I’ve been having a hell of a time deciding on a final topic or central question for my visualization.  Originally I planned on working on the estate tax, but ultimately, I’m afraid this topic is a little too narrow.  Also, while there may have been some debate about the estate tax at the end of last year, the topic will likely be of little importance until real tax reform takes place, something that will likely occur after the Obama tax compromise expires in 2012 (I also don’t expect it to happen w/ such a strongly divided gov’t).

This has left me with a few options:

  • No Central Topic – Some would argue that visualizations are best used for exploratory data analysis, which serves the generation of hypotheses.  Perhaps the best focus would be no focus at all.
  • Prison Reform & Drug Policy – This has long been an interest of mine.  The US incarcerates over 25% of the total world prison population, many of them non-violent drug offenders.  I’d love to shed light on the injustice of our current drug and prison policy and how congressional reps relate to these issue.  I’m particularly interested in the number of incarcerated people each rep presides over.
  • Military-Industrial Complex – Another long-held interest.  Ever since listening to Eisenhower’s speech on the topic, I’ve been amazed by the lack of progress on tackling this behemoth.  It’s such a complex issue with such highly-charged data points (military deaths, job creation, financial contributions) – fertile ground for a more rhetorical exploration.
  • Environment – A huge, broad topic, but I would likely focus on how “dirty” or “green” various members of congress are.  Because it’s so broad but still policy heavy, it might prove to have the best balance of exploratory and rhetorical opportunities.

I’ll be posting some scans of some early sketches and “brainstorms” (is this a word? it should be) for each of these formats later this week.