“In response to a FOIA request from USA TODAY, the Justice Department said its ethics office never looked into complaints from two federal judges that they had been misled about NSA surveillance.”
Extra Extra : First Amendment & FOIA
Extra Extra Monday: For-profit prisons, the Aurora shooter's ammo, Koch brother dispute tactics, child labor in gold mines
Gangs Ruled Prison as For-Profit Model Put Blood on Floor | Bloomberg News
“No national data tracks whether the facilities are run as well as public ones, and private-prison lobbyists for years have successfully fought efforts to bring them under federal open-records law. Yet regulatory, court and state records show that the industry has repeatedly experienced the kind of staffing shortages and worker turnover that helped produce years of chaos at Walnut Grove.”
Many mishaps among drillers, but few fines | EnergyWire
There are thousands of oil spills at the nation's onshore oil and gas well sites every year. But the ...
“Largely beyond the public spotlight, the decades-old pursuit of bones and other MIA evidence is sluggish, often duplicative and subjected to too little scientific rigor, (an internal military) report says. The Associated Press obtained a copy of the internal study after Freedom of Information Act requests for it by others were denied.”
Legal experts say the proposed federal shield law could actually diminish the protections some federal courts have recognized, the St. Louis Beacon reports. "Contrary to conventional wisdom, the proposed federal shield law backed by the press and President Barack Obama wouldn’t help reporters protect their sources in big national security cases, such as the recent ones involving the AP and James Rosen of Fox. In fact, the law could make it harder for the press to protect sources in those cases."
Terrorism fears have led government to cloak the danger of hazardous chemical plants | The Houston Chronicle
"Around the country, hundreds of buildings like the one in West store some type of ammonium nitrate. They sit in quiet fields and by riverside docks, in business districts and around the corner from schools, hospitals and day care centers. By law, this shouldn’t be a mystery. Yet fears of terrorism have made it harder than ever for homeowners to find out what dangerous chemicals are hidden nearby. Poor communication can also keep rescue workers in the dark about the risks they face ...
Extra Extra Monday: Sexual assaults in the military, data breaches, CDC emails and power tool injuries
Twice Betrayed | San Antonio Express-News
“A seven-month San Antonio Express-News investigation into the pervasive and long-standing problem of sex assaults in the military shows victims who report the incidents often are retaliated against and discharged on false claims that they have mental disorders. Offenders, meanwhile, are rarely punished, and most are allowed to stay in the armed forces.”
Data breaches persist despite heightened security | Chicago Tribune
“Despite rising awareness of cybersecurity, the number of incidents in which secure information is released into potentially untrustworthy environments remains nearly as high as ever by some measures worldwide and in Illinois.”
The Charleston Gazette reports that "a state agency paid a Virginia-based company an estimated $118,000 to review West Virginia's use of $126.3 million in federal stimulus funds to expand high-speed Internet, but Gov. Earl Ray Tomblin's administration won't release the consultant's findings to the public."
The reason, Commerce Secretary Keith Burdette told the Gazette, is that at least one of the documents might be "embarrassing to some people."
University of Iowa Hospitals and Clinics threw away 355,000 servings of food worth $181,600 last year, according to The Gazette in Cedar Rapids, Iowa. The hospital prepared roughly 3 million total servings of food in 2012, not counting patient meals. The Gazette found that the hospital's dining room serving doctors and nurses from operating rooms threw away 32 percent of its food.
Extra Extra Monday: Teacher absences, prescription painkillers, complaints at for-profit care centers
Welcome to IRE's roundup of the weekend's many enterprise stories -- the last one of 2012 -- from around the country. We'll highlight the document digging, field work and data analysis that made their way into centerpieces in print, broadcast and online from coast to coast. Did we miss something? Email tips to email@example.com.
The Pittsburgh Tribune-Review
Do teachers’ absences affect student learning?
Seventy-three Western Pennsylvania public school districts paid nearly $25 million for substitute teachers to cover classes when full-time educators were not in the classroom during the last school year, according to records for 17 ...
The Seattle Times
Glamour Beasts: The Dark Side of Elephant Captivity
“Zoos' efforts to preserve and propagate elephants have largely failed, both in Seattle and nationally. The infant-mortality rate for elephants in zoos is almost triple the rate in the wild.”
Food and Environment Reporting Network
Fracking our food supply
“In Pennsylvania, the oil and gas industry is already on a tear—drilling thousands of feet into ancient seabeds, then repeatedly fracturing (or “fracking”) these wells with millions of gallons of highly pressurized, chemically laced water, which shatters the surrounding shale and releases fossil fuels. New York, meanwhile, is on ...