Thursday, September 30, 2004


There is an interesting post here (slow-loading site) describing in detail the various American public opinion polls. There seems to be considerable quality variations between them, with Zogby the trashiest. From my point of view as a long-time academic survey researcher, the whole lot of them seem very careless. The fact that every last one of them is a telephone poll seems amazing -- after the famous Truman/Dewey debacle. But telephone ownership would be more widespread now than it was in Truman's day so perhaps that source of inaccuracy pales into insignificance compared with other biases -- such as the tiny proportion of people called who actually co-operate. I was also amazed that only one poll takes precautions against the "curbstone" problem -- which is when the interviewers just make the results up. Checks against that should be routine. They certainly were in my practice. But the fact that the results are adjusted to make them representative demographically is probably what saves the day. Sacks of salt needed, though.

And if American public opinion polls are primitive, American voting seems to be even worse. I have never been able to understand how American voter registration is so slapdash and open to fraud. With people like Rush Limbaugh tackling the issue something might get done about it sometime maybe but it was Al Capone back in the 1930s who said "Vote early and vote often" so it is not exactly a new problem.

Amusing: Some old-line journalists are REALLY getting peeved at bloggers. But all they can come up with is a lot of self-righteous huffing and puffing. Long live pajamas!

The megalomaniac George Soros is stepping up his preaching against GWB. I wonder why he thinks that ordinary American voters are going to want to support his views? I think many would be more likely to resent him trying to tell them what to do. Amusing to see him wasting his money advertising on conservative blogs, though.

Columnist Molly Ivins wrote: "Defining "terrorist" or any "other" as an absolute, irrational evil gives us a spurious and intoxicating sense of self-righteousness. We become the Simon-pure contrast, thus missing any chance to consider if correcting or just changing our own conduct would be effective." There is a good reply to that here or here. Excerpt: "If you are unable to distinguish between the purposeful targeting of innocents, especially children, and the accidental killing thereof, then you are viewing the world through the prism of moral equivalence. One is pure evil whatever your motivation, the other is a tragic accident."

I have just put up here a touching story about one of the private deeds of President Bush. The story is verifiable though I am not in a position to verify it. It is however consistent with everything we know about the character of the man. It reminds me of the fact that many people who wrote to Ronald Reagan when he was President got replies from him in his own hand: What a gentleman!

There is a good New Zealand site here that gives both the Left and the Greens a pretty good going over from a liberty-oriented perspective. Lots to read.

Carnival of the Vanities is up again with its usual conspectus of the blogosphere.

For more postings, see EDUCATION WATCH, GREENIE WATCH, POLITICAL CORRECTNESS WATCH, GUN WATCH and SOCIALIZED MEDICINE. Mirror sites here, here, here, here and here


That power only, not principles, is what matters to Leftists is perfectly shown by the Kerry campaign. They have put up a man whose policies seem to be 99% the same as George Bush's even though they have previously disagreed violently with those policies. "Whatever it takes" is their rule.

The conflict between conservatives and Leftists is not usually a conflict between realists and idealists. Mostly it is a conflict between realists and big egos who will say anything to win applause

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