Here are this week’s top 10 must-read stories from #MuckReads, ProPublica’s ongoing collection of the best watchdog journalism. Anyone can contribute by tweeting a link to a story and just including the hashtag #MuckReads or by sending an email to MuckReads@ProPublica.org. The best submissions are selected by ProPublica’s editors and reporters and then featured on our site and @ProPublica.
When Patents Attack!, This American Life
An hour-long look into the world of patent trolls—companies that make big bucks amassing patents and then suing other companies over patent violations.
Contributed by @kleinmatic
The Strands of the Sinaloa Drug Cartel Web, Los Angeles Times
Before smugglers can move massive loads of cocaine across the Mexican border into Los Angeles, they have to consult one of the cartel psychics. Part of a four-part series on the inner workings of the most powerful Mexican drug cartel operating in the United States.
Contributed by @shelbygrad
Kidney Transplant Patients Face a Desperate Scramble, Ventura County Star
This series focuses on the difficulties kidney transplant patients face before and after surgery—with long wait times to get a transplant, Medicare limiting their access to the medication they need and even with faulty drugs.
Contributed by @fieldsrobin
Vets Hit Hard by Foreclosure in Florida, Investigative Reporting Workshop
Veterans across the country have been losing their homes to adjustable rate mortgages and skyrocketing monthly payments. The Investigative Reporting Workshop looks at vets who’ve been forced to fight for their homes after fighting for their country. (For related stories, see ProPublica’s coverage of loan modifications and wrongful foreclosures.)
Contributed by @ProPubPR
Turning Incarcerated Youth Into Zombies, the Lens
A Lens investigation reveals that Louisiana juvenile detention facilities are putting young inmates on powerful antipsychotic drugs even if they don’t have a condition that requires them.
Contributed by @TheLensNOLA
Classified Report: Russia Tied to Blast at U.S. Embassy, Washington Times
The Washington Times details a classified CIA report concluding Russian military intelligence was responsible for a bombing near the U.S. embassy in Tbilisi, Georgia last fall.
Contributed by @dafnalinzer
Recusal Policy Reveals Oil Industry Still Has Close Ties With Government, Associated Press
Recusal forms show that a large percentage of offshore oil inspectors have friends and family working for the companies they’re supposed to be regulating, or have worked at those companies themselves.
Contributed by @nkus
Buddhist Monks Walk Away From Sex-Abuse Cases, Chicago Tribune
The Catholic Church isn’t the only religious institution riven by sex scandals. According to this Chicago Tribune investigation, U.S. law enforcement officials find it difficult to track down Buddhist monks accused of sexual assault, since they don’t answer to a central authority and can simply move from one temple to the next.
Contributed by @egabler
Hospital Chain Profits by Admitting High Number of ER Patients, California Watch
A chain of hospitals in Southern California has been making millions off of Medicare by transferring emergency room patients to hospital beds. This strategy has resulted in poor care for patients, many of whom were denied access to their own doctors.
Contributed by @kleinmatic
High-End Items for Detroit Office Bought With Money for Poor People, Detroit Free Press
A city agency that works with low-income families used federal funding to buy expensive office furniture, including $314 garbage cans.
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