There are two things that people do wrong with numbers. For that matter, there are two kinds of things that people do wrong with any sort of serious research, but it seems to be even worse with quantitative research. One thing people do wrong is to believe in numbers too much; the other is to believe in them too little. What should you do with numbers, or conclusions based on numbers? Treat them like you would any other kind of evidence: don't accept it uncritically, but also don't dismiss it out of hand. All of which is a lead in to a link to Andrew Gellman's nice post about a study about public vs. private jobs in Wisconsin and how much they pay.
On another topic, I have a new column on the likely shutdown over at TNR, in which I argue that the open rule on the CR wound up making John Boehner's position even worse than it was before.
The good stuff:
1. Alexander Hart on why the Feds should be helping the states. Also, Scott LeMieux on majoritarianism in the states.
2. Smart comments on descriptive representation from Matt Yglesias.
3. Why Hannah Arendt helps us think about Egypt, from Jeet Heer. Also, Andrew Sullivan explains why movement conservatives seem lost and confused by turmoil in the Middle East.
4. Ann Friedman tells who is accountable. And does something about it.
5. You probably don't need more evidence that John Yoo is an embarrassment, but Julian Davis Mortenson has plenty, just in case.
6. Glenn Kessler tracks down the myth of the Obama apology tour. Never happened.
7. I'm afraid I now believe that a government shutdown is being underhyped; it's very likely, and very well could be gruesome. That means if you haven't been reading Stan Collender regularly already, you should start now. Here's a sample.
8. Probably wouldn't have read this excellent piece by Molly Lambert if she hadn't put Kim Deal's name at the top of it. Just saying. (If she had dropped Kristin Hersh, I'd have read it twice. Seriously -- the 50 Foot Wave album alone is That Good. Oops -- sorry, got distracted there for a minute).
9. Okay, I can't actually evaluate the quality of this post at all, but I have to link to Alex Massie's attempt at All-Live vs. All-Dead for his sport. And not just because he called my post "jolly." I do know who Sutcliffe, Bradman, Lindwall, Miller, Hassett, and Benaud are, though -- Hails of derisive laughter, Bruce!