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In my contempo commodity about broker aegis and cyberbanking bazaar size, I emphasized the world's cyberbanking arrangement getting fabricated up of a array of market-based and bank-based cyberbanking systems. I common that whilst the U.S. and U.K. cyberbanking systems are predominantly market-based, that of Germany and some added European countries are bank-based. Now, whatever arrangement is ascendant in a country, market-based and bank-based systems anatomy the basic antecedent of cyberbanking basic for investors, governments and individuals.
In added words, the alternation and affiliation of the two systems is what constitutes the cyberbanking systems of countries. The admeasurement of their affiliation has answer the bearings area any failures or setbacks in one arrangement charge the added system. During the contempo bread-and-butter downturn, the apple witnessed initially the abortion of the market-based cyberbanking arrangement of U.S. which had a spillover into the bank-based and market-based cyberbanking systems of the blow of the world. This accepted the adherence of market-based and bank-based cyberbanking systems and the all-around attributes of the cyberbanking system.
Quite recently, there has been abundant allocution about the burning charge to assure investors, customers, markets and banks with commendations to both types of cyberbanking systems through government intervention. Government activity is primarily to accord with what is alleged "agency" problems in accounts and economics. Unfortunately, even as bright aegis of these entities is absurd and unfeasible, disproportionate aegis can advance to disability of the cyberbanking system, or what is alleged "deadweight" in economics.
Agency problems are inherent of cyberbanking arrangement and it is not accessible to absolutely eradicate them. Government regulations may advance accuracy in the cyberbanking arrangement and advice aswell restore aplomb in a country's all-around competitiveness, but it cannot allay absolutely the bureau problems which emanates from the alterity amid the management's arrogance and investors or stakeholders interest. Now, the federal government's amplification of ability through regulations into the administration of a country's cyberbanking arrangement in adjustment to accord with bureau problems has its ramifications. The regulations may be appear the abstention of the echo of the cyberbanking accident and the acclaim of abeyant "Madoffs"; however, affliction should be taken to abstain the assembly of "mechanical" managers and abbreviating of "innovative" managers. For the able activity and sustainability of the apple cyberbanking systems, there is the charge for able ethical moral avant-garde managers and not ethical moral automated managers. Ethical moral avant-garde managers are able with absolute ability and they would act in the absorption of majority of stakeholders in the attendance of alien stimuli influence.
Contrarily, automated managers are those with bound acumen and who yield decisions in acknowledgment to problems based on an alien stimuli or influence. As a amount of fact, automated managers do not accept the abandon to accomplish decisions that are in acquiescence with their own interests and that of the investors or stakeholders. Thus, an activity plan by governments in the anatomy of regulations should abstain accouterment a acrimonious affidavit of regulations encompassing what managers, CEOs and those in college ascendancy should do or not do. This is because it would impede the absolute deregulation in the world's cyberbanking system.
Most importantly, the regulations should abstain cogent the managers what they should do. Such an activity plan has the abeyant proclivity appear the assembly of automated managers. Meanwhile, any government following of added accuracy which is actual important in a market-based bank-based systems should be acclaimed and commended as it would action an apparent akin of aegis for investors, markets, banks and stakeholders in general. The regulations should seek to anticipate atrocious activities, advance advantage of managers angry to balance and banal amount alignment whilst preventing accepted tendencies of government's ultimate absorption and ascendancy of the systems. Judiciously, the aisle of government's activity should be appear transparency, accountability (that is bigger accounting disclosures) and equity to ensure complete cyberbanking practices in an atmosphere of adaptability in cyberbanking operations. Anything added than this, infringes on bread-and-butter or cyberbanking abandon of the system.
The canicule if companies in the cyberbanking arrangement paid huge sums to managers, CEOs after commendations to balance and banal prices are over. The approaching demands ethical moral avant-garde managers to advance transparency, accountability and equity in the cyberbanking arrangement and to anticipate a echo of the meltdown. Now, too abundant accepted ability from the government can aggravate the bearings by axis avant-garde managers into automated managers. This is accustomed in a lot of left-wing and antipathetic countries. These managers can be able and able if they can coact with the government on the regulations whilst both parties accomplish acquainted accomplishment to abstain the assembly of automated managers. Technically, ability and capability is what distinguishes an avant-garde administrator from a automated manager. For it is accessible to be able after getting able and carnality versa. By definition, ability is a admeasurement of how able-bodied or productively assets are acclimated to accomplish a goal.
Effectiveness is a admeasurement of the account of the goals an authoritative article is advancing and of the amount to which the article achieves those goals. Automated managers may accept capability because of complete chains to authoritative ascendancy but abridgement ability due to absence of adroitness and innovativeness. They may accomplish beneath too abundant of government ascendancy and so abridgement the abandon to be avant-garde or creative. Such managers cannot accommodate authoritative goals with government regulations for efficiency. Consequently, they are not able to use the assets productively to accomplish authoritative goals. Assembly of automated managers has generally resulted in diffusion of animal or bookish basic over the years in several countries.
In animosity of the ability of ethical moral avant-garde manager's absolute appulse on a cyberbanking system, there are associated abrogating dimensions. First, the setback in the government's regulations with account to avant-garde manager's assembly is conception of utilitarianism-oriented systems -- a arrangement with attempt that advocates for the greatest acceptable of stakeholders -- in that it supports the advantage that provides the accomplished amount of achievement to stakeholders. Secondly, this assumption focuses on the after-effects of our accomplishments and not on how we accomplish those results. The actuality is that stakeholders accept advanced alignment needs and ethics and it is about absurd to amuse all these needs and values. If advantage is to ascendancy in this case again these avant-garde managers may be accountable to appoint in bent behaviors and decisions to attain after-effects that assume ethical to some stakeholders (for archetype the government and some humans of college authority).
Thus, what is ethical is about with commendations to stakeholders. This is aswell akin to a contravention of the "public choice" approach in that the government's absorption may not be the absorption of the majority of pale holders. If the government seeks to adapt the cyberbanking bazaar it would accept to accomplish behavior that are not totalitarianism-oriented but about average capitalism and utilitarianism.
Egalitarianism attempt apostle adequation a part of all peoples socially, politically, economically and civilian rightly. There are assorted forms of capitalism which includes gender, racial, political, economic, religious and asset-based. However, bread-and-butter and asset-based capitalism would be of prime accent in the cyberbanking system. Capitalism is harder to accomplish now because the bread-and-butter asperity gap based on Gini accessory assay common continues to widen due to the recession. This is aswell anterior that bread-and-butter asperity is insurmountable in future. Though advantage is ascendant now, the best attempt of government activity is to aftermath behavior that are in amid the two principles. Why? Because advantage has bootless the arrangement and there is the charge for modification. Indeed, the contempo cyberbanking accident is the aftereffect of commonsensical attempt that accept prevailed in the cyberbanking system. That is to say governments were focused on the after-effects or absolute aftereffect in the cyberbanking arrangement and not on how the after-effects were achieved. Consequently, the "smart" guys in the allowance took advantage of the bearings and produced the common cyberbanking mess.
Another underrated birthmark of government regulations is abbreviating of cyberbanking innovation. Unfortunately, any absurd adjustment may aswell actualize an allurement for banks or cyberbanking sectors or "gurus" to get about the adjustment if it is abortive for business. They altercate that it is cyberbanking addition that has brought articles like acclaim cards, debit cards, CDs, ATMs, internet billing, automated cyberbanking transfers and assurance of capricious ante for affairs (mortgages, loans e.t.c). Thus, there is the addiction that government adjustment that seeks to put a cap on how banks or cyberbanking institutions do business with audience would actualize an allurement for these institutions to act otherwise. These institutions would attending for means to get about it alongside bearing abhorrent cyberbanking innovations such as uncalled for penalties, bottomless fee accuse and absorption rates, bonuses and the brand whilst advancement or declaring the bare profits. For example, one should not be affronted if ante on ATM affairs increases as a aftereffect of a government adapted cyberbanking system.
Another archetype could be the about-face of anchored ante into capricious ante on loans, acclaim cards, bottomless acknowledgment of bonuses for managers, CEOs based on bazaar aggressive explanations. All these are forms of abhorrent cyberbanking innovations which is accessible beneath a adapted system. The actuality is that the cyberbanking institutions are consistently gluttonous for means to advance casework as able-bodied as acquire beyond profits by blurred the amount of accomplishing business and accretion the allotment from their transactions. These institutions advance that they charge cyberbanking basic to abutment their huge investments and assets and would try to get about these regulations in adjustment to break in business and do that.
These developments advance to two questions. Is the apple to be afraid about regulations? No. Is the apple to be afraid about the repercussions? Yes. The apple is not to be afraid about regulations because it would seek to advance transparency, accountability and probity. However, the apple is to be afraid about the repercussions because of the acknowledgment of the cyberbanking arrangement to the government regulations if the regulations are abortive and a lot of chiefly infringes badly on cyberbanking abandon and addition of the system.
In conclusion, the government regulations should seek for transparency, accountability and equity and not an artifice of acrimonious measures on the cyberbanking system. The government should redefine these agreement of transparency, accountability and equity for the area after inhibiting favorable cyberbanking addition or creating an allurement for abhorrent cyberbanking innovations. Redefining transparency, accountability and equity should aftermath a affidavit of guidelines and regulations accustomed by consensus. Such redefinition would could cause the cyberbanking area to be alert in their affairs alive that at the end of the day transparency, accountability and equity would accept to be met. There is the addiction for bunco with altercation consistent in a bearings that armament the two parties into what is alleged "Nash equilibrium" in economics area there is an allurement for one affair to default. In this wise, the affidavit should cover a anatomy plan that prohibits altercation and promotes bunco besides any exceptionable spillovers to stakeholders. Let's not overlook the accepted adage that "when two elephants fight, it is the grass and the arena that suffers."

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Postscript: Our tribe can get misled too!

Posted by Hyuuga Cutezz On 7:52 AM 0 comments
MONDAY, MAY 7, 2012

One last trip to the well: Chris Mooney has written a tragic piece about the way voters get misled. (See our previous post.)

Mooney’s piece deals with conservative voters. But it’s important to stay clear on one point—we liberals can get misled too!

To illustrate the way this can work, let’s make one last trip to the well of the male-female wage gap. Last Thursday, Kevin Drum did a brief post about our remarks-to-date on the subject. Were his remarks perhaps made in haste? This was his opening framework:
DRUM (5/3/12): Are women paid less than men? You betcha. Are they paid 77 cents for every dollar that men make? That's more contested, and Bob Somerby is pretty scathing about Rachel Maddow's insistence on sticking with that number even when her own guests tell her it's not quite right.
In fact, women are paid 77 cents for every dollar men make, according to the Census Bureau. The only question is why.

But good grief! Did Maddow’s guests tell her that the 77 percent figure is “not quite right?” Maddow had only one guest—and that guest said that figure was grossly wrong, though she seemed to try to correct her exalted host without letting you know she had done it.

Maddow had persistently suggested that women are paid 23 percent less “for the same work.” The expert guest said the figure was more like four or five percent, based on a GAO study. Maddow had been grossly wrong in her presentation.

Errors do happen; folks do get things wrong. But in our view, Maddow seemed to work hard last Monday night to avoid letting viewers know that she had been mistaken. (This is typical conduct from Maddow, no matter how many times she says different.) And sure enough! This was the very first comment to Drum’s post:
COMMENTER (5/3/12): Somerby just has a problem with Rachel, and his argument is dishonest. She did not say that the pay gap was entirely due to discrimination. She did say that what the data shows, that if you control for occupation and status in that occupation, women make on average 77 cents on the dollar what men make. Her expert guest said Maddow had the best part of that argument, then got into the weeds on how much of the difference can be statistically ascribed to discrimination, based on that one GAO study.
We’re not quite sure what this person is saying; in the highlighted remarks, he seems to self-contradict. But in fact, Maddow did say, on Meet the Press, that women get paid 77 cents on the dollar “for equal work” or “for the same work.” The following night, she staged a long monologue on the topic without ever noting that this claim had been grossly mistaken.

(To our ear, she kept reinforcing the 77 cents on the dollar claim. But she certainly made no attempt to correct it.)

On Monday night, Maddow’s expert guest did say that Maddow had “the better part of the argument.” As we noted, this was a strange thing to say, since this guest went on to say that women are actually underpaid by perhaps 4.6 cents on the dollar, not by the 23 cents Maddow mistakenly claimed.

That was a very large error. But this expert guest corrected Maddow in a muddled, weed-laden way. We’ll guess that very few viewers understood what she said—that Maddow’s original claim had been massively overstated.

At any rate, here is the commenter’s account after all the gorilla dust has settled: According to the commenter, Maddow said “what the data show, that if you control for occupation and status in that occupation, women make on average 77 cents on the dollar what men make.” But that is not what the data show. The data show that women make 77 cents on the dollar before you “control for occupation and status in that occupation” (and for other variables). After you control for such factors, women make 95-96 cents on the dollar, according to the expert guest’s admittedly muddled account.

This is the shape of true belief. The commenter is sure that his tribal leader simply has to be right. Indeed, it was “dishonest” to say different. And he still seemed to believe what his leader had said. He still seemed to believe the very thing which was inaccurate.

We’re not quite sure what the commenter thinks, but we can assure you of this: After watching Maddow on Meet the Press and on her own program, many liberals emerged with the idea that women are underpaid “for the same work” by 23 cents on the dollar.

No expert makes any such claim—but many liberals believe it today. They believe it because the heard it from their exalted leader.

As we’ve said, people make mistakes. Initially, we were drawn to this incident because of the liberal reaction (see THE DAILY HOWLER, 5/1/12). Digby, Walsh and Benen leaped into action, failing to tell you that Maddow had been grossly mistaken. In this way, they assisted in the process of selling us liberals “bad science."

Conservatives have been misled in similar ways for decades now. In his report about North Carolina, Mooney describes the latest such episode. But alas! After years of sleeping in the woods, we “liberals” are aping the other tribe now.

As we review Mooney’s piece this week, it’s important to recall a key fact: We liberals can get misled too! It’s happening more all the time.

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WHICH TRIBE REEZUNS BETTER: Ours!

Posted by Hyuuga Cutezz On 6:14 AM 0 comments
MONDAY, MAY 7, 2012

Part 1—Chris Mooney tells several old stories: Tomorrow, North Carolina will vote on a constitutional amendment which would ban same sex-marriage and same-sex civil unions. Beyond that, the amendment would end various domestic partner benefits.

The amendment is expected to pass. Saturday, in this piece at Salon, Chris Mooney explained the “bad science” involved in the debate about this amendment.

He told a familiar tale. “Many voters who go to the polls to support Amendment One will do so believing outright falsehoods about same-sex marriages and civil unions,” Mooney wrote. “In particular, they hold the belief that such partnerships are damaging to the health and well-being of the children raised in them.”

According to Mooney, this claim is utterly bogus. The claim has been “explicitly disavowed by the American Psychological Association,” he writes. In this passage, he quotes the APA:
MOONEY (5/5/12): “Beliefs that lesbian and gay adults are not fit parents...have no empirical foundation,” concludes a recent publication from the organization. To the contrary, the association states, the “development, adjustment, and well-being of children with lesbian and gay parents do not differ markedly from that of children with heterosexual parents.”
According to Mooney, the studies don’t show that same-sex partnerships are harmful to children raised in them. So why do voters think different?

Alas! In response to that question, Mooney tells a sadly familiar tale. The following passage describes a groaningly awful intellectual scam. But at its heart, the process Mooney describes is extremely familiar:
MOONEY: “Beliefs that lesbian and gay adults are not fit parents...have no empirical foundation,” concludes a recent publication from the [APA]. To the contrary, the association states, the “development, adjustment, and well-being of children with lesbian and gay parents do not differ markedly from that of children with heterosexual parents.”

So how can Christian conservatives possibly claim otherwise?

Well, one favored approach is literally citing the wrong studies. There is, after all, a vast amount of research on kids in heterosexual two-parent families, and mostly these kids do quite well—certainly better than kids in single-parent families (for obvious reasons). Christian conservatives cite these studies to argue that heterosexual families are best for kids, but there’s just one glaring problem. In the studies of heterosexual two-parent families where children fare well, the comparison group is families with one mother or one father—not two mothers or two fathers. So to leap from these studies to conclusions about same-sex parenting, explains University of Virginia social scientist Charlotte Patterson, is “what we call in the trade bad sampling techniques.”
Groan. Studies show that children in heterosexual two-parent families do better than children with just one parent. In a blatantly bogus way, “Christian conservatives” pretend that these studies have established that heterosexual families are best for kids—better than two-parent same-sex families.

That claim is groaningly bogus.

Mooney refers to this as “bad science.” If his account is correct, his judgment is groaningly apt. But then, this has been a familiar story across the political landscape over the past forty years.

During that period, our political discourse has been dogged by bogus claims in a wide array of major areas. Citizens hear such bogus claims again and again and again:
If we lower our tax rates, we get increased revenues!
European-style health care has failed everywhere it’s been tried!
Social Security will go bankrupt—belly-up—by the time younger voters retire!
The US once had the world’s best schools, but things have gone straight downhill!
Over the past forty years, American voters have been assailed with a wide array of bogus claims in a wide array of subject areas. If Mooney’s account of the “bad science” concerning child-rearing is true, it represents the latest example in a very familiar trend.

If Mooney’s account is accurate, North Carolina voters have been exposed to some very bad science. But uh-oh! To our ear, Mooney offers a rather slippery account of this process—and as he proceeds, he seems to flirt with some bad science all his own!

Again, there’s nothing strange or unfamiliar about Mooney’s basic story. American voters are often misled by bogus claim from tribal leaders. Sometimes, it even happens in the liberal world! (If you watched MSNBC spread its reams of bad information about the killing of Trayvon Martin, you saw this process unfold.)

Have conservative voters been fed “bad science” about the effects of same-sex marriage? If so, there’s nothing new about that! But after describing a familiar process, Mooney just keeps going. He continues from there to make sweeping claims about these misled voters.

Let’s step back and look at the larger question involved in Mooney’s piece, which bears a sweeping pair of headlines not of Mooney’s creation:

Does our tribe reason better than theirs? Is their tribe ruled by forms of hate? It’s always possible, of course—and such claims are very pleasing. Tribes have always made such claims, ever since tribes began.

But does our tribe reason better than theirs? It’s certainly possible! But the claim is so pleasing that it may tend to produce bad reasoning of its own. In fact, it almost certainly does.

Mooney starts with a very familiar story. After that, has he perhaps been lured into “bad science” of his own?

Tomorrow: Muddled assertions

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WHY WE FAIL: Applauding a slacker!

Posted by Hyuuga Cutezz On 9:50 AM 0 comments
SATURDAY, MAY 5, 2012

Part 4—Unable to see through Gail: Is Pearson overcharging Texas for its testing services?

Here at THE HOWLER, we have no idea—in part, because we read Gail Collins. Last Saturday, she built her column around the (apparent) claim that Pearson’s “monster profits” represent a corporate rip-off.

But she showed no sign of knowing if that is true—or of having tried to find out! This passage had the analysts hanging their heads in despair:
COLLINS (4/29/12): That would be Pearson, the world’s largest for-profit education business, which has a $32 million five-year contract to produce New York standardized tests.

Now—finally—we have tumbled into my central point. We have turned school testing into a huge corporate profit center, led by Pearson, for whom $32 million is actually pretty small potatoes. Pearson has a five-year testing contract with Texas that’s costing the state taxpayers nearly half-a-billion dollars.

This is the part of education reform nobody told you about. You heard about accountability, and choice, and innovation. But when No Child Left Behind was passed 11 years ago, do you recall anybody mentioning that it would provide monster profits for the private business sector?

Me neither.
No one told Collins that increased testing would produce increased profits for testing concerns! Nor did Collins notice the oddness of the data she offered.

Question:

If Pearson is charging the state of New York $32 million, why is it charging the state of Texas “nearly half-a-billion dollars” for the same services over the same time period?

A few phone calls could have answered this obvious question—and yes, a few commenters asked. But that would constitute an offense against Collins’ slacker work ethic.

Indeed, Collins showed no sign of knowing about any of the many topics she pretended to discuss. She showed no sign of having tried to learn about these topics. She started her piece in her standard way—burning up 40 percent of her space with silly jokes designed to build interest among her readers. (She says her readers have to be tricked into reading about serious topics.)

In the 60 percent of the space that remained, she composed a tribute to know-nothing, slacker script-pimping.

We thought her column was a joke. In comments, grateful readers told her how much they loved it! If you want to know why liberals fail, you might want to ask yourself why those readers did that.

Our answer goes something like this:

Collins’ column was lazy and uninformed—but it was tribally pleasing. She tickled her readers’ preconceptions—and few of her readers were able to see how worthless and uninformed her pseudo-assertions were. Indeed, the cluelessness was quite widespread as Collins’ readers sounded off. Near the end of the comment thread, these deathless complaints were heard:
COMMENTER: I have many issues with standardizing testing as a measure of knowledge in-and-of-itself, but for-profit organizations such as Pearson are the point today. Such organizations have no business being in the public school business.

COMMENTER: Two important things that should not be for profit are education and medicine.

COMMENTER: The bottom line is that Education (like Health) has no business being a business. These trends are more than disturbing, they're horrifying.
There is no question that “privatization” of government functions can be a matter of real concern. But private companies have always produced our textbooks and our standardized tests. It’s absurd to suggest that this is new, or that each school system is equipped to perform these functions.

Guess what, people? They aren’t!

Whatever! Readers got to sound off good about a favorite topic. As a general matter, the comments were scattershot and poorly informed, like Collins’ column itself.

If you want to build a winning progressive politics, those comments should cause you concern:

Some commenters rushed to say that we should start doing things the way Finland does. They’ve heard the script a thousand times and were eager to repeat it.

Some decried the woeful decline of our public schools. But uh-oh! Out of 571 comments, not one commenter noted the fact that reading and math scores have been steadily rising on the National Assessment of Educational Progress, our most reliable testing program.

Not one! Our “journalists” don’t discuss this fact—and Collins’ commenters showed no sign of having heard it.

Meanwhile, a depressing number of commenters tied this privatization scheme to the life needs of Neil Bush. Warning! Bogus facts follow:

COMMENTER: NCLB was passed to the benefit of Neil Bush, GWBush's brother, who had a major stake in a standardized testing company.

COMMENTER: Neil Bush (W's baby brother), has an interest in one of the testing companies. There is nothing else one needs to know about "No Child Left Behind."

COMMENTER: Truth to tell, though, if you google “Neil Bush” and “education,” things about No Child Left Behind become amazingly translucent—almost transparent.

COMMENTER: Thank you Gail for putting this front and center. Someone please check out the following: I believe that when Bush pushed the No Child Left Behind legislation, his brother Neil (of the Savings and Loan scandal) was head of a corporation that published school material and stood to profit greatly from the program.
Was “No Child” part of a fiendish scheme to enrich the younger Bush? If so, the scheme would seem to have failed. Bush founded his company, Ignite! Learning, in 1999. (It isn’t a testing concern.) In October 2006, the Los Angeles Times reported that Ignite “has placed its products in 40 U.S. school districts.”

That may sound like quite a score—but the Census Bureau reports that “the U.S. has more than 14,000 public school districts.” But nothing will stop our emerging tribe from sniffing out these concerns.

Needless to say, Collins is vastly more responsible for this general foolishness than her various readers. It’s Collins who poses as a journalist; it’s Collins who is richly rewarded on this fraudulent basis. And in fairness, a few of her readers did seem to see that her column was perhaps a bit of a scam. One such reader, from the wilds of North Idaho, offered these remarks:
COMMENTER: When I read, "This is the part of education reform nobody told you about...Do you recall anybody mentioning that it would provide monster profits for the private business sector," I want to ask this commentator, and the New York Times, and media in general: WHY? Why didn't you talk about it? Why were you silent when these details were obvious even to me, an ordinary citizen in the back water of North Idaho?
There’s a great deal to be said for that question, especially given Collins’ track record as a see-no-evil cheerleader for the testing claims of a certain billionaire mayor. But even in that feisty comment, the most basic questions aren’t addressed:

Is something wrong with the (alleged) increase in profits for testing companies? Was it a bad idea to require annual testing? If we accept the practice of annual testing, is Pearson producing lousy tests? Collins showed no sign of being able to speak to these questions, or to the many others she pretended to discuss. And uh-oh! Her readers showed little skill at spotting this flaw, which rises to the level of scam in Collins’ unfolding work.

Instead, readers praised Collins for her piece—for a piece which let them screech about favorite tribal verities. In our view, the comments were depressingly uninformed—and very few commenters showed any sign of seeing through Gail Collins.

Therein lies a concern.

For decades, we liberals enjoyed the fruits of an historical accident. Pseudo-conservatives had created a sprawling talk-radio empire. Each day, we could hear conservative listeners as they called these shows, displaying their tribal dumbness.

They even called themselves ditto-heads! For decades, we laughed at their behavior. But uh-oh! As the liberal world has emerged from the woods, we have created our own cable channel—and we have created our own comment threads.

Through these media, we get to see an unfortunate fact: As it turns out, we really aren’t a whole lot sharper than the ditto-heads were!

We liberals don’t like to hear this said; we’re committed to a more pleasing tale. But just read through the almost 600 comments to Collins’ know-nothing column.

Her piece was a tribute to slacker norms, her latest “journalistic” scam. But all across the world of the Times, we liberals couldn’t tell! We thanked her for her opening jokes—for saying we have to be tricked into reading about a serious topic. And we thanked her for tickling our favorite pseudo-liberal chords.

For decades, we’ve heard conservatives repeat every damn-fool thing Rush Limbaugh has said. Now, our tribe increasingly plays this game—and we praise our own faux leaders.

People! They’re on our side!

Increasingly, two warring tribes are now content to repeat their leaders’ silliest claims. But uh-oh! Their tribe still has that hidden weapon—the massive financial backing Paul Krugman described again in yesterday’s column.

As we watch Our Own Liberal Channel, we tend to repeat our own silly claims, much as their side has done all these years. But their side still has the wealth and the power, the backing Krugman describes.

Silly piddlers like Collins can’t overcome that—and we can’t see through piddlers like Collins. Go ahead! Read those comments!

The major fault lies with Collins, of course. Her readers aren't supposed to be journalists.

But liberals have to know how to spot a fraud. At long last, a medium exists which helps us see why we fail.

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Do you believe what Maddow said?

Posted by Hyuuga Cutezz On 8:06 AM 0 comments
FRIDAY, MAY 4, 2012

How we liberals get made dumb and dumber: Do you believe what Rachel Maddow told you Monday night? (For background, see THE DAILY HOWLER, 5/3/12.)

According to Maddow, she had worked quite hard that day trying to solve a conundrum. On Sunday morning, she had a dispute on Meet the Press about the “wage gap” between men and women—more specifically, about the reasons for this gap.

According to Maddow, she had “spent a long time” trying to fathom why her claims were challenged on Sunday.

On Monday night’s Maddow Show, Maddow spoke with Dr. Heidi Hartmann, founder of the Institute for Women’s Policy Research. Here’s an early part of their discussion, with Maddow’s account of her intellectual labors in bold:
HARTMANN (4/30/12): I think what the issue is for the Republicans is that they believe that that’s not—no matter how big the wage gap is, almost none of it is due to discrimination. And, of course, these numbers from BLS and Census Bureau are not really talking about discrimination. But the GAO study that I just mentioned did. They said that even when you put everything you can possibly think of in the regression equations, the statistical analyses to try to make that gap go away, you can’t explain at least 20 percent of it.

Now, most other studies place the part you can’t explain as a quarter to a half. So a large part of the gap probably is due to discrimination. But that seems to be what the debate is.

[...]

MADDOW: In terms of just making it very clear, what you were talking about there about doing a statistical regression analysis on these things, controlling for other factors— I spent a long time going through the Republican side of this argument today just trying to understand how you could look at these very blunt numbers and come up with the opposite truth.
Can Maddow possibly be this dumb? Putting our question a second way:

Do you believe what Maddow said? Was Maddow being truthful?

According to Maddow, she had “spent a long time” trying to understand “the Republican side of this argument.” Presumably, so had her staff, including her blogger and caddy, Steve Benen.

(For Benen’s instant defense of his sovereign, click here. According to Benen’s first link, the gap seemed to be smaller in 2011: By the measure he cited, women were paid 82.2 percent as much as men that year.)

Rachel Maddow wracked her brain, trying to understand the other side’s puzzling position. But how odd! To judge from her performance that night, she was still perplexed by the pushback on Meet the Press, when Alex Castellanos objected to a very familiar claim. This was the start of the dispute which broke out Sunday morning:
MADDOW (4/29/12): All of our best debates are always about policy. And it should be about policy that affects women specifically.

The Romney campaign wants to talk about women and the economy. Women in this country still make 77 cents on the dollar for what men make. So if—

CASTELLANOS: Not exactly.

MADDOW: Women don’t make less than men?

CASTELLANOS: Actually, if you start looking at the numbers, Rachel, there are lots of reasons for that.
“Not exactly,” Castellanos said. He then said there were “lots of reasons” why women make less than men. (“Don't tell me what the reasons are,” Rachel comically said.)

In each remark, Castellanos was right. But 36 hours later, after great effort, Maddow was still unable to grasp “the Republican side of this argument.” This brings us back to our original question: Do you believe what she said?

For ourselves, we’re puzzled by what Maddow said Monday night. This is why:

As we noted on Tuesday, we had always wondered about the very familiar statistic Maddow cited on Meet the Press. Do women really make 77 percent as much as men for doing the same work? That familiar claim had always struck us as highly unlikely, for blindingly obvious reasons we won’t detail at this point.

That claim always struck us as unlikely, but we’d never researched it. Maybe we're better at "research" than Maddow. But on Tuesday, it took us about ten minutes to reach the basic facts of this case:

Guess what, people? No one claims that women are paid 77 percent as much as men for doing the same work! Indeed, if you can see through the gorilla dust, you can see Hartmann rejecting that claim in the exchange we have quoted. “Of course, these numbers from the Census Bureau are not really talking about discrimination,” Hartmann said, thereby throwing Rachel's claim under a slow-moving bus.

Go ahead—just read what she said! According to Hartmann, that GAO study attributed 80 percent of the “pay gap” to factors other than discrimination. This means that the familiar figure Maddow cited was either wrong or grossly misleading.

But how strange! On Monday night, after oddles of effort, Maddow was still perplexed by “the Republican side of this argument.” That’s if you believe the things Maddow says, something we have learned not to do from watching her down through the years.

No, Virginia! The experts—even progressive experts—do not claim that women are underpaid by 23 cents on the dollar due to discrimination. The experts don’t claim anything like that, though Maddow still didn’t seem to grasp this fact after her long day of labor.

Let’s be clear: This doesn’t mean that women face no discrimination in terms of pay. It means that no one says it approaches the level Maddow described—no one but pseudo-liberal Hannity types.

To what extent are women underpaid “for doing the same work?” It’s very hard to answer that question. Consider Andrew Sherrill’s testimony about what he called “the gender pay gap in the federal work force.”

In April 2009, Dr. Sherrill testified before a congressional committee about a GAO report concerning the federal work force. He said the pay gap had shrunk considerably within that part of the workforce. But to understand the concepts involved here, consider what he said about the amount of the gap which may be due to discrimination:
SHERRILL (4/29/09): My statement today focuses on the following question: To what extent has the pay gap between men and women in the federal workforce changed over the past 20 years? And what factors account for the gap?

Using our cross-sectional analysis, we found that the pay gap, the difference between men and women's average pay before taking into account any explanatory factors, declined over the 20-year period. As you can see from our multi-colored chart here, the overall size of each of the three bars, the pay gap declined for 28 cents on the dollar in 1988 to 19 cents in 1998 and further to 11 cents in 2007.

[...]

In each of the three years we examined, our model cannot account for about seven cents of the pay gap. We cannot be sure what accounts for this portion, but it could be due to other factors which may be difficult to measure. It's important to note this analysis neither confirms nor refutes the presence of discriminatory practices.
From Sherrill’s remarks, we can draw two basic conceptual points:

As a general matter, only part of the “pay gap” between men and women will track to discrimination. And even when you’ve controlled for other factors, you still can’t be sure that the remaining gap is caused by discrimination. In the case of this report, the GAO couldn’t account for seven cents of the gap in pay between men and women in the federal workforce.

That seven cents could come from discrimination, Sherrill said—but you can’t be perfectly sure.

Are these concepts hard to grasp? Unless you’re someone like Maddow, they aren’t very hard at all. Applied to the wider question of the full work force, two facts should have been blindingly clear if Maddow made the slightest attempt to probe them on Monday:
Fact: According to the Census Bureau, women earned 77 percent as much as men in 2010. (This includes all full-time workers, defined as people who work at least 35 hours per week.)

Fact: This is not a measure of discrimination. When researchers control for relevant factors, a great deal of that gap disappears. (According to Hartmann, the GAO says that 20 percent of the pay gap persists. This would mean that women are being underpaid by as much as 4.6 cents on the dollar, not by 23 cents.)
By how much are women underpaid? It’s very hard to answer that question; there’s no easy way to tell. But whether we liberals like it or not, Republicans are largely in the right when they challenge the familiar claim that women are underpaid by 23 cents on the dollar.

Discriminated against by 23 cents? No one actually claims that is true—no one except brilliant children like Maddow, who says she studied this matter on Monday but still couldn’t see how it works.

Was Maddow trying to tell you the truth Monday night? How about her crackerjack staff? Let’s consider the way they stripped down that day's CNN fact-check.

Earlier Monday, Lisa Sylvester had fact-checked this matter for Wolf Blitzer. Her report was filled with gorilla dust, just as Hartmann’s segment with Maddow would be.

But as Sylvester finished, Blitzer did what an actual journalist should. He insisted that Sylvester address the central question: How much are women underpaid? Here’s what Sylvester said:
BLITZER (4/30/12): And so, the bottom line, though: When men and women have the exact same job, do women still only earn 77 cents on the dollar, if they're doing, working the same amount of hours, have the exact same job, in the exact same field?

SYLVESTER: They have— There is definitely a gap. It is, if you’re looking at. But there are all kinds of other control factors, you know, what college somebody went to, what region of the country. If you're talking salaried workers versus part-time workers, the average for full-time workers, the difference is pay is 77 cents on the dollar.

Now, as you go along, as you control for other factors, even if you control for everything you could possibly imagine, all those things, the college, the hours worked— Men still make more than women, that gap narrows, it's about 5 cents of a difference. But it still is there, it's still real, and the truth is, men make more than women.
Sylvester kept spreading gorilla dust, as she did throughout her report. But when confronted, she finally said it: When you control for relevant factors, the wage gap narrows to about five cents on the dollar.

Is that judgment right? We have no idea—but that’s what Sylvester said. Unless you watched that evening’s Maddow Show, in which that part of Sylvester’s report went straight down the memory hole.

Maddow played tape from Sylvester’s report; she just didn’t play the tape where Sylvester was forced to state this judgment. What did Maddow show you instead?

Below, you see the part of Monday night’s Maddow Show where Maddow used Sylvester’s report to mislead us rube liberals further. Question: Can Maddow really be this dumb? Or is she being dishonest?
MADDOW (4/30/12): Women make less money than men do. On average women, get paid 77 cents for every dollar that a man gets paid. That’s for everybody in the work force. If you look at the most popular jobs among men, it is the same thing. If you look at the most popular jobs among women, it is the same thing. There are a few outliers. You can cherry-pick, like you can with any statistical truth. But this is a really, really clear statistical truth.

(Beginning of videotape)

BLITZER: Here is a question: Do women in the United States make less money than men for doing the exact same work? On NBC`s Meet the Press yesterday, the Republican strategist and CNN contributor Alex Castellanos answered no. And that sparked a very passionate debate with Rachel Maddow of MSNBC.

We asked Lisa Sylvester to do a fact check for us. Lisa is here. Lisa, who’s right?

SYLVESTER: Well, this is a fascinating subject, Wolf, and we have been looking into this. We reached out, by the way, to Alex Castellanos but he was not available for comment.

The question: Is there an earnings gap between men and women? And the answer, according to the Census Bureau, is yes.

Data directly from the Census Bureau shows there is a pay gap and it’s real. Quote, “In 2010, the earnings of women who worked full-time year-round were 77 percent of that for men working full-time.”

(End of videotape)

MADDOW: Women get paid less than men do, 77 cents on the dollar on average. That’s true. Democrats know that’s true. It is the accepted truth by anybody who is looking at the facts of the matter. Republicans do not know that’s true.

This seems important. I finally see this now. And it’s important both in terms of the facts but also in terms of the politics. I think this is why this debate has been so talking past each other? So incoherent and dissatisfying?
Maddow played tape of Sylvester citing the 77 percent statistic. She didn’t play tape of Sylvester’s conclusion, where Sylvester said that women are only underpaid—discriminated against—by a factor of five percent.

Was Sylvester right in that judgment? We don’t know. But Maddow made it easy for liberal viewers. She simply didn’t let them know about the judgment Sylvester reached.

Maddow does this a lot. On Monday night, she kept citing that 77 percent statistic, telling her misled liberal viewers that it represents “the accepted truth by anybody who is looking at the facts of the matter.” She didn’t tell viewers that there are two different statistics they should consider:

The “pay gap” was 23 percent in 2010. But the part of the gap which represents discrimination was a great deal less.

For our money, Castellanos was more right than Maddow on Meet the Press, though his comments and explanations were a bit hazy. Beyond that, he did interrupt a fair amount—though for our money, we’re more concerned with scripted misstatements of fact than with etiquette concerns about the way such manifest bullshit gets challenged.

Beyond that, consider the way the two combatants reacted to Sunday’s battle:

Castellanos posted this piece at The Daily Caller. He apologized for interrupting Maddow; he said he truly does admire the passion she brings to her work. (“Maddow was offended when I complimented her on her passion. She found it condescending. I meant it as high praise and still do.”)

He continued to argue the facts of the case. He seemed to get some things right, seemed to misstate and overstate others.

How did Maddow react? She went on the air on Monday night, saying she still had no idea why someone would challenge her 77 percent statistic. Can Maddow really be that dumb? Do you believe what she said?

We have no ideas what makes Maddow tick—but this was an insulting performance. Maddow is sold as a former Rhodes Scholar. She said she had tried very hard to understand “the Republican position.”

We find that rather hard to believe. But this is a constant problem on the Maddow Show.

Maddow covers a lot of worthwhile topics—but you have to fact-check every word she says. When you do, the results are often bad.

With that in mind, here’s a question for liberals and emerging ditto-heads:

Do you believe the various things this self-adoring multimillionaire says?

What Hymowitz says: At the Daily Caller, Castellanos cited Kay Hymowitz, a leading conservative expert on these topics.

Castellanos seemed to overstate her position, in part because of a headline Hymowitz probably didn’t write. This is what Hymowitz told Sylvester this week. To watch their exchange, just click here:
HYMOWITZ: The studies that I’ve seen, when they control for everything that they can think of, and there may be other things they’re not thinking of, but when the control for all the kinds of things you mentioning, there still is something like a 5-7 percent wage gap. And what’s causing that? Could be discrimination, there could be other factors that we simply don’t know how to account for. But yeah, it’s a good guess that there’s some discrimination there.
It’s a good guess that there’s some discrimination there. It just isn’t 23 cents on the dollar—unless you want someone like Clueless Maddow to make you feel liberally good.

Hymowitz says the actual discrimination factor may come to 5-7 cents on the dollar. That’s quite close to what Hartmann said Monday night—if you cut through the gorilla dust which suffused her exchange with Maddow.

On Monday, Maddow worked quite hard. That night, though, dust filled the air.

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WHY WE FAIL: One-day postponement!

Posted by Hyuuga Cutezz On 4:53 AM 0 comments
FRIDAY, MAY 4, 2012

Until tomorrow: We're postponing the finale of our current award-winning series until tomorrow. For part 3 of this widely heralded series, see THE DAILY HOWLER, 5/3/12.

Lucky duckies take note: Other posts on other topics will appear today.

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How should we talk about Social Security!

Posted by Hyuuga Cutezz On 8:36 AM 0 comments
THURSDAY, MAY 3, 2012

Drum returns to the scene of the crime: Last week, Kevin Drum made a rare mistake—and as we noted, it was a doozy.

The analysts cried about his remarks (see THE DAILY HOWLER, 4/28/12). And so, a few days later, Drum returned to the scene of the crime.

How should we talk about Social Security? Drum amended and extended his remarks. But we still think there’s room for improvement:
http://www.motherjones.com/kevin-drum/2012/04/medias-real-social-security-problem
DRUM (4/30/12): I said last week that liberals should get off their fainting couches and stop complaining every time someone reports that Social Security funding is in trouble. Unsurprisingly, not many liberals agreed with me—and I'm willing to give some ground on my defense of the "bankruptcy" formulation, which is probably suitable only for polemics. Still, the trust fund is running out of money. Social Security is heading toward insolvency. What else would you call a program that can only pay out 75 percent of its promised benefits?
Quite correctly, Drum threw “bankruptcy” under the bus; as used in discussions of Social Security, that term has been grossly misleading. But we wouldn’t be inclined to use the term “insolvency” either. In this context, most people wouldn’t know what that term means!

Drum asks a very good question: “What else would you call a program that can only pay out 75 percent of its promised benefits?” Here’s our very good answer:

We wouldn’t call it anything else! We’d call it “a program that can only pay out 75 percent of its promised benefits!”

People deserve an accurate, clear description of this matter—especially given the disinformation which has long surrounded this question. So go ahead—use a few extra words!

Stay away from technical, shorthand terms! Tell people just what you mean!

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THURSDAY, MAY 3, 2012

But Maddow just blusters ahead: It’s a basic rule of pseudo-journalism:

You do not correct Rachel Maddow!

Last Sunday, on Meet the Press, Alex Castellanos dared to say that Maddow was wrong about a familiar factual claim. As it turns out, Castellanos was almost certainly right—more right in his comments than Maddow.

But correcting Maddow isn’t allowed—so Rachel swung into action. On Monday night, she opened her eponymous cable “news” program with a segment about this dispute. As she started, she kept repeating her basic factual claim:
MADDOW (4/30/12): The jobs we do in this country are still sort of surprisingly really segregated by gender. But whether you have an occupation that is male-dominated or you have an occupation that’s female dominated, there’s one thing that just about every single job in America has in common. Dudes get paid more for doing it.

If you are a driver, men get paid more. If you’re a manager, men get paid more. If you’re a janitor, men get paid for. If you’re a retail salesperson, men get paid more. If you’re a sales rep, if you are a cook, a chief executive, a security guard, a police officer, a customer service representative—in all those cases, men get paid more.

In 19 of the 20 jobs that are the most common occupations for men in this country, women lag behind what men get paid for doing that same work.

It’s also true in the most common jobs that women have in this country. If you are a secretary, men get paid more. If you’re a teacher, men get paid more. If you’re nurse, men get paid more. If you’re a cashier, men get paid more.

If you’re a receptionist, a financial manager, if you wait tables, men get paid more. Again, in 19 of the 20 jobs that are the most common occupations for women in this country, women lag behind what men get paid for the same work.

Overall, when you aggregate everybody working, women get paid 77 cents for every dollar that men get paid. For the same work, dudes get paid more.
True believers often think it: If they just keep repeating a claim, that will make the claim accurate. In this case, Maddow kept saying that men get paid more “for the same work.” And she used the statistic from Meet the Press, the statistic that launched this dispute:

“Women get paid 77 cents for every dollar that men get paid. For the same work, dudes get paid more.”

Those claims may still be technically accurate—but they’re grossly misleading. Consider what happened when Maddow ended her monologue and let an expert speak.

For the record: Before she introduced this expert, Maddow repeated her basic statistical claim five times. On tape and in person, viewers kept seeing her say it: Women get paid 77 cents where men get paid a dollar.

But uh-oh! Eventually, Maddow introduced Dr. Heidi Hartmann, founder of the Institute for Women’s Policy Research. This was the first Q-and-A:
MADDOW: I know that you are at the women’s, Institute for Women’s Policy Research. You have done some of the most important and most highly publicized work on this issue. Is there any way that the idea of a gender-based disparity is something that depends on how you look at it? Is this something other than a blunt truth about the American economy?

HARTMANN: Well, I mean, you obviously have by far the better part of the argument. You’ve got the Census Bureau and I might mention, the Bureau of Labor Statistics agreeing with you. Oh, also, I could mention, the U.S. General Accountability Office.

I think what the issue is for the Republicans is that they believe that that’s not—no matter how big the wage gap is, almost none of it is due to discrimination. And, of course, these numbers from BLS and Census Bureau are not really talking about discrimination. But the GAO study that I just mentioned did. They said that even when you put everything you can possibly think of in the regression equations, the statistical analyses to try to make that gap go away, you can’t explain at least 20 percent of it.

Now, most other studies place the part you can’t explain as a quarter to a half. So, a large part of the gap probably is due to discrimination. But that seems to be what the debate is.
Hartmann told Maddow she had the far better part of Sunday’s argument. Then, she quickly began to show that this claim isn’t accurate.

Duh! “Of course, these numbers from the...Census Bureau are not really talking about discrimination,” Hartmann said, referring to the “77 cents” figure which Maddow had now been reciting for two straight days. Having thrown that statistic under the bus, Hartmann cited a GAO study.

This study did attempt to measure discrimination, Hartmann said. And what did that GAO study find? According to Hartmann, the study said this:

“Even when you put everything you can possibly think of in the regression equations, the statistical analyses to try to make that gap go away, you can’t explain at least 20 percent of it.”

But twenty percent of “that gap” is only 4.6 cents. (That’s 23 cents divided by five.) According to Hartmann, the GAO study said that women are discriminated against to the tune of 4.6 cents on the dollar. Maddow had been saying the discrimination factor was 23 cents for the prior two days.

In fairness to Maddow, Hartmann cited some other studies (see above). She said these studies “place the part you can’t explain as a quarter to a half.” If Hartmann’s statement is accurate, this would mean that these studies say that women are discriminated against in their pay by 6 to 11.5 cents on the dollar.

Maddow had been saying 23 cents for two days. That claim is extremely familiar, but it’s almost certainly false; as Hartmann said, the Census Bureau doesn’t even intend for it to be seen as a measure of discrimination. It was that claim which brought the original objection from Castellanos.

One more point for today, this time involving the fact-check which was done on CNN. On Monday evening, Maddow played tape from that meandering fact-check, which was reported by Lisa Sylvester. But she didn’t play the piece of tape where Sylvester finally told Wolf Blitzer what her fact-check had found:
BLITZER (4/30/12): And so, the bottom line, though. When men and women have the exact same job, do women still only earn 77 cents on the dollar, if they're doing, working the same amount of hours, have the exact same job, in the exact same field?

SYLVESTER: They have—there is definitely a gap. It is, if you're looking at. But there are all kinds of other control factors, you know, what college somebody went to, what region of the country. If you're talking salaried workers versus part-time workers, the average for full-time workers, the difference is pay is 77 cents on the dollar.

Now, as you go along, as you control for other factors, even if you control for everything you could possibly imagine, all those things, the college, the hours worked— Men still make more than women, that gap narrows, it's about 5 cents of a difference. But it still is there, it's still real, and the truth is, men make more than women.
Gack! According to what Sylvester said, the actual discrimination factor is five cents on the dollar. That evening, Maddow forgot to play the tape of Sylvester making that statement. Tomorrow, we’ll show you what she played instead.

How much do women get cheated on pay? By all accounts, this is a very hard question to answer. But no expert even pretends that the figure from the Census Bureau is a measure of discrimination. People like Maddow recite that figure because—well, go ahead!

Go ahead! You explain! But when liberals recite that bogus figure, we're acting exactly like ditto-heads. Now that we've finally emerged from the woods, we don't look so great after all!

Tomorrow: What's the truth about this (complex) question? And why won’t Maddow tell you?

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THURSDAY, MAY 3, 2012

Part 3—Doesn’t know, doesn’t much seem to care: Is Pearson over-charging the state of Texas for its testing services?

Rather clearly, this was the “central point” of Gail Collins’ column in Saturday’s New York Times. Right from its headline on down, Collins seemed to say that Pearson’s “monster profits” were a rip-off—that the company is massively overcharging for its “pricey” efforts.

But how strange! At no point did Collins make a clear statement of this alleged “central point.” What was she claiming in her column? In truth, it’s quite hard to say.

Collins pleased liberal readers with her many complaints about “the privatization of education.” But she never defined her alleged “central point.” In particular, she showed no sign of knowing whether Pearson’s profits involve an actual rip-off.

Can we talk? Collins showed no sign of having tried to examine this question at all. She showed no sign of having tried to do any actual journalism. As he typed her scattershot piece, Collins expounded on a large array of familiar educational topics. But thanks to this cynical game of hopscotch, she didn’t have to expound at length on any particular issue.

She complained about for-profit textbooks; she complained about for-profit tests. She complained about charter schools. She complained about schools which are “completely online, with kids getting their lessons at home via computer.”

She complained about for-profit after-school tutoring, echoing the strangest thing Diane Ravitch ever said in this area. (More on that complaint tomorrow.) She complained about a possible change in the GED program.

Eventually, killing a bit more time, our slacker complained about this:
COLLINS (4/29/12): The Obama administration has been trying to tackle the astronomical costs of 50 different sets of standardized tests by funding efforts by states to develop shared models—a process you will be stunned to hear is being denounced by conservatives like Gov. Rick Perry of Texas as “a federal takeover of public schools.”
Almost surely, Collins had a good point here—although there was no sign that she actually knew this.

Let’s talk about “the astronomical costs of 50 different sets of standardized tests.” As a bit of background, let’s consider the way standardized testing was done in and around the year 1970.

In those days, annual testing was already widespread, but it involved a set of “norm-referenced” tests produced by roughly half a dozen major test publishers. Example: The Iowa Tests of Basic Skills, a battery published by Houghton Mifflin.

About a half-dozen such batteries were in widespread use around the nation. As a general rule, new versions of these tests were produced every seven years.

There were shortcomings to this seven-year itch, especially when some school districts began to cheat on these tests, bowing to the new age of “accountability.” (In our experience, this overt cheating was already under way in the early 1970s.) But with a half dozen major test batteries being revised every seven years, test publishers could devote a great deal of time and effort to the creation of the new batteries.

We'll take a guess: Almost surely, those batteries were of higher technical quality than many of the statewide tests which are in use today. Here’s why:

We now have fifty different states producing fifty different test batteries. Often, the tests are changed on an annual basis. Back in 2006, Collins’ own paper, the New York Times, published a news report about the problems being caused by the sheer volume of these fifty different test batteries.

Uh-oh! With so much test development occurring, the nation was facing a shortage of “psychometricians,” David Herszenhorn reported:
HERSZENHORN (5/5/06): With federal law requiring wider testing of schoolchildren, the nation faces a critical shortage of people...with the mathematical, scientific, psychological and educational skills to create tests and analyze the results. The problem has sent states, testing companies and big school districts into a heated hiring competition, with test companies offering salaries as high as $200,000 a year or more plus perks.

A result is a peculiar outcome of the No Child Left Behind act. Psychometrics, one of the most obscure, esoteric and cerebral professions in America, is also one of the hottest.

These experts are needed in virtually every aspect of developing, administering and scoring exams, from deciding what test will best measure certain skills to drawing up questions and answer sheets. Doctoral programs are producing at most 50 graduates a year in the field.

"This was always a very, very tight, small group of individuals prior to No Child Left Behind," said Wayne J. Camara, vice president for research and psychometrics at the College Board, which publishes the SAT and Advanced Placement exams. "Since No Child Left Behind, it has just gotten ridiculous.”

[...]

Government and industry officials warn that the shortage of experts could undermine the testing process and lead to errors, with consequences like children's being wrongly denied promotion and schools being mistakenly labeled as failing.

Already, they say, many states and school districts lack officials trained to oversee testing and make effective use of score data. The states are being hardest hit because they desperately need psychometricians to supervise their multimillion-dollar contracts with test publishers but are routinely outbid not just by testing firms but also by colleges, research groups and other industries.
Does this country have enough “psychometricians” to produce the current level of tests? We often wonder when we read about various breakdowns within the various states’ testing programs. We wondered again when we read Kevin Drum’s treatment of the minor flap which led to Collins’ rambling, know-nothing column last week. (For Drum’s treatment, click here.)

Collins may have brushed up against an actual problem when she cited “the astronomical costs of 50 different sets of standardized tests.” It does cost a huge amount of money to produce fifty different sets of tests. It also may require more expertise than we have available.

That said, there is no sign that Collins knew what she was talking about when she penned her single sentence about this alleged problem—a sentence which led to a pleasing jibe aimed at the vile Rick Perry. But then, we saw no sign that she knew squat or squadoosh about any of the various problems she pretended to discuss in this worthless but pleasing column.

Back to Collins’ “central point:” Is Pearson over-charging Texas for its testing services? Is Pearson over-charging New York? Is something wrong with this company’s alleged “monster profits?”

Should those states just produce their own tests?

There was no sign that Collins knew squadoosh about these questions, or about any of the long string of topics she ran through this day. But she had produced a column which her readers found highly pleasing.

Tomorrow, we’ll review their clueless comments. And we’ll see why we liberals fail.

Tomorrow: Ever so slowly, the truth begins to emerge

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Superlative work if you can get it!

Posted by Hyuuga Cutezz On 8:30 AM 0 comments
WEDNESDAY, MAY 2, 2012

Dowd extends the tour: It’s wonderful work if you can get it! Go ahead! Just check the dateline on Maureen Dowd’s thrilling new column:
DOWD (5/2/12): Libertine on the Loose

PARIS

It’s the most chilling warning you can hear in France: Dominique Strauss-Kahn is out on the town, looking for a good time.
That’s right. The dateline says Paris—Paris, France! Maureen Dowd crossed the Atlantic, determined to get the full story!

The story, of course, concerns Dominique Strauss-Kahn and his extensive sex romps. Last Wednesday, Dowd’s dateline was less impressive:

“Greensboro, N.C.,” it depressingly said. The scribe had been forced to journey there to examine the Edwards sex romps.

After several days at the Greensboro Super 8, Dowd deserved the trip to Paris. That said, she has proven, through the years, that she will go wherever she must to chase down the world’s leading sex romps. Remember when she crossed the country to test Bill Clinton’s hot tub?
DOWD (8/23/97): Rub a dub dub

SANTA MONICA, Calif.

Call me crazy, but I had a funny feeling that I was never going to be invited to the President's hot tub. Michael McCurry, the White House press secretary, had said it belonged to the American public, so I considered just showing up one night at the northwest gate of the White House with flippers, a sand bucket and a towel.

My dermatologist, Tina Alster, was alarmed at the prospect. "Haven't you ever heard of hot tub folliculitis?" she asked. "It's an organism that causes an itchy, bumpy rash on hair follicles. And the President, who has to worry about rosacea, that Jimmy Durante, W. C. Fields red-nose thing, should not be aggravating his blood vessels in a hot tub."

But then I came to California, home of hydrotherapy, aromatherapy, all therapy, and indeed, home of the President's Hot Spring Grandee seven-seater with 31 massaging jets, and I couldn't resist dropping by the showroom of the manufacturer that donated the hot tub to the National Park Service. I wanted a test soak, as they say.

I took some friends along so we could float a few theories about the iconic meaning of Bill Clinton installing a hot tub on the South Lawn—Jerry Nachman, the former New York Post editor who now works in TV; Dee Dee Myers, the former White House press secretary who now lives in L.A. and works at Vanity Fair; Barbara Hower, author and TV personality; Rebecca Liss, a reporter for The Los Angeles Daily Journal, and Mickey Kaus, a magazine writer.
For a fuller treatment of this nonsense, see THE DAILY HOWLER, 11/6/08.

“Call me crazy,” Dowd enjoined in that column. If you’re asking us, the honorific might be extended to “journalists” who were willing to join her as she lounged in the Clinton-like tub.

The Times is a cosmic, upper-class joke. Its denizens are basically out of their minds.

We liberals can’t seem to see this fact. Our “intellectual leaders” refuse.

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Maddow watch: Former Rhodes Scholar emotes!

Posted by Hyuuga Cutezz On 8:06 AM 0 comments
WEDNESDAY, MAY 2, 2012

Reciting a well-known script: Who the Sam or Joe Hill is Rachel Maddow?

NBC News has sold her to us in the liberal world as Our Own Rhodes Scholar. Of course, these are the same corporate hustlers who sold Tim Russert to the world as the working-class kid from Buffalo, even as he lolled around in his $7 million Nantucket cottage—the crib at which he summered.

Let’s ask a different question—how bright is Rachel Maddow? We’re routinely amazed by the boatloads of crap which roll down upon us as we watch her ballyhooed cable news program. But on this Sunday’s Meet the Press, we were struck by the way she repeated a familiar, unlikely old script (see THE DAILY HOWLER, 5/1/12):
MADDOW (4/29/12): The Romney campaign wants to talk about women and the economy. The— Women in this country still make 77 cents on the dollar for what men make.
Stated that way, Maddow’s claim seems to be technically accurate—or at least it was as of 2010, according to the Census Bureau. As of 2010, women in this country earned 77 percent as much as men, if we simply look at total pay brought home.

That seems to be an accurate fact. The question is what that fact can be taken to mean. In particular, does it mean that women are discriminated against in their pay, by a factor of 23 cents on the dollar? That they get paid 23 percent less than men who do the same work?

On Meet the Press, Republican strategist Alex Castellanos quickly challenged Maddow’s statement. His critique was somewhat murky, but she was soon extending her claim:
CASTELLANOS (continuing directly from above): (Unintelligible interjection)

MADDOW: Women don't make less than men?

CASTELLANOS: Actually, if you start looking at the numbers, Rachel, there are lots of reasons for that.

MADDOW: Wait, wait, no, don't tell me the reasons. Do women make less than men for doing the same work?

CASTELLANOS: Actually, no, because—

REP. RODGERS (R-WA): Not for the same work.

MADDOW: Wow! OK. Well, we're working from different facts!
“Don’t tell me the reasons,” Rachel said, helping define the brave new world of pseudo-liberal pseudo-journalism. That said:

In her response to Castellanos, Maddow extended her claim. She now said that women make less than men “for doing the same work.”

Later, Maddow repeated her claim in another way. Women are “paid less for equal work,” she said. Soon after, she returned to her second formulation: “Some of us believe that women are getting paid less than men for doing the same work.”

Listening to Maddow as she rattled her script, a viewer might think that women get paid 23 percent less than men for doing the same (or equal) work. And sure enough! That seems to be what Wolf Blitzer thought he heard Maddow saying.

Monday evening, on CNN, Blitzer asked the hapless Lisa Sylvester to fact-check the Maddow/Castellanos dispute. Here’s how he framed the question:
BLITZER (4/30/12): Here is a question: Do women in the United States make less money than men for doing the exact same work? On NBC’s Meet the Press yesterday, the Republican strategist and CNN contributor Alex Castellanos answered no. And that sparked a very passionate debate with Rachel Maddow of MSNBC.

We asked Lisa Sylvester to do a fact check for us. Lisa is here. Lisa, who’s right?

SYLVESTER: Well, this is a fascinating subject, Wolf, and we have been looking into this.
Sylvester, who used to perform such tasks for Lou Dobbs, told Wolf she had been checking.

We’ll look at Sylvester’s fact-check tomorrow. For today, let’s note the question Blitzer thought was in dispute. According to Blitzer, Maddow and Castellanos had been debating the following claim: Women get paid less money than men “for doing the exact same work.”

(Just for the record: As Sylvester fashioned her fact-check, she returned to the figure Maddow used: 77 cents on the dollar.)

Is it true? Do women get paid less than men for doing “the exact same work?” In some cases, the answer is yes, or so juries have found. Consider the famous case of Lilly Ledbetter, who sued Goodyear in a complaint about unequal pay. The basic facts from Ledbetter’s original lawsuit were described in the Washington Post in 2007:
BARNES (2/20/07): There's no dispute that after nearly 20 years at the Goodyear plant in Gadsden, Ala., most of them in a salaried managerial position, Ledbetter, 68, was paid less than any of the men she worked with, even those with less seniority.

Ledbetter had always thought that was the case—some of her bosses had even told her so. But it was spelled out clearly in an anonymous letter she received after she stopped working for Goodyear that contained the rankings and salaries of everyone she worked with.

Her lawyers showed it to the jury on a huge board.

But Goodyear contended that the salaries must be looked at with the rankings. The company said Ledbetter's lower pay was the result of a merit pay plan meant to even the field, and reward supervisors for good work rather than longevity.

Ledbetter was typically at the bottom of the rankings, the company argued, and even then she received raises, albeit smaller than those of the men ranked above her.

The jury sided with Ledbetter, saying it was "more likely than not" that she had been paid "an unequal salary because of her sex." Jurors awarded her $3,514,417.
In her original trial, the jury found that Ledbetter had received unequal pay because of her sex. Such conduct had been illegal since the Civil Rights Act of 1964.

Ledbetter’s award was later thrown out on a statute of limitations complaint. But this was precisely the type of case Blitzer thought was being discussed on Meet the Press. Ledbetter was paid substantially less than men who were doing the very same job. And please note: She had even been paid less than men with the same or less seniority.

Watching Maddow recite and emote, we liberals might think that this is the norm—that women typically get paid less for the same work, by a factor of 23 cents on the dollar

Almost surely, that’s untrue. Question: If Maddow is a former Rhodes Scholar, why can’t—or why won’t—she explain this?

Tomorrow: Sylvester’s report

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WHY WE FAIL: How to write a pseudo-column!

Posted by Hyuuga Cutezz On 6:45 AM 0 comments
WEDNESDAY, MAY 2, 2012

Part 2—Gail Collins’ alleged central point: After killing a great deal of time, Gail Collins “finally” reached her column's “central point.”

Or at least she said she did (see THE DAILY HOWLER, 5/1/12). For ourselves, we weren’t sure what “point” this pseudo-liberal pseudo-journalist was supposed to be making.

In the passage which follows, Collins refers to a pair of questions on a New York State standardized test—a pair of questions many people have found a bit confusing. By now, she had managed to kill 300 words by joking about the contents of these questions:
COLLINS (4/28/12): The state education commissioner, John King, announced that the questions would not count in the official test scores. There was no comment from the test author. That would be Pearson, the world’s largest for-profit education business, which has a $32 million five-year contract to produce New York standardized tests.

Now—finally—we have tumbled into my central point. We have turned school testing into a huge corporate profit center, led by Pearson, for whom $32 million is actually pretty small potatoes. Pearson has a five-year testing contract with Texas that’s costing the state taxpayers nearly half-a-billion dollars.

This is the part of education reform nobody told you about. You heard about accountability, and choice, and innovation. But when No Child Left Behind was passed 11 years ago, do you recall anybody mentioning that it would provide monster profits for the private business sector?

Me neither.

It’s not just the tests. No Child Left Behind has created a system of public-funded charter schools, a growing number of which are run by for-profit companies.
In this passage, Collins unveiled her alleged central point. “We have turned school testing into a huge corporate profit center, led by Pearson,” she wrote. “This is the part of education reform nobody told you about” in 2001, she further wrote, referring to the “monster profits” being scarfed up by people like Pearson.

It isn’t just the tests, she explained, noting that some charter schools “are run by for-profit companies.” And before she was done, she had extended her polymorphous scare story. We were struck by this passage:
COLLINS: An American child could go to a public school run by Pearson, studying from books produced by Pearson, while his or her progress is evaluated by Pearson standardized tests. The only public participant in the show would be the taxpayer.
Might we state the blindingly obvious? In fact, other “public participants in the show” would be the various public officials who decided to buy their school district's textbooks and standardized tests from Pearson. And this sort of thing has been going on for a very long time, although you might get the impression from Collins’ piece that George Bush somehow invented this world when he dreamed up No Child Left Behind.

Yes, Virginia—public schools do buy their textbooks from various textbook companies! And they purchase their standardized tests from testing companies! And this has been true for a very long time. When we began teaching in the Baltimore schools in the 1969-70 school year, our textbooks were purchased from some of the same well-known textbook companies which are now owned by Pearson. Meanwhile, for Baltimore’s annual testing, we administered the Iowa Tests of Basic Skills, a well-known “norm-referenced” test battery which was published by Houghton Mifflin.

But then, public schools have always purchased tests and testing services from major for-profit test publishers. In a similar way, cities purchase their mass transit buses from for-profit bus manufacturers. And yes, Virginia—profits have always been part of this package! This helps explain why those buses get made and why those tests get published.

CTB/McGraw Hill has long been a leading player in the testing industry. On its current web site, a bit of this history is recorded. We’ll highlight some key words and phrases:
CTB/MCGRAW-HILL: Our Heritage/1926

In 1926, Ethel Clark founded the Research Service Company (now known as CTB). At the time, Ethel’s husband, Dr. Willis Clark, was the Assistant Director of Research for the public schools of Los Angeles, CA. He was involved in the school’s Los Angeles Diagnostic Tests in the Fundamentals of Arithmetic. The test was so impressive, many school districts were interested in purchasing it.

Ethel Clark saw a business opportunity and bought the publishing rights to the LA tests. She mailed 25 one-cent postcards to 25 school districts announcing the availability of the tests used in Los Angeles. One year later, CTB heard from their first customer, the Kansas City, Missouri school district, ordering 20,000 copies of the test.
Kansas City “purchased” 20,000 copies of this test, becoming CTB’s first “customer.” And just for the record:

From that day to this, school districts have always purchased tests and testing services from private, for-profit entities. In theory, a fair amount of expertise is involved in creating such tests; it wouldn’t make sense for each school district to undertake this task, any more than each town and city should build its own municipal buses. We mention this because a reader might get the impression from Collins’ wandering column that there’s something unusual or new about the idea that a modern-day student “could go to a public school run by Pearson, studying from books produced by Pearson, while his or her progress is evaluated by Pearson standardized tests.”

There’s nothing especially strange about that, although this practice, like all practices, could of course be abused. That said:

Is there actually something wrong with the system Collins’ describes? There certainly could be! Let’s count a few of the ways:

Pearson could be reaping unjustified levels of profit for its products and services. Pearson could be producing lousy tests filled with lousy test questions. And of course, the whole culture of testing could be abused in various ways; in recent years, there has been considerable evidence of such abuses. Or you may think that annual testing is a waste of time even when it’s done right.

Which of those claims is Collins making? Reading her piece, we have no real idea—and we get no sense that she has the first freaking idea about any of these topics. Nor do we get the sense that she has examined these questions in any serious way. Example:

Why does Pearson charge the state of Texas almost $100 million per year for testing services while it charges New York State just $6.4 million? Several of Collins’ readers wondered about that in their comments. But not Collins! She breezed right past that obvious question, failing to notice the oddity in the data she herself had recorded.

Does Collins know anything about these topics? Does she even care? Let’s repeat one of the dumbest things she says in this very dumb column:
COLLINS: Now—finally—we have tumbled into my central point. We have turned school testing into a huge corporate profit center, led by Pearson, for whom $32 million is actually pretty small potatoes. Pearson has a five-year testing contract with Texas that’s costing the state taxpayers nearly half-a-billion dollars.

This is the part of education reform nobody told you about. You heard about accountability, and choice, and innovation. But when No Child Left Behind was passed 11 years ago, do you recall anybody mentioning that it would provide monster profits for the private business sector?

Me neither.
Annual testing was already widespread in 2001, as Collins understood (click here). And profit was already part of this system. But No Child Left Behind actually required such annual testing.

No one told Collins that this might increase profits. And so, she didn’t know!

In fact, major news orgs did discuss these topics in real time. For the web site to Frontline’s March 2002 “Testing Our Schools” program, just click here. For Frontline’s report on “The Testing Industry’s Big Four” (this includes Pearson), just click this. But did someone really have to tell Collins that more testing might mean more profits?

If you believe this pseudo-journalist, the answer would be seem to be yes.

Is something wrong with Pearson’s work? Is something wrong with its level of profit? Collins shows no sign of knowing—and she shows no sign of having tried to find out. To our ear, she shows no sign of knowing the first freaking thing about any of the many topics she glosses in this insulting column—familiar topics she rattles off in best pseudo-liberal fashion.

“The pushback against privatization isn’t easy,” Collins pleasingly writes near the end of her piece. But what form should that “pushback” take? Alas! This mincing, time-killing pseudo-journalist simply forgot to say!

What’s wrong with the emerging “liberal” world? Why can’t we create a winning politics?

To our ear, Collins was playing her readers for fools, faking her way through another pseudo-column. But alas! As we will see by the end of the week, her grateful, profoundly clueless readers just flat-out couldn’t tell.

Tomorrow: Rushing right past a good question

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Financial Modeling For Individuals

Posted by Hyuuga Cutezz On 9:57 PM 0 comments
Most humans anxious with their banking able-bodied getting will advance a account and accumulate clue of how their investments are performing. Humans acquisitive to be added adult in their banking planning ability even appoint a banking artist to advice them ambition specific goals and advance an able way to accomplish those goals. However, a lot of humans stop abbreviate of clay their banking future. This online writing touches on the acceptation of banking modeling, its merits, agency to apparatus it and things to watch out for.
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Regardless of the adjustment chosen, the allowances of banking clay are able-bodied account the effort. It is time that added individuals alpha to use this apparatus that companies all-embracing accept consistently begin essential.

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TUESDAY, MAY 1, 2012

Mr. O gets to expound: It was a typical night in the neighborhood—or in “the no-spin zone.”

Last Monday evening, Mr. O began his eponymous cable news show with this acid-laced bit of analysis:
O’REILLY (4/23/12): Caution! You are about to enter the No Spin Zone. The Factor begins right now.

Hi, I'm Bill O'Reilly. Thanks for watching us tonight.

Is the entitlement society strangling the U.S. economy? That is the subject of this evening's “Talking Points Memo.”

We are about to give you some amazing stats about America becoming a welfare state. We'll start with the overall picture. During the last two years, '09 and '10, the feds have spent more than a $1 trillion on programs to help poor Americans. Most of that money goes to what is called means-tested entitlements. That's direct assistance, Medicaid, food stamp, child care and nutrition, checks to needy family, things like that. The recession, of course, driving some of that assistance.

But since 1970, means-tested entitlements in America have increased—Ready?—an unbelievable 5500 percent. Right now an astounding 150 million Americans live in households that receive some kind of government assistance. It's almost half the population.

“Social justice,” the primary reason the USA is changing into an entitlement country, much like the western European nations.

Politicians in both parties understand that giving money away means votes. Also there is no question that both the feds and the states have loosened standards under which Americans receive entitlements. Since President Obama has been in office, federal welfare spending is up about 41 percent. Food stamps, up about 135 percent since 2007, from 30 billion to 72 billion a year. Disability payments, up 116 percent from a decade ago. More than three million American workers have signed up for disability since President Obama took office.

So you can see the president's liberal spending policies and overall belief that the feds should provide is costing the nation an enormous amount of money with no end in sight. So, you telling me that all of a sudden Americans need more disabilities? No. It's because claiming a disability is worth a shot in the current political climate.

Now here is the most important part of the memo. Those who advocate cutting entitlements or making it more difficult to receive them will be immediately branded as bad people. Just for telling you this, I'll be labeled a horrible guy.

But consider this: What's worse? A bad economy for all Americans, which we have? A $16 trillion debt that is damaging the dollar worldwide, which we have? Or a responsible entitlement agenda that gets spending under control? Which is worse?

All sane people know safety nets are needed. Poor families must be helped. There are children involved. But when the standards for getting entitlement money are so lax that the system becomes easy to game, you know you have a problem. And we do.

And that's the memo. Now, for the “Top Story” tonight, reaction. Joining us from Washington, Fox News analyst Mary Katherine Ham and Juan Williams.
O’Reilly presented a crazy-quilt pattern of statistical claims, all of which seemed to show that President Obama’s “liberal spending policies and overall belief that the feds should provide is costing the nation an enormous amount of money with no end in sight.”

But uh-oh! One of O’Reilly’s statistical comparisons dated to 1970. Another dated to 2007; one dated to an undisclosed year from “a decade ago.” On his web site, O’Reilly makes no attempt to source his “amazing,” “unbelievable” statistical claims or to defend his sweeping pronouncements, in which this welter of alleged jumps in entitlement spending were confusingly laid at Obama’s door.

Assuming O’Reilly’s "unbelievable" statistical claims are accurate, to what extent do those changes reflect policy changes by Obama? In his memo, O’Reilly made no attempt to sort out this blindingly obvious question. And in certain major ways, Obama’s doesn’t seem to be the prime or sole mover of the changes against which Mr. O railed. One example: “Food stamp” participation increased by 63 percent under President Bush, although it has continued to rise in the past three years. For Politifact’s explanation and analysis, click here.

O’Reilly’s jumbled, crazy-quilt “memo” seemed to have been composed on acid, but four million people were watching that night; this is where bullshit comes from. And please note: “Press critics” for our major news orgs routinely accept such miserable work from major broadcasters like Mr. O. Last Monday, the New York Times’ David Carr pretended to watch-dog NBC News for its coverage of the Trayvon Martin killing. But this was a standard Potemkin effort, a point we will revisit before the week is done.

The press corps likes to pretend that it watch-dogs itself. For the most part, this is an act of deception by a deeply permissive guild. No one has ever watch-dogged the ridiculous work that often emits from Mr. O’s program. And now, gazes are being averted from the gruesome misconduct of MSNBC hosts and guests.

In the past six weeks, MSNBC has invented a boatload of bogus “facts” about the killing of Martin. “Press reporters” have steered away from this inexcusable conduct, just as they have always done with the work that is done by Fox News.

Carr pretended to be on the case. This was Potemkin press criticism, the kind of such work most commonly found within the mainstream press.

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