The November 6th elections saw a lot of historic decisions made in the United States -- the first black president re-elected
, marijuana legalized for the first time
in two states, gay marriage affirmed by the voters
in four, and even the first openly gay senator
. But perhaps the most underreported result yesterday came from outside the country altogether: in the commonwealth of Puerto Rico, a solid majority voted to reject the island's current status and join America
as the long-fabled 51st state
How the bid might fare in Congress is an open question, but both President Obama
and Republican leaders
have vowed support for the statehood movement if it proves successful at the ballot box (while D.C. officials ponder a two-fer gambit
to grease the wheels). Though it would be the poorest state
, joining the Union might bring economic benefits to both sides [PDF]
And politically, some argue the island might prove to be a reliably red state
, despite the Hispanic population, although arch-conservative
governor and Romney ally Luis Fortuño
appears headed toward a narrow loss
. But the most important question here, as always, is: how to redesign the flag?
(Puerto Rican statehood discussed previously.)
posted by Rhaomi
on Nov 7, 2012 -
"Dwarfing even the $2 trillion borrowed for the Railway Ministry’s high-speed networks since 2008, and the thousands of kilometres of 4–6 lane toll roads with barely a vehicle on them, China’s building binge is the most striking example of what Prime Minister Wen Jiabao famously, but impotently, denounced in 2007 as the country’s “unbalanced, unstable, uncoordinated and unsustainable” model of economic development. Now, with house prices and sales sagging in response to government restrictions aimed at deflating history’s biggest ever property bubble, and with local governments as deep in bad debt as the developers, I asked the businessman what was to prevent the bubble actually bursting
, in a spectacular financial explosion? "
posted by vidur
on Jun 21, 2012 -
The talks between President Obama and House Speaker John Boehner "collapsed"
Friday with little more than a week to go before the United States may effectively default on its debt. The two parties have been in ongoing negotiations for months over GOP refusal to raise the legal limit on national debt unless tied to a significant package of spending cuts - with some members and activists opposed to any increase whatsoever [more inside]
posted by crayz
on Jul 24, 2011 -
As California goes, so goes the country, they used to say. Well, yikes. Golden State
, an n+1
piece by Nikil Saval, presents a bleak picture of paralysis and conflicted interests that has rendered "The Bellwether State" all but inoperable. (via Arts & Letters Daily)
posted by Trochanter
on Feb 13, 2011 -
In 2010, Obama will have a miserable year
, NATO may lose in Afghanistan
, the UK gets a regime change
, China needs to chill
, India's factories will overtake its farms
, Europe risks becoming an irrelevant museum
, the stimulus will need an exit strategy
, the G20 will see a challenge from the "G2"
, African football
will unite Korea
, conflict over natural resources will grow
, Sarkozy will be unloved and unrivalled
, the kids will come together to solve the world's problems (because their elders are unable)
, technology will grow ever more ubiquitous
, we'll all charge our phones via USB
, MBAs will be uncool
, the Space Shuttle will be put to rest
, and Somalia will be the worst country in the world
. And so the Tens
The Economist: The World in 2010
. [more inside]
posted by goodnewsfortheinsane
on Nov 14, 2009 -
1946—2006. Short articles chronicling North Rhine-Westphalia. The site has one rather large shortcoming though, the video clips cannot be accessed (only available on VHS within the State!).
posted by tellurian
on May 12, 2009 -
In 2009, a remarkably gifted politician, confronting a remarkably difficult set of challenges
, will have to learn to say "No we can't"
, Guantánamo will prove a moral minefield
, economic recovery will be invisible to the naked eye
, governments must prepare for the day they stop financial guarantees
, we will judge our commitment to sustainability
, scientists should research the causes of religion
, we will all be potential online paparazzi
, English will have more words than any other language
(but it's meaningless), Afghanistan will see a surge of Western (read: American) troops
, Iran will continue its nuclear quest
while diplomacy lies in shambles
, the sea floor is the new frontier
, we should rethink aging
, (non-)voters will continue to thwart the European project
-- but cheap travel will continue to buoy it
-- though it has some unfinished business to attend to
, and a Nordic defence bond will blossom
.The Economist: The World in 2009
. [more inside]
posted by goodnewsfortheinsane
on Nov 27, 2008 -
Pollan for Agriculture Secretary?
It has been suggested (and previously
) that Michael Pollan, author of Second Nature
, The Omnivore's Dilemma
, might make a good Secretary of Agriculture. This would be a dramatic departure for an office that has a decades-long history of steering US agriculture policy to the advantage of the largest agribusiness corporations.
Especially given Obama's potential connections
to Big Corn
, how silly would we be to anticipate real change in US ag policy, relevant as it may be to the economic, energy, climate, and national security issues he campaigned on?
Via the Brian Lehrer Show
posted by maniabug
on Nov 17, 2008 -
The Stakes, 2008.
Eight of the Washington Monthly's
contributing editors "consider the looming challenges that America is likely to face—in the economy, education, the courts, and other areas—during an Obama or McCain presidency, and how, based on what we know about the two men, they are likely to handle them." [more inside]
posted by homunculus
on Oct 14, 2008 -
The $3 Trillion Shopping Spree.
"The occupation of Iraq will cost $3 trillion, America's most expensive conflict since WWII. Can YOU spend that money better? Here's your chance to go on a virtual $3 trillion shopping spree and prove it!" [Via Gristmill.]
posted by homunculus
on May 10, 2008 -
A very special 'This American Life
' about an administration with the endemic belief that laws only apply to the little people, and a limitless refusal to concede on even petty issues, no matter the costs. The highlight is about immigrant widows of US citizens (30:50). The program also discusses the constitutional beliefs of the presidential candidates. [more inside]
posted by East Manitoba Regional Junior Kabaddi Champion '94
on Apr 2, 2008 -
Party like it's 1892! "Executive power and patronage have been used to corrupt our legislatures and defeat the will of the people, and plutocracy has thereby been enthroned upon the ruins of democracy."*
In the late 1800s, the Populist Party
, or People's Party, formed to merge the Farmers Alliance message of economic empowerment for growers with the Knights of Labor's movement to check the growing power and corrupt practices of big business (along with the Greenbacks Party critiques of monetary policy)
. With a strong base in the midwest and south, the party earned 9% of the 1892 popular vote, won the presidential electoral votes of four states (not to mention electing 10 congressmen, 5 senators, 3 governors, and 1,500 state legislators)
. However the party's power quickly faded as the Democratic Party co-opted much of the Populist platform
while internal disputes
culminated in the Populists placing the Dems' 1896 nominee at the head of their own ticket. Nevertheless, the populist movement's influence continued to be felt through various 20th century reforms including direct election of senators
, presidential term limits
, and abandonment of the gold standard
posted by nakedcodemonkey
on Jan 5, 2005 -
Bush says tax cuts stimulate the economy. Unfortunately, he's fallen more than 2.2 million jobs short of the projection made by his own economists.
posted by Postroad
on Jul 28, 2004 -
Perhaps, if we don't maintain the greatest worker-to-executive salary discrepancy in the world, the terrorists win.
posted by subpixel
on May 5, 2003 -
Shooting the messenger.
"The Bush administration, under fire for its handling of the economy, has quietly killed off a Labor Department program that tracked mass layoffs by U.S. companies." (via madamjujujive)
posted by four panels
on Jan 4, 2003 -
The End of Empire?
"You can't sustain an empire from a debtor's weakening position--sooner or later the creditors pull the plug. That humiliating lesson was learned by Great Britain early in the last century, and the United States faces a similar reckoning ahead."
posted by homunculus
on Sep 9, 2002 -
isn't this exactly opposite of what we're being told? I'm always hearing the wealthy are benefitting somehow from GWB's new tax plan. I'm certainly no-where near the top 5%, and now I don't want to be.
posted by the_0ne
on Apr 9, 2002 -
Looking the World in the Eye
Huntington, a Harvard prof., lays out his vision for the future of the clash of civilizations in an article in The Atlantic Monthly. The main points are-
• The fact that the world is modernizing does not mean that it is Westernizing. The impact of urbanization and mass communications, coupled with poverty and ethnic divisions, will not lead to peoples' everywhere thinking as we do.
• Asia, despite its ups and downs, is expanding militarily and economically. Islam is exploding demographically. The West may be declining in relative influence.
• Culture-consciousness is getting stronger, not weaker, and states or peoples may band together because of cul tural similarities rather than because of ideological ones, as in the past.
• The Western belief that parliamentary democracy and free markets are suitable for everyone will bring the West into conflict with civilizations—notably, Islam and the Chinese— that think differently.
• In a multi-polar world based loosely on civilizations rather than on ideologies, Americans must reaffirm their Western identity.
posted by SandeepKrishnamurthy
on Nov 28, 2001 -
Bad Subjects Interviews Howard Zinn.
I'm not sure I buy globalization as "a more sophisticated kind of imperialism," but given recent efforts to expand corporate welfare and manufacture enemies for a reinvigorated military-industrial complex I think parallels with 19th century robber-barons and the Great BBQ are apt. Lefties and libertarians unite!
posted by kliuless
on Feb 21, 2001 -
Warning signs on the horizon...
WARNING Political: Democrats and Repubs point fingers over who's to blame about current and future economic problems. Ok, who forgot that 5 weeks of political indecision has had a big, bad toll on the economy? Also, another in a long series of funny dubya pictures. Check the large hands. How'd they get so big?
posted by evad
on Dec 21, 2000 -
was created to help you decipher what the tax plans by both presidential candidates mean to you personally." Enter some information from your paycheck and find out how much you'd save using either Bush's or Gore's tax plans. via dandot.
posted by phooey
on Oct 11, 2000 -