Lies, damn lies and lies about statistics

An op-ed in the New York Post accuses the Obama administration of cutting coverage for PSA screening even though it will get people killed and is incredibly accurate. The actual official report says that 80 percent of all PSA tests find cancer when there isn’t any. And that this is not only a waste of money, but the unnecessary prostate-cancer treatments that result can cause serious harm.
Either the writer of the op-ed is lying through his teeth or his reading comprehension is too low to be writing about this stuff.
•For an even less impressive attack on Obama, try this: His SAT score might have been lower than Bush’s! And while we don’t know for sure, isn’t it a shame the mainstream media aren’t ripping into this story?
•A debate over church-state separation (regarding crosses on a government building) may have gotten the woman who raised the issue fired.
•Although some pundits are complaining that Obama shouldn’t criticize Bain capital, the Repubs formerly in the race said worse without generating as much fuss.
•The Catholic Church is now complaining that Girl Scouts do horrible things like reference Doctors Without Borders in online materials (because DWB provides emergency contraception to rape victims in war zones, the bastards). And therefore inappropriate for Catholic girls to join. It’s also announcing that it might make Catholic hospital E/Rs Catholics only.
To balance that out, here’s a Protestant who advocates setting up concentration camps for gays.
•In a triumph for free speech (he said sarcastically), New York Republicans propose banning anonymous online comments. I really like one legislator’s defense that he certainly didn’t think it was violating the First Amendment (so apparently he’s an idiot rather than repressive).
•The US media and government are outraged that a Pakistani doctor who allegedly helped the CIA find Osama bin Laden has been sent to prison. As The Guardian reports, the doctor may have used a phony vaccination campaign (real doses, but not enough to inoculate anyone) as a cover, which is shitty for the families who thought they were getting vaccinated. As Glenn Greenwald points out at the first link, if foreign intelligence agents were using an ineffective vaccine of American children as a cover, there’d be outrage. But of course, when we do it, it’s different.
•Digby takes up a question I’ve discussed before: How effective is the presidential bully pulpit?
•A friend of mine posted this hysterically funny speculation about what the media would say if Jesus were running: “Jesus seen talking to prostitutes!” “Jesus criticizes Pharisees! Is he launching war on Judaism?”
•In case you were wondering, Romney still opposes gay marriage or anything close to it, like civil unions. Which may be one reason evangelicals who used to paint Mormons as non-Christians are now warming up to him: Being evangelical is, for some Christians, as much about having the right politics as having the right faith (much as Rick Santorum disagrees with Catholic Church positions wherever they depart from the Republican right positions). So Romney is now a Christian, while Obama is probably not in religious-right eyes.
Slacktivist has written a lot about this: That to be an evangelical you have to adopt political stances that are considered compatible with the faith, such as anti-abortion and anti-homosexual positions. And if you disagree, you can’t possibly be a real Christian (this post discusses the evangelical struggle to avoid exposure to contradictory facts).


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