Posted: May 23, 2013 | Tags: drones
President Obama has pledged to increase accountability for the administration’s controversial drone program in a speech today at the National Defense University. The administration has used the program in the killing of thousands of suspected terrorists overseas, including four American citizens.
The move is in response to growing public unease on both sides of the aisle surrounding the administration’s use of drones, and recent criticisms by the state department’s former legal adviser, Harold Koh. In a speech May 7 at Oxford University, Koh asserted that the administration’s lack of transparency regarding drone use has led to ...
Posted: May 22, 2013 | Tags: immigration
The Senate Judiciary Committee passed an amendment Monday to the 844-page immigration bill that would both better define and limit the use of solitary confinement at immigration detention centers. The changes cover those held in Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) centers and other facilities around the country under contract with the government.
The amendment, sponsored by Sen. Richard Blumenthal, D-Conn., was one of many to the bipartisan bill, the Border Security, Economic Opportunity and Immigration Modernization Act. The committee voted 13-5 Tuesday to send the sweeping bill to the full Senate, and debate is expected to begin in June.
Posted: May 14, 2013 | Tags: journalism
With the death toll recently passing 1,127, the April 24th Rana Plaza factory collapse is now one of the largest industrial accidents in modern history. The factory employed thousands of garment workers and supplied several international firms operating within the country’s multibillion-dollar garment industry. The accident was the largest of more than 40 such accidents occurring over the past year in overcrowded factories across the country.
Since the tragedy, two engineers, a factory owner and the city’s mayor have been implicated on negligence charges. Under fire for profiting from the country's low wages and scant regulation ...
Posted: May 1, 2013 | Tags: FOIA
The Supreme Court ruled this week that states are not required to extend their Freedom of Information act coverage to people who are not citizens of the state. The unanimous opinion also held, once again, that access to government information is not a fundamental right.
The case arose after two non-Virginians sought information under the Virginia FOIA law, which specifically says it applies to citizens of Virginia. One had sought access to information as to why the processing for a child support claim took so long. He was able to obtain much of the information under another provision of Virginia ...
Posted: April 18, 2013 | Tags: solar energy
This week "Years of Living Dangerously" Producer Mishi Ebrahim and and I traveled to North Carolina to meet with Joel Olsen, a local solar developer. Olsen, a North Carolina native, created O2Energies in 2009 to tap into the emerging solar industry in the state. He built one of his first solar projects in the small town of Mount Airy, the birthplace of Andy Griffith and the inspiration for the fictional town of Mayberry for "The Andy Griffith Show," a CBS sitcom that ran from 1960-1968. Olsen said the location of the Mayberry Farm was symbolic, to show that "America's ...
Posted: April 10, 2013 | Tags: campaign finance
"Big Sky, Big Money," the PBS FRONTLINE documentary that followed a trail of "dark money" in Montana politics last year, has won an Investigative Reporters and Editors award. The program tied for first place in the multiplatform/large category; the prestigious awards recognize the best in watchdog journalism.
The program was co-produced with American Public Media's Marketplace and ProPublica and produced in association with the Investigative Reporting Workshop.
Posted: April 10, 2013 | Tags: journalism
The “Etch-a-Sketch” comment.
The “47 percent” video.
The “Clint Eastwood” moment.
Political journalists and campaign media strategists on Wednesday pointed to these moments in the 2012 presidential election as examples of how social media has changed politics — and journalism.
Focus on the election’s gaffes would have died soon in the traditional media, but conversation on social media kept them alive far longer, said Jonathan Martin, senior political writer for Politico.
“Twitter is an accelerant,” said Martin, one of the panelists at the University of Missouri’s Hurley Symposium in Washington, D.C. “It pours gasoline on the fire.”
Posted: April 10, 2013 | Tags: immigration
The government is reviewing solitary practices in immmigration detention centers around the country.
“The Department’s approach is that it should be used as last resort and for as short as time as possible,” said Margo Schlanger, counsel to Janet Napolitano, Secretary of the Department of Homeland Security. “Now, about 1 percent of population is in detention, and that is very low compared to other prisons and jails,” she added.
The Investigative Reporting Workshop's Catherine Rentz spent months examining the use of solitary in detention. Her story, published in the New York Times and on the Workshop's site ...
Posted: March 31, 2013 | Tags: immigration
Immigrant detainees are allowed to hire lawyers. But most cannot afford them, and advocacy groups that provide representation can't keep up with the demand. Would guaranteed legal counsel slow the process or lessen the legal system's backlog? Workshop reporter Catherine Rentz and New York Times reporter Ian Urbina follow-up on our investigation into the use of solitary confinement in detention centers with a look at whether immigrant detainees should be guaranteed a lawyer.
Posted: March 27, 2013 | Tags: immigration
Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano said she is going to review guidelines for using solitary confinement in immigration detention centers, in response to an article in The New York Times Sunday, co-written by the Workshop's Catherine Rentz and Times reporter Ian Urbina.
Our report found that on any given day, about 300 immigrants are held in solitary confinement at the 50 largest detention facilities that make up the sprawling patchwork of holding centers nationwide overseen by Immigration and Customs Enforcement officials, according to new federal data.
Nearly half of those held in solitary confinement are isolated for 15 days ...