Featured Story

Mentally Ill Shot to Death in U.S. in 2015: 124 and Counting

Thursday, July 02, 2015
In most cases, officers responded to calls from relatives or neighbors who said a mentally fragile person was behaving erratically. Many of those who were armed didn’t have firearms, but toy guns or implements that are less lethal than a gun. Also, more than 50% were killed by officers lacking in training for dealing with the mentally ill. “And in many cases, officers responded with tactics that quickly made a volatile situation even more dangerous,” said the Post.   read more
Latest News

Top Stories

  • 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
  • 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

Unusual News

  • Oregonians Can Now Legally Smoke Marijuana…but they can’t Buy it or Sell it

    Wednesday, July 01, 2015
    For now, Oregon pot smokers will have to grow their own—they’re allowed to have four plants each—or rely on the kindness of others to give them some. Another option is to drive into neighboring Washington, but bringing marijuana across state lines is a federal crime. Last night, Portland’s NORML planned to give away marijuana to celebrate--“Where adults will be allowed to give it away rather than allowing the black market to thrive on our new legality,” said NORML's Russ Belville.   read more
  • Police Can Arrest You for Calling them Names, but They’ll Lose in Court

    Wednesday, July 01, 2015
    Calling a police officer unflattering names might not be polite but it is protected by the Constitution. The Marshall Project documented numerous cases demonstrating that police have exceeded their authority by arresting people for name-calling. In Washington State, a teenage boy called an officer a “motherfucker.” His conviction was overturned last week by the state Supreme Court. In Georgia, a woman won a $100,000 settlement after police arrested her for cursing at them.   read more
  • 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

Where is the Money Going?

  • Could Puerto Rico Go the Way of Greece?

    Wednesday, July 01, 2015
    A withdrawal of manufacturing and closure of military bases have caused some of the island's economic problems. Puerto Rico’s governor, Alejandro García Padilla, has called on lenders to allow deferring debt payments. He warned that if Wall Street doesn’t cooperate, it won’t just mean trouble for Puerto Rico. “If they don’t come to the table, it will be bad for them,” he said. “Our economy will get into a worse situation and we’ll have less money to pay them."   read more
  • Obama Pushes to Extend Overtime Pay to 5 Million more Workers

    Wednesday, July 01, 2015
    The change “would restore the overtime salary threshold to roughly where it stood in 1975,” said The New York Times. It remains to be seen, however, if the plan goes into effect. Although the regulation could be adopted as soon as next year, Republicans in Congress might try to kill it. As the business community almost always does with any new rule affecting it, executives decried the plan as one that will hurt companies and force them to cut jobs.   read more
  • 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

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

Mentally Ill Shot to Death in U.S. in 2015: 124 and Counting

Thursday, July 02, 2015
In most cases, officers responded to calls from relatives or neighbors who said a mentally fragile person was behaving erratically. Many of those who were armed didn’t have firearms, but toy guns or implements that are less lethal than a gun. Also, more than 50% were killed by officers lacking in training for dealing with the mentally ill. “And in many cases, officers responded with tactics that quickly made a volatile situation even more dangerous,” said the Post.   read more
Latest News

Top Stories

  • 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
  • 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

Unusual News

  • Oregonians Can Now Legally Smoke Marijuana…but they can’t Buy it or Sell it

    Wednesday, July 01, 2015
    For now, Oregon pot smokers will have to grow their own—they’re allowed to have four plants each—or rely on the kindness of others to give them some. Another option is to drive into neighboring Washington, but bringing marijuana across state lines is a federal crime. Last night, Portland’s NORML planned to give away marijuana to celebrate--“Where adults will be allowed to give it away rather than allowing the black market to thrive on our new legality,” said NORML's Russ Belville.   read more
  • Police Can Arrest You for Calling them Names, but They’ll Lose in Court

    Wednesday, July 01, 2015
    Calling a police officer unflattering names might not be polite but it is protected by the Constitution. The Marshall Project documented numerous cases demonstrating that police have exceeded their authority by arresting people for name-calling. In Washington State, a teenage boy called an officer a “motherfucker.” His conviction was overturned last week by the state Supreme Court. In Georgia, a woman won a $100,000 settlement after police arrested her for cursing at them.   read more
  • 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

Where is the Money Going?

  • Could Puerto Rico Go the Way of Greece?

    Wednesday, July 01, 2015
    A withdrawal of manufacturing and closure of military bases have caused some of the island's economic problems. Puerto Rico’s governor, Alejandro García Padilla, has called on lenders to allow deferring debt payments. He warned that if Wall Street doesn’t cooperate, it won’t just mean trouble for Puerto Rico. “If they don’t come to the table, it will be bad for them,” he said. “Our economy will get into a worse situation and we’ll have less money to pay them."   read more
  • Obama Pushes to Extend Overtime Pay to 5 Million more Workers

    Wednesday, July 01, 2015
    The change “would restore the overtime salary threshold to roughly where it stood in 1975,” said The New York Times. It remains to be seen, however, if the plan goes into effect. Although the regulation could be adopted as soon as next year, Republicans in Congress might try to kill it. As the business community almost always does with any new rule affecting it, executives decried the plan as one that will hurt companies and force them to cut jobs.   read more
  • 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

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