Addressing gun violence one bumper-sticker solution at a time

But would banning ice cream sales result in a reduction in the number of rapes? Almost certainly not. Why? Because the correlation does not demonstrate the causation. Looked at another way, they have a shared cause, but there is no correlation. The cause in both cases is hotter temperatures. That is, rape is more likely to occur in warmer months, just as ice cream sales shoot up during the hot summer season. Banning the sale of ice cream to reduce rape makes about as much sense as banning guns to reduce violence.

By Chris Ingram

The Tampa Tribune

Published Tuesday, February 27, 2013

Most anyone who has taken a statistics class has heard the example of the incidence of rape rising when sales of ice cream increase. Does that mean rape is more likely to occur as ice cream sales rise? The evidence says yes.

But would banning ice cream sales result in a reduction in the number of rapes? Almost certainly not. Why? Because the correlation does not demonstrate the causation. Looked at another way, they have a shared cause, but there is no correlation. The cause in both cases is hotter temperatures. That is, rape is more likely to occur in warmer months, just as ice cream sales shoot up during the hot summer season. Banning the sale of ice cream to reduce rape makes about as much sense as banning guns to reduce violence.

We get bombarded with stats, figures and polling data every day. Much of this, particularly the polling data, is next to useless. But it doesn’t stop the media from fixating on often-times meaningless numbers to tell a story. Real facts and figures are harder to explain, thus the preferred use of polling numbers.

But hard facts don’t lie. According to the FBI, in 2011 there were 8,583 firearm-related Continue reading “Addressing gun violence one bumper-sticker solution at a time”

A taxing identity problem

According to the Hillsborough County Tax Collector’s office (which issues driver’s licenses), another common problem is among people with multiple marriages who have to show name changes, marriage certificates and divorce decrees. People who were born in something other than a hospital — usually in a rural area — who never had a birth certificate face a different challenge, as does the occasional person whose records were destroyed from anomalies such as when a courthouse housing their records burns down.

By Chris Ingram

The Tampa Tribune

Published Tuesday, February 16, 2013

Last week I took my girls to the public library to check out some books, and they asked whether they could get their own library card. The librarian said they could but that their cards would be tied to my card for fines. She also said we would need to produce a birth certificate, Social Security card, report card or some similar type of “official item” with their names on it to prove their identity.

I asked her why something official is needed, and she explained that people were getting cards for kids who did not exist, and not returning items. She said this was occurring before the library started tying youth accounts to an adult’s. So why, with the accounts tied together, do I still need to provide a document with the kids’ name on it? She said she agrees it is unnecessary now but that she does not make the rules.

As countless motorists know, if you are renewing a driver’s license, you need tons of documentation to prove your identity. Stories persist of Continue reading “A taxing identity problem”

Almost feeling sorry for Jim Greer

The fact that Jim Greer pleaded guilty Monday to grand theft and money laundering (a fraud charge was dropped), has the Republican Party of Florida and many current and former elected Republicans, as well as former Gov. Charlie Crist (who is now a Democrat) breathing a sigh of relief.

By Chris Ingram

The Tampa Tribune

Published Tuesday, February 12, 2013

The fact that Jim Greer pleaded guilty Monday to grand theft and money laundering (a fraud charge was dropped), has the Republican Party of Florida and many current and former elected Republicans, as well as former Gov. Charlie Crist (who is now a Democrat) breathing a sigh of relief.

Whether those officials had anything to worry about or not, we may never know. But they are doubtlessly happy that Greer’s trial — which was bound to have a circus-like atmosphere — will not take place. Had the trial occurred, Greer — the former party chairman whose oversized frame competed with his oversized ego — had promised lots of dirt on a who’s who of Florida politics, including Crist, former Florida Attorney General Bill McCollum, former U.S. Sen. George LeMieux, former Republican Party of Florida Chairman John Thrasher, former Florida House Speaker Dean Cannon, former Florida Senate President Mike Haridopolos and House Speaker Will Weatherford.

ED GREER
Photo: Jim Greer cuts up his RPOF Amex. card.

The subject matter during the trial was certain to include Greer’s claims that party leaders were aware of Continue reading “Almost feeling sorry for Jim Greer”

Rick Scott’s two Charlies

For students of politics, it will be easy to tell very soon just how busy Gov. Scott’s pollster has been. After all, he has a nice, cushy job, but in order to keep it, he needs to keep the boss happy. In other words, he needs to get Scott’s poll numbers up — and fast.

By Chris Ingram

The Tampa Tribune

Published Tuesday, February 5, 2013

If Charles Manson showed up at your door and offered you a free box of Girl Scout cookies, would it make you forget about his evil ways?

If you were a public school teacher who hasn’t had a pay raise in years, and Gov. Rick Scott offered you a $2,500 pay raise (merit pay be damned), would it make you forget that he cut  more than a billion dollars in the state’s education budget his first year in office and indirectly cut your take-home pay by 3 percent?

If you were a member of the Florida Legislature who sees himself as a team-playing, collaborative kind of guy who likes to plan spending and budgets, and things like pay raises for teachers, would it bother you that you learned of the governor’s $2,500 pay-raise-for-teachers plan by reading about it in the paper?

If you were a police officer or firefighter and learned that if you were to become permanently disabled on the job, you wouldn’t receive a dime in pension disability payments under proposed changes to the GOP’s pension reform plan, would you respond to a burglary  or fire at Scott’s mansion in Naples?

If you were a dog and Scott adopted you, would you Continue reading “Rick Scott’s two Charlies”