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What Happened to the ‘Future Leaders’ of the 1990s?

In its December 5, 1994 issue, Time Magazine picked 50 people who would be leaders in the future. They decided to revisit what happened to each person on the 20th anniversary of their predictions.
posted by reenum on Dec 13, 2014 - 26 comments

The River of Money

MapLight is a database that "looks at big industries and big interests, their elected beneficiaries and their votes." They also run Voter's Edge for personalized election information. Check out the contributions by vote on Net Neutrality and the Keystone XL pipeline. Maplight also contributes to the national law review. [more inside]
posted by the man of twists and turns on Dec 10, 2014 - 2 comments

A Federal Cab Marshal Service

Blake Ross details the ways in which the Nevada Taxicab Authority is fighting back against unscrupulous taxi drivers and out-innovating Uber & Lyft in the process.
posted by Another Fine Product From The Nonsense Factory on Dec 3, 2014 - 61 comments

Face the face

"Facebook actually makes masks out of everyone’s faces." Artist Sterling Crispin creates DATA-MASKS as a way to physically present the abstract data structures that Facebook and biometric surveillance systems use to pull a face from a crowd.
posted by a lungful of dragon on Dec 2, 2014 - 10 comments

Human trafficking in Iraq and Afghanistan, paid for by US tax dollars

"We protect women and children, but these are dark-skinned men.... " [more inside]
posted by John Cohen on Nov 16, 2014 - 5 comments

Industry and government say "Collect Everything".

"Sometimes, society gets it wrong... When that happens, strong privacy protections—including collection controls that let people pick who gets their data, and when—allow the persecuted and unpopular to survive."

What happens when we let industry and government collect all the data they want.

posted by anemone of the state on Nov 9, 2014 - 21 comments

Harry did indeed give us hell.

Vote all you want. The secret government won’t change says Michael J. Glennon, author of ‘National Security and Double Government’.
posted by flapjax at midnite on Nov 8, 2014 - 68 comments

Complexity and the dysfunctions of central government

One of the most interesting psychological aspects of Whitehall is that their inability to fix their own lifts in no way dents their confidence in advocating that they manage some incredibly complicated process. If one says, ‘given we’ve failed to fix the bloody lift in four years, maybe we should leave X alone’, they tend to look either mystified or as if you have made a particularly bad taste joke.

Dominic Cummings, a former special advisor writes a cutting dissection on the issues of complexity in modern politics and the increasing dysfunction of the executive branch via Bond movies, the First World War, political screwups and some unfixable lifts.
posted by Another Fine Product From The Nonsense Factory on Oct 31, 2014 - 44 comments

"What Does Joan Say?": The question that the president habitually asked

Joan Quigley has passed away on Tuesday at the age of 87. Brought on as an advisor in response to the assassination attempt on President Ronald Reagan, she had been in contact with the First Lady up to three times a day via private lines set up for her at the White House and Camp David. The President is said to have asked his wife "What does Joan say?" habitually. Donald Regan, Chief of Staff in the Reagan White House, wrote that "Virtually every major move and decision the Reagans made during my time as White House chief of staff was cleared in advance with (Quigley)". She was an astrologer.
posted by Flunkie on Oct 25, 2014 - 48 comments

The Obama Legacy

The Obama Brief: The President considers his judicial legacy. (SL New Yorker)
posted by roomthreeseventeen on Oct 20, 2014 - 30 comments

The Cafeteria Wars

The New York Times on regulation and lobbying around cafeteria food: "The average school-nutrition director is not unlike the chief executive of a medium-size catering business, but with a school for a landlord and a menu regulated by the government. With lower subsidies, the lunch ladies needed cheaper calories, and they turned to the increasingly efficient processed-food industry to find them. School cafeterias also began to rely more on revenue from so-called competitive foods — snacks and lunches that are not regulated by federal guidelines and “compete” with the regular school lunch on cafeteria à la carte lines."
posted by frimble on Oct 9, 2014 - 46 comments

"YOU EXIST ONLY TO REDUCE OVERTIME"

A story about working for the United States Postal Service
posted by curious nu on Sep 26, 2014 - 57 comments

The Social Construction of Money (Wealth/Capital in the 21st Century)*

The political economy of a universal basic income: "your view of what is feasible should not be backwards looking. The normalization of gay marriage and legalization of marijuana seemed utopian and politically impossible until very recently. Yet in fact those developments are happening, and their expansion is almost inevitable given the demographics of ideology... UBI — defined precisely as periodic transfers of identical fixed dollar amounts to all citizens of the polity — is by far the most probable and politically achievable among policies that might effectively address problems of inequality, socioeconomic fragmentation, and economic stagnation." [more inside]
posted by kliuless on Sep 19, 2014 - 62 comments

The McDonald's Cocaine Spoon Fiasco

How U.S. drug laws destroyed the McDonald's coffee stirring spoon.
posted by reenum on Sep 19, 2014 - 76 comments

March in August: "Liar Liar, pants on fire" (also: "Kick this Knob Out")

March in August: thousands rally against Tony Abbott by taking to streets:
Thousands of protesters have taken to the streets for the latest wave of protests against the federal government.

Demonstrations were held in cities across the country, including Sydney, Melbourne, Brisbane and Adelaide, to protest against a range of of social and economic policies being implemented by the Abbott government.

About 3,000 protesters marched through Sydney, voicing their concerns on a range of issues, from Australia's asylum seeker policies, to education cuts and the humanitarian crisis in Gaza.
[more inside]
posted by joseph conrad is fully awesome on Aug 31, 2014 - 40 comments

Will You Be Seated on a Jury?

If you've recently been called for jury duty, you may have been asked some rather personal questions. "In a recently concluded federal racketeering trial in Brooklyn, potential jurors were asked what public figures they admired the most and the least. For a political corruption trial, they were asked to list their three favorite movies and what the bumper stickers on their cars said." The New York Times, with the help of a jury consultant, created this quiz to see if you would potentially be seated on a jury.
posted by roomthreeseventeen on Aug 21, 2014 - 140 comments

The King of Beer

Meet the Beer Bottle Dictator: For years, one man has approved virtually every beer label design in the United States. Among brewers, he’s a tyrant. A legend. A pedantic pain in the ass. Brewers and legal experts speak of him in hushed tones, with equal parts irritation and reverence. "He’s the king of beer. His will is law," said one lawyer who works with him regularly. The lawyer asked to remain anonymous, for fear of crossing the beer specialist. "There’s one dude in the government who gets to control a multibillion-dollar industry with almost no supervision." And he goes by the name "Battle."
posted by Cash4Lead on Aug 12, 2014 - 79 comments

India's data portal

data.gov.in : the Indian counterpart of the US data.gov, features 10280 resources in 3215 catalogs for public perusal. There's a visualization gallery charting developments like village electrification or domestic air traffic or sales of automobiles. And also a community section featuring apps offering mobile access to some of the data.
posted by Gyan on Aug 7, 2014 - 2 comments

"I like sardines so this was a good dinner."

Former Ohio Governor Ted Strickland, Rep. Tim Ryan (OH), Rep. Jan Schakowsky (IL), and Rep. Barbara Lee (CA) are among those have been participating in the Live the Wage Challenge, posting on social media about their experiences. The Challenge (pdf) "asks elected officials, community leaders, advocates and anyone concerned about the growing inequality in this country to walk in the shoes of a minimum wage worker by living on a minimum wage budget for one week. That’s just $77."
posted by roomthreeseventeen on Jul 28, 2014 - 96 comments

The *first* revelation this week, at least

This week's Glenn Greenwald revelation is that Britain's GCHQ JTRIG intelligence organization offers its agents and planners tools with abilities to increase the search ranking of chosen web sites, “change outcome of online polls”, “masquerade Facebook Wall Posts for individuals or entire countries”, and accomplish “amplification of a given message, normally video, on popular multimedia websites (Youtube).” [more inside]
posted by XMLicious on Jul 16, 2014 - 54 comments

National Gay Blood Drive

Today is the National Gay Blood Drive, a campaign dedicated to bringing attention to the fact that the FDA still bans any men who have had sex with other men (MSM), at any time since 1977 from becoming blood donors.
posted by roomthreeseventeen on Jul 11, 2014 - 98 comments

"new, innovative ways to convey our findings"

The US GAO Flickr page features selected photos and graphics from US Government Accountability Office reports that are searchable, viewable, and downloadable by visitors to their site. [more inside]
posted by jessamyn on Jul 10, 2014 - 5 comments

Utility, welfare, and efficiency

  1. Welfare economics: an introduction
  2. The perils of Potential Pareto
  3. Inequality, production, and technology
  4. Welfare theorems, distribution priority, and market clearing
  5. Normative is performative, not positive

posted by kliuless on Jul 7, 2014 - 7 comments

Risky Business

The Economic Risks of Climate Change in the United States (PDF); prospectus (PDF); press coverage (YT) - "The signature effects of human-induced climate change—rising seas, increased damage from storm surge, more frequent bouts of extreme heat—all have specific, measurable impacts on our nation's current assets and ongoing economic activity. [The report] uses a standard risk-assessment approach to determine the range of potential consequences for each region of the U.S.—as well as for selected sectors of the economy—if we continue on our current path..." [more inside]
posted by kliuless on Jun 24, 2014 - 34 comments

The jeers started when she began talking about men doing their share

With a vague promise to support more women in the workplace as one of the key points of pushing an economic recovery, the reality is much more bleak for working women in Japan. Yesterday, while delivering a speech on the importance of supporting working mothers, Ayaka Shiomura, a member of the Tokyo government assembly was heckled, with jeers from other lawmakers demanding to know why she hadn't gotten married, and demanding to know if she was able to bear children. The Liberal Democratic Party has so far refused to reprimand the members responsible, and while members of Shiomura's party point out that Tokyo Governor Yoichi Masuzoe (with his own history of outright sexism) was evidently laughing as Shiomura at first laughed in disbelief, then was quickly reduced to tears (Japanese link, no English subtitles).
posted by Ghidorah on Jun 20, 2014 - 82 comments

National Greatness

Francis Fukuyama on 'The End of History?' twenty-five years later: "liberal democracy still doesn't have any real competitors," but to get there... [more inside]
posted by kliuless on Jun 15, 2014 - 29 comments

Determining the risk of harm or neglect

Should a Mental Illness Mean You Lose Your Kid? [more inside]
posted by zarq on Jun 2, 2014 - 32 comments

McCarthyism is alive and well - and it's in the Immigration department.

The Department of Immigration and Border Patrol of Australia's secret blacklist of immigration lawyers and agents has been discovered. DIBP claims that the list is used for "risk assessment" for partner visas and has "no impact" on assessing cases. The Migration Alliance, the lobby group of Australian migration agents that broke the news of the list, is not convinced.
posted by divabat on May 4, 2014 - 38 comments

What We Left Behind

What We Left Behind: a return of sectarian violence, and a nation worried for its future.
posted by semmi on Apr 29, 2014 - 25 comments

There are options, so long as you choose ours.

It's simple. Just say Yes. Campbell Newman’s LNP government has asked the residents of Queensland to help balance their budget. Strong Choices is an online survey giving respondents the opportunity to suggest reduction targets by selecting taxation or reduction in services or benefits. Problem is, there doesn't seem to be much choice. If you’d like to play along, you’ll need a Queensland postcode. I chose Mooloolaba.
posted by michswiss on Apr 23, 2014 - 22 comments

The Moral Question Of Our Time: Can We Share The Planet?

UN Climate Report: We Must Focus On 'Decarbonization', and It Won't Wreck the Economy - "The basic message is simple: We share a planet. Let's start acting like it." [more inside]
posted by kliuless on Apr 23, 2014 - 50 comments

Evenly distribute the future: Issuing more bio-survival tickets

VC for the people - "It's just that people who have options are much more likely to actually find success than people who don't." [more inside]
posted by kliuless on Apr 18, 2014 - 20 comments

Affluence and Influence

Gilens and Page analyze 1,779 policy outcomes over a period of more than 20 years. They conclude that “economic elites and organized groups representing business interests have substantial independent impacts on U.S. government policy, while mass-based interest groups and average citizens have little or no independent influence.” Average citizens have “little or no independent influence” on the policy-making process? This must be an overstatement of Gilens’s and Page’s findings, no? Alas, no... (pdf)
posted by anazgnos on Apr 12, 2014 - 34 comments

Sinkhole of Bureaucracy

The US Office of Personnel Management's Retirement Operations Center is housed about 230 feet below the surface inside the caverns of an old limestone mine. The trucks full of paperwork come every day, turning off a country road north of Pittsburgh and descending through a gateway into the earth. Underground, they stop at a metal door decorated with an American flag. [more inside]
posted by Measured Out my Life in Coffeespoons on Mar 23, 2014 - 74 comments

Meanwhile, across the Black Sea and in the mountains of Pennsylvania

Turkey: The Erdogan-Gulen showdown - "A political fight to the death had just broken out between Recep Tayyip Erdogan, Turkey's prime minister, and his former allies in the movement of Mr Gulen... The prime minister argues that the Gulenists have set up a 'parallel state' within the bureaucracy, following orders from Pennsylvania and pursuing an agenda of their own." [more inside]
posted by kliuless on Mar 22, 2014 - 30 comments

Aggregate Demand Management: "pass a law allowing the Fed to cut checks"

Free Money for Everyone - "A wacky-sounding idea with surprisingly conservative roots may be our best hope for escaping endless, grinding economic stagnation." (via) [more inside]
posted by kliuless on Mar 16, 2014 - 19 comments

Make Everything Awesome For Everybody: Bridging The CP Snow-Style Divide

The Two Cultures and the Scientific Revolution - "[Charles Percy Snow] was pleading for a more adequately educated ruling class so that the suffering of the poor might be ameliorated... Snow wanted to believe something like this: political decisions in the modern world often concern how to deploy science and technology, so people well-trained in science and technology will be better prepared to make those decisions. But that's a syllogism without a minor premise." (previously) [more inside]
posted by kliuless on Mar 15, 2014 - 37 comments

Tony Benn (1925-2014)

Acknowledged to be one of the few British politicians who became more left-wing after having actually served in government, former veteran left-wing campaigner Tony Benn has died at home aged 88. Tony was a British Labour Party politician and Member of Parliament (MP) for 50 years, and a Cabinet Minister under Harold Wilson and James Callaghan. His legacy can be seen in postage, in the powerful five questions, the speeches he gave, and his diaries.
posted by Wordshore on Mar 14, 2014 - 84 comments

How Obama's tech team saved his presidency a second time

Inside the Nightmare Launch of HealthCare.Gov - "Unknown to a nation following the fiasco, McDonough's assignment from the President had boiled down to something more dire than how to fix the site. As the chief of staff remembers his mission, it was 'Can it be patched and improved to work, or does it need to be scrapped to start over? He wanted to know if this thing is salvageable.' Yes, on Oct. 17, the President was thinking of scrapping the whole thing and starting over." (previously) [more inside]
posted by kliuless on Mar 3, 2014 - 120 comments

The ‘Mustache of Justice’ has left the building.

Thomas Scully, the Administrator for the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services under President George W. Bush, once said, “Fifty percent of the social safety net was created by Henry Waxman when no one was looking.” After 40 years and 17 consecutive terms, Rep. Henry Waxman (D-CA) is retiring from Congress. [more inside]
posted by Room 641-A on Feb 13, 2014 - 35 comments

A Catholic Showdown Worth Watching

The deep philosophical differences between the two main conservative factions of the Catholic Church, pitting adherents of John Courtney Murray against the followers of Alasdair MacIntyre is the root cause of the mixed messages being put out by the Church on public policy matters. It is the fight worth watching.
posted by reenum on Feb 11, 2014 - 108 comments

American History: a very qualified "Yaaay"

After a year of production, John Green's Crash Course US History has come to an end, traveling from the conflicts between the native Americans and the Spanish to the Affordable Care Act.
posted by The Whelk on Feb 11, 2014 - 40 comments

Solidarity

In possibly the largest Southern progressive protest since Selma in 1965, 75,000 to 100,000 people marched on Raleigh, North Carolina this Sunday in protest against the recently elected conservative government’s radical agenda. Once a comparatively moderate Southern state, the government North Carolina elected in 2010 has begun a systematic campaign [previously] to remove 50 years of progressive legislation from the state. Weekly Moral Mondays protests [previously], beginning in April 2013, have been ongoing, but this march represents the biggest gathering so far in protest of the NC government. [more inside]
posted by showbiz_liz on Feb 10, 2014 - 130 comments

In every courthouse....

Attorney General Eric Holder will announce tonight at the annual HRC gala that the United States federal government will treat lawful same-sex marriages sweeping equal protection under the law in every program it administers, from courthouse proceedings to prison visits to the compensation of surviving spouses of public safety officers. [more inside]
posted by roomthreeseventeen on Feb 8, 2014 - 74 comments

Flying Solo

Robina Asti was born in 1921. She used to take the subway to the airport when she started flying in 1936.She fought in World War II, and at the age of 92 is now fighting the government she served to obtain Social Security benefits following the death of her husband, Norwood. The Social Security Administration states that she is ineligible because her legal 2004 marriage was not legal.
posted by roomthreeseventeen on Jan 29, 2014 - 21 comments

"Nothing. You're screwed."

During their Freedom Hosting investigation and malware attack last year, the FBI unintentionally obtained the entire e-mail database of popular anonymous webmail service Tor Mail. And now, they've used it in an unrelated investigation to bust a Florida man accused of stealing credit card numbers. [more inside]
posted by zarq on Jan 27, 2014 - 39 comments

Civic Crowdfunding

Rodrigo Davis of the MIT Center for Civic Media is currently researching crowdfunding for civic and community purposes. Some of the issues he covers includes the ethics of crowdfunding (including Kickstarter's seduction guide debacle and Gawker's attempt to crowdfund a video showing Toronto Mayor Rob Ford smoking crack), a case study of Kansas City's crowdfunding campaign for their bikeshare program, a timeline of online crowdfunding since 2000, and how the Statue of Liberty was made possible via crowdfunding.
posted by divabat on Jan 19, 2014 - 8 comments

I Have a Chinese Banknote That Everyone in China Is Scared Of

In China, there are certain "bad notes" that frighten people and are refused as legal tender. Why?
posted by reenum on Jan 16, 2014 - 77 comments

Inside the Company That Built Healthcare.gov

That lack of expertise explains why in building healthcare.gov, the government turned to industry contractors; in particular, to CGI Federal, a subsidiary of CGI Group, a Canadian company. To those uninitiated in the dark art of government contracting, it seems scandalous that CGI, a company most Americans had never heard of, a company that is not located in Silicon Valley (where President Obama has plenty of Internet superstar friends who could have formed a dazzling brain trust to implement his signature legislation) but rather in Montreal, could be chosen as the lead contractor for the administration’s most important initiative. While right-wing news outlets have focused on the possible relationship between Toni Townes-Whitley, senior vice president for civilian-agency programs at CGI Federal, and Michelle Obama, both of whom were 1985 Princeton graduates, CGI’s selection is probably more an example of a dysfunctional system than it is a scandal. “A lot of the companies in Silicon Valley don’t do business with the government at that level [the level required for federal contracting],” explains Soloway. “It is very burdensome, and the rules make it very unattractive.” Indeed, government contractors have to meet a whole host of requirements contained in a foot-thick book, including cost accounting and excessive auditing, to prove that they are not profiting too much off the American taxpayer. Hence, there tends to be a relatively small, specialized group of companies that compete for this work, even on such critical matters as healthcare.gov. - Accounting for Obamacare
posted by beisny on Dec 27, 2013 - 106 comments

"... it feels like it was all for nothing. Nothing pays off."

7 New Yorkers About to Lose Their Unemployment Benefits Tell Their Stories
posted by The Whelk on Dec 18, 2013 - 139 comments

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