What’s the point?

CNN is taking the art of the unscientific poll to new heights:

Fifty-six percent of people questioned say they had a very positive reaction to the speech, with 21 percent indicating they had a somewhat positive reaction and a equal amount suggesting they had a negative reaction…. The CNN/Opinion Research Corporation poll was conducted just before and just after the president’s speech, with 427 adult Americans questioned by telephone. The survey’s sampling error is plus or minus 5 percentage points. The sample of speech-watchers in this poll was 45 percent Democratic and 18 percent Republican.

This is getting absolutely absurd. Why doesn’t CNN just question members of the Obama administration and announce 100 percent American support for his health care speech while they’re at it? If I was a Democrat or an Obama supporter, I would be furious at the total incompetence of my side’s intelligence. Do they genuinely believe it’s going to somehow help the administration to be putting obviously false information out there?

As for the “You lie!” comment, well, all I have to say is that there is no question that Obama was clearly lying about illegal immigrants receiving government health care. Obama is not a king and the American people are neither serfs nor slaves. It seems to me that etiquette does not demand sitting in silent witness as blatant lies are being told. If Obama doesn’t want to risk being interrupted, he should give a speech without a live audience. If he knows he’s giving a speech to a live audience, perhaps he should consider not saying things that everyone knows is not true.

Are you ready for some football?

Ian, PeterAnthony, and Gadspeed, please send me your emails today – or if you’ve gotten an invite, please accept it and check out your team – or those three teams will be reassigned to someone else interested in playing. The Meerkats are chilling. It’s too soon to get excited. They’ve won the regular season title before, they’ve scored the most points, but now it’s time to claim a championship.

The corruption of a science

Ryan Grim shows how the Federal Reserve has bought the academic economists:

The Huffington Post reviewed the mastheads of the American Journal of Economics, the Journal of Economic Perspectives, Journal of Economic Literature, the American Economic Journal: Applied Economics, American Economic Journal: Economic Policy, the Journal of Political Economy and the Journal of Monetary Economics.

HuffPost interns Googled around looking for resumes and otherwise searched for Fed connections for the 190 people on those mastheads. Of the 84 that were affiliated with the Federal Reserve at one point in their careers, 21 were on the Fed payroll even as they served as gatekeepers at prominent journals. At the Journal of Monetary Economics, every single member of the editorial board is or has been affiliated with the Fed and 14 of the 26 board members are presently on the Fed payroll.

It’s no secret that the financial economists employed by the big banks are untrustworthy, being little more than stock market cheerleaders, but the academic economists are arguably even less reliable. This is an excellent article by the Huffington Post, the best I have ever seen published there. The best part is when Milton Friedman is quoted in a damning 1993 letter: “I cannot disagree with you that having something like 500 economists is extremely unhealthy. As you say, it is not conducive to independent, objective research. You and I know there has been censorship of the material published. Equally important, the location of the economists in the Federal Reserve has had a significant influence on the kind of research they do, biasing that research toward noncontroversial technical papers on method as opposed to substantive papers on policy and results.”

While same sort of corruption and monolithic thinking revealed in the economics profession can be seen in other scientific disciplines as well, the difference is that it is more difficult for the Federal Reserve to maintain control of the field despite its massive finances because economic events so easily overwhelm the intellectual edifice that the Fed has constructed.

Alan Greenspan himself has said that the whole intellectual edifice of mainstream economics has collapsed. I very much agree, and further note that it is Greenspan and the organization that employed him which is largely to blame.