Saturday, November 15, 2014

Health Care and the 2014 Election in Pennsylvania

Gov. Corbett has conceded defeat in this years gubernatorial race with 55% of the vote as of this posting.  The NBC exit poll asked voters a variety of questions which showed Governor Elect Tom Wolf winning almost every demographic in the state: males, females, young, middle age.  Corbett and Wolf evenly split the 65+ age group.  Of most interest for Healthcare for All PA is the question on voters opinion of the Affordable Care Act as can be seen below.  47% thought it “went too far”, 23% thought it “Was about right”, and 27% thought it “did not go far enough”.  If you add the those who said “Did not go far enough” to those who thought it “Was about right” there is a 50% majority for universal health care with more than half of those wanting a better bill.

Did not go far enough27%82%18%
Was about right23%89%11%
Went too far47%27%73%

These results are consistent with the exit poll for Pennsylvania from 2012 as well as national polls on the Affordable Care Act as can be seen in the related posts below.

Saturday, November 1, 2014

Am I being defrauded by Facebook? And Rothfus?

The Video Blog Veritasium has come up with a clever experiment to show how click factories in places like Bangladesh, Egypt, and China inflate web statistics for Facebook pages and how they defraud users and clients.  I have paid Facebook for advertising in the past with mixed results.  This  site often gets trolled from China but not so much from India, Bangladesh or Egypt.  The engagement on my Facebook page never reaches the level described in the above video.

I haven't posted a lot on this year's election because the race this year between Gov. Tom Corbett and Tom Wolf appears to be all but wrapped up.  Erin McClelland is a good candidate for Congress in the PA 12th district against world squinting champion and Tea Party yes man, Rep. Keith Rothfus (R). 

One wildcard in this election, as it was in the last election, is social media.  The social media giant Facebook has been known to manipulate their users' news feeds in order to produce a desired effect.  Micah Sifry of MotherJones magazine has written on the experimentation Facebook has done to boost turnout in the 2012 election.  They have produced data that shows a 3% increase in turnout in 2012.  It doesn't say if it influenced how they voted.  They haven't said what they are doing in this election but clearly they have been manipulating timelines to tell their users what they want to hear.  Like any tool there is potential for abuse here in misinforming the public but also potential for good in motivating people to take action as the ice bucket challenge shows.  The danger is in not informing their users that this is done.  

Dave Ninehouser at has been doing everything he can to encourage people to vote for Erin McClelland and banter Rothfus.  Is his message getting through?  I couldn't embed a youtube video of Ninehouser confronting Rothfus because it has been "Disabled by Request."  Was it Rothfus' or Ninehouser's request?  You can view the video here.


Dave Ninehouser sent me this video of him confronting Rothfus because I couldn't embed his other video.


**Related Posts**

It's All About The Likes


The Impact of the CSI w/o DB Facebook Page on Visits and Engagement


Online Poll Results on the Blog Title Inconclusive Relative to Visitor Statistics


Saturday, October 11, 2014

The Sands of the Middle East are Changing once Again

The above video gives a good overview of how the sands of the Middle East have changed since the death of the Prophet Mohammed in 632 AD.  Conquering powers come and go as can be seen (This happens in other places in the world as well of course).  Is ISIS the latest conqueror?  It now controls Eastern Syria and Western Iraq and has been engaged in a fierce battle in the Syrian Kurdish border town of Kobane.  Kobane is just two miles from the Turkish border where the Turks have hesitated to intervene.  The Turks may not care for ISIS but they are also concerned about troubles with their own Kurdish population.  

The interests of all these groups, Sunnis, Shiites, Kurds, Turks, Arabs, Iranians, Israelis, Yazidis, and others are complex and cannot be resolved with bombs.  Outside military intervention by the US and other countries only makes matters worse.  

ISIS would not exist without the 2003 US invasion of Iraq. al Qaeda's roots go back to the 1979 Soviet invasion of Afghanistan.  The Islamic Republic of Iran's roots date back to the CIA overthrow of the democratically elected government there in the 1950's and the subsequent support of the Shah who brutally suppressed his people.  The people of the Middle East have been better off when they were free of outside intervention. 


A Fox News poll has come out saying that a majority of the US Public now favors sending US troops into fight ISIS.  Polls can be used as propaganda tools as well as to inform the public.  A CBS/NYT Poll from Sept. 19 shows that a 62% of Republicans support sending ground troops into Iraq where 39% of the total population do (Kevin Drum from Mother Jones added the expletive).  Are Republicans itching for a new war in the Middle East, at least if Jeb Bush is elected in 2016?

**Related Posts**

The World Wars and Today's Wars 


9/11 Aftermath Survey


We've All Neglected Our Wars (Me Too)


Glenn Beck Is Going To Hold A Rally In Israel This Summer Called 'Restoring Courage'


What is Sanity?

Sunday, September 28, 2014

The Fourth Year of CSI wo DB

It's that time of year again. To review the top posts the of the last year and how the traffic has changed according to Google Analytics.  The total number of sessions has decreased by 4.55% but the number of users of this site has increased by 11.03%.  The top post from the last year are seen below.

Sep 29, 2013 - Sep 28, 2014
Sep 29, 2012 - Sep 28, 2013
29.4%70.6%New Visitor2,513 Sessions (70.6%)

10. First Time I Heard Multivariate Analysis and Multicollinearity on Mentioned on TV

A  humorous look at statistical issues thanks to the Daily Show.  

9. Two Years Ago in Stanton Heights

This post from 2011 still gets some traffic on the shooting of three police officers in my neighborhood by a right wing radical.

8. Income and Life Expectancy. What does it Tell Us About US?

My all time most read post on life expectancy and income thanks to a link on the BBC website for the program The Joy of Stats.  The link is not there anymore but it still gets some traffic.

7. Global Warming, Wikileaks, and Statistics: What Barry Sanders Can Teach Us

The second all time most read post using sports statistics to explain a complicated phenomenon like global warming received a few more views than the first all time most read.

6. Hitler, Napoleon, and Stalin: Outsider Despots

This post is from this year on the history of three outsiders who exploited power vacuums to become absolute rulers of their countries.  Their similarities and differences are described.

5.  The World Wars and Today's Wars

This post is related to the number 6 post on this list as it is the 100th anniversary of the First World War and many of today's problems in the Middle East are tied to what happened 100 years ago.

4.  Bullying & Society

A post from 2010 where I argued that bullying is a reflection of society's greater ills. 

3. A Geographical Represenation of the Mode and Ethnicity

A post from last November on ethnicity in the United States and how it corresponds to other regional differences.

2. Correlation with the Number of Hate Groups per Million, Poor Health Suggests More Hate 

A look at the concentration of hate groups in each state and health outcomes.

1. A Wave of Hate Groups in California? No in Washington, DC

This post managed to make the all time most viewed list.  The number of hate groups in the US in each state is standardized by the size of each state's population.  The results are surprising.

**Related Posts**

Three Years of CSI Without Dead Bodies


The Second Year of CSI without Dead Bodies


One Year of CSI Without Dead Bodies


My (Quarter Year of) Blogging in Review

CSI senza cadavere (my first post)


Monday, September 22, 2014

New Economic Data on Pennsylvania Coming

The Keystone Research Center has released a report detailing how the income share for Pennsylvania's middle class has shrunk since 1978 in each county. The full text of their press release is below. New Census data on the uninsured for Pennsylvania and it's counties for 2013 will be out tomorrow to give us a glimpse of how the Affordable Care Act has impacted our state.

SEP. 16, 2014
Media Contact: Mark Price, 717-255-7158,
Middle Class In Every Pa. County Has Shrunk Since 1970s
Meanwhile, top incomes in every county have surged
HARRISBURG, PA (Sept. 16, 2014) — Pennsylvania’s middle class is smaller, while the
top 1% of earners enjoy a larger share of income, in every county in Pennsylvania today
as compared to the late 1970s, according to a new report from the Keystone Research
“This report quantifies what most working Pennsylvanians have sensed for years. It’s
harder today to find a job that pays enough to lift a family into the middle class,” said
Mark Price, KRC’s labor economist and coauthor of the report. “Traditional gateways to
a middle-class income such as a manufacturing job, or more broadly a job with union
representation, are less common today than they were a generation ago.”
The Center’s report finds that:
The counties or county groups with the largest percent decline in the share of
households with middle-class incomes are:
o Delaware (only half (50.9%) of households in the middle-class, a decline of
more than a fifth (20.9%) since the late 1970s);
o Philadelphia (43.1% in the middle class, a shrinkage of a fifth (20.2%));
o Columbia, Luzerne, Montour & Northumberland (53.3% in the middle
class, down by nearly a fifth (19.3%));
o Bucks (56.8% middle-class share, a shrinkage of more than a sixth (17.6%));
o Erie (55.1% middle-class share, down a sixth (16.7%));
o Chester (54.8% middle-class share down nearly a sixth (15.9%));
o Westmoreland (55.6% in the middle class, down by 15.8% to);
o Allegheny (53.0% in the middle class, down 15.6%);
o Armstrong & Indiana (53.7% middle-class share, down 15.6%);
o Lebanon (58.2% middle class, a 15.0% decline); and
o Centre (half of households in the middle class (50.1%), down 15.0%.
The counties or county groups with the largest middle-class share in 2010-12 are:
Cumberland & Perry (59.3%); Adams, Franklin & York (58.8%); Schuylkill
(58.6%); Lebanon (58.2%); Butler (58.1%); Cameron, Clarion, Clearfield, Elk,
Forest, Jefferson, McKean, Potter & Venango (58.1%); Bedford, Blair, Cambria,
Fulton, Huntingdon & Somerset (58.0%); Lancaster (58.0%); Clinton, Juniata,
Mifflin, Lycoming, Snyder & Union (57.6%); and Crawford & Warren (56.8%).
The counties or county groups with the smallest middle-class share in 2010-12 are:
Philadelphia (43.1%); Centre (50.1%); Delaware (50.9%); Allegheny (53.0%);
Columbia, Luzerne, Montour, & Northumberland (53.3%); Armstrong & Indiana
(53.7%); Chester (54.8%); Fayette, Greene & Washington (54.9%); Erie (55.1%);
Dauphin (55.3%); Bradford, Carbon, Lackawanna, Lehigh, Monroe, Northampton, Pike, Sullivan, Susquehanna, Tioga, Wayne & Wyoming (55.3%).
“This report builds on our previous work examining state-level trends in incomes by
looking at the growth of top incomes in every one of Pennsylvania’s 67 counties,” said
Estelle Sommeiller, a socio-economist at the Institute For Research in Economics and
Social Sciences in France.
“What is evident in this new data across rural, urban and suburban counties in
Pennsylvania is a striking surge in top incomes. In 1978, the share of total income
captured by the top 1% of taxpayers did not exceed 10% in any county in Pennsylvania.
By 2011, the top 1% captured more than 10% in all but six counties,” said Sommeiller.
With respect to top incomes the Center’s report finds that:
In NO Pennsylvania county between 1978 and 2011 did the income growth of the
bottom 99% exceed the income growth of the top 1%.
Over this same period, the real income of the bottom 99% of taxpayers grew in only
21 of the 67 counties.
Between 1978 and 2011, the counties with the greatest percent increase in real
income growth among the top 1% were: Forest (757%), Bucks (278%), Chester
(250%), McKean (245%), Greene (238%), Washington (211%), Bradford (208%),
Potter (203%), Delaware (202%) and Susquehanna (193%).
The 10 counties with the largest share of all income earned by the top 1% in 2011
are: Forest (33.9%), McKean (25.2%), Somerset (21.0%), Montgomery (20.3%),
Allegheny (20.0%), Delaware (18.7%), Philadelphia (18.1%), Potter (18.0%),
Greene (17.9%) and Chester (17.6%). The 10 counties with the smallest share of all income earned by the top 1% in 2011
are: Franklin (11.1%), Bedford (10.7%), Lebanon (10.3%), Fulton (10.0%),
Huntingdon (9.9%), Carbon (9.9%), Monroe (9.6%), Snyder (9.5%), Juniata
(9.1%) and Perry (6.7%).
"Taken together,these trends – the shrinking middle class and the rapid rise in top
incomes – are quite troubling. Their reversal requires urgent action by policymakers in
Harrisburg and Washington,” Sommeiller said.
This data points clearly to the need for policymakers to raise the minimum wage in
Pennsylvania, which today has 15 percent less purchasing power than it did in 1979.
Such a move would be a modest first step to push more working families closer to the
middle class,” Price said.
Read the full report at

Saturday, September 20, 2014

Single Payer Alive and Well in Massachusetts

Donald Berwick ran a campaign for governor of Massachusetts (home of Romneycare the model for the Affordable Care Act) on a single payer platform.  Previously he ran the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid services in the Department of Health and Human Services.  He ran against better funded candidates State Attorney General Martha Coakley (who had lost the special election for Ted Kennedy's Senate Seat to Scott Brown) and State Treasurer Steven Grossman.  Most polls had Berwick in the teens to the single digits as can be seen in the data tracked by Real Clear Politics.  The final results had him at 21.1% which suggests an upswing of support. 

There was no exit polling to monitor the true impact of Berwick's campaign on the voters.  The pre-election polls restricted their samples to who they thought would be likely voters.  The results suggest that Berwick brought in new voters.  Just because Berwick did not win does not mean he did not have an impact. 

The same day as the Massachusetts primary, Zephyr Teachout ran a primary challenge to New York governor Andrew Cuomo and received 30% of the vote. She discusses her campaign below.  Her campaign received more attention than Berwick's.  But it's at least as impactful.

Polling Data

PollDateSampleCoakley Grossman Berwick Spread
Final Results----42.436.521.1Coakley +5.9
WBUR/MassINC9/2 - 9/7234 LV412012Coakley +21
Boston Globe9/2 - 9/3400 LV472513Coakley +22
UMass Lowell/7News8/25 - 8/31685 LV52209Coakley +32
WBUR/MassINC8/24 - 8/31340 LV47236Coakley +24
Boston Globe8/17 - 8/26347 LV462410Coakley +22
Suffolk/Boston Herald8/21 - 8/24400 LV423016Coakley +12
Boston Globe8/10 - 8/19358 LV452410Coakley +21
Boston Globe8/3 - 8/12357 LV452110Coakley +24
Boston Globe7/27 - 8/5361 LV45189Coakley +27

**Related Posts**

Health Care Law - New Rasmussen Poll Down the Memory Hole 

POLL: Dislike of healthcare law crosses party lines, 1 in 4 Dems want repeal - (But Doesn't Ask Why)

Personal and Medical Bankruptcies: A Follow Up

The Affordable Care Act Having an Impact in Some States but not Pennsylvania

National, State, and County Uninsured Estimates


Sunday, September 7, 2014

Single Payer Petition

I have been busy with teaching and working so it's been harder to find time to blog but I have been using examples from the blog to teach with.  My organization, Healthcare for all PA is circulating an online petition.  You can sign it here.

Signing closes on Tuesday 9/9.