AP photo

Want to end border surge? Stop flow of money to Central America, experts say

By  |  July 22, 2014  |  No Comments

 
By Marianela Toledo | Florida Watchdog
MIAMI — One solution to the illegal immigration crisis gripping the nation’s southern border may be as simple as stopping U.S. aid to Central American governments.
“It’s cheaper to take care of them in their own country instead on the other side of the border, on the U.S. side, because they become a [...]

IS IT VALID?: Virginia election officials are trying to decide if an expired photo identification is  valid at the polls.

Expired ID? Cast your vote here

Virginia  |  4:00 am

A battle over what constitutes a “valid” voter ID has gone online — and the loosest interpretation is winning.

dnc 2016

DNC 2016 in Birmingham? Bring it on, state GOP says

Alabama  |  4:00 am

By Johnny Kampis | Watchdog.org
CULLMAN, Ala. — The Alabama Republican Party welcomed a site selection team for the 2016 Democratic National Convention to Birmingham on Monday with faux open arms.
Alabama’s largest city is one of five finalists for the honor, and the first to receive a visit by the committee, which will hear a pitch from [...]

KNOCKED DOWN: Moody's downgraded Pennsylvania's bond rating on Monday, citing pension liabilities and a budget filled with non-recurring revenues as reasons why.

Budget blues: Moody’s downgrades Pennsylvania’s bond rating

Pennsylvania  |  4:00 am

That didn’t take long.

Just weeks after Pennsylvania lawmakers passed a patchwork budget and skipped town without addressing pension reform, Moody’s has downgraded Pennsylvania’s general obligation bond rating. It dropped the state fom Aa2 — its third-highest rating — to Aa3.

GRATEFUL: The children, photographed in 2009, were happy in this when they were told their school was going to be improved.

Nebraska Senate candidates have different takes on border crisis

Nebraska  |  4:00 am

GOP Senate nominee Ben Sasse’s stance on immigration has been questioned by hard-liners, so where does he stand on the border crisis?

WHAT'S IN A NAME?: A New Mexico state office building is named after a former governor who just got in big trouble with the Security and Exchange Commission.

Risky business: Naming buildings after New Mexico politicians

New Mexico  |  4:00 am

Former New Mexico Gov. Toney Anaya is awaiting potential financial penalties after settling last week with the Securities and Exchange Commission over fraud charges involving a water company for which Anaya worked.

AP photo

From Miami to Minnesota, protests call attention to immigration crisis

National  |  4:00 am

 
By Eric Boehm | Watchdog.org
Along East Seventh Street in the Dayton’s Bluff neighborhood of St. Paul, Minn., more signs are in Spanish than English, advertising everything from used cars to groceries.
That backdrop certainly made Larry Dalin’s sign stand out.
Holding a sign that read “In Mexico, illegals are jailed,” Dalin was a lone sentry outside the Mexican [...]

via twitter

Robot army is coming for your minimum wage job

National  |  July 21, 2014

This billboard predicting that workers will be replaced by iPads was spotted over the weekend in San Francisco.

Photo Credit: Daniel X. O'Neil

Open data pioneer: ‘I didn’t ask Congress, I just did it’

Vermont  |  July 21, 2014

Waldo Jaquith didn’t set out to be a pioneer of government accountability. But after years of experimenting with government data for fun, the director of the U.S. Open Data Institute and creator of Ethics.gov finds himself at the forefront of a transparency revolution.

LICENSE TO KILL: Following a public outcry, the US Fish and Wildlife Service will reassess 30 year permits exempting wind turbines from liability for unintentional fatalities of bald and golden eagles. USFWS photo.

Critics of wind power blame feds for killing, ‘chopping up’ eagles, other birds

Minnesota  |  July 21, 2014

Wind industry insiders call it a “turbine collision,” though the feds prefer “non-purposeful take.”

But critics such as Sharon Klemm get real on the U.S. Fish and Wildlife website: “Why don’t you call it what it is? Shooting eagles. Killing Eagles. Murdering Eagles.”

The backlash over a controversial 2013 USFWS rule exempting wind farms from prosecution for the unintentional deaths of bald and golden eagles — for up to three decades — continues to play out in emotional online comments.

IN CHARGE: Edgardo Cortes was appointed by Gov. Terry McAuliffe to the new position of commissioner of the Department of Elections.

Virginia election system gets a new boss

Virginia  |  July 21, 2014

Heading into the November elections, Virginia has a new chief of voting operations.

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 Steve Chapman | Reason
Living in a city that had 82 shootings over the Fourth of July weekend, Chicagoans could be forgiven for envying the residents of Indianapolis.
Imagine living in a place where homicides have been reduced by more than half in the past two decades, where robberies are less common than they’ve been in [...]

The truth about violence in Chicago

By Katy Grimes| FlashReport.org
On the heels of the California Agricultural Labor Relations Board refusing to count thousands of ballots collected by farmworkers cast six months ago to decertify the United Farm Workers labor union, the city of Berkeley has decided to weigh in on the contentious labor issue.
This is the same Berkeley City Council, which [...]

Berkeley moves against farmworkers’ campaign on behalf of UFW

By Tom Gantert | Michigan Capitol Confidential
Amid all the publicity of the city of Detroit’s bankruptcy and bailout, the scramble to find money for road repairs and school superintendents who have spun funding increases as reductions, what may be lost is that the overall state budget is projected to increase by $2 billion in fiscal 2014-15.
In [...]

Michigan state budget jumps by $5 billion over 3 years

By James Poulos | Cal Watchdog
As California muddles ahead with its disorganized decriminalization of marijuana, local and federal lawmakers are adopting distinctly different approaches to the prospect of pot-related crime.
City councils are apt to worry about different kinds of drug crime than Congress. But the new attention from both ends of the political pecking order comes [...]

California, feds spar over marijuana regulation

By Lenore Skenazy | Reason
When I agreed to keynote the Reform Sex Offender Laws conference this week in Dallas, Texas, I didn’t expect it to hit quite so close to home.
But before I arrived, I got a phone call from a soft-spoken, super-articulate young man, Joshua Gravens, who is a Soros Justice Scholar based in Dallas. His specialty is the [...]

Man arrested for a sex crime because he made a scheduling error

By Susan Crabtree | Washington Examiner
Republicans are assailing President Obama‘s decision to attend two fundraisers in New York City Thursday night after 295 people perished when a Malaysian passenger jet crashed in Ukraine after an apparent rocket attack and Israel launched a ground war in Gaza the same day.
Republican National Committee Chairman Reince Priebus took to Twitter to launch a broadside against Obama for going through with the fundraisers benefiting [...]

Republicans blast Obama for fundraising after jetliner crash in Ukraine

By Zachary Dawes and Jarrett Skorup | Michigan Capitol Confidential
A new grant program in Michigan takes extra money from hunting and fishing fees and distributes it to private landowners.
The state Department of Natural Resources recently announced 12 wildlife habitat grant winners for the “Deer PLAN” (Private Land Assistance Network). This grant is available to private landowners in six [...]

Michigan private landowners reap hunting and fishing fees

By Caleb Taylor | The Arkansas Project
Last week I wrote about Mark Pryor’s MIA stance on Senator Harry Reid’s (and his fellow Senate Democrats’) bill — the bill that would have essentially overridden the Supreme Court’s Hobby Lobby decision,which protected religious liberty rights for business owners.
I asked his press secretary for a statement regarding his stance on the bill, but she never got [...]

Arkansas’ Pryor attacks religious liberty

By Adam Kredo | Washington Free Beacon
English speakers across the globe are getting a real-time glimpse of what it is like to live under the constant threat of terrorist rocket attacks thanks to a hugely popular smartphone app that sends out a “red alert” whenever Israel is targeted.
As Israeli citizens struggle to shelter themselves from [...]

Hamas firing rockets? There’s an app for that