Me: Frank Lynch. These are my daily rants, mostly political. For something less spontaneous, I maintain The Samuel Johnson Sound Bite Page (over 1,800 Johnson quotes), perhaps your best online resource for insight into his thinking.
DISCLOSURE: I work for Abt SRBI. We do polling, public policy research, surveys, etc. My opinions should not be construed as representing those of my employer.
first: frankplynch at gmail dot com; now delete the 'a' in my name
Bio: Born 1957, raised in Florida, moved to New York area in 1982; now live in Brooklyn. I work in marketing research for Abt SRBI. My opinions should not be construed as representing those of my employer.
Remember that abysmal poll question asking who you'd rather have a beer with? Bush or Gore? It was a silly question supposed to imply Presidential capacity (even setting aside the fact that Bush was an abstaining drinker). And I don't mean to gloss over the difference between a beer-mate and a President of the United States.
But perhaps you'll allow me this crazy extension? Who would you rather have over for Thanksgiving dinner, Clinton or Trump?
In my opinion, Trump is the epitomization of the Crazy Uncle. Your choice might depend on 1, whether or not you want a Crazy Uncle at Thanksgiving, and 2, whether or not you already have a Crazy Uncle for the chair.
But wow, day after day it seems as if Trump's been looking at casting calls in Variety for the Crazy Uncle, and saying to himself "Trust me, I can do this."
I just don't know where it's going to stop, or how it will end.
Trump's call out to Russia, to show whatever emails they might have scooped off of Hillary Clinton's serverrs, is of course unprecedented. He didn't actually say they should go in and see what they could find; but then again, Dubya never exactly used the exact word imminent. Communication is a function of interpretation, and Bristol-Myers was was put in the penalty box for leaving people with the impression that Listerine could prevent colds, even though they only led you to connect the dots and didn't actually say it.
If I wanted to put this in the most generous terms possible, I still can't imagine it in a positive light.Assume for a moment that he actually did not ask Russia to now hack her servers. Is he asking Russia to take a fresh review of any thing they might have found? Is he asking Russia to actually be a force in our elections?
Neither of them are good. And the concept of a President appreciative of the graciousness of Putin in getting him elected is reprehensible. If there's a stronger word, I'd like to know it and use it. A President like that would have questionable loyalties. It's really time for the GOP to disavow their candidate. (As if that's going to happen, since they need down ticket votes; they will put Trump in every sexy negligee on the planet.)
Cuomo takes advantage of a distracted public again.
The tradition of the late Friday document dump is well known and often used. But a skilled politician who really wants do something without attracting notice knows that people are especially less attentive on Saturday mornings in Summer. And if you have the opportunity to do it before a three day weekend in Summer, why who would pass that up? Certainly not the current governor of the great state of New York.
On Friday, NYS released a report (three months late) on the progress of the taxpayer-funded Start Up New York jobs program, showing that the program had created 408 jobs to date. Four hunnert and eight. That's against "tens of millions of dollars" promoting it, and $1.19 million in tax benefits (although the companies receiving the benefits have invested $13 million in the NYS economy).
I'd like to point out that there's a lot of actual journalism going on in the NYT piece: it notes the timing of the release, hiding key figures in footnotes, and the obfuscation of results. They clearly went soft on Cuomo during the primary against Zephyr Teachout.
It might only have been due to the fact that I was at work that I didn't do a full "What: Huh?" over a 7-1 ruling the SCOTUS issued today, over the obvious exclusion of blacks from a jury in Georgia. (To be clear, SCOTUS ruled the jury selection was unfair; and you should read the article to see the extent of how serious and blatant it was.) And I'm like, this made it all the way up to the Supreme Court? This wasn't obvious from the get go?
I've never really felt like I was in the diaspora; I chose to leave the South. But I have some close friends who are still there, and whenever they ask me when I'm coming back to visit, I'm total Henry David Thoreau, asking Waldo why he hasn't left yet. But not really, because I know they are fine people, and no region can afford to be without fine people.
But seriously: the NC bathroom bill, the personhood amendments, Rick Scott, the Oklahoma bill making it a felony for a doctor to perform an abortion. (Just make the law less vague and I might sign it, the governor said. Oh, she also said it was unlikely to withstand a Constitutional challenge [good], but it's not like she said it was wrong and stoopid.)
Ah, the New South. Hustlin' round Atlanta in them alligator shoes.
(Yes, I know the narrator has a legitimate point about racism in the north. But the narrator is using that as a salve.)
Not sure if you saw John Oliver last night, but his weekly rant was about problems with how scientific experiments are conducted (too few replication studies to confirm results, as it's not newsworthy or underfunded; too small sample sizes; relies on tests with mice) how it's reported in press releases (over simplified or dramatized), and how it's chewed out by popular journalists (no examination of the viability of the methodology, just running with a tidbit which will generate eyeballs).
I can personally relate to some of what Oliver points to (my thesis advisor wanted me to delve into my data to find some stray way of reducing the error term and increasing the statistical significance of my results from 90%, good enough for my degree, to 95%, good enough for publcation, ooh baby). But I'd also love to know what proportion of the published results really deserve his mockery. I'm sure the number is high, but the number of studies in the journals etc and research experiments where this doesn't happen is probably also very high.
From my own, singular experience (singular meaning I have zero degrees of freedom, that being n minus one, where n equals one) we did not gussy up our findings on our study of truck drivers and harassment a bit. Not only did we fail to reject the null hypothesis (which says OK we found a difference -- we said we didn't) we also did what we could to make sure a difference wasn't hidden by other factors.
Further, the trucking industry publications reported our non-results dutifully, directly quoting our major conclusion that we didn't see anything substantial. None of them did anything to contradict what we'd written, even though there was a section of the report on the study's limitations.