Shit polls are bad for Democracy: As are attention whore “journalists”

10/02/2016

But, we had a record number of clicks on that story!

Whore journalism and whore pollsters are in league to undermine democracy so that they can make money and peddle influence. There are almost no real journalists anymore, and there have been very few in American history. This is largely because “journalists” rejected scientific approaches to evidence for “gotcha” one-hit bullshit. It mattered more that Nixon approved some petty attack on a doomed political opponent than that Nixon had repeatedly perpetrated war crimes and violated international laws. No, what mattered for “journalists” was that some “journalist” found out that Nixon ordered some lackey to steal useless information from his ineffectual political opponent. Yeah. That’s the story. Because, supporting the military industrial complex in Vietnam and extending this to the Middle East was not interesting. No news there. No intrigue. Not Sexy. As if anyone would want to see any of these pathetic motherfuckers naked.

I really like Mark Silk and he’s a bright guy, but he is not a social scientist who specializes in public opinion, and his opinion on the science of public opinion is often inattentive to fundamental methodological principals that exclude the vast majority of opinion polls from the realm of social science. Most journalistic polls now have less than a 1% response rate, if that, and they don’t even have a scientific sampling frame. The “Best” polls from Gallup or Pew claim to have an 8% response rate, and I don’t think that is even believable.  It is alarming that the vast majority of our non-scientific opinion polls now come from for-profit firms (most of which are owned by far-right wing media groups), or firms that pander to whoever is paying the bills.

Silk claims that this shit information is better than nothing, arguing that it winnowed the Republican field of several prominent Republicans who likely would have had a shot at the nomination if not for whore polls. Yes, it winnowed the field. But, it did not do that based on some semblance of democratic influence. These polls were so bad that it is very likely that candidates who would have been preferred by the majority of actual voting Republicans were “forced” to abandon their candidacy, or are now wallowing in damaged campaigns. That isn’t democracy, it’s shitocracy. The worthless losers who respond to shit polls while sitting in their armchairs answering their phones like Archie Bunker are now dictating the party pick. They are not the Republican Party. They are not representative of the population. And, this how shit media whores amplifying the horse race has influenced the process itself and pushed fascists weirdos like Trump, Cruz, and Carson to the front of the pack, and pushed moderately sane Republicans to the margins.

Notably, while I wrote all of the above a long time ago, tonight this is in stark relief. Hillary Clinton is clearly losing to Bernie Sanders, not just in Iowa and New Hampshire, but across the nation. Who cares if Hillary can maybe pull off South Carolina, Bernie will stomp her in California and New York. On the Republican side, the “normal” Republicans–Kasich and Bush, and Rubio—did very well, and Kasich and Bush did well despite the incessant bleating from “journalists” that they have no chance. Gee, what if the “journalists” weren’t bleating that shit and were instead paying attention to the positions held by the candidates and reporting on the issues that matter to Americans instead of horse race shit-poll based politics? I don’t care. I’d rather see Bernie against Trump or Cruz than Bush or Kasich. Hillary will lose to any of the establishment republicans if she can manage to win, which she won’t.

Media led elections based on shit polls are not democracy. It’s more like some reality TV show. Thankfully, enough people seem to realize that Bernie is our only hope, and they didn’t believe the bullshit polls saying he had no chance.

 

 

Pant Pissing Brooklyn Hipster Forces David Bowie from His Deathbed

03/02/2016

I wasn’t able to properly lament the death of David Bowie, who was one of the greatest and most original talents in rock and roll. Instead, I’ll rant after the fact about the 20-something hipster idiots who think that they are music critics with deep thoughts. It says a lot about the scared, feeble-minded ideologues who pass for journalists to somehow think Blackstar was about ISIS. They are so afraid that some Islamic terrorist is going to bust into their hipster hangout in Brooklyn that they can’t even listen to a song that is so obviously about Bowie’s own death that it is mind boggling. The entire album is about Bowie’s illness and impending doom, and he doesn’t mince words.  David Bowie literally had to deny this shit from his deathbed. Granted, saxophonist Donny McCaslin made the off the cuff suggestion to a reporter, who believed it and repeated it, and even months after Bowie denied this it was again repeated by another hipster. McCaslin was likely just making shit up because he was sworn not to say anything about Bowie’s health.

 

When Research is too much and too little: Forging a research agenda for real jobs

28/12/2015
I feel the Pulse of the Populace, I can feel it!

I think I’ll do that goat statue next…..

Graduate students always have angst about what they should be investing their scarce time in, and many dream of a day or place where they aren’t stressing to finish research projects. That day will never come. There is only one track, and that is how it should be.

But, people on the job market should also be aware of a few things. Fabio does a good job of attending to many of these in agreement with Sam Perry, but I want to go beyond those points.

First, you should be focused on finishing your fucking dissertation. And, your dissertation should (1) have a point; (2) have promise for future publications; and, most importantly (3) be related to anything and everything you have published. Publications in and of themselves are not necessarily helpful. That is particularly true when publications are co-authored, especially when they are coauthored with people who are obviously guiding the research agenda (most especially when those people are faculty).

If you want to make it at the top, your main goal is the construction and accomplishment of an independent research agenda. YOU making a novel contribution to sociology, relating it to your dissertation, and giving assurance that you damn sure will finish that dissertation before you arrive at a job (and not simply because loser wimp faculty members agree to sign off on your piece of shit dissertation which is not becoming of a graduate of your program and may be an insult to alumni……ahem….).

Publishing in third tier journals is not at all helpful for attaining a position at a top tier university. When I was coming up for tenure, if it wasn’t in a top or second tier journal, it didn’t even count. It actually counts against you as a junior scholar for top tier places. Why are you wasting your time puking out stuff in third and fourth tier journals? You should be doing bigger and better things, and finishing your fucking dissertation. Any moron can publish in fourth tier journals, and throwing shit against the wall ensures that something will stick, even if you have diarrhea.

But, there is a caveat. It’s ok to publish in specialty journals or third tier journals if it is your own dissertation research, and if you don’t aspire to the heights of the discipline. AND, it’s better to have a few solid publications in third tier or specialty journals which are genuinely your own and focused on your dissertation research than it is to have a shit ton of disconnected articles with multiple coauthors. A scattered publication record looks worse than a slim one.

Worse yet, bulking up on small-time publications makes you intimidating for second and third tier programs, and counts you out for liberal arts colleges and fourth tier colleges. Why bother to interview someone with 12 publications coming out of a strong program when you are at Murray State or even my own humble institution? And, those same 12 publications count for nothing at Stanford, particularly if there are none in a top tier journal and if they are disjointed.

Yes, you must do research. Yes, you must publish it. But, more is not preferred to less, and less is often better than more. Quality matters more than quantity, and focus matters most of all.

Watermelon in Easter Hay, Zappadan always ends this way….

21/12/2015

The Myth of Atheist Intolerance for Muslims

13/12/2015
Tolerance for anti-American Muslims by Belief in gods, General Social Survey

Tolerance for anti-American Muslims by Belief in gods, General Social Survey, 2008-2014

Atheists have been getting a bad rap for sometime about picking on Islam and Muslims, largely because of some off the cuff comments by “professional atheists” who should stick to their day jobs. But, as in any collection of people who hold one particular belief, there is considerable variation in other commitments and identifications. There is a loud and obnoxious racist, sexist, and homophobic contingent in semi-organized atheism in online and even actual groups. And, they hate them some Muslins. But, is that representative of the average atheist? And, how does your average atheist compare with your average believer in one true God who is not Allah because Allah is Satan or something?

Above you can see the scaled results across religious belief groups from the 2008-2014 cumulative GSS. This is a sum of the three standard “Stouffer” tolerance items applied to “anti-American” Muslim clergy giving a speech, college professors who oppose America keeping their jobs, or retaining anti-American Islamic books in the library.  The summary scale goes from 0-3, with a 3 indicating supporting civil rights in all three cases.

As you can see, people who do not believe in a god are significantly and substantially more tolerant of individuals who hold opinions contrary to their own. On average, Atheists, Agnostics, and people who believe “in a higher power but not a god”  would grant civil rights in about two of the three cases (college professors get the hardest rap, on average). In contrast Believers in a One True God who Cannot Possibly Be Allah would grant only one right (generally, this is the book in a library).

So, all this shit about atheists being intolerant toward Muslims is bullshit. Stop watching television.

Rat Tomago…it’s what’s for dinner…..

12/12/2015

Pizza with Pele’…farewell Coach Tom

11/12/2015
Thomas Anthony Iadevaia, 1934-2015

Thomas Anthony Iadevaia, 1934-2015

I started playing soccer in first grade in a league formed by one of my father’s colleagues at American Airlines, Tom Iadevaia. As the years went on my brothers and I were often on select teams directed by Coach Tom, and my brother David was good friends with his son TA, and so David was generally on Coach Tom’s team. Coach Tom is in the Oklahoma Soccer Hall of Fame, and can be credited for developing some of the largest and most successful youth leagues in the US, and bringing pro-soccer to Tulsa in the 1970s.

Coach Tom was always a great guy, he took us to soccer camps in California, and one year his son TA and my brother David and I were sent on to LA alone because Coach Tom got bumped from the flight (we all flew standby on AA because my dad and Coach Tom worked there and could fly free). The crew locked us in a room in LAX and we had to wait for Coach Tom to catch the next flight from Dallas.

The original North American Soccer League was seeking to expand and investors were checking out various cities, knowing that soccer isn’t like other sports and that pockets of immigrants could really propel a city to be a strong soccer market. Tulsa had all of that, as Tom knew.  In 1975, the Brazilian soccer god, Pele’, developed an interest in the United States after playing some “friendlies” with his Santos Team. He toured the United States and put on workshops in various cities, including Tulsa.

I remember before Pele’s visit we all sat around at Coach Tom’s house and watched a video (Tom was a computer guy and one of the first to have such newfangled technology) of Pele and the Brazilian team training. Pele juggling grapefruits and talking about how he never had shoes or a ball when he was a kid, so he made do with what he could find. It was riveting. Then, Coach Tom turned it off and said, “You know boys, he’s coming here.” It was unbelievable. But, sure enough, in a few months Coach Tom called up all of the strong kids and we met at one of the fields and there he was, Pele’. We did the drills and conditioning just like the Brazilian team, with Pele’ urging us on and showing us the proper way to cross legs, strike the ball, head the ball, and juggle. After, a few of us got to go back to Coach Tom’s house (a half mile from our house) and have pizza and talk with Pele. We tried to get him to juggle some oranges, but he laughed and said “I have a ball now.”

Pele’ came back a few years later as a member of the New York Cosmos playing the Tulsa Roughnecks in 1978. We were all there, and it was all because of Coach Tom. Tulsa was selected as an expansion city because of Pele’—he could feel it—and because of Coach Tom, who showed Pele what was going on in soccer in Tulsa. Coach Tom talked about this in an interview with the Tulsa World, “What you had back then in Tulsa were a lot of ethnics in a Midwestern city that had never heard of soccer,” said Iadevaia. “The University of Tulsa had a lot of students from the Middle East coming here for the petroleum engineering school. Oral Roberts had a bunch of international students…Plus, you had a lot of guys like me that moved here with American Airlines or Metropolitan Life or the oil companies. We had people here from all over the world.” Tulsa had one of the highest attendance ratings in the NASL and won the Soccer Bowl in 1983.

Looking back, I should have stayed closer to Tom Iadevaia. I quit playing on the select teams in 1980 to focus on juvenile delinquency and motocross. Who knows what would have happened if I had stayed. My brother’s teammate, Joe Max Moore, went on to play in three World Cups.

I’ll never forget Coach Tom, his voice, his laugh, and his encouragement.

Black Sabbath of Zappadan

06/12/2015

 

On this first Black Sabbath after Bummernacht, it is important to remember that Frank loved Black Sabbath. While the rich hippies who controlled “rock and roll’ media were dismissive of Sabbath, they came around sometime in the mid 1970s (when it was pretty much too late….) in large part because of Zappa. Because, Zappa was the arbiter of good music. Dangerous Minds has an awesome summary from both sides that everyone should read.

“Frank Zappa gave “Supernaut,” the ur-metal monster that ends the first side of Black Sabbath Vol. 4, the number one spot in his list of “faves, raves, and composers in their graves,” published in the June 1975 issue of Let It Rock:

‘Supernaut’: Black Sabbath. I think it’s from Paranoid. I like it because I think it’s prototypical of a certain musical style, and I think it’s well done. Also, I happen to like the guitar lick that’s being played in the background.”

Maybe Tony Iommi wasn’t quite Jeff Beck or Jimmy Page, but he didn’t spend his career ripping off music from African Americans or his opening act like Zeppelin or Clapton. This was new It was original.

Of course, Black Sabbath loved Zappa:

“Sabbath bassist and lyricist Geezer Butler, a Zappa fanatic who says his “musical life completely changed” when he first heard the Mothers of Invention at the age of fifteen, credits Zappa’s endorsement of “Supernaut” with changing critics’ attitudes toward the band:

I think some of them got an inkling when Frank Zappa did this interview in one of the big English music papers. They were asking him what music he was listening to at the time, and he said, “Black Sabbath.” And at the time, Frank Zappa was really well thought of critically. And I thought he was joking! (Laughs.) But he thought “Supernaut” [from 1972’s Black Sabbath, Vol. 4] was the best riff he’d ever heard. And a lot of critics went, “Well, if Zappa likes Black Sabbath, maybe we should give them another listen.”

 

Someday, we will have Chunga’s Revenge…

05/12/2015

All of the incredible insane hatred and retribution that helps us have more hatred and retribution will be hated and retributed once we get Chunga’s Revenge…..

 

Black Napkins Friday

04/12/2015

What better way to start the Zappadan Season. I think I’ll go buy a lawn jockey….


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