Where I start to get Ann Coulter

Okay, Ann Coulter is evil and simple-minded.  But it is stuff like this happening, that certainly can make me understand the appeal of her outrageous comments about the Middle East:

KABUL, Afghanistan — Thousands of demonstrators angered over the burning of a Koran in Florida mobbed offices of the United Nations in northern Afghanistan on Friday, overrunning the compound and killing at least seven foreign staff workers, according to Afghan officials.There were conflicting reports on the total number of people killed and whether two of the victims had been beheaded. Five Afghans were also reported killed.

The incident began when thousands of protesters poured out of the Blue Mosque in Mazar-i-Sharif after Friday prayers and attacked the nearby headquarters of the United Nations, according to Lal Mohammad Ahmadzai, spokesman for Gen. Daoud Daoud, the Afghan National Police commander for northern Afghanistan.

After disarming or shooting the United Nations compound’s guards, the crowd surged inside. Mr. Ahmadzai said that eight of the foreign staff workers, whose nationalities were not known immediately, were killed by gunfire, and that two others were captured by the mob and beheaded. Other reports said that the operations center was burned down as well.

I mean, seriously, how are you even supposed to engage at all with a society and culture where so many people can think and act this way.  It’s horribly depressing. I could handle a few isolated nuts, but a whole giant mob of “thousands of people.”?!  Meanwhile, they think one idiot burning the Quran should be a war crime?.  Ugh.

Where I make Politico

So, I’m not the biggest fan of Politico, since they tend to be all about the game of politics and seem to have far too little interest in substance.  But, what could be more substantial than covering results from a Political Science paper?  Mine, no less! Anyway my conference paper– presenting tomorrow with Seth Masket (who definitely deserves most of the credit– seriously, that’s reality, not modestly)– makes it into this Politico blog:

A vote for health reform reduced election margins by six to eight percent for Democratic members of Congress in the 2010 midterm elections, according to a new study by two political scientists to be unveiled this weekend in Chicago.

The University of Denver’s Seth Masket and North Carolina State’s University’s Steven Green examined the impact of four key votes on the midterm elections and found that a vote for the health care bill directly cost Democrats at least 13 House seats.

“We find a smaller, but still statistically significant, effect for supporting TARP. The stimulus has a mixed effect, harming Democrats in more conservative districts but possibly helping them in more liberal ones. We found no overall effect for cap-and-trade,” Masket said, previewing a paper that will be released at Midwest Political Science Association in Chicago.

Another key stat in their breakdown: In a district where Obama got 40 percent of the vote in 2008, a Democratic representative would have a 54 percent chance of retaining her seat if she opposed health reform, but only a 19 percent chance if she supported it.


No, not purchasing power parity, but public policy polling.  Really interesting politico story on how this small Raleigh-based business has been having a dramatic impact in the world of polling.  I just had the guy who basically runs it as a one-man show (well, it’s got a little help now) in class on Monday and he was among the most interesting guest speakers I’ve had.  I’ve been meaning to write about that, but been too busy.  The big-time pollsters hate them because they use automated polling, but they are surprisingly accurate.  Republicans hate them because they are an avowedly Democratic business, but there’s no evidence of all for any Democratic bias in their polls.  For now, read the article.

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