In Chinatowns around the country — in San Francisco, Boston, Chicago, New York — a peculiar financial scam is targeting elderly Chinese women.
This so-called "blessing scam" isn't much of a blessing. By asking lots of personal questions, the scammers convince their targets that they face terrible tragedy that they can only avoid if they place their valuables in a bag — and then pray over it. Usually, the victims place their jewelry and money in a bag that the thieves swap out for an identical one. And then the thieves tell the women not to open the bag for days.
Last year, my husband picked up a nasty little habit — a drinking problem, if you will. Yes, he became addicted to sparkling water. All of a sudden, he was adding mineral water to my weekly grocery list and buying precious little green bottles imported from Italy every time we grabbed a sandwich.
In the early 1970s, the Memphis band Big Star played Beatles-esque pop-rock whose exuberance was laced with melancholy. That the ruefulness was earned becomes poignantly clear over the course of the documentary Big Star: Nothing Can Hurt Me.
Five years after the financial crisis, the federal government still controls Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, two giant companies that guarantee trillions of dollars in mortgages. This is a huge, little-discussed part of the post-crisis economy.
Almost everybody agrees that taxpayers shouldn't be on the hook when their neighbors don't pay their mortgages. But the government doesn't have a clear plan to get out of the mortgage business.
U.S. businesses that had been looking at possible penalties if they don't provide health insurance to their employees by January are getting an extra year before they must comply with the new law, the White House says. The requirement, part of the health care overhaul known as "Obamacare," affects all companies that have at least 50 employees.
The Obama administration announced the change Tuesday, citing "ongoing discussions with businesses" about the new health insurance requirements in the Affordable Care Act.
After telling Congress that the National Security Agency does not collect data on millions of Americans, National Intelligence Director James Clapper has issued an apology, telling Senate Intelligence Committee Chairwoman Dianne Feinstein that his statement was "clearly erroneous."
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The fourth collaboration between actor Steve Coogan and director Michael Winterbottom is much like their first: Both The Look of Love and 2002's 24 Hour Party People are antic, self-conscious film bios about impresarios on the fringes of showbiz — soft porn and punk rock, respectively. But somehow the new movie, though it doesn't skimp on the nudity, the cocaine or the Britpop, is the blander of the two.