The Particulars of Polls

As a recovering pollster (I worked for Democratic pollster Peter Hart from 1974 to 1981), let me weigh in on the controversy over whether the polls are accurate. Many conservatives are claiming that multiple polls have overly Democratic samples, and some charge that media pollsters are trying to discourage Republican voters.
First, some points about the limits of polls. Random sample polling is an imprecise instrument. There’s an error margin of 3 or 4 percent, and polling theory tells us that one out of 20 polls is wrong, with results outside ...


Representative Democracy by Waiver?

Once upon a time the King decided who was subject to royal edicts. We changed that with a revolution that won representative democracy based on the bedrock principle of “consent of the governed”. The “Rule of Law” holds that all citizens are equally subject to laws enacted by representatives of the people. Barack Obama has done more to fracture this keystone of our representative democracy than almost any other President in American history.
This President, who has vowed to “transform America”, thinks the Constitution is a flawed document and has acted ...


The Potemkin Employment Increase

Last week the Bureau of Labor Statistics released a disingenuous report claiming that and additionsl 386,000 jobs had been created this year which boosted the Obama regime's job creation record into positive territory. This report ignores increases population increases and other factors which indicate a fairer judgment is that about 10 million jobs have vanished under the regime.


Insanely Cute Photo of the Day

"Hello, Oval Office ... may I help you?"

(h/t: @psddluva4evah.)


Joe Biden Plays Doctor. Hilarity Ensues.

In Florida, America's Rain Man, Joe Biden, promised seniors that Obamacare would provide for free a colonoscopy based on a "feeling they had" and not on medical need. In doing this, and sanctioning the overuse of a procedure that is considered to be one of the most overused Medicare procedures, Biden demonstrated what is wrong with Medicare.


Sunday Open Thread, With New Twitter Username

I hereby declare the Sunday afternoon open thread to be a tradition.

And this is also a good time to let you folks know that I changed my Twitter username from @Lizardoid to @Green_Footballs, to make things a little more consistent and professional-like.

If you're following my Twitter account, you don't need to do anything; all the followers and other settings are preserved when you change your username. Just to make everything nice and neat, though, I also registered a new account with the name @Lizardoid and put a notice on its profile page about the new username, in case anyone has linked to the old profile address.


Video: Wall Street Journal’s Stephen Moore on the 2012 Election

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"Wall Street Journal's Stephen Moore on the 2012 Election" is
the latest offering from Reason TV.
Watch above or click on the link below for video, full text,
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View this article.


Chris Christie’s Debate Prediction

I don't blame Chris Christie for saying stuff like this -- he has to. He has no choice. Facing (and admitting) reality is just not an option in today's Republican Party: Christie: Debate Will Turn Presidential Race 'Upside Down'.

If Mitt Romney's campaign is worried about measuring debate expectations for Wednesday night, Chris Christie hasn't gotten the message.

"This whole race is going to be turned upside down come Thursday morning," the Republican governor from New Jersey told CBS "Face The Nation" host Bob Schieffer Sunday. Christie pointed to the Republican presidential nominee's performance in the primary debates, saying the debates will be an opportunity to speak with out being "filtered" or "spun" by Romney's critics.

Christie acknowledged Romney had had a "rough couple of weeks," but that Wednesday's debate would turn the race into a "barn burner".


If Romney’s Losing, Why Do the Media Act Like He’s Already the President?

Mitt Romney, looking presidential in coach.At
, Joel B. Pollak makes a powerful case that the
media have "treated [Republican presidential candidate Mitt] Romney
as the incumbent," in the process overlooking any responsibility
President Obama may have for the current state of the

Some of Pollak's claims are pretty dubious. Unless
spending more on Medicare
somehow saves us money, it's hard to
see how Romney "took on the entitlements crisis head-on." Ditto the
howler that Romney has a "practical plan for the housing crisis,"
given that Romney is not proposing that the government stop
printing/spending money, leave deadbeats to get out of their
borrowed homes and allow real estate values to continue the
that began in 2006 and needs to continue. (The word is
practical, not practicable.) And come on: Romney
"set aside time to visit victims of Hurricane Isaac"? If
anything we need presidents who will do a lot less of that

Still, his media critique is on target: 

Romney’s so-called “gaffes” have one thing in common: they are
all statements of fact. He is being held to a presidential
standard--for presidents should know better than to tell all--while
Obama’s outright lies to the nation (on Libya, the debt, etc.) are
ignored by the media.

Obama’s failures as the actual incumbent are also passed
over--or spun into positives. We reached 2,000 dead in Afghanistan?
Hey, Obama “ended the war.” Unemployment still above 8 percent? Oh,
that jobs report was “better than expected.” We were attacked by Al
Qaeda on 9/11, and Obama lied about it? Don’t worry, “bin Laden is
dead and General Motors is alive.” Growth down to 1.3%? Say--“No
one could have done it better.” 

That last canard came to us courtesy of former President Bill
Clinton, who returned to the political scene to disown his own
political legacy after Obama had spent the past four years
destroying it, and his entire political career fighting it. The
expansion of the welfare state, the proliferation of opaque
regulations, and the explosion of debt were all things Clinton
resisted. No longer--not when 2016 may be a new opportunity for

Romney is also the incumbent in a cultural sense--he is the old,
rich, white guy that 45 years of higher education and Hollywood
have inveighed against. He has a stake in the system and values
that two successive generations of elites have been taught to hate.
And so an election that ought to have been a referendum on Obama,
and which Obama hoped to turn into a choice between him and Romney,
is now a referendum on Romney alone. 

I am unyielding in my belief that this election pits Obama
against Obama Jr. Given the chance to run against a president whose
most lasting offense against the country was signing a mandatory
health insurance law, the Republicans chose to run the inventor of
mandatory health insurance. It's like an old Syrian election, where
the obvious lack of a choice is the point of the election,
where the real goal is to show that power can force the citizens
not just to accept preposterousness but to cheer for it. 

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"A loss for Romney means Obamacare is forever," Pollak warns,
neglecting to say what a win for Romney would mean along that line.
His description of what a second Obama term will ratify is mostly
depressing: "A Romney loss also means America will have accepted
persistent high unemployment and slow growth as the new normal,
creating a lost generation and destroying both our entitlement
system and our future prosperity." 

That's true, and it sucks. But what really sucks is that the
Republican option is Mitt Romney. Certainly the media have been
relentless in their anti-Romney carping and their extraordinary
deference to Obama's gang that can't
, or send
) straight. That just proves that in addition to being
biased, reporters are dumb enough to think there's something at
stake in this election. 


“There’s something really wrong with what’s happening in Afghanistan now”; How Do You Ask Someone to be the Last Person to Die For a Mistake?

sittonThe Tampa Bay
had an in-depth
this weekend of a local soldier killed in Afghanistan.
 Staff Sergeant Matthew Sitton had actually written a letter
to his congressman about the war in which he’d been fighting since
2007, which bookends the profile:

On June 4, Sitton had written a letter to U.S. Rep.
C.W. Bill Young. In it, he explained to the Republican legislator
that for weeks his platoon had been mandated to patrol empty fields
and compounds strewn with explosives. The missions, he wrote,
served no purpose. Soldiers were losing arms and legs every day. He
had objected, but no one had listened...

Earlier this month in Washington, one of Congressman Young's
staffers read aloud Sitton's letter in a congressional hearing
where Young announced that after a decade of war, he thought it was
time for America to leave Afghanistan.

Since then, Young said, four Republican congressmen also publicly
announced they want the United States to pull out. He said more
than 25 others have privately told him the same.

The ultimate impact of Sitton's death on the war and this nation's
politics is still unknown. Congress is on break until mid November,
but Young is convinced that Sitton's story will resonate for months
to come.

"There's something really wrong," he said, "with what's happening
in Afghanistan now."

Matthew Sitton was the 2,056th American soldier killed there. In
the two months since, 50 more have died.

years into the war in Afghanistan
, the issue seems
nary a blip
the campaign trail

Along the way the Tampa Bay Times reveals
a dismal mood among American service personnel in Afghanistan,
caused by institutional problems that help explain why America is

losing in Afghanistan

In the war's early years, the people of Afghanistan had
embraced American troops. But that warmth had tilted toward

"Everybody could see it," said Brandon Southern, 29, who served
with Sitton. "Everybody knew most of the populace didn't care that
we were there."

It became harder to talk to the locals because they feared the
Taliban, he said. The now-infamous insider killings, in which
Afghan trainees shot their American trainers, had begun.

Once-defined objectives — find the enemy, defeat them — had grown

"It was a lot of senselessness," Southern said. "Just walking
around. What are we doing this for?"

Sitton didn't waver.

"Matt still believed in the big picture," Southern said. "Free the

One night near the end of that deployment, Sitton's base was
attacked. A nearby explosion threw him from his bed. He scrambled
to his weapon and helped the other soldiers fight back the ambush.
No Americans were killed.

By that time, the Army had begun to transfer duties to the Afghan
troops. Among those was tower guard.

That night, Sitton later told his mother, not one bullet was fired
from those towers.

After their return in late 2010, Southern left the military.

"I didn't believe in what we were doing," he said. "I lost

…Afghanistan in 2012 was far different than the place Sitton had
left two years earlier.

Politics, Sitton thought, had overtaken common sense. His platoon
worked for weeks on four hours sleep a night, he told his wife and
friends. Their missions were aimless. Twice each day for two to
four hours, he and his men were mandated to walk through what he
described as a "mine field."

"Seriously, there is no rhyme or reason for our patrols other than
to meet a time criteria," he wrote to Southern. "So now we are
being punished because we as a platoon are saying all this is
garbage and we won't go out into freakin' hell and back for no

Sitton and his men, he wrote over and over, felt alone. In prior
years, they often received air support during heavy firefights.
Because the command staff was so concerned about harming Afghan
civilians, that option had all but disappeared.

He told his wife and Southern that the infuriating orders had come
from brigade commander Col. Brian Mennes. The Army did not return
several calls for comment.

Mennes, Sitton told his wife, had blamed his own troops for the
high rate of IED injuries and deaths because experts had determined
improvised explosive devices should be avoidable.

"We are serving no purpose. We are leaving and still the command is
putting the lives of Afghans over the lives of Americans," he wrote
to her. "Col. Mennes said he would rather risk losing a paratrooper
than killing an innocent civilian over here."

Sitton still believed in the mission, the greater good, but he
seldom mentioned it. He told his wife he didn't know who would make
it home. He stopped saying that God wasn't done with

Sitton was killed by an IED patrolling a dirt road in Arghandab
Valley on August 2nd. The whole
is worth the read.


Washington Post recounts assassination of Ambassador Stevens.

You know, you read this Washington Post article on the assassination of Ambassador Stevens, and you keep telling yourself This movie is completely unbelievable. On the eve of his death, U.S. Ambassador J. Christopher Stevens was ebullient as he returned for the first time in his new role to Benghazi, the eastern Libyan city that embraced him as a savior during last year’s civil war. | Read More »


Tim Cavanaugh Reviews David Talbot’s Season of the Witch

Season of the Witch is
Salon founder David Talbot’s “bloody valentine” to San
Francisco, covering the years from 1967 to 1982. Like many who have
fallen for the City by the Bay’s charms, Talbot remembers what a
paradise the place seemed at first and wonders where it all went
wrong. He argues plausibly that this particular decade-and-a-half
was one of the hairiest, scariest, Dirty Harry–est periods
in the long and often grim history of American cities.

It is a story of a god that failed, writes Tim Cavanaugh in his
review, and the god is progressive utopianism. Talbot is
relentlessly progressive, but he embraces the dystopia with gusto,
even when that means resorting to right-wing fire and brimstone. As
you read, it becomes clear that the witch of the title is not just
a throwaway journalistic cliché. Talbot uses demonological terms
throughout, referring to the work of “Lucifer” in a chapter title
and throughout the text. He calls HIV/AIDS a “demon virus” and
joins in the tabloid/populist outrage at the violent crime that
engulfed the city in the ’70s. And this being San Francisco,
Cavanaugh observes, the outrage in most cases must be directed at
career leftists.

View this article.


Obama Skips Intel Briefings. WaPo Fact Checker Covers It Up.

Glenn Kessler, notorious Obama fellatisto, awards Marc Thiessen "three Pinocchios" for reporting that Obama has attended his daily intelligence briefing less than half the time despite the claim being true. For this reprise of his infamous "true but false" finding on the Romney campaign, Kessler wins yet another Quad-Headie Award for denseness and duplicity in fact checking.


Video: Barron’s Gene Epstein on Dodd-Frank

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"Too Big To Regulate: Barron's Gene Epstein on Dodd-Frank" is
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Watch above or click on the link below for video, full text,
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Chart of the Week: Obamacare’s Barrage of Tax Hikes Coming in 2013

The first presidential debate takes place in Denver on Wednesday with a focus on domestic issues, including President Obama’s unpopular health-care law. Obamacare imposes numerous tax increases on Americans, totaling more than $500 billion over a 10-year period.

According to Heritage’s analysis, these higher tax rates on income and investment threaten to slow economic growth. With so much uncertainty already stemming from Taxmageddon, this only adds to the concerns of American families and businesses.

One of the most alarming taxes — a new payroll tax on investment income — goes into effect in January 2013. It was cited by Americans for Tax Reform as one of the “top five worst Obamacare taxes coming in 2013.”

More charts like this one are available in Heritage’s Federal Budget in Pictures.


Paperwork: Sharif Matar’s Excellent Short Film for the Collaboration Challenge

Paperwork by Sharif MatarReason TV's own Sharif Matar took part in the
2012 Collaboration Filmmakers Challenge, which you may recall we
for earlier this year. His movie Paperwork,
clocking in at a brisk five and a half minutes, is now playing at a
computer, phone or tablet near you. 

The Challenge
asked filmmakers to make a short in two weeks based on a quote from
P.J. O'Rourke: "There is only one basic human right, the right to
do as you damn well please. And with it comes the only basic human
duty, the duty to take the consequences."

Paperwork features a tight story with a minimum of
chatter, inventive visuals and a strong lead performance by Andy
Forrest. It got runner-up honors from the judges and honorable
mention from the audience. I would argue that, in terms of
technique, storytelling and indirectly engaging the theme, it's
better and more entertaining than the movie that won the contest.
But I will not debate the profound wisdom of a celebrity jury that
included movie critic Kurt Loder at these proceedings.
Also the winning movie had a clown and a gorilla. In any event,
Paperwork is pretty great. 

Check it out. Send it to your friends: 

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