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

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

Smoke and Fire: Scandal, Incompetence, and Politics as Usual

Sometimes, you get a brushfire but no smoke. And last week in North Carolina, we got a spark. On Tuesday, establishment Republican Thom Tillis defeated a Tea Party challenge from Greg Brannon to become the GOP’s candidate for this fall’s Senate race. And for my money, that race produced what should have been last week’s big scandal story. Continue reading

Special Feature: The Truth (and Doubts) about Gun Control

The issue of guns in America is mired in misinformation. Do guns make society safer or more dangerous? What’s the relationship between gun ownership and violent crime? These are questions that produce a lot of noise and recrimination, but not a lot of insight. This report tries to cut through that noise and shed light on what we know – as well as what we don’t know. Continue reading