Portal

  • Federal Judges Order Obama Administration to Release Memo Justifying Assassination of Americans

    Wednesday, April 23, 2014
    The Obama administration has been ordered by a panel of federal judges to release its legal justification for assassinating Americans suspected of terrorist ties. ACLU lawyer Jameel Jaffer called the decision “a resounding rejection of the government’s effort to use secrecy, and selective disclosure, as a means of manipulating public opinion about the targeted killing program.”   read more
  • Oklahoma Legislators, Bowing to Big Business, Raise Rates for Small Producers of Solar and Wind Power

    Wednesday, April 23, 2014
    Utility companies fear the growth of mom-and-pop solar operations will eventually eat into their profits. So lawmakers in Oklahoma have decided to help utility companies charge higher rates to those who generate electricity through wind and solar power. Legislation—which passed in spite of opposition from solar advocates and environmental groups—represents a reversal in state law that’s been on the books since 1977, when legislators prohibited utilities from charging extra to solar users.   read more
  • Cold War could Turn into Wet War if U.S. Navy Dolphins Deploy to Black Sea

    Wednesday, April 23, 2014
    Only two nations in the world use dolphins for military purposes—the U.S. and Russia—and this summer the two sides may wind up nose. Twenty U.S. dolphins will spend up to two weeks participating in NATO military exercises scheduled for the Black Sea. They will reportedly be testing a new anti-radar system designed to disrupt enemy sonar, and may even try out a new kind of armor. But they may also encounter Russia’s new military dolphins, recently acquired during its annexation of Ukraine.   read more
  • Sale of Post Office Properties Ignored Historical Importance

    Wednesday, April 23, 2014
    The U.S. Postal Service has been selling off many of its post office buildings to help reduce its budgetary problems. But USPS officials failed to abide by federal regulations governing the preservation of historic public property while carrying out sales of important structures and art. The Postal Service “did not know how many historic properties it owned or what it cost to preserve them,” and failed to make notification when sales include art dating back to the New Deal.   read more
  • Nebraskans Want Colorado to Share Cost of Prosecuting Citizens Caught with Marijuana in Nebraska

    Wednesday, April 23, 2014
    Six states share a border with Colorado, which legalized recreational marijuana use, and one of those states, Nebraska, wants Colorado to help cover the costs of prosecuting Nebraskans caught bringing pot home, where it is not legal. “I don't know what it will take to get someone to stand up and do something to try to get some of our money back,” said sheriff Adam Hayward. But Nebraska’s attorney general, Jon Bruning, has been non-committal about suing Colorado to recover costs.   read more

PHOTO GALLERY

Anti-Drone Portrait Click the photo for larger view Anti-Drone Portrait

Top Stories

  • 64,613 Software Engineers Join Class Action Hiring Conspiracy Lawsuit against Apple, Google, Intel and Adobe

    Tuesday, April 22, 2014
    The class-action lawsuit, with 64,613 plaintiffs, targets Google, Apple, Intel and Adobe for secretly agreeing not to poach each other’s engineers and to share salary information in an effort to control salaries. The collusion reportedly began in 2005, when Apple’s Steve Jobs approached Google’s top executive, Eric Schmidt, about working together to hold down salaries. After getting Google on board, Jobs “strong-armed” Adobe into joining the secret pact, according to court documents.   read more
  • Obama has Averaged more than One Fundraiser a Week Since he became President

    Monday, April 21, 2014
    According to statistics compiled by Mark Knoller of CBS News, Obama has attended 373 fundraisers during the 1,900+ days since he’s been in office, which averages to almost one every five days. An investigation last year by The Guardian showed that Obama had attended 30 fundraisers in the seven-month period between April and November, even though he is not personally up for reelection.   read more
  • Domestic Violence Rate Plunges

    Sunday, April 20, 2014
    In an average of the two years ending in 1994, there were 13.5 cases of domestic violence per 1,000 persons aged 12 and over. By the two years ending in 2012, the average had been cut to 5.0 cases per 1,000. The steepest drop in domestic violence occurred between 1995 and 2001, when the rate fell from 13.2 per thousand to 6.2 per thousand in just six years. The steepest decline came in the rate of partner violence.   read more

Unusual News

  • New FDA Food Safety Regulation may Drive up the Cost of Beer

    Tuesday, April 22, 2014
    The FDA wants to classify companies that distribute spent grain to farms as animal feed manufacturers. Breweries regularly sell or give their spent grain, which is left over from the beer-making process, to dairy farms, which feed it to cows. Breweries would have two choices: Pass this cost onto consumers in the form of higher beer prices, or stop selling the spent grain to farms and just dump it in landfills, which would be less environmentally friendly.   read more
  • Portland Dumps Millions of Gallons of Drinking Water after Young Man Urinates in Reservoir…Again

    Friday, April 18, 2014
    Officials in Portland, Oregon, have decided to empty nearly 40 million gallons from the city’s primary reservoir for drinking water because an individual urinated in it. The decision marks the second time in three years that the city has flushed large portions of its water supply because someone peed in it. The latest dump, delivered by 19-year-old Trey McDaniel, was caught on a video surveillance camera.   read more
  • Federal Agency Charges for Reports Available Free Online

    Thursday, April 17, 2014
    Around since 1950, NTIS was set up as a clearinghouse for technical papers produced by the government. It has continued to sell these reports to the public even though many of them can be had for free through other agencies. For instance, anyone interested in the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health’s handy report on chemical hazards can order a free copy here. Or they can pay the NTIS $30.   read more

Where is the Money Going?

  • Highway Upkeep Trust Fund Nears Bankruptcy

    Tuesday, April 22, 2014
    The Highway Trust Fund’s Highway Account, which finances maintenance and construction projects at the state level, currently has about $8.4 billion in it. But the U.S. Department of Transportation warns that demand for this funding is outpacing money available. As a result, the fund may go bankrupt by August. Without a new funding plan, the Transportation Department would have to stop reimbursing states for highway projects.   read more
  • IRS Audit Rate Dropping Lower and Lower

    Saturday, April 19, 2014
    In 2013, IRS auditors reviewed only 0.9% of returns filed by individuals earning less than $200,000 a year. That rate was the lowest since 2005. IRS Commissioner John Koskinen told the Associated Press that the audit rate likely will go down even further this year. The chances of getting audited is much higher for the wealthy—about 11% for those making $1 million or more annually.   read more
  • Offshore Tax Havens Cost U.S. $184 Billion in Revenue Every Year

    Friday, April 18, 2014
    U.S. federal and state governments would have more than $180 billion in additional revenue each year if corporations and wealthy individuals didn't hide their earnings in offshore accounts. Without that revenue, each U.S. taxpayer on average would have to pay an additional $1,259 in taxes to cover this loss. "Ordinary taxpayers [are] picking up the tab [in]...higher taxes, cuts to public spending priorities, or increases to the federal debt,” said the U.S. PIRG report.   read more

Controversies

  • Philadelphia Mayor Nutter Orders Police and Prisons to Limit Cooperation with Federal Immigration Agents

    Monday, April 21, 2014
    About 17 local governments, including Miami, San Francisco, New Orleans, and New York City, have backed off on cooperating with ICE in recent years. This month nine counties in Oregon added themselves to the list. But Philadelphia's move was different in that it also applies to prison departments, so the city will not inform ICE of a prisoner’s release unless the person was convicted of a violent felony.   read more
  • In first Challenge to Consumer Complaint Database, Court Orders Release of Company’s Name

    Monday, April 21, 2014
    A company whose product reportedly caused an infant’s death may soon have its identity revealed following a long-running legal battle involving the Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC). A complaint was filed in 2011 by an unidentified local government agency. The company responded by filing suit in federal court, claiming it had done nothing wrong, while demanding its name and details of the case be sealed and kept off a publicly accessible database.   read more
  • First Trial of a Non-Native American in a Tribal Court

    Monday, April 21, 2014
    Congress had been reluctant to grant tribes the right to try non-Indians, but the Yaquis and two other tribes showed evidence that they could hold proper trials and safeguard the rights of the accused. In February, the Justice Department initiated a pilot program with the three tribes to try non-Indians accused of domestic violence against Native American women on reservations. A few weeks ago, Yaqui tribal police arrested Eloy Figueroa Lopez, charging him with trying to choke his wife.   read more

U.S. and the World

  • Frackers Get Set to Cross the Border into Mexico

    Tuesday, April 22, 2014
    The new opportunities have existed only since December, when Mexico’s Congress approved a landmark bill that relaxed the 75-year-old grip over oil and gas development by Pemex, the state oil monopoly. The legislation paves the way for foreign companies to cut deals with the Mexican government to develop new oil fields. One such field is the Eagle Ford Shale Play, which straddles the Texas-Mexico border, running for hundreds of miles deep beneath the earth.   read more
  • Onondaga Tribe Appeals to Human Rights Court

    Tuesday, April 22, 2014
    The Onondaga Nation spent eight years trying to get a U.S. federal court to side with its arguments that the state of New York illegally took possession of 4,000 square miles of tribal land in the late 18th and early 19th centuries.The tribe’s complaints go beyond land ownership. It also says state and federal agencies allowed American factories to pollute Lake Onondaga, which once was part of tribal lands.   read more
  • Federal Judge Approves Class Action Case against Ford and IBM for Helping South African Apartheid

    Sunday, April 20, 2014
    A federal District Court judge has ruled that those injured by the apartheid policies of the white-ruled South African government may sue Ford and IBM for providing assistance to that government in the form of military vehicles and computers. The racist policies of apartheid were in force between 1948 and 1994.   read more

Appointments and Resignations

  • Director of U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services: Who Is Leon Rodriguez?

    Monday, April 21, 2014
    In 2011, President Obama nominated Rodriguez to lead the Department of Labor’s Wage and Hour Division. However, his nomination was withdrawn because of Republican opposition to his work in the Civil Rights Division. In September 2011, Rodriguez moved over to the Department of Health and Human Services to lead its Office of Civil Rights. Much of his work there involved bringing cases against medical and insurance organizations for breaches of patient information.   read more
  • Director of the Bureau of Land Management: Who Is Neil Kornze?

    Sunday, April 20, 2014
    Kornze’s age, 34 when he was nominated for the post, would make him one of the youngest agency heads in history. Despite his family ties to the mining industry, and his close association with mining champion Reid, Kornze’s nomination to lead the BLM drew praise from many environmental groups, including the Sierra Club and the League of Conservation Voters.   read more
  • Director of the U.S. Geological Survey: Who Is Suzette Kimball?

    Sunday, April 20, 2014
    Suzette Kimball, who has been acting director of the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) since February 2013, was nominated by President Barack Obama on January 9, 2014, to fill the job permanently. In 2010, Kimball was named deputy director of the USGS. In that post, she led USGS's international activities and represented all North American geological surveys on international mapping endeavors. She has written more than 75 publications on coastal ecosystem science and coastal zone policy.   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

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Foreign Policy/Nation of the Day

  • Libya

    Archeological evidence indicates that as early as 8,000 BC, the coastal plain of Ancient Libya was populated by people called the Berbers, who were proficient at the domestication of cattle and cultivation of crops. Since then, other people inc...   more

Nations

Meet Your Government

  • Schlicher, Ronald

    A member of the Senior Foreign Service, Ronald Lewis Schlicher serves as the Principal Deputy Assistant Coordinator of Counterterrorism in the State Department, a position he assumed on September 2, 2008.   The son of a boilermaker with the Tenn...   more

Blog

  • 50 Years of Keeping a Daily Diary

    I would not have realized how much we unconsciously edit our memories if I did not have contemporaneous accounts of each day of my life for the last 50 years. Most of these alterations are minor and harmless. But there is one false memory that had...   more
  • Federal Judges Order Obama Administration to Release Memo Justifying Assassination of Americans

    Wednesday, April 23, 2014
    The Obama administration has been ordered by a panel of federal judges to release its legal justification for assassinating Americans suspected of terrorist ties. ACLU lawyer Jameel Jaffer called the decision “a resounding rejection of the government’s effort to use secrecy, and selective disclosure, as a means of manipulating public opinion about the targeted killing program.”   read more
  • Oklahoma Legislators, Bowing to Big Business, Raise Rates for Small Producers of Solar and Wind Power

    Wednesday, April 23, 2014
    Utility companies fear the growth of mom-and-pop solar operations will eventually eat into their profits. So lawmakers in Oklahoma have decided to help utility companies charge higher rates to those who generate electricity through wind and solar power. Legislation—which passed in spite of opposition from solar advocates and environmental groups—represents a reversal in state law that’s been on the books since 1977, when legislators prohibited utilities from charging extra to solar users.   read more
  • Cold War could Turn into Wet War if U.S. Navy Dolphins Deploy to Black Sea

    Wednesday, April 23, 2014
    Only two nations in the world use dolphins for military purposes—the U.S. and Russia—and this summer the two sides may wind up nose. Twenty U.S. dolphins will spend up to two weeks participating in NATO military exercises scheduled for the Black Sea. They will reportedly be testing a new anti-radar system designed to disrupt enemy sonar, and may even try out a new kind of armor. But they may also encounter Russia’s new military dolphins, recently acquired during its annexation of Ukraine.   read more
  • Sale of Post Office Properties Ignored Historical Importance

    Wednesday, April 23, 2014
    The U.S. Postal Service has been selling off many of its post office buildings to help reduce its budgetary problems. But USPS officials failed to abide by federal regulations governing the preservation of historic public property while carrying out sales of important structures and art. The Postal Service “did not know how many historic properties it owned or what it cost to preserve them,” and failed to make notification when sales include art dating back to the New Deal.   read more
  • Nebraskans Want Colorado to Share Cost of Prosecuting Citizens Caught with Marijuana in Nebraska

    Wednesday, April 23, 2014
    Six states share a border with Colorado, which legalized recreational marijuana use, and one of those states, Nebraska, wants Colorado to help cover the costs of prosecuting Nebraskans caught bringing pot home, where it is not legal. “I don't know what it will take to get someone to stand up and do something to try to get some of our money back,” said sheriff Adam Hayward. But Nebraska’s attorney general, Jon Bruning, has been non-committal about suing Colorado to recover costs.   read more

Top Stories

  • 64,613 Software Engineers Join Class Action Hiring Conspiracy Lawsuit against Apple, Google, Intel and Adobe

    Tuesday, April 22, 2014
    The class-action lawsuit, with 64,613 plaintiffs, targets Google, Apple, Intel and Adobe for secretly agreeing not to poach each other’s engineers and to share salary information in an effort to control salaries. The collusion reportedly began in 2005, when Apple’s Steve Jobs approached Google’s top executive, Eric Schmidt, about working together to hold down salaries. After getting Google on board, Jobs “strong-armed” Adobe into joining the secret pact, according to court documents.   read more
  • Obama has Averaged more than One Fundraiser a Week Since he became President

    Monday, April 21, 2014
    According to statistics compiled by Mark Knoller of CBS News, Obama has attended 373 fundraisers during the 1,900+ days since he’s been in office, which averages to almost one every five days. An investigation last year by The Guardian showed that Obama had attended 30 fundraisers in the seven-month period between April and November, even though he is not personally up for reelection.   read more
  • Domestic Violence Rate Plunges

    Sunday, April 20, 2014
    In an average of the two years ending in 1994, there were 13.5 cases of domestic violence per 1,000 persons aged 12 and over. By the two years ending in 2012, the average had been cut to 5.0 cases per 1,000. The steepest drop in domestic violence occurred between 1995 and 2001, when the rate fell from 13.2 per thousand to 6.2 per thousand in just six years. The steepest decline came in the rate of partner violence.   read more

Unusual News

  • New FDA Food Safety Regulation may Drive up the Cost of Beer

    Tuesday, April 22, 2014
    The FDA wants to classify companies that distribute spent grain to farms as animal feed manufacturers. Breweries regularly sell or give their spent grain, which is left over from the beer-making process, to dairy farms, which feed it to cows. Breweries would have two choices: Pass this cost onto consumers in the form of higher beer prices, or stop selling the spent grain to farms and just dump it in landfills, which would be less environmentally friendly.   read more
  • Portland Dumps Millions of Gallons of Drinking Water after Young Man Urinates in Reservoir…Again

    Friday, April 18, 2014
    Officials in Portland, Oregon, have decided to empty nearly 40 million gallons from the city’s primary reservoir for drinking water because an individual urinated in it. The decision marks the second time in three years that the city has flushed large portions of its water supply because someone peed in it. The latest dump, delivered by 19-year-old Trey McDaniel, was caught on a video surveillance camera.   read more
  • Federal Agency Charges for Reports Available Free Online

    Thursday, April 17, 2014
    Around since 1950, NTIS was set up as a clearinghouse for technical papers produced by the government. It has continued to sell these reports to the public even though many of them can be had for free through other agencies. For instance, anyone interested in the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health’s handy report on chemical hazards can order a free copy here. Or they can pay the NTIS $30.   read more

Where is the Money Going?

  • Highway Upkeep Trust Fund Nears Bankruptcy

    Tuesday, April 22, 2014
    The Highway Trust Fund’s Highway Account, which finances maintenance and construction projects at the state level, currently has about $8.4 billion in it. But the U.S. Department of Transportation warns that demand for this funding is outpacing money available. As a result, the fund may go bankrupt by August. Without a new funding plan, the Transportation Department would have to stop reimbursing states for highway projects.   read more
  • IRS Audit Rate Dropping Lower and Lower

    Saturday, April 19, 2014
    In 2013, IRS auditors reviewed only 0.9% of returns filed by individuals earning less than $200,000 a year. That rate was the lowest since 2005. IRS Commissioner John Koskinen told the Associated Press that the audit rate likely will go down even further this year. The chances of getting audited is much higher for the wealthy—about 11% for those making $1 million or more annually.   read more
  • Offshore Tax Havens Cost U.S. $184 Billion in Revenue Every Year

    Friday, April 18, 2014
    U.S. federal and state governments would have more than $180 billion in additional revenue each year if corporations and wealthy individuals didn't hide their earnings in offshore accounts. Without that revenue, each U.S. taxpayer on average would have to pay an additional $1,259 in taxes to cover this loss. "Ordinary taxpayers [are] picking up the tab [in]...higher taxes, cuts to public spending priorities, or increases to the federal debt,” said the U.S. PIRG report.   read more

Controversies

  • Philadelphia Mayor Nutter Orders Police and Prisons to Limit Cooperation with Federal Immigration Agents

    Monday, April 21, 2014
    About 17 local governments, including Miami, San Francisco, New Orleans, and New York City, have backed off on cooperating with ICE in recent years. This month nine counties in Oregon added themselves to the list. But Philadelphia's move was different in that it also applies to prison departments, so the city will not inform ICE of a prisoner’s release unless the person was convicted of a violent felony.   read more
  • In first Challenge to Consumer Complaint Database, Court Orders Release of Company’s Name

    Monday, April 21, 2014
    A company whose product reportedly caused an infant’s death may soon have its identity revealed following a long-running legal battle involving the Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC). A complaint was filed in 2011 by an unidentified local government agency. The company responded by filing suit in federal court, claiming it had done nothing wrong, while demanding its name and details of the case be sealed and kept off a publicly accessible database.   read more
  • First Trial of a Non-Native American in a Tribal Court

    Monday, April 21, 2014
    Congress had been reluctant to grant tribes the right to try non-Indians, but the Yaquis and two other tribes showed evidence that they could hold proper trials and safeguard the rights of the accused. In February, the Justice Department initiated a pilot program with the three tribes to try non-Indians accused of domestic violence against Native American women on reservations. A few weeks ago, Yaqui tribal police arrested Eloy Figueroa Lopez, charging him with trying to choke his wife.   read more

U.S. and the World

  • Frackers Get Set to Cross the Border into Mexico

    Tuesday, April 22, 2014
    The new opportunities have existed only since December, when Mexico’s Congress approved a landmark bill that relaxed the 75-year-old grip over oil and gas development by Pemex, the state oil monopoly. The legislation paves the way for foreign companies to cut deals with the Mexican government to develop new oil fields. One such field is the Eagle Ford Shale Play, which straddles the Texas-Mexico border, running for hundreds of miles deep beneath the earth.   read more
  • Onondaga Tribe Appeals to Human Rights Court

    Tuesday, April 22, 2014
    The Onondaga Nation spent eight years trying to get a U.S. federal court to side with its arguments that the state of New York illegally took possession of 4,000 square miles of tribal land in the late 18th and early 19th centuries.The tribe’s complaints go beyond land ownership. It also says state and federal agencies allowed American factories to pollute Lake Onondaga, which once was part of tribal lands.   read more
  • Federal Judge Approves Class Action Case against Ford and IBM for Helping South African Apartheid

    Sunday, April 20, 2014
    A federal District Court judge has ruled that those injured by the apartheid policies of the white-ruled South African government may sue Ford and IBM for providing assistance to that government in the form of military vehicles and computers. The racist policies of apartheid were in force between 1948 and 1994.   read more

Appointments and Resignations

  • Director of U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services: Who Is Leon Rodriguez?

    Monday, April 21, 2014
    In 2011, President Obama nominated Rodriguez to lead the Department of Labor’s Wage and Hour Division. However, his nomination was withdrawn because of Republican opposition to his work in the Civil Rights Division. In September 2011, Rodriguez moved over to the Department of Health and Human Services to lead its Office of Civil Rights. Much of his work there involved bringing cases against medical and insurance organizations for breaches of patient information.   read more
  • Director of the Bureau of Land Management: Who Is Neil Kornze?

    Sunday, April 20, 2014
    Kornze’s age, 34 when he was nominated for the post, would make him one of the youngest agency heads in history. Despite his family ties to the mining industry, and his close association with mining champion Reid, Kornze’s nomination to lead the BLM drew praise from many environmental groups, including the Sierra Club and the League of Conservation Voters.   read more
  • Director of the U.S. Geological Survey: Who Is Suzette Kimball?

    Sunday, April 20, 2014
    Suzette Kimball, who has been acting director of the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) since February 2013, was nominated by President Barack Obama on January 9, 2014, to fill the job permanently. In 2010, Kimball was named deputy director of the USGS. In that post, she led USGS's international activities and represented all North American geological surveys on international mapping endeavors. She has written more than 75 publications on coastal ecosystem science and coastal zone policy.   read more

Domestic Policy/Agency of the Day

  • Department of the Navy

    The Department of the Navy oversees both the United States Navy and the Marine Corps. The Navy represents the seagoing branch of the armed services, maintaining fleets of ocean-going surface vessels and submarines capable of extending American ...   more

Domestic Policy Divisions

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Foreign Policy/Nation of the Day

  • Japan

    Japan has long represented one of the most important countries in US foreign affairs. Relations between the two countries have ranged from outright warfare during World War II to close cooperation during the Cold War and after. Following the en...   more

Nations

Meet Your Government

  • Thompson, Alan

    Vice Admiral Alan S. Thompson, a 30-year careerist who has quietly held numerous commands involving supplies for the US Navy, assumed the role of director of the Defense Logistics Agency on November 19, 2008. He is in charge of procuring and distr...   more

Blog

  • 50 Years of Keeping a Daily Diary

    I would not have realized how much we unconsciously edit our memories if I did not have contemporaneous accounts of each day of my life for the last 50 years. Most of these alterations are minor and harmless. But there is one false memory that had...   more

PHOTO GALLERY

Anti-Drone Portrait Click the photo for larger view Anti-Drone Portrait