Cost overruns deplete constuction funds

Dunstan McNichol of The (Newark) Star-Ledger analyzed data from New Jersey’s School Construction Corporation since 2002, finding that “the six urban projects under the SCC have cost, on average, 45 percent more than 19 schools built without the agency’s oversight during the same period.” One-fifth of the spending is due to massive cost overruns and…

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Google staff contributions favor Democrats

Jim Hopkins from USA Today looked into campaign contributions by employees for Google Inc. and found that most of the money donated by employees is going to the Democrats. “Google employees gave $207,650 to federal candidates for last year’s elections, up from just $250 in 2000 when it was still a start-up.” Neither party has…

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Sex offenders living in nursing homes

An investigation by KCRA-Sacramento “found that there are currently 52 registered sex offenders living in California nursing homes and not all are elderly men confined to their bed. Fifty-six percent are under 70.” An alarming number after reviewing a Nevada case in which a 86-year-old man was convicted of sexual assault against a 78-year-old women…

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Charity money goes to fund-raiser

Bill Smith of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch used tax records to show that “a foundation run by some of Missouri’s top police officials has raised millions of dollars on behalf of charity, but more than 80 percent of those contributions have gone to the foundation’s Texas-based fund-raiser.” The group raised about $3.1 million between 2000…

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High pay for civilian contractors

Kevin Begos and Phoebe Zerwick of the Winston-Salem Journal used details from federal contracts to contractors in Iraq to calculate a basic labor rate of $350,000 a year for a “liaison officer under the contract that the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers awarded Charlotte’s Zapata Engineering to help dispose of captured munitions. It’s 10 times…

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War fatalities hit hardest in Vermont

Jody Tillman of the Valley News used state-by-state analysis to compare Vermont’s fatality numbers compared to other states. The Valley News found that Vermont had the “highest death rate of any state among soldiers and Marines deployed to Iraq and Afghanistan between March 1, 2003, and October 31, 2004: 5.6 per 1,000 troops.” They also…

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Racist covenants still exist

Judy L. Thomas and Gregory S. Reeves of The Kansas City Star studied homeowner association rules in the Kansas City area, finding that “more than 1,200 documents involving thousands of homes still contain racist language banning blacks, Jews and other ethnic groups. For the first half of the 20th century, racially restrictive covenants were routinely…

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