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Why I Left

"It’s about readers and their trust in us." Dave McKinney, longtime Chicago Sun-Times political reporter, resigns after the paper appears to cave to pressure from billionaire Illinois Republican gubernatorial nominee Bruce Rauner to punish McKinney for writing an article that portrayed Rauner as a thug. After supporting McKinney publicly but attempting to remove him from the political beat, the paper reversed its three-year-old policy of not endorsing candidates by endorsing Rauner, who until recently owned 10% of the company that owns the paper.
posted by goatdog on Oct 23, 2014 - 19 comments

Detroit with a Boardwalk

"Wonder why Atlantic City is failing? The better question, the one asked by people who know the town: Why did anyone think it would ever succeed?"
posted by ActionPopulated on Oct 22, 2014 - 26 comments

Dodging Healthcare Cost Controls For Fun And (Mostly) Profit

The New York Times reports on a new way medical professionals are gaming the system (to the tune of $2.8T a year) - by making end runs around cost controls through out of network consultation calls.
posted by NoxAeternum on Sep 23, 2014 - 29 comments

How a Squad of Ex-Cops Fights Police Abuses

In 1997, Smith retired from the police force. He needed a job to help cover his two daughters' college expenses, so he signed up as an investigator in the Broward County Public Defender's Office. He had little idea that he'd end up a key player in a bold experiment in criminal justice, one that aims to give tens of thousands of people who can't afford lawyers a fighting chance in a system stacked against them. It's an effort that suggests new ways for court-appointed attorneys to get at the truth, despite their insane caseloads. And a big part of it is getting former cops to police the police.
posted by ellieBOA on Sep 23, 2014 - 25 comments

It's now or never.

God bless Mike Brown and his family. This young man's murder has exposed corruption and evil and incompetence at every level in Missouri. Shaun King lays it all out on Ferguson. Previously, originally.
posted by Evilspork on Sep 17, 2014 - 256 comments

Stop and Seize: An Investigation into Asset Forfeiture

Stop and Seize: Aggressive police take hundreds of millions of dollars from motorists not charged with crimes. A multimedia investigation by the Washington Post.
posted by milquetoast on Sep 7, 2014 - 67 comments

McDonnells Convicted

Former Virginia Governor Bob McDonnell has been found guilty of 11 counts of conspiracy, bribery, and extortion, for receiving $177,000 in gifts from dietary supplement executive Johnny Williams. The governor's wife Maureen McDonnell was convicted on eight counts of corruption and an additional count of obstructing a grand jury investigation.
Mr. McDonnell, who carried his wife over the threshold of the Executive Mansion the day of his inauguration, portrayed her in his testimony as a harridan whose yelling left him “spiritually and mentally exhausted,” and who was so cold that after he sent her an email pleading to save their marriage, she did not reply. ... The government dismissed the defense strategy of portraying the McDonnell marriage as broken, and Ms. McDonnell as a “nutbag” who was smitten with Mr. Williams. The former governor was trying to “throw his wife under the bus,” the prosecutor, Michael S. Dry, said in closing statements.
McDonnell and his wife each face jail sentences of up to 20 years for each corruption offense.
posted by Ben Trismegistus on Sep 4, 2014 - 96 comments

Referee!

"It involved four international teams and an empty stadium, no ticket sales and yet the game was (open) for betting," Steans explains. "I sat and watched match fixers with a briefcase full of cash to pay the referees."
posted by josher71 on Aug 28, 2014 - 5 comments

Public Corruption Unit

Rick Perry Indicted on Charges of Abuse of Power
posted by box on Aug 15, 2014 - 146 comments

"Offender-funded" Justice

"These probationers aren’t just paying a court-ordered fine; they’re typically paying an ever-growing share of the court’s administrative expenses, as well as a separate fee to the for-profit company that supervises their probation and enforces a payment schedule—a consolidated weekly or monthly set of charges divided between the court and the company. The system is known as 'offender-funded' justice. But legal challenges to it are mounting, amid concerns about abuse, corruption, and the use of state penalties to collect private profits. In a wide range of cases, offender-funded justice may not result in justice at all." Get Out of Jail, Inc.
posted by supermassive on Aug 7, 2014 - 20 comments

Don't Leak National Secrets Unless It's For Wall Street

"What could he possibly have that's worth $1 million a month other than classified information?" Former NSA head Keith Alexander goes directly into consulting for large financial associations, with a potential Congressional investigation to follow.
posted by blankdawn on Jul 2, 2014 - 44 comments

Sunday Times Qatar World Cup Corruption Claim

BBC re-reports: Fifa is facing fresh allegations of corruption over its controversial decision to award the 2022 World Cup to Qatar. The Sunday Times has obtained millions of secret documents - emails, letters and bank transfers - which it alleges are proof that the disgraced Qatari football official Mohamed Bin Hammam made payments totalling US$5m (£3m) to football officials in return for their support for the Qatar bid.
posted by marienbad on Jun 1, 2014 - 56 comments

One of Christie’s flaws “is that he makes enemies and keeps them.”

When Christie was fourteen years old, he heard [now former NJ Governor Thomas] Kean, who was then a member of the state legislature, speak at his junior high school. He told his mother that he wanted to become a politician; she drove him to Kean’s house and told him to knock on the legislator’s door. “Sir, I heard you speak,” he told Kean. “I think I want to get into politics. How do I do it?” Writing for The New Yorker, Ryan Lizza provides an account of Chris Christie's political history from start to Bridgegate.
posted by Going To Maine on Apr 8, 2014 - 29 comments

The Darker Side of Paradise

How does Brazil keep the World Cup party going? Send in the army.
The Soldiers' occupation of 'strategic' Rio favelas shows just how far the state will go to prevent embarrassment during the World Cup; where the Slums lack sewers and running water 3 Years After Being 'Rescued' and parts of the city look like a War Zone.
Much is also to blame on Corrupt Police and Militia.
Here is a 3 part History of Rio de Janeiro’s Military Police
Part I: 19th Century Beginnings
Part II: From Dictatorship to Drug War
Part 3: Community Policing .
posted by adamvasco on Mar 28, 2014 - 16 comments

The disappearance and reappearance of Duncan MacPherson

In August 1989, 23-year-old professional ice-hockey player Duncan MacPherson travelled from New York to Europe, to enjoy a holiday before starting a new job in Scotland. He hired snowboarding gear and took a lesson on the Stubai Glacier. Then, according to the Austrian authorities and the owners of the ski resort, he simply disappeared. In Cold a Long Time: An Alpine Mystery, John Leake details the coverup and corruption that started then and continued for years after MacPherson's body melted out of the ice in 2003. Warning: the website contains close-up pictures of MacPherson's damaged body. [more inside]
posted by daisyk on Mar 16, 2014 - 22 comments

“This Town Exists Apparently Just to Write Speeding Tickets"

The small town of Hampton, Florida (pop. 477), is facing disincorporation after a state audit discovered massive irregularities in its finances and records. The audit was triggered by the excessive ticketing practices linked to the town's notorious speed trap on a corridor of U.S. 301. As The New York Times reports, between 2011 and 2012 the Hampton police (many of whom were essentially irregular volunteers) issued 12,698 speeding tickets to motorists on the 301 corridor. [more inside]
posted by kewb on Mar 10, 2014 - 74 comments

A Republic - If you can keep it.

Now, there's good news and bad news about this corruption. One bit of good news is that it's bipartisan, equal-opportunity corruption. It blocks the left on a whole range of issues that we on the left really care about. It blocks the right too, as it makes principled arguments of the right increasingly impossible. So the right wants smaller government. When Al Gore was Vice President, his team had an idea for deregulating a significant portion of the telecommunications industry. The chief policy man took this idea to Capitol Hill, and as he reported back to me, the response was, "Hell no! If we deregulate these guys, how are we going to raise money from them?" [more inside]
posted by Brent Parker on Mar 3, 2014 - 11 comments

If Stable and Efficient Banks Are Such a Good Idea Why Are They So Rare?

Why do some banking systems never have crises and some have them all the time? Our system is Fragile by Design, the title of a new book by Calomiris and Haber. (The first chapter can be read here.) This essay lays out the argument, as does this PowerPoint. [more inside]
posted by anotherpanacea on Mar 1, 2014 - 32 comments

Big Oil, Bad Air

Here's a multi-media webpage (text and photos, plus scroll down for the enlightening and well-made video) that spells out what's going on right now down Texas way: Fracking the Eagle Ford Shale of South Texas.
posted by flapjax at midnite on Feb 19, 2014 - 36 comments

The Rise and Fall of Chris Christie

"It was one of the most effective optical illusions in American politics—until it wasn’t." Alec MacGillis, in the New Republic, describes why "Chris Christie's entire career reeks. It's not just the bridge."
posted by spitbull on Feb 13, 2014 - 99 comments

A government of the many, not a government of money

The “Government by the People Act”, proposed by N. Pelosi and J. Sarbanes in a WP op-ed, is presented as one of the first concrete steps towards the removal of the influence of quasi-unlimited money in US politics. The act doesn’t limit the amount of money that corporations, PACs, etc can pay but rather takes the opposite approach, by encouraging and subsidizing citizen participation. The influence of money on American politics has exploded since the Citizens United ruling… resulting in often disturbing bias. [more inside]
posted by Riton on Feb 5, 2014 - 52 comments

Flipping the corruption myth

Dr. Jason Hickel, LSE lecturer who was born and brought up in Swaziland, writes on Transparency International's latest Corruption Perception Index and its eyecatching global map. Here's a tiny snippet to encourage you to read the rest of the article on Al Jazeera:
Many international development organisations hold that persistent poverty in the Global South is caused largely by corruption among local public officials. In 2003 these concerns led to the United Nations Convention against Corruption, which asserts that, while corruption exists in all countries, this "evil phenomenon" is "most destructive" in the global South, where it is a "key element in economic underperformance and a major obstacle to poverty alleviation and development". There's only one problem with this theory: It's just not true.
[more inside]
posted by infini on Feb 3, 2014 - 46 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

Generation June

Fury, anarchy, martyrdom: Why the youth of Brazil are (forever) protesting, and how their anger may consume the World Cup. (hat tip).
posted by adamvasco on Dec 22, 2013 - 13 comments

Noblesse N'Oblige Pas.

The Endgame for Democracy: A short essay by Bill Moyers. [SLYT]
posted by phaedon on Dec 19, 2013 - 31 comments

Airing the Immigration Bill's Dirty Laundry

Undercover of helping immigrant agricultural workers who have long needed a break in America, the American technology sector - lead by Facebook's Mark Zuckerberg - has seen fit to heavily lobby Congress to increase H1-B and other worker visa permits, vastly increasing H1-B visas at a time when very good research shows that there is no shortage of tech workers in America. Zuckerberg has so far succeeded, in the Senate. What is motivating the claim for more H1-B visas and what's at stake? [more inside]
posted by Vibrissae on Dec 12, 2013 - 131 comments

McCutcheon v. FEC

Supreme Court to consider lifting campaign contribution limits. Reversing McCutcheon v. Federal Election Commission would allow unlimited individual campaign contributions.
posted by kliuless on Oct 7, 2013 - 101 comments

TH€ s-!Mp$0NnS!

An entire episode of the Simpsons sent through various Alignment And Distrubution vector tools becomes a mesmerizing, glitched out work of art
posted by The Whelk on Sep 6, 2013 - 42 comments

The roof is on fire!

At dawn today, the arrivals unit of the Jomo Kenyatta International Airport caught fire (pictures!), leading to the total indefinite shutdown of the largest air traffic hub in east Africa. No one knows the cause of the fire, which comes days after a stupidly corrupt businessman's duty-free shops were seized by the government.
posted by kaibutsu on Aug 7, 2013 - 14 comments

The Use and Abuse of Civil Forfeiture

Taken: The Use and Abuse of Civil Forfeiture. "Under civil forfeiture, Americans who haven’t been charged with wrongdoing can be stripped of their cash, cars, and even homes. Is that all we’re losing?" [Via]
posted by homunculus on Aug 5, 2013 - 89 comments

Bruised and Blattered: How Fifa's great survivor has stayed on top

"On Sunday, Joseph S Blatter attended a ceremony on the Indian Ocean island of Mauritius to celebrate the renaming of the country's FA headquarters in his honour. The Fifa president would perhaps say it was a fitting tribute, given his promotion of African football and the amount of "development" money poured into the continent over recent decades. His critics would say it was typical of his egomania and note the importance of African votes in keeping him atop world football for 15 years." [more inside]
posted by marienbad on May 30, 2013 - 9 comments

Try Blowing on the Contacts

ROM corruptions are games played in emulators where the files have been run through a program (for example: Corrupster, and The Vinesauce Corrupter) which makes changes to the game data while still allowing it to remain playable. This results in strange graphical and audial glitches, like character models exploding in to chaotic swirls, garbled sprite assignments, and music distorted in to fascinating new compositions. Some other still image examples from Max Capacity (previously). This forum thread has a guide on how to corrupt ROMs yourself. Some Youtube links NWS due to swearing.
posted by codacorolla on May 23, 2013 - 18 comments

Sympathy for the Cabbie

Boston taxi cab drivers, often cheated, work in a world where risk and reward are a mismatch. [more inside]
posted by Rustic Etruscan on Apr 4, 2013 - 37 comments

The Christopher Dorner Manhunt

Timeline: Christopher Dorner is a former U.S. marine and police officer with the Los Angeles Police Department. He is wanted in the largest manhunt in LAPD history. Dorner is wanted for the alleged murder of a police officer and a young couple from Irvine (though evidence linking the murders to him is still largely circumstantial). During the ongoing investigation, LAPD officers have wounded various civilians in three separate cases of mistaken identity. In once incident, officers fired dozens of shots at a car in Torrance, CA, wounding two women who were delivering newspapers. [more inside]
posted by fantodstic on Feb 10, 2013 - 724 comments

Mirage (n) 2. Something that appears real or possible but is not.

"It looked like any neighborhood tavern in Chicago. The beer was cold, the bratwursts hot."

"The Mirage Tavern was a drinking establishment at 731 N. Wells St. in Chicago purchased by the Chicago Sun-Times in 1977 to investigate widespread allegations of official corruption and shakedowns visited on small businesses by city officials. The journalists used hidden cameras to help ensure that city inspectors caught accepting payoffs for ignoring safety hazards were all properly documented."

Thirty-five years ago this week, the Sun-Times began a 25-part series, which documented its work with government watchdog organization Better Government Association and venerated TV news program 60 Minutes* to capture the shakedowns, shoddy inspections, and graft galore. And now Sun-Times digital editor Marcus Gilmer is reposting every story on the day it ran in 1977 here along with additional reporting and details. [more inside]
posted by MCMikeNamara on Jan 9, 2013 - 12 comments

The Bribery Aisle

How Wal-Mart Used Payoffs to Get Its Way in Mexico (slnyt) [more inside]
posted by elizardbits on Dec 18, 2012 - 36 comments

Keep the CEO in the picture

When Michael Woodford discovered a staggering level of fraud in the optical multinational, Olympus, he was determined to expose it. As CEO of the company he was promptly fired for his efforts, and believed his life was in danger. [more inside]
posted by smoke on Dec 11, 2012 - 16 comments

Money, Power and Politics

In last night's episode of Independent Lens on PBS, filmmaker Alex Gibney presented the case that America's richest citizens have "rigged the game in their favor," and created unprecedented inequality in the United States. "Park Avenue: Money, Power and the American Dream" [video, website]
posted by nowhere man on Nov 13, 2012 - 51 comments

I Voted! (for the most corrupt)

Just in case you haven't overdosed on American politics: Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington Most Corrupt members of Congress (Full 2012 report - pdf). [more inside]
posted by IvoShandor on Nov 9, 2012 - 22 comments

What's wrong and how to fix it.

It’s not as though as a society we have become that much stupider than our forbears; it’s because we have become that much more corrupt.

Adam Garfinkle
discusses American political dysfunction in one, two, three parts.
posted by Shit Parade on Oct 27, 2012 - 13 comments

Boss Rail

"The Wenzhou crash killed forty people and injured a hundred and ninety-two. For reasons both practical and symbolic, the [Chinese] government was desperate to get trains running again, and within twenty-four hours it declared the line back in business. The Department of Propaganda ordered editors to give the crash as little attention as possible. “Do not question, do not elaborate,” it warned, on an internal notice. When newspapers came out the next morning, China’s first high-speed train wreck was not on the front page." [How a high-speed rail disaster exposed China's corruption]
posted by vidur on Oct 15, 2012 - 22 comments

Rags to Riches to President: Meet the eccentric candidate for President of Georgia

Bidzina Ivanishvili, presidential candidate, has a long name, but a story you won't forget. From village boy to billionaire (estimated worth of USD 6.4 billion - half of Georgia's GDP, making him the 153rd richest person on the planet), Ivanishvili essentially created his own kingdom in his old village, setting up alternative healthcare and education system, paving the roads, and designing welfare payment. After starting an opposition party earlier this year, he may have a shot at using his fortune to experiment with Georgia's future. While he isn't running for president directly, whichever party wins Parliament on Monday will be able to elect a prime minister next year. [more inside]
posted by k8t on Sep 29, 2012 - 24 comments

Italian Parochialism, for a change

Franco Fiorito, also known as Batman, is the (ex) leader and treasurer of Berlusconi's party - Il Popolo della Libertà(PdL) in the Lazio regional council. He is being accused of channeling 800k of the party's funds into 12 of his bank accounts and making extravagant expenditures for his own benefit. Reports say that in court he is more annoyed than afraid: "Yes, I went to two beautiful resorts of the Costa Smeralda with PdL money. The regional election campaign left me exhausted and depressed. I needed a big vacation". Fiorito is now lashing out at other PdL councillors: "There are eight thieves. I didn't steal, I distributed the money." [more inside]
posted by Marauding Ennui on Sep 20, 2012 - 20 comments

A Scandal in Wikipedia?

Allegations have surfaced that a Wikipedia trustee and a Wikipedian In Residence have been editing the online encyclopedia on behalf of PR clients, while running an SEO business on the side. Response. Trigger warning: Violet Blue content.
posted by unSane on Sep 18, 2012 - 74 comments

“A Republic, if You Can Keep It”

"[T]he corrupting influence of money is the first problem facing this nation. That unless we solve this problem, we won’t solve anything else... The Framers, Lessig says, had just one kind of dependence in mind for members of Congress: a dependence on the people. He quotes The Federalist (the then-anonymous essays by Alexander Hamilton, James Madison, and John Jay that are often used as a contemporary account of the Framers’ intentions) to make this point: number 52 describes the House of Representatives as that “branch of the federal government which ought to be dependent on the people alone” (emphasis added). But in the last two decades, Lessig writes, members of Congress have developed a fearsome dependency: campaign cash. The total amount spent on campaigns by all candidates for Congress in 2010 was $1.8 billion. Fundraising has become a way of life..." (via 3 Quarks Daily)
posted by caddis on Aug 1, 2012 - 48 comments

The games began with piles of whitened bones, and horses' heads, and the skulls of men nailed to trees.

Boris Johnson's Olympic welcome. [YouTube]
posted by hot soup girl on Jul 24, 2012 - 67 comments

You know, "let them eat cake" would actually have been nicer...

During the presentation of tough new austerity measures at the Spanish parliament, and more specifically of a cut in unemployment benefits (with unemployment currently standing at 24%), and as her fellow conservative MPs clapped, Andrea Fabra yelled "Fuck 'em all!". Hilarity has predictably ensued... [more inside]
posted by Skeptic on Jul 13, 2012 - 50 comments

"It is unlikely, I think, that this will generate a lot of media publicity," [Judge] Baer sighed to the jury in his preliminary instructions.

The Scam Wall Street Learned from the Mafia is Matt Taibbi's take on the recent convictions in the municipal bond bid-rigging case of United States v. Dominick P. Carollo, Steven E. Goldberg, and Peter S. Grimm. These three fraudsters are among the fifteen convicted so far with regard to the federal government's investigation into nationwide municipal bond bid-rigging schemes. [more inside]
posted by Sticherbeast on Jun 22, 2012 - 45 comments

It was a good war. (For some.)

Rupert Murdoch, CEO of News Corp., repeatedly lobbied Tony Blair to invade Iraq. In the days leading up to the invasion, Tony Blair's Director of Communications wrote that "(Blair) took a call from Murdoch who was pressing on timings, saying how News International would support us, etc. Both TB and I felt it was prompted by Washington, and another example of their over-crude diplomacy. Murdoch was pushing all the Republican buttons, how the longer we waited the harder it got." The phone call in question took place just days before a crucial vote on Iraq, and was one of three personal calls from Murdoch that Blair received in that week alone. Blair recently testified, admitting an "unhealthy" level of closeness with Murdoch, oftentimes communicating more with him than with his own ministers. In the first 19 days following the invasion of Iraq, Rupert Murdoch's Fox News averaged 3.3 million viewers, a 236% increase from the weeks preceding the war. Huge increases in newspaper sales were seen throughout his global media empire, with advertising revenue soaring to record levels. That empire now faces serious calls for it to be broken up.
posted by markkraft on Jun 16, 2012 - 62 comments

"The biggest company you've never heard of."

"A Giant Among Giants[FP]: Glencore -- founded by famous fugitive Marc Rich [Salon] -- has cornered the market on just about everything. Now that it's going public, will its ties to dictators and spies stand up to scrutiny?" [more inside]
posted by the man of twists and turns on Jun 7, 2012 - 19 comments

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