By Kent R. Kroeger (March 31, 2021)
In a previous article I argued it is dangerous making simplistic partisan assumptions about which U.S. states were effective in combating COVID-19 and which ones were not. This is particularly true when the impact of COVID-19 on a state’s economy is also considered.
As Figure 1 (below) demonstrates, states able to protect their economies relatively well while keeping COVID-19 deaths rates relatively low (Quadrant A) included as almost many Red (Trump easily won in 2020) states as Blue (Biden easily won in 2020) and Purple (2020 battleground) states. Conversely, a significant number of…
By Kent R. Kroeger (March 30, 2021)
If there is one thing politicians like to do, it is to brag about their uncanny foresight and leadership skills. Unsurprisingly, the coronavirus pandemic has exposed many of them as far less capable than how they present themselves.
And no politician has been exposed more by this pandemic than New York Governor Andrew Cuomo, who published a book in October 2020 (“American Crisis” — which is no longer being promoted by its publisher) about his “heroic “efforts to stop COVID-19.
The problem with Cuomo’s self-promotion effort was that the pandemic was far from…
By Kent R. Kroeger (March 19, 2021)
November 17, 2019: A 55-year-old individual from Hubei province in China may have been the first person to have contracted COVID-19, the disease caused by the SARS-CoV-2 virus.
January 21, 2020: A Washington state resident returning from Wuhan, China (Hubei province) becomes the first U.S. citizen with a confirmed case of COVID-19.
Early February, 2020: Former Trump adviser Steve Bannon, in a podcast, says the coronavirus was created and released by the Chinese Communist Party as a bio-weapon. [Note: No direct evidence exists to support this accusation]
By Kent R. Kroeger (February 26, 2021)
It is reasonable to think some news stories should be considered more important than others. And though one person might have a different ranking than another person, when those subjective rankings are combined across an entire society, the average ranking should reflect the relative importance of news stories within that society.
In reality, however, editors and journalists through their training and position possess disproportionate power in developing those rankings and, subsequently, are the ones who decide what news stories are ‘fit to print’ and make the nightly TV news. Nonetheless, if news organizations…
By Kent R. Kroeger (February 23,2021)
OK, maybe speech and press freedoms aren’t ‘over,’ but they are damn well in decline. And this is despite the U.S. Constitution’s First Amendment being quite clear on the extent the government can limit free speech and the press:
Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.
By Kent R. Kroeger (February 19, 2021)
The U.S. may have experienced 7.7 million additional COVID-19 cases and 155 thousand additional COVID-19 deaths due to its subpar health care system.
This finding is based on a cross-national statistical analysis of 20 West European and West European-heritage countries using aggregate, country-level data provided by Johns Hopkins University (COVID-19 cases and deaths per 1 million people), OurWorldInData.org (Policy Stringency Index) and HealthSystemFacts.org (Health Access and Quality Index). The analysis covers the period from January 1, 2020 to February 5, 2021.
By Kent R. Kroeger (February 11, 2021)
There is no weenier way of copping out in data journalism (and social science more broadly) than posing a question in an article’s headline.
This intellectual timidity probably stems from the fact that most peer-reviewed, published social science research findings are irreproducible. In other words, social science research findings are more likely a function of bias and methodology than a function of reality itself.
As my father, a mechanical engineer, would often say: “Social science is not science.”
The consequence is that social science findings are too often artifacts of their methods and…
By Kent R. Kroeger (February 4, 2021)
In April 1985, the Coca-Cola Company, the largest beverage company in the world, replaced their flagship beverage, Coca-Cola, with New Coke — a soda drink designed to match the sugary sweetness of Coca-Cola’s biggest competitor, Pepsi.
At the time, Pepsi was riding a surge in sales, fueled by two marketing campaigns: The first campaign was a clever use of blind taste tests, called the “Pepsi Challenge,” and through which Pepsi claimed most consumers preferred the taste of Pepsi over Coca-Cola. The second, called the “The Pepsi Generation” campaign, featured the most popular show…
By Kent R. Kroeger (January 24, 2021)
Some background music while you read ==> Undiscovered Moon (by Miguel Johnson)
Shane Smith, an intern in the University of California at Berkeley’s Search for Extraterrestrial Intelligence (SETI) program, was the first to see the anomaly buried in petabytes of Parkes Radio Observatory data.
It was sometime in October of last year, the start of Australia’s spring. when Smith found a strange, unmodulated narrowband emission at 982.002 megahertz seemingly from Proxima Centauri, our Sun’s closest star neighbor.
While there have been other intriguing radio emissions — 1977’s “Wow” signal being the most famous…
By Kent R. Kroeger (January 21, 2021)
Political scientist Harold Lasswell (1902–1978) said politics is about ‘who gets what, when and how.’
He wrote it in 1936, but his words are more relevant than ever.
In the U.S., his definition is actualized in Article I, Section 8 of the U.S. Constitution:
The Congress shall have Power To lay and collect Taxes, Duties, Imposts and Excises, to pay the Debts and provide for the common Defense and general Welfare of the United States; but all Duties, Imposts and Excises shall be uniform throughout the United States;
To borrow Money on the…