Featured Story

Attorney General Lynch Demands Extradition of International Soccer Leaders for Corruption

Thursday, May 28, 2015
The Justice Department has indicted 14 people so far on charges of racketeering, wire fraud and money laundering conspiracy. Conspicuously not mentioned in the indictments was FIFA President Sepp Blatter, whom some call the most powerful person in sports. He might not be out of the woods yet though. One U.S. law enforcement official said that Blatter’s fate would “depend on where the investigation goes from here.” Said acting U.S. Atty. Currie: “I want to be very clear: This is the beginning.”   read more
Latest News

Top Stories

  • 4 Words that could Raise Health Care Costs for 7.5 Million Americans

    Wednesday, May 27, 2015
    It took 900 pages to create Obamacare as law, but it may take only four words of that bill to cost millions of Americans their healthcare subsidies and raise their health costs. Those four words opened the door to this legal challenge to Obamacare, but it seems to be something of a mystery as to how they got into the law in the first place. Former Sen. Jeff Bingaman said the words appeared to be a “drafting error,” while Sen. Olympia Snowe called it "inadvertent language."   read more
  • Judge Who Blocked Release of Osama bin Laden Death Photos Now Blocks Release of Senate Torture Report

    Tuesday, May 26, 2015
    Boasberg, who was appointed by President Barack Obama, appears to be the go-to judge if you don’t want something released to the public. Judicial Watch filed an FOIA request in 2011 to force the release of images of Osama Bin Laden’s death and burial, but Boasberg ruled against the group. In his latest ruling, Boasberg said letters sent to the CIA by Senator Dianne Feinstein (D-California), the former Senate intelligence chairman, revealed Congress has not relinquished control over the report   read more
  • Republican State Governments Increasingly Overruling Laws Passed by City and County Governments

    Monday, May 25, 2015
    Texas Gov. Greg Abbott (R) on May 18 signed a bill that would preempt municipalities’ right to regulate fracking within their borders. Other states’ Republican-controlled legislatures have seemed just as eager to comply with the wishes of their corporate donors: Missouri’s legislature passed a law banning local ordinances that outlaw plastic grocery bags. Forty-five states have, at the behest of the National Rifle Association, preempted local ordinances governing gun safety.   read more

Unusual News

  • University Students from 37 Nations Rank George W. Bush less Popular than Josef Stalin and Genghis Khan, but more Popular than Saddam Hussein and Osama bin Laden

    Sunday, May 24, 2015
    Out of 40 names given to the 6,902 university students in 37 countries who participated of the study, Bush ranked 37th, ahead of only Saddam Hussein, Osama bin Laden and Adolf Hitler. Josef Stalin, who was responsible for up to 50 million deaths, was ranked 36th. The most popular people on the list were an interesting mix of those of reason and faith. Leading the list was Albert Einstein, followed by Mother Teresa, Mahatma Gandhi, Martin Luther King Jr. and Isaac Newton.   read more
  • Capitol Police Ordered to Get More Training after Leaving Guns in Public Restrooms

    Saturday, May 23, 2015
    In March, a child found a gun belonging to a member of House Speaker John Boehner’s police detail in a bathroom at the Capitol. Another gun, this one belonging to a member of Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell’s detail, was discovered by a worker in a bathroom at the Congressional Visitors’ Center. So now, officers will be required to take an online class in the proper protocol for handling weapons in situations such as when nature calls.   read more
  • Tall Men Make more Money…but only up to 6 Feet

    Wednesday, May 20, 2015
    About to ask for a raise? You might have more luck if you do it wearing a pair of elevator shoes. A study published in the Journal of Human Capital showed a difference in height among men, even just four or five inches, can result in higher earnings ranging from 9% to 15%, according to Joe Pinsker at The Atlantic. Pinsker also reported that another source indicated “an extra inch is worth almost $800 a year in elevated earnings.”   read more

Where is the Money Going?

  • Why are Companies Replacing Raises with Bonuses?

    Wednesday, May 27, 2015
    Described as a “quiet revolution in compensation,” bonuses are now a hot thing in the private sector, and not just for executives. More ordinary employees are getting bonuses at the expense of annual pay raises from companies to cut costs. “Employers like one-shots precisely because they are temporary,” wrote the Times' Patricia Cohen. “They save money over the long run because they don’t lock in raises, giving managers greater control over budgets, particularly during downturns.”   read more
  • House Passes Bill Giving Corporations Property Rights to Mining on Asteroids

    Tuesday, May 26, 2015
    The legislation would also ensure that these companies can mine and drill asteroids “without harmful interference,” and requires the White House “to facilitate commercial development." Should the bill become law, it could ensure a potential goldmine for corporations with the means to extract minerals from those giant flying boulders. Platinum-group metals, for example, are so highly concentrated on asteroids that some may contain more of them “than have ever been mined in human history.”   read more
  • Women over 50 most Common Victims of Online Romance Scams

    Sunday, May 24, 2015
    Online scammers know their target audience. And when they’re making a pitch based on romance, women older than 50 are their most frequent victims, according to statistics from the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI). In 2014, 2,163 women 50 and over reported losing about $51 million to online romance crooks, an average of more than $23,500 each.   read more

Controversies

  • As Government Jobs Disappear, It’s Women and African-American Men who are Hit the Hardest

    Wednesday, May 27, 2015
    “The decline reverses a historical pattern, researchers say, with public sector employees typically holding onto their jobs even during most economic downturns,” The New York Times wrote. “Roughly one in five black adults works for the government, teaching school, delivering mail, driving buses, processing criminal justice and managing large staffs. They are about 30 percent more likely to have a public sector job than non-Hispanic whites, and twice as likely as Hispanics.”   read more
  • Federal Program Allows Killing of Half a Million Protected Migratory Birds a Year

    Wednesday, May 27, 2015
    Two-thirds of all the birds killed included brown-headed cowbirds and red-winged blackbirds. Some of the birds “are struggling to cope with habitat loss, climate change and other threats," reported Reveal. Birds are killed under the program to protect farm fields, vineyards, air traffic, golf courses, and other locations. Recently, a federal judge in Portland, Ore., denied a motion to try to stop the killing of more than 10,000 double-crested cormorants in the Columbia River estuary.   read more
  • 4 out of 5 New Big City Rental Buildings are Luxury Apartments

    Wednesday, May 27, 2015
    The boom in luxury units has been great for the affluent, while “many middle-class and young workers are straining to rent the units, in part because they have few others choices,” wrote Wall Street Journal's Laura Kusisto. Now some cities and states are working to make rental housing more affordable not only for lower-income people, but those in the middle class. Atlanta, for instance, is considering a requirement that developers reserve some units that those of average incomes can afford.   read more

U.S. and the World

  • Is Prosecution or Rehabilitation the Better Response to Home-Grown Terrorist Recruits?

    Saturday, May 23, 2015
    The prosecutor in the case, U.S. Attorney Andrew Luger, had previously opposed rehabilitation over prison for another Somali-American, Abdullahi Yusuf, who also wanted to join IS. Luger appears to have had a change of heart however, and hopes to fight the recruitment of young people by IS with programs such as mentoring and job counseling. The federal government estimates that between 150 and 180 Americans have tried to leave the country and join up with groups fighting in Syria.   read more
  • Release of Warren Report on U.S. Labor Protection Failures Aims to Counter Obama Fast Track Authority for TPP Passage

    Friday, May 22, 2015
    Warren claims the GAO, along with the Labor and State departments, have documented “significant and persistent problems with labor abuses in countries with which we have FTAs.” However, the report notes that the U.S. seldom tries to enforce fair labor provisions. Warren has also objected to the lack of transparency about the exact provisions of the TPP: “We’re being asked to grease the skids for a deal that’s basically done but is being held in secret until after this vote."   read more
  • Obama Promises U.S. Military will Defend Rich Arab Dictatorships

    Monday, May 18, 2015
    High officials from six Persian Gulf countries got assurances from President Barack Obama that the United States would respond, perhaps with military force, to an “external threat” to any of the countries. Amnesty International has cataloged human rights abuses in each of those countries.   read more

Appointments and Resignations

  • Thailand’s Ambassador to the United States: Who Is Pisan Manawapat?

    Monday, May 25, 2015
    In 2011 Pisan was named ambassador to India, serving there for two years. He then took over the Thai embassy in Canada. Since taking over in Washington, Pisan has spent much of his time attempting to improve relations between his country and the United States in the wake of a May 2014 coup, after which the Thai government tightened restrictions of freedom of expression in their country.   read more
  • Acting Administrator of the Drug Enforcement Administration: Who Is Chuck Rosenberg?

    Sunday, May 24, 2015
    Beginning in 2007, he served as chief of staff to Attorney General Alberto Gonzales. Rosenberg left again for the private sector in 2008, defending white-collar criminals as a partner at Hogan Lovells. Rosenberg returned in 2013 to work for James Comey again, this time as chief of staff and counselor to the FBI director. Unlike his predecessor, as leader of the DEA, Rosenberg is expected to focus more on heroin and harder drugs and less on enforcement of marijuana laws.   read more
  • Director of the Minority Business Development Agency: Who Is Alejandra Castillo?

    Sunday, May 24, 2015
    Castillo joined the Commerce Department in 2008 as special advisor to Christopher Padilla, the under secretary for the U. S. Department of Commerce’s International Trade Administration. In 2010, Castillo was named national deputy director of Minority Business Development Agency, and was moved up to the directorship in 2014.   read more

Featured Story

Attorney General Lynch Demands Extradition of International Soccer Leaders for Corruption

Thursday, May 28, 2015
The Justice Department has indicted 14 people so far on charges of racketeering, wire fraud and money laundering conspiracy. Conspicuously not mentioned in the indictments was FIFA President Sepp Blatter, whom some call the most powerful person in sports. He might not be out of the woods yet though. One U.S. law enforcement official said that Blatter’s fate would “depend on where the investigation goes from here.” Said acting U.S. Atty. Currie: “I want to be very clear: This is the beginning.”   read more
Latest News

Top Stories

  • 4 Words that could Raise Health Care Costs for 7.5 Million Americans

    Wednesday, May 27, 2015
    It took 900 pages to create Obamacare as law, but it may take only four words of that bill to cost millions of Americans their healthcare subsidies and raise their health costs. Those four words opened the door to this legal challenge to Obamacare, but it seems to be something of a mystery as to how they got into the law in the first place. Former Sen. Jeff Bingaman said the words appeared to be a “drafting error,” while Sen. Olympia Snowe called it "inadvertent language."   read more
  • Judge Who Blocked Release of Osama bin Laden Death Photos Now Blocks Release of Senate Torture Report

    Tuesday, May 26, 2015
    Boasberg, who was appointed by President Barack Obama, appears to be the go-to judge if you don’t want something released to the public. Judicial Watch filed an FOIA request in 2011 to force the release of images of Osama Bin Laden’s death and burial, but Boasberg ruled against the group. In his latest ruling, Boasberg said letters sent to the CIA by Senator Dianne Feinstein (D-California), the former Senate intelligence chairman, revealed Congress has not relinquished control over the report   read more
  • Republican State Governments Increasingly Overruling Laws Passed by City and County Governments

    Monday, May 25, 2015
    Texas Gov. Greg Abbott (R) on May 18 signed a bill that would preempt municipalities’ right to regulate fracking within their borders. Other states’ Republican-controlled legislatures have seemed just as eager to comply with the wishes of their corporate donors: Missouri’s legislature passed a law banning local ordinances that outlaw plastic grocery bags. Forty-five states have, at the behest of the National Rifle Association, preempted local ordinances governing gun safety.   read more

Unusual News

  • University Students from 37 Nations Rank George W. Bush less Popular than Josef Stalin and Genghis Khan, but more Popular than Saddam Hussein and Osama bin Laden

    Sunday, May 24, 2015
    Out of 40 names given to the 6,902 university students in 37 countries who participated of the study, Bush ranked 37th, ahead of only Saddam Hussein, Osama bin Laden and Adolf Hitler. Josef Stalin, who was responsible for up to 50 million deaths, was ranked 36th. The most popular people on the list were an interesting mix of those of reason and faith. Leading the list was Albert Einstein, followed by Mother Teresa, Mahatma Gandhi, Martin Luther King Jr. and Isaac Newton.   read more
  • Capitol Police Ordered to Get More Training after Leaving Guns in Public Restrooms

    Saturday, May 23, 2015
    In March, a child found a gun belonging to a member of House Speaker John Boehner’s police detail in a bathroom at the Capitol. Another gun, this one belonging to a member of Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell’s detail, was discovered by a worker in a bathroom at the Congressional Visitors’ Center. So now, officers will be required to take an online class in the proper protocol for handling weapons in situations such as when nature calls.   read more
  • Tall Men Make more Money…but only up to 6 Feet

    Wednesday, May 20, 2015
    About to ask for a raise? You might have more luck if you do it wearing a pair of elevator shoes. A study published in the Journal of Human Capital showed a difference in height among men, even just four or five inches, can result in higher earnings ranging from 9% to 15%, according to Joe Pinsker at The Atlantic. Pinsker also reported that another source indicated “an extra inch is worth almost $800 a year in elevated earnings.”   read more

Where is the Money Going?

  • Why are Companies Replacing Raises with Bonuses?

    Wednesday, May 27, 2015
    Described as a “quiet revolution in compensation,” bonuses are now a hot thing in the private sector, and not just for executives. More ordinary employees are getting bonuses at the expense of annual pay raises from companies to cut costs. “Employers like one-shots precisely because they are temporary,” wrote the Times' Patricia Cohen. “They save money over the long run because they don’t lock in raises, giving managers greater control over budgets, particularly during downturns.”   read more
  • House Passes Bill Giving Corporations Property Rights to Mining on Asteroids

    Tuesday, May 26, 2015
    The legislation would also ensure that these companies can mine and drill asteroids “without harmful interference,” and requires the White House “to facilitate commercial development." Should the bill become law, it could ensure a potential goldmine for corporations with the means to extract minerals from those giant flying boulders. Platinum-group metals, for example, are so highly concentrated on asteroids that some may contain more of them “than have ever been mined in human history.”   read more
  • Women over 50 most Common Victims of Online Romance Scams

    Sunday, May 24, 2015
    Online scammers know their target audience. And when they’re making a pitch based on romance, women older than 50 are their most frequent victims, according to statistics from the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI). In 2014, 2,163 women 50 and over reported losing about $51 million to online romance crooks, an average of more than $23,500 each.   read more

Controversies

  • As Government Jobs Disappear, It’s Women and African-American Men who are Hit the Hardest

    Wednesday, May 27, 2015
    “The decline reverses a historical pattern, researchers say, with public sector employees typically holding onto their jobs even during most economic downturns,” The New York Times wrote. “Roughly one in five black adults works for the government, teaching school, delivering mail, driving buses, processing criminal justice and managing large staffs. They are about 30 percent more likely to have a public sector job than non-Hispanic whites, and twice as likely as Hispanics.”   read more
  • Federal Program Allows Killing of Half a Million Protected Migratory Birds a Year

    Wednesday, May 27, 2015
    Two-thirds of all the birds killed included brown-headed cowbirds and red-winged blackbirds. Some of the birds “are struggling to cope with habitat loss, climate change and other threats," reported Reveal. Birds are killed under the program to protect farm fields, vineyards, air traffic, golf courses, and other locations. Recently, a federal judge in Portland, Ore., denied a motion to try to stop the killing of more than 10,000 double-crested cormorants in the Columbia River estuary.   read more
  • 4 out of 5 New Big City Rental Buildings are Luxury Apartments

    Wednesday, May 27, 2015
    The boom in luxury units has been great for the affluent, while “many middle-class and young workers are straining to rent the units, in part because they have few others choices,” wrote Wall Street Journal's Laura Kusisto. Now some cities and states are working to make rental housing more affordable not only for lower-income people, but those in the middle class. Atlanta, for instance, is considering a requirement that developers reserve some units that those of average incomes can afford.   read more

U.S. and the World

  • Is Prosecution or Rehabilitation the Better Response to Home-Grown Terrorist Recruits?

    Saturday, May 23, 2015
    The prosecutor in the case, U.S. Attorney Andrew Luger, had previously opposed rehabilitation over prison for another Somali-American, Abdullahi Yusuf, who also wanted to join IS. Luger appears to have had a change of heart however, and hopes to fight the recruitment of young people by IS with programs such as mentoring and job counseling. The federal government estimates that between 150 and 180 Americans have tried to leave the country and join up with groups fighting in Syria.   read more
  • Release of Warren Report on U.S. Labor Protection Failures Aims to Counter Obama Fast Track Authority for TPP Passage

    Friday, May 22, 2015
    Warren claims the GAO, along with the Labor and State departments, have documented “significant and persistent problems with labor abuses in countries with which we have FTAs.” However, the report notes that the U.S. seldom tries to enforce fair labor provisions. Warren has also objected to the lack of transparency about the exact provisions of the TPP: “We’re being asked to grease the skids for a deal that’s basically done but is being held in secret until after this vote."   read more
  • Obama Promises U.S. Military will Defend Rich Arab Dictatorships

    Monday, May 18, 2015
    High officials from six Persian Gulf countries got assurances from President Barack Obama that the United States would respond, perhaps with military force, to an “external threat” to any of the countries. Amnesty International has cataloged human rights abuses in each of those countries.   read more

Appointments and Resignations

  • Thailand’s Ambassador to the United States: Who Is Pisan Manawapat?

    Monday, May 25, 2015
    In 2011 Pisan was named ambassador to India, serving there for two years. He then took over the Thai embassy in Canada. Since taking over in Washington, Pisan has spent much of his time attempting to improve relations between his country and the United States in the wake of a May 2014 coup, after which the Thai government tightened restrictions of freedom of expression in their country.   read more
  • Acting Administrator of the Drug Enforcement Administration: Who Is Chuck Rosenberg?

    Sunday, May 24, 2015
    Beginning in 2007, he served as chief of staff to Attorney General Alberto Gonzales. Rosenberg left again for the private sector in 2008, defending white-collar criminals as a partner at Hogan Lovells. Rosenberg returned in 2013 to work for James Comey again, this time as chief of staff and counselor to the FBI director. Unlike his predecessor, as leader of the DEA, Rosenberg is expected to focus more on heroin and harder drugs and less on enforcement of marijuana laws.   read more
  • Director of the Minority Business Development Agency: Who Is Alejandra Castillo?

    Sunday, May 24, 2015
    Castillo joined the Commerce Department in 2008 as special advisor to Christopher Padilla, the under secretary for the U. S. Department of Commerce’s International Trade Administration. In 2010, Castillo was named national deputy director of Minority Business Development Agency, and was moved up to the directorship in 2014.   read more