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Articles Posted by Theoria

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  • Big Banks Face Scrutiny Over Pricing of Metals

    02/23/2015 7:13:49 PM PST · by Theoria · 6 replies
    WSJ ^ | 23 Feb 2015 | Jean Eaglesham and Christopher M. Matthews
    U.S. Justice Department investigates price-setting process for gold, silver, platinum and palladium U.S. officials are investigating at least 10 major banks for possible rigging of precious-metals markets, even though European regulators dropped a similar probe after finding no evidence of wrongdoing, according to people close to the inquiries. Prosecutors in the Justice Department’s antitrust division are scrutinizing the price-setting process for gold, silver, platinum and palladium in London, while the Commodity Futures Trading Commission has opened a civil investigation, these people said. The agencies have made initial requests for information, including a subpoena from the CFTC to HSBC Holdings PLC...
  • Building a Face, and a Case, on DNA

    02/23/2015 7:03:12 PM PST · by Theoria · 13 replies
    The New York Times ^ | 23 Feb 2015 | ANDREW POLLACK
    There were no known eyewitnesses to the murder of a young woman and her 3-year-old daughter four years ago. No security cameras caught a figure coming or going. Nonetheless, the police in Columbia, S.C., last month released a sketch of a possible suspect. Rather than an artist’s rendering based on witness descriptions, the face was generated by a computer relying solely on DNA found at the scene of the crime. It may be the first time a suspect’s face has been put before the public in this way, but it will not be the last. Investigators are increasingly able to...
  • As free trade pacts expand, U.S. trade deficit soars. Why add one more?

    02/23/2015 9:57:23 AM PST · by Theoria · 18 replies
    Reuters ^ | 17 Feb 2015 | Leo Hindery Jr.
    President Barack Obama has called on Congress to grant him fast-track trade authority for his Trans-Pacific Partnership free-trade agreement. The administration insists the authority, which would give Congress only an up-or-down vote on the agreement, is needed to get the best possible terms from its trade partners along the Pacific Rim. During his 2008 presidential campaign, Obama promised to renegotiate and improve the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA). But it now looks like what he really meant is to expand on that flawed trade model and extend it to other countries. Twenty-one years after NAFTA and four years after...
  • Nebraska Judge Stops TransCanada from Using Eminent Domain for Keystone XL

    02/18/2015 10:13:09 AM PST · by Theoria · 19 replies
    Newsweek ^ | 13 Feb 2015 | Zoë Schlanger
    Last month, a Nebraska Supreme Court decision approved a route for the proposed Keystone XL pipeline through the state. That decision effectively allowed TransCanada, the pipeline company, to begin issuing eminent domain papers to landowners in the way. But a fresh lawsuit brought by nearly 70 landowners has spurred a Nebraska judge to halt TransCanada’s eminent domain proceedings, the Huffington Post reported Thursday. “TransCanada sees the writing on the wall,” Jane Kleeb, director of Bold Nebraska, a group fighting the pipeline, said in a statement following the judge’s decision to issue an injunction. “Nebraska landowners are not going to cave...
  • In Bid to Allow Guns on Campus, Weapons Are Linked to Fighting Sexual Assault

    02/18/2015 9:19:30 AM PST · by Theoria · 18 replies
    The New York Times ^ | 18 Feb 2015 | ALAN SCHWARZ
    As gun rights advocates push to legalize firearms on college campuses, an argument is taking shape: Arming female students will help reduce sexual assaults.Support for so-called campus-carry laws had been hard to muster despite efforts by proponents to argue that armed students and faculty members could prevent mass shootings like the one at Virginia Tech in 2007. The carrying of concealed firearms on college campuses is banned in 41 states by law or by university policy. Carrying guns openly is generally not permitted.But this year, lawmakers in 10 states who are pushing bills that would permit the carrying of firearms...
  • As Dynasty’s Son, Jeb Bush Used His Connections Freely

    02/15/2015 6:23:57 AM PST · by Theoria · 20 replies
    The New York Times ^ | 14 Feb 2015 | STEVE EDER and MICHAEL BARBARO
    The stream of requests to the White House from Jeb Bush, a young but well-connected Republican leader in South Florida, ranged from the weighty and urgent to the parochial and mundane. In 1985, he sent an emotional letter pressing his father, Vice President George Bush, to investigate the detention of Cuban children in Texas, asking, “Shouldn’t there be some compassion?” (The vice president’s reply: “Heartbreaking.”) In 1989, after his father became president, Mr. Bush offered his recommendation for the next Supreme Court opening. (“Your suggestion will be given thoughtful consideration,” a senior aide responded.) In 1990, Mr. Bush lobbied the...
  • Congress, Don’t Be Fooled; Obama Still Believes in Unlimited War

    02/11/2015 2:31:10 PM PST · by Theoria · 17 replies
    The New York Times ^ | 11 Feb 2015 | Bruce Ackerman
    President Obama is going before Congress to request authorization for the limited use of military force in a battle of up to three years against the Islamic State. On the surface, this looks like a welcome recognition of Congress’s ultimate authority in matters of war and peace. But unless the resolution put forward by the White House is amended, it will have the opposite effect. Congressional support will amount to the ringing endorsement of unlimited presidential war making. Whatever else they decide, the House and Senate should revise the White House initiative to guarantee that it won’t have this tragic...
  • Grandfather visiting Alabama from India stopped by police while taking walk, left partly paralyzed

    02/11/2015 1:19:11 PM PST · by Theoria · 67 replies
    AL ^ | 11 Feb 2015
    Madison police last week roughed up a 57-year-old Indian citizen who was walking on the sidewalk outside his son's home, leaving the older man temporarily paralyzed and hospitalized with fused vertebrae."He was just walking on the sidewalk as he does all the time," said his son, Chirag Patel, this morning. "They put him to the ground."No crime had been committed. Madison Police on Monday issued a statement saying the department had suspended the officer and were investigating the use of force in this case. The police statement wished the man a "speedy recovery."Chirag Patel, an engineer for one of the many government...
  • Left and Right Align in Fighting Obama’s Trade Agenda

    02/10/2015 11:41:00 AM PST · by Theoria · 7 replies
    The New York Times ^ | 09 Feb 2015 | JONATHAN WEISMAN
    An odd marriage of convenience between liberal Democrats and Tea Party Republicans is squeezing President Obama on his ambitious trade agenda, forcing the White House and top Republicans to fight a two-front war on an international economic effort the president hopes to secure before he leaves office. An alliance between the likes of Representatives Louie Gohmert and Dana Rohrabacher — two of the House’s most conservative members — and Rosa DeLauro and Louise Slaughter — ardent liberals — is unlikely enough. But as the political fringes expand on each end, they are challenging another strange-bedfellows alliance between Mr. Obama and...
  • Record Number Gave Up U.S. Citizenship or Long-Term Residency in 2014

    02/10/2015 11:27:11 AM PST · by Theoria · 17 replies
    WSJ ^ | 10 Feb 2015 | Laura Saunders
    A record 3,415 individuals renounced their U.S. citizenship or long-term residency in 2014, according to a list released by the Treasury Department on Tuesday. The 2014 number was up 14% from 2,999 individuals in 2013, which was also a record. “Many Americans abroad are finding that retaining their ties is not worth the cost and hassle of complying with the U.S. tax laws,” says Andrew Mitchel, a lawyer in Centerbrook, Conn., who tallies the lists of names released quarterly by the Treasury Department. He links the growing number of renunciations by U.S. citizens and permanent residents to a five-year enforcement...
  • Think the U.S Has a Measles Problem? Just Look at Europe

    02/09/2015 11:17:00 AM PST · by Theoria · 18 replies
    NBC ^ | 07 Feb 2015 | Maggie Fox and Tracy Connor
    The case count for the measles outbreak linked to Disneyland is steadily ticking upwards. Health officials in more than a dozen states are tracking down thousands of people to try to make sure they don't spread the virus any further. It sounds bad, but European health officials say they're looking at the United States with envy. To them, America's current total of just over 100 measles cases looks comparatively good. Last year, Europe had 3,840 measles cases. Italy alone had 1,921 cases. And that's an improvement over 2013, when there were more than 10,000 cases across Europe. France has had...
  • Ancient Texas pictograph mystery solved, Houston researcher says

    02/09/2015 10:12:51 AM PST · by Theoria · 51 replies
    Houston Chronicle ^ | 02 Feb 2015 | Carol Christian
    Among the mysteries of how ancient people created structures to mark the solstice and equinox with astonishing accuracy, this one is central: How did they determine the dates of those astronomical events? Houstonian Gordon Houston, who is pursuing a doctorate on this riddle, says he believes he has figured out the answer for centuries-old glyphs known as the Pictographs of Paint Rock, Texas. Found on a private ranch near San Angelo in northern Concho County, these approximately 1,500 pictographs on a limestone cliff include about a dozen that "had a solar interaction," Houston said. "Some were incredible." Houston will talk...
  • London Taxi Chief Compares Cyclists To Islamic State Militants

    02/06/2015 3:38:59 PM PST · by Theoria · 23 replies
    NPR ^ | 06 Feb 2015 | Krishnadev Calamur
    Add this to the list of evidence about, shall we call it, the rivalry between motorists and cyclists: The head of London's taxi drivers' association has compared cyclists to members of the self-described Islamic State. Steve McNamara's comments come just days after London cleared the way for the spread of segregated bike lanes and dedicated traffic signals. "The loonies out there in the cycling world, they're almost the sort of ISIS of London," McNamara, general secretary of the Licensed Taxi Drivers Association, told LBC Radio. "Their views and their politics — if you are not with them — and we...
  • Claims Against Saudis Cast New Light on Secret Pages of 9/11 Report

    02/05/2015 10:51:42 AM PST · by Theoria · 21 replies
    The New York Times ^ | 04 Feb 2015 | Carl Huse
    A still-classified section of the investigation by congressional intelligence committees into the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks has taken on an almost mythic quality over the past 13 years — 28 pages that examine crucial support given the hijackers and that by all accounts implicate prominent Saudis in financing terrorism. Now new claims by Zacarias Moussaoui, a convicted former member of Al Qaeda, that he had high-level contact with officials of the Saudi government in the prelude to Sept. 11 have brought renewed attention to the inquiry’s withheld findings, which lawmakers and relatives of those killed in the attacks have tried...
  • Fields of Gold: GMO-Free Crops Prove Lucrative for Farmers

    02/03/2015 2:05:59 PM PST · by Theoria · 26 replies
    WSJ ^ | 02 Feb 2015 | Jacob Bunge
    Last spring, for the first time in 20 years, Indiana farmer Jim Benham planted his fields entirely with soybean seeds that hadn’t been genetically modified to withstand herbicides. It wasn’t because the 63-year-old suddenly had embraced the anti-GMO movement. Instead, he was drawn to a nearly 14% per-bushel premium for non-GMO soybeans offered by a local grain terminal, which sells them to Asian feed processors. Mr. Benham is among a small but growing number of Midwestern farmers moving away from biotech seeds developed by Monsanto Co. , DuPont Co. and other companies in response to lower crop prices over the...
  • Mother Of Slain Student Pushes To Expand DNA Databases

    01/30/2015 3:00:36 PM PST · by Theoria · 32 replies
    Here and Now ^ | 30 Jan 2015 | Lisa Mullins
    Virginia mother Gil Harrington is pushing Virginia to expand its database of DNA to include people convicted of Class 1 misdemeanors — a move she hopes will save lives. Harrington’s daughter, Morgan Dana Harrington, was a 20-year-old Virginia Tech student when she was abducted and murdered in 2009, allegedly by the same man now accused of killing University of Virginia student Hannah Graham last October.The alleged abductor, Jesse Matthew, was convicted of criminal trespassing in 2010, which means his DNA may have led prosecutors to solve Morgan’s case, which in turn means that he may have been jailed before his...
  • Panama’s ex-president’s hunger for gossip at center of wiretap probe

    01/30/2015 12:47:42 PM PST · by Theoria · 7 replies
    McClatchy ^ | 28 Jan 2015 | Tim Johnson
    When the United States rejected former Panamanian President Ricardo Martinelli’s request for spying equipment to eavesdrop, U.S. diplomats feared, on his political enemies, the former supermarket baron turned to another source: Israel.Now scores of Panama’s political and social elite are learning that the eavesdropping program that Martinelli’s security team set in place sprawled into the most private aspects of their lives – including their bedrooms. Rather than national security, what appears to have driven the wiretapping was a surfeit of the seven deadly sins, particularly greed, pride, lust and envy.Nearly every day, targets of the wiretapping march to the prosecutors’...
  • U.S. Classifies Some Basic Statistics About Afghan Security Forces

    01/29/2015 1:47:30 PM PST · by Theoria · 2 replies
    NPR ^ | 29 Jan 2015 | Tom Bowman
    The American command in Afghanistan has for the first time in six years classified detailed statistics about the Afghan security forces — everything from equipment and training to attrition.Gen. John Campbell, who is leading the NATO coalition's non-combat mission in Afghanistan, said he now considers all that sensitive operational information that could help the Taliban.Campbell said he decided to classify details about the Afghan forces because they could be used by insurgent fighters to threaten both Afghan and U.S. forces.Campbell revealed his concerns in a letter to John Sopko, the U.S. Special Inspector General for Afghan Reconstruction, or SIGAR, who...
  • Rand Paul and Ted Cruz Join Forces Against the Fed

    01/28/2015 1:33:17 PM PST · by Theoria · 14 replies
    The New York Times ^ | 28 Jan 2015 | Alan Rappeport
    Senators Rand Paul and Ted Cruz might end up running against each other for the Republican presidential nomination, but they can agree on one thing: their distrust of the Federal Reserve. On Wednesday, the two Republican senators introduced the Federal Reserve Transparency Act which Mr. Paul has been pushing for some time.Republicans have questioned the Fed’s moves to stimulate the economy since the financial crisis, arguing that the expansion of its balance sheet will create economic instability. In 2011, Gov. Rick Perry called the Fed’s monetary policies potentially “treasonous” and said that Ben S. Bernanke, the Fed chairman at the...
  • Middle Class Shrinks Further as More Fall Out Instead of Climbing Up

    01/26/2015 5:24:39 AM PST · by Theoria · 29 replies
    The New York Times ^ | 25 Jan 2015 | DIONNE SEARCEY and ROBERT GEBELOFF
    The middle class that President Obama identified in his State of the Union speech last week as the foundation of the American economy has been shrinking for almost half a century.In the late 1960s, more than half of the households in the United States were squarely in the middle, earning, in today’s dollars, $35,000 to $100,000 a year. Few people noticed or cared as the size of that group began to fall, because the shift was primarily caused by more Americans climbing the economic ladder into upper-income brackets.But since 2000, the middle-class share of households has continued to narrow, the...
  • Ruling Favors Public Use of Adirondacks’ Private Waterways

    01/20/2015 8:59:58 PM PST · by Theoria · 48 replies
    The New York Times ^ | 19 Jan 2015 | LISA W. FODERARO
    The Adirondack Park in upstate New York, with its 3,000 lakes and ponds and 30,000 miles of rivers and streams, is nothing short of nirvana for paddlers. But often, rivers that start out on state forest land eventually flow onto private property, given that the six-million-acre park is a patchwork quilt of private and public land. A result is no-trespassing signs that force paddlers to turn around or make frustrating portages — detours on dry land with their canoes or kayaks overhead. Late last week, a state appellate court ruled in favor of a journalist who set out in 2009...
  • Military unit blows WWII-era Japanese balloon bomb to ’smithereens’

    01/20/2015 2:27:36 PM PST · by Theoria · 33 replies
    The Canadian Press ^ | 10 Oct 2014 | The Canadian Press
    Seven decades after thousands of “balloon bombs” were let loose by the Imperial Japanese Army to wreak havoc on their enemies across the Pacific, two forestry workers found one half-buried in the mountains of eastern British Columbia. A navy bomb disposal team was called and arrived at the site Friday in the Monashee Mountains near Lumby, B.C. “They confirmed without a doubt that it is a Japanese balloon bomb,” said RCMP Cpl. Henry Proce. “This thing has been in the dirt for 70 years .... There was still some metal debris in the area (but) nothing left of the balloon...
  • First DNA tests say Kennewick Man was Native American

    01/18/2015 9:27:17 PM PST · by Theoria · 41 replies
    The Seattle Times ^ | 17 Jan 2015 | Sandi Doughton
    Nearly two decades after the ancient skeleton called Kennewick Man was discovered on the banks of the Columbia River, the mystery of his origins appears to be nearing resolution. Genetic analysis is still under way in Denmark, but documents obtained through the federal Freedom of Information Act say preliminary results point to a Native-American heritage.The researchers performing the DNA analysis “feel that Kennewick has normal, standard Native-American genetics,” according to a 2013 email to the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, which is responsible for the care and management of the bones. “At present there is no indication he has a...
  • To Call This Threat by Its Name

    01/18/2015 6:54:43 PM PST · by Theoria · 14 replies
    The New York Times ^ | 18 Jan 2015 | Marine Le Pen
    France Was Attacked by Islamic Fundamentalism “To misname things is to add to the world’s unhappiness.” Whether or not Albert Camus really did utter these words, they are an astonishingly apt description of the situation in which the French government now finds itself. Indeed, the French Foreign Minister Laurent Fabius no longer even dares pronounce the real name of things. Mr. Fabius will not describe as “Islamists” the terrorists who on Wednesday, Jan. 7, walked into the offices of the newspaper Charlie Hebdo, right in the heart of Paris. Nor will he use “Islamic State” to describe the radical Sunni...
  • U.S.-built Ebola treatment centers in Liberia are nearly empty as outbreak fades

    01/18/2015 6:19:14 PM PST · by Theoria · 30 replies
    The Washington Post ^ | 18 Jan 2015 | Kevin Sieff
    Near the hillside shelter where dozens of men and women died of Ebola, a row of green U.S. military tents sit atop a vast expanse of imported gravel. The generators hum; chlorinated water churns in brand-new containers; surveillance cameras send a live feed to a large-screen television. There’s only one thing missing from this state-of-the-art Ebola treatment center: Ebola patients.The U.S. military sent about 3,000 troops to West Africa to build centers like this one in recent months. They were intended as a crucial safeguard against an epidemic that flared in unpredictable, deadly waves. But as the outbreak fades in...
  • Of Course 23andMe's Plan Has Been to Sell Your Genetic Data All Along

    01/07/2015 9:09:35 AM PST · by Theoria · 19 replies
    Gizmodo ^ | 06 Jan 2015 | Sarah Zhang
    Today, 23andMe announced what Forbes reports is only the first of ten deals with big biotech companies: Genentech will pay up to $60 million for access to 23andMe's data to study Parkinson's. You think 23andMe was about selling fun DNA spit tests for $99 a pop? Nope, it's been about selling your data all along. Since 23andMe started in 2006, it's convinced 800,000 customers to hand over their DNA, one vial of spit at a time. Personal DNA reports are the consumer-facing side of the business, and that's the one we're most familiar with. It all seems friendly and fun...
  • Does Immigration Harm Working Americans?

    01/07/2015 8:38:44 AM PST · by Theoria · 64 replies
    The Atlantic ^ | 05 Jan 2015 | David Frum
    Many economists say no—but they may be too glib. The job news is increasingly good: 321,000 jobs created in November. Yet the national economic mood remains grimly bleak. Many Americans feel a sharp distinction between what’s said about “the” economy and what they experience in “their” economy. At the top of the income distribution, wages are rising. In the middle and bottom, wages stagnate. Jobs are created, yes—but native-born Americans are not hired for them. Last month, the Center for Immigration Studies released its latest jobs study. CIS, a research organization that tends to favor tight immigration policies, found that...
  • 'America's Bitter Pill' Makes Case For Why Health Care Law 'Won't Work'

    01/06/2015 4:25:18 PM PST · by Theoria · 9 replies
    Fresh Air ^ | 05 Jan 2015 | NPR
    While reporting on the rollout of the Affordable Care Act, journalist Steven Brill was diagnosed with a life-threatening condition that required heart surgery. "There I was: a reporter who had made hospital presidents and hospital executives and health care executives and insurance executives sweat because I asked them all kinds of questions about their salaries and about their profit margins," Brill tells Fresh Air's Terry Gross. "And now I was lying on a gurney in a hospital in real fear of my life." Brill had a bubble on his heart that the doctors said had a 15 to 17 percent...
  • Wisconsin Is Latest State To Consider Fees On Electric, Hybrid Vehicles

    01/05/2015 3:33:46 PM PST · by Theoria · 10 replies
    Here and Now ^ | 05 Jan 2015 | Susan Bence
    Chris and Ellie Eichman’s electric car gleams — even on this overcast day — in the backyard of the modest home they share with their nine-month old daughter. They did tons of research before deciding to purchase a Nissan Leaf in 2012. It was the first sold in Wisconsin. And it’s just one of the Eichman’s “sustainable” investments: 12 solar panels span the garage roof; their second car is a Prius. If Wisconsin’s governor and legislature give the transportation budget a thumbs up, the Eichmans would pay an annual transportation fee — $50 for the Prius, another $50 for the...
  • Why Gas Feels Cheap—and Why It’s Not, Historically Speaking

    01/03/2015 10:08:58 AM PST · by Theoria · 18 replies
    WSJ ^ | 02 Jan 2015 | Jo Craven McGinty
    Recent Price Plunge Looks Good After Years of High Costs, but Fill-Ups Were Less Expensive From 1986-2003 U.S. gasoline prices are the lowest they’ve been in five years. And they feel even cheaper because they come on the heels of the highest gas prices consumers have paid in three decades.In 2012, the national annual average for a gallon of regular unleaded gas—the yardstick for gauging prices—hit a high of $3.77, capping a series of years in which the average exceeded $3 a gallon. Before that, the last time the average was so high was in the early 1980s, when, adjusted...
  • Affordable Care Act’s Tax Effects Now Loom for Filers

    12/26/2014 8:39:15 AM PST · by Theoria · 35 replies
    The New York Times ^ | 25 Dec 2014 | Tara Siegel Bernard
    If you decided to skip health insurance this year, consider this: Unless you can prove you have a valid excuse, you will be liable for a penalty during the coming tax season — and the time to start making your case is now. That’s not all. People who bought subsidized insurance through one of the marketplaces may have new tax forms to complete, while paying the penalty itself may demand some serious number-crunching. The Internal Revenue Service is gearing up to answer questions, but it warns that only half of the callers may get through — and those who succeed...
  • The Limits of Police Subterfuge

    12/19/2014 10:18:09 AM PST · by Theoria · 3 replies
    Schneier on Security ^ | 17 Dec 2014 | Bruce Schneier
    "The next time you call for assistance because the Internet service in your home is not working, the 'technician' who comes to your door may actually be an undercover government agent. He will have secretly disconnected the service, knowing that you will naturally call for help and -- ­when he shows up at your door, impersonating a technician­ -- let him in. He will walk through each room of your house, claiming to diagnose the problem. Actually, he will be videotaping everything (and everyone) inside. He will have no reason to suspect you have broken the law, much less probable...
  • Landlord's Deathbed Confession Sends Siblings on Hunt for Hidden Silver

    12/17/2014 9:38:04 PM PST · by Theoria · 43 replies
    DNAinfo ^ | 10 Dec 2014 | James Fanelli
    Shortly before his death in 2007, Manhattan landlord and lawyer Edward Giaimo Jr. revealed to his two siblings a secret — he had hidden a stash of silver and gold worth millions. While being treated for cancer at Mount Sinai Hospital, Giaimo allegedly told his brother and sister that he had stowed away a large amount of precious metals and they would need a truck to move it. The lifelong bachelor added that the metals, believed to be silver bullion and South African gold coins known as Krugerrands, were safe, but they needed to be removed from their hiding spot...
  • Idaho A Medical Destination For Canadian Boomers

    12/15/2014 3:12:05 PM PST · by Theoria · 8 replies
    NW News Network ^ | 28 Nov 2014 | Jessica Robinson
    A hospital in North Idaho is marketing itself to Canadian tourists -- medical tourists, that is. Most of the patients who come into Northwest Specialty Hospital in Post Falls, Idaho, are from the local area -- plus a few from Washington and Montana.But hospital CEO Rick Rasmussen is thinking big -- Canada big. A little Canadian flag was recently added in the upper right of the hospital’s website.Medical tourism boomThe link goes to a list of procedures with some of the longest wait times north of the border. Total knee, total hip, total shoulder, ACL repair -- all with the...
  • G.O.P. Angst Over 2016 Led to Provision on Funding

    12/13/2014 10:55:37 AM PST · by Theoria · 13 replies
    The New York Times ^ | 13 Dec 2014 | NICHOLAS CONFESSORE
    The secret negotiations that led to one of the most significant expansions of campaign contributions in recent years began with what Republican leaders regarded as an urgent problem: How would they pay for their presidential nominating convention in Cleveland in two years? The talks ended with a bipartisan agreement between Senate Democrats, led by the majority leader, Harry Reid of Nevada, and House Republicans, led by Speaker John A. Boehner of Ohio, that would allow wealthy donors to begin giving more than $1 million every election cycle to each party’s national committees. The agreement drew intense criticism from both liberal...
  • In a Texas Court, a Fight for Lee Harvey Oswald’s Coffin

    12/12/2014 3:38:32 PM PST · by Theoria · 41 replies
    The New York Times ^ | 11 Dec 2014 | David Montgomery
    Hours after his younger brother Lee Harvey Oswald, the presidential assassin, was gunned down in the basement of the Dallas police station, Robert Oswald wrote a $710 cashier’s check to a Fort Worth funeral home as he made arrangements for his brother’s burial. The purchase included a No. 31 Pine Bluff coffin and vault, a dark suit and flowers. More than five decades later, the simple pine coffin — now badly deteriorating — is at the heart of an unlikely epilogue to the drama that gripped the nation on Nov. 22, 1963. Three days after he assassinated President Kennedy from...
  • Should Homeowners With Solar Panels Pay To Maintain Electrical Grid?

    12/11/2014 5:39:22 PM PST · by Theoria · 85 replies
    NPR ^ | 11 Dec 2014 | Peter Overby
    The costs of solar energy are plummeting, and now are about on par with the electricity generated at big power plants. This new reality intensifies a long-running business and regulatory battle, between the mainline electric utility companies and newer firms that provide solar systems for homeowners' rooftops. Sometimes the rivalry looks more like hardball politics than marketplace economics. The way rooftop solar typically works, the homeowner leases rooftop panels from a company that owns and installs them. It can be an expensive proposition, but the homeowner saves some money by drawing less power from the utility company's electric plants, and...
  • GOP Leaders: Gas Tax Hike Could Fuel Fixes To Bad Roads And Bridges

    12/08/2014 5:13:11 PM PST · by Theoria · 64 replies
    NPR ^ | 08 Dec 2014 | David Schaper
    Gasoline prices are at their lowest level in four years. The price at the pump in many states is almost a full dollar cheaper than it was last spring. So some politicians think this is a good time to raise gasoline taxes. Several states are tired of waiting for Congress to fix the federal highway trust fund, so they're considering raising gas taxes themselves to address their crumbling roads. Michigan Gov. Rick Snyder is trying to sell that state's legislators — especially those in his own Republican party — on raising the state's motor fuel tax to fund long neglected...
  • G.O.P. Donors Seek to Narrow Field of Presidential Candidates to One

    12/08/2014 10:54:30 AM PST · by Theoria · 52 replies
    The New York Times ^ | 08 Dec 2014 | NICHOLAS CONFESSORE
    Dozens of the Republican Party’s leading presidential donors and fund-raisers have begun privately discussing how to clear the field for a single establishment candidate to carry the party’s banner in 2016, fearing that a prolonged primary would bolster Hillary Rodham Clinton, the likely Democratic candidate. The conversations, described in interviews with a variety of the Republican Party’s most sought-after donors, are centered on the three potential candidates who have the largest existing base of major contributors and overlapping ties to the top tier of those who are uncommitted: Gov. Chris Christie of New Jersey, former Gov. Jeb Bush of Florida...
  • Why I’m Giving Up My Passport[US Citizenship]

    12/07/2014 7:58:17 PM PST · by Theoria · 32 replies
    The New York Times ^ | 07 Dec 2014 | JONATHAN TEPPER
    LONDON — The mayor of London, Boris Johnson, who was born in New York and holds both American and British passports, recently said that he would not pay a tax bill from the United States on capital gains from the sale of his home in the London borough of Islington. Mr. Johnson pointed out that he hasn’t lived in America since he was 5. He’d like to renounce his citizenship, but said the process was “very difficult.”It is, but I am doing it. My “in-person final loss of citizenship appointment” is scheduled for Jan. 14 at the United States Consulate...
  • Exhausted By a House That Saves Energy

    12/04/2014 7:40:18 AM PST · by Theoria · 25 replies
    The New York Times ^ | 03 Dec 2014 | Sandy Keenan
    Was It Too Soon to Be Sustainable? Warren, Vt. — Dotty Kyle and Eric Brattstrom had an ambitious vision for the home they would build when they sold their bed-and-breakfast here seven years ago and retired. They were environmental and community advocates, so they wanted it to be as sustainable as possible — ideally net-zero, producing as much energy as it used. And because they would be living on a modest fixed income, they needed to make sure it was inexpensive to maintain. But they didn’t want to scrimp on luxury or size, so against their architect’s advice they insisted...
  • Putin, in Defeat, Diverts Pipeline

    12/01/2014 7:35:35 PM PST · by Theoria · 76 replies
    The New York Times ^ | 01 Dec 2014 | ANDREW ROTH
    President Vladimir V. Putin said Monday that he would scrap Russia’s South Stream gas pipeline, a grandiose project that was once intended to establish the country’s dominance in southeastern Europe but instead fell victim to Russia’s increasingly toxic relationship with the West. It was a rare diplomatic defeat for Mr. Putin, who said Russia would redirect the pipeline to Turkey. He painted the failure to build the pipeline as a loss for Europe and blamed Brussels for its intransigence. The decision also seemed to be a rare victory for the European Union and the Obama administration, which have appeared largely...
  • Russian Money Suspected Behind Fracking Protests

    12/01/2014 6:08:30 AM PST · by Theoria · 19 replies
    The New York Times ^ | 30 Nov 2014 | ANDREW HIGGINS
    PUNGESTI, Romania — Vlasa Mircia, the mayor of this destitute village in eastern Romania, thought he had struck it rich when the American energy giant Chevron showed up here last year and leased a plot of land he owned for exploratory shale gas drilling. But the encounter between big business and rural Romania quickly turned into a nightmare. The village became a magnet for activists from across the country opposed to hydraulic fracturing, or fracking. Violent clashes broke out between the police and protesters. The mayor, one of the few locals who sided openly with Chevron, was run out of...
  • Do Online Death Threats Count as Free Speech?

    11/27/2014 6:29:41 PM PST · by Theoria · 19 replies
    The New York Times ^ | 25 Nov 2014 | EMILY BAZELON
    Exhibit 12 in the government’s case against Anthony Elonis is a screenshot of a Facebook post he wrote in October 2010, five months after his wife, Tara, left him. His name appears in the site’s familiar blue, followed by words that made Tara fear for her life: ‘'If I only knew then what I know now . . . I would have smothered your ass with a pillow. Dumped your body in the back seat. Dropped you off in Toad Creek and made it look like a rape and murder.'’Exhibit 13, also pulled from Facebook, is a thread that started...
  • Strange but true: Seals found sexually assaulting penguins

    11/25/2014 4:37:29 PM PST · by Theoria · 90 replies
    CBS ^ | 25 Nov 2014 | Amanda Schupak
    The first time marine biologist William Haddad and his team saw a seal rape a penguin, they were shocked.By the fourth time, they were convinced this bizarre behavior was becoming a trend.For 50 years, researchers from the marine mammal program at the University of Pretoria in South Africa have been taking weekly censuses of the elephant seal population on sub-Antarctic Marion Island, more than a thousand miles south of Cape Town in the Indian Ocean. In 2006, they saw something they'd never seen before. A fur seal (not the species they were studying) mounted and appeared to mate with a...
  • Is Harvard Unfair to Asian-Americans?

    11/25/2014 4:40:42 AM PST · by Theoria · 11 replies
    The New York Times ^ | 24 Nov 2014 | YASCHA MOUNK
    Nearly a century ago, Harvard had a big problem: Too many Jews. By 1922, Jews accounted for 21.5 percent of freshmen, up from 7 percent in 1900 and vastly more than at Yale or Princeton. In the Ivy League, only Columbia and the University of Pennsylvania had a greater proportion of Jews. Harvard’s president, A. Lawrence Lowell, warned that the “Jewish invasion” would “ruin the college.” He wanted a cap: 15 percent. When faculty members balked, he stacked the admissions process to achieve the same result. Bolstered by the nativism of the time, which led to sharp immigration restrictions, Harvard’s...
  • The CIA Wants To Delete Old Email; Critics Say 'Not So Fast'

    11/20/2014 2:55:11 PM PST · by Theoria · 6 replies
    NPR ^ | 20 Nov 2014 | David Welna
    It's a question we've all wrestled with: which emails should be saved and which ones should be deleted?The Central Intelligence Agency thinks it's found the answer, at least as far as its thousands of employees and contractors are concerned. Sooner or later, the spy agency would destroy every email except those in the accounts of its top 22 officials.It's now up to the National Archives — the ultimate repository of all the records preserved by federal agencies — to sign off on the CIA's proposal.The CIA's move to revamp its email retention policy might have gone ahead with little fanfare...
  • Tanzania accused of backtracking over sale of Masai’s ancestral land [Dubai royal hunting reserve]

    11/19/2014 5:57:50 AM PST · by Theoria · 5 replies
    The Guardian ^ | 16 Nov 2014 | The Guardian
    Masai told to leave historic homeland by end of the year so it can become a hunting reserve for the Dubai royal family Tanzania has been accused of reneging on its promise to 40,000 Masai pastoralists by going ahead with plans to evict them and turn their ancestral land into a reserve for the royal family of Dubai to hunt big game.Activists celebrated last year when the government said it had backed down over a proposed 1,500 sq km “wildlife corridor” bordering the Serengeti national park that would serve a commercial hunting and safari company based in the United Arab...
  • Conflicts in New York City Parks as Homeless Population Rises

    11/14/2014 11:41:11 AM PST · by Theoria · 31 replies
    The New York Times ^ | 14 Nov 2014 | LISA W. FODERARO
    In Harlem River Park in Manhattan, homeless men can be seen sleeping on benches around the basketball courts and sprawled out on a soccer field by day, then hunkering under an overpass at night. In Brooklyn, dog owners in Fort Greene Park have had ugly confrontations with homeless people after their dogs woke them up in the early morning when they are allowed off-leash. And in the Bronx, there are so many homeless people in one small park, Devanney Triangle, that the community board and parks department are discussing the removal of all benches. After a decade in which the...
  • Rand Paul's Kentucky Problem

    11/11/2014 8:39:35 AM PST · by Theoria · 16 replies
    NPR ^ | 11 Nov 2014 | S.V. Date
    Everyone knows Sen. Mitch McConnell had a great election night in Kentucky last week. As for the state's other Republican senator, Rand Paul, that's a different matter.That's because while McConnell was cruising to a big re-election win on his way to becoming Senate majority leader, things did not go so well for Paul. He was hoping Republicans, who already control the Kentucky Senate, would also take over the state House — a result that would grease the path for a state law allowing him to run for both re-election and the presidency at the same time.But that failed to happen....