Featured Story

Cities across U.S. Prepare to Pay High Price for Resisting Trump Mass Deportations

Friday, December 02, 2016
Across the nation, in cities like Boston, L.A., Philadelphia and San Francisco, officials plan to defy Trump and act as a kind of bulwark against mass deportations. “I like to compare this to conscientious objector status,” said Oakland Mayor Schaaf. “We are not going to use our resources to enforce what we believe are unjust immigration laws.” But the cost may be steep: Trump has vowed to block all federal funding for cities where local law enforcement agencies do not cooperate with ICE agents.   read more
Latest News

Top Stories

  • Constitutional Violations of Trump’s Foreign Business Dealings May Never Be Known Due to Limited Disclosure Rules

    Thursday, December 01, 2016
    Legally, Trump's foreign licensing deals could violate the U.S. Constitution. If the deals occur during his presidency and fetch anything above what’s considered fair market value, it would almost certainly violate the Constitution's Emoluments Clause. But how will we know if Trump is violating the clause? Because of limited financial-disclosure requirements, we might not. And Trump has refused to release his tax returns, a significant break from past presidential administrations.   read more
  • Thousands of U.S. Veterans to Serve as ‘Human Shields” for Dakota Pipeline Protesters

    Wednesday, November 30, 2016
    The effort is planned as a nonviolent intervention to defend demonstrators from what the group calls “assault and intimidation at the hands of the militarized police force.” “OK, are you going to treat us veterans who have served our country in the same way as you have those [protesters]?” asked one of the vets. Authorities have used rubber bullets, pepper spray and water cannons against demonstrators, hundreds of whom have been injured, according to protest organizers.   read more
  • Attorney General of the United States: Who Is Jeff Sessions?

    Tuesday, November 29, 2016
    According to testimony, Sessions called a black attorney, Thomas Figures, who worked for him “boy,” and told him to “be careful what you say to white folks.” He also said the ACLU and NAACP were “un-American” and “Communist-inspired” because they “forced civil rights down the throats of people,” but joked that the Ku Klux Klan was “OK...” He opposes civil rights protections for gays, voted to ban same-sex marriage, and is one of only 22 opposed to the Violence Against Women Act reauthorization.   read more

Unusual News

  • Decline in U.S. Dementia Rate Expected to Reverse with Rising Number of Older Americans

    Monday, November 28, 2016
    The rate of Alzheimer's disease and other dementias in adults aged 65 and up dropped to about 9% in 2012 from nearly 12% in 2000. NIA's John Haaga said dementia rates would have to decline much more sharply than they have to counteract that trend. Dementia was most common in the oldest adults. The Alzheimer's Association estimates that about 5 million people aged 65 and older have Alzheimer's, and that is expected to rise to almost 14 million by 2050.   read more
  • Confusing Language in Ballot Measure Blamed for Colorado Voters’ Approval of Slavery in State Constitution

    Saturday, November 26, 2016
    Was it a hidden racist vote? Could more than 1 million people in Colorado really be in favor of keeping a slavery loophole? “It just shouldn’t be a Colorado value,” said activist William Dickerson. “It shouldn’t be in the bedrock of our founding document, both on the state level and on the national level.” Those bewildered by the vote say the explanation may be simple: Voters say they were disoriented by a mouthful of a ballot question, leaving them unsure what “yes” and “no” actually meant.   read more
  • 8 Children Sue Washington State Claiming Climate Change Neglect

    Saturday, November 26, 2016
    Eight children asked a judge to find Washington in contempt. "The most concerning thing to me is that our planet will be destroyed and I would have done nothing about it," said Aji Piper, 16. "We're bringing this case because we need to have a stronger voice and right now that's through the legal system." Gabe Mandell, 14, added: "This is the world I'm going to have to grow up in. Ecology has a mandate to protect our future and they're not doing it. They're not doing their job..."   read more

Where is the Money Going?

  • Soda Tax Gains Momentum in Cities across U.S.

    Thursday, December 01, 2016
    A soda tax may be coming to a city near you. Advocates say the recent sweep represents a watershed moment in the fight for soft-drink taxes. Once viewed as measures likely to find support only in largely health-conscious cities, soda taxes have emerged as a bountiful revenue source for cash-strapped local governments. “There’s a momentum with these taxes that will be hard for the industry to stop,” said Sanford dean Kelly Brownell.   read more
  • Huge Increase in Number of Doctors Annually Prescribing Millions of Dollars’ Worth of Medicare Prescriptions

    Saturday, November 19, 2016
    The number of providers who topped the $5 million mark for prescriptions increased more than tenfold. The number of prescribers—mostly physicians but also nurse practitioners–exceeding $10 million in drug costs jumped from two to 70. “The trends in this space are troubling and don’t show any signs of abating,” said Tim Gronniger of the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services. “It’s going to be a pressure point for patients and the program for the foreseeable future.”   read more
  • High-Priced Economics Professors Hired by Corporations to Help Push through Mega-Mergers

    Thursday, November 17, 2016
    Economists affiliated with prestigious universities show that mergers benefit consumers. But they reap their most lucrative paydays by lending their academic authority to mergers their corporate clients propose. Corporate lawyers hire them to sway the government by documenting that a merger won’t be “anti-competitive.” Their optimistic forecasts, though, often turn out to be wrong, and the mergers they champion may be hurting the economy.   read more

Controversies

  • Limits on Oklahoma’s Energy-Well Wastewater Injections Lead to Drop in Earthquakes

    Thursday, December 01, 2016
    A new scientific study says the state is on its way back to calmer times. The state ordered what is essentially a 40% reduction in injection of the saltwater that scientists generally blame for the massive increase in earthquakes. Before the new rules went into effect in May, Oklahoma averaged 2.3 quakes a day. Since then the average dropped to 1.3 a day. “We’re not out of the woods yet. There is still a possibility for potentially damaging earthquakes,” Zoback said.   read more
  • Promises of Bucking Wall Street and “Draining the Swamp” are broken with Trump Cabinet Choices

    Thursday, December 01, 2016
    Donald Trump promised to "drain the swamp" in the nation's capital. Instead, he's diving right in. So far, he is tapping people with deep ties to Washington and Wall Street as he fills out his Cabinet, turning to two power centers he vilified as greedy, corrupt and out of touch with Americans during his campaign. His choices have won praise from Republicans relieved by his more conventional choices, but could risk angering voters who rallied behind his calls for upending the political system.   read more
  • Enrollment in Lower-Ranked Law Schools Leads to Fewer Jobs and Lower Wages for Female Graduates

    Thursday, December 01, 2016
    Women “are less likely than men to attend the schools that send a high percentage of graduates into the profession,” said professor Deborah J. Merritt. This means women “start at a disadvantage” that may well continue throughout their professional lives, Merritt said. Despite the high numbers with law degrees, women hold fewer than 20% of partnerships at law firms and are underrepresented in the higher echelons of law, including the ranks of judges.   read more

U.S. and the World

  • Germany Emerges as Test Case for Facebook Regulation of Online Hate Speech

    Tuesday, November 29, 2016
    In Germany, more than almost anywhere else in the West, lawmakers are demanding that Facebook go further to police what is said on the social network. The country’s lawmakers also want other U.S. tech giants to meet similar standards. “Facebook has a certain responsibility to uphold the laws,” said Heiko Maas, the German justice minister. In October, Maas suggested the company could be held criminally liable for users’ illegal hate speech postings if it does not swiftly remove them.   read more
  • Israeli Firm that Built Israel’s Border Walls has High Hopes to Do Same for Trump

    Sunday, November 27, 2016
    Magal has built high-tech walls along Israel's volatile borders, as well as a high-tech barrier separating the Hamas-ruled Gaza Strip from Israel. Its products include cameras, sophisticated sensors, robots and software to operate the systems. Despite a mixed record of profitability and a historically volatile stock, the company's shares have surged on the Nasdaq Stock Market since Donald Trump was elected president on Nov. 8. "For sure this will be a mega project," said CEO Koursh.   read more
  • Facebook Said to Create Censorship Tool in Effort to Re-Enter Chinese Market

    Thursday, November 24, 2016
    Facebook has quietly developed software for China to suppress posts from appearing in people’s news feeds in specific geographic areas. The feature was created to help Facebook get into China. It illustrates the extent to which Facebook may be willing to compromise one of its core mission statements, “to make the world more open and connected,” to gain access to a market of 1.4 billion Chinese people. Several employees have left Facebook after expressing misgivings about it.   read more

Appointments and Resignations

  • Bulgaria’s Ambassador to the United States: Who Is Tihomir Stoytchev?

    Sunday, November 27, 2016
    Stoytchev was back in Washington in 2008 as deputy chief of mission in the embassy. He remained there until 2011, serving as chargé d’affaires from 2009 to 2010. Beginning in 2012, Stoytchev served as foreign policy secretary to Bulgarian President Rosen Plevneliev until being tapped as ambassador to the U.S. Stoytchev said one of his major goals is to get his country added to the U.S. visa waiver program, which would facilitate travel by Bulgarians.   read more
  • Vatican City’s Ambassador to the United States: Who Is Christophe Pierre?

    Saturday, November 26, 2016
    Pierre had helped to unite Mexico’s bishops and establish better links between the church and its followers. His posting to Washington was made upon the retirement of Nuncio Vigano, who had blindsided Pope Francis by setting up a meeting with Kim Davis, the Kentucky clerk who broke the law by refusing to issue same-sex marriage licenses. Pierre is seen as a good fit for the job because his experience in Mexico is considered helpful, given the election of Donald Trump as U.S. president.   read more
  • El Salvador’s Ambassador to the United States: Who Is Claudia Ivette Canjura de Centeno?

    Friday, November 25, 2016
    Canjura’s background is in medicine, not diplomacy. She was ambassador to Guatemala from 2009 to 2012. She was then made ambassador to Russia, where she helped open El Salvador’s embassy. She was also credentialed to Ukraine and Kazakhstan. Canjura was in Moscow until being moved to Washington.   read more

Featured Story

Cities across U.S. Prepare to Pay High Price for Resisting Trump Mass Deportations

Friday, December 02, 2016
Across the nation, in cities like Boston, L.A., Philadelphia and San Francisco, officials plan to defy Trump and act as a kind of bulwark against mass deportations. “I like to compare this to conscientious objector status,” said Oakland Mayor Schaaf. “We are not going to use our resources to enforce what we believe are unjust immigration laws.” But the cost may be steep: Trump has vowed to block all federal funding for cities where local law enforcement agencies do not cooperate with ICE agents.   read more
Latest News

Top Stories

  • Constitutional Violations of Trump’s Foreign Business Dealings May Never Be Known Due to Limited Disclosure Rules

    Thursday, December 01, 2016
    Legally, Trump's foreign licensing deals could violate the U.S. Constitution. If the deals occur during his presidency and fetch anything above what’s considered fair market value, it would almost certainly violate the Constitution's Emoluments Clause. But how will we know if Trump is violating the clause? Because of limited financial-disclosure requirements, we might not. And Trump has refused to release his tax returns, a significant break from past presidential administrations.   read more
  • Thousands of U.S. Veterans to Serve as ‘Human Shields” for Dakota Pipeline Protesters

    Wednesday, November 30, 2016
    The effort is planned as a nonviolent intervention to defend demonstrators from what the group calls “assault and intimidation at the hands of the militarized police force.” “OK, are you going to treat us veterans who have served our country in the same way as you have those [protesters]?” asked one of the vets. Authorities have used rubber bullets, pepper spray and water cannons against demonstrators, hundreds of whom have been injured, according to protest organizers.   read more
  • Attorney General of the United States: Who Is Jeff Sessions?

    Tuesday, November 29, 2016
    According to testimony, Sessions called a black attorney, Thomas Figures, who worked for him “boy,” and told him to “be careful what you say to white folks.” He also said the ACLU and NAACP were “un-American” and “Communist-inspired” because they “forced civil rights down the throats of people,” but joked that the Ku Klux Klan was “OK...” He opposes civil rights protections for gays, voted to ban same-sex marriage, and is one of only 22 opposed to the Violence Against Women Act reauthorization.   read more

Unusual News

  • Decline in U.S. Dementia Rate Expected to Reverse with Rising Number of Older Americans

    Monday, November 28, 2016
    The rate of Alzheimer's disease and other dementias in adults aged 65 and up dropped to about 9% in 2012 from nearly 12% in 2000. NIA's John Haaga said dementia rates would have to decline much more sharply than they have to counteract that trend. Dementia was most common in the oldest adults. The Alzheimer's Association estimates that about 5 million people aged 65 and older have Alzheimer's, and that is expected to rise to almost 14 million by 2050.   read more
  • Confusing Language in Ballot Measure Blamed for Colorado Voters’ Approval of Slavery in State Constitution

    Saturday, November 26, 2016
    Was it a hidden racist vote? Could more than 1 million people in Colorado really be in favor of keeping a slavery loophole? “It just shouldn’t be a Colorado value,” said activist William Dickerson. “It shouldn’t be in the bedrock of our founding document, both on the state level and on the national level.” Those bewildered by the vote say the explanation may be simple: Voters say they were disoriented by a mouthful of a ballot question, leaving them unsure what “yes” and “no” actually meant.   read more
  • 8 Children Sue Washington State Claiming Climate Change Neglect

    Saturday, November 26, 2016
    Eight children asked a judge to find Washington in contempt. "The most concerning thing to me is that our planet will be destroyed and I would have done nothing about it," said Aji Piper, 16. "We're bringing this case because we need to have a stronger voice and right now that's through the legal system." Gabe Mandell, 14, added: "This is the world I'm going to have to grow up in. Ecology has a mandate to protect our future and they're not doing it. They're not doing their job..."   read more

Where is the Money Going?

  • Soda Tax Gains Momentum in Cities across U.S.

    Thursday, December 01, 2016
    A soda tax may be coming to a city near you. Advocates say the recent sweep represents a watershed moment in the fight for soft-drink taxes. Once viewed as measures likely to find support only in largely health-conscious cities, soda taxes have emerged as a bountiful revenue source for cash-strapped local governments. “There’s a momentum with these taxes that will be hard for the industry to stop,” said Sanford dean Kelly Brownell.   read more
  • Huge Increase in Number of Doctors Annually Prescribing Millions of Dollars’ Worth of Medicare Prescriptions

    Saturday, November 19, 2016
    The number of providers who topped the $5 million mark for prescriptions increased more than tenfold. The number of prescribers—mostly physicians but also nurse practitioners–exceeding $10 million in drug costs jumped from two to 70. “The trends in this space are troubling and don’t show any signs of abating,” said Tim Gronniger of the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services. “It’s going to be a pressure point for patients and the program for the foreseeable future.”   read more
  • High-Priced Economics Professors Hired by Corporations to Help Push through Mega-Mergers

    Thursday, November 17, 2016
    Economists affiliated with prestigious universities show that mergers benefit consumers. But they reap their most lucrative paydays by lending their academic authority to mergers their corporate clients propose. Corporate lawyers hire them to sway the government by documenting that a merger won’t be “anti-competitive.” Their optimistic forecasts, though, often turn out to be wrong, and the mergers they champion may be hurting the economy.   read more

Controversies

  • Limits on Oklahoma’s Energy-Well Wastewater Injections Lead to Drop in Earthquakes

    Thursday, December 01, 2016
    A new scientific study says the state is on its way back to calmer times. The state ordered what is essentially a 40% reduction in injection of the saltwater that scientists generally blame for the massive increase in earthquakes. Before the new rules went into effect in May, Oklahoma averaged 2.3 quakes a day. Since then the average dropped to 1.3 a day. “We’re not out of the woods yet. There is still a possibility for potentially damaging earthquakes,” Zoback said.   read more
  • Promises of Bucking Wall Street and “Draining the Swamp” are broken with Trump Cabinet Choices

    Thursday, December 01, 2016
    Donald Trump promised to "drain the swamp" in the nation's capital. Instead, he's diving right in. So far, he is tapping people with deep ties to Washington and Wall Street as he fills out his Cabinet, turning to two power centers he vilified as greedy, corrupt and out of touch with Americans during his campaign. His choices have won praise from Republicans relieved by his more conventional choices, but could risk angering voters who rallied behind his calls for upending the political system.   read more
  • Enrollment in Lower-Ranked Law Schools Leads to Fewer Jobs and Lower Wages for Female Graduates

    Thursday, December 01, 2016
    Women “are less likely than men to attend the schools that send a high percentage of graduates into the profession,” said professor Deborah J. Merritt. This means women “start at a disadvantage” that may well continue throughout their professional lives, Merritt said. Despite the high numbers with law degrees, women hold fewer than 20% of partnerships at law firms and are underrepresented in the higher echelons of law, including the ranks of judges.   read more

U.S. and the World

  • Germany Emerges as Test Case for Facebook Regulation of Online Hate Speech

    Tuesday, November 29, 2016
    In Germany, more than almost anywhere else in the West, lawmakers are demanding that Facebook go further to police what is said on the social network. The country’s lawmakers also want other U.S. tech giants to meet similar standards. “Facebook has a certain responsibility to uphold the laws,” said Heiko Maas, the German justice minister. In October, Maas suggested the company could be held criminally liable for users’ illegal hate speech postings if it does not swiftly remove them.   read more
  • Israeli Firm that Built Israel’s Border Walls has High Hopes to Do Same for Trump

    Sunday, November 27, 2016
    Magal has built high-tech walls along Israel's volatile borders, as well as a high-tech barrier separating the Hamas-ruled Gaza Strip from Israel. Its products include cameras, sophisticated sensors, robots and software to operate the systems. Despite a mixed record of profitability and a historically volatile stock, the company's shares have surged on the Nasdaq Stock Market since Donald Trump was elected president on Nov. 8. "For sure this will be a mega project," said CEO Koursh.   read more
  • Facebook Said to Create Censorship Tool in Effort to Re-Enter Chinese Market

    Thursday, November 24, 2016
    Facebook has quietly developed software for China to suppress posts from appearing in people’s news feeds in specific geographic areas. The feature was created to help Facebook get into China. It illustrates the extent to which Facebook may be willing to compromise one of its core mission statements, “to make the world more open and connected,” to gain access to a market of 1.4 billion Chinese people. Several employees have left Facebook after expressing misgivings about it.   read more

Appointments and Resignations

  • Bulgaria’s Ambassador to the United States: Who Is Tihomir Stoytchev?

    Sunday, November 27, 2016
    Stoytchev was back in Washington in 2008 as deputy chief of mission in the embassy. He remained there until 2011, serving as chargé d’affaires from 2009 to 2010. Beginning in 2012, Stoytchev served as foreign policy secretary to Bulgarian President Rosen Plevneliev until being tapped as ambassador to the U.S. Stoytchev said one of his major goals is to get his country added to the U.S. visa waiver program, which would facilitate travel by Bulgarians.   read more
  • Vatican City’s Ambassador to the United States: Who Is Christophe Pierre?

    Saturday, November 26, 2016
    Pierre had helped to unite Mexico’s bishops and establish better links between the church and its followers. His posting to Washington was made upon the retirement of Nuncio Vigano, who had blindsided Pope Francis by setting up a meeting with Kim Davis, the Kentucky clerk who broke the law by refusing to issue same-sex marriage licenses. Pierre is seen as a good fit for the job because his experience in Mexico is considered helpful, given the election of Donald Trump as U.S. president.   read more
  • El Salvador’s Ambassador to the United States: Who Is Claudia Ivette Canjura de Centeno?

    Friday, November 25, 2016
    Canjura’s background is in medicine, not diplomacy. She was ambassador to Guatemala from 2009 to 2012. She was then made ambassador to Russia, where she helped open El Salvador’s embassy. She was also credentialed to Ukraine and Kazakhstan. Canjura was in Moscow until being moved to Washington.   read more