WZTV FOX 17 - Top Stories
WASHINGTON, D.C. - The Obama Administration is coming under fire Thursday night after a bipartisan group of Congressional leaders say they're failing to open up. Before Barack Obama won his first Presidential election, he criticized his predecessor and promised a transparent government.
"It's no coincidence that one of the most secretive administrations in our history has focused on special interests and public policies that could not stand up to the sunlight," says President Obama. "As President, I'm going to change that."
Not only has Obama fallen short, critics say his administration is far, far worse than George W. Bush's policy was on open records. Thomas Fitton is President of Judicial Watch, a watchdog group.
"When the Obama people come in and say they are the most transparent, we found that not to be the case," says Fitton. "We have over 900 Freedom of Information requests trying to get basic information."
Watchdogs are not the only ones complaining. Representatives Darrell Issa (R-CA 49th District) and Elijah Cummings (D-MD 7th District), the top Republican and Democrat on the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee, want to know why the Justice Department has a huge backlog of Freedom of Information requests. Our investigative media partner the Washington Guardian added up the number of open record requests denied in just one year.
"In 2011, the U.S. government denied 200,000 petitions," says the Washington Guardian's Phillip Swarts.
As a reporter, it's frustrating. There's a stack of Freedom of Information requests sent by our colleagues to departments such as Treasury, Homeland Security and Labor, all denied. We were pursuing information such as compensation claims, very basic. By law, we all have a right to see and understand.
Thursday, February 7 2013, 10:37 PM CST
Victim's advocate now helps rehabilitate offenders
May 18, 2013 18:11 GMT
NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) -- A Davidson County woman who says she used to hate offenders is now working to rehabilitate them.
Verna Wyatt has been a victim's advocate for more than two decades. She told The Tennessean that over time her focus began to shift toward preventing crime. She says she felt if victims could share their stories with offenders, it might help deter future criminal behavior.
Over time, she says her heart changed as she saw empathy, even tears, in the eyes of some offenders as they listened to how crimes impacted victims.
Now, Wyatt says she is spearheading more victim impact classes and organizing a statewide coalition of crime victims and survivors who can speak at correctional facilities about the impact that different crimes have had on their lives.
Information from: The Tennessean, http://www.tennessean.com
Gauge of US economy's future health up in April
WASHINGTON (AP) -- A measure of the U.S. economy's future health rose in solidly in April, buoyed by a sharp rise in applications to build new homes and apartments.
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Dow Record: Three tales of ups, downs and changes
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By SCOTT MAYEROWITZ
AP Business Writer
NEW YORK (AP) -- When the Dow first crossed 14,000, investors were overjoyed. ...
IN THE NEWS: LABOR GROUP SAYS CONDITIONS AT APPLE PLANTS IMPROVING
WASHINGTON (AP) -- A labor group Apple joined to assess working conditions at three manufacturing plants in China, where its products are made, says conditions are getting better.
ON THIN ICE?
ANCHORAGE, Alaska (AP) -- He was already on thin ice with the law when he failed to meet the conditions of his probation.