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May 20, 2012


Obama already killed the American Community Survey, in effect. Here's what I mean. By adding trillions of new spending to Bush's already excessive amount, Obama and the Dems created a situation where many government programs will inevitably be cut or eliminated. Any program of lesser importance or lesser political support is a goner. The House Reps, recognizing reality, are trying to cut a program of lesser importance. Meanwhile, supporters of this program are pretending to be unaware of our enormous federal deficit.

BTW Brendan properly criticized a silly claim by an opponent that "the American Community Survey 'is not a scientific survey. It's a random survey.'" But, he ignored an equally silly claim by a supporter: “If it’s voluntary, then we’ll just get bad data.” Voluntary surveys do give useful data. That's why organizations spend gazillions of dollars on such surveys. And, Brendan had better support the idea that voluntary surveys can be useful, since much of his research depends on voluntary surveys.

Was the false assertion that Obama was born in Kenya really a typo by literary agent? Or, was it an intentional fib by Obama? There's no way to know for sure. However, supporting latter POV are the following considerations:

1. The author's place of birth is supplied to the agent by the author and checked by the author.

2. This error, which began in 1991 persisted until 2007. One would think Obama's place of birth would have come up in discussions about the book some time during this 16-year period.

3. Obama tends to be quite self-centered. It seems unlikely that he, of all people, would remain unaware of so significant an error.

4. The supposed Kenyan birthplace made Obama a more interesting figure; it likely helped the book to sell. In short, the error persisted when helped to Obama. It was only corrected when he began his run for the Presidency and the error harmed Obama.

5. Obama's decision to include in his autobigraphy fictional experiences with fictional girlfriends, shows that he isn't wedded to absolute literal truth.

Stuart N. Siroka played an appalling trick on his readers. He claimed to compare New York Times's focus on, e.g., bad unemployment under Dem vs. Rep leadership. However, he did no such thing.

Rather then look at the level of unemployment, he looked at the change in unemployment rate. For his purposes, when the unemployment rate under Obama went from 9% to 10%, that was the same as when the rate went from 3% to 4% under Bush. Siroka concluded that the Times's decision to give more attention to Obama's 10% unemployment than to Bush's 4% unemployment showed a Republican bias. :(

I wonder if David is equally skeptical about Jonah Goldberg's statement to not personally signed of on/been aware of the false claim that appeared on the dust jacket of his new book that he had "been twice nominated for a Pulitzer Prize"...especially since such skepticism would obviously be more warranted towards Goldberg's "it wasn't an intentional lie" pose than Obama's in this matter (i.e., being twice nominated for a Pulitzer would obviously be more of a selling point for an author to the general public than being from Kenya).

Good point, daniel. Yes, I think Goldberg, his publisher, and/or his agent was intentionally padding his resume. Regardless of who chose the deceptive wording, I think Goldberg likely knew about it.

The publisher's defense sounds like Bill Clinton defining "is":

In casual conversation, whenever a news organization submits one of their writers for a prize, people say that person was nominated. By that standard Jonah Goldberg 'has twice been nominated for a Pulitzer Prize.'

This is unconvincing. Obviously a publisher would be particularly cognizant of the difference between a Pulizer "nominee" and a Pulitzer "entrant".

Your consistency is admirable, David. I'm amused that Rush Limbaugh is also raising the possibility that Obama intentionally lied to the literacy agency bio people about being born in Kenya. The amusement in this comes from the extreme likelihood that the overlap between the "Obama was born in Kenya!" crowd and Limbaugh listeners/admirerers is not exactly a small one. I bet a lot of dittoheads groaned in disgust when Limbaugh responded to this story by claiming that Obama was born in Hawaii, even if his larger point in making this statement was one that was against the president (the "fib" claim).

daniel -- My sister is a book agent in Manhattan and a liberal. To get more insight into Jonah Goldberg's deceptive claim, I asked her about deceptive claims of Pulitzer nominations. She responded:

"As to shenanigans, people bend the truth a bit, but not so far as that usually. That’s just a lie. Although authors themselves may not exactly understand the difference between a real nomination for an award and being sent in by your publisher. I don’t think publishing people lie more than others; in fact, probably less often. But it’s common practice for editors to get blurb s from friends of an author or from friends of theirs – stuff like that."

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