Featured Story

Most Police Shootings Don’t Lead to Prosecution of Police

Thursday, November 27, 2014
It perhaps shouldn’t come as a surprise that Officer Darren Wilson will not stand trial for killing Michael Brown in Ferguson, Missouri. Of 6,700 on-duty incidents of police being charged with a crime, only 41 officers were indicted over seven years for murder. The FBI reported 2,718 justified homicides by police from 2004 to 2011. The lack of police prosecutions is “one factor that enters into the perception of African Americans that the police are not on their side,” said Prof. Samuel Walker.   read more
Latest News

Top Stories

  • Battling Obesity in U.S., FDA Approves Sweeping New Rules for Calorie Disclosure

    Wednesday, November 26, 2014
    Starting late next year, restaurant chains and movie theaters will have to list calorie counts on their menus. FDA officials are hoping the publishing of calorie totals will help Americans make smarter decisions about what they eat when going out and perhaps shrink some waistlines along the way. Nutrition professor Marion Nestle was surprised to learn that the rules went beyond what she and others expected, applying them to alcoholic beverages listed on restaurant menus.   read more
  • Obama Orders U.S. Troops in Afghanistan to Keep Fighting for a 14th Year

    Tuesday, November 25, 2014
    In May, President Obama said American troops in Afghanistan would cease their “combat mission” by January 1. Now, come January 1, U.S. soldiers will engage in “combat operations,” marking the 14th consecutive year of fighting. So much for the war ending. The only real difference will be the size of U.S. forces. Instead of tens of thousands of soldiers, the U.S. will station only 9,800 to fight al-Qaeda and Taliban militants. Ground forces, manned aircraft and drones may be put to use.   read more
  • The Lawsuit that could Eliminate Healthcare Subsidies for 13 Million Americans

    Monday, November 24, 2014
    The case, King v. Burwell, is challenging the provision in the Affordable Care Act that allows the federal government to provide financial assistance to people who buy insurance through the 37 state insurance exchanges operated by the federal government. If the plaintiffs are successful, the court’s decision could eliminate these subsidies, which currently help 13 million people afford their coverage.   read more

Unusual News

  • What Does Jeb Bush do for a Living?

    Monday, November 24, 2014
    Bush, the former governor of Florida, has four businesses registered to the same address in the Miami suburb of Coral Gables that don’t appear to have conducted any business anywhere, according to an investigation by ThinkProgress. Bush also has a consulting firm, Jeb Bush & Associates, registered to that address.   read more
  • 11 No-Fly Zones in the United States

    Thursday, November 20, 2014
    Government installations covered by overflight restrictions include the Kennedy Space Center, the sky over presidential retreat Camp David, and the Bush family compound in Maine. But then there’s restricted airspace over Disneyland and Disney World, brought about by a provision slipped into a 2003 spending bill. Aircraft are also barred, of course, from flying over the conspiratorially-rich secret government complex in Nevada, Area 51.   read more
  • Mysterious Voynich Manuscript Now Online Clearly…Good Luck Deciphering

    Wednesday, November 19, 2014
    “The 113 plant illustrations...seem to depict no flora found on Earth," wrote Allison Meier. There are also "visuals of the cosmos, a small army of naked women cavorting through pools of water, and the arcane alphabet that has so frustrated linguists and cryptographers." One theory is that the manuscript was created to serve as a medieval guide to creating medicinal drugs. A linguist in the UK devised sounds to match the book’s unusual symbols and claimed that he decoded 14 of them.   read more

Where is the Money Going?

  • Goldman Sachs Gets Harsh Words but Open Pockets from Congressional Subcommittees

    Tuesday, November 25, 2014
    Goldman has donated $1.1 million to current subcommittee members since 1989 — $911,000 of which went to Democrats. More than half of that total went to one individual, Senator Charles Schumer (D-New York). In fact, OpenSecrets.org added, “Schumer has received more from Goldman over the course of his career than any other current member of the Senate — and more from Goldman than from any other organization.”   read more
  • 10 Years after 9/11 Commission Recommended it, FCC Finds Funds for National First Responder Communications Network

    Friday, November 21, 2014
    The commission recommended that the federal government create a way for police and firefighters from different jurisdictions to communicate with each other in a crisis—something they couldn’t do during the response to the 9/11 attacks. Congress authorized the FCC to reserve certain broadcast frequencies for public safety use. The FCC auctioned off a band of wireless frequencies to telecommunications companies, which netted more than $11 billion to establish the network, FirstNet.   read more
  • Recent Veterans more likely to be Employed than Non-Veterans

    Thursday, November 20, 2014
    In the period from 2011 to 2013, employment among veterans of both genders of the wars was 79%, compared to 70% of nonveterans. Employment among male Gulf War veterans was 84%. Men who served in Iraq and Afghanistan last decade had a lower, though still impressive rate of 78%. Both groups of veterans were better off than nonveteran men, whose employment rate was 75%. Similarly, women who served in both wars have struggled less with unemployment.   read more

Controversies

  • In Blow to Climate Change Fight, EPA Prepares to End Alternative Fuel Program

    Wednesday, November 26, 2014
    Green advocates have been working with investors to develop a new generation of biofuels that instead rely on sources such as corn husks, and forest brush. Those efforts, however, could come to a halt without the EPA’s mandate in place. And the end of the program could mean the end of the line for smaller companies engaged in ethanol production from sources other than corn. The decision by EPA officials came after intense lobbying by oil companies, car manufacturers and driving enthusiasts.   read more
  • Feds Tell Nation’s Cops to Stop Illegally Seizing Motorists’ Property…But Only if they Want To

    Wednesday, November 26, 2014
    Federal officials are now advising local law enforcement agencies to be careful about confiscating cars, cash and other valuables from motorists. But the new code of conduct is strictly voluntary. Cities and counties have seized more than $2.5 billion since 2001 from local police stopping citizens and seizing their possessions, even if they haven’t been proven to having done anything wrong. The agency making the seizure gets to keep 80% of the loot.   read more
  • Senate Committee Accused of Failing to Interview Men Tortured by CIA for its Torture Report

    Wednesday, November 26, 2014
    Their attorneys say the failure to include the men’s testimony in the report raises questions about the thoroughness of the Senate probe. “If you’re conducting a genuine inquiry of a program that tortured people, don’t you begin by talking to the people who were tortured? It seems here, as far as my client is concerned, no effort was made to do that,” said David Nevin, who represents Mohammed. Three of the four men were waterboarded, the CIA has admitted.   read more

U.S. and the World

Appointments and Resignations

  • U.S. Ambassador to the Kyrgyzstan: Who Is Sheila Gwaltney?

    Sunday, November 23, 2014
    She was sent back to St. Petersburg in 2008, this time as consul general. In 2010, Gwaltney was assigned to Moscow as deputy chief of mission. She eventually served as chargé d'affaires, ad interim. As such, she was in charge of the embassy after Ambassador Mike McFaul left, and she handled much of the U.S. response to Russia’s annexation of Crimea and invasion of Ukraine, events she had warned of earlier.   read more
  • U.S. Ambassador to Latvia: Who Is Nancy Pettit?

    Sunday, November 23, 2014
    In 1992, Pettit got to put her knowledge of the Soviet Union to first-hand use when she was named a political officer in the embassy in Moscow. Her husband was also there, as were their two children, when a constitutional crisis swept the country. The Pettits and other embassy personnel and their families were forced to remain in an underground shelter for two days during the unrest.   read more
  • Director of the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office: Who Is Michelle K. Lee?

    Saturday, November 22, 2014
    In 2003, Lee went to work for Google as its deputy general counsel and head of patents and patent strategy. She advised the search engine giant on its acquisition of YouTube, participation in the Nortel patent auction and on mobile phone patent issues. Lee left for government service in 2012 to head the newly opened Silicon Valley outpost of the USPTO.   read more

Featured Story

Most Police Shootings Don’t Lead to Prosecution of Police

Thursday, November 27, 2014
It perhaps shouldn’t come as a surprise that Officer Darren Wilson will not stand trial for killing Michael Brown in Ferguson, Missouri. Of 6,700 on-duty incidents of police being charged with a crime, only 41 officers were indicted over seven years for murder. The FBI reported 2,718 justified homicides by police from 2004 to 2011. The lack of police prosecutions is “one factor that enters into the perception of African Americans that the police are not on their side,” said Prof. Samuel Walker.   read more
Latest News

Top Stories

  • Battling Obesity in U.S., FDA Approves Sweeping New Rules for Calorie Disclosure

    Wednesday, November 26, 2014
    Starting late next year, restaurant chains and movie theaters will have to list calorie counts on their menus. FDA officials are hoping the publishing of calorie totals will help Americans make smarter decisions about what they eat when going out and perhaps shrink some waistlines along the way. Nutrition professor Marion Nestle was surprised to learn that the rules went beyond what she and others expected, applying them to alcoholic beverages listed on restaurant menus.   read more
  • Obama Orders U.S. Troops in Afghanistan to Keep Fighting for a 14th Year

    Tuesday, November 25, 2014
    In May, President Obama said American troops in Afghanistan would cease their “combat mission” by January 1. Now, come January 1, U.S. soldiers will engage in “combat operations,” marking the 14th consecutive year of fighting. So much for the war ending. The only real difference will be the size of U.S. forces. Instead of tens of thousands of soldiers, the U.S. will station only 9,800 to fight al-Qaeda and Taliban militants. Ground forces, manned aircraft and drones may be put to use.   read more
  • The Lawsuit that could Eliminate Healthcare Subsidies for 13 Million Americans

    Monday, November 24, 2014
    The case, King v. Burwell, is challenging the provision in the Affordable Care Act that allows the federal government to provide financial assistance to people who buy insurance through the 37 state insurance exchanges operated by the federal government. If the plaintiffs are successful, the court’s decision could eliminate these subsidies, which currently help 13 million people afford their coverage.   read more

Unusual News

  • What Does Jeb Bush do for a Living?

    Monday, November 24, 2014
    Bush, the former governor of Florida, has four businesses registered to the same address in the Miami suburb of Coral Gables that don’t appear to have conducted any business anywhere, according to an investigation by ThinkProgress. Bush also has a consulting firm, Jeb Bush & Associates, registered to that address.   read more
  • 11 No-Fly Zones in the United States

    Thursday, November 20, 2014
    Government installations covered by overflight restrictions include the Kennedy Space Center, the sky over presidential retreat Camp David, and the Bush family compound in Maine. But then there’s restricted airspace over Disneyland and Disney World, brought about by a provision slipped into a 2003 spending bill. Aircraft are also barred, of course, from flying over the conspiratorially-rich secret government complex in Nevada, Area 51.   read more
  • Mysterious Voynich Manuscript Now Online Clearly…Good Luck Deciphering

    Wednesday, November 19, 2014
    “The 113 plant illustrations...seem to depict no flora found on Earth," wrote Allison Meier. There are also "visuals of the cosmos, a small army of naked women cavorting through pools of water, and the arcane alphabet that has so frustrated linguists and cryptographers." One theory is that the manuscript was created to serve as a medieval guide to creating medicinal drugs. A linguist in the UK devised sounds to match the book’s unusual symbols and claimed that he decoded 14 of them.   read more

Where is the Money Going?

  • Goldman Sachs Gets Harsh Words but Open Pockets from Congressional Subcommittees

    Tuesday, November 25, 2014
    Goldman has donated $1.1 million to current subcommittee members since 1989 — $911,000 of which went to Democrats. More than half of that total went to one individual, Senator Charles Schumer (D-New York). In fact, OpenSecrets.org added, “Schumer has received more from Goldman over the course of his career than any other current member of the Senate — and more from Goldman than from any other organization.”   read more
  • 10 Years after 9/11 Commission Recommended it, FCC Finds Funds for National First Responder Communications Network

    Friday, November 21, 2014
    The commission recommended that the federal government create a way for police and firefighters from different jurisdictions to communicate with each other in a crisis—something they couldn’t do during the response to the 9/11 attacks. Congress authorized the FCC to reserve certain broadcast frequencies for public safety use. The FCC auctioned off a band of wireless frequencies to telecommunications companies, which netted more than $11 billion to establish the network, FirstNet.   read more
  • Recent Veterans more likely to be Employed than Non-Veterans

    Thursday, November 20, 2014
    In the period from 2011 to 2013, employment among veterans of both genders of the wars was 79%, compared to 70% of nonveterans. Employment among male Gulf War veterans was 84%. Men who served in Iraq and Afghanistan last decade had a lower, though still impressive rate of 78%. Both groups of veterans were better off than nonveteran men, whose employment rate was 75%. Similarly, women who served in both wars have struggled less with unemployment.   read more

Controversies

  • In Blow to Climate Change Fight, EPA Prepares to End Alternative Fuel Program

    Wednesday, November 26, 2014
    Green advocates have been working with investors to develop a new generation of biofuels that instead rely on sources such as corn husks, and forest brush. Those efforts, however, could come to a halt without the EPA’s mandate in place. And the end of the program could mean the end of the line for smaller companies engaged in ethanol production from sources other than corn. The decision by EPA officials came after intense lobbying by oil companies, car manufacturers and driving enthusiasts.   read more
  • Feds Tell Nation’s Cops to Stop Illegally Seizing Motorists’ Property…But Only if they Want To

    Wednesday, November 26, 2014
    Federal officials are now advising local law enforcement agencies to be careful about confiscating cars, cash and other valuables from motorists. But the new code of conduct is strictly voluntary. Cities and counties have seized more than $2.5 billion since 2001 from local police stopping citizens and seizing their possessions, even if they haven’t been proven to having done anything wrong. The agency making the seizure gets to keep 80% of the loot.   read more
  • Senate Committee Accused of Failing to Interview Men Tortured by CIA for its Torture Report

    Wednesday, November 26, 2014
    Their attorneys say the failure to include the men’s testimony in the report raises questions about the thoroughness of the Senate probe. “If you’re conducting a genuine inquiry of a program that tortured people, don’t you begin by talking to the people who were tortured? It seems here, as far as my client is concerned, no effort was made to do that,” said David Nevin, who represents Mohammed. Three of the four men were waterboarded, the CIA has admitted.   read more

U.S. and the World

Appointments and Resignations

  • U.S. Ambassador to the Kyrgyzstan: Who Is Sheila Gwaltney?

    Sunday, November 23, 2014
    She was sent back to St. Petersburg in 2008, this time as consul general. In 2010, Gwaltney was assigned to Moscow as deputy chief of mission. She eventually served as chargé d'affaires, ad interim. As such, she was in charge of the embassy after Ambassador Mike McFaul left, and she handled much of the U.S. response to Russia’s annexation of Crimea and invasion of Ukraine, events she had warned of earlier.   read more
  • U.S. Ambassador to Latvia: Who Is Nancy Pettit?

    Sunday, November 23, 2014
    In 1992, Pettit got to put her knowledge of the Soviet Union to first-hand use when she was named a political officer in the embassy in Moscow. Her husband was also there, as were their two children, when a constitutional crisis swept the country. The Pettits and other embassy personnel and their families were forced to remain in an underground shelter for two days during the unrest.   read more
  • Director of the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office: Who Is Michelle K. Lee?

    Saturday, November 22, 2014
    In 2003, Lee went to work for Google as its deputy general counsel and head of patents and patent strategy. She advised the search engine giant on its acquisition of YouTube, participation in the Nortel patent auction and on mobile phone patent issues. Lee left for government service in 2012 to head the newly opened Silicon Valley outpost of the USPTO.   read more