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Cards Against the Darkness

Cards Against Humanity + Sunlight Foundation team up, give the gift of financial disclosure.
posted by curious nu on Dec 23, 2014 - 24 comments

The Barbarous Years

The Shocking Savagery of America's Early History, a look at historian Bernard Bailyn's book.
Bailyn has not painted a pretty picture. Little wonder he calls it The Barbarous Years and spares us no details of the terror, desperation, degradation and widespread torture—do you really know what being “flayed alive” means? (The skin is torn from the face and head and the prisoner is disemboweled while still alive.) And yet somehow amid the merciless massacres were elements that gave birth to the rudiments of civilization—or in Bailyn’s evocative phrase, the fragile “integument of civility”—that would evolve 100 years later into a virtual Renaissance culture, a bustling string of self-governing, self-sufficient, defiantly expansionist colonies alive with an increasingly sophisticated and literate political and intellectual culture that would coalesce into the rationale for the birth of American independence. All the while shaping, and sometimes misshaping, the American character. It’s a grand drama in which the glimmers of enlightenment barely survive the savagery, what Yeats called “the blood-dimmed tide,” the brutal establishment of slavery, the race wars with the original inhabitants that Bailyn is not afraid to call “genocidal,” the full, horrifying details of which have virtually been erased.
[more inside]
posted by the man of twists and turns on Dec 20, 2014 - 42 comments

US drone strikes: data analysis

41 men targeted, but 1,147 people killed: New analysis of data conducted by the human rights group Reprieve raises questions about the accuracy of intelligence guiding 'precise' drone strikes.
posted by paleyellowwithorange on Dec 19, 2014 - 82 comments

Seattle’s unbelievable transportation megaproject fustercluck

Seattle's unbelievable transportation megaproject fustercluck — "In short: There is no plan to resolve the dispute over cost overruns, which are ubiquitous on projects like this; at $4.2 billion, it's the most expensive transportation project in state history. The tunnel will have no exits - no ingress or egress - throughout the entire downtown core (which makes the support of downtown businesses all the more mystifying). It won't allow transit, only cars. It will be tolled, highly enough, by the state's own estimates, to drive nearly half its traffic onto the aforementioned side streets. It will be a precarious engineering feat, the widest deep-bore tunnel in history, digging right between a) Puget Sound and b) the oldest part of Seattle, with vulnerable buildings and God-knows-what buried infrastructure. Also: Pollution. Climate change. It's the 21st f'ing century. On and on. People said all this and more, in real time, to no avail." [more inside]
posted by tonycpsu on Dec 16, 2014 - 164 comments

Lennon Lacy

The FBI announced today that they will open an investigation into the death of 17 year old Lennon Lacy. [more inside]
posted by roomthreeseventeen on Dec 12, 2014 - 39 comments

The River of Money

MapLight is a database that "looks at big industries and big interests, their elected beneficiaries and their votes." They also run Voter's Edge for personalized election information. Check out the contributions by vote on Net Neutrality and the Keystone XL pipeline. Maplight also contributes to the national law review. [more inside]
posted by the man of twists and turns on Dec 10, 2014 - 2 comments

"The contrast between the treatment of produce and of people is stark."

Product of Mexico: Hardship on Mexico's farms, a bounty for U.S. tables — the first in a series of four Los Angeles Times long-form stories about labor conditions discovered during an 18-month investigation of Mexican vegetable farms that supply produce to the United States. [more inside]
posted by tonycpsu on Dec 8, 2014 - 38 comments

Veteran Art Project

The Veteran Art Project is a visual experiment by 27-year-old photographer Devin Mitchell "who is exploring a part of the veteran’s experience that is sometimes difficult to articulate." [more inside]
posted by roomthreeseventeen on Dec 5, 2014 - 2 comments

ISIS: What the US Doesn’t Understand

Over the last few days, as the United States has stepped up its bombing campaign against ISIS in Syria, it has been hard to escape another reality: the US is still looking for a coherent strategy against the Islamic State. [more inside]
posted by standardasparagus on Dec 2, 2014 - 98 comments

"Work Therapy"

Tampa homeless program uses unpaid, destitute residents as steady labor force, revenue source [more inside]
posted by tonycpsu on Nov 30, 2014 - 64 comments

"the family is the unit of cultural preservation."

"Eat Turkey, Become American." (SLNYTimes essay)
posted by roomthreeseventeen on Nov 27, 2014 - 10 comments

Bob's your uncle and Bertha's your aunt

Aunt Bertha is a web-based platform that connects Americans in need to locally available government programs, non-profit organizations, and community-based resources that offer free or low-cost assistance with health and dental care, job placement, emergency and long-term shelter, clothing and household goods, child and elder care, legal aid, assistance with navigating the social safety net, and much more. All programs are searchable and sortable by ZIP code, city, or eligibility. Find food, health, housing, job training programs and more, anywhere. [more inside]
posted by divined by radio on Nov 26, 2014 - 28 comments

Somewhere in-between Chop Suey and Pork Roll, the truth lies.

Recently on The Blue we've had discussions about American Chop Suey and New Jersey Pork Roll, but what about other regional favorites, like Lutefisk, Scrapple, or the French Dip Sandwich? Just in time for Thanksgiving, here are a few links to get you started:

posted by Room 641-A on Nov 17, 2014 - 97 comments

The first step is admitting that you have a problem.

The US and China just reached a major climate deal on cutting emissions. [more inside]
posted by tonycpsu on Nov 11, 2014 - 46 comments

Vintage photo finds

Vintage Photo Finds is a site with vintage photographs. According to creator Joel Snow:
The following pictures were found as negatives at the bottom of a cardboard box at a flea market. I shot them with my SLR on a lightbox and inverted them back to positives with Photshop. I'm not sure if it was a single photographer, or many, but many of the shots show an artistic and creative eye and share a similar style.
[more inside]
posted by tykky on Nov 5, 2014 - 9 comments

"...a tragic and extreme version of a familiar pattern"

One-Fifth of Detroit's Population Could Lose Their Homes Many families could stay put for just a few hundred dollars, if only they knew how to work the system. (SLAtlantic)
posted by tonycpsu on Oct 24, 2014 - 30 comments

All cities are mad, but the madness is gallant.

Planned cities are not a new idea (Palmanova, Italy, 1593). From Washington, D.C. (1791), to Canberra, Australia (1911), to Brasilia, Brazil (1957), planned cities have long been an urban dream (from space), perhaps most frequently applied to national capitals. But they don't always work out as planned. [more inside]
posted by Eyebrows McGee on Oct 14, 2014 - 34 comments

Race and indigeneity

Can New Zealand teach the US anything about race?
The US was founded on the idea of freedom and liberty. But freedom and liberty, which might be called the “sacred” values of American society, were exclusive ideas. In the colonial period there was, writes Dee Brown in Bury My Heart at Wounded Knee, “an almost reverential attitude toward the ideal of personal freedom for those who already had it.” Treaties are the mechanism to extend that freedom and liberty – that is, the right to self determination – to indigenous peoples who were promised it, but do not have full exercise of it.

posted by gaspode on Oct 13, 2014 - 25 comments

Tenny mucho mucho deniro in su trucky-trailer?

Last Week Tonight with John Oliver takes on the issue of civil asset forfeiture, including "Law & Order: Civil Asset Forfeiture Unit", a preview of how police procedurals could handle the topic. [more inside]
posted by tonycpsu on Oct 6, 2014 - 49 comments

How the law turns battered women into criminals

Arlena Lindley’s boyfriend Alonzo Turner beat her for months and murdered her child — so why was she sent to prison for 45 years? "...looking back over the past decade, BuzzFeed News identified 28 mothers in 11 states sentenced to at least 10 years in prison for failing to prevent their partners from harming their children. In every one of these cases, there was evidence the mother herself had been battered by the man." [article contains graphic descriptions of abuse]
posted by desjardins on Oct 2, 2014 - 83 comments

"something like a sense of despair often took hold of me"

The Colour of Our Shame: 3 AM Magazine interviews Chris Lebron [more inside]
posted by the man of twists and turns on Sep 29, 2014 - 3 comments

The happiest place on earth: TIJUANA!

I am on the western edge of the United States-Mexico border to understand more about the most publicised and most crossed border in the world. Ben Stubbs visits one of the most notorious borders in the world and reflects on Australia's frontier issues.
posted by paleyellowwithorange on Sep 11, 2014 - 12 comments

United Sweets of America

If every state had an official dessert, what would it be? (SLSlate)
posted by Metroid Baby on Sep 8, 2014 - 182 comments

How the burrito became a sandwich

NPR's Planet Money explains the history of the sales tax in the United States by tracing what kinds of sandwiches get taxed and why: How the Burrito Became a Sandwich. Bonus: In-N-Out Burger history in the podcast.
posted by joseph conrad is fully awesome on Jul 22, 2014 - 154 comments

Cross-cultural experiences of schizophrenia

A new study by Stanford anthropologist Tanya Luhrmann and others found that voice-hearing experiences of people with serious psychotic disorders are shaped by local culture – in the United States, the voices are harsh and threatening; in Africa and India, they are more benign and playful. This may have clinical implications for how to treat people with schizophrenia, she suggests.
posted by Rumple on Jul 19, 2014 - 24 comments

There’s lots of brutality...Horrible brutality.

Rikers: Where Mental Illness Meets Brutality in Jail [more inside]
posted by jammy on Jul 14, 2014 - 11 comments

'that's so stupid that one can only cry at the foolishness of it.'

In the past week, Germany has found and fired an American mole in their intelligence agency, investigated another suspect in their defense ministry, and asked the CIA station chief to leave the country. Media reports offer an interesting view of a post Cold War world grappling with the unexpected* - spy vs spy among friends and allies, while traditional intelligence targets Russia and China play the part of bemused bystanders. [more inside]
posted by infini on Jul 11, 2014 - 56 comments

Majority Leader Eric Cantor defeated by Tea Party challenger Dave Brat

United States Representative Eric Cantor of Virginia, Majority Leader of the United States House of Representatives, has lost the Republican primary election in Virginia's 7th Congressional District to Dave Brat, a political newcomer and economics professor at Randolph-Macon College. [more inside]
posted by tonycpsu on Jun 10, 2014 - 346 comments

"Just because we have the best hammer"

Presdient Obama gave a speech (video, transcript) at the United States Military Academy last month that outlined American foreign policy.
Reaction has been mixed. [more inside]
posted by the man of twists and turns on Jun 10, 2014 - 57 comments

Minute 319

Last November, after five years of remarkable negotiations that unfolded far from the Delta, representatives from the U.S. and Mexico agreed to a complex, multi-part water deal that will give them desperately needed flexibility for weathering the drought. More surprisingly, the two nations will join the team of environmental organizations to release a flood of more than 105,000 acre-feet of water – 3.8 million big-rig tankers' worth – into the Delta's ancient floodplain, and chase it with a smaller, permanent annual flow to sustain the ecosystem.

It is the unlikeliest of times to pull off a deal like this. Rather than hoarding all the water for themselves in this drought –– the river supplies some 35 million people –– the West's largest water agencies have pledged to send some all the way to the sea. That move is, to some extent, a long-overdue acknowledgment that the U.S. bears responsibility for the impacts its dams have caused beyond its borders. And after years of fruitless court fights in the U.S. by environmental groups, the Mexican government finally insisted that water for the Delta be a cornerstone of the broader deal.
For High Country News, Matt Jenkins describes the most ambitious water sharing plan ever created between Mexico and the United States (single page print version). For much more about this project and the water issues surrounding it, there's Eli Rabett's roundup of John Fleck's blogposts about this. (Or read the tl;dr version by Alex Harrowell.)
posted by MartinWisse on May 10, 2014 - 9 comments

But it's an honour to be leered at; what would you need decent pay for?

"NFL teams stepped easily into the creepy patriarch role. Today, they enforce expectations for the way their cheerleaders look (according to the suit, the Jills’ guidebook mandates everything from the cheerleaders’ nail polish color to how they clean their vaginas) while rewarding them, not with money, but with the supposed prestige of appearing as one of their city’s most desirable women."
[...]
"The old stereotype of cheerleaders as bimbos has also worked in the NFL’s favor. NFL cheerleading is such an obviously raw deal, some might assume that women must be stupid to agree to it. (Tell that to Dr. Monica Williams, who cheered for the Tennessee Titans while fulfilling a research fellowship at Vanderbilt.) That’s not a stigma that, say, coal miners fighting against unfair working conditions have to overcome to get what they’re owed."
Amanda Hess for Slate writes about the cheerleader revolt against low pay and humiliating working conditions. (previously) [more inside]
posted by MartinWisse on May 8, 2014 - 113 comments

Nobody lives here.

Nik Freeman has created a map, based on census data, to illustrate the 47% of the United States where nobody lives.
posted by roomthreeseventeen on Apr 21, 2014 - 113 comments

My friend, if we go in the ditch you ain't fuckin' around with Chrysler.

In 1984, the Canadian branch of the United Auto Workers, represented by Bob White, and General Motors Canada, represented by Rod Andrew, sat down to negotiate a new wage agreement. GM had gotten the American UAW to agree to profit sharing and was dead-set on doing the same in the North; the Canadians were bitterly opposed to the idea. By the end of the negotiation, workers had struck, negotiators had been stabbed in the back, White and his allies had split from the UAW to form the CAW, and a compromise was reached that left everyone a bit unhappy - but the workers less so than their managers. Filmmaker Sturla Gunnarsson used his unprecedented access to both teams of negotiators to craft Final Offer, "the best collective bargaining film ever made." You can stream the movie in its entirety at the National Film Board's website.
posted by Going To Maine on Apr 13, 2014 - 9 comments

The Effect of Medical Marijuana Laws on Crime

"Debate has surrounded the legalization of marijuana for medical purposes for decades. Some have argued medical marijuana legalization (MML) poses a threat to public health and safety, perhaps also affecting crime rates ... we analyzed the association between state MML and state crime rates ... Results did not indicate a crime exacerbating effect of MML on any of the Part I offenses. Alternatively, state MML may be correlated with a reduction in homicide and assault rates, net of other covariates." (Press Release) [more inside]
posted by save alive nothing that breatheth on Mar 27, 2014 - 22 comments

Grateful Dead vs. Phish and Other Distinctions

Music Machinery presents a map of each U.S. state's most distinct favorite band or recording artist, as well as an app for playing with the data.
posted by Navelgazer on Feb 26, 2014 - 75 comments

Legendary

After coming it at #19 in 2012, the great state of North Dakota was the happiest state to live in for 2013, according to The Gallup-Healthways Well Being Index. [more inside]
posted by roomthreeseventeen on Feb 25, 2014 - 31 comments

The ‘Mustache of Justice’ has left the building.

Thomas Scully, the Administrator for the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services under President George W. Bush, once said, “Fifty percent of the social safety net was created by Henry Waxman when no one was looking.” After 40 years and 17 consecutive terms, Rep. Henry Waxman (D-CA) is retiring from Congress. [more inside]
posted by Room 641-A on Feb 13, 2014 - 35 comments

The True Story of America's First Black Female Slave Novelist

In 2002 Henry Louis Gates jr. published The Bondwoman's Narrative. It was the first publication of a novel written in the 1850s by a former slave who wrote under the name Hannah Crafts. The original manuscript has been digitized by Yale's Beinecke Library. The book caused a splash at the time, sold well and was reviewed widely, including an essay by Hilary Mantel in the London Review of Books. The identity of Hannah Crafts was uncertain, which cast a slight shadow on its provenance, but Prof. Gregg Hecimovich discovered the writer's true identity. Her name was Hannah Bond and after escaping slavery she became a teacher in New Jersey. Journalist Paul Berman further fills in the story of Colonel Wheeler, the slaveowner whose family was depicted in The Bondwoman's Narrative. Wheeler was the US ambassador to Nicaragua in the 1850s and played a major part in the administration of General Walker, the American who became a short-lived dictator of Nicaragua and tried to set it up as a slave state.
posted by Kattullus on Feb 11, 2014 - 2 comments

Nuke 'em till they glow, shoot 'em in the dark

The Littlest Boy - Twenty years after Hiroshima, elite American troops trained to stop a Soviet invasion -- with nuclear weapons strapped to their backs. [more inside]
posted by the man of twists and turns on Feb 3, 2014 - 39 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

"Even to observe neutrality, you must have a strong government."

Court strikes down FCC's net neutrality rules
posted by Blazecock Pileon on Jan 14, 2014 - 139 comments

Four years of declining prison populations

"I was startled and encouraged to see that under current policies, we are at a two decade-year low in the prison admission rate. To provide historical perspective, peg the change to Presidential terms: When President Obama was elected, the rate of prison admission was just 3% below its 2006 level, which was very probably the highest it has ever been in U.S. history. But by the end of Obama’s first term, it had dropped to a level not seen since President Clinton’s first year in office." -- Good news everybody, prison admissions in the US are at a two decade low, with total prison population decling for the fourth year in a row, leading Keith Humphreys to wonder why this hasn't been reported more widely.
posted by MartinWisse on Jan 13, 2014 - 46 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

A spectacular historical atlas refashioned for the 21st century

Here you will find one of the greatest historical atlases: Charles O. Paullin and John K. Wright's Atlas of the Historical Geography of the United States, first published in 1932. This digital edition reproduces all of the atlas's nearly 700 maps. Many of these beautiful maps are enhanced here in ways impossible in print, animated to show change over time or made clickable to view the underlying data—remarkable maps produced eight decades ago with the functionality of the twenty-first century.
posted by cthuljew on Dec 28, 2013 - 8 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

America's last political taboo

We were left wondering why a man who served 16 terms in Congress and who bravely came out as gay all the way back in 1987 felt the need to hide his atheism until he was out of office. Was it really harder to come out as an atheist politician in 2013 than as a gay one 25 years ago? Incredibly, the answer might be yes. For starters, consider that there is not a single self-described atheist in Congress today. Not one.
posted by Chrysostom on Dec 10, 2013 - 165 comments

“Storm from a clear sky”

Researchers have located a sunken World War II Imperial Japanese submarine on the ocean floor off the coast of Hawaii. [more inside]
posted by bryon on Dec 3, 2013 - 33 comments

"...everybody’s worst fears are coming true, as far as we can tell."

Caught in Unemployment’s Revolving Door (SLNYT) [more inside]
posted by tonycpsu on Nov 17, 2013 - 187 comments

The eleven nations of America

"There’s never been an America, but rather several Americas—each a distinct nation. There are eleven nations today. Each looks at violence, as well as everything else, in its own way." " [more inside]
posted by aka burlap on Nov 7, 2013 - 83 comments

PLUTONIUM MOUNTAIN

From 1949 onwards, the closed city of Semipalatinsk (now Semey, Kazakhstan) was the test site for 456 nuclear devices. The test site was known as "The Polygon." Testing was stopped in 1989, but the long term effects remained. [more inside]
posted by the man of twists and turns on Nov 6, 2013 - 11 comments

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