Featured Story

Bureau of Land Management Gives in to Armed Protestors Supporting Rancher who Stopped Paying Fees to Graze Cattle on Federal Land

Tuesday, April 15, 2014
Rancher Cliven Bundy has refused since 1993 to pay the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) so his cattle could graze on public lands in Gold Butte, about 80 miles northeast of Las Vegas. His refusal continued even after losing two court battles in 1998 and 2013, as Bundy kept running his herd on the lands managed by BLM without paying the fees required of all ranchers.   read more
Latest News

Top Stories

  • Still Secret Report Accuses CIA of Fighting White House, Congress and its own Inspector General to Hide Torture Details

    Monday, April 14, 2014
    The Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) misled the George W. Bush Administration and Congress about its use of so-called harsh interrogation techniques, or torture, according to the findings of a still-secret report that have been leaked. The report, which was prepared by the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence, shows that the CIA mischaracterized the efficacy of the interrogation techniques they used and it impeded White House and Congressional oversight of the interrogation program.   read more
  • Treasury Dept. Intercepts Tax Refunds to Collect Debts of Dead Parents

    Sunday, April 13, 2014
    Thanks to a one-line provision slipped into the 2008 Farm Bill, a 10-year statute of limitations was removed from old debts to the government. The Social Security Administration (SSA) is taking advantage of that, garnishing tax refunds, including from children of people whom the SSA claims were overpaid benefits in the distant past. Social Security officials say that if children benefitted even indirectly from an overpayment, they’re liable for the debt.   read more
  • Obama Administration Criticizes EU Plan to Avoid NSA Data Surveillance as a Violation of Trade Agreement

    Saturday, April 12, 2014
    The United States has accused some of its leading European allies of endangering free trade agreements if they pursue the development of protected data networks to avoid American electronic spying operations. Government and corporate officials in Europe began discussing whether their nations should shield themselves from future NSA spying by keeping emails and other electronic information from passing through American-based networks.   read more

Unusual News

  • Retired Supreme Court Justice Stevens Suggests Adding 5 Words to Second Amendment to Clarify Right to Bear Arms

    Monday, April 14, 2014
    Stevens proposes a five-word change to the Second Amendment. As he would write it, it reads: “A well regulated Militia, being necessary to the security of a free State, the right of the people to keep and bear Arms when serving in the Militia shall not be infringed.” Those five words, which would clarify the Second Amendment to bring it in line with what Stevens says is the framers’ intent, could prove to do more to protect generations to come than all the armed guards in the world.   read more
  • North Dakota: The State that Loves Drones

    Sunday, April 13, 2014
    Since May 2013, there have been nine instances in which drones have been used in the Grand Forks area. They include searching a flooded river for drowning victims, photographing a train collision, photographing river bank erosion and damage to historic buildings, searching for two suspects accused of auto theft and child molestation and taking photos of an outdoor murder scene.   read more
  • Baltimore County Solves its Homicides; North Richmond Doesn’t

    Thursday, April 10, 2014
    Law enforcement in Baltimore County, Maryland, say they closed 100% of their homicide cases last year—a remarkable feat for any jurisdiction, even one that has only 20 killings a year. North Richmond, an unincorporated stretch of Contra Costa County measuring only 1.5 square miles, recorded 19 homicides last year. Most went unsolved, with charges being filed in only five of the cases.   read more

Where is the Money Going?

  • Day Care Costs More Than College in 31 States

    Sunday, April 13, 2014
    Residents of some states, like New York, face budget-busting costs to put their kids into day care. There, such services average $15,000 a year. Meanwhile, the expense of in-state college tuition is only $6,500 annually. Massachusetts has an even higher average per-annum day-care cost: $16,500 Other states with significant gaps between the costs of day care and college tuition include Colorado, Maryland and Oregon.   read more
  • Nine of the Ten most Common Occupations in U.S. Pay less than the National Average Wage

    Friday, April 11, 2014
    Nearly all of the top 10 most common jobs in America don’t pay well, according to new figures released by the Bureau of Labor Statistics. Nine of the 10 largest occupations produced an average wage below the U.S. average of $46,440 annually. The lone exception among top jobs was registered nurses, who make an average of $68,910 per year. The average for the rest ranged from $18,880 for food preparation and serving workers to $34,000 for secretaries and administrative assistants   read more
  • Labor Dept., for First Time, Intervenes on Behalf of Unpaid Interns

    Thursday, April 10, 2014
    The plaintiffs allege that Hearst made them work full-time hours while receiving no income. The lead plaintiff, Xuedan Wang, says she was at Harper’s Bazaar between 40 and 55 hours a week while performing a variety of duties that paid workers perform, like handling expense reports and managing other interns. Under Labor Department rules, unpaid interns can’t replace regular employees or do work that provides an “immediate advantage” to the business.   read more

Controversies

  • EPA Loopholes Allow Biomass Facilities to Create more Toxic Pollution than Coal

    Monday, April 14, 2014
    Coal plants that emit 100 tons of a pollutant each year are required to obtain Prevention of Significant Deterioration (PSD) permits that mandate EPA oversight, among other things. But biomass plants are allowed to produce 250 tons of a pollutant before the same permit requirement kicks in for them. “We're talking about the same pollution, the same health effects, but biomass plants get to emit two and a half times as much,” Booth said.   read more
  • Rebellious Ranchers Round Up Federally Protected Wild Horses

    Monday, April 14, 2014
    Commissioners in Iron County, Utah, complain that there are more horses on the land than the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) has planned for and that the bureau has done a poor job of managing the horses, according to The Salt Lake Tribune. County Commissioner David Miller claims there are 2,000 wild horses in the county, while wild horse advocates say the number of less than 500. The commissioners say that if the BLM doesn’t act, the county will. However, public roundups are illegal.   read more
  • Criminals Take Chain Saws to 1,000-Year-Old Redwoods

    Saturday, April 12, 2014
    Burls, the knotty growth found on ancient redwoods, are the focus of the wanton destruction that has left massive scars on the trees and endangered their growth and reproduction. Poachers prize the burls because they contain intricate wood patterns sought by makers of tabletops, clocks and other home furnishings. Items made from burls can fetch hundreds if not thousands of dollars, making the collection of burls a lucrative—and often illegal—trade.   read more

U.S. and the World

  • Blackwater Guards Finally to be Tried for Killing 14 Iraqi Civilians

    Sunday, April 13, 2014
    Following the incident, DSS officials forced the Blackwater specialists to provide written statements of the shootings in exchange for full immunity from criminal prosecution. That decision by the State Department derailed the U.S. Department of Justice’s first attempt to prosecute the guards once they returned to the U.S. A federal appeals court then reinstated the charges, saying the lower court had erred in dismissing the case.   read more
  • Afghan Children Die by the Dozens because of Explosives U.S. Left Behind at Firing Ranges

    Friday, April 11, 2014
    The open fields of Afghanistan have become lethal for many of that nation’s children due to scores of unexploded ordinance left by U.S. military forces. Dozens of Afghan children have died after wandering into abandoned U.S. firing ranges filled with undetonated artillery shells, rockets and grenades. The U.N. says at least 70 civilians—62 of whom were children—have died since 2012 in and around U.S. or NATO firing ranges or bases.   read more
  • Judge Rules Terrorism Victims can Seize $500 Million Midtown Manhattan Office Tower Owned by Iranians

    Tuesday, April 08, 2014
    In September 2013, another federal judge, Katherine Forrest, decided the majority interest held by Assa Corp. and the Alavi Foundation was a front for Iran’s Bank Melli, making it a front for the Iranian government. Forrest also ruled that the U.S. government could take control of the building. The plaintiffs include numerous individuals who claim they were victimized by various terrorism acts supported by Iran, including 1983 bombings in Beirut, Lebanon.   read more

Appointments and Resignations

  • Dept. of Homeland Security Under Secretary for Science and Technology: Who Is Reggie Brothers?

    Monday, April 14, 2014
    In 2007, Brothers returned to the private sector, joining defense contractor BAE Systems, working on advanced programs and technology. Brothers joined the Obama administration in 2011 as deputy assistant secretary of Defense for Research. In that role, he was responsible for policy and oversight of Department of Defense Science and Technology programs from basic research through advanced technology development.   read more
  • Energy Under Secretary for Science: Who Is Franklin Orr?

    Sunday, April 13, 2014
    In 2009, Orr helped found the Precourt Institute for Energy at Stanford. According to the institute’s website, its mission is to provide funding and associated support for cutting-edge energy research. In recent years, the focus of Orr’s research has been into carbon capture and storage, in which emissions from power plants and other pollution sources are injected into the earth.   read more
  • Assistant Secretary of State for Economic and Business Affairs: Who Is Charles Rivkin?

    Saturday, April 12, 2014
    Rivkin is not the only member of his family to receive an appointment from Obama. His brother, Robert, was selected to be general counsel for the Department of Transportation, and Robert’s wife, Cindy S. Moelis, a close friend of Michelle Obama, was chosen to direct the Commission on White House Fellows. Rivkin’s mother, who died in 2002, and stepfather founded the American Refugee Committee, which helps relocate international refugees.   read more

Featured Story

Bureau of Land Management Gives in to Armed Protestors Supporting Rancher who Stopped Paying Fees to Graze Cattle on Federal Land

Tuesday, April 15, 2014
Rancher Cliven Bundy has refused since 1993 to pay the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) so his cattle could graze on public lands in Gold Butte, about 80 miles northeast of Las Vegas. His refusal continued even after losing two court battles in 1998 and 2013, as Bundy kept running his herd on the lands managed by BLM without paying the fees required of all ranchers.   read more
Latest News

Top Stories

  • Still Secret Report Accuses CIA of Fighting White House, Congress and its own Inspector General to Hide Torture Details

    Monday, April 14, 2014
    The Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) misled the George W. Bush Administration and Congress about its use of so-called harsh interrogation techniques, or torture, according to the findings of a still-secret report that have been leaked. The report, which was prepared by the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence, shows that the CIA mischaracterized the efficacy of the interrogation techniques they used and it impeded White House and Congressional oversight of the interrogation program.   read more
  • Treasury Dept. Intercepts Tax Refunds to Collect Debts of Dead Parents

    Sunday, April 13, 2014
    Thanks to a one-line provision slipped into the 2008 Farm Bill, a 10-year statute of limitations was removed from old debts to the government. The Social Security Administration (SSA) is taking advantage of that, garnishing tax refunds, including from children of people whom the SSA claims were overpaid benefits in the distant past. Social Security officials say that if children benefitted even indirectly from an overpayment, they’re liable for the debt.   read more
  • Obama Administration Criticizes EU Plan to Avoid NSA Data Surveillance as a Violation of Trade Agreement

    Saturday, April 12, 2014
    The United States has accused some of its leading European allies of endangering free trade agreements if they pursue the development of protected data networks to avoid American electronic spying operations. Government and corporate officials in Europe began discussing whether their nations should shield themselves from future NSA spying by keeping emails and other electronic information from passing through American-based networks.   read more

Unusual News

  • Retired Supreme Court Justice Stevens Suggests Adding 5 Words to Second Amendment to Clarify Right to Bear Arms

    Monday, April 14, 2014
    Stevens proposes a five-word change to the Second Amendment. As he would write it, it reads: “A well regulated Militia, being necessary to the security of a free State, the right of the people to keep and bear Arms when serving in the Militia shall not be infringed.” Those five words, which would clarify the Second Amendment to bring it in line with what Stevens says is the framers’ intent, could prove to do more to protect generations to come than all the armed guards in the world.   read more
  • North Dakota: The State that Loves Drones

    Sunday, April 13, 2014
    Since May 2013, there have been nine instances in which drones have been used in the Grand Forks area. They include searching a flooded river for drowning victims, photographing a train collision, photographing river bank erosion and damage to historic buildings, searching for two suspects accused of auto theft and child molestation and taking photos of an outdoor murder scene.   read more
  • Baltimore County Solves its Homicides; North Richmond Doesn’t

    Thursday, April 10, 2014
    Law enforcement in Baltimore County, Maryland, say they closed 100% of their homicide cases last year—a remarkable feat for any jurisdiction, even one that has only 20 killings a year. North Richmond, an unincorporated stretch of Contra Costa County measuring only 1.5 square miles, recorded 19 homicides last year. Most went unsolved, with charges being filed in only five of the cases.   read more

Where is the Money Going?

  • Day Care Costs More Than College in 31 States

    Sunday, April 13, 2014
    Residents of some states, like New York, face budget-busting costs to put their kids into day care. There, such services average $15,000 a year. Meanwhile, the expense of in-state college tuition is only $6,500 annually. Massachusetts has an even higher average per-annum day-care cost: $16,500 Other states with significant gaps between the costs of day care and college tuition include Colorado, Maryland and Oregon.   read more
  • Nine of the Ten most Common Occupations in U.S. Pay less than the National Average Wage

    Friday, April 11, 2014
    Nearly all of the top 10 most common jobs in America don’t pay well, according to new figures released by the Bureau of Labor Statistics. Nine of the 10 largest occupations produced an average wage below the U.S. average of $46,440 annually. The lone exception among top jobs was registered nurses, who make an average of $68,910 per year. The average for the rest ranged from $18,880 for food preparation and serving workers to $34,000 for secretaries and administrative assistants   read more
  • Labor Dept., for First Time, Intervenes on Behalf of Unpaid Interns

    Thursday, April 10, 2014
    The plaintiffs allege that Hearst made them work full-time hours while receiving no income. The lead plaintiff, Xuedan Wang, says she was at Harper’s Bazaar between 40 and 55 hours a week while performing a variety of duties that paid workers perform, like handling expense reports and managing other interns. Under Labor Department rules, unpaid interns can’t replace regular employees or do work that provides an “immediate advantage” to the business.   read more

Controversies

  • EPA Loopholes Allow Biomass Facilities to Create more Toxic Pollution than Coal

    Monday, April 14, 2014
    Coal plants that emit 100 tons of a pollutant each year are required to obtain Prevention of Significant Deterioration (PSD) permits that mandate EPA oversight, among other things. But biomass plants are allowed to produce 250 tons of a pollutant before the same permit requirement kicks in for them. “We're talking about the same pollution, the same health effects, but biomass plants get to emit two and a half times as much,” Booth said.   read more
  • Rebellious Ranchers Round Up Federally Protected Wild Horses

    Monday, April 14, 2014
    Commissioners in Iron County, Utah, complain that there are more horses on the land than the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) has planned for and that the bureau has done a poor job of managing the horses, according to The Salt Lake Tribune. County Commissioner David Miller claims there are 2,000 wild horses in the county, while wild horse advocates say the number of less than 500. The commissioners say that if the BLM doesn’t act, the county will. However, public roundups are illegal.   read more
  • Criminals Take Chain Saws to 1,000-Year-Old Redwoods

    Saturday, April 12, 2014
    Burls, the knotty growth found on ancient redwoods, are the focus of the wanton destruction that has left massive scars on the trees and endangered their growth and reproduction. Poachers prize the burls because they contain intricate wood patterns sought by makers of tabletops, clocks and other home furnishings. Items made from burls can fetch hundreds if not thousands of dollars, making the collection of burls a lucrative—and often illegal—trade.   read more

U.S. and the World

  • Blackwater Guards Finally to be Tried for Killing 14 Iraqi Civilians

    Sunday, April 13, 2014
    Following the incident, DSS officials forced the Blackwater specialists to provide written statements of the shootings in exchange for full immunity from criminal prosecution. That decision by the State Department derailed the U.S. Department of Justice’s first attempt to prosecute the guards once they returned to the U.S. A federal appeals court then reinstated the charges, saying the lower court had erred in dismissing the case.   read more
  • Afghan Children Die by the Dozens because of Explosives U.S. Left Behind at Firing Ranges

    Friday, April 11, 2014
    The open fields of Afghanistan have become lethal for many of that nation’s children due to scores of unexploded ordinance left by U.S. military forces. Dozens of Afghan children have died after wandering into abandoned U.S. firing ranges filled with undetonated artillery shells, rockets and grenades. The U.N. says at least 70 civilians—62 of whom were children—have died since 2012 in and around U.S. or NATO firing ranges or bases.   read more
  • Judge Rules Terrorism Victims can Seize $500 Million Midtown Manhattan Office Tower Owned by Iranians

    Tuesday, April 08, 2014
    In September 2013, another federal judge, Katherine Forrest, decided the majority interest held by Assa Corp. and the Alavi Foundation was a front for Iran’s Bank Melli, making it a front for the Iranian government. Forrest also ruled that the U.S. government could take control of the building. The plaintiffs include numerous individuals who claim they were victimized by various terrorism acts supported by Iran, including 1983 bombings in Beirut, Lebanon.   read more

Appointments and Resignations

  • Dept. of Homeland Security Under Secretary for Science and Technology: Who Is Reggie Brothers?

    Monday, April 14, 2014
    In 2007, Brothers returned to the private sector, joining defense contractor BAE Systems, working on advanced programs and technology. Brothers joined the Obama administration in 2011 as deputy assistant secretary of Defense for Research. In that role, he was responsible for policy and oversight of Department of Defense Science and Technology programs from basic research through advanced technology development.   read more
  • Energy Under Secretary for Science: Who Is Franklin Orr?

    Sunday, April 13, 2014
    In 2009, Orr helped found the Precourt Institute for Energy at Stanford. According to the institute’s website, its mission is to provide funding and associated support for cutting-edge energy research. In recent years, the focus of Orr’s research has been into carbon capture and storage, in which emissions from power plants and other pollution sources are injected into the earth.   read more
  • Assistant Secretary of State for Economic and Business Affairs: Who Is Charles Rivkin?

    Saturday, April 12, 2014
    Rivkin is not the only member of his family to receive an appointment from Obama. His brother, Robert, was selected to be general counsel for the Department of Transportation, and Robert’s wife, Cindy S. Moelis, a close friend of Michelle Obama, was chosen to direct the Commission on White House Fellows. Rivkin’s mother, who died in 2002, and stepfather founded the American Refugee Committee, which helps relocate international refugees.   read more