frankilin roosevelt

It's not about being liberal or conservative anymore y'all. That is a hype offered by the fascist whores who want to confuse the people with lies while they turn this country into an aristocratic police state. Some people will say anything to attain power and money. There is no such thing as the Liberal Media, but the Corporate media is very real.



Check out my old  Voice of the People page.


Gino Napoli
San Francisco, California
High School Math Teacher

jonsdarc@mindspring.com




Loyalty without truth
is a trail to tyranny.

a middle-aged
George Washington



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Thursday, 30 October 2008 at 19h 1m 42s

Small samples and the cluster effect

From the Houston Chronicle: UT poll ... finds 23% of Texans think Obama is Muslim.

Definitely these 23% are ignorant -- which is completely due to the pathetic Texas School system : the void filled in by 24-7 commercial television. If you got your ed'ucation from TV, imagine the boundaries of your global and historical understanding.

But here is what is potentially wrong with this poll.

For starters, the "poll" of 550 votes itself doesn't really tell us much, because it's statewide, and with that small a sample, it would be tough to correlate the ignorance with the location or type. It is very possible that the percent of those who believe could be higher in different parts of the state. This poll is really limited to a macro-perspective.

It would also be interesting to know how the poll samples were collected. "A statewise survey of 550 registered voters" means what? Did they make phone calls? Did they interview voters? Did they have the voters fill out forms? All we know is that the poll was conducted from Oct 15 to 22. Did they make phone calls at specific time intervals, or during specific times? Were the phone numbers from land-lines or were the calls random numbers? How many non-responses were there?

Most importantly: Did they do a stratified organizing of the sample to ensure the ratios of the various groups are correctly proportional? If the percentages in the poll increase or decrease in certain ares, care must be taken that the ratio of the samples are as close as possible to what they are in the larger population. All sample gathering and analysis techniques must use a known proportion from the larger population (called a parameter) to base the sample analysis on.

You can't just take the first 550 people who respond to your call and call it a day because Clustering is quite possible and potentially influential with such a small sample. Anything less than 1% has the potential to be affected by clusters sort of like the first 500 flips of a coin : it is more probable that you will not have exactly 250 heads and 250 tails, and there will be runs of 5 to 6 similar tosses and maybe 10 straight (or more) during the 500 tosses. The problem of clusters in a small sample is that you might get 10 such events that aren't balanced because the nature of chance the order of events can never be guaranteed.

In order to decrease the potential bias due to the cluster effect all good statisticians must pair the samples to actual ratios that exist in the larger population. If 20% of Texas live in the panhandle, 60% live in East Texas, and 30% live in the south by Galveston, then the ratios of location should exist in the survey. So if you want a sample size of 600, you take 60%, 20%, and 30% of the 600 to get the numbers you need from each region (360, 120, & 180).

There are two ways to do a survey that wants to mitigate the cluster effect:

1) Know what the numbers you have to have and keep doing the survey until all the numbers you need are reached. You will probably have more than you need in some of the categories, so randomly remove samples until you reach the correct number.

2) Make calls to each region and stop when you get the required count. In this method the entire region is put into groups and a certain number of random calls go to each region until the number from each group is reached.

----

It is not clear whether the University of Texas poll did any of these things.

By the way, the so-called margin of error is just 3 times some number called the standard error. Divide the 4.2 by 3 and you get 1.4. This is the average distance from the mean for all of the samples. Squaring 1.4 equals 1.96, which is the average sum of squares of the differences between the average and the samples. Multiplying by 550 is 1078, and now taking the square root you finally get the important number : 32.83. (Trust me if you don't understand).

32.83% (or .3283) is the sample standard deviation. Notice that 3 times this number is damn close to one. This essentially means that anything between 0 and 1 is possible. The average of the numbers between 1 (yes) and 0 (no) is 0.23, with the average distance from 1 and 0 (representing all the people who answered yes or no) being represented by the important number .3283.

Now, since the two numbers subtracted from 0.23 are either one (yes) or zero(no), we are actually just adding a bunch of squared 0.23 and 0.77 values. The square root of this sum after being divided by 549 is .3283. The ratios here are 18% and 82% (.3283- .23 divided by .77-.23).

This means that we should expect clustering within the population anywhere between 18% and 82%, with the average being 32.83% not 23%.

Most of these surveys really aren't worth their namesakes. Did you realize "a margin of error of 4.2%" actually means the sample has a high potential for bias due to clustering?


Tuesday, 28 October 2008 at 18h 41m 12s

Marxism? Socialism?

Socialism
a political and economic theory of social organization that advocates that the means of production, distribution, and exchange should be owned or regulated by the community as a whole.

Marxism
Central to Marxist theory is an explanation of social change in terms of economic factors, according to which the means of production provide the economic base, which influences or determines the political and ideological superstructure. Marx and Engels predicted the revolutionary overthrow of capitalism by the proletariat and the eventual attainment of a classless communist society.

Communism
a political theory derived from Karl Marx, advocating class war and leading to a society in which all property is publicly owned and each person works and is paid according to their abilities and needs.

Obama's tax adjustment policy
giving the middle class a tax break.

Rearranging the manner in which government tax revenues is collected is not socialist, marxism, communism, or any other speculative far leftist-extremist conjecture by the idiots that tout this nonsense. The method by which the tax is collected is a legitimate basis for discussion and exchange of ideas. Businesses don't get owned by the government just because the tax rates are readjusted to give a tax break to those who earn less than $250,000 a year. Asking multimillionaires to cough up an extra 50 thousand is as much of a burden as asking someone who makes $30,000 a year an extra $30. Get real. Less than two per cent of the nation makes more than $250,000.

This is the last pathetic attempt by elitists and corporatist lackeys to distinguish themselves from modern discerning adults who know the difference between adjusting the tax codes and public ownership of all economic enterprises. This rhetoric is ridiculous and so narrow-minded, it is damn near insulting to have to hear it by others who claim to be authentic and without a hidden agenda. Ah, me, the foxes and wolves always protest to have the best intentions.

The Republican campaign strategy is to bring out fake pretenders named Joe-American while using the scare tactics of old-world red scare nonsense, because they have no governing principle other than win at all cost. If they somehow win, they will install their lobbyist friends network all throughout the government, rather than pick the best, most knowledgeable, and most qualified for the positions.

It would be an extension of the Bush Disaster, only worse.


Tuesday, 28 October 2008 at 19h 8m 2s

Economics in 14 words

les investissements d'aujourd'hui sont les profits de demain et les emplois d'après-demain -- Christian Schmidt

"The investments of today are the profits of yesterday and the employment of tomorrow."


Tuesday, 28 October 2008 at 18h 4m 3s

Chuck Hagel

Senator Chuck Hagel is a Senator from Nebraska.

Hagel’s unwillingness to endorse McCain is generally perceived to be a result of their ongoing disagreements over the Iraq war. But he told me that the gulf between them is much deeper: “In good conscience, I could not enthusiastically—honestly—go out and endorse him and support him when we so fundamentally disagree on the future course of our foreign policy and our role in the world.”

[...]

Hagel, citing McCain’s repeated calls for Russia to be expelled from the Group of Eight, the association of major industrial democracies, said, “You’re not going to isolate Russia—that’s completely crazy!” He told me that McCain’s approach to Russia was one of the reasons that he could not endorse him.

McCain has often spoken about his desire to create a League of Democracies. Discussing Iran during the first Presidential debate, he said, “Let’s be clear and let’s have some straight talk. The Russians are preventing significant action in the United Nations Security Council. I have proposed a League of Democracies, a group . . . of countries that share common interests, common values, common ideals. They also control a lot of the world’s economic power. We could impose significant, meaningful, painful sanctions on the Iranians.” He concluded, “So I am convinced that together we can, with the French, with the British, with the Germans and other countries—democracies around the world—we can affect Iranian behavior.”

Critics have suggested that McCain’s League of Democracies could diminish the role of the United Nations. When I mentioned this to Hagel, he said, “What is the point of the United Nations? The whole point, as anyone who has taken any history knows, was to bring all nations of the world together in some kind of imperfect body, a forum that allows all governments of the world, regardless of what kinds of government, to work through their problems—versus attacking each other and going to war. Now, in John’s League of Democracies, does that mean Saudi Arabia is out? Does that mean our friend King Abdullah in Jordan is out? It would be only democracies. Well, we’ve got a lot of allies and relationships that are pretty important to us, and to our interests, who would be out of that club. And the way John would probably see China and Russia, they wouldn’t be in it, either. So it would be an interesting Book-of-the-Month Club.

“But in order to solve problems you’ve got to have all the players at the table,” Hagel went on, his voice rising. “How are you going to fix the problems in Pakistan, Afghanistan—the problems we’ve got with poverty, proliferation, terrorism, wars—when the largest segments of society in the world today are not at the table?” He paused, then added, more calmly, “The United Nations, as I’ve said many times, is imperfect. We’ve got NATO, multilateral institutions, multilateral-development banks, the World Trade Organization—all have flaws, that’s true. But if you didn’t have them what would you have? A world completely out of control, with no structure, no order, no boundaries.”

[...]

McCain has said that an American victory in Iraq will enable the country to become “our stable, democratic ally” against Iran. But Hagel argues that McCain overlooks the reality of Iraq’s relationship with Iran. “We bluster, we threaten, we say we’re not going to engage [Iran],” Hagel said. “Yet our ally, the elected sovereign government of Iraq, is talking to Iran every day. Maliki”—Nouri al- Maliki, the Iraqi Prime Minister—“and most of the Shia government were exiled in Iran. So we’ve got Ahmadinejad”—the President of Iran—“in and out of Baghdad, Maliki in and out of Tehran: that’s going on without our even acknowledging it.” Hagel added that this collaboration should be encouraged, for the sake of stability in Iraq.

“Whether we like it or not, there will be no peace or stability in the Middle East without Iran’s participation,” Hagel said. In early October, he prevented action on a bill, which had passed in the House, proposing economic sanctions against Iran. Hagel has long criticized unilateral sanctions as ineffective and counterproductive. (Howard Berman, the chairman of the House Foreign Affairs Committee and the legislation’s sponsor, told me that he supports unconditional engagement with the Iranians but favors a twofold approach: “You increase the pressure on them, and you offer to engage with them.” He added that although he shares Hagel’s negative appraisal of the Bush Administration’s unilateralism, he thinks that Hagel opposes this kind of action “too sweepingly.”)

The notion of “winning” in Iraq is a “failed way of thinking,” Hagel said. “If we frame this as win or lose, we’ll be there forever.” He added that this logic is equally flawed with respect to Afghanistan. “I agree with Obama that we’re going to have to put several more brigades in there,” he told me. “But there is no military solution, so we have to be very careful that somehow we don’t just ricochet out of Iraq into Afghanistan, with another hundred-and-fifty-thousand-troop buildup.” According to Hagel, confronting the problems of Afghanistan requires an understanding of its internal politics, its narcotics trade, and its endemic corruption, as well as a regional diplomatic approach, involving Pakistan, India, and Iran.

McCain “thinks we just need more military,” Hagel said. “I’ve talked to John about this many times. I’ve said, ‘John, we’re limited. We’re doing tremendous damage to our Army and Marines, we can’t sustain this.’ ”

[...]

Hagel may be the only senior Republican elected official who has publicly criticized McCain’s choice of Governor Sarah Palin as his running mate. “I don’t believe she’s qualified to be President of the United States,” Hagel told me. “The first judgment a potential President makes is who their running mate is—and I don’t think John made a very good selection.” He scoffed at McCain’s attempts to portray her as an experienced politician. “To try to make the excuse that she looks out her window and sees Russia—and that she’s commander of the Alaska National Guard.” He added, “There is no question that this candidate is arguably the thinnest-résumé candidate for Vice-President in the history of America.” Hagel’s criticisms have prompted protests from Republicans, including Senator Orrin Hatch, of Utah, who said in an e-mail statement to me, “Senator Hagel knows that decades of foreign-policy experience in the Senate did not stop countless Democrats and some Republicans from declaring the surge a failure before it started and recommending instead a disastrous policy of withdrawal and retreat in Iraq.”

For Hagel, almost as disturbing as Palin’s lack of experience is her willingness—in disparaging remarks about Joe Biden’s long Senate career, for example—to belittle the notion that experience is important. “There’s no question, she knows her market,” Hagel said. “She knows her audience, and she’s going right after them. And I’ll tell you why that’s dangerous. It’s dangerous because you don’t want to define down the standards in any institution, ever, in life. You want to always strive to define standards up. If you start defining standards down—‘Well, I don’t have a big education, I don’t have experience’—yes, there’s a point to be made that not all the smartest people come out of Yale or Harvard. But to intentionally define down in some kind of wild populism, that those things don’t count in a complicated, dangerous world—that’s dangerous in itself.

“There was a political party in this country called the Know-Nothings,” he continued. “And we’re getting on the fringe of that, with these one-issue voters—pro-choice or pro-life. Important issue, I know that. But, my goodness. The world is blowing up everywhere, and I just don’t think that is a responsible way to see the world, on that one issue.


[SOURCE: Connie Bruck | New Yorker | 3 November 2008]

Watch this guy very closely. He always gets great publicity.

If you haven't done so already, read about Chuck Hagel here.


Monday, 27 October 2008 at 20h 40m 51s

Go Barack Go



I think the election booths are going to be swamped on election day. Barack inspires the people to vote. And now that the internet has made him accessible, everyone really has access. Nowadays even 60-ish years old people are sufficiently functional on the use of internet as an alternative news distributor. This is much different from even 10 years ago.

I recently saw an ad on the atrios blog, "Who would Cheat first?" --- Which political candidate would cheat first on their wife? -- And i'm like, are you kidding me man? Have we metamorphosed backwards in time?

Pssssst. Barack might sleep with some young 20-ish year old hottie before McCain since McCain is 72 years old.

But don't worry Sarah Palin will be waiting in the wings. And she'd be more than happy to distinguish the "real, pro " America from its antithesis, the "fake, anti" America. (Uh? Mrs. Palin. What does that have to do with positions and reasoned exchange about issues of public and foreign policy?) What the hell is "real" vs. "fake" America, anyway ?

Even in my wildest moments of consternation, I have always believed there were three kinds of people. This dates back to the age of twenty when I was still in college at Tulane University. Here is a quote from a journal at the time, September 1990

There are three kinds of people. The evil, the duped, and the tormented. The evil know exactly what they're doing and don't give a damn. The duped are just ignorant tools manipulated by symbols and appeal to patriotism. The tormented live in between, tacking the middle road between cynicism and oblivion, knowing truly what is evil, and all the more, knowing sadly those whom art duped. Most importantly however, it is the tormented, and the tormented alone who see the paths of both transitions, the path to evil as well as the path to oblivion, beyond which there is no return without a paradigm shift of consciousness.

September 1990 -- wow that was back in the middle of the Herbert Walker Bush presidency. I was in college during the first gulf war, and when the invasion of Panama called "getting Manual Norriega" occurred.

I was in college from August 1987 until I graduated in May 1992, which spans the time from the Iran-Contra scandal, through the 1987 stock collapse, and the economic restructuring recession that followed off and on until 1995. The history will eventually reveal the first Bush administration on par with the second.


Saturday, 25 October 2008 at 11h 3m 1s

Looking for fault

This piece in the New York Times is an incredible work of legitimate journalism, not just because I agree with what the author says, but because the author representing all perspectives possible of the issue, and also give relevant non-mischaracterized historical knowledge to enhance the readers knowledge. If only there were more Edmund L. Andrews hired by the newspapers and dailies.

“You had the authority to prevent irresponsible lending practices that led to the subprime mortgage crisis. You were advised to do so by many others,” said Representative Henry A. Waxman of California, chairman of the committee. “Do you feel that your ideology pushed you to make decisions that you wish you had not made?”

Mr. Greenspan conceded: “Yes, I’ve found a flaw. I don’t know how significant or permanent it is. But I’ve been very distressed by that fact.”

On a day that brought more bad news about rising home foreclosures and slumping employment, Mr. Greenspan refused to accept blame for the crisis but acknowledged that his belief in deregulation had been shaken.

He noted that the immense and largely unregulated business of spreading financial risk widely, through the use of exotic financial instruments called derivatives, had gotten out of control and had added to the havoc of today’s crisis. As far back as 1994, Mr. Greenspan staunchly and successfully opposed tougher regulation on derivatives.

But on Thursday, he agreed that the multitrillion-dollar market for credit default swaps, instruments originally created to insure bond investors against the risk of default, needed to be restrained.

“This modern risk-management paradigm held sway for decades,” he said. “The whole intellectual edifice, however, collapsed in the summer of last year.”

Mr. Waxman noted that the Fed chairman had been one of the nation’s leading voices for deregulation, displaying past statements in which Mr. Greenspan had argued that government regulators were no better than markets at imposing discipline.

“Were you wrong?” Mr. Waxman asked.

“Partially,” the former Fed chairman reluctantly answered, before trying to parse his concession as thinly as possible.

[...]

“This crisis,” he told lawmakers, “has turned out to be much broader than anything I could have imagined. It has morphed from one gripped by liquidity restraints to one in which fears of insolvency are now paramount.”

Many Republican lawmakers on the oversight committee tried to blame the mortgage meltdown on the unchecked growth of Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, the giant government-sponsored mortgage-finance companies that were placed in a government conservatorship last month. Republicans have argued that Democratic lawmakers blocked measures to reform the companies.

But Mr. Greenspan, who was first appointed by President Ronald Reagan, placed far more blame on the Wall Street companies that bundled subprime mortgages into pools and sold them as mortgage-backed securities. Global demand for the securities was so high, he said, that Wall Street companies pressured lenders to lower their standards and produce more “paper.”

“The evidence strongly suggests that without the excess demand from securitizers, subprime mortgage originations (undeniably the original source of the crisis) would have been far smaller and defaults accordingly far lower,” he said.


[SOURCE: EDMUND L. ANDREWS | New York Times | 23 October 2008]

Notice how the Republicans immediately try to blame the other guy. This is their typical partisan tactic. Quickly frame the event in a way that enables your group of thugs to mischaracterize the event in such a way that they try to place blame on the opposition group, regardless of the truth.

Fact: Fannie and Freddie were both driven by Republican appointments from the Dubya Bush administration. The "Democrats" didn't block "measures to reform the companies", and even if they did, Freddie and Fannie only added to the crisis by becoming engineered by the Republican appointees to shield the lowering of debt standards engineered by the financiers to produce more "paper" so they could sell it.


Thursday, 23 October 2008 at 18h 19m 41s

$150,000 for Palin's wardrobe

That's right. One hundred and fifty thousand dollars for the VP candidate of the party that preaches fiscal responsibility.

campaign finance reports confirmed that the Republican National Committee spent $75,062 at Neiman Marcus and $49,425 at Saks Fifth Avenue in September for Ms. Palin and her family.

[SOURCE:  | New York Times | 23 October 2008]

Makes the John Edwards $400 haircuts look like loose change.


Thursday, 23 October 2008 at 18h 13m 12s

Conservatives and Republicans who will vote for Obama


Sunday, 19 October 2008 at 9h 52m 17s

Retired General Colin Powell speaks


I have to say that Colin Powell has earned some respect for the way he has handled himself since his 2005 retirement. He has admitted shame for the UN moment when he lied to the world using doctored evidence he knew was "crap" (his own words).


Saturday, 18 October 2008 at 10h 14m 34s

In favor of High Speed Trains

In favor of Raising bonds for constructing 200 mph high speed rail trains up and down the state.

“Sadly, much opposition has come from people who say they like the idea of 220-mph trains zipping up and down the state, but don't think we can afford it right now, in a time of budget disaster and economic crisis.

“That sounds prudent, even reasonable, but it ignores an important fact of American history: Many of our most important public works projects have come in times of deep economic distress -- and they have been crucial elements in our recovery in those times.

“Recall the Great Depression, when voters in the Bay Area passed bonds to build the Golden Gate and Bay bridges -- projects that lightened the impact of the Depression on that region and were critical to the postwar economic boom. Shasta Dam was built during the Depression, and remains a linchpin of the state's water system.”

The closing paragraph of the editorial is a powerful, stirring statement that deserves to be quoted in full:

“The high-speed rail project is immense, and that can be daunting. The current economic situation is likely to get worse before it gets better. In the past, Californians have risen to such challenges with vision and determination. Voting "yes" on Proposition 1A is a declaration that we still possess those qualities, and have not surrendered them to a timid faith in a status quo that is no longer sustainable.”


[SOURCE:  | Fresno Bee editorial | 18 October 2008]

Wow, imagine being in Los Angeles by taking a 4 hour train, or up to Crescent City or Eureka or Lake Tahoo. San Franciscan's would load up their bicycles and make the trip Friday evening at 4pm and be there by 8pm. Rental car services would easily increase. Places connected to the various trains would see an influx of tourist visitation, and people who can ride the train will be able to move quickly across the state, reducing the traffic on the highways and interstates.

I can see this train easily reducing interstate traffic by 10%, but urban traffic probably won't be reduced unless inter-city urban public transit gets a boost. Most people who live in suburbia or in any sprawled out urban area would use an efficient, rapid, inexpensive transit system. The only way to do that is to make the transit lines separated from automobile traffic. That's why the various subways and metro lines in the world work. You can't have a transit system that relies upon buses on the streets.

This should be a Federal project. There are many cities across the United States that would benefit from having rapid transit. Houston and Miami and Memphis and Raleigh and Cleveland and Milwaukee and upstate New York, and so on. Interconnecting the various cities into a central complex could rival the interstate railroad system that was built in the 1860's. Road congestion everywhere would be reduced and local economies would be enhanced because promoting trains promotes foot traffic which enables people to be closer to their surroundings than they would be when surrounded by their metal comfort zones driving to a destination. Such transportation also reduces the transportation load costs of various small businesses and economic enterprises.

The purpose of government is to do for the nation what no one individual or group of individuals will not, or cannot do. We can't expect the private sector to suddenly have keen insight and raise the enormous amount of sums necessary to create this huge infrastructure. The slim profit margins and the scale of the investment proscribes the limitations of private capital. Private firms can't raise 800 billion to 2 trillion dollars for a project that has a 20 year horizon and a zero profit for the first 10 years. Who is going to pay the insurance premiums and the interest costs for rolling over (refinancing) that amount of money for the time that the construction takes. We are talking 40 billion dollars with a 5% yearly interest rate. Even if the system manages 100 million riders by the 5th year of operation, dividing 40 billion by 100 million is $400 per rider, without including the expenses that have to be covered as well like salaries for the employees, the electric creation costs, and the other expenses. At $400 per rider, the competition with airplanes is too real for private capital to make this investment without larger interest rate assurrance, which adds further costs to the interest load on the system.

This is why public investment by the government is the only way this project can be created. Only government can use the nation's currency as collateral for the funds that will get invested while the project is in the start up phase. The costs of financing the enormous sums of investment money do not have to get passed on to the riders of the system, thus enabling more ridership to occur because the cost of admission can be maintained cheaply.

All you have to do is look at Iraq if you want to see the proof. Outsourcing to the private sector the enormous investments in pursuit of government policy cannot coordinate anything but self-serving drives to make money. Which is fine for small scale, localized, specialized projects, but on anything that requires large coordination across time and space, by using different industries and resources, only the government can be effective, because a private firm will always have to be concerned with earning profits for the investors in the firm, and will thus be confronted with making decisions that are not in the best interest of the overall project. The need to make profits to incentivize investors is inseparable from the operations of any private capital venture.

With a government investment program however, taxes are used to pay the interest on the bonds that are owned by investors. Taxes are not coming from a revenue stream by a private firm who is trying to price its commodity in order to pay financing costs and yield profits to investors. This would be like giving ATT the right to assess a 1% tax on all citizens in say Los Angeles in order to offer you a monthly wireless phone service that they are going to also charge you $30 a month to use. Private firms don't have taxing authority, and so their revenue stream is more fragile than a public bond. For this reason, Bonds are considered very safe investments, and investors world-wide buy them because they are guaranteed a return on their investment.




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