July 17, 2024

The Latest Poll Shows Something Weird

Opinion polls are often designed to get the answers the pollster wants, by inserting bias into the questions. Similar questions can be asked in different ways. For example:

· Should Sally get a haircut?
· Should Sally change her outdated hairstyle?

People responding to the poll may not even notice that it has been designed to reinforce the pollster's opinion. This pollster may have an agenda to make people think of Sally as old fashioned and unattractive.

· Should Sally wear more age-appropriate clothes?
· Should Sally change her wardrobe?
· Should Sally stop wearing dresses that look like potato sacks?

Even a person who likes Sally's look may find it hard to answer a simple yes or no to the biased questions. We see questions like this all the time in fake polls connected to politicians' fundraising efforts.

· Should schools avoid political bias in their lessons?
· Should schools stop promoting the other party's extremist propaganda?

These polls never give you the chance to comment, "These are stupid questions."


July 11, 2024

Without Voter ID, This Happened

I used to live in a state that did not require ID to vote. Here's what happened.

The polling place was near my neighborhood. In some years, it was at a school or in a garage within walking distance. It was rare to wait more than 20 minutes, and often there was no wait. Upon arrival, I told the poll workers my name and address. They found me in the list of registered voters, and I signed my name next to my listing. Then I got my ballot and voted.

Would it have been possible for fraud to occur? Sure, if someone knew my name and address and got there before me (or if I didn't vote that time, which never happened) they could have pretended to be me. It would be very difficult to perform fraud like that on a large scale, because you would need a large number of of imposters successfully impersonating people who hadn't voted. It's a crazy idea.


July 4, 2024

The Things They Say

Imagine that President Biden is making a campaign speech. In the midst of the speech, he could be talking about almost anything: the need to repair and improve our infrastructure, the challenges posed by climate change, the high cost of health care.

It doesn't matter what he's talking about, because, suddenly, he mentions a well-known movie character. "The late, great, Forrest Gump," he says. "Have you heard of him, Forrest Gump? He's got that box of chocolates. If you sit next to him, he'll start telling you about a box of chocolates. Forrest Gump. Don't sit next to him or you'll hear a long story about his mother and the chocolates. Forrest Gump, incredible." And then he goes on with the speech.

If this happened, people would be all over social media, claiming that this is all the proof we need that the man has completely lost his mind, that he's obviously been senile for most of his life, and he's out of touch with reality. The mainstream media, pretending to be neutral, would put it in the form of questions: "Does he have a medical problem? Is it time for him to stop campaigning? Will his party tell him to step down?" They'd claim, "Alarms are going off in Washington as the president's strange remarks have his team struggling to explain what's going on," and so on.

Yet, oddly enough, when donald trump repeatedly digresses into ramblings about his beloved movie character, Hannibal Lecter, hardly an eyebrow is raised. For years, the lord and master of the Republican Party has made many very strange public statements. The news media rarely comment, and never suggest that his bloviations about indoor plumbing, batteries, wind turbines, or imaginary history are signs of mental deterioration.

The double standard is real. The question is why. Why do the news media, who were threatened and vilified by trump and treated kindly by the President, want to undermine the President's re-election campaign?

This vile T-shirt, promoting the lynching of reporters, was popularized by trump supporters after trump imitated Hitler and labeled the news "The enemy of the people." Maybe trump's threats against their lives has made reporters too terrified to tell the truth. Yet that would seem a good reason for them to prefer a President who has not incited violence against them.

"With regard to the forest, when trees fall down, after a short period of time, about 18 months, they become very dry, they become really like a matchstick. And they get up, y’know there’s no more water pouring through, and they become very very, uh, they just explode, they can explode."
- donald trump, September 14, 2020

"These millions and millions of people that are coming from prisons, coming from prisons and jails, you know there is a slight difference okay. They're coming from prisons and jails, mental institutions and insane asylums like Silence of the Lamb, the press always says why does he ramble about si- Silence of the Lamb, the late great Hannibal Lecter, he'd like to have you over for dinner, do you ever, don't do it, if he suggests I'd like to have you for dinner, don't go. But these are the people, these are the people that are coming into our country."
- donald trump, June 28, 2024.

“No water in your faucets. You ever try buying a new home and you turn on. You want to wash your hair or you wanna wash your hands. You turn on the water and it goes drip, drip the soap. You can't get it off your hand. So you keep it running for about 10 times longer. You trying, the worst is your hair. I have this beautiful luxuriant hair and I put stuff on. I put it in lather. I like lots of lather because I like it to come out extremely dry because it seems to be slightly thicker that way. And I lather up and then you turn on this crazy shower and the thing drip, drip and you say I'm gonna be here for 45 minutes. What? There's so much water. You don't know what to do with it. You know, it's called rain. It rains a lot in certain places. But, now their idea, you know, did you see the other day? They just, I opened it up and they closed it again. I opened it, they close it, washing machines to wash your dishes. There is a problem. They don't want you to have any water. They want no water.”
- donald trump, June 22, 2024

"Millions of people from places unknown, from countries unknown, who don't speak languages. We have languages coming into our country, we have nobody that even speaks those languages. They're truly foreign languages, nobody speaks them."
- donald trump, Feb. 28, 2024


June 28, 2024

The World is Never Enough

Photo by Michael on Unsplash: Dead plants on a beach
This story is a smaller version of what has been happening and is still happening throughout our country and the world.

A wealthy couple living in a very nice house above Camden Harbor in Maine noticed that their potential ocean view was blocked by their neighbor's big, beautiful trees. They decided to poison the trees. The plan worked, and the trees died.

In the meantime, the herbicide they use leached into a nearby park and contaminated the town's only public beach. The product that was used, Tebuthiuron, does not break down, so it continues killing plants for years. The only way to get rid of it is to remove the soil (tons of soil) or to try waiting for it to be diluted over time. The couple ended up paying a $1.5 million settlement to the tree owner and around $214,000 in fines and fees related to the environmental damage. They haven't been jailed, and apparently are still members of the Yacht Club. And they got the view they wanted.

It seems like just another story of people with too much money and a sense of entitlement arrogantly taking whatever they want with no regard for anyone or anything else. The same thing happens on a much larger scale, too, and it affects everyone. Big corporations do this to us regularly. By "big corporations" I mean the greedy, short-sighted rich people who run them. Assisted by corrupt politicians, they eagerly poison our air and water and contaminate our soil, just so they can make more money.

Like the tree poisoner who didn't care that marine life would be killed for years to come as long as he could get a little more pleasure from his mansion, the oligarchs and robber barons are willing to destroy the future in exchange for the temporary gratification of acquiring more and more paper profits. A CEO might be able to buy another $20 million yacht or another private jet, while workers and their children can't afford the drugs the oncologist prescribed. It's not just that they have so much while others have so little. It's that they are never satisfied, and getting more, always more, requires them to take away the very little those others have.

Read the orginal story here: Poisoned trees

Read about another pollutors' triumph here: Court supports pollution


June 25, 2024

A Question Answered

You may have noticed Magadonians saying things like, "I don't care if trump is a pedophile who sells nuclear secrets to to Russia, I'm still gonna vote for him because it'll make libruls cry."

They have many variations on that theme, but it all boils down to, "It's okay if trump ruins the country, because that will ruin the lives of those nasty liberals, and that will make me happy." They may or may not realize that if trump ruins people's lives, their lives will be among the ruined, but they don't care. Their hatred of "the left" is so powerful, they will give anything, risk anything, sacrifice their grandchildren if necessary, just to punish liberals for existing.

And that is the answer to the question, "Why do they vote against their own best interests?" They do it because it's against your best interests, too.