Featured Story

Trump Administration Breaks Human Rights Tradition in Border Patrol Beating Death Case

Wednesday, August 16, 2017
Attorneys said the Trump administration will “lose badly” for failing to respond to a family’s petition regarding Border Patrol agents' killing of their loved one at the border. The family claims human rights abuses over the agents’ extrajudicial killing and an allegedly botched investigation by U.S. officials. The U.S. has remained silent – breaking decades of tradition of cooperating with the human rights agency IACHR, even with regard to abuse of prisoners kept at Guantanamo Bay.   read more
Latest News

Top Stories

  • Acting Administrator of the Federal Transit Administration: Who Is Carolyn Flowers?

    Friday, August 11, 2017
    Flowers joined FTA as a senior advisor in 2015, and was named acting administrator in 2016. After leaving FTA when Donald Trump assumed the presidency, Flowers joined Los Angeles-based engineering firm AECOM as senior VP and head of its transit practice. That move has generated ethics criticism, as AECOM is set to be a major beneficiary of a large ($647 million) grant for a California rail project that Flowers approved two days before resigning and two weeks before she went to work for AECOM.   read more
  • Chair of the Consumer Product Safety Commission: Who Is Ann Marie Buerkle?

    Thursday, August 10, 2017
    Appointed in 2013 to a Republican seat on the CPSC, Buerkle has been a consistent pro-industry vote for looser regulation and trusting businesses to enforce their own safety standards. In 2016, she was the only CPSC member to vote against the record $15 million civil penalty imposed on Gree Electric for selling humidifiers they knew were prone to catch fire. And she was the only commissioner to vote against even publishing a proposed rule addressing risks associated with portable generators.   read more
  • Under Secretary of Defense for Intelligence: Who Is Joseph D. Kernan?

    Wednesday, August 09, 2017
    President Trump's nomination of Joseph D. Kerman shows that his love affair with military officers shows no sign of abating. A former commander of Navy SEALS demolition teams, Kernan, in 2002, took part in the Battle of Takur Ghar against al-Qaeda forces in Afghanistan, considered the largest battle fought by the U.S. military in more than a decade. In 2009, then-Secretary of Defense Gates made Kernan his senior military assistant, and later deputy commander of the U.S. Southern Command.   read more

Unusual News

  • Should Panhandlers be Issued Licenses?

    Thursday, July 13, 2017
    Our idea about what it takes to regulate panhandling intelligently: Encourage “successful panhandling,” which brings together willing donors and willing solicitors; and discourage “unsuccessful panhandling,” which targets people who don’t even want to see solicitations, let alone give money to someone asking for help on the sidewalk. What’s wrong with most anti-panhandling ordinances is that they try to ban or discourage both kinds instead of promoting the former and discouraging the latter.   read more
  • Illegal to Talk about Yellow Traffic Lights in Oregon

    Sunday, April 30, 2017
    Jarlstrom sued the Portland suburb, claiming it programmed its yellow lights to be so brief that drivers didn’t have time to make it through an intersection before they turned red, putting drivers in danger. After the judge tossed his suit, a state agency launched a two-year investigation of Jarlstrom, then fined him $500 for publicly critiquing the mathematical formulas behind traffic light cameras without an engineering license. Jarlstrom calls that a prohibition on free speech.   read more
  • In Small Louisiana Town, Hundreds Routinely Jailed with No Evidence of Crime beyond a “Hunch”

    Friday, December 30, 2016
    A "staggering" number of town residents have been arrested based on a “hunch” or “feeling” that they were involved in criminal activity. Police strip-searched individuals suspected of committing crimes, placed them in cells without beds, toilets, or showers, and denied them communication with loved ones for days at a time. Citizens were “commonly detained for 72 hours or more without being provided an opportunity to contest their arrest and detention,” said the Justice Department report.   read more

Where is the Money Going?

  • 4 Programs that Both Obama and Trump Want to Eliminate

    Monday, May 01, 2017
    It sometimes seems that the differences between the priorities of the Republican Party and the Democratic Party are so great that they can’t agree on anything. Not so. Here are four programs that President Barack Obama’s last budget and President Donald Trump’s first budget proposed for complete elimination.   read more
  • Reducing Aircrafts’ Bathroom Size Increases Airline Profits and Decreases Passenger Safety

    Saturday, December 24, 2016
    AFA-CWA's Sara Nelson said that “doors of these restrooms open into each other, creating safety issues. There are a lot of injuries, with smashed fingers, doors hitting people, bumps and bruises.” She said the rear cabin restroom doors also create a barricade, limiting the ability of crew to help a passenger in trouble. Some parents with small kids say they can't help their kids in the toilet unless the door stays open. Large-size passengers are at a loss.   read more
  • Price of Antidote for Heroin Overdose Skyrockets as Much As 500%

    Friday, December 16, 2016
    The price of Narcan -- the lifesaving heroin-overdose antidote that revives the dying -- has skyrocketed, with one formulation rising more than 500% in two years. Although Narcan first hit the market in 1971, demand has skyrocketed as the opioid epidemic worsens. And with more potent opioids on the street -- such as fentanyl -- first responders, the largest consumers of the drug, are finding they need multiple doses to revive overdose victims.   read more

Controversies

  • Bears Under Fire in Florida

    Friday, April 21, 2017
    “2015 was a deadly year for the Florida black bear. Collisions with vehicles killed at least 169 ... wildlife managers killed at least 108...that were considered nuisances or threats to human safety, at least 9 were killed illegally, and in October hunters killed at least 304 Florida black bears in the first Florida black bear hunt in 20 years,” the petition stated. The 2016 hunt was “voted down due to overwhelming public outcry against the barbaric and unnecessary hunt,” said an advocacy group.   read more
  • 97 Corporations and 16 State Attorneys General Join Court Fight against Trump Travel Ban

    Tuesday, February 07, 2017
    “President Trump’s executive order is unconstitutional, unlawful, and fundamentally un-American...[and] undermines our states’ families, economies, and institutions," said New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman. High-ranking U.S. security officials, including Madeleine Albright, Leon Panetta and John Kerry signed a declaration arguing the ban endangers U.S. citizens. “We view the order as one that ultimately undermines the national security of the United States...” the officials said.   read more
  • Texas Judge Halts Federal Transgender Health Protections

    Sunday, January 01, 2017
    "Judge O'Connor's conclusion that transgender people and persons who have had abortions are somehow excepted from protection is deeply troubling, legally specious, and morally repugnant," said TLDEF's Ezra Young. Many transgender people expect Trump as president to abandon or weaken the transgender protection efforts pursued by the Obama administration. He has declined to repudiate a divisive North Carolina law that restricts transgender people's bathroom access.   read more

U.S. and the World

  • Which Countries have been Killing Americans? The Trump 7 vs. the Rest of the World

    Sunday, January 29, 2017
    These are the seven countries from which President Donald Trump halted entry to the United States: Iran, Iraq, Libya, Somalia, Sudan, Syria and Yemen. Including all terrorist acts committed by terrorists who were foreign-born or whose parents were born abroad, the total number of Americans killed by terrorists from the Trump 7 is…zero. On the other hand, terrorists from other countries have killed 2, 689 Americans. Here are some examples.   read more
  • Trump Proceeds with Development of Luxury Resorts Tied to Powerful Indonesian Political Figures

    Sunday, January 01, 2017
    Even as Trump says he'll end foreign business deals, he's taking on projects involving powerful political figures. They include a politician accused of trying to extort billions of dollars from a U.S. mining company, a top shareholder in that company, and a billionaire running for national office. “You could have two world leaders that are business partners,” said a Bush lawyer. “It makes it almost impossible to conduct diplomacy in an evenhanded manner." Said Trump: "It's not a big deal."   read more
  • U.S. Program to seize Assets Stolen by Corrupt Foreign Leaders May be undermined by Trump’s Global Business Interests

    Sunday, January 01, 2017
    It's been a 6-year U.S. effort to seize $3 billion in assets of foreign officials who use their countries’ wealth to enrich themselves. If Trump doesn't separate his business from politics, it will be tougher for the Justice Dept to criticize foreign leaders who have gained wealth based on their government ties. "It reduces U.S. leverage because of the perceived hypocrisy. The moral case is drastically undermined,” said prof. Stephenson.   read more

Appointments and Resignations

  • Director of the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI): Who Is Christopher Wray?

    Thursday, August 03, 2017
    On August 1, 2017, the Senate's 92-5 vote to confirm Wray reflected bipartisan confidence in his professed commitment to independence--a concern of lawmakers in the wake of the James Comey firing and Trump’s alleged attempts to influence the Russia investigation. Wray promised that any such attempts under his watch would be dealt with “very sternly,” and that he'd “never allow the FBI’s work to be driven by anything other than the facts, the law and the impartial pursuit of justice. Period.”   read more
  • Director of the Defense Logistics Agency: Who Is Darrell K. Williams?

    Thursday, July 27, 2017
    No sooner had Williams taken charge of DLA than he was presented with a damaging report by the GAO about his agency. Williams, who has worked in Army logistics his entire career, has said that his three most important standards are “Lead by example, take care of soldiers and families, and mission accomplishment. I talk about taking care of soldiers and families [first] ...because, I still believe…that if you take care of the troops, the mission will happen. The reverse is not always true.”   read more
  • Director of the Domestic Nuclear Detection Office: Who Is Jim McDonnell?

    Thursday, July 20, 2017
    Following the September 11, 2001, terrorist attacks, McDonnell took a job with the U.S. Dept of Energy as the founding director of the Office of Energy Assurance, responsible for protecting the nation’s energy infrastructure. In 2002, McDonnell began working for the Homeland Security Transition Planning Office in the White House, helping to plan the newly created Dept of Homeland Security. He got into a bit of trouble at DHS, however, and was investigated for loose contracting practices.   read more

Featured Story

Trump Administration Breaks Human Rights Tradition in Border Patrol Beating Death Case

Wednesday, August 16, 2017
Attorneys said the Trump administration will “lose badly” for failing to respond to a family’s petition regarding Border Patrol agents' killing of their loved one at the border. The family claims human rights abuses over the agents’ extrajudicial killing and an allegedly botched investigation by U.S. officials. The U.S. has remained silent – breaking decades of tradition of cooperating with the human rights agency IACHR, even with regard to abuse of prisoners kept at Guantanamo Bay.   read more
Latest News

Top Stories

  • Acting Administrator of the Federal Transit Administration: Who Is Carolyn Flowers?

    Friday, August 11, 2017
    Flowers joined FTA as a senior advisor in 2015, and was named acting administrator in 2016. After leaving FTA when Donald Trump assumed the presidency, Flowers joined Los Angeles-based engineering firm AECOM as senior VP and head of its transit practice. That move has generated ethics criticism, as AECOM is set to be a major beneficiary of a large ($647 million) grant for a California rail project that Flowers approved two days before resigning and two weeks before she went to work for AECOM.   read more
  • Chair of the Consumer Product Safety Commission: Who Is Ann Marie Buerkle?

    Thursday, August 10, 2017
    Appointed in 2013 to a Republican seat on the CPSC, Buerkle has been a consistent pro-industry vote for looser regulation and trusting businesses to enforce their own safety standards. In 2016, she was the only CPSC member to vote against the record $15 million civil penalty imposed on Gree Electric for selling humidifiers they knew were prone to catch fire. And she was the only commissioner to vote against even publishing a proposed rule addressing risks associated with portable generators.   read more
  • Under Secretary of Defense for Intelligence: Who Is Joseph D. Kernan?

    Wednesday, August 09, 2017
    President Trump's nomination of Joseph D. Kerman shows that his love affair with military officers shows no sign of abating. A former commander of Navy SEALS demolition teams, Kernan, in 2002, took part in the Battle of Takur Ghar against al-Qaeda forces in Afghanistan, considered the largest battle fought by the U.S. military in more than a decade. In 2009, then-Secretary of Defense Gates made Kernan his senior military assistant, and later deputy commander of the U.S. Southern Command.   read more

Unusual News

  • Should Panhandlers be Issued Licenses?

    Thursday, July 13, 2017
    Our idea about what it takes to regulate panhandling intelligently: Encourage “successful panhandling,” which brings together willing donors and willing solicitors; and discourage “unsuccessful panhandling,” which targets people who don’t even want to see solicitations, let alone give money to someone asking for help on the sidewalk. What’s wrong with most anti-panhandling ordinances is that they try to ban or discourage both kinds instead of promoting the former and discouraging the latter.   read more
  • Illegal to Talk about Yellow Traffic Lights in Oregon

    Sunday, April 30, 2017
    Jarlstrom sued the Portland suburb, claiming it programmed its yellow lights to be so brief that drivers didn’t have time to make it through an intersection before they turned red, putting drivers in danger. After the judge tossed his suit, a state agency launched a two-year investigation of Jarlstrom, then fined him $500 for publicly critiquing the mathematical formulas behind traffic light cameras without an engineering license. Jarlstrom calls that a prohibition on free speech.   read more
  • In Small Louisiana Town, Hundreds Routinely Jailed with No Evidence of Crime beyond a “Hunch”

    Friday, December 30, 2016
    A "staggering" number of town residents have been arrested based on a “hunch” or “feeling” that they were involved in criminal activity. Police strip-searched individuals suspected of committing crimes, placed them in cells without beds, toilets, or showers, and denied them communication with loved ones for days at a time. Citizens were “commonly detained for 72 hours or more without being provided an opportunity to contest their arrest and detention,” said the Justice Department report.   read more

Where is the Money Going?

  • 4 Programs that Both Obama and Trump Want to Eliminate

    Monday, May 01, 2017
    It sometimes seems that the differences between the priorities of the Republican Party and the Democratic Party are so great that they can’t agree on anything. Not so. Here are four programs that President Barack Obama’s last budget and President Donald Trump’s first budget proposed for complete elimination.   read more
  • Reducing Aircrafts’ Bathroom Size Increases Airline Profits and Decreases Passenger Safety

    Saturday, December 24, 2016
    AFA-CWA's Sara Nelson said that “doors of these restrooms open into each other, creating safety issues. There are a lot of injuries, with smashed fingers, doors hitting people, bumps and bruises.” She said the rear cabin restroom doors also create a barricade, limiting the ability of crew to help a passenger in trouble. Some parents with small kids say they can't help their kids in the toilet unless the door stays open. Large-size passengers are at a loss.   read more
  • Price of Antidote for Heroin Overdose Skyrockets as Much As 500%

    Friday, December 16, 2016
    The price of Narcan -- the lifesaving heroin-overdose antidote that revives the dying -- has skyrocketed, with one formulation rising more than 500% in two years. Although Narcan first hit the market in 1971, demand has skyrocketed as the opioid epidemic worsens. And with more potent opioids on the street -- such as fentanyl -- first responders, the largest consumers of the drug, are finding they need multiple doses to revive overdose victims.   read more

Controversies

  • Bears Under Fire in Florida

    Friday, April 21, 2017
    “2015 was a deadly year for the Florida black bear. Collisions with vehicles killed at least 169 ... wildlife managers killed at least 108...that were considered nuisances or threats to human safety, at least 9 were killed illegally, and in October hunters killed at least 304 Florida black bears in the first Florida black bear hunt in 20 years,” the petition stated. The 2016 hunt was “voted down due to overwhelming public outcry against the barbaric and unnecessary hunt,” said an advocacy group.   read more
  • 97 Corporations and 16 State Attorneys General Join Court Fight against Trump Travel Ban

    Tuesday, February 07, 2017
    “President Trump’s executive order is unconstitutional, unlawful, and fundamentally un-American...[and] undermines our states’ families, economies, and institutions," said New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman. High-ranking U.S. security officials, including Madeleine Albright, Leon Panetta and John Kerry signed a declaration arguing the ban endangers U.S. citizens. “We view the order as one that ultimately undermines the national security of the United States...” the officials said.   read more
  • Texas Judge Halts Federal Transgender Health Protections

    Sunday, January 01, 2017
    "Judge O'Connor's conclusion that transgender people and persons who have had abortions are somehow excepted from protection is deeply troubling, legally specious, and morally repugnant," said TLDEF's Ezra Young. Many transgender people expect Trump as president to abandon or weaken the transgender protection efforts pursued by the Obama administration. He has declined to repudiate a divisive North Carolina law that restricts transgender people's bathroom access.   read more

U.S. and the World

  • Which Countries have been Killing Americans? The Trump 7 vs. the Rest of the World

    Sunday, January 29, 2017
    These are the seven countries from which President Donald Trump halted entry to the United States: Iran, Iraq, Libya, Somalia, Sudan, Syria and Yemen. Including all terrorist acts committed by terrorists who were foreign-born or whose parents were born abroad, the total number of Americans killed by terrorists from the Trump 7 is…zero. On the other hand, terrorists from other countries have killed 2, 689 Americans. Here are some examples.   read more
  • Trump Proceeds with Development of Luxury Resorts Tied to Powerful Indonesian Political Figures

    Sunday, January 01, 2017
    Even as Trump says he'll end foreign business deals, he's taking on projects involving powerful political figures. They include a politician accused of trying to extort billions of dollars from a U.S. mining company, a top shareholder in that company, and a billionaire running for national office. “You could have two world leaders that are business partners,” said a Bush lawyer. “It makes it almost impossible to conduct diplomacy in an evenhanded manner." Said Trump: "It's not a big deal."   read more
  • U.S. Program to seize Assets Stolen by Corrupt Foreign Leaders May be undermined by Trump’s Global Business Interests

    Sunday, January 01, 2017
    It's been a 6-year U.S. effort to seize $3 billion in assets of foreign officials who use their countries’ wealth to enrich themselves. If Trump doesn't separate his business from politics, it will be tougher for the Justice Dept to criticize foreign leaders who have gained wealth based on their government ties. "It reduces U.S. leverage because of the perceived hypocrisy. The moral case is drastically undermined,” said prof. Stephenson.   read more

Appointments and Resignations

  • Director of the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI): Who Is Christopher Wray?

    Thursday, August 03, 2017
    On August 1, 2017, the Senate's 92-5 vote to confirm Wray reflected bipartisan confidence in his professed commitment to independence--a concern of lawmakers in the wake of the James Comey firing and Trump’s alleged attempts to influence the Russia investigation. Wray promised that any such attempts under his watch would be dealt with “very sternly,” and that he'd “never allow the FBI’s work to be driven by anything other than the facts, the law and the impartial pursuit of justice. Period.”   read more
  • Director of the Defense Logistics Agency: Who Is Darrell K. Williams?

    Thursday, July 27, 2017
    No sooner had Williams taken charge of DLA than he was presented with a damaging report by the GAO about his agency. Williams, who has worked in Army logistics his entire career, has said that his three most important standards are “Lead by example, take care of soldiers and families, and mission accomplishment. I talk about taking care of soldiers and families [first] ...because, I still believe…that if you take care of the troops, the mission will happen. The reverse is not always true.”   read more
  • Director of the Domestic Nuclear Detection Office: Who Is Jim McDonnell?

    Thursday, July 20, 2017
    Following the September 11, 2001, terrorist attacks, McDonnell took a job with the U.S. Dept of Energy as the founding director of the Office of Energy Assurance, responsible for protecting the nation’s energy infrastructure. In 2002, McDonnell began working for the Homeland Security Transition Planning Office in the White House, helping to plan the newly created Dept of Homeland Security. He got into a bit of trouble at DHS, however, and was investigated for loose contracting practices.   read more