Tuesday, March 21, 2006

More Stupid Rushisms

In continuing with the idiotic rhetoric coming from the right wing media pundits, I had to comment on Rush Limbaugh, wind bag extraordinaire, today.

He had not just one, but two choice stupid comments.

First, he attacked a Zogby International poll that was sponsored by Le Moyne College's Peace and Global Studies Program. In the poll, 72% of soldiers surveyed in Iraq felt that troops should be withdrawn in the next year. Additionally, "while 58% say mission is clear, 42% say U.S. role is hazy," "90% think war is retaliation for Saddam’s role in 9/11, most don’t blame Iraqi public for insurgent attacks," "majority of troops oppose use of harsh prisoner interrogation," and "Plurality of troops pleased with their armor and equipment."

Why is Limbaugh attacking the poll? I could see how a wingnut would not like the results. But Rush doesn't believe the results because it was sponsored by a program that contains the word "peace" in its title.

The poll was funded by Le Moyne College's Center for Peace and Global Studies.

And when I -- anytime an organization has the word "peace" in it, throw it out. It's just a bunch of long-haired, maggot-infested, dope-smoking, FM peace-types that have an agenda.

"But what about Zogby, Rush? What about Zogby?" I'm just telling you what I think. I'm a manly guy. I stand by it.

So, anytime that a organization has the word "peace" in their title, they must me pinko-commie bastards that want to turn this country into an Islamic state.

Turns out that if Rush had done the minimal amount of homework on Le Moyne College, he would discover that it is a Jesuit School. Yes, it is a Catholic university. Does he really expect a religious school to promote war? Is he seriously claiming that the Catholic church is now the mouth piece of Islamic extremism? And, being a Catholic, I can honestly say I have never met a Jesuit brother who is a long haird, maggot-infested, dope-smoking, FMer. Correct me if I am wrong.

Personally, I would have reservations of any religious school that had a program for "War and Global Studies."

Secondly, Rush attacks Senators Schumer, Leahy, Durbin, and Bidan for their comments during a congressional hearing on the cost of oil and its exponential increase.

LEAHY: Every time there's been a merger, prices have gone up. Anybody want to respond to that? Is that just coincidence?

SCHUMER: There are fewer, more massive players in the markets, prices have spiked, and what has gone up has not come down. Coincidence? I don't think so.

Limbaugh sys "this is Stalinist. This is Stalinist and Marxist."

Stalinist and Marxist? I guess the OxyContin really did screw with Rush's brain. Econ 101 - monopolies are anti-capitalistic. Competition is what drives capitalism. Monopolies destroys capitalism. When the number of suppliers is reduced by mergers, it leads to price increases. At a certain point, economies of scale hit an plateau and the lack of competition leads to price increase. That is just the way it is. I guess in Rush's economic utopia, there would be only one oil company.

Again, this just shows that Rush is more concerned about filling the air waves with crap than actually attempting to initiate discussion. I guess they don't call his listeners ditto heads for nothing.

Sources: MMFA, MMFA

Update: More stupidity from Rush

On his web site (of which I refuse to link) Rush states:

Facts Fail to Match Media Action Line

American Deaths over the Last Three Years Put in Perspective:
• Auto Accidents: 120,000
• Falling Down: 45,000
• Poisoning: 27,000
• Drowning: 12,000
• War in Iraq: 2,300

Rush's point here? That is is much more dangerous to be in the US than to be a soldier in Iraq. But, once again, as most right wing media pundits like to do, he lies to you. He is using fuzzy math.

Lets do the math. 2300 soldiers have died in Iraq in the last 3 years. That makes a total of 767 deaths per year. We have around 130,000 troops in the field per year. Thus, making your chances of being killed in Iraq .6%.

Now, lets take all the deaths in the US from auto accidents, falling down, poisoning, and drowning. The grand total is 204,000 deaths by those causes. The number looks staggering, but when you take into account that we have 300 million people in this country, your chance of dying from any one of those causes is .07%. Meaning, a soldier is 10 times more likely to die in Iraq than all of the causes Rush cites combined when he or she comes home.

So, Rush is either ethically, or mathmatically impaired. Since we all know Rush lies more than he even gets high, it is most likely the former of the two.


Sigmund, Carl and Alfred said...

Good post- but in all honesty, polls are no longer unbiased sources of information.

Any pollster can get what they want by asking and phrasing the right questions.

tommy said...

Until you look at the questions the poll asks there isn't anyway to judge the validity of it. I answered one yesterday that had an obvious point it was trying to make, and the answers were all various degrees of agreement with their objective. The only level of disagreement allowed was no comment or no opinion. I realize it's an extreme case, but the art of polling in order to generate a specific result is getting a bit out of hand I think. I'm very suspicious of this one only because it presents a picture completely different from the one I get talking to the soldiers in line waiting to get through customs. I realize my sample is very small and not scientific and subject to all sorts of external pressures to say a particular thing, but still I don't get any sense from them along the lines of what the poll said. So who knows really?

It's impossible to make a valid statistical comparison the way you did (I concede that your point is correct, Rush is an imbecile using bad math, just that the math you are using is incorrect as well). The first thing you have to rationalize is exposure to the threat, a soldier in Iraq is in Iraq 24 hours a day for as long as he is there, whereas the average vehicle occupant is in the car for somewhat less of a time, and not everyone rides in a car at all. A more interesting comparison (to me anyway) would be between military members in Iraq and elsewhere. I don't know what the number is now, but when I was in training/accidental deaths tended to run around 1000 a year (I think).

Rush is right on occasion, it's difficult to blather as much as he does without occasionally getting it right. But he is a master at paradoxical logic, it is a great talent, and he does it in a very entertaining way sometimes, but it's ultimately pointless.

Sigmund, Carl and Alfred said...

I won't argue the point, but soldiers are SUPPOSED to face death. That is their function, that is what they are trained for and that is what they volunteer for. In fact, the given the environment, the number of deaths has been remakably low.

Being a soldier is not like standing in a crosswalk.

By your standards, WWII was a disaster engineered by Roosevelt!

Dingo said...

I am not argueing the validity of the poll. Just the reason for attacking it. thowing out the results because it was sponsored by a college program with the word "peace" in it is absurd.

Tommy, how is my math off? please let me know so if I was wrong, I can correct it. Thanks

And, about your point that he is occasionally right. As they say, even a broken wotch is right twice a day.

tommy said...

OK I'll be the first to admit my point over the math is picking nits but...

A soldier in Iraq is at risk of being killed in Iraq 24 hours a day, and not everyone in the U.S. is at risk of being killed in a vehicle accident everyday (some people are never even in a car), certainly not 24 hours a day everyday. It's an actuarial game of determining risk, and like I said it's immaterial to your point.

You and Rush have made basically the same mistake of using incompatible samples, his was one of population size, and yours was one of time of exposure to the risk.

The closest I can come off hand to explaining the issue is if you drive a car at 30 miles an hour for one mile, how fast do you have to drive the second mile to average 60 miles an hour?

The answer is it can't be done, with the exception of instantaneous teleportation across the last mile, which for the purpose of this discussion will be considered impossible.

I will attempt to make my nitpicking more relevant in the future.

Dingo said...

I see your point although in aggregate, you are subject to one of the domestic forms of death all except your sleeping hours. I am assuming that the risk to a soldier reduced significantly while in barracks (most of the time) also. Either way, point taken.

The Humanity Critic said...

Geez, Rush Limbaugh is such an idiotic tool.