The Confederacy Still Lives in the Deep Deep South

One of the constant themes of The Fog of Policy is that the world can be a strange little place full of weird little surprises. For example, there are festivals in Brazil dedicated to celebrating the American Confederacy. The sight … Continue reading

Saying It How It Is, and the Pitfalls of Language

Words are powerful things. Even the simplest words contain multitudes, sneaking in volumes of social thought and intellectual history as they slip in and out of our minds. Every word is a shorthand – and strung together into thoughts and sentences, those shorthands help shape how we see the world. Continue reading

Let’s Talk about Race and Bayes: How a British Statistician Helps Explain Racial Dialogue in America

Watching The People vs. O.J. Simpson, it’s hard not to be struck by the radically different views held by white and black Americans about the trial. But in twenty years, not that much has changed: when race is part of a national storyline, different people see different things. Why? Continue reading

SPOTLIGHT – Prison Rape is Corporal Punishment

It is no surprise that bad things happen when criminals are held together in an overcrowded and poorly controlled environment. Prison life is rampant with drug abuse, gang activity, and violence. The widespread disorder, including sexual assault, raises serious questions for a system administered under full government control. Continue reading

Who’s Afraid of Radical Islam?

Given a choice, most politicians prefer a symbolic fight to a substantive one. To see how, consider the fight over the term ‘radical Islam’. Even by the low standards typically set by American politicians, the argument stands out for its inanity. It’s worth asking: what are Americans so afraid of? Continue reading

The American Debate on Guns Continues to Ignore the Facts

The latest high-profile American mass shooting has reignited the debate on gun control – and the frustration among gun control advocates is palpable. But despite the efforts of the statistically minded, the conversation around guns continues to obsess over the least relevant form of gun violence. Continue reading

Rachel Dolezal Identifies as Black. Is She?

When news emerged that Spokane’s NAACP president, Rachel Dolezal, had lied about being black, I didn’t think she’d have many supporters. I was wrong – and the conversation surrounding racial identity has revealed deep misunderstandings about race. Continue reading

Ballghazi – What Footballs Can Tell Us About the Media

Lying or not, the Patriots are still being railroaded. Here’s why it matters. For a bit over a week, yours truly has been – despite his better judgement – gripped by the controversy surrounding the New England Patriots. (For those … Continue reading

Charlie Hebdo, Free Speech, and European Hypocrisy

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

On Ferguson, a Fury of Confusion

In time, this too shall pass. It seems only a few short weeks ago that the political talking heads were lighting their hair on fire over the unstoppable threat of Ebola. Now, the virus that continues to ravish West Africa … Continue reading