Wednesday, 16 January 2008

THE POLITICAL POLL COMEDY SHOW: MICHIGAN SEGMENT

Ken Berwitz

Well, another primary has been run and we have results to compare to the political polls media were obsessing over.  Let's see how they made out.

We'll forget the Democratic primary because, for reasons cited in the previous blog, two of the three major candidates (this charitably assumes John Edwards to qualify as one) were not on the ballot.

On the Republican side, however, we have 7 polls compiled by www.realclearpolitics.com.  Here is what their final data showed:

-The average of all 7 polls' final data, showed Mitt Romney and John McCain in a dead heat, with less than 1% separating them.  In the real vote, Romney won by 9%.  (Quiet chuckle).

-Three of the seven polls had McCain winning. (Loud chortle)

-One of them, the American Research Group (which is run by Clinton Democrat Stan Greenberg) had McCain winning by 7%.  Its results were just as screwed up in Michigan as they were in New Hampshire, where they had Obama winning by 11% (Gales of laughter).

-Not one of the polls had Romney anywhere near 39%.  The closest, Mason-Dixon - had him at 30%, with everyone else even further off the mark.  Five of the seven polls understated Romney's total by more than 10%.  (On the floor, sides splitting).

So, do you still want to make something of political polls?


ANOTHER EXAMPLE OF WHY I WOULD NEVER VOTE FOR MIKE HUCKABEE

Ken Berwitz

Mike Huckabee, campaigning in Michigan:

"I have opponents in this race who do not want to change the Constitution. But I believe it's a lot easier to change the Constitution than it would be to change the word of the living god. And that's what we need to do -- to amend the Constitution so it's in God's standards rather than try to change God's standards so it lines up with some contemporary view.".

What else do you need to know?


MICHIGAN'S WINNERS: ROMNEY, GIULIANI AND UNCOMMITTED

Ken Berwitz

I don't get many chances to say that someone who just got 3% in a primary was victorious -- or that "no one" who got almost 40% of the vote was also victorious -- but today's the day.

The Michigan primary results are as follows:

Michigan

Democrats  |  Polls | County Results

Candidate

Votes

% of votes

Hillary Clinton

328,151

55%

Uncommitted

236,723

40%

Dennis Kucinich

21,708

4%

Chris Dodd

3,853

1%

Mike Gravel

2,363

0%

Republicans  |  Polls | County Results

Candidate

Votes

% of votes

Mitt Romney

337,847

39%

John McCain

257,521

30%

Mike Huckabee

139,699

16%

Ron Paul

54,434

6%

Fred Thompson

32,135

4%

Rudy Giuliani

24,706

3%

Uncommitted

17,971

2%

Duncan Hunter

2,823

0%

.

Ok, time to explain:

Mitt Romney obviously won the Michigan primary.  He overhauled John McCain (who was favored to win by half the polls), 39% - 30%. 

McCain gave us the political version of the month of March.  March, it is said, comes in like a lion and goes out like a lamb.  McCain started Tuesday as the apparent front-runner and ended it as an also-ran, back in the pack and severely in need of a strong showing in South Carolina to keep going.

But is this an impressive win for Mitt Romney?  Not at all.  He did what, on paper, he should have done;  he won in his home state.  If Romney had lost it would have been all over for him.  Simply put, winning where you are fully expected to win isn't jumping ahead of the pack, it is staying in place.,

Now we come to Giuliani.  He got killed, didn't he?  Just 3% of the Michigan vote.  So why do I call him a winner?  Here's why:

-Mr.Giuliani's entire strategy in this campaign has been to largely ignore the first states -- Iowa, New Hampshire, Michigan, South Carolina -- and concentrate on the major states which come later, and where he has a much larger base of support. 

(Yes, he did campaign a good deal in New Hampshire, but most media recognized that it was not the primo effort he was expending in places like Florida, California, New Jersey, Pennsylvania and New York.)

-The basis for this strategy - and the only way it could realistically work - is that the first states would show mixed results with no clear front-runner emerging.  And that is precisely what has happened.  The three states so far have yielded three different winners so the picture remains completely muddled. 

Illustratively, if John McCain had won last night, thus copping New Hampshire and then Michigan, his momentum would probably generate a win in South Carolina too (he might win there anyway).  That would propel him way ahead of the pack and be something of an end-game for Giuliani's chances.  But no such thing happened, so...enter Giuliani. 

-If the polls are correct, Rudy Giuliani is strong, maybe even leading in every one of the states I mentioned earlier.  Should Mr. Giuliani win a couple of those states and be near the top in the others, he has the potential to fly past everyone else and become the Republican nominee. 

Now let's talk about the Democratic primary, the one neither the Today show nor the New York Times bothered to even mention this morning.

The Democratic primary will not count for delegates, because Michigan went against the DNC by moving its primary earlier than they were asked to.  For this reason (at least for this stated reason) both Barack Obama and John Edwards removed their names from the ballot.  But Hillary Clinton did not.

This means that Ms. Clinton ran against Dennis Kucinich and Mike Gravel who, combined, have fewer supporters than you will find in a medium-sized Transylvanian village.  For all intents and purposes Senator Clinton was running unopposed.

But when the votes were counted, all she could muster was 55% of the vote.  "Uncommitted" - i.e. no one in particular, just someone besides Hillary Clinton - got 40%!!

In other words Hillary Clinton, running virtually unopposed in a dedidedly Democratic state, barely got a majority of the vote. 

Somehow I doubt that result got too many mojito toasts at the victory party.

It is hard to see this as a win for Ms. Clinton.  But maybe "uncommitted" can parlay it into a few endorsements and a run in South Carolina.


THE EU'S HUMANITARIAN UNDERBELLY

Ken Berwitz

I hope large numbers of our media and the Lunatic-left And Mega-moonbat Brigade (LAMBs),  will take time out from bashing our society long enough to read this.  If so, they might have a different perspective on how the USA stacks up versus those oh-so-superior, socially conscious Europeans we invariably are seen as second-best to.  The article comes to us from www.ipsnews.org.:

RIGHTS: 'A Fifth of European Children in Poverty'
By David Cronin

BRUSSELS, Jan 15 (IPS) - Nearly one-fifth of children in the European Union are living in poverty, a new report has concluded.

Yet despite such widespread hardship in one of the most economically advanced parts of the world, the rights of children go largely unrecognised by the EU. Although the Union's treaties, which guide all its law-making activities, contain legal clauses on the protection of animals, they lack any comparable provisions relating to children.

Written for members of the European Parliament (MEPs) by Roberta Angelilli, an Italian centre-right MEP, the report suggests that the legal situation should improve once the Treaty of Lisbon, signed by EU leaders last month, comes into effect as it would oblige the Union's governments to uphold children's rights. But it indicates that such an improvement will have to be consolidated by concerted action on the situation facing children both within the EU and internationally.

It recommends that EU governments should set themselves an objective of ensuring that there is no homelessness among children, that a database be set up on offences against children so that convicted paedophiles will not be able to move from their home country and work in another, and that tougher penalties be introduced for the sexual abuse of minors.

The report also highlights that 5 percent of all asylum-seekers entering the EU are children unaccompanied by adults. No child asylum-seeker should be detained, it says.

Controversially, it advocates a Union-wide ban on the wearing of Islamic headscarves, at least in primary school, "in order to anchor more firmly the right to be a child and to ensure genuine and un-enforced freedom of choice at a later stage."

And it urges the European Commission to introduce new rules allowing victims of child labour in developing countries to sue any European firms that use under-age workers.

Angelilli told the European Parliament Tuesday that children comprise some 30 percent of the EU's 492 million citizens. Her aim, she added, was to "look at the affirmation of positive rights to family and health and education, to amusement, to a clean and protected environment."

Franco Frattini, the European commissioner for justice and security, said he had made children's rights one of his priorities since he took office in 2004. Yet he inferred that this view is not shared by some of the Union's governments.

Although a European telephone 'hotline' has been established to assist children who suffer abuse, more than half of the EU's 27 countries have not introduced it a year after they had committed to do so, Frattini lamented. "This is an initiative that could have been implemented very quickly," he said.

He stated, too, that EU officials "have something on the drawing board" to tackle child labour. There should be "stringent sanctions" against businesses who exploit children, he said.

Scottish Socialist Catherine Stihler argued that the prevalence of child poverty could result in "20 percent of future adults never fulfilling their true potential."

As there was a campaign in 2005 "to make poverty in the developing world history, why not a similar campaign in the EU to make child poverty history?" she asked.

Some representatives of the EU's newest -- and mostly ex-communist -- member states noted that child poverty is especially acute there.

"It is deplorable that almost one-fifth of children live in poverty," said Ona Juknevi-ien, a Lithuanian Liberal. "In Lithuania, half of all adults with one child dependant live in poverty."

Estonian Socialist Katrin Saks said that the liberalisation of economies in eastern Europe had led to a greater "stratification" of their societies.

Pedro Guerreiro, a Portuguese left-wing MEP, suggested that labour reforms that restrain wages and make jobs more precarious have made it harder for parents to meet their children's needs.

His Italian colleague Giusto Catania accused Italy, Belgium and France of detaining unaccompanied child migrants in "degrading conditions".

Meanwhile, MEPs have differed about the remit of the EU's new Fundamental Rights Agency in Vienna. Established in March last year, the agency is still without a director and other specialist staff to fulfil its tasks.

Liberal and Green MEPs have argued that its scope should allow it to explicitly monitor the extent of homophobia in the EU, abuses of privacy, gender discrimination and the plight of Roma gypsies.

But Michael Cashman, an English Labour MEP tasked with preparing the Parliament's official position on the agency, said it would be wrong to overburden it with too many responsibilities. He said that because the agency will examine discrimination based on ethnicity and race, it has already been given the power to assess issues affecting the Roma.

Last week Amnesty International complained that the agency would only be able to work on a limited range of issues under its programme for the next few years. It would have no possibility, Amnesty added, to address major human rights challenges such as those relating to the fight against terrorism.

"The EU human rights policy has effectively run out of steam and is discredited by inadequate responses to human rights violations within its borders," said Dick Oosting, director of the organisation's Brussels office.

Hold the phone!  Isn't this the kind of human rights scandal that the USA is ongoingly accused of -- often by the same people who hold Europe up as a paradigm of social virtue which we should emulate?

You have just gotten a glimpse of the underbelly of those supposedly wonderful, superior European countries.  It has always been there for people to see.  The reason it is probably new to you, however, is that our mainstream media either do not see it (very hard to believe),  or see it but choose that YOU don't and decline to inform you about it (very easy to believe).

What can we learn from this lamentable state of affairs?  We can learn that no country ( the USA included) is perfect or anything close. 

But we can also learn that the more facts which come out about how our social network compares to other countries, even the vaunted Western European ones, the better we look.


MICHAEL NIFONG REVISITED

Ken Berwitz

Did you ever wonder what happened to Michael Nifong, the disgraced DA of Duke Lacrosse infamy?

Well, wonder no more.  Here is what happened, courtesy of www.thesmokinggun.com:

Mike Nifong Bankrupt

Disgraced Duke prosecutor lists $180M in liabilities

 JANUARY 15--Disgraced and disbarred, Mike Nifong is now bankrupt. The former North Carolina prosecutor, whose career imploded with his botched handling of the Duke University rape case, today filed for bankruptcy, listing liabilities in excess of $180 million. A summary schedule from Nifong's Chapter 7 petition can be found below. Almost all of that sum represents legal claims filed against the former Durham County district attorney by members of Duke's 2006 lacrosse team, including the three players who were accused of raping a stripper at a team party. Included among Nifong's assets are a 2003 Honda Accord, about $9000 in personal property, and his $235,000 home. He lists nearly $5000 monthly in pension or retirement income and describes himself, charitably, as retired.

Starting in December 2006 (December 16 and 22 if you care to scroll back and read them), and over succeeding months, I wrote a series of extremely negative blogs about Nifong.  He earned every word of them. 

But at some point we have to remember that getting caught up in the artificial frenzy of media attention, which is what Nifong did, is not a capital crime.  He has become a national laughingstock, he is forever disgraced and he has lost his job. At what point is enough enough?

The Duke Lacrosse players, unfairly accused as they were, have now morphed into poignant victims, and are likely to reach enormously rich settlements for what they went through. 

I don't blame them for the actions they've taken; I would have done the same myself. 

But I can't help thinking that if I were offered the tradeoff of  being accused, attacked and condemned for a few months, in return for then becoming a sympathetic victim and reaping huge financial gains for it, I might have said "Ok, let's go". 

If Reade Seligmann, David Evans and Colin Finnerty were offered such a deal the day of that party, I wonder if they would have taken it too.

Then we have the architect of this fraudulent non-event, Crystal Gail Mangum.  She, so far as I know, has not only gone unpunished but - unless he backed out of his promise - Jesse Jackson is seeing to it that she gets the reward of a free college education.  How's that for pathetic beyond belief?

Michael Nifong, though guilty as charged, is also a victim.  He is a victim of getting carried away with sudden fame, the same as Lance Ito and that pain in the backside attorney William Ginsburg, who was Monica Lewinsky's lawyer and family friend. 

Media started swarming all over him,  he was suddenly a national figure, the networks wanted him on their Sunday talk shows, etc. etc. etc.  Out of nowhere he was suddenly a god.  Like Ito and Ginsburg it took him to a fantasy world and he started doing things he would probably cringe at in a rational state of mind.

I know that in Nifong's case it was also calculating....he used it as a way to gain enough votes for re-election as DA.  I assure you that I do not see him as blameless or anything close.  But how much does he have to lose before the debt is settled?

Does this sound like I feel sorry for Nifong?  If so, fair enough.  At this point, after all that has happened to him already, I have to admit that I do.


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