>“Lies, damned lies, and statistics” is part of a phrase attributed to the 19th Century British Prime Minister Benjamin Disraeli, among others, and later popularized in the United States by, among others, Mark Twain: “There are three kinds of lies: lies, damned lies, and statistics.” The statement refers to the persuasive power of numbers, the use of statistics to bolster weak arguments, and the tendency of people to disparage statistics that do not support their positions. The phrase is not found in Disraeli’s works nor is it known within his lifetime and for years afterward. Many coiners have been proposed. The most plausible, on current evidence, is Charles Wentworth Dilke (1843-1911).
How remarkable that in the 21st century a phrase that was coined before air travel, before radio, before telephones, before elevators and (gasp) before the Internet can be so applicable.
Financial market models and global warming models are just two examples du jour.
Health care is another. Have a look at the following from good.is:
The 78.11 is life expectancy and $7,290 is the cost of health care. If you knew nothing else then you would think that Americans spend a lot of money to achieve ordinary outcomes. Zooming in on the graph gives:
You see, nearly every country listed on the image leeches off of the innovation of the US health sector in order to provide their health outcomes. Take away the US and the cost to each nation would be much, much higher, as they would be forced to take on the R&D costs currently borne by the US.
Not that left wing politicians and their supporters will ever make that argument, of course, in spite of its truth.
Here is an inconvenient fact for people who believe the above represents the whole picture – if you are diagnosed with cancer, heart disease, diabetes and a whole host of other conditions you will live longer post-diagnosis in the US than anywhere else in the world.
The issue in the US is not quality of care but access to care, brought about completely by ridiculous government intervention in the market, which restricts access across state lines, as well as tying health care to employment.
There is another problem with the above image – it compares a nation of 300 million people with much smaller ones.
Norway has a population of under 5 million. Every other country on the image has a much larger population than Norway. The bigger question is how is it that Norway can have such poor outcomes compared to the rest of the countries listed?
Of course, the comparison of the US can only be valid when compared to the whole of the European Union (500 million) or the whole of South America (385 million). There are states of the US that outdo Norway, Canada, Germany or Australia. So what?
Speaking selfishly, I hope that the health care bill as proposed in the US is defeated, otherwise our healthcare costs here in Australia will start to increase, as they will in the rest of the world.
And another thing – if health care reform is so urgent then why won’t it be implemented until 2013, after the next presidential election?
>So there’s a bunch of Sri Lankan economic refugees and assorted ex-Tamil Tiger terrorists living on the Oceanic Viking somewhere off of Indonesia in a political tug-of-war between crap knows who but mainly involving Australia’s prime minister, Kevin Rudd, trying to look compassionate, tough and statesmanlike all at the same time; a stance that he has failed spectacularly to achieve, which comes as no surprise to those of us who think he has little diplomatic skill and a decidedly nasty streak about him.
So here’s the boat. There’s 78 Sri Lankans camping on it.
Now, here’s the bit that will drive the cultural left crazy.
Outspoken Liberal MP, Wilson Tuckey, suggested that the government may need to call in the army in order to remove the Sri Lankans from the boat and place them in detention in Indonesia.
Cue the usual whinging and carry on from Australia’s left.
Here’s the current status of ninemsn’s poll on the issue – Should the army get the asylum seekers off the Oceanic Viking?
Queue-jumping asylum seekers have very little support from the Australian people. We have a strong sense of fairness and these people are well past what we consider acceptable.
Now, would the cultural left accept the result of the poll?
Surely they would twist it into an example not of Australia’s fairness but of its inherent racism?
No doubt there’ll be much chatter among the chattering class over the injustice of it all.
>The loopy left must really be hating the fact that the fraud that is climate change is being exposed for all to see right before the Copenhagen Climate Junket is due to take place.
Here’s Liberal Party senator Cory Bernardi putting into simple language the reason why the proposed emissions trading scheme is such a disaster for Australia.
You know, when a company changes its brand it’s normally because the old one has problems.
Thus, when the earth’s climate stopped doing what climate astrologers predicted it changed from global warming to climate change, which allowed activists to ditch the inconvenient truth of the old brand and include a whole bunch of other apocalyptic consequences – flood, famine, drought, pestilence – to scare the kiddies with.
Simple. as. that.
The greatest threat to freedom does not come from Wall Street or the Religious Right or even Islamic Fascism.
The greatest threat to freedom comes from Big Environmentalism.
(h/t Andrew Bolt)
>Here’s the headline from this ABC news article:
And here’s the opening paragraph:
Afghans held at an Australian-funded immigration detention centre in Tanjung Pinang, a town on an island south of Singapore, allege they are beaten at night.
Now, a reasonable person would read the headline and the opening paragraph and draw the conclusion that Australia is funding a ‘Guantanamo-style’ detention centre.
The article continues:
It is the same place where 78 asylum seekers aboard the Oceanic Viking are being taken.
Speaking from behind barred windows, an Afghan man calling himself only Hashim shouted out that there were currently about 80 men inside the Tanjung Pinang detention centre.
It is believed to be capable of holding up to 600 people but to date, 200 has been the maximum held there at any one time.
Hashim said he was from Kandahar but most of the men inside were ethnic Hazaras, and that there were also some Sri Lankans inside.
He said they had been there from two to six months. While they received three meals a day, he said there was no air conditioning or television and nowhere for them to exercise.
“Sometimes the immigration people take some people during the night,” Hashim shouted.
Let’s get this straight. They are being detained in a facility at one-third capacity, so no problem with overcrowding, are getting three square meals a day while at the same time complaining about no air-conditioning or TV?
Nearly halfway through the article and we’re yet to get any evidence of the beatings. So how do we know they happened?
Asked whether they were beaten, he replied, “Yes. There isn’t any human rights. We aren’t getting any human rights.”
“Asked whether they were beaten…”
A journalist asked whether they were beaten? Why the hell would he do that? He has plucked the question out of his arse, got the answer he wanted and then used it as a headline for his article.
Just when you think that journalism is at its nadir the ABC manages to plumb new depths.
How about this for a headline?
“Detainees fed three meals a day, receive medial care, complain about no TV”
>Theodore Dalrymple is one of the greatest commentators on the collapse of Western European civilisation.
What has happened to a society in which this can happen?
Leanne Shepherd and Lucy Jarrett, both 32, are close friends. They work as police officers, but on different shifts. For a long time, they babysat for each other, an arrangement that suited them perfectly and enabled them to continue their careers. The authorities recently told them, however, that their arrangement was illegal. If they did not desist, they would face prosecution.
Why? Because they exceeded the permitted time to babysit without having received professional training in such matters as resuscitation and child psychology. Moreover, the state considers their mutual babysitting a potentially taxable economic benefit. It does not matter that the arrangement was entirely reciprocal and voluntary. British citizens may no longer make such private agreements among themselves.
One of the nastiest aspects of this little story is that the authorities were alerted to the two women’s terrible crime by one of their neighbors. An increasingly intrusive state engenders an increasingly nasty population of secret informers.
There was a not dissimilar story in the US recently from Michigan in which a woman was in trouble because families would drop their kids off at her house in the morning, as the bus stop was right out front. She’d take care of 2 or 3 kids for up to an hour, which allowed the parents to get to work on time. Apparently, she’s running an illegal child minding facility.
The world is going slowly crazy.
>I tell you what group is a piece of crap – those that advocate against using a smack or, as in the case below, a wooden spoon to discipline their children.
A Victorian woman has been questioned by police and threatened to be charged with assault after hitting her 9-year-old daughter with a wooden spoon.
That’s why we have police. To hunt down wooden-spook smackers.
Claire Davidson was warned by police that she risked an assault-with-a-weapon charge after her child revealed in a classroom discussion that her mother hit her with the spoon.
How did it come about that she ‘revealed’ this information?
Ms Davidson said she was shocked when a support worker from Yea Public School reported the smacking to police.
Did the support worker deliberately go fishing for the information? Why didn’t she, and I assume it’s a she, talk to the mother first? Is being a support worker the same as being one of those apartment ‘managers’ in Soviet Russia that were an extension of the tentacles of the KGB? The support worker is an immoral piece of crap.
“We only use the wooden spoon and that is only when she is being naughty and we give her fair chance to rectify the situation and we talk her through it,” she told the Herald Sun.
She said her daughters gets three warnings and, then, “it is spoon time.”
Seems remarkably fair to me. I never got the three warnings as a kid. My mother stopped hitting me with a wooden spoon when she kept breaking them. The fact I was laughing might also not have helped.
Ms Davidson of Flowerdale, north of Melbourne, was told by police she would be charged with assault if another instance of her daughter being hit with the spoon was reported again.
So, the police will charge the mother even if the daughter simply makes it up?
The incident has sparked a debate about smacking between parents and child-welfare advocates.
Child-welfare advocates have a horrible history of producing destructive outcomes for children and families. The sooner that various Departments of Community Services are completely restructured the better off kids will be.
A criminal lawyer said that whether parents are charged with assaulting their children or not depends on how severe the smacking is.
“Just because you are mother or daughter doesn’t make you exempt from the law,” criminal lawyer James Dowsley said.
More nitwittery, this time from the legal profession.
Violence is one thing.
Discipline, which includes light smacking, is entirely another.
The whole point of violence is to inflict serious injury.
The point of light smacking is to discipline the child.
Now, are there some fathers and mothers who go too far? Of course there are but blanket banning of light smacking DOES NOT STOP those who are inclined to violence in the first place.
So now we have a good and loving mother with a potential conviction for assault.
Chalk up another innocent victim for the cultural left in Australia.
What do Australians feel about it? Here’s the poll from today’s ninemsn:
I wonder how many of those who voted no have kids.