While you laze around on your last Sunday before Match Day, please enjoy these investigative reports that will be well worth your time to read.
- Who Runs the University of California? – An excellent introduction to the University of California’s Board of Regents ran in Counterpunch. The Anderson Valley Advertiser has a series of articles on this mysterious board on their plots to privatize the university system (parts 1, 2, and 3). A key figure to note (besides UC’s imported Texas talent) is Senator Dianne Feinstein’s husband, Richard Blum. Dianne Feinstein, if you haven’t heard, is for some reason the most popular politician in California. While she is on the East Coast, she dishes money back west to her husband from her Defense Committee assignment. A key torture supporter and hater of civil liberties, she sponsored legislation to legalize Bush’s illegal wiretapping program. Then she turned around and organized Obama’s Inauguration.
- Do Harvard’s Hospitals help Massachusetts? – An interesting series in the Boston Globe about how Harvard’s teaching hospitals merged to form Partners Healthcare in 1993. Starting in 2000, Massachusetts General and Brigham & Women’s started bullying insurers into paying them anywhere from 30% to double for procedures compared to other hospitals. Care is not as good or worse than other community hospitals while Beth Israel (another teaching hospital that isn’t part of Partners) does much better in hospital quality. Also sheds light on the strange hospital habits of Massachusetts, where most hospitalizations go to academic medical centers.
- A Tale of Two Cities – Pauper’s graves? People too poor to eat? This isn’t Dickens, this (as they say) is London, one of the world’s richest cities. The Evening Standard’s featured a campaign against poverty called the Dispossessed talking about the failure of the Labour Party to eradicate child poverty after thirteen years in office. One story focuses on an Islington boy too broke to pay the £19 application fee to drama school. His balcony overlooks many theatres and the restaurant where Tony Blair and Gordon Brown struck their deal for power-sharing in the early Nineties.
- What is the ISI? – An article about Pakistan’s very secretive and double-dealing intelligence service, the Inter-Services Intelligence. It’s so powerful, it makes its own deals with the Taliban and is not accountable to the elected government.
- Cell phones in India – Why mobile phones are transforming India, and how India transforms what it means to a be a superpower. A TED talk by Shashi Tharoor (from reader R.M.). A former United Nations bigshot and writer, he came back to India to run as a Congress candidate for Parliament in Kerala. Shashi Tharoor now serves as the External Affairs Minister and irritates the political elite with his Twitter account.