Controversies

1 to 16 of about 3771 News
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Top Bank Executive Sentenced to 8 Years in Prison for Fraud in TARP Bank Failure Case

“This massive criminal scheme defrauded investors, including Treasury who became an investor through TARP,” said Christy Romero. While receiving TARP’s help, Shabudin carried out what prosecutors said was a “delay-and-pray” scheme that couldn't prevent UCB from becoming the first bailout-boosted bank to fail during the financial meltdown. “Its dramatic failure cost the federal fund that insures Americans’ deposits more than $675 million,” said the Post.   read more

High Levels of Radioactivity Found in Coal Ash at Major U.S. Coal Basins

The radioactivity in the ash was determined to be five times higher than in normal soil and up to 10 times higher than in coal itself because of the way combustion in power plants concentrates radioactivity. “We don’t know how much of these contaminants are released to the environment, and how they might affect human health in areas where coal ash ponds and landfills are leaking. Our study opens the door for future evaluation of this potential risk,” according to Vengosh.   read more

Underrepresentation of Minorities in Police Departments is Widespread across U.S.

Data from the Bureau of Justice Statistics showed that racial and ethnic minorities are underrepresented by a combined 24% on average when police department’s demographics are compared with U.S. Census figures for the general public. “In 35 of the 85 jurisdictions where either blacks, Asians or Hispanics make up the single largest racial or ethnic group, their individual presence in the police department is less than half their share of the population,” Mike Maciag wrote at Governing.   read more

Use of Solitary Confinement gets Overhaul in California Prisons

The California Department of Corrections will move nearly 2,000 inmates out of solitary confinement, in which prisoners spend all but one or two hours a day in complete isolation. Some have been in solitary confinement for decades. The most time served by an inmate in solitary was 43 years. The decision is “a game-changer," said forensic psychiatrist Terry Kupers, who filed research findings in the case. "California had led the nation in keeping people in cold storage."   read more

VA Medical Errors Up; Investigations of Medical Errors Down

The Government Accountability Office (GAO) has issued a report saying the number of reported medical errors (or “adverse events”) at VA hospitals went up 7% from 2010 to 2014. During that same period, the VA system that cares for nearly 6 million veterans saw 14% more patients but spent less time finding out the cause of medical errors. The GAO said investigations of adverse events dropped 18% from 2010 to 2014.   read more

Majority of Americans Want Background Checks for all Gun Sales and a Ban on Assault-Style Weapons

Americans want tougher gun control laws when it concerns background checks, banning assault weapons and other measures intended to reduce the threat of gun violence, according to a new survey. Background checks and the prohibition on the mentally ill buying guns are widely supported by those from both major political parties. Background checks are favored by 88% of Democrats and 79% of Republicans, while keeping guns from the mentally ill is supported by 81% of Democrats and 79% of Republicans.   read more

George W. Bush-Appointed Judge Halts Implementation of Rule Protecting Streams and Wetlands

U.S. District Judge Ralph Erickson of North Dakota, whom Bush appointed in 2003, issued an injunction Thursday keeping an Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) rule protecting smaller streams and waterways from pollution from going into effect Friday as scheduled. The rules would force landowners to get a permit if they did something that would pollute or destroy the regulated waters connected to larger bodies of water downstream.   read more

AP and Reporters Committee Sue FBI for Release of Records about Impersonating Journalists

The FBI had published a fake news story, purportedly from the Associated Press, in 2007 in order to entice a suspect to download it so the bureau could put surveillance software on his computer. The fake story, “Bomb threat at high school downplayed by local police department” was released on the Internet with the AP logo. The article, however, originated in the FBI’s Seattle field office. The sting resulted in the arrest of a 15-year-old who had made threats against a high school.   read more

Increased Penalties for Drug Offenses have no Impact on National Drug Use

Data produced by Pew shows tougher sentencing laws for drug offenders, which began in the 1980s, helped balloon the federal prison systems’ population of drug-related criminals from 5,000 to more than 95,000. This pushed the federal budget for this operation to $6.7 billion annually. But these expenditures on longer terms for drug offenders and other anti-drug strategies have not produced a lower level of drug use. In fact, illegal drug use has increased, according to Pew.   read more

Katrina and the Flooding of New Orleans: A Preventable Tragedy Caused by Cost Cutting, a Mistaken Test and Lack of External Review

Researchers found that because of a mistake the Corps made during testing, they recommended that the levee walls be started at a depth of 17 feet. Original estimates would have started the walls at a depth of 31 to 46 feet. However the use of a tarp along some of the test walls that distorted the test results, along with cost considerations, caused the Corps to go with the 17-foot depth. As a result, the walls failed.   read more

Suspicions Arise over Accuracy of Pentagon Assessments of War on ISIS after Insiders Complain

The Pentagon’s inspector general is checking on intelligence assessments coming out of CENTCOM. Suspicions arose after a civilian DIA analyst claimed to have evidence that officials at CENTCOM “were improperly reworking the conclusions of intelligence assessments prepared for policy makers, including President Obama,” the Times reported. The story added that the possibility of “skewed intelligence” could “help explain why pronouncements about the progress of the campaign have varied widely.”   read more

Kansas Officials Fight to Hide Voting Machine Records

Kansas Secretary of State Kris Kobach has gone to court in Wichita to block the release of voting machine tapes from the November 2014 election. Those same records were requested by statistician Beth Clarkson to analyze statistical aberrations she discovered in electronic voting machines. The records, Clarkson says, do not contain any personal voter data, but Republican Kobach has refused. Clarkson's research into other voting records has revealed anomalies that tended to favor Republicans.   read more

Despite Admitting to Voting Fraud at last Two Presidential Elections, County Officials in Atlanta get off with just $180,000 in Penalties

Officials “admitted to illegally disenfranchising and misleading voters” and to violations of “improperly rejecting eligible ballots and sending voters to the wrong precincts,”said ThinkProgress. They also failed to comply with voter requests for absentee ballots, provided wrong information to precincts about who was coming to vote and when, and failed to add to the rolls voters who registered in a timely manner. The names of 9,600 voters weren’t included on lists in polling places in 2012.   read more

Tax Preparers Lobby Hard to Make IRS Forms more Complicated

The tax preparation firm H&R Block and Intuit, maker of TurboTax, have lobbied Congress to keep the Obama administration from simplifying the filing of taxes. In some cases, the IRS could offer automatic tax filing for some taxpayers, but H&R Block and Intuit’s lobbying are to blame for the changes not being developed and implemented. They have also convinced U.S. Senate members to needlessly expand the Earned Income Tax Credit form, an added incentive for taxpayers to seek their services.   read more

Only 3 of 116 Remaining Guantánamo Prisoners were Captured by Americans…and 52 Have Already been Cleared for Release

“The reality that nearly 85% of detentions at Guantánamo stem from foreign partners with their own interests in round-ups ... rarely factors into the heated rhetoric from conservative politicians," said The Guardian. “There is great reason to disbelieve claims that detainees at Guantánamo are the ‘worst of the worst’, including the fact that many were sold to the U.S. for a bounty, not based on any real quality intelligence the U.S. had gathered,” said Laura Pitter of Human Rights Watch.   read more

Coal Power Plant in Utah has not been Inspected for 12 Years

The Sierra Club says the Hunter power plant “is one of Utah’s worst polluters and a major source of dangerous smog-causing nitrogen oxide pollution, soot, and smog pollution.” Air quality modeling shows emissions from the plant are reportedly causing “significant exceedances of national clean air standards for dangerous sulfur dioxide pollution.” Pollution from Hunter and other sources has made the air in Utah’s several national parks barely suitable for breathing, according to the NPCA.   read more
1 to 16 of about 3771 News
1 2 3 ... 236 Next

Controversies

1 to 16 of about 3771 News
1 2 3 ... 236 Next

Top Bank Executive Sentenced to 8 Years in Prison for Fraud in TARP Bank Failure Case

“This massive criminal scheme defrauded investors, including Treasury who became an investor through TARP,” said Christy Romero. While receiving TARP’s help, Shabudin carried out what prosecutors said was a “delay-and-pray” scheme that couldn't prevent UCB from becoming the first bailout-boosted bank to fail during the financial meltdown. “Its dramatic failure cost the federal fund that insures Americans’ deposits more than $675 million,” said the Post.   read more

High Levels of Radioactivity Found in Coal Ash at Major U.S. Coal Basins

The radioactivity in the ash was determined to be five times higher than in normal soil and up to 10 times higher than in coal itself because of the way combustion in power plants concentrates radioactivity. “We don’t know how much of these contaminants are released to the environment, and how they might affect human health in areas where coal ash ponds and landfills are leaking. Our study opens the door for future evaluation of this potential risk,” according to Vengosh.   read more

Underrepresentation of Minorities in Police Departments is Widespread across U.S.

Data from the Bureau of Justice Statistics showed that racial and ethnic minorities are underrepresented by a combined 24% on average when police department’s demographics are compared with U.S. Census figures for the general public. “In 35 of the 85 jurisdictions where either blacks, Asians or Hispanics make up the single largest racial or ethnic group, their individual presence in the police department is less than half their share of the population,” Mike Maciag wrote at Governing.   read more

Use of Solitary Confinement gets Overhaul in California Prisons

The California Department of Corrections will move nearly 2,000 inmates out of solitary confinement, in which prisoners spend all but one or two hours a day in complete isolation. Some have been in solitary confinement for decades. The most time served by an inmate in solitary was 43 years. The decision is “a game-changer," said forensic psychiatrist Terry Kupers, who filed research findings in the case. "California had led the nation in keeping people in cold storage."   read more

VA Medical Errors Up; Investigations of Medical Errors Down

The Government Accountability Office (GAO) has issued a report saying the number of reported medical errors (or “adverse events”) at VA hospitals went up 7% from 2010 to 2014. During that same period, the VA system that cares for nearly 6 million veterans saw 14% more patients but spent less time finding out the cause of medical errors. The GAO said investigations of adverse events dropped 18% from 2010 to 2014.   read more

Majority of Americans Want Background Checks for all Gun Sales and a Ban on Assault-Style Weapons

Americans want tougher gun control laws when it concerns background checks, banning assault weapons and other measures intended to reduce the threat of gun violence, according to a new survey. Background checks and the prohibition on the mentally ill buying guns are widely supported by those from both major political parties. Background checks are favored by 88% of Democrats and 79% of Republicans, while keeping guns from the mentally ill is supported by 81% of Democrats and 79% of Republicans.   read more

George W. Bush-Appointed Judge Halts Implementation of Rule Protecting Streams and Wetlands

U.S. District Judge Ralph Erickson of North Dakota, whom Bush appointed in 2003, issued an injunction Thursday keeping an Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) rule protecting smaller streams and waterways from pollution from going into effect Friday as scheduled. The rules would force landowners to get a permit if they did something that would pollute or destroy the regulated waters connected to larger bodies of water downstream.   read more

AP and Reporters Committee Sue FBI for Release of Records about Impersonating Journalists

The FBI had published a fake news story, purportedly from the Associated Press, in 2007 in order to entice a suspect to download it so the bureau could put surveillance software on his computer. The fake story, “Bomb threat at high school downplayed by local police department” was released on the Internet with the AP logo. The article, however, originated in the FBI’s Seattle field office. The sting resulted in the arrest of a 15-year-old who had made threats against a high school.   read more

Increased Penalties for Drug Offenses have no Impact on National Drug Use

Data produced by Pew shows tougher sentencing laws for drug offenders, which began in the 1980s, helped balloon the federal prison systems’ population of drug-related criminals from 5,000 to more than 95,000. This pushed the federal budget for this operation to $6.7 billion annually. But these expenditures on longer terms for drug offenders and other anti-drug strategies have not produced a lower level of drug use. In fact, illegal drug use has increased, according to Pew.   read more

Katrina and the Flooding of New Orleans: A Preventable Tragedy Caused by Cost Cutting, a Mistaken Test and Lack of External Review

Researchers found that because of a mistake the Corps made during testing, they recommended that the levee walls be started at a depth of 17 feet. Original estimates would have started the walls at a depth of 31 to 46 feet. However the use of a tarp along some of the test walls that distorted the test results, along with cost considerations, caused the Corps to go with the 17-foot depth. As a result, the walls failed.   read more

Suspicions Arise over Accuracy of Pentagon Assessments of War on ISIS after Insiders Complain

The Pentagon’s inspector general is checking on intelligence assessments coming out of CENTCOM. Suspicions arose after a civilian DIA analyst claimed to have evidence that officials at CENTCOM “were improperly reworking the conclusions of intelligence assessments prepared for policy makers, including President Obama,” the Times reported. The story added that the possibility of “skewed intelligence” could “help explain why pronouncements about the progress of the campaign have varied widely.”   read more

Kansas Officials Fight to Hide Voting Machine Records

Kansas Secretary of State Kris Kobach has gone to court in Wichita to block the release of voting machine tapes from the November 2014 election. Those same records were requested by statistician Beth Clarkson to analyze statistical aberrations she discovered in electronic voting machines. The records, Clarkson says, do not contain any personal voter data, but Republican Kobach has refused. Clarkson's research into other voting records has revealed anomalies that tended to favor Republicans.   read more

Despite Admitting to Voting Fraud at last Two Presidential Elections, County Officials in Atlanta get off with just $180,000 in Penalties

Officials “admitted to illegally disenfranchising and misleading voters” and to violations of “improperly rejecting eligible ballots and sending voters to the wrong precincts,”said ThinkProgress. They also failed to comply with voter requests for absentee ballots, provided wrong information to precincts about who was coming to vote and when, and failed to add to the rolls voters who registered in a timely manner. The names of 9,600 voters weren’t included on lists in polling places in 2012.   read more

Tax Preparers Lobby Hard to Make IRS Forms more Complicated

The tax preparation firm H&R Block and Intuit, maker of TurboTax, have lobbied Congress to keep the Obama administration from simplifying the filing of taxes. In some cases, the IRS could offer automatic tax filing for some taxpayers, but H&R Block and Intuit’s lobbying are to blame for the changes not being developed and implemented. They have also convinced U.S. Senate members to needlessly expand the Earned Income Tax Credit form, an added incentive for taxpayers to seek their services.   read more

Only 3 of 116 Remaining Guantánamo Prisoners were Captured by Americans…and 52 Have Already been Cleared for Release

“The reality that nearly 85% of detentions at Guantánamo stem from foreign partners with their own interests in round-ups ... rarely factors into the heated rhetoric from conservative politicians," said The Guardian. “There is great reason to disbelieve claims that detainees at Guantánamo are the ‘worst of the worst’, including the fact that many were sold to the U.S. for a bounty, not based on any real quality intelligence the U.S. had gathered,” said Laura Pitter of Human Rights Watch.   read more

Coal Power Plant in Utah has not been Inspected for 12 Years

The Sierra Club says the Hunter power plant “is one of Utah’s worst polluters and a major source of dangerous smog-causing nitrogen oxide pollution, soot, and smog pollution.” Air quality modeling shows emissions from the plant are reportedly causing “significant exceedances of national clean air standards for dangerous sulfur dioxide pollution.” Pollution from Hunter and other sources has made the air in Utah’s several national parks barely suitable for breathing, according to the NPCA.   read more
1 to 16 of about 3771 News
1 2 3 ... 236 Next