Tuesday, March 18, 2008

Fenty flunks basic math or "how I can't read a chart"

Now, I understand why Mayor Fenty has to come out in defense of the District's handgun ban, being it District law and all. But basically stretching the truth (i.e. pretty much lying) about the effect of the ban? Not so good.

[Click here for a video of the Mayor's post hearing press conference]

The Mayor claims that the handgun ban has "significantly curtailed the number of violent crimes in the city."

This is complete bunk. Below are three graphs of data taken from DisasterCenter.com. Its lists the number of crimes in various categories for each year from 1960 to 2006, along with the District's population at the time. I have focused on three categories: violent crime, murder and assault.

click image for larger picture

In each graph the bars represent the rate of crimes of each category per 100,000 residence. The bar representing 1976 -- the year the gun ban was enacted -- is colored red. There are also three lines on each graph. The red line represents the 1976 rate, the yellow line represents the average rate for that crime between 1960 and 1976, and the green line represents the average rate for that crime post 1977. As you can see, for each of these categories the crime rate has actually increased. In fact, if you go back to the source data and look at all of the data every category except rape and burglary have shot up significantly since the gun ban (the average for rape and burglary pre and post gun ban are virtually identical).

I like Mayor Fenty; I think he has been (so far) overall a positive for the District. Outright lying to make try to justify a crappy law, however, is just bad.

Thursday, May 18, 2006

Rove Indicted (really for really real real this time)


Um, Rove's been indicted. My best friend's sister's boyfriend's brother's girlfriend heard from this guy who knows this kid who's going with the girl who heard Fitzy talk about it at 31 Flavors last night. I guess it's pretty serious.

Thursday, October 13, 2005

The BBC needs a new science editor

This is just stunning:
The "orbit maintenance operation" would take place early on Friday morning, said official news agency Xinhua.

Gravity has drawn Shenzhou VI too close to earth, the agency said.

Shenzhou VI, which has two astronauts on board, is in a low enough orbit to be affected by the Earth's gravitational pull. [emphasis added]
As opposed to a higher orbit that is, you know, totally unaffected by gravity. Note to Auntie Beeb: there is no such thing as an orbit unaffected by gravity. Gravity is sort of necessary for orbit. Has to do with those funny little laws that Newton and Einstein came up with.

Friday, February 11, 2005

What's wrong with D.C.?

Here's a question that has been bugging me as of late: why does the District of Columbia have an unemployment rate of 9% when the entire D.C. area -- D.C., Northern Virginia, Southern Maryland and the eastern panhandle of West Virginia -- has an unemployment rate of 2.9%? Are there aspects of the District that make its residents less desirable / able to find employment, or are there aspects of the District that make it more hospitable than its surrounding areas to those unable to find work?

As I said, I really don't have an answer to this question, but I do have a few ideas. So, over the next month or so I hope to take a look at various aspects of the District to see what exactly about the District causes such a dichotomy.

Friday, November 05, 2004

The BBC sure know how to edit copy

In one of their "let's hear from our readers" feedback sessions the BBC asked American voters who voted for Bush to explain why they did so. I took the opportunity to drop a quick, snarky, one sentence reply to the effect of
I voted for Bush for a number of reasons, but I have to confess one made me happiest was knowing knowing his reelection would drive you guys right up a wall.
(probably not verbatim, but pretty close to what was sent). What did I notice on the Beeb's website today?
I voted for Bush for a number of reasons, but I have to confess one of them was because of all the lecturing and condescending opinions I read in the foreign press and heard from the "holier than thou" crowd in Europe. It just got on my nerves so much that people who only get a sliver of heavily bias coverage about America could hold such closed-minded opinions about our elections. Maybe four more years will give you a chance to open your minds to new ideas and consider that there are Americans who have a right to believe differently than you.

Andrew, Washington, DC
Now, I suppose there may be another Andrew from DC who just happened to start his reply with "I voted for Bush for a number of reasons, but I have to confess..." but I find that pretty hard to believe. I guess they really meant it when they said The BBC may edit your comments and cannot guarantee that all emails will be published.

Monday, September 27, 2004

Mini-fisking the Boss

I'll get it out of the way upfront: I likes me some Boss. I've bought many of his albums and spent serious dosh to see him in concert; Tunnel of Love is easily in my top 10 albums of all time. Having said that I don't necessarily agree with him politically, especially during the current silly season.

Apparently, he's given an interview to Jann Wenner over at Rolling Stone, talking politics and the "Vote for Change" tour he's participating in. Editor and Publisher has a write-up, focusing on his take on the media.
Most of his criticism, however, is aimed at TV coverage, and he reveals that as "a dedicated" New York Times reader he has gained "enormous sustenance" from columnists Maureen Dowd and Paul Krugman.
Translation: I consume the media that most aligns with my own world-view...
"Real news is the news we need to protect our freedoms. You get tabloid news, you get blood-and-guts news, you get news shot through with a self-glorifying fa├žade of patriotism, but people have to sift too much for the news that we need to protect our freedoms....The loss of some of the soberness and seriousness of those institutions has had a devastating effect upon people's ability to respond to the events of the day."
Translation: ... but it really cheeses me off when others who I don't agree with do the same.

Monday, September 20, 2004

Tom Shales: Insane

Tonight on Hardball Chris Matthews did two or three segments on the Rather/CBS News bru-ha-ha with David Gergen, Dorothy Rabinowitz of the WSJ and Tom Shales, the Washington Post's TV critic. Long story short: Tom Shales is a moonbat. A quick summary of some of the things he said:
  • Rather is not a liar (but Bush is)
  • This was probably a Republican black bag job anyway ("a gift to Bush")
  • The risk Rather/CBS News took with the story was not reckless
Basically, Shales seems to feel that Rather was on to something and is being persecuted.

Ex-Bush speechwriter David Frum (who was on the next segment) summed Shales up perfectly when Matthews ask him to comment on Shales' theory it was the Republicans who set the whole thing up.

"No, I think it was the Masons. That would be a better response to Tom. What a stupid thing to say."

Hopefully MSNBC posts the transcript.

UPDATE: Here's the transcript. The money exchange:
MATTHEWS: Tom, why did Dan Rather pay such a big chance with such low stakes? Had he gotten the story, had he scooped everybody with this document, it wouldn‘t have been a—this isn‘t a trophy, this. Is it worth the risk he took?

SHALES: Yes, I think so.

And I still don‘t think he was reckless. I don‘t think we should rule out the booby trap theory that Dorothy seemed to be floating.

MATTHEWS: OK. Who set the trap?

SHALES: The one that Republicans typed up these


MATTHEWS: No, her theory is the Democrats


MATTHEWS: Your theory is the Republicans did it.

SHALES: My theory, they could very well have put the little “th” with the wrong thing knowing exactly which mistakes would be found, slip to some guy who is a little unhinged anyway, and there to CBS.


SHALES: Because it is like such a gift to the Republican Party and to

George W. Bush. I mean, it is like Christmas


MATTHEWS: But here, again, there‘s a risk factor. If they were caught putting this little—setting up this sting operation that Dan fell · that first Burkett and then Dan fell victim to, that would have been a much more colossal story.


SHALES: Well, but somebody has got to break it. Somebody has got to prove it.

MATTHEWS: I mean, Nixon was trying to prove that Howard Hughes was paying off Larry O‘Brien. Nobody cares what he was trying to prove. They just care he broke in to do it, or his people did.

SHALES: Nixon didn‘t get caught until after he was reelected. Maybe Bush won‘t get caught until after he is reelected either.