Recent Articles
  • Republicans pull Trumpcare bill before it fails

    By Meg Wagner ‘Living with Obamacare for the foreseeable future’ After seven years of vowing to kill Obamacare, House Republicans on Friday abruptly withdrew their bill to repeal and replace the current health care law after determining they did not have enough support within their own party to pass it. Speaker of the House Paul Ryan (R-Wis.) withdrew the party-devised American Health Care Act, dubbed Trumpcare, as representatives were debating it, nixing a vote scheduled for Friday afternoon. Earlier on […]

  • Robots expected to take 38 percent of U.S. jobs by 2030s

    By Ese Olumhense Treasury secretary ‘optimistic’ about job security Increasing automation and artificial intelligence (AI) are not threats to the American workforce, Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin said in an early morning interview on Friday with the news website Axios. “It’s not even on our radar screen,” Mnuchin, a former Goldman Sachs executive and hedge fund manager said, adding that machines would not pose any challenge to jobs for another “50 to 100” years. “I’m not worried at all,” he added. Mnuchin’s […]

  • Senate votes to kill internet privacy protections

    By Meg Wagner Consumer rights vs. company rights The Republican-controlled Senate voted on Thursday to repeal a set of internet privacy rules that would have barred providers from selling off their customers’ web histories without their permission. The rules — which were passed by the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) in October but had not yet gone into effect — would have required internet service providers, such as Comcast and Verizon, to inform their customers if they collected data from web […]

  • How an uptick in racial representation could change the movies

    By Ese Olumhense Increased racial representation on screen — in films like Moonlight, Hidden Figures, and Fences (all led by black actors and actresses) — in 2016 appears to have resonated with moviegoers of color. Asian-Americans, blacks, and Latinos frequented theaters much more than usual last year, reported the Motion Picture Association of America (MPAA) on Wednesday. The year was also a record one for box offices in the U.S. and Canada, which made $11.4 billion in 2016 — more money than […]

  • Trumpcare vote postponed as Republicans scramble for a majority

    By Meg Wagner ‘No deal’ between Trump and conservative faction House Republicans postponed a Thursday vote on their bill to repeal and replace Obamacare after President Donald Trump failed to broker a deal with rebellious conservatives who vowed to oppose the legislation. Instead of a vote, House Republicans will hold a closed-door meeting at 7 p.m. Thursday to discuss their American Health Care Act (AHCA), a bill that would overturn the 2010 Affordable Care Act (ACA). The proposed legislation is […]

  • Republicans may cut ‘essential health benefits’ to pass Trumpcare

    By Meg Wagner The road to ‘meaningless coverage’? In a last-minute bid to get their health care bill passed, House Republicans are considering killing federal regulations that require insurers to cover basic health services, such as maternity care, prescription drugs, and mental health services, in plans offered to consumers. The proposal could woo on-the-fence conservatives into voting for the American Health Care Act, a Republican plan to repeal and replace the 2010 Affordable Care Act (ACA), also known as Obamacare, by […]

  • Twitter is purging ‘terror accounts’ at a dizzying rate

    By Avi Asher-Schapiro Twitter — the online microblogging platform favored by President Donald Trump — has been purging accounts suspected of supporting terrorism at a dizzying pace: nearly 377,000 accounts in the last six months of 2016 alone, almost three times the rate of the previous year. Those numbers were made public Tuesday, as part of Twitter’s latest transparency report. Experts who monitor the Islamic State militant group (ISIS) online presence are pleased. “The median age of an ISIS-supporting account on […]

  • Supreme Court overturns Gorsuch ruling against student with disabilities

    By Meg Wagner Suing for the cost of private school While U.S. Supreme Court nominee Neil Gorsuch answered questions about his judicial career during his Senate confirmation hearing on Wednesday, the justices whose ranks he hopes to join unanimously struck down a prior decision of his against a student with autism. All eight Supreme Court justices sided with a special-needs Colorado student Wednesday in the case Endrew F. v. Douglas County School District. Endrew’s parents sued his public school for the […]

  • Trump labor pick Acosta grilled about deal with billionaire sex offender

    By Meg Wagner 40 alleged victims but only 13 months in prison President Donald Trump’s labor secretary nominee, Alexander Acosta, is facing criticism for what many see as him having once cut a deal with a billionaire accused of sexually abusing dozens of teenage girls, which allowed the man to serve just months in prison when he had been facing the possibility of life behind bars. Acosta, whose Senate confirmation hearing began Wednesday, was serving as a U.S. attorney in Miami when, […]

  • This is probably why you will fall for a fake news story on Twitter

    By Ese Olumhense And the biggest indicator that a viral tweet is a hoax is… You’re most likely to be duped by a rumor or hoax on Twitter if the message shared has many retweets, a study published Wednesday found. Lots of retweets serve as a sort of “normative cue” for users to both trust and further share the info, Hyegyu Lee, PhD, and Hyun Jung Oh, PhD, researchers at two South Korean universities, found. And frequently retweeted tweets are […]

  • Trump may get ability to fire Consumer Financial Protection Bureau chief

    By Ese Olumhense Advocates say GOP effort would weaken the ‘centerpiece’ of the Dodd-Frank Act As presently structured, the U.S. Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) is unconstitutional, Republican lawmakers alleged Tuesday, part of remarks made during a House Financial Services Committee’s Oversight and Investigations Subcommittee hearing on the regulatory agency’s design. At issue is the CFPB’s leadership and budget structure, established by the Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act of 2010. The watchdog agency’s enforcement and supervisory work […]

  • Trump says House Republicans may lose seats if they don’t repeal Obamacare

    By Meg Wagner ‘Trumpcare’ up for a vote this week President Donald Trump on Tuesday warned House Republicans that they could lose their jobs if they don’t pass legislation to repeal and replace Obamacare, one day after party leaders unveiled 43 pages worth of revisions to the health care bill in a bid to get it more votes. Republicans’ American Health Care Act — dubbed “Trumpcare” because it is intended to replace the 2010 Affordable Care Act (ACA), known as Obamacare […]

  • FBI director confirms investigation into Russian election interference

    By Ese Olumhense ‘No information’ supporting President Trump’s wiretap claim: Comey The FBI is investigating the extent of Russia’s interference in the 2016 presidential election, FBI Director James Comey confirmed during a House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence hearing on Monday. It was the first public hearing about whether President Donald Trump or members of his team were in contact with Russian officials during the election. “The FBI, as part of our counterintelligence effort, is investigating the Russian government’s efforts to interfere in […]

  • Supreme Court pick Gorsuch’s maternity leave talk surfaces pre-confirmation hearing

    By Meg Wagner ‘Protecting the company’ from manipulative women? On the eve of Supreme Court nominee Neil Gorsuch’s confirmation hearing, one of his former students alleged that the would-be justice suggested to a law class that “many” women manipulate their employers for maternity benefits — and then insisted that companies should ask female job candidates about their pregnancy plans before hiring them. While The Pregnancy Discrimination Act of 1978, a supplement to the Civil Rights Act of 1964, forbids employers […]

  • How Netflix’s new rating system plans to make accounts more personal

    By Meg Wagner From five stars to a single thumb Netflix is swapping its five-star rating system to a simple thumbs-up, thumbs-down model, a plan executives claim will make it easier for viewers to find the movies and shows they want to watch. The old system — which allowed users to give movies and shows they enjoyed a relatively nuanced rating — will be phased out in April, Netflix Vice President of Product Todd Yellin announced Thursday. Netflix has been […]

  • U.S. keeps possible military action against North Korea ‘on the table’

    By Meg Wagner The price for ‘behaving very badly’? The U.S. may take pre-emptive military action against North Korea if it continues to ramp up its nuclear weapons program, Secretary of State Rex Tillerson warned Friday from South Korea. The U.S.’s “policy of strategic patience” toward North Korea is over, Tillerson continued, outlining a harder stance against the Asian nation. Under his “new approach,” the U.S. will refuse talks with Pyongyang unless it stops developing nuclear weapons — which has […]

  • Researchers develop ‘smarter’ smartphone based on personality

    By Ese Olumhense ‘Like an excellent human secretary’ A team at Rutgers University has developed a model system for smartphone notifications that prioritizes alerts based on a user’s personality traits, determining when the user might prefer to be interrupted or to be left alone. “Ideally, a smartphone notification management system should be like an excellent human secretary who knows when you want to be interrupted or left alone,” says Janne Lindqvist, an assistant professor in the Department of Electrical and […]

  • How smartphones may curb teenage drug use

    By Meg Wagner Less cocaine, more iPhones? American teenagers are growing less likely to try drugs — and smartphones may be the reason. Faced with evidence showing that fewer teens are trying and regularly using illicit drugs, alcohol and cigarettes, some experts — and young people themselves — are speculating that the declining rates may be due to increased smartphone use. Helena Walker, a senior at Marist College, in Poughkeepsie, N.Y., is studying fashion design and finds she rarely leaves the […]

  • Trump budget proposal would boost defense, eliminate funds for humanities, arts

    By Ese Olumhense ‘A view of the priorities of the President and his Administration’ The military and homeland security would see the biggest increases funding if President Donald Trump’s 2018 budget blueprint, released Thursday, is approved by Congress. To offset that growth, the Trump administration proposes spending cuts to a wash of other cabinet-level agencies, including the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and the Department of State — which would both lose close to a third of their budgets. Almost 20 […]

  • Federal judges strike down Trump’s revised travel ban

    Using Trump’s words against him Donald Trump’s second attempt at instituting a travel ban targeting travelers from several Muslim nations suffered back-to-back blows in two federal courts, with judges in Hawaii and Maryland using the president’s own words against him when striking it down. Trump’s executive order — which would have closed the nation’s borders to travelers from Iran, Libya, Syria, Somalia, Sudan, and Yemen for 90 days and turned away refugees indefinitely — was due to go into effect […]

  • Sessions: Pot is a ‘life-wrecking dependency’ ‘slightly less awful’ than heroin

    By Ese Olumhense Attorney general proposes plan to tackle violent crime, drug crisis In remarks before federal, state, and local law enforcement in Richmond, Va., on Wednesday, Attorney General Jeff Sessions laid out his plan to crack down on what he characterized as a “surge in violent crime,” fueled by, he said, guns, gangs, and drugs. “My fear is that this surge in violent crime is not a ‘blip,’ but the start of a dangerous new trend,” Sessions said, citing […]

  • Congress votes to allow states to drug-test the unemployed

    By Meg Wagner Undoing an Obama-era regulation President Donald Trump is expected to sign off on a new law that will likely subject more unemployed Americans to drug tests before they can claim jobless benefits. The resolution — approved by the Senate on Tuesday after passing in the House in February — nixes a Labor Department regulation that limited how many unemployment-benefit applicants states could test for drugs. The old rule, implemented under former President Barack Obama, mandated that states […]

  • Trump eyes repeal of Obama-era fuel economy standards

    Trump’s trip to Motor City is a gift for automakers President Donald Trump will reverse a  Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) decision from January to continue implementing Obama-era fuel economy rules, the president announced at the American Center for Mobility in Detroit on Wednesday. The 2012 standards mandated that, by 2025, automobile companies would have to nearly double the average fuel economy (miles per gallon of gas) of their cars and trucks to nearly 55 miles per gallon; it also provided […]

  • How Trump’s tax plan would have affected his newly leaked return

    By Meg Wagner Less than the average millionaire’s tax rate President Donald Trump paid about 24 percent in taxes on the $153 million he made in 2005, thanks to a tax he has vowed to get rid of — without it, he’d have owed a meager 4 percent. According to Trump’s 2005 tax return — obtained by Pulitzer prize-winning journalist David Cay Johnston, who reported it on MSNBC’s “The Rachel Maddow Show” Tuesday night — the former businessman paid $36.5 […]

  • Asylum seekers at Canadian border rise sharply as arrests at Mexican border drop

    By Ese Olumhense Number apprehended at U.S.-Mexico border down 38 percent from 2016 Between February 2016 and February 2017, U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) apprehensions at the U.S.-Mexico border fell 38 percent, an analysis of Department of Homeland Security (DHS) data by The Washington Post showed on Tuesday. The decrease is even more striking when compared with the number of asylum-seekers leaving the U.S. for Canada within the same period, which more than tripled, according to the Post analysis. […]

  • Six more states just sued Donald Trump over his travel ban

    By Meg Wagner A new appeal to the judge that Trump attacked on Twitter Washington state has again sued Donald Trump, asking the judge who blocked the president’s first travel ban targeting immigrants and visitors from several Muslim-majority countries to extend his restraining order to the revised order. The new lawsuit — filed on Monday by Washington’s attorney general and joined by prosecutors representing California, Maryland, Massachusetts, New York, and Oregon — asks for U.S. District Judge James Robart to […]

  • Trump signs order ‘reorganizing’ executive branch of federal government

    By Ese Olumhense ‘Duplication and redundancy everywhere’ President Donald Trump signed an executive order on Monday that would mandate an evaluation of every executive department and agency to determine where money could be saved. Flanked by the confirmed members of his cabinet, Trump signed the “Comprehensive Plan for Reorganizing the Executive Branch,” the stated aims of which are to make the federal government more efficient, and improve agency and department services. “Today we’re beginning the process of a long-overdue reorganizing […]

  • How Trumpcare could cost 24 million Americans their health insurance

    By Meg Wagner More uninsured Americans, but cheaper premiums House Republicans’ plan to repeal and replace Obamacare will nearly double the amount of uninsured Americans over the next decade, according to a new Congressional Budget Office (CBO) report. If the proposed American Health Care Act (AHCA) — a Republican bill dubbed “Trumpcare” that would overturn the 2010 Affordable Care Act (ACA), known as Obamacare — becomes law, 52 million people would be uninsured in 2026, the nonpartisan report found. Conversely, if […]

  • Facebook, Instagram prohibit developers from using user data for surveillance

    By Ese Olumhense ‘Our goal is to make our policy explicit’ Facebook and Instagram announced Monday that they will prohibit the use of their company data for warrantless surveillance, in response to a months-long effort from civil liberties and civil rights groups to protect users of those platforms. “Today we are adding language to our Facebook and Instagram platform policies to more clearly explain that developers cannot ‘use data obtained from us to provide tools that are used for surveillance,’” […]

  • Republicans blast Obamacare as cost of Trumpcare looms

    By Meg Wagner The ‘victims’ of the ‘imploding’ ACA The upcoming report from the Congressional Budget Office (CBO) on the Republican plan to repeal Obamacare will likely show that fewer Americans will be insured under the new Affordable Health Care Act (AHCA), also known as “Trumpcare” — but the GOP braced for the nonpartisan analysis by doubling down on its longstanding anti-Obamacare rhetoric. On Sunday, House Speaker Paul Ryan (R-Wis.) admitted that the CBO analysis (expected to be released as early […]