Saturday, September 23, 2006

Two Surveys

Just read two stories about recent political surveys in the papers we get, the NY Times and the local LV Review-Journal. Both stories were in yesterday’s morning papers. (quotes taken directly from both papers, are extracts, and sentences are not taken from the stories in sequence)

From the RJ (from the Los Angeles Times):
Headline: “President’s approval rating rises, poll shows.” President Bush’s approval rating has reached its highest level since January, helping to boost the Republican Party’s image. While the survey spotlights a continuing array of Republican vulnerabilities, it also offers the first evidence in months that the GOP may be gaining momentum in November’s battle for control of Congress. The results suggest that a combination of improving attitudes about the economy and the president’s focus on national security issues has ended the nearly unbroken slide in the GOP’s public standing.

From the NY Times:
Headline: “Only 25% in poll voice approval of the congress.” With barely seven weeks until the midterm elections, Americans have an overwhelmingly negative view of the Republican-controlled Congress, with substantial majorities saying that they disapprove of the job it is doing and that its members do not deserve re-election. Just 25 percent said they approved of the way Congress was doing its job. The poll also found that President Bush had not improved his own or his party’s standing through his intense campaign of speeches and events surrounding the fifty anniversary of the 9/11 attacks. Mr. Bush’s job approval rating was 37 percent in the poll, virtually unchanged from the last Times/CBS News poll, in August.

You’ve got to read both stories to get the full concept, but these brief extracts should sum up the feeling of each article. It seems the RJ’s poll says that the president and the Republicans are doing pretty well, doesn’t it? And the Times story says that people do not like the current congress, and are still not happy with the president.

The funny part about these stories? The NY Times was talking about it’s own poll, so they should know what they are talking about. The RJ story was reporting on the same NY Times poll (yes, the story was about the recent poll that the NY Times had taken). Seems like a Republican leaning newspaper can pull whatever statistics it wants to out of someone else’s numbers. The NY Times did have a fairly detailed side line discussing how the poll was taken and how to view the results; the RJ had no similar notes.

We moved here from San Diego, where that local paper was also Republican oriented. At least it appears to me that the RJ here also favors the Republicans (or am I reading too much out of the poll results?). Most of their editorials and letters to the editor favor the president. I rarely read a negative story, except when they discuss the way Democrats in congress are getting in the way of our great President trying to protect our national security.

Just to be fair, I will say that I am not in favor of Mr. Bush, his actions or his attitude, or the Republicans. If you’ve been reading my stuff in the past it should be fairly evident what my opinions are. For some strange reason I think that our constitution created three separate branches of government, to insure that we would not end up with a king or a parliament that did what it wanted to do. So far, two branches, the Supreme Court and Congress, do not agree that the office of the president can do any damn thing it wants to do in the name of a ‘war on terror’.

Unfortunately today’s news reports that Congress caved in and adopted most of the things W wanted. For some reason I think that if we signed the Geneva Convention we should abide by its rules. And if somebody is a bad enough person for us to arrest then that person should end up in one of our jails and courtrooms, not sent off to a foreign country that has a reputation for torturing people. I had to laugh at one of W’s speeches being rebroadcast yesterday. He was trying to pressure congress into passing his version of the interrogation rules. He said that he would not reveal the interrogation techniques that would be used because then the ‘enemy’ would learn what they were and would develop methods of standing up to those techniques, congress would have to trust him that the techniques were legal. I would ask ‘Legal in what country, and by who’s definition?’ I still remember this administration saying that their definition of torture was the one they would use, and prisoners were not being tortured by their definition. I don’t know, but for some reason I think that trying to drown somebody, putting them naked in a cold cell, depriving them of food and water and hitting them with different instruments would be defined as torture by my definition. And doing that to someone for FOUR FREEKIN’ YEARS and saying that you were still getting ‘valuable information’ is also something of a farce. To think that someone could give you anything useful three years after they were brought in is ludicrous. Then to transfer them from ‘secret prisons’ in foreign countries that you have been denying for years also makes it fairly evident that you don’t mind lying to everyone, so what makes this any different?

And in a sideline story: Prisoner released - gee, I feel so . . . threatened – that a guy like this is now free again to go about his terroristy ways.

OK, my political contribution for the week. Go ahead, talk amongst yourselves, or feel free to chew me out publicly.

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