White House Creating ‘Nudge Squad’ To Shape Citizens’ Behavior

White House Creating 'Nudge Squad' To Shape Citizens' BehaviorThe federal government is hiring what it calls a “Behavioral Insights Team” that will look for ways to subtly influence people’s behavior, according to a document describing the program obtained by FoxNews.com.

‘Tweaking behavior’

While the program is still in its early stages, the document shows the White House is already working on such projects with almost a dozen federal departments and agencies including the Department of Health and Human Services and the Department of Agriculture.

The document was emailed by Maya Shankar, a White House senior adviser on social and behavioral sciences, to a university professor with the request that it be distributed to people interested in joining the team. The idea is that the team would “experiment” with various techniques, with the goal of tweaking behavior so people do everything from saving more for retirement to saving more in energy costs.


‘Extraordinarily succesfful’

Such policies — which encourage behavior subtly rather than outright require it — have come to be known as “nudges,” after an influential 2008 book titled “Nudge” by former Obama regulatory czar Cass Sunstein and Chicago Booth School of Business professor Richard Thaler popularized the term.

The term “nudge” has already been associated with the new program, as one professor who received Shankar’s email forwarded it to others with the note:

“Anyone interested in working for the White House in a ‘nudge’ squad? The UK has one and it’s been extraordinarily successful.”

Do you think this “nudge” program is a good thing or a bad one? Feel free to discuss your thoughts with us regarding this issue!

Source: Fox News

Image: Weasel Zippers

Justice Department Lacks Evidence For Racial Bias In Zimmerman Trial

Justice Department Lacks Evidence For Racial Bias In Zimmerman TrialThe Justice Department was running into immediate hurdles Monday in its investigation of possible civil rights violations by George Zimmerman in the shooting death of Trayvon Martin — namely, that after examining the case for more than a year, the evidence has not changed.

‘Racial bias’

Though the department announced after Zimmerman’s acquittal that it would consider a possible federal case, previously filed FBI documents show agents have not turned up any accounts that Zimmerman, before the February 2012 shooting, exhibited racial bias.

Attorney General Eric Holder, in his first post-verdict comments, confirmed Monday during a speech in Washington, D.C., that his department continues to investigate while signaling concern for the position of the Martin family and those — such as the NAACP — pressuring the DOJ. Holder even appeared to suggest the possibility of bias in this case, saying it’s important to address “underlying attitudes, mistaken beliefs and stereotypes that serve as the basis for these too common incidents.”


‘Number one challenge’

But Florida defense attorney Brian Tannebaum told FoxNews.com that the “number one challenge” for DOJ is the evidence, or lack thereof.

Still, the Justice Department agreed to requests from NAACP President Benjamin Todd Jealous and several lawmakers to keep investigating the defendant. The department is under heavy pressure from some groups to pursue the case further.

Was racial bias evident in George Zimmerman’s case? Feel free to share your thoughts on this issue!

Source: Fox News

Image: Guardian Express