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Now in Brooklyn, Homegrown Tobacco

Fed up with anti-smoker sentiments and taxation of cigarettes, Audrey Silk decided to plant her own tobacco at her home in Brooklyn.
posted by reenum on Feb 25, 2011 - 149 comments

Interactive Map of ISPs in the US

The National Telecommunications and Information Administration (NTIA) recently announced the rollout of a searchable map, which also offers a nation-wide view of internet service providers with filters for various technologies. The map is based on information collected from broadband providers or other data sources. [more inside]
posted by filthy light thief on Feb 24, 2011 - 7 comments

XOXO to Title X

Enjoying your Friday night? Be careful out there. In between other things, including voting for huge cuts to the EPA's budget and regulating power, the U.S. House of Representatives just voted to eliminate Title X, originally signed into law 40 years ago by Republican President Richard Nixon, which provides funding for Planned Parenthood. [more inside]
posted by limeonaire on Feb 18, 2011 - 130 comments

Bahrain explodes

Protests erupt in Bahrain. [more inside]
posted by asymptotic on Feb 15, 2011 - 54 comments

"The Package"

Inside the Secret Service. Sidebars: Radio Chatter and The Presidential Motorcade (Via) [more inside]
posted by zarq on Feb 8, 2011 - 48 comments

WTF, Senate?

Filibustery, making the filibuster — and the proposals in the U.S. Senate to reform it — more understandable. [more inside]
posted by carsonb on Jan 31, 2011 - 5 comments

Debtris

Debtris. From Information is Beautiful.
posted by Cool Papa Bell on Jan 27, 2011 - 21 comments

predicting civil unrest

Professors' global model forecasts civil unrest against governments - With protests spreading in the Middle East (now Yemen - not on the list) I thought this article and blog on a forecast model predicting "which countries will likely experience an escalation in domestic political violence [within the next five years]" was rather interesting. [more inside]
posted by kliuless on Jan 27, 2011 - 42 comments

entrepreneurial paradise

In Norway, Start-ups Say Ja to Socialism - We venture to the very heart of the hell that is Scandinavian socialism—and find out that it's not so bad. Pricey, yes, but a good place to start and run a company. What exactly does that suggest about the link between taxes and entrepreneurship?
posted by kliuless on Jan 20, 2011 - 52 comments

Defense firms lure retired generals

From the Pentagon to the private sector - In large numbers, and with few rules, retiring generals are taking lucrative defense-firm jobs [more inside]
posted by kliuless on Jan 10, 2011 - 56 comments

The 25-Year 'Foreclosure From Hell'

Patsy Campbell has been fighting her foreclosure in Florida courts for the past 25 years. She has not made a mortgage payment since 1985 while foiling the efforts of several banks to evict her from her home in Okeechobee, Florida.
posted by reenum on Dec 30, 2010 - 150 comments

The Loophole Artist

Jonathan Blattmachr, one of the country's leading estates and trusts experts, feels that helping his clients reduce their tax liability helps the IRS close loopholes that he and his colleagues use. As with most attorneys, there are some clients who weren't happy with his work, but Mr. Blattmachr pushes on with his efforts.
posted by reenum on Dec 29, 2010 - 18 comments

Football Mascots, English Democrats And Shadow Mayors

The Local Government Act 2000 brought directly elected mayors to the UK. Take up was limited and success was mixed. If you were lucky you got Stuart Drummond. If you were unlucky you got Peter Davies. Davies, the mayor of Doncaster, is widely seen to have exacerbated existing problems in the town.

This week, the Localism Bill was introduced to Parliament promising referenda on directly elected mayors in the twelve largest cities in England. In advance of this, council leaders are being turned into 'shadow mayors'. The problem? The leaders don't actually want these new powers.
posted by ninebelow on Dec 16, 2010 - 9 comments

Officials Worry About Some Latino Converts To Islam

"Latino converts to radical Islam have been connected to terrorism cases in this country with increasing frequency — and officials are trying to understand why."
posted by reenum on Dec 11, 2010 - 29 comments

using technology to show that government can work

Elizabeth Warren on setting up the Bureau of Consumer Financial Protection - lecture starts here, but really starts getting good here: "I feel like this is a boring speech." stay for the Q&A.
posted by kliuless on Nov 15, 2010 - 27 comments

Trains, the future, and the past

The US government is trying to blow life into the railroad's passenger services which have been declining since WWII because of production stops during the war, and government sponsoring afterward going primarily to air travel and roads. Meanwhile the French SNCF is going public in catching up with its dark past, in order to get a piece of the investment cake.
posted by Namlit on Nov 13, 2010 - 111 comments

"Show me what you eat and i will tell you who you are" - Jean Anthelme Brillat-Savarin

While many government organizations are pushing a healthy lifestyle complete with a low-fat diet, one marketing group formed by the USDA, called Dairy Management, is making a case for more cheese in America's menu items. [more inside]
posted by mccarty.tim on Nov 6, 2010 - 65 comments

Pencils down.

It's Election Day in America, and as is so often the case in this fickle land, the results of the 2010 midterm elections are up in the air. Although President Obama's party is expected to suffer significant losses, record numbers of districts remain competitive, and even minute errors in polling could mean the difference between a historic Republican landslide and an unexpectedly robust Democratic defense. At stake are control of not just the Senate and House, but myriad state and local offices, many of which will play key roles in the dynamics of the 2012 presidential race -- and, more subtly but no less crucially, the once-in-a-decade congressional redistricting process. Much uncertainty surrounds the behavior of the electorate -- how many will turn out, and how informed will they be? To help move those statistics in the right direction, look inside for voter guides, national and state fact checkers, and an assortment of other resources to keep tabs on as the results roll in. [more inside]
posted by Rhaomi on Nov 2, 2010 - 858 comments

Public Policy, Political Organization, and the Precipitous Rise of Top Incomes in the United States

Winner-Take-All Politics [1,2] (PDF) - "The sources of American economic inequality are largely political – the result of deliberate political decisions to shape markets in ways that benefit the already-privileged at the expense of a more-or-less unaware public." (via bd) [more inside]
posted by kliuless on Oct 21, 2010 - 47 comments

“... like a killer whale born in captivity in SeaWorld."

"The Man Who Never Was." Vanity Fair editor Todd S. Purdum follows up his 2007 profile of then-Senator John McCain and a scathing 2009 profile of Sarah Palin by asking whether McCain, "...the leader so many Americans admired — and so many journalists covered — ever truly existed." (Previously)
posted by zarq on Oct 7, 2010 - 49 comments

Tea Party and Me

Former president Jimmy Carter speaks about the similarities and differences between the political climate in the mid 1970's and the present rise of the Tea Party.
posted by reenum on Oct 1, 2010 - 20 comments

Complete with quotes from JFK

We make this pledge bearing true faith and allegiance to the people we represent, and we invite fellow citizens and patriots to join us in forming a new governing agenda for America. [more inside]
posted by Mister Fabulous on Sep 22, 2010 - 466 comments

The Canadian government is "muzzling" scientists

Scientists working for the Canadian government aren't allowed to talk to journalists without permission from Ottawa. And the restriction isn't limited politically sensitive topics like climate change and the Alberta oil sands -- the co-author of a recent Nature article about flooding at the end of the last ice age was told to "wait for clearance from the minister's office" before talking to reporters about his work. The policy has only been in effect at Natural Resources in Canada since March, but Environment Canada has had the same rules since 2008. (Previously.)
posted by twirlip on Sep 13, 2010 - 44 comments

News of the ... Screwed?

Last week, the New York Times magazine published an explosive article about the phone-hacking exploits at the Rupert Murdoch-owned British tabloid News Of The World under the then-editorship of Andy Coulson, now the the Government's chief of communications. Following the NYT's investigation, questions about the "unhealthy" relationship between the Metropolitan Police and the press (particularly Murdoch's News International, which also includes The Sun, The Times and the Sunday Times), and further claims that an independent inquiry was abandoned so as not to upset the Metropolitan Police, assistant Met Commissioner John Yates was questioned [video; 4 mins] on Tuesday by the Home Affairs select committee. Following an emergency debate in Parliament today, which concerned the fact that MPs of all parties may have had their phones hacked (and therefore had their Parliamentary Privilege breached), the Standards and Privileges Committee, the most powerful committee in Parliament, is to open an inquiry which will be able to compel witnesses to give evidence. Meanwhile, former News of the World reporters are coming out the woodwork, claiming that hacking at the paper was "rife", and the pressure is on Coulson to resign his £140,000 job at No. 10, with a poll [pdf] which says 52% of the public says he should go. [more inside]
posted by Len on Sep 9, 2010 - 46 comments

Worse than Three Mile Island?

Over fifty years after Los Angeles' first nuclear meltdown, the State of California is finally getting around to decontaminating the radioactive fallout.
posted by Chinese Jet Pilot on Sep 3, 2010 - 35 comments

Justice Department Seeks Ebonics Experts

The Smoking Gun has come into possession of an unusual RFP from the DEA: they want 'Ebonics experts' to help decipher wiretaps.
posted by reenum on Aug 24, 2010 - 76 comments

Not any more it's not.

This document is confidential.
posted by scalefree on Aug 17, 2010 - 54 comments

Plugging the Leaks

Shane Harris of the Washingtonian looks at the increasingly aggressive pursuit by the Obama administration of people (especially journalists) who leak sensitive information to the public.
posted by reenum on Aug 12, 2010 - 23 comments

Clash of the Tea Party Travel Agents

There is a bitter feud between the two women who are trying to gain supremacy in the battle to make all of the Tea Party's travel arrangements.
posted by reenum on Aug 9, 2010 - 70 comments

There's an official app for that

Did you forget about what the TSA allows in carry on bags? Need to know if that guy behind you in line is on the FBI's most wanted list? Need to look up a zip code? Calculate your BMI on the road? The US Government has an app for that. [more inside]
posted by booksherpa on Aug 4, 2010 - 33 comments

Saving Anwar

You're a 39 year old American citizen born in New Mexico. Though it has convicted you of no crime, the US government is trying to kill you. Your father retained the American Civil Liberties Union and the Center for Constitutional Rights to seek a federal court order restraining the killing. Two weeks later, the Treasury Department labeled you a "Specially Designated Global Terrorist". This makes it a criminal offense for the ACLU or CCR to provide you with legal representation. [more inside]
posted by Joe Beese on Aug 3, 2010 - 278 comments

MOMS for the 21st Century

Congresswoman Lucille Roybal-Allard introduced the Maximizing Optimal Maternity Services (MOMS) for the 21st Century Act on July 21st. This legislation proposed by Congresswoman Roybal-Allard of California is aimed at improving maternal and infant outcomes in the US. [more inside]
posted by zizzle on Jul 31, 2010 - 59 comments

Executive Decarbonization

With the climate bill dead and blame portioned, Ezra Klein asks what happens when congress fails? He concludes that "regulations to reduce carbon emissions are alive and well. The Environmental Protection Agency can attack carbon as a pollutant, and the Obama administration's announcement that efforts to hamstring the EPA will be vetoed suggests that they mean to do exactly that." [more inside]
posted by kliuless on Jul 30, 2010 - 18 comments

The Opening of a Conservative Mind

Bruce Bartlett, senior policy analyst in the Reagan White House, speaks out against Republicans - The monumental hypocrisy of the Republican Party is something amazing to behold. And their dimwitted accomplices in the tea-party movement are not much better. They know that Republicans, far more than Democrats, are responsible for our fiscal mess, but they won't say so. And they adamantly refuse to put on the table any meaningful programme that would actually reduce spending. Judging by polls, most of them seem to think that all we have to do is cut foreign aid, which represents well less than 1% of the budget. [more inside]
posted by kliuless on Jul 26, 2010 - 156 comments

""You can't forget there are people listening when you say you are going to do things, and I try not to overpromise."

This past March, former US President Bill Clinton acknowledged to the Senate Foreign Relations Committee that tariff policies his administration championed in the mid-1990's helped destroy Haiti's rice production and contributed to the impoverished nation's inability to feed itself. But while most of the world has stopped paying attention to Haiti's woes, Mr. Clinton has become the de facto leader of the effort to rebuild it after the catastrophic earthquake this past January. Will his influence be enough? Reports from the UN Office of the Special Envoy to Haiti indicate that the reconstruction progress has been slow. [more inside]
posted by zarq on Jul 21, 2010 - 35 comments

The Future of Border Defense: Robot Sentries

The Korean DMZ (pdf) / PLZ has been a hot tourist attraction for years, featuring must-see sites like the Third Infiltration Tunnel, Dora Observatory, the Dora Mountain Train Station, the Freedom Bridge and the Imjingak Tourist Site, complete with its statue of Harry Truman. And now, South Korea's border with North Korea -- the most heavily militarized border on Earth, -- will be patrolled by killer robots. [more inside]
posted by zarq on Jul 15, 2010 - 50 comments

LAUSD's Dance of the Lemons

Want to fire a teacher in the LA Unified School District? Be prepared to spend several years and hundreds of thousands of dollars to do so. [more inside]
posted by reenum on Jul 15, 2010 - 139 comments

Four Economic Benchmarks We Need Now

With capitalism in crisis, can it be sustained or is it altogether outdated? As Umair Haque asks though, perhaps a better question is: "are organizations and markets making decisions that help make people, communities, and society better off in the long run, by allocating their scarce resources to the most productive uses?" [more inside]
posted by kliuless on Jul 13, 2010 - 15 comments

Fighting to Return My Obligation to the American Taxpayer

Dirty Medicine — How medical supply behemoths stick it to the little guy, making America’s health care system more dangerous and expensive. [more inside]
posted by netbros on Jul 12, 2010 - 14 comments

People of the Stony Shore

The Shinnecocks have been a fixture in New York State for centuries — their beads became the wampum Dutch settlers used as money in the colonies — but the US Department of Interior never included them on its official list of Native American tribes. That all changed on June 14th. Almost four centuries since their first contact with Europeans and after a 32-year court battle, the 1,300 member impoverished Shinnecock Native American Nation was formally recognised by the US federal government. The tribe's tiny, 750-acre reservation in the middle of the Hamptons (home and summer playground to some the country's wealthiest Americans,) is now a semi-sovereign nation, allowing them to apply for Federal funding to help them build schools, health centers and to set up their own police force, as well as the right to open a casino. [more inside]
posted by zarq on Jul 11, 2010 - 77 comments

Freedumb Pies

Last week, the UK government announced an end to 'vanity websites in Government', calling for 600 government websites to be closed down, and 50% budget cuts for those which remain. Six days later, the government launches PR exercise website http://yourfreedom.hmg.gov.uk

Also recently launched was Your Freedumb to enable citizens easily see some of the more 'interesting' suggestions on Your Freedom. For example, repeal the Second Law of Thermodynamics, abolish Facebook and Twitter sites and repeal Sod's Law.
posted by i_cola on Jul 2, 2010 - 28 comments

Clearance is denied

In accordance with Executive Order 10865 of 1960 & DoD Directive 5220.6 of 1992 (original PDF), the Department of Defense has published the reasons for granting or turning down applications for Clearance by 444 Defense contractor personnel in 2010 (so far).
posted by scalefree on Jul 2, 2010 - 34 comments

Someone forgot to tell 'em the Cold War ended....

The US Department of Justice has announced arrests in four states of ten alleged members of a “deep-cover” Russian spy ring whose ultimate goal was apparently to infiltrate U.S. policy-making circles. So much for burger diplomacy? [more inside]
posted by zarq on Jun 28, 2010 - 70 comments

The Blogfather

Last year's unprecedented election protests in Iran, would never have been possible if it hadn't been for the pioneering efforts of their country's "Blogfather," (Metafilter's own) Hossein "hoder" Derakhshan. Hoder literally founded the Persian blogging movement in 2001 ("Weblogistan") that gave Iranians a way to speak out about their government on the internet and eventually would provide a global voice to the protesters. But for the last 600 days, Hoder has been imprisoned, interrogated and tortured by the Iranian government, ostensibly on charges he was spying for Israel. In reality his arrest was probably retaliation for "remarks he allegedly made on his blog about a key Shiite cleric and the third infallible Imam of Shiism." Yesterday, he had his first trial. But his plight is not unique. [more inside]
posted by zarq on Jun 24, 2010 - 31 comments

Doctors, Not Gods

What US Health Care Needs Medical doctor and writer Atul Gawande gave the commencement address recently at Stanford's School of Medicine. In it he lays out very precisely and in a nonpartisan way what is wrong with the institution of medical care in the US — why it is both so expensive and so ineffective at delivering quality care uniformly across the board. (via)
posted by kliuless on Jun 21, 2010 - 43 comments

Wells Fargo, You Never Know What Hit You.

Wajahat Ali, a solo practitioner from California, takes on Wells Fargo in an attempt to get his clients' home loan modified. Lots of ball dropping and passing of the buck ensues. He describes the Kafka-esque nature of the experience.
posted by reenum on Jun 20, 2010 - 41 comments

"A Death Threat Magnet"

The FBI has released their extensive files on US Senator Edward M. Kennedy to the public, covering their relationship with him between 1961 and 1985. The seven files, totaling more than 2,200 pages of documents reveal (among other things,) the perhaps unsurprising news that the late Senator received "scores" of death threats from radical groups, including the Ku Klux Klan, “Minutemen” organizations, and the National Socialist White People’s Party. The release was initiated by a Freedom of Information Act Request from Judicial Watch on May 3, 2010, (Complaint pdf) but the FBI gave the Senator's family the "rare opportunity" to raise objections before releasing the file.
posted by zarq on Jun 14, 2010 - 20 comments

neocolonial OCP-like company towns: changing the rules (in a good way)

The Politically Incorrect Guide to Ending Poverty In the 1990s, Paul Romer revolutionized economics. In the Aughts, he became rich as a software entrepreneur. Now he's trying to help the poorest countries grow rich—by convincing them to establish foreign-run "charter cities" within their borders. Romer's idea is unconventional, even neo-colonial—the best analogy is Britain's historic lease of Hong Kong. And against all odds, he just might make it happen. (via cc) [more inside]
posted by kliuless on Jun 10, 2010 - 92 comments

Sometimes, I doubt our commitment to Sparkle Motion

Make Work[1,2,3] or: How I Learned[4,5] to Stop Worrying[6] and Love Deficit Spending[7,8,9] (during a general glut at the zero bound) -- When I was a kid, if I was sitting around the house and complained I didn't have anything to do, my mom would always respond the same way. "I'll find something for you to do," and she would. It was make work, she was finding something for me to do on the spot to cure my unemployment problem... [more inside]
posted by kliuless on Jun 8, 2010 - 33 comments

Set Your Spreadsheets to Stunned

The UK Government has published extracts from COINS, the Combined Online Information System used by the Treasury to track all public spending by the Government. Together, the files constitute about 11Gb of data in delimited text format containing consolidated financial information for each department and account type. [more inside]
posted by Electric Dragon on Jun 4, 2010 - 3 comments

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