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  • Hedge Funds do not Make Good Landlords

    Thursday, July 24, 2014
    Among all residents surveyed, 46% reported plumbing problems, 39% had roaches or insects, 22% complained of rats, mice or termites, 21% said their heating or air conditioning didn’t work properly, 20% have endured mold, and 18% suffered leaky roofs, among other concerns. The study, conducted by the Right to the City Alliance’s Homes for All Campaign, also found that only 10% of tenants in Los Angeles and 26% in Riverside had ever met their landlord in person.   read more
  • Nuclear Waste Company Received $1.9 Million Performance Bonus…5 Days after Underground Fire Shut Facility

    Thursday, July 24, 2014
    The fire may have been the result of diesel oil building up on the vehicle’s engine. Shortly after that event, a container with radioactive waste sprung a leak. Regardless, the Department of Energy (DOE) awarded the contractor, Nuclear Waste Partnership (NWP), a $1.9 million bonus for its “excellent” work at WIPP during 2013. Included in the criteria for that bonus is safety and maintenance. The bonus was delivered five days after the truck fire.   read more
  • Corporate Tax Evasion Strategy Debated in Senate

    Thursday, July 24, 2014
    Currently, U.S. businesses can claim they are foreign owned if only 20% of it is actually the property of overseas investors. President Barack Obama says this ceiling should be raised to 50% foreign ownership to slow down the rate of companies leaving the country.   read more
  • U.S. Pork Producers Keep Using Drug Banned or Restricted in 160 Countries

    Thursday, July 24, 2014
    Food safety advocates point out that 160 countries have either outlawed the drug or limited its use, while also noting the existence of 160,000 reports of pigs becoming ill or dying after being fed ractopamine. The nonprofit Center for Food Safety cited information from the European Food Safety Authority showing ractopamine can cause increased heart rates in humans.   read more
  • If You Ask for a Public Defender in One Texas County, You Get a Sheriff’s Detective Instead

    Thursday, July 24, 2014
    Starting late last year, McLennan County decided to send a sheriff’s detective to the home of any person requesting a court-appointed lawyer. The purpose: to see if the individual was poor enough to not afford their own legal counsel, or determine if they were lying.   read more
  • Why do Unaccompanied Minors Try to Come to the U.S.? They’re Fleeing Violence, Gangs and Poverty…and Looking for Family Members

    Wednesday, July 23, 2014
    Forty-eight percent of unaccompanied children, when interviewed by the UN Refugee Agency, gave societal violence as a primary reason for fleeing their home country. For children from El Salvador, the number was 66%. Another factor is poverty. Two thirds of Hondurans are poor, while the rates aren’t much better for Guatemalans (55%) and Salvadorans (45%).   read more
  • Hedge Funds Accused of Screwing Americans out of Billions of Dollars in Taxes

    Wednesday, July 23, 2014
    The two banks “used the options to build special accounts for their hedge fund clients in their own names and claimed they owned the assets when it was, in fact, the hedge fund clients that exercised full control of the assets.” The structure of the basket options also allowed the hedge funds to borrow up to $17 for every dollar in an account rather than the 50 cents on the dollar that broker-dealers are restricted to according to limits that go back to the 1930s.   read more
  • Missouri the only State to Refuse to Maintain a Prescription Drug Database

    Wednesday, July 23, 2014
    The state that’s home to the maker of oxycodone, one of the most abused painkillers in the United States, is also the only one in the nation that doesn’t have a government prescription drug database, thereby encouraging misuse of medications. Other Republicans have grown frustrated with Schaaf’s obstructionism, particularly those in neighboring states trying to stem their own drug abuse problems. With Missouri being so lax, drug addicts often cross the border and buy what they need.   read more
  • Beef Production Far Worse for the Environment than other Animal Products

    Wednesday, July 23, 2014
    The research revealed beef cattle utilized 28 times more land, required 11 times more irrigation water for feed, used six times more nitrogen fertilizer that pollutes waterways, and discharged five times more greenhouse gases, particularly methane. On average, eating beef is about ten times more costly to the environment than eating any other animal-based foods, according to the report.   read more
  • FBI Accused of Entrapping Muslims; ATF Accused of Entrapping Minorities

    Wednesday, July 23, 2014
    In one high-profile case (the “Newburgh Four”), New York District Judge Colleen McMahan, the federal judge overseeing the trial, characterized the government as having come “up with the crime, provided the means, and removed all relevant obstacles.” She added, “Only the government could have made a ‘terrorist’ out of [defendant] Mr. [James] Cromitie, whose buffoonery is positively Shakespearean in its scope.”   read more
  • Obama Administration was Warned Well in Advance of Unaccompanied Children Crossing the Border into Texas

    Tuesday, July 22, 2014
    The UTEP team found that an average of 66 children were being picked up at the border each day. Thirty Border Patrol agents were required to transport the children from Fort Brown to other locations where they could be fed and cleaned. All told, 24,000 unaccompanied minors were processed by Border Patrol stations in Texas last year, making it clear that the federal government had a brewing crisis on its hands.   read more
  • $23.6 Billion Jury Award in Smoking Case Unlikely to Survive Appeal

    Tuesday, July 22, 2014
    R.J. Reynolds Tobacco Company is expected to challenge the verdict that featured $23.6 billion in punitive damages. In addition to that sum, the jury granted compensatory damages totaling $16.9 million in the case brought by Cynthia Robinson, the widow of chain smoker Michael Johnson, who died 18 years ago of lung cancer at age 36.   read more
  • UN Report Estimates more than Half with AIDS don’t Know they’re Infected

    Tuesday, July 22, 2014
    More than half of all the world’s HIV patients are not aware of their medical condition, according to a new United Nations’ report. Nineteen million of the 35 million living with the human immunodeficiency virus are unaware that they’re infected. Michel Sidibé, executive director of UNAIDS, which produced the report, says: “Whether you live or die should not depend on access to an HIV test.”   read more
  • Can Private Drones be Used to Counter “Ag-Gag” Laws in 7 States?

    Tuesday, July 22, 2014
    Using the online fundraising website Kickstarter, journalist Will Potter managed to raise $75,000 to purchase multiple drones for aerial surveillance of large livestock facilities. Potter told NPR’s The Salt that the move was necessary since seven states have adopted “ag-gag” bills that outlaw the collecting of images inside such operations that reveal neglect or abuse.   read more
  • House Republicans Fight to Stop City-Owned Internet Providers

    Tuesday, July 22, 2014
    Cities such as Chattanooga, Tennessee, have become groundbreaking examples of what local governments can do to provide high-speed fiber optic networks to residents and local businesses. That city created its “Gig City” operation that’s at least 50 times faster than the national average for $70 a month. But city officials there have been prohibited from expanding to nearby communities eager for the service because of a state law backed by telecommunications companies.   read more
  • Idaho Nurse’s Lawsuit against Bulk Collection of Phone Records Gains Supporters

    Monday, July 21, 2014
    “When I found out that the NSA was collecting records of my phone calls, I was shocked,” Smith said in a prepared statement. “I have heard of other governments spying indiscriminately on their own citizens, but I naively thought it did not happen in America. I believe who I call, when I call them, and how long we talk is not something the government should be able to get without a warrant. I sued because I believe the Constitution protects my calls from government searches."   read more
  • Appeals Court Ruling Challenges Legitimacy of Military Commissions For Guantánamo Prisoners

    Monday, July 21, 2014
    A military commission had found al-Bahlul guilty of supporting terrorism, solicitation and conspiracy. But the appellate court, in a unanimous decision, invalidated the first two convictions, saying they weren’t considered war crimes prior to the Military Commissions Act of 2006. and the court majority questioned the third.   read more
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