Featured Story

Obama Finally Puts an End to Unpopular Secure Communities Program

Sunday, November 23, 2014
As part of broader immigration reforms, the Obama administration announced Thursday that the Secure Communities program, which mandated that local law enforcement submit biometric information on those suspected of being undocumented immigrants to the federal government, is going away. In its place will be the Priority Enforcement Program, which specifies that those held must be likely deportable or have a removal order in effect against them.   read more
Latest News

Top Stories

  • When George W. Bush Gave a Primetime Immigration Speech, Networks Covered it Live; Obama…Forget It

    Saturday, November 22, 2014
    “In 2006, Bush gave a 17-minute speech that was televised by all three networks that was about deploying 6,000 National Guard troops to the border. Obama is making a 10-minute speech that will have a vastly greater impact on the issue. And none of the networks are doing it,” said a senior administration official. The only broadcast networks that carried Obama's immigration talk live throughout the U.S. were Spanish language Univision and Telemundo.   read more
  • 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
  • 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

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?

  • 10 Years after 9/11 Commission Recommended it, FCC Finds Funds for National First Responder Communications Network

    Friday, November 21, 2014
    The commission recommended that the federal government create a way for police and firefighters from different jurisdictions to communicate with each other in a crisis—something they couldn’t do during the response to the 9/11 attacks. Congress authorized the FCC to reserve certain broadcast frequencies for public safety use. The FCC auctioned off a band of wireless frequencies to telecommunications companies, which netted more than $11 billion to establish the network, FirstNet.   read more
  • 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

Controversies

  • Another Fox Nominated to Guard Financial Chicken Coop

    Saturday, November 22, 2014
    From liberal Democrats to community bankers, opposition is lining up to President Obama’s choice for Under Secretary for Domestic Finance at the Treasury Dept.: Antonio Weiss. “Neither his background nor his professional experience makes him qualified to oversee consumer protection and domestic regulatory functions at the Treasury,” wrote Sen. Elizabeth Warren. She criticized Weiss for helping U.S. corporations relocate in countries that demand fewer taxes.   read more
  • House Republicans Choose White Men to Head 20 of 21 Committees

    Friday, November 21, 2014
    Oops, they did it again. The Republican Party, despite vowing to be more inclusive of women and minorities, has chosen white men to lead all but one House committee. Over in the Senate, all but one standing committee will be led by a man. “Republicans promised to be more welcoming to women—but passed over women to give every single new committee chairmanship to a white man,” Spokeswoman Emily Bittner at the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee said in a statement.   read more
  • Group Sues Border Patrol over Alleged Racial Profiling…in Ohio

    Friday, November 21, 2014
    The focus of the controversy is the Border Patrol’s Sandusky Bay Station, which has disproportionately targeted Hispanics since 2008, the plaintiffs say. Professor Kara Joyner says 85% of those arrested by Sandusky Bay agents have been Hispanic, even though the minority group makes up only 3% of the local population. Emails obtained as a result of the lawsuit show that Cory Bammer, who’s in charge of the Sandusky Bay office, has used racial slurs to refer to Latino workers.   read more

U.S. and the World

  • Images from Thousands of Americans’ Webcams are Streaming on Website in Russia

    Saturday, November 22, 2014
    More than 4,000 American cameras are listed on the website. In all, the site has webcam footage from people in 152 nations. Voyeurs can watch everything from babies in their cribs to college campuses to the insides of small businesses. The site also reveals the GPS location of each webcam along with links to a map. “[They claim] what they’re doing is entirely legal because they’ve hacked into cameras where the owners didn’t change the default password," said CBS.   read more
  • 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

Appointments and Resignations

  • Director of the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office: Who Is Michelle K. Lee?

    Saturday, November 22, 2014
    In 2003, Lee went to work for Google as its deputy general counsel and head of patents and patent strategy. She advised the search engine giant on its acquisition of YouTube, participation in the Nortel patent auction and on mobile phone patent issues. Lee left for government service in 2012 to head the newly opened Silicon Valley outpost of the USPTO.   read more
  • Director of the National Institute of Justice: Who Is Nancy Rodriguez?

    Saturday, November 22, 2014
    Since 1998, Rodriguez has been at Arizona State University (ASU). She first was an assistant professor in ASU’s School of Criminology and Criminal Justice and in 2004 was made associate professor in that school. In 2012, she was named ASU’s associate dean for student engagement in the College of Public Programs. Rodriguez recently completed a study of prosecution and sentencing practices of imprisoned drug offenders before and after Arizona’s mandatory drug treatment law was enacted.   read more
  • 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

Featured Story

Obama Finally Puts an End to Unpopular Secure Communities Program

Sunday, November 23, 2014
As part of broader immigration reforms, the Obama administration announced Thursday that the Secure Communities program, which mandated that local law enforcement submit biometric information on those suspected of being undocumented immigrants to the federal government, is going away. In its place will be the Priority Enforcement Program, which specifies that those held must be likely deportable or have a removal order in effect against them.   read more
Latest News

Top Stories

  • When George W. Bush Gave a Primetime Immigration Speech, Networks Covered it Live; Obama…Forget It

    Saturday, November 22, 2014
    “In 2006, Bush gave a 17-minute speech that was televised by all three networks that was about deploying 6,000 National Guard troops to the border. Obama is making a 10-minute speech that will have a vastly greater impact on the issue. And none of the networks are doing it,” said a senior administration official. The only broadcast networks that carried Obama's immigration talk live throughout the U.S. were Spanish language Univision and Telemundo.   read more
  • 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
  • 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

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?

  • 10 Years after 9/11 Commission Recommended it, FCC Finds Funds for National First Responder Communications Network

    Friday, November 21, 2014
    The commission recommended that the federal government create a way for police and firefighters from different jurisdictions to communicate with each other in a crisis—something they couldn’t do during the response to the 9/11 attacks. Congress authorized the FCC to reserve certain broadcast frequencies for public safety use. The FCC auctioned off a band of wireless frequencies to telecommunications companies, which netted more than $11 billion to establish the network, FirstNet.   read more
  • 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

Controversies

  • Another Fox Nominated to Guard Financial Chicken Coop

    Saturday, November 22, 2014
    From liberal Democrats to community bankers, opposition is lining up to President Obama’s choice for Under Secretary for Domestic Finance at the Treasury Dept.: Antonio Weiss. “Neither his background nor his professional experience makes him qualified to oversee consumer protection and domestic regulatory functions at the Treasury,” wrote Sen. Elizabeth Warren. She criticized Weiss for helping U.S. corporations relocate in countries that demand fewer taxes.   read more
  • House Republicans Choose White Men to Head 20 of 21 Committees

    Friday, November 21, 2014
    Oops, they did it again. The Republican Party, despite vowing to be more inclusive of women and minorities, has chosen white men to lead all but one House committee. Over in the Senate, all but one standing committee will be led by a man. “Republicans promised to be more welcoming to women—but passed over women to give every single new committee chairmanship to a white man,” Spokeswoman Emily Bittner at the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee said in a statement.   read more
  • Group Sues Border Patrol over Alleged Racial Profiling…in Ohio

    Friday, November 21, 2014
    The focus of the controversy is the Border Patrol’s Sandusky Bay Station, which has disproportionately targeted Hispanics since 2008, the plaintiffs say. Professor Kara Joyner says 85% of those arrested by Sandusky Bay agents have been Hispanic, even though the minority group makes up only 3% of the local population. Emails obtained as a result of the lawsuit show that Cory Bammer, who’s in charge of the Sandusky Bay office, has used racial slurs to refer to Latino workers.   read more

U.S. and the World

  • Images from Thousands of Americans’ Webcams are Streaming on Website in Russia

    Saturday, November 22, 2014
    More than 4,000 American cameras are listed on the website. In all, the site has webcam footage from people in 152 nations. Voyeurs can watch everything from babies in their cribs to college campuses to the insides of small businesses. The site also reveals the GPS location of each webcam along with links to a map. “[They claim] what they’re doing is entirely legal because they’ve hacked into cameras where the owners didn’t change the default password," said CBS.   read more
  • 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

Appointments and Resignations

  • Director of the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office: Who Is Michelle K. Lee?

    Saturday, November 22, 2014
    In 2003, Lee went to work for Google as its deputy general counsel and head of patents and patent strategy. She advised the search engine giant on its acquisition of YouTube, participation in the Nortel patent auction and on mobile phone patent issues. Lee left for government service in 2012 to head the newly opened Silicon Valley outpost of the USPTO.   read more
  • Director of the National Institute of Justice: Who Is Nancy Rodriguez?

    Saturday, November 22, 2014
    Since 1998, Rodriguez has been at Arizona State University (ASU). She first was an assistant professor in ASU’s School of Criminology and Criminal Justice and in 2004 was made associate professor in that school. In 2012, she was named ASU’s associate dean for student engagement in the College of Public Programs. Rodriguez recently completed a study of prosecution and sentencing practices of imprisoned drug offenders before and after Arizona’s mandatory drug treatment law was enacted.   read more
  • 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