Monday, December 31, 2012

Will Our New Secretary of State be Swiftboated?

Now that the election is over President Obama has been reshuffling his cabinet.  One position he will have to fill is Secretary of State as Hillary Clinton is stepping down, possibly to run for President in 2016 if her health allows.  His first appointee, UN ambassador Susan Rice, was withdrawn due to controversy over the Benghazi, Libya attack.  She was replaced with 2004 Presidential nominee John Kerry. 


Right now he seems to have smooth sailing in the Senate with the country focused on the fiscal cliff and New Years celebrations.  There is always the possibility of eleventh hour "swiftboating" when the confirmation hearings heat up.  Back in 1971 John Kerry, then 27, debated the Vietnam War with fellow swiftboat veteran John O'Neill on the Dick Cavett show.  John O'Neill  would go on to head the group Swift Boat Veterans for Truth which campaigned against his 2004 run for the White House and may have planted enough doubt in voters minds to cost him the election.  Below are the first two video clips from the Cavett show.  The whole show can be watched here.  Former GOP Sen. Chuck Hagel has also raised controversy with his appointment as Secretary of Defense with many of his GOP colleagues threatening to block his appointment.  Right now he seems a better candidate for swiftboating but the the original swiftboaters haven't given up on Kerry.


**Related Posts**

2012: A 2004 Election Rerun?

 

We've All Neglected Our Wars (Me Too) 

Tuesday, December 25, 2012

Season's Shootings

This weekend there were copy cat shootings to the Newtown shootings in Hollidaysburg, PA and Rochester, NY.  I know I said I wasn't going to blog about the shootings but the extra incidents before the holiday prompted me.  They may or may not be connected.  I feel that this satire by Eddie Murphy and Joe Piscopo on Saturday Night Live in 1983 is just as relevant today as it was then.  It fits in this blog because it is a simulated shooting, not real. (Hulu has removed this video.  You can see another version of it here)


MotherJones magazine has a piece showing that there were 151 deaths from ten mass shootings in the US this year.  That does not include the incidents this weekend which would bring this years total to 157 from 12 incidents (a mean or average of 13.1 deaths per incident).  Yes the availability of guns is a factor and people are right to criticize the NRA for a denial of reality but there are many other factors at work in these types of incidents such as mental health and the influence of the media.  Dave Cullen has written a book on the Columbine killings and gave an interview on C-SPAN's Washington Journal about these incidents.  He correctly points out that there was an armed guard at Columbine who was out gunned.  The presence of guns (especially arming the teachers as the state legislature in Missouri is trying to do but are wisely blocked by the governor) increases the risk of accidental shootings even if it were to slightly decrease the risk of deliberate ones.  A famous case would be then New York Giants star Plaxico Burress accidentally shooting himself in the thigh in a night club when carrying a concealed weapon.



NRA members may point to a mass shooting in Norway where a far right wing fanatic killed (he won't be named here to quench his lust for fame) 69 people in 2011 (44% of the US 2012 total for one incident).  They have better gun control laws and mental health services than the US.  The killer was given Norway's harshest sentence, 21 years.  How many of these shootings has Norway had since then?  The police in Poland and the Czech Republic stopped other potential copycats. There were a, as I said in my post on the The Secret, there are definitely ways to minimize the risk of terrible events like these but it can never be eliminated.   Controlling guns is a much better way to minimize the risk than making them more available but other factors need to be considered.

Another potential influence is the media. We need to ask ourselves, are we that different from those who went to gladiatorial games in the Roman Colosseum thousands of years ago to watch slaughter for entertainment?  I know this is a strange topic to blog about on Christmas Day but the holiday season clearly did not deter the perpetrators in Newtown, Hollidaysburg, and Rochester.  Yesterday was the appropriate time to talk about this topic. Buon Natale a Tutti.  Merry Christmas to all in Italian.

**Update**

Rob Cullen over at What if Post has a good review of ways to reduce gun violence in the US with a rebuttal by Archie Bunker.  The city of Chicago reached 500 homicides for 2012 while it decreased for New York City.

It's a few weeks late but I had to update this post with Jon Stewart's skewering of the gun control debate in two parts below.  The recent shooting in California also prompted me to update.


  **Related Posts**


Two Years Ago in Stanton Heights 

 

Bullying & Society

 

Cause and Effect, Slip Slidin' Away

Sunday, December 23, 2012

Year End Post

I don't have anything to say about the Newtown shootings or the fiscal cliff.  I've written posts on those topics before on the mass shooting which occurred a mile from where I live in 2009 and on the debt ceiling talks which are now being made and rerun from July 2011.  In my last post on 'The Secret' I talked about how good things and bad things happen and 'positive energy' only goes so far.  I've written many posts on the 2012 Election, not merely to forecast the winner like Nate Silver but to use statistics and analytical tools to ask deeper questions. I have also written many posts on the PUSH/Healthcare for All PA website on the developments in healthcare this year while I also managed their page.  There were also many other topics covered on the blog which can be seen at the labels cloud on the right such as PodCamp, history, and statistics.  I'll leave you with an image of my sustainable Christmas Tree.
My Reusable Natural Christmas Tree


Friday, December 14, 2012

'The Secret' Gets the CSI w/o Dead Bodies Treatment

In 2006 Australian author Rhonda Byrne published a self improvement book which became an international best seller followed by a movie.  A friend suggested I read her book called The Secret.  I've had similar suggestions before from friends who want to improve my life who have all meant well. 

The book presents a pretty simple law of self improvement called the Law of Attraction which Byrne says has been suppressed for over 3,000 years and is only known by the wealthy 1% and great men throughout history such as "Plato, Newton, Carnegie, Beethoven, Shakespeare, and Einstein."  It says that believing that positive things will happen will make it happen for you with wealth, health, and relationships and believing negative things will happen will make the opposite happen.  It goes on to present that secret in DaVinci Code/Scientology fashion with lots of testimonials and graphics but little hard data to show how the law of attraction always works.  The experts in the film even say that "the anti-war movement creates more war."  Here is trailer for the film.  The author is seen very little in the film.


 
The book has it's critics such as Barbara Ehrenreich who discusses her own struggle with cancer and how not being positive all the time helps her.  The problem with relying on testimonial evidence alone is that it's always possible to find one contradicting your theory.  The film presents no evidence of how this secret was suppressed all these years.

 

A closer look at the historical figures presented in the film and book shows that few of then had full happy lives.  The one who comes closest is Plato and that is only because he lived thousands of years ago and we know so little about his relationships and what sort of man he was.  Ludwig van Beethoven had a miserable life with many relationship, money, and health problemsIsaac Newton was "not a pleasant man" as described by Stephen Hawking (he holds the same professorship that Newton did) who never married and took pleasure in crushing his rivals.  Andrew Carnegie may have been a good husband and father and did lots of charity work but he also ruthlessly crushed the Homestead Steel Strike and was negligent in the Johnstown Flood with crony Henry Clay Frick.  William Shakespeare is another about whom there is little known and some controversy so I will not address.  Albert Einstein like the others did excel at what they were good at but you would not want to be married to him.

There is always a risk of disaster and the chance of success.  You can take steps to minimize the risk and maximize the chance but can never eliminate either.  The passengers and crew on the Titanic had lots of positive energy and optimism but were oblivious to the risks that icebergs posed and we all know how that turned out (see my post Titanic Perspective if you don't for a review of this and Andrew Carnegie's role in the Johnstown Flood). I'm all for having success but at who's expense?  Solutions can be found to the world's porblems but by realistically thinking through the risks and chances.  It gives the secret as the reason for "the richest 1% controlling 96% of the world's wealth" when Ehrenreich and other social critics would give very different reasons.  The Secret has definitely made Rhonda Byrne very wealthy.


**Related Posts**



We Need Slightly Unstable Leaders?

 

ADHD, Genetics, and Causality: A Chicken-Egg Problem

 

Probability

 

My N Word

 

Bullying & Society

Monday, December 10, 2012

Podcamp Sessions on Old and New Media




PodCamp Pittsburgh 7 had several really good sessions on old and new media.  Here are two that were recently posted.  Above is one on the uses of social media in the mainstream media.  Below is one on the use of sensitivity in language in social media to disadvantaged minorities.  Both include reporters from the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, WPXI, the Pittsburgh Tribune Review and media activists.  There are more coming including hopefully one by yours truly.


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PodCamp Session Feedback Part 1

Wednesday, December 5, 2012

Using the Disabled as a Prop for a Larger Racist Global Agenda


Rick Santorum, Glenn Beck and the right made an effort to show that they can still flex their muscle now that the election is over by campaigning against the UN treaty on the Disabled which failed yesterday in the US Senate to make the needed two thirds majority of 67 by 6 votes.  The treaty in the US is mostly symbolic because the Americans with Disabilities Act covers most of this territory but it is significant in much of the world.  This rejection also does not affect the treaty in other countries. 

The greater significance of this action is to still show the same contempt for international cooperation that impedes US 'sovereignty.'  This is a token victory which may be reversed after the new Congress is sworn in in January.  The rhetoric above resembles that of the southern states to protect their sovereignty in the Civil War.  

An Anti-War March in 2005
Another Anti-War Marcher in 2005

The Bush Administration's invasion of Iraq without UN authorization is definitely a more extreme case of the right showing contempt for global democracy than this one.  Remember "freedom fries" replacing French Fries in Congressional Cafeteria?  That one resulted in the deaths of hundreds of thousands and created possibly millions more disabled Americans and Iraqis over weapons of mass destruction that did not exist at the time of the invasion.  Now we're hearing the same rhetoric now over Syria and Iran.  The average Iraqi is a better judge of how democratic their country is now than any pundit on Fox News.

Santorum again uses his youngest child Bella in his arguments against the current treaty just as he did against the health care law while many lower status children and adults with disabilities need these types of protections.  Santorum and Beck even call the UN disabled treaty 'fascistic.'  Doesn't anyone see that this is all really a ploy to subvert real democratic processes among nations?  The scale may differ but the intent is the same.  Many other global issues such as terrorism and climate change require global cooperation just as the states have to cooperate to solve national problems. This contempt for the UN is really thinly veiled racism.


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Santorum: No One Has Ever Died Because They Didn’t Have Health Care | The New Civil Rights Movement

   

The 14th Amendment: MVA (Most Versatile Amendment) Award Winner 

 

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The Civil War in a Larger International Historical Context

 

What is Sanity?

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

2012: A 1916 Rerun

Now that the election is over it's time to focus on politics.  Much has been made of Nate Silver's having been shown to be right about the results while the pundits, especially at Fox News, were not.  Many still do not understand what he was forecasting.  They assume that because his model gave Obama a 90% chance of winning with 51% of the popular vote and over 330 electoral votes that Obama had won by a landslide.  Even though he had won most of the battleground states such as Ohio, most of them were by a small margin.   

The county map on the left shows the subtleties across the nation better and how close the popular vote really was.  The over 3,100 counties are coded on a range of red for Romney to blue for Obama.  In the next two to four years there could still be a shift in the political winds.  

1916 was a close election after between Woodrow Wilson and Charles Evans Hughes.   Hughes was just as confident as Mitt Romney that he was going to win but lost by just over 3% of the popular vote.  Hughes went to bed election night thinking he had won.  A reporter telephoned to interview Hughes.  He was told (as Doris Kearns-Goodwin tells it) "the President-Elect is sleeping" the reporter responded "when he wakes up you should inform the President-Elect that he is not the President-Elect anymore."  That election was followed by the landslide of 1920 by Warren G Harding who promised a "return to normalcy" under prohibition with the US not participating in the League of Nations.


Could this happen today as two states, Washington and Colorado, actually voted to legalize marijuana this year?  The battle now turns to the states and the humdrum of budgets and foreign policy.  In my home state of Pennsylvania Governor Tom Corbett is under pressure from the right not to implement the Affordable Care Act (aka. Obamacare) and may be forcing the faculty of the state's 14 publicly owned universities into a strike affecting over 120,000 students.    Nationally a high stakes debate on the budget has begun between Obama and Congress (the 'Fiscal Cliff') and wars in the Middle East and Afghanistan which strangely resembles the political chess game in the new Spielberg movie on Lincoln which covers a similar topic.  What happens next depends on what happens now.  

Some are predicting an apocalyptic event on Dec 21 of this year.  This qualifies as a scientifically testable theory as it can be proven true or false, just as Nate Silver's forecast on the outcome of the election was.  Though with a much lower probability of success.

**Related Posts**


The Supreme Pennsylvania Medicaid Decision

States as Laboratories and Lavatories of Democracy



Tuesday, November 6, 2012

PodCamp Session Feedback Part 1



I'm taking a break from this year's election to write about my experience as a presenter at PodCamp 7.  This year I presented on the same topic "Presenting Statistics in Social Media" with modified slides which can be seen above.  I had a larger crowd this year with 14 surveys completed compared to 12 last year.  I did not count how many did not complete surveys this year but there were a few.  Just about everyone completed surveys last year.  Mike Sorg, one of the organizers of the event, told me that "if everyone stays for a session that means you are doing well".  While I was glad people stayed for my session, the survey, which could be filled out anonymously, did give me some enlightening comments that I might not have received face to face which I will summarize below.  

The slides I presented are represented above.  Plus I presented a video that I was unable to show last year.  Which you can see here.  I also demonstrated how Facebook and Google Analytics presents statistics.  I will post the full video of my presentation when it is available.



 
First I will compare last years responses to the closed ended questions to this years.  The questions were exactly the same.  The first five questions were coded from 'strongly disagree' to 'strongly agree'.  For question one no one said they strongly disagreed that the slides were easy to follow for either year.  Though two disagreed with the statement this year, the overall distribution of responses was statistically the same (p=0.667).


Question 2 was a referendum on my clarity as a speaker.  Though there seems to be more agreement on my clarity this year there was no statistical difference between last years ratings and this years (p=0.176). 

Question 3 relates to how the graphics were presented. I was able to present a video from a BBC documentary called the joy of stats.  There were no large overall differences from this year to last (p=0.667).


For question 4, on whether they learned any new information, the responses seemed most identical across years with a few more disagreeing this year (8.3% in 2011 and 21.4% in 2012, p=0.347).

Question 5 is an overall assessment of the presentation.  Last year someone strongly disagreed that it was helpful.  This year I'm glad no one did but there was still no difference in the overall distribution of responses (p=0.820).


The sixth question relates to how comfortable participants were with statistics. This is the only question where respondents expressed a statistical difference between this year and last (p=0.036) with this year expressing less comfort with the subject.


The last closed ended question was just about whether they had taken a statistics class before.  Last year nine respondents had, two hadn't and one didn't answer the question.  This year they were split 50-50.


This year I received nine comments on 14 surveys compared to three last year.  Those who took stats classes seem just as likely to comment as those who did not.  For those who wanted more information on Google Analytics I'll direct you (if you see this post) to Katie Vojtko's presentation on "10 Reports Your Boss Will Love" with the slides and video of it given below.






With the election coming up social scientists will go over exit polls in a similar manner as I went over this small feedback survey.  Now that I have a paper trail it does make it easier to double check the numbers.  This is the first step in the process that Nate Silver uses to forecast the election today.  When the video of my presentation is posted on the PodCamp YouTube channel I will post part 2 when I'll respond to other comments. Tori Mistick in her presentation said that facebook pages get the most views if you post between 1 and 4 pm between Monday and Thursday so that is what I'll try.

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PodCamp Pittsburgh 6 Recap

 

Crowdsourcing at Red Blue Voice.com

 

Income and Life Expectancy. What does it Tell Us About US?

Monday, October 29, 2012

Sandy Strikes



It was a good weekend at PodCamp which I shall summarize later.  As I work on other projects today I'm hearing plenty about Hurricane Sandy today. Above is it's projected path for the next 5 days based on probability models.  I posted about this twice during the Republican and Democratic Conventions on how it seemed ironic that nature was flexing it's muscles as the political parties are again making their stretch run for the White House.  After there was no mention of climate change in any of the presidential debates, yet again the news media makes little mention of climate change which fuels massive storms like Sandy.  The response more resembles Jersey Boy John Travolta's performance in the movie Grease in 1978 when he sings to his lost love played by Olivia Newton-John.  Watching that clip is more entertaining than reiterating what was in my previous posts which are linked below.




**Update**

Sandy has wreaked terrible losses on the mid-Atlantic states.  The news media has done a good job covering the losses from the storm but mostly has stayed away from what might have caused the maelstrom. Cenk Uygur from The Young Turks on Current TV (Al Gore's network) gives a good summary of the media coverage which summarizes the Sandy video aboveFor example Paul Ryan's workout received three times the coverage of arctic ice melt.

 
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Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Podcamp Sessions are Being Announced

The Sessions for this year's PodCamp are being announced for Oct. 27 & 28 at Point Park University.  So far on Saturday the 27th there are 19 sessions to choose from (including one by me on statistics and social media) and 12 on Sunday.  Of particular interest to PUSH/Healthcare4All PA members includes one on Social Media and the Media by the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette's Kim Lyons, a panel discussion of Old Media and New Media by 2 Political Junkies Blogger David DeAngelo and KDKA political reporter Jon Delano, Josh Lucas has one on How Crowdsourcing Can Drive Nonprofit Engagement, and Zack Tanner has one on Social Media for Non-Profits.  New ones are being added as of this writing and they are still taking submissions for new sessions here. The theme for this year is Build Your Digital Toolbox.  The keynote speakers are still being determined.  Below is the PodCamp 4 Keynote Address with PodCamp Pittsburgh founder Justin Kownacki and Pittsburgh City Councilman Bill Peduto.



 

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PodCamp 7 is Coming 


New People Article on Vermont's Single Payer Plan and PodCamp Update

Thursday, October 11, 2012

Polling Pulsification: Telling People What They Want to Hear


I have stayed away from the election horse race to talk about the election's deeper issues.  Polls and surveys can be used as tools of propaganda as well as a valuable means of informing us on how the rest of the public thinks as the clips from Stewart (above) and Colbert (below) show.  The unemployment data which came out last week contradicted what Romney supporters wanted to hear so they came out and aggressively claimed that the report was fraudulent with no supporting evidence.


This final clip discusses a blog which seems to be taking the poll spinning to the extreme.  The blogger Dean Chambers at Unskewedpolls.com  claims to have recomputed the estimated percentages of each recent poll according to what he believes are the percentages of the political parties and ideologies in the US population.  He doesn't state his source for these percentages which are probably themselves estimates subject to some imprecision.  Colbert and others in the media have done the public a disservice by giving this blog a national forum without adequately skewering him.  Undoubtedly, if Romney wins, Fox News will hire Chambers as the conservative antidote to Nate Silver.  That is my election prediction.



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Wednesday, October 10, 2012

New Article in The New People on Vermont & PodCamp Update

I have an article published on Vermont's Single Payer health care law passed last year in this month's issue of The Thomas Merton Center's newspaper, The New People.  It was adapted from a post on the PUSH blog which you can read here.  The New People article can be seen on page 3 in the viewer below at the bottom plus all of the other articles.


Also coming up On Oct. 27 & 28 will be PodCamp, a social media unconference at Point Park University.  Last week, they had a round table discussion on social media and the news which can be seen below.


**Related Posts**


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Monday, October 8, 2012

The Psychopathology and Incidence of Bullying

Here is the second guest post from guest post U for CSI Without Dead Bodies.
Bullying is any form of aggressive behavior that seeks to force or coerce others, usually by force. Typically bullying presents itself in the context of an imbalance of power and as a habitual behavior by the aggressor. Bullies, especially young ones, may target the religion, sexuality, ability, or race of the recipient of their bullying aggression. There are many types and formats of bullying, and just as many ways to combat bullying from persisting or arising in the first place.

Types of Bullying
Social scientists have identified three main forms of bullying - emotional bullying, verbal bullying, and physical bullying. Emotional and verbal bullying usually come saddled with attempts at coercion and intimidation. Coercion almost explains intimidation in that coercion is defined as forcing another party to behave in an involuntary way via use of bellicose threats and intimidation. Intimidation is defined as an aggressor party presenting injury or harm to another person for some type of benefit, usually social or financial.

Emotional bullying, also known as psychological abuse, may involve coercion and intimidation as well as subjecting another party to any event or treatment that will result in the other party experiencing psychology trauma, such as anxiety or depression. Emotionally bullying is predictably associated with an exploitation of a power imbalance. For this reason, emotional bullying and psychological abuse is prevalent on the schoolyard, the home, and in the workplace.

One form of emotional bullying is verbal aggression. Verbal aggression is colloquially defined as something that intentionally upsets, annoys, or disturbs another person. There are other forms of emotional bullying like dominant and jealous behaviors but those forms of emotionally bullying are unimportant for this conversation. At any rate, the US Department of Justice recently concluded that emotionally abusive characteristics are those which cause fear by intimidation or threaten the physical harm of one's family members, classmates, or fellow employers. Another interesting finding coming out of Health Canada found that emotional abuse is motivated by power and facilitated within social arenas in which power was imbalanced and exploited by the aggressor.

Conventional Yet Harmful
Perhaps the most well-known form of bullying is physical bullying. Physical bullying is defined as an aggressor party deliberately seeking to instill bodily harm or injury onto another party. Popular forms of physical abuse or physical bullying are: striking, kicking, kneeing, drowning, cutting, slapping, and burning. Partly because physical bullying is so openly and inclusively defined, physical bullying is also prevalent in the home, schools, and workplaces all around the United States. Physical abuse is even popular on college campuses in the form of sorority hazing. In the home, physical abuse presents itself as child abuse, sometimes negligence, or domestic violence.

Standup and Fight! 
There has been an increasingly large swell of celebrities and activities seeking to combat bullying. Considering some of the dire outcomes of bullying, like suicide, bullying in the classroom is no laughing matter. Canada actually conceived the National Bullying Prevention Week in 2000. In the United States, the It Gets Better campaign was created in 2010 to tell young, gay teens that bullying doesn't usually persist into later life and that they are apt to feel better in the future. Lady Gaga, in fact, started the Born This Way campaign soon after the unveiling of the It Gets Better campaign, which both directly combat homosexual bullying and indirectly fight teen suicides.

Needs to Stop
After understanding more about the three main types of bullying and the severity of its outcomes, bullying is clearly a problem endemic to many social institutions and peoples that needs to sputter to a stop soon.

Becki Alvarez writes about parenting, education & family finance at www.grouphealthinsurance.org.
--
Guest Post U
The University of Great Content

Monday, October 1, 2012

2012: A 1912 Rerun? (Only if you make it)

As Barack Obama and Mitt Romney prepare for Wednesday's debate I give you audio clips from the 1912 election.  Below are the actual voices of Woodrow Wilson, Theodore Roosevelt, and William Howard Taft in campaign recordings from that year (presented in the order that they finished).  Phonograph records were the Facebook/YouTube of it's day.  Radio didn't become prevalent until the 1920's with the birth of KDKA in Pittsburgh.

Woodrow Wilson called "the schoolboy in the White House" was the Democratic candidate.  Glenn Beck and some other conservatives now blame him for the problems we have today. He enacted the Federal Reserve, the Progressive Income Tax, child labor laws and most famously the League of Nations which was the forerunner of today's UN. He also was a southern born racist who hosted a showing of the pro Ku Klux Klan film Birth of a Nation at the White House.  Does his rhetoric sound inflammatory today?  You be the judge.  This is the first in a six part series that can be heard on YouTube.


Former President Theodore Roosevelt left the Republican Party to form the Progressive or Bull Moose Party when his former friend William Howard Taft refused to give him the Republican Party nomination.  He is also sometimes criticized by Glenn Beck for his domestic policy.  Like Wilson he also engaged in gunboat diplomacy in Latin America while pursuing progressive policies at home.  He finished 2nd in his bid for a third term.  This clip is the first in a 9 part series.


William Howard Taft succeeded Roosevelt for President in 1908.  I found this speech from the Library of Congress on prosperity from 1912 where he criticizes his opponents.  He finished third winning two states and later served as Chief Justice of the Supreme Court until he died in 1930.  His descendants are still active in conservative Ohio politics. His son Robert became a US Senator, wrote the anti union Taft-Hartley Act which impedes union organizing to this day, and almost defeated Gen. Eisenhower for the GOP Presidential nomination in 1952.



Democracy Now will have an expanded debate where third party candidates will be given time to speak in addition to Obama and Romney. The lamestream media will focus on whether Romney is a carbon copy of John Kerry or Michael Dukakis.

I begin the third year of CSI without Dead Bodies with this announcement.  This Sunday, Oct 7 at 7:30-9:30 there will be a concert by Mike Stout and the Human Union Band to raise money for the Thomas Merton Center and PUSH/Healthcare for All PA at the Frick Fine Arts Center in Pittsburgh.  For those of you unfamiliar with his band you can see it in the clip below with their tribute to the 1911 Triangle Shirtwaist fire which inspired many of the reforms which Wilson and Roosevelt advocated in 1912.  The reforms still took many years to enact and some are still hard to enact because they are interrupted by wars.



**Update**

Much has been made of Obama's timid debate performance.  Here are the third party candidates Johnson (Libertatian on YouTube), Stein(Green), and Anderson's (Justice) virtual participation in the debates.  Were they as timid?  You decide.
   

 


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Titanic Perspective

 

2012: A 2004 Election Rerun?

 

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Saturday, September 29, 2012

The Second Year of CSI without Dead Bodies

In my one year anniversary post, I wrote that I hoped to write about a different list top 10 posts next year.  There is a different list on the built in blogger stat counter but some of the posts like my 100th Post appear to be inflated by bot traffic from places like Russia.  The list on the right 'Popular Posts' is from the built in stat counter from the last 30 days.  The top post from the last 30 days does not register on other stat counters that I use such as Google Analytics.  For this reason I will talk about the top posts from just the last year as Google Analytics tells me.  The all time popular posts from the last year are basically the same just the order has changed.  Google Analytics gives other information such as how long viewers stay on the page, how many pages they visit when they're here, where they come from, and which pages refer them. 

Over the last year I've had 4,028 visitors (3,027 of them unique) with an average of 2.77 pages per visit (32% were single page visits).  Visitors stayed an average of one minute and 12 seconds and were from 85 different countries (71% from the US followed by 4% from the United Kingdom and 3% from Italy and Canada).  79% of visitors were new and 21% were returning. 

The top 10 posts from the last year are as follows.


10.  A Statistical Profile of the Uninsured in Washington, DC, New Mexico, and Texas 

This post has received a steady amount of traffic since it debuted last August.  These are states with some of the most serious uninsured and poverty problems.
9.  A Kinder, Gentler Looney Tunes 

This post has also received a steady amount of traffic from Looney Tunes fans I believe.  This discusses how Warner Brothers has modernized the old characters and speculated as to why.




8. Pitt & PSU going private: Shifting the Tax Burden to College Families & A Bigger Story Than the Pitt Bomb Threats & Joe Paterno 

This post received a lot of traffic while the bomb threats at Pitt were going on, the Jerry Sandusky trial was being adjudicated, and the state government was debating the budget for both schools.  The outcome wasn't as bad as I had feared but the possibility exists of future budget cuts by Gov. Corbett.


7.  Ruth Institute - Making Marriage Cool (In the US but not Scandinavia) 

This post from last year still gets a steady amount of traffic on a right wing think tank's claims on marriage in the US and Scandinavian countries (including a sizable amount of traffic from Europe). 









The Iceberg that Sank that Cursed Ship
6.  Titanic Perspective

This post received a lot of traffic initial on the 100th anniversary of the sinking this year and then it tapered off as attention turned elsewhere.





 5.  Top 10 Worst Super Bowls of All Time

This page has received a steady amount of traffic on the less than super moments of Super Bowl history.





4.  Lance Armstrong's Doping Claim: A Probabilistic Calculation

Another post from last year which was updated with new info and video clips.  It has received traffic in waves when there has been news about  his troubles with the US anti Doping Agency.  I applied probability theory to his claim of never failing 500 drug tests.

 
3. The Civil War in a Larger International Historical Context
This post from saw a resurgence of interest in spring and summer months as more sesquicentennial (150th) anniversaries of Civil War battles came and went.  I also followed this post up with a post on how Mexico celebrated the 150th anniversary of Cinco de Mayo when they repelled an invasion from Napoleon III of France while we were fighting the Civil War.



2. Global Warming, Wikileaks, and Statistics: What Barry Sanders Can Teach Us

This post made the biggest move on the all time list this year with interest in Global Warming, Wikileaks and Barry Sanders remaining high. Keyword search statistics suggests that those on the web who are searching for Barry Sanders are primarily visiting this page and staying longer.  It was meant to be a teaching example of how his running statistics can explain global warming to sportscenter junkies.  This suggests that it maybe having some of the desired impact.

1. Income and Life Expectancy. What ddiencesoes it Tell Us About US?

My all time most read post is still the most popular in the second year thanks to the link received in the on the webpage for the BBC documentary The Joy of StatsThis post accounted for 14% of all the pageviews this year.  The number of views spikes every time the documentary airs anywhere in the world.  About half of the views were in the United States and 10% came from Great Britain and 7.5% were from Italy for this page.  Some of the longer times on the page came from Germany, Turkey and Japan. 

I am proud of all of these posts and of my other 115 posts which did not make the list.  It is hard to predict how audiences will respond to a post so the more feedback that can be had the better.  I hope you will all feel free to provide feedback and to help me to bridge the digital and technical divide between the us all.

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