Ding, Ding, Ding

He even linked nicely to me lately even though I make fun of him, Andrew Sullivan hits the nail on the head for Obama:

A lot of people are asking if he will and whether he should directly attack Clinton. Of course he should attack Clinton, and, if he’s smart, he’ll focus on her endorsement of the Kyl-Lieberman amendment and her shilly-shallying over torture. But what he should really be doing is attacking Giuliani. The major worry many Democrats have is that Obama cannot stand up to Rudy-style “all-my-opponents-are-terrorists” politics. Give Rudy hell, tonight, Obama. That’s what you really have to prove.

Oh, and bloggers are even having a harder time getting the campaign to respond. Let me put this point on it–you know all those stories about the homophobic preacher even though the other campaigns have homophobic preachers all around—it would have helped to talk some folks through it.

Chuckles is Back

Charles Murray is talking about them smart Jews:

Of more concern: whether Jews should brag about their big brains, even if studies show them to have high intelligence. “You’ve got to talk about these things carefully,” said Murray, who learned the hard way. “Only an Iowan raised as a Presbyterian could get away with talking about Jewish IQ the way I can because Jews get so embarrassed about Jewish IQ: ‘We know we’re smart but don’t tell anyone else.’ ” By coincidence, the AEI forum came on a day that was rather good for Jews in Washington.

I’m an Illinoisan raised as a Presbyterian and I also have basic comprehension of statistics and why this qualifies as one of the most inane discussions even for one held at AEI.   At least Sullivan isn’t trained in statistics.  Murray’s an embarrasment and should go the way of John “Mary Rosh” Lott at AEI.

Oh, wait, AEI is full of very serious people.

Mea Culpa on Immigration

I got a bit of an earful on the immigration post–much of which was valid.  From the most recent poll from Democracy Corps I am starting to see the issue:

So here’s where the issue is–it isn’t salient on it’s own, but the Republican position framed as the Republicans like the issue benefits them when they can raise the salience.  Given this is about the only position they have with popular support this cycle, expect to see lots of immigration commercials.

And, dammit, Rahm was right, though I think there are fairly easy ways to innoculate oneself without moving to the right which is what participants have told others he said and creates an even bigger problem in the long run, but innoculating oneself by calling for comprehensive reform that includes enforcement is certainly reasonable.

At Least They Could Find Osama

Imagine John Boehner’s tears if a Democrat said this:

“This is the world we live in. It’s not this happy, romantic-like world where we’ll negotiate with this one, or we’ll negotiate with that one and there will be no preconditions, and we’ll invite Ahmadinejad to the White House, we’ll invite Osama to the White House,” said Giuliani.

“Hillary and Obama are kind of debating whether to invite them to the inauguration or the inaugural ball.”

Memo To Lipinski, Make sure you don’t drive away with anyone on the hood of your car

In touch with the people:

Meanwhile, U.S. Rep. Dan Lipinski (D-Ill.), a subcommittee member who requested Monday’s hearing, said he remains optimistic that a funding deal will be worked out in Springfield before Sunday when the CTA will eliminate 39 bus routes and Pace will stop running shuttle buses to suburban Metra stations due to huge budget deficits.

“I am confident the state and local governments will address the immediate needs,” Lipinski said.

Differing from others who testified, Lipinski maintained that “fortunately, Chicago already has a world-class transportation system.”

His views were not well received by disabled transit activists who disrupted the hearing for about 10 minutes, chanting, “We need transit now” and “What about the money for the CTA?”

Confident Springfield will work things out… that makes exactly one person who believes that.

They Aren’t Paying Attention…

As the blogosphere has declared every candidate out there has made fatal mistakes over and over again, it’s important to remember, the average voter doesn’t know much about any of that

[O]ur polling data show that much of this is sailing right over the heads of the average Republican voter out there across the land. Most startlingly – at least to me – the latest USA Today/Gallup poll indicates that 74% of Republicans say they are unsure where Rudy Giuliani stands on the issue of legal same sex unions. That’s little changed from January when we first asked this question.

Republicans are a little more knowledgeable about the fact that Giuliani is pro-choice on abortion. Still, more than half of the Republicans we recently interviewed said that they were unsure about where he stands on this issue — which has received a great deal of intense pundit and commentator scrutiny [link added].

The Trib Comes to Blagojevich’s Rescue

With virtually no one left to demonize in the state, Rod gets a gift from the Trib, one of the few institutions Democrats cannot stand more than Blagojevich.

He shows no inclination to resign from office. And while the state constitution does allow for his impeachment by the Illinois House and trial by the Senate, it’s doubtful legislators could bring themselves to such drastic action. So the realistic question becomes this: Given the multiple ineptitudes of Rod Blagojevich — his reckless financial stewardship, his dictatorial antics, his penchant for creating political enemies — should citizens create a new way to terminate a chief executive who won’t, or can’t, do his job?

What’s bizarre is this is the one time where traditional conservatism probably has the right idea and that is to let the popular will be funneled through elected officials.  And the Trib goes with populism. Absolutely wrong about absolutely everything on the editorial page.  If there is enough desire to remove him from office, the Lege can do it.  Or change to a parliamentary form which can adapt easily to varying election cycles.

Ultimately, while I cannot stand this Governor and even with those low expectations he keeps not meeting them, the problem is larger than just him. If you are going to change the government, change everyone–or allow everyone to be changed.  Dissolve the government and call for elections.  Allowing it to be done for only one branch will, in the long run, leave part of the problem in place. If you remove a Governor who replaces him? The Lieutenant Governor? In the particular case that would be fine, and hysterical to see Pat Quinn being the conciliator, but usually it leaves the problem in place.  Have a new election?  Remember, we just had one.

What is the Trib thinking?

Wanting to get rid of Rod Blagojevich is a natural and perfectly normal impulse for anyone paying attention, but ultimately, we are talking about the structure of state government. If you are going to have set election terms and separate branches between Executive and Legislative, the stability lost in recalls is a significant problem.

I’m not necessarily against some sort of recall, but the system should match the incentives and in the case of recall, it’s a tool to call an election when it suits your interests.  That only makes sense if everyone has to stand then and you recall the government, not just one pain in the ass.

The one time the Trib’s traditional conservativism would be advisable and they go all populist.

What is the Trib thinking?

When You Don’t Let Media Buyers Make the Buying Decisions

One of the pet peeves of many who watch Democratic campaigns is the weird obsession with broadcast TV buys over cable TV buys.  The Nicki Tsongas race involved huge broadcast buys that were a waste of money given they were targeting people in the area who could not vote in MA-5.  Republican candidates often use cable buys to more effectively target buys geographically and even more so, reach likely voters by picking shows with the right demographics.

The theory is that because of the way many Democratic Ad makers take a percentage of ad buys, it encourages choices to go on broadcast.

Pera’s campaign has gone cable:

From now until late-December the ad will be regularly appearing on a cable channels

[kml_flashembed movie="http://www.youtube.com/v/pzC9TOpg1lc" width="425" height="350" wmode="transparent" /]

Also, CQ chimed in on the race:

Challenger: Democrat Mark Pera, Illinois’ 3rd District ($240,000 raised, $181,000 cash-on-hand)
Incumbent: Rep. Dan Lipinski ($305,000 raised, $321,000 cash-on-hand)
Primary: February 5

Pera, a lawyer, is running to Lipinski’s left and criticizing the incumbent’s votes against abortion and embryonic stem cell research, while the incumbent will emphasize a record that includes service on the Transportation and Infrastructure Committee. Other Democratic candidates in the Feb. 5 primary election include Palos Hills mayor Jerry Bennett, who reported receipts of $56,000 and cash-on-hand of $50,000, and lawyer Jim Capparelli, who took in $12,900 and has $4,400 left to spend.

If you want high comedy, check out Capparelli’s report that is almost as bad as Mike Kelly’s last cycle.  Not one donor has an occupation or employer listed.

Daily Dolt: Treason in Defense of Slavery Yankee, Potentially the Stupidest Boycott Ever

Treason in the Defense of Slavery Yankee is calling for a boycott of The New Republican because it is published Scott Beauchamp:

We know The New Republic attempted to stonewall their way through obvious, blatant, and grievous breaches of journalistic ethics. In so doing, they have attacked the service, integrity, and honor of an entire company of American soldiers serving in a combat zone to avoid taking responsibility for their own editorial and ethical failures.

I’ve never quite understood the big deal over the Beauchamp story–at worst it told the story of some people stuck in the middle of a civil war being cruel to a dog in the street.  Other than by Michael Vick rules of dogs are the most holy thing ever, is that shocking.  Anyway, Treason in the Defense of Slavery Yankee is claiming it is stabbing troops in the back and even left a classic over at Yglesias’ place.

The knives are being swung at the back of our soldiers comes from the hand of Franklin Foer.

It is unclear to just about everyone, but Treason in Defense of Slavery Yankee why a pro-war magazine that continues to cheerlead the Iraqi War and a publisher who is all a twitter at the thought of attacking Iran would want to undercut the troops, but a guy who calls himself Treason in Defense of Slavery Yankee is short a few marbles for pretty obvious reasons.

Anyway, he wants to boycott the TNR’s advertisers.  Yeah, for those who have actually read TNR, that’s pretty funny. Here’s a sample of the advertisers:

Alfred A. Knopf Allstate Amazon.com American Gas Station
American Petroleum Institute AstroZeneca Auto Alliance
Blue Cross Blue Shield Association (current issue) BP (current issue) Chevron (current issue) CNN
FLAME (current issue) Federal Express The Financial Times Focus Features
Ford Motor Company Freddie Mac GM Grove Atlantic
HBO Harvard University Press History Channel Hoover Institution (current issue)
MetLife Microsoft Mortage Bankers Nuclear Energy Institute
The New School New York Times Novartis Palgrave Macmillan (current issue)
Simon & Shuster John Templeton Foundation (current issue) University of Chicago Press University Press of Kansas (current issue)
U.S. Telecom Visa (current issue) The Wall Street Journal Warner Brothers
Warner Brothers Home Video W.W. Norton Wyeth Laboratories Yale University Press (current issue)

TiDoSY wants to boycott pharmaceutical companies, think tanks, academic presses, and interest groups.  Even in the cases of Ford and GM or Chevron and BP their advertising in TNR is oriented towards issues or corporate reputation more than actually selling products.  Oh, and insurance companies….like Blue Cross/Blue Shield.

There are virtually no products to boycott unless one is an academic.  Most of the advertisers aren’t there to sell things so much as to reach a very particular audience about issues.

But the comments are the best:

tilting at windmills…

the advertisers are there because they’re interested in giving money to a liberal magazine and because they’re interested in the readers.

So….American Gas Station, Chevron, BP, the American Petroleum Institute, the Farging Hoover Institution,  FLAME, the Bleeping Nuclear Energy Institute, US Telecom, and Big Pharma are all interested in giving money to a liberal magazine.  Of course.

Never mind that the New Republic is not the New Republic of old, but pretty much a neo-con publication on foreign policy and DLC on domestic policy.  But whatever, these conservative stalwarts are backing the TNR because it is a ‘liberal’ magazine?

TNR, probably far less than it used to be, is a place to reach very specific policy audience with ideas, not sell televisions or cars and that is why this is probably the dumbest consumer boycott ever.

Daily Dolt: Dennis “GET OFF MY LAWN” Byrne

Seriously, someone at the Trib smack Dold over the head for allowing this crap in his paper.

The problem with dismissing the Carroll study because it is epidemiological is that you’ll also have to dismiss a multitude of public health studies, including ones claiming a link between radon and lung cancer. These are the same epidemiological studies that alarmed millions of Americans, frightening them into buying radon detectors and creating a huge radon mitigation business. No study is perfect, and Carroll’s shortcoming is that his data do not allow comparisons of individual women over time. But other major studies have, and according to one unchallenged compressive analysis of those studies, they show that a pregnant woman who has never had a child before and aborts in the first term increased her chance of breast cancer by 50 percent.

Let me offer up the model from the paper

Two explanatory variables are selected for modeling: (abortion)and (fertility).The trends for abortion and fertility are shown in Figures 8 and 9 for countries considered. The Mathematical Model is then:

Yi = a + b1x1i + b2x2i + ei

where Y represents cumulated cohort incidence of breast cancer within a particular age group; a is intercept, b1 and b2 are coefficients, and e is random error.

That creates a guffaw from those who know statistics at all.

He has a correlation Coefficient of .98.


Those who understand correlation coefficients are shooting liquid through their nose if they were drinking anything right now. I had to look at it about 20 minutes to understand this moron was trying to sell a .98 correlation coefficient.
What he has done is take mass data that shows one factor increasing (abortion) and another decreasing (fertility) and then regresses it upon a variable that is increasing-incidence of breast cancer.

So if I were to regress the number of abortions and the fertility rate on the number of televisions sold per person, I’d get about the same result over this period of time. So I can, according to this dumbass, claim credibly that television leads to breat cancer. Or, as the Orac points out, the reduction in the number of pirates has led to global warming.
There’s a variety of problems in this study starting with he throws out independent variables well established by other studies. In the case of linear regression, the problem is that if you do not include other variables, you cannot control for those variables and so not are just theoretical variables excluded, but well established variables demonstrated over and over are excluded from the analysis. To say the least, this is an underspecified

A regression model is underspecified if the regression equation is missing one or more important predictor variables. This situation is perhaps the worst-case scenario, because an underspecified model yields biased regression coefficients and biased predictions of the response. That is, in using the model, we would consistently underestimate or overestimate the population slopes and the population means. To make already bad matters even worse, the mean square error MSE tends to overestimate ?2, thereby yielding wider confidence intervals than it should.

No one accepts a .98 coefficient. No one. That is essentially regressing one variable on itself and in this case, it’s the regressing less restrictive abortion laws with a number of factors that have led to an increase in breast cancer.

Ecological inference is not an acceptable means of imputing causation on individuals from macro level data and this study violates the principle. One might use it to explore potential causes and whether there is a gross correlation, but not to determine causality. For that one requires cohort information or some other way to address individual observations.

It’s junk science. Yet the Chicago Tribune keeps publishing a clown who insists there is a link, but is wholly unqualified to judge that and uses crappy studies to do it. Why?