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Obama conspiracy diary 5/13/2012

Dear Diary,

The wife’s out of town and it’s raining. Pretty dull prospect for the rest of the day.

Got a long email from Al Halbert, usual birther complaints (“why are you …”) and he’s actually trying to defend “ascendant” as “ancestor” in Federalist 68. Apparently he’s up to Part 11 of his series at the Western Center for Journalism web site. I do not want to wade into that stuff.

Maybe Orly has some comic relief. I wish someone would tell her how to embed a video so it fits in the space allotted on her page. Now if it were me me, I’d opt for a layout with wider articles. This blog nicely accommodates a 600 pixel image. Hers should probably limit images to about 456. The code for her New Hampshire video has:

<embed width="560" height="315" …

 

She can change the width from 560 to 456 and the height would come out about 256. I’ve stopped writing my articles using the WordPress admin interface and do all my writing using Microsoft Live Writer (free download for Windows users). It has a few problems and limitations, but the convenience far outweighs the drawbacks. In Live Writer, you can just click drag images to any size you want, and it will automatically upload and link to the full-sized image. It will also embed YouTube videos automatically and at the right size (using Flash, not HTML 5).

I hadn’t noticed before (or forgot) that Orly has a hit counter at the bottom of her home page. It reads 30,208,069. (I got about 2.4 million page views this past 12 months.)

In an article “Dracula is in charge of the blood blank,” Orly features a reader comment that includes:

The rest are those who work, pay theirs taxes, love their God, family, dogs and theirs gun.

This commenter obviously didn’t read the Constitution where it says that voters must have two citizen guns. Orly has a curious headline: “Rasmussen: Romney is widening the lead: 50-42.” Looking back over the history of Rasmussen tracking poll results, I couldn’t find such a result.

Checked my Google alerts. A letter to the LA Times says birthers are just racists. I left a comment.

Wow, here’s a wonderfully ambiguous headline from WorldNetDaily:

image

Readers here may guess that the “him” in the article is North Carolina Congressional candidate Jim Pendergraph. One has to read down into the story a ways to figure out that it’s not Obama that the Charlotte Observer has lost faith in – it’s a birther candidate. I don’t see how this is a “WND EXCLUSIVE” since I covered the story on this blog the day before WND did. The Charlotte Observer changed it’s endorsement on May 3.

The dog walked in. She’s rather disoriented with the wife out of town. I gave her a little pat.

,

22 Responses to Obama conspiracy diary 5/13/2012

  1. avatar
    richCares May 13, 2012 at 4:02 pm #

    as for Rasmussen, http://www.intrade.com has:
    Obama at 58.7
    Romney at 36.8

  2. avatar
    jayHG May 13, 2012 at 4:54 pm #

    I saw that headline and thought “what paper has gone birther?” then remembered that it was wnutd and, of course, it was another bogus headline clearly meant to make you think it is President and not that other guy from whom the paper rescinded its endorsement.

    Wnut daily, don’t ever change…..

  3. avatar
    bernadineayers May 13, 2012 at 5:06 pm #

    pretty interesting… are you ever going to let me back in ?

    [No. Doc.]

  4. avatar
    RuhRoh May 13, 2012 at 6:10 pm #

    Aw, the pup didn’t get to say “Happy Mother’s Day” to her master. Darned shame when that happens. My pup gave me a Kindle for Mothers Day!

    Dont just give her a little pat. Play a good game with her, take her on an epic walk-rain and all. She’ll be OK. :) This is your chance to increase your “standing”! LOL

  5. avatar
    Thrifty May 13, 2012 at 6:11 pm #

    Character actor Stephen Tobolowsky (best known as Ned Ryerson in Groundhog Day) hosts a podcast called The Tobolowsky Files. He talks about his life and his acting career. Episode 40, The Man in The Closet, contains some of his insights on conspiracy theories. It’s pretty poignant. He says:

    Conspiracy theories aren’t interested in finding the light. They jump into oblivion with both feet shouting “Hey, the dark isn’t so bad. Follow me. Last one in is one of Them.”

    More than anything, conspiracy theories seem to be descendants of bad fairy tales. They can disguise themselves as history or as science, but you can always spot them because their goal is never to reveal the truth, only a villain. Once you create a villain, then you create the need for a hero, which usually turns out to be the person telling you about the conspiracy in the first place.

    The real danger of a conspiracy theory is not that it presents a false image of events…. A conspiracy theory undermines the human spirit because it asks you to buy into an idea at the level of your greatest weakness; Who do you not trust? Who do suspect would let you down? Who really has all the power?

    You can listen to it at http://www.slashfilm.com/category/features/slashfilmcast/the-tobolowsky-files/

  6. avatar
    Rickey May 13, 2012 at 6:16 pm #

    Rasmussen is a Republican-biased outlier. Pollingreport.com doesn’t even bother to track Rasmussen’s polls.

    AP-GFK Roper has Obama leading Romney, 50%-42%.

    Reuters-Ipsos has Obama ahead, 49%-42%.

    Gallup tracking has Obama in front, 46%-45%.

  7. avatar
    misha May 13, 2012 at 6:33 pm #

    richCares:
    as for Rasmussen, http://www.intrade.com has: Obama at 58.7, Romney at 36.8

    Intrade has an accuracy of ~95%. The only time they were wrong, recently, was Sharron Angle and Tom Tancredo.

    Keep in mind that pollsters cannot call mobile telephones, only landlines. Guess how accurate that is today.

    Also, pollsters cannot ask dogs. However, dogs can place bets on Intrade.

  8. avatar
    misha May 13, 2012 at 6:37 pm #

    “I’ve stopped writing my articles using the WordPress admin interface and do all my writing using Microsoft Live Writer (free download for Windows users).”

    Thanks for the tip. I downloaded the entire suite. I bought Windows 7 Professional OEM OS.

  9. avatar
    Joey May 13, 2012 at 7:21 pm #

    Rickey:
    Rasmussen is a Republican-biased outlier. Pollingreport.com doesn’t even bother to track Rasmussen’s polls.

    AP-GFK Roper has Obama leading Romney, 50%-42%.

    Reuters-Ipsos has Obama ahead, 49%-42%.

    Gallup tracking has Obama in front, 46%-45%.

    However in a curious nexus of often outlier polls, Rasmussen (the most conservative of pollsters) and Pew (one of the most liberal of pollsters) tied for the most accurate in their final 2008 general election predictions.
    The actual election outcome was Obama:53%/Mccain: 46% and both Rasmussen and Pew had it 52 for Obama and 46 for McCain.
    There were 14 national polling organizations whose final prediction was within a plus/minus 3 point margin of error.
    There was no national polling organization that predicted a McCain win, the only errors were in estimating the margin of victory.
    http://electoralmap.net/pollsters/popular.txt

  10. avatar
    Joey May 13, 2012 at 7:27 pm #

    misha: Intrade has an accuracy of ~95%. The only time they were wrong, recently, was Sharron Angle and Tom Tancredo.

    Keep in mind that pollsters cannot call mobile telephones, only landlines. Guess how accurate that is today.

    Also, pollsters cannot ask dogs. However, dogs can place bets on Intrade.

    Many pollsters (including Gallup) now call cell phones as well as land lines.
    http://www.gallup.com/poll/110383/does-gallup-call-cell-phones.aspx
    Most national polling organizations use “random digit dialing” which means that computers are loaded with every phone number (cellular or land line) in the US. The computer dials the numbers randomly and if there is a pick up, a human comes on the line to ask the questions.
    http://www.gallup.com/poll/110383/does-gallup-call-cell-phones.aspx

    “Push polls” of political organizations and parties tend to be 100% automated and are less likely to call cell phones.

  11. avatar
    Keith May 13, 2012 at 7:49 pm #

    Its the ambiguous and intentionally misleading ‘first impression’ that is the exclusive part.

    I don’t see how this is a “WND EXCLUSIVE” since I covered the story on this blog the day before WND did.

    WND doesn’t have an exclusive on misleading headlines though. Headline writers are getting downright stupid these days.

    Last week, Melbourne’s local Murdoch rag, the Herald Sun had a front page headline, bigger than the mast-head that read “New Saints Sex Probe”.

    This alluded to a 3 year old rape accusation against a couple of players for the St. Kilda Saints Aussie Rules Football team. At the time, the accusation was dismissed and no charges were laid.

    A year later, it was dragged up again when the investigating police were accused of caving in to pressure from the Club and higher officials in the Police department (who ‘must’ have been Saints fans). The accusation was investigated by Internal Affairs (actually called the Office of Police Integrity or OPI) and the accusation against the investigating officers and their superiors were dismissed and there was no question of reopening the case against the players. Apparently they found a few reporting anomalies and made a couple of recommendations to ensure a more transparently independent investigation.

    Then last week this headline comes up. I’ll have to check back to see if last years distraction was just before the Hawthorn game like this years, because I’m beginning to smell a rat. Anyway the story the headline covered was about the department studying the results of the adoption of the recommendations made by the OPI last year. That is the headline should have read “Continuing Police Procedure Review”. It was not “New”, it had nothing to do with the “Saints”, it was not about “Sex”, and it was not a “Probe”. They couldn’t have gotten it more wrong if they had tried. Oh wait… this is a Murdoch paper.

    The other story I remember is from many years ago now. The headline was something like “School Kids Going to Pot” with a subhead “24% have tried marijuana”.

    The story actually discussed a study which did indeed find that 24% of school kids aged 16 to 18 had tried marijuana. It also found that 80% of school kids aged 16 to 18 had tried tobacco, and 75% had tried alcohol. The study went on further to say that less than 1% of the kids smoked pot regularly (once a week, I think?), maybe 20% smoked tobacco regularly, but 30% claimed regular binge drinking (at least once a month).

    [disclaimer: I don’t remember the numbers exactly now, but what I have written is indicative of the relation between them, that is to say I am not exaggerating to make the point, but I am probably not precise either].

    The article describing the study devoted about 12 column inches to the shocking nature of the pot smokers and didn’t give more than a sentence or two about the tobacco and alcohol users; both of which are much more dangerous health issues, and both of which are illegal to the study population.

  12. avatar
    John C. Drew, Ph.D. May 13, 2012 at 9:48 pm #

    As a political scientist, I rely on Rasmussen because it reports on the opinions of likely voters and not all voters. According to Rasmussen, Romney is pulling ahead of Obama among those of us who actually vote every four years. In the end, the election isn’t decided by general public opinion. It is decided by those of us angry enough to make a difference.

  13. avatar
    Rickey May 13, 2012 at 9:54 pm #

    Joey: However in a curious nexus of often outlier polls, Rasmussen (the most conservative of pollsters) and Pew (one of the most liberal of pollsters) tied for the most accurate in their final 2008 general election predictions.

    This is a site about conspiracy theories, and I haven’t ruled out the possibility that Rasmussen’s accuracy improves as election day approaches. In mid-May 2008 Rasmussen was one of only two polls which had McCain ahead of Obama. And Rasmussen is the only polling organization which has consistently given Obama a negative job approval rating so far this year. In six published polls thus far, Rasmussen has reported five negative job approval ratings for Obama and one tie. Pew, on the other hand, has shown Obama with a positive job approval rating in three polls this year and a negative approval rating just once.

    That said, I’m not convinced that polls are particularly helpful a little less than six months before an election. A lot can and will happen between now and November.

  14. avatar
    richCares May 13, 2012 at 10:01 pm #

    Polls in the military show if the election were held today, Obama would win the veteran vote by as much as seven points over Romney, higher than his margin in the general population. On Obama’s recent trip to Afghanistan there were a lot of smiles and cheers, birthers really hate that. (I guess that means no frog marching)

  15. avatar
    Joey May 13, 2012 at 10:45 pm #

    Rickey: This is a site about conspiracy theories, and I haven’t ruled out the possibility that Rasmussen’s accuracy improves as election day approaches. In mid-May 2008 Rasmussen was one of only two polls which had McCain ahead of Obama. And Rasmussen is the only polling organization which has consistently given Obama a negative job approval rating so far this year. In six published polls thus far, Rasmussen has reported five negative job approval ratings for Obama and one tie. Pew, on the other hand, has shown Obama with a positive job approval rating in three polls this year and a negative approval rating just once.

    That said, I’m not convinced that polls are particularly helpful a little less than six months before an election. A lot can and will happen between now and November.

    Yeah, I could not agree with you more that polls this far out are nothing more than snapshots of where the electorate might be at in mid-October, when it matters. My own system is to use an average of all the latest national polls (including Rasmussen). That mimimizes the impact of any one or two outliers in either direction. By the way, Gallup’s tracking poll has also shows Obama trailing Romney, tied with Romney or ahead of Romney by a point or two, depending on the day. Today, its Obama 47% and Romney 46^.

  16. avatar
    Scientist May 14, 2012 at 11:32 am #

    John C. Drew, Ph.D.: As a political scientist, I rely on Rasmussen because it reports on the opinions of likely voters and not all voters.

    John, such modesty. You forgot to call yourself “an award-winning political scientist who wrote one of the best theses of the year in 1989 (or thereabouts) and never pubished anything again, resulting in being denied tenure at Williams College”.

    But on Rasmussen, you mispoke. Rasmussen has no more idea whether someone they call will actually vote than any other pollster. They have a likely voter MODEL, which they claim has some ability to predict who will actually show up. But as a “scientist” surely you would have to agree that any model must meet real-world empirical tests of its validity. And, in predicting actual elections, Rasmussen has not done any better than other pollsters; in fact, he has done a bit worse, uniformly over-rating Republicans and under-rating Democrats. That is a fact.

    Serious political scientists (who actually practice today, rather than coasting on a thesis they wrote 25 years ago) generally use an average of polls conducted by reputable pollsters, such as the RealClearPolitics average, which shows Obama up by 2% over Romney. That is probably how the election would go if it were held today. Given that there are a substantial number of deep-red states where any Republican will do better than Obama will do in even the bluest states, i would say that the electoral vote advantage lies with Obama in an election that is close at the popular vote level. I expect him to win wiith a comfortable EV margin, though it will hardly be a landslide.

    But, the election is still 6 months away and anything can happen. My money says that the recent economic softness will resolve by mid-summer, the decline in gas prices will continue and that will be sufficient to re-elect Obama. Are you man enough to make a small wager or are you all hat and no cattle?

  17. avatar
    nbc May 14, 2012 at 12:23 pm #

    John C. Drew, Ph.D.: As a political scientist

    Stop… you’re killing me John… ROTFL…

  18. avatar
    bovril May 14, 2012 at 12:49 pm #

    John C. Drew, Ph.D.: In the end, the election isn’t decided by general public opinion. It is decided by those of us angry enough to make a difference.

    The only truthful(ish) statement in all the garbage you have posted to date.

    You’re angry and pissy because you failed miserably due wholly and solely to your own inabilities whilst a man you regularly denigrate and lie about has surpassed you by every conceivable measure.

    As for the “decided by those of us” part, nope, you and your ilk, whilst loud and marginally irritating will have no actual effect on the elction,

    Birthers and their fellow travellers are irrelevant in the real world other than as a piece of sad performance theatre. People vote pocket book and perception and the perception of the insane birferstani’i is and remains wholly negative outside of the echo chambers of same.

    Really, focus on reality and seek professional assistance for your anger issues.

  19. avatar
    Jamese777 May 14, 2012 at 1:25 pm #

    John C. Drew, Ph.D.:
    As a political scientist, I rely on Rasmussen because it reports on the opinions of likely voters and not all voters. According to Rasmussen, Romney is pulling ahead of Obama among those of us who actually vote every four years. In the end, the election isn’t decided by general public opinion. It is decided by those of us angry enough to make a difference.
    “Likely voter” samples underestimate the impact of NEW voters. The President was victorious in 2008, in part because the Democrats were able to register large numbers of first time voters among young people/college students and Mexican-Americans.
    Those cohorts weren’t “likely voters” but they turned out to be “first time voters” on the exit polls.
    The final Rasmussen Poll of likely voters and the Pew Center poll of registered voters tied in being the most accurate polls in 2008.

  20. avatar
    Arthur May 14, 2012 at 2:54 pm #

    Dr. John,

    As a political scientist with a mythical reputation, you should recall the advice of this mythical sage, “Anger leads to hate. Hate leads to suffering.” Once you give in to the dark side, John, you are unlikely to return to the light, as you have undoubtedly discovered.

    John C. Drew, Ph.D.: In the end, the election isn’t decided by general public opinion. It is decided by those of us angry enough to make a difference.

  21. avatar
    Kate1230 May 14, 2012 at 4:25 pm #

    Angry e

    John C. Drew, Ph.D.:
    As a political scientist, I rely on Rasmussen because it reports on the opinions of likely voters and not all voters. According to Rasmussen, Romney is pulling ahead of Obama among those of us who actually vote every four years. In the end, the election isn’t decided by general public opinion. It is decided by those of us angry enough to make a difference.

    Then you’d do well to remember the GOP’s war on women which is anything but the myth they claim it is. They have made many women angry with their efforts to drag us back decades to appease their far right wing nutjobs in regards to abortion, birth control, unequal pay and gay marriage. Women will be voting in record numbers along with many Democratic party members and Independents in order to make sure that the GOP can’t drag us back into the 19th century. There’s a good chance we’ll regain control of the House and keep control of the Senate. November 2012 will not be a repeat of 2010. Far too many people are well aware that this congress elected by the Tea Party has done nothing as far as the economy goes. They would rather see our economy continue to falter than help our nation recover and possibly give credit to President Obama. McConnell will live to regret his words.

  22. avatar
    misha May 14, 2012 at 11:09 pm #

    John C. Drew, Ph.D.: those of us who actually vote every four years

    You can fool some of the people all of the time, and you can fool all of the people some of the time, but you can only make monkeys of the voters once every four years. – Pat Paulsen

    John C. Drew, Ph.D.: As a political scientist

    As a political alchemist, I rely on Intrade.

    Misha Marinsky, M.O.U.S.E.