Here's The Logic Of That Little Tidbit

The other day, I posted that 28% of Republicans thought the oil spill in the gulf made them more likely to support offshore drilling.  Huh? What?

Well, Nate Silver come through with the logic:

At the same time, if you do give people an "illogical" response, sometimes they're going to pick it! This question was immediately preceded by one about support for offshore drilling overall. It may be that some of the respondents had an instinct to dig in their heels and wanted to appear consistent, using the question to reaffirm the support for offshore drilling that they'd already expressed. That is, saying that the spill makes you more likely to support offshore drilling may not literally be true but instead may mean something more along the lines of "you're damned right I support offshore drilling!".

It may also be that some people were confused by the question, or were not paying much attention to it. A lot of people might have taken PPP's call while ironing their clothes, or watching TV, or getting their kids ready for soccer practice. They might have been zoning out, and heard blah-blah-blah-blah oil spill blah-blah-blah-blah more, and thought it was the choice used to express that they had become more concerned -- not more supportive -- of offshore drilling. There is arguably some evidence of this in that the percentage of people selecting this response feel a bit off and do not always track underlying opinions about offshore drilling. For instance, 17 percent of liberals picked the "more likely" response, even though only 33 percent of them supported offshore drilling to begin with, and 29 percent of African-Americans did, even though just 44 percent of them support offshore drilling.

It Isn't Easy Being Green - But It Makes It Easier To Cheat

Just fell upon a (new to me) blog that looks promising: Ulterior Motives.

Here's a part of a fun post about how being Green can make you cheat more, but seeing Green can you make you cheat less.   Wild.

A second study made a similar observation using an experiment in which people had the opportunity to cheat. In this study, participants had the chance to play a game in which they could cheat to get more points. In addition, at the end of the game, participants were asked to pay themselves in accordance with the number of correct answers they got in the game. Participants who saw green products cheated less than those who saw conventional products. In contrast, participants who bought green products actually cheated more than those who saw conventional products.

What Should Government Do Anyway - Continued

Nice add-on to my earlier post from Krugman's blog:

Thinking about BP and the Gulf: in this old interview, Milton Friedman says that there’s no need for product safety regulation, because corporations know that if they do harm they’ll be sued.

Interviewer: So tort law takes care of a lot of this ..
Friedman: Absolutely, absolutely.

Meanwhile, in the real world:

In the wake of last month’s catastrophic Gulf Coast oil spill, Sen. Lisa Murkowski blocked a bill that would have raised the maximum liability for oil companies after a spill from a paltry $75 million to $10 billion. The Republican lawmaker said the bill, introduced by Sen. Robert Menendez (D-NJ), would have unfairly hurt smaller oil companies by raising the costs of oil production. The legislation is “not where we need to be right now” she said.

And don’t say that we just need better politicians. If libertarianism requires incorruptible politicians to work, it’s not serious.

Starbucks vs Dunkin' Donuts vs Mountain Dew

I've generally felt for awhile that Starbucks is a much better coffee experience.  I'm not talking about the taste, the atmosphere, or the service.  I'm talking about the caffeine content.  And I just found out that it's clearly true; Starbucks does make for a better coffee experience. 

A 16 oz Starbucks has 330 milligrams of caffeine.  Dunkin' Donuts?  Half that at 143.  And for those out there drinking the dew, you're stuck down around 55.  (Source)

Mmm.  I know where I'm going for my next cup.

What Should Government Do Anyway

(Link - A friend actually posted the real link on Facebook when it came out last month. But it was posted on Krugman's blog just after that)

I'm Pissed Off. And I'm Going To Complain About It.

Michael Kinsey has a fun column today on the Tea Party.  He basically says they are a bunch of incoherent whiners.

“I like what they’re saying. It’s common sense,” a random man-in-the-crowd told a Los Angeles Times reporter at a big Tea Party rally. Then he added, “They’ve got to focus on issues like keeping jobs here and lowering the cost of prescription drugs.” These, of course, are projects that can be conducted only by Big Government. If the Tea Party Patriots ever developed a coherent platform or agenda, they would lose half their supporters.

Principled libertarianism is an interesting and even tempting idea. If we wanted to, we could radically reduce the scope of government—defend the country, give poor people enough money to live decently, and leave it at that. But this isn’t the TPP vision. The TPP vision is that you can keep your Medicare benefits and balance the budget by ending congressional earmarks, and perhaps the National Endowment for the Arts.

(Hat Tip: Andrew Sullivan)
Needless to say, I don't think Michael will be attending any Tea Party rallies in the near future.

The Blame Shifting Campaign

(Hat Tip: Ezra Klein)
(One Source)

It Worse Than That, He's Dead Jim

Here's Matt Yglesias on how much worse the oil spill is than we've been told to-date (link) while getting to the bottom of how this could have happened:

Two important pieces of news on the Gulf oil disaster today. One is that it seems both BP and the government have likely been underestimating the extent of the disaster, with oil being spilled at a pace of approximately two Exxon Valdezes per week. Here’s some video of oil pouring out of a damaged well that BP has been suppressing for weeks.

We also have a major scoop from the New York Times about how the pro-drilling leadership of the Minerals Management Service “gave permission to BP and dozens of other oil companies to drill in the Gulf of Mexico without first getting required permits from another agency that assesses threats to endangered species” and “also routinely overruled its staff biologists and engineers who raised concerns about the safety and the environmental impact of certain drilling proposals in the gulf and in Alaska, according to a half-dozen current and former agency scientists.”

And here's a cool t-shirt.

Krugman Calls BS

He does it all the time.  His latest BS call is on all the analogies being made between the US and Greece. (Here's a link to Krugman's column).  Once he explains the reasons why the analogy is false, he goes on to show why they are being made:

And bear in mind, also, that taxes have lagged behind spending partly thanks to a deliberate political strategy, that of “starve the beast”: conservatives have deliberately deprived the government of revenue in an attempt to force the spending cuts they now insist are necessary.
So here’s the reality: America’s fiscal outlook over the next few years isn’t bad. We do have a serious long-run budget problem, which will have to be resolved with a combination of health care reform and other measures, probably including a moderate rise in taxes. But we should ignore those who pretend to be concerned with fiscal responsibility, but whose real goal is to dismantle the welfare state — and are trying to use crises elsewhere to frighten us into giving them what they want.

Here's a little more on that "starve the beast" thing from Bruce Bartlet.