I'm a lifelong Catholic (with mod points I'm burning, but oh well), and I agree with the majority of the parent post, and your original post. But there are two items I need to respond to.
concepts such as papal infallibility
Infallibility only applies when the pope speaks ex cathedra. It is reserved for doctrinal issues, not policy. The anti-contraception encyclical Humane Vitae is not an infallible teaching but a matter of individual conscience, and the Catholics who follow H.V. are rare indeed.
If that's what your spirit tells you, then maybe you should consider the possibility that you're being held spiritually hostage by these people as a way to further their power, and the reality is that if you truly want to be closer to God, there are far better ways to do that than through these morally bankrupt charlatans.
I think many liberal American Catholics have been forced to consider this. Among those who stay in spite of the hostility from the hierarchy, there is a general feeling that we have to work to change the church, over a long period of time. The priest shortage will only grow worse over time, and the church will perhaps be forced to change. I know someone who is gay and Catholic who stays because he believes he is called to change the church, even though many members of his family have left.
"Why bother staying?" is a very valid question. Financial and moral corruption should be rooted out, and Catholics and non-Catholics alike can work toward those goals both in the church and in other large instutitions. But as for why I stay, the most Slashdot-relevant quote that comes to mind is, "Because, there is good in him. I've felt it.
Steve Jobs admired Sony (before they went bad) and built Apple with a similar focus on the consumer. It's not a foregone conclusion that Apple will follow Sony's fate -- how well has the current Apple leadership learned from Jobs? will the next generation of innovators see Apple as a place to build cool things? (versus Google, or Amazon, or -urk- Facebook?)
But the usual trajectory is: founder leaves, the immediate replacement does pretty well, but after that leadership is only able to see what worked in the past and not what needs to change to be successful in the future.
20 years ago, I was an Apple guy seeing Windows 3.1 and thinking "Not as good as my Mac, but
Apple stores have been around for 10 years. When they started, iPhones and iPads did not exist. Past performance does not guarantee future results, but as a retail experience Apple has done very well.
His statistical reasoning is always well described, so that if you disagree with his results, at least you understand why you disagree. He's got "picks" and a description of the system used to generate them.
The original article is an interesting network analysis exercise, but it is really limited by its assumption of no a priori quality data. (Any time you beat Kentucky or North Carolina or other perennial powerhouses, that's almost always a quality win.) Sagarin and LRMC follow similar logic, but without an explicit network piece.
Not all private schools. Catholic schools, for example. Part of tuition from those who can afford to pay goes to those who want a private school education but cannot afford it. The reason they work is that in a private school, all the students are there because the parents are willing to sacrifice to put their students there.
All private schools are less appealing in districts with quality public schools. So in theory, when public schools outcompete the private options, vouchers are not a threat. But the larger point against vouchers is that many public districts want to do better but can't, and making it easier for motivated parents to move their kids will leave public schools even worse off. (And the response then becomes, "so only the richest can have private school?"
Internet (ok, electronic) banking has different, independent stakeholders verifying the validity of transactions with armies of accountants armed with IS systems that have been around for decades.
Electronic democracy does not.
Discussion of the law *must* include those whom it affects. When people file lawsuits, one of the concepts is that the person filing must have standing. Wikipedia: "In the United States, the current doctrine is that a person cannot bring a suit challenging the constitutionality of a law unless the plaintiff can demonstrate that the plaintiff is (or will imminently be) harmed by the law."
Cigarette companies testify about nicotine regulation, car companies testify about gasoline efficiency standards, and wall street bankers testify about the impact of bailouts. Members of Congress are supposed to be a proxy for the taxpayers they represent, and then bring in viewpoints from different sides. Typically, the party in control of a hearing stacks the group with speakers who favor their own pre-determined stance. So it was in both the Republican and Democratic hearings on this topic.