Featured Story

When F-35 Joint Strike Fighter Goes Operational this Summer, it won’t Work any better than 40-Year-Old Thunderbolts

Monday, April 20, 2015
“If F-35 aircraft are employed at night for combat, pilots will have no night vision capability available due to the restriction on using the current night vision camera,” Michael Gilmore, director of operational test and evaluation at the Defense Department, said in written testimony. In contrast, the 1970s-era A-10 Thunderbolt, known as the Warthog, can remain over a battlefield for up to 90 minutes and augment its four air-to-ground missiles with fire from a cannon in its nose.   read more
Latest News

Top Stories

  • Oil Platform has been Leaking into Gulf of Mexico for more than 10 Years

    Sunday, April 19, 2015
    When Hurricane Ivan moved through the Gulf in September 2004, it caused a landslide that buried wells owned by Taylor Energy Co. Ever since then, those wells have been steadily sending a ribbon of oil into the Gulf of Mexico. While Taylor has claimed the leak has released as little as 4 gallons of crude a day into the Gulf, and the Coast Guard has spotted sheens averaging 84 gallons a day, some estimates of the total leak are far larger, running as high as 900 gallons a day.   read more
  • African-Americans Targeted for Arrest by Grand Rapids Police Using “No Trespass Letters”

    Saturday, April 18, 2015
    Police are able “to stop and search people immediately based on nothing more than a gut reaction to the way someone looks or acts," said Salon. “Grand Rapids police are riding roughshod over the Bill of Rights by using these letters as a blank check to arrest anyone they don’t believe ‘belongs’ in a neighborhood. Any one of us who pulls into a gas station in Grand Rapids to check a map or make a phone call could be arrested under the GRPD’s illegal policy," said the ACLU.   read more
  • Republican Senate’s First 100 Days: 59 Votes on Energy and Environment; No Laws Signed

    Friday, April 17, 2015
    As promised, Republicans used their new majority power in the U.S. Senate during the start of the year to focus on energy as well as environmental legislation. What do they have to show for it? Not a single law signed by President Barack Obama. By the end of its first 100 days, the Senate had voted 59 times on energy/environmental bills. Of the Senate’s votes, 44% were on Keystone, plus efforts to block action to reduce carbon pollution and proposals to sell America’s public lands.   read more

Unusual News

  • 14-Year-Old Charged with Felony Hacking for Entering Password to Insert Prank Photo on Teacher’s Computer

    Sunday, April 19, 2015
    The Pasco County Sheriff’s Office charged Domanik Green, an eighth-grader at Paul R. Smith Middle School in the town of Holiday, with an offense against a computer system and unauthorized access, a felony, after Green accessed the system on March 31 with a password he’d seen the teacher type in. Green then substituted the teacher’s screen background with a picture of two men kissing.   read more
  • The Fun Side of Global Warming: Yachties Plan Race Through Arctic Ocean from New York to British Columbia

    Thursday, April 16, 2015
    Some experts wonder if the Arctic Ocean will really be free enough of ice in just two years to allow for the unusual competition. “Although end-of-summer ice conditions in the Amundsen route of the Northwest Passage (the route they would take) have become milder over the past decade, ice conditions have been, and will remain, highly variable,” said Mark Serreze. “At the end of summer 2017 the route might be more-or-less completely ice free. [Or] it may be choked with ice."   read more
  • Protestors Use Holograms in Brooklyn and Madrid

    Tuesday, April 14, 2015
    In New York City, a light projection group—the Illuminator Art Collective—lit up a hologram of whistleblower Edward Snowden atop a column in Fort Greene Park in Brooklyn. The likeness of the former NSA contractor was projected to replace an actual four-foot-tall, 100-pound bust of Snowden that was taken down by authorities. “To me it's about, if someone removes the statue, that the idea and the conversation can still take place, even though that material structure is gone,” said Grayson Earle.   read more

Where is the Money Going?

  • Pentagon Asks for $5.5 Billion to Outsource Protection of U.S. Satellites and their Networks

    Thursday, April 16, 2015
    The program is geared towards defending these systems from attacks by China and other countries. The $5 billion expenditure represents a moneymaking opportunity for arms makers, non-traditional suppliers and international firms. The government is seeking new technologies for rocket launchers, communications, remote sensing, satellite control, sensors and other systems to expand the Pentagon’s ability to monitor space-related activities.   read more
  • The VA Hospital that Cost $1.7 Billion to Build…So Far

    Wednesday, April 15, 2015
    The VA had been warned about cost overruns by contracting officials and even its contractor, Kiewit-Turner. “I must beg you once again that we re-think our strategies...” wrote the VA's Adelino Gorospe Jr. in an email. “Without a change in strategy, my estimate would be around half a billion dollars in total cost overrun: $500 Million! That’s how risky this type of contract is. Another reality check! Where in this economy are you going to find the money?”   read more
  • Majority of Black and Latino Workers Earn less than $15 an Hour: Majority of White Workers Earn more

    Wednesday, April 15, 2015
    A new report from the National Employment Law Project says a majority of these two minority groups make less than $15 an hour. For Latinos the percentage is 59.5%, for African-Americans it’s 54.1%. The numbers are in stark contrast to those for white workers, nearly 64% of whom make more than $15 an hour. Black and Latino workers are heavily concentrated in the industries, such as food service and home health care, which pay the least.   read more

Controversies

  • Montana First State in Nation to Protect Reporters’ Electronic Data Held by Providers

    Sunday, April 19, 2015
    The Media Confidentiality Act, signed into law April 9, expands the state’s shield law by closing a loophole that allowed state and local governments to contact Internet service providers and social media sites to obtain reporters’ emails, notes and other confidential information. The new law was supported by nearly all of the state’s lawmakers, passing the Montana House by a vote of 90-7 and the Senate by 47-1.   read more
  • African-American Mothers far less likely to Breastfeed than other Groups

    Sunday, April 19, 2015
    Part of the reason for African-Americans’ lower breastfeeding rate has to do with the inability of many in that group to work in situations where it’s easy to breastfeed. “These are common barriers to breastfeeding because you can’t access jobs where you might have a maternity leave, or can negotiate a private space to pump, or feel you are able to nurse at work,” said Monique Sims-Harper, director of A More Excellent Way Health Improvement Organization.   read more
  • E-Cigarette Smoking Among U.S. Teens Triples While Tobacco Use Plunges

    Sunday, April 19, 2015
    A new study from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) shows that use of e-cigarettes among middle school and high school students tripled from 2013 to 2014. “This is a really bad thing,” CDC Director Dr. Thomas R. Frieden, told The New York Times, noting that research had found that nicotine harms the developing brain. “This is another generation being hooked by the tobacco industry. It makes me angry.”   read more

U.S. and the World

  • At Sentencing, 4 U.S. Mercenaries who Killed 14 in Iraq Claim they did Nothing Wrong

    Wednesday, April 15, 2015
    “In killing and maiming unarmed civilians, these defendants acted unreasonably and without justification,” said the U.S. attorney's office. “The sheer amount of unnecessary human loss and suffering attributable to the defendants’ criminal conduct...is staggering.” Judge Lamberth said their actions "can just not be condoned by a court." Said defendant Slatten to the judge: "The verdict is wrong. You know I am innocent."   read more
  • In Change of Tactic, Obama Administration Arrests Suspected Terrorist rather than Killing him with a Drone

    Tuesday, April 14, 2015
    It was Attorney General Holder who urged the White House to try a different strategy. While the Pentagon and the CIA had urged that Farekh be killed, Holder “was skeptical of the intelligence dossier on Mr. Farekh, questioning whether he posed an imminent threat to the United States and whether he was as significant a player in Al Qaeda as the Pentagon and the C.I.A. described," said the Times. And so the Texas-born Farekh was arrested last year in Pakistan and will stand trial in Brooklyn.   read more
  • Pakistan Issues Murder Warrant for CIA Station Chief and Lawyer who Oversaw Drone Program

    Friday, April 10, 2015
    Warrants were issued for Jonathan Bank, former CIA station chief in Islamabad, and John A. Rizzo, formerly the top CIA lawyer who legally authorized drone strikes inside Pakistan. Justice Shaukat Aziz Siddiqui of the Islamabad high court said both Americans should be tried for murder in connection with a December 2009 attack that reportedly killed at least three people. The legal move forced Bank to leave the country. He now works in the U.S. military’s intelligence wing.   read more

Appointments and Resignations

  • U.S. Ambassador to Pakistan: Who Is David Hale?

    Thursday, April 09, 2015
    From 2008 to 2009, Hale was a deputy assistant secretary of state in the Bureau of Near Eastern Affairs. After Obama took office, Hale was named deputy to Middle East peace envoy George Mitchell and took over as acting envoy in June 2011 when Mitchell stepped down. Hale in 2013 was named ambassador to Lebanon and took over in Beirut on August 1 just as internal fighting in neighboring Syria was going on and the United States considered using military action in the country.   read more
  • U.S. Ambassador to Kosovo: Who Is Greg Delawie?

    Sunday, April 05, 2015
    In July 2012 Delawie returned to Washington as deputy assistant secretary for European security, technology and implementation verification in the Bureau of Arms Control, Verification and Compliance, where he still serves as he awaits Senate confirmation to the Kosovo post. There he’s responsible for the Offices of Euro-Atlantic Security Affairs; Verification, Planning, and Outreach; and the Nuclear Risk Reduction Center.   read more
  • Acting Director of the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives: Who Is Thomas Brandon?

    Saturday, April 04, 2015
    Brandon joined ATF in 1989 in the Detroit field division and continued to spend much of his career in Detroit. Brandon was brought before a House committee hearing in February 2014 to testify about botched storefront sting operations performed by ATF. He admitted that putting a gun-buying shop to serve as bait for drug and gun traffickers across the street from a middle school in Portland, Oregon, was “a mistake.”   read more

Featured Story

When F-35 Joint Strike Fighter Goes Operational this Summer, it won’t Work any better than 40-Year-Old Thunderbolts

Monday, April 20, 2015
“If F-35 aircraft are employed at night for combat, pilots will have no night vision capability available due to the restriction on using the current night vision camera,” Michael Gilmore, director of operational test and evaluation at the Defense Department, said in written testimony. In contrast, the 1970s-era A-10 Thunderbolt, known as the Warthog, can remain over a battlefield for up to 90 minutes and augment its four air-to-ground missiles with fire from a cannon in its nose.   read more
Latest News

Top Stories

  • Oil Platform has been Leaking into Gulf of Mexico for more than 10 Years

    Sunday, April 19, 2015
    When Hurricane Ivan moved through the Gulf in September 2004, it caused a landslide that buried wells owned by Taylor Energy Co. Ever since then, those wells have been steadily sending a ribbon of oil into the Gulf of Mexico. While Taylor has claimed the leak has released as little as 4 gallons of crude a day into the Gulf, and the Coast Guard has spotted sheens averaging 84 gallons a day, some estimates of the total leak are far larger, running as high as 900 gallons a day.   read more
  • African-Americans Targeted for Arrest by Grand Rapids Police Using “No Trespass Letters”

    Saturday, April 18, 2015
    Police are able “to stop and search people immediately based on nothing more than a gut reaction to the way someone looks or acts," said Salon. “Grand Rapids police are riding roughshod over the Bill of Rights by using these letters as a blank check to arrest anyone they don’t believe ‘belongs’ in a neighborhood. Any one of us who pulls into a gas station in Grand Rapids to check a map or make a phone call could be arrested under the GRPD’s illegal policy," said the ACLU.   read more
  • Republican Senate’s First 100 Days: 59 Votes on Energy and Environment; No Laws Signed

    Friday, April 17, 2015
    As promised, Republicans used their new majority power in the U.S. Senate during the start of the year to focus on energy as well as environmental legislation. What do they have to show for it? Not a single law signed by President Barack Obama. By the end of its first 100 days, the Senate had voted 59 times on energy/environmental bills. Of the Senate’s votes, 44% were on Keystone, plus efforts to block action to reduce carbon pollution and proposals to sell America’s public lands.   read more

Unusual News

  • 14-Year-Old Charged with Felony Hacking for Entering Password to Insert Prank Photo on Teacher’s Computer

    Sunday, April 19, 2015
    The Pasco County Sheriff’s Office charged Domanik Green, an eighth-grader at Paul R. Smith Middle School in the town of Holiday, with an offense against a computer system and unauthorized access, a felony, after Green accessed the system on March 31 with a password he’d seen the teacher type in. Green then substituted the teacher’s screen background with a picture of two men kissing.   read more
  • The Fun Side of Global Warming: Yachties Plan Race Through Arctic Ocean from New York to British Columbia

    Thursday, April 16, 2015
    Some experts wonder if the Arctic Ocean will really be free enough of ice in just two years to allow for the unusual competition. “Although end-of-summer ice conditions in the Amundsen route of the Northwest Passage (the route they would take) have become milder over the past decade, ice conditions have been, and will remain, highly variable,” said Mark Serreze. “At the end of summer 2017 the route might be more-or-less completely ice free. [Or] it may be choked with ice."   read more
  • Protestors Use Holograms in Brooklyn and Madrid

    Tuesday, April 14, 2015
    In New York City, a light projection group—the Illuminator Art Collective—lit up a hologram of whistleblower Edward Snowden atop a column in Fort Greene Park in Brooklyn. The likeness of the former NSA contractor was projected to replace an actual four-foot-tall, 100-pound bust of Snowden that was taken down by authorities. “To me it's about, if someone removes the statue, that the idea and the conversation can still take place, even though that material structure is gone,” said Grayson Earle.   read more

Where is the Money Going?

  • Pentagon Asks for $5.5 Billion to Outsource Protection of U.S. Satellites and their Networks

    Thursday, April 16, 2015
    The program is geared towards defending these systems from attacks by China and other countries. The $5 billion expenditure represents a moneymaking opportunity for arms makers, non-traditional suppliers and international firms. The government is seeking new technologies for rocket launchers, communications, remote sensing, satellite control, sensors and other systems to expand the Pentagon’s ability to monitor space-related activities.   read more
  • The VA Hospital that Cost $1.7 Billion to Build…So Far

    Wednesday, April 15, 2015
    The VA had been warned about cost overruns by contracting officials and even its contractor, Kiewit-Turner. “I must beg you once again that we re-think our strategies...” wrote the VA's Adelino Gorospe Jr. in an email. “Without a change in strategy, my estimate would be around half a billion dollars in total cost overrun: $500 Million! That’s how risky this type of contract is. Another reality check! Where in this economy are you going to find the money?”   read more
  • Majority of Black and Latino Workers Earn less than $15 an Hour: Majority of White Workers Earn more

    Wednesday, April 15, 2015
    A new report from the National Employment Law Project says a majority of these two minority groups make less than $15 an hour. For Latinos the percentage is 59.5%, for African-Americans it’s 54.1%. The numbers are in stark contrast to those for white workers, nearly 64% of whom make more than $15 an hour. Black and Latino workers are heavily concentrated in the industries, such as food service and home health care, which pay the least.   read more

Controversies

  • Montana First State in Nation to Protect Reporters’ Electronic Data Held by Providers

    Sunday, April 19, 2015
    The Media Confidentiality Act, signed into law April 9, expands the state’s shield law by closing a loophole that allowed state and local governments to contact Internet service providers and social media sites to obtain reporters’ emails, notes and other confidential information. The new law was supported by nearly all of the state’s lawmakers, passing the Montana House by a vote of 90-7 and the Senate by 47-1.   read more
  • African-American Mothers far less likely to Breastfeed than other Groups

    Sunday, April 19, 2015
    Part of the reason for African-Americans’ lower breastfeeding rate has to do with the inability of many in that group to work in situations where it’s easy to breastfeed. “These are common barriers to breastfeeding because you can’t access jobs where you might have a maternity leave, or can negotiate a private space to pump, or feel you are able to nurse at work,” said Monique Sims-Harper, director of A More Excellent Way Health Improvement Organization.   read more
  • E-Cigarette Smoking Among U.S. Teens Triples While Tobacco Use Plunges

    Sunday, April 19, 2015
    A new study from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) shows that use of e-cigarettes among middle school and high school students tripled from 2013 to 2014. “This is a really bad thing,” CDC Director Dr. Thomas R. Frieden, told The New York Times, noting that research had found that nicotine harms the developing brain. “This is another generation being hooked by the tobacco industry. It makes me angry.”   read more

U.S. and the World

  • At Sentencing, 4 U.S. Mercenaries who Killed 14 in Iraq Claim they did Nothing Wrong

    Wednesday, April 15, 2015
    “In killing and maiming unarmed civilians, these defendants acted unreasonably and without justification,” said the U.S. attorney's office. “The sheer amount of unnecessary human loss and suffering attributable to the defendants’ criminal conduct...is staggering.” Judge Lamberth said their actions "can just not be condoned by a court." Said defendant Slatten to the judge: "The verdict is wrong. You know I am innocent."   read more
  • In Change of Tactic, Obama Administration Arrests Suspected Terrorist rather than Killing him with a Drone

    Tuesday, April 14, 2015
    It was Attorney General Holder who urged the White House to try a different strategy. While the Pentagon and the CIA had urged that Farekh be killed, Holder “was skeptical of the intelligence dossier on Mr. Farekh, questioning whether he posed an imminent threat to the United States and whether he was as significant a player in Al Qaeda as the Pentagon and the C.I.A. described," said the Times. And so the Texas-born Farekh was arrested last year in Pakistan and will stand trial in Brooklyn.   read more
  • Pakistan Issues Murder Warrant for CIA Station Chief and Lawyer who Oversaw Drone Program

    Friday, April 10, 2015
    Warrants were issued for Jonathan Bank, former CIA station chief in Islamabad, and John A. Rizzo, formerly the top CIA lawyer who legally authorized drone strikes inside Pakistan. Justice Shaukat Aziz Siddiqui of the Islamabad high court said both Americans should be tried for murder in connection with a December 2009 attack that reportedly killed at least three people. The legal move forced Bank to leave the country. He now works in the U.S. military’s intelligence wing.   read more

Appointments and Resignations

  • U.S. Ambassador to Pakistan: Who Is David Hale?

    Thursday, April 09, 2015
    From 2008 to 2009, Hale was a deputy assistant secretary of state in the Bureau of Near Eastern Affairs. After Obama took office, Hale was named deputy to Middle East peace envoy George Mitchell and took over as acting envoy in June 2011 when Mitchell stepped down. Hale in 2013 was named ambassador to Lebanon and took over in Beirut on August 1 just as internal fighting in neighboring Syria was going on and the United States considered using military action in the country.   read more
  • U.S. Ambassador to Kosovo: Who Is Greg Delawie?

    Sunday, April 05, 2015
    In July 2012 Delawie returned to Washington as deputy assistant secretary for European security, technology and implementation verification in the Bureau of Arms Control, Verification and Compliance, where he still serves as he awaits Senate confirmation to the Kosovo post. There he’s responsible for the Offices of Euro-Atlantic Security Affairs; Verification, Planning, and Outreach; and the Nuclear Risk Reduction Center.   read more
  • Acting Director of the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives: Who Is Thomas Brandon?

    Saturday, April 04, 2015
    Brandon joined ATF in 1989 in the Detroit field division and continued to spend much of his career in Detroit. Brandon was brought before a House committee hearing in February 2014 to testify about botched storefront sting operations performed by ATF. He admitted that putting a gun-buying shop to serve as bait for drug and gun traffickers across the street from a middle school in Portland, Oregon, was “a mistake.”   read more