United States of America/USA
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Articles and Resources
Date Fairness.com Resource Read it at: May 06, 2013 Charts: Why You're in Deep Trouble If You Can't Afford a Lawyer:Fifty years after the groundbreaking "Gideon" ruling, public defenders are overworked, underpaid—and America's poor are paying the price
QUOTE: the Supreme Court disappointed reformers when it refused to rule on a case involving a Louisiana man serving a life sentence after waiting five years in jail while the state came up with money to pay his court-appointed lawyer....Since the 1963 Supreme Court decision, America's prison population has grown more than tenfold—from 217,000 inmates to 2.3 million—largely due to decades of the war on drugs and tough-on-crime policies. It's been nearly impossible for the public defense system to keep pace.
Mother Jones May 02, 2013 Secret 'pocket listings' return in hot housing markets
QUOTE: In some cases, agents may try to convince sellers to use pocket listings in order to double their commissions by acting as agent for both the buyer and the seller...."If an agent is putting their own economic interest ahead of the seller's, it's a violation of state law."
CNN (Cable News Network) May 01, 2013 Cellphone Thefts Grow, but the Industry Looks the Other Way
QUOTE: new nationwide database for stolen cellphones, which tracks a phone’s unique identifying number to prevent it from being activated, theoretically discouraging thefts. But police officials say the database has not helped....Some law enforcement authorities, though, say there is a bigger issue — that carriers and handset makers have little incentive to fix the problem.
New York Times May 01, 2013 Google Glass, the beginning of wearable surveillance
QUOTE: imagine that millions of Americans walk around each day wearing the equivalent of a drone on their head: a device capable of capturing video and audio recordings of everything that happens around them. And imagine that these devices upload the data to large-scale commercial enterprises that are able to collect the recordings from each and every American and integrate them together to form a minute-by-minute tracking of the activities of millions....default mode is for all data to be automatically uploaded to cloud servers, where aggregation and back-end analytic capacity resides. So, who owns and what happens to the user's data?
CNN (Cable News Network) Apr 28, 2013 Erasing History
QUOTE: The arrest story was obviously true when it was first published. But Connecticut’s erasure law has already established that truth can be fungible. Martin, her suit says, was “deemed never to have been arrested.” And therefore the news story had metamorphosed into a falsehood.
New York Times Apr 19, 2013 Mistakes in news reporting happen, but do they matter?
QUOTE: reporting mistakes may not be as consequential as they used to be, media observers say. Although errors can travel faster than ever in a wired age, corrections and accurate information flow faster, too...
Washington Post Apr 07, 2013 The Slow Death of the American Author
QUOTE: The value of copyrights is being quickly depreciated, a crisis that hits hardest not best-selling authors like me, who have benefited from most of the recent changes in bookselling, but new and so-called midlist writers....Many people would say such changes are simply in the nature of markets, and see no problem if authors are left to write purely for the love of the game. But what sort of society would that be?
New York Times Apr 04, 2013 As economy flails, debtors' prisons thrive (MoneyWatch)
QUOTE: Thousands of Americans are sent to jail not for committing a crime, but because they can't afford to pay for traffic tickets, medical bills and court fees. If that sounds like a debtors' prison, a legal relic which was abolished in this country in the 1830s, that's because it is. And courts and judges in states across the land are violating the Constitution by incarcerating people for being unable to pay such debts.
CBS News Mar 28, 2013 Cyberattacks Seem Meant to Destroy, Not Just Disrupt
QUOTE: an intensifying campaign of unusually powerful attacks on American financial institutions that began last September and have taken dozens of them offline intermittently, costing millions of dollars....Corporate leaders have long feared online attacks aimed at financial fraud or economic espionage, but now a new threat has taken hold: attackers, possibly with state backing, who seem bent on destruction.
New York Times Mar 23, 2013 Tackling Concerns of Independent Workers
QUOTE: Today, the Freelancers Union is one of the nation’s fastest-growing labor organizations, with more than 200,000 members, over half of them in New York State....the Obama administration recently awarded Ms. Horowitz’s group $340 million in low-interest loans to establish cooperatives in New York, New Jersey and Oregon that will provide health coverage to freelancers and tens of thousands of other workers.
New York Times Mar 16, 2013 The Internet is a surveillance state
QUOTE: ...we're being tracked all the time. Google tracks us, both on its pages and on other pages it has access to. Facebook does the same; it even tracks non-Facebook users. Apple tracks us on our iPhones and iPads....Increasingly, what we do on the Internet is being combined with other data about us. Unmasking Broadwell's identity involved correlating her Internet activity with her hotel stays.
CNN (Cable News Network) Mar 15, 2013 Drones killing innocent Pakistanis, U.N. official says
QUOTE: The New America Foundation estimates that in Pakistan, drones have killed between 1,953 and 3,279 people since 2004 - and that between 18% and 23% of them were not militants....The study concludes that the strikes have killed far more people than the United States has acknowledged, and traumatized many more innocent people.
CNN (Cable News Network) Mar 15, 2013 JPMorgan Executives Face Withering Questions at Senate Hearing
QUOTE: ...[Senator] Levin and a handful of colleagues questioned current and former executives about the bank’s risk management, oversight policies and pricing methods. The lawmakers took aim at JPMorgan for misleading investors and regulators about the disastrous bet, building off a scathing, 300-page Congressional report...
New York Times Mar 15, 2013 Right to Lawyer Can Be Empty Promise for Poor
QUOTE: Fifty years ago, on March 18, 1963, the Supreme Court unanimously ruled in Gideon v. Wainwright that those accused of a crime have a constitutional right to a lawyer whether or not they can afford one.... the promise inherent in the Gideon ruling remains unfulfilled... Civil matters — including legal issues like home foreclosure, job loss, spousal abuse and parental custody — were not covered by the decision. Today, many states and counties do not offer lawyers to the poor in major civil disputes, and in some criminal ones as well. Those states that do are finding that more people than ever are qualifying for such help, making it impossible to keep up with the need.
New York Times Mar 13, 2013 Military rape victims: Stop blaming us
QUOTE: McCoy was one of four alleged victims who testified Wednesday about a problem the military has acknowledged. About 19,000 men and women suffer sexual assault each year in the military, former Defense Secretary Leon Panetta said, though he noted that only about 3,200 assaults were reported.
CNN (Cable News Network) Mar 13, 2013 Death to Whistle-Blowers? (Op-Ed)
QUOTE: ...Private Manning still faces trial on the most serious charges, including the potential capital offense of “aiding the enemy” — though the prosecution is not seeking the death penalty in this case, “only” a life sentence. If successful, the prosecution will establish a chilling precedent: national security leaks may subject the leakers to a capital prosecution or at least life imprisonment. Anyone who holds freedom of the press dear should shudder at the threat that the prosecution’s theory presents to journalists, their sources and the public that relies on them.
New York Times Mar 08, 2013 Skype's Been Hijacked in China, and Microsoft Is O.K. With It
QUOTE: a conflict between Microsoft’s advocacy of privacy rights and its role in surveillance....When Internet users in China try to access Skype.com, they’re diverted to the TOM-Skype site. While the Chinese version bears the blue Skype logo—and provides services for online phone calls and text chats—it’s a modified version of the program found elsewhere in the world. The surveillance feature in TOM-Skype conducts the monitoring directly on a user’s computer...
BusinessWeek Mar 04, 2013 List Price = Joke Price: 4 Examples of How Original Prices Are Meaningless
QUOTE: ...JCPenney CEO Ron Johnson came clean about how the store’s original prices were fake prices cooked up mainly to make the inevitable markdowns seem more impressive and tempting to shoppers. The strategy is known as “price anchoring,” and it’s standard practice....While the new system sounded great to many consumer advocates, it proved to be a failure with shoppers...
Time Magazine Mar 02, 2013 Selling the Home Brand: A Look Inside an Elite JPMorgan Unit
QUOTE: To bolster sales, said the advisers, many of whom spoke on the condition of anonymity because they feared retribution, JPMorgan largely pushes its own bank-branded investments, which include a mix of mutual funds. While the practice can be legal, competitors have moved away from such investments after facing perceived conflicts. The concern is that, driven by fees, banks will push their own products over lower-cost options with stronger returns.
New York Times Mar 01, 2013 Will the “Six Strikes” Copyright Alert System Hurt Consumers And Small Businesses?
QUOTE: On Monday, the Copyright Alert System, or “Six Strikes”, went into affect across the five biggest ISPs in the U.S. The system hopes to catch those pirating content over P2P networks, and send them a notice detailing their infringement. The hope is that those who are caught will start using legal alternatives. To better understand the CAS, we have to look at what the Center for Copyright Information is doing with it. First, there are three tiers to the CAS that consumers should be aware of with each tier having two levels within it. The three tiers are as follows – educational alerts, acknowledgement alerts and mitigation measures.
WebProNews Feb 28, 2013 Breuer Reflects on Prosecutions That Were, and Weren’t
QUOTE: The 54-year-old prosecutor, with a Rolodex as thick as his Queens dialect, will leave the Justice Department on Friday, emboldened after mounting recent cases against banking giants. But Mr. Breuer, the department’s criminal division chief, also leaves somewhat bruised, having taken criticism for not throwing Wall Street executives behind bars after the financial crisis.
New York Times Feb 27, 2013 Why It’s Smart to Be Reckless on Wall Street
QUOTE: That asymmetry in pay (money for profits, flat for losses) is the engine behind many of Wall Street’s mistakes. It rewards short-term gains without regard to long-term consequences. The results? The over-reliance on excessive leverage, banks that are loaded with opaque financial products, and trading models that are flawed. Regulation is largely toothless if banks and their employees have the financial incentive to be reckless.
Scientific American Feb 26, 2013 Apple settles suit over in-game iTunes purchases by kids
QUOTE: Apple has settled a lawsuit filed by parents who say their kids downloaded free games from the mobile App Store and then proceeded to rack up hefty bills buying in-game extras.
CNN (Cable News Network) Feb 24, 2013 A Costly and Unjust Perk for Financiers
QUOTE: Millions of general partners in investment funds receive carried-interest income when they earn profits for their clients. Since these partners do not have to risk any of their own capital, carried interest is really a taxpayer-subsidized fee for managing their clients’ money....This state of affairs denies our Treasury much-needed revenue; fuels public cynicism in government; and is evidence of the “crony capitalism” that favors some economic sectors over others
New York Times Feb 21, 2013 Steps to Guard Against Identity Fraud
QUOTE: The annual report found that the incidence of identity theft overall was about 5.3 percent of consumers, compared with 4.9 percent the year before. Much of the increase was driven by so-called “new account” fraud, involving the unauthorized opening of general use or store brand credit cards, as well as “account takeover” fraud, in which the identity thieves may change consumers’ contact information — like their mailing addresses — to gain illegal access to their accounts
New York Times Feb 10, 2013 Complex Investments Prove Risky as Savers Chase Bigger Payoff
QUOTE: Regulators across the country are confronting a wave of investor fraud that is saddling retirement savers with steep losses on complex products that until a few years ago were pitched only to the most sophisticated investors. The victims are among the millions of Americans whose mutual funds and stock portfolios plummeted in the wake of the financial crisis, and who started searching for ways to make better returns than those being offered by bank deposits and government bonds with minuscule interest rates.
New York Times Feb 04, 2013 Justice Department memo reveals legal case for drone strikes on Americans
QUOTE: A confidential Justice Department memo concludes that the U.S. government can order the killing of American citizens if they are believed to be “senior operational leaders” of al-Qaida or “an associated force” -- even if there is no intelligence indicating they are engaged in an active plot to attack the U.S. The 16-page memo, a copy of which was obtained by NBC News, provides new details about the legal reasoning behind one of the Obama administration’s most secretive and controversial polices: its dramatically increased use of drone strikes against al-Qaida suspects abroad, including those aimed at American citizens
NBC News Feb 04, 2013 U.S. Accuses S. & P. of Fraud in Suit on Loan Bundles
QUOTE: The Justice Department filed civil fraud charges late on Monday against the nation's largest credit-ratings agency, Standard & Poor's, accusing the firm of inflating the ratings of mortgage investments and setting them up for a crash when the financial crisis struck....From September 2004 through October 2007, S.&P. "knowingly and with the intent to defraud, devised, participated in, and executed a scheme to defraud investors" in certain mortgage-related securities, according to the suit filed against the agency and its parent company, McGraw-Hill Companies. S.&P. also falsely represented that its ratings "were objective, independent, uninfluenced by any conflicts of interest," the suit said.
New York Times Jan 29, 2013 Obama Urges Speed on Immigration Plan, but Exposes Conflicts
QUOTE: Seizing an opening to rewrite the nation’s immigration laws, President Obama challenged Congress on Tuesday to act swiftly to put 11 million illegal immigrants living in the United States on a clear path to citizenship. But his push for speedy action and his silence on proposals to defer the opportunity for legal residency until the country’s borders are deemed secure provoked criticism from a Republican leader on the issue.
New York Times Jan 26, 2013 Lawyers for Catholic hospital argue that a fetus is not a person
QUOTE: Life begins at conception, according to the Catholic Church, but in a wrongful death suit in Colorado, a Catholic health care company has argued just the opposite.
CNN (Cable News Network) Jan 25, 2013 Court Rejects Obama Move to Fill Posts
QUOTE: In a ruling that called into question nearly two centuries of presidential “recess” appointments that bypass the Senate confirmation process, a federal appeals court ruled on Friday that President Obama violated the Constitution when he installed three officials on the National Labor Relations Board a year ago.
New York Times Jan 19, 2013 Military Rules Leave Gay Spouses Out in Cold
QUOTE: Gay marriage is now legal in nine states and in Washington, D.C. But because same-sex marriages are not recognized under federal law, the spouses of gay service members are barred from receiving medical and dental insurance and surviving spouse benefits and are not allowed to receive treatment in military medical facilities. Spouses are also barred from receiving military identification cards, which provide access to many community activities and services on base, including movie theaters, day care centers, gyms and commissaries.
New York Times Jan 07, 2013 Marijuana use is too risky a choice
QUOTE: In 1943, Vice President Henry Wallace published a book celebrating the coming "century of the common man." That century did not last very long. We have transitioned instead into the era of the clever man and clever woman. We have revised our institutions, our programs, our rules in ways that offer profitable new chances to those with cultural know-how -- and that inflict disastrous consequences on those who are overwhelmed by a world of ever-more-abundant and ever-more-risky choices.
CNN (Cable News Network) Jan 04, 2013 On Google, F.T.C. Set Rules of War Over Patents
QUOTE: The [FTC's Google-Ed.] action by no means spells the end of the smartphone patent wars, a global conflict in which major corporations including Apple, Samsung and Google have spent billions amassing patent portfolios and then suing and countersuing one another in courts around the world. But legal experts say Google’s settlement with the F.T.C. signals progress in clarifying the rules of engagement in high-tech patent battles, and thus could ease them.
New York Times Jan 04, 2013 Secret and Lies of the Bailout:The federal rescue of Wall Street didn’t fix the economy – it created a permanent bailout state based on a Ponzi-like confidence scheme. And the worst may be yet to come
QUOTE: Not only did [the 2009 banking system bailout--Ed.] prevent another Great Depression, we've been told, but the money has all been paid back, and the government even made a profit. No harm, no foul – right? Wrong. It was all a lie – one of the biggest and most elaborate falsehoods ever sold to the American people. We were told that the taxpayer was stepping in – only temporarily, mind you – to prop up the economy and save the world from financial catastrophe. What we actually ended up doing was the exact opposite: committing American taxpayers to permanent, blind support of an ungovernable, unregulatable, hyperconcentrated new financial system that exacerbates the greed and inequality that caused the crash, and forces Wall Street banks like Goldman Sachs and Citigroup to increase risk rather than reduce it. The result is one of those deals where one wrong decision early on blossoms into a lush nightmare of unintended consequences.
Rolling Stone Jan 03, 2013 Write Gambling Software, Go to Prison
QUOTE: In a criminal case sure to make programmers nervous, a software maker who licenses a program used by online casinos and bookmakers overseas is being charged with promoting gambling in New York because authorities say his software was used by others for illegal betting in that state....Stuart, who has been charged along with his wife and brother-in-law with one felony count for promoting gambling in New York through their software firm, says that his company sells the software only to entities outside the U.S...
Wired Jan 03, 2013 Was The FTC Too Easy On Google? Too Hard? FTC will not take action on search practices
QUOTE: the FTC finally made an announcement regarding its investigation of Google for alleged anticompetitive conduct. The investigation is now closed. The Commission will not be pursing antitrust litigation, and Google escaped without fines, and will make some minor voluntary changes regarding its search business.... Google has agreed to change some of the business practices to resolve the FTC’s concerns including those related to patents and what the FTC alls its “misuse of patent protection to prevent competition.”
WebProNews Dec 28, 2012 Creativity Springs From Careful Copying (Part 2)
QUOTE: Record companies, book publishers, movie studios and other media corporations are caught up in efforts to equate all copying of their works with theft. In fact, if we genuinely want to promote creativity, we must encourage copying. The idea that people copy because they lack creativity is powerfully harmful, and it runs counter to the history of copyright.
Bloomberg News Dec 27, 2012 Hobby Lobby faces millions in fines for bucking Obamacare
QUOTE: Craft store giant Hobby Lobby... opposes providing some contraceptives to employees through its company health care plan on religious grounds, saying some contraceptive products, like the morning after pill, equate to abortion. Hobby Lobby and affiliate Mardel, a Christian bookstore chain, sued the federal government for violating their owners' religious freedom and ability to freely exercise their religion.
CNN (Cable News Network) Dec 27, 2012 Viral Spiral 2012: The constant battle against crackpot claims, paranoid conspiracy theories and malicious lies.
QUOTE: old viral emails, unfortunately, never die — and new ones spread like a highly contagious disease. These overwhelmingly anonymous messages are, by and large, bogus. Many not only twist the facts but also peddle pure fabrications, urging recipients to forward these “shocking” revelations to all their friends. And despite all good common sense, people do pass along these malicious attempts to deceive, often in the same amount of time it would take to check their tenuous hold on veracity.
FactCheck.org Dec 25, 2012 On Web, 'Time Has Come' for '60s singer
QUOTE: decades later, what does Lester Chambers have to show for "Time Has Come Today"?....It's a story of bad contracts -- and record company executives refusing to even honor those, he said. The contract for "Time Has Come Today" promised a small percentage of sales, but the record company kept finding expenses that came out of the band's share before they saw any of it.
CNN (Cable News Network) Dec 22, 2012 Iowa Supreme Court: OK to fire 'irresistible' worker
QUOTE: "We are asked to decide only if a genuine fact issue exists as to whether Dr. Knight engaged in unlawful gender discrimination when he fired Nelson at the request of his wife. For the reasons previously discussed, we believe this conduct did not amount to unlawful discrimination, and therefore we affirm the judgment of the district court."
CNN (Cable News Network) Dec 18, 2012 F.T.C. Opens an Inquiry Into Data Brokers
QUOTE: as consumers conduct more of their personal and commercial lives online, that type of data collection has been steadily increasing, fueled by new online surveillance techniques and more sophisticated analytics. Some companies, for example, have compiled several thousand different pieces of information on a majority of adults in the United States. Regulators say they are concerned that such comprehensive data collection could be used to profile, score or segment consumers, with the potential to unfairly limit the kinds of financial, insurance, health, education or other marketing offers certain consumers receive.
New York Times Dec 18, 2012 When is social-media use a crime?
QUOTE: Despite the disturbing nature of some social-media messages about the shootings, several legal experts contacted by CNN questioned whether Connecticut authorities could successfully bring charges against whoever posted them.
CNN (Cable News Network) Dec 14, 2012 It's 'slime' time in college football
QUOTE: Western Kentucky, a school with mediocre athletics and apparently, sub-mediocre standards, has turned to a person who lied to his last employer about the nature of an accident involving the mistress he allegedly hired to a university position she was unqualified to hold.
CNN (Cable News Network) Dec 14, 2012 Tax Plan Is Popular, but Not Quite Fair
QUOTE: The political appeal of a proposal that limits deductions without actually naming any — inciting the powerful interests and lobbyists that support them — seems obvious. But many tax experts said that a fixed dollar cap is anything but the evenhanded approach to closing loopholes it appears to be.
New York Times Dec 13, 2012 Attorney General Secretly Granted Gov. Ability to Develop and Store Dossiers on Innocent Americans
QUOTE: In a secret government agreement granted without approval or debate from lawmakers, the U.S. attorney general recently gave the National Counterterrorism Center sweeping new powers to store dossiers on U.S. citizens...Earlier this year, Attorney General Eric Holder granted the center the ability to copy entire government databases...
Wired Dec 11, 2012 Scientists Propose Central Database for Disclosing Conflicts of Interest
QUOTE: a lack of standardization in COI disclosures increases the administrative burden on physicians and increases the chances of being accused of incomplete and misleading statements. As a solution, their committee — facilitated by the Institute of Medicine — recommends the creation of a centralize database for the disclosure and reporting of interests.
Scholarly Kitchen Dec 09, 2012 Same-Sex Issue Pushes Justices Into Overdrive
QUOTE: The speed with which the court is moving has some gay rights advocates bracing for a split decision. The court could strike down the federal law, the Defense of Marriage Act, saying that the meaning of marriage is a matter for the states to decide. At the same time, it could reject the idea that the Constitution requires states to allow same-sex marriage, saying that the meaning of marriage is a matter for the states to decide....However the court rules in the California case, its very decision to consider it is a change from the caution of an earlier era.
New York Times Dec 08, 2012 Court Orders Yelp User To Change Review. Slippery Slope?
QUOTE: Have you ever left a negative review of a business? Depending on what you say and how the business in question reacts, that freedom of speech thing you’ve grown so fond of may not be enough to hold up in a court of law.
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