Enforced Conformity is Deadly for Democracy

Reading Time: 1 minute Lately, from conversations and reading posts on the Web, I have been struck by how many people have developed hardened positions on the assassination of JFK based on inadequate information. Lots of people, for example, are unaware of the extraordinary number of witnesses who told stories that ran counter to the official version produced by Read More

Fix The Economy? Toss The GDP

Reading Time: 1 minute WhoWhatWhy Advisory Board member Jonathan Rowe explains why we need a whole new way of measuring the health of the economy. One reason that the nation has not made more progress toward an economic “recovery” is that the people in charge really don’t know what one would look like. The top economists in Washington don’t Read More

Jihad Leak Redux

Reading Time: 2 minutes Recently, I raised some questions about the impact of imprisonment at Guantánamo and how it affected those who were released. For example, I wrote: As for those who returned to jihad, one would like to know whether they were more motivated to do so as a result of their treatment at Guantánamo, or less. In Read More

Jihad Leak

Reading Time: 2 minutes A leaked Pentagon study claims one in seven Guantánamo detainees returned to jihad upon their release. A New York Times reporter says that the assertion could be used to argue against closing down Guantánamo. But…. -If the numbers are correct, that’s a pretty low recidivism rate. It could either argue for the effectiveness of incarceration Read More

Of Bonuses and Shelters

Reading Time: 1 minute Stories about homelessness and the spread of tent cities abound. It has always been difficult to get an accurate number on how many people are without shelter, but homelessness groups have estimated that on a given night in one of the worst months of a typical recent year, that figure might near 800,000. Say it Read More

Etymology as Journalism

Reading Time: 2 minutes Phraseology is fundamental to today’s political battles. Lobbyists, political strategists, corporate PR reps, and even academics expend an extraordinary amount of thought and money on framing issues with just the right label. Expressions like “bridge to nowhere” simply don’t arise from ordinary discourse. Consequently, journalists have to become etymologists to cover politics adequately.  Anytime they hear Read More

Windows on Morality

Reading Time: 1 minute What makes good people do bad things? That is the topic of a New York Times article about trials of former officials of the savage Cambodian regime, the Khmer Rouge. “We were victims, too,” said Him Huy, the head of the guard detail at the Tuol Sleng torture house, who took part in the executions Read More