Monday, 25 August 2003

Quiz time!

Whose credibility is damaged more by the revelation that the National Organization for Women is endorsing Carol Mosely-Braun’s presidential campaign?

Via Bitter.

The L.A. Times poll and oversampling

Dan Weintraub notes that the Los Angeles Times poll of California voters—the first to show a lead for Bustamante outside the margin of error—included a special sample of 125 Latino voters. Dan hasn’t get clarification yet as to how the Latinos were counted in the overall poll, which interviewed 1,351 (self-declared?) registered voters, 801 of whom were deemed “likely” voters.

The key question is whether the 125 Latinos were all “likely” voters or just registered. In terms of registration numbers, the count seems reasonable in terms of a sample of Californians; however, if all 125 were “likely” there was an oversampling of Latinos which should have been corrected. (* For more on this, follow the Read More link.)

So the big question is whether or not the oversampling was an issue in the main poll, and if so whether it was compensated for. If it wasn’t, the Times poll is giving us a very biased estimate of the population parameter (in this case, the percentage of likely voters who are planning to vote for Bustamante or leaning that way).

Another possible source of the high Bustamante number is that the Times poll included “leaners” in addition to voters who initially declared a preference for a particular candidate. (Generally in surveys on vote choice, if you say “I don’t know” to the first question, a followup question will ask if there’s a candidate you are leaning towards.) If other polls aren’t combining the two categories, this could explain a big part of the difference. It might also be of substantive interest; if Bustamante’s support includes a disproportionate share of leaners, they would be easier for other candidates to sway than voters who are committed to Bustamante.

Gilligan's Suspended

InstaPundit passes on word from The Guardian that Andrew “008” Gilligan, the reporter at the center of the David Kelly scandal in Britain, has been removed from his day-to-day reporting duties to prepare for his likely grilling by the inquiry investigating Kelly’s death. Quoth The Guardian:

BBC executives denied that Gilligan’s departure from day-to-day reporting on the Radio 4 Today programme was linked to revelations last week that he sent emails to two MPs on the House of Commons Foreign Affairs Select Committee suggesting questions they could ask Kelly that would be ‘devastating’ for the Government. ...

Gilligan sent his emails to a Liberal Democrat and a Conservative on the committee. The messages came to light when the Liberal Democrats forwarded their copy to the inquiry.

In related news, I have a very nice bridge over the Thames I’d be willing to sell you.

Nevertheless, government ministers have apparently decided to start making nice with the BBC by planning to continue to exempt it from government oversight:

Critics have long urged the Government to bring the BBC under the ambit of the new communications watchdog, Ofcom, which is to regulate all other broadcasters.

But following extensive lobbying from the commercial sector, the Government rejected this suggestion on the grounds that the BBC needs to remain independent of any government.

Of course, if Ofcom is going to regulate the behavior of other broadcasters, doesn’t it seem rather silly that the tax-financed BBC will be less regulated—and hence less subject to political meddling—than broadcasters who don’t receive their funds via the government treasury?

What we have here is a failure to pay attention

Venomous Kate links to the claim of responsibility for the bombing of the U.N. compound in Baghdad. Whodunnit? Al-Qaeda. Why, you ask?

“So why the United Nations? Number one, the United Nations (is against Islam), it is a branch of the American State Department and it wears the robes of an international organization.

“The double standard policies of the United Nations are against Arabs and Muslims. This issue does not need to be proved. It is clear like the light of the sun at midday,” the statement said.

The statement called U.N. envoy to Iraq, Brazilian Sergio Vieira de Mello, “America’s number one man.”

Do they not get CNN (or even al-Jazeera) in al-Qaeda-land? Anyone with the slightest clue in the universe would reject this statement as being completely devoid of sense (common or otherwise).

Blogging about wireless

Virginia Postrel is apparently going all Wi-Fi.

I’m not sure I have too many thoughts to add on the issue. My Wi-Fi (wireless Ethernet) travels have been somewhat crippled by a laptop that currently refuses to recognize any PCMCIA card that requires an interrupt when running under Linux (and is generally becoming downright hostile to Linux in its old, semi-broken age—but that’s a story for another day). More to the point, short of war-driving, to my knowledge there isn’t much of a way to know where you can go and grab something to munch on while you take care of business via Wi-Fi. A few coffee shops in Ann Arbor advertised free Wi-Fi in the window, and the downtown Borders advertised T-Mobile’s service, but I only know that because I was walking around on foot and saw the signs. Not to mention that the one day I tried to use Wi-Fi in one of these establishments, the Internet access was out due to the after-effects of the Northeast power failure (the hot chocolate was good, but I wouldn’t have paid three bucks for it if I wasn’t getting some Wi-Fi too).

I do like the idea of malls installing wireless access, although I suspect the operators of most declining malls are so generally clueless that they won’t take advantage of it. And perhaps there is something to having Wi-Fi in the “fast casual” restaurant sector—restaurants like Fazoli’s and Steak ‘n Shake. But for now, here in the technological boonies such innovations seem very remote.

Steven at PoliBlog mentioned the wireless order-taking technology this morning too; that seems like the most promising direct business use of Wi-Fi at the moment, although similar (but less advanced) technology is already in widespread use by big retailers for inventory management, and has been for some time.

Joining the cult of TiVo

Justene Adamec, guesting at Dean’s World, has just been introduced into the glory that is TiVo. I’ll tell you, the month I spent without my TiVo in Michigan drove me positively batty, although it did have the slight benefit of making me watch a little bit less TV than I otherwise would have.