November jobs report came too late for political impact
In a report that was delivered too late to have an impact on the November 8 presidential and congressional elections, the Bureau of Labor Statistics said 178,000 jobs were created during the last month and the nation’s unemployment rate fell by 0.3% to 4.6%. But the same report revealed that 5.7 million Americans have part-time jobs (in many cases because their employers want to avoid having to provide health insurance benefits), and 1.9 million Americans without jobs were not counted as unemployed because they did not search for work during the four weeks preceding the BLS’s monthly survey.
New Hampshire ballot access law survives appeal
A New Hampshire law that shortened the period for gathering signatures for ballot access petitions—from 21 months to seven months—did not violate the constitutional rights of the Libertarian Party, the U.S. 1st Circuit Court of Appeals said. Limiting the signature gathering to the year in which the election is held, the court said, is consistent with the constitution’s grant of broad state powers to proscribe the “time, place and manner” of conducting an election. The court noted that the shorter period did not burden the Libertarian Party because it hires outside professional petition gatherers to collect signatures.
FDA expands market for diabetes drug
Jardiance, a drug that won Food and Drug Administration approval in 2014 as a treatment for type 2 diabetes, gained permission to use it for reducing cardiovascular deaths among patients who suffer from both type 2 diabetes and cardiovascular disease. The action is significant because death from cardiovascular disease is 70% higher among diabetic adults. According to the FDA, a study required when the drug was initially approval found that patients who took Jardiance were less likely to die from cardiovascular disease than patients who were given a placebo.
Navy fraud participant sent to prison
Paul Simpkins, 62, of Haymarket, Va., was given a 72-month prison sentence for his role in an expanding Navy bribery scandal that steered naval maintenance contracts to Glenn Defense Marine Asia, the Department of Justice said. Simpkins was the only civilian participant in the scandal which has thus far enveloped five GDMA executives and 11 naval officers. Besides imprisonment, Simpkins was ordered to pay $450,000 in restitution, forfeit $150,000 and pay a $50,000 fine for using his position as a Navy contract officer to obtain cash, air travel, hotel rooms and prostitutes, DOJ said.
Would-be arms trafficker gets prison sentence
Virgil Georgescu, 43, a dual citizen of the U.S. and Romania, was given a 10-year prison sentence for attempting to sell an arsenal of military weapons to the Fuerzas Armadas Revolucionairias de Colombia (FARC), a designated terrorist organization in Colombia, with the specific instruction that the weapons be used for killing Americans. According to the Department of Justice, Georgescu gained cooperation from a former Romanian government official and a former member of the Italian Parliament to facilitate the sale; however, the “buyers” turned out to be undercover U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration agents.
Airline fined for political flight
United Airlines will pay $2.4 million to settle charges that it created a nonstop flight between Newark, N.J., and Columbia, S.C., as a gift to a single passenger, David Samson, who at the time was chairman of the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey, the Securities and Exchange Commission said. Also, the same day the flight route was announced, the N.Y.-N.J. agency approved United’s plans to construct a maintenance facility at the Newark airport. The SEC said the flight route lost $945,000 until it was cancelled shortly after Samson resigned to face criminal bribery charges.
State officials balk against marijuana votes
Massachusetts legislators and the governors of Maine and Arkansas are resisting voter-approved initiatives calling for ending state marijuana prohibitions, the National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws said. In Massachusetts where 54% of voters approved a marijuana initiative, legislators are seeking to delay the law’s implementation from December 15 to an unspecified future date. Similarly, NORML said, Maine Republican Gov. Paul LePage and Arkansas Republican Gov. Asa Hutchinson oppose their states’ initiatives. Hutchinson, a former head of the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration, said marijuana use “does not call for a state-by-state solution, it calls for…a national solution.”
Rip ‘n Read is a daily compilation of press releases found on hundreds of websites that are maintained by the federal government, think tanks, watchdog groups and other national advocacy organizations. Press releases selected for this feature are, in the opinion of the editor, exceptionally newsworthy, interesting or just plain curious.
The press releases and documents linked to this report were posted on their websites on Friday, December 2