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  • Judge Clashes with Defense Dept. over Release of Abu Ghraib Photos

    Friday, August 29, 2014
    Congress gave the secretary of defense authority to conceal the photos for three years if their publication was deemed a threat to American soldiers’ lives. Robert Gates did just that in 2009. In 2012, then-Defense Secretary Leon Panetta asked for another three-year authorization to withhold the photos. Hellerstein ruled this week that circumstances have changed and the photos can now be released without endangering U.S. military personnel.   read more
  • Black Unemployment Rate is Twice that of White and Asian Unemployment Rates

    Friday, August 29, 2014
    For blacks, the jobless rate in 2013 was twice that of whites, and even greater compared to that of Asian-Americans, according to a report from the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS). The unemployment rate for African-Americans was 13.1%; for whites, it was 6.5%. American Indians and Alaska Natives also had a high jobless rate of 12.8%, while the unemployment rate among Hispanics was 9.1%. Asians had the lowest unemployment rate at 5.2%.   read more
  • Appeals Court Rules Native American Skeletons Unearthed 38 Years Ago must be Returned to Tribes

    Friday, August 29, 2014
    The remains were discovered in 1976 at the Chancellor’s House at the University of California, San Diego by a university excavation team. UC San Diego had dragged its feet on giving up the remains, questioning which Native American group was the rightful owner. However, the university in 2012 agreed to return the remains to the Kumeyaay. But a lawsuit filed against the university by three scientists who wished to study the skeletons halted the repatriation.   read more
  • Federal Court Overturns Amish Hair and Beard Cutting Convictions

    Friday, August 29, 2014
    Samuel Mullet, leader of an Amish group in Berholz, was sentenced to 15 years in prison for violating federal anti-hate crimes law when he ordered the forced cutting of men’s beards and a woman’s long hair. Hair and beard cuttings are considered degrading and insulting in the Amish world, where being unshorn is a sign of holiness. But the Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals threw out the hate crime convictions, saying the trial judge erred when instructing the jury on the definition of a hate crime.   read more
  • Equatorial Guinea Ambassador Accused of Beating Daughter with Chair Leg

    Friday, August 29, 2014
    The ambassador to the United States from Equatorial Guinea has been accused of beating his 16-year-old daughter with a chair leg, but no charges will be filed against him. Officers had been called to the residence on another domestic case in December 2013. The ambassador was not arrested either time because he has diplomatic immunity.   read more
  • Like the Introduction of Cable TV, Social Media Cuts off People from Those with Opposing Ideas

    Thursday, August 28, 2014
    tThe Internet is only helping polarize the United States even further, as Americans interact mostly with those who share their beliefs, much as television viewers tend to watch cable news channels that reinforce their principles. With Facebook, the researchers found that users were nearly twice as likely to join a discussion if their friends had the same viewpoints.   read more
  • Shipping of North Dakota Oil Puts a Hold on Grain Distribution

    Thursday, August 28, 2014
    One of the state’s key railroads, Canadian Pacific, says it won’t be able to fulfill nearly 30,000 requests from farmers and others for space on rail cars during September. The Burlington Northern Santa Fe Railway (BNSF), the state’s largest railroad, has a backlog of 1,336 rail cars loaded with grain and other products not going anywhere.   read more
  • Troubles in the Blood Industry

    Thursday, August 28, 2014
    Transfusions are down about 30% since 2009, going from 15 million units to 11 million. Blood banks’ revenue is falling as well, down about $1.5 billion a year from a peak of $5 billion. The Red Cross told Wald that up to 12,000 blood bank jobs may be eliminated over the next three to five years, representing about 25% of the industry total.   read more
  • States with Medical Marijuana have Lower Rate of Drug Overdoses

    Thursday, August 28, 2014
    Researchers using federal health statistics found a 25% annual reduction in drug overdose mortality rates in states that allow medical marijuana. They also discovered that the reductions tend to occur very shortly after adopting medical marijuana laws and strengthen over time.   read more
  • Latest in 3-D Printing: High-Quality Skeleton Keys

    Thursday, August 28, 2014
    Duplicate keys that open high-security locks can now be made by anyone, thanks to 3-D printers. And they can do so without even having the original key to work from, according to Wired’s Andy Greenberg. With just photographs of keyholes on hand, experts can create “bump” keys that can open “millions of locks with a carefully practiced rap on its head with a hammer,” Greenberg reports.   read more
  • When School Opens, White Students will Drop Below 50% for First Time

    Wednesday, August 27, 2014
    In 1997, white student enrollment was 63.4% in schools, or 29.2 million kids, according to the Pew Research Center. Now, that total is expected to fall to 49.7%, with 24.9 million white students in classrooms. The change has been the result of a 15% decline in white student enrollment since 1997. Pew noted that most of the growth in Hispanic and Asian children has come from U.S.-born kids.   read more
  • 156,000 Seniors Have Social Security Checks Reduced…to Pay Off Student Loans

    Wednesday, August 27, 2014
    At a time when thousands of Americans are trying to enjoy, if not just survive, their golden years, the federal government has been garnishing their Social Security checks to pay off old student loans. About 156,000 individuals have found themselves in this situation, losing on average $180 out of a typical monthly check of $1,200.   read more
  • When Israelis Kill Gaza Civilians, They do so with Weapons Provided by U.S.

    Wednesday, August 27, 2014
    When Israel launched the missile attack earlier this month that killed 10 civilians in a United Nations school, it used an American-made Hellfire missile. That wasn’t the only time that American weaponry has been used against Hamas and the Palestinians living in Gaza. A Mark 84 bomb made in the U.S. was found unexploded in the city of Deir al Balah, while 120mm artillery shells—stamped with “Made in USA”—have apparently landed in Rafah, based on shell casings found.   read more
  • Federal Election Commission, with 3-3 Votes, Loosens Restrictions on Campaign Funding

    Wednesday, August 27, 2014
    The Federal Election Commission (FEC), in reaching yet another 3-3 deadlock due to the Democratic-Republican split among commissioners, has effectively told the Conservative Action Fund that it can receive Bitcoin donations. The most recent deadlock is considered a blow to efforts to improve transparency in elections, due to the untraceable nature of Bitcoins.   read more
  • American Academy of Pediatrics Suggests School Should Start Later

    Wednesday, August 27, 2014
    The American Academy of Pediatrics says in a new paper that middle schools and high schools should push back start times to 8:30 a.m. or later so students can get more rest. Opponents of later school start times cite their effect on after-school employment, athletics and other extracurricular activities.   read more
  • Tanks on the Streets? Police Required to Use Military Equipment within a Year or Return It

    Tuesday, August 26, 2014
    The Department of Defense’s 1033 program—which funnels all kinds of military surplus goods to police—has a provision that clearly says that any participating law enforcement agency must use its equipment within one year of receiving it. If they don’t, they have to give it up.   read more
  • Cell Phone Tracking Surveillance Systems Hit the Dictator Market

    Tuesday, August 26, 2014
    Several companies have developed systems that tap into cell providers’ databases and use that information to match a mobile phone signal to the tower it’s accessing. These systems are being marketed internationally, and spy agencies and others in just about any country can track a subject’s movements anywhere in the world.   read more
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