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  • D.C. Halts Huge Energy Company Merger because of Threat to Growth of Renewable Energy Sources

    Sunday, August 30, 2015
    Exelon is primarily a power-generation company with more nuclear plants than any other U.S. utility. The company has consistently fought renewable energy efforts and the rejection of the merger came as a welcome surprise to clean energy advocates. The commission’s decision in the high-profile pending merger was reported to have taken all parties by surprise, from the power industry to renewable energy advocates.   read more
  • AP and Reporters Committee Sue FBI for Release of Records about Impersonating Journalists

    Sunday, August 30, 2015
    The FBI had published a fake news story, purportedly from the Associated Press, in 2007 in order to entice a suspect to download it so the bureau could put surveillance software on his computer. The fake story, “Bomb threat at high school downplayed by local police department” was released on the Internet with the AP logo. The article, however, originated in the FBI’s Seattle field office. The sting resulted in the arrest of a 15-year-old who had made threats against a high school.   read more
  • Human Vultures Descend on Poor Victims of Lead Poisoning

    Sunday, August 30, 2015
    Countless studies have demonstrated lead’s effect on the cognitive and emotional states of those exposed to it. Appropriately, landlords who allowed lead paint to remain in their buildings have been forced to pay their victims thousands of dollars to attempt to compensate them for the brain damage caused by peeling lead paint. These payouts are often in the form of “structured settlements” which provide the victims with monthly payments for the rest of their lives.   read more
  • Personal Housing Expenses See Biggest Jump in 8 Years

    Sunday, August 30, 2015
    Rent already takes a huge chunk out of Americans’ paychecks, with as many as half of renters paying 30% of their take-home pay for a place to live. High rents affect poorer Americans the most. Not only do they pay more for rent now, but they’re unable to save money to buy a home of their own. Part of the reason for increased rents is a shortage of available units. Last year’s vacancy rate of 7.6% was the lowest such figure in 20 years.   read more
  • 6 Crewmembers Begin Year-Long Life on Mars Experiment

    Sunday, August 30, 2015
    Each crew member will have his or her own bedroom and there are common spaces. The habitat itself is a geodesic dome with a former shipping container attached. The crew members will have limited access to the Internet and will be able to leave the habitat only if they’re dressed in a spacesuit.   read more

PHOTO GALLERY

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Top Stories

  • South Dakota Drops Study of Early U.S. History as a High School Requirement

    Saturday, August 29, 2015
    Such milestone events as the Revolutionary War and the drafting of the U.S. Constitution could be completely ignored. Cutting out early U.S. history in 11th grade hurts the ability of students to “think historically” when they reach higher education, according to a letter sent to the state Board of Education by university educators.That, of course, might be exactly what the Republican-dominated state government has in mind. “It’s disabling their citizenship,” said DSU's Ben Jones.   read more
  • North Dakota becomes First State to Allow Police to Weaponize Drones

    Friday, August 28, 2015
    Lobbyist Bruce Burkett convinced lawmakers to amend HB 1328 so it allowed “less than lethal” weapons on drones, including rubber bullets, tear gas and Tasers--many of which have caused death. The ACLU argues that "police drones are a new kind of threat to that compromise between security and liberty,” wrote Pyke. “[It] supports laws to restrict law enforcement’s use of them, and makes a compelling case that absent such restraints the technology is fundamentally at odds with the Bill of Rights.”   read more
  • Consumer Reports Testing Finds All Beef Shows Signs of Fecal Contamination

    Thursday, August 27, 2015
    The meat was purchased from a variety of stores. The test results showed that all 458 pounds of the beef contained bacteria that indicated feces came into contact with the meat at some point. One kind of bacteria detected can cause blood or urinary tract infections. Nearly 20% of the test meat contained another bacteria that causes about 1 million cases of food poisoning each year. Only 1% contained Salmonella, which causes 1.2 million illnesses and 450 deaths in the U.S. annually.   read more

Unusual News

  • 31% of Federal Employees are Veterans

    Saturday, August 29, 2015
    A new report shows the emphasis on hiring veterans has paid off, at least as far as getting them into federal positions. But keeping them there is another matter. The report by the Office of Personnel Management says 31% of all federal workers are now veterans. But the “bad news is that once veterans get into government, they don’t stay long. They’re more likely to leave their jobs within two years than non-veterans,” wrote Lisa Rein at The Washington Post.   read more
  • U.S. Spy Agencies Agree to Warn Possible Victims of Attacks and Kidnapping

    Thursday, August 27, 2015
    The possible victims could be Americans or non-Americans, as well as institutions, businesses, structures and locations. The directive, however, contains several examples of when U.S. intelligence agencies could skip notifying someone in the line of fire. For instance, if the notification “would unduly endanger U.S. government personnel, sources, methods, intelligence operations, or defense operations,” an agency could disregard the policy.   read more
  • Mississippi and Idaho only States without Laws Forbidding Unwanted Sexual Touching

    Thursday, August 27, 2015
    Unwanted sexual contact is a common occurrence for many women—nearly 30% will experience it sometime during their lives, according to the CDC. That’s why legal experts say it is important for states to have laws on their books that address this problem. “Society can condemn this behavior through criminal law and say, ‘You pay a penalty for this.’ It may be a small penalty, but you pay a penalty,” said professor Erin Murphy.   read more

Where is the Money Going?

Controversies

  • Increased Penalties for Drug Offenses have no Impact on National Drug Use

    Saturday, August 29, 2015
    Data produced by Pew shows tougher sentencing laws for drug offenders, which began in the 1980s, helped balloon the federal prison systems’ population of drug-related criminals from 5,000 to more than 95,000. This pushed the federal budget for this operation to $6.7 billion annually. But these expenditures on longer terms for drug offenders and other anti-drug strategies have not produced a lower level of drug use. In fact, illegal drug use has increased, according to Pew.   read more
  • Katrina and the Flooding of New Orleans: A Preventable Tragedy Caused by Cost Cutting, a Mistaken Test and Lack of External Review

    Saturday, August 29, 2015
    Researchers found that because of a mistake the Corps made during testing, they recommended that the levee walls be started at a depth of 17 feet. Original estimates would have started the walls at a depth of 31 to 46 feet. However the use of a tarp along some of the test walls that distorted the test results, along with cost considerations, caused the Corps to go with the 17-foot depth. As a result, the walls failed.   read more
  • Suspicions Arise over Accuracy of Pentagon Assessments of War on ISIS after Insiders Complain

    Friday, August 28, 2015
    The Pentagon’s inspector general is checking on intelligence assessments coming out of CENTCOM. Suspicions arose after a civilian DIA analyst claimed to have evidence that officials at CENTCOM “were improperly reworking the conclusions of intelligence assessments prepared for policy makers, including President Obama,” the Times reported. The story added that the possibility of “skewed intelligence” could “help explain why pronouncements about the progress of the campaign have varied widely.”   read more

U.S. and the World

Appointments and Resignations

  • Tunisia’s Ambassador to the United States: Who Is Fayçal Gouia?

    Saturday, August 29, 2015
    On May 18, 2015, President Barack Obama accepted the credentials of Fayçal Gouia, a longtime member of his country’s foreign service, to be Tunisia’s Ambassador to the United States. It’s the second time Gouia has been posted to his country’s embassy in Washington. Gouia’s first assignment to the Tunisian Embassy in Washington came in 1995, first as cultural and press counselor, followed in 1997 as economic and commercial counselor and beginning in 1999 as deputy chief of mission.   read more
  • U.S. Ambassador to Mongolia: Who Is Jennifer Zimdahl Galt?

    Saturday, August 22, 2015
    Galt returned to Washington in 2008 as deputy director of the Office of Public Diplomacy in the Bureau of East Asia and Pacific Affairs. She was sent to North Atlantic Treaty Organization headquarters in Brussels, Belgium, in 2010, first as public affairs advisor and the following year as senior public affairs advisor. Galt went back to China in 2012 as the consul general in Guangzhou, supervising the 400-person office there.   read more
  • Administrator of the General Services Administration: Who Is Denise Turner Roth?

    Monday, August 10, 2015
    Raised by her mother, who cleaned houses for a living, Roth grew up in the Anacostia neighborhood of southeast Washington D.C. “There were times,” she has said, “when it was five of us in a two-bedroom apartment and there were times when there were just two of us. There were times when the lights were on and times when they weren't. I know what it means to have the food truck come and get cheese and bread.”   read more

Domestic Policy/Agency of the Day

  • Export-Import Bank of the United States

    The Export-Import Bank of the United States (Ex-Im Bank) is an independent, self-sustaining federal agency whose assistance is designed to help create and maintain U.S. jobs by financing the sale of American exports, primarily to emerging marke...   more

Domestic Policy Divisions

Go to Department

Foreign Policy/Nation of the Day

  • Central African Republic

    The Central African Republic is located at the geographic center of the African continent and has long been colonized or economically dominated by France. Unrest and violence have characterized the country’s government for the past several deca...   more

Nations

Meet Your Government

  • Santiago, Félix

    A native of Juana Diaz, Puerto Rico, Félix Santiago graduated from the University of Puerto Rico and earned an MA in administration from Central Michigan university. He served in the Sinai and in Peru, and was the Military Group Commander in El...   more

Blog

  • Republicans Release Presidential Policy Platform

    In a move that caught the media by surprise, the Republican National Committee (RNC) announced that it had gotten the approval of every one of the 17 leading declared Republican presidential candidates to publish a comprehensive platform for the 2...   more
  • D.C. Halts Huge Energy Company Merger because of Threat to Growth of Renewable Energy Sources

    Sunday, August 30, 2015
    Exelon is primarily a power-generation company with more nuclear plants than any other U.S. utility. The company has consistently fought renewable energy efforts and the rejection of the merger came as a welcome surprise to clean energy advocates. The commission’s decision in the high-profile pending merger was reported to have taken all parties by surprise, from the power industry to renewable energy advocates.   read more
  • AP and Reporters Committee Sue FBI for Release of Records about Impersonating Journalists

    Sunday, August 30, 2015
    The FBI had published a fake news story, purportedly from the Associated Press, in 2007 in order to entice a suspect to download it so the bureau could put surveillance software on his computer. The fake story, “Bomb threat at high school downplayed by local police department” was released on the Internet with the AP logo. The article, however, originated in the FBI’s Seattle field office. The sting resulted in the arrest of a 15-year-old who had made threats against a high school.   read more
  • Human Vultures Descend on Poor Victims of Lead Poisoning

    Sunday, August 30, 2015
    Countless studies have demonstrated lead’s effect on the cognitive and emotional states of those exposed to it. Appropriately, landlords who allowed lead paint to remain in their buildings have been forced to pay their victims thousands of dollars to attempt to compensate them for the brain damage caused by peeling lead paint. These payouts are often in the form of “structured settlements” which provide the victims with monthly payments for the rest of their lives.   read more
  • Personal Housing Expenses See Biggest Jump in 8 Years

    Sunday, August 30, 2015
    Rent already takes a huge chunk out of Americans’ paychecks, with as many as half of renters paying 30% of their take-home pay for a place to live. High rents affect poorer Americans the most. Not only do they pay more for rent now, but they’re unable to save money to buy a home of their own. Part of the reason for increased rents is a shortage of available units. Last year’s vacancy rate of 7.6% was the lowest such figure in 20 years.   read more
  • 6 Crewmembers Begin Year-Long Life on Mars Experiment

    Sunday, August 30, 2015
    Each crew member will have his or her own bedroom and there are common spaces. The habitat itself is a geodesic dome with a former shipping container attached. The crew members will have limited access to the Internet and will be able to leave the habitat only if they’re dressed in a spacesuit.   read more

Top Stories

  • South Dakota Drops Study of Early U.S. History as a High School Requirement

    Saturday, August 29, 2015
    Such milestone events as the Revolutionary War and the drafting of the U.S. Constitution could be completely ignored. Cutting out early U.S. history in 11th grade hurts the ability of students to “think historically” when they reach higher education, according to a letter sent to the state Board of Education by university educators.That, of course, might be exactly what the Republican-dominated state government has in mind. “It’s disabling their citizenship,” said DSU's Ben Jones.   read more
  • North Dakota becomes First State to Allow Police to Weaponize Drones

    Friday, August 28, 2015
    Lobbyist Bruce Burkett convinced lawmakers to amend HB 1328 so it allowed “less than lethal” weapons on drones, including rubber bullets, tear gas and Tasers--many of which have caused death. The ACLU argues that "police drones are a new kind of threat to that compromise between security and liberty,” wrote Pyke. “[It] supports laws to restrict law enforcement’s use of them, and makes a compelling case that absent such restraints the technology is fundamentally at odds with the Bill of Rights.”   read more
  • Consumer Reports Testing Finds All Beef Shows Signs of Fecal Contamination

    Thursday, August 27, 2015
    The meat was purchased from a variety of stores. The test results showed that all 458 pounds of the beef contained bacteria that indicated feces came into contact with the meat at some point. One kind of bacteria detected can cause blood or urinary tract infections. Nearly 20% of the test meat contained another bacteria that causes about 1 million cases of food poisoning each year. Only 1% contained Salmonella, which causes 1.2 million illnesses and 450 deaths in the U.S. annually.   read more

Unusual News

  • 31% of Federal Employees are Veterans

    Saturday, August 29, 2015
    A new report shows the emphasis on hiring veterans has paid off, at least as far as getting them into federal positions. But keeping them there is another matter. The report by the Office of Personnel Management says 31% of all federal workers are now veterans. But the “bad news is that once veterans get into government, they don’t stay long. They’re more likely to leave their jobs within two years than non-veterans,” wrote Lisa Rein at The Washington Post.   read more
  • U.S. Spy Agencies Agree to Warn Possible Victims of Attacks and Kidnapping

    Thursday, August 27, 2015
    The possible victims could be Americans or non-Americans, as well as institutions, businesses, structures and locations. The directive, however, contains several examples of when U.S. intelligence agencies could skip notifying someone in the line of fire. For instance, if the notification “would unduly endanger U.S. government personnel, sources, methods, intelligence operations, or defense operations,” an agency could disregard the policy.   read more
  • Mississippi and Idaho only States without Laws Forbidding Unwanted Sexual Touching

    Thursday, August 27, 2015
    Unwanted sexual contact is a common occurrence for many women—nearly 30% will experience it sometime during their lives, according to the CDC. That’s why legal experts say it is important for states to have laws on their books that address this problem. “Society can condemn this behavior through criminal law and say, ‘You pay a penalty for this.’ It may be a small penalty, but you pay a penalty,” said professor Erin Murphy.   read more

Where is the Money Going?

Controversies

  • Increased Penalties for Drug Offenses have no Impact on National Drug Use

    Saturday, August 29, 2015
    Data produced by Pew shows tougher sentencing laws for drug offenders, which began in the 1980s, helped balloon the federal prison systems’ population of drug-related criminals from 5,000 to more than 95,000. This pushed the federal budget for this operation to $6.7 billion annually. But these expenditures on longer terms for drug offenders and other anti-drug strategies have not produced a lower level of drug use. In fact, illegal drug use has increased, according to Pew.   read more
  • Katrina and the Flooding of New Orleans: A Preventable Tragedy Caused by Cost Cutting, a Mistaken Test and Lack of External Review

    Saturday, August 29, 2015
    Researchers found that because of a mistake the Corps made during testing, they recommended that the levee walls be started at a depth of 17 feet. Original estimates would have started the walls at a depth of 31 to 46 feet. However the use of a tarp along some of the test walls that distorted the test results, along with cost considerations, caused the Corps to go with the 17-foot depth. As a result, the walls failed.   read more
  • Suspicions Arise over Accuracy of Pentagon Assessments of War on ISIS after Insiders Complain

    Friday, August 28, 2015
    The Pentagon’s inspector general is checking on intelligence assessments coming out of CENTCOM. Suspicions arose after a civilian DIA analyst claimed to have evidence that officials at CENTCOM “were improperly reworking the conclusions of intelligence assessments prepared for policy makers, including President Obama,” the Times reported. The story added that the possibility of “skewed intelligence” could “help explain why pronouncements about the progress of the campaign have varied widely.”   read more

U.S. and the World

Appointments and Resignations

  • Tunisia’s Ambassador to the United States: Who Is Fayçal Gouia?

    Saturday, August 29, 2015
    On May 18, 2015, President Barack Obama accepted the credentials of Fayçal Gouia, a longtime member of his country’s foreign service, to be Tunisia’s Ambassador to the United States. It’s the second time Gouia has been posted to his country’s embassy in Washington. Gouia’s first assignment to the Tunisian Embassy in Washington came in 1995, first as cultural and press counselor, followed in 1997 as economic and commercial counselor and beginning in 1999 as deputy chief of mission.   read more
  • U.S. Ambassador to Mongolia: Who Is Jennifer Zimdahl Galt?

    Saturday, August 22, 2015
    Galt returned to Washington in 2008 as deputy director of the Office of Public Diplomacy in the Bureau of East Asia and Pacific Affairs. She was sent to North Atlantic Treaty Organization headquarters in Brussels, Belgium, in 2010, first as public affairs advisor and the following year as senior public affairs advisor. Galt went back to China in 2012 as the consul general in Guangzhou, supervising the 400-person office there.   read more
  • Administrator of the General Services Administration: Who Is Denise Turner Roth?

    Monday, August 10, 2015
    Raised by her mother, who cleaned houses for a living, Roth grew up in the Anacostia neighborhood of southeast Washington D.C. “There were times,” she has said, “when it was five of us in a two-bedroom apartment and there were times when there were just two of us. There were times when the lights were on and times when they weren't. I know what it means to have the food truck come and get cheese and bread.”   read more

Domestic Policy/Agency of the Day

  • Interagency Council on Homelessness

    An independent agency, which is part of the Domestic Policy Council within the Executive Office of the President, the Interagency Council on Homelessness (ICH) is responsible for coordinating and streamlining all federal government homeless...   more

Domestic Policy Divisions

Go to Department

Foreign Policy/Nation of the Day

  • Mauritius

    Mauritius is a tiny island nation in the Indian Ocean, located more than 600 miles east of Africa. Once controlled by the French and British, Mauritius has lived a relatively quiet existence since gaining independence in the 1960s. At the time of ...   more

Nations

Meet Your Government

  • Koukku-Ronde, Ritva

    The Nordic nation of Finland, where more than 60% of the population speaks at least some English, has sent its first female ambassador to the United States. Ritva Koukku-Ronde, a former journalist with experience in global development issues, took...   more

Blog

  • Republicans Release Presidential Policy Platform

    In a move that caught the media by surprise, the Republican National Committee (RNC) announced that it had gotten the approval of every one of the 17 leading declared Republican presidential candidates to publish a comprehensive platform for the 2...   more

PHOTO GALLERY

Get Smart Phone Meets Smartphone Click the photo for larger view Get Smart Phone Meets Smartphone