A Science for Everyone, Demography

IQ Testing Government Officials

Donald Trump described himself as a “stable genius.”  Joe Biden challenged another old man to an IQ test competition.  These are things that never happened with George Bush, and I scoured the internet for reliable IQ numbers on politicians.  I learned that a US government official IQ tested a group of German military and political leaders.  So near as I can tell, the only data available on the intelligence of government officials came from the Nuremberg trials after World War II.  An American psychologist, Gustave Gilbert tested the 21 former Nazi officials with an early Wechsler IQ test, with the following results:

Position HeldIQ
Schacht, HjalmarMinister of Economics143
Seyss-Inquart, Arthur Reichkommisar of Netherlands141
Dönitz, KarlAdmiral138
Göring, HermannChancellor138
Papen, Franz vonChancellor134
Raeder, ErichGrand Admiral134
Frank, HansGovernor of Poland130
Fritzsche, HansDirector of Propaganda130
Schirach, Baldur vonHitler Youth Leader130
Keitel, WilhelmField Marshall129
Ribbentrop, Joachim vonMinister of Foreign Affairs129
Speer, AlbertMinister of Armaments128
Rosenberg, AlfredMinister of Occupied Territories 127
Jodl, AlfredColonel General127
Neurath, Konstantin vonMinister Foreign Affairs125
Frick, WilhelmMinister of Interior124
Funk, WaltherEconomics Minister124
Hess, RudolfDeputy Fuhrer (until 1941)120
Sauckel, FritzHead Labor Deployment118
Kaltenbrunner, ErnstSS, Head of Security113
Streicher, JuliusNewspaper Publisher106

All were above average – most, excepting the publisher of the party newspaper and the head of security (Streicher and Kaltenbrunner) above the “normal range” of intelligence.  The only thing I can generalize from the sample is that you don’t have to be dumb to be a nazi, and that isn’t a conclusion I like.

There’s a chart at IQ Comparison that shows the probability of each score.  For example, Julius Streicher, with an IQ of 106, almost made it into the top third of the population.  Kaltenbrunner, at 113, scored in the top fifth.  Hermann Goring, at 138, was statistically the sharpest knife in a drawer with 177 others.  Hjalmar Schacht, with an IQ of 143 was one out of 278 . . . and he was acquitted of all charges at Nuremberg. 

There is a clickbait series on US presidential IQ scores – complete to two decimal points, and it looks unreliable to me – so this seems to be the best available data.  I suspect we could develop some pretty good estimates on recent presidents, if we had their ASVAB or college placement scores – but most of our presidents preceded IQ tests.  In 1916, Terman set the minimum standard for genius at 140 . . . so Trump may well have scored above that – basically, the probability in the general population is 1 in 261.  Biden probably did have a better than 50-50 chance of beating a random 83-year-old in an IQ test.  I’ve seen Einstein listed at 160 – a one in 31,560 probability.

In a nation of 330 million, we have about as many smart people as dumb ones – and, if we extrapolate from the Nurenberg IQ tests, we have some equally bright people in politics, and bright politicians can do some really dumb things.

Laws, Ordinances & Regulations

The Force of Law

It’s amazing just how many regulations/rules/statutes/ordinances/laws are out there.

What we learned in grade school civics is simple and elegant, and unfortunately far from the complete picture. In elementary school we are taught the three branches of government: executive, legislative, and judicial. This is accompanied by the simple explanation that the legislative branch (the legislature) makes the laws and the executive branch (the president) enforces them. The same model is used by the state. Simple. Easy to understand. Incomplete.

While in the strictest sense the legislature can and does pass laws and the executive branch of government does enforce them, the actual situation is far more complex. Often, what the executive branch does is create a regulatory agency to enforce the law. For example, back in the 1970’s, President Nixon established the Environmental Protection Agency and charged it with enforcing the Clean Air Act. Of course, the EPA quickly grew to handle far more than just the Clean Air Act. Like other federal departments and agencies, the EPA creates rules and regulations which have the force of law. They aren’t laws in the same sense that the laws created by the legislature are, per say, but for the guy trying to follow them, there just isn’t much difference.

How many federal regulations are there?

Statistics about federal regulations can be found here, provided by George Washington University. The entire collection of regulations is available online via the electronic code of federal regulations.

Given that George Washington University’s very nice bar graph has units in “thousands of pages”, it’s rather easy to conclude that there are lots of federal regulations. Of course, it’s likely that most of them won’t apply to any given individual, but how is one to know which ones do? Alas, without reading all of them, there doesn’t seem to be a good way to know.

And, of course, this is just federal. Each state and state agency has its own collection of regulations, plus county and local governments can pass laws (and regulations with the force of law).

The County’s list of ordinances is at least, mercifully short (Silver Butte Road, Community Decay, Park Rules of Conduct, Dog Control, Litter Control, Recodifying Ordinance). That said, the county’s regulations aren’t nearly as easy to find, being spread out across various departments.

Community

Stimulus payments, not junk mail!

Covid19 stimulus payments have begun to trickle into North Lincoln County again, and as the current PSE/Postmaster of Fortine, I feel it’s quite important to spread this information around. You see, some of these stimulus payments aren’t as official-looking as they could be.

The above piece of suspicious-looking mail is actually a stimulus payment from the federal government, not junk mail. Covid stimulus payments were first issued as prepaid debit cards this past May. There wasn’t much coverage of the different payment method, and as a result, is it any wonder that folks all over the country accidentally threw them away?

A couple of stimulus payments later, the same thing is happening again. Folks all across the nation have begun to accidentally throw their EIP (“Economic Impact Payment”) cards away. .

If you received your previous stimulus payments as direct deposits, you should have received this one as a direct deposit as well. However, receiving an actual stimulus check last time does not guarantee that you’ll get a check this time.

An example of what our EIC Card envelope looked like.
(I’ve obscured the address, but it was right beneath the barcode.)

The above envelope contains a prepaid debit card, though how much money that card contains may vary depending on whether or not it is a joint card for you and your spouse, etc. You’ll want to activate your card promptly and check its value on the official EIP Card website. Nowhere on the EIP Cards, or in their enclosed letters is their value stated! Your EIP card can be used similarly to a normal debit card, but it’s worth noting that there are extra fees associated with using it.0

Fees associated with the EIP Card:
I’m not terribly fond of these cards – there’s a number of ways your balance gets whittled down.
Doesn’t it feel like death by a thousand cuts? The fees are as follows:

ATM withdrawals – Domestic——$2.00 fee,
This applies to all out-of-network ATMS, but is waived for your 1st withdrawal.
There are no-fee ATMs, though few and far between.
Our only one in the North Lincoln County area is at Stein’s Market in Eureka.
Your next closest options are Libby and Whitefish.
ATM balance inquiry—————-$0.25 fee
This fee applies at all ATMs – both in-network and out-of-network.
Instead of wasting those 25 cents, check your balance online for free.
You can also check your balance by calling Customer Service: 1.800.240.8100.
Bank/cashier withdrawal————$5.00 fee
Like the out-of-network ATM withdrawals, this fee is waived for your first cash withdrawal, but will apply to all others.

What if your card was thrown away, lost, or stolen?
Call the EIP Customer Service helpline at 1.800.240.8100.
If you manage to get through to them, (and then jump through the relevant hoops to deactivate the damaged or missing one), they’ll send you a replacement card at no extra charge.

If you can’t get through to the IRS via their phone number (their line has been rather busy lately), consider downloading IRS Form 3911, filling it out, and submitting it via the IRS website.

Here’s the IRS page on how to request a trace of your EIP (card or check). It also contains information on how to properly submit form 3911.

Community, Weird Words

Sharing the definition of Impeccable for the County Clerk

A January 13 article in the Tobacco Valley News described how a box of ballots was left behind on November 3 and counted days later.  The Western News in Libby brought the matter to light on January 5.  The kudos and praise belong to our local press – blunders such as this need to be brought to the light of day.  The article described how the ballots were counted late – and the TV News quoted Robin Benson, county clerk and recorder: “I still think that the election staff, Chris, did an impeccable and amazing job . . .”

The Cambridge English Dictionary shares the definition of impeccable: perfect, with no problems or bad parts.   What was it the guy in the Princess Bride said?  “You keep using that word.  I do not think it means what you think it means.”  Of course, she may have thought impeccable was a relative term, and been using Georgia standards.  Transparency doesn’t call for the media announcing the error and the correction.

Another TV News quote from Josh Letcher described the former election administrator.  “He did great things.  He put his heart into it.”  It is good to know that Nelson‘s heart is in the right place – but it would be more reassuring had his head been in the right place.  It’s a bit harder to sneer at Georgia when this happens here.  Again, high praise to the media for bringing this to light.

Community

Bismarck’s Belief

There is a Providence that protects idiots, drunkards, children and the United States of America.”   Otto von Bismarck, 1907

Three fourths of my neighbors voted for Trump, and I figure even more believe that Biden won through some form of chicanery.  As I look at media comments, I see fears of what will happen – from tax increases to gun grabs to civil war.  There is comfort in Bismarck’s observation “There is a Providence that protects idiots, drunkards, children and the United States of America.”  I recall that, a century ago, my country elected a president – Warren G. Harding – who was even slower than Joe Biden.  And Harding replaced Woodrow Wilson.  I can make a strong case that Woodrow Wilson was more racist than any American President, including Jefferson Davis.

You might argue corruption, and cite the investigations finally underway on Hunter and James Biden.  Remember,  “There is a Providence that protects idiots, drunkards, children and the United States of America.”  The history textbooks tell of Harding’s Secretary of the Interior and the Teapot Dome scandal.  Remember, Woodrow Wilson had a stroke in October 1919, paralyzing him, and that caused the greatest crisis about presidential disability, presidential incapability, in our country’s history.  According to whitehouse.gov, “Wilson returned to campaign for Senate approval of the peace treaty and the League of Nations Covenant. His health failed in September 1919; a stroke left him partly paralyzed. His constant attendant, Mrs. Wilson took over many routine duties and details of government. But she did not initiate programs or make major decisions, and she did not try to control the executive branch. She selected matters for her husband’s attention and let everything else go to the heads of departments or remain in abeyance. Her “stewardship,” she called this.”  That was 16 months with a non-functional president.  Joe may indeed be going into dementia – but we have Wilson’s example, with fewer problems for the nation after his stroke than before it.

I have been unable to find any record of where Otto Von Bismarck really said “There is a Providence that protects idiots, drunkards, children and the United States of America.”  – but it is an optimistic way to look at any election.

Laws, Ordinances & Regulations

I need a license for what?

One of the worst shocks of growing up was how much paperwork adulthood requires. Recently, I’ve been learning about licenses. Not fishing licenses, or hunting licenses, which I did know about, but professional and occupational licenses.

Some professions are obvious. It’s clear that a doctor, an MD, will need a license to practice medicine. Clear, too, the reasons. It’s an obvious issue of public health and safety that people doing surgery ought to have some education on the topic!

Which professions require a license is a matter determined by each state. Montana’s Department of Labor regulates 40 boards/programs for licensure. A list of some of the professions licensed by Montana’s Department of Labor follows:

  • Midwives
  • Athletic trainers
  • Barbers
  • Electricians
  • Morticians
  • Hearing Aid Dispensers
  • Addiction Counselors
  • Massage Therapists
  • Nursing Home Administrators
  • Outfitters
  • Plumbers
  • Property Managers
  • Real Estate Salespeople

Of course, the Department of Labor doesn’t have a monopoly on issuing licenses (or on requiring them). The department of environmental quality regulates water system operators, which sounds like something obscure, but is surprisingly common. Whether a water system operator is (legally) required is determined by how many people use the system, and how often. A public school will almost certainly need one. A church? Perhaps.

And we cannot forget the Office of Public Instruction (the state agency dealing with education). That office controls the licensing process for teachers, guidance councilors, and principals.

Additionally, local governments can also add licensing requirements. The city of Billings, for example, requires any business within the city (even home businesses) to obtain a license. This is distinct from registering a business with the state, and seems to be primarily for the purpose of taxing the business.

All this, without getting into permitting! Which licenses have you been surprised to need?