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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.

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Bio: Born 1957, raised in Florida, moved to New York area in 1982; now live in Brooklyn. Married, with one daughter. I work in marketing research for Abt SRBI. My opinions should not be construed as representing those of my employer.

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Word blogging...

Saturday, October 25, 2014

My love for Andrew Cuomo knows no bounds.

You basically know my criticisms: a Democrat who hasn't really embraced the principles of the Democrat party, shifty with budgets and bridge funding, stand-offish with NYC's mayor. He's doing it again; on Thursday he was on a platform at NYU Hospital with DiBlasio over Dr. Spencer and his case of Ebola. The message was clear: the likelihood of getting Ebola on a subway was extremely limited; you won't get it sitting next to someone on the subway, it takes bodily fluids. It is not airborne; it is not the flu.

One day, later, not so much. He's with NJ Governor Chris Christie, putting medical personnel who return from suffering countries after working with Ebola patients in a mandatory 21-day quarantine. And, to top it off, flip-flops over the risk of transmission on a subway:

The risk, Mr. Cuomo said, was grave. Offering an ominous hypothetical, he raised the precise situation that the mayor and the city's health commissioner had tried to play down the night before: the danger of Ebola spreading through the subway system.

"In a region like this," Mr. Cuomo said, "you go out one, two or three times, you ride the subway, you ride a bus, you could affect hundreds and hundreds of people."

Ebola is not airborne. But Cuomo didn't stop there, choosing to baselessly blame Dr. Spencer for not quarantining himself:

But Mr. Cuomo's remarks at times veered beyond the facts, as when he criticized the New York patient with Ebola, Dr. Craig Spencer, accusing him of having failed to follow the protocols set by his organization, Doctors Without Borders.

"He's a doctor, and even he didnít follow the guidelines for the quarantine, let's be honest," Mr. Cuomo said. In fact, Doctors Without Borders said, Dr. Spencer had followed its guidelines. And he was not under quarantine.

(Insert note of pining for Zephyr Teachout here.)

Link | Comments | 9:42 AM

For starters...

David Grisman and John Sebastian.

Link | Comments | 9:21 AM

Tuesday, October 21, 2014

Stunning music, visuals less so.

Panufnik's violin concerto.

Back in the days when there were brick and mortar record stores (and in the old days, even a decent town like Gainesville had a few), you could idly browse through the stock and randomly try composers you'd not heard. It wasn't expensive. And in NYC, the staff at J&R were sophisticated enough to make recommendations based on your level of sophistication after a few pointed questions; if you'd expressed interest in the Taco Bell Cannon they weren't going to suggest Stravinsky. It was through idle searches through the racks at J&R that I discovered Andrzej Panufnik, James MacMillan, and countless other composers that Amazon's algorithms would never have brought to my attention. Unfortunately people like me are not enough to sustain a business these days. And I'd love to know what happened to all that inventory J&R had, and barred us from last November.

Link | Comments | 7:53 PM

"Why should I waste my beautiful mind on something like that?"

That was Barbara Bush's question regarding being confronted with pictures of the body bags associated with Gulf War I. That unpleasant details are irrelevant in the larger scheme. NJ Governor Chris Christie seems to have less tolerance for points which are even finer:

Mr. Christie, who heads the Republican Governors Association, also said he was "tired of hearing about the minimum wage," saying, "I don't think there is a mother or father sitting around a kitchen table tonight in America who are saying, 'You know, honey, if my son or daughter could just make a higher minimum wage, all our dreams would be realized.'"

Perhaps not. But we know that there are many people who are trying to feed a family on minimum wage, putting in a full work week and limiting their discretionary expenses so that the necessities can (sometmes) be covered. I don't know if Christie is really totally insensitive to how so many live, or was just doing a feel-good speech, but this comes across as really rank. As in, how about if you just leave the Capitol building in Trenton and take a walk down Centre Street? You can tell everyone you're out for exercise and wanted to see Riverview Cemetery. Get a sense of what a lot of America goes through before you spout off like a boarish jerk again?

Link | Comments | 7:17 PM

Monday, October 20, 2014

Headline writers should be shot.

Not sure what branch of McClatchy this headline came from:

Bluegrass Poll: McConnell takes one-point lead over Grimes in Kentucky's toss-up U.S. Senate race

A one point difference is not a lead. It's not, unless you interview upwards of 5,000 people, and demographic weighting doesn't need to be done. (Weighting data changes the statistical calculations.) And it's not like the article text is much better:

Kentucky's U.S. Senate race remains a dead heat two weeks before Election Day, with U.S. Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell regaining the slimmest of leads over Democrat Alison Lundergan Grimes in a new Bluegrass Poll.

"Regaining the slimmest of leads"? No. There is no lead. It's a coin toss.

Link | Comments | 7:30 PM

Not a scientist, and not much for listening to them either.

So apparently Marco Rubio, from that august body of careful thinkers, wants to pursue travel bans to combat Ebola. I'm not going to say it's as overwrought a response as demanding photo IDs to vote, because voter fraud is so negligible, and obviously there are people suffering from Ebola. But it is a misguided approach. Once we send our own over there to fight the scourge, Rubio doesn't want them back. Medicine and personnel need to get in freely, and whoever takes it in needs to be able to come out. Otherwise no one is going to take the mission.

Perhaps we can put Rubio in a 21-day quarantine to rethink this?

Link | Comments | 7:18 PM

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