BP’s Cartel, The Military’s Tragedy & Some Actual Progress: Dec. 30, 2014

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ICYMI: Are Student Loans Bringing Back Indentured Labor?  by Ryan McNamara
Everyone knows that American college loan debts are becoming unmanageable for many students. But since a college degree is all but required for getting a well-paying job, the loans may be bringing back a work arrangement not seen since the early 1900s: indentured labor.

WHO

The Cartel: How BP Got Insider Tips Through a Secret Chat Room
Armed with copies of e-mails provided by a potential whistleblower, Bloomberg News uncovered “The Cartel”—a group of senior foreign-exchange traders including dealers from JPMorgan, Citigroup, Barclays, and UBS. The chat rooms gave participants market-moving information hours and minutes ahead of their customers, allowing for the sort of manipulation that’s now subject of a worldwide investigation.

McCain’s Big Purge
Senator John McCain (R-AZ) has been waging war of revenge on Tea Party activists in his home state, purging them from the state-level party apparatus as both a punishment for being censured by the Arizona GOP last January and to pave the way for his re-election in 2016.

WHAT

How Ebola Roared Back
In-depth look at a key moment when the “longest and deadliest Ebola outbreak in history might have been stopped” before taking 7,800 lives. Read WhoWhatWhy’s key takeaways from Ebola hysteria.

The Tragedy of the American Military
James Fallows explores how the American public and its political leadership have failed to “take the military seriously” and created a “chickenhawk nation in which careless spending and strategic folly combine to lure America into endless wars it can’t win.”

Delaware-size Gas Plume over West Illustrates the Cost of Leaking Methane
“The country’s biggest methane ‘hot spot,’ verified by NASA and University of Michigan scientists in October, is only the most dramatic example of what scientists describe as a $2 billion leak problem: the loss of methane from energy production sites across the country.”

WHY

The Fleeting Obsessions Of The White House Press Corps
NPR White House correspondent Tamara Keith reflects on the incredibly short attention spans of her cohorts in the press corps, “If you didn’t like the news on any given week of 2014, you were mostly in luck. You could just wait a few days until the press moved on.”

26 Charts and Maps that Show the World is Getting Much, Much Better
Yes, there is a lot of bad news out there, but Vox compiled a host of metrics that point to actual progress in overall income growth, declining hunger and rising life expectancy.

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