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7 August 2004

What were we doing there?

American Street thinks over the role of the bloggers at the convention
Not a piece about blog v. traditional media, in the sense we’ve been
seeing, but about what niche blogs fit into and why we were there, and
so forth.

Posted in DeeEnCee on 7 August 2004 at 10:25 pm by Nate

Finally someone gets it accurate

Brad de Long, Berkeley economist extraordinaire posts today to explain why a NYT story on different sets of unemployment numbers proves itself worthless.

And, of course, what is missing is the context. A lot of smart
people have been looking at the difference between the household and
the payroll surveys, and have come to firm conclusions. Let me turn
over the microphone to Federal Reserve Chair Alan Greenspan to tell us
what those conclusions are:

Greenspan Testimony February 11, 2004:
‘I wish I could say the household survey were the more accurate,’ Alan
Greenspan, the Fed chairman, said in congressional testimony on Feb.
11. ‘Everything we’ve looked at suggests that it’s the payroll data
which are the series which you have to follow.’… The Fed’s conclusion
was that the household survey’s results had been inflated by
overestimates of population growth…. If the population estimate is
too high, the estimated number of jobs will also be too high. The
bureau bases its population estimate on the 2000 census, but it then
updates that estimate yearly with data on births, deaths and
immigration. But immigration numbers are largely guesswork, because so
much immigration is illegal. Fed officials suspect the immigration
estimate is inflated because it fails to reflect tighter immigration
controls since Sept. 11, 2001, as well as declines caused by the
economic slowdown.

Why can’t we have a real civic discource in this country?  Part of
it, I think, is that we lack a contextualized understanding of the
issues and facts before us.  Sure we might have some unemployment
number out there.  But is it the best one?  Why? 
Without such information, we can’t even really begin to make an
intelligent decision about Bush or Kerry’s policies (whatever they are,
because neither candidate has offered any real specifics on what he
will do in the years 2004-08).  And so we’re left with trying to
decide who we’d rather have a beer with.

I don’t know.  But I’m not sure that the friends I’d have a few
beers with are people whose hands I’d want on the nuclear arsenal or
appointing officials.  Not because they’re righties, but because
some of them are very lefty.  But beer just shouldn’t be a
presidential selection criterion.

UPDATE — 9.39 PM: Dan Drezner discusses incivility in the blogosphere, and I’m gonna incoporate this into a longer piece on the current incivility sooner or later.

Posted in Politicks on 7 August 2004 at 7:59 pm by Nate