AP file photo

Iowa agency issues extra unemployment checks; tries to keep it quiet

By  |  August 22, 2014  |  No Comments

Iowa Workforce Development may have trouble managing money, but at least its management understands the importance of politeness.

AP file photo

Confidential report says discrimination, retaliation claims ‘lack merit’

Colorado  |  4:00 am

 
By Arthur Kane | Watchdog.org
The former CFO for Colorado’s controversial Secretary of State Scott Gessler is claiming a hostile work environment and that she was demoted because she testified against her boss at an ethics hearing and in front of a grand jury.
But an outside investigation, obtained exclusively by Watchdog.org, determined that Heather Lizotte is [...]

NO BLOAT:

The cynical strategy focused on driving down the vote in Pennsylvania

Pennsylvania  |  4:00 am

In Pittsburgh last month, Senate Minority Leader Jay Costa, D-Allegheny, laid out part of the Democratic strategy for swinging control of the Pennsylvania Senate in this year’s election.

PA lawmakers push for economic furloughs of teachers.

Pay raise worth even more to Mississippi teachers

Mississippi  |  4:00 am

As Mississippi students head back to school, their teachers are taking home a healthy pay raise. And those extra Benjamins are going a lot farther.

The fund that pays for health care for bus drivers and other school support personnel is almost out of money.

School bus camera company gets red light in Virginia county

Virginia  |  4:00 am

Redflex Traffic Systems is getting the red light in Rockingham County.

Just a little over a month after Watchdog.org reported Redflex said it planned to fix the controversial way it runs its school bus camera operation and violation tickets in the northern Virginia county, Rockingham County Public Schools decided to table its partnership with the scandal-ridden company. It was the first school district in Virginia to implement the program, according to Redflex spokesperson Jody Ryan

Photo courtesy of KOB-TV

Indicted NM sheriff under pressure to quit, but will he?

New Mexico  |  3:44 pm

The Rio Arriba County commission wants embattled sheriff Tommy Rodella to resign but there’s little indication that Rodella will step down.

Watchdog file photo

Appeals court orders release of some John Doe documents

Wisconsin  |  3:05 pm

A ruling by the 7th Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals maintaining some documents under seal and opening up others for public consumption is a “vindication” of conservatives’ charges of prosecutorial abuse in Wisconsin’s politically charged John Doe investigation, according to an attorney for targets of the probe.

AP photo

Student-teachers union takes stand against Israel as anti-Semitism concerns arise

National  |  3:02 pm

 
By Paul Miller
As Israeli soldiers and Hamas fighters confront one another in a deadly battle over Gaza, an alliance of watchdog organizations asked University of California President Janet Napolitano to monitor the rise of anti-Semitic speech in the nine-campus system, citing “a scathing anti-Semitic statement released by the Union of Student Workers promoting the boycott of Israel.”
The organizations, including [...]

Shutterstock image

By the numbers: Military hardware in the hands of Kansas cops

Kansas  |  12:12 pm

The federal government’s now-infamous 1033 program has played a huge part it placing military surplus equipment into the hands of local law enforcement. But while the ramifications of such actions are on full display in Ferguson, Mo., the Sunflower State isn’t immune from the trend of police militarization.

Source: PA.gov

Philly’s school problems a cautionary tale of federal stimulus

Pennsylvania  |  11:53 am

As financial problems plague the Philadelphia city public school system and politicians at the state level cast blame, the specter of federal stimulus has come to bear.

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In June, U.S. House could have defunded Defense Department program that militarizes police

National  |  August 21, 2014

By Eric Boehm | Watchdog.org
The nightly clashes between police and protesters in Ferguson, Mo., have prompted a national conversation about the militarization of small town cops.
Much of that militarization — at least in terms of equipment, if not tactics — is the direct result of the 1033 Program, which allows the Defense Department to transfer military surplus [...]

SPECIAL REPORT

VIDEOS

PLAIN ENGLISH: While Gov. Sam Brownback has been characterized as uncaring in his opposition to Obamacare, the governor says it's a simple matter of fiscal prudence for those who realize the federal government doesn't always keep its promises.

Video: Brownback states plainly why Medicaid expansion hurts Kansas

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Kansas Gov. Sam Brownback has been on the business end of numerous barbs and critiques for taking a stand against Obamacare and Medicaid expansion in the Sunflower State.

Those with unwavering faith in the federal government have characterized the conservative governor as an uncaring obstructionist for his opposition, but in an exclusive interview with the Daily Signal, Brownback laid out the argument against Obamacare in his own words.

little free library

Leawood throws the book at Little Free Library

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The city of Leawood is using the full power of the law to protect property values from the threat of, uh, free cabinet-sized libraries.

A municipal statute designed to ban all detached structures is being levied against Leawood residents Brian and Sarah Collins after their 9-year-old son, Spencer, worked with his dad and grandpa to build the Little Free Library as a Mother’s Day gift.

WATCHBLOG

 |  Virginia

By Kenric Ward | Watchdog.org Virginia Bureau
ALEXANDRIA, Va. – State Delegate Barbara Comstock is inflating her energy record to pump up her congressional bid.
The McLean Republican’s congressional campaign webpage declares that she “authored Virginia’s law to allow for offshore exploration of energy.”
In fact, Comstock’s “major legislation” did no such thing. Her 2010 bill, HB 900, [...]

Comstock goes overboard with offshore energy claim

 |  Texas

While taxpayers were picking up the tab for intensive, outpatient care for mentally ill patients, those patients were playing games and watching movies.

Medicare fraud: $97 million for mentally ill patients to watch movies, play games

By Josh Peterson | Watchdog.org
State public utilities regulators are calling for an easy way for consumers to compare complaints against the nation’s phone companies.
Currently, consumers can file complaints about their telecommunications service with the Federal Communications Commission and the Federal Trade Commission, but those complaints aren’t publicly available in an online format for consumers.
On Wednesday, Chris [...]

Regulators push for public database of complaints against phone companies

 |  Pennsylvania

Pennsylvania has saved almost $2 billion staving off welfare fraud, waste and abuse under Gov. Tom Corbett, said Beverly Mackereth, the secretary of the state’s Department of Public Welfare.

DPW chief: PA saves billions fighting welfare fraud

 |  Montana

By Dustin Hurst | Watchdog.org
For some, ignorance is bliss, but for Democrat Jon Tester, it’s an important campaign tactic.
Sure, the second-term senator from Montana isn’t up for re-election until 2018, but that won’t stop him from using disingenuous attacks on the wealthy to scare his constituents into sending him campaign cash.
“Today, it looks like the billionaire Koch [...]

Tester launches disingenuous attack on the Koch brothers

 |  Pennsylvania

With no debate and a nearly party-line vote, the state House passed a bill that eliminates a loophole in the law state defining the crime of stalking.

PA House approves ‘stalking’ bill

Section 7

FROM AROUND THE WEB

By Luke Rosiak | Washington Examiner
Sen. Jay Rockefeller comes from one of America’s wealthiest families and represents a state only 60 miles from the District of Columbia, yet he travels home almost exclusively via private charter plane at $4,400 per trip and sends the bill to taxpayers.
There are as many as six commercial flights a day between D.C. [...]

Senator from WV lives like a Rockefeller, but bills costs to taxpayers

By News 21 Staff
Sheriff Mike Lewis considers himself the last man standing for the people of Wicomico County.
“State police and highway patrol get their orders from the governor,” the Maryland sheriff said. “I get my orders from the citizens in this county.”
With more states passing stronger gun control laws, rural sheriffs across the country are [...]

MD county sheriff among many who won’t enforce gun bans

By Maxford Nelsen | Freedom Foundation
The drama surrounding the implementation (or lack thereof) of the U.S. Supreme Court’s Harris v. Quinn decision in Washington continues to unfold.
In its decision, the court ruled that Illinois home health care aides receiving state Medicaid subsidies and represented by the SEIU could no longer be forced to pay union dues against [...]

Union continues deceptive practices to keep home care workers

By James Poulos | Cal Watchdog
Spurred by a series of court decisions ruling the state’s prison crowding unconstitutional, Gov. Jerry Brown’s ongoing “realignment” effort sought to make adequate room for the state’s worst convicts by diverting lesser criminals to county jails. There, however, the changes have caused a snowball effect. A recent Los Angeles Times investigation has shown that newly encumbered counties [...]

Early release from California prisons now a flood

By Jacob Sullum | Reason
Running for the U.S. Senate in 2010, Rand Paul became known as that crazy right-winger who expressed reservations about the Civil Rights Act of 1964. But in the last two years, the Kentucky Republican has emerged as his party’s most passionate voice on criminal justice reform, explicitly decrying the system’s disproportionate impact on [...]

Rand Paul redefines his views on civil rights, criminal justice reform

By Brian Hughes | Washington Examiner
Unrest over the police shooting of an unarmed teenager in Ferguson, Mo., has completely overshadowed President Obama‘s domestic priorities, the latest in a string of crises that have derailed the president’s agenda.
First, violence in Iraq, Afghanistan, Syria, Gaza and Ukraine put Obama’s preferred “nation building at home” on the back burner. A two-week vacation in Martha’s Vineyard that the [...]

Obama’s domestic agenda overshadowed by unrest in Ferguson

By Glen Morgan | Freedom Foundation
The most terrifying aspect of reading the depositions of the Thurston County commissioners and senior bureaucrats in the recent lawsuit brought against Thurston County by Maytown Sand and Gravel and the Port of Tacoma is the realization that there are no adults in charge of Thurston County.
To review, Thurston County had issued a 20 year Conditional [...]

WA county’s political leaders act childish, taxpayers lose millions

By James Poulos | Cal Watchdog
A California Senate committee wants to quadruple the entertainment industry subsidies keeping production in Hollywood.
With a unanimous vote, the appropriations committee passed a $300 million increase in tax credits for film and television, bringing the size of the controversial program up to $400 million. Assembly Bill 1839 is coauthored by Assemblymen Raul Bocanegra, D-Pacoima, and Mike [...]

CA Senate pushes $400M additional tax credits for Hollywood

By Susan Crabtree | Washington Examiner
Fear that body cameras would infringe privacy rights may thwart congressional efforts to reform policing in the wake of riots in Ferguson, Mo.
A key Democratic author of legislation to reduce the militarization of police forces says dashboard cameras for police are OK, but worries that body cameras may go too far.
After protests over [...]

Privacy rights may trump transparency as Congress debates Ferguson policing