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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

The Art of Making Money

For almost 20 years, Art Williams, Jr. was one of the country's eminent currency counterfeiters. His greatest achievement: counterfeiting the new (at the time) $100 bill (PDF link). [more inside]
posted by reenum on Jun 4, 2010 - 22 comments

Another one bites the dust

Yukio Hatoyama, Prime Minister of Japan, will resign. Also stepping down is Ichiro Ozawa. After a series of misscues, calls for Hatoyama's resignation started popping up. Among the issues dogging Hatoyama were questions about a sizeable amount of money he received from his mother (possibly disguised as campaign contributions to keep him from looking like a weak candidate who couldn't raise funds), reneging on a promise to move the US Marine bases out of Okinawa, and this shirt. [more inside]
posted by Ghidorah on Jun 1, 2010 - 55 comments

Copy Machines, a Security Risk?

Armen Keteyian of CBS News bought four copiers for $300 a piece (video link). He found a great deal of personal data on the copiers' hard drives, easily accessible using free software one could find on the Internet. [more inside]
posted by reenum on May 23, 2010 - 62 comments

Brownies, the Pentagon Way

Need some dessert ideas? The Pentagon has recipes for brownies and oatmeal cookies. (26 page pdf)
posted by backseatpilot on May 18, 2010 - 71 comments

planning a revolution? contribute to greater net good by doing better

Moving beyond GDP for an information-based society - If indeed[1,2] "A 'Quantum Leap' in Governance" is needed[3] then, as part of the solution,[4] we might start looking past GDP[5,6] and perhaps more toward "betterness instead of business, pursue awesomeness instead of innovation — and maximize good, instead of quarterly profits..." [more inside]
posted by kliuless on May 16, 2010 - 29 comments

Close Encounters of the Third Kind

Emerging from a debate on "epistemic closure" (of the conservative mind) John Quiggin looked beyond the dead horses and gazed upon the need "to offer hope, in the form of goals that can excite enthusiastic commitment to a progressive alternative." Matthew Yglesias pondered and penned a response providing a glimpse of the very big picture... [more inside]
posted by kliuless on Apr 28, 2010 - 17 comments

In To Africa

A Glimpse of the World
All across Africa, new tracks are being laid, highways built, ports deepened, commercial contracts signed -- all on an unprecedented scale, and led by China, whose appetite for commodities seems insatiable. Do China's grand designs promise the transformation, at last, of a star-crossed continent? Or merely its exploitation? The author travels deep into the heart of Africa, searching for answers. [more inside]
posted by kliuless on Apr 26, 2010 - 20 comments

The Whitewash

Virginia Governor Bob McDonnell (R) has proclaimed April to be Confederate History Month in his state, without referencing slavery or civil rights. The move has angered civil rights leaders and revived a controversy that has lain dormant for eight years. FireDogLake is reporting that the neo-confederate group which lobbied Governor McDonnell to make the proclamation has ties to white supremacists. [more inside]
posted by zarq on Apr 7, 2010 - 245 comments

"...to pursue the day when these weapons do not exist..."

"There is no conventional or chemical or biological threat out there that we cannot counter with our overwhelming conventional forces." ~ US President Barack Obama
The US 2010 Nuclear Posture Review Report (NPR) has been announced. (pdf) For the first time, the United States is explicitly committing not to use nuclear weapons except in "extreme circumstances", pledging not to develop new ones and limiting the use of those in storage -- even for self defense. Nuclear weapons will not be used against non-nuclear states that are in compliance with the Nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty, even in response to a hypothetical biological or chemical weapons attack, or a crippling cyberattack. The new focus will be deterrence. [more inside]
posted by zarq on Apr 6, 2010 - 82 comments

Public Apathy Enables Leaders To Ignore Voters. . .

Leaked CIA Report: "Public Apathy Enables Leaders To Ignore Voters" (pdf / Scribed link here) outlines possible public relations / propaganda strategies to shore up public support in Germany and France for a continued war in Afghanistan.
posted by zarq on Mar 29, 2010 - 18 comments

The Great Climate Con!

A new report from the Climate Action Network Canada- Réseau action climat Canada details a “troubling catalogue of actions” by the federal government to muzzle its own climate scientists and weaken the research capacity of Canada’s climate science community.
posted by dogbusonline on Mar 18, 2010 - 17 comments

Broadband, a plan, dnabdaorb

The FCC has announced its National Broadband Plan.
posted by pjern on Mar 16, 2010 - 28 comments

The next age of government

While much is being made of dysfunctional government [1,2,3,4,5,6,7,8,9] and hung parliament [1,2,3,4,5], David Cameron's pitches for a fairer society [1,2,3], smarter policy [1,2,3] and employee ownership [1,2,3,4,5,6,7] have been positively, uh, Obamanian.* [more inside]
posted by kliuless on Mar 5, 2010 - 26 comments

$5 to overthrow the US government

There is a law in South Carolina that forces any subversive organization to register before the Secretary of State. Penalties for refusing to do so include a fine for up to $25,000 and 10 years imprisonment. You can download the form here. [more inside]
posted by Omon Ra on Mar 4, 2010 - 37 comments

Be it resolved that financial 'innovation' does not boost economic growth

Basicland vs. Sorrowland
A parable about how one nation came to financial ruin by Charles Munger. For extra colour there's... [more inside]
posted by kliuless on Mar 2, 2010 - 34 comments

Testing, Testing

Atul Gawande offers a way for health care to be improved through experimentation and pilot programs, much as agriculture was in 20th century
posted by reenum on Feb 27, 2010 - 24 comments

funemployment

How a New Jobless Era Will Transform America
The Great Recession may be over, but this era of high joblessness is probably just beginning. Before it ends, it will likely change the life course and character of a generation of young adults. It will leave an indelible imprint on many blue-collar men. It could cripple marriage as an institution in many communities. It may already be plunging many inner cities into a despair not seen for decades. Ultimately, it is likely to warp our politics, our culture, and the character of our society for years to come. (via rw)
posted by kliuless on Feb 11, 2010 - 84 comments

The 2011 United States Budget

The New York Times visualizes the proposed $3.83 trillion budget for 2011.
posted by Joe Beese on Feb 1, 2010 - 61 comments

American declinism

The End of Influence - the latest in a long series documenting the US' relative decline (esp wrt China 1 2 3 4 5) Brad DeLong and Stephen Cohen reflect on what has brought us to our past, but now fast-fading glory: "Roosevelt's strategy [entering WW2] was to make Britain broke before American taxpayers' money was committed in any way to the fight against Hitler." Before delving into our present predicament, however, it might also be useful to briefly consider some of the lessons from Bretton Woods and what the wealth of nations is really built upon.
posted by kliuless on Jan 31, 2010 - 39 comments

We're the ones we've been waiting for?

The Annotated State of the Union - PBS has one too (+ video responses ;) Submit your own and make it a two-way dialogue!
posted by kliuless on Jan 28, 2010 - 6 comments

Free books, textbooks... but free

From the newly launched OpenSource.com comes a pointer to the Open College Textbook Act of 2009. This bill, currently stuck in committee, calls for the adoption of openly licensed and freely distributed electronic textbooks. It is hoped that this will lower costs, level the playing field and even help restore overseas confidence in the U.S. educational system. [more inside]
posted by cedar on Jan 26, 2010 - 26 comments

World Government Data

Governments around the globe are opening up their data vaults allowing us to check out the numbers for ourselves. This is the Guardian’s gateway to that information. Search for government data here from the UK, USA, Australia and New Zealand — and look out for new countries and places as they are added. Read more about this on the Datablog. [more inside]
posted by netbros on Jan 25, 2010 - 13 comments

No Department of Agriculture blood subsidies?

Simulated U.S. Government Agency Responses to Vampire-Americans "Every spring, [the Patterson School of Diplomacy and International Commerce] runs a policy simulation designed to illustrate the difficulty of operating an organization in the context of asymmetric and limited information. Every fall, I run a two hour mini-simulation designed to give students a sense of how the larger simulation will play out. ... Since vampires seem to be in the news lately, this year I chose a vampire oriented scenario."
posted by amber_dale on Jan 12, 2010 - 23 comments

Malaysian churches attacked over "Allah"

Malaysian Catholic newspaper Herald was recently involved in a major lawsuit against the Malaysian government, stating that their constitutional rights were violated when they were stripped of their license to publish in East Malaysian indigenous language Kadazandusun. The ruling was overturned, amidst support by state ministers and protests by the Government, the Islamic Opposition party, and Muslim activists - some of whom have spent the past week attacking churches and convents through firebombs, Molotov cocktails, paint, and bricks thrown at glass. [more inside]
posted by divabat on Jan 10, 2010 - 25 comments

Who's angry about finance?

NYTimes Editorial about the need for financial regulation, and the current lack of productive outrage at Wall Street. Huffington Post attempts to create a "social media" movement to move money out of the big banks.
posted by ®@ on Jan 10, 2010 - 34 comments

Executing Justice

A new study of death penalty deterrence by researchers from Sam Houston State University and Duke University suggests that there is a decline in murders in the month of or after executions. Meanwhile, Kenneth Mosley became the 448th inmate executed in Texas since 1982 on January 7th, 2010. (Last link: previously, previously and previously)
posted by mrducts on Jan 8, 2010 - 50 comments

a very long article

How America Can Rise Again by James Fallows
Is America going to hell? After a year of economic calamity that many fear has sent us into irreversible decline, the author finds reassurance in the peculiarly American cycle of crisis and renewal, and in the continuing strength of the forces that have made the country great: our university system, our receptiveness to immigration, our culture of innovation. In most significant ways, the U.S. remains the envy of the world. But here's the alarming problem: our governing system is old and broken and dysfunctional. Fixing it—without resorting to a constitutional convention or a coup—is the key to securing the nation's future. (via|previously)
posted by kliuless on Jan 6, 2010 - 61 comments

Obama Told Me I Was Doing The Right Thing

A medical marijuana provider in California is mounting a novel defense after his marijuana farm was raided by Federal agents. [more inside]
posted by reenum on Dec 31, 2009 - 69 comments

a coherent platform for the grand new party?

Keeping America's Edge (via) [more inside]
posted by kliuless on Dec 22, 2009 - 21 comments

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