Feeds:
Posts
Comments

Archive for the ‘Policy analysis’ Category

Reading this excellent commentary from Peter Martin reminds me of Lawrence Lessig talking about free culture – watch the Flash presentation if you can.

Read Full Post »

Consider this a Freebie-in-exile – here’s the transcript of “Evidenced-based policy: What is it? How do we get it?” by Gary Banks, the Productivity Commission Chairman. Via Australian Policy Online, here’s the abstract:

The concept of ‘evidence-based policy-making’, while not new, has recently become elevated in public discussion. Like motherhood, it has universal appeal, at least in principle. The need for it is manifest in the complexity of the policy challenges confronting Australia, both in the short term (the ‘meltdown’) and the long term (greenhouse, population ageing). But what exactly does evidence-based policy-making entail? How can it contribute to achieving better policy outcomes? What is needed to put it into wider practice? In a speech for the Australia New Zealand School of Government, Gary Banks, Chairman of the Productivity Commission, addresses each of these questions, drawing some insights and lessons from the experience of the Productivity Commission and its predecessors over the years.

Read Full Post »

3D Chess

No, not this game. Over at The Tally Room, Ben Raue has a great summary of the ETS/CPRS positions of all the major players in Australian politics, including data on the Australian public from the latest Essential Research survey. Take a look.

Read Full Post »

The Friday Freebie is where I share an online, open-access resource that I think readers might find interesting and useful. Each week, I will introduce a free resource that I think will be useful to teh angry Leftists – books, podcasts, web sites, etc. The aim is to compile a toolkit for understanding and advancing progressive ideals.

This week’s freebie is in response to the tragic bushfires of the past week. After a few days of shellshock and respectful silence, the discussion about causes and prevention has begun. Conservative attack columnists like Andrew Bolt and Miranda Devine have been hard at work blaming the fire on “the greenies”. There has been discussion of the role that global warming might play in increasing our risk for severe natural disasters like these bushfires. And there is talk about looking at what can be done in terms of planning and  construction of homes to make them safer.

There has also been the inevitable call for harsher penalties for arsonists. One immediate problem with this is that it can only possibly affect arsonists who are caught – and historically, the rate of success in identifying and charging arsonists seems to be very low. A genuine approach to preventing arson is going to need more than ramping up sentences – it is going to require strategies to deter potential arsonists and to identify those who do light fires.

Anyone wanting to learn more about what we know on the topics of arson and bushfires can start with the Australian Institute of Criminology’s list of publications. The AIC has funded research by groups such as the Bushfire Cooperative Research Centre as well as producing their own reports. Their reports tend to be brief and accessible, but they also refer the reader to more detailed sources. And of course, if you have an interest in any other topic relating to crime and crime prevention, you will probably find something useful on their site as well.

Do you have a tip for future freebies? Contact me with any suggestions or requests.

Read Full Post »

While Americans and Australians wait to see what their respective stimulus packages end up containing, some foreign policy discussion is going on – Robert Farley and Matt Yglesias discuss the viability of the Human-Cylon Alliance.

Read Full Post »

The Friday Freebie is where I share an online, open-access resource that I think readers might find interesting and useful. Each week, I will introduce a free resource that I think will be useful to teh angry Leftists – books, podcasts, web sites, etc. The aim is to compile a toolkit for understanding and advancing progressive ideals.

This week’s freebie comes courtesy of Dave Bath, who reminded me of a resource I knew about yet had forgotten. The Massachusetts Institute of Technology was a pioneer in both making use of the Internet to provide information and in opening up the institution’s intellectual property to all, rather than limiting knowledge just to paying customers (students). They realised that they could serve society by doing so, while retaining the valuable asset that customers pay them for – assessment and the provision of qualifications.

The OpenCourseWare site began by putting the syllabus online for a few of MIT’s courses, but has reached a point where materials are online and publicly accessible for almost every course the university offers. It’s a great resource for anyone who wants to be educated and informed about a broad range of topics, including political issues.

The Political Science Department of MIT has courses covering a wide set of topics – some focused on the United States, others looking further afield or at general political principles. Some of the courses that I am going to read more about include:


If you find another topic that you’re interested in, either within political science or another part of the site, feel free to share it in the comments – and thanks once again to Dave for highlighting this great source of information and directed study.

Do you have a tip for future freebies? Contact me with any suggestions or requests.

Read Full Post »

Daydream Believers: How a Few Grand Ideas Wrecked American Power by Fred Kaplan (Wiley, 2008).

I just finished reading this book last night and posted a review to my weRead app on Facebook; here’s a copy of what I had to say:

(4.5 out of 5)

An excellent examination of the foreign policy ideas that drove the Bush administration into the Iraq quagmire.

What I found most valuable in this book is that Kaplan distinguishes the different viewpoints that existed – pre-9/11 vs post-9/11 Bush; Rumsfeld and Cheney’s belief that displays of America’s military might would prompt a wave of democratic reform; the more “pure” neoconservatism of Wolfowitz and co.; Powell’s multilateralism and Rice’s evolving philosophy.

Yet at the same time, Kaplan argues – convincingly – that a flawed notion unified and motivated this group of people to move largely in the same direction. That notion was that in the post Cold War world, the United States had the capacity to use its power to impose change for the better; that they could do so anywhere and everywhere, and that the more they did so, the easier the task would become.

Kaplan concludes by evaluating the implications of this failed approach for the prospect of future interventions that could achieve genuine humanitarian good. In the context of the current crises in Gaza, Congo, etc. (not to mention Afghanistan and Iraq), and with the Obama administration about to take the reins, the issues he raises are of vital importance.

Read Full Post »

The Friday Freebie is where I share an online, open-access resource that I think readers might find interesting and useful. Each week, I will introduce a free resource that I think will be useful to teh angry Leftists – books, podcasts, web sites, etc. The aim is to compile a toolkit for understanding and advancing progressive ideals.

This week’s freebie is the work of one of the leading scholars of the 21st century, Lawrence Lessig. A law professor at Stanford (who is soon to move back to Harvard), Lessig has been an advocate for applying law and technology to produce the optimal outcomes for society and culture. One of the primary issues Lessig has targeted is the nature of traditional copyright law and its potential to stifle innovation – he was a founding board member of the Creative Commons project and has served on the board of other organisations such as the Free Software Foundation and Electronic Frontier Foundation. More recently, Lessig has turned his attention to corruption, and in particular to the ethical issues involved in taking other people’s (or organisations’) money – for instance, he has been involved in setting up the Change Congress site to address corruption of the political process.

Many of Lessig’s arguments transcend any concept of left-right orientation – they are just important and practical reflections on what an effective and prosperous society requires. And the great thing is that Lessig’s actions meet the ideals he espouses, so that most of his work can be freely accessed, reproduced and extended. Here are some starting points:

I’ll finish this freebie with a trivia question. Lawrence Lessig was portrayed in an episode of “The West Wing” – drawing on his earlier activities in assisting eastern European countries to develop constitutional frameworks for their new democracies, Christopher Lloyd played the role of Lessig. This makes Lessig one of two real people who were played by actors in “The West Wing”. Can anybody name the other?

Do you have a tip for future freebies? Contact me with any suggestions or requests.

Read Full Post »

Being prepared doesn’t make me any less disappointed and outraged by this. I cannot believe that Kevin said this with a straight face:

“Climate change is an inconvenient truth and a truth that we can no longer conveniently ignore,” Mr Rudd said at the National Press Club.

“No responsible leadership anywhere in the world can ignore the elephant in the room, an elephant of this proportion.”

His Government’s policy is not responsible, and he is not demonstrating any form of leadership whatsoever.

I’m tied up and can’t write more at the moment, so a quick round-up of other reactions:

UPDATE:

Read Full Post »

Welcome to a new bit of regular programming at Not A Hedgehog – the Friday Freebie.

Let’s be frank – Leftists like information. They clog up our universities, students and lecturs both, reading, talking and thinking about stuff to do with advancing the socialist agenda. You know the sort of issues I mean –  things like protecting human and civil rights, assisting the disadvantaged, and ensuring everyone has the opportunity to benefit from economic and technological advancement.

However, it is commonly known that teh Left does not like to pay for things. Although free Internet access never did take off in Australia, open-access web sites and downloads are about the closest we are likely to come to truly free information – aside, of course, from when the government is kind enough to distribute a “how to help your child access good drugs” booklet.

The Friday Freebies will become a repository of links to interesting, topical and zero-cost communist propaganda resources for progressives. Each week, I will introduce a free resource that I think will be useful to teh angry Leftists – books, podcasts, web sites, etc. The aim is to compile a toolkit for understanding and advancing progressive ideals.

The inaugural Freebie is a book – “The Conservative Nanny State: How the Wealthy Use the Government to Stay Rich and Get Richer” by Dean Baker. Dr Baker is an economist and serves as co-director of the Center for Economic and Policy Research in Washington, as well as writing a blog on economic reporting titled “Beat the Press” at The American Prospect.

Baker’s book examines how conservative economic policy can be exploited by the wealthy to maintain and perpetuate inequality – in particular, how the wealthiest individuals and corporations exert control over the supposedly free market to maintain their position. Published in May 2006, the book may be bought in paperback form, but there are two free versions available:

Do you have a tip for future freebies? Contact me with any suggestions or requests.

Read Full Post »

Older Posts »