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Jan 9, 201308:21 AMBlaska's Bring It!

with David Blaska

Reject the Capitol protester puppets

Reject the Capitol protester puppets

(page 1 of 2)

What time is it, boys and girls? No, it’s not Howdy Doody time. (All of my cultural references are at least 30 years old.) Hint: It’s been a couple of weeks since the last one. That’s right, time for a rally of the great unwashed at the State Street entrance to Wisconsin’s Capitol.

Progressive Dane types are promoting this one for Thursday (I won’t give the time):

RALLY TO REJECT THIS PUPPET LEGISLATURE! They have no authority to govern Wisconsin. They answer only to their bosses at WMC – Wisconsin Manufacturers & Commerce. ... Reject their anti-worker, anti-child, anti-environment agenda. Demand their resignations.

Like that was ever going to happen. Have fun, kids. And Buffalo Bob says stay away from the brown acid.

In the taxonomy of liberal shibboleths, the indispensable James Taranto has pinned to the specimen board something called The Butterfield Fallacy. It is named after the New York Times reporter who wrote in 1997, “for five straight years, crime has been falling, led by a drop in murder. So why is the number of inmates in prisons and jails around the nation still going up?”

We had this debate on the Dane County Board. At the state level, it was waged by the Wisconsin State Journal in an exhaustive (and exhausting) series of articles against Gov. Jim E. Doyle, of all people.

Our answer to the Butterfields of the world: BECAUSE THE BAD GUYS ARE BEHIND BARS! That’s why crime is decreasing, you numbskull!

The Butterfield Fallacy is at work in a piece in last Sunday’s New York Times (always a reliable source of magical thinking) wherein science reporter Elisabeth Rosenthal posits that a) because Guatemala has a high rate of homicide and b) because the use of armed security guards is widespread, ergo propter hoc, “More guns = more killing,” as the headline summarizes.

Old to new | New to old
Jan 9, 2013 10:39 am
 Posted by  Anonymous

Rally to Reject the Puppet Legislature..... Because of course nobody could see the strings hanging from the 14 fleebag senators 2 years ago.

Jan 9, 2013 06:17 pm
 Posted by  Matt Logan

Hey there David, How about an article on the efficiency of proposed increased State spending?

"What increased State spending" you ask?

Well, for starters the $37mil/yr dip into GPR that starts this year to fund highways that was enacted in 2011. Then you can add on what the GOP will likly divert from GPR in addition to that because not enough Drivers in Wisconsin are ready to accept the "user fee" paradigm of increased gas taxes and VMT fees that the Governors Transportation Finance and Policy Commission has forwarded.

And from the rumors I'm hearing, all those potential highway construction delays that WISDOT published in November were BS - somebody's gotta pay for 'em, and with new user fees off the table, that leaves GPR. The odd thing is, WISDOT doesn't track the net social return on investment of the highway system - and GOP leggie aids I have asked are all drawing a blank too. Even the folks that answer the calls for the Governor I placed are at a loss on this stat, though they assure me Governor Walker knows what he is doing.

So how about it, can you set your trusty UNIVAC to the task of calculating the net social return on investment for the additional highway spending your GOP comrades are conspiring to deliver unto my wallet?

Jan 9, 2013 07:13 pm
 Posted by  ssquared what is the net social return on investment on all the bycicle paths other than bringing a smile to the face of all the metrosexuals? A dubious return I might add and not part to most social indexes maintained by serious thinkers.

Jan 10, 2013 02:01 pm
 Posted by  Matt Logan

Mr. Sloan! Nice chatting with you again.

Please allow me to bring the data, since neither you, nor the patron on stately Blaska Manor seem to be able to deliver the goods.

First, on the topic of the net social return of investment for bicycle infrastructure, I refer you to the office of the US Secretary of Transportation:

The key metric here would be:

In this case-study, "Estimating the Employment Impacts of Pedestrian, Bicycle, and Road Infrastructure," the Political Economy Research Institute compiled data provided by the city of Baltimore. They found that on-street bike lanes and pedestrian measures created more direct jobs, more indirect jobs, and more induced jobs per dollar than either road upgrades or road resurfacing.

Now to answer my initial query, about the ROI of highway spending, I direct your attention to:

Which shows quite clearly on pg.22 that the net ROI of highway spending is dropping below the return of leaving the money in the private sector.

So there you have it: Bicycle infrastructure has a net benefit, and highway infrastructure has a slight net cost. Yet from what I have been hearing, our Governor plans to zero-out bicycle funding and divert even more General Purpose Revenue into highway infrastructure.

In this political environment of "jobs, jobs, jobs", I am at a loss to explain the benefit of the Governor's proposal.

Jan 10, 2013 07:08 pm
 Posted by  ssquared

Baltimore is your source?

A city along with Philadelphia where Obama recieved more votes than the number of registered voters in the precinct?

Home of that famous accuser of people being nattering nabobs of negativism; Spiro Agnew

Sorry Charlie!


But a question; since State Street has now become a relatively dangerous place to be on late on a Friday or Saturday and recalling you live in the vicinity, have you got your concealed carry license yet?

Jan 11, 2013 10:35 am
 Posted by  Matt Logan

Mr. Sloan,

I can always count on you to attack the credibility of the authors of a study rather than the methodology or data in that study. I am especially impressed that you were able to use Spiro Agnew's association with Baltimore in your argument. But I have to point out that whatever your source is for your conclusion that bicycling fails to produce a net benefit, that source lives in a city where I can find an unsavory character that I can use to attack your data in a similar way. So under your system of argument, nothing can ever be proven, there is no objective reality, and reason is a waste of time.

And to answer your question, I will not be getting a concealed carry license, though since there is an unsavory character living somewhere in Madison, that statement is obviously suspect.

Jan 11, 2013 05:01 pm
 Posted by  ssquared

My congratulations on acting like a Madison liberal and denying there is a problem where there is a problem.

Nonetheless, I have a solution for you. Instead of getting the abhorant concealed carry license.

A ballistic Bucky jacket!

That way all your truly improtant parts are protected as you peddle around State Street at 1 in the morning.

Jan 13, 2013 07:43 pm
 Posted by  Matt Logan

Mr. Sloan,

I am not denying there is a problem, I'm simply applying your style of thinking to the question. And that style of thinking says that a report from a City is NOT GOOD DATA if there are unsavory characters living in said city. In this case, your thinking produces a paradox - since the premise of your question is based on the existence of the thing that invalidates the reliability of your premise: criminals.

Jan 30, 2013 02:41 pm
 Posted by  Anonymous

Correlation is not causation. Any statistics or sociology student at the freshman level can tell you this.

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About This Blog

Raised on a farm near Sun Prairie, David Blaska is a recovering liberal who spent 18 years in daily newspapers, including 12 at The Capital Times in Madison as a reporter and editor. He served Gov. Tommy Thompson as acting press secretary in 1998 and is a veteran and survivor of 19 years in state government. He served 12 years on the Dane County Board of Supervisors. From December 2007 to November 2011 he wrote the consistently popular "Blaska's Blog" for Isthmus online's "The Daily Page" until, he says, the intolerant liberals ran him off. He blogs from Madison.

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