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Old 04-13-2012, 06:52 AM   #3276
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http://www.disinfo.com/2012/04/the-h...the-president/

Noticed via OrgTheory (http://orgtheory.wordpress.com/2012/...are-popular/):




The finding is simple. War casualties, as a fraction of the population, positively correlate with how historians rate presidents. More death = better presidents. The regression model includes some controls, like economic growth. This is consistent with sociological research on state building, which has traditionally linked wars, bureaucratic growth, and tax collection.
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Old 04-13-2012, 07:04 AM   #3277
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Old 04-13-2012, 08:11 AM   #3278
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http://www.neatorama.com/2012/04/12/...hail-in-texas/



Photo: Potter County Fire Department - via US National Weather Service Facebook Page

Everything is bigger in Texas, but this is ridiculous: 4 feet of hail blanketed an area north of Amarillo.

"That was 4 feet of ice" that was compacted by rain and floodwater across a wide area, [National Weather Service spokeswoman Krissy Scotten] added.

"It was actually the rain/water that caused the drifts," Scotten said. "Anytime you have hail accumulate 2 to 4 feet high and get over three inches of rain, no matter how it occurs, it's pretty incredible."

As for the darkish color, "we're very dusty around here" due to drought so the hail quickly darkened, Scotten said.


http://usnews.msnbc.msn.com/_news/20...e-a-storm?lite
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Old 04-13-2012, 09:09 AM   #3279
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http://www.disinfo.com/2012/04/nypd-...juana-arrests/

policeonbikes.nypd_.shutterstockIn short, New York City cops put 50,000 people behind bars last year for marijuana possession — even though the state decriminalized it in 1977 — and they refuse to stop. Via Raw Story:

Police officers in New York are “manufacturing” criminal offenses by forcing people with small amounts of marijuana to reveal their drugs, according to a survey by public defenders.

Under New York law, possession of 25g or less of marijuana [merely] brings a $100 fine. Only when the drugs are in public view are the police permitted to make an arrest for drug possession. One in three respondents said police had forced them to take the marijuana out of pockets or from under clothes and produce it into public view.

In September last year, Kelly issued an order to officers not to arrest people caught with small amounts of marijuana. But the number of those arrested increased after the order was made. In all, about 50,000 people were arrested in 2011 for marijuana possession.

Reasons police stopped people who they subsequently arrested for marijuana included “furtive movements,” “suspicious bulges,” “being in a high crime area” and “other.” Legal experts and criminal justice scholars have claimed that stop and frisks-and the drug arrests that often result from them-routinely lead to fourth amendment violations and serve as pipeline for the nation’s bloated prison system.
And now they'll get to strip search them.
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Old 04-13-2012, 09:15 AM   #3280
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Looks like Michael Jackson. Some don't know this, but Jackson stole his entire act from Bob Fosse. Here's a dance routine Bob Fosse created and danced in the film The Little Prince done to the tune "Billie Jean":



The year was 1974, when MJ was 14 years old. No doubt he saw the movie.
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Old 04-14-2012, 09:39 AM   #3281
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http://www.rit.edu/news/release.php?id=47657

Hubble Research Reveals ‘Wandering’ Black Hole


Research sheds light on galaxy evolution


A team of scientists from Rochester Institute of Technology, Florida Institute of Technology and the University of Sussex has discovered that the supermassive black hole at the center of the most massive local galaxy is on the move.
The discovery, made through observations of the Hubble Space Telescope data, will help scientists refine their understanding of how galaxies are made and how they evolve.
Messier 87 is a massive elliptical galaxy that, at 60 million light years from Earth, is one of our most impressive and closest galactic neighbors. It is known for its brilliant and dense nebulae of stars and a distinctive jet of sub-atomic particles that is propelled from its active center.
The team has found that the supermassive black hole thought to be at the center of M87 has been is displaced. The most likely cause is a previous merger between two older, less massive black holes, but the displacement may also be due to the propulsive energy of M87’s iconic jet.
“The M87 jet may have pushed the supermassive black hole away from the galaxy center,” says lead author Daniel Batcheldor, assistant professor of physics at Florida Institute of Technology and former research scientist at RIT.
The study of M87 is part of a wider Hubble Space Telescope project directed by Andrew Robinson, professor of physics at RIT. “What may well be the most interesting thing about this work is the possibility that what we found is a signpost of a black hole merger, which is of interest to people looking for gravitational waves and for people modeling these systems as a demonstration that black holes really do merge,” says Robinson. “The theoretical prediction is that when two black holes merge, the newly combined black hole receives a ‘kick’ due to the emission of gravitational waves, which can displace it from the center of the galaxy.”
David Merritt, professor of physics at RIT, adds: “Once kicked, a supermassive black hole can take millions or billions of years to return to rest, especially at the center of a large, diffuse galaxy such as M87. So searching for displacements is an effective way to constrain the merger history of galaxies.”
Many galaxies have similar properties to M87, so it is likely that supermassive black holes are commonly offset from their host galaxy centers. David Axon, head of the School of Mathematical and Physical Sciences at the University of Sussex, says: “In current galaxy formation scenarios galaxies are thought to be assembled by a process of merging. We should therefore expect that binary black holes and post coalescence recoiling black holes, like that in M87, are very common in the cosmos.”
Earth’s own galaxy is predicted to merge with the Andromeda galaxy, which could then result in a similar wandering SMBH at the heart of the new galaxy–in about 3 billion years.
“The result of that merger will likely be an active elliptical galaxy, similar to M87,” says Eric Perlman, associate professor of physics and space sciences at Florida Institute of Technology. “Both our galaxy and Andromeda have supermassive black holes in their centers, so our result suggests that after the merger, the supermassive black holes may wander in the galaxy’s nucleus for billions of years.”
The research was presented at the American Astronomical Society Conference May 25 in Miami and will be published as “A Displaced Supermassive Black Hole in M87,” by D. Batcheldor, E. Perlman (Florida Institute of Technology); A. Robinson, D. Merritt (Rochester Institute of Technology) and D. Axon, University of Sussex, Astrophysical Journal Letters.
For more information, contact Andrew Robinson at 585-475-2726 or axrsps@rit.edu or Daniel Batcheldor at 321-674-7717 or dbatcheldor@fit.edu.
##
About RIT: Rochester Institute of Technology is internationally recognized for academic leadership in computing, engineering, imaging technology, and fine and applied arts, in addition to unparalleled support services for students with hearing loss. Nearly 16,800 full- and part-time students are enrolled in more than 200 career-oriented and professional programs at RIT, and its cooperative education program is one of the oldest and largest in the nation.
For two decades, U.S. News & World Report has ranked RIT among the nation’s leading comprehensive universities. RIT is featured in The Princeton Review’s 2010 edition of The Best 371 Colleges and in Barron’s Best Buys in Education. The Chronicle of Higher Education recognizes RIT as a “Great College to Work For.”
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Old 04-14-2012, 02:54 PM   #3282
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Originally Posted by alkemical View Post
http://www.disinfo.com/2012/04/the-h...the-president/

Noticed via OrgTheory (http://orgtheory.wordpress.com/2012/...are-popular/):




The finding is simple. War casualties, as a fraction of the population, positively correlate with how historians rate presidents. More death = better presidents. The regression model includes some controls, like economic growth. This is consistent with sociological research on state building, which has traditionally linked wars, bureaucratic growth, and tax collection.
Bush did not kill enough people? Interesting food for thought.
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Old 04-14-2012, 02:56 PM   #3283
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http://www.neatorama.com/2012/03/30/...s-illustrated/



David McCandless of Information is Beautiful (he wrote the wonderful book The Visual Miscellaneum - I highly recommend it), came up with this clever visualization and examples of common logical fallacies.

Why, some of them are my favorite techniques to obfuscate people I love, and since they still love me, these must be the greatest things ever.
Take a look and see if your cherished logical fallacies are featured: Link - via Metafilter

http://www.informationisbeautiful.ne...cal-fallacies/
Good stuff! I think Orangemane is a kind of logic puzzle. It makes sense only when it's lying to you.
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Old 04-16-2012, 06:55 AM   #3284
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Originally Posted by Odysseus View Post
Bush did not kill enough people? Interesting food for thought.
It's an interesting dynamic when looking at things.
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Old 04-16-2012, 06:56 AM   #3285
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Good stuff! I think Orangemane is a kind of logic puzzle. It makes sense only when it's lying to you.
You can't "listen" to the OM's words. But if you watch it, it shows you the truth.
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Old 04-16-2012, 08:44 AM   #3286
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WTF:

http://www.usatoday.com/money/indust...ing/54224068/1



Prom spending rises to average $1,078 this year, survey says


Quote:
This year, families with teens are expected to spend an average of $1,078 on prom, up from $807 last year, according to data from a survey released today by Visa that includes results based on a thousand telephone interviews conducted at the end of last month.
Quote:

"This is social-arms-race spending. It's extreme," says Jason Alderman, director of Visa's financial education programs.

Spending has been driven to never-before-seen levels as teens are influenced by everything from celebrities and reality TV to the prevalence of social media, experts say.

Linda Korman, advertising director for Seventeen Prom and Teen Prom, says teen girls view prom as their "red-carpet moment" and are "heavily influenced" by celebrities who walk actual red carpets in designer gowns.

"It's a rite of passage, and there's a legacy of how you look at your prom," she says. "Girls want to dress to impress."

Maria Sanchez-Ferry of Las Vegas spent $400 on a sequined teal dress from a bridal store for her 17-year-old daughter, Reyna Sanchez, and another $120 on alterations. The prom is at the end of the month, and while she says the event is turning into the most costly of all the high school dances Reyna, a senior, has attended, she doesn't mind spending more.

Quote:
Girls' sources of style and inspiration have evolved with greater access to information through fashion blogs and other websites that put an emphasis on individuality, Levy says. "There's a general sense of people wanting to be differentiated," she says. "Going to a national chain and getting the same dress that 18 other girls have is not a chance for me to differentiate myself or express my individuality, which is such an important part of my social experience today."

Splurging on an expensive dress or getting your hair and nails done isn't just about personal expression; it's about getting attention, Yarrow says.

"The bar is higher for what it takes to get attention, and therefore, (teens) really need to have something exclusive, original, unique to them in order to get attention to from other people," Yarrow says, and that often comes with a higher price tag.

The "peer pressure to one up each other over and over," as Alderman says, seems to be affecting less affluent families the most. Parents in one of the lowest income brackets from the Visa survey reported planning to spend the most on prom. Those who make between $20,000 and $29,999 a year will spend more than $2,600, twice the national average, while families in high income brackets plan to spend between $700 and $1,000.

"Appearance is everything, and for prom, appearance really matters," Levy says. "You'll probably see people spending a little beyond their means to make the right impression. It's like your Cinderella night, so you pull out all the stops."
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Old 04-16-2012, 08:50 AM   #3287
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http://www.buzzfeed.com/briandavies/...son-on-th-5wx4
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Old 04-16-2012, 08:55 AM   #3288
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Old 04-16-2012, 10:57 AM   #3289
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http://www.disinfo.com/2012/04/how-t...ol-the-masses/

“Believe me, you don’t want the state having the power to strip your clothes off. And yet, it’s exactly what is happening…” Naomi Wolf writes in the Guardian:

In a five-four ruling this week, the supreme court decided that anyone can be strip-searched upon arrest for any offense, however minor, at any time. This horror show ruling joins two recent horror show laws: the NDAA, which lets anyone be arrested forever at any time, and HR 347, the “trespass bill”, which gives you a 10-year sentence for protesting anywhere near someone with secret service protection. These criminalizations of being human follow, of course, the mini-uprising of the Occupy movement.

Is American strip-searching benign? The man who had brought the initial suit, Albert Florence, described having been told to “turn around. Squat and cough. Spread your cheeks.” He said he felt humiliated: “It made me feel like less of a man.”

In surreal reasoning, justice Anthony Kennedy explained that this ruling is necessary because the 9/11 bomber could have been stopped for speeding. How would strip searching him have prevented the attack? Did justice Kennedy imagine that plans to blow up the twin towers had been concealed in a body cavity? In still more bizarre non-logic, his and the other justices’ decision rests on concerns about weapons and contraband in prison systems. But people under arrest — that is, who are not yet convicted — haven’t been introduced into a prison population.

Read More: Guardian
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Old 04-16-2012, 11:01 AM   #3290
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http://www.disinfo.com/2012/04/epa-c...santo-coverup/

Alexis Baden-Mayer writes on the Organic Consumers Association:

2,4-D and the dioxin pollution it creates are too dangerous to allow, period, but in the hands of bad actors like Monsanto and Dow Chemical the dangers increase exponentially. What’s the Environmental Protection Agency doing? Helping coverup the chemical companies’ crimes!

In February, Monsanto agreed to pay up to $93 million in a class-action lawsuit brought by the residents of Nitro, West Virginia, for dioxin exposure from accidents and pollution at an herbicide plant that operated in their town from 1929 to 2004.

That may seem like justice, but it is actually the result of Monsanto’s extraordinary efforts to hide the truth, evade criminal prosecution and avoid legal responsibility. A brief criminal fraud investigation conducted (and quickly aborted) by the EPA revealed that Monsanto used a disaster at their Nitro, WV, plant to manufacture “evidence” that dioxin exposure produced a skin condition called chloracne, but was not responsible for neurological health effects or cancers such as Non-Hodgkins lymphoma.

These conclusions were repeatedly utilized by EPA and the Veterans Administration to deny help to citizens exposed to dioxin, if these persons did not exhibit chloracne. The EPA knew the truth about Monsanto’s dioxin crimes, but it decided to hide it. Why?…

Read More: Organic Consumers Association

Read more here.
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Old 04-16-2012, 01:57 PM   #3291
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http://www.disinfo.com/2012/04/the-s...erry-sandusky/

The Strange CIA Connection with Penn State Pedophile Jerry Sandusky


Luke O’Brien writes on Deadspin:

We’ve written about Ray Gricar before. He’s the former Centre County district attorney who declined to prosecute Jerry Sandusky in 1998, despite a psychologist’s warning that Sandusky showed a “likely pedophile’s pattern” of behavior. On April 15, 2005, Gricar mysteriously disappeared from central Pennsylvania and, seemingly, from this earthly realm. Gone. No trail. Just an empty car with a cell phone inside.

Three months later, fishermen discovered Gricar’s government-issued laptop in the Susquehanna River. Police later found his hard drive on a riverbank, damaged so badly that no data could be recovered. They also learned about the Internet searches run on the DA’s home computer before his disappearance: “how to wreck a hard drive,” “how to fry a hard drive,” and “water damage to a notebook computer.”

Cases like this often don’t get solved. Rather, conspiracy theories pop up, some more wackadoodle than others. And when news about Sandusky’s alleged crimes broke last year, the tinfoil-hat crowd really rolled out the Reynolds Wrap. There was never any evidence to connect Gricar’s disappearance to his Sandusky investigation. But so what? We figured his disappearance was bizarre enough that it warranted a FOIA request with the FBI. The documents we got back deal with an “URGENT” 1986 background check the FBI did on Gricar, when he was appointed by the local U.S. attorney to try federal cases. The documents don’t reveal anything about the investigation into Gricar’s disappearance, likely because the investigation is ongoing, but they do contain material that will raise eyebrows under all those tinfoil hats.

Read More: Deadspin
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Old 04-16-2012, 02:03 PM   #3292
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Old 04-18-2012, 08:07 AM   #3293
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http://feeds.boingboing.net/~r/boing...ergy-does.html

Local, small-scale energy doesn't mean "every man for himself"


Today, most of our electricity is made by facilities that can power millions of homes at a time, and which are located a long way away from the people who use that power. For instance, the Kansas is currently embroiled in a long-drawn-out controversy over whether or not to build a new coal power plant in the far southwest corner of the state. If it gets built, that power plant will be 200 miles, in any direction, from the nearest town with a population greater than 30,000 people. But the power plant could produce enough electricity for hundreds of thousands of homes—an earlier version of the design could have powered millions.

It works that way because, like most things, it's both cheaper and more resource efficient to produce electricity in bulk, rather than a little bit at a time here and there. That Kansas coal plant is meant to produce electricity for seven different Western states. Not just Kansas.

For a number of reasons—but particularly because of the high, NIMBY-influenced costs of building the transmission lines that bridge the gap between these big power plants and the people who use them—we now have some opportunities to produce electricity at a smaller scale and still have it make sense. But what exactly does "small" mean? Depending on who you talk to, you'll get a different answer. And that answer has big implications for electric reliability and how our grid infrastructure operates.

At the Atlantic.com, you can find an excerpt from Before the Lights Go Out, my new book, that discusses this difference, and the benefits and detriments of shared systems vs. energy independence.
Quote:
When I talked to scientists and utility industry experts about decentralized generation, what they pictured was power production on the scale of Verdant Power's hydroelectric turbines beneath the East River or a gas-fired cogeneration plant that produced heat and electricity for a university campus. They thought of biofuels, and imagined a stationary central refinery, much smaller than the facilities that process oil into gasoline for the entire country but large enough to be industrialized. Electric capacities would be between 1 and 100 megawatts--enough to power hundreds or thousands of homes at a time. Economies of scale would still apply. The energy would still have to travel--whether by tanker truck or power line--to reach the people who wanted to use it.

Yet when I talk to my friends and family about decentralized generation, their minds immediately jump to something very different. To them, decentralized generation isn't only a somewhat smaller version of a system that already exists, like a scale model in a toy train set. Instead, they thought of decentralization as the creation of an entirely new, entirely separate system. They imagined a world where they didn't have to pay the electric company every month, because a one-time investment would allow them to make all of the electricity they needed with the help of the sun or the wind. No more rate hikes. No more ugly electric power lines threaded through their lives. That's what my friends and family were excited about. They wanted energy on site, something they could feel that they made by themselves. They loved the idea of the Madelia Model's traveling biofuel machine. Cogeneration plants bored them.

I think that this disconnect boils down to an issue of control. Scientists and utility experts have always been at the helm, guiding energy production. At least, they have been for as long as energy has been a scientific industry, for about a hundred years or so. When the rest of us turned energy production over to this small group, we got some benefits out of the deal.
Read the rest of the excerpt at The Atlantic.

Learn more about decentralized generation, and how the grid works, by reading my book Before the Lights Go Out.
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Old 04-18-2012, 08:17 AM   #3294
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http://feeds.boingboing.net/~r/boing...show-conn.html

SOPATrack: an app to show connections between campaign donations and voting records
from Boing Boing by Cory Doctorow

Smita sez,

While there are many resources out there to help citizens learn more about how much money gov't officials are accepting from special interest groups, I wanted to call out SopaTrack as it is the first of its kind that enables people to easily and quickly look up how elected officials are voting on a particular issue, enabling voters to be more educated and aware as they hit the ballots. For this broader issue and problem, for the first time, there is an app for that

In a nutshell, SopaTrack highlights how elected officials are voting on specific issues -- with a focus on how often they vote for or against the money. With the recent fight against SOPA demonstrating how potent and motivated the digital community is in holding elected officials accountable, and with CISPA quickly creeping onto the national stage, SopaTrack demonstrates the next way of digital activism and grass-roots campaigning. Originally, SopaTrack was created to help provide facts around the then one-sided discussion around SOPA that was quickly turned around by alarmed citizens like Randy Meech.

The data for this comes from Maplight and Sunlight Labs.

Sopatrack - Check how Congress Votes with the Money
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Old 04-18-2012, 08:39 AM   #3295
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This Shocking Image Of A Suicide Bombing Won A Pulitzer Prize

http://www.buzzfeed.com/gavon/this-s...bing-won-a-pul

Powerful but horrific. This searing photo was taken by Massoud Hossaini, who just won the 2012 Pulitzer Prize for Breaking News Photography . WARNING: Graphic images.



Quote:
Tarana Akbari, 12, screams in fear moments after a suicide bomber detonated a bomb in a crowd at the Abul Fazel Shrine in Kabul on December 06, 2011. 'When I could stand up, I saw that everybody was around me on the ground, really bloody. I was really, really scared,' said the Tarana, whose name means 'melody' in English. Out of 17 women and children from her family who went to a riverside shrine in Kabul that day to mark the Shiite holy day of Ashura, seven died including her seven-year-old brother Shoaib. More than 70 people lost their lives in all, and at least nine other members of Tarana's family were wounded. The blasts has prompted fears that Afghanistan could see the sort of sectarian violence that has pitched Shiite against Sunni Muslims in Iraq and Pakistan. The attack was the deadliest strike on the capital in three years. President Hamid Karzai said this was the first time insurgents had struck on such an important religious day. The Taliban condemned the attack, which some official viewed as sectarian. On the same day, a second bomber attacked in the northern city of Mazar-i-Sharif. Karzai said on December 11 that a total of 80 people were killed in both attacks

(Getty Images / Massoud Hossaini)
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Old 04-18-2012, 08:51 AM   #3296
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Old 04-18-2012, 09:00 AM   #3297
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Old 04-18-2012, 09:04 AM   #3298
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http://www.geniscarreras.com/philosophy.html
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Old 04-18-2012, 09:19 AM   #3299
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Old 04-20-2012, 07:31 AM   #3300
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http://www.disinfo.com/2012/04/the-r...-big-business/

The Real GSA Scandal: Playing Politics With Big Business
by ralph
GSA VP Jeffrey Neely enjoying himself at the taxpayers' expense.

GSA VP Jeffrey Neely enjoying himself at the taxpayers' expense.

Elliott Rosenfeld writes in the Washington Post:

As more details about wasteful spending and outright fraudulent practices at the General Services Administration are emerging, it becomes clearer every day that there is a far deeper, government-wide contracting problem plaguing the nation.

News of the scandal broke two weeks ago, when GSA Administrator Martha Johnson resigned following the agency inspector general’s report claiming that more than $800,000 of federal spending on a GSA employee conference held in Las Vegas in 2010 was “excessive, wasteful, and in some cases, impermissible.”

Of particular concern to small-business advocates, the IG’s report found that the GSA allegedly awarded “a $58,000 contract to a large business in violation of small-business set-asides.”

This problem of large companies receiving federal contracts that are reserved by law for small businesses is a decades-old scandal of corrupt federal spending and undue corporate influence over politics. Overall, waste, fraud and abuse in federal small-business contracting programs (across all federal agencies) results in tens of billions of taxpayer dollars a year being illegally diverted to large companies, often some of the largest companies in the world.

Read More: Washington Post
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