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Saturday, January 29, 2011

Coner Friedersdorf - 3 = a banana

Always click the link -- K Drum

Fridersdorf wrote "In 2008, 59,934,814 Americans voted for John McCain. During election week, Fox News as a network averaged 3.54 million viewers. (Perhaps liberals would have more success trying to persuade the other 56,394,814 Republican voters.) " Evidently he assumes that all Fox viewers vote Republican. Good to know.

However, he has no clue about this new concept called "arithmetic." He clearly has no idea what the word "averaged" means. The number of people who viewed Fox that week is not an average.

I clicked the link which he provided and read

"Fox News' primetime lineup for Tuesday, January 19, accounted for three of ad-supported cable's 10 most-watched programs, as "The O'Reilly Factor" drew 5.23 million viewers at 8 p.m., followed by "Hannity" (6.81 million) and "On the Record with Greta van Susteren" (6.4 million)."

So at the very very least 6.81 million people watched Fox that week. In fact on the Tuesday of that week. Of course not every single person who watched Fox that day watched Hannity that night. And not every person who watched Fox that week watched on Tuesday.

If Mr Friedersdorf took a refresher course on arithmetic, he might not make a total fool of himself.

59,934,814 Americans minus 3.54 viewers on average is not a number of Americans or an average number of viewers. the number 56,394,814 carefully typed out by Mr Friedersdorf does not enumerate anything at all. He is not capable of handling numbers. The concept is too subtle for him.

I am absolutely serious and think I am being absolutely fair to Conor Friedersdorf.

The effort at subtraction demonstrates that Friedersdorf doesn't understand the concept of subtraction.

update: I'm not sure I made it clear just how totally utterly nonsensical Friedersdorf's argument is. The main point isn't that the maximum number of people viewing Fox news is greater than the average, but that the total number of people who view Fox news is much greater than the number viewing at a given time.

Consider a Pew survey aiming at measuring public knowledge. Pew reported "Other television sources were also popular, with somewhat fewer than half watching network evening news (46%), the Fox News Channel (43%), and CNN (39%). " in a "Pew Research Center survey that interviewed a representative national sample of 1,502 adults between Feb.1-13, 2007." So 43% of adults claim to watch Fox News. I'll give you a hint, 3.54 million is not 43% of the number of adults in the USA.

Now Friedersdorf might argue that watching Fox news for one hour probably doesn't have a big effect. That is, he might choose to change the subject, because arithmetic is too hard for him to handle.

However, there can be no doubt that he can't manage arithmetic.

Thursday, January 27, 2011

Duncan Black made me angry. So angry I defended Joe Klein. I may forgive but I will never forget this.

He wrote

Having not lived through the 60s this is something I only sort of understand, but there is a segment of white male "liberal" technocrats of a certain age who thought they were remaking the country into a "liberal" utopia, which may or may not have included women, and all was going swimmingly until dirty hippies and black radicals screwed the whole thing up. That maybe white male liberal technocratic quiet Americans probably fucked the whole thing up by embarking on our grand Vietnam adventure, or that there are any parallels to today, never occurs to them.

Also, angry bloggers.

-Atrios 13:39

It's hard to be unfair to Joe Klein, but you may have managed. I don't think the liberal technorats failed to notice the war in Vietnam. The claim that radicals ruined everything is quite widespread among people who didn't go along with the older generation technocrats which screwed everything up. I have a friend who has very harsh things to say about some radicals at Harvard in 1970 and he was arrested occupying university hall in 1970 at Harvard. He hasn't changed his views. I think he'd do it again. But don't get him started on the progressive labor party.

Look it absolutely isn't just liberal technocrats. It is voters by the millions. Do you think that Bush would have won in 2004 if Jane Fonda had stuck to acting ? I don't.

That's a guess. However, the idea that liberal technocrats of Klein's age think that Kennedy and McNamara were just fine and dandy is nonsense. One could be a ruthless critic of the then Democratic party (not just dixiecrats the mainstream) without being one of the idiot radicals who went too far and damaged the left.

Are you going to tell me that Nixon would have won without the violence in Chicago (in which the police were guilty but the protesters might have strategically decided to give Humphrey a chance). Look at the vote totals.

Now you might consider it no big deal that Nixon was elected President, but people who were alive at the time can just tell you to learn some history and grow up or shut up.

Also the word "Negro" is absurd in contrast. The Negroes won the admiration of the US and the world (try to check how many times King used the word). The Blacks who assault people on TV when those people call them "Negro" didn't contribute too much. I am referring to Roy Innis (on the Geraldo show) who somehow gained control of CORE. Do you have no problem with Roy Innis ?

It was long ago, but that doesn't mean it didn't happen.

I hasten to add that I don't use the word Negro to refer to Blacks or African Americans.

Look if you don't want to refight the 60s then don't fucking mention them. If you choose to open the debate don't be upset if people who aren't totally fucking ignorant as you are point out that you don't have a fucking clue.

By the way I was 9 on December 31 1969 and if I fucking understand then the smug arrogant ignorant Atrios has no fucking excuse to be such a twit.
Brad's blog is still eating my comments

update: This comment appeared on Brad's blog. My mistake.

He attempts to discuss the ACA and Medicare actuary Richard Foster but he's confused. He wrote

"To say that the Affordable Care Act will in the end not reduce costs because doctors will successfully lobby Congress to repeal some of its provisions ... "

Wrong Brad wrong in an important way. The provisions in question apply to Medicare plan A (hospitals, nursing homes and home health care agencies) not to Doctors as such including Doctors with office practices (Medicare plan B). Given the ability of Doctors to get doc fixes once a year, there would be reason to worry if the ACA included attempts to squeeze doctors with office practices.

Such doctors can't be squeezed as many already refuse to deal with the CMS. However, hospitals don't refuse (I googled for half an hour for hospital refuses medicare in all permutations I could think of without finding an example in the past 10 years). The ACA squeezes those that can be squeezed not those who can't be.

There are doctors with over busy office practices which have to turn patients away. There aren't such hospitals (in any case there aren't two of them). This makes a huge difference.

Friday, January 21, 2011

Duncan Black's Memory


Brad DeLong confesses, among other things,

"1. I thought that the highly leveraged banks had control over their risks. [skip]"

Duncan Black claims to have known better than DeLong

"I certainly didn't believe in #s 1, 3, or 5, though I probably thought them to be more true than I do now."

However Black has admitted that he believed number 1. He has forgotten that past belief and the confession. I was googling for a post which I vaguely remembered and didn't find it but I did find this

"I didn't know that financial institutions were making such leveraged bets on big shitpile."

I had given up on googling then had the idea of including "didn't know" in the search that narrowed things down to 36 hits as Dr Black uses the phrase very rarely.

I am having some fun (for myself and no one else I guess) at his expense, but I must note that I found searching his years old archives time consuming, because I kept learning things I didn't know before. for example.

Thursday, January 20, 2011

libel in the New York Times and Reuters

Peter Baker wrote

One day he derided “fat-cat bankers” who caused the recession; another day, he soothed them by saying that he and the American people “don’t begrudge” multimillion-dollar bonuses.

I know that Barack Obama said that Lloyd Blankfein invented the internet, but the claim "he soothed them by saying that he and the American people 'don’t begrudge' multimillion-dollar bonuses." is false. Since it is a false claim about a published transcript, the false claim published in the New York Times demonstrates reckless disregard for the truth.

I quote the context of the two words TWO Words ! which Baker ripped out of context.

"Q Let's talk bonuses for a minute: Lloyd Blankfein, $9 million; Jamie Dimon, $17 million. Now, granted, those were in stock and less than what some had expected. But are those numbers okay?

THE PRESIDENT: Well, look, first of all, I know both those guys. They're very savvy businessmen. And I, like most of the American people, don't begrudge people success or wealth. That's part of the free market system. I do think that the compensation packages that we've seen over the last decade at least have not matched up always to performance. I think that shareholders oftentimes have not had any significant say in the pay structures for CEOs."

So Obama said that the US people don't begrudge success or wealth as such, however, wealth based on Wall Street compenstation packages have no justification.

Just to make it absolutely clear that Baker libeled Obama, I will also report the follow up question and answer

"Q Seventeen million dollars is a lot for Main Street to stomach.

THE PRESIDENT: Listen, $17 million is an extraordinary amount of money. Of course, there are some baseball players who are making more than that who don't get to the World Series either. So I'm shocked by that as well. I guess the main principle we want to promote is a simple principle of "say on pay," that shareholders have a chance to actually scrutinize what CEOs are getting paid. And I think that serves as a restraint and helps align performance with pay. The other thing we do think is the more that pay comes in the form of stock that requires proven performance over a certain period of time as opposed to quarterly earnings is a fairer way of measuring CEOs' success and ultimately will make the performance of American businesses better."

So in exactly the interview which Baker falsely asserts shows Obama soothing Wall Street executives, he advocated regulation of compensation which were not approved by Congress.

The claim about Obama is exactly as valid as the claim that "Al Gore claimed he invented the internet."

Felix Salmon quotes the false butchered two words of quotation plus an innaccurate paraphrase without noting the error.

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Water is wet. The Pope is Catholic and Richard Cheney Lies

According to former Vice President Dick Cheney, President Obama has “learned from experience” that Bush administration terror policies were necessary and correct, pointing to increased drone strikes by the Obama administration and a failure to close the prison at Guantanamo Bay. “I think he’s learned that what we did was far more appropriate than he ever gave us credit for while he was a candidate,” Cheney said.

Yep Obama has decided not to close the prison in Guantanamo Bay. It has nothing to do with the decision by Congress, which he denounced, to refuse to pay for closing the prison. He just changed his mind and is only pretending that he would close the prison if Congress let him. Of course Cheney probably genuinely doesn't believe that a President actually feels bound to obey the Constitution. In fact the thought probably didn't cross his mind.

However, his first lie is more striking. Yep candidate Obama didn't advocate increased drone strikes, especially not when he wrote "I will not hesitate to use military force to take out terrorists ...". As I recall, that enthusiasm for Drone strikes was denounced by John McCain who had some trouble explaining why he supported actual drone strikes, later, when the Bush administration did what candidate Obama said he wouldn't hesitate to do.

I wouldn't be surprised if the drone strikes in Pakistan had started earlier and just weren't reported yet. I'm not arguing that the Bush administration slowly learned from experience that candidate Obama's proposal was far more appropriate than McCain gave him credit for. I don't make silly absurd plainly false claims. I am not Richard Cheney.

Monday, January 17, 2011

Matthew Ygelesias is soft on Classical Liberalism

Today he wrote both

"I recognize that many people disagree with this agenda, and that many of those who disagree with it think of themselves as “to the left” of my view. But I simply deny that there are positions that are more genuinely egalitarian than my own."


"I’d say it’s liberalism, a view recognizably derived from the thinking of JS Mill and Pigou and Keynes and Maury “Freedom Plus Groceries” Maverick and all the rest."

I understand that "derived" is the 600 pound weasel which can make any argument valid, but I don't think that Yglesias has read Mill recently and/or completely.
Many of Mill's views were so far right that no US elected official defends them anymore (I believe that David Duke still holds elective office). I commented off the top of my head, then checked my memories which were not exact mainly because I thought I had read stuff from "Reflections on Representative Governement" in "On Liberty."

My comment

I ... think you slipped up in your reply. You say no one is to your left and your thought is based on the thought of JD Mill. This does not imply that no one is to the left of JS Mill, but it totally miss states where Mill's writings would place him if he were reincarnated. Many of his views would be ultra ultra right today. For example, he supported a poll tax on the grounds that to be able to vote on spending without being taxed is to be given a license to pick other peoples' pockets (I am quoting "On Liberty" from memory). Margaret Thatcher decieded to follow the very explicit detailed instructions of JS Mill. That was the time she went too far and lost the confidence of the Tory Parliamentary party and so the parliament and so became a baroness. Too far right for Margeret Thatcher to get away with and very explicitly advocated by JS Mill are consistent.

update: I added this quote after posting my comment

"Those who pay no taxes, disposing by their votes of other people's money, have every motive to be lavish and none to economize. As far as money matters are concerned, any power of voting possessed by them is a violation of the fundamental principle of free government, a severance of the power of control from the interest in its beneficial exercise. It amounts to allowing them to put their hands into other people's pockets for any purpose which they think fit to call a public one, which, in the great towns of the United States, is known to have produced a scale of local taxation onerous beyond example, and wholly borne by the wealthier classes. That representation should be coextensive with taxation, not stopping short of it, but also not going beyond it, is in accordance with the theory of British institutions. But to reconcile this, as a condition annexed to the representation, with universality, it is essential, as it is on many other accounts desirable, that taxation, in a visible shape, should descend to the poorest class. In this country, and in most others, there is probably no laboring family which does not contribute to the indirect taxes, by the purchase of tea, coffee, sugar, not to mention narcotics or stimulants. But this mode of defraying a share of the public expenses is hardly felt: the payer, unless a person of education and reflection, does not identify his interest with a low scale of public expenditure as closely as when money for its support is demanded directly from himself; and even supposing him to do so, he would doubtless take care that, however lavish an expenditure he might, by his vote, assist in imposing upon the government, it should not be defrayed by any additional taxes on the articles which he himself consumes. It would be better that a direct tax, in the simple form of a capitation, should be levied on every grown person in the community; or that every such person should be admitted an elector on allowing himself to be rated extra ordinem to the assessed taxes; or that a small annual payment, rising and falling with the gross expenditure of the country, should be required from every registered elector, that so every one might feel that the money which he assisted in voting was partly his own, and that he was interested in keeping down its amount."

Mill's proposal is explicitly forbidden by the
He also opposed the secret ballot. He said that, in the past, he supported it so people couldn't be intimidated by their employers, but that people were getting too uppity so open voting was better. The excessive uppityness was in the 19th century. This again is very very explicitly stated in "On Liberty".

Oh Nemisis. I decided to check my recollections and it is very explicitly state in "Reflections of Represenative Government" a book which I must have read but I don't remember when. I quote one of the inspirations of your insuperable leftism (search for ballot)

It may unquestionably be the fact, that if we attempt, by publicity, to make the voter responsible to the public for his vote, he will practically be made responsible for it to some powerful individual, whose interest is more opposed to the general interest of the community than that of the voter himself would be, if, by the shield of secrecy, he were released from responsibility altogether. When this is the condition, in a high degree, of a large proportion of the voters, the ballot may be the smaller evil.


But in the more advanced states of modern Europe, and especially in this country, the power of coercing voters has declined and is declining; and bad voting is now less to be apprehended from the influences to which the voter is subject at the hands of others, than from the sinister interests and discreditable feelings which belong to himself, either individually or as a member of a class.

Finally he opposed one person one vote. He thought people with advanced degrees should have extra votes. He said this would make it clear that they were (we are) the "very elite" of the nation. He objected that ordinary people in the USA "(provided they are white)" do not acknoweldge that anyone is their better.

nemesis again. Again it is in Reflections on Representative Govenment and the attempted quote is not correct. This time search for "white skin"

"I do not look upon equal voting as among the things which are good in themselves, provided they can be guarded against inconveniences. I look upon it as only relatively good; less objectionable than inequality of privilege grounded on irrelevant or adventitious circumstances, but in principle wrong, because recognizing a wrong standard, and exercising a bad influence on the voter's mind. It is not useful, but hurtful, that the constitution of the country should declare ignorance to be entitled to as much political power as knowledge. The national institutions should place all things that they are concerned with before the mind of the citizen in the light in which it is for his good that he should regard them; and as it is for his good that he should think that every one is entitled to some influence, but the better and wiser to more than others, it is important that this conviction should be professed by the state, and embodied in the national institutions. Such things constitute the spirit of the institutions of a country;
The American institutions have imprinted strongly on the American mind that any one man (with a white skin) is as good as any other; and it is felt that this false creed is nearly connected with some of the more unfavorable points in American character. It is not small mischief that the constitution of any country should sanction this creed; for the belief in it, whether express or tacit, is almost as detrimental to moral and intellectual excellence any effect which most forms of government can produce. "

Mill wrote a long time ago. His views were very progressive in his time, but many of them are absurdly reactionary now.

Your efforts to reassure your readers that you are a leftist just like Milton Friedman and JS Mill are not reassuring to this reader. I will just assume that you are not familiar with Friedmans massive opus and that, the passage of so many years has dulled your memory of what Mill actually wrote. I admit I read him when I was an undergraduate taking Rawls's course on Justice Pass Fail (I passed) and, sigh, many many many more years have passed since I was an undergraduate than since you were an undergraduate. But I think my quotes from memory are substantially accurate.

update: I checked them and I had forgotten in which book I read them rounghly 3 decades ago (sorry). I now suspect that you never read "Reflections on Representative Government" and apologise for questioning you memory.

Note that throughout Mill describes the 19th century USA as way to left wing.

I know you used the weasel phrase "recognizably derived from " but if your views actually were recognizably derived from Mills's, then there would be a whole lot of people genuinely to your left.

By the way, you write no one is to your left. This is odd, since you have also listed people to your left on one of your blogs (not this blog). You definitely once wrote that, in a meaningful way, Billmon is to your left. This occured when you were discussing the fact that in a test your ideology web page you came out a centrist (some time ago). You argued that the test was invalid and they called you centrist because you are consequentialist. I can't find the post (or the blog).

This is not the first time that Yglesias has shown alarming sympathy for a classical liberal. He also recently claimed

After all, if you assume Milton Friedman’s argument for a negative income tax were being made in good faith the main difference between Friedman and a contemporary American liberal is that Friedman was strongly anti-paternalist.

My comment on that one is that numbers matter

Huh ?!?!? You are not being quantitative. Just to be hypothetical, if Milton Friedman had advocated a negative income tax with maximum benefit of $1 per year, then he would be quite different from a contemporary liberal totally aside from paternalism. To know what he thought of welfare, you have to know what dollar amounts he had in mind and what the dollar was worth then.

His root and branch opposition to regulation was not just a matter of rejecting paternalism. Some regulation can't be understood as paternalistic. Anti-trust regulation is not based on paternalism. Anti-pollution regulation certainly isn't.

I think that Atrios and DeLong and Krugman better get on the phone (or skype or whatever) STAT and give Mr Yglesias a talking to.

Saturday, January 15, 2011

You can have your own opinions, but you can't have your own language.

Pendanting redundancy.

You know pedanting is probably redundant. I'm pretty sure that "ant" is Latin for "ing." "ante" is Italian for "ing" (unless it is "ando")

by Keith Humphreys

The term “old adage” is very widely used. To see a few examples just from today’s news alone, look here, here and here. The snag is that an “adage” is by definition old, so the modifier is redundant and confusing: It implies incorrectly that there are new adages to which the “old adage” is being compared.


I realized that comments labelling the pointing out of incorrect usage as pedantic and/or trivial rubbed me the wrong way. This is why:

(1) It is, or should be, a joy to learn. When I learn things I am happy and grateful. I hope my Stanford students and mentees are happy and grateful when they learn things. I dislike the premise that when people learn something, they are being aggressed against by a pedant toward whom they should feel contemptuous.

(2) [skip]

(3) I don’t like galloping individualism in word definition because it seems to me a failure of social responsibility. We learn languages and agree on certain rules and meanings so that we can communicate with each other. To privilege a personal desire to use language incorrectly over the connective possibilities of shared meaning seems selfish to me.

(4) [skip]

My comments

I assume that the college friend is not William Safire but is, in the immortal words of George Orwell [,]* “a totally different person.” [“as I please” Tribune 1947. Yes, Orwell wrote that . It can happen to anyone. Impressive as always, he also published it as an example of redundancy “For the first time I realised what a stupid expression this is. As though there could be such a thing as a partially different person !”

Now this is delicate. I am not convinced that there is an English verb "to Aggress" and I am very sure that there isn't an English verb "to aggress against" (three words being one two many for an infinitive). I don't want to make you feel aggressed against. Least of all by my eagerness to end a sentence with a preposition, but there seems to be a problem if a verb demands a particular preposition. Were you hoping that people would think that you had aggressed for them or aggressed with them or what ?

I believe that the English translation of "to aggress against" is "to attack." Now "attack" is a bit too vigorous and clear and we can't have that. Or perhaps you think that commenters might have felt that to correct English is "to insult." Quite frankly, I think you have aggressed against the English language in this post.

I think I will however, give up on "to privilege." In origin this was an incorrect translation of a perfectly ordinary French verb "privileger or something -- I can't spell English and I surely can't spell French). I believe the correct English translation is "to favor." I think it is a bad sign when an ordinary word in one language becomes a jargon term in another. In this case, there is also a clear rhetorical trick. To say that a privilege is unjustified privilege is almost redundant. We are democrats and opposed to privilege. Accusing someone of privileging suggests that the act of privileging is unjustified, because of the negative connotation of privilege.

I wonder in what fraction of use of the fairly new verb "to privilege" is the act of privileging praised ? I can't recall any. A verb with a neutral denotation which is never used to uhm privilege the act it describes is a rhetorical shortcut which can be damaging to clear thinking. Now I agree that you explain why you privilege " the connective possibilities of shared meaning" over "a personal desire to use language incorrectly over the connective possibilities of shared meaning."

I think the meaning of your sentence would be little changed if you had written [To privilege the connective possibilities of shared meaning over a personal desire to use language incorrectly seems unselfish to me].
Note that I used the ultimate weasel word "little" since the fact that one choice is unselfish does not logically imply that the other is selfish. Can you imagine writing the alternative sentence ? If not, do we have a problem here ?

* oh crap I left out a comma when pedanting.

Sunday, January 09, 2011

Paul Krugman has been outdone by someone else who works for the New York Times

"Opinions on Shape of Earth Differ; Both Sides Have a Point" was exteme but
"In Battle Over Health Law, Math Cuts Both Ways" is the epitome of a nadir.

The key word which Krugman missed is "math". To Krugman math is a set of artificially constructed theoretical systems in which meanings are more than usually precise and answers often have a right answer and a wrong answer.

For a true journamalist, math is black magic and any claim in math might be true. It is the perfect setting for he said he said.

I do not blame the headline guy. The article by DAVID M. HERSZENHORN is as appalling as the headline. The article contains plainly false claims on matters of fact. One is clear enough that the New York Times must publish a correction.

In this case the debate in which both sides have a point (by the jounamalists definition of debate) is between the CBO and Republicans in congress. Note that the non-partisan CBO is considered one side of the debate. No Democrats in congress are quoted at all. The debate is over the fact that the CBO scores repeal of the affordable care act as adding to the deficit. Notably, according to the rules of the last congress, this verdict is final. Not because the CBO is God (or even Moses) but just because some terms must be defined, the CBO scoring is written into the rules (and will be again as soon as the Republicans are done with their repeal the ACA stunt)

Herszenshon makes no mention of the fact that rejecting the CBO score is generally not allowed. The CBO score becomes just one opinion among many. Unfortunately for Ballance, the argument against the CBO score includes many lies.

Mr Herszenhorn asserts "The Democrats designed the health care law so that most of the cuts and new taxes begin early while most of the spending, on insurance subsidies, for instance, begins in 2014." I stress this claim is made in his name and in the name of the Times. It is a false claim which must be corrected. The weasle word "most" doesn't do the trick. It is there because the excise tax starts well after 2014. In fact, the tax increases and spending cuts roughly track the spending increases. The claim in the New York Times is deliberately vague but still false.

A grosser falsehood (in this case a lie) is put in the mouths of un named "Republicans." "The Republicans also say that the budget rules effectively double-count nearly $400 billion in Medicare savings as both reducing the cost of the health care law and prolonging the life of the Medicare trust fund." This is false. All of the budget rules discussed in the article are CBO rules which do not estimate the life of the Medicare trust fund. The DBO did not double count. Herszenhorn knows this. That is why instead of writing "the CBO" as in the rest of the article he wrote "the budget rules." In this case as well he is attempting to mislead the reader. Again he fails. Via Ezra Klein note Paul Ryan admitting that the CBO didn't double count

By stating a false claim of fact without either noting that it is false or allowing someone honest to contest the claim, Herszenhorn effectively makes the claim his own.

He goes on to do it again "They also complain that the projections omitted $115 billion in spending required to administer the law"! This claim is false. $115 is the forecast discretionary budget of agencies in any way involved with implementing the ACA. It is not an estimate of additional funding which congress is predicted to appropriate because of the bill. In any case, that would require new bills and Republicans don't have to vote for them. The same post by Klein again

The $115 billion isn't "implementation" but "discretionary spending." And most of that spending predates the bill. As CBO Director Doug Elmendorf said, "CBO’s discretionary baseline, which assumes that 2010 appropriations are extended with adjustments for anticipated inflation, already accounts for much of the potential discretionary spending under PPACA." The exact amount it already accounts for is $86 billion.

One car argue about the predicted additional $29 billion but not about the $86 billion which are just past appropriations of the agencies updated for inflation. The $29 billion forecast almost certainly won't occur, since Republicans will not vote for them.

The outlay of the article is as bad as the errors of fact. Long befor explaining the CBO estimates Herszenhorn writes the colorful and totally nonsensical

And, for the love of gravity and basic mathematics, how can the nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office, the official scorekeeper charged with keeping count of the nation’s fiscal condition, say that it would cost the government $230 billion over 10 years to repeal a law that would spend $930 billion to extend health insurance to 32 million people?

Evidently in the sub first grade understanding he ascribed to his readers A-B>0. The problem is that many readers will just read the first few paragraphs and most will remember "the love of gravity and basic mathematics" long after they have forgotton the tiny bits of mathematics allowed into the article.

This is mainstream journalism at its worst. If a major party argues somethign based on lies and nonsense, then counteraguments which would show them to be fools and or knaves must be suppressed. Math is totally mysterious. Plainly false claims of fact must not be checked because saying that a claim is false is shrill and unbalanced. Perhaps I overstate my claim. I have seen no evidence that such nonsense is repeated with so much deference if it comes from the Democrats.

There are lies, damn lies and statistics as presented by the MSM.