Misuses of Statistics: Examples and Solutions
15 minutes ago
Everything I've heard from Washington politicians about the debt limit is nonsense. I propose the simplest option: Do nothing. Don't raise the debt limit, period.The Tea Party is starting to resemble the Libertarian Party, at least when it comes to fiscal policy...
None of the deals I've heard would do anything to cut federal spending. Some reduce the rate of growth a little bit, but I'm afraid that doesn't count. And of course, some of the proposals would increase taxes, which Libertarians are totally opposed to.
The best outcome would be no deal at all. If the debt limit is not raised, then the federal government will have to cut its spending by over 40%. That would be the best outcome for the future of America, and it's certainly the preferred outcome for Libertarians.
I'm actually shocked at how resistant both the Republicans and Democrats are to making cuts. I wasn't expecting much, but their proposals are downright embarrassing. For example, consider Speaker Boehner's plan. According to the Cato Institute, the Boehner plan doesn't cut spending. It just sets the spending increases slightly below the imaginary Congressional Budget Office (CBO) 'baseline.'
According to the CBO report released yesterday, the Boehner plan has practically no effect on the deficit in 2012, the only year that really matters. In fact, the Boehner plan actually increases Pell Grant spending by $4 billion in 2012. (So does the Reid plan in the Senate.)
Of course, the Reid plan largely takes advantage of massive errors in the CBO baseline to claim 'cuts.' (For example, the CBO predicts absurdly high levels of spending for the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan.)
As usual, Republicans and Democrats are trying to create the illusion of a high-stakes game between two vastly different visions. In fact, their visions are practically identical. I hope Americans will see through all the smoke, and consider the Libertarian option to make real reductions in the size and scope of government, across the board.
Analysts use expert software developed by programmers in order to produce business intelligence... [However,] there’s a major divide between the way scientists [including analysts] and programmers view the software they write... Scientists see their software as a kind of exoskeleton, an extension of themselves... The software may do the heavy lifting, but the scientists remain actively involved in its use. The software is a tool, not a self-contained product... [Conversely,] programmers see their software as something they will hand over to someone else, more like building a robot than an exoskeleton. Programmers believe it’s their job to encapsulate intelligence in software. If users have to depend on programmers after the software is written, the programmers didn’t finish their job.I personally know more than a few analysts (myself included) who view their software as an exoskeletal extension of who they are and what they do. The exoskeleton metaphor speaks volumes about the motivations of analysts who abhor being separated from their preferred software applications. For these reasons, I advocate matching software tools to the analyst rather than the analyst to the software -- the implications for productivity and practice are immense.
The economic recovery was "derailed" by the myopic response of the Federal Reserve and Congress -- when the crisis began, the US embarked on efforts to save Federalism as the first priority, which meant bailing out or protecting "too big to fail" banks, automobile manufacturing, the defense industry, and government salaries -- unfortunately, those efforts ignored the problems on Main Street, including comsumption -- reality to date is that consumption has not been restored, probably because consumers have no money -- any money that was dispersed went to Federal and state workers, defense, and the automobile industry -- but nothing whatsoever has been done to put money directly into the hands of consumers -- at this point, Federalism is consuming all the nation's resources and then some -- anything left is being consumed by state workers and programs -- nothing is left for the consumer-at-large in America -- the US has become a safe-haven for the largest "too big to fail banks," government workers, unionized manufacturing, and the defense establishment -- public employees are a protected class, while small businesses and consumers have been "written off" in a misguided effort to save Federalism from itself...Source: What Derailed the Economic Recovery? Three Possible Explanations (2011, July 21), Wall Street Journal.
Employment consists of all persons who, during the reference week (the calendar week including the twelfth day of the month), (a) did any work at all (at least 1 hour) as paid employees, worked in their own business or profession or on their own farm, or worked 15 hours or more as unpaid workers in an enterprise operated by a member of the family, or (b) were not working but had jobs or businesses from which they were temporarily absent because of vacation, illness, bad weather, childcare problems, maternity or paternity leave, labor-management dispute, job training, or other family or personal reasons, whether or not they were paid for the time off or were seeking other jobs.... The civilian noninstitutional population consists of persons 16 years of age and older residing in the 50 States and the District of Columbia who are not inmates of institutions (for example, penal and mental facilities and homes for the aged) and who are not on active duty in the Armed Forces.Source: Bureau of Labor Statistics
Restaurant Amadeus in Ghent is located in the centre of the historic Patershol. The restaurant was established in 1987, and we have remained true to our original concept ever since. The house speciality is "spare ribs à volonté." This dish is served with a side-salad and a jacket potato, with our own special herb butter whose flavour really is second to none. The "à volonté" means "as much as you like," and we really mean this: extra spare ribs, potatoes, salad and accompanying sauces really can be ordered without any limit, for a very reasonable fixed price.I am not sure what the "secret ingredient" is at Amadeus, but I believe I was tasting a caramelized molasses in the rib sauce that was absolutely mouthwatering. The departure from the traditional tomato-based rib sauce was a surprising delight!