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Friday, Sep 23, 2016

* Wilco put out a new album this month. Here’s a track

Can my cold heart change

- Posted by Rich Miller   Comments Off      

*** UPDATED x1 *** The dirty little secrets about Facebook video views

Friday, Sep 23, 2016

* Wall Street Journal

Big ad buyers and marketers are upset with Facebook Inc. after learning the tech giant vastly overestimated average viewing time for video ads on its platform for two years, according to people familiar with the situation.

Several weeks ago, Facebook disclosed in a post on its “Advertiser Help Center” that its metric for the average time users spent watching videos was artificially inflated because it was only factoring in video views of more than three seconds. The company said it was introducing a new metric to fix the problem. […]

For the past two years Facebook only counted video views of more than three seconds when calculating its “Average Duration of Video Viewed” metric. Video views of under three seconds were not factored in, thereby inflating the average. Facebook’s new metric, “Average Watch Time,” will reflect video views of any duration. That will replace the earlier metric.

* That’s plenty bad enough, but check this out from the Atlantic

The roots of this miscalculation go back to one of the founding assumptions of Facebook video. The platform counts every instance of a video playing for longer than three seconds as a “view,” saying that that is long enough to count as “intent to watch.”

Three seconds is counted as a view? Really?

* No wonder YouTube videos don’t claim as many views as FB videos

Professional YouTube video makers like Hank Green loathe this approach. Last year, Green accused Facebook of lying to juice video metrics, arguing that a “view” should only be registered when someone watches most or all of a video (which is how YouTube counts them). He also said it cheated by boosting native Facebook videos into people’s News Feeds well above embedded YouTube videos or Vines.

* From Green’s post

In our analytics-obsessed world, it’s tempting to first ask how to measure whether something is a view, but if we take a step back and just ask what a “view” is, the answer becomes clearer. What is a view? It’s when someone watches the video. And Facebook counts views significantly before people could be said to be watching the video.

Facebook counts the “view” at the three second mark (whether or not the viewer has even turned on the sound) in the midst of a precipitous decline in retention. At that moment, 90% of people scrolling the page are still ‘watching’ this silent animated GIF. But by 30 seconds, when viewership actually could be claimed, only 20% are watching. 90% of people are being counted, but only 20% of people are actually “viewing” the video.

YouTube, on the other hand, counts views in a logical way…the view is counted at the point at which people seem to actually be engaging with the video and not just immediately clicking away. This is usually around 30 seconds, but of course is different for videos of different lengths.

*** UPDATE ***  But FB can be an effective tool for some things. From the Chicago Board of Election Commissioners…

“Earlier this week, we were receiving about 120 to 140 online registrations daily. Suddenly this morning, that number in our inbox jumped to more than 1,400,” said Chicago Election Board Chairwoman Marisel A. Hernandez.

State officials say a Facebook campaign appears to be contributing to the big increase in activity. In related news, Tuesday, September 27 is National Voter Registration Day.

I asked who was behind the Facebook campaign and was told it was Facebook itself.

- Posted by Rich Miller   9 Comments      

Life on a ledge

Friday, Sep 23, 2016

* If you do nothing else today or this weekend (because it’s kind of long), read this heart-wrenching story by Frank Main.

- Posted by Rich Miller   22 Comments      

Question of the day

Friday, Sep 23, 2016

* NBC 5 reports on how the state has restarted and improved its idea suggestion program

Created in 1985 by the General Assembly, the Suggestion Board offers cash awards for the best money-saving ideas. The board originally only accepted suggestions from state employees, but later began accepting ideas from any Illinois citizen. […]

But the last time the board actually accepted a suggestion was ten years ago—a single employee’s idea about weather stripping a single door at a single building. Since 2008, the Board has considered a total of 667 ideas, but has accepted none of them. Starting in 2013, the Suggestion Board didn’t even meet for lack of a quorum. The same was true in 2014, and 2015. No one could get their act together to elect a chairman, establish a schedule, or even figure out a place to meet.

“Well, we certainly saw it as an underutilized program,” says Mike Hoffman, the acting director of Central Management Services who inherited the entire dysfunctional mess from the two prior administrations. “It’s one we were interested in re-invigorating.”

And it appears they have done just that. The Suggestion Board now has a quorum, and has 175 new ideas which have been submitted over the last six months. Although the online submission form specifies “employee suggestions,” CMS assures us that the board will accept – and possibly award – ideas from all Illinois citizens. […]

Hoffman says one idea which is on the verge of being implemented, is expected to save the state $100,000 annually by reforming the way various departments use certified mail.

I like what I’ve seen from Hoffman so far. More like this, please.

But, you just had to know we’d have a tiny bit of fun with this. So…

* The Question: Your suggestions for improving the operations of state government? Snark is fine, or not. You decide.

- Posted by Rich Miller   80 Comments      

Our totally inspiring and uplifting US Senate race

Friday, Sep 23, 2016

* Oh, for crying out loud

Both major candidates for U.S. Senate in Illinois are using their military backgrounds to bolster their campaigns, but they each have embellished their account of where they were and who they were with when terrorists attacked on 9/11.

For Republican U.S. Sen. Mark Kirk, it was his suggestion he was with Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld when the Cabinet member learned a second plane had struck in New York and those in the room came to the realization that America was under attack.

But Rumsfeld learned of the second attack on the World Trade Center during a different meeting.

For Democratic challenger U.S. Rep. Tammy Duckworth, it was her suggestion she was at Midway Airport readying to defend Chicago with a Black Hawk helicopter unit.

But Duckworth was in Scotland on vacation.

Go read the whole thing if you have the stomach for it. I think the problem for Kirk is slightly less than Duckworth’s, but, really, this is all too much.

- Posted by Rich Miller   52 Comments      

Trump piles on Chicago, but he may want to ask his running mate about Indiana

Friday, Sep 23, 2016

* Tribune

Donald Trump on Thursday said Chicago needs to employ controversial “stop-and-frisk” police practices to stem violence, continuing his critique of policing here a month after saying the city’s crime problem could be stopped in a week if police were “very much tougher.”

“Chicago is out of control, and I was really referring to Chicago with stop-and-frisk,” the Republican presidential nominee told the television show “Fox & Friends,” responding to criticism for earlier appearing to suggest the tactic should be used nationwide. “They asked me about Chicago, and I was talking about stop-and-frisk for Chicago.” […]

“We did it in New York, it worked incredibly well,” he said in the interview.

* Data doesn’t support the NYC claim

In New York, the practice of stop-and-frisk is usually associated with Raymond Kelly’s second stint as New York’s police commissioner, which began in 2002. The number of stops recorded by New York police increased from 97,000 to 161,000 that year, and then nearly doubled the following year, according to police data obtained by the New York Civil Liberties Union.

At that time, New York City’s crime rate of violent crime was already in decline. In 1990, there were nearly 31 homicides in the city for every 100,000 people — more than the average for other major American cities even in a year of frequent violence across the country. A decade later, that figure had declined by nearly 75 percent, to 8.4 homicides per 100,000 people. […]

As New York police abruptly moved away from the practice of stop-and-frisk toward the end of Kelly’s tenure in 2013, the rate of homicide continued to decline as it had previously.

* AP

(T)he New York billionaire falsely suggested that Chicago is more violent than Afghanistan

Afghanistan? Chicago is not even as violent as Indiana. Why do I point to the Hoosiers? Well, Trump’s running mate is that state’s governor.

* From earlier this year

Indiana has the highest rate of black homicide victims in the country, according to a study conducted by the national nonprofit Violence Policy Center.

The study uses FBI homicide data to rank states according to their black homicide victimization rates. According to the study, there were 213 black homicide victims in Indiana in 2013, or 34.15 victims per 100,000 people. […]

The states with the second and third highest rates were Missouri and Michigan, respectively. […]

In Indianapolis, the majority of homicide victims over the past several years have been black. The city also has struggled with a rising homicide rate since 2013. Last year, there were 144 such killings in the city, the most in its history.

* And just last month, an Indiana appeals court ruled that stopping people to check for guns is illegal

As a result of the Court of Appeals’ decision in Pinner, law enforcement agencies would also be wise to conform their training protocols to advise officers to refrain from detaining people merely to confirm that their possession of a firearm is legal – absent “reasonable suspicion” of some other criminal activity. Otherwise, any such stop would violate the Fourth Amendment rights of the person detained.

* Milwaukee’s stop and frisk policy hasn’t knocked it out of the top ten most dangerous cities (Chicago isn’t on that list, by the way, but St. Louis, Cleveland, Birmingham, Memphis and Indianapolis are). In fact it’s getting worse

Milwaukee police recorded 24 homicides in the month of August — and officials say that is the highest monthly total since the July 1991 discovery in Jeffrey Dahmer’s apartment.


The stop and frisk policy has also outraged civil rights groups.

* None of this should be seen as excusing Chicago’s violence. I’ve been a strong proponent of numerous actions, including tougher sentencing laws and treating it as a public health crisis. Adding more cops will help, too, as will improving the city’s climate for small and mid-sized neighborhood businesses and factories, as well as boosting education.

But a little context is in order here. Gov. Pence’s state is worse. And his own capital city is apparently more dangerous than Chicago.

- Posted by Rich Miller   40 Comments      

Don’t hold your breath

Friday, Sep 23, 2016

* From the Southern Illinoisan

Thumbs down to Gov. Bruce Rauner’s halfhearted Facebook live chat Tuesday. Social media platforms are giving our elected officials unique opportunities to reach constituents directly, without the filter of the traditional media. Officials can say anything they want, directly to the people they serve. If done well, officials can become more transparent, and interact with their constituents. If not done well, the attempts come off as disingenuous. Rauner attempted the former, and ended up closer to the latter. He went live on Tuesday afternoon with pre-selected questions that had been screened by his staff. That’s not exactly taking full advantage of the Facebook live platform. The live experience can create a real-time exchange between the person making the video and the people watching. Rauner missed the mark on this one. We hope to see him having real-time conversations when he uses social media in the future.

Apparently, nobody on that editorial board has ever attended a Bruce Rauner press conference. The governor doesn’t get to choose his questions at those events, but he almost always finds a way to turn the subject back to his talking points.

- Posted by Rich Miller   8 Comments      

More ugliness

Friday, Sep 23, 2016

* Sun-Times

Former Republican state Rep. Ron Sandack, once a top ally of Gov. Bruce Rauner, resigned from the Illinois Legislature after several people viewed a sexually graphic video featuring the former lawmaker that was temporarily posted to Facebook, Politico is reporting.

Politico, citing anonymous sources, reports that the “encounter” with the woman was recorded and posted to Sandack’s social media accounts with several of his contacts tagged in the video.

Sandack previously has said he was extorted via Facebook and Skype by a woman who lured him “to engage in inappropriate online conversations.”

Once Republicans learned of the video and its surfacing, a top state operative urged Sandack to resign, Politico reports. Sandack issued a statement to Politico denying he was asked to resign but didn’t address questions about the existence of the video or whether it was distributed to others.

Much of this has already been covered by the I-Team, including the context that this type of blackmail was also used against at least one other state legislator in another state.

By the way, I was also told by a top source that Sandack was strongly urged to resign.

- Posted by Rich Miller   44 Comments      

Today’s number: $105,733

Friday, Sep 23, 2016

* Hmm…

…Adding… Just to be clear, I don’t necessarily think that the teacher salary/benefit package is too sweet on paper. They do a very difficult job under often impossible conditions.

But the automobile unions pitched in when the Great Recession nearly wiped out their industry. The CTU could learn at least a lesson or two from that experience.

- Posted by Rich Miller   186 Comments      

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Friday, Sep 23, 2016

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Friday, Sep 23, 2016

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* Proft busts caps in Bertino-Tarrant race
* Today's quotable
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* Question of the day
* Caption contest!
* More complicated than it already looks
* Caught in a vicious cycle
* How can we miss you if you won't go away?
* Rules bent a bit to move ConAgra headquarters to Chicago
* Trump raises money in Illinois for out of state candidates, while NRSC jumps in for Kirk
* *** UPDATED x1 CPS responds *** CTU says 95 percent voted to strike
* Video gaming could be a huge revenue generator for state, Chicago
* Let's tone it down a little
* Safe Roads backers begin TV blitz
* Kasper speaks
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