Portal

  • Health Insurers Do End Run around Requirement to Cover Pre-Existing Conditions

    Friday, September 19, 2014
    Internally, insurers are classifying both brand name and generic drugs as “non-preferred,” which results in all drugs for these patients costing more money through higher co-pays. This effectively drives patients away from a plan because it is too expensive, but the insurer gets away with legally claiming it does not discriminate against those with pre-existing conditions.   read more
  • Jewish Groups Pay to Send U.S. Police to Train in Israel

    Friday, September 19, 2014
    Israeli training of U.S. police has also influenced the type of equipment being used. Security forces from both countries are now using some identical gear, including stun and tear gas grenades manufactured by the same U.S. companies—Combined Systems Inc. and Defense Technology Corp. A long-range “sound rifle” that emits ear-shattering noise to disperse crowds, which was used against 2005 West Bank protestors, was also used in the recent police action against protestors in Ferguson.   read more
  • House Votes to Block Easy Disclosure of Corporate Financial Statements

    Friday, September 19, 2014
    Lawmakers embraced an important change that would force the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) to exempt public companies making less than $250 million a year from filing their financial statements electronically.   read more
  • Increased Purchases of Guns Ends up Funding Wildlife Research…and Shooting Ranges

    Friday, September 19, 2014
    This year, North Carolina alone has collected nearly $20 million in the revenues generated by gun and ammo sales—a three-fold increase since 2007. The money has allowed state officials to expand the number of public shooting ranges from one to four, with three more in development. The tax revenue has compensated for cuts in state spending and provided funds for new roads, signs and parking lots.   read more
  • Nation’s Worst Cancer Doctor Pleads Guilty to Medicare Fraud

    Friday, September 19, 2014
    The one-time respected oncologist was caught lying to patients about their health, telling some who did not have cancer that they did in order to give them unnecessary chemotherapy treatment just so he could bill Medicare for the procedure. In other cases, Fata lied to those with cancer that they were getting better, when in fact their tumors were growing. All the while, the Lebanese-born doctor ordered unusually large and dangerous amounts of chemo for these individuals.   read more

PHOTO GALLERY

Bus Stop in Baltimore Click the photo for larger view Bus Stop in Baltimore

Top Stories

  • GM Ignition Switch Confirmed Death Toll Rises to 19

    Thursday, September 18, 2014
    After the NHTSA’s chief operating officer, Deputy Administrator David Friedman, tried to pin the blame for the deaths and on the failure of the agency to find their cause on GM, McCaskill added: “You want to obfuscate responsibility, rather than take responsibility.” The NHTSA administrator who refused to open an investigation into the ignition switch problem in 2007 was Nicole Nason, a George W. Bush appointee .   read more
  • In House of Representatives, Republicans Remain the White Man Party

    Wednesday, September 17, 2014
    In the U.S. House of Representatives, nearly 90% of the GOP caucus is made up of white men. Not exactly representative of the U.S. population, which is less than a third Caucasian and male. For anyone wondering, more than half (53%) of the House Democratic caucus are not white men.   read more
  • Majority of Federal Appeals Court Judges Appointed by Democratic Presidents for First Time in more than 10 Years

    Tuesday, September 16, 2014
    Five years ago, Republican-appointed judges dominated the federal appeals courts, with 99 seats compared to 65 held by those selected during Democratic administrations. Now, those numbers have flipped. Judges nominated by Democrats total 95, thanks in significant part to Obama’s selections since taking office in 2009. Republican-appointed circuit judges total 77, according to the Brookings Institution. The last time Democratic appointees were in the majority was in 2000.   read more

Unusual News

Where is the Money Going?

  • Average U.S. Household Earned an Extra 50 Cents a Day Last Year

    Thursday, September 18, 2014
    The average American household made more money last year, new federal data shows. But don’t go shopping for Beverly Hills real estate quite yet—the boost amounted to only 50 cents a day. Of course, that’s just an average. Corporate CEOs are doing much better than last year, while economic gains haven’t made their way to the middle class because of such developments as the decline in union membership and the number of workers being replaced by machines.   read more
  • Treasury Dept. Ignores Fraud Charges and Awards Comerica 5 more Years of Providing Benefit Cards to Elderly and Disabled

    Wednesday, September 17, 2014
    The Center for Public Integrity found that an “aggressive” marketing campaign by Comerica and the Treasury Department resulted in a million Americans being sent “Direct Express” benefit cards—used to distribute Social Security and disability payments—to people who didn’t need or request them. This resulted in a financial gain for the bank, given that card fees are much higher than direct deposit into an account, which many of the card recipients already had.   read more
  • Outsourcing Special Ops: $2.5 Billion a Year Industry

    Friday, September 12, 2014
    More than half of that $13 billion in spending, says Black, went to just eight companies: Lockheed Martin, L-3 Communications, Boeing, Harris Corporation, Jacobs Engineering Group, MA Federal, Raytheon and ITT Corporation. “Among the most expensive individual transactions,” wrote Black, “[were] radio communications from Harris Corporation; translation support in classified locations from Shee Atika LLC; procurement of drones equipment from Aerovironment Inc.”   read more

Controversies

  • FBI’s Facial Recognition Program Goes Operational

    Thursday, September 18, 2014
    The database used by the system has primarily data on known criminals, but information on others, including government employees and contractors, is also there. That increases the possibility of an innocent person being tagged as a suspect because of an error. The system may also be able to access other databases, such as DMV and Department of State records, which would increase the chances of a law-abiding citizen being caught up in a criminal investigation.   read more
  • Reagan-Appointed Judge Cites Hobby Lobby Ruling to Decide Polygamist Sect Doesn’t Have to Testify about Child Labor Violations

    Thursday, September 18, 2014
    U.S. District Judge David Sam in Utah has ruled that a member of a polygamist group can cite religious freedom as a reason to not give testimony in a criminal probe. Sam, who was appointed to the federal bench by President Ronald Reagan, ruled Steed could refuse to talk about FLDS business based on his religious oath to not discuss internal matters.   read more
  • U.S. Prisoner Population on the Rise Again after 3-Year Decline

    Thursday, September 18, 2014
    The number of federal prisoners actually decreased by 1,900, the first census drop in federal institutions since 1980. That number was outweighed by an increase in the population of state prisons. • The states with the highest imprisonment rate were Louisiana (1,114 per 100,000 population), Mississippi (918 per 100,000) and Oklahoma (872 per 100,000).   read more

U.S. and the World

  • The Mysterious Case of the Obama Administration Claiming State-Secrets Privilege in a Private Defamation Lawsuit

    Tuesday, September 16, 2014
    The administration’s move has been described as unprecedented, because United Against Nuclear Iran is a private group and not a government agency. Ben Wizner, an American Civil Liberties Union lawyer who has fought the government in other cases involving classified information, said he had never seen anything like that. “If there’s something in their files that would disclose a state secret, is there any reason it should be in their files?” Wizner asked.   read more
  • Obama Administration and EU Threaten Shutdown of ExxonMobil’s Drilling in Russian Arctic

    Tuesday, September 16, 2014
    The Obama administration left open the possibility that the sanctions could be halted if Moscow sticks with the current cease-fire agreement and pulls its troops from Ukraine. But even if they are imposed, at least one oil analyst dismissed their importance on the Kara Sea project. Fadel Gheit at Oppenheimer & Co. told the Post that the sanctions’ “bark is worse than its bite,” considering commercial oil production out of the Arctic is a decade away.   read more
  • Why Did Obama Refer to Anti-Terror Campaigns in Somalia and Yemen as Successes?

    Monday, September 15, 2014
    Many have taken issue with the president’s claim of success in Yemen and Somalia. “Very few people who are not part of the administration consider either of those cases a success,” Spencer Ackerman wrote at the Guardian. “Less subjectively, neither has finished, years later, and it is unclear what success in Yemen and Somalia even is.”   read more

Appointments and Resignations

  • Acting Director of the Defense Intelligence Agency: Who Is David Shedd?

    Monday, September 15, 2014
    He joined the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) and in 1984 began serving tours in Mexico and in Costa Rica. In 2007, Shedd was named director of national intelligence deputy for policy, plans, and requirements. According to Director of National Intelligence James Clapper, Shedd “played critical roles in almost every ODNI initiative from 2005 until his departure in 2010.” Shedd was named deputy director of DIA in 2010.   read more
  • Director of the Defense Contract Management Agency: Who Is Wendy Masiello?

    Sunday, September 14, 2014
    On April 1, 2014, Wendy M. Masiello of the U.S. Air Force was named director of the Defense Contract Management Agency (DCMA), which handles procurement of everything from uniforms to jet aircraft for the U.S. military. DCMA has more than 12.000 employees and manages more than 330,000 active contracts. With the title came a promotion to lieutenant general.   read more
  • Director of the Defense Criminal Investigative Service: Who Is James B. Burch?

    Sunday, September 14, 2014
    Burch joined the Secret Service in 1980 and served 27 years there. In October 2007, Burch joined the State Department as its assistant inspector general for investigations. He established Middle East offices in Amman, Jordan and Cairo, Egypt as well as a presence in Baghdad, Iraq, to cope with the influx of Americans in that region.   read more

Domestic Policy/Agency of the Day

  • Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs

    The Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs was established as part of the State Department. Its primary goal is to bring together students and professionals from the United States and across the world in hopes of building stronger relations...   more

Domestic Policy Divisions

Go to Department

Foreign Policy/Nation of the Day

  • Samoa

    The heart of Polynesia, Samoa has been an interesting experiment in preserving culture. The first in the Pacific to free themselves of colonial rule, becoming independent in 1962 as Western Samoa, the Samoans crafted a constitution that allowed on...   more

Nations

Meet Your Government

  • Zeck, Van

      A native of Morgantown, West Virginia, Van Zeck has served as Commissioner of the Public Debt since February 15, 1998, when he was appointed by then-Secretary of the Treasury Robert E. Rubin. Zeck attended West Virginia University in Morgantown...   more

Blog

  • My Sister Died of an Overdose of Prescription Painkillers

    After four years of being President Barack Obama’s “drug czar,” Gil Kerlikowske suddenly discovered the prescription drug death crisis. By this time, prescription drug overdoses had become the leading cause of accidental death in the U.S., surpass...   more
  • Health Insurers Do End Run around Requirement to Cover Pre-Existing Conditions

    Friday, September 19, 2014
    Internally, insurers are classifying both brand name and generic drugs as “non-preferred,” which results in all drugs for these patients costing more money through higher co-pays. This effectively drives patients away from a plan because it is too expensive, but the insurer gets away with legally claiming it does not discriminate against those with pre-existing conditions.   read more
  • Jewish Groups Pay to Send U.S. Police to Train in Israel

    Friday, September 19, 2014
    Israeli training of U.S. police has also influenced the type of equipment being used. Security forces from both countries are now using some identical gear, including stun and tear gas grenades manufactured by the same U.S. companies—Combined Systems Inc. and Defense Technology Corp. A long-range “sound rifle” that emits ear-shattering noise to disperse crowds, which was used against 2005 West Bank protestors, was also used in the recent police action against protestors in Ferguson.   read more
  • House Votes to Block Easy Disclosure of Corporate Financial Statements

    Friday, September 19, 2014
    Lawmakers embraced an important change that would force the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) to exempt public companies making less than $250 million a year from filing their financial statements electronically.   read more
  • Increased Purchases of Guns Ends up Funding Wildlife Research…and Shooting Ranges

    Friday, September 19, 2014
    This year, North Carolina alone has collected nearly $20 million in the revenues generated by gun and ammo sales—a three-fold increase since 2007. The money has allowed state officials to expand the number of public shooting ranges from one to four, with three more in development. The tax revenue has compensated for cuts in state spending and provided funds for new roads, signs and parking lots.   read more
  • Nation’s Worst Cancer Doctor Pleads Guilty to Medicare Fraud

    Friday, September 19, 2014
    The one-time respected oncologist was caught lying to patients about their health, telling some who did not have cancer that they did in order to give them unnecessary chemotherapy treatment just so he could bill Medicare for the procedure. In other cases, Fata lied to those with cancer that they were getting better, when in fact their tumors were growing. All the while, the Lebanese-born doctor ordered unusually large and dangerous amounts of chemo for these individuals.   read more

Top Stories

  • GM Ignition Switch Confirmed Death Toll Rises to 19

    Thursday, September 18, 2014
    After the NHTSA’s chief operating officer, Deputy Administrator David Friedman, tried to pin the blame for the deaths and on the failure of the agency to find their cause on GM, McCaskill added: “You want to obfuscate responsibility, rather than take responsibility.” The NHTSA administrator who refused to open an investigation into the ignition switch problem in 2007 was Nicole Nason, a George W. Bush appointee .   read more
  • In House of Representatives, Republicans Remain the White Man Party

    Wednesday, September 17, 2014
    In the U.S. House of Representatives, nearly 90% of the GOP caucus is made up of white men. Not exactly representative of the U.S. population, which is less than a third Caucasian and male. For anyone wondering, more than half (53%) of the House Democratic caucus are not white men.   read more
  • Majority of Federal Appeals Court Judges Appointed by Democratic Presidents for First Time in more than 10 Years

    Tuesday, September 16, 2014
    Five years ago, Republican-appointed judges dominated the federal appeals courts, with 99 seats compared to 65 held by those selected during Democratic administrations. Now, those numbers have flipped. Judges nominated by Democrats total 95, thanks in significant part to Obama’s selections since taking office in 2009. Republican-appointed circuit judges total 77, according to the Brookings Institution. The last time Democratic appointees were in the majority was in 2000.   read more

Unusual News

Where is the Money Going?

  • Average U.S. Household Earned an Extra 50 Cents a Day Last Year

    Thursday, September 18, 2014
    The average American household made more money last year, new federal data shows. But don’t go shopping for Beverly Hills real estate quite yet—the boost amounted to only 50 cents a day. Of course, that’s just an average. Corporate CEOs are doing much better than last year, while economic gains haven’t made their way to the middle class because of such developments as the decline in union membership and the number of workers being replaced by machines.   read more
  • Treasury Dept. Ignores Fraud Charges and Awards Comerica 5 more Years of Providing Benefit Cards to Elderly and Disabled

    Wednesday, September 17, 2014
    The Center for Public Integrity found that an “aggressive” marketing campaign by Comerica and the Treasury Department resulted in a million Americans being sent “Direct Express” benefit cards—used to distribute Social Security and disability payments—to people who didn’t need or request them. This resulted in a financial gain for the bank, given that card fees are much higher than direct deposit into an account, which many of the card recipients already had.   read more
  • Outsourcing Special Ops: $2.5 Billion a Year Industry

    Friday, September 12, 2014
    More than half of that $13 billion in spending, says Black, went to just eight companies: Lockheed Martin, L-3 Communications, Boeing, Harris Corporation, Jacobs Engineering Group, MA Federal, Raytheon and ITT Corporation. “Among the most expensive individual transactions,” wrote Black, “[were] radio communications from Harris Corporation; translation support in classified locations from Shee Atika LLC; procurement of drones equipment from Aerovironment Inc.”   read more

Controversies

  • FBI’s Facial Recognition Program Goes Operational

    Thursday, September 18, 2014
    The database used by the system has primarily data on known criminals, but information on others, including government employees and contractors, is also there. That increases the possibility of an innocent person being tagged as a suspect because of an error. The system may also be able to access other databases, such as DMV and Department of State records, which would increase the chances of a law-abiding citizen being caught up in a criminal investigation.   read more
  • Reagan-Appointed Judge Cites Hobby Lobby Ruling to Decide Polygamist Sect Doesn’t Have to Testify about Child Labor Violations

    Thursday, September 18, 2014
    U.S. District Judge David Sam in Utah has ruled that a member of a polygamist group can cite religious freedom as a reason to not give testimony in a criminal probe. Sam, who was appointed to the federal bench by President Ronald Reagan, ruled Steed could refuse to talk about FLDS business based on his religious oath to not discuss internal matters.   read more
  • U.S. Prisoner Population on the Rise Again after 3-Year Decline

    Thursday, September 18, 2014
    The number of federal prisoners actually decreased by 1,900, the first census drop in federal institutions since 1980. That number was outweighed by an increase in the population of state prisons. • The states with the highest imprisonment rate were Louisiana (1,114 per 100,000 population), Mississippi (918 per 100,000) and Oklahoma (872 per 100,000).   read more

U.S. and the World

  • The Mysterious Case of the Obama Administration Claiming State-Secrets Privilege in a Private Defamation Lawsuit

    Tuesday, September 16, 2014
    The administration’s move has been described as unprecedented, because United Against Nuclear Iran is a private group and not a government agency. Ben Wizner, an American Civil Liberties Union lawyer who has fought the government in other cases involving classified information, said he had never seen anything like that. “If there’s something in their files that would disclose a state secret, is there any reason it should be in their files?” Wizner asked.   read more
  • Obama Administration and EU Threaten Shutdown of ExxonMobil’s Drilling in Russian Arctic

    Tuesday, September 16, 2014
    The Obama administration left open the possibility that the sanctions could be halted if Moscow sticks with the current cease-fire agreement and pulls its troops from Ukraine. But even if they are imposed, at least one oil analyst dismissed their importance on the Kara Sea project. Fadel Gheit at Oppenheimer & Co. told the Post that the sanctions’ “bark is worse than its bite,” considering commercial oil production out of the Arctic is a decade away.   read more
  • Why Did Obama Refer to Anti-Terror Campaigns in Somalia and Yemen as Successes?

    Monday, September 15, 2014
    Many have taken issue with the president’s claim of success in Yemen and Somalia. “Very few people who are not part of the administration consider either of those cases a success,” Spencer Ackerman wrote at the Guardian. “Less subjectively, neither has finished, years later, and it is unclear what success in Yemen and Somalia even is.”   read more

Appointments and Resignations

  • Acting Director of the Defense Intelligence Agency: Who Is David Shedd?

    Monday, September 15, 2014
    He joined the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) and in 1984 began serving tours in Mexico and in Costa Rica. In 2007, Shedd was named director of national intelligence deputy for policy, plans, and requirements. According to Director of National Intelligence James Clapper, Shedd “played critical roles in almost every ODNI initiative from 2005 until his departure in 2010.” Shedd was named deputy director of DIA in 2010.   read more
  • Director of the Defense Contract Management Agency: Who Is Wendy Masiello?

    Sunday, September 14, 2014
    On April 1, 2014, Wendy M. Masiello of the U.S. Air Force was named director of the Defense Contract Management Agency (DCMA), which handles procurement of everything from uniforms to jet aircraft for the U.S. military. DCMA has more than 12.000 employees and manages more than 330,000 active contracts. With the title came a promotion to lieutenant general.   read more
  • Director of the Defense Criminal Investigative Service: Who Is James B. Burch?

    Sunday, September 14, 2014
    Burch joined the Secret Service in 1980 and served 27 years there. In October 2007, Burch joined the State Department as its assistant inspector general for investigations. He established Middle East offices in Amman, Jordan and Cairo, Egypt as well as a presence in Baghdad, Iraq, to cope with the influx of Americans in that region.   read more

Domestic Policy/Agency of the Day

  • East-West Center

    The East-West Center was created by the United States Congress in 1960 to provide an organization that would serve as a catalyst to strengthen relations and understanding between the United States and Asian and Pacific nations. The East-West Cente...   more

Domestic Policy Divisions

Go to Department

Foreign Policy/Nation of the Day

  • Luxembourg

    Luxembourg is a small European country surrounded by Belgium, West Germany and France. Though the area was originally settled by Celts and Romans, Luxembourgers consider themselves a culturally distinct people. Historically, they have been rule...   more

Nations

Meet Your Government

  • Kouroupas, Maria

     Maria P. Kouroupas is the executive director of the Ambassador’s Fund for Cultural Preservation. She attended the University of Arkansas and the State College of Arkansas, receiving a Master’s Degree in History and Education. In 1977 she worked f...   more

Blog

  • My Sister Died of an Overdose of Prescription Painkillers

    After four years of being President Barack Obama’s “drug czar,” Gil Kerlikowske suddenly discovered the prescription drug death crisis. By this time, prescription drug overdoses had become the leading cause of accidental death in the U.S., surpass...   more

PHOTO GALLERY

Bus Stop in Baltimore Click the photo for larger view Bus Stop in Baltimore