The Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) is attempting to suppress information about a massive database which contains fingerprints, palm prints, iris, voice, and face scans, as well as other biometric data, of millions of Americans. In early May the U.S. Department of Justice released a proposal which would exempt the FBI’s biometric database from public disclosure. Specifically, the proposal would exempt the Next Generation Identification (NGI) System from provisions of the federal Privacy Act, which “requires federal agencies to share information about the records they collect with the individual subject of those records, allowing them to verify and correct them if needed.” The proposal is open for public comment until June 6, 2016. Although the database does contain biometric data onShare | Comment
A recent national poll has highlighted the problematic and autocratic nature of politics in the United States — the two party paradigm. When faced with two candidates, one on the perceived left and one on the perceived right, the poll reveals that the majority of Americans want neither. According to Data Targeting, Inc., the group conducted a live telephone survey of active registered voters in the United States of America (fifty states + District of Columbia) on the evenings of May 12th through May 15th, 2016. The group carried out the survey “in order to better understand the facts at hand and the fundamentals of public opinion, on issues regarding the presidential race and the electorate’s opinions regarding an independent candidacy.” Below are the key findings of their survey.Share | Comment
It turns out that Puerto Rico's plan to default on its debt and beg congress for help is working out as planned. After a slight delay, House Republicans have reached an agreement with the Obama administration to provide a path to restructure Puerto Rico's $70 billion debt load. The bill would offer the island a legal out similar to bankruptcy and wouldn't commit any federal money according to the WSJ.Share | Comment
A handful of scientists around the United States are trying to do something that some people find disturbing: make embryos that are part human, part animal. The researchers hope these embryos, known as chimeras, could eventually help save the lives of people with a wide range of diseases.Share | Comment
US intervention in the Syrian Civil War continues to collide with previous US government claims concerning terrorism and national security. The US is now, amazingly, back in partnership with Al Qaeda, which has been fighting to overthrow the Syrian government led by President Bashar al-Assad. The CIA has been running weapons to rebel groups working with the Syrian Al Qaeda affiliate, Al Nusra, since 2013 (if not earlier). In theory, the weapons were only supposed to go to so-called “moderate” rebels, who supported a secular democracy for Syria. But, as even President Barack Obama conceded, such groups did not really exist on any serious level in Syria and the program was based on a “fantasy.”Share | Comment
In 2008, presidential candidate Hillary Clinton decried repression of labor unions in ColombiaOne June 29, 2009, one day after Honduran military leaders ousted their country’s democratically elected president, President Obama publicly branded the coup illegal and denounced it as “a terrible precedent.” Yet even as he spoke, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton wasensuring that U.S. aid continued and that major capitals would recognize the new regime. Human rights activists have long decried her for abandoning democratic rights and values in Honduras. But many have overlooked her cozy embrace of the morally compromised Latin American leader who happened to be sharing the White House podium when Obama made his remarks: Colombian President Álvaro Uribe.Share | Comment
Five major banks and four traders were sued on Wednesday in a private U.S. lawsuit claiming they conspired to rig prices worldwide in a more than $9 trillion market for bonds issued by government-linked organizations and agencies. Bank of America Corp (BAC.N), Credit Agricole SA (CAGR.PA), Credit Suisse Group AG (CSGN.S), Deutsche Bank AG (DBKGn.DE) and Nomura Holdings Inc (8604.T) were accused of secretly agreeing to widen the "bid-ask" spreads they quoted customers of supranational, sub-sovereign and agency (SSA) bonds.Share | Comment
In an unexpected and disheartening surprise, it turns out that the Strawberries & Creme Frappuccino at Starbucks got its pink-red color from cochineal extract, which is a fancy way of saying ground-up bugs. The exact ingredients for the chain’s drinks were either not well-known or not understood, because it took one concerned, vegan barista to notice the ingredient for the red sauce that goes into the frap and take a picture for proof.Share | Comment
Last year Texas Governor Gregg Abbott signed HB 483, allowing the creation of the Texas Gold Depository. “With the passage of this bill, the Texas Bullion Depository will become the first state-level facility of its kind in the nation, increasing the security and stability of our gold reserves and keeping taxpayer funds from leaving Texas to pay for fees to store gold in facilities outside our state,” he said last June.Share | Comment
The late Margaret Thatcher, former Conservative Party prime minister of Great Britain, once remarked that socialism works pretty well, until you run out of other people’s money. Burlington College in Vermont was not a socialist, or state-run institution, but it was led until recently by Dr. Jane O'Meara Sanders (shown), the wife of avowed socialist Senator Bernie Sanders. It was announced this week that it will close its doors on May 27. Burlington has apparently run out of other people’s money.Share | Comment
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