A New York City Council member is asking the local affiliate of Habitat for Humanity to find housing for several families who were displaced as the charity carried out a project to buy and renovate buildings in Bedford-Stuyvesant. Though the properties were purportedly long vacant, a ProPublica investigation published last week found that tenants in several buildings were pressured to leave shortly before the charity moved to buy them.
Amid outrage over a law that empowers the NYPD to remove people from their homes without giving them the opportunity to go before a judge, the de Blasio administration is resisting legislative reforms. City Hall argues that safeguards are already in place to protect the rights of defendants, and that any changes can be handled internally.
About 28 percent of New York City apartments subject to rent limits can easily get around them. It takes New York housing officials six to nine months to resolve overcharge complaints from renters. And surprisingly few tenants ever file harassment complaints against their landlords — only 207 last year in a city with hundreds of thousands of renters in regulated apartments.
Verizon agreed to pay $1.35 million to settle Federal Communications Commission charges that it violated customers’ privacy when it used a hidden undeletable number to track cellphone users. In the settlement, Verizon also agreed to make its unkillable “zombie” cookie opt-in, meaning that users are not tracked by default. Previously, users had been tracked by default unless they opted out.
With the last Republican and Democratic debates both held in Michigan (Detroit and Flint, respectively), the Flint water crisis continues to command the national stage. But long before the public health emergency became a presidential campaign issue, Curt Guyette, an investigative journalist for the ACLU of Michigan, was one of the first people to help prove that the city’s drinking water was poisoned.
Tim Cook got almost $400 million of restricted stock when he was named Apple chief executive in 2011, succeeding Steve Jobs. Regardless of whether Apple shareholders fared well or badly over the grant’s 10-year term, all Cook needed to do to collect that stock (worth about $700 million at today’s price) was keep his job. It was the kind of deal that pay mavens derisivelycall “pay for pulse.”
A campaign by some of America’s biggest companies to “opt out” of state workers’ compensation — and write their own plans for dealing with injured workers — was dealt a major blow Friday when an Oklahoma commission ruled the alternative system unconstitutional.
In his new book, Originals: How Non-Conformists Move the World, Adam Grant examines the circumstances that give rise to truly original thinkers and groundbreaking ideas. Throughout Originals, the Wharton School of Business professor shares stories from the fields of business, politics and sports, and his chapter exploring the psychology of speaking truth to power – whether it be federal whistleblowers, or a middle-level employee with an innovative idea – holds several lessons for investigative journalists and the people on which they report. For this week’s podcast, ProPublica reporter David Epstein talks with Grant about takeaways from the book.
Vietnam veteran Dale Worcester, who served aboard the gasoline tanker U.S.S. Tombigbee from 1966 to 1967, emailed ProPublica recently looking for a connection. He wrote: “Do you have any other Tombigbee crewmen that you have made contact with on this Agent Orange [inquiry]?” The “inquiry” he referenced is a survey ProPublica and The Virginian-Pilot launched to investigate the impact Agent Orange has had on the health of vets and their family members. Worcester was one of more than 800 Navy vets who have filled it out, with nearly 4,000 stories submitted in total. But a query to the database found only one entry for the Tombigbee. It was Worcester’s.
by Julia Angwin
The FBI’s much-discussed request to Apple can seem innocuous: Help us extract six weeks of encrypted data from the locked iPhone of Syed Farook, an employee of San Bernardino health department who spearheaded an attack that killed 14 people. Most people believe Apple should comply.
But the FBI is d
The U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs has once again turned down an effort by Navy veterans to get compensation for possible exposure to Agent Orange during the Vietnam War. In a document released Friday, the VA said it would continue to limit benefits related to Agent Orange exposure to only those veterans who set foot in Vietnam, where the herbicide was sprayed, and to those who were on boats in inland rivers.
The American Red Cross has failed to answer a congressman’s questions about deep cuts the charity has made to staff and local offices. Rep. Bennie Thompson, the ranking member of the House homeland security committee, sent the charity a long list of questions after ProPublica recently revealed the cuts and detailed how they have eroded the Red Cross’ ability to respond to even modest disasters.
When the Academy Award for Best Picture is called this Sunday night, the biggest prize may well go to The Big Short. Based on Michael Lewis’ nonfiction book about the collapse of the housing and credit bubble in 2008, the film (also nominated for Actor in a Supporting Role, Directing and Adapted Screenplay) has been lauded for deftly explaining the financial crisis in an entertaining two hours.
In early 2009, as Barack Obama was about to take office, Mitch McConnell, the leader of the Republican minority in the Senate, assembled his caucus at a retreat in West Virginia. There, he laid out his strategy for taking on the new president, who was sweeping into office on a tide of popularity, historical resonance and great expectations barely diminished by the economic free fall then underway.
No Place for Old Men, the rising costs for the aging prison population, brokers of junk science, and some of the best #MuckReads we read this week.
The line drive ripped off the hitter’s bat and rocketed into the right hand of Dr. Lawrence Schlachter, shattering bones and ending his career as a neurosurgeon. The Atlanta doctor, then 52, turned to an unusual place for a new challenge: Law school. He became, of all things, a medical malpractice attorney. Schlachter has been practicing law for a dozen years and says he sees the medical world differently than he did from the operating room. Now it is from the perspective of patients, who too often suffer infections and injuries while undergoing medical care and then are unable to get answers from doctors and medical officials.
How do you stop states and cities from forcing more disclosure of so-called dark money in politics? Get the debate to focus on an “average Joe,” not a wealthy person. Find examples of “inconsequential donation amounts.” Point out that naming donors would be a threat to “innocents,” including their children, families and co-workers. And never call it dark money. “Private giving” sounds better.
Mayor Bill de Blasio commented for the first time Monday on the Daily News/ProPublica’s investigation into the NYPD’s use of the nuisance abatement law to boot hundreds of people from homes — saying while he supports the underlying “concept” of the law to keep neighborhoods safe, he thinks “there should always be due process” and promised to “look carefully at protocols.”
According to water investors, the West’s millions of acres of farmland account for less than 2 percent of the region’s economic output, and moving just 10 percent of the water off farms would likely resolve the region’s current water shortfalls.
The NYPD is Kicking People Out of Their Homes, Even If They Haven’t Committed a Crime - And it’s happening almost exclusively in minority neighborhoods.