18 December 2014
- Lifting the Cuban Embargo, from the Cuban-American perspective.
During a banal conversation about holiday plans at my grandmother’s last week, her caretaker said she was spending Christmas and New Year’s Eve in Cuba. “Take me with you!” the ninety-year-old said, five minutes after she’d denounced the Castro brothers for “nationalizing” her newly finished house in 1960. The cognitive dissonance aside — she has gradually lost some of her formidable concentration — the incident sums up the basic incoherence of Cuban-American policy, especially how the remittances and increased travel allowed by the Obama administration several years ago have leveled what remained of my genuine solidarity for my parents and grandparents. The caretaker, students I’ve taught over the years, and neighbors, all to a man and woman, voice their disgust with the Castro regime. Almost all of them have a story about a crime perpetuated by the regime against them, showing particular disgust for the quasi-apartheid preventing them from shopping and in some cases visiting tourist hotels. None of them want the Castros in power; at best I sense a kind of abused-wife kinship with the greybeards. But they don’t understand why they can’t have the freedom to spend and travel.
- Does the timing of Obama's Cuba announcement have anything to do with Russia?
The Cuban revolution in 1959 opened a new chapter in the cold war between the U.S. and the Soviet Union. The Americans had soldiers and missiles in Western Europe -- Russia's doorstep -- since the end of World War II. A communist state 90 miles from Florida evened out the game a little bit. It's hard to overstate how important the emergence of the Republic of Cuba was to midcentury geopolitics. The Cuban-Soviet-U.S. triangle almost turned the cold war hot; the Cuban missile crisis of 1962 brought the powers perilously close to nuclear war.
So, the Castro regime's very existence is inextricably wedded to enmity between the U.S. and Russia. By making this announcement today, in concert with Castro, Obama took another smack at Putin's blackened eye.
- US officials believe North Korea was behind the Sony hack.
“North Korea certainly is profiting from the perception that it was responsible for those attacks and threats. Today, another studio made the cowardly decision to kill a separate film that would have been set in North Korea. This week, petty despots everywhere learned how to censor what the rest of us are allowed to read and see, and not only in America,” Joshua Stanton, an attorney and author of the One Free Korea blog told NK News.
- What to do with "good white people."
In the wake of the Darren Wilson non-indictment, I've only deleted one racist Facebook friend. This friend, as barely a friend as a high school classmate can be, re-posted a rant calling rioters niggers. (She was not a good white person.) Most of my white friends have responded to recent events with empathy or outrage. Some have joined protests. Others have posted Criming While White stories, a hashtag that has been criticized for detracting from Black voices. Look at me, the hashtag screams, I know that I am privileged. I am a good white person. Join me and remind others that you are a good white person too.
- A mom calls C-Span to tell off her pundit sons for fighting on air.
17 December 2014
- The 2016 presidential race has already begun.
This whole area of politics is decidedly murky, but incredibly important. The reason this phase is called the invisible primary is not only because no visible voting occurs, but also because it’s very hard for people outside the process to observe. Right now in the Republican Party, the names of at least a dozen senators, representatives, and governors are being bandied about among party elites: activists, donors, officeholders, media figures, and party officials. Pretty much none of the candidates have actually declared that they’re running for president, and quite a few of them never will, but they’re running nonetheless. They do so by meeting with those party insiders, holding fundraisers, giving speeches at party functions, making friends in key early contest states like Iowa and New Hampshire, and trying to generate good press for themselves. In short, they’re trying to impress party elites and win over adversaries.
- How a Jeb Bush presidential run will be good for the GOP.
What this means is that by being one of the top-tier candidates in the race, Bush instantly changes the immigration debate in the primaries. It isn’t that any of the other candidates are going to move to the left, but the discussion will not just be about who wants to build the highest border fence. There will be at least one person talking about immigrants in human terms.
- Why Elizabeth Warren supporters aren't taking no for answer.
By all indications, progressive groups genuinely believe there is at least a chance of coaxing Warren into the race under certain circumstances. However, whether or not that ultimately happens, they have an interest in keeping up this push for another reason: Anything that boosts Warren’s visibility might also boost the potential power and influence that Warren may be able to exert within Congress — and over the Democratic Party in general — as their chosen vehicle for progressive policy ideas. That might boost the groups’ own influence over the debate.
- Presidents will keep on failing to bridge the partisan divide.
The public and the news media still want someone who meets the mid-20th-century ideal for a modern president: a uniting figure who works across the aisle to build support for his agenda and commands public opinion from the bully pulpit. While this image was always mostly a myth — presidents typically struggle to move polls or legislators’ votes — the political realities of the time did allow presidents to build more diffuse coalitions in Congress and attract broad public support when the circumstances were favorable.
- Should a college education be free?
It is widely agreed that the cost of college is much too high, but few people know how inexpensive it would be for the federal government to cover tuition at every two- and four-year public college in the country. Several estimates are now in circulation, and Robert Samuels’s 2013 book Why Public Higher Education Should Be Free presents the most detailed proposal. According to the most-recent calculations of Strike Debt, the debt-resistance group I work with, the cost would be relatively modest. The federal loan program is propped up by a motley assortment of subsidies and tax exemptions that amount to tens of billions of dollars. Strip these away, along with some other unjustifiable subsidies (GI Bill benefits and Pell Grants that are gobbled up by fraudulent for-profit colleges) and the cost to the government of public college would be as low as $15-billion in additional annual spending. That is little more than a line item in the defense budget, and a small price to pay for meeting the challenge of the 21st-century knowledge economy.
17 December 2014
My take on the Jeb Bush run for the Republican 2016 nomination is that the former governor's family name is nothing but a hindrance to his hopes. Big brother George W. might be remembered slightly more kindly now than he was when he left office — when his Gallup approval rating was 34 per cent — but the Bush legacy is nonetheless one few Americans would like their country to carry on. As recently as February of this year, more Americans blamed President Bush for the country's poor economic performance than they did Barack Obama. The Americans have no appetite to repeat the Bush administration's foreign policy adventurism either. That might be unfair, but so too are any positive benefits a well-known political name might bestow upon any contender.
Jonathan Bernstein, however, makes the best possible case for Jeb Bush benefiting from his family connections:
What we can say is that if he were Jeb Smith, a former two-term governor of Florida who has been out of politics since leaving office in 2007, and who has unorthodox positions in more than one policy area, he would be viewed as a longshot.
But something about the Bush family just makes a certain breed of Republicans go all weak at the knees, and has ever since Jeb’s grandfather, Prescott Bush, was a senator and a possible vice-president. That means Jeb will have easy access to the resources (money, endorsements, expertise, and more) that matter in presidential nomination politics. Republicans haven’t had to live with extreme uncertainty about their nominee for a long time; and some may be very tempted to just settle for the next Bush in line. And by all accounts, Jeb is simply a better politician than either his brother or his father (or, for that matter, his grandfather).
Not bad! And it's true that Republicans have a far more positive memory of the Bush years than the wider population. (Yes, to win the presidency, Jeb would need to triumph in the general election as well as the primary, but if he were to gain his party's nomination, he'd also gain millions of supporters willing to explain to the American public why he's nothing like his brother.)
I still consider him a non-starter as a candidate, however. His support for Common Core might not be as disqualifying as the sort of people who think American politics is scripted by Aaron Sorkin suppose (where else would federal education policy be such a big deal for conservatives?) but his liberal stance on immigration is both out of step with a party that parted ways with Rick Perry in 2012 over much less and disadvantages him by comparison with another contender, Marco Rubio, who better suits the party's approach to resolving its problems with that issue. On such questions, Republicans tend to prefer representation — which Rubio's Latino heritage satisifes — to policy.
And while the GOP does retain a cadre of Bush family loyalists, the wider party is orienting itself towards the next generation of Republicans: more conservative, less patrician, and less overtly identified with the party establishment. The unlikely Ted Cruz aside, not one candidate in this race will provide all the red meat the base wants, but until Jeb Bush gives a sign that he's able to remake himself for the 2014 incarnation of his party, rather than the 1998 one that existed when he first claimed the Tallahassee governor's mansion, I'm going to consider him yesterday's news.
15 December 2014
- The Obama administration is withholding hundreds of photos of detainee abuse.
Some photos show American troops posing with corpses; others depict U.S. forces holding guns to people’s heads or simulating forced sodomization. All of them could be released to the public, depending on how a federal judge in New York rules—and how hard the government fights to appeal. The government has a Friday deadline to submit to that judge its evidence for why it thinks each individual photograph should continue to be kept hidden away.
- Why Obama pushed House Democrats to pass the "CRomnibus" bill.
The key dynamic of the CRomnibus fight is in the two words "next Congress". The next Congress is a lot more Republican than this one. Whatever deal Democrats could get in this Congress, with Harry Reid in charge of the Senate, was going to be better than the deal they could get in the next Congress, with Mitch McConnell in charge of the Senate and more Republicans in the House.
- The rise of Buzzfeed as a source of serious journalism.
The website once known primarily for amassing enormous amounts of traffic through listicles and cat videos, has been breaking huge stories and winning prestigious awards for its journalism, not to mention attracting millions of dollars in venture-capital funding.But perhaps the surest sign yet that it has arrived as a serious force in media is how, all of a sudden, it seems to have many older media companies rattled.
- Angela Davis talks police violence, Beyoncé, and race in America.
‘There is an unbroken line of police violence in the United States that takes us all the way back to the days of slavery, the aftermath of slavery, the development of the Ku Klux Klan,” says Angela Davis. “There is so much history of this racist violence that simply to bring one person to justice is not going to disturb the whole racist edifice.”
- The American mall, circa 1989.
12 December 2014
- The Justice Department should release documents from its own torture investigation.
The steps in question concern a legal battle that is underway between the Justice Department and the New York Times. The Times’ Charlie Savage reports today that Justice is urging a court to reject the paper’s demand, under the Freedom Of Information Act, for the release of thousands of pages of internal government documents that summarize and explain the administration’s decision not to prosecute.
- The "CRomnibus" bill shows the downside of bipartisanship.
This is one of those things that demonstrates the chasm between political activists and analysts on the one side, and working politicians on the other. If you take a look at the bill, it does indeed have a bunch of objectionable features. People like me, with nothing really at stake, can bitch and moan about them endlessly. But you know what? For all the interminable whining we do about the death of bipartisanship in Washington, this is what bipartisanship looks like. It always has. It's messy, it's ugly, and it's petty. Little favors get inserted into bills to win votes. Other favors get inserted as payback for the initial favors. Special interests get stroked. Party whips get a workout.
- The New Republic has long shown little interest in African American lives.
For most of its modern history, TNR has been an entirely white publication, which published stories confirming white people's worst instincts. During the culture wars of the '80s and '90s, TNR regarded black people with an attitude ranging from removed disregard to blatant bigotry. When people discuss TNR's racism, Andrew Sullivan's publication of excerpts from Charles Murray's book The Bell Curve (and a series of dissents) gets the most attention. But this fuels the lie that one infamous issue stands apart. In fact, the Bell Curve episode is remarkable for how well it fits with the rest of TNR's history.
- The flaws in Rolling Stone's coverage of sexual assault at the University of Virginia.
[Friends] also said Jackie’s description of what happened to her that night differs from what she told Rolling Stone. In addition, information Jackie gave the three friends about one of her attackers, called “Drew” in the magazine’s article, differ significantly from details she later told The Post, Rolling Stone and friends from sexual assault awareness groups on campus. The three said Jackie did not specifically identify a fraternity that night.
- Cheerleading for the Buffalo Bills doesn't sound like a great experience.
For these and more humiliations, and for hundreds of hours of work and practices, Alyssa and her fellow cheerleaders on the Buffalo Jills received not a penny of wages, not from the subcontractor and certainly not from the Buffalo Bills, a team that each year makes revenue in excess of $200 million.
12 December 2014
In plain English: The torture was far more brutal than we thought, and the CIA lied about that. It didn't work, and they lied about that too. It produced so much bad intel that it most likely impaired our national security, and of course they lied about that as well. They lied to Congress, they lied to the president, and they lied to the media. Despite this, they are still defending their actions.
That's how Kevin Drum summarises the Senate Intelligence Committee's report on CIA torture, and if you don't find that alarming enough, the Washington Post has a list of ten of the Central Intelligence Agency's lowlights here.
The troubling aspect of the report isn't just the torture, though that is troubling enough. It's also whether the CIA has the ability to hold wrongdoers accountable, to change the institutional structures that allowed wrongdoing to take place, and to ensure that it isn't susceptible to enabling wrongdoing in the future. On all three counts, there seems good reason to doubt the Agency's willingness or capacity. Even more troubling, however, is the prospect that the US government might be unwilling or unable to hold the Agency to account.
President Obama, whether rightly or wrongly, has decided not to prosecute anyone over torture from the Bush years. It is unclear, though unlikely, whether Congress will respond legislatively to the revelations of the report — and, considering how brazenly the CIA disregarded the Senate's authority during the investigation, it's also unclear whether it would consider itself bound by any legal restrictions Congress placed on it. After all, even during the Senate investigation, the CIA spied on senators and then lied about whether it was doing so. It is now defending its actions and claiming they produced useful intelligence. (Director John Brennan: “I think there is more than enough transparency that has happened over the last couple of days.”)
This all might be slightly more palatable if a previous extraordinary Congressional investigation hadn't already found the CIA wildly abusing its power. The 1975 Church Committee found the Agency had planned assisinations of foreign leaders, plotted to overthrow foreign governments, and illegally spied on Americans. The aftermath of that investigation was supposed to bring the CIA to heel; if it did, it did not do so permanently. Considering it only came into existence in its current form in 1947, the CIA has spent a lot of its history disregarding legal oversight. Throw in Bay of Pigs and Iran–Contra, and, well:
“Every 10 years or so, the dark side of government goes off track,” said Loch Johnson, who during committee hearings in the 1970s was a special assistant to Sen. Frank Church (D-Idaho) and is now a scholar of the CIA and intelligence. “Periodically the CIA and other agencies end up doing things they should not” and are much more hesitant to do it again. I suspect in the future, if some president asks the CIA to interrogate prisoners, they will say, ‘No thanks, we’ve already been there.’ ”
Government bodies should not be held accountable by running so wild that, every few decades, a major investigation is held to uncover their worst abuses.
And there is reason to believe things might get worse at the CIA, as Henry Farrell explains:
In short, the CIA relies on relationships with a variety of people, and in particular with academics and people with semi-academic skills in a broader ecosystem of information. Many of these relationships are likely to be badly damaged by yesterday’s revelations. Academics will be less likely to want to talk to, or work with the CIA than before. Smart and idealistic young people will be less likely to sacrifice other opportunities to work for what is at best likely to seem a flawed and problematic organization.
This will plausibly have a number of consequences. If my argument is right, the CIA will be intellectually weaker and poorer at intelligence analysis than before, especially in areas where it has previously outsourced a lot of its thinking. In response to this challenge, it will become a more internally focused organization than before, since it will have considerably greater difficulty in getting external experts to engage with it. Moreover, there will be differences between the people who will still work together with the CIA, and those who will not. Those who are willing to maintain a relationship will be more likely to be traditional Beltway contractors, more likely to have some pre-existing military or security orientation, and more likely to be politically conservative. Those who will not will be more likely to be academics, less likely to have a direct security orientation, and will be more likely to be politically moderate or liberal.
Hence, the CIA — like many organizations in difficult times — is likely to face social pressures that tend to reinforce its insularity.
And what did the architects of this current era of CIA abuses think of previous efforts at overseeing the Agency? Here's Mark Danner:
[Vice-President Dick] Cheney believed in a “unitary executive,” believed quite literally that “the executive Power shall be vested in a President of the United States of America.” He believed that the various post-Watergate hearings of the mid-1970s, the Church and Pike committees and others—he had watched their progress as the thirty-four-year-old chief of staff in President Gerald Ford’s White House—and the laws that had followed their exposé—had “neutered” the intelligence agencies, had “put the gloves on,” and that a vital part of the Bush administration’s post–September 11 mission, his mission, was to take those gloves off.
I will not pretend the CIA does not do valuable — absolutely integral — work in regards to keeping Americans safe. Nor will I pretend I have the answers to the problem of its continued law-breaking. As satisfying as it might be to say the whole organisation must be dismantled, that seems unwise. But we should not see the content of this report as something that can be solved with a few safeguards or by allowing the fearfulness of the immediate post-9/11 era to recede into history. The CIA has shown time and time again that it is an organisation with a deeply flawed culture. Radical action needs to be taken to bring it into line.
11 December 2014
- Ten of the most harrowing excerpts from the report on CIA torture.
1. Of the 119 CIA detainees, 26 should not have been apprehended. Among them was Abu Hudhaifa, who was "subjected to ice water baths and 66 hours of standing sleep deprivation" before the CIA discovered that he was probably "not the person he was believed to be."
- If the CIA's practices were defensible, why did it act like it had something to hide?
[I]f the program was successful, then why hide it and lie about it? The CIA repeatedly “impeded” oversight from Congress, the White House and even the agency’s own inspector general. It did so by refusing to brief on the program until months after it was already underway (or, in the Office of the Inspector General’s case, only when a detainee died), withholding crucial documents when asked for them, giving inaccurate testimony on the effectiveness of the program in stopping terrorist plots and later destroying evidence of the interrogations, such as the videotapes of the waterboardings of Abu Zubaida. (Wednesday morning, Sen. Mark Udall (D-Colo.) revealed that the CIA’s own internal report found that “the CIA repeatedly provided inaccurate information to the Congress, the president, and the public.”) We still don’t even know the extent of the waterboarding, because the CIA won’t explain why there was a photograph of a “well-used” waterboard device at a detention site where the agency claimed there was no waterboarding.
- Who is to blame for the practices described in the report?
The excuses are many and are sure to proliferate, as will the defensive tone and the apologetics—and, not without some reason, some call for understanding. The defenses are of two kinds, both as false as they are deeply felt. First, there is the truth that the C.I.A. interrogators were, for the most part, following orders and doing what they had been told they were authorized to do; to make them the prime villains is to clear the democratically elected politicians who allowed this to happen—and, more important, to clear the democracy that elected those politicians. We are all implicated, not just those who drowned and froze and tormented prisoners. If blame is to be had, it must not move only upward, to the bosses; it must move outward, to those who chose the top men and to the many who explicitly endorsed their reading of the “war on terror” and the threat of terrorism. (That prospect, one would guess, was at the heart of President Obama’s reluctance to release the report in the first place; to blame no one might be unacceptable, but to blame anyone in particular was to blame everyone.)
- Should Obama pardon the participants to offer a way forward?
Yes, as a matter of morality, prosecutions would be better; the torture program was illegal and the officials who built it should be held accountable. The problem is that—in addition to civil servants and political appointees—this includes a former president and vice president. Prosecutions would immediately polarize the issue—making this a fight over Bush and Cheney, not torture—entrench the pro-torture position in Republican politics, and almost guarantee a return to the “dark side” for a future GOP administration that sees torture as just another partisan football.
- The state of the niche news magazine.
The New Republic’s troubles are reflected in the data for its fellow niche news magazines, which all target an elite audience consisting of older, educated and wealthier readers. Looking at three comparable magazines (The Atlantic, The New Yorker and The Economist), the digital side of the business has been making some gains, but single copy sales for this group were down or flat since 2008, according to the Alliance for Audited Media. For the first half of 2014, The Atlantic saw its sales rise 20% from a year before. The New Yorker, however, fell 5% during the same period, while The Economist fell 16%.
9 December 2014
- "Dick Cheney was lying about torture."
I had long since come to that conclusion myself. As special agent in charge of the criminal investigation task force with investigators and intelligence personnel at Guantanamo Bay, Afghanistan, and Iraq, I was privy to the information provided by Khalid Sheik Mohammed. I was aware of no valuable information that came from waterboarding. And the Senate Intelligence Committee—which had access to all CIA documents related to the “enhanced interrogation” program—has concluded that abusive techniques didn’t help the hunt for Bin Laden. Cheney’s claim that the frequent waterboarding of Khalid Sheikh Mohammed “produced phenomenal results for us" is simply false.
- A Staten Island grand jury was particularly unlikely to indict Eric Garner's killer.
A Staten Island grand jury has voted not to indict a New York Police Department officer in the killing of Eric Garner, who died after being put in a chokehold by the officer. Grand juries, which almost always vote to indict, commonly decline to do so in cases that involve police officers. But there’s another reason the Staten Island grand jury’s decision isn’t surprising: the borough’s politics.
- Mitch McConnell's "huge mistake" on the latest Obamacare court case.
But even if this isn’t a big “a-ha!” moment, it does lay bare, for any of the justices listening, just how Republicans in Congress will react to an adverse ruling. And that could limit the arguments conservatives resort to when the Court rules in this case next year.
- A history of the myth of the self-made man.
But listening to him describe the factors that produced Eastern’s early success, I realized I’d fallen prey to the same fallacy that had led Milton Gordon to attribute the achievements of Jewish garment workers solely to their industry and ambition, and not the conditions in which their ethic thrived. The self-made mythology has evolved in its 200 years: from an exuberant celebration of opportunity in the young republic to a stern admonition against excess in the antebellum years; from a naive story of pluck rewarded in the post-Civil War-era, to a brazen defense of money-getting in the Gilded Age; from a beacon to the great wave’s huddled masses, to a pep talk for the young women of the digital age. The one constant, however, has been the idea that character trumps circumstance. I’d caught myself buying into it.
- Barack Obama took over the Colbert Report.
8 December 2014
- "Police sometimes see things differently."
This has something to do with the way police see things. Police are people, after all, subject to the same flaws and vices as the rest of us. America’s police departments tend to be whiter than the general population, and nearly half of whites believe “many” or “almost all” black men are violent. Whites overestimate the amount of crime, in particular violent crime, involving blacks. Whites are also more likely to ascribe supernatural physical abilities to black people, in particular the ability to resist physical pain, a stereotype that harkens back to slavery. Black children like Tamir Rice are “more likely to be mistaken as older, be perceived as guilty and face police violence if accused of a crime.”
- Confronting the racial past of the North.
Americans have fewer enduring impressions of the North. It simply stands as the nation’s default region. Most Northerners behave as though they come from America writ large, rather than from a subsection of it. The North seems unremarkable. It holds no dark mystery, no agonies buried deep within. We forget that many parts of the North have an identity, culture, politics and racial history all their own.
- The NFL has denied St Louis police requests to discipline players protesting Ferguson.
The police association released a statement in which it called for "the players involved to be disciplined and for the Rams and the NFL to deliver a very public apology." The organization was incensed when five Rams players — Tavon Austin, Stedman Bailey, Kenny Britt, Chris Givens and Jared Cook — held up their hands in what has become a well-known sign of support for the Ferguson, Mo. community grappling with the shooting of Michael Brown by police officer Darren Wilson.
- Ferguson, hardcore punk, and the angry black woman.
My anger as a Black woman fronting an aggressive, politically charged hardcore/metal band with DIY punk ethics is somehow too much for them. White punks screaming about the same politics, the same fucked-up shit, and even about racial issues and injustices they don't even particularly face, are wholeheartedly accepted, never questioned, never told to tone down, and never told to relax. No matter how justified I am, or how down for the cause they are, they're put off by my very valid rage. Why is that? What is it about a Black girl doing the same shit white men do that makes them feel like it's too much? How am I the only one being labeled too aggressive in a genre that is all about aggression?
- Frank Rich talking to Chris Rock is worth your time.
So, to say Obama is progress is saying that he’s the first black person that is qualified to be president. That’s not black progress. That’s white progress. There’s been black people qualified to be president for hundreds of years. If you saw Tina Turner and Ike having a lovely breakfast over there, would you say their relationship’s improved? Some people would. But a smart person would go, “Oh, he stopped punching her in the face.” It’s not up to her. Ike and Tina Turner’s relationship has nothing to do with Tina Turner. Nothing. It just doesn’t. The question is, you know, my kids are smart, educated, beautiful, polite children. There have been smart, educated, beautiful, polite black children for hundreds of years. The advantage that my children have is that my children are encountering the nicest white people that America has ever produced. Let’s hope America keeps producing nicer white people.
1 December 2014
- It's incredibly rare for a grand jury not to indict a suspect.
A St. Louis County grand jury on Monday decided not to indict Ferguson, Missouri, police officer Darren Wilson in the August killing of teenager Michael Brown. The decision wasn’t a surprise — leaks from the grand jury had led most observers to conclude an indictment was unlikely — but it was unusual. Grand juries nearly always decide to indict.
Or at least, they nearly always do so in cases that don’t involve police officers.
- How St Louis municipalities profit from poverty.
Some of the towns in St. Louis County can derive 40 percent or more of their annual revenue from the petty fines and fees collected by their municipal courts. A majority of these fines are for traffic offenses, but they can also include fines for fare-hopping on MetroLink (St. Louis’s light rail system), loud music and other noise ordinance violations, zoning violations for uncut grass or unkempt property, violations of occupancy permit restrictions, trespassing, wearing “saggy pants,” business license violations and vague infractions such as “disturbing the peace” or “affray” that give police officers a great deal of discretion to look for other violations. In a white paper released last month, the ArchCity Defenders found a large group of people outside the courthouse in Bel-Ridge who had been fined for not subscribing to the town’s only approved garbage collection service. They hadn’t been fined for having trash on their property, only for not paying for the only legal method the town had designated for disposing of trash.
- The University of Virginia's sexual assault problem.
From reading headlines today, one might think colleges have suddenly become hotbeds of protest by celebrated anti-rape activists. But like most colleges across America, genteel University of Virginia has no radical feminist culture seeking to upend the patriarchy. There are no red-tape-wearing protests like at Harvard, no "sex-positive" clubs promoting the female orgasm like at Yale, no mattress-hauling performance artists like at Columbia, and certainly no SlutWalks. UVA isn't an edgy or progressive campus by any stretch. The pinnacle of its polite activism is its annual Take Back the Night vigil, which on this campus of 21,000 students attracts an audience of less than 500 souls. But the dearth of attention isn't because rape doesn't happen in Charlottesville. It's because at UVA, rapes are kept quiet, both by students — who brush off sexual assaults as regrettable but inevitable casualties of their cherished party culture — and by an administration that critics say is less concerned with protecting students than it is with protecting its own reputation from scandal. Some UVA women, so sickened by the university's culture of hidden sexual violence, have taken to calling it "UVrApe."
- Why DC will always love its late mayor Marion Barry.
To most people outside Washington, D.C., and to many living there now, former Mayor Marion Barry’s political appeal remains a mystery. To them, he is a national embarrassment, the big-city mayor who ran America’s glittering national capital into the ground, the guy who was dumb enough to get caught on tape smoking crack while still in office.
- Will Perfume be the first Japanese pop group to make it in America?
Now, Perfume hope to drum up the same sort of recognition they have among artists with audiences. This has been long been the unattainable goal for Japanese pop artists. Kyu Sakamoto, reached number one on the Billboard charts in 1963 with “Ue o Muite Arukou,” but it was all downhill after that. The duo Pink Lady tried to break into the American disco market in the late ‘70s, but ended up starring in what many critics consider one of the worst network television shows ever. Popular ‘90s pair Puffy gained some recognition in the 2000s in North America — as cartoon characters. Ten years ago, Hikaru Utada — responsible for the best-selling album in Asian music history — teamed up with American producers such as Timbaland and The Neptunes to try to break into America. She fizzled out. Perfume are the highest-profile J-pop act to try in a decade, and they hope to succeed where so many others have failed.
- Washington DC & LA Placement Programs Ceremony
- Women in Leadership Roundtable
- International Dialogue on Women in Leadership Day 2
- International Dialogue on Women in Leadership Leaders Panel
- 2014 Future Cities Graduation Luncheon
- Presentation of the Alliance 21 Report to the Australian Government
- 2014 Future Cities Program: Study Tour
- UCLA Study Abroad Welcome Back Reception
- Bradford Smith: Trends Shaping the Future of Philanthropy
- Ongoing US Engagement in the Asia-Pacific Region
- Middle East in turmoil: US options for Iraq, Syria and Israel-Palestine
- Graduation ceremony for America: Prophecy, Power, Politics
- 2014 Debate the Future of America Final
- The coming technology revolutions in Asia from Silicon Valley
- 2014 Future Cities Program Mayors' Forum
- 2014 Future Cities Program Launch
- Australia-US: The Alliance in an Emerging Asia
- Behavioural Exchange 2014
- 2014 UCLA Study Abroad Program Pre-departure Session
- Luncheon with Victoria Farrar-Myers
- US expectations for the G-20
- Balancing density, transport and liveability: Lessons for Western Sydney
- Does High-Density Always Mean High-Rise? An Examination of Mixed Density and Transit Oriented Development
- Crossing Borders and Pushing Boundaries: Telling Women’s Stories
- US-China relations – and what's in store for Australia
- Student roundtable with Ambassador Dennise Mathieu
- Placemaking in Woollahra and Waverley
- Placemaking workshop
- Placemaking as a social movement: What if we built our cities around places?
- Launch of the Future Cities Collaborative
- Book launch: In the Interest of Others
- Developments in Global Oceans Governance and Conservation
- Public Knowledge Forum
- Women in Leadership project launch
- Advanced Biofuels Industry Day at PACIFIC 2013
- Delivering a Sustainable Future City – Part 2
- Minimal. Conceptual. Pop: A symposium on American Art from 1960-80
- The green visitor economy: Sustainability through innovation and strategic partnerships
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- Evidence-Based Policymaking
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- Dynamics of 21st Century Trade and Investment in the Asia-Pacific: An Australia-US Perspective
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- The role of the media in US Presidential Elections
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- US in the World Lecture - with guest Shanto Iyengar
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- 2011 National Summit: The 9/11 Decade - Welcome
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- Bob Hawke: Reflections on the Australia-United States Alliance
- Washington DC Internship Program
- American Grace: How religion divides and unites America
- John Howard: Reflections on the Australia-United States Alliance
- Soil Carbon Stakeholder Workshop
- Reception for US Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia
- City of the Future
- The Midterm Referendum on Obama
- Welcome reception for United States Consul General
- Jack Miles at the Centre for Independent Studies
- Waiting for the Preacher: Obama’s America in World Religious Context
- The Icarus Syndrome: A History of American Hubris
- Intelligence reform in the United States
- Book Launch: Financial Fraud and Guerrilla Violence in Missouri's Civil War, 1861-1865
- Ethical supply chains: An executive roundtable
- Jeffrey Schott: Trade policy in the Obama administration and the outlook for Asia- Pacific economic integration
- Race in America, race in Australia: A public forum featuring Glenn Loury, Waleed Aly and Bob Carr
- Workshop on Inequality
- China-US relations: Partners or rivals
- Mark Tushnet: Current issues and controversies in the US
- Gail Fosler: What the financial crisis tells us about ourselves - A US perspective on economic and governance challenges
- Jonathan Greenblatt delivers lecture to undergraduate students
- Peter Katzenstein: Why the clash of civilizations is wrong
- Henry Cisneros on housing and sustainability
- James Hansen: What Australia should do about climate change
- War correspondent Mark Danner in conversation with Geoffrey Garrett
- Launch of the Dow Sustainability Program
- Sustainable supply chains
- David Brady: The Obama Presidency and the outlook for the coming year
- US Ambassador meets students at the US Studies Centre
- US Business Leadership Forum with Rupert Murdoch
- Celebrating the launch of American Review
- One year of Obama: A discussion with James Fallows, Paul Kelly, Robert Hill and Geoffrey Garrett
- James Fallows: One year of Obama
- Obama: One year in the making
- Meeting of the US Studies Centre Council of Advisors
- Costello discusses post-GFC financial reform
- Jim Johnson: How is Obama responding to the financial crisis?
- Jim Johnson seminar with US Studies students
- US Politics in the Pub: The rebirth of the Republican right?
- Dennis Richardson discusses the state of Australia-US relations
- "US in the World" High school lecture
- 2009 National Summit: Dinner
- 2009 National Summit: John Micklethwait Keynote Speech
- 2009 National Summit: Human health and sustainability - What are the challenges for globalisation?
- 2009 National Summit: Expert Sessions 2
- 2009 National Summit: Business solves poverty - The new approach to corporate social responsibility
- 2009 National Summit: Corporate social responsibility - How should business behave in the GFC?
- 2009 National Summit: Climate change and energy security - Looking towards the Copenhagen Conference
- 2009 National Summit: Breakfast
- 2009 National Summit: Public Forum
- 2009 National Summit: Expert Sessions 1
- 2009 National Summit: Labour and human rights - Can we afford them in a global financial crisis?
- 2009 National Summit: Malcolm Turnbull Keynote Speech
- 2009 National Summit: Governing the global economy - Economic nationalism vs. Bretton Woods 2.0
- 2009 National Summit: Obama's America - Globalisation headaches and protectionist impulses
- 2009 National Summit: Peter Garrett Opening Address
- 2009 National Summit: Welcome Address
- 2009 National Summit: Welcome Reception
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- Thomas Mann: The Obama Administration and its Outlook on the Asia Pacific
- Thomas Mann: The First 100 Days of the Obama Administration
- Robert Burgelman: Leading Strategically in a Turbulent Environment
- Robert Thomson: The Obama Administration and the Actions Shaping the Global Financial Crisis
- Barry Jackson: Evaluating the Obama Stimulus Package
- The Great American Recession: What Does It Mean For You?
- Edward Leamer: The Financial Crisis and the Outlook for the US
- Inauguration Watch: Manning Bar
- Inauguration Watch: Breakfast
- Harry Harding: China in the 21st Century and Policy Implications for Australia, the US and the World
- Christmas Function
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- The President-Elect: What Can We Expect?
- David Brady: The US Under the New President
- Election Day Spectacular
- Michael Parks and Simon Jackman: America at the Crossroads
- 'US in the World' High School Lecture
- Foreign Policy of Obama and McCain: Which is Australia's Gain?
- Mike Chinoy: Global Crisis Points - The War on Terror, Loose Nukes and American Foreign Policy
- James Gibbons: Replicating Silicon Valley - Lessons for Australia
- Vice Presidential Debate Screening
- Visit by the Australian Political Exchange Council’s 25th US Delegation
- Derek Shearer: Obama v McCain - Who Will Win, Does it Matter?
- John Howard Dinner
- McCain's Acceptance Speech: Republican National Convention
- New Horizons: Breaking into the US market
- Sydney Uni Live!
- Obama's Acceptance Speech: Democratic National Convention
- Hedley Bull Book Launch: Address by Bob Hawke
- Great White Fleet Centenary Ball
- Dick McCormack: Global Financial Risk and the Role of Central Banks and Regulators
- Jonathan Pollack: US-North Asia Relations
- Jeffrey Sachs Dinner
- ANZASA Conference
- Peter Scher: Will US Trade Policy Change After the 2008 Elections?
- Peter Scher: The Next President's Challenge - Global Trade and the 2008 Elections
- Matt Bai: US Political Journalism - The Next Generation
- Bob Pisano: Positioning Australian Screen Content in the US Marketplace
- Marvin Goodfriend: The Outlook for the US Economy and the State of the Financial Institutions
- American Foreign Policy After Bush: Frank Fukuyama in Conversation with Geoffrey Garrett
- Frank Fukuyama Meets US Studies Students
- Frank Fukuyama: Contemporary Issues Facing America
- Super Tuesday screening at the Manning Bar
- 2007 National Summit: Public Forum
- 2007 National Summit: Networking and Research Forum
- 2007 National Summit: America Then, America Now
- 2007 National Summit: Climate Change or Islamofascism
- 2007 National Summit: Dinner
- 2007 National Summit: How Countries Compete
- 2007 National Summit: Will the Next US Foreign Policy Look Surprisingly Like the Current One?
- 2007 National Opinion Survey: Australian Attitudes Towards the US (Part 2)
- 2007 National Summit: Opening
- 2007 National Summit: Welcome Reception
- Role of Arts and Humanities in Building International Understanding: Harriet Mayor Fulbright
- 2007 National Opinion Survey: Australian Attitudes Towards the US (Part 1)
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