Featured Story

4 Words that could Raise Health Care Costs for 7.5 Million Americans

Wednesday, May 27, 2015
It took 900 pages to create Obamacare as law, but it may take only four words of that bill to cost millions of Americans their healthcare subsidies and raise their health costs. Those four words opened the door to this legal challenge to Obamacare, but it seems to be something of a mystery as to how they got into the law in the first place. Former Sen. Jeff Bingaman said the words appeared to be a “drafting error,” while Sen. Olympia Snowe called it "inadvertent language."   read more
Latest News

Top Stories

  • Judge Who Blocked Release of Osama bin Laden Death Photos Now Blocks Release of Senate Torture Report

    Tuesday, May 26, 2015
    Boasberg, who was appointed by President Barack Obama, appears to be the go-to judge if you don’t want something released to the public. Judicial Watch filed an FOIA request in 2011 to force the release of images of Osama Bin Laden’s death and burial, but Boasberg ruled against the group. In his latest ruling, Boasberg said letters sent to the CIA by Senator Dianne Feinstein (D-California), the former Senate intelligence chairman, revealed Congress has not relinquished control over the report   read more
  • Republican State Governments Increasingly Overruling Laws Passed by City and County Governments

    Monday, May 25, 2015
    Texas Gov. Greg Abbott (R) on May 18 signed a bill that would preempt municipalities’ right to regulate fracking within their borders. Other states’ Republican-controlled legislatures have seemed just as eager to comply with the wishes of their corporate donors: Missouri’s legislature passed a law banning local ordinances that outlaw plastic grocery bags. Forty-five states have, at the behest of the National Rifle Association, preempted local ordinances governing gun safety.   read more
  • Four Banks Guilty of Currency Manipulation but, as Usual, No One’s Going to Jail

    Friday, May 22, 2015
    “For more than five years, traders in ‘The Cartel’ used a private electronic chat room to manipulate the spot market’s exchange rate between euros and dollars using coded language to conceal their collusion,” said Attorney General Lynch. In one conversation, a Barclays employee said: “If you ain’t cheating, you ain’t trying.” Lynch said the currency manipulation “inflated the banks’ profits while harming countless consumers, investors and institutions...including the banks’ own customers.”   read more

Unusual News

  • University Students from 37 Nations Rank George W. Bush less Popular than Josef Stalin and Genghis Khan, but more Popular than Saddam Hussein and Osama bin Laden

    Sunday, May 24, 2015
    Out of 40 names given to the 6,902 university students in 37 countries who participated of the study, Bush ranked 37th, ahead of only Saddam Hussein, Osama bin Laden and Adolf Hitler. Josef Stalin, who was responsible for up to 50 million deaths, was ranked 36th. The most popular people on the list were an interesting mix of those of reason and faith. Leading the list was Albert Einstein, followed by Mother Teresa, Mahatma Gandhi, Martin Luther King Jr. and Isaac Newton.   read more
  • Capitol Police Ordered to Get More Training after Leaving Guns in Public Restrooms

    Saturday, May 23, 2015
    In March, a child found a gun belonging to a member of House Speaker John Boehner’s police detail in a bathroom at the Capitol. Another gun, this one belonging to a member of Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell’s detail, was discovered by a worker in a bathroom at the Congressional Visitors’ Center. So now, officers will be required to take an online class in the proper protocol for handling weapons in situations such as when nature calls.   read more
  • Tall Men Make more Money…but only up to 6 Feet

    Wednesday, May 20, 2015
    About to ask for a raise? You might have more luck if you do it wearing a pair of elevator shoes. A study published in the Journal of Human Capital showed a difference in height among men, even just four or five inches, can result in higher earnings ranging from 9% to 15%, according to Joe Pinsker at The Atlantic. Pinsker also reported that another source indicated “an extra inch is worth almost $800 a year in elevated earnings.”   read more

Where is the Money Going?

  • House Passes Bill Giving Corporations Property Rights to Mining on Asteroids

    Tuesday, May 26, 2015
    The legislation would also ensure that these companies can mine and drill asteroids “without harmful interference,” and requires the White House “to facilitate commercial development." Should the bill become law, it could ensure a potential goldmine for corporations with the means to extract minerals from those giant flying boulders. Platinum-group metals, for example, are so highly concentrated on asteroids that some may contain more of them “than have ever been mined in human history.”   read more
  • Women over 50 most Common Victims of Online Romance Scams

    Sunday, May 24, 2015
    Online scammers know their target audience. And when they’re making a pitch based on romance, women older than 50 are their most frequent victims, according to statistics from the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI). In 2014, 2,163 women 50 and over reported losing about $51 million to online romance crooks, an average of more than $23,500 each.   read more
  • Millions Donated to Cancer Charities Paid for Online Dating, Caribbean Cruises, Hooters Meals and Victoria’s Secret Shopping

    Friday, May 22, 2015
    The FTC and attorneys general from all 50 states have accused the managers of four related cancer charities of spending millions of dollars in donations on themselves instead of helping cancer patients. Only 3% of the monies raised by the four charities went to help patients. The FTC and AGs have described the charitable operations as “sham charities” that “operated as personal fiefdoms characterized by rampant nepotism, flagrant conflicts of interest, and excessive insider compensation.”   read more

Controversies

  • Holder Deadline for Prosecuting Wall Street Executives for Financial Crisis Passes without a Single Charge

    Tuesday, May 26, 2015
    Holder had six years to build cases against key people at banks like Citigroup and JP Morgan Chase. But the only charges filed have been against those at small and medium sized banks. "It is not for lack of trying,” said Holder. But former U.S. Asst. Attorney General Gurulé countered: “Nonsense. Charges for white-collar crimes are filed every single day by U.S. attorneys. Just because they’re more difficult with banks is not a legitimate excuse for bringing zero charges against individuals.”   read more
  • CIA Ends Information Sharing with Climate Scientists

    Tuesday, May 26, 2015
    Under the MEDEA program, about 60 scientists had security clearances to receive classified climate data gathered by Navy submarines and spy satellites. Scientist Marc Levy says the CIA’s closing of MEDEA is a step in the wrong direction. “The climate problems are getting worse in a way that our data systems are not equipped to handle,” he said. “There's a growing gap between what we can currently get our hands on, and what we need to respond better." The CIA didn’t state why it shuttered MEDEA.   read more
  • 75% of U.S. Schools Use Surveillance Cameras; 70% Perform Campus Shooting Drills

    Tuesday, May 26, 2015
    From Columbine to Sandy Hook, the many high-profile incidents of violence in U.S. public schools have changed the face of many of these educational institutions. More than ever, schools have become places watched by surveillance cameras, and where children practice what to do in the event a gunman appears on campus. However, some "active shooter" simulations have been so realistic that they have produced severe emotional trauma in the participants.   read more

U.S. and the World

  • Is Prosecution or Rehabilitation the Better Response to Home-Grown Terrorist Recruits?

    Saturday, May 23, 2015
    The prosecutor in the case, U.S. Attorney Andrew Luger, had previously opposed rehabilitation over prison for another Somali-American, Abdullahi Yusuf, who also wanted to join IS. Luger appears to have had a change of heart however, and hopes to fight the recruitment of young people by IS with programs such as mentoring and job counseling. The federal government estimates that between 150 and 180 Americans have tried to leave the country and join up with groups fighting in Syria.   read more
  • Release of Warren Report on U.S. Labor Protection Failures Aims to Counter Obama Fast Track Authority for TPP Passage

    Friday, May 22, 2015
    Warren claims the GAO, along with the Labor and State departments, have documented “significant and persistent problems with labor abuses in countries with which we have FTAs.” However, the report notes that the U.S. seldom tries to enforce fair labor provisions. Warren has also objected to the lack of transparency about the exact provisions of the TPP: “We’re being asked to grease the skids for a deal that’s basically done but is being held in secret until after this vote."   read more
  • Obama Promises U.S. Military will Defend Rich Arab Dictatorships

    Monday, May 18, 2015
    High officials from six Persian Gulf countries got assurances from President Barack Obama that the United States would respond, perhaps with military force, to an “external threat” to any of the countries. Amnesty International has cataloged human rights abuses in each of those countries.   read more

Appointments and Resignations

  • Thailand’s Ambassador to the United States: Who Is Pisan Manawapat?

    Monday, May 25, 2015
    In 2011 Pisan was named ambassador to India, serving there for two years. He then took over the Thai embassy in Canada. Since taking over in Washington, Pisan has spent much of his time attempting to improve relations between his country and the United States in the wake of a May 2014 coup, after which the Thai government tightened restrictions of freedom of expression in their country.   read more
  • Acting Administrator of the Drug Enforcement Administration: Who Is Chuck Rosenberg?

    Sunday, May 24, 2015
    Beginning in 2007, he served as chief of staff to Attorney General Alberto Gonzales. Rosenberg left again for the private sector in 2008, defending white-collar criminals as a partner at Hogan Lovells. Rosenberg returned in 2013 to work for James Comey again, this time as chief of staff and counselor to the FBI director. Unlike his predecessor, as leader of the DEA, Rosenberg is expected to focus more on heroin and harder drugs and less on enforcement of marijuana laws.   read more
  • Director of the Minority Business Development Agency: Who Is Alejandra Castillo?

    Sunday, May 24, 2015
    Castillo joined the Commerce Department in 2008 as special advisor to Christopher Padilla, the under secretary for the U. S. Department of Commerce’s International Trade Administration. In 2010, Castillo was named national deputy director of Minority Business Development Agency, and was moved up to the directorship in 2014.   read more

Featured Story

4 Words that could Raise Health Care Costs for 7.5 Million Americans

Wednesday, May 27, 2015
It took 900 pages to create Obamacare as law, but it may take only four words of that bill to cost millions of Americans their healthcare subsidies and raise their health costs. Those four words opened the door to this legal challenge to Obamacare, but it seems to be something of a mystery as to how they got into the law in the first place. Former Sen. Jeff Bingaman said the words appeared to be a “drafting error,” while Sen. Olympia Snowe called it "inadvertent language."   read more
Latest News

Top Stories

  • Judge Who Blocked Release of Osama bin Laden Death Photos Now Blocks Release of Senate Torture Report

    Tuesday, May 26, 2015
    Boasberg, who was appointed by President Barack Obama, appears to be the go-to judge if you don’t want something released to the public. Judicial Watch filed an FOIA request in 2011 to force the release of images of Osama Bin Laden’s death and burial, but Boasberg ruled against the group. In his latest ruling, Boasberg said letters sent to the CIA by Senator Dianne Feinstein (D-California), the former Senate intelligence chairman, revealed Congress has not relinquished control over the report   read more
  • Republican State Governments Increasingly Overruling Laws Passed by City and County Governments

    Monday, May 25, 2015
    Texas Gov. Greg Abbott (R) on May 18 signed a bill that would preempt municipalities’ right to regulate fracking within their borders. Other states’ Republican-controlled legislatures have seemed just as eager to comply with the wishes of their corporate donors: Missouri’s legislature passed a law banning local ordinances that outlaw plastic grocery bags. Forty-five states have, at the behest of the National Rifle Association, preempted local ordinances governing gun safety.   read more
  • Four Banks Guilty of Currency Manipulation but, as Usual, No One’s Going to Jail

    Friday, May 22, 2015
    “For more than five years, traders in ‘The Cartel’ used a private electronic chat room to manipulate the spot market’s exchange rate between euros and dollars using coded language to conceal their collusion,” said Attorney General Lynch. In one conversation, a Barclays employee said: “If you ain’t cheating, you ain’t trying.” Lynch said the currency manipulation “inflated the banks’ profits while harming countless consumers, investors and institutions...including the banks’ own customers.”   read more

Unusual News

  • University Students from 37 Nations Rank George W. Bush less Popular than Josef Stalin and Genghis Khan, but more Popular than Saddam Hussein and Osama bin Laden

    Sunday, May 24, 2015
    Out of 40 names given to the 6,902 university students in 37 countries who participated of the study, Bush ranked 37th, ahead of only Saddam Hussein, Osama bin Laden and Adolf Hitler. Josef Stalin, who was responsible for up to 50 million deaths, was ranked 36th. The most popular people on the list were an interesting mix of those of reason and faith. Leading the list was Albert Einstein, followed by Mother Teresa, Mahatma Gandhi, Martin Luther King Jr. and Isaac Newton.   read more
  • Capitol Police Ordered to Get More Training after Leaving Guns in Public Restrooms

    Saturday, May 23, 2015
    In March, a child found a gun belonging to a member of House Speaker John Boehner’s police detail in a bathroom at the Capitol. Another gun, this one belonging to a member of Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell’s detail, was discovered by a worker in a bathroom at the Congressional Visitors’ Center. So now, officers will be required to take an online class in the proper protocol for handling weapons in situations such as when nature calls.   read more
  • Tall Men Make more Money…but only up to 6 Feet

    Wednesday, May 20, 2015
    About to ask for a raise? You might have more luck if you do it wearing a pair of elevator shoes. A study published in the Journal of Human Capital showed a difference in height among men, even just four or five inches, can result in higher earnings ranging from 9% to 15%, according to Joe Pinsker at The Atlantic. Pinsker also reported that another source indicated “an extra inch is worth almost $800 a year in elevated earnings.”   read more

Where is the Money Going?

  • House Passes Bill Giving Corporations Property Rights to Mining on Asteroids

    Tuesday, May 26, 2015
    The legislation would also ensure that these companies can mine and drill asteroids “without harmful interference,” and requires the White House “to facilitate commercial development." Should the bill become law, it could ensure a potential goldmine for corporations with the means to extract minerals from those giant flying boulders. Platinum-group metals, for example, are so highly concentrated on asteroids that some may contain more of them “than have ever been mined in human history.”   read more
  • Women over 50 most Common Victims of Online Romance Scams

    Sunday, May 24, 2015
    Online scammers know their target audience. And when they’re making a pitch based on romance, women older than 50 are their most frequent victims, according to statistics from the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI). In 2014, 2,163 women 50 and over reported losing about $51 million to online romance crooks, an average of more than $23,500 each.   read more
  • Millions Donated to Cancer Charities Paid for Online Dating, Caribbean Cruises, Hooters Meals and Victoria’s Secret Shopping

    Friday, May 22, 2015
    The FTC and attorneys general from all 50 states have accused the managers of four related cancer charities of spending millions of dollars in donations on themselves instead of helping cancer patients. Only 3% of the monies raised by the four charities went to help patients. The FTC and AGs have described the charitable operations as “sham charities” that “operated as personal fiefdoms characterized by rampant nepotism, flagrant conflicts of interest, and excessive insider compensation.”   read more

Controversies

  • Holder Deadline for Prosecuting Wall Street Executives for Financial Crisis Passes without a Single Charge

    Tuesday, May 26, 2015
    Holder had six years to build cases against key people at banks like Citigroup and JP Morgan Chase. But the only charges filed have been against those at small and medium sized banks. "It is not for lack of trying,” said Holder. But former U.S. Asst. Attorney General Gurulé countered: “Nonsense. Charges for white-collar crimes are filed every single day by U.S. attorneys. Just because they’re more difficult with banks is not a legitimate excuse for bringing zero charges against individuals.”   read more
  • CIA Ends Information Sharing with Climate Scientists

    Tuesday, May 26, 2015
    Under the MEDEA program, about 60 scientists had security clearances to receive classified climate data gathered by Navy submarines and spy satellites. Scientist Marc Levy says the CIA’s closing of MEDEA is a step in the wrong direction. “The climate problems are getting worse in a way that our data systems are not equipped to handle,” he said. “There's a growing gap between what we can currently get our hands on, and what we need to respond better." The CIA didn’t state why it shuttered MEDEA.   read more
  • 75% of U.S. Schools Use Surveillance Cameras; 70% Perform Campus Shooting Drills

    Tuesday, May 26, 2015
    From Columbine to Sandy Hook, the many high-profile incidents of violence in U.S. public schools have changed the face of many of these educational institutions. More than ever, schools have become places watched by surveillance cameras, and where children practice what to do in the event a gunman appears on campus. However, some "active shooter" simulations have been so realistic that they have produced severe emotional trauma in the participants.   read more

U.S. and the World

  • Is Prosecution or Rehabilitation the Better Response to Home-Grown Terrorist Recruits?

    Saturday, May 23, 2015
    The prosecutor in the case, U.S. Attorney Andrew Luger, had previously opposed rehabilitation over prison for another Somali-American, Abdullahi Yusuf, who also wanted to join IS. Luger appears to have had a change of heart however, and hopes to fight the recruitment of young people by IS with programs such as mentoring and job counseling. The federal government estimates that between 150 and 180 Americans have tried to leave the country and join up with groups fighting in Syria.   read more
  • Release of Warren Report on U.S. Labor Protection Failures Aims to Counter Obama Fast Track Authority for TPP Passage

    Friday, May 22, 2015
    Warren claims the GAO, along with the Labor and State departments, have documented “significant and persistent problems with labor abuses in countries with which we have FTAs.” However, the report notes that the U.S. seldom tries to enforce fair labor provisions. Warren has also objected to the lack of transparency about the exact provisions of the TPP: “We’re being asked to grease the skids for a deal that’s basically done but is being held in secret until after this vote."   read more
  • Obama Promises U.S. Military will Defend Rich Arab Dictatorships

    Monday, May 18, 2015
    High officials from six Persian Gulf countries got assurances from President Barack Obama that the United States would respond, perhaps with military force, to an “external threat” to any of the countries. Amnesty International has cataloged human rights abuses in each of those countries.   read more

Appointments and Resignations

  • Thailand’s Ambassador to the United States: Who Is Pisan Manawapat?

    Monday, May 25, 2015
    In 2011 Pisan was named ambassador to India, serving there for two years. He then took over the Thai embassy in Canada. Since taking over in Washington, Pisan has spent much of his time attempting to improve relations between his country and the United States in the wake of a May 2014 coup, after which the Thai government tightened restrictions of freedom of expression in their country.   read more
  • Acting Administrator of the Drug Enforcement Administration: Who Is Chuck Rosenberg?

    Sunday, May 24, 2015
    Beginning in 2007, he served as chief of staff to Attorney General Alberto Gonzales. Rosenberg left again for the private sector in 2008, defending white-collar criminals as a partner at Hogan Lovells. Rosenberg returned in 2013 to work for James Comey again, this time as chief of staff and counselor to the FBI director. Unlike his predecessor, as leader of the DEA, Rosenberg is expected to focus more on heroin and harder drugs and less on enforcement of marijuana laws.   read more
  • Director of the Minority Business Development Agency: Who Is Alejandra Castillo?

    Sunday, May 24, 2015
    Castillo joined the Commerce Department in 2008 as special advisor to Christopher Padilla, the under secretary for the U. S. Department of Commerce’s International Trade Administration. In 2010, Castillo was named national deputy director of Minority Business Development Agency, and was moved up to the directorship in 2014.   read more