peHUB First Read

Some links to kick off your Wednesday:

* The Clear Channel banks have finally responded to the lawsuit against them, and Heidi Moore provides some details over at Deal Journal.

* I got some crap last week for suggesting that I could probably raise a SPAC. Well, if Ashton Kutcher can do it

* A team from Brazil’s Labor Ministry found “degrading” living conditions for 133 sugarcane workers employed by an ethanol company whose investors include Yucapia Cos., Vinod Khosla, Steve Case and former World Bank president James Wolfensohn.

This is pretty rough stuff, and so far the response from investors has been inadequate. Yucapia says “Newspapers report that Brenco has taken immediate action to remedy the situation… If that is not the case we will sell our shares in the company.” Well, will you do your own independent investigation, or just rely on newspapers? As for Khosla, emails sent to him and his assistent for comment went unanswered.

* UBS is writing down another $19 billion. This sort of thing has become so common that it can’t even rate above the Top Read fold.

* Mike Arrington sues Facebook.

* A UK tabloid cover today declares the U.S. economy to be in the early days of its next great depression. A counterargument. (h/t Kedrosky).