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"new, innovative ways to convey our findings"

The US GAO Flickr page features selected photos and graphics from US Government Accountability Office reports that are searchable, viewable, and downloadable by visitors to their site. [more inside]
posted by jessamyn on Jul 10, 2014 - 5 comments

Utility, welfare, and efficiency

  1. Welfare economics: an introduction
  2. The perils of Potential Pareto
  3. Inequality, production, and technology
  4. Welfare theorems, distribution priority, and market clearing
  5. Normative is performative, not positive

posted by kliuless on Jul 7, 2014 - 7 comments

Aggregate Demand Management: "pass a law allowing the Fed to cut checks"

Free Money for Everyone - "A wacky-sounding idea with surprisingly conservative roots may be our best hope for escaping endless, grinding economic stagnation." (via) [more inside]
posted by kliuless on Mar 16, 2014 - 19 comments

Game behind gamed: your narrative programming for the day

How The Economic Machine Works by Ray Dalio[1] actually makes a case against austerity[2] and for redistribution, but also for money printing (and, arguably, for bailouts), while stressing the need to keep making productivity-improving public and private investments. However, it could be equally entitled: How The Industrial Age Political-Economy Doesn't Work Anymore, viz. Surviving Progress (2011)... [more inside]
posted by kliuless on Sep 25, 2013 - 28 comments

Accountability in the Indiana school system

"I hope we come to the meeting today with solutions and not excuses for me to wiggle myself out of the repeated lies I have told over the last 6 months." Tony Bennett, the Indiana Superintendent of Public Instruction, had a big problem. Christel House Academy, a public charter school in Indianapolis founded by time-share magnate and major GOP donor Christel DeHaan, had come in with a C on the state's A-F grading scale, thanks to poor scores by 9th and 10th graders in English and math. "They need to understand that anything less than an A for Christel House compromises all of our accountability work," Bennett wrote to a staffer. Fortunately, Bennett's team found a solution, revealed today in staff e-mails obtained by the AP -- change the state's grading scale so that the offending grades didn't count. Will Bennett be able to hold on as Indiana's top education official? Not to worry: in January, he moved on to the same job in Florida. [more inside]
posted by escabeche on Jul 29, 2013 - 72 comments

The Cyber-Ombudsman

TruthTeller is an ambitious new automated application built by the Washington Post, which fact checks political speeches, ads and interviews "in as close to real time as possible." The prototype is intended to be a complement to the paper's Fact Checker Blog. More on the project from TechCrunch and Poynter.
posted by zarq on Jan 29, 2013 - 13 comments

use value vs. exchange value

What Is Value? What Is Money? (via via) [more inside]
posted by kliuless on Sep 1, 2012 - 15 comments

Royal Canadian Masochism & Phallus

In Canada an active duty RCMP officer is under investigation for posting sexually explicit photos on the private Fetlife service. Further details of the alleged photos seem to describe a relatively hardcore but completely consensual male/female bondage scenario. [more inside]
posted by thewalrus on Jul 8, 2012 - 86 comments

States of American Corruption

You'll never guess which State is least corrupt in the USA!
posted by Renoroc on Mar 19, 2012 - 113 comments

"In almost all cases it is not possible to bring a civil action against" a website that hosts your nude images posted without your consent.

This past July, Forbes blogger Kashmir Hill posted a three-part series about "online defamation and involuntary nudity." The first entry focused on an offender: Hunter Moore, owner of IsAnyoneUp.com (Link is NSFW.) The second entry focused on a victim: Paul Syiek, whose company was defamed by a disgruntled ex-employee on the consumer website Rip-off Report. The third profiled a Senior Copyright attorney at Microsoft, Colette Vogele, who co-founded a side project this year to help victims: WithoutMyConsent.org. [more inside]
posted by zarq on Nov 13, 2011 - 53 comments

Look at My Professional White Background. Now Look at Your Site. Now Back to Mine. Now....

If your website is full of assholes, it's your fault. from Anil Dash. [more inside]
posted by zarq on Jul 21, 2011 - 143 comments

Freedom from information

As despotic regimes fall under the weight of free communication and transparency, the state of Utah takes a step in the opposite direction. The Utah legislature seeks to restrict GRAMA (Government Records and Management Act) by prohibiting disclosure of lawmaker instant messages, cellphone texts, and video chats, while raising the fees for records requests. After being rammed through the legislature on a fast-track last week, then following a resounding public outcry, the bill has been delayed to allow for public input.
posted by pashdown on Mar 7, 2011 - 28 comments

Elena's Inbox

The Sunshine Foundation, a non-profit group dedicated to government transparency & accountability, has obtained Supreme Court nominee Elena Kagan's emails from her time in the Clinton White House & made them available in a handy web application. Browse, read, search & mark those you find interesting for others to read.
posted by scalefree on Jun 23, 2010 - 26 comments

Keep It Like a Secret

Eric Holder releases newly revamped state secrets policy. In the face of a storm of recent criticisms from political commentators that President Obama's policies on state secrets privileges represent a continuation of the Bush administration's policies, the Obama administration has maintained all along that these policies were undergoing comprehensive Justice Department review, with the intent of releasing a new set of comprehensive rules governing the invocation and abuse of state secrets. Today, the Obama administration spelled out its new state secrets policy. [more inside]
posted by saulgoodman on Sep 23, 2009 - 89 comments

Non-profit industrial complex?

"Arguably...given their limited obligation and inclination to report to external audiences about operational or performance matters, foundations are the least accountable institutions in our society."
Some are pointing to the rise of a non-profit industrial complex (echoing Eisenhower's famous warning of a military industrial complex and the phrase's later application to the prison industry). What does it mean for the left if the revolution will not be funded?
posted by lunit on Feb 4, 2009 - 27 comments

ARR! "dramatic action" ahoy :P

President Obama's plan for American Recovery and Reinvestment [pdf] might be thought of as TARP round two [1,2] -- instead of hiding the bodies, this one's preparing the ground for a big tent or the economic equivalent of war. There are critics and detractors (cramdown nation ;) left and right, natch, but also conservative supporters and progressive defenders to save or create three four million jobs; hooray! [more inside]
posted by kliuless on Jan 11, 2009 - 51 comments

Disaster Capitalism

"Like the dotcom bubble, the disaster bubble is inflating in an ad-hoc and chaotic fashion." Journalist Naomi Klein discusses how corporations and governments are working together more closely than ever, using the mandate of catastrophe — whether natural or man-made — to further concentrate power in fewer hands, with less oversight: from illegal sales of American police technology to China to avert hypothetical tragedies during the Beijing Olympics, to the privatization of water supplies in post-tsunami Sri Lanka.
posted by Blazecock Pileon on Aug 17, 2008 - 50 comments

The Library Of Unified Information Sources (LOUIS)

The Library Of Unified Information Sources (LOUIS) is a beta-release project of the previously mentioned Sunlight Foundation, the goal of which is "to create a comprehensive, completely indexed and cross-referenced depository of federal documents from the executive and legislative branches of government." LOUIS currently contains searchable full text documents of Congressional Reports, the Congressional Record, Congressional Hearings, Presidential Documents, the Federal Register, GAO Reports and Bills & Resolutions, going back to 2001. Other interesting Sunlight Foundation projects include Visualizing Earmarks, 3 (non-satirical) Modest Proposals, The Congressional Family Business Project, and Congresspedia.
posted by cog_nate on Jun 20, 2007 - 2 comments

Read the Bills

The folks at DownsizeDC have this crazy idea that the members of Congress should have to read the bills that they vote on. Here is their plan to make it happen.
posted by Who_Am_I on Mar 22, 2007 - 48 comments

The Buck Stops Where?

Living Without Ultimate Moral Responsibility. Is it desirable to live without the idea of free will as we normally understand it? Is it even possible? This interview with Galen Strawson explores these questions. Those who like something meatier may enjoy Derk Pereboom on the same subject (from the previously linked Determinism and Freedom Philosophy Website). Also of note: Susan Blackmore on living without free will.
posted by teleskiving on Sep 3, 2006 - 99 comments

Activist judges and the military lawyers who love them

“If you don’t apply it when it’s inconvenient,” he said, “it’s not a rule of law.”
posted by kittyprecious on Jul 11, 2006 - 39 comments

we're paying them to report, and they take it from blogs?

A daily intelligence brief on Iraq, prepared by a private contractor for the U.S. military and companies working in Iraq--SOC-SMG Inc --paints a grim picture of life in Baghdad. The information in large sections of the brief? It came from this blog: Iraq the Model
posted by amberglow on Jul 7, 2006 - 129 comments

The Bush Doctrine

President George W. Bush has bestowed on his intelligence czar, John Negroponte, broad authority, in the name of national security, to excuse publicly traded companies from their usual accounting and securities-disclosure obligations. Notice of the development came in a brief entry in the Federal Register, dated May 5, 2006, that was opaque to the untrained eye.
posted by Mean Mr. Bucket on May 24, 2006 - 55 comments

Rule of Law?

...Bush has been aggressive about declaring his right to ignore vast swaths of laws -- many of which he says infringe on power he believes the Constitution assigns to him alone ... President Bush has quietly claimed the authority to disobey more than 750 laws enacted since he took office, asserting that he has the power to set aside any statute passed by Congress when it conflicts with his interpretation of the Constitution. ... Long, eyeopening article laying out what laws have been ignored and why. ...Bush has cast a cloud over 'the whole idea that there is a rule of law," because no one can be certain of which laws Bush thinks are valid and which he thinks he can ignore. 'Where you have a president who is willing to declare vast quantities of the legislation that is passed during his term unconstitutional, it implies that he also thinks a very significant amount of the other laws that were already on the books before he became president are also unconstitutional," ...
posted by amberglow on Apr 30, 2006 - 85 comments

an off the books slush fund that both the Americans and their Iraqi allies could use with impunity to cover expenditures they would rather keep secret

How Much Oil Has Iraq Been Exporting Since We Invaded? And how much revenue should be recorded? --Iraq’s oil exports hit another post-invasion low in December and January, according to the Oil & Gas Journal. How do they know? Good question: according to Reuters, production and exports have gone unmetered since the Coalition Provisional Authority took over the country following the 2003 invasion; until new meters are installed (in 1-2 more years), everybody’s just guessing. Our Government's Energy Information Administration has all sorts of statistics--anyone wanna figure out how they're derived regarding Iraq?
posted by amberglow on Apr 4, 2006 - 22 comments

Torturing in our name

"We do not torture" (Bush, Nov. 7)
In an important clarification of President George W. Bush's earlier statement, a top White House official refused to unequivocally rule out the use of torture... (Hadley, Nov. 13) -- The fate of a House provision to ban the torture of prisoners in U.S. custody is in doubt, strongly opposed by the Administration. And don't call it torture: the preferred talking point wording is now enhanced interrogation techniques.
posted by amberglow on Nov 14, 2005 - 109 comments

Plogress!

Plogress.com is a new project to provide current information on what Senators and Representatives are currently doing in Congress. It consists of a separate blog--with feeds--for each US Senator and Representative, listing bills that he or she is sponsor of or cosponsor. Plans are in the works to add votes and committee activities.
posted by monju_bosatsu on May 18, 2005 - 20 comments

Opening up government, because they're too slow to do it themselves

Hacking open democracy. First came FaxYourMP, so technophobe MPs could be easily contacted by the 'net generation. Next were PublicWhip, DowningStreetSays and TheyWorkForYou (previously discussed here and here) to help voters keep tabs on what their elected representatives get up to in office. Coming soon are FaxYourRepresentative/WriteToThem, NotApathetic and YourConstituencyMailingList. (MI).
posted by grahamspankee on Dec 10, 2004 - 6 comments

Order! Order!! Order!!!

They Work For You was launched at yesterday's NotCon '04 by the people who brought you Fax Your MP. It makes Hansard accessible, via search facilities (by MP or by topic), with each individual speech presented as a separate, linkable entry. Get an RSS feed of your own MP's speeches, hold them to account over their special interests, but most of all, don't forget to vote this week!
posted by cbrody on Jun 7, 2004 - 5 comments

Iraq on the Record

Iraq on the Record A full compilation of the Bush administration's misleading statements on Iraq was comissioned by rep. Henry Waxman. It is now available as a pdf report and as a database searchable by name of speaker or keyword. Did this sort of framework for accountability exist before the Web, and can it be effective now?
posted by Ignatius J. Reilly on Mar 16, 2004 - 20 comments

Accountability? We don't need no stinkin' accountability!

Where is our money going? According to the Congressional Budget Office, not only is the Bush administration asking for 87 billion dollars to cover Iraqi reconstruction, but they're also unable to account for 2.5 billion of the 4 billion dollars that they're spending per month in Iraq.
posted by bshort on Sep 18, 2003 - 34 comments

Four 9/11 Widows Demand Truth

Four 9/11 Widows Demand Truth. "This is a stonewalling job of far greater importance than Watergate. This concerns the refusal of the country’s leadership to be held accountable for the failure to execute its most fundamental responsibility: to protect its citizens against foreign attack. 'If we have an executive branch that holds sole discretion over what information is released to the public and what is hidden, the public will never get the full story of why there was an utter failure to protect them that day, and who should be held accountable.'"
posted by fold_and_mutilate on Aug 25, 2003 - 33 comments

Still the Worst?

10 Worst Corporations for 2002. Is this list still true in May of 2003, or have other corporations superseded this line-up? Was it even a good list of the best of the worst back in December of 2002? (From Multinational Monitor.)
posted by Dunvegan on May 10, 2003 - 15 comments

Excellent summation

Excellent summation of the Cheney/GAO tussle by someone who knows a thing or two about cover-ups: John Dean.
posted by kittyloop on Feb 1, 2002 - 12 comments

GOP Will Fight GAO Lawsuit.

GOP Will Fight GAO Lawsuit. Says Orrin Hatch, "the General Accounting Office, shouldn't be 'trying to impose disclosure on internal White House meetings to determine policy. ... If you have to do that, pretty soon there wouldn't be any meetings.'" This is going to be a tough move to defend come election time.
posted by Pinwheel on Jan 30, 2002 - 23 comments

Conspiracy buffs - don't miss this!

Conspiracy buffs - don't miss this! The latest Make Them Accountable report pulls together over 250 links around the question "What did they know (about 9/11), and when did they know it?" An amazing compendium. I don't see how ALL THIS could be crackpot ravings.
posted by ferris on Nov 29, 2001 - 20 comments

GAO to Cheney: "Show us what you got!"

GAO to Cheney: "Show us what you got!" Ok, well it wasn't that dramatic, but this "demand letter" is one step away from giving the Veep a subpeona. Even right wing attack dog Judicial Watch is getting in with some hot lawsuit action.
posted by owillis on Jul 18, 2001 - 4 comments

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