Quick Hits: Lies, Damn Lies, and Statistics

Kari Chisholm FacebookTwitterWebsite

After the long weekend, here's a rundown of news items you may have missed. Dive in and discuss:

Still, even the claim that Multnomah County is facing a unique jobs crisis is not just misleading, it's simply wrong. Over the last economic cycle, Multnomah County has experienced fewer job losses than the comparable counties in Denver and Minneapolis, and about the same decline as in Seattle. Portland's central business district has, by a wide margin, the lowest vacancy rate of the four cities.

In rough proportions in the current cycle, 52 percent goes to education. The largest chunk, 40 percent of the overall total, goes to aid to school districts. Of the rest, about 25 percent goes to health care and human services — most of it to match federal grants, and much of it to pay doctors, hospitals and community agencies — 17 percent to public safety and the courts, and the rest to all other agencies.


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    A good start would be to stop using the shorthand, "faith-healing" since the problem is that "healing" isn't happening. How about,"These parents attempted to treat their child's illness with prayer and ritual, denying access to medical treatment despite the child's suffering and worsening condition." Parenthood is not ownership. We don't excuse beating a child based on religious belief, and we shouldn't excuse making a child suffer and die through disease either.

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      We MUST stop tolerating religious stupidity. No more special privileges for "believers." How many more children should suffer/die in the name of popular superstition?

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        Should parents who fail to vaccinate their kids because of autism fears be prosecuted if their children get sick? There is no scientific connection between vaccines and autism, ergo the parents are acting on “faith”. How is that different from faith healing?

        On the flip side, should parents who fail to provide access to medical care for economic reasons face criminal sanctions? How are the consequences of their neglect worse than the faith healers? (I don’t know the law, would they face charges?)

        I’m not trying to second guess any particular law or prosecution. I just think parents necessarily make a lot of choices every day that affect their child’s welfare and safety, often with incomplete information, unpredictable outcomes and limited resources. Criminalizing some of those decisions may be necessary, but I’d do it with reluctance, not enthusiasm.

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          We're talking about actions/inactions that would be classified as abuse or neglect absent the "faith" exemption.

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            Are parents who fail to provide medical care because they can't afford it subject to criminal prosecution? That isn't a rhetorical question, I don't know the law or how it's been applied one way or the other.

            And if this is really just about protecting children, shouldn't we criminalize failing to vaccinate?

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              I don't know what "can't afford it" means in a state that offers health care to 100% of children whose parents can't afford it.

              At a minimum, emergency rooms have always served as health care of last resort options. If you kid was critically ill and you failed to take him/her to the emergency room, well, yeah, I suspect you'd be prosecuted for neglect.

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          I am always enthusiastic about protecting children and advocating reason.

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      Yes, "faith healing" does seem to be inaccurate. No more accurate than "witch doctor", I think.

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    I live just off of 82nd Avenue. When I heard that "100 strip clubs" statistic, I thought "where?" I think there's a place by the McDonald's near Fremont. There used to be some retail porno shops a while back, but I think the Internet pretty much killed off that industry. I think "82nd Avenue" I think bars, convenience stores, fast food restaurants, one-star hotels and used car lots.

    Maybe there are 100 strips clubs in the entire City of Portland, but if they're all on 82nd Avenue, most of them a VERY well-hidden.

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    Agreed about the "faith" healing nonsense. Kids shouldn't die because they happened to be born into a family that believes that medicine is evil.

    Also, Kari, I agree that the O's decision to lose the Opinion section in the Sunday paper is more than a bit odd. I've been gone for a month and wondered just when that change happened...and why. Hope they switch back as it is very annoying to not have it's own section.

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    The op-ed savaging PBA's cavalier disregard for accuracy and misleading use of data was indeed amazing.

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      I've been to both Cleveland and Pittsburgh in the early 80's through the 90's. I've crossed the Columbia at Portland more times than can be counted; Portland is no Pittsburgh or Cleveland. And that is too bad - really.

      Pittsburgh turned around their hulking mess at the Homestead Works and reinvigorated the whole community. Cleveland took the Cuyahoga Flats area (yes, THAT river that caught on fire) and turned it into a reginal destination with tourist attractions and the Rock n Roll Hall of Fame museum.

      Yes, Pittsburgh and Cleveland turned their cities around and faced that the inevitable status quo was unacceptable. They admitted to mistakes and mis-steps and chartered a new course. Too bad uber kewl hipsters in Portland are incapable of seeing the demise of the never great, but always promising city of Portland. It is too bad; really.

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        Yes, I left out a parenthetical note from my first draft. I was in Pittsburgh two summers ago -- and it's a town that's really come back. Lots of focus on green building, a vibrant downtown core, and great people. (And great sports - wow!)

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          I appreciated the corrections in the Sunday OpEd, but I thought their article had a heavy dose of boosterism.

          Their main storyline was "We aren't Cleveland," but their statistics also demonstrate that we also aren't Raleigh/Durham, Salt Lake City, Austin, even Denver, where they explicitly compare us, but who we have consistently trailed in employment.

          Yes we have experienced "fewer job losses" than Denver, but we started with fewer jobs in the first place! As they write, make sure you evaluate statistics carefully.

          Joe Cortright has been telling us for a decade that if we just attract young, well educated in-migrants, our economy will take off. Well guess what, it hasn't worked?

          At least their article is candid about that point, which they call the "Portland paradox."

          Yet they also write "Creating successful firms is part of Portland's DNA" which is completely contradicted by their discussion of the "paradox."

          My worry is that the O article incessantly focuses on what makes Portland special, while dismissing the idea that we could learn lessons from other cities and other regions.

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            The main lesson we could learn from those cities - and many others - is that a top-tier research university in the metro area is a key driver of economic growth.

            Given that UO and OSU ain't moving, and OHSU won't add undergraduates, it seems to me that a sustained multi-billion dollar effort to make PSU the premier university in our state is what's called for here.

            Do we want to be more like Seattle, Denver, and Minneapolis? Or more like Fresno, Boise, and Reno?

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        Doesn't it sort of give Portland the edge, when those other cities had to bring themselves up to the level that P-Town is already at? We began to address our flaming river 50 years ago, not 25. We fixed our downtown 35 years ago, not 10. Great news they did--but no credit for being late.

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    There was a notice in last week's O that the opinion section was going away. I was a bit upset at first, but it seemed OK on Sunday. The main issue is pages, not what section it's in. I am really unhappy about the reduced commentary. Theres little teasers pointing to interesting columns and discussion topic that are only on line Too much stuff is web only now, and frankly it's hard to find and hard to read. Plus the O has probably the suckiest web site in the industry. Or maybe I'm just turning into an old grouch.

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