Featured Story

U.S. Faces Uphill Task in Connecting With New Government in India

Thursday, July 31, 2014
U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry is in Delhi this week as Washington tries to reset ties with India. When Prime Minister Narendra Modi was elected in May, the U.S. found it had to do business with a leader to whom it had denied a visa in 2005 over anti-Muslim riots. So the U.S. finds itself in an awkward position. This is unfortunate since both countries are natural allies: both are democracies, targets of Islamic terrorism, and worried about China’s rise.   read more
Latest News

Top Stories

Unusual News

  • Mystery Surrounds U.S. Justice Department Move to Wrap Anti-Iran Group in Shroud of Secrecy

    Wednesday, July 30, 2014
    The U.S. Department of Justice has drawn attention to itself for helping an organization opposed to Iran maintain secrecy of its records. United Against Nuclear Iran is operated by a who’s who list of American and foreign politicos, including former intelligence chiefs from Israel, Germany and Britain. A Greek shipping magnate accused by UANI of violating sanctions by doing business with Iran. But the Justice Department stepped in to block the request in court.   read more
  • For Weddings in Colorado and Washington State, Marijuana is Often the Key to Tying the Knot

    Tuesday, July 29, 2014
    A new kind of high is being enjoyed on wedding day in Colorado and Washington, the two states that have legalized recreational marijuana use. Pot is popping up in all different ways at marriage ceremonies in these two states, from bridal bouquets to gift bags to celebratory toasts. Advocates say serving marijuana is better than alcohol. It just mellows out the crowd, they insist, making it a good time for all.   read more
  • Manhunt for Fugitive Tuberculosis Patient

    Sunday, July 27, 2014
    An urgent manhunt is on in Northern California for a man who’s infected with tuberculosis. Law enforcement hopes to find him before he infects anyone else with what might be a drug-resistant strain of the disease. Eduardo Rosas Cruz showed up at the San Joaquin General Hospital in Stockton in March and was diagnosed with TB. He was told to stay for a health worker to administer his medication. Instead, he left. Officials got a statewide warrant for his arrest last Thursday.   read more

Where is the Money Going?

  • 42 Civil Rights Groups Support Telecoms against Open Internet

    Saturday, July 26, 2014
    Numerous civil rights groups have sided with the internet provider industry on the issue of net neutrality after getting lucrative partnerships and financial support from telecommunications companies. The Minority Media and Telecommunications Council (MMTC), a law firm for civil rights groups, has worked with many of the firms opposing common carrier status for the Internet. MMTC raised more than $1 million from telecom companies at fundraising luncheons from 2011 to 2013.   read more
  • Minor League Baseball Players Sue Major League Baseball over Low Pay

    Friday, July 25, 2014
    The typical minor league player earns somewhere between $3,000 and $7,500 a season, which can include spring training and fall instructional leagues, the plaintiffs contend. Compare that to MLB salaries, which averaged $3.3 million last year, with a minimum annual wage of $500,000 in 2014. The big difference is that MLB players are unionized, while their minor league counterparts have been prevented by the league from bargaining collectively.   read more
  • Hedge Funds Accused of Screwing Americans out of Billions of Dollars in Taxes

    Wednesday, July 23, 2014
    The two banks “used the options to build special accounts for their hedge fund clients in their own names and claimed they owned the assets when it was, in fact, the hedge fund clients that exercised full control of the assets.” The structure of the basket options also allowed the hedge funds to borrow up to $17 for every dollar in an account rather than the 50 cents on the dollar that broker-dealers are restricted to according to limits that go back to the 1930s.   read more

Controversies

U.S. and the World

  • Thousands of U.S. Weapons Provided to Afghan Forces Are Unaccounted For

    Wednesday, July 30, 2014
    The U.S.’ decade-plus of fighting the Taliban in Afghanistan may have been hampered by allowing hundreds, perhaps thousands, of weapons to go missing and possibly fall into enemy hands. A new report said many of the 747,000 weapons given to the Afghan National Security Forces can’t be accounted for. “Weapons paid for by U.S. taxpayers could wind up in the hands of insurgents and be used to kill Americans and Afghan troops and civilians,” said SIGAR's John Sopko.   read more
  • European Union Court Slams Poland for Helping U.S. Torture Program

    Monday, July 28, 2014
    Poland’s actions in helping the George W. Bush administration torture terrorism suspects on its soil constituted a human rights violation, the European court ruled. It also was faulted for not looking into what happened to Abd al-Rahim al-Nashiri (implicated in the 2000 attack on the USS Cole) and Abu Zubaida (accused of facilitating militant training) while they were in CIA custody. Nashiri was subjected to a mock execution and had a drill put to his head at the black site.   read more
  • U.S. Wasted $34 Million Pushing Soybeans on Afghanistan

    Saturday, July 26, 2014
    The USDA decided it would be a good idea to spend $34 million on getting Afghan farmers to grow soybeans and for Afghan consumers to eat them. But the USDA struck out on both counts. The U.S. also paid about $1.5 million to build a soybean plan. When the crops failed, it paid to have 4,000 metric tons of soybeans flown in from the U.S at a cost of about $2 million. But no American expert could convince Afghans to incorporate soybeans into their diet.   read more

Appointments and Resignations

  • U.S. Ambassador to Honduras: Who Is James Nealon?

    Monday, July 28, 2014
    Nealon took a job as deputy chief of staff at the embassy in Peru in 2007. While in Peru, Nealon wrote a report, later released by WikiLeaks, expressing concern about “anti-system radicals” who might “lay the groundwork for a more systematic assault on the pro-growth model.” In December 2012, President Obama proposed Nealon as the ambassador to Bolivia, but, not surprisingly considering his comments, Nealon was rejected by the Bolivian government.   read more
  • U.S. Ambassador to South Korea: Who Is Mark Lippert?

    Sunday, July 27, 2014
    After Obama’s inauguration, Lippert was a deputy assistant to the president and then was named chief of staff for the National Security Council (NSC). Lippert left the NSC in 2010. If confirmed, Lippert will be the first political appointee to head the Seoul embassy; the job has previously been filled by career Foreign Service appointees. However, the South Korean government is reportedly eager to have an ambassador with such close ties to Obama.   read more
  • U.S. Ambassador to Egypt: Who Is Stephen Beecroft?

    Sunday, July 27, 2014
    In 2003, Beecroft was named special assistant to Deputy Secretary of State Richard Armitage, and the following year was special assistant to Secretary of State Colin Powell. Beecroft remained in the job when Condoleezza Rice took over the State Department. Beecroft served as ambassador to Jordan from July 17, 2008 to June 4, 2011. Beecroft was transferred to Baghdad, Iraq, on July 14, 2011.   read more

Featured Story

U.S. Faces Uphill Task in Connecting With New Government in India

Thursday, July 31, 2014
U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry is in Delhi this week as Washington tries to reset ties with India. When Prime Minister Narendra Modi was elected in May, the U.S. found it had to do business with a leader to whom it had denied a visa in 2005 over anti-Muslim riots. So the U.S. finds itself in an awkward position. This is unfortunate since both countries are natural allies: both are democracies, targets of Islamic terrorism, and worried about China’s rise.   read more
Latest News

Top Stories

Unusual News

  • Mystery Surrounds U.S. Justice Department Move to Wrap Anti-Iran Group in Shroud of Secrecy

    Wednesday, July 30, 2014
    The U.S. Department of Justice has drawn attention to itself for helping an organization opposed to Iran maintain secrecy of its records. United Against Nuclear Iran is operated by a who’s who list of American and foreign politicos, including former intelligence chiefs from Israel, Germany and Britain. A Greek shipping magnate accused by UANI of violating sanctions by doing business with Iran. But the Justice Department stepped in to block the request in court.   read more
  • For Weddings in Colorado and Washington State, Marijuana is Often the Key to Tying the Knot

    Tuesday, July 29, 2014
    A new kind of high is being enjoyed on wedding day in Colorado and Washington, the two states that have legalized recreational marijuana use. Pot is popping up in all different ways at marriage ceremonies in these two states, from bridal bouquets to gift bags to celebratory toasts. Advocates say serving marijuana is better than alcohol. It just mellows out the crowd, they insist, making it a good time for all.   read more
  • Manhunt for Fugitive Tuberculosis Patient

    Sunday, July 27, 2014
    An urgent manhunt is on in Northern California for a man who’s infected with tuberculosis. Law enforcement hopes to find him before he infects anyone else with what might be a drug-resistant strain of the disease. Eduardo Rosas Cruz showed up at the San Joaquin General Hospital in Stockton in March and was diagnosed with TB. He was told to stay for a health worker to administer his medication. Instead, he left. Officials got a statewide warrant for his arrest last Thursday.   read more

Where is the Money Going?

  • 42 Civil Rights Groups Support Telecoms against Open Internet

    Saturday, July 26, 2014
    Numerous civil rights groups have sided with the internet provider industry on the issue of net neutrality after getting lucrative partnerships and financial support from telecommunications companies. The Minority Media and Telecommunications Council (MMTC), a law firm for civil rights groups, has worked with many of the firms opposing common carrier status for the Internet. MMTC raised more than $1 million from telecom companies at fundraising luncheons from 2011 to 2013.   read more
  • Minor League Baseball Players Sue Major League Baseball over Low Pay

    Friday, July 25, 2014
    The typical minor league player earns somewhere between $3,000 and $7,500 a season, which can include spring training and fall instructional leagues, the plaintiffs contend. Compare that to MLB salaries, which averaged $3.3 million last year, with a minimum annual wage of $500,000 in 2014. The big difference is that MLB players are unionized, while their minor league counterparts have been prevented by the league from bargaining collectively.   read more
  • Hedge Funds Accused of Screwing Americans out of Billions of Dollars in Taxes

    Wednesday, July 23, 2014
    The two banks “used the options to build special accounts for their hedge fund clients in their own names and claimed they owned the assets when it was, in fact, the hedge fund clients that exercised full control of the assets.” The structure of the basket options also allowed the hedge funds to borrow up to $17 for every dollar in an account rather than the 50 cents on the dollar that broker-dealers are restricted to according to limits that go back to the 1930s.   read more

Controversies

U.S. and the World

  • Thousands of U.S. Weapons Provided to Afghan Forces Are Unaccounted For

    Wednesday, July 30, 2014
    The U.S.’ decade-plus of fighting the Taliban in Afghanistan may have been hampered by allowing hundreds, perhaps thousands, of weapons to go missing and possibly fall into enemy hands. A new report said many of the 747,000 weapons given to the Afghan National Security Forces can’t be accounted for. “Weapons paid for by U.S. taxpayers could wind up in the hands of insurgents and be used to kill Americans and Afghan troops and civilians,” said SIGAR's John Sopko.   read more
  • European Union Court Slams Poland for Helping U.S. Torture Program

    Monday, July 28, 2014
    Poland’s actions in helping the George W. Bush administration torture terrorism suspects on its soil constituted a human rights violation, the European court ruled. It also was faulted for not looking into what happened to Abd al-Rahim al-Nashiri (implicated in the 2000 attack on the USS Cole) and Abu Zubaida (accused of facilitating militant training) while they were in CIA custody. Nashiri was subjected to a mock execution and had a drill put to his head at the black site.   read more
  • U.S. Wasted $34 Million Pushing Soybeans on Afghanistan

    Saturday, July 26, 2014
    The USDA decided it would be a good idea to spend $34 million on getting Afghan farmers to grow soybeans and for Afghan consumers to eat them. But the USDA struck out on both counts. The U.S. also paid about $1.5 million to build a soybean plan. When the crops failed, it paid to have 4,000 metric tons of soybeans flown in from the U.S at a cost of about $2 million. But no American expert could convince Afghans to incorporate soybeans into their diet.   read more

Appointments and Resignations

  • U.S. Ambassador to Honduras: Who Is James Nealon?

    Monday, July 28, 2014
    Nealon took a job as deputy chief of staff at the embassy in Peru in 2007. While in Peru, Nealon wrote a report, later released by WikiLeaks, expressing concern about “anti-system radicals” who might “lay the groundwork for a more systematic assault on the pro-growth model.” In December 2012, President Obama proposed Nealon as the ambassador to Bolivia, but, not surprisingly considering his comments, Nealon was rejected by the Bolivian government.   read more
  • U.S. Ambassador to South Korea: Who Is Mark Lippert?

    Sunday, July 27, 2014
    After Obama’s inauguration, Lippert was a deputy assistant to the president and then was named chief of staff for the National Security Council (NSC). Lippert left the NSC in 2010. If confirmed, Lippert will be the first political appointee to head the Seoul embassy; the job has previously been filled by career Foreign Service appointees. However, the South Korean government is reportedly eager to have an ambassador with such close ties to Obama.   read more
  • U.S. Ambassador to Egypt: Who Is Stephen Beecroft?

    Sunday, July 27, 2014
    In 2003, Beecroft was named special assistant to Deputy Secretary of State Richard Armitage, and the following year was special assistant to Secretary of State Colin Powell. Beecroft remained in the job when Condoleezza Rice took over the State Department. Beecroft served as ambassador to Jordan from July 17, 2008 to June 4, 2011. Beecroft was transferred to Baghdad, Iraq, on July 14, 2011.   read more