Mandy Nagy (aka "Liberty Chick") was an investigative writer and researcher. She primarily covered the institutional left, protest movements, hacking and cybercrime, and technology. After suffering a serious stroke in September 2014, Mandy no longer was able to work at Legal Insurrection, but she's always on our minds and in our hearts. For more information, see here.
While visiting the NYSE to ring the closing bell Wednesday, Medal of Honor recipient Ryan Pitts seemed surprised as he then accidentally broke the gavel....
It may be some time before the bodies of the victims of Malaysia Airlines flight MH 17 are returned to their families. In an exclusive interview with ABC News today, the leader of the self-declared Donetsk People's Republic said they would not be turned over until international inspectors come here to inspect them. "We can and we want to give bodies to the relatives but experts have to examine the bodies here. That is international practice," Alexander Borodai said.
Stories about concerns over security of Malaysia Airlines crash site, ongoing Israel-Gaza tensions, government catch-22 in California, and more....
The Senate Committee on Veterans’ Affairs will hold a nomination hearing next week for Robert McDonald, the White House’s choice to lead the embattled Department of Veterans Affairs. Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.,) the committee chairman, said his panel will hold a confirmation hearing on July 22 for McDonald. “At a time when we have unacceptably long waiting times for VA health care and when some 500,000 veterans have returned from Iraq and Afghanistan with post-traumatic stress disorder or traumatic brain injury, it is absolutely imperative that the VA move to provide quality care in a timely manner to all of our veterans,” Sanders said.McDonald was identified late last month as Obama’s pick to run the troubled agency. He graduated from the U.S. Military Academy at West Point, N.Y. in the top two percent of his class and served in the Army for five years, according to the Washington Post. McDonald was also a former CEO for Procter and Gamble, where he faced some challenges of his own. But many seem to be hoping that McDonald’s combination of military service and corporate experience will be the right mix to help fix some of the issues facing the VA. And those issues are plenty, as recent audits have revealed the secretive waiting lists in VA facilities that were intended to conceal actual waiting times, and reports have detailed the numerous veterans waiting months for their first appointments or not getting appointments at all.
Despite claims by the Veterans Affairs Department that it has made significant progress in reducing its enormous disability claims backlog, the agency’s internal watchdog says the handling of such requests remains troubled. The VA Office of Inspector General found that thousands of cases were subtracted from the VA case log even though people were still working on them, according to testimony that will be provided to the House Veterans’ Affairs Committee at a hearing on Monday night. Investigators also discovered that the VA did not follow up with veterans who were granted temporary 100 percent disability payments. The VA was supposed to follow up to see if their health had improved. Because it didn’t, the VA has overpaid veterans about $85 million since 2012, and could potentially over-pay another $370 million in the next five years. The agency’s Veterans Benefits Administration (VBA), the office responsible for providing various kinds of monetary compensation to those who served in uniform, “continues to face challenges to ensure veterans receive timely and accurately [sic] benefits and services,” Linda Halliday, an assistant inspector general at the department, will say in testimony to the panel.This comes of course as the VA is already under fire after a recent audit revealed long wait times for many veterans’ first appointments with a VA facility, while even more veterans who enrolled never received appointments at all. And a previous review found that the practice of secret waiting lists to hide actual wait times was a problem that was systemic across the VA network of facilities.
A new series of search warrants in the case of a 22-month-old Georgia boy who died while in a hot car last month show a focus on the electronic trail leading up to his death. The warrants made public by the Magistrate Court of Cobb County on Monday morning show Cobb County Police investigators looking into electronic devices found inside Justin Ross Harris' 2011 Hyundai Tuscan. A thumb drive, an external hard drive, a SD card, and a DVD-R were all taken into police custody. According to the warrants, all of the items will be searched for "information pertaining to finances, credit card debt, business information, life insurance, emails/communication regarding child, wife, and family issues, photos/videos of the child to show development, information about car seat searches, searches regarding car deaths, communications with other people on the days leading up to and the incident date, information on life insurance policies."What initially seemed to be a case in which many could conceivably believe it was a tragic accident took a different turn last week and has expanded into a digital expedition of online searches, videos and tawdry text messages. It was during the probable cause hearing last Thursday that the public learned 33-year old Ross Harris was allegedly sexting with other women - including one who was underage at the time, as his son sat in a sweltering hot car, according to the testimony of Cobb County, Georgia, police Detective Phil Stoddard.
Whistleblowers to testify about problems at VA and retaliation faced for speaking out....
Office of Special Counsel report last week criticized Office of the Medical Inspector for downplaying severity of problems at VA facilities....
New York's top court struck down a law that made cyberbullying a crime, in what had been viewed as a test case of recent state and local statutes that target online speech. The New York Court of Appeals, in a 5-2 ruling, held on Tuesday that the 2010 Albany County law prohibited a vast swath of speech "far beyond the cyberbullying of children," in violation of the First Amendment. The court's ruling could stand as a guidepost for other state high courts hearing challenges to such laws, as well as for states and localities considering criminal penalties for cyberbullying, legal experts said. Besides Albany, four other New York counties and more than a dozen states, including Louisiana and North Carolina, have similar laws.The 2010 law defined cyberbullying against “any minor or person” to mean “any act of communicating or causing a communication to be sent by mechanical or electronic means, including posting statements on the internet or through a computer or email network, disseminating embarrassing or sexually explicit photographs; disseminating private, personal, false or sexual information, or sending hate mail, with no legitimate private, personal, or public purpose, with the intent to harass, annoy, threaten, abuse, taunt, intimidate, torment, humiliate, or otherwise inflict significant emotional harm on another person.” Writing for the majority, Judge Victoria Graffeo said, in part, “…it appears that the provision would criminalize a broad spectrum of speech outside the popular understanding of cyberbullying, including, for example: an email disclosing private information about a corporation or a telephone conversation meant to annoy an adult.”
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