Originally published on Wed February 18, 2015 9:07 am
It's been more than two years since Superstorm Sandy flooded homes in New York and New Jersey. Yet the legal battles continue over how much insurance should pay.
About a thousand homeowners have disputed in court what they call "lowball" estimates for repairs. Also, some insurance companies have been accused of falsifying the engineering reports used to lower those estimates.
And then there's this: the legal fees to defend the estimates could surpass what it would cost just to pay the claims outright.
Originally published on Tue February 17, 2015 1:01 pm
At the anniversary of Iran's revolution, Iranians still chanted "Death to America." Yet many we encountered in a brief visit to the country seemed prepared to shift relations with the West.
We interviewed more than 20 people in three cities: Tehran, Isfahan and Kashan. Our talks were very far from a scientific sample. They took place in a country where citizens must speak with great care.
Originally published on Mon February 16, 2015 5:50 pm
Putting in place a sophisticated digital racket, hackers were able to steal millions of dollars from up to 100 banks in what the Russian cybersecurity company Kaspersky Lab is calling "the most successful criminal cyber campaign we have ever seen."
Originally published on Mon February 16, 2015 1:05 pm
In Medical Park Hospital in Winston-Salem, N.C., Angela Koons is still a little loopy and uncomfortable after wrist surgery. Nurse Suzanne Cammer gently jokes with her. When Koons says she's itchy under her cast, Cammer warns, "Do not stick anything down there to scratch it!" Koons smiles and says, "I know."
Koons tells me Cammer's kind attention and enthusiasm for nursing has helped make the hospital stay more comfortable.
Originally published on Sat February 14, 2015 12:53 pm
No cargo will go in or out of 29 West Coast ports this weekend.
It's the third partial shutdown in operations at these ports in a week, the result of a bitter labor dispute between shipping lines and the union representing 20,000 dock workers. The dispute has been dragging on for eight months, and now the economic impacts of the shutdown are starting to be felt.
If you were to try and list the biggest game-changers for the American food system in the last two decades, you might note the Food Network, or the writing of Michael Pollan, or maybe even the evolution of Walmart.
But you'd probably overlook NAFTA, the North American Free Trade Agreement.
And that would be a mistake, according to a lengthy report out early February from the U.S. Department of Agriculture.
Restaurant servers are three times more likely to receive below-poverty-line pay than the rest of the U.S. workforce. Yet in a world where shoppers fret over cage-free eggs and organic vegetables, how many are also asking how much their favorite restaurant pays its staff?
Originally published on Wed February 11, 2015 2:21 pm
Since World War II, inequality in the U.S. has gone through two, dramatically different phases.
In the first phase, known as the great compression, inequality fell. Incomes rose for people in the bottom 90 percent of the income distribution, as the postwar boom led to high demand for workers with low and moderate skills.
Originally published on Tue February 10, 2015 8:53 pm
A dozen states are considering something that was rarely discussed a few years ago: raising gas taxes. Low prices at the pump have emboldened state officials to think about raising new revenue to repair crumbling roads and bridges.
It's a scene that's all too familiar in much of the country — construction workers performing emergency repairs on a bridge. In Franklin Township, N.J., one bridge closed abruptly last month when it was deemed unsafe.
Originally published on Tue February 10, 2015 12:12 pm
More than 600,000 homes in the U.S. have solar panels today — up dramatically from just a few years ago, according to the Solar Energy Industries Association. Leasing programs that require little or no money up-front have played a key role in that growth.
But here's a question for homeowners: Is it better to lease or buy?
Originally published on Tue February 10, 2015 4:33 pm
The Los Angeles City Council is currently considering whether to raise the minimum wage to $15.25 an hour by 2019. It would follow Seattle and San Francisco, two cities that approved $15 minimum wages in the past year.
Originally published on Thu February 12, 2015 6:57 pm
Just eat it.
It's hard to look at these stylish packages of citrus fruit, bearing Nike's iconic swoosh, without having the athletic company's famous slogan "Just do it" immediately come to mind. And that's precisely the point, says Israel-based designer Peddy Mergui.
Originally published on Mon February 9, 2015 3:39 pm
More than half of the accounts with allowable claims against disgraced financier Bernard Madoff have now been fully repaid, according to the trustee handling recovery efforts. Trustee Irving Picard says more than $355.8 million was recently doled out, in the fifth round of repayments.
Originally published on Mon February 9, 2015 8:48 am
Continued job growth has boosted prospects for the U.S. economy, but it continues to face some tricky crosswinds. The big drop in oil prices and a stronger dollar both help the economy and hurt it. Add to that the recent slowdown in global growth.
Lots of economists have suggested the big drop in oil prices is a gift to consumers that will propel the economy. David Kotok of Cumberland Advisors is one of them. He argues that cheaper oil will ultimately be a positive.
Originally published on Fri February 6, 2015 10:53 pm
It took just one newspaper article to change James Robertson's life.
Last Sunday, the Detroit Free Press ran a front page story about the 56-year-old factory worker. It said every weekday for a decade, Robertson has left his house and walked more than 20 miles to and from his job in suburban Detroit. Robertson's car had broken down years before and so he made a long and lonely commute on foot in every kind of weather.
Originally published on Fri February 6, 2015 10:47 am
Updated at 9:50 a.m. ET
Some 257,000 jobs were added to the U.S. economy in January, continuing a 12-month span of growth that saw at least 200,000 jobs added each month, according to the Department of Labor. Even so, in a separate survey released by the department's Bureau of Labor Statistics, the benchmark unemployment rate ticked up slightly to 5.7 percent.