This is America, Dude.

"I hate America, Louis. I hate this country. It’s just big ideas, and stories, and people dying, and people like you. The white cracker who wrote the national anthem knew what he was doing. He set the word 'free' to a note so high nobody can reach it. That was deliberate. Nothing on earth sounds less like freedom to me. You come to room 1013 over at the hospital, I'll show you America. Terminal, crazy and mean. I live in America, Louis, that’s hard enough, I don’t have to love it. You do that. Everybody’s got to love something." -Belize, Angels in America

Sep 13

Sep 3
“Bad behavior by members of the Afghan Local Police, roughly 16,000 nationwide, “goes back to recruitment and vetting,” the American official said, speaking on condition of anonymity because the program is officially regarded as a success.” http://www.nytimes.com/2012/09/03/world/asia/in-afghanistan-hitting-pause-on-local-police-training.html

Jul 20

sadfacts:

While the national unemployment rate is 8.2 percent, the unemployment rate for 16- to 24-year-olds more than doubles to 16.5 percent. For Latino youth, that figure jumps to 20.5 percent, and for African Americans, it skyrockets to 30.2 percent - almost four times the national average.

No end in sight? The long-term youth jobs gap and what it means for America


Jul 12
“In his Saturday radio address, Mr. LePage termed the I.R.S. “the new Gestapo” in comments opposing health care reforms. In an interview Thursday, he said: “What I am trying to say is the Holocaust was a horrific crime against humanity and, frankly, I would never want to see that repeated. Maybe the I.R.S. is not quite as bad — yet.” Asked if he knew what the Gestapo, Hitler’s secret police, did during World War II, including imprisonment and murder of millions of Jews, Mr. LePage said, “Yeah, they killed a lot of people.” Asked whether the I.R.S. “was headed in the direction of killing a lot of people,” he answered, “Yeah.”” http://www.nytimes.com/2012/07/13/us/maine-governor-compares-irs-to-gestapo-again.html

May 28

May 18
“But in the last few days of the session, which ended Wednesday, another version of the bill gained steam, one that preserved more of the original law and also added some controversial provisions, like one requiring the state to publish the name of every illegal immigrant who appears in court for a violation of state law. After that bill was passed, Governor Bentley added the immigration law to the list of topics lawmakers were to consider during a special session that began on Thursday. […] Lawmakers immediately responded by filing bills nearly identical to the one that passed the day before, only now requiring the state to publish photographs of immigrants in court in addition to their names.” Alabama Gets Strict Immigration Law as Governor Relents - NYTimes.com

May 10
“Historians and journalists commonly survey other historians on the relative ‘greatness’ of American presidents, and these rankings show remarkable consistency between surveys. In this paper we consider commonalities between highly ranked presidents and compare plausible determinants of greatness according to historians. We find that a strong predictor of greatness is the fraction of American lives lost in war during a president’s tenure. We find this predictor to be robust and compare favorably to other predictors used in previous historical research. We discuss potential reasons for this correlation and conclude with a discussion of how historians’ views might affect policy.” http://papers.ssrn.com/sol3/papers.cfm?abstract_id=2029774#1859389

May 9
“In its original proposal that oil companies disclose the chemicals they intend to use in drilling before starting a well, the Interior Department was seeking to address the concerns of landowners and communities about potential pollution of groundwater. But the industry objected, saying that the additional paperwork would slow the permitting process and potentially jeopardize trade secrets. The government then agreed to allow companies to reveal the contents of drilling fluids after the operation had been completed. Interior Department officials said that having a record would allow scientists to trace any future contamination and that it did not matter whether the fluids were disclosed before or after drilling.” http://www.nytimes.com/2012/05/05/us/new-fracking-rule-is-issued-by-obama-administration.html

May 6
“A year later, the lawsuit hit a brick wall. In April 2011, the Supreme Court ruled in AT&T Mobility v. Concepcion that corporations could write consumer contracts that blocked class-action lawsuits. To do so, the corporations need only draft a contract that a.) requires unhappy customers to settle disputes through arbitration, and b.) prohibits unhappy customers from arbitrating as a collective. When the ruling was issued, Brian T. Fitzpatrick, a law professor at Vanderbilt University, described it to The New York Times as “one of the most important and favorable cases for businesses in a very long time.” He called it “a game changer.” A year later, we’re starting to see how much the game has changed. On April 25, the consumer advocacy group Public Citizen released a report titled “Justice Denied” that said that since Concepcion, judges had cited the decision at least 76 times as a reason to prevent potential class-action lawsuits from moving ahead. In some of those cases, the judges made clear that they were ruling against the plaintiffs through gritted teeth, explaining that Concepcion basically made it impossible to come to any other decision.” http://www.nytimes.com/2012/05/06/your-money/class-actions-face-hurdle-in-2011-supreme-court-ruling.html

Apr 27
“Some prosecutors asked prospective black jurors, but not white ones, about whether the fathers of their children were paying child support. They struck a black juror for expressing “moderate” support for capital punishment while, in the same trial, accepting white jurors who called their support for capital punishment “moderate” and “slight”. They struck black jurors who knew defence counsel and witnesses, while accepting white ones who knew both. They struck black jurors because they lived outside the county, because they had family members who were prosecuted by the district attorney trying the case, because they said “Yeah” rather than “Yes”. And it goes on, for pages, in the same vein.” http://www.economist.com/blogs/democracyinamerica/2012/04/race-and-capital-punishment-0?fsrc=gn_ep