Posts Tagged ‘Time’

Tracing a single graph across the web

Wednesday, April 21st, 2010

[digg-reddit-me]In 2006, thousands viewed this chart on ThisIsIndexed.  Then in 2008, thousands viewed the below chart on GraphJam, inspired by the one from ThisIsIndexed and created by a Felix.  Over this past weekend, Miss Cellanea posted the graph without linking to the original GraphJam page (but thanking one of the millions of Joe’s in the world). Then came über-blogger Andrew Sullivan, who posted the chart today citing Cellanea. No doubt some millions have now seen it.

song chart memes

My conclusion: Always link to your source. And eventually, good content gets recognized.

Health Care Graphs, Cold War Deer, Evaluating Hillary, An Armey of Tea Baggers, and Rubio

Friday, November 6th, 2009

Kaiser Permanente. Ezra Klein interviewed Kaiser Permanente CEO George Halvorson this week – and got two fascinating posts out of it so far (with the second part of the interview still to come.) The most interesting post for me was the one that included a number of graphs, including this one.  Ezra bills these charts as “An insurance industry CEO explains why American health care costs so much” – which comes down to this fact: in other countries, government set medical fees.

The Cold War Lives On. Cecilie Rohwedder of the Wall Street Journal tells the fascinating story of how several herds of deer still seem to be stuck in the Cold War.

Evaluating Hillary. Joe Klein has a balanced and insightful evaluation of Hillary Clinton’s tenure as Secretary of State. It is a bit early – as he acknowledges. But while the piece is worthwhile, he gives too little credit for the positive progress made by Hillary and the Obama administration in checking the deterioration of U.S. interests around the world, especially with regards to public diplomacy.

Armey of Tea Baggers. Michael Sokolove for the New York Times Magazine has a nice profile of Dick Armey, in the news of late for his Freedom Works organization and the tea parties they’ve been organizing. The difference between Armey the public speaker and Armey the man comes out in the story, as Armey the man seems like a bit of an ass, but a reasonable fellow; while Armey the public speaker is a demagogue, for example stating:

Nearly every important office in Washington, D.C., today is occupied by someone with an aggressive dislike for our heritage, our freedom, our history and our Constitution.

The trick of the organizing Armey is attempting is that he extols the virtues of the individual while trying to unite these individuals into a collective “we” who will fight to protect “our heritage, our freedom, our history.” He is speaking the language of a member of a beleaguered minority – while claiming majority support. Political pressure in the right way should relatively easily disturb the balance he is now able to so effortlessly achieve.

Marco Rubio. NPR profiles the man who – if I were betting – is the future of the Republican Party, after it escapes the Sarah Palin death spiral: Marco Rubio. (Listen to the audio of the story if you can.) He’s very conservative – and makes many political mistakes in positioning himself against common sense, which by all rights should come back to haunt him when he is chosen as a Vice Presidential nominee – for example, coming out against the fact that government spending can stimulate the economy. This betrays a basic disregard for macroeconomics, at least when put as unsubtly as Rubio does. But he keeps well within the mainstream of Republican positions on these issues, so as unhinged as those positions may be, he will be insulated from charges of kooky-ness.

But he’s Hispanic; his wife is a former cheerleader for the Miami Dolphins; he’s a darling of the far right, but seems smart enough to tack to the center in a general election campaign – and the fact that he’s already accepted by the far right means he will be able to get away with it; he speaks convincingly of America as a nation of “go-getters;” he seems to have a natural charisma and charm, and is at ease with those who disagree with him; and finally, he’s ambitious as hell and has enough self-regard to believe he can beat the extremely popular Governor Charlie Crist for his Senate seat.

The Smearing of Ezekiel Emanuel

Friday, August 14th, 2009

One of the more extraordinary things in the current distraction that is the right-wing response to health insurance reform is the smearing of Ezekial Emanuel. He’s quite an interesting figure – and the views being attributed to him are actually exactly the opposite of the ones he has consisently held for many years…

Jonathan Cohn in The New Republic:

In the course of his writings, which span academia and popular publications, he has argued forcefully and clearly against physician-assisted suicide. Yet somehow Emanuel finds himself accused of–wait for it–advocating physician assisted suicide.

Michael Scherer in Time:

“I couldn’t believe this was happening to me,” says Emanuel, who [spent] his career opposing euthanasia and working to increase the quality of care for dying patients…

In her Post article, McCaughey paints the worst possible image of Emanuel, quoting him, for instance, endorsing age discrimination for health-care distribution, without mentioning that he was only addressing extreme cases like organ donation, where there is an absolute scarcity of resources. She quotes him discussing the denial of care for people with dementia without revealing that Emanuel only mentioned dementia in a discussion of theoretical approaches, not an endorsement of a particular policy. She notes that he has criticized medical culture for trying to do everything for a patient, “regardless of the cost or effects on others,” without making clear that he was not speaking of lifesaving care but of treatments with little demonstrated value. “No one who has read what I have done for 25 years would come to the conclusions that have been put out there,” says Emanuel. “My quotes were just being taken out of context.”

Alex Koppelman in Salon also took on the smears.

An Ambitious Presidency

Thursday, December 18th, 2008

In his interview with Time magazine, Barack Obama listed those issues on which he believes his first two years as president should be judged:

Domestic Policy

  • Have we helped this economy recover from what is the worst financial crisis since the Great Depression?
  • Have we instituted financial regulations and rules of the road that assure this kind of crisis doesn’t occur again?
  • Have we created jobs that pay well and allow families to support themselves?
  • Have we made significant progress on reducing the cost of health care and expanding coverage?
  • Have we begun what will probably be a decade-long project to shift America to a new energy economy?
  • Have we begun what may be an even longer project of revitalizing our public-school systems so we can compete in the 21st century?

Foreign Policy

  • Have we closed down Guantánamo in a responsible way, put a clear end to torture and restored a balance between the demands of our security and our Constitution?
  • Have we rebuilt alliances around the world effectively?
  • Have I drawn down U.S. troops out of Iraq, and have we strengthened our approach in Afghanistan — not just militarily but also diplomatically and in terms of development?
  • Have we been able to reinvigorate international institutions to deal with transnational threats, like climate change, that we can’t solve on our own?

Intangibles

  • And, two years from now, can the American people say: “Government’s not perfect; there are some things Obama does that get on my nerves. But you know what? I feel like the government’s working for me. I feel like it’s accountable. I feel like it’s transparent. I feel that I am well informed about what government actions are being taken. I feel that this is a President and an Administration that admits when it makes mistakes and adapts itself to new information, that believes in making decisions based on facts and on science as opposed to what is politically expedient.” Those are some of the intangibles that I hope people two years from now can claim.

So, basically, a rather limited agenda here.

Whiplash Markets

Thursday, December 4th, 2008

From Barbara Kiviat of Time magazine via Matt Yglesias:

Here’s a look at some different time periods the number of days the S&P 500 has moved up or down more than 5% during the trading day:
1950-2000: 27 days
2000-2006: 7 days
Jan. 1-Sept. 30, 2008: 20 days
Since Oct. 1, 2008: 22 days

This data suggests a follow-up:

  • Is the real economy moving that much faster just this past year? or
  • Are financial markets responding to new data that much faster? or
  • Are the financial markets untethered from the real economy?

I don’t know that anyone knows the real answer yet.

The Art of Character Sketches

Monday, October 27th, 2008

Joe Klein begins his piece about “Why Barack Obama is Winning” with this anecdote:

General David Petraeus deployed overwhelming force when he briefed Barack Obama and two other Senators in Baghdad last July. He knew Obama favored a 16-month timetable for the withdrawal of most U.S. troops from Iraq, and he wanted to make the strongest possible case against it. And so, after he had presented an array of maps and charts and PowerPoint slides describing the current situation on the ground in great detail, Petraeus closed with a vigorous plea for “maximum flexibility” going forward.

Obama had a choice at that moment. He could thank Petraeus for the briefing and promise to take his views “under advisement.” Or he could tell Petraeus what he really thought, a potentially contentious course of action — especially with a general not used to being confronted. Obama chose to speak his mind….

You should read the rest of the piece – it’s fascinating take on Obama and his decision-making process.

Matt Yglesias wrote a few days ago about David Brooks and how:

a lot of this genre of punditry seems based on the idea that journalists can discern when politicians are and aren’t misleading with their presentation of self. But I have no reason to believe I’m especially good at this, and plenty of reason to believe that big-time politicians are unusually good at misleading about this sort of thing..

I know exactly what he means about how this can be frustrating. David Brooks seems to have had wildly diverging opions about Obama – which would tend to make one somewhat skeptical of his deep insight into Obama’s character.

Matt suggests ignoring character and focusing instead on policy positions – where you can more easily figure out if a politician is lying. He doesn’t seem quite comfortable with that – and leaves himself an out – despite the fact that his piece builds to this point, he concludes only by saying that “There’s something to be said for” looking only at policies.

But I think there is something valuable in what David Brooks, Joe Klein, Maureen Dowd, Peggy Noonan, Frank Rich, George Will, and many of these other columnists do as they attempt to determine a candidate’s character. They’re often wrong. And they are rarely consistent. But I believe a person’s essential character is important – and is generally revealed when a person holds power – and it affects what politics and policies actually happen.

What we need to realize when reading these columnists is that their trade is an art – not a science. It’s not necessary that these men or women be better at seeing through to the essential character of a politician – but that their job is to try to figure it out.

Mourning McCain

Monday, October 20th, 2008

[digg-reddit-me]If you want to know why I – like so many others – held John McCain in such high regard for so long, it had a lot to do with David Ifshin. And if you want to know why my opinion of him has plummeted, it has something to do with William Ayers.

Joe Klein mourns the McCain he used to know.

Of course, this is the same McCain who refused to take on the issue of the Confederate flag flying over the state capitol during the 2000 South Carolina primary – until after the primary was over. This is the same McCain who condemned torture – until he finally was in a position to actually affect policy. This is the same McCain who promised to run a clean campaign – only to base his campaign around slander, hiring the very people who he had so vigorously condemned for playing dirty during the 2000 campaign. This is the same McCain who – after being embroiled in the Keating Five scandal – vowed to become a reformer – and did so, but meanwhile maintained cosy relationships with lobbyists and did many favors for donors. And on and on.

Some might even call him a “make-believe maverick.”

McCain Throws an Elbow

Thursday, August 28th, 2008

Matt Drudge is reporting that the McCain campaign will leak the identity of their Vice Presidential pick at 6 pm tonight, and confirm the identity at 8 pm. Barack Obama is scheduled to give his acceptance speech between 10 pm and 11 pm. Obviously, this is a tactic designed to break into Obama’s news cycle.

It’s cheap. It’s pretty low class. And it’s excellent politics.

I think the McCain camp is miscalculating here – and although an announcement tomorrow might cut into Obama’s bounce, leaking the news tonight will cut into any benefit McCain might derive from it.

But the real bet must be that by leaking the news tonight so soon before Obama’s speech they can force him to react to the pick or look foolish not doing so.

I’m not sure exactly how this will play out – but McCain is playing a dangerous game here. And I’m not sure his campaign is up to it.

Of course, McCain does seem a bit cranky in his recent interview with Time magazine:

In 2000, after the primaries, you went back to South Carolina to talk about what you felt was a mistake you had made on the Confederate flag. Is there anything so far about this campaign that you wish you could take back or you might revisit when it’s over?
[Does not answer.]

Do I know you? [Says with a laugh.]
[Long pause.] I’m very happy with the way our campaign has been conducted, and I am very pleased and humbled to have the nomination of the Republican Party.

You do acknowledge there was a change in the campaign, in the way you had run the campaign?
[Shakes his head.]

You don’t acknowledge that? O.K., when your aides came to you and you decided, having been attacked by Barack Obama, to run some of those ads, was there a debate?
The campaign responded as planned.

I guess McCain has now decided to go out of his way to alienate the group he once called his base – presumably following the same Rovian strategy that Bush did.

McCain obviously does not care about his independent brand anymore.

Did John Edwards Slip and Reveal Who He Is Going to…

Friday, May 9th, 2008

Endorse?

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