If you have read my rantings before you know how I feel about polls, they are abused by the media and politicians alike. There are “push” polls that serve the purpose of propagandizing, there are poorly worded questions within polls that elicit inaccurate responses, there are poorly ordered questions which affect the results. An example of this would be asking a series of questions that set a tone that has an effect on the rest of them…like loading a question with “do you think the government should run your health care?” The other major abuse of polls is how the results are misinterpreted by everyone, they then become a spin tool that attempts to influence peoples opinions producing the bandwagon effect.
The Daily Kos conducts polls in a responsible way, go here if you want to know why their methodology is so much better than some others. Today, the DKos poll has President Obama at 53 favorable 42 unfavorable. Now considering that he won the election with 53% of the vote you would think that the interpretation would be that he’s maintaining his support, but is that the way the media in general is portraying his presidency? Not from what I’ve seen. They tend to ignore that result and point to others like “Right direction, Wrong direction” type questions. Currently, DKos has the country thinking 58% wrong track, 38% right track. Now pundits want to lay that all on President Obama’s doorstep, but I see it much differently. I believe a lot of that 58% are people that don’t like the gridlock in congress, caused primarily by Republicans. They probably see us on the wrong track because the two parties are on completely different tracks. A large percentage of the population really wants them to get along, come to common ground to solve problems. Putting the blame for those numbers solely on Obama is wrong. Another example of this is the opposition to the health care bill in many polls. That opposition is a combination of people who don’t want it at all and those that think it should be stronger, like single payer or a public option. Combining the two and saying, “the American people don’t want this bill” is just plain fucking wrong. Those who are for a stronger bill want a STRONGER bill, not no bill at all. When pollsters have actually teased out those numbers, it gets a much different result.
The other common meme going around surrounding polls is the idea that because President Obama was so high in the polls initially, that is the new benchmark for his popularity. That’s bullshit too. Initially, the American people rally around a new president, their patriotism plays into it and especially with our first black president, I think their was a lot of pride even with conservatives that America has come this far. That doesn’t mean that those people all of a sudden agree with him on everything, like the brain dead pundits want us to believe. It is possible to support your president but not agree with him. Look at Bush’s support right after 9/11. It’s so much more fun for the media to put someone on a pedestal and then knock them off it. This is what they have been doing to President Obama with this artificial benchmark they created.
So even though the pundits continue to beat that drum about Obama not being popular, the numbers really don’t say that and in fact, seem to say the opposite of that. I firmly believe that once his policies begin to settle in and take effect, his popularity will steadily climb and I’m sure all those wuss democrats will jump back on the Obama bandwagon and ride it to victory in November.
Shot by Extreme Liberal on my back deck
I hope that Christina Bellantoni at TPM is right and President Obama is considering even judges that lean to the left to replace Justice Stevens. Her story claims that the White House knows that whoever they pick, the Repugs will fight it as if it’s the end of the freakin world….no matter who it is. So why not pick someone who will help swing the pendulum back to the left? From her article….
“It doesn’t matter who he chooses, there is going to be a big ‘ol fight over it. So he doesn’t have to get sidetracked by those sorts of concerns,” the official told me. The GOP has attempted to obstruct “anything of consequence” put forth by the Obama administration since he took office, the official said. “The president is making this decision with a pretty clear view that whoever he chooses is going to provoke a strong reaction on the right,” the official added.
I hope that this thinking continues within the White House on other issues too. Glenn Greenwald gives a passionate pitch for Diane Wood and I have to admit, I like how she thinks. She was courageous and spoke out about civil liberties in 2003 when the Bush administration was just beginning it’s assault on our long standing American values and LAWS. This is from Glenn’s piece…
But the starting point for seeing why Wood is such a superior alternative — what first convinced me — is the University of Chicago Law Review article she wrote in early 2003, entitled The Rule of Law in Times of Stress. This courageous analysis was designed to warn the nation about the profound threats posed to the rule of law and the Constitution by excesses in the War on Terrorism, but also more broadly to set forth her general view of the proper role of the Supreme Court when rights are being assaulted and individuals from marginalized groups are being mistreated. By itself, this article says more than I ever could about why she is really the ideal replacement for Justice Stevens, using every standard which progressives have always claimed to embrace regarding their views of the Court.
I recommend you go read Glenn’s piece, it’s quite long but very good. Here is a piece of Diane Woods writing, lifted from Glenn’s piece.
Regardless of who he picks, it will be a great day in America when it happens.
I’ve always liked Chris Dodd when he feels strongly about something, he is excellent at getting to the heart of the matter without using vitriol. Enjoy this Republican smackdown from yesterday regarding the financial reform legislation that the Republican “Luntzies” are lying about.
It looks like his speech might have had some impact, the Republicans folded and are now talking about a bipartisan bill. They’ve had a moment of political sanity, I’m sure it won’t last.
Being the “party of no” has its consequences. This article in Politico, although biased in the way Politico usually is, goes into detail about why the republican’s actions are actually hurting some of their biggest supporters, big business.
While the business community looks to its Senate allies to blunt the White House’s legislative agenda, another threat looms that is much more difficult to control: a Democratic-run bureaucracy.
But the decision by Republicans to oppose President Barack Obama on virtually every front has left business groups with few, if any, ways to bargain with or pressure the White House to moderate its policies.
That evolving dynamic could begin to define the current limits of the business community’s muscle and the Republican minority’s leverage in the ongoing power struggle with the labor movement — especially if Obama shows more willingness to exercise the full powers of his office.
When you take your ball and go home, you miss out on all the fun. Besides looking like children who are spoiled, fact challenged and the bullies of the playground, Republicans really aren’t doing themselves any favors by not participating in the governing process. I am very glad that they have chosen this route, because I believe whole-heartedly that President Obama really is willing to compromise with them and by not participating, the president has no other options than to do what he and the democrats believe is right. Go Democrats.
In the interest of transparency, the Obama administration is putting information out there, which of course Republicans want to keep out of the public hands. More from Politico…
At the Department of Labor, officials are reconstructing the agency’s website to make it easier for the public to search safety violations and other infractions lodged against companies. Currently, those searches require a series of clicks — and inside knowledge about the various relevant oversight agencies — to find violations. Under the new website design, the public will be able to simply type in the name of a firm to see its entire compliance history.
While some may view that as simply making government more transparent, Glenn Spencer, executive director of the Chamber’s Workforce Freedom Initiative, calls it “a trial lawyer’s dream.”
NO, not accountability for actions, say it isn’t so. Of course, Republicans wouldn’t want businesses that violate safety and other regulations to be called out on it. I always have to wonder how they react when it’s one of their family members killed or hurt by unsafe practices in the workplace.
Hat Tip to Ezra Klein
Now that we are beyond the health care fight, the Obama Administration is really kicking some ass on many issues. I think he did a lot of things during the health care fight, but the obsessive media and blogosphere have trouble walking and chewing gum at the same time. I had a busy week too, with taxes and the semester winding down at my day gig, so I’m going to go back and review just some of the things that went down this week.
BASIC HUMAN RIGHTS
Lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender folks can now be with their loved ones when that are sick or dying in the hospital. In a memo released April 15 by the White House, the president said,
“There are few moments in our lives that call for greater compassion and companionship than when a loved one is admitted to the hospital. In these hours of need and moments of pain and anxiety, all of us would hope to have a hand to hold, a shoulder on which to lean — a loved one to be there for us, as we would be there for them.”
How freakin awesome is that? The rights of many people in this country have been trampled on for far too long. I commend the Obama administration for taking this bold step, making real change in our country that affects real people.
We have laws? And finally the people that took a lot of our tax dollars in one of George Bush’s bloody wars are going to be introduced to our legal system, welcome. From the New York Times…
Federal prosecutors charged the former president of Blackwater Worldwide and four other former senior company officials on Friday with weapons violations and making false statements in the first criminal inquiry to reach into the top management ranks of the private security company.
Ah yes, a little bit of justice for the assholes who helped to ruin Americas reputation around the world. That isn’t the only justice that happened this week either. The Securities and Exchange Commission slapped Goldman Sachs with a lawsuit for taking advantage of the collapsing housing market. Also from the New York Times…
Goldman Sachs, the Wall Street powerhouse, was accused of securities fraud in a civil lawsuit filed Friday by the Securities and Exchange Commission, which claims the bank created and sold a mortgage investment that was secretly intended to fail.
The move was the first time that regulators had taken action against a Wall Street deal that helped investors capitalize on the collapse of the housing market.
I love it, Wall Street asshats learning that actions have consequences. I hope there is much more of this to come, it will bolster the Democrats push for financial reform and make the brain dead Republican Party look even more foolish in fighting financial reform. But there is even more justice this week, man this is fun to watch. It looks like Bush’s dirty spies might see some repercussions from their illegal and unethical behaviors, remember those video tapes that were destroyed that showed torture techniques used by Bush and Cheney’s henchmen? Booman has a great post about that…
Something is going to go down soon with regard to the destroyed torture tapes. People don’t get granted immunity for no reason. It doesn’t look too likely that Porter Goss is going to go down for it, but it’s not out of the question. However, this may be a reprise of the Plame case where the prosecutor finds it too difficult to prosecute the underlying crime and instead opts to nail people for perjury. And I have no way of telling who lied to the prosecutor or the FBI and whether they might get caught for those lies.It would be nice, however, to see someone very high up get a taste of prison life for their involvement in torture. That would be the least we should expect.
This week also saw some shifts in priorities in our Federal Government and I think they are a much needed change. The first of these is Transportation Secretary Ray Lahood’s shift of priorities in transportation policy. From Yahoo news…
LaHood says the government is going to give bicycling — and walking, too — the same importance as automobiles in transportation planning and the selection of projects for federal money. The former Republican congressman quietly announced the “sea change” in transportation policy last month.
“This is the end of favoring motorized transportation at the expense of non-motorized,” he wrote in his government blog.
This is a major win for America in my opinion. Public transportation and healthier ways to get around will only benefit everyone and the environment too. The reaction from the right is predictable, it is just one more example of why the Republican Party has lost its way, to put it mildly. Another shift in policy this week was the President’s announcement of the new NASA policy that takes a dramatic turn and shows the president is really changing the way things are and have been done. He took a lot of heat for scrapping the moon project, we’ve been there, done that. And is looking towards the future and shifting investment in old technologies towards developing new, much better ways to travel through space. From the President’s remarks at the Kennedy Space Center…
At the same time, after decades of neglect, we will increase investment — right away — in other groundbreaking technologies that will allow astronauts to reach space sooner and more often, to travel farther and faster for less cost, and to live and work in space for longer periods of time more safely. That means tackling major scientific and technological challenges. How do we shield astronauts from radiation on longer missions? How do we harness resources on distant worlds? How do we supply spacecraft with energy needed for these far-reaching journeys? These are questions that we can answer and will answer. And these are the questions whose answers no doubt will reap untold benefits right here on Earth.
How can anyone say this president isn’t awesome? Can you imagine Bush announcing such a clear, focused plan for the future of our exploration of space?
To be continued….
Here is a news report and some clips from our excellent president, the Republicans give him so much material for his stand up.
Attorney General Eric Holder, in response to a question from Charles Grassley, lets us know how he really feels about Liz Cheney and her ad attacking lawyers who defended detainees at Guantanamo. When the right wing starts attacking the foundation of our democracy and our justice system, you know they are going off the rails. We haven’t heard a whole lot from ole’ Lizzie since then, have we? She was severely beaten down by her own party after that ad. Many of the lawyers she attacked were career military people simply doing their jobs. You have to wonder why the reich-wingers defend George W. Bush’s attempt to return to the “kangaroo courts” of the 1800’s. Interesting enough, according to Wikipedia (grain of salt time), the first recorded reference to kangaroo courts was in Texas, go figure. Here is Eric Holder responding to Charles Grassley.
I love this group who came out to counter protest the teabaggers. The teabaggers are living in an alternate reality, almost trance-like. The truth must be spread, the trance must be broken, the sleep walking need to be woken up. We can’t let the charlatans, Rush, Glenn, Sarah, Newt, Mitch, Boner and all the other ‘leaders’ of the Republican Party continue to spread misinformation, outright lies and hatred.
Now I don’t claim to be one of the greatest spellers in the world, especially as I get older…but the teabaggers really need to learn to use spell check or discover the website Dictionary.com. This post from TPM is about the new Armed Forces Tea Party Patriots, I think he put this press release out because somebody whispered the words “court martial” into his ear. But of course, the really funny part is the first part of the press release, from TPM
In a press release sent this morning that misspelled the president’s first name, Stein wrote that in recent days his group had been “attacked by many people calling us traitors.” And he declared:
Armed Forces Tea Party Patriots in no way supports a military uprising or anything to that subject, further more we recognize Barak (sic) Obama as the Command-in-Chief and we do not support disobeying orders that are lawful with Constitution, and will continue to follow orders given to us….We do understand that there is a time and place for expression and the military work place is not one of them.
Come on now, he doesn’t even know how to spell his Commander-in-Chief’s name? It seems to be a common denominator with the teabagger group, remember the Flickr page devoted to their prowess at making signs?
This clip is from CBS and shows why President Obama was the absolute correct vote in 2008. It’s so nice to have a real person as president who is cool and thoughtful. Check it.
Shot by Extreme Liberal
Thanks for saving us from a complete onslaught of right-wing craziness. You will be missed, for sure.
Here are a couple of Youtube videos I came across recently that are fun. Enjoy!