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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

"Professors are citizens."

Former Virginia Tech professor Steven Salaita's blocked appointment to teach at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign has ignited a debate over academic freedom. [more inside]
posted by tonycpsu on Aug 26, 2014 - 602 comments

"I collect spores, molds, and fungus."

"Hollywood's pathological fear of being political has made them blind to the changes that women's friendships have undergone over the last forty years. We're so far past women's relationships revolving around men that no one is even offended by the suggestion that women have relationships that don't revolve around men. Bridesmaids was a smash among women AND men, and so was [Paul] Feig's follow-up, The Heat, another female driven, non-romantic comedy." (Hat-tip: Mick LaSalle) [more inside]
posted by joseph conrad is fully awesome on Aug 25, 2014 - 47 comments

But can it core a apple?

On Thursday, NASA released the names and designs of three vehicles that could replace the space shuttle as means of sending our astronauts into space. [more inside]
posted by roomthreeseventeen on Aug 23, 2014 - 70 comments

Who wants to live tweet the revolution?

Kim Dotcom is working hard to keep himself out of jail. [more inside]
posted by dimejubes on Aug 17, 2014 - 31 comments

John is the new Jon

With a combination of humor and fearlessness, Last Week Tonight has done an unlikely thing: spurred action. John Oliver’s segment on net neutrality this past June perfectly summed up what his HBO show Last Week Tonight is so good at: transcending apathy. It’s an ingenious formula that’s making a difference in the real world. “Making a difference” isn’t hyperbole. The FCC’s website actually crashed from overwhelming web traffic the day after Oliver’s segment originally aired. The Atlantic looks at How John Oliver Beats Apathy.
  • Last Week Tonight with John Oliver, previously
  • John Oliver on net neutrality, previously
  • Last Week Tonight with John Oliver on FanFare

posted by Room 641-A on Aug 16, 2014 - 89 comments

Public Corruption Unit

Rick Perry Indicted on Charges of Abuse of Power
posted by box on Aug 15, 2014 - 146 comments

why we care about what we wear

Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie: Why Can't a Smart Woman Love Fashion? [more inside]
posted by flex on Aug 15, 2014 - 33 comments

"Don’t shoot me"

Why Did Michael Brown Die in Ferguson? - According to the police of Fergusson, Missouri it was because he reached for an officer's weapon, necessitating that he be shot multiple times as he ran away empty handed. Eyewitness tell a different story. Whatever happened the killing has prompted demonstrations and looting. Ferguson police responded in full force, firing teargas and wooden rounds into crowds of protestors and sealing the area off from the media. In the wake of the tragedy questions of racial profiling, the paramilitarization of police and media depictions of black shooting victims have been raised. Meanwhile the shooter has not been named to preserve his safety.
posted by Artw on Aug 12, 2014 - 3381 comments

15 Maps That Don't Explain the Middle East at All

Violent upheaval in the Middle East has recently spawned all manner of maps purporting to explain how the region got this way. Here, instead, are 15 maps that don’t claim as much. Or rather, they do not seek, like many other maps, to capture some fixed set of core facts about the region. Instead, these maps provide a more fluid perspective on the Middle East, often by showing what didn’t happen as opposed to what did. But for all these maps don’t show, they do illustrate one thing: the sobering fact that no one map—or even set of maps—can ever explain the region’s complex history and politics.
posted by whyareyouatriangle on Aug 8, 2014 - 13 comments

Bill of Mights

“Republicans always saw libertarians as nice to have around in case they wanted to score some weed, and we always knew where there was a party. And for a while it made sense to bunk up with them. But after a while, it would be like, ‘So if we agree on limited government, how about opening the borders?’ No, that’s crazy. ‘How about legalizing drugs? How about giving gays equal rights?’ No, come on, be serious. And so I thought, There’s nothing in this for me.”

From Silicon Valley technologists to NYU postgrads, the ‘Libertarian Moment’ may have finally arrived.
posted by four panels on Aug 7, 2014 - 323 comments

"...this is a charity that's supposed to be helping the troops."

ProPublica reports: Pro-Troop Charity Misleads Donors While Lining Political Consultants' Pockets. [more inside]
posted by tonycpsu on Aug 6, 2014 - 47 comments

The Invisible Bridge: The Fall of Nixon and the Rise of Reagan

How Ronald Reagan Used An 'Invisible Bridge' To Win Over Americans - "Rick Perlstein's new book describes how Reagan emerged as the leader of a potent political movement during the turbulent mid-'70s. He says the soul of Reagan's appeal was how he made people feel good." [more inside]
posted by kliuless on Aug 5, 2014 - 80 comments

The Rise Of Europe’s Religious Right

“A bomb with a long fuse has been lit,” said Sylvie Guillaume, a French MEP supportive of abortion rights and LGBT rights, who recently stepped down as vice chair of the largest center-left bloc in the European Union’s parliament. “We don’t know what’s going to happen.” [more inside]
posted by ellieBOA on Aug 4, 2014 - 37 comments

In a not-so-quiet corner of Graves County...

Now in its 134th year, the Fancy Farm Picnic is the biggest event in Kentucky's political calendar. Held on the first Saturday of August, the gathering includes bingo, raffles and tons and tons of barbeque. And then, of course, there are the political speeches. This year, Republican incumbent Mitch McConnell squared off against Democrat Alison Lundergan Grimes. PBS has video of the stump speeches and, given that the candidates have yet to agree upon any debate locations or times, this may be their only meeting in a public forum before the November election. The Washington Post provides a explainer of the event.
posted by AlonzoMosleyFBI on Aug 4, 2014 - 19 comments

to end all wars

First world war – a century on, time to hail the peacemakers
"On the 100th anniversary of the start of the Great War, we should remember those who tried to stop a catastrophe" [more inside]
posted by flex on Aug 4, 2014 - 27 comments

social inequality breeds game

Cockblocked by Redistribution: A Pick-up Artist in Denmark [more inside]
posted by flex on Jul 31, 2014 - 30 comments

Die PARTEI hat immer recht

On the 25th of May, 2014, Martin Sonneborn of Die PARTEI became the first member of his party to enter the EU parliament.

Currently using the slogan, "Inhalte überwunden" or "Overcome substance", the Partei für Arbeit, Rechtstaat, Tierschutz, Elitenförderung und basisdemokratische Initiative (Party for Labour, Rule of Law, Animal Protection, Promotion of Elites and Grassroots Initiatives) was founded in 2004 by the staff of Titanic, a satire magizine. [more inside]
posted by frimble on Jul 31, 2014 - 11 comments

Cover Your Tracks

How to Flawlessly Predict Anything on the Internet.
posted by stoneweaver on Jul 30, 2014 - 27 comments

"Shiny Happy Voters"

Why R.E.M.’s Out of Time Is the Most Politically Significant Album in U.S. History (Hint: It's not the music).
posted by AlonzoMosleyFBI on Jul 28, 2014 - 101 comments

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