12:01 PM, June 29th, 2012

Want to tackle the actual ruling from the Supreme Court on Obamacare but daunted by its 193 pages of legalese? Have no fear! We had a number of legal experts make helpful annotations explaining the most important paragraphs

3:27 PM, January 30th, 2012


The Special Investigator General for Iraq Reconstruction’s latest quarterly report is out today. And I always recommend reading these reports, they’re chock full of data and information on a wide range of things, from Iraqi public opinion, and trends in the security situation, to the ability of the US government to document its funds.

Here are some of the best/most interesting and important bits (read: I read it, so if you really aren’t in the mood, you don’t have to):

  • On January 4th of this year, the State Dept refused SIGIR’s request for “information pursuant to the activities it conducted pursuant to the US-Iraq Strategic Framework Agreement.” The SFA essentially governs the US’s interactions and relationship with Iraq now that they are no longer home to our troops, so that’s no small thing.
  • A Gallup poll of Iraqis showed that reports of low quality of life were much higher this year. When asked this September about their situations, 25% of respondents rated themselves as “suffering,” up from 14% in October of 2010. SIGIR reports that this can be connected back to the low quality of essential services in Iraq, like electricity.
  • On that subject - electricity is a big issue in Iraq, and has been for some time. When polled, more Iraqis think the pervasive lack of access to electricity should be the top priority for the government than think security should top the list. The average Iraqi household only gets 7.6 hours a day of electricity.
  • The DoD could only provide supporting documentation for $1bn of the $3bn provided to it under the Development Fund for Iraq for making contract payments. (This is such a shock…)
  • The number of contracting employees of US agencies in Iraq fell by 72% since last year.
  • Baghdad was declared the “world’s least safe city” by Mercer, but there have been some noticeable improvements in things like level of foreign investment, access to electricity and levels of violence.
  • Seriously, these are only a few things from this report. Look through the whole thing, particularly Section 4. If anything, read it for all the amazing, useful, to-die-for infographics and charts.

Some links to things mentioned in the report:

Reblogged from The Political Notebook
11:13 AM, December 7th, 2011


This Is Not Drill

Naval dispatch from the Commander in Chief Pacific (CINCPAC) announcing the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor, 7 December 1941. (Library of Congress)

Reblogged from NPR
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