Featured Story

Acting Chair of the U.S. Commission on Civil Rights: Who Is Patricia Timmons-Goodson?

Tuesday, April 25, 2017
In 2016, President Barack Obama nominated Timmons-Goodson to the U.S. District Court in eastern North Carolina. She would have been the first African-American to serve in that district, which includes a significant black population. The seat had been vacant since 2006, but Timmons-Goodson’s nomination was blocked by Republican Senator Richard Burr. It was the second time Burr had blocked an Obama nominee for that seat; the first nominee was also a black woman, Jennifer May-Parker.   read more
Latest News

Top Stories

  • Executive Director of the United States Botanic Garden: Who Is Ari Novy?

    Thursday, April 20, 2017
    From 2008 to 2009, Novy was program director of the Landscape Architecture Study Abroad program at Rutgers, where he organized and taught a course on Italian gardens and landscapes in Italy. In 2010, he researched the prevalence of environmental chemical biomarkers in humans and helped plan a sustainability-focused garden for the U.S. Botanic Garden. He later developed molecular marker systems to track germplasm resources in a pharmacologically active plant.   read more
  • Chairman of the Railroad Retirement Board: Who Is Tom Kotarac?

    Wednesday, April 19, 2017
    As adviser to Sen. Dick Durbin, Kotarac scored a minor victory when he learned that Sen. John McCain planned to amend a spending bill to kill funding for Illinois bike trails. Kotarac was able to alert Durbin to the threat and the bike trails, including one running through Chicago’s southern neighborhoods, were saved. Some of the bigger bills Kotarac worked on include those improving railroad infrastructure and service and water resources.   read more
  • Chairperson of the AbilityOne Commission: Who Is James Kesteloot?

    Tuesday, April 18, 2017
    Kesteloot was made CLB’s executive director in 1996 and added the title of president to his resume in 2002. One of his challenges there was the dropoff in business from CLB’s largest customer. The federal government formerly accounted for 90% of the organization’s business in clocks. Regulations changed, allowing departments to purchase clocks locally, such as from big-box stores. Kesteloot retired from CLB in 2009.   read more

Unusual News

  • 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
  • Workplace Deaths in 2015 Hit 6-Year High

    Sunday, December 25, 2016
    There were 2,054 transportation-related episodes that resulted in fatalities, accounting for about 42 percent of all workplace deaths. As a result, 745 drivers of heavy and tractor-trailer trucks died because of injuries at work last year, more than any other major civilian occupation. Falls, slips and trips made up the next most common major cause of workplace fatalities, resulting in 800 deaths last year. Men accounted for all but 7 percent of the total workplace deaths in 2015.   read more
  • What’s the Most Annoying Word in America?

    Sunday, December 25, 2016
    The pollsters offered up five options for most annoying word or phrase: "Whatever," ''No offense, but," ''Ya know, right," ''I can't even" and "huge." "No offense, but" is second with 20 percent. In third place is, "You know, right," which is irksome to 14 percent of people, tied with "I can't even." ''Huge" grates on the nerves of 8 percent. "Whatever" is losing some steam, though. Last year it topped the list at 43 percent.   read more

Where is the Money Going?

  • 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
  • Trump Claims His Support for Dakota Pipeline is Unrelated to His Stock Ownership in Project Participants

    Monday, December 05, 2016
    President-elect Donald Trump supports completion of the disputed Dakota Access oil pipeline in the Midwest, based on policy and not the billionaire businessman's investments in a partnership building the $3.8 billion pipeline, according to an aide's memo. Trump's most recent federal disclosure forms show he owned a small amount of stock in Texas-based Energy Transfer Partners, the pipeline builder, and at least $100,000 in Phillips 66, an energy company that owns one-quarter of the pipeline.   read more

Controversies

  • 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
  • State Lawmakers’ Skimpy 1-Sentence Draft Bills Often Mislead Public

    Saturday, December 31, 2016
    Some lawmakers and advocacy groups are critical of these vague and skimpy one-sentence bill drafts, saying they can shut out the public from important policy discussions, be used as a bait-and-switch tactic or lead to unintended consequences. Several lawmakers said that the finished product doesn't always get another public hearing. The National Conference of State Legislatures criticized such skeleton bills decades ago and in 1996 identified a dozen or so states that allowed them.   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 National Intelligence: Who Is Dan Coats?

    Friday, April 07, 2017
    In 2014, Coats fought for tough sanctions against Russia after its invasion and annexation of Crimea. He was a member of the secretive The Fellowship (or The Family), a Christian group that includes many conservative lawmakers and has promoted a fundamentalist agenda in the U.S. and around the world, including anti-gay laws in African countries. Coats fought the idea of gays serving openly in the U.S. military in the 1990s and once called same-sex marriage a sign of “deep moral confusion.”   read more
  • Director of the Foreign Service Institute: Who Is Nancy McEldowney?

    Wednesday, March 08, 2017
    She went to Bulgaria as ambassador in August 2008. Her stay there only lasted a year, however. In 2009, she was called back to Washington by then-Secretary of State Hillary Clinton to serve as principal deputy assistant secretary for European and Eurasian affairs. Some of McEldowney’s State Department cables, as released by WikiLeaks, are refreshingly blunt, although they were not so well-received by members of the governments of Turkey and Bulgaria.   read more
  • Director of the Office of Restoration and Damage Assessment: Who Is Steve Glomb?

    Tuesday, March 07, 2017
    Steve Glomb's M.S. thesis was on “Speciation in the oyster genus Crassostrea: It’s not just a shell game.” He was also the co-author of an academic journal article, “The effect of temperature on growth and ammonia excretion of the Manila clam Tapes japonica,” in Estuarine and Coastal Marine Science.   read more

Featured Story

Acting Chair of the U.S. Commission on Civil Rights: Who Is Patricia Timmons-Goodson?

Tuesday, April 25, 2017
In 2016, President Barack Obama nominated Timmons-Goodson to the U.S. District Court in eastern North Carolina. She would have been the first African-American to serve in that district, which includes a significant black population. The seat had been vacant since 2006, but Timmons-Goodson’s nomination was blocked by Republican Senator Richard Burr. It was the second time Burr had blocked an Obama nominee for that seat; the first nominee was also a black woman, Jennifer May-Parker.   read more
Latest News

Top Stories

  • Executive Director of the United States Botanic Garden: Who Is Ari Novy?

    Thursday, April 20, 2017
    From 2008 to 2009, Novy was program director of the Landscape Architecture Study Abroad program at Rutgers, where he organized and taught a course on Italian gardens and landscapes in Italy. In 2010, he researched the prevalence of environmental chemical biomarkers in humans and helped plan a sustainability-focused garden for the U.S. Botanic Garden. He later developed molecular marker systems to track germplasm resources in a pharmacologically active plant.   read more
  • Chairman of the Railroad Retirement Board: Who Is Tom Kotarac?

    Wednesday, April 19, 2017
    As adviser to Sen. Dick Durbin, Kotarac scored a minor victory when he learned that Sen. John McCain planned to amend a spending bill to kill funding for Illinois bike trails. Kotarac was able to alert Durbin to the threat and the bike trails, including one running through Chicago’s southern neighborhoods, were saved. Some of the bigger bills Kotarac worked on include those improving railroad infrastructure and service and water resources.   read more
  • Chairperson of the AbilityOne Commission: Who Is James Kesteloot?

    Tuesday, April 18, 2017
    Kesteloot was made CLB’s executive director in 1996 and added the title of president to his resume in 2002. One of his challenges there was the dropoff in business from CLB’s largest customer. The federal government formerly accounted for 90% of the organization’s business in clocks. Regulations changed, allowing departments to purchase clocks locally, such as from big-box stores. Kesteloot retired from CLB in 2009.   read more

Unusual News

  • 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
  • Workplace Deaths in 2015 Hit 6-Year High

    Sunday, December 25, 2016
    There were 2,054 transportation-related episodes that resulted in fatalities, accounting for about 42 percent of all workplace deaths. As a result, 745 drivers of heavy and tractor-trailer trucks died because of injuries at work last year, more than any other major civilian occupation. Falls, slips and trips made up the next most common major cause of workplace fatalities, resulting in 800 deaths last year. Men accounted for all but 7 percent of the total workplace deaths in 2015.   read more
  • What’s the Most Annoying Word in America?

    Sunday, December 25, 2016
    The pollsters offered up five options for most annoying word or phrase: "Whatever," ''No offense, but," ''Ya know, right," ''I can't even" and "huge." "No offense, but" is second with 20 percent. In third place is, "You know, right," which is irksome to 14 percent of people, tied with "I can't even." ''Huge" grates on the nerves of 8 percent. "Whatever" is losing some steam, though. Last year it topped the list at 43 percent.   read more

Where is the Money Going?

  • 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
  • Trump Claims His Support for Dakota Pipeline is Unrelated to His Stock Ownership in Project Participants

    Monday, December 05, 2016
    President-elect Donald Trump supports completion of the disputed Dakota Access oil pipeline in the Midwest, based on policy and not the billionaire businessman's investments in a partnership building the $3.8 billion pipeline, according to an aide's memo. Trump's most recent federal disclosure forms show he owned a small amount of stock in Texas-based Energy Transfer Partners, the pipeline builder, and at least $100,000 in Phillips 66, an energy company that owns one-quarter of the pipeline.   read more

Controversies

  • 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
  • State Lawmakers’ Skimpy 1-Sentence Draft Bills Often Mislead Public

    Saturday, December 31, 2016
    Some lawmakers and advocacy groups are critical of these vague and skimpy one-sentence bill drafts, saying they can shut out the public from important policy discussions, be used as a bait-and-switch tactic or lead to unintended consequences. Several lawmakers said that the finished product doesn't always get another public hearing. The National Conference of State Legislatures criticized such skeleton bills decades ago and in 1996 identified a dozen or so states that allowed them.   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 National Intelligence: Who Is Dan Coats?

    Friday, April 07, 2017
    In 2014, Coats fought for tough sanctions against Russia after its invasion and annexation of Crimea. He was a member of the secretive The Fellowship (or The Family), a Christian group that includes many conservative lawmakers and has promoted a fundamentalist agenda in the U.S. and around the world, including anti-gay laws in African countries. Coats fought the idea of gays serving openly in the U.S. military in the 1990s and once called same-sex marriage a sign of “deep moral confusion.”   read more
  • Director of the Foreign Service Institute: Who Is Nancy McEldowney?

    Wednesday, March 08, 2017
    She went to Bulgaria as ambassador in August 2008. Her stay there only lasted a year, however. In 2009, she was called back to Washington by then-Secretary of State Hillary Clinton to serve as principal deputy assistant secretary for European and Eurasian affairs. Some of McEldowney’s State Department cables, as released by WikiLeaks, are refreshingly blunt, although they were not so well-received by members of the governments of Turkey and Bulgaria.   read more
  • Director of the Office of Restoration and Damage Assessment: Who Is Steve Glomb?

    Tuesday, March 07, 2017
    Steve Glomb's M.S. thesis was on “Speciation in the oyster genus Crassostrea: It’s not just a shell game.” He was also the co-author of an academic journal article, “The effect of temperature on growth and ammonia excretion of the Manila clam Tapes japonica,” in Estuarine and Coastal Marine Science.   read more