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AP reporter lives in Wingnut World

An April 15, 2010 front-page headline in the local Gannett newspaper, the Asheville (NC) Citizen-Times, caught my eye: “Obama, other Democrats battered in poll.” The story was by Associated Press reporter Liz Sidoti, who is so biased by her inside-the-beltway mentality that she apparently doesn’t understand the difference between “what people are saying” and “what is demonstrably, empirically true” (i.e., facts).

The story begins

“WASHINGTON — President Barack Obama’s national standing has slipped to a new low after his victory on the historic health care overhaul, even in the face of growing signs of economic revival, according to the latest Associated Press-GfK poll.

“The survey shows the political terrain growing rockier for Obama and congressional Democrats heading into midterm elections, boosting Republican hopes for a return to power this fall.

“Just 49 percent of people now approve of the job Obama’s doing overall, and less than that — 44 percent — like the way he’s handled health care and the economy. Last September, Obama hit a low of 50 percent in job approval before ticking a bit higher. His high-water mark as president was 67 percent in February of last year, just after he took office.”

HOLD IT. STOP RIGHT THERE! READ THAT AGAIN:
Statement 1: “Obama’s national standing has slipped to a new low. . .”
Statement 2: “Just 49 percent of people now approve of the job Obama’s doing . . .
Statement 3: “Last September, Obama hit a low of 50 percent in job approval. . .”

According to Liz, the president’s approval rating has utterly collapsed, dropping AN ENTIRE PERCENTAGE POINT in less than six months. Battered. Just battered. Poor Obama must not know what hit him.

Sidoti marches on

“The news is worse for other Democrats. For the first time this year, about as many Americans approve of congressional Republicans as Democrats — 38 percent to 41 percent — and neither has an edge when it comes to the party voters want controlling Congress. Democrats also have lost their advantage on the economy; people now trust both parties equally on that, another first in 2010.

“Roughly half want to fire their own congressman. Adding to Democratic woes, people have grown increasingly opposed to the health care overhaul in the weeks since it became law; 50 percent now oppose it, the most negative measure all year.”

STOP AGAIN. REALITY CHECK.
Statistic 1: Congressional Democrats – 41 percent approval
Statistic 2: Congressional Republicans – 38 percent approval

Wow. The Democrats are being battered, too. They’re losing . . . well, falling behind . . . okay, not quite as far ahead as they were a few months ago . . . Um, they’re STILL BEATING THE REPUBLICANS. HELLLLLOOOOO?

And Liz doesn’t even bother to mention the distressing news that, in the half-dozen special elections to the House of Representatives since Obama was elected, Democrats have lost ALL BUT SIX. That means they have beaten Republicans in House races only 100 percent of the time since November, 2009. In the world according to Liz, they better hang it up!

I go to the source.

After reading the four-paragraph version of this article in the C-T, I decided to find the original on the AP website. What did I find?

Well, the AP at least had a more reasonable headline: “Obama, Democrats slip in poll.” A little, teeny, tiny, minute bit more precise way of describing a one-percentage-point drop than “battered.”

But the rest of the story includes details of the AP’s polling, which stood out in light of a simultaneously released in-depth, nationwide New York Times/CBS News poll showing that a grand total of 18 percent of Americans identify themselves as tea party supporters.

Liz Sidoti writes:

“One third [33 percent] of those surveyed consider themselves tea party supporters, and three-quarters of those people are overwhelmingly Republicans or right-leaning independents.

“The tea party coalition remains fuzzy to most people; only 16 percent say they know a great deal or a lot about this political phenomenon born a year ago.”

HOLD IT. STOP AGAIN.
Liz’s world: 33 percent. . . consider themselves tea party supporters
Real world: 18 percent. . . identify themselves as tea party supporters
Liz’s world: 24 percent. . . are right-leaning Independents or Republicans (3/4 of 33 percent)
Real world: 84 percent admit they don’t know very much about what they support or oppose

So…the AP skewed its sample by polling an 83-percent-higher proportion of tea party supporters than there are in the voting population. That means that their approval-disapproval rating is also skewed. Thus Obama’s 49 percent approval is more likely 59 percent; the 41 percent for Democrats is closer to 49 percent; and the 38 percent for Republicans is a losing 46 percent.

Naturally, Liz concludes that this small group of ignorant tea-party Republicans—the loudest, angriest, best-armed, and best-publicized bunch out there—are the most powerful force in the electorate, far more impressive than the 64 million voters who elected Barack Obama 15 months ago.

Outside the beltway and the Fox media echo chamber, real people notice that the huge, massive national protest against gun control drew. . .75 people. Outside the beltway, people don’t think their liberties have been stolen away by an illegitimate Kenyan-born Muslim usurper. Outside the beltway, citizens cannot believe that the Republicans unanimously oppose new, stricter regulations on Wall Street. Outside the beltway, people are crossing their fingers in the hope that they will find a new job and keep current with their car payments, mortgages, kids’ braces, and other expenses. Outside the beltway, the tea party phenomenon is a small, very smelly pile of crap.

But for Liz Sidoti and the Associated Press (now under the presidency of a former Bush political operative), the world of wingnuts is reality.

By |2010-04-20T17:24:23-04:00April 20th, 2010|Domestic Issues, Obama administration, Party Politics|Comments Off on AP reporter lives in Wingnut World

Health Care Reform: The Morning After

I’m extremely pleased to have Barbara O’Brien, who has written on many progressive blogs (Crooks and Liars, Mahablog and AlterNet), offer to post on mine. I’m thrilled. Enjoy –

Many politicians and pundits warned us that the health care reform (HCR) legislation that just became law will destroy America. Government bureaucrats will take over health care decisions, we were told. The old and infirm would be hauled away by death panels. Everything about the way we receive our medical care will change, and change drastically, they said.

Medicare recipients have been frightened by stories that their benefits will be cut. Middle-age people are worried they will lose their jobs when the law’s dreaded regulations, or taxes, or maybe regulations with taxes, would destroy their employers’ businesses.

The truth is, very little will change for most people. If you were insured by employee benefits before HCR, you will be insured by exactly the same policy in exactly the same way after HCR. You will have access to the same doctors on the same terms. “Government bureaucrats” will no more be involved in your health care than they were before.

And the same is true of Medicare, which of course is a government program, although many of the people who opposed the HCR bill don’t seem to know that.

Here are the “cataclysmic” changes to health care that are now in effect, or which will go into effect within the next six months for people who are already in group insurance plans:

  • The law says you can’t lose your insurance coverage because you get sick. Before, in many states, if you were stricken with a severe illness such as mesothelioma cancer that would be expensive to treat, your insurer could use just about any excuse to cancel your coverage. That is over.
  • HCR has ended lifetime limits on coverage. As long as you are receiving medical care, your insurer pays the bills.
  • Your children can be covered on your existing policy until they are 26 years old.
  • In six months, insurers cannot refuse to insure people under the age of 19 because of “pre-existing conditions.” This provision will go into effect for everyone in 2014.

And if you are on Medicare, you will be asked to struggle with the following:

  • You get a free annual checkup.
  • The co-pays and deductibles on many preventive care services are eliminated.
  • If you are in the Medicare D “doughnut hole,”  you will get a $250 rebate check in a few weeks. The hole itself will be closed gradually and will be gone by 2020.

But what about all those terrible regulations and taxes that are about to drive businesses out of business? Um, there really isn’t much to report. Oh, wait, here’s one — a 10 percent tax on indoor tanning services that use ultraviolet lamps will go into effect July 1. That’s about it.

However, beginning this year a tax credit will be available for some small businesses to help provide insurance coverage for employees.

Soon the politicians and pundits will start trying to frighten you about the provisions that will go into effect after this year. I assure you they are about as scary as the provisions that go into effect this year, but I will discuss them in a follow-up post.

Barbara O’Brien

By |2010-03-26T18:04:36-04:00March 26th, 2010|Healthcare|Comments Off on Health Care Reform: The Morning After

Women, please step to the back of the bus. "Thanks," says Ohio state representative!

I continue to be amazed at how some in our society beleive that women are no more than birthing machines.

From TP:

State Rep. John Adams (R-OH) has re-introduced radical legislation that would prevent a woman from having an abortion until she gets written consent from the biological father. As proposed, the bill triggers criminal penalties against women for “providing a false biological father.” Adams says the “first-degree misdemeanor” would be punishable with up to “six months” in jail and a “$1,000 fine.” Labeled by Adams as a “father’s right bill,” the lawmaker would give men the final say on abortion in the state of Ohio:

In the case where the father isn’t known, House Bill 252 would compel the woman to provide a list of names of people who may be the father in an effort to determine paternity. The bill also would make it a crime for women to lie about who the father is, and make it illegal for doctors to perform abortions without the father’s consent.

The bill would force a woman to have a child if the father does not agree to an abortion.

“That child should be born, not killed,” Adams said.

Adams first introduced the legislation in 2007. Already, this bill has at least 15 co-sponsors. Pro-Choice Ohio issued a statement saying Adams’ bill “is a clear attack on a woman’s freedom and privacy.” AJ at Feminists For Choice says the bill is “another mechanism for demonizing and isolating women who have sex.” (HT: Pam’s House Blend)

By |2009-07-23T05:41:20-04:00July 23rd, 2009|Civil Rights, Domestic Issues|Comments Off on Women, please step to the back of the bus. "Thanks," says Ohio state representative!
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