Featured Story

More Americans Die from Shoveling Snow than from Ebola

Friday, November 21, 2014
At least three people have died in New York State from shoveling snow during the extreme storm that hit the region—a higher fatality count than the number of people who have died from Ebola in the U.S. Once the storm ends, the media coverage of it will melt away. But the reporting frenzy over Ebola could continue indefinitely. However, shoveling snow is a bigger health problem for Americans than Ebola. Dr. Franklin said the annual number of deaths from shoveling snow might be close to 200.   read more
Latest News

Top Stories

  • 7 Companies that Paid their CEOs More Than They Paid in Taxes

    Thursday, November 20, 2014
    While some would argue the salaries of the chief executives were too high, the point of the Institute’s report is the many tax credits, loopholes and deductions that allow businesses to reduce their tax bill and in some cases, get money back from the federal government. Boeing had the highest CEO salary of the seven, with $23.3 million going to top man James McNerney Jr. Meanwhile, the aircraft manufacturer and major government contractor enjoyed an $82 million refund from the IRS.   read more
  • 60,000 in U.S. said to Live in Slave-Like Conditions

    Wednesday, November 19, 2014
    "Potential modern slavery cases were reported in fifty states” in 2013. Most of those in the U.S. reside in slave-like conditions because of prostitution or financial debts, and they can be found in many areas of society. “The report explains that slaves are forced to perform domestic work and home healthcare, they work in the food industry, as well as in construction, agriculture, nursing, factories and garment-manufacturing, among other sectors.”   read more
  • Reagan and Bush Sr. Gave Amnesty to Immigrants without going through Congress, so What’s Wrong with Obama Doing the Same?

    Tuesday, November 18, 2014
    “It is unconstitutional," said Republican Rep. Steve King, speaking of Obama's plan to grant amnesty to millions of immigrants. But that uproar in Congress stands in contrast to how lawmakers reacted 30 years ago when two Republican presidents took similar actions. In the 1980s Ronald Reagan and George H.W. Bush each granted amnesty to illegal immigrants without the help of Congress. “There was no political explosion then comparable to the one Republicans are threatening now,” wrote the AP.   read more

Unusual News

  • 11 No-Fly Zones in the United States

    Thursday, November 20, 2014
    Government installations covered by overflight restrictions include the Kennedy Space Center, the sky over presidential retreat Camp David, and the Bush family compound in Maine. But then there’s restricted airspace over Disneyland and Disney World, brought about by a provision slipped into a 2003 spending bill. Aircraft are also barred, of course, from flying over the conspiratorially-rich secret government complex in Nevada, Area 51.   read more
  • Mysterious Voynich Manuscript Now Online Clearly…Good Luck Deciphering

    Wednesday, November 19, 2014
    “The 113 plant illustrations...seem to depict no flora found on Earth," wrote Allison Meier. There are also "visuals of the cosmos, a small army of naked women cavorting through pools of water, and the arcane alphabet that has so frustrated linguists and cryptographers." One theory is that the manuscript was created to serve as a medieval guide to creating medicinal drugs. A linguist in the UK devised sounds to match the book’s unusual symbols and claimed that he decoded 14 of them.   read more
  • Morning Shows, Wheel of Fortune and Jeopardy Ran the most Senate Ads

    Friday, November 14, 2014
    “The hard truth remains that people wake up in the morning and turn on their televisions — and political groups know this,” said Kantar Media's Elizabeth Wilner. “Good Morning America” proved the most popular with campaigns, which bought time for nearly 30,000 Senate ads there during the 2014 election cycle. “Today” and “CBS This Morning” came in second and third, respectively. “Wheel of Fortune” fans were subjected to 20,000 election ads, and “Jeopardy!” viewers 18,000.   read more

Where is the Money Going?

  • Recent Veterans more likely to be Employed than Non-Veterans

    Thursday, November 20, 2014
    In the period from 2011 to 2013, employment among veterans of both genders of the wars was 79%, compared to 70% of nonveterans. Employment among male Gulf War veterans was 84%. Men who served in Iraq and Afghanistan last decade had a lower, though still impressive rate of 78%. Both groups of veterans were better off than nonveteran men, whose employment rate was 75%. Similarly, women who served in both wars have struggled less with unemployment.   read more
  • Financial Industry’s Favorite Senator is a Democrat

    Tuesday, November 18, 2014
    In very little time, Senator Cory Booker (D-New Jersey) has proven himself a prodigious fundraiser with a knack for drawing large contributions from industries not known to bank heavily on Democrats. The freshman lawmaker during the 2013-2014 election cycle raised from Wall Street the most money of any member of Congress: $1.87 million. Booker also proved to be the top draw from real estate groups, Hollywood, tech industries, accountants, and pro-Israel organizations.   read more
  • Women have Higher Unemployment Rate than Men for First Time in 8 Years

    Monday, November 17, 2014
    At one point during the Great Recession, the unemployment rate for men was as much as 2.6% higher than that of women. But beginning in September, according to data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics, men had a 5.9% unemployment rate while the women’s rate stood at 6.0%. The gap widened last month when the men’s rate fell to 5.6% while women’s unemployment was at 5.9%. Part of the reason for the switch is that construction jobs, concentrated among men, are starting to come back.   read more

Controversies

  • Pentagon Censors Document that was Already Published in Full 18 Years Ago

    Thursday, November 20, 2014
    A document from 1961 by then-Defense Secretary McNamara regarding development of strategic nuclear missiles was fully released for public viewing in 1996. But the version of the document at the National Archives has been “heavily excised” of key information … that, again, was made public 18 years ago. Similarly, another 1961 memo, this one from the Joint Chiefs chairman to McNamara was mostly declassified long ago. But the National Archives and Pentagon censored large portions of it.   read more
  • Baltimore Prosecutors Withdraw Evidence of Cellphone Tracking because of FBI Non-Disclosure Agreement

    Thursday, November 20, 2014
    Police were suspected by a defense attorney of using the StingRay system, which can capture information about cell phone calls and users, to collect data about their client. So the lawyer pressed Detective Haley in court about how the department obtained certain evidence against the accused. The judge told the officer to answer the question, but the prosecution instead withdrew evidence, including a handgun and cellphone, from the case so they wouldn’t get in trouble with the FBI.   read more
  • VA Gets Failing Grade in Cybersecurity…for 16th Year in Row

    Wednesday, November 19, 2014
    The IG’s 2013 audit report revealed that the agency’s IT operations had 6,000 cybersecurity vulnerabilities that needed fixing and it listed 35 corrective actions to be taken. Stephen Warren, VA’s IT executive, said that the 6,000 vulnerabilities isn’t really that large of a number if viewed in the proper context: “When you talk about 6,000 vulnerabilities, we treat them all as important, but when you look at it on the scale you've got to put some balance in it.”   read more

U.S. and the World

  • Host of Soccer’s 2022 World Cup Accused of Harboring and Financing Terrorists

    Wednesday, November 19, 2014
    Two of al Qaeda’s top financiers are reportedly living with impunity in Qatar, according to U.S. treasury official David Cohen. Both men are on an international terrorism blacklist. They also have close ties to the country’s ruling elite. Meanwhile, the Qatari government insists it does not support terrorism, and it refuses to disclose any information about al-Subai and al-Nuaymi. Qatar is scheduled to host the 2022 World Cup.   read more
  • Would you Spend $333,000 an Hour to Fight ISIS? Actually, You Already Are

    Monday, November 17, 2014
    The cost of fighting the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria (ISIS) has been pegged at $8 million a day, according to the Department of Defense. President Barack Obama asked Congress for an additional $5.6 billion to combat ISIS. Defense News reported that most of this money will be used to train and equip Iraqi and Kurdish militaries, continue U.S. airstrikes and other air operations, and move troops and supplies through the region.   read more
  • U.S. Soldier who Considered Fighting in Iraq War a War Crime may Qualify for Asylum in Germany

    Friday, November 14, 2014
    André Shepherd had come to the conclusion that the U.S. war in Iraq was wrong, and that his support for Apache attack helicopters contributed to war crimes because they dropped bombs "indiscriminately—and increasingly catching civilians in the crossfire.” So Shepherd left his post and appealed to the German government for asylum. That request moved closer to becoming a reality after a European Court adviser cited European law as covering asylum requests for someone like Shepherd.   read more

Appointments and Resignations

  • Assistant Secretary of State for Oceans and International Environmental and Scientific Affairs: Who Is Jennifer Haverkamp?

    Sunday, November 16, 2014
    She left federal service in 2003 to become a consultant for International Trade and Sustainability Services. She did some work for the Environmental Defense Fund (EDF) and later came on board as a full-time employee of the organization as managing director for international policy. In 2011, Haverkamp was made director of EDF’s International Climate Program, remaining in that role until 2014, when she left to do consulting work and lecture in the law at George Washington University.   read more
  • Assistant Secretary of State for Consular Affairs: Who Is Michele Bond?

    Sunday, November 16, 2014
    On September 8, 2014, President Barack Obama nominated Michele Thoren Bond, a career Foreign Service officer, to head the State Department’s Bureau of Consular Affairs. Bond has been leading that office since April 2014 on an acting basis. In 2010, Bond was named ambassador to Lesotho. She returned to the United States in December 2012 to take up the post of principal deputy assistant secretary of state for consular services, where she served until being named acting director.   read more
  • Acting Administrator of the Rural Utilities Service: Who Is Jasper Schneider?

    Saturday, November 15, 2014
    Schneider grew up around politics. His father, John, was a North Dakota state legislator and speaker of the house who was subsequently appointed to be the state’s U.S. attorney by President Bill Clinton. Schneider left the North Dakota legislature in November 2009 to become state director of USDA Rural Development in North Dakota, a post he held for five years.   read more

Featured Story

More Americans Die from Shoveling Snow than from Ebola

Friday, November 21, 2014
At least three people have died in New York State from shoveling snow during the extreme storm that hit the region—a higher fatality count than the number of people who have died from Ebola in the U.S. Once the storm ends, the media coverage of it will melt away. But the reporting frenzy over Ebola could continue indefinitely. However, shoveling snow is a bigger health problem for Americans than Ebola. Dr. Franklin said the annual number of deaths from shoveling snow might be close to 200.   read more
Latest News

Top Stories

  • 7 Companies that Paid their CEOs More Than They Paid in Taxes

    Thursday, November 20, 2014
    While some would argue the salaries of the chief executives were too high, the point of the Institute’s report is the many tax credits, loopholes and deductions that allow businesses to reduce their tax bill and in some cases, get money back from the federal government. Boeing had the highest CEO salary of the seven, with $23.3 million going to top man James McNerney Jr. Meanwhile, the aircraft manufacturer and major government contractor enjoyed an $82 million refund from the IRS.   read more
  • 60,000 in U.S. said to Live in Slave-Like Conditions

    Wednesday, November 19, 2014
    "Potential modern slavery cases were reported in fifty states” in 2013. Most of those in the U.S. reside in slave-like conditions because of prostitution or financial debts, and they can be found in many areas of society. “The report explains that slaves are forced to perform domestic work and home healthcare, they work in the food industry, as well as in construction, agriculture, nursing, factories and garment-manufacturing, among other sectors.”   read more
  • Reagan and Bush Sr. Gave Amnesty to Immigrants without going through Congress, so What’s Wrong with Obama Doing the Same?

    Tuesday, November 18, 2014
    “It is unconstitutional," said Republican Rep. Steve King, speaking of Obama's plan to grant amnesty to millions of immigrants. But that uproar in Congress stands in contrast to how lawmakers reacted 30 years ago when two Republican presidents took similar actions. In the 1980s Ronald Reagan and George H.W. Bush each granted amnesty to illegal immigrants without the help of Congress. “There was no political explosion then comparable to the one Republicans are threatening now,” wrote the AP.   read more

Unusual News

  • 11 No-Fly Zones in the United States

    Thursday, November 20, 2014
    Government installations covered by overflight restrictions include the Kennedy Space Center, the sky over presidential retreat Camp David, and the Bush family compound in Maine. But then there’s restricted airspace over Disneyland and Disney World, brought about by a provision slipped into a 2003 spending bill. Aircraft are also barred, of course, from flying over the conspiratorially-rich secret government complex in Nevada, Area 51.   read more
  • Mysterious Voynich Manuscript Now Online Clearly…Good Luck Deciphering

    Wednesday, November 19, 2014
    “The 113 plant illustrations...seem to depict no flora found on Earth," wrote Allison Meier. There are also "visuals of the cosmos, a small army of naked women cavorting through pools of water, and the arcane alphabet that has so frustrated linguists and cryptographers." One theory is that the manuscript was created to serve as a medieval guide to creating medicinal drugs. A linguist in the UK devised sounds to match the book’s unusual symbols and claimed that he decoded 14 of them.   read more
  • Morning Shows, Wheel of Fortune and Jeopardy Ran the most Senate Ads

    Friday, November 14, 2014
    “The hard truth remains that people wake up in the morning and turn on their televisions — and political groups know this,” said Kantar Media's Elizabeth Wilner. “Good Morning America” proved the most popular with campaigns, which bought time for nearly 30,000 Senate ads there during the 2014 election cycle. “Today” and “CBS This Morning” came in second and third, respectively. “Wheel of Fortune” fans were subjected to 20,000 election ads, and “Jeopardy!” viewers 18,000.   read more

Where is the Money Going?

  • Recent Veterans more likely to be Employed than Non-Veterans

    Thursday, November 20, 2014
    In the period from 2011 to 2013, employment among veterans of both genders of the wars was 79%, compared to 70% of nonveterans. Employment among male Gulf War veterans was 84%. Men who served in Iraq and Afghanistan last decade had a lower, though still impressive rate of 78%. Both groups of veterans were better off than nonveteran men, whose employment rate was 75%. Similarly, women who served in both wars have struggled less with unemployment.   read more
  • Financial Industry’s Favorite Senator is a Democrat

    Tuesday, November 18, 2014
    In very little time, Senator Cory Booker (D-New Jersey) has proven himself a prodigious fundraiser with a knack for drawing large contributions from industries not known to bank heavily on Democrats. The freshman lawmaker during the 2013-2014 election cycle raised from Wall Street the most money of any member of Congress: $1.87 million. Booker also proved to be the top draw from real estate groups, Hollywood, tech industries, accountants, and pro-Israel organizations.   read more
  • Women have Higher Unemployment Rate than Men for First Time in 8 Years

    Monday, November 17, 2014
    At one point during the Great Recession, the unemployment rate for men was as much as 2.6% higher than that of women. But beginning in September, according to data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics, men had a 5.9% unemployment rate while the women’s rate stood at 6.0%. The gap widened last month when the men’s rate fell to 5.6% while women’s unemployment was at 5.9%. Part of the reason for the switch is that construction jobs, concentrated among men, are starting to come back.   read more

Controversies

  • Pentagon Censors Document that was Already Published in Full 18 Years Ago

    Thursday, November 20, 2014
    A document from 1961 by then-Defense Secretary McNamara regarding development of strategic nuclear missiles was fully released for public viewing in 1996. But the version of the document at the National Archives has been “heavily excised” of key information … that, again, was made public 18 years ago. Similarly, another 1961 memo, this one from the Joint Chiefs chairman to McNamara was mostly declassified long ago. But the National Archives and Pentagon censored large portions of it.   read more
  • Baltimore Prosecutors Withdraw Evidence of Cellphone Tracking because of FBI Non-Disclosure Agreement

    Thursday, November 20, 2014
    Police were suspected by a defense attorney of using the StingRay system, which can capture information about cell phone calls and users, to collect data about their client. So the lawyer pressed Detective Haley in court about how the department obtained certain evidence against the accused. The judge told the officer to answer the question, but the prosecution instead withdrew evidence, including a handgun and cellphone, from the case so they wouldn’t get in trouble with the FBI.   read more
  • VA Gets Failing Grade in Cybersecurity…for 16th Year in Row

    Wednesday, November 19, 2014
    The IG’s 2013 audit report revealed that the agency’s IT operations had 6,000 cybersecurity vulnerabilities that needed fixing and it listed 35 corrective actions to be taken. Stephen Warren, VA’s IT executive, said that the 6,000 vulnerabilities isn’t really that large of a number if viewed in the proper context: “When you talk about 6,000 vulnerabilities, we treat them all as important, but when you look at it on the scale you've got to put some balance in it.”   read more

U.S. and the World

  • Host of Soccer’s 2022 World Cup Accused of Harboring and Financing Terrorists

    Wednesday, November 19, 2014
    Two of al Qaeda’s top financiers are reportedly living with impunity in Qatar, according to U.S. treasury official David Cohen. Both men are on an international terrorism blacklist. They also have close ties to the country’s ruling elite. Meanwhile, the Qatari government insists it does not support terrorism, and it refuses to disclose any information about al-Subai and al-Nuaymi. Qatar is scheduled to host the 2022 World Cup.   read more
  • Would you Spend $333,000 an Hour to Fight ISIS? Actually, You Already Are

    Monday, November 17, 2014
    The cost of fighting the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria (ISIS) has been pegged at $8 million a day, according to the Department of Defense. President Barack Obama asked Congress for an additional $5.6 billion to combat ISIS. Defense News reported that most of this money will be used to train and equip Iraqi and Kurdish militaries, continue U.S. airstrikes and other air operations, and move troops and supplies through the region.   read more
  • U.S. Soldier who Considered Fighting in Iraq War a War Crime may Qualify for Asylum in Germany

    Friday, November 14, 2014
    André Shepherd had come to the conclusion that the U.S. war in Iraq was wrong, and that his support for Apache attack helicopters contributed to war crimes because they dropped bombs "indiscriminately—and increasingly catching civilians in the crossfire.” So Shepherd left his post and appealed to the German government for asylum. That request moved closer to becoming a reality after a European Court adviser cited European law as covering asylum requests for someone like Shepherd.   read more

Appointments and Resignations

  • Assistant Secretary of State for Oceans and International Environmental and Scientific Affairs: Who Is Jennifer Haverkamp?

    Sunday, November 16, 2014
    She left federal service in 2003 to become a consultant for International Trade and Sustainability Services. She did some work for the Environmental Defense Fund (EDF) and later came on board as a full-time employee of the organization as managing director for international policy. In 2011, Haverkamp was made director of EDF’s International Climate Program, remaining in that role until 2014, when she left to do consulting work and lecture in the law at George Washington University.   read more
  • Assistant Secretary of State for Consular Affairs: Who Is Michele Bond?

    Sunday, November 16, 2014
    On September 8, 2014, President Barack Obama nominated Michele Thoren Bond, a career Foreign Service officer, to head the State Department’s Bureau of Consular Affairs. Bond has been leading that office since April 2014 on an acting basis. In 2010, Bond was named ambassador to Lesotho. She returned to the United States in December 2012 to take up the post of principal deputy assistant secretary of state for consular services, where she served until being named acting director.   read more
  • Acting Administrator of the Rural Utilities Service: Who Is Jasper Schneider?

    Saturday, November 15, 2014
    Schneider grew up around politics. His father, John, was a North Dakota state legislator and speaker of the house who was subsequently appointed to be the state’s U.S. attorney by President Bill Clinton. Schneider left the North Dakota legislature in November 2009 to become state director of USDA Rural Development in North Dakota, a post he held for five years.   read more