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The Rise, fall, and legacy of the Office of Technology Assessment

On October 13, 1972, the Technology Assessment Act was put into law as a bipartisan effort to promote scientific understanding for Congress members. The act created the nonpartisan Office of Technology Assessment (OTA), which released over 750 studies in its 24 years of operation. The OTA was defunded in 1995, part of Newt Gingrich's efforts to "dismantle Congressional institutions that employed people with the knowledge, training and experience to know a harebrained idea when they saw it." (Bruce Bartlett, NYT Economix blog). It was seen by some as "Reagan's Revenge" (Google books preview) for OTA's critical reports (Gbp) in 1985 (PDF) and 1988 (PDF) of the potential for Reagan's Strategic Defense Initiative (SDI, aka "Star Wars"). Chris Mooney looked back on OTA in Requiem for an office (PDF), and both the Federation of American Scientists and Princeton University have OTA report archives online. [more inside]
posted by filthy light thief on May 13, 2014 - 26 comments

The Era of Big Metafilter is Over

Tonight, President Barack Obama will deliver his 2014 State of the Union address. A stream will be available via the White House and from many other outlets. [more inside]
posted by Drinky Die on Jan 28, 2014 - 449 comments

Oliver Stone's Untold History of the United States

"Untold History of the United States challenges the basic narrative of the U.S. history that most Americans have been taught.... [Such history] is consoling; it is comforting. But it only tells a small part of the story." Instead of clips of modern people pondering the past, Oliver Stone's ten-part series relies heavily on archival footage and clips from old Hollywood films, with narration by Stone. Towards the end, he gets into the assassination of JFK, "but that should not detract from a series that sets out to be a counterweight to the patriotic cheerleading and myth-making." [more inside]
posted by filthy light thief on Dec 23, 2013 - 66 comments

The Welfare Queen

Slate.com reports on the story of the woman behind Ronald Reagan's "welfare queen in a Cadillac" story: "When I set out in search of Linda Taylor, I hoped to find the real story of the woman who played such an outsize role in American politics—who she was, where she came from, and what her life was like before and after she became the national symbol of unearned prosperity. What I found was a woman who destroyed lives, someone far more depraved than even Ronald Reagan could have imagined. In the 1970s alone, Taylor was investigated for homicide, kidnapping, and baby trafficking. The detective who tried desperately to put her away believes she’s responsible for one of Chicago’s most legendary crimes, one that remains unsolved to this day. Welfare fraud was likely the least of the welfare queen’s offenses... In the aftermath of that Tribune article—and the one published two weeks later that gave Taylor her famous nickname—Sherwin and his partner were detailed to the investigative unit of the state Senate’s Legislative Advisory Committee on Public Aid. The detective had been looking into a wide range of Taylor’s crimes, but now a police matter had become a political one. The welfare fraud, it seemed, was all that mattered. For the Chicago burglary detective, Linda Taylor was never really the welfare queen. He believed she was a kidnapper and a baby seller. Maybe something worse."
posted by bookman117 on Dec 19, 2013 - 52 comments

The Big Picture

This is The Big Picture, an official television report of the United States Army, produced for the armed forces and the American people. Now to show you part of The Big Picture here is Master Sargent Stuart Queen
The series consists of ~822 documentaries produced by the United States Army Signal Corps Army Pictorial Service from 1951 to 1971 to educate both soldiers in uniform and the American public about military concerns as well as things like historical battles, world geography, famous soldiers, the latest weapons, space exploration, strategic objectives, peaceful initiatives, and the life of a soldier. Being a product of the Federal Government it belongs to the the American people, and is thus freely available to all to copy and distribute. Most can now be viewed on archive.org
[more inside]
posted by Blasdelb on Dec 10, 2013 - 6 comments

"These are good people! Strong people! Part of my family is a Mexican!"

The Republican Party is in a bind on immigration; after being saddled last year with a presidential nominee who notoriously suggested "self-deportation" as a solution to the issue and earning a mere 27% of the Latino vote, it was widely expected that the Republicans would find a way to appeal to that important—and growing—voting bloc. They may well yet, but it currently appears that the bill recently passed by the Senate is most likely dead on arrival in the House, to the satisfaction of certain voices on the right. But compare the rhetoric of 2013 with the remarks made by then-candidates Ronald Reagan and George H.W. Bush at a forum in 1980 and consider how far the Republican Party has shifted...
posted by Bromius on Jul 10, 2013 - 53 comments

The Reagans Speak Out on Drugs, 25 years later

25 years ago, the Reagans spoke out on drugs, and they were, rather surprisingly, in support of a variety of substances. This wasn't a new video showing a sudden change of heart, but the work of two years, editing a longer speech to the nation that was originally broadcast in 1986. The new video couldn't be seen on TV, but was shared, traded, and bootlegged on VHS tapes. The case was originally labeled "A uniquely edited version of a real televised address to the American people," noting that it was made by Cliff Roth, an audio/visual geek and teacher who had access to a high quality film reel and audio source, plus the time and resources to make a piece of "editing art".
posted by filthy light thief on Mar 5, 2013 - 25 comments

Rumsfeld to Schlesinger: Drop Dead

Gerald Ford's administration was in trouble. Tension within the party and turf battles in the Cabinet were tearing it apart. Something had to be done to get things back on course in time to fend off Ronald Reagan's primary challenge. And Dick Cheney and Don Rumsfeld were just the men to do it.
posted by Chrysostom on Oct 31, 2012 - 37 comments

The Secret Government: The Constitution in Crisis

Bill Moyers' scathing 1987 special report on our secret government.(SLYT)(via)(trigger warning: pictures and video of dead bodies) It includes an in-depth look at the Iran-Contra Affair and much, much more. Note: sound cuts out for a couple of minutes during the intro because of copyrighted song. Sound returns around 3:20.
posted by AElfwine Evenstar on Mar 23, 2012 - 19 comments

Forget You, You Motherforgetter!

James Inman rants about former city attorney Mark Sidran to Seattle City Council members after getting arrested for saying the "f word". Warning: may be offensive to some, including Swatch watch collectors and John Tesh fans.
posted by schleppo on Mar 1, 2012 - 46 comments

"I Will Never Again Harm Another Human Being"

Over the objections of federal prosecutors and Ronald Reagan's family, John Hinckley, Jr. is on the verge of freedom. "Which should prevail—the belief that anyone who tries to kill a President should never be free? Or a judicial system that rests on laws that spell out pathways to wellness and freedom for people deemed mentally ill when they commit violent acts?"
posted by yankeefog on Oct 14, 2011 - 100 comments

The Real Reagan

Introducing The Real Reagan. "There is much to appreciate and even like about America's 40th president, and his two terms in office were not without significant achievements. But Ronald Reagan and his presidency are also badly misunderstood. To mark the 100th anniversary of his birth, we are offering what we hope will be a respite from the hagiography that has taken hold elsewhere -- a critical, but fair and respectful, exploration of the real Ronald Reagan." [Via]
posted by homunculus on Feb 6, 2011 - 149 comments

What's My Line? A Who's Who of US Entertainers from Past Decades

What's My Line? was a weekly televised game show that first ran in the US from 1950 to 1967, and featured a celebrity panel whose task it was to discern the profession or identity of the person who sat before them. The panel first guessed at the profession of two "regular folks," with a third "famous mystery guest," when the the panel were blindfolded and the guests often tried to disguise their voices. Let's start with a Halloween episode, split in 3 parts on YouTube, ending with the mystery guest (Andy Griffith). The lengthy list of Mystery Guests include the Harlem Globetrotters, Walt Disney, a young Ronald Reagan and Salvador Dalí (previously). [more inside]
posted by filthy light thief on Sep 7, 2010 - 34 comments

FDR: "People who are hungry, people who are out of a job are the stuff of which dictatorships are made."

The United States was engaged in the largest two-front war of its, or any nation's history. Though victory was not yet certain, there were discussions on a multi-national level regarding the future peace, and on the President of the United States was looking to the post-war prospects for the nation. With that in mind, the annual address of the President to Congress and the nation was summed up in one word: Security. "And that means not only physical security which provides safety from attacks by aggressors. It means also economic security, social security, moral security -- in a family of nations." This was Franklin D. Roosevelt's third-to-last Fireside Chat, presented on Tuesday, January 11, 1944, which included what he proposed to be the Second Bill of Rights. [more inside]
posted by filthy light thief on Jul 16, 2010 - 67 comments

It's All Yours George

Q: How many times was George H.W. Bush President? Once you say? Not so fast. On this day 25 years ago, as Ronald Reagan was about to go under anesthesia for surgery for colon cancer, he temporarily gave the V.P. the keys to the country for 7 hours and 50 minutes. It is the first and only time to date, that the Twenty Fifth Amendment has been invoked.
posted by timsteil on Jul 13, 2010 - 60 comments

Ronald Reagan Speaks Out Against Socialized Medicine

Ronald Reagan Speaks Out Against Socialized Medicine. [more inside]
posted by Astro Zombie on Aug 18, 2009 - 56 comments

The Fifties: an invention of Sha Na Na / Scottish Highlanders / Rondald Reagan

Remember the Fifties? For a certain generation, who could forget those golden innocent days as depicted in shows like Happy Days, Grease and the band Sha Na Na. But it turns out that vision of the 50's is mostly fantasy and never existed, largely invented by a group of Columbia U students around 1969. [more inside]
posted by stbalbach on Oct 3, 2008 - 61 comments

Chaka, When the Walls Fell.

Reagan at Neshoba. Some time ago, a blog post was authored at Mahablog which suggested that movement politics can best be understood when their rhetoric is viewed as a series of metaphors, with an allegory made to a spectacular episode of Stark Trek: The Next Generation featuring Paul Winfield titled "Darmok". Picard and crew stumble across an alien race that speaks only in metaphor. The alien captain, frustrated by the failure to communicate, transports Picard to the surface of a planet, where they must learn to communicate or die. The alien captain does finally reach Picard, but dies as a result of his injuries battling an invisible predator. By way of comparison, examine Candidate Ronald Reagan's speech at Neshoba [audio, 57MB, via, additional context here]. Some pundits are claiming that it is an example of the Southern Strategy codified as dog-whistle politics, whilst others view it as an honest mistake, and others still find an inconvenient long sequence of other "honest mistakes". [more inside]
posted by rzklkng on Nov 13, 2007 - 128 comments

Thompson's Glitch-Folk Debut

"I want those two minutes of my life back." Musique concrète Fred Thompson-style -- a merciless videohack of the candidate's performance at the GOP debate on MSNBC, October 9, 2007. While almost anyone can be made to look foolish edited this way, not everyone was impressed by Thompson's unedited presence at the debate, his TV debut as a presidential contender. Some believe, however, that the former Law and Order D.A. is just the man to "restore the Republican Party to Reagan's default settings."
posted by digaman on Oct 12, 2007 - 69 comments

Ronald Reagan: A Graphic Biography

Ronald Reagan: A Graphic Biography From the writers of Malcolm X: A Graphic Biography. [via]
posted by PostIronyIsNotaMyth on Sep 8, 2007 - 23 comments

Welcome to Night Flight

Night Flight aired Friday and Saturday nights on the USA Network from 1981-1988 in the heady early days of cable. It was one of the first places to see shorts old and new, music documentaries, and conceptual, artistically-intended music videos -- not to mention MST3K-style parody, general weirdness, and 420-addled wonderfulness.
posted by Methylviolet on Apr 23, 2007 - 64 comments

Tim O'Brien: Every Time You...ah, forget it.

Tim O’Brien – the painter and illustrator, not the writer – is so good with Photoshop (not to mention paintbrushes) that he can make Ronald Reagan cry.
posted by gottabefunky on Mar 16, 2007 - 40 comments

A Modest Gay Proposal

Following in the footsteps of Gipper followers -- The Ronald Reagan Legacy Project is on a mission to put the Gipper on the ten-spot and rename a road in every U.S. County after Ronald Reagan. Kenny Hill of AOL's gay blog Worth Repeating has his own mission: name a landmark in every state after Brokeback Mountain.
posted by chinese_fashion on Apr 28, 2006 - 34 comments

Celebraties turned Politicians

Top 25 Celebrities Turned Politicians
posted by Rastafari on Jul 19, 2004 - 8 comments

Reagan should be on a $3 bill

Reagan should be on a $3 bill "For the funeral of Ronald Reagan, they took the body from Beverly Hills to Simi Valley, the white Los Angeles suburb, where it stayed for a day and a half or so then they drove it in one of these two hearses to the airport and flew it to Washington and then they had a march and afterwards put the casket into the Capitol for crowds to pass by and now there was to be another march and a religous service and then a drive to the airport, where the casket will be shuttled back to the airport south of Los Angeles and in a hearse to the final ceremony at his library on Friday. That is quite a funeral. They buried George Washingon in half the time. You keep thinking of Harry Truman, whose code was, "Do not impose." He left an order that there were to be no eulogies at his funeral."
posted by Postroad on Jun 11, 2004 - 104 comments

Margaret Thatcher writes about Reagan

Flashback: Margaret Thatcher writes about Ronald Reagan. President Reagan saw instinctively that pessimism itself was the disease and that the cure for pessimism is optimism. He set about restoring faith in the prospects of the American dream — a dream of boundless opportunity built on enterprise, individual effort, and personal generosity. He infused his own belief in America's economic future in the American people. That was farsighted. It carried America through the difficult early days of the 1981-82 recession, because people are prepared to put up with sacrifices if they know that those sacrifices are the foundations of future prosperity.
posted by David Dark on Jun 7, 2004 - 56 comments

Juan Cole remembers Reagan.

Juan Cole remembers Reagan. Cole: I did not say anything yesterday about Ronald Reagan's death. The day a person dies he has a right to be left alone. But yesterday is now history, and Reagan's legacy should not pass without comment.
posted by skallas on Jun 7, 2004 - 25 comments

R.I.P. R.W.R.

Breaking History: Ronald Reagan dead at 93.
Will today be marked as the culmination of his achievements or the "end of the Reagan Era"?
MeFites are advised to please avoid piling onto the subject or the messenger
posted by wendell on Jun 5, 2004 - 415 comments

CBS may cancel 'Reagans' mini-series over GOP protests.

CBS may cancel 'The Reagans' mini-series over GOP protests. Rep. John Dingall has some thoughts on the matter: As someone who served with President Reagan, and in the interest of historical accuracy, please allow me to share with you some of my recollections of the Reagan years that I hope will make it into the final cut of the mini-series: $640 Pentagon toilets seats; ketchup as a vegetable; union busting; firing striking air traffic controllers; Iran-Contra; selling arms to terrorist nations; trading arms for hostages; retreating from terrorists in Beirut; lying to Congress; financing an illegal war in Nicaragua; visiting Bitburg cemetery; a cozy relationship with Saddam Hussein; shredding documents; Ed Meese; Fawn Hall; Oliver North; James Watt; apartheid apologia; the savings and loan scandal; voodoo economics; record budget deficits; double digit unemployment; farm bankruptcies; trade deficits; astrologers in the White House; Star Wars; and influence peddling.
posted by skallas on Nov 4, 2003 - 102 comments

Because they don't take American Express

I'll take the Ronald Reagan and JonBenet Ramsey velvet paintings please. Do you accept John Wayne Gacy Discover Cards?
posted by MrBaliHai on Jul 13, 2003 - 8 comments

Term limits

Guess who wants presidential term limits to be repealed... Putting aside your feelings for Bill Clinton (or Ronald Reagan for that matter), should the U.S. president be allowed to serve more than two terms?
posted by Durwood on May 29, 2003 - 50 comments

Mr. Bush goes to Palestine

Mr. Bush goes to Palestine Everyone in the White House must be incredibly giddy. The most incredible political and cultural schism in the world may finally be patched up in the event of a successful round of talks done Texan style--face to face and man to man. George W. Bush will be leaving shortly for a trip to the Middle East to take a crack at solving a little disagreement among the neighbors.

In a way, he is as much the son of Jimmy Carter as he is of Ronnie Reagan. Just a simple man, with more than a few complicated plans, a big, broad smile, and a ten-gallon hat. But will his down-to-earth working man's values be able to put an end to a simmering and increasingly, explosive animosity? Assuming everything works out for the United States and the world in general, is it actually possible that this man could go down as one of the most influential presidents of all time? Or will he ultimately fail like the others that failed before him?
posted by Hammerikaner on May 28, 2003 - 53 comments

Assassinating foreign leaders: Okay!

Is trying to assassinate a foreign leader illegal? Executive Order 12333, signed by President Reagan, says "No person employed by or acting on behalf of the United States Government shall engage in, or conspire to engage in, assassination," which confirmed and expanded the bans on assassination laid down by his two prior presidential predecessors. So why is the US government targeting Saddam Hussein and his sons? Has the executive order been secretly (and legitimately) revoked? Should it be? Does it even need to be revoked, even if just for appearance's sake? Has ignoring or revoking it been part of the plan all along? Does the Fourth Convention of the Hague really forbid assassination as well?
posted by Mo Nickels on Apr 9, 2003 - 49 comments

Do Americans want more God in government?

Governing by The Book? While reading this column from Nicholas Kristof (NY Times, reg. required), I was struck by the following quote: "President Bush has said that he doesn't believe in evolution (he thinks the jury is still out). President Ronald Reagan felt the same way, and such views are typically American." Lots more info here, including stats that 46% of Americans consider themselves "Evangelical" or "Born Again" Christians, and that more than twice as many Americans believe in a red guy with a pitchfork than natural selection. I have no doubt that me-fites will have much to gripe about here, but my question is this: Do a majority of Americans want a Christian government? How far away are they from getting it?
posted by Gilbert on Mar 4, 2003 - 54 comments

The Evil Empire?

Ronald Reagan used many of the same good vs evil themes we are hearing from the current Administration. However, a comparison of his famous Evil Empire Speech with the recent words and actions of the U.S. makes you wonder if we are becoming what we once fought against.
posted by quirked on Feb 19, 2003 - 11 comments

Steven Lightfoot believes that author Stephen King murdered John Lennon, with the blessings of Ronald Reagan. Mark David Chapman was just an innocent pawn in their evil game. Witness the lengths Steven Lightfoot goes to to prove his theories. Here's the story that the media doesn't want you to read.
posted by iconomy on Jun 1, 2002 - 31 comments

Ronald Reagan is joining the war

Ronald Reagan is joining the war on speeders in Malvern, IA. "Someone had put a dummy in there with a uniform and he has a big smile on his face," City Clerk Julie Powles said. I don't think it's very nice to call a former president a dummy, though.
posted by Kevin Sanders on May 22, 2002 - 2 comments

THESE PAGES ARE EMBARGOED UNTIL REAGAN'S DEATH.

THESE PAGES ARE EMBARGOED UNTIL REAGAN'S DEATH. Like looking into the future, Scripps Howard News Service has produced a 12 page newspaper insert that serves as a touching tribute to Ronald Reagan. Promise not to read any of it until he's really dead, okay?
posted by mathowie on Apr 20, 2002 - 45 comments

This a bronze sculpted bust of President Ronald Reagan that Arnold Schwarzenegger commisioned.Did he get his money's worth?
posted by BarneyFifesBullet on Mar 20, 2002 - 36 comments

"Why we talk about Reagan"

"Why we talk about Reagan"
posted by bunnyfire on Feb 8, 2002 - 81 comments

The Reagan Papers?

The Reagan Papers? "The confidential memos, letters and briefing papers passed among Ronald Reagan and his top advisers were to have come out in January -- 12 years after Reagan left office, as established by post-Watergate laws.

But the White House counsel's office asked the National Archives to delay the release until at least June 21 so government lawyers can look at the files that researchers and others are waiting to dig through. "
posted by owillis on Jun 7, 2001 - 12 comments

A Reaganesque Metro station

A Reaganesque Metro station The airport, the subway station... What's next?
posted by matteo on Apr 28, 2001 - 33 comments

Bush says "Nuh-uh" to Reagan Memorial

Bush says "Nuh-uh" to Reagan Memorial Good googly-moogly, Dubya does something right!!! Oh, gawd and I'm agreeing with his decision. I need to go wash myself.
posted by ratbastard on Mar 9, 2001 - 21 comments

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