Remember this little bit of schadenfreude from the Daily Kos wherein we learned that Republicans are radical fundamentalist birthers who think creationism should be taught in schools and who don’t understand the difference between a birth control pill and an abortion? To quote them about the “startling” results:
Ultimately, these results explain why it is impossible for elected Republicans to work with Democrats to improve our country. Their base are conspiracy mongers who don’t believe Obama was born in the United States, that he is the second coming of Lenin, and that he is racist against white people. They already want to impeach him despite the glaringly obvious lack of high crimes or misdemeanors. If any Republican strays and decides to do the right thing and try to work in a bipartisan fashion, they suffer primaries and attacks.
Isn’t that convenient? What is not so convenient, is the fact that the company that produced this poll, Research 2000, has been discovered (by the Daily Kos itself, to their credit) to been, essentially, pulling poll numbers out of their ass. Or, as they put it over at The Volokh Conspiracy:
I should emphasize that the problem here is different from the much more common scenario of questions that are poorly worded or even deliberately written in such a way as to produce a desired result. Rather, the problem is that Research 2000 seems to have made up or distorted much of the data tabulating how survey respondents answered the questions posed to them. The wording of polls is usually publicly available. Readers and researchers can judge for themselves whether it was well done or not. A poorly worded poll is therefore not fraudulent or deceptive, even if its results may give a distorted view of public opinion. The fraud that Research 2000 may have engaged in here is far more reprehensible.
Then, again, you all remember the Harris poll that said a quarter of Republicans think that Obama is the Anditchrist? That got a lot of play too. Of course, those touting the numbers and screaming “OMG MY POLITICAL OPPONENTS ARE INSANEEE” never delved too deeply into the methodology of that poll:
The purpose seems to have been to see how many people the pollsters could get to agree to pejorative statements about Obama. Quite a few, it turns out – but with what I see as a highly manipulative approach to questionnaire design.
I’ll lay off the sampling, though this survey was done among people who sign up to click through questionnaires via the Internet in exchange for points redeemable for cash and gifts – not a probability sample.
Or, to put it mildly, the Harris poll was self-selected garbage data that’s less statistically meaningful than the occasional polls put up on icanhascheezburger.com.
Or, to be blunt, if someone presents you a poll supporting their point of view and the numbers look like complete crap, it’s because they are complete crap.
Glenn Beck is a scary dude. Not because of the reasons the usual suspects think he’s scary. He’s scary because he’s someone who is hip to his place in pop culture, and is using it to popularize things that most everyone in power doesn’t want to be popular. Things like the work of economist F. A. Hayek. Glenn is the next Oprah book club, except instead of confessional emotional masturbation, the guy’s pitching political science, history, and economics. Think about someone who can make the Road to Serfdom hit the Amazon bestseller lists. . .
So he’s popularizing now, with a new thriller released under his byline (which I’m guessing was ghost written by someone like Vince Flynn), the concept of the Overton Window which is simply the idea that the political center is defined by the extreme ends of discourse, and the center can move if one side or the other becomes particularly obnoxious. . . That should be depressing for someone like me, right? After all the Progressives have grabbed power and are in the process of implementing everything on their wish list. The theory goes that this pushes the “center” further “left.” Funny thing is, even though the MSM is trying to play it that way, polls aren’t bearing this out. Even the courts are starting to drift away from extraconstitutional statism that seems to be in vogue among the progressive elites. Why?
It’s because the window isn’t a fixed size. Just because one half of the country started lurching off to the crazy left didn’t mean those in the center or the right followed them. So, yes, while the progressives managed to get previously insane ideas into mainstream political discourse, they did it so quickly that they didn’t shut out the ideas on the other side of the center (a center which is still somewhere around where Bill Clinton was triangulating) the public mind just doesn’t move that fast. Fact is, they managed to open the window so wide that they inadvertently opened the playing field to ideas on the radical right. Instead of creating a political environment where Ronald Reagan is beyond the pale, they’ve started to raise Ayn Rand into the mainstream.
UPDATE: It was all a wacky misunderstanding.
An explanation is in order. What we have is Gabriel Calzada, a critic of the Spanish push for green energy, receiving a suspicious package in the mail. From the Google Translation of the original Spanish article:
On Wednesday 16 June, received a package at the Instituto Juan de Mariana addressed to its president, Gabriel Calzada, ABC News columnist. Nothing made him think the recipient could be something that could be interpreted as a threat in the form of homemade device removed. But as the shipment was not expected from the think tank, decided to contact the sender by telephone. At the other end, an employee of Thermotechnic, a company Navarre solar sector, he knew immediately what it meant and said package without doubt a second that this “is our response to the articles on Mr. Calzada energy expansion.”
The square shape of the package did not think could be a document so Calzada, in consultation with counsel for the Institute, decided to pass through a scanner before opening. The package was closed until Tuesday 22, the day he used his weekly collaboration Calzada contertulio the program as Cesar Vidal Cesar is the Night of EsRadio, to ask the security company if they could scan the package.
Private security officer recommended not to open it after checking that there were two metal objects are difficult to interpret. Sought help from a more experienced person who, after a brief viewing of the screen of the scanner, thought he knew what it was and proceeded to open it carefully under the watchful eye of security guard, Lorenzo Ramirez (Editor of Liberty Digital) Gabriel Calzada himself. In the box came a fuel filter and a piece of thread that could be adapted to the filter.
“The four of us and we look the same,” says Gabriel Calzada, “was a threat was summed up that if I kept giving my opinion on energy issues in the media, the next time could be expected that the pieces were assembled and me exploded. ”
The security expert confirmed what they thought and told them that was not the first time I saw something like that. For several years he worked in the Basque country giving personal protection to various people and had already attended such shipments, “Beware of Gabriel, this time he is sent as a warning, next time you can find a package that explodes when opened” .
This is the basis of the original article I did a one sentence pass linking back to. Since then, another blog has spent an awful lot of electrons calling this story and the blog reaction a hoax. And since the guy bothered to call me out specifically on his wall o’ shame because I spent a sentence linking back to the story, I thought I’d man up and see from whence comes the hubub. Now the above is pretty clear in that Mr. Calzada claims to have received a weird package that could have been interpreted as a threat. Over at Millard Fillmore’s Bathtub, they point us to the second half of this story.
Digital Freedom has been able to talk to Pedro Gil, president of Termotechnic, who has denied any connection with the shipment received by Gabriel Calzada, President of the Instituto Juan de Mariana (IJM). In his own words, “this has to be a mistake.”
The employer has secured Navarre only thing that had been sent to Calzada was a report on renewable energy. The problem is that what was the writer of Liberty Digital was a package full of loose metal parts without any explanatory note. When she called the company and ask what it meant that he had received the package replied that it was “a response to its report on renewables.”
At that time, Calzada interpreted the incident as a threat, something that Gil says he’s never been his intention, because he never raised to send something to Calzada. That would explain the response he got on the phone: the person who answered the call of IJM thought he asked for a simple study.
Thus, there are two versions for what happened: either there was a string of unfortunate mistakes by the courier company or a change made by someone who would like to spend a dirty trick on Calzada at the expense of this company.
In this sense, the president of the Instituto Juan de Mariana has confirmed he has spoken to Pedro Gil and it has given his word that there was no negative intent by the company. Gil Calzada has been forwarded to concerned about the inconvenience we may have caused, because he understands the confusion that the receiver of the shipment when he saw what was its content.
This is it, as far as I know. And what I’ve seen on the blogs has been a contest about who can assign the most bad faith to one of the involved parties, when it frankly seems that the most likely explanation is a
third party intercepting the shipment, possibly a disgruntled employee shipment company making a rather large screw up. So I’ll walk back my assertion that it was a green energy company sending threats. . .
But a hoax? IMO not.
The San-Francisco Chronicle has run a hugely offensive opinion piece called “The rise of hugely insufferable women” Of course, you know it’s going to be a misogyny smorgasbord the moment you realize that the blatantly sexist title is being used unironically. The squick starts in the first few paragraphs where the male author spends the first five paragraphs talking about men, giving us polished gems of literary ejaculate such as the following:
Not all grown men are suave, sexy, progressive George Clooney/Viggo Mortensen/Colin Farrell lookalikes with sharp blue eyes, stubbly outgrowths and abs like World Cup forwards, all hearts of gold, full heads of hair and perfectly sculpted genitalia [Dude, there's a difference between manscaping and plastic surgery] custom designed to satisfy a small harem [Promiscuous schtupping of multiple women is a good thing], make birds sing [So your sculpted genitalia makes the birds sing? I think that's illegal in about 47 states] and goddesses purr[Apparently a Bastet fetish, or a furry].
Not all adult men are strong and dependable, loyal and true, able to make you laugh, sigh, moan, buy you a drink[You know, I think most guys are capable of purchasing drinks, I mean even winos manage], jump start your Mini in the rain, smell good all over, build a deck, parallel park a tractor-trailer, and feel sufficiently secure in their masculinity and humanity to champion gay rights and women’s rights and pelican rights. [Pelican rights? I got nothing. Unless this is about those singing birds again. . . let's pretend we didn't go there.]
Conversely, not all men are of the other ilk[So there are only two?] either, the sweaty, overweight[Fatist], woman-hating Republican homophobes[Woman-hating homophobes? So we're talking about self-hating lesbians?] in titanic SUVs, bad marriages[Well of course, if you're a self-hating lesbian. If you just had a Cloonyesque harem of bird-singing furries into sculpted pubes, your marriage would be fine.] and sad comb-overs[Watch my hair emote!], twitchy fearmongers who hate all foreigners and wear their baseball hats and grubby hoodies in fancy restaurants[Hoodies and baseball caps, symbols of the GOP AND gansta rap], men who spit on the sidewalk and blow their noses like open trumpets into the street, immature adulterers[As opposed to those mature sophisticated adulterers with the waxed pubes and birdsong] as eager for a war and a beatdown as they are for 20 minutes with a meth dealing gay hooker[Can you parse this clause? I can't. Do we want war, beatdowns and gay meth hookers, or not? And what does he have against gay hookers?].
Yeah, right. Bear in mind that this guy is writing a political screed about women, and he’s coming across like a kid from the old Our Gang shorts going on about the “He-Man Woman Haters Club,” and does so almost as eloquently.
Skip to the nominal reason for this article’s existence:
See, long was it believed, via some utopian/naive vision held by “enlightened” men and women alike, that if and when the feminist movement — all three waves of it, really, from Virginia Woolf to Betty Freidan, bell hooks to riot grrls — finally started to get everything it desired, there would surely be some wonderful sea change in the culture, a new paradigm to replace all the ugly, outdated structures of power and ego erected by old white men, something far more fluid and interesting, liberal and heartfelt and, well, nonmasculine. [Thus the central contradiction of traditional feminist thought: Women and men are the same, and should have an equal standing morally legally and culturally (of which I agree) but somehow, once that happens, all will be unicorns and lollipops because all the cultural evil in evidence is because things were run by old white men. Logic fail. Women are human beings, and are just as capable of being fucked up as those old white men were. We now just have a more equatable gender distribution among people fucking things up.]
A funny thing happened on the way to the cultural revolution.
Turns out that original vision is only about half right. Maybe a third. For as much as we now have cause to celebrate the new female empowerment, there appears to be more than enough reason to cringe and sigh and scream into the Void: “No no no, oh hell no, this is not what we meant at all.” [Wherein we learn, all that equality bullcrap had nothing to do with it, we had a damn statist/socialist/Marxist laundry list of crap that you were supposed to implement. Who the fuck cares if you can be CEO now. . .]
Examples are, sadly, legion. Witness, won’t you, the zeitgeist’s nightmare trifecta of largely insufferable women, the Sarah Palin/Carly Fiorina/Michele Bachmann hydra-headed hellbeast of pseudo-women[The shark has officially been jumped. These people aren't pseudo-feminists, they're pseudo-women. Because they do not ascribe to the social agenda defined by the author, they cannot be women. Just like conservative gays are not really homosexual, and conservative blacks cannot be black. this man is not only denying their gender, the tone of the article is borderline denying their humanity.], one part huge cash reserves, one part evil grammar-abusing ditzball psychopath, one part sassy misinformed moxie, overlaid with wonky ideas of motherhood, love of guns and ignorance of sex and reproductive rights.
The entire diatribe boils down to a snarky thuggish beatdown of women who have the temerity to not know their proper place, that place being where the paternalistic and condescending author would have it be, and damn it woman you will like it. The whole article reads like the rant of a Frank Miller character who just got kicked in the nuts by an angry prostitute.
South Carolina handily nominates a black dude to run for the 1st congressional district. But, oh noes, he’s a Republican. The GOP also nominated an Indian woman to run for governor. And now, apparently even when the Democrats in South Carolina nominate a black dude, it’s still the Republican’s fault.
Going on with the racism meme. Remember the OMG racist tea party posters with Obama as Hitler? Well a congressional candidate, who won her party’s nomination, cribbed the same posters for her campaign. Of course, it’s in Texas. . . what? She’s black? And a democrat? head ‘splode.
Then Oliver Stone makes a cinematic love letter to Hugo Chavez, and it predictably bombs. . . in Venezuela. You can tell Stone’s a Socialist because he obviously doesn’t care about making a profitable movie.
As much as Obama is pushing the idea of Executive Power, 90% of what he’s doing is just utilizing the powers already granted to the executive by a lick-spittle congress. People screaming abuse of power are, often, the idiots who granted the bureaucracy such an expansive role during the prior dozen or so administrations. And here’s the beauty part; the Republicans, should they gain control in Congress, might roll back some of the President’s policy decisions, but they aren’t going to do jack about limiting the President’s power. See, they know that they’ll get to play with Obama’s autocratic toys themselves in two and a half years, and they’re salivating over the prospect.
Of course, they’ll only use the bloated Federal Government to “fix” things, and everything that goes wrong is going to be the prior administration’s fault.
Remember this post? Someone new needs to be smacked. Apparently, Mr. Ed Shultz, over at MSNBC, wants Obama to “act like a dictator” when talking about the whole BP oil spill fiasco. He joins the growing list of leftists who are blindly demonstrating that there’s a really good point to the argument that progressives don’t really “get” the idea of a constitutionally limited government with strictly enumerated powers.
Congressman Rep. Bob Etheridge (D-NC):
My first thought, he seems rather touchy about supporting Obama, doesn’t he?
Of course there’s the official response:
“I have seen the video posted on several blogs. I deeply and profoundly regret my reaction and I apologize to all involved. Throughout my many years of service to the people of North Carolina, I have always tried to treat people from all viewpoints with respect. No matter how intrusive and partisan our politics can become, this does not justify a poor response. I have and I will always work to promote a civil public discourse.”
Funny how politicians always “profoundly regret” getting caught being the vile little asshats they are. And that “poor response” borders on criminal assault. And people were worried about Tea Party violence. . .
When Helen Thomas inadvertently said what she really thought about Jews in Palestine, it’s clear that she had no idea she was saying anything particularly controversial. Even though she was directly channeling classic racial supremacy logic. So, one wonders how the left can tolerate this kind of thinking when they’re supposed to be all about multicultural racial/ethnic/religious tolerance?
It’s because the left tolerates bigotry all the time, just bigotry about the right things: politics and class. The nature of Israel as a Jewish state presents the left with a category problem that they are unable to effectively deal with. All an anti-Semite has to do is remember to replace the word “Jew” with the word “Israeli” and the left would be stymied in any attempt to critique the Protocols of the Elders of Zion— I mean it’s a legitimate critique of Israeli policy, isn’t it?
So you’re going down the road, minding your own business and a cop pulls you over. He says you’re speeding, you say you were going five miles under the speed limit. He writes you a ticket anyway. You take it to court and discover that there’s no radar gun, no laser, just the cop’s word you were going 75 in a 60 zone. No evidence other than police testimony. They’d throw the case out, right?
Not in Ohio.
The Ohio Supreme Court has ruled a trained officer’s “visual estimation” of a vehicle going over the posted speed limit is enough to convict a motorist.
“A police officer’s unaided visual estimation of a vehicle’s speed is sufficient evidence to support a conviction for speeding in violation of [state law] without independent verification of the vehicle’s speed if the officer is trained, is certified by the Ohio Peace Officer Training Academy or a similar organization that develops and implements training programs to meet the needs of the communities they serve,” wrote the state justices.
In other words, if the cop writes you a ticket, as long as he took the right courses, you have no recourse at all. But it’s ok because we know that a cop would never pull anyone over just because of the way you look, the car you drive, or what your bumper stickers happen to say. Giving police the ability to issue arbitrary citations based on nothing but their own informed opinion, and allow that to be the sole basis of a conviction, I’m sure nothing bad can come of that.
Oh, by the way, fellow Ohioans, our supreme court is elected. And for the record the following justices are responsible for this decision. Think about that when they’re up for re-election: Pfeifer, Lundberg Stratton, O’Connor, Lanzinger, and Cupp.