Inspired by her father's struggle against fundamentalism in Algeria in the 1990s, Karima Bennoune interviewed hundreds of people of Muslim heritage from dozens of countries who also work for social reform. She hopes their stories will counterbalance oversimplified narratives about majority Muslim nations. Bennoune's website provides an excerpt
from the book, and she is interviewed on Open Democracy (transcript
posted by audi alteram partem
on Sep 6, 2013 -
School is a prison - and damaging our kids
- We’re not surprised that learning is unpleasant. We think of it as bad-tasting medicine, tough to swallow but good for children in the long run. Some people even think that the very unpleasantness of school is good for children, so they will learn to tolerate unpleasantness, because life after school is unpleasant. Perhaps this sad view of life derives from schooling.
posted by crayz
on Sep 4, 2013 -
As the plane descended into Rangoon's international airport, I noticed a slight change in my heartbeat. I felt calm, but also excited, knowing that I was about to return to Burma for the first time in 24 years.
Former student dissident and exiled journalist Aung Zaw spends Five Days in Burma
. [more inside]
posted by seemoreglass
on Jun 10, 2013 -
"Twenty five years ago I quit a job on Wall Street to write a book about Wall Street. Since then, every year or so, UPS has delivered to me a book more or less like my own, written by some Wall Street insider and promising to blow the lid off the place, and reveal its inner workings, and so on. By now, you might think, this game should be over. The reading public would know all it needed to know about Wall Street, and the publishing industry would be forced to look to some other industry for shocking confessions from insiders. Somehow this isn't the case
posted by vidur
on Feb 5, 2013 -
In less than an hour, the Supreme Court will hand down its final judgment in what has become one of the most crucial legal battles of our time: the constitutionality of President Obama's landmark health care reform law.
The product of a strict party line vote following a
of debate, disinformation
, and tense legislative wrangling, the Affordable Care Act
would (among other popular reforms
) require all Americans to buy insurance coverage by 2014, broadening the risk pool
for the benefit of those with pre-existing conditions.
The fate of this "individual mandate," bitterly opposed by Republicans despite its similarity to past plans touted by conservatives
(including presidential contender Mitt Romney
) is the central question facing the justices today
. If the conservative majority takes the dramatic step
of striking down the mandate, the law will be toothless, and in danger of wholesale reversal, rendering millions uninsured
, dealing a crippling blow to the president's re-election hopes, and possibly endangering the federal regulatory state
But despite the pessimism of bettors
, some believe
the Court will demur, wary of damaging
its already-fragile reputation
with another partisan 5-4 decision
. But those who know don't talk, and those who talk don't know
. Watch the SCOTUSblog liveblog
for updates, Q&A, and analysis as the truth finally comes out shortly after 10 a.m. EST.
posted by Rhaomi
on Jun 28, 2012 -
Critics of the Occupy Wall Street movement have complained that the protestors have no clear goals, so WE DON'T MAKE DEMANDS
composed a list of 12 concrete, specific suggestions focusing on economic reform, stronger regulation, and closing loopholes.
posted by The Whelk
on Nov 30, 2011 -
"Any industry would be proud of an average annual growth rate of 34% over ten years and of a global reach from Austria to Taiwan. But the headlong expansion of exchange-traded funds (ETFs), which by May this year controlled almost $1.5 trillion of assets (not far short of the $2 trillion in hedge funds), has become a matter for concern among financial regulators. Could ETFs be the next source of financial scandal, or even of systemic risk?
" Characterizing the Financial sector "like a hyperactive child" that "can never leave a good thing be", The Economist
appears to be wishing
for the ETFs
to be better regulated
because "it would be a shame if reckless expansion spoiled a good innovation".
posted by vidur
on Jun 26, 2011 -
"The paper puts forward a small but novel idea of how we can cut down the incidence of bribery. There are different kinds of bribes and what this paper is concerned with are bribes that people often have to give to get what they are legally entitled to. I shall call these 'harassment bribes'. Suppose an income tax refund is held back from a taxpayer till he pays some cash to the officer. Suppose government allots subsidized land to a person but when the person goes to get her paperwork done and receive documents for this land, she is asked to pay a hefty bribe. These are all illustrations of harassment bribes. Harassment bribery is widespread in India and it plays a large role in breeding inefficiency and has a corrosive effect on civil society. The central message of this paper is that we should declare the act of giving a bribe in all such cases as legitimate activity
[PDF]. In other words the giver of a harassment bribe should have full immunity from any punitive action by the state." [more inside]
posted by vidur
on Mar 31, 2011 -
Doug Lemov is getting some attention
for his work at identifying - and trying to replicate - the key things that successful teachers do. [more inside]
posted by mai
on Mar 3, 2010 -
Atul Gawande offers a way
for health care to be improved through experimentation and pilot programs, much as agriculture was in 20th century
posted by reenum
on Feb 27, 2010 -
Health Care: Who Knows 'Best'?
"...comparative research on effectiveness is only part of the strategy to improve care. A second science has captured the imagination of policymakers in the White House: behavioral economics. This field attempts to explain pitfalls in reasoning and judgment that cause people to make apparently wrong decisions; its adherents believe in policies that protect against unsound clinical choices. But there is a schism between presidential advisers in their thinking over whether legislation should be coercive, aggressively pushing doctors and patients to do what the government defines as best, or whether it should be respectful of their own autonomy in making decisions. The President and Congress appear to be of two minds. How this difference is resolved will profoundly shape the culture of health care in America." Interesting NY Review of Books article by Jerome Groopman
posted by cog_nate
on Feb 8, 2010 -
Healthcare reform has agitated right-wing extremists and moneyed interests in the United States for some time — during the presidencies of FDR and Truman
as well as Clinton and Obama, most recently — but where do the objections originate from, and particularly those which are known to be based on complete untruths? Some of these lies start with or are repeated by well-known right-wing media personalities
, but there are other people who get the ball rolling, who are perhaps less well-known. Elizabeth "Betsy" McCaughey
originated one of the current myths more commonly known as "death panels"
, but despite her attempts to market herself as a folksy voice fighting for the well-being of senior citizens, she has been an effective advocate for the interests of private health insurance companies since the early 1990s. [more inside]
posted by Blazecock Pileon
on Aug 22, 2009 -
Mark C. Taylor
, the chairman of the religion department at Columbia, offers a radical proposal in The New York Times
for the restructuring of the American university system. Two key components of the proposal entail ending tenure and shuttering academic departments—replacing disciplines with problems, and then tackling them with a cooperative and multidisciplinary approach, e.g. The Department of the Future of Water made up of geologists, anthropologists, political scientists, and ethicists. Should we End the University as We Know It
posted by Toekneesan
on Apr 27, 2009 -