May 25, 2004
War and Politics
My reaction to Bush's speech before the U.S. Army War College is now up over at The American Spectator online.
May 18, 2004
About Those Weapons
Though the story is being downplayed, the discovery of a few chemical weapons in Iraq is a big deal-- not just for what it says about the Bush administration's case for war, but what it says about the threat that missing WMDs still pose. So I argue in my newest American Spectator online column.
May 17, 2004
Fools and Their Money
All over the left-leaning blogosphere-- Eschaton, Talking Points Memo, DailyKos, Wonkette-- ads are running for Jim Newberry, candidate for Missouri's 7th congressional district, promising to "Boot Blunt." The goal is 100 $5 donations, and according to the Eschaton ad (the numbers vary from blog to blog), Newberry is a quarter of the way there as of this writing.
Some pertinent stats on Missouri's 7th, from the Almanac of American Politics: Bush won in 2000 with 62% of the vote. Roy Blunt won with 74% in 2000 and 75% in 2002.
Internet fundraising creates increased efficiency for candidates seeking donors, but this-- not the first example of a guaranteed loser using blog ads to reel in small donors who don't know the district-- suggests that it may, for non-discriminating donors, actually reduce the net efficiency of their political donations.
May 12, 2004
I'm on the Cover of Reason!
Sort of. This just came in the mail today:
The graphic is an aerial photograph of my neighborhood, with my townhouse in the middle. (I have a hunch that, if I knew how to use my scanner a little better, the picture would be much clearer; it certainly is on the actual magazine.) This is one of 40,000 personalized covers that Reason printed this month for subscribers. You can read a little bit more about this, and hear an interview with Editor-in-Chief Nick Gillespie, here.
May 07, 2004
Onscreen, Mr. Data
Lefty ex-righty David Brock's new enterprise, Media Matters for America, is a strange one indeed. It proves, as James Taranto put it the other day, that "liberals are willing to spend $2 million funding a Web site that does nothing more than expose conservative commentators for engaging in conservative commentary." The peculiarity doesn't end there, though.
A poll commissioned by the new site purports to show that a plurality of the public thinks conservatives have more influence than liberals in the mass media. If the poll is right, that has a number of interesting implications, some less obvious than others. The problem is that what Media Matters calls the "complete report" (pdf) on the poll is nothing of the kind.
It doesn't show demographic breakdown within the sample, or how many survey participants self-identified as "conservative," "liberal," etc. It doesn't include a list of questions in the order they were asked, and doesn't include the exact wording for most questions. Instead, the "complete report" is an analysis of the poll and a presentation of some, but not all, of its data.
That all makes it impossible to independently interpret the poll meaningfully. And since this poll will "serve as a Media Matters for America baseline for examining changes over time in the public's media choices and attitudes," it's going to be hard to take very seriously much of the analysis that comes out of Brock's outfit.