Featured Story

U.S. Chamber of Commerce Serves as International Bulldog for Tobacco Industry

Wednesday, July 01, 2015
The Chamber has become “the hammer for the tobacco industry,” setting up lobbying operations in other countries to fight anti-smoking laws. Its zeal to help American tobacco companies has gone so far as to convince Ukraine to file a legal challenge against Australia over that country’s right to enact anti-smoking laws on its own soil. The Chamber, led by Thomas Donohue, has also worked to ensure that international agreements won’t impede the marketing of tobacco products in other countries.   read more
Latest News

Top Stories

  • Industries, Congress and Federal Agencies Work Hard to Delay Worker Safety Regulations

    Tuesday, June 30, 2015
    The toll on Americans from on-the-job chemical exposures is staggering. It’s been difficult for new worker safety rules to get established when manufacturing companies launch opposition campaigns to undermine OSHA’s efforts and those of labor unions and other advocates. Industry trade groups have filed lawsuits over the years to overturn new OSHA regulations. Congress has also contributed to curtailing the work of OSHA, which was dubbed the “Gestapo” of the government by Rep. John Boehner.   read more
  • If Terrorist Attacks are on the Rise, What Does that Say about the 13-Year-Old “War on Terror”?

    Monday, June 29, 2015
    They put the cost of the post-9/11 fighting at $4.4 trillion. In addition to the costs of bullets and bandages, they included the interest on the money borrowed to fight the war (remember—Bush sought no tax increases to fund the fighting); the money it took out of the economy and cost Americans in increased interest; the future cost of treating and healing wounded veterans (expected to peak in 30 or 40 years at more than $1 trillion); and increased homeland security spending.   read more
  • In 5 Years, Average CEO Income has Increased 54%; Average Worker 0%

    Sunday, June 28, 2015
    As the economy, which cratered at the end of the George W. Bush administration, has improved since 2009, the average CEO of the 350 largest corporations has gotten a 54% raise and is making $16.3 million a year. His employees, on the other hand, haven’t done as well, according to a study from the Economic Policy Institute. The average pay in those companies in 2009 was $53,200. Five years later, it’s still $53,200.   read more

Unusual News

  • Pope Francis First Religious Leader to be Invited to Address Joint Session of Congress

    Tuesday, June 30, 2015
    Congress has invited dozens of world leaders to address U.S. lawmakers. But religious figures have never had the honor. Capitol Hill will be working overtime in maneuvering the logistics of this event, said the Post’s Michelle Boorstein. “Which presidential candidate gets close and who doesn’t? How much time should he spend in Boehner’s office and with whom? Will lawmakers stand and clap for lines they support and remain seated for those they oppose? Those are all elements under discussion."   read more
  • Washington State Supreme Court Rules that Swearing at the Police is not a Crime

    Monday, June 29, 2015
    E.J.J.’s attorney, Lila J. Silverstein, said her client was only trying to protect his sister. One of the justices agreed he was right to be concerned. In a concurring opinion, Supreme Court Justice Steven Gonzalez, wrote that E.J.J. had reason to be concerned for the safety of his relatives because he “is a young black man in a city where the police have been found by the United States Department of Justice to use excessive force against nonviolent black youth.”   read more
  • Generation Change: Millennials now Outnumber Baby Boomers…and Their Politics are Different

    Sunday, June 28, 2015
    There are now 83.1 million millennials in the United States, according to the Census Bureau. That compares to 75.4 million baby boomers. A study by Gallup showed that 30% of adult millennials identify as liberal, with 28% saying they’re conservative and 40% claiming to be moderate. That compares to only 21% of baby boomers who say they’re liberal, compared to 44% conservative and 33% moderate.   read more

Where is the Money Going?

  • IRS Awarded Contracts to 17 Corporations that Owed Back Taxes (Including One with a Felony Conviction)

    Sunday, June 28, 2015
    The Internal Revenue Service (IRS) is legally prohibited from doing business with companies that owe a significant amount of back taxes or a felony conviction, but an audit found the agency paid $18.8 million to such companies over a two-year period.   read more
  • National Park Fees Increased for First Time in 9 Years

    Thursday, June 25, 2015
    The increases vary widely, though some are doubling or tripling. At Arches in southeast Utah, the cost for an annual pass will jump from $25 to $50. The fees are also going up at the “crown jewels in the park system,” such as Yellowstone, Yosemite and the Grand Canyon. If you’re riding a motorcycle into a park, be prepared to pay a lot more. For instance, the motorcycle fee at Joshua Tree National Park in the Southern California desert will jump from $5 to $20.   read more
  • Many Conservatives have Pandered to Racist Group that Inspired Dylann Roof

    Tuesday, June 23, 2015
    Holt, president of the Council of Conservative Citizens, has supported the campaigns of Sen. Ted Cruz, Sen. Rand Paul, former Sen. Rick Santorum and others. The man who has said black people were “the laziest, stupidest and most criminally-inclined race in the history of the world” has contributed $8,500 to Cruz, $1,750 to Paul, $2,000 to Mitt Romney, and $1,500 to Santorum. According to FEC and state filings, 24 Republicans have received contributions from Holt.   read more

Controversies

  • States where Politicians have Vowed to Continue Fighting Same-Sex Marriage

    Tuesday, June 30, 2015
    Alabama’s chief justice, Roy Moore, has said he will resist the Supreme Court ruling, while his wife, Kayla Moore, head of The Foundation for Moral Law, wrote on Facebook that “the U.S. Supreme Court [has] no legal authority to redefine marriage.” Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton told county clerks to ignore the ruling and refuse to issue marriage licenses to same-sex couples.   read more
  • Guantánamo Defense Lawyers Ask for Access to 14,000 CIA Photos of Secret Prisons

    Tuesday, June 30, 2015
    The images show both the interiors and exteriors of CIA secret locations where detainees were held and interrogated. They reportedly include detainee cells, bathrooms, naked prisoners at the time of transport, confinement boxes that held detainees, and a waterboard in the “Salt Pit,” the largest CIA detention facility in Afghanistan. Also said to be depicted are members of the CIA and foreign intelligence services, along with interrogation program architects James Mitchell and Bruce Jessen.   read more
  • Survey of 382 U.S. Law Enforcement Agencies Shows Far Greater Concern about Anti-Government Extremists than about Islamic Terrorists

    Tuesday, June 30, 2015
    Ask a cop what kind of extremist they’re most concerned about and the answer is likely to be those opposed to the government, not Muslim terrorists. Anti-government extremists were listed more than any other by far: 73.8%. Al Qaeda-inspired extremists came in a distant second, at 39.3%. The researchers also found that that law enforcement “perceive violent extremism to be a much more severe threat nationally than the threat of violent extremism in their own jurisdictions.”   read more

U.S. and the World

  • Guantánamo Prisoner Asks “Why am I Still Here?”

    Saturday, June 27, 2015
    The documents note that al-Alwi has made threats to kill U.S. personnel during his detention at Guantánamo and that he promised to do so following his release. However, there have been no efforts on the part of the U.S. government to prove any of those charges in a court of law. His petition to be tried in a civilian court has been denied, with federal judges determining that “it is more probable than not that petitioner was supporting the Taliban and al Qaeda.”   read more
  • U.S. Diplomats will no Longer Stay at Waldorf-Astoria now that it’s Owned by Chinese

    Monday, June 22, 2015
    The department traditionally takes two secured floors at the Waldorf for the UN session. However, the department has been worried about security issues at the iconic hotel since it was purchased last year by the Chinese Anbang Insurance Group for $1.95 billion.   read more
  • Why is Homeland Security Moving its Animal Disease Research Lab to a Place Hit by Tornadoes?

    Friday, June 19, 2015
    The National Bio and Agro-Defense Facility will be operated by the Department of Homeland Security on the campus of Kansas State University in Manhattan. It’s replacing a facility located on Plum Island, off New York’s Long Island. It was put there in 1954 because it’s far from agricultural facilities and the prevailing winds blow out to sea, and would take any outbreaks away from land. NBAF sits in the path of Tornado Alley, a large stretch of the Midwest vulnerable to violent storms.   read more

Appointments and Resignations

  • Chairwoman of the Defense Nuclear Facilities Safety Board: Who Is Joyce Connery?

    Saturday, June 27, 2015
    In January 2012, Connery took the newly-created position of director of nuclear energy policy in the NSC’s office of international economics. She has a reputation as a proponent of replacing coal fired power plants with small nuclear reactors and of exporting such reactors to other countries.   read more
  • U.S. Ambassador to Cyprus: Who Is Kathleen Doherty?

    Monday, June 15, 2015
    Doherty returned to Washington in 2010 as director of the State Department’s Office of European Union and Regional Affairs and in September 2011 was made deputy assistant secretary of state for European and Eurasian affairs. She went back to Rome in August 2013 as deputy chief of mission, remaining in that post until her nomination as ambassador.   read more
  • Director of the National Weather Service: Who Is Louis Uccellini?

    Sunday, June 14, 2015
    On February 10, 2013, Louis W. Uccellini was made director of the National Weather Service (NWS). The appointment of Uccellini, an expert on blizzards, came shortly after Superstorm Sandy raked the Northeast. Uccellini has written extensively on weather, including co-authoring a two-volume publication, Northeast Snowstorms.   read more

Featured Story

U.S. Chamber of Commerce Serves as International Bulldog for Tobacco Industry

Wednesday, July 01, 2015
The Chamber has become “the hammer for the tobacco industry,” setting up lobbying operations in other countries to fight anti-smoking laws. Its zeal to help American tobacco companies has gone so far as to convince Ukraine to file a legal challenge against Australia over that country’s right to enact anti-smoking laws on its own soil. The Chamber, led by Thomas Donohue, has also worked to ensure that international agreements won’t impede the marketing of tobacco products in other countries.   read more
Latest News

Top Stories

  • Industries, Congress and Federal Agencies Work Hard to Delay Worker Safety Regulations

    Tuesday, June 30, 2015
    The toll on Americans from on-the-job chemical exposures is staggering. It’s been difficult for new worker safety rules to get established when manufacturing companies launch opposition campaigns to undermine OSHA’s efforts and those of labor unions and other advocates. Industry trade groups have filed lawsuits over the years to overturn new OSHA regulations. Congress has also contributed to curtailing the work of OSHA, which was dubbed the “Gestapo” of the government by Rep. John Boehner.   read more
  • If Terrorist Attacks are on the Rise, What Does that Say about the 13-Year-Old “War on Terror”?

    Monday, June 29, 2015
    They put the cost of the post-9/11 fighting at $4.4 trillion. In addition to the costs of bullets and bandages, they included the interest on the money borrowed to fight the war (remember—Bush sought no tax increases to fund the fighting); the money it took out of the economy and cost Americans in increased interest; the future cost of treating and healing wounded veterans (expected to peak in 30 or 40 years at more than $1 trillion); and increased homeland security spending.   read more
  • In 5 Years, Average CEO Income has Increased 54%; Average Worker 0%

    Sunday, June 28, 2015
    As the economy, which cratered at the end of the George W. Bush administration, has improved since 2009, the average CEO of the 350 largest corporations has gotten a 54% raise and is making $16.3 million a year. His employees, on the other hand, haven’t done as well, according to a study from the Economic Policy Institute. The average pay in those companies in 2009 was $53,200. Five years later, it’s still $53,200.   read more

Unusual News

  • Pope Francis First Religious Leader to be Invited to Address Joint Session of Congress

    Tuesday, June 30, 2015
    Congress has invited dozens of world leaders to address U.S. lawmakers. But religious figures have never had the honor. Capitol Hill will be working overtime in maneuvering the logistics of this event, said the Post’s Michelle Boorstein. “Which presidential candidate gets close and who doesn’t? How much time should he spend in Boehner’s office and with whom? Will lawmakers stand and clap for lines they support and remain seated for those they oppose? Those are all elements under discussion."   read more
  • Washington State Supreme Court Rules that Swearing at the Police is not a Crime

    Monday, June 29, 2015
    E.J.J.’s attorney, Lila J. Silverstein, said her client was only trying to protect his sister. One of the justices agreed he was right to be concerned. In a concurring opinion, Supreme Court Justice Steven Gonzalez, wrote that E.J.J. had reason to be concerned for the safety of his relatives because he “is a young black man in a city where the police have been found by the United States Department of Justice to use excessive force against nonviolent black youth.”   read more
  • Generation Change: Millennials now Outnumber Baby Boomers…and Their Politics are Different

    Sunday, June 28, 2015
    There are now 83.1 million millennials in the United States, according to the Census Bureau. That compares to 75.4 million baby boomers. A study by Gallup showed that 30% of adult millennials identify as liberal, with 28% saying they’re conservative and 40% claiming to be moderate. That compares to only 21% of baby boomers who say they’re liberal, compared to 44% conservative and 33% moderate.   read more

Where is the Money Going?

  • IRS Awarded Contracts to 17 Corporations that Owed Back Taxes (Including One with a Felony Conviction)

    Sunday, June 28, 2015
    The Internal Revenue Service (IRS) is legally prohibited from doing business with companies that owe a significant amount of back taxes or a felony conviction, but an audit found the agency paid $18.8 million to such companies over a two-year period.   read more
  • National Park Fees Increased for First Time in 9 Years

    Thursday, June 25, 2015
    The increases vary widely, though some are doubling or tripling. At Arches in southeast Utah, the cost for an annual pass will jump from $25 to $50. The fees are also going up at the “crown jewels in the park system,” such as Yellowstone, Yosemite and the Grand Canyon. If you’re riding a motorcycle into a park, be prepared to pay a lot more. For instance, the motorcycle fee at Joshua Tree National Park in the Southern California desert will jump from $5 to $20.   read more
  • Many Conservatives have Pandered to Racist Group that Inspired Dylann Roof

    Tuesday, June 23, 2015
    Holt, president of the Council of Conservative Citizens, has supported the campaigns of Sen. Ted Cruz, Sen. Rand Paul, former Sen. Rick Santorum and others. The man who has said black people were “the laziest, stupidest and most criminally-inclined race in the history of the world” has contributed $8,500 to Cruz, $1,750 to Paul, $2,000 to Mitt Romney, and $1,500 to Santorum. According to FEC and state filings, 24 Republicans have received contributions from Holt.   read more

Controversies

  • States where Politicians have Vowed to Continue Fighting Same-Sex Marriage

    Tuesday, June 30, 2015
    Alabama’s chief justice, Roy Moore, has said he will resist the Supreme Court ruling, while his wife, Kayla Moore, head of The Foundation for Moral Law, wrote on Facebook that “the U.S. Supreme Court [has] no legal authority to redefine marriage.” Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton told county clerks to ignore the ruling and refuse to issue marriage licenses to same-sex couples.   read more
  • Guantánamo Defense Lawyers Ask for Access to 14,000 CIA Photos of Secret Prisons

    Tuesday, June 30, 2015
    The images show both the interiors and exteriors of CIA secret locations where detainees were held and interrogated. They reportedly include detainee cells, bathrooms, naked prisoners at the time of transport, confinement boxes that held detainees, and a waterboard in the “Salt Pit,” the largest CIA detention facility in Afghanistan. Also said to be depicted are members of the CIA and foreign intelligence services, along with interrogation program architects James Mitchell and Bruce Jessen.   read more
  • Survey of 382 U.S. Law Enforcement Agencies Shows Far Greater Concern about Anti-Government Extremists than about Islamic Terrorists

    Tuesday, June 30, 2015
    Ask a cop what kind of extremist they’re most concerned about and the answer is likely to be those opposed to the government, not Muslim terrorists. Anti-government extremists were listed more than any other by far: 73.8%. Al Qaeda-inspired extremists came in a distant second, at 39.3%. The researchers also found that that law enforcement “perceive violent extremism to be a much more severe threat nationally than the threat of violent extremism in their own jurisdictions.”   read more

U.S. and the World

  • Guantánamo Prisoner Asks “Why am I Still Here?”

    Saturday, June 27, 2015
    The documents note that al-Alwi has made threats to kill U.S. personnel during his detention at Guantánamo and that he promised to do so following his release. However, there have been no efforts on the part of the U.S. government to prove any of those charges in a court of law. His petition to be tried in a civilian court has been denied, with federal judges determining that “it is more probable than not that petitioner was supporting the Taliban and al Qaeda.”   read more
  • U.S. Diplomats will no Longer Stay at Waldorf-Astoria now that it’s Owned by Chinese

    Monday, June 22, 2015
    The department traditionally takes two secured floors at the Waldorf for the UN session. However, the department has been worried about security issues at the iconic hotel since it was purchased last year by the Chinese Anbang Insurance Group for $1.95 billion.   read more
  • Why is Homeland Security Moving its Animal Disease Research Lab to a Place Hit by Tornadoes?

    Friday, June 19, 2015
    The National Bio and Agro-Defense Facility will be operated by the Department of Homeland Security on the campus of Kansas State University in Manhattan. It’s replacing a facility located on Plum Island, off New York’s Long Island. It was put there in 1954 because it’s far from agricultural facilities and the prevailing winds blow out to sea, and would take any outbreaks away from land. NBAF sits in the path of Tornado Alley, a large stretch of the Midwest vulnerable to violent storms.   read more

Appointments and Resignations

  • Chairwoman of the Defense Nuclear Facilities Safety Board: Who Is Joyce Connery?

    Saturday, June 27, 2015
    In January 2012, Connery took the newly-created position of director of nuclear energy policy in the NSC’s office of international economics. She has a reputation as a proponent of replacing coal fired power plants with small nuclear reactors and of exporting such reactors to other countries.   read more
  • U.S. Ambassador to Cyprus: Who Is Kathleen Doherty?

    Monday, June 15, 2015
    Doherty returned to Washington in 2010 as director of the State Department’s Office of European Union and Regional Affairs and in September 2011 was made deputy assistant secretary of state for European and Eurasian affairs. She went back to Rome in August 2013 as deputy chief of mission, remaining in that post until her nomination as ambassador.   read more
  • Director of the National Weather Service: Who Is Louis Uccellini?

    Sunday, June 14, 2015
    On February 10, 2013, Louis W. Uccellini was made director of the National Weather Service (NWS). The appointment of Uccellini, an expert on blizzards, came shortly after Superstorm Sandy raked the Northeast. Uccellini has written extensively on weather, including co-authoring a two-volume publication, Northeast Snowstorms.   read more