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Tag: Government

Leaking to Avert Disaster

While the Pentagon Papers revealed the duplicity of American policymakers in the senseless Vietnam War, their release came too late to save many lives or change the course of that conflict. The WikiLeaks disclosures may have arrived in time to influence policy and prevent disaster.

Posted on Jul 28, 2010 READ MORE

Man Faces Prison for Videotaping Cop

Today on the list: Why you can’t really get to know more than 150 people, why Democrats should be jealous of Greens and why a Maryland man faces 16 years in prison for shooting a video.

Posted on Jul 28, 2010 READ MORE

Quack Medicine on Taxes

The modern Republican argument about taxes seems to boil down to two principles, both misguided: Taxes can be reduced, but they can never be allowed to go up. And whatever level taxes are at, they are too high.

Posted on Jul 27, 2010 READ MORE

WikiLeaks’ Afghan War Diary has done it again, publishing thousands of classified documents about the U.S. war in Afghanistan.

Posted on Jul 27, 2010 READ MORE

Financial Reform Bill Rewards Whistle-Blowers

Today on the list: Why asking the troops about don’t ask, don’t tell is a bad idea, the “God hates fags” preacher’s son works against homophobia, and the whistle-blower provision that makes the financial reform bill just a little bit sweeter.

Posted on Jul 27, 2010 READ MORE

Electronic Voting That Might Actually Work

The digital age hasn’t been very good for elections, at least when it comes to the actual recording and counting of votes. But some big brains are out to change all that. Here is a system that would let you vote anonymously and allow you to verify that your vote was recorded accurately. (continued)

Posted on Jul 26, 2010 READ MORE

U.S. Air Force / Tech. Sgt. Francisco V. Govea II

It’s No Secret: Afghanistan Is a Quagmire

The tens of thousands of classified military documents posted on the Internet Sunday confirm what critics of the war in Afghanistan already knew or suspected: We are wading deeper into a long-running, morally ambiguous conflict that has virtually no chance of ending well.

Posted on Jul 26, 2010 READ MORE

U.S. Air Force / Tech. Sgt. JT May III

WikiLeaks Reveals 6 Years of Afghanistan War Secrets

The whistle-blower website just dropped 91,000 secret documents, which were simultaneously published by The New York Times, The Guardian and Der Spiegel. There are many revelations and more to come, but we already know that NATO forces appear to be responsible for hundreds of unclaimed civilian deaths and injuries ... continued.

Posted on Jul 25, 2010 READ MORE

The End of the Fox News Era?

The smearing of Shirley Sherrod ought to be a turning point in American politics. This is not, as the now trivialized phrase has it, a “teachable moment.” It is a time for action.

Posted on Jul 25, 2010 READ MORE

One-Third of U.S. Counties Face Water Shortage

Today on the list: Britain’s new prime minister flies business class, one-third of U.S. cities face water shortages, the history of canned laughter, and the art professor who squirts paint from the worst possible place.

Posted on Jul 23, 2010 READ MORE

AP / J. Scott Applewhite

What Is the Point of All This Spying?

Walter Kendall Myers, a former Foreign Service officer, has been sent to prison for life for espionage on behalf of Cuba. Did he knew anything at all that could remotely be termed “secret”?

Posted on Jul 22, 2010 READ MORE

An Electoral Dry Run Down Under

It’s rare to see a dry run for an election campaign. But over the next month, Australia will provide a testing ground for some of the core themes in this November’s American elections.

Posted on Jul 21, 2010 READ MORE

Our Secret Leviathan

Back in the bad old days of the Cold War—when mutual nuclear annihilation was a policy option—a culture of secrecy arose in Washington. What wise observers understood even then was that while governments tried to keep secrets from each other, their chief concern was to keep secrets from their own people.

Posted on Jul 21, 2010 READ MORE

White House / Pete Souza

Obama’s Intel Nominee Doesn’t Get It

After James Clapper’s response to the devastating Washington Post series on the intelligence complex, President Obama should seriously reconsider his nomination to be director of national intelligence.

Posted on Jul 21, 2010 READ MORE

AP / J. Scott Applewhite

The Grinches Who Stole Summer

Thanks to the defection of the two relatively enlightened Republican senators from Maine and the quick replacement of the late Democratic Sen. Robert Byrd, unemployment checks that had been stalled for millions of American families since early June will soon resume. But for Republicans, it has been a defining issue that will haunt the party.

Posted on Jul 21, 2010 READ MORE

Big Oil’s War on Earth

Today on the list: The places that make the Gulf spill look like a national park, Elizabeth Warren (yay) vs. Timothy Geithner (boo), Syria bans the veil, and the strange things men pay prostitutes to do (as if you don’t already know).

Posted on Jul 19, 2010 READ MORE

Purging the Tea Party’s Racist Poison

When the nation’s leading civil rights organization passed a resolution condemning displays of racism by tea party activists, leaders of the movement reacted with umbrage so thick you could cut it with a knife—then demonstrated that the NAACP’s allegation was entirely justified.

Posted on Jul 19, 2010 READ MORE

White House / Pete Souza

The Socialist Who Coddles Business?

The titans of the private sector say President Obama is anti-business. Many progressives say he coddles business. How does the administration manage to pull that off?

Posted on Jul 18, 2010 READ MORE

AP / Mark Lennihan

AIG Settles for $725 Million

American International Group, 80 percent owned by the U.S. government, has announced it will pay out $725 million in a settlement of a securities fraud lawsuit, begun in 2004, that accused the insurance Gargantua of accounting fraud and stock manipulation.

Posted on Jul 16, 2010 READ MORE

AP / Gregory Bull

Possible Cause of Death: Privatization

When a branch fell from a tree at the Central Park Zoo, killing a 6-month-old baby, Mayor Michael Bloomberg declared it “an act of God.” But in all likelihood it was the act of a mayor.

Posted on Jul 15, 2010 READ MORE

A Change Election—in the Wrong Direction

The furious and frustrated electorate should be careful when they demand change in the upcoming midterm elections—because what they get may well be very different from what they actually want.

Posted on Jul 14, 2010 READ MORE

AP / Carolyn Kaster

There’s Just No Pleasing Some Robber Barons

The flight from reason that now marks American public discourse came home for me last Friday when I found myself on public radio debating whether Barack Obama is anti-business.

Posted on Jul 13, 2010 READ MORE

The Thing That Ate the WIC Budget

The government’s struggles with infant formula, of all things, offer a broader lesson in how hard it is to take even the most common-sense steps to save taxpayer dollars.

Posted on Jul 13, 2010 READ MORE

Reality and Reform for How the EU Keeps Its Peace

The European Union deliberately has chosen not to challenge the United States as a military or political superpower. This is convenient for most and saves Europe a great deal of money. It is prudent, since no one knows what the U.S. would do if the Europeans undertook a role that challenged American primacy.

Posted on Jul 13, 2010 READ MORE

Japanese flag
Wikimedia Commons

Vote Ties Japanese Parliament in a Knot

Looks like the Japanese government is headed for a frustrating, and potentially ineffectual, phase after Sunday’s election left the nation’s parliament in a “twisted” condition. That’s an actual term, not a value judgment.

Posted on Jul 13, 2010 READ MORE

White House / Pete Souza

Obama’s Health Care Bill Is Enough to Make You Sick

A close reading of the new health care legislation, which will conveniently take effect in 2014 after the next presidential election, is deeply depressing.

Posted on Jul 11, 2010 READ MORE

Time Out for Recess Appointments

A recess appointment should be a last step in cases of egregious delay, not one of the first. That standard was nowhere near met in the case of President Obama’s latest appointee.

Posted on Jul 8, 2010 READ MORE


What ESPN’s Bill Simmons Superdeluxe Media Empire Means for Facts, Fans and Sports

Going bonkers, lionizing winners and dumping on losers is fun, even if the cycle is accelerating to absurdity and beyond with modern 24/7 reportage. That’s today’s price of fame. Privileged as they are, today’s starry-eyed young athletes pursue their dream through a driving shitstorm.

Posted on Jul 7, 2010 READ MORE

Department of Defense / Staff Sgt. Phil Schmitten

Nixon Thought About Nuking North Korea

Just after a U.S. spy plane was shot down in 1969, President Nixon appears to have ordered nuclear bombers to prepare to attack targets in North Korea, but he quickly changed his mind. More extensive plans (one with the Bush-esque name of “Freedom Drop”) for nuclear strikes on as many as 16 North Korean targets were also devised.

Posted on Jul 7, 2010 READ MORE


If Only Information Flowed as Freely as Oil

“Deep Spill 2” sounds like a sequel to a Hollywood thriller. Unfortunately, it is more of a reality show. “Deep Spill 2” is the name of an ambitious series of proposed scientific experiments that should be happening right now.

Posted on Jul 6, 2010 READ MORE

Crisis of Capitalism

Today’s list features an amazing animation on the crisis of capitalism, a dispatch from a Gulf Coast media felon and a debate on the ownership of breasts.

Posted on Jul 6, 2010 READ MORE

Flickr / (CC-BY)

Environmentalist Faces 3 Years for Hanging Banners

For the outrageous crime of hanging two banners in the Senate’s Hart Office Building, environmentalist Ted Glick could get up to three years in jail. The U.S. attorney’s office has asked for triple the normal maximum penalty, because Glick has made a habit of speaking his mind and, apparently, that’s just criminal. (continued)

Posted on Jul 5, 2010 READ MORE

Judicial Change to Believe In

Here’s when you know something momentous has happened to our struggle over the Supreme Court’s role: When Republicans largely give up talking about “judicial activism,” when liberals speak of the importance of democracy and deference to elected officials, and when judges are no longer seen as baseball umpires.

Posted on Jul 5, 2010 READ MORE

After the Recession, Belt-Tightening

This is no time for retrenchment, but the deficit projections coming out of the Congressional Budget Office are alarming and will only get worse if we dawdle.

Posted on Jul 4, 2010 READ MORE

A New Deregulatory Push in the Energy Heartland

In recent weeks, politicians from the capital to Colorado have provided ample evidence that the fossil fuel industry remains as powerful as ever in the wake of the Gulf Coast apocalypse.

Posted on Jul 1, 2010 READ MORE

Republican Worldview: It’s All Good

Judging by their response to millions of uninsured Americans, the drilling disaster in the Gulf and the economic crisis, Republicans should run on the slogan “It’s all good. Except for that Obama guy. And Nancy Pelosi.”

Posted on Jul 1, 2010 READ MORE

U.S. Army / Staff Sgt. Susan Wilt

Congress Tires of Lining Karzai’s Pockets

The House has decided not to approve some $4 billion in aid to Afghanistan after The Wall Street Journal reported that the country’s notoriously corrupt government has secretly flown billions of dollars in U.S. aid and drug money to “safe havens abroad.”

Posted on Jul 1, 2010 READ MORE

AP / Susan Walsh

What Kind of Supreme Court?

Although we did not discover much about Elena Kagan, confirmation hearings should remind us of what has been remarkable in our constitutional and judicial history.

Posted on Jul 1, 2010 READ MORE

Facebook Fatigue

Today on the list: Teens report Facebook fatigue, Israel’s crackdown on boycotts, and where have all the protest songs gone?

Posted on Jul 1, 2010 READ MORE

World Economic Forum / Remy Steinegger

The Passionless Party

You know the Democrats have a problem when party insiders think John Kerry is too intense.

Posted on Jun 30, 2010 READ MORE

AP / Gerald Herbert

When Rolling Stone Calls the Shots, It’s Time to Negotiate

It is amazing how little commentary there has been on the key issue raised by the McChrystal Affair: Should U.S. war policy be made by Rolling Stone?

Posted on Jun 30, 2010 READ MORE

Book Claims Monogamy Goes Against Our Nature

Today on the list: The Supreme Court-bound argument for gay marriage aims to win over every justice, why one author says monogamy is unnatural (just in case), the sound of sadness as identified by scientists, and more.

Posted on Jun 30, 2010 READ MORE

Photo illustration from White House photo by Pete Souza

Regulators Made Sure Goldman Sachs Got All of Its Bailout Money

A devastating report in The New York Times documents how Timothy Geithner’s New York Fed worked tirelessly to make sure that AIG was forced to pay banks such as Goldman Sachs 100 percent on dubious contracts that might otherwise have been slashed or subjected to lawsuits. (continued)

Posted on Jun 29, 2010 READ MORE

Unhinged on the Right

To hijack the horrors of the Holocaust and slavery in the service of a political campaign demeans the candidate and, worse, dishonors the victims. Decency demands that some comparisons be off-limits.

Posted on Jun 29, 2010 READ MORE

U.S. Marine Corps / Lance Cpl. Alfredo V. Ferrer

We Can’t Afford War

The U.S. will eventually negotiate its withdrawal from Afghanistan. The only difference between now and then will be the number of dead, on all sides, and the amount of (borrowed) money that will be spent.

Posted on Jun 29, 2010 READ MORE

U.S. Army / Ted Green

When the ‘Right War’ Goes Wrong

The Afghanistan situation is worth analysis at two levels, that of the war itself and the domestic political effect of Obama’s misguided decision to replace “Bush’s war” in Iraq with his own in Afghanistan.

Posted on Jun 29, 2010 READ MORE

Flickr / Anonymous9000 (CC-BY)

Accused Russian Spies Rekindle Cold War Passions

Russian authorities are up in arms over the arrest of 11 Russians accused of spying on the U.S. The FBI announced the arrests Monday, “in the spirit of the spy novel intrigues of the Cold War era,” as the Russian Foreign Ministry put it.

Posted on Jun 29, 2010 READ MORE

Noam Chomsky on Iran

It’s a short one this morning, class, so pay close attention: Noam Chomsky sounds off on the Iranian threat, Fox makes stuff up about the oil spill, some nutty professor is claiming Jesus was never crucified and trouble in Israeli academia.

Posted on Jun 29, 2010 READ MORE

Jose Ibanez / "South of the Border"

Oliver Stone Responds to New York Times Attack

“Larry Rohter attacks our film, ‘South of the Border,’ for ‘mistakes, misstatements and missing details.’ But a close examination of the details reveals that the mistakes, misstatements, and missing details are his own.”

Posted on Jun 28, 2010 READ MORE

U.S. Air Force / Tech. Sgt. Francisco V. Govea II

The Land Where Theories of Warfare Go to Die

Afghanistan is the place where theories of warfare go to die, and if the COIN theory isn’t dead yet, it’s utterly failed so far to prove itself.

Posted on Jun 28, 2010 READ MORE

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