Tuesday, September 09, 2008

Damn Statistics

Apparently Obama had a nice chat with Bill O'Reilly last week and Keith Olbermann as well... the two loud talkers went head-to-head last night airing their interview action, and among other things O'Reilly was particularly catty on the subject of taxes. He went after Obama, using some squirrely math to try and paint a picture that economic growth has been stellar under the Bush administration and was relatively limp in the Clinton years.

Obama didn't have the math on hand so couldn't respond in kind, but did react by offering a quote that there are, "lies, damn lies and then there there are statistics." What he didn't have in front of him were the analysis of O'Reilly's numbers that would have demonstrated how his stats weren't adjusted for inflation which would have put growth numbers from 2001 until now at around 5% compared with about a 30% growth rate from the start to the end of Bill Clinton's time in office. Oops. Salon's War Room did the math I'm quoting and you can check their work via the post here.

Still, I'm just as interested in some other math Salon did today to fact check Sarah Palin on the trail and on the attack over earmarks. See, the McCain camp still wants to paint Palin as a maverick fighter against the evil that is earmarks in spite of her extensive work with Ted Stevens and other indited hooligans to secure just as much earmark cash as possible for Alaska's pet projects. Palin claimed that Obama has spent his days in Washington greedily chasing pork $$ to the tune of about $1 million for every working day, a piece of math Salon checked over and said, "Ok, looks good." However, they also went on to compare apples to apples and found that if you use Palin's measuring standards on her own pork tally, you find she actually has chased slightly more earmark cash for Alaska on a $ per work day basis. Hmm... nicely done, Salon. I like your calculations.

Check it all out here: Post on O'Reilly and Statistics, Post on Palin and Pork Shadiness. Here we go folks... looks like we can expect a fall full of fun with more crap like this flying! YAY!

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