Featured Story

Leaked Trade Deal Documents Show U.S. Weakened Environmental Protections, Gave Corporate Lobbyists More Say

Tuesday, May 03, 2016
“These leaked documents confirm what we have been saying for a long time: TTIP would put corporations at the center of policymaking, to the detriment of environment and public health,” said Greenpeace's Jorgo Riss. “We have known that the EU position was bad, now we see the U.S. position is even worse.” The Sierra Club said it was dismayed that the words “climate change” were “not mentioned once in the 248 pages.”   read more
Latest News

Top Stories

  • New Jersey Loses a Cash-Cow Taxpayer

    Monday, May 02, 2016
    Last month, during a routine review of New Jersey’s finances, one could sense the alarm. The state’s wealthiest resident had reportedly “shifted his personal and business domicile to another state,” Frank W. Haines III, New Jersey’s legislative budget and finance officer, told a state Senate committee. If the news were true, New Jersey would lose so much in tax revenue that “we may be facing an unusual degree of income tax forecast risk,” Haines said.   read more
  • Bakken Oil Field Responsible for 2% of World’s Ethane Pollution

    Monday, May 02, 2016
    An oil and natural gas field in the western United States is largely responsible for a global uptick of the air pollutant ethane, according to a new study. The team led by researchers at the University of Michigan found that fossil fuel production at the Bakken Formation in North Dakota and Montana is emitting roughly 2% of the ethane detected in the Earth's atmosphere.   read more
  • Supreme Court Fails to Halt “Discriminatory” Texas Voter ID Law

    Sunday, May 01, 2016
    The Supreme Court on Friday rejected an emergency appeal to stop Texas from enforcing its challenged voter ID law. But the court said it could revisit the issue as the November elections approach. The law has been in effect for recent elections, even after a trial judge struck it down in 2014 and an appellate panel found last year that the law had a discriminatory effect on minority voters.   read more

Unusual News

  • Senator Says Spying Billboards Are Invasion of Privacy, Wants Investigation

    Monday, May 02, 2016
    A U.S. senator is calling for a federal investigation into an outdoor advertising company’s latest effort to target billboard ads to specific consumers. Sen. Charles Schumer (D-New York) has dubbed Clear Channel Outdoor Americas’ so-called RADAR program “spying billboards,” warning the service may violate privacy rights by tracking people’s cell phone data via the ad space.   read more
  • Seattle’s Garbage-Searching Policy Ruled Unconstitutional

    Sunday, May 01, 2016
    Seattle’s warrantless searches of garbage to enforce its recycling law is unconstitutional, a judge ruled. Though Seattle has one of the highest recycling and composting rates in the nation, the city passed a law in September 2014 that fines residents for discarding food or recyclables in their personal garbage bins. Garbage collectors and Seattle Public Utilities inspectors enforced the law by searching garbage cans without suspicion or warrants.   read more
  • Guided Missiles Missing from Guided Missile Containers Found Floating in Pacific Ocean

    Monday, April 25, 2016
    Clinton Cook Sr. tells Anchorage television KTUU he was on a boat that found one of the heavy, hard plastic containers. They were going to pass it, but noticed the unusual shape, about 8-feet by 2-feet. Troopers say an explosives ordinance team helped determine the boxes were "void of their original contents."   read more

Where is the Money Going?

  • Debt Collectors’ Dream: Nebraska makes it Easy to Go after Poor for Unpaid Medical Debts

    Friday, April 29, 2016
    Suing someone in Nebraska is cheaper and easier. The cost to file a lawsuit in that state is $45. About 79,000 debt collection lawsuits were filed in Nebraska courts in 2013 alone. Suing became an irresistible bargain for debt collectors. It’s a deal collectors have fought to keep, opposing even the slightest increase. For debtors, unaffordable debts turn into unaffordable garnishments, destroying already tight budgets and sending them into a loop.   read more
  • Loophole in Enforcement of “Living Wage” Laws: State Governments Kept in Dark on Compliance

    Wednesday, April 27, 2016
    Evidence of compliance is plain to see on most pay stubs, but state and federal laws don't require employers to routinely provide this crucial detail to the government. Without this data, wage enforcers who are empowered to investigate generally wait until a worker complains. And many workers — especially those in precarious situations — fear they'll be fired if they speak up. "It's pretty shocking how common the violations are," said Donna Levitt, a labor enforcement director in San Francisco.   read more
  • Health Law Seen as Reducing Medical Debt of Low-Income Americans

    Monday, April 25, 2016
    One in five Americans still struggle to pay a medical bill, even after the health law. But studies show the number has declined as insurance coverage has expanded. Also, the lower debt burden for the newly insured indirectly helps others. Insurance coverage means more bills are paid to doctors and hospitals — but also to banks, utilities and landlords. That receives less attention than the health law’s more obvious effects on access to health care. But they're an important effect of the law.   read more

Controversies

  • Mental Health Latest Casualty of Flint Water Poisoning Crisis

    Monday, May 02, 2016
    Health care workers are scrambling to help the people here cope with what many fear will be chronic consequences of the city’s water contamination crisis: profound stress, worry, depression and guilt. Uncertainty about their own health and the health of their children, the open-ended nature of the crisis, and raw anger over government’s role in both causing the lead contamination and trying to remedy it, are all taking their toll on Flint’s residents.   read more
  • Birmingham Officials Claim Discrimination by White Lawmakers in Minimum Wage Restriction

    Monday, May 02, 2016
    White GOP state lawmakers in Alabama blocked the Birmingham City Council from raising the minimum wage for its mostly black population, a lawsuit claims. In a federal complaint filed on Thursday, the NAACP, Greater Birmingham Ministries, and two black fast-food workers, claim the state lawmakers have repeatedly pre-empted any local regulation of matters touching upon private sector employment.   read more
  • Obama Promotes Smart Guns and Expanded Sharing of Mental Health Records with Background Checks

    Sunday, May 01, 2016
    President Barack Obama announced new steps Friday to help curb gun violence, including by identifying the requirements that “smart guns” would have to meet for law enforcement agencies to buy and use them as well as sharing mental health records with the federal background check system. The president also called for more attention to be paid to the mentally ill.   read more

U.S. and the World

  • Lawsuit Seeks Release of CIA Documents on U.S. Soldiers’ Exposure to Iraqi Chemical Weapons Made with U.S. Help

    Friday, April 29, 2016
    Now that the U.S. government has acknowledged that Western-built chemical weapons sickened U.S. soldiers in Iraq, The New York Times says the CIA can no longer deny access to records about it. The Pentagon acknowledged that more than 600 U.S. soldiers had been exposed to sarin in Iraq. The CDC links the chemicals to burns, blisters, infertility, eye damage, scarring of the respiratory system, and cancer risk. The military denied medical care to soldiers who were wounded by these weapons.   read more
  • Decades of Increased Enforcement at U.S.-Mexico Border has Backfired, Preventing Immigrants from Returning Home

    Friday, April 29, 2016
    The rapid escalation of border enforcement over the past three decades has backfired as a strategy to control undocumented immigration between Mexico and the U.S., according to new research that suggests further militarization of the border is a waste of money. "Rather than stopping undocumented Mexicans from coming to the U.S., greater enforcement stopped them from going home," said one of the researchers. "Greater enforcement also increased the risk of death and injury during border crossing."   read more
  • Innocent Canadian Charged as Terrorist Blames U.S. for Forcing Canada to Increase Terrorism Prosecutions

    Wednesday, April 27, 2016
    De Jaray says she was "collateral damage" in Canada's attempt to curry favor with the U.S. "Canada began targeting its own citizens in order to create the perception that Canada was 'tough on crime' and, in particular, terrorism, to win favor with the United States and secure contracts for military goods and services," the complaint states. "Ms. De Jaray lost her home, her business, her savings, her health... Ms. de Jaray's life was destroyed...without evidence and without reason."   read more

Appointments and Resignations

  • First Woman Appointed to Lead Warfighting Command

    Sunday, May 01, 2016
    The Senate has confirmed an Air Force general to be the first female officer to lead one of the military’s warfighting commands. By voice vote late Thursday, the Senate approved Gen. Lori Robinson to be commander of U.S. Northern Command. The command is responsible for preventing attacks against the United States.   read more
  • Ambassador to Slovakia: Who Is Adam Sterling?

    Sunday, March 27, 2016
    Before joining the State Dept in 1990, Sterling worked in New York City as a liaison officer in the mayor’s office to the U.N. and consular corps. His first Foreign Service posting was in Peru. In 1993, Sterling was sent to Belgium, but returned to the U.S. in 1995 to be a desk officer for Central Asian affairs, a region he would focus on through much of his career. Sterling was assigned in 1998 as a political officer in Kazakhstan, then in 2001 took a similar post in Tel Aviv, Israel.   read more
  • Djibouti’s Ambassador to the United States: Who Is Mohamed Siad Doualeh?

    Tuesday, March 22, 2016
    Before joining the Foreign Ministry, he was a journalist at the newspaper La Nation in Djibouti. Doualeh was made ambassador to Switzerland, the World Trade Organization and the United Nations agencies based in Geneva in 2006, posts he held until coming to Washington. A music enthusiast, Doualeh is a founding member of the cultural association ADAC, longtime organizer of "The Fest'horn," the largest music festival dedicated to peace in the Horn of Africa.   read more

Featured Story

Leaked Trade Deal Documents Show U.S. Weakened Environmental Protections, Gave Corporate Lobbyists More Say

Tuesday, May 03, 2016
“These leaked documents confirm what we have been saying for a long time: TTIP would put corporations at the center of policymaking, to the detriment of environment and public health,” said Greenpeace's Jorgo Riss. “We have known that the EU position was bad, now we see the U.S. position is even worse.” The Sierra Club said it was dismayed that the words “climate change” were “not mentioned once in the 248 pages.”   read more
Latest News

Top Stories

  • New Jersey Loses a Cash-Cow Taxpayer

    Monday, May 02, 2016
    Last month, during a routine review of New Jersey’s finances, one could sense the alarm. The state’s wealthiest resident had reportedly “shifted his personal and business domicile to another state,” Frank W. Haines III, New Jersey’s legislative budget and finance officer, told a state Senate committee. If the news were true, New Jersey would lose so much in tax revenue that “we may be facing an unusual degree of income tax forecast risk,” Haines said.   read more
  • Bakken Oil Field Responsible for 2% of World’s Ethane Pollution

    Monday, May 02, 2016
    An oil and natural gas field in the western United States is largely responsible for a global uptick of the air pollutant ethane, according to a new study. The team led by researchers at the University of Michigan found that fossil fuel production at the Bakken Formation in North Dakota and Montana is emitting roughly 2% of the ethane detected in the Earth's atmosphere.   read more
  • Supreme Court Fails to Halt “Discriminatory” Texas Voter ID Law

    Sunday, May 01, 2016
    The Supreme Court on Friday rejected an emergency appeal to stop Texas from enforcing its challenged voter ID law. But the court said it could revisit the issue as the November elections approach. The law has been in effect for recent elections, even after a trial judge struck it down in 2014 and an appellate panel found last year that the law had a discriminatory effect on minority voters.   read more

Unusual News

  • Senator Says Spying Billboards Are Invasion of Privacy, Wants Investigation

    Monday, May 02, 2016
    A U.S. senator is calling for a federal investigation into an outdoor advertising company’s latest effort to target billboard ads to specific consumers. Sen. Charles Schumer (D-New York) has dubbed Clear Channel Outdoor Americas’ so-called RADAR program “spying billboards,” warning the service may violate privacy rights by tracking people’s cell phone data via the ad space.   read more
  • Seattle’s Garbage-Searching Policy Ruled Unconstitutional

    Sunday, May 01, 2016
    Seattle’s warrantless searches of garbage to enforce its recycling law is unconstitutional, a judge ruled. Though Seattle has one of the highest recycling and composting rates in the nation, the city passed a law in September 2014 that fines residents for discarding food or recyclables in their personal garbage bins. Garbage collectors and Seattle Public Utilities inspectors enforced the law by searching garbage cans without suspicion or warrants.   read more
  • Guided Missiles Missing from Guided Missile Containers Found Floating in Pacific Ocean

    Monday, April 25, 2016
    Clinton Cook Sr. tells Anchorage television KTUU he was on a boat that found one of the heavy, hard plastic containers. They were going to pass it, but noticed the unusual shape, about 8-feet by 2-feet. Troopers say an explosives ordinance team helped determine the boxes were "void of their original contents."   read more

Where is the Money Going?

  • Debt Collectors’ Dream: Nebraska makes it Easy to Go after Poor for Unpaid Medical Debts

    Friday, April 29, 2016
    Suing someone in Nebraska is cheaper and easier. The cost to file a lawsuit in that state is $45. About 79,000 debt collection lawsuits were filed in Nebraska courts in 2013 alone. Suing became an irresistible bargain for debt collectors. It’s a deal collectors have fought to keep, opposing even the slightest increase. For debtors, unaffordable debts turn into unaffordable garnishments, destroying already tight budgets and sending them into a loop.   read more
  • Loophole in Enforcement of “Living Wage” Laws: State Governments Kept in Dark on Compliance

    Wednesday, April 27, 2016
    Evidence of compliance is plain to see on most pay stubs, but state and federal laws don't require employers to routinely provide this crucial detail to the government. Without this data, wage enforcers who are empowered to investigate generally wait until a worker complains. And many workers — especially those in precarious situations — fear they'll be fired if they speak up. "It's pretty shocking how common the violations are," said Donna Levitt, a labor enforcement director in San Francisco.   read more
  • Health Law Seen as Reducing Medical Debt of Low-Income Americans

    Monday, April 25, 2016
    One in five Americans still struggle to pay a medical bill, even after the health law. But studies show the number has declined as insurance coverage has expanded. Also, the lower debt burden for the newly insured indirectly helps others. Insurance coverage means more bills are paid to doctors and hospitals — but also to banks, utilities and landlords. That receives less attention than the health law’s more obvious effects on access to health care. But they're an important effect of the law.   read more

Controversies

  • Mental Health Latest Casualty of Flint Water Poisoning Crisis

    Monday, May 02, 2016
    Health care workers are scrambling to help the people here cope with what many fear will be chronic consequences of the city’s water contamination crisis: profound stress, worry, depression and guilt. Uncertainty about their own health and the health of their children, the open-ended nature of the crisis, and raw anger over government’s role in both causing the lead contamination and trying to remedy it, are all taking their toll on Flint’s residents.   read more
  • Birmingham Officials Claim Discrimination by White Lawmakers in Minimum Wage Restriction

    Monday, May 02, 2016
    White GOP state lawmakers in Alabama blocked the Birmingham City Council from raising the minimum wage for its mostly black population, a lawsuit claims. In a federal complaint filed on Thursday, the NAACP, Greater Birmingham Ministries, and two black fast-food workers, claim the state lawmakers have repeatedly pre-empted any local regulation of matters touching upon private sector employment.   read more
  • Obama Promotes Smart Guns and Expanded Sharing of Mental Health Records with Background Checks

    Sunday, May 01, 2016
    President Barack Obama announced new steps Friday to help curb gun violence, including by identifying the requirements that “smart guns” would have to meet for law enforcement agencies to buy and use them as well as sharing mental health records with the federal background check system. The president also called for more attention to be paid to the mentally ill.   read more

U.S. and the World

  • Lawsuit Seeks Release of CIA Documents on U.S. Soldiers’ Exposure to Iraqi Chemical Weapons Made with U.S. Help

    Friday, April 29, 2016
    Now that the U.S. government has acknowledged that Western-built chemical weapons sickened U.S. soldiers in Iraq, The New York Times says the CIA can no longer deny access to records about it. The Pentagon acknowledged that more than 600 U.S. soldiers had been exposed to sarin in Iraq. The CDC links the chemicals to burns, blisters, infertility, eye damage, scarring of the respiratory system, and cancer risk. The military denied medical care to soldiers who were wounded by these weapons.   read more
  • Decades of Increased Enforcement at U.S.-Mexico Border has Backfired, Preventing Immigrants from Returning Home

    Friday, April 29, 2016
    The rapid escalation of border enforcement over the past three decades has backfired as a strategy to control undocumented immigration between Mexico and the U.S., according to new research that suggests further militarization of the border is a waste of money. "Rather than stopping undocumented Mexicans from coming to the U.S., greater enforcement stopped them from going home," said one of the researchers. "Greater enforcement also increased the risk of death and injury during border crossing."   read more
  • Innocent Canadian Charged as Terrorist Blames U.S. for Forcing Canada to Increase Terrorism Prosecutions

    Wednesday, April 27, 2016
    De Jaray says she was "collateral damage" in Canada's attempt to curry favor with the U.S. "Canada began targeting its own citizens in order to create the perception that Canada was 'tough on crime' and, in particular, terrorism, to win favor with the United States and secure contracts for military goods and services," the complaint states. "Ms. De Jaray lost her home, her business, her savings, her health... Ms. de Jaray's life was destroyed...without evidence and without reason."   read more

Appointments and Resignations

  • First Woman Appointed to Lead Warfighting Command

    Sunday, May 01, 2016
    The Senate has confirmed an Air Force general to be the first female officer to lead one of the military’s warfighting commands. By voice vote late Thursday, the Senate approved Gen. Lori Robinson to be commander of U.S. Northern Command. The command is responsible for preventing attacks against the United States.   read more
  • Ambassador to Slovakia: Who Is Adam Sterling?

    Sunday, March 27, 2016
    Before joining the State Dept in 1990, Sterling worked in New York City as a liaison officer in the mayor’s office to the U.N. and consular corps. His first Foreign Service posting was in Peru. In 1993, Sterling was sent to Belgium, but returned to the U.S. in 1995 to be a desk officer for Central Asian affairs, a region he would focus on through much of his career. Sterling was assigned in 1998 as a political officer in Kazakhstan, then in 2001 took a similar post in Tel Aviv, Israel.   read more
  • Djibouti’s Ambassador to the United States: Who Is Mohamed Siad Doualeh?

    Tuesday, March 22, 2016
    Before joining the Foreign Ministry, he was a journalist at the newspaper La Nation in Djibouti. Doualeh was made ambassador to Switzerland, the World Trade Organization and the United Nations agencies based in Geneva in 2006, posts he held until coming to Washington. A music enthusiast, Doualeh is a founding member of the cultural association ADAC, longtime organizer of "The Fest'horn," the largest music festival dedicated to peace in the Horn of Africa.   read more