Archive | August 2014

What Passes for Victories in an Era of Political Gridlock

ACADEME BLOG

Here is the opening of a recent item from The Hill [http://thehill.com/homenews/house/319443-immigration-advocates-claim-resounding-win-for-their-side-in-quiet-august]:

“Advocates for comprehensive immigration reform are claiming victory in the August recess. Their argument? They won because they didn’t lose.

“With legislation stalled in the Republican-controlled House, the push to overhaul the immigration system has not dominated the national headlines or evening news during the four weeks that Congress has been taking its annual summer vacation.

“Proponents of reform say they entered the recess worried that foes of the effort would flood town-hall meetings and stage large rallies, in a repeat of the Tea Party uprising that threw the push for healthcare reform off track in the summer of 2009.

“Despite efforts by Rep. Steve King (R-Iowa) and others, that dynamic hasn’t materialized.

“’What’s more important than what we have seen is what we haven’t seen,’ said Jeremy Robbins, director of the Partnership for a New…

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When Congressional Staff Become Wikipedia Contributors

ACADEME BLOG

The following passage is excerpted from a news report from The Hill:

“For days, someone in the House had been editing multiple pages related to transgender issues that critics called ‘transphobic.’ The situation came to a head this week when the person changed the description of Orange Is the New Black actor Laverne Cox from ‘a real transgender woman’ to ‘a real man pretending to be a woman.’

“That move caused an administrator to ban anonymous edits from the IP address for a month.

“Gay rights group Human Rights Campaign called for Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) to launch an investigation into which office was responsible.

“The person behind the edits—presumably a congressional staffer—remains anonymous but said in one of the Wikipedia’s behind-the-scenes pages that they were promoting ‘official business that has been explicitly authourized [sic] by the Representative.’”

The full article can be found at: http://thehill.com/policy/technology/technology/215796-congress-turns-wikipedia-into-forum-for-pranks-battle#ixzz3BWFln7WS

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Some Concerning Statistics on Drones

ACADEME BLOG

Several months ago, I posted this brief item:

Snarkiest Headline on the Torturously Slow Winding Down of the Afghanistan War

I receive a number of e-mailed newsletters from political blogs, and this was the headline of the daily newsletter from HuffPost Hill:

How Do You Ask a Drone to Be the Last Drone to Crash for a Mistake?

Then, in last week’s e-mail, I received the following news alert from the Washington Post:

More Than 400 U.S. Military Drones Crashed Since 2001

U.S. military drones have malfunctioned in myriad ways over the past decade, plummeting from the sky because of mechanical breakdowns, human error, bad weather and other reasons, according to a yearlong Washington Post investigation.

Documents obtained by The Post detail scores of previously unreported crashes involving remotely controlled aircraft, challenging the federal government’s assurances that drones will be able to fly safely over populated areas and…

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