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chores

September 6, 2012

Rachel pointed out Kurt Vonnegut’s list of chores. I love it.

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Oversight: Overlooked or Unhinged?

August 31, 2012

Reposted from bureauphile.

For the past thirty years, students of American government have leaned hard on a metaphor contrasting “police patrol” and “fire alarm” oversight. It’s an interesting and useful idea, but basically unsupported by careful empirical work. My esteemed colleague David C.W. Parker (who blogs about Montana politics here) and I have looked the partisan dimensions of congressional oversight in a couple academic articles – a 2009 article here published in Legislative Studies Quarterly and a forthcoming article in Political Research Quarterly. This summer we published a short essay, “Oversight: Overlooked or Unhinged?” in Extension of Remarks, the newsletter of the Legislative Studies Section of the American Political Science Association. It’s basically an effort to work through the critique of the “fire alarm” metaphor with an eye on current events. Did you miss it? Here it is again.

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fires and firefighters

July 19, 2012

bureauphile

Why are American fire trucks so big?

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the wisdom of bill withers

July 19, 2012

“One of the things I always tell my kids is that it’s OK to head out for wonderful, but on your way to wonderful, you’re gonna have to pass through all right. When you get to all right, take a good look around and get used to it, because that may be as far as you’re gonna go.”

Last night Rachel and I watched Still Bill, a documentary about soul legend Bill Withers. Here’s an NPR review. Where is Withers today, decades after songs like “Lean on Me” and “Ain’t No Sunshine” turned him into an icon? The film captures Withers at home with his family or visiting old friends, often deflecting questions about a return to the music business. Withers comes off as an empathetic 70+ year old man, who clearly loves the people around him, and who still brims with the sort of wisdom that once defined his songwriting. To me, the bit above says it all.

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cab wars

July 11, 2012

bureauphile

Want to learn about corruption and venality in Washington politics? Jump in the back of a DC cab. Until a few years ago, the first thing you might have noticed was the indecipherable “zone” system  map – rather than distance or time, riders were charged based on the number of zones traveled. Even after years in DC, the complex algorithm drivers used to translate zones into dollars was a complete mystery me. I stepped out of lots of cabs puzzled and a little suspicious.

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the real csi

July 5, 2012

How reliable is the forensic evidence collected and analyzed by crime scene investigators? Find out here.

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July 4th, 1921 – Petworth

July 4, 2012

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