Another rough day for the White House
Today continued the rough-and-tumble week for the Obama administration, following…
- Friday’s sudden discovery that the IRS had disproportionately screened conservative groups applying for tax-exempt status.
- The ongoing controversy over the administration’s handling of last year’s terrorist attack in Benghazi.
- And, finally, the sudden revelation yesterday that the Justice Department had secretly seized months of phone records from the Associated Press.
Attorney General Eric Holder today recused himself from the investigation into his own department’s probe of multiple AP reporters and editors, while announcing an extensive investigation into the IRS matter.
Holder also defended the seizure of AP records, claiming the AP’s leaked information posed a danger to the public:
“It put the American people at risk and that is not hyperbole. And trying to determine who is responsible for that requires aggressive action.”
White House Jay Carney refused to comment on the AP scandal, citing an ongoing investigation, but did say the White House, to his knowledge, had no idea about the IRS screening until just a few weeks ago.
Photos: Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images, Pablo Martinez Monsivais, Mark Lennihan / Associated Press
Justice Department secretly taps into AP reporters’ phone records
In a surprising declaration a short time ago, the Associated Press revealed that the Justice Department had obtained two months of phone records tied to numerous reporters and editors in various cities, in what the news organization is calling a “massive and unprecedented intrusion.”
The reason for the government’s actions, which the AP was alerted to in a letter Friday, are as of now unknown.
From the Associated Press’ story on the emerging scandal:
In all, the government seized those records for more than 20 separate telephone lines assigned to AP and its journalists in April and May of 2012. The exact number of journalists who used the phone lines during that period is unknown but more than 100 journalists work in the offices whose phone records were targeted on a wide array of stories about government and other matters.
AP’s President and CEO, Gary Pruitt, issued a strongly-worded letter to Attorney General Eric Holder:
We regard this action by the Department of Justice as a serious interference with AP’s constitutional rights to gather and report the news. While we evaluate our options we urgently request that you immediately return to the AP the telephone toll records that the Department subpoenaed and destroy all copies.
Photo: Molly Riley / Associated Press
One in 10 adults in the U.S. entered the country illegally
A new study by USC researchers reveals the broad scope of undocumented immigration, with Los Angeles hosting particularly large populations in Koreatown and South L.A.
And a large proportion of those who have entered the country illegally call California their new home:
One in four of the estimated 11 million people thought to be in the United States without legal authorization lives in California. Statewide, the USC study estimates that about 7% of residents, or more than 2.6 million people, are in the country illegally.
Read the full results of the study here.
Photo: Jae C. Hong / Associated Press
Returning from combat to find their jobs are gone
Troops returning home often have a litany of problems on their plate - one of the most prominent being joblessness. Though employers are forbidden from penalizing service members for performing their military duties, that doesn’t mean soldiers don’t end up losing their jobs or benefits.
So who’s holding back on their obligations to troops coming home?
Government agencies are among the most frequent offenders, accounting for about a third of the more than 15,000 complaints filed with federal authorities since the end of September 2001, records show. Others named in the cases include some of the biggest names in American business, such as Wal-Mart and United Parcel Service.
Find out more about the crisis, with a particular focus on the large veteran community in California, in reporter Alexandra Zavis’ story here.
Photos: Tomas Ovalle / Los Angeles Times
The Los Angeles Times will no longer use the term “illegal immigrant.”
By EMILY DERUY
The Los Angeles Times will no longer use the terms “illegal immigrant” or “undocumented immigrant,” the paper announced Wednesday. While the Times has generally avoided such terms for some time, the new guidelines make the policy official.
It’s true! Readers’ Rep Deidre Edgar has the full details on why we ultimately made the decision.
test reblogged from univisionnews
Global May Day demonstrations
Today’s May 1, a date traditionally assigned for workers-rights groups and proponents to gather and march for their cause. Whether it be improved working conditions and wages in Asia or protesting austerity measures in Europe, demonstrators are making their grievances heard today across the world.
And that, of course, includes Los Angeles.
Photos: Mario Tama, Aris Messinis, Jalin Jalin, Josep Lago, Martin Bernett / AFP/Getty Images, Sebastiao Moreira / EPA, Luis Hidalgo / Associated Press
An end to Guantanamo Bay prison?
President Obama opened the doors for a renewed push to close the much-criticized prison in Cuba, where the U.S. detains a number of suspected terrorists
Said Obama earlier today during a press conference marking the 100th day of his second term:
“I think it is critical for us to understand that Guantanamo is not necessary to keep America safe. It is expensive. It is inefficient. It hurts us in terms of our international standing. It lessens cooperation with our allies on counterterrorism efforts. It is a recruitment tool for extremists. It needs to be closed.”
But Obama has promised to close Guantanamo, where a large number of prisoners are currently on hunger strikes, before - making it a prominent pledge in his first presidential campaign.
Photos: J. Scott Applewhite, Brennan Llinsley, Shawn Thew, Justin Lane / EPA
George W. Bush returns to the public eye
Former President Bush has kept a relatively low profile since leaving the White House, largely keeping to himself save for releasing a memoir, (and having his painting hobby exposed). But he’s stepping back into the spotlight with the dedication of his presidential library tomorrow.
Above is an early look at the George W. Bush Presidential Center.
Read architecture critic Christopher Hawthorne’s review of the library’s construction here.
Photos: G.J. McCarthy, Tom Fox / Dallas Morning News, Paul Moseley/Fort Worth Star-Telegram / MCT, Kevork Djansezian / Getty Images, David J. Phillip / Associated Press
Today in terrifying fake news
The Associated Press’ Twitter account was hacked earlier today, sending out a false report of explosions at the White House. The tweet was swiftly debunked, no report was sent on the AP news wire and Twitter has since suspended the account.
But that didn’t stop some from immediately believing the fraudulent tweet. Note the sudden plunge in the Dow Jones Industrial Average at the time the tweet went out:
In the wake of the now-notorious tweet, and the outrage last week over a number of grassroots amateur detectives on Reddit working to solve the Boston Marathon bombings, it’s important to remember that not everything online should be taken at face value.
Photos: Twitter, Google
The Federal Government on Tumblr
Increasingly, Federal agencies (like us here at the Bureau of Land Management) are using Tumblr to share photos, science, events, initiatives, and other great content with the Tumblr community. Here’s a list of some awesome Federal government blogs you should be following on Tumblr. It’s probably not exhaustive, but these are the ones we know about that post more than occasionally.
Reblog and help share the word:
America’s Great Outdoors: The Department of the Interior (our parent agency) shares an amazing photo a day of your public lands.
Archivist of the United States: The Tumblr of our “collector in chief” at the National Archives, David S Ferriero.
Bureau of Reclamation: Reclamation, and Interior Dept agency, is the largest wholesale water supplier and the second largest producer of hydroelectric power in the United States, with operations and facilities in the 17 Western States.
Congress in the Archives: Since the First Congress in 1789, the records of the U.S. House of Representatives and the U.S. Senate have documented the history of the legislative branch. The National Archives helps you explore this history.
Conservation at Work: The Natural Resources Conservation Service, part of the Department of Agriculture, posts photos of conservation on farms and other private lands across the nation.
Fish and Wildlife Service: The Pacific Region of the FWS encompasses extraordinary ecological diversity. Photos, science, and more.
Internal Revenue Service: Because who doesn’t want tax information on Tumblr? Useful tips, videos, etc., straight from the IRS.
My Public Lands: The awesomeness of the Bureau of Land Management, which manages more than 245 million acres of amazing lands, as told by students, interns, and newer employees.
Our Presidents: One space to bring the past 13 Presidents together. Discover behind-the-scenes history here. Managed by the National Archives.
National Archives: News and current events from the United States National Archives and Records Administration whose holdings include the Declaration of Independence, the Constitution, military records, Presidential records, and millions of other documents related to the Federal Government.
Peace Corps: Life is calling. How far will you go? Get up close with the amazing work done by peace corps volunteers.
U.S. Department of State: Videos, photos, testimony, and updates from the State Department. Foreign policy updates on Tumblr—how cool is that?
Today’s Document: Highlighting interesting documents the National Archives’ holdings—both the well-known and the obscure—to observe historical events (usually the significant events but sometimes just the curious ones).
USA.gov: Government made easy. On Tumblr. Enough said.
US National Archives Exhibits: Images and stories from the National Archives related to “Searching for the Seventies: the DOCUMERICA Photography Project,” the newest exhibition on display at the Archives’ facility in Washington, DC.
But wait, there’s more!
Preservation at the National Archives: All things preservation at the National Archives and Records Administration. Posts to this site come from all of the Preservation Programs departments, including: Conservation, St. Louis Preservation, and National Preservation Programs.
John F. Kennedy Presidential Library: Dedicated to the memory of our nation’s 35th president and to all those who through the art of politics seek a new and better world.
LBJ Time Machine: Taking a trip through time, from the birth of Lyndon Johnson in 1908 through 2013 at the LBJ Library and Museum.
FDR Library: Follow the Franklin Delano Roosevelt Presidential Library and Museum as we count down to the rededication of the Roosevelt Library and the opening of the new permanent museum exhibits.
The Tumblrweed Times from the National Archives at Riverside, CA: We are the National Archives at Riverside—a unit of the U.S. National Archives. Our records document the Federal government in the western states of Arizona, southern California and Clark County, Nevada.
Talk about your comprehensive lists!
test reblogged from todaysdocument
Letter sent to Obama tests positive for ricin
A law enforcement official has confirmed to the Times that a suspicious letter sent to President Obama tested positive for the deadly poison ricin. Ricin had been found just yesterday in another letter intended for Sen. Roger Wicker (R-Miss.).
Whether there is any connection between the two, or if there’s any connection between the bombing attack at the Boston Marathon Monday and the series of poisoned letters in Washington, D.C., is yet unknown.
We’ll have more updates as the story develops here.
UPDATE: Capitol Police have reopened three Senate buildings closed after three suspicious packages were found on the premises. The packages have since been removed, and there’s no word yet on whether there’s any connection between these packages and those sent to Obama and Wicker.
White House Press Secretary Jay Carney, speaking to the press earlier today, referred all questions on the ongoing investigation into the packages to the FBI.
UPDATE 2: The FBI has confirmed that there’s no indication of any connection between the Boston attack and the ricin letters.
Photo: Jewel Samad / AFP/Getty Images
Boston Marathon bombing: “An act of terrorism”
Following yesterday’s running update of the latest on the Boston Marathon attacks, here’s the latest on what’s known so far:
The number of wounded has reached 176 wounded, with 17 in critical condition and three confirmed fatalities, including an eight-year-old boy.
With hundreds of security and police officers still examining Boston, and heightened security measures across the nation, it has been confirmed that no unexploded devices were found following the initial two explosions, and Boston Police have made no arrests.
President Obama, speaking just moments ago, called the bombing “an act of terrorism,” pledging for the second time that those behind the attack would be brought to justice, Obama praised law enforcement, hospital workers and the countless individuals around the attack for their selfless work in helping those affected by the attack.
Speculation is still running wild as to who is responsible for the attack, with Obama confirming that authorities still are unsure as to whether a domestic or international individual or organization is behind the attack. The Pakistani Taliban has denied any responsibility.
Like yesterday, additional updates will be added below as new information arises.
Additionally, to contact law enforcement officials with relevant information on the attacks, call 1-800-494-TIPS, and for those looking for lost family members, call 617-635-4500.
Update: New evidence suggests that the explosive devices used in the Boston attack contained items intended to be used as shrapnel, including metal pellets and nails.
Federal investigators familiar with the matter have suggested that the crude nature of the explosives suggests that those responsible are domestic, instead of international, terrorists.
And further heartbreaking details about Martin Richard, the eight-year-old killed in the attack, have emerged. Martin was waiting for his father at the finish line with his mother and sister, both of whom were injured in the attack.
Attorney General Eric Holder, in a statement released a short time ago, said that the full force of the FBI is pursuing possible leads, from available footage to on-site interviews, and has established a tip line for those with information that may help their search: 1-800-CALL-FBI.
Photos: Ken McGagh / MetroWest Daily News/Associated Press, Susan Walsh / Associated Press, Matt Campbell / EPA
President Obama’s full remarks following the bombing at the Boston Marathon earlier today.
How to announce your candidacy for public office
Step one, if you’re Ivy Baker Priest, the former U.S. treasurer: Wear a money hat made out of 100 silver certificates, seen above in 1965.
Priest eventually won her bid for California State Treasurer and served two terms as State Treasurer until her death in 1975.