Erika Eichelberger

Erika Eichelberger

Reporter

Erika Eichelberger is a reporter in Mother Jones' Washington bureau. She has also written for The NationThe Brooklyn Rail, and TomDispatch. Email her at eeichelberger [at] motherjones [dot] com. 

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World Leaders React to North Korea Nuclear Test

| Tue Feb. 12, 2013 3:06 PM EST

North Korea conducted a third nuclear test on Tuesday, the first since the country's leader Kim Jong-un took power in December 2011. Though it is still unclear whether the test was successful, experts say it could bring the country closer to its goal of building nuclear-tipped missiles designed to strike the US. Official state media characterized the test as a response to US hostility, and warned of "second and third measures of greater intensity" in the future if Washington doesn't back down. (The UN imposed sanctions on the country after a December 2012 rocket launch that the UN and Washington said was a cover for a banned missile test.)

The United Nations Security Council called the test, which is in defiance of existing UN resolutions, "a clear threat to international peace and security," and said it would "begin work immediately" on further punitive measures against Pyongyang.

The test also prompted an outcry from leaders around the world: Here are some of them, via CNN:

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"Most Transparent Administration Ever" Is Still Not

| Thu Feb. 7, 2013 12:59 PM EST

For years, the Obama administration refused to make public the Justice Department's classified legal opinions on the "targeted killing" of terrorism suspects. But Wednesday's news that the administration will let some members of Congress see the memos explaining the administration's legal justification for killing American citizens does not mean this administration is suddenly "the most transparent administration ever." In fact, forget classified memos: The administration can't even get the Freedom of Information Act right. On Monday, two congressmen demanded the Obama administration answer for its failure to improve the public's access to information through FOIA, under which American citizens can request government documents.

On his first day in office President Obama issued a memo committing to a strong, effective FOIA. "The Freedom of Information Act should be administered with a clear presumption: In the face of doubt, openness prevails," it read. But filing a FOIA request and getting information back is still a struggle. On Monday, the top members of the House oversight committee, Reps. Elijah Cummings (D-Md.) and Darrell Issa (R-Ca.), sent a letter to the Justice Department, which keeps tabs on how FOIA requests are carried out, demanding information on nearly two dozen problems with the Obama administration's FOIA policy. The congressmen point to "outdated FOIA regulations, exorbitant and possibly illegal fee assessments, FOIA backlogs, [and] the excessive use and abuse of exemptions."

4 House Members Slam College's Anti-Israel Event

| Sat Feb. 2, 2013 2:29 PM EST

A scholar and a political commentator are about to let fly to some very, very dangerous speech at a New York college next week. It's so dangerous, in fact, that four Democratic members of Congress are getting involved.

Next Thursday, Brooklyn College's political science department and the student group Students for Justice in Palestine are scheduled to hold a panel discussion with philosopher Judith Butler and Omar Barghouti, a Palestinian political analyst, on something called "BDS." BDS stands for Boycott, Divestment, and Sanctions, the controversial international movement that pushes to get Israel to withdraw its settlements from the Palestinian territories by boycotting Israeli products, divesting from Israeli industries, and imposing sanctions.

Good News for People Who Like Guns and Vacation Homes

| Thu Jan. 31, 2013 11:19 AM EST

Second Amendment alert: New York is preventing Americans with second, third, and fourth homes in the state from obtaining pistol and revolver licenses—and a federal appeals court opinion issued Tuesday suggested this might violate the Constitution.

The case involves a man named Alfred G. Osterweil who owns a vacation home in Summit, NY, and who was denied a handgun permit in the state because his formal residence is in Louisiana. A local judge said this was okay because New York law only allows licenses for full-time residents, and argued that this did not violate the Second Amendment because it's more like a regulation than an outright ban. (An outright ban would be unconstitutional.) He held that it is in the state's interest to "monitor… its hand gun licensees to ensure their continuing fitness for the use of deadly weapons," the opinion said. If Osterweil is out of state for much of the year, the argument goes, New York can't keep tabs on whether he is a law-abiding citizen or a mass murderer.

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