The US GAO Flickr page
features selected photos and graphics from US Government Accountability Office reports that are searchable, viewable, and downloadable by visitors to their site
. [more inside]
The Economic Risks of Climate Change in the United States
); press coverage
) - "The signature effects of human-induced climate change
—rising seas, increased damage from storm surge, more frequent bouts
of extreme heat—all have specific, measurable impacts on our nation's current assets and ongoing economic activity. [The report] uses a standard risk-assessment approach to determine the range of potential consequences
for each region of the U.S.—as well as for selected sectors of the economy—if we continue on our current path..." [more inside]
During their Freedom Hosting
investigation and malware attack last year, the FBI unintentionally obtained the entire e-mail database of popular anonymous webmail service Tor Mail. And now, they've used it in an unrelated investigation to bust a Florida man accused of stealing credit card numbers
. [more inside]
of "Save the Mimolette!
", the FDA has decided to ban
the sale of the French cheese Mimolette over mites used in the rind. [more inside]
In Conversation: Antonin Scalia "On the eve of a new Supreme Court session, the firebrand justice discusses gay rights and media echo chambers, Seinfeld and the Devil, and how much he cares about his intellectual legacy ("I don’t")." [more inside]
In 2011, the CIA declassified documents admitting its involvement in the 1953 coup that overthrew Iran's elected government and installed Mohammad Reza Shah Pahlavi, details of which were first first disclosed by the New York Times
in 2000. Timeline
. However, they refused to release them to the public
. Today, the National Security Archive research institute has (after a Freedom of Information Act lawsuit) obtained and made the 21 documents public. "Marking the sixtieth anniversary of the overthrow of Iranian Prime Minister Mohammad Mosaddeq, the National Security Archive is today posting recently declassified CIA documents on the United States' role in the controversial operation. American and British involvement in Mosaddeq's ouster has long been public knowledge, but today's posting includes what is believed to be the CIA's first formal acknowledgement that the agency helped to plan and execute the coup
. [more inside]
In 1971, the newly-created US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) hired a bunch of freelance photographers to collectively document environmental issues around the country. They were given free rein to shoot whatever they wanted, and the project, named Documerica
, lasted through 1977. After 40 years, the EPA is now encouraging photographers to take current versions of the original Documerica photos and are showcasing them on flickr at State of the Environment
. There are location challenges
, and a set has been created with some of the submissions, making side-by-side comparisons
. [more inside]
Are Social Impact Bonds a good way to invest in public services?
"Imagine a contract where private investors are paid by the government if there's a decrease in homelessness or convicts re-offending. It's a an idea that's taking shape in the UK and some US states. And now the Canadian government is considering piloting social impact bonds. Critics say it's a way of governments shirking their responsibilities." CBC's "The Current" reports. [more inside]
In the Shadow of Wounded Knee.
Along the southwestern border of South Dakota is one of the most poverty-stricken places in the United States—the Pine Ridge Reservation, home of the Oglala Lakota people. After 150 years of broken promises, they are still nurturing their tribal customs, language and beliefs. Via [more inside]
Last year, The Brennan Center for Justice at NYU's Law School released a report
) detailing new, more restrictive state laws that affect voting rights and are likely to impact the outcome of the 2012 elections. The restrictions "fall most heavily on young, minority, and low-income voters, as well as on voters with disabilities." On August 3rd, 2012, they updated their analysis
with a pdf
of passed and pending State government legislation. Their conclusion: after a century in which the United States "expanded the franchise and knocked down myriad barriers to full electoral participation... that momentum [has] abruptly shifted." [more inside]
"The truth about the Fast and Furious scandal
: A Fortune investigation reveals that the ATF never intentionally allowed guns to fall into the hands of Mexican drug cartels. How the world came to believe just the opposite is a tale of rivalry, murder, and political bloodlust." [more inside]
In 1991, Troy Davis
was convicted and sentenced to death for the 1989 murder of policeman Mark MacPhail in a Savannah, Georgia parking lot. Since then, seven of the nine prosecution eyewitnesses have recanted
all or part of their testimony, with some citing pressure from the police to make false statements. An exception is Sylvester "Redd" Coles, who made the initial report of Davis’s guilt, and is regarded by the defense as the chief suspect. New witnesses have sworn affidavits that Coles confessed the crime to them. An array
of figures have called for a stay of execution, including death-penalty supporters Senator Bob Barr and former FBI director William S. Sessions. Today
, the Georgia Board of Pardons and Paroles
denied clemency; barring action
from the District Attorney, Davis is set to be executed
by lethal injection tomorrow at 7pm. [Previously
The Hardest Cases: When Children Die, Justice Can Be Elusive
A joint investigation by PBS Frontline, ProPublica and NPR has found that medical examiners and coroners have repeatedly mishandled cases of infant and child deaths, helping to put innocent people behind bars. (Via. (Article contains descriptions of children that have been killed by abuse. May be disturbing / triggering to some readers.) [more inside]
Fareed Zakaria: Are America's Best Days Behind Us?
- "We have an Electoral College that no one understands and a Senate that doesn't work, with rules and traditions that allow a single Senator to obstruct democracy without even explaining why. We have a crazy-quilt patchwork of towns, municipalities and states with overlapping authority, bureaucracies and resulting waste. We have a political system geared toward ceaseless fundraising and pandering to the interests of the present with no ability to plan, invest or build for the future. And if one mentions any of this, why, one is being unpatriotic, because we have the perfect system of government, handed down to us by demigods who walked the earth in the late 18th century and who serve as models for us today and forever. America's founders would have been profoundly annoyed by this kind of unreflective ancestor worship." [for
Last year, the unofficial Dean of the White House Press Corps, Helen Thomas,
spoke about the State of Israel on camera. (Previously)
: "Tell them to get the hell out of Palestine,"
and that the Jews "can go home"
to "Poland, Germany and America and everywhere else,"
sparked media outrage,
prompted her to issue an apology and retire
. After months of being out of the the public spotlight, she has now given her first long-form interview, which will appear in the April issue of Playboy Magazine
. In it, she explains what she meant, tells us how she would like to be remembered and expands upon her positions regarding Israel, Jewish political influence, Presidents Bush and Obama, and the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan.
The Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives deliberately allowed assault rifles to be smuggled into Mexico
, so they could be tracked. The weapons were then used in a spree of murders, including that of US Border Patrol Agent Brian Terry
. The operation was called "Fast and Furious". The Mexican government was apparently unaware
of the operation, and is investigating
. The ATF is going to have a review
of whether their strategy supports "the goals of ATF to stem the illegal flow of firearms to Mexico".
The National Telecommunications and Information Administration (NTIA) recently announced
the rollout of a searchable map
, which also offers a nation-wide view of internet service providers with filters for various technologies
. The map is based on information collected from broadband providers or other data sources. [more inside]
, making the filibuster — and the proposals in the U.S. Senate to reform it — more understandable. [more inside]
"The Man Who Never Was."
Vanity Fair editor Todd S. Purdum
follows up his 2007 profile of then-Senator John McCain
and a scathing
2009 profile of Sarah Palin
by asking whether McCain, "...the leader so many Americans admired — and so many journalists covered — ever truly existed." (Previously)
This past March, former US President Bill Clinton acknowledged
to the Senate Foreign Relations Committee that tariff policies his administration championed in the mid-1990's helped destroy Haiti's rice production
and contributed to the impoverished nation's inability to feed itself. But while most of the world has stopped paying attention to Haiti's woes, Mr. Clinton has become the de facto leader of the effort to rebuild it after the catastrophic earthquake this past January
. Will his influence be enough? Reports
from the UN Office of the Special Envoy to Haiti
indicate that the reconstruction progress has been slow
. [more inside]
The US Department of Justice has announced arrests
in four states
of ten alleged members of a “deep-cover” Russian spy ring whose ultimate goal was apparently to infiltrate U.S. policy-making circles. So much for burger diplomacy? [more inside]
Virginia Governor Bob McDonnell (R) has proclaimed April to be Confederate History Month in his state
, without referencing slavery or civil rights. The move has angered civil rights leaders
and revived a controversy
that has lain dormant for eight years
. FireDogLake is reporting that the neo-confederate group which lobbied Governor McDonnell to make the proclamation has ties to white supremacists
. [more inside]
"There is no conventional or chemical or biological threat out there that we cannot counter with our overwhelming conventional forces." ~ US President Barack Obama
The US 2010 Nuclear Posture Review Report (NPR) has been announced. (pdf) For the first time,
the United States is explicitly
committing not to use nuclear weapons except in "extreme circumstances"
, pledging not to develop new ones and limiting the use of those in storage -- even for self defense. Nuclear weapons will not be used against non-nuclear states that are in compliance with the Nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty
, even in response to a hypothetical biological or chemical weapons attack, or a crippling cyberattack. The new focus will be deterrence
. [more inside]
Leaked CIA Report: "Public Apathy Enables Leaders To Ignore Voters" (pdf / Scribed link here)
outlines possible public relations / propaganda strategies to shore up public support in Germany and France for a continued war in Afghanistan.
Basicland vs. Sorrowland
A parable about how one nation came to financial ruin by Charles Munger
. For extra colour there's... [more inside]
How America Can Rise Again
by James FallowsIs 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.
You can slog through the video
, but I preferred the transcripts 1
| 5 [more inside]
The Senate Finance Committee has approved the
plan proposed by Max Baucus.
"You can not come back to Canada until you have been criminally rehabilitated."
Ann Wright, who had 29 years of military and govt service, resigned in protest on the eve of the Iraq War from her position as deputy ambassador to Mongolia. In this hour long talk, she discusses her story and the story of several others from various countries who resigned in protest. Her new book, Dissent: Voices of Conscience
, details the story of 24 people who resigned in protest. [more inside]
An unprecedented five consecutive years of stagnant funding for the National Institutes of Health is putting America at risk
- a few prominent research institutions get together to voice
their concern over flat funding of the National Institutes of Health over the past 5 years, in their report The Broken Pipeline
(pdf). Bloggers comment [1
Al Hurra television, the U.S. government's $63 million-a-year effort at public diplomacy broadcasting in the Middle East, is run by executives and officials who cannot speak Arabic, according to a senior official who oversees the program.
That might explain why critics say the service has recently been caught broadcasting terrorist messages, ...
from their About US page: Alhurra is operated by non-profit corporation “The Middle East Broadcasting Networks, Inc.” (MBN). MBN is financed by the American people through the U.S Congress.
US Govt. Accountability Office abstract about other MBN problems here.
Cost of Government Day
the date of the calendar year, counting from January 1, on which the average American has earned enough in cumulative gross income to pay for his or her share of government spending (total federal, state, and local) plus the cost of regulation."
the American God? The herders of this remote mountain village know little about America, but have learned from those who run a US-funded aid program about the American God. A Christian God. ...
In Memoriam and in Protest
--why not use an online deathmatch as a pedestal for speaking out against a war?
Artist/Professor uses US Govt-developed America's Army
(...placing Soldiering front and center within popular culture and showcasing the roles training, teamwork and technology play in the Army. ...
) as protest and art space. DeLappe's homepage (and jpgs) here
The Office of Human Radiation Experiments
, established in March 1994, leads the Department of Energy's efforts to tell the agency's Cold War story of radiation research using human subjects. We have undertaken an intensive effort to identify and catalog relevant historical documents from DOE's 3.2 million cubic feet of records scattered across the country. Internet access to these resources is a key part of making DOE more open and responsive to the American public.
Cheyney the Torturer?
According to Dan Froomkin
today, Lawrence Wilkerson (former chief of staff to the secretary of state) said that he had uncovered a "visible audit trail" tracing the practice of prisoner abuse by U.S. soldiers directly back to Vice President Cheney's office.
we may not know where they are - but here's where they've been...
An incredible amount of information - current and historical - well indexed and with about a billion options
for searching through it. pretty impressive for what is at least unofficially a quasi-federal government site
despite protestations to the contrary.
Promoting Freedom or Fueling Conflict?
U.S. Military Aid and Arms Transfers Since September 11--from the World Policy Institute,
a report on whether we put our money where our mouth is. Statements like "Freedom will be the future of every nation and every people on Earth"
might sound nice and even inspiring, but why is our own government funding overwhelmingly anti-democratic and abusive governments?
... When countries designated by the State Department’s Human Rights Report to have poor human rights records or serious patterns of abuse are factored in, 20 of the top 25 U.S. arms clients in the developing world in 2003 -- a full 80% -- were either undemocratic regimes or governments with records of major human rights abuses. ...
Understanding elections beyond the red and blue axis.
Since 1987, the Pew Research center has been conducting a political survey that divides voters into various typologies
based on core beliefs-- upbeats and disaffected, enterprisers and bystanders -- and tracking political opinions and votes. The biggest trends
have been the rise of disadvantaged pro-government conservatives and the shift of the middle to the right. Fortunately, there is a survey
that will determine your type. Where does the typical MeFi visitor fit? (Hint from the typology: "Liberals- Affluent and highly secular...ideologically consistent on social issues, foreign policy and the role of government..nearly four-in-10 cite the Internet as their main source of news.")
US demands war crimes immunity But human rights campaigners said the Iraq prison abuse scandal proves that the US needs to be held to account.
"Given the recent revelations... the US has picked one hell of a moment to ask for special treatment," said Richard Dicker of Human Rights Watch.
-- the annual renewal of US protection from international prosecution for war crimes when serving under UN auspices comes to a vote on Monday.