Tag Archives: Ronald Reagan

The New York Times left its World Cup analysis incomplete; I completed it

Right before the World Cup, the New York Times devoted an entire issue of its weekly New York Times Magazine to the upcoming international soccer tournament.

Americans love to make facile comparisons, especially when they talk about sports, so in one of its heroic efforts to make soccer more understandable/relatable, the Times tried to equate players who would appear in the World Cup to their American “counterparts”:

Continue reading The New York Times left its World Cup analysis incomplete; I completed it


Rick Perry’s latest “oops” moment may not have actually been all that mistaken

When he accidentally referred to Libya as Lebanon on Saturday, Rick Perry was putting himself in good company — he’s now the second 2012 Republican Presidential primary candidate who can’t keep the country straight, after Herman Cain famously self-immolated when asked to comment on Obama’s policy there. Here’s one account of Perry’s speech:

Continue reading Rick Perry’s latest “oops” moment may not have actually been all that mistaken

Opportunistic much, Cory Booker?

Hillary’s not the only one who made a big move today.

As you know, the 2016 Presidential hopeful joined Twitter, and — though her history on the service is precisely one message long — quickly managed to turn herself into the topic of conversation (though, at the time of writing she seems to have been upstaged in the United States by the New England Patriots; #Tebow and Josh McDaniels are trending, but not #TextsFromHillary):

I wanted to take this opportunity to highlight one narrative surrounding Clinton’s entry to Twitter: that it is only the opening salvo of a broader attempt to “seem young.” Should she be elected President in 2016, she will be pushing 70, and though women generally have longer lifespans than men (so her age should be of marginally less concern than John McCain’s when he ran in 2008), life expectancy is not the only important component of a candidate’s age. Ben Smith lays out the real perceived threat to Hillary’s campaign in Hillary Clinton’s First Tweet Shows What She Fears Most:

Clinton Monday launched her Twitter feed — pre-leaked a week earlier to Politico by a staff that has shown no familiarity with the social web — with some of the most studied jokes in the history of the internet, riffing on a meme — Texts from Hillary — that’s more than a year old. The message of the image, the studied colloquialism and pantsuit jokes, and the idea was simple: “I’m not old.”

But as Smith points out, Hillary is old — and she won’t be going up again John McCain this time around — her challengers are likely to be considerably younger:

And the generational threat remains the main one to Hillary Clinton. Cory Booker’s likely ascent to the Senate in 2013 puts him, as one ally said, on a plausible, if perhaps unlikely, path to Iowa.

And Reagan-like “my opponent’s youth and inexperience”-type judo aside, Smith is right — age is at the least a cause for concern, and at the most could prove a formidable obstacle to the White House:

The . . . dagger at Clinton’s heart is generational. Even in 2008, Barack Obama won in part by promising to “turn the page” on the Clintonian past, and to welcome a new generation. In 2016, Hillary Clinton will face an electorate that includes people who were born just as Monica Lewinsky was becoming a household name, to whom the Clinton years are a kind of hazily positive past — the sort of film-reel history that Watergate represented in Bill Clinton’s election.

The painstaking Twitter rollout is the digital representation of that neurosis.

So the primary challenger in the primaries who Smith called out by name — Newark Mayor Cory Booker — wasted absolutely no time in taking the opportunity to demonstrate that he has a slightly firmer grasp on what’s hip/cool/fresh/what the kids are into than does stodgy old Hillary… by advertising on Twitter:

Continue reading Opportunistic much, Cory Booker?

Refining the TSA dirty thievery results

There’s a reason you never check a bag with something valuable in it.

ABC recently released information obtained from the Transportation ‘Security’ Administration (TSA), listing the number of employees fired for theft at various airports. Using the information, ABC put out a list of ‘The top airports across the U.S. for TSA employees fired for theft.’ And while that title might not perfectly encapsulate what the list actually communicates, the headline of the article including that list is even more misleading:

The Top 20 Airports for TSA TheftABC News

There are two problems here. For one, the list tallies only the raw number of firings from 2002-2011, not rates, which skews its results in favor of small airports with fewer employees, and fewer passengers from whom they can steal. As a passenger, you’re more interested in how likely a given passenger is to be robbed than in how often it happens, period. And for two, the list tallies employee firings, without accounting for the fact that not every luggage thief is apprehended.

I can’t really address this second point without additional information, but I thought it would be worth trying to refine ABC’s results to at least account for airport traffic.

So here’s a list of 20 airports that have fired employees for theft, ranked by number of annual passengers per theft. The first column lists the airport, the second how it did in ABC’s primitive estimation, the third adjusts for traffic, and the fourth indicates how much better or worse the airport’s ranking looks when traffic volume has been taken into account. For a concrete example, New Orleans ranked 15th in the number of employees fired for theft, but second when its low traffic volume was taken into account – a drop of 13 spots:

Continue reading Refining the TSA dirty thievery results