Free Markets, Free People

Daily Archives: September 28, 2010

Quick Hits: Scientific Journalism

In the vein of Jon Henke’s “The Ultimate Metablog” with the satire of a good Monty Python skit (is there any other kind?), Martin Robbins lays out the definitive article for how scientific journalism is constructed. Here’s the heading:

This is a news website article about a scientific paper

In the standfirst I will make a fairly obvious pun about the subject matter before posing an inane question I have no intention of really answering: is this an important scientific finding?

My favorite bits:

In this paragraph I will state in which journal the research will be published. I won’t provide a link because either a) the concept of adding links to web pages is alien to the editors, b) I can’t be bothered, or c) the journal inexplicably set the embargo on the press release to expire before the paper was actually published.

[...]

This fragment will be put on its own line for no obvious reason.

[...]

This paragraph contained useful information or context, but was removed by the sub-editor to keep the article within an arbitrary word limit in case the internet runs out of space.

Be sure to read the comments as well, where most everyone plays along with the theme. But beware of the related links … you may be taken to a place you never, ever want to be.

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Promises, promises: If you like your insurance … nothing changes.

Remember this promise (it begins at about the 1:10 mark):

Here’s the reality:

Harvard Pilgrim Health Care has notified customers that it will drop its Medicare Advantage health insurance program at the end of the year, forcing 22,000 senior citizens in Massachusetts, New Hampshire, and Maine to seek alternative supplemental coverage.

[...]

Under Medicare Advantage plans, the federal government pays private health insurers to sell customers over 65 years old enhanced policies, many of which offer prescription drug coverage not covered by standard Medicare. But the US Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services has been seeking to reduce the amount it pays to private insurers for such programs.

Medicare told Harvard Pilgrim to notify customers that its Medicare Advantage program, known as First Seniority Freedom, was being canceled. In a mailing, the insurer was required to list alternative Medicare Advantage plans, including those offered by its competitors.

[...]

It will be “slightly more expensive’’ than the Medicare Advantage plans, but competitive with supplemental insurance plans offered by rivals such as Blue Cross Blue Shield of Massachusetts, the state’s largest health insurer, Bowman said.

Now I assume anyone who has read this blog for more than a day knows I’m not trying to argue for subsidized health insurance here.

Far from it. What I’m pointing out is the basic dishonesty that was rampant in the President’s promises about health care. An integral part of the plan to "pay for it" involved cutting out Medicare Advantage – an insurance supplemental plan that many seniors had and wanted to keep.

As you hear in the video, the promise wasn’t ambiguous or couched in rhetoric that gave a lot of wiggle room. Obama flat out says "if you like your insurance you can keep it. Nothing changes", or words to that effect.

A pure and unadulterated lie that he still tends to throw out there when trying to hype this white elephant Congress rammed through.

The simple fact – something anyone who took to understand where the Democrats were headed with this turkey – is that there was no way everyone could keep their insurance because the law was written to change the way insurance was delivered. And on the table, from the beginning, were cuts in Medicare that focused on eliminating what? An insurance program called Medicare Advantage.

It is one thing to watch a politician shade the truth a bit. It is quite another to watch one tell a bald faced lie (and I mean “lie” in the truest sense of the word, not how some tend to use it today). This one fits the latter category.

HT: Arley Ward

~McQ

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If you can’t kill Iran’s nuclear weapons program with bombs, try a worm

I don’t know if you’ve been keeping up with the story about the cyber attack on the Iranian nuclear facilities, but it is both interesting and important.

"Stuxnet" is the name of a worm that has apparently been introduced somehow into the system that controls the Iranian nuclear processes – specifically at those facilities thought to be focused on producing nuclear weapons. This is no ordinary malware worm, but an extremely sophisticated and targeted one which is apparently causing some real havoc in Iran.

Iran admitted Monday, Sept. 27 it was under full-scale cyber terror attack. The official IRNA news agency quoted Hamid Alipour, deputy head of Iran’s government Information Technology Company, as saying that the Stuxnet computer worm “is mutating and wreaking further havoc on computerized industrial equipment.”

Stuxnet was no normal worm, he said: “The attack is still ongoing and new versions of this virus are spreading.”

The mutation continues to infect and infest the Iranian systems causing all sorts of problems.  Experts say that such sophistication would require “the backing of a nation-state” to put it together.  I have a sneaking suspicion I know who it is, and this is their answer to whether or not bombing the facility is feasible.  Uh, no – but when you can do this, why do that?

Here are a couple of backgrounders on the story – here and here.  This is going to be an interesting one to watch.

~McQ

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Left wing fights back – with false accusations and groundless rumors of impending right-wing violence

Example one: AFL-CIO President Richard Trumka at a lefty panel discussion in NYC:

Trumka said it is vital to channel working-class anger away from Fox News and Tea Party extremists who are delivering "…a cynical, deeply dishonest and incoherent message—that big government is somehow to blame for the current crisis that the budget deficit will eat our children, and that illegal immigrants took all the good jobs."

However, he added, “The good news is they haven’t bought into right-wing ideology. They are just confused about who to blame.”

But: "We have to offer working people something other than the dead-end choice between the failed agenda of greed and the voices of hate and division and violence."

Speaking of incoherent messages, Trumka is obviously laboring under the delusion that the generational theft now under way – powered mostly by the left and executed by the government that represents them – isn’t doing any harm?

How does one look at the facts and honestly conclude otherwise?  Key word: “honestly”. 

Speaking of “hate and division and violence”, as I recall, just about all of that has been consistently demonstrated at various town halls by SEIU thugs – leftists.

And then there’s our old friend Kos, who has to make those sorts of accusations in order to pimp his new book, “The American Taliban”:

MARKOS MOULITSAS (32:48): Right now there is a six month backlog on ammunition in this country. People trying to buy bullets cannot buy bullets because they’ve been hoarding these guns. These aren’t people who aren’t people who are hoarding guns and ammo because they way to participate in a peaceful Democratic process.

STEPHANIE MILLER: Well you’ve got candidates like Sharron Angles saying second amendment remedies.

MOULITSAS: Right, when you have key top level Republicans saying that sort of thing, you have a movement that really rejects democracy as a tool and are willing to resort to violence and they haven’t yet. They started to resorting to violence after Obama was elected, cause having an African American with the middle name Hussein sort of blew their minds. But, the Tea Party movement sort of allowed them to channel their energies into something a little more healthy than shooting people.

MILLER: Well right, but Marcos there have been exactly what the Homeland Security Department report talked about. There have been a huge increase in right-wing violence.

Really? Where? Markos, surely you’re going to challenge that statement, right? Uh, no:

MOULITSAS: I know and there have been. MILLER: They all screamed about it and it’s true. It’s quantitatively provably true that there have been a lot of violence that have been, I think has been fomented by a lot of these right-wing characters.

Again, examples would be wonderful, but alas, none are forthcoming. And as Radio Equalizer points out:

But the ammo shortage is already over and was caused by a number of factors, including fears Second Amendment rights would be rescinded and old-fashioned production issues. In addition, the "right-wing violence" allegations made here weren’t backed up with actual incidents.

Beyond his extreme rhetoric, Moulitsas’ delivery is tough to take. Clearly the product of parochial, inward-looking East Bay "progressive" politics, he seems willing to accept at face value almost any conspiracy theory thrown his way.

Indeed. But when you’re trying to justify the lunacy you’ve contrived in your book, you have to buy into such conspiracy theories to justify your take on the issue. Facts need not apply. And of course, neither do actual examples of the claims.

Typical left-wing fear mongering.  And the irony?  It’s mostly projection.  As I’ve said, the only examples of recent violence related to politics belongs to the unions and the left.

~McQ

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Internet down

Sorry about the delay in posting but the hamster apparently died last night and the internet is down at the house.  I’m sure they’re training a new hamster to take over.  In the meantime

I’m at the local coffee shop getting ready to do my thing.

~McQ

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