Hello! And welcome to SMAI: Stupidest Man Alive Idol. Here’s how it works: our contestants perform for you, the audience. And then you, the audience, judge them and you can be as unfair as you like in your comments. Our contestants today are Donald Luskin and Tim Blair. Luskin goes first, with Brad DeLong providing the commentry:
A correspondent asks me if it isn’t time to surf on over again to Donald Luskin’s “Poor and Stupid” website, find some egregious offense against intelligent thought, and lay down another marker saying that Luskin is indeed the Stupidest Man Alive™, just in case there’s somebody out on the internet searching for information on Luskin who doesn’t already know.
Sigh. OK. It’s painful, though… Here’s the very first item
The Conspiracy to Keep You Poor and Stupid : HMMM… Our friend John Grauel says:
You consider that there have been an average of 160,000 troops in the Iraq theater of operations during the last 22 months, and a total of 2112 deaths, that gives a firearm death rate of 60 per 100,000.
The rate in Washington D.C. is 80.6 per 100,000(1). That means that you are about 25% more likely to be shot and killed in our Nation’s Capitol, which has some of the strictest gun control laws in the nation, than you are in Iraq.
Conclusion: We should immediately pull out of Washington D.C.
If Donald Luskin were not the Stupidest Man Alive™, he would know that the DC figure of 80.6 is an annual figure, while the 60 figure is a monthly figure. 2112 deaths divided by 160,000 soldiers divided by 22/12 years gives an annual death rate of not 60 per 100,000 but 720 per 100,000.
But what is a factor of twelve to the Stupidest Man Alive™?
(1) Note: This “80.6” itself appears to be about twice as large as the real number. But why am I not surprised?
Not bad, not bad. But let Tim Blair show you what an Aussie can do:
It’s a quagmire in California::
Recently released crime statistics show the homicide rate in California is 265 percent higher than the death rate suffered by U.S. and British military personnel in Iraq.
Let’s see, in 2004 there were 2,394 homicides in California and the coalition suffered 905 military fatalities in Iraq. Now 2394 is 165% (not 265%) more than 905, but 2.394 is the number of homicides, not the homicide rate. California has 230 times as many people as the number of coalition troops in Iraq so Blair’s comparison is out by a factor of 230. The homicide rate in California was 6.5 per 100,000 population, while 905 deaths amongst 160,000 coalition troops is a death rate of 565.6, which is a little bit more than 6.5.
Now you, the audience, get to judge. Who is the winner today?
Update: In a late move, Luskin has deleted his post. Contest management has ruled that you should consider this part of his performance.