"When our donors met the actual people they were helping they often didn’t like them. During our Secret Santa drive, volunteers sometimes refused to drop gifts at houses with TVs inside. They got angry when clients had cell phones or in some other way didn’t match their expectations. Other times, the donations we got were too disgusting to pass along—soup cans that bulged with botulism and diapers so dry rotted they crumbled in our hands. One Thanksgiving, a board member called from the parking lot, requesting help carrying a frozen turkey from her trunk to our office. “Can you find a deserving family?” she asked. I lugged the bird up three flights of stairs. Somewhere near the top, I noticed the expiration date. It was seventeen years old." Anya Groner talks about working for Hudson Outreach in up-state New York and the sobering, chilling effect it had on her idealism.
posted by The Whelk
on Jul 7, 2014 -
is a browser app for Firefox, Chrome, and Safari that allows you to mouse over any Congressperson's name in your browser to reveal where their campaign money comes from. [more inside]
posted by sockermom
on Jun 24, 2014 -
The Age of Uncertainty, A Personal View
by John Kenneth Galbraith
was a 12 (or 15) part documentary mini-series about the fickle art of economics, co-produced by the BBC, CBC, KCET & OECA
, and broadcast on television in 1977.
Galbraith’s dry Scottish Canadian wit, and the 70’s-style art-direction, are worth viewing for those who like this sort of thing. The parody corporate videos for the Conglomerate UGE
anticipated some of the ideas explored later in the 2003 documentary The Corporation
Some parts will seem dated, considering that this series was produced in the thick of The Cold War
, before the rise of Reaganomics, Thatcherism, The Fall of the Berlin Wall, the rise of the EU, yuan, electronic transfers, etc. The basic insights about the instability of financial markets are still real, as always. [more inside]
posted by ovvl
on May 19, 2014 -
Rabbi Myer Kripke, of Omaha, dies at 100. The New York Times obituary
tells the story of the Kripkes and a couple they played bridge with and became friends with, Susan and Warren Buffett. In 1966, they approached Buffett to manage their savings, and they wound up making $25 million, all of which they gave away.
piece also devotes a half a sentence to Rabbi Kripke's son, "Saul Kripke, a Princeton scholar who has been called the world’s greatest living philosopher" (cynics should note that Saul Kripke shot to prominence before his parents were rich).
posted by grobstein
on May 5, 2014 -
The Mayday SuperPAC.
Yesterday Lawrence Lessig announced
the launch of the Mayday SuperPAC, "The SuperPAC to end all SuperPACs." Its ultimate goal is to achieve constitutional campaign finance reform. They've set out specific funding goals--$1 million in 30 days, $5 million in the next 30--which will be matched by Lessig and other (currently) anonymous funders once achieved. Their initial goal is to influence races in five House districts and if successful they hope to expand in 2016.
posted by schroedinger
on May 2, 2014 -
: Tim Kreider's influential 1999 essay (previously
) on how Stanley Kubrick's Eyes Wide Shut
uses sex and infidelity to cover up a story of greed and murder by the elite gets a brand new afterward by the author to introduce a new site for his non-fiction writing, TimKreider.com
posted by The Whelk
on Apr 23, 2014 -
Gilens and Page analyze
1,779 policy outcomes over a period of more than 20 years. They conclude that “economic elites and organized groups representing business interests have substantial independent impacts on U.S. government policy, while mass-based interest groups and average citizens have little or no independent influence.”
Average citizens have “little or no independent influence” on the policy-making process? This must be an overstatement of Gilens’s and Page’s findings, no?
posted by anazgnos
on Apr 12, 2014 -
Ask Polly: Will Our Class Differences Tear Us Apart?
I've been with my current boyfriend for three years. We're really great together—similar interests, senses of humor, great sex. I love him so much—the only issue is that of our respective backgrounds. He grew up in a tony suburb, went to prep school, then to a very prestigious college, and finally the very prestigious graduate school where we met. I went to public school in a bad neighborhood, put myself through a not-so-prestigious college, made a name for myself in my field, then got into that same prestigious grad school. Our families could not be more different. I didn't think it would matter so much, but something happened recently that I can't shake. [more inside]
posted by the man of twists and turns
on Apr 12, 2014 -
There is much talk today of a financial and economic crisis comparable to the 1930s. With the threat of a currency war and the euro’s collapse looming, the specter of the Great Depression’s bloody aftermath has returned with a vengeance. Several versions of how to make human beings and build society co-existed during the Cold War, when much of the world won independence from colonial empire. Yet, discussion of humanity’s growing interdependence is today limited to a one-world capitalism driven by finance. What have anthropologists to say about that? It would seem very little. But a positive case can be made for the discipline’s contribution to public debate. We make such a case here. We review recent developments in the anthropology of money and finance, listing its achievements, shortcomings and prospects, while referring back to the discipline’s founders a century ago. Economic anthropologists have tended to restrict themselves to niche fields and marginal debates since the 1960s. We hope to reverse this trend by focusing on money’s role in shaping global society and bringing world history into a more active dialogue with ethnography. Money and finance: For an anthropology of globalization by Keith Hart and Horacio Ortiz
posted by infini
on Feb 12, 2014 -
In 2014, Bitcoin (BTC) has become established as increasingly "real" money with government regulatory interest
, law enforcement
, and growing acceptance
, but also as the reserve cryptocurrency for hundreds of "altcoins,"
making them also convertible to legacy money. Foremost among these is Litecoin (LTC),
which introduced the scrypt hashing algorithm to cryptocurrency, democratizing coin mining by being best suited to common GPUs rather than Bitcoin's dedicated mining equipment. Recently donated LTC paid for a forest
in Madagascar. Peercoin (PPC),
next in prominence, introduces "proof of stake" where less energy is spent mining and existing coins pay interest. Dogecoin (DOGE),
a fork of Litecoin (previously
covered on Metafilter
), continues heading to the moon
, with more transactions than all other coins combined
, thriving markets in digital goods
, an upcoming party in NYC's Bitcoin Center on Wall Street
, much charity
, and the recent announcement
that new Dogecoins will be generated indefinitely. A selection of other foremost and interesting cryptocurrencies is within. [more inside]
posted by save alive nothing that breatheth
on Feb 5, 2014 -
As part of a settlement between the Archdiocese of Chicago and the victims of 30 pedophile priests, a cache of 6000 documents
has been made public, detailing the Catholic Church's efforts over many years to cover up sexual abuse and protect accused priests.
posted by reenum
on Jan 22, 2014 -
In China, there are certain "bad notes" that frighten people and are refused as legal tender. Why?
posted by reenum
on Jan 16, 2014 -
This shift in how companies are governed and raise money is bringing with it a structural change in American capitalism. That should be a matter of great debate. Are these new businesses, with their ability to circumvent rules that apply to conventional public companies, merely adroit exploiters of loopholes for the benefit of a plutocratic few? Or do they reflect the adaptability on which America’s vitality has always been based?
- Rise of the distorporation
- how changes in the way companies are financed and managed is changing the wealth distribution of America.
posted by Artw
on Nov 2, 2013 -
When the announcement had been made that Wimbledon FC would be moved to Milton Keynes, to later be rebranded MK Dons, a meeting was called by Wimbledon fans. Toward the end of a charged meeting in the Wimbledon Community Centre, Kris Stewart, then chair of the Wimbledon Independent Supporters Club, realized that the fans had no chance of hanging on to their club and that no amount of protests would stop the franchise moving to Milton Keynes. In that moment Stewart made his walk through the crowd toward the microphone. “I’m tired of fighting,” he said before issuing a spontaneous rallying cry that has become legendary among fans of AFC Wimbledon. “I just want to watch football.”
posted by Rustic Etruscan
on Oct 24, 2013 -
Ruby-Strauss learned his craft working for the notorious Judith Regan, in whose shadow all lowbrow publishing still operates. In college at the University of California, Santa Cruz, he had been a comp-lit major who scoffed when friends talked up popular sci-fi books. “I was too pretentious,” he says. “I was reading Camus.” (A far way from that to Tucker Max, I noted. “Is it?” he replied.) Under Regan, he came to appreciate the simpler beauty of “books that sell.” He acquired a book by shock-rock star Marilyn Manson and then a series of pro-wrestling books, still his highest-selling titles ever. He once took Regan to a match, where he remembers her looking around the arena and declaring happily of the crowd, “You could sell them blank pages!”
(SLNewRepublic) [more inside]
posted by Rustic Etruscan
on Oct 23, 2013 -
Why People Mistake Good Deals for Rip-Offs. In another experiment, the ventral putamen, a region of the brain that processes reward, was more active when people drank Pepsi than when they drank Coke—except when they were told that they were drinking Pepsi. Coke’s brand appeal is so powerful, and our ability to determine the value of cola so fickle, that our brains respond differently as soon as we learn that what we’re drinking isn’t Coke. The physical experience doesn’t change at all, but we’re unable to peg the value of a brown, caffeinated soda until we know where its life began.
posted by crossoverman
on Oct 22, 2013 -