GNC Holdings Inc. and Vitamin Shoppe Inc. plunged Tuesday on plans by the Justice Department, the Food and Drug Administration and other U.S. agencies to announce criminal and civil enforcement actions over the advertising and sale of dietary supplements.
El Salvador is set to eclipse Honduras as the country with the highest homicide rate in the world. By the end of September 2015, there had been around 5000 murders in a country of just over 6 million.
The staggering death toll follows the breakdown of a truce between powerful, rival gangs and the government. El Salvador’s murder rate is now the highest it’s been since the end of the country’s brutal civil war. There is on average one murder an hour.
Police and military are now combatting the gangs head-on and gang members are being charged with a new crime — membership of a terrorist organization.
VICE News correspondent Danny Gold headed to El Salvador to investigate what many are now calling a war between gangs and police.
Watch “San Pedro Sula Nights” – http://bit.ly/1GTAJQT
The HBO host has accomplished what Jon Stewart and Stephen Colbert never could. Here are a few of his best segments
John Oliver’s “This Week Tonight” is far and away the most refreshing thing on late-night TV. While other shows center around round-table chats and celebrity interviews, Oliver uses his massive platform to highlight overlooked but important political issues. Recently, he told CBS that his focus was “absurd public policies.”
By highlighting the absurdities of American institutions, he milks the injustice for a laugh while drawing the attention of millions of viewers to the issue. It’s a brilliant combination that, when it fires on all cylinders, makes for great comedy and sometimes even triggers reforms.
Here are his seven best segments.
1. Net Neutrality
Arguably Oliver’s breakout hit, this segment masterfully dissected the knotty issue of net neutrality and its effect on free speech. Oliver explained why creating a two-tiered Internet was unfair, and even recruited the Internet’s “vile commenters” to spam the FCC’s website, which was taking public comment at the time. As a result, the website crashed and FCC Chair Tom Wheeler had to hilariously insist to the public that he “wasn’t a dingo.”
2. Abusive Animal Agriculture Practices
Possibly the least sexy topic his show has ever covered, Oliver took on huge poultry processing corporations that exploit small farmers and work to gut legislation that regulates the industry and protects animal welfare. In one of the more clear-cut political wins, the segment actually resulted in a pro-industry rider being left out of the Agriculture Appropriations Bill this summer for the first time in years. Several members of Congress cited Oliver’s segment for providing the political will to remedy the problem.
3. Bail System Exploits the Poor
America’s bail system is a two-tiered system where those who can afford to pay their bail go free and those who can’t are often forced to plead guilty or waste away in lockup before trial. Like many of the topics Oliver covers, it’s an injustice that exists largely due to inertia, despite being widely condemned as being unfair. One month after Oliver’s segment aired, New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio announcedthe city was reforming its bail system to lessen the burden on low-level offenders, allowing a judge to release up to 3,000 defendants awaiting trial. While there were certainly other factors at play, many pundits insisted Oliver’s segment helped bring the topic to the forefront of public debate.
Ben Carson accidentally stumbled on a great idea for improving education
Last year, Ben Carson appeared to endorse a massive change in the way the US funds schools, asking reporter James Hamblin, “Wouldn’t it make more sense to put the money in a pot and redistribute it throughout the country so that public schools are equal, whether you’re in a poor area or a wealthy area?” The implicit idea here, of federalizing education funding and trying to eliminate the budget gap between rich and poor schools, is way more progressive than anything even Bernie Sanders has proposed. So CNN’s Jake Tapper pressed Carson further, and he stuck to his guns:
Republican presidential candidate, Dr. Ben Carson joined CNN’s Jake Tapper on The Lead.
In a court filing offered by the Republican members of Virginia’s congressional delegation, the lawmakers who benefit most from these gerrymandered maps admitted that the GOP intentionally rigged the state’s congressional districts in order to produce a lopsided delegation. The state legislature’s “overarching priorities” in drawing the maps, according to the court filing, was “incumbency protection and preservation of cores to maintain the 8-3 partisan division established in the 2010 election.”
2010 was a very good year for Republicans, enabling the GOP to capture unusually large portions of state congressional delegations. 2012, by contrast, was a strong year for Democrats which saw the reelection of President Obama. And yet, by these Republican lawmakers’ own admission, the maps drawn between the 2010 and 2012 elections were draw for the explicit purpose of ensuring that the GOP’s unusually strong performance in 2010 would be replicated year after year — even in years when the electorate was more favorable to Democrats. The GOP’s goal, in other words, was to render congressional elections little more than political theater, an annual ritual that would produce the same 8-3 delegation every single time.
You just know in your bones that the NSA spied on you and shared that data with Britain’s GCHQ spy agency, right? So how can you confirm this? Through a new online tool offered by the British civil liberties group Privacy International.
Thanks to a legal victory Privacy International obtained earlier this year, the UK’s Investigatory Powers Tribunal is now required to search through data the GCHQ obtained from the NSA for information collected on anyone in the world if that person so requests it. If you request the info and the Tribunal finds something, it must let you know. The catch is you have to make the request before December 5, 2015. Privacy International has made this easy with its “Did GCHQ Illegally Spy on You?” online tool.
Earlier this year the Investigatory Powers Tribunal in the UK ruled that British intelligence services acted unlawfully when they accessed the private communications of millions of people that had been collected by the NSA under its mass-surveillance programs known as PRISM and Upstream and shared with the British spy agency. The PRISM program, which began in 2007, allowed the NSA to collect data in bulk from U.S. companies like Yahoo and Google. The Upstream program involved the collection of data from taps placed on hundreds of undersea cables outside the U.S.
The Tribunal will only search for records shared between the NSA and GCHQ prior to December 2014. And, unfortunately, it won’t reveal if the GCHQ obtained data about you on its own and/or shared it with the NSA, or if the NSA spied on you and didn’t share that data with GCHQ. The amount of data the Tribunal will search may also be limited.
“Once a claim is filed, the IPT will usually only search GCHQ’s records for unlawful activity during the year before the claim was submitted,” Privacy International notes. “What this means is that a claim submitted on 14 September 2015 would lead to records being searched for the time period between 14 September 2014 and 5 December 2014.”
There’s one other caveat about the request. The Tribunal can only search its data for information about you if you submit details such as your name, email address and phone number. Of course in submitting your email address and phone number, you’re potentially providing the British government with information it doesn’t already have about you. But, as Privacy International points out in its FAQ about the tool, there’s no way around this.
The good news is that if the tribunal does find information collected about you, GCHQ must delete that data once the investigation into your records is done, along with the request form you submitted.
Bill Maher and his guests – Rick Santorum, Robert Costa, Wendy Davis, Rep. Dana Rohrabacher and Michael Weiss – answer viewer questions after the show.
America is an exceptional country when it comes to guns. It’s one of the few countries in which the right to bear arms is constitutionally protected, and presidential candidates in other nations don’t cook bacon with guns. But America’s relationship with guns is unique in another crucial way: Among developed nations, the US is far and away the most violent — in large part due to the easy access many Americans have to firearms. These charts and maps show what that violence looks like compared with the rest of the world, why it happens, and why it’s such a tough problem to fix.
America’s unique problem with gun violence
The Library of Congress has let itself become obsolete. It needs a new leader who can steer it into the digital age.
Last month, Librarian of Congress James Billington announced that he will resign as of Jan. 1, 2016, after 28 years in office. Filling this vacancy may not seem like the most pressing matter before President Barack Obama, but in fact the decision is one that could help define his legacy. He has the opportunity to name a visionary leader who can nudge the nation toward a richer, more open information ecosystem appropriate for a democratic republic in the 21stcentury.
Traditionally, the Librarian of Congress has been an esteemed scholar who does not threaten conservative sensibilities. Billington is a revered historian of Russia. For much of his tenure, especially early on, he was regarded as a stable and effective advocate for the institution. But he never seemed to grasp the potential of digital media to expand the influence—and thus the value—of the library.
There is some push now to encourage Obama to appoint a professional librarian with administrative experience from one of America’s outstanding academic research libraries. But the library needs more than a respected scholar or librarian. It needs a visionary who can leverage the position to lead us through some essential upgrades and debates that could push this vital institution into public consciousness.
Thomas Jefferson reseeded the Library of Congress with his own impressive book collection after British troops burned the library and its 3,000 books in 1814. Over the ensuing 200 years, the library became a national treasure to researchers and tourists, a repository of our rich tradition of American publishing, and an essential resource for congressional staff. For more than a century, the library was fully stocked as the official copyright repository: You can’t register a copyright without submitting a work to the library. But as the collections have grown—they now include music, film, television, and radio recordings, as well as video games, software, and electronic records of Web publications—the library has increasingly depended on congressional appropriations to keep its operations going. And funding has been far below what the library needs to perform its functions of preserving all this material and making it available to the pubic.