2 September 2004

Gallup insights into election

The Gallup organization has gleaned eleven insights into the electorate from its recent rounds of polls.  Here are some highlights that I find socio-politically fascinating:

4. Moderate Republicans constitute a relatively small but important target segment of voters in this election.

Moderate Republicans (that is, Republicans who describe their
political views as “moderate” or “liberal”) constitute about a third of
the group of Republican likely voters in Gallup’s recent polling, and
are somewhat cross-pressured by the conflict between their party
affiliation and their ideology. Gallup polling finds that moderate
Republicans are about three times as likely as conservative Republicans
(25% vs. 9%) to be swing voters (that is, either undecided or willing
to consider changing their vote). Additionally, 13% of moderate
Republicans say they will vote for Kerry, compared with 4% of
conservative Republicans. All of this suggests that moderate
Republicans are less likely to be locked into a vote for the party and
are therefore more susceptible to campaign blandishments from both
sides.

6. Public opinion has turned slightly more supportive of U.S. involvement in Iraq.

Fifty-one percent of Americans now say that the situation in Iraq
was worth going to war over. In early May, that number was 44%.

Similarly, the two most recent Gallup Polls have shown that about
50% of Americans believe that the U.S. involvement in Iraq was not
a mistake. That is up from three polls in late June and early July when
only about 45% thought that sending troops to Iraq was not a mistake,
and the “mistake” number was up to 54%.

Bush is now in his strongest position vis-

Posted in Politicks on 2 September 2004 at 5:56 pm by Nate

Vengeful Mass cop

I ran into my friend Bart last night, and he told me about an
altercation he had with a Mass State cop on his way home last
night.  It doesn’t surprise me, because with only a couple of
exceptions, I have found the police here in the Boston area to be
unhelpful, fairly rude, and capricious in their enforcement of the law.

So Bart was driving home, smoking, and he dropped his cigarette out the
window (which I think he shouldn’t have done, but there you go). 
Statey pulls him over, tells him he shouldn’t have done that, and asks
for his license.  Bart just bought his car about a week and a half
ago, and previous to that, he had his Arizona driver’s license. 
The clerk at the DMV told him he had 30 days to get his out-of-state
license converted to a Mass license.

Statey asks why he has an Arizona license, and Bart responds that he
had been told that DMV said he had 30 days, so he was in the process of
converting it, but the thirty days had not yet expired.  Statey
tells him he’s wrong and that he was supposed to do it the moment he
arrived in state.  Statey then asks Bart if he’s ever been
arrested; Bart responds that he’s been arrested three times, in three
states, for civil disobedience protesting.  Statey orders him out
of the car, calls a tow truck, and has the car towed to an impound
lot.  Ninety-five bucks to get it out, and ninety to convert the
license.  And the clerk at DMV tells him that Statey was wrong,
that he truly did have 30 days to change the license over.  Bart
probably got towed because he’d been arrested for protesting, not
because he dropped a cigarette from his car. 

This is not the first time I have heard or experienced Mass cops do
something like this.  Cops here in the Boston area act like jerks much of the time — they swagger, seems to like
exerting power over people (Like Cartman on South Park: “Respect my
AU-THOR-I-TAY!”), and speak abusively and rudely to many of the people
who address them.  Protecting and serving don’t seem to be on the agenda.

And they’re got some temerity, too.  Recently, the Boston cops
just got a guaranteed 14.5 percent raise over the next three years, but
they thought that still wasn’t enough, and they threatened to walk out
over it.  Who else is getting that much in guaranteed pay in this
economy?  And then, they had the chutzpah to call our house and
ask for donations to the Police Activities League, to support the
purchase of safety equipment for cops.  Use some of the raise, for
heaven’s sake!  Besides, the only reason people give the PAL money
is so that they can obtain a bumper sticker that indiactes they donated, and
thereby avoid the casual abuse of authority that Bart experienced.

No, I’m not against cops.  But I’m against them abusing their
authority in such blatant ways.  When they do this, they show
themselves little better than the criminals out there.

Posted in Day2Day on 2 September 2004 at 12:15 pm by Nate
1 September 2004

Excellent religion coverage

David Kirkpatrick of the New York Times does excellent religion and
culture coverage for the paper, and his stories from the convention
have been well-done and possess an insight into the interaction of
evangelical Christianity and Republiucan politics.  According to yesterday’s edition of the interview show Fresh Air,
he used to be the publishing industry reporter for the Times, and
noticing the trend in “Christian” publishing, he became interested in
their larger culture.

A couple of gems from the story in today’s paper.  In discussing a film that lauds Bush’s faith in office, Kirkpatrick noted:

A recurring theme of the film is that Mr. Bush’s opponents dislike him
mainly because of his forthright faith. “The notion that our leaders
should have God in their life has suddenly become threatening,” a
narrator says.

I oppose Bush.  I don’t oppose him because of the forthrightness
of his faith, but because of what I perceive as his assumption that all
of us share that faith, that we should accept his faith as the sole
justification for public policy, of the hubris that masks as
faith.  I’m ready to discuss faith in the public sphere with
anyone, but I don’t appreciate my president telling me what my faith
demands of me, what it doesn’t demand of me, and how all one needs to
justify an opinion or policy is an appeal to faith.

Mr. Reed also addressed the crowd, recalling Mr. Bush’s response to a
question about his favorite philosopher during the 2000 Republican
primary. “The President said, ‘Jesus Christ,’ ” Mr. Reed recalled. And
amid rousing applause, he repeated Mr. Bush’s distinctively evangelical
follow-up: “The president said, as only he can say, ‘If I have to
explain it to you, then you don’t understand it.’ ”

But he has to explain it to those of us who are not of the same brand
of faith.  How can a Jew, a Catholic, or a Muslim understand
that?  I have to explain evangelical culture and faith to my
family (i.e., BF) and friends all the time, because they don’t
understand it, not having the lived experience of it.  And we need
to expect our public leaders, if they plan to make these appeals to
their faith, to be able to explain that faith adequately in public.

To their credit, evangelicals have focused on the violence against
Christians in Sudan, human slavery and trafficking, and the Middle East
Israel-Palestine conflict.  And there should be more focus on each
of these issues.  I only wish that these Christians would focus on
these issues when they don’t directly affect their interests.  How
about when Muslims are persecuted and killed for their beliefs, as in
India of late?  And is there an interest in Israel beyond the
hoped-for peace in the Holy Land that will purportedly bring about
Christ’s return?  If there is, it’s not clear, and it’s not clear
how their beliefs on these political issues spring from broad faith
rather than narrow group-interest.

Posted in Rayleejun on 1 September 2004 at 11:53 am by Nate

Political hyposcrisy on the other side

Yes, the Democrats have problems, and they are hypocritical at times.

But I’m tired, I have to say, of the Republican message last night that
focused on being left alone to do as you wish, not stifling
opportunity, being the party of freedom, and so forth.

This may be in the economic realm, at least if you’re a
Rockefeller-type Republican.  But the contemporary Republican
party certainly does not believe in freedom, living one’s own life, and
so forth in the social realm.  We’ve heard enough about the gay
rights and abortion plank in the platform to know that they don’t
believe people should make their own moral and ethical decisions and
that they don’t believe in true equality (having ruled out both
marriage and any sort of legal alternative to marriage for gay people
AND deciding that good people may not differ on the difficult question
of fetal life).  But now we see that many of them would dictate
what religion we must believe in, how we must believe in that religion,
and what the consequences of that religion must be.  Read this.

Posted in Politicks on 1 September 2004 at 11:41 am by Nate

Can this actually be true?

that the softball game that W appeared in front of was staged?  If that’s true, that’s f—ing cynical.

Posted in Politicks on 1 September 2004 at 12:28 am by Nate

Where did they get this visual?

Did you see the visual during Laura Bush’s speech?

Her dress completely clashes with the background.  Not only has
the Velvet Mafia gone passive on Laura, it seems to have actually
turned against her.  How else to explain the cacoscopy of turquoise
and the red geometric shapes that look like a bad shower curtain behind
her?

I know I’ve been gone during some prime blogging during this
convention.  Like Dick Cheney, I’ve “had other priorities.” 
But I’ll be back tomorrow!

Posted in Politicks on 1 September 2004 at 12:15 am by Nate