According to US Dept of Health and Human Services
There are roughly 700,000 employed physicians in the U.S
There are roughly 120,000 accidental deaths caused by physician per year
That means there are roughly 0.171 accidental deaths per physician per year
According to the FBI
There are roughly 80, 000, 000 gun owners in the U.S
There are roughly 30,000 gun-related deaths (accidental/non-accidental) per year
That means there are roughly 0.000375 deaths per gun owner per year
The Left loves a phantom statistic that a firearm in the hands of a citizen is X times more likely to cause accidental damage than to be used in the prevention of crime, but what is there about criminals that ensures that their gun use is accident-free? If, indeed, a firearm were more dangerous to its possessors than to potential aggressors, would it not make sense for the government to arm all criminals, and let them accidentally shoot themselves?
One of my Yale classmates yesterday forwarded this New York Times editorial denouncing the National Rifle Association’s efforts to prevent sophistors, economists, calculators, and “leading experts” on violence from artfully collecting data and massaging statistics in order to produce a scientific, apparently empirical case favoring gun control.
Why would the naughty NRA oppose data collection and scientific research by well-credentialed experts?
The NRA sensibly opposes these so-called empirical studies because it knows that when you get to establish the principles used for collecting data and the methodologies employed in arranging the assembled information and evaluating the results, you possess the ability to prove any case you want to prove, empirically. The NRA knows that figures lie and liars figure, and that there are lies, damned lies, and statistics.
Where does such empiricism lead? Just look at Britain where conventional pocket knives are banned as “offensive weapons” and “leading experts” have been calling in recent years for a ban on pointed kitchen knives.
[Accident & Emergency] doctors are calling for a ban on long pointed kitchen knives to reduce deaths from stabbing.
A team from West Middlesex University Hospital said violent crime is on the increase – and kitchen knives are used in as many as half of all stabbings.
They argued many assaults are committed impulsively, prompted by alcohol and drugs, and a kitchen knife often makes an all too available weapon.
The research is published in the British Medical Journal.
The researchers said there was no reason for long pointed knives to be publicly available at all.
They consulted 10 top chefs from around the UK, and found such knives have little practical value in the kitchen.
None of the chefs felt such knives were essential, since the point of a short blade was just as useful when a sharp end was needed.
The researchers said a short pointed knife may cause a substantial superficial wound if used in an assault – but is unlikely to penetrate to inner organs.
They won’t stop with taking away our guns. As the example of Britain shows, they will go to the most absurd lengths in criminalizing innocent and harmless possession of marginal examples of weapons in their fanatical pursuit of the elimination of every kind of risk and hazard by the calculative power of human reason operating through the coercive agency of the state.
A disabled caravanner who kept a penknife in his glove compartment to use on picnics has blasted the authorities after being dragged through court for possessing an offensive weapon.
Rodney Knowles, 61, walks with the aid of a stick and had used the Swiss Army knife to cut up fruit on picnics with his wife.
Knowles yesterday admitted possessing an offensive weapon at Torquay Magistrates Court. He was given a conditional discharge.
But speaking after the hearing, he said: ‘It’s a stupid law. Now I have a criminal record.’
Major Innes Randolph’s defiant “I’m a Good Old Rebel” song (1914) boasted of Northern casualties inflicted and expressed regret that Southern resistance had not piled up an even larger score.
I followed old Mars’ Robert
For four year, near about,
Got wounded in three places
And starved at Pint Lookout;
I cotched the rheumatism
A campin’ in the snow,
I killed a chance of Yankees,
I’d like to kill some mo’.
Three hundred thousand Yankees
Is stiff in Southern dust;
We got three hundred thousand
Before they conquered us;
They died of Southern fever
And Southern steel and shot,
I wish we got three million
Instead of what we got.
A new examination of Civil War enumerated losses, reported in the New York Times, contends that Major Randolph came closer to his expressed goal than was previously thought.
For 110 years, the numbers stood as gospel: 618,222 men died in the Civil War, 360,222 from the North and 258,000 from the South — by far the greatest toll of any war in American history.
But new research shows that the numbers were far too low.
By combing through newly digitized census data from the 19th century, J. David Hacker, a demographic historian from Binghamton University in New York, has recalculated the death toll and increased it by more than 20 percent — to 750,000.
The new figure is already winning acceptance from scholars.
Joe Queenan does a fine job of mocking the federal government’s “core inflation rate” calculation methodology.
[I]magine my surprise when the latest economic data came out and we were told that inflation wasn’t much of a problem at all. The price index for core personal consumption expenditures increased a piddling 0.9% from the previous year, keeping the national inflation rate far, far below what economists see as the danger level.
Hang on a second, I thought: What about my exorbitant fuel costs and the two bucks for my disgusting coffee and the $1.25 for my stale, tasteless bagel, with no schmear, no butter, no nothing? If inflation had jumped just a puny 0.9% in the past 12 months, why did it feel like everything that I bought last week had gone up 25%?
The answer lies in the way economists calculate what they call “core” price indexes. The core personal consumption expenditures index (PCE), for example, computes the cost of a representative basket of goods that consumers might buy—like used copies of “Madden 2009” and lace camisoles and jumbo-size containers of Percocet and personally autographed Kenny Chesney guitar picks and Blu-ray discs of “AVP: Alien vs. Predator” —but it cuts out variables like food and energy prices. This makes the month-to-month reporting on inflation less volatile, far less subject to the vicissitudes of the market.
At first glance, this seems baffling. Removing fuel and food costs from the index purely for the sake of statistical balance seems a bit like saying, “All told, four million people died in World War II. Well, unless you include the people who died in concentration camps. And, oh yeah, the 20 million Russians.” It’s a bit like saying, “On average, a major league baseball team will win 3.2 World Series each century. Obviously, not the Cubs. And we’ve thrown out the New York Yankees and their 27 world championships because it doesn’t provide a true snapshot of the game at any given moment.” It’s a bit like saying, “Billy Joel never wrote a single song that just totally sucks and makes people’s skin crawl. Unless you include ‘Captain Jack.’ Which we deliberately left out of our sample because it skews the results. Maybe we should have left out ‘Piano Man,’ too.”
Iowahawk catches Paul Krugman lying with figures and nails his slimy hide to the barn door.
Please pardon this brief departure from my normal folderol, but every so often a member of the chattering class issues a nugget of stupidity so egregious that no amount of mockery will suffice. Particularly when the issuer of said stupidity holds a Nobel Prize.
Case in point: Paul Krugman. The Times’ staff economics blowhard recently typed, re the state of education in Texas:
And in low-tax, low-spending Texas, the kids are not all right. The high school graduation rate, at just 61.3 percent, puts Texas 43rd out of 50 in state rankings. Nationally, the state ranks fifth in child poverty; it leads in the percentage of children without health insurance. And only 78 percent of Texas children are in excellent or very good health, significantly below the national average.
Similarly, The Economist passes on what appears to be the cut-’n’-paste lefty factoid du jour:
Only 5 states do not have collective bargaining for educators and have deemed it illegal. Those states and their ranking on ACT/SAT scores are as follows:
South Carolina – 50th
North Carolina – 49th
Georgia – 48th
Texas – 47th
Virginia – 44th
If you are wondering, Wisconsin, with its collective bargaining for teachers, is ranked 2nd in the country.
The point being, I suppose, is that unionized teachers stand as a thin chalk-stained line keeping Wisconsin from descending into the dystopian non-union educational hellscape of Texas. Interesting, if it wasn’t complete bullshit. ...
[A] state’s “average ACT/SAT” is, for all intents and purposes, a proxy for the percent of white people who live there. In fact, the lion’s share of state-to-state variance in test scores is accounted for by differences in ethnic composition. Minority students – regardless of state residence – tend to score lower than white students on standardized test, and the higher the proportion of minority students in a state the lower its overall test scores tend to be.
Please note: this has nothing to do with innate ability or aptitude. Quite to the contrary, I believe the test gap between minority students and white students can be attributed to differences in socioeconomic status. And poverty. And yes, racism. And yes, family structure. Whatever combination of reasons, the gap exists, and it’s mathematical sophistry to compare the combined average test scores in a state like Wisconsin (4% black, 4% Hispanic) with a state like Texas (12% black, 30% Hispanic). ...
So how does brokeass, dumbass, redneck Texas stack up against progressive unionized Wisconsin?
2009 4th Grade Math
White students: Texas 254, Wisconsin 250 (national average 248)
Black students: Texas 231, Wisconsin 217 (national 222)
Hispanic students: Texas 233, Wisconsin 228 (national 227)
To recap: white students in Texas perform better than white students in Wisconsin, black students in Texas perform better than black students in Wisconsin, Hispanic students in Texas perform better than Hispanic students in Wisconsin.
Kenneth Minogue has a very important essay on the propensity of the modern democratic state to invade and to attempt to control regions of behavior and thought previously regarded as personal and private.
[W]hile democracy means a government accountable to the electorate, our rulers now make us accountable to them. Most Western governments hate me smoking, or eating the wrong kind of food, or hunting foxes, or drinking too much, and these are merely the surface disapprovals, the ones that provoke legislation or public campaigns. We also borrow too much money for our personal pleasures, and many of us are very bad parents. Ministers of state have been known to instruct us in elementary matters, such as the importance of reading stories to our children. Again, many of us have unsound views about people of other races, cultures, or religions, and the distribution of our friends does not always correspond, as governments think that it ought, to the cultural diversity of our society. We must face up to the grim fact that the rulers we elect are losing patience with us. ...
Our rulers, then, increasingly deliberate on our behalf, and decide for us what is the right thing to do. The philosopher Socrates argued that the most important activity of a human being was reflecting on how one ought to live. Most people are not philosophers, but they cannot avoid encountering moral issues. The evident problem with democracy today is that the state is pre-empting—or “crowding out,” as the economists say—our moral judgments. Nor does the state limit itself to mere principle. It instructs us on highly specific activities, ranging from health provision to sexual practices. Yet decisions about how we live are what we mean by “freedom,” and freedom is incompatible with a moralizing state. That is why I am provoked to ask the question: can the moral life survive democracy?
Yesterday, our friend Bird Dog at Maggie’s Farm linked the generally admirable Clarice Feldman at American Thinker who was editorializing from the perspective opposite to my own on immigration.
Ms. Feldman quoted some alarming, and authoritative sounding, statistics from “the Law Enforcement Examiner.”
On April 7, 2007, the US Justice Department issued a report on criminal aliens that were incarcerated in federal and state prisons and local jails.
In the population study of 55,322 illegal aliens, researchers found that they were arrested at least a total of 459,614 times, averaging about 8 arrests per illegal alien. Nearly all had more than 1 arrest. Thirty-eight percent (about 21,000) had between 2 and 5 arrests, 32 percent (about 18,000) had between 6 and 10 arrests, and 26 percent (about 15,000) had 11 or more arrests. Most of the arrests occurred after 1990.
They were arrested for a total of about 700,000 criminal offenses, averaging about 13 offenses per illegal alien. One arrest incident may include multiple offenses, a fact that explains why there are nearly one and half times more offenses than arrests. Almost all of these illegal aliens were arrested for more than 1 offense. Slightly more than half of the 55,322 illegal aliens had between 2 and 10 offenses.
More than two-thirds of the defendants charged with an immigration offense were identified as having been previously arrested. Thirty-six percent had been arrested on at least 5 prior occasions; 22%, 2 to 4 times; and 12%,1 time.
Clarice Feldman ought to have inquired a little more more closely.
“The Law Enforcement Examiner” is actually an editorialist named Jim Kouri. Mr. Kouri’s biography identifies him as a former chief security guard at a housing project in Washington Heights and the “fifth vice-president of the National Association of Chiefs of Police” which, I expect, must be roughly on a par with being First Guard of the Tent at one’s local International Order of Oddfellows chapter.
Mr. Kouri is renowned on the Internet for his expertise on Satanism and for the exoticism of the views of some sources he has in the past relied upon.
Unfortunately, Mr. Kouri is not himself a reliable source. He tells us that his statistics come from “a report on criminal aliens that were incarcerated in federal and state prisons and local jails” issued by the US Justice Department on April 7, 2007.
It is not accidental that Mr. Kouri does not link the original report.
The report in question was really released on May 9, 2005. It is GAO report number GAO-05-646R entitled ‘Information on Certain Illegal Aliens Arrested in the United States.’
The figures cited all pertain to 2002-2003. Mr. Kouri (and the study’s authors) deliberately selected the best figures for making certain kinds of arguments in the quoted paragraphs.
In reality, this study pertains to 55,322 individual illegal aliens who are the portion of the illegal alien population that wound up arrested, convicted, and sentenced to jail.
55,322 out of the seven million illegal aliens estimated to be present in the United States by this same study is the 0.0079 portion of that illegal immigrant population, well under 1%.
And the character of their crimes?
Forty-five percent of illegal alien offenses were for drugs and immigration;
8% for Traffic violations;
7% for Obstruction of Justice.
60% of the under 1% of illegals in jail in 2002-2003 were not even in jail for any form of theft or violence.
And, more recently, both illegal immigration and violent crime have actually been declining (even while la patrie est en danger reports are dramatically increasing).
[S]tatistics from the U.S. Customs and Border Protection agency and the FBI indicate that both the number of illegal crossers and violent crime in general have actually decreased in the past several years.
According to FBI statistics, violent crimes reported in Arizona dropped by nearly 1,500 reported incidents between 2005 and 2008. Reported property crimes also fell, from about 287,000 reported incidents to 279,000 in the same period. These decreases are accentuated by the fact that Arizona’s population grew by 600,000 between 2005 and 2008.
According to the nonpartisan Immigration Policy Institute, proponents of the bill “overlook two salient points: Crime rates have already been falling in Arizona for years despite the presence of unauthorized immigrants, and a century’s worth of research has demonstrated that immigrants are less likely to commit crimes or be behind bars than the native-born.”
If we really looked at the facts, we could only conclude that illegal immigration is not the same thing as narcotics smuggling and, by and large, illegal immigrants tend to be more law-abiding and less violent than us native-born Americans. The public panic and the draconian laws represent responses to misinformation, commonly disseminated by sensationalizing journalists.
Look at AP and Matt Drudge yesterday. or check today’s Wall Street Journal, which blares Killing Stokes Immigration Debate, in reference to Deputy Puroll getting slightly grazed in a minor skirmish with marijuana smugglers. Nobody got killed, and the incident had nothing to with illegal immigration.
Gimme that old time religion department: the Times of India reports that Tekam Das, a Hindu priest in the province of Sind, on Tuesday sacrificed three daughters (all aged under six) and then himself to the goddess Kali.
Technological tour de force: Eric Whitacre’s Lux Aurumque 6:20 video of virtual choir performance, 185 performers from 12 countries recorded on 243 tracks.
Megan McArdle critiques the Congressional Budget Office’s estimate of the cost of Obamacare.
Thanks to reconciliation instructions, they needed to improve the budget impact by at least $1 billion in the sidecar. They improved it by exactly $1 billion. Which goes back to what I’ve now said several times: the CBO process has now been so thoroughly gamed that it’s useless. ...
The proposed changes increase spending dramatically, most heavily concentrated in the out-years. The gross cost of the bill has risen from $875 billion to $940 billion over ten years—but almost $40 billion of that comes in 2019. The net cost has increased even more dramatically, from $624 billion to $794 billion. That’s because the excise tax has been so badly weakened. This is of dual concern: it’s a financing risk, but it also means that the one provision which had a genuine shot at “bending the cost curve” in the broader health care market has at this point, basically been gutted. Moreover, it’s hard not to believe that the reason it has been moved to 2018 is that no one really thinks it’s ever going to take effect. It’s one thing to have a period of adjustment. But a tax that takes effect in eight years is a tax so unpopular that it has little realistic chance of being allowed to stand. ...
As I expected, the size of the magic asterisk—the modern equivalent of David Stockman’s infamous “savings to be named later” in the Reagan budgets—has had to be beefed up to offset the new spending. ...
[A]re we really going to cut Medicare? If we’re not, this gargantuan new entitlement is going to end up costing us about $200 billion a year next decade, which even in government terms is an awful lot of money. There are offsetting taxes, but they’re either trivial or likely to be unpopular—look forward to a 4% rent increase when your landlord has to stump over the same amount for the new tax on rents. Then look forward to repeal of same.
I think this is a fiscal disaster waiting to happen. But no one on the other side cares, so I’m not sure how much point there is in saying that any more.
Matthew Vadum, at American Spectator, notes that Barack Obama has selected as Director of the Census the most partisan possible figure, a leftwing sociologist previously involved in democrat efforts to supplement real enumeration with creative estimates of supposedly uncountable homeless and minority democrat voters.
A practitioner of the statistical voodoo known as “sampling” has been selected by President Obama to head the Census Bureau, which is poised to carry out the decennial census next year with ACORN’s help. Liberal pressure groups and Democrats have long favored using statistical modeling, a practice controversial because it’s flagrantly unconstitutional and because it opens up the counting process to political manipulation.
“A sampling process would open the census to the worst kind of political manipulation,” Sen. Tom Coburn (R-Oklahoma) recently said. “The Constitution clearly requires a count of every person, not a best guess that could be influenced by political rather than empirical considerations.”
The president’s nominee is Robert M. Groves, a professor of the alleged discipline known as sociology at the University of Michigan.
Republican lawmakers are justifiably alarmed, the New York Times reports.
Barack Obama’s political career began with the winning of an Illinois State Senate seat by taking control of the process and getting all his democrat party opponents (in a one party race) kicked off the ballot. Barack Obama’s career reached its present zenith, at least in part, through other process short cuts like the democrat party’s rules committee awarding him primary delegates from Michigan where he did not run and duplicate registrations and votes courtesy of ACORN.
The Obama administration is ending the Census Bureau’s traditional autonomy – a move that has Republicans outraged over the White House’s politicization of counting Americans.
Last week, an administration official revealed that the yet-to-be-named director of the Census Bureau will report to the White House rather than Commerce Secretary nominee Judd Gregg, a Republican.
What this move undoubtedly signifies is the Obama Administration’s intention to make an end run around the Constitution’s specification of an “actual enumeration” every decade to permit statistical estimates of non-actually-enumerated democrat constituencies in order to enlarge the congressional representation and budgetary apportionment for inner-city, one-party democrat-controlled districts. The estimating would be done by hardcore democrat party partisans, of course, who can estimate with the best.
Mr. Gregg should never have agreed to accept the Secretary of Commerce appointment in the context of such a cynical and opportunistic partisan manuever.
Senator Judd Gregg announced, very politely, that he was declining the appointment due to “irresolvable conflicts.” Good for him.
The Telegraph describes how Global Warming manages to keep setting new temperature records, even in the face of colder weather.
A surreal scientific blunder last week raised a huge question mark about the temperature records that underpin the worldwide alarm over global warming. On Monday, Nasa’s Goddard Institute for Space Studies (GISS), which is run by Al Gore’s chief scientific ally, Dr James Hansen, and is one of four bodies responsible for monitoring global temperatures, announced that last month was the hottest October on record.
This was startling. Across the world there were reports of unseasonal snow and plummeting temperatures last month, from the American Great Plains to China, and from the Alps to New Zealand. China’s official news agency reported that Tibet had suffered its “worst snowstorm ever”. In the US, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration registered 63 local snowfall records and 115 lowest-ever temperatures for the month, and ranked it as only the 70th-warmest October in 114 years.
So what explained the anomaly? GISS’s computerised temperature maps seemed to show readings across a large part of Russia had been up to 10 degrees higher than normal. But when expert readers of the two leading warming-sceptic blogs, Watts Up With That and Climate Audit, began detailed analysis of the GISS data they made an astonishing discovery. The reason for the freak figures was that scores of temperature records from Russia and elsewhere were not based on October readings at all. Figures from the previous month had simply been carried over and repeated two months running.
Yet last week’s latest episode is far from the first time Dr Hansen’s methodology has been called in question. In 2007 he was forced by Mr Watts and Mr McIntyre to revise his published figures for US surface temperatures, to show that the hottest decade of the 20th century was not the 1990s, as he had claimed, but the 1930s.
Another of his close allies is Dr Rajendra Pachauri, chairman of the IPCC, who recently startled a university audience in Australia by claiming that global temperatures have recently been rising “very much faster” than ever, in front of a graph showing them rising sharply in the past decade. In fact, as many of his audience were aware, they have not been rising in recent years and since 2007 have dropped.
D.J. Drummond, at Wizbang, explains Obama’s miraculous recovery in Gallup’s Polls.
Obama’s support goes up and down, but the Liberal and Moderate Democrat support for Obama has been steady all of September. Odd, isn’t it? And support for Obama among Conservative Democrats went down four points in the last week, even though his overall support is supposed to have gone up four points. How to figure that?
Perhaps it’s in the Independents. ...
Hmmm, again. Obama gained support among Independents in the last month, but he actually lost two points among Independents in the last week. So that 4 point gain overall is still a mystery.
Nothing to do, then, but look at the Republicans. It would really be something if he’s improving support from GOP voters:
Ouch. Obama lost six points among Liberal and Moderate Republicans in the past week.
Conservative Republican support for Obama …
No change there in the past week.
Taken altogether, there is no group of political identification where Obama’s support has increased in the past week. Mathematically, therefore, there is only one way in which Gallup could show an increase in Obama’s overall support, when none of the party identification groups showed improvement for him.
Before I explain that possibility, I want to look at John McCain’s support by specific party identification groups. The man, according to Gallup, lost four points of overall support in the past week,
Conservative Republican support for McCain…
Interesting. McCain’s support among Conservative Republicans went up a point in the last week.
Wow, McCain’s support from Liberal and Moderate Republicans climbed by seven points in the past week, and yet we are told his overall support fell by four points? That is very odd, wouldn’t you say? It must have been the Independents, perhaps?
Independent support for McCain …
Stranger and stranger, McCain’s support among Independents went up by four points in the past week, just as his support from Republicans increased, yet we are told his overall support went down by four. Very hard to explain that using the math most of us learned in school, isn’t it? Well, there’s just one place left to look. Maybe somehow McCain used to have significant support among Democrats, but lost it? Let’s find out:
Conservative Democrat support for McCain …
Hmpf. Once again, a group where support for McCain went up (3%), but the overall says he went down.
Moderate Democrat support for McCain …
Steady there, so that one does not explain it.
Liberal Democrat support for McCain…
It’s only a point, but again we see McCain’s numbers in this group went up.
So, put it all together, and in the past week Obama has stayed steady or lost support in every party identification group, yet Gallup says his overall support went up four points. And McCain stayed steady or went up in every party identification group, yet we are supposed to accept the claim that his overall support went down by four points? Anyone have an answer for how that is even possible?
Well, actually I do. There is one, and only one, possible way that such a thing can happen mathematically. And that way, is that Gallup made major changes to the political affiliation weighting from the last week to now. Gallup has significantly increased the proportional weight of Democrat response and reduced the weight of Republican response.
Daily Kos cites a poll of 1461 Iraqis taken by a “respected British marketing research firm” which proves the US is responsible for the violent deaths of more than a million Iraqis so far.
And Ray Drake, at Davids Medienkritik, cites German media reports of numbers of US anti-war demonstrators.
ARD Tagesschau, SZ and SPIEGEL ONLINE – “4,000 to 6,000” anti-war demonstrators ZDF and Die Zeit – “About 10,000” anti-war demonstrators TAZ – “Tens-of-thousands” of anti-war demonstrators Die Welt – “50,000 anti-war demonstrators” Die Presse (Austrian media site) – “Around 100,000 Americans marched against the war…”
Do I hear 200,000? 500,000? 1,000,000 anti-war demonstrators? Going once – going twice – sold!