Featured Story

Guarantee of High Ratings Draws TV Networks toward Media-Hungry Trump over Media-Finicky Clinton

Tuesday, May 31, 2016
Some network officials concede that Trump can be unreliable, reversing himself on policies from one interview to the next. But they also say that Clinton — who is more reluctant to give interviews to print outlets than to television — is less comfortable interacting with the media, sometimes keeping her out of the conversation. Still, the presence of Trump can be irresistible, especially in an election where viewership and advertising rates have soared, generating tens of millions of dollars.   read more
Latest News

Top Stories

  • Billionaires on the March to Control Dissemination of News

    Monday, May 30, 2016
    Billionaires don't become billionaires by being passive about their interests. Peter Thiel has devoted his almost unlimited means to lawsuits that promise to shutter a news organization he doesn't like. His campaign is in keeping with the pledge his favored candidate for president, Donald Trump, made to ease barriers to lawsuits against journalists. It's the flip side of the media realm’s new coin. Many fellow billionaires gained control of news organizations by buying them or starting them.   read more
  • Connecticut Oversight Agencies Failed to Investigate Years of Abuse and Neglect in Group Homes for Disabled

    Sunday, May 29, 2016
    In Connecticut, the Dept of Developmental Services is supposed to pass on alarming reports— those that might suggest abuse — to a state agency. But the federal investigation found that the oversight system failed at almost every level. A review of 152 “critical incidents” where residents came to harm found the state failed to follow up on 99% of incidents that should have raised “reasonable suspicions of abuse or neglect,” and that hospital staff failed to do so in all but one of 310 ER visits.   read more
  • Statue of Liberty and Stonehenge among Landmark Sites Called Vulnerable to Climate Change Effects

    Saturday, May 28, 2016
    Stonehenge eroding under the forces of extreme weather. The city of Venice slowly collapsing into its canals. The gradual flooding of the Statue of Liberty. Images like these, familiar from Hollywood climate-catastrophe thrillers, were evoked by a report released Thursday. That report highlights 31 sites in 29 countries that have already felt some impact from climate change, including well-known tourist destinations like Easter Island and Yellowstone National Park.   read more

Unusual News

  • National Institutes of Health Approves Experiments to Reactivate Brains of Dead People

    Monday, May 30, 2016
    If they can successfully reanimate parts of the upper spinal cord, where the lower brain stem is located, there’s a possibility that they could kick start vital body functions such as breathing and heartbeats. "This represents the first trial of its kind and another step towards the eventual reversal of death in our lifetime," said Bioquark CEO Ira Pastor. Once they’ve been granted permission from the families, the researchers will treat their 20 clinically dead patients over a six-week period.   read more
  • Climate Change Denier Trump Cites Global Warming as Reason to Build Wall to Protect His Luxury Golf Course

    Monday, May 30, 2016
    Donald Trump wants to build another huge wall, this time to keep out the rising seas threatening his luxury golf resort in Ireland. He has called climate change a "con job" and a "hoax." But Trump Golf Links cites global warming in seeking a permit to build the nearly two-mile-long stone wall. "Donald Trump clearly cares more about the fate of his golf courses than the health of the millions of families already affected by the climate crisis," said the Sierra Club.   read more
  • Obama Signs Bill to Remove Offensive Names for Minority Groups from U.S. Laws

    Saturday, May 28, 2016
    Federal laws will no longer include outdated and offensive terms used to describe minority groups. President Barack Obama signed a bill striking the several terms, including "Negro" and "Oriental" on Friday, the White House said. Those terms will be replaced with "African American" and "Asian American." The bill removing the terms passed the House in February and the Senate last week. No one in either chamber objected.   read more

Where is the Money Going?

  • 44% of Americans Over 50 Plan to Take Social Security before Retirement Age

    Sunday, May 29, 2016
    Among those with incomes under $50,000, 58% say they feel more anxious than secure about the amount of savings they have for retirement. People with higher incomes appear less anxious, but still 40% of those with incomes of $100,000 or more worry whether their savings will be sufficient. Alison Cowen said she doesn't see any path for her to retire--ever. "I just don't have enough to live on for the rest of my life." The poll said a quarter of workers over 50 say they never plan to retire.   read more
  • Female CEOs Earn more than Males, but Make Up Only 5% of Executive Leaders

    Thursday, May 26, 2016
    Women led companies in a variety of industries including technology, defense and retail. While there are few women at the helm, they tended to be in higher paying industries or positions — making up 10 of the top 100 highest paid overall. A recent report highlights the gulf between words and actions in hiring women as CEOs. "Despite all of the attention placed on increasing the number of female executives at American companies, the needle on the gender gap has hardly moved," wrote Pavle Sabic.   read more
  • Senate Bill Would Require Presidential Candidates to Release Tax Returns

    Thursday, May 26, 2016
    “Since the days of Watergate, the American people have had an expectation that nominees to be the leader of the free world not hide their finances and personal tax returns,” said Wyden “Do you even pay taxes? Do you give to charity? Are you abusing tax loopholes... Are you keeping your money offshore? People have a right to know.” Clinton and Sanders have disclosed their tax returns. Trump has refused, citing an IRS audit and that his tax rate is “none of your business.”   read more

Controversies

  • Lives of U.S. Military Rape Victims Ruined by “Personality Disorder” Labels Given Them in Discharge Papers

    Monday, May 30, 2016
    The report found that many rape victims suffering from trauma were unfairly discharged for a “personality disorder” or other mental health condition that makes them ineligible for benefits. The consequences are far-reaching, impacting employment, child custody, health care, disability payments, burial rights – virtually all aspects of life. Such a discharge “has been correlated with high rates of suicide, homelessness, and imprisonment."   read more
  • Civil Rights Groups Question Motive of Louisiana’s Enactment of Hate Crimes Law to Protect Police

    Monday, May 30, 2016
    The new law set off a debate over whether it was really needed to protect officers, or whether it was an effort to dilute the basic meaning of hate crimes and to undermine the movement protesting the use of force by the police. “Hate crimes law is based upon a history of discrimination against certain groups of people, and a bill like this just tries to water down that reality, because there is not a history of discrimination against police...” said NAACP's Ernest Johnson.   read more
  • Senate Republicans Block Obama Rule Protecting Retirement Investment Clients from Financial Advisers

    Sunday, May 29, 2016
    The new regulations require advisers who charge commissions to sign a promise that they will act in the client's best interests, earn "reasonable" compensation and disclose information about fees and conflicts of interest. At stake are about $4.5 trillion in 401(k) accounts and more than $7 trillion in IRAs. Some brokers rip off investors by pushing them toward higher-cost investments like variable annuities or riskier options such as real estate investment trusts.   read more

U.S. and the World

  • Judge Passes Buck on Assigning Blame for Decision to Leave Behind 26 U.S. Citizens during Evacuation from Yemen

    Friday, May 20, 2016
    Federal courts don't have authority to decide if the government has an obligation to evacuate 26 U.S. citizens stranded in war-torn Yemen, a judge ruled Tuesday. Those citizens sued Secretary of State Kerry and Secretary of Defense Carter, saying the government ignored them while ordering diplomats and military personnel to flee the war-ravaged country. While the State Dept issued a travel warning and acknowledged danger to Americans, it did nothing to evacuate U.S. citizens, the group claimed.   read more
  • Big Pharma and Allies in Congress Pressure Colombia to Honor Patent of Costly Cancer Drug

    Thursday, May 19, 2016
    Health Minister Alejandro Gaviria's remarks are the strongest yet in a fight with the world's biggest drugmaker. The Colombian Embassy described intense lobbying pressure on Colombia, a staunch U.S. ally, from the pharma industry and its allies in the U.S. Congress. Gaviria said the pressure shows the forceful steps that big pharma is willing to take to protect its commercial interests. "They're very afraid that Colombia could become an example that spreads across the region," he said.   read more
  • While U.S. Confronts Painkiller Addiction Epidemic, Drugs’ Absence around World Leaves Many Suffering

    Wednesday, May 18, 2016
    Many ill people with a legitimate need for narcotic drugs cannot get them and are suffering and dying in pain. In Russia, India and Mexico, many doctors are reluctant to prescribe these painkillers, fearful of possible prosecution or other legal problems, even if they believe the prescriptions are justified. And in most poor and middle-income countries, these drugs are restricted and often unavailable, even for patients with terminal cancer, AIDS or grievous war wounds.   read more

Appointments and Resignations

  • Belize’s Ambassador to the United States: Who Is Pat Andrews?

    Sunday, May 29, 2016
    While running Scotiabank’s operations in Belize, Andrews was involved in several charities benefiting the country’s children. In 2007, he was named Canada’s honorary consul in Belize. In 2014, Andrews was honored by Queen Elizabeth II as a Member of the British Empire (MBE) for his services to community and banking. His nephew, Patrick Jason Andrews, is also involved in the country’s politics but as a senator in the rival Peoples United Party, and was a television host.   read more
  • Kosovo’s Ambassador to the United States: Who Is Vlora Çitaku?

    Saturday, May 28, 2016
    Çitaku was made Kosovo’s minister of European Integration in 2010 and worked on settling differences with Serbia. She also worked to improve women’s rights in her country and increase their role in government. In 2014, she came to the U.S. to be Kosovo’s consul general in New York. There, she worked to get Kosovo membership in the U.N. Despite her long career, Çitaku is as likely to show up in her country’s gossip magazines as newspapers because of her striking appearance.   read more
  • Afghanistan’s Ambassador to the United States: Who Is Hamdullah Mohib?

    Sunday, May 22, 2016
    Mohib was responsible for the creation of community service programming to recognize the achievements of Afghan women, and to support special-needs orphans living in Kabul. He worked for the American University of Afghanistan, both as its IT director and a teacher of IT classes. He also served in President Ghani’s campaign as his social media “guru” and subsequently as his deputy chief of staff. Mohib and his wife Lael have written articles together on Afghan political issues.   read more

Featured Story

Guarantee of High Ratings Draws TV Networks toward Media-Hungry Trump over Media-Finicky Clinton

Tuesday, May 31, 2016
Some network officials concede that Trump can be unreliable, reversing himself on policies from one interview to the next. But they also say that Clinton — who is more reluctant to give interviews to print outlets than to television — is less comfortable interacting with the media, sometimes keeping her out of the conversation. Still, the presence of Trump can be irresistible, especially in an election where viewership and advertising rates have soared, generating tens of millions of dollars.   read more
Latest News

Top Stories

  • Billionaires on the March to Control Dissemination of News

    Monday, May 30, 2016
    Billionaires don't become billionaires by being passive about their interests. Peter Thiel has devoted his almost unlimited means to lawsuits that promise to shutter a news organization he doesn't like. His campaign is in keeping with the pledge his favored candidate for president, Donald Trump, made to ease barriers to lawsuits against journalists. It's the flip side of the media realm’s new coin. Many fellow billionaires gained control of news organizations by buying them or starting them.   read more
  • Connecticut Oversight Agencies Failed to Investigate Years of Abuse and Neglect in Group Homes for Disabled

    Sunday, May 29, 2016
    In Connecticut, the Dept of Developmental Services is supposed to pass on alarming reports— those that might suggest abuse — to a state agency. But the federal investigation found that the oversight system failed at almost every level. A review of 152 “critical incidents” where residents came to harm found the state failed to follow up on 99% of incidents that should have raised “reasonable suspicions of abuse or neglect,” and that hospital staff failed to do so in all but one of 310 ER visits.   read more
  • Statue of Liberty and Stonehenge among Landmark Sites Called Vulnerable to Climate Change Effects

    Saturday, May 28, 2016
    Stonehenge eroding under the forces of extreme weather. The city of Venice slowly collapsing into its canals. The gradual flooding of the Statue of Liberty. Images like these, familiar from Hollywood climate-catastrophe thrillers, were evoked by a report released Thursday. That report highlights 31 sites in 29 countries that have already felt some impact from climate change, including well-known tourist destinations like Easter Island and Yellowstone National Park.   read more

Unusual News

  • National Institutes of Health Approves Experiments to Reactivate Brains of Dead People

    Monday, May 30, 2016
    If they can successfully reanimate parts of the upper spinal cord, where the lower brain stem is located, there’s a possibility that they could kick start vital body functions such as breathing and heartbeats. "This represents the first trial of its kind and another step towards the eventual reversal of death in our lifetime," said Bioquark CEO Ira Pastor. Once they’ve been granted permission from the families, the researchers will treat their 20 clinically dead patients over a six-week period.   read more
  • Climate Change Denier Trump Cites Global Warming as Reason to Build Wall to Protect His Luxury Golf Course

    Monday, May 30, 2016
    Donald Trump wants to build another huge wall, this time to keep out the rising seas threatening his luxury golf resort in Ireland. He has called climate change a "con job" and a "hoax." But Trump Golf Links cites global warming in seeking a permit to build the nearly two-mile-long stone wall. "Donald Trump clearly cares more about the fate of his golf courses than the health of the millions of families already affected by the climate crisis," said the Sierra Club.   read more
  • Obama Signs Bill to Remove Offensive Names for Minority Groups from U.S. Laws

    Saturday, May 28, 2016
    Federal laws will no longer include outdated and offensive terms used to describe minority groups. President Barack Obama signed a bill striking the several terms, including "Negro" and "Oriental" on Friday, the White House said. Those terms will be replaced with "African American" and "Asian American." The bill removing the terms passed the House in February and the Senate last week. No one in either chamber objected.   read more

Where is the Money Going?

  • 44% of Americans Over 50 Plan to Take Social Security before Retirement Age

    Sunday, May 29, 2016
    Among those with incomes under $50,000, 58% say they feel more anxious than secure about the amount of savings they have for retirement. People with higher incomes appear less anxious, but still 40% of those with incomes of $100,000 or more worry whether their savings will be sufficient. Alison Cowen said she doesn't see any path for her to retire--ever. "I just don't have enough to live on for the rest of my life." The poll said a quarter of workers over 50 say they never plan to retire.   read more
  • Female CEOs Earn more than Males, but Make Up Only 5% of Executive Leaders

    Thursday, May 26, 2016
    Women led companies in a variety of industries including technology, defense and retail. While there are few women at the helm, they tended to be in higher paying industries or positions — making up 10 of the top 100 highest paid overall. A recent report highlights the gulf between words and actions in hiring women as CEOs. "Despite all of the attention placed on increasing the number of female executives at American companies, the needle on the gender gap has hardly moved," wrote Pavle Sabic.   read more
  • Senate Bill Would Require Presidential Candidates to Release Tax Returns

    Thursday, May 26, 2016
    “Since the days of Watergate, the American people have had an expectation that nominees to be the leader of the free world not hide their finances and personal tax returns,” said Wyden “Do you even pay taxes? Do you give to charity? Are you abusing tax loopholes... Are you keeping your money offshore? People have a right to know.” Clinton and Sanders have disclosed their tax returns. Trump has refused, citing an IRS audit and that his tax rate is “none of your business.”   read more

Controversies

  • Lives of U.S. Military Rape Victims Ruined by “Personality Disorder” Labels Given Them in Discharge Papers

    Monday, May 30, 2016
    The report found that many rape victims suffering from trauma were unfairly discharged for a “personality disorder” or other mental health condition that makes them ineligible for benefits. The consequences are far-reaching, impacting employment, child custody, health care, disability payments, burial rights – virtually all aspects of life. Such a discharge “has been correlated with high rates of suicide, homelessness, and imprisonment."   read more
  • Civil Rights Groups Question Motive of Louisiana’s Enactment of Hate Crimes Law to Protect Police

    Monday, May 30, 2016
    The new law set off a debate over whether it was really needed to protect officers, or whether it was an effort to dilute the basic meaning of hate crimes and to undermine the movement protesting the use of force by the police. “Hate crimes law is based upon a history of discrimination against certain groups of people, and a bill like this just tries to water down that reality, because there is not a history of discrimination against police...” said NAACP's Ernest Johnson.   read more
  • Senate Republicans Block Obama Rule Protecting Retirement Investment Clients from Financial Advisers

    Sunday, May 29, 2016
    The new regulations require advisers who charge commissions to sign a promise that they will act in the client's best interests, earn "reasonable" compensation and disclose information about fees and conflicts of interest. At stake are about $4.5 trillion in 401(k) accounts and more than $7 trillion in IRAs. Some brokers rip off investors by pushing them toward higher-cost investments like variable annuities or riskier options such as real estate investment trusts.   read more

U.S. and the World

  • Judge Passes Buck on Assigning Blame for Decision to Leave Behind 26 U.S. Citizens during Evacuation from Yemen

    Friday, May 20, 2016
    Federal courts don't have authority to decide if the government has an obligation to evacuate 26 U.S. citizens stranded in war-torn Yemen, a judge ruled Tuesday. Those citizens sued Secretary of State Kerry and Secretary of Defense Carter, saying the government ignored them while ordering diplomats and military personnel to flee the war-ravaged country. While the State Dept issued a travel warning and acknowledged danger to Americans, it did nothing to evacuate U.S. citizens, the group claimed.   read more
  • Big Pharma and Allies in Congress Pressure Colombia to Honor Patent of Costly Cancer Drug

    Thursday, May 19, 2016
    Health Minister Alejandro Gaviria's remarks are the strongest yet in a fight with the world's biggest drugmaker. The Colombian Embassy described intense lobbying pressure on Colombia, a staunch U.S. ally, from the pharma industry and its allies in the U.S. Congress. Gaviria said the pressure shows the forceful steps that big pharma is willing to take to protect its commercial interests. "They're very afraid that Colombia could become an example that spreads across the region," he said.   read more
  • While U.S. Confronts Painkiller Addiction Epidemic, Drugs’ Absence around World Leaves Many Suffering

    Wednesday, May 18, 2016
    Many ill people with a legitimate need for narcotic drugs cannot get them and are suffering and dying in pain. In Russia, India and Mexico, many doctors are reluctant to prescribe these painkillers, fearful of possible prosecution or other legal problems, even if they believe the prescriptions are justified. And in most poor and middle-income countries, these drugs are restricted and often unavailable, even for patients with terminal cancer, AIDS or grievous war wounds.   read more

Appointments and Resignations

  • Belize’s Ambassador to the United States: Who Is Pat Andrews?

    Sunday, May 29, 2016
    While running Scotiabank’s operations in Belize, Andrews was involved in several charities benefiting the country’s children. In 2007, he was named Canada’s honorary consul in Belize. In 2014, Andrews was honored by Queen Elizabeth II as a Member of the British Empire (MBE) for his services to community and banking. His nephew, Patrick Jason Andrews, is also involved in the country’s politics but as a senator in the rival Peoples United Party, and was a television host.   read more
  • Kosovo’s Ambassador to the United States: Who Is Vlora Çitaku?

    Saturday, May 28, 2016
    Çitaku was made Kosovo’s minister of European Integration in 2010 and worked on settling differences with Serbia. She also worked to improve women’s rights in her country and increase their role in government. In 2014, she came to the U.S. to be Kosovo’s consul general in New York. There, she worked to get Kosovo membership in the U.N. Despite her long career, Çitaku is as likely to show up in her country’s gossip magazines as newspapers because of her striking appearance.   read more
  • Afghanistan’s Ambassador to the United States: Who Is Hamdullah Mohib?

    Sunday, May 22, 2016
    Mohib was responsible for the creation of community service programming to recognize the achievements of Afghan women, and to support special-needs orphans living in Kabul. He worked for the American University of Afghanistan, both as its IT director and a teacher of IT classes. He also served in President Ghani’s campaign as his social media “guru” and subsequently as his deputy chief of staff. Mohib and his wife Lael have written articles together on Afghan political issues.   read more