Why is it that lower-level officers are sent to prison for shedding light on CIA torture and missteps while the former director is getting off with a slap on the wrist? “I don’t think General Petraeus should have been prosecuted under the Espionage Act, just as I don’t think I should have been...” said John Kiriakou. “Yet only one of us was. Both Petraeus and I disclosed undercover identities...that were never published. I spent two years in prison; he gets two years’ probation.” read more
Holland joined USGS in issuing an official statement stating that fracking may be responsible for the increasing risk of earthquakes in Oklahoma. Within a week, Holland was called in to a meeting at the Oklahoma Commission with Continental oil executive Jack Stark, where displeasure was expressed about Holland’s statement. Holland later insisted he wasn’t pressured to alter his scientific findings. read more
One theory is that his advisers don’t want Bush to collect too much money too soon and risk being perceived as being in the pocket of the uber wealthy. Another theory says Bush may be playing mind games with his GOP rivals. “I don’t want to say it’s a bluff, but he may be trying to kind of bolster up his support, and make it appear as though he’s going to be far and away the frontrunner and the leader,” said professor Lara Brown.
Fort really needed to use the restroom. He told Republican committee chairman Josh McKoon that he was stepping out for a bathroom break and asked him to put committee work on hold until he got back. McKoon agreed. But as soon as Fort left, the Republicans hurriedly brought the bill back up for a vote. A staffer quickly alerted absent Democratic senators of what was happening, and they raced to the committee room to prevent the vote but were too late. The committee had already passed the bill. read more
JPMorgan Chase has earned the distinction of being the largest bank among those deemed too-big-to-fail for the sake of the U.S. financial and economic systems, according to a new government report. The federal Office of Financial Research ranked 12 U.S. financial institutions based on their “total exposures.” Rounding out the first half dozen banks were Citigroup, Bank of America, Wells Fargo, Goldman Sachs and Morgan Stanley.
“I’m thrilled that President Obama owned up to his promise to veto the Keystone XL pipeline bill today. But in the same breath I’m spittin’ mad,” said Julia Crawford, whose land was taken by TransCanada. “Nearly three years ago, with the exact same data in front of him he decided to ‘cut through the red tape and fast track’ the southern leg of this project. Where was his ‘climate test’ then? President Obama owes all of us in Texas and Oklahoma an explanation. Better yet, an apology,”
Some police departments have invested in Taser’s cameras after their chiefs forged “financial ties” with Taser, “raising conflict-of-interest questions.” “Taser [covers expenses] for police chiefs who speak at promotional conferences and is hiring recently retired chiefs as consultants, sometimes months after their cities signed contracts" with Taser, said AP. The police chief in Fort Worth even told Taser that he deserved “a raise” for lobbying his department to sign a contract with Taser.
Gun enthusiasts are outraged by a federal proposal to ban a type of armor-piercing bullets capable of penetrating ballistic vests worn by law enforcement officers now that the rounds can be used in handguns. Varieties of 5.56 mm rounds with metal cores that are commonly used in AR-15 assault rifles would be prohibited under new rules crafted by the ATF. Ammunition makers would be barred from producing, selling, importing or distributing the rounds. read more
ICE agents conducted raids across Southern California this week in an effort to shut down businesses in which foreign residents pay to stay in the U.S. to have children who will then automatically be U.S. citizens.These “birthing centers” have charged nearly $40,000 per expecting mom to help guide them through U.S. rules and procedures, such as advice on where to stay before delivering their baby. As many as 40,000 children are born in the U.S. each year as a result of such arrangements. read more
Researchers examined data collected in other studies that factored in penis measurements from more than 15,000 men. They found no correlation between penis size and foot size, palm size or any other urban legend that purports to make such a connection. They did caution that studies might be skewed because men with larger penises might be more inclined to participate in a study that measured their vital organ.
The 10 biggest corporate water polluters in the U.S. spent $53 million on lobbying and nearly $10 million on campaign contributions. These companies also dumped 100 million pounds of toxics in public waterways. The top polluter in the report is AK Steel, which discharged 19,088,128 pounds of toxics into rivers and lakes in 2012. It spent $739,752 on lobbying in 2014. The biggest lobbying spender was the No. 6 polluter: Koch Industries ($13.8 million on lobbying, 6,657,138 pounds of toxics). read more
With Capitol Hill abuzz over Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu’s appearance before Congress this week, there is no time like the present for a refresher on how much the American taxpayers spend on Israel’s defense. If it wasn’t for Washington, Netanyahu would have a serious shortfall on his hands. The U.S. funds about 25% of Israel’s annual military spending, thanks to $3 billion a year in aid. Israel is "the largest single recipient of U.S foreign assistance...$121 billion," wrote Ward. read more
Attorney Tai Vokins told CNN that the government-hired collectors are “preying on the absolute poorest people” who can’t pay their bills, let alone old debts. Consequently, some have been jailed for not paying overdue speeding tickets, while others have had entire paychecks garnished to cover back taxes. Others targeted by the debt collectors never owed the debt, and had documentation to prove it, but still have been harassed by collection agencies. read more
The NRDC wants the EPA to review the main ingredient in Monsanto’s Roundup, a commonly used herbicide that has wiped out the milkweed plant in many parts of the country. Monarch butterflies rely on the milkweed for their survival.
The NRDC says the “distinctive butterfly” is “in peril,” and faces the risk of completely dying off. “The remaining population is so small that a single severe weather event could eradicate it,” the group wrote.
The case was filed by Leah Metcalf, who played women’s basketball for North Carolina from 2001 to 2005, and James Arnold, who played football from 2005 to 2009. Metcalf had dreams of becoming a doctor, while Arnold said he wanted to study computer science. But both say school officials told them to take easier courses in the university’s School of African and Afro-American Studies. Both graduated from college, but found they couldn’t get professional jobs usually offered to college graduates. read more
The judge wrote that the Endangered Species Act “offers the broadest possible protections for endangered species by design [and] reflects the [U.S.] commitment to act as a responsible steward of the Earth's wildlife, even when such stewardship is inconvenient or difficult...” But the Obama administration objected to the ruling. Since 2003, the U.S. government has made four attempts to end protection of the wolves, and each time its effort was overturned in court. read more
In his apology, Mayor Jackson said blaming the child for his own death was "an attempt to protect all of our defenses." A Rice family attorney responded, “I don’t want him just to apologize for the poor word use. I want him to apologize for the death of this 12-year-old child.” Another Rice attorney said, “I do believe that a...child died unnecessarily at the hands of Cleveland police officers and I do believe that certain officers shouldn’t have been entitled to wear the uniform.” read more