Featured Story

Problems with Government Departments Meant to Help Native Americans

Friday, December 15, 2017
Multiple agencies weren't following best practices for initiatives to help Indian tribes achieve their energy goals. Development of tribes' resources requires approval from the Bureau of Indian Affairs, where we've found long-running federal mismanagement of Indian energy resources. We've also found that deteriorating facilities have led to unsafe conditions at Bureau of Indian Education schools. Misused funds included $1.7 million that was improperly transferred to off-shore accounts.   read more
Latest News

Top Stories

  • Ambassador of Moldova to the United States: Who Is Aureliu Ciocoi?

    Tuesday, December 05, 2017
    In June 2010, Ciocoi was appointed to his first ambassadorship, as envoy to Germany. In March 2011, he was named non-resident ambassador to Denmark as well. After spending the first nineteen years of his diplomatic career focused on Europe, Ciocoi himself was “surprised” when he was appointed to serve as ambassador to China, with concurrent accreditation to Vietnam, in October 2015. He served in Beijing until April 2017, when he was recalled in anticipation of his U.S. assignment.   read more
  • Ambassador of Sweden to the United States: Who Is Karin Olofsdotter?

    Sunday, December 03, 2017
    Olofsdotter joined the Swedish Foreign Service in 1994. Her first foreign posting was in Moscow, where she was responsible for covering issues related to Belarus. She also served on the Swedish delegation to NATO. She next served at Sweden’s mission to the EU in Belgium, and chaired the EU’s Political-Military Group during the Swedish presidency of the EU in 2001. Her first posting in the U.S. was as minister-counselor and deputy chief of mission at the Swedish Embassy in Washington, DC.   read more
  • U.S. Ambassador to Namibia: Who Is Lisa A. Johnson?

    Friday, December 01, 2017
    Johnson joined the U.S. Foreign Service in 1992 and has been posted overseas at U.S. embassies in Lebanon, Pakistan, Angola and South Africa. She was also detailed to the Office of the Secretary General of NATO in Belgium. Johnson served as director for Middle East Affairs at the National Security Council starting in 2001. She also served as deputy director of the State Department’s Office of Canadian Affairs and as senior advisor for South and Central Asia in the Office of the Vice President.   read more

Unusual News

  • Suicide More Common in High-Altitude Counties

    Tuesday, November 07, 2017
    Psychiatric illness, mood disorders and lack of social support are recognized risk factors for suicide. Some studies show that increased elevation may enhance psychological problems, such as panic attacks, and that altitude is a significant risk factor for depressive symptoms and suicide. It's now shown that Americans in higher-altitude counties are at a higher risk for suicide. In Utah, the average geographic altitude is about 6,000 feet, and the rate of suicide is 70% higher than average.   read more
  • Alabama Candidate Claimed Endorsement of Dead Person

    Wednesday, September 20, 2017
    In Alabama’s runoff election for the GOP nomination for a U.S. Senate seat, Luther Strange may have the crowning endorsement of President Trump, but Roy Moore seemed to have support from beyond the grave. On Monday night, Moore’s campaign deleted an endorsement on its website from conservative activist Phyllis Schlafly, after it became apparent that Schlafly died last year at the age of 92. The two candidates have sought endorsements outside of Alabama to win over GOP voters.   read more
  • Should Panhandlers be Issued Licenses?

    Thursday, July 13, 2017
    Our idea about what it takes to regulate panhandling intelligently: Encourage “successful panhandling,” which brings together willing donors and willing solicitors; and discourage “unsuccessful panhandling,” which targets people who don’t even want to see solicitations, let alone give money to someone asking for help on the sidewalk. What’s wrong with most anti-panhandling ordinances is that they try to ban or discourage both kinds instead of promoting the former and discouraging the latter.   read more

Where is the Money Going?

  • 4 Programs that Both Obama and Trump Want to Eliminate

    Monday, May 01, 2017
    It sometimes seems that the differences between the priorities of the Republican Party and the Democratic Party are so great that they can’t agree on anything. Not so. Here are four programs that President Barack Obama’s last budget and President Donald Trump’s first budget proposed for complete elimination.   read more
  • Reducing Aircrafts’ Bathroom Size Increases Airline Profits and Decreases Passenger Safety

    Saturday, December 24, 2016
    AFA-CWA's Sara Nelson said that “doors of these restrooms open into each other, creating safety issues. There are a lot of injuries, with smashed fingers, doors hitting people, bumps and bruises.” She said the rear cabin restroom doors also create a barricade, limiting the ability of crew to help a passenger in trouble. Some parents with small kids say they can't help their kids in the toilet unless the door stays open. Large-size passengers are at a loss.   read more
  • Price of Antidote for Heroin Overdose Skyrockets as Much As 500%

    Friday, December 16, 2016
    The price of Narcan -- the lifesaving heroin-overdose antidote that revives the dying -- has skyrocketed, with one formulation rising more than 500% in two years. Although Narcan first hit the market in 1971, demand has skyrocketed as the opioid epidemic worsens. And with more potent opioids on the street -- such as fentanyl -- first responders, the largest consumers of the drug, are finding they need multiple doses to revive overdose victims.   read more

Controversies

  • Bears Under Fire in Florida

    Friday, April 21, 2017
    “2015 was a deadly year for the Florida black bear. Collisions with vehicles killed at least 169 ... wildlife managers killed at least 108...that were considered nuisances or threats to human safety, at least 9 were killed illegally, and in October hunters killed at least 304 Florida black bears in the first Florida black bear hunt in 20 years,” the petition stated. The 2016 hunt was “voted down due to overwhelming public outcry against the barbaric and unnecessary hunt,” said an advocacy group.   read more
  • 97 Corporations and 16 State Attorneys General Join Court Fight against Trump Travel Ban

    Tuesday, February 07, 2017
    “President Trump’s executive order is unconstitutional, unlawful, and fundamentally un-American...[and] undermines our states’ families, economies, and institutions," said New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman. High-ranking U.S. security officials, including Madeleine Albright, Leon Panetta and John Kerry signed a declaration arguing the ban endangers U.S. citizens. “We view the order as one that ultimately undermines the national security of the United States...” the officials said.   read more
  • Texas Judge Halts Federal Transgender Health Protections

    Sunday, January 01, 2017
    "Judge O'Connor's conclusion that transgender people and persons who have had abortions are somehow excepted from protection is deeply troubling, legally specious, and morally repugnant," said TLDEF's Ezra Young. Many transgender people expect Trump as president to abandon or weaken the transgender protection efforts pursued by the Obama administration. He has declined to repudiate a divisive North Carolina law that restricts transgender people's bathroom access.   read more

U.S. and the World

  • Which Countries have been Killing Americans? The Trump 7 vs. the Rest of the World

    Sunday, January 29, 2017
    These are the seven countries from which President Donald Trump halted entry to the United States: Iran, Iraq, Libya, Somalia, Sudan, Syria and Yemen. Including all terrorist acts committed by terrorists who were foreign-born or whose parents were born abroad, the total number of Americans killed by terrorists from the Trump 7 is…zero. On the other hand, terrorists from other countries have killed 2, 689 Americans. Here are some examples.   read more
  • Trump Proceeds with Development of Luxury Resorts Tied to Powerful Indonesian Political Figures

    Sunday, January 01, 2017
    Even as Trump says he'll end foreign business deals, he's taking on projects involving powerful political figures. They include a politician accused of trying to extort billions of dollars from a U.S. mining company, a top shareholder in that company, and a billionaire running for national office. “You could have two world leaders that are business partners,” said a Bush lawyer. “It makes it almost impossible to conduct diplomacy in an evenhanded manner." Said Trump: "It's not a big deal."   read more
  • U.S. Program to seize Assets Stolen by Corrupt Foreign Leaders May be undermined by Trump’s Global Business Interests

    Sunday, January 01, 2017
    It's been a 6-year U.S. effort to seize $3 billion in assets of foreign officials who use their countries’ wealth to enrich themselves. If Trump doesn't separate his business from politics, it will be tougher for the Justice Dept to criticize foreign leaders who have gained wealth based on their government ties. "It reduces U.S. leverage because of the perceived hypocrisy. The moral case is drastically undermined,” said prof. Stephenson.   read more

Appointments and Resignations

  • Assistant Attorney General, National Security Division: Who Is John Demers?

    Tuesday, November 07, 2017
    Demers helped draft Section 702 of the FISA Amendments Act, which allows the NSA to collect emails and other electronic communications of foreign targets overseas, including correspondence with U.S. citizens. At his confirmation hearing last week, Demers made it clear that the NSA should not be required to obtain an FBI warrant before searching the communications of American citizens. He also waffled on the subject of whether journalists should be jailed for refusing to reveal their sources.   read more
  • Chief of Protocol: Who Is Sean Lawler?

    Wednesday, October 25, 2017
    In 2000, Lawler handled flag writing duties for the commander of the Abraham Lincoln strike group, which was deployed as part of President George W. Bush’s “War on Terror”, Operation Southern Watch in Iraq, and Bush’s invasion and occupation of Iraq. Lawler moved on in 2002 to be executive assistant to the commander of the U.S. Pacific Fleet. In 2005, he was transferred to the aircraft carrier USS John C. Stennis as leading chief petty officer in the Administrative Department.   read more
  • Assistant Transportation Secretary for Research and Technology: Who Is Diana Furchtgott-Roth?

    Tuesday, October 17, 2017
    Furchtgott-Roth’s economic theories are rooted in right-wing ideologies. She’s anti-union, having proposed the longshoremen’s union be regulated to make it harder for them to strike. She criticized the Family and Medical Leave Act, claiming without evidence that it would be abused by workers improperly taking sick leave. She also criticized the Affordable Care Act, claiming, again without evidence, that it would increase bankruptcies caused by medical bills because of lower-quality healthcare.   read more

Featured Story

Problems with Government Departments Meant to Help Native Americans

Friday, December 15, 2017
Multiple agencies weren't following best practices for initiatives to help Indian tribes achieve their energy goals. Development of tribes' resources requires approval from the Bureau of Indian Affairs, where we've found long-running federal mismanagement of Indian energy resources. We've also found that deteriorating facilities have led to unsafe conditions at Bureau of Indian Education schools. Misused funds included $1.7 million that was improperly transferred to off-shore accounts.   read more
Latest News

Top Stories

  • Ambassador of Moldova to the United States: Who Is Aureliu Ciocoi?

    Tuesday, December 05, 2017
    In June 2010, Ciocoi was appointed to his first ambassadorship, as envoy to Germany. In March 2011, he was named non-resident ambassador to Denmark as well. After spending the first nineteen years of his diplomatic career focused on Europe, Ciocoi himself was “surprised” when he was appointed to serve as ambassador to China, with concurrent accreditation to Vietnam, in October 2015. He served in Beijing until April 2017, when he was recalled in anticipation of his U.S. assignment.   read more
  • Ambassador of Sweden to the United States: Who Is Karin Olofsdotter?

    Sunday, December 03, 2017
    Olofsdotter joined the Swedish Foreign Service in 1994. Her first foreign posting was in Moscow, where she was responsible for covering issues related to Belarus. She also served on the Swedish delegation to NATO. She next served at Sweden’s mission to the EU in Belgium, and chaired the EU’s Political-Military Group during the Swedish presidency of the EU in 2001. Her first posting in the U.S. was as minister-counselor and deputy chief of mission at the Swedish Embassy in Washington, DC.   read more
  • U.S. Ambassador to Namibia: Who Is Lisa A. Johnson?

    Friday, December 01, 2017
    Johnson joined the U.S. Foreign Service in 1992 and has been posted overseas at U.S. embassies in Lebanon, Pakistan, Angola and South Africa. She was also detailed to the Office of the Secretary General of NATO in Belgium. Johnson served as director for Middle East Affairs at the National Security Council starting in 2001. She also served as deputy director of the State Department’s Office of Canadian Affairs and as senior advisor for South and Central Asia in the Office of the Vice President.   read more

Unusual News

  • Suicide More Common in High-Altitude Counties

    Tuesday, November 07, 2017
    Psychiatric illness, mood disorders and lack of social support are recognized risk factors for suicide. Some studies show that increased elevation may enhance psychological problems, such as panic attacks, and that altitude is a significant risk factor for depressive symptoms and suicide. It's now shown that Americans in higher-altitude counties are at a higher risk for suicide. In Utah, the average geographic altitude is about 6,000 feet, and the rate of suicide is 70% higher than average.   read more
  • Alabama Candidate Claimed Endorsement of Dead Person

    Wednesday, September 20, 2017
    In Alabama’s runoff election for the GOP nomination for a U.S. Senate seat, Luther Strange may have the crowning endorsement of President Trump, but Roy Moore seemed to have support from beyond the grave. On Monday night, Moore’s campaign deleted an endorsement on its website from conservative activist Phyllis Schlafly, after it became apparent that Schlafly died last year at the age of 92. The two candidates have sought endorsements outside of Alabama to win over GOP voters.   read more
  • Should Panhandlers be Issued Licenses?

    Thursday, July 13, 2017
    Our idea about what it takes to regulate panhandling intelligently: Encourage “successful panhandling,” which brings together willing donors and willing solicitors; and discourage “unsuccessful panhandling,” which targets people who don’t even want to see solicitations, let alone give money to someone asking for help on the sidewalk. What’s wrong with most anti-panhandling ordinances is that they try to ban or discourage both kinds instead of promoting the former and discouraging the latter.   read more

Where is the Money Going?

  • 4 Programs that Both Obama and Trump Want to Eliminate

    Monday, May 01, 2017
    It sometimes seems that the differences between the priorities of the Republican Party and the Democratic Party are so great that they can’t agree on anything. Not so. Here are four programs that President Barack Obama’s last budget and President Donald Trump’s first budget proposed for complete elimination.   read more
  • Reducing Aircrafts’ Bathroom Size Increases Airline Profits and Decreases Passenger Safety

    Saturday, December 24, 2016
    AFA-CWA's Sara Nelson said that “doors of these restrooms open into each other, creating safety issues. There are a lot of injuries, with smashed fingers, doors hitting people, bumps and bruises.” She said the rear cabin restroom doors also create a barricade, limiting the ability of crew to help a passenger in trouble. Some parents with small kids say they can't help their kids in the toilet unless the door stays open. Large-size passengers are at a loss.   read more
  • Price of Antidote for Heroin Overdose Skyrockets as Much As 500%

    Friday, December 16, 2016
    The price of Narcan -- the lifesaving heroin-overdose antidote that revives the dying -- has skyrocketed, with one formulation rising more than 500% in two years. Although Narcan first hit the market in 1971, demand has skyrocketed as the opioid epidemic worsens. And with more potent opioids on the street -- such as fentanyl -- first responders, the largest consumers of the drug, are finding they need multiple doses to revive overdose victims.   read more

Controversies

  • Bears Under Fire in Florida

    Friday, April 21, 2017
    “2015 was a deadly year for the Florida black bear. Collisions with vehicles killed at least 169 ... wildlife managers killed at least 108...that were considered nuisances or threats to human safety, at least 9 were killed illegally, and in October hunters killed at least 304 Florida black bears in the first Florida black bear hunt in 20 years,” the petition stated. The 2016 hunt was “voted down due to overwhelming public outcry against the barbaric and unnecessary hunt,” said an advocacy group.   read more
  • 97 Corporations and 16 State Attorneys General Join Court Fight against Trump Travel Ban

    Tuesday, February 07, 2017
    “President Trump’s executive order is unconstitutional, unlawful, and fundamentally un-American...[and] undermines our states’ families, economies, and institutions," said New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman. High-ranking U.S. security officials, including Madeleine Albright, Leon Panetta and John Kerry signed a declaration arguing the ban endangers U.S. citizens. “We view the order as one that ultimately undermines the national security of the United States...” the officials said.   read more
  • Texas Judge Halts Federal Transgender Health Protections

    Sunday, January 01, 2017
    "Judge O'Connor's conclusion that transgender people and persons who have had abortions are somehow excepted from protection is deeply troubling, legally specious, and morally repugnant," said TLDEF's Ezra Young. Many transgender people expect Trump as president to abandon or weaken the transgender protection efforts pursued by the Obama administration. He has declined to repudiate a divisive North Carolina law that restricts transgender people's bathroom access.   read more

U.S. and the World

  • Which Countries have been Killing Americans? The Trump 7 vs. the Rest of the World

    Sunday, January 29, 2017
    These are the seven countries from which President Donald Trump halted entry to the United States: Iran, Iraq, Libya, Somalia, Sudan, Syria and Yemen. Including all terrorist acts committed by terrorists who were foreign-born or whose parents were born abroad, the total number of Americans killed by terrorists from the Trump 7 is…zero. On the other hand, terrorists from other countries have killed 2, 689 Americans. Here are some examples.   read more
  • Trump Proceeds with Development of Luxury Resorts Tied to Powerful Indonesian Political Figures

    Sunday, January 01, 2017
    Even as Trump says he'll end foreign business deals, he's taking on projects involving powerful political figures. They include a politician accused of trying to extort billions of dollars from a U.S. mining company, a top shareholder in that company, and a billionaire running for national office. “You could have two world leaders that are business partners,” said a Bush lawyer. “It makes it almost impossible to conduct diplomacy in an evenhanded manner." Said Trump: "It's not a big deal."   read more
  • U.S. Program to seize Assets Stolen by Corrupt Foreign Leaders May be undermined by Trump’s Global Business Interests

    Sunday, January 01, 2017
    It's been a 6-year U.S. effort to seize $3 billion in assets of foreign officials who use their countries’ wealth to enrich themselves. If Trump doesn't separate his business from politics, it will be tougher for the Justice Dept to criticize foreign leaders who have gained wealth based on their government ties. "It reduces U.S. leverage because of the perceived hypocrisy. The moral case is drastically undermined,” said prof. Stephenson.   read more

Appointments and Resignations

  • Assistant Attorney General, National Security Division: Who Is John Demers?

    Tuesday, November 07, 2017
    Demers helped draft Section 702 of the FISA Amendments Act, which allows the NSA to collect emails and other electronic communications of foreign targets overseas, including correspondence with U.S. citizens. At his confirmation hearing last week, Demers made it clear that the NSA should not be required to obtain an FBI warrant before searching the communications of American citizens. He also waffled on the subject of whether journalists should be jailed for refusing to reveal their sources.   read more
  • Chief of Protocol: Who Is Sean Lawler?

    Wednesday, October 25, 2017
    In 2000, Lawler handled flag writing duties for the commander of the Abraham Lincoln strike group, which was deployed as part of President George W. Bush’s “War on Terror”, Operation Southern Watch in Iraq, and Bush’s invasion and occupation of Iraq. Lawler moved on in 2002 to be executive assistant to the commander of the U.S. Pacific Fleet. In 2005, he was transferred to the aircraft carrier USS John C. Stennis as leading chief petty officer in the Administrative Department.   read more
  • Assistant Transportation Secretary for Research and Technology: Who Is Diana Furchtgott-Roth?

    Tuesday, October 17, 2017
    Furchtgott-Roth’s economic theories are rooted in right-wing ideologies. She’s anti-union, having proposed the longshoremen’s union be regulated to make it harder for them to strike. She criticized the Family and Medical Leave Act, claiming without evidence that it would be abused by workers improperly taking sick leave. She also criticized the Affordable Care Act, claiming, again without evidence, that it would increase bankruptcies caused by medical bills because of lower-quality healthcare.   read more