The missing crosstab

So, the latest from Gallup on the death penalty:

WASHINGTON, D.C. — Americans who favor the death penalty most often cite “an eye for an eye” as the reason they hold their position, with 35% mentioning it. “Save taxpayers money” and “they deserve it” tie as the second-most-popular reasons Americans volunteer in this open-ended measure, at 14% each.

And the cross-tab I so want to see?  What portion of these 35% are avowed Christians.  I suspect a solid majority.  Might as well ignore the words of a fellow named Jesus:

38 “You have heard that it was said, ‘Eye for eye, and tooth for tooth.’[a] 39 But I tell you, do not resist an evil person. If anyone slaps you on the right cheek, turn to them the other cheek also. 40 And if anyone wants to sue you and take your shirt, hand over your coat as well. 41 If anyone forces you to go one mile, go with them two miles. 42 Give to the one who asks you, and do not turn away from the one who wants to borrow from you.


Young women shouldn’t vote!

In case you missed this, today in Fox News:

Fox News is discouraging young people from voting again, but this time the target is more specific: young women.

“The Five” co-host Kimberly Guilfoyle said Tuesday that young women should excuse themselves from voting in the upcoming midterm elections because they don’t share the same “life experience” as older women and should just go back to playing around on Tinder and

“It’s the same reason why young women on juries are not a good idea,” Guilfoyle said. “They don’t get it!”

Earlier in the conversation, co-host Greg Gutfeld made the point that “with age comes wisdom” and the “older you get, the more conservative you get.”

Not that we would expect solid logical reasoning from a Fox News host, but this “the older you get, the more conservative you get,” trope just needs to be retired.  There’s just not empirical evidence for it.  Older voters are more conservative than younger voters, but they didn’t actually become more conservative.  It’s not like today’s millenials in 50 years are going to decide they don’t like gay marriage after all.  As for the young women not voting, that’s just too stupid to even waste time on except to mention that this is what passes for discourse on Fox.

Map of the day

Love this animated gif of today’s partial solar eclipse.  And pretty bummed that where I live there’s only a bit of it before sunset.  Throw in all the trees on the horizon (which I am grateful for 99.9% of the time) in the Raleigh area and I’m not sure I’ll be able to see it all despite beautiful, clear weather today.  Nice feature on the eclipse at Vox.  The image shows the shadow of the moon on the earth intersecting with the setting sun (which is why the West coast of the US gets it way better).

eclipse animation


I shall be hoping fervently for clear weather on August 21, 2017, as a very narrow band for a total eclipse will actually cut through NC.

total eclipse map

Photo of the day

From an In Focus photos of the week gallery:

A Colombian Army Special Forces soldier rappels with a dog in a military exercise during the visit of US Secretary of Defense Chuck Hagel and Colombian Defense Minister Juan Carlos Pinzon at a military base in Tolemaida, Colombia, on October 10, 2014.(Guillermo Legaria/AFP/Getty Images)

“I’m not a scientist, but…”

I understand science about a million times better than the typical GOP politician.  Mostly, though, this David Shiffman piece is the best yet I’ve read on the absurdist “I’m not a scientist” cop out politicians use on climate change:

When politicians say “I’m not a scientist,” it is an exasperating evasion. It’s a cowardly way to avoid answering basic and important policy questions. This response raises lots of other important questions about their decision-making processes. Do they have opinions on how to best maintain our nation’s highways, bridges, and tunnels—or do they not because they’re not civil engineers? Do they refuse to talk about agriculture policy on the grounds that they’re not farmers? How do they think we should be addressing the threat of ISIS? They wouldn’t know, of course; they’re not military generals.

No one would ever say these things, because they’re ridiculous. Being a policymaker in a country as large and complex as the United States requires making decisions on a variety of important subjects outside of your primary area of expertise. Voters wouldn’t tolerate this “I’m not a scientist” excuse if applied to any other discipline, yet politicians appear to be using this line successfully to distance themselves from experts crucial for solving many of our country’s most important problems.

Amen!  On the other hand, everybody thinks they know more about politics than someone is actually a political scientist.  We don’t exactly have formulas for how chemicals interact, but we do know some stuff.  

Candy corn versus a US Senate race

I was on an election panel the other day and after always seeing these factoids comparing the cost of campaign spending to the much greater cost of other things, I just threw out that the $100 million on the NC Senate race was less than spending on candy corn for Halloween (mostly because I’ve been eating way too much candy corn lately due to early Halloween activities).

Anyway, not long after I came across this article in the Atlantic about how much we spend on Halloween candy:

The National Retail Federation (NRF) forecasts total Halloween spending—including candy, costumes, and decorations—to come in at $7.4 billion this year.

Halloween candy alone has run up a $2 billion tab every Halloween for the past three years, though the candy industry says that bad weather can lower the numbers slightly. “We are predicting a slight bump in Halloween confectionery sales this year (1.9 percent),” said Jenn Ellek of the National Confectioners Association. The NCA is expecting candy sales to reach $2.5 billion. Additionally, the NRF says that retailers could benefit this year from the holiday falling on a Friday, as parents will be more likely to take kids out and revelers more inclined to attend or throw parties, boosting costume sales. And don’t forget the puppies: The NRF estimates that Americans will spend $350 million just on pet Halloween costumes.

For reference, the entire spending on the 2012 election was just under $6 billion (have not been able to find a good estimate for 2014).

Now, I could not find the actual spending for candy corn, but if it manages to top 5% of Halloween candy, then it is more than the (crazy-high) spending on the NC Senate race.

You can actually watch the election panel here, if you are curious:

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