Fracking wells in Pennsylvania’s Marcellus Shale region are disproportionately located in poor rural communities, which bear the brunt of associated pollution, according to a new study.
Penn State/flickr Nancy Adams from Penn State's University Libraries touches residue leftover from drilling at the Marcellus Shale drilling site The study bolsters concerns that poor people are more likely to deal with hydraulic fracturing in their community and raises concerns that such vulnerable populations will suffer the potential health impacts of air and water pollution associated with pulling gas from the ground.
“This trend is not one we’re surprised by, we see this in a lot of industries,” said Mike Ewall, founder and director of Energy Justice Network, a nonprofit organization that works with U.S. communities dealing with pollution from energy.
However industry groups say hydraulic fracturing is in rural farming regions of Pennsylvania out of necessity and is providing some much needed economic stimulus.
Researchers from Clark University mapped areas in Pennsylvania, West Virginia and Ohio to identify areas with a lot of Marcellus Shale hydraulic fracturing wells and then examined some local demographics: age, poverty and education levels, and race.
Alpha Magazine has released its "Rich List," the annual rundown of the Unites States' highest-earning hedge fund managers and there's an interesting development. The top earners underwent a 45% drop in earnings during 2014, which prompted the magazine to invoke, "harsh memories of the global financial crisis [that] pervaded Wall Street."
Yes, the top hedge fund managers only pulled down a "paltry" $11.62 billion combined in 2014, around the same amount they were able to bag in 2008 and only a little more than half of what they generated in 2013. Head of Appaloosa Management David Tepper fell from Number 1 to 11th, taking in a "mere" $400 million. "In total, it was a rough year for hedge fund industry honchos," Jeff Cox wrote at CNBC.
Located in a towering late Gothic revival building – apocryphally described by locals as the first million-dollar high school west of the Mississippi River — Topeka High School, situated just four blocks from the Statehouse, is the pride of Kansas’ capital city.
The hallowed halls of the 84-year-old building have served as the academic home of Herbert Hoover-era Vice President Charles Curtis, basketball legend Dean Smith, the revered Republican Sen. Nancy Landon Kassebaum, and renowned poet and novelist Ben Lerner. The school’s bevy of Advanced Placement courses and its acclaimed programs in music, theater and debate attract many transfer students who live outside the school district; I was one of them.
Topeka High’s tale, however, is ultimately one of two schools. Its racial and socioeconomic diversity is one of the school’s most trumpeted selling points, but the lived experiences of the school’s poor and minority students are vastly different from those of the predominantly white and affluent students who flock to the school for its robust academics. Nearly 30 percent of Topeka High’s freshmen drop out before graduation, compared with a statewide average of 15 percent. More than two-thirds of students receive free or reduced-price lunches. According to figures provided by the school, about 40 percent of graduates do not go on to any postsecondary education or training.
Those are the students slated to be hit hardest by Republican Gov. Sam Brownback’s public education cuts, which he has imposed to help fill the massive revenue shortfalls created by his income tax cuts for the wealthy. Under a block-grant funding scheme Brownback signed into law this winter, Topeka High’s school district is slated to lose $3.6 million in funding this year and over the next two years after that, jeopardizing a wide array of academic and extracurricular offerings; for Topeka High students, athletics programs, arts education, and foreign language courses could be on the chopping block. Other districts have cut short their school years; others still warn they may not have enough toilet paper to last out the school year.
percent of ALEC's annual revenues." [Justice.org, May 2010, emphasis added]
ALEC Is A Secretive Organization. As reported by NPR: "Much about ALEC is private. It does not disclose how it spends its money or who gives it to them. ALEC rarely grants interviews. [Senior policy director Michael] Bowman won't even say which legislators are members." [NPR.org, 10/29/10]
ALEC Provides Ready-Made Pieces Of Law To Legislators Who "Often Have No Staff To Do Independent Research." As reported by Mother Jones:
With more than 2,400 state lawmakers as members -- roughly one third of the nation's total -- ALEC is a year-round clearinghouse for business-friendly legislation. Its nine task forces, each composed of legislators and representatives from private industry, sit down together to draft model bills on issues ranging from agriculture to school vouchers, which are then introduced in state legislatures across the country.
Though it calls itself "the nation's largest bipartisan, individual membership association of state legislators," ALEC might better be described as one of the nation's most powerful -- and least known -- corporate lobbies. While other lobbyists focus on the federal government, ALEC gives business a direct hand in writing bills that are considered in state assemblies nationwide. Funded primarily by large corporations, industry groups, and conservative foundations -- including R.J. Reynolds, Koch Industries, and the American Petroleum Institute -- the group takes a chain-restaurant approach to public policy, supplying precooked McBills to state lawmakers. Since most legislators are in session only part of the year and often have no staff to do independent research, they're quick to swallow what ALEC serves up. [Mother Jones, September 2002, emphasis added]
ALEC Connects Conservative State Legislators With Corporate Lobbyists. As reported by Fortune: "The organization [ALEC], founded in 1973 and funded mostly by corporations and conservative foundations, exists to bring business-friendly state lawmakers together with lobbyists for corporations, including AT&T, Exxon Mobil, Wal-Mart, and Johnson & Johnson. It drafts model bills related to its goals of free markets and limited government. Issues that ALEC has influenced include Arizona's anti-immigration law, tort reform in Mississippi, and the opposition to Net neutrality. Despite the intimate involvement of lobbyists, ALEC officials insist the organization is not a lobbying group, since it doesn't follow lawmakers to try to advance their bills. Instead, ALEC is a charity, a status it justifies because of its educational mission. The designation allows the group to collect tax-deductible contributions, and it eases lawmaker travel to ALEC events." [Fortune, 1/10/11, emphasis added, internal citations removed]
We’ve been told over and over again by politicians and flacks — including me in my previous career — that we have the world’s best health care system. As I explained in Deadly Spin, if you continue to believe that no other country could possibly have a better system than ours, it’s because of the overwhelmingly successful PR campaign my former colleagues and I carried out over decades.
The purpose of that campaign — a campaign that’s ongoing, by the way — is to protect the profitable status quo by obscuring an empirical truth: that when it comes to access to affordable health care, millions of Americans might as well be living in a third world country. And that’s still true today, more than four years after Obamacare became law.
A Republican floor leader in the Tennessee House of Representatives blocked an amendment that would have created an exemption for victims of rape and incest to an anti-abortion bill by arguing that such cases are too difficult to confirm.
State Rep. Sheila Butt tabled the amendment, which was proposed by Democratic Minority Leader Craig Fitzhugh, by saying that a bill requiring patients to wait 48 hours after a mandatory in-person counseling session shouldn't be altered with such an exemption. The legislation does make an exemption for patients who are experiencing medical emergencies.
"This amendment appears political because we understand that in most instances this is not verifiable," Butt said. "Let’s make sure that these women have the information and understanding to act. Madam Speaker, I move this amendment to the table."
The FBI has admitted "errors" in evidence provided by its forensics laboratory to US courts to help secure convictions, including in death penalty cases, over more than 20 years. A report by the Office of the Inspector General (OIG) noted "irregularities" in the hair analysis unit. More detail on the cases affected is expected later from campaign groups.
To hear the far-right ideologues of Fox News and AM talk radio tell it, life in Europe is hell on Earth. Taxes are high, sexual promiscuity prevails, universal healthcare doesn’t work, and millions of people don’t even speak English as their primary language! Those who run around screaming about “American exceptionalism” often condemn countries like France, Norway and Switzerland to justify their jingoism. Sadly, the U.S.’ economic deterioration means that many Americans simply cannot afford a trip abroad to see how those countries function for themselves. And often, lack of foreign travel means accepting clichés about the rest of the world over the reality. And that lack of worldliness clouds many Americans' views on everything from economics to sex to religion.
Big Wall Street banks are so upset with Democratic Senator Elizabeth Warren’s call for them to be broken up that some have discussed withholding campaign donations to Senate Democrats in symbolic protest, sources familiar with the discussions said.
For too long, too many judges have been too quiet about an evil of which we are a part: the mass incarceration of people in the United States today. It is time that more of us spoke out.
The basic facts are not in dispute. More than 2.2 million people are currently incarcerated in US jails and prisons, a 500 percent increase over the past forty years. Although the United States accounts for about 5 percent of the world’s population, it houses nearly 25 percent of the world’s prison population. The per capita incarceration rate in the US is about one and a half times that of second-place Rwanda and third-place Russia, and more than six times the rate of neighboring Canada. Another 4.75 million Americans are subject to the state supervision imposed by probation or parole.
Rigid sales quotas at Wells Fargo Bank have driven employees to open unauthorized accounts for customers, sticking them with bogus fees and damaging their credit, according to a city of Los Angeles lawsuit that echoes a Times investigation .
WASHINGTON — The leader of the Federal Election Commission, the agency charged with regulating the way political money is raised and spent, says she has largely given up hope of reining in abuses in the 2016 presidential campaign, which could generate a record $10 billion in spending.
“The likelihood of the laws being enforced is slim,” Ann M. Ravel, the chairwoman, said in an interview. “I never want to give up, but I’m not under any illusions. People think the F.E.C. is dysfunctional. It’s worse than dysfunctional.”
Her unusually frank assessment reflects a worsening stalemate among the agency’s six commissioners. They are perpetually locked in 3-to-3 ties along party lines on key votes because of a fundamental disagreement over the mandate of the commission, which was created 40 years ago in response to the political corruption of Watergate.
One of the main objectives of the new laws is to eliminate consequences for companies that share their users’ private information with the government. The post Congress Moves to Grant Even More Power to the NSA appeared first on The Anti-Media.
BALTIMORE — In life, friends say, Freddie Gray was an easygoing, slender young man who liked girls and partying here in Sandtown, a section of west Baltimore pocked by boarded-up rowhouses and known to the police for drug dealing and crime.
In death, Mr. Gray, 25, has become the latest symbol in the running national debate over police treatment of black men — all the more searing, people here say, in a city where the mayor and police commissioner are black.
Christine Lagarde, the IMF boss who caused international outrage after she suggested in an interview with the Guardian on Friday that beleaguered Greeks might do well to pay their taxes, pays no taxes, it has emerged.
As an official of an international institution, her salary of $467,940 (£298,675) a year plus $83,760 additional allowance a year is not subject to any taxes.
The former French finance minister took over as managing director of the IMF last year when she succeeded her disgraced compatriot Dominique Strauss-Kahn, who was forced to resign after he faced charges – later dropped – of sexually attacking a New York hotel maid.
Lagarde, 56, receives a pay and benefits package worth more than American president Barack Obama earns from the United States government, and he pays taxes on it.
Other benefits include rent subsidies, dependency allowances for spouses and children, education grants for school-age children and travel and shipping expenses, as well as subsidised medical insurance.
The Netherlands' tax regime is enabling a Canadian gold mining company to pay less tax in Greece, a report by a Dutch foundation concluded Monday (30 March). The Centre for Research on Multinational Corporations found that Greece has missed out on at least €1.7 million in tax revenues, because the company, Eldorado Gold, profited from the Dutch tax rules.
The report comes as the Greek government is under pressure from countries like the Netherlands to increase its tax collection to meet its cash shortage. Dutch finance minister Jeroen Dijsselbloem, who also leads the group of eurozone finance ministers, has repeatedly stated that Greece should improve its method of collecting taxes, an irony which was not lost on the authors of the report, Fool's Gold http://www.somo.nl/publications-en/Publication_4177?set_language=en.
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That's the prime guiding principle of the budget Republicans are trying to push through the Senate. Republicans claim to be concerned with reducing the federal deficit, which their Budget Committee Chairman Mike Enzi (R-Wyoming) described as a "dangerous financial crisis." But are they willing to sacrifice a single tax loophole to solve the problem? No. And that's telling about their real priorities.
The Republican roadmap for the coming decade would cut government operations by $5 trillion, taking mostly from programs that help working families. And it assumes a complete repeal of the Affordable Care Act, which has helped more than 16 million Americans find affordable health insurance for themselves and their families. It's harsh stuff.
But for all its smashing and slashing of programs low- and middle-income families depend on, it would keep in place each and every tax deduction, exclusion, and credit that benefits wealthy individuals and big corporations. This Republican budget is a clear confession that the so-called "dangerous financial crisis" is actually less important to them than protecting special tax treatment for the rich and powerful.
And it's big bucks: Some $1.5 trillion will go out the back door of the tax code in tax expenditures in 2016 alone, more than we actually spend in appropriations. Of that, billions of dollars is indefensible special interest lucre. And that doesn't even count the revenue lost from money sheltered in overseas tax havens like the Cayman Islands.
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