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We Blew $17 Billion in Afghanistan. How Would You Have Spent It?

The U.S. government has wasted billions of dollars in Afghanistan, and until now, no one has added it all up. Project after project blundered ahead ignoring history, culture and warnings of failure. And Congress has barely blinked as the financial toll has mounted. Here’s just what the Special Inspector General for Afghanistan Reconstruction found. See for yourself how that money could have been used at home.

The Making of a Narco-terrorist

Five criminals in far-flung parts of the world, five D.E.A. sting operations, five dubious links between drugs and terror. The characters are different but the story remains the same. Authorities said each case demonstrated alliances between terrorists and drug traffickers, but most of the alleged links fell apart in court. Here’s how narco-terrorism cases are made.

Personal Explanations

When Members of Congress Miss Votes, and Why

Debt By Degrees

Use our interactive database to search new federal data on almost 7,000 schools in the U.S. to see how well they support their poorest students financially.

Price Check: How Companies Value Body Parts

Benefits for the same body part can differ dramatically depending on which company you work for.

The Color of Debt

The black neighborhoods where collection suits hit hardest

How States Handle Drug Use During Pregnancy

Across the country, hundreds of pregnant women and new mothers have been accused of child abuse or other crimes when they or their newborns tested positive for controlled substances. Laws on drug testing of infants and new mothers vary, but the stakes are always high. Here is a survey of state laws.

Homeschooling Regulations by State

Homeschooling has been legal throughout the United States for about 25 years, but regulations vary dramatically across the country. Use our map to compare how laws vary by state.

Treatment Tracker

We've updated our database of Medicare’s payments to individual doctors and other health professionals serving the 49 million seniors and disabled in its Part B program.

Nonprofit Explorer

We’ve updated our Nonprofit Explorer app with over 600,000 new tax filings from FY2013. Use the database to search over 1.8 million tax returns from tax-exempt organizations.

FEC Itemizer: Browse Federal Campaign Finance Filings

Itemizer allows you to browse electronic campaign finance filings from the Federal Election Commission and to see individual contributions and expenditures reported by committees raising money for federal elections.

Less Than Zero

Despite decades of accepted science, California and Arizona are still miscounting their water supplies.

How Much Water Does the West Really Have?

As America’s west has waged its battle against water scarcity, some of its officials have been miscalculating to some degree just how much water is actually available. If states in the West keep managing water this way, we risk a water crisis even worse than we fear.

Surgeon Scorecard

We calculated complication rates for surgeons performing one of eight elective procedures under Medicare, carefully adjusting for differences in patient health, age and hospital quality. Use this database to know more about a surgeon before your operation.

Bet Big, Then Go Short

Governments that borrow money to fund their pensions often pay less into their pension funds in future years than they're supposed to. Here’s how the 20 biggest pension bonds deals since 1996 have worked out.

Picturing the Drought

Documenting the water crisis in the West, a photographer confronts distress, beauty and man’s complicity.

New Dollars for Docs

Pharmaceutical and medical device companies paid billions to doctors from late 2013 through 2014, new data shows. Search for your doctor in our interactive database.

End of the Miracle Machines: Inside the Power Plant Fueling America's Drought

The Navajo Generating Station helps move trillions of gallons of water over mountains, through canals, 336 miles into Phoenix and Tucson. But it comes at an enormous cost.

A Wonder in Decline

The disappearing Lake Powell in pictures

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