Featured Story

Why Did it Take So Long for DEA Chief Leonhart to be Forced to Resign?

Friday, April 24, 2015
The DEA’s top official, Michele Leonhart, resigned this week, presumably after it came out that many of her agents partied with prostitutes hired by drug cartels. But there is really much more to the story. “She’s been at the agency for 35 years, and her tenure since taking over in 2007 has been marked by a series of abuses, failures and missteps,” wrote David Graham at The Atlantic. "It's not that the outrage in this case is misplaced—it's that it's a day late and a trillion dollars short.”   read more
Latest News

Top Stories

  • 9 Members of Idaho Legislature Block International Child Support Treaty

    Thursday, April 23, 2015
    An international agreement to make it easier to enforce child support orders throughout the world is in danger of not being ratified in the U.S. because of nine conservative lawmakers in Idaho. Republican Sen. Sheryl Nuxoll led the opposition to the measure, testifying that it would subject Idaho to Sharia law. Nuxoll previously has boycotted a Hindu prayer in the Idaho senate, saying that Hindus worship false gods, and compared a proposed state health insurance exchange to the Holocaust.   read more
  • Bipartisan Senate Bill would Increase Regulation of Cosmetics Industry for First Time in 77 Years

    Wednesday, April 22, 2015
    The problem goes back to the 1938 Food, Drug and Cosmetic Act, which led to the FDA being given only minor instruction for regulating the millions of cosmetics sold each year. The new Senate bill would change that. The proposal would require companies to report “serious” adverse health effects from consumers, such as reactions to products that result in death, disfigurement or hospitalization, within 15 business days. Non-serious events would have to be detailed in an annual report.   read more
  • In Post-9/11 World, Has U.S. Failed to Address the Rise of Non-Islamic Terrorism?

    Tuesday, April 21, 2015
    “The American radical right is again large and dangerous, comprising close to 1,700 groups and hundreds of thousands of individuals,” wrote Southern Poverty Law Center’s Mark Potok. “Terrorism has risen again to the levels of the 1990s, with many afraid that the next attack on the scale of Oklahoma City could come at any time. And radical ideas have permeated much of our increasingly polarized political process, distorting our thinking and deflecting efforts to make ours a better country.”   read more

Unusual News

  • Majority of Railroad-Related Deaths are Caused by…Trespassing

    Thursday, April 23, 2015
    In 2014, the death toll from such incidents was 526 plus 213 suicides. Another 419 were injured as a result of trespassing. “As a culture and as a country, we simply have not yet accepted that trains and railroad operations are dangerous,” said FRA's Sarah Feinberg. The death toll is much higher than those caused by derailments and collisions last year. “They should not be used as a shortcut on the way home from school or the grocery store. They are dangerous places,” said NTSB's Sumwalt.   read more
  • 2 Chimpanzees Gain Right to Challenge their Imprisonment at University in New York

    Thursday, April 23, 2015
    NhRP hailed the decision by Justice Barbara Jaffe of New York State Supreme Court, who accepted the argument that primates deserve legal standing similar to those of humans. “This is a big step forward to getting what we are ultimately seeking: the right to bodily liberty for chimpanzees and other cognitively complex animals,” said NhRP executive director Natalie Prosin. “We got our foot in the door. And no matter what happens, that door can never be completely shut again.”   read more
  • Pulitzer Prize-Winning Journalist had already Given up Journalism because he Couldn’t Make a Living

    Thursday, April 23, 2015
    The 15-year veteran reporter gave up the newspaper business last August because he couldn’t afford the low pay. He left the Daily Breeze, the Southern California newspaper that once employed him and that generally pays its reporters in the mid-$40,000 range. But this week, Kuznia found out he and others at the Daily Breeze had received a Pulitzer for a six-month, 50-story investigation into possible corruption at a local school district.   read more

Where is the Money Going?

  • Super-Wealthy Pour Money into Election Campaigns through Single-Donor Super PACS

    Wednesday, April 22, 2015
    The situation, ushered in by the 2010 Citizens United ruling, could lead to “anointing an aristocracy that’s getting a stronger and stronger grip on democracy,” said Miles Rapoport. One of the biggest progressive donors in 2014 was Tom Steyer, whose Nextgen Climate Action was the largest super PAC, raising almost $78 million, 85% from Steyer himself. On the right, packaging mogul Richard Uihlein funded three super PACs, for which he was the only donor, or gave more than 85% of its contributions.   read more
  • Encouraging Arabs and other Muslims to Kill each other is Good for U.S. Weapons Industry

    Tuesday, April 21, 2015
    Saudi Arabia’s attacks on Yemeni rebels were made possible by F-15 fighter jets purchased from Boeing, while the UAE air force has hit ISIS in Syria using F-16s made by Lockheed Martin. The UAE also wants General Atomics’ Predator drones “to run spying missions in their neighborhood.” More weapons deals are expected as the Saudis and Emirates, plus Qatar, Bahrain, Jordan and Egypt seek to “buy thousands of American-made missiles, bombs and other weapons."   read more
  • Putting Immigrants in Prison is Profitable…if You’re the Corporations CCA and GEO

    Tuesday, April 21, 2015
    Detaining tens of thousands of immigrants each day in the U.S. has been good for two private prison operators: Corrections Corporation of America (CCA) and GEO Group. The two companies are responsible for imprisoning the majority of the 34,000 immigrants who must be locked up daily, per a federal quota established by Congress five years ago. CCA and GEO operate eight of the 10 largest immigrant detention centers and 72% of the privately contracted federal immigrant detention beds.   read more

Controversies

  • Scientists Strongly Link Fracking with Earthquakes in Texas and Oklahoma

    Thursday, April 23, 2015
    Sophisticated 3D modeling was used to make the determination. A new state government website includes evidence linking the rash of quakes to thousands of wastewater-injection wells and records sites of temblors 3.0 or larger. The admission is quite a turnaround in conservative Oklahoma, where Republican Gov. Mary Fallin had consistently refused to blame fracking for seismic activity. “Oklahoma state agencies already are taking action to address this issue and protect homeowners,” she said.   read more
  • Did the White House Manipulate the Plot of Zero Dark Thirty?

    Wednesday, April 22, 2015
    A major controversy in the movie is its portrayal of the CIA using torture to extract intelligence that helped lead to the agency locating bin Laden. Some lawmakers took exception to this, criticizing it as untrue. Senators Feinstein, McCain and Levin wrote that “given the CIA’s cooperation with the filmmakers and the narrative’s consistency with past public misstatements by former senior CIA officials, that the filmmakers could have been misled by information they were provided by CIA.”   read more
  • Immigration and Customs Averages 727 Deportations a Day by Air

    Wednesday, April 22, 2015
    The report told of deportees being flown around the U.S., often back and forth between their original location and other cities before finally being sent to their home countries. Despite the volume of passengers on ICE Air, there are often plenty of empty seats. The audit analyzed 5,699 flights to see if ICE is using the planes to its full advantage and found that 5% were less than 40% full. If ICE had operated its flights at full capacity, it could have saved as much as $41.1 million.   read more

U.S. and the World

  • Is U.S. Ignoring Obama’s Promise to Avoid Civilians Killings by Drones?

    Monday, April 20, 2015
    President Barack Obama claims that “Before any strike is taken, there must be near-certainty that no civilians will be killed or injured—the highest standard we can set." But a report written by the Open Society Justice Initiative, after it examined nine drone strikes in Yemen, shows the opposite. In those attacks, 26 civilians, including five children, were killed and 13 more wounded.   read more
  • At Sentencing, 4 U.S. Mercenaries who Killed 14 in Iraq Claim they did Nothing Wrong

    Wednesday, April 15, 2015
    “In killing and maiming unarmed civilians, these defendants acted unreasonably and without justification,” said the U.S. attorney's office. “The sheer amount of unnecessary human loss and suffering attributable to the defendants’ criminal conduct...is staggering.” Judge Lamberth said their actions "can just not be condoned by a court." Said defendant Slatten to the judge: "The verdict is wrong. You know I am innocent."   read more
  • In Change of Tactic, Obama Administration Arrests Suspected Terrorist rather than Killing him with a Drone

    Tuesday, April 14, 2015
    It was Attorney General Holder who urged the White House to try a different strategy. While the Pentagon and the CIA had urged that Farekh be killed, Holder “was skeptical of the intelligence dossier on Mr. Farekh, questioning whether he posed an imminent threat to the United States and whether he was as significant a player in Al Qaeda as the Pentagon and the C.I.A. described," said the Times. And so the Texas-born Farekh was arrested last year in Pakistan and will stand trial in Brooklyn.   read more

Appointments and Resignations

  • U.S. Ambassador to Pakistan: Who Is David Hale?

    Thursday, April 09, 2015
    From 2008 to 2009, Hale was a deputy assistant secretary of state in the Bureau of Near Eastern Affairs. After Obama took office, Hale was named deputy to Middle East peace envoy George Mitchell and took over as acting envoy in June 2011 when Mitchell stepped down. Hale in 2013 was named ambassador to Lebanon and took over in Beirut on August 1 just as internal fighting in neighboring Syria was going on and the United States considered using military action in the country.   read more
  • U.S. Ambassador to Kosovo: Who Is Greg Delawie?

    Sunday, April 05, 2015
    In July 2012 Delawie returned to Washington as deputy assistant secretary for European security, technology and implementation verification in the Bureau of Arms Control, Verification and Compliance, where he still serves as he awaits Senate confirmation to the Kosovo post. There he’s responsible for the Offices of Euro-Atlantic Security Affairs; Verification, Planning, and Outreach; and the Nuclear Risk Reduction Center.   read more
  • Acting Director of the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives: Who Is Thomas Brandon?

    Saturday, April 04, 2015
    Brandon joined ATF in 1989 in the Detroit field division and continued to spend much of his career in Detroit. Brandon was brought before a House committee hearing in February 2014 to testify about botched storefront sting operations performed by ATF. He admitted that putting a gun-buying shop to serve as bait for drug and gun traffickers across the street from a middle school in Portland, Oregon, was “a mistake.”   read more

Featured Story

Why Did it Take So Long for DEA Chief Leonhart to be Forced to Resign?

Friday, April 24, 2015
The DEA’s top official, Michele Leonhart, resigned this week, presumably after it came out that many of her agents partied with prostitutes hired by drug cartels. But there is really much more to the story. “She’s been at the agency for 35 years, and her tenure since taking over in 2007 has been marked by a series of abuses, failures and missteps,” wrote David Graham at The Atlantic. "It's not that the outrage in this case is misplaced—it's that it's a day late and a trillion dollars short.”   read more
Latest News

Top Stories

  • 9 Members of Idaho Legislature Block International Child Support Treaty

    Thursday, April 23, 2015
    An international agreement to make it easier to enforce child support orders throughout the world is in danger of not being ratified in the U.S. because of nine conservative lawmakers in Idaho. Republican Sen. Sheryl Nuxoll led the opposition to the measure, testifying that it would subject Idaho to Sharia law. Nuxoll previously has boycotted a Hindu prayer in the Idaho senate, saying that Hindus worship false gods, and compared a proposed state health insurance exchange to the Holocaust.   read more
  • Bipartisan Senate Bill would Increase Regulation of Cosmetics Industry for First Time in 77 Years

    Wednesday, April 22, 2015
    The problem goes back to the 1938 Food, Drug and Cosmetic Act, which led to the FDA being given only minor instruction for regulating the millions of cosmetics sold each year. The new Senate bill would change that. The proposal would require companies to report “serious” adverse health effects from consumers, such as reactions to products that result in death, disfigurement or hospitalization, within 15 business days. Non-serious events would have to be detailed in an annual report.   read more
  • In Post-9/11 World, Has U.S. Failed to Address the Rise of Non-Islamic Terrorism?

    Tuesday, April 21, 2015
    “The American radical right is again large and dangerous, comprising close to 1,700 groups and hundreds of thousands of individuals,” wrote Southern Poverty Law Center’s Mark Potok. “Terrorism has risen again to the levels of the 1990s, with many afraid that the next attack on the scale of Oklahoma City could come at any time. And radical ideas have permeated much of our increasingly polarized political process, distorting our thinking and deflecting efforts to make ours a better country.”   read more

Unusual News

  • Majority of Railroad-Related Deaths are Caused by…Trespassing

    Thursday, April 23, 2015
    In 2014, the death toll from such incidents was 526 plus 213 suicides. Another 419 were injured as a result of trespassing. “As a culture and as a country, we simply have not yet accepted that trains and railroad operations are dangerous,” said FRA's Sarah Feinberg. The death toll is much higher than those caused by derailments and collisions last year. “They should not be used as a shortcut on the way home from school or the grocery store. They are dangerous places,” said NTSB's Sumwalt.   read more
  • 2 Chimpanzees Gain Right to Challenge their Imprisonment at University in New York

    Thursday, April 23, 2015
    NhRP hailed the decision by Justice Barbara Jaffe of New York State Supreme Court, who accepted the argument that primates deserve legal standing similar to those of humans. “This is a big step forward to getting what we are ultimately seeking: the right to bodily liberty for chimpanzees and other cognitively complex animals,” said NhRP executive director Natalie Prosin. “We got our foot in the door. And no matter what happens, that door can never be completely shut again.”   read more
  • Pulitzer Prize-Winning Journalist had already Given up Journalism because he Couldn’t Make a Living

    Thursday, April 23, 2015
    The 15-year veteran reporter gave up the newspaper business last August because he couldn’t afford the low pay. He left the Daily Breeze, the Southern California newspaper that once employed him and that generally pays its reporters in the mid-$40,000 range. But this week, Kuznia found out he and others at the Daily Breeze had received a Pulitzer for a six-month, 50-story investigation into possible corruption at a local school district.   read more

Where is the Money Going?

  • Super-Wealthy Pour Money into Election Campaigns through Single-Donor Super PACS

    Wednesday, April 22, 2015
    The situation, ushered in by the 2010 Citizens United ruling, could lead to “anointing an aristocracy that’s getting a stronger and stronger grip on democracy,” said Miles Rapoport. One of the biggest progressive donors in 2014 was Tom Steyer, whose Nextgen Climate Action was the largest super PAC, raising almost $78 million, 85% from Steyer himself. On the right, packaging mogul Richard Uihlein funded three super PACs, for which he was the only donor, or gave more than 85% of its contributions.   read more
  • Encouraging Arabs and other Muslims to Kill each other is Good for U.S. Weapons Industry

    Tuesday, April 21, 2015
    Saudi Arabia’s attacks on Yemeni rebels were made possible by F-15 fighter jets purchased from Boeing, while the UAE air force has hit ISIS in Syria using F-16s made by Lockheed Martin. The UAE also wants General Atomics’ Predator drones “to run spying missions in their neighborhood.” More weapons deals are expected as the Saudis and Emirates, plus Qatar, Bahrain, Jordan and Egypt seek to “buy thousands of American-made missiles, bombs and other weapons."   read more
  • Putting Immigrants in Prison is Profitable…if You’re the Corporations CCA and GEO

    Tuesday, April 21, 2015
    Detaining tens of thousands of immigrants each day in the U.S. has been good for two private prison operators: Corrections Corporation of America (CCA) and GEO Group. The two companies are responsible for imprisoning the majority of the 34,000 immigrants who must be locked up daily, per a federal quota established by Congress five years ago. CCA and GEO operate eight of the 10 largest immigrant detention centers and 72% of the privately contracted federal immigrant detention beds.   read more

Controversies

  • Scientists Strongly Link Fracking with Earthquakes in Texas and Oklahoma

    Thursday, April 23, 2015
    Sophisticated 3D modeling was used to make the determination. A new state government website includes evidence linking the rash of quakes to thousands of wastewater-injection wells and records sites of temblors 3.0 or larger. The admission is quite a turnaround in conservative Oklahoma, where Republican Gov. Mary Fallin had consistently refused to blame fracking for seismic activity. “Oklahoma state agencies already are taking action to address this issue and protect homeowners,” she said.   read more
  • Did the White House Manipulate the Plot of Zero Dark Thirty?

    Wednesday, April 22, 2015
    A major controversy in the movie is its portrayal of the CIA using torture to extract intelligence that helped lead to the agency locating bin Laden. Some lawmakers took exception to this, criticizing it as untrue. Senators Feinstein, McCain and Levin wrote that “given the CIA’s cooperation with the filmmakers and the narrative’s consistency with past public misstatements by former senior CIA officials, that the filmmakers could have been misled by information they were provided by CIA.”   read more
  • Immigration and Customs Averages 727 Deportations a Day by Air

    Wednesday, April 22, 2015
    The report told of deportees being flown around the U.S., often back and forth between their original location and other cities before finally being sent to their home countries. Despite the volume of passengers on ICE Air, there are often plenty of empty seats. The audit analyzed 5,699 flights to see if ICE is using the planes to its full advantage and found that 5% were less than 40% full. If ICE had operated its flights at full capacity, it could have saved as much as $41.1 million.   read more

U.S. and the World

  • Is U.S. Ignoring Obama’s Promise to Avoid Civilians Killings by Drones?

    Monday, April 20, 2015
    President Barack Obama claims that “Before any strike is taken, there must be near-certainty that no civilians will be killed or injured—the highest standard we can set." But a report written by the Open Society Justice Initiative, after it examined nine drone strikes in Yemen, shows the opposite. In those attacks, 26 civilians, including five children, were killed and 13 more wounded.   read more
  • At Sentencing, 4 U.S. Mercenaries who Killed 14 in Iraq Claim they did Nothing Wrong

    Wednesday, April 15, 2015
    “In killing and maiming unarmed civilians, these defendants acted unreasonably and without justification,” said the U.S. attorney's office. “The sheer amount of unnecessary human loss and suffering attributable to the defendants’ criminal conduct...is staggering.” Judge Lamberth said their actions "can just not be condoned by a court." Said defendant Slatten to the judge: "The verdict is wrong. You know I am innocent."   read more
  • In Change of Tactic, Obama Administration Arrests Suspected Terrorist rather than Killing him with a Drone

    Tuesday, April 14, 2015
    It was Attorney General Holder who urged the White House to try a different strategy. While the Pentagon and the CIA had urged that Farekh be killed, Holder “was skeptical of the intelligence dossier on Mr. Farekh, questioning whether he posed an imminent threat to the United States and whether he was as significant a player in Al Qaeda as the Pentagon and the C.I.A. described," said the Times. And so the Texas-born Farekh was arrested last year in Pakistan and will stand trial in Brooklyn.   read more

Appointments and Resignations

  • U.S. Ambassador to Pakistan: Who Is David Hale?

    Thursday, April 09, 2015
    From 2008 to 2009, Hale was a deputy assistant secretary of state in the Bureau of Near Eastern Affairs. After Obama took office, Hale was named deputy to Middle East peace envoy George Mitchell and took over as acting envoy in June 2011 when Mitchell stepped down. Hale in 2013 was named ambassador to Lebanon and took over in Beirut on August 1 just as internal fighting in neighboring Syria was going on and the United States considered using military action in the country.   read more
  • U.S. Ambassador to Kosovo: Who Is Greg Delawie?

    Sunday, April 05, 2015
    In July 2012 Delawie returned to Washington as deputy assistant secretary for European security, technology and implementation verification in the Bureau of Arms Control, Verification and Compliance, where he still serves as he awaits Senate confirmation to the Kosovo post. There he’s responsible for the Offices of Euro-Atlantic Security Affairs; Verification, Planning, and Outreach; and the Nuclear Risk Reduction Center.   read more
  • Acting Director of the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives: Who Is Thomas Brandon?

    Saturday, April 04, 2015
    Brandon joined ATF in 1989 in the Detroit field division and continued to spend much of his career in Detroit. Brandon was brought before a House committee hearing in February 2014 to testify about botched storefront sting operations performed by ATF. He admitted that putting a gun-buying shop to serve as bait for drug and gun traffickers across the street from a middle school in Portland, Oregon, was “a mistake.”   read more