In a new paper in Progress, Oxford economist Vuk Vukovic argues that the key to re-election in local politics is to be just corrupt enough: giving lucrative contracts and other benefits to special interests who'll fund your next campaign, but not so much that the people refuse to vote for you. Read the rest
BB pal Rob Walker says:
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My Significant Objects co-conspirator Joshua Glenn and I have started a new adventure: PROJECT:OBJECT will publish four “themed” volumes of stories-about-objects from an all-star cast of writers. Volume 1, POLITICAL OBJECTS launched today, with stories from Luc Sante, Lydia Millet, and Ben Greenman. This series will continue on HiLobrow through Q1 (with a bunch clustered around Inauguration Day.) Then a new volume with a new theme will launch in April, etc.
The POLITICAL OBJECTS stories are here.
And here’s the once-a-week email newsletter we’ll use to distribute links to new stories in the year ahead.
If you're a California state employee -- including an employee in the UC system -- no longer use California state funds travel to Kansas, Mississippi, North Carolina or Tennessee, or any state "that has passed a law that (1) authorizes discrimination based on sexual orientation, gender identity and gender expression, or (2) voids or repeals existing state or local protections against such discrimination." It's hard to imagine any major academic conferences being held in those states anymore. Read the rest
EFF Legislative Counsel Ernesto Falcon has posted an excellent, practical guide to talking to your member of Congress -- how to do it, how to maximize your efficiency, and why you should. Read the rest
In a 24-hour period, America experienced: its next president giving a press-conference in which paid shills applauded or booed as suited his needs; its next president wielding a binder of blank pages as a prop, declaring it to be his "conflict of interest plan"; its next president setting out a way to launder bribes through the State Department; its Congress holding a 1AM vote to ban the Budget Office from investigating the real costs of legislation; its Senate voting to strip 22 million people of health-care (including me and my family). That was all in one day. Read the rest
Recent surveillance laws in Germany, France and the UK require online service providers to store (undoubtedly leaky and infinitely toxic) databases of everything you do online, and allow government agencies to raid these databases without accountability or meaningful oversight). Read the rest
On The Nib, Andy Warner posts a quick primer on the Voting Rights Act, which was weakened in a 2013 Supreme Court case that struck down the requirement for districts with a history of racist voter suppression to get federal oversight for changes to their voting procedures; of note is the section on Jeff Sessions, whose Attorney General confirmation hearing is underway right now. (Thanks, Fipi Lele!) Read the rest
The man who will decide how law is enforced in America for the next four years was deemed too racist to be a judge, voted to allow American soldiers to torture people, and is a general hot mess on crypto, surveillance, net neutrality and press freedoms: EFF staffers will liveblog his confirmation hearing this morning. (Image: Gage Skidmore, CC-BY-SA) Read the rest
Fivethirtyeight's analysis of a Surveymonkey data-set shows that Hillary Clinton would have won the 2016 election if registered Democrats had turned out and voted in larger numbers -- in other words, Hillary's failure to convince registered Democrats to vote, rather than abstain, lost her the election. Read the rest
The Russian Bank Deposit Insurance Agency has demanded repayment by French National Front leader Marine Le Pen -- daughter of open neo-Nazi and party founder Jean-Marie Le Pen -- of €9m borrowed from the First Czech-Russian Bank, which is now defunct. Read the rest