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November 17, 2004



Can we clarify at least one thing? Our big problem is our leadership. At least on enormous advantage that Republicans seem to have is that your party at least appears to be bottom-led. Your grassroots efforts are well-rooted; ours (at the moment) are just growing in.

All of which is to say that many Demcorats would consider it a favor if, when you read stories like the above, where you see "the Democratic Party" you read "the frigging morons at the top of the Party who, but for the personal skills of Bill Clinton, wouldn't have won a presidential election in a generation."



Good point.

Andrew Grossman

This paper seems relevant. It discusses a different explanation for the Clinton drop:



Thanks very much. Welfare reform merits a nod as well.



I'd send an email or letter to Okrent but it's gotten old. I figured it was time to give up when all I could write in my last letter was "blah blah blah outrage yada yada yada bias". After you reach a certain point, long since passed, having an ombudsman is a complete waste of time.

I think the only message that would ever actually get read by Okrent would be one wrapped around a brick and sent through a window.


"Daniel Okrent, Public Editor of the NY Times, could not care less about your concerns"

He has gone native 100% hasn't he?

I read somewhere that his contract is not being renewed. If that's correct, I wonder what he'll be doing. Perhaps he's going to work for the nyt in some other capacity?

Also, does anyone know if his position as in-house cheerleader is going to be eliminated when his contract expires?

Tim Worstall

Just a thought, but are they counting actual numbers of abortions? If they are, are they correcting for the rise in the pop[ulation and ot changes in the age composition?

Cecil Turner

I looked this over briefly during the first iteration of the "Partial Birth Abortion" ban (trying to discern whose numbers were closer to reality), and concluded it was a hopeless muddle. No two sources agree on methodology or reliability, and there appears to be some merit to the various complaints:

The Guttmacher Institute (a special affiliate to Planned Parenthood) reports higher numbers than the Center for Disease Control (CDC) because Guttmacher actively collects the abortion data directly from providers. The CDC relies on figures gained from voluntary reporting by abortion providers and relayed from state health agencies. All numbers reported are voluntary; there are no laws requiring abortionists to report to any national agency the numbers of abortions they perform.

Starting in 1998, the CDC stopped including statistics from four states including California, a state that accounted for 23 percent of the nation's abortions in 1997.

AGI has estimated a possible 3-6% rate of underreporting. It's obvious from other AGI research that people routinely lie about abortions, and recent court cases have forbidden federal researchers access to individual records. Planned Parenthood clearly sees this as primarily a privacy issue, a view likely shared by AGI.

I'm extremely skeptical of any "trend" that shows up in the third significant figure of this data--even before factoring in changes in population. There might be something there, but I don't see how you'd know it.

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