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About That Rasmussen Poll That Got Scott Adams in Trouble February 28, 2023

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As I’m sure everybody knows by now, Scott Adams of Dilbert fame got himself uber-cancelled by trying to draw the logical implications from a Rasmussen poll. The poll surveyed 1000 people, 130 of them black, and asked if they would agree with the statement, “It’s OK to be white.” Only 53% of the black respondents agreed.

Adams said that if 47% of black people could not agree with that statement, it was time to throw in the towel on race relations and to just find a safe place to live in an area where half the people don’t disapprove of your existence.

While Adams’ comments have been caught up in the typical Tweetornado that distorts and amplifies what he said, several people have criticized his reliance on the poll, claiming that the sample size wasn’t large enough to support Adams’ conclusion. Here’s one such critique from Red State.

But none of the critics I’ve read have actually looked at the math to determine how errant Adams may have been. So here’s my take:

Typical national-level poll survey 400 or 1000 people. 400 people gives you a 95% confidence that the poll results will only have 5% error. 1000 gives the same confidence for a 3% error. So the overall sample size used by Rasmussen was typical and adequate.

But when you start looking a sub-populations, you need to recalculate the required sample size. While the results for the general population meet the 95%/3% level, those values don’t pertain to the black subset of the population. For the ~40 million black population, you still need 400 respondents to get to that 95%/5% level. And for a volatile question of that nature, 1000 respondents would be better.

But how misleading was the poll information? 130 responses means that the error is 8.6% for a 95% confidence interval (I used this handy calculator to get that value). That says that there’s a 95% probability that the percentage of blacks who did not agree with that statement is between 38 and 56.

That’s still a problematically large number, and should motivate pollsters to do more focused follow-up studies.

In the meantime, I’ve read a lot of the criticisms of Adams’ comments, and they generally fall in to the obvious “he’s a racist” camp, or the “don’t believe the poll” camp.

But I haven’t seen any that say that the vast majority of the black population believe that it’s OK to be white.

Fanning Fears Over Extremist Murders February 25, 2023

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Kanishka Singh is here to save the day by alerting you to the terrible threat of white supremacy:

White supremacists behind over 80% of extremism-related U.S. murders in 2022

Mass shootings in the United States accounted for most extremism-related fatalities last year in the country with over 80% of those murders committed by white supremacists, data released by the Anti-Defamation League (ADL) showed on Thursday.

80%! There must be bodies everywhere!! How many victims were there last year!?!


Yes, I said 20.

What’s wrong with you, supremacist!?! It’s 20!!!

Out of the 19,472 homicides in the United States last year, 20 of them were due to white supremacist extremism!! That’s 0.1%!!

Clearly we need strong government intervention to prevent this senseless slaughter!


On a more serious note, obviously if the ADL is correct in attributing 20 murders to white supremacist extremism, they are tragic and the justice system should be exercised vigorously to make sure the perpetrators receive their just due. But this is exactly the type of pseudo-stat (with no statistical significance) that is used to hang a “Racist” sign around the necks of all white people.

And that’s racism on a far greater scale than Singh is worried about.

Housewives Have Become the New Unicorn February 25, 2023

Posted by geoff in News.

Weird to think that in my lifetime housewifery has gone from the norm to being so rare that the Daily Mail is doing a “gorillas in the mist” article about it:

I’m a traditional housewife and I love spending hours cooking and cleaning for my husband – I’m subservient to him, but in a ‘healthy’ way

I personally prefer my wife to have a career, but I thought the housewife system worked pretty well back when I was growing up.

Gettin’ That Sweet US Cash February 22, 2023

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Reading about the largess bestowed upon Ukraine by American debt holders reminded me of the old satirical book/film “The Mouse That Roared.” From the Wikipedia plot summary:

The tiny European Duchy of Grand Fenwick (is)… on the verge of bankruptcy.

The prime minister decides that their only course of action is to declare war on the United States. Expecting a quick and total defeat (since their standing army is tiny and equipped with bows and arrows), the country confidently expects to rebuild itself through the largesse that the United States bestows on all its vanquished enemies (as it did for Germany through the Marshall Plan at the end of World War II).

Apparently the Duchy of Grand Fenwick could have achieved the same result by inviting an invasion by Russia.

The Day Broadcast News Died February 17, 2023

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The day Chet Huntley retired.

Inflation! On the Move! February 14, 2023

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Last few months have been pretty nice, watching inflation slow down to near-zero. But today’s report shows it on the move again:

(Chart downloaded from the St. Louis Fed.)

I think some people are thinking that somehow the prices might go back to their pre-Biden levels. Ain’t happening. I’ll be happy if we just get back to 2% inflation.

Pete Buttigieg: Hispanic Hater February 14, 2023

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Our barely-there Secretary of Transportation was complaining that people of color were being denied work in the construction industry:

BUTTIGIEG: “We have heard way too many stories from generations past of infrastructure where you got a neighborhood, often a neighborhood of color that finally sees the project come to them but everyone in the hardhats on that project looking like, you know, doing — doing the good paying jobs don’t look like they came from anywhere near the neighborhood.”

Putting aside the lack of relevance of the experience of “generations past” on the present, it takes but a moment to dig up the demographics of the construction industry from the Bureau of Labor Statistics, and but a moment more to screencap their chart (Slide 3):

One presumes that the likelihood of seeing construction workers of color in neighborhoods of color corresponds to the prevalence of workers of color in the construction industry. So the usual whipping boy, Non-Hispanic Whites, doesn’t seem to be grabbing more than their fair share of construction jobs. No, it is Hispanics who have captured a disproportionate fraction of those jobs.

So why pick on Hispanics, Pete?

Racial Progress in the NFL February 12, 2023

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People have been pointing out that this is the first time two black quarterbacks have faced each other in the Super Bowl. The occasion brought to mind this ancient skit (almost 46 years old) from SNL featuring Garrett Morris and Fran Tarkenton (Vikings QB):

Garrett Morris: Right on. right on, man. But still, man, even in 1977, you know, some stereotypes still exist, wouldn’t you agree?

Fran Tarkenton: Uh, none that I know of.

Garrett Morris: Well, how about the myth that a black man can not make it as a pro quarterback? There are 28 teams in the league, and only three of them have black quarterbacks, and they all sitting on the bench, you know what I mean?

Fran Tarkenton: Uh.. yeah, yeah.

Garrett Morris: Well, for years there’s been this myth that a black’s mind is not elaborate enough to read defenses. And he can’t call audible from the line, and that he has no leadership qualities. Now, you’ve been, you know, in the league for sixteen years, and you just said that there is no prejudice, right?

Fran Tarkenton: Uh, yes.

Garrett Morris: Then, what about these myths?

Fran Tarkenton: They’re absolutely true, Garrett.

Garrett Morris: I must have missed something. What did you say?

Fran Tarkenton: It’s not a myth, it’s a fact. Every black I know has trouble with area codes, let alone numbers of plays!

Garrett Morris: Wait, wait, wait.. say that again?

Fran Tarkenton: Well, you know, even the black kids in the summer camp I run don’t have it. Sure, they can dance in the end zone, they’ve got the ????? in their feet. But when it comes to leadership, one black quarterback on the forty yard line ends up in the parking lot with a bucket of chicken!

Garrett Morris: Hey, man, I know what you mean! Yeah, that’s true! Yeah, I know what you mean!

Fran Tarkenton: And, Garrett, let’s face it – try to be objective. If you were on the offensive line, would you turn your back on a black guy standing behind you? Especially during a night game?

Garrett Morris: No, man.. not me. I’ve got a wife and kids. Uh.. look, man, thank you for clearing that up, man. I’ve always had a problem about that. And thank you for watching “Black Perspective”. Next week, Mark Spitz explains why there are no black swimmers.

My takeaways are:

  • It was a lot easier to make progress on racism when you could mock it openly and without walk-on-eggshells sensitivity
  • Going from no black starting quarterbacks to 11 may have taken too long, but it’s certainly evidence of progress against the very real prejudice against black quarterbacks in the 70’s
  • The transcript doesn’t do the bit justice – Garrett Morris’s delivery made the sketch work
  • Should be a pretty good Super Bowl, esp. since I plan on skipping the halftime show

Easing Into the Weekend February 10, 2023

Posted by geoff in News.

For some reason this song has been stuck in my head lately. I usually prefer jazz fusion and trance instrumental music, but her voice makes me long for my bunk.

Golden Chicken! February 9, 2023

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I read way, way too much manga, manhwa, and manhua, so it was inevitable that a bit of that would bleed over to the blog. Here’s one of my favorite pages from a manhwa titled Yongbi. Here, the title character is trying to stay cool despite his legendary level of avarice:

I think it’s the last panel that gets me. Sadly my wife and daughter didn’t find it as funny as I did, so I corrected them, too (/The Shining).

Deficit Reduction, Biden-Style February 9, 2023

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In his recent State of the Union speech, our illustrious president claimed that between 2021 and 2022 he had reduced the deficit, a claim which was dismantled by many critics. But there’s no dead horse that doesn’t deserve another kick, so I thought I’d show the latest CBO data to give us a more real-time picture of how we’re doing, deficit reduction-wise.

So here are our revenues for the current fiscal year through January, compared to the revenues from the last fiscal year (table from CBO report):

In a sane world, we’d be thinking, “Whoa Nelly! Our revenues haven’t increased, so our spending should at least stay the same!”

But this is Joseph P. Biden’s world, so here’s your spending (figure from CBO report):

Yup, just burning through money like we had some. The Oct-Jan deficit was $200 billion higher in 2023 than in 2022, and CBO notes (Table 1) that were it not for payments that were shifted due to a weekend, the deficit would have been $263 billion higher.

So our deficit through the first four months of this fiscal year is 77% higher than last year.

I don’t know about you, but I’m starting to have some skepticism regarding the President’s grasp of reality.

Art Becomes Spy Balloon Near-Reality February 7, 2023

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The military said that the Chinese spy balloon was no threat, but if you’ve seen The Prisoner, I think you know what was coming next:

Red rover indeed.