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For anyone who snickers about the Great Orange Satan from time to time, just ask yourself this question: “Would a large right-wing blog ever come clean like this?”:

I have just published a report by three statistics wizards showing, quite convincingly, that the weekly Research 2000 State of the Nation poll we ran the past year and a half was likely bunk. […]

We contracted with Research 2000 to conduct polling and to provide us with the results of their surveys. Based on the report of the statisticians, it’s clear that we did not get what we paid for. We were defrauded by Research 2000, and while we don’t know if some or all of the data was fabricated or manipulated beyond recognition, we know we can’t trust it. Meanwhile, Research 2000 has refused to offer any explanation. Early in this process, I asked for and they offered to provide us with their raw data for independent analysis — which could potentially exculpate them. That was two weeks ago, and despite repeated promises to provide us that data, Research 2000 ultimately refused to do so. At one point, they claimed they couldn’t deliver them because their computers were down and they had to work out of a Kinkos office. Research 2000 was delivered a copy of the report early Monday morning, and though they quickly responded and promised a full response, once again the authors of the report heard nothing more.

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Lawlz via C&L:

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Sometimes I forget just how mindfuckingly retarded Sarah Palin is.  E.g.:

“…I think Obama is kind of flirting with also, some government overreach. We are a rule of laws, not a rule of presidential fiats that I think President Obama would rather have sometimes, it seems.”

I share digby’s confusion:
Honestly, who would actually pay money to hear this incomprehensible, babbling moron pretend to speak?

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Via Reason, Las Vegas Weekly conducted a survey of “the personalities who define Vegas,” and judged Penn Jillette to be #1.

Let’s talk about your TV show Bullshit! Will you ever run out of theories to debunk and people to expose? If you build a kingdom on bullshit, you’re not in danger of running out of it. Our producer says that Teller and I can take any subject in the news and do a credible show on it. Sure, we like to have a villain, something to call “bullshit” on, but if we don’t, we can depart from that model.

Are there any groups you won’t go after? We haven’t tackled Scientology because Showtime doesn’t want us to. Maybe they have deals with individual Scientologists—I’m not sure. And we haven’t tackled Islam because we have families.

Meaning, you won’t attack Islam because you’re afraid it’ll attack back … Right, and I think the worst thing you can say about a group in a free society is that you’re afraid to talk about it—I can’t think of anything more horrific.

Of course, it might please some Islamic fundamentalists to hear you say that you won’t talk about them because you’re afraid It might, but you have to say what you believe, even it if pleases somebody you disagree with—that issue comes up all the time in moral discourse.

You do go after Christians, though … Teller and I have been brutal to Christians, and their response shows that they’re good fucking Americans who believe in freedom of speech. We attack them all the time, and we still get letters that say, “We appreciate your passion. Sincerely yours, in Christ.” Christians come to our show at the Rio and give us Bibles all the time. They’re incredibly kind to us. Sure, there are a couple of them who live in garages, give themselves titles and send out death threats to me and Bill Maher and Trey Parker. But the vast majority are polite, open-minded people, and I respect them for that.

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How often have you seen a news article about a poll and smacked your face in surprise at the always reliable 20-25% of respondents who believe in something truly gob-smacking?

Well, the Twenty-Five Percenters are at it again:

Long after the question of President Obama’s birthplace should have been put to rest, a new poll shows that nearly one in four Americans believe the “birther” lunacy that the president was born outside the country. The Vanity Fair/60 Minutes poll found that 24 percent of respondents think Obama was born outside the U.S., with six percent saying he was born in Kenya, another two percent choosing Indonesia, and the remainder being unsure of his exact foreign origins.
When you think about it, it’s pretty scary to realize that something on the order of at least 60 million people in our country have the mental faculties of a marmot.

And lest you think this is just a phenomenon of the unwashed masses:

Astoundingly, at least 11 Republican congressman endorsed the fringe [Birther] theory, perhaps contributing to its perseverance.

I just got done watching the HBO documentary Gasland.  I had to turn it off because I was crying too much and my head started to hurt really bad.  Here’s a summary of what the movie explores:
It is happening all across America—rural landowners wake up one day to find a lucrative offer from an energy company wanting to lease their property. Reason? The company hopes to tap into a reservoir dubbed the “Saudi Arabia of natural gas.” Halliburton developed a way to get the gas out of the ground—a hydraulic drilling process called “fracking”—and suddenly America finds itself on the precipice of becoming an energy superpower.

But what comes out of the ground with that “natural” gas? How does it affect our air and drinking water? GASLAND is a powerful personal documentary that confronts these questions with spirit, strength, and a sense of humor. When filmmaker Josh Fox receives his cash offer in the mail, he travels across 32 states to meet other rural residents on the front lines of fracking. He discovers toxic streams, ruined aquifers, dying livestock, brutal illnesses, and kitchen sinks that burst into flame. He learns that all water is connected and perhaps some things are more valuable than money.

Even as I’m typing up this blog post, I am still crying.  I want to lock every last one of the government-hating teabagger crowd into a room with this movie and scream at them, “What the fuck is wrong with you!?”.

I want to lock Dick Cheney in a house right next to a natural gas drilling operation and force him to drink the water that has made all of the people in this movie sick and not let him out until the poisons have fully leeched into his system, given him seventeen different types of cancer and caused his brain tissues to melt away.

If anyone can watch this movie and not come away with the profound sense that we, as a country, are permanently and irredeemably fucked, I really don’t know what to say.

We really are permanently and irredeemably fucked.  I don’t even know why I bother to fight it anymore.

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Ignorance really is shaping up to be a front-runner for TIME’s Person of the Year:

“If I were given carte blanche to write about any topic I could, it would be about how much our ignorance, in general, shapes our lives in ways we do not know about. Put simply, people tend to do what they know and fail to do that which they have no conception of. In that way, ignorance profoundly channels the course we take in life. And unknown unknowns constitute a grand swath of everybody’s field of ignorance,” - David Dunning.
Update: xkcd on the topic (h/t to dancingfield):
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