Monday, March 26, 2007


The Most Ideologically Representative States --
Cross-posted to MyDD:

I am delving into the recent huge Pew survey. This is the first thing that caught my eye.

On page 10-11, there are charts profiling Democrats/Democratic leaners and Republican/Republican leaners by state, grouped by primary date. Nationally, Democrats and Democratic leaners are divided into liberals (31%), moderates (44%), and conservatives (21%), while Republicans and Republicans leaners are divided into conservative white evangelical Protestants (26%), other conservatives (35%), and moderates/liberals (37%).

One simple measure of deviance from the national ideological breakdown is to sum up the differences between state figures and the national figures in each category. For example, South Carolina is +9 in conservative white evangelical Republicans, -6 in other conservative Republicans, -8 in moderate/liberal Republicans, , -6 in liberal Democrats, even in moderate Democrats, and +4 in conservative Democrats for a total of 33 with a Republican deviation of 23 and a Democratic deviation of 10. Some results after the flip.

Two important caveats. One, I did all my number-crunching by hand using pencil and paper because it would take less time than spreadsheet entry, and I did all arithmetic in my head without a calculator because that's how I roll. Second, Democrats in Delaware, DC, Idaho, Montana, both Dakotas, and Wyoming and Republicans in Delaware, DC, North Dakota, Rhode Island, South Dakota, Vermont, and Wyoming lacked sufficient cases for Pew to list numbers. Also, the numbers are based on interviews between January 2005 and March 2007.

First, the least and most deviant Democratic states. Maryland is the least deviant with a score of 2. Second, with 3 is a tie. Florida and Illinois are unsurprising. However, the other is Iowa, which some people bash as an unrepresentative state. Based on ideology, the Democratic and Democratic-leaning voters there are actually quite representative of national Democrats. Arizona, Pennsylvania, Nebraska, Connecticut, and Wisconsin all have a score of 5, Virginia rounds out the top ten with a 6.

Unsurprisingly, the most deviant Democratic states include those with large numbers of conservative Democrats. At 36, Louisiana is the most deviant Democratic state, with 39% of Democrats and Democratic leaners claiming to be conservative. Next, tying at 25 are the state with the second-highest percentage of conservative Democrats, Mississippi, and the state tied for the most liberal Democrats, Washington. Newt, at 24 are the other uber-liberal state, Oregon, and another conservative state, Oklaoma.

The least deviant Republican states are Michigan (2), Ohio (3), Montana (3), Minnesota (5), and Oregon (5), while the most-deviant Republcan states are Utah with its 1% conservative white evangelical Protestant Republicans(57), Mississippi(57), New Jersey (45), Tennessee (42), Arkansas (38), and Alabana (38).

If you combine Republican and Democratic scores, the states that are most representative of national ideological breakdowns are Montana (6), Ohio (8), Illinois (10), Florida (11), and Michigan (11), Iowa (12), Pennsylvania (12). Unsurprisingly, this list contains a lot of potential swing states. Among early primary states, South Carolina is tied for 29th with a score of 37, while New Hampshire is 31st with a score of 41. South Carolina is more conservative than normal, while New Hampshire is actually more liberal than average on the Democratic side and skews heavily against evangelicals on the Republican side, so its early status may help diminish the chances of evangelical Republicans gaining a foothold.

I think the most interesting result overall here is that people who bash Iowa for being unrepresentative are probably overstating their case. In picking early primary states, it's has a smaller population than possibilities like Ohio and Illinois so may be better suited to grassroots campaigns, while it has a better travel infrastructure than Montana.

Further number crunching could involve comparing the numbers to weighted averages of likely Democratic and Republican states in the 2008 presidential election.
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Monday, March 12, 2007


Sandy Berger vs Scooter Libby --
TigerHawk wonders why Sandy Berger got off easy compared to Scooter Libby, but doesn't jump at the idea of a Clinton conspiracy like conservatives.

My rank speculation is that Sandy Berger had information which would have made his trial even more painful for the Bush administration than for, well, Berger. I have no idea what that information would have been, except perhaps more detailed evidence that some Clintonite somewhere "warned" the Bush administration about al Qaeda or the specific tactics deployed on 9/11. Or perhaps Berger's defense would have required that the administration compromise information of current tactical or intelligence value, in which case the trial of Sandy Berger would have hurt the United States. Either way, it seems to me silly to complain about Libby's treatment compared to Berger's without knowing why we let Berger off with the equivalent of after-school detention.


This is some interesting speculation. I've never believed, as some conservatives do, that Berger was destroying material that reflected badly on the Clinton presidency. Knowing how this White House operates, that information would have been leaked long ago to use against political enemies.

But I'm not entirely sure that TigerHawk's idea of someone giving an al-Qaeda warning sounds right either, because we would have that hypothetical Clintonite popping up and saying, "I told you so."

Of course, if Libby's crime and Berger's crime were equal, then Berger should still get the lighter sentence for the simple reason that he ultimately pled guilty.
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Saturday, March 10, 2007


A Monk Comes Home to Vietnam --
The Christian Science Monitor writes on the return of a well-known Buddhist monk to Vietnam, a country in which Buddhists and other religious people are still getting harassed.
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I Want My SI Swimsuit Issue --
Book Ninja passes along a story that librarians are unhappy that Sports Illustrated made an unannounced decision to not send its hallowed Swimsuit Issue to libraries (although they can request that it be sent anyways).
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Is the Media Ignoring Arab Moderates? --
At TPM Cafe, M.J. Rosenberg takes the Washington Post to task for not reporting on a rare address to a joint session of Congress by King Abdullah of Jordan in which he said that the Israeli-Palestinian solution needs to be resolved to stop the spread of Islamic extremism.
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Friday, March 09, 2007


Ajaxy goodness. --
Street Prophets has moved to the Ajax comment system used by Daily Kos.
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Thursday, March 08, 2007


Ex-Priest Tries to Confuse the Issue in Sex Abuse Case --
Via the Los Angeles Times:


A former Roman Catholic priest said in court Wednesday that the rights of homosexuals have been violated by a state law that makes it easier to prosecute gay pedophiles than heterosexual child molesters.

It apparently was the first time that gay rights had been introduced into the ongoing prosecution of current and former Catholic priests alleged to have molested children.

The state law in question imposes no time limits on prosecuting heterosexuals who force intercourse. But gays are subject to prosecution for sex acts with a child without limit regardless of whether the allegations involved forced or consensual sex.

Defrocked priest Michael Stephen Baker, 59, said the provision denies equal protection of the law to gay people. He cited a provision of the U.S. Constitution that has been used to advance racial and gender equality.


Baker is trying to claim that he had consensual sex. How one has consexual sex with an unconscious boy (as Baker is alleged to have done) seems a bit tricky to me. At least the Lamba Legal Defense and Education Fund, a gay rights organization, has the sense to recognize this as the homosexual equivalent of O.J. Simpson playing the race card.
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Is Dick Cheney a Liar --
Gary at This Week in Oshkosh has serious doubts about aspects of the Cheney blood clot story based on personal experience.
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Korean Christianity --
While the Philippines is a strongly Christian nation in Asia, the Christian Science Monitor look s at how Christianity became a significant religion in Korea.
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Monday, March 05, 2007


Discrimination That the Catholic League Should Be Fighting (And Bill Donahue Is Nowhere to Be Found)bmit New Story --
Cross-posted to Street Prophets:

Law professor Howard Friedman's church-state blog Religion Clause notes a recent finding of anti-Catholic discimination that was also reported in the Washington Post.

A recent decision held that Father Henry Heffernan S.J., a chaplain at the NIH's Warren Grant Magnuson Clinical Center, was descriminated against by his superior, Methodist minister O. Ray Fitzgerald. Heffernan had been suspended for actions such as ministering to Catholic patients during his days off and refusing to take off-site chaplaincy courses, later given to other chaplains on-site, which were part of a continuing education requirement that Fitzgerald said were an effort to get rid of Heffernan. Fitzgerald was also reported as saying negative things about priests and that he would never hire another Roman Catholic priest. A Jewish chaplain was also fired after testifying in Heffernan's defense.

This looks to me like a clear attempt to put an uppity Roman Catholic priest in his place for refusing to accept a multi-faith concept of chaplaincy that acts as if all faiths are fungible.

And where is Bill Donahue and the Catholic League in all of this? There is nothing on the Catholic League website. Meanwhile, Google reports no hits when searching for "Bill Donahue" in conjuction with "Henry Heffernan," while the only hits for Heffernan in conjunction with the Catholic League yield blogs or religious websites which mention the two in separate posts or articles.

This incident makes two things abundantly clear: 1) There is an obvious need for a Catholic civil rights organization that acts as a watchdog against anti-Catholic discriminiation and 2) the Catholic League under Bill Donahue is not fulfilling this function, following the whims of a leader seeking attention and glory.
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The State of Al-Qaeda --
The Christian Science Monitor should be required reading if you want to keep up on the Middle East. Here is an article about the current state of Al-Qaeda and its possible resurgence under the Bush watch.


Some critics of the White House are surprised that many of the recent warnings about Al Qaeda come from administration officials. In essence, critics say, the White House confirms something they've long held to be true: the central front in the war on terror is along Pakistan's border with Afghanistan, not in Iraq.

"We went to Iraq and left the serious terrorist problem to fester," Ms. Stern says.

On the subject of Iraq and Al Qaeda, the Defense Intelligence Agency (DIA) estimates that less than 10 percent of the Iraqi insurgency consists of foreign fighters. Of those, most are suicide bombers.

Violence perpetrated by terrorists accounts for "only a fraction" of insurgent violence in Iraq, according to a written statement submitted to the Senate Armed Services Committee by DIA director Lt. Gen. Michael Maples. The attacks have a disproportionate impact on Iraq's stability because of the high-profile nature of the terrorist operations and tactics, the DIA says.


Right now, Al-Qaeda has been diminished, its leadership decimated. But it shows growth potential and there doesn't seem to be anything that the U.S. can do to stop a committed Al-Qaeda leadership from rebuilding because we partly abandoned the Afghanistan theater to go galivanting in Iraq.
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Friday, March 02, 2007


This Is Why Apologizing For Slavery Is a Good Thing --
Don't be like the Japanese. According to BBC News, the prime minister of Japan said that there is no historical evidence that his country forced women to serve in army brothels during World War II.
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