Wednesday, August 13, 2008

Zogby online is worthless

I've been answering Zogby online polls for many months now, hoping against hope I was adding some sense to all the noise out there. The latest one, though, was simply ridiculous. I think it was trying to ascertain my opinion regarding free trade, but instead of using that well-known term--one that has meaning, in that it refers to the elimination of tariffs and other barriers to international US trade--it used the term "overseas" trade. Huh? All trade is "overseas", guys, unless you are trying to distinguish between our trade with Canada/Mexico and the rest of the world, and if you are, you are the first people in the history of the country that are. They also tried to figure out whether I think "overseas" trade has affected our jobs here, and whether I think good or bad things have happened because of it. (Do you begin to see the problem?)
For example, one of the questions was: Do you think overseas trade has helped or hurt our status as an economic leader? I mean, what does that even mean? First off, we aren't an economic leader anymore, and second, even if we assume they are really talking about free trade and further assume that the conservatives (and this includes you, Bill Clinton) hadn't already destroyed our economy over the last 30 years or so, by what means of measuring are they asking me to ascertain "our status"?
The final straw prompting me to write today, though, was their electoral map on display prominently on their home page. If you click through to the map itself, you can get some of the polling numbers for each--well, almost each--state to see who's leading and by how much.
At first glance, the map looks relatively favorable to Obama--he leads 273 to 146 (and he only needs 270 to win election), with 119 from states too close to call. This in itself would call into serious question the media narrative that the election is close, because if you split those 119 50/50 between the candidates, Obama wins in a blowout. Looking closer, though, you can see that even these numbers are downplaying Obama's overall strength. Let's compare just two states: Virginia and Kentucky. In Virginia, which Zogby says is too close to call, Obama leads by 5%. In Kentucky, McCain leads by, you guessed it, 5%, but Zogby has that in McCain's column. Huh?
It gets worse, of course: in North Carolina (another "too close to call" state), Obama is leading by 9%, making one wonder what Obama has to do to take a state here! Lest you think it's all one-sided, though, Obama's lead in New Hampshire (an "Obama state"), is only 3%. On the other hand, he also leads Arizona by 3%, yet that state is given to McCain!
I gave up after that.
One might be forgiven for thinking that Zogby has its collective head up its butt . . .

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Monday, August 11, 2008

Olympics, kind of

I like the Olympics. I like seeing people striving to better themselves, and I love watching unknowns or underdogs do well and occasionally even surprise with a victory. I loved the opening ceremonies--I thought it was the best I've ever seen, to be honest (although the Barcelona arrow shot to light the flame surpassed this one). I like the concept of having some arena, somewhere, where at least on the field, the geopolitical world takes a backseat to something else. Something close (or closer, at any rate) to pure.
Naturally, Smirky (with Doll's Eyes) has come along to ruin some of the Olympics games for me. Every event he attends, the director is compelled (ordered?) to show him grinning idiotically and waving to somebody, clearly oblivious to the pain and deaths he has caused so many people. It offends me to see him so happy, so carefree, and so relaxed. The announcers must acknowledge his presence in reverential tones, athletes are summoned for a jocular affixing of nicknames or an attaboy, and we have even been subjected to an in-studio interview with Bob Costas. Even at the Olympics, NBC seems to be in the tank for its Republican masters, regardless of approval ratings (Smirky has been sub-30% for months, marking an unprecedented tenure of dissatisfaction from the country).
To top it all off, if watching live, we are forced to watch the abomination of John McCain's misleading and completely negative ads slurring Barack Obama. I wonder how much of a deal Ol' Wrinkly got from NBC, because his $6 million ad buy is stretching a heck of lot further than Obama's $5 mill, even though Obama bought earlier. For those who are unfamiliar with the process of ad buying, usually the early money gets more bang for the buck, as the growing scarcity of available time causes the rates per minute to rise even though the choice time slots are often taken. From what I've seen, though, McCain's ads have been running at least twice as often as Obama's so far, and I saw only McCain ads during the opening ceremonies, which are the most universally watched part of the Games. (Granted, I missed about 45 minutes, so maybe all of Obama's ads ran from 9:45-10:30. Uh huh.)
Luckily, most of the time the other NBC channels are running events concurrently, so I can switch back and forth to avoid Smirky and Ol' Wrinkly as much as possible. But TBO is not a fan of boxing (which has taken up a lot of MSNBC's airtime in the evenings) or my relentless channel surfing during unpleasantness, so I risk alienating the mother of my child as well.

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Tuesday, August 05, 2008

In a family way

TBO has been sick as a dog for weeks now, but it's for a good cause: she's "with child"! We're excited and scared, as most usually are, I suppose. It looks like an early March date. Here's the first ever pic:

Clearly, this will be the cutest baby ever.