Category Archives: Amusement

No, 10% of College Grads Don’t Really Think Judge Judy is on the Supreme Court

The internet is talking about a report that says 10% of American college graduates think reality TV star Judge Judy serves on the Supreme Court.

The 10% factoid comes from a report called A Crisis in Civil Education produced by the American Council of Trustees and Alumni, but if you look at the actual question that appeared in the survey, you’ll see that’s not really true, at least not in the way everybody seems to think. The survey asked

Which of the following people serves on the U.S. Supreme Court?

Participants then had to choose one of the following four names as their answer:

Elena Kagan

Lawrence Warren Pierce

John Kerry

Judith Sheindlin

(Note that “Judge Judy” doesn’t appear anywhere on this list. Nobody picked out “Judge Judy” by that name as a Supreme Court justice.)

If you’re familiar with multiple choice testing, it’s not hard to figure out how people came up with their answers. Some of them simply recognized Elena Kagan as a Supreme Court justice and gave that answer. In fact, Kagan was the most common answer, chosen by 61.6% of college graduates and 44% of the general public. In other words, almost two thirds of college graduates got the right answer, as did almost half of the general public. I guess that particular factoid didn’t fit the narrative.

People who didn’t recognize Elena Kagan’s name would have had to guess an answer. If they happened to recognize any of the other names as someone not on the Supreme Court, they could use process of elimination to narrow down the list. They might, for example, recognize John Kerry as the current Secretary of State, former Senator, and former Presidential contender. Note, however, that eliminating Kerry does not depend on their knowledge of the U.S. Supreme Court, but on their knowledge of the Obama Administration, the Senate, or Presidential election politics.

The same is true for “Judge Judy.” Unless survey participants knew enough about reality TV shows to recognize Judith Sheindlin as the real name of “Judge Judy,” they would have no basis for eliminating her name as a possible answer. And if they couldn’t eliminate her, then Judith Sheindlin is just one of several unrecognized people who might or might not be a Supreme Court justice.

In other words, the most we can say from this survey is that of the 38.4% of people who didn’t recognize Elena Kagan, at least 1/4 of them also didn’t recognize Judith Sheindlin as “Judge Judy.”

It’s not as funny that way, though.


Making Anthony Weiner Popular

I have nothing substantive to say about Anthony Weiner’s latest zany antics, so I’ll just share this performance by Kristin Chonoweth on The Tonight Show, singing a parody of “Popular” from the musical Wicked:

(Hat tip: Alexandra Billings)

Rita Hayworth Stayin’ Alive

There’s a guy out there with a serious Rita Hayworth fixation and way too much time on his hands who likes to cut together pieces of her movies into music videos for popular songs which he posts on YouTube. On the one hand, it’s kind of a weird obsession. On the other hand, it’s why I’ll never fall out of love with the Internet.

This one is really fun to watch:

Hat tip: Roger Ebert.

Will the New York Times Ever Learn?

Last year on this date, the New York Times reported that New York personal injury lawyer Eric Turkewitz had been picked as the official White House law blogger. They based their story on blog posts by Eric and several other legal bloggers, but they apparently didn’t check with Eric or the White House. It was, of course, an April Fools’ Day prank.

So, this year, you’d think they’d be more careful, wouldn’t you?

Turns out…not so much. Eric’s not responsible for this one, but he has the details.

Dreidel, Dreidel, Dreidel…

At about this time every year when I was in college, my friend Todd Cohen used to complain about all the businesses that would wish everyone a “Merry Christmas and Happy Hanukkah to our Jewish friends!” It was the “to our Jewish friends” part that somehow got on his nerves.

With that in mind, I was listening to a few tracks off of The Life and Times of Mike Fanning by Da Vinci’s Notebook, and I came across a little something for all my Jewish readers. It’s the grunge version of the Dreidel song. Don’t say I didn’t warn you.


I Must Have Missed That Class

In graduate school I had the most trouble staying awake in finance lectures. I always thought finance had to be just about the most boring topic ever.

French MEP Rachida Dati, when discussing finance in France, recently said:
I see some [foreign investment funds] looking for returns of 20 or 25% at a time when fellatio is close to zero.

I guess I was just doing finance wrong.