NPR Incompetance? Or Fake News?

2017-11-30

We’re told that professional journalism is special. It is special because journalists are trained to be unbiased and they have editors. Editors are there to make sure that the T’s are crossed, the I’s are dotted, and no glaring factual errors are published.

Well, that’s what we’re told anyway. The reality is that “journalism” is pretty poor these days and it can be hard to tell when something is fake news, sloppy journalism, or just incompetence on display.

Take, for instance a piece on NPR by Yuki Noguchi on sexual harassment where Yuki interviews an Ohio lawyer specializing in sexual harassment. The lawyer, one Randy Freking (No. I’m not making up his name. Maybe NPR did. I think he should sue his parents.), is either a great lawyer trying to pre-bias a jury or he’s pretty incompetent himself. The gold quote is:

“Very few people realize that judges just have this power to toss cases out, despite the fact that the Constitution has a right to a trial by jury,” Freking says. “And for a woman who has been sexually harassed, and been victimized by their employer like that, and then just have that OK’d by some federal judge? It just absolutely rocks your world.”

Okay, why didn’t the Yuki Noguchi, a professional journalist stop him right there? Why didn’t the much vaunted editors at NPR flag the statement as being complete nonsense? Yes, the U.S. Constitution does mention the right to a trial by jury for the defendant – not the plaintiff. I know it probably is every lawyers dream to force every complaint to a jury trial (cha-ching), but one of the jobs that the judge is supposed to do is throw out cases with no merit.

Let’s assume that Freking gets his way and every complaint can only be resolved by a trial by jury, I can file a lawsuit against him for wearing obnoxious ties. He now has to defend himself, in court, in front of a jury on such a specious claim. Like I already said, I don’t know if he is genius or a complete idiot.

On the other hand, in airing this, NPR is no genius.

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How Many Kids Must Die

2017-11-14

ElizabethWarren

I don’t know Elizabeth, how many kids has the abortion industry killed today?  Oh, wait, you want those kids to die.

Googling the number of kids whose hearts stopped each year by gun violence gives you the number 1,300.  But of course, in 2016 there were 1,820 hearts stopped each day by the abortion industry in the United States.  But then again Elizabeth, you want those kids to die.


Cost of Medicare for Everyone

2017-11-13

hospital-dollarThe first side question I have, if Medicare was private insurance, would it quality under Obamacare or would it be one of the insurance plans scuttled?

I started searching the web for how much Medicare brings in versus how much it costs.  The medicare.gov site is painfully useless for finding these types of figures (raised your hand if you’re surprised).

The best information I found was from PBS News Hour of all places (not necessarily noted for being a bastion of conservative thinking).  Since 2014 numbers were the latest available at the time of his writing the article, that is what Phillip Moeller used for his calculations.

Salient points are:

  • $600 billion went into Medicare, $613 billion was paid out.
  • Payroll taxes accounted for only $227 billion (37% of the cost).
  • Premiums accounted for $80 billion (13% of the cost).
  • The remainder $306 billion had to be picked up by Uncle Sam ($613B – $227B – $80B).

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Threats to Life

2017-11-10

After the Las Vegas shooting where Stephen Paddock murdered 58 people, lots of people are coming out wanting to do sensible gun control.  Mind you, even the most ardent anti-gun Nazi Dianne Feinstein admits that no gun control law would have stopped Vegas … but don’t let that stop us from passing more laws.

Frankly, people have absolutely no sense of risk.  Let’s assume that you were standing in the crowd at the Route 91 Harvest Festival with bullets raining down.  What are you most likely to die from:

Cause Odds Probability
Heart Disease 1 in 6 16.67%
Cancer 1 in 7 14.29%
Stroke 1 in 28 3.57%
Land Vehicle Accident 1 in 85 1.18%
Suicide 1 in 115 0.87%
Poisoning or Drug Overdose 1 in 139 0.72%
Falls 1 in 184 0.54%
Exposure to Narcotics 1 in 289 0.35%
Harvest Festival Shooter 1 in 379 0.26%

Of course, the most likely way that a human heart will stop beating is abortion: 19%.


Sous Vide, What I’d Buy Again

2017-11-02

chef-hat-96x91

I already wrote about what sous vide devices I wouldn’t buy, so if I were just starting out again, what would I buy?  I should probably start with a disclaimer:  I have no financial stake in any of the companies or products that I’m going to list here.  I get no kickbacks from the retailers linked to.  And feeling like I have to say such things is why I’m generally loathe to endorse any products or services.

For the sous vide immersion ciruclator, I really like my Anova 900W.  It comes with both Bluetooth and WiFi connectivity which, after dealing with ChefSteps Joule, I avoid like the plague.  Instead I use the easy to reach fly wheel and digital read out on the device itself.  When you first plug it in, there is a three second initialization process before you can set the temperature, but it is fast and easy to set.  Turning it off is even easier (just push the button — and, unlike the Joule, there is no penalty for just pulling the plug).

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Sous Vide, What Not To Buy

2017-10-26

chef-hat-96x91There are plenty of posts telling you  what to buy for sous vide cooking (or what to buy in general), but there doesn’t seem to be enough saying this was a bad idea, don’t buy this.

The first bad idea was the ChefSteps Joule.  It cooks okay, and I have no complaints there.  The problem is that the only way to control the device is through your smart phone or tablet.  The app that controls it is slow, clunky, and bloated.  Since it is the only way to control the Joule, the Joule is slow, clunky, and bloated.  It can easily take a minute of putzing with the app to control the Joule which on other devices takes less than three seconds.

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Chocolate Pot de Creme (Sous Vide)

2017-10-19

chef-hat-96x91Chocolate Pot de Creme is definitely rich, should probably be served with vanilla ice cream, unsweetened whipped cream, and/or berries to help cut the  richness.  In the category of full and honest disclosure, I took the recipe from Anova.

Temp: 162°F
Time:     90 minutes

Ingredients

  • 2 bars (6.3 oz) Green & Black’s Salted Caramel Dark Chocolate (or any 70% cacao dark chocolate)
  • 2 cups heavy whipping cream
  • 7 egg yolks (from large eggs)
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt

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