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"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

I sat out there every day trying to dig out that damn stump

"One night in August 2004, I awoke to a man and a woman in my room whom I had never seen before telling me that they were "escorts" and we were going to a place called "wilderness."...There is a legal process where parents can sign over custody of kids who need residential care, which makes sense, because if a kid has to be housed in a mental health facility, the staff needs to be able to make all of the day-to-day decisions for her care. But that same process works for "unruly" teens like me, which meant the company that ran my camp had total legal control over where I went and what I did." --Cracked.com takes on the Tough Love for Troubled Teen camps that, mostly unregulated, are "treating" more and more children every year. [more inside]
posted by Potomac Avenue on Jan 27, 2014 - 69 comments

Shell Games

The secretive business havens of Cyprus and the Cayman Islands face a potent rival: Cheyenne, Wyoming. At a single address in this sleepy city of 60,000 people, more than 2,000 companies are registered. The building, 2710 Thomes Avenue, isn't a shimmering skyscraper filled with A-list corporations. It's a 1,700-square-foot brick house with a manicured lawn, a few blocks from the State Capitol.
[more inside]
posted by the man of twists and turns on Jan 22, 2014 - 32 comments

Shakedown on the Hudson

MSNBC's Up with Steve Kornacki has been collaborating with NJ journalist Brian Murphy on some investigative journalism about the Chris Christie administration's alleged withholding of Sandy Relief funds until the Mayor of Hoboken agrees to fast-track a real-estate development. Hoboken was one of the hardest-hit communities and has so far received $6 per resident. Christie became governor after leading a US Attorney investigation which convicted NJ politicians of crooked real-estate deals.
posted by East Manitoba Regional Junior Kabaddi Champion '94 on Jan 18, 2014 - 118 comments

YHBT YHL HAND. Repeat.

Jesse A. Myerson described five economic reforms millenials should be fighting for in Rolling Stone. Conservatives were generally aghast at the suggestions. Dylan Matthews at Wonkblog wrote a response, "Five conservative reforms millenials should be fighting for". Liberals disapproved. Both articles argued for I. Employer of Last Resort II. Basic Income III. Land Value Tax IV. Sovereign Wealth Fund V. Public Bank. Ezra Klein discusses the trolling.
posted by save alive nothing that breatheth on Jan 11, 2014 - 107 comments

Monitoring the raindrops that keep falling on your head from space

The successor to the Tropical Rainfall Measuring Mission (TRMM), the NASA/JAXA Global Precipitation Measurement (GPM) spacecraft is preparing for launch at the Japanese Tanegashima Space Center. GPM will be the newest international Precipitation Measurement Mission and will be the core observatory of the GPM Constellation. The two sensors on-board GPM are the GPM Microwave Imager (GMI) and the Dual-frequency Precipitation Radar (DPR). The GPM/DPR team has produced a fantastic anime about the DPR instrument. [more inside]
posted by Rob Rockets on Jan 8, 2014 - 6 comments

Obamacare "horror stories"

"Obamacare horror stories" where innocent citizens are losing their insurance and being forced to pay astronomical costs for new plans on the exchanges are being reported by some media outlets. The problem is that most of these stories don't survive further scrutiny. [more inside]
posted by reenum on Jan 7, 2014 - 129 comments

Happy Holidays

About the only place this book hasn't been is in my hands, open and upright, with my eyes pointed at it. But that's about to change. Because I'm going to read this book in 20-minute bursts over the next eight hours. Why 20-minute bursts? Because that's how long it takes for a batch of my mother's Slog-famous Christmas Snowball cookies to bake. I'm going to put a tray in the oven, read, swap trays out, read some more. And I think it's fair to say that by the end of the day today—after all my Christmas cookies are baked—I will have read more of this book than Sarah Palin wrote. - Dan Savage reviews Good Tidings and Great Joy: Protecting the Heart of Christmas.
posted by Artw on Dec 22, 2013 - 91 comments

New Mexico Fully Legalizes Same-Sex Marriage

Following the state Supreme Court's decision in Griego v. Oliver [pdf], New Mexico has become the 17th U.S. state to legalize same-sex marriage. [more inside]
posted by jedicus on Dec 19, 2013 - 59 comments

A Hundred Bucks Says You Won't Read This Story

Esquire's Chris Jones looks at the old techniques used to make the new US $100 bill.
posted by reenum on Dec 9, 2013 - 50 comments

People of Color are not an anachronism

The Tumblr blog People of Color in European Art History, or medievalpoc for short, has a simple mission: to showcase works of art from European history that feature People of Color. All too often, these works go unseen in museums, Art History classes, online galleries, and other venues because of retroactive whitewashing of Medieval Europe, Scandinavia, and Asia. [more inside]
posted by daisyk on Dec 8, 2013 - 107 comments

Courtesy of the University of Oklahoma Institute for Quality Communities

The U.S. Cities Where the Fewest Commuters Get to Work By Car
posted by Blazecock Pileon on Nov 28, 2013 - 41 comments

Americans will eat garbage so long as you cover it with ketchup

The Fed Up project has collected over 7000 student-submitted photos of school lunches from across the US. They'll be used to create a map and report to make a case for better school lunches. [more inside]
posted by zarq on Nov 22, 2013 - 87 comments

the armor of the body politic

"The American homeland is the planet" Not content with a militarized southern border, the U.S. is now militarizing borders around the world (slsa)
posted by allkindsoftime on Nov 19, 2013 - 7 comments

"...disgraces every American official who has colluded in it."

The Economist takes aim at the American criminal justice system in three articles from their latest edition: An opinion piece on mandatory life sentences without parole, a more in-depth view of some specific instances and of the data, and a look at the practice of charging fees to those convicted, or even just accused.
posted by felixc on Nov 19, 2013 - 36 comments

Gettysburg Address: 150 years ago today

In a week which also marks the 50th anniversary of the assassination of JFK, the Gettysburg Address was delivered by Abraham Lincoln, 16th President, 150 years ago today. Mitch Rapoport narrates an animated version. [more inside]
posted by Wordshore on Nov 19, 2013 - 17 comments

Chilling Effects: NSA Surveillance Drives U.S. Writers to Self-Censor

“I have dropped stories in the past and avoided research on the company telephone due to concerns over wiretapping or eavesdropping.”
“I have made a conscious, deliberate choice to avoid certain conversation topics in electronic emails out of concern that those communications may be surveilled.”
[PDF]
A survey by the literary organization PEN America shows the chilling effects NSA surveillance has had on writers in the United States.
posted by anemone of the state on Nov 12, 2013 - 39 comments

Hell Houses

Evangelical churches across the country run "hell houses" on Halloween. These attractions show how "sinful" activities can ruin young lives. Some churches are trying to be more positive in their messaging. For those who are interested, you can now buy your own "hell house" outreach kit. [more inside]
posted by reenum on Oct 31, 2013 - 68 comments

Somehow not sponsored by Red Bull

Meet the guy who drove across the USA in a record 28 hours 50 minutes.
posted by allkindsoftime on Oct 31, 2013 - 130 comments

The Logic of Stupid Poor People

"If you are poor, why do you spend money on useless status symbols like handbags and belts and clothes and shoes and televisions and cars? One thing I’ve learned is that one person’s illogical belief is another person’s survival skill."
posted by parudox on Oct 29, 2013 - 393 comments

France in the NSA's crosshairs

Using documents leaked by US whistleblower Edward Snowden, Le Monde reports that the NSA has been intercepting French telephone communications on a massive scale. Under a programme called 'US-985D', the NSA is collecting not only metadata but recordings of telephone calls: From 10 December 2012 to 8 January 2013, 70.3 million French telephone calls were recorded.
These revelations came just as US Secretary of State John Kerry arrived in Paris on a pre-scheduled visit. Francois Hollande is not pleased.
posted by anemone of the state on Oct 21, 2013 - 166 comments

Who is Veronika Larsson?

Where a journalist tries to identify TheIneffableSwede, an online commenter on the Guardian website and elsewhere online. A journalist from the Guardian adds more context.
posted by Wordshore on Oct 21, 2013 - 45 comments

Warning: This will probably make you angry about silly things.

Scrapple, Half-smokes, Marionberry Pie, Cowboy Cookies and Akutaq: Deadspin responds to Slate's wonderful state-by-state sports map (previously) with a map of regional foods, complete with highly opinionated rankings and commentary.
posted by Navelgazer on Oct 17, 2013 - 186 comments

‘This is just like in the movies.’

"We are under the impression you have more ties with more countries we are not on friendly terms with than your own. We decided to bring you back to the Canadian border."
Dutch writer and animator Niels Gerson Lohman: Why I Will Never Return to the USA (nederlandse versie)
posted by anemone of the state on Oct 12, 2013 - 92 comments

The Ultimate (Frisbee) Argument For Visiting Healthcare.gov

John Hodgman posted about the ACA, which led his followers to tweet him about the various health problems they had encountered and the effect insurance or a lack thereof had to their lives. Hodgman retweeted many of the stories from people in their 20's and then posted 17 reasons for young people to get insured to his blog.
posted by reenum on Oct 9, 2013 - 189 comments

Do Iraqi-Jewish Treasures belong in Iraq or Elsewhere?

On Oct. 11, provided the government shutdown doesn’t interfere, the National Archives and Records Administration (NARA) in Washington, D.C., will open an exhibit titled “Discovery and Recovery: Preserving Iraqi Jewish Heritage.” On display will be some of the rarest of the materials that were salvaged from the flooded basement of the Mukhabarat, Saddam Hussein’s dreaded intelligence service. All told, the collection contains an estimated 2,700 books and tens of thousands of documents that once belonged to the Jews of Baghdad, who, until they began to flee for Israel in the wake of the 1948 Arab-Israeli war, constituted one of the oldest Jewish communities in the world, dating back more than 2,500 years. - In the chaos of the 2003 war, remnants of a once-thriving Jewish past were saved (or stolen?) by America. Where do they belong? [more inside]
posted by beisny on Oct 7, 2013 - 75 comments

"I have never been custodian of my legacy."

In Conversation: Antonin Scalia "On the eve of a new Supreme Court session, the firebrand justice discusses gay rights and media echo chambers, Seinfeld and the Devil, and how much he cares about his intellectual legacy ("I don’t")." [more inside]
posted by zarq on Oct 6, 2013 - 89 comments

The Big Chill

Why American refrigerators are so huge, and what it says about our culture.
posted by reenum on Oct 6, 2013 - 265 comments

You say Canamerica, I say Americanada

What is the case for Canada merging with the USA? With the heady 200th anniversary of the War of 1812 still fresh in our memories, Dual Citizen and Editor at Large of leading Canadian newspaper The National Post, Diane Francis, has written a book proposing "the merger of the century" describing five models for how these two great nations could join as one, and estimating Canada's resource value to the US at about C$17 trillion (US$16.5 trillion). Reactions have been mixed.
posted by Bwithh on Oct 4, 2013 - 212 comments

myths of heaven

Joan Roosa, wife of Apollo 14 Lunar Module Pilot Stu Roosa, recalled "I was at a party one night in Houston. A woman standing behind me, who had no idea who I was, said 'I've slept with every astronaut who has been to the Moon.' ...I said 'Pardon me, but I don't think so'".
posted by four panels on Oct 4, 2013 - 53 comments

Snowden documents shed light on Shiban, Akbar, and Trojanov cases

New documents released by Glenn Greenwald from trove leaked by Edward Snowden show that the agency officially viewed arguments about 'due process' to be an 'adversary propaganda theme', listed alongside military threats to drones. [more inside]
posted by jeffburdges on Oct 1, 2013 - 80 comments

It's Marven Gardens, Actually...

What the Monopoly properties look like in real life.
posted by reenum on Oct 1, 2013 - 33 comments

Distance equation

  1. It is strange, in my opinion, that the insurance market has evolved so, that so few individuals understand the fundamentals of the medical insurance plans they are insured under."
  2. Among the 19% polled who are uninsured, nearly four in 10 don't realize the law requires them to get health insurance next year. Among young people, whose participation is seen as crucial for the exchanges to work, just 56% realize there's a mandate to be insured or face a fine.
  3. Health policy is an extremely personal and complicated topic... Observing historical patterns of attempted healthcare reform and backlash towards these reforms, we may begin to understand what is keeping such a prominent and promising nation from enlisting a social contract of health.

posted by four panels on Sep 26, 2013 - 172 comments

"Stopping bad things is a significant public service."

"Ted Cruz: The Distinguished Wacko Bird from Texas"
posted by zarq on Sep 23, 2013 - 348 comments

We have a very extensive knowledge of what is happening in Syria.

The Spies Inside Damascus: The Mossad's secret war on the Syrian WMD machine.
On Aug. 20, 2012, U.S. President Barack Obama declared that if Syrian President Bashar al-Assad began shifting around or using his chemical weapons, Obama would consider that "a red line." The implication was that such a move would lead to American intervention in Syria. Some officials from the Israeli Foreign Ministry believed that Obama drew the line because he believed it would never be crossed. If that was his assumption, he made it based, in part, on assessments received from the Israeli intelligence services, which have waged a multidecade clandestine campaign to strip Assad of his deadliest weapons -- and which also have emerged as the United States' primary partners in collecting information on Middle Eastern regimes.
posted by andoatnp on Sep 21, 2013 - 22 comments

Good Job

In a “third-world” city, a self-styled tour guide might be tipped in return for leading a group of sightseers. In Italy, a Neapolitan street urchin might offer to protect a parked car in return for a gratuity.

In both cases, the inference is clear: if you don’t employ me, I will hurt you. This thinly veiled extortion is the subtext to much tipping: if the propertied individual doesn’t comply with the demands of the semi-employed, something terrible might happen to them or their things. So tipping began essentially as a way to stave off violence by the indigent, forgotten people; it is a social contract adhered to by the privileged class who fear and disdain the less fortunate and are aware of the failure of their own class to create equity.
posted by four panels on Sep 18, 2013 - 42 comments

Where's lunch?

Factory Farm Map - find a factory farm near you.
posted by four panels on Sep 16, 2013 - 17 comments

All Your Bacon Are Belong To Us

Politico: "The U.S. government on Friday approved Shuanghui International Holding’s bid to buy iconic U.S. pork producer Smithfield Foods in what would be the biggest Chinese takeover of a U.S. company to date." [more inside]
posted by Wordshore on Sep 8, 2013 - 47 comments

"Big waste country, the U.S."

To a Chinese Scrap-Metal Hunter, America's Trash Is Treasure: Johnson Zeng is a Chinese trader who travels across the U.S. in search of scrap metal. By his estimate, there are at least 100 others like him driving from scrap yard to scrap yard, right now, in search of what Americans won’t or can’t be bothered to recycle. His favorite product: wires, cables, and other kinds of copper. His purchases, millions of pounds of metal worth millions of dollars, will eventually be shipped to China. [more inside]
posted by zarq on Sep 7, 2013 - 29 comments

And now, Haydn's 'Farewell' symphony

America's Orchestras are in Crisis : How an effort to popularize classical music undermines what makes orchestras great.
posted by Gyan on Sep 2, 2013 - 34 comments

Sick Costs.

John Green: "Why Are Americans Health Care Costs So High?" A quick, handy little overview of common misconceptions on the US healthcare system. (SLYT)
posted by The Whelk on Aug 22, 2013 - 73 comments

I paint my maps with a broad brush.

Which US State is the most overrated? Which would you like to see kicked out of America? Which has the weirdest accent? Which has the best food? Business Insider polls Americans across the country on important questions like these and maps the results. [more inside]
posted by Solon and Thanks on Aug 20, 2013 - 210 comments

Why the UK went to war when France and Germany didn't: satellites

"We’ve suspected for some time that the French and German governments’ refusal to take part in the Iraq war had something to do with their access to independent overhead imagery satellites. Briefly, France and Germany did (with the HELIOS and SAR Lupe programs respectively), and didn’t take part at all. Spain and Italy had some access to French imagery and had advanced plans to get their own. They made a limited commitment. The UK, Australia, Denmark, and the ROK relied on the United States and were, in a phrase that should be better known outside Australia, all the way with LBJ." -- Alex Harrowell explains how the absence of independent satellite intelligence may have helped the UK into the War on Iraq [more inside]
posted by MartinWisse on Aug 19, 2013 - 13 comments

TP-AJAX

In 2011, the CIA declassified documents admitting its involvement in the 1953 coup that overthrew Iran's elected government and installed Mohammad Reza Shah Pahlavi, details of which were first first disclosed by the New York Times in 2000. Timeline. However, they refused to release them to the public. Today, the National Security Archive research institute has (after a Freedom of Information Act lawsuit) obtained and made the 21 documents public. "Marking the sixtieth anniversary of the overthrow of Iranian Prime Minister Mohammad Mosaddeq, the National Security Archive is today posting recently declassified CIA documents on the United States' role in the controversial operation. American and British involvement in Mosaddeq's ouster has long been public knowledge, but today's posting includes what is believed to be the CIA's first formal acknowledgement that the agency helped to plan and execute the coup. [more inside]
posted by zarq on Aug 19, 2013 - 33 comments

"My jacket's in the President's office." "We'll mail it to you."

Chris Hedges on Journalism, truth, and why he was fired from the New York Times: "Great reporters care about truth more than they do about news".
posted by four panels on Aug 18, 2013 - 31 comments

"the political debate over immigration is stuck in 1985"

"Migrants quite rationally responded to the increased costs and risks by minimizing the number of times they crossed the border,” Massey wrote in his 2007 paper “Understanding America’s Immigration ‘Crisis.’” “But they achieved this goal not by remaining in Mexico and abandoning their intention to migrate to the U.S., but by hunkering down and staying once they had run the gauntlet at the border and made it to their final destination." -- How the militarisation of the US-Mexico border actually increased Mexican immigration into the US.
posted by MartinWisse on Aug 14, 2013 - 48 comments

The US 'cannot incarcerate our way to becoming a safer nation'

Sentencing reform for drug offences is expected be announced by the US Attorney General. Eric Holder will announce Monday that he is mandating the Justice Department modify its policies so that certain non-violent drug offenders will no longer endure “draconian mandatory minimum sentences,” according to excerpts of his remarks to American Bar Association. [more inside]
posted by arcticseal on Aug 12, 2013 - 68 comments

"Texas is heaven for men and dogs, but it’s hell for women and horses.”

Mothers, Sisters, Daughters, Wives. "In 2011 the Texas state legislature slashed family planning funds, passed a new sonogram law, and waged an all-out war on Planned Parenthood that has dramatically shifted the state’s public health priorities. In the eighteen months since then, the conflict has continued to simmer in the courts, on the campaign trail, and in at least one PR disaster. Meanwhile, what will happen to Texas women—and their fathers, brothers, sons, and husbands—remains very much unclear."
posted by zarq on Aug 12, 2013 - 35 comments

"Some things...can only happen once."

The Blip: What if everything we've come to think of as American is predicated on a freak coincidence of economic history? And what if that coincidence has run its course?
posted by Sticherbeast on Aug 12, 2013 - 107 comments

'Paying Till It Hurts': Why American Health Care Is So Pricey

NPR's Fresh Air interviews Elizabeth Rosenthal about her year spent investigating the high cost of health care.
"Every part of the system needs to rethink the way it's working. Or maybe what I'm really saying is we need a system instead of 20, 40 components, each one having its own financial model, and each one making a profit." [more inside]
posted by arcticseal on Aug 11, 2013 - 105 comments

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