October 12th, 2009
11:27 AM ET

Morning Buzz: The meltdown of an American company

[cnn-photo-caption image=http://i2.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2009/US/10/11/U.S.gay.rights.rally/art.gay.rights.rally.cnn.jpg caption="Sunday's National Equality March in Washington coincided with National Coming Out Day."]

Eliza Browning
AC360° Associate Producer

Randi Kaye is reporting today on the fate of a classic American company called Simmons Bedding. It was founded 133 years ago in a small town in Wisconsin but is now on the verge of filing for bankruptcy. Why? It’s been sold seven times in approximately two decades, most recently by a private equity firm that critics believe is responsible for its demise.

They say this firm loaded the company with debt and then lived off what it borrowed. While Simmons is in turmoil, the private equity firm has not only escaped unscathed, it has made a profit of $77 million dollars. So how did this happen? And does it reflect certain loopholes in the regulatory system? Randi Kaye is keeping them honest tonight.

Happy Columbus Day everyone. The halls of Congress will be relatively quiet for the federal holiday but tomorrow there will be no holding back on the health care debate. Members of the Senate Finance Committee plan to vote Tuesday on their version of the health care reform bill.

President Obama will hold no public events today, but over the weekend he was quite busy giving a supportive speech to the Human Rights Campaign. He was praised for his remarks to nation’s largest gay and lesbian rights group, where he said he has urged Congress to repeal the Defense of Marriage Act and to pass the Domestic Partners Benefit and Obligations Act.

But Obama has been criticized by gay rights activists who say he has put those issues - and the ‘Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell’ policy – on the backburner. The President’s remarks came the night before thousands of people marched through Washington, calling for an end to ‘Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell’ and equality in marriage. Will Obama live up to his promises? We’re digging deeper tonight.

As we’ve reported for the past few weeks, military advisors are asking the President for more troops in Afghanistan. Sen. John McCain told John King on CNN’s State of the Union that the reported deployment request for 10,000 to 20,000 troops to be sent to Afghanistan is “an error of historic proportions.” McCain said he thinks no fewer than 40,000 troops are necessary to win the war. So what will 40,000 military personnel mean on the ground? The President and his advisors are in the midst of an extensive strategic review of the U.S. military presence in the country. When can we expect a decision?

And did you hear about the tragic deaths of the people in the 'sweatbox' last week? Two people died and 19 others fell ill at a central Arizona resort after spending time in a sauna-like sweatbox. They were attending a self-help program and sat in a dome-like structure covered with tarps and blankets where hot rocks and water were used to create steam. Some people stayed in the sweatbox for nearly two hours, according to reports. Why would these people stay so long inside – and how did it relate to the self-help program? Could the investigation turn into a criminal prosecution? We’ll have more on this story tonight.

What else are you following? Let us know and see you at 10 p.m. ET.

Filed under: Eliza Browning • The Buzz
soundoff (2 Responses)
  1. Tim Gibson

    Simmons, sounds like the days of the corp. raider are strong and active and have resulted in fatalities before and will continue to do so.

    Wall street now runs the show and what wall streets wants wall street gets and that means raiding of companies and further decline in our economy.

    Perhaps, we we stopped imports and if we do not make it we do not need it would resolve some of this.

    As to Obama and his same old same old, still not drinking any of that Kool-aide and waiting to see what the end part of this month brings in eye opening events staged for revelation.

    October 12, 2009 at 1:05 pm |
  2. Joanne

    Swedish foam, an advance in the sleep system technological environment is partially the reason spring mattress are obsolete...and the companies that have not made the transition to that and other new technologies/

    October 12, 2009 at 12:56 pm |