Featured Story

Federal Judges Order Obama Administration to Release Memo Justifying Assassination of Americans

Wednesday, April 23, 2014
The Obama administration has been ordered by a panel of federal judges to release its legal justification for assassinating Americans suspected of terrorist ties. ACLU lawyer Jameel Jaffer called the decision “a resounding rejection of the government’s effort to use secrecy, and selective disclosure, as a means of manipulating public opinion about the targeted killing program.”   read more
Latest News

Top Stories

  • 64,613 Software Engineers Join Class Action Hiring Conspiracy Lawsuit against Apple, Google, Intel and Adobe

    Tuesday, April 22, 2014
    The class-action lawsuit, with 64,613 plaintiffs, targets Google, Apple, Intel and Adobe for secretly agreeing not to poach each other’s engineers and to share salary information in an effort to control salaries. The collusion reportedly began in 2005, when Apple’s Steve Jobs approached Google’s top executive, Eric Schmidt, about working together to hold down salaries. After getting Google on board, Jobs “strong-armed” Adobe into joining the secret pact, according to court documents.   read more
  • Obama has Averaged more than One Fundraiser a Week Since he became President

    Monday, April 21, 2014
    According to statistics compiled by Mark Knoller of CBS News, Obama has attended 373 fundraisers during the 1,900+ days since he’s been in office, which averages to almost one every five days. An investigation last year by The Guardian showed that Obama had attended 30 fundraisers in the seven-month period between April and November, even though he is not personally up for reelection.   read more
  • Domestic Violence Rate Plunges

    Sunday, April 20, 2014
    In an average of the two years ending in 1994, there were 13.5 cases of domestic violence per 1,000 persons aged 12 and over. By the two years ending in 2012, the average had been cut to 5.0 cases per 1,000. The steepest drop in domestic violence occurred between 1995 and 2001, when the rate fell from 13.2 per thousand to 6.2 per thousand in just six years. The steepest decline came in the rate of partner violence.   read more

Unusual News

  • New FDA Food Safety Regulation may Drive up the Cost of Beer

    Tuesday, April 22, 2014
    The FDA wants to classify companies that distribute spent grain to farms as animal feed manufacturers. Breweries regularly sell or give their spent grain, which is left over from the beer-making process, to dairy farms, which feed it to cows. Breweries would have two choices: Pass this cost onto consumers in the form of higher beer prices, or stop selling the spent grain to farms and just dump it in landfills, which would be less environmentally friendly.   read more
  • Portland Dumps Millions of Gallons of Drinking Water after Young Man Urinates in Reservoir…Again

    Friday, April 18, 2014
    Officials in Portland, Oregon, have decided to empty nearly 40 million gallons from the city’s primary reservoir for drinking water because an individual urinated in it. The decision marks the second time in three years that the city has flushed large portions of its water supply because someone peed in it. The latest dump, delivered by 19-year-old Trey McDaniel, was caught on a video surveillance camera.   read more
  • Federal Agency Charges for Reports Available Free Online

    Thursday, April 17, 2014
    Around since 1950, NTIS was set up as a clearinghouse for technical papers produced by the government. It has continued to sell these reports to the public even though many of them can be had for free through other agencies. For instance, anyone interested in the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health’s handy report on chemical hazards can order a free copy here. Or they can pay the NTIS $30.   read more

Where is the Money Going?

  • Highway Upkeep Trust Fund Nears Bankruptcy

    Tuesday, April 22, 2014
    The Highway Trust Fund’s Highway Account, which finances maintenance and construction projects at the state level, currently has about $8.4 billion in it. But the U.S. Department of Transportation warns that demand for this funding is outpacing money available. As a result, the fund may go bankrupt by August. Without a new funding plan, the Transportation Department would have to stop reimbursing states for highway projects.   read more
  • IRS Audit Rate Dropping Lower and Lower

    Saturday, April 19, 2014
    In 2013, IRS auditors reviewed only 0.9% of returns filed by individuals earning less than $200,000 a year. That rate was the lowest since 2005. IRS Commissioner John Koskinen told the Associated Press that the audit rate likely will go down even further this year. The chances of getting audited is much higher for the wealthy—about 11% for those making $1 million or more annually.   read more
  • Offshore Tax Havens Cost U.S. $184 Billion in Revenue Every Year

    Friday, April 18, 2014
    U.S. federal and state governments would have more than $180 billion in additional revenue each year if corporations and wealthy individuals didn't hide their earnings in offshore accounts. Without that revenue, each U.S. taxpayer on average would have to pay an additional $1,259 in taxes to cover this loss. "Ordinary taxpayers [are] picking up the tab [in]...higher taxes, cuts to public spending priorities, or increases to the federal debt,” said the U.S. PIRG report.   read more

Controversies

  • Philadelphia Mayor Nutter Orders Police and Prisons to Limit Cooperation with Federal Immigration Agents

    Monday, April 21, 2014
    About 17 local governments, including Miami, San Francisco, New Orleans, and New York City, have backed off on cooperating with ICE in recent years. This month nine counties in Oregon added themselves to the list. But Philadelphia's move was different in that it also applies to prison departments, so the city will not inform ICE of a prisoner’s release unless the person was convicted of a violent felony.   read more
  • In first Challenge to Consumer Complaint Database, Court Orders Release of Company’s Name

    Monday, April 21, 2014
    A company whose product reportedly caused an infant’s death may soon have its identity revealed following a long-running legal battle involving the Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC). A complaint was filed in 2011 by an unidentified local government agency. The company responded by filing suit in federal court, claiming it had done nothing wrong, while demanding its name and details of the case be sealed and kept off a publicly accessible database.   read more
  • First Trial of a Non-Native American in a Tribal Court

    Monday, April 21, 2014
    Congress had been reluctant to grant tribes the right to try non-Indians, but the Yaquis and two other tribes showed evidence that they could hold proper trials and safeguard the rights of the accused. In February, the Justice Department initiated a pilot program with the three tribes to try non-Indians accused of domestic violence against Native American women on reservations. A few weeks ago, Yaqui tribal police arrested Eloy Figueroa Lopez, charging him with trying to choke his wife.   read more

U.S. and the World

  • Frackers Get Set to Cross the Border into Mexico

    Tuesday, April 22, 2014
    The new opportunities have existed only since December, when Mexico’s Congress approved a landmark bill that relaxed the 75-year-old grip over oil and gas development by Pemex, the state oil monopoly. The legislation paves the way for foreign companies to cut deals with the Mexican government to develop new oil fields. One such field is the Eagle Ford Shale Play, which straddles the Texas-Mexico border, running for hundreds of miles deep beneath the earth.   read more
  • Onondaga Tribe Appeals to Human Rights Court

    Tuesday, April 22, 2014
    The Onondaga Nation spent eight years trying to get a U.S. federal court to side with its arguments that the state of New York illegally took possession of 4,000 square miles of tribal land in the late 18th and early 19th centuries.The tribe’s complaints go beyond land ownership. It also says state and federal agencies allowed American factories to pollute Lake Onondaga, which once was part of tribal lands.   read more
  • Federal Judge Approves Class Action Case against Ford and IBM for Helping South African Apartheid

    Sunday, April 20, 2014
    A federal District Court judge has ruled that those injured by the apartheid policies of the white-ruled South African government may sue Ford and IBM for providing assistance to that government in the form of military vehicles and computers. The racist policies of apartheid were in force between 1948 and 1994.   read more

Appointments and Resignations

  • Director of U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services: Who Is Leon Rodriguez?

    Monday, April 21, 2014
    In 2011, President Obama nominated Rodriguez to lead the Department of Labor’s Wage and Hour Division. However, his nomination was withdrawn because of Republican opposition to his work in the Civil Rights Division. In September 2011, Rodriguez moved over to the Department of Health and Human Services to lead its Office of Civil Rights. Much of his work there involved bringing cases against medical and insurance organizations for breaches of patient information.   read more
  • Director of the Bureau of Land Management: Who Is Neil Kornze?

    Sunday, April 20, 2014
    Kornze’s age, 34 when he was nominated for the post, would make him one of the youngest agency heads in history. Despite his family ties to the mining industry, and his close association with mining champion Reid, Kornze’s nomination to lead the BLM drew praise from many environmental groups, including the Sierra Club and the League of Conservation Voters.   read more
  • Director of the U.S. Geological Survey: Who Is Suzette Kimball?

    Sunday, April 20, 2014
    Suzette Kimball, who has been acting director of the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) since February 2013, was nominated by President Barack Obama on January 9, 2014, to fill the job permanently. In 2010, Kimball was named deputy director of the USGS. In that post, she led USGS's international activities and represented all North American geological surveys on international mapping endeavors. She has written more than 75 publications on coastal ecosystem science and coastal zone policy.   read more

Featured Story

Federal Judges Order Obama Administration to Release Memo Justifying Assassination of Americans

Wednesday, April 23, 2014
The Obama administration has been ordered by a panel of federal judges to release its legal justification for assassinating Americans suspected of terrorist ties. ACLU lawyer Jameel Jaffer called the decision “a resounding rejection of the government’s effort to use secrecy, and selective disclosure, as a means of manipulating public opinion about the targeted killing program.”   read more
Latest News

Top Stories

  • 64,613 Software Engineers Join Class Action Hiring Conspiracy Lawsuit against Apple, Google, Intel and Adobe

    Tuesday, April 22, 2014
    The class-action lawsuit, with 64,613 plaintiffs, targets Google, Apple, Intel and Adobe for secretly agreeing not to poach each other’s engineers and to share salary information in an effort to control salaries. The collusion reportedly began in 2005, when Apple’s Steve Jobs approached Google’s top executive, Eric Schmidt, about working together to hold down salaries. After getting Google on board, Jobs “strong-armed” Adobe into joining the secret pact, according to court documents.   read more
  • Obama has Averaged more than One Fundraiser a Week Since he became President

    Monday, April 21, 2014
    According to statistics compiled by Mark Knoller of CBS News, Obama has attended 373 fundraisers during the 1,900+ days since he’s been in office, which averages to almost one every five days. An investigation last year by The Guardian showed that Obama had attended 30 fundraisers in the seven-month period between April and November, even though he is not personally up for reelection.   read more
  • Domestic Violence Rate Plunges

    Sunday, April 20, 2014
    In an average of the two years ending in 1994, there were 13.5 cases of domestic violence per 1,000 persons aged 12 and over. By the two years ending in 2012, the average had been cut to 5.0 cases per 1,000. The steepest drop in domestic violence occurred between 1995 and 2001, when the rate fell from 13.2 per thousand to 6.2 per thousand in just six years. The steepest decline came in the rate of partner violence.   read more

Unusual News

  • New FDA Food Safety Regulation may Drive up the Cost of Beer

    Tuesday, April 22, 2014
    The FDA wants to classify companies that distribute spent grain to farms as animal feed manufacturers. Breweries regularly sell or give their spent grain, which is left over from the beer-making process, to dairy farms, which feed it to cows. Breweries would have two choices: Pass this cost onto consumers in the form of higher beer prices, or stop selling the spent grain to farms and just dump it in landfills, which would be less environmentally friendly.   read more
  • Portland Dumps Millions of Gallons of Drinking Water after Young Man Urinates in Reservoir…Again

    Friday, April 18, 2014
    Officials in Portland, Oregon, have decided to empty nearly 40 million gallons from the city’s primary reservoir for drinking water because an individual urinated in it. The decision marks the second time in three years that the city has flushed large portions of its water supply because someone peed in it. The latest dump, delivered by 19-year-old Trey McDaniel, was caught on a video surveillance camera.   read more
  • Federal Agency Charges for Reports Available Free Online

    Thursday, April 17, 2014
    Around since 1950, NTIS was set up as a clearinghouse for technical papers produced by the government. It has continued to sell these reports to the public even though many of them can be had for free through other agencies. For instance, anyone interested in the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health’s handy report on chemical hazards can order a free copy here. Or they can pay the NTIS $30.   read more

Where is the Money Going?

  • Highway Upkeep Trust Fund Nears Bankruptcy

    Tuesday, April 22, 2014
    The Highway Trust Fund’s Highway Account, which finances maintenance and construction projects at the state level, currently has about $8.4 billion in it. But the U.S. Department of Transportation warns that demand for this funding is outpacing money available. As a result, the fund may go bankrupt by August. Without a new funding plan, the Transportation Department would have to stop reimbursing states for highway projects.   read more
  • IRS Audit Rate Dropping Lower and Lower

    Saturday, April 19, 2014
    In 2013, IRS auditors reviewed only 0.9% of returns filed by individuals earning less than $200,000 a year. That rate was the lowest since 2005. IRS Commissioner John Koskinen told the Associated Press that the audit rate likely will go down even further this year. The chances of getting audited is much higher for the wealthy—about 11% for those making $1 million or more annually.   read more
  • Offshore Tax Havens Cost U.S. $184 Billion in Revenue Every Year

    Friday, April 18, 2014
    U.S. federal and state governments would have more than $180 billion in additional revenue each year if corporations and wealthy individuals didn't hide their earnings in offshore accounts. Without that revenue, each U.S. taxpayer on average would have to pay an additional $1,259 in taxes to cover this loss. "Ordinary taxpayers [are] picking up the tab [in]...higher taxes, cuts to public spending priorities, or increases to the federal debt,” said the U.S. PIRG report.   read more

Controversies

  • Philadelphia Mayor Nutter Orders Police and Prisons to Limit Cooperation with Federal Immigration Agents

    Monday, April 21, 2014
    About 17 local governments, including Miami, San Francisco, New Orleans, and New York City, have backed off on cooperating with ICE in recent years. This month nine counties in Oregon added themselves to the list. But Philadelphia's move was different in that it also applies to prison departments, so the city will not inform ICE of a prisoner’s release unless the person was convicted of a violent felony.   read more
  • In first Challenge to Consumer Complaint Database, Court Orders Release of Company’s Name

    Monday, April 21, 2014
    A company whose product reportedly caused an infant’s death may soon have its identity revealed following a long-running legal battle involving the Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC). A complaint was filed in 2011 by an unidentified local government agency. The company responded by filing suit in federal court, claiming it had done nothing wrong, while demanding its name and details of the case be sealed and kept off a publicly accessible database.   read more
  • First Trial of a Non-Native American in a Tribal Court

    Monday, April 21, 2014
    Congress had been reluctant to grant tribes the right to try non-Indians, but the Yaquis and two other tribes showed evidence that they could hold proper trials and safeguard the rights of the accused. In February, the Justice Department initiated a pilot program with the three tribes to try non-Indians accused of domestic violence against Native American women on reservations. A few weeks ago, Yaqui tribal police arrested Eloy Figueroa Lopez, charging him with trying to choke his wife.   read more

U.S. and the World

  • Frackers Get Set to Cross the Border into Mexico

    Tuesday, April 22, 2014
    The new opportunities have existed only since December, when Mexico’s Congress approved a landmark bill that relaxed the 75-year-old grip over oil and gas development by Pemex, the state oil monopoly. The legislation paves the way for foreign companies to cut deals with the Mexican government to develop new oil fields. One such field is the Eagle Ford Shale Play, which straddles the Texas-Mexico border, running for hundreds of miles deep beneath the earth.   read more
  • Onondaga Tribe Appeals to Human Rights Court

    Tuesday, April 22, 2014
    The Onondaga Nation spent eight years trying to get a U.S. federal court to side with its arguments that the state of New York illegally took possession of 4,000 square miles of tribal land in the late 18th and early 19th centuries.The tribe’s complaints go beyond land ownership. It also says state and federal agencies allowed American factories to pollute Lake Onondaga, which once was part of tribal lands.   read more
  • Federal Judge Approves Class Action Case against Ford and IBM for Helping South African Apartheid

    Sunday, April 20, 2014
    A federal District Court judge has ruled that those injured by the apartheid policies of the white-ruled South African government may sue Ford and IBM for providing assistance to that government in the form of military vehicles and computers. The racist policies of apartheid were in force between 1948 and 1994.   read more

Appointments and Resignations

  • Director of U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services: Who Is Leon Rodriguez?

    Monday, April 21, 2014
    In 2011, President Obama nominated Rodriguez to lead the Department of Labor’s Wage and Hour Division. However, his nomination was withdrawn because of Republican opposition to his work in the Civil Rights Division. In September 2011, Rodriguez moved over to the Department of Health and Human Services to lead its Office of Civil Rights. Much of his work there involved bringing cases against medical and insurance organizations for breaches of patient information.   read more
  • Director of the Bureau of Land Management: Who Is Neil Kornze?

    Sunday, April 20, 2014
    Kornze’s age, 34 when he was nominated for the post, would make him one of the youngest agency heads in history. Despite his family ties to the mining industry, and his close association with mining champion Reid, Kornze’s nomination to lead the BLM drew praise from many environmental groups, including the Sierra Club and the League of Conservation Voters.   read more
  • Director of the U.S. Geological Survey: Who Is Suzette Kimball?

    Sunday, April 20, 2014
    Suzette Kimball, who has been acting director of the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) since February 2013, was nominated by President Barack Obama on January 9, 2014, to fill the job permanently. In 2010, Kimball was named deputy director of the USGS. In that post, she led USGS's international activities and represented all North American geological surveys on international mapping endeavors. She has written more than 75 publications on coastal ecosystem science and coastal zone policy.   read more