How Long Should Debt Be a Responsibility?

We became aware of a particularly interesting Government policy about 2 weeks ago (along with the rest of America) when the Washington Post wrote about the Social Security Administration attempting to collect debts that were generations - quite literally - removed. Am I My Father's Keeper? For the first time in the history of the internet, that … [Read more...]

The DQYDJ Weekender 6/15/2013

Ahh, another weekend in the Bay Area - this one with lots of open homes in my own neighborhood.  Boring?  I know - but, hey, spying on the improvements my neighbors make is fun. Speaking of spying, let's talk informally for a bit about the NSA's recently revealed spying programs... and of a compliant press corps tripping over each other and … [Read more...]

The Government, The Internet, and The Surveillance State – Graphed

It was less than a month ago when I weighed in on the need for privacy, in the wake of the IRS scandal.  In light of the recent revelation of indiscriminate data collection by the NSA - on both foreigners and Americans - I'll be visiting the topic again.  However, for a change of pace, here's a survey piece pulling in 6 different statistics on … [Read more...]

Why Everyone Should Care About Privacy

A few months back we wrote a post asking readers how much privacy they would sacrifice to save money, trying to get a feel for the value judgements of DQYDJ readers on the common tradeoff of privacy with security and convenience. To me, the number of people who weren't very concerned with privacy was a bit of a surprise - and recent news events … [Read more...]

Why Everyone Should Care About the IRS Targeting Conservative Groups

"First they came for the communists, and I didn't speak out because I wasn't a communist. Then they came for the socialists, and I didn't speak out because I wasn't a socialist. Then they came for the trade unionists, and I didn't speak out because I wasn't a trade unionist. Then they came for me, and there was no one left to speak for … [Read more...]

Which States Receive the Most Military Spending?

A couple weeks back we put up a visualization of Federal Spending per State.  It was good fun, but we did leave out one 'little' aspect of that whole spending thing - Defense Spending. Cameron sort of explained the rationale in the comments - Defense spending is a collective good that would tend to have positive externalities (more-so than most … [Read more...]

Oh Yeah? THAT’S the Problem With Congress?

I just wanted to share with you folks a quick hit from exiting Republican Senator Richard Lugar of Indiana, who was defeated in the Senate primary by Richard Mourdock.  Mourdock lost in the general, after making controversial statements on rape.  But he's not the story here. Senator Lugar gave a speech at the moderate Ripon Society ripping what … [Read more...]

Election Live Blog: 11/6/2012 Presidential Elections

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Preemptively Defending Presidential Forecasting

To all of the people complaining about mathematical forecasting in relation to the current election, I'm here to tell you something: don't be so naive. I know, I get it - Nate Silver of FiveThirtyEight is an adult.  He can defend himself.  He's also a political writer - so before he started engaging in his craft he had to know attacks were … [Read more...]