s $48.5 billion merger with DirecTV. The announcement makes it very likely that the deal will pass any forthcoming regulatory obstacles involved with completing such a massive consolidation. Wheeler’s approval is conditional however; contingent on the willingness of

NHTSA, General Motors both Score Huge Victories in Congress

7/20/2015 Auto safety became political last week  on Capitol Hill as lawmakers debated a series of attachments to a transportation bill to be presented next month. Much of the debate went along partisan lines, with the Republican majority blocking several key measures surrounding the massive auto recall epidemic that has plagued the industry over the

A&P Files for Second Bankruptcy in Five Years

7/20/2015 It appears that a major piece of Americana will be gone within a short period of time. The Great Atlantic and Pacific Tea Company, better known for over 150 years as A&P, is likely going out of business for good. The company filed papers late Sunday night for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection in U.S.

JP Morgan Agrees to $388 Million Class-Action Settlement for Mortgage-Backed Securities Dealings

On Friday, banking giant JP Morgan Chase agreed to a $388 million settlement to resolve a class-action lawsuit claiming that the company misled investors regarding the stability of $10 billion worth of mortgage-backed securities (MBS). The lead plaintiff in the case was the Fort Worth employees’ retirement fund, along with others including the Northern and Southern

NHTSA Deputy Administrator Friedman Leaves Agency for Energy Department Post

7/17/2015 Deputy administrator David Friedman, who oversaw the National Highway Transportation Safety Administration (NHTSA) through the majority of its most challenging year ever, left the agency on Friday to take a position at the U.S. Energy Department. Former NHTSA head David Strickland left the agency in January 2014 to join Venable LLP, a law firm

‘Et tu Prius?’ Toyota Issues another Recall

7/16/2015 On Wednesday, Toyota announced that it was recalling over 625,000 hybrid vehicles, the large majority of them Prius models, due to a flaw in the software that controls the power converter. The defect could cause the vehicles to shut down and come to a complete stop. The recall affects the Prius V wagon/minivan, which

NSAID Use Increases Heart Attack Risk

7/14/2015 Last week, the FDA increased the level of warning for NSIADS such as ibuprofen and naproxen. The new warning states that NSAID use increases heart attack risk.. The former warning stated that use “may” increase the risk. Non-steroidal anti-inflammatories (NSAIDS) are popular for their ability to relieve pain, reduce inflammation and lower fevers. They’re

FDA to Review Birth Control Device Essure due to Side Effect Concern

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) is joining famous environmental and consumer activist Erin Brockovich in its skepticism of Bayer’s popular birth control device, Essure. Bayer claims that the coil-like device is the only non-surgical permanent form of birth control on the market. The FDA announced last month that it will be conducting a

Takata Says no to Victims’ Compensation Fund

7/12/2015 Embattled Japanese airbag manufacturer Takata has roiled some lawmakers by announcing that the company will not set up a victim’s compensation fund similar to that for the General Motors’ ignition switch recall. Takata’s North American senior vice-president Kevin Kennedy made the announcement in a letter penned to Senator Richard Blumenthal (D-CT), who had strongly

NHTSA Releases Takata Airbag Recall List, More Honda, GM Recalls Announced

7/10/2015 It’s been a busy 48 hours for National Highway Transportation Safety Administration (NHTSA) chief Michael Rosekind. On Wednesday, the agency released the list of vehicles affected by the massive Takata airbag recall. In addition to the list that is published at the end of this posting, the NHTSA has created a vehicle identification number