November 18, 2014
UBBMemorial

WV Activist to Senator Inhofe: Give Blankenship Campaign Money to the Community

Last week, Republic Report revealed that recently indicted former Massey Energy CEO Don Blankenship had given campaign cash to only one federal politician this campaign cycle: Republican Senator Jim Inhofe.

Now, a prominent West Virginia activist, Vernon Haltom, the executive director of Coal River Mountain Watch, is writing to Sen. Inhofe to highlight that donation. In a letter he shared with Republic Report, Vernon says that Blankenship’s “reprehensible, inexcusable contempt for workers’ safety resulted in heartbreak for the families and community of 29 miners.” He goes on to call for the Oklahoma senator to “please consider returning that campaign donation …

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November 13, 2014
SNAP

Still More Scam For-Profit College Websites – Linked to Dallas Mystery Man

I reported yesterday and this morning on scam websites that promise people help with jobs, food stamps, heat assistance, Medicaid — things that low-income and working Americans want — but the sites are really just fronts to get people’s phone numbers, so workers at a call center in Utah can pitch them on enrolling in overpriced, low-quality for-profit colleges.

Within 90 minutes after I posted my story yesterday, one of the sites I discussed, localemploymentnetwork.org, had been shut down. Perhaps just caution by its operators, or perhaps some concern about suggestions I made that the site’s owner, Neutron Interactive, and the …

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November 13, 2014
MedCareer1

More Scam Websites to Lure the Poor to For-Profit Colleges

Yesterday I reported on how a Utah-based company, Neutron Interactive, operated a website that promised jobs but was in reality a scam — it seemed to function mainly to send customer leads to at least one other company’s Salt Lake City call center, called EdSoup, whose only purpose, in turn, is to recruit people, mostly low-income people, to high-priced training programs at for-profit colleges. Similar sites promise food stamps, Medicaid, and heating assistance, but all lead to more pitches to sign up for expensive programs at the University of Phoenix, Brown Mackie, Colorado Tech, Kaplan, and other for-profits.  EdSoup …

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November 12, 2014

Dems Push Keystone XL Vote After Sharing Consultants with TransCanada

Over the course of a very expensive midterm election, Senate Democrats used a number of outside groups to shore up vulnerable incumbents. Federal Election Commission disclosures show that many of these groups relied on SKDKnickerbocker, a Democratic consulting firm, to produce the advertisements that flooded swing states this year.

SKDKnickerbocker, according to multiple reports, was also retained by TransCanada to build support for the Keystone XL pipeline.

The firm, run by veteran Democratic consultants including Anita Dunn and Hilary Rosen, produced advertising for Senate Majority PAC, WomenVote!, Walsh for Montana, and Patriot Majority USA, the highest spending dark money group supporting Democrats …

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October 30, 2014
empty classroom

New gainful employment rule is weak, but predatory for-profit colleges remain on the ropes

The Obama Administration is releasing its “gainful employment” rule, aimed at curbing abuses by federally-funded career colleges, at 7 am Thursday.  I can’t fully evaluate the rule without seeing its details. But I have obtained a press release and fact sheet provided by the Administration to the media and also spoken to Administration and other sources, and I have this to report: UPDATE [Oct. 30 11:00 am]: I’ve read the rule, and my views remain the same]

1. The rule is far too weak to address the grave misconduct of predatory for-profit colleges.  The Administration missed an opportunity to issue …

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October 28, 2014

VIDEO: Leading Politicians Dodge and Deny Climate Change Threat During Midterm Elections

We took a look at the ways in which leading politicians answered simple questions about climate change during the midterms this year and compiled a video. As coal, oil and gas interests have appeared as the primary sponsors of Republican candidates this election cycle, Republic Report has watched as an increasing number of candidates this year have expressed doubt that pollution from their benefactors causes climate change. The influence of fossil fuel money is sure to have a policy impact as well. As we noted recently, climate change deniers will have the opportunity to seize control of key committee chairs if the GOP …

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July 24, 2014
Comcast chief executive Neil Smit (left) and LULAC executive director Brent Wilkes (center). Smit has been tapped to lead the merger between Comcast and Time Warner Cable.
Comcast chief executive Neil Smit (left) and LULAC executive director Brent Wilkes (center).

Leading Civil Rights Groups Just Sold Out on Net Neutrality

Last Friday, just before the Federal Communication Commission closed its comment period for its upcoming rule on “network neutrality,” a massive coalition of Asian, Latino and Black civil rights group filed letters arguing that regulators should lay off of Internet Service Providers regarding Title II reclassification and accept FCC Chairman Tom Wheeler’s original plan. In other words, something close to half of the entire civil rights establishment just sold out the Internet.

The civil rights group letters argue that Title II reclassification of broadband services as a public utility — the only path forward for real net neutrality after a federal court ruling in January — …

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July 21, 2014
miked2

This veteran says: Obama rule would help students and taxpayers

I am a veteran who served in the US Army and the Massachusetts Army National Guard. Last week the Boston Globe published an editorial entitled, “Obama chooses wrong path to reform for-profit colleges,” and I am furious. As a former student who was misled by not one but two of the country’s biggest for-profit colleges, I must say the gainful employment rule that the Globe editorial attacks is only wrong in that it doesn’t go far enough to hold accountable companies that are abusing the poor, vulnerable, and veterans. It gives the for-profit college industry an easy stay-of-execution for …

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