Kucinich’s Real Numbers

Listened to a very moving conversation with presidential hopeful Dennis Kucinich on the Commonwealth Club podcast the other day, and found myself wondering why he gets such a small sliver of the spotlight. The more I heard, the more I felt myself feeling strongly aligning with his views. Apparently I’m not alone – someone whipped up a simple script to ask where you stand on various key issues, then tells you which candidate should be your guy.

The results are pretty amazing. You’d expect to find Obama and Clinton at or near the top of the pack, while in fact 57% of the 147072 who have taken the poll so far have discovered that Kucinich is their man – or would be, if aligning on issues were the whole story. No other candidate even broke out of the single digits. Of course it’s not, and realistically Kucinich has about as much chance of rising in the polls as he ever has (i.e. very little). But fascinating to see how it stacks up.

Music: Tindersticks :: Closing Titles

Death by Numbers

OK, you already know this, but still fascinating to see the numbers spelled out. Your chances of dying in a plane crash are approximately 1 in 20,000; chances of dying in an auto accident roughly 1 in 100. And yet the thought of going down in a burning plane perpetually occupies a special fear-spot in the public imagination.

As our media wrings its hands relentlessly over the 11 victims of Minnesota’s Interstate 35 bridge collapse and the nine missing Utah coal miners, 42,000 people will die of cancer this month. “Meanwhile, 3,000 people, mostly sub-Saharan African children, will die today of malaria with nary an Associated Press story to spread the news.”

We care, but the diseases and the car wrecks that kill thousands of us every day are so common that they’re the opposite of news. They’re also usually too frightening to contemplate. Freak accidents, in contrast, are freakishly comforting.