Blogging Again

After a very long break due to such real-life distractions as a difficult computational mathematics class and duties as the Suffolk Democratic Committee chairman, I’m going try this again.

Anyway, to start off with, I just sent an email to my delegate Rick Morris, in response to an email from him about his recent town hall meeting and a poll he conducted prior to the meeting. In that email, he wrote

71% of those polled agreed that Obamacare should be repealed and 68% agreed that Medicaid Expansion is not for Virginia.

75% of those polled did not want to repeal the Virginia Marriage Amendment which is an amendment to the Constitution of Virginia that defines marriage as solely between one man and one woman and bans recognition of any legal status of gay marriage.

I wrote,

If most of those who took your recent poll were on your mailing list, then that fact would skew the results away from an honest sample. Also, I’m sure you know that questions phrased like …

“Do you support or oppose ObamaCare‚Äôs Medicaid Expansion in Virginia? While expansion could provide coverage for 400,000 currently uninsured Virginians, it could cost the Commonwealth of Virginia over $1 billion per year, forcing cuts to other key services like education, mental health and public safety.”

… don’t yield honest results. An honest sampling of your constituents would certainly yield different results.

As disappointed as I am with the push-poll, I do applaud you for hosting town hall meetings. I hope you will continue to increase your efforts to honestly represent your constituents.

I don’t blame Mr. Morris for conducting an email poll of those who are on his mailing list. I would only ask him to acknowledge that such a sampling is made up almost entirely of people who support him and not of the general population of his constituency. If he makes that acknowledgement, then the fault is on the part of his constituents who have chosen not to involve themselves in the political process simply because they don’t agree with the views of their representative.

I do blame Delegate Morris for his push poll questions. It is dishonest to tell people what to think and then brag about how they agree with you. This is common practice for the likes of Randy Forbes, and here Delegate Morris seems to be following Congressman Forbes’s lead.

On the other hand, Rick Morris seems to be making some effort to reach out and hear his constituents. For that Delegate Morris deserves some recognition.

Remember that your political leaders are your representatives, but it’s hard to hold them accountable for not representing views of those who don’t voice them.

Delegate Morris represents Virginia’s House District 64. His website includes not only a (somewhat confusing) contact form, but very clearly includes his email addresses and phone numbers.

Gotcha Journalism Doesn’t Even Need a Gotcha Anymore

Update 2011 06/06: I was wrong. And Fuck Weiner for giving Breitbart a win, and for screwing the people who defended him, and for putting his wife at risk of public humiliation.

Andrew Breitbart is making headlines talking and posting about Congressman Anthony Weiner. I personally think Weiner’s account was hacked, as he claims it was. Mediaite posts a good for-and-against analysis. I think it’s unlikely that he sent a lewd photo of himself to a woman he doesn’t seem to know. There is no evidence of any raunchy conversation preceding the photo, so the congressman would have sent it with no provocation. Even Favre seems to have had a history of sexting. Weiner does not.

If I’m wrong, I’ll admit it. I doubt Breitbart will if he’s wrong. But considering the amount of evidence currently available, he’s crowing pretty loudly and getting a lot of attention from this. How would the media act if Weiner was a right winger? Much more low key. Salon has a good explanation of that point of view.

Andrew Breitbart’s biggest stories have all been discredited. The Sherrod tape was doctored. The ACORN tapes where a hoax. The tapes he shows are edited for distortion, like something out of a movie where the cops get a guy to turn on his buddies by playing a chopped up recording that sounds like his buddies conspiring against him. Mr. Breitbart’s friends provide excuses for his erroneous reporting. But even if you have real good reasons for continuously reporting false information, that doesn’t make you a reliable news source, does it?

Of course Breitbart’s accuracy deficiency is common among right wing pundits. Maybe some day science will provide an answer to the question of why the right wing is so often wrong.

I decided to wander to the dark side and take a look at what Big Government had to say about the ACORN tapes. What I found was continuing attacks against ACORN. Most of the attacks that Big Government lodges against ACORN have not been about the ridiculous pimp scandal, but about falsified voter registration forms. Despite all the hot air about the falsified forms, these forms could not have resulted in any invalid votes. For example, in Nevada, voter cards were turned in with the names of the Dallas Cowboys. But even if these cards where never identified, none of the Cowboys were ever going to show up and vote in a Nevada election. So the falsified records served no advantage to ACORN or any political party or candidate. This is a key fact. ACORN did not gain, could not have gained, and could not have assumed that they would gain anything by turning in falsified forms. That’s explained pretty well by Chuck Ardo. What likely happened is exactly what ACORN says happened: people that ACORN hired to canvass turned in falsified forms in order to look like they were doing what they were hired to do. Breitbart took down an organization by posting false information, he’s proud of it, and continues to operate in the same fashion.

Listening to Breitbart means you enjoy shocking and lewd stories about Liberals and don’t even care if they’re true. It’s like a bully who, before picking a fight, comes up with some sort of pretext like “Hey, you looking at me!” or “Don’t you owe me fifty bucks?” It apparently makes no difference that nobody really believes the pretext as long as it’s fun and you get beat somebody up. What other excuse can there be for having a repeatedly discredited journalist on a news show? This is a real sorry state of affairs in journalism and the American public’s thirst for entertainment that looks like news.

Much of what the media is telling you is wrong, especially if you’re getting your information from the likes of Andrew Breitbart. The right wing continuously cries about how the Union is in danger. They’re right. And we won’t be safe until We the People start double checking the assertions of our news people and holding them accountable for their mistakes and their lies.

Sasha by Proxy

Since I can’t keep on my own blogs, it may seem a bit ambitious to start a new one. But I’ve been trying to get Sasha to start blogging and have had no success. Sasha don’t blog. She reads blogs (not mine, of course), but won’t write one. But she does talk (and how), and frequently drops pearls of wisdom that I feel should be shared with the world. And so I present Sasha by Proxy: (Improvisations on Sasha’s Thoughts). Sasha by Proxy will include tidbits on such topics as knitting, cooking, philosophy, politics, and chickens. I don’t know how well I can keep it going, since in addition to the work of typing another blog, it requires me to pay attention to Sasha, which is difficult with my short attention span and her long monologues, especially when she talks about knitting. But I’ll do my best. Enjoy.

A Personal Note About My Mouth

I have friends of varying religious and political beliefs. As a typical New York liberal who spent twenty six years in the Coast Guard and then retired to rural Virginia, I’ve been exposed to a variety of views. But I have, on occasion, made comments or jokes that were inappropriate to the setting and possibly offensive to my friends. On the other hand, I’ve kept quiet in situations when I should have spoken out. A friendly social gathering in the home of a friend with different beliefs often isn’t the place for me to express controversial viewpoints. Of course, this blog is such a place, and I’m drafting some good ones right now.

To friends who I may have offended, I’m sorry, and to those causes that could have used my voice, I will do better. In general, I will exercise better judgment over when to speak and when not to.

Gone Nasty

On the 28th, I sarcastically paraphrased the words of teleconference participant, with the phrases “fuck everyone else” and “dirty children”. But I don’t know this woman, and she was expressing valid concerns about people making poor financial choices and worries about how we should deal with health related threats resulting from illegal immigration.

That post got about twenty hits within a couple of hours after posting it. Which is about, …oh… twenty times the amount of hits that I usually get the day I post something. Maybe it’s just because I used the word “fuck” but maybe it’s because being nasty and insulting brings up your ratings.

We have more than enough blogs out there suggesting that those who disagree with them are nasty, stupid, or selfish. But most of us work over forty hours a week, with another ten or so for transportation. We spend a few hours with our families, doing chores, and entertaining ourselves. Those of us who are politically active do the best we can with the little time left over. Event the experts can’t seem to agree on diddly, how can we blame each other for having different opinions?

Assuming I ever get more than three readers, I don’ t want them all to be ditto-heads or trolls. I want dialog. And I’m not going to get that with insults. So, Lady, I’m not going to lie, you sounded smug and cold-hearted to me, but I shouldn’t have insulted you as I did. Sorry.