The Veterans Affairs Scandal and Plans for Downsizing the Social Security Administration

The media have been rightly focusing their attention on the long waiting lists for veterans seeking medical care, and even worse, the Department of Veteran's Affairs cover-up. Unlike President Obama's birth certificate and the attack on the consulate at Benghazi, delaying or denying care to veterans is really a scandal.

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Six Months after Emergency Unemployment Benefits Expired, 2.9 Million Americans Left Behind

While the monthly jobs numbers released by the Bureau of Labor Statistics indicate official unemployment is gradually falling, there were still 9.8 million Americans out of work in April, of which 3.5 million were unemployed for 27 weeks or more. Americans are still hurting, and Congress needs to take action immediately.

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Spotlight on the CDC as Deadly Virus Emerges in U.S.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recently confirmed a second case of the Middle East Respiratory Syndrome (MERS) virus on U.S. soil. Americans have turned once again to the agency to diagnose, treat, monitor, and prevent the spread of this deadly virus.

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Is California Keeping People Safe at Work? Labor Advocates Say No

by Elizabeth Grossman (originally posted on The Pump Handle on May 14, 2014)

In 2012, the most recent year for which US Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) figures are available, 375 people died on the job in California  – an average occupational fatality rate of more than one person every day. At the same time, research by Worksafe and other California labor advocates shows that while California’s workforce has grown by about 22 percent in the last 20 years, the number of safety inspectors for the 17 million people employed in the state’s 1.34 million workplaces has decreased by about 11 percent. 

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Close Loopholes, Fix Potholes

America has an infrastructure crisis.

We see signs of it every day: We hit bone-jarring potholes as we drive. We face long detours as bridges are closed for emergency repairs. When water mains break, businesses must temporarily close and homeowners have to boil their water. Too many of our kids attend schools that have leaky roofs and rattling windows.

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Unemployed Americans Kicked Out of Capitol, Forced to Share Their Stories Outside

Six hard-working Americans joined House Democrats gathered at the Capitol on Tuesday afternoon to share stories of their struggle to find employment in a rough job market. The event, which was scheduled to take place inside the Capitol as a hearing, was abruptly cancelled by House Republican leadership. This forced the unemployed workers and dozens of supporters to relocate the event at the last moment.

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Western Land Rights Enter Spotlight after Amateur Pundit’s Celebrity

Approximately 245 million acres of land in the United States is publicly managed by the Bureau of Land Management (BLM). Close to two-thirds of that land, 155 million acres, is used for livestock grazing, based on permits and leases issued by the BLM.

A small fee, as well as the current system of permits and leases, helps protect American land from overuse, overgrazing, pollution, and helps ensure its continued viability for future generations.

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The Soaring Cost of the Carried Interest Loophole: Hedge Fund Managers' Pay Rose 50 Percent Last Year

The 25 highest-paid hedge fund managers took home $21.15 billion last year, according to just-released numbers published by Institutional Investor’s Alpha magazine. David Tepper, founder of Appaloosa Management, topped the list for the second year in a row, earning $3.5 billion in 2013, up 59 percent over 2012. Four of those on Alpha’s “Rich List” took home more than $1 billion in 2013.

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Reimagining Government: Two States Address CEO Pay

One of the rites of spring is the annual publication of CEO pay data. Soaring stock markets last year fattened executive pay checks to levels not seen since before the 2008 financial collapse. The average large company CEO took home $10.5 million last year, up 13 percent from 2012, according to an analysis published by USA Today.

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Technically Speaking: Making Sense of Discharge Petitions, Cloture and Filibusters

Articles discussing extending unemployment insurance benefits and raising the minimum wage frequently toss around procedural terms.

How many signatures does a discharge petition have, and how many does it need? Why are all these “procedural” votes necessary before anything gets a final up-or-down vote? How does one filibuster? In civics text books, a filibuster seems to require a passionate, hours-long speech that brings all activity in the Senate to a screeching halt, so why doesn’t that seem to happen in practice?

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