Supplemental: Our least desirable post of all time!


The Statistics of Liberal County:
Charles Blow cited a statistic in Monday’s column about the Ray Rice case.

The statistic was supposed to shock us, in a reflexive way. We had a different set of reactions:
BLOW (9/15/14): According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, “More than one-third of women in the United States (35.6 percent, or approximately 42.4 million) have experienced rape, physical violence and/or stalking by an intimate partner at some point in their lifetime,” and nearly one in three women have experienced physical violence by an intimate partner. To put some of this in percentage terms, 30.3 percent of women in the United States have been “slapped, pushed, or shoved by an intimate partner” in their lifetime.
The CDC is a very important organization. The statistic we’ve highlighted struck us as strange.

In the end, we tend to suspect that such statistics are unhelpful.

Granted, a person probably shouldn’t “push or shove” an intimate partner. Jostling an intimate partner may not be a great thing either.

That said, do you have any idea why the CDC would be compiling a statistic like the one Blow included? More specifically:

Do you think “pushing or shoving” should be lumped in with slapping an intimate partner? Is “pushing or shoving” an act of “physical violence?”

(It always could be, of course.)

Should “pushing or shoving” be in a paragraph whose topic sentence concerns “rape, physical violence and/or stalking?” All in all, do you really have any idea what that highlighted sentence means?

In fairness, Blow’s entire column was written by the numbers. It came straight out of a Liberal Pundit Safe Talk Sound Bite Machine.

It’s full of sanctimonious judgments which pander to the present instant. That highlighted statistic was intended to let us feel even more troubled by all the cruelty around us.

That said, that highlighted sentence is the sort of thing which can make us pseudo-liberals look foolish. In fairness, it does help Blow type an easy column. But it may not help in the end.

For many years, the invention of foolishness was a practice restricted to those on the right. The Limbaughs and Hannitys parroted all sorts of foolish statistical claims about all sorts of topics.

The liberal world was asleep in the woods all through the Clinton/Gore years. After Iraq, we began to rouse. When we did, we began showing the world that we can be almost as foolish as they are.

We have our own foolish statistics now, as they always did. Example: We cling to our “77 cents on the dollar” statistic, even though we know it’s grossly misleading.

(Back in 2012, Rachel pretty much lied in defense of that statistic. Does anyone doubt that she did?)

Recently, we seem to be churning some hinky statistics concerning sexual assault. Jenny Kutner is in charge of such claims at Salon.

On September 5, Kutner wrote what follows. The jumbled prose made us wonder what was going on:
KUTNER (9/5/14): It has been estimated that approximately 1 in every 6 American women has been raped in her lifetime. On Friday, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention released an unfortunate amendment to that estimate: According to new statistics, 19.3 percent of women—nearly 1 in 5—have been raped.

The CDC estimates looked not only at “completed forced penetration,” but also at other forms of sexual violence including attempted rape,
unwanted sexual contact, non-contact unwanted sexual experiences (such as being flashed or forced to view explicit images) and sexual coercion. According to the center’s definition, sexual coercion includes non-physical pressure into performing an unwanted sexual act ranging from “kissing and fondling” to penetration. Twice as many women experienced some other form of sexual violence as were raped.

Additionally, the report also considers “completed alcohol- or drug-facilitated penetration” in its definition of rape, because—contrary to a confused prevailing attitude—having sex with someone who cannot and/or does not consent is, indeed, rape.
It’s certainly true that “having sex with someone who cannot and does not consent” can sensibly be regarded as rape.

Still, we found that presentation jumbled and confusing, sufficiently so that we decided to look at the CDC report.

What we wondered about turned out to be true! In the CDC report, “attempted rape” (“attempted forced penetration”) is counted as an instance of “rape.” So is “completed alcohol- or drug-facilitated penetration,” which may be a perfectly valid judgment depending on the way a phrase like “alcohol-facilitated penetration” is defined and applied.

(Presumably, there’s a lot of “alcohol-facilitated penetration” which no one would think of as rape.)

Kutner is right on her basic facts. According to the report, 19.3 percent of women have been raped. (Also, 1.7 percent of men.)

But only 11.5 percent of women have been subjected to “completed forced penetration.” The larger number is attained by adding in women who have been subjected to “attempted forced penetration” (“attempted rape” in Kutner’s language) or “completed alcohol- or drug-facilitated penetration.”

Obviously, no one should ever be subjected to “attempted forced penetration.” That said, do you find it strange that the CDC includes “attempted rape” (Kutner’s language) in its total number of rapes?

We’d have to say that strikes us as odd—odd, and perhaps oddly unserious. For the basic statistics, click here.

This week, a report on domestic violence appeared, the one to which Blow’s column refers. The report appeared the Journal of the American Board of Family Medicine.

Over at Salon, Kutner was at it again:
KUTNER (9/16/14): 1 in 5 men report committing domestic violence

An important takeaway from the study is something that survivor advocacy organizations have been trying to reinforce for years: domestic abusers are not just people we see on the news; they are not just the Ray Rices who get caught on tape. Twenty percent of American men report “pushing, grabbing, shoving, throwing something, slapping or hitting, kicking, biting, beating up, choking, burning or scalding, or threatening a partner with a knife or gun.” But no doubt more than 20 percent are responsible for the roughly 320,000 outpatient health visits and 1,200 deaths among women due to intimate partner violence that occur in the U.S. each year.
In that remarkable highlighted passage, “pushing, grabbing and shoving” are on the same list as “beating up, choking, burning, scalding or threatening a partner with a knife or gun.” That conflation strikes us as odd, and perhaps as oddly unserious.

Every good robotic liberal will shriek at what we have said. We live in an age in which we’re entertained and hardened in tribal identity by being told how bad a wide range of situations are.

Ginned-up statistics are also employed to heighten our sense that Something Badly Needs To Be Done, which is of course always true. To us, that 11.5 percent statistic represents a full-blown nightmare all by itself. But in the world of ginned statistics, we seem to want and need a number that’s even higher.

Shouldn’t we trust the CDC and the JABFM in their judgments about such taxonomies? Actually no, we shouldn’t. Our world is full of dysfunctional “experts.” By now, they may even have a few at those exalted locales.

In our view, liberals and progressives should insist on accurate numbers whose meanings are clearly defined. Perhaps there’s something we’re missing in these two cases. But Kutner and Blow are unlikely to conduct such analyses.

We thought that paragraph in Blow’s column was extremely strange. The fuller passage from this week’s report seems to be stranger.

This used to be what Rush and Sean did. As the years go rolling by, it seems that there’s an outside chance that we are all ditto-heads too!

Should rape include attempted rape? Should “pushing” count as domestic violence, like burning, choking, beating up, scalding, threatening with a gun?

People have started to laugh at us liberals because of the way we’re doing business—for example, with that “77 cents on the dollar” statistic.

We think they’re right to roll their eyes. You simply can’t base a progressive politics on false or misleading claims.

In a similar vein, should “rape” include “attempted rape?” We’re open to being shown.

But that passage in Blow’s column struck us as strange. We’re not sure this sort of thing advances progressive interests.


  1. Is there a study on the percentage of women hopelessly attracted to men most likely to behave this way?

    1. No, but there is a statistical correlation between men who ask such questions in blog commentary and persons who give their penis a first name.

  2. People push and people shove? The CDC is just "Takin' Care of Business." Calling Dr. Bachman. Calling Dr. Turner. Calling Dr. Overdrive.

  3. It’s certainly true that “having sex with someone who cannot and does not consent” can sensibly be regarded as rape.

    I agree. However, feminists also have propounded the thesis that rape is not an act of sex; it's an act of violence. Sex with a passed-out drunk person does not include violence, so perhaps it should be considered a bad thing, but not called "rape".

    I guess feminists don't have to be logically consistent. The important consistency is that the man is always wrong.

    1. You and your "men's rights" ilk make me want to puke. The sheer level of victimhood you display fits perfectly with all the other right wing garbage you tend to foist here.

    2. David, I know of no "feminist" who has ever said that violence is a necessary element of rape.

      Would you please stop listening to those voices inside your head?

    3. "Sex with a passed-out drunk person does not include violence,"

      Only in the mind of a total nitwit.

    4. David, raping a unconscious woman is an act of violence. Rape is always an act of violence.

      But I am sure your sexist pig mind -- searching for rapes that aren't as bad as other rapes -- can't possibly comprehend that.

    5. 5:57 -- The dictionary defines "violence" as "rough or injurious physical force, action, or treatment:" I don't think the situation I posited conforms to this definition. YMMV.

      "Alice Throught the looking Glass" addresses this concept"
      'When I use a word,' Humpty Dumpty said, in rather a scornful tone, 'it means just what I choose it to mean — neither more nor less.'

      'The question is,' said Alice, 'whether you can make words mean so many different things.'

      'The question is,' said Humpty Dumpty, 'which is to be master — that's all.'

    6. 5:57 es, I do think that some rapes are worse than others. Here's another literary allusion. In John Irving's "The World According to Garp", the protagonist is conceived when his mother to be, a nurse, has sex with an unconscious, dying man in the hospital. I gather than you would call her action "rape." However, I don't think this (type of "rape" is as bad as a truly violent rape, where the victim is beaten bloody and maimed.

      5:57-- Do you really think that these two actions are equally heinous?

    7. You are way off base here. First you don't understand the concept of forced penetration and what it does psychologically. For you, being beaten up seems worse, although that too has psychological consequences you don't understand (see Greg Kinnear's performance in"As good as it gets). Irving was a messed up guy. Women raping unconscious men (assuming it is physically possible) is so unlikely it is not worth discussing. Use the movie Deliverance if you want a male analog. The impact of rape is not defined by the extent of damage to the body but to the psyche. You are not in any position to tell others what is more heinous.

    8. I doubt this applies to elderly men in hospitals taking the usual end-of-life medications (with those usual side effects no one talks about) in a time before Viagra. Irving wrote a fantasy that you think might be real. Use your head, David.

    9. In Irving's book, the dying man is a wounded soldier, so he's not old.

      However, what's the difference if it's the man or the woman who's too drunk to give consent? Women are equal to men in every way, right? So, the Garp fantasy scenario is just as serious as if a man takes advantage of a passed-out woman, right? Or, are the sexes either equal or unequal depending on what point someone is trying to make?

    10. The difference is that women don't go around raping drunken men, except in your fantasies.

    11. Women rape drunken men all the time, assuming that both sexes are treated equally. It's common for two people to get drunk and then have sex. As I understand modern feminist theory, they could be both be too drunk to give valid consent. So, they raped each other.

    12. David, you are an idiot and your comments about rape are seriously out of bounds. I have no more time for you.

  4. Bob, having sex with someone without their consent not only "can be" called rape, it IS rape. There is no other definition for it, no matter how many other instances of sexual violence you want to diminish by not calling them rape.

    "To us, that 11.5 percent statistic represents a full-blown nightmare all by itself."

    Really, Bob? Then why did you say this earlier:

    "But only 11.5 percent of women have been subjected to 'completed forced penetration.'"

    Only? OMG!

    1. Since you're using terms like "OMG!" I'm going to assume that you're not fluent in English, so let me explain what the sentence means. "Only 11.5%" in context means that the number of completed rapes is significantly smaller than the 19.3% reported because the latter number includes attempted rapes." It does not mean that 11.5% is an insignificant number.

      Let me put it in terms you might be able to understand: FYI HTH HAND TTFN

    2. "Only" means "only" But thanks once again for the humorous but feeble attempt to explain that Somerby didn't really mean what he said, but really, really meant something else.

      "Only" 11.5 percent means that "only" one in eight women have been raped to the point of penetration. Why that makes me feel so much better that it is "siginficantly smaller" than the one in five who have also reported a mere "attempted rape."

      And yes, there go those silly "liberals" playing with statistics again, lumping all those rapes in there with all those attempted rapes, when only one of those statstics is a "nightmare."

      But nope, deadrat, you'll never be fooled by such gross misuse of the statistics concerning crimes against women. You got Bob to keep you on the true path to wisdom.

    3. Oh please, you're a retard, anonymous. deadrat's absolutely right. It's a simple matter of context: 11.5 is a lot smaller than 19.3. It's only 60% of that figure. Bob's point isn't exactly hard to follow: that 11.5 figure is horrific enough, but certain people nevertheless feel the need to try to fudge it up to a much higher number.

      Just because you're functionally illiterate does not mean Bob is minimizing the frequency of rape in our society.

    4. "Shouldn’t we trust the CDC and the JABFM in their judgments about such taxonomies? Actually no, we shouldn’t. Our world is full of dysfunctional “experts.” By now, they may even have a few at those exalted locales."

      Bob's own words. Now tell me how he is NOT minimizing the frequency of rape in our society to the point of suggesting that the people who produce the statistics are "dysfunctional."

    5. Exploitation of the mentally ill in order to advance an argument is not only reprehensible, it is an example of poor argumentation.

    6. Matt? Some people who aren't functionally illiterate might consider "rape" and "attempted rape" equally horrific.

      But I am sure that you would comfort your daughter if she should ever be the victim of a mere "attempted rape" by saying, "There there. It wasn't so bad. Don't make it out to be more than it was."

      And here is the sad thing. The only person here attempting to conflate and inflate the two numbers, reported quite clearly and separately, is Somerby.

    7. How you comfort someone has an influence on coping. Becoming hysterical is unhelpful.

    8. Did I say become hysterical?

    9. Do some of you really think that rape is no worse than attempted rape?

      How about murder? Is attempted murder as bad as murder?

    10. There you go, playing the "as bad as" game along with Bob.

      I happen to think that murder and attempted murder are both horrific crimes. Just as I think rape and attempted rape are both horrific crimes.

      And I find the effort to quantify the degree of horrificness is both simple-minded and callous.

    11. Anonymous @2:41P,

      You said something dumb, and I ridiculed you for it. OK, so maybe that makes me a bad person, but why pretend that I'm engaging in some abstruse hermeneutical interpretation? "Only" doesn't mean only one thing. It means something in context, here "no more than." You can decide that TDH meant "merely," but then you have to ignore his statement that "To us, that 11.5 percent statistic represents a full-blown nightmare all by itself."

    12. Okay, I've had all I can stands and I can stands no more.

      Bob seems to be going from A directly to Z without filling in the rest of the alphabet.

      Since when has the CDC been a liberal or progressive organization? Statistics compiled by the CDC were reported accurately. But this seems to send Bob into another tailspin, equating this to what "Rush and Sean" do on a daily basis, which is straight flat out lying.

    13. Back in the 70's when the environmental movement was legitimately complaining about use of pesticides and the impact of development on endangered species, they inflated and manufactured statistics that exaggerated their case. In doing so, they lost credibility and the support of sympathetic experts who understood their data but were troubled by the mistakes.

      Progressives make the same mistake today when they play games with the data to make an already strong case appear stronger. Those who understand the data will be put off by the exaggeration, as Somerby obviously is. You want to invest your energy fighting for a defensible cause, not one whose stats are an embarrassment, even when the cause is real.

      Somerby argues that we shouldn't do this to ourselves. Having seen this happen before, I agree with him.

    14. So if I say that nearly 20 percent of women are the victims of sexual violence, and Bob says, "Yeah, but only 11.5 percent of them are actually raped," I'm the one playing with statistics.

    15. Not only that, but Bob looks at those statistics then wonders if there are "dysfunctional experts" behind them. Without all the bother of producing a single shred of evidence.

    16. "Somerby argues that we shouldn't do this to ourselves."

      Who is this "we" you refer to?
      I am a card carrying member of the Progress/Liberal Association and am on the Manufactured and Exaggerated Social Statistics Committee, and I never got the memo to instruct the CDC on this issue.

      Please clarify.

    17. Are your initials D.T.?

  5. Only a hopeless fool thinks it's only "feminists" who are against rape and violence towards women.


  6. "We’re not sure this sort of thing advances progressive interests."

    Well, I'm not sure that Blow wrote his column to "advance progressive interests". Perhaps he had a higher purpose in mind, Bob.

    Did that thought ever occur to you, defender that you are of all that is in "progressive interests."

  7. What do you expect from a guy whose Daddy ran the 20th century equivalent of a Gentlemen's Club?

  8. "Defender" of progressive interests? Seems to us Anon. @ 1:10 that BOB thinks of himself as the "definer" of progressive interests.

    Just a few posts back he wrote that a woman's appearance on a lowly rated cable news opinion show discussing an incident involving a pro football player was "eternally destructive of progressive interests."

    Eternally destructive?

    Call in Barry McGuire. (Google it if you aren't Boomer BOB's oily old age.)

    1. You say definer, I say defender. And we are both right. Bob will only defend the "progressive interests" he defines.

      But then again, we both could be wrong. There may not be a principled bone in Bob's body. He may care no more for "progressive interests" than he cared for Pavlov's lap dog.

      In fact, the way Bob flits from issue du jour to issue du jour and winds up saying the same things about the same people tells me that he is not only without core principles, but he's damned dumb and boring to boot.

    2. Pavlov got rid of his lap dogs because they drooled on his pants when the doorbell rang. It only had to happen a couple of times before Ivan Petrovich wised up and banished the dogs to the floor.

      You find TDH repetitive, without core principles, dumb, and boring. What are you doing here, and when are you going to wise up and follow Pavlov's example?

    3. As articulate and comprehensive a Matt in the Crown comment as there has been in quite some time despite the raging repetitiveness of its theme.

    4. Here's a question for Matt and deadrat.

      If you are so offended by opinions contrary to those of your leader, why bother clicking on the combox at all? Why not just soak in Somerby's brilliance and move on?

      And even if you are compelled to tell our blogger how brilliant he is, why bother reading anything else?

      You certainly wouldn't be trolling for attention by willingly engaging in the back and forth, would you?

      Or do you consider adding "mental disorder" to your list of insults is making a solid contribution to the reasoned discourse your leader so desperately pays lip service to wanting?

    5. Anonymous @2:44P,

      Sorry, but I don't believe you're here to read my pithy and pellucid contributions to the discussions. I base that on your trollish reaction that TDH must be my hero.

      You don't owe me an explanation. How could I possibly force you to give me one? I just asked a simple question because I don't understand why you or anyone else would voluntarily spend time reading things they find repetitive, boring, dumb, and dishonest. I'll take "Kiss my ass" as an admission that you either don't have a good answer or don't have one you want to share."

      Fine. It was just a question.

    6. Anonymous @3:35P,

      What makes you think I'm offended by contrary opinions I find here? I'm not even offended by abusive blowhards like Hieronymous Braintree or incorrigible ignoramuses like David in Cal. There are people who can offend me, but I assure you none of them posts online to blogs.

      Nothing I've written tells TDH how brilliant he is. Why would I address anything I write to TDH? I don't believe he reads his commentariat. And I have no idea why you think my comments dictate what else I read. What's that about?

      I enjoy most of what TDH writes even when I disagree with him. I skip the entries that don't interest me. I respond to those comments that interest me, mostly because i love the sound of my own voice. I skip the threads that don't interest me. I'll leave the diagnoses to Matt, but what kind of person reads stuff he hates and then whines about how bad and boring it is? Doesn't that seem odd to you? I ask these people out of idle curiosity. All I ever get is "Kiss my ass." Doesn't that seem odd as well?

    7. It would seem for the most part, that you find very little offensive.

    8. Me, Anonymous @1:10P? I find very little offensive in blog comments here, partly because I have a high threshold of pain and party because they're blog comments.

    9. Then you are to be admired rather than scorned.

  9. ". . . for example, with that “77 cents on the dollar” statistic."

    And why does this suddenly make it's appearance. Tell me, Bob, is there any "progressive" issue that involves women that you find credible and worth pursuing?

    1. Psst! The answer to your question is the last word in your quote.

    2. I can't think of a single issue in "progressive" interests that Bob has ever "pursued."

      Oh, I forgot. He bitched for a week that Meredith Vieira lives in a very nice home.

    3. It makes its appearance because the post is about needlessly inflated statistics -- this is an example of another one.

    4. It is inflated at all. It is a statistical fact.

      The only thing that is inflated is the balloon Bob tries to blow up to pop in which he states that every person who cites that fact also says it is entirely due to gender discrimination, which no one is saying.

      But what people are saying is that even if you account for occupational choices (which also have an element of gender discrimination in them) and child-bearing and rearing, there is still quite a bit of gender discrimination in the FACT that there is such a large pay gap between men and women.

      But like he did with D'Leisha and Tuscaloosa, saying that a little bit of re-segregation isn't such a bad thing, and besides we've already done everything we could about it 50 years ago, a little bit of gender discrimination on the job isn't so bad either.

      It's the only way he can turn Rachel Maddow not only into a liar on this issue, but also into an enemy of "real progressive interests" by bringing up a statistic that is absolutely true.

    5. Oh, want the answer to why "77 percent" suddenly popped up in a post about rape?

      Because Bob doesn't give a shit about women.

    6. It's a dirty little secret. Just like progressives really don't like average people.

    7. Anonymous @3:01P

      Is it really so hard to be honest about what TDH writes? He didn't say that resegregation isn't such a bad thing. He said that today's resegregation isn't the same as the original, that the legal tools employed against the latter won't work with the former, and that the demographics of many public school systems won't admit of racial balance.

    8. "Is it really so hard to be honest about what TDH writes?"

      Good question to ask yourself as you once again strain to explain what Somerby actually meant as opposed to what he actually wrote.

      Again, what would he do without you?

    9. "He said that today's resegregation isn't the same as the original, that the legal tools employed against the latter won't work with the former, and that the demographics of many public school systems won't admit of racial balance."

      Let's see. Hannah-Jones wrote an article about how quickly a school district re-segregrated after they were freed from the "legal tools" that succeeded in bringing about desegregation.

      So Bob concludes that "legal tools" won't work.


    10. Oversimplification of the reasons for resegregation. Somerby suggested that it might be easier to address learning problems within the existing schools rather than waiting for desegregation. How can that be controversial? It is common sense. If you think he called for continued segregation, you cannot read.

    11. Gee, and all this time I thought Somerby's conclusion was to move to Paris and teach your five-year-old Croatian.

      Actually, the notion that "separate, but equal" was possible even in theory was knocked down quite eloquently 60 years ago by Earl Warren and the Supreme Court.

      In practice? "Separate" never means "equal."

    12. Paris was but one side trip we took during the long Tour de Tuscaloosa when we struggled to find the real reason that D'Leisha couldn't get into the college she had gotten into. On scholarship.

    13. Where are the trolls?
      There ought to be trolls.

      Troll alert: whenever anybody points out the obvious -- here that TDH has not dismissed rape statistics as insignificant -- trolls will jump in to claim that person is making up far-fetched interpretations.

      Where would TDH be without me? The same place he would be without trolls.

      Don't worry, they're here.

    14. Anonymous @9:46,

      Who do you think released the districts from desegregation orders? Here, I'll help you. It was the federal courts. Do you suppose those courts are now available as they were fifty years ago to reimpose those orders? For extra credit, consider the possibility in light of the Supreme Court's decision in Shelby County v. Holder.

      Did you just miss the point about demographics? Or were you sleepwalking while reading TDH just as you evidently were when writing your comment? There just aren't enough white students to go around in many resegregated districts, and attempts to move students around (aka busing) in places like Tuscaloosa will likely make those numbers worse.

    15. Anonymous @10:42A,

      I tend to agree with you that separate means unequal. But the Warren Court's proposition is that legally-mandated separation can never be equal.

    16. There is a similar notion in divorce law that presumes equitable division of community property rather than a presumption of equal division of community property, unless equal division is equitable.

  10. OMB (How to Think with Your (Very) Rough Thumb with the OTB)

    "We have our own foolish statistics now, as they always did. Example: We cling to our “77 cents on the dollar” statistic, even though we know it’s grossly misleading.

    (Back in 2012, Rachel pretty much lied in defense of that statistic. Does anyone doubt that she did?)" BOB

    Yes BOB. Our whole planet, and most of yours, doubts Rachel lied in defense of that statistic. And it is not "grossly" misleading. It is a simple statistical truth.

    We think it has been pretty well demonstrated that you have repeatedly lied in every post in which you have discussed Rachel Maddow and the 77 cent statistic.

    We think virtually ever technique you have ever deplored in your discussions of the media were utilized by you in your posts on this topic.

    We think you have zero credibility on this issue because you have screws loose and wires hanging out of your ears regarding Maddow.

    We know for a fact you never discussed the statistic before you attacked Maddow on it in 2012, including when it was an element of Albert Gore Jr.'s campaign for President. And we are sad to see you suggest now, indirectly, that there was at least one thing he exaggerated in that campaign. In your opinion.

    1. And speaking of (very) rough rules of thumb and Somerby, you can have professionals in the field write a peer-reviewed study citing Somerby as a dumbass for the way he misused a particular "rule of thumb" and he will continue, years later, to cite it.

    2. Did you bother to read the peer-reviewed warning for yourself?

    3. @ 2:32 the study did not cite Somerby as a dumbass for his rule of thumb. They credited Somerby's use of it for in part provoking their study. They only concluded anyone was a dumbass for continuing to use it if it could not be proven that it was a rule which was accurate or one pulled out of one's ass by a dumbass. To date it has not been proven accurate.

    4. Yes, I read the study and your take on it is wrong by only 180 degrees or so.

      What they said, much more professionally and politely, is "We have to take our valuable time to research and write this paper because too many dumbasses are citing "a rough rule of thumb" about NAEP test results that the tests were never designed to measure. And we'll pick on the dumbest ass among them by name -- Bob Somerby."

    5. Bob lied about Rachel. No way to dance around that on your toes or your thumbs.

    6. With all the things there are to lie about in this world, why would he pick this one?

    7. I only ask because I can't find the word "dumbass" in the study, even if I read between the lines.

    8. From the NAEP study:

      “One year’s growth is (approximately) x NAEP scale points”

      An example of the use of this kind of score interpretation appeared in a blog called “The Daily Howler” by Bob Somerby on April 7, 2010 the context of a commentary about a Washington Post editorial on the 2009 NAEP reading results.
      (S)tatements of the form of... (“One year’s growth is (approximately) x NAEP scale points,” are potentially much less demanding of validity evidence. To obtain appropriate evidence, “all” that is required is the administration of the same test at adjacent grades, and computation of the empirical value of “one year’s growth” as the difference between the average scale scores. The “all” is in quotes because data collection to assemble this evidence would be very expensive in a complex national survey such as NAEP, and it would be made even more expensive if questions were raised about conditioning “one year’s growth” on demographic characteristics or score levels.

      If “one year’s growth” is to be useful as a value that makes points on the score scale more meaningful, it would be useful to know if the empirical average value of “one year’s growth” is very different for students at different levels of the score scale or from different demographic backgrounds. Because values for “one year’s growth” are not currently available, the answers to these questions are unknown.
      This all suggests that, for reading, one year’s growth may be fairly uniform across students, with a few unsurprising exceptions. What the results might be for mathematics is less clear:....

      If a(n expensive) special study is done to estimate “one year’s growth” on the NAEP scale, how often would it have to be repeated to remain accurate? This is much the same question that arises when other assessments are linked with NAEP, and the answer is probably the same: not every administration, but reasonably often.

      Validity evidence can and should be assembled to support, and make more precise, interpretive statements of the first kind (“one year’s growth”). “How many NAEP scale points is one year’s growth?” is a question users of the scores can sensibly ask; there should be an answer. It is not difficult to obtain the answer; it is merely expensive."

      Using Bob's rough rule of metaphorical language, the study seems to conclude applying an unknown point scale to argue it means an unknown acheivement level without regular and expensive studies is the work of a dumbass.

    9. This kind of validation would be necessary if you wanted a more precise translation of points into achievement per year. No one needs that for the kinds of discussion conducted by the general public. So the word "roughly" is sufficient to describe the lack of precision involved. The only dumbass is the person who insists no rough estimate can be used in non-technical discussions without a validation study. The authors of the paper are not saying that. Only KZ is. So that makes KZ the dumbass.

    10. According to the NAEP Validation panel study, you might make a rough estimate for reading but you can't say how many points it entails. It may vary by grade. And you can't compare ethnic groups using it. And the scale is different for math than reading.

      But for BOB, 10 points is his univeral NAEP"one year" measurement, regardless of the test subject, regardless of the grade, and to compare black kids to white kids. As long as you say "rough" most of the time. In the next post he pulls 35 points out of his dumb ass to use as a "rough rule of thumb on PISA."

      You are right that can use any rough rule of thumb you want in a non technical discussion. For our purposes your comment, in light of the evidence, indicates you are dumber than half a box of rocks and a quarter sack of hammers. Is that rough enough for your non technical comprehension.?

    11. No one cares about this. Calling people dumb changes nothing but makes you look more foolish. You are wrong about this and are pursuing this only to attack Somerby. It is pathetic. Please stop cluttering up the comments with this nonsense.

    12. Boo hoo. Yes, no one can accuse Somerby of violating the very principles he claims to stand for. He's so defenseless.

    13. Why must you keep saying the same old crap over and over. What do you imagine you are accomplishing with this?

    14. "Why must you keep saying the same old crap over and over. What do you imagine you are accomplishing with this?"

      Hey, you shouldn't talk about Somerby that way. His tribe gets all upset and stompy-foot, and they'll demand that you leave.

    15. Hahahaha, you are so funny with your hilarious turn of the table. I am laughing now all day long.

  11. Why the Daily Howler is incomparable: I couldn't frame the issue any better.

  12. It's estimated that unreported deaths from liposuction centers now exceed the number of people who die in car accidents. Think about that.

  13. About the only thing true in this post is its headline.

  14. By the way, if you think that Somerby truly thinks that 11.5 percent of women being the victims of foricible penetration is a "nightmare", look at how quickly he tries to dismiss that statistic as a lie:

    "Shouldn’t we trust the CDC and the JABFM in their judgments about such taxonomies? Actually no, we shouldn’t. Our world is full of dysfunctional “experts.” By now, they may even have a few at those exalted locales."


    1. You need to look up the word "taxonomy."

    2. Exploiting a horrible situation in order to advance a narrative is inappropriate whether it is the media or a media critic. The same goes for such exploitation to support a personal vendetta against someone.

  15. Little off topic, did anybody see this story just about blow out CBS News the other night? First the teaser promised a story on if the league, or maybe the world in general, had been too tough on Rice.
    Then the commercial seemed to go on too long and the they picked up a story already started with Jim Brown (the other one) doing a lame interview with someone or another. Then they came back to Paley, who lost his monitor feed and had to cop to the fact that the computers were going down.

    1. On Al Sharpton's show callers are claiming this is a white feminist plot to vilify black men and distract attention from what is happening in Ferguson. Hard to see how attitudes about domestic violence will change in the black community when raising the issue is perceived as racist.

    2. And I am sure that is the prevailing opinion among all the callers to Sharpton's show.

    3. They don't do polls on call-in shows, but three callers in a row said this stuff. I also heard a similar discussion yesterday morning about whether physical punishment was part of Southern black culture and whether intervention in parenting by authorities was racist or not, on that basis. This IS how some black media are covering these NFL-related issues.

    4. People of all races can wear the tinfoil hat, 6:24. Hard to see how that really changes attitudes or prevents changes in attitude.

    5. It certainly does for the people holding such attitudes. Imagine how difficult it might be to benefit from counseling if you believed that white therapists just don't understand that a black man is expected to control his woman. White people don't want to see the racial aspects of these NFL problems, but black people are talking about them.

    6. So you take three callers to a phone-in show and extrapolate from that how "black media" is covering this issue.

      Well, excuse me if I also suspect you are misrepresenting what those three callers said, heard what you wanted to hear, then rushed to the blog to report your stunning conclusion.

    7. Nyah, nyah nyah I can't hear you -- I have fingers in my ears. This is yet another issue where there are large differences of opinion along racial lines. If you don't want
      to visit black media for yourself, look at what Charles Barkley said a few days ago -- it is at Huffpo.

    8. Yes, whenever I want to know what "black America" is thinking, I always turn to Charles Barkley.

    9. Go listen and read what is being said. You don't have to take my word for it.

    10. I certainly won't take your word for it.

      After all, you think you got black America pegged because of three callers to a radio show and Charles Barkley.

    11. You said that, not me.

  16. OMB (We Liberals Must Insist Just Like the OTB)

    "In our view, liberals and progressives should insist on accurate numbers whose meanings are clearly defined." BOB

    We insist. Stop using your false rules of thumb, no matter how you modify them with disclaimers, which equate test scores differences with years of educational attainment.

    Or stop laying down hypocritical bullshit like the quote above in one post right before one where you use the same sloppy false "rule of thumb", this time on PISA instead of NAEP.

    We're talking to you BOB. Can we listen?

    1. You stand alone on this one. No one else is calling for this here. One lonely schizophrenic voice in the wilderness.

    2. No he doesn't. And please don't think you speak for anyone but yourself.

      Bob fudges and cherry-picks statistics while accusing his favored few targets of fudging and cherry-picking statistics.

      Bob calls his chosen few vile names while accusing his favored targets of calling vile names.

      Bob applies the worst possible motives to his chosen few while lecturing against applying the worst possible motives to those we disagree with.

      Bob constantly accuses others of destroying "progressive values" without even articulating a single progressive value he would steadfastly defend.

      Face it. This blog is about none of the above. It's about reacting in knee-jerk fashion against whatever his few chosen targets write or say in the WaPO, NYT or MSNBC.

      And that's all it is.

    3. KZ speaks for no one but himself but says "we". No one supports his position here. You are not a distinct troll nut KZ again using the Anonymous label.

      KZ, take your meds, go out and walk in the sunshine, bit leave us alone and stop this garbage that clutters up the comments.

    4. Bob also speaks for no one but himself but says "we" quite often.

      Speaking of the old worn-out Internet insult of "take your meds," that could also apply to a person who has deluded himself into believing the entire world agrees with him and his hero, except for one person, and that he is the spokesperson for what everybody believes.

    5. Pathetic! Who do you see agreeing with you here? You comment on your own posts. Deadrat defends your right to comment but supports nothing you day. Others ignore you or laugh at you. You are a waste of space. Go do something productive, elsewhere. I don't know or care why you hate Somerby but you are bothering a bunch of innocent bystanders with your constant harassment of this comment section. Behave like a real person or go away.

    6. OK, let's play your game.

      There is only one person on the face of the earth who doesn't think that Somerby is a total nincompoop. And that would be deadrat.

      And everybody else agreeing anonymously is merely a sockpuppet for deadrat.

      See how easy that is? Doesn't require much thought or effort at all.

    7. Except as you and I both know, you write all the positive responses to your posts while I know exactly which other posts I am writing here.

    8. "Deadrat defends your right to comment but supports nothing you day (sic)."

      No, deadrat, like you, is trouble by the very presence of opinions other than his own. That's why, every single time he and his hero get blown out of the water, he resorts to your "Why are you here?" argument.

    9. Which you never answer. No one wants you here. Go away.

    10. Wrong again. I answer it every time. You just don't like the answer.

    11. Your response evades the question, every time.

    12. I'd like to interject: I am not 10:53, and I am not KZ, but I welcome and tend to agree with their criticisms of Somerby and his tribe. This crap about "why are you here?" and "go away, troll" is whiny and in no way substantive. The "no one agrees with you" stuff is just flat wrong.

    13. Anonymous @10:53A,

      Please stop telling me what I think, not least because you're not very good at it. I'm on record as opposing the occasional calls for TDH to moderate the commentary so as to block commenters like KZ. I don't even mind when KZ posts his comments on casting spells.

      You're also not very good at figuring out what I write. The only time I ever ask people why they're here, is when they post comments saying how bad, boring, and useless this blog is. I respond in kind to the substantive comments even by abusive blowhards like Hieronymous Braintree and incorrigible ignoramuses like David in Cal. I don't talk to KZ much, but that's only because most of the time I can't follow the line from the Galaxy Schizophrenia.

      Troll alert: "TDH is my hero." Even that bit of bit of intellectual laziness on your part doesn't "trouble" me.

      I figure that people who post substantive comments here have reasons to do so at least as good as my own. I just don't understand why someone would voluntarily read, let alone take the time to comment on, something so bad and boring. So I ask.

      The only answer I ever get is "kiss my ass." Go figure.

    14. Anonymous @1:37P who's in no way Anonymous @10:53 or KZ,

      I'm impressed that you can follow the static from the Galaxy Schizophrenia so as to be able to figure out whether to agree with it or not. You're either smarter than I or crazier than KZ. The bar isn't as high for the former as the latter.

      I agree that telling trolls to go away isn't substantive, but that's not why I disagree with it. Much of trollery itself isn't substantive, but censorship is usually a bad idea.

      Asking why people are here isn't substantive either, but doesn't it strike you as odd that people voluntarily spend time reading what they judge to be a bad, boring, dishonest, and useless blog and then take more time to comment that it's bad, boring, dishonest, and useless and nothing else?

      I do. So I ask, that's all.

    15. The blog and the combox are, after all, entertainment. So, why not?

    16. I find "bad, boring, dishonest, and useless" a strange characterization of entertainment. But maybe that's just me.

    17. Yes, maybe it is.

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