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We're not so different

Who's influencing reproductive policy in Canada? Unfortunately, the difference between the religious right in Canada and our neighbours to the south is not so much doctrinal as it is window dressing. The Tea Party’s "late term abortion" red herring with its attendant gruesome imagery very much parallels the "gender-selection" trope of the Conservative base in Canada. It’s a matter of media and public relations, knowing your audience and playing to its sympathies.
posted by Conspire on Dec 10, 2013 - 22 comments

he intends Assassination Market to destroy “all governments, everywhere”

Meet The 'Assassination Market' Creator Who's Crowdfunding Murder With Bitcoins
Last month I received an encrypted email from someone calling himself by the pseudonym Kuwabatake Sanjuro, who pointed me towards his recent creation: The website Assassination Market, a crowdfunding service that lets anyone anonymously contribute bitcoins towards a bounty on the head of any government official–a kind of Kickstarter for political assassinations. According to Assassination Market’s rules, if someone on its hit list is killed–and yes, Sanjuro hopes that many targets will be–any hitman who can prove he or she was responsible receives the collected funds.
posted by andoatnp on Nov 18, 2013 - 143 comments

FDA Cheese Ban: Mite vs. Right

Despite the cries of "Save the Mimolette!", the FDA has decided to ban the sale of the French cheese Mimolette over mites used in the rind. [more inside]
posted by Room 641-A on Nov 6, 2013 - 50 comments

Captain Justice

Stop calling the DA "the Government!" it hurts her feelings or something. The defense responds..'Should this Court disagree, and feel inclined to let the parties basically pick their own designations and ban words, then the defense has a few additional suggestions....defense counsel does not wish to be referred to as a "lawyer," or a "defense attorney." Those terms are substantially more prejudicial than probative. See Tenn. R. Evid. 403. Rather, counsel for the Citizen Accused should be referred to primarily as the "Defender of the Innocent." This title seems particularly appropriate, because every Citizen Accused is presumed innocent. Alternatively, counsel would also accept the designation "Guardian of the Realm."'
posted by caddis on Nov 3, 2013 - 24 comments

A = Ayn, B = Britain, C = Cameron, D = Doh!

Ayn Rand: More Relevant Now than Ever
The speaker was the CEO of Saxo Bank, Lars Seier Christensen. As the head of an investment bank based in socialist Denmark, Christensen is particularly enraged by high taxation, social welfare and banking regulation. "The world is on the wrong track," he told us. "A malady that has long beset Europe is currently spreading to the US". Apparently we are experiencing a "socialist revival" to which "Ayn Rand is the only answer".

posted by urbanwhaleshark on Nov 1, 2013 - 123 comments

"Dwarven society is more egalitarian than… human feudal societies were"

Dwarf Fortress: A Marxist Analysis
What one does in Dwarf Fortress is create a colony of an existing dwarven fortress – you’re always sent out as a team from a much larger existing stronghold elsewhere, and your foreign relations with other dwarves are limited to that particular fortress, on the whole. Even though your settlement is independent and self-governing, and the relations with the mother fortress mostly those of trade, the purpose of the game in all its open-endedness can be nothing other than to create oneself in the image of the previous fortress. In other words, fundamentally in Dwarf Fortress you reproduce the existing structure of dwarven society on a merely quantitatively expanded scale.
[more inside]
posted by Eideteker on Oct 25, 2013 - 29 comments

It Could Be Worse

I signed up for an account on Healthcare.gov last week. It wasn’t the smoothest process, but I was able to create an account. Some parts are slow; sometimes you have to reload a page to make progress. But it’s starting to work. It will be fixed, because it has to be. And now that the launch and inevitable crash has finally happened, in a way the worst is over. Real-world traffic is providing programmers all the debugging data that they could ever want, and “all bugs are shallow with the president watching,” as Paul Ford writes in Bloomberg Businessweek, paraphrasing the open-source-software advocate Eric Raymond’s assertion that “with enough eyeballs, all bugs are shallow.” -- Rusty Foster in The New Yorker
posted by jim in austin on Oct 22, 2013 - 585 comments

How the NFL Fleeces Taxpayers

Taxpayers fund the stadiums, antitrust law doesn't apply to broadcast deals, the league enjoys nonprofit status, and Commissioner Roger Goodell makes $30 million a year. It's time to stop the public giveaways to America's richest sports league—and to the feudal lords who own its teams. (SL Atlantic)
posted by beisny on Oct 14, 2013 - 79 comments

"Evacuate the children, put up the blackout curtains, kill the cat."

Advice to UK animal owners just before World War Two broke out: "If at all possible, send or take your household animals into the country in advance of an emergency." It concluded: "If you cannot place them in the care of neighbours, it really is kindest to have them destroyed." [more inside]
posted by Wordshore on Oct 12, 2013 - 24 comments

Despise what you do. Despise your whole crew. You're so out of touch.

Fuck You Congress [more inside]
posted by humannaire on Oct 10, 2013 - 80 comments

Administrators Ate My Tuition

Washington Monthly examines the rapid increase in the numbers of middle managers at universities and the correlation to the rampant increase in tuition costs at American universities.
posted by reenum on Oct 8, 2013 - 184 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

Grundeinkommen - ein Kulturimpuls

Switzerland to vote on $2,800 monthly 'basic income' for adults (reddit, mr; previously-er) [more inside]
posted by kliuless on Oct 6, 2013 - 64 comments

The Perils of Presidentialism, in Action

Political theorist Juan Linz died Tuesday at the age of 86. His work focused on comparative government, including studies on totalitarian and authoritarian regimes. Linz was also a prominent critic of the presidential system of government used in the United States and in much of Latin America. In his essay, "The Perils of Presidentialism" (later expanded into book form as The Failure of Presidential Democracy), Linz argued that presidential systems are inherently unstable, as they invariably lead to standoffs between the president and the legislature, each with competing claims to legitimacy. Thus, as in many Latin American countries, presidential systems frequently collapse, and often are replaced with dictatorships. The one exception to that pattern has been the United States--at least until recently. In an interview in January of this year, Linz argued that the US was succumbing to the same dysfunction as other presidential regimes. In Slate, Matthew Yglesias commemorates Linz by warning that the American system of government may be doomed to an endless cycle of crisis and constitutional disintegration, as evidenced by the government shutdown. Dylan Matthews concurs, arguing that the shutdown is "James Madison's fault."
posted by Cash4Lead on Oct 2, 2013 - 72 comments

"October is a fine and dangerous season in America"

Happy Political Clusterf*ck Day (U.S.)! In one corner: the first federal government shutdown since 1996, born of the House GOP/Tea Party faction's crusade to delay, defund, and destroy Obamacare (and the Democratic Senate and President's resolve to not do that). "Continuing resolutions" have ping-ponged between the two houses, fighting over language to cancel healthcare reform (plus a few other items, such as the implementation of Mitt Romney's entire economic agenda). National parks are closed, contractors are hamstrung, and 800,000 federal workers furloughed until Speaker Boehner drops the "Hastert Rule" and passes a bill the other branches can agree to. In the other corner, heedless of the chaos (though not without glitches of its own): the official rollout of the Affordable Care Act and its state insurance exchanges. The portal at Healthcare.gov is your one-stop shop for browsing, comparing, and purchasing standardized, regulated insurance coverage with premium rebates, guaranteed coverage, and expanded Medicaid for the poor (in some states). A crazy day, overall -- but peanuts compared to what might happen if the debt ceiling is breached in 16 days. [more inside]
posted by Rhaomi on Oct 1, 2013 - 2207 comments

︻╦╤─

Bearing Arms: [New York Times] Articles in this series examine the gun industry’s influence and the wide availability of firearms in America. [more inside]
posted by Fizz on Sep 29, 2013 - 242 comments

When To Start Caring About the Powerball Jackpot

Walter Hickey at Business Insider looks at when you should buy a Powerball ticket and whether to take the lump sum or annuity if you win.
posted by reenum on Sep 28, 2013 - 50 comments

Shutdown showdown

If the Federal Government shuts down on October 1st, the DC city government is supposed to shut down as well. In a bid to keep the city functioning, Mayor Vince Gray has declared all city employees "essential." Non-voting Rep Eleanor Holmes Norton and the DC GOP are also petitioning Congress to keep the city open. The District's budget comes from local taxes, but needs Congressional approval to spend it's own money.
posted by troika on Sep 27, 2013 - 378 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

What, Exactly, Constitutes a Constitution?

Constitute offers the constitutions of the world's nations for comparison. Search for constitutions by country or by topic, then pin or download results using a clean, easy-to-use interface. Brought to you by The Comparative Constitutions Project.
posted by Rykey on Sep 24, 2013 - 16 comments

Why art should be publicly funded

Why Art? Australian ABC Arts critic, theatre blogger and author, Alison Croggon, looks at public funding of the arts - and argues for more of it.


"In a survey that looked at participation in visual arts and crafts, music, dance, theatre and literature – that is, the key art forms supported by the Australia Council – 38 per cent of Australians describe themselves as art lovers, for whom the arts are an integral part of their lives. Only 17 per cent report estrangement, believing that the arts attract pretentious elites, and a tiny 7 per cent feel no connection at all. Overall, 93 per cent of Australians reported engaging with the arts in the previous year. In 2009, more people attended art galleries (11 million) than went to the football (10 million)."
posted by crossoverman on Sep 21, 2013 - 40 comments

The Tuition Is Too Damn High

Over the past couple of weeks, Wonkblog has examined the fast rising cost of college tuition in the United States and its effects on society. [more inside]
posted by reenum on Sep 8, 2013 - 48 comments

"I always had low self-esteem. I never thought I'd get anywhere."

How Joe Redner Invented The Lap Dance, Built A Strip-Club Empire, Became A Model Citizen, Fought For Your Rights, And Beat Cancer
posted by reenum on Sep 3, 2013 - 23 comments

Fried Twinkies With a Side of Obamacare

A middle-aged man in a red golf shirt shuffles up to a small folding table with gold trim, in a booth adorned with a flotilla of helium balloons, where government workers at the Kentucky State Fair are hawking the virtues of Kynect, the state’s health benefit exchange established by Obamacare. The man is impressed. "This beats Obamacare I hope," he mutters to one of the workers. “Do I burst his bubble?” wonders Reina Diaz-Dempsey, overseeing the operation. She doesn't. If he signs up, it's a win-win, whether he knows he's been ensnared by Obamacare or not.
posted by reenum on Aug 26, 2013 - 63 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

How Georgetown Law gets Uncle Sam to pay its students’ bills

In the realm of higher ed, law schools are at the forefront of finding creative ways to maximize revenue. Georgetown Law has pioneered an academic Ponzi scheme where they are able to essentially use the Federal loan money given to new students to pay for public interest law graduates' loans.
posted by reenum on Aug 12, 2013 - 48 comments

Perhaps they could call it WOPR

To reduce the risk of future Edward Snowden style leaks, the NSA wants to reduce the number of people in the loop. Director Keith Alexander told Reuters that the NSA plans to eliminate fully 90 percent of its system administrators and replace them with machines.
posted by Naberius on Aug 9, 2013 - 104 comments

Capturing America

In 1971, the newly-created US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) hired a bunch of freelance photographers to collectively document environmental issues around the country. They were given free rein to shoot whatever they wanted, and the project, named Documerica, lasted through 1977. After 40 years, the EPA is now encouraging photographers to take current versions of the original Documerica photos and are showcasing them on flickr at State of the Environment. There are location challenges, and a set has been created with some of the submissions, making side-by-side comparisons. [more inside]
posted by zarq on Aug 8, 2013 - 16 comments

Snowden walks free in Russia

Russia grants Snowden asylum ; US government goes apeshit. [more inside]
posted by allkindsoftime on Aug 1, 2013 - 295 comments

What’s worse there, the sex or the pretending to be dead?

The Encyclopedia of Ethical Failure [PDF, there is a Word file direct from the DoD] is 167 pages of stories of elaborate frauds, scams, and abuses of power in the US government. Interestingly, the sarcasm-filled document is also published by the US government, to help illustrate how government workers get in trouble. Freakonomics radio has a amusing and interesting discussion with the Encyclopedia's editor and founding editor [link goes to transcript]. [more inside]
posted by blahblahblah on Jul 18, 2013 - 12 comments

"align the nation’s political landscape with its natural resource base"

our highly speculative proposal for the reconfiguration of the political geography of the United States to better conform to the spatial distribution of various water resources, such as rivers, aquifers, and man-made infrastructures.
[more inside]
posted by the man of twists and turns on Jul 15, 2013 - 14 comments

“I’m dismantling the Death Star to build solar ovens for the Ewoks.”

The Merry Pranksters Who Hacked the Afghan War [more inside]
posted by zarq on Jul 1, 2013 - 14 comments

The fiscal choices at UK Spending Review 2013 and beyond

"The government’s plans for deficit reduction have increasingly stark implications for public spending as their deadline draws nearer, according to new Resolution Foundation analysis. While overall expenditure is set to remain relatively flat in 2015-16 (the period covered by the latest Spending Review) the pace of reduction in total government spending is due to increase significantly in the two subsequent year"
posted by marienbad on Jun 20, 2013 - 3 comments

With your love and support she can get through anything that comes

Little Children, Big Challenges: Incarceration is a bilingual initiative to help children cope with an incarcerated parent. [more inside]
posted by roomthreeseventeen on Jun 14, 2013 - 3 comments

A bad day for privacy.

Washington Post: NSA and FBI are mining data from nine major tech companies in formerly secret program. Microsoft, Yahoo, Google, Facebook, PalTalk, AOL, Skype, YouTube, Apple are being monitored, with Dropbox "coming soon". The program, called PRISM, is reportedly the most prolific contributor to the President's Daily Brief.
posted by brentajones on Jun 6, 2013 - 415 comments

The FBI, the NSA and your phone records in 2013.

Glenn Greenwald has produced a secret court order requiring Verizon to hand over to the NSA "telephony metadata" of all local and international calls either originating or terminating in the United States on an "ongoing, daily basis," and further barring Verizon from disclosing to the public the fulfillment of this request or the existence of the court order itself. The ACLU refers to the practice as "beyond Orwellian." Direct link to the court order available here. [more inside]
posted by phaedon on Jun 6, 2013 - 488 comments

The Lords Hath Spoken

18 arguments made against gay marriage in the House of Lords, England, during debate of the Governments proposed Marriage (Same Sex Couples) Bill
posted by marienbad on Jun 5, 2013 - 105 comments

"Let Wisconsin be the test case. Let us lead the way."

By a bipartisan vote of 68-26, the Wisconsin state Assembly has approved AB-110, a measure requiring beneficiaries of SNAP -- known in Wisconsin as FoodShare, or more colloquially as food stamps -- to spend at least 2/3 of their monthly benefits on items from "a list of state-defined healthy foods" [PDF]. [more inside]
posted by divined by radio on May 8, 2013 - 312 comments

Some big Internet companies, privacy, and the government

EFF's Who Has Your Back? for 2013. The Electronic Frontier Foundation has published the 2013 edition of their analysis of how well your private data is protected from the government by about a dozen big internet companies. Also available as pdf. Focused on the US, but may apply elsewhere, too.
posted by at home in my head on May 1, 2013 - 13 comments

Want transparency? First step: travel to DC

Even before it was enacted, the United States House and Senate voted unanimously to repeal a provision within the STOCK Act, a bill aimed at curbing insider trading among senior government officials. The repealed provision required that financial disclosure forms were accessible online. [more inside]
posted by antonymous on Apr 13, 2013 - 18 comments

IRS Claims Authority to Read Your E-Mail Without A Warrant

The ACLU reports that the IRS claims in an internal document that it has the authority to access citizens' online communications without a warrant. The IRS claimed in a 2009 document that "the Fourth Amendment does not protect communications held in electronic storage, such as email messages stored on a server, because internet users do not have a reasonable expectation of privacy in such communications." It still retains that position even after the 2010 case of US v Warshak which determined that citizens have a reasonable expectation of privacy in such communications. [more inside]
posted by Sleeper on Apr 11, 2013 - 50 comments

More bad news from the Government.

You know, Stingrays killed the Crocodile Hunter... During the case of United States v. Rigmaiden it was revealed that the DOJ had been using Stingray cell phone trackers concealed in other warrants/without explicit warrants. [more inside]
posted by Samizdata on Mar 29, 2013 - 41 comments

Incommensurable values

Economists and the theory of politics - "why unions were often well worth any deadweight cost" [more inside]
posted by kliuless on Mar 25, 2013 - 27 comments

"There was no return from apostasy."

Leaving the Witness. "In one of the most restrictive, totalitarian countries in the world, for the first time in my life, I had the freedom to think." [more inside]
posted by zarq on Mar 21, 2013 - 26 comments

sea & sky

seaQuest: what if we could learn to live on/underneath the oceans (or in orbit)? [previously(er)] [more inside]
posted by kliuless on Mar 18, 2013 - 14 comments

The Internet is a surveillance state

Welcome to a world where Google knows exactly what sort of porn you all like, and more about your interests than your spouse does.
posted by T.D. Strange on Mar 16, 2013 - 70 comments

The Priority of Democracy

Dissent Is the Health of the Democratic State - "We live in big, complex societies, which means we are thoroughly interdependent on each other, and that we will naturally have different ideas about how our life in common should go, and will have divergent interests. This means that politics we shall always have with us. It also means that political problems are largely ones about designing and reforming the institutions which shape how we interact with each other..." (via) [more inside]
posted by kliuless on Mar 6, 2013 - 9 comments

Finding info on your state lawmakers has never been easier

Open States, the latest project of the nonprofit Sunlight Foundation, is an easy to navigate comprehensive database of activities from all state capitols that makes it easy to find your state lawmaker, review their votes, search for legislation, track bills and much more.
posted by joedan on Mar 2, 2013 - 7 comments

Motor City Sadness

Michigan Governor Rick Snyder to appoint an emergency financial manager for Detroit.
posted by still_wears_a_hat on Mar 1, 2013 - 52 comments

L’ÉTRANGER - Gérard Depardieu and France part ways.

In America, a politician should not appear too literate; in France, he should not appear overly interested in sums. A sort of spiritual innumeracy is required to prove that he is a serious person. “Economics is considered an obstacle to ideology, a constraint politicians prefer to avoid if they can,” Chamboredon said. Politicians in France speak to “citizens,” not to “taxpayers.” - The New Yorker: France’s anxiety about the budget crisis has fuelled resentment of the country’s most renowned tax exile.
posted by beisny on Feb 27, 2013 - 31 comments

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