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Did I say "Recession? What Recession?" Oh right, this recession

Recession prompted 'unprecedented' fall in wages - Wages have fallen more in real terms in the current economic downturn than ever before, according to a report. On top of the rising cost of living, a third of workers who stayed in the same job saw a wage cut or freeze between 2010 and 2011, said the Institute for Fiscal Studies (IFS). "The falls in nominal wages... during this recession are unprecedented," said Claire Crawford from the IFS. Labour said the figures showed there was a "living-standards crisis".
posted by marienbad on Jun 12, 2013 - 62 comments

"You might very well think that; I couldn't possibly comment."

The recent Netflix House of Cards series starring Kevin Spacey was a remake of a very popular British political thriller of the same name that aired during the 90's. The show begins by tracking the dark political machinations and skullduggery of an urbane Chief Whip of the Conservative Party, who is conspiring to become Prime Minister after Margaret Thatcher's resignation. [more inside]
posted by zarq on Jun 11, 2013 - 91 comments

From Birmingham to The Daily Show

John Oliver, a standup comedian from Birmingham in England, takes over from Jon Stewart as host of the Daily Show for the summer from tomorrow. The Guardian profiles him. [more inside]
posted by Wordshore on Jun 9, 2013 - 91 comments

Textiles and Politics

Throughout human history and across the globe, whether as intimate artifacts of interpersonal relations or state-level monumental works, textiles have been imbued with political importance. Textiles can communicate and construct status, ethnicity, gender, power, taste, and wealth, and have functioned at the nexus of artistic, economic, and political achievement in human culture. As trade goods, creative medium, and social artifact, textiles have been instrumental in generating, supporting, and challenging political power.
The Textile Society of America 13th Biennial Symposium (2012) will explore the crossroads of Textiles & Politics.
posted by infini on Jun 9, 2013 - 12 comments

France's symbolic fight over same-sex marriage

The French Right Marches against Gay Marriage. Last month, France became the thirteenth nation to recognize same-sex marriage. A large religious and political movement continues to protest loudly against the Socialist government's "Mariage Pour Tous" (Marriage For All) law. [more inside]
posted by mbrubeck on Jun 7, 2013 - 44 comments

All The Ladies in the (White) House

First Ladies: Influence and Image is a C-Span series covering the entire history of the US through the eyes of the First Ladies that have occupied the White House.
posted by empath on Jun 5, 2013 - 1 comment

Prizes Trump Biases

If you pay them money, partisans will tell you the truth. (via Marginal Revolution)
posted by shivohum on Jun 4, 2013 - 32 comments

Roger Ebert on Kindness: The Cartoon

'Kindness' covers all of my political beliefs. A new cartoon from Gavin Aung Than's Zen Pencils inspired by the late, great Roger Ebert. (Zen Pencils previously)
posted by NoMich on Jun 4, 2013 - 21 comments

This Look Has Always Fascinated Me

Fashion blog Ivy-Style.com posted an article today hypothesizing that four-term Republican North Carolina State Representative Bryan R. Holloway is the anonymous blogger, known as Richard, responsible for the much criticized WASP 101 fashion blog, widely excoriated around the internet for its frequent racist, sexist, and classist overtones (and for having bad fashion sense, too). [more inside]
posted by something something on May 31, 2013 - 221 comments

Germany in 2013, a political sketch

"[Peer Steinbrück, the chancellor-candidate] is a good man, with quite a bold programme for ‘social justice’. Tax increases for the better-off, a proper minimum wage, dual citizenship for immigrants, less elbowing individualism and more solidarity in a society where das Wir entscheidet – ‘it’s the we that counts.’ The German public, surprisingly, mostly agree that increasing taxes is a sound idea. What they resent is that the idea comes from the SPD. In the same way, the Augsburg programme is widely thought to make sense, but the voters don’t fancy Peer Steinbrück. They are pissed off with Angela Merkel’s governing coalition, but reluctant to let go of Mutti’s hand. In short, the public are in one of those sullen, unreasonable moods which make politicians despair." The LRB reports from Germany. [via]
posted by rollick on May 31, 2013 - 20 comments

Producers know what's acceptable. Everyone fears a call from Roger Ailes

"I was a liberal mole at Fox News": Joe Muto explains how Fox News works on the inside and outlines how a day on The O'Reilly Factor works.
posted by Pope Guilty on May 29, 2013 - 39 comments

The rise of the far-right in Hungary

"Jobbik is one of the most politically successful far-righ parties in Europe. The Hungarian party is anti-EU, anti-semitic and anti-roma,
and have thrived since the financial crisis."
SLYT (Channel 4 report from Budapest, Hungary.)

Also on Vice: My Week with Hungary's Far Right

Previously about Hungary:
Roma in Hungary: A Hard Life
The Frightening Hungarian Crackdown
Hungarian Democracy Under Threat
posted by bdz on May 28, 2013 - 24 comments

"We are not toys. We are not going down without a fight."

Third-grader Asean Johnson schools Rahm Emmanuel on the mayor's plan for Chicago's public schools. (YT) [more inside]
posted by Room 641-A on May 25, 2013 - 37 comments

The memorial that no one wanted built except the veterans

Although ranked tenth in "America's Favorite Architecture," compiled by the American Institute of Architects, the Vietnam Veterans Memorial - sometimes referred to as simply 'The Wall' - was the at the center of political and artistic controversy and opposition from the time of its announcement in 1981. The Wall, situated in Constitution Gardens adjacent to the National Mall, is "...often referred to as the veterans 3rd battle. The 1st being survival in Vietnam. The 2nd, was dealing with the rejection experienced upon returning home from war. And, the 3rd, building the Wall." [more inside]
posted by joseph conrad is fully awesome on May 24, 2013 - 59 comments

The Cartography of Bullshit

On the 15 May, Max Fisher of the Washington Post penned an article titled A fascinating map of the world’s most and least racially tolerant countries. Fisher surmised that Anglo and Latin American countries are the most tolerant, linking racism to economic freedom based off of a study by two Swedish economists. Siddhartha Mitter responds, who, in The Cartography of Bullshit writes, "Although the results don’t pass the sniff test in the first place, I took a look at the data as well, in an effort to identify the exact problems at play..." [more inside]
posted by whyareyouatriangle on May 18, 2013 - 32 comments

A vast, sunny intellectual gulag

Why Australia hates thinkers, an essay on anti-intellectualism in today's Australia and the populist hostility to “intellectual elites”, by Alecia Simmonds.
posted by acb on May 17, 2013 - 60 comments

"as serious as rigging Libor"

Retail prices 'rigged for a decade': The European offices of BP and Shell were raided by European officials earlier this week in the beginning of an investigation into allegations of illegal market collusion and price fixing dating back to at least 2002. [more inside]
posted by saulgoodman on May 16, 2013 - 60 comments

"A serious interference with AP's constitutional rights..."

"The U.S. Department of Justice notified The Associated Press on Friday, May 10, that it had secretly obtained telephone records for more than 20 separate telephone lines assigned to AP journalists and offices, including cell and home phone lines." [more inside]
posted by BobbyVan on May 13, 2013 - 291 comments

Who Audits The Auditors?

On Friday afternoon, the U.S. Internal Revenue Service (IRS) apologized to conservative non-profit 501(c)4 groups for singling them out for heightened scrutiny during the 2012 campaign season. While the abuses were initially blamed on "low-level" workers in the agency's Cincinnati office, new questions were raised Saturday with a report that senior IRS officials were aware of the practice as early as 2011. That senior IRS officials knew of the politically-selective practices "seemingly contradicts public statements by the IRS commissioner." [more inside]
posted by BobbyVan on May 11, 2013 - 366 comments

Crazy like an Arctic Fox

Scientific American reports: "An isolated population of Arctic foxes that dines only on marine animals seems to be slowly succumbing to mercury poisoning." Though a definitive causal link is difficult to establish, an isolated population of arctic foxes on Russia's Mednyi Island is believed to be collapsing due to mercury contamination as a result of its seafood-heavy diet. Where does all that mercury in the environment come from anyway? Why, it's another biproduct of burning fossil fuels, of course, and predictably, rates of mercury pollution are only expected to increase. In some places in the US, even rainwater is showing high levels of contamination. [more inside]
posted by saulgoodman on May 10, 2013 - 25 comments

WSJ's Middle East Real Time blog

Since the end of March, the Wall Street Journal's new Middle East Real Time blog has written about Turkey's "unstoppable" export boom in soap operas, Saudi Arabia's "life after jihad" rehab program, the persistence of obviously fraudulent bomb detectors across Iraq, YouTube branding discussions among Syrian rebel factions, a rising media star Sunni cleric in Lebanon, a post-revolutionary Cairo arts festival, and attempts to overcome conservative objections and change the Saudi Thursday-Friday weekend to match the rest of the business world. Previous non-paywalled WSJ Real Time blogs include Korea, China, Canada, India, Brussels, Emerging Europe, Japan.
posted by mediareport on May 9, 2013 - 16 comments

Hiking the Appalachian Trail

Ordinary special elections rarely merit wide attention, but tonight features no ordinary special. Republican Mark Sanford and Democrat Elizabeth Colbert Busch face off in South Carolina's 1st Congressional District tonight. Sanford, famous for resigning in disgrace after abandoning his state in search of an Argentine mistress while claiming to hike the Appalachian Trail, faces Colbert Busch, sister of Stephen Colbert. Latest polling shows the race within 1 point, with Green Party candidate Eugene Platt potentially playing spoiler. Stretching along five counties on South Carolina's Atlantic coast (PDF), the district is primarily in the mustard-based barbecue sauce region, one of four in the state.
posted by Hollywood Upstairs Medical College on May 7, 2013 - 42 comments

"If people were more concerned, I wouldn’t have to be there."

Her encampment is 'an old patio umbrella draped in a white plastic sheet secured with binder clips. It is flanked by two large boards with messages in capital letters: BAN ALL NUCLEAR WEAPONS OR HAVE A NICE DOOMSDAY and LIVE BY THE BOMB, DIE BY THE BOMB. This rudimentary shelter has been positioned outside the White House for more than three decades. It is a monument itself now, widely considered the longest-running act of political protest in the United States, and this woman, Concepcion Picciotto — Connie, as she’s known to many — is its longest-running caretaker.' [more inside]
posted by zarq on May 6, 2013 - 7 comments

The Anarchist Revival

David Graeber’s “The Democracy Project” and the anarchist revival. "Is the current arrangement of our democracy unstable? Should we start thinking about what might come next?"
posted by homunculus on May 5, 2013 - 61 comments

The Oregon Health Insurance Experiment

The Oregon Health Insurance Experiment, an outgrowth of Oregon's 2008 lottery to allocate Medicaid slots to eligible residents, has released their second year of results (Previous discussions on the lottery and the experiment). The gist of the results are that they found statisitically significant reductions in catastrophic health care expenditures, improvements in the incidences of depression, and increased use of health care services. They found minimal (and not statistically significant) improvements in the rates of physical health indicators (diabetes and hypertension) they tracked. Because of ethical concerns, there are no other randomized controlled tests on this scale that study the effects of Medicaid and few on the effects of health insurance in general (the only significant one being a RAND study released 30 years ago). Because of the small amount of information available on the topic and the impending Medicaid expansion offered by Affordable Care Act, this study has drawn a lot of attention from political commentators. This will presumably be the last year these results will be published, as the state of Oregon was able to find extra money in 2010 in order cover the rest of its Medicaid-eligible population. [more inside]
posted by Weebot on May 3, 2013 - 20 comments

UK Shires only Local Election Results

Local Elections in the Shires of England took place yesterday. With the results now counted, the gruaniad's panel of Simon Jenkins, Jonathan Freedland, Polly Toynbee and John Harris review the results.
David Cameron : "pledges 'to work hard to win back' voters", and (on UKIP) : 'No good insulting party people have chosen'.
Nigel Farage (UKIP): "a 'game changer'".
David Milliband : "pleased with local election results."
Prior to the election :The gruaniad speculated.
posted by marienbad on May 3, 2013 - 54 comments

China: "Human Rights Record of the United States in 2012"

"The Human Rights Record of the U.S. in 2012 is hereby prepared to reveal the true human rights situation of the U.S. to people across the world by simply laying down some facts." Chinadaily.com, among others, has the full text of the report published by The State Council Information Office of the People's Republic of China. Last year's report on MeFi.
posted by dreinn on Apr 29, 2013 - 49 comments

Coming soon to a theatre near you... OBAMA.

Daniel Day-Lewis in the role of a lifetime...
posted by modernnomad on Apr 28, 2013 - 123 comments

Grand Theft Austerity

Jello Biafra: 'Obama owes Occupy big time' The former Dead Kennedy talks to us about the state of modern punk – and modern American politics
posted by fearfulsymmetry on Apr 25, 2013 - 41 comments

"You don’t like it? Find another place to live."

"Them and Them." "Rockland County, New York's East Ramapo school district is a taxpayer-funded system fighting financial insolvency. It is also bitterly divided between the mostly black and Hispanic children and families who use the schools and the Hasidic and ultra-Orthodox Jewish majority who run the Board of Education and send their children to private, religious schools." Also see: A District Divided. [more inside]
posted by zarq on Apr 24, 2013 - 168 comments

the land of milk, meatballs and solidarity

This is why we can't have nice things. Swedish SAP ousts substitute member of the governing board, over issues stemming from his role as chairman of the Swedish Islamic Association. Media outlets are found to have been fast and loose in their reports concerning the member. [more inside]
posted by xcasex on Apr 23, 2013 - 13 comments

Gun control amendments defeated

Despite widespread popular support, on April 17th, 2013, the US Senate voted to defeat four legislative amendments that would strengthen background checks for gun purchases and place a ban on assault rifles and high-capacity ammunition magazines. Victims and survivors of victims of recent shootings who were in the Senate audience were heard to yell "Shame on you" at legislators as the final votes were tallied.
posted by Blazecock Pileon on Apr 17, 2013 - 288 comments

Le gauche caviar

So, what's the problem with champagne socialism? Are well-off advocates of left-wing positions hypocrites? How does one square egalitarian convictions with personal affluence?
posted by acb on Apr 16, 2013 - 79 comments

Want transparency? First step: travel to DC

Even before it was enacted, the United States House and Senate voted unanimously to repeal a provision within the STOCK Act, a bill aimed at curbing insider trading among senior government officials. The repealed provision required that financial disclosure forms were accessible online. [more inside]
posted by antonymous on Apr 13, 2013 - 18 comments

Trans 100

The Trans 100 is a list curated by We Happy Trans based on nominations of 100 key trans people breaking ground in American culture, arts, social justice, and politics. [more inside]
posted by divabat on Apr 12, 2013 - 36 comments

Smaller Wallets, Larger Households?

A dozen ultraleft voluntarists arguing about shower schedules is a noise complaint; 120,000 downwardly mobile yuppies doing it out of necessity is a substratum. The material realities of declining wages, ballooning debt, and skyrocketing rents at the core of the neoliberal city have conspired to herd young people into unprecedentedly dense, poor, and precarious kinds of living arrangements. - Andrew Fogle on how the economic crisis is changing how people live together.
posted by The Whelk on Apr 12, 2013 - 55 comments

Ruled by “Dave” and “Nick”

In a sense what we have is the Americanisation of Britain, or at least of England. A society where everybody has then sense that they can be anything they want to be, and where hardly anybody can. Crooked Timber's Chris Bertram on the evolution of British society since the seventies.
posted by MartinWisse on Apr 12, 2013 - 20 comments

In which we discuss the politics of the Mario Universe.

...Although as he self-styles himself "King Koopa," it is apparent that he claims (or is seeking) parity of esteem with Princess Peach; that is to say that he does not regard himself as a "terrorist," but as a "freedom fighter" or entitled ruler in his own right.
posted by Navelgazer on Apr 10, 2013 - 24 comments

"'Spitzer! You’re Governor Spitzer!'"

Anthony Weiner and Huma Abedin’s Post-Scandal Playbook (Spoiler: The disgraced Congressman is likely running for Mayor of New York City. SLNYT, Via)
posted by zarq on Apr 10, 2013 - 72 comments

North Korea Sets April 10th Deadline

North Korea has warned foreign embassies in Pyongyang that it cannot guarantee their safety from the threat of conflict after 10 April, and has advised them to consider pulling their staff out of the capital. This follows North Korea blocking South Korean Workers from the Kaesong industrial complex - a sign that this might be more material than the usual posturing, warning that a 'moment of explosion' is nearing and moving missiles with "considerable range" to its east coast. Though the US is playing down the threat and the UK and Russia have no plans of moving their diplomats the possibility of an accident or miscalculation leading to war looms. North Korea has earned the reprobation of Russia and Fidel Castro in recent days and even longtime supporter China is beginning to lose patience with it - something some say is not before time.
posted by Artw on Apr 5, 2013 - 239 comments

“He’s just like a noble lion that does not bite.”

The last King of Rwanda, Kigeli V Ndahindurwa, lives on public assistance in low-income housing, at a dead end between US Route 66 and State Route 655 in Oakton, Virginia. 'He ruled Rwanda for just nine months in the 1960's before fleeing a revolt and has spent the last half century in exile, powerless to stop the violence that ripped through his country. He is 76 years old now, his tottering seven-foot-two-inch frame stooped by age and the vagaries of fate.'
posted by zarq on Mar 29, 2013 - 26 comments

Queer Wars: Return to Prop 8

A Primer for Straights on the Politics of ‘Gay’ Marriage [more inside]
posted by lookoutbelow on Mar 27, 2013 - 107 comments

Walk Out to Winter

In January, braving -40C weather, 18-year old David Kawapit and half a dozen other young Cree supporters set out wearing snowshoes and pulling sleds laden with supplies from the isolated community of Whapmagoostui in northern Quebec, to trudge the 1,500 kilometres from the edge of Hudson Bay to Ottawa in support of better conditions for aboriginal people. Yesterday, their numbers swelled to about 270 they arrived in Ottawa, where they were met with cheering and wild applause. Aboriginal Affairs Minister Bernard Valcourt agreed to speak with some of the young people who completed the trek, but Prime Minister Stephen Harper had more important matters to attend to.
posted by unSane on Mar 26, 2013 - 77 comments

Incommensurable values

Economists and the theory of politics - "why unions were often well worth any deadweight cost" [more inside]
posted by kliuless on Mar 25, 2013 - 27 comments

Bye bye Boris

London mayor (and oft talked-up potential future PM) Boris Johnson is demolished in a slow motion bicycle crash of an interview. (The whole thing)
posted by fearfulsymmetry on Mar 25, 2013 - 92 comments

The Parade of Horrors is Delayed

The Supreme Court has held that the First Sale Doctrine applies to copyrighted material manufactured and sold abroad. (Previously) [more inside]
posted by anewnadir on Mar 19, 2013 - 87 comments

sea & sky

seaQuest: what if we could learn to live on/underneath the oceans (or in orbit)? [previously(er)] [more inside]
posted by kliuless on Mar 18, 2013 - 14 comments

The only poll that matters...

Antony Green's Election Calculator Compare your own predictions with Antony Green’s. Handy list of recent past polls to see just what sort of caning the Gillard government might be in for. Probably more fun for coalition voters than Labor voters.
posted by mattoxic on Mar 18, 2013 - 133 comments

Some People Say, “Republicans Don’t Care"

The Republican National Committee released its "autopsy" report [PDF] today, analyzing what's wrong with the Grand Old Party after two presidential defeats, with recommendations.
posted by chavenet on Mar 18, 2013 - 247 comments

On Chicago Public Schools Censoring Persepolis's Images of Torture

Suffice it to say, Persepolis is quite a work. It’s a testament to the power of the graphic novel. The art’s simple linework helps the story feel unpretentious and direct. Persepolis was adapted as a 2007 French animated film, written and directed by Satrapi and Vincent Paronnaud. Among other honors, it was nominated for an Academy Award. Why would someone want to ban such a book?
posted by Artw on Mar 16, 2013 - 33 comments

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