The Center for Public Integrity found that an “aggressive” marketing campaign by Comerica and the Treasury Department resulted in a million Americans being sent “Direct Express” benefit cards—used to distribute Social Security and disability payments—to people who didn’t need or request them. This resulted in a financial gain for the bank, given that card fees are much higher than direct deposit into an account, which many of the card recipients already had. read more
The number of federal prisoners actually decreased by 1,900, the first census drop in federal institutions since 1980. That number was outweighed by an increase in the population of state prisons. • The states with the highest imprisonment rate were Louisiana (1,114 per 100,000 population), Mississippi (918 per 100,000) and Oklahoma (872 per 100,000). read more
In the U.S. House of Representatives, nearly 90% of the GOP caucus is made up of white men. Not exactly representative of the U.S. population, which is less than a third Caucasian and male.
For anyone wondering, more than half (53%) of the House Democratic caucus are not white men.
Researchers say cases of advanced black lung (progressive massive fibrosis) have soared in number, reaching levels not seen since the early 1970s. The deadly version of the disease had all but disappeared by the dawn of the new millennium. Wes Addington, deputy director at the Appalachian Citizens’ Law Center, told The Louisville Courier-Journal. “We have broken our promise to protect our miners.” read more
The Burlington Electric Department gets its power from three sources, according to Ari Phillips at ThinkProgress: One-third comes from wind energy operators, another third from the Winooski One and Hydro-Québec hydroelectric stations, and a final third from the Joseph C. McNeil Generating Station, which is a biomass installation that uses logging residue wood chips in its processing. read more
Being a singles-majority nation marks quite a change from what the U.S. looked like during its bicentennial year, 1976, when only 37.4% were single. Those states with the highest percentages of single adults are Louisiana and Rhode Island (both 55.7%), New York (55.4%), Mississippi (54.9%), and New Mexico (53.6%). read more
Five years ago, Republican-appointed judges dominated the federal appeals courts, with 99 seats compared to 65 held by those selected during Democratic administrations. Now, those numbers have flipped. Judges nominated by Democrats total 95, thanks in significant part to Obama’s selections since taking office in 2009. Republican-appointed circuit judges total 77, according to the Brookings Institution. The last time Democratic appointees were in the majority was in 2000. read more
The administration’s move has been described as unprecedented, because United Against Nuclear Iran is a private group and not a government agency. Ben Wizner, an American Civil Liberties Union lawyer who has fought the government in other cases involving classified information, said he had never seen anything like that. “If there’s something in their files that would disclose a state secret, is there any reason it should be in their files?” Wizner asked. read more
The Obama administration left open the possibility that the sanctions could be halted if Moscow sticks with the current cease-fire agreement and pulls its troops from Ukraine.
But even if they are imposed, at least one oil analyst dismissed their importance on the Kara Sea project. Fadel Gheit at Oppenheimer & Co. told the Post that the sanctions’ “bark is worse than its bite,” considering commercial oil production out of the Arctic is a decade away.
First, the good news: The Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) reported Thursday that there were 4,405 fatal work injuries in 2013. That’s down from the previous year’s mark of 4,628 deaths. But the news was bad for Hispanic workers. In 2012, 708 Latinos died on the job. By the following year, the total jumped to 797. read more
Cotton responded with his own misleading commercial that warned that Pryor wanted to give undocumented workers Social Security benefits for their employment while working under “forged identities.”
The claim was based on a 2006 vote Pryor cast in the Senate “that has been repeatedly debunked by fact checkers,” The Washington Post’s Glenn Kessler wrote, noting that FactCheck.org made the lie one of the “Whoppers of 2006.”
Obama is the fourth president in a row to go on television and tell his fellow Americans that the skies over Iraq will soon be filled with U.S. warplanes laden with enough ordnance to turn some village into kindling.
This announcement was different though. Obama was somewhat vague on the details of how this campaign would work. read more
Many have taken issue with the president’s claim of success in Yemen and Somalia. “Very few people who are not part of the administration consider either of those cases a success,” Spencer Ackerman wrote at the Guardian. “Less subjectively, neither has finished, years later, and it is unclear what success in Yemen and Somalia even is.” read more
“After the savings and loans crisis, the government brought over 1,000 criminal prosecutions and got over 800 convictions,” Warren scolded during a congressional hearing attended by Federal Reserve leaders. However, the Obama administration has instead pursued civil cases against firms, resulting in no executives facing the threat of prison. read more
45 Minnesota players have been arrested since January 2000. Arrests of NFL players are actually significantly down this year. The peak was in 2006, when 67 players were arrested. Only 38 players have been arrested so far this year. But as they say, it’s early in the season and anything can happen in the National Football League. read more
He joined the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) and in 1984 began serving tours in Mexico and in Costa Rica. In 2007, Shedd was named director of national intelligence deputy for policy, plans, and requirements. According to Director of National Intelligence James Clapper, Shedd “played critical roles in almost every ODNI initiative from 2005 until his departure in 2010.” Shedd was named deputy director of DIA in 2010. read more
Crime has fallen in every state but one: West Virginia. There, despite a 195% increase in the imprisonment rate, the crime rate climbed by 6% between 1994 and 2012, according to research from Pew. Statistics would show that an increase in imprisonment wasn’t predictive at all of a state’s relative decline in crime rate. read more