Critics have detailed a number of concerns regarding BLM’s latest rules draft. Among them is a provision that allows drillers to not disclose the chemicals they are using until 30 days after they have begun drilling. Another rule allows drillers to withhold trade secrets without being required to explain their reason for doing so. Observers also note that there is no requirement for well operators to collect and disclose air and water quality data prior to fracking. Read More
The U.S. Air Force’s Office of Special Investigations detected a problem with the machine in 2002, the year after it came on the market. They notified the manufacturer, Lafayette Instrument Co. Inc., who advised them how to work around the glitch—by using a manual mode of testing rather than the less effective but easier-to-use automatic mode. However, they apparently did not correct the problem or notify other users of the equipment. Read More
Of the responses to the emails written with Latino aliases, 31.3% were either non-informative, inaccurate or ambiguous, whereas 24.9% of the responses to Greg Walsh and ”Jake Mueller” fell into these categories. However, the report did conclude “that states with stricter voter ID laws did not exhibit greater differences in response to Latinos versus non-Latinos.” Read More
The government classified the shooting as a “workplace violence” incident, and not an act of terror or combat-related. Soldiers wounded in the shooting have been fighting for more than three years to win combat pay and medical benefits, which have been denied due to the technical classification of the assault. Read More
The largest number of the deaths in FY2012 occurred in Arizona near Tucson, which is also the busiest stretch of the Mexican border for illegal crossings.
Another dangerous stretch is in Texas’ Rio Grande Valley. There, 77 bodies of immigrants were recovered between October 1 and April 30, an average of almost three a week.
Last year, more than half of the dead were identified as having come not from Mexico, but from Central America.
The cyber-attacks, in fact, may have been aimed at learning the identities of Chinese intelligence operatives under surveillance in the U.S. by the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), The Washington Post reported.
Google technicians discovered that its database containing years of information on surveillance operations had been breached. Included were classified court orders approving surveillance of U.S.–based foreign agents, diplomats and terrorists.
Four Iraqis claim the contractor helped torture them while providing interrogation services at Abu Ghraib. All of them were ultimately released without being charged with a crime. They allege that CACI subjected them to a variety of torture techniques, including “electric shocks; repeated brutal beatings; sleep deprivation; sensory deprivation; forced nudity; stress positions; sexual assault; mock executions; humiliation; hooding; isolated detention; and prolonged hanging from the limbs.” Read More
In a major power grab of dubious constitutionality, the U.S. military last week claimed for itself the power to act unilaterally—without the authorization of the President—in case of “civil disturbances,” threatening a 200-year-old system that strictly forbids the military from becoming involved in civilian law enforcement. Seemingly innocuous in its brevity and simplicity, the new rule's chief danger lies in its vagueness. Read More
It is estimated that there will be more than 72 million Americans over the age of 65 by 2030, according to the Department of Health and Human Services, which is nearly twice as many currently.
Meanwhile, the U.S. will need 70% more home aide jobs in the next seven years, and people are not beating down the door for these positions that pay an average of about $20,000 a year.
Residents of Center Point, Alabama, who received citations as a result of a new traffic-camera system were told they could appeal their tickets in court.
But there was a catch: it turned out there was no court to hear such cases.
That’s the contention of two women, Rhonda Lashon Stubbs and Celeita Snow, who are suing the city and Redflex Traffic Systems, which was hired to install the cameras to catch speeders and other moving violations. Read More
Inexplicably, Nazaire’s appeal to the Georgia court failed to cite Judge Wright’s extensive use of Star Trek references in characterizing Prenda’s behavior. Wright began his written ruling by quoting Spock from “Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan”: “The needs of the many outweigh the needs of the few.” And then his legal opinion took flight.
“Resistance is futile.” Read More
This surveillance “benefited a number of corporations and banks that were subjects of Occupy Phoenix protest activity,” including JPMorgan Chase, according to the report. For example, when JPMorgan CEO Jamie Dimon visited Phoenix, the bank’s security department reached out to the local fusion center, whose members assured them that the Occupy movement was unaware of Dimon’s visit. Read More
Currently, just five banks control 90% of all derivatives contracts: JPMorgan Chase, Citigroup, Bank of America, Morgan Stanley and Goldman Sachs. The Commodity Futures Trading Commission (CFTC) had planned to require firms wanting a price for a derivatives contract to contact at least five banks.
But after lobbying from financial institutions, the CFTC lowered the requirement to two banks.
The bill would amend federal labor law that mandates the payment of time-and-a-half for those working more than 40 hours in a week. Instead of only offering money for overtime, employers could allow compensatory time off.
Opponents of the measure say there is nothing in it to prevent companies from discriminating against those who prefer payment by cutting back on their overtime hours.
The VA reported that men made up nearly 40% of the patients treated in 2012 for conditions linked to “military sexual trauma.”
VA statistics revealed that 20% of women and 1% of men screen positive for military sexual trauma, which the agency defines as “any sexual activity where you are involved against your will.”
What seems to happen is that immigrants, as they settle into their new American lives, adopt the unhealthy habits of those already here—smoking, drinking, eating fast food, and not exercising. Read More
Many other cases remain unsolved, including the December 10, 1964, death of Frank Morris in Ferriday, Louisiana. Morris, who was black, died when a group of men set his shop on fire. The Concordia Sentinel revealed that a suspect in the case was still alive—someone who had been implicated in the murder by his own family. But the FBI never charged the man, saying they were unable to compile the credible evidence necessary to charge him. The suspect, Arthur Leonard Spencer, died last week.
In parts of Europe and Asia, anti-Islamic sentiments went up, while growing anti-Semitism was noted in Venezuela, Egypt and Iran.
The International Religious Freedom Report quoted Egyptian President Mohammed Morsi, who praised comments by a religious leader calling for Allah to “destroy the Jews and their supporters.”
In Venezuela, state-controlled media published multiple anti-Semitic remarks, including opposition to a Catholic presidential candidate with Jewish roots.
The controversy centers on Pagan Island, part of the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands (CNMI), which is itself made up of 14 islands, three of which are inhabited (Saipan, Tinian and Rota). American forces intend to occupy all of Pagan Island for live-fire training and military exercises.
Pagan was inhabited for more than 3,000 years, but the population was evacuated during a volcano eruption in 1981. Read More
The state adopted the Cuba Amendment, which banned businesses from receiving state and local contracts if they had dealings in Cuba or Syria, or maintained connections with companies that did so.
The law also required companies to certify that they did not have business operations in any of the two countries when bidding on a government job or renewing a contract with a government agency.
Pritzker was chair of a bank that failed because of subprime loans, Hyatt is a staunchly anti-labor hotel chain, and many believe that the murky overseas investments of the secretive Pritzker family fortune represent a form of offshore tax evasion—a practice criticized by Obama during the 2012 campaign. Read More
Although Froman lost touch with Obama after Harvard, he advised Obama on policy during Obama's 2004 Senate campaign and introduced him to Robert Rubin, eventually serving on the 12-member advisory board of the Obama campaign’s transition team. Froman also functioned as a prodigious fundraiser for Obama, especially among younger Wall Street Democrats, bundling at least $200,000 in contributions. Read More
Watt's work on the Finance Committee and his reliance on contributions from the banking industry to fund his political campaigns have generated criticism. Since he entered Congress in 1992, Watt has received more campaign money—$1.33 million—from financial interests than any other industry or special interest. Critics charge that Watt's financial dependence on the finance industry and his cozy relationship with Bank of America have led him to be more less consumer-oriented on related issues. Read More