Is Republican Favorability Really At A 7-Year High?

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We are in the midst of a massive #MeToo scandal surrounding Brett Kavanaugh with recent polls indicating that a majority of Americans do not want to see him confirmed. We are watching with tense breath to see if Rod Rosenstein still has a job by the end of the week in the wake of a massively irresponsible piece published by the New York Times. It is rumored that the Democrats could be looking at a blue wave that gives them control of the House of Representatives- though this is not to be taken for granted so go register to vote, make sure your registration is correct, and schedule yourself to vote on Election Day!! And, of course, the leader of the Republican Party is underwater in his own favorability.

And yet, in the midst of all this, numerous headlines are popping up declaring that, according to a recent Gallup poll, the Republican Party is, somehow, enjoying a 7-year high of favorability.

If 2016 proved anything, it’s that polls- and especially the reporting surrounding those polls- require more study and context than simple eye-catching percentage numbers. Unfortunately, too many reporters don’t take the time to do that, and too many readers simply check the headline and don’t read any further.

So let’s dig into this a little bit by looking at the data Gallop themselves provide, and follow along with this amateur as I identify my biggest issues with this claim.

Continue reading “Is Republican Favorability Really At A 7-Year High?”

Links of Interest, 9-21-16: The Digital World and its Consequences

I read and watch a lot of stuff on the Internet. A lot of stuff. Here are things I found most interesting today.

Amazon’s Algorithms Favor Amazon’s Business. Big Surprise? ProPublica has studied Amazon’s storefront and concluded that the search engine puts a higher priority on Amazon’s business interests rather than cheap prices. Consumers can find themselves spending more for a bottle of glue if they don’t spend the extra time comparing prices, especially if they think Amazon’s done that for them already.

Margaret Sullivan Says Edward Snowden Should Be Pardoned. Oliver Stone’s Snowden movie brought the exiled NSA whistleblower back into the media spotlight, and the editorial board of The Washington Post made waves the other day when it declared he should be prosecuted… even though the Post won accolades for revealing and reporting his leaks. Sullivan, a media columnist for the Post, disagrees with the editorial board.

Fox News is Facing a Demographic Hurdle in the Future. Fox News has built a niche for itself as a conservative news source, but that limited niche may be its downfall as the newer generations abandon cable in favor of online offerings.

Password Protection is Important. This comedy skit examines what happens when everyday computer problems occur in a military setting.

Reading Recs, 9-20-16: Lies, fraud, bias, and more lies.

Every day I read a lot of stuff on the Internet. A lot of stuff. Below I share what I consider to be the most interesting.

Trump, Clinton, and the Media: The researchers at DataFace took 19,637 news articles written about Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton’s campaigns between July 1, 2015 and July 31, 2016, and fed those into a computer to examine the adjectives and determine the tone of coverage. The results are quite interesting: for instance, they find that “conservative” and “liberal” media tend to agree on Donald Trump!! (HT to The Washington Post)

Trump used $258,000 from his charity to settle legal problems: David Fahrenthold at The Washington Post has spent months digging into Trump Foundation records, and he keeps coming up with evidence of misuse, abuse, and even illegal dealings. Here’s the latest.

Wells Fargo Faces the Senate Banking Committee: As a Wells Fargo customer myself, I’ve been horrified to learn of the fake accounts and fraudulent activities committed by the bank and its employees. I haven’t been personally affected, as far as I know- I pay close attention to my account (and my credit score) online, but I can’t imagine what other people must be going through, finding out there was a credit card in their name they never authorized amongst other things! The Los Angeles Times has a run-down on the scandal.

Columbia University settles a fraud case for $9.5 million: One of the few times Retraction Watch covers something not related to bad science, per se, but still corruption by money. The university was conducting research off-campus, but claimed it was on-campus so they could get a higher rate of federal funding. A whistleblower brought it to the authorities’ attention.

Stephen Colbert Tears Into Trump Over Final Birther Comment: I’ve been watching The Late Show with Stephen Colbert (well, their YouTube channel, anyway) for a couple months. Here, in my opinion, Colbert is honestly angry, though he hides it behind comedy gags… and is forced to hide it behind CBS censors. But it’s great fun anyway to watch Colbert take Trump down.

And yes, three of the links today are Trump related. Bleh. I can’t wait for this election to be over.

Force Friday plus Humble Bundle equals Star Wars Audiobooks

Okay, I know the last post was about Humble Bundle’s Tom Clancy video game bundle, and two Humble Bundle posts in a row may strike some as somewhat repetitive. Plus, this particular bundle has been available for over a week, so I’m late. However, it’s “Force Friday” because of a Disney marketing strategy to sell toys that retailers apparently understocked on (I am so glad I stayed home today). The bundle is available for four more days. I haven’t spread the word about it. That equals three good reasons to talk about it, according to me. Oh! AND this bundle is audiobooks instead of video games, and it’s Star Wars instead of Tom Clancy, which make two more additional reasons, so let’s do this thing! Continue reading “Force Friday plus Humble Bundle equals Star Wars Audiobooks”

The newest Humble Bundle is offering several Tom Clancy video games plus multiplayer beta!

Tom_Clancy's_Rainbow_Six_Siege_cover_artAs a writer, video game fan, and connoisseur of action titles (both in print and video form), Tom Clancy has always fascinated me. He’s one of the few people I’ve heard of who managed to establish name recognition in all three of those areas. Reading his books is one of the items on my bucket list, though to date I’ve only read Patriot Games. I would love to know what it’s like to have my name become a brand, setting the titles with my name apart from all the other titles that lack… such a distinction, regardless of whether or not I actually played an active role. I mean, don’t get me wrong, Tom Clancy was a prolific writer, which I am going to jot down as “Step One in My Quest of Financial Security and Name Recognition”, but he didn’t play much of a role in a number of the books, nor video games, that carry his name.

To drive that point home, a new Tom Clancy game is coming out in October, even though he sadly passed away in 2013. Continue reading “The newest Humble Bundle is offering several Tom Clancy video games plus multiplayer beta!”