Archive for May, 2007

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Fighting MSM Spin…With Spin

May 24, 2007

There’s been a lot of buzz around the blogs about a recent Pew Research Poll (pdf) concerning the views of Muslim Americans with regards to terrorism and living in American society.   The results are pretty interesting.   The reactions by various bloggers seem to reveal sort of a glass half empty/full view on the whole thing.  The most talked about statistic in this study is the fact that 26% of US Muslims aged 18-29 view suicide bombings as at least sometimes justified in defense of their faith.   As you might imagine, this kind of stat raised a few eyebrows.  Unfortunately, some blogs, like American Pundit, misread the data:

That’s more than 1/4 of all US Muslims between 18-29 years of age, who support suicide bombings, and say that they are always justified.

As you can see from the results, the 26% is simply the sum of those who feel the tactic is often/sometimes or rarely justified (not always):

pewmuslims.png

Simple mistake?  Maybe. 

Other blogs, like LGF and Ace of Spades, had a problem with the headlines that the various news outlets were using to present the story, and felt that they were downplaying the findings.  From Ace:

Your very professional newsmedia knows better, however. They use their j-school expertise to find the truly important stuff in the poll.

Let’s check the headlines, eh?

USAToday: Poll: Most Muslims seek to adopt American lifestyle

Wow! “Most!” Awesome!

Personally, I’m a little bit more worried about the 26% of young Muslim males who want to kill me, but it’s good to know that “most Muslims” seek to adopt the “American lifestyle.” (Which may or may not involve killing Americans.)

Um, no. That’s some pretty serious spin. Intellectually dishonest, actually. 

While it is a bit unsettling to see any US Muslims say that suicide bombing is justified at all, I think this poll on the whole is encouraging. Given the fact that we haven’t really had any American Muslim suicide bombings in this country, I’d say all the hysterics coming from some of these blogs is more than a tad unwarranted. 

Now, I realize that people on all sides are going to look at this and use it to justify their preconceived notions one way or another.  I guess I’m just calling on my fellow bloggers to show a little more objectivity and not resort to spouting untruths or dramatics when analyzing this data.  These are fellow Americans we are talking about here, after all.  Fellow citizens that, as the USA Today put it, “seek to adopt American lifestyle”.  

Update:  One prominent Muslim reformer reacts to the survey, in a very thoughtful op-ed in the WSJ: How to End ‘Islamophobia’ The latest survey of American Muslims won’t reassure their fellow citizens.

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Great SNL Commercial: Turlington’s Lower Back Tattoo Remover

May 22, 2007

As promised:

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We Aren’t Leaving Iraq Anytime Soon

May 22, 2007

I think I’m finally accepting the reality that this terrible idea that is the Iraq war is really a decades-long commitment, whether I like it or not.  Just look at a few of the headlines that have popped up in the last few days:

Yeah.  Instead of going on a long rant about this, maybe I should just post something a little less depressing….

Comin’ right up.

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Hollywood’s Creativity Keg Is Officially Cashed

May 22, 2007

I don’t know if anyone else noticed, but this summer’s major movie offerings seem to have a something in common: 3.  Let’s take a look:

Let me know if I missed any.   Pretty soon they’re going to have to come up with a new comic book just so they can make a movie out of it, since everything else has been done already.  Oh well, as long as they can slap Shrek on every other thing in the grocery store, I suppose they’ll keep doing it. 

At least there’s a little bit of kung fu in there. ;)

Update:  I’ve decided to add reviews from fellow wordpress bloggers for these movies as I stumble upon them.

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Righty Blog Of The Week: Blogs 4 Brownback

May 21, 2007

Don’t believe in evolution?  Think that Wolfowitz did a heckova job?  Do you love Alberto Gonzales (but don’t know how to spell his name)?  I have a website for ya:

Blogs 4 Brownback

Now there are visitors that may think that this site is satirical.  I don’t think so.  It did manage to make the ‘top blogs’ list for wordpress yesterday, however, so I think it’s worth a mention either way.   Go Brownback!

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Fox News Compares Ron Paul’s Comments To 9/11 ‘Trutherism’ (update: video added)

May 17, 2007

Unbelievable.  During the recent GOP debate, Ron Paul (R-TX) made some comments that suggested that the US’s past interventions in the Middle East had made us a target for terrorists.  Seems logical enough.  But it’s not the type of logic that sits well with the pundits that appear on Fox news, however, since it doesn’t really fit the “they hate us for our freedom” (repeat ad nauseam) meme.   Fox’s solution:  Smear Paul by lumping him in with the ‘9/11 Truth’ movement (they even mentioned Rosie and Charlie Sheen).

Luckily, at least a few of the commentors over at Hot Air could see right through this BS:

It is absolutely absurd to accuse Ron Paul of any type of trutherism; not only did he not mention any sort of Bush-knowledge of 9/11, he doesn’t even say the U.S. is responsible for 9/11 as he is smeared. He simply says one of the reasons we were targeted is our involvment in the middle east, especially the bombing of Iraq. You know who believes the crazy theory? Osama bin Laden, you know, the guy who planned the whole thing.

Yeah turns out back in 1996 when he and al-Queda officially declared war on the United States he issued a fatwa outlining why he was going to kill us–the reasons why? Well mostly our involment in the middle east, especially our bombing of Iraq. Weird huh?

Attacking him, smearing him, purging him fro your polls…are Republicans afraid of big, bad Ron Paul?

JaHerer22 on May 16, 2007 at 8:53 PM

Unfortunately, I doubt that the bulk of Fox’s viewership was this insightful. Gibson and Malkin didn’t even come close to entertaining the idea that Paul’s comments might be grounded in reality.  The just went straight for the smear.  Fox is supposed to be a news channel, right?  ….Nevermind.

Speaking of Paul being purged from online polls, Hot Air wasn’t the only one.  One of my favorite hangouts, LGF, did it too.  It seems that Paul has developed quite a following on the internet.  It’s the ‘Truthers’!

Update:  One more thing.  This isn’t even about ‘blaming America’ for 9/11.  To me, it’s like blaming Brad Pitt for the crazy things that the paparazzi does.  It’s simply one of the realities of being famous.  One of the realities of having an interventionist foreign policy (rightly or wrongly) is that you might wind up on someone’s hit list.  I applaud Ron Paul for pointing this out.  After all, we’ll never be able to effectively address the threat that exists out there as long as we’re lying to ourselves about it.

Update:  Others are noticing the Fox smear job as well:

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‘Duck And Cover’ In The 21st Century

May 14, 2007

I saw this on the memeorandum page: Teachers stage fake gunman attack on sixth-graders

MURFREESBORO, Tennessee (AP) — Staff members of an elementary school staged a fictitious gun attack on students during a class trip, telling them it was not a drill as the children cried and hid under tables.

The mock attack Thursday night was intended as a learning experience and lasted five minutes during the weeklong trip to a state park, said Scales Elementary School Assistant Principal Don Bartch, who led the trip.

“We got together and discussed what we would have done in a real situation,” he said.

Now, as depressing as this sounds (the fact that such a drill would be needed at all), I think this probably makes more sense than the old ‘Duck and Cover’ drills taught in American grade schools decades ago.  I think it’s less about the actual ‘ducking and covering’ , and more about creating awareness amongst impressionable youth about the modern risks of attending school.  ‘Cause, let’s face it, we seem to have a problem with school shootings in this country

I’m not sure this would have been the best way to approach it, however.  When I was in high school, all we really had was the occasional fire drill.  The difference was, I guess, that we knew it was a drill.  Nevertheless, we did it often enough so that when that buzzer rang, the majority of us would line up like Pavlovian dogs and exit the building in an orderly manner.  That’s a good thing.  But this?  Scaring the crap out of some elementary school kids?  Good grief. 

It’s be interesting to compare how many children and faculty have been killed by fires vs. crazed gunmen.  I’m leaning toward the gunmen.  So, maybe this school had the right idea, but I think they should rethink the execution.

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