Kristen Schaal at WGA

There is surprisingly little Kristen Schaal on the internet other than her stuff on The Daily Show. The bit below is a very nice exception. She apparently hosted the WGA awards last year. I particularly liked this part:

Winning a Whale’s Tail is a huge honor. The winners tonight owe a tremendous debt of thanks to their parents, their spouses, their teachers, and their collaborators. There! I said it, so you don’t have to. All right, let’s keep the speeches short. We don’t want to be reminded that we’re in an insurance auditorium where we can’t drink.


Bing It On!

I have been highly skeptical of the new Bing It On Challenge commercials. So I decided to try it—just to show those bastards their ads don’t work on me. I used the following five searches:

  1. Frankly Curious
  2. Don Quixote
  3. Madame Tutli-Putli
  4. Miller’s Crossing Homosexuality
  5. Blond Blonde

Overall, Bing is a hell of a lot better than it used to be. The results did not diverge all that much. But still, on four of the five searches, the results were clearly one sided. But while taking it, I mistook which one was Google. In two cases, I thought I had voted for Bing. I was wrong. It was a blowout with Google 4, Bing 0.

I guess I’m not a “Bing Man.” I can’t tell you have relieved I am!

<%image(20120916-bingiton.jpg|450|455|Bing It On Challenge Results)%>


There has been a huge increase in Yahoo! searches bringing people to Frankly Curious. This has happened over the last month. I’m not sure if it is real. There are some weird things going on like lots of people landing here because of searches for Melissa Harris-Perry. I’ll eventually figure it out.

And despite the skepticism of friend when I said I thought Yahoo! and Bing produced identical search results, I was right. Yahoo! uses the Bing search engine.

Sam Seder Ups Reputation

Sam SederI’m not a big Sam Seder fan. It isn’t that he’s bad, I just don’t find him all that insightful because he isn’t especially smarter or more informed than I am. That does not mean he isn’t really good and vastly superior to pretty much everyone else you see on the TV or internet.

This weekend, he’s been guest hosting Up with Chris Hayes. The last person to do this was Ezra Klein, and as much as I like this young man, he is not up to filling Hayes’ very large shoes. I wouldn’t go so far as to say that Seder is quite up to the task either, but he comes damned close. And let’s face it, Hayes wasn’t that good when he started.

Check out this excellent introduction to the crisis of poverty in America. I think that MSNBC could lose S.E. Cupp and bring on Seder for a regular spot.

Unfortunately, we have to put up with Josh Barro. But I suppose as Reasonable Conservatives go, he’s better than most.

Income Class

Romney's Middle ClassDylan Matthews over at WonkBlog writes What is the middle class? where he notes that by the definitions put forward by Romney and Obama, only 4% of the country are not middle class.

Actually, Matthews steals some of my thunder. For a long time, I’ve been advocating a definition of the classes broken down by quintiles. It just works well. If we use it then we have lower, lower-middle, middle, upper-middle, and upper classes.

In his article, he provides a useful graph of the average income of every group in addition to this Romney/Obama 4% upper class. I’ve altered the graph so that it only includes the quintiles, because I think the 4% group only confuses matters. As incomes increase they only get more unequal. This is probably why even very wealthy people don’t see themselves as rich. People who make a million dollars a year have lots of interactions with people who make $20 million. Still, the graph is distorted because it uses means rather than medians, but you get the idea:

<%image(20120916-incomeclasses.jpg|355|315|Income Distribution in Quintiles)%>

There is a wrinkle here. The Upper quintile only includes incomes of those between 80% and 99%. This makes sense, because the top 1% would distort the graph and make it less useful. According to Matthews, the cutoff for the upper class is $101,582. The other quintile borders are very close to the average of the surrounding quintiles. You can see this in the graph: the bottom four quintiles are fairly linear. It is only in the top quintile that things go wrong.

We can estimate the non-linearity of income distributions by comparing the actual border income with the simple average of the surrounding border averages. Here are the data for the top and bottom quintiles:

Class Border Error
Actual Average
Lower $20,262 $20,222 0.2%
Upper $101,582 $129,050 27.0%

Pretty stark, eh?

My point is that we should stop talking about people who make $100,000 per year as middle class. These people may feel like they are middle class, but they just aren’t. Having said this, I don’t mean to suggest that they are rich. I don’t even think someone making $250,000 a year is rich. I figure we can save the term “rich” for people in the 1%. And if it comes down to it, the 0.1% are the super rich and the 0.01% are the stinking rich.