Tuesday, November 01, 2005

Cheap Shot, Inky Style

Yesterday I posted a heart-sick item linking to a post by the Philadelphia Inquirer's blogger-in-residence, Daniel Rubin in which I echoed Rubin's lament for the troubled waters that my favorite newspaper finds itself in.

Today Rubin posts a sad example of the provincialism on which the blogosphere so enjoys harping. Noting a study which ranks states by "smartness" using a number of measures which may or may not have any relevance, Rubin notes that fair New Jersey ranked 4th, Pennsylvania ranked 11th, and Delaware clocks in at 25th. He then gives us the top five and bottom five states:

1) Vermont
2) Connecticut
3) Massachusetts
4) New Jersey
5) Maine

And the bottom five:

46) California
47) Nevada
48) New Mexico
49) Mississippi
50) Arizona

Rubin then closes by quoting a lefty blogger saying "i won't mention that most of the red states are on the bottom half of the list. but you know i'm thinking it."

"Anybody else?" asks Rubin.

Get it? Republicans are stoo-pid!

But wait, you might ask, what about the most liberal and Democratic (and populous) state in America, which sits at 46th on the Smart Index? Surely California's many, many stupid Democrats make up for the stupid Republicans in Mississippi.

What to do with Maine, which is very smart, and which voted against George W. Bush, but has two Republican senators?

What to do about Number 7, Virginia, which, as the list shows, if very smart, and which went for Bush, but which has a Democratic governor?

Surely science can help us divine the truth to these great mysteries. But while the teams of researchers at CalTech are working out a solution, perhaps Daniel Rubin could try raising his blog to the standards of the Inquirer instead of taking cheap shots at those with whom he doesn't agree.

(Mind you, people from the Philadelphia area should be acutely aware of the idiocy of rankings.)


Anonymous said...

And we are wondering why these papers are failing and having to let go of a lot of employees?
The Inquirer shares the same problem as the NYT and LAT and that is that their editorial page (particularly the unsigned editorials section) is wacked-out, far left stuff and most intelligent people would think that if their editorial page is that far out in left field then that type of attitude must infect the rest of the paper. I do not think that anyone can argue that The Inquirer or the NYT are anywhere near to where most people come down on the issues of the day.
The Inquirer and NYT are no longer great papers. Of course, they are capable of producing quality work on a (now) rare occasion, but taken as a whole, they stink.

Anonymous said...

Either I wasn't clear or you misunderestimated me. "Anybody else" was an invitation for people to disagree. Not anything else, at least as intended. dan

kwAwk said...

Well I guess we Democrats can take pride that the state of Howard Dean is #1. GO DEMS!!!

OH wait! The state that gives us John Kerry and Ted Kennedy was third?? Bonus!!!

Okay now that I'm done with my petty gloating I'll take a serious look at this.

Why exactly should these results come as a suprise to you? Looking at the criteria put into these rankings, this is not just about which state has the smartest people, it is also about which states put the most funding and the higest priority into eductation.

So the results would be exactly what one would expect. Liberal Democratic states where people don't mind paying taxes to support their governmentand education system rank higher while those conservative states which don't believe in supporting their government and education system rank lower.

I am not sure what accounts for what is happening in California, but as a general trend the analysis hold water. It could be a function of the states with the highest population of English as a second language immigrants have their numbers skewed lower.