WALKER! WALKER! WALKER!

Posted in Quick Hits on February 24th, 2011 by Ed

The title is a weak attempt to reference Tora! Tora! Tora! That the effort was probably unsuccessful is underscored by the fact that I am currently explaining it.

In Wisconsin-related news:

1. Rasmussen Reports – they of the infamous +4% average Republican bias in their 2008 presidential election polling, appears to have gone full Zogby. That is, what was once considered a legitimate albeit right-leaning organization is now just a bunch of hacks using cheap parlor tricks to produce numbers that will please the paying client. I was going to do a full post on this, but Nate Silver and a couple folks from Pollster already did write-ups. This saves me the trouble of having to explain question order effects. Any remotely knowledgeable pollster understands this concept; hence it is immediately obvious to all of us (I count myself among the remotely knowledgeable) what Rasmussen was trying to pull here. They knew exactly what they were doing.

2. Why go through the trouble and expense of cooking the poll numbers when you could just lie and reverse the "for" and "against" numbers? Oh, Fox. You make so many mistakes, like when you accidentally put a "D" next to the names of Republicans who get embroiled in scandals. Whoopsie.

3. On the topic of slipping non-collective bargaining related ideological pet projects into the bill, Walker's proposal includes a number of changes that would allow state executive branch agencies to make changes to Medicaid and Medicare without input from the legislature. Because if sweeping changes are going to be made to a major social program then clearly the best way to do so is outside of the democratic process. By gubernatorial appointees. I don't see what could go wrong.

4. Will somebody AutoTune the fake David Koch – Scott Walker prank call already? I'm disappointed in you, internet.

GO WITH WHAT YOU KNOW

Posted in Quick Hits on February 24th, 2011 by Ed

I need to take a little Scott Walker break, although check back early Thursday afternoon for a new post with a roundup of Wisconsin links.

Daniel Foster is one of the National Review's most reliable neocon extremists. This is no mean feat, akin to being the tallest guy in the NBA. If you think I am exaggerating, his proposed solution to the Gulf of Mexico oil spill was to "nuke it." Seriously. It only makes sense, then, that his "solution" to the unrest in Libya involves aircraft carriers and air strikes – American ones, of course.

With reports that the Gaddafi regime — or what’s left of it — has effected the indiscriminate massacre of Libyan civilians, up to and including air strikes in Tripoli and the planned carpet-bombing of Benghazi, the suggestion that President Obama establish a “no-fly zone” above Libya has begun popping up on social media. I don’t say this lightly, but I think POTUS must so act.

After 32 years on this planet and almost a decade of devoting my time to trying to figure these people out I am not surprised that Mr. Foster doesn't seem to have learned any lessons from the last ten twenty fifty 100 years of aggressively interventionist American foreign policy. What does continue to escape me, however, is what motivates this knee-jerk recourse to American military intervention as the solution to every problem on the globe. Foster's "I don't say this lightly" indicates either a dry sense of humor or a delusional personality trait requiring medical attention.

Given how obvious it seems to the rest of us that Libya's domestic politics must play out among Libyans (as opposed to a solution brokered at gunpoint by the Pentagon – no, no problems with legitimacy there) I struggle to understand what intervention is supposed to accomplish and how. Do people like Foster think that we can air-strike our way into the hearts of foreigners, a revision of the old "They'll hail us as their liberators" theory? Or do they resort to sending in the Air Force because, well, that's the extent of what they know how to do?