Global Warming hits Wisconsin

by Harry on March 2, 2011

Extraordinary. (From Paul Krugman via Dan Hausman).

And I’d refer Fox news to this, which actually did happen in a warm place.



Steve LaBonne 03.02.11 at 10:20 pm

As I said when I linked to a post about this on my Facebook page- Goebbels would be proud. (And Godwin can go soak his head.)


Harry 03.02.11 at 10:23 pm

Are there no laws about this?


joe koss 03.02.11 at 11:42 pm

Well, Fox isn’t the only news outlet peddling misinformation.

Glad to see our state’s largest newspaper correct the error, even if they were almost 3 days late.


Matt M 03.03.11 at 12:26 am

Oh there are, Harry, just a little further north.


Matt M 03.03.11 at 12:26 am

Oh there are, Harry, just a little further north.


Glen Tomkins 03.03.11 at 1:01 am

Simple explanation

You people are such conspiracy theorists.

Actually, Madison, WI does have palm trees. After the last election, the state officially changed its form of government to banana republican, and you have to have palm trees in the capitol of a banana republic. It’s somewhere in the specs.


musical mountaineer 03.03.11 at 4:46 am

Fake but accurate.


KT 03.03.11 at 7:25 am

Krugman has posted an update: “This was apparently taken at a “solidarity” protest in Sacramento; and since Fox never said explicitly that it was in Wisconsin, technically you could argue that it wasn’t a lie (and for what it’s worth, I didn’t say it was). But it was, of course, an attempt to mislead.”

Meanwhile, Iowahawk takes on Krugman’s educational statistics for Wisconsin vs. Texas with a different set of statistics.

I don’t think Krugman was lying. But winning a Nobel Prize doesn’t necessarily mean that you think deeply.


qb 03.03.11 at 8:04 am

Fake but accurate.

This a virtue for historical fiction, not journalism.


Walt 03.03.11 at 8:07 am

Fortunately for Krugman, he does, in fact, think deeply. And, ah yes, Iowahawk’s explanation is that it’s because the South is full of all of those stupid black people.


Alex 03.03.11 at 8:30 am

MM, so I presume George has gone back and retrospectively completed his term of service? Funny that wasn’t in the news, you’d think Fox would cover it:-)


Harry 03.03.11 at 12:15 pm

No, it was a lie. Use your Grice. Just as Clinton’s claim not to have had sex with that woman was a lie. They can’t have it both ways (nor can I, but I don’t want to.)


Bill Gardner 03.03.11 at 12:17 pm

Harry @2: There are such laws in Canada.


KT 03.03.11 at 12:25 pm

Read Iowahawk’s piece, again Walt. and think again. “Not only did white Texas students outperform white Wisconsin students, the gap between white students and minority students in Texas was much less than the gap between white and minority students in Wisconsin. In other words, students are better off in Texas schools than in Wisconsin schools – especially minority students.”

As Tigerhawk notes, “in Paul Krugman’s ideological circles an assertion like Krugman’s would ordinarily get one accused of racism, unless of course one is Paul Krugman.”


Bill Gardner 03.03.11 at 12:56 pm

And I now see that Matt M previously had the same link.


Harry 03.03.11 at 1:10 pm

I’m surprised by the Krugman stuff on test scores, the NAEP stats are pretty well known — I do think it displays a tendency of even smart people who have to produce copy quickly to be superficial about things they don’t know much about.

The relative size of the Black/White test score gaps is really only telling you about the size of the black middle class relative to the overall black population in the different states (much larger in Texas) — there really isn’t much of a racial gap once you control for class, anywhere. The large Wisconsin gap (and it is large, esp on state-administered tests) is something that grans the attention of policymakers and school administrators and journalists, and wastes a lot of time.

And SAT/ACT scores are pretty much race-neutral (most of the “racism” accusations are grounded in ignorance and a misreading of the situation), its just that they are much more sensitive to social class background than other measures (like high school GPA, which is a better predictor of college success).


Harry 03.03.11 at 1:23 pm

But I don’t see how any of that is relevant to the question of whether Fox News people were lying — they clearly were. Unlike Krugman, they actually had a reporter on the ground who knows full well that hundreds of thousands of people have been through that place with no violence — it is the safest gathering of people I have ever seen (including rock concerts, cricket matches, soccer matches, and shopping malls). And he knew that and they know it, and they used the well-established conventions of TV to ensure that their viewers would believe the reverse. You can redefine that as not lying on their behalf, but you didn’t do it — anyone who does it has to accept that they lied. And resign their jobs. (As Clinton should have).


chris 03.03.11 at 2:55 pm

Almost all of Iowahawk’s comparisons are so close that it’s hard to believe they’re statistically significant (and he doesn’t say), and if they are, the effect size is so tiny as to have little practical significance. Too bad he’s not content to say “after you control for class/race (pretty much the same thing), the result is actually a tie”, which would prove only that Texas is *poor* and therefore does badly at education regardless of the quality of its educational system. That would be a fair defense of Texas’s educational system, as far as it goes.

Of course, the fact that nonunionization produces worse test scores *through poverty* (rather than by destroying the educational system directly) isn’t that great a talking point for nonunionization. But at least you could say that focusing on the unionization of teachers specifically was pointless — it’s the whole workforce and population that needs to be brought out of poverty in order to bring the total scores in Texas up.


KT 03.03.11 at 3:46 pm

More on SAT/ACT test score talking points.

Just quoting Krugman’s update on the “lie” vs. “misleading” designation, Harry. Any defense of Fox on this issue is very, very thin. But on the other hand, the footage WAS from a related protest – not from the archives. I am in California, where the footage in the video was shot and where public pension shortfalls are pretty scary (I am personally in the “giant public pension system” in California).

Dang, that was a stupid move by Fox, though. My all-time favorite stupid deceptive video is this one. Poor Contessa Brewer. Maybe this kind of stuff happens more often on cable channels than on the network channels (at least since RatherGate).

The only connections between the Fox News issue and the test score issue are Paul Krugman’s posting of the Fox News video and perhaps mainstream media coverage vs. Fox News coverage of the protests. Protesters in Wisconsin were apparently pretty messy at first, but cleaned up their act significantly later. There was a lot of uncivil and inflammatory rhetoric and some intimidating behavior associated with both the Wisconsin and “solidarity” protests which didn’t make much of a splash in the MSM. But all in all, the Wisconsin protests seemed to be pretty peaceful, at least in a physical sense.


JM 03.03.11 at 4:23 pm

Calling the incident in Sacramento “union” violence is a lie, because no unions were involved. The confrontation occurred between members of the Tea Party and Excusing FOX means ignoring the exchange O’Reilly had during the b-roll, which was concerned with Wisconsin and what that reporter observed there.

Comparing this with Krugman’s post on test scores is more than a little desperate. Quibbling over sample size is very different from fabricating evidence. And, on the evidence, Wisconsin still outperforms the five slave states in question in the ACT, as polifact shows, where participation is more comparable.


KT 03.03.11 at 5:04 pm

JM: I hope you don’t think I called the Sacramento incident “union violence”. But is it supposed to make me feel better that is showing solidarity with the union protesters in Wisconsin in this manner?

I was not “comparing” Krugman’s post on test scores with the Fox piece. But the Crooked Timber link reminded me of Iowahawk’s piece. I probably had in the back of my mind Krugman’s off-the-wall <a href="<a href="“>attack on the Tea Party after the Tucson shootings.


KT 03.03.11 at 5:12 pm

That would be attack on the Tea Party.


JM 03.03.11 at 5:19 pm

KT: I don’t know why you think I’m responding to you in particular. “Union protests” was FOX’s caption (it’s right there at the top of the screen), probably because they know their audience is stupid.

And I don’t know why I’m supposed to care how you feel about something when you haven’t given any indication that you know about the incident in question.

The violence was not part of showing solidarity with the unions and I don’t know why I’m supposed to entertain the argument that said violence is essential to supporting unions unless I also assume that you’re begging the question about unions and violence. In reality, the violence was the result of two hot heads who can’t even agree with what happened.

How do you feel now?


JM 03.03.11 at 5:21 pm

should read “two hot heads who can’t even agree with [each other about] what happened.”

Am I supposed to ask you what spitting in people’s mouths has to do with opposing unions? No, that would be stupid.


JM 03.03.11 at 5:26 pm

Gah, did I really just click on a Krauthammer essay? The reason you can hang the Tucson shootings on today’s Republicans is because they’ve mainstreamed the kind of redemptionist and sovereign-citizen movement concerns expressed by the shooter, with repeated attacks on the 14th amendment and the nation’s currency, even rising to the level of introducing bills.

Twenty years ago, such a connection would have been as ridiculous as Krauthammer insists, but if his party of choice has taken their southern strategy so far downmarket (they have) then this is the bed they’ve made.


KT 03.03.11 at 7:33 pm

You’re right about my not knowing the details of the incident in Sacramento, JM. But I am still not real wild about union solidarity.

I find your determination to “hang the Tucson shootings on today’s Republicans” because of Loughner’s “redemptionist and sovereign-citizen movement concerns” pretty weak. He began to obsess on Gabrielle Giffords starting in 2007 (with a special resentment of her inability to address his concerns about “grammar”). He was also reported to be obsessed with the rather unusual 2007 anarchist/new age film Zeitgeist, which won an award at a progressive film festival. The Zeitgeist movement does look forward to a utopian, currency-free future, but the movie also includes Bill O’Reilly, Fox News, Capitalism and Christianity as villains and suggests that the U.S. Government was complicit in 9/11. Doesn’t sound real “mainstream” Republican to me.


Stuart 03.03.11 at 7:37 pm

I think I also saw a Fox News screencap where they flipped the result of a (Gallup?) poll about Wisconsin, it was something like 61-33 in favour of the protests, but they had put it as 33-61 on their graphics. No idea if it was real or a photoshop though, but the amount of times they mess up in whatever direction fits their bias it wouldn’t be surprising (like the well known thing about disgraced republican politicians “accidentally” getting tagged as D).


musical mountaineer 03.03.11 at 8:12 pm

Dudes. Chill. Goebbels would be distinctly unimpressed.

There is no violence in the video. A shove or two, a finger pointed in anger, some shouting, cops milling around, clumps of people acting bored. You know, like what happened in Wisconsin. Nothing in the clip says anything about “violence” anyway. BOR is blabbing about logistics the whole time.

Since the video was from a protest in explicit support of the union, you could even argue it was a “union” protest. But that’s just a quibble; I’ll grant that the video was wrongly captioned. And it was misleading in the sense that the events in the video didn’t happen in Wisconsin, where viewers would probably assume the video came from.

But to the extent that it is misleading, it is utterly harmless. That’s why there are “no laws about this”. You can’t say with any confidence that it was an intentional smear. You can’t even say it’s a smear, period. Some overworked backroom hack was confused by a filename while he was looking for a few seconds of stock footage for BOR to drone over.

Call me when Fox burns something down and blames it on you.


Substance McGravitas 03.03.11 at 8:21 pm

But to the extent that it is misleading, it is utterly harmless.

Even if you have a lot of other stupid ideas you don’t have to pretend that Fox is something other than propaganda.


JM 03.03.11 at 9:17 pm

And :David-Wynn: Miller. How could I forget about him?

Seriously, KT, if you don’t want to be associated with these people, stop courting these people.


polyorchnid octopunch 03.03.11 at 9:44 pm

I’m so glad that the government here decided that knowingly publishing false information was not permitted here; that would be actionable in my country (Canada).


Harry 03.03.11 at 10:13 pm

Really, that Althouse video is hilarious. Aggressive? well, poor little buggers. I think tha problem was that those tea partiers thought either there would be many more of them or just weren’t prepared for tens of thousands. Personally, when I have been involved in small counter-demonstrations I have felt an obligation to engage in respectful dialogue with those protesters who would talk to me (it was the only thing I could stand about abortion defenses, though because I tend to have a lot of respect for people who oppose abortion that probably made it easier). I also have gone assuming that I might be in some danger, because I know people can get violent when tempers get high. It would embarrass me if someone cited blowing a whistle in my face or taking a camera as aggression. But then I’d be embarrassed not to have a clue why I was there.


KT 03.03.11 at 11:24 pm


Harry 03.03.11 at 11:44 pm

Well, I’m glad Fox has some sophists on it’s side. If I ever hear a Fox person say that Clinton lied I’ll blow a whistle in their face.


Substance McGravitas 03.03.11 at 11:47 pm

KT’s arguments are unacceptable to Americans. See the thuggery.


KT 03.04.11 at 12:06 am

Which arguments are “unacceptable to Americans”?

P.S. Harry: I agree that it’s embarrassing not to have a clue why you’re at a protest.


Myles 03.04.11 at 1:13 am

Can the ridiculous Canadian boosterism here cease, srsly? This has literally nothing to do with Canada.

Why the hell do people have to drag Canada into American questions? It bespeaks national insecurity.


ScentOfViolets 03.04.11 at 1:49 am

Read Iowahawk’s piece, again Walt. and think again. “Not only did white Texas students outperform white Wisconsin students, the gap between white students and minority students in Texas was much less than the gap between white and minority students in Wisconsin. In other words, students are better off in Texas schools than in Wisconsin schools – especially minority students.”

As Tigerhawk notes, “in Paul Krugman’s ideological circles an assertion like Krugman’s would ordinarily get one accused of racism, unless of course one is Paul Krugman.”

Are you really having this much of a problem parsing sentences? The claim (by WI Republicans) was that it was those evuul teachers unions who were keeping the chidren’s down.

So the “Krugman” stats aren’t about saying that teacher’s unions are the best thing since wonderbread for children. They merely refute – and quite successfully, of course – the claim that they are bad for children.

Speaking of which, the idea that Krugman is saying that the teacher’s unions are good for kids is something that has come almost entirely out of yours and Iowahawk’s heads. In fact, I don’t see those unions mentioned anywhere in the column Iowahawk linked to, merely some (accurate) assertions about poverty and children. I find this sort of misreading bizarre.


Substance McGravitas 03.04.11 at 2:14 am

Which arguments are “unacceptable to Americans”?

The ones that Americans find unacceptable. Duh. LOOK AT THE VIOLENCE.


KT 03.04.11 at 6:45 am

ScentOfViolets: Are you filled with disdain that I quoted Tigerhawk instead of coming up with my own comment about the accusation of racism against Iowahawk, or what?

Iowahawk’s data made sense to me. But I’m not a statistician. So maybe I’m missing something.

So the “Krugman” stats aren’t about saying that teacher’s unions are the best thing since wonderbread for children. They merely refute – and quite successfully, of course – the claim that they are bad for children.

Except maybe for little black children.

Seriously, why don’t you send an e-mail to Iowahawk with your observations and report back? Or if that’s too intimidating, join the discussion in the comment section of the Tigerhawk post. Unless it’s beneath you to communicate with such people.


Stuart 03.04.11 at 1:54 pm

I have found the answer to this issue on the internet: Palm trees are liberal plants.


chris 03.04.11 at 2:19 pm

Fox News didn’t lie, they just deliberately misled their viewers. Well, I’m glad we cleared *that* up.


joe koss 03.04.11 at 3:39 pm

First captured aggression I’ve seen in Madison: Representative Nick Milroy trying to go to his office to get his clothes, cop tackling said Representative.



Gene O'Grady 03.04.11 at 10:18 pm

The only palm trees that are native to California are the little wispy ones out in 29 Palms. So, while they may not be a “liberal plant,” they are somebody’s plant, most likely a 19th century idea about what ought to have been there.


dr ngo 03.04.11 at 10:34 pm

As someone born in California in the first half of the 20th century, I definitely qualify as a “native.” And the palm trees were already here, so they do, too.

Anyone/anything arriving after 1950 is a noobie, however.


musical mountaineer 03.05.11 at 5:00 am

I checked the link that joe koss@43 provided, and it says Milroy “struggled with policy before they took him to the ground”.

I’m not sure what WKOW is trying to imply, there. Maybe that Milroy is having personal doubts about the policies he supports? Or that he was actually attempting to legislate, even though he said he was only there to get his clothes? Whatever, it’s obviously a sinister and extraordinarily dangerous effort to undermine either Milroy personally or the Democrats in general. It’s brilliantly subtle, too: there is zero possibility it will make any real difference whatsoever. Which is exactly why it’s so important! Those pernicious fuckers!

And of course WKOW can always claim it was just a typo. Those underhanded, vicious, stop-at-nothing fiends! If we don’t get an entire news cycle dedicated to this egregious instance of deliberate mass deception, that will be positive proof of a nationwide conspiracy among all news organizations. In a sane universe, they would all commit ritual suicide immediately, for shame at their betrayal of the public trust.

We’re through the looking-glass, people. Keep your powder dry.


Gene O'Grady 03.05.11 at 5:10 am

I didn’t say the palm trees were a recent innovation, any more than the eucalyptus trees are. Quite a few of them were brought in by Leland Stanford himself.


rrp 03.06.11 at 1:18 am

@40 Did you bother to read the link on “little black children?” Obviously not because if you had, you’d have seen that reading proficiency in black children in Connecticut rose, yes, under dreaded union teachers.

The issue is not the union but, according to the article, poverty.

Or were you simply aiming for a gotcha?


musical mountaineer 03.06.11 at 10:30 pm

Well, I thought it over, and I guess I ought to ‘fess up before the comments close.

Obviously, I think this particular thing is way overplayed. If this rates as extraordinary deception on Fox’s part, then all you lefties must be doing an amazing, bang-up job of keeping Fox honest. This really is laughable.

But on the whole, I have to admit that Fox’s political coverage and commentary are…unwholesome. As a conservative, I’m glad there’s an antidote to the ever more strident and dishonest leftwing propaganda from Every Other Network And Major Publication. But this antidote is poison in its own right. I personally can’t take much of it, and I’m dismayed to see people lapping it up.

There is an effective way to push back against Fox. Posts like this are not it.


KT 03.06.11 at 11:24 pm

That connection between test scores, ethnicity and poverty was one of Iowahawk’s original points, rrp. So are you suggesting that Wisconsin’s small black population is mired deeper in poverty, on average, than the black population of any other state, including the “slave state” (per another commenter) of Texas? Why would that be, since Krugman suggested that high-tax states like Wisconsin take much better care of children?

This is what the article I linked actually says about poverty: ” Although the NAEP results did show that student poverty correlated with lower reading scores, a greater factor was whether a student was African-American. . . .”

Didn’t you misrepresent the article just a little? Also from the article:

“State Sen. Lena Taylor (D-Milwaukee) added that generations of hopelessness and low expectations among black families in Wisconsin – especially in Milwaukee – have resulted in an education crisis that Wisconsinites must band together to solve.”

But, black kids at Montessori schools in Milwaukee were doing better. Might School Choice make a difference?

Meanwhile, Iowahawk answers critics of the original piece he wrote:

Hey, it’s been a fun two days based on a simple 30-minute study of educational statistics. As regards the effect of teacher collective bargaining on student learning, I wouldn’t call what I did conclusive; just pointing out the fallacy of aggregate statistical comparisons.

If you don’t like his data, there is a more definitive study cited at the end, plus a video which, even if you think collective bargaining for public unions is the only way to save the country, may lead you to consider the details of union rules.


Harry 03.06.11 at 11:34 pm

Oh dear, you can believe that if you like KT, but analysing the data is much more complicated than you seem to think. For example, how to control for class? Economists typically do it very crudely — the more fine grained the data and the controls, the smaller the race specific gap. I don”t have the data on black poverty in Wisconsin in general, but I do know that about 90% of the MMSD African American kids are on free and reduced lunch — I doubt that’s true in most cities this size in the south.

I’m a moderate enthusiast for school choice. The MPCP made very little difference when we had data (now it is just a shot in the dark because there are no reporting requirements). Charters have their place, but basically the choice agenda has been a massive failure.


KT 03.07.11 at 5:45 pm

Are you talking about my response to rrp’s suggestion that poor test scores among young black students in Wisconsin are based solely on their poverty, Harry? I don’t see that position as being based on “fine grained data and controls”. I believe that the statement of State Sen. Lena Taylor (D-Milwaukee) that “generations of hopelessness and low expectations among black families in Wisconsin – especially in Milwaukee – have resulted in an education crisis that Wisconsinites must band together to solve” has a lot of validity even though it is hard to quantify.

The big question is what leads to such “hopelessness and low expectations”? Why have blacks been more successful at moving into that middle class in the South than in Madison?

The entire point of Iowahawk’s original piece was that Krugman had failed to take into consideration “fine grained data and controls”. Krugman was coming to some interesting conclusions about the future destruction being sown in Texas by low taxes without taking into account much in the way of “fine grained data and controls”.

Concerning rrp’s triumphal statistics on rising test scores in Connecticut where teachers are unionized, I think that there are a variety of educational models which can successfully educate students. There are many liberal programs which work well for a while — sometimes even for decades — before falling into decline. Non-liberal programs also have a tendency to decline. But I believe that the rigidity of union rules often makes the decline of programs more destructive than would otherwise be the case.

My husband is a veteran unionized public employee. I would have gone nuts trying to understand what he was going through as his institution fell deeper and deeper into corruption if I had not read Barbarians to Bureaucrats. It notes that unions are typically logical responses to real problems with management, but points out how union/management relationships tend to become rigid and destructive over time. (This book is dated now, and is better at illuminating problems than at suggesting solutions in my opinion, but it helped me understand a lot about how the world works even outside the corporation).

I have a friend who is the principal of an elementary school with a unionized work force. This school system went through some very destructive political upheavals in the recent past which caused achievement to plunge from “distinguished school” status to among the lowest scores in the state. Scores are on their way up again. I’ve never heard her complain about the union. I have heard her complain about the State forcing her district to pay high-priced consultants to present fabulous new programs for which those consultants are never held accountable in any way. I am a big fan of local flexibility and creativity in programs executed by good people.


Montana 03.08.11 at 12:04 am

O’rielly, what a joke, didn’t he say “video comes in video comes out never a miscommunication”. Why is it that so many fools follow this liar? It looks like that the top republican candidates for president will be coming from “Fake News/ Fox News”, or should I say “Big Business”, how funny.

I wonder if “Fake News” has a stable of likely republican supreme court justices (I am sure they will all attend the republican state of the union, unlike Antonin Scalia, Samuel Alito, and Clarence Thomas, scum bags).

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