Portal

  • National Security Adviser: Who Is John Bolton?

    Wednesday, April 25, 2018
    As a reward for his efforts to help get George W. Bush elected in the contested 2000 presidential race, Bolton was named under secretary of state for arms control. In that post he effected the withdrawal of the U.S. from the International Criminal Court, and claimed without evidence that Cuba was running a biological weapons program. In 2001, he helped derail the 1972 Biological Weapons Convention that banned production and use of such weapons, claiming it endangered U.S. national security.   read more
  • U.S. Ambassador to Kenya: Who Is Kyle McCarter?

    Monday, April 23, 2018
    As an Illinois state senator, McCarter filed a bill in 2011 to allow Catholic charities to discriminate against gay and lesbian couples and unmarried couples in adoption and foster care placements. The following year, he worked successfully to defeat an anti-bullying bill because, he said, it would promote homosexuality. In 2015, he opposed a bill to fund treatment for heroin addicts, even though his daughter had died of an overdose of heroin and fentanyl.   read more
  • United States Ambassador to Trinidad and Tobago: Who Is Joseph Mondello?

    Friday, April 20, 2018
    Donald Trump chose a longtime Republican politico to be the next United States ambassador to the Caribbean nation of Trinidad and Tobago. Joseph N. Mondello has served as chairman of the Nassau County, New York, Republican Committee since May 1983. He also served as the Republican National Committeeman for New York from 1992 to 2004, as chairman of the New York Republican State Committee from 2006 to 2009, and as a Trump delegate to the 2016 Republican Convention, as did his wife, Linda.   read more
  • Director of the Defense Information Systems Agency: Who Is Nancy A. Norton?

    Tuesday, April 17, 2018
    After serving as chief of Naval operations strategic studies group fellow in Newport, Rhode Island, Norton was promoted in 2013 to rear admiral and named director for command, control, communications and cyber for the U.S. Pacific Command in Hawaii. She was transferred to the Pentagon in 2015 as director of the Warfare Integration Directorate in the office of the Chief of Naval Operations. Norton was named vice director of DISA in 2017 in preparation for taking over as the agency’s director.   read more
  • Assistant Secretary of State for Western Hemisphere Affairs: Who Is Kimberly Breier?

    Monday, April 16, 2018
    In 2007, Breier became the senior political analyst for a “key Middle Eastern country” until 2009, when she was promoted to manager and worked on creating and running what she describes as “the first-ever analytic tradecraft team covering a high-profile country in the Middle East.” Breier left government service in 2012 to work for the consulting firm Peschard-Sverdrup International, where she performed country risk assessments on Latin American countries for three mining companies.   read more

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Top Stories

  • Commissioner of the Office of Special Education and Rehabilitative Services: Who Is Mark Schultz?

    Sunday, April 15, 2018
    Schultz spent 20 years as director of the Assistive Technology Partnership, a Nebraska agency that helps the disabled use technology to improve their lives. He also was a barrier-free design specialist for the League of Human Dignity. Schultz was with Nebraska Vocational Rehabilitation beginning in 2008, first as associate director and since October 2009 as director. More recently, he was named deputy commissioner in the Nebraska Department of Education.   read more
  • U.S. Ambassador to Colombia: Who Is Joseph Macmanus?

    Friday, April 13, 2018
    In 2012, Macmanus was named permanent representative to the UN mission in Vienna and to the International Atomic Energy Agency. There, he participated in negotiations for the Iran nuclear deal. During a 2013 negotiating session, Iran accused Israel of genocide. Macmanus, along with representatives of Canada and Australia, stormed out of the session in protest. But after the agreement was finalized, Secretary of State John Kerry named Macmanus to coordinate implementation of the deal with Iran.   read more
  • Commandant of the Western Hemisphere Institute for Security Cooperation: Who Is Robert Alvaro?

    Thursday, April 12, 2018
    Alvaro has spent his entire career in the U.S. Army, first in the infantry and later as a foreign area officer, rising to the rank of colonel. He has served as battalion logistical officer, company executive officer, and rifle platoon leader in the 10th Mountain Division at Fort Drum, New York; as plans officer in the Second Infantry Division in South Korea; and as division G3 readiness officer and company commander in the 82nd Airborne Division at Fort Bragg, North Carolina.   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

  • 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
  • Oscars 2018: Foreign Language Films Part One—Bad Films and Obscenities

    Wednesday, February 28, 2018
    This year a record 92 countries entered films in the foreign language category of the Academy Awards. I saw 89 of these films. Give credit to the Motion Picture Academy for allowing the entry of films that are not allowed to be shown in their country of origin. The two most notable examples come from Venezuela and Syria.   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

  • Burma (Myanmar)

    Burma, also known as Myanmar, is a Buddhist nation of about 48 million people, two thirds of whom are Burmans. The other third of the population is divided amongst at least 135 ethnic groups, including the Shan, Karen, Rakhine, Mon and Kachin. ...   more

Nations

Meet Your Government

  • Murray, Cherry

    Physicist Cherry A. Murray was confirmed by the U.S. Senate on Dec. 10, 2015, as Director of the Office of Science in the Department of Energy. It’s her first federal appointment.   Murray was born in 1952 in Fort Riley, Kansas. As she ...   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
  • National Security Adviser: Who Is John Bolton?

    Wednesday, April 25, 2018
    As a reward for his efforts to help get George W. Bush elected in the contested 2000 presidential race, Bolton was named under secretary of state for arms control. In that post he effected the withdrawal of the U.S. from the International Criminal Court, and claimed without evidence that Cuba was running a biological weapons program. In 2001, he helped derail the 1972 Biological Weapons Convention that banned production and use of such weapons, claiming it endangered U.S. national security.   read more
  • U.S. Ambassador to Kenya: Who Is Kyle McCarter?

    Monday, April 23, 2018
    As an Illinois state senator, McCarter filed a bill in 2011 to allow Catholic charities to discriminate against gay and lesbian couples and unmarried couples in adoption and foster care placements. The following year, he worked successfully to defeat an anti-bullying bill because, he said, it would promote homosexuality. In 2015, he opposed a bill to fund treatment for heroin addicts, even though his daughter had died of an overdose of heroin and fentanyl.   read more
  • United States Ambassador to Trinidad and Tobago: Who Is Joseph Mondello?

    Friday, April 20, 2018
    Donald Trump chose a longtime Republican politico to be the next United States ambassador to the Caribbean nation of Trinidad and Tobago. Joseph N. Mondello has served as chairman of the Nassau County, New York, Republican Committee since May 1983. He also served as the Republican National Committeeman for New York from 1992 to 2004, as chairman of the New York Republican State Committee from 2006 to 2009, and as a Trump delegate to the 2016 Republican Convention, as did his wife, Linda.   read more
  • Director of the Defense Information Systems Agency: Who Is Nancy A. Norton?

    Tuesday, April 17, 2018
    After serving as chief of Naval operations strategic studies group fellow in Newport, Rhode Island, Norton was promoted in 2013 to rear admiral and named director for command, control, communications and cyber for the U.S. Pacific Command in Hawaii. She was transferred to the Pentagon in 2015 as director of the Warfare Integration Directorate in the office of the Chief of Naval Operations. Norton was named vice director of DISA in 2017 in preparation for taking over as the agency’s director.   read more
  • Assistant Secretary of State for Western Hemisphere Affairs: Who Is Kimberly Breier?

    Monday, April 16, 2018
    In 2007, Breier became the senior political analyst for a “key Middle Eastern country” until 2009, when she was promoted to manager and worked on creating and running what she describes as “the first-ever analytic tradecraft team covering a high-profile country in the Middle East.” Breier left government service in 2012 to work for the consulting firm Peschard-Sverdrup International, where she performed country risk assessments on Latin American countries for three mining companies.   read more

Top Stories

  • Commissioner of the Office of Special Education and Rehabilitative Services: Who Is Mark Schultz?

    Sunday, April 15, 2018
    Schultz spent 20 years as director of the Assistive Technology Partnership, a Nebraska agency that helps the disabled use technology to improve their lives. He also was a barrier-free design specialist for the League of Human Dignity. Schultz was with Nebraska Vocational Rehabilitation beginning in 2008, first as associate director and since October 2009 as director. More recently, he was named deputy commissioner in the Nebraska Department of Education.   read more
  • U.S. Ambassador to Colombia: Who Is Joseph Macmanus?

    Friday, April 13, 2018
    In 2012, Macmanus was named permanent representative to the UN mission in Vienna and to the International Atomic Energy Agency. There, he participated in negotiations for the Iran nuclear deal. During a 2013 negotiating session, Iran accused Israel of genocide. Macmanus, along with representatives of Canada and Australia, stormed out of the session in protest. But after the agreement was finalized, Secretary of State John Kerry named Macmanus to coordinate implementation of the deal with Iran.   read more
  • Commandant of the Western Hemisphere Institute for Security Cooperation: Who Is Robert Alvaro?

    Thursday, April 12, 2018
    Alvaro has spent his entire career in the U.S. Army, first in the infantry and later as a foreign area officer, rising to the rank of colonel. He has served as battalion logistical officer, company executive officer, and rifle platoon leader in the 10th Mountain Division at Fort Drum, New York; as plans officer in the Second Infantry Division in South Korea; and as division G3 readiness officer and company commander in the 82nd Airborne Division at Fort Bragg, North Carolina.   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

  • 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
  • Oscars 2018: Foreign Language Films Part One—Bad Films and Obscenities

    Wednesday, February 28, 2018
    This year a record 92 countries entered films in the foreign language category of the Academy Awards. I saw 89 of these films. Give credit to the Motion Picture Academy for allowing the entry of films that are not allowed to be shown in their country of origin. The two most notable examples come from Venezuela and Syria.   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

  • Department of the Treasury

    The Department of the Treasury is a cabinet-level department responsible for promoting economic prosperity and ensuring the financial security of the United States. The department carries out a wide range of activities, such as advising the Pre...   more

Domestic Policy Divisions

Go to Department

Foreign Policy/Nation of the Day

  • Liberia

    Liberia was established by free African Americans and former slaves who came from the United States in 1820. Liberia means “land of the free,” and over several decades, thousands of freed slaves joined settlements in Monrovia. The Americo-Liber...   more

Nations

Meet Your Government

  • Campbell, Martha

    Martha L. Campbell was sworn in as the US Ambassador to the Republic of Marshall Islands on August 21, 2009. After the US signed the Compact of Free Association, Martha Campbell actually opened the first diplomatic post in Majuro in the Marshall I...   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