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A Lesson Learned

In my last post, I was rightly scorned by commenter Brian for screwing up some math in reference to aspects of the Porkulus bill. Of course, he automatically branded me as "dishonest", when, though quite obvious, it was an honest mistake.

As a new blogger, it's my first time having been called out for faulty figures. It is a sobering experience. I learned at least three initial things:

  • If writing about factual substance, triple-check your figures before posting.
  • Expect to get trounced by keen-eyed commenters if you are wrong.
  • DON'T blog after your bedtime.

Most of my posts are geared toward opinion. I believe that one of the main goals of a blog is to encourage people to think and hopefully gain a different perspective on subjects, whether political or otherwise.

It's one thing if someone disagrees with you and your opinions. It's quite another if you screw up a fact and get called out on it.

In a way, I'm actually glad this occurred. Like everyone else, I do not like to be wrong concerning factual information, however, when I am, I learn from my mistakes.

I think that notion is especially true for those of us who choose to share our thoughts in the realm of public opinion.

I hope this experience makes me a better blogger.


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Comments (24)

Uh your update tacked on th... (Below threshold)
SillyPuddy:

Uh your update tacked on the end of the original post was more then enough to cover the error.

Yup, unfortunately that stu... (Below threshold)

Yup, unfortunately that stuff happens, Shawn. Sometimes it is tiny things, like a misspelled word which makes it through the spell-checker. Often something like writing is instead of it, maybe dropping a T, getting he instead of the. Or, a misspelling in the headline. We start whipping through an article, and often forget to proofread the headline.

It happens.

True error, but the topic ... (Below threshold)
epador:

True error, but the topic did set off some interesting comments, and a good evaluation and follow up of the per centages seems in order. Perhaps that project would help redeem you self esteem?

OK, so move on. Don't be in... (Below threshold)
MPR:

OK, so move on. Don't be intimidated from calling attention to the largest fact. And that is that Obamalala and liberals in congress are going to spend whatever it takes to change America into their image. This is only the beginning of the spending and the decline of the American way of life.

MPR,I am most cert... (Below threshold)
Shawn:

MPR,

I am most certainly not intimidated.

I left the original post as is so people could see what I was talking about, and so the comments section made sense.

All one has to do is go to the 2 links provided in the original post to see that this is NOT a stimulus package. It is a pay off.

I just wanted to clarify what happened and show my intentions were noble, and my mistake honest.

I felt it the right thing to do.

-Shawn

Reminds me of the AP articl... (Below threshold)
GarandFan:

Reminds me of the AP article the other day about a Global Warming expert (professor) who was going on and on about how the rain forests were "inflammable".....meaning "it takes an awful lot of heat to start them on fire". Now this guy is a "professor". Yet, he doesn't know that 'inflammable' means easily set on fire. Second, he's obviously never heard of Amazon natives who engage in 'slash and burn' in order to clean forest land for cultivation. But we had better listen to him, as he's a 'leading expert on Global warming'.

Shawn,Yes, these k... (Below threshold)

Shawn,

Yes, these kinds of things do happen. We are, after all, only human. Our efforts, regardless of what they are, are limited by that.

You did exactly what you needed to do when the error was discovered. You corrected it.

Just a reminder though. Many of those who circle and prowl around looking for an opportunity to pounce on a perceived instance of "dishonesty" are the very ones who were shrieking "Bush Lied" at every opportunity too.

When you're over the target, you catch a lot of flack.

Thanks Shawn. Brian is us... (Below threshold)
Greg:

Thanks Shawn. Brian is usually wrong. He's not man enough to own up though.

Shawn,Glad to hear i... (Below threshold)
MPR:

Shawn,
Glad to hear it. Didn't really think it was the case. I continue to be amazed by people that generally seem reasoned and thoughtful saying the most idiotic, unreasoned and frankly stupid things. When they begin to spout off about getting behind Obamalala and his trying to pull the country out of it's tail spin. I ask them if they run their home finances or their business like he wants to run the country. They cannot come up with an answer. And, that is even more amazing.

Shawn, not to worry, even i... (Below threshold)
Marc:

Shawn, not to worry, even if your original figures were wrong in the long run they may end up right.

The just passed 789 billion Porkopolis bill won't be enough and just around the corner is Porkopolis - The Sequel (coming to a wallet near you) according to a Clinton admin budget director:

Despite the enormous size of the $787 billion stimulus plan, some economists worry that it won't make a big enough dent in unemployment and that lawmakers will have to work on another stimulus in short order -- something members of Congress are loathe to discuss.

"That's possible," said Alice Rivlin, a former Clinton administration budget director. "I think the economy is getting worse quite rapidly and this may not prove to be enough."
The stimulus got "less stimulative," Rivlin said, as it passed through the Senate and some of the things that offered "the biggest bang for the buck" were scaled back, such as more money for food stamps.
WHAT?

You mean those "mean, nasty obstructionist rethuglians" may have actually been correct in appraising Porkopolis as more spending and less stimulus?

How can that be?

Oh, and this raises a question:

The following week, the president will host what the White House is billing as a "fiscal responsibility" summit on February 23. The goal of the summit is to begin weighing the impact of massive federal programs like Social Security and Medicare just days before the president plans to unveil his first annual budget to Congressional leaders.
And that question is.... what friggin' budget?!

And then there's this.

GM just broke off talks with the UAW over restructuring some of the in place benefits and as part of reaching the Congressional mandated deadline for restructuring when they received their bailout.

As anyone with more than 2 brain cells could predict GM may come knocking for more cash.

General Motors Corp., nearing a federally imposed deadline to present a restructuring plan, will offer the government two costly alternatives: commit billions more in bailout money to fund the company's operations, or provide financial backing as part of a bankruptcy filing, said people familiar with GM's thinking.

The competing choices, which highlight GM's rapidly deteriorating operations, present a dilemma for Congress and the Obama administration. If they refuse to provide additional aid to GM on top of the $13.4 billion already committed they risk seeing an industrial icon fall into bankruptcy.
Your error rate is still we... (Below threshold)

Your error rate is still well below that of the New York Times, and your honesty index is much higher.
http://www.rightklik.net/

Shawn, to take reckless att... (Below threshold)
tyree:

Shawn, to take reckless attacks from "Brian" seriously. Blogging can be hard work, and Brian makes a great dwarf in your chariot.

Shawn,You made ano... (Below threshold)
Spike:

Shawn,

You made another "honest mistake" in this post.

In it you created the link record cold temperatures and snowfall that paralyzed Europe . However, the article doesn't say any records were broken.

Also global warming is measured over a period of many years. You either have a lack of understanding of the basics of global warming and how it is measured. In which case you should not be writing about global warming. Or you made a deliberate attempt to deceive your readers.

Spike,Google "reco... (Below threshold)
Shawn:

Spike,

Google "record snowfall britain" and find it yourself. I never said the article itself stated that.

How convenient that you global warming enthusiasts have a blanket answer for every type of weather phenomenon imaginable. Too cold, too hot, too dry, too wet, too cloudy, too sunny, too stinky. It's all due to global warming. Now or later, it's gonna happen!

The only way I'd be trying to deceive the readers is if I believed it myself.

So go pray to Algore and take your crap somewhere else.

Spike and his whacko fringe... (Below threshold)
WildWillie:

Spike and his whacko fringe group are losing the credibility, not Shawn. How could you not lose credibility with Algore as your spokesperson. I think I'll drive around my block a few times for ole spike. ww

How convenient tha... (Below threshold)
Spike:
How convenient that you global warming enthusiasts have a blanket answer for every type of weather phenomenon imaginable. Too cold, too hot, too dry, too wet, too cloudy, too sunny, too stinky. It's all due to global warming.

What blanket answer are you talking about? I have not heard or read anyone say the cold weather is caused by global warming. Are you making this up? Global warming simply can not be measured by a single season. It is measured by trends that occure over many years. If you take some time learning how global warming is measured it may clear up some things for you. Even with global warming there will be hot and cold spikes.

I have not heard o... (Below threshold)
I have not heard or read anyone say the cold weather is caused by global warming.

Remember Spike, Google is your friend.

Here you go:

AUSTRALIA is in the grip of a nationwide cold snap - and paradoxically, it could be another result of global warming.

Last summer was the hottest on record. But last month many parts of Australia reported record or near-record cold nights. The average minimum temperature was 1.69 degrees below the long-term average, making it the second-coldest June since 1950.

http://www.smh.com.au/news/national/cold-spells-weird-cause/2006/07/03/1151778873599.html

Cold wave in India attributed to global warming Tuesday, 12 February , 2008, 21:58

Mumbai: The recent cold wave sweeping across Mumbai and other parts of India could be attributed to global warming, experts said on Tuesday here at an environmental conference.

http://sify.com/news/fullstory.php?id=14603730

As I noted in the other thr... (Below threshold)
Brian:

As I noted in the other thread, Shawn, I apologized for the blanket claim of dishonesty. Truth told, I was caught up in taking ExSubNuke's words that objecting to your conclusions was "rancid, fettid hishonest on an epic scale" (sic) and throwing them back at you. I doubt I would have chosen that sentiment using my own words.

I will point out that although your analysis of Maine's numbers can be explained as error, Pennsylvania is a different story. As I explained in the other thread, your conflation of the two states hid the fact that Pennsylvania alone would get only 2% of the stimulus, using your numbers. On the face of it, 2% of the states receiving 2% of the stimulus should not have triggered your accusations of "bribe". Aggregating the two states so that this fact is hidden could be perceived at worst as deception, or at best as sloppy. So there is a fourth bullet point that you should add: don't make a point using half-arguments where the other half of the argument undermines your point.

Spike, "Also globa... (Below threshold)
Shawn:

Spike,

"Also global warming is measured over a period of many years."

And how many years would that be, Spike? 10? 50? 200?

Convenient when you can just say "over many years".

"Even with global warming there will be hot and cold spikes."

The same can be said without the myth of global warming, Spike.

I do not accept the premise to which you ascribe your beliefs.

Psst...spike:Would... (Below threshold)
Marc:

Psst...spike:

Would 20 years of temp tracking showing no warming trend be enough to convince you?

I doubt it, but there you are, pay attention to column 8

- 12 months ending May 2008 is +0.116

- 12 months ending January 1988 is +0.121

That's for the mathematically challenged, that's over 20 years with zero net gain.

Now spike, have a drink and cool down. (like the Earth)

I learned at least three in... (Below threshold)
Knightbrigade:

I learned at least three initial things:

* If writing about factual substance, triple-check your figures before posting.

* Expect to get trounced by keen-eyed commenters if you are wrong.

* DON'T blog after your bedtime
-------------------------------------------------------
How about one more thing..? LOL
* Give thought to even giving a serious response if ANY of the keen-eyed commenters have the names Lee, Crickmore, Brian, Spike, etc.....

Once a year a lib troll doo... (Below threshold)
gianid:

Once a year a lib troll dooshbag is right.

Guess they got lucky early this year....

Shawn - I've never seen a p... (Below threshold)
Samael Howard:

Shawn - I've never seen a political blogger apologize for a mistake before. Especially when the one pointing out the mistake belongs to the other side of the debate. It takes a maturity that I thought dead, and a complete confidence that your cause is true, regardless of what defeats you face along the way in pursuing it.

I'll be sticking around, to watch you become the better blogger you seek to be.

Brian - unless it's certain that Shawn was the original source for the "Maine and Pennsylvania bribe" meme, it can't be said that he intended to deceive us. This debate is over what is good and right in saving the country - calling the other side "evil" without looking into their real motives is lazy thinking. There's too much of it here as is, from both sides...

Shawn,Thank you for ... (Below threshold)
Grace:

Shawn,
Thank you for the apology. No matter what anyone says, you can never err when asking forgivness for a mistake - big or small. It only proves you are a strong and confident person.
Congratulations.
G




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