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Jobseeker to Vacancy Ratio at Almost Seven Year Low

Improving long-term labor market conditions could see workers with a greater bargaining chip at the negotiating table, according to data released Tuesday by the Bureau of Labor Statistics. The ratio of unemployed workers per job opening fell to about 2 in October–down from 3.1 on a year-over-year basis and a post-recession high of 7.7 in October 2009. The measure also fell on a monthly basis by 0.2, from 2.2 in September. The number of job-seekers per vacancy has not been this low since Jan. 2008,… Keep Reading

Fed Starts Comment Period on “Too-Big-To-Fail” Rule

The Federal Reserve Board of Governors said on Tuesday that it was accepting public comment on a rule that would require the eight biggest banks in the country to shore up their capital positions to prevent another potential worldwide financial meltdown. If enacted, the proposal would affect Bank of America, BNY Mellon, Citigroup Inc., Goldman Sachs, JPMorgan Chase & Co., Morgan Stanley, State Street Corporation, and Wells Fargo. It would force these banks, the largest and most interconnected American financial institutions, to identify as a… Keep Reading

CIA Report: “SWIGERT” & “DUNBAR” Paid Millions to Torture Some Folks

He told CIA interrogators to throw prisoners against the wall, to waterboard them, to make them defecate themselves, and to put them in boxes with insects. And despite disastrous results, the newly released torture report reveals he was rewarded handsomely for his services. His name is James E. Mitchell, and his partner in all of this was Bruce Jessen. They were the architects of the CIA’s post-9/11 interrogation program—the disturbing details of which are just now being revealed to the public after Tuesday’s release of… Keep Reading

Committee Examining Civil Rights in America: “More Work to Do”

Normally, they hold these kinds of hearings about foreign countries – often those American officials want to invade. But, on Tuesday, members of a senate subcommittee looked into the state of civil and human rights in the US. In his final hearing as Chairman of the Judiciary subcommittee on Constitution, Civil Rights and Human Rights, Sen. Dick Durbin (D-Ill.) called on the panel to reform the criminal justice system in the next Congress. Sen. Durbin said the regular killing of “unarmed African Americans, men and… Keep Reading

Warnings About Torture Report Violence Take Heat Off CIA Criminals

The release of more information about the Bush administration’s CIA torture program is imminent. White House Press Secretary Josh Earnest announced Monday that an unclassified version of the Senate intelligence committee’s report on the regime will be published on Tuesday. But the educational value of Tuesday’s release depends on redactions. If marker-happy staffers and lawyers have their way, Americans might be left with more questions than answers. It appears that scenario will be likely–the summary is said to contain a mere eight percent of the… Keep Reading

Footnote Undermines New DOJ Racial Profiling Guidelines

New guidelines aimed at stamping out racial profiling in federal law enforcement contain key exclusions, and stop well short of demands for reform made by lawmakers earlier in the year. The rules released Monday by the Department of Justice prohibit certain federal agents from using “race, ethnicity, gender, national origin, religion, sexual orientation, or gender identity to any degree” while conducting routine or spontaneous law enforcement activities. But a footnote buried on the second page of the directive renders it narrow in scope and legally… Keep Reading

Supreme Court Rejects Oil Giant, US Corporations Warn of Consequences

In a move bound to upset powerful lobbyist, the Supreme Court dismissed a motion by oil giant BP to block further payments related to the 2010 oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico. As is often customary, the Supreme Court didn’t offer details as to why BP’s review was denied. But the decision on Monday dealt a serious blow to the oil giant’s very public efforts to discredit a settlement it agreed to in 2012. The US Chamber of Commerce warned in a friend of… Keep Reading

Rockefeller Obtains Concessions, Releases Hold on FOIA Bill

The Senate passed legislation Monday evening that would narrow Freedom of Information Act exemptions. The FOIA Improvement Act, which had been approved unanimously by the Senate Judiciary Committee, had been held up by commerce committee chair Sen. Jay Rockefeller (D-W.Va.). A statement released by the commerce committee noted that Sen. Rockefeller obtained concessions from the bill’s supporters before releasing his hold on it. The language of the proposal was amended to establish “Congressional intent that courts should take into consideration the concerns of agencies when… Keep Reading

Despite Own Calls for Reform, Obama Continues Bulk Collection of Phone Records

Just before the deadline expired last week, the Obama administration renewed its authority to collect in bulk the telephone records of millions of Americans. The Department of Justice and the Director of National Intelligence informed the public on Monday about the reauthorization, which came from the top-secret Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court on December 4th. “Given that legislation has not yet been enacted, and given the importance of maintaining the capabilities of the telephony metadata program, the government has sought a 90-day reauthorization of the existing… Keep Reading

Ash Carter Didn’t “Know Much About Iran” While Approving Hawkish Report

President Obama’s choice to succeed Chuck Hagel as Defense Secretary said he lacked knowledge about Iran the same month he approved of a hawkish report on the country’s nuclear program. Ashton Carter made the remarks in September 2008 while speaking on a panel at the Progressive Policy Institute in Washington. At the time, he was co-director for Harvard University’s Preventative Defense Project, and a member of a Bipartisan Policy Center task force on “US policy toward Iranian Nuclear Development.” “I don’t tend to know much… Keep Reading

White House Indifferent, Confused about Transgender Military Service Ban

White House Press Secretary Josh Earnest this week was caught off guard by questions about the military’s ongoing ban on transgender servicemembers, despite having almost two months to prepare for the inquiry. He was similarly unprepared in October when asked the same question. “We can look into this a little further if you like,” Earnest told a reporter from the Washington Blade after he was asked on Friday if openly transgender service is a policy that can be implemented independently of officials in charge at… Keep Reading

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