Showing posts with label The Daily Show. Show all posts
Showing posts with label The Daily Show. Show all posts

Saturday, January 19, 2019

2020: Rarin to Go


It even surprises me to see how many candidates have thrown their hats into the Presidential ring for 2020.  Elizabeth Warren, Tulsi Gabbard, Julian Castro, and Kirsten Gillibrand.  The Guardian lists three others of whom I have never heard: State Sen. Richard Ojeda (D-WV), Businessman Andrew Yang, and Former Congressman John Delaney.  They also list at least 20 other candidates including Joe Biden and Bernie Sanders.

One reason why so many are jumping in early is that they are salivating at getting a chance to take on the unpopular Trump.  Another is that the lesser known candidates have to start early raising money and organizing to be competitive.  Sanders' 2016 campaign has provided a model for how to raise large amounts of money without relying on corporate and wealthy donors.  

I'm reminded of the 2016 campaign when there were 16 Republican candidates (including one woman, one African American, one Hispanic, and one Indian American as of August 2015 vying for the chance to take on Hillary Clinton (who might give it another go this time).  They had to split the debates into a main debate and a "kid's table" debate based on poll numbers.  By the time the Iowa caucuses rolled around the field had whittled down to 11.  It's hard to imagine there being such a large field by the time Iowa 2020 rolls around but it likely will be the more diverse than the Republican field.

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Tuesday, December 8, 2015

Inside the Democratic Poll Numbers and Jon Stewart Returns

In the same CNN poll that gave Trump a 20% lead, Hillary Clinton had a 58% to 30% to 2% lead over Sanders and O'Malley.  The last CNN poll included Vice President Joe Biden.  Clinton had the largest gain after Biden's exit at 13% followed by Sanders at 1%.  The poll asked their voters who they believed would best handle the economy, health care, climate change, foreign policy, and ISIS.  Republicans were asked about who could handle the economy, illegal immigration, foreign policy, ISIS, and the federal budget.

On the economy Clinton had a 10% gain, Sanders had a 2% gain since October to lead 58% to 31% over Sanders.  On health care (Clinton leads 58% to 33%) and climate change (Clinton leads 49% to 36%) Clinton had a 6% gain and Sanders had a 7% gain.  On foreign policy Clinton leads Sanders 74% to 17% with a 12% gain for Clinton and a 8% gain for Sanders.  For ISIS Clinton leads Sanders 59% to 25%.  

Clinton leads Sanders 74% to 17% on who has the best chance of winning in Nov 2016 (though head to head polls with Republicans don't bear that out).  Clinton leads Sanders 47%-44% on who would do most to help the middle class.  Clinton leads Sanders on who can best handle the responsibilities of commander in chief.  This was the first CNN poll where these questions were asked.

In a subset of democratic voters, Sanders does somewhat better among male voters (34%) than female (26%) and among white (32%) than non-white (28%).  Younger voters (usually Sanders strongest supporters) are not listed in the poll.  Sanders does better among voters earning less than $50k (35%) than those earning more than $50k (25%) and (unlike Trump among the Republicans) among those with a college degree (33%) compared to those who do not (28%).  Sanders also fares better among independent voters (40%) that Democratic (25%) and among liberal voters (42%) than among moderate (26%).  Sanders also fares better among urban voters (33%) than among suburban (24%).

Five years ago Jon Stewart hosted a panel on his show of 9/11 four responders on his show about how Congress is blocking a bill to assist then with their health care issues.  I posted it on my all time most popular post.  I repost the discussion here.



The act is now up for renewal and Congress is again holding it up. Last night on the Daily Show, Stewart returned to host the same panel of four.  Only one of the original four was able to attend.  One had died and the other two were too sick to attend.  Politics is supposed to be about people and what is best for them.  

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Thursday, February 12, 2015

Post Inspiration from Facebook, Jon Stewart, and Stephen Colbert.

Inspiration for a post can come from anyplace for me: a discussion, a news story, or anything else that seems worth investigating.  I posted the above photo on a more conservative Facebook friend's page. A lively debate on exactly what percentage of climate scientists believe in the evidence supporting climate change.  

Another place I often draw on for inspiration is Comedy Central's The Daily Show and the now defunct Colbert Report (it's replacement, Larry Wilmore has potential and may be a future source).  Stewart had originally studied science when he was an undergrad at William and Mary.  He was able to employ the critical thinking skills gained from science in his method of hosting the show and in choosing a wide variety of guests not seen on commercial television. 

Out of 230 posts on this blog, a keyword search turned up 31 post for The Daily Show.  A simple search for Colbert turned up an additional 32 posts.  Granted there is some overlap in the posts between the two shows.  There are nine posts where both Colbert and Stewart appear.  Subtracting that nine that leaves 54 posts where either Stewart or Colbert appear (31 for Stewart plus 32 for Colbert minus 9 for posts where both appear).  Dividing the 53 posts by the total of 230 on this page, that means either of that these two shows appear in 23% of the posts on this page.

It may be time for these two shows to move on but it's important to acknowledge the contributions that these man have made to this blog.  They have provided valuable insights which greatly supported this blog.  This is our moment of Zen.

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Wednesday, June 4, 2014

Ivory Tower Science and the Rest of Us


We all are capable of dismissing scientific observations when it doesn't confirm our beliefs, even scientists.  The above video talks about how those on the left can reject science and put themselves in danger.  Below is a lampoon of the creationist view of the cosmos.


Chris Mooney of Mother Jones has written an article titled:

This Is Why You Have No Business Challenging Scientific Experts


with a podcast by science sociologist Harry Collins who has studied how science gets done (a field called science studies).  In the past Collins has been critical of the way in which science really works.  He discussed in the podcast below about the discovery process often involves fits and starts and egos do get in the way of real progress as they can in everyday life.



Often we take the information we get from authorities either at face value or reject it entirely as we can see in the debate between creation and evolution or in the debate on the safety of vaccines between the medical and lay communities.  The Daily Show clip at the top of this post shows that many of the vaccine deniers have college educations with some having graduate degrees.  There are college educated creationists as well.  Collins argues in his book "Are we All Scientific Experts Now?" that we should not dismiss out of hand the opinions of experts and his research has been misrepresented. 

When one issues and ultimatum that one should not do something, a natural response is to want to know why.  Just like a child being told not to go into the cookie jar.  Collins argues that one cannot know what is real in science by simply looking at the journals.  One needs access to the dialogue that scientists have.  Access to the journals is often limited to those at universities or belong to members of trade organizations like the American Medical AssociationAaron Swartz, the founder of Reddit, was prosecuted for hacking into the online scientific journal repository JSTOR, downloading articles and making them public.  He was prosecuted for this breech and committed suicide.  This access to either the dialogue or the journals is still limited.

Thomas Kuhn in the classic work on the philosophy of science argues that scientific research is usually guided by their world view or paradigm.  The source of paradigm shifts in a field of science can often come from outside the field.  John Dalton, the creator of the atomic theory in chemistry, was trained in meteorology and his theory dominated chemistry until the end of the 19th century.  Ben Franklin and Michael Faraday made many contributions to the field of electricity with little formal education.  Famous linguist Noam Chomsky helped spurr the cognitive revolution in psychology in addition to his challenging the powers that be on the War in Vietnam and other foreign policy issues.

We all need clear answers to the issues that matter to us most.  Yes the discovery process has many fits and starts and it's easy to draw the wrong conclusions when we only hear part of a discussion.  Very few of us can know scientists intimately in the way that Collins advocates.  That is why the public needs acess to the process, not just the results.  Scientists can live in fear of animal rights activists and others who object to research on the grounds of their belief systems.  Efforts are made to clarify process on this blog and elsewhere.

**Update** 


Kevin Drum of Mother Jones has issued a response to the Daily Show's skewering of the anti vaccine movement as liberal while climate change is conservative.  He produced a chart from Dan Kahan of Yale showing the correlation between political orientation and belief in the risk associated with the issues of gun ownership, global warming, marijuana legalization, and childhood vaccinations.  There are significant correlations between political orientation and each of these issues.  The strongest association is between both gun ownership and global warming and are both negative with correlation coefficients of -0.64 and -0.69 respectively.  This negative correlation means that as conservatism increases, perception of the risk of these issues decreases.  The weakest association is between childhood vaccination and political orientation but it is statistically significant and it is positive with a coefficient of 0.21 suggesting that as conservatism increases, so does perception of the risk.  This correlation is weak suggesting that there are some outliers in the data.  Drum states that the curve is flat but it's also important to consider the correlation coefficient which is significant.  Correlation coefficients range from -1 to +1.

As I have a Master's degree in biostatistics and am ABD (all but dissertation) in research methodology I feel reasonably attuned to the scientific dialogue and can comment on the study.  I looked at the article and found that the study was a long survey to a cohort of 900 respondents with many items.  A factor analysis was done to find the most salient points and summary scores and to identify latent variables.

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Thursday, May 1, 2014

First Time I Heard Multivariate Analysis and Multicollinearity on Mentioned on TV


Last night I saw Jon Stewart interview statisticians Martin Gilens and Benjamin Page who have done an analysis of the influence of interest groups on US politics.  The first part (seen above) was shown on Comedy Central and is not Stewart's best interview.  The other web extended interview parts are shown below and Stewart does a better job.  The challenge for statisticians is to explain their results in plain English. That might be the real secret to Nate Silver's success.

Multivariate analysis, for those of you who are unfamiliar with the term, is an analysis where there are multiple outcomes of interest and one or more predictor variables.  A recent example of this is when I did a factor analysis of state health, income and the concentration of hate groups to which variables were most highly correlated with hate groups.  Hate groups were strongly associated with the health variables rather than the income st the state level.

Multicollinearity is a related concept.  In a multiple linear regression, you have several predictor variables and one outcome variable.  Multicollinearity occurs when you have clusters of highly correlated predictor variables in your model.  This can severely skew the terms in your model. 

There is a mountain of data which page and Gilens sifted through to assess the influence of money on politics.  There is already a mountain of research on this topic.  They were taking a more comprehensive approach and found more specific results.


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Saturday, November 23, 2013

Cosmos Redux?


When I was 10, the TV series Cosmos captured my imagination about the universe and our place in the natural order of things.  Above is Carl Sagan's last interview on Charlie Rose when he promoted his book on the dangers of pseudoscience.  There is plenty of pseudoscience and false scientific beliefs around today be they in UFO's, astrology, and in rejecting climate change or evolution.


A sequel to this classic series is coming out next year on the Fox Network (trailer below).  It is hosted by astrophysicist Neil DeGrasse Tyson and is produced by Seth MacFarlane (of Family Guy) and Sagan's widow Ann Druyan.  



I must say that I will be very disappointed if the new series does not live up to the original.   It takes more that dazzling special effects to make it informative.  Rupert Murdoch networks (especially Fox News) are not known for disseminating reliable information.  Fox News viewers were more likely to believe that weapons of mass destruction, Iraq had a 9/11-al Qaeda link, and that the world supported the US invasion were found in Iraq following the 2003 invasion.  Jon Stewart and Stephen Colbert have made most of their careers on lampooning media outlets like Fox News.


**Update**

The Cosmos premier was aired on 8 Fox Networks but not their news or business network.  In Oklahoma City, when Neil DeGrasse Tyson discussed evolution, the local Fox affiliate cut away just at that point.  They claimed it was accidental.  In episode 2 evolution is discussed in depth.  Will it be shown in it's entirety in OKC?


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Sunday, October 27, 2013

The Affordable Care Act Having an Impact in Some States but not Pennsylvania

In my post on Pennsylvania's uninsured, I wrote that the Affordable Care Act (ACA) was having little effect in Pennsylvania's rate of uninsured.  I wrote in another post that I received skeptical comments on my first post. I said in that post that I would look at changes in the rates in other states.  I couldn't then because the government shutdown also shutdown the US Census Bureau site.  The Advisory Board has come out with an image that can be updated on how many sign up for the state exchanges which are different from the federal.

Now that the shutdown is over I can look at the Census Data for the Small Area Health Insurance Estimates (SAHIE) for states from 2008 thru 2011.  To determine which states had a significant decline in the uninsured rate from 2010 to 2011 (the period where portions of the ACA have taken effect such as the one allowing parents to keep their kids on their insurance until age 26), I marked a state as declined if it had a rate that declined outside its margin of error (MOE).  There were 14 states with a significant change in their rates and 37 (including DC) that either stayed the same or increased.   States with larger populations have smaller margins of error.  

Five of the states are summarized in the graph above, California, Massachusetts (which has it's version of the ACA), Pennsylvania, Texas (with the largest rate in the US), and Vermont (which is the first in the US to pass a single payer plan).  California, Texas, and Vermont had significant decreases in the rates while Pennsylvania and Massachusetts remained within the margin of error (MOE) for both years.  Missouri was the only state that showed a significant increase from 15.3% to 16.0% which was outside the MOE of 0.3%.

ACA Decrease in uninsured * Medicaid Expansion Crosstabulation

Medicaid Expansion
Total
not participating or considering not participating
participating or leaning
expanding through alternate means or considering
ACA Change in uninsured
No
16
15
6
37
yes
6
8
0
14
Total
22
23
6
51

I tried to see if there was any association between decreases in the rates and other state level variables but there was none.  The table above shows that there is no relationship between a significant decrease in the rate and whether or not the state is participating in Medicaid Expansion (p=0.254).  PA Gov. Corbett has proposed a draconian version of Medicaid expansion which Lloyd Stires has written extensively about.   Below is a table showing where each state stands on the ACA decrease and Medicaid expansion.  I added this clip from The Daily Show to give somewhat amusing background on Medicaid expansion.




State
ACA Decrease in uninsured
Medicaid Expansion
1
Alabama
No
not participating or considering not participating
2
Alaska
No
not participating or considering not participating
3
Arizona
No
expanding through alternate means or considering
4
Arkansas
No
expanding through alternate means or considering
5
California
yes
participating or leaning
6
Colorado
No
participating or leaning
7
Connecticut
No
participating or leaning
8
Delaware
No
participating or leaning
9
District of Columbia
No
participating or leaning
10
Florida
No
not participating or considering not participating
11
Georgia
No
not participating or considering not participating
12
Hawaii
No
participating or leaning
13
Idaho
yes
not participating or considering not participating
14
Illinois
yes
participating or leaning
15
Indiana
No
expanding through alternate means or considering
16
Iowa
No
expanding through alternate means or considering
17
Kansas
yes
not participating or considering not participating
18
Kentucky
No
participating or leaning
19
Louisiana
No
not participating or considering not participating
20
Maine
No
not participating or considering not participating
21
Maryland
yes
participating or leaning
22
Massachusetts
No
participating or leaning
23
Michigan
yes
participating or leaning
24
Minnesota
No
participating or leaning
25
Mississippi
No
not participating or considering not participating
26
Missouri
yes (increase)
not participating or considering not participating
27
Montana
No
not participating or considering not participating
28
Nebraska
No
not participating or considering not participating
29
Nevada
yes
participating or leaning
30
New Hampshire
No
not participating or considering not participating
31
New Jersey
No
participating or leaning
32
New Mexico
No
participating or leaning
33
New York
yes
participating or leaning
34
North Carolina
No
not participating or considering not participating
35
North Dakota
No
participating or leaning
36
Ohio
No
participating or leaning
37
Oklahoma
No
expanding through alternate means or considering
38
Oregon
yes
participating or leaning
39
Pennsylvania
No
expanding through alternate means or considering
40
Rhode Island
No
participating or leaning
41
South Carolina
yes
not participating or considering not participating
42
South Dakota
No
not participating or considering not participating
43
Tennessee
No
not participating or considering not participating
44
Texas
yes
not participating or considering not participating
45
Utah
No
not participating or considering not participating
46
Vermont
yes
participating or leaning
47
Virginia
No
not participating or considering not participating
48
Washington
No
participating or leaning
49
West Virginia
No
participating or leaning
50
Wisconsin
yes
not participating or considering not participating
51
Wyoming
No
not participating or considering not participating

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