After Snowden, The NSA Faces Recruitment Challenge – GEOFF BRUMFIEL MARCH 31, 2015 4:58 AM ET

Not many students have the cutting-edge cybersecurity skills the NSA needs, recruiters say. And these days industry is paying top dollar for talent.

Not many students have the cutting-edge cybersecurity skills the NSA needs, recruiters say. And these days industry is paying top dollar for talent. Brooks Kraft/Corbis

Daniel Swann is exactly the type of person the National Security Agency (NSA) would love to have working for it. A fourth-year concurrent bachelors-masters student at Johns Hopkins University, the 22-year-old has a bright future in cybersecurity.

And growing up in Annapolis, Maryland, not far from the NSA’s headquarters, Swann thought he might work at the agency, which intercepts phone calls, emails and other so-called “signals intelligence” from U.S. adversaries.

“When I was a senior in high school I thought I would end up working for a defense contractor or the NSA itself,” says Swann. Then, in 2013, NSA contractor Edward Snowden leaked a treasure-trove of top-secret documents. They showed that the agency’s programs to collect intelligence were far more sweeping than Americans realized.

After Snowden’s revelations, Swann’s thinking changed. The NSA’s tactics, which include retaining data from American citizens, raise too many questions in his mind: “I can’t see myself working there,” he says, “partially because of these moral reasons.”

This year, the NSA needs to find 1,600 new recruits. Hundreds of them must come from highly specialized fields like computer science and mathematics. So far, it says, the agency has been successful. But with its popularity down, and pay from wealthy Silicon Valley companies way up, agency officials concede that recruitment is a worry. If enough students follow Daniel Swann, then one of the world’s most powerful spy agencies could lose its edge.

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Cruz MIA at Armed Services hearings – By Austin Wright 3/31/15 5:41 AM EDT Updated 3/31/15 5:41 AM EDT

Sen. Ted Cruz, R-Texas, speaks about energy at the Heritage Action for America 2014 Conservative Policy Summit at the Heritage Foundation in Washington, Monday, Feb. 10, 2014. (AP Photo/Charles Dharapak)

Ted Cruz thunders about what he calls a “fundamentally unserious” U.S. defense policy, but when he had a chance to weigh in during Senate Armed Services Committee hearings, he rarely showed up.

Cruz, who announced last week he’s running for president, has the committee’s worst attendance record — by far.

The Texas Republican attended just three of the panel’s 16 public hearings so far this year, according to a POLITICO review of transcripts from full committee hearings. The average committee member attended 13 of the 16 hearings, and Cruz is the only one of the panel’s 26 members with an attendance rate below 50 percent.

Cruz missed opportunities to cross-examine the top U.S. commander in Afghanistan and was absent from a session on the U.S. military prison at Guantanamo Bay — despite being a leading opponent of President Barack Obama’s decision to swap five Taliban commanders at Guantanamo for Army Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl. The freshman senator also missed opportunities to cross-examine officials about the effects of across-the-board spending cuts on military readiness and the appropriate levels of compensation for the troops.

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Bernie Sanders says he will run for president if he can ‘do it well’ – by Ned Resnikoff March 31, 2015 1:15AM ET

Socialist senator and rumored 2016 candidate says he is still deciding whether to enter Democratic race

Screen Shot 2015-03-31 at Mar 31, 2015 3.12

SAN FRANCISCO — Speaking to a packed crowd of supporters on Monday evening, Sen. Bernie Sanders, I-Vt., said he was still mulling entering the 2016 presidential contest, but would only do so if he thought he could “put together millions of people who are prepared to work really hard to take on the big money interests.”

Sanders has openly discussed his potential candidacy for months, and even paid a visit to the crucial primary state of Iowa earlier this year. But in recent weeks he has begun to sound more reluctant about jumping into the race, in large part because of doubts over whether he could raise the money necessary to run a credible campaign. During Monday’s speaking event, Sanders indicated that he was concerned a poor showing would undermine political support for left-wing economic policies.

“It has to be done well,” said the Senate’s one self-identified democratic socialist said during a public event at San Francisco’s Commonwealth Club, the oldest public affairs forum in the United States. “Because if it’s not done well, then people will say, ‘Oh, income and wealth inequality; if you didn’t do very well in your campaign, then no one believes in that.’”

But if the senator is leaning against running, he gave no indication on Monday. Instead he turned the question on the audience, asking how many people in the crowd wanted him to run for president and would be willing to volunteer for his campaign if he did.

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The 100 Most Trustworthy Companies In America – Kathryn Dill Forbes Staff 3/30/2015 @ 2:36PM

“Authenticity” is a concept that’s been much discussed of late as the best way to earn and retain loyal customers, but when it comes to the care and keeping of shareholders, “trustworthy” is still the name of the game.

Since 2007, GMI Ratings, now a part of MSCI ESG Research, has produced an annual list of the 100 Most Trustworthy Companies in America (no list was published in 2011.) As the country spun towards the financial crisis and one-time giants like Enron and WorldCom cratered, James Kaplan , then-director of GMI, grew weary of the vagaries of discussing corporate wrongdoing, much of which, he felt, could be signaled by particular behaviors long before disaster struck.

Kaplan created the company’s AGR rating system, which is still used to build this list, to not only identify nefarious behavior but to spotlight companies that abstained.


The brushed-titanium ProdecoTech Titanio 29er weighs less than 33 lbs. and has a battery disguised as a water bottle. PRODECOTECH

Titanium bikes are really expensive, and many of them actually expect you to do all the pedaling yourself. The  ProdecoTech Titanio 29er won’t save you any money, but this pedal-assist electric bike will save you some energy.

Most electric bikes are made explicitly for rolling on pavement, but this is a real trail-ready 29er, complete with a brushed-titanium frame, a traditional mountain bike drivetrain, and disc brakes.

Looking at the photo, you may be thinking, “OK, it’s an electric bike, so where the hell is the battery pack?” Well, you see that water bottle? That’s actually the a 33V/9.3Ah battery, which is rated for up to 30 miles per charge and kicks the bike up to a top speed of 18mph. The motor is a front-wheel 250W rig that offers five levels of motorized assist giddy-up. Max output is 420 watts—more than enough to get you up and over your local muur.

The rest of the specs: Mavic TN 319 29er rims are dressed with Continental Race King 29×2 tires, there’s a 10-speed SRAM XO drivetrain on the back, a RockShox SID AIR PushLoc fork on the front, and Avid Elixir XO disc brakes. A Gyes leather saddle is also standard.

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Vox Sentences: The debate about Indiana’s religious freedom law, explained – Updated by Dylan Matthews on March 30, 2015, 8:00 p.m. ET

1. RFRA-raff

Angie’s List CEO Bill Oesterle speaks about Indiana’s Religious Freedom Restoration Act outside the City County Building in March 30, 2015 in Indianapolis. Angie’s List has threatened to pull out of a planned expansion to Indiana. (Aaron P. Bernstein/Getty Images)

  • Outrage continues to build about Indiana’s recently passed religious freedom law, with everyone from the NCAA to Apple CEO Tim Cook to the Indiana-based pharmaceutical company Eli Lilly weighing in against it.

    [Vox / German Lopez]

  • Opponents of the law claim it could be used to defend discrimination against LGBT people in court; Cook claims it would let business owners “cite their personal religious beliefs to refuse service to a customer or resist a state nondiscrimination law.”

    [Washington Post / Tim Cook]

  • The counterargument is that in practice, discrimination like that would never fly: it’s “highly unlikely to get a court to agree that the [business’s] burden trumps the city’s ‘compelling interest’ to outlaw discrimination.”

    [Greensburg Daily News / Boris Ladwig]

  • Religious liberty expert and same-sex marriage supporter Douglas Laycock: “There are hardly any cases about discrimination, and nobody has ever won a religious exemption from a discrimination law under a [Religious Freedom Restoration Act] standard.”

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Child care workers join fast-food workers’ fight for $15 an hour by Claire Zillman – MARCH 30, 2015, 9:44 PM EDT

Child care workers are chronically underpaid, earning wages in line with fast-food workers and retail associates.

In the wake of minimum wage increases at Wal-Mart and Target, a new group of workers has joined the campaign that’s being credited for helping prompt such pay hikes.

On Tuesday, child care workers will join the Fight for $15, the movement started in 2012 by 200 fast-food workers in New York City who walked off the job to protest low pay. When the Fight for $15 stages its next protests on April 15, child care workers are expected to demonstrate alongside the home care workers and airport workers who have joined the campaign since its launch.

Mary Kay Henry, president of the Service Employees International Union, which backs the Fight for $15, told Fortune that child care workers protesting alongside fast-food workers illustrates a dual crisis: underpaid working parents are struggling to pay for child care and those who care for others’ children are struggling to take care of their own.

Child care workers in the U.S. earn median pay of $9.38 per hour, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. That is comparable with the earnings of food preparation workers—$9.28 per hour—and retail sales employees—$10.29 per hour—and is especially measly when weighed against child care workers’ role in early childhood education.

Responsive, sensitive, and secure adult-child attachments are developmentally expected and biologically essential for young children; their absence signals a serious threat to child well-being, according to a 2012 study by the National Scientific Council on the Developing Child. Findings such as these help explain the child care industry’s growing expectation that its workers have college degrees. The share of Head Start teachers with an associate or bachelor’s degree grew by 61%; for assistant teachers, it increased by 24% between 1997 and 2013.

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How hedge funds work – BY S.N. The Economist Mar 30th 2015, 23:50

IN FEBRUARY it emerged that nearly half of the richest hedge-fund managers in Britain have donated a total of £10m ($14.8m) to the Conservative party since 2010. Labour, the opposition party, has accused the Tories of dishing out favours, such as a tax loophole, to their “hedge-fund friends”. Earlier this month it turned out that Labour too has relied on at least one very generous hedge-fund friend who has given the party nearly £600,000 since 2012. Hedge-fund managers are renowned for their investment skills and their wealth. But how do these “masters of the universe”, and the funds they control, really operate?

Hedge funds can be traced back to the 1940s, when an unassuming man named Alfred Winslow Jones set up an investment structure that allowed him to bet on both rising and falling prices and to charge a performance fee. The sector rose to prominence (some might say infamy) in the 1990s when George Soros’s speculation against the pound forced sterling out of the Exchange Rate Mechanism; he was thereafter dubbed “the man who broke the Bank of England”. Other so-called “macro” traders such as Julian Robertson and Michael Steinhardt have achieved similar status as market legends. More recently, John Paulson’s bet against subprime mortgage-backed securities turned him into a billionaire. But the lightly-regulated industry has also had its cases of fraud: most notably Bernie Madoff, whose fund turned out to be a Ponzi scheme.

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Under Siege From The Islamic State In Ramadi – Vice News Published on Mar 30, 2015

In early March, while the world was watching Iraqi government forces advance on the Islamic State (IS) in Tikrit, IS was launching a series of assaults on what little remains of the Government-held parts of the provincial capital, Ramadi, which has been under siege for over a year.

On the morning of 11 March alone — the first day VICE News spent in Ramadi — nearly two dozen IS car bombs were detonated, killing 10 and injuring 60.

In a series of interviews, Iraqi officials told VICE News that they fear Islamic State fighters will overrun what remains of Government-held Ramadi if the US did not intervene with air support. According to police in Ramadi, more than 2,000 officers have been killed since January 2014, when the Islamic State — then known mainly as ISIS or ISIL — first announced its presence in the city.

VICE News spent three days in Ramadi documenting civilian life and interviewing Iraqi officials, as the town remains under siege from the Islamic State.