Share of Cost. Federal News Digest for July 2, 2012

Friday, Jul. 20th 2012 10:59 AM

Washington Post

Colorado’s table was set for monster fire [Agriculture Dept., Forest Service, climate change] – Darryl Fears reports that the U.S. Forest Service chief says the record-breaking forest fires in western states in the last decade are due to climate change as temperatures increase, and estimates that the agency needs to clear 82 million acres of dead trees and grass in order to prevent fires from spreading; meanwhile, limitations on logging to protect animal species and expansion of residential areas have contributed to increased fire risk

New York Times

Judge strikes main element of for-profit college rules [Education Dept., for-profit colleges] – Tamar Lewin reports that a federal judge in Washington State struck down one of the Education Department’s new requirements for federal aid to non-profit colleges – that at least 35 percent of graduates must be repaying their loans – because that requirement did not measure whether a program was effective in preparing students; the judge let stand the department’s requirement that “career-college programs must disclose to students their graduation rate, their placement rate and their students’ median debt load”

Wall Street Journal

High Court rejects challenges to media rules [Federal Communications Commission] – Amy Schatz and Brent Kendall report that the Supreme Court decided not to hear broadcasters’ challenges to the Federal Communications Commission’s media ownership rules that limit cross-ownership of broadcast and newspapers in the same market – broadcasters had argued that FCC should no longer wield such power because there were many more media outlets today than when the Court held that the FCC’s power to impose ownership limits was constitutional; separately, the Court turned down the FCC’s appeal of a decision throwing out its ‘indecency” fine of broadcasters for airing “fleeting profanity and nudity” in the 2004 Janet Jackson Super Bowl incident


How a lone grad student scooped the government and what it means for your online privacy [Federal Trade Commission, online privacy] – Peter Maas reports that a graduate student in law and computer science at Stanford uncovered “digital shadowing” by Google, prohibited by the Federal Trade Commission, before the agency did and that European regulators are also ahead of the U.S. in uncovering invasions of online privacy; he concludes that “the FTC is ill-equipped to find out, on its own, what companies like Google and Facebook are doing behind the scenes”

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