The Obsolete Man

obsolete man

Watching The Twilight Zone 1961 episode The Obsolete Man made me think of the death panels that are sure to exist under the government-run health care system that Obama is panting to sign into law. You can watch the video of the entire episode [about 25 minutes, after an annoying 30-second ad] by clicking the image below:

twilight zone

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The Hockey Stick Trick Legal Troubles

This is from Climategate: Michael Mann’s Very Unhappy New Year by James Delingpole writing the U.K. Telegraph:

As I said yesterday, one of our jobs this year is to wipe the complacent smiles off the smug faces of the lobbyists, “experts”, “scientists”, politicians and activists pushing AGW.

This is why I am so glad to report that Michael Mann – creator of the incredible Hockey Stick curve and one of the scientists most heavily implicated in the Climategate scandal – is about to get a very nasty shock. When he turns up to work on Monday, he’ll find that all 27 of his colleagues at the Earth System Science Center at Penn State University have received a rather tempting email inviting them to blow the whistle on anyone they know who may have been fraudulently misusing federal grant funds for climate research.

Under US law, regardless of whether or not a prosecution results, the whistleblower stands to make very large sums of money: it is based on a percentage of the total government funds which have been misused, in this case perhaps as much as $50 million. (Hat tip: John O’Sullivan of the wonderful new campaigning site

See my previous post: The Amazing Hockey Stick Trick

See also: Attention Penn State: Top Fraud Attorney Seeks Climategate Whistleblowers

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Study in Body Language

Obama and Biden. . . confer?


I wonder if Plugs Biden has a clue what is going on here.

In this better image from Instapundit it is clear that Obama’s eyes are not closed. It wasn’t the flash from the camera that created his expression.

eyes nto closed

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Obama and His Pals Attack Rasmussen

A story at Politico reports that Democrats are on the attack against the Rasmussen polling firm. The results shown in the my post just below this one are what has them upset. They claim Rasmussen’s polling firm is biased against Democrats, frames its questions in ways that elicit answers tending to favor Republicans, uses faulty methods of polling, and relies on unrepresentative samples for its polling results. They also say Rasmussen simply conducts too many polls. Many other polling firms will conduct 2 or 3 polls per month. Rasmussen’s daily tracking poll is a 3-day running average. Therefore, Rasmussen is polling almost constantly and producing a completed poll every three days, on average.

Politico reports Rasmussen’s response to the Democrat charges:

Rasmussen is quick to point out the accuracy of his surveys — noting how close his firm was to predicting the final outcome in this fall’s New Jersey governor’s race. (Rasmussen’s final survey in the race showed Republican Chris Christie edging out Gov. Jon Corzine 46 percent to 43 percent. Christie beat Corzine 48 percent to 45 percent on Election Day.) And he argues that he was among the first pollsters to show Obama narrowing the gap with Hillary Clinton in the 2008 Democratic presidential primary.

Last year, the progressive website’s pollster ratings, based on the 2008 presidential primaries, awarded Rasmussen the third-highest mark for its accuracy in predicting the outcome of the contests. And Rasmussen’s final poll of the 2008 general election — showing Obama defeating Arizona Sen. John McCain 52 percent to 46 percent — closely mirrored the election’s outcome.

Rasmussen, for his part, explained that his numbers are trending Republican simply because he is screening for only those voters most likely to head to the polls — a pool of respondents, he argues, that just so happens to bend more conservative this election cycle.

Polling all adults — a method used by Gallup, another polling firm that conducts a daily tracking poll of Obama — Rasmussen acknowledged, is “always going to yield a better result for Democrats.”

Here are the reasons I believe the Democrats are shooting the messenger because they don’t like the message:

  • Rasmussen’s polling sample is larger, 1,500 likely voters, than any other polling firm. That means his margin of error is smaller by at least one percentage point, and sometimes even more, up to 2 points.
  • Rasmussen polls “likely voters” as opposed to all adults. This makes its poll results more accurate in predicting election results. A sample of all adults will include many who will not be voting on election day. It matters little what they think if they don’t vote, except to the extent they influence family and friends who do vote, but that would be impossible to measure.
  • UPDATE: Bill Kristol agrees with this analysis today in The Weekly Standard:
    Generally, because Rasmussen has a likely voter universe and polls so much, he seems to catch trends earlier — and other polls eventually move toward him. If you assume likely voters pay more attention to politics and tend to move first, paying attention to them will allow you to see trends early. That’s certainly been the case on Obama’s job approval, where Rasmussen saw the downturn before everyone else. Rasmussen still has Obama’s approval about 5 percentage points lower than other surveys, and that’s due to his universe consisting only of likely voters. And while it’s legitimate to say that it’s as useful to know the approval rating of the president among all Americans as among likely voters, if you’re interested in the 2010 results, history would suggest the likely voter numbers are more likely to be helpful.

    And that’s why serious people in Washington pay attention to Rasmussen’s polls.

  • The Democrats claim that Rasmussen’s polling of likely voters causes them to miss a lot of young and minority potential respondents makes no sense if it is election results that the polls are trying to predict. A poll of likely voters is always going to miss a lot of unlikely voters. That’s the point. Young people do tend to favor Democrats but they don’t vote very much. So who cares? Besides, voter turnout varies considerably from election to election. In the 2008 election young people and minorities turned out in fairly high numbers.
  • The proof is in the pudding. Rasmussen has outpaced all other polls for its accuracy of election results.
  • Rasmussen has always been an independent pollster. Neither Scott Rasmussen nor his firm have ever been a campaign pollster or consultant for a candidate seeking office. The independence of the Rasmussen firm seems evident because its polls in the past have often shown bad numbers for Republicans. In fact, Rasmussen has a recent poll which shows the Republican party in last place in a hypothetical three-party race among Republicans, Democrats and a party of Tea Party protesters. In that poll from December 7, 2009 Rasmussen reports that “…in a three-way Generic Ballot test, the latest Rasmussen Reports national telephone survey finds Democrats attracting 36% of the vote. The Tea Party candidate picks up 23%, and Republicans finish third at 18%. Another 22% are undecided. if Rasmussen were biased in favor of Republicans he sure didn’t try to cover up the public’s continuing skepticism of Republicans.
  • Finally, the Democrat charge that Rasmussen polls too much is silly. They don’t explain how that would skew results. They don’t explain it because they can’t.
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    It’s The Trend That Matters and The Trend Is Down

    Rasmussen says, “…people sometimes get so caught up in the day-to-day fluctuations that they miss the bigger picture. To look at the longer-term trends, Rasmussen Reports compiles the numbers on a full-month basis, and the results can be seen in the graphics below.”
    obama fall

    The presidential approval index is the difference between those who strongly disapprove and those who strongly approve of the president’s performance. The graph above shows a steady decline on a monthly basis from a +23 in January, 2009 to a −15 for the month of December, 2009. Obama’s daily tracking approval index is currently −18 and was as low as −21 earlier in December. The approval index is important because it measures intensity and it is those whose opinions are mostly intensely held who turn out to vote.

    The number of those who somewhat disapprove of Obama’s performance in December was 53%, with 41% who strongly disapprove. 45% somewhat approve while only 26% strongly approve. Thus, the greatest intensity is on the disapproval side with a difference of +12% of those who somewhat disapprove over those who strongly disapprove, while on the approval side the difference is +20% between those who somewhat approve and those who strongly approve.

    The graph below shows the trend for the year in the total percentage of likely voters who somewhat approve of Obama’s performance from a high of 62% in January and ending up at 46% in December.

    trend for year

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    The Lion In Winter

    The Snows of Scotland

    It’s cold in Britain. In fact, according to this story in the Telegraph, Britain is facing its coldest winter in 100 years. Expert predictions of a “barbecue summer” were proved wrong by record rain and cool weather in July, and now it seems official predictions of a mild winter were wildly inaccurate as well.

    The global warming fraud is being so often exposed by mother nature as well as the East Anglia emails, it may reach a point where we’ll have to start feeling sorry for the hoaxers.

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    The Rule of Law

    My post of December 14, 2009 on this subject ended with a question mark.

    Charles Rowley has some thoughts today on the rule of law and how it relates to liberty. It’s more of a prerequisite than a relationship. Without a rule of law the rule of the strongest applies.

    Rowley’s quotations and points are historical and right on but raise a question. How do we get the current crop of judges of this country to go along with this idea?

    [I know, I know. Many, perhaps most do, but the ones who make it up as they go along are too numerous]

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    That Was Then, This is Now

    At 2:08 minutes into this video of president-elect Obama’s weekly radio address heard on January 3, 2009, he says, the “No. 1 goal of my plan … is to create three million new jobs, more than 80 percent of them in the private sector.”

    Here is a graph from the U.S. Dept. of Labor of the number of jobs over the last ten years which shows what actually happened (click graph to enlarge):

    From January, 2009 when Obama gave this speech through November, 2009 the number of private sector nonfarm jobs declined by 3,337,000.

    How’s that Hope and Change working out? Did we hear wrong, did he say Hoax and Chains?

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