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Posts published in September 2010

Priority measurement

In the Slog, writer Dominic Holden writes about numbers and what they indicate, or don't, about public priorities.

In 2003, Seattle voters passed (59% in favor) a ballot issue declaring marijuana enforcement the lowest priority for city police. In the years since, the number of arrests on pot busts declined, and fr years stayed well below levels from 2003 and earlier.

In "Pot Paradox," Holden wrote in August about an oddity: Arrests on pot offenses this year have (on a per-month basis) more than doubled. He wrote, "This year, 147 people have been referred to prosecutors with pot as the only charge, according to records from the Seattle Police Department (SPD) and the city attorney's office. That is a fivefold increase in the number of pot-only cases (last year, only 28 of the 120 arrests were referred for prosecution with pot as the only charge). In other words, pot-only arrests rose from 23 percent to 85 percent. This is a drastic shift toward busting people solely for pot."

Seemingly in response, Seattle Mike McGinn's office on September 1 posted a response. It said: (more…)

From where the misinformation?

Listeners at KBIO radio in Boise were asked to participate in a (self-selecting) online survey about President Barack Obama. Results on which they think describes the president best:

A foreign born Muslim - 49%
A foreign born Christian - 3%
An American born Muslim - 7%
An American born Christian - 22%
A president with really big ears - 20%

"Foreign-born Muslim" was actually up to 55% yesterday.

Where do these people get their misinformation - garbage that has been so repeatedly debunked over a period of years? In the case of this poll, the participants presumably were mostly KBOI listeners - local home of Rush Limbaugh, Sean Hannity and other conservative talkers. Given that, the surprise may be that the 49% or 55% isn't even higher.