March 22, 2014
everest

Shame: Wall St Journal Compares Rule for Predatory Colleges to Obamacare

I thought it was a matter of time before defenders of America’s predatory for-profit colleges tried to equate President Obama’s effort to regulate those schools with Obamacare. In seeking to block Obama’s “gainful employment” rule, which would penalize career colleges that consistently leave their students worse off than they started, the industry’s arguments have been as misleading as their tactics have been unscrupulous. And now, it’s happened.

This morning, the Wall Street Journal has an editorial entitled “Education’s ObamaCare.” It calls the gainful employment rule “a regulatory assault on some of America’s most innovative and affordable schools,” when in fact …

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March 18, 2014
Screen Shot 2014-03-17 at 3.38.00 PM

Exxon’s Ongoing Love Affair With Russia

Rachel Maddow covered this subject pretty well last night in a piece titled “Oil mega-corporations key to leverage over Russia” but really scratched the surface on the pressure Exxon may be exerting on the State Department right now over sanctions against Russia.

Her interview with Former Russian Ambassador Michael McFaul, who quit the post a month ago, had this interesting quote, which tells of the cozy and deep relationship between the State Department and multinational oil companies who call themselves American companies when useful. Maddow asked about how Exxon might be lobbying the State Department at this point.  McFaul …

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March 14, 2014
GE data

Regulating For-Profit Colleges: On To The Next Round

This morning, the Obama Administration released its new proposed “gainful employment” rule, aimed at ending taxpayer support for college programs that claim to train people for careers as medical assistants, air conditioner repair technicians, or software coders, but instead consistently leave their former  students with shaky job prospects and insurmountable debt.

Most of the big for-profit colleges will automatically hate the new rule because, based on their outraged statements in public and private, they apparently believe their industry is entitled to a permanent flow of more than $30 billion annually in federal dollars, regardless of how poorly they are …

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March 7, 2014
strassel

CHART: Koch Spends More Than Double Top Ten Unions Combined

The Wall Street Journal’s Kimberley Strassel either has no understanding of campaign finance, or is willfully misleading her readers. In either case, her column today about the Koch brothers’ political spending — which parrots a meme that has bounced around conservative blogs and websites like a bad chain e-mail — gets the facts about Koch spending versus union spending completely wrong.

In her column, “The Really Big Money? Not the Kochs,” Strassel cites a Center for Responsive Politics list to claim that unions “collectively spent $620,873,623 more than Koch Industries” on political races. Of course, if …

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March 3, 2014
Image: Bob Kerrey

Bob Kerrey To Keynote Meeting of For-Profit Colleges Charged With Abusing Vets

Former U.S. senator Bob Kerrey (D-Nebraska) will give keynote remarks at this spring’s annual convention of the for-profit college trade association, APSCU, in Las Vegas. It’s not really a surprise, since Kerrey recently co-authored a Wall Street Journal op-ed arguing against new federal rules to hold the troubled for-profit college industry accountable. But it’s a shame.

Kerry, a 1992 candidate for president who earned the Congressional Medal of Honor for his brave acts as a Navy Seal in Vietnam, has chosen to back an industry that has many big players who are systematically abusing students, notably our …

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February 20, 2014
WAMP

Palantir Hires Former Congressman to Oversee D.C. Operations, Doesn’t Register Him as a Lobbyist

“The air is fresher outside of Washington,” said Zach Wamp, a Republican politician after he left his seat in Congress. Wamp told reporters that he would not pursue a career in lobbying. Instead, he founded a firm that he said would focus on “business development” in Chattanooga, Tennessee.

But like many other former officials, leaving Washington was easier said than done. In a new investigative piece for The Nation magazine published this morning, I explain how Wamp and many others have engaged in what appears to be lobbying activity without registering as lobbyists. Thousands of individuals in …

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February 14, 2014
eastmanchemical

How the Manufacturer of Chemical in WV Spill Lobbies to Prevent Regulation

As 4-methylcyclohexane methanol (MCHM), a coal-processing chemical, leaked into the Elk River in West Virginia last month, the health effects of the substance were not, and are still not, clear. Both federal and state officials know little about the chemical, even though it has been in use for decades.

And if Eastman Chemical Company, the manufacturer of MCHM, has its way, Americans will be kept in the dark about their product and many other chemicals.

MCHM is one of tens of thousands of chemicals currently on the market that have not undergone health and environmental testing, as

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February 13, 2014
20110804_globe_33

Minn. Court Upholds Big Jury Verdict Against Globe For-Profit College

Last August, a Minnesota jury awarded Heidi Weber, a former dean at for-profit Globe University, $395,000 in damages against the school. Weber alleged that she was fired for complaining that Globe used false job placement statistics and engaged in other misconduct to recruit students. On Tuesday, the trial judge in the case rejected Globe’s motion for a new trial and for a reduction in the damage award — giving Weber an important victory in her legal battle. The court also awarded just over $500,000 in attorney fees, which are provided for under the whistleblower law.

Weber’s suit claimed …

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