Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Proof that you can use statistics to prove anything

This blog entry from the US News and World Report blog pretty much exemplifies the reaction of most of the media to the recent Gallup poll on the subject of abortion, in which people who describe themselves as pro-choice made up 42% of the respondents while those calling themselves pro-life were 51%. This led to a hoot and a holler about how the "tide has turned" and now is the right time for Roe v Wade to be challenged, and that Obama needs to go with the flow of the populace and so on ad nauseum.

The US News article pays some lip service to the fact that the majority of Americans feel that abortion should remain legal. They disagree on when, but on the fundamental concept the majority still agrees.

But more than even that, there is another question from the poll that isn't being flaunted. And for good reason, at least if you're a right-winger.

With respect to the abortion issue, would you consider yourself to be pro-choice or pro-life?

Note the carefully worded qualifier. "WITH RESPECT TO THE ABORTION ISSUE." And here are the results from that question:

May 7-10, 2009
Pro-choice 51%
Pro-life 42%
Unsure/No answer 7%

May 12-13,2009
Pro-choice 50%
Pro-life 43%
Unsure/No answer 7%

The one percent change between the weeks could be accounted for many ways. It might have been a different geographical sample. It might have been that the question was asked right after a widely publicized event dealing in the subject. There are a lot of ifs here. The bottom line is, while the majority of Americans call themselves pro-life, they are not referring to it as an abortion-centered pro-life stance.

I'm pro-life in that I object to taking human life without really damn good cause. Like self-defense. Things like that. And I'm very pro-baby. Just ask some of the babies I'm friends with and make toys and hats for all the time. But I'm totally pro-choice. I don't see the contradiction.

And apparently, neither does a good percentage of the US population.

If you have a lot of time to spend watching a video

Did anyone doubt there are people in the military who think their mission as an American is to wipe out Islam and convert all of the Middle East to Christianity? (Sorry it's not embedded; I can't figure out how.)

I used to think it was just a few bad apples. (Sorry. That's only supposed to refer to the poor saps who followed orders at Abu Ghraib, isn't it...) Now it sounds like it's a pretty organized and sizeable group of idjits. Granted, they are not the largest sub-group in the military, but they are one of the groups that is at greatest odds with the Constitution they are supposed to be defending.

Are you ready to be cheered up?

Does Sean Hannity ever even guess that he's being played by a pro?


And it couldn't hurt to read the article that accompanies the video at Alter-Net.

Sunday, May 17, 2009

Republicans object for the sake of objecting?

While the entire article is of interest I'm including a few excerpts that I found particularly interesting. The words I find most interesting are in red.

Conservatives Map Strategies on Court
Published: May 16, 2009

1. While conservatives say they know they have little chance of defeating Mr. Obama’s choice because Democrats control the Senate, they say they hope to mount a fight that could help refill depleted coffers and galvanize a movement demoralized by Republican electoral defeats.
2. The movement is much diminished from four years ago under President George W. Bush, when Supreme Court vacancies last arose and conservatives marshaled their forces to champion his nominees. (Judge Richard Posner, a prominent Reagan appointee, wrote recently that the conservative movement suffers from “intellectual deterioration.”) Republicans have lost control of the White House and Congress, have no clear party leader and have received low approval ratings.
3. “The risk for the Republican Party is they will be tempted to be more gentlemanly than Democrats are when a conservative is nominated,” Mr. Bauer said. “By doing that, they will not only lose an educational moment with the public, but they will risk driving the base of the Republican Party to once again be frustrated.”

1. I'm cynical, I know, but I think the conservative (bowel) movement really needs to reexamine their fundraising efforts. They cannot continue to do things "the way my grandaddy did." I have seen their efforts to fundraise on the internet and they give the phrase Johnny-come-lately a whole new meaning. Starting a fight over a judicial nominee is not going to help them as much as they seem to be hoping.

2. That phrase "intellectual deterioration" just seems so apt. It's exactly what's happened. This is no longer Barry Goldwater's party. I blame Nixon. Well, and Reagan. And the Bush Crime Family. And Darth Cheney. And....oh, you know what I mean.

3. There are just so many things wrong with this point of view. The Democrats weren't gentlemanly. They were puppy-dog like. Roberts: nominated September 5 and confirmed the 29th (a little over 3 weeks. Wow, what a nail biter that one was!) Alito was nominated on October 31 and while the confirmation on January 31 seems like a long time, remember Thanksgiving and Christmas breaks interfered. Don't tell me the fight over Harriet Miers is the proof. Among other things, it was Bush's own party who fought hardest to remove her. And, besides, she was nominated on October 3 and withdrew on the 27th. Comparable to Roberts, but against opposition from the Republicans. So...who wasn't gentlemanly?