Up to half of the Americans killed by police have a disability

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Police violence is America is a statistical black hole, where data collection on shootings and killings are kept in haphazard or nonexistent form across local, state and federal levels, leaving scholars to piece together statistical pictures using techniques developed to reconstruct genocides from survivors' accounts. Read the rest

Judge says Citibank's law-school loan isn't "student debt" and can be discharged in bankruptcy

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The most toxic debt in America is student debt: your student loans (originated by universities, backed by the federal government, and handed off to banks, who securitize them) are subject to virtually unlimited (and uncontestable) penalties and fees, and are immune to bankruptcy, and are the only form of debt that can be taken out of your Social Security. Read the rest

As criminal justice reform looms, private prison companies get into immigration detention, halfway houses, electronic monitoring, mental health

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Nixon's War on Drugs, Reagan's three strikes rules, and Clinton's "superpredator" crime bill turned America into history's greatest imprisoner, a carceral state where a racially biased justice system was made worse with every passing day, thanks to the campaign contributions and lobbying by the private prison industry, led by Corrections Corporation of America. Read the rest

Top Trump strategist quits, writes an open letter warning America about him

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Stephanie Cegielski was in the Trump campaign from the beginning, first serving as communications director of the Make America Great Again Super PAC, then shutting down the PAC "in order to position him as the quintessential non-politician." Read the rest

GOP's anti-abortion strategy could establish precedent for massive, corrupt regulation

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The US Republican Party welds together two separate and sometimes conflicting ideologies: dogwhistles to Christian conservatives on abortion, LGBTQ issues, etc; and a doctrinaire commitment to "free markets" and deregulation, often at the expense of the working class Christian conservatives whose votes are coaxed forth with the campaign dollars funded by the one percenter beneficiaries of the deregulation movement. Read the rest

US Embassy staffer ran a sextortion racket from work computer for 2 years

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Michael C Ford has been sentenced to four years and nine months in prison, having pleaded guilty to running a sextortion/phishing operation from his work computer at the US embassy in London for two years. Read the rest

Student loan garnisheeing topped $176M in three months

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The latest figures on government-backed student loans are in, and with them, the news that the US government took $176 million out of ex-students paychecks and Social Security in the last three months of 2015. Read the rest

Meet the Commercial Energy Working Group, a lobby group that won't say who it lobbies for

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Though they are legally required to disclose the names of any members or donore who give them more than $5K, the Commercial Energy Working Group -- which lobbies against energy sector regulations -- refuses to name any of its backers. Read the rest

Cops in small MA town warn about roving rap-battle challengers

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The police in Charlton, Massachusetts (one of the fifty safest towns in America) have issued a warning to the citizenry that they've heard tell of young men in a black SUV who are driving around town, challenging teenagers to rap battles. Read the rest

America's universities: Hedge funds saddled with inconvenient educational institutions

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Public and private universities alike have been transformed into financial shell-games for Wall Street's wealthiest hedge-funds, while tuition and student debt soar, adjuncts are exploited, and the lifetime expected returns on a university degree plummet. Read the rest

USA uses TPP-like trade-court to kill massive Indian solar project

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The Jawaharlal Nehru National Solar Mission was on track to deliver deploy 20,000 MW of grid connected solar power by 2022 ("more than the current solar capacity of the world’s top five solar-producing countries combined") but because India specified that the solar panels for it were to be domestically sourced, the USA sued it in WTO trade court and killed it. Read the rest

These 27 profitable S&P 500 companies paid no tax last year

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Two things are inevitable: death and taxes. Unless, of course, you are a transhuman, immortal artificial life form that uses humans as gut-flora (that is, a major corporation). Then they're both optional. hit thanks mostly to a tax break connected with General Motors Europe.

27 giant profitable companies paid no taxes [Matt Krantz/USA Today]

(via Barry Ritholtz) Read the rest

Less than a year on, America has all but forgotten the epic Jeep hack

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Last summer, security researchers Charlie Miller and Chris Valasek were so alarmed at the terrible state of information security in cars that they demo'ed a hack that let them take over Chrysler Jeep Cherokees over the public Internet, controlling the steering and the brakes and the acceleration. Read the rest

Senior U.S. immigration judge says 3 and 4 year old children can represent themselves in court

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The ACLU deposed Judge Jack H Weil, a senior judge responsible for training other immigration judges, in a case over whether 3- and 4-year-olds needed legal representation during deportation hearings. Judge Weil insisted that children as young as three could be taught the basics of immigration law and didn't need taxpayer-funded lawyers in order to get a fair hearing.

Read the rest

To understand Trump, read Transmet

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Warren Ellis and Darick Robertson's Transmetropolitan is nearly 20 years old, and the science fiction story of a journalist who wages truth-war on scumbag politicians 200 years from now could not be more relevant than it is today. Read the rest

Calculating US police killings using methodologies from war-crimes trials

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Statistician Patrick Ball runs an NGO called the Human Rights Data Analysis Group, which uses extremely rigorous, well-documented statistical techniques to provide evidence of war crimes and genocides; HRDAG's work has been used in the official investigations of atrocities in Kosovo, Guatemala, Peru, Colombia, Syria and elsewhere. Read the rest

The 2010 election was the most important one in American history

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Samantha Bee's monologue on the 2010 midterm election -- the election that will.i.am didn't make videos for, the election where progressives stayed away from the polls, the election that put the obstructionist, do-nothing radical right into Congress and the vicious, do-everything right into state houses across the USA -- is hilarious, but like everything Bee does, it has a sting it its tail. (via Metafilter) Read the rest

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