Two new plugins for the site installed (WEDS/THURS OPEN THREAD)

And yours truly installed ’em – correctly, for a change ;)

If you look just below each post there is now the option to print the post, and there is also an opetion to email the post. I had the email option there for a while, but it was no longer working for some reason, so I went in and installed the updated plugin and it’s working tonight.

I should note that both plugins have a couple of small bugs that affect the look of the pages you see, but not their functionality. For example, the email page looks a little strange, but the buttons you need to use to fill out in order to email a post to someone works. What’s happening on the email page that I want fixed is how it’s pushing my blog theme to below where you fill out the email info. Not only that but the theme itself underneath the email options doesn’t show up properly.

The print page on some posts does not display all the text – it seems to happen on short ones more than it does on long ones. That is a bug the developer is working on as we speak.

Hope you enjoy the new features :) I’m slowly tweaking the blog here and there to give it some more features as well as functionality.

Thur AM Update: The bugs should be fixed in the two plugins, so when you go to print, you should see the entire piece and not just selected parts of the past and when you go to email a post, the formatting looks MUCH better on that page – the guy who designed these (GaMerZ) is a genius. I love these plugins!

The conspiracy to keep Florida’s 16 district voters uninformed

Democrats are not happy that the State Department recently sent an email advisory via US embassies to US citizens living abroad that a vote in Florida’s 16th Congressional district for Mark Foley is not actually a vote for Foley, but the guy the GOP has named to replace him: Joe Negron. Via the Miami Herald:

Just in case any American on Earth [what’s with the snarky bit about ‘any American on Earth’? –ST] hasn’t heard about the Mark Foley sex scandal, the State Department sent an e-mail advisory Tuesday to U.S. citizens in Iraq alerting them of the congressman’s resignation.

The message went out to all citizens registered at the U.S. Consul in Baghdad — and possibly in other countries — reminding them that, if they are Florida voters who live in the 16th Congressional District, a vote for Foley is actually a vote for his Republican replacement, state Rep. Joe Negron.

”Foley’s name will remain on the ballot for both absentee and regular ballots,” the e-mail reads. “Any votes cast for Foley will count toward the total of the substitute candidate.”

Officials from the campaign for Negron’s Democratic challenger, Tim Mahoney, are livid over the correspondence, saying it is a Republican ploy to maintain the GOP stronghold in Congress.

”Here they go again — Karl Rove and his crowd are interfering with another Florida election,” said Charles Halloran, a spokesman for the Mahoney campaign.

But Negron scoffs at those accusations, saying it is only fair that absentee voters overseas be informed of the unusual twist in the election to fill the district seat.

”It’s important that people — all over — know how their vote is going to be counted,” he said. “Their votes are just as important as our votes.”


A legal battle is under way over election procedures. Today, the Florida Democratic Party is scheduled to be in court in Tallahassee to try to stop elections officials from posting signs in polling places alerting voters that a vote for Foley means a vote for Negron. Under state law, Foley’s name will stay on the ballot.

Because of the confusion, the U.S. Department of Defense Federal Voting Assistance Program, which educates American voters worldwide of their right to vote, issued a news release Monday explaining Foley’s resignation.

It’s understandable why the Dems would be upset. I mean, what better way to snag some votes than to keep voters in their district uninformed?

Analyzing the Lancet numbers

This is probably the best piece I’ve seen on those questionable Lancet numbers yet. Steven Moore checks out the methodology and finds it extremely faulty:

After doing survey research in Iraq for nearly two years, I was surprised to read that a study by a group from Johns Hopkins University claims that 655,000 Iraqis have died as a result of the war. Don’t get me wrong, there have been far too many deaths in Iraq by anyone’s measure; some of them have been friends of mine. But the Johns Hopkins tally is wildly at odds with any numbers I have seen in that country. Survey results frequently have a margin of error of plus or minus 3% or 5%–not 1200%.

The group–associated with the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health–employed cluster sampling for in-person interviews, which is the methodology that I and most researchers use in developing countries. Here, in the U.S., opinion surveys often use telephone polls, selecting individuals at random. But for a country lacking in telephone penetration, door-to-door interviews are required: Neighborhoods are selected at random, and then individuals are selected at random in “clusters” within each neighborhood for door-to-door interviews. Without cluster sampling, the expense and time associated with travel would make in-person interviewing virtually impossible.

However, the key to the validity of cluster sampling is to use enough cluster points. In their 2006 report, “Mortality after the 2003 invasion of Iraq: a cross-sectional sample survey,” the Johns Hopkins team says it used 47 cluster points for their sample of 1,849 interviews. This is astonishing: I wouldn’t survey a junior high school, no less an entire country, using only 47 cluster points.

Neither would anyone else. For its 2004 survey of Iraq, the United Nations Development Program (UNDP) used 2,200 cluster points of 10 interviews each for a total sample of 21,688. True, interviews are expensive and not everyone has the U.N.’s bank account. However, even for a similarly sized sample, that is an extraordinarily small number of cluster points. A 2005 survey conducted by ABC News, Time magazine, the BBC, NHK and Der Spiegel used 135 cluster points with a sample size of 1,711–almost three times that of the Johns Hopkins team for 93% of the sample size.

Here are Moore’s credentials, BTW:

Mr. Moore, a political consultant with Gorton Moore International, trained Iraqi researchers for the International Republican Institute from 2003 to 2004 and conducted survey research for the Coalition Forces from 2005 to 2006.

Make sure to read the whole thing.

Hat tip: ST reader Severian


The ‘outing’ of Republican Senator Larry Craig

***8/27/07: Read the update to this story and my thoughts on it here.***


The big story in the blogosphere today is the ‘outing’ of Senator Larry Craig (R-ID) by outing specialist Mike Rogers, a despicable individual who has a history of outing supposedly closeted homosexuals.

First things first, I don’t give a damn if Craig is gay or not. For the record, he’s denying it. Fine. What’s bothersome to me is Rogers’ continued insistence that ‘outing’ supposedly closeted gay politicians is fair game. From that same link:

Rogers says that digging into the private lives of politicians who support anti-gay legislation is legitimate. Because Craig supported and voted for the Defense of Marriage act, it is politically relevant to reveal these claims, Rogers said. In a letter to Craig, he wrote: “What these citizens are not being told is that some of the politicians who want their help are or have staff who are part of the so-called ‘homosexual lifestyle.'”

Let’s assume for purposes of discussion that Senator Craig is gay – are we to assume that his votes against issues that are important to the gay community were an attempt by Craig to mask his ‘hidden desires’? Or was it more Craig’s intent to represent the voters of Idaho who put him into office based, in part, on his stances on those issues? My guess would be the latter – and again, this is assuming for discussion purposes that Craig is gay, something that can’t be proven one way or another (unless there are emails, IMs, video, pix, etc – and God help us if that kind of thing surfaces).

I know a lot of conservatives are of the mindset that this is yet another more in a long list of October surprises perpetuated by Democrats, and while I wouldn’t put it past Democrats to endorse something like this, I’m not so sure I’d fall into the October surprise camp, considering that Craig will not be up for re-election until 2008. Of course, it could be that the people behind this campaign (and I know it’s more than just Rogers) are using this to try and paint the Republicans as the party that doesn’t practice what it preaches right here before the elections. I wouldn’t rule that out.

I’ve also read a few gay lefty bloggers who, astoundingly, completely (and deliberately) miss the point and instead choose to engage in pointing out supposed Republican ‘hypocrisy’ on the issue of outing gays, which is complete BS (Dean Barnett links to the chief asserter of the alleged Republican hypocrisy angle). If you’ve ever talked to a gay person about the issue of “coming out” they’ll tell you (at least this has been what I’ve been told in my conversations with gay friends)) that deciding on whether or not to come out is an intensely personal, sometimes agonizing decision to make – and the announcement should come from them. It’s theirs and theirs alone to make. Not anyone else’s. Coming out is, to put it simply, a private matter between the person coming out and their family and friends.

Several years ago, a friend of mine who I’d known since I was in elementary school came out to me. I told that friend that his coming out did not change how I felt about him as a friend. In the midst of our conversation, he mentioned that he’d been to a club recently and bumped into someone we both knew from junior and senior high school who was also gay. Out of curiosity, I asked him “who was it?” His response to me essentially was that it wasn’t his place to say, that he didn’t know if our mutal friend had told his family and friends yet that he was gay, and that the announcement that he was gay would have to come from him directly. I respected that, and later found out that what my friend said about the need for gay people who come out to make the announcement themselves was pretty consistent with I’d heard and read about the issue. Someone else coming out for a gay person can have seriously disastrous consequences if the gay person was not ready to be outed yet.

That’s what bothers me about Rogers’ little campaigns to out politicians who are supposedly gay. He’s not doing it because he thinks closeted gay politicians should be ‘held accountable’ for personal conduct that doesn’t match their public rhetoric. He engages in outting campaigns because gay Republicans don’t vote the way he wants them too. It’s sick, and in my opinion one of the lowest forms of attempted political manipulation I’ve ever seen in modern history.

If Craig is indeed gay, it’s his decision whether or not to come out – NOT MIKE ROGERS’. Rogers is a creep who should be condemned by both sides of the aisle. Sadly, as Patterico notes with links, the far left is grabbing onto this news gleefully like a rabid dog who has found a pile of chicken bones. How pathetic, and what a sad commentary on modern politics.

PM Update I: Check out Red State’s post on this regarding a possible blackmail angle to this ‘outing’. Interesting.

PM Update II: Dean Barnett has a lengthier post up on the subject this afternoon. Consider it a must-read.

PM Update III: What the hell? Here’s how the LA Times describes Mike Rogers, who is quoted in their article about an alleged “pink purge” going on within the GOP:

[…] a gay-rights activist who runs a blog to combat what he calls hypocrisy among conservative gay politicians.

ROTFL! This is like referring to the Rev. Fred Phelps as an “anti-gay rights activist who believes the First Amendment shouldn’t be violated” – without mentioning the fact that he and his ‘church’ routinely protest at military funerals!

Read more via: Captain Ed, Michael van der Galien at Moderate Voice, Dan Riehl, Iowa Voice, Bob Owens, La Shawn Barber, James Joyner, Blog For All