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Dogs At Work :: Hey Mister, what's in the bag? RESPONSIBILITY!

How SparkFun has maintained a high dog:human ratio as the company has grown up.
posted by zamboni on Jul 9, 2014 - 31 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

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

The Pity-Charity Complex

"I say “you” deliberately here, because much of the writing about low-wage workers tends to obscure just that fact — that these stories could well be about you. Too much writing on the left and the right has tended to treat the people in some of the nation’s most common jobs as if they are some exotic Other rather than our neighbors, our family members and ourselves. " --Sarah Jaffe on the media's strange ways of talking about low-wage workers.
posted by The Whelk on Mar 20, 2014 - 40 comments

How close do you live to a nuclear power plant? And other maps.

See how close you live to a nuclear power plant on this interactive map featured in Smithsonian. It's created by ESRI, home to all kinds of other maps, like the Battle of the Big Boxes, Ferris Bueller's Day Off, the location of uninsured Americans, a Timeline of the UK's Tallest Buildings, and more. [more inside]
posted by MoonOrb on Mar 14, 2014 - 38 comments

O Woman's Day

Talking gender to Africa
International donors have sought to improve the social, political and economic position of women in Africa through an approach known as “gender”. This donor-driven strategy is failing. The jargon of gender programmes is ambiguous and easily misunderstood. It fosters inaction and lip service on the part of patriarchal African governments and civil servants. Gender has become the preserve of the educated elite. The voices of African women have been lost.
[more inside]
posted by infini on Mar 8, 2014 - 6 comments

We're not so different

Who's influencing reproductive policy in Canada? Unfortunately, the difference between the religious right in Canada and our neighbours to the south is not so much doctrinal as it is window dressing. The Tea Party’s "late term abortion" red herring with its attendant gruesome imagery very much parallels the "gender-selection" trope of the Conservative base in Canada. It’s a matter of media and public relations, knowing your audience and playing to its sympathies.
posted by Conspire on Dec 10, 2013 - 22 comments

“It just got very, very old and all of us felt that we were whores."

More than half the population of small, rural Madras, Oregon (population: ~6059) and its surrounding community is served by one clinic: Madras Medical. At the beginning of 2006, the clinic's doctors and nurses decided to ban pharmaceutical reps from visiting their practice. No more free lunches. No more free drug samples. No more gifts. And yet.... "It's made us better doctors." (Via) [more inside]
posted by zarq on Aug 27, 2013 - 40 comments

Rise of the rainbow hawks

How the Conservative Party in Canada got in bed with Gay Rights in two decades or less: The move allowed the Conservative government to poke a stick in Iran’s eye, and help a genuinely in-need refugee constituency, all at one blow. As a bonus, such steps help create a bulwark against radicalism in our immigrant population. “When you’re dealing with a country like Iran, gay asylum seekers are exactly the ones you want,” says Mr. Raphael. “In general, these are precisely the people who you can guarantee don’t support the Iranian regime back home. They’re going to bring in a more secular, moderate perspective.”
posted by skermunkil on Aug 24, 2013 - 28 comments

Habits of Highly Effective Social Movements

What makes a movement work in the first place? Why do some movements like the struggle for civil rights take off while others like Occupy Wall Street wilt? Four ways to beat 'The Man'.
posted by shivohum on Aug 17, 2013 - 20 comments

Obesity Reclassified as a Disease

The A.M.A. has officially recognized obesity as a disease. [more inside]
posted by astapasta24 on Jun 19, 2013 - 339 comments

Nutrition Attrition

"Don't forget to take your vitamins!" Or not. Some say it could kill you. Will there ever be any definitive answers when it comes to nutrition?
posted by kidkilowatt on Jun 11, 2013 - 63 comments

The Persistence of Arab Anti-Americanism

Marc Lynch reviews Amaney Jamal's Of Empires & Citizens, which argues that "anti-Americanism has very little to do with cultural resentments or civilizational hatred... Instead, Arab anti-Americanism reflects a deeper rejection of undemocratic political systems in Arab countries, which for decades have been underwritten and supported by the United States."
posted by MisantropicPainforest on May 7, 2013 - 36 comments

Imagining and sharing desires and fears about the future is a way for

Since time immemorial, people have tried to predict the future. In the second half of the 20th century, these efforts grew more ambitious and sophisticated. Improvements in computational power, data gathering, and analysis were all put to work to try to lift the veil on the future. But the last decade has not been kind to futurology. Bankers' and insurers' forecasts of risk turned out to be drastically wrong, torpedoing the financial system and ushering in a long stagnation. Politicians' visions of long-term stable economic growth evaporated. Perhaps relatedly, scathing critiques of our ability to foresee the future rose to the top of bestseller lists. In this newly self-conscious mood, Nesta funded research that tries to get under the surface of different ways of talking about the future. This paper leans on that research, defending some forms of futurology. Accompanying Guardian post on uncertainty being the only certainty.
posted by infini on May 4, 2013 - 13 comments

NDT 2013

Last week Emporia State University won the National Debate Tournament for the first time. Ryan Wash and Elijah Smith won the round over Northwestern's Peyton Lee and Arjun Vellayappan in a close 3-2 decision. (link goes to a video of the round) [more inside]
posted by LSK on Apr 9, 2013 - 49 comments

How African Feminism Changed the World

'Feminism' has often been seen as a Western concept, but African women are increasingly redefining it to suit their own purposes. This, in turn, is influencing the rest of the world.
posted by infini on Mar 18, 2013 - 21 comments

De Moivre’s equation

The Most Dangerous Equation If you have never taken the time to read any statistics, then take the time to read this short chapter excerpt. In order to understand the world a bit more accurately and be able to interpret data for public policy, understanding De Moivre’s equation and sample variability is very significant.
posted by SollosQ on Mar 16, 2013 - 24 comments

"Conspiracy theorists and technocrat pundits"

The New Inquiry: Just The Facts
With its emphasis on the empirical, conspiracism is uncomfortably similar to the technocratic mindset of mainstream political discourse. Technocratic pundits — typified by the likes of Ezra Klein, a journalist and blogger who runs the Washington Post's Wonkblog — are likewise driven almost exclusively by data sets and empirical studies. As Bhaskar Sunkara suggested in this piece for In These Times, such pundits operate under the assumption that the facts are so powerful that they might lead people of all ideologies to embrace a particular array of ideology-free policies.
[more inside]
posted by the man of twists and turns on Mar 13, 2013 - 62 comments

Yearning to Breathe Free

President Obama called on Congress, in a speech today in Las Vegas, to advance an immigration overhaul that includes a plan “that finally deals with the 11 million undocumented immigrants who are in this country right now.” [more inside]
posted by chavenet on Jan 29, 2013 - 135 comments

Women in combat

Today, Secretary of Defense Leon Panetta will announce that the Pentagon has lifted its 19 year old ban on women serving in combat roles in the military. [more inside]
posted by roomthreeseventeen on Jan 24, 2013 - 73 comments

This is not the Africa you're looking for

What Susan Rice Has Meant for U.S. Policy in Sub-Saharan Africa Right now, Africa is changing with extraordinary speed and in surprising ways, but American policy there remains stale and stuck in the past: unambitious, underinvested and conceptually outdated.
posted by infini on Jan 1, 2013 - 13 comments

Japan

What's Going On In Japan? "Really Japan is quite a remarkable case, since neither fiscal nor monetary policy seems to be working to achieve the anticipated results. This year Japan will have a fiscal deficit of around 10% of GDP and gross government debt will hit 235% of GDP, yet the country is still struggling to find growth. Instead of reiterating old dogmas (whether they come from Keynes or from Hayek) more people should be asking themselves what is happening here. This is not a simple repetition of something which was first time tragedy and is now second time tragedy, it is something new, and could well be a harbinger for more that is to come, elsewhere. Oh, why oh why are economists not more curious?" [more inside]
posted by kliuless on Dec 27, 2012 - 82 comments

We need to im(wait...no...ex)-port natural gas to save the U.S. economy

A new DOE-funded study has concluded liquified natural gas exports will help the US economy. (PDF) In this report, the word "environment" occurs four times -- none of them with respect to impact on, or cost to the environment of either extraction or transportation. [more inside]
posted by dylanjames on Dec 7, 2012 - 60 comments

The New York Times - Complaints Aside, Most Face Lower Tax Burden Than in 1980

The New York Times examines how American taxes have changed since 1980
posted by East Manitoba Regional Junior Kabaddi Champion '94 on Nov 30, 2012 - 105 comments

Young Child Risk Calculator

From The National Center For Children in Poverty: Young Child Risk Calculator: "The risk factors used in this tool are known to increase the chance of poor health, school, and developmental outcomes for young children. Economic hardship paired with any of the listed risk factors may indicate a greater chance of poor outcomes. Children with three or more risks are exceptionally vulnerable. Information about the prevalence of young children experiencing these risks can inform policies aimed at improving outcomes for vulnerable children and reducing the number of children experiencing early risks." [more inside]
posted by OmieWise on Nov 27, 2012 - 6 comments

Librarians are doing it for themselves

What really concerns librarians; what do they discuss when they self-organise and decide for themselves? After the inaugural UK event, the second UK Librarycamp, with around 200 attendees, was recently held; reflections by Frank Norman, Carolin Schneider [1] [2], Sarah Wolfenden, Amy Faye Finnegan, Shambrarian Knights, Michelle, Jennifer Yellin, Jenni Hughes, Bookshelf Guardian, Amy Cross-Menzies and Simon Barron, and by one of the organisers. [more inside]
posted by Wordshore on Nov 1, 2012 - 10 comments

Buying useful things, like roads and universities and health care and solar energy and spaceships, should be better stimulus than fighting wars.

"Liberals have not always been very good at communicating why liberalism works. There’s many reasons for this, but part of it is that it can be hard to defend the obvious from an absurd and deceptive attack. For half a century you had to be a crank to oppose what Roosevelt accomplished; liberals got out of the habit of arguing for their beliefs. I hope this page will help. Liberals don’t need to apologize for their vision of how American society should work. Liberalism saved American capitalism and democracy, defeated Naziism, created a prosperous middle class, and benefited every sector of society, from the back streets to Wall Street. " Mefi's own Zompist (previously) on Why Liberalism Works.
posted by The Whelk on Sep 30, 2012 - 109 comments

Paris, London, Berlin, Brussels

The Big Three of EU Foreign Policy: Stefan Lehne on the contrasting roles of Germany, France and the UK.
posted by rollick on Aug 3, 2012 - 4 comments

Trouble in the tragic kingdom

Last Saturday Anaheim police shot Manuel Diaz as he fled from questioning. Neighborhood residents approached the police and recorded the scene of the shooting. As tempers rose, the police attempted to control the situation. This did not go well. On Sunday, many people joined a protest at the Anaheim police department held weekly since 2010. On the same day, Anaheim police shot and killed Joel Acevedo, during an arrest for a stolen car. Further protests at the Anaheim City Council meeting on Tuesday turned violent with some protestors throwing rocks and smashing windows. [more inside]
posted by eurypteris on Jul 25, 2012 - 76 comments

Building resilient cities and towns with fiscal conservatism

"...Charles Marohn and his colleagues at the Minnesota-based nonprofit Strong Towns have made a very compelling case that suburban sprawl is basically a Ponzi scheme, in which municipalities expand infrastructure hoping to attract new taxpayers that can pay off the mounting costs associated with the last infrastructure expansion, over and over." Building resilient cities and towns with fiscal conservatism. [more inside]
posted by invitapriore on May 8, 2012 - 46 comments

Kicked

It is really hard for me to make this post. For a while I stayed silent because I did not want to put myself in the range of fire. Everybody loves Kickstarter. They have, after all, revolutionized the economy. Kickstarter is the number one crowdfunding site in the world and the talk of the startup scene across the globe. Unfortunately Kickstarter recently banned me for circumstances beyond my control. - Is Kickstarter banning users for being the victim of stalking?
posted by Artw on Apr 14, 2012 - 164 comments

Yes, but do they have a secret plan to fight inflation?

"It’s been nearly 6 years since the series finale of The West Wing, and more than 12 since the one-hour drama, which [Aaron] Sorkin created and largely wrote, first walked and talked its way through NBC’s Wednesday-night lineup; and yet you might think the series never ended, given the currency it still seems to enjoy in Washington, the frequency with which it comes up in D.C. conversations and is quoted or referenced on political blogs. In part this is because the smart, nerdy—they might prefer “precocious”—kids who grew up in the early part of the last decade worshipping the cool, technocratic charm of Sorkin’s characters have today matured into the young policy prodigies and press operatives who advise, brief, and excuse the behavior of the most powerful people in the country."
posted by zarq on Mar 11, 2012 - 134 comments

Holder Explains Some Of It For You

... it was notable for the nation’s top law enforcement official to declare that it is constitutional for the government to kill citizens without any judicial review under certain circumstances. ... “Some have argued that the president is required to get permission from a federal court before taking action against a United States citizen who is a senior operational leader of Al Qaeda or associated forces,” Mr. Holder said. “This is simply not accurate. ‘Due process’ and ‘judicial process’ are not one and the same, particularly when it comes to national security. The Constitution guarantees due process, not judicial process.” [more inside]
posted by Trurl on Mar 6, 2012 - 224 comments

Not immune to criticism

Vaccinate, or begone. Some pediatricians are refusing to see children whose parents refuse to allow vaccination.
posted by bitmage on Feb 15, 2012 - 344 comments

ignorant America

In a fascinating discussion on PBS News Hour, Zbigniew Brzezinski, (US National Security Advisor to President Jimmy Carter from 1977 to 1981) promoting his new book, Strategic Vision: America and the Crisis of Global Power, criticizes the American public's understanding of world affairs as the least-informed of the developed countries of the world.

We see the consequences of an American public's ignorance of world affairs in America's foreign policy. How did this happen and what can be done to turn the tide? To enable real understanding of world affairs by the American public? [more inside]
posted by gen on Feb 11, 2012 - 171 comments

Obama White House opposes SOPA, PIPA.

The Obama White House formally speaks out against SOPA, PIPA. The Obama White House has come out against the Stop Online Piracy Act. The move has -- unsurprisingly -- drawn responses from the MPAA, RIAA, and other interested parties.
posted by joe lisboa on Jan 14, 2012 - 226 comments

Whip Inflation Now

There will be no big Federal bureaucracy set up for this crash program. Through the courtesy of such volunteers from the communication and media fields, a very simple enlistment form will appear in many of tomorrow's newspapers along with the symbol of this new mobilization, which I am wearing on my lapel. It bears the single word WIN. I think that tells it all. [more inside]
posted by Trurl on Jan 3, 2012 - 29 comments

The Xinjiang Procedure

In 2009, Urumqi, China exploded in riots. The assessment of Western media was on-going ethnic clashes. Behind the scenes, Beijing now stands accused of The Xinjiang Procedure, ground zero for the organ harvesting of political prisoners. [more inside]
posted by nickrussell on Nov 29, 2011 - 28 comments

Who watches the technocrats?

Peter Orszag (previously of Obama's OMB) argues that circumventing democracy is the best way to save it, but Catherine Rampell isn't sold, and Uwe Reinhardt points out that technocrats base "science" on moral values.
posted by klangklangston on Sep 28, 2011 - 91 comments

Tell

"I finally said, you know what, I'm going to tell my story. The first American injured in the Iraq war is a gay Marine. He wanted to give his life to this country." ~Eric Alva, 40, former Marine and veteran of Operation Iraqi Freedom
Tell: An Intimate History of Gay Men in the Military [more inside]
posted by zarq on Aug 26, 2011 - 29 comments

One step at a time

The Global Commission on Drug Policy is the latest group to advocate an end to the drug war - but also an unusually high-profile one, including former Presidents of Brazil, Colombia, Mexico and Switzerland, Prime Minister of Greece, Kofi Annan, Richard Branson, George Shultz and Paul Volcker. Tomorrow, June 2, sees the launch of their report, which advocates treating recreational drug use (and abuse) as a public health issue rather than a criminal justice one. [more inside]
posted by anigbrowl on Jun 1, 2011 - 60 comments

Bubbles and Public Facts

The Destruction of Economic Facts - "Renowned Peruvian economist Hernando de Soto argues that the financial crisis wasn't just about finance—it was about a staggering lack of knowledge" (via) [more inside]
posted by kliuless on May 23, 2011 - 35 comments

you may say I'm a dreamer

-Only an 'energy internet' can ward off disaster
-We must electrify the transport sector [more inside]
posted by kliuless on May 19, 2011 - 58 comments

New U.N. FAO Report Indicates 30% of Food Lost or Wasted

A new report by the UN Food and Agriculture Organization indicates that 1.3 billion tons, or nearly one-third of all food produced in the world is lost or wasted. The full report is available here (Warning: PDF).
posted by epsilon on May 11, 2011 - 30 comments

Maybe nuclear power is your problem, too?

The German weekly newspaper Die Zeit shows Americans (and a few Canadians) what a Fukushima-sized evacuation zone might mean to them.
posted by rhombus on Apr 12, 2011 - 197 comments

"This house believes that the world would be better off without nuclear power."

The Economist is holding an online debate on nuclear power. These debates provide a great opportunity to get an overview of the different perspectives on an issue. If f you are so inclined, you can share your own views on the topic too. Today's discussions focus on a contribution by Amory Lovins.
posted by philipy on Apr 11, 2011 - 68 comments

This is how to do policy consultation responses

Rap attack: six hundred clause Health and Social Care Bill 2011 eviscerated in three minutes by amateur rapper [more inside]
posted by dmt on Apr 4, 2011 - 29 comments

Why Not a Negative Income Tax?

Why Not a Negative Income Tax? "What kind of program could help protect every citizen from destitution without granting excessive power to bureaucrats, creating disincentives to work, and clogging up the free-market economy, as the modern welfare state has done? [Nobel-prize winning economist Milton] Friedman’s answer was the negative income tax, or NIT."
posted by shivohum on Mar 14, 2011 - 106 comments

Inside the multimillion-dollar essay-scoring business

With the institution of No Child Left Behind, educational testing in the US boomed. Now, some of the low paid temp workers hired to score these tests are speaking out about the behind the scenes manipulation that goes on to ensure test scores are in line with "customer expectations".
posted by reenum on Mar 7, 2011 - 142 comments

"The people who are constantly exasperated about the perfidy and sheer irrationality of the other side is the team that is in fact ill-informed."

Endogenize Ideology: Steve Waldman on the interplay between policy decisions and public opinion, in response to Krugman.
posted by Jpfed on Jan 21, 2011 - 14 comments

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