Politics

How Productive Is Your State?

It's generally known that if California were separated from the rest of the United States, it would instantly become the world's 6th-largest economy (after the obvious heavies such as the rest of the US, Japan, China, Germany, and France). But how does the rest of the country stack up?

In this chart, you can see each of the American states listed by the name of a country that has roughly the same-sized economy:

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It's About Time We Recognize the Failure of Our School System

For the first time that I can recall, a US President was blunt about acknowledging the failure of our schools:

The president did not use the issue of security for his two daughters as an excuse for his decision to put them in private schools. Rather, he said, Sidwell Friends offers a better education.

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Who's Listening-In on Your Calls?

The NSA apparently can now eavesdrop on your phone calls in real-time. By implication, they must have some automated technology to determine whether or not any particular call is worth listening to in the first place (otherwise, how do you select from the several million simultaneous calls going on?). Scary, to say the least.

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Philidelphia Sucks

Have you ever tried to suck blood from a stone? Philadelphia is giving it a go as we speak:

After dutifully reporting even the smallest profits on their tax filings this year, a number — though no one knows exactly what that number is — of Philadelphia bloggers were dispatched letters informing them that they owe $300 for a privilege license, plus taxes on any profits they made.

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Video and the Police

This article discusses the trend of courts around the United States to criminalize the recording of on-duty police officers. This is frightening for many reasons, the primary one being that the public doesn't have many ways to check and balance police and/or government power. If recording police actions in- and of-itself is a crime, then the police have the ability to act beyond the limits of their authority without fear of punishment.

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A Big Consumer Win Against the DRMA

It's now officially legal to jailbreak your iPhone. Whether or not you want to is a valid question (if you want the hardware but don't like the interface, for instance). This new change to the law means consumers have received increased power against an overly authoritiative government policy, and hopefully this will break the ice on getting some of our previous rights back with respect to the content we buy.

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