Skimm for February 5th

Quote of the Day: "Hmmm not so happy about my physical attributes being discussed in public. What happened to patient confidentiality???"-King Richard III 'Tweeted' after some of his remains were found in an English parking lot.

The Rating Game

THE STORY: The Justice Department (DOJ) filed civil charges against S&P and its parent company McGraw-Hill Companies for doing a less than stellar job rating mortgage bonds before the '08 financial crisis. Magic 8 ball credit rating? Not good.

WHAT'S S&P AGAIN? Standard & Poor's Ratings Services. S&P provides lots of research, and is known for its very own index (S&P 500). It also rates things like mortgage bonds and countries. Now's a good time to recall when the S&P downgraded the US's credit rating. Karma's a b*tch and so are the Feds.

SO WHAT'D S&P DO?: Allegedly defrauded investors by intentionally making mortgage investments seem a lot better than the reality. It's like when a critic gave "Joey" four stars; we know that was a false rating, we just want to know why and want the critic to pay for personal damages. This type of inflation helped set the mortgage investments up to crash and burn, contributing to the financial crisis. In a major way. If you believe the feds. The S&P said it's in the clear and stating an opinion isn't a crime. Hello, First Amendment.

THE WHY (DO I NEED TO SKIMM?) This is the first federal suit against a credit agency relating to the financial crisis. It's not clear if the Feds are looking to punish the other credit rating agencies, as well. The suit has the potential to be the Trente of crisis-era crackdowns.

REPEAT AFTER ME...What to say about football... I'm not talking about Sunday night. I'm talking about the real game: soccer. The footie world is being rocked, hard, by a global betting scandal. In a blow to the world's most popular sport (and a multi-billion dollar industry), an inquiry by Eruopol and other forces has found around 680 'may have been fixed' matches. An official described a scam network that involved couriers traveling around the world to deliver bribes to pay off players and refs in the fixings, which involved around 425 corrupt officials, players, and criminals in 15 countries. And it always goes back to the courier...

What to say when you see your mom on social media... Just think before you Tweet. Older people have been doing some weird stuff as of late. Sen. John McCain (R-AZ) made, what he thought was a joke on Twitter, "So Ahmadinejad wants to be first Iranian in space -- wasn't he just there last week?" Oh, then he linked to an article about Iran launching a monkey into space, which prompted cries of 'racist.' Wonder why. And in case you see a Tweet from the State Department to the tune of 'We're going to war - JK.' It's not a joke. JK is John Kerry's official sign-off. Oh boy, he does have some "big heels to fill" as secretary of State.

What to say when you're in a bad mood... Sorry, I look around the office and feel just like Moody's. The credit rating agency definitely took note of the $78 million compensation package the Jefferies Group gifted to its top execs. Moody's really got upset about the paychecks and called it an unflattering name, "credit negative," meaning this could be another reason the bank could have its debt rating downgraded. Moody's (as well as Capitol Hill and regulators) doesn't like to see things reminiscent of the "excessive compensation" on Wall Street that may have led to banks playing fast and loose. #WallMenProblems

What to say when you don't have cash... Man, I wish I had access to Jamie Dimon's secret lair of money. While speaking at an economic summit in South Florida, the JPMorgan CEO said something fascinating, in between all the boring market quotes. "We have a great room, I forget the name of it, it's a money room, at an undisclosed location. It's in Florida, but it moves, every day, $2-5 trillion around the world," said Dimon. Mind blown. I can only imagine that amount of money in terms of Scrooge McDuck.

What to say while working... That was a solid ten minutes, time to online shop. In this week's episode of 'things I can almost afford,' Oscar de la Renta has teamed up with online fashion site The Outnet to introduce a more accessibly priced, exclusive collection. The fashion house is hoping to tap into a potential customer that will become an Oscar de la Renta customer. We are all holding our breath for that day as well. Get here sooner, please.

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BIRTHDAYS:  Michelle Wilkinson (Portland, OR)

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