Quote of the Day: Quantifying the Idiocy of the U.S. Congress

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From Matt Steinglass, on the recent spate of proposals to defund funny-sounding research:

The most urgent research priority for American social science is the question of why so many congresspeople are boastful ignoramuses.

But would you use an instrumental variable approach or a natural experiment approach? What kind of scale would you use to measure boastful ignorance? Should you measure separately by gender? And what about other countries? Are their legislators boastful ignoramuses too? If not, what method do they use to keep them safely on talk radio, where they belong?

This is clearly a pretty complex project. Perhaps we should delegate it to the UN.

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We've never been very good at being conservative.

And usually, that serves us well in doing the ambitious, hard-hitting journalism that you turn to Mother Jones for. But it also means we can't afford to come up short when it comes to scratching together the funds it takes to keep our team firing on all cylinders, and the truth is, we finished our budgeting cycle on June 30 about $100,000 short of our online goal.

This is no time to come up short. It's time to fight like hell, as our namesake would tell us to do, for a democracy where minority rule cannot impose an extreme agenda, where facts matter, and where accountability has a chance at the polls and in the press. If you value our reporting and you can right now, please help us dig out of the $100,000 hole we're starting our new budgeting cycle in with an always-needed and always-appreciated donation today.

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