Sometimes I think folks at Rasmussen sit around and brainstorm ways to concoct utterly pointless poll questions and then manufacture convoluted ways to misinterpret the results. The latest re: global warming is just the another example of why lots of serious news people just don't take Rasmussen, and its never-ending supply of GOP-friendly polling results, seriously.
Headline from Rasmussen:
Americans Skeptical of Science Behind Global Warming
It's an interesting headline considering there's nothing from its own polling results to back up that claim. I'm not exaggerating. There is literally nothing in this poll that suggest "Americans" are skeptical about global warming science (i.e. they're skeptical about what causes global warming), especially since a plurality of respondents told Rasmussen global warming remains a very serous problem. Even worse, Rasmussen never asked Americans if they were "skeptical of the science behind global warming."
No joke. The Rasmussen headline makes the loud claim that Americans don't believe the science behind global worming. But uh-oh, Rasmussen never asked Americans about the science behind global warming. (Instead, the polling firm asked a vague question about what scientist do with their research.)
The Rasmussen lede:
Most Americans (52%) believe that there continues to be significant disagreement within the scientific community over global warming.
This just seems dumb. If Rasmussen wanted to know if American think lots of scientists, y'know, don't believe in global warming, than why didn't they just ask that question. But as is Rasmussen tradition, they asked a question in what seemed to be a purposefully vague manner in order to attract as many respondents as possible. i.e. Well, yeah there's probably disagreement among scientists. But that doesn't mean lots of them deny global warming is real.
Trying to tie the scientist question to current events, Rasmussen stressed this:
But just in the last few days, White House spokesman Robert Gibbs seemed to reject any such disagreement in a response to a question about global warming, "I don't think … [global warming] is quite, frankly, among most people, in dispute anymore."
But note that Gibbs wasn't talking about global warming being in dispute among scientists, he was referring to "most people." And again, according to Rasmussen's own polling, most respondents agreed that global warming is a very serious problem, which backs up Gibbs' suggestion.
Even more dumbness:
Even as Obama and senior members of Congress are pushing major anti-global warming initiatives, Americans overwhelmingly believe they should focus on the economy instead. Seventy-one percent (71%) say the bigger priority for U.S. national leaders is stimulating the economy to create jobs. Only 15% say they should focus instead on stopping global warming to save the environment.
Right, because exactly which "senior members of Congress" have announced that stopping global warming takes precedence over creating new jobs in the U.S.? That stopping global warming should be the focus "instead" of creating new jobs? Oh yeah, nobody. But yep, Rasmussen did a poll about it.
UPDATED: The percentage of American who, according to Rasmussen's own polls, think global warming is a very serious problem hasn't budged--and has not decreased--in the last 20 months. But Rasmussen ignores that fact and instead manufactured a phony, sweeping claim that Americans are skeptical about the science behind global warming, and based that conclusion on a question Rasmussen never even asked.
One of the few legitimate grievances Sarah Palin had regarding the way she was treated during the 2008 presidential campaign centered on the ludicrous questions about her son Trig's birth. There was never any real reason to question whether she was, indeed, Trig's mother, and the few online media types who flogged the bogus story line certainly didn't do themselves any credit.
That said, you'd think Palin would be particularly sensitive and careful regarding questions of birth and parentage. Alas, no ...
As Salon's Alex Koppelman detailed, the former Alaska governor appeared on a conservative radio program on Thursday and was asked if she would "make [Obama's] birth certificate an issue" should she run for president. Palin said that "the public, rightfully, is still making it an issue," and that "it's a fair question" to wonder whether the president was born in the United States. She went on to denounce, once again, the "weird conspiracy theory freaky thing that people talk about, that Trig isn't my real son," but then counseled that "maybe we should reverse that and use the same type of thinking on [Obama]."
There are lots of things to unpack here, so let's get to it.
Lying: President Obama's birthplace and nationality have been established beyond any credible doubt -- he was born in Hawaii, in 1961, and is and always has been an American citizen. It is not a "fair question" to suggest otherwise.
Hypocrisy: What little credibility her attacks on the media had were based largely on the poor treatment she received from isolated quarters of the blogosphere regarding the birth of her son. For her to continue to complain about that while simultaneously questioning the president's birth, and suggesting that she would be justified in doing so, is hypocritical and disgusting beyond anything I thought Palin capable of. And let's not forget that when Palin's family first became an issue in the press shortly after McCain tapped her, Obama came to her defense: "I think people's families are off-limits, and people's children are especially off-limits. This shouldn't be part of our politics. It has no relevance to Gov. Palin's performance as governor or her potential performance as a vice president."
Political stupidity: If Palin does, indeed, have political ambitions, then she's doing everything she possibly can to scuttle them by embracing Birtherism. There's a reason that national-level elected Republicans don't (for the most part) wade into the Birther swamp -- because the issue is so radioactively crazy that it would be political suicide to do so. If news reports are to be believed, Lou Dobbs was dropped by CNN because he indulged his Birther curiosities. It was hardly the first crazy thing Dobbs did while at CNN, but it was that special kind of crazy that made CNN say "enough." In short, anyone who has the Birther stain is not going to be a success in the political mainstream.
But let's not lose sight of the fact that the only reason we're talking about this at all is because John McCain selected Sarah Palin to be the next vice president of the United States. Perhaps David Gregory can ask the Arizona senator his thoughts on Palin's Birther tendencies on this Sunday's Meet the Press.
Laura Bush's former flak is en fuego today!
Take back Al Gore's Oscar, 2 Academy members demand in light of Climategate
Wow, Academy members, well at least 2, are really mad, and Malcolm dutifully treats their demands as news. But naturally as a proud member of the GOP Noise Machine, Malcolm leaves out any context about the absurd "demand."
For instance, exactly how many Academy members are there? The answer would help put the "2" in context, right? Well, there are more than 6,000 Academy members. In other words, approximately .05 percent of the Academy members want Gore to lose his Inconvenient Truth Oscar. But nonetheless, the Dem-hating Malcolm thinks the claim is news. (Hello Drudge link!)
UPDATED: More serial mendacity from Malcolm. He claims the so-called "Climategate" emails were "leaked." Of course, they were stolen, not "leaked."
Under the header "Leaving the Right," Andrew Sullivan explains his departure from the conservative movement:
... I've always been fickle in partisan terms. To have supported Reagan and Bush and Clinton and Dole and Bush and Kerry and Obama suggests I never had a party to quit.
For these reasons, I found it intolerable after 2003 to support the movement that goes by the name "conservative" in America.
I cannot support a movement that exploded spending and borrowing and blames its successor for the debt.
And yet he supported Reagan, and Bush after Reagan -- presidents who exploded spending and borrowing. He supported Clinton, who dramatically reduced the deficit in his first term, and then abandoned him for Dole. Then, after Clinton balanced the budget in his second term, Sullivan supported Bush the Second. Huh?
Back to Sullivan:
I cannot support a movement that so abandoned government's minimal and vital role to police markets and address natural disasters that it gave us Katrina and the financial meltdown of 2008.
It's just now occurring to Sullivan that the conservative movement isn't big on policing markets? Really? Where was he during, for example, the savings & loan meltdown of the 1980s?
I cannot support a movement that holds that purely religious doctrine should govern civil political decisions and that uses the sacredness of religious faith for the pursuit of worldly power.
Welcome to the party, Andrew. Didn't you notice what Jerry Falwell, Pat Robertson, Ralph Reed and the rest were up to in the 1980s and 1990s, or how much influence they had on the Republican Party?
I cannot support a movement that is deeply homophobic, cynically deploys fear of homosexuals to win votes, and gives off such a racist vibe that its share of the minority vote remains pitiful.
Yet Sullivan supported the Ronald Reagan who kicked off his campaign in Philadelphia, Mississippi and the George Bush who campaigned on Willie Horton. And -- I can't believe this is news to Andrew Sullivan -- the hostility of the Republican Party and the conservative movement towards gays is not exactly a recent development.
Nor is any of this:
I cannot support a movement that criminalizes private behavior in the war on drugs.
I cannot support a movement that regards gay people as threats to their own families.
I cannot support a movement that does not accept evolution as a fact.
I cannot support a movement that sees climate change as a hoax and offers domestic oil exploration as the core plank of an energy policy.
I cannot support a movement that refuses ever to raise taxes, while proposing no meaningful reductions in government spending.
And yet Sullivan supported Reagan, and Bush after him. He supported Dole, and Bush, both of whom campaigned on massive tax cuts that would have led to the deficits Sullivan says he can't abide (Bush's, in fact, did so.) In fact, the most famous tax increase backed by a Republican president in decades came in George H.W. Bush's first term -- and Sullivan promptly abandoned him for Clinton.
I cannot support a movement that refuses to distance itself from a demagogue like Rush Limbaugh or a nutjob like Glenn Beck.
Rush Limbaugh was so intertwined with the GOP in the early 1990s that when Republicans took control of Congress in the 1994 elections, they nicknamed him the "majority maker" and made him an honorary member of the class of '94. Sullivan supported the GOP presidential candidate in the very next election, and took another decade before deciding the GOP's embrace of Limbaugh was a deal-breaker. For those who were not aware of Rush Limbaugh 15 years ago, let me assure you that he was not speaking favorably of gay rights or deficit-reducing taxes or environmental protection or evolution at the time. He was attacking all of that, when he wasn't busy suggesting Hillary Clinton had Vince Foster murdered.
To paraphrase Reagan, I didn't leave the conservative movement. It left me.
Yes, but it left Sullivan long ago, if it was ever with him. The question is why it took Sullivan so long to realize that. But Sullivan simply tells us the modern conservative movement runs up massive deficits and is, if not racist and homophobic, quite eager to exploit racism and homophobia. Well, duh. Some of us have known that for quite some time. If Sullivan wants to contribute something interesting, he can tell us what took him so long.
Deficits, bigotry and financial meltdowns are not particularly popular. And yet the conservative movement and the Republican Party enjoyed great success while running up massive deficits, embracing bigotry and refusing to regulate markets, with disastrous results. They enjoyed that success not only because of people who say they support deficits and bigotry, but because of those who say they cannot support such things but do so anyway.
I'm sure it feels good for Sullivan to denounce the evils of the conservative movement, but it would be more useful -- and more honest -- if he would explain his role in making them possible.
From The Fox Nation, accessed on December 4:
From David Broder this morning:
Defense Secretary Robert Gates, who is incapable of dissembling, quickly made it clear that the withdrawal will begin -- not end -- that year, and only if battlefield conditions permit.
Incapable? Really? Seems pretty unlikely to me that we've ever had a Defense Secretary who is incapable of dissembling, or that we ever will.
I recently suggested -- in response to another Broder column -- that it might be time for the Washington Post to consider term limits for its columnists. The fact that Broder has become so enamored of -- or is it "chummy with"? -- government officials that he believes they are incapable of obscuring the truth is certainly an argument in favor of such a preposition.
That kind of blind faith no doubt contributes to the eventual need for sentences like this one, from Broder's December 28, 2003 column:
Democratic critics accuse me of "falling for" Colin Powell's arguments for intervention, which is correct[.]
And it also leads to passages like this one, from Broder's Washington Post colleague Richard Cohen:
The evidence [Colin Powell] presented to the United Nations-some of it circumstantial, some of it absolutely bone-chilling in its detail-had to prove to anyone that Iraq not only hasn't accounted for its weapons of mass destruction but without a doubt still retains them. Only a fool-or, possibly, a Frenchman-could conclude otherwise.
The clincher, as it had to be, was not a single satellite photo or the intercept of one Iraqi official talking to another. And it was not, as it never could be, the assertion that some spy or Iraqi deserter had made this or that charge -- because, of course, who can prove any of that? It was the totality of the material and the fact that Powell himself had presented it. In this case, the messenger may have been more important than the message. [Emphasis added]
From its typical doom-and-gloom spin about Obama this morning, ABC's Rick Klein writes [emphasis added]:
The new unemployment figures out Friday may cause some quiet celebration among economists. Early estimates suggest November figures will show between 100,000 and 130,000 fewer jobs in November, significantly better than October's 190,000.
But at some point it's got to go from not getting worse as quickly as it's been getting, to actually getting better.
Until that point, this will be a presidency, if not an economy, on the brink -- and the White House knows it.
Actual number of jobs lost last month? Just 11,000.
UPDATED: It will be interesting to see and hear how the GOP Noise Machine deals with the good economic news today. As we've noted in the past, the conservative media in 2009 seem to cheerlead, and become downright giddy over, bad news, because that way they can blame Obama; they can revel in America's failures.
Will right-wing pundits today try to play down the fact more Americans are now working? Will they portray that as a bad thing?
The fact that his visceral hatred for President Obama seems to know no rational bounds, means Malcolm's LA Times blog continues to be a running source of embarrassment for the newspaper. (i.e. It's hard to find college newspapers that regularly print this kind of nonsense.)
For his latest, Laura Bush's former flak claims Obama is personally responsible for wasting energy because he helped light the national Christmas tree:
Allegedly green Obama lights National Christmas Tree, leaves them on
The too-dumb-for-words conclusion:
The lighted tree will continue wasting precious electrical energy resources throughout the holiday season.
That's right, according to Malcolm, Washington, D.C., is apparently facing a shortage of "electrical energy." Somebody alert the LA Times newsroom!
UPDATED: Imagine the idiotic things Malcolm would write if Obama announced that, in order to save energy, the national Christmas tree would not be lit this year?
Eighty advertisers have reportedly dropped their ads from Glenn Beck's Fox News program since he called President Obama a "racist" who has a "deep-seated hatred of white people." Here are his December 3 sponsors, in the order they appeared:
For non-office holding Republicans with political interests, there may not be a better job than Fox News personality.
Mike Huckabee has used his gig to promote and fundraise for his leadership PAC. Dick Morris regularly uses his "political analyst" position to fundraise for groups with which he has financial ties. And former Republican congressman John Kasich kept in the public spotlight by hosting Fox News programs before running for Ohio governor (Huckabee is following a similar model for 2012).
Yesterday, Fox News contributor Newt Gingrich began his so-called "Real Jobs Summit" as "the Obama-Pelosi-Reid machine attempts to force its secular-socialist model on Americans in the form of job-killing health, energy, and big labor legislation."
Fox News responded by heavily promoting the summit with round-the-clock coverage. Between 9pm yesterday and 4pm today, Fox News devoted more than 17 minutes to Gingrich on five different programs.* In addition to interviewing Gingrich, Fox News dispatched correspondent Jonathan Serrie to cover Gingrich -- "considered by some political analysts to be a potential 2012 presidential candidate" -- in Jackson, Mississippi.
Why the jobs summit? As Think Progress' Matt Corley noted, Gingrich is recycling the same tax breaks for the rich ideas he always proposes. And in a statement on his website and on last night's Hannity, Gingrich claimed that the Obama administration can't be trusted because "only 8 percent of the senior [Obama] appointees have a private sector background." But as PolitiFact.com reported, the private sector stat is "false" and the author of the graph "acknowledged fault" in compiling some of the data.
That, of course, hasn't stopped Fox News from treating the "real jobs summit" by one of its own as a major event.
*Hannity (9-10pm ET): 8 minutes, 30 seconds; America's Newsroom (9-11a.m. ET): 2 minutes, 30 seconds; Happening Now (11-1pm): 2 minutes; Live Desk (1-3pm): 2 minutes, 15 seconds; Studio B (3-4pm): 1 minute, 50 seconds)