That has nothing to do with empiricism ....we may be in some serious trouble.


Would it kill the people at speechwars to write a program that would list every word in, say, every SOTU, from the most common to the least, and put them in some spreadsheet?


Maybe at the inaugural, but state of the union speeches are full of "data" --

Herbert Hoover even had a mortality table on his 1932 state of the union!


Yes, if we are going to admire those who embrace statistics and technology, Herbert Hoover should be our icon.

He was both an engineer, with a considerable career introducing innovations, and according to Wikipedia,

Hoover deeply believed in the Efficiency Movement (a major component of the Progressive Era), arguing that a technical solution existed for every social and economic problem.

Somehow seeing where Hoover got us, with all his genuine expertise in statistics and data, renders Obama's mere use of the word "data" seem a little less inspiring.

Doc Graham

Statistically, Hoovervilles were the best hobo-shanties around.

Willam Howard Taft

Interestingly, here's the sentence which contains the first use of the word "statistics", from Taft's 1909 presidential inaugural address:

The progress which the negro has made in the last fifty years, from slavery, when its statistics are reviewed, is marvelous, and it furnishes every reason to hope that in the next twenty-five years a still greater improvement in his condition as a productive member of society, on the farm, and in the shop, and in other occupations may come.

"Other occupations", indeed.


Using unquantifiable "statistics" like 3.5M jobs created or saved, does not make you an empiricist.


Who cares. Sometimes it feels like people are looking for reasons to congratulate this guy.

Ted S.

Let me clue you in, Justin. When a politician starts talking about "data" and "statistics", it is because he is about to use them to lie to you.