Portal

  • Why do Unaccompanied Minors Try to Come to the U.S.? They’re Fleeing Violence, Gangs and Poverty…and Looking for Family Members

    Wednesday, July 23, 2014
    Forty-eight percent of unaccompanied children, when interviewed by the UN Refugee Agency, gave societal violence as a primary reason for fleeing their home country. For children from El Salvador, the number was 66%. Another factor is poverty. Two thirds of Hondurans are poor, while the rates aren’t much better for Guatemalans (55%) and Salvadorans (45%).   read more
  • Hedge Funds Accused of Screwing Americans out of Billions of Dollars in Taxes

    Wednesday, July 23, 2014
    The two banks “used the options to build special accounts for their hedge fund clients in their own names and claimed they owned the assets when it was, in fact, the hedge fund clients that exercised full control of the assets.” The structure of the basket options also allowed the hedge funds to borrow up to $17 for every dollar in an account rather than the 50 cents on the dollar that broker-dealers are restricted to according to limits that go back to the 1930s.   read more
  • Missouri the only State to Refuse to Maintain a Prescription Drug Database

    Wednesday, July 23, 2014
    The state that’s home to the maker of oxycodone, one of the most abused painkillers in the United States, is also the only one in the nation that doesn’t have a government prescription drug database, thereby encouraging misuse of medications. Other Republicans have grown frustrated with Schaaf’s obstructionism, particularly those in neighboring states trying to stem their own drug abuse problems. With Missouri being so lax, drug addicts often cross the border and buy what they need.   read more
  • Beef Production Far Worse for the Environment than other Animal Products

    Wednesday, July 23, 2014
    The research revealed beef cattle utilized 28 times more land, required 11 times more irrigation water for feed, used six times more nitrogen fertilizer that pollutes waterways, and discharged five times more greenhouse gases, particularly methane. On average, eating beef is about ten times more costly to the environment than eating any other animal-based foods, according to the report.   read more
  • FBI Accused of Entrapping Muslims; ATF Accused of Entrapping Minorities

    Wednesday, July 23, 2014
    In one high-profile case (the “Newburgh Four”), New York District Judge Colleen McMahan, the federal judge overseeing the trial, characterized the government as having come “up with the crime, provided the means, and removed all relevant obstacles.” She added, “Only the government could have made a ‘terrorist’ out of [defendant] Mr. [James] Cromitie, whose buffoonery is positively Shakespearean in its scope.”   read more

PHOTO GALLERY

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

Top Stories

  • Obama Administration was Warned Well in Advance of Unaccompanied Children Crossing the Border into Texas

    Tuesday, July 22, 2014
    The UTEP team found that an average of 66 children were being picked up at the border each day. Thirty Border Patrol agents were required to transport the children from Fort Brown to other locations where they could be fed and cleaned. All told, 24,000 unaccompanied minors were processed by Border Patrol stations in Texas last year, making it clear that the federal government had a brewing crisis on its hands.   read more
  • Idaho Nurse’s Lawsuit against Bulk Collection of Phone Records Gains Supporters

    Monday, July 21, 2014
    “When I found out that the NSA was collecting records of my phone calls, I was shocked,” Smith said in a prepared statement. “I have heard of other governments spying indiscriminately on their own citizens, but I naively thought it did not happen in America. I believe who I call, when I call them, and how long we talk is not something the government should be able to get without a warrant. I sued because I believe the Constitution protects my calls from government searches."   read more
  • Ronald Reagan’s Executive Order that Opened the Door for Spying on Americans

    Sunday, July 20, 2014
    The granddaddy of spying authorizations goes back to the Reagan Administration, and even Congress doesn’t know much about how it works. So, what’s 12333 being used for? According to the Electronic Frontier Foundation, its authority is used to cull American’s electronic address books and buddy lists, to put malware on Facebook servers and to justify the recording of all of a country’s telephone calls.   read more

Unusual News

  • Milliliters May Inch out Spoonfuls as Safest Measure of Children’s Medication

    Thursday, July 17, 2014
    Most medicines sold in the U.S. come with instructions that call for teaspoon- or tablespoon-sized amounts. The problem with this method is that it can lead to dangerous overdosing for children. About 10,000 people each year contact poison control centers because of confusion about medicine directions. That’s why some professional organizations are now advocating for American liquid medicines to be dispensed in milliliters, which produces fewer risks of overdosing kids.   read more
  • Navy’s First Female Four-Star Admiral

    Tuesday, July 15, 2014
    The first African-American woman to command a U.S. Navy ship and to hold a three-star rank among all the armed services, Michelle Howard was promoted last week to four-star admiral. The promotion made her the first woman, and first African American, to climb so high in the Navy. She now holds the second most important post in the Navy, as vice chief of naval operations. Navy Secretary Ray Mabus said it shows “how far we have come, and how far she has helped bring us.”   read more
  • Forgotten Vials of Smallpox Found in Government Lab

    Friday, July 11, 2014
    Federal health officials were surprised to learn that vials containing deadly smallpox virus were sitting in a vacant government lab outside Washington, DC. The virus was officially eradicated 44 years ago. At that time, “every single research lab in the world was asked to scour their facilities and submit all specimens for accounting and destruction,” said Dr. William Schaffner. It “seems curious beyond belief” that the smallpox vials were now found in an abandoned storeroom, he added.   read more

Where is the Money Going?

  • $23.6 Billion Jury Award in Smoking Case Unlikely to Survive Appeal

    Tuesday, July 22, 2014
    R.J. Reynolds Tobacco Company is expected to challenge the verdict that featured $23.6 billion in punitive damages. In addition to that sum, the jury granted compensatory damages totaling $16.9 million in the case brought by Cynthia Robinson, the widow of chain smoker Michael Johnson, who died 18 years ago of lung cancer at age 36.   read more
  • Federal Grand Jury Indicts FedEx for Conspiring to Deliver Illegal Drugs (No Officials Charged)

    Monday, July 21, 2014
    The 15-count indictment says that the company had been warned by the federal government at least six times that it was acting as a drug courier. The online pharmacies at issue were those that didn’t rely on prescriptions from physicians. Rather, they relied on an online questionnaire filled out by buyers without a doctor ever examining a patient. According to the indictment, the drugs shipped by FedEx included Ambien, Diazepam, Alprazolam (Xanax), and Clonazepam.   read more
  • Cyber Attack Insurance Market Expected to Double This Year

    Friday, July 18, 2014
    Last year, the U.S. insurance industry produced $1 billion in policies covering hacker attacks. By the end of 2014, the figure is expected to reach $2 billion. Despite the clear risks that hackers pose, companies aren’t making the decision lightly to buy the new kind of insurance, which can cost $20,000-$25,000 per $1 million in coverage.   read more

Controversies

  • Can Private Drones be Used to Counter “Ag-Gag” Laws in 7 States?

    Tuesday, July 22, 2014
    Using the online fundraising website Kickstarter, journalist Will Potter managed to raise $75,000 to purchase multiple drones for aerial surveillance of large livestock facilities. Potter told NPR’s The Salt that the move was necessary since seven states have adopted “ag-gag” bills that outlaw the collecting of images inside such operations that reveal neglect or abuse.   read more
  • House Republicans Fight to Stop City-Owned Internet Providers

    Tuesday, July 22, 2014
    Cities such as Chattanooga, Tennessee, have become groundbreaking examples of what local governments can do to provide high-speed fiber optic networks to residents and local businesses. That city created its “Gig City” operation that’s at least 50 times faster than the national average for $70 a month. But city officials there have been prohibited from expanding to nearby communities eager for the service because of a state law backed by telecommunications companies.   read more
  • Appeals Court Ruling Challenges Legitimacy of Military Commissions For Guantánamo Prisoners

    Monday, July 21, 2014
    A military commission had found al-Bahlul guilty of supporting terrorism, solicitation and conspiracy. But the appellate court, in a unanimous decision, invalidated the first two convictions, saying they weren’t considered war crimes prior to the Military Commissions Act of 2006. and the court majority questioned the third.   read more

U.S. and the World

Appointments and Resignations

  • VA Cemetery Chief Retires One Month before Publication of Report Exposing his Prohibited Personnel Practices

    Monday, July 21, 2014
    The report charged that Muro created a job for a friend in violation of civil service regulations; that he had an improper relationship with a contractor for the National Cemetery Administration (NCA), which he managed; and that he improperly gave that contractor business for educational services that were already available through VA channels.   read more
  • Secretary of Veterans Affairs: Who Is Bob McDonald?

    Monday, July 21, 2014
    In 2012, there began to be a drumbeat of criticism about P&G’s earnings and stock price. An outside activist investor, Bill Ackman, leveled complaints about the company’s performance, saying that McDonald was spending too much time on outside activities. Despite cutting thousands of jobs and bringing up P&G’s stock price, McDonald was pushed out in June 2013 and replaced by the man he had succeeded in the job, A.G. Lafley.   read more
  • U.S. Ambassador to Kazakhstan: Who Is George Krol?

    Sunday, July 20, 2014
    Krol was nominated to be ambassador to Uzbekistan in July 2010 and assumed the post about a year later. While there, he has taken criticism from human rights groups in the country for deferring to the regime of Islam Karimov, under which there are frequent rights violations, including forced labor of its citizens, and little freedom of expression.   read more

Domestic Policy/Agency of the Day

Domestic Policy Divisions

Go to Department

Foreign Policy/Nation of the Day

  • Ecuador

    Over the last decade, Ecuador has been Latin America’s “basket case,” going through economic meltdowns and seven different presidents, three of whom were ousted by coups. The country tied its currency to the US dollar in 2000 to control runaway in...   more

Nations

Meet Your Government

  • Smith, Cindy

    A native of Maryland, Cindy Smith began serving as the administrator of the Animal and Plant Health Inspection Services in September 2007.    Smith began her career with APHIS in 1979, shortly after graduating high school. While working her way ...   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
  • Why do Unaccompanied Minors Try to Come to the U.S.? They’re Fleeing Violence, Gangs and Poverty…and Looking for Family Members

    Wednesday, July 23, 2014
    Forty-eight percent of unaccompanied children, when interviewed by the UN Refugee Agency, gave societal violence as a primary reason for fleeing their home country. For children from El Salvador, the number was 66%. Another factor is poverty. Two thirds of Hondurans are poor, while the rates aren’t much better for Guatemalans (55%) and Salvadorans (45%).   read more
  • Hedge Funds Accused of Screwing Americans out of Billions of Dollars in Taxes

    Wednesday, July 23, 2014
    The two banks “used the options to build special accounts for their hedge fund clients in their own names and claimed they owned the assets when it was, in fact, the hedge fund clients that exercised full control of the assets.” The structure of the basket options also allowed the hedge funds to borrow up to $17 for every dollar in an account rather than the 50 cents on the dollar that broker-dealers are restricted to according to limits that go back to the 1930s.   read more
  • Missouri the only State to Refuse to Maintain a Prescription Drug Database

    Wednesday, July 23, 2014
    The state that’s home to the maker of oxycodone, one of the most abused painkillers in the United States, is also the only one in the nation that doesn’t have a government prescription drug database, thereby encouraging misuse of medications. Other Republicans have grown frustrated with Schaaf’s obstructionism, particularly those in neighboring states trying to stem their own drug abuse problems. With Missouri being so lax, drug addicts often cross the border and buy what they need.   read more
  • Beef Production Far Worse for the Environment than other Animal Products

    Wednesday, July 23, 2014
    The research revealed beef cattle utilized 28 times more land, required 11 times more irrigation water for feed, used six times more nitrogen fertilizer that pollutes waterways, and discharged five times more greenhouse gases, particularly methane. On average, eating beef is about ten times more costly to the environment than eating any other animal-based foods, according to the report.   read more
  • FBI Accused of Entrapping Muslims; ATF Accused of Entrapping Minorities

    Wednesday, July 23, 2014
    In one high-profile case (the “Newburgh Four”), New York District Judge Colleen McMahan, the federal judge overseeing the trial, characterized the government as having come “up with the crime, provided the means, and removed all relevant obstacles.” She added, “Only the government could have made a ‘terrorist’ out of [defendant] Mr. [James] Cromitie, whose buffoonery is positively Shakespearean in its scope.”   read more

Top Stories

  • Obama Administration was Warned Well in Advance of Unaccompanied Children Crossing the Border into Texas

    Tuesday, July 22, 2014
    The UTEP team found that an average of 66 children were being picked up at the border each day. Thirty Border Patrol agents were required to transport the children from Fort Brown to other locations where they could be fed and cleaned. All told, 24,000 unaccompanied minors were processed by Border Patrol stations in Texas last year, making it clear that the federal government had a brewing crisis on its hands.   read more
  • Idaho Nurse’s Lawsuit against Bulk Collection of Phone Records Gains Supporters

    Monday, July 21, 2014
    “When I found out that the NSA was collecting records of my phone calls, I was shocked,” Smith said in a prepared statement. “I have heard of other governments spying indiscriminately on their own citizens, but I naively thought it did not happen in America. I believe who I call, when I call them, and how long we talk is not something the government should be able to get without a warrant. I sued because I believe the Constitution protects my calls from government searches."   read more
  • Ronald Reagan’s Executive Order that Opened the Door for Spying on Americans

    Sunday, July 20, 2014
    The granddaddy of spying authorizations goes back to the Reagan Administration, and even Congress doesn’t know much about how it works. So, what’s 12333 being used for? According to the Electronic Frontier Foundation, its authority is used to cull American’s electronic address books and buddy lists, to put malware on Facebook servers and to justify the recording of all of a country’s telephone calls.   read more

Unusual News

  • Milliliters May Inch out Spoonfuls as Safest Measure of Children’s Medication

    Thursday, July 17, 2014
    Most medicines sold in the U.S. come with instructions that call for teaspoon- or tablespoon-sized amounts. The problem with this method is that it can lead to dangerous overdosing for children. About 10,000 people each year contact poison control centers because of confusion about medicine directions. That’s why some professional organizations are now advocating for American liquid medicines to be dispensed in milliliters, which produces fewer risks of overdosing kids.   read more
  • Navy’s First Female Four-Star Admiral

    Tuesday, July 15, 2014
    The first African-American woman to command a U.S. Navy ship and to hold a three-star rank among all the armed services, Michelle Howard was promoted last week to four-star admiral. The promotion made her the first woman, and first African American, to climb so high in the Navy. She now holds the second most important post in the Navy, as vice chief of naval operations. Navy Secretary Ray Mabus said it shows “how far we have come, and how far she has helped bring us.”   read more
  • Forgotten Vials of Smallpox Found in Government Lab

    Friday, July 11, 2014
    Federal health officials were surprised to learn that vials containing deadly smallpox virus were sitting in a vacant government lab outside Washington, DC. The virus was officially eradicated 44 years ago. At that time, “every single research lab in the world was asked to scour their facilities and submit all specimens for accounting and destruction,” said Dr. William Schaffner. It “seems curious beyond belief” that the smallpox vials were now found in an abandoned storeroom, he added.   read more

Where is the Money Going?

  • $23.6 Billion Jury Award in Smoking Case Unlikely to Survive Appeal

    Tuesday, July 22, 2014
    R.J. Reynolds Tobacco Company is expected to challenge the verdict that featured $23.6 billion in punitive damages. In addition to that sum, the jury granted compensatory damages totaling $16.9 million in the case brought by Cynthia Robinson, the widow of chain smoker Michael Johnson, who died 18 years ago of lung cancer at age 36.   read more
  • Federal Grand Jury Indicts FedEx for Conspiring to Deliver Illegal Drugs (No Officials Charged)

    Monday, July 21, 2014
    The 15-count indictment says that the company had been warned by the federal government at least six times that it was acting as a drug courier. The online pharmacies at issue were those that didn’t rely on prescriptions from physicians. Rather, they relied on an online questionnaire filled out by buyers without a doctor ever examining a patient. According to the indictment, the drugs shipped by FedEx included Ambien, Diazepam, Alprazolam (Xanax), and Clonazepam.   read more
  • Cyber Attack Insurance Market Expected to Double This Year

    Friday, July 18, 2014
    Last year, the U.S. insurance industry produced $1 billion in policies covering hacker attacks. By the end of 2014, the figure is expected to reach $2 billion. Despite the clear risks that hackers pose, companies aren’t making the decision lightly to buy the new kind of insurance, which can cost $20,000-$25,000 per $1 million in coverage.   read more

Controversies

  • Can Private Drones be Used to Counter “Ag-Gag” Laws in 7 States?

    Tuesday, July 22, 2014
    Using the online fundraising website Kickstarter, journalist Will Potter managed to raise $75,000 to purchase multiple drones for aerial surveillance of large livestock facilities. Potter told NPR’s The Salt that the move was necessary since seven states have adopted “ag-gag” bills that outlaw the collecting of images inside such operations that reveal neglect or abuse.   read more
  • House Republicans Fight to Stop City-Owned Internet Providers

    Tuesday, July 22, 2014
    Cities such as Chattanooga, Tennessee, have become groundbreaking examples of what local governments can do to provide high-speed fiber optic networks to residents and local businesses. That city created its “Gig City” operation that’s at least 50 times faster than the national average for $70 a month. But city officials there have been prohibited from expanding to nearby communities eager for the service because of a state law backed by telecommunications companies.   read more
  • Appeals Court Ruling Challenges Legitimacy of Military Commissions For Guantánamo Prisoners

    Monday, July 21, 2014
    A military commission had found al-Bahlul guilty of supporting terrorism, solicitation and conspiracy. But the appellate court, in a unanimous decision, invalidated the first two convictions, saying they weren’t considered war crimes prior to the Military Commissions Act of 2006. and the court majority questioned the third.   read more

U.S. and the World

Appointments and Resignations

  • VA Cemetery Chief Retires One Month before Publication of Report Exposing his Prohibited Personnel Practices

    Monday, July 21, 2014
    The report charged that Muro created a job for a friend in violation of civil service regulations; that he had an improper relationship with a contractor for the National Cemetery Administration (NCA), which he managed; and that he improperly gave that contractor business for educational services that were already available through VA channels.   read more
  • Secretary of Veterans Affairs: Who Is Bob McDonald?

    Monday, July 21, 2014
    In 2012, there began to be a drumbeat of criticism about P&G’s earnings and stock price. An outside activist investor, Bill Ackman, leveled complaints about the company’s performance, saying that McDonald was spending too much time on outside activities. Despite cutting thousands of jobs and bringing up P&G’s stock price, McDonald was pushed out in June 2013 and replaced by the man he had succeeded in the job, A.G. Lafley.   read more
  • U.S. Ambassador to Kazakhstan: Who Is George Krol?

    Sunday, July 20, 2014
    Krol was nominated to be ambassador to Uzbekistan in July 2010 and assumed the post about a year later. While there, he has taken criticism from human rights groups in the country for deferring to the regime of Islam Karimov, under which there are frequent rights violations, including forced labor of its citizens, and little freedom of expression.   read more

Domestic Policy/Agency of the Day

  • Defense Nuclear Facilities Safety Board

    The Defense Nuclear Facilities Safety Board is an independent government agency responsible for monitoring and advising the Department of Energy’s management of defense nuclear facilities.   While the responsibility of waging nuclear war rests w...   more

Domestic Policy Divisions

Go to Department

Foreign Policy/Nation of the Day

  • Turkey

    Turkey was once the home of the Ottoman Empire that stretched from the Persian Gulf to western Algeria. Lasting for 600 years, the Ottoman Empire was not only one of the most powerful empires in the history of the Mediterranean region, but it gene...   more

Nations

Meet Your Government

  • Han Duk-soo

    Han Duk-soo became South Korea’s ambassador to the United States on January 18, 2009. Han received his B.A. in economics from Seoul National University and his M.A. and Ph.D. in economics from Harvard University.   Han has held several ...   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