Aug. 21, 2014 SIGN IN | REGISTER

Russia as Biggest Threat to International Order (Even if It Doesn't Mean It)

As international menaces go, the Islamic State group has stolen headlines from Russia, but that doesn’t mean Vladimir Putin has gone away as a threat. But how much of a threat is he, and why?

IRS Struggles to Collect the Medical Device Excise Tax

Funding for the 2010 Affordable Care Act hinges, in part, on a 2.3 percent excise tax on medical device sales. The tax applies to cardiac defibrillators, imaging equipment and a variety of other equipment sold to hospitals, doctors and other providers. Congressional efforts to eliminate the tax enjoy significant bipartisan support in Congress from Republicans and Democrats, particularly from states that are home to a concentration of medical device manufacturers.

EPA Aims to Get Half the Waxman-Markey Carbon Cuts

Regulations could obtain half the carbon reductions that were envisioned under a congressional measure that fell apart in 2009, according to a CQ Roll Call analysis.

Uber Hires Former Obama Strategist Plouffe To Run Its PR Efforts (Video)

Uber, the company with the popular car-hailing app that has spawned taxi driver protests in cities from Milan to San Francisco, has hired President Barack Obama’s former political strategist David Plouffe to run its political and public relations operations.

WHO, Aviation Groups Urge Focus on Containing Ebola, Not Inhibiting Air Travel

The heads of international travel, aviation and the the World Health Organization issued a joint statement Monday urging national governments and air carriers to not respond to the Ebola outbreak by resorting to “measures that will create unnecessary interference with international travel or trade.”

Wikipedia, Cybersecurity, and Aspen Forum This Week

Events on Wikpedia, cybersecurity, startups, and government use of technology to lower costs are on tap this week and the Technology Policy Institute’s Aspen Forum in Colorado continues early this week.

What's Your State's Open Data Score?

Hawaii, Illinois, Maryland, New York, Oklahoma, and Utah scored the highest in an assessment of state open data policies and portals by the Center for Data Innovation.

Defense Philanthropy, Ukraine Vs. Russia in the Week Ahead

This is the slowest week event-wise of the August congressional recess so far, at least as it pertains to defense and national security. There are, however, a few items of note.

FCC Extends Deadline for Second Round of Net Neutrality Comments

People looking to file net neutrality reply comments to the Federal Communications Commission will have a few extra days to do so. In a public notice, the FCC announced that the deadline for filing the second round of comments on its controversial proposalregarding Internet speeds will be Sept. 15. The deadline had originally been Sept. 10.

USEC Maintains Involvement in Centrifuge Project

The financially troubled company that had been bumped from managing the American Centrifuge Project, USEC Inc., expects to remain involved in the facility until March and possibly into September of 2015.

Defense Industry Donations and the Alan Grayson Police Militarization Amendment

With images of heavily armed police confronting protesters in Ferguson, Mo., sparking a national debate about police militarization, a campaign finance research organization has released a study showing how much defense industry money House members got before a June 19 vote that rejected Rep. Alan Grayson’s amendment to block military equipment transfers to local law enforcement. The organization, MapLight, found that those who voted against it got 73 percent more in defense industry donations than those who voted in favor.

International Task Force Meets to Devise Rules for Flights Over Conflict Zones

How can another war-related air catastrophe such as the downing of Malaysia Airlines Flight MH 17 be averted?

Medicare Reward and Ambulance Payment Rules Await White House Approval

The White House Office of Management and Budget is the last stop prior to final approval of most agency rule proposals. This week, the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services sent to OMB a final rule revising several Medicare provider enrollment conditions, designed to block fraudulent suppliers. The proposal also adjusts an incentive reward for reporting potential fraudulent providers. Initial proposed rules, unveiled in 2013, suggested an increase of the reward from 10 percent of over-payments recovered to 15 percent.

Capacitative Cannabis Gets High Wattage

Researchers have developed nano-thin sheets of carbon from hemp fibers, which could be a very cheap replacement for graphene, which is used to make supercapacitors for energy storage applications. David Mitlin is presenting his group’s findings at the American Chemical Society expo this week, as described on the organization’s website:

Where National Security Is (and Mainly, Isn't) in 2014 Elections

When Iraq popped up this week as an issue in the Iowa Senate race between Democratic Rep. Bruce Braley and Republican Joni Ernst based on her comments about troop levels in recent years, it marked something rare: an occasion where a national security debate surfaced in the 2014 elections for purely national security reasons.

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