Rules are here. Possible comment fodder follows. Other topics are also fair game.
In a few comments pre-dating my column on the Supplemental Poverty Measurement — but I don’t believe ever in an actual post — I’ve theorized that the Obama administration will leave the direct politicization of economic data alone until after 2012 — and they hopefully won’t get a shot at doing it. The SPM represents early evidence that this isn’t so, but a more troubling situation was described by Richard Pollock at PJMedia last week:
On the eve of the 2012 election, the White House is pushing to politicize the impartial U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS). The administration is also trying to bypass the congressional oversight that protects the independence of the neutral agency.
The BLS is the nation’s premier nonpartisan statistical agency reporting on the state of the American labor market. For more than a century, both political parties have considered BLS to be independent and politically untouchable.
… Over the last year, the administration has refused to fill the two top BLS positions.
… it is clear no commissioner will be running the bureau through much of 2012.
This has led to speculation that the White House is trying to circumvent the Senate so as to appoint a deputy whose position does not need Senate confirmation, and who would defer to the White House and to politically aggressive Labor Secretary Hilda Solis.
… The administration’s job description for the deputy position illustrates the administration’s politicization effort — rather than emphasize the independent status of the post, it states the deputy commissioner will be “assisting the Secretary of Labor in presenting the Department’s interests and policies to Congress, other government agencies, and the public.” In other words: instead of an independent official, the deputy commissioner would be an advocate for administration positions.
A 1998 job description for the same position does not mention any advocacy work on behalf of the Labor Department.
I’ve criticized BLS for getting things wrong which I believe they could fix, but never for politically twisting the data, which I don’t believe is happening, despite assertions by many on the right (and before that, by many on the left when Bush was in office (the closest I’ve ever gotten is wondering about strange results in initially released state and local data in September).
It takes a long time to build a reputation like the one BLS has. Sadly, as Joe Paterno has learned in another realm, it doesn’t long to lose it. When you fudge the data, it’s virtually impossible to stamp out all of the inconsistencies which then arise. We should be especially alert for their possible emergence this coming year.
At the Blaze — “Was the Santa Claus Killer‘s Christmas Day Massacre an ‘Honor Killing?’” It looks more than a little likely. Seven are dead, including the killer, who committed suicide.
Zombie really, really isn’t happy with the Republican presidential primary field.
Obama is on his 90th round of golf during his presidency. That’s an average of roughly one round every 12 days.