Category Archives: Chait Stains

Chait Stains: #Chait hearts Rick Perry

Not really. Chait does though confront and bow to the unimpeachable sensibility of the conventional wisdom, that Perry’s grand jury indictment prosecution is ridiculous.

Chait is a news analyst, so in his piece first, he does meet an ostensible obligation to come to the right, obvious conclusion about the news.

It’s reasonable in an analysis like this that corresponding conclusions can be fleshed out. Others have pondered say, what must be the fecklessness and corruption of Austin Democrats. Chait manages to avoid sensible, secondary judgments like that. Instead, he uses his last line to call Perry stupid. Here in the last week I noted my agreement with Megan McCardle’s sentiment how it’s absurd to call highly accomplished people ‘stupid’. It’s basically an anti-intellectual dog whistle itself to fellow travelers within one’s epistemic loop.

Chait’s a class act that way, and remember… he’s one of the ‘smart ones.’ It’s worth noting also though that the Austin indictment is almost universally panned, with national Democrats voicing consistent lament. Thing is, the Austin indictment is so dubious, that only a truly stupid person could actually take it seriously. But those who will take it seriously are Democrats, and the numbers of them that do probably won’t be insignificant.

…that’s some irony…


Chait Stains: Democrats can’t be the party of business.

The question having been posed, his reason is different from mine. I woulda said, because Democrats don’t believe in private business. Chortle chortle

But seriously, I like the way Chait evaluates arrangements by preferability and potentiality say. I imagine there’s a name for that sort of exercise, and I wish I knew what it was.

Dept of I just said that:  Ezra repeats me

He clued into what I was clued into.  It was extraordinarily weird that Shinseki was the one to provide the insight for his own firing, and Obama was persuaded then to agree with him.

Oh, and Carney resigned.  I imagine his dooshostomy bag was getting close to rupturing.

Chait Stains: Chait vs Hayward, Powerline

Having seen the original Hayward 97% piece at the time, I thought it pretty formidable.  I’m not surprised Chait and some would be spurred to rebut it.

Note, Chait is (thankfully…) NOT using the Hayward article as demonstration of denier ‘ignorance’.  See Chait’s last paragraph:

“It’s a topic of serious debate in American politics because one of the two major parties is controlled by a movement that resorts to bizarre, paranoid explanations for facts that complicate its ideological priors.

So he’s describing this conflict as not a battle between smart and dumb, but something else.  And while I don’t agree there, Chait is certainly fairer and seriouser for couching it this way.

That’s merely a recurring theme I like to broach here though, and not an important point today.

The argument at hand is whether ‘97%’ is a scientifically meaningful number (The Chait / liberal perspective) or rather a impressive sounding but simplistic and dishonest talking point used to groom the acquiescence of a low info constituency (the Hayward / denier position).

Hayward argues that as a matter of math / method, you can never get to 97% affirming consensus based on what actually is counted.  The data set is a collection of 11000 or so papers and abstracts classified topically as related to ‘climate change’  MOST (2/3) of those do not do not take a position on Human AGW.  The rest do, say 3500.  97% percent of those express affirmation of human AGW.

Now the case can probably be made that 97% of 3500 is impressive enough in itself (Hayward argues it would not be impressive given institutional bias…).  But that’s not what is asserted.  Cook and the scientists insist that the dataset is all 11000 papers classified topically as relating to climate change.  When you perform the math this way (which seems to be the obvious way) ‘consensus’ on AGW is about 33%.

How do you get to 97% of 11000 when what you’ve actually counted shows 33% of 11000?  Cook and the scientists take 7000 papers that don’t take a position on AGW and claim that they affirm.

Hayward doesn’t say that 33% is the right number, but he does call bull on the idea that you can count 7000 papers that take no position as affirming.  Ergo, the ‘97%’ derived from this is fraudulent and dishonest.  Chait claims the opposite, and supports Cooks method:

“The papers that did not take a position on AGW were measuring some aspect of climate change without weighing in on its causes. A scientist can measure the melting of a particular glacier without discussing the increase in greenhouse gasses that has contributed to that melting. Likewise, one can write up a finding on Neanderthal bones without endorsing the Theory of Evolution, or calculate a rocket’s speed without explicitly endorsing the Theory of Gravity.  […….]  The papers that take no position on AGW are failing to take a position because it’s not a topic of serious debate among the climate science field. “

I’ll go on to afford Chait’s observation it’s due as a quality semantic argument.  But actually, I don’t think he’s right.  There’s no good methodological reason to assume say that a paper reporting the measurement of glacial melt affirms greenhouse gas / AGW as the causation unless the paper author instructs that this is a proper assumption.

Regardless, in this vein Chait and Cook assert that the 7000 of this type dealing with climate but omitting explicit affirmation of AGW can be tallied within the 97% consensus by virtue of their topicality alone.  IE, they have a climate change reference classification (which is probably somewhat broadly applied to papers), thus they must support the consensus position.

This has the appearance of another extraordinary logical leap, but understanding the trend in scientific thought as we do it very well might be more true than its not (but I think 97% is way too high a number…).  In any event it’s also not much more than an assertion, and it’s not ‘method’.  It’s intuition, it’s Kentucky Windage, this from the crowd that insists it has the weight of scientific measurement arguing in their favor in all cases.

That’s the point that Hayward makes.  Not that there’s no AGW, not that the trends in scientific thought aren’t what they are, but that ‘97%’ is a completely tarted up figure that’s taken on a life of its own in narrative and trope, and is dishonestly misused by liberals and the environmental movement.   I don’t see how anyone argues otherwise without reverting to a semantic observation that is in fact inferior to a proper statistical evaluation of the papers.

Chait Stains: The GOPs bad camping trip

Chait does his chortling, as does his little shadow Drum.

Did the Republicans cave to the 1% and Wall Street?  As far as it goes, I suppose they did.  But this doesn’t distinguish the GOP from the Democrats in the way Chait asserts.  Chortle.  Chortle.

I mean, Democrats would love a ‘too big to fail’ tax on financial institutions right?  Was one ever articulated in a Congressional budget proposal in the Pelosi house?  Was one ever articulated in a Presidential budget proposal in these Obama years?

The Democrats would love a change to carried interest capital gains right?  Was one ever articulated in a Congressional budget proposal in the Pelosi house?  Was one ever articulated in a Presidential budget proposal in these Obama years?

This is the thing about lack of regular order during the Reid / Pelosi / Obama three legged ‘stool’ (we need an indicator for multiple ironies where scare quotes are used)..  They never wrote a budget, and they never entertained ANY formal discussion of tax reform.  No Democrat ever reviewed an unorthodox budget in committee, where votes would be taken and comments left in meeting minutes.

Which allows them to posture / prattle vaguely about their support for ‘fair share tax proposals’ that had / have no hope of ever maturing into a ballsy, principled congressional votes.

Chait and Drum are scratching their heads, wondering why Camp would write this proposal / report / bill, and be predictably defeated.  And chortling  that he did.   I dunno, maybe Camp is not all that captive to special interests in the way Democrats are?  Maybe he’s got more grassroots support to protect him, like from the …gasp… Tea Party?    Maybe he isn’t a Machiavellian hypocrite like many Democrat office holders?.   Maybe he’s got more balls?  Take your pick.