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The NSA Revelations: All in One Chart

July 3, 2014 Comments off

The NSA Revelations: All in One Chart
Source: Pro Publica

This is a plot of the NSA programs revealed in the past year according to whether they are bulk or targeted, and whether the targets of surveillance are foreign or domestic. Most of the programs fall squarely into the agency’s stated mission of foreign surveillance, but some – particularly those that are both domestic and broad-sweeping – are more controversial.

Medicare’s Failure to Track Doctors Wastes Billions on Name-Brand Drugs

November 21, 2013 Comments off

Medicare’s Failure to Track Doctors Wastes Billions on Name-Brand Drugs
Source: Pro Publica

Medicare is wasting hundreds of millions of dollars a year by failing to rein in doctors who routinely give patients pricey name-brand drugs when cheaper generic alternatives are available.

ProPublica analyzed the prescribing habits of 1.6 million practitioners nationwide and found that a tiny fraction of them are having an outsized impact on spending in Medicare’s massive drug program.

Just 913 internists, family medicine and general practice physicians cost taxpayers an extra $300 million in 2011 alone by disproportionately choosing name-brand drugs. These doctors each wrote at least 5,000 prescriptions that year, including refills, and ranked among the program’s most prolific prescribers.

Many of these physicians also have accepted thousands of dollars in promotional or consulting fees from drug companies, records show.

The Expendables: How the Temps Who Power Corporate Giants Are Getting Crushed

July 1, 2013 Comments off

The Expendables: How the Temps Who Power Corporate Giants Are Getting Crushed
Source: Pro Publica

In cities all across the country, workers stand on street corners, line up in alleys or wait in a neon-lit beauty salon for rickety vans to whisk them off to warehouses miles away. Some vans are so packed that to get to work, people must squat on milk crates, sit on the laps of passengers they do not know or sometimes lie on the floor, the other workers’ feet on top of them.

This is not Mexico. It is not Guatemala or Honduras. This is Chicago, New Jersey, Boston.

The people here are not day laborers looking for an odd job from a passing contractor. They are regular employees of temp agencies working in the supply chain of many of America’s largest companies – Walmart, Macy’s, Nike, Frito-Lay. They make our frozen pizzas, sort the recycling from our trash, cut our vegetables and clean our imported fish. They unload clothing and toys made overseas and pack them to fill our store shelves. They are as important to the global economy as shipping containers and Asian garment workers.

Our Sputtering Economy, by the Numbers

August 2, 2011 Comments off

Our Sputtering Economy, by the Numbers
Source: ProPublica

With increasing signs that the economy is laboring, most economists agree that a short-term infusion of spending, or an extension of this year’s temporary cut in Social Security taxes, could help fend off a new downturn.

But whatever one thinks of the debt deal

—and most of its billions in cuts won’t come for a few years—there’s a near-consensus in Washington against spending increases.

Here’s a brief overview of some key stats on where the economy stands.

Charter Schools Outsource Education to Management Firms, With Mixed Results

April 7, 2011 Comments off

Charter Schools Outsource Education to Management Firms, With Mixed Results
Source: Pro Publica

Contrary to the idea of charters as small, locally run schools, approximately a third of them now rely on management companies to perform many of the most fundamental school services, such as hiring and firing staff, developing curricula and disciplining students. But while the shortcomings of traditional public schools have received much attention in recent years, a look at the private sector’s efforts to run schools in Ohio, Florida and New York shows that turning things over to a company has created its own set of problems for public schools.

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