Charlie Hebdo, Free Speech, and European Hypocrisy

Demonstrators in Paris. January 11, 2015. (c) Olivier Ortelpa.

It has been two weeks since the offices of the French satirical newspaper, Charlie Hebdo, were attacked by gunmen. The attack on free speech and the murder of cartoonists led to police shootouts with gunmen, a European crackdown on suspected … Continue reading

Summer Recap and a Brief Effort to Explain Thomas Picketty

Picketty_Capital Small

The Fog of Policy is back! Today, we’ll reach into our pile of discarded news stories and revisit the phenomenon of the early summer that was Thomas Picketty’s Capital in the Twenty-First Century. Why? Because it was good – but not as good as you might have been told. Continue reading

Summer Break


The Fog of Policy is going on summer recess. If you have any suggestions for how to improve things, or if there are topics you’d like to see covered, this would be a great time to submit those. Have fun, keep safe, and see all of you in a few months.

The Bergdahl Scandal is a New Low in US Politics


America got back its last POW in a trade that saw five Taliban fighters released from GITMO – and the country quickly shifted into scandal mode. Sometimes in a fight, the most relevant question isn’t who’s right and who’s wrong, but rather, “How in the world did we end up fighting like this?” Continue reading

Ta-Nehisi Coates’ (Flawed) Argument for Reparations


Ta-Nehisi Coates makes a powerful argument for reparations and one that raises important questions. After more than a century and a half, who inherits the obligation to pay for slavery and who inherits the right to receive payment? Who inherits the obligation to make amends, and who inherits the right to forgive?
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And the Numbers to Prove It – When Statistics Lie

Super bowl and vehicle accidents

Among the many ways in which we prejudice our thinking, special mention should be given to ‘confirmation bias’. Listen to the way politicos talk about research and you’ll see what I mean: any study that agrees with your position is groundbreaking, any study that disagrees with it is deeply flawed. The best way to avoid this pitfall is to get an appreciation for just how easy it is to find really bad evidence in support of any position. Continue reading