| May 7, 2014, 5 a.m.
In 1914, a small, but visionary group of America’s leading songwriters and composers — among them, musical greats like Irving Berlin and John Philip Sousa — realized they could protect their rights as music creators more effectively through collective licensing, rather than going it alone. So they came together to form the American Society of Composers, Authors and Publishers, or ASCAP for short.
| May 5, 2014, 5:48 p.m.
Recently, in a victory for open data, both chambers of Congress passed with bipartisan support the Digital Accountability and Transparency Act. The bill now heads to the White House for President Barack Obama’s signature. The DATA Act would drastically improve the public’s access to federal spending data by expanding the universe of information the government is required to post online and creating government-wide financial data standards.
| May 1, 2014, 5 a.m.
When I was a kid, about 60 years ago, talking to our relatives in Cleveland on Sunday nights was such a momentous event that my mother would make my brother and I dress neatly and comb our hair for it — for a phone call! Such was the phone system in the 1950s.
| May 1, 2014, 5 a.m.
Politics on Capitol Hill can often be as fickle as a Washington, D.C., weather forecast. However, once every blood-red moon, we see members of Congress work carefully and deliberately to introduce true bipartisan legislation — which is precisely what U.S. Representative John Shimkus, R-Ill., is doing with the draft Chemicals in Commerce Act, proposed legislation to reform the decades-old Toxic Substances Control Act.
| April 30, 2014, 5:58 p.m.
NASA wants to go to Mars in the 2030s, but there are some technical challenges it’ll have to address. Such as landing.
| April 30, 2014, 3:37 p.m.
Sometime in the next decade, NASA envisions being able to send a spacecraft to snag a small asteroid passing nearby and guide it into orbit around the moon, where astronauts could fly up to study it and return samples to Earth. Agency officials say it’s a way to gain experience and develop some of the technologies it would need to send humans to Mars in the 2030s.
| April 30, 2014, 5 a.m.
Even after almost 10 years of unveiling the latest consumer technology at the International CES, innovation and the ways it keeps us connected — no matter where we are — continues to amaze me. But innovation can also produce what economists refer to as negative externalities: an incessant urge to stay connected, even while we’re driving. And that connection can come at the expense of safety — for us, our families riding in our cars, the strangers with whom we’re sharing the road and everyone who’s hoofing it along sidewalks and crosswalks.
| April 21, 2014, 5 a.m.
Congress has utterly failed to effectively regulate the chemical industry, and thus shares responsibility for widespread toxic chemical contamination of people and the environment. In our daily lives we are exposed to hundreds, perhaps even thousands, of chemicals from a wide range of sources, including personal care and cleaning products, food packaging, plastics, children’s toys, furniture, air, water, our workplaces and our neighborhoods. While most Americans believe chemicals are tested for safety, the unfortunate reality is federal law does not require the chemical industry to prove chemicals safe before they can be used in products we come in contact with every day.
| April 17, 2014, 5:30 a.m.
Last week, the Senate Judiciary Committee held the first hearing to examine the merger of the nation’s top two cable operators, Comcast and Time Warner Cable. But the merger no longer has the air of inevitability it once did. What happened?
| April 17, 2014, 5 a.m.
In 1972, President Richard Nixon committed the United States to a space shuttle to meet all launch needs for America’s space program — for national security, civil space, human spaceflight and the commercial marketplace. Now, the consequences of this decision and others emphasizing globalization fundamentally threaten America’s vital access to space.
| April 14, 2014, 5 a.m.
There’s ample reason to view the recently introduced Songwriter Equity Act with a healthy dose of cynicism.
| April 14, 2014, 5 a.m.
The National Cotton Council of America (NCC) appreciates the Rep. John Conyers Jr.’s concern for the relationship between honeybee colony health and U.S. economic and food security (Why Congress Should Care About the Beepocalypse, Roll Call, April 7, 2014). While cotton is one of many crops that does not require the assistance of bees for pollination, the NCC, along with many other agricultural organizations, industries and non-government organizations, continue to seek scientific causes of the decline in honeybee health. Leading scientists, including Dr. Jeff Pettis to whom the congressman referred, have conducted many studies seeking the cause of the honey bee decline and have reported in many open forums that pesticides are only one of many possible factors contributing to the decline in honeybee health. In USDA’s Report on the National Stakeholders Conference on Honeybee Health (October 15–17, 2012), Pettis reported, “No single silver bullet will solve the problems affecting honeybees and other pollinators.” Similar information was provided in an earlier Congressional Report identifying the multiple factors contributing to the decline in honeybee health.
| April 14, 2014, 5 a.m.
We live in a time when we can access information pretty much anywhere, at any time, whenever we want. The rapid deployment of broadband networks have made available a plethora of consumer services and applications in the digital age. In two short decades consumer choice has expanded from limited offerings of voice and video from wired telephone and cable companies to one stop shopping for our voice, video and data needs from wireless, cable and traditional telephone companies.
| April 10, 2014, 5 a.m.
One of the unique characteristics of our country is the pace at which innovation can generate positive societal developments, consumer benefits and economic opportunity. The protection of intellectual property is essential to ensuring one’s hard-wrought inventions are not exploited. However, the patent system of today has gone awry and Congress is right to address it.
| April 3, 2014, 5 a.m.
Harmony. Unity. Parity.
| April 2, 2014, 6:56 p.m.
To the casual observer, the Obama administration’s approach to the congressional debate over patent trolls may seem erratic.
| April 2, 2014, 6:38 p.m.
Four months after the House passed a far-reaching bill to prevent abusive patent infringement lawsuits, senators are close to striking a deal on their own legislation, according to aides in both parties.
| April 1, 2014, 4:57 p.m.
A United Nations report this week warned that a warming planet will exacerbate existing health problems in the coming decades — and U.S. scientists will caution later this month that those and other public health concerns are imminent.
| March 31, 2014, 5 a.m.
Is the House Science Committee sidelining science? Based on a new, comprehensive look at the witnesses who have appeared before the committee in the past 12 years, it seems so.
| March 25, 2014, 4:18 p.m.
Unless a new scientist emerges victorious in the 2014 November elections, the nerd factor on Capitol Hill will have taken a nose dive in the last six years.