Report: Freedom of the Press in decline around the world

While it should come as no surprise to anyone that follows the news or gets depressed by Twitter on a regular basis, freedom of the press – an important check against corruption and the misuse of power in a democracy – is on the decline. Read the rest

Tony Benn, secret mounter of illegal Parliamentary plaques

When Tony Benn was a Member of Parliament, he would go around with homemade plaques celebrating heroes of democracy, such as suffragette* Emily Wilding Davison, and illegally screw them to the walls. Read the rest

Poll: Brits don't vote because they're furious with politicians

A new poll conducted by the Guardian and ICM concluded that the dramatic drop-off in British voting is the result of anger, not apathy. Brits still talk about politics, think about politics, and view the decisions that politicians make as important to their daily lives. Read the rest

What Nelson Mandela's life tells us about the legitimacy of "democratic nations"

This morning, as I listened to the BBC World Service on Mandela, I found myself pondering what it meant that he was South Africa's "first democratically elected leader."

This is undoubtedly true. Read the rest

Open Debate launches: MA Democratic primary candidates will answer your questions

Adam Green writes, "What once was a dream of Lawrence Lessig, Aaron Swartz, Jimmy Wales, Craig Newmark, and a coalition of cutting-edge progressive and conservative activists in the Open Debate Coalition is now becoming a reality. Read the rest

That story about a woman whose vote was a tie-breaker? Totally a Popeye cartoon.

That story about a wife's tie-breaking vote? The plot of a Popeye cartoon from 1956.

Clay Shirky at TED: "How the Internet will (one day) transform government"

Clay Shirky's TED talk, "How the Internet will (one day) transform government," is a smart, fast, funny look at how the Internet lowers the cost of doing things together. Read the rest

Savage beatings for pro-democracy, anti-Putin protesters in Russia

Russian democracy: protest Putin stealing your election, get the living shit beaten out of you by thugs. Meet the new boss, (literally) the same as the old boss. Read the rest

White House required by law to oppose marijuana legalization

The White House recently responded to a petition on marijuana legalization with a statement that amounted to "go away and don't bother us, pot will turn you into a depraved junkie." Turns out that the legislation that established America's drug czar requires the office-holder to oppose all drug legalization efforts. Read the rest

Prince Charles exercises a secret veto over a wide swath of UK legislation

UK government ministers have been secretly offering Prince Charles a veto over proposed legislation since 2005, under a little-known law that gives the prince the right to silently kill or amend legislation if it might negatively affect his interests. Read the rest