Featured Story

Invasion of the Hedge Funders: 6 Men Gave $10 Million to Presidential Super PACs in One Month

Friday, April 29, 2016
Wall Street dominates political giving. But it’s these donors, a much smaller subset of the securities sector, who play with the biggest money. The fact that hedge fund money continued to flood the presidential race after one of the donors’ favorite candidates — Rubio — dropped out would be surprising were it not for the anti-Donald Trump movement. For this group, there’s still work to be done with their money — namely, beating back Trump’s ascension to the Republican nomination.   read more
Latest News

Top Stories

  • New Evidence Linking Bladder Cancer to Agent Orange Gives Vietnam Vets Hope in Fight for VA Benefits

    Thursday, April 28, 2016
    Vet Brian Sweeney grew emotional after a reporter read him details of the new bladder cancer research. Sweeney recalled in Vietnam once driving through a misty fog of chemicals so thick he had to stop the vehicle and turn around. “I didn’t know it at the time, but that was probably Agent Orange,” he said. When he went to the VA to see if he could receive benefits, the claims specialist “pretty much told me I wasn’t eligible because Agent Orange doesn’t cause bladder cancer.”   read more
  • Drug Industry Shrugs Off Widespread Criticism and Keeps Raising Drug Prices

    Wednesday, April 27, 2016
    Drugmakers have been enduring withering criticism over the rising cost of drugs. It does not seem to be working. They've raised prices on brand-name drugs by double-digit percentages since the start of the year, and list prices increased more than 12%, in line with the trend over the five previous years. One of the cruelties of drug pricing is that the burden falls most heavily on those least able to pay it. Uninsured patients often must pay the list price of a drug.   read more
  • Criminal Element in Republican Politicians is Alive and Well—and No Big Deal—in Texas

    Tuesday, April 26, 2016
    "Texans don't generally expect a lot of their politicians," said political scientist Cal Jillson. "Politicians often get off because the laws they are accused of violating are so poorly written. They have holes in them big enough to drive a truck through ... They'd rather have this guy who agrees with their politics, under indictment than someone else who is not beholden to them. What that says about Texas is that the state is currently run by [Republicans]."   read more

Unusual News

  • Guided Missiles Missing from Guided Missile Containers Found Floating in Pacific Ocean

    Monday, April 25, 2016
    Clinton Cook Sr. tells Anchorage television KTUU he was on a boat that found one of the heavy, hard plastic containers. They were going to pass it, but noticed the unusual shape, about 8-feet by 2-feet. Troopers say an explosives ordinance team helped determine the boxes were "void of their original contents."   read more
  • FBI Approves of their Agents Killing Suspect, But Not of Shooting His Car Tire

    Saturday, April 23, 2016
    The FBI took the unusual step of deeming part of that case a “bad shoot” in agents’ parlance. But the two agents who killed Harrison were not faulted. Instead, only the agent who shot the tire was blamed, recommending that the agent be suspended for a day without pay. The reason was that lethal force force policy forbids firing a gun to disable a vehicle. But the same policy permits firing a gun to protect people from danger, which they applied to Harrison's killing.   read more
  • Meet the Women Whose Faces Will Grace Your Currency

    Friday, April 22, 2016
    Isabella Baumfree, a slave born in 1797, changed her name to Sojourner Truth after she walked off an upstate farm in 1826 with her infant daughter. She became a Christian preacher and grew increasingly political in pressing for abolition, women’s suffrage and prison reform. She delivered her most famous address, “Ain’t I a Woman,” in 1851 in Ohio, where she said: “I could work as much and eat as much as a man — when I could get it — and bear the lash as well. And ain’t I a woman?”   read more

Where is the Money Going?

  • Loophole in Enforcement of “Living Wage” Laws: State Governments Kept in Dark on Compliance

    Wednesday, April 27, 2016
    Evidence of compliance is plain to see on most pay stubs, but state and federal laws don't require employers to routinely provide this crucial detail to the government. Without this data, wage enforcers who are empowered to investigate generally wait until a worker complains. And many workers — especially those in precarious situations — fear they'll be fired if they speak up. "It's pretty shocking how common the violations are," said Donna Levitt, a labor enforcement director in San Francisco.   read more
  • Health Law Seen as Reducing Medical Debt of Low-Income Americans

    Monday, April 25, 2016
    One in five Americans still struggle to pay a medical bill, even after the health law. But studies show the number has declined as insurance coverage has expanded. Also, the lower debt burden for the newly insured indirectly helps others. Insurance coverage means more bills are paid to doctors and hospitals — but also to banks, utilities and landlords. That receives less attention than the health law’s more obvious effects on access to health care. But they're an important effect of the law.   read more
  • In Separate Cases, CIA and Supreme Court Approve Paths for Benefit Payments to Terror Victims’ Families

    Thursday, April 21, 2016
    The CIA has secured funds to begin paying out death benefits of up to $400,000 each to families like the Dohertys who are survivors of federal employees or contractors killed in acts of terrorism overseas. The benefits will be available to families of victims dating back as far as 1983, when suicide bombers killed dozens of people at the U.S. Embassy in Beirut. The agency has not released the specific number of families who qualify, but it's believed to be several dozen.   read more

Controversies

U.S. and the World

  • Innocent Canadian Charged as Terrorist Blames U.S. for Forcing Canada to Increase Terrorism Prosecutions

    Wednesday, April 27, 2016
    De Jaray says she was "collateral damage" in Canada's attempt to curry favor with the U.S. "Canada began targeting its own citizens in order to create the perception that Canada was 'tough on crime' and, in particular, terrorism, to win favor with the United States and secure contracts for military goods and services," the complaint states. "Ms. De Jaray lost her home, her business, her savings, her health... Ms. de Jaray's life was destroyed...without evidence and without reason."   read more
  • U.S. Denial of Visa for Brutal Afghan V.P. Highlights U.S.-Afghanistan Paradox

    Tuesday, April 26, 2016
    Dostum’s ascent to power in Afghanistan exemplifies a central U.S. failure in the war. The U.S. has built and paid for a government that is filled with warlords and power brokers whom U.S. officials say pose as much of a threat to the stability of Afghanistan as the insurgents. Now the U.S. had to deny a visa to the No. 2 official, an alleged war criminal, in a government whose survival depends on the presence of nearly 10,000 U.S. troops and tens of billions of dollars a year in assistance.   read more
  • Portuguese Court Clears Way for Extradition of Ex-CIA Agent to Italy in Bush-Era Kidnapping Case

    Sunday, April 24, 2016
    De Sousa has exhausted her appeals in the Italian judicial system. It is not clear whether, upon her return to Italy, she would immediately begin serving her prison term, which would last a minimum of four years. Portuguese courts have stated that De Sousa, once sent to Italy, should have the right to a new trial, or at least the opportunity to present new evidence and witnesses in an appeal. But one of the Italian prosecutors said she would be sent straight to prison, “and that’s that."   read more

Appointments and Resignations

  • Ambassador to Slovakia: Who Is Adam Sterling?

    Sunday, March 27, 2016
    Before joining the State Dept in 1990, Sterling worked in New York City as a liaison officer in the mayor’s office to the U.N. and consular corps. His first Foreign Service posting was in Peru. In 1993, Sterling was sent to Belgium, but returned to the U.S. in 1995 to be a desk officer for Central Asian affairs, a region he would focus on through much of his career. Sterling was assigned in 1998 as a political officer in Kazakhstan, then in 2001 took a similar post in Tel Aviv, Israel.   read more
  • Djibouti’s Ambassador to the United States: Who Is Mohamed Siad Doualeh?

    Tuesday, March 22, 2016
    Before joining the Foreign Ministry, he was a journalist at the newspaper La Nation in Djibouti. Doualeh was made ambassador to Switzerland, the World Trade Organization and the United Nations agencies based in Geneva in 2006, posts he held until coming to Washington. A music enthusiast, Doualeh is a founding member of the cultural association ADAC, longtime organizer of "The Fest'horn," the largest music festival dedicated to peace in the Horn of Africa.   read more
  • Mexico’s Ambassador to the United States: Who Is Miguel Basáñez Ebergenyi?

    Monday, March 21, 2016
    In 2005, Basáñez became chief pollster and advisor to state of Mexico then-governor del Mazo. More recently, Basáñez has been professor of values, culture and development at the Fletcher School of Diplomacy. When Basáñez was appointed ambassador, it created some controversy among some who pointed out he had no diplomatic experience and that it was his close association with del Mazo, a cousin of Mexican President Enrique Peña Nieto, that accounted for his appointment.   read more

Featured Story

Invasion of the Hedge Funders: 6 Men Gave $10 Million to Presidential Super PACs in One Month

Friday, April 29, 2016
Wall Street dominates political giving. But it’s these donors, a much smaller subset of the securities sector, who play with the biggest money. The fact that hedge fund money continued to flood the presidential race after one of the donors’ favorite candidates — Rubio — dropped out would be surprising were it not for the anti-Donald Trump movement. For this group, there’s still work to be done with their money — namely, beating back Trump’s ascension to the Republican nomination.   read more
Latest News

Top Stories

  • New Evidence Linking Bladder Cancer to Agent Orange Gives Vietnam Vets Hope in Fight for VA Benefits

    Thursday, April 28, 2016
    Vet Brian Sweeney grew emotional after a reporter read him details of the new bladder cancer research. Sweeney recalled in Vietnam once driving through a misty fog of chemicals so thick he had to stop the vehicle and turn around. “I didn’t know it at the time, but that was probably Agent Orange,” he said. When he went to the VA to see if he could receive benefits, the claims specialist “pretty much told me I wasn’t eligible because Agent Orange doesn’t cause bladder cancer.”   read more
  • Drug Industry Shrugs Off Widespread Criticism and Keeps Raising Drug Prices

    Wednesday, April 27, 2016
    Drugmakers have been enduring withering criticism over the rising cost of drugs. It does not seem to be working. They've raised prices on brand-name drugs by double-digit percentages since the start of the year, and list prices increased more than 12%, in line with the trend over the five previous years. One of the cruelties of drug pricing is that the burden falls most heavily on those least able to pay it. Uninsured patients often must pay the list price of a drug.   read more
  • Criminal Element in Republican Politicians is Alive and Well—and No Big Deal—in Texas

    Tuesday, April 26, 2016
    "Texans don't generally expect a lot of their politicians," said political scientist Cal Jillson. "Politicians often get off because the laws they are accused of violating are so poorly written. They have holes in them big enough to drive a truck through ... They'd rather have this guy who agrees with their politics, under indictment than someone else who is not beholden to them. What that says about Texas is that the state is currently run by [Republicans]."   read more

Unusual News

  • Guided Missiles Missing from Guided Missile Containers Found Floating in Pacific Ocean

    Monday, April 25, 2016
    Clinton Cook Sr. tells Anchorage television KTUU he was on a boat that found one of the heavy, hard plastic containers. They were going to pass it, but noticed the unusual shape, about 8-feet by 2-feet. Troopers say an explosives ordinance team helped determine the boxes were "void of their original contents."   read more
  • FBI Approves of their Agents Killing Suspect, But Not of Shooting His Car Tire

    Saturday, April 23, 2016
    The FBI took the unusual step of deeming part of that case a “bad shoot” in agents’ parlance. But the two agents who killed Harrison were not faulted. Instead, only the agent who shot the tire was blamed, recommending that the agent be suspended for a day without pay. The reason was that lethal force force policy forbids firing a gun to disable a vehicle. But the same policy permits firing a gun to protect people from danger, which they applied to Harrison's killing.   read more
  • Meet the Women Whose Faces Will Grace Your Currency

    Friday, April 22, 2016
    Isabella Baumfree, a slave born in 1797, changed her name to Sojourner Truth after she walked off an upstate farm in 1826 with her infant daughter. She became a Christian preacher and grew increasingly political in pressing for abolition, women’s suffrage and prison reform. She delivered her most famous address, “Ain’t I a Woman,” in 1851 in Ohio, where she said: “I could work as much and eat as much as a man — when I could get it — and bear the lash as well. And ain’t I a woman?”   read more

Where is the Money Going?

  • Loophole in Enforcement of “Living Wage” Laws: State Governments Kept in Dark on Compliance

    Wednesday, April 27, 2016
    Evidence of compliance is plain to see on most pay stubs, but state and federal laws don't require employers to routinely provide this crucial detail to the government. Without this data, wage enforcers who are empowered to investigate generally wait until a worker complains. And many workers — especially those in precarious situations — fear they'll be fired if they speak up. "It's pretty shocking how common the violations are," said Donna Levitt, a labor enforcement director in San Francisco.   read more
  • Health Law Seen as Reducing Medical Debt of Low-Income Americans

    Monday, April 25, 2016
    One in five Americans still struggle to pay a medical bill, even after the health law. But studies show the number has declined as insurance coverage has expanded. Also, the lower debt burden for the newly insured indirectly helps others. Insurance coverage means more bills are paid to doctors and hospitals — but also to banks, utilities and landlords. That receives less attention than the health law’s more obvious effects on access to health care. But they're an important effect of the law.   read more
  • In Separate Cases, CIA and Supreme Court Approve Paths for Benefit Payments to Terror Victims’ Families

    Thursday, April 21, 2016
    The CIA has secured funds to begin paying out death benefits of up to $400,000 each to families like the Dohertys who are survivors of federal employees or contractors killed in acts of terrorism overseas. The benefits will be available to families of victims dating back as far as 1983, when suicide bombers killed dozens of people at the U.S. Embassy in Beirut. The agency has not released the specific number of families who qualify, but it's believed to be several dozen.   read more

Controversies

U.S. and the World

  • Innocent Canadian Charged as Terrorist Blames U.S. for Forcing Canada to Increase Terrorism Prosecutions

    Wednesday, April 27, 2016
    De Jaray says she was "collateral damage" in Canada's attempt to curry favor with the U.S. "Canada began targeting its own citizens in order to create the perception that Canada was 'tough on crime' and, in particular, terrorism, to win favor with the United States and secure contracts for military goods and services," the complaint states. "Ms. De Jaray lost her home, her business, her savings, her health... Ms. de Jaray's life was destroyed...without evidence and without reason."   read more
  • U.S. Denial of Visa for Brutal Afghan V.P. Highlights U.S.-Afghanistan Paradox

    Tuesday, April 26, 2016
    Dostum’s ascent to power in Afghanistan exemplifies a central U.S. failure in the war. The U.S. has built and paid for a government that is filled with warlords and power brokers whom U.S. officials say pose as much of a threat to the stability of Afghanistan as the insurgents. Now the U.S. had to deny a visa to the No. 2 official, an alleged war criminal, in a government whose survival depends on the presence of nearly 10,000 U.S. troops and tens of billions of dollars a year in assistance.   read more
  • Portuguese Court Clears Way for Extradition of Ex-CIA Agent to Italy in Bush-Era Kidnapping Case

    Sunday, April 24, 2016
    De Sousa has exhausted her appeals in the Italian judicial system. It is not clear whether, upon her return to Italy, she would immediately begin serving her prison term, which would last a minimum of four years. Portuguese courts have stated that De Sousa, once sent to Italy, should have the right to a new trial, or at least the opportunity to present new evidence and witnesses in an appeal. But one of the Italian prosecutors said she would be sent straight to prison, “and that’s that."   read more

Appointments and Resignations

  • Ambassador to Slovakia: Who Is Adam Sterling?

    Sunday, March 27, 2016
    Before joining the State Dept in 1990, Sterling worked in New York City as a liaison officer in the mayor’s office to the U.N. and consular corps. His first Foreign Service posting was in Peru. In 1993, Sterling was sent to Belgium, but returned to the U.S. in 1995 to be a desk officer for Central Asian affairs, a region he would focus on through much of his career. Sterling was assigned in 1998 as a political officer in Kazakhstan, then in 2001 took a similar post in Tel Aviv, Israel.   read more
  • Djibouti’s Ambassador to the United States: Who Is Mohamed Siad Doualeh?

    Tuesday, March 22, 2016
    Before joining the Foreign Ministry, he was a journalist at the newspaper La Nation in Djibouti. Doualeh was made ambassador to Switzerland, the World Trade Organization and the United Nations agencies based in Geneva in 2006, posts he held until coming to Washington. A music enthusiast, Doualeh is a founding member of the cultural association ADAC, longtime organizer of "The Fest'horn," the largest music festival dedicated to peace in the Horn of Africa.   read more
  • Mexico’s Ambassador to the United States: Who Is Miguel Basáñez Ebergenyi?

    Monday, March 21, 2016
    In 2005, Basáñez became chief pollster and advisor to state of Mexico then-governor del Mazo. More recently, Basáñez has been professor of values, culture and development at the Fletcher School of Diplomacy. When Basáñez was appointed ambassador, it created some controversy among some who pointed out he had no diplomatic experience and that it was his close association with del Mazo, a cousin of Mexican President Enrique Peña Nieto, that accounted for his appointment.   read more