December 17, 2014
everest-college-you-can-do-it-large-1

Declaring Corinthian Colleges Too Big To Fail: A Terrible Idea

The U.S. Department of Education has blessed a deal under which a non-profit student debt collection company, Minnesota-based Education Credit Management Corporation (ECMC), will pay $24 million to acquire 56 campuses, operating under the brands Everest and WyoTech, owned by collapsing Corinthian Colleges, one of the most abusive and deceptive for-profit college companies. The terms of this deal are extraordinarily favorable to ECMC and extraordinarily unfavorable to students.  The agreement creates a remarkable conflict of interest for the Department itself, and it sets terrible precedents for future failing colleges.

The deal is so bad that it seems that …

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December 10, 2014
Geismar LA

30 years after Bhopal, Long Past Time To Make Chemical Plants Safer

Thirty years ago this month, a gas leak at a Union Carbide pesticide plant in Bhopal, India, created a toxic cloud that eventually killed perhaps 20,000 people and injured 500,000 more. No chemical accident since then has approached the scale of the Bhopal disaster, but chemical plant tragedies continue every year, including in the United States — most recently a poison gas leak that killed four workers last month at a La Porte, Texas, plant owned by DuPont.

An explosion last year at a West, Texas, fertilizer plant, which killed 15 people and injured 160 more, prompted the Obama Administration to undertake a multi-agency review of …

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November 18, 2014
chevrontruck

Exxon-Backed Legislation to Increase Corporate Influence over EPA’s Scientific Board Passes

In the midst of congressional votes on the Keystone XL and NSA reform, the House of Representatives just passed a far-ranging bill to compel the EPA’s board of scientific advisors to include industry representatives. The bill, H.R. 1422, the Science Advisory Board Reform Act, is the latest attempt by the Republican-held Congress to manipulate the science underpinning environmental regulations.

The bill has been sharply criticized by scientists, environmental groups, and public health experts because it compromises the scientific independence of the EPA’s scientific advisors, noted Emily Atkins of ThinkProgress. The Union of Concerned Scientists explains that the bill “opens the door to more …

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November 17, 2014
Rep. Ed Whitfield, middle, poses with LaserLock executives at an event hosted by Georgetown University
Rep. Ed Whitfield, middle, at an event hosted by LaserLock. LaserLock's Brad Blakeman and Neal Alpert stand to the right of Whitfield.

Kentucky Congressman Goes to Bat for Wife’s Company on Capitol Hill

LaserLock Technologies, a firm that sells anti-counterfeiting products, won a powerful congressional ally on Capitol Hill after recruiting a Kentucky congressman’s wife.

Representative Ed Whitfield, a senior Republican lawmaker from western Kentucky, personally submitted company documents on behalf of LaserLock to the congressional record in support of legislation crucial to the firm’s business. Whitfield’s wife, Constance Harriman, a registered lobbyist, has come under scrutiny from Office of Congressional Ethics investigators for unduly influencing Whitfield and his staff for her client, the Humane Society. But new revelations about her role with LaserLock, a company in which she is an investor and where she serves as a board …

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November 14, 2014
Senator Jim Inhofe

Will Senator Jim Inhofe Return Don Blankenship’s Campaign Donation?

One of Senator Jim Inhofe’s (R-OK) most fervent supporters may soon end up behind bars. Yesterday, former Massey Energy CEO Don Blankenship was indicted by a federal grand jury for a range of alleged criminal acts relating to the disaster at Upper Big Branch mine, a 2010 explosion that killed 29 of Blankenship’s employees. Blankenship is charged with thwarting mine safety enforcement by misleading mine safety inspectors, conspiring to violate mine safety laws, and he is also accused of making false statements to the Securities and Exchange Commission about his company’s safety practices.

Blankenship is a big fan of Senator …

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October 27, 2014
hrc

2014 Campaign Shows Growing Public Disdain for Predatory For-Profit Colleges

In the 2o12 election campaign, when a reporter asked GOP candidate Mitt Romney what he planned to do about higher education and college affordability, Romney praised for-profit colleges, and particularly one school, Florida’s Full Sail University, for its ability to “hold down the cost of their education.” It was eventually exposed that: (1) Full Sail was perhaps the third most expensive college in America, (2) Full Sail’s owners were heavy contributors to the Romney campaign, and (3) Romney’s own private equity firm was actually invested in Full Sail.  But whatever Romney’s motives in singling out this sector, it was notable that …

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October 25, 2014
Sen. Mitch McConnell poses inside of a tank in 1985.
Sen. Mitch McConnell poses inside of a tank in 1985.

If GOP Takes Senate, Climate Change Deniers Will Control Key Committees

It wasn’t long ago that coal executives were openly discussing their dream of Republicans seizing the White House and making Oklahoma Senator Jim Inhofe — who believes climate change is a “hoax” concocted by greedy scientists — the head of the EPA.

Now, they have a second chance. As dark money groups and SuperPACs backed by millions of dollars from the fossil fuel industry are propelling Republicans to a Senate majority, climate science-denying politicians are likely to seize control of key committee chairmanships, a coup for companies seeking to pollute the atmosphere with impunity. What’s more, Inhofe is slated to become chair …

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October 2, 2014
amor

Photos: Lavish Lifestyle of Miami For-Profit College CEO Indicted Today For Stealing From Taxpayers

A federal grand jury has indicted the former owner-CEO and three other ex-staff of Miami-based FastTrain College, a for-profit school that had ties to Florida Members of Congress before the FBI raided its campuses in 2012.

The South Florida Business Journal reported late this afternoon that the former CEO, Alejandro Amor, 56, (pictured above), was arrested and appeared in federal court in Miami today, along with former admissions officers Jose W. Gonzalez, Michael Grubbs, and Anthony Mincey.  The 15-count indictment charged the four with theft of government funds, and each could face five years …Continue Reading »

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