our own small election season screed to pundits

Dear pundits, when you cite a poll and note a change in that poll, please note the margin of  error and the confidence interval for which that MOE is reported. In most cases, you are simply conveying random noise and using it as the basis of your entire screed.

Thank you,


felt accountability

It kind of sounds like a sewing term doesn’t it? I just ran across this term at Bob Sutton’s website, by way of BoingBoing. Mr. Sutton was blogging about his friend’s daughter who flew alone and was “misplaced” by United. They lost the 10 year old. Continue reading

show me the manual

Bureauphile is a HUGE fan of Carl Malamud. He is pretty great. A fascinating Wired profile a few years ago notes, for example, “Back in 1995, the Securities and Exchange Committee decided to put corporate filings online only after Malamud essentially shamed them into doing so. For two years he operated a free site that published the filings, then abruptly pulled the plug and directed angry users to the SEC.”

He has a new video out explaining why his organization, Public.Resource.Org is purchasing manuals which are incorporated by reference in regulations but are not free to the public and making these documents public. Because these manuals are considered to be law, he feels that these manuals should be freely available to the public.

843,000 gallons

Two years ago, while many Americans were preoccupied with a man-made hole spewing oil into the Gulf of Mexico, another “smaller” but still pretty massive spill was dumping oil in Michigan. Was I the only one who basically missed the 843,000 gallons of tar sands oil gushing into Michigan’s Kalamazoo River? If not, news accounts are here and here. Continue reading