Wednesday, December 03, 2008


What is it about the number three?

Yesterday was a “three WTF” day:

  1. Rider Fatally Stabs City Bus Driver and Flees:
    A New York City bus driver was fatally stabbed in Brooklyn on Monday after refusing to give a free transfer to his assailant, who had not paid his fare, the police said. Witnesses said the killer jumped off the bus, slipped the hood of his black sweatshirt over his head and ran away.
    New York City bus fare is $2. This guy viciously killed a bus driver because he wouldn’t give him a transfer ticket worth $2. WTF?
  2. This is an old item (from 1999) that someone pointed me to yesterday... Judge Rules That Police Can Bar High I.Q. Scores
    A Federal judge has dismissed a lawsuit by a man who was barred from the New London police force because he scored too high on an intelligence test.

    In a ruling made public on Tuesday, Judge Peter C. Dorsey of the United States District Court in New Haven agreed that the plaintiff, Robert Jordan, was denied an opportunity to interview for a police job because of his high test scores. But he said that that did not mean Mr. Jordan was a victim of discrimination.

    Judge Dorsey ruled that Mr. Jordan was not denied equal protection because the city of New London applied the same standard to everyone: anyone who scored too high was rejected.

    I’m sure that not all police forces are specifically seeking out only stupid police officers, but what’s the deal in New London? WTF?
  3. Yesterday, on Fresh Air:
    Fresh Air from WHYY, December 2, 2008 — Conservative Christian Richard Cizik preaches the message of environmentalism from a pro-life perspective.
    Um. Environmentalism “from a pro-life perspective”? WTF?


Ray said...

To quote a phrase that is often used outside the US: Only in America...

Katie said...

Regarding the person who was rejected from interviewing with the New London police: I don't think that rejecting applicants based on a "too-high score" necessarily means the New London police only hire "stupid" applicants - just that there might be a reason that they (I won't say it b/c there are humans making the decisions) believe someone who scores high may not make a good police officer. They may actually have proof that a Det. Robert Gorem might not actually get the job done. At least in New London.

Barry Leiba said...

Right, a variation on the "overqualified" argument. I wouldn't say "proof", but I agree that they might know that they get the best results when they hire people who score, say, between 70 and 85 on the exam. Maybe below that range they get the stupid people, and above it they get... I don't know, people who think they know better than their bosses, people who aren't satisfied with sitting around with radar and giving speeding tickets, or whatever.

I'd propose, if that's the case, that they're testing for the wrong things, and they need to fix their test. If they need to test for ability to work as part of a team and to follow orders and respond to authority, then that's what they should be testing for. I don't know what the test is like, but if, say, they're testing math and science skills, and then rejecting people who do too well on that... you might be right that they're doing the right thing with the data they have, but I'd say they have the wrong data.