by Cora Currier ProPublica, Jan. 11, 2013, 1:14 p.m.
You might have heard about the “kill list.” You’ve certainly heard about drones. But the details of the U.S. campaign against militants in Pakistan, Yemen, and Somalia — a centerpiece of the Obama administration’s national security approach – remain shrouded in secrecy. Here’s our guide to what we know—and what we don’t know.
Where is the drone war? Who carries it out?
Drones have been the Obama administration’s tool of choice for taking out militants outside of Iraq and Afghanistan. Drones aren’t the exclusive weapon – traditional airstrikes and other attacks have also been reported. But by one estimate, 95 percent of targeted killings since 9/11 have been conducted by drones. Among the benefits of drones: they don’t put American troops in harm’s way.
by Charles Ornstein ProPublica, Jan. 9, 2013, 3:18 p.m.
In response to a Freedom of Information Act request by ProPublica, the government has released unredacted write-ups of problems found during nursing home inspections around the country. We’re making them available today for anyone who wants to download the complete versions.
For several months now, ProPublica has made redacted versions of this same information available in an easily searchable format in our Nursing Home Inspect tool. These versions, which reside on the U.S. Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services website, Nursing Home Compare, sometimes blank out patients’ ages, medical conditions, dates and prescribed medications.
The agency has said the redactions are intended to balance patient privacy concerns with the need to inform consumers about the quality of care. ProPublica requested the unredacted reports because they are public records and because the added information can make them more useful.
by Paul Kiel ProPublica, Jan. 8, 2013, 9:13 a.m.
The Independent Foreclosure Review was supposed to be a full and fair investigation of the big banks’ foreclosure abuses, and it was trumpeted as the government’s largest effort to compensate victimized homeowners. Federal regulators, who designed the review, forced banks to spend billions to carry it out. Millions of homeowners were eligible and hundreds of thousands submitted claims. But Monday morning, the very regulators who launched the program 18 months ago announced that it had all been a massive mistake and shut it down.
Instead, 10 banks have agreed to pay a total of $3.3 billion in cash to the 3.8 million borrowers who had been eligible for the review. That’s an average of around $870 per borrower. But typical of a process that’s been characterized by confusion, delays and secrecy, regulators said the details of how the money will be doled out were not yet available.
by Suevon Lee ProPublica, Jan. 7, 2013, 9:28 a.m.
U.S. gun policy is set by both state and federal law. We previously published an explainer on the ways states have eased gun restrictions. But federal policy, too, has become more gun friendly in recent years — and we’re not just talking about the 2008 Supreme Court ruling that struck down the handgun ban in Washington, D.C., and held that people have a right to keep guns in their homes.
Here, we outline five federal policies relating to guns you may not have known about:
1. A federal firearms trace database is off-limits to the public.
How often do federally licensed gun dealers sell guns that are then used in crimes? It’s hard to know, because for nearly a decade such gun trace data has been hidden from the public. Even local law enforcement had been, until recently, barred from accessing the database for anything but narrow investigations.
by Marshall Allen ProPublica, Jan. 4, 2013, 9:50 a.m.by Charles Ornstein and Lena Groeger, ProPublicaby Dan Nguyen, Charles Ornstein and Tracy Weber, ProPublicaby Robin Fields, Al Shaw and Jennifer LaFleur, ProPublica
Among the more active members of our Facebook group on patient safety, Veronica James stands out.
She joined soon after we started the group in May and shared the story of her mother, who suffered a bedsore and had her breathing tube accidentally dislodged in a long-term acute-care hospital. James believes poor care contributed to her 90-year-old mother’s death.
James uploaded the complaints she had filed with regulators, as well as their responses validating some of her concerns. She urged others to sign a petition against gag orders that medical providers sometimes negotiate when settling with patients who have been harmed. And she’s posted dozens of comments, asking questions and offering advice and encouragement to others in the group.