Numbers game

Greg Sargent sez:

Separately, this gives me a chance to highlight what’s at stake here in a new way — by looking at it through the lens of individual Senators.

For instance, if you look at the state by state breakdown of that Citizens for Tax Justice study, it turns out that the millionaire surtax would hit only 375 Maine taxpayers, each of whom would pay on average an additional 1/50th of their income in taxes.

By contrast, according to new Treasury Department figures, the payroll tax cut extension would benefit around 800,000 of Collins’ working constituents.

Emphasis Greg’s, though I woulda added it. Link is doing funky things over at Kaplan. Post’s title is “Cracks in the GOP dam” and might working later, though.



Best of both worlds

This chart comes from an article about religious faiths and standardized test scores. I’d always attributed my good SATs to reading a lot and luck. But I guess that as a Jewblooded UU I was predisposed to success. Not that SATs actually mean anything.

Average SAT score by religion for 2002, average ~1000, about 40% of each students take it
Unitarian-Universalists 1209
Judaism 1161
Quakers 1153
Hinduism 1110
Mennonite 1097
Reformed Church of America 1097
Episcopal 1096
Evangelical Lutheran Church 1094
Presbyterian Church (USA) 1092
Baha’i 1073

We don’t believe you, you need more people

Excerpting Booman in full because I heartily agree with this:

It’s kind of weird to see Bloomberg News savaging the big banks like this, but we have to give them credit for reporting the facts. I just read the article and my first impression is that there is less news here than meets the eye. Yes, we now have details about how much money the Fed lent to banks and when they did it. And, yes, the information exposes the CEO’s of CitiGroup, Bank of America, and JP Morgan as enormous liars. But I also see a lot of lawmakers trying to run for cover by claiming ignorance. We all knew that the Fed had lent many trillions of dollars to the banks. Lawmakers knew it, too. The lack of transparency didn’t fool anyone, it just allowed them to do the banks’ bidding without consequences to themselves (bold mine – LFS). It’s not right to say that more information would have changed a bunch of lawmakers’ minds and led to stronger reform and a breakup of the banks. More information would have scared lawmakers into voting for stronger reform.

Ya. That was one of my enduring takeaways from the piece. It was good reporting of course and it helps to have those nasty little facts down in writing, but the protestations of innocence from our Congresscritters were pure bullshit. That goes for the ones I like more too, such as Pelosi, along with the premier asshats like Shelby. There’s absolutely no way they didn’t know what was going on. I guess they’re probably as happy as anyone about the piece because it paints them as uninformed bystanders rather than paid-for overseers who knew they could do jack.

Also see Kevin Drum and Matt Yglesias’ thoughts on this because I think they’re worthwhile.

Flossing, flossing

Big props to Chris Brogan for channeling my thoughts exactly. I’d recommend you read the entire post in full, because his thoughts on practice are right on, but here’s the nut graf:

Flossing isn’t sexy. Running in the rain isn’t sexy. Eating more broccoli and less chocolate molten lava cake is very definitely not sexy. Practice isn’t sexy. But success is practice. Success is doing what needs doing every day. Success is the root system for all the shiny glamour you might be lucky enough to get in life. And success, my friends, is a wonderful practice in and of itself.

I’ve never been big on New Year’s Resolutions and I probably won’t make one this year, but a few years back I made flossing my resolution. I’ve been able to keep it up for the most part. I think flossing is a good resolution for people because it’s quick, easy and if you miss a day, you don’t suffer from it, unlike running or working out. Chris ends the post by asking:

Who’s with me?

I am, Chris. I am.

But WAIT there’s more

Through teh Google and their RSS feed, I have just read four blog posts from PR peeps about industry stuff. Count ’em, one, two, three, four. What do these have in common? All of these people are trying to sell books (except for Jeff Jarvis at link four). This doesn’t really mean anything, it certainly doesn’t mean they’re wrong, but it does sort of amuse me.

I’d like to read the SEO one in full but I’m in class now and can’t concentrate on it. The Jarvis piece is very interesting. One excerpt:

* Supply of disinformation: Jay Rosen argued that we are seeing a disturbing trend in “verification in reverse:” taking a fact and unmaking it, until people don’t believe it anymore. He cited the birthers and climate-change deniers as well as Mitt Romney’s much-fact-checked and debunked campaign commercial. He said there is a growing supply of “public untruths.” He argued: “Verification in reverse should be a beat… We have to start ranking public untruths by their seriousness and spread — we have to start IDing the ones that are out there and influencing public conversation, even though they’re already being fact-checking… We have to start acknowledging what’s going on with systematically distorting truth…”

Jarvis is one of the more interesting PR industry type bloggers because he focuses on the creation, distribution and reception of information and not in a super abstract, occasionally irrelevant, Seth Godin-style way. That interests me a lot more than the usual endless repackaging of ageless, self-evident PR truths.

Update: Make it four of six. FWIW, I agree about the importance on narratives and storytelling. Also, maybe it isn’t fair to call Jeff Jarvis a PR industry blogger, because his background is in journalism, but he has written some stuff on social media, communication and that sorta thing. Not that all that stuff falls under the auspices of PR, but close enough.