File this one under Humor is Stranger than Fiction:

I have been back and forth via email with some folks of a broad political spectrum (little or no party affiliation) about how bizarre the GOP primary has become. When Andy Borowitz tweets something hilarious: In Positive Economic Sign, Republicans Starting to Say Obama Wasn’t Born in US Again (full article below).

Hahaha, very funny — except for the numbers. The NYT’s Floyd Norris, on a hunch, decided to crunch them to see if there is any math underlying the funny business. As it turns out, there is: Anyone can check the numbers to see if Borowitz was right — he is.

5.3.12: UPDATE:
Um, as it turns out, not so much:

The top graph shows the number of articles in Nexis, by month, in which the words “Obama” and “birth” appear within five words of each other. The bottom one shows the three-month average of jobs added in the economy.



You will note that birther mentions skyrocketed in the spring of 2011, after a run of increasingly good job numbers, and then fell off along with the job numbers later that year.  Now, with the job numbers rising again, so are the birther stories.  So far in March there are 263 articles, putting us on a pace to break the monthly record set in April 2011 when Donald Trump was trying to be the birther candidate.

You can see the excel spread sheet here:  Birther.XLSX


BOROWITZ: In Positive Economic Sign, Republicans Starting to Say Obama Wasn’t Born in US Again

S & P Birther Index Posts Big Gains

WASHINGTON (The Borowitz Report) – In what some experts are calling a strong indicator of improvement in the economy, Republicans in recent weeks have begun renewing their claims that President Barack Obama was not born in the United States.

While most economists agree that any significant improvement in the US economy is generally accompanied by an uptick in GOP questions about Mr. Obama’s place of birth, there is now an econometric tool for measuring the increase in those claims: the so-called S & P Birther Index.

The Birther Index, established in 2008, measures the occurrences of such words as “birth certificate,” “Kenya,” and “wasn’t born here” in Republican statements about the President, and has proven to be a surprisingly reliable tool for tracking improvements in the economy.

Harland Dorinson, the economist who devised the S & P Birther Index, said that as the economy recovers the index also shows a  strong surge in statements questioning the President’s Christianity.

“As unemployment started going down, we saw an increase in references to Mr. Obama being a Muslim,” he said.  “This is generally a very bullish sign for the economy.”

But Mr. Dorinson was quick to add that while the surge in references to Mr. Obama being “an Islamic socialist born in a mud-hut in Nairobi” is encouraging, the economy is not out of the woods yet.

“We won’t be fully in a recovery until the Republicans start calling him a Wiccan,” he said.  “And if they start saying he’s a Satanist who practices human sacrifice and drinks the blood of children, then it’ll be time to pop open the champagne.”

Category: Data Analysis, Humor, Politics

Please use the comments to demonstrate your own ignorance, unfamiliarity with empirical data and lack of respect for scientific knowledge. Be sure to create straw men and argue against things I have neither said nor implied. If you could repeat previously discredited memes or steer the conversation into irrelevant, off topic discussions, it would be appreciated. Lastly, kindly forgo all civility in your discourse . . . you are, after all, anonymous.

43 Responses to “Birther Economic Index: Borowitz Is Onto Something”

  1. RW says:

    That’s good: for confirmation use the Right-Wing-Pundit-Substance indicator;

    when George Will,Bill Kristol, et al say something substantive in critique of a right-wing politician or a major media figure like Limbaugh you know they think the Republicans are losing.

  2. Frilton Miedman says:

    For a lack of substance to critique of the economy, foreign policy/defense (Bin Ladin is dead, Iraq cleared out)), it makes sense that birther scandals or right wing social extremism would coincide with improvement, if you’re outta bullets – grab a squirt-gun and try to bluff.

    InTrade has Obama at 60% odds

  3. AtlasRocked says:

    I can’t believe you follow this stuff Barry.

    I got tired of hearing folks like you repeat what the political parties are saying and just went to the source.

    On Youtube sites you can find a forensic analysis of what has been released so far, from experts. They are not political at all. They are scientific and detailed. The good ones have the credentials of the host posted. They simply say what has been released so far is completely worthless – the original document has to be handed to a forensics expert to be sure.

    Rather than repeat the Washington-style play of attacking the feelings instead of the fact, you jump right in with them and abandon your own self-proclaimed commitment to factual inquiry. The whole Democratic party is overrun with these types of debating tactics: Make fun of people who have researched and discovered Keynesian stimulus has a 100% failure record of paying back debt, and has never produced a durable, debt-pay-back recovery. Make fun of people that point out every western Democracy with a benevolence focus has more debt accrued per capita than the US, save Canada, which just announced it is out of control a few weeks ago. Make fun of people pointing out SS and Medicare’s debts are not on the national debt total per Standard Accounting Practice. Jump in against the 99%, a class attack, instead of demanding your paid-for police chief just got hammered again by a democrat for not prosecuting the FCIC crooks.

    The country now needs over a trillion a year of borrowing to keep the heart beating, and you’re cheerleading the birth certificate ridicule effort.

  4. eddiebe says:

    I’d say this could be considered vodoo economics.

  5. London Trader says:

    To quote my LA chums, “Dude, that’s hilarious”

    American political wankers have no sense of humor. Brave of you to publish this –
    You are likely to attract the wing nut birther loons.

    In the UK, we find this sort of lunacy hard to comprehend

  6. Futuredome says:

    What is real interesting, the neo-con wing of the party is pushing the “birther” bore more than the Koch side.

    Considering the neo-cons still outweigh the Koch’s, this may explain why you are hearing all these lately:
    1.Obama forged birth certificate
    2.Obama killed jewish zionist Beitbart
    3.Obama will attack Israel and declare himself a Muslim

    With the Koch’s, it is more Obama is a African born Socialist…….

    Frankly, it is a complete bore. It is dumb and doesn’t work outside a chunk of the electorate that will already vote for you or at least not Obama. It is like Obama coming out and “hinting” that 9-11 was a inside job and the Republican Party was a key group behind the event so he would get a part to vote for him again or not Republican.

  7. Frilton Miedman says:

    London Trader Says:
    March 4th, 2012 at 4:45 pm
    “…In the UK, we find this sort of lunacy hard to comprehend”

    Could you guys hurry up, put Rupert behind bars or something?…we’ve had enough over here.

  8. Lord says:

    Santorum has come close with Satan swinging for America. Ask him who is helping.

  9. rd says:

    They are also whipping out family values, contraception, and religious freedom for Christians.

    This usually precedes a move by the Right Wing to pursue deficit spending policies.

  10. VennData says:

    Gingrich says Obama “opportunistic” in Limbaugh/Fluke controversy

    Ron Paul Says Limbaugh apologized for personal gain

    The Tabloid Party. What statesmen.

  11. BigD173 says:

    Now hold on there. It was iate Aptil 2011 that Obama finally released his brith certificate. It is that late April 2011 release — by Obama — that likely accounts for much of the increase in the number of mentions of the birth certtificate issue in April and May of 2011.

  12. theexpertisin says:

    Gotta love the election cycle, American style.

    The voters will sort through the bob and weave, electing many good and some not so good folks to represent us.

    Meanwhile, elsewhere in the world, many wish they had our system in place.

  13. MayorQuimby says:

    Have any of you actually looked at the data? Ordinarily I would dismiss birther crap as crap but the data DOES warrant a full investigation.


    BR: Are you seriously that fucktarded?

  14. completelylost says:

    In the real world where you pump your own gas – things are not improving. My customers are paying 100% with credit cards these days, 4 years ago it was about 30% credit cards. “The Birther Thing” will not be going away anytime soon:

    Cold Case Posse briefs county law enforcement on birth certificate case

  15. Petey Wheatstraw says:

    Go over to Denninger and check out the top story.


    Then, there’s this:

    Try scanning anything to PDF and then opening it in Photoshop or Illustrator, and you’ll get the same results that Denninger says prove O’s birth certificate is faked.

    If it wasn’t for the fact that he frequently puts the ass hat on, Denninger might be worth reading.

  16. AtlasRocked says:

    Petey – You mentioned all the name calling and ridicule, but you forgot to mention: It’s officially a fraud case now. The document is a confirmed fraud by a US Law Enforcement investigator.

    This makes all the people saying it wasn’t a fraud are a fraud.

  17. Sanity Please says:

    Karl Denninger used to be worth reading — but he seemed to have jumped the shark on this

    Put him into the pile of people who are now so biased and compromised that you cannot be bothered with them at all. He is a total write off.

  18. AtlasRocked says:

    If we have a political party that can create a fraudulent document then surround itself with hecklers to make sure the truth doesn’t come out, what does that say about America?

  19. DeDude says:

    When they realize they cannot beat him by counting votes of those who want him as president vs votes of those who do not – then they have to come up with something else. As with the Clinton “investigation” they are trying to find a way to get around the results of a fair election.

  20. Futuredome says:

    Denninger is running with the Koch Bros. This was true BEFORE 2007-8 as well.

  21. Futuredome says:

    “In the real world where you pump your own gas – things are not improving. My customers are paying 100% with credit cards these days, 4 years ago it was about 30% credit cards. “The Birther Thing” will not be going away anytime soon”

    How does pumping your own gas mean much in the real world? What 100% credit cards? You mean the ones that moved to 100% 4 years ago. The Birther thing is irrevelant. Everybody knows who runs it and fights for it. You represent treason toward country. Stripping your citizenship may be do process.

  22. willtruth says:

    I don’t know too much about Adove PDF’s or how OCR works. But, watch these videos below and anyone without a bias would have too wonder about the veracity of Obama’s Birth Certificate and Selective Service docs?

    The increase in BC related searches probably corresponds directly to the DrudgeReport posting stories.

  23. Frilton Miedman says:

    I’m still half convinced Petiey Wheatie meant to post Denniger’s birther conspiracy as a joke on a thread intended to point out the idiocy of birther conspiracies.

    Right Petie?….right?

  24. AtlasRocked says:

    The people defending the fraud are now part of a fraud. Barry you cite yourself as a relentless pursuer of the truth. Your behavior is 180 opposite on this one. We have a political party that produce a fraud, then surround the fraudsters with a party of hecklers to shout down anyone speaking the truth to them.

    This is the least of the fraud perpetrated on us in the last 3 years:
    - SS and Medicare are accounting frauds – their mandatory debt should be in the national debt total.
    - Keynesian spending has been used here for nigh on 30 years now, it has yet to produced payback for retiring the debt.
    - The president has put the FCIC report on the crimes involved in the crisis in the trash, as confirmed by California Democrat Phil Angelides in the NY Times.

    Why are you still defending this guy then cloaking yourself the garments of a relentless pursuer of truth?


    BR: I wish I had a clue WTF you are talking about.

  25. AtlasRocked says:

    “BR: Are you seriously that fucktarded?”

    You are a data and numbers guy, Barry – using name calling is the refuge of someone without data. You and I both know the data to refute a story paints a far worse picture than any name calling. I’m a digital signal processing engineer, the analysis on the pixels, the blurring, and edges – all this stuff is real-life terminology, dissection, and analysis. I can assure you they are dead on truthful. And corroborated by multiple, card-carrying experts. I’ve reviewed a few of them because I got tired of hearing party hacks make outlandish racist claims and do the name calling thing – these are smoking guns for someone trying to cover up a lie. If you don’t understand it, find yourself an image processing engineer you can trust and watch the videos with him, but for the love of Pete, get educated.


    BR: Sometimes, you just have to call a fucktard out for being fucktarded . . .

  26. rktbrkr says:

    An economic rebirth…

    I guess The Donald should reopen his private investigation of the Hawaii birth certificate!

  27. Petey Wheatstraw says:

    Atlas Whined Like a Bitch:

    1. Scan a document into any flatbed scanner with OCR turned on.

    2. Save the scan as a PDF

    3. Open the PDF in Adobe Photoshop or Adobe Illustrator

    4. Notice that the document, now opened in said programs, has layers, and that each layer contains snippets of text, code, and other artifacts of the scan/OCR process.

    5. Notice that words and characters on different layers were originally associated in the original document (for example, the words “The Big Picture” might now look like this:

    Layer 1: The B P ct

    Layer 2: i i u

    Layer 3: g i re

    6. Explain away how your scan is evidence of fraud.

    On top of this, please explain what happens when “the truth comes out.”

    Assuming, for a moment and for the sake of argument, that Obama was born outside the US, that he is a Muslim, a Socialist, a Manchurian operative, and a scoundrel of the first order, what has he done that would show that his successful effort to commit a fraud that would make a banker blush, in any way undermined our nation any more or less than our immediate past — or for that matter ANY FORMER PRESIDENT — has done?

    Why don’t you use your time more productively to protect us from real threats, like the recent mandate by our Uber liberal Congress that we all submit to Sharia Law?

    BTW: I don’t recall commenting on any namecalling or ridicule. To be perfectly clear: I LOVE namecalling and ridicule.

  28. krice2001 says:

    And the best part of the “faking” of the birth certificate was when someone was clever enough in 1961 to post the notice of his birth in the main Honolulu newspaper at the time. It’s really scary that they’d know to do that more than 40 years ago in preparation for his running for President. Now that’s a well run conspiracy!

    I guess then the “birthers” will try to uncover the time machine that was built to take someone back to plant that story.

  29. riley says:

    “…except for the numbers. The NYT’s Floyd Norris, on a hunch, decided to crunch them to see if there is any math underlying the funny business. As it turns out, there is:…”

    and in this case correlation = causation because?

    That birther mentions increase because employment is improving is the leftist conspiracy theory equivalent of those who question the validity of Obama’s birth certificate.

  30. Petey Wheatstraw says:

    Frilton Miedman:

    I don’t know if your statement is right, or not, Milty. I don’t get your point. If you clarify, I’ll respond.

    My intention in posting the link is that this issue won’t die, because it’s being kept alive by constant infusions of Bullshit.

    I want to be perfectly clear that I don’t like or support Obama. What I don’t like, even more, is the lengths some will go to in their quest to have this Negro out of their White House.

  31. maddog2020 says:

    Here’s your next conspiracy (mentioned to me last night by my wing-nut father):

    What’s next – Obama killed Vince Foster?

  32. Petey Wheatstraw says:


    You nailed it. H. G. Wells was somehow involved in this.

  33. kennethstein says:

    Dear Dumbasses:

    The reason for the recent increase in the mentions of “Obama” and “birth” near each other is due to the controversy surrounding the Obama administration’s decision on “birth control”. It has nothing to do with his birth certificate.

    I don’t want the fact that the president is an Islamist Socialist born in a mud hut in Nairobi to distract us from the fact that he is an asshat…

  34. AtlasRocked says:

    Petey – now turn off the OCR, scan the document directly as if you were creating a document for a fraud investigator, and tell the blog what you see.

    What are your fraud credentials, Petey, and why should we trust you – a non-stop cheerleader for Obama, instead of an expert?

  35. AtlasRocked says:

    The document’s fraudulence doesn’t prove he’s not a citizen folks. Notice the people making the connection. It’s just a fact that a fraud was made is disturbing.

    and the mob of hecklers demanding the truth be hidden is more disturbing. SS and Medicare debts – hidden. Wall street criminals pursued by the FCIC report findings? – hidden.

    This is a pattern of mass criminality here, folks. We can no longer support EITHER party if they are engaged in mass crime. And we can’t negotiate with folks that won’t base their arguments on facts.

  36. [...] Sunday, I published a humorous correlation about improving economic data and increased Birther stories. It was a fun little story for the [...]

  37. MikeDonnelly says:

    Barry, I want that word entered as “word of the year” and entered in wikipedia under your name. In the movie “The Christmas Story” Ralphie said (his Dad) “worked in profanity the way other artists might work in oils or clay.” Your creation was brilliant.

  38. Frilton Miedman says:

    Petey Wheatstraw Says:
    March 5th, 2012 at 9:56 am

    “Frilton Miedman:

    I don’t know if your statement is right, or not, Milty. I don’t get your point. If you clarify, I’ll respond.”
    I couldn’t tell if you were kidding, or serious. (We’re on the same page, it’s ridiculous supermarket tabloid distraction from real issues)

    The “report” concerns me, not because Obama “could” be a foreign spy from Mars plotting global domination with two headed space aliens in collusion with the KGB, but because a nationally recognized “law enforcement” officer is spending his time this way…..and there are STILL people who listen. (FOX viewers, me thinks)

    It’s the 1950′s all over again, semi-literate dimwits driving around in their pickup trucks wielding shotguns ready to defend against the coming invasion of the pinko commies who are bent on taking their double-wide’s away…..nevermind silly issues like jobs, the economy, consumer & government debt, foreign trade, foreign policy, forget all that…it’s BIRTHER CONSPIRACY TIME!…yeeeehaaaaww!

  39. Petey Wheatstraw says:

    Thanks, Frilton — I wasn’t sure what was up wit’ dat!

  40. Frilton Miedman says:

    I threw in a “Petie Wheatie” to annotate the goofiness….it’s hard to get dry humor across in text, I guess I’ll leave goofiness to the pro’s in Arizona legislature & law enforcement. (my god, they have guns)

    I wonder, with the “Arizona death panel” that put dying transplant patients out to die in order to cut spending, how much tax money did this knucklehead spend to perpetrate this stupidity?

    As much a a heart transplant costs?

  41. danashaffer says:

    “The top graph shows the number of articles in Nexis, by month, in which the words “Obama” and “birth” appear within five words of each other.”

    Isn’t it far more likely that a search with these parameters is digging up articles related to Obama’s mandates on insurance companies and BIRTH control for the months of February and March 2012?

    This hypothesis is fun, but the search parameters should have included the word “certificate” for it to hold any water.

  42. danashaffer says:

    Nevermind. Didn’t realize that the link was the update rather than the text below the word “update.” Thanks!