Obama’s own State Dept. reported that U.S. diplomats were prevented from observing the elections, saying it was “troubled” that opposition party observers were kept out. And Obama’s national security advisor, Susan E. Rice, told reporters that the result of the election was not credible. “The prime minister of Ethiopia was just elected with 100 percent of the vote, which I think suggests...some concern for the integrity of the electoral process,” she said. read more
The IG found examples of informants who had broken the law and were being investigated while working with the DEA. “In some cases, the DEA continued to use, for up to six years without any (Justice Dept.) intervention, individuals who were involved in unauthorized illegal activities and who were under investigation by federal entities,” according to the report. The inspector general was stonewalled in his efforts to get information from DEA, delaying access to reports “for months at a time." read more
One of these innocent bystanders was Dillan Harris, a 13-month-old child who was fatally struck earlier this month near a Chicago bus stop by a man fleeing police. The suspect led police on a 3.5-mile chase that included running four red lights and driving at speeds up to 70 mph in an area with a speed limit of 30 mph. Watkins lost control of his car, jumped a curb and struck the stroller Dillan was sitting in, dragging it and the infant into a vacant lot. read more
“The idea that any business would seek to take advantage of stranded rail passengers in the wake of such a tragic event is unacceptable,” said Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx. The investigation is unusual for the agency, which hasn’t played a strong role in airline regulation since changes in federal law approved in the 1970s. “We have not investigated an airline for this type of conduct in at least the last 12 years, if ever,” said a department spokeswoman. read more
The planes regularly fly low over the community, producing a loud noise. The EA-18s have been recorded producing noise at 130 decibels outside and 81 decibels inside homes. “Exposure to 140 decibels may cause immediate and permanent hearing damage or loss, as well as bleeding from the ears,” Dahr Jamail wrote at Truthout. Jamail added “the human health impacts from these levels of chronic jet noise include hearing loss, immune toxicity, insomnia, stroke, heart attacks and even death.” read more
Judge Gee ruled that children had been held in “widespread deplorable conditions” in Border Patrol stations after being caught, and that the government had “wholly failed” to provide the “safe and sanitary” conditions. “I think this spells the beginning of the end for the Obama administration’s immigrant family detention policy,” said human rights lawyer Peter Schey. “A policy that just targets mothers with children is not rational and it’s inhumane.” read more
Fishermen revealed horror stories of crew members being dumped overboard and defiant ones being killed, sometimes by having their heads cut off. “Life at sea is cheap,” said Phil Robertson of Human Rights Watch, Asia. The FDA had found Songkla’s Thailand facilities to have unsanitary conditions that produced “adulterated” seafood that is potentially “injurious to health.” The U.S. is the biggest customer of Thai fish, totaling more than $190 million last year. read more
Children are “being taught the other ideas, the gay agenda, every day out in the world so we have to stand up and explain to them that that’s not real, that’s not proper, it’s not right,” said Farris Wilks. He and brother Dan, who made their fortunes in the West Texas fracking boom, have reportedly contributed $15 million to a super PAC supporting Cruz. The $15 million is the largest contribution so far in the 2016 race, and represents nearly half of the $38 million raised by Keep the Promise. read more
In 2012, the Fed handed $1.637 billion in dividends to banks. It’s “a risk-free entitlement program,” wrote David Dayen. “It’s one of the many unknown ways the Fed extends special benefits to Wall Street.” But senators have now turned to the banks’ 6% dividend for a source of funding. Without any advance notice to the banking industry, they included a provision in the highway bill that would reduce the dividend to 1.5% for banks. The reduction would reap about $17 billion for the government. read more
“Loneliness is a form of suffering in older people that is prevalent but undetected and untreated in medical practice,” said researcher Donovan. "Our work shows that loneliness, like depression, is associated with accelerated cognitive decline in older Americans." Other researchers found watching too much TV might also lower cognitive function. People who watch four or more hours of TV had a 1.5% higher risk of performing worse on cognitive tests compared with those who watched less TV. read more
At the start of this decade, North Carolina’s voting laws were a model of inclusion. The state allowed 17 days of early voting, teenagers who were approaching voting age could pre-register to vote, there was same-day registration and voters could even cast ballots outside their assigned precinct. The state’s Department of Motor Vehicles was also required to contact drivers about being registered when they reported an address change. read more
The Justice Department has apparently decided that it gets to decide if it will be investigated.
Principal Deputy Assistant Attorney General Karl Thompson, who runs the Office of Legal Counsel, released a 58-page ruling (pdf) Thursday saying that inspectors general must ask for permission for access to wiretaps, grand jury and credit information.
According to information at Opensecrets.org, those supporting the bill got about $30 million to do so from Big Ag. The 275 representatives of both parties who voted to keep consumers in the dark about the food they’re consuming averaged $108,900 in contributions from agricultural interests such as Monsanto and food lobbyists such as the Grocery Manufacturers Association in the 2014 election cycle. read more
The site provides many statistics on skin cancers, including that indoor tanning is linked to more skin cancers than cigarettes to lung cancers. Medical studies appear to support this surprising fact. According to the American Cancer Society, there were 224,210 new cases of lung cancer in the United States in 2014. A study published in JAMA Dermatology journal estimated that more than 419,000 cases of skin cancer a year can be attributed to indoor tanning. read more
On January 14, Conan read this joke that Kaseberg claims he had posted earlier that day: “A Delta flight this week took off from Cleveland to New York with just two passengers. And they fought over control of the armrest the entire flight.”
Then, on February 4, Conan used this joke, which Kaseberg claims he wrote and posted the day before: “Tom Brady said he wants to give his MVP truck to the man who won the game for the Patriots. So enjoy that truck, Pete Carroll."
The hackers are looking for information on everything from electronics to plant seeds—anything to put Chinese manufacturers on an equal footing with those from the United States which did the original research and development on a product. Last year, a California businessman was convicted of selling China the secret to what makes Oreo cookie filling so consistently white. Others have been charged with stealing plant seeds. read more
--Homicides involving white victims are seven times more likely to result in an execution than that of a black victim.
--Homicides involving white females are 14 times more likely to result in executions than those involving black male victims.
--Although fewer than 40% of murder victims in Missouri were white, 81% of executed murderers killed a white victim.