Featured Story

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
Latest News

Top Stories

  • Obama Has Overseen the Smallest Reduction in U.S. Nuclear Stockpile of Any Post-Cold War President

    Friday, May 27, 2016
    The new analysis underscored the striking gap between Obama’s soaring vision of a world without nuclear arms, which he laid out during the first months of his presidency, and the tough geopolitical and bureaucratic realities of getting rid of those weapons. The lack of progress in both arms control and warhead dismantlement also seems to coincide with the administration’s push for sweeping nuclear modernizations and weapons upgrades, estimated to cost up to $1 trillion over three decades.   read more
  • Antiquated Computers Run U.S. Government, Including Emergency Nuclear Force Messaging on 1970s-Era Floppy Discs

    Thursday, May 26, 2016
    Nonpartisan investigators found that about three-fourths of the $80 billion budget goes to keep aging technology running, and the increasing cost is shortchanging modernization. The computers date back more than 50 years in some cases. "Replacement parts for the system are difficult to find because they are now obsolete," GAO said of the Pentagon's 1970s-era computer system that's used to operate U.S. nuclear forces. Social Security's computer system dates back even farther--to the late 1950s.   read more
  • Nation’s First Academic Chair for Study of Atheism Established at Miami University

    Wednesday, May 25, 2016
    The chair has been established with a $2.2 million donation from Louis Appignani, a retired businessman. “I’m trying to eliminate discrimination against atheists,” he said. "This is a step in that direction." With atheists still often stigmatized and disparaged in this country, it took some persuading for the university to agree to create a chair with the word “atheism” in the title. "That was a deal-breaker for Lou,” Siegel said. “He wasn’t going to do it unless it had the word atheism in it.”   read more

Unusual News

  • V.A. Cut off Benefits of 4,200 Veterans They Wrongly Claimed Were Dead

    Friday, May 27, 2016
    "We simply cannot have men and women who have sacrificed for this country see their rightful benefits wrongfully terminated because the VA mistakenly declares them dead," Rep. Jolly wrote. Now, when officials think a veteran is dead, the department will send a letter to his or her address and request confirmation of the death from a surviving family member. If the VA doesn't hear from the family — or from a veteran erroneously believed dead — only then will the department terminate payments.   read more
  • Federal Judge Issues Unusual Ruling Calling for Probation Instead of Prison in Drug Case, Citing Post-Conviction Consequences

    Thursday, May 26, 2016
    Judge Block quoted legal scholar Michelle Alexander: “Today a criminal freed from prison has scarcely more rights, and arguably less respect, than a freed slave or a black person living ‘free’ in Mississippi at the height of Jim Crow.” Said Prof. Chin: “This is...the most careful and thorough judicial examination [of collateral consequences in sentencing]. It’s going to generate debate on a critical issue...the ability of people convicted of crimes to get on with their lives."   read more
  • Americans, Age 18-34, More Likely to Live with Parents than Romantic Partners

    Wednesday, May 25, 2016
    Young men have consistently been more likely to live with their parents than young women have, and that remains true, generally because women marry younger and move out. But now living with parents is on the cusp of becoming the dominant arrangement for young women as well. “What you tend to see is that racial and ethnic minorities...especially from disadvantaged backgrounds, are the most likely to be living in their parent’s home and the least likely to have a partner,” Fry said.   read more

Where is the Money Going?

  • 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
  • Two-Thirds of Americans Would Struggle to Pay for a $1,000 Emergency

    Saturday, May 21, 2016
    These difficulties span all incomes, according to the poll. Three-quarters of people in households making less than $50,000 a year and two-thirds of those making between $50,000 and $100,000 would have difficulty coming up with $1,000 to cover an unexpected bill. Even for the country's wealthiest 20% — households making more than $100,000 a year — 38% say they would have at least some difficulty coming up with $1,000.   read more

Controversies

  • U.S. Government and Oil Company Trade Blame 12 Years into Gulf of Mexico Oil Leak that Could Last 100 Years

    Friday, May 27, 2016
    An oil company whose leaky well could discharge oil into the Gulf of Mexico for the next century hasn't tried hard enough to stop the leaks, the federal government says. Taylor Energy sued the federal government saying the feds won't return $400 million it set aside to stop the leak. Evidence shows that the leak is worse than either the company or government previously reported. Satellite images show that between 300,000 and 1.4 million gallons of oil have spilled from Taylor's site since 2004.   read more
  • Disconnect Persists between Trump’s Lack of Economic Bona Fides and His Supporters’ Belief in Them

    Friday, May 27, 2016
    One of the many peculiar things about his run for the White House is that it rests heavily on his claims of being a masterful businessman, yet it’s far from clear how good he really is at the “art of the deal.” Remember, too, that Trump is a clear case of someone born on third base who imagines that he hit a triple: He inherited a fortune, and it’s far from clear that he has expanded that fortune any more than he would have if he had simply parked the money in an index fund.   read more
  • Republican-Backed Ohio Law Eliminating Early Voting Ruled Unconstitutional

    Friday, May 27, 2016
    Judge Watson ruled that the cut violates the Voting Rights Act and voters' equal protection rights. Watson said statistical and anecdotal evidence presented in the case reflects that black voters use same-day voter registration and early voting options at higher rates than whites. While the court can't predict how African-Americans will turn out in future elections, he said, "It is reasonable to conclude from this evidence that their right to vote will be modestly burdened" by the law."   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

  • 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
  • Denmark’s Ambassador to the United States: Who Is Lars Gert Lose?

    Saturday, May 21, 2016
    Part of Lose’s duties since arriving in the U.S. includes explaining Danish policies mentioned in the course of the U.S. presidential campaign. He commented on Democratic candidate Bernie Sanders’ statement that he would like to see the U.S. economy be more like Denmark’s. “It goes without saying, of course without interfering in the U.S. political debate, that we welcome any positive mention of Denmark,” Lose said. “Denmark has a lot to offer in terms of how we organize our society.”   read more
  • Ambassador to El Salvador: Who Is Jean E. Manes?

    Sunday, May 15, 2016
    Manes was principal officer in the consulate in Azores, where she helped negotiate the U.S. military presence in those islands. She then was named cultural affairs officer in an embassy in Brazil, where she helped develop an English teaching strategy in the run-up to the World Cup and Olympic Games. She returned to Washington in 2010 as staff director in the Office of Policy, Planning and Resources for Public Affairs. In 2012, she served a tour as counselor for public affairs in Afghanistan.   read more

Featured Story

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
Latest News

Top Stories

  • Obama Has Overseen the Smallest Reduction in U.S. Nuclear Stockpile of Any Post-Cold War President

    Friday, May 27, 2016
    The new analysis underscored the striking gap between Obama’s soaring vision of a world without nuclear arms, which he laid out during the first months of his presidency, and the tough geopolitical and bureaucratic realities of getting rid of those weapons. The lack of progress in both arms control and warhead dismantlement also seems to coincide with the administration’s push for sweeping nuclear modernizations and weapons upgrades, estimated to cost up to $1 trillion over three decades.   read more
  • Antiquated Computers Run U.S. Government, Including Emergency Nuclear Force Messaging on 1970s-Era Floppy Discs

    Thursday, May 26, 2016
    Nonpartisan investigators found that about three-fourths of the $80 billion budget goes to keep aging technology running, and the increasing cost is shortchanging modernization. The computers date back more than 50 years in some cases. "Replacement parts for the system are difficult to find because they are now obsolete," GAO said of the Pentagon's 1970s-era computer system that's used to operate U.S. nuclear forces. Social Security's computer system dates back even farther--to the late 1950s.   read more
  • Nation’s First Academic Chair for Study of Atheism Established at Miami University

    Wednesday, May 25, 2016
    The chair has been established with a $2.2 million donation from Louis Appignani, a retired businessman. “I’m trying to eliminate discrimination against atheists,” he said. "This is a step in that direction." With atheists still often stigmatized and disparaged in this country, it took some persuading for the university to agree to create a chair with the word “atheism” in the title. "That was a deal-breaker for Lou,” Siegel said. “He wasn’t going to do it unless it had the word atheism in it.”   read more

Unusual News

  • V.A. Cut off Benefits of 4,200 Veterans They Wrongly Claimed Were Dead

    Friday, May 27, 2016
    "We simply cannot have men and women who have sacrificed for this country see their rightful benefits wrongfully terminated because the VA mistakenly declares them dead," Rep. Jolly wrote. Now, when officials think a veteran is dead, the department will send a letter to his or her address and request confirmation of the death from a surviving family member. If the VA doesn't hear from the family — or from a veteran erroneously believed dead — only then will the department terminate payments.   read more
  • Federal Judge Issues Unusual Ruling Calling for Probation Instead of Prison in Drug Case, Citing Post-Conviction Consequences

    Thursday, May 26, 2016
    Judge Block quoted legal scholar Michelle Alexander: “Today a criminal freed from prison has scarcely more rights, and arguably less respect, than a freed slave or a black person living ‘free’ in Mississippi at the height of Jim Crow.” Said Prof. Chin: “This is...the most careful and thorough judicial examination [of collateral consequences in sentencing]. It’s going to generate debate on a critical issue...the ability of people convicted of crimes to get on with their lives."   read more
  • Americans, Age 18-34, More Likely to Live with Parents than Romantic Partners

    Wednesday, May 25, 2016
    Young men have consistently been more likely to live with their parents than young women have, and that remains true, generally because women marry younger and move out. But now living with parents is on the cusp of becoming the dominant arrangement for young women as well. “What you tend to see is that racial and ethnic minorities...especially from disadvantaged backgrounds, are the most likely to be living in their parent’s home and the least likely to have a partner,” Fry said.   read more

Where is the Money Going?

  • 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
  • Two-Thirds of Americans Would Struggle to Pay for a $1,000 Emergency

    Saturday, May 21, 2016
    These difficulties span all incomes, according to the poll. Three-quarters of people in households making less than $50,000 a year and two-thirds of those making between $50,000 and $100,000 would have difficulty coming up with $1,000 to cover an unexpected bill. Even for the country's wealthiest 20% — households making more than $100,000 a year — 38% say they would have at least some difficulty coming up with $1,000.   read more

Controversies

  • U.S. Government and Oil Company Trade Blame 12 Years into Gulf of Mexico Oil Leak that Could Last 100 Years

    Friday, May 27, 2016
    An oil company whose leaky well could discharge oil into the Gulf of Mexico for the next century hasn't tried hard enough to stop the leaks, the federal government says. Taylor Energy sued the federal government saying the feds won't return $400 million it set aside to stop the leak. Evidence shows that the leak is worse than either the company or government previously reported. Satellite images show that between 300,000 and 1.4 million gallons of oil have spilled from Taylor's site since 2004.   read more
  • Disconnect Persists between Trump’s Lack of Economic Bona Fides and His Supporters’ Belief in Them

    Friday, May 27, 2016
    One of the many peculiar things about his run for the White House is that it rests heavily on his claims of being a masterful businessman, yet it’s far from clear how good he really is at the “art of the deal.” Remember, too, that Trump is a clear case of someone born on third base who imagines that he hit a triple: He inherited a fortune, and it’s far from clear that he has expanded that fortune any more than he would have if he had simply parked the money in an index fund.   read more
  • Republican-Backed Ohio Law Eliminating Early Voting Ruled Unconstitutional

    Friday, May 27, 2016
    Judge Watson ruled that the cut violates the Voting Rights Act and voters' equal protection rights. Watson said statistical and anecdotal evidence presented in the case reflects that black voters use same-day voter registration and early voting options at higher rates than whites. While the court can't predict how African-Americans will turn out in future elections, he said, "It is reasonable to conclude from this evidence that their right to vote will be modestly burdened" by the law."   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

  • 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
  • Denmark’s Ambassador to the United States: Who Is Lars Gert Lose?

    Saturday, May 21, 2016
    Part of Lose’s duties since arriving in the U.S. includes explaining Danish policies mentioned in the course of the U.S. presidential campaign. He commented on Democratic candidate Bernie Sanders’ statement that he would like to see the U.S. economy be more like Denmark’s. “It goes without saying, of course without interfering in the U.S. political debate, that we welcome any positive mention of Denmark,” Lose said. “Denmark has a lot to offer in terms of how we organize our society.”   read more
  • Ambassador to El Salvador: Who Is Jean E. Manes?

    Sunday, May 15, 2016
    Manes was principal officer in the consulate in Azores, where she helped negotiate the U.S. military presence in those islands. She then was named cultural affairs officer in an embassy in Brazil, where she helped develop an English teaching strategy in the run-up to the World Cup and Olympic Games. She returned to Washington in 2010 as staff director in the Office of Policy, Planning and Resources for Public Affairs. In 2012, she served a tour as counselor for public affairs in Afghanistan.   read more