Kickbacks for banks, counterterrorism at the Mall of America, and corruption in Afghanistan: This week's top MuckReads from ProPublica.

Journalism in the public interest.
Sept. 9 2011 4:27 PM

Kickbacks for Banks, Counterterrorism at the Mall of America, and More

This week's top MuckReads from ProPublica.

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Here are this week's top must-read stories from  #MuckReads, ProPublica's ongoing collection of the best watchdog journalism. Anyone can contribute by tweeting a link to a story and just including the hashtag #MuckReads or by sending an email to The best submissions are selected by ProPublica's editors and reporters and then  featured on our site  and  @ProPublica.

Banks Took $6B in Reinsurance Kickbacks, Investigators Say, American Banker
Some of the nation's biggest banks received potentially illegal kickbacks from the companies that insured the mortgages they produced. Documents suggest that banks threatened insurers who didn't agree to this arrangement.
Contributed by @paulkiel


Members of the Debt Panel Have Ties to Lobbyists, Washington Post
The powerful supercommittee that's been tasked with reducing the national debt by $1.5 trillion over the next decade is a particularly attractive target for lobbyists. And a number of them already have an in with a panel member—almost 100 of the committee members' former staffers now work as registered lobbyists. You can explore those connections with the Post's useful interactive graphic.
Contributed by @washingtonpost

At Afghan Military Hospital, Graft and Deadly Neglect, the Wall Street Journal
Last year, U.S. officers found out that corrupt nurses and doctors at a major Afghan military hospital—one that's funded in large part by American money—were denying basic treatment to soldiers who don't pay them bribes. Even after they found out about the situation, it took months to get Afghan officials to do something about it.
Contributed by @kleinmatic

Robo-signed Mortgage Docs Date Back to Late 1990s, Associated Press
It seems that robo-signing, the practice of improperly notarizing mortgage documents or signing them en masse without reviewing their contents, has been going on for much longer than previously thought. Officials are finding more and more dubious mortgage documents as they comb through old paperwork.
See all #MuckReads related to the foreclosure crisis

Mall of America Visitors Unknowingly End Up in Counterterrorism Reports, Center for Investigative Reporting and NPR
Look the wrong way at a guard at the Mall of America, and you might end up with an FBI agent knocking on your door. A review of over 100 of the mall's "suspicious activity reports" suggests that a counterterrorism initiative at America's largest mall has been scooping up the wrong people.
Contributed by @BostonReview

Doctors With Alleged History of Malpractice Often Go Unpunished, Kansas City Star
Doctors who have been sued repeatedly for making mistakes–even fatal ones–often go unpunished by state licensing boards in Kansas and Missouri. The states also don't make each doctor's history of malpractice claims public, though it's common practice elsewhere in the U.S. Contributed by @ryankath

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Blacks Don’t Have a Corporal Punishment Problem

Americans do. But when blacks exhibit the same behaviors as others, it becomes part of a greater black pathology. 

I Bought the Huge iPhone. I’m Already Thinking of Returning It.

Scotland Is Just the Beginning. Expect More Political Earthquakes in Europe.

Lifetime Didn’t Think the Steubenville Rape Case Was Dramatic Enough

So they added a little self-immolation.

Two Damn Good, Very Different Movies About Soldiers Returning From War

Medical Examiner

The Most Terrifying Thing About Ebola 

The disease threatens humanity by preying on humanity.

Students Aren’t Going to College Football Games as Much Anymore, and Schools Are Getting Worried

The Good Wife Is Cynical, Thrilling, and Grown-Up. It’s Also TV’s Best Drama.

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