Featured Story

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
Latest News

Top Stories

  • States Slowly Move to Ban Microbeads from Soaps and Facial Cleansers

    Saturday, April 19, 2014
    No larger than grains of sand, microbeads have become a popular addition to many facial cleaners, soaps and even toothpaste. But environmentalists found microbeads exacerbate water and soil pollution. The non-biodegradable ingredients can absorb toxins in lakes and waterways, creating deadly concentrations consumed by fish that mistake the beads for food.   read more
  • 4.6 Million American Children go to a School within a Mile of a Facility with Hazardous Chemicals

    Friday, April 18, 2014
    Millions of children in the U.S. attend schools located within a mile of an industrial facility housing hazardous chemicals, according to a new study. This total represents nearly 10% of all school-age children in the country. The number of schools operating this close to facilities with hazardous chemicals is nearly 10,000. “Minority and low-income kids bear the greatest risks, but no one is immune from this danger," said Katherine McFate, CEO of the Center for Effective Government.   read more
  • FBI Accused of Trying to Turn Defense Security Officer into Spy in 9/11 Military Hearing Case

    Thursday, April 17, 2014
    Attorney Jim Harrington, who is representing bin al Shibh, told the court that agents showed up at the home of his team’s defense security officer, whose identity was not revealed. The Miami Herald reported that the officer worked for SRA International, a government contractor. Harrington said the FBI questioned the officer about possible wrongdoing by defense attorneys and convinced him to sign an agreement that would have him feed information to the bureau.   read more

Unusual News

  • 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
  • U.S. Security Barriers on Border with Mexico May Disrupt Pumas more than Humans

    Tuesday, April 15, 2014
    “The suggestion is that the intermittent fencing present in this part of the world does affect some native species, but does not necessarily restrict the movement of humans (including illegal migrants), who may negatively impact native species.” In some study areas, pumas had largely abandoned habitats divided by a border wall. But coatis, which aren’t inclined to relocate like pumas, could be more impacted by the barriers and might experience a collapse in their population.   read more

Where is the Money Going?

  • 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
  • Oklahoma Gov. Fallin Signs Bill Banning Minimum Wage Increases by Cities

    Thursday, April 17, 2014
    The governor added that increasing the minimum wage would only hurt businesses and lead to employees being laid off. She insisted most workers would not benefit from a minimum wage hike. Critics said the bill was intended to circumvent an effort in Oklahoma City, where signatures are being gathered to put an initiative on the city ballot raising the minimum wage to $10.10. That is the level to which President Barack Obama seeks to raise the federal minimum wage.   read more

Controversies

  • What Does the FBI do with its Drones?

    Saturday, April 19, 2014
    Some of the deployed drones were used in investigations of dog-fighting rings and drug trafficking operations in 2011. The documents also showed that the FBI deployed a drone on May 9, 2012, to assist agents with locating a “most wanted” fugitive involved in a kidnapping. While the documents don’t say who the fugitive was, Musgrave reported that the FBI added Adam Mayes to its Ten Most Wanted List on the same day.   read more
  • Buy Cheerios, Wheaties or any other General Mills Product and You Give up the Right to Sue over False Advertising, Mislabeling…or Anything Else

    Friday, April 18, 2014
    The company that sells Cheerios and other popular foods says consumers who purchase its products should be prohibited from suing it no matter how wrong its actions might be. General Mills, which produces Chex, Bisquick, Betty Crocker products and more, claims it can deny Americans their day in court if they buy any of its goods, download coupons, or “friend” it on Facebook. The food manufacturer claims it do this by simply amending its “legal terms” found on the General Mills website.   read more
  • Karl Rove’s Crossroads Non-Profit at the Heart of IRS Targeting and Election Commission Clashes

    Friday, April 18, 2014
    One of the most powerful Republican campaign groups in the country--Crossroads GPS, the conservative nonprofit helmed by consultant Karl Rove--is at the center of political battles involving the IRS and the FEC. Rove’s operation has sparked controversy at the FEC, whose Republican commissioners publicly attacked the Democrats’ leading member over a potential investigation of Crossroads, which Democrats contend is a partisan campaign machine.   read more

U.S. and the World

  • Contrary to Obama Claims, 88% of Deportees Committed Minor Infractions or No Crime at All

    Thursday, April 17, 2014
    Only 12% of deportations in 2013 committed a serious or “Level 1” offense (defined by Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) as someone convicted of an “aggravated felony,” or two or more felonies). About half of all deportees were charged with violating traffic or immigration laws. Those guilty of entering the country illegally comprised 22.7% of deportations. Such an offense is classified as a petty misdemeanor under the federal criminal code, TRAC noted.   read more
  • Blackwater Guards Finally to be Tried for Killing 14 Iraqi Civilians

    Sunday, April 13, 2014
    Following the incident, DSS officials forced the Blackwater specialists to provide written statements of the shootings in exchange for full immunity from criminal prosecution. That decision by the State Department derailed the U.S. Department of Justice’s first attempt to prosecute the guards once they returned to the U.S. A federal appeals court then reinstated the charges, saying the lower court had erred in dismissing the case.   read more
  • Afghan Children Die by the Dozens because of Explosives U.S. Left Behind at Firing Ranges

    Friday, April 11, 2014
    The open fields of Afghanistan have become lethal for many of that nation’s children due to scores of unexploded ordinance left by U.S. military forces. Dozens of Afghan children have died after wandering into abandoned U.S. firing ranges filled with undetonated artillery shells, rockets and grenades. The U.N. says at least 70 civilians—62 of whom were children—have died since 2012 in and around U.S. or NATO firing ranges or bases.   read more

Appointments and Resignations

  • Assistant Secretary for Postsecondary Education: Who Is Ericka Miller?

    Saturday, April 19, 2014
    Since 2007, Miller has been vice president for Operations and Strategic Leadership at The Education Trust, which promotes academic achievement for students from pre-kindergarten through college. On November 11, 2013, President Barack Obama nominated Ericka M. Miller to be the assistant secretary for Postsecondary Education in the Department of Education. Her nomination was approved by the Senate Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions Committee on January 29, 2014.   read more
  • Chief Executive Officer of the Millennium Challenge Corporation: Who is Dana Hyde?

    Saturday, April 19, 2014
    In 2009, after serving on the Obama-Biden transition team, Hyde was named a senior advisor for management and resources at the State Department. Then, in 2011, Hyde moved to the Office of Management and Budget, becoming associate director for general government programs. Because Hyde has had to wait seven months for confirmation, on April 15, the MCC named Sheila Herrling to serve as acting CEO.   read more
  • Dept. of Homeland Security Under Secretary for Science and Technology: Who Is Reggie Brothers?

    Monday, April 14, 2014
    In 2007, Brothers returned to the private sector, joining defense contractor BAE Systems, working on advanced programs and technology. Brothers joined the Obama administration in 2011 as deputy assistant secretary of Defense for Research. In that role, he was responsible for policy and oversight of Department of Defense Science and Technology programs from basic research through advanced technology development.   read more

Featured Story

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
Latest News

Top Stories

  • States Slowly Move to Ban Microbeads from Soaps and Facial Cleansers

    Saturday, April 19, 2014
    No larger than grains of sand, microbeads have become a popular addition to many facial cleaners, soaps and even toothpaste. But environmentalists found microbeads exacerbate water and soil pollution. The non-biodegradable ingredients can absorb toxins in lakes and waterways, creating deadly concentrations consumed by fish that mistake the beads for food.   read more
  • 4.6 Million American Children go to a School within a Mile of a Facility with Hazardous Chemicals

    Friday, April 18, 2014
    Millions of children in the U.S. attend schools located within a mile of an industrial facility housing hazardous chemicals, according to a new study. This total represents nearly 10% of all school-age children in the country. The number of schools operating this close to facilities with hazardous chemicals is nearly 10,000. “Minority and low-income kids bear the greatest risks, but no one is immune from this danger," said Katherine McFate, CEO of the Center for Effective Government.   read more
  • FBI Accused of Trying to Turn Defense Security Officer into Spy in 9/11 Military Hearing Case

    Thursday, April 17, 2014
    Attorney Jim Harrington, who is representing bin al Shibh, told the court that agents showed up at the home of his team’s defense security officer, whose identity was not revealed. The Miami Herald reported that the officer worked for SRA International, a government contractor. Harrington said the FBI questioned the officer about possible wrongdoing by defense attorneys and convinced him to sign an agreement that would have him feed information to the bureau.   read more

Unusual News

  • 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
  • U.S. Security Barriers on Border with Mexico May Disrupt Pumas more than Humans

    Tuesday, April 15, 2014
    “The suggestion is that the intermittent fencing present in this part of the world does affect some native species, but does not necessarily restrict the movement of humans (including illegal migrants), who may negatively impact native species.” In some study areas, pumas had largely abandoned habitats divided by a border wall. But coatis, which aren’t inclined to relocate like pumas, could be more impacted by the barriers and might experience a collapse in their population.   read more

Where is the Money Going?

  • 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
  • Oklahoma Gov. Fallin Signs Bill Banning Minimum Wage Increases by Cities

    Thursday, April 17, 2014
    The governor added that increasing the minimum wage would only hurt businesses and lead to employees being laid off. She insisted most workers would not benefit from a minimum wage hike. Critics said the bill was intended to circumvent an effort in Oklahoma City, where signatures are being gathered to put an initiative on the city ballot raising the minimum wage to $10.10. That is the level to which President Barack Obama seeks to raise the federal minimum wage.   read more

Controversies

  • What Does the FBI do with its Drones?

    Saturday, April 19, 2014
    Some of the deployed drones were used in investigations of dog-fighting rings and drug trafficking operations in 2011. The documents also showed that the FBI deployed a drone on May 9, 2012, to assist agents with locating a “most wanted” fugitive involved in a kidnapping. While the documents don’t say who the fugitive was, Musgrave reported that the FBI added Adam Mayes to its Ten Most Wanted List on the same day.   read more
  • Buy Cheerios, Wheaties or any other General Mills Product and You Give up the Right to Sue over False Advertising, Mislabeling…or Anything Else

    Friday, April 18, 2014
    The company that sells Cheerios and other popular foods says consumers who purchase its products should be prohibited from suing it no matter how wrong its actions might be. General Mills, which produces Chex, Bisquick, Betty Crocker products and more, claims it can deny Americans their day in court if they buy any of its goods, download coupons, or “friend” it on Facebook. The food manufacturer claims it do this by simply amending its “legal terms” found on the General Mills website.   read more
  • Karl Rove’s Crossroads Non-Profit at the Heart of IRS Targeting and Election Commission Clashes

    Friday, April 18, 2014
    One of the most powerful Republican campaign groups in the country--Crossroads GPS, the conservative nonprofit helmed by consultant Karl Rove--is at the center of political battles involving the IRS and the FEC. Rove’s operation has sparked controversy at the FEC, whose Republican commissioners publicly attacked the Democrats’ leading member over a potential investigation of Crossroads, which Democrats contend is a partisan campaign machine.   read more

U.S. and the World

  • Contrary to Obama Claims, 88% of Deportees Committed Minor Infractions or No Crime at All

    Thursday, April 17, 2014
    Only 12% of deportations in 2013 committed a serious or “Level 1” offense (defined by Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) as someone convicted of an “aggravated felony,” or two or more felonies). About half of all deportees were charged with violating traffic or immigration laws. Those guilty of entering the country illegally comprised 22.7% of deportations. Such an offense is classified as a petty misdemeanor under the federal criminal code, TRAC noted.   read more
  • Blackwater Guards Finally to be Tried for Killing 14 Iraqi Civilians

    Sunday, April 13, 2014
    Following the incident, DSS officials forced the Blackwater specialists to provide written statements of the shootings in exchange for full immunity from criminal prosecution. That decision by the State Department derailed the U.S. Department of Justice’s first attempt to prosecute the guards once they returned to the U.S. A federal appeals court then reinstated the charges, saying the lower court had erred in dismissing the case.   read more
  • Afghan Children Die by the Dozens because of Explosives U.S. Left Behind at Firing Ranges

    Friday, April 11, 2014
    The open fields of Afghanistan have become lethal for many of that nation’s children due to scores of unexploded ordinance left by U.S. military forces. Dozens of Afghan children have died after wandering into abandoned U.S. firing ranges filled with undetonated artillery shells, rockets and grenades. The U.N. says at least 70 civilians—62 of whom were children—have died since 2012 in and around U.S. or NATO firing ranges or bases.   read more

Appointments and Resignations

  • Assistant Secretary for Postsecondary Education: Who Is Ericka Miller?

    Saturday, April 19, 2014
    Since 2007, Miller has been vice president for Operations and Strategic Leadership at The Education Trust, which promotes academic achievement for students from pre-kindergarten through college. On November 11, 2013, President Barack Obama nominated Ericka M. Miller to be the assistant secretary for Postsecondary Education in the Department of Education. Her nomination was approved by the Senate Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions Committee on January 29, 2014.   read more
  • Chief Executive Officer of the Millennium Challenge Corporation: Who is Dana Hyde?

    Saturday, April 19, 2014
    In 2009, after serving on the Obama-Biden transition team, Hyde was named a senior advisor for management and resources at the State Department. Then, in 2011, Hyde moved to the Office of Management and Budget, becoming associate director for general government programs. Because Hyde has had to wait seven months for confirmation, on April 15, the MCC named Sheila Herrling to serve as acting CEO.   read more
  • Dept. of Homeland Security Under Secretary for Science and Technology: Who Is Reggie Brothers?

    Monday, April 14, 2014
    In 2007, Brothers returned to the private sector, joining defense contractor BAE Systems, working on advanced programs and technology. Brothers joined the Obama administration in 2011 as deputy assistant secretary of Defense for Research. In that role, he was responsible for policy and oversight of Department of Defense Science and Technology programs from basic research through advanced technology development.   read more