Following up on my last post, Greg Sargent at the Washington Post links to a Politico article on Wall Street donors threatening to pull funds from Democrats who come out in support of Occupy Wall Street. Hard to imagine something similar happening with the Republicans and the Tea Party.
“Wall Street protests present political dilemma,” reads the title of an Associated Press article in the Boston Globe. Here’s the leadin:
WASHINGTON—Democrats and Republicans alike are struggling to make sense of the Wall Street protests and figure out how to respond to the growing nationwide movement a month after young people pitched a tent in front of the New York Stock Exchange and began demonstrating against economic inequality.
The political establishment’s quandary centers on this question: Will the protests have long-lasting political consequences or are they simply a temporary reflection of voter frustration with the economy?
That would be an interesting problem to think about: given that politicians have to respond to voters in order to be re-elected, then they have to decide whether a protest is about real policy issues or just the state of the economy.
There’s a big assumption there, however, which is that either party really cares about the protesters in the first place. I think if you think back to the Tea Party protests, there wasn’t really any issue about how to interpret them. The Republicans simply pointed to them repeatedly and said it proved the public was on their side (citation needed). It didn’t really matter that the Tea Party demands were no less concrete than those being expressed now. Contrast that with how the Democrats are(n’t) reacting to these more recent protests.
Nate Silver has an interesting post attempting to quantify media attention to the recent Occupy Wall Street protests. His method involves adjusting for “false positives” by subtracting news hits for the same search terms a year earlier (when there was no OWS movement). He does two additional things besides simply count: he argues that clashes with the police have caused an increase in coverage of the protests; and he compares overage of OWS to the Tea Party.
So why isn’t there an app for this sort of thing?
What parents really need is greater clarity about the safety margins. Otherwise, it’s only a matter of time before trust between parents and the parenting experts erodes, and parents simply reclaim reason and common sense as their guidepost for interpreting risk.
Jacoby is correct that alarmism is not science. Data are the currency of science. The data are interpreted in electromagnetism, planetary motion, molecular biology, in all of science. What is done in climate science is exactly what is done in these other areas: Data speak through models guided by theories. Climate models’ statistical predictions provide cause for concern for the earth’s future.
From a letter to the editor here.