Friday, July 24, 2009

Quote of the Day

"'You have to be able to discern differences between people,' she said, criticizing the practice of racial profiling."
More from the New York Times.

Tuesday, July 7, 2009


The New York Times reports on new studies of interracial dormmates.

I'm a bit underwhelmed with the results can't imagine anyone who started off skeptical is going to be won over.

But that probably is irrelevant since most advocacy groups, despite the lip service paid to diversity, promote affirmative action to "enhance access and equality in . . . opportunities."

Affirmative Action

Quote of the Day:

"Being a minority at Ohio State, we try to stay together, to build ourselves as a community, it’s different for white guys.

A lot of them come here without much exposure to diversity"

This might be out of context but it sounds like he said minorities band together as a community (good conotation) but white people band together and miss the diversity (bad connotation).

Runner-up is a newspaper quoting a B.U. student as saying: "We [Latinos] need scholarships to survive."

Wednesday, July 1, 2009

Ricci vs. DeStafano

The Supreme Court handed down its decision on the controversial Ricci vs. DeStafano case a few days ago, which reminded me of an article that provides textbook case of bad statistical reasoning.

The passage in question is:

"Independent experts, too, warned against making too much of the three-judge panel's decision to rely on the lower court ruling. That's what appeals courts often do.

The 2nd District Court of Appeals ruled on 2,859 cases last year. Of those, 381 decisions — 15 percent — came with a signed opinion, the clerk's office said."

The problem is that no one was making a fuss just because Sotomayor and her colleagues didn't give a signed opinion, they were arguing it was odd for a case this controversial, one taken up by the Supreme Court and expected to have a 5-4 decision.

The real statistic people are interested in is, conditional on a case going on to the Supreme Court, having a 5-4 decision (and, as we now know, generating 4 different opinions) how often does a lower court feel there's no need to give a signed opinon? I suspect it's higher than 15% though I have no idea how much.