Portal

  • Rich Person’s Resistance in the Trump Administration

    Thursday, September 06, 2018
    The anonymous Trump administration official appears to support Donald Trump’s general agenda of helping the richest Americans and ignoring everyone else. What worries the writer is not that Trump is failing “to put country first,” but that he is so emotionally disturbed that he will somehow screw up this corporatist agenda.   read more
  • Director of the Office of Science in the Department of Energy: Who Is Chris Fall?

    Monday, July 16, 2018
    In August 2014, Fall was made assistant director for defense programs at the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy, also serving as acting lead for national security and international affairs policy. Fall left the White House in August 2017. Fall was given his post at ARPA-E in January 2018. President Donald Trump has twice attempted to zero out funding for the agency, which provides grants for experimental energy projects.   read more
  • Ethiopia’s Ambassador to the United States: Who Is Kassa Tekleberhan?

    Monday, July 02, 2018
    In October 2015, he was named minister of Federal Affairs and Pastoral Areas Development. There, he promoted a policy of “villagization,” moving families from the country into villages. After Ethiopia’s longtime leader and human rights abuser Meles Zenawi died in 2012, Tekleberhan became the vice chairman of the Meles Zenawi Foundation.   read more
  • Mongolia’s Ambassador to the United States: Who Is Yondon Otgonbayar?

    Thursday, June 21, 2018
    Otgonbayar left the Foreign Ministry in 2004 to become secretary general of the Mongolian People’s Revolutionary Party (MPRP), now the Mongolian People’s Party. At the time, Mongolia was doing a lot of trading with China after years of being a client state of the Soviet Union. Otgonbayar worked to encourage trade with the United States, Japan, South Korea and the European Union as well. In 2006, Otgonbayar added leadership of the Ulaanbaator branch of the MPRP to his party duties.   read more
  • Ambassador of Guinea to the United States: Who Is Kerfalla Yansané?

    Wednesday, June 20, 2018
    in January 2014, Yansané became Guinea's minister of mines and geology, where he oversaw his specialty: contracts for oil exploration. One of the companies he dealt with Hyperdynamics of Houston, gained the right to explore for offshore oil off the coast of Guinea. They found nothing and filed for bankruptcy in December 2017. Yansané emphasized bringing in foreign investors, who have long lusted after Guinea’s reserves of bauxite, iron ore, gold and other minerals.   read more

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Top Stories

  • Ambassador from Lebanon to the U.S.: Who Is Gabriel Issa?

    Tuesday, June 19, 2018
    The recently installed ambassador from Lebanon is actually a Lebanese-American who lived in the U.S. more than 40 years. Shortly before the 2016 presidential election in Lebanon, Gabriel Issa of Detroit returned to Lebanon on a permanent basis and became a close advisor to Lebanon’s soon-to-be president, Michel Aoun. By the age of 21, Issa had founded two businesses, AAA Language Services and Iterotext Translation, which, along with several other businesses, he devoted his career to building.   read more
  • Trump Administration Secretly Closed Program Helping Refugee Children

    Monday, June 18, 2018
    The plaintiffs say the Trump administration stopped interviewing program beneficiaries and froze their applications; stopped issuing decisions to likely parole candidates; and stopped scheduling the medical exams for parolees to travel to the U.S.– all in secret. Yet it continued to accept money from applicants, including $100 for medical exams and $1,400 for each child’s plane ticket to the U.S. The complaint also cites Trump’s racist statements made during the 2016 presidential campaign.   read more
  • Côte d’Ivoire Ambassador to the United States: Who Is Haïdara Mamadou?

    Sunday, June 17, 2018
    Haïdara is president of the think tank Cercle Libéral de Côte d’Ivoire. He also has served as chairman of the board of SONITRA (Société nationale ivoirienne de travaux), a public-private partnership that undertakes public works projects, such as roads, bridges and other infrastructure, in Côte d’Ivoire.   read more

Unusual News

  • Suicide More Common in High-Altitude Counties

    Tuesday, November 07, 2017
    Psychiatric illness, mood disorders and lack of social support are recognized risk factors for suicide. Some studies show that increased elevation may enhance psychological problems, such as panic attacks, and that altitude is a significant risk factor for depressive symptoms and suicide. It's now shown that Americans in higher-altitude counties are at a higher risk for suicide. In Utah, the average geographic altitude is about 6,000 feet, and the rate of suicide is 70% higher than average.   read more
  • Alabama Candidate Claimed Endorsement of Dead Person

    Wednesday, September 20, 2017
    In Alabama’s runoff election for the GOP nomination for a U.S. Senate seat, Luther Strange may have the crowning endorsement of President Trump, but Roy Moore seemed to have support from beyond the grave. On Monday night, Moore’s campaign deleted an endorsement on its website from conservative activist Phyllis Schlafly, after it became apparent that Schlafly died last year at the age of 92. The two candidates have sought endorsements outside of Alabama to win over GOP voters.   read more
  • Should Panhandlers be Issued Licenses?

    Thursday, July 13, 2017
    Our idea about what it takes to regulate panhandling intelligently: Encourage “successful panhandling,” which brings together willing donors and willing solicitors; and discourage “unsuccessful panhandling,” which targets people who don’t even want to see solicitations, let alone give money to someone asking for help on the sidewalk. What’s wrong with most anti-panhandling ordinances is that they try to ban or discourage both kinds instead of promoting the former and discouraging the latter.   read more

Where is the Money Going?

  • 4 Programs that Both Obama and Trump Want to Eliminate

    Monday, May 01, 2017
    It sometimes seems that the differences between the priorities of the Republican Party and the Democratic Party are so great that they can’t agree on anything. Not so. Here are four programs that President Barack Obama’s last budget and President Donald Trump’s first budget proposed for complete elimination.   read more
  • Reducing Aircrafts’ Bathroom Size Increases Airline Profits and Decreases Passenger Safety

    Saturday, December 24, 2016
    AFA-CWA's Sara Nelson said that “doors of these restrooms open into each other, creating safety issues. There are a lot of injuries, with smashed fingers, doors hitting people, bumps and bruises.” She said the rear cabin restroom doors also create a barricade, limiting the ability of crew to help a passenger in trouble. Some parents with small kids say they can't help their kids in the toilet unless the door stays open. Large-size passengers are at a loss.   read more
  • Price of Antidote for Heroin Overdose Skyrockets as Much As 500%

    Friday, December 16, 2016
    The price of Narcan -- the lifesaving heroin-overdose antidote that revives the dying -- has skyrocketed, with one formulation rising more than 500% in two years. Although Narcan first hit the market in 1971, demand has skyrocketed as the opioid epidemic worsens. And with more potent opioids on the street -- such as fentanyl -- first responders, the largest consumers of the drug, are finding they need multiple doses to revive overdose victims.   read more

Controversies

  • Bears Under Fire in Florida

    Friday, April 21, 2017
    “2015 was a deadly year for the Florida black bear. Collisions with vehicles killed at least 169 ... wildlife managers killed at least 108...that were considered nuisances or threats to human safety, at least 9 were killed illegally, and in October hunters killed at least 304 Florida black bears in the first Florida black bear hunt in 20 years,” the petition stated. The 2016 hunt was “voted down due to overwhelming public outcry against the barbaric and unnecessary hunt,” said an advocacy group.   read more
  • 97 Corporations and 16 State Attorneys General Join Court Fight against Trump Travel Ban

    Tuesday, February 07, 2017
    “President Trump’s executive order is unconstitutional, unlawful, and fundamentally un-American...[and] undermines our states’ families, economies, and institutions," said New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman. High-ranking U.S. security officials, including Madeleine Albright, Leon Panetta and John Kerry signed a declaration arguing the ban endangers U.S. citizens. “We view the order as one that ultimately undermines the national security of the United States...” the officials said.   read more
  • Texas Judge Halts Federal Transgender Health Protections

    Sunday, January 01, 2017
    "Judge O'Connor's conclusion that transgender people and persons who have had abortions are somehow excepted from protection is deeply troubling, legally specious, and morally repugnant," said TLDEF's Ezra Young. Many transgender people expect Trump as president to abandon or weaken the transgender protection efforts pursued by the Obama administration. He has declined to repudiate a divisive North Carolina law that restricts transgender people's bathroom access.   read more

U.S. and the World

  • Trump and Iran: The Big Winner is Vladimir Putin

    Thursday, May 10, 2018
    As analysts try to determine who were the big winners and losers in President Donald Trump’s decision pull out of the Iran nuclear deal, most of them seem to have overlooked one of the biggest winners of all…Russian President Vladimir Putin. Putin gained a triple victory.   read more
  • Oscars 2018: Foreign Language Films Part Three—The Best of the Non-Nominees

    Friday, March 02, 2018
    When someone asked what became of Ayla, director Can Ulkay said, “She’s right here,” and asked her to join him in front of the audience. I have been going to the movies since I was four years old, and I have never witnessed such a dramatic moment. As the audience members collectively gasped in surprise, a shy, elderly woman dressed in traditional Korean clothing walked to center stage.   read more
  • Oscars 2018: Foreign Language Films Part Two—The 5 Nominees

    Thursday, March 01, 2018
    The winner of the Palme d’Or at the Cannes Film Festival, The Square is a fascinating compilation of set pieces that are held together through the life of Christian (Claes Bang), the curator of an art museum. The film was originally pitched as a satire of the art world, and this is certainly the crux of the plot. But on a more personal level, the message is that you can be intelligent, handsome, sophisticated and well-respected, and still make really stupid decisions—frequently.   read more

Appointments and Resignations

  • U.S. Ambassador to Panama Resigns: Who Is John Feeley?

    Friday, January 12, 2018
    Feeley informed the State Department on December 27, 2017, that he would be leaving the Foreign Service because he no longer believed he could work for President Donald Trump. Feeley’s resignation was made public on January 12, 2018, the day after Trump remarked at a White House meeting with members of Congress working on immigration issues: “Why are we having all these people from shithole countries come here?”   read more
  • Assistant Attorney General, National Security Division: Who Is John Demers?

    Tuesday, November 07, 2017
    Demers helped draft Section 702 of the FISA Amendments Act, which allows the NSA to collect emails and other electronic communications of foreign targets overseas, including correspondence with U.S. citizens. At his confirmation hearing last week, Demers made it clear that the NSA should not be required to obtain an FBI warrant before searching the communications of American citizens. He also waffled on the subject of whether journalists should be jailed for refusing to reveal their sources.   read more
  • Chief of Protocol: Who Is Sean Lawler?

    Wednesday, October 25, 2017
    In 2000, Lawler handled flag writing duties for the commander of the Abraham Lincoln strike group, which was deployed as part of President George W. Bush’s “War on Terror”, Operation Southern Watch in Iraq, and Bush’s invasion and occupation of Iraq. Lawler moved on in 2002 to be executive assistant to the commander of the U.S. Pacific Fleet. In 2005, he was transferred to the aircraft carrier USS John C. Stennis as leading chief petty officer in the Administrative Department.   read more

Domestic Policy/Agency of the Day

Domestic Policy Divisions

Go to Department

Foreign Policy/Nation of the Day

  • Solomon Islands

    European explorers couldn’t find the Solomon Islands for more than 200 years after the first explorer visited it. However, during World War II, the Solomons couldn’t hide. Numerous naval, air, and ground battles took place in and around Guadalcana...   more

Nations

Meet Your Government

  • Hem, Heng

    Cambodia’s ambassador to the United States is Heng Hem, a diplomat with more than 30 years of experience working in foreign affairs.   Hem was born in Kampong Cham province on November 8, 1951. He graduated from the Agricultural School of Prek L...   more

Blog

  • Republican Health Care Failure and Scottish Soccer

    As the Republican Party failed to pass a health care replacement to Obamacare, I was reminded of an old soccer joke. Keep in mind that since it was enacted in March 2010, Republicans in the House of Representatives have voted more than 60 times to...   more
  • Rich Person’s Resistance in the Trump Administration

    Thursday, September 06, 2018
    The anonymous Trump administration official appears to support Donald Trump’s general agenda of helping the richest Americans and ignoring everyone else. What worries the writer is not that Trump is failing “to put country first,” but that he is so emotionally disturbed that he will somehow screw up this corporatist agenda.   read more
  • Director of the Office of Science in the Department of Energy: Who Is Chris Fall?

    Monday, July 16, 2018
    In August 2014, Fall was made assistant director for defense programs at the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy, also serving as acting lead for national security and international affairs policy. Fall left the White House in August 2017. Fall was given his post at ARPA-E in January 2018. President Donald Trump has twice attempted to zero out funding for the agency, which provides grants for experimental energy projects.   read more
  • Ethiopia’s Ambassador to the United States: Who Is Kassa Tekleberhan?

    Monday, July 02, 2018
    In October 2015, he was named minister of Federal Affairs and Pastoral Areas Development. There, he promoted a policy of “villagization,” moving families from the country into villages. After Ethiopia’s longtime leader and human rights abuser Meles Zenawi died in 2012, Tekleberhan became the vice chairman of the Meles Zenawi Foundation.   read more
  • Mongolia’s Ambassador to the United States: Who Is Yondon Otgonbayar?

    Thursday, June 21, 2018
    Otgonbayar left the Foreign Ministry in 2004 to become secretary general of the Mongolian People’s Revolutionary Party (MPRP), now the Mongolian People’s Party. At the time, Mongolia was doing a lot of trading with China after years of being a client state of the Soviet Union. Otgonbayar worked to encourage trade with the United States, Japan, South Korea and the European Union as well. In 2006, Otgonbayar added leadership of the Ulaanbaator branch of the MPRP to his party duties.   read more
  • Ambassador of Guinea to the United States: Who Is Kerfalla Yansané?

    Wednesday, June 20, 2018
    in January 2014, Yansané became Guinea's minister of mines and geology, where he oversaw his specialty: contracts for oil exploration. One of the companies he dealt with Hyperdynamics of Houston, gained the right to explore for offshore oil off the coast of Guinea. They found nothing and filed for bankruptcy in December 2017. Yansané emphasized bringing in foreign investors, who have long lusted after Guinea’s reserves of bauxite, iron ore, gold and other minerals.   read more

Top Stories

  • Ambassador from Lebanon to the U.S.: Who Is Gabriel Issa?

    Tuesday, June 19, 2018
    The recently installed ambassador from Lebanon is actually a Lebanese-American who lived in the U.S. more than 40 years. Shortly before the 2016 presidential election in Lebanon, Gabriel Issa of Detroit returned to Lebanon on a permanent basis and became a close advisor to Lebanon’s soon-to-be president, Michel Aoun. By the age of 21, Issa had founded two businesses, AAA Language Services and Iterotext Translation, which, along with several other businesses, he devoted his career to building.   read more
  • Trump Administration Secretly Closed Program Helping Refugee Children

    Monday, June 18, 2018
    The plaintiffs say the Trump administration stopped interviewing program beneficiaries and froze their applications; stopped issuing decisions to likely parole candidates; and stopped scheduling the medical exams for parolees to travel to the U.S.– all in secret. Yet it continued to accept money from applicants, including $100 for medical exams and $1,400 for each child’s plane ticket to the U.S. The complaint also cites Trump’s racist statements made during the 2016 presidential campaign.   read more
  • Côte d’Ivoire Ambassador to the United States: Who Is Haïdara Mamadou?

    Sunday, June 17, 2018
    Haïdara is president of the think tank Cercle Libéral de Côte d’Ivoire. He also has served as chairman of the board of SONITRA (Société nationale ivoirienne de travaux), a public-private partnership that undertakes public works projects, such as roads, bridges and other infrastructure, in Côte d’Ivoire.   read more

Unusual News

  • Suicide More Common in High-Altitude Counties

    Tuesday, November 07, 2017
    Psychiatric illness, mood disorders and lack of social support are recognized risk factors for suicide. Some studies show that increased elevation may enhance psychological problems, such as panic attacks, and that altitude is a significant risk factor for depressive symptoms and suicide. It's now shown that Americans in higher-altitude counties are at a higher risk for suicide. In Utah, the average geographic altitude is about 6,000 feet, and the rate of suicide is 70% higher than average.   read more
  • Alabama Candidate Claimed Endorsement of Dead Person

    Wednesday, September 20, 2017
    In Alabama’s runoff election for the GOP nomination for a U.S. Senate seat, Luther Strange may have the crowning endorsement of President Trump, but Roy Moore seemed to have support from beyond the grave. On Monday night, Moore’s campaign deleted an endorsement on its website from conservative activist Phyllis Schlafly, after it became apparent that Schlafly died last year at the age of 92. The two candidates have sought endorsements outside of Alabama to win over GOP voters.   read more
  • Should Panhandlers be Issued Licenses?

    Thursday, July 13, 2017
    Our idea about what it takes to regulate panhandling intelligently: Encourage “successful panhandling,” which brings together willing donors and willing solicitors; and discourage “unsuccessful panhandling,” which targets people who don’t even want to see solicitations, let alone give money to someone asking for help on the sidewalk. What’s wrong with most anti-panhandling ordinances is that they try to ban or discourage both kinds instead of promoting the former and discouraging the latter.   read more

Where is the Money Going?

  • 4 Programs that Both Obama and Trump Want to Eliminate

    Monday, May 01, 2017
    It sometimes seems that the differences between the priorities of the Republican Party and the Democratic Party are so great that they can’t agree on anything. Not so. Here are four programs that President Barack Obama’s last budget and President Donald Trump’s first budget proposed for complete elimination.   read more
  • Reducing Aircrafts’ Bathroom Size Increases Airline Profits and Decreases Passenger Safety

    Saturday, December 24, 2016
    AFA-CWA's Sara Nelson said that “doors of these restrooms open into each other, creating safety issues. There are a lot of injuries, with smashed fingers, doors hitting people, bumps and bruises.” She said the rear cabin restroom doors also create a barricade, limiting the ability of crew to help a passenger in trouble. Some parents with small kids say they can't help their kids in the toilet unless the door stays open. Large-size passengers are at a loss.   read more
  • Price of Antidote for Heroin Overdose Skyrockets as Much As 500%

    Friday, December 16, 2016
    The price of Narcan -- the lifesaving heroin-overdose antidote that revives the dying -- has skyrocketed, with one formulation rising more than 500% in two years. Although Narcan first hit the market in 1971, demand has skyrocketed as the opioid epidemic worsens. And with more potent opioids on the street -- such as fentanyl -- first responders, the largest consumers of the drug, are finding they need multiple doses to revive overdose victims.   read more

Controversies

  • Bears Under Fire in Florida

    Friday, April 21, 2017
    “2015 was a deadly year for the Florida black bear. Collisions with vehicles killed at least 169 ... wildlife managers killed at least 108...that were considered nuisances or threats to human safety, at least 9 were killed illegally, and in October hunters killed at least 304 Florida black bears in the first Florida black bear hunt in 20 years,” the petition stated. The 2016 hunt was “voted down due to overwhelming public outcry against the barbaric and unnecessary hunt,” said an advocacy group.   read more
  • 97 Corporations and 16 State Attorneys General Join Court Fight against Trump Travel Ban

    Tuesday, February 07, 2017
    “President Trump’s executive order is unconstitutional, unlawful, and fundamentally un-American...[and] undermines our states’ families, economies, and institutions," said New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman. High-ranking U.S. security officials, including Madeleine Albright, Leon Panetta and John Kerry signed a declaration arguing the ban endangers U.S. citizens. “We view the order as one that ultimately undermines the national security of the United States...” the officials said.   read more
  • Texas Judge Halts Federal Transgender Health Protections

    Sunday, January 01, 2017
    "Judge O'Connor's conclusion that transgender people and persons who have had abortions are somehow excepted from protection is deeply troubling, legally specious, and morally repugnant," said TLDEF's Ezra Young. Many transgender people expect Trump as president to abandon or weaken the transgender protection efforts pursued by the Obama administration. He has declined to repudiate a divisive North Carolina law that restricts transgender people's bathroom access.   read more

U.S. and the World

  • Trump and Iran: The Big Winner is Vladimir Putin

    Thursday, May 10, 2018
    As analysts try to determine who were the big winners and losers in President Donald Trump’s decision pull out of the Iran nuclear deal, most of them seem to have overlooked one of the biggest winners of all…Russian President Vladimir Putin. Putin gained a triple victory.   read more
  • Oscars 2018: Foreign Language Films Part Three—The Best of the Non-Nominees

    Friday, March 02, 2018
    When someone asked what became of Ayla, director Can Ulkay said, “She’s right here,” and asked her to join him in front of the audience. I have been going to the movies since I was four years old, and I have never witnessed such a dramatic moment. As the audience members collectively gasped in surprise, a shy, elderly woman dressed in traditional Korean clothing walked to center stage.   read more
  • Oscars 2018: Foreign Language Films Part Two—The 5 Nominees

    Thursday, March 01, 2018
    The winner of the Palme d’Or at the Cannes Film Festival, The Square is a fascinating compilation of set pieces that are held together through the life of Christian (Claes Bang), the curator of an art museum. The film was originally pitched as a satire of the art world, and this is certainly the crux of the plot. But on a more personal level, the message is that you can be intelligent, handsome, sophisticated and well-respected, and still make really stupid decisions—frequently.   read more

Appointments and Resignations

  • U.S. Ambassador to Panama Resigns: Who Is John Feeley?

    Friday, January 12, 2018
    Feeley informed the State Department on December 27, 2017, that he would be leaving the Foreign Service because he no longer believed he could work for President Donald Trump. Feeley’s resignation was made public on January 12, 2018, the day after Trump remarked at a White House meeting with members of Congress working on immigration issues: “Why are we having all these people from shithole countries come here?”   read more
  • Assistant Attorney General, National Security Division: Who Is John Demers?

    Tuesday, November 07, 2017
    Demers helped draft Section 702 of the FISA Amendments Act, which allows the NSA to collect emails and other electronic communications of foreign targets overseas, including correspondence with U.S. citizens. At his confirmation hearing last week, Demers made it clear that the NSA should not be required to obtain an FBI warrant before searching the communications of American citizens. He also waffled on the subject of whether journalists should be jailed for refusing to reveal their sources.   read more
  • Chief of Protocol: Who Is Sean Lawler?

    Wednesday, October 25, 2017
    In 2000, Lawler handled flag writing duties for the commander of the Abraham Lincoln strike group, which was deployed as part of President George W. Bush’s “War on Terror”, Operation Southern Watch in Iraq, and Bush’s invasion and occupation of Iraq. Lawler moved on in 2002 to be executive assistant to the commander of the U.S. Pacific Fleet. In 2005, he was transferred to the aircraft carrier USS John C. Stennis as leading chief petty officer in the Administrative Department.   read more

Domestic Policy/Agency of the Day

  • National Endowment for the Arts (NEA)

    The official arts organization of the U.S. government and the country’s largest funder of the arts, the National Endowment for the Arts (NEA) is an independent agency that strives to make the arts accessible to all Americans, through a wide var...   more

Domestic Policy Divisions

Go to Department

Foreign Policy/Nation of the Day

  • Cuba

    No country in Latin America has had as long and contentious a relationship with the United States as Cuba. Because of its close proximity to the US (90 miles from Florida), Cuba has had the US looking over its shoulder for more than a century. Beg...   more

Nations

Meet Your Government

  • Boswell, Eric

    Born in Naples, Italy, Eric Boswell served in the Army from 1968 to 1969 and then earned a BA degree from Stanford University in 1970. He entered the Foreign Service in 1972. He served at the U.S. consulate in Quebec (1977-1980), as personnel o...   more

Blog

  • Republican Health Care Failure and Scottish Soccer

    As the Republican Party failed to pass a health care replacement to Obamacare, I was reminded of an old soccer joke. Keep in mind that since it was enacted in March 2010, Republicans in the House of Representatives have voted more than 60 times to...   more

PHOTO GALLERY

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