Observations on the world today.

Saturday, June 26, 2004

He Blinded Me With Pseudo-Science 

The Smirking Chimp
The Bush administration has ordered that government scientists must be approved by a senior political appointee before they can participate in meetings convened by the World Health Organization, the leading international health and science agency.

A top official from the Health and Human Services Department in April asked the WHO to begin routing requests for participation in its meetings to the department's secretary for review, rather than directly invite individual scientists, as has long been the case.
Holy crap!

Why don't we just change the name of the White House to Kremlin 2 and be done with it? From AIDS to mercury to global warming and now this? But luckily, the rest of the world is not as cowed as our media and the congress.
Officials at the WHO, based in Geneva, Switzerland, have refused to implement the request, saying it could compromise the independence of international scientific deliberations.
But all is not yet won.
Denis G. Aitken, WHO assistant director-general, said Friday that he had been negotiating with Washington in an effort to reach a compromise.
Oh, please don't compromise.



Friday, June 25, 2004

They Distort, I Deride 

FOXNews.com - FOX News Polls - You Decide 2004 Poll - 06/24/04: Bush Edges Kerry
President Bush currently has an advantage over Democratic candidate John Kerry in both the two-way matchup and three-way matchups. If the election were held today, the poll finds Bush at 48 percent and Kerry at 42 percent. When independent candidate Ralph Nader is included he receives three percent, Bush 47 percent and Kerry 40 percent.
A few weeks ago, the LA Times released a poll that was blasted by the right for skewing too far democratic. When the numbers were examined, it was revealed that:
among the poll respondents was 38 percent Democratic, 25 percent Republican and 24 percent independent
However, this should not be surprising from a random sampling, since nationally democrats are 42% of registered voters, while republicans are 33%. 25% are "other" or independent.

The Fox results seem to be an aberration. Of course, unless I know the party affiliation of the sampling, I am left with only my surmise. So I did a little detective work. This is all that the report tells us about the sampling:
Polling was conducted by telephone June 22-23, 2004 in the evenings. The total national sample is 900 registered voters nationwide, with a margin of error of ±3 percentage points. Results are of registered voters, unless otherwise noted. LV = likely voters
However, buried at the bottom of the results is this tidbit:
39. Do you think you will read former President Bill Clinton’s book or do you feel like you’ve heard enough about it already from the interviews he’s given?
................All Dem Rep Ind
1. Will read 25% 44% 7% 22%
2. Heard enough 46 35 59 44
3. (Don't care) 24 14 33 27
4. (Not sure) 5 7 2 7
Now I have no reason to dispute this part of the poll, but let's see how it stacks up to the national averages of registered voters in each category. Given our national numbers of 42%d, 33%r and 25%i, of the 900 voters polled, roughly 378 should be democrats, 297 republicans and 225 independents. This would mean that 166 of those who will read Clinton’s book are democrats, 21 are republicans, and 49 are independents; for a total of 236 of the 900 polled. However, 236 is 26% of 900, not 25%.

More drastically, 174 democrats have heard enough, 104 republicans have and 99 independents have for a total of 377 who have heard enough, or almost 42%. But according to the poll, 46% of those polled have heard enough.

But supposing the poll consisted of only 41% democrats and 43% republicans with the remaining 16% independent. Now 369 are democrats, 387 are republicans and 144 are independent.

Under these conditions, 162 democrats will read it, 27 republicans and 32 independents or 221of the 900 which is 24.5% of the total, but is close enough to 25% to round it off. Moreover, it also means that 129 democrats say they have heard enough, while 228 republicans and 63 independents feel the same way. Which totals 420 or 46% - which precisely matches the Fox poll results.

So we can almost definitively state that the sample consists of 369d, 387r and only 144i. The poll is skewed republican, and it dramatically under-represents independents which is where the polls giving Kerry his lead tend to be gaining the most Kerry votes.



Thursday, June 24, 2004

Stay Away From The Brown Acid Purple Kool Aid Nader Petitioners 

Daily Kos || OH-pres: ARG poll

Kos brings up a very interesting observation.
Most Ohio polls recently have given Bush a tiny lead in the state. The lone holdout is ARG, which for the second month confirms a sizeable 6-point lead for Kerry. Of course, the poll omits Nader, which may account for the difference.
American Research Group. 6/23. MoE 4%. (5/12 results)

Kerry 49 (49)
Bush 43 (42)
Here is the thing about this. We don't even know for sure that Nader will be on the Ohio ballot. According to this Fox news article, neither the reform nor Green parties has ballot access in Ohio, so their endorsements alone would mean nothing. But Nader is working toward getting Ohio ballot access.

According to Election Projection, Ohio is currently a weak red state and the national electoral vote is tied. Meanwhile, Electoral-vote.com has Ohio as a weak blue state and Kerry is winning nationally.

The inescapable conclusion is that Nader absolutely has the potential to be a spoiler this year again. If not for Nader, Kerry would have this election in the bag. And we all know that he's our best hope of getting rid of Bush. Come on, Naderites. Get with the program. And if you live in Ohio, DO NOT SIGN THE PETITION!



Doin' The North Korea Flip 

Pandagon: We Do Not Negotiate With Tyrranies

Ezra found a very nice Bush flip-flop. I like those because I get to use my neat little Bush-flip graphic.

Here's the crux of it:

...as Vice President Dick Cheney reportedly told the president's senior national security advisers late last year, "I have been charged by the President with making sure that none of the tyrannies in the world are negotiated with. We don't negotiate with evil; we defeat it."
President Bush has authorized a team of American negotiators to offer North Korea, in talks in Beijing on Thursday, a new but highly conditional set of incentives to give up its nuclear weapons programs the way Libya did late last year, according to senior administration officials.
Under the plan, outlined by American officials on Tuesday evening, in response to pressure from China and American allies in Asia, the aid would begin flowing immediately after a commitment by Kim Jong Il, the North Korean leader, to dismantle his plutonium and uranium weapons programs. In return, China, Russia, Japan and South Korea would immediately begin sending tens of thousands of tons of heavy fuel oil every month, and Washington would offer a "provisional'' guarantee not to invade the country or seek to topple Mr. Kim's government.
And now, the clever graphic:

Now this is not a condemnation of the new policy. In fact, I think it's a good idea. But if they are going to criticize Kerry for what they call flip-flopping...



Wednesday, June 23, 2004

Heroic Timing 

Yahoo! News - Bush to Commit Money to AIDS Drug Program
President Bush, on a fund-raising trip to Pennsylvania, said Wednesday he will commit more money to a program for delivering medications to people with HIV and AIDS. The administration said it would make an additional $20 million available immediately for the drug program.
Our hero!

I wonder how many people will actually read down to this paragraph and understand the implications?
Congress approved the five-year $15 billion AIDS relief plan last year with broad bipartisan support, but there's since been some criticism that actual spending is not reaching the promised level.
That's right, Bush has been sitting on the money until election time so that he could take credit for the gooddeed.

What a jerk.



Tuesday, June 22, 2004

Makes You Go Hmmm 

The New York Times > Washington > Leaders of 9/11 Panel Ask Cheney for Reports
The leaders of the Sept. 11 commission called on Vice President Dick Cheney on Friday to turn over any intelligence reports that would support the White House's insistence that there was a close relationship between Saddam Hussein and Al Qaeda.

The commission's chairman, Thomas H. Kean, and its vice chairman, Lee H. Hamilton, said they wanted to see any additional information in the administration's possession after Mr. Cheney, in a television interview on Thursday, was asked whether he knew things about Iraq's links to terrorists that the commission did not know.

"Probably," Mr. Cheney replied.
The 9/11 commission said that there was no “collaborative relationship” between Iraq and al Qaeda. That is what the commission said. They acknowledged that there had been attempts by al Qaeda to create such a relationship, so clearly there had to be contact. But if there was no “collaborative relationship” then there was no threat that Hussein would give his non-existant WMDs to al Qaeda.

By challenging this assertion, Bush is implying that there was a “collaborative relationship” when there was none. Cheney says he knows things the 9/11 commision didn't. The 9/11 commission says they saw no eviddence of a “collaborative relationship.” Bush and Cheney insisted on giving joint testimoney, and apparently Bush did all the talking, and this evidence never came up. One has to wonder, is Cheney keeping things from Bush? Is Bush remaining ignorant on purpose so that he might enjoy plausible deniability?



Monday, June 21, 2004

Maybe Bush Wants to Lose 

t r u t h o u t - Missile Strike By U.S. Kills 22 Civilians in Iraq
US air forces fired two missiles into a residential area of the troubled Iraqi city of Fallujah yesterday, killing 22 people and sparking a bitter row just 10 days before the country is supposed to come under Iraqi control.

Angry local people said at least five children and three women were among the dead, and that the Americans had sought to maximise casualties by firing a second missile at people trying to rescue victims. According to a US military spokesman in Baghdad, the target was a known hideout of Abu Musab al-Zarqawi, an al-Qa'ida-linked militant who is the Americans' most wanted man in Iraq.

The dispute highlighted the problems likely to be thrown up by what the occupation authorities call the transfer of power to a sovereign Iraqi government on 30 June. The interim government expects to be consulted on major military operations, but it is uncertain whether US officers would clear air strikes with Iraqi ministers. If they gave the go-ahead and there were serious civilian casualties, then many Iraqis would see their government as a US puppet.
Who's idea was this? How did this seem like a good idea by any standard? Even assuming that nobody was killed who wasn't an insurgent or an al Qaeda operative, what value was there in firing missiles into a house? Wouldn't arrests and honoring the cease fire in Fallujah have been a better plan?


And the next time somebody complains that we are only being shown the bad news from Iraq, I'm going to direct them to this paragraph:
The impact of these events on US public opinion remains to be seen. Media coverage of the Fallujah raid was relatively muted yesterday, in part because the US military refused to comment or give details of what happened and in part because the news was dominated by the beheading of the kidnapped military contractor Paul Johnson in Saudi Arabia.
Liberal media my ass.



Sunday, June 20, 2004

Oh, Sure, NOW They Realize Dean Was Right! 

PollingReport.com - Public Opinion Online



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