Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Kanye West | Kanye West called Jackass by President Obama

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On YouTube.com

For Kanye West when it rains it pours. Now, after West famously grabbed the mic from country star Taylor Swift at the MTV Video Music Awards, TMZ.com reports that President Obama called the hip hip singer a "jackass" and has the audio recording to prove it.

Apparently Obama was talking before a group of people when he made the statement and in a stream of thought said "He's a jackass." It was funny.

Obama was concerned that the public would come down on him but that doens't seem to be the case at all. TMZ's poll reports 92 percent support for the President as of this writing, so I created my own poll.

At YouTube, one video commenter said that President Obama "sold us (blacks) out."   I strongly disagree.  I don't think I'm supposed to support bad, rude behavior because someone African American like me does it.  Wrong is wrong.  Kanye West was wrong.  Period.  

What do you think?  Take my poll.

More surveys on pollsb.com

Michelle Wie channels Miley Cyrus in new blog

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The drive for young women to be like Miley Cyrus continues with golf star Michelle Wie and her new blog that's caused quite a stir online.  I received an email tip and had to check out the latest buzz on Wie, which I did with my friends who own the Lake Merritt Cafe in Oakland, CA:

Michelle Wie's  blog, called "A Black Flamingo: a mindless blog about life and the stuff that doesn't quite fit in" is the platform for her many talents, from painting to fashion and modeling:

so i took a calligraphy class in high school and i reallly loved it. i would love to learn how to do asian calligraphy again. classic asian art is beautiful. love

Folks Wie's art work is fantastic. I don't know what it would fetch in the open market, but I'm sure the price tag would be substantial.   She has everything from calligraphy to stencil and her talent's to be seen.   Then there's her modeling career:

Here Michelle Wie shows her Miley Cyrus side showing a lot of skin and the color black.  While I'm tempted to make fun of her desire to "show some skin" and do with my Lake Merritt Cafe owner friend in the video, I've got to note that Wie made the clothes she models herself.  By contrast, Miley's modeling what someone created.  Wie reports:

my cousin showed me how to use a sewing machine last week and its sooo awesome! so with my new knowledge, we ran to the fabric store and got some fabric. i got some leather looking material, black jersery fabric, and zippperrs. so i made a dress... i feel like with this one, you can either wear it without anything inside and be uber sexy with the exposed skin, or you can layer it up..
You go girl!

Seriously.  Wie's an amazing genius, who's full range of accomplishments should be on display for all to see.  At the age of (well, she's about to turn) 20, Wie's discovering that she's more than just a golfer, and she's pretty good at that too!

I wonder if Miley would consider sporting the latest in "Wie Wear."  


Stay tuned.

The problem with polls, and the media (including the blogosphere.)

Polling can always tell us whatever the person who constructs/conducts the poll was investigating - if we're given the raw data and a good description of the sampling procedure. But in practice even the data is usually glossed over in favor of a sound-bite summary tending to support the interests of the person and/or network doing the reporting on it.

Unless you know about how the sample of people was selected you really can't know anything more than what's reported about a poll. You can't know, for instance, if its findings are useful in any logical sense, because you don't know who the sample represents.  I can ask 21 people a question, and come back with really convincing looking numbers, but if I select who 15-20 of those people are it will darn sure tell you what I want you to think I learned.

An example of shaping a poll

Imagine I go to a GOP Town Hall meeting, and survey 15 people wearing shirts or carrying signs that say either "Nobama," or, "Joe Wilson was right!" I'll ask them one simple question:

Are you a) "for" Obama's government takeover of our health care system that he's pushing through the congress under the name of "reform" or b) "against reform" that will make changes that undermine the free market system that has given us the best health care in the world and cost the tax payers even more money?

OK, I've plausibly got 15 "b) against reform" responses now in my hypothetical example.  I'll ask 6 additional people, more or less randomly selected, and let's say they most of them magically favor reform (not likely, is it? But for the sake of argument, I'm getting 4 out of 6 favorable replies.)  I didn't even tack on the line about paying for illegal immigrants.

Now I'll report back for you based on that (fake) survey:
"In a [hypothetical] survey conducted Wednesday, only 19% of those responding favor the proposed reforms to health care, while  nearly 81% said they were 'against change.' That's more than 4 out of 5 in our survey who are hoping their representatives in Congress will stop the President's take-over of business."

If you believe what anybody in the media tells you without understanding both the sample and the data, all you know is what the reporter's boss wants you to believe. If you choose to believe on that basis - which you just might if it agrees with your political leanings - rather than examining the poll itself, then you're gullible indeed.  The good news is: the politicians on your side and the ratings-hungry networks (who are on the side of earning a living from ad revenues) both love you. They'll go out of their way to validate your "wisdom and insight" into the issue.

If the poll isn't conducted on a random sample, but merely open to those who respond...? Well, my friends, that will tell you a bit about the people who responded, of course, but one must be wary of extrapolating to draw any useful conclusions about a larger population. We call it spin. But knowing that they're gaming us doesn't stop the echoes.

How the media deliberately spreads misinformation

In fact, it won't surprise me to find this utterly fake survey example quoted elsewhere within days, if not hours.  Can't you see it, at DIGG maybe, or on another blog, or even on Fox?
A post at a prominent, liberal-leaning blog on Wednesday described a survey which concluded that, quote, "only 19% of those responding favor the proposed reforms to health care, while nearly 81% said they were 'against change.'" In other words, that's more than 4 out of 5 who want their representatives in Congress to stop the President's assault on insurance providers and let capitalism work.  
There you go, it's been lifted carefully out of context, and the quote is nearly character for character what I made up in the "report" above, and then the media echoes will persist even though the numbers are clearly unreal.  You see, now they're not reporting on the survey, they're reporting on the reporting, which is just an excuse to keep repeating the misleading numbers.

Misinformation mars the debate. I could easily have made the example go the opposite way, of course, but I don't want somebody to echo a story that falsely represents support for reform.  In fact, worded carefully surveys do reveal that over 90% favor "at least some reform."  But then, who wouldn't favor "at least some" unless they were making money from the insurance industry? It's like asking who wants lower taxes without considering how you'd pay for those government services you realize you benefit from.

You know that commercial media outlets rely on advertising revenues. So, do you follow the money? Better yet, why do you trust who you always have to report on things you care about?

NCAA College Football week 2 - wrap up

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NCAA week two was marked by two marque games: Notre Dame v. Michigan and USC v. Ohio State. In the first game, Notre Dame, which was 18th ranked and is now dropped from the rankings, looked to the contest as the "must-win" if The Fighting Irish were to prove to themselves and to America that they were indeed BCS-bound.

They failed.

The reason for their failure could be directly attributed to the fact that they don't have enough talent to beat or even compete with teams that commonly play at the BCS level. As I stated before, Notre Dame's academic requirements prevent it from consistently getting those players and Notre Dame Head Coach Charlie Weis has not demonsrated an ability to "scheme" his way out of that problem.

I still believe it wise to place the game in the hands of the superbly talented sopohmore quarterback Jimmy Clausen, who's an amazing passer and a capable leader. But what he's asked to do from a perspective of play design is my concern.

I contend that if Notre Dame believes it can reach the BCS it has to "scheme' its way there. It doesn't have a defense strong enough to stop, for example, the Michigan running game and that "belly series" from the Spread, which Michigan ran to perfection under freshman quarterback Tate Forceir.

Spread "Belly" Triple Option 

That game's not the last time Notre Dame will  see this play.

Rather than focus just on defensing it, Notre Dame needs to move toward a better short passing and roll-out passing game.  Weis spent so much time trying to bomb the Wolverines into submission - and racking up over 400 yards in the process - he left time on the clock for Michigan's offense - its easier to run when the clock's working in your favor.

USC beat Ohio State.  Guess how?

The ability to run was what lifted the then-third ranked USC Trojans over the Ohio State Buckeyes.   And in that game we saw the coming of age of another freshman quaterback, Matt Barkley.

Barkley, who took over for the man who-would-be-the-senior quarterback Mark Sanchez (who won his first game as a rookie quarterback with the New York Jets), came in with a lot of questions because of his youth.  But he answered them all in the Trojans' final drive to win the game, which even though it was driven by a suddenly powerful running attack, saw Matt hit open receivers on time.

While running back Joe McKnight did much of the heaving lifting in the drive, along with the SC offensive line, Barley did his part in completing the passes when they neeeded them the most.  That was something Ohio State could not do. 

What that game demonstrated was that Ohio State has an undisciplined passing attack.  Many of the plays are out of play action and the patterns are some of the most ineffectively unusual I've ever seen.  What I mean is that they call for the receiver to be out of proper position just by their design.

Plus, the passing game lacks the timing necessary to complete passes even with close coverage.  And forget the idea of Ohio State mounting a pass-oriented comeback because they don't seem to practice the two-minute drill. Quarterback Terrell Pryor is an obviously talented athlete, but he's a raw passer who needs a lot of drilling in basic timed throwing; he's not getting it at Ohio State.

Cal steamrolls opponents

With all this, my Cal Golden Bears dropped 50 points on its last two "challengers", Maryland and Eastern Washington. Look out for the 7th ranked Golden Bears.