Michael Moore advocates universal health care, but what does he think about free movies?
The controversial filmmaker will have to deal with that question after a report in Advertising Age that "Sicko," his new documentary on the failings of the U.S. health care system, has been pirated and is widely available for free downloading on the Web.
An Ad Age reporter said he was able to download and watch the film, which won't officially be released for two weeks, "with ease" last night.
Moore, who had worried that the U.S. government might try to suppress "Sicko" because of an allegedly unauthorized trip he took to Cuba, now faces "every film maker's worst marketing nightmare … how to persuade people to go to the theater to see a show that's available free on the Internet."
FEMA Wants $485M Back From Storm Victims
The Federal Emergency Management Agency says tens of tens of thousands of people received improper aid awards following the 2005 Gulf Coast hurricanes – and now FEMA wants its money back.
According to a USA Today analysis, FEMA overpaid victims of Hurricanes Katrina, Rita and Wilma by $485 million and the agency is now struggling to recoup the funds. So far, just $15.6 million has been recovered.
The effort to collect the overpayments has drawn protests from many in the region still trying to rebuild two years after the hurricanes. A federal judge this week ordered FEMA to stop trying to regain any funds until it provides aid recipients with better explanations of what they owe.
In a related story, USA Today also reports that National Guard units in many states are running low on equipment, raising concerns about their ability to help other states with hurricane relief efforts as they did after the 2005 Gulf Coast storms.
The paper says four years of war in Iraq and Afghanistan have left Guard units in 31 states with 60 percent or less of their authorized equipment.
The Clintons Cash Out
Bill and Hillary Clinton aren't taking any chances this time. In a move to make sure their personal finances don't become an issue in Sen. Clinton's presidential campaign, the couple is liquidating their blind trust – valued at between $5 million and $25 million – and leaving the proceeds in cash, according to reports in both The New York Times and Washington Post.
The Clintons acted after learning that the trust contained controversial investments like oil and drug companies and military contractors. The move could cost the Clintons money, since they'll have to pay "substantial amounts" in capital gains taxes and are giving up the potentially higher returns from stocks for the safer, but generally lower returns from savings accounts.
But it helps them avoid any potential conflict of interest charges during Hillary Clinton's presidential run – and steers them clear of a repeat of the Whitewater scandal that dogged them during Mr. Clinton's presidency.
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