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The bloom is off the Wildrose

In what will no doubt live on as one of the most stunning political moves in Canadian political history, Alberta Wildrose Party (and official opposition leader) Danielle Smith, along with 8 other Wildrose MLAs, crossed the floor of the legislature to join the ruling Progressive Conservatives, under the leadership of Premier Jim Prentice. She also proposed that the Wildrose party formally merge with the PCs, which the Wildrose administration and members reject. While floor-crossings are not uncommon in Canadian politics, there has never before been a complete capitulation of an official opposition party to the governing party before. [more inside]
posted by Kurichina on Dec 19, 2014 - 38 comments

"Stephen Colbert": Great host? Or *the greatest* host?

Tonight! He's "a well-meaning, poorly informed, high-status idiot." An it-getter. A knight. A doctor (of fine arts). A Real American Hero. And after tonight, his arched eyebrow of justice will never again grace American television screens in quite the same way. "Stephen Colbert": a brief retrospective. Truthiness - The White House Correspondents' Dinner - Better Know a District - Formidable Opponent - Tek Jansen - Papa Bear - I Am America (And So Can You!) - Americone Dream - The ThreatDown - Late Night Fight! - Testifying to Congress - The Rally to Restore Sanity - Colbert Super PAC - Maurice Sendak - Wheat Thins - Lorna Colbert - Tolkien-off - Ask a Grown Man - The Decree. So much more inside. [more inside]
posted by Rhaomi on Dec 18, 2014 - 124 comments

Changing climates of history

Neither Thucydides, Gibbon, von Ranke, nor Braudel ever cited a paper appearing in Geophysical Research Letters. They did not worry themselves about fluctuations in the Siberian High or the Southern Oscillation. The vast majority of more recent historians also remained untroubled by such concerns. However, in the past five years, a handful of highly distinguished historians have come out with new books that put climate at the center of historical explanation. What on Earth is going on? [more inside]
posted by standardasparagus on Dec 17, 2014 - 18 comments

Everyone is poised to attack anyone. But it's all a joke.

How Chan-Style Anonymous Culture Shapes #gamergate Twitter user A Man In Black attempts to untangle the gamergater mindset using identity -- any identity as vice, and lack of identity as a chief virtue.
posted by boo_radley on Dec 16, 2014 - 172 comments

This was not planned.

What's the best way to make sure that your politically divided children behave around the Christmas dinner table? Call in while they are appearing on C-Span.
posted by roomthreeseventeen on Dec 16, 2014 - 36 comments

72 Hours in Detroit; on the decline and rebirth of (musical) Motor City

Electronic Beats interviews five Detroit residents (Michael Stone-Richards, a professor in the Department of Liberal Arts at CCS in Detroit; Mike Huckaby, an internationally successful DJ and longtime producer of Detroit techno; Cornelius Harris, aka "The Unknown Writer", the label manager and occasional MC for Underground Resistance Records; Walter Wasacz; a journalist and writer based in Hamtramck, an enclave in the center of Detroit; Mark Ernestus, the Berlin-based producer, DJ and co-owner of Hard Wax record store; Mike Banks of Underground Resistance [UR]; George Clinton, the founder and leader of Parliament Funkadelic; and Samantha Corbit, who has over a decade of involvement with multiple Detroit record labels) on the past and future of Detroit, and it's (electronic) (musical) history. 72 Hours in Detroit
posted by filthy light thief on Dec 13, 2014 - 4 comments

What Happened to the ‘Future Leaders’ of the 1990s?

In its December 5, 1994 issue, Time Magazine picked 50 people who would be leaders in the future. They decided to revisit what happened to each person on the 20th anniversary of their predictions.
posted by reenum on Dec 13, 2014 - 26 comments

There's a tear in my beer because of bad legislation in Ontario, dear

A 2000 report leaked to the Toronto Star details how the Harris government struck a sweetheart deal to ensure major brewers a stranglehold on Ontario beer retail. Long suspected but never before proven, the report details how the LCBO (Liquor Control Board of Ontario) was forced to submit to a subsidiary role in beer retail in the province; the then-LCBO head has confirmed that Harris forced the deal onto the province. Martin Cohn reports in the Toronto Star.
posted by Shepherd on Dec 9, 2014 - 57 comments

Everything is Problematic

2012 was the year I hit peak radicalism... [more inside]
posted by modernnomad on Dec 5, 2014 - 106 comments

Hillary, Voldemort 2016! You know it makes sense!

It is definitely not US election season, which means only one thing - Unauthorised superPAC ads for Hillary Clinton 2016!!! (Are you excited? I am excited!) Leading off this year - StandWithHillary - a SuperPAC targeting white men in rural swing states. But can it beat 2008's "as seen on metafilter" classic Hillary4U&Me [more inside]
posted by Another Fine Product From The Nonsense Factory on Dec 4, 2014 - 36 comments

ISIS: What the US Doesn’t Understand

Over the last few days, as the United States has stepped up its bombing campaign against ISIS in Syria, it has been hard to escape another reality: the US is still looking for a coherent strategy against the Islamic State. [more inside]
posted by standardasparagus on Dec 2, 2014 - 97 comments

“Wow. Let’s drive to another town. We should not sleep here.”

Chris Rock, in conversation with Frank Rich
posted by roomthreeseventeen on Dec 1, 2014 - 107 comments

Tory shires join call for more cash and powers for England’s regions

Grauniad: "The huge list of signatories to the letter – which also calls for an end to savage financial cuts imposed by the centre – demonstrate growing all-party frustration at a system that leaves local communities at the mercy of a central government with little or no understanding of each area’s particular needs. The letter states: “There is compelling evidence that taking decisions closer to the people affected achieves better results and saves money.""
posted by marienbad on Nov 30, 2014 - 16 comments

The Governor of New York Owes an Apology to a Bunch of Meteorologists

The Governor of New York Owes an Apology to a Bunch of Meteorologists Governor Cuomo’s attempt to scapegoat the National Weather Service for an inaccurate forecast in advance is not only completely in error–the NWS did an outstanding job–but is a disservice to the public and to the hard-working staff of this federal agency.
posted by Nevin on Nov 24, 2014 - 38 comments

According to one senior official, “He wasn’t up to the job.”

President Obama will announce today that Secretary of Defense Chuck Hagel is submitting his resignation. According to the New York Times, "The officials described Mr. Obama’s decision to remove Mr. Hagel, 68, as a recognition that the threat from the Islamic State would require a different kind of skills than those that Mr. Hagel was brought on to employ." [more inside]
posted by roomthreeseventeen on Nov 24, 2014 - 98 comments

"Are we unable to live without a system of walls?"

Racing to Checkpoint Charlie – my memories of the Berlin Wall by Haruki Murakami [The Guardian] The Japanese novelist on why the fall of the Berlin wall has such resonance with his novels.
posted by Fizz on Nov 22, 2014 - 10 comments

It's time to fix our broken immigration system.

Tomorrow night, President Obama will address the nation on steps he will be taking by executive action in an attempt to fix the immigration laws. [more inside]
posted by roomthreeseventeen on Nov 19, 2014 - 194 comments

Usually, [EDM] songs succeed when they feel good on the dance floor...

From The New Yorker: "Depth on the Dance Floor: The Music of DJ Sprinkles." Some music to listen to while reading Joshua Rothman's profile:
posted by Going To Maine on Nov 18, 2014 - 7 comments

Stop calling me 'the Ebola nurse'

"I never had Ebola, and politicians who lie do nothing to protect your health."
posted by Artw on Nov 17, 2014 - 113 comments

Are Democrats elitist?

The Affordable Care Act was "put together by a bunch of elitists who don't really fundamentally understand the American people," said former DNC chair Howard Dean. A few years ago, Democratic Gov. Ted Strickland voiced concerns about Democrats' "intellectual elitism" and hesitancy to "talk using populist language." Republicans have long used accusations of elitism against Democrats as an electoral tactic. Did elitism lose the Democrats the 2014 midterms?
posted by shivohum on Nov 12, 2014 - 303 comments

How one-party rule is shaping politics in the Deep South.

The Death of the Southern White Democrat Hurts African-Americans the Most (previously) while the South’s Republicans Look a Lot Like Its 1970s Democrats
posted by anotherpanacea on Nov 10, 2014 - 163 comments

Who is Barack Obama?

How might President Obama's leadership style be rooted in his psychology? Psychoanalysts Nasir Ghaemi, Samuel Barondes, and Justin Frank venture opinions, and writer Robert Merry applies a framework from political psychology. (psychoanalyst Drew Westen, previously)
posted by shivohum on Nov 7, 2014 - 17 comments

Complexity and the dysfunctions of central government

One of the most interesting psychological aspects of Whitehall is that their inability to fix their own lifts in no way dents their confidence in advocating that they manage some incredibly complicated process. If one says, ‘given we’ve failed to fix the bloody lift in four years, maybe we should leave X alone’, they tend to look either mystified or as if you have made a particularly bad taste joke.

Dominic Cummings, a former special advisor writes a cutting dissection on the issues of complexity in modern politics and the increasing dysfunction of the executive branch via Bond movies, the First World War, political screwups and some unfixable lifts.
posted by Another Fine Product From The Nonsense Factory on Oct 31, 2014 - 44 comments

Putin on the ritz

Most people in the English-speaking parts of the world missed Putin's speech at the Valdai conference in Sochi a few days ago, and, chances are, those of you who have heard of the speech didn't get a chance to read it, and missed its importance. (For your convenience, I am pasting in the full transcript of his speech below.) Western media did their best to ignore it or to twist its meaning. Regardless of what you think or don't think of Putin (like the sun and the moon, he does not exist for you to cultivate an opinion) this is probably the most important political speech since Churchill's “Iron Curtain” speech of March 5, 1946.
Via includes tl;dr of top 10 points
posted by infini on Oct 29, 2014 - 160 comments

"It's something of a puzzle, this electoral politics thing."

The Persuadables
How strategists see the 2014 Senate battlefield, state by state, featuring exclusive voter data.
posted by davidstandaford on Oct 28, 2014 - 3 comments

It’s so starving, Aleppo, it’s so exhausted

It sounds like a jet approaching, and all of you, for a matter of instants, stare at one another, your words stifled in your mouths; but it’s only a gate that slides and shuts. A hatchet chopping firewood is a burst from a Kalashnikov; the step of a woman’s heel, a sniper shot. We look normal, in Aleppo. Fear is a cancer that wears us out only from within. [more inside]
posted by standardasparagus on Oct 26, 2014 - 25 comments

"What Does Joan Say?": The question that the president habitually asked

Joan Quigley has passed away on Tuesday at the age of 87. Brought on as an advisor in response to the assassination attempt on President Ronald Reagan, she had been in contact with the First Lady up to three times a day via private lines set up for her at the White House and Camp David. The President is said to have asked his wife "What does Joan say?" habitually. Donald Regan, Chief of Staff in the Reagan White House, wrote that "Virtually every major move and decision the Reagans made during my time as White House chief of staff was cleared in advance with (Quigley)". She was an astrologer.
posted by Flunkie on Oct 25, 2014 - 48 comments

"...a tragic and extreme version of a familiar pattern"

One-Fifth of Detroit's Population Could Lose Their Homes Many families could stay put for just a few hundred dollars, if only they knew how to work the system. (SLAtlantic)
posted by tonycpsu on Oct 24, 2014 - 30 comments

Why I Left

"It’s about readers and their trust in us." Dave McKinney, longtime Chicago Sun-Times political reporter, resigns after the paper appears to cave to pressure from billionaire Illinois Republican gubernatorial nominee Bruce Rauner to punish McKinney for writing an article that portrayed Rauner as a thug. After supporting McKinney publicly but attempting to remove him from the political beat, the paper reversed its three-year-old policy of not endorsing candidates by endorsing Rauner, who until recently owned 10% of the company that owns the paper.
posted by goatdog on Oct 23, 2014 - 27 comments

It's time...

Gough Whitlam, the progressive Labor prime minister of Australia from 1972 to 1975, has died aged 98. [more inside]
posted by acb on Oct 20, 2014 - 78 comments

Tory Peer: "Pay disabled people £2 per hour"

A Conservative welfare minster has apologised after suggesting that disabled people are "not worth" the national minimum wage and some could only be paid "£2 an hour". Lord Freud, the Welfare Reform minister admitted the comments were "offensive” after they were disclosed by Ed Miliband during Prime Minister's Questions this afternoon. The Labour leader has called on the Tory peer to resign.
posted by marienbad on Oct 17, 2014 - 68 comments

The Board Would Like To Cringe Its Nose At....

Writer/Actor Justin Elizabeth Sayre hosts The Meeting Of The International Order Of Sodomites - a monthly show honoring LGBTQ figures and idols. The Meeting includes a signature segment "The Rulings Of The Board" featuring Justin as Chairman delivering a caustic and revealing monologue on current issues in gay culture and politics - highlights include "Rufus Wainwright Is An Idiot." "Returning Shame To Gay Culture." "The New Hanky Code." "Resetting The Gay Agenda." "The 20-year Olds Hate Us." and oh so many more. (NSFW language) [more inside]
posted by The Whelk on Oct 17, 2014 - 13 comments

The Troller System

Here's the last ideo-political-philosophico-temperamental spectrum chart you'll ever need.
posted by Iridic on Oct 17, 2014 - 30 comments

Daschle, Frank, Lott, Livingston; they fight gridlock...

A bipartisan commission convened by Esquire magazine has reported its findings on how to make Congress work better. [more inside]
posted by Octaviuz on Oct 17, 2014 - 33 comments

How to Destroy a Public-School System

How to Destroy a Public-School SystemIn Philadelphia, education reformers got everything they wanted. Look where the city’s schools are now. [more inside]
posted by tonycpsu on Oct 12, 2014 - 50 comments

How To Talk To Terrorists

Above all, what these experiences demonstrate is that there isn’t really an alternative to talking to the terrorists if you want the conflict to end. Hugh Orde, the former chief constable in Northern Ireland, rightly says, “There is no example that I know of, of terrorism being policed out” – or fully defeated by physical force – anywhere in the world. Petraeus said that it was clear in Iraq that “we would not be able to kill or capture our way out of the industrial-strength insurgency that was tearing apart the very fabric of Iraqi society”. If you can’t kill them all, then sooner or later you come back to the same point, and it is a question of when, not whether, you talk. If there is a political cause then there has to be a political solution. [more inside]
posted by philip-random on Oct 10, 2014 - 36 comments

Why Obama is "a historic success"

"Am I damning with faint praise? Not at all. This is what a successful presidency looks like. No president gets to do everything his supporters expected him to. FDR left behind a reformed nation, but one in which the wealthy retained a lot of power and privilege. On the other side, for all his anti-government rhetoric, Reagan left the core institutions of the New Deal and the Great Society in place. I don't care about the fact that Obama hasn't lived up to the golden dreams of 2008, and I care even less about his approval rating. I do care that he has, when all is said and done, achieved a lot. That is, as Joe Biden didn't quite say, a big deal." Paul Krugman (previously) writes "In Defense of Obama" for Rolling Stone.
posted by jbickers on Oct 8, 2014 - 309 comments

Character and ideology and ethics and every day life are all intertwined

Ian Welsh on The Role of Character and Ideology in Prosperity and Why We Live In a Shitty Economy for Most People
posted by T.D. Strange on Oct 6, 2014 - 15 comments

A "revolution in a cornfield", or a "failed experiment"?

This Is What's the Matter With Kansas: Sam Brownback tried to create a conservative utopia. He created a conservative hell instead. [more inside]
posted by tonycpsu on Sep 30, 2014 - 106 comments

Thinking about disease

Ebola and the Construction of Fear by Karen Sternheimer (Everyday Sociology)
"Sociologist Barry Glassner, author of The Culture of Fear: Why Americans are Afraid of the Wrong Things, explains how misguided panics are not just benign opportunities to prevent something horrible, but can divert attention and public funds away from more likely threats. He notes:
Panic-driven public spending generates over the long term a pathology akin to one found in drug addicts. The money and attention we fritter away on our compulsions, the less we have available for our real needs, which consequently grow larger (p. xvii).
[more inside]
posted by joseph conrad is fully awesome on Sep 29, 2014 - 74 comments

A handy 10-step guide to defending yourself, your country, or your boss.

How to Justify Any Policy, No Matter How Bad It Might Be
posted by Sticherbeast on Sep 29, 2014 - 16 comments

"he succeeded at shifting the immigration debate"

The Method To Steve King's Madness
"Sahil Kapur takes a look at how rank and file congressman Steve King (R-IA) came to call the shots on one of the most important issues of the modern era [immigration]."
posted by davidstandaford on Sep 29, 2014 - 10 comments

Never talk about politics on the first date

We Made Young Liberals And Young Labor Date Each Other Vice Australia: "Who are those students who join political clubs at university? They wear suits, push flyers, and disagree by default, but what makes them tick? To find out we paired them up with the people they disagree with most—students from opposing parties—and made them go on dates with each other."
posted by cendawanita on Sep 25, 2014 - 51 comments

No children are born hating

"No matter who you are, or where you come from, or what you look like, or what God you pray to, or who you love, there is something fundamental that we all share."

Obama delivers one of the most humanist, powerful, and intellectual speeches to the United Nations.
posted by four panels on Sep 24, 2014 - 154 comments

The Social Construction of Money (Wealth/Capital in the 21st Century)*

The political economy of a universal basic income: "your view of what is feasible should not be backwards looking. The normalization of gay marriage and legalization of marijuana seemed utopian and politically impossible until very recently. Yet in fact those developments are happening, and their expansion is almost inevitable given the demographics of ideology... UBI — defined precisely as periodic transfers of identical fixed dollar amounts to all citizens of the polity — is by far the most probable and politically achievable among policies that might effectively address problems of inequality, socioeconomic fragmentation, and economic stagnation." [more inside]
posted by kliuless on Sep 19, 2014 - 62 comments

Of certain people, by certain people, for certain people

The class war in American politics is over. The rich won. [more inside]
posted by GrammarMoses on Sep 13, 2014 - 128 comments

Reconciling the Second Amendment with Public Safety Concerns

Gun Wars: the struggle over gun rights and regulation in America, in the aftermath of the Newtown school shootings and the ongoing congressional stalemate over federal gun legislation. An investigative report from "29 students from 16 journalism schools, as well as an experienced staff of editors" for Carnegie-Knight News21. [more inside]
posted by zarq on Sep 11, 2014 - 62 comments

Speaker of the House

Speaker of the House: Ballpoint pen drawings of John Boehner. Daily and sublime. [via mefi projects]
posted by aparrish on Sep 7, 2014 - 12 comments

Women politicians break the abortion taboo.

"I emerged a different person. Changed. Forever changed.” Davis describes the circumstances of her two abortions in her new memoir, Forgetting to Be Afraid. [more inside]
posted by emjaybee on Sep 6, 2014 - 33 comments

Ruin Jam 2014

"Ruin Jam is a game jam celebrating the nonexistent demise of video games, inspired by a lot of current events and a certain blog post. It's open to anyone and everyone who has been, is being, or plans to be accused of ruining the games industry. All Ruiners are welcome to contribute to the death of video games, provided that they adhere to the spirit of the jam." [more inside]
posted by brundlefly on Sep 2, 2014 - 114 comments

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