Featured Story

Citibank Study Finds Huge Financial Benefits to Acting on Climate Change

Thursday, September 03, 2015
Making changes--working to cut carbon in the atmosphere--would cost $190.2 trillion, the report says, but doing nothing would cost $192 trillion. Taking action would be cheaper “due to the rapidly falling costs of renewables, which combined with lower fuel usage from energy efficiency investments actually result in significantly lower long-term fuel bill,” wrote The Guardian. Investing in changes that reduce the impact of climate change could lessen its financial implications for businesses.   read more
Latest News

Top Stories

  • Federal Judge Rules Employers do not have to Provide Insurance Coverage for Contraception even if their Objection is not Religious

    Wednesday, September 02, 2015
    Employers who wish to avoid providing contraception coverage to their workers can do so on moral grounds, a federal judge ruled Monday. The ruling came in a case brought by an anti-abortion group, March for Life, which sued the Department of Health and Human Services over the contraception mandate contained in Obamacare. March for Life contends it should not have to provide contraception coverage because its objections are not that different from those raised by religious groups.   read more
  • As the Arctic Warms, Why is U.S. Falling behind Russia?

    Tuesday, September 01, 2015
    “The U.S. really isn’t even in this game,” said Coast Guard commandant Zukunft. “When Russia put Sputnik in outer space, did we sit with our hands in pocket with great fascination and say, ‘Good for Mother Russia’?” The Obama administration's actions are mostly on paper. Meanwhile, Russia has telescoped its sovereign designs on a vast expanse of the Arctic roughly the size of South Africa. It also made a symbolic move by planting a titanium Russian flag in the seabed beneath the North Pole.   read more
  • 3 Republican-Appointed Federal Appeals Judges Overturn Blocking of NSA Mass Telephone Spying

    Monday, August 31, 2015
    The panel ruled unanimously that the plaintiffs, led by conservative activist Larry Klayman, couldn’t prove their calls had been swept up because their calls were handled by Verizon Wireless, not Verizon Business, which had previously been found to have turned over calling data to the National Security Agency (NSA). This ruling came despite government documents released earlier this month that showed the NSA had also swept up Verizon Wireless data.   read more

Unusual News

  • Majority of Latinos Don’t Vote

    Tuesday, September 01, 2015
    Donald Trump’s immigrant-bashing message has raised questions about a backlash among Hispanic voters in response to the candidate’s ugly rhetoric. But while Hispanic turnout in elections has been steadily climbing in recent elections, the fact is most of these Americans still don’t cast ballots on Election Day. A new study shows only 47% of Hispanic voters went to the polls during the 2012 election. That means 53% didn’t vote, even though 20% of those who didn’t were registered.   read more
  • Many Fire Departments Spend more Time Tending to Homeless than Fighting Fires

    Tuesday, September 01, 2015
    Only 1.5% of Engine 1’s calls in 2014 had to do with fires. The majority of its time was spent going on calls to help homeless people, including those struggling with mental illness or substance abuse. The entire San Francisco Fire Department responded to more than 136,000 incidents in 2014, but only 28,000 of them involved fires and other nonmedical calls. Some of the most dispiriting calls are are to the same homeless person repeatedly—sometimes as much as 20 times—in a single day.   read more
  • Workers at Nuclear Weapons Plant Vote to Strike

    Tuesday, September 01, 2015
    Pantex workers perform critical work involving nuclear weapons life extension programs, weapons dismantlement, development, testing, and fabrication of high explosives components. The plant also stores plutonium pits for warheads. “The Department of Energy and CNS Pantex know that these workers risk exposure to cancer-causing chemicals daily, yet the DOE has imposed a ridiculous policy upon its contractors," said MTD president Ron Ault.   read more

Where is the Money Going?

  • Taxpayers Pick Up Hefty Tab for KBR’s Defense in Iraqi Toxic Exposure Lawsuits

    Wednesday, September 02, 2015
    KBR made millions of dollars off the Iraq war by providing a variety of support services to the U.S. military. Its methods of operation also resulted in servicemen and women being exposed to pollutants and toxins. Some of those exposed have since sued KBR and to add insult to injury, U.S. taxpayers will have to cover KBR’s legal expenses, according to the Armed Services Board of Contract Appeals.   read more
  • Federal Judge Orders Army Corps of Engineers to Pay $3 Billion for Long-Delayed Restoration of Mississippi Channel that Contributed to Katrina Damage

    Monday, August 31, 2015
    The Army Corps of Engineers must foot the entire bill for restoring Louisiana wetlands destroyed by the improper construction of a canal. The Mississippi River-Gulf Outlet Canal (MR-GO) was completed in 1968 as a shortcut to the New Orleans waterfront from the Gulf of Mexico. But the canal, which had widened to 2,000 feet in some places because of erosion caused by ship traffic, allowed the storm surge from Hurricane Katrina to breach New Orleans’ levees and flood the city.   read more
  • Human Vultures Descend on Poor Victims of Lead Poisoning

    Sunday, August 30, 2015
    Countless studies have demonstrated lead’s effect on the cognitive and emotional states of those exposed to it. Appropriately, landlords who allowed lead paint to remain in their buildings have been forced to pay their victims thousands of dollars to attempt to compensate them for the brain damage caused by peeling lead paint. These payouts are often in the form of “structured settlements” which provide the victims with monthly payments for the rest of their lives.   read more

Controversies

  • VA Medical Errors Up; Investigations of Medical Errors Down

    Wednesday, September 02, 2015
    The Government Accountability Office (GAO) has issued a report saying the number of reported medical errors (or “adverse events”) at VA hospitals went up 7% from 2010 to 2014. During that same period, the VA system that cares for nearly 6 million veterans saw 14% more patients but spent less time finding out the cause of medical errors. The GAO said investigations of adverse events dropped 18% from 2010 to 2014.   read more
  • Majority of Americans Want Background Checks for all Gun Sales and a Ban on Assault-Style Weapons

    Wednesday, September 02, 2015
    Americans want tougher gun control laws when it concerns background checks, banning assault weapons and other measures intended to reduce the threat of gun violence, according to a new survey. Background checks and the prohibition on the mentally ill buying guns are widely supported by those from both major political parties. Background checks are favored by 88% of Democrats and 79% of Republicans, while keeping guns from the mentally ill is supported by 81% of Democrats and 79% of Republicans.   read more
  • George W. Bush-Appointed Judge Halts Implementation of Rule Protecting Streams and Wetlands

    Monday, August 31, 2015
    U.S. District Judge Ralph Erickson of North Dakota, whom Bush appointed in 2003, issued an injunction Thursday keeping an Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) rule protecting smaller streams and waterways from pollution from going into effect Friday as scheduled. The rules would force landowners to get a permit if they did something that would pollute or destroy the regulated waters connected to larger bodies of water downstream.   read more

U.S. and the World

  • Only 44 of 190 Countries Meet Goal of 30% Women in Legislature…U.S. Isn’t One of Them

    Wednesday, September 02, 2015
    Twenty years ago, world leaders set a goal of having women make up 30% of all lawmakers. Only 44 nations have managed to achieve this and the United States isn’t one of them. The U.S. is only at 20% in its Senate and 19% in the House, giving it an overall percentage of 19%. That’s good for the 75th best among world nations and puts the United States one better than Tajikistan, but two behind that noted wellspring of women’s rights, Saudi Arabia.   read more
  • Cat Food Buyers Sue Nestlé over Possible Use of Slave Labor to Produce Fancy Feast

    Monday, August 31, 2015
    The class claims Nestlé has tried to hide its involvement with human rights violations from the public. Nestlé reportedly contracts with a Thai company, Thai Union Frozen Products PCL, to import more than 28 million pounds of seafood-based pet food, some of which is obtained through slave labor. “By hiding this from public view, Nestlé has effectively tricked millions of consumers into supporting and encouraging slave labor on floating prisons,” Steve Berman said in a statement.   read more
  • Judge Orders CIA to Release Information about Killing of Pablo Escobar…11 Years after Initial Request

    Monday, August 31, 2015
    Paul Paz y Miño told Courthouse News Service, “The impetus behind the investigation was to find out how much U.S. policy was directly responsible for helping human rights violators. They not only killed his lawyers, they killed the 17-year-old son of one of his lawyers, they killed people that worked on his ranches; there were a lot of innocent victims....There was a lot of collateral damage and huge human rights blowback to it.”   read more

Appointments and Resignations

  • Tunisia’s Ambassador to the United States: Who Is Fayçal Gouia?

    Saturday, August 29, 2015
    On May 18, 2015, President Barack Obama accepted the credentials of Fayçal Gouia, a longtime member of his country’s foreign service, to be Tunisia’s Ambassador to the United States. It’s the second time Gouia has been posted to his country’s embassy in Washington. Gouia’s first assignment to the Tunisian Embassy in Washington came in 1995, first as cultural and press counselor, followed in 1997 as economic and commercial counselor and beginning in 1999 as deputy chief of mission.   read more
  • U.S. Ambassador to Mongolia: Who Is Jennifer Zimdahl Galt?

    Saturday, August 22, 2015
    Galt returned to Washington in 2008 as deputy director of the Office of Public Diplomacy in the Bureau of East Asia and Pacific Affairs. She was sent to North Atlantic Treaty Organization headquarters in Brussels, Belgium, in 2010, first as public affairs advisor and the following year as senior public affairs advisor. Galt went back to China in 2012 as the consul general in Guangzhou, supervising the 400-person office there.   read more
  • Administrator of the General Services Administration: Who Is Denise Turner Roth?

    Monday, August 10, 2015
    Raised by her mother, who cleaned houses for a living, Roth grew up in the Anacostia neighborhood of southeast Washington D.C. “There were times,” she has said, “when it was five of us in a two-bedroom apartment and there were times when there were just two of us. There were times when the lights were on and times when they weren't. I know what it means to have the food truck come and get cheese and bread.”   read more

Featured Story

Citibank Study Finds Huge Financial Benefits to Acting on Climate Change

Thursday, September 03, 2015
Making changes--working to cut carbon in the atmosphere--would cost $190.2 trillion, the report says, but doing nothing would cost $192 trillion. Taking action would be cheaper “due to the rapidly falling costs of renewables, which combined with lower fuel usage from energy efficiency investments actually result in significantly lower long-term fuel bill,” wrote The Guardian. Investing in changes that reduce the impact of climate change could lessen its financial implications for businesses.   read more
Latest News

Top Stories

  • Federal Judge Rules Employers do not have to Provide Insurance Coverage for Contraception even if their Objection is not Religious

    Wednesday, September 02, 2015
    Employers who wish to avoid providing contraception coverage to their workers can do so on moral grounds, a federal judge ruled Monday. The ruling came in a case brought by an anti-abortion group, March for Life, which sued the Department of Health and Human Services over the contraception mandate contained in Obamacare. March for Life contends it should not have to provide contraception coverage because its objections are not that different from those raised by religious groups.   read more
  • As the Arctic Warms, Why is U.S. Falling behind Russia?

    Tuesday, September 01, 2015
    “The U.S. really isn’t even in this game,” said Coast Guard commandant Zukunft. “When Russia put Sputnik in outer space, did we sit with our hands in pocket with great fascination and say, ‘Good for Mother Russia’?” The Obama administration's actions are mostly on paper. Meanwhile, Russia has telescoped its sovereign designs on a vast expanse of the Arctic roughly the size of South Africa. It also made a symbolic move by planting a titanium Russian flag in the seabed beneath the North Pole.   read more
  • 3 Republican-Appointed Federal Appeals Judges Overturn Blocking of NSA Mass Telephone Spying

    Monday, August 31, 2015
    The panel ruled unanimously that the plaintiffs, led by conservative activist Larry Klayman, couldn’t prove their calls had been swept up because their calls were handled by Verizon Wireless, not Verizon Business, which had previously been found to have turned over calling data to the National Security Agency (NSA). This ruling came despite government documents released earlier this month that showed the NSA had also swept up Verizon Wireless data.   read more

Unusual News

  • Majority of Latinos Don’t Vote

    Tuesday, September 01, 2015
    Donald Trump’s immigrant-bashing message has raised questions about a backlash among Hispanic voters in response to the candidate’s ugly rhetoric. But while Hispanic turnout in elections has been steadily climbing in recent elections, the fact is most of these Americans still don’t cast ballots on Election Day. A new study shows only 47% of Hispanic voters went to the polls during the 2012 election. That means 53% didn’t vote, even though 20% of those who didn’t were registered.   read more
  • Many Fire Departments Spend more Time Tending to Homeless than Fighting Fires

    Tuesday, September 01, 2015
    Only 1.5% of Engine 1’s calls in 2014 had to do with fires. The majority of its time was spent going on calls to help homeless people, including those struggling with mental illness or substance abuse. The entire San Francisco Fire Department responded to more than 136,000 incidents in 2014, but only 28,000 of them involved fires and other nonmedical calls. Some of the most dispiriting calls are are to the same homeless person repeatedly—sometimes as much as 20 times—in a single day.   read more
  • Workers at Nuclear Weapons Plant Vote to Strike

    Tuesday, September 01, 2015
    Pantex workers perform critical work involving nuclear weapons life extension programs, weapons dismantlement, development, testing, and fabrication of high explosives components. The plant also stores plutonium pits for warheads. “The Department of Energy and CNS Pantex know that these workers risk exposure to cancer-causing chemicals daily, yet the DOE has imposed a ridiculous policy upon its contractors," said MTD president Ron Ault.   read more

Where is the Money Going?

  • Taxpayers Pick Up Hefty Tab for KBR’s Defense in Iraqi Toxic Exposure Lawsuits

    Wednesday, September 02, 2015
    KBR made millions of dollars off the Iraq war by providing a variety of support services to the U.S. military. Its methods of operation also resulted in servicemen and women being exposed to pollutants and toxins. Some of those exposed have since sued KBR and to add insult to injury, U.S. taxpayers will have to cover KBR’s legal expenses, according to the Armed Services Board of Contract Appeals.   read more
  • Federal Judge Orders Army Corps of Engineers to Pay $3 Billion for Long-Delayed Restoration of Mississippi Channel that Contributed to Katrina Damage

    Monday, August 31, 2015
    The Army Corps of Engineers must foot the entire bill for restoring Louisiana wetlands destroyed by the improper construction of a canal. The Mississippi River-Gulf Outlet Canal (MR-GO) was completed in 1968 as a shortcut to the New Orleans waterfront from the Gulf of Mexico. But the canal, which had widened to 2,000 feet in some places because of erosion caused by ship traffic, allowed the storm surge from Hurricane Katrina to breach New Orleans’ levees and flood the city.   read more
  • Human Vultures Descend on Poor Victims of Lead Poisoning

    Sunday, August 30, 2015
    Countless studies have demonstrated lead’s effect on the cognitive and emotional states of those exposed to it. Appropriately, landlords who allowed lead paint to remain in their buildings have been forced to pay their victims thousands of dollars to attempt to compensate them for the brain damage caused by peeling lead paint. These payouts are often in the form of “structured settlements” which provide the victims with monthly payments for the rest of their lives.   read more

Controversies

  • VA Medical Errors Up; Investigations of Medical Errors Down

    Wednesday, September 02, 2015
    The Government Accountability Office (GAO) has issued a report saying the number of reported medical errors (or “adverse events”) at VA hospitals went up 7% from 2010 to 2014. During that same period, the VA system that cares for nearly 6 million veterans saw 14% more patients but spent less time finding out the cause of medical errors. The GAO said investigations of adverse events dropped 18% from 2010 to 2014.   read more
  • Majority of Americans Want Background Checks for all Gun Sales and a Ban on Assault-Style Weapons

    Wednesday, September 02, 2015
    Americans want tougher gun control laws when it concerns background checks, banning assault weapons and other measures intended to reduce the threat of gun violence, according to a new survey. Background checks and the prohibition on the mentally ill buying guns are widely supported by those from both major political parties. Background checks are favored by 88% of Democrats and 79% of Republicans, while keeping guns from the mentally ill is supported by 81% of Democrats and 79% of Republicans.   read more
  • George W. Bush-Appointed Judge Halts Implementation of Rule Protecting Streams and Wetlands

    Monday, August 31, 2015
    U.S. District Judge Ralph Erickson of North Dakota, whom Bush appointed in 2003, issued an injunction Thursday keeping an Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) rule protecting smaller streams and waterways from pollution from going into effect Friday as scheduled. The rules would force landowners to get a permit if they did something that would pollute or destroy the regulated waters connected to larger bodies of water downstream.   read more

U.S. and the World

  • Only 44 of 190 Countries Meet Goal of 30% Women in Legislature…U.S. Isn’t One of Them

    Wednesday, September 02, 2015
    Twenty years ago, world leaders set a goal of having women make up 30% of all lawmakers. Only 44 nations have managed to achieve this and the United States isn’t one of them. The U.S. is only at 20% in its Senate and 19% in the House, giving it an overall percentage of 19%. That’s good for the 75th best among world nations and puts the United States one better than Tajikistan, but two behind that noted wellspring of women’s rights, Saudi Arabia.   read more
  • Cat Food Buyers Sue Nestlé over Possible Use of Slave Labor to Produce Fancy Feast

    Monday, August 31, 2015
    The class claims Nestlé has tried to hide its involvement with human rights violations from the public. Nestlé reportedly contracts with a Thai company, Thai Union Frozen Products PCL, to import more than 28 million pounds of seafood-based pet food, some of which is obtained through slave labor. “By hiding this from public view, Nestlé has effectively tricked millions of consumers into supporting and encouraging slave labor on floating prisons,” Steve Berman said in a statement.   read more
  • Judge Orders CIA to Release Information about Killing of Pablo Escobar…11 Years after Initial Request

    Monday, August 31, 2015
    Paul Paz y Miño told Courthouse News Service, “The impetus behind the investigation was to find out how much U.S. policy was directly responsible for helping human rights violators. They not only killed his lawyers, they killed the 17-year-old son of one of his lawyers, they killed people that worked on his ranches; there were a lot of innocent victims....There was a lot of collateral damage and huge human rights blowback to it.”   read more

Appointments and Resignations

  • Tunisia’s Ambassador to the United States: Who Is Fayçal Gouia?

    Saturday, August 29, 2015
    On May 18, 2015, President Barack Obama accepted the credentials of Fayçal Gouia, a longtime member of his country’s foreign service, to be Tunisia’s Ambassador to the United States. It’s the second time Gouia has been posted to his country’s embassy in Washington. Gouia’s first assignment to the Tunisian Embassy in Washington came in 1995, first as cultural and press counselor, followed in 1997 as economic and commercial counselor and beginning in 1999 as deputy chief of mission.   read more
  • U.S. Ambassador to Mongolia: Who Is Jennifer Zimdahl Galt?

    Saturday, August 22, 2015
    Galt returned to Washington in 2008 as deputy director of the Office of Public Diplomacy in the Bureau of East Asia and Pacific Affairs. She was sent to North Atlantic Treaty Organization headquarters in Brussels, Belgium, in 2010, first as public affairs advisor and the following year as senior public affairs advisor. Galt went back to China in 2012 as the consul general in Guangzhou, supervising the 400-person office there.   read more
  • Administrator of the General Services Administration: Who Is Denise Turner Roth?

    Monday, August 10, 2015
    Raised by her mother, who cleaned houses for a living, Roth grew up in the Anacostia neighborhood of southeast Washington D.C. “There were times,” she has said, “when it was five of us in a two-bedroom apartment and there were times when there were just two of us. There were times when the lights were on and times when they weren't. I know what it means to have the food truck come and get cheese and bread.”   read more