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LA vets demand housing at giant VA campus

There are an increasing number of homeless military vets living in Los Angeles. The VA in Los Angeles has a 400 acre parcel of land meant to house vets. Slight problem: the VA has decided to lease the property to various area businesses instead of using the land for its intended purpose.
posted by reenum on Oct 22, 2011 - 36 comments

Help Wanted: Busybodies With Cameras

People in Korea now have a new vocation available to them: snitching on other civilians for cash payouts from the government.
posted by reenum on Oct 17, 2011 - 83 comments

Who watches the technocrats?

Peter Orszag (previously of Obama's OMB) argues that circumventing democracy is the best way to save it, but Catherine Rampell isn't sold, and Uwe Reinhardt points out that technocrats base "science" on moral values.
posted by klangklangston on Sep 28, 2011 - 91 comments

Troy Davis execution imminent

In 1991, Troy Davis was convicted and sentenced to death for the 1989 murder of policeman Mark MacPhail in a Savannah, Georgia parking lot. Since then, seven of the nine prosecution eyewitnesses have recanted all or part of their testimony, with some citing pressure from the police to make false statements. An exception is Sylvester "Redd" Coles, who made the initial report of Davis’s guilt, and is regarded by the defense as the chief suspect. New witnesses have sworn affidavits that Coles confessed the crime to them. An array of figures have called for a stay of execution, including death-penalty supporters Senator Bob Barr and former FBI director William S. Sessions. Today, the Georgia Board of Pardons and Paroles denied clemency; barring action from the District Attorney, Davis is set to be executed by lethal injection tomorrow at 7pm. [Previously]
posted by East Manitoba Regional Junior Kabaddi Champion '94 on Sep 20, 2011 - 432 comments

The Golden Laws of Prosperity

The Golden Laws of Prosperity
posted by scalefree on Sep 8, 2011 - 42 comments

Wisconsin recall efforts fall short amid corruption fears

After weeks of fake primaries, fraudulent mailers, special interest moneybombs, and last-minute attempts at voter suppression, Wisconsinites went to the polls yesterday in an unprecedented round of six recall elections targeted mainly at Republican state senators for their support of Governor Scott Walker's controversial union-busting agenda. Five of the six races were called by Tuesday evening, with Democrats taking two of the three they'd need to regain control of the state senate. The lone holdout? A dead heat between incumbent Alberta Darling and challenger Sandy Pasch in District 8 -- the very same district that saw suspicious vote-counting by conservative Waukesha County Clerk Kathy Nickolaus unexpectedly tip the balance towards Walker ally David Prosser late in the crucial state supreme court race this past April. The protracted count and late-night shift toward Darling coupled with Nickolaus's questionable history soon prompted Democratic officials to make accusations of fraud (later retracted). Control of the senate now lies in the defense of two Democratic seats up for recall next week and the possible wooing of GOP Senator Dale Schultz, the only Republican to vote against Walker's bill. Walker himself will be eligible for recall next spring. [more inside]
posted by Rhaomi on Aug 10, 2011 - 136 comments

High-end items for Detroit office bought with money for poor people

The Human Services Department in Detroit awarded a $1.2 million no-bid contract to a nonprofit named Clark & Associates. The Department then used $210,000 of the money to buy high end office furniture. [more inside]
posted by reenum on Aug 3, 2011 - 53 comments

Those ubiquitous Tourmobiles in DC

If you have spent anytime at all on the National Mall in Washington DC, you have no doubt seen the Tourmobile trolleys shuttling tourists around to the major attractions surrounding the National Mall. Some are now questioning the 40+ year old monopoly that the operator has held on tourist transportation on the Mall, especially in light of the National Park Service's refusal to open up bidding, or even allow more economical or environmentally friendly services to compete.
posted by COD on Jul 29, 2011 - 54 comments

Traffic Drives Nigerians Nuts, but a Trip to a Shrink May Go Too Far

People often think that other drivers are nuts. The Nigerian authorities have taken things a step further, now requiring drivers accused of going the wrong way down a one way street to get psychiatric exams.
posted by reenum on Jul 27, 2011 - 22 comments

Bidder #70

Lauded as a civil disobedience symbol agitating for urgent reaction to climate change, Timothy DeChristopher was sentenced Tuesday to two years in federal prison. [more inside]
posted by Trurl on Jul 26, 2011 - 49 comments

God's Own Warden

Burl Cain, the warden of Angola, Louisiana's largest prison, uses religion to control and subdue the prison population.
posted by reenum on Jul 26, 2011 - 47 comments

Public Relations vs. Journalism

PR Industry Fills Vacuum Left by Shrinking Newsrooms - "You would go into these hearings and there would be more PR people representing these big players than there were reporters, sometimes by a factor of two or three" ..it's getting tougher to know when a storyline originates with a self-interested party producing its own story.
posted by thisisdrew on Jul 12, 2011 - 43 comments

'South California' for 51st state?

Jeff Stone, a politician from Riverside County, wants 13 conservative Southern California counties to secede and become the country's 51st state.
posted by reenum on Jul 12, 2011 - 154 comments

On the failures of Canadian media and government

Why I Quit My Job Kai Nagata on why he just quit his job as CTV's Quebec City bureau chief at age 24: a critique of Canadian government and media.
posted by stavrosthewonderchicken on Jul 8, 2011 - 68 comments

Explore Minnesota... some other time

Last fall, Minnesotans elected a Democratic governor who pledged to tax the rich and a majority Republican legislature who swore by no new taxes, period. Their first major task? Craft a budget for the next biennium that addressed a projected $5 billion shortfall. Months passed, no agreement was reached, and this morning at midnight, the Minnesota government shut down. Citizens on both sides are not pleased. [more inside]
posted by Flannery Culp on Jul 1, 2011 - 92 comments

Craig T. Nelson Syndrome

60 percent of Americans using a prominent tax deduction believe they get nothing from "government social programs." Cornell professor Suzanne Mettler describes what she calls the "submerged state," in which tens of millions of Americans benefit from $1 trillion of federal subsidies to private activities while believing they receive no benefits from the government. [more inside]
posted by Apropos of Something on Jun 29, 2011 - 114 comments

"There are no national standards or regulations regarding forensic pathology and practices vary widely from place to place."

The Hardest Cases: When Children Die, Justice Can Be Elusive A joint investigation by PBS Frontline, ProPublica and NPR has found that medical examiners and coroners have repeatedly mishandled cases of infant and child deaths, helping to put innocent people behind bars. (Via. (Article contains descriptions of children that have been killed by abuse. May be disturbing / triggering to some readers.) [more inside]
posted by zarq on Jun 28, 2011 - 20 comments

Tim Geithner speaks at his alma mater, Dartmouth College

US Secretary of the Treasury, Tim Geithner '83 Speaks at Dartmouth Summer Lecture Series "Leading Voices in Politics & Policy". Geithner's alma mater is Dartmouth College.
posted by gen on Jun 26, 2011 - 6 comments

The Invisible Army

The U.S.'s military bases in Afghanistan and Iraq are mostly staffed by Third Country Nationals (TCN), who are often victims of human trafficking. [more inside]
posted by reenum on Jun 22, 2011 - 37 comments

There is no number 63

OSHA's 1984 Fatal Facts report comes illustrated with surprisingly sangfroid cartoons of workplace accidents.
posted by The Whelk on Jun 19, 2011 - 99 comments

The Failure of American Schools

Joel Klein wrote an essay in the Atlantic about the reasons for the current problems in the primary educational system.
posted by reenum on Jun 15, 2011 - 79 comments

How edumacated is your state legislature?

How edumacated is your state legislature? (sorry, U.S. only) The Chronicle of Higher Education takes on the issue of how educated U.S. lawmakers at the state level are/should be. [more inside]
posted by JanetLand on Jun 13, 2011 - 56 comments

"F.B.I. Agents Get Leeway to Push Privacy Bounds"

The Federal Bureau of Investigation is giving significant new powers to its roughly 14,000 agents, allowing them more leeway to search databases, go through household trash or use surveillance teams to scrutinize the lives of people who have attracted their attention.
posted by Trurl on Jun 13, 2011 - 46 comments

Know your enemy

The top 10 federal contractors related in a sociogram displaying the network of overlapping lobbyist hires.
posted by ennui.bz on Jun 8, 2011 - 38 comments

A New Postal Service Model?

Is the US Postal Service nearing collapse? [more inside]
posted by beisny on Jun 4, 2011 - 156 comments

The Empire Is Dead, Long Live the Empire!

The Age of Imperialism is over, but its impact remains, leaving behind a long-lasting legacy through cultural norms. Comparing individuals on opposite sides of the long-gone Habsburg Empire border within five countries, it shows that firms and people living in what used to be the empire have higher trust in courts and police.
posted by -->NMN.80.418 on Jun 3, 2011 - 21 comments

Public Schools Charge Kids for Basics, Frills

In the wake of ever deeper budget cuts, public schools have begun charging students for basics, such as registering for honors or elective classes.
posted by reenum on May 26, 2011 - 100 comments

Bubbles and Public Facts

The Destruction of Economic Facts - "Renowned Peruvian economist Hernando de Soto argues that the financial crisis wasn't just about finance—it was about a staggering lack of knowledge" (via) [more inside]
posted by kliuless on May 23, 2011 - 35 comments

And there were moments of symbolism.

It is a strange, dubious and totally unaccepted moral purpose which holds the whole of the world to ransom.
On 1 March 1985, New Zealand Prime Minister Rt Hon David Lange (Previously) addressed the Oxford Union in support of the proposition that "Nuclear Weapons are Morally Indefensible". That speech is online at publicaddress.net (audio, transcript, highlights) and still resonates today. [more inside]
posted by doublehappy on May 23, 2011 - 30 comments

Video Games Now Eligible for NEA Grants

The National Endowment for the Arts' new Arts in Media Guidelines now include video games as an art form eligible for federal grants. [more inside]
posted by jedicus on May 17, 2011 - 41 comments

Vermont, Single-Payer in the USA?

With the constitutionality of the Affordable Care Act being argued in lower courts, it's probably also worth looking at Vermont's adoption of single-payer health care: "On May 26, Gov. Peter Shumlin of Vermont is expected to sign legislation that will create universal coverage in the state—eventually. Vermont will use subsidies from the Affordable Care Act to help create a Canada-style system. And its system, or so the theory goes, will become so popular and cheap that the rest of America will want to copy it." [more inside]
posted by kliuless on May 16, 2011 - 51 comments

Exile Nation: Drugs, Prisons, Politics, and Spirituality

"I realized that I was one of those extremely rare individuals who was a former POW of the drug war, and who got out and had the opportunity to share his story with the world." "It kind of makes an activist out of you when 3 helicopters land in your backyard and guys jump out with guns and destroy your place before your very eyes." Exile Nation is a documentary [complete film] [trailer] and an ongoing memoir, a work of “spiritual journalism”, and eventually "a documentary archive of interviews and testimonies […] revealing the far-ranging consequences of the War on Drugs to the American Criminal Justice System." [more inside]
posted by nTeleKy on May 13, 2011 - 11 comments

Jumping the pond

Dozens of concerned citizens will march on London this weekend to protest high taxation and government debt. Sound familiar? The rally is the first sign of what The Guardian terms "a radical Tea Party-style mass movement" in the UK. Organisers The Taxpayers' Alliance have previously been linked to the US-based Freedom Works.
posted by londonmark on May 13, 2011 - 49 comments

HUD Interactive Map Tool

The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development has launched a new interactive mapping tool for Community Planning and Development agencies, interested agency partners, and the public. [more inside]
posted by Kpele on May 11, 2011 - 12 comments

We're protecting you from the Internet, Citizen.

Mozilla recently received a request from the US Department of Homeland Security to disable and block at the root level the MAFIAAfire plug-in for Firefox. Mozilla declined to roll over.
posted by pjern on May 5, 2011 - 57 comments

Food Desert

Do you live in a food desert? [more inside]
posted by backseatpilot on May 4, 2011 - 54 comments

Americhrome

Americhrome: The color that has come to signify America in today’s combat theaters isn’t the red, the white, or the blue picked by Betsy Ross, but an ignoble sandy hue commonly referred to as desert tan and officially identified as Federal Standard 595 Color No. 33446. The official swatch of desert tan is housed in Franconia, Va., just outside Washington’s beltway, in a warehouse filled with the rest of the federal government’s certified color chips. From there, for $625, you can purchase a complete set of the 650 three-by-five-inch cards that define the colors covering the vast majority of items purchased by the Federal Acquisition Service, a $50 billion subsection of the General Services Administration, which acts as a kind of equipment manager for federal agencies around the country...
posted by jim in austin on May 4, 2011 - 34 comments

The Lockerbie Deal

How Britain's largest corporations helped engineer the release of Abdel Basset Ali al-Megrahi, the Lockerbie bomber.
posted by reenum on Apr 28, 2011 - 10 comments

TSA a Giant Waste of Money

John Mueller and Mark Stewart may have found the one part of government we can afford to cut in their paper "Terror, Security, and Money: Balancing the Risks, Benefits, and Costs of Homeland Security" From the abstract "The cumulative increase in expenditures on US domestic homeland security over the decade since 9/11 exceeds one trillion dollars. It is clearly time to examine these massive expenditures applying risk assessment and cost-benefit approaches that have been standard for decades."
posted by RSaunders on Apr 27, 2011 - 30 comments

No Marriage Until Gay Marriage Is Legal

The Douglass Blvd. Christian Church in Louisville, Kentucky has voted to stop signing marriage licenses until gay marriage is legalized by the state.
posted by reenum on Apr 25, 2011 - 87 comments

Where Do Babies Come From, and Where Do They Go?

Interactive map of international adoptions, from the superlative Schuster Institute for Investigative Journalism. The site contains an amazing amount of information about corruption in international adoption in countries like Nepal and Vietnam.
posted by the young rope-rider on Apr 19, 2011 - 18 comments

Tax Facts Hardly Anyone Knows

9 Things The Rich Don't Want You To Know About Taxes - "4. Many of the very richest pay no current income taxes at all: Paulson made himself $9 billion in fees in just two years. His current tax bill on that $9 billion? Zero... 9. Other countries do it better: no one in Germany or the rest of the modern world goes broke because of accident or illness" (via) [more inside]
posted by kliuless on Apr 18, 2011 - 191 comments

brittle efficiency and shallow triumphalism

Fareed Zakaria: Are America's Best Days Behind Us? - "We have an Electoral College that no one understands and a Senate that doesn't work, with rules and traditions that allow a single Senator to obstruct democracy without even explaining why. We have a crazy-quilt patchwork of towns, municipalities and states with overlapping authority, bureaucracies and resulting waste. We have a political system geared toward ceaseless fundraising and pandering to the interests of the present with no ability to plan, invest or build for the future. And if one mentions any of this, why, one is being unpatriotic, because we have the perfect system of government, handed down to us by demigods who walked the earth in the late 18th century and who serve as models for us today and forever. America's founders would have been profoundly annoyed by this kind of unreflective ancestor worship." [for/against]
posted by kliuless on Apr 17, 2011 - 93 comments

The Free-Banking vs. Central-Banking Debate

Out of thin air? "Have you ever said something like 'Let me buy you a beer next week'? I'm sure you have. We all issue promises of this sort. And we frequently use such promises as a form of currency... I have just described a simple credit exchange. Societies rely heavily on promising-making and promise-keeping. It is the foundation of all financial markets. I'd like to point out something about the promises you make. They are made 'out of thin air.' " [more inside]
posted by kliuless on Apr 14, 2011 - 47 comments

S that D. Shut it down.

Will there be a government shutdown? Everything seems to hang on GOP riders. But it affects more than the federal employees and contractors. For example, National Parks will close. And so will DC services. Delegate Eleanor Holmes Norton tells Congress off, while DC residents wonder what are we going do with all our trash?
posted by troika on Apr 8, 2011 - 809 comments

The Brisk, Shady Sale of ‘Loosies’

With the crackdown on smoking and higher cigarette taxes in New York City, people who sell individual cigarettes, also known as loosies, are rapidly gaining new customers.
posted by reenum on Apr 5, 2011 - 69 comments

“I had reached the point of no return. You finally get fed up … I finally wanted to speak the truth.”

Last year, the unofficial Dean of the White House Press Corps, Helen Thomas, spoke about the State of Israel on camera. (Previously) Her replies: "Tell them to get the hell out of Palestine," and that the Jews "can go home" to "Poland, Germany and America and everywhere else," sparked media outrage, prompted her to issue an apology and retire. After months of being out of the the public spotlight, she has now given her first long-form interview, which will appear in the April issue of Playboy Magazine. In it, she explains what she meant, tells us how she would like to be remembered and expands upon her positions regarding Israel, Jewish political influence, Presidents Bush and Obama, and the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan.
posted by zarq on Mar 22, 2011 - 224 comments

Deal of the Century

How two American kids became big-time weapons traders - "Working with nothing but an Internet connection, a couple of cellphones and a steady supply of weed, the two friends — one with a few college credits, the other a high school dropout — had beaten out Fortune 500 giants like General Dynamics to score the huge arms contract. With a single deal, two stoners from Miami Beach had turned themselves into the least likely merchants of death in history." (via; previously on arms contractors)
posted by kliuless on Mar 21, 2011 - 69 comments

Bahrain explodes (part two)

Government of Bahrain declares state of emergency. Mixture of Saudi, UAE, and other GCC troops enter Bahrain upon invitation. [more inside]
posted by asymptotic on Mar 15, 2011 - 41 comments

ATF: Fast and Furious

The Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives deliberately allowed assault rifles to be smuggled into Mexico, so they could be tracked. The weapons were then used in a spree of murders, including that of US Border Patrol Agent Brian Terry. The operation was called "Fast and Furious". The Mexican government was apparently unaware of the operation, and is investigating. The ATF is going to have a review of whether their strategy supports "the goals of ATF to stem the illegal flow of firearms to Mexico".
posted by East Manitoba Regional Junior Kabaddi Champion '94 on Mar 7, 2011 - 66 comments

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