Featured Story

Supreme Court Fails to Halt “Discriminatory” Texas Voter ID Law

Sunday, May 01, 2016
The Supreme Court on Friday rejected an emergency appeal to stop Texas from enforcing its challenged voter ID law. But the court said it could revisit the issue as the November elections approach. The law has been in effect for recent elections, even after a trial judge struck it down in 2014 and an appellate panel found last year that the law had a discriminatory effect on minority voters.   read more
Latest News

Top Stories

  • No Criminal Punishment for U.S. Military Personnel in Afghan Hospital Bombing

    Saturday, April 30, 2016
    A U.S. aerial gunship attack on a hospital in Afghanistan that killed 42 people occurred because of human errors, process mistakes and equipment failures, and none of the aircrew or U.S. ground troops knew the target was a hospital, a top U.S. general said Friday. Sixteen military members have been disciplined for their roles in the tragedy, Gen. Joseph Votel said. None face criminal charges.   read more
  • Obama Will Ban Questions on Criminal History for Some Government Jobs

    Saturday, April 30, 2016
    While checks of criminal histories have become routine in the public and private sectors, a regulation being proposed by the Obama administration would remove a barrier that discourages many freed prisoners from applying for jobs. The rule would prevent supervisors interviewing applicants for about half of all federal positions from asking about a job seeker’s criminal or credit history until a conditional offer is made.   read more
  • Invasion of the Hedge Funders: 6 Men Gave $10 Million to Presidential Super PACs in One Month

    Friday, April 29, 2016
    Wall Street dominates political giving. But it’s these donors, a much smaller subset of the securities sector, who play with the biggest money. The fact that hedge fund money continued to flood the presidential race after one of the donors’ favorite candidates — Rubio — dropped out would be surprising were it not for the anti-Donald Trump movement. For this group, there’s still work to be done with their money — namely, beating back Trump’s ascension to the Republican nomination.   read more

Unusual News

  • Guided Missiles Missing from Guided Missile Containers Found Floating in Pacific Ocean

    Monday, April 25, 2016
    Clinton Cook Sr. tells Anchorage television KTUU he was on a boat that found one of the heavy, hard plastic containers. They were going to pass it, but noticed the unusual shape, about 8-feet by 2-feet. Troopers say an explosives ordinance team helped determine the boxes were "void of their original contents."   read more
  • FBI Approves of their Agents Killing Suspect, But Not of Shooting His Car Tire

    Saturday, April 23, 2016
    The FBI took the unusual step of deeming part of that case a “bad shoot” in agents’ parlance. But the two agents who killed Harrison were not faulted. Instead, only the agent who shot the tire was blamed, recommending that the agent be suspended for a day without pay. The reason was that lethal force force policy forbids firing a gun to disable a vehicle. But the same policy permits firing a gun to protect people from danger, which they applied to Harrison's killing.   read more
  • Meet the Women Whose Faces Will Grace Your Currency

    Friday, April 22, 2016
    Isabella Baumfree, a slave born in 1797, changed her name to Sojourner Truth after she walked off an upstate farm in 1826 with her infant daughter. She became a Christian preacher and grew increasingly political in pressing for abolition, women’s suffrage and prison reform. She delivered her most famous address, “Ain’t I a Woman,” in 1851 in Ohio, where she said: “I could work as much and eat as much as a man — when I could get it — and bear the lash as well. And ain’t I a woman?”   read more

Where is the Money Going?

  • Debt Collectors’ Dream: Nebraska makes it Easy to Go after Poor for Unpaid Medical Debts

    Friday, April 29, 2016
    Suing someone in Nebraska is cheaper and easier. The cost to file a lawsuit in that state is $45. About 79,000 debt collection lawsuits were filed in Nebraska courts in 2013 alone. Suing became an irresistible bargain for debt collectors. It’s a deal collectors have fought to keep, opposing even the slightest increase. For debtors, unaffordable debts turn into unaffordable garnishments, destroying already tight budgets and sending them into a loop.   read more
  • Loophole in Enforcement of “Living Wage” Laws: State Governments Kept in Dark on Compliance

    Wednesday, April 27, 2016
    Evidence of compliance is plain to see on most pay stubs, but state and federal laws don't require employers to routinely provide this crucial detail to the government. Without this data, wage enforcers who are empowered to investigate generally wait until a worker complains. And many workers — especially those in precarious situations — fear they'll be fired if they speak up. "It's pretty shocking how common the violations are," said Donna Levitt, a labor enforcement director in San Francisco.   read more
  • Health Law Seen as Reducing Medical Debt of Low-Income Americans

    Monday, April 25, 2016
    One in five Americans still struggle to pay a medical bill, even after the health law. But studies show the number has declined as insurance coverage has expanded. Also, the lower debt burden for the newly insured indirectly helps others. Insurance coverage means more bills are paid to doctors and hospitals — but also to banks, utilities and landlords. That receives less attention than the health law’s more obvious effects on access to health care. But they're an important effect of the law.   read more

Controversies

  • Fake News Story May Have Broken Rules, FBI Report Says

    Saturday, April 30, 2016
    Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) officials say there’s no clear evidence the agency violated its own rules when it posed as The Associated Press to unmask a criminal, according to a report obtained through a public records lawsuit. However, the internal FBI report being made public by the AP and the Reporters Committee for Freedom of the Press says “an argument can be made” that field agents bucked protocol by not informing senior brass in Washington of the 2007 operation.   read more
  • Armed Services Committee Votes to Require Women to Register for the Draft

    Saturday, April 30, 2016
    Women would be required to register for the military draft under a House committee’s bill that comes just months after the Defense Department lifted all gender-based restrictions on front-line combat units. A divided Armed Services Committee backed the provision in a sweeping defense policy bill that the full House will consider next month, touching off a provocative debate about the role of women in the military.   read more
  • Native Americans’ Access to Health Care Difficult to Measure

    Saturday, April 30, 2016
    Long wait times are a known problem at hospitals and health centers run by the Indian Health Service, particularly in rural areas where unemployment and poverty levels are high, the U.S. Government Accountability Office said Thursday. New patients waited up to four months to see a physician at a facility on the Navajo Nation and up to a month for a routine vision check at a clinic in the Billings, Montana, region, staff told federal investigators.   read more

U.S. and the World

  • Lawsuit Seeks Release of CIA Documents on U.S. Soldiers’ Exposure to Iraqi Chemical Weapons Made with U.S. Help

    Friday, April 29, 2016
    Now that the U.S. government has acknowledged that Western-built chemical weapons sickened U.S. soldiers in Iraq, The New York Times says the CIA can no longer deny access to records about it. The Pentagon acknowledged that more than 600 U.S. soldiers had been exposed to sarin in Iraq. The CDC links the chemicals to burns, blisters, infertility, eye damage, scarring of the respiratory system, and cancer risk. The military denied medical care to soldiers who were wounded by these weapons.   read more
  • Decades of Increased Enforcement at U.S.-Mexico Border has Backfired, Preventing Immigrants from Returning Home

    Friday, April 29, 2016
    The rapid escalation of border enforcement over the past three decades has backfired as a strategy to control undocumented immigration between Mexico and the U.S., according to new research that suggests further militarization of the border is a waste of money. "Rather than stopping undocumented Mexicans from coming to the U.S., greater enforcement stopped them from going home," said one of the researchers. "Greater enforcement also increased the risk of death and injury during border crossing."   read more
  • Innocent Canadian Charged as Terrorist Blames U.S. for Forcing Canada to Increase Terrorism Prosecutions

    Wednesday, April 27, 2016
    De Jaray says she was "collateral damage" in Canada's attempt to curry favor with the U.S. "Canada began targeting its own citizens in order to create the perception that Canada was 'tough on crime' and, in particular, terrorism, to win favor with the United States and secure contracts for military goods and services," the complaint states. "Ms. De Jaray lost her home, her business, her savings, her health... Ms. de Jaray's life was destroyed...without evidence and without reason."   read more

Appointments and Resignations

  • Ambassador to Slovakia: Who Is Adam Sterling?

    Sunday, March 27, 2016
    Before joining the State Dept in 1990, Sterling worked in New York City as a liaison officer in the mayor’s office to the U.N. and consular corps. His first Foreign Service posting was in Peru. In 1993, Sterling was sent to Belgium, but returned to the U.S. in 1995 to be a desk officer for Central Asian affairs, a region he would focus on through much of his career. Sterling was assigned in 1998 as a political officer in Kazakhstan, then in 2001 took a similar post in Tel Aviv, Israel.   read more
  • Djibouti’s Ambassador to the United States: Who Is Mohamed Siad Doualeh?

    Tuesday, March 22, 2016
    Before joining the Foreign Ministry, he was a journalist at the newspaper La Nation in Djibouti. Doualeh was made ambassador to Switzerland, the World Trade Organization and the United Nations agencies based in Geneva in 2006, posts he held until coming to Washington. A music enthusiast, Doualeh is a founding member of the cultural association ADAC, longtime organizer of "The Fest'horn," the largest music festival dedicated to peace in the Horn of Africa.   read more
  • Mexico’s Ambassador to the United States: Who Is Miguel Basáñez Ebergenyi?

    Monday, March 21, 2016
    In 2005, Basáñez became chief pollster and advisor to state of Mexico then-governor del Mazo. More recently, Basáñez has been professor of values, culture and development at the Fletcher School of Diplomacy. When Basáñez was appointed ambassador, it created some controversy among some who pointed out he had no diplomatic experience and that it was his close association with del Mazo, a cousin of Mexican President Enrique Peña Nieto, that accounted for his appointment.   read more

Featured Story

Supreme Court Fails to Halt “Discriminatory” Texas Voter ID Law

Sunday, May 01, 2016
The Supreme Court on Friday rejected an emergency appeal to stop Texas from enforcing its challenged voter ID law. But the court said it could revisit the issue as the November elections approach. The law has been in effect for recent elections, even after a trial judge struck it down in 2014 and an appellate panel found last year that the law had a discriminatory effect on minority voters.   read more
Latest News

Top Stories

  • No Criminal Punishment for U.S. Military Personnel in Afghan Hospital Bombing

    Saturday, April 30, 2016
    A U.S. aerial gunship attack on a hospital in Afghanistan that killed 42 people occurred because of human errors, process mistakes and equipment failures, and none of the aircrew or U.S. ground troops knew the target was a hospital, a top U.S. general said Friday. Sixteen military members have been disciplined for their roles in the tragedy, Gen. Joseph Votel said. None face criminal charges.   read more
  • Obama Will Ban Questions on Criminal History for Some Government Jobs

    Saturday, April 30, 2016
    While checks of criminal histories have become routine in the public and private sectors, a regulation being proposed by the Obama administration would remove a barrier that discourages many freed prisoners from applying for jobs. The rule would prevent supervisors interviewing applicants for about half of all federal positions from asking about a job seeker’s criminal or credit history until a conditional offer is made.   read more
  • Invasion of the Hedge Funders: 6 Men Gave $10 Million to Presidential Super PACs in One Month

    Friday, April 29, 2016
    Wall Street dominates political giving. But it’s these donors, a much smaller subset of the securities sector, who play with the biggest money. The fact that hedge fund money continued to flood the presidential race after one of the donors’ favorite candidates — Rubio — dropped out would be surprising were it not for the anti-Donald Trump movement. For this group, there’s still work to be done with their money — namely, beating back Trump’s ascension to the Republican nomination.   read more

Unusual News

  • Guided Missiles Missing from Guided Missile Containers Found Floating in Pacific Ocean

    Monday, April 25, 2016
    Clinton Cook Sr. tells Anchorage television KTUU he was on a boat that found one of the heavy, hard plastic containers. They were going to pass it, but noticed the unusual shape, about 8-feet by 2-feet. Troopers say an explosives ordinance team helped determine the boxes were "void of their original contents."   read more
  • FBI Approves of their Agents Killing Suspect, But Not of Shooting His Car Tire

    Saturday, April 23, 2016
    The FBI took the unusual step of deeming part of that case a “bad shoot” in agents’ parlance. But the two agents who killed Harrison were not faulted. Instead, only the agent who shot the tire was blamed, recommending that the agent be suspended for a day without pay. The reason was that lethal force force policy forbids firing a gun to disable a vehicle. But the same policy permits firing a gun to protect people from danger, which they applied to Harrison's killing.   read more
  • Meet the Women Whose Faces Will Grace Your Currency

    Friday, April 22, 2016
    Isabella Baumfree, a slave born in 1797, changed her name to Sojourner Truth after she walked off an upstate farm in 1826 with her infant daughter. She became a Christian preacher and grew increasingly political in pressing for abolition, women’s suffrage and prison reform. She delivered her most famous address, “Ain’t I a Woman,” in 1851 in Ohio, where she said: “I could work as much and eat as much as a man — when I could get it — and bear the lash as well. And ain’t I a woman?”   read more

Where is the Money Going?

  • Debt Collectors’ Dream: Nebraska makes it Easy to Go after Poor for Unpaid Medical Debts

    Friday, April 29, 2016
    Suing someone in Nebraska is cheaper and easier. The cost to file a lawsuit in that state is $45. About 79,000 debt collection lawsuits were filed in Nebraska courts in 2013 alone. Suing became an irresistible bargain for debt collectors. It’s a deal collectors have fought to keep, opposing even the slightest increase. For debtors, unaffordable debts turn into unaffordable garnishments, destroying already tight budgets and sending them into a loop.   read more
  • Loophole in Enforcement of “Living Wage” Laws: State Governments Kept in Dark on Compliance

    Wednesday, April 27, 2016
    Evidence of compliance is plain to see on most pay stubs, but state and federal laws don't require employers to routinely provide this crucial detail to the government. Without this data, wage enforcers who are empowered to investigate generally wait until a worker complains. And many workers — especially those in precarious situations — fear they'll be fired if they speak up. "It's pretty shocking how common the violations are," said Donna Levitt, a labor enforcement director in San Francisco.   read more
  • Health Law Seen as Reducing Medical Debt of Low-Income Americans

    Monday, April 25, 2016
    One in five Americans still struggle to pay a medical bill, even after the health law. But studies show the number has declined as insurance coverage has expanded. Also, the lower debt burden for the newly insured indirectly helps others. Insurance coverage means more bills are paid to doctors and hospitals — but also to banks, utilities and landlords. That receives less attention than the health law’s more obvious effects on access to health care. But they're an important effect of the law.   read more

Controversies

  • Fake News Story May Have Broken Rules, FBI Report Says

    Saturday, April 30, 2016
    Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) officials say there’s no clear evidence the agency violated its own rules when it posed as The Associated Press to unmask a criminal, according to a report obtained through a public records lawsuit. However, the internal FBI report being made public by the AP and the Reporters Committee for Freedom of the Press says “an argument can be made” that field agents bucked protocol by not informing senior brass in Washington of the 2007 operation.   read more
  • Armed Services Committee Votes to Require Women to Register for the Draft

    Saturday, April 30, 2016
    Women would be required to register for the military draft under a House committee’s bill that comes just months after the Defense Department lifted all gender-based restrictions on front-line combat units. A divided Armed Services Committee backed the provision in a sweeping defense policy bill that the full House will consider next month, touching off a provocative debate about the role of women in the military.   read more
  • Native Americans’ Access to Health Care Difficult to Measure

    Saturday, April 30, 2016
    Long wait times are a known problem at hospitals and health centers run by the Indian Health Service, particularly in rural areas where unemployment and poverty levels are high, the U.S. Government Accountability Office said Thursday. New patients waited up to four months to see a physician at a facility on the Navajo Nation and up to a month for a routine vision check at a clinic in the Billings, Montana, region, staff told federal investigators.   read more

U.S. and the World

  • Lawsuit Seeks Release of CIA Documents on U.S. Soldiers’ Exposure to Iraqi Chemical Weapons Made with U.S. Help

    Friday, April 29, 2016
    Now that the U.S. government has acknowledged that Western-built chemical weapons sickened U.S. soldiers in Iraq, The New York Times says the CIA can no longer deny access to records about it. The Pentagon acknowledged that more than 600 U.S. soldiers had been exposed to sarin in Iraq. The CDC links the chemicals to burns, blisters, infertility, eye damage, scarring of the respiratory system, and cancer risk. The military denied medical care to soldiers who were wounded by these weapons.   read more
  • Decades of Increased Enforcement at U.S.-Mexico Border has Backfired, Preventing Immigrants from Returning Home

    Friday, April 29, 2016
    The rapid escalation of border enforcement over the past three decades has backfired as a strategy to control undocumented immigration between Mexico and the U.S., according to new research that suggests further militarization of the border is a waste of money. "Rather than stopping undocumented Mexicans from coming to the U.S., greater enforcement stopped them from going home," said one of the researchers. "Greater enforcement also increased the risk of death and injury during border crossing."   read more
  • Innocent Canadian Charged as Terrorist Blames U.S. for Forcing Canada to Increase Terrorism Prosecutions

    Wednesday, April 27, 2016
    De Jaray says she was "collateral damage" in Canada's attempt to curry favor with the U.S. "Canada began targeting its own citizens in order to create the perception that Canada was 'tough on crime' and, in particular, terrorism, to win favor with the United States and secure contracts for military goods and services," the complaint states. "Ms. De Jaray lost her home, her business, her savings, her health... Ms. de Jaray's life was destroyed...without evidence and without reason."   read more

Appointments and Resignations

  • Ambassador to Slovakia: Who Is Adam Sterling?

    Sunday, March 27, 2016
    Before joining the State Dept in 1990, Sterling worked in New York City as a liaison officer in the mayor’s office to the U.N. and consular corps. His first Foreign Service posting was in Peru. In 1993, Sterling was sent to Belgium, but returned to the U.S. in 1995 to be a desk officer for Central Asian affairs, a region he would focus on through much of his career. Sterling was assigned in 1998 as a political officer in Kazakhstan, then in 2001 took a similar post in Tel Aviv, Israel.   read more
  • Djibouti’s Ambassador to the United States: Who Is Mohamed Siad Doualeh?

    Tuesday, March 22, 2016
    Before joining the Foreign Ministry, he was a journalist at the newspaper La Nation in Djibouti. Doualeh was made ambassador to Switzerland, the World Trade Organization and the United Nations agencies based in Geneva in 2006, posts he held until coming to Washington. A music enthusiast, Doualeh is a founding member of the cultural association ADAC, longtime organizer of "The Fest'horn," the largest music festival dedicated to peace in the Horn of Africa.   read more
  • Mexico’s Ambassador to the United States: Who Is Miguel Basáñez Ebergenyi?

    Monday, March 21, 2016
    In 2005, Basáñez became chief pollster and advisor to state of Mexico then-governor del Mazo. More recently, Basáñez has been professor of values, culture and development at the Fletcher School of Diplomacy. When Basáñez was appointed ambassador, it created some controversy among some who pointed out he had no diplomatic experience and that it was his close association with del Mazo, a cousin of Mexican President Enrique Peña Nieto, that accounted for his appointment.   read more