The James Randi defense

Many people are influenced against the possibility of psychic phenomena by some of the real charlatans that exist in the “skeptic” community, James Randi prominent among them. I mean, I’m certainly down with the idea that parapsychologists subject their findings to scientific rigor, but having standards that are so much higher than those required for the rest of the scientific community isn’t really… scientific.

Rising costs over three decades


The textbook cost thing is ridiculous, yes. But the red line right below it is the rise in medical costs, which have gone up 575% since 1978. The brown line at the bottom is the current consumer price index (CPI) that measures overall inflation, which has only gone up by about 250% over the same time period.

Next time someone tells you that chained CPI, which would lower the estimated rate of inflation used to calculate Social Security and veterans’ benefits, is ‘more accurate’ … think about how much time people spend with doctors after they hit 60, think about this graph, and laugh at them.

Image source/larger image.

Fast Eddie for mayor

Of New York City? Huh?

The New York Times is reporting that “high-powered advisers to Mr. Bloomberg — and even the mayor himself” are looking for the next person to run New York City. Among the names floated: U.S. Sen. Chuck Schumer. New York Daily News owner Mort Zuckerman, outgoing U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and former Gov. Ed Rendell.

The story quotes Rendell as calling mayor of New York City the second most difficult job in the country.” It doesn’t specifically say what the most difficult job is but we’re guessing it is president of the United States, not MSNBC political pundit (Rendell’s current job.)

Rendell, a New York native, told the newspaper he doesn’t know much about the city beyond Manhattan. But he also told Bradley Tusk, the Bloomberg adviser who broached the subject, to feel free to poll New York City voters to see what they think about a Rendell run for mayor.

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