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April 17, 2007

Takedown of the Day

Jon Chait mauls Ari Fleischer:

A couple things stand out here. First, Fleischer seems to think that the concept of 40 percent is so difficult that his readers won't understand it without a real-life illustration. Gee, Ari, you're throwing around all these fancy numbers, but what does 40 percent really mean? Oh, 40 out of 100. Now I get it.

The next thing I notice is that this claim is very different from the headline of his column. If 40 percent are paying no taxes, then 60 percent are paying taxes, and thus would not, technically, be considered a "minority." Rather than tax Fleischer's brain with fancy mathematical formulas (60 > 40), I'll break it down for him in simple, homey terms. Think of it this way, Ari: After cashing in on a famous career lying for the Bush administration, you haul several large bags of cash to the bank, where you're standing in a line of 100 people. Forty of those people are former Bush staffers cashing their ill-gotten rewards from K Street. Therefore 60 of them are not. Sixty is a larger number than 40.

In Soviet Russia, the whole thing reads you.

Update: And via Petey, this page of Russian Reversal jokes and theory is pretty awesome.

April 17, 2007 | Permalink

Comments

Strongly disagree.

Cohn's slamming of Gratzer is truly the takedown of the day.

Posted by: Petey | Apr 17, 2007 11:34:08 AM

Damn. The first and last bits are pretty brutal. Wouldn't want to get on his bad side.

Posted by: Sam L. | Apr 17, 2007 11:45:09 AM

"couple things stand out here. First, Fleischer seems to think that the concept of 40 percent is so difficult that his readers won't understand it without a real-life illustration. Gee, Ari, you're throwing around all these fancy numbers, but what does 40 percent really mean? Oh, 40 out of 100. Now I get it. "


Score one for Fleischer. A lot of folks have a hard time understanding percentages. More folks understand ratios. That's why commericals say 3/5 dentists or what not. Using ratios instead of percentages is the proper way to communicate.

Posted by: Hederman | Apr 17, 2007 12:52:59 PM

I'm sorry, but it took my third cup of cafe con leche before I realized that Ezra had made a motherfucking Yakoff Smirnoff joke.

Shame on you. Shame.

Posted by: Petey | Apr 17, 2007 1:10:27 PM

Hederman, you didn't even read the article. Fleischer could have used ratios, but used percentages.

Score one for blithe ignorance.

Posted by: calling all toasters | Apr 17, 2007 1:14:54 PM


Score one for Fleischer. A lot of folks have a hard time understanding percentages.

How many of those people are reading tax policy op-eds in the Wall Street Journal?

Posted by: Duvall | Apr 17, 2007 1:15:03 PM

Thank god for wikipedia. They've got a whole page just on the type of joke that has brought immense shame to Ezra and his entire family.

Posted by: Petey | Apr 17, 2007 1:15:48 PM

Yakov Smirnoff jokes are AWESOME

Posted by: Jason | Apr 17, 2007 1:27:05 PM

"Score one for Fleischer. A lot of folks have a hard time understanding percentages"

How many readers of the Wall Street Journal have a hard time understanding percentages? Actually, let me put that another way. 100 investment bankers are waiting for an elevator. How many of them don't understand percentages?

Posted by: Ginger Yellow | Apr 17, 2007 1:47:32 PM

Johann Hari's total destruction of Andrew Roberts's response to him is pretty sweet, too. But no one goes on the attack with the same glee as Chait. I'd hate to be on his bad side.

Posted by: Marc | Apr 17, 2007 2:53:15 PM

"100 investment bankers are waiting for an elevator. How many of them don't understand percentages?"

The percentage that aren't coked up, have a hangover from hell or the boss' dumb-ass nephew.

Posted by: burritoboy | Apr 17, 2007 3:40:30 PM

"Yakov Smirnoff jokes are AWESOME"

Concur

Posted by: RW | Apr 17, 2007 3:42:54 PM

the Wikipedia page is good, except for the author's need to explain the jokes to you. Remember, in Soviet Russia, the Wiki edits you!

Posted by: Glenn | Apr 17, 2007 4:15:58 PM

The last word on Yakof Smirnoff:

http://youtube.com/watch?v=w1_-TlqdIvM

Posted by: julian | Apr 17, 2007 5:16:25 PM

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Posted by: judy | Sep 28, 2007 4:50:57 AM

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Posted by: judy | Sep 28, 2007 4:58:18 AM

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