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Friday Talking Points [199] -- My "War On Women" Rant

[ Posted Friday, February 24th, 2012 – 17:51 PST ]

"When the going gets weird," Hunter S. Thompson famously said, "the weird turn pro."

This quote has been running through my head all week. It's been such a weird week, in fact, that I even wrote a column praising a Mitt Romney campaign ad. Weirdness abounds, in other words. Well, I was really just wonkily praising the cars in the ad, but still....

Speaking of weirdness, we had what could be the final Republican presidential debate. In it, the three top Republican candidates explained how they were going to -- simultaneously, mind you -- both bring down the cost of gasoline and bomb Iran. This qualifies not just as weird but downright bizarre. I mean, how stupid do they think the American public is? Well, I suppose it's just the Republican primary electorate, but even so....

When the going gets weird, the weird run for president, apparently.

The most bizarre statement of the night had to have been Mitt Romney's historically-ignorant and righteously-indignant avowal: "I don't think we've seen in the history of this country the kind of attack on religious conscience, religious freedom, religious tolerance that we've seen under Barack Obama."

To borrow a schtick from Saturday Night Live in response: "Really, Mitt? Really?!? Are you really that ignorant of, say... just for example... the history of the Mormon Church and the federal government? Google 'Mormon Wars' sometime, you may learn something. Really! Why was your father born in Mexico, again? Oh, that's right, because his parents were there because of what they saw as religious persecution by the United States government. Really. The federal government didn't just specify what health insurance a Mormon hospital or charity offered their employees, the federal government dictated to the Church of the Latter-Day Saints what religious tenets they could believe in, and which were unacceptable to federal law. Remember that? You might want to check your church's history, there, Mitt. Or if that's too tough for you, how about the history of your own family?!? I mean, really."

Mitt's not only provoking the likes of me to rebut him, he also provoked an average citizen named Chuck Smith to wager his own $10,000 bet with Romney over a complete falsehood Mitt's been using out on the campaign trail -- how Barack Obama "promised" everyone that unemployment wouldn't go over eight percent if his stimulus plan was passed. While quite obviously an amateur attempt (it even points out its own editing mistakes within the video itself), this video is well worth watching in its entirety. Shows what an average Joe can do, when the media completely falls down on its job (as usual). It even includes footnotes and references, to prove exactly what the guy is claiming. Even if he doesn't win his bet, the video itself is priceless.

In other weird news, the Smithsonian held a groundbreaking ceremony for an African-American museum on the National Mall, which our first African-American president attended with his wife. When they called for people to come up and turn some ceremonial dirt with shovels, Barack Obama stood up and was then told that he wasn't invited to participate -- even though Laura Bush was. Weird, eh? The Smithsonian flunky who told the president this could have just as easily turned it into a memorable photo op -- by allowing Barack Obama and Laura Bush share the same shovel -- but instead told the president to sit back down.

Meanwhile, a Republican representative had to apologize for threatening to kill some Democratic senators, but (sadly) these days, that's not as weird as it should be.

Even the conservative press (weirdly enough) reported that pixie dust and magic simply doesn't work when it comes to budgeting, and that under the Republican presidential candidates' budget plans the national debt would explode at a rate much higher than President Obama's budget. But wait... I thought tax cuts paid for themselves? Weird, eh?

And finally, in one of those stories that seems inevitable (but only after it appears), an artistic couple has created a portrait of Rick Santorum made up entirely of tiny images of gay porn. Salon has the story (which can safely be read at work, if you don't click to expand the image to giant-sized... just in case you were wondering).

Enough weirdness, though, we've got to move along. I feel a gigantic rant coming on, so we'll try to keep the award section brief this week.

 

Most Impressive Democrat of the Week

Following the precedent we set last week, we award all the Democrats in the Maryland state government who just passed a gay marriage bill a Most Impressive Democrat Of The Week award. Because the "Golden Backbone" statuettes are not cheap, we will be sending only one of them to Governor Martin O'Malley, who is expected to sign the bill soon (if he has not already done so). Last week, Washington state did the same thing, but many "journalists" didn't notice, apparently due to their not being able to find the West Coast on an American map. Maryland, however, is right there in the middle of the East Coast, so this one simply couldn't be ignored. Well done, Free State Democrats!

We have a second Most Impressive Democrat Of The Week to hand out as well, to the witness who was denied a chance to be heard at the Republican's male-dominated hearing on women's health issues. House Democrats held their own "hearing" just to give a chance for Sandra Fluke to tell her story. Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi deserves an Honorable Mention for staging this event, but the MIDOTW award goes to Fluke herself, for telling a very compelling and important side of the story which the Republicans really don't want the media to pick up on: birth control pills are not just used for birth control. We're just assuming Sandra Fluke is a Democrat, but this is probably a pretty safe assumption, we feel.

[Congratulate Maryland Governor Martin O'Malley on his official state contact page, to let him know you appreciate his efforts. Sandra Fluke is a private citizen, and our longstanding policy is to not provide contact information for such.]

 

Most Disappointing Democrat of the Week

Sigh.

When will these guys learn?

Florida state representative Richard Steinberg got caught this week not only sending sexy text messages to a married federal prosecutor, but actually stalking her by doing so. Thankfully, he decided to resign when the story broke. But that doesn't mean we can't still award him a Most Disappointing Democrat Of The Week award, on his way out the door.

[You can try to contact Richard Steinberg via his official Florida House page, to let him know what you think of his actions, but our guess is the site won't be up for very long, so you'd better hurry.]

 

Friday Talking Points

Volume 199 (2/24/12)

I'd like to begin today's talking points with an admission that maybe I was wrong.

The "maybe" in that sentence stems from the future's unpredictability. The jury won't be completely in on the issue until the election results (and exit polls -- from such states as Ohio and Pennsylvania, in particular) are released this November. So it's still too early to say.

Two weeks ago, in this space, I wrote a column entitled "White House Fumbles." The political issue I felt they fumbled was their announcement of the new health insurance regulations which stipulated that women's preventative medicine be covered by all non-church employers.

I felt that they fumbled because they were seemingly caught so flatfooted at their response to the controversy, which should have been at least somewhat predictable (to say the least). My column was written on the same day the White House announced their compromise, which still stood strong for women's health care.

Since then, the issue has grown and morphed -- to the Democrats' advantage, for the most part. In other words, it seems to not only be working out OK politically, but actually energizing the Democratic base over the issue. All of a sudden, women's health is in the news, and the Republicans are not looking good.

Which is why I'm starting with my "maybe I was wrong" statement. Maybe this is going to wind up being a good thing, even if (as I still believe) it could have been handled better at the beginning. But that's water under the bridge now. Instead of looking back, let's look forward instead.

If this is going to be a good issue for Democrats to make some political hay on, then I offer up the following as how I would go about doing it.

Democrats, so far, seem to be winning the framing battle on this issue. This is astonishing enough, since they're usually the ones playing catchup to the Republicans. But Democrats need to take it up a big notch, here. Instead of fighting each individual battle, Democrats need to offer up a big picture -- a very ugly big picture -- of what the Republicans' overall goal truly is. Thankfully, these dots are not that hard to connect right now. So many stories have gone Democrats' way in the past few weeks, that the time is ripe to hammer the big picture home in a way that will have Republicans playing defense from now until November. I offer up the following rant as an example of how to do so effectively.

Is this hyperbole? Perhaps. Is it demagoguery? You betcha. But just imagine if every Democrat starting using one simple phrase over and over again. Imagine the media picking up on this phrase. Imagine the media then declaring this election the "Year Of The Woman Voter." Imagine, if you will, a strong-willed female Democrat saying something along the following lines in the near future.

 

My "War on Women" Rant

The Republican Party is currently waging a war against women. They want to take America back a half-century or more, and Democrats are not going to allow them to do so!

When I see a congressional hearing called on women's heath with a panel of five old men, I wonder what the Republicans are thinking. When the state of Virginia contemplates passing a law which would force doctors to invade a woman's body for no medical reason at all, I think Republicans have forgotten all those talking points about not allowing government to get between a doctor and her patient -- talking points they used to love to utter. When I hear the likes of Rick Santorum weighing in on what tests a pregnant woman should have, I almost expect him to say women should stay eternally barefoot and pregnant. That's how bad it has gotten.

Republicans are waging a war against women. Furthermore, they are attempting to wage a war against sex. Why should some politician be able to tell any American woman how to run her life? Why should birth control even be an issue in politics in the twenty-first century? Why should Republicans -- who are supposed to be for getting government out of people's lives -- want Big Brother in every doctor's office?

When Republicans held their "no women allowed" hearing, the witness Democrats wanted to question was excluded. Democrats held a separate hearing for her this week anyway, and she testified about a friend of hers who could not afford birth control which had been prescribed to treat ovarian cysts -- and about the sad outcome. Contraceptive pills are prescribed on a daily basis for medical issues which have nothing to do with sex and which save women immeasurable suffering. But now Republicans are pushing to allow any employer in America to prevent a female employee's health insurance from covering such life-saving medicine. This is a war on science. It is a war on women.

Republicans say employers should be allowed to follow their "conscience" in such decisions. Where will this end? Will employers be able to limit AIDS coverage, because they do not morally approve of people who get AIDS? What about insurance coverage for sexually transmitted diseases? Should employers be allowed not to provide such coverage? What about an employer who doesn't believe in any medical intervention except prayer? Should he be allowed to limit his employees to "prayer-only" health insurance?

There's a reason why we have public health laws -- to protect the public's health with the best science available. All of the public. Even women! If this science tells us that an ultrasound is not necessary for a medical procedure, then why should politicians be able to override the doctor? Most states have laws against practicing medicine without a license, but Virginia lawmakers feel free to dictate medical treatments from their statehouse. Why aren't these lawmakers all being arrested for impersonating doctors?

It's a war against women, plain and simple. When the national public learned that the procedure mandated by the Virginia law would have forced women -- against their will -- to have a transvaginal ultrasound that was completely medically unnecessary, America recoiled in revulsion. So the governor backed off, and will now only force women to have an external ultrasound in such a situation -- a procedure which is not only completely unnecessary, but actually totally useless to spot an embryo which is too small to be seen by such methods. It is a war against medical science, and common sense.

The Virginia governor is attempting to put this genie back in the bottle. His statement read, in part: "No person should be directed to undergo an invasive procedure by the state, without their consent, as a precondition to another medical procedure." But why would the state mandate any medical procedure -- without the patient's consent -- as a precondition to another medical procedure? What has happened to the conservatives? This is your idea of government getting out of people's lives? This is supposed to be conservatism? Barry Goldwater must be turning over in his grave, by now.

The state of Virginia backed off on forcing doctors to perform what Virginia law describes as "rape" on an unwilling woman. I suppose we should be thankful that now the new law will only shred the Fourth Amendment to the United States Constitution instead. Why should the government force a doctor to perform a search of a woman's body for her to get a legal medical procedure done? It boggles the mind.

As if all this weren't enough, it seems now that the Republican Party has opened up a new front of the war on women: a war on, of all things, the Girl Scouts. This is in addition to their war on Planned Parenthood -- often the only opportunity women have for their own health care for miles around.

This has gone too far. Republican men who sit in legislatures should wake up and realize that a woman's health -- including her reproductive health -- is her business and hers alone to decide. Any woman should be able to go to her doctor and have whatever medical care the two of them agree upon without moralizing governmental interference. This is about freedom, plain and simple.

I have a message for the Republicans who think this is some sort of political football which will help their party out -- you know what? Your wives, your sisters, and your daughters are having sex. Deal with it. It is a part of human nature. This is America, and they are free to do so, and you have no right to interfere with this decision in the slightest.

If your daughter is violently raped, then Democrats believe she should be able to get an abortion, so she does not have to spend the rest of her life with the consequences of this violent crime against her body. Deal with it. If American women want to use birth control, guess what? It is entirely her decision to do so. If a doctor prescribes a birth control pill to a woman because if she does not take it she may otherwise suffer, then -- hold onto your hats -- her employer doesn't get to be in the same room with a veto over her freedom. If a woman wants a procedure which is legal, then you don't get to attempt to shame her into giving up this freedom -- and especially not by trouncing all over doctors' First Amendment rights to say what they wish to their patients.

While a few high-profile stories have been in the media in the past few weeks, what has been largely ignored for the past year or so is the continuing Republican assault on women's liberty and women's freedom. The Virginia law horrified many, but the exact same law is already in place in other states. Because men decided they knew best. Republican men, for the most part.

On top of this, women are forced to go through "waiting periods" in many states before getting a legal procedure done -- for no medical reason whatsoever. If you have to travel hundreds of miles to get an abortion, this is supposed to make the price of doing so too high for some women. No other medical procedure in America is treated this way -- only the one Republican men don't approve of.

These men are guilty of practicing medicine without a license. They are guilty of attempting to condemn women to death for lack of medical care -- as would surely happen if abortion were made illegal. They are guilty of attempting to legislate coercive rape upon women patients. They are guilty of attacking women's rights and women's health care -- every chance they get.

This is a war on women. We're fighting on the side of women. Maybe we should fight back on their battlefield. Maybe we should start passing laws requiring an anal probe for anyone who gets a Viagra prescription. Maybe we should hold a hearing on prostate health and invite a panel of all women to testify why they're morally opposed to treating it. Maybe we should make testing for sexual diseases mandatory for anyone running for office. Maybe we should have a two-day waiting period for anyone who wishes to enter a strip club. You see how ridiculous it sounds when the shoe's on the other foot?

Democrats are on the side of women. We're on the side of science. We're on the side of doctors and patients being free of having Big Brother or their employer in the examination room. We're on the side of women's health -- all her health, and not just the pieces of it which old men decide are proper. Men like Rick Santorum, who is now apparently against pre-natal testing -- which even Sarah Palin herself was thankful for when she was pregnant. Republicans want to turn back the clock on women's health a half-century or more, and we will not let them!

I invite all of America's women voters to ask yourselves: Should I vote for the party which stands firm for my health care, or should I vote for the party which wants to deny me the freedom and liberty of making up my own mind what is right for me? Should I vote for those who are on the side of science and full health care rights for all, or should I vote for those who want to deny me access? Should I vote for those who want to force my doctor to penetrate me against my will, or should I vote for those who are outraged by such a concept?

The choice should be obvious. If you're for continued sexual freedom, and continued liberty in your own health care, then I strongly urge you to vote for those who are not actively trying to legislate these things out of existence -- in a word, Democrats. You are the foot soldiers in this war against women, and if you speak loudly enough, even Republican politicians will notice you in November.

-- Chris Weigant

 

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Cross-posted at: Democratic Underground
Cross-posted at: Democrats For Progress
Cross-posted at: The Huffington Post

 

46 Comments on “Friday Talking Points [199] -- My "War On Women" Rant”

  1. [1] 
    dsws wrote:

    Unto the woman he said, I will greatly multiply thy sorrow and thy conception; in sorrow thou shalt bring forth children; and thy desire shall be to thy husband, and he shall rule over thee.
    Genesis 3:16
    King James Version (KJV)

  2. [2] 
    Chris Weigant wrote:

    dsws -

    "You can't run a country by a book of religion.
    Not by a lump or a heap or a smidgen."

    -Frank Zappa, "Dumb All Over"

    -CW

  3. [3] 
    Paula wrote:

    Chris: Love. Your. Rant.

    I particularly like your section about fighting back on their battlefield. I think we should hold hearings about geezer sex and viagra. After all, if sex is only for procreation then why should we be enabling older men to have sex when (most of) their wives are beyond the age to conceive? Maybe inability to have erections is God's gift to men -- who are we to interfere with this process?

    Certainly men should not be allowed to use viagra unless there's a medically necessary reason that ends in pregnancy for ONLY their wives. And the decision should be made by a group of women, who are thoroughly briefed on the man's marital status, wife's age and health, etc.

    Naturally we need to outlaw all prostitution and vigorously prosecute men who use prostitutes. We also need to limit any access to pornography to only married men who's wives are of child bearing age (and women of child-bearing age!). So we need access to everyone's computers and devices to track their activity...

    I would love to see hearings on the Hill, by women only, about men and sex. Just so that, for once, the shoe WAS on the other foot. Because I am sick to death of women's sex lives being used for political gain by opportunists in Washington and being "prescribed" by medieval, repressed and repressive religious fanatics.

    And I'm sick of the spectacle of holier-than-thou types like Santorum getting all sanctimonious about how religious he is, when the main thing he talks about is sex. (I think if the Catholic Church would end it's insane insistence on celibacy, their whole "sex is bad, women are evil" nonsense would fade away. These people are obsessed about other people's sex lives because they can't have their own.)

  4. [4] 
    Michale wrote:

    Don't take this the wrong way, CW...

    But have you noticed of late that your MIDOTW awards are usually High Up Federal Government Officials (HUFGOs) while your MDDOTW awards are always some podunk state or local Dem in BumFuq, Kentucky??

    I don't even think that Obama's 180 on the HUGE "threat to democracy" and climbing into bed with the SCOTUS over Citizens United got a mention..

    As I said, don't take this the wrong way. Far be it from me to comment on how you do your column...

    "I run my unit how I run my unit. You want to investigate me, roll the dice and take your chances. I eat breakfast 300 yards from 4000 Cubans who are trained to kill me, so don't think for one second that you can come down here, flash a badge, and make me nervous."
    -Jack Nicholson, A FER GOOD MEN

    :D

    Just pointing that out.. :D

    Michale.....

  5. [5] 
    Michale wrote:

    Too bad Romney isn't a Muslim...

    It would really put the Left in a quandary over his religion... :D

    Michale.....

  6. [6] 
    Elizabeth Miller wrote:

    Michale,

    Is this really all you have to say about Chris's latest piece. Really?

    Hehehehehehehehehehehehehehehehehehehehehe...

  7. [7] 
    Elizabeth Miller wrote:

    Chris,

    I have visions of Democratic super-majorities - all over the place - dancing in my head.

    Obama's second term could be so phenomenal ...

    :)

  8. [8] 
    Chris Weigant wrote:

    Michale [4] -

    Interesting observation. Here's the basic process: when a Democrat pisses me off, he or she goes to the top of the list. Now, this is filtered by what I hear and read in the media. The equation gets trickier when you consider the magnitude of the disappointment. Low-level folks who do monumentally stupid things sometimes get picked because of the sheer stupidity of their actions (or how much they enrage me). Higher ups don't have to do things that are truly heinous to get the award, because they are so high profile.

    But here's an observation back at you: for the past few months, national-level Democrats have been remarkably cohesive. There haven't been any huge intra-party battles, over legislation or over any other issue. To put it another way, I haven't seen Joe Lieberman or Max Baucus on my teevee screen in quite a while. Heh.

    This is an election year, after all, so maybe the party is pulling together more than usual. Also, Congress keeps taking months off, which leaves the pickings kinda thin.

    It's a combination of things, in other words.

    -CW

  9. [9] 
    Chris Weigant wrote:

    Michale -

    [Followup]

    The Citizens United/Obama super PAC thing did not (which may shock you) cause much consternation among Democrats. How many Dem voters, after all, really wanted to see Obama fight the election with one hand tied behind his back?

    I almost gave an Honorable Mention to Bill Maher this week, for throwing down a cool million to Obama's super PAC, but then couldn't quite do it in the end. Giving money isn't all that impressive, even when the amount is an impressive number.

    -CW

  10. [10] 
    Chris Weigant wrote:

    Paula -

    Good points. The "2 day waiting period to enter a strip club" thing just popped into my head while writing this screed, but the more I think about it the better it sounds as a way for Democrats to point out the ridiculousness of the Republican position.

    Want to get a lap dance? Well, you'll have to wait the mandatory 48 hours, sir. Oh, and we'll have to give you an in-depth talk on the dangers of STDs, as well, before we allow you in the door.

    Heh.

    -CW

  11. [11] 
    Osborne Ink wrote:

    The Republican authoritarian side is showing more and more, and not just in the war on women, but this is a big deal. Another example would be the weird obsession with urinalysis as a precondition to public benefits. The party of "small government" is actually obsessed with enlarging government.

  12. [12] 
    Michale wrote:

    I wasn't sure if I was going to follow up on this.. Sometimes what seems like a perfectly reasonable post at 0500hrs comes off a little (OK.. A LOT) asshole'ish in the light of day..

    Thanx CW, for taking it in the manner it was intended...

    Liz,
    Is this really all you have to say about Chris's latest piece. Really?

    Yea, pretty much.. When I don't comment it usually means I agree pretty much with the sentiments expressed..

    Or else I am too lazy to comment. But that is rare... :D

    CW,

    The Citizens United/Obama super PAC thing did not (which may shock you) cause much consternation among Democrats.

    That's kinda my point...

    When the ruling was first made, it was like the END OF DAYS amongst Democrats **AND** here in the pages of CW.COM.. The ruling was roundly and VERY boisterously condemned here and in Dem circles..

    There was talk of gloom and darkness and the "end of our democracy" and "corporate takeover of elections...

    And what was my response???

    "Ehh... If Democrats could make the ruling work for them, they would embrace it.."

    .... or words to that effect..

    Which is EXACTLY what happened. Democrats found they could make it work for them (well, not really... but I'll get to that in a moment :D), so all of the sudden, it wasn't any big deal...

    How many Dem voters, after all, really wanted to see Obama fight the election with one hand tied behind his back?

    Probably as many Dem voters who really DON'T want to see Gitmo closed or DON'T really want to NOT torture terrorists... :D

    It's pretty much par for the course... Dems will scream and yell bloody murder about "A"....

    Right up until they point that they realize it's to their advantage to EMBRACE "A"...

    Then "A" becomes the be all end all of sweetness, goodness and light...

    Like Media Matters who screams and yells about the evils of guns and gun ownership... Then we find that the head of MM has a security detail that carries illegal CCWs to protect the principal from "right wing snipers"....

    Hypocrisy at it's finest....

    Apparently, Obama's embrace of Citizens United didn't help much.. His "evil" (Obama's words, not mine)SuperPAC pulled in about $59K... This, compared to the hundreds of millions the GOP SuperPACs pulled in... :D

    Obama would have done MUCH better if he had taken the moral high road...

    Problem is, Obama can't FIND the moral high road anymore...

    Michale.....

  13. [13] 
    dsws wrote:

    "You can't run a country by a book of religion.
    Not by a lump or a heap or a smidgen."

    If only. Certainly you shouldn't.

  14. [14] 
    dsws wrote:

    How many Dem voters, after all, really wanted to see Obama fight the election with one hand tied behind his back?

    That's not what counts. If it were truly a matter of absolute moral imperative, we would at least be uncomfortable about it. But there's no tension at all between saying the rules ought to be changed, and playing to win under the rules you have.

  15. [15] 
    Michale wrote:

    But there's no tension at all between saying the rules ought to be changed, and playing to win under the rules you have

    There SHOULD be...

    For people with "principles" I mean...

    Michale....

  16. [16] 
    Michale wrote:

    Then we find that the head of MM has a security detail that carries illegal CCWs to protect the principal from "right wing snipers"....

    That SHOULD read....

    Then we find that the head of MM has a security detail that carries illegal CCWs to protect the principle from "right wing snipers"....

    Don't know many school administrators who need a detail. :D

    Michale.....

  17. [17] 
    Chris1962 wrote:

    Chris: Off topic, but I want to get your read on this: http://www.rasmussenreports.com/public_content/politics/obama_administration/obama_approval_index_history What do you believe the drop in approval is owed to? The obvious would be gasoline prices, but are you seeing Iran, or the the Afghanistan Koran-burning incident, having anything to do with it?

    And you know what I find very curious about these results? Look at the "strongly disapprove" number. It's cut in half, in one day. What the heck does that mean?

  18. [18] 
    nypoet22 wrote:

    CB,

    those numbers really are weird. the sudden drop in "strongly disapprove" makes very little sense. i'd guess there's something off about the sampling or methodology. rasmussen generally tends to over-sample conservatives, so i'd look to other polls to see if the results are mirrored elsewhere or just an aberration.

    CW,

    well-argued case. i also liked your last post, on the plate tectonics of the culture wars. little by little, social issues are moving to the left, in spite of the ongoing backlash. even dick cheney realizes it.

    http://thecaucus.blogs.nytimes.com/2009/06/01/cheney-reasserts-stance-on-gay-marriages/

    as darth dick himself says, “I think, you know, freedom means freedom for everyone.” in the case of birth control, the backlash is so far behind the continental drift that even most republicans seem to now be backing away from the right to deny coverage based on the employer's religious beliefs. i like how you appropriated and expanded my point about HIV treatment, too.

    ~joshua

  19. [19] 
    dsws wrote:

    That SHOULD read....

    Then we find that the head of MM has a security detail that carries illegal CCWs to protect the principle from "right wing snipers"

    No it shouldn't. All meanings relating to "person #1" are spelled "principal", and in particular that's the spelling used for the person protected by a bodyguard.

    For example, from Wikipedia, "In addition to these weapons, a bodyguard team may also have more specialist weapons to aid them in maintaining the safety of their principal". And from http://www.statewidetrainingacademy.com/Level_IV_PPO_Course.html, "A bodyguard is a person who protects someone (known as their principal) from personal assault, kidnapping, assassination, loss of confidential information, or other threats."

    Look at the "strongly disapprove" number. It's cut in half, in one day. What the heck does that mean?

    It's a typo. If you go to the "Daily Presidential Tracking Poll Analysis" link at the bottom of the page, it mentions 41% "strongly disapprove".

  20. [20] 
    Michale wrote:

    No it shouldn't. All meanings relating to "person #1" are spelled "principal", and in particular that's the spelling used for the person protected by a bodyguard.

    I knew that.. :D

    Thanx for the correction...

    Michale

  21. [21] 
    Chris1962 wrote:

    nypoet: rasmussen generally tends to over-sample conservatives...

    They actually don't oversample. They're following a "likely voters" demographic model, is all, which calls for more conservative/right-leaners because they're the likely voters in this country. So there's always gonna be more of them represented in any properly conducted Likely Voters poll, just like there's always gonna be more left-leaners in a "registered voters" poll, since there are more registered Dems than Republicans.

    But I agree that it could be nothing more than an anomaly — although, if that's the case, I don't why Rasmussen wouldn't have caught and checked it. It leapt right out at me, like "What the...?" But I guess tomorrow's poll will give an indication of what's up. And three days from now will surely tell the tale.

  22. [22] 
    Chris1962 wrote:

    Chris: Want to get a lap dance? Well, you'll have to wait the mandatory 48 hours, sir.

    From the too-much-information file... http://www.nypost.com/p/news/national/renowned_physicist_hawking_regular_usOh44cqUIkishSkhXbdXI

  23. [23] 
    Michale wrote:

    Imagine if Ron Paul announced a national campaign called ‘Whites for Ron Paul’ – he’d be vilified as a racist. And yet Barack Obama has done the equivalent of precisely that with his launch of ‘African Americans for Obama’.
    http://www.prisonplanet.com/obama-plays-race-card-calls-on-churches-to-support-campaign.html

    I am SOOOOO glad that Obama has moved us past the idea that race is ohh sooo important.... :^/

    Michale.....

  24. [24] 
    Michale wrote:

    'US to announce aerial blockade on Syria'

    US readies for possibility of intervention without UN resolution, Asharq Al-Awsat reports, citing US military official; plan to include humanitarian aid to Syrian refugees on Turkey's border

    http://www.ynetnews.com/articles/0,7340,L-4194506,00.html

    I think it's safe to say that President Obama has started more wars and military actions than all previous NOBEL Peace Prize winners combined...

    Michale.....

  25. [25] 
    Michale wrote:

    From the too-much-information file... http://www.nypost.com/p/news/national/renowned_physicist_hawking_regular_usOh44cqUIkishSkhXbdXI

    The Lifestyle's reach is wide and varied...

    That's why it's soo fun... :D

    Michale.....

  26. [26] 
    Michale wrote:
  27. [27] 
    dsws wrote:

    I don't why Rasmussen wouldn't have caught and checked it. It leapt right out at me, like "What the...?"

    If you know that only the last digit is changing, it's easy not to notice a typo in the first.

  28. [28] 
    dsws wrote:

    They actually don't oversample. They're following a "likely voters" demographic model, is all, which calls for more conservative/right-leaners because they're the likely voters in this country.

    The right does have better GOTV than the left, so elections and likely-voter polls both skew well to the right of the actual center of public opinion.

    I think you're also correct that it's a matter of models, not samples. They sample each demographic group well enough to get good numbers to plug into the model, then the model puts the numbers together. So sampling more or fewer people one group or another will just get a more accurate or less accurate number for those groups, rather than biasing the results.

    But my impression (I haven't really checked out the numbers) is that Rasmussen's likely-voter model comes out somewhat to the right of other likely-voter models and of election results.

  29. [29] 
    Michale wrote:

    As far as why it is utterly moronic to bow to the mob and apologize for every transgression.....

    http://www.foxnews.com/opinion/2012/02/27/obama-bows-to-mob/

    ..... Michael Goodwin says it best...

    Perhaps Obama will find time to apologize to the families of the two murdered soldiers and to those of two more officers killed Saturday. Or are their lives less valuable than a few scraps of paper?

    Apparently, President Obama thinks so... :(

    Michale.....

  30. [30] 
    Chris1962 wrote:

    dsws: The right does have better GOTV than the left, so elections and likely-voter polls both skew well to the right of the actual center of public opinion.

    The Right has better turnout, is all. The Dems have a decades-old problem with turning out two of its most important voting blocs: minorities and youths (or yutes, as cousin Vinny would say). And I don't know what your personal definisiton of "the actual center of public opinion" is, but the country leans Right, with conservatives outnumbering liberals, two-to-one (and outnumbering moderates, as well).

    Meanwhile, it looks like Rasmussen caught and corrected the error. http://www.rasmussenreports.com/public_content/politics/obama_administration/obama_approval_index_history But O's down to 45% percent now. So what do we think this is owed to? Gas prices? Iran? The ill-fated Afghanistan apology? All of the above?

  31. [31] 
    Michale wrote:

    (or yutes, as cousin Vinny would say).

    "What is a 'ute'??"
    -Fred Gwynne, MY COUSIN VINNY

    :D

    Gas prices? Iran? The ill-fated Afghanistan apology? All of the above?

    Pretty much All Of The Above....

    The President ALWAYS gets the blame for high gas prices.. The Left castigated Bush unmercifully over $1.68 a gallon gas...

    Of course, NOW the Left says, "The President can't control the price of gas..."

    Iran?? Obama looking pretty foolish on Iran. He blazed into office thinking HE could make things right, just by talking to Iran... Once again (as with Counter Terrorism) Obama finds out that Bush had it right....

    Don't EVEN get me started on the Koran Apology??? You have to look at the psychology... Those who would be accepting of the US's apology are the ones who really don't give a rat's ass about the burning of the Koran...

    The one's who are rioting and butchering innocent people are merely INFLAMED by the apology, as it validates their rage...

    In other words, the people who the apology would have the most positive effect on are the people who really don't care... For the people who are burning and murdering, the apology just egged them on....

    For a real smart person, Obama can be pretty stupid about some things..

    "You are the dumbest smart person I have EVER met!!!"
    -Will Smith, I ROBOT

    Michale

  32. [32] 
    Michale wrote:

    Interesting factoid here..

    In ALL the administrations prior to President Obama's, the Espionage Act has been used THREE times since 1917 (the year it was enacted) to prosecute federal workers who talk to reporters in a "whistle-blower" situation...

    Since Obama has been President, it's been used TWICE as much to prosecute whistle blowers....

    In almost a century (95 years), US Administrations have only prosecuted whistle-blowers 3 times...

    The Obama Administration has done it SIX times in THREE years!!???

    http://www.nytimes.com/2012/02/27/business/media/white-house-uses-espionage-act-to-pursue-leak-cases-media-equation.html?_r=3&ref=todayspaper

    That is EXCLUDING the Bradley Manning case... Manning, incidentally, has been nominated for the Nobel Peace Price.. Go figger...

    Are we seeing any red lines here????

    Michale.....

  33. [33] 
    dsws wrote:

    And I don't know what your personal definisiton of "the actual center of public opinion" is

    On any single-parameter measure of public opinion (i.e., how far left or right people are, by some criterion, whether numerical or only ordinal) the most relevant measure of the "center" is the median. Numerical measures can have any monotonic function applied to them, and they still describe the same real-world information, just on a different scale. Such changes of scale will alter the results of numerical measures of central tendency such as the arithmetic mean. In the absence of a sound reason for preferring one scale over another, we're left with the median as a meaningful criterion and numerical measures reflecting the arbitrary choice of scale.

    If those on one side of median are included in a sub-population at a higher rate than those on the other, the median of the sub-population will be farther that direction than the median of the whole population.

    The right has better GOTV. Therefore the median voter is to the right of the median citizen.

    That is in no way altered by the fact that the median citizen of the US self-identifies far to the right of most other first-world countries, or far to the right of where they did in some recent decades.

  34. [34] 
    Chris1962 wrote:

    dsws: Well, all I know is that the country leans Right, according to the latest Gallup reports.

  35. [35] 
    Chris Weigant wrote:

    Michale [12] -

    Hey, I tried to honestly self-examine how I picked the MDDOTW winners, since you asked. I didn't take offense at the question at all, it made me curious, so I answered it. Don't sweat it.

    Chris1962 [17] -

    You're going to have to be more specific. What day are you talking about? I think maybe there was a typo on the site which they've now fixed (?)... all I see is the "strong disapproval" number staying pretty much the same, around 40% or so.

    joshua [18] -

    Yep, should have given you credit, sorry for the omission. I was answering a flood of comments over at HP this weekend, and NOBODY had an answer for "why shouldn't businesses be allowed to refuse to buy health insurance for AIDS or even STDs?" It is an excellent question.

    Chris1962 [21] -

    Rasmussen, two elections ago, did oversample conservatives -- their poll numbers were around 3-5% too far Republican. But last election, they must have adjusted their sampling, because they were pretty close to where the election turned out. There's still a lot of people who remember the "two elections ago" standard, though. Just by way of explanation.

    Michale [29] -

    See today's column. I thought it was just you getting upset over this, until I watched the Sunday political shows.

    Chris1962 [30] -

    I would say gas prices, mostly. Look for a new Obama Poll Watch column, next Monday...

    :-)

    -CW

  36. [36] 
    dsws wrote:

    Well, all I know is that the country leans Right

    If something leans, that means the top is farther that way than the bottom. So you're saying that the top of the US is to the right of the bottom?

    Silliness aside, what do you take "leans right" to mean? In particular, right of what? It can't exactly be right of itself.

  37. [37] 
    Michale wrote:

    "why shouldn't businesses be allowed to refuse to buy health insurance for AIDS or even STDs?" I

    It's a great question... I think... :D I am a little confused..

    Are you saying that health insurance companies should or should not be allowed to refuse certain kinds of services??

    Or..

    Are you saying that businesses should or should not be allowed to chose which plans they make available to their employees??

    I am cornfused...

    Michale....

  38. [38] 
    Michale wrote:

    ACLU, CAIR call for probe into W.H. funding for Muslim surveillance
    http://www.politico.com/politico44/2012/02/aclu-cair-call-for-probe-into-wh-funding-for-muslim-115699.html

    Maybe 4 more years of Obama might not be so bad... :D

    I mean think about it..

    If a GOP president tried stuff like Obama has, he would be tarred and feathered and attacked unmercifully from the Left..

    But, since it is a DEM president doing it, the Left just goes along with it without saying a word...

    Now, if we could just get Obama to smarten up on Economic issues and not using the men and women who CREATED the problem to FIX the problem, he might just be an ideal president. :D

    Michale.....

  39. [39] 
    Michale wrote:

    Now, if we could just get Obama to smarten up on Economic issues and not using the men and women who CREATED the problem to FIX the problem, he might just be an ideal president. :D

    And quite apologizing for every burp and fart committed by Americans...

    Michale.....

  40. [40] 
    Chris1962 wrote:

    dsws: Silliness aside, what do you take "leans right" to mean? In particular, right of what? It can't exactly be right of itself.

    Right of center. We've got self-described lefties, centerists and righties in this country, with centrists leaning either left or right.

    "A USA Today/Gallup poll asked Americans to rate their own ideology -- and the ideology of the eight major presidential candidates -- on a 5-point scale with 1 being very liberal and 5 being very conservative. Americans' mean score on this scale is 3.3, meaning the average American is slightly to the right of center ideologically . . . Overall, 42% of Americans in the Dec. 15-18 poll describe themselves as very conservative or conservative, 19% as very liberal or liberal, and 37% as moderate . . . A majority of Americans, 57%, perceive Obama to be liberal, with 23% describing his views as moderate and 15% as conservative....." http://www.gallup.com/poll/151814/Americans-Huntsman-Romney-Paul-Closest-Ideologically.aspx

  41. [41] 
    nypoet22 wrote:

    michale,

    i was making a slippery slope argument about the employer's right to deny insurance coverage for birth control on religious grounds. if they can deny coverage for birth control, can't they also deny coverage for medication to treat STD's or HIV? if you engage in "immoral" behavior of your own volition, why should the rest of the insurance pool finance your mistake? where do you draw the distinction? just how many medical decisions are religiously oriented employers and their insurers allowed to usurp from their employees and their doctors?

    CB,

    i reject the entire argument on the grounds that the "left-right" continuum no longer holds much meaning. the main political divide in this country isn't between liberals and conservatives, it's between the regular humans who work for a living and the uber-rich with their government lackeys. both classes exist on the left and the right, and nowhere is this real divide evident than in the field of education. all the money on both sides of the political spectrum is lined up against teachers, and for the most part the unions only pretend to put up a fight.

    http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/02/24/michelle-rhees-backers-in_n_1300146.html

  42. [42] 
    nypoet22 wrote:

    nowhere is this real divide more evident than in the field of education. pardon the omission.

  43. [43] 
    Michale wrote:

    and for the most part the unions only pretend to put up a fight.

    As I have always said..

    Whereas Unions USED to be part of the solution, by and large they have, in there here and now, become part of the problem..

    Michale.....

  44. [44] 
    dsws wrote:

    Right of center.

    What center? What can "center" mean, if almost everyone is supposedly leaning (whatever that means) to the right of it?

    Are you saying that the center of the distribution people's actual positions (by whatever statistical measure of central tendency, on whatever criteria of "left/right") is to the right of where people imagine the center of others' opinions to be?

    That's plausible. The fringes tend toward laager mentality, imagining that their enemies run everything. And the fringe-of-the-fringe on the right has been utterly triumphant for thirty years. They've got a good thing going (from their point of view), and they're not going to risk undermining it by changing their style. There's some laager mentality on the left, too, but it's a much better fit with the right, and of course the far right really does control the ruling Party.

  45. [45] 
    nypoet22 wrote:

    Whereas Unions USED to be part of the solution, by and large they have, in there here and now, become part of the problem..

    depends which problem you mean. the economic divide between union leadership and the rank and file does make them part of some problems. however, removing a union entirely or stripping it of its core functions, as wisconsin's governor and right to work (right to fire) laws try to do, creates bigger problems than it solves.

  46. [46] 
    dsws wrote:

    between the regular humans who work for a living and the uber-rich with their government lackeys

    That's the definition of left/right.

    Liberal isn't the same as left. Conservative isn't the same as right.

    Liberals believe in liberty even for the rich and powerful. (We don't think the liberty of the rich and powerful is usually in any danger, but in principle we're for it.) One can seek to conserve a traditional power structure that includes some protections of some liberty. (Traditional power structures are normally mostly about advancing the interests of those who have been in power, regardless of the effect on anyone's liberty. But where protection for liberty has been traditional, the conservative thing to do is to conserve it.)

    Of course, conservatives are well-nigh extinct in this country. We're overrun with right-wing radicals, in whom Edmund Burke wouldn't see much to distinguish them from the left-wing radicals of revolutionary France.

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