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A Catholic Showdown Worth Watching

The deep philosophical differences between the two main conservative factions of the Catholic Church, pitting adherents of John Courtney Murray against the followers of Alasdair MacIntyre is the root cause of the mixed messages being put out by the Church on public policy matters. It is the fight worth watching.
posted by reenum on Feb 11, 2014 - 108 comments

Sense About Science

With a database of over 5,000 scientists, from Nobel prize winners to postdocs and PhD students, Sense About Science works in partnership with scientific bodies, research publishers, policy makers, the public and the media, to change public discussions about science and evidence. They make these scientists available for questions from civic organizations and the public looking for scientific advice from experts, campaign for the promotion of scientific principles in public policy, and publish neat guides to understanding science intended for laypeople. [more inside]
posted by Blasdelb on Feb 28, 2013 - 9 comments

Dinner is Coming.

Game of Thrones Food Trucks. (SLYT)
posted by curious nu on Nov 14, 2012 - 31 comments

The Failure of American Schools

Joel Klein wrote an essay in the Atlantic about the reasons for the current problems in the primary educational system.
posted by reenum on Jun 15, 2011 - 79 comments

Inside the multimillion-dollar essay-scoring business

With the institution of No Child Left Behind, educational testing in the US boomed. Now, some of the low paid temp workers hired to score these tests are speaking out about the behind the scenes manipulation that goes on to ensure test scores are in line with "customer expectations".
posted by reenum on Mar 7, 2011 - 142 comments

The High Budgetary Cost of Incarceration

The High Budgetary Cost of Incaceration (Full pdf) "The United States currently incarcerates a higher share of its population than any other country in the world. We calculate that a reduction in incarceration rates just to the level we had in 1993 (which was already high by historical standards) would lower correctional expenditures by $16.9 billion per year, with the large majority of these savings accruing to financially squeezed state and local governments. As a group, state governments could save $7.6 billion, while local governments could save $7.2 billion."
posted by OmieWise on Jun 18, 2010 - 64 comments

Policy Potpourri

Policy Archive compiles research and recommendations from think tanks, universities, government agencies and foundations into one browseable/searchable site. Designed to give the non-wonk layperson free, centralized access to subject-specific information on public policy in the USA, Policy Archive offers quick links to topics like banking & finance, education, labor, and military. Or just browse by who wrote, published, or funded a given bit of research. 16,000+ documents and growing.
posted by Rykey on Nov 22, 2008 - 12 comments

Constitutional Showdowns: a good thing for constitutional and political efficiency

Constitutional Showdowns. Eric Posner and Adrian Vermeule analyze constitutional showdowns, ask what rate and level of showdowns would be socially optimal, and ask whether socially optimal showdowns will be supplied by government institutions acting to promote their policy preferences and institutional interests.
posted by dios on Aug 10, 2007 - 9 comments

Playing God With The Elements

The Climate Engineers. "Efforts to manipulate the climate and weather have a long history of exaggerated claims and beliefs, and a dangerous tendency to become militarized. Even if they succeed, who will control the global thermostat?" Public policy scholar James R. Fleming explores the issues in a Wilson Quarterly article.
posted by amyms on Jul 19, 2007 - 11 comments

The Happy Planet Index: a Better Way to Measure Well-Being?

The Happy Planet Index presents an alternative to GDP for measuring standard of living. It ranks countries by measuring life expectancy and self-reported life satisfaction against an "ecological footprint" needed to support that country's lifestyle. The press release claims that well-being is not based on high levels of consumption, but many don't agree. Full report in PDF here. Vanuatu tops the charts, while Zimbabwe and Swaziland lie at bottom. Critiques here, here, here, and here. A critique of happiness indices generally here.
posted by shivohum on Jun 3, 2007 - 19 comments

Costs of cannabis prohibition is lot more potent than in the 70s

The Budgetary Implications of Marijuana Prohibition by Jeffrey Miron of Boston U.. So far, endorsed by 500+ economists, including Milton Friedman.

Key points:
*End prohibition and save $7.7 billion in govt. expenditure.
*Tax its sale, like alcohol, and generate $6.2 billion in revenue.
posted by daksya on Jun 1, 2005 - 79 comments

Tommy Thompson

Tommy Thompson, former Wisconsin governor, GOP platform committee chairman, and outgoing Secretary of Health and Human Services leaves with these reassuring words: "For the life of me, I cannot understand why the terrorists have not attacked our food supply because it is so easy to do." Time stock up on those rapture rations?
posted by three blind mice on Dec 4, 2004 - 48 comments

Roots of Terrorism

Poverty, Political Freedom and the Roots of Terrorism [pdf]. "In the past, we heard people refer to the strong link between terrorism and poverty, but in fact when you look at the data, it's not there," says Alberto Abadie, Associate Professor of Public Policy at the John F. Kennedy School of Government.
posted by gyc on Nov 9, 2004 - 8 comments

Who needs a middle class anyway?

Middle-Class 2003: How Congress Voted (executive summary) Who is doing better under the a Republican White House and Congress? If you're part of the vast majority...the middle class...it isn't you. So finds a very useful new report out today from the Drum Major Institute for Public Policy, a non-partisan think tank. Full report here. (PDF) The study defines middle class as Americans with incomes between approximately 200 percent of the federal poverty threshold and those of the top 5 percent of earners -- roughly $25,000 to $100,000 a year. (Which excludes Congresscritters, who have consistently given themselves raises to well over 150k a year.)
posted by dejah420 on May 21, 2004 - 13 comments

What Can Be Done?

Low-Income Children At Risk "Low-income children are disproportionately exposed to a daunting array of adverse social and physical environmental conditions," according to Gary Evans of Cornell University. Evans reviewed almost 200 studies to document the environment of childhood poverty in the current issue of American Psychologist (Vol. 59:2, 77-92, 2004). Public policy also tends to consider just one "magic bullet" at a time, Evans says. "To make a difference, we need to take a broader perspective for intervention.” What public policy changes would you suggest to protect and enrich the lives of children in low-income communities?
posted by mcgraw on Apr 13, 2004 - 6 comments

to be or not to be

The Right To Die, ABORTION!!!, Campaign Reform. What? No severing of limbs?!
posted by poopy on Nov 26, 2003 - 7 comments

Step in the right direction for the War on Drugs?

Michigan to Drop Minimum Sentence Rules for Drug Crimes. Although many people have known for years that minimum sentencing rules for drug offenses are seriously flawed, some states seem to be finally doing something about it.
posted by gwint on Dec 27, 2002 - 5 comments

The No Child Left Behind Act

The No Child Left Behind Act is probably the most sweeping educational reform to pass in a long time and it seems to be pretty bipartisan in its content, it passed the Senate today and Bush will be signing it into law. Holy cow, have the politicians done something right for a change?
posted by owillis on Dec 18, 2001 - 30 comments

U.S. Rejects Anti-Germ Warfare Accord

U.S. Rejects Anti-Germ Warfare Accord and is the only country to do so, effectively killing 6 years of negotiations. As an American, all I can say is: I'm sorry we suck.
posted by gwint on Jul 25, 2001 - 38 comments

"The Price Of Motherhood"

"The Price Of Motherhood" Ann Crittenden explores the contradictory nature of child-rearing in our society. "The policies of American business, government, and the law do not reflect Americans’ stated values. Across the board, individuals who assume the role of nurturer are punished and discouraged from performing the very tasks that everyone agrees are essential. " Do you agree with Crittenden's assessment? If so, what steps can be taken to find a balance between what's good for society and business and what's good for kids? (Assuming that the two are mutually exclusive.)
posted by Dreama on May 10, 2001 - 7 comments

He (Bush) has shown a consistent pattern of making major league mistakes when discussing his pubic-policy proposals

He (Bush) has shown a consistent pattern of making major league mistakes when discussing his pubic-policy proposals "pubic-policy"? Irony alert.
posted by Outlawyr on Oct 9, 2000 - 11 comments

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