Between 2008 and 2011, the U.S. government awarded roughly $6.12 million in federal farm subsidies to several groups in the Chicago area, including a charity owned by Louis Farrakhan's The Nation of Islam, according to a report released by government watchdog group Open the Books.
The report, titled "Farm Subsidies and the Big Dogs," is based on data released by the U.S. Department of Agriculture & information obtained through the Freedom of Information Act.
A total of 930 entities in the Chicago area received farm subsidies between 2008 and 2011.
"Billions in U.S. Farm Subsidies flowed to only 10,806 Recipients -- each receiving at least $250,000" between 2008 and 2011, the report notes. "Each received an (average) of $417,316."
"(F)arm subsidies today have nothing to do with preserving the family farm,'" the report reads, adding that small family farms between 2008 and 2011 received only a small fraction of federal subsidies.
There was a big dust-up in the Democratic Party last week, triggered by a somewhat incoherent op-ed in the Wall Street Journal from the leaders of a Wall Street-funded "think tank"/lobbying group called Third Way. Many of the responses dealt with the op-ed's attack on Sen. Elizabeth Warren, but don't be distracted by that. As Sen. Warren would undoubtedly agree, the issues involved are much more important than the personalities.
This is not an "inside baseball" story about politics. It's a battle for party control whose outcome could affect every household in the country. If this quarrel is to be remembered -- and it's incumbent upon genuine progressives to make sure that it is -- it should be remembered as an attempt by a the corporate class to retain control of the Democratic Party and limit the leftmost limits of political and economic debate.
A growing number of teachers say the national standards, adopted by some 45 states, have combined with pressure to "teach to the test" to take all individuality out of their craft. Some teachers told FoxNews.com the new education approach is turning their lessons into little more than data-dispensing sessions, and they fear their jobs are being marginalized. "Now teachers aren't as unique," said Michael Warren, a public school history teacher in New Jersey. "It means anyone can do it. It's like taking something done by humans and having it done by a machine." Critics of Common Core say establishment of a national standard is simply a backdoor way of nationalizing curriculum. read more
An estimated seven out of every 10 physicians in deep-blue California are rebelling against the state's Obamacare health insurance exchange and won't participate, the head of the state's largest medical association said.
"It doesn't surprise me that there's a high rate of non-participation," said Dr. Richard Thorp, president of the California Medical Association.
"We need some recognition that we're doing a service to the community. But we can't do it for free. And we can't do it at a loss. No other business would do that," he said.
California offers one of the lowest government reimbursement rates in the country -- 30 percent lower than federal Medicare payments. And reimbursement rates for some procedures are even lower.
Only in September did insurance companies disclose that their rates would be pegged to California's Medicaid plan, called Medi-Cal. That's driven many doctors to just say no.
Documentarian James Barrat, author of Our Final Invention: Artificial Intelligence and the End of the Human Era, is worried about robots too. Only he's not worried about them taking our jobs. He's worried about them exterminating the human race. In Barrat's telling, we are on the brink of creating machines that will be as intelligent as humans. Specific timelines vary, but the broad-brush estimates place the emergence of human-level AI at between 2020 and 2050. "intelligence explosion" -- an onrushing feedback loop where an intelligence makes itself smarter thereby getting even better at making itself smarter. This is, to be sure, a theoretical concept, but it is one that many AI researchers see as plausible, if not inevitable. Through a relentless process of debugging and rewriting its code, our self-learning, self-programming AGI experiences a "hard take off" and rockets past what mere flesh and blood brains are capable of. read more