Featured Story

Majority of Federal Appeals Court Judges Appointed by Democratic Presidents for First Time in more than 10 Years

Tuesday, September 16, 2014
Five years ago, Republican-appointed judges dominated the federal appeals courts, with 99 seats compared to 65 held by those selected during Democratic administrations. Now, those numbers have flipped. Judges nominated by Democrats total 95, thanks in significant part to Obama’s selections since taking office in 2009. Republican-appointed circuit judges total 77, according to the Brookings Institution. The last time Democratic appointees were in the majority was in 2000.   read more
Latest News

Top Stories

Unusual News

  • Minnesota Vikings Lead NFL in Player Arrests

    Monday, September 15, 2014
    45 Minnesota players have been arrested since January 2000. Arrests of NFL players are actually significantly down this year. The peak was in 2006, when 67 players were arrested. Only 38 players have been arrested so far this year. But as they say, it’s early in the season and anything can happen in the National Football League.   read more
  • Expert Witness in Bank Terrorism Financing Case Admits She can’t Read Arabic

    Saturday, September 13, 2014
    Milton-Edwards testified during the civil case, which was brought by the families of 300 victims of suicide attacks in the West Bank, that she found no evidence while researching her book of Hamas being involved in regional charities. But prosecutors discovered that she couldn’t read Arabic. After being asked to read the printed text on a Hamas-sponsored image, Milton-Edwards admitted she could not.   read more
  • Trees Credited with Saving U.S. $6.8 Billion a Year in Health Costs

    Friday, September 12, 2014
    Scientists determined that the United States saves about $6.8 billion a year in healthcare costs by having trees in cities. In 2010 alone, the country avoided 850 deaths and 670,000 cases of acute respiratory symptoms, the researchers led by forester Dave Nowak found, thanks to 17 tons of air pollution being removed from the atmosphere by trees.   read more

Where is the Money Going?

  • Outsourcing Special Ops: $2.5 Billion a Year Industry

    Friday, September 12, 2014
    More than half of that $13 billion in spending, says Black, went to just eight companies: Lockheed Martin, L-3 Communications, Boeing, Harris Corporation, Jacobs Engineering Group, MA Federal, Raytheon and ITT Corporation. “Among the most expensive individual transactions,” wrote Black, “[were] radio communications from Harris Corporation; translation support in classified locations from Shee Atika LLC; procurement of drones equipment from Aerovironment Inc.”   read more
  • Walmart Forces Employees to Buy New Uniforms…at Walmart

    Friday, September 12, 2014
    The new dress code mandates that workers don a collared blue or white shirt and black or khaki pants. There’s the Walmart vest, too, which the company provides. But everything else must be paid for out of employees’ pockets. Many workers have expressed frustration and outrage over the new policy, given that full-time personnel make on average only $27,000 a year. The retail giant also employs a significant number of part-time help, who make even less money.   read more
  • Only 28% of American Workers are Employed by Companies Less than 16 Years Old

    Thursday, September 11, 2014
    Only 28% of the U.S. workforce is currently employed by companies less than 16 years old, according to the Brookings Institution. Back in 1992, the figure was 40%. The authors concluded that the trend toward older businesses is “disturbing” because newer firms tend to be responsible for more innovations than older companies.   read more

Controversies

  • Two Insecticides Lead to Drastic Increase in Polluted Urban Streams

    Sunday, September 14, 2014
    Fipronil, which is used to kill ants and cockroaches, and diclorvos, applied to kill insects attacking fruit and vegetable crops and used in “no-pest strips” were the primary reason that 90% of urban streams were in violation of the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) aquatic-life standard from 2002 to 2011. In the preceding decade, the corresponding percentage of polluted urban streams was 53%.   read more
  • 14-Year-Old Rape Kit, Finally Tested, Leads to Arrest of Ex-Cop

    Sunday, September 14, 2014
    A former Memphis police officer has been charged in a rape that occurred in 2000. Bridges Randle, who has been living in Atlanta under an assumed name, was arrested after a kit that had gone untested for 14 years was finally put into the national database. The Department of Justice estimates that nationwide there are about 100,000 untested rape kits, as well as evidence that has not yet been sent to labs for analysis.   read more
  • Bush Administration Threatened to Fine Yahoo $250,000 a Day if it didn’t Cooperate with Spy Program

    Saturday, September 13, 2014
    Newly released court records show Yahoo agreed to comply with demands from the National Security Agency (NSA) to provide copies of customers’ emails and other online communications. Its actions, however, were prompted by the threat of being fined $250,000 a day if the company did not play ball with the NSA’s PRISM program that sought to mine information from Internet providers.   read more

U.S. and the World

  • Why Did Obama Refer to Anti-Terror Campaigns in Somalia and Yemen as Successes?

    Monday, September 15, 2014
    Many have taken issue with the president’s claim of success in Yemen and Somalia. “Very few people who are not part of the administration consider either of those cases a success,” Spencer Ackerman wrote at the Guardian. “Less subjectively, neither has finished, years later, and it is unclear what success in Yemen and Somalia even is.”   read more
  • Texas and California Account for One Quarter of U.S. Jobs Dependent on Exports

    Thursday, September 11, 2014
    Not surprisingly perhaps, these two states are also the nation’s most populous: California and Texas. The Lone Star State accounts for 16% of all jobs dependent on exports, the highest rate in the U.S., according to the Department of Commerce. California is second, with 11%. The two states make up 20% of the population of the United States.   read more
  • Mexico Owes Water to U.S.

    Tuesday, September 09, 2014
    Under the terms of a 1945 agreement, Mexico and Texas are supposed to send each other a certain amount of water. Texas’ share comes from the Colorado River, while Mexico’s originates along the Rio Grande. Each year, Mexico’s allotment is supposed to total 350,000 acre feet (one acre-foot of water is equivalent to 326,700 gallons). But the country has fallen behind on its deliveries, and currently owes 380,000 acre-feet to the U.S.   read more

Appointments and Resignations

  • Acting Director of the Defense Intelligence Agency: Who Is David Shedd?

    Monday, September 15, 2014
    He joined the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) and in 1984 began serving tours in Mexico and in Costa Rica. In 2007, Shedd was named director of national intelligence deputy for policy, plans, and requirements. According to Director of National Intelligence James Clapper, Shedd “played critical roles in almost every ODNI initiative from 2005 until his departure in 2010.” Shedd was named deputy director of DIA in 2010.   read more
  • Director of the Defense Contract Management Agency: Who Is Wendy Masiello?

    Sunday, September 14, 2014
    On April 1, 2014, Wendy M. Masiello of the U.S. Air Force was named director of the Defense Contract Management Agency (DCMA), which handles procurement of everything from uniforms to jet aircraft for the U.S. military. DCMA has more than 12.000 employees and manages more than 330,000 active contracts. With the title came a promotion to lieutenant general.   read more
  • Director of the Defense Criminal Investigative Service: Who Is James B. Burch?

    Sunday, September 14, 2014
    Burch joined the Secret Service in 1980 and served 27 years there. In October 2007, Burch joined the State Department as its assistant inspector general for investigations. He established Middle East offices in Amman, Jordan and Cairo, Egypt as well as a presence in Baghdad, Iraq, to cope with the influx of Americans in that region.   read more

Featured Story

Majority of Federal Appeals Court Judges Appointed by Democratic Presidents for First Time in more than 10 Years

Tuesday, September 16, 2014
Five years ago, Republican-appointed judges dominated the federal appeals courts, with 99 seats compared to 65 held by those selected during Democratic administrations. Now, those numbers have flipped. Judges nominated by Democrats total 95, thanks in significant part to Obama’s selections since taking office in 2009. Republican-appointed circuit judges total 77, according to the Brookings Institution. The last time Democratic appointees were in the majority was in 2000.   read more
Latest News

Top Stories

Unusual News

  • Minnesota Vikings Lead NFL in Player Arrests

    Monday, September 15, 2014
    45 Minnesota players have been arrested since January 2000. Arrests of NFL players are actually significantly down this year. The peak was in 2006, when 67 players were arrested. Only 38 players have been arrested so far this year. But as they say, it’s early in the season and anything can happen in the National Football League.   read more
  • Expert Witness in Bank Terrorism Financing Case Admits She can’t Read Arabic

    Saturday, September 13, 2014
    Milton-Edwards testified during the civil case, which was brought by the families of 300 victims of suicide attacks in the West Bank, that she found no evidence while researching her book of Hamas being involved in regional charities. But prosecutors discovered that she couldn’t read Arabic. After being asked to read the printed text on a Hamas-sponsored image, Milton-Edwards admitted she could not.   read more
  • Trees Credited with Saving U.S. $6.8 Billion a Year in Health Costs

    Friday, September 12, 2014
    Scientists determined that the United States saves about $6.8 billion a year in healthcare costs by having trees in cities. In 2010 alone, the country avoided 850 deaths and 670,000 cases of acute respiratory symptoms, the researchers led by forester Dave Nowak found, thanks to 17 tons of air pollution being removed from the atmosphere by trees.   read more

Where is the Money Going?

  • Outsourcing Special Ops: $2.5 Billion a Year Industry

    Friday, September 12, 2014
    More than half of that $13 billion in spending, says Black, went to just eight companies: Lockheed Martin, L-3 Communications, Boeing, Harris Corporation, Jacobs Engineering Group, MA Federal, Raytheon and ITT Corporation. “Among the most expensive individual transactions,” wrote Black, “[were] radio communications from Harris Corporation; translation support in classified locations from Shee Atika LLC; procurement of drones equipment from Aerovironment Inc.”   read more
  • Walmart Forces Employees to Buy New Uniforms…at Walmart

    Friday, September 12, 2014
    The new dress code mandates that workers don a collared blue or white shirt and black or khaki pants. There’s the Walmart vest, too, which the company provides. But everything else must be paid for out of employees’ pockets. Many workers have expressed frustration and outrage over the new policy, given that full-time personnel make on average only $27,000 a year. The retail giant also employs a significant number of part-time help, who make even less money.   read more
  • Only 28% of American Workers are Employed by Companies Less than 16 Years Old

    Thursday, September 11, 2014
    Only 28% of the U.S. workforce is currently employed by companies less than 16 years old, according to the Brookings Institution. Back in 1992, the figure was 40%. The authors concluded that the trend toward older businesses is “disturbing” because newer firms tend to be responsible for more innovations than older companies.   read more

Controversies

  • Two Insecticides Lead to Drastic Increase in Polluted Urban Streams

    Sunday, September 14, 2014
    Fipronil, which is used to kill ants and cockroaches, and diclorvos, applied to kill insects attacking fruit and vegetable crops and used in “no-pest strips” were the primary reason that 90% of urban streams were in violation of the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) aquatic-life standard from 2002 to 2011. In the preceding decade, the corresponding percentage of polluted urban streams was 53%.   read more
  • 14-Year-Old Rape Kit, Finally Tested, Leads to Arrest of Ex-Cop

    Sunday, September 14, 2014
    A former Memphis police officer has been charged in a rape that occurred in 2000. Bridges Randle, who has been living in Atlanta under an assumed name, was arrested after a kit that had gone untested for 14 years was finally put into the national database. The Department of Justice estimates that nationwide there are about 100,000 untested rape kits, as well as evidence that has not yet been sent to labs for analysis.   read more
  • Bush Administration Threatened to Fine Yahoo $250,000 a Day if it didn’t Cooperate with Spy Program

    Saturday, September 13, 2014
    Newly released court records show Yahoo agreed to comply with demands from the National Security Agency (NSA) to provide copies of customers’ emails and other online communications. Its actions, however, were prompted by the threat of being fined $250,000 a day if the company did not play ball with the NSA’s PRISM program that sought to mine information from Internet providers.   read more

U.S. and the World

  • Why Did Obama Refer to Anti-Terror Campaigns in Somalia and Yemen as Successes?

    Monday, September 15, 2014
    Many have taken issue with the president’s claim of success in Yemen and Somalia. “Very few people who are not part of the administration consider either of those cases a success,” Spencer Ackerman wrote at the Guardian. “Less subjectively, neither has finished, years later, and it is unclear what success in Yemen and Somalia even is.”   read more
  • Texas and California Account for One Quarter of U.S. Jobs Dependent on Exports

    Thursday, September 11, 2014
    Not surprisingly perhaps, these two states are also the nation’s most populous: California and Texas. The Lone Star State accounts for 16% of all jobs dependent on exports, the highest rate in the U.S., according to the Department of Commerce. California is second, with 11%. The two states make up 20% of the population of the United States.   read more
  • Mexico Owes Water to U.S.

    Tuesday, September 09, 2014
    Under the terms of a 1945 agreement, Mexico and Texas are supposed to send each other a certain amount of water. Texas’ share comes from the Colorado River, while Mexico’s originates along the Rio Grande. Each year, Mexico’s allotment is supposed to total 350,000 acre feet (one acre-foot of water is equivalent to 326,700 gallons). But the country has fallen behind on its deliveries, and currently owes 380,000 acre-feet to the U.S.   read more

Appointments and Resignations

  • Acting Director of the Defense Intelligence Agency: Who Is David Shedd?

    Monday, September 15, 2014
    He joined the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) and in 1984 began serving tours in Mexico and in Costa Rica. In 2007, Shedd was named director of national intelligence deputy for policy, plans, and requirements. According to Director of National Intelligence James Clapper, Shedd “played critical roles in almost every ODNI initiative from 2005 until his departure in 2010.” Shedd was named deputy director of DIA in 2010.   read more
  • Director of the Defense Contract Management Agency: Who Is Wendy Masiello?

    Sunday, September 14, 2014
    On April 1, 2014, Wendy M. Masiello of the U.S. Air Force was named director of the Defense Contract Management Agency (DCMA), which handles procurement of everything from uniforms to jet aircraft for the U.S. military. DCMA has more than 12.000 employees and manages more than 330,000 active contracts. With the title came a promotion to lieutenant general.   read more
  • Director of the Defense Criminal Investigative Service: Who Is James B. Burch?

    Sunday, September 14, 2014
    Burch joined the Secret Service in 1980 and served 27 years there. In October 2007, Burch joined the State Department as its assistant inspector general for investigations. He established Middle East offices in Amman, Jordan and Cairo, Egypt as well as a presence in Baghdad, Iraq, to cope with the influx of Americans in that region.   read more