Featured Story

U.S. Tech Startups Could Grow Under New Homeland Security Proposal Welcoming Foreign Entrepreneurs

Saturday, August 27, 2016
The move is one of many piecemeal efforts by the Obama administration to expand American immigration policies without action from Congress. Entrepreneurs in any industry would be eligible to apply, but the new rule would be especially significant for the tech field. Creating an immigration route for startup founders has been one of Silicon Valley’s political priorities. “I think it will have major impact on U.S. entrepreneurship, and potentially on the broader economy," said Patrick Collison.   read more
Latest News

Top Stories

  • Top Private Prison Firm Tries to Prevent Public Disclosure of Documents Exposing Prison Operations

    Friday, August 26, 2016
    The attorneys accuse the private prison firm of sealing documents where no genuine security concern exists in order to protect itself from embarrassment, violating the public's right to access court proceedings. "The reason for it is probably to keep it out of the public press," said Yarbrough. "That can sometimes be legitimate and can sometimes be because the company doesn't want their dirty laundry aired." Said Friedman: "They disclose as little information as they can get away with."   read more
  • First Soda Tax Law in U.S. Leads to 21% Drop in Soda Drinking

    Thursday, August 25, 2016
    The study is the first to assess soda drinking since the tax went into effect. And its results are consistent with research from Mexico, which passed a nationwide soda tax in 2014. When Berkeley passed its soda tax, it stood alone among cities in the U.S. for embracing the policy. But that has changed: Philadelphia passed a soda tax this year, and several other cities are putting similar taxes on the ballot this fall. Among them are two of Berkeley’s neighbors, Oakland and San Francisco.   read more
  • Doctors Disciplined for Misconduct Remain on Industry Payroll as Consultants and Speakers

    Wednesday, August 24, 2016
    The analysis identified at least 2,300 doctors who received industry payments between Aug. 2013 and Dec. 2015 despite histories of misconduct. Hundreds of doctors were disciplined for severe offenses, including providing poor care, inappropriately prescribing medications, bilking insurance programs, even sexual misconduct. At least 40 physicians had their licenses revoked, in most cases permanently. More than 180 had their licenses restricted. Almost 250 were placed on probation.   read more

Unusual News

  • Republican Senator Says College Professors Could Be Replaced by Videos

    Tuesday, August 23, 2016
    U.S. Sen. Ron Johnson has an idea for making colleges cheaper — ditch the instructors and start playing online videos for students. "Why do you have to keep paying different lecturers to teach the same course? You get one solid lecturer and put it up online," Johnson said.   read more
  • Increase in Jailing of Women in U.S. Far Exceeds that of Men

    Friday, August 19, 2016
    The study found that a vast majority of the women are poor, African-American or Latino, and have drug or alcohol problems. About 80% have children. Most have been charged with low-level offenses, including drug or property crimes like shoplifting, but many are in jail for violating parole or for failed drug tests “Once a rarity, women are now held in jails in nearly every county — a stark contrast to 1970, when almost three-quarters of counties held not a single woman in jail,” the report said.   read more
  • Rising Funeral Costs Lead to Surge in Body Donations to U.S. Medical Schools

    Friday, August 19, 2016
    The increase has been a boon to medical students and researchers, who dissect cadavers in anatomy class or use them to practice surgical techniques or test new devices and procedures. "Not too long ago, it was taboo. Now we have thousands of registered donors," said Mark Zavoyna. "Funerals are expensive. That certainly has something to do with it. Of course, it almost has this snowball effect, where you get five people to donate, and then their families tell another 25 people."   read more

Where is the Money Going?

  • For-Profit Elder Care Could Result in Lower Standards

    Monday, August 22, 2016
    Until recently, only nonprofits were allowed to run programs like these. But a year ago, the government flipped the switch, opening the program to for-profit companies as well, ending one of the last remaining holdouts to commercialism in health care. The hope is that the profit motive will expand the services faster. Hanging over all the promise, though, is the question of whether for-profit companies are well-suited to this line of work, long the province of nonprofit do-gooders.   read more
  • Johnson Controls/Tyco Overseas Tax-Shelter Merger Triggers Lawsuit by Angry Shareholders

    Thursday, August 18, 2016
    The proposed merger drew comment from presidential candidate Hillary Clinton, who said, "I have a detailed and targeted plan to immediately put a stop to inversions and invest in the U.S., block deals like Johnson Controls and Tyco, and place an 'exit tax' on corporations that leave the country to lower their tax bill." The shareholder class action claims that Johnson's anticipated tax savings are the sole purpose of the merger and come at the expense of minority taxpaying shareholders.   read more
  • Federal Judge Stops Ohio from Withholding Educational Program Funding for Planned Parenthood

    Sunday, August 14, 2016
    Planned Parenthood won an injunction Friday that prevents Ohio from withholding public funds used by the health care provider for educational programs. Judge Michael Barrett ruled that the Ohio code — which prevents the state Dept of Health from distributing funds to any entity that performs nontherapeutic abortions — will cause Planned Parenthood "irreparable injury." Programs include STD Prevention, the Breast and Cervical Cancer Prevention Program, and the Sexual Violence Prevention Program.   read more

Controversies

  • U.S. Justice Dept. Sues Georgia for Widespread Discrimination of Disabled Students

    Friday, August 26, 2016
    The DOJ asserts that in practice, the program allows students with disabilities to be taught in the basement of a school building with its own separate entrance. The students are also educated in "often old, poorly maintained buildings, some of which formerly served as schools for black students under Jim Crow laws," the complaint states. Moreover, the program denies students with disabilities an equal opportunity to benefit from educational services available to students throughout the state.   read more
  • At 8 Deaths a Day, Accidental Overdose Fatalities Hit Record High in Ohio

    Friday, August 26, 2016
    Authorities who had been targeting prescription painkiller abuse say the problem has changed quickly in recent years as users turned to heroin, fentanyl and even stronger drugs. Ohio has been among the states hardest hit by the overdose epidemic. Fentanyl overdose deaths spiked so quickly last year that scientists with the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention visited the state to study the problem.   read more
  • Study Finds Most Teens Vape Non-Nicotine Fruit Flavors, But CDC Skeptical

    Friday, August 26, 2016
    Health officials warn that e-cigarettes and other vaping devices are poisoning kids with nicotine. But the market has evolved, and a lot of vaping these days is done with devices that can be loaded with flavored "e-juice" that comes in both nicotine and nicotine-free versions. "Strawberry. Watermelon. Passion fruit. There's a churros — you know, like cinnamon toast?" said Brooklyn Vape's Hosam Essa. CDC officials question whether many teens know the exact content of what they're vaping.   read more

U.S. and the World

  • Olympics: If African-American Women were a Nation, They’d be in 6th Place

    Monday, August 22, 2016
    African-American women earned gold medals in 15 events (including participation in team sports) at the 2016 Rio Olympic Games. If they had been a nation, they would have been in sixth place. This despite with a population of about 19.6 million, they would be only the 67th most populous nation in the world.   read more
  • Lawsuit Seeks to Block Energy Dept.’s Huge Nuclear Waste Transport from Canada to U.S.

    Tuesday, August 16, 2016
    The Energy Dept's unprecedented proposed transfer of "a toxic liquid stew" containing nuclear waste between Canada and the U.S violates federal law, seven environmental groups claim in court. The proposed $60 million deal would see more than 6,000 gallons of the liquid waste transported more than 1,100 miles. "The radioactive waste byproducts...are acknowledged to be among the most radioactively hazardous materials on Earth," the complaint states.   read more
  • VW Payout to Deceived American VW Owners: $15 Billion; Payout to European Owners: $0

    Tuesday, August 16, 2016
    VW owners in the U.S. will receive about $20,000 per car as compensation for the company’s diesel deception. VW owners in Europe at most get a software update and a short length of plastic tubing. “Why are they getting so much and we’re getting nothing?” Franz said of U.S. owners. The startling gap in treatment is the result of European laws that shield corporations from class action suits brought by unhappy consumers.   read more

Appointments and Resignations

  • U.S. Ambassador to Uruguay: Who Is Kelly Keiderling?

    Saturday, August 20, 2016
    She served as Deputy Chief of Mission and charge d’affaires in Caracas, Venezuela, beginning in 2011. Her tenure ended in 2013, when she and two other diplomats were kicked out of the country by President Maduro, who accused the three of attempting sabotage. “Yankee go home. Enough abuses already,” Maduro said. Keiderling was later accused by Cuban Raul Capote and by the official Cuban press of being an agent of the CIA. Capote claimed that Keiderling was one of his handlers in Havana.   read more
  • Brunei’s Ambassador to the United States: Who Is Serbini Ali?

    Sunday, August 14, 2016
    Serbini joined Brunei’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs in 1980 and his first overseas posting came two years later, when he was named second secretary in the High Commission in Singapore. He moved to the Bangkok embassy in 1984 as first secretary and returned to Brunei the following year as assistant director in the Protocol and Consular Affairs Department. He was promoted to deputy director the following year. In 1989, Serbini was made first secretary in Tokyo.   read more
  • U.S. Ambassador to Somalia: Who Is Stephen Schwartz?

    Saturday, August 13, 2016
    It was at Williamsville High where he took a class in Afro-Asian cultures that he later credited as spurring an interest in that part of the world. Schwartz quickly got a look at Africa after college, joining the Peace Corps in 1981 as a volunteer in Cameroon. In 1985 he returned to the Peace Corps, this time as a staffer.He also helped establish the Peace Corps’ program in Chad in 1987. Schwartz joined the U.S. State Dept in 1992. His first posting was as a consular officer in Ethiopia.   read more

Featured Story

U.S. Tech Startups Could Grow Under New Homeland Security Proposal Welcoming Foreign Entrepreneurs

Saturday, August 27, 2016
The move is one of many piecemeal efforts by the Obama administration to expand American immigration policies without action from Congress. Entrepreneurs in any industry would be eligible to apply, but the new rule would be especially significant for the tech field. Creating an immigration route for startup founders has been one of Silicon Valley’s political priorities. “I think it will have major impact on U.S. entrepreneurship, and potentially on the broader economy," said Patrick Collison.   read more
Latest News

Top Stories

  • Top Private Prison Firm Tries to Prevent Public Disclosure of Documents Exposing Prison Operations

    Friday, August 26, 2016
    The attorneys accuse the private prison firm of sealing documents where no genuine security concern exists in order to protect itself from embarrassment, violating the public's right to access court proceedings. "The reason for it is probably to keep it out of the public press," said Yarbrough. "That can sometimes be legitimate and can sometimes be because the company doesn't want their dirty laundry aired." Said Friedman: "They disclose as little information as they can get away with."   read more
  • First Soda Tax Law in U.S. Leads to 21% Drop in Soda Drinking

    Thursday, August 25, 2016
    The study is the first to assess soda drinking since the tax went into effect. And its results are consistent with research from Mexico, which passed a nationwide soda tax in 2014. When Berkeley passed its soda tax, it stood alone among cities in the U.S. for embracing the policy. But that has changed: Philadelphia passed a soda tax this year, and several other cities are putting similar taxes on the ballot this fall. Among them are two of Berkeley’s neighbors, Oakland and San Francisco.   read more
  • Doctors Disciplined for Misconduct Remain on Industry Payroll as Consultants and Speakers

    Wednesday, August 24, 2016
    The analysis identified at least 2,300 doctors who received industry payments between Aug. 2013 and Dec. 2015 despite histories of misconduct. Hundreds of doctors were disciplined for severe offenses, including providing poor care, inappropriately prescribing medications, bilking insurance programs, even sexual misconduct. At least 40 physicians had their licenses revoked, in most cases permanently. More than 180 had their licenses restricted. Almost 250 were placed on probation.   read more

Unusual News

  • Republican Senator Says College Professors Could Be Replaced by Videos

    Tuesday, August 23, 2016
    U.S. Sen. Ron Johnson has an idea for making colleges cheaper — ditch the instructors and start playing online videos for students. "Why do you have to keep paying different lecturers to teach the same course? You get one solid lecturer and put it up online," Johnson said.   read more
  • Increase in Jailing of Women in U.S. Far Exceeds that of Men

    Friday, August 19, 2016
    The study found that a vast majority of the women are poor, African-American or Latino, and have drug or alcohol problems. About 80% have children. Most have been charged with low-level offenses, including drug or property crimes like shoplifting, but many are in jail for violating parole or for failed drug tests “Once a rarity, women are now held in jails in nearly every county — a stark contrast to 1970, when almost three-quarters of counties held not a single woman in jail,” the report said.   read more
  • Rising Funeral Costs Lead to Surge in Body Donations to U.S. Medical Schools

    Friday, August 19, 2016
    The increase has been a boon to medical students and researchers, who dissect cadavers in anatomy class or use them to practice surgical techniques or test new devices and procedures. "Not too long ago, it was taboo. Now we have thousands of registered donors," said Mark Zavoyna. "Funerals are expensive. That certainly has something to do with it. Of course, it almost has this snowball effect, where you get five people to donate, and then their families tell another 25 people."   read more

Where is the Money Going?

  • For-Profit Elder Care Could Result in Lower Standards

    Monday, August 22, 2016
    Until recently, only nonprofits were allowed to run programs like these. But a year ago, the government flipped the switch, opening the program to for-profit companies as well, ending one of the last remaining holdouts to commercialism in health care. The hope is that the profit motive will expand the services faster. Hanging over all the promise, though, is the question of whether for-profit companies are well-suited to this line of work, long the province of nonprofit do-gooders.   read more
  • Johnson Controls/Tyco Overseas Tax-Shelter Merger Triggers Lawsuit by Angry Shareholders

    Thursday, August 18, 2016
    The proposed merger drew comment from presidential candidate Hillary Clinton, who said, "I have a detailed and targeted plan to immediately put a stop to inversions and invest in the U.S., block deals like Johnson Controls and Tyco, and place an 'exit tax' on corporations that leave the country to lower their tax bill." The shareholder class action claims that Johnson's anticipated tax savings are the sole purpose of the merger and come at the expense of minority taxpaying shareholders.   read more
  • Federal Judge Stops Ohio from Withholding Educational Program Funding for Planned Parenthood

    Sunday, August 14, 2016
    Planned Parenthood won an injunction Friday that prevents Ohio from withholding public funds used by the health care provider for educational programs. Judge Michael Barrett ruled that the Ohio code — which prevents the state Dept of Health from distributing funds to any entity that performs nontherapeutic abortions — will cause Planned Parenthood "irreparable injury." Programs include STD Prevention, the Breast and Cervical Cancer Prevention Program, and the Sexual Violence Prevention Program.   read more

Controversies

  • U.S. Justice Dept. Sues Georgia for Widespread Discrimination of Disabled Students

    Friday, August 26, 2016
    The DOJ asserts that in practice, the program allows students with disabilities to be taught in the basement of a school building with its own separate entrance. The students are also educated in "often old, poorly maintained buildings, some of which formerly served as schools for black students under Jim Crow laws," the complaint states. Moreover, the program denies students with disabilities an equal opportunity to benefit from educational services available to students throughout the state.   read more
  • At 8 Deaths a Day, Accidental Overdose Fatalities Hit Record High in Ohio

    Friday, August 26, 2016
    Authorities who had been targeting prescription painkiller abuse say the problem has changed quickly in recent years as users turned to heroin, fentanyl and even stronger drugs. Ohio has been among the states hardest hit by the overdose epidemic. Fentanyl overdose deaths spiked so quickly last year that scientists with the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention visited the state to study the problem.   read more
  • Study Finds Most Teens Vape Non-Nicotine Fruit Flavors, But CDC Skeptical

    Friday, August 26, 2016
    Health officials warn that e-cigarettes and other vaping devices are poisoning kids with nicotine. But the market has evolved, and a lot of vaping these days is done with devices that can be loaded with flavored "e-juice" that comes in both nicotine and nicotine-free versions. "Strawberry. Watermelon. Passion fruit. There's a churros — you know, like cinnamon toast?" said Brooklyn Vape's Hosam Essa. CDC officials question whether many teens know the exact content of what they're vaping.   read more

U.S. and the World

  • Olympics: If African-American Women were a Nation, They’d be in 6th Place

    Monday, August 22, 2016
    African-American women earned gold medals in 15 events (including participation in team sports) at the 2016 Rio Olympic Games. If they had been a nation, they would have been in sixth place. This despite with a population of about 19.6 million, they would be only the 67th most populous nation in the world.   read more
  • Lawsuit Seeks to Block Energy Dept.’s Huge Nuclear Waste Transport from Canada to U.S.

    Tuesday, August 16, 2016
    The Energy Dept's unprecedented proposed transfer of "a toxic liquid stew" containing nuclear waste between Canada and the U.S violates federal law, seven environmental groups claim in court. The proposed $60 million deal would see more than 6,000 gallons of the liquid waste transported more than 1,100 miles. "The radioactive waste byproducts...are acknowledged to be among the most radioactively hazardous materials on Earth," the complaint states.   read more
  • VW Payout to Deceived American VW Owners: $15 Billion; Payout to European Owners: $0

    Tuesday, August 16, 2016
    VW owners in the U.S. will receive about $20,000 per car as compensation for the company’s diesel deception. VW owners in Europe at most get a software update and a short length of plastic tubing. “Why are they getting so much and we’re getting nothing?” Franz said of U.S. owners. The startling gap in treatment is the result of European laws that shield corporations from class action suits brought by unhappy consumers.   read more

Appointments and Resignations

  • U.S. Ambassador to Uruguay: Who Is Kelly Keiderling?

    Saturday, August 20, 2016
    She served as Deputy Chief of Mission and charge d’affaires in Caracas, Venezuela, beginning in 2011. Her tenure ended in 2013, when she and two other diplomats were kicked out of the country by President Maduro, who accused the three of attempting sabotage. “Yankee go home. Enough abuses already,” Maduro said. Keiderling was later accused by Cuban Raul Capote and by the official Cuban press of being an agent of the CIA. Capote claimed that Keiderling was one of his handlers in Havana.   read more
  • Brunei’s Ambassador to the United States: Who Is Serbini Ali?

    Sunday, August 14, 2016
    Serbini joined Brunei’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs in 1980 and his first overseas posting came two years later, when he was named second secretary in the High Commission in Singapore. He moved to the Bangkok embassy in 1984 as first secretary and returned to Brunei the following year as assistant director in the Protocol and Consular Affairs Department. He was promoted to deputy director the following year. In 1989, Serbini was made first secretary in Tokyo.   read more
  • U.S. Ambassador to Somalia: Who Is Stephen Schwartz?

    Saturday, August 13, 2016
    It was at Williamsville High where he took a class in Afro-Asian cultures that he later credited as spurring an interest in that part of the world. Schwartz quickly got a look at Africa after college, joining the Peace Corps in 1981 as a volunteer in Cameroon. In 1985 he returned to the Peace Corps, this time as a staffer.He also helped establish the Peace Corps’ program in Chad in 1987. Schwartz joined the U.S. State Dept in 1992. His first posting was as a consular officer in Ethiopia.   read more