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Version: 1.0
(July 25, 2005)

I'm a non-believer (in what the media -old and new- tell me)

Jul 27, 2010 by DaveC

So, publius and Lindsay were on journolist. Not really a surprise. Hilzoy linked regularly to Ezra Klein, say every 2 or 3 posts. Perhaps she was more of a lurker.

And in 2008 not so good of a judge of whether McCain was a liar (and also Dishonorable - over and over).

=== Clip ===

I wanted to note a couple of things. First, McCain often distorted Obama's views. He said Obama would raise taxes, when (just to repeat myself) Obama will raise taxes only on people making over $250,000 a year. Still, in that case, you can imagine a way in which you might make what he said out to be true, if you squint a bit: Obama will raise some taxes. But there's no way to make this out to be anything but a lie:: [/i]

"His plan will force small busineses to cut jobs, reduce wages, and force families into a government-run health care system where a bureaucrat stands between you and your doctor."

Here's a link to Obama's health plan. If anyone can find the part about forcing anyone into a government-run health care system, I'll eat my hat. (Remember the controversy from the primaries about mandates, and how Obama didn't have them?)

=== /Clip ===

So here is how it is two years later:

Business cut jobs:Check. Reduce wages: Semi-Check (no raises). The govt-run health care is a Tax , is a Mandate, appears to be Medicaid rather than some other Public Option, but perhaps those are the same thing: Partial-Semi-Check. McCain's statement looks like it is much more truth than a lie, if you ask me.

Blogs aren't always fonts of wisdom. The opinions may not turn out to be true.  Don't believe everything you read or hear, and don't trust me on this.

Looky here now:

Elevated CO2 levels in the atmosphere, although destructive to many plant species, are proving a boon for adaptive weeds such as poison ivy, said Lewis Ziska, a federal plant physiologist.

Really? That sounds kind of like Phil Ponce explaining on a PBS special how global warming will make Lake Michigan flood the Chicago shoreline, even though the lake has been at historic lows and ingonring the fact that Chicago is over 600 feet above sea level and in the middle of the continent.

But look a FEDERAL SCIENTIST is making the poison ivy claims! I on the other hand have only lived in the area for 25 years, and have always seen poison ivy, perhaps because I can identify it and do not need a newspaper article to tell me that it exists. I suspect that the article is meant to scare the cityfolk. The big unanswered question in my mind is whether corn and soybeans can tolerate CO2. We should all move to Antarctica, which, by journalistic standards, is the greenest place on earth.

I like this Jacob Davies guy. Lets get on the horn with Ezra and throw him a few links. I still don't get Eric.


Jul 27, 2010, 21:48:59 dr ngo wrote:

So I followed the NYT link (cut-and-pasted the URL) to see the evidence for these assertions:

[i]Business cut jobs:Check. Reduce wages: Semi-Check (no raises). [/i]

Only to find - surprise! - nothing whatsoever about them. It's all about the tax/mandate question, which is complicated enough, but it doesn't support the McCain allegation that the health care plan (as opposed to the general state of the economy, which is semi-dire) caused businesses to cut jobs.

If you want to bloviate, feel free. If you make like you're providing evidence in support of your views, be aware that some people may actually follow it up and expose the emptiness thereof.

Jul 28, 2010, 01:31:23 russell wrote:

OK, my daily dose of Mole Whack.

Businesses have not cut jobs and reduced pay or held pay steady because of any program of Obama's.

They have done so because the economy, broadly construed, blew up. Before Obama was President.

Do you disagree?

The mandatory health insurance policy is being packaged as a tax because that is, arguably, the best or only way to get it past Constitutional muster.

The reason it exists at all is because that was the only way the insurance companies could be made to agree to give up recission and denying coverage for folks with anything bad in their medical history.

It was a quid pro quo.

Sadly, the public option was not an option at all. Far, far, far too radical a concept for our republic.

And, sadly, neither is Medicaid a "public option". It's not an option at all unless you're really, really poor, and/or unless you need intensive residential care sufficient to bankrupt you.

Maybe you could post something about bird watching.

Jul 28, 2010, 12:39:46 DaveC wrote:

==Fake Formatting==

So I followed the NYT link (cut-and-pasted the URL) to see the evidence for these assertions:

Business cut jobs:Check.
Reduce wages: Semi-Check (no raises).

== /FF ==

Those two are from my own personal observations. Co-workers laid off. No raise. Spouse dropped from insurance; She has her own, more crappy insurance so that's not the Medicaid deal. Upside is that if she was fired from her job she would be eligible for my insurance.

I work in light industry manufacturing, and the (very lovely - we have cormorants there in the ponds - bird reference- and why such small ponds?) industrial park that I work in has lost about 25% of the tenants in the last year.

I can only speculate about the reasons. Three scenarios:

A) The bank will no longer provide loans to meet the payroll.

B) It is a privately owned company and there are incentives to close: lower capital gains if you can sell customer base to another company, and don't take a larger loss from keeping on lease and employees.

C) Avoid punitive health care fines.

Sorry, I can't provide a link for this, but that is really the way it is.

Jul 28, 2010, 12:51:57 John Thullen wrote:

A. Business meets business. Business loses.

B. Raise capital gains taxes on the sales of businesses.

C. I'll play along with this one. Obamacare is too complicated. Separate healthcare from employment via a fully universal government healthhcare INSURANCE system, modeled on the Federal Employees Healthcare System. If doctors don't like it, they can collect my garbage. If private insurance companies, non-profit and profit don't like like itm then quit the FEHP now and shut up.

C1: It's too bad conservatives blocked the simpler route. Now we have Obamacare.

D. Quack.

Jul 28, 2010, 12:58:55 DaveC wrote:

My opinion about poison ivy is that it likes to grow in shady areas (as does Buckthorn, a much worse problem), and the deer eat the trillium, jack-in-the pulpits, and ferns in the spring unless the woodlands there are fenced off. A result of this is that in the early summer, the poison ivy has more room to grow. This isn't scientific consensus, just an observation on my part.

Poison ivy is spread by bird poop dropping seeds.

Looks like we have had a large bird die-off this year - fewer hawks,owls, crows, etc. - due to the West Nile virus, lake there was a few years back. I'll check the newspaper to see what they think; haven't seen anything about it yet.

Jul 28, 2010, 13:16:59 John Thullen wrote:

Poison Ivy.

I heard the Federal scientist on NPR. She didn't sound scary at all. Nice lady. She made her observations and that was it. Poison ivy happened to be the "first respondent" among plants as CO2 levels increased.

First respondent is one of them scientific terms, like "cement pond" elitist educated liberals use to scare the shit out of heartlanders who throw a little poison ivy in with their iceberg lettuce at the local salad bar, thinking what's there to be afraid of.

Is there a privately-funded scientist somewhere out in the woods rolling around in the poison ivy and about to appear on FOX fully welted and coated, basted, and pink with calamine lotion who is going to celebrate a little more itching?

Man, it's hot this year.

When the killer asteroid appears in a few years, headed for collision with Sean Hannity's cranium, I hope to be a Senator at that time, and I'm gonna hold a hearing as the asteroid appears on TV as big as Jupiter bearing down on a grease spot, and my first question is going to be "What asteroid?"

Asteroids coming in close proximity of one's forehead can cure prostate cancer and increase alfalfa yields at certain elevations. Compare THAT to the downside.

I know nothing about global warming and neither do you Dave.

Occasionally you talk programming but I find expert testimony threatening and frankly, scary, so I thinks to myself, what does he know?

The other day, they had a guy on the Food Channel, an expert baker no less, a veritable scientific expert on cakes, the over-educated ponce, and HE has the temerity to tell US that cakes may fall under certain conditions.

I think he has ulterior motives.

Jul 28, 2010, 13:20:41 John Thullen wrote:

I'm a sucker for Thoreau-lie observations of Nature, Dave and if higher CO2 levels mean more jack-in-the-pulpits, I'm gonna burn me some fossil fuels and the hell with everyone else.

Jul 28, 2010, 21:28:29 libjpn wrote:

just a note, I'm in Carriere MS for a few days and then travelling around, so I don't have the energy to write anything, but I'll be able to read.

the journolisto stuff amazes me in the fact that something with absolutely no meaning can be stretched out for so long. It's like the worst student jazz band doing Autumn Leaves over and over and over again.

Sebastian must have lots of time on his hands to trawl the archives to pick a fight with Carlton. At least it's gotten him off the 'why does everyone agree with Eric and not me' jag, but the 'Mr. Wu' tags seems like he's taking passive aggressiveness to new heights.

nothing much else.

Jul 29, 2010, 00:01:56 DonaldJ wrote:

"Sebastian must have lots of time on his hands to trawl the archives to pick a fight with Carlton.'

Yeah, that was really bizarre, though Seb apologized, I think.

Jul 29, 2010, 00:42:17 libjpn wrote:

Ahh, I just saw that. I also took the threads out of chronological order. Looking at the thread before that, I thought Carleton had really gotten the better of Seb, and that must have kicked his 'I may not be right, but you have to be wrong' vibe into high gear, though I don't have the requisite license to practice psychoanalysis via interwubs. Still, nice to see an apology.

Jul 29, 2010, 10:47:34 John Thullen wrote:

The journal Nature will publish a study done by some of wags up in Nova Scotia who study too much and wear glasses showing massive losses of phytoplankton over time in the world's oceans.

The hypothesized culprit: the warming of the world's oceans.

What they don't know is that I have sources who know the final word on this.

So what's the real story, Dave? If you hesitate, I'll have to turn on talk-radio to get to the certain truth.

My feeling is that things will balance out to the positive -- the surplus of poison ivy will become the basic starting point of the world's food chain, replacing phytoplankton.

The anchovies can be washed down with calamine lotion.

Jul 31, 2010, 09:52:46 DaveC wrote:

There are many ways to think about the photoplankton story.

Perhaps there haven't been enough hurricanes in the last couple of years.

Will the volcanoes feed the plankton?

Possibly there could be agricultural methods of enouraging plankton growth.

Is warming good for fish?

Maybe the fish are swimming too much or too little.

There is not enough nitrogen.

There is too much nitrogen.

Etc., Etc. Etc.
Many ways to think about the phytoplankton, But could wait for the scientific consensus from Kevin Drum, appently).

Aug 02, 2010, 22:24:47 russell wrote:

"It's like the worst student jazz band doing Autumn Leaves over and over and over again."



Q. Why are businesses closing?
A. They aren't making any money.

I'm not sure it's any more complex than that.

Aug 03, 2010, 05:55:37 jacobdavies wrote:

Thanks for the various kind words. I didn't think to check over here after Eric (foolishly) handed me the keys.

I'm not 19, but 33 going on 12...

Now, I [i]was[/i] 19 when I joined the Well and started getting into arguments I was manifestly unqualified to participate in, though. Never gave it up.

I'm no hilzoy or publius or Eric - and there's nothing like hilzoy showing up to make me feel like a five year old playing at being a grown-up - but I'm trying to plant some interesting seeds, and somewhat unexpectedly also scratching my own itches about certain basic quantitative facts about the economy or the costs of various policy options. As with a lot of expert topics, when it comes to economics people seem to fall into one of two camps: non-experts who have little or no clue about even the most basic facts about, say, the size of the economy; and experts who assume that of course everyone else knows all those things and never needs to be reminded.

I am a believer in "institutional continuity through recruitment of the nearest person who doesn't immediately refuse", having watched that work out many times on the Well. And I've also watched the creation of virtual places that wind up outlasting some or all of their original participants. So I don't lose a lot of sleep over "I'm not worthy". I'm sure people miss hilzoy, I miss hilzoy & publius, but if keeping the lights on is valuable to enough people - and it seems to be, and it is to me - I'll try to do my bit.

Since I have no aspirations to be a professional writer, blogger or journalist - I don't like the taste of catfood, and if I said the words "professional blogger" to my wife I would be instantly banned from the internet forever - and I don't have to defend a related academic or professional career, I feel like I'm in a slightly odd situation for a politics blogger. But I'm enjoying it so far.

Aug 06, 2010, 21:55:58 Slartibartfast wrote:

"there's nothing like hilzoy showing up to make me feel like a five year old playing at being a grown-up"


Aug 25, 2010, 01:18:18 John Thullen wrote:

Dave and company:

ANOTHER way to think about the phytoplankton study I mentioned above.

This from a scientist quoted by Kevin Drum, who wrote about the phytoplankton/global warming link some weeks ago.

Science is provisional, not a scare tactic.

But some science (scientism) is like religion. Death is the tease to keep the offering plate full.

However, we can operate under Pascal's wager in both realms.

So pony up, just in case.

Read the rest of Drum's post at his gig. Here's a tease:

"Ok. So here we have a statistically non-robust result, that the authors are well aware is not statistically robust, being published because it's of "high policy significance". However, and critically, the authors included no discussion whatsoever of the statistical limitations of the evidence. The "-0.55" in the abstract is not "-0.55 +/- 1.1" or something like that to give the reader a heads up that there is a lot of uncertainty here. There is no calculation of the "p-value" of that trend (how likely it was to occur by chance), even though the rest of the paper is littered with p-values of subsidiary results. They know perfectly well how to calculate this, they know it's not statistically significant, but they chose to put their readers in a position where we have to take the data off the graph and do our own statistical analysis to realize what's really going on.

And the refereeing and editorial process at Science allowed the paper to be published like that.

I think that sucks."

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