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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

It's Not My Party And I'll Fly If I Want To

As the Tea Party outpolls the Republican Party in a generic three-way ballot, disaffected progressives are considering independent parties of their own.
posted by Joe Beese on Dec 7, 2009 - 111 comments

Has he lost his O-mentum?

New York Magazine thinks the thrill is gone. True? Or just the latest meme? If true, what are the implications outside the Beltway? The 3-D chess references do seem thin on the ground these days.
posted by GrammarMoses on Dec 5, 2009 - 61 comments

George Soros on the Way Forward

Soros lectures
You can slog through the video, but I preferred the transcripts 1 | 2 | 3 | 4 | 5 [more inside]
posted by kliuless on Nov 21, 2009 - 13 comments

How Tyler Cowen Would Fix the Current Healthcare Bill

What should we do instead of the Obama health reform bill?
posted by reenum on Nov 20, 2009 - 99 comments

the government is hir^H^H^Hprocuring web designers — that is all

Expert Labs
[mefi's own] Anil Dash's new government 2.0 incubator project (via waxy) [more inside]
posted by kliuless on Nov 19, 2009 - 38 comments

Health Care Has Passed

The House of Representatives just passed the health reform bill in a vote of 220-215.
posted by reenum on Nov 7, 2009 - 425 comments

MétaFiltre!

The Canadian Government’s Translation Bureau recently made its French/English/Spanish technical terminology database, Termium, free to access after over a decade as a subscription-based service. While off-the-cuff translations are often available from free services like BabelFish, Termium focuses on technical terminology such as scientific, medical and legal terms. [more inside]
posted by Shepherd on Oct 22, 2009 - 35 comments

Scrimping on the Future

Information is stimulus, confusion is contraction.
posted by kliuless on Oct 18, 2009 - 15 comments

Health care plan clears major hurdle

The Senate Finance Committee has approved the plan proposed by Max Baucus.
posted by reenum on Oct 13, 2009 - 177 comments

The perils of openness in government

Against Transparency. "How could anyone be against transparency? Its virtues and its utilities seem so crushingly obvious. But I have increasingly come to worry that there is an error at the core of this unquestioned goodness. We are not thinking critically enough about where and when transparency works, and where and when it may lead to confusion, or to worse. And I fear that the inevitable success of this movement--if pursued alone, without any sensitivity to the full complexity of the idea of perfect openness--will inspire not reform, but disgust. The 'naked transparency movement,' as I will call it here, is not going to inspire change. It will simply push any faith in our political system over the cliff." [Via]
posted by homunculus on Oct 11, 2009 - 94 comments

Pension Fund Follies

Missouri's lack of conflict of interest rules for its teachers' pension funds creates predictable problems [more inside]
posted by reenum on Oct 2, 2009 - 25 comments

I could probably afford better insurance if I wasn't paying for theirs.

What kind of health insurance would you have as a federal government employee? The Office of Personnel Management would like to help you decide among the gazillion plan choices you have. Perhaps you are a Congress member? Then head on down to the Attending Physician of the United States, "It's one of the, quote, benefits of being in Congress," Kagen said. "They have physicians and nurses that will see you on the spot, on the beck and call." (link to single page print version). [more inside]
posted by sio42 on Sep 30, 2009 - 42 comments

IANARL

Get This Rat a Lawyer! A recent target of right wing anger has been Obama administration "czars", a term used to denote appointed presidential advisers not subject to Senate approval. Opponents of "czars" were recently emboldened by the resignation of Anthony "Van" Jones, who served from March 16 to September 5, 2009 as Special Advisor for Green Jobs, Enterprise and Innovation at the White House Council on Environmental Quality. An additional target of the hunt for Obama's czars is Cass Sunstein, a constitutional-law professor at Harvard University, who was confirmed Thursday as the director of the Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs. [more inside]
posted by ND¢ on Sep 15, 2009 - 67 comments

Know Thy Congressman

Know Thy Congressman (an Apps for America Project of Sunlight Labs) provides a handy bookmarklet that lets you get a quick overview of Congresscritters that you might not be familiar with. The winners for Round Two of Apps for America (focusing on data.gov) were announced yesterday. [more inside]
posted by sciurus on Sep 10, 2009 - 14 comments

Politics 101: Don't Brag About Your Sexploits in Public

Conservative Republican California State Assemblyman Michael Duvall (Orange County) didn't realize his mic was live, moments before the start of a legislative hearing this past July. So when the 54-year-old married father of two began describing his ongoing affairs with two different women in very graphic detail for the benefit of a colleague seated next to him, he had no idea that he was being recorded. The story was picked up by KCAL, who cited unnamed sources that said Duvall was describing affairs with two married lobbyists. [more inside]
posted by zarq on Sep 9, 2009 - 216 comments

If Paul Krugman Was So Right

How Did Economists Get It So Wrong? - The Great Recession was the result not only of lax regulation in Washington and reckless risk-taking on Wall Street but also of faulty theorizing in academia. Can economists learn from their mistakes? (via mr & ev) [more inside]
posted by kliuless on Sep 3, 2009 - 50 comments

Japan's Media Environment

Japan -- Media Environment Open; State Looms Large (August 2009, PDF) [more inside]
posted by armage on Sep 1, 2009 - 8 comments

Government using Facebook and MySpace to find tax cheats

Tax authorities using social networks to find tax cheats Yet another reason to be careful who you accept a friend request from.
posted by reenum on Aug 30, 2009 - 25 comments

Oh where, oh where has my nuclear weapons data gone? Oh where, oh where can it be?

Ever wanted a visual tally of the computers, personal data, and other property lost by or stolen from the US federal government? Presenting the Government Lost & Found Map, via OhMyGov!.
posted by the littlest brussels sprout on Aug 30, 2009 - 3 comments

With whom it starts

Healthcare reform has agitated right-wing extremists and moneyed interests in the United States for some time — during the presidencies of FDR and Truman as well as Clinton and Obama, most recently — but where do the objections originate from, and particularly those which are known to be based on complete untruths? Some of these lies start with or are repeated by well-known right-wing media personalities, but there are other people who get the ball rolling, who are perhaps less well-known. Elizabeth "Betsy" McCaughey originated one of the current myths more commonly known as "death panels", but despite her attempts to market herself as a folksy voice fighting for the well-being of senior citizens, she has been an effective advocate for the interests of private health insurance companies since the early 1990s. [more inside]
posted by Blazecock Pileon on Aug 22, 2009 - 167 comments

A very good article on health care economics

How American Health Care Killed My Father After the needless death of his father, the author, a business executive, began a personal exploration of a health-care industry that for years has delivered poor service and irregular quality at astonishingly high cost. It is a system, he argues, that is not worth preserving in anything like its current form. And the health-care reform now being contemplated will not fix it. Here’s a radical solution to an agonizing problem. (via mr) [more inside]
posted by kliuless on Aug 18, 2009 - 144 comments

Zeitoun

Abdelrahman Zeitoun is a Syrian American businessman who spent the days after Katrina paddling around New Orleans in a canoe, saving elderly people and feeding stranded pets. His efforts were brought to a halt when he was detained by the Bush administration on suspicion of being a terrorist. [more inside]
posted by reenum on Aug 10, 2009 - 30 comments

Large-scale homeless organization: the hot new thing for August?

A group of 25 homeless Polish men are building a boat with the intention of sailing around the world. Meanwhile, over in the New World, around 80 Providence, R.I. homeless people have formed their own government.
posted by oinopaponton on Aug 5, 2009 - 40 comments

This will not Orwell.

The Daily Express reports on a UK Government Announcement to expand the use of Family Intervention Projects. However, the Daily Express exaggerates the report somewhat, the article stating (apparently wildly incorrectly) that the UK Government "plans to put 20,000 problem families under 24-hour CCTV supervision in their own homes". Other reports in the UK press make no mention of CCTV. Nonetheless, the alarmist Express article is widely picked up and discussed on the internet, pushing many people past 10 on the Orwellometer. Then Mefite FfejL uses Twitter to ask Ed Balls, the minister responsible, if the CCTV aspect of the Express article is accurate. [more inside]
posted by memebake on Aug 4, 2009 - 34 comments

it's a Federal crime

Brian W. Walsh thinks You're (Probably) A Federal Criminal.
posted by nickyskye on Aug 1, 2009 - 97 comments

Parkinson's Law

Why bureaucracy, like gas, fills up all available space. From the archive of The Economist, 1955 [via ArchiveDigger.]
posted by digaman on Jul 31, 2009 - 11 comments

Happy Science, and the Potential Joining of Church and State in Japan

Kōfuku-no-Kagaku (幸福の科学), also called Happy Science, is a relatively new religious and spiritual movement, founded in Japan in October 1986. The organization is gaining ground world-wide, with the international headquarter office in central Tokyo, 6 local temples located in London, New York, Los Angeles, San Francisco, Seoul and Taiwan, and an additional 37 local offices around the world. The group's leader, Master Ryuho Okawa, has is not limiting the scope of the movement to politics, and in May 2009 the Happiness Realization Party was formed, with over 300 HRP candidates running for the coming general election. To provide background on the religion and political movement, here is a little investigation of Happy Science by MeFi's own shii [via mefi projects] [more inside]
posted by filthy light thief on Jul 28, 2009 - 32 comments

building nothing out of something? or...

Rebuilding Something Better by Barack Obama: "this week, I'll be talking about how we give our workers the skills they need to compete... Part of this goal will be met by helping Americans better afford a college education. But part of it will also be strengthening our network of community colleges..." [more inside]
posted by kliuless on Jul 12, 2009 - 62 comments

The Squares of the City

Paul Romer: A Theory of History, with an Application - "His economic theory of history explains phenomena such as the constant improvement of the human standard of living by looking primarily at just two forms of innovative ideas: technology and rules." (previously, via) [more inside]
posted by kliuless on Jul 3, 2009 - 11 comments

Don't worry, it's monopoly money anyway.

Overly confident in the economic health of the United States? Feeling sanguine about current spending levels? Haven't yet been scared out of your wits about your financial future? No worries! The U.S. National Debt Clock page is for you! Your one stop shop for all things financial meltdown related: Total debt, debt per citizen, budget deficits and spending year-to-date, total governmental bailouts, and much much more!
posted by Justinian on Jun 26, 2009 - 77 comments

Data.gov - a new toy for data geeks, librarians, and transparency advocates everywhere

Data.gov is live! [more inside]
posted by gingerbeer on May 21, 2009 - 39 comments

Mr. Lee's Greater Hong Kong

Prelude to Federation - Like a neocolonial SEZ (or TAZ) Paul Romer, not to be confused with David, posits "less developed countries contract with capitalist nations to set up Hong Kong's for them... that we rethink sovereignty (respect borders, but maybe import administrative control); rethink citizenship (support residency, but maybe import voice in political affairs); and rethink scale (instead of focusing on nations, focus on cities—on city states like Hong Kong and Singapore)." cf. neocameralism [1, 2, 3] [more inside]
posted by kliuless on May 21, 2009 - 16 comments

A Banking System We Can Trust

Limited Purpose Banking -- for lending, investing, etc. -- Turn all financial firms into mutual funds: "All mutual funds would break the buck with one exception: cash mutual funds. These funds would strictly hold cash and be valued at $1 per share. Owners of these funds would write checks against their balances and never have to worry about a bank run. Fractional reserve banking and the FDIC would be history." [previously] [more inside]
posted by kliuless on May 3, 2009 - 15 comments

The Adaptive Value of Human Institutions:* Building a Better (Secular) 'Religion'

Keynes & Marx thought "that productivity would grow sufficiently to allow our needs to be met with very little labour," and that humankind's biggest preoccupation in the future would be leading lives of comfortable (or comparative) leisure. Obviously, that has not yet come to pass. But why?** Yochai Benkler (previously), for one, is working on it... [more inside]
posted by kliuless on Apr 25, 2009 - 37 comments

"My wife and I were terrorized by a baseless prosecution"

Ting-Yi Oei is an assistant principal in Virginia who was indicted for possession of child pornography. Today, he describes his year-long fight against the charges, which ended in dismissal.
posted by palliser on Apr 19, 2009 - 59 comments

Airstrip One

London police are now deleting tourists' photos because "photographing anything to do with transport is strictly forbidden."
posted by plexi on Apr 16, 2009 - 85 comments

Government Comix--more exciting than it sounds...

After two years of work of collecting, scanning, and tagging, the Government Comics Collection at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln library has gone live. This digital collection features "comic books affiliated with state and federal U.S. government agencies, as well as the UN and the EU (and a couple from Canada and one from Ghana)" and includes comics and art by Will Eisner, Scott Adams, Hank Ketcham ("Dennis the Menace Takes a Poke at Poison"), and more. [more inside]
posted by Tesseractive on Apr 14, 2009 - 7 comments

"The Lighter Side of Pain: What’s Up with Our Global Economy" with P.J. O'Rourke

"The Lighter Side of Pain: What’s Up with Our Global Economy" with P.J. O'Rourke. The keynote talk at the annual Tom Wolfe Weekend Seminar at Washington & Lee University. Prefaced by some rambling remarks by Tom Wolfe '51 himself.
posted by inkyroom on Apr 6, 2009 - 62 comments

Mother's Little Helper was only in trouble if it was mislabeled

The US Food and Drug Administration started regulating the labeling of food, beverages, and medicines after the passage of the 1906 Pure Food and Drug Act, and added food coloring and cosmetics with the 1938 Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act. They have just released a new website, the FDA Notices of Judgment Collection, 1906-1963, containing data from thousands of cases of mislabeled or misadvertised products and drugs, available in multiple forms (text, PDF, metadata XML, .TIF image, etc.), with searchable archives. Poking around in the data will yield information on cases ranging from misbranding methamphetamine tablets, to quack "Film-O-Sonic" devices, to bacteria-laden unproven abortifacients sold over the counter, to purported "4-way" cures for baldness, to hunks of radium sold for putting in your drinking water to "stimulate the sex organs" (judged against for stating an unproven use, not for actual danger of product). Organized by the FDA's history office, the new database is a fascinating resource for historians, public safety advocates, researchers, and librarians.
posted by Asparagirl on Apr 6, 2009 - 28 comments

WhiteHouse.gov Gets Diggy with It

OpenForQuestions at WhiteHouse.gov is asking you to vote for the questions you want Obama to address Thursday night. Like digg, but more governmentally.
posted by GatorDavid on Mar 24, 2009 - 71 comments

Information Wants to be Free

WikiLeaks: every current Congressional Research Service report in a Torrent (2.2 GB). h/t Jessamyn's twitter. Americans spend $100 million a year on the Congressional Research Service, a private think tank for members of Congress and their staffs. While technically available to the public, their reports were never posted on the Internet by the government. [more inside]
posted by l33tpolicywonk on Mar 4, 2009 - 18 comments

government weblogs

The OMB has a blog (feed) -- Peter Orszag started one at CBO (still going under Douglas Elmendorf née Bob Sunshine) and carried blogging over to the White House. The Atlanta Fed has one too (not to be confused with Macro Man). David Altig unofficially began it as an economist at the Cleveland Fed and then, when he became research director in Atlanta, made it official (altho still hosted on TypePad). Are there any other (federal/state/local/non-US) worthwhile government blogs (wikis sure) out there from our shiny new iPod gov't? cf. DoD live (check out the other service blogs, e.g.)/air force live & USAgov on twitter
posted by kliuless on Feb 28, 2009 - 5 comments

Science and the "Obama Restoration"

The Essential Parallel Between Science and Democracy. "[T]he restorative steps Obama has taken vis-à-vis science are praiseworthy not so much because they respect science as because they respect the grand institutions of democracy. This is no accident, because the very virtues that make democracy work are also those that make science work: a commitment to reason and transparency, an openness to critical scrutiny, a skepticism toward claims that too neatly support reigning values, a willingness to listen to countervailing opinions, a readiness to admit uncertainty and ignorance, and a respect for evidence gathered according to the sanctioned best practices of the moment."
posted by sarabeth on Feb 18, 2009 - 28 comments

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