Featured Story

Talking-Car Technology Pits Two U.S. Agencies against Each Other

Sunday, August 28, 2016
Cars that wirelessly talk to each other are finally ready for the road, creating the potential to dramatically reduce traffic deaths. The government and auto industry have a decade and more than $1 billion researching V2V technology. "We're losing 35,000 people every year (to traffic crashes)," said GM lobbyist Lightsey. "This technology has the power to dramatically reduce that. To me, the ability of somebody to download movies or search the internet or whatever should be secondary to that."   read more
Latest News

Top Stories

  • U.S. Tech Startups Could Grow Under New Homeland Security Proposal Welcoming Foreign Entrepreneurs

    Saturday, August 27, 2016
    The move is one of many piecemeal efforts by the Obama administration to expand American immigration policies without action from Congress. Entrepreneurs in any industry would be eligible to apply, but the new rule would be especially significant for the tech field. Creating an immigration route for startup founders has been one of Silicon Valley’s political priorities. “I think it will have major impact on U.S. entrepreneurship, and potentially on the broader economy," said Patrick Collison.   read more
  • Top Private Prison Firm Tries to Prevent Public Disclosure of Documents Exposing Prison Operations

    Friday, August 26, 2016
    The attorneys accuse the private prison firm of sealing documents where no genuine security concern exists in order to protect itself from embarrassment, violating the public's right to access court proceedings. "The reason for it is probably to keep it out of the public press," said Yarbrough. "That can sometimes be legitimate and can sometimes be because the company doesn't want their dirty laundry aired." Said Friedman: "They disclose as little information as they can get away with."   read more
  • First Soda Tax Law in U.S. Leads to 21% Drop in Soda Drinking

    Thursday, August 25, 2016
    The study is the first to assess soda drinking since the tax went into effect. And its results are consistent with research from Mexico, which passed a nationwide soda tax in 2014. When Berkeley passed its soda tax, it stood alone among cities in the U.S. for embracing the policy. But that has changed: Philadelphia passed a soda tax this year, and several other cities are putting similar taxes on the ballot this fall. Among them are two of Berkeley’s neighbors, Oakland and San Francisco.   read more

Unusual News

  • Republican Senator Says College Professors Could Be Replaced by Videos

    Tuesday, August 23, 2016
    U.S. Sen. Ron Johnson has an idea for making colleges cheaper — ditch the instructors and start playing online videos for students. "Why do you have to keep paying different lecturers to teach the same course? You get one solid lecturer and put it up online," Johnson said.   read more
  • Increase in Jailing of Women in U.S. Far Exceeds that of Men

    Friday, August 19, 2016
    The study found that a vast majority of the women are poor, African-American or Latino, and have drug or alcohol problems. About 80% have children. Most have been charged with low-level offenses, including drug or property crimes like shoplifting, but many are in jail for violating parole or for failed drug tests “Once a rarity, women are now held in jails in nearly every county — a stark contrast to 1970, when almost three-quarters of counties held not a single woman in jail,” the report said.   read more
  • Rising Funeral Costs Lead to Surge in Body Donations to U.S. Medical Schools

    Friday, August 19, 2016
    The increase has been a boon to medical students and researchers, who dissect cadavers in anatomy class or use them to practice surgical techniques or test new devices and procedures. "Not too long ago, it was taboo. Now we have thousands of registered donors," said Mark Zavoyna. "Funerals are expensive. That certainly has something to do with it. Of course, it almost has this snowball effect, where you get five people to donate, and then their families tell another 25 people."   read more

Where is the Money Going?

  • For-Profit Elder Care Could Result in Lower Standards

    Monday, August 22, 2016
    Until recently, only nonprofits were allowed to run programs like these. But a year ago, the government flipped the switch, opening the program to for-profit companies as well, ending one of the last remaining holdouts to commercialism in health care. The hope is that the profit motive will expand the services faster. Hanging over all the promise, though, is the question of whether for-profit companies are well-suited to this line of work, long the province of nonprofit do-gooders.   read more
  • Johnson Controls/Tyco Overseas Tax-Shelter Merger Triggers Lawsuit by Angry Shareholders

    Thursday, August 18, 2016
    The proposed merger drew comment from presidential candidate Hillary Clinton, who said, "I have a detailed and targeted plan to immediately put a stop to inversions and invest in the U.S., block deals like Johnson Controls and Tyco, and place an 'exit tax' on corporations that leave the country to lower their tax bill." The shareholder class action claims that Johnson's anticipated tax savings are the sole purpose of the merger and come at the expense of minority taxpaying shareholders.   read more
  • Federal Judge Stops Ohio from Withholding Educational Program Funding for Planned Parenthood

    Sunday, August 14, 2016
    Planned Parenthood won an injunction Friday that prevents Ohio from withholding public funds used by the health care provider for educational programs. Judge Michael Barrett ruled that the Ohio code — which prevents the state Dept of Health from distributing funds to any entity that performs nontherapeutic abortions — will cause Planned Parenthood "irreparable injury." Programs include STD Prevention, the Breast and Cervical Cancer Prevention Program, and the Sexual Violence Prevention Program.   read more

Controversies

  • First Judicial Ruling to Curb Enforcement of North Carolina’s Restrictive Transgender Bathroom Access Law

    Saturday, August 27, 2016
    The ruling was the first judicial rebuke of a statute that has been condemned as discriminatory and, with lawsuit after lawsuit, has deepened the national debate about transgender rights. His ruling is a milestone victory for critics of the measure, and a setback to many Republican leaders in North Carolina who have championed the statute. “Today is a great day for me, and hopefully this is a start to chipping away at the injustice of H.B. 2,” said Carcaño, a transgender plaintiff in the case.   read more
  • Lawsuit Heats Up against U.S. Agencies that Downplayed Cholesterol Dangers of Eggs

    Saturday, August 27, 2016
    The American Egg Board allegedly increasingly funded pro-egg research on dietary cholesterol over the last 20 years. In 2013, it funded 92% of studies on dietary cholesterol. The Physicians Committee claims that the Egg Nutrition Center nominated seven people to the dietary guidance committee, including one who failed to disclose she received funds from the Egg Board for "the sole purpose of overturning defendants' recommended limits on dietary cholesterol intake."   read more
  • 400% Increase in Price of EpiPen Allergy Drug Triggers Price-Gouging Lawsuit amid the Firestorm

    Saturday, August 27, 2016
    The man perhaps most famous for pharmaceutical price-gouging, Martin Shkreli, called the drug's makers "vultures." Sens. Charles Grassley and Richard Blumenthal demanded answers from Mylan CEO Heather Bresch. Sen. Hillary Clinton blasted the price of EpiPens as "outrageous," and Sen. Amy Klobuchar called for an investigation by the Federal Trade Commission. And now, on Tuesday, six consumers from across the country brought the issue to court — filing suit against Mylan in Detroit, Michigan.   read more

U.S. and the World

  • Olympics: If African-American Women were a Nation, They’d be in 6th Place

    Monday, August 22, 2016
    African-American women earned gold medals in 15 events (including participation in team sports) at the 2016 Rio Olympic Games. If they had been a nation, they would have been in sixth place. This despite with a population of about 19.6 million, they would be only the 67th most populous nation in the world.   read more
  • Lawsuit Seeks to Block Energy Dept.’s Huge Nuclear Waste Transport from Canada to U.S.

    Tuesday, August 16, 2016
    The Energy Dept's unprecedented proposed transfer of "a toxic liquid stew" containing nuclear waste between Canada and the U.S violates federal law, seven environmental groups claim in court. The proposed $60 million deal would see more than 6,000 gallons of the liquid waste transported more than 1,100 miles. "The radioactive waste byproducts...are acknowledged to be among the most radioactively hazardous materials on Earth," the complaint states.   read more
  • VW Payout to Deceived American VW Owners: $15 Billion; Payout to European Owners: $0

    Tuesday, August 16, 2016
    VW owners in the U.S. will receive about $20,000 per car as compensation for the company’s diesel deception. VW owners in Europe at most get a software update and a short length of plastic tubing. “Why are they getting so much and we’re getting nothing?” Franz said of U.S. owners. The startling gap in treatment is the result of European laws that shield corporations from class action suits brought by unhappy consumers.   read more

Appointments and Resignations

  • U.S. Ambassador to Liberia: Who Is Christine Elder?

    Saturday, August 27, 2016
    She joined the State Department in 1992 after serving as a trade policy assistant in the International Trade Administration in the Department of Commerce. Early assignments included postings in Bonn and Berlin, Germany. From 2002 to 2004, Elder was cultural affairs officer in the embassy in Budapest, Hungary. She began a stint in Washington in 2005 as senior watch officer in the State Department operations center.   read more
  • U.S. Ambassador to Uruguay: Who Is Kelly Keiderling?

    Saturday, August 20, 2016
    She served as Deputy Chief of Mission and charge d’affaires in Caracas, Venezuela, beginning in 2011. Her tenure ended in 2013, when she and two other diplomats were kicked out of the country by President Maduro, who accused the three of attempting sabotage. “Yankee go home. Enough abuses already,” Maduro said. Keiderling was later accused by Cuban Raul Capote and by the official Cuban press of being an agent of the CIA. Capote claimed that Keiderling was one of his handlers in Havana.   read more
  • Brunei’s Ambassador to the United States: Who Is Serbini Ali?

    Sunday, August 14, 2016
    Serbini joined Brunei’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs in 1980 and his first overseas posting came two years later, when he was named second secretary in the High Commission in Singapore. He moved to the Bangkok embassy in 1984 as first secretary and returned to Brunei the following year as assistant director in the Protocol and Consular Affairs Department. He was promoted to deputy director the following year. In 1989, Serbini was made first secretary in Tokyo.   read more

Featured Story

Talking-Car Technology Pits Two U.S. Agencies against Each Other

Sunday, August 28, 2016
Cars that wirelessly talk to each other are finally ready for the road, creating the potential to dramatically reduce traffic deaths. The government and auto industry have a decade and more than $1 billion researching V2V technology. "We're losing 35,000 people every year (to traffic crashes)," said GM lobbyist Lightsey. "This technology has the power to dramatically reduce that. To me, the ability of somebody to download movies or search the internet or whatever should be secondary to that."   read more
Latest News

Top Stories

  • U.S. Tech Startups Could Grow Under New Homeland Security Proposal Welcoming Foreign Entrepreneurs

    Saturday, August 27, 2016
    The move is one of many piecemeal efforts by the Obama administration to expand American immigration policies without action from Congress. Entrepreneurs in any industry would be eligible to apply, but the new rule would be especially significant for the tech field. Creating an immigration route for startup founders has been one of Silicon Valley’s political priorities. “I think it will have major impact on U.S. entrepreneurship, and potentially on the broader economy," said Patrick Collison.   read more
  • Top Private Prison Firm Tries to Prevent Public Disclosure of Documents Exposing Prison Operations

    Friday, August 26, 2016
    The attorneys accuse the private prison firm of sealing documents where no genuine security concern exists in order to protect itself from embarrassment, violating the public's right to access court proceedings. "The reason for it is probably to keep it out of the public press," said Yarbrough. "That can sometimes be legitimate and can sometimes be because the company doesn't want their dirty laundry aired." Said Friedman: "They disclose as little information as they can get away with."   read more
  • First Soda Tax Law in U.S. Leads to 21% Drop in Soda Drinking

    Thursday, August 25, 2016
    The study is the first to assess soda drinking since the tax went into effect. And its results are consistent with research from Mexico, which passed a nationwide soda tax in 2014. When Berkeley passed its soda tax, it stood alone among cities in the U.S. for embracing the policy. But that has changed: Philadelphia passed a soda tax this year, and several other cities are putting similar taxes on the ballot this fall. Among them are two of Berkeley’s neighbors, Oakland and San Francisco.   read more

Unusual News

  • Republican Senator Says College Professors Could Be Replaced by Videos

    Tuesday, August 23, 2016
    U.S. Sen. Ron Johnson has an idea for making colleges cheaper — ditch the instructors and start playing online videos for students. "Why do you have to keep paying different lecturers to teach the same course? You get one solid lecturer and put it up online," Johnson said.   read more
  • Increase in Jailing of Women in U.S. Far Exceeds that of Men

    Friday, August 19, 2016
    The study found that a vast majority of the women are poor, African-American or Latino, and have drug or alcohol problems. About 80% have children. Most have been charged with low-level offenses, including drug or property crimes like shoplifting, but many are in jail for violating parole or for failed drug tests “Once a rarity, women are now held in jails in nearly every county — a stark contrast to 1970, when almost three-quarters of counties held not a single woman in jail,” the report said.   read more
  • Rising Funeral Costs Lead to Surge in Body Donations to U.S. Medical Schools

    Friday, August 19, 2016
    The increase has been a boon to medical students and researchers, who dissect cadavers in anatomy class or use them to practice surgical techniques or test new devices and procedures. "Not too long ago, it was taboo. Now we have thousands of registered donors," said Mark Zavoyna. "Funerals are expensive. That certainly has something to do with it. Of course, it almost has this snowball effect, where you get five people to donate, and then their families tell another 25 people."   read more

Where is the Money Going?

  • For-Profit Elder Care Could Result in Lower Standards

    Monday, August 22, 2016
    Until recently, only nonprofits were allowed to run programs like these. But a year ago, the government flipped the switch, opening the program to for-profit companies as well, ending one of the last remaining holdouts to commercialism in health care. The hope is that the profit motive will expand the services faster. Hanging over all the promise, though, is the question of whether for-profit companies are well-suited to this line of work, long the province of nonprofit do-gooders.   read more
  • Johnson Controls/Tyco Overseas Tax-Shelter Merger Triggers Lawsuit by Angry Shareholders

    Thursday, August 18, 2016
    The proposed merger drew comment from presidential candidate Hillary Clinton, who said, "I have a detailed and targeted plan to immediately put a stop to inversions and invest in the U.S., block deals like Johnson Controls and Tyco, and place an 'exit tax' on corporations that leave the country to lower their tax bill." The shareholder class action claims that Johnson's anticipated tax savings are the sole purpose of the merger and come at the expense of minority taxpaying shareholders.   read more
  • Federal Judge Stops Ohio from Withholding Educational Program Funding for Planned Parenthood

    Sunday, August 14, 2016
    Planned Parenthood won an injunction Friday that prevents Ohio from withholding public funds used by the health care provider for educational programs. Judge Michael Barrett ruled that the Ohio code — which prevents the state Dept of Health from distributing funds to any entity that performs nontherapeutic abortions — will cause Planned Parenthood "irreparable injury." Programs include STD Prevention, the Breast and Cervical Cancer Prevention Program, and the Sexual Violence Prevention Program.   read more

Controversies

  • First Judicial Ruling to Curb Enforcement of North Carolina’s Restrictive Transgender Bathroom Access Law

    Saturday, August 27, 2016
    The ruling was the first judicial rebuke of a statute that has been condemned as discriminatory and, with lawsuit after lawsuit, has deepened the national debate about transgender rights. His ruling is a milestone victory for critics of the measure, and a setback to many Republican leaders in North Carolina who have championed the statute. “Today is a great day for me, and hopefully this is a start to chipping away at the injustice of H.B. 2,” said Carcaño, a transgender plaintiff in the case.   read more
  • Lawsuit Heats Up against U.S. Agencies that Downplayed Cholesterol Dangers of Eggs

    Saturday, August 27, 2016
    The American Egg Board allegedly increasingly funded pro-egg research on dietary cholesterol over the last 20 years. In 2013, it funded 92% of studies on dietary cholesterol. The Physicians Committee claims that the Egg Nutrition Center nominated seven people to the dietary guidance committee, including one who failed to disclose she received funds from the Egg Board for "the sole purpose of overturning defendants' recommended limits on dietary cholesterol intake."   read more
  • 400% Increase in Price of EpiPen Allergy Drug Triggers Price-Gouging Lawsuit amid the Firestorm

    Saturday, August 27, 2016
    The man perhaps most famous for pharmaceutical price-gouging, Martin Shkreli, called the drug's makers "vultures." Sens. Charles Grassley and Richard Blumenthal demanded answers from Mylan CEO Heather Bresch. Sen. Hillary Clinton blasted the price of EpiPens as "outrageous," and Sen. Amy Klobuchar called for an investigation by the Federal Trade Commission. And now, on Tuesday, six consumers from across the country brought the issue to court — filing suit against Mylan in Detroit, Michigan.   read more

U.S. and the World

  • Olympics: If African-American Women were a Nation, They’d be in 6th Place

    Monday, August 22, 2016
    African-American women earned gold medals in 15 events (including participation in team sports) at the 2016 Rio Olympic Games. If they had been a nation, they would have been in sixth place. This despite with a population of about 19.6 million, they would be only the 67th most populous nation in the world.   read more
  • Lawsuit Seeks to Block Energy Dept.’s Huge Nuclear Waste Transport from Canada to U.S.

    Tuesday, August 16, 2016
    The Energy Dept's unprecedented proposed transfer of "a toxic liquid stew" containing nuclear waste between Canada and the U.S violates federal law, seven environmental groups claim in court. The proposed $60 million deal would see more than 6,000 gallons of the liquid waste transported more than 1,100 miles. "The radioactive waste byproducts...are acknowledged to be among the most radioactively hazardous materials on Earth," the complaint states.   read more
  • VW Payout to Deceived American VW Owners: $15 Billion; Payout to European Owners: $0

    Tuesday, August 16, 2016
    VW owners in the U.S. will receive about $20,000 per car as compensation for the company’s diesel deception. VW owners in Europe at most get a software update and a short length of plastic tubing. “Why are they getting so much and we’re getting nothing?” Franz said of U.S. owners. The startling gap in treatment is the result of European laws that shield corporations from class action suits brought by unhappy consumers.   read more

Appointments and Resignations

  • U.S. Ambassador to Liberia: Who Is Christine Elder?

    Saturday, August 27, 2016
    She joined the State Department in 1992 after serving as a trade policy assistant in the International Trade Administration in the Department of Commerce. Early assignments included postings in Bonn and Berlin, Germany. From 2002 to 2004, Elder was cultural affairs officer in the embassy in Budapest, Hungary. She began a stint in Washington in 2005 as senior watch officer in the State Department operations center.   read more
  • U.S. Ambassador to Uruguay: Who Is Kelly Keiderling?

    Saturday, August 20, 2016
    She served as Deputy Chief of Mission and charge d’affaires in Caracas, Venezuela, beginning in 2011. Her tenure ended in 2013, when she and two other diplomats were kicked out of the country by President Maduro, who accused the three of attempting sabotage. “Yankee go home. Enough abuses already,” Maduro said. Keiderling was later accused by Cuban Raul Capote and by the official Cuban press of being an agent of the CIA. Capote claimed that Keiderling was one of his handlers in Havana.   read more
  • Brunei’s Ambassador to the United States: Who Is Serbini Ali?

    Sunday, August 14, 2016
    Serbini joined Brunei’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs in 1980 and his first overseas posting came two years later, when he was named second secretary in the High Commission in Singapore. He moved to the Bangkok embassy in 1984 as first secretary and returned to Brunei the following year as assistant director in the Protocol and Consular Affairs Department. He was promoted to deputy director the following year. In 1989, Serbini was made first secretary in Tokyo.   read more