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.

Click to launch propublica.org.

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  MuckReads@ProPublica.org. 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

Advertisement

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

These stories and many more can be found at  ProPublica. You can also  subscribe to a daily #MuckReads email, or follow  ProPublica on Twitter. Reader submissions are key to making #MuckReads a success—please contribute!

TODAY IN SLATE

Politics

Talking White

Black people’s disdain for “proper English” and academic achievement is a myth.

Hong Kong’s Protesters Are Ridiculously Polite. That’s What Scares Beijing So Much.

The One Fact About Ebola That Should Calm You: It Spreads Slowly

Operation Backbone

How White Boy Rick, a legendary Detroit cocaine dealer, helped the FBI uncover brazen police corruption.

A Jaw-Dropping Political Ad Aimed at Young Women, Apparently

The XX Factor
Oct. 1 2014 4:05 PM Today in GOP Outreach to Women: You Broads Like Wedding Dresses, Right?
Music

How Even an Old Hipster Can Age Gracefully

On their new albums, Leonard Cohen, Robert Plant, and Loudon Wainwright III show three ways.

How Tattoo Parlors Became the Barber Shops of Hipster Neighborhoods

This Gargantuan Wind Farm in Wyoming Would Be the Hoover Dam of the 21st Century

Moneybox
Oct. 1 2014 8:34 AM This Gargantuan Wind Farm in Wyoming Would Be the Hoover Dam of the 21st Century To undertake a massively ambitious energy project, you don’t need the government anymore.
  News & Politics
Politics
Oct. 1 2014 7:26 PM Talking White Black people’s disdain for “proper English” and academic achievement is a myth.
  Business
Buy a Small Business
Oct. 1 2014 11:48 PM Inking the Deal Why tattoo parlors are a great small-business bet.
  Life
Outward
Oct. 1 2014 6:02 PM Facebook Relaxes Its “Real Name” Policy; Drag Queens Celebrate
  Double X
The XX Factor
Oct. 1 2014 5:11 PM Celebrity Feminist Identification Has Reached Peak Meaninglessness
  Slate Plus
Behind the Scenes
Oct. 1 2014 3:24 PM Revelry (and Business) at Mohonk Photos and highlights from Slate’s annual retreat.
  Arts
Brow Beat
Oct. 1 2014 9:39 PM Tom Cruise Dies Over and Over Again in This Edge of Tomorrow Supercut
  Technology
Future Tense
Oct. 1 2014 6:59 PM EU’s Next Digital Commissioner Thinks Keeping Nude Celeb Photos in the Cloud Is “Stupid”
  Health & Science
Science
Oct. 1 2014 4:03 PM Does the Earth Really Have a “Hum”? Yes, but probably not the one you’re thinking.
  Sports
Sports Nut
Oct. 1 2014 5:19 PM Bunt-a-Palooza! How bad was the Kansas City Royals’ bunt-all-the-time strategy in the American League wild-card game?