Thursday, February 24, 2011

Charts of the Day

A whole bunch of charts to depress you courtesy of Mother Jones. Here are two of them. Follow the link to see the rest.

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Nice Job Public

I hate public opinion polls for the most part. But if politicians are going to listen to them, I like the message the public is sending in the Gallup/USA Today poll.

In the poll, 61% of adults nationwide said that they would oppose a law that would take away some collective bargaining rights for state employees, including teachers. Only one third, 33%, said that they would support that measure if it were proposed in their state.
The question, of course, is whether right wing media and conservatives in general can find a way to frame this issue that scares a large percentage of Americans into believing that worker's rights really are a threat to the American way of life. I bet they are already working on it.

Monday, February 14, 2011


Wayne Rooney scored one of the most incredible goals ever yesterday. Go see the video here. Even if you don't like soccer, you can agree that this is an unbelievable feat of athleticism.

Budget Woes

I think Kevin Drum gets it just right here:

Put another way, Obama has proposed cuts of about 1% from a defense budget that's already the largest in the world, versus cuts of about 10% from a domestic budget that's already one of the stingiest in the world. And that's moderate compared to what Republicans want to do. As Ezra says, this puts a little different spin on "winning" the future, doesn't it?
In other words, get a job in something to do with the defense industry.

Friday, February 11, 2011

See For Yourself

A great interactive chart from the Economic Policy Institute. Go and use it. See what conclusions you can draw.

Via Matt Yglesias.

Thursday, February 10, 2011

Words Matter - Science Edition

So as you probably are well aware, there are still quite a few people who don't believe in climate change. Why is that? Probably because newspaper reporters write things like this...

Q: How about global warming? Does this cold winter disprove it?

A: Not really. As global temperatures rise, higher pressure is more likely at upper levels of the atmosphere, Ostro says, which is what happened this winter. Strong ridges aloft in recent months and years have been conducive to potent troughs of low pressure that help form intense storms.

"It's important to look at the context and the big picture," he says. "While major population centers such as London, Paris, Chicago and Atlanta were shivering, which got a lot of media attention, large expanses in and near the Arctic, including northeast Canada and Greenland, have been experiencing unusually warm conditions this winter."

Q: Anything else to worry about?

The loss of Arctic sea ice, which was at its lowest December and January levels on record, according to the National Snow and Ice Data Center.

"It could be changing atmospheric patterns," Ostro says.
Not really? How about "NO?" Yeah, no would probably work better since everything he quoted the actual scientist saying meant no. Saying "not really" does not mean he is being impartial, or non-partisan, or fair and balanced, or whatever the hell he thinks he is being. What he is really being is factually incorrect. Way to go.

Listen to the People!

The people of Fort Wayne, Indiana have spoken... and they have said they want the "Harry Baals Government Center."

And if they can't have that, their second choice seems to be "Thunderdome." I like the people of Fort Wayne, Indiana.

Monday, February 7, 2011

The Public Taste

The fact that the public's general poor taste still surprises me is a testament either to the unfathomable amount of optimism I have about mankind or further evidence of my poor memory.

Either way, the public once again let me down by declaring two horrible commercials with dogs as their co-champions in USA Today's Super Bowl ad meter. The pug commercial was poor, but at least it wasn't developed by an ad agency. The one featuring dogs serving beer was, and still was awful.

By contrast, VW ran this ad, which was awesome.

Some credit where it is due: this ad was the third favorite in the ad meter.

In all, my top five were:

1. VW Star Wars
2. Doritos Back From the Dead
3. Groupon Tibet
4. Bridgestone Beaver Payback
5. Doritos Finger Licking

Bottom Five:
1. Budweiser Wild West
2. Teleflora Faith Hill
3. Go Daddy Spots
4. Best Buy Ozzy
5. Pepsi Torpedo Cooler

Friday, February 4, 2011

Sarcastic Chart of the Day

Via Matt Yglesias.

Making Your Stocking Stuffer Work for You

Wired Magazine presents the story of a smart Canadian who figured out the code to some scratcher tickets.

The trick itself is ridiculously simple. (Srivastava would later teach it to his 8-year-old daughter.) Each ticket contained eight tic-tac-toe boards, and each space on those boards—72 in all—contained an exposed number from 1 to 39. As a result, some of these numbers were repeated multiple times. Perhaps the number 17 was repeated three times, and the number 38 was repeated twice. And a few numbers appeared only once on the entire card. Srivastava’s startling insight was that he could separate the winning tickets from the losing tickets by looking at the number of times each of the digits occurred on the tic-tac-toe boards. In other words, he didn’t look at the ticket as a sequence of 72 random digits. Instead, he categorized each number according to its frequency, counting how many times a given number showed up on a given ticket. “The numbers themselves couldn’t have been more meaningless,” he says. “But whether or not they were repeated told me nearly everything I needed to know.” Srivastava was looking for singletons, numbers that appear only a single time on the visible tic-tac-toe boards. He realized that the singletons were almost always repeated under the latex coating. If three singletons appeared in a row on one of the eight boards, that ticket was probably a winner.
The irony here is that after he calculated how much time it would take him to gather and scratch enough tickets to make more than he was making as a geological statistician, he decided it wasn't worth the effort.

This means that a man who know he can win doesn't even think scratchers are a good deal, and yet there are millions of people know they won't win who spend hard-earned cash on them daily. But none of those people are geological statisticians I guess.

Thursday, February 3, 2011

Way to Go MO

I thought when Missouri became the only fence-riding state to go for McCain, we'd hit kind of a political rock bottom. Little did I know, our Democratic Senator would have something to say about that just over two years later.

Then came the McCaskill-Corker proposal. The progressive-leaning Center on Budget Priorities scored the bill with the horror of a too-young tween reading an early Stephen King novel. "Limiting spending to an historical average of some kind has been a longstanding goal of very conservative organizations such as the Heritage Foundation," wrote CBP's Paul Van de Water. "Historical spending levels are not a realistic or appropriate goal for the future." In another analysis, CBP's James Horney assessed that the CAP Act could slash $4.5 trillion from the budget, $2 trillion more than the RSC plan that Democrats had blanched at.
A memo to Claire: if the political climate in Missouri doesn't change, you're not going to get re-elected no matter how much you try to sound like a Republican.

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