News & Features

The Plight of Whistleblowers: Reaping Rewards or Getting Benched

Angelo Franco

The largest payout ever given to an informant, the $104 million awarded to Birkenfeld were part of the IRS’s whistleblower program, which rewards informants up to 30 percent of collected funds and fines from pursued claims. Around the time of the award, the IRS was seeking to shrink potential whistleblowers’ payout, which drew fierce criticism from a number of lawmakers. The IRS program, which was revamped in 2006 to offer higher rewards and incentives, was created to encourage informants to come forward with allegations of potential wrongdoings in an effort to help the agency recover an estimated $100 billion a year of underpaid taxes. 

Eye on Virginia: Restoring Ex-Felons’ Voting Rights

Gary Gately

After four months of political and legal wrangling, McAuliffe, a Democrat, announced he had signed individual orders allowing 13,000 ex-felons who had registered to vote after the governor’s April order, including Banks, to re-register. Now Banks is eager to vote in the November election. “I mean, I want to rejoin society and be a productive person in society,” he said. “I learned my lesson from my incarceration. If you’re willing to come back to society, be productive and do what you’re supposed to do in life, they should welcome you back with open arms.”

What Good Political Leadership Looks Like

Jim Jaffe

On the one hand we’re told that politicians cautiously hold a finger to the wind before acting and lack the courage to get ahead of their constituents. On the other, when politicians step forward—as Obama did on the TPP or ACA or David Cameron did on EU affiliation or Angela Merkel on immigration—their positions are deemed proof of the growing gulf between the governing elite and the masses who would be impacted.

Should Seniors Face Tighter Gun Controls?

Dana DiFilippo

Older Americans have the highest gun ownership rates in the United States, with firearms in 40 percent of households headed by someone age 50 to 64 or age 65 and older, according to the Pew Research Center. And a disproportionate number of older Americans apply to carry concealed weapons, according to a 2012 study in the American Journal of Public Health. The reasons for such trends vary: older Americans tend to have more disposable income with which to buy guns; they’ve had a longer time to amass an arsenal; and many invest in arms as a way to counter the physical vulnerabilities that can come with aging. 

Is It Time for Queen Elizabeth to Resign?

John Lloyd

But the saner sources, or at least those who claim to be in the know, say she will never resign. The BBC, cautious to the point of timidity in its comments on the queen (it fired its director of BBC1, Peter Fincham, in 2007 for making the mildest of jokes about her) has ventured that she won't resign while she lives. It reminded us that her message to the Commonwealth on her 21st birthday contained the phrase, "I declare before you all that my whole life, whether it be long or short, shall be devoted to your service."

 

‘Pokemon Go’ Craze Will Soon Hit India

Nishant Arora

The Pokemon Go is available for download on Google Playstore and Apple's App Store in the U.S., Japan, Australia, the Philippines, New Zealand, Germany, Britain, Europe and Canada and is coming soon to India, Singapore, Taiwan and Indonesia. The mobile game, developed by U.S. software company Niantic and part-owned by Japanese videogame giant Nintendo, has topped over 15 million downloads and its servers are crashing worldwide owing to heavy traffic.

Managing Donald Trump’s Anger

Marty Kaplan

No wonder Trump is preemptively depicting himself not as a loser, but as the victim of a rigged election. You know he won’t go away quietly. Nor will his base, whose fire he has recklessly stoked. I can’t believe he’d give a gracious concession speech, a call to come together and support the one president our nation has. He’s more likely to summon a retributive movement – a fifth column of Trumpistas.

Hillary Clinton Channels Her Inner Sixties

Leonard Steinhorn

Hearing her biography over and over during the Democratic convention confirmed one undisputed fact about her: she’s not only “from the Sixties,” as she said at a Democratic debate last year, but she’s of the Sixties. And she’s of a very specific side of the Sixties, the earnest activists who wanted to transform the world by digging deep into policy and challenging outdated norms and practices. For these activists, the popular phrase “question authority” had both a political and personal meaning.

How Donald Trump Hides His Mediocrity in ‘Crazy’

Lawrence Ross

All successful people, particularly those in the public eye, have a sneaking suspicion that they’re really just frauds, and that when the public takes a closer look and stops praising their “genius,” then they’ll be found out. For most high achievers, that bit of insecurity is a motivator, the drive that allows them not to settle for the mundane and to keep the bar high for everything they do. But that’s not the same for mediocre people like Trump, the ones who lack the tools to reach that higher bar. So, in lieu of reaching high, they go low.

Preparations for the Olympics Hurt Rio’s Afro-Brazilians

Daniela Gomes

In the next few weeks, Aug. 5-21, the city of Rio de Janeiro is going to host the 31st Olympic Games. Like a mother preparing her home for 500,000 tourists, Rio has swept the city’s poverty under the rug by increasing police and army presence in favelas. As a result, part of the local population isn’t that anxious about the games. Militarized police presence and violence are only some of the issues that have affected the Afro-Brazilian population.

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