Wednesday, January 09, 2008

European School Textbooks

There was an old, and sadly funny joke about the Evolution of Math Quizzes that went like this:

A logger cuts and sells a truckload of lumber for $100. His cost of production is four-fifths of that amount. What is his profit?

1970s New-math
A logger exchanges a set (L) of lumber for a set (M) of money. The cardinality of Set M is 100. The set C of production costs contains 20 fewer points. What is the cardinality of Set P of profits?

A logger cuts and sells a truckload of lumber for $100. Her cost is $80, her profit is $20. Find and circle the number 20.

An unenlightened logger cuts down a beautiful stand of 100 trees in order to make a $20 profit. Write an essay explaining how you feel about this as a way to make money. Topic for discussion: How did the forest birds and squirrels feel?

Ha ha ha ha! Right?

Unfortunately, wrong. For here, as incidentally reported in Foreign Policy, is an actual math quiz question from a German textbook:

In 2004, a bread roll cost 40 cents. For the wheat that went into it, the farmer received less than 2 cents. What do you think about that?

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Monday, January 07, 2008

Hillary on Obama: "hasn't done the spadework necessary to be president"

Mrs. Clinton: Barack Obama Hasn't Done the Necessary "Spadework" January 7, 2008


RUSH: Did you hear what Mrs. Clinton said on the Today show today with Matt Lauer? She said that Barack Obama "hasn't done the spadework necessary to be president." He "hasn't done the spadework necessary to be president," as though she has. Now, let's imagine, shall we, if Trent Lott or Mitt Romney or Ross Perot had said that Barack Obama "hasn't done the spadework necessary to be president." Nothing that happens in the Clinton campaign is coincidence, folks. Barack Obama hasn't done the "spadework"? Whew. Where is the Reverend Sharpton on this? By the way, big story: Reverend Sharpton is waiting on his time to endorse. He's waiting for commitments. That means he's probably waiting for money from one of these two camps.

Bill Clinton, over the weekend, in response to a question from somebody at one of his town hall meetings, "What's going on?" He blamed me. He blamed talk radio. He blamed me. He said that the reason Mrs. Clinton has such a rotten image is because people believe me, even me. He said, "People believe all these things there are people saying about her, it's like Rush Limbaugh. Even when Rush Limbaugh says it." Folks (laughter) it's me. In their minds, the reason Mrs. Clinton is in tough doo-doo right now is me, and they're right. You know, when you get down to brass tacks, they are right. But Mrs. Clinton, don't get out of the race. You can't quit! If you're worried about your legacy and going down as a big loser, a big quitter would be even worse. Please stay in this race and make it count for one and all, because the country needs me to be able to persuade you to hang in there and be tough.


RUSH: Here's Mrs. Clinton's "spadework" line. Now, I guarantee you, if I had said this -- if Romney had said it; if anybody had said this -- about Obama, the fur would be flying.

HILLARY: When they say to themselves, "Okay. I have a choice between a truly inspirational speaker who has not done the kind of spadework with the sort of, uh, experience that, uhhh, another candidate has --

RUSH: Oh, ho-ho-ho! Folks, this is not coincidental. I guaran-damn-tee you. Look, this is the bunch that suppresses black people in the Democrat Party. From Maynard Jackson, to Carl McCall, to the Reverend Jackson, to Al Sharpton, these are the people that when the blacks get too "uppity," they get stomped down. "He hasn't done the spadework." He hasn't done the spadework.

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George McGovern Lies About Distancing Himself From Calls Of Nixon Impeachment

George McGovern writes an article for the Washington Post calling for the impeachment of George Bush and Dick Cheney. Within that article he claims:

After the 1972 presidential election, I stood clear of calls to impeach President Richard M. Nixon for his misconduct during the campaign. I thought that my joining the impeachment effort would be seen as an expression of personal vengeance toward the president who had defeated me.


AUTHOR: George McGovern, US Senator

QUOTATION: When people ask if the United States can afford to place on trial the president, if the system can stand impeachment, my answer is, “Can we stand anything else?”

ATTRIBUTION: Advocating impeachment of Richard M Nixon, San Francisco Examiner 29 Nov 73

And of course, McGovern cites the now discredited Lancet study:

That irresponsible venture has killed almost 4,000 Americans, left many times that number mentally or physically crippled, claimed the lives of an estimated 600,000 Iraqis (according to a careful October 2006 study from the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health)

Hey, George:

Data Bomb

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Sunday, January 06, 2008

And Yet Another Anti-Limbaugh Liar On The Internet

On the forums, we have someone going by the user name of "Repo Man".

First off, a post by someone by the name of "kilroy":

oh, and:

On November 6, 1992, three days after her father won the elections, when Chelsea was still in braces, Rush Limbaugh said the following on his television show: "Everyone knows the Clintons have a cat; Socks is the White House cat. But did you know there is also a White House dog?" He then pointed to a video monitor, which switched to a picture of Chelsea. Limbaugh has claimed that it was a technical error.

I know most here already know this but Jesus if there was ever someone who ought to be catapulted into the Sun it's that fat flop of poo poo. He chuckled and shook like a bowl full of jelly after the joke so it certainly wasn't an error.


Repo Man responds (on December 9, 2007):


Kilroy posted:
oh, and:

I know most here already know this but Jesus if there was ever someone who ought to be catapulted into the Sun it's that fat flop of poo poo. He chuckled and shook like a bowl full of jelly after the joke so it certainly wasn't an error.

There is a nutjob going around saying this never happened, and using a transcript from another episode of Limbaugh's show to prove it. The trouble is, I actually saw Limbaugh do this, and it was no accident. I wish someone would put it up on YouTube.

Oh yeah, here he is editing the Wikipedia entry on Chelsea. Nice try, loser.


Bwahahahahaha!!! :-) Man, what a LIAR this Repo Man is! He NEVER saw Limbaugh do it! This is not only a bad lie, its a clumsy lie. If the Rush Limbaugh show was seen by only a mere handful of people, then he could get away with claiming to have seen something that didnt happen. But because the show was watched by millions, myself included, there are millions of eyewitnesses to contradict him! The transcript is not from "another episode". It is the one and only incident from which this phony story grew!

And no one will ever put it up on youtube because one cannot put up an incident that never existed! Notice in all the years that people like Repo Man have been propping up this lie, NONE of them have come up with a transcript and/or, better yet, a video of this supposed incident that they claimed happen.

Repo Man: "The trouble is, I actually saw Limbaugh do this"

Trouble is, Mr. Repo Man, you're just a liar that saw NOTHING. And I won't bother pretending to give you a "nice try".

For reference purposes, here is the actual transcript:

November 6, 1992, Friday 11:15 AM

LIMBAUGH: Thank you. This show's era of dominant influence is just beginning. We are now the sole voice of sanity, the sole voice of reason. We are the sole voice of opposition on all television. This is the only place you can tune to to get the truth of the opposition of the one-party dictatorial government that now will soon run America. Oh, I mean, we are only beginning to enjoy dominance and prosperity. Most of these things on the in-out list are not even funny, but a couple of them--one of them in particular is.

David Hinckley of--of the New York Daily News wrote this, and what he has--he's got--it's very strange. He says, In: A cute kid in the White House. Out: Cute dog in the White House.' Could--could we see the cute kid? Let's take a look at--see who is the cute kid in the White House.

(A picture is shown of Millie the dog)

LIMBAUGH: (Voiceover) No, no, no. That's not the kid.

(Picture shown of Chelsea Clinton)

LIMBAUGH: (Voiceover) That's--that's the kid. We're trying to...

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Saturday, January 05, 2008

Data Bomb (How The Lancet Fudged Their Iraqi Death Numbers)

Data Bomb

By Neil Munro and Carl M. Cannon, National Journal

Three weeks before the 2006 midterm elections gave Democrats control of Congress, a shocking study reported on the number of Iraqis who had died in the ongoing war. It bolstered criticism of President Bush and heightened the waves of dread -- here and around the world -- about the U.S. occupation of Iraq.

Published by The Lancet, a venerable British medical journal, the study [PDF] used previously accepted methods for calculating death rates to estimate the number of "excess" Iraqi deaths after the 2003 invasion at 426,369 to 793,663; the study said the most likely figure was near the middle of that range: 654,965. Almost 92 percent of the dead, the study asserted, were killed by bullets, bombs, or U.S. air strikes. This stunning toll was more than 10 times the number of deaths estimated by the Iraqi or U.S. governments, or by any human-rights group.

In December 2005, Bush had used a figure of 30,000 civilian deaths in Iraq. Iraq's health ministry calculated that, based on death certificates, 50,000 Iraqis had died in the war through June 2006. A cautiously compiled database of media reports by a London-based anti-war group called Iraq Body Count confirmed at least 45,000 war dead during the same time period. These were all horrific numbers -- but the death count in The Lancet's study differed by an order of magnitude.

Queried in the Rose Garden on October 11, the day the Lancet article came out, Bush dismissed it. "I don't consider it a credible report," he replied. The Pentagon and top British government officials also rejected the study's findings.

Such skepticism would not prove to be the rule.

CBS News called the report a "new and stunning measure of the havoc the American invasion unleashed in Iraq." CNN began its report this way: "War has wiped out about 655,000 Iraqis, or more than 500 people a day, since the U.S.-led invasion, a new study reports." Within a week, the study had been featured in 25 news shows and 188 articles in U.S. newspapers and magazines, including The New York Times, The Washington Post, and the Los Angeles Times.

Editorials in many major newspapers cited the Lancet article as further evidence that the invasion of Iraq was a bad idea, and the liberal blogosphere ridiculed Bush for his response. Prominent mainstream media outlets quoted various academics who vouched for the study's methodology, including some who said they had reviewed the data before publication.

Within a few weeks a backlash rose, although the contrarian view of the study generated far less press attention than the Lancet article. In the ensuing year, numerous skeptics have identified various weaknesses with the study's methodology and conclusions. Political blogs and academic journals have registered and responded to the objections in a debate that has been simultaneously arcane and predictable. The arguments are arcane because that is the nature of statistical analysis. They are predictable because that is the nature of today's polarized political discourse, with liberals defending the Lancet study and conservatives contesting it.

How to explain the enormous discrepancy between The Lancet's estimation of Iraqi war deaths and those from studies that used other methodologies? For starters, the authors of the Lancet study followed a model that ensured that even minor components of the data, when extrapolated over the whole population, would yield huge differences in the death toll. Skeptical commentators have highlighted questionable assumptions, implausible data, and ideological leanings among the authors, Gilbert Burnham, Riyadh Lafta, and Les Roberts.

Some critics go so far as to suggest that the field research on which the study is based may have been performed improperly -- or not at all. The key person involved in collecting the data -- Lafta, the researcher who assembled the survey teams, deployed them throughout Iraq, and assembled the results -- has refused to answer questions about his methods.

More here:

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Friday, January 04, 2008

Hillary Clinton Fundraiser: Obama Is The "Neighboring Boy"


Ellen Chesler, She is Distinguished Lecturer at the City University of New York and the author of “Woman of Valor: Margaret Sanger and the Birth Control Movement in America.” Long-time friend and fundraiser for Hillary Clinton.

ELLEN CHESLER: Well, let’s put all of this a little bit in perspective. The big winner last night in Iowa was the Democratic Party, where two-and-a-half times the number of Republicans voted, and almost 60% more Democrats and independents caucused for the Democrats as four years ago. That’s an extraordinary statement that the treacherous reign of Bush and Cheney is over in this country and that Democrats and independents want change.

That said, Barack Obama placed first. He is the neighboring boy. He had a huge bump up in eastern Iowa on the border of Illinois in Springfield, where he served as a legislator. Hillary Clinton placed second. It was a tie for second.

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