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Saturday, November 29, 2014

A non-emotional clearinghouse of facts

In my last post, I focused on a "fact" from Dana's book.  What I failed to realize at the time is who that "fact" was from, and just how heavily Dana was leaning on him for these "facts".

His name is John Lott, and Dana introduces him in chapter 3 like this:

John Lott's fabulous Crime Prevention Research Center has expertly debunked a number of [Mom's Demand's] claims by analyzing statistics and crime reports.
She calls them a, "hated clearinghouse ... of nonemotional analysis."  Then Dana goes off on a Shannon Watts tweet about how 84% of all female firearm homicides are in the US.  The CPRC has her covered, stating that women in the US are only 22% of all homicides, while the mean for those 25 countries, many of whom are small, is 24%, thus making them much worse.  Sorry, Mr. Lott, you forgot to mention that firearm homicide rates in those countries are also much lower. Most are below 1 in a hundred thousand, while here in the US, it is almost 5.  One would be left to believe that would also be a big contributor to that 84% figure from Shannon Watts.

Of course, if you select the right stat, everything looks good.  The CPRC has been known to not only select the "right stat", but to sometimes cook the books to make that right stat.
Ian Ayres and John Donohue wrote a paper that found that, if anything, concealed carry laws lead to more crime. Lott, (along with Florenz Plassmann and John Whitley) wrote a reply where they argued that using data up to 2000 confirmed the “more guns, less crime” hypothesis. In Ayres and Donohue’s response to that paper, they found that Lott’s data contained numerous coding errors that, when corrected, reversed the results. Furthermore, this was the second time these sorts of errors had been found in Lott’s data. Lott had presented to the NAS panel figures showing sharp declines in crime following carry laws. Declines which disappeared when the coding errors were corrected. Finally, when Lott saw Ayres and Donohue’s response he had his name removed from the final paper.
Dana does not let junk science that has been proven wrong in the past get in the way of getting the "right stat"/"fact".  In this case, it may have been good to find a better, non-tainted source.

Sunday, November 23, 2014

More from the book

I've been reading Dana's book, and it's taking me a long time because I have to stop almost every page and look up something.  Nine times out of ten she is just flat wrong on what she is saying.  Here is just one example.

Dana states that states that have the highest gun ownership, do not have the highest homicide rates. Then she states that Alabama has a third the gun deaths that Illinois does.  Now, this mixing of criteria is bad enough (and it continues throughout chapter 4) but it is also flat wrong in it's thinking.

According to the FBI, homicide rates in those two states show Alabama to be more violent, 7.2 per 100,000 compared to Illinois' 5.5 (which is down from 6.0 the year before).  Louisiana, another state with lax gun laws and a high rate of gun ownership is at 10.8, Mississippi at 6.5, well, you get the idea.

So, how do they rank in total gun deaths, which also include accidental and suicide deaths?  Alabama is 7th (16.34), while Illinois is at 37th (8.66).  Yeah, Illinois is almost half that of Alabama in gun death rates.

So wrong, and wrong again, Dana.  It's no surprise people are shouting down anyone stating Dana's book isn't factual on Amazon.  They don't want to read something they so agree with to be false.  Sorry to break it to you.  This is the kind of things you can expect from the book.

Wednesday, November 19, 2014

Dana and Ed part II: Civility rules?

The results are in for the first debate, and Politifact has a claim by Dana as mostly false, while a claim from Ed was mostly true.

Conservative talker Dana Loesch says 4.7 million people lack health insurance due to Obamacare

Ed Schultz: 10.3 million people would lose insurance with Obamacare repeal

Here we go, round two:

Round 2: Dana Loesch, Ed Schultz Throw Down over Obamacare Again

It was an auspicious start where Dana introduces Ed, then starts introducing 10-15 other people, and a studio audience who will also ask questions... but no, she was just kidding, she's not on MSNBC, it's just her and Ed.  I was then shocked not only by Dana's intelligent and non-leading questions, but also Ed's calm and thoughtful demeanor.  I won't break it down, it's actually pretty good and I want you to watch it and get the full effect.  Both made good points, didn't talk over each other, and it's pretty hard to pick a winner.  I'm pleasantly surprised.

Thursday, November 13, 2014

The Ed Show lived up to my expectations

Ed Schultz Shouts at Dana Loesch over Obamacare: ‘You’re Being Unworkable!’

My expectations were not that high.  Here are some low lights:

Ed came right out with a tough question:  Why don't Republicans not have a plan on the table for healthcare?

Dana's answer?
“Because Harry Reid has hid it on his desk, that’s why.  You know that there are over at least nine plans that have been submitted by House Republicans and sent to the Senate — alternatives to Obamacare.”
If there are any plans that passed the house, they passed as a part of "repeal Obamacare".  That makes them all non-starters.    The line about Harry Reid is pretty much a Republican response from before the elections though, so Dana is working her bag of tricks early.  Ed lets this one slide.

Dana had this gem trying to beat down some of the numbers Ed had talked about leading up to her interview:

Dana: Well, you were sighting White House numbers...
Ed: No, these come from the Congressional Budget Office
Dana: I know!  And I have some numbers for you from the CBO because we know how the CBO works, they just score what you give them.
But Dana, you'd never do something like, I don't know, quote the CBO and even call them non-partisan, would you?

CBO: Budget Deficit $75 Billion Higher than White House Projected
The nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office said Friday that based on the Obama administration's budget proposal, deficits over the next decade would be $1.2 trillion higher than the White House estimated.
You can't use someone when they agree with you only to beat them down when they don't.  Not to mention she quotes CBO in two more instances in the interview.  Moving on:

Ed: Dana, are there more people in America today with healthcare than there was a  year ago?
Dana:  No, there are a lot of people who have lost health insurance.
Ed: I want to be crystal clear, you say that there are fewer people  in this country than there were a year ago, is that correct?
Dana: Remember it was Politifact's lie of the year that Obama said that if you want to keep your plan you can...
Ed: That's not an answer to the question!
You can see why Ed would get a little frustrated, since Dana is avoiding answering a question that she will deny is true anyway.  There are more people insured today than there were last year.  No conflating the issue with tales of people who "lost their insurance" can change that.  Most if not all of those that "lost their insurance" are actually insured today, some surprisingly with better plans, at prices close to what they were before.

Also, that nearly unverifiable mantra of, "I've had family/friends that..." just doesn't work in a public debate.  It may or may not be true, but you may as well be making up your own source to back up your argument.

Dana stated that she was doing a favor to Ed for being on his show, and telling him he was framing the question wrong, and trying to correct him.  In other words, she lived up to my expectations, which weren't really high.

Ed was full of bluster, loud, dismissive, and talked over Dana. In other words, he lived up to my expectations, which weren't really high.

Dana has tweeted that she gets to have Ed on her show as a part of the agreement.  Oh, God... we have to go through this again?

Dana on the Ed Show tonight!

It will be on Obamacare

Now we will truly get to see if Dana is good at debate, since Fox/The Blaze is not going to have her back.  But I have to say, it is a non-issue whether Ed has insurance through Obamacare. He may have a plan through his employer.

I'm not a big fan of Ed, and I'm not sure he's that much better when it comes to being factual.  Here's hoping they can debate the issues, and not conflate a narrative.

Tuesday, November 4, 2014

Why did Dana cancel her book signing when she did?

Second Amendment advocate gave short notice requesting security, canceling event

I have a few questions after reading this story.  First, when was this book signing arranged?  When did Dana learn there wouldn't be any security?  And ultimately, why did it play out the way it did?

The first question is important, because it shows how much time they had to plan this event.  To wait until the last minute to make a decision on security, especially with the book signing event with an issue happening a full 10 days previous that would cause security concerns, is shoddy management at best.

The second question is important, because it is the difference between incompetence, and stupidity. It was just incompetence to not know the security arrangements until the last minute.  It's just plain stupid to know the security issue, and wait to the last minute to fill it.  And since we know Dana isn't stupid, that makes her incompetent, or possibly something else.

Dana has had six book signings scheduled to this point.  There was the Books-A-Million signing on the 23rd, a group book signing on the 25th (no location given), Georgia Tech on the 29th, and Orlando on the 30th.  Then the TCU cancellation/postponement, and a signing scheduled for Saturday in St. Louis.  There are no others on her calendar at this point going through February.

Surprisingly, there is nothing about the attack at the Books-A-Million event from Dana on Twitter:

Also nothing on Facebook.  Nothing on the news.  Nothing.  That is very suspicious to me.

Most troubling, however, is how Dana wishes to tout the fact that she needs security because she's had threats, and she brings her children to these signings.  There is no logic to this.  Either it is safe enough for your kids to be there, or it is dangerous and they should not be there.  

Truthfully, my opinion stands.  This was a publicity stunt.  The lateness on her request for security, the extreme lateness of the cancellation.  The lack of book signings since the release of the book, and the lack of news on these signings, not even a local peep.  If this was not Dana using her book to push carry on campuses, I would be shocked.  Point blank, how can you see this evidence and think any differently?

Monday, November 3, 2014

Dana cancelled her TCU book signing

From October 2nd: Today’s Signing Event At TCU Is Canceled

She sighted that the security that she thought she would have didn't come through.  Now, whether this is a staged cancellation to help promote open carry and no-gun zones is up for debate.  But Dana has a nationally syndicated radio show, a TV show on BlazeTV, and a book that is best selling in two Amazon categories, and she can't afford her own security.

This brings me to two conclusions.  One, either there is really no money in being a conservative talk show host with a best selling book, or someone's priorities are out of whack.  Dana makes her money making fun of the left daily.  Heck, her whole mailbag of hate segment is all about making money on the hate that is thrown at her.  Maybe instead of filling up that margarita machine, she should look into getting her own security guard if she is not feeling safe.

Then, this happened on Twitter:

‘Food writer’ attacks Dana Loesch, ends up with egg on his face

So, a guy makes the same claim I do, that Dana was using this as a publicity stunt.  She turns around and tells him to check his facts.  Then, this:
Ah, @BudKennedy so you were stalking me. Got it.
Just so you know, don't accuse Dana of something totally legal, and she won't accuse you of a crime. I wonder where I have heard that before?  But tell me, where does Dana get her facts?

And good thing the left is SO intolerant.  Maybe Christine Teigen can explain to Dana how there are whackos on both sides.  Stay classy Dana.