GMO and crop issue debate: NOT the place for tribalism

Two disclaimers from the start:
1. I am not a scientist; I am a mathematician. I am qualified to say some things about statistical tests, data analysis and what data means. I am not qualified to say “this particular genetically modification is safe” or “this genetic modification will save the world”, etc.

2. I am as tribal as they come when it comes to, say, politics. As things currently stand, the Republicans and the Democrats have very different visions for the United States and how to get there. I applaud people like Paul Krugman who take a “take no prisoners approach” to the economic issues of the day.

But on science issues, tribalism has no place. I really don’t care if I am at odds with some who vote the same way that I do.

Also, I am not here to discuss the ethics or lack thereof of the business practices of this giant agricultural company or that one. Proving that, say, Monsanto is unethical does NOT mean that this product is unsafe or that that a given agricultural practice is unsafe.

I will discuss my attempt at self-education and the source of much of my uncertainty on various issues.

1. Confusion of Issues
It is completely plausible to me that a certain type of agricultural practice leads to a better tasting, more nutritious crop. This issue is NOT limited to GMOs; for example the New York Times had an excellent article about artificial selection of crops (variation driven by random mutations which get selected for by intentional breeding); some crops really do produce more nutritious food than others.

Also, from a very limited sample, I’ve found that some “organic” foods really taste better than “the other stuff”; I was a bit surprised at the difference.

But this is NOT the same issue as “is this crop safe”?

Note: this is one reason I am a fan of programs that help poor people have access to the sorts of food you’ll find at farmer’s markets.

2. Science is hard!
If someone wants to show that a certain type of GMO is harmful or if a certain agricultural practice is harmful, there are the following potential pitfalls:

1. The false positive. If one runs enough experiments, or tests enough aspects (say this measurement in a rat or another one), one is all but guaranteed to get a certain number of false positives; remember that such experiments use p values of .05.

2. It is possible that the harm caused is in an area that no one has measured or has thought to have measured; ecological impacts aren’t always easy to measure. Also, there is the type II error in which an incorrect null hypothesis (“no difference”) is rejected simply because the differences aren’t great enough to show up through the noise at a given sample level.

3. Science results tend to be very narrow and, well, non-sexy. In reality, one gets a lot of “controlling for factors X, Y, and Z, it has been found that effect A occurs at a significance of p < .05 for lab rats fed a diet of R and a control group fed a diet of S (n = 30)" or "no statistically significant effect has been observed p = .05 for factor w".

To the former, the activists yell "FRANKENFOOD" and to the latter the corporations yell "PERFECTLY SAFE: WE'LL SAVE THE WORLD".

4. Corporations are there to make money; hence they will be biased toward overstating the benefits and understanding the risks. Activists are largely scientifically illiterate (though they think of themselves as being scientifically informed and their skeptics as being "sheeple").

It is a lot easier to yell FRANKENFOOD…and the idea that one is doing something important feels good! Learning science (really learning it) is much harder and doesn't give the crystal clear certainty that contributes to that wonderful feeling of being one of the "informed, righteous ones!".

But on the other hand, anyone who takes corporate propaganda seriously is deluding themselves.

So, where to turn?

I found this essay from a former “anti-GMO activist” interesting.

One can find access to a lot of resources at this page from Discover Magazine.

This website is written by those with honest-to-goodness science credentials, though the thrust appears to be more “pushback against misconceptions” rather than “here are the issues; this is our take on the current scientific research.”

Final Comment
I’ve lived long enough to not take corporate BS at face value and to understand that the loudest activist voices tend to be from those who have no more evidence than the certainty that the have regarding their own opinions.

What I find astonishing is that those who know far less science than I do tend to be far more certain on their opinions than I am of mine; seriously I am still making up my mind about many of these issues.

May 31, 2013 Posted by | biology, science, social/political | , , | Leave a comment

Politics: Toward the 2014 mid term elections

It is no secret that Republicans do a better job of getting out the vote than the Democrats, at least in the mid term elections.

Many liberals cheered when Michele Bachmann announced that she wouldn’t be running for reelection in 2014, but I wasn’t one of them. Reason: with Ms. Bachmann in the race, we had a chance to pick up a red district. Now, that chance has been greatly diminished, possibly to the point of hopelessness.

Yes, it is easy to pick up on her crazy comments and her general lunacy. What we sometimes miss is that she had enough influence with the Tea Party crowd to get enough people to take crazy conspiracy theories “seriously” and to give cover to like minded Republicans who share the same policy goals but are more restrained in their public statements. Other GOP candidates can benefit by looking “sane by comparison”.

Rachel Maddow sums it up very well here.

IL-17 There is some talk that Bobby Schilling might run again. As far as IL-17, remember that President Obama won this district 57.6-40.6 but Bustos only won 53-47. One might infer that 4-5 percent of the voters in this district voted for both Obama and for Schilling (?); I also noted that Schilling was careful to keep some distance between his campaign and Mitt Romney’s, even though Mr. Schilling is a dyed in the wool tea party Republican.

So, this race is far from certain; GOTV operations will be essential.

May 31, 2013 Posted by | Cheri Bustos, IL-17, politics, politics/social, republicans | , , | 1 Comment

Weight Room Progress (or lack thereof)

Weight this morning after breakfast: 188; a bit higher than I’d like. Then again, I ate out twice yesterday.

Weights: rotator cuff, hip hikes, achilles.
Pull ups: 2 sets of 15, 2 of 10
bench press: 10 x 135, 4 x 185, 8 x 170 (too much bounce on last reps?)
incline press: 2 sets of 7 x 150 (improvement)
military: 3 sets of 12 x 50 seated.
rows: 3 sets of 10 x 65
pull downs: 3 sets of 10 x 160
curls: one set of 10 x 25, 5 x 30 dumbbell, two sets of 10 x 57.5 pulley
abs: 3 sets of 10 of: sit backs, v. crunches, crunches, twists.

This doesn’t look like much, does it?

Note: my left glute/piriformis area has been sore…and the difference is the squats. I have to keep doing them but I have to make baby progress and do a lot of counter stretching.

Strengthening my legs while not frying my piriformis will be a challenge.

May 31, 2013 Posted by | injury, weight training | , | Leave a comment

My funeral or memorial service….

We went to the funeral service for my wife’s good friend. So, of course, I thought about my funeral/memorial service.

I thought about how to decorate the tables: stuffed frogs, math papers, pages from this blog; perhaps a 100 mile finisher’s buckle, a basketball and football ticket, an Obama shirt and perhaps a copy of The God Delusion and a differential equations textbook……

But none of that works. No one would be there.

What would work for me: an ONLINE funeral/memorial service! That would be more me than anything else, I think.

May 31, 2013 Posted by | Friends, humor, Navel Staring | | Leave a comment

A truly horrible NSFW pun on Asperger’s Syndrome….and some nice buns


May 31, 2013 Posted by | big butts, bikinis, NSFW humor | , | 2 Comments

Reading, anti-intellectualism and menopause

Workout notes
Last night: 3 mile walk with the group.
This morning: glacial 5 mile run (5.1 in about 55 minutes) on the Cornstalk course from the house to Markin. Then I did leg weights: squats: 10 x 45, 5 x 85, 5 x 95 attempting to get deep; hip hikes; 2 circuits of abduction, adduction, push back.

This bordered on “assisted stretching”; my squats were really as light as I say.

Note: that “speed” workout two days ago did tire out my legs; did it really do me any good?

This New York Times article says:

Educators, policy makers and business leaders often fret about the state of math education, particularly in comparison with other countries. But reading comprehension may be a larger stumbling block.

Here at Troy Prep Middle School, a charter school near Albany that caters mostly to low-income students, teachers are finding it easier to help students hit academic targets in math than in reading, an experience repeated in schools across the country.

Students entering the fifth grade here are often several years behind in both subjects, but last year, 100 percent of seventh graders scored at a level of proficient or advanced on state standardized math tests. In reading, by contrast, just over half of the seventh graders met comparable standards.

Yes, I will stipulate that the algebra skills of the incoming calculus students are less than proficient. But I’ll also say this: many years ago, students who couldn’t understand what was being asked for in a “word problem” couldn’t do the math either. Now, that isn’t the case. Students who can do the math often struggle to figure out what is being asked for.

Consider the following problem: “suppose that the probability of a ticketed passenger showing up for a flight is .94 and further suppose that the event that a passenger shows up for a flight is independent of any other passenger showing up. The plane’s capacity is 200 and the airline sold 205 tickets. What is the probability that at least one passenger with a ticket will not be able to board the airplane due to overbooking?”

Many students couldn’t figure out what the question was. But if you told them “if Y is a random variable which is binomially distributed with p = .94, n =205 calculate P(Y \ge 201) and they were able to do it correctly.

This is an interesting “break” question for faculty:

Ah, summer! The season when I wave goodbye to students who think I am the embodiment of evil and say hello to visiting relatives who are certain I am the embodiment of evil.

Well, not me personally, but academics in general. Summer is the time when duty calls me to be nice to people just because they happen to share some DNA with me or my spouse, and inevitably the discussion will turn to What’s Wrong with the World These Days (everything) and Who Is to Blame for our National Ills, and I’ll bet you can identify the current scapegoat: godless liberal socialist college professors brainwashing students with their radical feminist pro-gay anti-gun anti-God multicultural agenda.

What do I say to these people? A little voice urges me to bite my tongue, respect my elders, don’t rock the boat, keep the peace, don’t teach an old dog new tricks, just smile and nod and talk about the weather. Cliches: the last refuge of the academic at the family reunion.[…]

That isn’t really a problem for me in terms of family but I remember on a couple of occasions that someone found out that I was a college professor and told me that I taught students to “hate our country” and that “hard work wasn’t necessary”. I smiled and replied “I didn’t know that there was an un-American way to solve a differential equation.” They then accused ME of being condescending!!!!

I also sometimes get hurt feelings when someone tells me “X is true” and I ask: “why? What is the evidence?”; they seem a bit put out that I don’t count “confidence in one’s own opinion” as a substitute for expert knowledge. And yes, this is indeed bipartisan (evolution, GMO issues).

Speaking of education, it is graduation time, and I love this meme:


How true this is! And, it is true on many levels. From what I’ve seen (this is just opinion here), life and the career is often more challenging than one’s undergraduate college years. And for those who want to get a research Ph. D. from a strong research institution: you’ll quickly find out that your undergraduate and beginning masters classes were kid stuff.

Speaking of science
I am not an expert on evolution, but this makes no sene to me at all:

According to Dr. Aarathi Prasad, menopause is an artifact from a time when resources were scarce and it was common for women to die young. But today, she says, when life expectancy can stretch into the 100s and resources are plentiful for many women living in advanced economies, menopause is no longer “normal for nature” and is something that can be “overcome” by nature or science.

“The mood of scientists working on this and looking to the future is we will either technologically or scientifically evolve out of the menopause,” she told an audience at the Hay Festival of Literature and Arts this week.

The Telegraph goes on to report more of her remarks on why menopause is no longer “necessary” from an evolutionary perspective:

“When menopause evolved, women probably died ten years before it happened, it hit in your 50s, on average,” she went on. “If you’re looking at a future where women are going to live to 100, that’s half your life when the rest of your body functions perfectly well and your ovaries don’t.

“And it’s not just reproduction. The menopause brings an increased risk of heart disease and osteoporosis.

The biologist and science writer concluded her remarks with an assessment of menopause that many women who have experienced it would likely agree with: “Is [menopause] something necessary or beneficial for us?” she asked the audience. “I do not see any benefits.”

Here is why I am scratching my head: yes, menopause has no benefit so evolving out of it will induce no cost. But what reproductive advantage will there be to evolving out of it? I don’t see it….perhaps random genetic drift could help and not be selected against; that is all I can see here. But I am not an expert and I’d love to see what an expert says.

Robert Reich says: don’t let the conservative frame the debate:

On a related note: a couple of non-conservative economists have said that the world economy would suffer if, say,:

Daron Acemoglu, an eminent economist at M.I.T., has ignited a firestorm by arguing that contemporary forces of globalization bar the United States from adopting the liberal social welfare policies of Scandinavian countries.

“We cannot all be like the Nordics,” Acemoglu declares, in a 2012 paper, “Choosing Your Own Capitalism in a Globalized World,” written with his colleagues James A. Robinson, a professor of government at Harvard, and Thierry Verdier, scientific director of the Paris School of Economics.

If the “cutthroat leader” – the United States — were to switch to “cuddly capitalism, this would reduce the growth rate of the entire world economy,” the authors argue, by slowing the pace of innovation.

Note: Tom Edsall (the author of the Times article) notes that the economics article is mathematical (and gives an example of some of the math expressions, the level of which is elementary but the symbols aren’t defined in the Times article)

But check out the comments; the readers pound the result. Some readers note that hedge-fund managers aren’t exactly innovators and others note that government agencies such as the NSF fund the actual basic research, as it really isn’t in the economic interest for big business to do so. Most basic research does NOT pay off economically but without it being there as a body, practical research won’t happen. That “x percent” of basic research that does pay off has to be there, and it is all but impossible to predict which research will be part of that “x percent”.

Social I find the sign and the t-shirt message to be an interesting juxtaposition.


May 30, 2013 Posted by | economy, education, running, science, social/political | , , | Leave a comment

Do you think that local 5Ks are expensive?

Screen shot 2013-05-30 at 6.13.48 AM

May 30, 2013 Posted by | running | | Leave a comment

Where you start and what you go through matters…a story

One of my regular internet conversation partners relayed the following to me:

I’m not sure why, but I think you’ll appreciate this story. The other day I was in a Hallmark store with my friend xxx, buying a high school graduation card. All the cards were full of superlatives, “Great job, graduate! You should be SO proud!” Mind you, these were SPECIFICALLY for high school graduates. I told xxx, “Geez, it’s JUST high school. Seriously, it’s not actually an achievement, but basically the bare minimum one should manage in life. I will congratulate my kids when they graduate from college.” We found the card with the least amount of superlatives and approached the check-out. The lady in line in front of us turned to me and said, “I just wanted to let you know that for some people graduating from high school IS an achievement. For some people it’s really difficult. Some people have family problems..” and she started CRYING.

So, while, Jesus, I felt like a dick, there was still a small part of me thinking, “But it’s JUST high school.”
I’m still debating whether that makes me an intellectual snob, or if I’m just weighing the approximate % of people who earn a high school diploma vs. those who earn higher degrees and being logical in saying that it’s NOT THAT BIG A DEAL.

I’ll comment on whether my friend was “being a dick” later in the post (short answer: NO!) but I’ll discuss many aspects of this.

First, MY history. Neither of my parents made it out of junior high. They grew up in depression era poverty in a Mexican-American part of Austin, Texas back in the day that racial segregation was the norm and perfectly legal. Mom, in effect, had no father (she had a biological one of course) and her mom scrapped to make ends meet; dad didn’t exactly have a stable home life either.

But dad joined the Air Force and I grew up on Air Force bases; I had Department of Defense schools to go to, a clean, safe place to live, plenty to eat, and time to go to school. Early on, my parents took me to the library; we went there very frequently. We ALWAYS had books in the house. At the dinner table (and we had a dinner table), we frequently discussed politics and world events.

I went to a “lower middle class, clapboard neighborhood” high school for my last 2.5 years. It wasn’t a magnet school nor was it where the offspring of the well-to-do went. But it was structurally sound, safe, and offered courses such as physics, British literature and calculus. Several of my senior year teachers had masters degrees.

Even better: because the student body population was not from wealthy families, there was no assumption that we (the students) were “entitled” to good grades; the teachers were free to push us a bit. Example: our pre calculus teacher and our calculus teachers taught “epsilon-delta” calculations for limits; and eventually we learned! I salute their patience.

Bottom line: I was a bit puzzled when my parents made a sort-of big deal out of high school graduation; from my point of view at the time, all I had to do was to NOT f*ck-up. I now realize that my parents should have congratulated THEMSELVES and not me; they are the ones that set it all up.

And so it goes with people who “live in my friend’s tribe” so to speak. High school graduation really isn’t a big deal, at least for those who didn’t suffer from horribly bad luck (e. g. getting cancer, getting in a terrible accident, etc.)

And yes, there is a tendency to overplay any little things kids do. You see the effects of this when they show up for their first year in college and find out….no, they are NOT special. Being able to write a “sort-of” grammatically correct paragraph, state an opinion or differentiate a polynomial doesn’t mean that they are a genius.

But not everyone grows up that way

Yes, there are kids, even today, who grow up in poverty. Some go to school hungry. Some are lacking parental support from even ONE parent, never mind two. Some have parents in jail; some are molested or beaten. Some face social pressures to drop out. Some have unsafe schools to go to. Many do NOT have books in the house or the ability (or encouragement) to get to a library.

So for kids growing up in these circumstances, graduation from high school IS a big deal, and it is helpful to remember that.

And things are relative
My friend talked about graduation from college. For me, obtaining an undergraduate degree was, well, pretty easy, even though I was at a “highly competitive” school. The completion of my undergraduate studies was, well, greeted with a shrug.

I was never pushed until I went to Nuclear Power school; and that was mostly because you had to learn a lot of material (at a shallow level) very quickly. And in the practical side, I was barely competent. I don’t think on my feet well.

And graduate school was another story; in my first year of my Ph. D. program I got by butt kicked. I survived and managed to pass my Ph. D. written exams…and that was an effort! Later…toward the end of my Ph. D. program I realized: the Ph. D. written comprehensive exams were baby stuff. Seriously; if given time to study I wouldn’t have trouble now. Being original to make a discovery and get it published is much, much, much harder.

So, while I felt pretty good about getting the Ph. D., but…for some….that is no big deal! Seriously; it really isn’t that big of a deal to the top professors at Ph. D. granting institutions; for them tenure at a research university was the tough hurdle.

It is all relative.

About my friend No, she was not being a jerk; she was talking to another friend who lived in a similar situation. There is no reason people can’t have conversations among themselves, and this overreaction to anything positive that kids do can be harmful; it can cause them to lose perspective.

The same principle applies in sports
Back in 1999, I had run a 1:34 half marathon and was pretty happy with that. One of my friends, who 14 years older than I ran a 1:33 but was upset with his time. That didn’t bother me; after all 4-5 years earlier (at 50 years of age) he ran a sub 3 hour marathon! A 1:33, for someone of his background and abilities, wasn’t a great he thought (he was struggling with age acceptance a bit). So I have no problem comforting a friend who is upset with their own performance, even if it is vastly superior to mine.

As for me, my 5K times are pretty crappy (24:56 was my last one), but I am a 53 year old non-athlete who has had 5 knee operations, the last one in 2010. I am lucky to be able to run at all. My bench press (200 pounds; hips down!) is pretty weak for a 186 pound male, but again, I am a 53 non-athlete who had rotator cuff issues in 2010; there was a time when I couldn’t do a single pull up (never mind sets of 10) and bench pressing 135 was painful.

Accomplishments are relative.

May 29, 2013 Posted by | education, Friends, social/political | , , | Leave a comment

Something Bill Rodgers told me….13 years ago…running and age.

Workout notes
Weights only; hip hikes, achilles, back exercises, rotator cuff
pull ups: 5 sets of 10
incline presses: 10 x 135, 3 x 160, 7 x 150 (better), 8 x 145
dumbbell rows: 3 sets of 10 x 65
dumbbell military: 3 sets of 12 x 50 (seated, supported)
abs: 3 sets of 10 each: sit back, twist, crunch, v. crunch.
curls: 3 sets of 10 x 65
pull downs: 3 sets of 10 x 160.

Running Back in 2000, I wrote to Bill Rodgers in their “Ask the Coach” feature. I wondered why my 5K was slowing even though I was doing the same type of training …and my half marathon and marathon were doing ok. The answer: “age”; speed decreases but one’s strength and efficiency were buoyed by doing all of those miles.

I understood that part. But Rodgers said something else: he told me that as I aged, I’d have to pick what was more important to me and focus on that.

I now see what he was getting at. Yesterday, I did a “speed” workout (sans the speed, but I was trying 🙂 ) and today I am sore. I am not sore in the same way one is sore after a long run; this is a bit different. My legs are just glowing with heat….but I am not as stiff as I am after a long run.

But it will be days before I can run hard again; I’ve decided that my next “hard” run will be a McHalfMarathon this Sunday.

Why this matters: if I included regular speed work, I could NOT be doing enough miles to race a marathon.

Yes, I know: some can included speed work in a marathon training program; the elites and competitive runners have to and so do many younger runners, and there may be a few “over 50” runners who do too. But I am not one who can; not yet anyway.

This fall, I’ll focus on the 5K-10K, though I’ll do an occasional half marathon as part of “sort-of” long running, along with regular 10-12 milers for endurance.

May 29, 2013 Posted by | running, weight training | , | Leave a comment

Misleading and Confusing (to some) and Rain…

Yes, it has been very rainy in Illinois:

More rain fell over Illinois over the Memorial Day weekend. The heaviest amounts were in the central part of the state and ranged from 2 to 6 inches (yellow to dark red in the map below).

Right now the statewide average rainfall for May stands at 5.03 inches, based on preliminary data. More rain is forecasted for today and much of this week. So this total is likely to increase as we go through the week. By contrast, Illinois received only 2.5 inches in May 2012.

This is already the wettest January-May on record with 17.9 inches. It is already the wettest climatological spring (March-May) on record with 14.9 inches. Statewide records of precipitation go back to 1895.

This is pretty clear cut.

However, there are times when using things like averages can be misleading:

Outliers can also pull an average down, leading social scientists to overstate the risks of particular events.

Most children of divorced parents turn out to be as well adjusted as children of married parents, but the much smaller number who lead very troubled lives can lower the average outcome for the whole group, producing exaggerated estimates of the impact of divorce. […]

On average, people’s reactions to stressful events like divorce or bereavement indicate a sharp and long-lasting decline in personal well-being, followed by a slow and gradual recovery. And on average, married individuals report themselves happier than single or divorced ones. But in this new paper, “The Trouble With Averages,” the psychologist Anthony Mancini shows that treating the average response as if it was the normal or typical outcome can lead to bad social policy and inappropriate therapeutic responses.

In the case of loss, the average is skewed by a relatively small percentage of people who exhibit substantial, persistent distress. Most people actually experience “a modest, short-lived increase in distress that subsides within a few months.” When Mr. Mancini and his colleagues studied people’s reaction to the loss of a spouse, they found that only 20 percent of the bereaved went through the “conventional” pattern of grieving — a sharp dip in well-being followed by a gradual return to previous levels of satisfaction. Almost 60 percent did not experience persistent sadness.

When we assume that “normal” people need “time to heal,” or discourage individuals from making any decisions until a year or more after a loss, as some grief counselors do, we may be giving inappropriate advice. Such advice can cause people who feel ready to move on to wonder if they are hardhearted.

Here are some other examples:
Consider the salary of math majors who graduated from a certain year. If you use the median, that might be ok. But if you use and average and, say, have 9 graduates who are offered contracts from 40,000 to 70,000 dollars a year and one who happens to be a basketball star and lands an NBA contract, well, that average might be a bit skewed. Yes, that happened when David Robinson got his NBA contract (and yes, he was a math major).

On another source of confusion: too many times, people focus on the rare and unusual instead of the more deadly mundane:

Nassim Nicholas Taleb on Risk Perception
From his Facebook page:

An illustration of how the news are largely created, bloated and magnified by journalists. I have been in Lebanon for the past 24h, and there were shells falling on a suburb of Beirut. Yet the news did not pass the local *social filter* and did [not] reach me from social sources…. The shelling is the kind of thing that is only discussed in the media because journalists can use it self-servingly to weave a web-worthy attention-grabbing narrative.
It is only through people away from the place discovering it through Google News or something even more stupid, the NYT, that I got the information; these people seemed impelled to inquire about my safety.
What kills people in Lebanon: cigarettes, sugar, coca cola and other chemical monstrosities, iatrogenics, hypochondria, overtreament (Lipitor etc.), refined wheat pita bread, fast cars, lack of exercise, angry husbands (or wives), etc., things that are not interesting enough to make it to Google News.

You see this professionally. For example, every time there is a college shooting, university administrative bodies on other campuses call meetings to…well, make sure we are safe. In fact, students are far more likely to die in a traffic accident (say, driving while texting) than they are to be killed by some gunman.

But it is the spectacular that draws our attention; not the more likely (and mundane).

Of course, some of the policy is the CYA type tailored to avoid future lawsuits and to be able to tell parents how safe their kids will be in their care.

Not understanding what you read
The right wingers are going on about Attorney General Holder “lying”. About what….this time? Well:

The Republican-controlled House Judiciary Committee is looking into whether Attorney General Eric Holder lied under oath earlier this month when he said he wasn’t involved in the “potential prosecution of the press,” two Republican committee sources confirmed Tuesday.

Though he testified in a May 15 Congressional hearing that he’s “never heard of” the press being potentially charged for obtaining leaked material, it has since been reported that he signed off on the Justice Department’s decision to seek a search warrant in 2010 for Fox News reporter James Rosen’s private e-mails as part of a leak probe.


An FBI affidavit used to obtain the warrant for Rosen’s e-mails said there was probable cause the reporter had broken the law when he allegedly received a leaked classified report from a State Department contractor. The affidavit described Rosen as potentially being an “aider and abettor and/or co-conspirator” to the crime of disclosing government secrets, opening up criticism that the Obama administration was targeting Rosen.

However, the Justice Department did not prosecute Rosen, nor did it file charges against him. While he was listed as a “co-conspirator,” that often times does not mean he would be considered a target.

Bottom line: Attorney General Holder was going after the person who leaked the classified information and not the reporter. So, he didn’t lie. However if you go to the Facebook CNN page and read the responses, well…you’ll get a good look at the Dunning-Kruger effect in action.

May 29, 2013 Posted by | republicans, republicans politics, science, statistics | , , , , | Leave a comment