Patterico's Pontifications

3/31/2014

Jeopardy Champion Ken Jennings Mocks Andrew Breitbart’s Death on Twitter

Filed under: General — Patterico @ 8:48 pm

Ken Jennings, the record-holder for consecutive Jeopardy wins, on Twitter:

Oddly enough, at dinner my children asked me the difference between intelligence and wisdom.

My answer began like this: “Funny you should ask . . .”

Obamacare Deadline: A Few Highlights

Filed under: General — Dana @ 7:38 pm

[Guest post by Dana]

Today was the deadline for Americans to sign up for health care coverage and avoid facing a tax penalty. Not surprisingly, Healthcare.gov, the federal website for consumers, stalled due to heavy volume and a software bug. (Last week HHS offered an extension to consumers prevented from finishing their transaction due to exceptional circumstances, such as natural disasters, website technical issues, or other administrative problems).

Also, Big Journalism challenged the incredible enrollment data claimed by the Los Angeles Times,

The Los Angeles Times greeted the Obamacare enrollment data on Monday with a striking headline, claiming that “at least 9.5 million previously uninsured people have gained coverage,” which is 3 million people more than the Obama administration itself claimed last week (a number that was itself highly questionable, since it did not exclude those who had not paid for their new insurance). The Times’ analysis, however, is laughable.

The New York Times took the opportunity to recite the numbers,

In the last week, the administration counted more than 8.7 million visits to HealthCare.gov, including more than 2 million over the weekend. The telephone call center took more than 2.5 million phone calls in the last week, compared with 2.4 million for all of February.

As expected, the Administration was feeling victorious, if still not answering the important question(s),

At the White House, officials embarked on a kind of victory lap. Jay Carney, the press secretary, said that the number of people signing up for health care would be “significantly above six million,” and he reminded journalists of the predictions of doom when HealthCare.gov crashed last fall.

Mr. Carney said he did not have “any concrete numbers” to show how many people had paid premiums, as required to activate coverage.

And, troubling, a Southern California couple who are registered Republicans, were surprised to discover a voter registration card pre-marked with an “X” in the box next to Democratic Party, inside an envelope from Covered California, the state’s Obamacare website.

Covered California spokeswoman clarified and instructed,

“We are mailing voter registration material. However, the application forms come directly from the Secretary of State’s office, with no fields pre-marked. The individual should contact the Secretary of State, which takes these violations of election law extremely seriously, and they will investigate, using the unique serial number.”

(Apparently, the couple was unable to reach anyone at the Secretary of State office. The San Diego County Registrar of Voters office directed them to contact Covered California…).

–Dana

“Is Something Less True If a White Person Says It About Black People?”

Filed under: General — Dana @ 12:23 pm

[guest post by Dana]

Bill Maher asked the question of his guests. Apparently, the answer is, yes. (video at link)

Paul Ryan: “We have got this tailspin of culture, in our inner cities in particular, of men not working and just generations of men not even thinking about working or learning to value the culture of work.”

Michelle Obama: ‘When it comes to getting an education, too many of our young people just can’t be bothered. They’re sitting on couches for hours playing video games, watching TV instead of dreaming of being a teacher or a lawyer or a business leader — they’re fantasizing about being a baller or a rapper.’

–Dana

L.A. Times Refuses to Correct Misleading Statement on Global Warming

Filed under: General — Patterico @ 7:59 am

Scott Martelle of the L.A. Times recently began a piece on global warming with this statement:

Here’s a statistic for you. Out of 10,855 peer-reviewed articles in scientific journals last year that dealt with some aspect of global warming, all but two accepted human behavior as the primary cause.

I published a post demonstrating that this was inaccurate. Martelle’s source, James Powell, reviewed abstracts of over 10,000 peer-reviewed articles that mentioned climate change or global warming — but he never claimed that all but two accepted human behavior as the primary cause” of global warming. Instead, he said that only two “rejected” it.

The distinction was critical, Powell never claimed that these articles all discussed the cause of global warming — and it is clear that many of the articles did not even address the premise that humans are the primary cause of global warming. Many of the articles, bearing names like “Life Cycle Assessment in Switchgears for Primary Electrical Distribution” or “Larval development of the feline lungworm Aelurostrongylus abstrusus in Helix aspersa,” mentioned global warming only in passing, and didn’t even pretend to address whether it was primarily caused by humans. So while these articles may not have “rejected” the notion that global warming is caused by humans, they certainly did not “accept” it — because they never addressed the issue.

I wrote Martelle and asked for a correction. He wrote me back this morning and has refused. Here is his email:

Hi, Patrick:

Thanks for the email, and the interest. I went back and looked at the original source and my wording, and while I recognize there may be a hair to split here, it doesn’t strike me as an error. I could have worded it better to make the context clearer, but to not reject is tacit acceptance. Others have raised your argument in the comments below the blog post, so that alternate view is represented.

Thanks,
Scott

(My emphasis.) Here is the email I have sent in response:

Mr. Martelle,

“To not reject” is not “tacit acceptance” if it is based on silence — in other words, if one has not addressed the issue at all. This morning’s L.A. Times editorials did not reject the idea that Joseph Stalin’s purges were morally justified. May I conclude that the editorial board “tacitly accepts” the morality of Stalin’s mass murder?

Less dramatically and more to the point: I demonstrated, in my email to you and in my blog post, that there are many articles reviewed by James Powell that do not address at all the issue of whether humans are primarily responsible for global warming. Here is one such article: LIFE CYCLE ASSESSMENT OF LEAD ACID BATTERY. CASE STUDY FOR THAILAND.

It’s true that this article does not reject the notion that humans are the primary cause of global warming. But it also does not reject the notion that non-human activity is the primary cause of global warming. Therefore, by your logic, the article “tacitly accepts” that non-human activity is the primary cause of global warming!

Indeed, by your logic, the article “tacitly accepts” two completely inconsistent premises — that humans are, and are not, the primary cause of global warming — by examining and mentioning neither premise.

I would not be surprised if hundreds, or perhaps even thousands, of these articles reviewed by Powell “tacitly accept” the notion that humans are not the primary cause of global warming, by that same logic.

You say this is hairsplitting. That is a convenient way to avoid correcting an error, but it does not withstand scrutiny. Imagine if an editorial writer employed your logic to bolster a premise you consider questionable, rather than one that you take for granted. Say, for example, that a draft editorial said: “A review of 100 speeches by Obama shows that he accepts the notion that states have the right to secede.” The writer offers as proof that Obama has never rejected that notion, so he “tacitly accepted” it.

Would you vote to attach the L.A. Times name to that opinion, based on that logic?

I believe readers were substantially misled by your statement. I am disappointed that you have been shown the flaw in your statement and still refuse to correct it. Any fair-minded person who runs across this exchange will trust you and the Los Angeles Times a little less. And they should — if you allow such misleading statements to stand.

Patrick Frey
patterico.com

I expect this is the end of it, but if I hear anything else, I will let you know.


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