Dog Bites Man of the Year

Daily Best of the Web   —   Posted on December 18, 2014

The following is an excerpt from OpinionJournal’s “Best of the Web” at WSJ written by the editor, James Taranto.

putinOther Than That, the Story Was Accurate
“In the most recent edition of New York, its annual Reasons to Love New York issue, the magazine published a story about a Stuyvesant High School senior named Mohammed Islam, who was rumored to have made $72 million trading stocks. Islam said his net worth was in the ‘high eight figures.’ As part of the research process, the magazine sent a fact-checker to Stuyvesant, where Islam produced a document that appeared to be a Chase bank statement attesting to an eight-figure bank account. After the story’s publication, people questioned the $72 million figure in the headline, which was written by editors based on the rumored figure. The headline was amended. But in an interview with the New York Observer last night, Islam now says his entire story was made up. A source close to the Islam family told the Washington Post that the statements were falsified. We were duped. Our fact-checking process was obviously inadequate; we take full responsibility and we should have known better. New York [Magazine] apologizes to our readers.”—NYMag .com, Dec. 16

Out on a Limb

  • “Winter Weather May Wallop N.J. This Weekend. Or It May Not.”—headline, NJ .com, Dec. 16
  • “Falling Gas Prices Driven by Plunging Oil Prices“”—headline, WTOV-TV website (Steubenville, Ohio), Dec. 16

Dog Bites Man of the Year
“Vladimir Putin Named Russia’s ‘Man of the Year’—for the 15th Time in a Row”—headline, Daily Telegraph (London), Dec. 17

What’s the Matter With Wall Street
In an op-ed for the Hill, Democratic operative turned TV pundit James Carville poses the age-old question: “Why Do People Vote Against Their Interests?” He begins by recapitulating the tired old what’s-the-matter-with-Kansas formulation, coupled with the reverse—why well-off ethnic groups vote for Democrats. But his central question turns out to be why certain rich people aren’t morepro-Democratic:

The people who consistently and overwhelmingly vote in large numbers against their interests are stock market investors.

I have no earthly idea why a stock market investor would vote Republican—all you have do is look at the numbers. . . .

Since Obama was sworn in on Jan. 20, 2009, Standard & Poor’s 500 index has gone up approximately 115 percent, the Dow Jones industrial average has experienced a growth rate of 146 percent and, perhaps most impressively, Nasdaq has grown in size by 188 percent. Two thousand days into his presidency, the major stock indexes under Obama have had average gains of 142 percent—compare that to the record under Reagan, who saw gains at 88 percent during that same time period.

Russ Britt of MarketWatch notes, “the average stock-market gain under four post-Depression Democrats through each one’s 2,000th day in office has outpaced the average gain of the four Republicans in the era by a factor of nearly 4 to 1. Democratic gains have averaged 133%, while Republican market advances have had a mean of 33%.”

I cannot see how anyone can read these numbers differently.

Maybe the answer is that successful investors are savvy enough to see through an obvious cum hoc ergo propter hoc fallacy.

For more “Best of the Web” click here and look for the “Best of the Web Today” link in the middle column below “Today’s Columnists.”