Balance Myth Weighs In On NSA Wiretaps

Sometimes--as with the Abramoff Scandal--outrageous lies result from the media's efforts to report a "balanced" story where all the wrongdoing is on one side.  But other times the results are just plain silly.

Take the Boston Herald, for example. The headline on its editorial about the Senate NSA hearings with Abu Gonzales is quite promising, a veritable "10" on the calling-a-spade-a-spade scale: "Gonzales defends the indefensible".  But, of course, with a spot-on headline like that, they just have to do some serious backpeddling to preserve "balance." And so they do (on the flip)

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Bush's True Name: 'Shrug' Not 'Shrub'

Over at the Democratic Party blog, Tim Tagaris has an excellent little roundup of things Bush has shrugged off, beginning thus:

Facts, reality, public sentiment... shrug

Associated Press - 01/26/05

Bush shrugged off a recent Pentagon-contracted report which concluded the Army was overextended and the United States cannot sustain the pace of troop deployments to Iraq long enough to break the back of the insurgency there.

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More On Values/Data Bamboozlement And More

Last week, I wrote a comment, "Naive Reporting" criticizing Garance Franke-Ruta's article, "Remapping the Culture Debate', and her breathless enthusing over questionable data from Ted Nordhaus and Michael Shellenberger--culled from a fine-grained marketing survey--which is touted as giving better insight into how Democrats can win, while undermining supposedly cruder ways of thinking.

Responding to a general message they convey--about social solidarity and economic equality, , I quickly found some contrary data.  And I followed up with a diary, "Voter-Mining vs. Framing--Subtext and Substance", where a laid out a broader critique of how such data--even when good--could be dangerously misused. Now, Ruy Teixeira has a piece that Chris referred to, which, among other things, takes a closer look at other data more closely tied to specific claims about gender roles, and finds more contradictory data out there.

With the Dems forever seeking to run away from their base and their traditional commitments to social, racial and economic justice,  this topic cries out for further analysis.Teixeira's diary is a good starting point for continuing this exploration.

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ARG--Bush Bounce Is Over

ARG reports:
George W. Bush's Overall Job Approval Rating Returns to Record Low
As American Turn Less Optimistic About the National Economy

George W. Bush's overall job approval rating has returned to its lowest point in Bush's presidency as Americans again turn less optimistic about the national economy according to the latest survey from the American Research Group. Among all Americans, 36% approve of the way Bush is handling his job as president and 58% disapprove. When it comes to Bush's handling of the economy, 34% approve and 60% disapprove.

Among Americans registered to vote, 37% approve of the way Bush is handling his job as president and 58% disapprove. When it comes to the way Bush is handling the economy, 35% of registered voters approve of the way Bush is handling the economy and 60% disapprove....

Monthly trend since Jan 2005 on flip...

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Lindberg Agrees Hitler-Mussolini/Mussolini-Hitler Unbeatable

According to longtime political scientist Charles Lindberg, a Hitler-Mussolini (or vice versa) would be unbeatable.

"A Hitler-Mussolini or Mussolini-Hitler ticket could be well nigh unbeatable, with Hitler adding Virginia's thirteen electoral votes and probably West Virginia's five. The total of forty-nine electoral votes from these four Red states (OH, IN, VA, WV) would be nearly impossible for the GOP to make up, should this come to pass. Republicans need not worry: The Virginia-Indiana pairing makes so much political sense that the Democrats will never actually do it. "

I think this is just more evidence of why Benito Mussolin and Fuhrer Hitler repressents the best hope for the Democratic Party to recapture the White House. Their mainstream appeal would play well in must-win states for the Democratic Party.

It's time for us, the members of the Democratic Party, to start making sense! Let's prove Lindgerg wrong!

Voter-Mining vs. Framing--Subtext and Substance

Chris recently did a story, "Moving from Issues to Lifestyles", about the GOP's "psycho-graphic" model of voter contact--based on acquiring consumer data the way corporate America does, and the larger issue of organizing along lifestyle lines.  While I think it obviously makes sense to look for every edge we can get, it also makes sense to look at unintended consequences as well.

The point of doing this is not to torpedo new ideas, but to anticipate problems before creating them.  The voter-mining approach holds great promise, I'm sure. But a more general embrace of lifestyle campaigning can--if pursued in the wrong way--only make matters worse for a Democratic Party that can't describe itself in 10 words.  Furthermore, it can serve as yet another justification for moving to the mushy middle, scorning both the Democratic Party's activist base and it's voter base.

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The Conservative Cry: It All Started When He Hit Me Back!

It's a small, but telling example. Projection (the pot calling the kettle black) and bullying are core aspects of the conservative movement that surface repeatedly in situation after situtation. There are million stories in the Naked Movement. This is just one.

There's been a lot of media buzz about the one-man attack on "UCLA's Radical Professors".  The so-called "Bruin Alumni Association" has just one registered member, Andrew Jones, a 24-year-old former student.  

So much could be said about it. But I'd just like to go for a little telling detail.  An example where we see the typical conservative hallmark of projection in all its glory--the leftist professor pilloried for daring to recognize and state that the academy is under political attack.  That's right folks!  They're not just signing petitions and voting for Democrats anymore!  The terrible radicalism you're hearing about consists of folks being awake enough to notice that someone's attacking them!  

Details below the fold...

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Forced Childbirth--What The Data Says

Again, spinning off from a front-page story by Matt--because the data is too damn significant.

Summary: While individuals can certainly have all sorts of different views, statistical surveys can tell us a great deal about what mass movements and their constituencies are really all about.  And in this case, the evidence is overwhelming: those who profess anti-abortion attitudes are not consistent in their beliefs.  They are consistent, however, if they are regarded as being for forced childbirth.

The General Social Survey has asked questions about abortion, sex education and birth control for a long time now.  Running a quick-and-dirty comparison between the sex ed/birth control measures and three cumulative abortion measures shows a consistent correlation between anti-abortion positions and opposition to sex education and birth control.

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GOP Racism Visible In Results--CA Scorecard Shows

Matt's frontpage story "Hispanic Vote Swinging Our Way" highlights polling results that have a strong basis in GOP policies that actively or passively harm the Hispanic community, as seen in a recent scorecard analyzing race-related legislation in Calironia last year.  

This scorecard--ignoring rationalizations and focusing on results--provides a solid empirical foundation for understanding the workings of contemporary color-blind "racism without racists" explained in detail by Eduardo Bonilla-Silva in his book Racism without Racists: Color-Blind Racism and the Persistence of Racial Inequality in the United States.

The reality of colorblind racism persists is personified in Supreme Court nominee Samuel Alito, who cited the Warren Court's one person-one vote decisions as one of the outrageous activist decisions that motivated him to go into the law. This reality is precisely what the GOP wanted to bury with its set piece in the Alito hearings--with Lindsay Graham playing the part of evil unnamed Democrats driving Alito's wife to tears with accusations of bigotry.  

As the term "racism without racists" indicates, what we're talking about is something considerably more subtle--but decidedly destructive nonetheless. As can be seen in the scorecard results discussed in the artile below the fold, a somewhat different version of which was first published in Random Lengths News.

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From My Inbox: How Many Bushies Does It Take To Screw In A Lightbulb?

How many members of the Bush Administration does it take to screw in a light bulb?

The Answer is TEN:

  1. One to deny that a light bulb needs to be changed,

  2. One to attack the patriotism of anyone who says the light bulb needs to be changed,

  3. One to blame Clinton for burning out the light bulb,

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