Patt Morrison for March 4, 2009

Today the Supreme Court upheld a $6.7 million jury award to a musician who lost her arm because of a botched injection of an anti-nausea medication. The court brushed away a plea for limiting lawsuits against drug makers. The New York Times calls it "one of the most important business cases in years." Just how far reaching is it? * David Savage, Supreme Court reporter for the Los Angeles Times * David Frederick, appellate lawyer for Diana Levine, the defendant in the case

Cram-down: Sounds Unappetizing, but May Be Helpful

The art of the mortgage "cram-down" has been discussed and debated in both political and banking circles for well over a year: the idea that bankruptcy judges should be empowered to force troubled homeowners and their mortgage-holding banks to negotiated modified terms of home loans. Now that President Obama is in the White House, and his mortgage relief plan relies on cram-downs, there is new pressure for Congress to act and the first vote on cram-down legislation in the House is expected Thursday. Why do banks hate cram-downs, what are the political concerns, and will they ultimately help keep people in their homes? * Rep. Brad Miller, (D-Raleigh, North Carolina) * Robert Satnick, president of the California Mortgage Bankers Association; president & CEO of Prime Financial Services in Van Nuys

Celebrating International Women's Day

International Women's Day 2009 falls on March 8th. We celebrate one woman at a time. Sheila Johnson, the only woman owner of three professional sport franchises, is here with her documentary about women fighting poverty around the world. * Sheila Johnson, businesswoman, entrepreneur and part-owner of the NBA Washington Wizards, the WNBA Washington Mystics & the NHL Washington Capitals; producer of "A Powerful Noise" "A Powerful Noise" premieres in movie theaters across the country tomorrow

Countrywide Executives Posed to Profit

A dozen former top Countrywide executives—united under the new firm PennyMac—stand to make millions from cleaning up the home mortgage mess they helped rig, by buying up delinquent home mortgages the government took over from failed banks, and getting a cut of what they can collect. Is this profiteering or a good model for the country's just economic recovery? * Eric Lipton, reporter for the New York Times who wrote today's story * Maya MacGuineas, director of New America Foundation's Fiscal Policy Program and President of the Committee for a Responsible Federal Budget
It was hoped that last year was an anomaly—the number of wild salmon returning to the Sacramento River Delta for spawning last year was so low that federal regulators banned ocean fishing of salmon in California and most of Oregon. This year's salmon count reveals that last year's depressingly low numbers might be the new norm: California's Chinook are so low in numbers that a second straight year of a salmon fishing ban looks likely, resulting in a combined environmental and economic disaster for the state. Are we forced to adapt to the decimation of our local wild salmon population, or can something be done to reverse the damage? * Neil Manji, chief of fisheries at the California Department of Fish and Game
Go to the grocery store, and you'll notice that box of cereal, pop-tarts, or that TV dinner seems a bit more expensive. Raw materials, such as flour, cooking oil and wheat, however, are down in price. So what gives? Grocery store chains are getting peeved about wholesale prices cutting into their margins, while producers such as Kellogg's and Nestle say some key commodities—such as tea and tomatoes—are still quite expensive. Analysts say some of the manufactures miscalculated the future price of food and are reluctant to pull back wholesale prices. * Jennifer Waters of MarketWatch part of the Wall Street Journal's digital network * Christopher Shanahan, a research analyst specializing in foods at Frost & Sullivan
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