background preloader

Lawrence Lessig: We the People, and the Republic we must reclaim

Lawrence Lessig: We the People, and the Republic we must reclaim

Charts: The Staggering Cost of Death Row for California Taxpayers California Innocence Project. I recently came across an ambitious infographic created by the California Innocence Project following the failure of state Proposition 34, which, had it passed last November, would have abolished the death penalty in California. Voters weren't quite ready to go there—they rejected Prop. 34 by a 52-48 margin. The infographic is worth revisiting in light of California's policy on capital punishment remaining status quo. What sentencing people to death costs California taxpayers: How much more it costs to keep someone on death row: How much Californians pay per execution, and how long it takes: The number of people California sentences to death: The skewed racial makeup of the condemned: The relative size of California's death row population: The number of people wrongfully sentenced to death in California and elsewhere—that we know of… …in many cases because of racism, incompetence, and/or official misconduct:

Connecting government — The Connected Company “We serve the people… If, in the interests of the people, we persist in doing what is right and correct what is wrong, our ranks will surely thrive. ~ Mao Zedong Government is a service. What is a service? A service is a kind of a process. But services are unique kinds of processes because they require the customer’s participation. Example: Customers do not walk onto a factory floor, but in a retail store, that’s exactly what they do. Example: I recently moved, and had to call my bank to change my address. The first person I spoke with could change the address for my business account. Compare this with a financial services company called Vanguard, who handles customer service completely differently. Developed economies are dominated by services. The global economy is increasingly dominated by services. As customers and citizens get access to more and more services, competition between service providers results in ever-increasing expectations for service quality. Example. Hacktivism.

You Need to See These 5 Shocking Facts About Money in the 2012 Elections Sheldon Adelson.Photo by Color China Photos/Zuma Press Not since the years before the Watergate scandal has a small cadre of mega-donors influenced our elections as much as wealthy givers such as casino tycoon Sheldon Adelson, DreamWorks Animation CEO Jeffrey Katzenberg, Texas homebuilder Bob Perry, and Chicago media mogul Fred Eychaner did in 2012. These men and a few dozen others pumped hundreds of millions of dollars into super-PACs and shadowy nonprofits and raised tens of millions more for presidential and Congressional campaigns. Now, a new report titled "Billion-Dollar Democracy" by the Demos think tank and the US Public Interest Research Group, both left-of-center groups, distills all the fundraising and spending on last year's elections and spits out an array of eye-popping factoids about where all the money came from (or most of it, at least) and how it was spent. I've plucked out five must-see highlights from the report, with graphics courtesy of Demos and US PIRG:

Society's Breakthrough! Dark Money Rises Hundreds of millions of dollars spent on this election came from faceless donors. A TIME/ProPublica report on how mystery cash is changing American politics. This post was co-published [1] with TIME [2]. About a week before election day, a young girl, maybe 10 years old, confronted Colorado House candidate Sal Pace [3] in a pew at his Pueblo church. Like many other Democrats around the country, Pace has spent months trying to rebut the charge that President Obama's health care reforms hurt Grandma by cutting Medicare by $716 billion. What Pace couldn't tell the girl was who exactly is to blame. This sort of thing has been happening a lot this year in House and Senate races around the country. Spending by outside groups is nothing new in American politics. Ads purchased with untraceable money tend to be among the most vicious. The man behind the Colorado ads, Grover Norquist, is not shy about discussing the mechanics behind mounting multimillion-dollar dark-money campaigns.

How to Turn Republicans and Democrats Into Americans - Magazine Topos Graphics Angry and frustrated, American voters went to the polls in November 2010 to “take back” their country. Just as they had done in 2008. If we are truly a democracy—if voters get to size up candidates for a public office and choose the one they want—why don’t the elections seem to change anything? This is not an accident. Many Americans assume that’s just how democracy works, that this is how it’s always been, that it’s the system the Founders created. What we have today is not a legacy of 1789 but an outdated relic of the late 1800s and early 1900s, when Progressives pushed for the adoption of primary elections. I am not calling for a magical political “center”: many of the most important steps forward in our history have not come from the center at all, including women’s suffrage and the civil-rights movement, and even our founding rebellion against the British crown. Break the power of partisans to keep candidates off the general-election ballot.

Here's What Big Money Buys You in the 2012 Presidential Campaign Via Andrew Sullivan, the chart below compares TV ad buys for the presidential contests of 2008 and 2012. The raw data comes from Kantar Media's Campaign Media Analysis Group, as reported by Elizabeth Wilner of Advertising Age. The big takeaway is that 2012 spending in battleground states is running at about three times its 2008 level. Based on past patterns, Wilner figures this means that the two campaigns will be airing about 43,000 ads per day for the rest of the election cycle. And that's just presidential ads. The other big takeaway is the difference in strategy between the two campaigns. The Obama campaign has seen this contest as a seven-month run, while the Romney campaign has seen it as a three-month sprint. Fasten your seat belts.

Office of Naval Research Home Page As Navy leaders gather this week at the 2014 Sea-Air-Space Expo in National Harbor, Md., engineers are making final adjustments to a laser weapon prototype that will be the first of its kind to deploy aboard a ship late this summer, fulfilling plans announced by the chief of naval operations a year ago at the expo. The prototype, an improved version of the Laser Weapon System (LaWS), will be installed on USS Ponce for at-sea testing in the Persian Gulf. At about $1 per shot, the laser offers Sailors an affordable and revolutionary way to counter a variety of threats, from unmanned aircraft to small attack boats. Navy League Sea Air Space (Details) Gaylord National Convention Center, National Harbor, Md. April 7-9, 2014 15th Annual Science and Engineering Technology Conference (Details) College Park Marriott Hotel and Conference Center College Park, Md. Navy Week Dallas/Fort Worth (Details) April 21-27, 2014 At far left, Chief of Naval Research Rear Adm.