Climate change will drown cities, but fewer storms mean more wetlands
A study from the Union of Concerned Scientists contends that more than 90 U.S. coastal communities—mostly in Louisiana and Maryland—are facing inundation from rising seas caused by climate change, and the number could jump to 170 over the next 20 years. By coincidence, the UCS study was published the same day that a 2,200 square mile iceberg, nearly the size of Delaware, broke off an ice shelf in Antarctica. In another coincidence, the U.S. Geological Survey cited a lack of major hurricanes as the likely reason for slowing the loss of coastal wetlands in Louisiana.
Federal prisons are bursting with drug criminals
Research from the U.S. Sentencing Commission suggests that the for-profit prison industry is making a killing off of drug law offenders. Although the research was confined to inmates in the federal prison system, the findings may be relatable to state prisons which are administered by state agencies or for-profit companies. In the federal system, the illegal drug trade accounts for 48% of offenses that lead to prison and most of the drug offenders are young, minority men. Men make up 93% of the federal prison population, 35% are Hispanic, 34.5% are black, and 27% are white.
U.S. entry denied to scholar affiliated with Iran militia
Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty revealed that Seyed Dehnavi, the Iranian medical researcher who was prevented from entering the U.S. by border agents, was identified by his former students as the head of the Basij militia at Sharif University in Tehran. RFE described the Basij as a military force that is used by Iran as a tool of repression. U.S. news media reported that Dehnavi was a cancer researcher with a valid visa who was on his way to work at the Harvard Medical School-affiliated Boston Children’s Hospital.
La Raza shows off its new brand
At the close of its annual conference held in Phoenix this week, the National Council of La Raza announced that it had formally changed its name to UnidosUS. Its mission of promoting citizenship and employment opportunities for Latino people remains the same. The organization said its new brand will reinforce the role of Latinos as a unifying force by shedding La Raza, meaning The Race, and adopting Unidos, meaning United.
Girlfriend of Craigslist robber is sentenced
Ashley Jones, 27, of Memphis, Tenn., was given a six-month sentence for being the straw purchaser of a handgun that was used in an armed robbery, the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives said. Jones bought the weapon at a gun store, and gave false information by claiming she was not acquiring the gun for another person. The gun was used in the robbery of $16,000 from two victims who were lured to a location after arranging to purchase a vehicle through a Craigslist ad.
Pair sentenced for creating fake law firm to “help” homeowners
Ronald Rodis, 52, of Long Beach, Calif., and Charles Farris, 56, of Aliso Viejo, Calif., were given 41-month and 47-month prison sentences, respectively, and ordered to pay $7.3 million in restitution for a multi-million dollar fraudulent mortgage modification scheme that involved the creation of a phony law firm, the Department of Justice said. Rodis and Farris kept secret that the Rodis Law Group’s true owner was Bryan D’Antonio, a felon who was prohibited from conducting any business that engaged in telemarketing or misrepresenting the services it would provide. In April, D’Antonio was given a 97-month sentence and ordered to pay $3.8 million in restitution.
No jail for New Jersey “bridgegate” figure
David Wildstein, 55, a former official of the New York and New Jersey Port Authority who was one of three political operatives who created a traffic jam to retaliate against a Democratic mayor who didn’t endorse Republican Gov. Chris Christie’s re-election, will not be going to jail. Instead, Wildstein was ordered to perform 500 hours of community service. Wildstein avoided jail, the Department of Justice said, by providing information that led to jail sentences for his accomplices.
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 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 Wednesday, July 12