Featured Story

Facebook Expands Political Footprint, Eyeing Major Role in 2016 Presidential Campaigns

Friday, July 31, 2015
"Most users really have no idea how much information Facebook collects about them or how Facebook is able to infer from even a post...what their political orientation might be,” said EPIC's Rotenberg. “Facebook knows everything you’ve said, everything you’ve posted, everything you’ve clicked on.” Said Rand Paul strategist Vincent Harris: “Think about how powerful this is. It’s a fundraising tool [and] a persuasion tool... Facebook is actually everything. And this is what scares people.”   read more
Latest News

Top Stories

  • More Problems for the Trillion-Dollar F-35: It’s not Good at Close Combat

    Thursday, July 30, 2015
    A test pilot who flew an F-35 said 17 dogfights demonstrated that the plane could not compete with the F-16, which was introduced in the 1970s and is the plane the F-35 is supposed to replace. The F-35 program, which will cost more than $1 trillion if fully produced, has had other serious problems exposed: vulnerability to lightning strikes, and an inaccurate and unstable software system   read more
  • Justice Dept. Refuses to Release---or even Talk About—Secret 12-Year-Old Memo on Cybersecurity

    Thursday, July 30, 2015
    The Senate may be about to take up cybersecurity legislation and Sen. Ron Wyden (D-Oregon) wants to make sure his colleagues put the subject in the proper context. To do that, Wyden wants a memo produced by the George W. Bush administration on the subject to be made public. So far, Wyden has been unsuccessful in getting the memo released before the Senate considers the Cybersecurity Information Sharing Act (CISA).   read more
  • Obama Disgusts Human Rights Advocates by Calling Ethiopian Government “Democratically Elected”

    Wednesday, July 29, 2015
    Obama’s own State Dept. reported that U.S. diplomats were prevented from observing the elections, saying it was “troubled” that opposition party observers were kept out. And Obama’s national security advisor, Susan E. Rice, told reporters that the result of the election was not credible. “The prime minister of Ethiopia was just elected with 100 percent of the vote, which I think suggests...some concern for the integrity of the electoral process,” she said.   read more

Unusual News

  • The U.S. Dentist who Lured a Famous Lion out of its Sanctuary and Killed Him

    Thursday, July 30, 2015
    Minnesota dentist Walter Palmer has come in for severe criticism since it became known that he killed Cecil, a 13-year-old lion who was lured out of a national park in Zimbabwe by local guides. Palmer reportedly paid about $54,000 for the chance to kill Cecil.   read more
  • 27% of People Killed in Police Car Chases are Innocent Bystanders

    Wednesday, July 29, 2015
    One of these innocent bystanders was Dillan Harris, a 13-month-old child who was fatally struck earlier this month near a Chicago bus stop by a man fleeing police. The suspect led police on a 3.5-mile chase that included running four red lights and driving at speeds up to 70 mph in an area with a speed limit of 30 mph. Watkins lost control of his car, jumped a curb and struck the stroller Dillan was sitting in, dragging it and the infant into a vacant lot.   read more
  • Loneliness and Too Much TV are Bad for the Brains of the Elderly

    Tuesday, July 28, 2015
    “Loneliness is a form of suffering in older people that is prevalent but undetected and untreated in medical practice,” said researcher Donovan. "Our work shows that loneliness, like depression, is associated with accelerated cognitive decline in older Americans." Other researchers found watching too much TV might also lower cognitive function. People who watch four or more hours of TV had a 1.5% higher risk of performing worse on cognitive tests compared with those who watched less TV.   read more

Where is the Money Going?

  • Fracking Billionaires Give Record-Setting Donation to Ted Cruz

    Tuesday, July 28, 2015
    Children are “being taught the other ideas, the gay agenda, every day out in the world so we have to stand up and explain to them that that’s not real, that’s not proper, it’s not right,” said Farris Wilks. He and brother Dan, who made their fortunes in the West Texas fracking boom, have reportedly contributed $15 million to a super PAC supporting Cruz. The $15 million is the largest contribution so far in the 2016 race, and represents nearly half of the $38 million raised by Keep the Promise.   read more
  • Senate Pulls a Fast One on Banks by Trying to Eliminate 102-Year-Old Freebie

    Tuesday, July 28, 2015
    In 2012, the Fed handed $1.637 billion in dividends to banks. It’s “a risk-free entitlement program,” wrote David Dayen. “It’s one of the many unknown ways the Fed extends special benefits to Wall Street.” But senators have now turned to the banks’ 6% dividend for a source of funding. Without any advance notice to the banking industry, they included a provision in the highway bill that would reduce the dividend to 1.5% for banks. The reduction would reap about $17 billion for the government.   read more
  • House Members who Voted to Stop States from Mandating GMO Labeling Received $30 Million from Agribusiness and Food Industries

    Monday, July 27, 2015
    According to information at Opensecrets.org, those supporting the bill got about $30 million to do so from Big Ag. The 275 representatives of both parties who voted to keep consumers in the dark about the food they’re consuming averaged $108,900 in contributions from agricultural interests such as Monsanto and food lobbyists such as the Grocery Manufacturers Association in the 2014 election cycle.   read more

Controversies

  • ACLU Sues California County where Each Public Defender Forced to Handle 700 Cases a Year

    Thursday, July 30, 2015
    Public defenders in Fresno County, Calif., have an unwieldy caseload with each attorney averaging 700 felony cases a year, making it virtually impossible to give clients a decent defense. Now the American Civil Liberties Union has sued Fresno County and the state of California for shortchanging the local public defender’s office’s budget.   read more
  • DeKalb County, Georgia Accused of Raising Money by Prosecuting Violations Outside its Jurisdiction

    Thursday, July 30, 2015
    Starting a few years ago, DeKalb County, Ga., officials began using its Recorder's Court to prosecute individuals who had broken state laws, even though the Recorder’s Court lacks the legal authority to do so. The county is now being sued in a class-action case claiming the court was used to bolster local revenues as part of a “scheme to generate revenue for a cash-strapped local government.”   read more
  • Justice Dept. Audit Criticizes DEA for Poor Oversight of Drug Informants

    Wednesday, July 29, 2015
    The IG found examples of informants who had broken the law and were being investigated while working with the DEA. “In some cases, the DEA continued to use, for up to six years without any (Justice Dept.) intervention, individuals who were involved in unauthorized illegal activities and who were under investigation by federal entities,” according to the report. The inspector general was stonewalled in his efforts to get information from DEA, delaying access to reports “for months at a time."   read more

U.S. and the World

  • Which Dictatorship will Host the 2022 Winter Olympics?

    Thursday, July 30, 2015
    On Friday, the members of the International Olympic Committee (IOC) will vote to decide which city will host the 2022 Winter Olympics. Originally, there were three finalists, but in October, the favorite, Oslo, withdrew. With the withdrawal of Oslo, the Olympic Movement has found itself in a crisis. Both of the cities left in the running, Beijing and Almaty, are located in countries that are ruled by repressive dictatorships: China and Kazakhstan.   read more
  • Pet Food Sold in U.S. is Produced by Slave Labor in Thailand

    Tuesday, July 28, 2015
    Fishermen revealed horror stories of crew members being dumped overboard and defiant ones being killed, sometimes by having their heads cut off. “Life at sea is cheap,” said Phil Robertson of Human Rights Watch, Asia. The FDA had found Songkla’s Thailand facilities to have unsanitary conditions that produced “adulterated” seafood that is potentially “injurious to health.” The U.S. is the biggest customer of Thai fish, totaling more than $190 million last year.   read more
  • FBI Accuses Chinese Government of Out-of-Control Economic Espionage

    Sunday, July 26, 2015
    The hackers are looking for information on everything from electronics to plant seeds—anything to put Chinese manufacturers on an equal footing with those from the United States which did the original research and development on a product. Last year, a California businessman was convicted of selling China the secret to what makes Oreo cookie filling so consistently white. Others have been charged with stealing plant seeds.   read more

Appointments and Resignations

  • U.S. Ambassador to Nepal: Who Is Alaina Teplitz?

    Sunday, July 26, 2015
    Much of her work was with information technology systems, getting IT policies in international outposts to mesh with those prescribed by Washington, and other efforts at standardization to make the systems more efficient. Part of her mandate was also to look for cost-savings by contracting out some jobs and ensuring that missions were not overstaffed.   read more
  • U.S. Ambassador to Croatia: Who Is Julieta Valls Noyes?

    Saturday, July 25, 2015
    Noyes went overseas again in 2008 as the deputy chief of mission and chargé d’affaires in the U.S. mission to the Holy See. She made some news when some cables she had sent concerning the Vatican were released through WikiLeaks. Among the subjects covered in her pithy cables were the Catholic priests’ sex abuse scandal in Ireland and the Vatican’s assistance in releasing U.S. citizens being held by Iran.   read more
  • Ecuador’s Ambassador to the United States: Who Is Francisco Borja Cevallos?

    Saturday, July 25, 2015
    In 1988, Borja’s brother, Rodrigo, was elected Ecuador’s president as a member of the Democratic Left Party and Francisco went into government as Rodrigo’s advisor, staying there until 1992 when the term was up. In 2007, Borja was named ambassador to Chile, a post he held for seven years.   read more

Featured Story

Facebook Expands Political Footprint, Eyeing Major Role in 2016 Presidential Campaigns

Friday, July 31, 2015
"Most users really have no idea how much information Facebook collects about them or how Facebook is able to infer from even a post...what their political orientation might be,” said EPIC's Rotenberg. “Facebook knows everything you’ve said, everything you’ve posted, everything you’ve clicked on.” Said Rand Paul strategist Vincent Harris: “Think about how powerful this is. It’s a fundraising tool [and] a persuasion tool... Facebook is actually everything. And this is what scares people.”   read more
Latest News

Top Stories

  • More Problems for the Trillion-Dollar F-35: It’s not Good at Close Combat

    Thursday, July 30, 2015
    A test pilot who flew an F-35 said 17 dogfights demonstrated that the plane could not compete with the F-16, which was introduced in the 1970s and is the plane the F-35 is supposed to replace. The F-35 program, which will cost more than $1 trillion if fully produced, has had other serious problems exposed: vulnerability to lightning strikes, and an inaccurate and unstable software system   read more
  • Justice Dept. Refuses to Release---or even Talk About—Secret 12-Year-Old Memo on Cybersecurity

    Thursday, July 30, 2015
    The Senate may be about to take up cybersecurity legislation and Sen. Ron Wyden (D-Oregon) wants to make sure his colleagues put the subject in the proper context. To do that, Wyden wants a memo produced by the George W. Bush administration on the subject to be made public. So far, Wyden has been unsuccessful in getting the memo released before the Senate considers the Cybersecurity Information Sharing Act (CISA).   read more
  • Obama Disgusts Human Rights Advocates by Calling Ethiopian Government “Democratically Elected”

    Wednesday, July 29, 2015
    Obama’s own State Dept. reported that U.S. diplomats were prevented from observing the elections, saying it was “troubled” that opposition party observers were kept out. And Obama’s national security advisor, Susan E. Rice, told reporters that the result of the election was not credible. “The prime minister of Ethiopia was just elected with 100 percent of the vote, which I think suggests...some concern for the integrity of the electoral process,” she said.   read more

Unusual News

  • The U.S. Dentist who Lured a Famous Lion out of its Sanctuary and Killed Him

    Thursday, July 30, 2015
    Minnesota dentist Walter Palmer has come in for severe criticism since it became known that he killed Cecil, a 13-year-old lion who was lured out of a national park in Zimbabwe by local guides. Palmer reportedly paid about $54,000 for the chance to kill Cecil.   read more
  • 27% of People Killed in Police Car Chases are Innocent Bystanders

    Wednesday, July 29, 2015
    One of these innocent bystanders was Dillan Harris, a 13-month-old child who was fatally struck earlier this month near a Chicago bus stop by a man fleeing police. The suspect led police on a 3.5-mile chase that included running four red lights and driving at speeds up to 70 mph in an area with a speed limit of 30 mph. Watkins lost control of his car, jumped a curb and struck the stroller Dillan was sitting in, dragging it and the infant into a vacant lot.   read more
  • Loneliness and Too Much TV are Bad for the Brains of the Elderly

    Tuesday, July 28, 2015
    “Loneliness is a form of suffering in older people that is prevalent but undetected and untreated in medical practice,” said researcher Donovan. "Our work shows that loneliness, like depression, is associated with accelerated cognitive decline in older Americans." Other researchers found watching too much TV might also lower cognitive function. People who watch four or more hours of TV had a 1.5% higher risk of performing worse on cognitive tests compared with those who watched less TV.   read more

Where is the Money Going?

  • Fracking Billionaires Give Record-Setting Donation to Ted Cruz

    Tuesday, July 28, 2015
    Children are “being taught the other ideas, the gay agenda, every day out in the world so we have to stand up and explain to them that that’s not real, that’s not proper, it’s not right,” said Farris Wilks. He and brother Dan, who made their fortunes in the West Texas fracking boom, have reportedly contributed $15 million to a super PAC supporting Cruz. The $15 million is the largest contribution so far in the 2016 race, and represents nearly half of the $38 million raised by Keep the Promise.   read more
  • Senate Pulls a Fast One on Banks by Trying to Eliminate 102-Year-Old Freebie

    Tuesday, July 28, 2015
    In 2012, the Fed handed $1.637 billion in dividends to banks. It’s “a risk-free entitlement program,” wrote David Dayen. “It’s one of the many unknown ways the Fed extends special benefits to Wall Street.” But senators have now turned to the banks’ 6% dividend for a source of funding. Without any advance notice to the banking industry, they included a provision in the highway bill that would reduce the dividend to 1.5% for banks. The reduction would reap about $17 billion for the government.   read more
  • House Members who Voted to Stop States from Mandating GMO Labeling Received $30 Million from Agribusiness and Food Industries

    Monday, July 27, 2015
    According to information at Opensecrets.org, those supporting the bill got about $30 million to do so from Big Ag. The 275 representatives of both parties who voted to keep consumers in the dark about the food they’re consuming averaged $108,900 in contributions from agricultural interests such as Monsanto and food lobbyists such as the Grocery Manufacturers Association in the 2014 election cycle.   read more

Controversies

  • ACLU Sues California County where Each Public Defender Forced to Handle 700 Cases a Year

    Thursday, July 30, 2015
    Public defenders in Fresno County, Calif., have an unwieldy caseload with each attorney averaging 700 felony cases a year, making it virtually impossible to give clients a decent defense. Now the American Civil Liberties Union has sued Fresno County and the state of California for shortchanging the local public defender’s office’s budget.   read more
  • DeKalb County, Georgia Accused of Raising Money by Prosecuting Violations Outside its Jurisdiction

    Thursday, July 30, 2015
    Starting a few years ago, DeKalb County, Ga., officials began using its Recorder's Court to prosecute individuals who had broken state laws, even though the Recorder’s Court lacks the legal authority to do so. The county is now being sued in a class-action case claiming the court was used to bolster local revenues as part of a “scheme to generate revenue for a cash-strapped local government.”   read more
  • Justice Dept. Audit Criticizes DEA for Poor Oversight of Drug Informants

    Wednesday, July 29, 2015
    The IG found examples of informants who had broken the law and were being investigated while working with the DEA. “In some cases, the DEA continued to use, for up to six years without any (Justice Dept.) intervention, individuals who were involved in unauthorized illegal activities and who were under investigation by federal entities,” according to the report. The inspector general was stonewalled in his efforts to get information from DEA, delaying access to reports “for months at a time."   read more

U.S. and the World

  • Which Dictatorship will Host the 2022 Winter Olympics?

    Thursday, July 30, 2015
    On Friday, the members of the International Olympic Committee (IOC) will vote to decide which city will host the 2022 Winter Olympics. Originally, there were three finalists, but in October, the favorite, Oslo, withdrew. With the withdrawal of Oslo, the Olympic Movement has found itself in a crisis. Both of the cities left in the running, Beijing and Almaty, are located in countries that are ruled by repressive dictatorships: China and Kazakhstan.   read more
  • Pet Food Sold in U.S. is Produced by Slave Labor in Thailand

    Tuesday, July 28, 2015
    Fishermen revealed horror stories of crew members being dumped overboard and defiant ones being killed, sometimes by having their heads cut off. “Life at sea is cheap,” said Phil Robertson of Human Rights Watch, Asia. The FDA had found Songkla’s Thailand facilities to have unsanitary conditions that produced “adulterated” seafood that is potentially “injurious to health.” The U.S. is the biggest customer of Thai fish, totaling more than $190 million last year.   read more
  • FBI Accuses Chinese Government of Out-of-Control Economic Espionage

    Sunday, July 26, 2015
    The hackers are looking for information on everything from electronics to plant seeds—anything to put Chinese manufacturers on an equal footing with those from the United States which did the original research and development on a product. Last year, a California businessman was convicted of selling China the secret to what makes Oreo cookie filling so consistently white. Others have been charged with stealing plant seeds.   read more

Appointments and Resignations

  • U.S. Ambassador to Nepal: Who Is Alaina Teplitz?

    Sunday, July 26, 2015
    Much of her work was with information technology systems, getting IT policies in international outposts to mesh with those prescribed by Washington, and other efforts at standardization to make the systems more efficient. Part of her mandate was also to look for cost-savings by contracting out some jobs and ensuring that missions were not overstaffed.   read more
  • U.S. Ambassador to Croatia: Who Is Julieta Valls Noyes?

    Saturday, July 25, 2015
    Noyes went overseas again in 2008 as the deputy chief of mission and chargé d’affaires in the U.S. mission to the Holy See. She made some news when some cables she had sent concerning the Vatican were released through WikiLeaks. Among the subjects covered in her pithy cables were the Catholic priests’ sex abuse scandal in Ireland and the Vatican’s assistance in releasing U.S. citizens being held by Iran.   read more
  • Ecuador’s Ambassador to the United States: Who Is Francisco Borja Cevallos?

    Saturday, July 25, 2015
    In 1988, Borja’s brother, Rodrigo, was elected Ecuador’s president as a member of the Democratic Left Party and Francisco went into government as Rodrigo’s advisor, staying there until 1992 when the term was up. In 2007, Borja was named ambassador to Chile, a post he held for seven years.   read more