The FBI’s Trickery, China’s Slide & Pot Profits: July 8, 2015

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FBI’s Amazing Trick to Avoid Accountability
By Matt Connolly
Only the astonishingly unaccountable FBI could get away with consistently not recording its investigative interviews not only of suspects but of witnesses—then having its agents write up reports based on “memory.” A former Deputy District Attorney tells the story of one judge who felt uncomfortable letting the Bureau wing it when he himself was in the hot seat.

WHO

China’s Stock-Market Crash is Just Beginning
MarketWatch columnist Howard Gold thinks China’s epic slide will keep going because it is a “secular bear market” that experiences sustained losses in-between bursts of valuation growth due to weakening sentiment among investors. Whether Gold is right, or if this is just a much-needed correction, the fact remains that this is likely to have a deep impact on global markets and, as the IMF just warned, upon already-sluggish US growth.

The Pentagon Wants To Train 15,000 Syrian Fighters. So Far It’s Got 60
This is not a joke headline from a satire website. That’s what the Pentagon has to show for its much-ballyhooed “vetting program” of Syrian rebel forces. In Congressional hearings yesterday, Secretary of Defense Ashton Carter said quite sheepishly that it was all going to be okay because the program is still in its “early stages.” Meanwhile, the Associated Press ran a feature on the kamikaze-like resolve of the Islamic State’s shock troops.

WHAT

The Great Common Core Textbook Swindle
The GOP presidential scrum is scuffling over “Common Core” educational standards. But there is another, more banal issue beyond Conservative fears of Federal homogenization of American students. The other issue is money. That’s because textbook makers wanted to sell Common Core-compliant books, but didn’t actually feel like changing the contents of the books. Instead, they just repackaged and sold the old books. Guess they were counting on everyone judging books by their covers.

US: Big Business with Cannabis
Colorado took marijuana legalization to its logical conclusion. Instead of settling for medical marijuana, they went all the way to recreational use. And the results so far? Crime is down, tax revenue is up and no one is set to spend their life languishing in jail simply because they sold a couple bags of pot.

WHY

Mystery Plasma Blobs Lurk in Deep Space and No One Knows Why
For the last three decades, astronomers have been watching the skies and noting drop-offs in signals from quasars and pulsars. The speculation is that dense plasma blobs obscure the signals as they float through space. The real question is whether or not they will ever float down to earth and re-boot one of the greatest Sci-Fi B-Movies of all time.

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