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The Ban on Blood Donation

Are the Rules That Determine Who Can Donate Blood Discriminatory? Canadian AIDS researchers Dr. Mark Wainberg and Dr. Norbert Gilmore say that while the ban on blood donation from men who have sex with other men may have been ethically and scientifically justified in the 1980's, it no longer makes sense. (CMAJ.) Even though the US FDA reaffirmed their long-standing ban in 2007, they plan to revisit the policy in June. [more inside]
posted by zarq on May 26, 2010 - 69 comments

Into The Mud They Go

Yesterday, the New York Times published an investigative report showing Connecticut Attorney General Richard Blumenthal (D) either lied or spoke ambiguously about serving in Vietnam in several past public appearances. Blumenthal is currently the Democratic frontrunner for Senator Chris Dodd's Senate seat, and is expected to face former WWE CEO Linda McMahon (R). Today, McMahon's campaign announced they "fed" the story to the paper and posted the video of Blumenthal's statement to their YouTube channel. More from Politico. [more inside]
posted by zarq on May 18, 2010 - 124 comments

Infographic: Food and Drink Spending by City

Infographic: Food spending in the biggest U.S. cities. Austin, TX is living large. Detroit, MI must be losing weight.
posted by jjray on May 13, 2010 - 34 comments

Make maps of the United States using demographics data

Make a Map is a website that lets you create your own maps of the US and areas thereof using various demographics data. It's still in beta stage but it's got all of the US (at least everywhere I've thought to look) and so far has datasets for median household income, population change 2000-9, population density, median home value, unemployment rate, average household size and median age. It's fun to use and taught me a great deal about my home city. The sitemaker, ESRI, also has a pretty good free globe map software, ArcGIS Explorer, for which you download map layers and add-ins.
posted by Kattullus on May 2, 2010 - 13 comments

Abortion Not OK in OK

Provoking pro-choice advocates, Oklahoma passed two highly restrictive abortion laws on Tuesday. One (rtf file) requires doctors to show women an ultrasound of their fetus and point out its physical characteristics — even if the patient was impregnated through rape or incest. The second (rtf file) stipulates that doctors cannot be sued if they decide to lie to an expectant mother regarding her baby's birth defects. A third requires clinics to post signs telling patients they cannot be forced to have an abortion. The first law prompted an immediate lawsuit from Tulsa's only abortion clinic. [more inside]
posted by zarq on Apr 30, 2010 - 169 comments

Life, rekindled.

How does an ecosystem rebound from catastrophe? Thirty years after the blast, Mount St. Helens is reborn again. Interactive Graphic: Blast Zone. Also see National Geographic's feature article from 1981, chronicling that year's eruption. Previously on MeFi [more inside]
posted by zarq on Apr 20, 2010 - 18 comments

Moral: Don't Do Your Heroin Supplier Any Favors

The Rise and Fall of Frank Ma, Last of New York's Asian Godfathers: How a Chinese immigrant became a crime lord, ordered a hit that left the wrong men dead, sparked a 16-year international investigation and finally landed in prison for the rest of his life.
posted by zarq on Apr 18, 2010 - 43 comments

The Whitewash

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]
posted by zarq on Apr 7, 2010 - 245 comments

Is Anwar al-Awlaki a meddlesome prei-- imam?

President Obama has done the (apparently) unprecedented: he has authorized the assassination of an American citizen. Or should this be termed an extrajudicial execution? Or just the use of military force against terrorists? (Previously.)
posted by orthogonality on Apr 6, 2010 - 132 comments

"...to pursue the day when these weapons do not exist..."

"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]
posted by zarq on Apr 6, 2010 - 82 comments

Renminbi Appreciation and US Policy

Recently, Paul Krugman has been advocating for US trade protectionism to counter China's apparent undervaluation of renminbi. Peking University Economics professor Yiping Huang disagrees.
posted by jjray on Mar 30, 2010 - 47 comments

Public Apathy Enables Leaders To Ignore Voters. . .

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.
posted by zarq on Mar 29, 2010 - 18 comments

I blame Obama and his terrible gift giving. An iPod and some DVDs? Seriously?

The Special Relationship between the US and the UK is over... Perhaps it never really existed outside of the UK anyway.
posted by Artw on Mar 28, 2010 - 86 comments

Is the acorn better than the oak which is its fullness and completion?

ACORN, the low-income community grassroots organisation, is set to close by April 1st, citing "a series of well-orchestrated, relentless, well-funded, right-wing attacks that are unprecedented since the McCarthy era". Meanwhile the New York Times has issued a correction on the stories which led to the 87-3 vote to remove ACORN's Federal funding (previously), admiting that "while footage shot away from the offices shows one activist, James O'Keefe, in a flamboyant pimp costume, there is no indication that he was wearing the costume while talking to the Acorn workers."
posted by Artw on Mar 22, 2010 - 87 comments

Better Smile When You Cross That Border, Part II

Remember Peter Watts, the Canadian sci-fi writer who in December was arrested and charged with assaulting a border agent, resisting arrest, and being an asshole after being pulled over for inspection while leaving the US because his rental car had Washington plates? He was today found guilty of "failure to comply with a lawful command" by a Port Huron, Michigan, jury. Part Three, The Sentencing, will take place April 26. Watts faces up to two years in federal prison. [more inside]
posted by FlyingMonkey on Mar 19, 2010 - 138 comments

A Shrine Down the Hall

Bedrooms of the Fallen, from war photographer Ashley Gilbertson. Via the NYT Lens Blog: War Memorials With Neatly Made Beds. (Slideshow: The Shrine Down The Hall)
posted by zarq on Mar 19, 2010 - 27 comments

"Black Genocide"

In the US, the conservative movement’s latest rallying cry against abortion claims pro-choice groups are conducting a systematic eugenics campaign to turn African Americans into an "endangered species." The idea is finding renewed traction and condemnation in Black communities. Several bloggers at RHRealityCheck are offering counter-arguments. [more inside]
posted by zarq on Mar 2, 2010 - 151 comments

Be it resolved that financial 'innovation' does not boost economic growth

Basicland vs. Sorrowland
A parable about how one nation came to financial ruin by Charles Munger. For extra colour there's... [more inside]
posted by kliuless on Mar 2, 2010 - 34 comments

"We know that the first chance Obama gets, he will pounce on us."

Though President Obama has signed no laws since taking office that prohibit gun purchases and ownership, that hasn't stopped permit applications and weapons sales in the United States from rising through the roof and worried state legislators from passing laws they wouldn't otherwise pass, which greatly ease access and allow carrying weapons in, among other public areas, city, state and national parks. Schools may have to get their kids prepared.
posted by Blazecock Pileon on Feb 23, 2010 - 102 comments

“A cobra among garter snakes”

He was... "...the meanest, toughest, most ambitious S.O.B. I ever knew but he'll be a hell of a secretary of state." -- Richard Nixon
Alexander Meigs Haig, Jr.,, former NATO Supreme Allied Commander, Europe, who served US Presidents Nixon (as a military adviser, deputy assistant for national-security affairs, and chief of staff), Ford (chief of staff), and Reagan (secretary of state), has died at the age of 85. Haig commanded a batallion during the Vietnam War (where he was seriously wounded), managed the White House during the Watergate scandal that brought down President Nixon, and was himself a former Presidential candidate. [more inside]
posted by zarq on Feb 20, 2010 - 40 comments

Facebook Regions of America

Researcher uses data regarding connections on facebook to map distinct regions of the United States.
posted by jefficator on Feb 9, 2010 - 55 comments

The Battle of Brisbane

The United States and Australia have long shared a peaceful alliance, but it was not always so. In 1942, U.S servicemen and Australian soldiers fought openly and violently in what is known today as The Battle of Brisbane. [more inside]
posted by Effigy2000 on Feb 8, 2010 - 51 comments

American declinism

The End of Influence - the latest in a long series documenting the US' relative decline (esp wrt China 1 2 3 4 5) Brad DeLong and Stephen Cohen reflect on what has brought us to our past, but now fast-fading glory: "Roosevelt's strategy [entering WW2] was to make Britain broke before American taxpayers' money was committed in any way to the fight against Hitler." Before delving into our present predicament, however, it might also be useful to briefly consider some of the lessons from Bretton Woods and what the wealth of nations is really built upon.
posted by kliuless on Jan 31, 2010 - 39 comments

a very long article

How America Can Rise Again by James Fallows
Is 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. (via|previously)
posted by kliuless on Jan 6, 2010 - 61 comments

Because we're all special snowflakes

The US Census has a blog - Robert M. Groves, director of the U.S. Census Bureau is writing about the changes, challenges and stories of the 2010 Census as the US gears up for it's decennial tally of "we the people." [more inside]
posted by DarlingBri on Dec 31, 2009 - 22 comments

No Country For Old Men

On January 1st, the U.S. estate tax will disappear. For exactly one year. Then it will come back higher on Jan. 1, 2011. Will lots of old rich people die? [more inside]
posted by msalt on Dec 17, 2009 - 129 comments

Politics is about rewarding friends and punishing flip-floppers.

The New Republic's Jonathan Cohn declares the public option dead. "The Senate isn't going to include any version of the idea in its bill. And while the House can still demand a public option in conference, nobody I know expects the House to prevail." [more inside]
posted by l33tpolicywonk on Dec 15, 2009 - 584 comments

Everything you know about U.S. involvement in Iran is wrong

The Great Satan Myth. We have discussed the US supported coup of 1953 on MeFi before. Now, Abbas Milani, provides some more context to the complex relationship of the two countries.
posted by lenny70 on Dec 11, 2009 - 13 comments

Better Smile When You Cross That Border.

Peter Watts Arrested and Beaten at the US Border. Author of the Rifters Trilogy, and that neat little vampire Powerpoint, he's been busted for "assaulting a border guard", and is looking at prison time. You can find more details here. His account of the matter is on his blog, here. [more inside]
posted by darth_tedious on Dec 11, 2009 - 208 comments

George Soros on the Way Forward

Soros lectures
You can slog through the video, but I preferred the transcripts 1 | 2 | 3 | 4 | 5 [more inside]
posted by kliuless on Nov 21, 2009 - 13 comments

Remittances reversed

“We send something whenever we have a little extra, at least enough so he can eat." Remittances, the small money transfers a previous FPP called "the most important antipoverty program in the world", are now flowing the opposite direction. Yes, poor families in southern Mexico are having scramble to find money to send north to their out of work relatives in the US.
posted by Forktine on Nov 18, 2009 - 14 comments

The Economist: The World in 2010

In 2010, Obama will have a miserable year, NATO may lose in Afghanistan, the UK gets a regime change, China needs to chill, India's factories will overtake its farms, Europe risks becoming an irrelevant museum, the stimulus will need an exit strategy, the G20 will see a challenge from the "G2", African football will unite Korea, conflict over natural resources will grow, Sarkozy will be unloved and unrivalled, the kids will come together to solve the world's problems (because their elders are unable), technology will grow ever more ubiquitous, we'll all charge our phones via USB, MBAs will be uncool, the Space Shuttle will be put to rest, and Somalia will be the worst country in the world. And so the Tens begin.

The Economist: The World in 2010. [more inside]
posted by goodnewsfortheinsane on Nov 14, 2009 - 60 comments

Iraq Swears by Bomb Detector U.S. (Correctly) Sees as Useless

Iraq Swears by Bomb Detector U.S. (Correctly) Sees as Useless. Similar to the now debunked Sniffex (as seen previously on Metafilter), the ADE651 detects explosives, firearms, grenades, narcotics, elephant ivory, bank notes, and according to its manufacturer's website, "human research." [more inside]
posted by Optimus Chyme on Nov 4, 2009 - 52 comments

Quoi, moi me préoccuper?

In 1948, in the aftermath of the Second World War, with Europe still in ruins, three young Belgian comic strip artists, Joseph Gillain (aka Jijé), Maurice de Bevere (aka Morris) and André Franquin, crossed the Atlantic with the intention of settling in the US. All three would eventually return to Belgium, their hopes of working for Disney ultimately dashed by the turmoil of the McCarthy years. However, in the meantime they made the acquaintance of their colleagues of the Charles William Harvey Studio in New York, including a cosmopolitan young wit named René Goscinny. [more inside]
posted by Skeptic on Oct 29, 2009 - 37 comments

US Military Cuts And A Step Towards Equality

Yesterday, US President Obama signed a $680bn military policy bill, which cuts military spending, including $2bn in funding for new F-22 fighter jets. However, the bill also contained the first major piece of federal gay rights legislation, and fulfilled an Obama campaign promise: acts of violence against gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender people have now been added to the list of federal hate crimes.
posted by zarq on Oct 29, 2009 - 219 comments

Goodbye, "Leih Hou Ma," Hello "Ni Hao Ma!"

"Chinatown" communities across the United States (New York, Chicago, Los Angeles, Boston, San Francisco) are undergoing a shift in linguistic identity, as recent immigrants are more likely to natively speak Mandarin (the official spoken language of China, Hong Kong and Taiwan,) instead of Cantonese. [more inside]
posted by zarq on Oct 22, 2009 - 56 comments

Health care plan clears major hurdle

The Senate Finance Committee has approved the plan proposed by Max Baucus.
posted by reenum on Oct 13, 2009 - 177 comments

"George Washington is the American Christ"

Mystical Sites – U.S. Capitol : The US Capitol isn’t simply another governmental building. It is the spiritual center of the United States. Its structure, its art and its symbols all reveal the great importance of secret Fraternities in the shaping of the world most powerful government. [more inside]
posted by Burhanistan on Sep 10, 2009 - 60 comments

The Stupid History of Health Insurance Regulation in the US

fxgillis at the League of Ordinary Gentlemen tells "the stupid history of how the stupid Supreme Court and a stupid Congress wound up saddling us with such a stupid system for regulating the insurance market." [more inside]
posted by cimbrog on Aug 22, 2009 - 9 comments

A rational conservative solution for health care reform

E.D. Kain with a moderate conservative solution to the health care crisis
posted by reenum on Aug 13, 2009 - 88 comments

Jimmy Carter gets out

Jimmy Carter leaves the Southern Baptist Church [M]y decision to sever my ties with the Southern Baptist Convention, after six decades, was painful and difficult. It was, however, an unavoidable decision when the convention's leaders, quoting a few carefully selected Bible verses and claiming that Eve was created second to Adam and was responsible for original sin, ordained that women must be "subservient" to their husbands and prohibited from serving as deacons, pastors or chaplains in the military service. This was in conflict with my belief - confirmed in the holy scriptures - that we are all equal in the eyes of God.
posted by ThePinkSuperhero on Jul 20, 2009 - 157 comments

WTO, the US and Antigua - a love story

USA ♥'s AntiguaZookz
posted by bigmusic on Jul 16, 2009 - 10 comments

How Beckham Blew It

"I'm not going to spend the next three years of my life doing it this way. This is f------ miserable. I don't want to have soccer be this way." Landon Donovan , center midfielder for the USA soccer team which recently lost to Brasil 3-2 in the USA's first FIFA final, talks about playing with David Beckham in an excerpt from Grant Wahl's forthcoming book 'The Beckham Experiment'.
posted by dig_duggler on Jul 1, 2009 - 84 comments

"Scats in the Woods"

Following a 30-year trend, bear sightings and human encounters in certain US cities seem to be on the rise. But when Cleveland's Fox Channel 8 (WJW) needed to report about recent black bear sightings in a NE Ohio neighborhood, they had to get a stand-in. Perhaps the bear refused to sit for an interview with intrepid reporter Todd Meany? [more inside]
posted by zarq on Jun 19, 2009 - 40 comments

The American Empire Is Bankrupt

The American Empire Is Bankrupt (via The Agonist)
posted by Substrata on Jun 18, 2009 - 81 comments

High Speed Trains in California

Getting up to speed : "If it can get started, the California high-speed train would almost certainly be the most expensive single infrastructure project in United States history. Judging by the experiences of Japan and France, both of which have mature high-speed rail systems, it would end the expansion of regional airline traffic as in-state travelers increasingly ride the fast trains. And it would surely slow the growth of highway traffic."
posted by dhruva on Jun 14, 2009 - 77 comments

Isla del encanto?

With all the dust that's been* riled up by Obama's nomination of Sonia Sotomayor (previously), everyone is suddenly taking an interest in Puerto Rico. A basic question that may come up is why we're there in the first place. Understanding that, we can see how the complicated relationship has played out between Puerto Rico, the US, and, most recently, the United Nations. Although the UN has urged the US to take steps towards establishing Puerto Rico's sovereignty, referendums held on the island have overwhelmingly preferred the status quo and the US has been indifferent at best. But independence activists, after a twenty-year decline, may be on the rise. The island's current governor, Luis Fortuño, is pro-statehood. But the whole issue has taken a back seat since plans have been made to fire 30,000 government workers, privatize some public services, and sell some the the government's US$3.2 billion debt. [more inside]
posted by krikkit261 on Jun 10, 2009 - 26 comments

Don't Ask, Don't Tell

A Gay Soldier's Husband — In the backdrop of the conservative activist Supreme Court's recent decision against hearing a challenge to the US military's "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" policy, one gay American relates the difficulties he faces having a partner on active duty in Iraq. In Iraq itself, death squads continue to murder gay and lesbian Iraqis, while American occupying forces look the other way.
posted by Blazecock Pileon on Jun 10, 2009 - 73 comments

UK and USA might lose AAA rating

Standard & Poor’s changed the UK's credit outlook from stable to negative a few days ago, and warned that there is a chance the UK could lose its AAA rating. Meanwhile, Moodys, another of the big 3 rating agencies, has warned that the US might also eventually lose its AAA rating. The UK announcement caused sterling to drop by 1% and the FTSE by 2%. However, many blame the same rating agencies for their part in triggering the subprime crisis. The irony of this is not lost on the Wall Street Journal, who note that "After all, those governments are jacking up spending, in part, to bail out the financial firms who gobbled up those 'AAA' asset backed securities duly blessed by the credit ratings firms." [more inside]
posted by memebake on May 26, 2009 - 38 comments

PortlandFilter

PDX History is a veritable treasure trove of information about (and pictures and postcards of) the history of Portland (Oregon). Department stores, streetcars, long-dead amusement parks (yes, Jantzen Beach was once much more than a dying mall surrounded by big-box stores) and more. The web design leaves a bit to be desired, but the site is wonderful nonetheless.
posted by dersins on May 15, 2009 - 15 comments

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