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01 February 2013



Once again, George, what economists were forecasting was the GDP, and they were off by 1.1%. That one can generate a derivative of that, say it was the derivative that they were really forecasting and their error was therefore huge remains a bit silly.

Here's a fun number on a slightly different topic... a Reason poll that shows 51% of the people of the US think "assault weapons" *should* be legal, and it's the young who are most likely to think that.


George Rebane

Gregory 346pm - It appears that your understanding of error measures (and especially their silliness) is considerably at variance with mine, and as is accepted in the fields I have worked. I explained the calculation of percent error in a previous comment; we should leave it at that.


George, it isn't a question about how one measures error, you've misidentified what the forecast was... the forecast was the GDP, not the rate of growth. Reminds me of a classic book by a statistician that I picked up at the UCLA bookstore, "How to Lie With Statistics". It was a real eye opener about how to slant numeric information to support a given point of view. No, I don't think you're trying to lie, but you figured out a metric that makes the economists look bad (or more to the point, even worse than usual) but it's a misapplication.

Ryan Mount

> Economists, that little recognized part of our entertainment industry

Absolutely brilliant. Funnier than my wooly potato head hack. +1 Mr. Rebane.

Russ Steele

Anthony Watts has some Breaking News: An encouraging admission of lower climate sensitivity by a ‘hockey team’ scientist, along with new problems for the IPCC. Details HERE.

George Rebane

re Gregory's 442pm - "...you've misidentified what the forecast was... the forecast was the GDP, not the rate of growth."

from my post - "...and explain the now obvious but then invisible reasons why the -0.1% contraction occurred instead of their +1.0% predicted growth."

For readers who may be confused by all this. The economists missed the prediction of GDP GROWTH for 12Q4 - which they expressed as the annualized year-to-year percentage change. They issue an annualized growth prediction for every quarter that is reported by the media. They do not issue any "forecast (that) was the GDP", a forecast which would have had to come in units of dollars. Only a growth rate was forecast, and they blew it badly (again).

The contention here seems to have bifurcated. One is what exactly did the economist predict (see link). And the other is the kinds of error expressions (there are many) that can be used to characterize their performance - i.e. predicted vs achieved. While Gregory's assertion about what they predicted is totally wrong, I will credit him with at least a good albeit misconstruing attempt at tackling the call on error.

Taking the simple difference between predicted vs achieved is the most basic form of expressing error possible. However, reporting such 'errors' totally miscommunicates the quality and impact of the prediction effort for it equates the, say, present case of predicted = 1.0%, achieved = -0.1% with, say, the case where the prediction was 15.1% and the achieved was 14%. Even though the simplistic error measures are the same, the latter case would be considered fairly good because its percent relative error is 1.1/14 = 7.9%. But the former error is horrible, and doubly so because it even missed the polarity of the change. The 1.1/0.1 = 1100% much better communicates this drastic error (although a better error algo could and should be fashioned to account for the polarity miss that becomes important when the specific process itself is taken into account in selecting error measures).

Had you made a long vs short investment based on believing the economists, you would have lost your ass. The sense of which again the correct error assignment communicates. Had you placed your bets on the former case, your loss or, more properly, diminished gain would have been minimal, and again it was correctly assessed by the smaller error result stated above.

Reporting simple differences as errors is a most perfidious practice employed frequently by the bamboozlers who are pushing their own agendas (not accusing Gregory of any of this).

Steve Frisch

I haven't been able to respond to this post because I was still holding my side laughing at the idea that there are more than 30 aging cold warriors left in Nevada County that would attend a John Birch Society meeting.

But then when one can stir up fear of the boogeyman with the One World Government theory; make false claims that local residents desires to protect open space, build bike lanes, use renewable energy, or reduce pollution are part of a global plan; and enlist our local elected Sheriff in a crackpot cause; I guess you can get 30 people in a room to kvetch. This coupled with the black helicopter story just have me rolling on the floor.

By the way, while Keith Royal was taking questions did anyone ask him about the fact that he was one of three signers of the California ballot argument in favor of Jerry Brown's Proposition 30 that raised taxes on all Californians, in his role as the President of the California Sheriffs Association?

Russ Steele

The Hill: President Obama blamed the recent contraction of the U.S. economy on “bad decisions in Washington” in his weekly address.

The national economy shrank by 0.1 percent in the fourth quarter of 2012, according to figures released this week by the Commerce Department. The contraction was an unexpected reversal of months of modest economic growth since the end of the recession in mid-2009.

Obama said in his address that the dip was the fault of “bad decisions” being made in Washington.
“We began this year with economists and business leaders saying that we are poised to grow in 2013,” he said. “But this week, we also received the first estimate of America’s economic growth over the last few months. And it reminded us that bad decisions in Washington can get in the way of our economic progress.”

Obama said there were “real signs of progress” in the 2013 economic outlook, citing increases in home prices and car sales.

But he said the unexpected economic contraction showed the wisdom of his “balanced” approached to budget negotiations with Congress.

The President believes in his own dilution, or he is getting exactly what he wants economic contraction!

George Rebane

It is always a pleasure to see the dimensions of pleasure and engagement that RR brings to people. Mirth and feelings of intellectual superiority have been the hallmark of comments from readers like Mr Frisch, one of the leading lights of our local Left. We do what we can.

In Mr Frisch’s case, he is perhaps the county’s leading promoter of AB32, that devastating piece of California’s ‘green legislation’ that continues to ravage the state, and as Obamacare from the feds, they will both impede the state’s economic recovery and confirm it on a course summarized by Agenda21 objectives. The denial of this in the face of daily realities is what the local leftwing chorus has as its current public commission. Mr Frisch is simply doing his duty the best he can.

The more astute reader may seek his own answers to the ‘black helicopter’ story. It simply is what it is, and questioning government about the purpose and methods of what is going is met with a stone wall. The JBS presentation was a calm presentation of direct quotes from UN and related conference documents, and public statements by leading participants over the years that formed a cohesive framework for interpreting the changes we have and are experiencing. For the record, the presentation was attended by about two hundred people of all ages and political persuasions.

From the 17jan2000 issue of the New Republic - “America is surrendering its sovereignty to a world government. Hooray …World government is coming. Deal with it.”

And we will be dealing with it in future posts.


And Greg reminds me of a post I made over a year ago here, to wit:

""How to Lie with Statistics" was written the year I was born in 1945. I was one of the books in use when I took Stat 1A in 1965, and I went into the ASUC Bookstore just the other day. It is STILL in use today, and other than dictionaries, I doubt there's another book with that track record. Buy a copy and grow.

Posted by: Douglas Keachie | 08 January 2012 at 10:39 AM "

Greg ws probably in 6th grade when I took the course. Greg will be thrilled to know that most of the concepts taught in Stat 1A are now in a math textbook for the 7th grade level, as I found the other day subbing for a most excellent math teacher.

Steve Frisch

I guess I am a little confused about what role Keith Royal is really playing here. Why would he show up at a John Birch Society meeting? Keachie, do you have video tape?

Sheriff Royal is a member of the Constitutional Sheriff's Association, and recognized by them as a a champion:


What does it mean to be a "Constitutionalist Sheriff"? What do they think? Well the best source of that information would be their own web site, where they link directly to what they call their 'philosophy of liberty'.


This series of videos was put together and espouses the theories of noted libertarian writer and film producer G. Edward Griffin, who has over his career produced documentaries on the UN effort to institute a One World Government, served as a speechwriter to the 1968 George Wallace campaign, has served on the national board of the John Birch Society, believes that HIV/AIDS is an 'unproven' virus and a fraud designed to sell drugs, claims to have found Noah's Ark, is an advocate of using laetrile to treat cancer, and wrote a biography of JBS founder Robert Welch.

So Sheriff Royal shows up at an a event promoting William Jasper's book on Agenda 21. William Jasper, whose previous book, "Global Tyranny ... Step by Step: The United Nations and the Emerging New World Order", was published by the JBS publishing house and written while he was on staff at the JBS, claims the UN is a collectivist conspiracy, and who is best known as a proponent of the theory that the Oklahoma City bombing was a set up by the federal government to restrict individual rights.


But Keith Royal is also the President of the California State Sheriff's Association, and in that role his organization has supported a number of pieces of legislation at the federal and state level that appear to be at odds with what many here would consider his 'constitutional' principles. For example, as President of CSSA he supported, the Federal Violence Against Women Act and California Proposition 30 (the tax increase), and opposed The National Right to Carry Reciprocity Act of 2011.

So I am a little confused, who Keith Royal really? Do we want our elected Sheriff representing Nevada County embracing these JBS ideas? Does he embrace these JBS ideas, or was he just at the JBS meeting to promote his recent letter stating that in his role as Sheriff, he supports second amendment rights?


I voted for Keith Royal for Sheriff, and this is an elected post.....but his association with the Constitutional Sheriff's Association, with such a clear link to the John Birch Society, troubles me.

But I do want to thank George for pointing out to the good voters of Nevada County whose elbows their Sheriff is rubbing.

Russ Steele

Investers Business Daily: Obama's Jobless Recovery Continues Unabated

As a result, the Bureau of Labor Statistics' broader measure of unemployment remains stuck at a depressing 14.4% — also higher than when Obama took office.

In addition, there are still 4.7 million long-term unemployed — nearly twice as many as when Obama was first sworn in. And at 35 weeks, the average length of unemployment is far higher than any time between World War II and the Obama era.

But the worst news of all is that we remain 3.2 million jobs shy of the previous employment peak of five years ago. To get a sense of how dismal this is, consider this:

It took an average of just 24 months to regain all the jobs lost in the previous nine recessions. But at the current Obama job-creation pace, it will take about 80 months to regain those lost jobs.

And this doesn't factor in the growth in the number of job seekers over the past five years, which makes the real jobs gap more like 9 million.

For the math challenged 80 months is 6.6 years, two years after Obama leaves office for the final time. Well maybe, their is move afoot to crown him king.

Joe Koyote

Everyone bashes O on job creation, but Bush ii had the worst job creation record during his eight years since such records have been kept.. and that was before the crash with no recession to recover from. Of course unemployment remains high, despite the total recovery of the stock market back to pre-crash levels, because apparently the two are completely unrelated. A good return on stock investments does not equate to job creation or there would be jobs would there not?

Steve Frisch

All I can say is no one projects an air of "intellectual superiority' better than Mr. Rebane; enough to bamboozle our local public broadcasting station into thinking he is some sort of reasonable proxy for what passes for conservative thought in our little mountain towns.

Re: the black helicopters, I would merely remind people of the immortal words of the great John Heywood (stolen by Benjamin Franklin) that 'When all candles be out, all cats be gray.'

All I know is that if I owned a helicopter I would paint it a nice shade of off white....just to save the expense of repainting when the UN takes over ....


Joe Koyote

When the UN does take over, it will be at the behest of the wealthy (rockefellers, trilateral commission, etc. etc.) because they want secure markets and resources whether emerging nations want a capitalistic economic model or not.

George Rebane

JoeK 948am - For the record, Bush2 came into office inheriting the bust of the 'dotcom bubble' and the (invisible to liberals) recession that followed. It's short duration is a credit to the Bush tax cuts which even Obama did not want to let expire. RussS' 901am is on the mark but too brief in describing the damage of Obama's nostrums for our economy.

SteveF 949am - Thank you for acknowledging that RR has at least established a facade of intellectual debate. I can't say how well we achieve it, but most of us give it a good try and seem to enjoy it. Nevertheless, it is indeed an objective in these comment streams. And your regular return here to admonish and apply your correctives says something about the value of your labors.

From NC Voices, I notice that readers can always choose to discuss topics like 'My favorite SuperBowl commercial of 2013' and 'Our magazines new building in downtown GV' - to each his own.

Russ Steele

Joe and Steven,

I would write a reply of I could stop laughing. It is hard to think rolling on the floor.


Did not shoot video, but somebody did, with three cameras rolling. The guy who is kneeling in the gray suit. http://www.flickr.com/photos/keachie/8432321810/in/photostream I'd give Greg higher marks than George, in the "I'm so thrilled with myself" dept.


So George, where is the "real Dow" now? http://rebaneruminations.typepad.com/rebanes_ruminations/2009/12/ruminations-28dec2009.html

Steve Frisch

Actually I think if we really tried we could get Greg to love himself so much that he could get others to love him....just need to go back and start at the beginning...
come on, joint in Greg!


Paul Emery

02 February 2013 at 08:31 AM

"the presentation was attended by about two hundred people of all ages and political persuasions."

That's not such a big deal. A couple of years ago the Nevada Theatre sold out an appearance for personal aura readings by Max the Crystal Skull. For $100 you could have personal one-on-one time with max. That sold out as well


I love Nevada County, there's something for everyone . It can have sell outs for Crysta Skulls and JBS spouters as well as dozens of other fringie events.

Paul Emery

After all Nevada County is famous as a retirement community for aging hippies and cold warriors.


Paul, we really need "Like" and "Lovin it" bttons here, as well as the negative side. Consider theis a "lovin it" for 11:55 am.


Too good not to post:

ObamaCooking copy

Joe Koyote

George 10:31-- How is the dotcom bust different from the mortgage and housing bust and the real recognized recession that Obama inherited?


JK, one obvious difference is that the mortgage and housing bust was brought to you by Democratic Party sacred cows Fannie and Freddie who pushed for bad loans demanded by Democratic politicians for their poorest constituents (after all, everybody deserved to own a home), while protected by the likes of Barney Frank (whose sweetie was a director of one of them when Frank was carrying their water in the House) and Chris Dodd (D-Countrywide), both of which ran interference for the industry.

The country was beginning to recover from the dot com bomb when 9/11 destroyed thousands of lives, trillions of USD$ and changed the trajectory of the country.


"come on, joint in Greg!"

Sorry, Frisch, no joints here, and the guy who really needs a boost to self esteem and self acceptance is your friend Jeff. Go give him a hug for us, will you?

Steve Frisch

Fortunately Greg I think the vox populi knows who screwed the mortgage market up and cause credit to freeze in the good old USA, and globally, for almost 5 years: the largely unregulated banking industry, who bought politicians of all stripes to be able to create false value so they could slice it and dice it into unrecognizable mortgage backed securities and derivatives, so they could make even more money to buy politicians of all stripes, and make fat commissions on sales that they then used to off shore their money, when getting the federal government to socialize their eventual losses.

Steve Frisch

And I think you would be a lot nicer if you smoked a joint once a week. Pretty soon Obamacare should be covering that for you!

Russ Steele

There is some great climate change news at the Next Grand Minimum. At least 63% of global warming is due to the Sun.

According to the authors, "The sudden increases of solar activity that occurred after the 1724 and 1924 solar dynamo transitions have been accompanied by sudden increases of average surface temperature of 0.2ºC and 0.34ºC after 1724 and 1924, respectively. Therefore, out of the total increase in global temperature of ~ 0.8ºC during the past 400 years, less than 0.3ºC may be of non-solar origin, in agreement with previous results." The authors predict a decrease in solar activity during the 21st century will result in global cooling of 0.64ºC over the next 100 years.

There is an excellent graphic for all the visual learners.


Steven Frisch, the "regulators" in the Congress were Dodd and Frank, who were also carrying water for Fannie, Freddie and such industry giants as Countrywide, which also gave Dodd a real sweetheart mortgage as a thank you.

Like most children of the '70's, I grew up. Give it a try someday.


Russ, 3:35PM

I don't think Frisch would see that as good news.

Steve Frisch

Gregory "Puffy" Goodknight, you must mean the Financial Services Modernization Act of 1999 !



Steven Frisch, 6 figure CEO of the local non-profit that seems to make a rent seeking buck now and then, the wretchedly misnamed "Sierra Business Council", no.

Here we go, a blast from the past, dated September, 1999, the Clinton years:

"Fannie Mae officials stress that the new mortgages will be extended to all potential borrowers who can qualify for a mortgage. But they add that the move is intended in part to increase the number of minority and low income home owners who tend to have worse credit ratings than non-Hispanic whites."

Those horrible reactionaries didn't have anything good to say at the time:

"'From the perspective of many people, including me, this is another thrift industry growing up around us,'' said Peter Wallison a resident fellow at the American Enterprise Institute. ''If they fail, the government will have to step up and bail them out the way it stepped up and bailed out the thrift industry.''


Of course, Wallison had no idea at the time how Fannie and Freddie would mix the bad paper with the good and help the entire mortgage securities industry to tank at once.

George Rebane

JoeK 104pm - the dotcom bust recession is still not recognized by the lamestream. The myth is that Clinton left Bush2 a 'surplus' and bed of roses, instead of a pile of crap. It was only Bush2 that screwed up the economy in the new millenium and gave Obama a problem that socialism cannot solve. Next question.

PaulE 1155am - It's a bigger deal than Frisch's 30.

SteveF 255pm - Predictably you put a lot of faith in "vox populi" these days. Aren't they the same who believe in the mythical cornucopia of "Obama's stash"?

RussS 335pm - thanks for the heads up and good work. Don't give up.

Gregory 425pm - excellent citations. We here can educate our middle-road readers, but I fear there is little hope for the larger message since 'vox populi' became the bleatings of 'vox ovisi'.

Russ Steele

Some thing for our progressive warmers to ponder:

Global primary energy stats 2011: fossil fuels 86%; nuclear 5%; hydro 6%; wind 0.8%; solar 0.1%. Worth remembering.

We have a long way to go before we become fossil fuel independent by developing alternative fuel resources. How long can we wait? Global cooling is on the way.

Russ Steele


“Hybrid car pioneer and “father of the Prius” Takeshi Uchiyamada says the billions poured into developing battery electric vehicles have ultimately been in vain. “Because of its shortcomings–driving range, cost and recharging time–the electric vehicle is not a viable replacement for most conventional cars,” said Uchiyamada. “We need something entirely new.”

George Rebane

Re RussS 310pm - Is there any evidence that CARB or any of its supporters understand this?

Russ Steele


I do not know of any changes or updates to CARBs plan to have 15% of all vehicles on CA road to be electrical vehicles by 2025. CARB voted to establish new regulations that would come into force from 2018 to reach the 15 percent target by 2025. That vote was take in Jan of 2012.

Paul Emery

Since this is the general blarney post it needs to be noted that even Fox news is seeing the writing on the wall. They fired Sarah Palin by offering her an embarrassingly cheap contract and today cut loose Dick Morse who was unbelievably wrong on everything this last election. Combining that with the demise of Glen Beck you can see they see the future and it's ugly. Carl Rove next?

Here's some of his predictions


1. Donald Trump will run for President and could beat Obama. Said Morris on The Mike Gallagher Show:

“Oh I am. I am. I take him very seriously. I think he’s going to run, I think he’s got a good shot at the nomination, and I think if he were nominated, he could beat Obama”.

Reality: Trump didn’t run for President.

2. Michele Bachmann will wing Iowa. Said Morris on Fox News:

”Bachmann Is Probably Going To Win”

Reality: Michele Bachmann came 6th in Iowa.

3. Obama won’t run for re-election. Wrote Morris on The Hill:

The kind of enthusiasm Obama kindled in 2008 cannot be ignited easily by negative appeals. Particularly if the Republicans nominate a more moderate candidate such as Mitt Romney, Obama will not be able to rely on partisan animosity to succeed where job approval has failed. And, given all that, he might not even run.

Reality: President Obama did run for re-election.

4. Obama has no chance of getting re-elected. Said Morris to Sean Hannity:

“There Is No Chance That Obama Will Get Re-elected…..Zilch, none, zip, nada”

Reality: President Obama was re-elected.

5. Romney will beat Obama by a landslide. Said Morris on Fox News Sunday:

“Romney will win by a very large margin – a landslide if you will.”

Reality: President Obama beat Romney by a very large margin, particularly in the electoral college. A landslide if you will.

George Rebane

PaulE 808pm - Well, I hope you got all that out of your system.

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