It's been half a decade since the Deepwater Horizon oil rig, which had been drilling the BP-owned Macondo Prospect, suffered a catastrophic blowout. Over 87 days between April and July 2010, 4.9 million barrels of oil gushed into the Gulf of Mexico.
Surveying the aftermath and the huge hit taken by his home state’s coast, Sen. Richard Shelby of Alabama decided it was crucial that monies from the inevitable federal fines and penalties be sent back to affected communities to repair the damage.
"I have always believed that, when it comes to government, putting more control in the hands of states and local communities—instead of Washington—will produce optimal results for taxpayers," Shelby told me.Read more
Something has gotten into Ted Cruz. The Republican senator is known as a conservative firebrand willing to take on his own party, but in a Thursday meeting with reporters in his Capitol Hill office, Cruz was sounding almost ecumenical. Maybe it was the presence of Pope Francis.Read more
President Obama spent two days in Ethiopia on his recent four-day trip to Africa. To house the president and his entourage during their stay, the government required four hotels costing over $1.3 million.
In the midst of revelations about a massive data breach at the Office of Personnel Management (OPM), the agency awarded a $4.3 million two-month contract extension to Northrop Grumman for the OPM's Data Warehouse Program (DWP).Read more
The system of federal and state "exchanges" or "marketplaces" that offer health insurance through the Affordable Care Act lean heavily on "navigators" to guide consumers in their choices.Read more
Lost in much of the reporting about CPAC is that almost all of the likely presidential candidates—really, all of them, with the exception of Rand Paul—seemed to place themselves at the Reaganite hawkish-internationalist end of the foreign policy spectrum. The much-heralded return of Republican isolationism or anti-interventionism wasn’t much in evidence, except during Rand Paul's half hour on the stage.Read more
A bipartisan group of mmore than eighty influential national security experts, from former Defense Secretary Robert Gates to Michèle Flournoy to Bill Kristol, have written a letter to congressional leadership to urge increased defense spending.Read more
Vice President Biden spent about a day and a half in Belgium in early February to meet with various European leaders, but his entourage, security team and other delegation members required up to 209 rooms for up to three weeks surrounding the visit.Read more
In January, the State Department signed contracts for an estimated $1,690,000 million for hotels for President Obama's trip to India. Two of the contracts were for the New Delhi stay, and another two were for Agra, the location of the Taj Mahal. That latter leg of the trip was cancelled when President Obama decided to leave early to pay his respects to the recently deceased king of Saudi Arabia. The president stayed in New Delhi for two nights.Read more
The National Institutes of Health (NIH) is working on a solution to a problem faced by a growing number of Americans as the population ages and relies more on prescription drugs: "What is this pill?" Much in the way a Google image search looks for similar images in Google's vast caches, the NIH's National Library of Medicine (NLM) desires a tool to match users' smart phone photos of mystery pills with hi-res images in the NLM's existing RxIMAGE databaseRead more
Under President Obama, $7.5 trillion has been added to the national debt. The number is being highlighted by the Republican National Committee ahead of President Obama's State of the Union address, which will be delivered tonight from Washington.Read more
When President Obama visited Brisbane, Australia in November for the G-20 summit, the large U.S. delegation required multiple hotels and thousands of "room nights" for the length of the stay, though the president himself spent only one night in his hotel.Read more
In one final ignominious act of parliamentary genius, outgoing Senate majority leader Harry Reid rolled Republican troublemaker Ted Cruz of Texas over the weekend, robbing the GOP of a chance to stop Democrats in the lame-duck session.Read more
The House of Representatives passed a long-term spending bill Thursday night, just hours before the current continuing budget resolution is set to run out. The vote of 219 to 206, including nearly 60 Democrats, took longer than the alotted 15 minutes as House members from both parties witheld their votes for several minutes.Read more
House minority leader Nancy Pelosi of California has announced her opposition to the 2015 omnibus spending bill. Congress is attempting to pass the bill to continue funding for the federal government, which runs out at 12 midnight Friday morning. Without passing this bill or a short-term continuing resolution, the government will necessarily shut down.Read more
In an open letter to Democrats, Nancy Pelosi urges her colleagues to continue fighting the House spending bill.
"Dear Democratic Colleague," writes Pelosi.Read more
Conservatives on Capitol Hill are passing around a document titled, "Omnibus Contains $2.5 Billion to Accommodate Illegal Immigrants and Refugees," which claims to new spending bill has dedicated a lot of money to helping people in the U.S. illegally.Read more
In the last five years, the Department of Defense (DOD) has spent over $130 million to store unused satellites from eight different satellite programs, and plans to spend another $206 million on storage over the next five years. Storage costs for individual pieces of equipment range from $40,000 up to an estimated $120 million for one particular satellite. Costs vary depending on the amount of care needed for each satellite.Read more
Anti-Obamacare ads are dominating the airwaves in the election’s stretch run. According to Kantar Media’s Campaign Media Analysis Group, Republicans ran nearly 13,000 anti-Obamacare ads in Senate races during the week of October 20-26. That’s after they ran nearly 12,000 anti-Obamacare ads during the week of October 13-19 and over 11,000 during the week of October 6-12. In each of those three weeks, Republicans ran far more ads against Obamacare than they — or the Democrats — ran on any other issue.Read more
The American public has resisted the metric system for decades, but that has not discouraged the Commerce Department's National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) from sinking $37,950 into two more episodes of a "motion-comic" video series called "The League of SI Superheroes." (SI stands for International System of Units, the modern metricRead more
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