To follow up on Tim's discussion of Nate Silver's takedown of Veronique de Rugy's bogus study claiming to find that the stimulus has been distributed in a partisan way, this is yet more evidence that the Internet is awesome.
In the old days, a completely disingenuous argument like De Rugy's would find its way into influential hands due to her institutional connections with establishment Republicans, get repeated a million times, and perhaps even have an impact on future debates. It would be countered only by somebody at a liberal think tank, who might write a paper showing why it was wrong, and nobody would notice. But now, the mighty Nate Silver, who has a tremendous amount of credibility built not on connections with important people but solely on merit, can quickly gut de Rugy's argument like a trout, and people will actually notice. That's because he has a large audience that he's built up without any kind of institutional support. I'm guessing Rachel Maddow will do a segment on this tonight, and pretty soon de Rugy will be utterly discredited. Or we can hope, anyway.
Which gives me an excuse to show you (via Sociological Images) this absolutely awesome video from 1969, previewing with uncanny accuracy this crazy thing that will allow people sitting in their home to do things like shop and pay bills. "What the wife selects on her console," we are told, "will be paid for by the husband on his counterpart console." As the narrator says this, the husband is staring at his computerized bill and shaking his head as if to say, "That Marge with her designer shoes!" We also learn that "at his disposal is an electronic correspondence machine, or home post office, which allows for instant written communication between individuals anywhere in the world." The wife doesn't seem to have access to this home post office; unlike her husband's totally phat 3-monitor spread, she has a single machine devoted to shopping and surveillance of their well-behaved children. But hey, why would wives need e-mail? They'd just use it to waste time gossiping with their friends. Unlike the man of the house, who is conducting serious business. Laughably stereotypical gender roles aside, that's some pretty good predicting for 1969.
Just a reminder that you're living in the paradise your parents dreamed about!
-- Paul Waldman
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