Friday, February 05, 2010

Q Tips

NPR related comments welcomed.


Andy said...

This morning, the hostess was talking to some "expert" about the unemployment rate... and dude pointed out that when jobs start coming back, people currently out of the labor pool will come back in, raising the unemployment rate by as much as 0.3%.

The hostess' response was: "Well, that will cause political problems!"

Excuse me? We're talking about HUMAN LIVES IN RUIN, and all it means to you is what it means POLITICALLY?

Just how fucking insulated from the real world are these miserable overpaid bastards???

Anonymous said...

NPR examines EVER issues from the political angle and call it "the news."

Anonymous said...

Despite being a Harvard educated PhD physicist, Kestenbaum does not understand very basic statistics. namely, he does not know about sampling errors and the fact that there is uncertainty attached to unemployment stats given by BLS and others.

Here's kestenbaum' latest drivel:
"Yay!(?) Jobless Rate Under 10%

By David Kestenbaum

The Bureau of Labor Statistics just announced the unemployment rate fell to 9.7% [from 10%] in January. Most forecasters thought the situation would be worse.

But a second, contradictory number also came out : the number of jobs dropped by 20,000.

Why the contradiction? The two numbers come from different surveys.'

//end of Kestenbaum quote

Actually, Kestenbaum misses the real issue completely.

First, there is no "contradiction" between the results. The two results are actually consistent within the margins of error. In fact, for such small changes, one can not even say with a high level of statistical confidence that either of the two numbers has even changed materially.

Second, even if the change IS real and not just apparent -- a result of statistical sampling error -- a small drop in the unemployment over a short period (just one month in this case!) can mean many things -- not least of all that people juts gave up looking for work.

Worse still, just one month is essentially meaningless when trying to decide whether the unemployment situation is getting better or worse.

To decide the latter you have to look at the trend over a longer period of time.

Changes over a short period essentially amount to "noise" --something which Kestenbaum and the others at Planet Money are very good at creating.

If I were in the Harvard physics department, I would cringe to think that Kestenbuam had been given a PhD by my department.

The guy appears to be totally clueless about statistics.

Nate Bowman said...

ATC did a piece on how Iran is more susceptible to sanctions now.

In addition to NOT mentioning how devastating sanctions are to the general population, they use as a source, someone from Booz Allen Hamilton. BAH is a major sponsor of NPR, and so should not have been used. In the least, they should have been identified as such.

Link at my name

Anonymous said...

More of Planet Monkey's journalistic malpractice. Why Some Homeowners Hope For Foreclosure

Don Pasqueda

Anonymous said...

The title "Why some homeowners hope for foreclosure" is not accurate.

It should be something like "Why some homeowners are choosing to walk away from their mortgages".

It has nothing whatsoever to do with "hope". That's actually a fairly sick way to put it. No one "hopes" that their home is foreclosed on.

But some people have (wisely) decided that it makes no sense to continue to "invest" in a home that was vastly overvalued when they bought it (largely due to the dishonest ponzi schemes that many of the biggest banks engaged in to inflate the housing bubble).

Corporations regularly walk away from investments that have gone sour.

But for some reason, there is an expectation that the average Joe will not so what is in his own best interest when it comes to dealing with the very banks who are in many cases responsible for the predicament he finds himself in.

When the banks face default on their financial obligations -- after engaging in wildly risky ventures that nearly the brought the economic house down -- they get bailed out to the tune of trillions (TARP plus money from the Fed).

When ordinary folks face default, they get the shaft by the banks and by our leaders (including Obama, who has basically looked the other way while millions of people have lost their homes)

goopDoggy said...

Heard David Frum on Marketplace recounting all the ways in which Hugo Chavez has ruined Valenzuela. This little gem, for example:

Colombia demands dollars for its coffee, so most Venezuelans must make do with brackish Nicaraguan brew.

Frum coined the phrase "axis of evil" as a speechwriter for GWB and is a paragon of the DC Villager: he's married to Danielle Crittenden whose father (Peter Worthington) is apparently one of the people pictured in the scene where Jack Ruby shoots Lee Harvey Oswald. What a cozy bunch. More to say about Frum, but gotta run.

larry, dfh said...

David frum is the son of a supposedly liberal CBC host. The stupid ones, like horowitz, curtis sliwa, and frum turn on their parents. Nice to know who his beard is, though.
There must a Kestenbaum Foundation or some such at harvard.

Anonymous said...

There must a Kestenbaum Foundation or some such at harvard."

you could be right.

There are basically two types of people who get into harvard: smart ones and dumb one's whose relatives gave money.

At least it's that the way it is for some departments (like business and law), but I always thought Harvard physics department was different.

perhaps i was mistaken.

goopDood said...

I can't believe what I just heard: Racism + Corporatism = The new civil rights movement whose culmination will be voting the liberals out of Congress. "You vote Obamacare, We'll vote you out of there." Delivered by NPR without a trace of irony.

The Boss of You said...

@goopDog: you said it! My head exploded this morning. I updated Twitter and FB and ran right over here. I am still in shock by the civil rights movement=tea party nonsense. Must compose myself before dancing pig performance with 3 year old.

The Boss of You said...

sorry, goopDood

Anonymous said...

Andy said: dude pointed out that when jobs start coming back, people currently out of the labor pool will come back in, raising the unemployment rate by as much as 0.3%."

That's because some people have simply stopped looking until they sense that things have improved.

That's why highlighting last month's "drop" in the unemployment rate -- by, surprise, 0.3%!! -- (as kestenbaum did) is meaningless.

PS: I would bet that it's actually more than 0.3%.

NPR really needs to get some people who actually know something about even basic economics.

The people they have now (Davidson, Kestaenbaum etc) are clowns.

The Boss of You said...

late in finding this, but it gives a rundown of the Breitbart nonsense of a few days ago: