Loyalty without truth
is a trail to tyranny.
|Sunday, 18 May 2008 at 9h 1m 24s|
News agency polls in perspective
I was reading the Mad Biologist today, and he mentioned that he thought the news agencies should release their poll data. There
was a comment to the blog that I found interesting, so I thought I'd share it.
[SOURCE: Mad Biologist | ]
I work at a call centre where we conduct these sorts of polls. Most of our clients are businesses wanting to gather information on
the success of their advertising, opinions on future advertising, or what people think of their competitors. Every so often,
however, we do get work from news and government agencies looking to gather this sort of stuff.
I must say that most of the questions are very loaded and it usually becomes fairly obvious to me who is sponsoring the poll.
Worse than that, most of these polls are just advertisements in disguise. The way that the questions are worded makes it almost
impossible for the respondent to do anything but agree. The idea behind it is either that if you repeat something to someone
enough times, they start to believe it, or that if you present poll results that show that 90% of people agree with X, people who
don't agree with X start to feel as though they are missing something and become more open to the possibility of agreeing with X.
The people who write these polls can make the results say whatever they want them to, even on the level of the data. So my point
in all of this is just to say that the interpretation of the data you are getting from the news agencies is probably about as accurate
as the data itself. What you want is the data AS WELL as the scripts that were used to gather it.
And remember that the sample used to collect this data is a list of publically phone numbers. Not cell phones and unlisted
telephone numbers. The time's when the phone calls are also placed are between 5pm and 8pm for most polls.
Now when you get samples from a large population you first have to analyze who might be excluded, because the sample will
not be representative of the larger population UNLESS each member of the larger population is equally likely to be selected.
So who is being excluded? People with unlisted phone numbers. People who don't answer their phones. People who tend to go
outside or don't go home after work People who use their cell phones as their primary source of phone calls.
What these polls are sampling are the people who are home that answer their publically listed telephone number. These people
are probably home because they watch a lot of television. So what these polls actually measure is the effectiveness of the media
spin machine. Pump out the propaganda and then follow up with polls until the desired results appear.
|Sunday, 18 May 2008 at 8h 33m 10s|
Ancient microbes will accelerate Global Climate Change
The Northern Hemisphere is covered with millions of acres of Permafrost. Until the last 100 years, Northern Canada and Siberian
Russia stayed frozen almost all year long, and the ground 4 feet below the surface stayed frozen. That has changed. And this is
going to release the microbes that feed on the dead mammoth carcasses at a rate which will increase the release of methane
gases faster than can be controlled, because the microbes will all become alive and start expelling methane.
Here is Russian scientist Sergei Zimov.
Russian scientist, Sergei Zimov, has been studying climate change in Russia's Arctic for 30 years now. He is worried that as this
organic matter becomes exposed to the air it will drastically accelerate global warming predictions even beyond some of the most
"This will lead to a type of global warming which will be impossible to stop," he said.
According to Zimov, when the organic matter left behind by mammoths and other wildlife is exposed to the air by the thawing
permafrost, microbes that have been dormant for thousands of years will spring back into action. They’ll begin once again to
emit carbon dioxide and methane gas as a by-product. Zimov says thought the microbes are tiny, they will start emitting these
gases in enormous quantities simply because there will be a lot of them.
Yakutia is a region in the north-eastern corner of Siberia, where a belt of permafrost contains the mammoth-era soil. It covers
an area roughly the size of France and Germany combined. There is even more of it elsewhere in Siberia.
"The deposits of organic matter in these soils are so gigantic that they dwarf global oil reserves," Zimov said. U.S.
government statistics show mankind emits about 7 billion tons of carbon a year."Permafrost areas hold 500 billion tons of
carbon, which can fast turn into greenhouse gases," Zimov added. "If you don't stop emissions of greenhouse gases into the
atmosphere ... the Kyoto Protocol (an international pact aimed at reducing greenhouse emissions) will seem like childish prattle."
[SOURCE: Casey Kazan | Daily Galaxy | 15 May
|Sunday, 18 May 2008 at 8h 16m 1s|
The bush media covers his ass once again
So Bush stands in front of the Israeli legislature and accuses Obama of being an appeaser when he wants to have talks
Meanwhile, Bush's own Defense Secretary Robert Gates has a speech that says
that the United States needs to "sit down and talk with" Iran. Not only that, Gates added, "We can't go to a discussion and be
completely the demander."
Now of course the media jumped all over this extreme contradiction and disgusting display of dissolute hypocrisy. Wrong.
Here is Jamison Foster at Media Matters
Instead, much of the news media got busy pretending the Post article didn't exist and that Gates had not undermined Bush's
political attack on Obama. Instead, many news outlets simply rushed to repeat Bush's assault over and over again, as though it
A quick look at ABC's The Note -- which claims for itself the responsibility for providing "editorial guidance on the leading
political stories of the day" -- demonstrates how thoroughly Gates' comments were ignored in coverage of Bush's attack.
Yesterday's edition of The Note didn't mention either Bush's comments (which came after The Note was finished) or Gates'. But a
later posting did devote 341 words to Bush's criticism of Obama without bothering to mention Gates' comments about meeting
with Iran. Today, The Note included 560 words about Bush's remarks -- but still no mention of Gates....
But the most striking disappearance of Gates' comments came on CNN. On yesterday's American Morning, host John Roberts
interviewed Obama communications director Robert Gibbs. Gibbs twice brought up Gates' comments -- though when CNN aired
clips of the interview later in the day, the cable network edited Gibbs' comments to include the sentence before he mentioned
Gates, and the sentence after he mentioned Gates -- but to omit any reference to the defense secretary.
Here's what Gibbs actually said, which CNN did air in its entirety the first time:
GIBBS: Obviously this is an unprecedented political attack on foreign soil. It's quite frankly sad and astonishing that
the president of the United States would politicize the 60th anniversary of Israel with a false political attack. I assume he also
going to come home and fire his secretary of defense who was quoted in The Washington Post just yesterday saying we need to
figure -- quote, "We need to figure out a way to develop some leverage and then sit down and talk with them." Them being
Look, we have come to expect, and we've seen from this administration over the last eight years this type of cowboy diplomacy.
Again, we've come to expect it. But over the past eight years it's made this country far less safe than we were.
But twice during the day, CNN again aired that clip of Gibbs -- except that it edited out the portion in bold, in which Gibbs
pointed out the Bush administration's hypocrisy. Several other times, CNN aired a portion of Gibbs' comments, without the
references to Gates.
Foster | Media Matters | 16 May 2008]
Your media professionals at work again.
|Saturday, 17 May 2008 at 8h 43m 42s|
About those employment numbers again
"Companies did not cut as many positions as expected, they cut the hours instead. The average work week plunged 0.3% (and,
aggregate hours worked were down at an annual rate of 1% in the past three months), which, by the way, would be the equivalent
of 400,000 job cuts.
This is a sign that labor market conditions and domestic demand are far softer than the headline suggests. What drives consumer
spending inevitably is income growth. Average weekly earnings fell 0.2% sequentially in April in what was the largest decline in
two years. This dragged the year-on-year rate down to 3.1% from 3.3% in March, 3.7% in February and the nearby peak of 3.8%
posted last November in what is clear disinflationary trend in wages.
The rebound in the Household survey was all in part-time employment. While there was a nice rebound in the Household Survey,
it was all in part-time employment – that is not the driver of confidence and spending. Growth in full-time jobs is what drives
those things. And, full-time employment actually fell 375,000 in April and is down 572,000 year-to-date; of the folks who were
working part-time in April, the number doing so because of “economic reasons” (mostly slack business conditions) surged
306,000 or 6.3% – again the steepest runup in two years. The diffusion indices fell through the floor to 45.4 in April from 48 in
March – this measures the share of industries adding to payrolls and shows that even though the headline job loss was lower
than expected, the decline was very broadly based across sectors.
[SOURCE: David Rosenberg | Merrill Lynch | ]
hat-tip to Barry Ritholtz at thebigpicture blog
You should click the source link and read further. Rosenberg "debunks" 5 myths:
- The first quarter GDP report says no recession
- The April employment report was benign
- The Fed is done and the next move is to hike
- The credit crunch is over
- Housing looks set to stabilize
You see, when you manage the portfolios of billions of dollars, you have to be honest. The television talking heads are for the
useful idiots. The elites don't listen to the hired hacks who promote Walt Disney World economics for the lower classes.
|Sunday, 11 May 2008 at 9h 32m 25s|
Insanity at work in the Bush Justice Department
(WASHINGTON) — The Bush administration on Friday urged a federal appeals court to stop meatpackers from testing all their
animals for mad cow disease, but a skeptical judge questioned whether the government has that authority.
The government seeks to reverse a lower court ruling that allowed Arkansas City, Kan.-based Creekstone Farms Premium Beef to
conduct more comprehensive testing to satisfy demand from overseas customers in Japan and elsewhere.
Less than 1 percent of slaughtered cows are currently tested for the disease under Agriculture Department guidelines. The
argues that more widespread testing does not guarantee food safety and could result in a false positive that scares consumers.
"They want to create false assurances," Justice Department attorney Eric Flesig-Greene told a three-judge panel of the U.S. Court
Appeals for the D.C. Circuit.
Hannel | Time | 9 May 2008]
Did you catch that quote from Justice D attorney Flesig? "THEY WANT TO CREATE FALSE ASSURANCES."
Oh so testing cows to help get a contract from Japanese customers is creating false assurances? Why is the Justice Department
even involved in this case? You would think the federal government would want to be helping to develop the trade of meat with
foreign nations rather that represent the short-sided, narrow-minded interests of large corporate bean counters who refuse to
spend any money at all, even if it benefits their long-term interests.
This is where the need for federal subsidization comes in. If businesses won't (or can't because their profit margins are too thin)
invest money to aide their long term business trends, the government should provide the funds.
|Sunday, 11 May 2008 at 9h 14m 20s|
McCain's GOP convention choice lobbys for Burmese dictatorship
Around noon today, the powers-that-be at NEWSWEEK posted "A Convention Quandary" on our website. In the story, investigative
ace Michael Isikoff reported that the man chosen by John McCain's presidential campaign to run this summer's GOP convention--
Arizonan Doug Goodyear--was causing some headaches within the ranks. The problem? Goodyear is CEO of DCI Group, a
consulting firm that earned $3 million last year lobbying for ExxonMobil, General Motors and other clients--not the most
convenient association for a candidate who's already struggling to reconcile his reputation as an anti-special interests crusader with
the sizable number of lobbyists on his senior staff. Further complicating matters: Isikoff's revelation that DCI was paid $348,000 in
2002 to represent Burma's military junta, leading "a PR campaign to burnish the junta's image, drafting releases praising Burma's
efforts to curb the drug trade and denouncing 'falsehoods' by the Bush administration that the regime engaged in rape and other
[SOURCE: Andrew Romano | Newsweek | 10 May
Remember: this is the same McCain who is heralded by the corporate media as an anti-lobbyist maverick.
|Saturday, 10 May 2008 at 9h 35m 37s|
The real reverend scandal
I am sick of this Reverend Wright non-scandal the media is using to smear Obama. Taking what one man said over 30 years out
of context and implying that it proves Obama is out of the main-stream public opinion is ridiculous. Furthermore, maligning
what Obama himself said about his own Grandmother is appalling. Anyone manipulated by this crap is mindless and addicted to
television pundits thinking for them.
The real Reverend scandal involves Reverend Sun Myung Moon, who has owned the Washington Times newspaper for the last 15
or so years, and has links with the GOP that are as long as Reverend Wright. The difference is that Wright actually provides a
service to the community. What does the Korean Reverend Moon do?
Click here for a short film on the insanity that is
Reverend Sun Myung Moon.
I bring you Cliff Schecter.
Progressive author John Gorenfeld recently released a book exposing the unsavory ties between the GOP and billionaire,
Washington Times Publisher (and convicted tax cheat) Reverend Sun Myung Moon. In his book, Bad Moon Rising, Gorenfeld shows
the relationship between many in the Republican hierarchy, including the Bush clan, and a man who has often been charged with
being a leader of a cult.
What is beyond question, however, is that a high-ranking McCain Campaign official, Charlie Black, has planned ceremonies for
Moon to be crowned "King Of America," and Moon has had damning things to say about the Christian faith.
~ ~ ~ ~ ~
First from an email chain between Gorenfeld and Black:
From: John Gorenfeld
Subject: Re: Moon event at Dirksen Senate Office Building, 3/23
05/06/2004 09:31 PM
Dear Mr. Black,
Thanks for your reply.
It's kind of an amazing event, with Moon being coronated as the king and declaring himself the Messiah at a federal building. Can
you tell me how you got involved with inviting people? Is this an annual event, or just a one-time thing?
On Apr 28, 2004, at 10:34 AM, CHARLIE BLACK wrote:
I lent my name and sent invitations to a few friends. Unfortunately, I had a conflict and couldn't go to the event.
~ ~ ~ ~ ~
... what is clear from this email is that top Mccain advisor Charlie Black is admitting that he helped plan, and would have attended,
an event where a convicted tax fraud would have been crowned King Of America and declared himself the Messiah--all on U.S.
Government federal property (on March 23, 2004).
According to The New York Times:
"Mr. Moon, an eccentric billionaire, convicted tax cheat, conservative publisher and power broker, grandly donned scarlet
robes and a golden crown at the Dirksen Office Building. ''I am God's ambassador, sent to earth with his full authority..."
|Friday, 9 May 2008 at 17h 46m 47s|
Another funny cartoon
I guess I'm a little prolific this afternoon. Nothing like a cafe with free wi-fi, and a double latte to sip -- which helps the nausea. Its
my way to deal with the rampant insanity of the modern world, and the zombies who live here.
|Friday, 9 May 2008 at 17h 25m 12s|
More reasons why the Iraqi's love the occupation
The latest in a long, long line of scandals plaguing Iraq contracting company KBR, today the Times of London reports that British
employees of KBR working in the British Embassy in Iraq have been accused of sexual harassment. One Iraqi woman, a cleaner at
the embassy, says that the KBR employee offered to double her pay if she slept with him; when she refused, she was fired:
The Iraqis accuse the embassy of leaving the abuse unchallenged and failing adequately to respond to complaints against several
British managers for KBR. The company was allowed to conduct its own inquiry, an arrangement criticised as a very serious
conflict of interest.
The complainants — the cleaner and two male cooks who worked in the embassy canteen — say that some KBR managers groped
Iraqi staff regularly, paid or otherwise rewarded them for sex and dismissed those who refused or spoke out.
All three Iraqis lost their jobs in the Green Zone. Two KRB employees who worked in the embassy spoke out in support of the
women; a few days later, KBR sent them home on paid leave and later fired them. The women also say KBR never interviewed
them when conducting their internal review.
[SOURCE: | ThinkProgress | 8 May
[SOURCE: Deborah Haynes in Baghdad, and Sonia Verma in Dubai | London
Times | 8 May 2008]
|Friday, 9 May 2008 at 17h 3m 48s|
Clinton's "street cred" on national security consists, of course, of being massively wrong on the most important national security
issue of her career. Paradoxically, a lot of folks find her massive wrongness on this hugely important issue reassuring because they
and their friends were also wrong and they view having made the right call to be a suspicious quality. After all, the Iraq War may
have led to thousands of U.S. deaths, tens of thousands of U.S. casualties, hundreds of thousands of Iraqi deaths, and millions of
Iraqi refugees all at a cost of over $1 trillion and in ways that's damaged the strategic position of the United States, but war
opponents were all a bunch of hippies.
[SOURCE: Matthew Yglesias | The Atlantic Monthly blog | 9
GOTO THE NEXT 10 COLUMNS