Featured Story

U.S. Ambassador to Germany: Who Is Richard Grenell?

Thursday, September 21, 2017
Grenell was named in 2001 to be spokesman for the U.S. Mission to the UN, becoming the longest-serving person at the job. He next joined industry, first as a VP for DaVita Healthcare, then forming his own firm, Capitol Media Partners. In 2012, Grenell served as Mitt Romney’s foreign affairs spokesman, but was chased off the campaign by anti-gay attacks from the right. Since then, he has contributed to Fox News and other conservative outlets, where he often sniped at the Obama administration.   read more
Latest News

Top Stories

  • United States Ambassador to Zambia: Who Is Dan Foote?

    Sunday, September 17, 2017
    In 2010, Foote was in Colombia as director of the Bureau of International Narcotics and Law Enforcement (INL) section in that country. In Afghanistan he served as coordinating director at the embassy, where he managed U.S. civilian foreign assistance and law enforcement activities. In 2015, he returned to Washington as a deputy assistant secretary for INL to oversee its activities in Afghanistan and Pakistan, in addition to its Office of Anticrime Programs.   read more
  • Administrator of the General Services Administration: Who Is Emily W. Murphy?

    Friday, September 15, 2017
    President Trump may hope he can rely on Murphy's lifelong GOP partisanship to stymie a GSA Inspector General probe into his company’s GSA lease for the building where the Washington Trump Hotel is located. In March, GSA exempted Trump from being in violation of a lease provision, a decision called “unbelievable” by two prominent law professors. Since January, Murphy has served as White House liaison to GSA but it's not known whether she had any input on the Trump Hotel GSA lease decision.   read more
  • U.S. Ambassador to Djibouti: Who Is Larry André, Jr.?

    Thursday, September 14, 2017
    André’s first experience in Africa came courtesy not of the State Dept, but of the Peace Corps, which sent him to work as a volunteer in Senegal from 1983 to 1985. He returned to Africa to work on a refugee resettlement project in Chad from 1988 to 1990, then joined the Foreign Service for postings in Nigeria, Cameroon, and Bangladesh. At the State Dept, André served as deputy director of the Office of West African Affairs in the Bureau of African Affairs and also worked briefly in Iraq in 2005.   read more

Unusual News

  • Should Panhandlers be Issued Licenses?

    Thursday, July 13, 2017
    Our idea about what it takes to regulate panhandling intelligently: Encourage “successful panhandling,” which brings together willing donors and willing solicitors; and discourage “unsuccessful panhandling,” which targets people who don’t even want to see solicitations, let alone give money to someone asking for help on the sidewalk. What’s wrong with most anti-panhandling ordinances is that they try to ban or discourage both kinds instead of promoting the former and discouraging the latter.   read more
  • Illegal to Talk about Yellow Traffic Lights in Oregon

    Sunday, April 30, 2017
    Jarlstrom sued the Portland suburb, claiming it programmed its yellow lights to be so brief that drivers didn’t have time to make it through an intersection before they turned red, putting drivers in danger. After the judge tossed his suit, a state agency launched a two-year investigation of Jarlstrom, then fined him $500 for publicly critiquing the mathematical formulas behind traffic light cameras without an engineering license. Jarlstrom calls that a prohibition on free speech.   read more
  • In Small Louisiana Town, Hundreds Routinely Jailed with No Evidence of Crime beyond a “Hunch”

    Friday, December 30, 2016
    A "staggering" number of town residents have been arrested based on a “hunch” or “feeling” that they were involved in criminal activity. Police strip-searched individuals suspected of committing crimes, placed them in cells without beds, toilets, or showers, and denied them communication with loved ones for days at a time. Citizens were “commonly detained for 72 hours or more without being provided an opportunity to contest their arrest and detention,” said the Justice Department report.   read more

Where is the Money Going?

  • 4 Programs that Both Obama and Trump Want to Eliminate

    Monday, May 01, 2017
    It sometimes seems that the differences between the priorities of the Republican Party and the Democratic Party are so great that they can’t agree on anything. Not so. Here are four programs that President Barack Obama’s last budget and President Donald Trump’s first budget proposed for complete elimination.   read more
  • Reducing Aircrafts’ Bathroom Size Increases Airline Profits and Decreases Passenger Safety

    Saturday, December 24, 2016
    AFA-CWA's Sara Nelson said that “doors of these restrooms open into each other, creating safety issues. There are a lot of injuries, with smashed fingers, doors hitting people, bumps and bruises.” She said the rear cabin restroom doors also create a barricade, limiting the ability of crew to help a passenger in trouble. Some parents with small kids say they can't help their kids in the toilet unless the door stays open. Large-size passengers are at a loss.   read more
  • Price of Antidote for Heroin Overdose Skyrockets as Much As 500%

    Friday, December 16, 2016
    The price of Narcan -- the lifesaving heroin-overdose antidote that revives the dying -- has skyrocketed, with one formulation rising more than 500% in two years. Although Narcan first hit the market in 1971, demand has skyrocketed as the opioid epidemic worsens. And with more potent opioids on the street -- such as fentanyl -- first responders, the largest consumers of the drug, are finding they need multiple doses to revive overdose victims.   read more

Controversies

  • Bears Under Fire in Florida

    Friday, April 21, 2017
    “2015 was a deadly year for the Florida black bear. Collisions with vehicles killed at least 169 ... wildlife managers killed at least 108...that were considered nuisances or threats to human safety, at least 9 were killed illegally, and in October hunters killed at least 304 Florida black bears in the first Florida black bear hunt in 20 years,” the petition stated. The 2016 hunt was “voted down due to overwhelming public outcry against the barbaric and unnecessary hunt,” said an advocacy group.   read more
  • 97 Corporations and 16 State Attorneys General Join Court Fight against Trump Travel Ban

    Tuesday, February 07, 2017
    “President Trump’s executive order is unconstitutional, unlawful, and fundamentally un-American...[and] undermines our states’ families, economies, and institutions," said New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman. High-ranking U.S. security officials, including Madeleine Albright, Leon Panetta and John Kerry signed a declaration arguing the ban endangers U.S. citizens. “We view the order as one that ultimately undermines the national security of the United States...” the officials said.   read more
  • Texas Judge Halts Federal Transgender Health Protections

    Sunday, January 01, 2017
    "Judge O'Connor's conclusion that transgender people and persons who have had abortions are somehow excepted from protection is deeply troubling, legally specious, and morally repugnant," said TLDEF's Ezra Young. Many transgender people expect Trump as president to abandon or weaken the transgender protection efforts pursued by the Obama administration. He has declined to repudiate a divisive North Carolina law that restricts transgender people's bathroom access.   read more

U.S. and the World

  • Which Countries have been Killing Americans? The Trump 7 vs. the Rest of the World

    Sunday, January 29, 2017
    These are the seven countries from which President Donald Trump halted entry to the United States: Iran, Iraq, Libya, Somalia, Sudan, Syria and Yemen. Including all terrorist acts committed by terrorists who were foreign-born or whose parents were born abroad, the total number of Americans killed by terrorists from the Trump 7 is…zero. On the other hand, terrorists from other countries have killed 2, 689 Americans. Here are some examples.   read more
  • Trump Proceeds with Development of Luxury Resorts Tied to Powerful Indonesian Political Figures

    Sunday, January 01, 2017
    Even as Trump says he'll end foreign business deals, he's taking on projects involving powerful political figures. They include a politician accused of trying to extort billions of dollars from a U.S. mining company, a top shareholder in that company, and a billionaire running for national office. “You could have two world leaders that are business partners,” said a Bush lawyer. “It makes it almost impossible to conduct diplomacy in an evenhanded manner." Said Trump: "It's not a big deal."   read more
  • U.S. Program to seize Assets Stolen by Corrupt Foreign Leaders May be undermined by Trump’s Global Business Interests

    Sunday, January 01, 2017
    It's been a 6-year U.S. effort to seize $3 billion in assets of foreign officials who use their countries’ wealth to enrich themselves. If Trump doesn't separate his business from politics, it will be tougher for the Justice Dept to criticize foreign leaders who have gained wealth based on their government ties. "It reduces U.S. leverage because of the perceived hypocrisy. The moral case is drastically undermined,” said prof. Stephenson.   read more

Appointments and Resignations

  • U.S. Ambassador to Bahrain: Who Is Justin Siberell?

    Friday, August 25, 2017
    As acting coordinator for counterterrorism, Siberell charged in 2016 that Iran was the leading government sponsor of terrorism. In 2017, he said that the majority of the world's 2016 terrorist attacks took place in Iraq, Afghanistan, India, Pakistan, and the Philippines. Under Siberell’s watch, Cuba was dropped from the report for the first time in 33 years. Siberell also led the secret briefing of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee on “Beyond Iraq and Syria: ISIS' Global Reach.”   read more
  • United States Ambassador to France and Monaco: Who Is Jamie McCourt?

    Tuesday, August 22, 2017
    McCourt, who is one of the most reviled figures in Los Angeles Dodgers’ history, has no experience in international diplomacy, but she did donate a lot of money to Trump’s campaign and to the Republican Party. As owners of the Dodgers, she and her husband alienated fans with higher parking prices, uniform changes and, because of a huge amount of team debt, failure to pay for talent. Jamie was made the team’s CEO in 2009 but quit in 2011 after receiving a $130-million divorce settlement.   read more
  • Assistant Secretary for Infrastructure Protection: Who Is Christopher Krebs?

    Wednesday, August 16, 2017
    Krebs joined the George W. Bush administration as a policy adviser to Bob Stephan, then the assistant secretary for infrastructure protection. Krebs helped develop and implement DHS’ Chemical Facility Anti-Terrorism Standards regulatory program. Krebs left government in 2009 to join Dutko Risk Management, a lobbying firm, as a VP in a new division to focus on consulting with governments and businesses on risk-management issues involving threats and disaster recovery.   read more

Featured Story

U.S. Ambassador to Germany: Who Is Richard Grenell?

Thursday, September 21, 2017
Grenell was named in 2001 to be spokesman for the U.S. Mission to the UN, becoming the longest-serving person at the job. He next joined industry, first as a VP for DaVita Healthcare, then forming his own firm, Capitol Media Partners. In 2012, Grenell served as Mitt Romney’s foreign affairs spokesman, but was chased off the campaign by anti-gay attacks from the right. Since then, he has contributed to Fox News and other conservative outlets, where he often sniped at the Obama administration.   read more
Latest News

Top Stories

  • United States Ambassador to Zambia: Who Is Dan Foote?

    Sunday, September 17, 2017
    In 2010, Foote was in Colombia as director of the Bureau of International Narcotics and Law Enforcement (INL) section in that country. In Afghanistan he served as coordinating director at the embassy, where he managed U.S. civilian foreign assistance and law enforcement activities. In 2015, he returned to Washington as a deputy assistant secretary for INL to oversee its activities in Afghanistan and Pakistan, in addition to its Office of Anticrime Programs.   read more
  • Administrator of the General Services Administration: Who Is Emily W. Murphy?

    Friday, September 15, 2017
    President Trump may hope he can rely on Murphy's lifelong GOP partisanship to stymie a GSA Inspector General probe into his company’s GSA lease for the building where the Washington Trump Hotel is located. In March, GSA exempted Trump from being in violation of a lease provision, a decision called “unbelievable” by two prominent law professors. Since January, Murphy has served as White House liaison to GSA but it's not known whether she had any input on the Trump Hotel GSA lease decision.   read more
  • U.S. Ambassador to Djibouti: Who Is Larry André, Jr.?

    Thursday, September 14, 2017
    André’s first experience in Africa came courtesy not of the State Dept, but of the Peace Corps, which sent him to work as a volunteer in Senegal from 1983 to 1985. He returned to Africa to work on a refugee resettlement project in Chad from 1988 to 1990, then joined the Foreign Service for postings in Nigeria, Cameroon, and Bangladesh. At the State Dept, André served as deputy director of the Office of West African Affairs in the Bureau of African Affairs and also worked briefly in Iraq in 2005.   read more

Unusual News

  • Should Panhandlers be Issued Licenses?

    Thursday, July 13, 2017
    Our idea about what it takes to regulate panhandling intelligently: Encourage “successful panhandling,” which brings together willing donors and willing solicitors; and discourage “unsuccessful panhandling,” which targets people who don’t even want to see solicitations, let alone give money to someone asking for help on the sidewalk. What’s wrong with most anti-panhandling ordinances is that they try to ban or discourage both kinds instead of promoting the former and discouraging the latter.   read more
  • Illegal to Talk about Yellow Traffic Lights in Oregon

    Sunday, April 30, 2017
    Jarlstrom sued the Portland suburb, claiming it programmed its yellow lights to be so brief that drivers didn’t have time to make it through an intersection before they turned red, putting drivers in danger. After the judge tossed his suit, a state agency launched a two-year investigation of Jarlstrom, then fined him $500 for publicly critiquing the mathematical formulas behind traffic light cameras without an engineering license. Jarlstrom calls that a prohibition on free speech.   read more
  • In Small Louisiana Town, Hundreds Routinely Jailed with No Evidence of Crime beyond a “Hunch”

    Friday, December 30, 2016
    A "staggering" number of town residents have been arrested based on a “hunch” or “feeling” that they were involved in criminal activity. Police strip-searched individuals suspected of committing crimes, placed them in cells without beds, toilets, or showers, and denied them communication with loved ones for days at a time. Citizens were “commonly detained for 72 hours or more without being provided an opportunity to contest their arrest and detention,” said the Justice Department report.   read more

Where is the Money Going?

  • 4 Programs that Both Obama and Trump Want to Eliminate

    Monday, May 01, 2017
    It sometimes seems that the differences between the priorities of the Republican Party and the Democratic Party are so great that they can’t agree on anything. Not so. Here are four programs that President Barack Obama’s last budget and President Donald Trump’s first budget proposed for complete elimination.   read more
  • Reducing Aircrafts’ Bathroom Size Increases Airline Profits and Decreases Passenger Safety

    Saturday, December 24, 2016
    AFA-CWA's Sara Nelson said that “doors of these restrooms open into each other, creating safety issues. There are a lot of injuries, with smashed fingers, doors hitting people, bumps and bruises.” She said the rear cabin restroom doors also create a barricade, limiting the ability of crew to help a passenger in trouble. Some parents with small kids say they can't help their kids in the toilet unless the door stays open. Large-size passengers are at a loss.   read more
  • Price of Antidote for Heroin Overdose Skyrockets as Much As 500%

    Friday, December 16, 2016
    The price of Narcan -- the lifesaving heroin-overdose antidote that revives the dying -- has skyrocketed, with one formulation rising more than 500% in two years. Although Narcan first hit the market in 1971, demand has skyrocketed as the opioid epidemic worsens. And with more potent opioids on the street -- such as fentanyl -- first responders, the largest consumers of the drug, are finding they need multiple doses to revive overdose victims.   read more

Controversies

  • Bears Under Fire in Florida

    Friday, April 21, 2017
    “2015 was a deadly year for the Florida black bear. Collisions with vehicles killed at least 169 ... wildlife managers killed at least 108...that were considered nuisances or threats to human safety, at least 9 were killed illegally, and in October hunters killed at least 304 Florida black bears in the first Florida black bear hunt in 20 years,” the petition stated. The 2016 hunt was “voted down due to overwhelming public outcry against the barbaric and unnecessary hunt,” said an advocacy group.   read more
  • 97 Corporations and 16 State Attorneys General Join Court Fight against Trump Travel Ban

    Tuesday, February 07, 2017
    “President Trump’s executive order is unconstitutional, unlawful, and fundamentally un-American...[and] undermines our states’ families, economies, and institutions," said New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman. High-ranking U.S. security officials, including Madeleine Albright, Leon Panetta and John Kerry signed a declaration arguing the ban endangers U.S. citizens. “We view the order as one that ultimately undermines the national security of the United States...” the officials said.   read more
  • Texas Judge Halts Federal Transgender Health Protections

    Sunday, January 01, 2017
    "Judge O'Connor's conclusion that transgender people and persons who have had abortions are somehow excepted from protection is deeply troubling, legally specious, and morally repugnant," said TLDEF's Ezra Young. Many transgender people expect Trump as president to abandon or weaken the transgender protection efforts pursued by the Obama administration. He has declined to repudiate a divisive North Carolina law that restricts transgender people's bathroom access.   read more

U.S. and the World

  • Which Countries have been Killing Americans? The Trump 7 vs. the Rest of the World

    Sunday, January 29, 2017
    These are the seven countries from which President Donald Trump halted entry to the United States: Iran, Iraq, Libya, Somalia, Sudan, Syria and Yemen. Including all terrorist acts committed by terrorists who were foreign-born or whose parents were born abroad, the total number of Americans killed by terrorists from the Trump 7 is…zero. On the other hand, terrorists from other countries have killed 2, 689 Americans. Here are some examples.   read more
  • Trump Proceeds with Development of Luxury Resorts Tied to Powerful Indonesian Political Figures

    Sunday, January 01, 2017
    Even as Trump says he'll end foreign business deals, he's taking on projects involving powerful political figures. They include a politician accused of trying to extort billions of dollars from a U.S. mining company, a top shareholder in that company, and a billionaire running for national office. “You could have two world leaders that are business partners,” said a Bush lawyer. “It makes it almost impossible to conduct diplomacy in an evenhanded manner." Said Trump: "It's not a big deal."   read more
  • U.S. Program to seize Assets Stolen by Corrupt Foreign Leaders May be undermined by Trump’s Global Business Interests

    Sunday, January 01, 2017
    It's been a 6-year U.S. effort to seize $3 billion in assets of foreign officials who use their countries’ wealth to enrich themselves. If Trump doesn't separate his business from politics, it will be tougher for the Justice Dept to criticize foreign leaders who have gained wealth based on their government ties. "It reduces U.S. leverage because of the perceived hypocrisy. The moral case is drastically undermined,” said prof. Stephenson.   read more

Appointments and Resignations

  • U.S. Ambassador to Bahrain: Who Is Justin Siberell?

    Friday, August 25, 2017
    As acting coordinator for counterterrorism, Siberell charged in 2016 that Iran was the leading government sponsor of terrorism. In 2017, he said that the majority of the world's 2016 terrorist attacks took place in Iraq, Afghanistan, India, Pakistan, and the Philippines. Under Siberell’s watch, Cuba was dropped from the report for the first time in 33 years. Siberell also led the secret briefing of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee on “Beyond Iraq and Syria: ISIS' Global Reach.”   read more
  • United States Ambassador to France and Monaco: Who Is Jamie McCourt?

    Tuesday, August 22, 2017
    McCourt, who is one of the most reviled figures in Los Angeles Dodgers’ history, has no experience in international diplomacy, but she did donate a lot of money to Trump’s campaign and to the Republican Party. As owners of the Dodgers, she and her husband alienated fans with higher parking prices, uniform changes and, because of a huge amount of team debt, failure to pay for talent. Jamie was made the team’s CEO in 2009 but quit in 2011 after receiving a $130-million divorce settlement.   read more
  • Assistant Secretary for Infrastructure Protection: Who Is Christopher Krebs?

    Wednesday, August 16, 2017
    Krebs joined the George W. Bush administration as a policy adviser to Bob Stephan, then the assistant secretary for infrastructure protection. Krebs helped develop and implement DHS’ Chemical Facility Anti-Terrorism Standards regulatory program. Krebs left government in 2009 to join Dutko Risk Management, a lobbying firm, as a VP in a new division to focus on consulting with governments and businesses on risk-management issues involving threats and disaster recovery.   read more