Featured Story

Veterans Sue South Carolina over Segregated Memorials in Honor of Soldiers Killed in World Wars

Saturday, May 30, 2015
A South Carolina town trying to replace memorials that segregate the war dead into “white” and “colored” soldiers is being stymied by a state law forbidding such monuments from being changed. “Plaintiffs believe the racially segregated plaques of the earlier wars are tragic reflections of former times and no longer legitimate,” the complaint says. Mayor Adams countered: “It’s a huge overreach...to tell a group of great Americans what they can or cannot do with a monument they paid for.”   read more
Latest News

Top Stories

  • Nebraska becomes First Conservative State in 42 Years to Abolish Death Penalty

    Friday, May 29, 2015
    Sen. Ernie Chambers, the bill’s sponsor, said he has tried to repeal the death penalty 37 times and wouldn’t have accomplished it this year without conservative votes. The bill was passed by “winning the support of Republican legislators who said they believed capital punishment was inefficient, expensive and out of place with their party’s values, as well as that of lawmakers who cited religious or moral reasons for supporting the repeal,” reported The New York Times.   read more
  • 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
  • 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

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

  • 48 Years after it was Supposed to Desegregate, Louisiana School District is Given 3 more Years of Federal Supervision

    Friday, May 29, 2015
    “What this Court has seen along the way is a hopeful transformation of a school board which was initially tentative, recalcitrant, and partially uninformed regarding the depth of its responsibilities in the desegregation area,” wrote Judge Drell. “That board has now matured..." Officials must comply with adoption of a uniform admissions process and ensuring classrooms are desegregated. It must also change its policies resulting in blacks being suspended or expelled more than whites.   read more
  • U.S. Courts Struggle with Case of Border Patrol Agent who Shot to Death a Teenager on the other Side of the Border

    Friday, May 29, 2015
    The case involves the shooting of Jose Antonio Elena Rodriguez, a Mexican teenager shot to death by a U.S. Border Patrol agent who opened fire on rock throwers on the other side of the border. An autopsy showed that Rodriguez had been shot about 10 times, mostly in the back. The boy’s family claims the agent, Lonnie Swartz, violated the Fourth and Fifth amendments by using “excessive and unjustified” force against the boy, whom they say was not involved in the rock throwing.   read more
  • If Non-Human Corporations can be Protected by Habeas Corpus, Why can’t Chimpanzees?

    Friday, May 29, 2015
    Never before has a U.S. court considered granting legal protection to primates from being “unlawfully detained.” Plaintiff attorney Wise pointed out that detainees have won the right to use habeas corpus to challenge their indefinite detention at Guantanamo Bay—a move opposed by some in legal and government circles. He even compared the fates of the chimps to African Americans held under slavery. “It’s not to protect human beings,” Wise said, referring to the writ. “It’s to protect autonomy.”   read more

U.S. and the World

  • 10 House Members who Friended the Azerbaijan Dictatorship

    Thursday, May 28, 2015
    The politicians "received hundreds of thousands of dollars’ worth of travel expenses, silk scarves, crystal tea sets and Azerbaijani rugs valued at $2,500 to $10,000. On his return from Azerbaijan, Bridenstine sponsored an amendment to the defense bill that would have required the Defense Department to issue reports on the strategic importance of natural gas interests in the Caspian Sea area and the value of building a pipeline out of the region.   read more
  • 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

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

Veterans Sue South Carolina over Segregated Memorials in Honor of Soldiers Killed in World Wars

Saturday, May 30, 2015
A South Carolina town trying to replace memorials that segregate the war dead into “white” and “colored” soldiers is being stymied by a state law forbidding such monuments from being changed. “Plaintiffs believe the racially segregated plaques of the earlier wars are tragic reflections of former times and no longer legitimate,” the complaint says. Mayor Adams countered: “It’s a huge overreach...to tell a group of great Americans what they can or cannot do with a monument they paid for.”   read more
Latest News

Top Stories

  • Nebraska becomes First Conservative State in 42 Years to Abolish Death Penalty

    Friday, May 29, 2015
    Sen. Ernie Chambers, the bill’s sponsor, said he has tried to repeal the death penalty 37 times and wouldn’t have accomplished it this year without conservative votes. The bill was passed by “winning the support of Republican legislators who said they believed capital punishment was inefficient, expensive and out of place with their party’s values, as well as that of lawmakers who cited religious or moral reasons for supporting the repeal,” reported The New York Times.   read more
  • 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
  • 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

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

  • 48 Years after it was Supposed to Desegregate, Louisiana School District is Given 3 more Years of Federal Supervision

    Friday, May 29, 2015
    “What this Court has seen along the way is a hopeful transformation of a school board which was initially tentative, recalcitrant, and partially uninformed regarding the depth of its responsibilities in the desegregation area,” wrote Judge Drell. “That board has now matured..." Officials must comply with adoption of a uniform admissions process and ensuring classrooms are desegregated. It must also change its policies resulting in blacks being suspended or expelled more than whites.   read more
  • U.S. Courts Struggle with Case of Border Patrol Agent who Shot to Death a Teenager on the other Side of the Border

    Friday, May 29, 2015
    The case involves the shooting of Jose Antonio Elena Rodriguez, a Mexican teenager shot to death by a U.S. Border Patrol agent who opened fire on rock throwers on the other side of the border. An autopsy showed that Rodriguez had been shot about 10 times, mostly in the back. The boy’s family claims the agent, Lonnie Swartz, violated the Fourth and Fifth amendments by using “excessive and unjustified” force against the boy, whom they say was not involved in the rock throwing.   read more
  • If Non-Human Corporations can be Protected by Habeas Corpus, Why can’t Chimpanzees?

    Friday, May 29, 2015
    Never before has a U.S. court considered granting legal protection to primates from being “unlawfully detained.” Plaintiff attorney Wise pointed out that detainees have won the right to use habeas corpus to challenge their indefinite detention at Guantanamo Bay—a move opposed by some in legal and government circles. He even compared the fates of the chimps to African Americans held under slavery. “It’s not to protect human beings,” Wise said, referring to the writ. “It’s to protect autonomy.”   read more

U.S. and the World

  • 10 House Members who Friended the Azerbaijan Dictatorship

    Thursday, May 28, 2015
    The politicians "received hundreds of thousands of dollars’ worth of travel expenses, silk scarves, crystal tea sets and Azerbaijani rugs valued at $2,500 to $10,000. On his return from Azerbaijan, Bridenstine sponsored an amendment to the defense bill that would have required the Defense Department to issue reports on the strategic importance of natural gas interests in the Caspian Sea area and the value of building a pipeline out of the region.   read more
  • 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

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