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Native American farmers and ranchers press USDA on bias complaints

Native American farmers press USDANative Americans who have sued the U.S. Department of Agriculture alleging discrimination say they, like many African Americans, were taken aback by the agency's hasty firing of a black mid-level official last week after she was falsely accused of racism.

Shirley Sherrod was quickly vindicated, receiving apologies from the agency and the White House -- and an offer of a new job from Secretary Tom Vilsack. Though Sherrod has yet to say whether she will accept the offer, she said at the National Association of Black Journalists conference in San Diego on Thursday that she plans to sue Andrew Breitbart, the conservative blogger who posted the misleading video that led to her troubles.


U.S. Nuclear Forensics Skill Is Declining, Report Says

nuclear explosionThe nation’s ability to identify the source of a nuclear weapon used in a terrorist attack is fragile and eroding, according to a report released Thursday by the National Research Council.

Such highly specialized detective work, known as nuclear attribution, seeks to study clues from fallout and radioactive debris as a way to throw light on the identity of the attacker and the maker of the weapon. In recent years, federal officials have sought to improve such analytic skills, arguing that nuclear terrorism is a grave, long-term threat to the nation.


White House proposal would ease FBI access to records of Internet activity

Lawyer Stewart Baker The Obama administration is seeking to make it easier for the FBI to compel companies to turn over records of an individual's Internet activity without a court order if agents deem the information relevant to a terrorism or intelligence investigation.

The administration wants to add just four words -- "electronic communication transactional records" -- to a list of items that the law says the FBI may demand without a judge's approval.


Federal judge blocks key parts of Ariz. immigration law

Federal judge blocks key parts of Ariz. immigration lawA federal judge on Wednesday blocked the most controversial parts of Arizona's immigration law from taking effect, delivering a last-minute victory to opponents of the crackdown.

The overall law will still take effect Thursday, but without the provisions that angered opponents — including sections that required officers to check a person's immigration status while enforcing other laws.


Court Under Roberts Is Most Conservative in Decades

Court Under Roberts Is Most Conservative in DecadesWhen Chief Justice John G. Roberts Jr. and his colleagues on the Supreme Court left for their summer break at the end of June, they marked a milestone: the Roberts court had just completed its fifth term.

In those five years, the court not only moved to the right but also became the most conservative one in living memory, based on an analysis of four sets of political science data.


BP Hides Use of Black Prison Labor For Oil Gusher Cleanup

BP Hides Use of Black Prison Labor For Oil Gusher CleanupWhen the BP oil gusher mess first began, BP hired prison labor in order to reap tax benefits instead of hiring coastal residents whose livelihoods crashed with the explosion of the wellhead. When the community expressed their outrage, BP did not stop the practice of using prison labor.

No, apparently BP simply tried to literally cover-up the use of prison labor by changing the clothing worn by the inmates to give the appearance of a civilian workforce. Big surprise.


Top Secret America: A hidden world growing beyond control

Top secret AmericaThe top-secret world the government created in response to the terrorist attacks of Sept. 11, 2001, has become so large, so unwieldy and so secretive that no one knows how much money it costs, how many people it employs, how many programs exist within it or exactly how many agencies do the same work.

These are some of the findings of a two-year investigation by The Washington Post that discovered what amounts to an alternative geography of the United States, a Top Secret America hidden from public view and lacking in thorough oversight.


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